Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘FBI

Hidden site seized by FBI: Selling drugs online?

If you want to buy a book online, you go to Amazon.com.  If you want to buy shoes? Zappos. Domain name? Godaddy.

An 18 year old Brazilian girl’s virginity? eBay. A one way flight to Brazil? Kayak.

But where do you go if you want to anonymously buy illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine, meth, molly, LSD etc… all from the privacy and comfort of a web browser?

Well, up until 3:15 pm on Wednesday October 2nd, for all these illicit purchases and more you could have gone to a website called SilkRoad.

DNA posted this Oct. 3, 2013:

FBI Arrests 29 Year Old Mastermind Of Billion Dollar Internet Drug Blackmarket

 / October 3, 2013 /

What happened Wednesday at 3:15 pm? After months of painstaking investigation, the FBI swooped in and arrested the long sought-after mastermind of this highly illegal anonymous drug marketplace. Who was this mastermind?

Was it a secretive Russian hacker living in Moscow? A Chinese internet tycoon operating from a private yacht in international waters?

Actually, it was a 29 year old American named Ross Ulbricht who operated most of his empire out of a San Francisco coffee shop. When he was arrested, he was actually using the free wifi at a public library.

This story is long, but completely insane, totally worth reading all the way through.

In case you need some teasers, this story involves billions of dollars worth of drug transactions, an enormous illegal fortune made entirely out of Bitcoins, fake passports and even a couple of hit-men.

Ross Ulbricht - Virtual Drug Kingpin

SilkRoad was founded in 2011 as an underground marketplace where internet users could buy, sell and trade illegal drugs anonymously.

The reason it worked was because SilkRoad required every potential buyer and seller to use a routing service called Tor.

When someone uses Tor, their IP address (geographic location) is encrypted several times over, routed all over the world to dozens of locations. Using Tor, someone could be sitting in Los Angeles but would be tracked as a zipping line that appears, then disappears from one location to the next instantaneously.

Tor was originally invented by the U.S. NAVY to help mask top secret messages. It has lots of legitimate uses like maintaining a journalist’s anonymous sources or keeping a business meeting extra private.

Tor is also perfectly suited for keeping illegal transactions totally untraceable and anonymous. That’s where SilkRoad came in and thrived.

Silk Road Before Being Shut Down

When it was up and running, there wasn’t much of a difference between SilkRoad and eBay or craigslist.

It was a website where buyers and sellers met to exchange money for goods and services. The main difference, aside from the fact that most of the products being listed were illegal, was that on SilkRoad you couldn’t simply charge a credit card or use your paypal account to complete the transaction.

Instead, users traded Bitcoins. What’s a Bitcoin? That question alone probably deserves its own dedicated article on CNW, but for now all you need to understand is that Bitcoin is a completely anonymous virtual currency. The most recent value of a single Bitcoin was right around $130. So that means if you wanted to buy $250 worth of cocaine on SilkRoad, at today’s price you would need to own at least two Bitcoins.

I love my fed-ex guy cause he’s a drug dealer and he doesn’t even know it…and he’s always on time.” – Mitch Hedberg.

Actually, SilkRoad preferred the US Postal Service over Fed-Ex, but the late great comedian Mitch Hedberg was clearly way ahead of his time with that classic line.

So you’ve just spent two Bitcoins to buy $250 worth of cocaine. How were these drugs delivered? Simple.

The seller would vacuum seal the package then ship it through the USPS, likely with a false return address.

Ironically, the Federal government was a drug dealer and they didn’t even know it… for a while.

SilkRoad would make money by taking a 10% commission on every transaction. It has been estimated that prior to being shutdown, SilkRoad was responsible for more than half of the daily trading volume of Bitcoins around the world.

bitcoins

It turns out, the FBI had been trying for over a year to unmask the mastermind of SilkRoad who they only knew by the internet handle “Dread Pirate Roberts“.

The FBI spent thousands of hours scouring the internet trying to find traces of his potential real identity. Unfortunately for “Dread Pirate Roberts”, this internet mastermind made a few very crucial errors.

First, he accidentally used his real name and personal gmail address on at least two occasions when posting in online forums to ask questions about working with Tor and to advertise SilkRoad. The FBI was then able to subpoena some very valuable information from Google and another technology firm that ran what is called “VPN” software which was supposed to help keep Ulbricht anonymous.

Through these subpoenas, the FBI was able to piece together that the vast majority of SilkRoad’s operations were being run out of a coffee shop on a quiet San Francisco street. Agents then began to track Ulbricht back and forth to the coffee shop.

Here’s where the story gets completely insane:

According to the indictment documents filed today in New York, the FBI was able to determine that over the last two years, SilkRoad processed $1.2 billion dollars worth of transactions. In other words, 9.5 million Bitcoins have flowed back and forth between SilkRoad buyers and sellers.

What does that mean for Ross Ulbricht personally? Over that same time period, the FBI determined that Ulbricht collected some 600,000 Bitcoins in the form of his commission. How much are 600,000 Bitcoins worth? At today’s closing price, $78 million. At yesterday’s closing price? $90 million (the price of Bitcoins dropped sharply in the wake of Ulbricht’s arrest). When Bitcoins hit an all time peak value in April 2013 of $266 per coin, his virtual collection was worth $160 million. To give you some idea of how insane the market for Bitcoins has been recently, in the fall of 2011 when SilkRoad was founded, a single Bitcoin was worth just $2.

Just to re-iterare: 29 year old Ross Ulbricht earned nearly $80 million in commissions for maintaining and operating SilkRoad over the last two years. Here’s a screenshot of his LinkedIn page:

ulbricht

And the story gets crazier:

As if operating a billion dollar illegal online narcotics marketplace wasn’t bad enough, the FBI alleges that Ulbricht hired at least two hitmen over the last 12 months to murder people who were threatening SilkRoad and his own personal anonymity. He didn’t know it at the time, but Ulbricht was already being closely watched by the FBI when he used $150,000 worth of Bitcoins to order a murder from a hitman he met online.

The target was a former SilkRoad employee called “FriendlyChemist” who was threatening to release the identities of 5000 SilkRoad users in addition to outing Ulbricht as the mastermind of the whole operation unless he received a one time payment of $500,000. Just listen to the morbid online exchanges between Ulbricht and one of the hitmen, this all went down just seven months ago, in March 2013:

In my eyes, FriendlyChemist is a liability and I wouldn’t mind if he was executed… I have the following info and am waiting on getting his address…[He] lives in White Rock, British Colombia [with a] wife + 3 kids.

The hitmen responded with a quote of: “$150,000 to $300,000 depending on how you want it done, clean or non-clean

To which Ulbricht responded: “Don’t want to be a pain here, but the price seems high. Not long ago, I had a clean hit done for $80k. Are the prices you quoted the best you can do? I would like this done ASAP because he is talking about releasing the info Monday.

Finally Ulbricht accepted the $150,000 price and on the night March 31st he received the following message from his hitman: “I received the payment… We know where he is. He’ll be grabbed tonight. I’ll update you.

And 24 hours later another message from the hitman: “Your problem has been taken care of… Rest easy because he wont be blackmailing anyone again. Ever.

It may further shock you to know that Ross Ulbricht wasn’t sending these chilling execution orders from a dark room in a palatial San Francisco mansion. The FBI determined that when he wasn’t operating from the library or his favorite coffee shop, Ulbricht was working out of a three bedroom apartment he shared with two roommates directly across the street from the coffee shop.

Those roommates knew him as “Josh”, the friendly computer programmer who paid his $1000 a month rent every month right on time, in cash. Remember, the guy was worth $80 million and simultaneously operating a business that rivals many Fortune 500 companies.

One final strange twist to this case occurred back in July 2013.

FBI agents received a huge break when Canadian border control randomly chose to open and inspect a package that ended up containing several fake passports and IDs all for the same person, all addressed to Ross Ulbricht in San Francisco.

Homeland security visited Ulbricht shortly thereafter with the help of the FBI. Ulbricht claimed to have no clue why or who would send him those fake IDs. Incredibly, he even used SilkRoad as a defense by claiming that hypothetically anyone could order forged identity documents “on a website called SilkRoad“.

When FBI agents arrested “Josh”, AKA “Dread Pirate Roberts”, on Tuesday, it was 3:15 in the afternoon and Ulbricht was quietly working away at his local branch of the San Francisco public library.

Today his funds are being seized and SilkRoad has been shut down completely. Ulbricht faces a slew of very serious charges including attempting and possibly succeeding to commit two murders.

Finally, we’d like to officially announce that from on you can buy all your drugs on CelebrityNetWorth! Kidding.

seized

Law of silence: CIA; (Oct. 28, 2009)

On September 18, seven ex-CIA chiefs exhorted President Barak Obama to emulate former Presidents and cover up the serious infringements to laws and regulations.

The CIA and FBI during the two Bush Junior Administrations committed excesses by the operators in anti-terrorist interrogations; the CIA chiefs claim that opening public investigation may jeopardize State security. 

 Brigadier General John Magruder has stated the objective of the CIA by 1947: “Clandestine operations constantly implicate infringement of internal laws and regulations. The Pentagon and the State Department cannot take risks for covering such operations.  A new service for clandestine actions has to take charge for covering up the official institutions.” 

This statement is fundamentally the main reason for establishing the CIA: it was meant to execute unlawful orders and decisions taken by the Executive Administrations.

Allen Dulles, chief of the “Agency” from 1953 to 61, confirm the doctrine that the “CIA is to execute what the President authorizes it in the wide gamut of political assassinations and destabilization of countries. The CIA main job is to cover for the President; all plausible denials should be extended to cover the involvement of the President in the decision process.  Thus, the President can securely admit that he ignored any failed operations overseas.”

John Prados noted: “Thirty years ago the public perception of the CIA was of a lone and solitary elephant that escaped all kinds of control; that the CIA was running amuck with clandestine operations all over the world.  It is now clear that the Agency and its phalanges were just following presidential orders.  It is the Presidency that is the lone elephant because the Agency was not doing its publicly declared mission of providing intelligence to the President.  All the revealed documents show that Presidents had no intelligence of the imminent coming to power of Khomeini in Iran in 1979, the potential disintegration of the Soviet Union, or the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers.”

Gordon Thomas said: “The Agency never managed to implant a spy in the higher circles of the Soviet Union decision makers. Bill Casey just took the risk of misinforming Ronald Reagan and systematically overestimated whatever intelligence he had”

At every new Presidency, the CIA got worse in control and management: it was overwhelmed by paramilitary operations than doing intelligence gathering; intelligence was thus relegated to non-human operators of remote control data from satellites and computer processing of images.

 The newly sacked CIA chief Porter Goss pronounced an allocution at Tiffin University and gave a sound counsel to new recruits “Never admit, deny everything, and take the best strategy of launching counter accusations when targeted within the CIA and the political circles.”

 The engraved motto of the CIA at Langley is St. John pronouncement “And you will know truth and truth will set you free”. 

Apparently, to setting you free to assassinate and get away with it; to lie on State interests and get away with it; to cover up Evil Presidents and Administrations who follow orders from lobbying powerful interest groups.

The US had agreed to finance the Nile dam during Nasser but reneged on the deal. It was learned later that the lobby of the cotton producers in the US South put the squeeze on the ground that Egypt would later compete with US cotton.  The Soviet Union was invited to Egypt and many other regions.        

The CIA and FBI think that they can get away with a lot of crimes on the premise that the US citizen believes that intelligence gathering cannot be performed without breaking a couple of eggs in a democratic society in order to preserve citizen from further hardship and secure him more liberty. 

It is becoming evident that the more power you let a government gets the less liberty you should expect.  If the last eight years did not exhibit this fact then do not blame anyone for further slavery and totalitarianism.

It is a good thing to have more than two superpowers: extreme fundamentalism (i.e., religious and liberal capitalism) would be checked, cultural life would rejuvenate and people would enjoy more opportunities and choices instead of a gigantic financial crisis and global mass ignorance floating all over our planet.

For further declassified evidences read my post “The critical decade of Islamic extremism

State highest interest: usurping Public Opinion; (October 17, 2009)

 

            In a previous post “The critical decade of Radical Islam” I stated as conclusion:”

As the Soviet Union was disintegrating in 1991, the US and Europe were busy with a new world order and intentionally forgot radical Islam for an entire decade.  The US was after the financial domination of the world and playing the role of International Police Force; Europe was busy re-unifying East Germany, managing the Eastern European States seeking independence of Russia, controlling the Slavic question of Yugoslavia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Serbia, and finding an appropriate resolution for expanding the European Union.

            Radical Islam got under way in organization and proliferation and performed many operational activities in Indonesia, Somalia, Tanzania, Kenya, Chechnya, Pakistan, India, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia (the Khobar bombing of the hotel where the American aviators had residence) to end up with the 9/11/ 2001 attack on the Twin Towers.  During the decade, after the dismantlement of Russia, the US Administrations toned down every terrorist’s activities to its public opinion in order to focus on world financial domination and the restructuring of Europe.”

            Many evidences from outdated archives are surfacing that shed strong lights on the many instances that US Administrations usurped its public opinion on the ground of the “Nation Highest Interests”. The cult for secrecy in the various data (intelligence) gathering services in the US is not a recent discovery after the 9/11/ 2001 attack of the Twin Towers.

            Roosevelt had set his mind in joining the war against Germany and Japan since 1940 and was frequently deliberately provoking the navies of Germany and Japan.  Truman initiated clandestine contacts with Mao Tse Tong in 1948 that Stalin disrupted by purposely starting the Korean War.  Many nuclear American scientists were secretly permitted to flee to other foreign nations in order to appease public opinion after the debacle of the execution of the innocent Rosenberg couple in 1953. The US Administrations deliberately minimized the health risks of open ground nuclear testing and later the under ground testing.  The CIA was controlling experiments on brain manipulation and biological war fare.  President Reagan buried the conclusions of the committee of the Chamber of representatives that the assassinations of the two Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King were organized works. Irangate was the transfer of arms to Iran against the resolutions of the Parliament which also prohibited destabilizing Nicaragua.

            Two factors impress on the Executive branch to act in secrecy: Stock exchange and public polls. Two days after 9/11 the stock devalued 60%.  Greenspan injected several billion dollars in the private economy; trade level stabilized in four months. The reach this goal the tetanized public opinion was to be reassured of no further catastrophes. Thus, a quick victory in Afghanistan was urgent as well as mass disinformation on the danger of bacteriological warfare and the proliferation of the Pakistani nuclear threat. The anthrax affairs before and after 9/11 was quickly buried and toned down as related to a lunatic. Two kinds of anthrax were used; a high quality used in the US military and a rough quality. The Tcheck President Vaclav Havel confirmed publicly that the Iraqi Embassy in Prague got in contact with Al-Qaeda leader Saif Al Adl and anthrax was delivered.  The CIA promptly demanded that the Tcheck security services deny that fact. 

            Timothy Mac Veigh, one of the bombers of the Oklahoma City Federal Building in 1995, was quickly executed and 150 pages of the instruction disappeared in order not to go further in the investigation: the second suspect Terry Nichols had secret contacts in the Philippine with a girl friend who was also in close contact with Ramzi Youssef (another leader of Al Qaeda and in Manila at the time).  The downing of the TWA 800 by a small missile off the shore of Manhattan was attributed to a stray Navy missile on maneuver.  All these cover-ups were done with the close cooperation of both Republican and Democratic parties, the FBI, and the CIA. When the main superpower permits the widespread exercises of disinformation to its public opinion then this practice is capted instantly by the rest of world States.

 

            All these operations by Al Qaeda were backed by the triumvirate Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Iraq of Saddam Hussein.  In Saudi Arabia, the financial backer of Al Qaeda and the Pakistani nuclear program, Prince Sultan was Defense Minister and his cadet brother Nayef was the Minister of the Interior (Bandar, the Ambassador to the USA and semi-brother of Sultan, was later appointed chief of the security services). In fact, all Saudi diplomats were sneaked out in secrecy after 9/11 even when evidences piled up high of their cooperation in the attack; two princes of the “Royal Family” were high ranking in Al Qaeda: They were disposed off shortly after the attack. Saudi Arabia sovereign fund was effectively cash money for the US Administration to use when the US Senate refused funding of any programs.

            Pakistan was in charge of training (the pilots of Al Qaeda received two years of training there).  Pakistan was the real threat for arms of mass destruction, nuclear, biological, and chemical, and no longer Iraq but Pakistan vital as base for attacking Afghanistan and for supply and logistics. Saddam Hussein cooperated and delivered the biological and chemical tools.   Thus, the US targeted Iraq as next pre-emptive objective after the economic fundamentals in the US stabilized; (Read my post “Why massive occupation of Iraq”).

            When the main superpower permits the widespread exercises of disinformation to its public opinion then this practice is capted instantly by the rest of world States.

 

Note: I extensively used information from a chapter in “The world is a kid playing” by Alexandre Adler.


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