Is FriendlyChemist my friendly neighbor?

The question is prompted by this post on Gawker, where I suddenly can’t comment anymore. Interesting; is this banning #7? Well, if it is, that’s the LAST time I try to add value to one of Adrian‘s posts. Anyhoodle, here are my thoughts on whether this Silk Road user and extortionist FriendlyChemist is a neighbor of mine in White Rock, BC.

FriendlyChemist, according to the article, threatened to out a list of online drug exchange Silk Road’s users, although whether he had actual addresses and real names or just usernames and PO Boxes is unclear. In response, Dread Pirate Roberts, the head of Silk Road, hired another user to kill him; the user reportedly sent back photos proving the deed, although the RCMP say no way was there a gory drug murder in White Rock. Is he really dead? Probably not; he probably posed for some pix and then split the money with the guy DPR (allegedly) hired to kill him. No honour among thieves and all that. If they’re in the drug business and they’re not using, they’re in it because they’re greedy; this is too good an opportunity to cash in for a businessman to pass up.

That’s the US you’re looking at there, Point Roberts to be specific. So if you’re an athlete, you can actually SWIM to the US.

Some background:  White Rock is walking distance to the US border. There’s a border crossing with guards and everything, but you walk not far east and you can just walk into the US with no problems. Blaine, on the other side of the border, does a HUGE business with mailboxes for Canadians, who like to order from US sites and get delivery to the US and thus avoid all kinds of taxes, duty, and shipping fees. It is a major, MAJOR smuggling point and also a lovely, upscale retirement community.

White Rock Sunset

White Rock Sunset

Does anything go in the other direction? You bet! The Bacon Brothers, Canada’s most notorious drug lords, are based out of Surrey, which is literally across the street from White Rock. Not too long ago they shut down a helicopter flight training school which was just a front for pot deliveries from nearby Harrison Hot Springs  (also lovely: come for the views, stay for the contraband!). And the Guardian famously profiled a commercial truck driver who smuggled pot over the border at the official truck border crossing nearby.

Could a major drug manufacturer be based out of White Rock? Probably not, since it’s almost entirely housing and upscale retail, but out of Surrey or any of the nearby semi-rural areas? You bet. And don’t forget that at one point it was estimated that over 80% of the heroin in North America entered via the Port of Vancouver. It’s just a part of the culture of the region to be drug-positive or drug-neutral. You can thank the increasing violence relating to organized crime for a recent turn against it in the public’s view.

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Operation Global Media Domination: The Barrett Brown Situation

Barrett Brown Busted

Barrett Brown Busted

That glum-looking fellow is Barrett Brown: author, journalist, YouTube extraordinaire (really), Anonymous member, and fameball. At that moment, he had plenty to look glum about, having been arrested on a small sampler pack of charges which quickly grew into a basket-crushing potential 110 years in prison for, essentially, shooting off his mouth on YouTube and passing along a link in an IRC. He’s been in pretrial custody with no bail for nearly a year, and he’s about to go to actual real trial as opposed to pretrial hearings, about which we’ve all heard too much lately, particularly if we’ve also been following Jeremy Hammond and Sabu, which we have. For a living.

Yeah, not exactly what the guidance counselor suggested in high school as a career choice, but oh well.

I’ve covered his case(s) several times for the Daily Dot and this blog, and today there was a hearing to decide if the actual trial would be the subject of a media blackout; in other words, Barrett is prevented from speaking to the media about any aspect of his case, or even any topic that might touch on it. Of course it went through, but of interest to certain inwardly-focused-lately bloggers the defence presented a strong rebuttal which included a list of the influential articles by and about BB.

And guess who wrote two of them?

Arrested Anonymous Activist Barrett Brown Sends Letter from Prison

Anonymous Spokesman Barrett Brown Faces New Charges

So, on the one hand it’s good to be a part of this. On the other hand, it sucks that the motion was successful and that BB now has to live in the most unnatural-to-him condition of all; the condition of not conveying information. A lot of people have wanted to silence him for a very long time.

Coincidentally (???) WikiLeaks released new SpyFiles, carrying on Brown’s Project PM work of watching the watchers. Nice timing there, Assange.

In unrelated-but-still-work news, it appears that the Syrian Electronic Army isn’t happy just going after news organizations, but is now going after individual reporters who report on them, even favorably. I got a solid tip that a journalist whom I will not name has had some trouble with relentless attempts to control his Twitter account, and of course I’ve been getting increasing numbers of phishing emails for months now, along with the occasional romantic advance from an African woman on Facebook. Today I found some spammer had managed to put yet another Event on my Gcal, which is just, let’s face it, annoying even when a) the time for the pseudo event (“lets be freinds”)  is already past b) I’m a Vancouverite and therefore my solid commitment to attend an event is zero indication of whether or not I will actually attend.

And, just to up the wordcount, I’m going to copy/paste some material that was cut from my article today. Gee, can’t think why.

Anonymous is having a Hamlet-like crisis of conscience over OpSyria, and there is a significant chance that it will end up costing actual human lives, however it’s decided in the end. We spoke to blackplans, a spokesperson for OpSyria, about what Anonymous has, what it will use, and why (for once) they are sitting on something which could very well literally destroy their enemies.

NYPA. The four most important letters in Anonymous stand for: Not Your Private Army, and they remind everyone that the so-called Internet Hate Machine is an unruly, anarchic collective that cannot be pointed like a gun at any target that takes someone’s fancy. Any Operation has to attract and retain enough committed, talented, and energetic people to accomplish its goals, which is why “totally getting back at that kid who was, like, mean to me once” is never going to become an Op.The decision-making process at Anonymous is messy, time-consuming, and self-selecting; if not enough good people show up, the Op fizzles and subsides and the people move on. It’s a natural, if messy process. But once you’ve got good people, they’ve staked out their targets, they’ve made their attacks, and you’ve got the MacGuffin (documents proving identity, control of a database, a botnet that can DDoS a website into oblivion, or as in OpSyria’s case: all of the above) there is rarely a moment of hesitation. You dump that file, you paste that dox, you fire your lazorz, and then you stick a press release on Pastebin and sit back and laugh as the victim flails helplessly.

Not this time. Here’s what is going down, and why, at OpSyria.

As we reported Tuesday, OpSyria, the anti-Assad operation which includes members of Anonymous along with some non-Anons, claims to have proof of the identities of five key players in the Syrian Electronic Army. Exposing those people, particularly if they happen to be located outside of Syria, would almost certainly mean their targeting and eventual death at the hands of anti-Assad forces, whether the rebel Free Syrian Army or a foreign government that involves itself in the Syrian civil war (as the US may do).

This isn’t hanging out with your friends in front of a Scientology center singing “Never Gonna Give You Up.” It isn’t sitting in your Mom’s basement DDoSing the Pope’s website.

Shit is very, very real.

[at this point you can go to the article to see the majority of the interview. The below and the above were not included]

Blackplans: I have been told to tell we also have evidence of collusion between personnel of the Syrian Embassy in Bucharest and a member of the SEA who resides in Romania. We have found statements by him online to this effect. “I work most of the interrogation .. figures Syrian embassy in Romania in front of you online. Call and ask.” Apologies for the poor translation, this was in response to allegations of disloyalty from another senior SEA member.

Oh, and I will just leave this here…

http://twitter.com/blackplans/statuses/374984867995717632

[presumably they don't feel so bad about alerting Romania to the possible presence of the SEA operative(s) in their midst. I asked for more details and was told no, they couldn't give them to me without completely doxing the person, and they didn't want to do that. I suppose they just wanted to fire a shot across the bow of the SEA as a show of power]

————————————————————————————————————————–

There you have it: An Operation combining Anonymous and anonymous non-Anons is in possession of information that governments around the world have been pursuing for months. If they use it, those people will almost certainly die. If they don’t use it, what was the point of the Operation? To get to the point of pulling the trigger, and then to walk away instead? In a world at war, whether officially or unofficially, that is power beyond that of the state, of any Nation State. Are they ready for it? Is the world ready for it? Is this the end of the SEA as an entity, or will they double down on Assad and strike back somehow at a headless, faceless, stateless anti-organization? And what will they, or their enemies, do to those whose exposure has threatened the SEA itself, whether that information is revealed publicly or not?

It’s not too much to say that the fate of this not-officially-declared-yet cyberwar rests in the hands of Anonymous and its allies. And they do not leave fingerprints.

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but broccoli is a robber’s best friend.

Emeralds for elephants yes you read that right

Emeralds for elephants yes you read that right

Just a couple of jewel robbery anecdotes, the first from the Tatler magazine, which used to be the most breathtakingly glamorous and vaguely scandalous thing out there. Ah, that was a long time ago. Now it’s Town and Country, with worse teeth. Both posts inspired by this dazzling jewel robbery on the Riviera, where by tradition all dazzling jewel robberies take place.

You know, on the one hand crime=bad. On the other, COOOOOOOOL!

I don’t know why, but why not? Non-violent jewel robberies are beautiful, beautiful things. There are some great stories out of London; in one case, a big emerald stone went missing while a shifty, Arab-looking man had been looking at a tray of loose stones. They stopped him, locked the doors, called the police, and had him searched thoroughly. The entire time he loudly protested his innocence and outrage and threatened to sue them. They couldn’t find a thing, inside him or out, so they had to let him go. A week later the cleaning woman found a wad of gum under the counter where he’d been looking at the gems, with the outline of that emerald pressed into it. He had a conspirator come by later and retrieve the stone from its ingenious hiding place.

and the second story, more a piece of advice really. But thanks, Officer Friendly!

I was working at Starbucks, and one day the bank a few doors down was held up. The bank staff holed up at our store, drinking cocoa and shaking, and the cops holed up at another table to discuss the case. One went up and placed their order, and I was working bar, which gives you a chance to chat to people. The cop came up to me to pick up the drinks and he said, “Promise me something.” I said okay, because I have a thing for men in uniform, and he said, “Promise me you won’t rob a bank.”

I said OK, because that had not been in my plans anyway.

He said, “Promise me you’ll rob a grocery store instead.” All of a sudden this conversation had become MUCH more interesting. I asked him why a grocery store.

“Because if you rob a bank you’ll get, at most $1800 and a minimum of five years. If you rob one of the big grocery store chains on a Friday night, you’ll get $20,000 minimum, and a maximum of 18 months.”

Well, thank you Officer Friendly. Noted.

Make your career plans accordingly.

ZOMG LIKE THE CONSTITOOSHUN PROTEX MEEEE!

There's one born every minute

There’s one born every minute

Just the latest and greatest of the bizarrarie in the forum:

Oh Leonard J. Gojer, what have you done? [besides deleted your blog since this post went live?]

  1. I paid for traffic from http://www.visitorshark.com. The contract with them says that there is no guarantee that the traffic will show up on my analytics, which is your WordPress analytics. The traffic was for 6 million visitors per month. The traffic does not show up, just like they said it would not.

    How can prevent this problem in the future? That is, what do I do to insure that I chose a source of traffic that DOES in fact show up on your analytics?

    The blog I need help with is npcompleteproof.wordpress.com.

  2. Hi,

    You can see your WordPress.com site stats through your My Stats tab. There’s a link to get to your My Stats tab at the bottom of this support article.

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/stats/

  3. I’m not sure if that will completely answer your question, but it’s a start.

    Also, although you don’t specifically mention Google analytics, this support thread may also help with your question of analytics in general.

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/how-to-add-google-analytics-in-wordpress-free-account?replies=2

  4. I was going to hire a programmer on Odesk who had promised me that I could see the analytics if I hired him. I need to know if there is any way, whether with Google Analytics or some other analytics that this can be done, because I don’t want to pay the programmer if the idea doesn’t really work. This is a low budget project for a website.

  5. If you are paying for traffic, you are paying for spam hits. Spam hits are stripped out of WordPress.com analytics, because they are spam.

    You can try building legitimate traffic instead of paying for robots. Do you even know what you just did to your brand by posting this in a forum that shows up in Google?

  6. So, it’s not good to pay for traffic?

    My objective is to convert my personal labor, (let’s say about 2 hours a week, give or take), into quality traffic to the site. How can do that in a reliable way?

  7. 6,000,000 robot hits will do nothing except lighten your bank account – why do you want the traffic? If you are that desperate how about going down to the local coffee shop and giving cookies to anyone that clicks on your blog – waste of time I think

    Search the forum here for SEO or traffic – you will find hundreds of suggestions

    see also: http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/

  8. So, what you’re suggesting is that ALL of these services on the internet, (not just the expensive ones), don’t accomplish anything at all.

    I started my “career” (if you could call it that) in internet marketing by reading these paperback books that they have in popular bookstores.

    What I am trying to avoid is to devalue the hourly worth of my time. I have a normal daytime job and this work is supplemental in addition to that. Think about this, why I would want a “second” job that only is worth minimum wage hours?

    What you’re saying is that spending money doesn’t get the value of the money spent.

    This website that I am promoting is a university academic topic. I am trying to target people who are like Computer Science students. Perhaps I should find some forums that have more of those types of people.

  9. On your blog, you say you believe you’ve proved P=NP. If you really believe that you have, then the most profitable use of your time would probably be to write it up, submit it to a peer-reviewed journal, and then collect your million-dollar Millennium Prize.

  10. The literature that I read says that my objective is to obtain a lot of traffic. If the traffic can only be generated by my labor, that limits the total income that comes from the work, because there are 24×7 hours in a week, and I already have a job.

    I think that these people who send emails saying that you can get rich in internet marketing and don’t mention anything about the method that you would reliably do this should be put in prison for creating a big scam.

  11. With respect to what you say about P=NP, I spoke with the dean of computer science from my university where I graduated, and he said pretty much the same thing that you said.

    I have been paying a lot of money to scam websites thinking erroneously that at least one of them would not be a scam.

  12. When I discovered my formula, I was a student in the university, and on the day that I was thinking about it, it created a “ruckus” among the students in the school, and I basically got expelled from that school and had to graduate from another school.

    I am trying to avoid situations that operate like scams.

  13. One thing that all of this experience has taught me is that scams have a certain sociological structure to them. At the top of the scam is someone who is malevolent who is directing the scam.

  14. Long ago advertisers figured out how not to pay for fake robot traffic – in fact advertisers are good enough to figure out if you are trying to run up your count or getting a few friends to fake traffic for you – then you get suspended from their program – and you can’t sell ads on your blog here anyway – you can signup for Adwords and a lot of traffic gets you not much money -

    You want traffic – read the link I gave you – all you did with your “research” is make the people that sold you the book rich – there is a sucker born every minute – sorry

  15. I charge $200 per hour for my advice as an independent WordPress consultant, and for free I told you that was spam. You may persist if you so desire, but be aware that Google is sophisticated enough to know what kind of patsy pays for spam hits, and vindictive enough to throw his search engine rankings down a well.

  16. “People who send ‘get rich quick’ emails may be scamming me” WELL DUH.

  17. I will read the information that you gave me. (to auxclass).

    (to raincoaster). I don’t want to take advantage of you, because you are a dedicated person to your profession. I am doing something that is like a “pastime”. That is to say that I don’t need the money to function at a basic level. I only need the money if I want to have “nicer” things.

    I got into a big argument with the employees of Google about two years ago, for the same thing that you just mentioned right now.
    They were very angry that I was “moonlighting” from my existing job.

    You have to keep in mind that my daytime job is for a construction related company, and those people don’t have any legal obligation to take orders from Google, because construction requires a university degree in Civil Engineering.

  18. PS – once they find a sucker they will sell your info to other people that will scam you – sort of a round robin thing

  19. A person like me can use the mathematics of the “Net Present Value” computation, (if you don’t know what this is, look it up on wikipedia), to evaluate internet marketing propositions. That is a more suitable method for determining if a financial arrangement is a scam.

    What is really a shame is that all of these companies on the internet are committing the crime of “material misrepresentation”. If you buy something in a store, (like Target or Sears), you don’t have that problem.

  20. I have been dealing with someone who is an attorney. He said that this problem falls under the subject heading of “due diligence”. The task is to separate the legitimate from the illegitimate.

    There is a way to make this work. It just takes work.

  21. The difference between what I know and what you know is that you know things about the internal mechanism of the internet, (like what happens inside of the servers). I never learned those things, that’s why I am at the mercy of those paperback books which don’t tell the whole truth.

    Do you think I can find a book on such a topic?

  22. So two years ago Google told you that what you were doing was wrong. Yet you persist.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass what your day job is, you are clearly not entering the internet space with anything like authenticity and honesty and thus you are getting the results you deserve. Either stop behaving like this or deal with the fallout, which is (as you’ve noted) basically ostracization.

    There is no way to make what you are doing work. It does not work. In fact, your WP.com blog has already been reported for violating the Terms of Service over this issue. STOP DOING THIS.

    Duh.

  23. Please explain that last statement to me about the “Terms of Service”.

    I don’t know anything about that. I did not read them very well.

    You talk about honesty, but you forget one very important thing. As long as there are scams going on out there, you haven’t “cleaned” up the world by attacking me, you have only stifled a very good idea, which is my formula.

    I am not going to spend any more money on those services.

  24. I don’t give a rat’s ass if you’re going to spend money at WordPress.com; my concern is that people who buy into scams don’t pollute the statistics and the blog pool here.

    If you didn’t read the ToS before, I suggest you read them now.

    If you haven’t gotten the point, con artists don’t generate legitimate web hits. Legitimate web hits are what is counted here. If you wish non-legitimate web hits, you will have to go somewhere else.

    No-one who pretends to a knowledge of algorithms can be ignorant of the import of these statements: take your spam farm elsewhere.

  25. What you just said right now is in violation of the U.S. Constitution, and you know it down to the core of your being.

    The politics of the world DOES NOT revolve upon what you say it does.

  26. You’re hilarious. The internet was not invented in 1776, moron. Spam and con artists do not enjoy the protection of the Constitution or the Amendments, which is why fraud is punishable by law in the United States. Fraud. Which is what you have engaged in. You have paid for fraud, and you have posted to this forum complaining that your Fraud was not counted as the equal of lawful web views. You’ve done all of this in writing. Congratulations, you are truly the stupidest person I’ve seen online today and that counts Ron Brynaert.

Our Traci Lords, who art in Heaven

It seems a bit odd, but maybe only to me, that increasingly I have come to testify to the awesomeness of former porn star Traci Lords. Why would a prude (or circumscribed prude) such as myself be all YEAH SHE IS AWESOME? Well, I’ll be happy to tell you but happier to show you. My first exposure to Traci Lords was by clicking in, by accident, to Whoopi Goldberg’s talk show in the 90′s, about halfway through, long past the use of personal pronouns. I had no idea who this woman was; I just knew that her charity work was amazing, and informed by an intelligence that was not circumscribed by any set of cultural blinkers. Watch and learn.

and recently she came forward about the Steubenville rapes, to testify to a rape culture in the town, a culture which contributed to her own rape, at the age of ten. She was the first and (as far as I can see) only person to talk about the fact the victim was ejaculated and peed upon. She’s turned that experience into the music video Stupidville, and I applaud her for it.