Internet Anthropologist Think Tank: Chips: Taliban nightmare

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    Monday, June 01, 2009

    Chips: Taliban nightmare

    Chips: Taliban nightmare:

    Noah Shachtman and Adam Rawnsley

    It sounds like a tinfoil hat nightmare, come to life: tiny electronic homing beacons, guiding CIA killer drones to their targets. But local residents and Taliban militants in Pakistan’s tribal wildlands say that’s exactly what’s happening.  Tribesman in Waziristan are being paid to “plant the electronic devices” near militant safehouses, they tell the Guardian. “Hours or days later, a drone, guided by the signal from the chip, destroys the building with a salvo of missiles.”

    Ever since 9/11, locals in Central Asia and the Middle East have spread tall tales about American super-technology: soldiers with x-ray glasses, satellites that can see into homes, tanks with magnetic, grenade-repelling armor. But small radio frequency or GPS emitters have been commercially available for years. A veteran spy tells Danger Room that the use of these Taliban-tracking devices entirely plausible.

    “Transmitters make a lot of sense to me. It is simply not possible to train a Pashtun from Waziristan to go to a targeted site, case it, and come back to Peshawar or Islamabad with anything like an accurate report. The best you can hope for is they’re putting the transmitter on the right house,” says former CIA case officer Robert Baer.

    Word of these tiny transmitters has been circulating in militant circles for months. ( as there are hundreds lined up to do this work. G ) In early April, the Pakistani Taliban leader Mullah Nazir said he had caught “spies” who were inserting into militants’ phones “location-tracking SIMs” — Subscriber Identity Module cards, used to identify mobile devices on a cellular network.

    Ten days later, 19 year-old Habibur Rehman made a videotaped “confession” of planting such devices, just before he was executed by the Taliban as an American spy.  “I was given $122 to drop chips wrapped in cigarette paper at Al Qaeda and Taliban houses,” he said. If I was successful, I was told, I would be given thousands of dollars.”

    But Rehman says he didn’t just tag jihadists with the devices. “The money was good so I started throwing the chips all over. I knew people were dying because of what I was doing, but I needed the money,” he added. Which raises the possibility that the unmanned aircraft — America’s key weapons in its covert war on Pakistan’s jihadists and insurgents — may have been lead to the wrong targets.



    "may have been lead to the wrong targets." HIGHLY improable, 

    I find it hard to believe the US would strike on such flimsy one

    sourced evidence.

    Unless Noah knows something he's not reporting.





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