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Thu 1 Nov 2001 by mskala Tags used: ,

This is a secured semi-anonymous connection. We know who you are, and can authenticate that. You don't know who we are specifically, but you can easily guess in general terms. Nobody else needs to know what's discussed on this connection, or that we ever had this conversation at all, unless one side chooses to reveal it.

I know how the connection works. I wrote a lot of the software you're using. And yes, I've a pretty good guess who you are.

Fair enough. We're just spelling it out as a matter of form.

Why have you contacted me this way?

We have a question to ask you. We believe that you have no reason not to answer it. We understand that you don't have any reason to help us, but we hope you'll give us an honest answer anyway. We're prepared to reciprocate if there's any way that can be meaningful; but we're not sure there is.

I don't object to hearing your question; you obviously already know that I might not answer it, or might not answer it honestly, and why.

The question is: "Why do you hate us?"

I'm sure you've read my organization's Web site. And you know that I wrote most of it and edited the rest. What part of it do you not understand?

The Web site only explains why you're fighting us. The question was why do you hate us? You don't seem to hate your other enemies the way you hate us.

The incident on the 14th might be a good starting point.

Bearing in mind the secured nature of this connection: You're right. Up to a point. Someone on our side, not the same people you're talking to now, acted pretty shamefully on the 14th. But you have other enemies who are much dirtier. Look, we keep files just as extensive as your own. We know pretty much what your motivations are, we know who you're against, and we know how you feel about them, and we know that we're the only ones you truly hate. We don't know why. We're actually surprised you'd fight against us at all; we'd have expected you to join our side, right or wrong, just because of your personality traits. You'd have been a valuable operative.

This had better not be a recruiting call.

No, you're no use to us now. We could never give you a clearance with your background. Even as an informer, we'd have to assume that everything you said was tainted. Yes, we know that you'll be assuming the same about everything we say here. But the question of your allegiance has caused a lot of people in our organization to closely examine our fundamental goals. Again, bearing in mind the secured, off-the-record nature of this connection: we think that if someone like you hates us so deeply, maybe we deserve it. Maybe there's something we need to change. If anything, we might join you instead of the other way around.

Do you expect me to believe that?

We don't know what you believe at all. If you tell us, maybe we could find a way for your goals and our goals to be aligned.

You're right to the extent that I do hate you and I have a definite reason for it. I've never told anyone that reason. Not my friends, not anyone in my organization.

Have you told any of your lovers?

I am concerned that it's an idea so dangerous it could hurt anyone who knew it.

Tell us. You wouldn't object to hurting us.

There would be no way I could ensure that it wouldn't spread past you. And I wouldn't wish this on even you.

This sounds pretty far-fetched.

You expected a simple, ordinary answer? If it were something simple you wouldn't need to ask.

Get to the point, please. Please tell us why you hate us. We still think that your telling us that would be a mutual advantage.

I don't see any positive outcomes. My intention is to keep this problem to myself until I either solve it, and publish the solution, or die silent.

We realise that there is no promise or assurance we can give you to say that we'll treat your words with respect and honour, but please, trust us on just this one point. We're really looking for a solution here to a problem that you and we both face, even if you and we are on opposite sides of the problem. It may be that your reason for hating us is something we're already working on, and we could work on it together. But we who are talking to you are already taking a risk, more than we can afford, in talking to you at all. We do not have the permission of our superiors to contact you; indeed, that permission was requested and explicitly denied. We can't say any more than we have said. Meet us halfway, please.

Very well. Please don't respond to this until I have finished explaining it.

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