Creator of online money Liberty Reserve gets 20 years in prison … Before the virtual currency Bitcoin there was Liberty Reserve — and its founder just got sentenced to 20 years in prison. Arthur Budovsky, 42, ran an online digital money business out of Costa Rica called Liberty Reserve. The U.S. government contended that the whole thing was just a massive, $6 billion money laundering operation. – CNN
Sentence by sentence, the US judiciary is creating its own version of the constitution.
It is one that forbids people from creating online marketplaces or even putting silver into coins and selling them.
Most recently, as we can see above, Arthur Budovsky, founder of Liberty Reserve just got 20 years in prison for allegedly running a money laundering operation.
Prior to Budovsky’s sentencing, Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Sllk Road, received a life sentence for founding and running a “darknet” marketplace that allowed people to buy illegal items like drugs and guns. Ulbricht is appealing.
Before Budovksy and Ulbricht, there was US-based Bernard von NotHaus who invented the Liberty Dollar which contained actual silver, unlike current US coins.
NotHaus encouraged buyers to use the coins as money and the US government prosecuted him for trying to undermine US currency. He was sentenced to six months of home detention and three years of probation, which apparently was later reduced.
Let’s not forget about Kim Dotcom in New Zealand. The US government has been trying to extradite him for years on charges of encouraging copyright infringement with his once extremely popular company Megaupload.
Dotcom remains un-extradited and even started a new company, Mega – though Dotcom is now fighting with Mega’s management. He’s also subject to rumors that he organized the Panama Papers leak – though that seems unlikely.
What ties all these cases together? Basically, the individuals involved have been attacked for what took place on platforms they provided.
This is surely a complex and dangerous area. It is one that goes to the heart of modern Western justice and especially US jurisprudence.
Modern justice increasingly holds some people responsible for crimes committed by others. The idea is that if you know that someone might be committing a crime, you may be as culpable as the person actually acting.
In all four cases mentioned above, the US government attacked entrepreneurs (mostly) for the activities of those who used their services.
This line of attack is dangerous because if you extend it, you end up in a position where both government and mainstream corporations can be attacked on the same grounds.
What about a car company that puts an extremely strong engine in an undersized car? Are company executives culpable for accidents that may occur?
What about someone who runs a bar and offers free or discount drinks? (Indeed, the bar-tender, and then presumably the owner, may be culpable in this modern era of precedent justice.)
The US government prosecutes innumerable wars and many times “mistakes” are made and drones drop bombs on wedding parties instead of “terrorist” gatherings.
Are those responsible for the deaths of innocents prosecutable? Former President George Bush has trouble traveling overseas because there are groups trying to arrest him for war crimes.
How about Lyndon Johnson whose administration fabricated the Gulf of Tonkin incident and started the escalation of the Vietnamese war? Millions died. Are he or his associates culpable?
What about modern bank manipulations of gold, which have likely cost investors billions and even trillions over the past decades? What about the stock manipulations of the Plunge Protection team?
What about CIA false flag operations or drug smuggling?
US jurisprudence is obviously selective. It takes aim at those that pose a threat to the “system,” especially the monetary system where most power resides.
Yes, those who use modern technology to create successful online businesses that circumvent the control of modern nation-states will continue to be attacked. But the “bigger picture” provides a different perspective.
As we pointed out just the other day (and in the other article in this issue as well), modern jurisprudence and its prison-industrial complex are increasingly controversial. As people find out more, disapproval grows.
Trust in government, along with judicial processes, are at an all-time low. This is not an aberration but a trend resulting from the Internet – and the information residing on it.
More from CNN, above:
In a prepared statement, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell said: “The significant sentence handed down today shows that money laundering through the use of virtual currencies is still money laundering, and that online crime is still crime.”
Another attorney commented:
“Despite all his efforts to evade prosecution, including taking his operations offshore and renouncing his citizenship, Budovsky has now been held to account for his brazen violations of U.S. criminal laws,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
These individuals are referring to “crimes” that weren’t even considered as such 40 or 50 years ago. Modern precedent justice, it seems, will eventually end up with everybody either in jail or on their way there.
Meanwhile, the best justice remains ad hoc and private. This kind of justice was likely applied for tens of thousands of years before modern Common Law and Admiral Law.
We may not soon return to private justice, in which aggrieved individuals confronted each other directly instead of through state mechanisms. But the current system is shot-through with logical contradictions and obvious fallacies. It will surely continue to sink in the public’s estimation.
As the system dies, its results will seem increasingly promotional. Already prominent proceedings (such as the ones mentioned at the beginning of this article) begin to resemble “show trials.”
In fact, this is the inevitable result of an increasingly corrupt system being used to protect institutional prerogatives rather than the “rule of law.”
Conclusion: The system’s decline will generate increased chaos and social dysfunction. Stay away from it as much as you can, even when you are tempted to use it. This already corrupt system is getting worse.