De-Manufacturing Consent- Silk Road & the Trial for Internet Freedom

Guillermo Jimenez Presents Derrick Broze

On this edition of De-Manufacturing Consent Guillermo is joined by Derrick Broze, an activist, community organizer, and independent journalist. Derrick has just returned from a week in New York covering the federal trial of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged "Dread Pirate Roberts" and mastermind behind the Silk Road marketplace on the Deep Web. We discuss the trial's jaw-dropping revelations so far, including Ulbricht admission that he created the Silk Road as an "economic experiment." Derrick outlines the government's case against Ulbricht, how the defense has countered, and the likelihood of his conviction or acquittal.

More importantly, we discuss the philosophy of the Silk Road, and the merger of internet anonymization technology and cryptocurrency as a way of circumventing the state's unjust laws. Are operations like the Silk Road a legitimate threat to the establishment? Should Ross Ulbricht be freed? What will a conviction in this case mean for the future of internet freedom?

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  1. According to an account of this case by Henry Farrell, Dark Leviathan 2/20/15), not only did Dread Pirate Roberts, Ulbrich, fail to create a market place operating free of coercion & violence, governed by magic market forces, he actually paid $650,000 to Hell’s Angels to murder a man (& his associates) who had threatened the viability of his Silk Road market place business!!!

    Hopefully, Guillermo Jiminez will share his introspective reconsideration of Libertarian/Neo-Liberal theories that any kind of market free of governmentvregulation produces the greatest good.

  2. Re-listened to this audio and confess that I must not have given it 100% of my attention. Given the panegyric discussion of the Dread Pirate Ulrich, the import of the distant accusations that Ross, who is repeatedly praised as a brilliant, heroic visionary, accused of no crime worthy of conviction, had (quite likely) conspired to murder human beings didn’t sink in.

    The government is accused of pressing “ridiculous charges” regarding “victimless crimes” on the basis of dangerous theory of “transferred intent” that could be used against any innocent web site owner who inadvertently allowed posted comments that could later be deemed illegal by the State or internet market places like Amazon or EBay for illegal transactions outside their control.

    Pure poppycock. The Pirate started his sie to sell hallucenigenic mushrooms to a bigger market than he could meet face-to-face, having established a trustworthy vendor rep he tried to extend that haze of goodwill over the Silk Road. But he created a system yhat he promised customers was secure when, in fact, (to those not blinded by desire to engage in criminal transactions), it was fundamentally insecure, e.g., used government post for deliveries, placed sensitive customer data in hands of criminals. SInce immorality makes brilliant people stupid (see, U.S. imperialism), perhaps Ross started off as brilliant. On top of all that, he took a percentage fee for transactions on his site – so to assert that he only inadvertently profited from crime through “transferred intent” so his conviction will implicate/endanger innocent web site owners, et al., is disingenuous.

    Most cynically, is the equation of this prosecution to those actually aimed at Freedom of Speech and the Public’s Right to Know of Barrett Brown, Aaron Swartz, Jeremy Hammond.

    Of course, the Drug War is a horror and scam. But Barrett Brown’s prosecutors succeeded because Barrett, fueled by the influence of drug addiction and apparently motivated by love for his mother, acted in an unrestrained crazy manner. So making a living by fueling drug addiction is a harmful activity, and other harmful criminal transactions were facilitated and profited by the Pirate’s Silk Road.

    As long as young black people convicted of drug possession fill our private (market operated) prison system, how can anyone spend effort trying to free Mr. Dread Pirate Roberts.

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