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Paul Le Roux is a fascinating character, whose story entails drugs, gold, arms dealing, North Koreans, Iranians, elite-level encryption, Somali pirates, women...and more women.
Let's get into it... Part 1/5 - The Early Years
Paul Le Roux was born on Christmas Eve, 1972, in Bulawayo, the second-largest city in what was then called—by the white minority that governed it, at least— Rhodesia.
In 1980, Robert Mugabe became prime minister of what would now be called Zimbabwe, ending minority white rule in the country.
Four years later, when Le Roux was 12, the family relocated to South Africa.
Not long after the move, in exchange for washing his father’s car, Le Roux was given his first computer. After that, a relation of Le Roux states that he became "completely anti-social.”
When Le Roux was 15 or 16, in the late 1980s, the local police raided the family home and arrested Paul for selling pornography. After that, Le Roux turned even more inward.
Although he was an excellent student, he despised the idea of learning Afrikaans, which was compulsory in South African schools, describing it as "a dead language" that he "didn't want to learn."
At 16, he dropped out of high school and decided to follow his interest in computers, taking a local programming course.
Family lore has it that after he spent one class explaining some technical fact to the teacher, he got a letter saying he no longer needed to attend. He then completed a year’s worth of material in eight weeks!
Accounts of Le Roux do indicate that he was exceptionally gifted, and people who worked with him described him as a genius.
After returning from a family holiday to Disneyland in the US, 17-year-old Le Roux decided to leave South Africa, and departed for the UK eight months later to work as a programmer.
He then moved from the UK to the US, where he lived in Virginia Beach.
After six months in the US, he followed his then-girlfriend Michelle to Australia in 1995. The couple married and Le Roux acquired Australian citizenship.
Le Roux frequented message boards and enjoyed trolling Australians. A typical post read:
"All of Australia could disappear into the Pacific and the only difference it would make to the World is the Americans would have one less pussy country to protect."
His posts caused outrage on the board - someone even changed their handle to fuck @ you.paul
Le Roux would later declare that his correspondents had fallen for his ploy:
"Australians are east to provoke and your postings (including 2 death threats, numerous flames, and one guy who swears he has my address & phone number) have provided me with hours of amusement."
Of course, Le Roux did more than just troll Australian message boards in this period...
Le Roux had started building E4M - Encryption for the Masses - in 1997, releasing it at the end of 1998. Part 2/5 - The Turning Point
E4M allowed users to encrypt entire hard drives, and to conceal the existence of encrypted files (such that prying eyes wouldn't even know they were there).
According to Le Roux, the software was written from scratch, with thousands of hours going into its development and testing.
As well as this, in the [Politics section of the E4M website]1
, Le Roux published a sort of Manifesto, describing how "governments are increasingly relying on electronic data gathering" and how "Strong Encryption is the mechanism with which to combat these intrusions, preserve your rights, and guarantee your freedoms into the information age and beyond."
In the spirit of the open-source software movement in the late 90s, Le Roux released E4M for free and made the code available for other people to improve.
Therefore, with no income from his two years of labor, he was struggling financially. His marriage fell apart violently and the couple got divorced in 1999.
Le Roux first relocated to Hong Kong, then to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. He married a Dutch citizen named Lilian, and they had a child shortly after.
In 2000, in order to monetize E4M, Le Roux launched [SW Professionals]2
Based in South Africa, the company offered offshore programming, including E4M customization.
One of Le Roux's clients was an Italian telecoms engineer called Wilfried Hafner, who had corresponded with Le Roux for several years about E4M.
Hafner had founded a company to create a commercial encryption product that would combine some of the elements of E4M with another piece of software, Scramdisk. The new company would be called SecurStar, and its product would be called DriveCrypt.
Hafner hired Le Roux to build DriveCrypt's underlying engine.
At the time, Le Roux was desperate for money - he drove a beat up car and worked out of a Rotterdam apartment small enough that, on the phone, Hafner could often hear a baby crying in the background.
Hafner on the other hand was living in the South of France, and Le Roux openly coveted the kind of success that he imagined led to such a home. He told Hafner: "I am ambitious, I want to have all this."
However, in the middle of the development work for DriveCrypt, Hafner discovered that Le Roux was still working on E4M and had incorporated some of his work for SecurStar into his personal project. As a result, Hafner terminated Le Roux's contract.
By October 2002, SW Professionals was now defunct and Le Roux was openly soliciting for work on the alt.security.scramdisk forum.
It was around this time that Le Roux received some news that "shattered his whole world."
In 2002, he travelled to Zimbabwe to retrieve a copy of his birth certificate.
On the trip, his aunt and uncle pulled him aside to tell him the truth, and it was then that Le Roux found out he was adopted.
Although many family members had known for years, Le Roux’s parents had elected to keep him in the dark about it.
It was the "unknown" part that hurt him the most.
Shortly after, Le Roux appeared on an another set of message boards - he seemed to be launching some kind of moneymaking scheme that required opening a company based in the U.S.
In 2004, a group of anonymous developers did exactly what Hafner had feared: they released a new and powerful, free file-encryption program, called TrueCrypt, built on the code for E4M.
TrueCrypt combined security and convenience, giving users the ability to strongly encrypt files or entire disk drives while continuing to work with those files as they would a regular file on their computer.
Hafner and his SecurStar colleagues suspected that Le Roux was part of the TrueCrypt collective but couldn't prove it.
As we'll explore in Part 5, TrueCrypt is an interesting part of this story... Part 3/5 - Money and Power
After Le Roux's departure from the encryption world, at least under his own name, he entered the Internet-pharmacy business.
What Le Roux did next was combine two of America's favourite past times, popping pills and online shopping, and the results were sensational. He turned over around $300MM in 4 years.
In 2007, Le Roux moved his family to Manila, where he would base his operations. He also had call centres in Israel. This was a brilliant move by Le Roux, as the authorities were not looking at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as hot-spots for a large-scale organised crime operation...
Le Roux was moving serious volume during this time - his operation was once one of FedEx's largest customers.
A relative of Le Roux pointed to 2008 or 2009 as the point at which Le Roux snapped.
"I think the money got to him. I personally saw $100 million in his office in Makati. Cash, bud. It was fucking ridiculous. It was in wicker baskets lined up on the side of the wall in his office."
Le Roux's appetite only grew, and not just in the literal sense (he was known as the "Fat Man" in the Philippines): he wanted to be a different kind of businessman, a lord of the real underworld, not just the virtual one.
An Israeli associate of Le Roux tells how "Le Roux wanted to make more money, fast. Le Roux wanted to diversify, to be bigger. The only way to do that was illegal. He was living inside a movie, you could almost say."
As well as this, Le Roux was notorious for his sexual exploits - he once wrote to his cousin, "15-20 a week, sometimes 3 per night."
A former call centre employee tells how Le Roux approached him with an assignment, which at first he thought was collecting women for Le Roux to open a bar. However, that was not the reason, as Le Roux explained:
"I'm going to impregnate them, and build an army of kids."
Le Roux asked him to make a spreadsheet to track the women: their names, dress size, age, medical checkups. The operation was given top priority by Le Roux, who even sent his emissary to China to try to find women there.
It is rumoured that Le Roux has at least
11 children to 7 different women!
Le Roux's businesses expanded into logging, precious metals mining, gold smuggling, land deals, cocaine shipping, and arms dealing. These activities were spread across dozens of shell companies registered all over the world.
Of course, he needed to launder the money. Le Roux used paid muscle in Hong Kong to swap cash for gold bars, and then proceeded to stash the gold in warehouses in Hong Kong (this totalled around $50MM).
Speaking of paid muscle, Le Roux had plenty: ex-soldiers and mercenaries made sure any problems were dealt with force if necessary.
Le Roux was closest to ex-British soldier Dave Smith, who would act as the leader of the mercenaries and allow Le Roux to insulate himself and not have to deal with people. In fact, Le Roux once told Smith "I live vicariously through you."
However, things took a turn for the worse, at least from Dave Smith's perspective, as Smith stole $5MM worth of Gold from Le Roux.
Le Roux was furious. He then summoned Smith to his place in the country, and asked him to dig a hole as they needed to stash some gold. However, when he arrived, he was greeted by a South African hit-man. After the hit-man had finished shooting Smith, Le Roux then grabbed the gun and fired into Smith's corpse.
Le Roux then set about building an arms base in Somalia.
To achieve this, Le Roux called upon an ex-soldier from Europe, code-named 'Jack' to work for him on the ground in Somalia.
At sea, Jack had to bribe Somali pirates.
It was actually this
activity in Somalia that landed Le Roux on the radar of the DEA, as he popped up in a UN Report on security in Somalia.
The DEA were now on his tail. Of course, his encryption skills came in handy - Le Roux's thick layers of encryption meant that the DEA needed someone on the inside... Part 4/5 - "Well played gentlemen, well played"
Le Roux was getting more and more paranoid about people in his organisation stealing from him. Without justification, he suspected that his self proclaimed 'Golden Boy' Jack was stealing from him - so he ordered a hit on Jack.
This was a huge mistake on Le Roux's part, as Jack then called a CIA hotline and went on the run. It was 18 months later that a DEA investigating Le Roux found Jack's message to the CIA. The DEA agent then called Jack. Scared for his life, Jack agreed to turn informant.
In the meantime, Le Roux then had a change of heart and apologised to Jack for ordering the hit on him. The DEA then asked Le Roux to go back to work for Le Roux - they now had someone on the inside.
To tempt Le Roux, the DEA devised a sting operation. They knew that Le Roux wanted novelty and excitement. So they fabricated the scenario that Jack had made contact with a high profile Colombian trafficker, and the Colombians wanted to bypass the Mexicans for their meth supply in the US.
Le Roux was hooked. However, the DEA needed to lure Le Roux out of Manila, as his network of corrupt officials would ensure he will never be arrested.
Jack needed to get Le Roux to Liberia (where the DEA had a trusted ally in Fombah Sirleaf, Head of Liberia's National Security Agency).
Jack achieved this by saying that they needed to meet a cartel representative to finalise the deal.
It worked, and Le Roux was arrested. Initially, Le Roux went into passive resistance - he was a big unit (hence the nickname "Fat Man") - and it took around 10 agents to get him on the plane to fly back to the US.
Well he settled on the plane, the first thing Le Roux said to the DEA agents was: "Well played gentlemen, well played."
He then said: "If you're looking at me, then clearly you're looking at bigger things..."
The DEA agents were intrigued: "No Paul, you're the prize - what could possibly be bigger than you?"
Le Roux responded: "Nation states gentlemen, nation states."
He then started to spew out extremely valuable information on North Korea and Iran.
Of course, this wasn't the only leverage Le Roux had...
The enforcers who were once on Le Roux's payroll needed to be held accountable for their numerous murders, and the DEA were desperate to get them behind bars. Le Roux was key in their eventual capture. But that's not all: a crucial piece to this story is Part 5... Part 5/5 - TrueCrypt
As we discussed previously, Le Roux was rumoured to be a member of the TrueCrypt collective.
In November 2012, a man with the online handle Cincinnatus decided to throw a party in Hawaii. The idea arose out of an email exchange with Runa Sandvik, a developer and expert on the online software Tor, which allows its users to mask the physical location of their computers on the Internet.
After she gave a Tor tutorial on Reddit, Cincinnatus sent Sandvik an encrypted message. Cincinnatus told Sandvik that he lived in Hawaii. Sandvik mentioned that she would be there on vacation the following month and could give a talk on Tor.
Cincinnatus suggested they host a “cryptoparty,” a phenomenon that had arisen around that time among technology- and privacy-conscious activists. The date was set for December 11.
Unbeknownst to Sandvik, her fellow party planner was hatching a much more elaborate education scheme. Four days after he contacted Sandvik, Cincinnatus sent an email to the journalist Glenn Greenwald. “The security of people’s communications is very important to me,” he wrote. In a series of emails, he suggested that Greenwald set up an encrypted means by which sources could contact him.
Cincinnatus organized the cryptoparty at a hacker space called HiCapacity, located in the back of a furniture store in Honolulu.
When Sandvik arrived around 6 p.m., Cincinnatus introduced himself as Ed and told her that he worked at the computer-hardware company Dell.
Ed kicked off the evening by welcoming the attendees, then invited Sandvik to give her presentation on Tor. When she was finished, Ed pulled out his laptop, plugged it into the projector, and began his own instructional talk about TrueCrypt. In Ed’s presentation, Sandvik later wrote, he “pointed out that while the only known name associated with TrueCrypt is someone in the Czech Republic, TrueCrypt is one of the best open-source solutions available.”
Six months later, in June 2013, Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras published the first of a series of articles that grew out of their contact with Cincinnatus.
In time they revealed that his full name was Edward Snowden
, that he had worked in various capacities at the National Security Agency, and that he had downloaded and handed over a trove of documents from the NSA in an effort to blow the whistle on what he believed were egregious privacy encroachments by the U.S. government. Among them was a document revealing that TrueCrypt was one of a small number of encryption programs that had withstood the NSA’s efforts to crack it. What Snowden and the rest of the world wouldn’t know for another two years was that Paul Le Roux, the man whose code formed the foundation of True Crypt, was at that very moment in the custody of the U.S. government. Le Roux was in a bind, facing the full force of a U.S. federal prosecution for any number of his extraordinary array of crimes. The only way out was to spill his secrets...
''' Paul Le Roux Go1dfish undelete link unreddit undelete link
1: e4m.net/**l*ht*l 2: e4m*net* 3: www.yout*be.co*/watc**v=z**aMoJ**k* 4: www.youtube.com/watc*?v*z*Za*o***kc**^*
Unknown links are censored to prevent spreading illicit content.
This post may not be so popular lol. But I'll tell you what you should hear. submitted by
One of the big pushbacks I have gotten on reddit is over the banking secrecy act. I have been repeatedly told that I am making shit up or being conspiratorial. This is very very foolish of this community. The statements and releases were in a document released by the FATF. I read it. It's right there. It's in the document. They've come right out and said exactly what they intend to do, and have told exchange CEO' "that's not our problem you WILL find a way to implement this".
I also follow the SEC and CFTC policy and press release strongly, and it is equally hostile and captured. It doesn't matter if a few people in the agencies are well intended. They don't call the shots. They are shadow regulatory industries controlled by people we will never see. The rich obviously. Dupont, Cargill, etc.
The bitcoin community has been deeply in denial about numerous issues pointed out. It has become a religion, incapable of receiving critique.
-Blind trust in Block stream
-Blind trust in Chinese miners and wallstreet institutional mining
-Blind trust in centralized exchanges
-Blind trust in the venture capital token M.O
-Blind trust in the idea of 'STO" security tokens sanctioned and graced by banks/regulators
-Blind trust in derivatives controlled by regulated bodies that can impose fractional reserve
-Blind trust in the meme of an ETF
If this community was far more educated in history and political economy and the US foreign policy, you would never trust these regulated wallstreet instruments, you would never trust a rubber stamp. I mean think about it, how many people in this community are hoping for Wallstreet and regulators to pump their bags. Because that has become the meme. They believe that the government approval and integration into the financial economy is going to pump their bags. How's that working out?
We have less commerce acceptance, less adoption, less users with a thousand dollars in their wallet, than a year ago.
The belief that bitcoin can exist in a vaacuum and bubble, that it can exist without decentralized infrastructure at the mercy of centralized infrastructure in a hostile environment and become mass adopted by nations of people is delusional. It hasn't worked in a decade. Bitcoin is a hobby horse for geeks, speculators, and a revenue stream for centralized wallstreet and financial institutions globally. It is a proxy of bitmain, of these other institutions, and is becoming more and more centralized. The gini coeeficient of bitcoin dwarfs fiat.
And the problem *is not bitcoin* the problem is the community believing in these memes and not learning from economic history in antiquity and not building the infrastructure outside the states control and forcing the state into diplomacy. Bitcoiners are failed anarchist, they don't know how to politically represent themselves, they aren't wobblies, they aren't like classic leftist who forced these concepts onto the gilded aged imperialist western republics, that forced them to not send kids to work in coalmines for 12 hours a day. We aren't politically commanding.
The banking secrecy act is a extinction level event for crypto. Will bitcoin survive? Of course? But it's going to set us back a decade. It's going to send us back to the stone age. And we are at a *profound* risk of the main chain breaking off and becoming the pseudo banking state corporate nexus geofenced kyced bitcoin with backdoored nodes and backdoored hardware wallets. The statist wont break bitcoin in half, we will. We will out of desperation after they sully it so severely that we have no choice but to hard fork it into a original version that can protect itself against the BSA. You say we won't but we will, when they cripple the global south's access to it, and they cripple the price, you will have your braveheart mercy moment, and the og cypherpunk will kick the bucket and pull the trigger. What has to be done will be done.
Centralized exchanges are completely incompatible with cypherpunk and anarchism and the white paper. We've tolerated CEX for a decade. Not only are governments a threat, but we will be continually crippled by Quadriga CX failures, Cryptopia, and Mount Gox failures. Because of toxic maximalism and toxic attitude towards building the fucking infrastructure to avoid this. The mainstream developers won't do it because they can't make any money. This will be a sacrificial act to build this system, just like Satoshi.
The current DEX system is like the 1960's darpa intranet. That is it. That's why it sucks. It's not the internet of DEX, it's not. And making the internet of DEX is really, really, really fucking hard bleeding edge computer science. If we want global adoption we need an internet, not an intranet. Having the liquidity of DEX divided into intranet is why we continue to rel on CEX. You want to get rid of the CEX, turn the fucking intranet into an internet, into an interchain. Stop relying on companies and ICO's and 1000 tokens for 1000 things, build the actual backbone. Support the developers. Pay your fucking developers. Stop calling everything a scam and everything vaporware. The internet isn't a fucking vaporware scam, so neither is the interchain. Maximalism is ludditism.
Crypto is for the global south, it's for emancipatory politics and independence, for the 99.99%, not the .01%. If you believe otherwise, and want you're "Citadel", Fuck You. Seriously. Read some political economy. Read Ellinor Ostrom, Bestiat, Spooner, Proudhon, etc. Crypto is suppoose to be a public good and a form of open source economy, not a recreation of tyranny, hierarchy, economic centralization, and worse yet just another banker shitcoin debt scam interest rate scam, which is what they are treating it and regulating and profiting off of it as.