The Black Market Concierge + Giveaway
Book Title: The Black Market Concierge: Sanction Busting, Smuggling & Spying for America
Author: Barry Oberholzer
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 177 pages
Release date: November 2016
Tour dates: Sept 25 to Oct 13, 2017
Content Rating: PG (Violence)
Barry Oberholzer’s secret life as a confidential informant, infiltrating international organized crime syndicates and sanction-busting activity hit headlines in 2012. Oberholzer reported an array of vital intelligence to the CIA and multiple intelligence agencies across the world. For years, he has worked across the Middle East and behind the scenes as a confidential informant making connections, extracting valuable intelligence, and facing off against America's greatest enemy at every turn.
In The Black Market Concierge, he opens a window into his double life as an informant; informing on the role of key players including major corporations, crime syndicates, politicians and government officials in high-value international smuggling operations.
After exposing corruption at the highest levels of government in South Africa, he is ready to give a no holds barred account of what it is like to live the life of a high-level, confidential informant.
His memoir is a searingly honest account of a boy aviation enthusiast who cascaded into the world of international espionage and how it ultimately sent him in search of salvation in his devout Christian faith. It is a testimony that will move even the most cold hearted.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Mr. Oberholzer does a great job of providing me the reader a brief inside depth into the world of confidential informants. I say "brief" only because as you can imagine Mr. Oberholzer can't share inside details about his cases. Yet, I still got a good visual picture of what it must have been like for Mr. Oberholzer to be an informant. As Mr. Oberholzer states in the beginning of the book, some informants do it for the money but I do truly believe that in the author's case it was for duty and honor. To risk your life in a high stakes poker game where the outcome could be death or life in prison, you have to be willing to risk a lot.
What I enjoyed the most about this book is the fine balance regarding details. Some memoirs get boggled down with too many details and others lack detail. Yet, Mr. Oberholzer strikes that nice balance all the while keeping me engaged in the story. Another aspect of this book that I wanted to comment on were the footnotes. I like that the author put them at the bottom of the pages where the references were noted instead of at the back of the book. I hate having to flip back and forth to read the footnotes as it disrupts the flow of my reading experience with the stop and go. Additionally, I found the footnotes to hold interesting facts.
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Meet the Author:
Born in Houston, Texas, a former professional rugby player and current CrossFit and Ironman athlete, Barry is the founder of TerrorMate app and is a counter-terrorism and intelligence expert. Formerly Barry served as a confidential informant for Department of Homeland Security, Joint Terrorism Task Force, Belgium Customs Intelligence and HM Revenue & Customs Intelligence in the United Kingdom.
One of his most impactful successes was in his identification of Iranian sanction busting syndicates who smuggled US manufactured aircraft and parts to Iran which led to the arrests of several prominent international businessmen. He also had numerous successes in major illicit cigarette seizures in Europe.
Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter
The Tech Side of Terror by Barry Oberholzer
Stopping the spate of terror attacks are becoming much harder these days. Technology proves to be the problem and the solution.
Aside from the terror camps training jihadi's in combat, weapons handling and instructions on how to press the button to blow yourself up, there is a group of highly trained jihadi cyber geeks that are training their recruits on how to keep their communications "off the grid" enabling them to "go dark".
It is becoming increasingly difficult for intelligence agencies to intercept and track the communications between terrorists cells plotting attacks when they are using encrypted apps, some freely available, like Telegram, Silent Circle, Wickr, Glips and many others.Sometimes they can even using gaming consoles like PS4 to converse with each other.
I have personally seen the use of encrypted devices in narcotics syndicates, smuggling heroin from Pakistan and cocaine from Colombia. This was before the mentioned sophisticated apps were available.They ordered specially encrypted BlackBerry devices from a source in Canada who would sell these units for $2500 per unit and at that stage, his business was thriving.
Seeing that these apps are now freely available and at no cost, it increases the use of encrypted communications tenfold. We are now living in an era where both the "good guys" and the "bad guys" have unbreachable communications. Not so long ago, this was for the privileged few, like intelligence and military installations.
This highlights once again the critical use of HUMINT (human intelligence) resources like informants and undercover operatives deployed within these terror groups, to gain access to intelligence at ground level.
If we take every care off the street, every phone out of people's pockets and every plane out of the sky, it won't stop terrorism. Terrorism isn't about a means but about an ends. It's not about the technology but about the anger and twisted idealogy. They will use any tools available to them, whether it's an encryption app or an airplane.
What needs to be done is fighting the fight kneecap to kneecap, deploying more operatives within these communities to identify the plots and the lone wolves, relaying and sharing intelligence within the international community. The US intelligence agencies are doing a stellar job but they are under funded and under staffed.
Terrorism is not longer a threat just to the USA, France or the UK. It's a global fight where the same weapons and tools are being used by both friend and foe.
Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Oct 21