To a great extent, Barrett Brown is fueled by cheap tobacco and vengeance. The embattled journalist wants to inflict as much damage as possible on America, and recently, he’s broadened his scope to include the United Kingdom. There, Brown is attempting to claim asylum, largely because he says he’s been persecuted for his journalism in the U.S. But now, he’s facing yet another stint behind bars, this time in Britain.
Over the past decade or so, Brown has crafted a reputation as an impassioned reporter with a serious rap sheet. His “bad boy” bravado and ties to the international hacktivist movement Anonymous have earned him nods on popular television shows and a legion of faithful followers. He’d previously allied — then fallen out — with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and journalist Glenn Greenwald. One person even threatened to blow up D Magazine if it published more of Brown’s columns.
These days, Texas-born Brown is living on a canal boat in England with his girlfriend Sylvia, a former teen model with a penchant for engineering. Even though she doesn’t smoke, she’ll roll cigarettes for Brown, who was once known to always have a Marlboro in hand. Lately, though, it’s cheap European package tobacco. “Because when one is on the run from all these different things, one has to save money,” Brown explained.