Wordcarpenter Books

Biographical Fiction

The Leaking Hourglass
 

 
 Chapter One

Fair Play in Death

I don't know how this will end so for the sake of history I will state my story as it happened so that history might judge me for what really happened, and not based on the propaganda of my critics.

I sit here in the Ecuadorian embassy without much freedom at all, a lukewarm existence that - when compared to how I used to live - is pretty close to being imprisoned. The most important thing is that I'm safe. I trust my friends in the Ecuadorian government and am thankful for their pledge to me. For many years my overriding hope was that the world would become a different place - a place where anyone could communicate unhindered on the information superhighway. The end goal was to have a transparent forum to discuss the most important issues of our day, whether technical innovation or political or economic solutions. I saw it as a citizen government where we all could be earnest in how we created policies and designs to help us all. I wanted to harness direct access to the raw materials of history being written. My aim was (and still is) to help speed up the process of finding solutions so that our greatest thinkers and experts might be able to come closer to a more objective view of the events defining our generation. This vision however was flawed from the beginning, but I only realize that now. And that flaw - I admit now - was mine.

Hubris was what brought me to where I am now in the embassy. Some might say it was my immature idealism that blinded me from the reality of real-world nation-state power politics, and my ignorance of how entities behave when protecting that power. I failed to take into account how far an organization will go to ensure their power remains undiminished from any troublesome truths that might hinder efficient production of maintaining that power, or inhibit the achievement of quotas within a pertinent timeframe. Fueled with lofty thoughts and occasional wafts of marijuana in my ivory tower, I created a submission platform for those in need of a trumpeting mouthpiece where they remained anonymous and unstained by the burdens of identity so that only the words and not the person might be seen. The idea, as simple as it was, lured those who were exposed to hidden truths and gave them protection to speak out in altruistic bursts so the world could know the real dynamics of events and benefit from rectifying these wrongs. This new type of anonymous whistleblower could expose the half-truths and propaganda spin that so often resulted in the misrepresentation of reality.

The summer of 2010 was full of fast days and work-filled nights. I spent my time polishing and perfecting the submission platform of the website and made sure the interface was intuitive enough so that anyone could navigate the site and send raw data pockets to us. I sought to generate awareness through chatrooms such as 4Chan that a safe online oasis existed. I wanted people to be better informed and to thus engage in a meaningful debate of the issues because the information from mainstream sources wasn't precise due to missing facts and misinformation. On the chat at 4Chan it was always the same: smart computer geeks talking about the latest developments, each taking sides like we did when playing online video games. Taking a side against evil was always the beginning point. The point of orientation was to take down and overcome evil, which almost always represented the country that arrogantly played policeman of the world.

Was the United States too easy a target simply because they actively sought to protect their international interests? Were they not acting rationally as a nation state by ensuring the flow of capital and taxable revenue in order to foster a stronger global security force - a logistical labyrinth requiring secure channels of communication? And with such a labyrinth the sheer volume of communications between parties were bound to have areas that were not secure, and people who thought what they saw were past the bounds of legality. But is this an excuse to not expose the criminal activity of those elected to office? The noble and righteous packets of communications far outweigh the criminal but when there is evidence of serious criminality that reveals government boldfaced lies, how can this not be brought to light? Can these activities be justified by wearing a national security hat?

But the essential question to ask is: Are we living in a better world now that so many leaks have been published and read by the international online reading body? Have these new truths shocked governments around the world towards revolution and movements for change? Were some of these exposures just like revealing festering wounds that needed sunlight and air? With more great minds now aware of the real operations of the global engine, there should be more contributions of ideas pooled and dissected for the betterment of that engine, making it possible for a hyper-evolution point in world history. Indeed this ‘fifth estate' will be marked as an "open-source information exchange." Now we all have wholesale and un-redacted primary sources available for those who know how to find them.

When thinking of how the leaks have been an impetus for more transparency for all bodies, whether governments or banks or corporate bodies who break the law, are they not being held accountable? Does this not curtail and scare these bodies from committing more illegal acts? Ultimately it is us - the average middle-class Joe - who are left at a disadvantage because the playing field is skewered in favor of the big fish? Granted any nation state has every right to improve its station through mutually favorable agreements that operate within the law, but when some agreements fall outside the law and hurt the average taxpayer or the environment and are left alone because of lack of transparency of reporting agencies, it is bad karma in our collective vibe and it upsets the grace for which we all strive. Wrongs and policies that intrude into our personal lives are issues that all citizens have a right to know, and so it should be brought to our attention.

Why is there theft of personal data without just cause? Why do some international bodies operate with so much guile? What about integrity and fair play and good sportsmanship?

Yet in this depersonalized world of online anonymity, drones and soldiers who grew up on video games shoot real people expertly looking at a screen hundreds or thousands of miles away. A target when eliminated is one less bad guy that can end your video game, or it has generated more points so you could get to the next level. There was always a next level in the video game culture. And with digital photography at your fingertips, a video clip can now be a game-changer as evidence of wrongdoing. A helicopter gunship can inflict damage on a cluster of people on the street below holding cameras. These errors in judgment should be investigated, and they should be regarded as bad form by the soldiers themselves. Fair play in battle is as old as our species. Even animals have a mercy level. There is a fair play even in death. But from what we have seen, this etiquette appears to have sidestepped.

Chapter Two

The Beginning

The questions raised in the first chapter are central in my thinking about the whole thing, but to better understand how my perspective on things evolved, let me tell you about where I came from and my journey to where I am now.

I had a great childhood - full of adventure and carefree. Slandering tongues and loose pens have created a myth of my difficult upbringing but they couldn't be further from the truth. My first years were full of carefree adventure and exploring curiosity. Australia was open and free and overflowing with abundance. Wherever I lived there were rivers or forests or the ocean to explore, and always a new school to conquer. As anyone who has moved a lot during their childhood will tell you, starting at a new school is tough, but after the first few moves I soon got the hang of it. Somewhere along the line I had developed a demeanor of indifference that made others work harder to earn my respect. But truth be told it was because it was so emotionally taxing to establish myself at a new school, especially as I grew older. Whether it was mild indifference or nonchalance, I still carry that with me. I saw so much life in such a short amount of time and at such a young age that I soon developed a shell to protect myself from the bullies and the cynics I encountered at each school. I resigned from emotional reactions to safeguard my sanity, and this as I said stayed with me throughout my upbringing. I especially saw this aspect of myself during my divorce when I was in my late twenties.

I must say that I did miss not having a brother during those early years, but then most who don't have a brother would have the same feeling. Sometimes when there was so much adventuring to do and so much to see, you needed a wingman. I was usually able to find a wingman but after a while I grew tired of always making friends so I became comfortable going out on my own, wherever and whenever I wanted. Thinking back to those days, I always wore out my shoes before I outgrew them. I had scrapes and bruises from my life of adventure but never any broken bones, choosing to go slowly through the jungles and creeks of the outback. I came to respect the land as having the trump card over man, and because of this at an early age I earned a respect for the land. This was the foundation of my belief that the earth must be protected from corporate force and government incompetence. How could Japan let Fukishima happen? How could the Japanese government be so audacious to build a nuclear power plant so close to the coast where there have been earthquakes since the earliest of times? In this case it isn't really a case of accountability but rather of blatant irresponsibility that has resulted in the killing of millions of the population over the course of decades. Cancerous chemicals pumped into the Pacific took only two years to have a significant impact on the health of the fish stock along the west coast of North America. If I were a surfer from California or a fisherman on Vancouver Island, I'd be really angry.

It makes me too emotional to discuss the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. All that oil was pushed down underwater where it killed an entire ecosystem. Now called a "dead zone," the long-term effects of destruction from corporate incompetence casts a shadow over the health of the region. Over the next few decades the fallout of this dead zone will be felt throughout the area.

These events are so monstrous to the world population that fines or imprisonment are not applicable. It is a form of self-murder through poison. Corporate executives and government leaders are essentially poisoning their countrymen but also their own families. It makes these catastrophes some sort of über-crime - a vast murder of millions. With more technology and mechanical innovations, mankind's mistakes thunder disproportionately from similar mistakes in the past. A spilt shipload of turpentine in the sea two hundred years ago had a minor impact compared to that of the Exaldez oil spill of 1996. Something so large in such an ecologically sensitive area pales to spilt turpentine of previous centuries, but also pales in comparison to the devastation of Fukishima in the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. I believe Fukishima is referred to in the Bible when it describes the seas turning red with death. The environmental ramifications are biblical in proportion. Still as I write this memoir countless millions of liters of radioactive waste is seeping into the Pacific Ocean. The irresponsible and criminal missteps of mankind are killing life on the planet. Mortal man must have a say to prevent this from happening again. We as a global populace deserve to know what's happening beyond the camera lens.

But back then, during my childhood, the Great Barrier Reef was still great. I remember the vibrant colors and the experience of witnessing another living world just below the watery veneer. It was a time when Australian streets were safe and the tap water was safe to drink. There was no fracking and no flooding and no soil erosion and no fuel shortages. Those manmade missteps had not yet happened. Nature did not yet have laws protecting her so corporate and government corruption had more elbow room. But there is something called immoral behavior. The pursuit of profits is a healthy thing and necessary to survive and flourish but it can also fuel irrational and destructive behavior. Perhaps manifesting some deeply ingrained instinct of survival or maybe from an inclination of gambling, some people have it in them to go beyond the realm of decorum. In these moments one of two things can happen: either there are no serious long-term side effects, or there are. If there is long-term destruction to nature's fabric then their names should go on a list of being responsible for polluting the global ecosystem to a murderous degree. Enough is enough; these people must be accountable for sullying their neighbor's drinking water.

Perhaps due to my laissez-faire upbringing that was spent on terra firma and that was without fences or repression, the first of these major environmental incidents of crashing supertankers and nuclear meltdowns made me feel helpless and angry. I remember thinking at the time that there were no discussions. It was a news report and then it disappeared from mainstream news programs. The newspapers stopped printing articles that updated the quantity of destruction to our environment. I didn't at the time know about lobby groups and the power of corporate money silencing transparency. All I knew was that the deafening lack of sound whispered conspiracy and collusion of some sort, an injustice by cutting off accessibility to information and thereby silencing any constructive input as to rescue or clean-up  solutions. I wanted to fly to northern Canada and save the oil-soaked birds I saw on the news. Now with communication channels so open and accessible we can have a more immediate interaction with those with the power to solve the problem.

And since it is via the Internet we can all contribute without the self-consciousness of face or voice - only the content of your words make up who you are. The internet can be a 24-hour costume party with countless hidden channels full of other masked people.

The beginning of computers for me was like others my age: it began with the Commodore 64. How could it not? The cumbersome machine was cool looking in those days. It was a cool color and looked sleek compared to IBM's PET. But there was no interface as we know it today, only commands. But for me that was intriguing because it demanded that the user learn a new language to operate it, which seemed like a fair trade to me. The first thing I ever did was execute the print feature. BASIC was so easy because the commands were the exact words you were doing: PRINT, GOTO, and END. Brilliant. I didn't realize it at the time that by being taught the basics of binary computer language I could evolve so quickly to become part of the first crop of programmers. As BASIC morphed into the new languages like C+ and C++, we would all dive into a world defined by a sleeker language and more precise functionality. Very soon it became clear to me that simplicity of programming was an art.

What I liked the most was how such a small number of words and symbols could generate such a large effect. Playing around with the endless loop was the first of many areas of interest for me throughout those early years. What's interesting for me now is that this was the root of how I was able to create an untraceable submission platform for whistleblowers. As many of you know who have a programming background, I created an endless loop so that the route of transportation for the submitted message is flooded with millions and millions of other dummy messages so that the real intended message from the whistleblower to us was impossible to find in the online clutter. And this online confusion was created from a BASIC endless loop. Thank you BASIC. Thank you Commodore 64.

But most of us that started at the beginning were obsessed with the power of the UNIX red book. There is no long introduction or lengthy explanations, only the barebones language of the operating language of the Internet. Just like commands in BASIC could instruct your computer's operating system, UNIX gave the user the commands to talk to other websites parked on that ever-growing common road in cyberspace. Back then the number of websites was very small. The Internet as we know it today was still a good ten or fifteen years off despite the fact that the Internet did exist. For its first ten years the Internet didn't really work - anything before USB was more or less incompatible when interacting with another network. And there was no bandwidth. It was a very frustrating time for all of us who knew how it operated because we also knew how it should operate. The Internet bubble that burst in 1997 was because the technology didn't yet deliver the bandwidth and global compatibility that we know today.

It was all typing back then in the late eighties. To me the mouse still feels new. And I still marvel at the thinking that created the mouse interface. Brilliant. Xerox innovators thinking outside the box. And then strategically lifted by Bill Gates and Paul Allen to define Windows' own interface. In my opinion that was when computers became truly international. The mouse is colorblind and illiterate but an expert in intuitive pictography and innate symbolism. They mastered the language of symbols to convey meaning. My favorite is the "undo" button. How cool is that little backwards-pointing arrow? Who suggested it be rounded and denote going back in time? Some hippie living in northern California?

This was the early "school" I came from. Knowing this ethos gives you an insight into my thinking today. I suppose the rigors and rules of computer language gave my wild childhood some much-needed structure, a new cyber reality that was always reliable and unchanging. It soon represented a world that was quantifiable and just, and it was accountable for errors. If a command was incorrect, it wouldn't work. Therefore things needed to be precise. And in that precision is where I threw myself. I loved the nuance and creativity that happened within this Tron World of make-believe that we all knew more and more people would discover with each passing day. It was a world I repeatedly returned to throughout my youth, remaining the one constant and loyal friend in the face of hardship and suffering. Then the Mendax court case arrived. And then after that my wife left me and took my son. Everything before these two events was my time of innocence. I wish I knew it back then but I don't think most of us are aware of how good the early days are until they're gone.

 
 
 
 

 

Table of Contents

  1. Fair Play in Death  
  2. The Beginning   
  3. I am a Conduit
  4. White Hair
  5. Puppies with Machine Guns
  6. The Leaking Business
  7. Organization of One
  8. The Life of Neo
  9. The Productive Fifth
  10. Unauthorized Biography
  11. The Cold Brick of Jail
  12. Cyber Vikings
  13. Berlin
  14. Censorship
  15. Legal
  16. The Thing in Sweden
  17. The Day My World Changed
  18. The Current State of Play
  19. Addressing World Leaders
  20. Nothing More To Say
 

 
 
 

 
 

©Wordcarpenter Publishing Company - Copyright (ISBN)