Cicada Files: Marcus Wanners & “Halfassed Journalism”
by Estéban Trujillo de Gutiérrez
Mr. Marcus Wanners is the sole proprietor of Primus Holdings, LLC, and the lone custodian of the Cicada 3301 Trademark.
I publish here details about the Cicada 3301 Trademark and its history, as well as statements by Mr. Wanners concerning the Cicada elder known publicly by the alias Z 3301. I introduce Mr. Wanners’ own Cicada 3301 page, and I discuss some implications of his custody of the Trademark that occur to me, though I am sure that others will emerge over time.
At the demand of Mr. Wanners, I publish his words “in context with no edits.” Should Mr. Wanners object to my presentation of his emails, he is welcome to publish them himself. I consider myself privileged to publish verbatim Mr. Wanners’ assertion that I engage in “ritualistic doxxing” and “halfassed journalism.”
No matter how many times that I deny it, some persist in describing me as a journalist. I am an historian and a political scientist. The distinction does matter. I do not restrict myself to journalistic practices. No one edits my work, no one imposes deadlines on me, no one fact-checks my work except my post-publication audience, and I publish what I deem important, redacting what I choose.
In sum, there is no agent, no editor, no publisher, no fact checker, no legal department, no finance department, no human resources department. I work for no one except for posterity.
When someone says to me, “this is off the record,” I make that agreement under the supposition that the confidentiality is mutual, it is bidirectional. When my confidences are betrayed, I consider such agreements canceled. I practice a strict reciprocity, and conduct myself with the same courtesies that are extended to me. I reserve the right to be more polite than my subjects. But that is very much up to me.
These communications exchanged with Mr. Marcus Wanners are lightly edited for grammar. We all make minor grammatical mistakes. His final email to me included the riposte, “It appears you’ve done some copy editing and reformatting, which is pretty amateur-hour for a self-described “historian” dealing with a written primary source.” As this is my article and my website, and I am not a journalist, Mr. Wanners does not get to tell me how to format my work.
Mr. Wanners and I corresponded after I invited him to preview a prepublication draft of my article about Z 3301. This routine courtesy ended up boomeranging on me, as Mr. Wanners and his colleagues violated our confidentiality, extracted an excerpt from that draft, manipulated the excerpt, and then incited a ludicrous controversy that ended up being fake. All apparently for the lulz.
One abiding mystery about Mr. Wanners’ involvement with the cypherpunk order Cicada 3301 is now resolved. Many were perplexed by the way that the elders of 3301 abandoned Mr. Wanners and other members of his brood on their dark web forum. Those trained in tradecraft wondered at it. Customary practice would bring the relationship to a cordial culmination, and a quit claim would terminate the liaison. Such procedures are simply courteous, adapted in the corporate world for obvious reasons, and indicative of a modicum of professionalism.
One conclusion: their 3301 interlocutors were untrained, and this is yet one more indicator that no intelligence agency was organizationally involved with 3301. There were no lawyers in the loop, no case officers writing cable traffic for the Cyber desk at Langley, no analysts updating a Cicada file.
Another conclusion: Mr. Wanners and his collaborators were not worth the hassle of bringing the relationship to an amiable conclusion. With no respect for niceties, 3301 elders assessed Mr. Wanners and his colleagues, found them wanting, and simply dumped them.
In an absurd Twitter exchange over the prepublication excerpt that I mentioned, Mr. Wanners’ character and those of his associates were spotlighted. It is understandable that the elders of 3301 simply walked away from Mr. Wanners and his colleagues, much as I am now doing, with the publication of this article.
If Mr. Wanners and his collaborators were packaged for sympathetic public consumption in their recent documentary Great Big Story, we see their unmediated personas here. If I treat them with more cordiality than they deserve, consider that an indicator about me: I am under no compulsion to malign them as they abused me.
To the degree that Mr. Wanners considered our exchange beneficial to him, he did send me several clarifications. Customary practice would entail collaboration to produce a final version. I realize now that this was never Mr. Wanners’ intention. After he realized that he could not outmaneuver me, he and his colleagues attacked.
Mr. Wanners was always on the offense with me, and I am not sure why. Ingrained disdain for a boomer? Fear of unmitigated scrutiny? It is unfortunate. I publish his email verbatim and without redaction, inserting editorial commentary as needed. Screenshots are at the end of the piece.
Draft submitted for Mr. Wanners’ review October 27, 2019. Reply received at 17:47 hrs Bangkok Local. After our long exchange on Twitter, I lost all interest in providing further prepublication drafts for Mr. Wanners’ review. Interim revision completed on December 25, (Merry Christmas!), 2019, and finalized for publication on January 9, 2020: in 7125 words. Minor updates and corrections: January 13, 2020: 7163 words. Further polishing: January 23, 2020: 7227 words.
And with this, amateur-hour begins.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Tuesday, October 8, 2019 06:49 AM (Bangkok Local)
To: Esteban Trujillo de Gutierrez <firstname.lastname@example.org>
“What a read. I don’t endorse any of it as particularly accurate, but I had a couple things that are so egregious they can’t go without at least an attempt at correction:
* Why in the heck are you calling me brother G? If someone said I go by that name, they were messing with you lmao.”
I referred to Wanners as “brother G” because he was referred to as “G” in several videos and articles, for example: Fright Knight, “Winner of the 2015 Cicada 3301 Puzzle | The Story of “G,” YouTube, November 15, 2017. Among others.
The Description states: “The story brings you into the world of “G,” a 3301 member. He shows us what it is like to be in the inner sanctum of 3301 and how he got there.”
There are many videos and articles on the internet that refer to Mr. Wanners as “G.” Calling Wanners “brother G” was a reference to his public persona. Now that Mr. Wanners advises me that this was journalistic license, I will refer to him as Mr. Wanners.
I am sadly learning that anyone can say anything about anybody on the internet and suffer no consequences aside from humiliation–and for those who lack all shame, not even that.
Also, I must apologize on Mr. Wanners’ behalf for his frequent inclusion of the term “lmao” in his tweets and emails. We all know what this means, but Wanners’ incessant use of it is tiresome. Maybe now that I mention it, he will curb himself.
(Continuing with Mr. Wanners’ email).
The Cicada 3301 Trademark
“* I’m not sure why the trademark was ever registered. I wasn’t around for that and found out about it later when Beth got in contact with me via Nox. I believe she said they registered it prior to attempting some sad attempts at a movie deal. In my opinion, the trademark ethically belongs to the original 3301, or whoever they’ve passed the PGP key on to. If someone shows up with the key and asks for the trademark, it’s theirs with no questions asked.”
It is impossible not to respect Mr. Wanners for this, assuming that he is being truthful. He says that he will surrender the Cicada 3301 Trademark to any elder of the order who can confirm his or her bonafides, particularly a Keyholder. I do not think that any of us can ask for anything more, and I thank Mr. Wanners in advance for acting as an honorable custodian of the Trademark.
Mr. Wanners’ reference to Nox is to Nox Populi on YouTube, a member of the Wikia cabal defined by Z 3301. Nox is also known as iiiustrious on Twitch, and as Aeralys, a moderator on the Cicada subreddit. At this point, I see no purpose in further identifying this native of Alberta, Canada. So much for accusations of “ritualistic doxxing.”
It appears that the Cicada 3301 Trademark was first registered in May, 2018. Registration documents confirm that the initial Trademark was jointly registered to Mr. Michael Levine and Ms. Beth Bogaerts, whose surname I was forbidden to publish, though it appears in public documentation. The Trademark was recently transferred solely to Mr. Wanners, acting as Primus Holdings, LLC, dated July 10, 2019.
Ms. Bogaerts is Beth (Melissa) Bogaerts née Blackburn, her maiden surname. As I say, she initially forbade me to publish her surname, though she doxxes herself from time to time, (re)tweets her own photo, and her surname is published on the Trademark. In the screenshot below, she retweeted herself posting her own photo, using one of her multiple alternate Twitter accounts, also identifying herself by her longtime alias, “Fox.”
Ms. Bogaerts was a peripheral member of the latter-day Cicada 3301 during the Schoenberger era (2015-8), a researcher self-affiliated with WikiLeaks. Much more could be said about her, but I am writing history, not melodrama. I choose not to address Ms. Beth Bogaerts in greater detail, though I will be excoriated by some for simply writing this much.
It is probably wasted effort, conducting myself like a gentleman, though I do not do it for her benefit. I do it for myself.
In my interview with Manuel Chavez III (aka Defango) on May 22, 2019, he extolled Ms. Bogaert’s researching skills, noting that she was infamous for excavating timely backup information when it was most needed. I am unaware that Ms. Bogaerts enjoys any formal affiliation with WikiLeaks, though she did tell me that she met Julian Assange while he was sequestered in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
Ms. Bogaerts initially shared the Trademark with the composer Michael Levine, one of two “head composers” during Cicada’s Middle Period, as verified by the email titled “Issue of Authenticity” published in my article on Z 3301.
Later Ms. Bogaerts transferred the Trademark whole and in entirety with no caveats to Mr. Wanners, an event which was recorded as occurring in July, 2019. Despite Ms. Bogaert’s breach of our mutual confidentiality agreement, I will nonetheless exercise prudence where she did not, and confide that Ms. Bogaerts selected Mr. Wanners for this position of trust to protect the intellectual property of 3301.
Indeed, Ms. Bogaerts admitted to me that she felt guilty putting Mr. Wanners in this position, but he did accept her offer, and some may believe that her selection of him was a good one. Should Ms. Bogaerts wish to dispute these statements I am pleased to direct her to her email to me dated October 7, 2019, published elsewhere, or drop a transcript of our conversation on that same date. I advise her not to toy with me.
History will ascertain whether her choice of Mr. Wanners was a good one. For better or for worse, Ms. Bogaerts made her decision and she handed the Trademark over to him.
Absurd Claims of Coercion
In his email to me, Mr. Wanners continues:
“* Primus Holdings LLC is solely owned and operated by myself, and nobody other than me and my attorneys have ever had any affiliation with it.
Anyone else claiming to have any involvement or invitation to involvement is lying. Moral of the story is to not trust Z’s bullshit.
* As Beth has no doubt said, I obviously did not blackmail or coerce her or anything like that. Neither did any of the wiki mods, as far as I’ve heard from her. I’ve BCC’d her so she can confirm directly if she likes. Moral of the story is to not trust Z’s bullshit.”
This is precisely what Ms. Bogaerts said to me, there was no coercion, though she forbade me to say so publicly, leaving me in an untenable position. I nonetheless went back to Z with the accusation that he made, and he initially doubled down on his assertion that Wanners extorted her. I found this unbelievable. Z 3301 obviously misinterpreted some bad information, and he did later issue a clarification on Twitter:
I wanted to know whom the vaunted Z 3301 was listening to–because it might explain other bizarre inconsistencies. In fact, Ms. Bogaert’s habit of demanding confidentiality from the men around her also put Z 3301 himself in an untenable position.
In email dated October 7, 2019, Z 3301 confirmed:
“I do know what happened and the timeline, but I’m not going to mention any of that for publication because she specifically requested I don’t. So, no, I do not mean to be contradicting or anything.
But I will tell you, I do not know who Titus Frost is, gHOST is a joke, Arturo is clinically insane, Wanner (sic) is a blackmailer, TS is a pillhead and manipulator, and I want to stay neutral because I, like Beth, Michael and genki, am done with it.” (Z 3301, Email, October 7, 2019 13:37 PM Bangkok Local).
We know now that Z 3301 was reiterating information relayed to him by Thomas Schoenberger, and Schoenberger was simply repeating what Ms. Bogaerts herself told him. It also appears that Ms. Bogaerts herself made the blunt allegation to Z 3301. He admitted to a misunderstanding. For reasons of her own that she may someday explain, Ms. Bogaerts did claim to Schoenberger and to others that members of the Wikia, as Z 3301 described them, were subjecting her to some form of coercion–threatening to doxx her identity.
For the record, the commitments of confidentiality that Ms. Bogaerts imposed on myself and others were not just unreasonable–she soon violated them herself. After she betrayed my confidence, she joined Martin Wehrmeyer and Marcus Wanners in manipulating an early draft that I shared with them, then ordered me to “leave Marcus alone.” I declined.
I told her no. After she and Wehrmeyer and Wanners treated me like a chew toy, I lost all patience with her absurd secrecy demands. I was initially prepared to comply with Ms. Bogaert’s commandments of confidentiality. Then she demonstrated that privacy for her was not mutual: it was unilateral, she expected me to respect her confidentiality but was dismissive of mine.
My research into these matters confirms that Ms. Bogaerts is accustomed to manipulate the men in her life, and many of them do permit her to do it. That is up to them. I am not one of them.
Perhaps predictably, her misbehavior spawned the ironic hashtag: #LeaveEstebanAlone.
Returning to Mr. Wanners’ email, he wrote:
“* No clue about this “Heathen” group or “Parker” contrary to Z speculation. Moral of the story is to not trust Z’s bullshit.
* I’m pretty damn sure neither “Z” nor gHOST3301 have solved any of the puzzles, let alone have ever been part of Cicada. The old-school solving community is pretty tight, and they’d be able to verify their claims with the previous years’ winners easily if they were actually affiliated at all.”
Mr. Wanners presumes that successful solvers interacted with the legitimate 3301, via an acknowledged elder, whom he fails to identify. He does raise a legit question, which is what evidence exists to validate Z 3301 or gHOST3301 as Cicada elders. Z 3301 is discussed in Cicada Files: Z 3301, et al, and gHOST3301 in my interview with him dated September 2, 2019.
Mr. Wanners also assumes that elders of 3301 are aware of the activities of other elders, that there is a unity of purpose within the organization that does not, apparently, exist. It is increasingly clear that no such unity of purpose across the organization ever existed, puzzle-making aside. The better that I understand the lack of organization characteristic of the early Cicada 3301, conundrums like this become clearer.
In Cicada 3301, we encounter an organization that lacked structure. There were no identifiable leaders, beyond elders known by alias, there was no chain of command. Some elders, by no means not all of them, conversed on IRC channels or on dark net forums, and when a task needed to be handled, one of them would volunteer or be nominated to handle it.
Writ large, the organization was, in a word, anarchic, making it an elusive counterintelligence target. There was no organization to penetrate, there were no identifiable subordinate divisions to infiltrate: the hacktivist group Anonymous was more influential to the way that Cicada 3301 functioned than any other predecessor.
This meant that some elders were in the dark about certain decisions, and many lacked any awareness of one another. I am pursuing interviews with other elders from Cicada’s early period, and I would like to believe that further information may emerge, but I am increasingly not confident of that.
The possibility that Mr. Wanners’ brood was handled by Thomas Schoenberger with the occasional involvement of Z 3301, or any of a number of other possible stand-ins, cannot be discounted. This would explain certain lapses of security and the generalized lack of professionalism recounted by Wanners.
I am not maligning Z 3301 here–he is a programmer and puzzle maker of evident gifts, and his organizational management expertise is not on trial. I am saying that Thomas Schoenberger lacks expertise in communications security. He is an amateur. He claims to be a composer: he cannot even prove that, to anyone’s satisfaction. Nobody, anywhere, ever witnessed a Schoenberger symphony.
Schoenberger’s credibility is nonexistent. Nor is there any definitive body of evidence confirming that Schoenberger ever played a role in Cicada 3301 beyond influencing extra-canonical puzzles that emerged after 2015.
Mr. Wanners never explained to me or to anyone else precisely whom he dealt with on his dark net forum after he and other successful solvers gathered there. The identities of Cicada elders were disguised by aliases.
“If they say they’re from “Cicada” but another unrelated section of the organization, it smells like bullshit to me. 3301 said on the darkweb site that they ONLY use Cicada and related terms+imagery in this specific cell, because it’s the one that deals with cryptography. Anyone from outside the cell would not know the organization by the same name, so it sounds to me like they don’t know what they’re talking about. Moral of the story is to not trust Z’s bullshit.
I intended to interview Mr. Wanners in detail about these matters. After my Twitter exchange with him in late October, 2019, I realized that Marcus Wanners is a dry hole: his understanding of Cicada is limited, and the organization crudely dumped him after just a few months of interaction. While I am indeed trying to get the hard facts established and recorded, I do not believe that Marcus Wanners knows much more that can advance our understanding.
There is of course a possibility that these statements will provoke Marcus Wanners to publish screenshots or other ephemera, if only to dispute my characterizations. I welcome that.
Limitations of the Cicada 3301 Trademark
Mr. Wanners wrote:
* Z has no idea what parts of the LP (Liber Primus) I’ve looked at or am currently working on, so obviously that whole section is wrong. The article says he’s never even talked to me, so how would he know? Why did you even think he’d have that information? Moral of the story is to not trust Z’s bullshit.”
The honest answer is that I, like so many others, was seduced by the romance of the notion, “I am talking to Z 3301!” As we are seeing, all parties involved in this story are prone to human error. Including Z himself.
Mr. Wanners continues:
“* It’s amusing to hear Z’s opinion that my story “doesn’t add up” with his. I agree.
* I have no idea who’s making copyright claims on YouTube. Why are you assuming it was me (or even related to the Trademark at all)? The Cicada Trademark is only valid for online interactive games, not videos, so I doubt it even CAN be used for DMCA takedowns as you’re suggesting. Check your facts please.”
Mr. Wanners consequently denies blocking Arturo Tafoyovsky’s video on YouTube, a take-down which was credited by Tafoyovsky to CNN anyway.
Suprisingly, Mr. Wanners here confirms a statement made elsewhere by Thomas Schoenberger, that this Trademark is only valid for online interactive games. Not videos. This means that a vulnerability that Schoenberger or other malefactors can exploit to hijack the 3301 logo and symbols remains extant.
I did leap to the conclusion that Mr. Wanners filed that take-down request with YouTube. My suspicion was that he was able to provide a Trademark document that was immediately respected by YouTube. I see now that an alternative explanation also makes perfect sense: YouTube was so weirdly responsive because the take-down request was filed by CNN.
As anyone who attempts to file a take-down request with YouTube realizes the hard way, they automate the process and depend heavily upon algorithms: humans, actual humans, are rarely involved. Unless you are a fake news agency like CNN. Surely YouTube assigns a human to handle the CNN account.
A Cicada 3301® Interactive Experience
Then Mr. Wanners addresses his own Cicada 3301 puzzle.
“* The puzzle on the marcus.wanners.net site is, as you probably noticed, a primarily humorous endeavor. Due to the nature of USPTO-registered (US Patent and Trademark Office) trademarks, the holder must be actively trading in the protected mark in order to retain rights.”
“To fulfill this requirement, in the style of an ARG, I have created a very silly puzzle with an associated over-the-top social media campaign (see @primusholdings on Twitter for a sample). I think it makes a pretty solid parody of (Thomas Schoenberger) TS’s ridiculous ideas about using magical musical online puzzle games to “enhance cognitive function” or something. Enjoy!”
Mr. Wanners continues:
“* My Nox video and the GBS (Great Big Story) series can speak for themselves regarding my thoughts on the real puzzles. The RS (Rolling Stone) article is largely technically correct (though details of my personal life were fictionalized), so IDK (I do not know) why Z is claiming that the GBS videos I’m in somehow contradict it.
* As for the fake puzzles (pi.mobi, anything remotely TS-related (Thomas Schoenberger), obviously ANYTHING NOT SIGNED), see here:
Mr. Wanners is manifestly a critic of extracanonical puzzles or communications which are not legitimized by the Cicada 3301 PGP Key.
Thomas Schoenberger and Co-Conspirators
Mr. Wanners and I agree on this much.
* By my reckoning, TS (Thomas Schoenberger) is an objectively garbage sociopath. I believe he should be in prison due to his repeated felonies, which have demonstrated over decades that he is a persistent danger to those around him. He especially should never be allowed to profit from his shitty “Cicada” puzzles at the expense individuals in the community he is and has been harassing, along with the real 3301‘s reputation.”
I agree with Mr. Wanners’ assessment of Mr. Schoenberger, as does the documentary record. Schoenberger was charged with Felony Stalking in 2011 in Napa, CA, case number CR155849. The arrest record reflects a Felony conviction based on a plea of nolo contendere, in which Mr. Schoenberger accepted conviction but declined to admit guilt.
Mr. Outtrim engages in “whataboutism” as he dismisses the multiple convictions of Thomas Schoenberger, as if the “rap sheets of many of the other people involved” somehow negate them.
What about the numerous other victims of Thomas Schoenberger who were never arrested, much less convicted? Are they not worthy to be mentioned?
Mr. Outtrim characterizes references to Mr. Schoenberger’s convictions for Felony Stalking as “disinformation campaigns,” and because his multiple other convictions did not happen this week, or this month, he does not consider them to be “part of the story.” (Steve Outtrim, “LARP Wars Part 3 – Shadowbox,” Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man, October 24, 2019).
Mr. Outtrim crossed the line to partisan complicity with Mr. Schoenberger long ago, and his credibility where Mr. Schoenberger is concerned is shot. These two gentlemen are co-conspirators, and they collaborate in misinformation, cyberbullying and defamation. Mr. Outtrim merely tries to wrap his abuses in a charade of “research.”
Anyone encountering Mr. Schoenberger’s behavior on Twitter and YouTube over the past several years realizes that his conviction for Felony Stalking dated February 2011 did not deter him. To the contrary. His cyberbullying and defamation campaigns are broadly inclusive, irrational and relentless.
18 U.S. Code § 2261A. Stalking :
(1) travels in interstate or foreign commerce or is present within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or enters or leaves Indian country, with the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, and in the course of, or as a result of, such travel or presence engages in conduct that—
(A) places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to—
(i) that person;
(ii) an immediate family member (as defined in section 115) of that person;
(iii) a spouse or intimate partner of that person; or
(iv) the pet, service animal, emotional support animal, or horse of that person; or
(B) causes, attempts to cause, or would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to a person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of subparagraph (A); or
(2) with the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, uses the mail, any interactive computer service or electronic communication service or electronic communication system of interstate commerce, or any other facility of interstate or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that—
(A) places that person in reasonable fear of the death of or serious bodily injury to a person, a pet, a service animal, an emotional support animal, or a horse described in clause (i), (ii), (iii), or (iv) of paragraph (1)(A); or
(B) causes, attempts to cause, or would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to a person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of paragraph (1)(A),
shall be punished as provided in section 2261(b) of this title.
(Added Pub. L. 104–201, div. A, title X, § 1069(a), Sept. 23, 1996, 110 Stat. 2655; amended Pub. L. 106–386, div. B, title I, § 1107(b)(1), Oct. 28, 2000, 114 Stat. 1498; Pub. L. 109–162, title I, § 114(a), Jan. 5, 2006, 119 Stat. 2987; Pub. L. 113–4, title I, § 107(b), Mar. 7, 2013, 127 Stat. 77; Pub. L. 115–334, title XII, § 12502(a)(1), Dec. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 4982.)
As can seen, Mr. Schoenberger is targeting no fewer than 29 separate victims, and in some cases, his accusations are dangerous. He favors charges of pedophilia and Satanism, and for those that he particularly despises, he claims that they are employed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Fortunately for Mr. Schoenberger, his accusations are false. It is a felony to blow the covered identity of CIA officers, as detailed in 50 U.S. Code § 3121. Protection of identities of certain United States undercover intelligence officers, agents, informants, and sources. Originally the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, 50 U.S.C. §§ 421–426 is now encompassed by 50 U.S. Code § 3121.
In my own case, I am not employed by the CIA. If I were, and if my position was not covered, I would say so. I am long retired, deliberately and selfishly out of the game, and I do not miss it. I repeatedly state that my public biography is published on LinkedIn.
My biography depicts assignments and training that are typical for a member of the US Army Special Forces. Contrary to popular belief, not all Green Berets work for the CIA. Some do. I was not so distinguished. I do not expect to be believed, but it does not matter. While I am old, if they need me, they know how to reach me.
Aside from asserting that I am a CIA officer, Mr. Schoenberger also claims that I engaged in cocaine trafficking because I was a DEA advisor to the Peruvian Policia de Drogas in 1990. I participated in seizures and other law enforcement operations in the Upper Huallaga Valley of the Peruvian Amazon. It is particularly noxious to be accused of complicity in an activity that I professionally opposed at risk of my life. Indeed, my Senior Agent was killed in action.
Mr. Schoenberger is not just foul–his research skills are nonexistent. He apparently missed the part where I resigned from DEA and published criticism of Operation Snowcap in The New York Times. (Esteban Trujillo de Gutierrez, “Corruption and Cocaine in Peru, New York Times, April 7, 1992,” Magic Kingdom Dispatch, March 20, 2017).
Mr. Schoenberger further threatens to manipulate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to ensure that Google searches on my name produce affiliations to pedophilia. He accuses me of consorting with pedophiles, Satanists, Jew-haters, and Christian-haters, cocaine trafficking and human trafficking.
Mr. Schoenberger also missed the survey of the pedophile pandemic in 48 installments that I published in 2017. (Esteban Trujillo de Gutierrez, “On the Pedophile Pandemic,” Magic Kingdom Dispatch, October 14, 2017). I could go on. Research is not his strong suit. But then, accuracy is not his intention.
Mr. Schoenberger conflates me with the YouTube user Bump Ahead, and claims that I also upload videos as ScreenShot, though ScreenShot denies it, as do I. I am not Bump Ahead, though I do know the identity of that YouTube user, and I consider him/her a friend. I do not know the identity of ScreenShot.
Lest this article digress further into the morass of Thomas Schoenberger’s criminal history, I return to Mr. Wanners’ email.
“* I’ve never heard of anyone getting money from wikia/fandom. If the mods were trying to drive ad revenue, wouldn’t they be pushing as much content as possible instead of limiting it to real, verified puzzles? It just doesn’t hold water, along with most of Z and TS’s (Thomas Schoenberger) shoddily-constructed versions of reality. We’ve actually been trying to move to semantic mediawiki for a while to get more rich data tooling and less ads, but nobody wanted to do the migration and maintain it.
* I have spent low 4 figures USD ($US Dollars) in legal and compliance fees to register and operate Primus Holdings LLC, just because I wanted a name that would annoy TS (Thomas Schoenberger). I sell ads on the site for a dollar (cash by mail only, or a single physical unit of any currency of your choice) for legal reasons as per above. If you think I went into this with any kind of profit in mind, go take a look at the taxes on a California LLC, lol.
* Contrary to your claims, the seasoned cicadasolvers people typically tend shy away from the press because they ritualistically dox us (e.g. you with ‘box in your own article) or get facts wrong and just confuse people more (e.g. everything mentioned above). I got back to you because it looks like you might be trying to do the right thing and honestly find facts, a rare effort which I appreciate.”
Thank you, Mr. Wanners. I would like to politely suggest that referring to Mr. Martin Wehrmeyer as Mr. Martin Wehrmeyer is not doxxing. That is referring to him by his legal name. I initially intended to conceal his surname, at his request, despite the fact that it was previously published on 4chan and in Rolling Stone. And elsewhere. And then Wehrmeyer manipulated a segment from a prepublication draft article that I shared with him as a courtesy and he inflated it into an absurdity.
Those who decline to respect my confidentiality should not be surprised when I reciprocate. When I am practicing confidentiality, it is because I wish to ensure that I publish verified information, and minimize unintentional embarassment for those who prefer to remain in the background. I am not playing games. Nor do I have a personal agenda in these matters beyond writing the narrative about what happened.
Mr. Martin Wehrmeyer’s role in these affairs is minor, and as a consequence I minimize discussion of him. Should he wish to project himself into greater prominence, I will be pleased to accommodate him.
Mr. Wanners continues:
“Allegations of monetary or publicity motives are comical to most of us (in the same sense that I’m still waiting for my Soros check for protesting the Trump inauguration!). Trust me, many of these people are a LOT more famous under other names for other reasons, and people with this set of skills have many much, much more effective ways to make money.
* You keep citing documents or correspondences in your possession without posting or even describing them. In this information climate, none but the most gullible would come close to buying this. If you’re honestly trying to document history here, put up or shut up.”
I am obviously sensitive to this criticism, hence I published the email “Issue of Authenticity” in the main article in this series, about the 3301 elder Z 3301. My problem is that the interview that I conducted with Manuel Chavez III on May 22, 2019, with its accompanying commentary, now exceeds 80,000 words in length.
I am not asking for sympathy. It was my bad decision to write about Cicada 3301, and I will be punished accordingly. After I began transcribing that 3.5-hour interview, Chavez kindly sent me a large tranche of Cicada 3301 internal documentation. It all needs to be curated, and his interview reorganized and broken down into manageable chunks. I am working on this.
The Cicada Files
To this point, just two interviews in the Cicada Files are published: interviews with gHOST3301 and Arturo Tafoyovsky. This set of articles about Martin Wehrmeyer, Z 3301, and Marcus Wanners required evident research, and I hope that it is apparent that I investigated appropriately.
“In case you haven’t noticed, most of the stuff “Z” and that gHOST3301 guy told you is speculation at best, and outright misinformation at worst. I wouldn’t publish ANYTHING from them (e.g. the obviously baseless and false blackmailing + harassment accusation against me) without real, independent verification.”
Hence this article, citing your email, Mr. Wanners, for which I thank you.
“I’m not going to try to sue you, but some of the other characters in this story might. TS especially has a tendency to threaten lawsuits or worse at every opportunity, so if you publish this maybe watch your ass like the rest of us have to these days due to TS+shithead squadron.”
I am glad that you do not intend to sue me, and again, I thank you. I suspect that Mr. Schoenberger’s legal calendar may soon be full, but your warning is well-taken. Mr. Schoenberger’s response to my publications appears to mostly manifest in rabid YouTube videos accusing me of criminality, gang-stalking, cocaine trafficking, consorting with pedophiles and Satanists, and being a “spook,” many of them outright defamatory and libelous.
When Mr. Schoenberger whips up a virtual posse to crowdsource investigations into me and promises to report me to the Royal Thai government, the FBI and Interpol, threatening to darken my doorstep in Bangkok for a little “one-on-one,” he is beyond hyperbole and free speech. Considering his prior felony convictions for stalking, and taking his words at face value, I must assume that he intends to violently act in meatspace.
When Mr. Schoenberger attempts to expose me as a CIA officer, and particularly when he asserts that I engage in cocaine trafficking and human trafficking, he is endangering myself and my family. Violating 50 U.S. Code § 3121 is a felony. Whether I actually am employed by the CIA is irrelevant–Mr. Schoenberger’s intent is to expose me as a CIA officer whether I am so employed or not. This is not just none of his business: it is profoundly dangerous, particularly when my previous employment with DEA and DOD Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is taken into consideration.
Mr. Schoenberger’s further misconduct egregiously violates 18 U.S. Code § 2261A, Felony Stalking, but I will leave that to the Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force and the local FBI Cyber Squad in the Bay Area to assess. Accusing me of socializing with Satanists is unpleasant, but it is not a crime. Accusing me of consorting with pedophiles is. Cocaine trafficking and human smuggling are felonies. Claiming that he is protected because his common-law brother-in-law is an FBI Legal Attaché in Central America is impermissible.
I am not seeking to embarrass that Special Agent, but I am discretely advising him that Mr. Schoenberger is using his name in vain. I am providing Mr. Schoenberger’s videos to the Secret Service and the FBI and I am filing formal complaints against him. As much as I might prefer to simply publish my findings, then forget him, and move on to more interesting subjects, that fails to address the heart of the problem which he personifies.
What is the likelihood that Mr. Schoenberger will be charged for felony offenses? Mr. Chavez long ago filed criminal charges against him, and Mr. Jesse Davis and Mr. Gabe Hoffman are seeking to serve him with orders of protection and lawsuits. While Mr. Schoenberger will be served eventually, and he will face justice in a courtroom, he also appears to be a walking heart attack, and if I do not suffer a stroke, then perhaps he will. Unfortunately it seems to be a maxim that the good die young and the rotten live forever.
In any case, my final fear is that Mr. Wanners will consider this article an example of “halfassed journalism,” despite my protestation that I am not a journalist.
Overall, this article and correspondence so far are prime examples of halfassed journalism, and I hope the final product is better-researched and less egregiously slanderous.
I will write the words once again, in the hope that they will be heard: I am not a journalist, I do not engage in “gotcha journalism.” I am a political scientist and an historian, writing about the organization, functions and goals of Cicada 3301.
I hope that this final product satisfies Mr. Wanners, though I am not optimistic. Should there be other points that Mr. Wanners wishes to address, he is welcome to correspond with me. I would be pleased to publish his comments, verbatim, and unredacted.
Mr. Wanners mercifully concludes:
I hope these clarifications and those you receive from others mentioned in your article will also dispel your fears that we’re trying to run and hide from some “inconvenient spotlight.”
They do indeed, Mr. Wanners. I am pleased to publish your clarifications.
In this article about emails that I exchanged with the Cicada 3301 solver Marcus Wanners, I clarified the history of the Cicada 3301 Trademark, Mr. Wanners criticized the elder known as Z 3301, and I addressed some organizational implications of Mr. Wanners’ statements about Cicada 3301.
I addressed a ludicrous Twitter dispute with Mr. Wanners that occurred in October, 2019, and I posted commentary about his email. I announced Mr. Wanners’ own Cicada 3301 puzzle on his website, and briefly discussed the criminal rap sheet of Thomas Schoenberger, who casts a felonious shadow across the latter day Cicada organization and wages an ongoing cyberwar over his legacy.
I addressed the Cicada solver Martin Wehrmeyer, known as brotherBox, and conclude with predictions about the imminent legal predicament of Mr. Schoenberger. Finally, the emails that I exchanged with Mr. Wanners themselves are published.
Other articles in this series include The Repugnant brotherBox, and Z 3301, et al. These articles follow my interviews with gHOST3301 and Arturo Tafoya published in August, 2019. With this work complete, I intend to resume curating the cache of Cicada documents shared with me by Manuel Chavez III, and commentary on his long interview with me dated May, 2019. I propose to complete his interview in installments and publish the documents that he shared with me in coming weeks.
And with this, may the Twitter wars commence.
Esteban Trujillo de Gutierrez
October 27, 2019 (Draft Submitted to Mr. Wanner).
November 26, 2019 (Initial Revision Complete).
December 20, 2019 (Interim Revision).
January 9, 2020: Published in 7125 words.
January 13, 2020: Minor Updates in 7163 Words.
January 23, 2020: Polishing, 7227 words.