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Thread: Inside the secret online marketplace for illegal weapons? Perhaps...

  1. #1
    Regular Member Gil223's Avatar
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    Inside the secret online marketplace for illegal weapons? Perhaps...

    This struck me as thought provoking, so I thought I'd share it and see what others may think. It's an excerpt from today's SmartPlanet.com:
    Inside the secret online marketplace for illegal weapons
    By Tuan C. Nguyen

    With just a few clicks, anyone with an internet connection can obtain some of the deadliest weapons known to man, an investigation by tech blog Gizmodo has revealed.

    These include AK-47s, Bushmaster military rifles and even grenades — all of which can be sold, bought, sent and delivered on the Armory, a hidden website that functions as an online black market for illegal firearms. It’s there that Gizmodo writer Sam Biddle, who went undercover as an anonymous buyer, discovered a transaction process that uses an elaborate scheme that involves identity-concealing data encryption, an alternative electronic currency and a delivery method that allows both buyers and sellers to bypass the authorities without raising even the hint of suspicion.

    Concerns over the ease of obtaining guns and other lethal weapons has gripped the nation in the aftermath of one of the deadliest massacre’s in recent memory when a heavily-armed lone gunman killed 12 people and injured 58 during a midnight movie screening just outside Denver. Shortly after, a paper trail revealed that the suspect built his arsenal through purchases made via a host of unregulated web sites, the Associated press reports. (Comment: That statement seems to be at odds with the initial reports) The existence of such portals is alarming in that not only can they arm a single deranged individual with enough ballistics to carry out a massacre, but also supply a group of terrorist rebels with enough artillery to lay siege to embassies and government offices, according to the report.

    The Armory is an offshoot of an illegal drug site called The Silk Road, and based on the writer’s first-hand observations, operates quite similarly. To access the store, users must first install a piece of freeware called TOR, short for the The Onion Router. Millions of people worldwide have used the network to engage in all kinds of internet activity, such as visit web sites, send messages and put up online posts — all completely anonymously. The technology, developed through the support of the US Navy, uses a sophisticated multi-layered encryption method to conceal the identity of its users. By encrypting and re-encrypting the data as it is routed and re-routed through several relays, online activity is incredibly difficult to track or trace.

    Buyers wanting to make a purchase are required to use Bitcoin, a controversial form of online currency that’s designed to work as a completely decentralized electronic cash system on peer-to-peer networks.

    Once payment is received, the weapons are sent using a deviously clever shipping method where instead of delivering the order all in one big crate, and hence tipping off security officials, each weapon is taken apart and sent piece by piece until the buyer has enough parts to assemble the artillery. Though obviously not the most efficient way to buy a gun, the fact that the entire process is replete with fool-proof measures to conceal the identity, whereabouts, motives and actions of everyone involved makes the Armory one of the most effective underground marketplaces around.
    The article continues with more details about the operation, and, if you're interested, you can find it at http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/thin...02?tag=nl.e660. The "bottom line" for me, is that the researcher did not complete any transaction. No purchase was made, and (to my way of thinking) an incomplete transaction proves nothing. Is "The Armory" somebody's fantasy about being an international arms dealer? Is it a rip-off - you pay and they don't deliver? Or is it (as the article suggests near the end) a government "sting operation"? There are any number of possibilities in this piece of open-ended investigative journalism... most of which will lean toward the illegal, if "The Armory" is anything other than a government-sponsored sting. And, after exposure on the SmartPlanet website, one would think that there would be several international intelligence agencies looking into the "secret online marketplace". Pax...
    MOLON LABE
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    Campaign Veteran MSG Laigaie's Avatar
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    I had to go on the site and blast some of the really dumb comments. This article is just fluff and inflammatory.
    "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the people's liberty teeth (and) keystone... the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable... more than 99% of them by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference .When firearms go, all goes, we need them every hour." -- George Washington

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    Regular Member bigdaddy1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Laigaie View Post
    I had to go on the site and blast some of the really dumb comments. This article is just fluff and inflammatory.
    Load of bullsh_t article with no proof of the authors claims. Yes those guns may be shown on line, even purchased if you have "all the right stuff" as they say. But unless you have those necessary permissions good luck.
    What part of "shall not be infringed" don't you understand?

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    Regular Member Gil223's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Laigaie View Post
    I had to go on the site and blast some of the really dumb comments. This article is just fluff and inflammatory.
    Hey, Sarge! I went back to the site and saw a couple of your comments... WELL DONE! (And that Postlewaite clown is obviously a socialist) Pax...
    MOLON LABE
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