Tuesday, January 2, 2007


So I get this e-mail, from a mailing list to which I belong. Here's part of it...

"Right now, there is a crime being committed which means that quite a few Immigration Employees promised to play with our files and use us as their new Sexual Plaything and then kick us out of the USA."

Once you get past the poor grammar, it becomes quite the narrative, ranking up there with the literary gems that Nigerian scammers cook up for their 419 schemes. This is allegedly the tale of a husband and wife who are fighting deportation, even though they each posess an "Authorization Employment Card and a Social Security Number." It's signed by the wife - we'll call her "Mrs. M" - so I decided to look her up on Google, and see what I could find.

And what I found looked to be mainly blog and message-board comment spam, and a couple of URLs that Mrs. M has in her name. It appears that the Ms are attempting to call attention to their plight via the web, and have been for some time. It turns out that this story has been kicking around the net for at least the past 18 months, with Mrs. M posting their sad story to a number of different websites, both in the United States and abroad. It's not always the same message - it's evolved over time. For instance, in one of the earliest postings that I found, Mrs. M claims: "My husband is a retired Colonel in the Military," and mentions a "$100 Billion Dollar Lawsuit against this Crooked Attorney." The sexual threats that they allege have been made by INS personnel aren't mentioned at that time. Another recent development in the case is "a miscarriage on the streets of Florida" from all the stress. There is also a call for a boycott against one "Ms Tanith Belbin," whom I gather is a skater. Congress and the President are accused of having "Politically interfered in the Olympics so they could send Tanith Belbin to the Olympics." It does keep up with the times - the amount of time that Mrs. M and her husband have been fighting to stay in the United States tracks with the dates that the messages have been posted, so the one I received today says they've been at for a year and a half longer than those of 18 months ago.

Mrs. M's name, while rare, is not apparently unique, so I found several hits that don't seem to have anything to do with them or their crusade, and since her full last name is that of a popular mixed drink, I found a few alchoholic recipes while snooping.

But there's nothing else about the Ms. No news stories or anything else like that. I haven't done an exhaustive search for the Ms, but most of what I did find that relates to them are posts on message and comment boards. One blogger does mention them, but only to direct people to their website - he appears to take them at face value, and holds them up as someone whom the government is screwing over even worse than they are him. But it seems that the only publicity they're receiving is self-generated, without even so much as a group of freinds promoting their cause.

I have no idea what to make of this. One person who posted about their e-mail conjectured that they were running a "[...] pay-for-protest site. You pay them money they pester people with your protest." My first theory was that someone's attempting to engage in "viral protest," putting this out there to generate buzz, and then pulling out the real issue once they have a large enough following. But after eighteen months of this, it doesn't seem to have caught on, so I'm starting to think that it's simply another conspiracy theory, courtesy of the Tinfoil Hat crowd.

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