Internet Anthropologist Think Tank: Intel and Ops update

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    Wednesday, February 06, 2008

    Intel and Ops update

    Background noise and chatter:

    USA and Israeli cyber forces scrambling yesterday, USA back to normal today.

    Cause, target unknown.


    Stealth sub

    Being stealthy is important even at 50 fathoms. Which is why the stealth aircraft experts at defence company BAE Systems have turned their hands the developing sneaky uncrewed underwater vehicles (UUVs). They've come up with Talisman, an autonomous sub that could be used for covert surveillance and underwater reconnaissance.

    Talisman can be controlled by a radio link when on the surface or via an acoustic signal when underwater. Its "innovatively-shaped carbon fibre composite hull", is also presumably designed to make it more difficult to detect with sonar.

    The sub's hull is also fitted with "vectorable thruster pods", which allow it to manoeuvre very nimbly, and even hover and turn through 360?? on the spot.



    Facebook Used to Mobilize Against FARC

    Listen Now [1 min 27 sec] add to playlist

    Morning Edition, February 5, 2008 · The social-networking site Facebook is being used for more than socializing. In Colombia, a Facebook page dedicated to protesting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, that country's largest rebel group, is helping organize thousands of people in cities around the world.

    Q&A: The FARC and the Colombia Hostage Situation

    Map of Columbia
    Lindsay Mangum, NPR, January 10, 2007 · After several weeks of negotiations, Colombian guerrillas freed two women held hostage for more than five years on Jan. 10.

    The women — Clara Rojas, an aide to former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, and former congresswoman Consuelo Gonzalez — were picked up by helicopter from an undisclosed location in Colombia's jungle and flown to freedom. Their release was brokered by Venezuela President Hugo Chavez, and raised hopes of freedom for others still held hostage by the rebels.

    In addition to Betancourt, those still in captivity include three American security contractors who were captured in 2003. The Colombian government has renewed attempts to set up a prisoner exchange with a Marxist rebel group, but many such efforts have collapsed in the past.

    Here is some background on the hostage situation:

    Who are the hostages?

    There are at least 750 people held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — known by its Spanish acronym FARC. Most are held for ransom to support the insurgent group's operations, but the FARC has offered around 60 as "exchangeable." They include police, soldiers and local government officials whom the FARC wants to exchange for about 500 of its own members now in Colombian jails.

    Are any of the hostages well-known?

    The most high-profile captive is Ingrid Betancourt, a former member of the Colombian Senate who was captured when she attempted to take her presidential campaign into rebel-occupied territory. Betancourt, now 45, has been held for nearly six years. Recent video captured by the Colombian government showed her sitting dejectedly in what appears to be a jungle setting. Relatives say that she appears to be extremely thin and weak. Because Betancourt holds dual Colombian and French citizenship, the French government has been active in efforts to gain her release.

    Who are the American captives?

    The recent videos show three Americans who were captured in February 2003, when their small plane went down in a rebel-held area. The men — Thomas Howes, Marc Gonsavles and Keith Stansell — were working for California Microwave Systems, a U.S. defense contractor. Company officials say they were searching for evidence of opium poppy and coca leaf crops in the jungle. The rebels killed two other men who were on the plane, an American and a Colombian, saying they were shot as they tried to escape.

    When did we last hear about the hostages?

    The most recent direct account of the hostages comes from a Colombian police officer, Jhon Frank Pinchao, who said he escaped from the FARC last May after being a captive for almost nine years. Pinchao said he was held for a time in the same camp as Betancourt and the three Americans.



    Al-Qaeda 'will avenge US strike'

    Al-Yazid said his men will fulfill al-Libi's
    aspirations [Photo: IntelCenter]

    Al-Qaeda's leader in Afghanistan has vowed revenge for the killing of one of its top commanders in neighbouring Pakistan last week, saying Abu Laith al-Libi was killed by the weapon of "despicable cowards".
    US officials said al-Libi died when a US missile struck a compound outside the town of Mir Ali in Pakistan's North Waziristan province.

    Issuing the threat in a video statement released on Wednesday, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid said al-Qaeda fighters would retaliate against the "enemies of God" for al-Libi's death.

    "The men he trained ... will not rest until they avenge him and realise his aspirations and hopes, God willing," he said in the video recording.

    "The enemies of Allah were incapable of confronting [al-Libi] on the battlefield, nor were they able to compete with him as equals, for they are too cowardly and despicable for that. No, they used the weapon of treachery and betrayal."

    The 12-minute clip which was posted on a website bore the logo of al-Qaeda's media wing, as-Sahab, and had English subtitles.

    'Tomorrow is close'

    Al-Libi trained al-Qaeda fighters in
    Pakistan [Photo: IntelCenter]
    Al-Yazid said the martyrdom of al-Libi and other top al-Qaeda leaders only "strengthens, stabilises, sharpens and stimulates" the fight against infidels.

    "So, the killing of these heroic chiefs doesn't, and won't, end the march of jihad or extinguish its torch or put out its light as the enemies imagine," he said, adding: "Tomorrow is close."

    Up to 13 foreign fighters were killed in the attack in North Waziristan.



    DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) -- Taliban militants declared a cease-fire Wednesday in fighting with Pakistani forces, and the government said it was preparing for peace talks with al Qaeda-linked extremists in the lawless tribal area near the border with Afghanistan.

    Any deal that allows armed Islamic extremists to operate on Pakistani soil would run counter to U.S. demands for the government to crack down on militants. The Bush administration contends a failed truce last year allowed al Qaeda to expand its reach into this turbulent, nuclear-armed country, and the U.S. has sounded warnings in recent days about a revival of militant strength.

    A spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, a militant umbrella group, said the new cease-fire would include the tribal belt along the Afghan border and the restive Swat region to the east where the army has also battled pro-Taliban fighters.

    Tehrik-e-Taliban is led by Baitullah Mehsud, an al Qaeda-linked commander based in South Waziristan whom President Pervez Musharraf's government has blamed for a series of suicide attacks across Pakistan, including the December 27 assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

    The government has repeatedly tried to strike peace deals with local pro-Taliban militants. It has urged them to expel foreign al Qaeda militants the U.S. has warned may use their sanctuary inside Pakistan's tribal regions to plot terror attacks around the globe.

    If a cease-fire sticks and militants halt attacks, it could boost Musharraf's popularity as his political allies prepare for crucial February 18 parliamentary elections.

    But the negotiation strategy has mostly backfired in the past, with militants failing to honor agreements. A cease-fire in North Waziristan in September 2006, which collapsed in July, was widely seen as a setback in the war against terror. The cease-fire gave the Taliban and al Qaeda a freer hand to stage cross-border attacks into Afghanistan and extend their control of areas within Pakistan.



    3 Pakistani Generals Perish in Air Crash
    Arab News - Jeddah,Saudi Arabia
    The aircraft went down in South Waziristan, said Maj.
    Gen. Athar Abbas, the director general of the Inter-Services
    Public Relations Directorate. ...
    See all stories on this topic

    Taliban declare ceasefire from Waziristan to Swat
    The Nation, Pakistan - Karachi,Pakistan
    He, however, was unable to disclose the number of the dead
    bodies lying in Ladha and Sararogha Forts of South Waziristan
    Agency. It merits mention that a ...
    See all stories on this topic

    Pak military chopper crashes in South Waziristan, eight dead
    The Cheers - Paikuse,Estonia
    A Pakistani military helicopter on Wednesday crashed in South
    Waziristan in which a senior army officer and seven other
    personnel were killed. ...
    See all stories on this topic

    S.Waziristan operation to continue: ISPR
    Pakistan Link - Inglewood,CA,USA
    Athar Abbas Tuesday said that the operation in South Waziristan
    would be continued till wiping out of all hideouts of the miscreants. ...
    See all stories on this topic

    Freedom for sale in Afghanistan jails
    By admin
    LAHORE: Corrupt Afghan policemen, judges and jail authorities are sabotaging the war on terror in Afghanistan by releasing captured Taliban militants from jails in exchange for bribery, according to a recent Newsweek report. ...


    Story by NATION Reporter
    Publication Date: 2/7/2008

    The United Nations has denied reports that a hotel room belonging to its former chief, Mr Kofi Annan, in Nairobi had been bugged.

    An official at the UN said the reports appearing in a South African media outlet were false.

    The official said there was a mechanism which was being used on a daily basis to detect whether the room was bugged or not.

    Efforts to get comments from Mr Annan himself were futile as he was held up in mediation talks between PNU and ODM for the better part of Wednesday. His usual press briefings after the talks did not take place.

    South Africa’s Independent Newspapers had reported Wednesday that Kenyan peace talks were in tatters after it was discovered that Mr Annan’s hotel room had been bugged.

    The paper said it had learnt from “multiple, reliable and impartial sources” ­ both in Kenya and abroad ­ that the former UN secretary-general’s business and personal conversations were being intercepted after a thorough search was carried out on his Serena Hotel room on Tuesday evening.

    “Kofi’s security aides found the device yesterday,” one source explained.

    Mr Annan is said to be “livid”, but it is not yet known how he will react to the Tuesday night revelations.

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