However they work, the use of such techniques was actually quite well-known already. In early 2007, for instance, five Taliban prisoners were released by the Afghan government in exchange for an Italian journalist who was being held hostage. The move was seen at the time as a humiliating setback for the Coalition forces, but in fact it was a targeted intelligence operation. One of the released prisoners was Mullah Shah Mansoor, the brother of top Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah.
Mansoor was tracked by a US spec-ops formation referred to as "Task Force Orange" - possibly a current operating name for the organisation variously known as the US Army Intelligence Support Activity, the "Army of Northern Virginia" etc etc. The Activity has long had a policy of changing its name every so often, and has operated in the past under such names as "Grey Fox", "Centra Spike", "Torn Victor" etc. The organisation focuses on intelligence - on finding and monitoring enemies - rather than carrying out direct action killings itself. Such jobs are usually handed on to US "tier one" spec-ops teams from Delta Force or DevGru (what was once SEAL Team Six), or trusted allies like the British special forces.
Having remotely tracked the released Mansoor to a Taliban base across the border at Quetta in Pakistan, the US knob-turners then reportedly became interested in a particular satellite phone - the one belonging to Mullah Dadullah himself. Dadullah apparently thought this phone to be clean, but it seems that merely carrying it to a meeting with his newly freed brother was enough to flag it up. As soon as Dadullah went back across the border into Afghanistan, he could be attacked - and was. A squadron of Britain's Special Boat Service (SBS) special forces, accompanied by Afghan troops, assaulted Dadullah's compound at Bahram Chah in the south of Helmand province during May 2007. Dadullah was shot dead - receiving two bullets to the body (a classic special forces "double-tap") and one to the head, hinting perhaps that nobody was especially interested in taking prisoners.
Mick Smith, telling the story for the Times (the gaff was originally blown by the Afghan government, apparently) merely said that TF-Orange had used "sophisticated signals technology to monitor Mansoor’s movements".
However, the website specialboatservice.co.uk - which has connections with a former SBS covert operator, mercenary and novelist who writes under the name Duncan Falconer - says:
It is speculated that the [released] Taliban had somehow been tagged with trackers, perhaps in their bodies.
This tends to suggest the more-feasible sounding miniature implant theory on the new kit, rather than unique body heat-signatures or whatever - which in any case would seem unlikely to work through walls. Teeny-tiny tracker technology has certainly been in use for some time by British secret forces, though usually placed inside cached weapons and suchlike (the slang term in Northern Ireland for this was "jarking" - with the weapons usually being sabotaged as well). Of course, it may be that the men's clothes or other personal items were bugged rather than they themselves.
Just people-tracking might seem a little basic to be referred to as a "Manhattan Project", unless it had some other special sauce as well. It's surely also true that there have been new developments in mobile phone trickery, airborne surveillance and - probably even more importantly - in bringing together information from many different sources in a timely fashion. But following individuals remotely, en masse, relatively inexpensively and without needing to put large teams of followers on the ground - that might be a real game changer.
It might also be something to worry about in a civil-liberties context, if it really does operate as described.
However the new stuff works, it would seem that terrorists or other malcontents on the run from sinister US government agencies in future may soon need to don their trusty tinfoil hats, garments etc. not so much to keep out federal/alien mindcontrol rays as to keep in the transmissions from possible implanted bugs.
A case of enemies within the enemy within, as it were. Or it might just be a lot of hype. ®
@ This would be excellent
"If they're going to be cowards and use remote IEDs and wear civilian clothes, they deserve "death from the sky" (or anywhere else) as much as possible."
Where, exactly, on the scale of bravery would you place "sitting on a metal island, 200 miles of shore and launching cruise missiles"? For that matter, what's so brave about sitting in an air-conditioned room just ouside of Vegas and killing people on the other side of the world with a remote-controlled aeroplane?
We (US & UK) did the same during WWII and they were "brave resistance fighters" but don't let a little thing like the facts stop you enjoying a good bit of US exceptionalist proganda.
We've seen this concept in a past story
As I remember from a Reg story a couple of months ago, there was some tech being tested where you tag your own soldiers and then be able to call up their position in case they need evac or for whatever other reasons.
Then came the deluge of comments about EM emissions being easily trackable and so on.
Then came the slightly more illuminated posters theorizing a system where the exact frequencies and protocols needed to tell the tags to shout "Ere I Am!!!!" to friendlies and enemies alike are kept secret.
Permit me to take the fruits of our past discussion and build on them here.
Immagine that same system used to tag the friendlies and instead you tag the released terrorists in exchange for some hostages. They might have been sedated in their sleep and implanted with tiny transmitters complete with a tiny Lithium battery and tiny capacitor. This device would sit silent and listen for a trigger to be received via RF signal. The signal would contain a code specifically for that device and unique to it. It would then respond with a burst of "Ere I Am" on a specific frequency, maybe a particularly congested one to better blend into background, but would be discernable from it due to the pulse conforming to some predefined algorithm. (Who knows what microcomputing tech the spooks already have access to).
You'd say the battery won't last long...... But if it does its job, the host will have been obliterated by Predator-fired missile long before that becomes an issue.
You'd think you'd feel an implant but consider how many times you've heard of tumors growing to grapefruit size before being noticed by the host?
Not saying it's true, merely possible and plausible.
my theory on dinosaurs
and mine alone ...
would have something to do with gait analysis and 3d radar using cellular radiation.