Intelligence Field notes
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One of the truly alarming global developments, particularly since the 9/11 attacks, is the growing nexus between organized, transnational criminal groups and terrorist networks.
In a thought-provoking Outlook piece in the Washington Post, Misha Glenny correctly notes the growing role of the poppy trade in Afghanistan in financing the Taliban, as well as attempts at eradication driving recruits to the armed insurgency.
The same holds true in Colombia and elsewhere, where the vast profits reaped by drug traffickers who control transnational shipping networks are enhanced by cutting security deals with terrorist organizations.
As Glenny correctly observes:
The collapse of communism and the rise of globalization in the late 1980s and early 1990s gave transnational criminality a tremendous boost. The expansion of world trade and financial markets has provided criminals ample opportunity to broaden their activities. But there has been no comparable increase in the ability of the Western world to police global crime.
International mobsters, unlike terrorists, don't seek to bring down the West; they just want to make a buck. But these two distinct species breed in the same swamps. In areas notorious for crime, such as the tri-border region connecting Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, or in the blood-diamond conflict zones such as Sierra Leone and Liberia, gangsters and terrorists habitually cooperate and work alongside one another. My full blog is here.
FBI and Department of Homeland Security sources tell me they're concerned about a strange incident in Washington state they fear may indicate terrorists are casing ferries for attacks. The FBI's Seattle division this week made the extremely rare move -- with full approval of the bureau's counterterrorism division in D.C. -- of releasing photos of two men who allegedly have been spotted on up to six different ferry runs in the state.
The pair, who have not yet been identified or apprehended for questioning, tried to access restricted areas on the ferries, which haul 26 million people a year, counterterror sources say. One Coast Guard official told the Seattle Times that the suspects were "taking photographs of doors not seabirds," a fact that prompted the FBI and DHS to issue a bulletin to law enforcement on Wednesday, I have learned.
The FBI in a statement said the pair's "behavior may have been innocuous." But my sources say that the suspicious actions of the men -- which prompted a ferry worker to snap pictures of them -- is disquieting because of the present heightened threat this summer and the unresolved question of who the men are and why they were trying to photograph the ferries' inner workings and procedures. The case has risen to the top of daily intel briefings in recent days, including at the FBI field office in New York, a source said.
But the NYPD is not ramping up security on the Staten Island Ferry, sources said. Read more about this bizarre case at the New York Daily News' Mouth of the Potomac Blog.August 24, 2007 04:04 PM Link
Jason P. Howe / WPN for Newsweek
Standing Guard: An Afghan national policeman armed with an RPG stands outside of an old Al Qaeda training ground near Jalalabad on Aug. 20
As much time as DHS employees are spending editing Wikipedia entries [4,018 edits],
their work is nothing compared to the folks at the Department of Defense, whose .mil account holders have been very busy on Wikipedia.
The defense agency with the most edits originating from its .mil address is Army's Network Information Center, with 43,823 edits.
The U.S. Air Forces comes in second with 21,478 edits,
while the Naval Surface Warfare Center has 18, 591. The numbers drop dramatically from there with fourth and fifth place going to the
Pentagon overall and the Office of the Secretary of Defense at 3,355 and 2,685 edits, respectively.
DOD, .mil, others, they must know they were leaving tracks all over the place?
I see them in my logs often but here they are just reading, on Wiki they edit?
Wouldn't that info be actionable Intel?
They should have been wearing boots.
Three significant dates coming together in September may trigger “sensational attacks,” warns a senior US general in Washington
August 24, 2007, 9:54 PM (GMT+02:00)
Brigadier General Richard Sherlock, deputy director for operational planning for the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday that terrorists and insurgents may use coincident sixth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, the onset of Ramadan, and the much-awaited US progress report to accelerate attacks in Iraq.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- President Jalal Talabani said Wednesday he foresees Iraqi forces taking over security in all 18 provinces by the end of the year.
Wednesday, August 2, 2006; Posted: 4:12 p.m. EDT (20:12 GMT)
Talabani, who was speaking at a news conference, said the transition will be gradual and multinational forces will be playing a supportive role to the Iraqi troops.
"The role of the multinational forces is a role to help the Iraqi armed forces, and, God willing, the Iraqi armed forces will at the end of the year take over all of the security in all the Iraqi provinces, little by little, gradually, and, God willing, we will be in a position to do that," he said.
Also, he said, "We have optimism that we will eliminate terrorism."
The remarks come during a volatile period in Baghdad and across the country, where Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence has raged for many months and attacks continue unabated, despite a big security crackdown in the capital.
Two bombs exploded in a Baghdad soccer stadium Wednesday, killing 12 people and wounding 14, police in the Iraqi capital said. (Full story)
Elsewhere, two U.S. troops died in Iraq's Anbar province and five people were also killed in a bombing in Baghdad and a shooting in Diyala province.
On Tuesday, several dozen people were killed in attacks. (Full story)
Talabani's pronouncement on a security transition is seen as optimistic. The U.S. military is largely in control of the country's security, and the British and Polish militaries each head a division.
Those multi-national forces have had their hands full for years, facing obstacles from the Iraqi insurgency and sectarian hostilities in their efforts to establish security in the country.
U.S. officials indicated that the sooner such a transition could take place, the better. But no one could say it would occur quickly.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters Wednesday that while he didn't see the context of the remarks or the translation of it, "obviously, the hope of the Iraqis, the hopes of the Americans, the hopes of the troops is that the Iraqis will continue to take over responsibility for the security of their country and that over time we'll be able to draw down our forces as conditions permit."
A senior Bush administration official told CNN the focus should be on what Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, not Talabani, says.
The official wouldn't call Talabani's comment premature but said any formal announcement on the matter would come from al-Maliki, in consultation with the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey.
In his address last week before a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, al-Maliki didn't provide a time frame for a security leadership transition.
"The completion of Iraq's forces form the necessary basis for the withdrawal of multinational forces. But it's only then, only when Iraq's forces are fully capable, will the job of the multinational forces be complete," he said.
"Our Iraqi forces have accomplished much and have gained a great deal of field experience to eventually enable them to triumph over the terrorists and to take over the security portfolio and extend peace through the country."
Lt. Col. Michael J. Negard, a public affairs officer from the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq, reacted to the remarks, saying "we are confident we can accomplish our task of training and equipping Iraqi security forces by the end of the year."
However, he said, "any handover of security must come after" any given unit "is fully trained and equipped."
A senior coalition official said that by September, five of the Iraq's 10 army divisions will be take control from coalition forces in different regions across the country. He didn't specify the regions.
Sir Jock Stirrup, chief of Britain's defense staff, told BBC radio on Wednesday that British forces were likely to hand over control of the southern port of Basra early next year, The Associated Press reported.
"We are now on a good path to hand over provincial control of Basra some time in the first part of next year," Stirrup said.
"But these are difficult issues we are grappling with and I can't forecast what will happen over the next several months. This is a dynamic situation and we have to be able to react to any changes that occur. At the moment, we are making good progress."
According to data from the Brookings Institution's Iraq Index, there were 269,600 Iraqi security forces -- 154,500 police and 115,100 army -- as of the end of July.
Of Iraq's provinces, only Muthanna province is under Iraqi security forces' control. Iraq forces, however, do control districts here and there throughout the country.
Senior al Qaeda leader may have been wounded in the ongoing battle at Tora Bora
The battle at the Tora Bora mountains in Nangarhar province has completed its first week, the fighting has intensified as Afghan Army and US forces hunt Taliban and al Qaeda fighters who have infiltrated the region. Scores of Taliban and al Qaeda operatives are reported to have been captured after upwards of 50 terrorists were killed in the initial fighting. A senior al Qaeda leader was also reported to have been wounded in the attack.
Dr. Amin al Haq, who serves as Osama bin Laden's security coordinator, was reported to have been wounded in the fighting, The Telegraph's Tom Coghlan reported from Tora Bora. Al Haq is said to have fled across the border into Pakistan's Kurram agency. As bin Laden's security coordinator, al Haq commands the elite Black Guard, the fanatical praetorian bodyguards devoted to the security of al Qaeda's leader.
Al Haq was born in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, was educated as a doctor, and practiced medicine in Pakistan. He accompanied Osama bin Laden during the 2001 battle at Tora Bora, and helped senior al Qaeda leaders escape the US and Afghan militia assault on the cave complex.
Several senior al Qaeda leaders -- such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Saif al Adel, and Walid bin Attash -- rose through the ranks in al Qaeda by serving in the Black Guard. A Special Forces raid against the Black Guard camp in Danda Saidgai in North Waziristan, Pakistan in March 2006 resulted in the death of Imam Asad and several dozen members of the Black Guard. Asad was the Danda Saidgai camp commander, a senior Chechen al Qaeda commander, and associate of Shamil Basayev, the Chechen al Qaeda leader killed by Russian security forces in July 2006.
US and Afghan commanders believe they have a large force pinned down in the valleys in southern Nangarhar. "Five hundred infiltrated the area," Gen. Qadim Shah, the commander of 1st Brigade of the Afghan Army, told Mr. Coghlan. "We have captured 57 fighters from the Taliban and al-Qaeda. They include Chechens, Arabs and Uzbeks." Local tribesmen are also saying Chinese Muslims, or Uighurs, and "a large contingent of Uzbeks led by Tahir Yuldashev" of the al Qaeda affiliate Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan are fighting in the area.
The fighting has been reported to be heavy in the Tora Bora region. The United Nations reports over 400 Afghan families have been displaced due to the ground combat and NATO airstrikes.
The news of the recent fighting in Tora Bora comes as al Qaeda and Taliban camps in North and South Waziristan recently emptied of fighters. Also, evidence recently emerged the US military has approval to conduct raids inside Pakistani territory. Pakistani troops are reported to have reinforced the border in the Kurram agency.
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The eastern Afghanistan offensive:» Dawn Patrol from Mudville Gazette
"After [Khan's] capture he admitted being an al Qaeda member and agreed to send emails to his contacts... He sent encoded emails and received encoded replies. He's a great hacker and even the US agents said he was a computer whiz."For the following three years, Khan remained in detention -- but was never charged. This week, his case -- along with that of over 200 other missing people -- came before Pakistan's Supreme Court. It was then revealed for the first time that Khan had in fact been quietly released a month earlier (July 24, 2007). The New York Times reports that, "American officials declined to speak for the record on Monday, but said they were dismayed at the news of his release." They may have been dismayed but that's not quite the same as saying they weren't already aware of what had happened.
Last weekend US officials said someone held secretly by Pakistan was the source of the bulk of the information justifying the [elevated Homeland Security "orange"] alert [which, just by chance, coincided with the Democratic National Convention] .
The New York Times obtained Khan's name independently, and US officials confirmed it when it appeared in the paper the next morning.
None of those reports mentioned that Khan had been under cover helping the authorities catch al Qaeda suspects, and that his value in that regard was destroyed by making his name public.
NEW YORK TIMES IS A PROXY FOR AL QAEDA's INTELLIGENCE ARM. WOULD nyt have disclosed that the Germans code had been broken in WWII? If they had they would have been arrested in WWII, nyt also broke the story about USA intercepting Binnys cell phone, which gives rise to the Question as to who's side is nyt on? While I support the freedom of speech, I draw the line when it cost USA troops lives. Why hasn't nyt been prosecuted, USA is at war and nyt is giving away SECRETS that cause USA DEATHS.
IS THIS NOT TREASON?
I just canceled my subscription to NYT.
I hope many others will cancel also.
A day later, Britain hastily rounded up terrorism suspects, some of whom are believed to have been in contact with Khan while he was under cover.
Washington has portrayed those arrests as a major success, saying one of the suspects, named Abu Musa al-Hindi or Abu Eissa al-Hindi, was a senior al Qaeda figure.
But British police have acknowledged the raids were carried out in a rush.
Recruitment of youngsters is the latest chilling tactic by ruthless al-Qaeda leaders.
|Little terror ... lad with rifle on sling|
The Sun has video evidence of boys barely old enough for school handling AK47 assault rifles.
Military expert Chris Dobson warned: “This is very worrying. Terrorist commanders are gambling on our troops fatally hesitating before pulling the trigger if confronted with a boy. Modern weapons are so light children would have no problem getting 30 or 40 rounds off. And these children are being brainwashed to kill.”
|Fanatical ... gun kid at jihad camp|
A video of the child recruits was posted this month on an al-Qaeda website which has attracted ten million visitors since 2003.
Experts believe it was shot at a Taliban training camp over the border from Afghanistan in Uzbekistan.
The camp is almost certainly run by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan — which is affiliated to al-Qaeda.
An accompanying message claims they are the next generation of Mujahideen fighters in training.
Al-Qaeda warlord Osama Bin Laden made his own children take jihad training. Using child soldiers is a crime under international law.
So far 47 British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan.
|Bin Laden dead ... child recruits|
The Sun told yesterday how Taliban fanatics had tapped British soldiers’ phones and called relatives with death threats. Top Brass had to ban troops’ mobiles....( note the childrens eyes, they are being forced to do this.)