Security

Eddie Harari Issues $10K Challenge to Online Poker ‘Money Laundering’ Crackpots

What happens when you steal and misrepresent a security expert’s piece in support of a trumped-up campaign purporting to claim that regulated online poker is a money launderer’s dream?  A challenge to $10,000 to prove your claims, and for the self-invented anti-gambling hater trying to make the falsehoods her own cause celebre, an open invitation to shut her “pie hole.”

Those words came from Eddie Harari, a security expert and occasional poker player who’s done a couple of pieces on the possible security vulnerabilities of online gambling sites, both of which appeared at CardPlayerLifestyle,com, a poker startup that’s a spare-time project of founder Robbie Strazynski which has no relationship (blessedly) to CardPlayer Magazine.

laptop-chipsIn case you’re wondering, the truth (as Harari himself affirms) is that security breaches are always technically possible, though highly unlikely, for numerous reasons.  And in the case of major online poker sites doing business in well-regulated regimes, the sites themselves have ample reasons to look out for and block money-laundering behavior by players.

But that doesn’t stop the fruitcakes from continuing to create bizarre scenarios in their attempts to hold back the inevitable growth of online gambling, particularly in the United States.  Because Harari crafted his original CPL piece in a neutral, abstract way, he accidentally left his piece open to reinterpretation by others.

That’s what happened when anti-gambling activist James Thackston and a bizarre right-wing political pundit named Cheri Jacobus seized upon Harari’s work and misapplied it as supposed proof that regulated online poker, such as that already approved in most European countries and in three US states so far.

But Thackston and Jacobus lied.  Well-regulated online poker is virtually impregnable (not to mention useless) to the type of money laundering Thackston and his supporters envision.

The poker world has been entertained by these kookballs before.  Thackston, a self-described computer engineer (there is some doubt about the legitimacy of his professional claims), has spent a decade making bizarre claims about money laundering via online poker.  For expertise, he once claimed to have looked over the shoulder of someone playing online poker on a computer and then realized that he knew that all online poker sites in the world — even these highly regulated ones serving new US players in states such as New Jersey and Nevada — were massively susceptible to organized money laundering of tens of millions of dollars, probably illicit drug money.

We’ve had lots and lots of fun exploring the lunacies of Thackston’s theories, in our of most-popular pieces of all time (“The Bad Poker of James Thackston“) published a few weeks ago.

Jacobus, meanwhile, is a paid political shill of the lowest form, who makes occasional appearances on FOXNews’ awful “Hannity” show, which is one of the foremost propaganda outlets for American “Tea Party” nonsense.  Jacobus herself is one of those vile creatures of the electronic age who will do anything to be on TV and pretend she and her thoughts are notable, when she’s actually just about mid-point between Kim Kardashian and Honey Boo-Boo.

We’d not even mention Jacobus if there was any way to do this story without it, but there isn’t, but it’s her misrepresentations and lies of the work of Harari and others — the latest being security company MacAfee — that have resulted in Harari’s $10,000 challenge.

Since Harari was properly outraged at Jacobus and Thackston stealing his work and claiming it says the opposite of what Harari really wrote, he wrote a third piece at CPL, challenging Thackston to prove his money-laundering theory was valid.

Harari has publicly put up $10,000 of his own funds — and he’s even given Thackston 2:1 odds.  Nor does the challenge involve any explicit money laundering of an illegal nature; it is instead an invitation to Thackston to employ the constructs of his scenario and find out for himself that they wouldn’t work in real life.   That’s how sure Harari, an Israeli security expert who has worked with MacAfee and other global security giants himself, is that Thackston’s claims are garbage, and that the money-laundering scenarios are a far-right scare tactic, nothing more.

Jacobus continued with the vile behavior in response, resorting to calling Harari a spammer and threatening to block him after Twitter, this doubly ironic that she’s the one who stole Harari’s work and misrepresented it as some proof of money-laundering vulnerabilities on regulated online poker sites.  And she did it how?  You guessed it — by spamming it on Twitter.

Actually, Cheri Jacobus is the type of person whose mere existence is an embarrassment to the vast majority of Americans.  When she’s not been busy with her weird anti-poker campaign, she’s been busy the last couple of days trying to pin a “Democrat” label on the awful and racist statements of NBA Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.  In the meantime, Jacobus has been utterly quiet on the racism of another embarrassing American, Cliven Bundy, whose statements allowing that the “negro” was better off as a slave, being taught how to pick cotton.

Bundy had been making nightly appearances on “Hannity,” coincidence of coincidences, where his freeloading on public lands and armed standoff over a refusal to pay a million-dollar grazing fine for his cattle had been hailed as “heroic” by the show’s host, Sean Hannity.

As epitomized by Jacobus and Hannity, welcome to the land of the True Believer, where any lie is okay to utter as long as it furthers one’s favorite cause.  And when those whose work is used to support the lies, as happened with Harari, there’s never any apology, nor retraction.

Neither Jacobus nor Thackston responded directly to Harari’s challenge, nor are they expected to.  And thus the world at large gets to see, in an ugly, roundabout way, that the claims of money laundering via online poker sites are simple scare-mongering, a mix of lies and hot air.

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