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The Outsiders Part 3 By Steven Martin

The Outsiders Part 3

(The First of 2 Sections)

One of the most constant and intrusive aspects in the incessant scrambling on the food chain, which is life on the street for those who live there, are the representatives of the forces of law and order and all the administrational sectors that a government uses to obtain information, solve criminal acts and keep the ‘system’ in place. These of course are the official view of the ‘Administration ‘in whichever domain they are operational, as the true nature of the actors operating on the behalf of ‘the people’ and their often hidden agendas, are more often far removed from this carefully painted picture. This belies the publicly stated aims ascribed to them by their masters acting as the enactors of the painstakingly legally-proscribed process of operation, which they are bound to comply with under pain of prosecution. That is not to say that by any means they do not partially fulfill their statutory duties, especially when it is prudent or beneficial to do so. They gather information, they undertake the solving of crimes and the prosecution of offenders, they prevent issues becoming events, which can be forestalled or prevented (nipped in the bud) and uphold the current status quo. Their particular mode of operation distinguishes them into different categories which range from the Police, the Military, the Intelligence Service and then all the quasi consultancy firms, which any Administration uses to enable operations to be carried out without any tie or link to them. We will mainly focus on the Police and the Intelligence Service though there is much we experienced concerning the other players but had minimal interaction with the Military who were always perfectly professional and polite. From physically being with the people that the Police or Intelligence Service (IS) were focused on and experiencing firsthand the full scenario as it was played out (often over years) to being on the receiving end ourselves, we saw, heard, interacted and fully comprehended the often complete disregard for the rule of law that the protagonists (the Police and IS) displayed quite openly. The system can so efficiently delay (often semi- perpetually) the process of bringing charges against members of the Constabulary or IS that in the end, the complainant drops the matter due to the cost and time expended and that will need to be continued for a foreseeable future to achieve the result. When there is such flagrant abuse by those in public office who cannot be brought to face justice, there is little chance of the system actively pursuing corruption even on this level since it is endemic and those who refuse to take part are sidelined (if they remain quiet), retire and change profession (due to health) or meet death face to face.

This in effect gives the Police and IS free rein over all those whose method of obtaining an income is through criminal acts like internet scams and fraud, drugs, alcohol, prostitution and the list goes on. The usage of whatever particular money making scheme was on the Internet enabled those living on the street to gain an income in various ways. The street person is more often than not mainly supplying ID cards, wallets or goods found/received/stolen or whatever presents as a means of earning, rather than input purely on the personal level. Their voices however were very useful when dealing with officialdom in almost any form, as the major players in the internet scams are the Nigerians and they preferred not to either deal with them face-to-face or via voice. This is of particular use when dealing with banks (including The Reserve Bank) both national and overseas, where the listed owner of an account or transaction is the true one but not the one transferring or withdrawing the money. For this the employment of highly skilled IT experts (usually hackers) were employed with most not reaching the complexity of the man with a computer in a room who moves substantial sums of money from real, live bank accounts to carefully set up accounts using very dubious banks and completely innocent ones.

“,,,he veered from nowhere to sleep to rented comfort and safety (you can close the door) in a motel/guest house. ”

So the conmen had to be able to gain inside information that was reliable and often needed to converse over the phone with bank employees to verify information, as well as to change settings or transfer/receive large sums of money. This is where the ‘street dweller’ was profoundly useful, they could often converse without sounding like a Nigerian and being able to ‘chat’ their way through any glitches that might arise was a bonus, something they did for most of their lives. Being able to think on your feet though differing in speed was relatively common as situations changed very rapidly among people living on the street as the weather, violence, hunger or other factors took over. For an hour or two’s work, they were paid from R 50 per call to R 100 and though some were promised a lump sum upon receipt of the money gained fraudulently, it never seemed to materialise. And while all this played out, the Intelligence Service was quietly watching and waiting to pounce, when they had paralysed the conmen with fear, into agreeing to their demands. These included the usual passing of information, setting tasks to be accomplished (which often took the conmen well out of their regular comfort zone) to demanding a large share and sometimes the complete transaction amount. This could and did amount to 10’s of millions of US dollars, which is the currency of choice that most fraudsters used. So the ‘services’ because the Police were not above adding to their income and receiving amounts of cash on a fairly regular basis (but from lower level conmen in the main) were engaged in the work they were trained and employed to do but with an additional option that bypassed what they stood for. However, large temptations were so often placed on their paths that they often seemed to feel they were entitled to take them and so they were seldom avoided. As a result, it was visibly apparent if you calculated the salaries of the protagonists compared to the cars they drove, how they furnished their apartments or houses, the dwellings they bought and the lifestyles and holidays they enjoyed. The discrepancy was glaringly obvious as few of them bothered to hide their ill gotten gains through the use of spouses, family or legal financial instruments like trusts. For the conmen it was useful as they knew that having the weight of the ‘Law’ behind you meant that very often, matters could be swept under the carpet for a small amount of money and information as it was to their advantage that committing the fraud was a street person being paid to ask for money and not them so they could be the ‘fall guy’. The Intelligence Service and the Police would carry out raids and busts sporadically that were for public/official consumption from information derived from their contact with the conmen. They also squeezed the street people making the calls to divulge information, which in itself incriminated the street person in the con as it was quite common for people living on the street to often face criminal charges and enquiries on a variety of matters. When so many actions involve illegal acts, a certain devil may care attitude enters and many of the consequences we take into account and try to avoid, were taken as inevitable by them. The IS were very keen to hear of new conmen who they could then observe and employ (in what manner they chose), adding them to their databases for reference and use. A street person much used and quite often searched for when he was solvent (he would rent the motel room, purchase the drugs, and whoever/whatever) was Koos as he was fluent in Afrikaans, English and two African languages, Zulu and Sesotho. He could talk the hind leg of a donkey, more so when high on his drug of choice, Crystal Meth. He could top R 500 in a day and the conmen would buy him meals, clothes, or give him tech devices from cell phones to TV’s and more depending on the amount of money the con/fraud would bring in/had brought in. The Police knew what he earned and occasionally, depending more on whether they were broke or bored, would stop him, search him, take the money and if in a good mood leave the drugs Koos may have just purchased. Like most people living on the street, he veered from nowhere to sleep to rented comfort and safety (you can close the door) in a motel/guest house. The Intelligence Services, though interested in the conmen, were far more interested in the ‘hackers’ who unless it was necessary, were seldom charged though when they came face to face with the IS, quickly understood that they would in effect be working for them. This ‘employment’ by the IS went from the mundane like chasing after money to letting the IT ‘hacker’ do his job of stealing money from unsuspecting victims bank accounts so they had an income, to breaking into the servers of banks, government departments, and as well as ‘placing’ information where needed ranging across all the sectors of society connected via bytes. There were also the cases of the removal of information usually concerning one of the rich or famous people caught in a compromising situation, using the skills of the hackers (who were made fully aware of the consequences of ever opening their mouths). It must be said that some of the ‘hackers’ were approached by other parties as well now and then, which included political parties, various commercial entities, and some work which, though all the work demanded was illegal, carried penalties way above the rest.

The Nigerian con men are also the ones who set up and run the dating site/lonely heart scam where they befriend females over 50 (usually) who are solvent, single and looking for love and of utmost importance, lonely. It is even better if they are heavy drinkers, bitter emotionally, or semi incapacitated through medical issues (lots of prescribed medication) as they are more pliable and so a large number of women are contacted as many will accede to the requests for financial help when the emotional blackmail is trowelled on thickly. The street dweller comes into play when you reach the point in the scam where the female being conned with ‘love’ needs to hear and speak with the person who she believes loves her and who she now believes she loves in return. She has seen the photo’s which are chosen by the fraudsters to be just possible as a mate, not to much or too little, a relatively handsome man in his 50’s who is also looking for love and companionship. They have read four to six month’s of saccharine sayings and quotes with addition of a voluminous amount of ‘chat’ passing between them; the communication is daily and quite lengthy. He is represented publicly on Face Book (first choice), WhatsApp or other social media that have dating sites or common interest groups that can be trawled for likely candidates to con. This is far from easy and requires infinite amounts of patience over lengthy periods of time until the right candidates are found, though it must be said that the ‘net’ is full of women looking for romance, companionship and love. Most of the victims are never asked for help (i.e., money) until the ‘relationship’ has blossomed over a minimum of four to six months and their undying love and trust has been confirmed by the conman as this indicates the moment is right to strike. Because of the nature of the con, a convincing voice professing love has to be employed (these frauds are run on a business like basis) and the street people provide an ever changing pool of actors who will follow exact instructions and do the necessary act to extract money from the victim, an ability built on the need to survive in a life which is constantly outside of four walls. There were a fair number of ‘voices’ available and apart from a few top end ones, most were okay but did not convince the victims with enough of a consistently high success rate so that Pete, Koos, and of course Jim (minus Pamela) whose voice could ooze charm, were often feted by different conmen needing a ‘luv’ machine to gyrate on the telephone and ply the victim for financial help. They could sometimes get paid even more for their time if they were needed by several of the conmen at the same time, something that often happened around payday when the victims had available money. The extraction of money usually revolves around a supposed business trip where the male (the conman) has informed the victim in advance that they are leaving for the UK or Australia (two of the favored destinations) for business/work reasons. A true, valid flight ticket is sent to the victim on WhatsApp (which is supplied by another person and not actually existing on the system of IATA) to provide veracity to the story and phone calls using a SIM card from the UK or the country representing the conman’s destination, are made. The most common fraud used is that upon arrival, the credit/debit card of the conman is blocked for 72+ hours and until his bank clears it, he is penniless. This is where the emotional screw is turned. If she (the victim) really loves him, she will send 1000 pounds sterling (SA Rand 20,000.00) or else he will have to sleep on the street and eat nothing for three to four days. The amounts vary depending on the currency and cost of living in the country the conman is supposed to be in but the first push is usually around that figure with the professional Nigerian scammers (those who’ve been in the game for five or more years)going for two to three times that amount. Another fraud used is being arrested, locked up, and needing to pay for a lawyer and the visa/vaccine paperwork in order to be released and start working. This often runs into large amounts of money carefully divided into sections according to what a real life situation needing this paperwork would cost to implement and can and does give the conman large amounts of cash starting at SA. Rand 35,000.00 (1750.00 pounds) and up.

This does not go unnoticed by the forces of Law & Order and their Intelligence sections. They apply the same tactics and in the main receive the same results as with the hackers and their conmen handlers but with the addition of more localised information concerning national banks (hackers usually use national banks globally), their criminally-minded employees and the various players like the other African nationals (West Africa provides the most) who provide the bank accounts or facilitate the service since the money has to be deposited somewhere before being moved and withdrawn. These people are then ‘leaned upon’ in a selection of ways to provide further information and for the verification of fraudulent shell companies among other entities who extract loans and lines of credit, which are never repaid and whose disappearance from life is instantaneous once the money has been taken. Business bank accounts allow the scam artists to move considerable amounts of money easily and fast and the companies and businesses legitimately set up gave them a fairly painless route to then renting the use of said bank account for a percentage, which varied depending on the size of the amount deposited, and then transferred on to another bank, often offshore. Some of the ‘permanent’ players lived very comfortable lifestyles gracing only the best with their presence. Like all these ‘players’ as they like to be known, showing success is not optional but hardwired much like the video of Hush Puppy, an extremely successful Nigerian Scammer and how he conned his victims, shows. At this level, like the American conmen on the New York Stock Exchange (Bernie Madoff the latest), you must display the trappings of wealth to be able to entice the greedy and the non astute to ‘invest’ in you and your scam as you have to show your success, so that they can visibly see what they can have and where they can be in society if they put their ‘trust’ in you.

For the Intelligence Service, but less than the Police, this opportunity for personal financial gain is utilised in every way as money does not have to pass from hand to hand. Instead services, paid for by the conman/hacker are available to the version of authority present and everything from house improvements, furnishings, holidays or great meals/ shopping sprees are provided. This ensures that though the conman/thief (since that is what they are) knows the axe will fall at some future point and imprisonment will follow, in the meantime they can gain large amounts of money to invest in their home country with maximum protection from interference, as long as they are useful to the IS. Rest assured, the street people and the conmen (who started life in this country as street people themselves) know full well that their usage and consequent protection by both the IS and the Police is temporary and often fleeting so milk it while you can. It must be noted that the IS in particular will sacrifice anyone if it is expedient without a second thought beyond whether it is necessary to fabricate/enhance evidence to bolster their case and ensure winning in court and the media, let alone pleasing their masters. This is so common that the validation of this is beyond contest.

In the main, the Police and IS also know that a sizeable percentage of crimes carried out by the people of the street are not premeditated but purely opportunistic as in when the occasion arises, seize the moment. This however leads to problems like how to remove the goods purloined from the place of theft as quickly as one can, so distance can be placed between you and the crime location. The amount or cost of the ‘goods’ also determines their mode of removal and the Police more than the IS benefit in many ways including ‘financially’ from these actions. The items range from goods being transferred from a vehicle to their destination, items presenting themselves for removal by a passing street dweller due to inattention or oversight of the owners and of course, the application of the distract, steal, and run mode of operation which is very effective if applied correctly along with others that can be comical to the absurd. We were sitting in a very small, cramped car talking and waiting to see someone when a delivery truck carrying alcohol drove in to deliver to a bottle store (Off License liquor shop). As they started to offload, a man on the street came to ask us if he could try to steal a beer from the truck. Dumbfounded, we said yes it was up to him and he just slithered away. The next we saw of him was him sliding under parked vehicles until he reached the truck with the beer, whereupon a hand slipped up to grab a bottle of beer very stealthily. He was seen and caught but not beaten as they let him go while laughing at his bravado and stupidity as he ran for his life. A pure act of the moment, unprincipled and very practical and having a good chance of success half of the time. The good street thieves are used by the IS to gain mobile phones, card data, financial personal information from people they have an ‘interest’ by the use of pickpockets, handbag thieves and, of course, the house breakers. They are paid with some of the stolen items like cell phones (furniture, electrical items) or cash taken from the stolen bank cards or accounts as seldom do the IS pay from their coffers as they have to justify all expenses to their accounting section, a veritable paperwork nightmare. They are not known for their generosity financially, let alone spirit. Without the street people to form a distancing wall between them (the puppeteers) and the victim or person they are following, the Intelligence Services would be far too exposed to public scrutiny and their targets, thereby leveling the playing field; something we have all been led to believe is the case. This particular segment of The Outsiders, the true state of life on the street has been written by two different journalists, both of whom have experienced the full dramas exposed here but with differing styles of writing and a catalogue of individual and diverse experiences as well as the shared ones. Their personal involvement depended on the role they had to play in order to enter into the lives of the fraudsters, the authorities (via their henchmen), and of course, the other people of the street without whom they would not be trusted and be allowed access to the participants. It also required the journalists to spend large periods of time fruitlessly waiting for the con or theft to begin and the actors to gather as often they were just observers even when in the thick of the action.

It is very difficult to assess any story that has gone wrong when anyone has reached a bad conclusion in their relationship with the Intelligence Service (IS). In any case, if it could be summed up, the problem with the situation in one sentence would be ‘do not sup with the Devil even with a long spoon’’. Is’ Enemy of the State’ a true representation? Movies like Enemy of the State are a glorification and exaggeration of technological prowess but with little logic and downright common sense. But if this type of movie carries a lot of exaggeration, it is relevant because it shows how easy it is for anyone to be tapped, spied on, and the rest. To what extent are the Intelligence Service able to go to achieve their goals? There are many hearsay accounts and if one case can illustrate the dedication applied by the IS to what they see as a problem, it is the famous case of Julian Assange. Here we are speaking about a public figure, but what happens when it occurs to citizen lambda, the man in the street with no contacts, who cannot call for aid from friends in high places or those securely placed in the Intelligence Service itself? There are the internet stories and conspiracy theories (always presented as factual) as well as the hearsay or personal accounts and we all know what hackers are capable of. If some peripheral gangsters with a PC at home can spy on you with impunity, just imagine what a professional in the profession of intelligence gathering (i.e., spying) can do with the resources at hand and a semi official mandate. At The International Outsider, we will not only reveal to you how it happens but also what one should do if by the sheer graces of no God let alone Lady Luck, you fall into this position and their clutches. We found the legendary ‘Deep Throat’ like the one from the Nixon gate Affair (who spoke to journalists of the Washington Post) for you who is known as Deep Throat because one has to be very careful when revealing the customs or place where the Devil dwells. But there is one thing we will do, though we will not reveal their identity, we will guarantee the authenticity of the following if we are challenged in full legal fashion. If the Services that we openly ascribe these deeds to wish to challenge their veracity, we will respond legally proving them factually in open court with all the attendant press representatives.

Q: Deep throat is the Enemy of the State. Can you tell us how this happened?

A: If you want to refer to the Enemy of the State as to how this happens like the tapping all communication by any means available, destroying bank/financial operational ability, spreading outright lies (and making them the official ‘truth’) and more, I doubt that it is even possible to achieve. Moreover, since the end result is attracting attention to this person, it is counter-productive so defeating the purpose of hiding their identity.

A: Yes of course it does but it is less dramatic and far subtler and extremely nasty being mainly below the belt.

Q: How did you become involved with the IS in the first place?

A: There is one way for a person with no past history to become involved with the IS and the easiest way is to become an informer. There are many avenues open to being an informer; the most common is for pecuniary reasons. Despair in finding money is something that can happen to each and everyone and by far the most frequent reason is addiction of one type or another (gambling, sex, drugs, alcohol etc.). But there are those who have no choice facing either imprisonment or freedom and so they become an informer. It happens that the IS will deliberately leave a criminal active just to have access to the information this person possesses or can obtain through their illegal actions.

Q: So they leave this person operating illegally so that they can get what they require. Is that the case?

A: No. One thing you learn quickly as an informer is that the aim of the Intelligence Service/s is not to arrest anyone, but to collect information though it is certainly not their official modus operandi. Though some will disagree with this summation, I and others have witnessed them destroying many innocent lives up to the final or most radical step and protecting all types of unsavory criminals from prosecution for the sacrosanct reason of protecting the State. This is extremely difficult to judge as a result in itself because the same victory of today, which caused so much drama and disruption, is tomorrow’s defeat because either the government or ideas have changed. There is also a third typology of the informer. The most problematic and valuable of all of them is the patriot and conceptually and idealistically motivated person who informs for these reasons.

Q: Valuable I understand. Why rarest and most problematic?

A: Rarest seems to be evident, engaged people are as rare as hens teeth by definition. Furthermore, it is a very dangerous activity for obvious reasons. Problematic, because very quickly, the idealist wakes up to the harsh reality when he understands that it has nothing to do with morality saving ideals but more to do with the race for information. In this world of data flow and numerical supremacy, the king is the one with the info. It leads to the rapid achievement of the total negation of the ‘ideals’ held by this person. This person can then become uncontrollable and for the Intelligence Service, it’s all about control.

Q: So were you one of these disillusioned idealists?

A:No. I was none of these three types described.

Q: So there is a typology for informers?

A: As I said there are many, and if you want to know what type I was, I was the same type as the one who employed me doing exactly the same thing we both do. Chasing the information for professional and personal reasons as I engage in long term investigations (some ongoing for decades) which include cold cases or rumors of dark operations, etc. I have the intention of publishing my findings which are the results of my investigations one day but I will ensure that some of the protagonists are well into retirement or another world. So contrary to my defense, I was not fair with them from the start, a fact they did not know and faithful to their reputation of disengenuity, they made me sign a ‘contract’ as the legal requirements demand which I had the honour of both seeing and touching once but then they kept both copies, I assume in a safe somewhere. During this time, I was investigating a very corrupt part of the Intelligence Service itself, those who work both for their amoral patrons and their own pockets. So I have a quasi moral ground to my particular part in this unsavoury affair.

Q: So did they know at the time you were engaged in this while in their employ?

A: Whatever is the case, the story starts a few kilometers from O.R.Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. I was at this time making my name in a place infested with ‘Yahoo boys’, those who are involved exclusively in internet and numerical fraud.

Q: Have you participated in any of these actions?

A: No, not at all as what I was doing was working at the internet café and attracting the attention of the Yahoo boys by showing greater skill than they had.

Q: What is a Yahoo boy?

A: A Yahoo boy lives exclusively off the internet fraudulently. They have no skills of their own in particular, they write no codes and they do not invent scams. The Yahoo boy himself is a boy recruited from Nigeria (usually the street and slums), his employment is dependent on paying the full cost of his ticket, papers and asylum/work permit back to his patron who funds him and the paying a percentage of his income for a period of years, anywhere from 7 and up. The low level boys will perform a basic and repetitive task; he will do the fishing on the internet for targeted victims, classify them and even sometimes, start the communication. He manages many profiles and as soon as the bait is taken, he passes the victim on to another, more skilled in this process than him. From top to bottom this type of Yahoo boy depends solely on the credulity of the victim and the extensive use of Social Media and does not include malware etc in these types of fraud. The next level up of the Yahoo boys still operates mainly in Internet Café’s and has a little more skill technologically. They are very good at looking for the latest scam and repeating it and they do that at an industrial scale sharing the successful scam with others in their arena very efficiently and charging them for the pleasure. But it is still only repetitive milking of the cow until law enforcement and/or Internet Security Company’s close the loophole. But almost every day, there is a new scam to be exploited. Both these types of Yahoo boys are closely monitored by the Intelligence Service as their main weakness is reliance on internet cafes and their disdain for security. In South Africa, most of the internet cafes found in urban areas are run on obsolete operating systems, obsolete not because they are unable to perform basic functions like browsing, downloading, watching YouTube, and the rest but because they are run on operating systems that are no longer updated by Microsoft since they are usually XP or Windows 7. They are easily hackable by the most amateurish hacker or IT and so for the IS, entering them is like cutting butter with a hot knife. The internet cafes use software such as Handy Café to manage their users/clients which is software notorious for being known to be malware. Despite the fact that the phenomenon of the internet café has lost ground, it remains in common use in most of the third world and for many people, even those with easy access to the internet, they are found to be ultra useful for all the functions they offer like photocopying, printing etc.

Q: Are there other types of Yahoo boys or other groups involved in these internet scams?

A: There is another type, those who are out for bigger fish where the gain can amount to millions of dollars. These kinds of fraud imply several parties, someone in Europe that delivers the information of the target victims who are to be found in the US, Canada, the EU, and other countries. For instance another participant would be an IT in South Africa capable of transferring the money from the target victim to a secure bank in South Africa or banks globally. In the nation that is receiving the money ( e.g., South Africa) the requirements include a contact with capabilities to operate inside The Reserve Bank of that nation (often through people working there), though this is not always necessary. It additionally requires a ‘friendly’ entrepreneur with bank accounts which regularly deal with copious amounts of money flowing in from overseas. This kind of fraud is not monopolized by Nigerian nationals but also carried out by Ethiopians and Congolese. It is certainly not my intention to attach a particular crime to a particular nationality and I do not want to leave the impression that all foreign nationals are involved in fraudulent activities. Each nationality seems to have a slice of the cake under their control which they guard zealously. It seems to apply as well on other levels of normal, honest activities as you will not find Nigerians working as security guards while the Congolese take to it like a fish to water. South African nationals are also sometimes involved.

Q: And the other participants?

A: I was contacted by one of those groups as they are always on the look for an IT who can do the ‘JOB’ and the one they used for the previous one was both a drunk and under the influence of heavy rocks.

Q: Rocks?

A: Yes the South African denomination for crack. You have to understand that there is no trust among the fraudsters and they use the drugs to control their own supposed allies, there is no friendship here, it is the legendary wolves among the wolves. Anyway, there were few options available to them as one potential hacker was on the run towards Lagos and one on the wish list of the authorities, as you see this is a very stimulating activity. The one responsible for the logistics was an Ethiopian national and he briefed me on the situation.

Q: Just like that?

A: Well he approached me on few occasions, probing my morality concerning fraudulent activities. They always find a way to justify their activities.

Q: Meaning?

A: The usual nonsense, people at a high level of power does it and are not punished, etc. The same boring old disk but you have to make like you are very impressed and agree with the rhetoric. The next time he met me, he paid for my coffee, and told me how he found it revolting that someone with my capacities was earning so little. He was and is still a man who has manners and some education so that he could easily blend into the society without anyone realizing what he was involved in. His proposition was to assist him and his group on the fraudulent transfer of some 50 million from a neighboring country to the Republic of South Africa.

Q: Nothing less to start with?

A: These people have the eyes bigger than their stomachs; they all dream of something big to take an early retirement, habitually at the expense of someone else, and our gentleman had the necessary logistical assets apart from the usual bank account owner. His particular contact in the bank was the Assistant IT Manager of the bank being attacked, a most valuable asset. It was like waving a red flag in front of a bull. I had to know more about that one and in more or less twenty-four hours, I had agreed to help with the job in exchange for part of the cake naturally. It was a most busy twenty-four hours.

Q: Why?

A: Even though I was waiting for that moment, I was taken by surprise with the rapidity with which it unfolded and as I had no intention of helping them anyway, I had to warn the authorities. The best way to do that was to find someone who knew someone whose position enabled them to not only make decisions but ensure their effectiveness in the Intelligence Service. As it turned out I made a very poor choice and I will come back to that if you give me the occasion to do so. Anyway I delivered all the information to a Colonel in the Intelligence Service and made him listen live to the IT from the foreign bank and another mole (this time a woman) inside the same bank. He had sufficient information to raise the alarm and call the big boys.

Q: Who are the Big Boys?

A: The big boys are from the IT division of the Intelligence Service and as the other bank was across the border, we had the full attention of Interpol as well. The stakes went higher than expected.

Q: Much like in a movie?

A: Better than in a movie, those lacking imagination in Hollywood should come on a field trip to South Africa where they will have volumes to work on. Once all that was organized, I was contacted by the Ethiopian in question who had another emergency to deal with. The IT and some participants in the transfer of the money wanted to cross the border and enter South Africa and they wanted even more than that as they demanded a meeting with me. I had to play for time as I had a new problem to solve rapidly.

Q: What was this problem?

A: I have a good knowledge of information technology including decades of experience as a hobby but even though I had immersed myself quite deeply in the subject, I had absolutely no clue of how this kind of work was done. I had no references about the most recent exploits and actuality of the malware being used and if it was quite easy to convince my Ethiopian that I could do everything he could dream of, it would definitely be more difficult to sell that to a seasoned IT Manager of an internationally renowned bank. The Ethiopian that I code named the ‘Queen of Sheba’ was insistent on us meeting ASAP and I just managed to delay the meeting for 4 days.

Q: Was it sufficient time?

A: I never thought it would be enough as I wondered what kind of demonstration they would need to be content that I could do the job and of course, not give them the suspicion that I was a plant of some kind. I did my homework like the student having the skills at hand but surprised to realize that the exams are around the corner. Before the big meeting, we met on a regular basis everyday, to finalise the situation, to get the latest updates and prepare for the trip while daydreaming about what they would do with our percentage of the money stolen. I also got to meet the Colonel of the Intelligence Service a few times and that is where the plot thickens.

Q: What do you mean?

A: I explained since the beginning, these criminals are divided into layers from the simplest information gatherer using social media to the key contacts inside banks. There is unfortunately, the layer of the corrupt supposed civil servants that we encountered and far too many of those, far too often.

Q: And this Colonel was one of those?

A: That is for you to decide and that’s where the story starts. It must be noted that there were other bit and key players but we will come to that.

This only ‘half’ the story and even then, there are verifiable facts that will remain disguised for very obvious reasons, which we presume (hopefully rightly) that the reader will be able to locate by themselves. The amount of unpalatable factually verifiable information relating to this article that is not publicly available (if you know how to look, it is there), exists and is verifiable, is large, and undeniable. In the second section of this article, we expand on some of the topics we touched upon here and include others which are comically absurd if looked at unveiled.

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