"might qualify as a criminal extortion"

The following article was taken from the newsgroup ne.politics. The formatting has been left, as has all the header information. This newsgroup posting is provided for informational purposes only. Draw your own conclusions.
FYI, Barry Shein is the owner/operator of Software, Tool & Die. ST&D provides Internet access for a fee, via a UNIX system called The World.
Stephen Boursy, a former subscriber to ST&D's World system, objected to someone posting a political view opposed to his from a system owned by Thinking Machines, Inc.. TMI is a Cambridge, MA based manufacturer of Supercomputers.
Article 11661 of ne.politics:
Xref: world ne.general:17321 ne.politics:11661 alt.politics.reform:14652 talk.politics.misc:227538 misc.legal:92735
Newsgroups: ne.general,ne.politics,alt.politics.reform,talk.politics.misc,misc.legal
Path: world!bzs From: bzs@world.std.com (Barry Shein)
Subject: Re: Corporate Political Posting, State Funded Political Posting, etc.
In-Reply-To: boursy@world.std.com's message of Wed, 19 Oct 1994 23:43:52 GMT
Message-ID: BZS.94Oct19215649@world.std.com
Sender: bzs@world.std.com (Barry Shein)
Organization: The World
References: CxvBwv.2C2@world.std.com 383hdtINNkfd@early-bird.think.com Cxy1x5.95B@world.std.com
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 1994 01:56:49 GMT
Lines: 70

The message below might qualify as a criminal extortion.

Not doing what it describes per se, but publicizing it in a threatening manner so as to extract a change in policy or personal benefit or interest from a private corporation before judgement and/or investigation is obtained.

It's also possibly obstruction of justice. He can be 100% wrong in his interpretation of the law also but (I think) clearly is seeking to bypass any due process via this publicity soas to effect a de facto judgement of wrongdoing in the public's eye prior to any attempt at legal review whatsoever.

Any attorneys here want to comment? I'm not a lawyer, this is only posed as a question, musings, a request for information.

Obviously I have a vested interest in knowing whether or not a customer is utilizing access through our service to violate the law, we cannot be accomplice to that, even if unwittingly.

I can take it up with my own attorneys for further advice on the matter, of course, but welcome informed opinion.

From: boursy@world.std.com (Stephen Boursy)
>       I spoke with the legal department at Thinking Machines 
>Corporation.  They claim to have no idea of what you've been doing and 
>were quite alarmed by it.  That is not in the least uncivil--it is the law.
>       I explained the matter of the sigs--he questioned me in regards 
>to their contents and was not pleased..  I then explained that you'd 
>finally added a disclaimer which is intened to ridicule and that you 
>continue to offer abuse and incite others to do so under the Thinking 
>Machines account and he appeared quite concerned.  NOw perhaps he was
>just trying to get rid of me--that was not my impression so we shall see.
>       He asked that I send copies of all your posts which I am 
>preparing this evening and have them from day one.  I suspect something 
>will be done shortly.  I am also including other related abusive posts 
>that you've helped to incite.
>       I also spoke with the State Office of Campaign and Politic
>Finance and explained the situation of TMC and other corporations.  They 
>are sending me a copy of the relevant law to post.  He made it quite 
>clear that any corporate usage advocating a ballot initive position must 
>be reported by that corporation.  There are time limitations that in 
>your case may have already been violated.
>       You've gone we'll about the $50 limit on your politcal posts.  He 
>suggested I file a formal complaint which I am doing not just with your 
>corporation but any corporation which allows their accounts to be used for 
>politcal purposes above the amount of $50.00.  This includes educational 
>institutions, etc. regardless of what side of an issue you are on.  The
>law is quite clear and strict in regards to corporate donations and usage 
>which includes net usage.
>       Give them a call.
>                               Steve

-Barry Shein

Software Tool & Die    | bzs@world.std.com          | uunet!world!bzs
Purveyors to the Trade | Voice: 617-739-0202        | Login: 617-739-WRLD

Steve has some more to say on the subject later on...

From boursy@world.std.com Thu, 10 Nov 1994 02:45:38 GMT
Newsgroups: ne.politics,misc.legal,alt.politics.reform Path: news.ultranet.com!news.mathworks.com!udel!news.sprintlink.net!howland.reston.ans.net!pipex!uunet!world!boursy
From: boursy@world.std.com (Stephen Boursy)
Subject: Thinking Machines Corp.
Organization: The World Public Access UNIX, Brookline, MA
References: Cyv17D.CAM@world.std.com CytLsv.70D@world.std.com 39je3h$g18@bigboote.WPI.EDU 39jmliINNb3i@early-bird.think.com
Distribution: ne
Date: Thu, 10 Nov 1994 02:45:38 GMT
Lines: 47
Xref: news.ultranet.com ne.politics:2791 misc.legal:7372 alt.politics.reform:4469

In article <39jmliINNb3i@early-bird.think.com>,
Barry Perlman wrote:

>Chris may have written jejune and inflammatory postings (and I think we're
>all entitled to some lapses), but it takes a whole other level of atrocious 
>behavior to be like Speed Bump.  
>To the best of my knowledge, no one but Speed Bump has ever harassed other 
>posters' employers in an attempt to silence them.
>Please note that several people have written to me in private saying that
>they would like to participate in ne.politics, but were afraid to do so
>for fear of Speed Bump harassing their employers.  Speed Bump has never
>apologized for his unconscionable actions, or even acknowledged that he
>was wrong.
Actually I've just been too busy with the elections to deal with the matter Barry. I will again be formally contacting your employer with printouts of all your derogatory remarks under their account as your legal department had previously requested from me. If they don't deal with it in a prompt and satisfactory manner TMC and I will be in court. Of course you will be a witness.

Quite serious about this. You've continually defamed and encouraged others to do so. TMC I should think will not be pleased and even if I have to contact each member of the board with full copies of your posts I will do so.

There have been many posts in support of my right to proceed in this fashion in misc.legal some of which I've crossposted. While you and your small gang of name callers no doubt will object that will not discourage the process.

You objected to using disclaimers when using a corporate account to advocate for ballot questions yet you now include one although it is usually intended to further defame me. You've ridiculed the notion of a corporations responsiblilty to report in-kind contributions and defended the abuse of tax funded state resources to advocate ballot questions. Many have agreed with these actions and points I've raised separate from this little band of anti-rent control types.


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