Saturday, May 28, 2011

I spied on Osama bin Laden Part 2

By “Anon Ymous”

Part 2

I step off the plane in Islamabad totally jet lagged. I was jolted awake by a cold and humid smack in the face accompanied by the unique smell of Islamabad, solid waste blowing in from across sector H-10 mixed with the odor of jet fuel.

I didn't arrive via some secret CIA airline, but economy on PIAC. Pakistan isn't Afghanistan or even Iraq. You want to visit – you just fly there. Tourism thrives in Pakistan and there is nothing about me to raise any official eyebrows. I travel on my real name using my real passport.

When they ask me what the purpose of my visit to Pakistan is, I say “Visiting family and friends in Abbotsabad.” which is the honest truth. I do have relatives there and I do plan to see them. As far as the Paks are concerned I'm just a Pakistani/American expatriate looking to reconnect.

My first agency contact is a Pakistani cab driver named “Asif” who looks the hell like a local but is American as I am. He holds up a cardboard sign bearing a smiley face drawn in marker that reads”ap ka din acha guzrae.” roughly translated means “have a nice day.” That's how I know he's the guy.

I find out he's from Boston, just a few years older than me and has an engineering degree. What's he doing here - working for the CIA is beyond me. From his manner I'm thinking he's ex-military like me and probably (like me) saw the twin towers fall and answered the patriot's call.

Asif's job is to be our “facilitator.” which entails getting me to “The About AsBad B&B” (as we grew to call it) and covertly deliver supplies and equipment plus make me into a innocuous or downright invisible nobody as far at the IB (Intelligence Bureau) is concerned.

First task is to shake any tail ( although we are convinced no one is following us) by driving through Islamabad in his cab that looks identical to the hundreds of other cabs on the street.

I think this cloak and dagger stuff is rather silly, but I defer to Asif's judgment – because he's the expert here – not me. I'm an analyst, not an operative, who's been rushed to Pakistan without any real training. For two hours we weave through Islamabad.

Asif hands me a cheap digital camera and instructs me to get out a take photos, like any tourist would. I would have anyway, Islamabad is a beautiful city.

We stop at the Kohsar Market. Asif tells me to go into the London Books.

“Go into the stockroom – just walk right back. At the very back you'll find the lavatory. Take your backpack with you – exchange it with a man wearing a tag that reads “Hi – my name is Bhaar. He knows what to do.”

I give him a look of concern because I know all my stuff is in my pack – my passport – my iPod – my clothes.

As if he knows what I'm thinking – he reassures me. “Don't worry. You'll get it all back – but first we need to make to make the man who arrived a few hours ago on PIA – disappear."

I agree in the affirmative, grab my backpack and open the door. The smell of Islamabad greets me again.

“I'll meet you in on the north side of the Faisal Majid in two hours. Although it is not far – walk. Don't take a cab. Don't act like a tourist. You are local. Remember to take out your mat and pray with everyone else when you hear the muezzin's call for al-maghrib at sunset or you'll stick out like a sore thumb. Don't worry if you don't have a mat – Bhaar will provide. Trust Bhaar – to a point. Do what he says but don't tell him why you are here.

“Got it.” I reply trying to sound confident but I am anything but.

Asif sticks out his hand – I reach out to shake it. “No – he says as he withdraws it. “Pay me for the ride.”

I dig in my pocket for some change – but all I have are American bills. I hand him a wad of cash and he quickly takes it.

“See you in two hours.” he says. “But – be smart and not be you – if you you catch my drift. I don't want to be able to recognize you when I see you again. This is the part where you go native."

He looks me in the eye - something typically American and says ...

"Are you ready?”


(C) Steve Douglass

Blue Angel commander steps down

CNN) -- The commander of the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels stepped down Friday in the wake of a subpar performance at a Virginia air show this week.

"I performed a maneuver that had an unacceptably low minimum altitude. This maneuver, combined with other instances of not meeting the airborne standard that makes the Blue Angels the exceptional organization that it is, led to my decision to step down," Cmdr. Dave Koss said in a statement, referring to the Lynchburg, Virginia, Regional Airshow.
He will be replaced by Capt. Greg McWherter, who was the flight demonstration team's previous commander.

Air shows have been in the spotlight recently because of concerns over safety.
Blue Angels commander steps down

The Blue Angels have canceled performances at the Rockford, Illinois, Airfest June 4-5 and the Evansville, Indiana, Freedom Festival Air Show June 11-12 because of the shakeup in leadership.

Friday, May 27, 2011

CIA allowed in bin Laden compound.

Washington (CNN) -- A CIA team of forensics specialists has been granted permission by the Pakistani government to visit the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed, to search for possibly hidden or buried documents, a U.S. official confirms to CNN.

The team will "gather up any additional information that can be found," the official said.
During the raid earlier this month, the Navy SEAL team was able to gather a substantial amount of intelligence documents and computer media during its 40-minute assault on the compound in Abbottabad. But the CIA has wanted to return to see if other material could be found.
Former Pakistan leader: U.S. showed "arrogance"

The team of agents also wants to have a close look at the compound to see what else it can learn about Bin Laden's stay there, the official said.

The agreement was reached several days ago by CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell and the Pakistani government. The official declined to say when the visit will happen and if more than one trip is planned.

Monday, May 23, 2011

National Geographic Area 51 Declassified

Note: Annie Jacobsen author of "Area 51 The Uncensored History Of America's Top Secret Air Base was an associate producer on this National Geographic program about Area 51.

Although the history of Area 51 and interviews with pilots and former workers at the base are accurate - Jocobsen's book has been widely discredited due to wild stories concerning the connections between 51 and Roswell. Fortunately NatGeo decided to not include the stupid Russian/Joseph Mengele/Horten Brothers disc claims Jacobsen sites in her book.

Great interviews with the Roadrunners and Peter Merlin are highlights of this program.

-Steve Douglass


60 Minutes report NSA and Thinthread

CBS News) Nearly two years before 9/11, America's largest intelligence agency had recordings of three of the al Qaeda hijackers plotting an attack. But the information, obtained by the National Security Agency, wasn't analyzed in a way that could uncover the plot.
Inside the super-secret NSA, several analysts and managers believed the agency had a powerful tool that might have had a chance to head off 9/11. But it wasn't used.

One of those agency insiders was Thomas Drake, who thought taxpayer money was being wasted on useless intelligence gathering projects while promising technology was ignored.

Drake tried to get the word out. But now, as a result, he has been charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 and if convicted of all charges could spend the next 35 years of his life in prison. The government says he betrayed his country.

Drake says the only thing he betrayed was NSA mismanagement that undermined national security.

After a long career in U.S. intelligence, Drake never imagined he'd be labeled an enemy of the United States. As a young airman, he flew spy missions in the Cold War; in the Navy, he analyzed intelligence for the joint chiefs at the Pentagon.

Later, he worked for defense contractors in the highly technical world of electronic eavesdropping. He became an expert in sophisticated, top secret computer software programs and ultimately rose, in 2001, to a senior executive job at the NSA.

Drake told correspondent Scott Pelley his first day on the job was Sept. 11, 2001.

"NSA went into immediate crisis management mode. We had failed to protect the United States of America," he told Pelley.

Asked if he felt that was a failure of the NSA, Drake told Pelley, "The entire national security establishment - it was a failure, a fundamental systemic breakdown."


Pakistani military base attacked by Taliban

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- At least 10 members of Pakistan's military were killed in a gun battle between security forces and Taliban militants at a naval base in the coastal city of Karachi, authorities said Monday.

The clashes raged for hours after attackers with guns and grenades stormed the compound Sunday night. By Monday afternoon, the base had "been cleared from the terrorists," a Pakistani navy spokesman said.

In addition to the 10 dead, at least 15 other Pakistani troops were wounded in the fighting, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.
Investigators have found the bodies of three attackers and believe a fourth is buried in debris, he said. They suspect two militants escaped, he said, citing witness reports.

The Pakistani Taliban said the attack at the Mehran naval air station was to avenge the killing of innocent civilians. The group's spokesman, Ihsan Ullah, told CNN on Monday that Pakistani security forces are carrying out those killings on the instruction of the United States in the name of a "war on terror."
One of the attackers had detonated a suicide jacket, Malik said, and another one was found wearing an undetonated jacket.

"We have daily 9/11 in this country. You see how we are suffering," he said. "And therefore, this is my appeal to the international community ... trust us, trust us, because this is a time we need you to support us morally."

Authorities said militants wielding rocket launchers, automatic weapons and hand grenades attacked the base about 11 p.m. Sunday. They used ladders to scale a wall at the back of the base and jumped into the compound, Malik said.
Two witnesses -- Amjad Bashir and Talha Hashmi -- reported at least 10 explosions in the subsequent hours.

Each blast was typically followed by a sustained exchange of gunfire, Hashmi said.
He said that several of the explosions -- thought to be the result of at least one military aircraft and a fuel tank catching fire and releasing plumes of smoke -- were particularly large.

Malik said the attackers destroyed two aircraft at the base.
One damaged plane is a P-3C Orion, according to Pakistani navy spokesman Irfan Ul Haq. Supplied by the U.S. government, the P-3C Orion is a "four-engine, turbo-prop, anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft," according to the U.S. Navy's website.

The nation's military personnel responded with what an Malik called a "major operation" at the base, which is about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from Karachi's main airport.


Boeing unveils next gen fighter concepts ...

By Stephen Trimble

Boeing graciously heeded my pleas to interview someone about their 1/16th scale model and poster (above) at Navy League displaying two concepts for an all-new fighter jet that would appear after 2025.

I admit the idea of launching a development program for a new, at least optionally-manned fighter seems ludicrous after the early termination of F-22 production -- not to mention the ongoing concerns about F-35 cost and performance.

But a Boeing official told me the acquisition process for a new fighter for the US Navy and US Air Force has already begun. The navy has renamed its program from F/A-XX to next generation air dominance (NGAD) as it enters the analysis of alternatives stage. The air force, meanwhile, also is starting an alternatives study for an F-22 replacement.

As far-fetched as the idea seams, there is a real need. After the F-35 replaces the navy's F/A-18Cs and the air force's F-16s and A-10s, something has to replace the F/A-18E/F and F-22.

Boeing is betting that something will be a clean-sheet, tailless fighter design. Concepts displayed at Navy League show off a 40,000lb-class fighter for carrier decks. The air force would likely need an airframe at least 50% larger to replace the 60,000lb-class F-22. If the airframes are not common, the air force and navy would likely be pressured to share the cockpit avionics and -- possibly -- engines.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Iran claims to have busted US Spy network ...

(CNN) -- Iran says it has busted a U.S. espionage network, arresting 24 people accused of spying and identifying 42 CIA operatives linked to the operation, state-run Press TV reported, citing an Iranian intelligence ministry statement.

The statement said the operatives had gathered data from "universities and scientific research centers, and in the field of nuclear energy, aerospace, defense and biotechnology industries."
The alleged spy ring also used U.S. embassies and consulates in several countries, particularly Turkey, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates to cull information about the "oil and gas pipelines, telecommunication and electricity networks, airports and customs, the security of the banking and communication systems."

"The network, which was set up by a considerable number of seasoned CIA operatives in several countries, attempted to trick citizens into spying for them under the guise of issuing visa, helping with permanent residency, and making job and study offers," the report said.

The Iranian and U.S. governments have been adversaries since the 1979 Iranian revolution that toppled the shah of Iran and ushered in a hard-line and theocratic Islamic republic. Today, the United States says Iran aspires to build nuclear weapons and backs terrorism in the Middle East -- stances Tehran denies.

Iran repeatedly has accused the CIA of trying to undermine the government, and news reports surfaced during the George W. Bush administration of an escalation in U.S. covert operations to undermine the regime.

Last year, for example, police arrested several suspects allegedly connected to the CIA, Israel's Mossad and the British M-16 who were behind "recent terrorist attacks" targeting Iranian nuclear scientists, Iranian media reported.

In another 2010 bust, seven people, including some accused of having ties to a U.S.-backed Farsi-language radio station, were arrested. Iran's state-owned Press TV reported that two CIA operatives were among the group.

In 2009, Iranian authorities said it arrested four citizens who were paid by the U.S. government to bring about a regime change. It said the group was funded by the State Department and the CIA.
The U.S. did not acknowledge those reports or the new claims from Saturday.


WIRED: Was a stealth Chinook used in Obama raid?

By now we know that the two helicopters that deposited the 23 U.S. operatives (and their dog) into Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2 were no standard-issue Army rotorcraft. Rather, they were stealth modifications of the MH-60 Blackhawk, optimized to reduce their noise, infrared and radar signatures.

But there’s a growing belief that other stealthy choppers might have been present, as well. It’s the latest in a series of revelations regarding the sophisticated tactics and techs behind the high-stakes raid.

We know about the pair of radar-evading Blackhawks because one of the elusive birds — dubbed “Silenthawks” by the media — crashed inside the bin Laden compound, leaving behind an intact tail rotor that photographers documented the following morning and aviation geeks used to infer the aircraft’s overall configuration.

That crash, plus the dicey politics surrounding the CIA-led assault, offer up circumstantial evidence of an even more secretive “silent” helicopter: a possible variant of the twin-rotor MH-47 Chinook, sporting the same stealth treatments as the Silenthawk and operated by the same 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

As he did with the Silenthawk, aviation journalist David Cenciotti commissioned artist Ugo Crisponi to produce concept art depicting this alleged copter. (See artwork, above.)

Early reporting, including our own, proposed that Chinooks likely participated in the raid, for purely mathematical reasons. Twenty-four Navy SEALs and one dog would max out the capacity of a pair of H-60s. A single H-47, never mind two, could carry the whole assault force with room to spare.

That assumption was challenged on May 3, when CIA chief Leon Panetta said the assault birds were definitely “Blackhawks.” The same day, the photographic evidence surfaced of those choppers’ special mods. From that, observers concluded that the operation was conducted without Pakistani approval, and indeed against their wishes, using H-60 helicopters capable of slipping past Islamabad’s radars.

That seemed to definitively rule out the big, loud, radar-reflecting Chinooks. “I don’t believe that ‘normal’ MH-47s were involved,” Cenciotti wrote on May 6, owing to “considerations on the stealthiness of the formation.”


Friday, May 20, 2011

I spied on Osama bin Laden ...

Note: The following post is fiction and although based on a real event - officially never happened. - Steve Douglass

Keeping tabs on the bin Laden's Part 1
By Anon Ymous.

Since both of my parents were Pakistani immigrants (Pathans)from the Abbotabad region and I was fluent (with the proper accent) in Hindko as well as Arabic, Yemeni Arabic, Urdu and Punjabi, Pashto and Kashmiri plus having a highly technical background (considerable experience in COMINT and SIGINT through my “attachment” to another three letter agency, as far as the Ace Tomato Company was concerned, I would make the perfect nosy neighbor to Usāmah bin Muḥammad bin ʿAwaḍ bin Lādin AKA Osama bin Laden.

I remember the day well. I was sitting in my cubicle at Fort Meade working on a transcript of a satellite intercept, when my supervisor “Doug” cast a boney finger my way then curled it back at himself, his typical was of summoning someone to his office.

At first I thought I was in trouble, feeling guilty about dragging my feet on the transcript (boring work) that to me sounded like nothing special, just another of the thousands of conversations plucked out of the sky by one of the birds,a conversation between two Pak government officials griping about one of the many American military convoys roaring through the Hindu Kush on it's way to Afghanistan.

My guess was the chiefs were looking for signs of collusion between certain Pakistani military commanders and the Taliban insurgency who had recently (then) brazenly attacked a U.S. Convoy in the historic Khyber Pass, but to me the intercept contained nothing more sinister then two low-level commanders bitching about the American military tearing up the roads with their heavy equipment. I had no doubt that the transcript I was working on would not only not be read but was a waste of time and an exercise in futility – once turned in would disappear into the NSA's massive digital database to never be heard of again.

Although I enjoyed working at the NSA as a intercept analyst, I was showing the unmistakeable symptoms of job burn-out and admit I was growing a tad cynical about my infinitesimally small part in the “war on terror” and was seriously thinking about looking for another job.

In fact, I had been pursuing a promising new lead, work as a translator at the UN.

Not only did it pay better, but it meant I would not be stuck in a isolated gray cubical, listening to static filled communications that by the end of the day came very close to making my ears bleed.

As I walked down the corridor to Doug's office I took my sweet time – mentally preparing my excuses but not really caring if I got yelled at or not. I was ready to leave and since my work was classified no one, not even a future employer would ever know what transpired between me and my section chief. Sometimes working at a secret job had it's advantages. Much like Vegas, what happened at the NSA , stayed at the NSA.

When I entered Doug's office, I was very surprised to see he wasn't alone. Two “spooks in suits” sat in chairs in front of Doug's desk. Before I could speak, I was handed a clip board and asked to sign what seemed to be an endless stack of non-disclosure agreements.

Since I had seen and signed many of these type of NDA's over my nine year employment at the Puzzle Palace I didn't read it and automatically signed my signature where the Avery stick-on labels pointed me to.

As a result two days later I found myself winging my way to Islamabad, Pakistan. I had been lent to the CIA for the duration - much like a library book.

My assignment? To join the team spying on Usama bin Laden.

To be continued ...

(C) Steve Douglass/Black Horizon

NATO pounds Libyan naval ships

In a statement, a spokesman said Nato had to take "decisive action" given Col Gaddafi's increasing use of naval assets to launch attacks on civilians.

Flames and smoke could be seen rising from vessels hit in the capital's port.

Meanwhile, the Libyan rebel leadership has appealed for international help for towns in the mountains west of Tripoli.

The alliance statement said the use of indiscriminate mining by pro-Gaddafi maritime forces had disrupted the flow of much-needed aid into Libya and had also "demonstrated a clear intent to attack Nato forces".

It said the strikes on Friday demonstrated Nato's "resolve to protect the civilian population of Libya, using appropriate and proportionate force".

"All the vessels targeted last night were naval warships with no civilian utility," said Rear-Adm Russell Harding, Deputy Commander of Nato's mission in Libya.

It was unclear if there were any casualties.

The Nato air strikes are being carried out under a UN mandate to protect civilians from the forces of Col Gaddafi, who is trying to crush the three-month-old uprising.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Omega Tanker skids -catches fire at Point Mugu NAS

Three crew members escaped from a civilian refueling aircraft that exploded into flames Wednesday evening during an attempted takeoff at Point Mugu Naval Air Station.

The Boeing 707 aircraft was nearly filled to capacity with 150,000 pounds of fuel that stoked intense flames and thick clouds of dark smoke that billowed for miles as firefighters tried to control the blaze, officials said.

A base spokesman said the crew members — a pilot, co-pilot and navigator — worked for Omega Aerial Refueling Services, which contracts with the Navy to refuel aircraft. They were taken to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

The blaze broke out about 5:25 p.m. as the aircraft skidded out of control on the far end of the main runway, said Vance Vasquez, a spokesman for the base.

Fire crews on the ground were being aided by a helicopter that made repeated water drops as flames consumed the crumpled fuselage. Base fire crews and the Ventura County Fire Department were on the scene.

According to Omega's website, the company uses a Boeing 707-300 model. Boeing Co. built the planes in Renton, Wash., from 1959 to 1982.

Although the exact age of the downed aircraft was not known, aerial refueling tankers have been a sore subject for the military for years. The massive aircraft, which are used to refuel warplanes while in flight, have been heavily criticized for being run-down and corroded. .

The Air Force has been trying to replace its fleet of aerial tankers — many of which were built during the Eisenhower administration — for more than a decade.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Area 51 book author Annie Jacobsen's lack of credibility ...

Note: The following is an excerpt from an article about "Area 51 The Uncensored History Of America's Top Secret Air Base." author Annie Jacobsen.

I post it because it speaks to the credibility of this "investigative reporter" who theorizes that the "Roswell Incident" was actually a elaborate scheme cooked up by the Russians - using - genetically engineered (with the help of Joseph Mengele) little green pilots to crash saucer-shaped aircraft (designed by Nazi aircraft designers the Horten Brothers) into the New Mexico desert to convince America we were under risk of alien attack.

INMHO, If you are interested (and who isn't) what really is going on in Area 51 - don't buy this book.
Visit Dreamland Resort instead.

-Steve Douglass

The Hysterical Skies

She survived a flight with 14 harmless Syrian musicians -- then spread 3,000 bigoted and paranoid words across the Internet. As a pilot and an American, I'm appalled.

In this space was supposed to be installment No. 6 of my multiweek dissertation on airports and terminals. The topic is being usurped by one of those nagging, Web-borne issues of the moment, in this case a reactionary scare story making the cyber-rounds during the past week.

The piece in question, "Terror in the Skies, Again?" is the work of Annie Jacobsen, a writer for Jacobsen shares the account of the emotional meltdown she and her fellow passengers experienced when, aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Detroit to Los Angeles, a group of Middle Eastern passengers proceeded to act "suspiciously." I'll invite you to experience "Terror" yourself, but be warned it's quite long. It needs to be, I suppose, since ultimately it's a story about nothing, puffed and aggrandized to appear important.

The editors get the drama cooking with some foreboding music: "You are about to read an account of what happened," counsels a 70-word preamble. "The WWS Editorial Team debated long and hard about how to handle this information and ultimately we decided it was something that should be shared ... Here is Annie's story" [insert lower-octave piano chord here].

What follows are six pages of the worst grade-school prose, spring-loaded with mindless hysterics and bigoted provocation.

Fourteen dark-skinned men from Syria board Northwest's flight 327, seated in two separate groups. Some are carrying oddly shaped bags and wearing track suits with Arabic script across the back. During the flight the men socialize, gesture to one another, move about the cabin with pieces of their luggage, and, most ominous of all, repeatedly make trips to the bathroom. The author links the men's apparently irritable bladders to a report published in the Observer (U.K.) warning of terrorist plots to smuggle bomb components onto airplanes one piece at a time, to be secretly assembled in lavatories.

"What I experienced during that flight," breathes Jacobsen, "has caused me to question whether the United States of America can realistically uphold the civil liberties of every individual, even non-citizens, and protect its citizens from terrorist threats."

Intriguing, no? I, for one, fully admit that certain acts of airborne crime and treachery may indeed open the channels to a debate on civil liberties. Pray tell, what happened? Gunfight at 37,000 feet? Valiant passengers wrestle a grenade from a suicidal operative? Hero pilots beat back a cockpit takeover?

Well, no. As a matter of fact, nothing happened. Turns out the Syrians are part of a musical ensemble hired to play at a hotel. The men talk to one another. They glance around. They pee.


New Area 51 book epic FAIL ...

Bloggger's note: I don't even have to do a detailed review of Annie Jacobsen's book "Area 51 Uncensored" to advise you - if you are tempted to by it to discover the "truth" about the worlds worst kept secret - secret base - just keep walking. You wont find it contained within.

What you will find is a book rife with historical errors and "insider information" that makes Bob Lazar "aliens at 51" stories look plausible.

But don't take my word for it. Just read this excerpt from a recent NPR interview and you'll quickly understand why this book is yet another epic FAIL!

-Steve Douglass

start snip > "The Horten brothers were involved in the flying disc crash in New Mexico. And that is from a single source. ... There was an unusual moment where that source became very upset and told me things that were stunning that's almost impossible to believe at first read. And that is that a flying disc really did crash in New Mexico and it was transported to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and then in 1951 it was transferred to Area 51, which is why the base is called Area 51. And the stunning part of the reveal is that my source, who I absolutely believe and worked with for 18 months on this, was one of the engineers who received the equipment and he also received the people who were in the craft.

"The people were, according to the source, were child-sized pilots, and there's a lot of debate about how old they were. He believes they were 13, although other people believe they may have been older. But this is a firsthand witness to this, and I made a decision to write about this in the very end of the book, after I take the traditional journalist form of telling you everything in the third person, I switch and I kind of lean into the reader and I say, 'Look, this is not why Area 51 is classified to the point where no one in the government will admit it exists. The reason is because what one man told me.' And then using the first person, I tell you what I was told. And there's no doubt that people are going to be upset, alarmed and skeptical of this information, but I absolutely believe the veracity of my source, and I believe it was important that I put this information out there because it is the tip of a very big iceberg."

On the Soviet human experiments her source told her about

"The child-sized aviators in this craft [that crashed in New Mexico] were the result of a Soviet human experimentation program, and they had been made to look like aliens a la Orson Welles' War of the Worlds, and it was a warning shot over President Truman's bow, so to speak. In 1947, when this would have originally happened, the Soviets did not yet have the nuclear bomb, and Stalin and Truman were locked in horns with one another, and Stalin couldn't compete in nuclear weaponry yet, but he certainly could compete in the world of black propaganda — and that was his aim, according to my source. ...

"What is firsthand information is that he worked with these bodies [of the pilots] and he was an eyewitness to the horror of seeing them and working with them. Where they actually came from is obviously the subject of debate. But if you look at the timeline with Josef Mengele, he left Auschwitz in January of 1945 and disappeared for a while, and the suggestion by the source is that Mengele had already cut his losses with the Third Reich at that point and was working with Stalin."

On why the Soviets would have undertaken such a hoax

"The plan, according to my source, was to create panic in the United States with this belief that a UFO had landed with aliens inside of it. And one of the most interesting documents is the second CIA director, Walter Bedell Smith, memos back and forth to the National Security Council talking about how the fear is that the Soviets could make a hoax against America involving a UFO and overload our early air-defense warning system, making America vulnerable to an attack." < end snip.

You can read the FULL STORY at NPR HERE.


Super Guppy back in Amarillo --

Photographed Tuesday night flying into Amarillo/Rick Husband International Airport. It is ferrying V-22 fuselages for assembly at the Bell/Textron Plant here.

Click on each photo to enlarge:

Photographed Tuesday night flying into Amarillo/Rick Husband International Airport. It is ferrying V-22 fuselages for assembly at the Bell/Textron Plant here.

Photos by Steve Douglass & Frank Murphy


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

US apache helicopter exchanges fire with Pakistan ...

By MARTHA RADDATZ (@martharaddatz) , NICK SCHIFRIN (@nickschifrin) and LEE FERRAN
May 17, 2011

A U.S. helicopter exchanged fire with Pakistani troops near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan today, resulting in injuries for two Pakistani soldiers, U.S. and Pakistani officials said.

Accounts differ as to what exactly prompted the firefight, but the incident may further strain already fragile relations between the U.S. and Pakistan following the American unilateral military raid deep in Pakistani territory that killed Osama bin Laden May 1.

The U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said U.S. helicopters were in Afghanistan near Forward Operating Base Tillman when they responded to incoming direct and indirect fire from over the border in Pakistan, presumably from militants. The helicopters initially did not return fire, but when a second round of incoming fire began, they did fire in response.

The Pakistani military, however, said that two NATO helicopters caused the incident by violating Pakistani airspace before being fired upon by Pakistani troops.

"We know for sure the [Apache] helicopter was fired upon -- we got rounds inside the helicopter," Campbell said. "The helicopter returned fire and we are working through just exactly what happened... If [American soldiers] are taking effective fire, then by all means they have to take all measures to safeguard themselves and the other people around there."

Pakistan returning stealth helicopter wreckage

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan will return the tail of a U.S. helicopter Tuesday that was damaged during the raid that killed terror leader Osama bin Laden, a move that is part of a process to improve cooperation between the two nations, Sen. John Kerry said.

The helicopter crashed during the raid on the al Qaeda leader's compound May 2.
"I can tell you, an example, tomorrow the tail of the helicopter will be returned to America and we'll take possession of that in a coordinated operation that will take place with them," Kerry, D- Massachusetts, told reporters Monday during a visit to Islamabad. "That's step number one. And there are other steps that will take place immediately.

The one major problem for the Navy SEALs who killed bin Laden was the crash of the helicopter.
In photos of what was left after the SEAL team tried to destroy the aircraft, numerous aviation experts say they saw several telltale signs of stealth technology.
"Had this particular helicopter not crashed, we still would have no idea of its existence," said Gareth Jennings, the aviation desk editor for Jane's Defence Weekly.

The helicopter was left on the ground at the al Qaeda leader's compound during the raid, although the SEALs were able to destroy much of the main body when it became clear it couldn't fly.
But the tail rotor assembly came down on the other side of the compound wall and was left largely intact when the SEALs finished their mission.
Pakistani troops were seen hauling the wreckage away on trucks covered with tarps.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Onion: too funny not to share ...

Liftoff of Space Shuttle Endeavour!

Mon, 16 May 2011 07:56:43 AM CDT

Space shuttle Endeavour and its crew of six astronauts are headed for space, ready to begin their 16-day mission to the International Space Station. The climb to orbit takes about 8 1/2 minutes.

Following a relatively smooth countdown, the weather cooperated leading to an on-time liftoff from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 8:56 a.m. EDT.

NASA TV will air a post-launch news conference at no earlier than 10 a.m. and on the Web at

Friday, May 13, 2011

Taliban throwing temper tantrum in Pakistan ...

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility Friday for suicide attacks on a military training facility in the nation's northwest, saying they were in retaliation for the killing of terror leader Osama bin Laden.

The twin suicide bombings killed at least 80 people, nearly all of them military recruits who had just completed their training, said Bashir Ahmad Bilour, a senior provincial minister. About 140 others were injured.

"Pakistani and the U.S. forces should be ready for more attacks," said Ihsan Ullah Ihsan, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, who accused the Pakistani military of telling the United States where bin Laden was.
"Osama was our great leader and the killers of Osama will have to pay its price," he said.

The Super Guppy can fly!

After being broke down at KAMA the Super Guppy was finally repaired and up in teh air today. It's headed to Ellington.

Video by Ken hanson

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Everyone who believes this story - stand on your head.

Beijing: China today dismissed as "absurd" reports that it had sought access from its all-weather friend Pakistan to the wreckage of the US' secret stealth-modified helicopter, which had crashed during the unilateral American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in his Abbottabad hideout.

Asked about reports that China had either sought access or already seen the wreckage to study the design of the chopper which was for the first time used by the US military, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Jiang Yu, told reporters that it was "absurd," declining to say anything further.

Read more HERE

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Senate Armed Services Committee views bin Laden the death photos

Reuters) - A Republican who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee viewed the death photos of Osama bin Laden on Wednesday and said the pictures -- some gruesome -- leave no doubt the al Qaeda leader is dead.

"Absolutely no question about it. A lot of people out there say 'I want to see the pictures' but I've already seen them. That was him. He's gone. He's history," James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said on CNN.

Inhofe said he saw 15 photographs, nine taken at the scene of the May 2 raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan; three from the U.S.S. Vinson, where bin Laden's body was prepared for burial at sea; and three older photographs to compare for positive identification.

"They're gruesome, of course, because it was taken right after the incident," Inhofe said in a separate interview on Fox News.

Inhofe described some photos that showed brain matter protruding from an eye socket. But the senator, a proponent of releasing the pictures, said he had not changed his mind after viewing them.

Inhofe said he thinks at least two photos from the U.S.S. Vinson showing the body being cleaned should be released because they depict an easily identifiable bin Laden.

"I don't buy this whole concept that's coming out of the White House that you don't want to do this -- you might make the terrorists mad," Inhofe said.

President Barack Obama decided not to release post-mortem photos of bin Laden because doing so could incite violence and be used as an al Qaeda propaganda tool.

The CIA on Tuesday offered to show the photos to members of the House and Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees. Inhofe was the first member of the Senate to take the agency up its offer.

"I really wanted to do it so I could say, yes, I have seen it and to allay any of these concerns that perhaps he was not dead," Inhofe said. "He's dead. He's gone."

(Reporting by JoAnne Allen; editing by Todd Eastham)

Discovery's last flight - a tribute:

Man tries to storm airline cockpit shouting "Allahu Akbar!"

SAN FRANCISCO – The passengers sat stunned as they watched a man walk quickly toward the front of American Airlines Flight 1561 as it was descending toward San Francisco. He was screaming and then began pounding on the cockpit door.

"I kept saying to myself: 'What's he doing? Does he have a bomb? Is he armed?'" passenger Angelina Marty said.

Within moments Sunday, a flight attendant tackled Rageh Almurisi. Authorities do not yet have a motive.

While authorities said that Almurisi, 28, of Vallejo, Calif., has no clear or known ties to terrorism, the incident underscored fears that extremists may try to mount attacks to retaliate for the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden last week.
Federal agents are investigating Almurisi's background. He was carrying a Yemeni passport and a California identification card, authorities said.

Yemen, a nation at the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula, has been a focus of U.S. officials because one of the most active branches of al-Qaida operates in the remote part of the country.

Almurisi went toward the cockpit door 30 minutes before the flight from Chicago was supposed to land on Sunday night, San Francisco airport police Sgt. Michael Rodriguez said. Almurisi was yelling unintelligibly as he brushed past a flight attendant.
Marty, 35, recalled that she and other passengers on the plane were stunned when they saw Almurisi walking down the aisle. She said a woman in a row across from her who speaks Arabic translated that Almurisi said "God is Great!" in Arabic.

Andrew Wai, another passenger, told KGO-TV on Monday that the wife of one of the men who took Almurisi down later said Almurisi was yelling "Allahu Akbar."

"There was no question in everybody's mind that he was going to do something," Marty said.

A male flight attendant tackled Almurisi, and other crew members and passengers, including a retired Secret Service agent and a retired San Mateo police officer, helped subdue him as he banged on the door, police said. The flight attendant put plastic handcuffs on him.

"Everybody was fixated on him," Marty said. "You never think that something like that would happen in your life."

Wai also said Almurisi appeared "fidgety" in his seat when he saw him on the way to the bathroom earlier in the flight.

The Boeing 737 carrying 162 people landed safely at 9:10 p.m. Almurisi was placed into police custody, as some passengers cried.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pakistan worried about their nukes...

Homeland Security warns of "lone-wolf" terror threats

Washington (CNN) -- Lone individuals are the most likely to launch attacks in the United States following the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, according to a joint Department of Homeland Security/FBI bulletin sent to state and local law enforcement.

The advisory says lone offenders who share al Qaeda's ideology are the greatest near-term threat because they are "unburdened by organizational constraints that can slow operational decisions by established terrorist groups."

Individuals could try to attack low-security targets using simple improvised explosive devices or small arms, the message said. However, the May 9 advisory obtained by CNN notes that federal law enforcement officials have "no credible information to suggest that a specifically targeted plot is underway."

The document cited the vow in the al Qaeda statement confirming the death of bin Laden which said "the soldiers of Islam" would continue to plan attacks. The advisory also says over the past year, Inspire magazine -- published in English by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula -- and various jihadi spokesmen have said attacks by individuals "can have a significant impact."

The notice mentions several attacks involving a single perpetrator, including the November 2009 Fort Hood attack that left 13 people dead. Army Major Nidal Hasan is accused in that shooting.
Law enforcement officials have repeatedly warned that plots by lone wolves are the most difficult to detect and disrupt. But the DHS/FBI bulletin urges state and local law enforcement officials to be on the lookout for suspicious activity.

Phone call led to the death of bin Laden ..

By Associated Press, Published: May 2
WASHINGTON — When one of Osama bin Laden’s most trusted aides picked up the phone last year, he unknowingly led U.S. pursuers to the doorstep of his boss, the world’s most wanted terrorist.

That phone call, recounted Sunday by a U.S. official, ended a years-long search for bin Laden’s personal courier, the key break in a worldwide manhunt. The courier, in turn, led U.S. intelligence to a walled compound in northeast Pakistan, where a team of Navy SEALs shot bin Laden to death

The violent final minutes were the culmination of years of intelligence work. Inside the CIA team hunting bin Laden, it always was clear that bin Laden’s vulnerability was his couriers. He was too smart to let al-Qaida foot soldiers, or even his senior commanders, know his hideout. But if he wanted to get his messages out, somebody had to carry them, someone bin Laden trusted with his life.

Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, detainees in the CIA’s secret prison network told interrogators about an important courier with the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti who was close to bin Laden. After the CIA captured al-Qaida’s No. 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he confirmed knowing al-Kuwaiti but denied he had anything to do with al-Qaida.

Then in 2004, top al-Qaida operative Hassan Ghul was captured in Iraq. Ghul told the CIA that al-Kuwaiti was a courier, someone crucial to the terrorist organization. In particular, Ghul said, the courier was close to Faraj al-Libi, who replaced Mohammed as al-Qaida’s operational commander. It was a key break in the hunt for in bin Laden’s personal courier.

“Hassan Ghul was the linchpin,” a U.S. official said.

Finally, in May 2005, al-Libi was captured. Under CIA interrogation, al-Libi admitted that when he was promoted to succeed Mohammed, he received the word through a courier. But he made up a name for the courier and denied knowing al-Kuwaiti, a denial that was so adamant and unbelievable that the CIA took it as confirmation that he and Mohammed were protecting the courier. It only reinforced the idea that al-Kuwaiti was very important to al-Qaida.

If they could find the man known as al-Kuwaiti, they’d find bin Laden.

The revelation that intelligence gleaned from the CIA’s so-called black sites helped kill bin Laden was seen as vindication for many intelligence officials who have been repeatedly investigated and criticized for their involvement in a program that involved the harshest interrogation methods in U.S. history.

“We got beat up for it, but those efforts led to this great day,” said Marty Martin, a retired CIA officer who for years led the hunt for bin Laden.

Mohammed did not discuss al-Kuwaiti while being subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, former officials said. He acknowledged knowing him many months later under standard interrogation, they said, leaving it once again up for debate as to whether the harsh technique was a valuable tool or an unnecessarily violent tactic.

It took years of work before the CIA identified the courier’s real name: Sheikh Abu Ahmed, a Pakistani man born in Kuwait. When they did identify him, he was nowhere to be found. The CIA’s sources didn’t know where he was hiding. Bin Laden was famously insistent that no phones or computers be used near him, so the eavesdroppers at the National Security Agency kept coming up cold.


US was prepared to fight Pakistan forces if they intervened on UBL raid ...


The Obama administration had "very detailed contingency plans" for military action against Pakistani forces if they had tried to stop the U.S. attack on Osama bin Laden's compound, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the plan.
Their names are not disclosed because of the sensitive intelligence information involved.

"No firepower option was off the table" during the Navy SEALs' 38-minute mission on the ground, or during the time U.S. helicopters were in the air, one official told CNN. "We would have done whatever we had to in order to get our men out."
The two U.S. officials also told CNN about the plan if bin Laden had been captured alive, which included taking him to Afghanistan and then out to the USS Carl Vinson in the Arabian Sea.

All of the senior U.S. officials in the White House Situation Room during the assault were prepared to call their Pakistani counterparts if fighting between U.S. and Pakistani forces appeared imminent, one of the officials told CNN. The SEALs at all times retained the right of self-defense, and they could have fired at the Pakistanis to defend themselves.
The risk of retaliation Fmr. CIA director on bin Laden's death

During the time the SEALs were on the ground, while some were inside the compound, others were covertly placed just outside the compound walls to provide perimeter security and keep people away. Some of those SEALs would have been able to speak enough of the local language to communicate with townspeople if they had come across them, one source told CNN.
As the assault on bin Laden's compound commenced, the United States had a number of aircraft flying protective missions. None of the aircraft entered Pakistani airspace, but they were prepared to do so if needed. These included fixed wing fighter jets that would have provided firepower if the team came under opposition fire it could not handle.

Additionally, the Air Force had a full team of combat search and rescue helicopters including MH-53 Pave Low and HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters flying.
The helicopter that came in to replace the crashed stealth helicopter was carrying a battlefield medical team that was flying overhead and ready to land if SEALs were wounded, one of the CNN sources said. That helicopter landed at the compound within about thirty minutes of being called.

U.S. military and intelligence assets were conducting continuous reconnaissance of Pakistani military installations to watch for any indication of movements, but the Pakistani military never responded while the U.S. forces were there, one U.S. official indicated.

NATO jets pound Tripoli ...

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- New NATO airstrikes shook Tripoli on Tuesday after the alliance's secretary-general dismissed complaints that the allied campaign against longtime Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi had fallen into a stalemate.
Meanwhile, an international migration organization said a boat packed with hundreds of refugees trying to flee from Tripoli capsized Friday. Somalia's ambassador to Libya said Tuesday at least 54 Somalis are dead or feared dead.

On the outskirts of al-Brega, a key oil town in the east, three rebels have died in clashes with Gadhafi forces since Monday, according to rebel spokesman Mostafa Bozen and a rebel fighter on the front lines who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity for safety reasons. Rebels have made multiple unsuccessful attempts to enter the town, the sources said.

At least three rounds of explosions echoed across Tripoli, Libya's capital, in a three-hour span that began late Monday and stretched into Tuesday, and the roar of jets could be heard overhead.

Feds announce new wireless phone alert system ...

Federal officials and leaders of the nation’s largest wireless telephone companies are set to announce Tuesday that they’re launching a new mobile telephone emergency alert system by the end of the year in Washington and New York.

The Personal Localized Alerting Network, or PLAN, won’t be available across the rest of the country until April, but top executives from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon are scheduled to join Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Julius Genachowski, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator W. Craig Fugate and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York on Tuesday to announce its availability in the two cities.

A separate announcement will be held in Washington at a later date, according to an FCC spokesman.

“The goal is to make sure that in times of real crisis, real emergency, life-saving information can get to people where they are quickly,” Genachowski said in an interview Monday.

While authorities plan to continue broadcasting messages across the Emergency Alert System on radio and television, Genachowski said PLAN “is a major step in recognizing that more and more people are using their mobile devices to communicate, and that it’s often the fastest way to get information to someone.”

Mobile users who currently own or plan to buy newer smart phones and cell phones sold by the four wireless companies would be able to receive the free, text-like messages that would flash across a telephone’s screen and trigger a special vibration, Genachowski said. Once operational, participating federal, state and local agencies would be able to send information regarding only the most serious alerts — including warnings about natural disasters, terrorist attacks or AMBER Alerts.

Fugate, who has spent most of the last two weeks touring deadly tornado damage in southern states, said the technology would have allowed a Washington resident visiting Alabama who owns a mobile phone with a D.C.-based area code to receive warnings about the impending tornadoes.

“What this allows us to do is have the phone know where it is at that moment, and if a broadcast goes off in that area, it’ll go to all the phones in that area,” Fugate said.

Congress in 2006 ordered the FCC to develop requirements for wireless companies to comply with the new alert system, but provided no funding to state and local agencies to use the system.

Article: Al-Qaeda small men on the wrong side of history ...

Editor's Note: Peter Bergen, CNN's national security analyst, is the director of the national security studies program at the New America Foundation. His latest book is "The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict Between America and al-Qaeda." This article first appeared at

Osama bin Laden long fancied himself something of a poet. His compositions tended to the morbid, and a poem written two years after 9/11 in which he contemplated the circumstances of his death was no exception. Bin Laden wrote, "Let my grave be an eagle's belly, its resting place in the sky's atmosphere amongst perched eagles."
As it turns out, bin Laden's grave is somewhere at the bottom of the Arabian Sea, to which his body was consigned after his death in Pakistan at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs.

If there is poetry in bin Laden's end, it is the poetry of justice, and it calls to mind what President George W. Bush had predicted would happen in a speech he gave to Congress just nine days after 9/11. In an uncharacteristic burst of eloquence, Bush asserted that bin Laden and al-Qaeda would eventually be consigned to "history's unmarked grave of discarded lies," just as communism and Nazism had been before them.

Though bin Laden's body may have been buried at sea on May 2, the burial of bin Ladenism has been a decade in the making. Indeed, it began on the very day of bin Laden's greatest triumph. At first glance, the 9/11 assault looked like a stunning win for al-Qaeda, a ragtag band of jihadists who had bloodied the nose of the world's only superpower. But on closer look it became something far less significant, because the attacks on Washington and New York City did not achieve bin Laden's key strategic goal: the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Middle East, which he imagined would lead to the collapse of all the American-backed authoritarian regimes in the region.

Instead, the opposite happened: The U.S. invaded and occupied first Afghanistan and then Iraq. By attacking the American mainland and inviting reprisal, al-Qaeda, which means "the base" in Arabic, lost the best base it had ever had: Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. In this sense, 9/11 was similar to another surprise attack, that on Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941, a stunning tactical victory that set in motion events that would end in the defeat of imperial Japan.

Shrewder members of bin Laden's inner circle had warned him before 9/11 that antagonizing the United States would be counterproductive, and internal al-Qaeda memos written after the fall of the Taliban and later recovered by the U.S. military show that some of bin Laden's followers fully understood the folly of the attacks. In 2002 an al-Qaeda insider wrote to another, saying, "Regrettably, my brother ... during just six months, we lost what we built in years."

The responsibility for that act of hubris lies squarely with bin Laden. Despite his reputation for shyness and diffidence, he ran al-Qaeda as a dictatorship. His son Omar recalls that the men who worked for his father had a habit of requesting permission before they spoke with their leader, saying, "Dear prince, may I speak?"

Joining al-Qaeda meant taking a personal religious oath of allegiance to bin Laden, just as joining the Nazi Party had required swearing personal fealty to the Führer. So bin Laden's group became just as much a hostage to its leader's flawed strategic vision as the Nazis were to Hitler's.

The key to understanding this vision and all of bin Laden's actions was his utter conviction that he was an instrument of God's will. In short, he was a religious zealot. That zealotry first revealed itself when he was a teenager. Khaled Batarfi, a soccer-playing buddy of bin Laden's on the streets of Jidda, Saudi Arabia, where they both grew up, remembers his solemn friend praying seven times a day (two more than mandated by Islamic convention) and fasting twice a week in imitation of the Prophet Muhammad. For entertainment, bin Laden would assemble a group of friends at his house to chant songs about the liberation of Palestine.

Bin Laden's religious zeal was colored by the fact that his family had made its vast fortune as the principal contractor renovating the holy sites of Mecca and Medina, which gave him a direct connection to Islam's holiest places. In his early 20s, bin Laden worked in the family business; he was a priggish young man who was also studying economics at a university.

His destiny would change with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979. The Afghan war prompted the billionaire's son to launch an ambitious plan to confront the Soviets with a small group of Arabs under his command. That group eventually provided the nucleus of al-Qaeda, which bin Laden founded in 1988 as the war against the Soviets began to wind down. The purpose of al-Qaeda was to take jihad to other parts of the globe and eventually to the U.S., the nation he believed was leading a Western conspiracy to destroy true Islam. In the 1990s bin Laden would often describe America as "the head of the snake."

Jamal Khalifa, his best friend at the university in Jidda and later also his brother-in-law, told me bin Laden was driven not only by a desire to implement what he saw as God's will but also by a fear of divine punishment if he failed to do so. So not defending Islam from what he came to believe was its most important enemy would be disobeying God, something he would never do.

In 1997, when I was a producer for CNN, I met with bin Laden in eastern Afghanistan to film his first television interview. He struck me as intelligent and well-informed, someone who comported himself more like a cleric than like the revolutionary he was quickly becoming. His followers treated bin Laden with great deference, referring to him as "the sheik," and hung on his every pronouncement.
During the course of that interview, bin Laden laid out his rationale for his plan to attack the U.S., whose support for Israel and the regimes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt made it, in his mind, the enemy of Islam. Bin Laden also explained that the U.S. was as weak as the Soviet Union had been, and he cited the American withdrawal from Vietnam in the 1970s as evidence for this view. He poured scorn on the notion that the U.S. thought of itself as a superpower "even after all these successive defeats."

That would turn out to be a dangerous delusion, which would culminate in bin Laden's death at the hands of the same U.S. soldiers he had long disparaged as weaklings. Now that he is gone, there will inevitably be some jockeying to succeed him. A U.S. counterterrorism official told me that there was "no succession plan in place" to replace bin Laden. While the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri had long been his deputy, he is not the natural, charismatic leader that bin Laden was. U.S. officials believe that al-Zawahiri is not popular with his colleagues, and they hope there will be disharmony and discord as the militants sort out the succession.

As they do so, the jihadists will be mindful that their world has passed them by. The al-Qaeda leadership, its foot soldiers and its ideology played no role in the series of protests and revolts that have rolled across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunisia to Egypt and then on to Bahrain, Yemen and Libya. Bin Laden must have watched these events unfold with a mixture of excitement and deep worry.

Overthrowing the dictatorships and monarchies of the Middle East was long his central goal, but the Arab revolutions were not the kind he had envisioned. Protesters in the streets of Tunis and Cairo didn't carry placards with pictures of bin Laden's face, and the Facebook revolutionaries who launched the uprisings represent everything al-Qaeda hates: they are secular, liberal and anti-authoritarian, and their ranks include women. The eventual outcome of these revolts will not be to al-Qaeda's satisfaction either, because almost no one in the streets of Egypt, Libya or Yemen is clamoring for the imposition of a Taliban-style theocracy, al-Qaeda's preferred end for the states in the region.

Between the Arab Spring and the death of bin Laden, it is hard to imagine greater blows to al-Qaeda's ideology and organization. President Barack Obama has characterized al-Qaeda and its affiliates as "small men on the wrong side of history." For al-Qaeda, that history just sped up, as bin Laden's body floated down into the ocean deeps and its proper place in the unmarked grave of discarded lies.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Enhanced bin Laden stealth helicopter tail boom photos

click to enlarge

I thought I'd do a little enhancement work on a large image of the secret stealth helicopter used in the Osama bin Laden raid. Applying a few filters I was really able to pull out the details. Note how much bigger it looks than a regular Blackhawk tail as in this photo HERE
and HERE.

Click to enlarge each photo.

PHOTO OF H60 tail with human for scale.

S-76 with separated tail rotor for size comparison.

-Steve Douglass

Red Squadron killed Osama bin Laden: Navy Times

By Sean D. Naylor - Staff writer

The SEALs who assaulted Osama bin Laden’s compound were drawn from Naval Special Warfare Development Group’s Red Squadron, according to several sources in the special operations community.

DevGru, as the Development Group is usually known, is the Naval Special Warfare Command’s “Tier 1” special mission unit, the Navy equivalent of the Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment — Delta, or Delta Force. It includes four line squadrons: Blue, Gold, Red and the recently-formed Silver Squadrons, a recently retired SEAL officer said. In addition, DevGru, sometimes known by its original name of SEAL Team 6, has a strategic reconnaissance element named Black Squadron, which is “a whole different animal,” he said.

Red Squadron was picked for the mission because it was ready at DevGru’s Dam Neck, Va., headquarters and available for tasking. “It was Red Squadron,” the recently retired SEAL officer said. “They were not on alert and they weren’t deployed.”

Like the other line squadrons, Red Squadron has about 50 operators, “of which they picked about half of them for this thing,” he added.

What has Osama bin watching?

Many people have been curious to what the dead terrorist osama bin Laden has been watching on his TV.

Click on this LINK to find out and then change the channel by adding your own YouTube video link.

Endeavour's Launch Set for Monday ...

Mon, 09 May 2011 02:40:11 PM CDT

NASA managers have set the liftoff of space shuttle Endeavour for 8:56 a.m. EDT on Monday, May 16. Space Shuttle Program Launch Integration Manager Mike Moses and Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach announced the date at a news briefing Monday from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The crew members for space shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission are Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Gregory H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori.

During the 16-day mission, Endeavour and its crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and spare parts including two S-band communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank and additional spare parts for Dextre

Pakistan bent on interfering with CIA ops after bin Laden raid

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — For the second time in five months, the Pakistani authorities have angered the Central Intelligence Agency by leaking the name of the C.I.A. station chief in Islamabad to Pakistani news media, a deliberate effort to complicate the work of the American spy agency in the aftermath of the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, American officials said.

"After our raid, some defiance was to be expected regarding our not informing them. But the lengths to which the Prime Minister went to avoid taking any blame but rather shifting it all to the US, is unbelievable."

The publication of the name demonstrated the tilt toward a near adversarial relationship between the C.I.A. and the Pakistani spy agency, the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate, or ISI, since the Bin Laden raid. It appeared to be intended to show the leverage the Pakistanis retain over American interests in the country, both sides said.

In an address before Parliament on Monday, Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani made clear that Pakistani officials at the highest levels accepted little responsibility for the fact that Bin Laden was able to hide in their country for years.

Instead, he obliquely criticized the United States as having driven Bin Laden into Pakistan, condemned its violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and called the Qaeda leader’s presence in Pakistan an intelligence failure of the “whole world.”

He said it was “disingenuous” for anyone to imply that the ISI or the army was “in cahoots” with Bin Laden, something American officials suspect but say they have no proof of.

The prime minister’s statements, along with the publication of the name of the C.I.A. station chief, signaled the depths of the recriminations and potential for retaliation on both sides as American officials demand greater transparency and cooperation from Pakistan, which has not been forthcoming.

The Pakistani spy agency gave the name of the station chief to The Nation, a conservative daily newspaper, American and Pakistani officials said.

The name appeared spelled incorrectly but in a close approximation to a phonetic spelling in Saturday’s editions of The Nation, a paper with a small circulation that is supportive of the ISI. The ISI commonly plants stories in the Pakistani media and is known to keep some journalists on its payroll.

Last December, American officials said the cover of the station chief at the time was deliberately revealed by the ISI. As a result, he was forced to leave the country.

In that case, the name of the station chief appeared in at least one Pakistani newspaper, including The News, a widely circulated English language paper. Subsequently, a Pakistani lawyer representing a family of victims of an American drone strike against militants in the tribal region included the name in a legal complaint sent to the Pakistani police.

From that exposure, the station chief received death threats and quickly left the country, Obama administration officials said.

The new station chief had no intention of leaving Pakistan, American officials said. The New York Times generally does not identify American intelligence operatives working undercover.

Described as one of the agency’s toughest and most experienced officers, the current station chief supervised aspects of the successful raid against Bin Laden, including the C.I.A. safe house used to spy on the compound where Bin Laden lived for five years.

The safe house was located close enough to the compound at Abbottabad for C.I.A. agents to gather details of the daily life of the Qaeda leader that helped the planning for the operation, Obama administration officials said.

The relationship between the new station chief and the head of the ISI, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, has been described as particularly acrimonious by officials familiar with their meetings.

The two men first clashed over the case of Raymond A. Davis, a C.I.A. contractor who killed two Pakistanis in January during an attempted robbery. He was detained by Pakistan for more than a month, despite arguments from the Obama administration that he was protected by diplomatic immunity.

The killing of Bin Laden, and suggestions by the Obama administration that officials in the ISI may have known his whereabouts and provided him support, have infuriated General Pasha, Pakistani officials said.

General Pasha, and the chief of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, were humiliated that the United States had deliberately not warned Pakistan of the raid, they said.


Friday, May 6, 2011

al Qaeda promises retaliation - so - show us the photos.

CNN) -- Saber-rattling al Qaeda warnings against the United States emerged Friday as Osama bin Laden's killing yielded a trove of ominous intelligence, including details about a possible attack on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Al Qaeda, the bin Laden terror network that masterminded the deadly attack on the U.S. 10 years ago, confirmed its leader's death on Friday in a Web statement, using that opportunity to taunt and threaten the United States.

"Sheikh Osama didn't build an organization that will vanish with his death or fades away with his departure," according to the statement, which CNN could not independently authenticate.

Al Qaeda statement on bin Laden's death
The statement, which congratulates the "Islamic Nation on the martyrdom of their devoted son Osama," repeated themes and threats made over the years in al Qaeda statements, before and after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
"The blood of the mujahed sheikh, Osama bin Laden, may God have mercy on him, is very dear to us and more precious to us and to every Muslim from being shed in vain," the statement said. A mujahed is defined as a Muslim engaged in what he considers to be jihad.

Bin Laden's terror files Ridge: New al Qaeda plot 'no surprise' Al Qaeda confirms bin Laden death Protesters want U.S. out of Pakistan

"This blood will be a curse that will chase the Americans and their agents, a curse that will pursue them inside and outside their country, and soon -- with God's help -- we pray that their happiness turns into sorrow and may their blood mix with their tears and let Sheikh Osama's resonate again."

Bill Sweetman talks about secret stealth helicopter

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Today's excerpt from "The Interceptors Club & the Secret of the Black Manta.

“I just monitored Cherokee Control talking to Albuquerque Center. They said they wanted all civilian aircraft diverted from the area by order of the Department of Homeland Security - said they were sending armed fighters to an area just north of Roswell to shoot down a terrorist aircraft.”

Convair swore.

“I’ve got to get a hold of Scarlet and tell him to stand down the fighters. They don’t know Stanley is onboard and that we are in control.”

Convair grabbed his cell phone and dialed Scarlet’s private number. Again he swore as he threw his cell phone across the room.

“What’s wrong?” Meinrad said barely ducking in time to keep from getting hit by the flying phone.

“All circuits are busy!” Convair yelled. Did anyone ever tell you how much I HATE cell phones?”

“So what do we do now?” Meinrad said. “If they see him, they’ll shoot him down.”


Static watched from his high perch well above the military action going on below. He felt almost godlike, watching the world from on high.

Convair’s voice crackled in Static’s headset, startling him.

“Static, do you copy?” Convair asked.

“You have any ideas yet?” Static replied.

“We’ve got a new problem. Fighters are headed your way – to shoot you down.” Convair said.




Blog Widget by LinkWithin