Wordcarpenter Books
The Leaking Hourglass
 

Chapter Five

Puppies with Machine Guns

I was troubled for years after my divorce. Being prevented from raising my son on a day-to-day basis just because my ex-wife was bitter and unstable was very difficult for me, as it would be for any other father in a similar situation. It chewed me up every morning when I got out of bed. I was constantly reminded of this void so I made a conscious decision to study mathematics at university as a way to get my mind off of the pain. It was a good decision because my naturally curious mind found an outlet that allowed my battered heart to heal. I threw myself into the farthest corners of math and programming language, finding comforting truisms that had no emotional reaction to my presence. I found solace in numbers as I could apply algorithms into the code I continued to write for my own projects. I never did graduate because there was no need to get the final few credits. One of the professors in the department was so partial with his evaluations that it seemed to me his class was a popularity contest. Something inherently dishonest in this man caused me to rethink the effort required to complete my degree so I took work as a programmer in Melbourne, trying to earn the alimony I was forced to pay to the person who had destroyed my life.

It felt good creating cyber-code. I could build systems that ran programs, which produced end results. I had a knack for it: I built a website in an hour but writing HTML code was always awkward because it was an inefficient language and needed to evolve into a more user-friendly format, which it did. Website building now is a walk in the park compared to how it used to be. But for languages like BASIC and C++, that simplicity would disappear into a mammoth global code understood by all. Following in the shoes of USB compatibility, it was inevitable that this shift would eventually come.

But this created its problems too, especially for security reasons. With a universal code more hackers could undermine your firewall and hack into your private intranet, thus more corporate espionage was on the rise, and of course government-to-government spying. Guys like McAfee knew the cyberscape was morphing so he sold his security software at the right time. He knew it would be another decade before his code would become redundant. He made his money while the sun was still shining. He had the innate faculty to know it was the right time. I lack this faculty. I say this because the timing of publishing those unredacted files could not have been worse timing. We still had all those unsearchable files on the website I could have worked on. Now, with so much time on my hands, I look back on these decisions I made with more perspective. It is a dangerous pastime. Idleness is the devil's workshop, but it is not the devil I run from, it is the cold splash of truth seen after the dust has settled. In this look-over-the-shoulder moment, if there are incongruities then anxiety weighs down on my shoulders. It causes me insomnia, and when I get insomnia I'm up all night exploring the Web. It's an interesting place if you know how to navigate where to go. But I do fear for the future of our search freedom and for the lifeblood of the World Wide Web.

It was during the years after university that I spent lots of time on encryption mainly because I was fully aware of its great applicability. By understanding the porous nature of the Internet as an information-sharing interconnected system I knew encryption was the logical evolution in computer language. By protecting data from prying eyes, a new landscape came into focus: one of forts and walled-in data honeycombs in a micro kingdom where the populace is made up of data pockets. The human factor is what defines the value of data pockets, its meaning stemming from its purpose of utility. The data pocket named "Collateral Murder" has its meaning from norms of war and the Geneva Code, and from youngsters with guns playing video games with real bullets, lives lost and families destroyed. The world watched Reuter's journalists mowed down while helping the wounded. What should be noted is how so few could wreak such havoc on so many and so quickly. Puppies with machine guns are dangerous for all. Johnny Depp was right about that.


 

Chapter Six

The Leaking Business

I bought my website's URL under my Dad's name. Why? Cloak and dagger. I wanted him to be proud of me. That's the truth really all said. We shared a bond through what we saw in our intellects. His bookshelf was full of the books that had influenced me the most. It was weird. There was no way it was a coincidence. His favorite authors were my favorite authors, the same books reflecting a similar paradigm of questioning. Something happened during that moment. I never knew my biological father so the coincidence was new. The genetic disposition towards character features was evident. I saw so much of me in him. So the website was a joint venture into the world we had only spoken of over pizza and beer near the beach and sea winds. I thought that if it worked it would be big, but if not then at least I had built it and followed through on the things I said I was going to do.

It takes a lot to manage a website. The feedback from the submission platform, and the passwords and interface, was slow. Disposing of SPAM before the laws were passed in 2014 was a nightmare. Thank God there was some restraint there. SPAM is like a weed that slowed down the traffic of the Internet through excess and unnecessary email pieces generated by a program, trying logical sequences in order until a valid email name was found. Nasty stuff. Pays well. Never did it. Could do it but I looked at it as bad form.

One might point out that if I'm for restrictions on SPAM then isn't that a slippery slope towards censorship on the Internet? No. Even in the most laissez-faire environments there is still the need for firemen and hospitals. Just as in life, there should be some restrictions in exchange for the right to "cyber-live" unmolested or bullied. Cyberspace is a library and all peoples should have access to information that will further aid in their personal development and research on behalf of humankind. It is the connecting thread that unites awareness and shared knowledge. For those with sensitive data, it's best to stop all electronic recording of classified events. Keep it offline. It is the only safe way to conduct special operations and ensure the peace in the world.

The Internet is Main Street and everyone has an equal opportunity to locate on a great piece of real estate downtown. Traffic is there for those who offer an in-demand data pocket. Is that data pocket a book? An essay? A YouTube video clip? Or some random email sent when angry? How about some classified documents from the Pentagon? What about all the sought-after Scientology booklets that costs millions to purchase? And maybe you would be interested to read about how the NSA watches everyone who has an online presence? Is this justifiable in light of how it serves to protect the citizenry? From what? Terrorism?

To be honest, the website was designed for leaks like those from Edward Snowden. These files show how government bodies spy globally via all the tools of electronic media. A master harvester of data in an effort to prevent danger to the people, the United States government leads the way in the employment of electronic snooping and hacking as a weapon. Like peeking at an opponent's hand in poker, it gives you a one up on your options. Played well with reliable information, you can gain more. Knowing Doc Holliday's hand is the only way you could beat him at Texas Hold'em. He was the king. He was Doc Holliday.

Edward Snowden played it well. His stroke of luck in Moscow saved him from danger living in Cuba so close to his homeland. Panama too is too close, but Brazil would do for Snowden as well as Russia. In my case, after the prosecutor dropped the case against me in Stockholm, I should have left the United Kingdom for Iceland or Ecuador. I remember waking up during that week and thinking for the first time that they could re-open the case because of comments I made after the first ruling. Before being questioned initially, I had said I didn't know the two women involved in the accusations and then the case was dropped. That day I was asked by a journalist about the ruling and for some reason I came clean and said I knew the two women named in the suit. At the time I immediately regretted what I said and only faintly realized at the moment that I had given the prosecution the ammo they needed to reopen the case against me. During the next few nights I couldn't sleep because I was paralyzed with fear they might come after me with new questions. Five days later, on the following Monday I think, my lawyer called me to say the charges were back and that I had to go to Sweden to answer the questions. During that week I should've flown somewhere safe.

I will assume that the reader of this memoir will know a lot about my situation and how I ended up where I am today, so I'm not amiss to say that I could have risked flying to Sweden to answer their questions during those first few weeks before the US government had a case against me. It still bothers me that I didn't take a flight to Stockholm with my lawyer and answer the questions frankly and with council present. That might have resulted in the withdrawal of charges from the female accusers. The question of whether the United States had evidence of operatives who had been killed as a direct result of the leaks was still in play. In other words I might have had an opportunity to answer the questions and then leave Sweden for a country with no extradition treaty with the United States. I know of a few countries that would be great to live and manage the website. Even now, in 2015, this is what I strive for. This is why I hope. John McAfee had it right in Belize until the local strong arm of the law pinched him a little too hard for bribes. Rebelling like that probably saved his life. How many rich men throughout history have been murdered for their money? Too many to count. Suffice to say if there was a moment during the whole mess that's still a mess, then that might have been the moment. "Yes, okay. I will come to Sweden to answer questions." But even then I knew the States would somehow get their hands on me. They were royally angry and embarrasses because things were already starting to go awry for them. The Arab Spring was beginning to unfold, which was a direct result of the revelations posted on the website. 

I like the idea of living in Quito where it is protected by walls of mountains in a volcano alley. I envision living in a gated compound, modest but secure, where my dogs could sniff out any intruder. I foresee me living in peace managing the website, eating well and having select friends, free of concern of being kidnapped and taken to America. Full cyber hook up and equipment with my motorbike outside where it could take four hours to reach the beaches on the Pacific Ocean where no one would know me. That's what I want now: to be anonymous in life. No more fame. No more speeches. No more playing the game that has robbed me of these last three years at the embassy. London still wears at me because if I ever do walk out of here Scotland Yard would be the first to arrest me for jumping bail. They'd rule me offside and lock me up for six months. Only then would I be handed over to the Swedes with their hyper sensitive laws against sexual assault. And then once let go there I'd be sent to jail in the United States and never get out alive.

In Sweden I would be questioned about the allegations and, if convicted on two of the charges, be given a five-year sentence. I serve three and a half years in Swedish prison and then when "free" I'd be escorted to the Americans where they present me with a grand jury indictment asking for the death penalty for over 100 counts of life endangerment by treason. The Espionage Act will be used to lock me up for the rest of my life. The charges and the trial don't matter. I will never be free again. And there would be some suffering too. The military would take swipes at me for putting their warrior brothers at risk. I would be the computer geek using a keyboard as a weapon, and they would be seasoned soldiers armed with real machine guns heavy with loaded ammo.

So there is only one course: To have faith that my current course of asylum is upheld and the charges are stayed while escorted out of the United Kingdom to my new adopted country of Ecuador, the home base of the Spanish Empire in the New World.

 

 

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