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P.S. I Hate You

Her great-grandparents died in the Holocaust. But Sara Salzman knows that anti-Semitism lives on -- on the Web.

Ellis must have learned about Salzman's complaint, because he immediately sent her an e-mail with the following message: "You dumb bastard, you just don't get it."

In a letter Ellis sent to Salzman and to seark.net, he denied her accusations and offered the following explanation for her claims: "Over the past few weeks Sara has solicited me for sex many times. I have always refused. I believe this is a ploy of hers to stop me from posting to Usenet, where my friends and I gather to swap information on different topics. If Sara doesn't like my rejections to her stalking me or the topics and information I post under, then she can always find another newsgroup."

Salzman shot back with an e-mail message telling Ellis not to write to her again. She also sent a copy of that letter to seark.net, along with a note to Jim Ellis of seark.net refuting Don Ellis's claims. Instead of helping her, Jim Ellis wrote back asking her not to spam him with her complaints and added that "this sounds like a lover's quarrel." As it turns out, Don Ellis's brother works at seark.net, which would explain how he found out about Salzman's letters. Whether Jim Ellis is Don Ellis's brother could not be determined.

Sara Salzman grew up listening to her family's stories about the Holocaust.
Anthony Camera
Sara Salzman grew up listening to her family's stories about the Holocaust.

Salzman soon discovered that her e-mail in-box was flooded with mail from pornographic Web sites. Someone had put her name on eighty gay-porn e-mail lists. She received messages like "Thanks for subscribing to Naughty Mail, your free guide to pictures, jokes, stories, movies, sites, special offers and more" and "*Exclusive Hot Teen pictures* Hot & Steamy EROTIC STORIES -- a new one every day!"

Salzman turned to Mike Castro of the FBI's Domestic Terrorism Unit in Colorado, but according to Salzman, he said there wasn't anything he could do to help her because there were no specific threats against her at the time. Castro refused to comment to Westword on Salzman's situation.

On February 28, Salzman filed an incident report with the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, but she says the deputy who assisted her said that the Internet hijinks probably aren't in violation of any laws -- and that if they are, they're probably just a misdemeanor, and Arapahoe County doesn't extradite people for misdemeanors. Nobody from the sheriff's office would return phone calls for this story.

That same day, the home telephone numbers and addresses of everyone associated with the Nizkor Project, including Salzman, were posted to alt.revisionism. The Nizkor phone book was posted several times, in fact, under several names that all had the return address of Ellis's thundernet.org. Later, Salzman's phone number and address were also posted to two neo-Nazi news groups -- alt.politics.nationalism.white and alt.politics.white-power. Someone identifying himself as RevWhite also posted a map with directions to Salzman's house, as well as the names, addresses and phone numbers of several of her neighbors, and encouraged people to call them.

Patrick Blakely, the man behind the RevWhite moniker, was notorious a couple of years ago for operating a Web site called the Negroid Research Institute, which awarded "Nigger of the Week" prizes to famous black people and published statistics that made it appear that blacks were responsible for virtually all crimes. Blakely eventually dismantled the site, but he apparently didn't abandon the Internet; instead, he continued on with a crusade to rid the Web of child porn and gay chat rooms. According to a January 15, 1997, Wired News article, he vowed to "lead an '[Internet Relay Chat] Watch' campaign, using the nickname 'RevWhite,' until the network is purged of chat channels like '#gayboysex.'" The article goes on to say that "RevWhite has been joined in his crusade by at least one vocal supporter, Don Ellis, whose Web site, The American Guardian, promotes many of the same values as RevWhite's own Maryland Christian Politics site." (More recently, someone using the moniker "blakely" has posted messages to alt.revisionism questioning Salzman's fitness as a mother, accusing her of being mentally ill and asking, "Did Sara really have relatives killed by Hitler? With her history of being a pathological liar, I seriously doubt it." In addition, the messages said, "Sara started this whole thing. It was Sara who contacted personal members of Don Ellis's family first, both by phone, letter and e-mail. We have every right to do the same.")

In March, Salzman contacted the Eleventh Judicial District in Star City, Arkansas, the town where Ellis lives, and spoke to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Phillip Green. "It was like talking to someone in Mayberry," Salzman says. Green told her that if she wanted to press charges against Ellis, she would have to fly to Arkansas. Instead of doing that, Salzman convinced Green to send Ellis a cease-and-desist letter. On April 11, Green wrote back, saying, "After a thorough review of various e-mails provided to me by you and by Mr. Ellis, I have determined that there is no basis for involvement by my office. The copies you faxed me today may be libelous, but that is a civil matter, not a criminal one. It may be that you need to hire an attorney to check into the matter further."

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