Suelette dreyfus julian assange



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They climbed into bed and tried to get some sleep, but Theorem lay

awake in the dark for a little while, thinking about the strange and

fearful experience of returning to the house. Though she spoke to Par

on the phone almost every day when they were apart, she realised she

had missed something.

Being on the run for so long had changed Par.

Some time after she returned to Switzerland, Theorem's access to Altos

shrivelled up and died. She had been logging in through her old

university account but the university eventually killed her access

since she was no longer a student. Without access to any X.25 network

linked to the outside world, she couldn't logon to Altos. Although she

was never involved with hacking, Theorem had become quite addicted to

Altos. The loss of access to the Swiss X.25 network--and therefore to

Altos--left her feeling very depressed. She told Par over the

telephone, in sombre tones.

Par decide to make a little present for Theorem. While most hackers

broke into computers hanging off the X.25 networks, Par broke into the

computers of the companies which ran the X.25 networks. Having control

over the machines owned by Telenet or Tymnet was real power. And as the

master of X.25 networks, Par could simply create a special account--just

for Theorem--on Tymnet.

When Par finished making the account, he leaned back in his chair

feeling pretty pleased with himself.

Account name: Theorem.

Password: ParLovesMe!

Well, thought Par, she's going to have to type that in every time she

gets on the Tymnet network. Altos might be filled with the world's

best hackers, and they might even try to flirt with Theorem, but

she'll be thinking of me every time she logs on, he thought.

Par called her on the telephone and gave her his special present. When

he told her the password to her new account, Theorem laughed. She

thought it was sweet.

And so did the MOD boys.

Masters of Deception, or Destruction--it depended on who told the

story--was a New York-based gang of hackers. They thought it would be

cool to hack Altos. It wasn't that easy to get Altos shell access,

which Theorem had, and most people had to settle for using one of the

`guest' accounts. But it was much easier to hack Altos from a shell

account than from a `guest' account. Theorem's account would be the

targeted jump-off point.

How did MOD get Theorem's Altos password? Most probably they were

watching one of the X.25 gateways she used as she passed through

Tymnet on her way to Altos. Maybe the MOD boys sniffed her password en

route. Or maybe they were watching the Tymnet security officials who

were watching that gateway.

In the end it didn't matter how MOD got Theorem's password on Altos.

What mattered was that they changed her password. When Theorem

couldn't get into Altos she was beside herself. She felt like a junkie

going cold turkey. It was too much. And of course she couldn't reach

Par. Because he was on the run, she had to wait for him to call her.

In fact she couldn't reach any of her other friends on Altos to ask

for help. How was she going to find them? They were all hackers. They

chose handles so no-one would know their real names.

What Theorem didn't know was that, not only had she lost access to

Altos, but the MOD boys were using her account to hack the Altos

system. To the outside world it appeared as though she was doing it.

Theorem finally managed to get a third-hand message to Gandalf, a

well-known British hacker. She sought him out for two reasons. First,

he was a good friend and was therefore likely to help her out. Second,

Gandalf had root access on Altos, which meant he could give her a new

password or account.

Gandalf had established quite a reputation for himself in the computer

underground through the hacking group 8lgm--The Eight-Legged Groove

Machine, named after a British band. He and his friend, fellow British

hacker Pad, had the best four legs in the chorus line. They were a

world-class act, and certainly some of the best talent to come out of

the British hacking scene. But Gandalf and, to a lesser extent, Pad

had also developed a reputation for being arrogant. They rubbed some

of the American hackers the wrong way. Not that Pad and Gandalf seemed

to care. Their attitude was: We're good. We know it. Bugger off.

Gandalf disabled Theorem's account on Altos. He couldn't very well

just change the password and then send the new one through the

extended grapevine that Theorem had used to get a message through to

him. Clearly, someone had targeted her account specifically. No way

was he going to broadcast a new password for her account throughout

the underground. But the trouble was that neither Par nor Theorem knew

what Gandalf had done.

Meanwhile, Par called Theorem and got an earful. An angry Par vowed to

find out just who the hell had been messing with her account.

When the MOD boys told Par they were the culprits, he was a bit

surprised because he had always been on good terms with them. Par told

them how upset Theorem had been, how she gave him an earful. Then an

extraordinary thing happened. Corrupt, the toughest, baddest guy in

MOD, the black kid from the roughest part of New York, the hacker who

gave shit to everyone because he could, apologised to Par.

The MOD guys never apologised, even when they knew they were in the

wrong. Apologies never got anyone very far on a New York City street.

It was an attitude thing. `I'm sorry, man' from Corrupt was the

equivalent of a normal person licking the mud from the soles of your

shoes.


The new password was: M0Dm0dM0D. That's the kind of guys they were.

Par was just signing off to try out the new password when Corrupt

jumped in.

`Yeah, and ah, Par, there's something you should know.'

`Yeah?' Par answered, anxious to go.

`I checked out her mail. There was some stuff in it.'

Theorem's letters? Stuff? `What kind of stuff?' he asked.

`Letters from Gandalf.'

`Yeah?'

`Friendly letters. Real friendly.'



Par wanted to know, but at the same time, he didn't. He could have

arranged root access on Altos long ago if he'd really wanted it. But

he didn't. He didn't want it because it would mean he could access

Theorem's mail. And Par knew that if he could, he would. Theorem was

popular on Altos and, being the suspicious type, Par knew he would

probably take something perfectly innocent and read it the wrong way.

Then he would get in a fight with Theorem, and their time together was

too precious for that.

`Too friendly,' Corrupt went on. It must have been hard for him to

tell Par. Snagging a friend's girlfriend's password and breaking into

her account was one thing. There wasn't much wrong with that. But

breaking that kind of news, well, that was harsh. Especially since

Corrupt had worked with Gandalf in 8lgm.

`Thanks,' Par said finally. Then he took off.

When Par tried out the MOD password, it didn't work of course, because

Gandalf had disabled the account. But Par didn't know that. Finding

out that Theorem's account was disabled didn't bother him, but

discovering who disabled it for her didn't make Par all that happy.

Still, when he confronted Theorem, she denied that anything was going

on between her and Gandalf.

What could Par do? He could believe Theorem or he could doubt her.

Believing her was hard, but doubting her was painful. So he chose to

believe her.

The incident made Theorem take a long look at Altos. It was doing bad

things to her life. In the days that she was locked out of the German

chat system, she had made the unpleasant discovery that she was

completely addicted. And she didn't like it at all. Staring at her

life with fresh eyes, she realised she had been ignoring her friends

and her life in Switzerland. What on earth was she doing, spending

every night in front of a computer screen?

So Theorem made a tough decision.

She decided to stop using Altos forever.


[ ]

Bad things seemed to happen to The Parmaster around Thanksgiving.

In late November 1991, Par flew up from Virginia Beach to New York. An

acquaintance named Morty Rosenfeld, who hung out with the MOD hackers

a bit, had invited him to come for a visit. Par thought a trip to the

City would do him good.

Morty wasn't exactly Par's best friend, but he was all right. He had

been charged by the Feds a few months earlier for selling a password

to a credit record company which resulted in credit card fraud. Par

didn't go in for selling passwords, but to each his own. Morty wasn't

too bad in the right dose. He had a place on Coney Island, which was

hardly the Village in Manhattan, but close enough, and he had a

fold-out sofa bed. It beat sleeping on the floor somewhere else.

Par hung out with a Morty and a bunch of his friends, drinking and

goofing around on Morty's computer.

One morning, Par woke up with a vicious hangover. His stomach was

growling and there was nothing edible in the fridge, so he rang up and

ordered pork fried rice from a Chinese take-away. Then he threw on

some clothes and sat on the end of the sofa-bed, smoking a cigarette

while he waited. He didn't start smoking until he was nineteen, some

time late into his second year on the run. It calmed his nerves.

There was a knock at the front door. Par's stomach grumbled in

response. As he walked toward the front door, he thought Pork Fried

Rice, here I come. But when Par opened the front door, there was

something else waiting for him.

The Secret Service.

Two men. An older, distinguished gentleman standing on the left and a

young guy on the right. The young guy's eyes opened wide when he saw

Par.

Suddenly, the young guy pushed Par, and kept pushing him. Small, hard,



fast thrusts. Par couldn't get his balance. Each time he almost got

his footing, the agent shoved the hacker backward again until he

landed against the wall. The agent spun Par around so his face pressed

against the wall and pushed a gun into his kidney. Then he slammed

handcuffs on Par and started frisking him for weapons.

Par looked at Morty, now sobbing in the corner, and thought, You

narced on me.

Once Par was safely cuffed, the agents flashed their badges to him.

Then they took him outside, escorted him into a waiting car and drove

into Manhattan. They pulled up in front of the World Trade Center and

when Par got out the young agent swapped the cuffs so Par's hands were

in front of him.

As the agents escorted the handcuffed fugitive up a large escalator,

the corporate world stared at the trio. Business men and women in prim

navy suits, secretaries and office boys all watched wide-eyed from the

opposite escalator. And if the handcuffs weren't bad enough, the

younger Secret Service agent was wearing a nylon jacket with a

noticeable gun-shaped lump in the front pouch.

Why are these guys bringing me in the front entrance? Par kept

thinking. Surely there must be a backdoor, a car park back entrance.

Something not quite so public.

The view from any reasonably high floor of the World Trade Center is

breathtaking, but Par never got a chance to enjoy the vista. He was

hustled into a windowless room and handcuffed to a chair. The agents

moved in and out, sorting out paperwork details. They uncuffed him

briefly while they inked his fingers and rolled them across sheets of

paper. Then they made him give handwriting samples, first his right

hand then his left.

Par didn't mind being cuffed to the chair so much, but he found the

giant metal cage in the middle of the fingerprinting room deeply

disturbing. It reminded him of an animal cage, the kind used in old

zoos.


The two agents who arrested him left the room, but another one came

in. And the third agent was far from friendly. He began playing the

bad cop, railing at Par, shouting at him, trying to unnerve him. But

no amount of yelling from the agent could rile Par as much as the

nature of the questions he asked.

The agent didn't ask a single question about Citibank. Instead, he

demanded to hear everything Par knew about TRW.

All Par's worst nightmares about the killer spy satellite, about

becoming the man who knew too much, rushed through his mind.

Par refused to answer. He just sat silently, staring at the agent.

Eventually, the older agent came back into the room, dragged the

pitbull agent away and took him outside for a whispered chat. After

that, the pitbull agent was all sweetness and light with Par. Not

another word about TRW.

Par wondered why a senior guy from the Secret Service would tell his

minion to clam up about the defence contractor? What was behind the

sudden silence? The abrupt shift alarmed Par almost as much as the

questions had in the first place.

The agent told Par he would be remanded in custody while awaiting

extradition to California. After all the paperwork had been completed,

they released him from the handcuffs and let him stand to stretch. Par

asked for a cigarette and one of the agents gave him one. Then a

couple of other agents--junior guys--came in.

The junior agents were very friendly. One of them even shook Par's

hand and introduced himself. They knew all about the hacker. They knew

his voice from outgoing messages on voicemail boxes he had created for

himself. They knew what he looked like from his California police

file, and maybe even surveillance photos. They knew his personality

from telephone bridge conversations which had been recorded and from

the details of his Secret Service file. Perhaps they had even tracked

him around the country, following a trail of clues left in his

flightpath. Whatever research they had done, one thing was clear.

These agents felt like they knew him intimately--Par the person, not

just Par the hacker.

It was a strange sensation. These guys Par had never met before

chatted with him about the latest Michael Jackson video as if he was a

neighbour or friend just returned from out of town. Then they took him

further uptown, to a police station, for more extradition paperwork.

This place was no World Trade Center deluxe office. Par stared at the

peeling grey paint in the ancient room, and then watched officers

typing out reports using the two-finger hunt-and-peck method on

electric typewriters--not a computer in sight. The officers didn't

cuff Par to the desk. Par was in the heart of a police station and

there was no way he was going anywhere.

While the officer handling Par was away from his desk for ten minutes,

Par felt bored. So he began flipping through the folders with

information on other cases on the officer's desk. They were heavy duty

fraud cases--mafia and drug-money laundering--cases which carried

reference to FBI involvement. These people looked hairy.

That day, Par had a quick appearance in court, just long enough to be

given protective custody in the Manhattan detention complex known as

the Tombs while he waited for the authorities from California to come

and pick him up.

Par spent almost a week in the Tombs. By day three, he was climbing

the walls. It was like being buried alive.

During that week, Par had almost no contact with other human beings--a

terrible punishment for someone with so much need for a continual flow

of new information. He never left his cell. His jailer slid trays of

food into his cell and took them away.

On day six, Par went nuts. He threw a fit, began screaming and banging

on the door. He yelled at the guard. Told him none too nicely that he

wanted to `get the fuck outta here'. The guard said he would see if he

could get Par transferred to Rikers Island, New York's notorious jail.

Par didn't care if he was transferred to the moon, as long as he got

out of solitary confinement.

Except for the serial killer, the north infirmary at Rikers Island was

a considerable improvement on the Tombs. Par was only locked in his

cell at night. During the day he was free to roam inside the infirmary

area with other prisoners. Some of them were there because the

authorities didn't want to put them in with the hardened criminals,

and some of them were there because they were probably criminally

insane.


It was an eclectic bunch. A fireman turned jewellery heister. A

Colombian drug lord. A chop-shop ringleader, who collected more than

300 stolen cars, chopped them up, reassembled them as new and then

sold them off. A man who killed a homosexual for coming onto him.

`Faggot Killer', as he was known inside, hadn't meant to kill anyone:

things had gotten a little out of hand; next thing he knew, he was

facing ten to twelve on a murder rap.

Par wasn't wild about the idea of hanging out with a murderer, but he

was nervous about what could happened to a young man in jail. Forging

a friendship with Faggot Killer would send the right message. Besides,

the guy seemed to be OK. Well, as long as you didn't look at him the

wrong way.

On his first day, Par also met Kentucky, a wild-eyed man who

introduced himself by thrusting a crumpled newspaper article into the

hacker's hand and saying, `That's me'. The article, titled `Voices

Told Him to Kill', described how police had apprehended a serial

killer believed to be responsible for a dozen murders, maybe more.

During his last murder, Kentucky told Par he had killed a woman--and

then written the names of the aliens who had commanded him to do it on

the walls of her apartment in her blood.

The jewellery heister tried to warn Par to stay away from Kentucky,

who continued to liaise with the aliens on a regular basis. But it was

too late. Kentucky decided that he didn't like the young hacker. He

started shouting at Par, picking a fight. Par stood there, stunned and

confused. How should he deal with an aggravated serial killer? And

what the hell was he doing in jail with a serial killer raving at him

anyway? It was all too much.

The jewellery heister rushed over to Kentucky and tried to calm him

down, speaking in soothing tones. Kentucky glowered at Par, but he

stopped yelling.

A few days into his stay at Rikers, Faggot Killer invited Par to join

in a game of Dungeons and Dragons. It beat watching TV talk shows all

day, so Par agreed. He sat down at the metal picnic table where Faggot

Killer had laid out the board.

So it was that Par, the twenty-year-old computer hacker from

California, the X.25 network whiz kid, came to play Dungeons and

Dragons with a jewellery thief, a homophobic murderer and a mad serial

killer in Rikers Island. Par found himself marvelling at the

surrealism of the situation.

Kentucky threw himself into the game. He seemed to get off on killing

hobgoblins.

`I'll take my halberd,' Kentucky began with a smile, `and I stab this

goblin.' The next player began to make his move, but Kentucky

interrupted. `I'm not done,' he said slowly, as a demonic grin spread

across his face. `And I slice it. And cut it. It bleeds everywhere.'

Kentucky's face tensed with pleasure.

The other three players shifted uncomfortably in their seats. Par

looked at Faggot Killer with nervous eyes.

`And I thrust a knife into its heart,' Kentucky continued, the volume

of his voice rising with excitement. `Blood, blood, everywhere blood.

And I take the knife and hack him. And I hack and hack and hack.'

Kentucky jumped up from the table and began shouting, thrusting one

arm downward through the air with an imaginary dagger, `And I hack and

I hack and I hack!'

Then Kentucky went suddenly still. Everyone at the table froze. No-one

dared move for fear of driving him over the edge. Par's stomach had

jumped into his throat. He tried to gauge how many seconds it would

take to extricate himself from the picnic table and make a break for

the far side of the room.

In a daze, Kentucky walked away from the table, leaned his forehead

against the wall and began mumbling quietly. The jewellery heister

slowly followed and spoke to him briefly in hushed tones before

returning to the table.

One of the guards had heard the ruckus and came up to the table.

`Is that guy OK?' he asked the jewellery heister while pointing to

Kentucky.

Not even if you used that term loosely, Par thought.

`Leave him alone,' the heister told the guard. `He's talking to the

aliens.'

`Right.' The guard turned around and left.

Every day, a nurse brought around special medicine for Kentucky. In

fact, Kentucky was zonked out most of the time on a cup of horrible,

smelly liquid. Sometimes, though, Kentucky secreted his medicine away

and traded it with another prisoner who wanted to get zonked out for a

day or so.

Those were bad days, the days when Kentucky had sold his medication.

It was on one of those days that he tried to kill Par.

Par sat on a metal bench, talking to other prisoners, when suddenly he

felt an arm wrap around his neck. He tried to turn around, but

couldn't.

`Here. I'll show you how I killed this one guy,' Kentucky whispered to

Par.


`No--No--' Par started to say, but Kentucky's biceps began pressing

against Par's Adam's apple. It was a vice-like grip.

`Yeah. Like this. I did it like this,' Kentucky said as he tensed his

muscle and pulled backward.

`No! Really, you don't need to. It's OK,' Par gasped. No air. His arms

flailing in front of him.

I'm done for, Par thought. My life is over. Hacker Murdered by Serial

Killer in Rikers Island. `Aliens Told Me to Do It.'

The omnipresent jewellery heister came up to Kentucky and started

cooing in his ear to let Par go. Then, just when Par thought he was

about to pass out, the jewellery heister pulled Kentucky off him.

Par reminded himself to always sit with his back against the wall.

Finally, after almost a month behind bars, Par was informed that an

officer from the Monterey County sheriff's office was coming to take

him back to California. Par had agreed to be extradited to California

after seeing the inside of New York's jails. Dealing with the federal

prosecutor in New York had also helped make up his mind.


Directory: ~suelette -> underground

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