Statement on Ross Ulbricht’s sentencing

It’s not a secret that I am a supporter of Ross Ulbricht.  His experiment to create a free market was a great success, and gave Bitcoin a chance to prove it’s utility and value.  It was providing people with what they wanted in a far safer environment through it’s rating system and means of delivery.  Meanwhile, the war on drugs has been an abysmal failure.  It hasn’t stopped drug use, it has only exacerbated the problem.  It wastes billions in taxpayer money.  It has incentivized violent international drug cartels and rampant corruption.  It has created the largest prison population in the world despite this being the “land of the free” at a healthy profit for the jailers, effectively bringing back slavery.   It’s impossible to calculate the cost of the lives destroyed in the streets or by turning non-violent drug users into prisoners.  This is expensive, ineffective, and unconscionable.

To me, the trial of Ross Ulbricht has eviscerated any illusion of justice in this once great country.  He was not able to defend himself because evidence was suppressed, protestors silenced, witnesses were blocked from testifying, and the judge prevented the defense from exploring even the possibility any alternate identities for DPR.  His name was smeared with flimsy accusations of “murder for hire” for which he was never charged.  If he was guilty of ordering the hits, then why not try him?  Perhaps it’s because two of the main agents on the case stole almost one million dollars from the Silk Road, had access to the chat logs which they could edit to their liking, and according to experts in the field, obtained the servers illegally.  Of course, that information also was not permitted to be used in court.  This is sickening.  And ironically, as a result of this case, dozens of other copycat sites has arisen.  

I have gotten to know Ross’s family.   I can only imagine what they are going through, but their strength inspires me every day.  They are some of the kindest, most decent, and most admirable people I have ever met.  Lyn has used this horror for good by educating people about the drug war and the ineffectual destructive practices of the US government.  I consider them friends, and am grateful for knowing them and being able to help in a seemingly hopeless situation. 

Late last year, I was inspired to write a song called “The Silk Road”, in which the lyrics read:  

“There was a man who did the unspoken, 

he looked for freedom from the violence.  

No one is perfect when there’s new ground broken, 

a mess is made and someone gets blamed. 

He had a dream of sweet harmony, as you wish to live out your own.  

We cannot stand for this, cannot have you fall, along the silk road.”

We all benefit from the Silk Road.  Bitcoin may never have seen the light of day without it as a test market.  Now everyone clamors to kiss the boots of the banking system and governments which have enslaved us through poor monetary policy and protectionist rackets for hundreds of years, while funding endless wars that would make Orwell shudder.  I know we cannot avoid that integration, and hopefully this technology will make those old systems at the least more competitive and transparent.  However, I hope that our community doesn’t forget the fallen.  Let us not forget that Ross’s quest for freedom that led to his imprisonment.  It is not so very different from our own.