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Subject: Why I am not going to the Graz WCCC

Author: Bruce Moreland

Date: 10:02:54 04/01/03


This post has some political content, but much of it involves a major computer
chess event, so I am posting it here rather than in CTF.

On March 23rd, I received an email with the subject "Good Americans", containing
the text "Unfortunately there are yet no good pics of real good Yankees on the
net. But the guy on the enclosed picture is at least on the best way to become a
good one."

Attached was a picture of an American POW in Iraq.

I responded to this email, asking the sender why he sent this to me, and he
responded with general anger about the war, which led me to believe that this
was sent intentionally.  My initial thought had been that it might have been one
of these forged virus email things that are so common now.

On the 26th, I got another email, subject "I like Americans", containing the
text, "At least these ones."

Attached was a graphic picture of two dead American soldiers.

The sender of both of these emails is a well-known computer chess figure, who is
associated with the Graz event, presumably as a host.  I know for a fact the
same emails, or very similar emails, were sent to other American computer chess
programmers.  This leads me to believe that I was targeted due to my
nationality, rather than because of anything I have said publicly about the war.

I sent email to the ICGA officers asking them what they thought of this, and
telling them how I felt about this.  I received a variety of replies, assuring
me that the ICGA is not political, that I will be welcome in Graz, etc.  None of
this offends me, and I have little or no complaint about how the ICGA has handle
this.  I've also had a running discussion with the person I'm referring to, who
steadfastly defends his decision to send these pictures to me.  I have much
complaint about that.

After some reflection, I have decided that I can't accept the hospitality of
this person under these circumstances, so I will not be going to Graz.

I have carefully considered whether to make any of this public.  I am doing this
now in order to:

1) Respond in advance to inevitable questions as to why I am not going.

2) Alert other Americans to possible problems in advance.  It is possible that
you may meet with personally directed hostility in Graz, from someone connected
with the event, and you have a right to know this before making travel plans.
If you have concerns that you think the ICGA can address, I expect that they
would be happy to hear from you.

I'm not calling for anyone else to pass on the event.  By all means make that
choice for yourself.

bruce



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