Christopher Doyon, more commonly known by the pseudonym Commander X, has been one of the hacktivist communities’ more public figures in recent years, known equally as well as the likes of Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond, Sabu and weev.
Affiliated with Anonymous and the People’s Liberation Front (formerly), Commander X has been on the run from the United States since 2011, facing prosecution for taking down a local government website. Following a stint in Canada, Commander X is now in Mexico and seeking political asylum.
On June 12, 2018, Commander X announced the release of his third book, “Exiled for the Mask: The Story of Anonymous Operation Golden Eagle.” The book is scheduled to be released on November 5 via Lulu and Smashwords for print and eBook, respectively.
This book is the “finale” to his first two books, “Behind the Mask: An Inside Look at Anonymous” and “Dark Ops: An Anonymous Story,” effectively forming his trilogy.
In light of Commander X’s ongoing bid to gain political asylum in Mexico and the pending release of his third book, Dark Web News has landed an exclusive interview with the renowned hacktivist.
Your new book is slated for release on November 5. Talk about it a little bit. What can we expect as readers? Why did you decide to write it?
It is the final installment in what is now officially known as “The X Chronicles Trilogy”. It completes a roughly ten year story of my life within the Globaxicol Collective called Anonymous.
The final book entitled “Exiled For The Mask: The Story Of Anonymous Operation Golden Eagle” is due out exactly one year after I cut a hole in the fence between the USA an Mexico with a pair of bolt cutters and entered this country in a bid to gain political asylum. It will tell the story of how that came to be, and a bit of what happened after arriving in Mexico.
Operation Golden Eagle. What’s the meaning behind the op name?
The Golden Eagle is the national bird of Mexico. Not much more complicated then that, really.
Have you ever considered stopping or taking a leave from what you do? You’ve cited health issues in recent years as well as the toll that the pressure of staying on the run has taken.
Yes, these things are true. And yes I’ve considered it, daily sometimes. And finally, no – it’s probably not going to happen any time soon.
Did you enjoy your time in Canada?
Yes. But then I have thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this decade long adventure. And Mexico is an utterly delightful nation.
You’re currently seeking political asylum in Mexico. How is the process going?
What are some of the major challenges you have faced?
Breaking into the main stream Mexican media. Something that I believe is about to change any moment. I have given an interview to the largest media outlet in Mexico.
How is Mexico?
Exotic, and very interesting. Warm.
Did you ever imagine that things would get to this point of chaos in what you do?
From day one, yes.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions that people have about who you are, what you stand for, and what you do?
I am not really sure I can speak to what misconceptions people have about me, I don’t really make a point of noting them. Perhaps you can fill me in as to what people are saying about me!
You’ve worked on the side of the people, in your respective point of view. How have the people generally reacted to what you do? (i.e. Food Not Bombs condemning your online attacks)
The Op Orlando shit, well hell – Kieth McHenry is an old friend from the 80’s in the Bay Area. He was frankly delighted by the whole fiasco.
But that is just that particular example. In general people on the advantaged side of an Anonymous confrontation are grateful for the intervention.
How would you describe yourself? A hacktivist? A hacker? A leader? Just another guy with a computer?
All of the above, I suppose.
How have things changed over time with Anonymous?
Short answer, it’s gotten bigger and more global.
To what extent are you currently involved with Anonymous operations and Anonymous in general?
At the moment my time is taken up with my own case, and one particular media project in Anonymous, Anonymous Global Internet Radio.
It has been defunct since 2014. What survived now goes by the name Legion Security.
The People’s Liberation Front and Palestinian Liberation Front share the same acronym; has this caused confusion or misunderstandings?
I don’t recall this ever being an issue. But we were a pretty non-descript underground crew.
How did you get your start with hacking and Anonymous?
That’s a question it took a book to answer, my first one to be precise.
What imprint do you think that Anonymous has left in history, looking back and looking forward?
The most profound imprint in human history.
Anonymous has been accused of many things that they have not collectively admitted to doing. There have also been reported incidents of individuals supposedly from Anon claiming ops that Anon did not actually do. What’s the best way for people to keep up to date with what Anon is actually doing?
The choice of sources is as individual as the Anon recommending them. Check out those I follow on Twitter, and use your own judgment. My handle is @CommanderXanon on Twitter.
Six years ago, you stated Anonymous 2 won’t happen in a bid to fix the perceived issues within Anonymous. Have these issues been corrected since then, or are they still present?
Probably still all fucked up. Anonymous simply is what it is, there will be no great changes – just further refinement and evolution of tactics. No versions. Just one big messy global collective.
What role have script kiddies played in Anonymous thus far?
I don’t really have an answer to questions like this. And I prefer not to answer a question that pre-supposes a negative stereo-type of a fellow hacker.
What have been some of the miscellaneous challenges you’ve faced with being a notable member and arguable leader of Anonymous and PLF? Dealing with people, getting things done, time and resource management, etc.
Probably all of the above.
Throughout your time in Anonymous and related ops, have made any friends as opposed to just coworkers or associates?
LOL yeah I have maybe one or two friends in the world. But they would prefer to remain anonymous.
Is ‘Commander X’ solely a handle used by you, or have others done work under that pseudonym with your permission? I ask this because your attorney stated “Commander X isn’t a person. He’s an idea and that idea is social justice.” in a 2011 statement.
So far the acts attributed to the persona “Commander X” must be laid at my feet, for good or ill.
However, I have not ruled out passing the persona on after my death. Anything is possible, I suppose.
With the pending release of Apple’s iOS 12, what is your stance on the jailbreak scene?
My stance is that it’s healthy for the eco-system and should be legalized.
How instrumental has the dark web and Tor been in what you do?
Vital, at least to not getting caught.
It’s rather ironic that Tor was initially created by the U.S. government and has been a huge thorn in their side since its “public” adoption. What are your thoughts on that?
Do you see the adoption of anonymity and privacy technologies and applications continuing to become more mainstream?
What choice does anyone really have?
What computer security and opsec tips would you give to the general public? Any recommended software or best practices?
Use a cellular modem and a reliable no-log VPN. Use a Tor browser. Use a good password manager like Key Pass and make all your passwords inside the manager, nice and hard. ALL your passwords, individual and hard using a password manager. This last part eliminates 90% of all attack vectors, just that one tip.
What’s your advice for the next generation of hacktivists, noting that many adolescents are growing up in the age of seeing WikiLeaks, Assange, Manning and others being covered by the mainstream news?
See the above answer. And add to it my personal advice. Move. A lot. Never stop moving.
You can support Commander X’s bid for political asylum in Mexico here.
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