One of the main arguments that Defense Attorney Joshua Dratel attempted to make on multiple occasions during the Ross Ulbricht trial was that it’s always difficult to know who is behind specific activities on the Internet. During the high-profile trial, Dratel explained, “The internet permits, and perhaps thrives, on deception and misdirection. You never know who precisely is on the other side of the computer screen.”
Due to this inability to know who is on the other end of a “series of tubes,” it would appear that there could still be reasonable doubt as to whether Ulbricht was a key administrator of Silk Road for the majority of its short history. Due to his own, personal experience with Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR), it would appear that Dark Wallet Developer Amir Taaki agrees with this contention.
Amir Taaki’s Messages with the Dread Pirate Roberts
In a recent video posted on the Brave the World YouTube channel, Taaki is seen discussing the case of Ross Ulbricht. Although he begins talking about how Ulbricht is a “good guy” from a moral perspective, he also goes into his own experiences that have led him to believe Ulbricht should be released from prison:
“Years ago, when I messaged the Silk Road, I had a conversation with the Dread Pirate Roberts – a very personal conversation where he was [talking] about how one day he hopes to be on the outside struggling for freedom together. You know, not having to hide his identity. One year [or] two years later when I messaged the guy — I’m pretty certain it was not the same guy. The tone was completely different. He had no recollection of the events that happened before, and his attitude to me was in stark contrast to the exuberant and wordy Dread Pirate Roberts of the early days. So, free Ross Ulbricht.”
Taaki’s story would seem to indicate that Ulbricht’s story of leaving Silk Road in the early days of its development may have been true. After all, the Dread Pirate Roberts that Andy Greenberg interviewed in 2013 told the Forbes staff member, “I didn’t start the Silk Road, my predecessor did.”
Former Silk Road Vendor Concurs
Amir Taaki and Andy Greenberg are not the only two individuals who seem to believe that there were multiple people controlling the Dread Pirate Roberts account on Silk Road. The recently-released documentary Deep Web also features a pseudonymous Silk Road vendor who claims there were “at least two other people — if not three” — who were administering the Tor hidden service.
Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials Muddle the Story Further
Of course, there’s also the issue of corrupt law enforcement officials who were stealing bitcoin from Silk Road and attempting to extort DPR at every turn. Ulbricht’s lawyers knew about the scandal for months, but they were prevented from bringing up any of the information during the trial. Defense Attorney Joshua Dratel, plans to use information related to the cases of Carl Mark Force IV and Shaun Bridges in an upcoming appeal of Ulbricht’s conviction.
The fact that these rogue government agents had the capacity to change account pin numbers and commandeer accounts without telling their superiors brings new meaning to the idea that you never really know who is behind the other side of a computer screen.