On July 20, 2017, the DOJ issued a statement on their website about the take down of two of the largest "Dark web" market places, AlphaBay and Hansa, which had been "used to sell deadly illegal drugs, stolen and fraudulent identification documents and access devices, counterfeit goods, malware and other computer hacking tools, firearms, and toxic chemicals throughout the world."
According to publicly available information on AlphaBay prior to its takedown, one AlphaBay staff member claimed that it serviced over 200,000 users and 40,000 vendors. Around the time of takedown, there were over 250,000 listings for illegal drugs and toxic chemicals on AlphaBay, and over 100,000 listings for stolen and fraudulent identification documents and access devices, counterfeit goods, malware and other computer hacking tools, firearms and fraudulent services. Comparatively, the Silk Road dark web marketplace, which was seized by law enforcement in November 2013, had reportedly approximately 14,000 listings for illicit goods and services at the time of seizure and was the largest dark web marketplace at the time.
“This is likely one of the most important criminal investigations of the year – taking down the largest dark net marketplace in history,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Make no mistake, the forces of law and justice face a new challenge from the criminals and transnational criminal organizations who think they can commit their crimes with impunity using the dark net. The dark net is not a place to hide. The Department will continue to find, arrest, prosecute, convict, and incarcerate criminals, drug traffickers and their enablers wherever they are. We will use every tool we have to stop criminals from exploiting vulnerable people and sending so many Americans to an early grave. I believe that because of this operation, the American people are safer – safer from the threat of identity fraud and malware, and safer from deadly drugs.”
The operation against AlphaBay was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Dutch National Police, with the support of Europol. The operation against Hansa was led by Dutch authorities.
What caught my interest regarding this latest massive operation against internet crime on the Dark Web was the claim found at a website called Conservative Base, which reported one of these Dark Net marketplaces were connected to the crowdsourcing campaign that ANP reported on in December 2016, for "Terminating both Donald Trump and Mike Pence," where Dark Web users were collecting funds to assassinated the then President Elect and the VP elect.
In attempting to verify the connection between the operation that took down these two Dark Web market places and the campaign against President Trump and VP Pence, I ran across what has to be the most under-reported (at least in the MSM) blockbusters from May 2017, where 900 suspected pedophiles were arrested after a two year investigation, with over 350 sexually abused children identified or rescued, and the child porn kingpin was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
MAJOR PEDOPHILIA NETWORK UPDATE IGNORED BY THE MEDIA
The Dark Web site was called "Playpen," and was taken down in 2015, but that take down spawned thousands of investigations, the results of which was announced on the FBI website on May 5, 2017.
Arresting Playpen’s administrators, however, was only the beginning. In January 2015, the FBI, in partnership with the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, launched Operation Pacifier—an effort to go after Playpen’s thousands of members. Using a court-approved network investigative technique, agents uncovered IP addresses and other information that helped locate and identify users. Investigators sent more than 1,000 leads to FBI field offices around the country and thousands more to overseas partners, Alfin said.
It is interesting how the FBI phrases that particular part of the narrative, as we note the methods they utilized as their investigative technique, was quite controversial at the time.
The FBI has been criticized for what it called a “court-approved network investigative technique” used to unearth information about the suspects. It emerged that the agency, with court approval, seized and ran the pedophile website for 13 days in February 2015.
The FBI’s command of the Playpen site enabled the agency to infect over 8,000 users’ computers with malware and hack them. Notably, the site was said to be more efficient and even experienced a boost in audience numbers with the FBI in charge of its content. (Source)
The criticism leveled at the FBI by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, was "The warrant here did not identify any particular person to search or seize. Nor did it identify any specific user of the targeted website," but as Peter Adolf, an assistant federal defender in the Western District of North Carolina, writes in a motion trying to get the charges thrown out, "The FBI distributed child pornography to viewers and downloaders worldwide for nearly two weeks, until at least March 4, 2015, even working to improve the performance of the website beyond its original capability."
According to that motion, "As a result, the number of visitors to Playpen while it was under Government control [increased] from an average of 11,000 weekly visitors to approximately 50,000 per week. During those two weeks, the website's membership grew by over 30%, the number of unique weekly visitors to the site more than quadrupled, and approximately 200 videos, 9,000 images, and 13,000 links to child pornography were posted on the site."
While I am not going to feel sorry for members that visit child porn sites and the fact that the FBI infected their computers in order to track them down, I have a real problem with the fact that rather than just doing that, the FBI under the directorship of James Comey, actually provided hundreds of new videos, thousands of new child porn images to those sickos, and 13,000 new links to child pornography.
To top it off federal prosecutors in Seattle are dropping the charges against one of the men charged with accessing Playpen, because they do not want to reveal the source code for the "network investigative technique" (NIT) that the FBI used to get around the Tor anonymizing software shielding Playpen's visitors, according to Reason.
Reason.com concludes their article with the following:
Lough, by the way, originally pleaded guilty to a single count of possessing child pornography, which under federal law is punishable by up to 10 years in prison but carries no mandatory minimum. The FBI agents who ran Playpen for two weeks, by contrast, committed multiple counts of distributing child pornography, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and carries a five-year mandatory minimum.
While allowing the case to proceed one federal judge in Tacoma did say that the federal government "acted outrageously," in running the Playpen child porn website and providing new material for two weeks to pedophiles.
NOW FOR THE STRANGE PART
The MSM, busy screaming about Russia and opining about every aspect of the Trump administration, seems to be missing in action in regards to this story. Nothing from CNN, New York Times, and limited local coverage regarding the FBI's May 2017 announcement that nearly 900 suspected pedophiles have been arrested, 350 of them in the U.S. or that nearly 350 children have been identified or rescued, 55 of them in the U.S., or that 25 U.S. producers of child pornography have been prosecuted or that 51 U.S. hands on abusers have been prosecuted.
Multiple searches, both web and specifying "news" and we find sites like Inquistr, RT, Daily Mail, Press TV, Breitbart, but nothing from the establishment media on one of the biggest storys regarding Pedogate seen to date, with only the Washington Post giving it one paragraph under another story, without even giving it its own headline. (Archive.is link to that Wapo story)
This is all they had to say about it:
Creator of child-porn site sentenced: A Florida man who federal prosecutors said was the creator and lead administrator of what’s thought to be the world’s largest child-pornography website has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, the FBI announced Friday. Steven W. Chase, 58, of Naples, Fla., was sentenced this week in a federal courtroom in North Carolina on multiple child-pornography and child-exploitation charges. Two codefendants who also were identified as administrators of the website — Michael Fluckiger, 46, of Indiana, and David Browning, 47, of Kentucky — each received 20-year prison terms earlier this year. The website Playpen Chase, created in August 2014, had more than 150,000 users around the world, the FBI said.
Nothing about the 900 arrests, the identified or rescued children, nothing about the U.S. based abusers prosecuted, or the U.S. producers of child pornography being prosecuted.
One of the major aspects of the arrests reported on above are their connection to the Dark Web and how it is used to connect a network of pedophiles with those publishing and producing the sickening videos, links and images of children being sexually abused, but the medias apparent refusal to report on pedophilia networks and arrests appears to stem from the fact that it doesn't fit their campaign of normalizing this crime and behavior.