Posts Tagged ‘Eileen Ormsby’

If small-time drug dealer shadh1 had purchased his drugs from Australians, his jail term would be less than half what he received.

As a drug dealer, shadh1 was really really bad at his job.  One of the key performance indicators is an ability to stay off the radar of law enforcement authorities, who are obliged to arrest and prosecute people who sell drugs to other people when they find out it’s happening.

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Shadh1 failed miserably at the whole stealth thing.  He allowed customers to pass on his phone number to complete strangers for the purposes of ordering drugs, kept every single incriminating text message ever sent or received and left all the paraphernalia that screams ‘drug dealer’ strewn around his house.  He ordered drugs to his home address and his own name from countries from which mail is known to be more heavily scrutinised.  When twelve pieces of mail went missing, he just kept ordering more – to the same name and the same address – without stopping to wonder what happened to the ones that never showed.  He created a vendor account on the most famous online black market in the world, choosing an unusual username – the only other place it could be found was on his BMW’s numberplate.

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Last week, after one of my articles was unexpectedly submitted into evidence in court, an odd little online publication called Vexnews published a vicious, bizarre and inaccurate attack on me.

Screenshot of the Vexnews article

Screenshot of the Vexnews article

I said I wasn’t going to give it any oxygen in my last post, but I really think it should be pulled apart for the appalling piece of journalism it is.  Let’s have a look at Andrew Landeryou’s Vexnews piece, para by para:

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Last Wednesday I went along to sit in on the plea hearing of the first major Australian ‘Silk Road’ case, expecting to perhaps get a blog post out of it.  I never expected what would come next.

Where's the love SR?

Where’s the love SR?

The court heard evidence of 12 parcels containing drugs that had been intercepted between 27 March and 29 June 2012.  In his opening, the defence barrister said he would be tendering a news article into evidence that he claimed led his client to discover Silk Road. I figured it couldn’t be one of mine, as the first time I had ever written about Silk Road was 27 April 2012.

The prosecution’s case covered:

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Ever since the suspected DDoS attack in November, the admins at Silk Road have been combating a number of different scams and attacks on the site.

The Quickbuy Scam (see below) - this vendor's image has been hacked with a fake bitcoin address

The Quickbuy Scam (see below) – this vendor’s image has been hacked with a fake bitcoin address

It’s hard to tell whether this is a concerted attack by one group determined to piss the website off or each one is separate. The most pervasive ones have been:

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WARNING (JUNE 2014): BUYER BEWARE ANYONE COMING HERE THROUGH A LINK FROM A WEBSITE THAT CLAIMS THIS BLOG IS ABOUT THEM. THEY ARE LYING TO YOU :)

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you would be aware that there are thriving underground black markets on the darkweb, offering everything from drugs to shrunken heads for sale.  Many of these markets offer the purchaser a new identity.

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I figured if I was going to be anyone it might as well be the Mother of Dragons

The difference between buying drugs online and buying a fake ID is that the purchaser of the latter is forced to lose some anonymity.  Drug purchasers can use a fake name and a ‘drop’ address, such as a vacant house where they can access the letterbox.  When purchasing a licence or passport the purchaser can take the same precautions but must, of course, provide a photograph.  So it’s no surprise that potential buyers are wary of anonymous sellers on black market websites.

Most people assume the sellers to be scammers, whilst the more paranoid are concerned that law enforcement is creating a honeypot. One such seller on a marketplace on the darkweb made me a startling offer – he would provide me a NSW driver licence for free to use in an article I’ve been researching on identity theft.  An offer too good not to take up. (more…)

When researching my story The New Underbelly, I wound up, as you do, with reams of information, the vast majority of which didn’t make it to the article due to space constraints or because it wasn’t what my editor asked for.

I briefly quoted Dr Bill Glaser (and I hope I did not misrepresent him in any way) but our exchange was significantly longer and I’d like to share some things I learned about child porn and contact child sex offenders.

Whilst I did visit many of the sites mentioned in my article – including some of the gateways to the child porn sites – I did not download any child abuse material, i.e. I did not view any pictures or videos.  I have no interest in seeing such stuff for journalism purposes or otherwise.

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I haven’t yet written a background blog to my latest Fairfax Feature, Dancing With Molly.  If you happen to have come to my page as a result of that article, please have a quick look at a couple of relevant earlier posts:

Crap analysis shows wee problem with tough ecstasy laws – what happens when resources are directed into cracking down on MDMA? You create a crystal meth problem.

Why politicians and law enforcement should embrace Silk Road – to me, this is a microcosm of what life might be like with legalised drugs.  Knowledge of what is in the drugs you are buying, cutting out drug-related crime in Australia (though sadly still propping it up overseas), eradication of violence arising from drug deals.

I hope to see an intelligent debate on drug reform in Australia.  The fine folk at Australia21 must be incredibly frustrated to see their hard work and extensive knowledge ignored by the major parties.

For two weeks, users of online drugs marketplace Silk Road have been unable to log in to the site more often than not, reporting timeouts, missing catchpas and other technical difficulties.  Millions of dollars in Bitcoin has been inaccessible to the site’s thousands of members and trading has halted.

Where’s my Bitcoins?

The reactions of the community have run the gamut from hopeful acceptance to threats of violence against the site’s owner, admins and other random anonymous people.  Amazon has stocked up on pitchforks and tinfoil hats as speculation on the forum has reached fever pitch.

Here are five of the theories for its temporary demise, in one easily-digestible blog:

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Some time back a report, supposedly commissioned by Qld police, was leaked via the dark web.  Of course, being the dark web, it was impossible to confirm its legitimacy.  The discussion paper ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ was called an extensive critique and response to Silk Road, the online drugs marketplace, well researched and referenced.

Has Australian Customs really become suddenly much more efficient?

The report contained a list of vulnerabilities of Silk Road that could be targeted and came up mostly empty-handed.  This should come as no surprise given the brazenness with which the site continues to operate. The authors concluded that the most strategic tactic law enforcement could use would be ‘undermining user trust’.  This would not involve identification and investigation of users of the site, but rather disruption of the marketplace by becoming ‘trusted’ participants of the site and later undermining confidence and trust in a particular area.

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Yesterday, walking along Flinders Street at peak hour, I watched the crowd in front of me part like the Red Sea.  Rather than Moses, there was a man who, if not homeless then certainly down on his luck, was stumbling along the footpath, bleeding from his head.

 

A few feet before he reached me, he fell flat on his face.  His arms didn’t keep up with this state of events and did nothing to break his fall.  The result was the sound of skull cracking on concrete and a big splodge of blood.  Undeterred, in that admirable way drunks do (I could smell him by now), he started to get up, but instantly fell forward, hitting the base of a pole, a bolt getting him in the eyebrow.

By now the guy was pissing blood like an extra in Kill Bill and on his back, turtle-like as he tried to figure out how he was going to get up.  As I went towards him, I hardly noticed the crowd around us, but for some reason Sophie Mirabella suddenly popped into my head.  “Are you okay?” I asked rather redundantly as I gave him my hand.  He looked up and smiled as he grasped it and thanked me several times.

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