Friday, April 27, 2007

Death threat and other 'fun' things

As Mike's "7 Roundtables and Jeremy Brcher & Brendan Smith" details, there were seven round tables for the gina & krista round-robin. Ava and I moderated one and I'm running way behind tonight (it's "tonight" until I get at least an hour of sleep). We're going to focus on Iraq (of course) and we'll be using Rolling Stone to do so. A friend (at the magazine) had asked for a plug for the 40th anniversary issue which I'd forgotten until he called again today. There are plugs I'll do. If I believe in something, no problem. There are also things that come into the public account that I will gladly plug.

There are things that will get plugged here that I know nothing about. I mention that because I've wasted two hours dealing with an e-mail to the public account. Obviously, this community does care about the conditions of/for women in the world. So when an e-mail came in asking for a link to a petition, I was all ready to copy and paste. But the name of the organization (not one I donate to) sent off an alarm. I called around and found out repeatedly why it should not be supported here. (A friend who yelled, "___, they supported the contras!" was more than enough to make sure they wouldn't get endorsed here.) But I mention that for several reasons.

1) Calling around made this entry get started even later.

2) There are questions from visitors from time to time about why something gets noted here.

3) E-mails.

(1) should be clear. (2) may not be to visitors. In the snapshot, there's nothing but plugs in one regard. If I'm speaking (and I often am), I'm especially dependent upon friends. I'll make as many calls as I can and some will promote their own outlets and some will promote that and/or
other outlets. (Independent media, real independent media, seems to have a lot more traction in big media these days.) That's how the snapshot works. We're covering Iraq. (I prefer "we" to "I" statements.) I will call friends to figure out what's going on or what's not going into a report. (Also to gripe about Iraq coverage.) And they do get links here. Snapshots can also include members' highlights as well as things that come into the public account from visitors. I can and do say no to friends. (One person is very upset that they've gotten "nothing" currently.) I also let them say "no" to not promoting certain things here.

On (3), if something comes into the public account, I do consider it. But it's not my job to e-mail you back and say you got a shout or you didn't. I'm not writing back the organization that wanted a shout out tonight. I feel no guilt over that.

There was an indy-type (on the right) who I did feel bad about last week because he had done actual work but we're not a site for the right and we're not linking to a bunch of neocons talking about the war. (Whether the indy-type was neocon or not, I don't know. The thing he wanted linked to featured various voices he'd interviewed who were neocons. I'm sure he'll find many to promote that on the right.) With him, I did feel bad because he had done a lot of work -- not work I liked or approved of -- but he did a lot of work and he was reaching out to anyone to get some attention for it. (If a right winger's e-mailing this site, he's reaching out to anyone.) So possibly the organization that e-mailed tonight will read this. (They may have e-mailed today, I didn't see it until tonight.) If so, you're not being linked to. Don't send an e-mail to this site proclaiming your support for women when you were on the wrong side during Vietnam, when you supported the contras, go down the list.

We do get many wonderful things to note via visitors e-mailing the public account and we have noted many things from it. But I want to start off on this topic because I want it to be clear that I can and do make mistakes. (I can be wrong and often am.) Tonight (this morning, actually), I saw that e-mail and what's happening to women in Iraq is femicide. The hour was late and I was going back and forth over whether or not to risk waking friends with phone calls asking, "What do you know about this group?" I did make the calls but it could have as easily gone the other way and been posted here. (At which point, friends would have called to scream later today. And been right to scream.) So hopefully that clears up something for visitors.

The public e-mail address gets many e-mails. One Martha moved to the "read" file (Martha, Eli, Shirley, Ava and Jess all help with the e-mails) was this one from "No Name Sorry" at

This is the only way I could reach you, I Want you be very
careful about this and keep the secret with you till I make out space
for us to see, You have no need of knowing who I am, where am
from,till I make out a space for us to see, I have being paid in
advance to terminate you with some reasons listed to me by my
employer, its one I believe you call a friend, I have followed you
closely for one week and five days now and have seen that you are
innocent of the accusation, Do not contact the police or try to send a
copy of this to them, because if you do I will know, and might be
pushed to do what I have being paid to do, beside this the first time i
turned out to be a betrayer in my job he gave me all information about you.
Now listen, I will arrange for us to see face to face but before that I
need the amount of $30,000.00, I will come to your home, or you
determine where you wish we meet, I repeat do not arrange for the
cops, if you play hard to get, it will be extended to your family, do not
set any camera to cover us or set up any tape to record our
conversation, my employer is in my control now, $10, 000.00 will be paid
to the account I will provide for you, after our conversation, I will
give you the tape that contains his request for me to terminate you,
which will be enough evidence for you to take him to court (if you wish
to), then the balance will be paid, beware of business associates and
friends, reply back with your phone number for easier contact as soon
as possible.

Now, normally I follow the policy posted on the profile -- that you're only quoted with permission. The above doesn't worry me. There's no way someone followed me over the last five days. I've been in six different cities, on multiple campuses and I could barely keep up with the schedule.

I'm not worried in the least but I do think it's really crappy to try to scare someone and some people might be scared by the above. If the "No Name" had written the above in a different week when I was at home and not on the road, I might take it more seriously (I doubt it) but there's no way in the world that anyone could have followed me this week (without being out of breath and drawing attention to themselves). The only thing that bothered me is that my life is apparently only worth $40,000. Now that's a bit more than the US government (under) pays Iraqis, but still . . .

As for coming to my home, you know, I have a fairly open door policy with regards to friends --who can bring their friends along -- but your 'sweet' words aren't going to win you an invite.

If "No Name" can't tell (or if any member's concerned -- don't be), I don't take you seriously. I don't take your threat seriously. You're far from the first death threat I've received in my life (you'd have to go back to the days before e-mail, way before e-mail) and most of you are just scared little creeps who get off on the thought that you frightened someone.

But I read it and laughed, was just about to delete it, when I remembered Ava's reaction to one threatening creep. E-mails like this can freak some people out. It doesn't freak me out. It doesn't scare me. It makes me laugh and that's about it. But if someone's e-mailing that to me they may be trying it on other people as well.

So it's going up here.

If you're a reporter who has e-mailed the public account, do not freak and think, "The policy has changed! My foul mouthed rant is going to be posted!" It's not. If you've been commented on here and want to have your say, go for it. But I am breaking the policy from now on in terms of death threats.

A death threat isn't "I wish you'd die." A death threat isn't "You stupid ___! I hate you! I hate you!" (The latter actually did come in from a mainstream reporter.) A death threat isn't calling me a foul name. But telling someone you were hired to kill them and if they contact the police and/or don't pay you off, you're going to kill them is a death threat. I don't think that's open to dispute. (I could be wrong, I often am.) So to cut down on these (this is the third time No Name's written or someone who writes exactly like No Name has written) the policy will be that if you make a death threat, you give up your right to privacy.

Again, that's not, "I could spit in your face" or "I wish you'd die." Or anything like that. But I'm going through the e-mails to do the "And the war drags on" entry and looking at what Martha's put in the "read" folder and I'm just not in the mood for it. The threat doesn't scare me. I know from last week's similar e-mail, it did worry Martha. My take is it's a prank or a crank or a sicko and none of the three worry me. But if it cuts down on the e-mails coming into the public accounts, then let's note it and hopefully No Name can get a life already.

If you write the public account, you get an automated message. That's all your entitled to.

The (public) e-mail address for this site is