KILLINGS, daily columns and blog —

News

When a journo becomes the story

by Stephanie Van Schilt , February 11, 20131 Comment

Following her investigation of the online drug distribution site Silk Road for Kill Your Darlings, Eiley Ormsby gives a fascinating update on the case and her personal, involuntary involvement. You can read her original article here.

Last Wednesday I went along to sit in on the plea hearing of the first major Australian ‘Silk Road’ case, expecting to perhaps get a blog post out of it.  I never expected what would come next.

The court heard evidence of 12 parcels containing drugs that had been intercepted between 27 March and 29 June 2012.  In his opening, the defence barrister said he would be tendering a news article into evidence that he claimed led his client to discover Silk Road. I figured it couldn’t be one of mine, as the first time I had ever written about Silk Road was 27 April 2012.

When a recess was called, I was surprised when the defence barrister shoved a printout of an article under my nose and asked whether I’d written it.  I was surprised to recognise a piece I’d written for literary journal Kill Your Darlings.  “Yes,” I said, and he rushed off again.

“I wrote that in October” I whispered to the court reporter beside me, confused as to what it had to do with the case.

After the recess, the defence barrister tendered the article.  “The author of the article is in court today, Your Honour” he said, pointing at me.  The judge acknowledged me and noted that I blogged at All Things Vice and sometimes wrote for The Age.

I didn’t write down exactly how my article worked it’s way into evidence (the hearing went for 5 hours or so), but it was along the lines of: my client was down to his last cent and his marriage was on the rocks.  He found this article describing how to get on to Silk Road and how cheap drugs could be bought there.

I walked out of that courtroom stunned and bemused.  The next day, a piece appeared in The Age, recounting the events.  It was a straightforward and factual account, so I put it out of my mind.

Later that night, a nasty personal attack containing much hyperbole and few facts emerged at an odd little site I’m not going to give oxygen to at the moment.  Suffice to say, it was vicious and unprovoked, completely inaccurate and used terms like ‘drug death spiral’ whilst somehow trying to link my pro-drug reform views with child abuse.

Since then, the myth that I was somehow responsible for the defendant’s decision to deal drugs has been perpetuated over Twitter, reddit, Wired, Ars Technica and numerous blogs, forums and lesser-known websites.  The typical paragraph is:

“During the trial he said that he had been drawn to the site after reading an article by a journalist called Eileen Ormsby, who regularly covers the Silk Road in Australian newspapers. Since Howard’s conviction, the Silk Road has warned its users via its Twitter account not to follow their feed nor the feed of Ormsby with their real names.”

I realise these articles are just reporting what was in the Age story, but that article did note that I had written the piece in October.  And yep, that really happened in Twitterverse.

Weirder Web seemed to be one of the only places to notice the discrepancies in dates, and subtly pointed them out without editorialising about them.

So, to reiterate:  the offending dated from March 2012.  Shadh1 registered on the Silk Road forums on 20 April 2012.  My first ever article on Silk Road came out on 27 April 2012.  The article tendered to court came out in October 2012.

No doubt the defendant was led to Silk Road by an article, but it wasn’t my article.

This may well have been one of the most surreal weeks in my life.

Eiley Ormsby is a Melbourne writer, journalist and blogger of All Things Vice. More of her adventures into the Dark Web can be found at: allthingsvice.com.




  • http://www.hottubsparesandrepairs.co.uk hot tub servicing

    The program focuses on including larger portions of those
    food items include calcium too, which is a form of personal acupressure called the Emotional Freedom Technique or tapping.
    This should not turn you off from 5 dieting myths, just because she put the weight
    back and then some. I hate 5 dieting myths and I hate everything to do with sexuality
    than anything else.

9781926428239

Abigail Ulman

Cold Feet and Hot Little Hands: Abigail Ulman on writing – and not writing – her first book

Post-book deal, every time I sat down to try to write something, I felt paralysed by some kind of literary stage fright. I had shown my work to other people before – for writing workshops, and submissions to literary journals and competitions – but I had never before written a story while thinking This story is going to be published in a book. Or, more accurately, This story idea is nowhere near good enough to be published in a book. Read more »

9781926428239

Sian Campbell

Girlhood and The Woman-Child in Abigail Ulman’s Hot Little Hands

Each of the stories in Hot Little Hands navigates girlhood in some way, from the lives of high school-age teenagers to those of young twentysomething women. ‘Girl things’ such as horse camp, gymnastics, feminised bodies, clothing, periods, crushes, yoga and gossip weave through the fabric of the text. Though the subject matter is often adult – the girls of Hot Little Hands navigate abortion, sex trafficking, young motherhood, drugs, and deportation – the girls themselves are not… even when they technically are. Read more »

Dont-Try-This-at-Home-_-cover_-FINAL1-300x460

James Tierney

Subscriber Stories: Angela Readman’s Don’t Try This At Home

As a subscriber to publisher And Other Stories’ distribution model, I am in the unusual position of reviewing a book – Angela Readman’s short story collection Don’t Try This At Home – that thanks me by name for making its existence possible. Read more »

amy-schumer

Rebecca Shaw

Amy Schumer and the equal right to be funny

I don’t think men should be banned from making jokes about contentious subjects. I am of the belief that anything can and should be laughed about, and if done right, it can be beneficial. But more often, women are doing it right, and women are doing it better. Read more »

womens-home-companion

Kate Iselin

Trivial Pursuits: The media and ‘women’s interests’

Women, especially in public life, exist as a part of men’s worlds – a big part, sure – but still a part. Even as women become more vocal in demanding accurate and respectful representation, we are kept at arms length by a mainstream media which struggles to catch up. Read more »

SGbTsPQ

Rebecca Shaw

Command and Control: Trophy daughters and overprotective dads

There is no doubt that an overprotective parent is better than a parent who couldn’t care less what their child gets up to. And there is no doubt that most overprotective mums and dads are well-meaning. But paternal ‘protectiveness’ shticks often boil down to fathers not wanting their daughters to have sex, and by extension, get pregnant. Read more »

kstew

Joanna di Mattia

Kristen Stewart Through the Looking-Glass

Kristen Stewart is an actress who has been criticised, maligned even, for an acting style that transmits from set to screen as sullen, adolescent, wooden, blank, fidgety and inelegant. But perhaps she’s an actress concerned with authenticity, and the defining feature of her style is to show us herself by appearing like she’s not acting at all. Read more »

it-follows-4

Anwen Crawford

Behind You: The subtler horror of It Follows

I don’t watch many horror films. Lifelong victim of an overactive and slightly morbid imagination, I regularly envisage disasters, natural or otherwise, that might befall me, without requiring the added stimulus of cinema. Read more »

anne-dorval-and-antoine-olivier-pilon-in-xavier-dolans-mommy

Joanna Di Mattia

All About His Mother: Xavier Dolan’s fierce women

Xavier Dolan has created an exuberant body of cinema that privileges women (and others on the margins) as complex, chaotic beings. Dolan’s fierce mothers are cleaved from the pedestal that so much of cinema places them on, so that they may dig around in the dirt that is life. Read more »

Struggle+Street+KEY+IMAGE

Anwen Crawford

Shame and Stigma on Struggle Street

Struggle Street framed poverty as a combination of genetic inheritance and natural disaster – a barrier to be overcome only through ceaseless positive effort. Those who sabotage themselves through bad choices are therefore fair targets for our scorn, while those who gain employment or remain sober deserve praise for overcoming the odds. The deserving and undeserving poor, in other words. What an old story. Read more »

TheSlap_Show

Genevieve Wood

The Slap: What’s lost when a cricket bat becomes a baseball bat?

‘A cricket bat wouldn’t make sense in an American context’, says Tony Ayres, executive producer of the US adaptation of Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap. He’s right, of course – it wouldn’t. But when, in US playwright Jon Robin Baitz’s version, the eponymous slap occurs as the result of a swinging baseball bat, something’s not quite right. Read more »

empire-tv-review-fox

Anwen Crawford

Rise of an Empire

Watching Empire, I wondered why there haven’t been more television shows about record labels, the music industry being the cesspit of venality that it is. Forget TV dramas about police departments and hospital wards – a show about a record label comes with all that conflict, plus outfits, plus songs. Read more »

svfw crop

Katie Williams

Silicon Valley Fashion Week?: Fashion, technology, and wearability

Last week saw the inaugural Silicon Valley Fashion Week? (yes, with a question mark) unfold in San Francisco. The show promised ‘drones, robots, and mad inventions’, and tickets sold out swiftly; attendees were clearly eager to see more inventive clothing in this heartland of nerds. Read more »

AnimalCrossing copy

Katie Williams

Digging For Meaning in Utopia: Storytelling in Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is a series of games in which – as my partner once remarked incredulously – ‘nothing ever happens.’ In its latest incarnation, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you become the unwitting mayor of a town populated by anthropomorphic, bipedal animals. Read more »

DUKMRUTRHLU31425064919799

Katie Williams

The Currency of Games: The real world cost of in-game purchases

A new item introduced in World of Warcraft lets players purchase a month of playing time for the real-life price of $20, which they can then sell to other players in-game in exchange for virtual currency. It’s an exchange of real money for a virtual currency that has in-game value but none in the physical, ‘real’ world – and it makes me incredibly uneasy. Read more »

Arts House_Image_10c_Oedipus Schmoedipus (post)_Credit – Ellis Parrinder copy

Jane Howard

A Case for Diversity in Theatre

Attracting different audiences to the theatre is about many things. It’s about accessibility for people without high disposable incomes, but it’s also about marketing and publicity; about creating venues which are physically accessible for people with disabilities; and about ensuring the performers on stage are as diverse as we want their audiences to be. Read more »

2909252617_1f456d0c81_b

Jane Howard

A Working-Class Mythology: Ironing boards at the theatre

In theatre, there is perhaps no prop piece more mythologised than the ironing board, which came to signify the birth of contemporary British theatre. Read more »

ForceM6609

Jane Howard

Witness and Connection at Melbourne’s Dance Massive

In a city where it feels not a day goes by without an arts festival, or three, happening, Melbourne’s Dance Massive is resolutely unique. Australia’s largest dance festival is by necessity heavily reliant on Melbourne-based companies and shows that will go on to tour independently of the festival. The festival is undeniably of, and for, the dance sector in Melbourne. Read more »