Category: Assassination / Assassination Attempt


Why Did FBI Monitor Occupy Houston, and Then Hide Sniper Plot Against Protest Leaders?

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Keep calm and kill a banker
Courtesy of keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Kenneth Schortgen Jr

February 5, 2014

Within the past few weeks, at least three high level bankers and one financial journalist have either died due to mysterious circumstances that officials have quickly labeled as ‘suicides’, or disappeared without a trace. With little information to go on from most public sources, several outside investigators have questioned the timing and reasons why these individuals have suddenly died, or been killed off, and are continuing to seek answers.

However, on Feb. 5, an insider and former head trader for a top banking firm issued a warning that new information is out which shows that ‘hit squads’ have been made active in the Wall Street area, and that a high level banker tied to recent investigations into Forex manipulation, along with up to three dozen others involved in scandals, are being targeted for potential assassination in light of their viability as witnesses and whistle blowers to federal and financial regulators.

Word on the “street” watch for a top level American bankster to expire. Hit teams are fully operational in Wall Street. (REDACTED) HIGHLY VISIBLE POWER BROKER- co-ordinating. Speak to you soon. Please post this to warn sheep. V-UPDATE 9:24 AM MOUNTAIN-NEXT ON THE HIT LIST CITI EXECUTIVE TIED IN WITH FOREX FRAUD -HIT LIST HAS 3 DOZEN MORE NAMES-DESPERATE TIMES REQUIRE DESPERATE MEASURES IN THE WORLD OF MONETARY CONTROL! JPM can’t hold yellow metal shorts on notional gold. LIBOR and derivative hits continue as bankster suddenly commit “suicide”. 43 are on the knock off list and counting. The shock waves of this and many other scandals are creating turmoil everywhere. – V, Guerrilla Economist, Q Alerts

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The//Intercept

By and 10 Feb 2014, 12:03 AM EST
Featured photo - The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press.

The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.

According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.

The drone operator, who agreed to discuss the top-secret programs on the condition of anonymity, was a member of JSOC’s High Value Targeting task force, which is charged with identifying, capturing or killing terrorist suspects in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

His account is bolstered by top-secret NSA documents previously provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. It is also supported by a former drone sensor operator with the U.S. Air Force, Brandon Bryant, who has become an outspoken critic of the lethal operations in which he was directly involved in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

In one tactic, the NSA “geolocates” the SIM card or handset of a suspected terrorist’s mobile phone, enabling the CIA and U.S. military to conduct night raids and drone strikes to kill or capture the individual in possession of the device.

The former JSOC drone operator is adamant that the technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But he also states that innocent people have “absolutely” been killed as a result of the NSA’s increasing reliance on the surveillance tactic.

One problem, he explains, is that targets are increasingly aware of the NSA’s reliance on geolocating, and have moved to thwart the tactic. Some have as many as 16 different SIM cards associated with their identity within the High Value Target system. Others, unaware that their mobile phone is being targeted, lend their phone, with the SIM card in it, to friends, children, spouses and family members.

Some top Taliban leaders, knowing of the NSA’s targeting method, have purposely and randomly distributed SIM cards among their units in order to elude their trackers. “They would do things like go to meetings, take all their SIM cards out, put them in a bag, mix them up, and everybody gets a different SIM card when they leave,” the former drone operator says. “That’s how they confuse us.”

As a result, even when the agency correctly identifies and targets a SIM card belonging to a terror suspect, the phone may actually be carried by someone else, who is then killed in a strike. According to the former drone operator, the geolocation cells at the NSA that run the tracking program – known as Geo Cell –sometimes facilitate strikes without knowing whether the individual in possession of a tracked cell phone or SIM card is in fact the intended target of the strike.

“Once the bomb lands or a night raid happens, you know that phone is there,” he says. “But we don’t know who’s behind it, who’s holding it. It’s of course assumed that the phone belongs to a human being who is nefarious and considered an ‘unlawful enemy combatant.’ This is where it gets very shady.”

The former drone operator also says that he personally participated in drone strikes where the identity of the target was known, but other unknown people nearby were also killed.

“They might have been terrorists,” he says. “Or they could have been family members who have nothing to do with the target’s activities.”

What’s more, he adds, the NSA often locates drone targets by analyzing the activity of a SIM card, rather than the actual content of the calls. Based on his experience, he has come to believe that the drone program amounts to little more than death by unreliable metadata.

“People get hung up that there’s a targeted list of people,” he says. “It’s really like we’re targeting a cell phone. We’re not going after people – we’re going after their phones, in the hopes that the person on the other end of that missile is the bad guy.”

The Obama administration has repeatedly insisted that its operations kill terrorists with the utmost precision.

In his speech at the National Defense University last May, President Obama declared that “before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set.” He added that, “by narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us and not the people they hide among, we are choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life.”

But the increased reliance on phone tracking and other fallible surveillance tactics suggests that the opposite is true. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which uses a conservative methodology to track drone strikes, estimates that at least 273 civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia have been killed by unmanned aerial assaults under the Obama administration. A recent study conducted by a U.S. military adviser found that, during a single year in Afghanistan – where the majority of drone strikes have taken place – unmanned vehicles were 10 times more likely than conventional aircraft to cause civilian casualties.

The NSA declined to respond to questions for this article. Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, also refused to discuss “the type of operational detail that, in our view, should not be published.”

In describing the administration’s policy on targeted killings, Hayden would not say whether strikes are ever ordered without the use of human intelligence. She emphasized that “our assessments are not based on a single piece of information. We gather and scrutinize information from a variety of sources and methods before we draw conclusions.”

Hayden felt free, however, to note the role that human intelligence plays after a deadly strike occurs. “After any use of targeted lethal force, when there are indications that civilian deaths may have occurred, intelligence analysts draw on a large body of information – including human intelligence, signals intelligence, media reports, and surveillance footage – to help us make informed determinations about whether civilians were in fact killed or injured.”

The government does not appear to apply the same standard of care in selecting whom to target for assassination. The former JSOC drone operator estimates that the overwhelming majority of high-value target operations he worked on in Afghanistan relied on signals intelligence, known as SIGINT, based on the NSA’s phone-tracking technology.

“Everything they turned into a kinetic strike or a night raid was almost 90 percent that,” he says. “You could tell, because you’d go back to the mission reports and it will say ‘this mission was triggered by SIGINT,’ which means it was triggered by a geolocation cell.”

In July, the Washington Post relied exclusively on former senior U.S. intelligence officials and anonymous sources to herald the NSA’s claims about its effectiveness at geolocating terror suspects.

Within the NSA, the paper reported, “A motto quickly caught on at Geo Cell: ‘We Track ’Em, You Whack ’Em.’”

But the Post article included virtually no skepticism about the NSA’s claims, and no discussion at all about how the unreliability of the agency’s targeting methods results in the killing of innocents.

In fact, as the former JSOC drone operator recounts, tracking people by metadata and then killing them by SIM card is inherently flawed. The NSA “will develop a pattern,” he says, “where they understand that this is what this person’s voice sounds like, this is who his friends are, this is who his commander is, this is who his subordinates are. And they put them into a matrix. But it’s not always correct. There’s a lot of human error in that.”

The JSOC operator’s account is supported by another insider who was directly involved in the drone program. Brandon Bryant spent six years as a “stick monkey” – a drone sensor operator who controls the “eyes” of the U.S. military’s unmanned aerial vehicles. By the time he left the Air Force in 2011, Bryant’s squadron, which included a small crew of veteran drone operators, had been credited with killing 1,626 “enemies” in action.

Bryant says he has come forward because he is tormented by the loss of civilian life he believes that he and his squadron may have caused. Today he is committed to informing the public about lethal flaws in the U.S. drone program.

Bryant describes the program as highly compartmentalized: Drone operators taking shots at targets on the ground have little idea where the intelligence is coming from.

“I don’t know who we worked with,” Bryant says. “We were never privy to that sort of information. If the NSA did work with us, like, I have no clue.”

During the course of his career, Bryant says, many targets of U.S. drone strikes evolved their tactics, particularly in the handling of cell phones. “They’ve gotten really smart now and they don’t make the same mistakes as they used to,” he says. “They’d get rid of the SIM card and they’d get a new phone, or they’d put the SIM card in the new phone.”

As the former JSOC drone operator describes – and as classified documents obtained from Snowden confirm – the NSA doesn’t just locate the cell phones of terror suspects by intercepting communications from cell phone towers and Internet service providers. The agency also equips drones and other aircraft with devices known as “virtual base-tower transceivers” – creating, in effect, a fake cell phone tower that can force a targeted person’s device to lock onto the NSA’s receiver without their knowledge.

That, in turn, allows the military to track the cell phone to within 30 feet of its actual location, feeding the real-time data to teams of drone operators who conduct missile strikes or facilitate night raids.

The NSA geolocation system used by JSOC is known by the code name GILGAMESH. Under the program, a specially constructed device is attached to the drone. As the drone circles, the device locates the SIM card or handset that the military believes is used by the target.

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MOXNEWSd0tC0M MOXNEWSd0tC0M

 

Published on Feb 11, 2014

February 11, 2014 BBC News http://MOXNews.com

 

 

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Another U.S. citizen a potential drone target

By Tom Cohen and Tom Watkins, CNN
updated 6:21 PM EST, Tue February 11, 2014

(CNN) — U.S. counterterrorism officials are closely watching an al Qaeda fighter in Pakistan who could become the next American to be targeted for killing by a drone strike, CNN has learned.

The person has been the subject of debate among military commanders and intelligence officials for several weeks as they decide what to recommend. President Barack Obama would make a final decision.

CNN has also learned key members of Congress have been aware of the internal debate.

The officials spoke to CNN’s Barbara Starr on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

U.S. citizen may be target of drone

The current discussions involve both military commanders in the special forces community and intelligence officials.

A key point being discussed is whether it is better to maintain surveillance to see what added intelligence can be gained about any threats to the United States, and whether additional monitoring might lead to other operatives or al Qaeda elements to target.

Under the Obama administration’s policy for targeting Americans, a person would have to pose an imminent threat to the United States and there would be no reasonable prospect of capture.

A U.S. official said drone targeting inside Pakistan is very sensitive because of the fragile state of the Pakistani government, which is under pressure to ban such strikes.

As a potential strike is weighed, some officials contend that good relations with the Islamabad government is a priority so the United States can maintain some type of long-term surveillance operation of potential al Qaeda targets there.

If all U.S. troops leave neighboring Afghanistan at the end of 2014, the concern is it may be harder to maintain high priority efforts such as conducting further drone operations over Pakistan and to also monitor Pakistan’s nuclear programs.

As the United States considers a strike in Pakistan, there are also recent indications that al Qaeda in Pakistan and its affiliate in Somalia, Al-Shabaab, have stepped up their links, a second official told CNN.

Jehad Serwan Mostafa, an American citizen, is currently with Al-Shabaab. He is the highest-ranking American in the group, believed to be in a remote part of southern Somalia.

The Justice Department currently has a $5 million reward on his head.

CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruikshank said there are indications Mostafa has contacts with senior al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan.

The United States failed to kill Al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane in a drone strike in southern Somalia just a few weeks ago.

And last October, Navy SEALs failed to capture a third key leader, a man named Ikrimah. They assaulted a compound he was said to be at in southern Somalia but withdrew under heavy fire.

Although Ikrimah and Godane were said to be involved in the deadly attack last year on a shopping mall in Kenya, U.S. officials have told CNN that one reason Ikrimah was targeted was there was critical intelligence he had been communicating with operatives of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

That Yemen based al Qaeda group is considered the most dangerous of its affiliates to U.S. security.

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Afgoye and Mogadishu, SomaliaAfgoye and Mogadishu, Somalia

Somali Militant Killed in Drone Attack     :    VOA

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U.S. missile strike targets suspected militant leader in Somalia

The U.S. military carried out a missile strike in Somalia on Sunday, targeting a suspected militant leader with links to the al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab terror groups, U.S. military officials told NBC News.

U.S. military and intelligence officials are reviewing bomb damage assessment to determine if the terror leader was killed or wounded in the strike.

The officials would not yet identify the target of the strike.

The al-Shabaab group — which the State Department designates as a terrorist organization — is a loosely affiliated band of militia insurgents in southern Somalia that has close ties to the al-Qaeda terror network.

At least two senior al-Shabaab rebels, including the group’s leading explosives expert, were killed in a military strike last October.

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Somali Militant Killed in Missile Attack

A member of Somali rebel group al-Shabab was killed Sunday by a missile fired by a suspected drone, a rebel commander said, blaming the U.S. for the strike.

Abu Mohamed told The Associated Press that Sahal Iskudhuq, a militant commander who was believed to be close to al-Shabab’s top leader, was killed when his car was hit by a missile in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region. The attack took place in a village called Hawai, he said.

A Somali intelligence official confirmed the attack, describing the victim as a “dangerous” militant. His driver was also killed in the attack, the official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to reveal the information.

Mohamed blamed the attack on the U.S., which flies drones over Somalia that occasionally fire at one of al-Shabab’s top leaders.

Two U.S. military officials confirm that there was a missile strike against a senior al-Shabab leader in Somalia today. The officials wouldn’t identify the target of the strike, and one of the officials said U.S. intelligence is still “assessing the effectiveness of the strike.”

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MOXNEWSd0tC0M MOXNEWSd0tC0M

 

Published on Dec 20, 2013

December 20, 2013 Al Jazeera News http://MOXNews.com

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Philippines mayor among four killed in Manila airport gunman attack

Manila News.Net Friday 20th December, 2013

The mayor of a southern Philippines town, two members of his family and a young child have died after a gunman opened fire outside a terminal at Manila’s international airport.

The attack, which was aimed at Ukol Talumpa, the mayor of Labangan, wounded five people and caused panic among travellers.

According to CNN, initial reports suggested more than one attacker carried out the shooting.

The police however said a lone gunman was carried out the brazen attack

The dead include Talumpa, his wife and a 28-year-old niece, said Jose Erwin Villacorte, director of the Manila region’s Southern Police District.

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File:MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft.jpg

A Predator drone in US Air Force base in 2011’s summer.

Author US Air Force    http://www.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/081131-F-7734Q-001.jpg

Image Source Wikimedia. Org

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U.S. Drone Strike Hits Convoy Headed To Wedding Party In Yemen, Killing At Least 13, Officials Say

Posted: 12/12/2013 1:47 pm EST  |  Updated: 12/13/2013 5:33 pm EST

The Associated Press reports Yemeni officials have said a U.S. drone strike hit a convoy headed to a wedding party:

According to the report, at least 13 people were killed in the targeted strike.

Reuters quotes Yemeni security officials as saying the wedding party was targeted after it “was mistaken for an al-Qaeda convoy.” Additionally, the news outlet cites 15 deaths, with another five people injured in the attack.

“An air strike missed its target and hit a wedding car convoy, ten people were killed immediately and another five who were injured died after being admitted to the hospital,” one security official said.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, is believed to be among the most active wings of the terrorist organization. In response to the militant group’s increased activity, the U.S. has ramped up its use of drone strikes in Yemen since 2011.

More from the Associated Press:

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Missiles fired by a U.S. drone slammed into a convoy of vehicles traveling to a wedding party in central Yemen on Thursday, killing at least 13 people, Yemeni security officials said.

The officials said the attack took place in the city of Radda, the capital of Bayda province, and left charred bodies and burnt out cars on the road. The city, a stronghold of al-Qaida militants, witnessed deadly clashes early last year between armed tribesmen backed by the military and al-Qaida gunmen in an attempt to drive them out of the city.

There were no immediate details on who was killed in the strike, and there were conflicting reports about whether there were militants traveling with the wedding convoy.

A military official said initial information indicated the drone mistook the wedding party for an al-Qaida convoy. He said tribesmen known to the villagers were among the dead.

One of the three security officials, however, said al-Qaida militants were suspected to have been traveling with the wedding convoy.

While the U.S. acknowledges its drone program in Yemen, it does not usually talk about individual strikes.

If further investigations determine that the victims were all civilians, the attack could fuel an outburst of anger against the United States and the government in Sanaa among a Yemeni public already opposed to the U.S. drone strikes.

 

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Air strike kills 15 civilians in Yemen by mistake: officials

 

SANAA Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:34pm EST

 

 

 

(Reuters) – Fifteen people on their way to a wedding in Yemen were killed in an air strike after their party was mistaken for an al Qaeda convoy, local security officials said on Thursday.

The officials did not identify the plane in the strike in central al-Bayda province, but tribal and local media sources said that it was a drone.

“An air strike missed its target and hit a wedding car convoy, ten people were killed immediately and another five who were injured died after being admitted to the hospital,” one security official said.

Five more people were injured, the officials said.

The United States has stepped up drone strikes as part of a campaign against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), regarded by Washington as the most active wing of the militant network.

 

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National flag of Yemen

Officials report 15 wedding guests in the Yemen province of al-Bayda were hit by an air strike, believed to be a US drone. Photograph: Malcolm Harris / Alamy/Alamy

Fifteen people on their way to a wedding in Yemen were killed in an air strike after their party was mistaken for an al-Qaida convoy, local security officials said on Thursday.

The officials did not identify the plane in the strike in central al-Bayda province, but tribal and local media sources said that it was a drone.

“An air strike missed its target and hit a wedding car convoy, 10 people were killed immediately and another five who were injured died after being admitted to the hospital,” one security official said.

Five more people were injured, the officials said.

The United States has stepped up drone strikes as part of a campaign against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), regarded by Washington as the most active wing of the militant network.

Yemen, AQAP’s main stronghold, is among a handful of countries where the United States acknowledges using drones, although it does not comment on the practice.

Human Rights Watch said in a detailed report in August that US missile strikes, including armed drone attacks, have killed dozens of civilians in Yemen.

 

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Nov. 2, 2013, 10:44 PM

 

Barack Obama

AP

 

This will not go over well for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

According to the new book “Double Down,” in which journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann chronicle the 2012 presidential election, President Barack Obama told his aides that he’s “really good at killing people” while discussing drone strikes.

Peter Hamby of The Washington Post noted the moment in his review of the book.

The reported claim by the commander-in-chief is as indisputable as it is grim.

Obama oversaw the 2009 surge in Afghanistan, 145 Predator drone strikes in NATO’s 2011 Libya operations, the May 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and drone strikes that killed the Pakistani Taliban leader and a senior member of the Somali-based militant group al-Shabab this week.

His administration also expanded the drone war: There have been 326 drone strikes in Pakistan, 93 in Yemen, and several in Somalia under Obama — upwards of 4,000 people overall — compared to a total of 52 strikes under George Bush.

In 2011 two of those strikes killed American-born al-Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki and his American-born, 16-year-old son within two weeks.

 

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 (Part 1)

(Part 2)


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Published on Oct 31, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org – A U.S. drone strike killed three people in northwest Pakistan earlier today, marking the first such attack since Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif publicly called for President Obama to end the strikes. Just last week, Amnesty International said the United States may be committing war crimes by killing innocent Pakistani civilians in drone strikes. Today we air extended clips from the new documentary, “Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars,” and speak to filmmaker Robert Greenwald. The film looks at the impact of U.S. drone strikes through more than 70 interviews with attack survivors in Pakistan, a former U.S. drone operator, military officials, and more. The film opens with the story of a 16-year-old Tariq Aziz who was killed by drone. just days after attending an anti-drone conference in Islamabad. We are also joined by human rights attorney Jennifer Gibson of Reprieve, co-author of the report, “Living Under Drones.”

Watch the discussion and more clips from the film in part 2 of this segment: http://youtu.be/ew3mXmqoQFg

Democracy Now!, is an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on 1,200+ TV and radio stations Monday through Friday. Watch it live 8-9am ET at http://www.democracynow.org.

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Predator drones ‘useless’ in combat scenarios – Air Force general

Published time: September 20, 2013 00:15
Edited time: September 20, 2013 03:37

Maintenence personel check a Predator drone operated by U.S. Office of Air and Marine (OAM), before its surveillance flight near the Mexican border.(AFP Photo / John Moore)

Maintenence personel check a Predator drone operated by U.S. Office of Air and Marine (OAM), before its surveillance flight near the Mexican border.(AFP Photo / John Moore)

The fleet of MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones are no match for aircraft that can fly higher and faster, like those employed by the most basic of air defenses around the world, Gen. Mike Hostage, chief of the air service’s Air Combat Command, said at an Air Force Association conference.

“Predators and Reapers are useless in a contested environment,” Hostage said, as quoted by Foreign Policy.

“Today…I couldn’t put [a Predator or Reaper] into the Strait of Hormuz without having to put airplanes there to protect it,” he added.

The Air Force revealed this week that an F-22 intercepted an Iranian F-4 Phantom jet fleet closing in on a US Predator over the strait earlier this year. In late 2012, Iranian jets fired on and missed a Predator drone in the strait.

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