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The Silk Road: when democracy isn't anymore
Seizure of an Anonymous Free Market
- Setting a Dangerous Precedent: It's Foreign - Infosecurity Magazine
We're seeing a dangerous precedent being set by US and UK governments because law enforcement and legislators believe information held in foreign servers should be subject to a different set of standards than that held on their own soil.
- Protecting Our Constitutions
by John McClaughry “Our state and federal constitutions protect our rights and liberties and a republican form of government – but they are continually endangered by judicial usurpation and judicial acquiescence in novel enlargements of government po
Preface: welcoming back King George
For purposes of covering my own ass, I want to start here. I love my country...well...its original intent and founders. What its supposed to stand for and who its supposed to stand for but these days I'm not sure it even knows anymore. I went to school to join the military as an intelligence officer; I believe in what our country does and is doing 99% of the time. Its all I've ever wanted to do and then 'bam' medically disqualified in an unquestionable way. Very rarely do I find myself heartbroken by my country (with the obvious exceptions of reality TV, Congress acting like school children and bigots or racists). America is the greatest nation without a doubt and I would give my life for that belief.
Here's my beef though - we know we don't negotiate with terrorists and there is a war on drugs - but we aren't locking up the terrorists and drug dealers that were using Silk Road AND STILL ARE; we are locking up the kid who had the same ideals as our founding fathers...stop King George; end the Stamp Tax, the Tea Tax, the Every-thing-we-can-get-our-government-hands-on Tax. Meanwhile, the actual criminals are still in business. How does this not bother everyone in this country?
Every business owner, every creative idealist, every inventor, every programmer in this country should be very, very afraid right now. You can all be held liable for your employees, your users, your clientele and all their bad decisions now. The courts have made it official: their crimes are your crimes and if they think you have more money than the criminals do, they will fix your trial to get it. ESPECIALLY if they can't even prove it exists.
So no - I am not in any way anti-American. I am pro-American and anti-greed. I am not advocating a revolution, I'm advocating a rebirth. Our country is broken. We have stagnant Congress with a few good men and a whole lot of greedy perverts. They sunk our nation into a deep hole of debt and need a fast fix out of it so rather than agree on a budget, they are sicking their dogs on anyone they think they can seize funds from. Take enough dollars out of circulation, the value goes up like anything else. Or they can just absorb it into their own coffers and disappear it into "necessary and proper" spending. They are also - and this is where it gets dangerous because it molds our future - setting precedents with courts to be able to pick and choose from us as if we were items in a grocery store isle. This is a HUGE deal. It is a vast and incredible abuse of the democratic system when not one single one of the branches will hold the other accountable.
An Executive that is to scared to rock his already sinking boat for what he likely perceives as an affluent white kid who had too many brains and too much spare time and knows the American public won't stop to care long enough to do anything about the bigger picture. A judicial branch that is likely taking advantage of some sweet benefits from the legislature telling them to roll with it; no jury comes back after only 3 hours in a case this big that hasn't been tainted, slighted, paid or completely obscured by the media. I know I've seen at least 5 CSI-type cop shows where Ross-types were painted criminal and jailed if not killed by the end of the episode. And the Legislature...well - bankrupt us with your inability to act like adults for the last six years and then try to quick fix it by creating policy that allows you to hold corporations and inventors hostage when people misuse their products and ideas...can't create that policy with out the legal precedent to do it though. I want to see that Judge's private financials...I'm certain she's got a Swiss bank account now, maybe Bahamian. Either way, if she ever plans on running for office she has a hell of a background with the media now. All kinds of exposure.
This isn't a conspiracy theory. This is how our government can legally and blatantly take advantage of us right in front of us. Welcome back, King George.
When it can do what it wants and get away with it...
- How the Silk Road Trial Could Lead to a Dangerous Legal Precedent
The Silk Road trial is over. A jury found Ross Ulbricht guilty on all seven charges, including money laundering, drug trafficking, and the "kingpin" charge. That's not just bad news for Ulbricht, who faces life in prison. His trial could help establi
The Prosecution: to hell with the 6th Amendment
It never hurts that the government is the prosecution and the court. When they want to win, all they have to do is play their cards right or cheat. No one stops the biggest gun and fastest draw at the poker table from cheating. They can even be the media, too, if they need to be. Especially now with Homeland and they will tell us its for our safety. Did anyone feel especially unsafe before they heard of Silk Road? Oh...? You'd never heard of it or known about it until the Government told you about it? Never affected you at all? They sure want you to be afraid of it now. Ross, too. That dirty "drug kingpin" whose money they can't prove he actually ever made or had who is now teaching physics and yoga in prison. Cause that's what all kingpins do in prison; not start gangs or try to take power or anything...teach physics and yoga. Be afraid! Be very afraid!
And if, by chance, the government had been trying to go after Craigslist for prostitution for the last few years to no avail and Amazon and Ebay for black market dealings unsuccessfully - would that mean anything? Previously, they have. And previously they couldn't for one reason only: no legal precedence. Internet law is too new. Not formed yet; still in the womb. Host sites could not be proved or held liable for the activities of their users so those markets could not be legally regulated and taxed and fined. Policy to lock them up or lock them down could not be created.
It can now. And a pretty penny can be made doing it by the government. Maybe even enough to pay off some wars or botched healthcare reforms. How convenient.
So what happens when the government has to illegally obtain its case against them? Well...as we see now with Ross Ulbricht and the Silk Road - all it takes is the actual criminals becoming State's witnesses and the government changing its mind one how it is allowed to obtain things "for the greater good". Gotta take those yoga and physics instructors off the streets, y'all.
And if you still don't have what you need after you've falsified your identity to obtain information, warrantlessly hacked your targets servers, computers and mainframes (because there is still not laws created allowing you to justify a warrant), violated international law and sovereignty (Iceland) to do it...you just tell the defense they can't share any evidence they may have proving the target is actually innocent of everything except starting a web page on a part of the internet the government wasn't prepared to regulate and tax because the government couldn't regulate and tax it. Damn you Ross for trying to maintain a free market economy! The Founding Father's might be proud but our current father's aren't as bright and 8+ times as broke. Tsk tsk.
Suppressing the defense's evidence by the government, for the government makes a one sided case i.e. NOT a fair trial. A direct violation of the 6th Amendment. You can't get more unconstitutional.
And how do I know this is fact? I'm the source on this one...I know the family. I know where Ross was when some of those murder-for-hire requests were made. In a Costa Rican jungle surfing with his Dad, NOT online. The Dread Pirate Roberts was running his mouth while his patsy was incapable of doing so but the government won't let the defense present the proof. One of many things suppressed by the prosecution and the courts because they are on the same team...being the same entity and all.
Is it really impossible to believe he was set up? Did they really need to accuse him of all the crimes when they have evidence he didn't commit some?
YES - and here is why: they need a win. Also, if the only way to get the win is to use the actual perpetrators as your witnesses against the defense, you look like assholes if you suddenly recant your whole case and go after your own witnesses. And if the State's witnesses aren't part of the illegal activity, just friends of Ross's who got subpoenaed - what choice do they have? Can they really stand up for their college buddy or refuse to testify? At what cost? Their own privacy? Their family's? How about if they have a business now? A reputation? Would you? A whole new spin on "compelling evidence". Most of law is interpretation and its no coincidence the word 'compelling' has two separate meanings here with the same ends. Do you know the Supreme Court has been trying to figure out just what the hell the Founder's meant by the phrase "necessary and proper" since it was written? Its incredibly relevant here and yet still wildly ambiguous.
Did he create the site? Sure. He doesn't deny that. Did he know it started being used for nefarious purposes? Sure. He says that's why he quit having anything to do with it and handed it off. Did he get dragged back in at the end to fix programming issues? Possibly. But let me ask you this: If you found out that the guy you handed your site off to was having people killed - would you tell that guy no?
What the public doesn't account for is the level of psychopathy and sophistication it takes to orchestrate something like this. All the prosecution would have to do is prove Ross was a psychopath and BOOM! Clean case. But the only evidence they didn't suppress was character witnesses, which the defense had in spades. Why? Because Ross is not, nor has he ever been a sociopathic psychopath.
But they didn't go for the easy kill. They went for the slaughter of the 6th amendment because there was no easy case. No hard evidence for anything except that he created the site to start a truly free market.
So now what? We're China? We have to shut down every idealist who blogs about the injustice of our stupidly large and intrusive government that is finding more ways to tax the shit out of us than King George ever could have dreamed of? This is a fine line and I'd say the prosecution is dangerously close to the edge.
While the Nazi regime was "building its case" against the Jewish peoples at the start of WWII - this was their tactic. Force confession with illegally obtained or falsified evidence and when that didn't work, they simply suppressed all defense evidence to insure a guilty verdict both in court and in the media. Then the Jewish money and assets were free for the taking, allowing Hitler to build one of the finest militarys ever created. It was never really about the Jews, it was about their wealth. Though I'm sure ole crazy pants had some personal vendetta; psychopathic leaders always do.
So when is a democracy not a democracy? When it's a communist dictatorship or a fascist regime.
Dread Pirate Roberts at large
- After Conviction of Ross Ulbricht in Silk Road Trail, Dark Websites Get Smarter - The Atlantic
The government may have won its case against Silk Road's Ross Ulbricht, but the hidden sites are getting bigger—and smarter.
- Silk Road founder's parents speak out - Video - Technology
The parents of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht say that evidence in his favor is being suppressed. Laurie Segall reports.
The Defense: the Catch-22
So the Prosecution/Government gave Ross two choices when they suppressed all the evidence in his defense: 1) suck it up and take it, 2) admit to guilt regardless of what for and how much. Catch-22 has no clearer definition.
They still can't find the $18 million in bitcoins (which was claimed to be $81 million originally - funny how the government can now cry 'typo' instead of being wrong). But the defense couldn't share with the jury that the government can't find it. Suppressed.
No one ever actually died from the murder-for-hire charges that were made. Why? Because Ross was just lazy and didn't follow up? Because they weren't real? Because the killer didn't follow through as paid or promised? Because Ross didn't actually hire anyone at all? We'll never know...the evidence proving he not only didn't but couldn't have was suppressed.
The Dread Pirate Roberts account linked back to Ross's gmail account. Huh. A genius blows open the dark web creating an entire free market economy...with his own gmail account. Real drug kingpin right there. Oh...and Dread Pirate Roberts is still online, RIGHT NOW? While Ross has been in jail for the last 15 months...weird. Wait - I saw that movie - the very idea of the Dread Pirate Roberts is that its just a name that is passed on and does not die with its originator. Suppressed, though. Except the part where it was his gmail account...cause you know...the Prosecution needed that part.
Ross kept a journal describing how and why he created said free market economy to honor the founding fathers and the Feds found the journal on the laptop they seized. No journal entries on murder-for-hire? A real kingpin would brag which the Feds know so they just suppressed everything after "Ross kept a journal describing how and why he created...".
The Icelandic servers used to host the site were hacked by the Feds, possibly the NSA to find all this out. Lets breeze past the complete disregard for jurisdiction because that is what America is known for and INTERPOL probably allowed it but will never admit it. So the government can hack into anything they want to get and manipulate what they want but no one else can. Suppressed. Makes Uncle Sam look bad, though I'd say its par for the course.
These servers are special leverage, too. They are the pivot point and that's why they are worth it. If the Prosecution can present what the found but suppress how the found it, then they can force the Defense into admitting to knowing about it simply by defending themselves regarding it. If they don't defend themselves, they may as well be admitting guilt passively. Catch-22.
So when is a democracy not a democracy? When its created by the people for the people, but becomes by the government for the government.
Wasting Potential: Be afraid, be very afraid
So the point here is that this could happen to anyone. Especially smart or clever anyone. Business anyone. Rich anyone. We all have targets on our backs now. America imports its genius because its own education system is so sub-par the few inherent geniuses we have can't stand either the education system enough to share their knowledge with future generations or the sickliness of the government enough to do anything to change it. And when they do, they think of something creative that only makes the target on their back bigger.
Is Ross a true criminal? He wasn't until last Wednesday; there was no previously existing law to deal with it. Now law says he is. Its been made clear that the Feds don't care about the criminals - they are all still at large. They care about the banks that hold their money, about the store owners and restaurateurs that knowingly or unknowingly, by force or by leisure, let them meet up on their property. They care about the patsys, not the actual guilty party because they just want the headlines to read, "Government saves the day" and "Budget finally balanced". THAT is the new precedent set if they get away with it due to lassiez faire attitudes of the general public. I know. I'm guilty, too, until it hit close to home.
Ross was genius who used it and then made the mistake of trusting someone else with it (apparently someone either less intelligent or more conniving, if they needed him to come back). He acknowledges that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and he's definitely laid some bricks - why do you think he so calmly took his verdict? Wouldn't you if you knew a ball you started rolling towards an economic ideal was mutated into a crime bizarre by people you thought were your friends?
But Ross should be a member of Scorpion and maybe that's what this is; forceful usurpation of intellect while it was otherwise being unruly. We ran out of genius in Washington a LONG time ago. Everyone knows that; but hacking and hijacking it? Using it against our wills? Isn't this exactly how the last American Revolution started - smart people being abused and taxed and regulated? This may sorely backfire on Ole Capitol Hill.
Or is it? Did anyone happen to catch the episode of 60 Minutes that aired a few days after the Silk Road indictment? The government has commissioned DARPA to take control of search engines and hosting sites, white and dark alike, and insert their newest A.I.-ish cybertech. They couldn't do this before. Now they have a precedent of supposed need and have made Ross their poster child of reasoning.
This is a really, really dark time in our government and meanwhile we're all taking selfies and posting pictures about the most meaningless, self-absorbed things we can think of. We are rife for the overtaking. Well done folks. It would seem that allowing our education system to wither away has benefited everyone except those that can think for themselves. We're all just meant to be afraid now. Very afraid.
The Declaration of Independence gave some pretty clear instruction here...
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government... But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government."
This is what Ross stands for...This is what I stand for. This is what our Founding Father's stood for and this is what democracy stands for. Where do you stand?