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Professor-rat (buttdarling) wrote,
@ 2012-05-18 14:30:00
Previous Entry  Add to memories!  Add to Topic Directory  Tell a Friend!  Next Entry

    Note the date...there will be questions
    Denver Post

    Online threats target Denver investigators
    Anarchist says e-mails harmless; feds disagree
    By Jim Hughes
    Denver Post Staff Writer

    Monday,
    July 07, 2003 - An anarchist using the online moniker "Professor Rat" has
    threatened the lives of two federal terrorism investigators in Denver,
    advocating that they "need killing."

    The threats name an FBI agent
    assigned to the local multiagency Joint Terrorism Task Force and the
    government's lead prosecutor of terrorism cases in Colorado.

    Although those who travel in the same online circles as Professor Rat say his
    provocations are not to be taken seriously, officials say they are
    concerned about the threats, which were sent to an e-mail listserv and
    posted on the Internet in April.

    "The recipients of the threats have no
    way to discern their validity," said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S.
    attorney's office. "They cause fear and they disrupt lives, and it's for
    that reason that they're taken very seriously.

    "It's more than the individual targets. It's the families and those associated with them," he
    said.

    That is the purpose of the postings, an Australian man who admits
    to using the Professor Rat name and to posting these kinds of threats said
    in a telephone interview and a series of e-mails: To scare people out of
    working for the government.

    He refused to admit to any specific threat, to avoid prosecution, he said. He already is charged with making similar threats against police in Australia, according to the Victoria Police in
    Melbourne.

    Saying that his real name was Matt Taylor and that he was 48
    years old, Professor Rat said he promotes a theory called Assassination
    Politics that emerged at the periphery of cyberanarchist circles in 1997.


    The concept is that of an online lottery in which people bet on a date
    that public figures will die. The implication is that the lottery "winner"
    likely helped arrange the death. Winnings would be paid in untraceable
    digital cash, which does not yet exist.

    The development of digital money,
    and encryption software restricting government's ability to monitor
    Internet activity, are common goals among the online anarchists and
    libertarians known as "cypherpunks."

    The ultimate purpose of Assassination Politics is to deter people from working for government
    agencies, corporate media outlets or institutions "beholden to the violence
    of the state," Taylor said.

    Professor Rat also has threatened a University of Ottawa law professor, a columnist for The Boston Globe and a Cincinnati police officer.

    Many of those threats were posted to a listserv called Cypherpunks.

    The e-mail distribution network allows libertarians and anarchists interested in the tension between government oversight and individual liberty on the Internet to discuss those issues
    via e-mails that when sent to the listserv are distributed to all members.

    Dorschner would not say whether there was an investigation into Professor
    Rat, calling the matter an issue of "internal security."

    The columnist for The Boston Globe, whose sin, in the eyes of Professor Rat, was to
    criticize civil libertarians for objecting to the Patriot Act of 2001, said
    he did not take the threat at all seriously.

    He learned of the threat only last week, when told of it by The Denver Post, he said.

    The Post is withholding the names of the subjects of posts by Professor Rat to avoid
    promoting any specific threats.

    "The way I see it, this kind of talk is pretty cheap on the Internet," the columnist said. "This is something I would consider casual hate speech. This person didn't send me an e-mail
    saying 'I'm going to kill you."'

    But officials in Denver see nothing casual about the statements, Dorschner said.

    In an interview, Taylor taunted the Denver officials named in the April 8 statement.

    "They're welcome to come and get me extradited," he said. "Here I am. Come and get
    me."

    The Cypherpunks listserv is also where Jim Bell, an MIT-trained
    chemist and Washington anarchist who now is in prison for interstate
    stalking of federal agents, unveiled his Assassination Politics. He was
    convicted in 2001.

    Federal prosecutors in Seattle that year also won a
    conviction against Carl Johnson, a Canadian man accused of threatening
    federal judges and Microsoft founder Bill Gates by e-mail.

    Later in 2001, Thomas Wales, a federal prosecutor in Seattle, was shot to death. Though
    his death was noted on the Cypherpunks listserv, no connection to
    Assassination Politics has ever been made. The case remains unsolved.

    John Hartingh, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Seattle,
    declined to comment on Wales' death.

    Taylor said his threats are intended solely as a rhetorical deterrent.

    "No one has to die," he said. "All that has to happen is for people to accept the system."

    If anyone Taylor threatened ever was assassinated, "I would totally reassess my involvement
    in it," he said. "It would totally change the whole situation. Basically,
    I'm a nonviolent person."

    The posts made by Professor Rat fall under a
    relatively new category of crime known as "cyberstalking," said Jim Doyle,
    a retired New York City police sergeant who now works as a cybercrimes
    consultant for a Connecticut company called Internet Crimes.

    The statements made by Professor Rat constitute prosecutable offenses, he said.

    "The bottom line is what the victim feels," he said. "Is the victim threatened? Is the victim alarmed? Hey, that's a crime."

    Eugene Volokh, a law professor at the University of California-Los Angeles and a First
    Amendment specialist, said the threats were probably criminal, given
    Taylor's description of the purpose of Assassination Politics.

    But "in order to (prosecute), you have to get your hands on the guy," he said.

    Most current Cypherpunks subscribers have set up their e-mail in-boxes to
    block any messages coming from Taylor, said Declan McCullagh, a reporter
    for the high-tech website CNET.com. He has subscribed to Cypherpunks for 10
    years, he said.

    Taylor exists on the "radical fringe" of online anarchists, McCullagh said. "He's routinely ignored and 'kill-filed' by just about everyone on the list. I'd be surprised if more than a small
    handful of people are reading his postings, let alone taking him
    seriously."

    Taylor acknowledged that he does not not have much support in
    anarchist circles.

    "Most anarchists see what I'm doing as counterproductive. ... I'm not exactly at the center of anarchism by promoting Assassination Politics, that's for sure."
    -----------------
    R. A. Hettinga
    The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation
    44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
    "... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
    [predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
    experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

    This date is significant because one of the biggest scandals of recent times errupted in July 2003 - ' What I didn't find in Africa' by Joe Wilson and the deliberate exposure of his CIA agent wife, Valerie Plame. Closely associated with this firestorm as the PAM scandal that may have even been a 'backburning' operation.
    So I wasn't arrested, or even investigated.
    First the Sheik covers for me and the the Wilsons and the Pentagon. Thanks ya'll!

    Authoritarians? First get your hands on this guy :)


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