Alexandre Cazes (no a.k.a. yet that I am aware of, but I guess in bad taste a.k.a dead) and Ross Ulbricht, a.k.a Dread Pirate Roberts have clearly got a number of things in common.
Even though Mr. Cazes has only had a couple of weeks of the media spotlight, we know an awful lot about him, mostly from people who did not know him.
One of the things that these men have in common are meaningless labels. These men are – according to the Alphabet Agencies’s and the Main Stream Media – “dark net drug lords”, “criminal mastermind’s”, “kingpin’s”.
You too can make up your own throwaway and meaningless tag for the sake of variety. Everyone is at it, so why not you too. The most recent Gothamesque label that I have read is that Cazes was a “deep web puppet master”.
It all reads like a particularly bad penny dreadful.
We do not have to worry about prejudicing the Cazes trial and we can dispense with using words like “allegedly”. Because he is dead.
That is the second thing that the two men have in common. Cazes won’t be getting a trial, and neither did Ulbricht. No, Ulbricht did not get a trial and do not try to tell me that he did.
Ulbricht got to make a defence – overnight after the Court disallowed the entirety of his prepared defence – in the impossibly biased and corralled environment that was imposed on him.
Guilty or innocent everyone is meant to be entitled to a fair trial. But, not really. Anymore. Trial by media is much better and such a useful tool when trying to get a defendant to cop a plea.
Like refusing Ulbricht a witness list prior to the trial on the basis that he might have them killed. And that on the basis that the original indictment contained a baseless “murder for hire” allegation which was never pursued. It’s called manufacturing your own reality.
Cazes is dead by way of apparent suicide in a Thai jail. Two things that never raise an eyebrow when they appear in the same sentence are “war crimes and Nazis” and “suicide and Thai jail”.
But what does raise my unwieldy eyebrows is that after the “incredibly sophisticated takedown” of Cazes, in the words of those who performed the “takedown” #self-praise, is that these same guys who are so adept at “incredibly sophisticated” activities could not stay in that groove and keep the guy alive long enough to have him extradited.
Probably best (for them) considering the judicial aftermath of the Ulbricht trial. Everyone likes a neat bundle. Especially when dubiously legal and borderline activities like hacking sovereign nations, or breaching international law are key tools of your “sophisticated” activities.
Just like people have been removed from the reality of the source of their food, their power, their light, now too it seems that one can run an eye-wateringly successful drug empire without ever needing to meet a drug dealer.
A laptop, bitcoins, a couple of offshore accounts, and growing up on the mean streets of a well funded, middle class upbringing full of loving parents, and college educations is all that one needs, apparently.
Also key to these successful enterprises is a manifesto. One must also have a manifesto. No need for a gun, or rudeness. Guns and rudeness are passé in the cyber drug world.
From law enforcements perspective it also helps, and without fear of contradiction or oxymoron, if your “incredibly sophisticated takedown” has an “incredibly unsophisticated” end. Such as this in the Cazes case …
“His assets were listed in a spreadsheet on his unencrypted laptop, which authorities, including the Royal Thai Police, the FBI and the DEA, found when they raided his primary residence in Thailand on July 5. They also discovered he was logged into the AlphaBay website as the site administrator and they were able to find passwords for AlphaBay servers, and then seized information and cryptocurrencies from those servers.”
Here are some striking similarities between these two “criminal masterminds” that do not sit well with the labels:
- Ulbricht – “hotmail” email address in the header files / welcome messages at the outset which personally identified him;
- Cazes – “gmail” email address in the header files / welcome messages at the outset which personally identified him;
- Ulbricht – “logged in an as the site administrator (Silk Road)” at the “Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library” when arrested;
- Cazes – “logged in an as the site administrator (AlphaBay)” at home when arrested;
- Ulbricht – all the passwords for “Silk Road” on his laptop, unencrypted; (need to fact check this more)
- Cazes – all the passwords for “AlphaBay” on his laptop, unencrypted;
- Ulbricht – all the cryptocurrency details on his laptop;
- Cazes – all the cryptocurrency details on his laptop;
I guess the new batch of dark net Lex Luthor’s should add to the drug empire “creation myth” to-do list:
- Do not forget to remove my personal details from the header files;
- Do not forget to remove my personal details from the welcome messages;
- Encrypt my laptop, just a little bit;
- Look over my shoulder regularly, but most importantly
- Get Mom and Dad to pay for “Dark Net Mastermind for Middle Class White Kids” classes;
The FBI, the CIA (illegally operating in domestic criminal cases (DPR)), and the DEA should vary the script that they provide to the media after these “incredibly sophisticated takedowns” with their very unsophisticated but incredibly convenient endings.