My year of living anonymously
COMING sept 2019
On a spring day in Toronto, novelist and father of two, Ian Thornton is walking Queen Street with his children.
He encounters an interesting street character, who, over a number of meetings, becomes his friend.
On the day after the Brexit vote, the homeless man reveals his connection to Julian Assange, and that he, himself, is a cyber-warlord and commander within the transgressive hacker movement, Anonymous.
This is corroborated by a lengthy piece on him in the New Yorker magazine. He has helped to spark the Arab Spring, hack a U.S. election and thrust the Black Lives Matter movement into the consciousness.
Over the months, Commander X reveals to Thornton his plan to claim political asylum in Iceland. When this plan fails, he looks to head to Russia in a kayak over the Baring Straits. Then, he plans to meet Assange in Ecuador, before finally breaking back into the U.S., where he is on the F.B.I. Wanted list, and then into Mexico, where he finally becomes free again.
During this time, this homeless anarchist writes two books, sleeps out in another Canadian winter and is the subject of a planned television movie, at the time to be directed by Werner Herzog.
Thornton chronicles Commander X’s dreams, his hopes, depressions, his remarkable revelations, the danger, the paranoia, the harshness of living on the streets, the death-threats, the scary potent of the internet, the heart-breaking setbacks and the ultimate run to freedom.
Commander X is an enigmatic and unique character, riddled by paradoxes, mental illness and big dreams. He is out there on the edge, fighting for future generations and the disenfranchised. He has spent years taking on the power of the U.S. authorities through the Occupy movement, BLM, ALF and Anonymous, but, really, now just wants to go home. And to be forgotten. But is this possible for someone who is now institutionalised by a daily habit of rebellious and righteous mischief?