Documents posted to the Web by PublicIntelligence.net confirm that the homeless man arrested on Thursday by the FBI was Christopher Doyon, the leader of the People’s Liberation Front (PLF), also known as CommanderX. In addition, the indictment also names Joshua John Covelli, who was arrested in July for his part in the DDoS attacks on PayPal.
Doyon and Covelli were named in an indictment filed on September 21, and charged with conspiracy to commit intentional damage to a protected computer, and intentional damage to a protected computer/aiding and abetting.
Covelli was previously arrested in July, for his connections to Anonymous and the DDoS attacks against PayPal.Given that the FBI knew where to locate Covelli for this latest indictment, he will appear for these charges on November 1, the same day he is scheduled for a hearing in the PayPal trials.
Doyon, also known as CommanderX, has previously stated he was homeless. He appeared before a judge in San Jose on Thursday, who ordered that a bail study be done, remanding Doyon to custody, and setting his next court appearance September 29.
The charges against the two stem from a PLF campaign named Operation Peace Camp 2010, which targeted the Santa Cruz County government.
Operation Peace Camp is also the name for a non-digital protest, which is still active. From July 4, 2010 to October 2, 2010, homeless people and people with homes of their own - protesting a local ordinance against camping - slept on the City of Santa Cruz courthouse steps or at City Hall.
Those who took part in the sleeping and blanket ban protests were cited and fined for their participation. Due to this action, the PLF launched a DDoS attack against the city’s main website.
At the time of the DDoS attack, Santa Cruz’s Information Services Director, Kevin Bowling, commented to local media that the PLF attack was just a nuisance, adding that, “They're not causing any damage. They can't get in to do anything.” [Source]
As it turns out, CommanderX told local media that the PLF became involved with Peace Camp 2010 after an Anonymous member [Covelli] told him about a friend who was taking part in the sleeping protest. Local organizers condemned the DDoS attack and said they had no knowledge of the PLF or its actions.
In the aftermath, the PLF commented that the operation was a partial success.
“The initial attack went off flawlessly, bringing much media attention to the cause of the homeless in Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, the security situation on the ground prevented any further attacks or actions.”
In July, Doyon used DDoS against the City of Orlando during a protest backing Food Not Bombs. The PLF worked with Anonymous and launched a series of DDoS attacks against Orlando related websites, while backing the campaign organizers on the ground in a media blitz that encouraged people to boycott the city. More information on that campaign is here.
Around the time of the Orlando protests, Commander X gave an insightful comment to The Tech Herald on his place within the PLF and Anonymous.
“Even the most devoted anarchists realize the impossibility of eliminating government entirely. And so the goal should be rather, to render the people un-governable…It is not my place to decide what comes next. I am not some great statesman who will tell you how to live your lives, nor some great politician here to bring about a utopia. Our role is to destroy the current system and let the people decide with what to replace it with.”
If convicted on the charges, each man will face 15 years in prison, as well as nearly $500,000 USD in fines.
A copy of the indictment is here.