Fearless Truthseeker Missing: Arjen Kamphuis

On the ICT floor of "Broedplaats Volkskrant", Amsterdam, Gendo and the Free Knowledge Institute (FKI) shared the kitchen. That's where I met Arjen Kamphuis end 2007 and had animated talks about Open Source software. Arjan is Chief Technology Officer of Gendo, I volunteered for the FKI and worked as manager ICT at Friends of the Earth Netherlands.

My talks with Arjen soon resulted in several organised gatherings with non-profit's around ICT topics: the importance of having a ICT strategy; the need for open standards; the advantages of open source; copyright; the must of controlling your own data; transparancy and accountability; why is software which is created using taxpayers’ money not released as open source; the latest ICT plans of the Dutch government, security etc. Arjens enthousiasm and knowledge of facts made him the key-actor in those meetings. Also Arjen helped fueling my idea of starting a new company (Therp in that time was non-existing) by sharing his own business experiences or contacts.

Meeting him mostly on security-, open source software-, activists- or free press gatherings the following years, he stood out. He wasn't led by fear, the delusions of the day or peer pression. Neither was he confused by the gap between what you believe and what really happened. Arjen chased the truth, and often found it. Impossible not to make ennemies on the road.

Arjen attacked mass surveillance and is famous for the information security handbook he wrote with Sikie Carlo, a must read for investigative journalists and whisleblowers who try to secure their communications or sources. In this context he also met with Julian Assange at the Embassy in London.

Spring 2017 Arjen is initial signer of the Open Letter to president Trump asking for immediately closure of the Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks and drop any charges against Julian Assange and other staff members. The signers care deeply about press freedom and support the work of WikiLeaks, which publishes information protected under the First Amendment.

The last years he also worked with Bill Binney and Kirk Wiebe in and alongside the(ir) Amsterdam based company Pretty Good Knowledge, focused on data-analysis. Arjen is Technology and Security director.  Binney and Wiebe are also driving actors at the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a highly experienced group of former US intelligence officials. Over a period of time, they did an independent forensic investigation into the assumed hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Their analysis is based on metadata provided by the online persona named Guccifer 2.0, who took credit for the alleged hack.

The VIPS conclusion is that the DNC emails were, on July 5 2016, downloaded directly from a DNC computer onto a thumb drive or some other external device. This because the DNC data was copied at a speed that far exceeds any Internet capability. "Amsterdam" was also involved in this investigation and tests. Although initially the VIPS faced many skeptics, even from inside their own group, no one with an understanding of the science involved any longer questions the validity of the findings, based on many tests and the observed transfer rates, says Binney.

When the DNC emails are not hacked by Russia, but leaked by an insider, the cornerstone of the narrative of the Russia interference in the US-elections, is simply gone.

In an attempt to support the Russia's interference story, in January 2018, Dutch intel agencies stated to have crucial info about "Russia's meddling". It's of no surprise that Arjen is the (only?) one to criticize in public.

Now Arjen is missing in Norway. Whether he is victim of a crime, or chose to go "under the radar", I'm convinced his truth-seeking character is the reason. Fingers crossed for a good outcome.


Right to be forgotten