Arjen Kamphuis, a Dutch cybersecurity expert and “associate” of Wikileaks, dropped off the face of the planet on August 20 while on vacation in Bodoe, Norway.
Due to the nature of his solitary journey to the far reaches of the Arctic circle, he was not reported missing until August 29, a week after he was due to fly back to his home in the Netherlands.
The disappearance of Arjen Kamphuis, 46, has so far flummoxed a widening police investigation that has chased stray clues and false leads in Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Norwegian police have released statements saying that they have no idea whether he was a victim of foul play, but that they “are open to all possibilities.”
The uncertainty, and Mr. Kamphuis’s links to WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization that has run afoul of governments and other powerful interests, has the internet buzzing with conspiracy theories. Some suggest a kidnapping — or worse — involving Russia, the C.I.A., MI6, Islamists or the Clintons, while others ask if he intended to disappear, possibly on some secret assignment for WikiLeaks.
On Twitter, WikiLeaks described Mr. Kamphuis as an “associate” of Julian Assange, the group’s founder. Mr. Assange has lived for years in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid arrest and what he fears would be extradition to the United States to face prosecution for publishing government secrets.
But Mr. Kamphuis’s precise relationship with WikiLeaks is unclear. Friends say he is not close to Mr. Assange, but he has reportedly offered training to WikiLeaks members relating to “Information Security for Journalists,” a handbook he co-wrote on how to shield communications and data from government surveillance.
The search has grown into a cross-border hunt for a man who specializes in evading detection. The Norwegian National Criminal Investigation Service, Kripos, has assigned investigators in Oslo to the case, and on Tuesday, it sent four officers to Bodo.
So a mysterious cybersecurity expert closely (or not) affiliated with Julian Assange, Wikileaks’ founder and legendary anti-elitist digital badboy, is missing. Our suspicions naturally perk up. Not to be conspiratorial, of course, but…but.
The guy was 47, apparently in good health, and he just vanishes while on a Nordic holiday?
And if paranoid suspicions of his disappearance, anticipated death, didn’t need additional fuel, yesterday it appears some of his belongings were found in the waters near the spot he was last seen.
Police have found the belongings of a missing associate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at sea in northern Norway more than three weeks after he disappeared.
Arjen Kamphuis, 47, has been missing since August 20, when he left his hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodoe, where he had been on holiday.
The Dutch cybersecurity expert’s belongings were found by a man out fishing on Tuesday in an area to the east of Bodoe.
Police confirmed the items ‘belong to the missing person’ but provided no details about them due to the ongoing investigation.
‘Due to the ongoing investigation the police do not at this time wish to release any information about which specific items that have been found,’ Norwegian police said in a statement on Wednesday.
Now, police said they were examining three theories: a voluntary disappearance including a possible suicide, an accident, or a crime.
‘We haven’t made enough progress in the case to be able to eliminate or confirm any of these three theories,’ inspector Bjarte Walla told AFP. ‘We are keeping all options open.’
I vote for the “voluntary disappearance” option. Belongings at sea stink heavily of red herrings. The question becomes: why would Kamphuis vanish himself? Is he fleeing inner or outer demons?
When I first read of this and the appearance of Kamphuis’s belongings at sea, yesterday, 9/11, I thought of my post from Monday.
For no apparent reason.