Silk Road

What Effect Should the Revelations About Silk Road Investigators' Crimes Have Had on Ross Ulbricht's Trial?

Any Libertarian Seemed Suspicious in the Hunt for "Dread Pirate Roberts"

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Sarah Jeong at Forbes tries to think through the revelations, which I reported about two days ago, regarding two federal agents, Carl Force of the DEA and Shaun Bridges of the Secret Service. They were charged with mass criminality including bitcoin theft from the government and others regarding their role in the federal investigation that took down Silk Road. What effect, Jeong wonders, might their story gave had, had details of it been known before Ross Ulbricht was convicted in January for his role in starting and running the darkweb sales site?

Although the investigation into Force and Bridges began approximately nine months before Ulbricht's trial, Ross Ulbricht's defense team was kept unaware of it until about five weeks before the trial date, at which point prosecutors moved to keep the information sealed. Nothing about either Force or Bridges made it into the trial.

"The Government's efforts to keep the Carl Force scandal out of the public eye at trial is in itself scandalous," said Joshua Horowitz, one of Ulbricht's defense attorneys. "The recently filed Complaint which names Carl Force as a defendant demonstrates that the Government's investigation of Mr. Ulbricht lacked integrity, and was wholly and fatally compromised from the inside."

Worse, says Horowitz, because facts about what Force and Bridges did weren't allowed to come to light, Ulbricht never got the trial he was entitled to. "The Government used the ongoing grand jury investigation of Carl Force to deprive the jury from hearing critical facts about the corrupt nature of the Government's investigation, consequently depriving Ross of due process and a fair trial."

Jeong reproduces some shocking emails sent from Force to Mt. Gox boss Mark Karpeles (briefly brought up during the trial as someone at least one federal agent suspected might have been the true Dread Pirate Roberts). Force tried and failed to get Karpeles to help him essentially fence some stolen bitcoin, before Force was part of the federal civil seizure of the bitcoin exchange—after which Force emailed Karpeles:

Subject: 🙂

told you should have partnered with me!

Cold-blooded!

Jeong also has a good summation piece about the various revelations in the court papers so far revealed in the case against Force and Bridges, including one tidbit that I first drew attention to in my December Reason feature on the rise and fall of Silk Road—that the crypto-minded bitcoin-boosting "Dread Pirate Roberts" allegedly paid for a murder-for-hire with an $80,000 bank wire transfer.

And the most interesting part for libertarians, showing how dangerous it was to be a Rothbard and Konkin fan on the web while the feds were Dread Pirate Roberts hunting:

On April 1, 2013, Carl Mark Force attempted to blackmail the Dread Pirate Roberts from the Silk Road account DeathFromAbove, saying he knew his real identity. The "real identity" that Force tried to use against DPR was taken directly from the investigation's internal files. This is literally who law enforcement thought DPR was.

We know from the trial that Anand Athavale is the real life identity of mises.org poster "libertystudent," whose blog can be found here. Why did the Silk Road investigation think it was him? A language analysis, that showed both occasionally spelled "a lot" as "alot," "labor" as "labour," "real time" as "real-time," "let me" as "lemme," "phony" as "phoney," and "route" as "rout." Both liked to end sentences with ", right?" Both used terms like "intellectual laziness," "agorism," agorist," "counter-economics," "altruistic," "phoney," "paleo-human," and "anarcho-capitalist."

They also both occasionally used all-caps for emphasis, didn't capitalize the first word in sentence when in a hurry, and used "the symbol for backslash on the computer to split words with similar meaning."

They also discussed authors Murray Rothbard and Samuel Konkin.

Libertarians of the Internet beware. The Feds are watching.

My Reason piece on the bad news for justice and peace implicit in Ulbricht's conviction.

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  1. Amazon went retro on my anniversary of 20 years fucking a hot vagina… how glorious.

  2. We know from the trial that Anand Athavale is the real life identity of mises.org poster “libertystudent,” whose blog can be found here. Why did the Silk Road investigation think it was him? A language analysis, that showed both occasionally spelled “a lot” as “alot,” “labor” as “labour,” “real time” as “real-time,” “let me” as “lemme,” “phony” as “phoney,” and “route” as “rout.” Both liked to end sentences with “, right?” Both used terms like “intellectual laziness,” “agorism,” agorist,” “counter-economics,” “altruistic,” “phoney,” “paleo-human,” and “anarcho-capitalist.”

    They also both occasionally used all-caps for emphasis, didn’t capitalize the first word in sentence when in a hurry, and used “the symbol for backslash on the computer to split words with similar meaning.”See, it’s not like they were using metadata or anything.

    1. Metadata is the cheese. And no one can hide a cheese sandwich anywhere anymore.

      1. This. So much this.

      2. This. So much this.

      3. This. So much this.

      4. This. So much this.

      5. This. So much this.

        1. I really liked what he had to say…

          1. Liked it so much you could say

        2. Wait. that is thread champion…. Crusty, baby, you are the squirreel hacker.

    2. alot of this seems like you’re belabouring the point IN REAL-TIME as a rout of confusing the intellectually lazy altruists and convincing them that real paleo-human ANARCHO-CAPITALISTS and supporters of the counter-economics of agorism are PHONEY. Lemme guess, government plant, right?

      1. Jesus, this could be any of dozen cranks that post here all the time.

  3. I…I’d just like to apologize to everybody for my Elizabeth Stoker Breunig binge in PM links.

    I’ve come to realize I have a problem and am entering treatment immediately.

    1. Ithink Irish has a problem… and it is that he makes my dick leak with joy pleasures.

      1. Did he also make a wager on Lizzie Warren winning the democratic nomination?

        1. Sudden ,makes my dick leak with joy pleasures also…

      2. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but I know it feels good.

    2. Cage fight between ESB and Ann Coulter, who wins?

      1. Who is this esb animal, lord Nerf?

        1. ESB = Elizabeth Stoker Breunig, a gibbering lunatic who makes less sense than this video.

      2. If Ann Coulters neck is any indication her vagina is sweet deep… this means I can turn her over and fuck her hard and deep, bros… preferably with the wife watching and massaging her sweet little clit…. while Ann the Coulters cums all over my fat dick with my hands massaging her sweet ass, legs, and spine….

        1. Why would her neck be any indication? If anything, it indicates she has a penis.

          1. Her neck might mean a huge LynchPin dick

        2. Why would her neck be any indication? If anything, it indicates she has a penis.

      3. I left the comments to go eat. I come back and am not disappointed.

    3. I’d blame it on your SNAP diet.

    4. a problem?

  4. the thing is with billions buying shit in the deep markets the moralizing jesus/engels types with badges should realize that a fucking LOT of us fucking bitches who pay fucking confiscatory shit taxes like to get high on all sorts of way and this will never end… Some of us types LIKE getting surreal…on a keyboard planet.

  5. the fact is go deeper and quieter… that’s where I’ll be except the deeper and quieter might not be totally interweb….

    I just want to travel. If the fucking DEA want s to stop a traveler they’ve broken the premise of the open society. I have no agenda except an open society. I welcome angels and even DEA into my places… I am an artist of love and expression… I fear no one but make none fear me… I simply wish to travel into those sweet planes where all the planets live….

    1. AG, you are winning the war on drugs.

  6. sweet planes where all the planets live

    It’s called the Ecliptic, and you are already there my friend.

    1. the ecliptic is when the human milkyway breaks into the crusty outers of seething floating rocks, bro. i probably should prepare noodles for the progeny of the greatest satan ever. kinda sorta me but not rally because I love vaginas., my wife, and my prpogeny… she loves her special boy in chicago so this family is rather ufo

  7. I’ve read through the Force-Bridges complaint and… I’m not entirely sure what, if anything, Ulbricht could have done with these allegations in trial to bolster his defense. So a couple of the investigators trying to uncover DPR’s identity — including one who directly communicated with him — turned out to be corrupt? Okay. It still doesn’t negate the fact that Ulbricht was arrested while logged into the Silk Road administrative panel.

    Since Ulbricht’s entire argument, after all, is that he is not Dread Pirate Roberts, how would any of this help him?

    Would he argue the investigators framed him? How? That they somehow gave him the laptop he was arrested with filled with incriminating information? And why him?

    Would he argue that the investigators entrapped him? Well, then he’d have to admit that he was DPR, wouldn’t he?

    He would likely argue that these corrupt investigators somehow produced the incorrect suspect? But how do you explain being caught in the Silk Road administrative panel?

    If not obvious, I’m disappointed by Ulbricht’s defense, in general. It was a poor attempt at muddying the waters. I don’t think he’s going to succeed on appeal, even with this new information.

    1. So a couple of the investigators trying to uncover DPR’s identity — including one who directly communicated with him — turned out to be corrupt? Okay. It still doesn’t negate the fact that Ulbricht was arrested while logged into the Silk Road administrative panel.

      I’m no lawyer (or Doctor) but finding that the agents investigating him were part of an ongoing criminal enterprise could cast doubt on all the evidence, and methods of acquiring them which led to Ulbricht’s arrest.

      There were tons of problems with the investigation. The whole murder-for-hire red herring is certainly a standout, and suggests the government and investigators were trying to generate smoke in hopes someone would think there was a fire. Not to mention all of the possibly (and probably) illegal methods the government used to build a case. Methods which in my mind probably involved parallel construction.

      I have little doubt that Ross Ulbricht was the arbiter/administrator of silk road. What I have problems with is charging him with what amounts to drug dealing.

      He ran a site where “things” could be exchanged. Yes, many of those things are illegal under federal law, but does that come with a life sentence for the guy who owned the parking lot?

    2. He would likely argue that these corrupt investigators somehow produced the incorrect suspect? But how do you explain being caught in the Silk Road administrative panel?

      To be more specific and less wordy, if the basis for a search (which turned up a murder weapon) was found to be unconstitutional and without probably cause, the search and evidence found is thrown out of court.

  8. Subject: 🙂

    told you should have partnered with me!

    And if this wannabe mobster gave that money to the feds, he still would’ve been employed.

    From the article:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/sa…..ad-docket/

    7) Everything important is still redacted, and we don’t know if Ulbricht will get a new trial.

    Is the Force/Bridges scandal exculpatory for Ulbricht? There’s good arguments on both sides, but here’s the key part: we don’t know any of the important parts. Everything relevant to this question is still under seal?pages and pages of the newly released filings are still redacted. This is not an overstatement. Here’s an example of one of the pages:
    ………

    Ulbricht’s defense attorneys understandably issued a discovery request for as much information as they could get about Carl Force’s conduct while on the Silk Road investigation.

    The request was denied

    WTF. I’m no lawyer, but I thought this was only done for top-secret classified shit.

    1. In a country serious about due process, a judge who concluded that exculpatory information had been withheld from the defense under all that redacting would dismiss the charges.

  9. CULTURE WAR!

    The pizza place that didn’t want to serve a gay wedding is now shut down for a while because they’ve been receiving bomb threats.

    So conservatives opened a Go Fund Me page and have raised $18,000 in two hours.

    CULTURE WAR

    1. You just have to have another helping from this deep dish, don’t you?

      1. Serious intellectuals donating money on that page too:

        To oh you haters I bet you support planned Parent Hood also carrying out the work of the KKK. FOAD

        Stand up against the Gaystapo.

        I am sick and tired of the Gay Mafia and will gladly fight back against them!

        Everyone involved in this story is horrible.

        1. The Gaystapo is kind of funny, gosh.

          1. Meh… it was witty the first time I heard it maybe 20 years ago.

        2. To oh you haters I bet you support planned Parent Hood also carrying out the work of the KKK. FOAD

          Say what you want about the KKK, I’m willing to bet that Planned Parenthood kills more black children per year than the KKK has killed in its entire history.

          1. I just forgot what I wanted to say about the KKK, well done.

        3. Everyone involved in this story is horrible.

          On this I fully agree.

        4. MONEY ISN’T SPEECH!

    2. they’ve been receiving bomb threats.

      So can we get an update from Rico Sauve?

    3. Man, there are a just oodles of self-righteous pricks with absolutely no reading comprehension on that page.

      1. Well it is the internet…

        1. (sigh)…..Yeah. Dammit.

          It’s just….if they can get on a keyboard and write, they should be able to read better than these schmucks.

  10. I’ve read through the Force-Bridges complaint and… I’m not entirely sure what, if anything, Ulbricht could have done with these allegations in trial to bolster his defense.

    Oh, I dunno. Revealing that the investigation that led to your indictment was, in part, a criminal enterprise might be relevant.

    As would vaporizing the credibility of a couple of investigators, and hence damaging the credibility of all the evidence they produced.

    A trial that was part examination of Ulbricht alleged crimes, and part examination of the alleged crimes of the investigators (relevant because it goes to impeachment and credibility), would be a very different trial, that could well produce a different outcome.

    1. I’m just imagining the spectacle of a couple of key investigators taking the stand and having to repeatedly invoke the Fifth, on account of their under indictment or investigation themselves. You can’t tell me that wouldn’t affect the jury’s view of the case.

  11. Even though I’m a law abiding citizen, due to the fact I disagree with many laws and comment on this site leaves little doubt my name has been watch listed. Welcome to the America the Founders would despise could they be here today.

    1. Relax, your Future Reptilian Overlords have not yet listed you on the menu

    2. At this point, we’re all on the watch list.

  12. When the defense moved for the trial to be postponed until the grand jury investigation of Force and Bridges was complete, the prosecutors invoked “the people’s right to a speedy trial.”

    What a bunch of fuckfaces.

    1. So, it’s now “the people’s right”, and NOT an individual right? That was the effective argument??

      1. Yeah, the judge should have told them to go back to their law offices and deliberate the meaning of the 6th Amendment.

      2. Since the government is us, that makes the government “the people” and therefore the police have a right to keep, bear and discharge firearms at you while you sleep in your bed. It’s right there, in the second amendment.

  13. They also discussed authors Murray Rothbard and Samuel Konkin.

    I thought Konkin pretty on the mark for his speculations of the future and his apolitical approach of relying on risk-taking people and innovations for tools people can use to gain freedom for themselves. I found his emphasis on trading risk for reward refreshing. I used to find myself worried and depressed thinking about all the increasing illegalities I’ve discovered in my more naive days after reading about one liberty & self-ownership-crushing incident after another, but now it’s simply liberating to realize that when freedom is outlawed, only outlaws will be free.

    Pretty amazing to think he dropped out of his Phd (he was a chem grad student writing a thesis involving quantum physics) to hang out with sci-fi nerds and write libertarian newsletters for a living.

    Konkin debating Robert Poole (of Reason!) at Dagny’s Freedom Festival in 1985:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rzg2F_nUhAQ

    Libertarians of the Internet beware. The Feds are watching.

    Federal Law Enforcement Hits Reddit Seeking to Nab Darkweb Users
    Subpoenas coming to reason soon?

    1. Holy shit! Is that beard real?

      That beard is why libertarians have no credibility.

      1. It was the mid 1980s?

    2. Though the drug sales themselves are generally hosted on sites that require users to run the anonymity software Tor to hide their identities, Reddit offers no such protection….

      Which Tor does NOT do if the government wants you badly enough.

  14. In February 2014, Force’s Venmo account was flagged for high-risk activity and was blocked. Force contacted Venmo from his personal e-mail account, identifying himself as a law enforcement agent (complete with an attachment of a picture of his badge), and demanded that his account be unblocked. As with Mt. Gox and CoinMKT, Force also attempted to network with Venmo, saying “he was interested in partnering with Venmo for employment opportunities.”

    When Venmo did not unblock his account, Force served a subpoena on Venmo from his DOJ e-mail account. Venmo found his behavior suspicious. Insisting that the “request to unfreeze a personal account was not a proper use of an official government administrative subpoena,” Venmo notified Force’s superiors. Force ended up telling Venmo to “disregard the subpoena.”

    The next week, Force asked one of his colleagues to run a query in a law enforcement database for Venmo, saying he wanted to investigate “a suspicious money remitter, Venmo, Inc.”

    Venmo has since registered with FinCEN, but I want to know if they have state money license remitting licenses in California and New York. Can you check? If not, I want to seize their bank accounts (need to identify them) ? la BRIDGES and [M.M.’s] seizure warrants for Mt. Gox.

    1. These fuckers are depraved.

  15. bitch… I jizz want to rob a fucking planet, whores… just need a fucking spaceship. bitchass humans be all fightn all over that fucking morals and shit… I need a fucking rocket to those places in that multi-colored tunnels into a lost function… I’ll be back so I can spliff a super DEA roll of nasty weed

    1. Agile Cyborg’s been stealing from Nick’s stash.

      1. He and I are going to take ayahuasca together one of these days.

      2. Take it back, Winston. TAKE IT BACK!

        Nobody’s stash compares to AC’s stash. AC steals from nobody. Everybody steals from him.

  16. I just got punched in the face with all these seaweed… the surf here is glows with bitches and boob bottles… I tried to fucking buy a duece of atoms…. there has to be a fuckin way to get off this fucking punck ass planet and party witht ethe fucking stars out on that black bitchass….

  17. I have a plant that prodeuces deux ex… in that fuckin promordial iconic plane where of grey pillars and dead humans where adventurs rolll

  18. Good luck, metadata collectors, with Agile Cyborg’s musings.

    He will single-handedly destroy their efforts.

  19. I just got shot with a bullet and I’m not dead… and all this body is livin all sorts of sounds flowing from my fingertips an d I do worry bout all these dudes and babie sweets thinkin this cyborg isn’t delivious and all but these streams are like saturn wings and jupitrea eyeballs… and I will catch the flight into the great drako, twink lovs…. I will travel .. i Might check in the later or be lost into that swirlings neon forver

  20. the space into that outer is not safe for human skin …

    1. …As i stoop lowly down towards the darkly splendid worlds in that great void the light was cast asunder and out of the blackness the threads of creation harmonizing painting reality as it rained down across the matrices of life (damn AC quit bogarding the J *inhales* *coughs* *passes out*) zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  21. I started with my online business I earn $58 every 15 minutes. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it out.
    ? ? ? ? LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY ? ? ? ? ?

    ??????? http://www.jobsfish.com

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