puzzle's 'broken man' speaks, but message still a
by Kirsty Needham - 8th February 2003
The Sydney Morning Herald)
anti-war protester is chalking cryptic clues onto
city footpaths and staging fake crime scenes to lead
city workers - and police investigators - on a chase
to solve an online puzzle.
night, up to 100 chalked messages are appearing on
footpaths from Chinatown to Oxford Street, asking:
"Who is the brokenman.net?"
internet address leads to a website that asks: "Can
you picture ... A terrorist-free world? A drug-free
environment? People valuing freedom of speech? Peace
in a war-free earth?"
site promises "something unbelievable" is
puzzle, which involves fake crime scenes, has attracted
police attention as the city remains on a terrorism
Jackson, a young man in dark glasses who has adopted
the name of Paul Newman's character in the 1967 film
Cool Hand Luke, said yesterday that he was the broken
Jackson said he was neither a religious zealot nor
marketer, and that he was creating the graffiti alone.
in his 20s and working in the city, Mr Jackson registered
the website in December, and six weeks ago began a
campaign "to promote a public message".
in a 1970s retro blue shirt and the sort of op-shop
chic shoes favoured by art students, he outlined how
it started with a fake crime scene in a city street.
by black and yellow police tape imported from the
United States, the "crime scene" contained
the first clue to his message, but it puzzled local
police who closed off the street.
another 15 crime scenes appeared, police staked out
the park where the website tipped the next clue would
appear. Mr Jackson was questioned.
I started, the city was on red alert because of terrorism.
So I made it clear to them the website is anti-terrorism
and anti-drugs," he said.
Scarlett, supervising sergeant for City Central Police,
confirmed that some officers had approached Mr Jackson.
started off with one or two fake crime scenes, but
they are everywhere now," Sergeant Scarlett said.
Jackson is now targeting his efforts on footpath graffiti
containing "secret letters" which he said
are directing hundreds of people to the website, and
from there onto new clues on telephone answering machines
and in street newspapers and parks.
latest clue asks people to look for "lost"
wallets at train stations. Mr Jackson says he has
about 1000 of the cheap nylon wallets to distribute,
each containing a secret message card.
the broken man would not reveal what the final message
will be, but said it was a type of protest, and a
response to crazy times. "We could be in a completely
different world in three months, " he said.
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