WORCESTER (CBS) — They are words of hate targeting a member of the U.S. military overseas and our I-Team tracked down the local man who wrote them.
The author is a Worcester man named Drew Wilson and the letter was apparently sent in the name of anarchy.
“Whether you’re pulling the trigger or behind a desk, you’re complicit and you’re a murderer,” the letter states.
HOW IT STARTED
It all began with a book order placed online with Wilson, an outspoken vegan who lives in a collective of young anarchists.
On the website Half.com, where Wilson was hawking the books, he goes by the name Drewvegan.
U.S. Marine Lieutenant Daniel Berg ordered several books from Wilson to send to his girlfriend, Vanessa, who is serving in the Air Force in Iraq.
WHAT SHE GOT
When the books arrived in Iraq, the package included anti-war and pro-anarchy propaganda, along with the letter calling Vanessa a murderer.
In that correspondence, Wilson also described Berg as a “soon to be widower,” implying his girlfriend would be killed in Iraq.
Berg explained what happened in a telephone interview with the I-Team.
“When she opened up the product she got a personal letter and some anarchist brochures,” he said.
His girlfriend’s reaction was “shock” at such a letter “from an American to a deployed service member.”
The I-Team tracked Wilson down at an old farm house in Worcester. The black flag of the anarchy movement flies high at his home.
We wanted to ask Wilson why he mailed the anarchy propaganda and letter with the books to a U.S. servicewoman, but when we tried to talk with him he hopped on a motor scooter and took off.
That farmhouse where Wilson lives is home to an anarchists’ community called “Collective a Go-Go” and Wilson speaks about the collective’s views online. “We’re an anarchist house, an anti-capitalist house,” he said in one online video.
“I don’t even think it’s political, it’s pure hate,” said Bob Deboer, a veteran of the Vietnam War, who read the content of Wilson’s letter.
“It’s disturbing,” Deboer added. “I think the most difficult part of this is that she’s fighting not only for us but for someone like him to have the right to do this.”
BU anthropology professor Charles Lindholm was also concerned with Wilson’s actions.
“It’s extremely insulting and totally insensitive and really the wrong way to go about things if you want to convince someone of your perspective,” Lindholm said.
“This is the polarizing thinking that can sometimes occur in these sorts of movements where people who are engaged with the state must be evil, must be set aside. That’s the dangerous part of it.”
“AMERICA IS THE GREATEST COUNTRY”
Berg defended Wilson’s right to express his political views, but not to launch a personal attack based on his girlfriend’s military service.
“I take no personal issue with the man himself, but obviously I do take issue with him saying things about my girlfriend, particularly that I’m a soon to be widower implying that she’s going to be killed in the line of duty,” Berg said.
“America is the greatest country out there and I’m extremely proud of the fact that I’m protecting those first amendment rights that are being invoked against me,” he said.
“Regardless of what your view is of the war, politics or troops, you should be conscious of that fact.”
We contacted eBay, which runs the site where Wilson was selling the books, but the company said they do not disclose any punitive actions taken against users due to privacy concerns.
The eBay spokesperson did tell us that whenever the company receives a report of inappropriate behavior, it investigates and takes whatever action is necessary.