This looks like a good way to spark real-life violence in what is otherwise a remarkably safe way to exchange drugs. In addition, reputation and trust are everything in dark net markets, and reputation is the only thing preventing vendors from selling fake or adulterated drugs.
I can't see any way that the police intentionally spreading misinformation is a good thing, on a practical or philosophical level.
The other big selling point is that these websites defeat all the violence. There are no turf wars online, at least not physical wars. No dealer can force users to buy from them exclusively. No low-level dealer in a neighborhood must pay homage to a local mob boss. All of that disappears. Any cop that thinks oldschool tactics like spreading distrust within the supply chain to instigate internal mole hunts has watched too many movies. Within Tor it is assumed that everyone is a mole. Each individual protects themselves with the tools available. Every dealer assumes at least some buyers are cops. Every buyer assumes the cops are running sting operations. The market functions nevertheless.
Huh? Sellers need a physical address. Sure, one can use the address of some senile neighbor, or that of someone on vacation, or an empty house, etc. But I bet that over 90% of buyers use their actual address. I mean, DPR did, when he bought fake ID from SR.
Still only circumstantial evidence, you can order drugs to any address you want.
Besides, I highly doubt most buyers have enough activity to justify pursuing legal action.
Seems like you still need some level of trust, but please correct me if I've got it wrong.
But on the other hand, someone did have heroin sent to Brian Krebs, and planned to trigger a SWAT upon delivery. It was just luck that he found out about it in advance, and filed a police report. For less clueful victims, it's still arguably a substantial risk.
At least 65 SR1 buyers are known to have been arrested: https://www.gwern.net/DNM-arrests
You have just as much plausible deniability with or without a fake name.
>The undercover agent will attempt to solicit any statements in which the suspect may admit knowledge of the parcel delivery. The key to any parcel investigation is for law enforcement to prove that the subject had knowledge of the parcel’s contents. This is critical to the prosecution of the suspect in a parcel investigation. It is virtually impossible to litigate a criminal case without proving knowledge of contents.
I'll let you draw your own conclusions. Stay safe out there.
If you're using a market that's not compromised, you trust sellers' ratings. Sellers who were police honeypots would arguably not have high ratings. Unless, of course, police had created user bot armies.
From what I've read, you place a test order, shipped to your third-party address. Relying on tracking information, you anonymously hire someone to "steal" the package, with the contents as part of the payment. To get the rest of the payment, they need to message you anonymously, and you pay well-mixed Bitcoin. You never actually meet them again.
If that works out, you place a real order, shipped to the same address. And hire someone else anonymously to "steal" the package, and drop it somewhere for you. And then pay them anonymously, with well-mixed Bitcoin. But it's gotta be a decent payment, comparable to what they could get by selling the contents.
Too iffy for me.
Is there a threshold that you'd use? How do you judge whether a BTC tx is well-mixed?
source to X via A
A to Y via B
B to Z via C
For transfers among ~anonymous personas, I just mix once or twice, depending on the desired compartmentalization level.
If someone sends a package to my house, my taking it into my apartment is evidence of about nothing. Why you would send it somewhere without plausible deniability—say, a PO box you only use for drugs—is beyond me.
Furthermore, they also need to demonstrate you had knowledge of the contents before opening. That's damn hard.
What if you never opened the package before the warrant was executed? If you never opened it you can't possibly know what's in it. And if anything receiving a package from a sketchy sender and _not_ immediately opening it sounds totally reasonable.
Yep, SOP. And the police totally blew it. If they had just contacted the mayor, they could have setup an ambush for the pickup operative.
> Seems like you still need some level of trust, but please correct me if I've got it wrong.
Is it illegal to receive drugs if you don't know it's drugs? Is merely bringing a package into your home, without inspecting its contents, illegal?
If you ordered from a police honeypot seller, they have some reason to think that you did order. So if you at first deny ordering, and later admit that you did, you've just admitted to lying to them. Penalties for that can be worse than ordering illegal drugs ;)
Vendor ratings and exchange reputations absolutely matter. It is in no way a trust-less system. Vendors forego significant profit to establish these ratings.
It is a system where you must constantly guard against malicious actors - cops, exit scams, etc. - but the nash equilibrium achieved depends deeply on trust metrics. Increasing the number of malicious agents is much like increasing parasitism in ecosystems, and has dramatic effects on how the ecosystem performs.
But a darknet market purchase? That's different. One goes through all kinds of ridiculous gyrations to prevent third parties from being included, and with good reason. Unless you think you can compromise legit user accounts, your bots would have to spend a whole lot of money on real drugs before anybody would give credence to their fake reviews.
In the Amazon case, it's not a big deal if both me and the shady seller communicate out of band. We can use email or whatever to orchestrate the payback for a positive review, and the penalities for our scheme being compromised are low: maybe we get banned from Amazon and frowned at by our friends, who cares.
In a darknet market scenario, we rely on the market to handle our identities, and try to stay completely anonymous otherwise. So we have to use some other identity mechanism to orchestrate the kickback, which fails in two ways:
- Either it's too disconnected from the original transaction, and there's no way for me to hold the seller accountable for the Bitcoin I was promised in exchange for a positive review (aside from buying from the shady seller a second time just for the opportunity to leave a negative review).
- Or it's too connected to the original transaction. In this case, if our side scheme is uncovered it could be used as evidence against us in court. Which is a significantly scarier outcome than being banned. Although being banned also carries more weight because some sellers won't sell to accounts without positive history, so if you need to reboot your identity you might have to risk getting ripped off a few times before the larger community of sellers trusts you again.
Also, I'd stay the hell away from any seller that approached me with such an offer, they want me to participant in a scam, which tells me something about them. Why should I trust their drugs?
While it's true that everyone mistrusts each other. Sellers are also competing with each other to offer the best products with the best prices, putting a huge amount of effort to build the best feedback ratings. A world away from gangs using extreme violence to increase turnover (you would think that factors into the priorities). I'd feel safer buying from DreamMarket than I would Ebay.
Consider that there's an incredible number of 'regular people' who might visit these sites, not super knowledgable. They might have regular jobs, regular lives.
The thought that they could be caught up in something legal, lose their jobs etc. etc. is a very material risk.
Without getting into other aspects of this issue ... the tactic they're using is actually reasonable.
Also, I'll bet their not spending a huge amount of energy on it, it probably boils down to 'keeping an eye on it'.
As far as your comments bout 'no violence' etc. - really, it'll just move elsewhere.
Anything that starts making money will be exploited very quickly by nefarious entities for nefarious means.
I've heard an RN say the problem is that it doesn't ruin junkies' livers fast enough.
That's a big difference from a deliberate poisoning.
And that still happens today - you can buy "denatured alcohol" that is unfit for human consumption.
> To sell the stolen industrial alcohol, the liquor syndicates employed chemists to “renature” the products, returning them to a drinkable state. The bootleggers paid their chemists a lot more than the government did, and they excelled at their job. Stolen and redistilled alcohol became the primary source of liquor in the country. So federal officials ordered manufacturers to make their products far more deadly.
They didn't put poison specifically in alcohol for human consumption, but they did put poison into chemicals that they knew would be consumed by humans. At the end of the day, I don't see the difference.
It’s similar to over the counter codeine in Canada. The dose is small and combined with a dose of acetaminophen.
Seems kind of cruel for addicts to destroy their liver if they take too much.
Which isn't to say that public sector unions and companies that supply material to prisons, or built prisons don't all support polices that incarcerate more and more people. (For example, the CA prison worker union spends more on political lobbying than all other labor unions in CA.)
>>"The American prison system is massive. So massive that its estimated turnover of $74 billion eclipses the GDP of 133 nations."
Makes it super difficult for legitimate harm reduction organizations to get out actual information about possibly adulterated substances.
How? The whole point of the dark web is that you don't know who you're dealing with so who are you going to seek revenge against if you think you've been wronged? If you mean the second-order effect of people giving up on the dark net and buying drugs of questionable quality from a dealer on a street corner (with all the implicit violence of illegal street crime) that's likely true; but policing is an instrumentality and wishing they weren't is to say that the police should shape policy, which creates a whole new set of problems.
Without endorsing the drug war, this is going to happen any time you have asymmetric conflict with incomplete information. So while I think all drugs should be legal and we should concentrate on education and harm reduction, the same techniques will be deployed against other things that everyone does agree are crimes, from the manufacture and distribution of child porn to disrupting violent organized crime networks. Wherever there is a demarcation of liability actors on both the supply and demand sides will operate independently to penetrate it and establish a bidirectional channel.
So while I'd like to see the drug war ended right now and a full pardon for everyone who hasn't committed murder or extreme violence, the philosophical aspect of this is never going to go away because it's a fundamental strategy, arguably rooted in biology if not deeper.
I think the real solution is legalization of most drugs but until then I see no issue with these tactics.
Also, given how many existing drugs are already legal, couldn't one say that most already are legal and that hasn't been enough to fix the problem?
The drug war is the antithetical to harm reduction and safety in production and use. The only solution to the drug war is decriminalization, legalization and improved health systems for harm reduction.
Most of the issue with the drug war and overdoses is in direct relation to drug illegality. Users get badly produced products, mixed with harsher drugs like fentanyl that are cheaper or people can't get them help due to the criminality of the policy. Drugs can be dangerous, the drug war and illegality makes them more dangerous and obliterates harm reduction. The hard line approach leads to more dangerous synthetics that only exist due to the illegality of the substances they are analogs to. Anyone taking drugs that is addicted and needs help, should get help, not felonies and put in a building with violent criminals, adding to problems problems doesn't solve anything.
Not only that, the drug war has diverted funds to mafias/cartels that have built them to the size of nation states, making the whole thing extra violent when it is mostly just a non-violent end result. We learned nothing from alcohol prohibition.
The drug war also makes respecting law and order a joke when drugs like marijuana, LSD, psilocybin and more are treated harshly, these are safe drugs with very low toxicity , lower than caffeine, aspirin and nicotine, and keep people from harsher substances.
Ultimately the drug war is a war on people and plants, that is part of a drug dark age we are in, that will look quite silly in retrospect from the future, same way alcohol prohibition looks today.
Alcohol is a drug, it is dangerous, but also fun, as long as there is harm reduction and information about it and it is produced safely. When alcohol was illegal, all of that, including production which led to explosions and production of deadly batches, was more dangerous being illegal than legal. It is also safer with the legal market running it rather than the mafia, the reverse is true in other illegal drugs.
Harm reduction, decriminalization, legalization and bringing a regulated market in will make all substances safer, markets around them efficiently work safety into the system when is has enough market value as there is liability that pushes producers to make safe products and information about harm reduction.
It is time to throw in the towel on the war on people and the human condition, then turn to a human/health/market focused solution rather than authoritarian enforcement solution. End the drug prohibition dark age. We need a Right to Body amendment that ends this prohibition and future attempts.
For the skeptic out there: ask yourself if your loved one wanted to overdose or if it was an accident. I bet the majority of cases were unintentional. Had the drugs been clearly labeled with doses and checked for purity, your brother/sister/father/mother/friend might still be here. Mine would for sure.
Most people I know are hypocrites when it comes to drugs, on one hand they happily drink alcohol or smoke almost every day as well as consuming huge amounts of caffeine but as soon as illegal drugs of any kind comes up many people get on the fences they really really don't see the similarities, I guess it's just sheepism and brainwashing from early childhood.
It would be funny if some of these illegal drugs end up curing some of the major problems we have today like depression, social anxiety and loneliness.
It's just becoming ever more hard to argue rationally and scientificly for prohibition. Many people who are against drugs all have some "exceptional" personal reason like having lost someone close etc. Where in most of these stories, the illegal drug blaimed was a tiny bit of the problem or was laced or impure as a direct consequence of illegality. I'm not denying addiction at all, but iirc all evidence points to addiction levels being steady or falling when you legalize. There'll always be the troubled people who'll struggle more than others and some of them will abuse whatever's available.
It's also pretty habit-forming.
> single doses over 7000 mg often causing life-threatening respiratory depression, and higher doses still inducing bradycardia and cardiac arrest.
As far as I know the danger with depressants is not necessarily poisoning but also cardiac and respiratory arrest. Do you know what the LD50 of GHB is meant to be? I can’t find it.
Don't take medical advice from "life-enhancement.com". There is an extensive body of peer reviewed literature. See for example https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3400846/
> "The primary effect of GHB on respiration was a dose-dependent decrease in respiratory rate, accompanied by an increase in tidal volume, resulting in little change in minute volume."
Eventually tidal volume cannot be increased to compensate for decrease in RR. GHB is dangerous because this change occurs at the margins of recreational dosages. This is especially pronounced when combined with other respiratory depressants. I am a medical professional, not making this up. Please do not spread harmful misinformation.
'Morse et al.  have demonstrated the effects of GHB on breathing. A decrease in respiratory rate occurs, accompanied by a compensatory increase in tidal volume, allowing minute volume to be maintained until doses approach lethality. The concomitant ingestion of ethanol typically alters the concentration-effect relationship, leading to respiratory depression when the compensatory increase in tidal volume is avoided as seen in cases where GHB is administered alone. This deleterious effect from combining GHB and ethanol could be avoided through the administration of GABA-B receptor antagonists. These receptors seem to be involved in its development.'
You cannot indefinitely increase tidal volume. This study was done in mice. There are established LD50s for GHB which are not far from recreational dosages. GHB causes respiratory depression. It is worse when combined with other agents like ethanol, which it often is. I already wrote that.
Now, whether buying and selling these substances should be illegal is another question. But it's definitely not obvious that law enforcement is outside its typical role here.
This action doesn't appear to actually enforce any law, only to create acrimony and violence in communities where some people choose to violate it.
I think this take is really uncharitable. I believe many/most people in the US believe that the laws controlling illegal drugs have at least some good purposes. Sure, most people want weed to be legal (not everyone, but most people). But heroin and fentanyl? I'm guessing support for legalizing those is well below the 50% mark. I bet in an unbiased poll, most people would support efforts to disrupt marketplaces that sell these goods.
I agree that if law enforcement believed what, say, many HNers believe about the effectiveness of prohibition laws, this type of enforcement would represent a slavish devotion to the law over justice. But I'm guessing they generally believe the law is a good law and that the country is better off with it enforced.
> This action doesn't appear to actually enforce any law
I already referenced the law that it enforces. I'm not sure what you mean by reasserting that it doesn't enforce any law, while in the previous paragraph you conceded that "[law enforcement were] enforcing a law for that law's sake." Are they or aren't they enforcing a law?
It seems that you've gotten mixed up about who is saying what in this convo. I am actually contesting the notion that anybody was "enforcing a law for that law's sake" - it was dewaine who said that, and has repeated that assertion in a sibling comment to this one.
The primary thrust of my point is that these sorts of actions don't reflect a devotion to the letter of the law, but rather a nebulous "whatever it takes" approach, even unto naked PsyOps, to achieve a misguided end.
All of this is conjecture and would of course be unconscious motivation. People want to think they're the good guy, people justify what they're doing so they can sleep at night.
> The police are enforcing the supremacy of the state...
It strikes me that these two concepts are mutually exclusive; that was the reason for my objection in the first place.
These dark-net markets are already rife with FUD from scammers, and the LE accounts spreading it are painfully obvious to the communities that they exist in.
If you believe what they are doing is bad and must be stopped, then it makes such a choice seem like the relevant thing to do. When the violence does come, it provides more support for the laws in the first place. From the view point of someone who disagrees with those laws in general, I find it evil. But seemingly well thought out evil. Given their existing ideology, it makes sense.
- that is wrong, it does not cause violence, or
- it does cause violence but drugs are so bad that this violence is worth it.
These are different positions from “drugs are bad and must be stopped.”
Talking about this is valuable, because everyone has a limit on how far they’re willing to see countermeasures go. E.g. we think DUI is bad and must be stopped, but clearly not at the cost of making alcohol locks mandatory on every car in circulation. But DUI is evil! Well, yes, but apparently not that evil.
The question then is: ok, you think drugs are evil.. how evil? This evil?
It’s more than just ideology.
Generally once you want to make something illegal and use the threat of execution to force people into cages for engaging in it, then you have to accept that it is worth the violence to stop it.
I do see a lot of people who want to make things illegal but don't consider what that actually means for the perspective of someone having the law enforced against them. For example, people who want to make abortion illegal, but when you ask them about what penalty it would be enforced with, they don't want one. Personally, I consider these people to be in a state of still deciding their views on the given issue.
Once an individual has decided that someone in possession of the wrong plant should be locked in a cage for years and using physical, potentially lethal, violence used if they resist, then it seems quite reasonable they will feel the same about other uses of violence for the same reason.
> E.g. we think DUI is bad and must be stopped, but clearly not at the cost of making alcohol locks mandatory on every car in circulation.
Based on the numbers of deaths from alcohol and compared to other movements to restrict rights based on deaths caused (restriction of privacy in the case of terrorism or gun rights in the case of mass shootings), I find it quite surprising there isn't an effort comparable to what you suggest. It makes me begin to question the honesty and sincerity of any held political position.
Being undercover is spreading misinformation. It's the nature of the job.
At some point, we have to concede that misinformation campaigns can be quite dangerous - like with yelling fire in a crowded theatre.
This article balances that all in reality very well.
It doesn't mix up the terms Deep and Dark web. It doesn't feel the need to explain how bitcoin works, it acknowledges the prevalence of Monero. It mentions the current marketplaces and TOR news sites, it shows the perspective of the software engineers running the websites who realize that prior takedowns are largely a result of error and laziness.
Lets do more journalism like that
What if they replaced terms like "narcotics traficking" with "drug purchases?"
What if they changed "authorities" to "creeps with badges stalking ordinary people for buying drugs?"
Remember when the Panama Papers were leaked... And nothing happened?
Our taxpayer dollars are diverted to this crusade and so shouldn't we just call it what it is?
"yes, but what if we used skew and invective instead"
One thing that the article did not mention is that parts of the world apparently now have semi private comunitys run inside sometimes proprietary commercially run walled gardens used to build semi reliable channels for exchanging goods locally. Delivering sometimes not via Standard Post but closer to real-time and possibly even with out the need of a "delivery name/address".
This can and apparently even is sometimes done with a small RL "onion" fulfillment layers used for delivery in which each of three nodes never sees any of the peers.
It will be interesting to see with what mechanisms the merchants and markets will come up with.
Would we be okay if Russia decided that Facebook breaks its laws and then went and created fake profiles to cause enough disturbances to make people quit using the service? I would think not.
The persecution/prosecution of drug users is a multilateral agreement not US big stick diplo.
If you're marketing securities to US citizens, that part of your operations is under the jurisdiction of the SEC.
If you're selling food to US citizens, that part of your operations is under the jurisdiction of the FDA.
If you're selling drugs to US citizens, that part of your operations is under the jurisdiction of the DEA.
I don't understand what's troubling about it. Don't want to be under the jurisdiction of US agencies? Don't do business in the US.
The Internet is not "business in the US," hence GP's comment. Am I "doing business in the US" by posting this comment? This is really just digital hegemony from the USA.
then why does GDPR affect US companies as well?
With Silk Road 1.0 it was mostly a single government that had a lengthy expensive investigation that resulted in upwards of $50 million in Bitcoin seized and auctioned off. With the massive expansion of these market places, MULTIPLE governments are involved and barely seize or disrupt $1 million any more.
A better use of their population's money is consumer protection.
These market places have enough high quality but regular testing and alerts would protect their citizens. Governments have consequences by being seen to endorse drugs, I think this is a happy medium as the private sector has already picked up the slack here, and the government doesn't need to be seen as legalizing and regulating in stores just to keep people safe. Instead it can just review on these high quality marketplaces.
This phenomenon is only going to become exacerbated as the population becomes more technologically copmetent. It's use is not only drugs, but also moving money in and out of countries, tax evasion and money laundering.
That aside, when Monero gets an easier to use Multi-signature capability, people won't even have to deposit onto the marketplace websites anymore. So when the government spends millions to take them down it won't seize anything of value and won't disrupt commerce one bit.
Before then, JP Morgan and Ernst & Young's open source private Ethereum transactions are a great new mixer for Bitcoin. JP Morgan's Zether and EY's Nightfall allow for erc20 transactions to be private. You can wrap Bitcoin into an Ethereum erc20 asset (WBTC) and clean it and unlink it for use back on the Bitcoin network. Dark Net Marketplaces can also just require private wrapped assets and inherit all of the multisig and contracting capabilities on the Ethereum network right now.
Bitcoin's Lightning Network can also unlink transactions, but you have to trust that no intermediary nodes are recording transactions. You can just make a payment channel between two addresses you happen control, and then send them onchain from the new address, OR Dark Net Markets can just have payment channels for deposits. It would make the government have to spend even more resources to make their own nodes to track transactions, or would simply just remove their onchain blockchain sleuthing capability.
Thought this was a typo at first, but given the context maybe the spelling was intentional and humorous!
On the last day of trial, Serrin Turner, the lead prosecutor, addressed the jury and stated that none of the six contracted murders-for-hire allegations occurred. One charge of procuring murder was originally filed in October 2013 in a separate pending indictment in Maryland (which was later dismissed with prejudice in its entirety in July 2018); the other five allegations were never filed.
Obviously wikipedia is not a valid source, etc etc. But I've heard the assassination thing before and I'm wondering what information we have about the alleged assassination attempts.
The Maryland case was dismissed because it was a super shaky case, and would have revealed so much incompetence that it would mess this railroading up. It was later dismissed in a way that let the government retain some integrity "with prejudice [because he was already convicted]".
With regard to 1 or 2 of those 6 murders for hire, corrupt DEA and Secret Service agents were stealing and extorting from Ross, including staging a fake assassination. They were tried and convicted.
> No mention of Carl Mark Force IV made it into Ulbricht's trial. Neither did any mention of Shaun Bridges, the former Secret Service agent charged alongside him. The spree of crimes they committed as Silk Road investigators was under the seal of grand jury secrecy at the time.
It doesn't help Ross' character, as this fake one had images and a person that played along for a lighter sentence/immunity and then Ross had additional fake assassinations carried out.
It still hurts the government having a unilateral perception of him, because nobody was EVER trying to get people murdered in this operation until the corrupt investigators created fictional drama so that they could pocket some bitcoins. So far it hasn't mattered for the government, as Ross' appeals have all failed.
Really illuminates the key areas the government can nab you: not indict you for a worse action but tell everyone about the allegations, withhold key evidence, use those allegations to deny bail, shift jury perception, and rationalize higher sentencing.
Ulbricht lived in a tiny apartment with roommates in SF and spent his days working from the public library. It really doesn't appear like he was in it for the selfish material rewards.
Vilifying money itself along side actual sanctions on it is a relatively new legal concept for the Federal government. So yes this has pervaded the culture of the Federal government's subjects, but is only a happy coincidence for the government to maintain support.
edit: apparently the murder charges were dropped but the evidence that he hired a hitman was deemed "unambiguous" and factored into his sentencing
these facts should probably be acknowledged, even if disputed, on the freeross page, otherwise it reads like propaganda.
a related and interesting twist: it was an fbi informant he paid to be his hitman, who staged the murders. so nobody actually died, even though he believed they did. crazy.
The FBI and federal law enforcement more broadly has a long sad history of misdeeds.
I feel like there is a story there, could you please provide a little more info?
The crispy children is a reference to the Waco siege.
The box truck is a reference to the Oklahoma City bombing.
If you choose to research those first two terms they will lead you down a very deep and dark rabbit hole of government misdeeds. You've been warned.
Entrapment requires coercion by the police to push you into something you wouldn't have otherwise done.
Selling drugs to an undercover cop? Not entrapment.
Selling drugs to an undercover cop because they said they'd kill your family if you don't get them some drugs? Entrapment.
It arguably increased demand and supply for people who are curious to try such things but "don't have a connection".
Street level deals? Violence went down, sure.
But equating the Silk Road to "saving lives and reducing violence" is a martyrdom that, frankly, it doesn't deserve.
And yeah, I was mainly thinking about street level violence. While I've never lived under the influence of a cartel, I have a hard time believing the Silk Road would make anything worse for anyone in that situation. It seems to me giving cartels the ability to directly sell their drug to people over the internet would only decrease violence. Maybe I'm wrong, though.
Based on what? How many OD victims never lived to give a 3 star rating "overdosed, would not buy again"?
You should watch Cocaine Diaries (http://exclaim.ca/music/article/blurs_alex_james_in_bbc_doc_...) - a documentary about a rock star, after talking about cocaine fueled parties, was invited to Colombia and met with everyone from villagers to a cartel hitman. To think that there's no violence in the _production_ alone, let alone distribution and retail, would be naive. And to think that giving the cartels safer channels to sell and increase their market would make those precursors safer is something I can't really picture.
Harm reduction is a big thing on DNM markets and forums. You have information on how to safely use drugs and places to ask for advice. I bet it saved quite a few lives.
It would be hypocritical to be upset at politicians like our president and congress for breaking laws, but then to cheer on Ross for his breaking of the law. Justice isn't a pick and choose kind of thing.
Not all laws are just. Not all application of law is just, though it may be lawful. The Constitution even has an escape hatch built in: the presidential pardon. The framers were quite aware that sometimes the law is not just- otherwise, why allow unilateral pardons?
Sodomy laws were only overturned nationally in 2003. Was everyone involved in consensual buggery before then "hypocritical" for being "upset at politicians like our president and congress for breaking laws"?
as a practical matter civil disobedience is a pretty fundamental part of how democracies function. I don't think darkweb markets are civil disobedience! but there are many, many worse things than hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy is another thing that is a fundamental part of how democracies function. Without hypocrisy you can't really have a free society.
That's what Ulbricht is doing, facing his consequences, and I have no sympathy for him. Notice the lack of a public outcry or a huge public movement to come to his rescue. It's because the laws he broke are not unjust. The laws he broke are reasonable, he was a drug trafficker.
For instance, drug possession is illegal, but prosecuting every single person found with small amounts to the maximum extent possible would not be just, and no appeal to the law will make it so. I am hugely sympathetic to people pulled up on minor drug crimes, even though they are technically "facing the consequences" of their actions, because they're unjust consequences. Drug possession isn't civil disobedience but that doesn't mean I'm happy when people go to jail on minor possession charges. Ditto prostitution: not civil disobedience, probably unjust to jail someone for it.
People often go to jail for too long for too little, and shrugging that the consequences should just be accepted as the price of doing whatever it was does not follow. Should we just say, well, she voted illegally, I guess she (and we) should accept the eight year sentence in the interest of upholding the rule of law? https://reason.com/2018/11/28/8-years-in-prison-for-voting-i... https://reason.com/2018/03/30/texas-woman-gets-sentenced-to-...
I'm not sympathetic towards him either, but neither am I particularly mad at him over his actions being illegal. Hiring a hitman is wrong regardless of the law. Profiting off drug sales, well that's a more complicated argument than simply "it's illegal." It's probably good that he's behind bars but I don't think you can just point at the statutes he broke and, without reference to anything in the outside world, say that you are certain it's a just consequence. Possibly it was. But you can't just assume that if he really is guilty (he is), the consequences are reasonable.
Meanwhile, Paul le Roux is very likely to get a light sentence due to his extensive cooperation with the government. le Roux is directly responsible for several completed murders. He sold missile components to Iran! His sentence will almost certainly be much shorter than Ross Ulbricht's. Does that serve justice or not? It's not obvious. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Le_Roux
Yes, it is. That is the entire purpose of the executive branch; choosing what laws to enforce. We don't have the capacity to enforce every law. There are such a ridiculous amount of laws on the books over the last 250 years that enforcing them all is impossible. So, we prioritize things. There is a reason why most lawyers will suggest that you don't talk to the police without an attorney present. If they want to get you for something, they will find something.
Also, justice and law are not the same at all. We do not have a justice system. We have a legal system. If you have more money, you will almost always have more favorable outcomes in court. I'm not saying to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We need some laws and law enforcement. But legality does not equal morality. You have to weigh things on their own.
While not all of Silk Road was sunshine and rainbows, the changing attitudes towards marijuana legislature is proof that circumventing the law isn't always this drain on society because the law isn't always caught up to society.
There's a lot wrong in your comment but this is the most wrong by far. Citizens are not accountable to the government in the same way that the president is accountable to the country. The latter is a far stricter responsibility and not a two-way relationship. Citizens have no moral obligation other than the threat of force to obey unjust laws; in fact in many cases breaking such laws is closer to moral duty. See civil disobedience.
I doubt they meant it, but it's a pretty good pharmacy related pun .
And more sincerely, this is a very superficial take on the opioid crisis and misplaced blame. The problem with opioids in the US starts in the US with overprescription of opioids, lack of other pain management options, etc.
Also I am questioning my assumptions as to how HN works. I submitted this yesterday, how was a duplicate URL not detected?
Would love a little more transparency from HN. I know it will enable manipulators but it would also help people like us not feel as shafted (which has really disincentivized me against submitting stories).
Not only alcohol and tobacco account for many more deaths than all the illegal drugs combined , but the effects of alcohol on society are worse than any other substance. This is information from the UK but I very much doubt it will be much different from any other first world country.
Plus people who want to consume drugs will find a way to do it, legal or not.
You can convince me that testing mind-altering drugs as an experience is a human right or something like that. Really, no sarcasm here. But dealing with a sizable portion of a society getting hooked on artificial gratification is on a totally different level.
Not liking war on drugs, still don't buy that 'alcohol is worse' is a valid point. On the contrary, it seems proof of how things can go astray when you normalize an addictive substance.
It's certainly possible but if we look at countries like Portugal people actually consume less drugs now than before the decriminalization.
As an aside, could somebody (specially someone with specific knowledge) enlighten me about the difference with Spain? Here possesion of weed was legalized in the eighties (though later re-punished in public with a fine and confiscation) and possesion in general was decriminalized while it's an amount small enough to assume it's for own use.
Has the situation in Portugal really improved there because of legal status or because rehab programs receiving proper funding? Or even economic upturn?
I strongly doubt this claim. Dark net markets are a fraction of all drug sales.
So, it is illegal to advertise dark web markets? DeepDotWeb must have done something else to get taken down?
It seems the entire drug war has managed to spark almost incomprehensible levels of violence. There's some in the US and Canada, to be sure, but it has turned large swaths of Mexico, particularly, into war zones.
There needs to be a change in thinking. Cracking down on dark net drug sales is nothing but the expansion of a failing war.
As Americans we all pay for this and it works against us by limiting our options and telling us what we can and can't do for recreation. That $51 billon could easily go towards Medicare for All and with more intelligent drug options the number of Americans addicted to Alcohol and Opiates would decline.
Prohibition creates economic incentives to create cheaper substitutes. These substitutes cause more harm than the original substance.
During alcohol prohibition, methanol was used.
Pressure on MDMA precursor chemicals has led to many more dangerous substitutes like TFMPP/BZP.
I wish we could have fact-based policy, and not just with regards to drugs.
That $51B "cost" is known as "income" to those on whom it is spent (cops, prisons, misc security contractors, weapons manufacturers, on and on).
Similarly, the "only upside is ... artificial monopoly" -- well, for the artificial monopolists, that's a pretty big upside!
I don't think there's some kind of Grand Conspiracy here (ref. https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/01/14/too-many-people-dare-c... ), but I also don't think one is needed. A whole heck of a lot of people benefit directly from the drug war, and these people are a powerful constituency. The fact that $51B is spent on that constituency instead of on Medicare for All or whatever is, for much of that constituency, a feature and not a bug.
There are a lot of mundane things keeping it going, but sometimes a little bit of conspiracy ends up being right.
As user GatorD42 pointed out when this was brought up before:
>...Baum claims Ehrlichman said that to him in 1994 while he was researching for a book he published in 1996 about the drug war. He didn't include the quote in that book, but instead published it in 2012 and again in 2016, after Ehrlichman had died (in 1999).
If the quote was actually said by Ehrlichman, it doesn't actually describe the drug polices of the Nixon administration. While Nixon is remembered for "war on drugs", the actual substance of his policies seem to be different than what people think it was:
>...I have been fortunate over the years to discuss the distorted memory of Nixon's drug policies with almost all of his key advisors as well as with historians. Their consensus is that because he was dramatically expanding the U.S. treatment system (by 350% in just 18 months!) and cutting criminal penalties, he had to reassure his right wing that he hadn’t gone soft. So he laid on some of the toughest anti-drug rhetoric in history, including making a White House speech declaring a “war on drugs” and calling drugs “public enemy number one”. It worked so well as cover that many people remember that “tough” press event and forget that what Nixon did at it was introduce not a general or a cop or a preacher to be his drug policy chief but…a medical doctor (Jerry Jaffe, a sweet, bookish man who had longish hair and sideburns and often wore the Mickey Mouse tie his kids had given him).
Yes, from time to time. At this point some Mexican states and areas have it institutionalized so much that there isn't a war anymore. There is only danger when two competing powers are in the same area.
Mexico's southern border with Guatemala has an influx of migrants because of Guatemala's now organized drug violence.
Just because it isn't a 'war' so much anymore doesn't mean that the violence that comes with areas being under control of gangs magically goes away.
Authoritarian states beating their subjects has nothing to do with him being beaten in the streets that night.
While I'm against the drug war, I wonder what career drug dealers (and everyone who's part of their economy) would do if drugs were legalized and commoditized.
Would it not lead to an increase of "worse" crimes with "real" victims like kidnapping, human trafficking, robbery, etc. as criminals try to replace their income and sustain their lifestyles?
Also, a lot of people go into illegal drug dealing because it is a high risk/high reward avenue, compared to many traditional prospects, where you can make a lot of money with comparatively little time investment. If I remember correctly, that was one of the stated reasons for why Notorious B.I.G. went into drug-dealing, despite being a good student and initially considering going to college for a more traditional high-education career.
Better off just acknowledging them as an authoritative single party regime, and staying as far away from drug possession as possible, lets you get confused as a competitor.
I think a significant portion of society is aware of this. The problem is that a subset of our society is continuing to push for this antiquated way of life as it is very, very profitable for them. Money makes the world go 'round, after all.
Legalizing drugs will not fix the problem. The cartels run the government now. Do you actually think they will just pick up their things and go home? The violence will continue and they will move onto the next, illegal, lucrative product to sell.
The US in the 1930s had the same problem. It was only stopped by stamping out corruption and outright the murdering of criminals. I don't see Mexico having even a small handle on corruption in the next 50 years.
The Opioid crisis is going on right now..and this is with legal drugs. Drug companies are being sued for millions and millions of dollars.
From one side, I'm told legal adults should be able to do what they want with their bodies. From the other, when bad things happen..like addiction, I'm told it's the fault of the company that made and sold the drugs. This doesn't make any real sense if we are trying to legalize drugs. It will only increase costs as the result of liability insurance and other risks that are now involved.
Legalizing MJ in California is turning into a failure. The problem is that companies that sell legal drugs need to pay taxes and go through many more regulations than the guy down the street selling it. The end result is higher costs for legal drugs.
Legal drug companies selling MJ are being put out of business because the black market is thriving as a result of lower costs and better availability (which will always happen with black markets). The legal market is only helping the black market because there are many people that are using MJ now that otherwise wouldn't have when it was illegal.
When the legalization of MJ was proposed, the proponents (including many people here on HN) said that there would be no black market after it was legalized. This never made sense to me and now I'm being proven correct. The black market is not only there, it's thriving.
How exactly would legalization hurt Mexico? Look at Portugal to see how we should all move towards dealing with drugs and addiction as a health problem instead of a criminal problem.
The violence in the 1930s WAS caused by the prohibition, sure it had lasting effects but ending prohibition was still the right move.
Can you cite the rise of black market marijuana in California? The market is doing well and bringing in good tax revenue in every state I've read about.
As for the opioid crisis, the issue wasn't that people one day decided they wanted to get hooked on them. The issue was they had pain or were recovering from a surgery and were being prescribed highly addictive medication that was being pushed by pharmaceutical companies without proper warning or care. Marijuana could have been given in these cases and it without the same problems of addiction.
First search result in Google. Black market for pot growing in CA at the expense of the legalized market.
No, the violence was caused by criminals funded themselves primarily by breaking prohibition laws. If violence was caused by prohibition, Utah would have been the most violent state in the nation for most of its history, since prohibition was the law in most of Utah for most of its history. It still is the law in parts of Utah.
After all, marijuana was technically subject to prohibition until quite recently, and yet the very lucrative pot market was not marred by violence.
The amount of regulation pretty much guaranteed a "market failure" for legal pot.
Almost like that was the intended outcome...
One of the arguments was that it would being in all sorts of tax dollars that could be used for great things. Tax Dollars=more expensive pot. So from this perspective, it worked as intended, even though many of the supports may not have actually thought it through.
No, left-leaning people wanted more government regulation--and expected pot legalization with regulations. Which is what they got. But a lot of places, primarily right-leaning, chose to simply continue banning pot stores and deliveries within their jurisdictions.
Of course, reality doesn't quite work that way. Black market sales are still pretty strong in right-leaning parts of CA. The pot sales are thus still happening there, but they aren't seeing the tax revenues that their more liberal counterparts are seeing.
Yeah, well, this isn't what we're talking about. Left-leaning people wanted pot legalized and regulated and didn't seem to grasp that this means an increase in prices.
"Of course, reality doesn't quite work that way. Black market sales are still pretty strong in right-leaning parts of CA. The pot sales are thus still happening there, but they aren't seeing the tax revenues that their more liberal counterparts are seeing."
As stated in the articles I linked to, the black market is thriving in many parts of CA..it has nothing to do with right-leaning areas.
Left-leaning people grasped that this meant increased prices...Pot shops do quite well in liberal areas even though they're more expensive than the corner dealer.
As stated in the articles I linked to, the black market is thriving in many parts of CA..it has nothing to do with right-leaning areas.
It has everything to do with right-leaning areas since the black market is thriving in the many parts of red CA that still prohibit marijuana sales. The black market (for sales to end-customers) isn't doing as well as it used to in left-leaning areas, though the black market for suppliers is still doing well for the suppliers that haven't yet been caught.
Also, your point was proven factually wrong, as pot is way cheaper in legal states and is way safer, thanks to regulations.
The proof is the cost of legal weed, which is sometimes double the cost of the black market prices, due to regulations and taxes.
"Also, your point was proven factually wrong, as pot is way cheaper in legal states and is way safer, thanks to regulations."
Safer? Maybe. Cheaper? Hardly. You have provided zero proof and your arguments just don't make a lot of sense.
No, the cost of legal weed that is actually 100% what it claims to be is double the cost of black market stuff that might be (or based on police reports and various studies, almost certainly is) adulterated with various contaminants, including lawn grass, actual weeds, and trace amounts of other drugs sold by the dealer or his supplier.
It's like complaining that organic beef is twice the price of grain-finished hormone-treated beef. No duh. You have to pay extra for quality and the proof of quality.
Pain is an important signal and, in general, should only be treated enough to take the edge off. Ideally, the root cause should be addressed.
Of course, there are plenty of chronic and terminal conditions where opiates are appropriate.
Again the 'Portugal' argument is misplaced.
Portugal has not legalized drugs.
Portuguese Police will throw you in jail forever if they catch you with large amounts of any drugs.
The material difference between Portugal and most other advanced nations is how they treat possession of small amounts - instead of jail, you get therapy.
Great, I wish the same for America.
But 'Legalizing hard drugs' is a complete different, position, it's not close to reasonable.
Thanks to 'Fentanyl' the argument becomes glowingly problematic - OD's are skyrocketing everywhere, and 'overdose' now kills considerably more people than guns and cars every year.
Given that OD's are rising rapidly, and the others are contained - OD's are soon going to be the cause of concern.
Full legalization of 'hard drugs' would mean it's in your coca-cola (again), meth in your red bull, opiates for any little thing. Though many would stay away, and many frankly can 'handle their drugs' - a material chunk of civilization would be addicted, to the point it would be a massive mental health crisis.
We are already pushing reforms to seriously limit the number of opioids prescribed because it's such an addiction problem. In Canada, you get sometimes 1, 2 or 3 opiate pills only (!) because of the concern.
Decriminalization of small amounts may very well help.
But 'legalization' of hard drugs will yield a health catastrophe pretty quickly.
I'm always shocked at the sheer lack of understanding of social consequence in these forums. I get the 'Liberty' argument, I get 'Harm Reduction' (though it's not always a great story), I get 'thinking out loud' for bold new ideas.
But legalization of hard drugs for most civilizations will yield destruction.
The 'war on drugs' will continue for as long as they are addictive and powerful.
Fentanyl is just the beginning.
What poeple don't talk about is the damage that UNDER-prescription does, politicians (not doctors) are taking away what quality of life people do have left. People receiving pallative care are often being denied pain adiquate pain medication, I wouldn't call that civilised.
This opioid chrisis stems from doctors carelessly prescriping pain medication and patients (who haven't been educated), being just as careless. The term 'pain killer' has done a huge amount of damage, if you try to kill your pain, you're going to have problems (very fine line between no pain and high), the goel is to be able to function, simple things like be able to sleep.
I don't think Naloxone is helping matters, it provides a safety net allowing adicts to take ever higher doses.
Yes, so think of what would happen if you could buy opioids willy nilly, wherever.
So yes, thanks - even with 'intelligent actors' in the system, it's also a problem.
FYI - the crisis is definitely not just 'doctors' - it's a whole assembly of problems. Doctors can be misinformed, patients can be demanding, regulatory issues, pressure from drug companies.
Apparently America is getting better at prescribing fewer opioids as well, so this is good, but 'getting smart about how to prescribe opioids' (which is good) is one part of the 'war on drugs'.
As for medical uses of Fentanyl, super, that's great, all for it if there's legitimacy - but it's again it's going to 100% have to be 'a controlled substance', ergo, people arrested for smuggling quantities, which they will, ergo, 'war on drugs' continues.
Beside, the concern about "hard drugs" used recreationally, are the same as with alcohol. Prevention against abuse is the key to reasonnable use.
They are not, though.
Weed (not a hard drug), sure.
But meth, coke and opioids are not very much like alcohol at all really.
I can see legalization of folks chewing on coca leaves maybe, i.e. something like coffee ... but beyond that ... I don't think it's going to work in any regulatory environment.
The 'liberty' it provides the few who can a) handle their stuff and b) have safety nets (i.e. middle and upper class) is not enough to warrant the terrible effects it will have on others.
These things are already a problem in some workplaces: construction, truck driving, because of the intensity of competition etc. - loosening the bounds just creates more problems.
I do think we should decriminalize, but I don't think that our little party at Burning Man is worth the damage that it will wreak in other places.
"How exactly would legalization hurt Mexico? Look at Portugal to see how we should all move towards dealing with drugs and addiction as a health problem instead of a criminal problem."
Portugal didn't have cartels running entire sections of the country. Drugs may be part of the problem with Mexico, but the cartels are too powerful and legalizing them will not solve the corruption problem..and the violence will continue.
"The violence in the 1930s WAS caused by the prohibition, sure it had lasting effects but ending prohibition was still the right move."
It was. But we had a corruption problem as well. Criminals don't just go away overnight. There are plenty of other ways to make money, once you have money, power, and influence. Legalizing drugs will not solve the corruption problem in Mexico.
"Can you cite the rise of black market marijuana in California? The market is doing well and bringing in good tax revenue in every state I've read about."
A simple google search:
"As for the opioid crisis, the issue wasn't that people one day decided they wanted to get hooked on them. The issue was they had pain or were recovering from a surgery and were being prescribed highly addictive medication that was being pushed by pharmaceutical companies without proper warning or care. Marijuana could have been given in these cases and it without the same problems of addiction."
Who decides to get hooked on anything? Some people get addicted to things faster than others. No matter how many warnings you give someone, it will happen...and the company will get sued for millions of dollars.
The cigarette companies are a good example of this. Cigarettes have been know to cause cancer for 50+ years. Yet, we will have people smoking, getting cancer, and suing these companies for millions of dollars.