By Commander X
Approximately four years ago, on February 10, 2012 – I confirmed that I had surreptitiously crossed the Canadian border in my flight from political persecution in the USA. The next day, after a long rest – I issued this Press Release announcing my political exile to the world.
The moment four years ago when I confirmed that I was indeed on Canadian soil was unremarkable, and completely lacking in any technological glitz. I didn’t use Google Earth or an expensive hand-held GPS unit. I simply exited the forest where I had spent the night, came out on a hill top – and looked to the world below where the first thing I saw was a simple Fire Station. The Canadian Flag proudly flying above this tiny outpost in a small western town in Canada told me everything I needed to know. I remember pausing, breathing deep of the fresh and crisp Canadian air, and standing there thinking for a long time.
In those quiet moments of reflection, I knew my life was irrevocably altered. I was a man without a country, having turned my back on my own – and illegally entered another. I would almost certainly never go home to the USA again in this lifetime (except in chains maybe). I would probably never see most of my friends or family again. Never. Only rarely in history have sane individuals made life-choices that led them to moments like these. I did, even back then – feel the full weight of history upon me. I have known for a decade that I am living an adventure that will inform and inspire people for a very long time to come. The purpose of this article is to “celebrate” my four years in political exile from the USA by trying to briefly yet concisely explain three things: why I did this, what it has been like to do this, – and what I eventually hope to accomplish from doing this.
I had contemplated since my arrest by the FBI in late 2011 the possibility that in order to survive and not have my life destroyed by the government of the USA, that I may need to take – shall we say….drastic action. As early as the February of 2011, as part of Anonymous Operation Vendetta – some of us Anons had begun to seriously plan for the possible need to get persecuted Anons out of the USA and into the relative safety of Canada. I spent months travelling up and down the coast of California, meeting with trusted Anons and Occupiers. With careful planning, and intense secrecy – we succeeded in building a sort of “underground railroad” by which, in theory at least – we may be able to safely get fleeing Anons to Canada. We had lined up everything from safe-houses and transportation, to protocol and op sec. And while I did spear-head this important project, I honestly had no idea at that time that my sorry ass would be the first (and only) Anon to actually use it.
For the story about what it was like to travel to safety in the Anonymous “underground railroad” , you’ll have to wait for my upcoming book entitled “Behind The Mask: An Inside Look At Anonymous” due out late this year. Suffice to say it was a once in a lifetime adventure, and I owe a great deal to many very courageous activists who risked everything along the way in order to safely deliver the “package” to the Great White North. I can never acknowledge these brave Anons, nor can I possibly thank them enough for the liberty I have enjoyed these past four years.
The past four years have been primarily occupied with travel, with occasional stops at Anon safe houses along the way to rest. To date I have actually traveled the length and breadth of Canada, from coast to coast – three times. Along the way, using many coffee houses and student digs as my command and control centers – I have continued to be active within the information activist movement in general, and Anonymous in particular. In the past four years I initiated and managed Op Bahrain, Op Quebec, Op Trapwire, Op Israel, Op Ferguson, Op Anon Down and Op Whale Wars. I’ve helped organize and strengthen various Provincial Anonymous Cells here in Canada. I have assisted various activist groups such as Idle No More with media and op sec advice. I’ve done my best to continue in exile to be a constructive and positive member of the Global Collective of Anonymous.
As for why I went into exile, for those not familiar with my sordid story: I am being prosecuted for Anon related online protest actions under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act of the USA. The CFAA is the single most tyrannical and draconian hacker law in the world. For a handful of peaceful online Anonymous actions, as well as one on-the-ground protest – I face a total of 32 years in State and Federal prison. I would almost certainly receive at best a ten year sentence. This for “crimes” that would not even merit any jail time in Europe, Russia – or even here in Canada.
The CFAA was born from an irrational fear in the USA, generated (predictably) by the release of the classic hacker movie “War Games” in the 80’s. Loaded with penalties three times more severe than that given for child porn, the CFAA is written so vaguely that it became an ideal tool for the FBI and DOJ to try and crush the online dissent in the USA spear-headed by Anonymous. But within the information activist movement, the CFAA has also been used to go after everyone from Kim “Dot” Com to Aaron Swartz. It has been used against security researchers, journalists, activists, protesters, – and generally anyone who dares publicly speak out against the policies of the USA. In addition to those I mentioned, it’s victims include Anons such as the Pay Pal 14, Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond, Matt DeHart….and myself.
I have long since lost hope for any sort of reform within the tyrannical regime of the USA. My self imposed political exile is not an attempt to pressure the corrupt political class of the USA to do away with the CFAA. I believe the USA is a failed state, and a dictatorship that is incapable of reform. I don’t see this changing anytime soon. The purpose of this journey for me, is to bring the truth about the USA to the world at large. That is why I have risked so much to grant access to journalists from all over the globe. By highlighting my own story of political persecution by the government of the USA, I hope the rest of the world will look at the USA with a more critical viewpoint – and pressure international bodies to continue and try to hold the USA to account for it’s complete lack of compliance with the international norms on human rights.
Less than a year after President Obama told the world that the Egyptian regime must respect absolutely the right of the protesters in Tahir Square to assemble and protest, the Department of Homeland Security in the USA coordinated the brutal nationwide crushing of the Occupy Movement. This highly coordinated pogrom against the nationwide Occupy Movement resulted in two near fatalities, hundreds of less severe injuries – and over ten thousand arrests. Every year the USA releases it’s laughable International Human Rights Report in which they detail the human rights abuses of nations like China, railing against their intolerance and brutal repression of online dissent while the FBI ruthlessly hunts and jails Anons – sometimes for decades.
The simple fact is that any dissent against the regime in the USA is brutally and instantly crushed with extreme prejudice, whether it’s online or in the streets protest. If you don’t believe this, go out and try and start an Occupy encampment in your local park and see how many minutes or hours you last before the security forces come to gas, shoot and arrest you. Likewise, if you organize and/or participate in an online protest without taking certain precautions (which is what I am charged with by USDOJ) it will be a matter of mere days or weeks before armed FBI agents kick down your door, steal all your equipment – and haul you away to prison where you will spend years in conditions that many European nations have declared to be in gross violation of the UN Human Rights Accord (which the USA, along with North Korea – did not sign). The simple fact is that the USA is just as intolerant of dissent as nations like China or North Korea, they are just far better at painting it over with empty rhetoric about life, liberty – and the pursuit of happiness.
Since entering political exile in Canada more than four years ago, I have watched numerous other information activists go into their own political exile in flight from persecution by the government of the USA. I watched Julian Assange enter the Ecuador Embassy in London. I watched Edward Snowden flee to Russia. And I watched as Matt Dehart and his family came here to Canada legally in a bid to secure political asylum, only to watch Canada turn him down and extradite him back to the USA. I predict that we are but the first wave of information activists who will flee the tyranny of the USA. There will be many more in the near future. If we all continue to speak out, especially those of us in political exile – against the human rights violations of the USA….perhaps one day in a distant future our grand-children will not have to live in a country that sends it’s best and brightest fleeing their own country in the dark of night from the jack-booted storm troopers.
Copyright © 2016 by Christopher Doyon. All Rights Reserved.