22 September 1997
Source: Anonymous

For information on Jim Bell see:


Below is a letter from Jim Bell which I received 9/16. I expect he 
was anticipating that his mail would be read.


Dear XXX,

Thank you for your letter.  I wish I could respond to it under 
better conditions and circumstances.  My legal position can't be 
described as any better than highly precarious, and I simply don't 
dare angering anybody more than I have already.  Meeting with a 
"list representative" would be too "official" for my own good.  
I suppose I could meet with individuals as individuals.

I am tremendously apologetic for the mistakes that I've made.  
Very, very stupid mistakes.  There's something wrong with me, 
perhaps, and maybe now I'll have the chance to learn what it is.  
I don't defend my past theories. . . 

Put simply, I feel horrible.  I hurt, I ache, and I fear.  Ive 
let down the entire world; I wish I could have been a better 
person.  My actions were inexcusable, totally so.  Call this 
"depression", if you will.

Please don't transcribe this letter, or any part of it.  I'm not 
looking for publicity; quite the opposite.  Maybe you could just 
say that you received a reply, that it contained a huge apology, 
and that you may visit me.  You might suggest, also, that it was 
your impression that I didn't want to be the topic of conversation,
if this is possible.  I can't stop people from talking, but I do 
not want to give anyone the impression that they would be doing 
me a favor by "talking up" my case!  Please no!

I am allowed up to three (total) visitors, which must be listed on 
a visitation form (I need names and addresses, plus phone numbers)
(changeable every two weeks).

Normally I can only get one visitor per day, (between Sat+Sunday 
1:00 and 1:45), but I think they make exceptions if the visitors 
aren't "locals".  (local to Port Orchard, WA)(call ahead and verify 
this).  Visitors must call ahead for an appointment to visit.  
Also, they must show up and sign in by 12:45 pm.

I will put your name on my visitation request list for weekend of 
Sept 20-21, but I will submit the form only after I call you 
collect (I can only make collect calls, sorry!) on Thursday 
Sept 18 night at 9:00 pm or Friday.  If you give me additional 
names, I will add them also to the list. (I must do it this way 
because, technically, we are only supposed to re-submit a new 
visitors list every two weeks.  If it were only you coming, I 
could submit the form today, but that might preclude me from 
adding more names.  If you have no more names by Thursday or 
Friday, feel free to ignore my call and I'll submit your name 

Jim Bell

[Below my reason for publishing Jim's letter. JY] XXX, I'd like to publish Jim's letter. I feel that I've been trapped into silence by his letter, by the Feds, through threats to Jim. And that he may be cooperating with them to understandably save his own ass, and thereby wittingly or unwittingly threatening others, including me, or at the very least chilling public discussion of his case. As with the IRS spam many of us received, Jim's letter is meant to isolate us and leave us uneasy about whose doing what to who, and thus making us easy to pick off one by one, and to squeal on others who we've been induced to believe is squealing on us, or to distance ourselves from, as Jim is now doing. Mainly, though, such crap makes us shut up and behave, and that's the lonely dark cell of self-censorship, self-imprisonment. The letter needs to be made public, or at least I need to speak up about it to get free of the trap. I'll put it on my Web site, stating that it came anonymously. John