Rob Ford’s Office Hired a Hacker to Destroy the Crack Tape
In late July, an anonymous source approached VICE with claims that he had been hired by Amin Massoudi, the communications director for troubled Toronto mayor Rob Ford, to hack into a website.
More specifically, the source—who for matters of simplicity will be referred to as “the hacker” from here on out—said he was asked by Amin to crack the password of a private online directory that allegedly contained a digital copy of the now infamous footage of Mayor Ford smoking a substance out of a crack pipe. Rob Ford has, up until very recently, publicly doubted the existence of the video.
VICE acquired a log of emails that, according to the hacker, detail his correspondence with Amin from May 18 to May 31 of this year. When contacted by VICE, the hacker confirmed the validity of these emails but also said it was a little more complicated than it seemed. He agreed to talk if we would preserve his identity, as publishing it would incriminate him.
In case you aren’t caught up on the intoxicated calamity that is Rob Ford’s contemporary existence, today he bluntly admitted to having smoked crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor.”This insane bombshell comes after last week’s statement from Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, whoconfirmed that the crack tape Gawker and the Toronto Star reported on does indeed exist and contains footage that is “consistent” with their reports that claim the video shows Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. Rob Ford also appeared on his weekly radio show this past Sunday toapologize to the City of Toronto and asked for the crack tape to be released to the public “immediately.”
In light of these recent developments, we believe that now is the time to publish portions of Amin and the hacker’s arrangement since first receiving the emails in July for the benefit of public interest.
I Saw the Future of Pot at Seattle’s Hempfest
It’s been a good year for pot lovers. The new recreational weed laws Washington and Colorado passed last November have taken effect. Illinois just became the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana. An industry eager to help users find and ingest their favorite strain grows larger and more legitimate by the day. And the federal government—which still outlaws producing, selling, and using pot—has yet to pull the plug.
So naturally, the vibe at the 22nd annual Hempfest—the massive pot pageant held in Seattle, Washington, this past weekend—was 100 percent celebratory. Sure, there were the usual activists calling for an end to federal prohibition. But the real business of the three-day weed-stravaganza was to make a leisurely victory lap to mark the state’s recent legalization of recreational ganja.
The scene at this so-called protestival, was fairly predictable, especially if you’ve spent time at freakier potcentric scenes like Phish or Grateful Dead concerts (events I’ve been to more times than I’d like to admit). Teens and seniors alike crowded Seattle’s downtown waterfront park to shop, dance, take in the sun, make a statement, people watch, and light up.
To answer your question, yes, there were bongs available for purchase.
Half a dozen stages featured an endless loop of reggae and cosmogroove (yes, that is a real genre). Speakers gushed excitedly about the beginning of the end of prohibition and the remaining work to be done. Vapes, pipes, bongs, grinders, memorabilia, and munchies spilled from hundreds of vendor booths. Pot leaves embellished stages, products, business cards, T-shirts, and port-a-potties. Even Ken Kesey’s legendary Further bus made an appearance. Everywhere I looked, someone was firing up a joint, pipe, or bong.
Weediquette: Kings of Cannabis
You might not know who Arjan Roskam is, but you’ve probably smoked his weed. Arjan’s been breeding some of the most famous marijuana strains in the world—like White Widow, Super Silver Haze, and many others—for over 20 years.
In 1992 he opened his first coffee shop in Amsterdam and has since crafted his marijuana-breeding skills into a market-savvy empire known as Green House Seed Company, which rakes in millions of dollars a year.
He’s won 38 Cannabis Cups, and has even dubbed himself the King of Cannabis.
VICE joins Arjan and his crew of strain hunters in Colombia to look for three of the country’s rarest types of weed, strains that have remained genetically pure for decades. In grower’s terms, these are called “landraces.” We trudge up mountains and crisscross military checkpoints in the country’s still-violent south, and then head north to the breathtaking Caribbean coast. As the dominoes of criminalization fall throughout the world, Arjan is positioned to be at the forefront of the legitimate international seed trade.
Watch the video
I Have Dated Several Crack Dealers
The source of this story, who lives in Canada, wished to remain anonymous for fairly obvious reasons.
Just last week, I was at a trap house with my ex in Cloverdale, British Columbia. The front door was covered in what looked a lot like bullet holes, but I’m not sure. There were a lot of unexplainable holes in the wall. Some of the holes were so big I could almost fit through them. The whole place smelled faintly like ammonia and dirty laundry. I was hanging out in the living room while they were all in the kitchen. On one burner they were cooking crack and on the burner next to it, they were cooking dinner. I think that’s kind of funny, but I also couldn’t help but wonder why I was there? I mean, it’s not like I seek this shit out, or anything. I think I just attract it.
Crack dealers tend to approach me. I’m not chasing them down. It’s not like I ever said to myself, “I’m going to date crack dealers now!” But when you meet one, you meet a lot of others. And then you just start dating.
I’ve met some of them through friends, some I’ve met randomly at the club, or at a bar, or on the street. I don’t smoke crack. I’m not about that. I’ve never tried it, probably never will. I guess I date them because I like their personalities. Maybe it’s because I thought it would be exciting—but it’s actually kind of boring. They always want to chill at home. They’re always so tired. They don’t want to do anything. They barely have time to sleep, let alone have fun.
The first time I was approached by a crack dealer, I was 19 and at a party somewhere in East Vancouver. He was a friend of a friend. I thought he was really tough. He had muscles and he was wearing a shirt with no sleeves. I liked that. We dated for a couple of years. He was actually my last serious boyfriend. No one’s held me down like that since.
Bad Cop Blotter: Routine Raid Terror
On Wednesday, a 59-year-old nurse named Louise Goldsberry was in her apartment in Sarasota, Florida, having dinner with her boyfriend, when a squad of heavily-armed men appeared at her door. They said they were police, but Louise wasn’t so sure. One of them was pointing a gun at her through the kitchen window, and when they stormed through the door, a disconcerting light shining in her eyes, she was terrified. “We’re the fucking police, open the fucking door!” the cops were screaming. She grabbed her (legal) revolver—the men who said they were cops told her to drop it and she shouted “I’m an American citizen!” back at them.
It was the kind of situation where someone could have easily died. Luckily, Craig Dorris, Lousie’s boyfriend, had the presence of mind to ask the officers for ID and reassured her that these guys really were cops. She eventually put the gun down, and the officers cuffed her and her boyfriend, searched her house, and were gone in half an hour. No one was charged with any crime whatsoever.
The police were searching the apartment complex for a suspected child rapist eventually found in another part of the city. The cops said later that they had no reason to believe that the suspect was in Goldsberry’s apartment. But they told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that nobody in the other apartments had reacted to their door-pounding, barked commands, or commando gear with hesitation, and that made them suspicious. So they opened Louise’s door without permission and—not surprisingly, since this is gun-happy Florida—found themselves looking down the barrel of a privately-owned firearm.
US Marshall Matt Wiggins, who was part of the raid, thinks everything the cops did was hunky-dory. “I went above and beyond. I have to go home at night,” he told the Herald-Tribune. He also suggested that since Goldsberry wasn’t arrested—merely cuffed for a half hour—or shot there was no reason to go to the media with her story. Though he said “I feel bad for [Louise],” he also scoffed at the notion that she didn’t realize immediately that the armed men at her door were the police.
Butane Hash Oil – Weediquette
It began with an intriguing comment on a Weediquette article. A kid from Denver said, “Dude, you should be dabbing errl.” There was very little available information on this phrase at the time, so I ventured to friend this kid on Facebook in hopes of getting some answers. Having smoked for as long as I have, I didn’t expect to learn anything new about weed, but the kid from Denver humbled me quick.
He was describing Butane Hash Oil, or BHO, a marijuana extract that is pretty much pure THC. People have been making marijuana extracts for millennia, pounding, churning, and milling green plant matter to separate its natural resins, yielding a more concentrated product. For ages, we called this stuff hash, but a new method of extraction came about that was so much more effective that the product itself looked different, had a different texture, and most importantly, got you waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay fucking higher.
Simply put, BHO is made by blasting marijuana with butane, a solvent that takes all the THC with it and nothing else. Evaporating away the butane leaves only the resin, a viscous, amber-colored, waxy substance. BHO is vaporized, either in a pan or using a dabbing pipe, which is where the phrase “Dabbing Errl” comes from—you blowtorch the titanium bowl piece until it’s red hot, then you use a pointy tool to press the oil onto the metal and it bursts into a vapor cloud that you inhale rapidly.
The most notable thing about the high from BHO is that it makes you feel the way you did when you smoked the first time. It’s a high that envelopes you and renders you pretty much useless, but the bliss that comes with it is unmatched. After that first hit, I was obsessed and took to the internet to explore this wonder substance further.
Alas, every rose has its thorn, and I soon discovered that the thorny side of BHO arose from the process of making it, a precarious procedure that can literally blow up in your face. Over the past couple of years, there have been an increasing number of instances of people fucking up the BHO-extraction process and severely injuring and even killing themselves. Naturally, this made me want to see the process in person. So we found a lunatic who makes BHO, and the rest is in the episode.
The Leader of One of Mexico’s Largest Drug Cartels Has Been Arrested
Nuevo Laredo is a border city in northeastern Mexico, surrounded by hills and earth burned by the sun. Thousands of trucks ride its main highway, delivering legal and illegal merchandise to the United States. Although not as well-known as Tijuana or Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo is one of the busiest land ports in all of Latin America. Its formal economy is wedded to Texas, although its black market is linked directly to New York City, where most of the cocaine that moves through Nuevo Laredo winds up.
Beyond its main highway and asphalt avenues, Nuevo Laredo is also surrounded by labyrinths of cracked, Western-flick-looking roads that go nowhere, old rancher routes where shadows also roam. In the early hours of Monday morning, according to official accounts, Miguel Angel Treviño traveled on one of these. He was accompanied only by a bodyguard, eight firearms, and $2 million in cash. Something went wrong this time because neither the weapons nor the cash — in a region where both are essential for survival — prevented the arrest of the man known as the leader of the Zetas.
Treviño’s detention at the hands of Mexico’s Navy was immediately heralded by the government as a blow to organized crime in Mexico, and as a ‘win’ notch for President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose government hadn’t nabbed any significant bad guys since it assumed power last December. The arrest was also met with a symbolic pat on the back by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which said in a brief statement posted Tuesday that Treviño, or code-name “Z–40,” was now among the “most significant Mexican cartel leaders to be apprehended in several years.”
The Zetas organization formed in 2000 by 32 soldiers who deserted Mexico’s Army, with the blessing and financing of the then-leader of the Gulf Cartel, Osiel Cardenas Guillen. Between 2004 and 2009, during their rapid ascent in the criminal world, the Zetas surprised observers with their dynamic horizontal structure, the cruelty of their attacks, and their capacity of organized resistance against the Sinaloa Cartel, the oldest and most powerful cartel in Mexico. Their ascent seemed limitless until an alleged deal was struck between the DEA and Cardenas Guillen of the Gulf gang, and by 2010, when a series of official and non-official armed groups began moving into their territory, the Zetas’ hold on power in eastern and northeastern Mexico began to decline.
Cry-Baby of the Week
The incident: A man noticed a spelling mistake on a sign.
The appropriate response: Instagraming/tweeting it.
The actual response: He allegedly tried to blow it up.
According to police, 50-year-old Leonard Burdek walked into the offices of the Teachers Standards and Practices Commission in Salem, Oregon on Wednesday afternoon carrying a pressure cooker with wires sticking out of it.
He dumped it on the front desk and told the people working there that he’d just unsuccessfully tried to blow up their sign, as there was a spelling mistake on it.
The sign in question was meant to say “Teacher Standards and Practices Commission,” but a “d” was missing from the “and,” making it read “Teacher Standards an Practices Commission.”
Office staff said “d” may have been scraped off or had worn off over time.
Leonard fled when the workers called the police. Apparently, before leaving, he complained that the instructions he’d used to make the bomb contained spelling mistakes.
Police arrested Leonard after spotting him nearby, and he was charged with disorderly conduct.
Meet the other contestant
Teens Are Trapped in Abusive, Cult-Like ‘Drug Rehab Centers’
If you like Army Wives, Preachers’ Daughters, Dance Moms, or any other TV show attempting to create a taxonomy of women based on the professions of their husbands, fathers, and children, then you may well have caught an episode of Teen Trouble. It’s a reality TV show on the Lifetime network where a guy named Josh Shipp sends “at-risk teens” to “alternative rehab centers,” where they’re forced to endure emotional and physical abuse before being allowed to rejoin society.
Shipp is your classic Jerry Springer brand of therapist—no real qualifications, a huge ego, and a penchant for money and entertaining TV over science and genuine psychology. “I’m a teen behavior specialist,” he says in the intro. “My approach is gritty, gutsy, and in your face.”
But the show is a lot grittier than you might expect from that typical teleprompter spiel. The unregulated “troubled teen” industry is able to persist despite numerous allegations of physical and sexual abuse,torture, and death at various institutions, and Shipp is exploiting that same system for monetary gain. Even when they aren’t abusive and/or deadly, the pseudoscientific practices used at “tough love boarding schools” have often proven to be ineffective and can lead to PTSD, anxiety, depression, and drug addiction. Maia Szalavitz, author of Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids, told me about some of the horror stories her own research uncovered.
“The classic list is food deprivation, sleep deprivation, public humiliation, beatings, and denial of access to the bathroom to the point where you wet or soil yourself. But I’m also constantly hearing stories of people being forced to re-enact various traumas, like being raped,” she told me.
'No Condom as Evidence' Legislation Up for Debate in Albany
It’s the first Thursday of the month, and as per tradition, a cadre of affable, semirowdy hos have filled every seat in the Lower East Side’s Happy Ending Lounge.
Shivering from the residual cold, the crowd—pretty, riot grrrl types in Daria bangs and Doc Martens—lets out a collective giggle as Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” floats through the loudspeakers. “Tonight, we’re playing ho anthems,” the host explains, drowning out Fiona’s molasses admission that she’s been a bad, baaad girl.
The evening’s theme is “Pretty Woman Redux,” part of a monthly storytelling series from the sex-workers’ rights group, the Red Umbrella Project. For two hours, a handful of New York’s most articulate “hos” (as they endearingly call themselves), share intimate, industry tales.
As in past sessions, donations from the event will benefit a cause vital to every sex worker in the city: banning the New York Police Department’s well-documented practice of using condom possession as evidence of prostitution.
It’s a battle health rights advocates have fought for years. In every legislative session since 1999, proponents of a “No Condoms as Evidence” bill have asked state lawmakers to squelch the practice, citing evidence that it’s forced sex workers to stop carrying and using condoms all together. In every session, the bill has died on the committee floor.
In recent months, however, efforts to engage lawmakers have accelerated, thanks to studies released in 2012 by the Pros Network and Human Rights Watch—two Manhattan-based organizations that say the policy has led to a serious public-health crisis.
In the Human Rights study, among a slew of other anecdotes, a sex worker named Anastasia L., claims she had unprotected sex “many times” to avoid the risk of arrest.