So, we we're checking out this piece published today over at Wired news titled "CIA Drone Targeting Tech Revealed, Al Qaeda Claims."
It says that the ranks of terrorists and insurgents in Afghanistan are being decimated by unmanned aircraft; this appears to affirm a comment made by CIA director Leon Panetta in May: ""Very Frankly (UAVs) are the only game in town in terms of confronting and trying to disrupt Al Qaeda leadership."
The Wired piece adds that said UAVs -- at least according to a certain Taliban commander (a "bad-guy-in- charge") -- are guided to their targets using, amongst other things, SIM cards surreptitiously added to militant cell phones, planted 9V-battery-powered infrared beacons, or other presumably small, plant-able homing devices.
Of course, the article ends with mention of an alleged program "backfire" of sorts.
We read of the confession (prior to his alleged execution) of a 19 year old, U.S.-paid, presumably Pakistani "planter" of homing devices who says that since he needed money, he started "throwing the (homing) chips all over."
So, we are led to believe that perhaps the planter placed "chips" on the wrong people and correspondingly, that perhaps the wrong people have been killed by UAVs on occasion.
Here's our take on all this:
- Sure, if we were looking to perform precision, surprise attacks on certain bad guys, then yes we might enlist "insider" individuals on the ground to plant a "means" which might "light-the-way" to a particular target. But would we use a 19 year old dude? No, we'd use people already long-since proved reliable; this means we're probably talking people aged anywhere from 30-65, old enough to suggest they may have some kind of pre-war track-record with us.
- We suspect that once diplomatic arrangements with Pakistani leadership were made (probably years ago), the U.S. began to operate there with free reign -- at least in the areas adjacent to Afghanistan. Our move in to eastern Pakistan likely began with psyop communications to encourage the non-combatant population of the area to leave. We then employed thermal imaging and certain satellite-based technology to assess the remaining population, a population that obviously had some reason for sticking around. We then "eliminated" said population -- at least those who were revealed as armed and assembling. And of course the U.S. naturally killed some non-combatants as a result.
- Which is where we come back to our 19 year old dude again. He is actually one of a number of "fall guys" we have "cast" to cover our asses over there. He's depicted as money-motivated enough to place his (targeting) "chips" on as many parties/locations as possible, combatant or no; therefore when innocents in eastern Pakistan are killed by U.S. UAVs, the 19 year old and others like him serve as plausible culprits. (Was he ultimately captured and executed by the "Taliban?" We say don't count on it. He's probably alive and well taking college courses in the States under a new identity)