Archive for May, 2011

Anti-Nightvision camouflage

“A demonstration video of the “Ghost” camouflage technology by german company Texplorer GmbH (Now Blücher Systems GmbH)

Developed in cooperation with the German army , this material reduces the thermal signature of soldiers and vehicles and is additionaly hard to spot on rest-light intensifiers aswell as rest-light multiplicators.

It is also available as sheets to cover thermal hotspots of vehicles like tanks.

In combination with conventional camouflage measures (camo nets) it is possible to successfully conceal vehicles such as tanks, trucks, planes and helicopters on ground or airborne FLIR imagery and other night vision optoelectronic devices.”

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The Bin Laden Operation: Tapping Human Intelligence

The Bin Laden Operation: Tapping Human Intelligence is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By Fred Burton

Since May 2, when U.S. special operations forces crossed the Afghan-Pakistani border and killed Osama bin Laden, international media have covered the raid from virtually every angle. The United States and Pakistan have also squared off over the U.S. violation of Pakistan’s sovereign territory and Pakistan’s possible complicity in hiding the al Qaeda leader. All this surface-level discussion, however, largely ignores almost 10 years of intelligence development in the hunt for bin Laden.

While the cross-border nighttime raid deep into Pakistan was a daring and daunting operation, the work to find the target — one person out of 180 million in a country full of insurgent groups and a population hostile to American activities on its soil — was a far greater challenge. For the other side, the challenge of hiding the world’s most wanted man from the world’s most funded intelligence apparatus created a clandestine shell game that probably involved current or former Pakistani intelligence officers as well as competing intelligence services. The details of this struggle will likely remain classified for decades.

Examining the hunt for bin Laden is also difficult, mainly because of the sensitivity of the mission and the possibility that some of the public information now available could be disinformation intended to disguise intelligence sources and methods. Successful operations can often compromise human sources and new intelligence technologies that have taken years to develop. Because of this, it is not uncommon for intelligence services to try to create a wilderness of mirrors to protect sources and methods. But using open-source reporting and human intelligence from STRATFOR’s own sources, we can assemble enough information to draw some conclusions about this complex intelligence effort and raise some key questions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Obama and the Arab Spring

Obama and the Arab Spring is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By George Friedman

U.S. President Barack Obama gave a speech last week on the Middle East. Presidents make many speeches. Some are meant to be taken casually, others are made to address an immediate crisis, and still others are intended to be a statement of broad American policy. As in any country, U.S. presidents follow rituals indicating which category their speeches fall into. Obama clearly intended his recent Middle East speech to fall into the last category, as reflecting a shift in strategy if not the declaration of a new doctrine.

While events in the region drove Obama’s speech, politics also played a strong part, as with any presidential speech. Devising and implementing policy are the president’s job. To do so, presidents must be able to lead — and leading requires having public support. After the 2010 election, I said that presidents who lose control of one house of Congress in midterm elections turn to foreign policy because it is a place in which they retain the power to act. The U.S. presidential campaign season has begun, and the United States is engaged in wars that are not going well. Within this framework, Obama thus sought to make both a strategic and a political speech. Read the rest of this entry »

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Crossbreed Holsters and Concealed Carry

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US Navy produces smart, cheap 6kg fire-and-forget missile

US military boffins have added cheap “fire and forget” autonomous seeker heads to basic, lightweight dumb rockets of a type which can be fired in large numbers. By seriously reducing the size and cost of smart weapons, this development is yet another big step towards changing the way wars are fought.

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EFF Demands Answers About Secret Surveillance Law Memo

From: EFF

EFF Demands Answers About Secret Surveillance Law Memo

EFF has filed a Freedom of Information Act suit against the Department of Justice (DOJ), demanding the release of a secret legal memo used to justify FBI access to Americans’ telephone records without any legal process or oversight. This suit stems from a report released last year by the DOJ’s own Inspector General that revealed how the FBI had come up with a new legal argument to justify secret, unchecked access to private telephone records. According to the report, the DOJ’s Office of the Legal Counsel had issued a legal opinion agreeing with the FBI’s theory. EFF’s lawsuit is seeking that legal opinion, which is a crucial piece of the puzzle in understanding the government’s efforts to expand and overreach their surveillance powers.

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Afghan Insurgents wearing police uniforms storm police compound

KABUL, Afghanistan — Insurgents wearing police uniforms and vests laced with explosives stormed a police compound in eastern Afghanistan early Sunday morning, engaging in a firefight that lasted several hours before Afghan and NATO forces regained control of the complex, government officials said.

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Stolen Valor is not just lying: it is stealing an identity of a combat hero

Carol Lawrence/The Colorado Springs Gazette, via Associated Press Richard G. Strandlof, right, in 2008 at a 9/11 memorial service in Colorado Springs, where he posed as a veteran.


“Stolen Valor is not just lying: it is stealing an identity of a combat hero or a wounded soldier,” said Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran who helped draft the law’s language and who has spent years tracking down those who falsely claim to be war heroes. “Why should the Army give out a Silver Star to someone who performs heroically if anybody who wants one can buy a medal, print a citation and claim it with impunity?”

Since Congress passed the Stolen Valor Act, the Justice Department has prosecuted more than 60 people for violating it — penalties can range from up to a year in prison to fines and community service. Mr. Sterner says thousands of cases are reported each year.

But the recent challenges have left the law’s future uncertain.”

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Tucson SWAT Team Defends Shooting Iraq Vet 60 Times


“A Tucson, Ariz., SWAT team defends shooting an Iraq War veteran 60 times during a drug raid, although it declines to say whether it found any drugs in the house and has had to retract its claim that the veteran shot first.

Vanessa Guerena thought the gunman might be part of a home invasion — especially because two members of her sister-in-law’s family, Cynthia and Manny Orozco, were killed last year in their Tucson home … She shouted for her husband in the next room, and he woke up and told his wife to hide in the closet with the child, Joel, 4.

Guerena grabbed his assault rifle and was pointing it at the SWAT team, which was trying to serve a narcotics search warrant as part of a multi-house drug crackdown, when the team broke down the door.

At first the Pima County Sheriff’s Office said that Guerena fired first, but on Wednesday officials backtracked and said he had not. “The safety was on and he could not fire,” according to the sheriff’s statement.

SWAT team members fired 71 times and hit Guerena 60 times, police said.

A report by ABC News affiliate KGUN found that more than an hour had passed before the SWAT team let the paramedics work on Guerena. By then he was dead.”

“I’m a former Marine absolutely outraged by this story. The question I have asked and continue to ask is this- why are American citizens being treated this way?

When I was deployed to Afghanistan, we hardly ever did no-knock raids into homes. We get intel on a subject and cordon off the building and knock on the door. Greet the homeowner, and search the home. No one gets shot, no one gets killed, if we find something, we detain the guy.

Here we have police that get questionable intel, kick in the door and just start shooting. It’s absolutely absurd.”

– strikefo

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Marines Employ Skills Learned on the Battlefield to Graduate in the Ivy League

By Ron Ralston

Jason Lemieux, a veteran who is set to graduate from Columbia University, said he would not have been at the school if not for joining the Marine Corps.

“Their path to graduation began on the battlefield. Veterans of the war on terror, the skills they learned as Marines made it possible to endure rigorous Ivy League academics. But it’s the corps buddy system – a brotherhood that looks out for each other – that got them here and helped them through to graduation.

“I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t have joined the Marine Corps,” Jason Lemieux, a veteran and soon-to-be graduate, said. “It just wouldn’t have happened.”

…Dean Awn is quick to point out the vets have to work just as hard as any other student. They get no special favors. “I say this rather bluntly… this is NOT Affirmative Action for veterans.”

Marine vet Stendal says men and women in uniform are up to the task. “I think it’s a matter of the people who wind up applying are people who are looking to push themselves a little bit harder because it’s what they did in the military.”

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“Enhanced interrogation techniques quickened our learning curve on al-Qaeda.”

“Enhanced interrogation techniques quickened our learning curve on al-Qaeda.” This idea is clarified by former Congressman Pete Hoekstra who analyzes whether or not the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques actually lead to the takedown of Osama bin Laden.

Christian Whiton explains the double-game throughout the Middle East as well as the presidents “Outreach 2.0.” Jim Hanson scrutinizes the idea of whether or not we have trained our enemies, including bin Laden’s replacement as well as what is happening with the narco-terrorist group, Los Zetas.

Audio here:

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IEDs and the War for ‘Afghan Trust’

by Diana West
“Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are the No.1 cause of fatalities and injuries to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The devices have killed 657 U.S. troops and wounded 6,330 since the war began in 2001 through March of this year. Warmer weather and the end of the poppy harvest have generally heralded the beginning of the toughest combat in Afghanistan.

Patrols, particularly foot patrols, are a basic COIN tactic, a specfically stated point of “guidance” (order?) in Gen. Petraeues August 1, 2010 Counterinsurgency Guidance, as noted here. As Petraeus wrote:

‘Walk. Stop by, don’t drive by. Patrol on foot whenever possible and engage the population. Take off your sunglasses. Situational awareness can be gained only by interacting face to face, not separated by ballistic glass or Oakleys.’

COIN doctrine assumes that putting US forces out on the road is a way to “earn their [Afghan] trust.” And “earning their trust” is the linchpin of COIN, and, thus, the linchpin of all US war and nation-building policy in Afghanistan.

It is a cracked linchpin, and it cries out Congressional attention. It is incumbent upon our US Representatives and Senators to investigate whether this tactic of IED-patrols — and other COIN tactics including restrictive ROEs, payola, and reverence for the Koran — are working. Even more important, it is incumbent upon Congress to investigate whether this strategy of “earning their trust” is working.”

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U.K. Soldiers Board U.S. Helos for Combined Operations in Afghanistan

U.K. forces board a U.S. CH-53E Super Stallion from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), here in the early morning hours July 30. HMH-466 inserted more than 100 troops into an area north of Marjah, where they will partner with Afghan National Security Forces and U.S. Marines to clear the area of Taliban threats and bring stability to the region. Photo by Cpl. Ryan Rholes

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China to expedite delivery of 50 fighter jets to Pakistan

(Reuters) – “China has agreed to expedite the delivery of 50 fighter jets to Pakistan, a newspaper reported on Friday, as Islamabad tries to deepen ties with Beijing as an alternative to increasingly fragile relations with the United States.

…As the pressure mounts in Washington, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Reza Gilani has courted “best friend” China, its biggest arms supplier, during a four-day visit that ends on Friday.”

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Bomb in Pakistan Hits U.S. Vehicle; 1 Pakistani Dies

PESHAWAR, Pakistan – ” A roadside bomb exploded near a pair of U.S. consulate vehicles carrying Americans in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Friday, killing a Pakistani passer-by and wounding several people including some of the passengers, officials said.”

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