By Tuan Nguyen
Posting in Design
Anyone with an internet connection can access "The Armory," where some of the deadliest weapons known to man are for sale.
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 partly through purchases made via a host of unregulated web sites, the Associated Press 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.
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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 recieved, 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.
But who are these anonymous online gunslingers? Nobody can know for sure. Nary a single one will mention where they source their wares, or provide even the slightest shred of locational information. You're lucky if you know what continent they're on. Some won't even talk to you unless you use an added layer of super-tough PGP encryption in all of your messages, gilding the lily with layer upon layer of software scrambling.
As part of the investigation, Biddle wanted to see if he could build a 20-person militia by shopping at the Armory and queried various vendors in search of anyone who would be able to fulfil his request. He eventually found a willing business partner, an arms dealer who went under the name Bohica:
Bohica seemed ready to deliver me enough weapons to take on the US government, to say nothing of some West African backwater.
I told each seller what I was ready to do ASAP, and they went off to get me pricing information and begin the long process of sourcing enough weaponry to arm twenty men through jungle and urban combat. Of course, I didn't buy anything—I don't have the tens of thousands of dollars to buy crates of rifles, or perhaps millions to buy helicopters and armored troop carriers. But there's every reason to believe that, with a little patience, a lot of money, and uneasy trust, these things could have been in my hands—or the hands of anyone else. Say, someone who wanted to go on a domestic shooting spree, assassinate a world leader, or any infinite number of other nefarious things you can do with guns and armored vests.
As disturbing as all of this sounds, there's also the possibility that all of this is a shell game, that the Armory is nothing more than an incredibly well-disguised sting operation to capture terrorists or members of drug cartels. But when the matter was brought to the attention of the ATF, they didn't seem to be aware of its existence, which led Biddle to eventually conclude that site had all the markings of a legit, covert operation.
Like abortion, the issue of gun control in the US is one of those perpetually debated issues that just won't go away. But maybe it should. Because in a time where just about anyone can anonymously get their hands on a semi-automatic, legally or illegally, these kinds of arguments just seem moot.
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Jul 22, 2012
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Every time an incident like Aurora happens the un-educated come out crying for more "Gun Control"! Let's go back prior to all of these mass shooting events, pass all the "Gun Control" legislation they think or imagine is needed! That in and of itself will NOT prevent these events from occurring!!! The shooter in Aurora had no "RECORD" in fact the people who could have put him in the watch category failed to do anything. It's like saying Joe Paterno could have prevented the Sandusky Scandal! NOT TRUE!!! What's needed is a better background investigation method and people to do their part to make it complete! Psychiatrist's could put their patients on this list without violating patient confidentiality without going into details. Who else would know better who represents a danger to the PUBLIC?! This guy was definately a Public Danger! Let's try to figure out who the problem people are and put the limitations on them instead of the "LAW ABIDING" Citizens who are only trying to survive in this Maniacal World! I support "Liscensed to Carry" programs because in the time it takes for a police response to any incident involving GUNS more people will be killed who didn't need to DIE! There just aren't enough Police to cover the worst locations(?) let alone enough locations to prevent or LIMIT periferal damage! Several of the so-called intelligent social elite want to ban ALL Guns which is ludicrous because when Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Guns!
TOR, The Onion Router, developed through the support of the US Navy. If the U.S. Navy had a hand in developing it, then you can just about guarrantee that they have a means of tracking through it.
Controling gun sales is fine but when you get to say ppl shouldnt carry guns or even have them is wrong. Like many people here have pointed out , owning a gun was initally included in the constitution for us to protect ourselves from ANY wrongful harm. In Chicago , there was a gun ban,, and guess what ,, only criminals were able to get them. IT DOESNT WORK for normal people.
He did...had anyone gone into his apartment, it would have come close to blowing up the whole building - the place was booby trapped to the hilt. Some speculate he was hoping that someone would come in and turn down the loud music he left going (left the door ajar), hit the trip wire and the explosion would have diverted emergency services during his deed. Luckily the one person that went to ask him to turn down the music didn't go inside. Took the nearly 2 days to disarm the place.
His apartment was rigged with bombs. It took the cops a LONG time to get in and see all the elaborate booby-traps (robots first, officers after)
I now see, with the tremendous response this article has generated, why intelligent people are frequently the ones who go berserk like the nut from California. Why such interest in the subject? I hope "The Armory" is a giant government sting to identify and apprehend murderers before they commit the act. I am in favor of ownership of hunting rifles and shotguns, and handguns for self defense. I do not see the logic in owning large magazine semi automatic or automatic weapons but unfortunately the "Cat is out of the bag". As far as grenades go, anyone with a rudimentary science background can make one. We must work on American Culture to prevent the creation of crazy people, not just weapons of mass murder. Maybe if one of the people was carrying a piece, e.g. an off duty Cop, they could have been able to neutralize Mr. Joker.
One interesting note: I have observed for over 30 years that when a bill for gun-confiscation comes up or is about to come up in the Legislature, gun attacks on crowds occur. This is accomplished with "sleeper agents" who are hypnotized to do these things and not recall being so. Sirhan Sirhan once remarked, "I must have murdered those people, because everyone said they saw me do it, but I just don't recall doing it." A U.N. bill ("The Small Arms Treaty") that would permit the Govt to confiscate all firearms on behalf of the U.N. is coming before Congress this week, and this planned-tragedy in Aurora was pulled to make the citizenry react emotionally (as it always does) and force the Legislature to approve the bill. That is exactly why this massacre in Aurora happened. A world govt that did this to over 70 people to get its way --- what kind of world govt to come is that? Ans: The most evil and despicable type that is as much like Hitler's Third Reich as it can possibly be, that's what kind. BTW: David Rockefeller and George Soros have admitted their goals for global govt. Both let the cat out of the bag during recent speeches. Rockefeller was at a dinner to thank the news media for not making this scheme known to the public, and Soros wanted to tell the world so as to make it easier for humanity to adjust to it when it arrives. The old krap about "paranoia" and "conspiracie theories" is, with these 2 admissions, rendered totally moot .
"which led Biddle to eventually conclude that site had all the markings of a legit, covert operation." They may have purposely acted this way to make Biddle think it is.
Homicidal maniacs are tragic whatever means they use to inflict injury on the innocent. However, this article and its original Gizzmodo source are of the worst kind of yellow journalism - totally focused on exaggerated circumstances (undercover arms purchases) sensationalism to sell their articles regardless of the tragic nature of the event that it centers on. The fact is that any non-felon can quite legally buy enough weapons and ammunition to arm far more than a 20 man militia - as pointed out at Walmart and many other places. In fact, all the gun related laws (now over 10,000) in the US haven't prevented deranged people from acting out their rages whether with guns or simple fertilizer in Oklahoma City. We live in an environment where there are large amounts of dangerous and reactive chemicals and where any moderately intelligent person can unleash havoc and chaos with even minimal thought and effort. Not long ago I read about a home being blown to bits in Colorado when someone connected their garden hose to their outside propane gas heating tank and routed it through the homes basement window. When their gas hot water heater cycled on it ignited the basement full of propane. Perhaps we should consider that the problems like this lie not with the tools used, but with the users - and the environments that produce them - while shunning those that try to benefit themselves from sensational tragedies.
Every time some nutcase kills a bunch of people this kind of fluff hit the "news". Sensationalism, pure and simple. Did you actually purchase and have ANY weapon delivered to you?? Are you intentionally attempting to scare the uninformed public. Your "article" is no different than chicken little saying the sky is falling. No proof, no evidence, just a good deal of misleading information. Shielded packages and grenades in the mail??? really??
I don't know about the Armory y'all are talking about, but I've been the the-armory.com many times, and everything is on the up and up - Yes, they'll sell you a rifle, pistol or even a machine gun, but they won't deliver it except through your local licensed dealer, and that dealer won't give it to you 'till all the paperwork is done andthe FBI says it's OK. (BATFE for fully automatic weapons.) One thing to be noted, assault rifles have NEVER been available to the public without going through extensive federal paperwork, 'cause by definition, an assault rifle fires multiple shots with one pull of the trigger which invokes the whole machine gun regulation bit, and the whole category wasn't invented 'till after the National Firearms Act of 1934, which requires obtaining a federal tax stamp for many weapons, including fully automatic (machine) guns, short shotguns, destructive devices, etc. What have been available are assault STYLE semi-automatic rifles - semiautomatic rifles which LOOK like their select-fire brethren, but can only fire a single shot per pull of the trigger. Some very early assault style semi-automatic rifles could be converted to fully automatic by simply exchanging some internal parts, but these were removed from the market in the late '70s or early '80s, and are very rare today.
This article says, "a paper trail revealed that the [Aurora massacre] suspect built his arsenal through purchases made via a host of unregulated web sites." That's extremely misleading. The two Glock pistols, AR-15, and pump shotgun used in the massacre were purchased legally in Denver stores. (At least some of the ammunition may have been from the Web).
I too am a CCW holder with much defensive training and experience. The vast majority of responsible gun owners use the legal means of weapons procurement for legitimate purposes. However, there is always a segment of every population comprised of truly evil individuals who will distort reality for their purpose. There is a nationwide discussion about legal and illegal aliens immigrating into the US. The same should be true with legal and illegal weapons. As to whether someone with a handgun and a CCW could have changed the outcome of the theater shooting is debatable, given the degree of protection this idiot had prepared himself with. The 21 rounds of 9mm that I normally carry, probably would not have penetrated this guys armor; however, it might have distracted him enough to allow some of the other victims to escape the carnage. The most fortunate part of this whole episode was that the guy didn't apparently practice enough with a new weapon to adequately break it in to prevent or minimize jamming. The other problem here is the lack of swift and certain justice on the part of the US citizenry. We have become such a liberal society that the prospect of being put to death for 1st degree murder is highly unlikely, which makes it no longer a deterrent. What should happen is to set a trial for next month, take about a week for the trial, find him guilty of multiple counts of 1st degree, sentence him to death for the following month, and carry out the sentence. What will actually happen is he won't go to trial until sometime in mid 2013, the trial will take months, he will be found either guilty of some lesser charge or not guilty by insanity, will begin serving his sentence of life imprisonment and will be taken care of for the next 20 years by the taxpayers of Colorado, followed by multiple appeals which will result in some sort of release back out to the community. Now if he was poor or black, he would be on death row pretty much guaranteed. If you depend upon the government to protect you by taking away your right of self defense, then you are nothing more than a target for the deranged people who know the score. The best examples are the locations like Washington DC where only the police and criminals possess firearms and the carnage has become the norm rather than the exception. A gun is a tool. It is the use of that tool by people that make it safe or dangerous. Driving a car is a lot riskier than carrying a gun. Should we make driving illegal?
Does someone arguing for it to be OK for a person to be legally permitted to have a concealed weapon in a Cinema Multiplex not make a damning statement on society. In much of the rest of the Westernised World where general weapon carrying is unlawful, neither the perpetrator or any 'nice' CCP would have been allowed. For any 'if there had been a CCP holder, what they could have done', I think you'll easily find a CCP holder who has killed someone. If you are that worried, pay some more taxes and get more police on the streets, and people off welfare. As seen from Soviet/Nuclear deterrent, it works, when in the hands of a professional military - not a load of trigger happy rednecks.
Good morning my friend Tuan. While I do like your editorials/posts, this one was a bit off. May I ask what in that particular store is illegal?? As for the deadliest arms known, may I point out that the lowly knife and hatchet have been used extensively since Cain & Able. they have accounted for millions A final point, just suppose that a single CCP holder had been in that theatre's audience, how many shots could that deranged shooter fire before being engaged and neutralized himself. No, my friend, that was a very biased post/editorial; written for it's emotional impact, not truth, and capitalizing upon a unpreventable tragedy. He could just as easily have constructed a home made bomb or a chemical weapon
Can I suggest an aspiration towards a society where needing a gun for protection is an amusing historical "What were they thinking" notion would be great. Like the notion of burning witches is looked upon today.
I mentioned that the Armory can perhaps be a sting operation set up by the authorities, who knows. I'm just saying that the technology in which this network is built upon allows, at least technically, for people to engage in illegal firearm trade. If you have more doubts, read about the full investigation on Gizmodo's site.
It's already common knowledge to anyone following the Aurora killings to know ALL the guns were bought legally and locally by the perp (as you note hscohen), Each time he bought one, he passed the legally required screening to get it. Which leads me to believe this story/editorial is completely fabricated to produce hits to bring in advertising revenue and/or a tool by anti-gun advocates.
Happy with your dilligence and respect for what you have, but asking a fundamental question - Why do you think you need a gun ? If weapons were lawfully restricted to Law Enforcement Officials, Military and Strictly licensed and audited Farmers, do you or anyone really have any need for a weapon ? I would expect robust enforcement of these suggested restrictions, and jail time for non-compliance. As mentioned earlier, the USA is not the wild west any more.
"In much of the rest of the Westernized World where general weapon carrying is unlawful, neither the perpetrator or any 'nice' CCP would have been allowed." The perp went in with full intention of breaking the law by murdering people, discharging a firearm in a reckless manner, etc. His actions alone say that if he couldn't have legally obtained his weapons, he'd have found a way to illegally get them. Or if he had no real statement to make, he could have just as easily brought some of his illegal bombs with him to do the job.
George Washingtons "Army" was mostly militia. Just a load of trigger happy rednecks. In your second para, do you really think Bad Guys obey the rules?? You want to penalize the Law Abiding Citizen and offer them up to the BGs on a plate.
Could not beleive Fox News did an apparent tribute in the studio this morning with 'Shooter' Jennings. Are they dumb as 5h1t or what.
The Armory enables users to buy or sell just about any weapon online, legal or illegal. Anyone who obtains a banned weapon or gear that's intended only for the military, can go on there to negotiate deals. Sorry, if you think my post was biased or unfair. That was never my intention. I just wanted to point out how criminals are using sophisticated technology engage in illegal arms trade that's hard to stop.
Unless all criminals are eliminated, threats remain. Our founding fathers did not write the 2nd amendment to protect hunters or to keep criminals at bay. They wrote this amendment to protect us from government. Fire regulations are very strict, yet many homes have fire extinguishers.
I've never had to use a weapon in self-defense, and I hope I never have to, and in my neighborhood it's not really likely, but you must understand: The police are under no obligation to protect you. If you have a specific death threat, they might maybe run an extra patrol past your house - maybe, but you are pretty much on your own when the assailant comes. I'm a pretty big girl, but guys twice my weight aren't uncommon, and even though I've been studying a martial art for a while, I'll need years and years more study before I'm likely to be able to stop a big guy from doing me serious harm while unarmed. Hence my gun.
The very fact these kind of events occur in the US - as well as countries with extremely severe firearms laws, should tell you that reliance on any gov. for your protection is simple minded folly. This was the same kind of reasoning the heralded the civilian firearms confiscation in pre-WWII Germany - and then as they say the rest is history. If you really think human behavior has radically changed in the last hundred years or that the ratio of law enforcement officers per the number of people they are charged with protecting is better - again, you need better critical thinking skills.
" Neil foolishly said..."If weapons were lawfully restricted to Law Enforcement Officials, Military and Strictly licensed and audited Farmers, do you or anyone really have any need for a weapon ?" Two reasons my sheltered friend..(1) Self Defense.. I do not have to tell you how long it takes to get a LEO to show up. "when seconds count, the police are just minutes away.' It is because they show up after the "event". (2) For the same reason we used it in 1776, to protect me for a tyrannical government. Grow up young man, it is an evil world out there.
Well Neil I do need a gun because my life as an animal advocate has been threatened repeatedly over the years and I decided not to be a "sitting duck" for the pleasure of a farmer, rancher, or hunter that believes their right to kill is absolute. You might not believe that the wild west still exists, but it does. I have made a conscious effort to train myself to minimize the prospect of becoming a victim. Every one of the people in that theater were victims of a disarmament policy that is exploited by those individuals who don't give a rat's behind about laws. I understand from a prior post that had I been attending the movie, I would have left my weapon at home because the theater had a posted policy of no firearms. As a law abiding citizen, I follow the law. So no help there. Good luck if you are willing to bet your life on the availability of a law enforcement official to be present at every dispute that threatens your life. Having a concealed weapon comes with great responsibility but it can also provide peace of mind when confronted with a dangerous situation that requires immediate action. A two minute response time by the Aurora police is phenomenal but not the norm in most stressful situations. I agree with the concept of robust enforcement, but we have sufficient laws that currently can't seem to get enforced, so how is adding additional weapon restrictions going to help that? I don't live in a Pollyanna world.
Nothing but empty gun-toting advocacy anecdotes. How about abandoning the war on drugs, and legalizing all illegal drugs, and selling them under prescription in Walgreen's. Drug problem gone with easy care-free anecdotes.
Easy way to resolve this. Ban guns. If you have a gun afterwards, you go to jail. Period. Zero tolerance.
Nothing but anecdotes from a biased advocacy group. Do they do any research on accidental shootings by a gun being avaiable, by a child who finds it, or someone who panic in a situation and shoots first, or the George Zimmerman shooting case in Florida. Having a gun available makes it more likely to be used, and a gun if fundamentally a deadly weapon. See your World Firearm related death rate stats again, where US is in Banana Republic territory https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate
Since you did not complete any transaction you can only assume your claim to be accurate. Had you made an illegal purchase, and actually obtained an illegal weapon I would give your claims credence. As it is now only an assumption.
My reading of the 2nd Amendment is that the founding fathers rejected the idea of a standing army and instead wanted to rely on citizen soldiers to muster whenever a threat warranted it. They also put in the Constitution that no appropriation for the Army could be for more than 2 years. I suspect they would be shocked at the current situation.
... so why is no-one really afraid of the Government, and feels the need for weapons to protect them from 'the bad guys'. It's a very different time since the days the Constitution and amendments were drafted.,,,,,,,,, I particularly like the 19th Amendment where Women's suffrage in the United States was achieved gradually, at state and local levels, during the late 19th century and early 20th century, culminating in 1920 with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provided: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." Nuff said.
Are you kidding me? I've been in the East end late at night, and since it's not allowed there I shouldn't have heard any shots. It certainly wasn't anyone passing gas. Also, why is it that the Bobbies have begun carrying weapons? Then there are the muggings in the alleys around the clubs on the West side.. You may live in the UK, but it sure seems as though you have no idea of what's going on...
Sad reflection on the wider society you live in. But really, is it really significantly different in UK, Australia, Germany, France, India, Spain, Finland etc where widespread general availability of Guns to the general population is not allowed.
Don;t do revisionist history on Germany, and boil it down to a single issue to support your argument. Pre-WW2 Germany has numerous issues impacting on it, not least war reparations punative damages/actions from WW1. They seemed almost not to learn this second time around with the initial attempt at post-WW2 De-Industrialization of the area, thankfully stopped as plain dumb in 1946.
LEO - Look at the issue, it is to do with ineffectuallaw enforcement, not guns. The guns are a symptom of a cancer in the society that no-one has any balls to do anything about. Sort out the lack of law enforcement, and guns will be irrelevant. Many, many other enlightened countries around the world can do it.......
For responsible people, a weapon is a defensive tool; not something to be used as an offensive implement. Evil people are by definition offensive. But not every offensive person warrants a defensive response using a weapon. You make it sound like I have a boat load of weapons. I have a single handgun which I use to practice my defensive skills on a regular basis. And I hope and pray that I will never need to use it. Such is the case with the vast majority of those in the US who possess permits to carry their weapon concealed. Be prepared or become a statistic, that is my choice.
There are numerous stories of scientists in the UK involved in scientific animal research who have been threatened, sometimes unfortunately attacked or having letter bomb's sent to them by Anti Vivisectionists. They seem to manage without guns, *on both sides*, and the perpetrators get caught, put through the justice system and go to jail through due process - not a lynch mob mentality. How is this different from you, except they deal with it without resorting to fear and being tooled up with weapons.
You and your family are beaten, raped, and killed while all your possessions are taken from you by those who will refuse to obey the law no matter what. Think the cops will be there quick enough to stop it all? Think again. They are Law Enforcement, not your personal bodyguard detail.
I see you listed the Zimmerman case. Are you implying that the man trying to savagely beat another man to death should have lived? One of them was going to die. It wasn't the man with the gun protecting his neighborhood.
Wikipedia is more or less in the right place. Don't just say it's wrong, and can be ignored. If you have issues with it's accuracy, do the research, and update it so it is correct.
Wikipedia is NOT a trusted research resource. It's subject to bias, incorrect information, multiple editors, and a staff who appear to determine on a whim, what constitutes violations of their allowable entries rules. Just because you got a gun, doesn't necessarily mean you will be more likely to use it. Don't rely on deceivingly combined category stats. They don't tell the whole story. As a side note, the Brady Campaign is also biased to the point they rely on emotion more than absolute fact. If I accept your gun advocates are biased view, that means the truth has to be somewhere in the middle.