Jun 202012
 

For those not in the know the SOF community calls the recovery of personnel from hostile territory Special Recovery Operations or SRO. SRO jobs are usually conducted by a nation’s most highly trained personnel. Why? Because they involve a lot of complex parts: long range comms, isolated recon teams, sophisticated intel gathering, high-end aviation assets and highly trained door kickers. Millions of dollars of assets and the nation’s finest are all focused on this one type of very ‘special’ operation.

One of the hostages recovered by UK and US SOF.

One of the hostages recovered by UK and US SOF.

The recent recovery in Afghanistan of a bunch of UK NGO workers by UK  and US SOF has got me thinking. Do stupid fuckers really deserve to be rescued? I mean, dumb arses that venture -with no security- into areas that allow them to be captured by bad guys. The prime candidates are usually journos but NGO’s and battlefield tourists are also serial offenders. Yeah I get executing a SRO for a downed pilot, or even a kidnapped government worker, but what about the people who really don’t need to be in harms way? Are the lives of SOF operators worth risking just to keep one more self-righteous idiot in the gene pool? I know what Charles Darwin would say…

Toy figurines that are probably not suitable for conducting 'actual' SRO.

Operators will follow orders, they’ll put their lives on the line time and time again without question. They’ll argue that everyone needs to be rescued, that the kidnappers need to be found, fixed and finished. It’s a moral dilemma; put soldiers in harms way to recover some self-absorbed dick head gallivanting around in a high risk area or let him have his head hacked off on the internet. The default response is usually to bring it back to the bad guys, bang in, shoot the fuckers in the face and send a message to all potential hostage takers – you will be slotted if you try this shit! But we also need to think about the risk associated with sending men deep into hostile territory to pull someone out who’s own stupidity resulted in their capture.

Maybe it's better to let special kids hang out together?

Hopefully a few journos, NGOs and the like read this little diatribe and pause in thought. You may think you’re a bit of a hero for chasing the story or visiting the war zone but also spare a thought for the families of the men sent in to recover the retards. Don’t take risks that might end up claiming the lives of our nation’s finest.

Jack

 

Nov 232011
 

A team of SF operators is postured outside a compound in downtown Kandahar. Intel has led them this far; inside the compound is a Taliban commander responsible for numerous civilian and military casualties. It’s unknown who else are inside with him; heavily armed fighters, a suicide bomber, or innocent women and children? One of the operators rips a device the size of a book from a pouch and flicks it open. He takes out a tiny 15 gram nano-UAV, snaps the rotor blade onto the body and throws it in the air. It shoots up and over the mud-brick wall, the onboard camera beaming a clear picture back to the screen in his hands. Unseen it silently zips past four armed guards in front of the main building and enters through an open window. Inside a group of men are holding a shura. The target has been identified! With a crump the team breaches the compound and rapidly overwhelms the security detail. They make a bee-line for the room containing the target. Moments later the dust has settled and the objective is zip-tied, hooded and ready for processing.

Sounds like something straight out of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare right? Wrong, it’s the not so distant future for UK SF. The Ministry of Defence has just awarded a contract to Prox Dynamics to provide lightweight nano-UAVs for urgent deployment to Afghanistan.

The device selected is the PD-100 Personal Reconnaissance System and comes packaged inside a base station that holds three UAVs and weighs less than kilo.  The idea is an operator can fly one of these UAVs into a building to identify civilians, terrorists, IEDs or other threats.

It’s still early days for this technology and although the MoD contract specifies Night Vision this is yet to be featured on the PD-100. However GPS navigation and a live-video feed in a matchbox-sized package is impressive and it’s only a matter of time before these are able to see in the dark. Odds are they’re going to get even smaller, not to mention that basic reconnaissance is just the beginning. I’ll wager we’ll eventually see miniature payloads for tracking or listening devices, and maybe even a Mossad-style chemical injection weapon for a standoff offensive capability. Yeah large unmanned platforms have been the focus for development over the last decade but expect to hear a lot more about nano-UAVs.

Til next time,

Jack

Oct 182011
 

Seriously what is the counter-terrorism world coming to? In the past few weeks I have seen two incidents of political f#cktardism that puts lives at risk.  Number one, two British citizens are caught red handed in Afghanistan planning to return to Britain and commit acts of terrorism. What does the British Government decide to do? Theresa May, the Home Secretary decides that the safest option is to set them free in Afghanistan because legally they can’t extradite them to London without handing them over to the Afghans, who will torture them. Number two, over in Israel, 1027 prisoners are exchanged for one Israeli soldier. 315 of those prisoners were serving life sentences for some of the most bloody acts of terrorism ever committed in Israel. WOW! That’s not going to encourage the kidnapping of more Israeli soldiers. It’s like a 1000 for one deal at WALMART, extremists are gonna be queuing up  like Apple fans at an iPad 3 launch.

No shit the Western world seems to be running some sort of twisted terrorist catch and release program. Organizations like MI6 and Mossad are working their arses off to catch these guys, and Special Ops guys, like the SAS team that captured the two Brits, are putting their lives on the line – and all for what? So some limp wristed politician – scared of lawyers and more concerned about the democratic popularity contest than actually leading a nation – can throw it all away and release the bastards.

I’ve got news for you guys! This isn’t not going to look good when shopping centres start exploding and the body bags start piling up. Oh and don’t think that the hard working CT guys aren’t going to turn around and link this back to your flaccid decisions. But that won’t matter will it! Innocent lives will be lost but rest assured these fat cat decision makers won’t be held accountable – nope it will be another intelligence failure.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the Brits want due legal process, that’s what separates us from the radical extremist rabble right? However the simple truth is they’re making the situation worse. I can guarantee that the next British terrorists the SAS catch overseas won’t be captured alive. Mossad and Shin Bet are hardly going to bag guys so politicians can release them. Kill/Capture will become KILL/capture with an extra emphasis on extra-judicial killing. I’ve seen this happen before, the judicial system fails and suddenly the operators get a little more liberal in the application of Rules Of Engagement. Can you fault them? No, they’re not going to put their lives on the line so weak gutted politicians can release scum bags at the drop of a hat.

The big question is what would PRIMAL do? For sure they’d clean up the mess – I mean their whole self-imposed mandate is to step in where governments fail. Fail to act, fail to care and fail in their responsibility to the weak and innocent. Without having to adhere to political legislation and international law, PRIMAL has no limits. So two British terrorists would be found face down in the dirt with 338 size holes in their heads. Maybe even a USB drive in a pocket with all the details of their intended terrorist campaign. 300 convicted terrorists might even be freed, but they’re probably going to be GPS chipped and wearing I love the CIA T-shirts. Hell if you’re going to release them, you may as well use the opportunity to track the entire organisation and sow some doubts amongst the ranks.

If you want to follow the PRIMAL team and understand their motives and capabilities, check out my recently released novel, PRIMAL Unleashed.

OK, enough ranting, til next time,

Jack