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That time I harbored a fugitive

(or the period in my life I like to call "did that really happen?")

It's 12 minutes to 9pm EST over here and I'm feeling frisky; it's time to tell you the quasi-unbelievable story of the time I harbored an American fugitive.

Since then, he's been proven not-guilty of the horrendous crime of a DDOS (Distributed Denial Of Service) attack. There was sarcasm there: a DDOS is the same as hitting the refresh button on your browser, but like 10 000 times really fast. It puts your website down.

Well, thanks to Chris' case, it was found that a DDOS is the equivalent to a sit-in, but digitally. So here I am, writing this story.

2014 and a cold fucking night

It's late 2014. The end of of year is rolling around, it's damn cold in Montreal, Quebec, and I'm living in a 5-bedroom apartment with a soon-to-be chef and an activist, in the heart of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. The hipster of hipster areas, where the pipes freeze and the stairs are a death trap in winter:

How I got there is a whole other story; this period of my life came after I committed professional suicide and dedicated my time to fighting for social and political reasons. You can read more about that, here. I was broke AF but had a roof and an internet connection.

Back to the topic at hand: the fugitive

There I was scrolling Twitter when the tweet caught my eye. Sage Anon, one of the OG's of the anonymous movement, tweeted out that a founding member of anonymous was outside in the freezing cold and needed help.

I don't now how or why my brain put 2 and 2 together, but I somehow figured out he was talking about Commander X. Who is Commander X? I thought you'd never ask:

Chris A.K.A. Commander X is a 70-something year old hippy who faught with The People's Liberation front is the U.S., back in the day. As the digital world came to be, Chris found himself adding hacking to his activist toolbelt, hence the term hacktivist.

It's hard to find anything online about this, but that's his story, not mine.

Right! So there I was on Twitter and my brain put two and two together:

  • I knew Commander X had escaped to Canada from the US and was in eastern Canada

  • The only place in eastern Canada that could be that cold at that time, was Quebec

I put myself to the task: I sent a direct message to Sage Anon and told him I had a bed for Chris. Turns out I was right, Chris was in Montreal. Next thing I knew, I was asking Remy (the other activist), to go meet Chris at the subway station and bring him back to the apartment.

The next 7 months would be some of the wildest in my life. I raised funds for a fugitive, learned how to code HTML and hardcode a website, launched the only faction of Anonymous Quebec that actually did anything, learned about Bitcoin, how to edit videos and stir shit, crazy times.

He taught me how to create a social media frenzy online, revealed he was the founder of the Op Ferguson Twitter account, showed us Allison the free will AI, freaked us all out with stories about time travel --

-- it was #OccupyVigerSquare, #StopC51 - it was EPIC. We heated that damn apartment with the stove when the pipes froze, but we still made shit like this:

That honestly doesn't even cover half of what this man taught me. He's the reason I taught people how to manipulate algorithms during Hackfest 2022 and why #Flushgate became the flush heard around the world in 2015.

That's also when I bought was is likely to be the world's most expensive Starbucks sandwich. Coin for coffee, baby! The cashier was SO confused. WTF was Litecoin, anyway? It was 2015...


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