Do or die

Dolls, thick trees, and “general confusion methods”: Al Qaeda’s tips for how not to get killed by a drone

February 22, 2013
February 22, 2013

The United States government has claimed both symbolic and strategic victories from using drone aircraft in their war on terrorism. The CIA and military have flown thousands of surveillance missions and made hundreds of bombing strikes assassinating thousands of militants, and at times–inadvertently–civilians. The militants, it turns out, were making preparations of their own.

A 22-point list detailing tactics and countermeasures to take against suspected drone operations was found by the Associated Press in a building previously occupied by Al Qaeda of the Islamic Maghreb. According to the AP, the list was originally published to an jihadist forum two years ago. This is the AP’s slightly clunky translation; it also provides the original document in arabic (pdf).

  1. It is possible to know the intention and the mission of the drone by using the Russian made “sky grabber” device to infiltrate the drone’s waves and the frequencies. The device is available in the market for $2,595 and the one who operates it should be a computer know-how.
  2. Using devices that broadcast frequencies or pack of frequencies to disconnect the contacts and confuse the frequencies used to control the drone. The Mujahideen have had successful experiments using the Russian-made “Racal.”
  3. Spreading reflective pieces of glass on a car or on the roof of the building.
  4. Placing a group of skilled snipers to hunt the drone, especially the reconnaissance ones because they fly low, about six kilometers or less.
  5. Jamming of and confusing of electronic communication using the ordinary water-lifting dynamo fitted with a 30-meter copper pole.
  6. Jamming of and confusing of electronic communication using old equipment and keeping them 24-hour running because of their strong frequencies and it is possible using simple ideas of deception of equipment to attract the electronic waves devices similar to that used by the Yugoslav army when they used the microwave (oven) in attracting and confusing the NATO missiles fitted with electromagnetic searching devices.
  7. Using general confusion methods and not to use permanent headquarters.
  8. Discovering the presence of a drone through well-placed reconnaissance networks and to warn all the formations to halt any movement in the area.
  9. To hide from being directly or indirectly spotted, especially at night.
  10. To hide under thick trees because they are the best cover against the planes.
  11. To stay in places unlit by the sun such as the shadows of the buildings or the trees.
  12. Maintain complete silence of all wireless contacts.
  13. Disembark of vehicles and keep away from them especially when being chased or during combat.
  14. To deceive the drone by entering places of multiple entrances and exits.
  15. Using underground shelters because the missiles fired by these planes are usually of the fragmented anti-personnel and not anti-buildings type.
  16. To avoid gathering in open areas and in urgent cases, use building of multiple doors or exits.
  17. Forming anti-spies groups to look for spies and agents.
  18. Formation of fake gatherings such as using dolls and statues to be placed outside false ditches to mislead the enemy.
  19. When discovering that a drone is after a car, leave the car immediately and everyone should go in different direction because the planes are unable to get after everyone.
  20. Using natural barricades like forests and caves when there is an urgent need for training or gathering.
  21. In frequently targeted areas, use smoke as cover by burning tires.
  22. As for the leaders or those sought after, they should not use communications equipment because the enemy usually keeps a voice tag through which they can identify the speaking person and then locate him.

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