In 2009, Reddit user 2-6 posted this announcement regarding the death of his friend, fellow Reddit user ReligionOfPeace:
What seems like a sincere eulogy for a redditor’s friend would soon cause Reddit users all around the world to obsessively ask, “Who is ReligionOfPeace and what is up with ‘That Old Guy’s Image Host’?” “That Old Guy’s Image Host” would soon be the center of a massive bundle of theories revolving around porn, modern-day numbers stations, and assassination cover-ups.
Let’s start with ReligionOfPeace: According to the post, he was dead at age 79. Through researching his username, he was linked to the subreddit /r/jailbait, even moderating the board. “That Old Guy’s Image Host” was the name of an image host he ran for porn uploads. One thing stood out about the website, though: Why was the site URL lakecityquietpills.com? It doesn’t scream “Hey, we host porn here!” After a little digging into the source code, something exploded. Hidden in the code were messages to other internet users.
On July 17, 2009, an admin for the site added this message into the code:
In the first paragraph about Milo, you can tell it’s his friend from the Reddit eulogy talking. They have the same misspellings and word usage. So now we know ReligionOfPeace’s presumed real name: Milo. But what is the code underneath Milo’s death announcement? “Four – Italian/Spanish speakers. No euro w/w. must be bondable.” “Need 5 fluent Portuguese, no euro w/w. 6 month private gig.” Why would a porn hosting site need to hide requests for international travelers in its source code? What the hell is going on? This hardly sounds like your usual photo hosting site.
Further into the code is an invitation to a little shindig to celebrate Milo’s will clearing probate.
Oh, that’s nice. Everyone is getting a cut of Milo’s will and they’re having a party to celebrate the guy! At this point, I can only picture a group of friends joined together by a common thread, a la Trainspotting.
Oh, there’s more information about this celebration in the code:
It’s refreshing to see an employer care about their employees. Plenty of rooms to wander between, anonymity (you know how office parties can be when liquor is supplied), and they’re concerned about DUIs. On February 2, an update to the code was published with totals for the party. I’m always curious how much parties cost, so let’s look at the totals:
I don’t know about any of you, but none of my employers would EVER pay nearly $100,000 for a party. What kind of party was this, why and how did it cost so much, and who was attending? Are Fat Tommy and Stu really okay despite needing medical assistance?
Shortly after the plaintext code was posted for other armchair investigators to rummage through, the code was changed to encrypted ciphers, repeating for thousands of lines of code, making the source code the equivalent to an internet numbers station.
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Many people on Reddit went back and forth with each other, comparing notes and wild theories on who these people were. Some hypotheses were repeated over and over as if they were the first to discover it, such as the location of where Milo’s ashes were scattered and if he was actually dead. Others were excited just to be a part of the ongoing conversation. That was until one user discovered a link between the coded international assignments previously mentioned and the assassination of a senior Hamas military commander in Dubai on January 19, 2010.
To give a quick history lesson, Lake City Quiet Pills is thought to be referencing bullets made at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant. On a Fark bulletin board, 2-6’s signature is “Dispensing Lake City Quiet Pills to lousy bastards in need of permanent rest since 1968.” Now that that’s out of the way and in the back of your mind:
On January 19, 2010, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was assassinated in his hotel room in Dubai. After a lengthy international investigation, the suspects in the crime used credit cards from MetaBank of Storm Lake, Iowa. Storm Lake is located one county away from Lake City, Iowa. Of the suspects sought, they all had illegally-obtained or fake passports from the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, and Australia. According to police, the assassins arrived in Dubai less than 24 hours before al-Mabhouh’s death and then left the country before his body was discovered. At first, it was said he died of natural causes, then it was released he was paralyzed after being injected with succinylcholine, a muscle relaxant, and suffocated with a pillow. Later still, it was said he struggled with an assailant and died after being suffocated.
With such a high-profile crime, why would a group of assassins use messages hidden in plain sight and use their codenames on public and highly-visible websites? One answer is obvious: no one would suspect anything. Even after Dutch Milo/ReligionOfPeace began posting about how to kill people with piano wire, readers seemed more intrigued than concerned of alleged crimes being confessed. They wanted to keep him talking. Who is this guy and why is he so forthright with his methods of murder?
Some time has passed and links and clues have waned, but the Lake City Quiet Pills mystery still holds the attention of devoted redditors. A subreddit has popped up in the last year, /r/lcqp, that appears to post job and server announcements in code to its subscribers. The subreddit has only seven subscribers and even fewer users actually making comments, but the tone and camaraderie in the few comments suggest a close group of people with a common bond. That what’s important in life: finding a group of people you can kill alongside and talk about it over the internet.