Report: Donald Trump could grant clemency to Silk Road founder Ross UIbricht

midian182

Posts: 6,930   +62
Staff member
TL;DR: Ross Ulbricht, serving a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole for his part in dark web drug marketplace Silk Road, could be granted clemency by Donald Trump. A new report claims the White House counsel's office has been reviewing documents related to Ulbricht's case, and the president is considering his name among those considered for commutations and pardons before he leaves office.

According to the Daily Beast, which cites three people familiar with the matter, Trump has expressed sympathy for Ulbricht's situation.

Launched in February 2011, Silk Road, which used the Tor network, grew into an enormous drugs market worth $1.2 billion. Its size and the money it generated put Silk Road in the crosshairs of law enforcement, which began a search to uncover The Dread Pirate Roberts's identity. The name—taken from the Princess Bride—was used by Ulbricht while running his business empire.

Ulbricht was caught in 2013 and charged with computer fraud, money laundering, and drug offenses. He was also accused of hiring people to kill five Silk Road users for stealing from the site and trying to blackmail him by revealing his true identity, but no evidence of murders was found.

After being found guilty in 2015, Ulbricht was handed a life sentence without the possibility of parole, a punishment many believe far outweighs the crime. The Daily Beast notes that Jan Slomp, Silk Road's largest drug seller, received ten years, while other site admins were sentenced to between 17 months and six and a half years.

While Ulbricht admits to creating Silk Road, he claims to have passed the operation onto someone else, leaving him to become a "fall guy" for that person. An appeal against his life sentence was rejected in 2017.

It's not certain that Trump will grant Ulbricht clemency, but support for the latter's cause has reportedly been growing amongst those in the president's close circle.

Neither the White House nor Ulbricht's family commented on the story.

Permalink to story.

 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 5,054   +5,663
I appreciate the way the PRC government deals with drug traffickers, people who embezzled money from the government and murderers as well as rapists.

They simply execute them all.

This way there could be absolutely no “pardons“.
 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,713   +5,620
I appreciate the way the PRC government deals with drug traffickers, people who embezzled money from the government and murderers as well as rapists.

They simply execute them all.

This way there could be absolutely no “pardons“.
In US, prisons are a form of business, like everything else, sucking on government's tit to keep criminals in-house, and keep them coming. Even those sentenced to death they put on ice, for many years - I'm guessing those cases can claim even more money from the government.
 

Irata

Posts: 1,539   +2,518
I appreciate the way the PRC government deals with drug traffickers, people who embezzled money from the government and murderers as well as rapists.

They simply execute them all.

This way there could be absolutely no “pardons“.

So in you opinion, should this also apply to those responsible at the pharma companies that are behind the opioid crisis ?

 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,052   +6,818
The power of the pardon is essential ..... when used appropriately (not a word in Trumps vocabulary). There really needs to be a specific legal process for any pardon to go through BEFORE it comes to the attention of the President to prevent these things. If he has accomplished nothing else, Trump has shown that there needs to be a host of legal processes and laws attached to the office of President, not the least of which the removal of any memo or other trite garbage that prevents a President from being charged with a felony while serving.

I also sincerely believe that the act of Treason needs to be seperated from warfare and include ANY elected official that knowingly, willingly commits acts that will harm the USA or it's citizens for their own personal gain. That correction is LONG overdue ......
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,512   +1,748
TechSpot Elite
So in you opinion, should this also apply to those responsible at the pharma companies that are behind the opioid crisis ?
I sure as hell wouldn't lose any sleep over it. Just think of the lives they ruined and also the lives they ended just to increase their profit margin. Posts like that NOOB's is the reason for the ignore button. Don't let his garbage get to you. You're clearly a better person than him. (y) (Y)
 
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duckofdeath

Posts: 434   +581
The power of the pardon is essential ..... when used appropriately (not a word in Trumps vocabulary). There really needs to be a specific legal process for any pardon to go through BEFORE it comes to the attention of the President to prevent these things. If he has accomplished nothing else, Trump has shown that there needs to be a host of legal processes and laws attached to the office of President, not the least of which the removal of any memo or other trite garbage that prevents a President from being charged with a felony while serving.

I also sincerely believe that the act of Treason needs to be seperated from warfare and include ANY elected official that knowingly, willingly commits acts that will harm the USA or it's citizens for their own personal gain. That correction is LONG overdue ......
There are laws against legislators committing both high treason and misdemeanors. Those laws are exactly there to prevent corrupt politicians from doing what's been going on in Washington the last four years. The problem is, two of the branches has been colluding to cover each others backs and making the law toothless. If Georgia does the right thing in the runoff election in three weeks, all corrupt branches will be fixed within a couple weeks and lots of people will most likely get impeached or indicted. Which is the reason Donald is actively trying to find a way to preemptively pardon people who otherwise will end up taking the stand against Donald and his BFFs.
 

okie11

Posts: 14   +21
The power of the pardon is essential ..... when used appropriately (not a word in Trumps vocabulary). There really needs to be a specific legal process for any pardon to go through BEFORE it comes to the attention of the President to prevent these things. If he has accomplished nothing else, Trump has shown that there needs to be a host of legal processes and laws attached to the office of President, not the least of which the removal of any memo or other trite garbage that prevents a President from being charged with a felony while serving.

I also sincerely believe that the act of Treason needs to be seperated from warfare and include ANY elected official that knowingly, willingly commits acts that will harm the USA or it's citizens for their own personal gain. That correction is LONG overdue ......

I agree, that's why I think Bradley Manning should have been executed, not pardoned by Obama.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,512   +1,748
TechSpot Elite
In Canada 'big pharma' has nothing to do anymore with the opioid crisis. Ask police to doctors, it's Fentanyl smuggled in from the People's Republic of China. Oh, the irony...
Big Pharma started it all and people can't drop their addiction to opioids just like that. Opium (and its derivatives) is perhaps the single most addictive substance to human beings on the planet. Big Pharma can't cause an opioid crisis and then just walk away and absolve itself of responsibility because it happens to not be pushing the stuff anymore.

These people are still going through hell from withdrawal from one of the most potent opioids around. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you've been taking an opioid for as little as just over two weeks, you can experience severe withdrawal from stopping:
"If you've taken opioid medications for more than a couple of weeks, it's likely you need to stop soon — and stop slowly, to avoid severe symptoms of withdrawal."
The Mayo Clinic: Tapering off opioids - When and how
I do blame "Big Pharma" because they created the demand that organised crime is now profiteering from but they're not alone in this. There's lots of blame to go around. The doctors who prescribed this crap like it was candy and the complete breakdown of government oversight. Health Canada should have had much tighter restrictions on this stuff than they did and doctors were very aware of what would happen to their patients because of this junk.

However, blaming China is absurd because it's organised crime that's bringing it to our shores, not the Chinese government. This terrible situation was created right here at home. The people responsible for this entire fiasco are Canadians and Americans, not the Chinese.
 
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Irata

Posts: 1,539   +2,518
However, blaming China is absurd because it's organised crime that's bringing it to our shores, not the Chinese government. This terrible situation was created right here at home. The people responsible for this entire fiasco are Canadians and Americans, not the Chinese.
Although I doubt the Chinese government is losing too much sleep over this.
 
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No Longer Human

Posts: 48   +64
Big Pharma started it all and people can't drop their addiction to opioids just like that. Opium (and its derivatives) is perhaps the single most addictive substance to human beings on the planet. Big Pharma can't cause an opioid crisis and then just walk away and absolve itself of responsibility because it happens to not be pushing the stuff anymore.

These people are still going through hell from withdrawal from one of the most potent opioids around. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you've been taking an opioid for as little as just over two weeks, you can experience severe withdrawal from stopping:
"If you've taken opioid medications for more than a couple of weeks, it's likely you need to stop soon — and stop slowly, to avoid severe symptoms of withdrawal."
The Mayo Clinic: Tapering off opioids - When and how
I do blame "Big Pharma" because they created the demand that organised crime is now profiteering from but they're not alone in this. There's lots of blame to go around. The doctors who prescribed this crap like it was candy and the complete breakdown of government oversight. Health Canada should have had much tighter restrictions on this stuff than they did and doctors were very aware of what would happen to their patients because of this junk.

However, blaming China is absurd because it's organised crime that's bringing it to our shores, not the Chinese government. This terrible situation was created right here at home. The people responsible for this entire fiasco are Canadians and Americans, not the Chinese.
First context: @QuantumPhysics expressed his admiration for the way the PRC handles its drug problem. I was pointing out that the problems we currently face are from Fentanyl from Communist China. So as admirable as someone might think they are, they sure don't work except perhaps for the PRC.

Big Pharma started it, absolutely, re-packaged old compunds in a new way then claimed there was little or no addiction risk. Doctors bought in and the overprescribing began. Why did they buy in though? Bayer (the people that brough us Aspirin) started commercial production of heroin in 1898 marketed as a cure for morphine addiction. The results of that should have told them all they needed to know. With the invention of the syringe/hypodermic needle in 1853 a total disaster was guaranteed. I suspect doctors are not taught relevant history such as this

"perhaps the single most addictive substance to human beings on the planet" Hyperbole. I and millions of other people use them daily with no problems. Am I physically dependent? Yes. I am also physically dependent on another medication, but no one is having a stroke from that fact. Look up a medical definition of addiction. I display no signs nor do I expect to after this many years. For most of human history we have had zero for pain. Opium's praises were sung by many. You want something evil with no upside? Try crack cocaine.

"Blaming China is absurd..." well the current problem is fentanyl from the PRC. You might ask them why they produce so much and why its production is so poorly controlled that enough can be diverted to feed a continent (or more). Covid restrictions have exacerbated the problem because users can't get their PRC made fix so they are turning to more dubious things and fatalities are up.

My last complaint is that I along with many others who judiciously use opiates, aware of the risks and keeping the laws surrounding their use are being made to jump through seemingly never ending restrictions while what would mitigate the problem (stopping more imported/smuggled fentanyl) is being ignored.
 

Questors

Posts: 34   +33
Wait! Isn't that Robert Pattinson? Didn't realize he created Silk Road. :p

Anyway, the conversation in this thread is all wrong. It isn't big pharma or China. It's Russia, Russia, Russia. Well, until it isn't. Then it's China, China, China...coming soon to a political debacle near you!
 

Reallyhow

Posts: 44   +92
I appreciate the way the PRC government deals with drug traffickers, people who embezzled money from the government and murderers as well as rapists.

They simply execute them all.

This way there could be absolutely no “pardons“.
I appreciate the way the PRC government deals with political dissenters, people who support fascism, the uneducated, and those who think in correctly.

They simply execute them all.

This way, we could browse TechSpot comment sections for people to remove so there could be absolutely no "useless posts".
 

Reallyhow

Posts: 44   +92
I agree, that's why I think Bradley Manning should have been executed, not pardoned by Obama.

Perhaps there should be justice or executions for the serving members of the military who are behaving unethically as proven by those documents.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,143   +4,413
I appreciate the way the PRC government deals with drug traffickers, people who embezzled money from the government and murderers as well as rapists.

They simply execute them all.

This way there could be absolutely no “pardons“.
It is my understanding that Congress passed a law which castrated the DEA from going after Big Pharma with respect to the legal opioid situation in the US. I am not sure if either side of the aisle was more responsible for it or not. However, I bet that Big Pharma lobbying had something to do it.

Though I am far from agreeing with Trump on any of his pardons, maybe Trump thinks this pardon is somehow in line with the current laws in the US. Note that I am against the change to the law that castrated the DEA WRT the opioid situation in the US. From my understanding, it is that law change that is primarily responsible for the current opioid situation in the US.

You may find China's laws to your liking, however, I cannot agree. The "law" can, and often does, at least in the US, make mistakes.
 

No Longer Human

Posts: 48   +64
While I was looking for the date President Carter pardoned Richard Nixon (1974), I accidentally typed in "List of People Pardoned by Bill Clinton" 456 people with 140 of those on his last day. Interesting read as it also lists their offences (wikipedia). I'm not sure I want to research any more pardons 🤨
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,512   +1,748
TechSpot Elite
There are laws against legislators committing both high treason and misdemeanors. Those laws are exactly there to prevent corrupt politicians from doing what's been going on in Washington the last four years. The problem is, two of the branches has been colluding to cover each others backs and making the law toothless. If Georgia does the right thing in the runoff election in three weeks, all corrupt branches will be fixed within a couple weeks and lots of people will most likely get impeached or indicted. Which is the reason Donald is actively trying to find a way to preemptively pardon people who otherwise will end up taking the stand against Donald and his BFFs.
Absolutely. Laws mean nothing without the proper people properly enforcing them. That's been the most disturbing thing of all, the fact that they were all just following orders without question like the defendants at Nuremberg.

All evil needs to prevail is for good men to do nothing, or in the case of the Republican Party, to be absent.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,512   +1,748
TechSpot Elite
First context: @QuantumPhysics expressed his admiration for the way the PRC handles its drug problem. I was pointing out that the problems we currently face are from Fentanyl from Communist China. So as admirable as someone might think they are, they sure don't work except perhaps for the PRC.
I think that you misread me, I don't think that they're admirable but I sure as hell won't blame them for a problem that they didn't create (they do create a lot of problems but this isn't one of them). All the PRC is guilty of at this moment is that they produce Fentanyl (probably for their own people) which in of itself isn't a bad thing because they're certainly not alone in that regard. What is bad is that, of course, their government is corrupt as hell and so the Triads can pretty much get whatever they want. Nevertheless, I'm not so quick to just scapegoat China because every country has organised crime and every country has corrupt politicians that look the other way, even our fools in Ottawa.
Big Pharma started it, absolutely, re-packaged old compunds in a new way then claimed there was little or no addiction risk. Doctors bought in and the overprescribing began. Why did they buy in though? Bayer (the people that brough us Aspirin) started commercial production of heroin in 1898 marketed as a cure for morphine addiction. The results of that should have told them all they needed to know. With the invention of the syringe/hypodermic needle in 1853 a total disaster was guaranteed. I suspect doctors are not taught relevant history such as this
I think that you give doctors far too much credit here. I think that they knew exactly what they were doing. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it turned out that many of them were on the take, receiving "incentives" for the number of prescriptions written. In fact, I'd be literally shocked if it turned out that this wasn't the case. Doctors know exactly how dangerous that any opium compound can be. I mean hell, the general public actually knows the dangers of opiates and if the (usually ignorant as hell) general public knows, you can be damn sure that doctors know
"perhaps the single most addictive substance to human beings on the planet" Hyperbole. I and millions of other people use them daily with no problems. Am I physically dependent? Yes. I am also physically dependent on another medication, but no one is having a stroke from that fact. Look up a medical definition of addiction. I display no signs nor do I expect to after this many years. For most of human history we have had zero for pain. Opium's praises were sung by many. You want something evil with no upside? Try crack cocaine.
I'm sorry about your situation, I do mean that. Not with pity but with sympathy (as we Canadians do). However, I never said that there isn't an upside to opium-based compounds. Of course there's an upside because if there weren't, doctors wouldn't be using morphine in hospitals or prescribing heroin to terminal cancer patients. When used wisely, they are some of the greatest discoveries of humanity for aiding the stricken. American soldiers used them in Vietnam to deal with the daily mental anguish that they were put through. When used as they should be, withdrawal isn't really all that hard because they're meant to make a person who would otherwise be in constant pain feel normal. That at least prevents psychological dependence. It's when people take them when they shouldn't (and get high) that they become junkies.

Any doctor that was giving out Oxycontin and (especially) Fentanyl like candy on Hallowe'en should have had their medical licence revoked and incarcerated for criminal negligence at best and manslaughter at worst. The first and most sacred line of the Hippocratic oath is "First, do no harm." Every doctor that threw these drugs at people was breaking that sacred first line. A terrible side effect of this is that they have damaged the trust that people have in the medical community. I think that the recent rise in anti-vaxxer lunacy and these doctors betraying the trust given to them being so close together can't be mere coincidence.
"Blaming China is absurd..." well the current problem is fentanyl from the PRC. You might ask them why they produce so much and why its production is so poorly controlled that enough can be diverted to feed a continent (or more). Covid restrictions have exacerbated the problem because users can't get their PRC made fix so they are turning to more dubious things and fatalities are up.
The answer to this is simple. They make so much because they have a population that is four times that of the United States and they probably export it to other countries for medical use. I must assume that Iran would be extremely grateful for this because of what the Americans are doing to the people there by denying them medicine. Those poor people are suffering not because of any actions of their own but because of the actions of the US government (Mein Trumpf). People talk like Iran is a threat but let's be honest here, their military budget is smaller than ours and Canada isn't exactly considered to be a threat to anyone. China producing a surplus for Iran, in my mind, is a humanitarian operation, not a drug cartel.

However, as I said, the Chinese government is of course corrupt as hell (not that we have angels in Ottawa) and the Triads probably smelled some huge profitability in the huge number of North American opioid addicts and someone paid off someone to get their hands on whatever they could. Some of this stuff might even be substandard product that was supposed to be disposed of. After all, organised crime doesn't give a rat's posterior about people's lives as long as they get rich. Who else has those exact same characteristics? Oh yeah, BIG PHARMA. Now THAT is irony.

Honestly, I don't think that the PRC had any real desire to hurt anyone (they're not complete maniacs) but, like Ted DiBiase used to say "Everybody's got a price!". I blame organised crime for the distribution of the Fentanyl because it is they who are actually doing it and while the organised criminals who are bringing it in may be Chinese, the people selling the it on the streets of Victoria, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Brandon, Thunder Bay, Sherbrooke, Moncton, Sydney, Cavendish and Labrador City are not.
My last complaint is that I along with many others who judiciously use opiates, aware of the risks and keeping the laws surrounding their use are being made to jump through seemingly never ending restrictions while what would mitigate the problem (stopping more imported/smuggled fentanyl) is being ignored.
It's clear that you're in a really tough spot and your anger is completely justified. I agree with you 100% that our government is failing us (what else is new?) but I think that focusing your anger at China is a bit unfair because the true fault lies with the shortcomings of our society. I don't know if you've noticed (I sure have) but we're starting to turn into the USA and it scares the hell out of me. Money is now more important than people's lives and this is not the Canada in which I was born and raised.

If things get any worse, I may use my UK or EU citizenship (I have both) to retire across the pond and away from the toxicity that has been turned into the norm here. I'm from Montreal originally (primarily Anglophone but fully bilingual) and I'll tell you, the South of France sure looked good when I was there.

If the smugglers are successfully importing all of this Fentanyl, it means that a person at the Port of Vancouver who looked the other way is just as corrupt as the person in China who looked the other way. On the other hand, if the Triads threatened their families, it's kind of hard to blame them for playing along. I can't say for certain that I wouldn't have done the same in their shoes.

I don't condemn your rage, quite the contrary, I applaud it. I just think that it needs to be directed at the truly guilty parties and it looks like you know who they really are. Good discussion! (y) (Y)
 
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No Longer Human

Posts: 48   +64
@Avro Arrow As I read your post (not quoted because of length) I'd say if this was a face to face discussion, we'd pretty much be in agreement. Discussions like this are hard on a forum (you don't know the person and lack context).
Bonne Journée!
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,512   +1,748
TechSpot Elite
Although I doubt the Chinese government is losing too much sleep over this.
That's a fair point and you could be right. However, I don't think that they necessarily wanted this either. China's international image has been taking quite a battering as of late (Sars-CoV-2) and this coming to light sure isn't helping. Do they care? Probably not as much as they should but I kinda doubt that they're on a quest to make themselves look as barbaric as possible. I can't think of many people who would actually want that and people from China are still people.