Thursday, May 10, 2012

Usama bin Laden Letters

Straying a little. Not too far though because it's about bin Laden, a man that took up a great deal of Kirk von Ackermann's time and efforts as an intelligence officer in counter terrorism at DO5.

The Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point recently released a series of letters found with Osama bin Laden. Several of the letters discuss matters in regards to hostages - including bin Laden's own daughter Fatima, held by Iran.

In one letter, the author makes reference to French hostages. There is a curious discrepancy and I am not sure what to make of it.

Letters from Abbottabad: Bin Ladin Sidelined?
Authors: Nelly Lahoud, Stuart Caudill, Liam Collins, Gabriel Koehler-Derrick, Don Rassler, Muhammad al-`Ubaydi
Harmony Program The Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point
May 3, 2012
PDF file of the Report - 64 pages
PDF file of the Letters English
PDF file of the letters Arabic
The document in question is letter SOCOM-2012-0000010 said to be dated April 26, 2011. The author of the letter refers to a French ‘woman’ who is held hostage by the Islamic Maghreb. Seven people, including a husband and wife, were abducted by Islamic Maghreb in Niger near a uranium mine on September 16, 2010. Francoise Larribe is the wife of one of the French workers – she was released February 24, 2011. Her plight as a hostage received media attention as she had cancer and needed medications.

By April 26, 2011, two months after her release, the author of the Letter SOCOM-2012-0000010 should have known she was free. Her release was well-publicized including a visit to meet with French President Nicholas Sarkozy with whom she was photographed on February 27, 2011 at the Elysee Palace.

Summary of the Letter

From: Abu `Abdallah (Usama bin Ladin)
To: Shaykh Mahmud/`Atiyya
Date: Monday, 22 Jumadi al-Awwal 1432 (25 April 2011)

This letter is authored by “Abu `Abdallah” (Usama bin Ladin), addressed to “Shaykh Mahmud” (`Atiyya) and dated 26 April 2011 – a week before bin Ladin’s death [May 2, 2011]. In it, Bin Ladin outlines his response to the “Arab Spring,” proposing two different strategies. The first strategy pertains to the Arab World and entails “inciting people who have not yet revolted and exhort[ing] them to rebel against the rulers (khuruj ‘ala al-hukkam)”; the second strategy concerns Afghanistan and it entails continuing to evoke the obligation of jihad there. The letter also makes reference to a wide variety of topics including: the scarcity of communications from Iraq, “the brothers coming from Iran,” and hostages held by “our brothers in the Islamic Maghreb” and in Somalia. The document also briefly discusses Bin Ladin’s sons, his courier, Shaykh Abu Muhammad (Ayman al-Zawahiri), and other individuals of interest.
English Translation of the Passage in the Letter
As far as the French hostages with our brothers in the Islamic Maghreb, I want to warn that the atmosphere after the French standing towards the Libyan people does not condone killing the French, due to what will follow of negative reflections, after it became evident that most of the common people are supporting Sarkozy, so if we need to kill them then that should be after the end of Libyan events and their developments, and the better benefit as far as I see is to exchange the woman with the best that would benefit you and the brothers there, as far as the men, if the brothers can wait, then they should keep them until the elections, and if that is difficult then they should exchange half of them and keep the other half which should be the higher ranking and the more important ones, and if that also is difficult then they should at a minimum keep the most important man of them till the French elections, and it is better that the negotiations not be public and that they place a time limit on it so that the French do not postpone the exchange till the elections (TN: possibly after the elections) so that it's a winning card in their hands, even though the remaining period to the election is not that short.
From what has been written about bin Laden, he had access to news reports. There are photos of him watching television. Assuming bin Laden was the author, how did he not know Francoise Larribe was no longer a hostage and already released?

A random article about the hostages that I believe are the same 'French hostages' cited in the letter above.

French hostages mark one year in captivity
AFP, September 16, 2011
Seven people were kidnapped in Niger on September 16, 2010 by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. As the four remaining French hostages mark their first anniversary in captivity, unrest in neighbouring Libya complicates negotiations for their release.

On September 16 last year, seven people were snatched by the radical group Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Arlit, a uranium mining town in northern Niger.

Among them was a senior employee with the French mining group Areva and his wife. The other five, employed by an Areva subcontractor, included three Frenchmen as well as a Togolese and a Malagasy.

On February 24, the woman and the two Africans were released at a desert spot close to where the borders of Niger, Mali and Algeria meet.

However Daniel Larribe, Thierry Dole, Marc Feret and Pierre Legrand are still being held by AQIM and their families are demanding more tangible efforts to secure their release.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

DO5 Puzzle

It's bugging me.

What does "DO5" stand for?

(U) JFIC's Asymmetric Threat Division (DO5)

(U) In 1999, the JFIC created the Asymmetric Threat Division (DO5) to take a non-traditional approach to analysis. The Director of Operations recruited JFIC personnel from the command based upon their counterintelligence and counterterrorism expertise. The DO5 provided current intelligence briefings and produced the Worldwide Terrorist Threat Summary in support of the USJFCOM Intelligence staff. The DO5 also provided support to the Joint Task Force-Civil Support (JTF-CS). The JTF-CS assisted civil authorities with disaster assistance. The DO5 supported the JTF-CS exercises by establishing fictional terrorist organizations that would mimic real world terrorist groups. In the summer of 2001, the DO5 was realigned under the Intelligence Watch Center.

JFIC [...] stated that DO5's emphasis was on force protection for the USJFCOM components.
Deep Operations, Division of Intelligence Operations, Directorate of Operations, Dude Overboard...

Excerpts above from:

Review of Joint Forces Intelligence Command Response to 9/11 Commission PDF
Deputy Inspector General for Intelligence
United States Department of Defense
September 23, 2008
Declassified March 5, 2010
From the Federation of American Scientists

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Capt Stephen Santez USN

Captain Stephen F. Santez Jr., USN presenting Captain Kirk von Ackermann, USAF a Joint Service Commendation Medal from the JFIC on April 26, 2000
Within the last year, the name of a highly classified intelligence program of which Kirk von Ackermann was once a member was revealed with the release of documents under an FOIA request by a former intelligence officer known only as IRONMAN.

DO5 or the Asymmetric Threat Branch of the Joint Forces Intelligence Command (JFIC) was actively tracking Al Qaida until late 2000-early 2001 when it was inexplicably shut down by commanding officers. Kirk von Ackermann is said to have carried the weight of the prescience of his predictions - his hands tied by more senior officers - for the years to come.

That's not to say his work went unrecognized. As a result of his service with DO5, Kirk von Ackermann received at least one commendation, formally presented by Captain Stephen F. Santez Jr., USN. What event or service to the nation prompted the commendation is unknown. Kirk von Ackermann's wife Megan once wrote:
I heard things about 'briefings' and gradually recognized that the briefings were often to quite senior officers. I know there were commendations and awards, but details were obscured.
With the ever increasing role of social networking in and around our modern lives, it should come as no surprise that there is a LinkedIn page for Steve Santez, the same CAPT Santez pictured above. Included on Santez LinkedIn page is a short description of his work experience as the Director of Operations at the Joint Forces Intelligence Command from 1999-2002. It's worth noting that Director of Operations = J3.

Screen capture of LinkedIn page for Steve Santez

Steve Santez
Senior Intelligence Training Development Integrator at BAE Systems
Norfolk, Virginia Area
Defense and Space

"…Expert in all-source intelligence with specific emphasis on asymmetric threat analysis, human intelligence, intelligence training development and delivery, and concept development and experimentation leading to results…"

Director of Operations
Joint Forces Intelligence Center
August 1999 – February 2002 (2 years 7 months) Norfolk, Virginia

Drove all intelligence analysis, production and training for the US Joint Forces Command Joint Forces Intelligence Center. Led over 100 military and civilian personnel across all mission areas of analysis, targeting, collections, watch center fusion, and asymmetric threat analysis. Led initial analysis during the Russian submarine KURSK sinking. Director of Operations during disestablishment of the US Atlantic Command and establishment of the US Joint Forces Command. Created the first asymmetric threat division at JFIC in support of Joint Task Force Civil Support and led analysis of Al Qaeda pre 9/11. Agent for change; worked with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) to migrate Joint Personnel Recovery Intelligence Production to the Joint Forces Intelligence Center.
The language in Steve Santez bio more or less mirrors the same language found in the IRONMAN FOIA, Formal Complaint to DoD Inspector General re: JFIC and Congressional Inquiry which accompanies an article at TruthOut by Jeffrey Kaye.
(U) Contrary to JFIC's formal report to the JCS staff, JFIC had a direct and assigned purview on international terrorism against the U.S., to include the operations of al-Qa'ida and the 9/11 attackers. JFIC was directly responsible to both Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) and its subordinate, Joint Task Force-Civil Support (JTF-CS) for all-source intelligence anaiysis of international terrorism against the U.S. To ensure the quality of such analysis, JFlC's commanding officer [redacted] established the Asymmetric Threat Branch (DO5), charged with reporting on asymmetric threats, especially terrorism. [redacted] was subsequently promoted to JFCOM J2. As a RADM and PACOM J2, she established another Asymmetric Threat branch at PACOM.)

(U) The Asymmetric Threat Branch in JFIC was a forerunner of current all-source fusion centers. Unlike other analytical offices in the intelligence community, DO5 members had a wide mix of skilis in all six intelligence disciplines - HUMINT, OSINT, COMINT, ELINT, IMINT, and MASINT. Consequently, DO5 was abie to develop and use all-source, original analysis in a manner probably then unprecedented within the intelligence community. DO5 began preparing a wide range of original analysis on asymmetric warfare, especially terrorism, from mid-1998 until mid-2001.
For those unfamiliar with the significance of IRONMAN's Formal Complaint, this section should clarify matters:
(U) Reports on the most likely targets for domestic and international terrorists, both within the U.S. and abroad, as well as adjunct targets during a traditional war. The most sensitive of these reports were those identifying targets within the U.S., developing scenarios, analysis of commonalities for use in planning responses and recommendations for preventative action. This U.S. tasking was given by JTF-CS.

(S/NF) The reports were first prepared in the summer of 2000, in support of JTF-CS, and were briefed to the JFCOM J2, JTF-CS J2, and senior JFCOM staff, including the DCINC and J3. The JTF-CS Commander may have also attended the briefings. The first version of the briefing was entitled "The WMD Threat to the U.S.", (information cut off date 16 July 2000). The briefing slides emphasized that New York City was the most difficult consequence management problem, and recommended using NYC as the model for planning /exercises. The oral briefing itself was much more sensitive, indicating that the World Trade Centers # 1 and # 2 were the most likely buildings to be attacked in the U.S., followed closely by the Pentagon. The briefer indicated that the worst case scenario would be one tower collapsed onto the other. The possibility of striking the buildings with a plane may have been discussed then - it was certainly discussed in the red cell analysis leading up to the briefing. The acting Deputy of DO5, [redacted] proposed in the red cell analysis that the building could be struck by a jetliner. Discussion followed on contacting World Trade Center security and engineering/architectural staff, but the idea was not further explored because of a command climate discouraging contact with the civilian community. However, at the end of the briefing, the JFCOM J3 directed that the national military terrorism exercise for FY 02 be based on a New York worse-case scenario. He indicated he would've preferred to have done so in FY 01, but the military was already financially committed to another use (a cruise ship) in FY01.
Please keep in mind that all of this work was happening well before September 11, 2001.

The lives that could have and should have been protected...
(U) [...] In addition, I and the deputy of that team, [redacted] especially carried the burden of knowledge of how close DoD came to bin Ladin and perhaps being able to reduce the number of lives lost on 9/11. I do not want that burden any longer. [redacted] and I discussed this issue the last time we spoke. He remains the longest missing man in Iraq in this war, and I want, one day, to be able to explain to his children what their father foresaw.
The longest missing man in Iraq is Kirk von Ackermann.

Related Reading

DO5 in the News
September 9, 2011

Rear Admiral Rosanne LeVitre, USN
July 21, 2011

Counter Terrorism and JFIC
May 6, 2011

Counter Terrorism and Kirk von Ackermann
October 8, 2006

Joint Service Commendation Medal
January 23, 2006


By Jeffrey Kaye, Truthout, May 23, 2011

Allegation of Misleading Congress PDF
To: Hon. Claude M. Kicklighter
DoD Inspector General
From: Edward Maguire
Director of National Intelligence
November 27, 2007

Attachment - Unclassified FOIA Response PDF
April 8, 2011
Formal Complaint to DoD Inspector General
re: JFIC and Congressional Inquiry
May 8, 2006

Review of Joint Forces Intelligence Command Response to 9/11 Commission PDF
Deputy Inspector General for Intelligence
United States Department of Defense
September 23, 2008
Declassified March 5, 2010
From the Federation of American Scientists

Abbreviations - used above

COMINT - Communications Intelligence
DO5 - Asymmetric Threat Division
DOD - Department of Defense
ELINT - Electronic Intelligence
FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation
HUMINT- Intelligence
IMINT- Imagery Intelligence
J2 - Director for Intelligence
J3 - Director of Operations
JCS - Joint Chiefs of Staff
JFCOM - Joint Forces Command
JFIC - Joint Forces Intelligence Command
JIC - Joint Intelligence Center
JTF-CS - Joint Task Force- Civil Support
MASINT- Measurement and Signature Intelligence
OSINT- Open Source Intelligence
PACOM - Pacific Command
RADM - Rear Admiral
US - United States of America
USAF - United States Air Force
USN - United States Navy

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

6 Degrees from Kabul

Shortly after President Barack Obama left Afghanistan earlier today, blasts were reported in and around Kabul. According to multiple breaking news stories, the 'Green Village' was one of the intended targets of the suicide bombers.

Car bomb shakes Kabul after Barack Obama visit to Afghanistan
May 1, 2012, Guardian
The Green Village is owned and operated by Stratex Freedom Services whose two Uzbeki principals were once former partners with John Dawkins, one of the original founders of Ultra Services of Istanbul, Turkey.

Ultra Services was the logistics firm which employed Kirk von Ackermann and Ryan Manelick in Iraq.

You can learn more about the history of John Dawkins, Ultra Services and Stratex Freedom Services in an article at ePluribus Media, just shy of 6 years to the day since it was first published.

One Missing, One Dead: an Iraq Contractor in the Fog of War
By Susie Dow, May 12, 2006, ePluribus Media

Reprint here at this blog:

One Missing One Dead: An Iraq Contractor in the Fog of War (full article reprint)
By Susie Dow, ePluribus Media, May 12, 2006