Well, there is some TERRIBLE NEWS here.
The FEAR & LOATHING in Las Vegas BBS was BUSTED today, Aug. 3, 1993.
At 8 am. - The FBI from Birmingham, Alabama came in and presented a Search Warrant dated 7/29/93 and proceded to swipe every piece of Electronics from The Doctor - SYSOP of the Fear & Loathing.
What they told the Doctor was this….. to paraphrase .
" Didn't you learn a lesson from RustynEdies?
We been subscribing to the Fear for about a year ... and we have capture screens of your Board. We know you have NOVELL and Quarterdeck stuff on your Board . "
(When Doc protested that he did NOT and instead had a NO-NOVELL Policy … they said that he DID have NOVELL stuff on .. about 3 months ago. They also spoke informatively of the files and messages that had passed thru the Fear )
TWO NOVELL guys and one Quarterdeck guy were in on the Raid… it was ALL FBI and no LOCAL Cops were involved.
All Doc's Computers and Electronic Gear was taken away " to be studied in Washington" .
All Fear Users should know that the Doc kept NO PERSONAL or USER INFO in his system .
In fact , despite that I feel SICK to my STOMACH and that .. besides the Doc, that I have lost more in this bust than any other user… as I was Cosysop and Top ULer -having ULed almost half a GIG … I must ask WHY the Feds would go after the Fear … a Big BBS but not the Biggest, a fast BBS but not the FASTEST, a NICE sysop but one who didnt even USE the wares he had . They asked him where all his DISKS were…. but since he didnt USE the wares .. he truly didnt HAVE any !
They saw a MiniCam VCR Camera he had and asked him where the Tapes he made of his BBS Screens. When Doc protested that he did not MAKE Videos of his screens and why should he? .. the Feds said .. EVERYBODY does !
Welll….. this is one of the saddest days in my life … of course nothing compared to what the Doc is going thru… yet. the Doc remains cheerful… He needed the Fear & Loathing and BBSsing like a Hole in his Head. The Pirate community knows that the Doctor did not even call out and had maybe one or two accounts on ANY other Pirate BBSs…and those he almost never used. The Doctor lost the Hardware for a BBS that was 7 Nodes and about 7 Gigs .. all the computers and USR 16.8k Modems and LAN Network and etc etc….. gotta be worth probably at LEAST $15,000.
Anyway.. the Fear Bust will have minimal impact on other BBSs as the Doctor truly almost NEVER called out and really doesnt KNOW anything about other Pirates and Groups and Boards.
As the Fear was a TDT and ECR Member BBS .. THOSE Groups suffer in losing a good BBS … we must wonder … after the Bust of the Lite House… another TDT BBS … whether TDT BBSs are being targeted.. however… I think NOT … as the Lite House was a purely LOCAL Bust .. NO FBI involved there … and was the result of some Kids getting caught with stolen CC's. More on this … later below.
THE FEAR NEVER WAS INVOLVED IN H/P/A/V Stuff .. we NEVER had any CCing info online .
BECAUSE we had no CC info , my first thought was that this was the first case that a BBS was busted that was a PURE Pirate BBS.
BUT .. THE LESSON OF THE FEAR BUST IS THIS……
SUBSCRIBERS WILL DO YOU IN !!
Upon some one hours' thought after learning of the Fear Bust … I realized from the info I listed above - that the FBI had said that they had SUBSCRIBED ( a PAID ACCESS ACCOUNT) .. thus the pathway to DOOM for the FEAR was just that …. ALLOWING SUBSCRIBERS to "PAY FOR WARES" .
YES… we DID have some NOVELL stuff online for a very short time … but so does almost every other Pirate BBS.. it is the large number of Subscribers that I suspect opened the Window of Vulnerability.
My advice to my brother Pirate Boards is to ELIMINATE SUBSCRIBER ACCESS. SUBCRIPTION ACCESS seems now to have been earmarked as NOT ALLOWABLE by the FEDS. We all know that the Feds and AT&T have the capability to bust any and every Pirate BBS in the USA … but they DON'T .
The ONLY "crime" of the Fear outside of Regular Piracy was allowing SUBSCRIBERS and PAID Access. Again… we had NO Credit Cards info or XXX rated files etc etc…
Off the top of my head … the Davy Jones Locker Case comes to mind … but THERE I believe the Sysop ( Jackson - ?? ) WON his defence as I recall .. BUT the circumstances were quite different. The APL case may be a closer comparison.
The terrible IRONY of this bust is that … the Fear had been slowly REDUCING the number of subscribers … and if the Doc had wanted to screw the Users.. he would have preferred to ELIMINATE ALL Subscription access MONTHS AGO … as SUBSCRIBERS ARE LAMERS and contribute NOTHING to BBSing. Well.. any experienced Sysop knows THAT .
The Fear was TOO NICE.
And now…. one great Sysop, a Gentlemen, a Physician MD, and one of the Best Human Beings I have ever known is now in Bad Trouble. He is fortunate in that he has a great Life, can afford the $$ loss of the Hardware and to make his own Legal Defence. I am sure he will soon put all this behind him … the BBS had been a Pain in the Ass for him anyway … and I think that He ( and I) have slowly been growing away from the scene .
So … the Fear and Loathing …over 10 years old.. is DOWN FOREVER.
The BBS has been having Hardware problems anyway and the Doctor just doenst need the Headaches. He had a great Run and I think made a difference in the Pirate Scene…. The Fear and Loathing was a FRIENDLY Place to be … and as I consider the loss of my favorite place to call… it occurs to me that maybe *I* have some blame in this .
When I became a Cosysop of the Fear …. it was not as Fast or as Big as it ended up. In fact … it was a bit of a Sleepy Southern BBS. Perhaps it was due to my efforts to make the Fear - a Fast KickAss BBS … to join up with TDT and ECR .. to get a whole new bunch of Great Users.. and to advertize the BBS.. perhaps the increased exposure, the Groups, the Fast Wares .. did the Doctor in. Maybe the Fear could have remained a nice medium Board for another 10 years.
But before I throw up … I am reminded that the Feds DID say that they had been subscribing to the Fear for about a year .. maybe even more.
That would mean that they were on the Fear even before I became a cosysop there…altho' I have been a Fear User for over 4 years. But the point is then … that.. if they were on for THAT long … then probably the Bust was just in the Cards.. and was bound to happen sooner or later.
In fact.. the Fear was DOWN all last week due to hardware problems … even on July 29th when the Search Warrant was issued… and only came back online ..about 2 days ago…. maybe THAT was the reason for the Bust NOW…OR maybe it was that the shitty NOVELL DOS wares that are going around the Boards … had just been ULed to the Fear .
The Fear and Loathing was started a bit after Plato's Place- an old THG BBS. The Doctor only wanted to become as Big or Bigger than Plato's … he suceeded quite well in doing just that .
Some other Comments that come to mind follow below ; I have just learned about this less than an hour ago and my thoughts are not quite coherent and set in place just yet .. and imagine the Doctor…after the FBI came to his Home and spent the last 4 hours of this morning going thru his house … jeesus….:
As usual they arrested all the HARDWARE .. but the Doctor has not been indicted…. YET ! They said that the case will take between 1 and 5 years to process and that he faces a JAIL term if convicted. Personally , I think Jail is very unlikely for Property … not Violent Criminal acts…. and for a first time offender with a good job and who is credit to his community.
But who the hell wants to face even the POSSIBILITY of Jail ? And to have to live with that over your head for the next year or years ??
The Doctor is a victem of pure Novell GREED. The Novell guys asked him if he knew how much Money the Software Companies were losing because of him ??
This is a BAD JOKE… as the Fear had never much more than 500 Users… of which… what… how many would be really active and of THOSE how many people would be INTERESTED in DLing NOVELL products….. maybe 50 ?? and of THOSE how many people would have the DL Bytes available or access to DL a Huge ware like Novell… you KNOW that these Big Pirate Wares are NEVER DLed much … thats why CD-ROMshit is not allowd on many BBSs.. and anyone who knows anything knows that Novell is WAY too complex a ware to try and use by simply DLing a Pirate version of it… so Novell lost maybe 10-20 Possible Sales….or certainly .. far less.
BUT …. HOW MANY PIRATES .. IF THEY WERENT GETTING THE SHIT FOR ALMOST FREE… WOULD ACTUALLY BUY ANY OF THE WARE THEY DLed !!
AND .. how many wares they DL are actually WORTH BUYING !!?? ( THIS is why piracy EXISTS )
The Doctor was that rare Sysop who DID BUY SOFTWARE . HE DID BUY PCBOARD. He DID BUY LANTASTIC .He DID BUY PRODOOR ( which he didnt like or use ) . He DID BUY the stuff he LIKED.
AND.. Irony of Ironies… because the Fear had outgrown Lantastic having 7 busy Nodes … he was all ready to BUY NOVELL 3.11 NEXT WEEK !!!
SO .. intelligent NOVELL actually LOST ONE GURANTEED SALE of NOVELL Products with the Fear Bust . They could have Milked the Doc for YEARS with Paid Support and Addon Products… but this is not to be.
A FINAL NOTE OF WARNING :
The FBI said that they had subscribed to the Fear for about a Year.
THEY SAID THAT THEY HAD BEEN ESTABLISHING THIS ACCOUNT HANDLE FOR ABOUT 5 YEARS !! AND THAT THEY WERE GOING TO GO AFTER OTHER BBSs !!!!!
THEREFORE WE KNOW IT WAS SOMONE FAIRLY WELL KNOWN WHO WAS A SUBSCRIBER. RIGHT NOW WE ARE COMBING THRU THE FEAR SUBSCRIBER LIST … IT HAS TO BE SOMEONE THEREFORE WHO IS ON MANY OTHER BBSs .. A WELL KNOWN USER .. BUT PROBABLY NOT A BIG TIME PIRATE … OR ELSE THEY PROBABLY WOULDNT HAVE BEEN A SUBSCRIBER. SO… probably NOT A EUROPEAN.
WE MAY MAKE THE FEAR SUBSCRIBER LIST PUBLIC AND LET OTHER SYSOPS LOOK THRU THE LIST AND COMPARE AND SEE WHO THE USER ACCOUNTS NAMES THEY HAVE IN COMMON WITH THE FEAR LIST..AND THUS NARROW DOWN WHO THE "MOLE" MIGHT BE THAT IS THE FBI/NOVELL TRAITOR PIRATE.
SOMONE HAD MENTIONED TO ME THAT THERE WAS A NOVELL REP PIRATE ON MANY TOP BBSs BUT REFUSED TO GIVE ME THE NAME. THEY ALSO PREDICTED THAT SOME BBSs WOULD GO DOWN " IN A MONTH" . THAT WAS A MONTH AGO …. MAYBE NOW THEY WILL GIVE ME THAT NAME.
Personally , I have just made a back up of all my Computers and have hidden away all my Disks, Tapes and Anything and EVERYTHING Pirate Related and have Cleaned off of my computers any Pirate Wares or Copyrighted Software or BBS numbers so I am cool … I have never heard of the Feds going after Cosysops .. but I am ready . I have hidden all this stuff off of my property . My accounts on other BBSs are cool because I always have unique passwords on each and every BBS I call and so the psws I had on the Fear are NOT used on any other accounts I have.
* BUT ALL FEAR & LOATHING USERS WHO HAVE ANY ACCOUNTS ON ANY OTHER BBSs THAT USE THE SAME PASSWORDS AS WERE USED ON THE FEAR & LOATHING BBS . MUST CHANGE THOSE PASSWORDS IMMEDIATELY ! *
THE FEDS DO HAVE THE FEAR's COMPUTERS AND HARD DRIVES.. THEY DO HAVE THE USER LISTS !!!
As for me - I am obviously diminished as a Pirate Influence but will still be a Trader… in fact …. my own phone bills will probably be much much less without the long distance calls of an hour or two a day to the Fear…and the Doctor will be saving much $$ and Time spent running a BBS who's wares he didnt even USE.
I may even start a BBS of my own someday.. one reason I wanted to be a Cosysop was to see what running a BBS was like. If I do start a BBS…. RULE # 1 = NO SUBSCRIBERS !
The Doctor remains in an upbeat mood.. altho' perhaps in a state of shock. He is a strong confident successful hard working man and will weather this storm very well I am sure.
Most Top BBS have a MUCH greater majority of good Users who are on many other BBSs. Or I should say … Most Top BBSs HAD a much great nukber of Good Users… for sadly .. I must speak now in the Past Tense when I talk of the Fear and Loathing. But … on the Fear … the 170 or so subscribers were for the most part… WITHOUT other good BBSs to call… thats why they subscribed to the Fear. It is THESE Users who will be the most affected the loss of their favorite Board .
The Doc will survive fine without the Fear … but he will not be a member of the Pirate Community any longer and from the info above here.. you may have learned that … while he ran a large Pirate BBS… he was not widely known ..nor did he care or need the Pirate Wares that he himself provided to others thru the Fear and Loathing BBS.
He didnt have the Time and he didnt have the Interest. And he certainly doesnt NOW !
And as I mentioned to him.. compared to the REALLY Sick patients he sees in the Operating Rooms… he may very well be better off to be rid of something that was becoming a Pain in the Ass….running a large BBS is cool at first… but after 10 years.. it does tend to become a CHORE… especially as more and more "old-timers" are leaving the scene as Piracy is not what it once was.
I remain a Pirate. But I think I will slow down . A lot of the FUN has now gone out of the scene for me. I enjoyed trying to help the Fear and Loathing to Grow… I enjoyed trying to help out the busy Doctor in the running of his BBS . I enjoyed the interchange with all the good Users I met on the Fear and I hope I can keep in touch with them in the Future… as I certainly intend to keep in touch with the Doctor. I will still trade and indeed .. will have more time now to do so … … after time mends my broken heart.
It is due to the fact that the Doctor had never bothered to call out very much and get accounts on many BBSs that he asked me to inform the Pirate Community at large of the Demise of the Fear … and the Lessons that can be learned .
Those of you that know me … know that my worst vice is that I write Email that is WAY TOO LONG…. and Ive done it again… but perhaps for the last time.
I hope that people will remember the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas BBS, —– after all 10 years is a long time .
I know I will . It was one of my First Pirate BBSs ! The Doctor let me have access on my first call when upon filling out the New Users application… he interrupted me to Chat and upon learning that I was a Plato's Place guy and did have some new Wares and one or two other BBSs.. accessed me on the spot. I never forgot that act of Generosity and was loyal to Him and the Fear ever since. I hope I gave more than I received…. but the lessons I have learned and people and friends I have made through the Fear far outweigh whatever I may have contributed to the Fear BBS.
Piracy is NOT just about WARES…. Its also about PEOPLE .
Novell may have won one round here against the Fear but they can NOT win the Pirate War… there will always be New Sysops willing to fight against Outrageously Priced Software, Over Hyped, Non-Working or non-functioning features-as-advertised, expensive micro-Updates every few months and so on and on …beyond the scope of this message.
And I must say that the Vast Majority of you , my Pirate Brothers, I have found to be excellent , very friendly and intelligent people.
But there ARE MOLES and TRAITORS among us Pirates… these scum of the Earth… who will DL and enjoy many Wares on the unfortunate Boards they are on …. and then Bust those Boards …. perhaps even after being the ULers of their own NOVELL Wares themselves in a Sting operation ( we are checking this out too ) .. those scum are doomed by their own natures to be worthless, friendless creatures … for what sort of human beings can they be… and no one likes a snitch… and anyone who DOES these acts .. surely will be having a shitty life … as who else but a totally shitty low-paid small-minded person would do such things.
The Revenge of the Fear is that the Traitor Pirate will be found out in the Legal Proceedings OR SOONER & that Novell is doomed anyway … with UNIX COSE Networking beoming friendlier & even Microsoft getting into the Networking Competition. Through its Pricing and Service and Bugs. Novell's own Life expectancy may not be too high.
In fact … Novells' Stock Prices today at 20&3/4 on the NASDAQ exchange is down today …. they have my sincere wishes for a swift and complete fall into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. He laughs Best who Laughs Last. Novell may have some Bad Luck in the Future as doing Bad Deeds always comes back to haunt the perpetrator sooner or later and they have made many Enemies..
So I close … but on a positive note …. Piracy Lives and in fact there are MORE and MORE Pirate Boards now as Piracy becomes more "MainStream" into society with cheap fast Modems and Cyperpunks on MTV.
I am just old enough to have experienced the "60's" . and I have always regarded Piracy and Pirates as some of the few true remnants of the "60's" Underground Movements .
I am happy if I have helped the Doctor - the most unselfish Sysop I have ever known - and one of the FASTEST Sysops… I've seen him Install a Door on all SEVEN Nodes in about 15 minutes ! There won't be another SYSOP like HIM . It was his HOBBY .. he was in it for the FUN.
Examples of what the Doctor had achieved… 7 Nodes , 7 Gigs …. there are very few BBSs PD or Pirate of THAT Size… PLUS the Fear was one of only two BBSs in USA that KEPT ITS WARES for OVER 2 YEARS … ALL ONLINE !! The First ACiD ANSI ACQUISITION was composed and ULed to the Fear & Loathing BBS . The Doctor was one of the FIRST BBSs in USA to go with the new PCBoard v15.0 Betas. The Doctors' BBS was chosen to become a TDT Member BBS and was also chosen to be the ECR Courrier HQ in USA …AND many many Big Pirates and Group Members on the scene now …. got their start on the Fear & Loathing. In fact … we used to joke that the Fear was a College for Pirates !
He had Plans to Improve and Increase his BBS even further when he had time. Just last night in fact … The Doctor installed the ZYRION Protocol.
No matter HOW Big his BBS became.. the Doctor ALWAYS had time to answer his Users' Mail . ANd just imagine how exciting it must have ben for him to answer questions like .. " How do I use the Zippy Scan" after 10 years of SYSOPing ! When I say he was generous… I mean GENEROUS. Armed Forces Veterans were allowed high access for free ; those users cash-poor or Wares-poor were almost ALWAYS allowed MEGS and MEGS of free credits… in his 10 years of SYSOPing … maybe ONE person was booted off the Fear and even THAT user could have re-applied for access had the system not automatically booted him off for not ULing a single file. Id say that in the last year alone .. the Doc GAVE AWAY over 300 Megs in Free Credits ..virtually anyone who asked him for help .. went away well satisfied. EVEN LOCALS were allowed on and given High Access so they wouldnt be begging for credits. Now how many other BBSs allow THAT !? He tried to fulfill ANY Users requests and always had a polite word for any user. He was NOT one of those new Sysops-with-an-attitude -2 Node-2 Megs-Im so kewl-type of guys.
There is so much I could say … but I impose too long on anyone who has read this far…. and I thank you for reading this far .
All I know is that a BBS that I have had great pleasure calling almost every day for OVER FOUR YEARS is now gone …. and one of the few pleasures in my over-worked life is now no more. When I went to my BBS Directory … it was the first BBS I called each night.. and the last before I went to bed. I had just Chatted with the Doc last night on how the BBS was improving and all the plans we had to make it even better. You guys woulda really seen something …. there was more growth potential at the Fear than at almost any other BBS I know. All we lacked was TIME .
But as Fab said when he "semi-retired" … how long can you do stuff to impress 15 year old kids ?
This is one Hobby with a nasty after-taste. So … SYSOPS take warning!.
For the Doctor and me … its ….
ChildHood's End .
Empedocles Cosysop - Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas BBS .