Alanna Skelly petition

Also, reposting this petition appeal from Alanna Skelly, who used to comment here as “Alice” and “Alanna Hardman”. Please keep discussion thoughtful and civil


I’ve started the petition “Tony Abbott: Stop all our banks accommodating BITCOIN transactions.” and need your help to get it off the ground.

Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here’s the link:

Here’s why it’s important:

Please stop BITCOIN in Australia because our youth are using this method to buy drugs from online sites across the globe. The drug sellers are mushrooming becausing BITCOIN is operating a tumbler style of making the ultimate recipient of the drug money untraceable. Our children are dying. Children in the US are dying. Please support this petition because I have just lost my twenty one year old son to the online drug trade. Its not the little fish the police need to go after. First stop BITCOIN from hiding these criminals. Make it illegal for any Australian financial institution to deal with BITCOIN accounts. Without the might and IT expertise of BITCOIN these criminals who despatch toxic substances can not hide themselves. The beautiful kind hearted boy in this photo has died before he should have. This petition has been written by his mother.

You can sign my petition by clicking here.

Alanna Skelly

48 thoughts on “Alanna Skelly petition

  1. Failure to deal with drug use as a health and medical issue – or educational issue – rather than a criminal one is far more an issue than the use of Bitcoins and online trading in drugs. Those are just one more iteration of black market trade in recreational drugs, not it’s cause.

  2. Although a tragic story the genie is well and truly out of the bottle with the introduction of a wide array of cryptocurrencies. Given the massive, massive problems with enforcement trying to ban something like this is trying to push water uphill. Disgusting that some people use it to buy black market items but realistically one can’t do much about it. Enhanced education and efforts targeting the supply side will be the best strategies.

    Oh, and before the usual suspects start chirping, the dollar differs from Bitcoin as it is based on something much more tangible and logical; the share of illegal purchases is much lower (10% OTOH); and it aids economic efficiency primarily as a store of value (Bubblecoin certainly cannot boast any kind of track record here).

  3. I cannot support this petition, not because I disagree with the desired goals, but because the concern is to limit drug trafficking.

    I feel that what is proposed will have no effect on the outcome as regards drugs.

    My concerns are that bitcoins have no underlying value (as referenced in this article )

    The closest analogy I can see is if tulips started to be used as a medium of exchange during the great tulip bubble in 1637. Allowing banks to deal in this financial instrument is implicit in approving of it.

  4. wrong, bad, corruptable or not, internet exchange systems seem to be an unforseen feature(or bug?) of our new and unwieldly reality.

    the pressure of lucrative, predatory sellers market makes a publically funded,public education program neccessary.

    publically funded?!.

    don’t you know there is an emergency?!

    leave it to the market.

    after all, government interfering in business activities is bad for the economy.

    but that aside,
    isn’t the beauty of bitcoin the fact that every exchange can be traced?

    if it can be traced, how can it be hidden?

    predatory business people have feelings too you know.

  5. Thank goodness for bitcoins and Silk Road. Now kids don’t need to associate with violent thugs just to score some gear.

  6. I think we also need a petition for getting rid of the whole Internet because it is a link in just about everything bad that happens these days.

    Taking down the Internet would also help with the escalating petition menace we are experiencing as well.

  7. I have a view on this but mostly I’m just sorry Alice lost her son. And I’ll leave it at that.

  8. The petition seems to be misworded, it talks about banning currencies because they’re used to buy drugs but doesn’t mention the Australian Dollar.

  9. Most hard drug action is enabled because of corruption. I mean corruption in Police Forces, Government Agencies and Governments. If these groups were not corrupted the hard drug trade could be shut down very quickly. However, people are always corruptable so it is vain to wish for uncorrupted Police Forces, Government Agencies and Governments when any lucrative trade is forced underground by prohibition. The only alternative, as a least worst solution, is controlled legalisation.

  10. I beg to differ Iko, there are other effective solutions opposed to ‘controlled legislation’ available and I deliberately use the plural. Let’s say these solutions lie in the cultural domain.

    Look at the major bio medical and behavioural health risk factors in Australia and I show you real addiction.

  11. Btw, other culture have perfectly learned how to do hard drugs. It was not the Yopo snorting that undone the Yanomamo, according to wikepedia:

    “Yanomami population was severely decimated from malaria, mercury poisoning, malnourishment, and violence due to an influx of garimpeiros searching for gold in their territory.”

    Really, as tragic these individual ‘drug’ cases are, we should get our priorities right.

  12. John Brookes :

    JamesH :
    Bitcoin also facilitates tax evasion and has a horrible carbon footprint. ).

    I’m betting that gold of similar value has a bigger carbon footprint.

    At least gold has use value. Bitcoins do absolutely nothing.

  13. I am very sorry Alice (and others) has lost a child (or a relative or a friend) due to drugs obtained via an internet purchase, involving transactions technologies that are difficult to trace.

    As much as I appreciate the objective of the petition (prevent further tragedies), I don’t believe banning Australian banks accommodating bitcoin transactions will achieve the objective. There are several e-currency units. The banning of one would merely result in another one being substituted. But this is not the main obstacle. As long as there is at least one country in the ‘global economy’ where financial institutions exchange various national currency units for one or several e-currencies, it is possible for a resident of Australia to circumvent a local ban.

  14. @Moz In Oz

    Yes I suspect that there’s a lot of fundamental misunderstanding around what bitcoin actually is and what the bitcoin exchanges actually offer (no they dont accept money to pay drug dealers in exchange for drugs).

    It’s very sad that her son died, but it looks like a situation where someone sees something unusual that they don’t know much about in tragic circumstances and so blame that for what has happened. Many people die from drug overdoses paid with cash but people don’t start lobbying to stop anonymous cash transactions.

  15. Apparently, PW, if you type Alan*a with the asterisk replaced with n, it just dumps the post — not even automod …

  16. Look, I only wanted to offer you-know-who commiserations, the implications within that post were as painful and dark as can be.

    As for BITCOIN, most of you will understand it better than I.

    I can’t see how it means your purchase is safe and how would it would arrive?

    As some of us remember from our youth, pot dealers alone, let alone those selling skag or chemist’s shit, are not always the most reliable of folk..

    This once, I am glad to be a relative Luddite, if it is half way as ridiculous and complicated as much else that goes down on the internet, I am better off away from for the figurative headaches avoided, alone, let alone complications from the substances themselves.

  17. This is Alan@a.
    I know some people have misinterpreted my petition.
    Mostly I would just like you to read it first. Google
    “Tony Abbott commence an inquiry” and it will come up

    I dont know Fran but you may have shown me
    How i can get around Profs auto

  18. Well my Dan wasnt bad on computers either.
    Yep Fran thanks for that.
    Hope Prof forgives me this one.

  19. Also Silk Road v 2 hacked and millions $ bitcoins stolen
    and bitcoin under attack.
    I can see a light at the end of the tunnel I hope. I dont care whether its
    the authorities that do the hacking and stealing or other criminals.
    Our kids dont need the freedom of 11000 illegal drug online
    delivered by post.
    Dutch authorities also take down Utopia and make
    five arrests. Dread Pirate Roberts soon to be jailed.
    Shrem, also under indictment for his role as a Bitcoin merchant
    to the illegal online drug trade.
    These are all positive signs but it wont bring my boy back.

  20. @Alan$a

    The “War On Drugs” is nothing but a cover for the nastiest elements of humanity to have ever existed (whether they be Wall St., or any of their many tentacles).

    Your loss cannot be comprehended by most of us.

    All the best,


  21. I’m so sorry to hear of Alan!a’s loss. It shouldn’t happen and really is dreadful. Doubtless her pain seems unbearable to her. Anyone of us would hope that she gets the support she needs from those who are close to her to recover from this and again feel joy.

    That noted, the “war on drugs” is no different from all the other wag the dog and moral panic trickery and hokum. We on the left ought to denounce it and call for legalisation with controlled distribution. The costs of this war to the legitimate interests of working people are very probably greater than the official wars of imperialist intervention. Given that the political context of these wars derive in part from the mobilisation of the gullible and well-intended behind the banners of scoundrels serving the boss class in moral panics such as this one, one may even include some of the costs of these wars in the costs of the war on drugs. Certainly, in places like Colombia, the links are very clear.

  22. Thanks Fran and Megan. I appreciate your kind thoughts.

    My only problem with legalisation is this – How can
    you consider legalising product ranges of 11000 to 13000 drugs
    per online site? Legalising all these is a war on our kids and any others
    who want to experiment as well as a war on those who
    have to live with and amongst them. Mine is no moral panic. I
    prefer to think of it as taking action against something completely
    unacceptable when needed. Some wont understand my actions
    and instead want to talk about personal choice and freedoms.
    When it comes to drugs I do not believe that young people should
    be exposed to these ugly sites. Peer pressure can be insidious in influence
    and they are not fully mature or experienced enough to make the right decisions.

    The excess of drugs on our streets now, be they steroids or narcotics or
    mdma, is making itself apparent and I believe will start showing in
    relevant stats after 2011.

    Controlled legalisation without also
    conducting a war on these now global online
    black market drug dealers will not help.
    This situation of online illegal drug sites, recall , only started in 2011.
    There are many ways to approach this, there is no one size fits all
    (ie to legalise v not legalise is too simplistic for the issue).

  23. Also do not forget that these centralised hidden online illegal
    drug sites do not just sell drugs but also weapons and porn etc.
    They have also spurned a plethora of “unsafe” drug use forums
    that target young people, in their own language that are nothing
    but lies written by those who are obviously vendors eg eurowid and
    bluelight and reddit etc

  24. The use of gold as a currency is an artificial distortion of the market for gold that is being actually used for stuff. I think any currency ultimately must be considered artificial, whether tied to and distorting the market value of a substance or tied to measures of economic capital or exchange within nations. The value of Bitcoins isn’t any more artificial to my mind than the market in precious stones; in the eyes of the (be)holder they may be treasures but they are really just pretty pebbles.

    Drugs will involve organised crime and money laundering as long as drug supply is a lucrative crime. This focus on Bitcoins is not going to change that.

  25. Do you know he still has me on auto mod for simply saying what you say here?

    I take I am being driven away.

    But if a site is this small minded, I am better off elsewhere anyway.@Fran Barlow

  26. @Alan$a

    You don’t have to legalise everything. You just need to legalise what people want. Nobody (or hardly anybody) is going to go online to find exotic things that might or might not arrive, or be safe and as described if it does, if they can get perfectly satisfactory goods fit for purpose within a ten-minute walk.

    You can’t shut down this trade at anything like an acceptable cost in public expense or intrusion by the state but you can take most of the appeal out of it. To the best of my knowledge, almost all retail alcohol is now purchased through licensed dealers. I daresay that would be the case with mood-altering substances too.

  27. Fran and Ken,
    am I to sit and accept everything that pours
    down from the internet black markets?
    I dont think so. Just recall once more, these
    online drug sites of the illegal type only started om 2011.
    A mere three years later we become blase and
    say “there is nothing to be done, nothing at all”.

    I dont think so. Never before have drug dealers become
    so brazen. Never before could our kids source
    drugs this way from across the globe.

    Do you fully understand the changes and the implications?
    Within my petition with 2500 signatures there are at least 6 or 7 others
    personally affected.

    Bitcoin merchants (some) have been actively
    supporting this illegal trade and have done so
    obviously, even touting for their business
    in drug forums.

    The US has recognised the problem and is
    moving to regulate bitcoin merchants. No Ken, bitcoin
    is not the problem ( please read again the petition) but the
    behaviour of some in the industry is.

    There is much to be done here.

  28. @Alan$a

    I’ve read the petition and I still think the issues around Bitcoin are quite separate from the issue of the availability of drugs. Well as least as separate as having untraceable cash currency and the issue of the availability of drugs is.

    There are sensationalists headlines such as “bitcoin is under attack”. But that’s not really true. People have lost or had stolen lots of bitcoins, but thats really about how they store them or who they trust to store them. It’s akin to someone storing thousands of dollars of gold or cash under their bed and then someone robs their house. There’s a lot of people using bitcoin who don’t understand how to store bitcoins securely and do the equivalent of leaving their front door unlocked or handing over a few bars of gold to someone they just met on the internet to look after.

    Millions of dollars of bitcoins have been stolen, but at the same time we lose hundreds of billions of dollars in fraudulent credit card transactions every year. But we still persist with them.

    Also another myth is that bitcoins are not traceable. They’re in fact a lot more traceable than people believe and the fact that people are getting prosecuted for drug dealing when using bitcoins is a sign of this. Bitcoins are effectively international so I’d agree it makes it harder for a single nation’s police force to track, but regulating currency exchange between $AUD and bitcoins is not really going to help that problem as there are many legitimate uses for bitcoins and they can’t just prohibit them. I know of quite a few people who use them to donate money to various causes because of the lack of transaction fees for example.

    Although children couldn’t in the past easily source drugs globally online, they have always been able to fairly easily source them locally. Sure the police would often catch the drug dealers but there has been a never ending source of people willing to fill the gaps.

    Also I think its important to distinguish between the currency exchanges – those that allow you to convert between $AUD or $US and bitcoins and the sites which sell drugs/weapons/porn. Although a currency exchange site may advertise that bitcoins can be used for theses sorts of purchases they are (mostly) not the same sites that actually trade in illegal material and are in not involved in the actual transaction. It’s like going to a local currency exchanger (who don’t collect any personal information for transactions of a few hundred dollars anyway) to get say $US to pay a drug dealer.

  29. Just one more comment to Chris. The method
    that people use to source drugs matters.
    I am suggesting here that many youth previously
    were deterred from the activity of sourcing
    from the street due to a) safety concerns of
    mixing with drug dealers b) inconvenience c) inability to
    source the desired substance.
    No street dealer carries such an obscene range
    of drugs and nor do they have at their disposal mad
    and bad chemists inventing new synthetic drugs
    for marketing each week.
    You under estimate the deterrence factors of danger
    and risk in the sourcing activity to our youth.
    I asked the question to my sons friends ” why did you do this? Buy
    online?”. The response was repeated by more than one
    ” we see ourselves as middle class kids. We dont
    want to mix with drug dealers. We can review the ratings
    and its private and convenient.”

    They can also try lots more things and get
    it more easily but it is built on an edifice
    of lies and scam marketing, even written in
    the language of the googlegens to normalise it all.

    So it spreads to more by word of mouth across
    the competitive world of teens, mates, bravado
    within facebook communications which exclude parents
    but include many meaningless acquaintances.
    So it all becomes so “normalised”, the action
    of experimenting with an alarming array of
    different highs. The normalisation and convenience thus spreads the
    problem further.

    You ask me to accept this as normal and leave
    all responsibility to personal choice and freedom?
    I cannot accept this as the new normality.
    I am sorry.

  30. Sad for your loss, sad for all unnecessary premature deaths relating to drug use. Not sure if restricting Bitcoin will achieve your stated goals. … I suppose we could close down Australia Post. Or perhaps… what Fran Barlow @ #39 said.

  31. “Never before have drug dealers become so brazen”

    Actually, they’re probably more brazen in the live form in many Australian cities than the online form, since the live form often solicits for business in reasonably well known suburbs, as they do in some clubs and pubs. This was one of the problem in the late 90s (which will no doubt will come back since it’s pretty cyclical), when heroin became cheaper for non-addicted users than alcohol and pot.

  32. Alice, I’d rather have met you again on this blog-site for a happy reason instead of the actual one. I believe you like truthfulness. Take it as a sign of my respect for you in this regard that I felt I must write the way I see it regarding the petition.

    Your arguments as to why the supply of drugs via the internet raises additional problems (eg people who do not want to mix with the dealers on the street for good reasons are enticed to experiment) makes sense to me. As time goes on, you probably discover more about the nature of the problem.

    Your discoveries may be of general interest not only to parents but also to potential experimenters, who, in the attempt to avoid some dangers, take on potentially bigger danger. Have you considered approaching university departments or programs such as 4 Corners to gather more information and publicity? It is important and I fully concur with you to accept this as the new normality is not on.

    As a nicotine consumer I have no time for people who wash their hands afterwards by imposing taxes on the stuff, as if it wouldn’t be common knowledge that the price elasticity for the stuff is much less than that for vegetables, except for those who never consumed it.

    Take care

  33. Ernestine,
    It seems to me that you hold the
    rare quality that you can and do consider
    issues independantly, without feeling a need
    to resort to framing your responses to sit within
    any prevailing popular paradigm.

    I appreciate your thoughts.

  34. Bitcoin…

    Just reading in New Scientist, 25/2/14, of a Bitcoin exchange, Mtgox, Britain, vanishing or crashing to the tune of $350 million.

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