On The Run with John McAfee
When our Skype call connects, I see John McAfee sitting in a soundproofed room. He’s been a fugitive, on the run from the American government, for nearly a year. But he hasn’t let that diminish his spirit. McAfee, 74, is in great shape for his age, and his energy levels are those of a much younger man.
During our interview, I learn other people are in the room, sitting off-camera. They’re his wife, Janice McAfee, and Amy Emshwiller — one of his girlfriends, a former sex worker from Belize, who has admitted to attempting to kill McAfee, more than once. They must have patched things up, because following the tech millionaire around the world as he eludes the long arm of the U.S. government is no small commitment.
Since leaving American soil in 2019, McAfee’s been forced to flee the Bahamas, Cuba and the Dominican Republic — where he says the jails are not nearly as good as Mexican jails, which he tells me he loves — all before his boat was confiscated and authorities shipped him away to sunny England. After which, he tells me, he went underground, hiding his location from even his closest friends and family.
Our conversation starts here.
Are you still on the run from the U.S. government?
Yeah, I’m still on the run.
So what’s the story there?
I haven’t paid taxes for 11 years. I refuse. In America, our constitution explicitly forbids it. We had no federal income taxes in America until 1913, when they imposed a 33 percent income tax to help fund World War I, as an emergency measure to be repealed after the war.
I’ve already paid over $50 million in taxes. I have not, I promise you, received $50 million in services.
Two years ago, though, I started talking on international stages. London, Bucharest, Hong Kong, Malta — all over — telling people, “If you don’t want to pay taxes, here’s how you do it. You’d use privacy cryptocurrency and distributed exchanges, decentralized exchanges.” And nobody, no one, not in any government will ever know anything about your finances, providing you buy everything with crypto and you get paid in crypto.
That’s when the U.S. government decided I’d gone too far. They charged both my wife and I, in January of last year, 2019, with tax fraud.
We’ve been underground since July 17th of last year. That’s almost a year now. We’ve been gone a mighty long time.
Happy underground anniversary. Being on the run has put an end to your presidential ambitions, but given what you learned on the campaign trail, what advice would you give to the Donald Trump and Joe Biden campaigns for this year’s election?
Presidents are pretty much powerless to do what they want. Look at what happens even when [Barack] Obama, through a lot of hard work, four years of his time, tried to create Obamacare. We all knew it would be dismantled, and it was.
Nothing can change in America without the deep state changing it. But no one’s running the deep state. It’s a disparate bunch of government departments with people who’ve been there for 50 fucking years. Here’s the problem in America. Trump’s probably going, “Fuck it. Why did I waste my time?”
And besides, I would also advise, if you really want to do something for the good of America, simply let Biden win, because I actually think an America where the president wakes up every day and goes, “Who am I, sweetheart?”