The Dark Web Bust

2000 Bitcoins, Hard Cash & Gold Bars

I think we can lay rest the claim that Bitcoin is used for crimes only, considering cash and gold bars (fiat system) seems to be thriving in the latest Dark Web crimes bust.

The US Department of Justice, together with multiple government agencies such as the Homeland Security, The Secret Service, Postal Inspection Service, and the DEA have busted over 35 dark web drugs and arms dealers across the nation.

To be clear, these are the drugs and arms the government didn’t deal themselves, but notorious crime syndicates on the Dark Web (which is why this is a bust and not a government investigation into their own operations).

The different agencies confiscated military grade weapons, drugs and drugs manufacturing equipment.  On top of this they also seized over $30 million dollars in cash, gold bars and around 2000 Bitcoins (which alone totals to over $12 million)

The Department of Justice said in their press release that it was “a year long coordinated national operation that used the first nationwide undercover action to target vendors of illicit goods on the Darknet”.

Agents from the HSI acted as money launderers on the dark web marketplace such as the Silkroad, AlphaBay, Hansa and others, exchanging cryptocurrencies for cash.

Yes you read that right, the government itself used cryptocurrencies in crimes in order to lure in criminals. With this tactic the different levels of federal agencies were able to root out the network of black market dealers.

“Through this operation, HSI New York was able to identify numerous vendors of illicit goods, leading to the opening of more than 90 active cases around the country. The Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, working with more than 40 U.S. Attorney’s Offices throughout the country, coordinated the nationwide investigation of over 65 targets, that lead to the arrest and impending prosecution of more than 35 Darknet vendors,” the press release states.

Nearly all the charged individuals used bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies to some degree in their operations. In one case, the federal officials are seeking the forfeiture of an additional 4,000 bitcoin that they suspect to be tied to online drug sales. If seized, the supplementary stash will put the government’s cryptocurrency requisitions to just over $40 million.

“The Darknet is ever-changing and increasingly more intricate, making locating and targeting those selling illicit items on this platform more complicated. But in this case, HSI special agents were able to walk amongst those in the cyber underworld to find those vendors who sell highly addictive drugs for a profit, HSI Acting Executive Associate Director Derek Benner states in the official press release. “The veil has been lifted. HSI has infiltrated the Darknet, and together with its law enforcement partners nationwide, it has proven, once again, that every criminal is within arm’s reach of the law.”

This investigations findings came after Congress’ own efforts to police crimes online trafficking and the use of cryptocurrencies. The findings went public just a day after the House of Representatives passed the “Fight Illicit Networks & Detect (FIND) Trafficking Act of 2018 (H.R.6069). It’s a bipartisan bill : “to study how virtual currencies and online marketplaces are used to facilitate sex or drug trafficking and propose regulatory and legislative actions to put an end to these illicit activities.”

Rep. Juan Vargas who proposed the bill, expressed in a press release that the House’s approval is “an important first step in helping Congress understand the full extent of how virtual currencies are being used to facilitate drug and sex trafficking and will help us propose effective legislative solutions to fight these crimes.” As the bill moves up to Congress’ upper house, he “[hopes] to see the same level of support for this legislation in the Senate.”

In a 2017 National Drug Assessment, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration found that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dash, ZCash and Monero —(with Dash, Zcash & Monero being relatively anonymous) — have become increasingly popular payment options for dark web trade. Along with fueling the human trafficking market, they are also funding marketplaces that are contributing to America’s growing opioid crisis, the administration claims.

This though implies that fiat and other methods such as wiring funds wasn’t also prominently used in human trafficking, drug trafficking and other crimes on the Dark Web. Cryptocurrencies aren’t new just this year, and have existed since 2009, Bitcoin being the most prominent. But of course the Deep Web existed before 2009, and was active and full of crimes and trafficking prior to Cryptocurrencies birth.

This investigation also implies that governments like the US don’t sell weapons to Dictators and genociders ,which we have seen a track record of throughout history. So the governments readiness to blame cryptocurrencies solely for crimes on the Dark Web is biased set to fit a narrative that ‘only the government can commit illicit crimes’.

The growing American opioid crisis also comes after the US illegal invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (which they remain in to this day).

What do you think? Yes cryptocurrencies are being used to commit crimes, but Fiat and gold bars also have track records of being used to commit crimes, both on the Dark Web and on the government level. Should we not then first deal with Fiat’s crisis with money laundering and crimes deals?

Cheers,
A.Yasir

Tech Employee’s Aren’t Down With ICE

Tech Avengers, Avenging!

It’s been a wild ride these past several months with Trump in power as the US President. We have seen everything from admitted sexual assault, to lying, to downright insults & crimes against humanity. And in his latest project, the kidnapping of illegal children and separating them from their families as they flee into the US border by ICE- US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This sets a dangerous precedent. Of course like good humans, most of humanity is outraged.
kidsincages

kidcrying

But the division is pretty big in the United States, and the issues Trump has created has affected everything from US citizens to its allies. And it’s becoming a very large problem.

But what role does Tech play in this? Lets start first with Wikileaks.

Wikileaks as the world knows, is the best and most accurate source of undisclosed information, with disclosure and documents pouring in, revealing the very harsh reality of how governments actually work. From these documents was revealed, that 7 nations had invasion plans, that the US government formulated decades before 9/11. These countries include, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and of course Iran was the last. This seems to be playing out under the guise of liberation and false ‘jasmine springs’ being instigated in said nations.

From Wikileaks we also learned damning NSA secrets, that the US government is spying on you in every aspect of your life. This was for decades thought to be a conspiracy theory.  Turned out, the government is spying on you, on an epic scale.

Julianassange

Facebook, Google to Apple and Amazon, all these companies have a legal obligation to give backdoor access to the United States government. It’s actually legal and you don’t have a say in it, and yet the gong show that was Cambridge Analytica was put on to show that the government cared. Anyone in IT knew what was really happening: a large scale propaganda campaign using Facebook as a scapegoat to ‘ensure that the majority population didn’t catch on to the fact that Facebook’s legally obligated to give that same information to the government’.

markzuckerberg

But most recently, Wikileaks released in full, all ICE employees’ information including their LinkedIn profile for full view of the internet- and thousands of activists and anonymous hackers.  https://ice.wikileaks.org/

This is actually very big and concerning. Many of these employee’s are just like any other employee working for any other company, and they have to feed their families too. They might disagree with ICE but they also have to eat. Was this a good move for Wikileaks?

Yes, despite it being wrong, it’s pressure. It’s pressure on the Employees of ICE to voice their outrage to stop this program of kidnapping these kids- who by the way, only the boys have been seen so far, no one knows where the little girls and babies are. Which is concerning because of “Pizzagate”.

So what role does Tech play now in ICE, if any? Well Microsoft has a $39 million contract (one of many) as does Dell and even Amazon with their face recognition tools. A big government agency like ICE will of course have contracts with large scale Tech companies. But now the outrage is so intense, that employees of these Tech companies are demanding their employer cancel their contracts with ICE. This is huge.

Because if Tech companies all pull out, and the Internet shames anyone who does do business with ICE,  global citizens can actually kill ICE’s kidnapping program.

Whether you agree with Trumps justification, and the republican party’s position, there is no agreeing with kidnapping. Under no circumstances is it justified. Just like rape, apartheid, or the holocaust, these things are not justifiable under any circumstance. So why are they working so hard to justify this? Because it’s wrong, and they know it.

Each and every Tech giant that has contracts with ICE, should end their contracts. Large public figures such as Bill Gates, Elon Musk, to the Pope should lash out at Trump’s policies. The regular person should scream their outrage. Because this is not just a cage with kids, this is the first step in dehumanizing them. The next step, is slaughter.

So if you have a soul, and moral sense, then please do voice your outrage too. This isn’t about politics, this is about right and wrong. And this, is very wrong and it needs to be ended.

If I can use the Avengers here for a moment without any copyright infringement: If Thanos is Trump, well we’re all the Avengers (+ Deadpool)  together. Right now, humanity really needs some good heroes like the Tech employee’s, to make a stand.

What do you think? Are you in support of Trump’s kidnapping and separation of families policies? Or against it?

Cheers,
A.Yasir

About Areeb Soo Yasir and compevo communications

Areeb Soo Yasir is the CEO of compevo communications and founded the company in 2001.  compevo communications was originally named by Areeb Yasir, “computer evolution” started out by offering outstanding technical support services, locally in the Vancouver, BC area of Canada while attending BCIT.  Areeb Yasir quickly expanded compevo’s reach and offerings to nearly all things IT, with a focus around business IT solutions, web hosting (initially web hosting, then VPS, then Dedicated Servers), IT security, and IT consulting.

15 years later, compevo communications has survived the dot bomb era and financial crisis of 2008 and has been constantly growing thanks to our highly targeted and unique in-house services.  compevo has multiple facilities worldwide with a strong focus on North America and Asia.

compevo communications offers superior IT solutions and has excelled in bundling in house support, consulting and VPS, Dedicated Server hosting solutions.