Declan McCullagh on Fri, 14 Apr 2000 21:23:43 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Crypto-convict won't recant: Jim Bell gets out of prison today,1283,35620,00.html

    Crypto-Convict Won't Recant
    by Declan McCullagh (
    3:00 a.m. Apr. 14, 2000 PDT

    Before Jim Bell went to prison, he suspected that most government
    officials were corrupt. Three years behind bars later, the
    self-proclaimed Internet anarchist is sure of it.

    After Bell, a cypherpunk who the United States government dubbed a
    techno-terrorist, is released Friday at 10 a.m. PDT, he plans to exact
    revenge on the system that imprisoned him.

    "If they continue to work for the government, they deserve it. My
    suggestion to these people is to quit now and hope for mercy," the
    41-year-old Washington state native said in a telephone interview this
    week from the medium-security federal penitentiary in Phoenix. Bell
    pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 1997.

    The retribution he has in mind? Well, it's decidedly not simple
    thuggery or wild-eyed ranting.

    Before he was arrested, the MIT graduate even gave his scheme a catchy
    title: "Assassination Politics."

    It's an unholy mix of encryption, anonymity, and digital cash to bring
    about the ultimate annihilation of all forms of government. The
    system, which Bell spent years talking up online, uses digital cash
    and anonymity to predict and confirm assassinations.

    Darkly brooding during his stints in solitary confinement, Bell has
    honed his idea to a knife-sharp edge, and seems to have shed any
    remaining scruples in the process.

    "I once believed it's too bad that there are a lot of people who work
    for government who are hard-working and honest people who will get hit
    (by Assassination Politics) and it's a shame," he says. "Well, I don't
    believe that any more. They are all either crooks or they tolerate
    crooks or they are aware of crooks among their numbers."

    That kind of fervid rhetoric comes close to crossing the line, says
    one former prosecutor. "It's an oblique threat," says Mark Rasch, now
    a lawyer at Science Applications International Corporation. "Depending
    on how immediate the threat is or how immediate the incitement is, it
    could violate federal law."


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