FREEDOMMay 14, 2018Rob Loggia
“Rob, I think you need to come out if you can… we're under siege."
Had anyone else other than John McAfee been at the other end of the line, I probably would have laughed out loud. But it was John McAfee, so instead I soberly packed a bag.
McAfee has on occasion been labeled as crazy by people who have never had entire governments out to collect them. He has been called paranoid by people who have never had their lives threatened. And he has been accused of grandiose delusion by people who themselves lack the nerve to speak out against corrupt and tyrannical government agencies.
These assessments hold little weight with people that have witnessed first hand some of the trouble and strife that has followed McAfee since he left Belize in 2012. They hold little weight with people like his wife, Janice, who was with McAfee on several occasions when attempts were made to collect him. Or with his regular security detail, highly trained ex-military professionals, who recognize all too well the warning signs of potential life and death situations.
The rest of us may have a difficult time comprehending his reality. As human beings, we rely heavily on our own frame of reference to relate to other people and their experiences, and to understand the world around us. For this reason, the affairs of extraordinary individuals can seem to be fantastic to people living ordinary lives. How could these things really be happening – nothing like that ever happens to me!
With the case of John McAfee, employing this comfortable reasoning in an effort to understand his world is a grave error. Instead, we should seek counsel from the volumes upon volumes of McAfee's well documented life – packed with events so bizarre that the human mind could well go numb trying to comprehend that they actually happened. But this is the only context in which we can accurately perceive the harmony and sensibility in his words and actions.
WELCOME TO FORT MCAFEE
Arriving at the McAfee residence, the first thing that commands attention is the massive security presence. Security cameras capture every angle of the property as well as the road out front. Guns, security devices and surveillance equipment of every description can be found throughout the house, at hand for the instant they are needed. Armored doors and wall panels have been installed where appropriate, and McAfee's bedroom could accurately be described as a bunker.
The regular security detail has been augmented in recent days with an influx of ex-military, private security professionals. Rounding out the lineup, several large dogs including several German shepherds and a pit bull have the run of the house and property. One thing rapidly becomes clear – anyone trying to collect McAfee from this location is going to have a rough time of it.
OPEN PLAINS TO THE LEFT
While McAfee's property is secure, the rest of the neighborhood is not. Adjacent to McAfee's property is a house with absentee owners, a summer home that lies vacant for most of the year. After spotting movement on the property one evening, McAfee and a member of his security staff decided to take a look around. What they found left little doubt that someone had recently been present, and had been attempting to conceal themselves from view.
This property offers several vantage points from which an observer could remain unseen while enjoying a direct line of sight towards McAfee's bedroom and property. McAfee and his security professional checked each of these locations and found signs of a recent human presence. Trampled down grass, leaves and sticks snapped, a pristine Snickers candy bar wrapper, and exposed tree roots with fresh abrasions.
“It was obvious." stated McAfee's security professional, who asked to remain anonymous. “All of my training combined with what I observed convinces me that a person or persons had occupied several spots in the recent past." Aside from the view of McAfee's house, these spots offer no amenity that would justify anyone occupying them at all. There is literally nothing else to do or look at. The only reason for someone to take up such a position would be to observe the McAfee residence without being seen themselves.
THE WORLD'S BUSIEST CUL-DE-SAC
McAfee's property occupies a cul-de-sac, which can be found at the end of a long dirt road. This road is littered with holes that can easily damage a car if hit at the wrong speed or angle. By the time a car reaches McAfee's house, it will be filthy with dirt on a dry day and caked with mud on a wet one. Not the kind of road one would select for a leisurely Sunday tour, especially considering the lack of destinations at the other end of it. We could reasonably expect that the only people that would use this road would be people that lived in one of the neighboring houses or visitors to those houses, be them guests or service workers.
Not so this cul-de-sac in small town Tennessee. Here, many people regularly decide to brave the rough dirt road for an opportunity to drive slowly around the cul-de-sac, in some cases stopping at the end of McAfee's driveway, only to leave after visiting none of the available houses. This might be understandable once or twice a month, the occasional lost soul or curiosity seeker, but here they occur almost daily, sometimes multiple times in a day.
Cul-de-sacs, even those not at the end of extremely rough dirt roads, are notoriously quiet from a traffic perspective. The traffic patterns on McAfee's cul-de-sac are anything but quiet, and given the lack of interesting features besides McAfee, only one reasonable conclusion can be reached: the highly unusual traffic patterns are due to John McAfee's presence.
This is the conclusion reached by McAfee and his security team. All of this activity was recorded by the security cameras, but the team sought to obtain better images with faces and license plates. In all cases, attempts to film these vehicles resulted in them leaving quickly, a few times at extreme speeds. On one occasion when someone got close enough to try to film the occupants, they were spotted and the passenger covered their face with their hands while the driver zoomed off at unsafe speeds down the rough, pitted dirt road.
“All of my instincts point in one direction," stated Jimmy Watson, former Navy Seal and also a member of McAfee's security detail. “We've had a white single engine plane circle the property at low altitude for almost an hour. It has visited us several times. That's not normal." Watson goes on talk about other occurrences, including obvious signaling using lights that he observed in the woods adjacent to the house. Highly trained in the art of professional observation, and not given to hysteria, Watson's cool recollections and detailed analysis make a stark impression on the listener.
Faces have proved difficult to photograph, but McAfee and his team obtained several photos of the license plates of cars visiting the cul-de-sac. Anyone can use the Internet to research plates these days; when you're John McAfee it is the easiest thing in the world.
Searches of these plates revealed the vital statistics of an interesting group of people. The cars were all registered under what most people would consider to be odd names. Most of the registration addresses were out-of-state, a Las Vegas address with Tennessee plates for example, which should be impossible. The individuals, some in their 80's and 90's, all had no criminal records, no record of ever having owned anything, no presence or mention on social media – in fact no other public records of any kind. The only legal process they had ever encountered in their long lives was to register plates in Tennessee.
The identities were fake, which is unsurprising considering that some of the license plates were too. Some of the plates had letters or numbers that were crooked or the wrong shape. These plates had been forged to point to identities that themselves did not appear to be real. Someone had gone to a lot of effort to ensure that these plates would trace back to smoke.
The occupants of the vehicles also did not match up with the vital statistics of the registered owners. One car registered to a 98 year old man with only an initial for his last name was driven by 3 Hispanic males that appeared to be in their early 20's. Other apparent mismatches were less extreme but still suggest that the registered owner was a fiction.
If we accept for a moment that John McAfee is not unduly paranoid, and these visits are indeed targeted at him, we must also then accept the reality that this is the result of a sophisticated, and expensive, effort. These are not curiosity seekers out to catch a glimpse of a famous madman watering his lawn in his shorts. These are well supplied, well connected people with ready access to money and official state resources.
PLENTY OF SUSPECTS
There are no shortage of entities in this world that fit that bill and that also have beef with McAfee. McAfee caused the government of Belize, along with the drug cartels, a great deal of embarrassment. So much, in fact, that they have both been trying at intervals to collect him ever since.
But McAfee has also made powerful enemies at home by being an outspoken critic of government overreach and the erosion of privacy. He has embarrassed the FBI on national television, for all to see, while at the same time calling public attention to their lust for more power. And for his latest trick, he has promoted cryptocurrency as a means to free humanity of being under the control of the financial elite.
To McAfee, cryptocurrency represents an important component in a larger revolution, or rather an evolution, of the human species. The blockchain doesn't just allow for neat, digital coins that are easy to use. It contains the potential energy to transform how we live, and how we relate to each other and the world around us.
McAfee talks regularly about how cryptocurrency will help us become free from the financial elite class, who have come to believe it is their privilege to coordinate the world that we all must live in, and then to tell us how we must behave in it. Free from overreaching government agencies like the SEC, whose de facto function is to ensure that only the elites can benefit greatly from the systems we all must share. For most this is a message of hope for the future. For those in control of things now, it is dangerous blasphemy that must be silenced.
When I asked McAfee who he believed was behind the increasing pressure he has been observing, he replied quickly and without hesitation: the SEC. He has called out the SEC on Twitter, and has made clear that he does not believe that they have the mandate or authority to regulate cryptocurrencies or digital token platforms. As a leader in the space, his voice matters, and people are taking note. For the SEC, this is a problem.
When faced with extinction, any entity will react in a manner designed to preserve its own existence. McAfee has called the SEC obsolete in the coming paradigm; he has called into question their continuing right to exist. He also spends every waking moment promoting and nurturing the platforms that he believes are capable of bringing about this reality. It is only natural that they would move to put a stop to it.
COOL UNDER HEAT
With the pressure mounting and with the volume of suspicious activity increasing every day, most ordinary people would have cracked under the strain. But McAfee, surrounded by a security team that enjoys his full confidence and an old hand at this game, manages to take it in stride and find the humor in what is undoubtedly a difficult set of circumstances to live under.
We spent one afternoon diving down the rabbit hole of online legal searching using some of the captured license plate numbers as a starting point. The point of the exercise was to demonstrate the lengths his visitors have gone to. This was demonstrated, but only after several grown men had been reduced to hysterics multiple times. Even under the gun, McAfee cannot help but revel in the absurdity and impossibility of the composite sketches of vital statistics returned.
McAfee also isn't taking the situation lying down. Whenever he find an email address that appears to actually be real, he makes an attempt at human contact with his persecutors. On my final day in town, McAfee attempted to contact a certain Mr. Ad Sad via email and asked him if he would like to get together for a movie. With a name like Sad, it certainly couldn't hurt.
With an eye towards staying one step ahead of the enemy, McAfee has decided to go dark. During this interview preparations were underway to relocate McAfee to an undisclosed, secure location where he intends to maintain radio silence and monitor the situation closely. In his absence his Twitter account will be manned by members of the McAfee Crypto Team, who will be providing status updates as they happen.
“This is not about me. I'm 72 years old people – please!" stated McAfee, discussing his reasons for going underground. “The SEC wants to destroy a revolution – a movement of the people – by making an example out of me. I cannot allow that to happen." Asked whether he believes he'll be able to come through intact, McAfee's answer was simple and to the point.
“I always do."