American government investigators believe that eBay and Craigslist are becoming international arms bazaars, facilitating the sale of "sensitive and stolen US military items" to the agents of sinister foreign powers - or even (gasp) terrorists. However, they have produced very little evidence to back this up. In a newly-released …
Dunno about the rest but you do not need eBay for the goggles
A brief excursion to the historic Bulgarian city of Panagurishte does the job much better. When entering the city you are met by an advertisement mural which takes the whole wall of an 8 story apartment block of a chap in uniform and the latest issue NATO night vision goggles.
From there on quoting one of Emil Costurica movies: "As our Bulgarian friends say, what cannot be bought with money can be bought with more money".
The last couple of decades of Canberra operation were of the high-altitude photo-recce version, which was something that even an old plane can do pretty well. Look at the U-2 as another example. The Canberra as a bomber was long past its sell-by date, even if we did sell it the the Americans.
Anyway, they lasted a long time in a low-stress environment, which isn't so daft a thing to do. Trouble is, we don't have our own photo satellites and, while we have aircraft which can do the combat recce, it's one option lost.
(OK, I don't track these things any more. Is some RAF technician cutting holes for camera ports in some business jet?)
"Nuclear biological chemical [protective] gear... that could be reverse engineered to develop countermeasures or produce equivalent technology"
this phrase has angered me greatly...
ok i understand that they dont want to have the enemy be able to break through haz mat suits...they need their soldiers for their evil war but they dont want anyone else having nuclear and biological protection? wow says a lot about the govornment doesnt it?
flames in full knowledge that if hell existed most of america is going there
That was the best thing to sort my head out on a sunday morning, reverse engineering body armour? (Or shoot the shit out of it, see what punctures it), Combat Uniform? Genius- I'll go down to millets for mine.. Lets not get started on those night vision goggles- who cares about trying to get faulty equipment back? Friendly fire my arse....
Carefull there Lewis,
By exposing this kind of rubbish the authors may loose their jobs. They may well think their writing skills (at least fictional anyway) may justify them getting a similar job to you, thus giving you competition for the title of most amusing commentator on military matters.
buying body armour?
surely they should sell them back to the american govornemnt, they have way more money and we all know their troops need them desperatley excuse my french but...bunch of tossers dead bird because it was shot without body armour!!
I agree 100% Lewis
This is absolute tripe and hype.
I'm sure if I really wanted to (but I don't!) arm myself to the teeth with stuff bought off Ebay and the like and camp out in the forest with MREs for months but why?
And thats where the money should be spent? Why do people want to attack Americans, British and Europeans? I mean we all know really but what motivates these people (especially home grown ones)?
They might as well just have added the subtitle "I don't trust/understand IT and the Internet so it must DANGEROUS!"
Fire? We are all going to hell in a handcart!
You do of course realise that this entire operation was designed to panic the legislature into agreeing to yet more draconian restrictions on civil liberties.
Of course you do.
However, do you also realise that by publicising this you are now an 'enemy of the state' (tm) and are therefore likely to have a short but interesting life.
Hmmm. Maybe I should have posted this AC :(
Sounds like Budget season again, and the only way to get funding is to suck on the teat of the "War on Terror (TM) "
Don't these eeejets realise that by putting out rubbish like this they've lost the credibility war on the "War on Terror (TM)"
There is enough stuff for domestic use that can be purchased in the shops without comment that could fuel a jihad if the "Terrorists (TM) " had half a brain cell.
Cry wolf too often, and you'll be ignored even if you have found something worthwhile to report.
Paris, cos even she's not dumb enough to believe all that BS
Too much coffee?
I think you're scaremongering the GAO scaremongering.
The report was done as a HoR request. It doesn't seem as if the GAO chose to waste it's time this way. (And they still got in a dig about 3+ billion of government waste they think is going on with regard to selling re-usable gear.)
Yes, the report _does_ give something like a "worst case" scenario for the use of each part. (IR tabs causing confusion on the battlefield, for example.)
However, I think the report's language - speaking of "risks", and "sensitive" defined as on a DoD list - puts it well below scaremongering. Or, at least, if _that_ is scaremongering we need a better term for the "Mushroom cloud over Washington" shit that's too commonly peddled to the public.
That the GAO expects the subcommittee to appreciate that this is essentially a non-issue without an explicit statement to that effect is, I'll grant, a lapse on it's part. I still wouldn't call it scaremongering. I suggest that the GAO is weary of trying to give the HoR a sense of perspective - especially at the risk of pissing off it's boss.
Finally, and most importantly, why did I have to read the report to discover the Alabama woman who claims to have sold $54,000 in MREs from dumpster diving?
Shouldn't that have been the lede? ;)
Still a "thumbs up" icon. Who watches the watchers? The Reg, apparently.
"... We also investigated sales of military meals, ready-to-eat (MRE) and found a robust market for stolen military MREs ... "
It is equally possible that these items came straight from the manufacturer. Even those manufacturers providing food for the Forces have to work to minimum Quality standards, even if one normally thinks those standards have been set far too low! Output may already have been packaged ready to ship before the Quality Department manage to catch it and quarantine it. At that point it is common practice throughout the food manufacturing industry to sell the products to downgrade outlets, market stalls and the like. So they didn't strip it out of its packaging like they should have done? What's unusual about that? Especially if it gets a higher price for the "cachet" of being forces items!
Paris knows a fraud when she sees one!
The sanctity of MREs?
As a former member of the US armed forces, I would personally like to thank every person who was involved in the illegal sale of MRE's! If anything could demoralize and incapacitate an enemy force, it would be a "Meal, Ready to Eat".
Nothing to see here...move along
Oh no...I'm in possession of 5 NATO 24 hour ration packs...better start heading for the hills before the...
thwock twock Thwock THwock THWOCK THWOCK
Keeping us scared...
Great article, yet another government department goes ballistic over the irrelevant instead of the important. But then how else are they going to keep us under the thumb???
By the way, the RAF should never have been forced to use the Canberra as long as it did. Indeed a replacement for the Canberra was designed in the late 50's and early 60's, TSR2. If you look at the spec it was years ahead of its time, for example, it was to have a terrain following autopilot.
It was canned (after most of the development problems had been sorted) because of cost overruns and replaced with orders for an aircraft that still had this hurdle to overcome, the F111. Although the TSR2 had performance equal to if not slightly better than the F111 and British designed and built. Only to then see the development costs explode a second time and the time to delivery disappear into the distance. That order was then canceled and replaced with an order for F4 Phantoms that were retired at the end of the Cold War.
Another classic example of government planning and foresight?
eBay Data and Search Warrants
I wonder if eBay gave up data on these sellers? The report seems to make a big deal out of the sales history of the "arms dealers". In fact it goes way back (3+ years ) in the sellers history - while it's possible to gather up this info manually, that just isn't this government's style. They'd issue a "security letter" and make eBay sort and parse the data for them.
Wonder who I can ask at eBay or the GAO if any warrants, subpoenas, or letters were issued to eBay requesting customer data relating to this investigation?
Black Helicopter - cause everyone knows eBay is the best place to get parts and keep your military aircraft fleet in combat shape.
eBay Data and Search Warrants
Well, I guess I found my answer, and it's quite scary eBay will give up your seller information without a subpoena.
From page 30 of the report: "However, unlike eBay, Craigslist will not provide seller information to a law enforcement agency without a subpoena."
That's great to know...the scary part is that it appears eBay also coughed up account information on anyone who bought from these buyers all the way back to 2006!!
Devil you know and all that...
What would scare me much more than seeing a few random bits and bobs of war-surplus kit showing up on eBay: seeing new, improved COPIES of these aircraft parts being offered for sale by Iran or North Korea, etc.
These are NOT stupid countries, as is evidenced by their ability to develop nuclear weapons programs, medium range ballistic missiles and other knowledge-intensive weapons systems. Should they set their minds to it, they could easily reverse-engineer their aging aircraft fleets and start manufacturing parts locally.
Actually, THAT may be the reason so few parts are found on eBay or craigslist: there's no market for them, as the effected countries are already manufacturing the parts themselves. (Hey, didn't this happen with South Africa back in the 1980's: we cut them off and they developed their own weapons programs? Now we buy weapons from THEM, because they're cheaper and better...)
What would really worry me is to suddenly see Predator-like weapons that use cell phones for communications suddenly start to attack places all over the world. THAT would certainly teach the cellcos a lesson or two, eh?
(Paris, because she KNOWS ALL about cell phones...)
New listing on ebay:
Brand spanking new technology from DARPA!! A method of making fire without the need for oil!!! send money now and get your high tech WOODEN STICKS, that when rubbed to gether can be used as an ignition source!!!
Needle and thread for manufacturing fake uniforms
decoder ring - export restricted encryption technology!!
baseball cap - camaflague while infultrating radio sha--- terrorist equipment dumps!!
plans of how to supply electricity WITHOUT (much) OIL (using only the power of sun/wind/water+gravity/spoons*/rainbows*)
you get the idea... its a wonder they dont go after the "Bargain pages" or simmilar publications.
Mines the one with "maplin catalogue" in the pocket.
The US government is just like the Nazi regime with all these fear tactics and crap. The whole lot of 'em need to be replaced and then shot.
MREs and terrorists
Gee and I had MREs with my sons at Philmont last year. For those of you who don't know, Philmont is the 'mecca' of Boy Scouts of America. Somehow, I do not think that the Boy Scouts are buying stolen food. But then again... the Boy Scouts are one of those shadowy terrorist groups.
BTW the MREs were good.
My coat is the heavy parka with the internal frame backpack next to it. The backpack is mine too.
Meanwhile back in looneyville
They want to use satellite imagery internally here in the USA for security. You know there is a recruiting commercial for the US Air Force thats threatening us with Chinese satellite busters I know it's an election year but I haven't seen this sort of thing since the daisy/nuke commercial and it's not a political commercial or at least it's not supposed to be. It's not a police state until they absolutely deny us trial but it's looking more and more like a security state with fake alarms of terrorism and unstable trading partners. I am afraid if I don't move soon I won't be allowed to. I will have to move further away than Canada the first place they will roll is Canada. Maybe I should buy some of those MREs.
First Priciple of Military Intellegence
Don't let the other side know what you know. If US Govt and related intelligence/military Depts had half a clue they would have said nothing and let the trading continue where they can see the action (or lack of it). Having now alerted any baddies to their oversight of ebay and Craigslist they will just go elsewhere (if they really went there in the first place).
But maybe they have no clues, or there is some other, more sinister plot, that I don't grep.
Availabile for Years
Like you mentioned, this stuff has been readily available in military surplus stores for years. It just goes to show you what really happens to the gear that people 'accidentally' acquire from supply and never find a use for years down the road when it comes time to clean out the garage.
It makes me wonder what I'm going to do with all of my gear when it comes time to get out.
Mine's the one with Second Chance plates fitted in the front and back. Never can be too sure about life on the outside.
* Real Dumb/SMART Rhetorical Question
"In an equally valid bit of cutting edge "undercover" arms-bazaar investigation, the Reg defence desk has in the past five minutes located sensitive military parts for sale on eBay UK which could easily fall into the hands of a sinister foreign power and be used to boost military capability."
Is there not cutting edge, Lead Future Technology/Perceptions Management Methodology/Virtualisation Algorithm for sale on El Reg, which could easily fall into the hands of a sinister foreign power and be used to boost military/paramilitary capability, or would that be too alien a thought?*
Of course, QuITe whether it would or should whenever a simple matter of choice decides whenever it can, would depend upon any number of Inter-related, although not necessarily inter-dependent factors, and all to do with having the necessary Savvy CyberIntelAIgents to work with IT....... although that would also, Naturally, be Part and Parcel of the Supply Chain/License Arrangement/Out of this World dDeal ...... even though IT be Virtual and QuITe UNilateral and Perceptively Unnatural/ESPecial.
All in all, QuITe AI Coup for the Register and its Savvy Readership......... but no less than they deserve.
Be assured that you will be among the first to know, as IT Shares its Booty.
PS ....... Knock, knock, Darling ....Get your IDiotic Act, together, and Flash some Cash or lose the NEUKlearer Game 42 Prove the Fact, beyond any Shadow of AIdDoubt, that Fools and their Money are easily Parted.
And I say that Most Sincerely, Folks.
cc Thames House/PO Box 1300 [whom one might reasonably expect to have a handle on IntelAIgent discourse, although one can at times wonder and ponder otherwise all too easily, given their virtual performance ratings thus far. Dozing, are they, or completely lost at MCsquared for CyberIntelAIgent Energy Supply]
Tip #XXXX ..... RTFM?
And the Flame to light their Fire, as their Spark and Master Pilot Lights appears to be out.
Cheaper to buy back and re-issue ...
... various dot-mil kit than buying new from Halliburton et al? At least that would be some -- however thin -- justification for the GAO trawling for "surplus" on the interwebs. Is this chopper a Chinook?
whatever poor bastard was trying to justify their continued employment FAILED MISERABLY!
Whay a complete weaste of time, effort and cash.
If US.Gov. are SO WORRIED, it's simple;
STOP SELLING OFF YOUR CRAP.
BUY BACK/UP ANYTHING YOU DON'T WANT THE "TERRORISTS" TO GET THEIR HANDS ON.
There, not too difficult to figure out, and you can have that for free. Next time I'm sending an invoice for consultancy fees.
What about guns?
They say that body armour could help a felon commit a crime, but surely isn't being able to get hold of an actual GUN far more useful?
How do you go about robbing someone with a bullet-proof vest? The best I can think of is take it of and hit them with it.
The only way troops get the kit
It's a good job that body armour and night vision goggles are available on eBay, that seems to be the only way that the troops get a chance to get hold of some. The muppets in defence procurement have caused this so the GAO is just reporting on the government's own ineptitude (what's new).
Paris because she would do a better job!
I smell Pork
Mil spec. Pot Noodles eh?
Come on Reg! We want, nay demand, a pork barrel icon.
Lead for sale (church grade) : one previous owner. Plenty of particle stopping power.
Better than ebay...
just buy your vehicles from here ... http://www.witham-sv.com/index1.html. Quite often they have "family" saloons that are fully bullet proofed. Much more comfy than body armour.
Mines the one with the keys to the Saxon in the pocket.
RE: The only way troops get the kit
Actually, the sale of nightvision gear in the UK is carefully controlled. Quite ridiculous, seeing as most of Europe is quite lenient with nightvision, and in the US you can even get almost bang-up-to-date mil spec kit online. Friends in the Paras in Iraq used to email orders from a US catalogue to get kit the MoD should have provided, they had no probs getting the kit delivered to bases in Kuwait for their collection!
I better get on facebook and remove all those pics of me running round with NVG's, IR flash lights, IR Tags, Level IIIa Body armour (complete with "POLICE" tags, and Air rifles....I'm clearly an uber terrorist with contacts in the shady arms dealing underword....
Oh wait..no I just went and bought stuff from online retailers and had them shipped to the UK by Parclefarce....ZOMG!! CONSIPIRACAH!!!
Terrorists already have countermeasures to gas masks, body armor and night vision goggles, and hell blackhawks too. they call it the rpg-7 and it works quite well at defeating all of the above. oh and it costs less than any of the above also.
Only amateurs use Ebay
As has been pointed out above there are plenty of other sources for all this sort of stuff.
What you see on Ebay is often the resale market, with people marking up the prices of cheap surplus more easily obtained elsewhere. (I've yet to see anyone on there offer a complete Tornado F3 for £1 for example, which I can remember being the nominal price for a slightly broken one a colleague acquired a while back)
Some things are actually more difficult to get hold of than it may at first appear - just because an armoured Mondeo is listed on a website with an attractive price doesn't mean you can just buy it, as restrictions exist on sales & destination e.g. only sold for export.
Body armour, NVGs, uniforms etc. are generally pretty easy to get. Other things maybe not, but they will be available as the sheer volume of equipment and large number of people with access means some is going to walk.
In other cases stuff is sold off as surplus without a proper understanding of what it is - I've seen things on the government surplus sales that I'm pretty sure shouldn't have been there, being rather sensitive hardware & still current/in service. (I suspect warehouse clearances have a lot to answer for!)
There is some good stuff out there, and as long as there is a desire to extract reasonable value from redundant gear it will continue to be sold.
The TSR-2 was an interceptor primarily, though of course it could do ground-attack. Not exactly a replacement for the Canberra, not a purpose-built bomber.
I suspect the last (only?) time Canberras were used in actual live combat was when Harriers were shooting them down in the Falklands for the glory of the Maggie.
Sad face 'cos Canberras were/are lovely.
I would like to comment....
... but I am afrade they might trace me back to my lair... Doh!
Alternative Investment Markets ..... SMARTer Turing Projects
"BUY BACK/UP ANYTHING YOU DON'T WANT THE "TERRORISTS" TO GET THEIR HANDS ON." .... By dervheid Posted Monday 14th April 2008 08:07 GMT
Of course, the assumption there is that they [Big Brothers] have what everyone would be looking for, rather than them looking for the Technology that everyone and "terrorists" would be looking for?
That assumption, or is it presumption, may be just Wishful Thinking and a Quantum Leap too far, which is yet to be made. Then, it would be a case of them Buying In/Licensing the New Quantum Leap Technology from ITs Suppliers as NeuReal Customers rather than Old Hands at ITs Great Games.
And there is remarkably effective Stealth in being Preposterously Outrageous, don't you think ...... and especially so whenever you don't Think deep enough about what is written before you. Then you can get some nice, spooky articles, and Fab Offers reading between the Lines of Text/Code. Nice one, Lewis.
Very PGP2 too .... which would/could/is Pretty Good Privacy PerlyGatesPython for RockIT Chips and Masterships on one side of the Coin and Master Chips and RockIT Ships on the other? And that is only the one Coin in such Currency. With a full set you are able to Mint and Print Money at Will, but this time, for a Change of Fortune, with Inherent Value well able to Back IT Up.
Why are they worried about citizens buying this?
Maybe they shouldn't have sold the very same equipment to the people we're now fighting 15 years ago.
Then again, maybe we shouldn't have gotten into this war in the first place.
N.B. Remember that dude who made the 95% coverage ballistic suit? $2000 bulk produced? T.W.A.T. will end when we start putting folk on the battlefield who look THAT COOL. Terrorists will give up, thinking we have GM super-soldiers.
Sorry Hugo, but the TSR2 was a strike aircraft (i.e. bomber) with some recon capability. Somewhat like the US A5/RA5C Vigilante but much bigger. Check out the TSR2 wikipedia page, also the surviving example at RAF Cosford - no way is that an interceptor, the lack of anything with which to shoot down other planes is a bit of a giveaway.
Canberras were very widely exported and so did find themselves in harms way, particularly in India/Pakistan and also in Vietnam (licence-built B-57). There are also rumours of Brit Canberras dashing across the Soviet Union to take spy pics.
I saw the TSR2 at Cosford. What a beautiful plane.
As for the rest of the story, it's the usual Government "Here, swap your civil liberties for the illusion of safety bollocks".
Brinkmanship or busy work
Junk work like this often becomes the basis of junk laws restricting public access or otherwise giving Uncle Spam a way of giving himself tighter control on peoples lives.
Gun control laws in the US no matter how you feel about them are often built up from paranoia like this.
Then again it could be a group in the GAO justifying its existence and funding with a little scaremongering or all of the above.
Barmy or Balmy?
Ok as a Yank trying desperately to understand your language over the pond, I have to ask.
Did you mean Barmy (as you typed) or Balmy. Thanks to Danger Mouse here in the states (now on DVD!) I am familiar with the meaning of the word Balmy which would work in context where you used Barmy. However, Barmy is new to me. Is this another word I need to learn? Or a typo? And is it synonymous with Balmy?
Thanks from a Queen's English deficient Yank.
Paris 'cause she is balmy and possibly barmy.
Barmy meaning crazy, quite different to balmy.
If I can steal MRE's by the case
then I can steal more dangerous stuff. Common sense guys, take off the blinders. Anyone who has ever hung around the lower echelons of *any* large military (FT. Lewis, WA-where the DC Sniper and Getmo Spy Chaplains come from) knows that trafficking in military goods doesn't just start or stop with one type of item. Any moron who gets MRE's by the case and still sells them on public channels is probably stupid enough to try to sell off some leftover demolitions kit or ammo for some pot the next time he's got a few barracks bunnies over. Find some backwater sergeant and I'm sure a few items get "lost" or "accidentally" misplaced. Ever seen a S.A.W. on a private rifle rack (reported to the MP's, guy did a little stockade time and went back to PFC), or a box of remote radio detonators for claymores sitting in the back of a storage unit that went unpaid? (Fun for the 4th of July!)
Is that LP's new job? to Pooh-pooh every common sense security measure America and the Western World takes? Sniff out a crate of freezedried rations and I bet you'll find some dangerous toys in the chain. High capacity magazines for M-4/M-16 are *very* popular here in CA and show up at gun shows every now and then.
methinks LP has been replaced with either a modified "amanfromars" turing system that goes off on every single American/Western security decision, or a crateful of simians with typewriters who start screeching every time the term "America" or "military" are used in the same sentence.
Mine's the camp ghille suit with the pockets full of 5.56 and an encrypted radio set in the pockets. For sale of course.
Presidential Material Girls? Fruit and Nutcases are Barmy too.
" However, Barmy is new to me. Is this another word I need to learn? Or a typo? And is it synonymous with Balmy?
Thanks from a Queen's English deficient Yank." .... By Mad Hacker Posted Monday 14th April 2008 16:01 GMT
In an Intelligence context, barmy would be Simply QuITe Brilliant and only the tip of a titanic niceberg of a Program/Project in which one would/could be in real danger of losing one's marbles with a rapid Descent into Unintelligible and Destructive Madness rather than its Counterpart, an Ascent into Virgin Territory XXXXPlored in Constructive Thought and Chronicled....... and therefore definitely not for the faint-hearted or weak-willed.
And as for Paris, well ..... a Gentleman wouldn't wish to comment but would be very willing, ready and able to XXXPlore.
I fear her CPU wouldn't bear close scrutiny though to render anything other than a vacuous self-interest akin to a failed PleasureRobot. Not a bit like Hillary who stands by her man in failed PleasureRobot mode, which paradoxically would sort of make them Sisters in the same Ilk.
Never mind army surplus flaming muppets, here's the future of terrorism - a dastardly denial of service attack on a pork pie factory causing massive economic losses to the critical national infrastructure - read all about it: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/nottinghamshire/7347502.stm
In the US
you can arm yourself to the teeth at the local supermarket - no need to wait for stuff to be delivered from eBay or Craigslist.
How about a nice assault rifle.. princely sum of 200 quid. Hmm.. a nice shotgun and hand gun to go with that? Well by the time you've spent about 800 quid you'll be tooled up and ready to go, with several thousand rounds of ammo too.
Then it's a quick trip to the local sportsman's warehouse (wholesale megastores for guns, cammo gear and whatever else you can think of that would be useful for killing) and you'll be ready to wage war on whomever.
The crackerjack thing about all this? Due to the Republican / right wing / neo-con's extreme views on the only part of the US Constitution that matters (the bit about guns), although they often do a quick FBI background check (most terrorists aren't on the list, especially if they've just arrived), what they won't do is record the names and addresses of anyone that buys the guns. That would be an invasion of privacy and dangerously close to violating the right for everyone to have their own arsenal.
Assault rifles and shotguns don't have 24 hr cooldown periods btw... only hand guns. So you can walk out the store with your heavy equipment, but have to come back tomorrow for the pea shooter.
Fully automatic weapons were illegal for a while.. but that was deemed too dangerous to the rights of huntsmen and other legitimate users of weapons. After all, having a weapon that can't shoot accurately over 50 ft, but can spray bullets all over the place by the hundred in a few seconds is really useful for hunting.. or target shooting.. or reasonable self defense. Innocents whining about getting shot when a legitimate villain is running through them just don't understand that my right to shoot stuff trumps their right to go shopping.
Andy you've got some facts wrong
You are a little extreme there but I have to point out at least one thing.
Most states illegalized fully automatic weapons. For states like Arizona that do not, there is still a Federal license required to own/purchase one and that requires a 14 day FBI background check.
I have this attitude. If you want to take away the guns, amend the constitution. As it stands it doesn't seem like you should be able to restrict gun ownership. It's my understanding that was written to stop any government from becoming too much more powerful then US citizens. With that in mind, citizens should be able to own missiles and nuclear weapons as well. Is that what I believe? No, but I also didn't write that clause in the constitution and I'm only interpreting it.
As for your point that the current government has ignored nearly every other part of the constitution in the last 8 years, well, that's a valid observation and I cannot defend that behavior.
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