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  #16  
Old 7 Dec 2009
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xfiltrate, you have to put meat on those bones.
Why a boat?
Why a cave?
While clearly a possibility, why a third party?
They snatched the last car, so how could they have targeted individuals?

Been trying to read up on the subject. Aqim desert branch doesn't seem hard to understand. Motivate recruits on religious grounds. Generate cash to buy weapons and power. Have close connection to drug smuggling and other criminal activities.
Talk about reviving al-Andalus. Then kidnap spaniards. Take them straight to the safe areas. Settle down, let a few weeks go by, then make claims for release of Al Qaeda prisoners in spanish jails. When that doesn't work, settle for huge ransom.
As noone has claimed responsibility yet, it leaves room for politically motivated accusations, such as Morocco suggesting Polisario involvement, or Algerian sources pointing at Morocco.
I could of course be dead wrong, but isn't this what we're seeing now?

So let us speculate on what is going on.

As for Algeria, I only get more confused the more I read, esp. from sites like this Algeria-Watch: Information on the Human Rights Situation in Algeria
They use what someone called "reverse science" - you start out with a hypothesis. Find all the evidence that can be made to seen as supporting your theory and disregard the rest. Arrange the chosen facts using lots of references and build your own logic. Present it as the unquestionable truth. Mr Keenan is a good example of this kind of writing.
One of the more interesting theories was that the Algerian situation can be understood as a power struggle between Bouteflika/parts of the army on one side, and the DRS (Secret Service) on the other. That may explain some of the bewildering developments in Algeria over the last decade or so. But how could we know anything about this? Until someone on the inside decides to tell the story.

Libya - I am thinking that general Qadaffy has monopolised the right to practice terrorism in his country, just as he has monopilised everything else. Thus no kidnappings or even attempts.

Two kidnap attempts in Niger botched so far this fall (Arlit and Tahoua, scant reporting on these incidents - no journalists allowed to work in Niger perhaps?). So Aqim may not be as good at their job as some think they are. edit - at least the first kidnapping may have been done by others than aqim
In Niger, they had this unit Niger Rapid Intervention Company - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that were trained by the Americans.
They reportedly defected wholesale to become part of the rebellion in 2007.

Why haven't the Americans set up a similar unit in Mali? Or have they? It is exactly what they need in northeastern Mali.
Would Bamako allow such a unit, consisting of touaregs expertly trained, equipped and motivated? Here's an American training Mali soldiers in 2008

I am thinking such a unit could do away with Aqim in one short season, especially with a little air support. They should preferrably wait until kidnapping season's over and all hostages released. And the desert turned to mud.
Wouldn't this mean saving huge money in the long run? Rather than paying 10 M€ ransoms every year.
The MBMs of the desert could then restrain themselves to other lines of work.
But Bamako perhaps have had it with touareg soldiers: "Public and government in Mali appeared shocked by the level of violence in the north of Kidal, Ménaka and the Sahel region, as well as by the effectiveness of the rebel force, which the government has said is led by Ibrahim Bahanga, a Malian Armed Forces officer who had deserted early in the summer of 2007."
Tuareg Rebellion (2007–present) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So place your bets - where will the Aqim strike next?
And feel free to disagree.

Last edited by priffe; 8 Dec 2009 at 16:36.
  #17  
Old 7 Dec 2009
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All nicely summed up priffe. Or at least that's the way I see it too.

Would Bamako allow such a unit, consisting of touaregs expertly trained, equipped and motivated?

I would have thought not a chance, even if they're probably the guys who could do it. How hard can it be in north Mali (as I have said many times before here). If the Moris had radars protecting fennecs several years ago, surely now the tech is up to finding, tracking and liquidating AQIM in open desert.

The Americans have been spending and 'training' in the Sahel since 2004, changing the name of the Initiative or Operation from time to time. What good has come of it? Not much in Niger from what you say and there was a theory that these ops were some ploy by Germany-based US 'Africa/Middle East Command' or something to help justify their budget or existence - but maybe that was a Keenanism that got stuck to my shoe at some point).

But after the Mali Tuareg have finished off AQIM they'll have more gear and know-how to carry on fighting for the concessions they want - or so Bamako might fear. And possibly some in the Mali army/state are talking a cut from or involved with AQIM smuggling ops (as exposed just after 2003). These southern kickbacks may all be lost once Tuaregs move in on them.

So Mali leaves it as it is, no one of any consequence gets harmed up in the empty desert apart from occasional unlucky foreign hostage, AQ aren't banging at the walls of Bamako any time soon and meantime a few get a nice new VX to go with the villa.

Ch
  #18  
Old 7 Dec 2009
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Argentine "asado"

Priffe, your Argentine "asado" reference was not lost here. But the "meat" on the bones of my analysis will come through the filter of official press releases that are like an "asado al punto" tender but without blood.

You, yourself have helped to flesh out my armchair analysis.

1. My "much swifter transport to another location in Mauritania" included but was not limited to "boats," as this is a general speculation forum my reasoning was based on this article.

Latin American drug cartels find home in West Africa - CNN.com Latin American drug cartels find home in West Africa - CNN.com

And the following data:

Your own Aqim desert branch description alleged "close connection to drug smuggling.

Latin American drug smugglers have "boats," aircraft and quickly become known, feared, and integrated into areas en route to market.

The province of Puerto Limón, Costa Rica, for example, has been infiltrated by the Colombians, to the extent that the cartel has voice in the Costa Rican legislature and in another voice instructs the "authorities" to leave them alone in Puerto Limón or there will be violence in the capital San Jose.

These "tactics" are also also evident in other Central American Republics since US/Mexican operations have pressured the cartels to create more southern routes to the US market.

Horrific murders as well as the kidnapping of high value targets for prisoner exchange as ransom, is a common along all of the cartels drug routes.

Why would the Latin American cartels abandon tactics that have worked well in Latin America and create new tactics for the West African route to the EU market?

2. I am a practicing "remote viewer" google: Ingo Swan, Hal Puthoff, Stanford University's government funded research project "remote viewing, Army/CIA remote viewing programs or Maj. Ed Dames if you are unfamiliar with remote viewing. Much of what is known about remote viewing is still classified.

I am also well read in scientology as are the founders of the official remote viewing programs utilized during the cold war.

Before it was international news that one of the missing was CEO of a large company that tunnels through mountains, under cities (subways) etc I posted on another thread about a potential underground location, in retrospect I may have been picking up on the credentials of this particular hostage. A person with an interesting vocation that might have attracted the interest of the cartels.

The cartels have little trouble buying information and services from local inhabitants along their routes to market, they have unlimited resources compared to the resources available to nations struggling to combat them.

A second remote viewing session resulted again in some underground dwelling as a place the hostages were taken. The Latin American cartels have constructed and utilized underground passageways to transport their product. Why would this be different in West Africa?

3. You have already concluded the identity of my referenced third party.

Eat, Drink and Be Careful xfiltrate
  #19  
Old 8 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
If there hasn't been any kidnappings in Libya I would think it is because nobody wants to mess with Qadaffi. And in Algeria, there are too many gendarmes. Niger and Mali is much easier.
I would also broadly agree with this response.

Additionally, the Libyans are unlikely to tolerate what Keenan sees as the driving force behind AQiM - creating a foothold for the Americans to send in their advisers.

The Egyptians, in turn, seem to be generally interested in having the Americans on their western, not southern border. Hence, they are happy tolerating low key smuggling activities, as long as these do not follow any political agenda.

The three incidents over the last few years (all reported as criminally rather than politically motivated) have now produced two, undermanned and undereqipped, small army outposts on the border with Sudan. They can't control the movement of people across the border along the stretch of 350km between Al Uwainat and the army base at Bir Tarfawi, but they can help monitoring the ins and outs of various groups and alert Cairo to any new developements.

It appears to me that as long as the bad guys carry arms for Gazaand drugs and people for Europe, there's noting to worry the Egyptians. But if they start plying their business in the name of jihad, the Egyptians will have to pounce down on them, and the thriving export-import business will suffer.

And finally, perhaps the most important factor, is logistics. It is more difficult in the Western Desert than elsewhere, with very few dissatisfied or unruly local groups around to help organising fuel and water depots.
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  #20  
Old 8 Dec 2009
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I am also thinking it (kidnappings & jihad) will come to a halt when it is hurting regular business enough. But isn't that already the case?
Today Aqim claimed the kidnaps and will be back with demands, according to Aljazeera.

Xfiltrate, I would love to possess the faculty of remote viewing but alas I have to be content with using google. You remind me of my dear friend Maciel, who was a mapuche but also a scientolog. Having asado steak & decanter of tinto near calle Florida for all of $1, talking about the strangest things. It was in 1978.

Last edited by priffe; 8 Dec 2009 at 16:34.
  #21  
Old 8 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by priffe View Post
I am also thinking it (kidnappings & jihad) will come to a halt when it is hurting regular business enough. But isn't that already the case?
Priffe,

In Egypt, there was another incident which went unreported as it did not involve Westerners. I heard about it from a well informed (but only a singular) source. Perhaps someone could corroborate.

Some time last winter the Sudan/Chad robbers attacked a convoy of smugglers coming from Libya near Al Uwainat and captured one of them. In retaliation, the smugglers mounted a punitive expedition into Sudan and restored order in the region. The Egyptian army outposts along the border followed and now it's all nice and quiet again.

This, and other reports on the relationship between smuggling, drugs and politics, make you wonder about some issues, such as: is the army there to protect the interests of Egyptian tour operators, worth perhaps a million pounds a year, or the interests of the guys who carry goods worth a million on each weekly trip?
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  #22  
Old 8 Dec 2009
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Just another "asado"

Don Priffe, continuing the strangeness, actually Einstein labeled it "strangeness at a distance" when referring to space as a viewpoint of dimension, and the unaccountable (by the accepted laws/mechanics of the physical universe) effects created upon similar molecules "at a distance."

Unexplainably, I knew the "asado" reference would be understood.

As is said upon meeting someone new in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica "May we no longer be strangers."

Interesting that you mentioned the decanted "tinto" Perhaps Google will decant the fate of the 3 Spaniards differently, but my chips are still on the table.

I worked my way through many years of graduate study as a "contracted" sommelier.

Eat, Drink and be Careful xfiltrate
  #23  
Old 8 Dec 2009
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Note for Xfiltrate

Brief posting to Xfiltrate -
as you know, The Hubb is a broad community with all manner of views and perspectives. In my experience, opinions are usually well received and alternative explanations normally get reasonable consideration. But it turns out that some of the postings deal with fairly serious issues - kidnapping being one of them. Some Hubb users have asked if you could keep to the point being discussed. I agree with them. You probably know much better than me that there are many, many places on the internet for discussing things like life as a remote viewer but that this isn't one of them. Many thanks -
Richard
  #24  
Old 8 Dec 2009
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Your thread, my bad....

Richard Washington: Yes, there are thousands of more appropriate sites for my very brief comment regarding remote viewing , but few as serious. Yes I will refrain from similar comments.

But, on the other hand, the first authentic/verified international release regarding the kidnappers came from (ennahar 08 December, 2009 02:33:00) Menaka (Mali) 3 hours ahead of Buenos Aires time and headlined "Three Spaniards detained by AQIM "hardliners""

You do the math, regarding my post 23 hours before this post agreeing with Priffe that "Your own Aqim desert branch description alleged "close connection to drug smuggling" and as you read further on was the identity of the third party referenced in my previous post.

The location of the hostages is yet to be released. Security Forces in Northern Mali announced the abductors as AQIM, but said nothing about the location of the hostages, I have speculated the 3 Spaniards are not being held in Mali.

Posted by Priffe on another thread:

Ennahar Online - Three Spaniards detained by AQIM "hardliners"

Now, that was some very serious speculating!

Future releases might or might not validate my other contributions to this thread. But, I will immediately exile myself to the HU bar, with any additional comments regarding remote viewing.

My intention here was/is not frivolous, I apologize for comments posted that may have contributed to your misunderstanding of my serious speculation regarding Saharan kidnapping tactics in play at the moment.

Eat, Drink and Be Careful xfiltrate
  #25  
Old 12 Dec 2009
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Folks,

Another point to be wary of is the 'mafia' environment which exisits among AQIM and their affiliates and suporters: in other words there are a number of terrorists looking to establish credibility and proof of intent and capability by carrying out attacks and kidnappings. The emphasis in the press is often on ideology and that implies a limited set of motivating factors. When you take into account the desire to go one better than your rival that puts another, slightly less pure (by that I do NOT mean I agree with the principles) tinge on the reasons behind what goes on.

There was a very interesting article in 'Jeune Afrique' recently on the power struggle in North African terrorism and the blurred lines between that and banditry. I gave my copy away unfortunately but anyone who reads French would do well do try and get a back copy.

Cheers,

Rich
  #26  
Old 12 Dec 2009
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Well they are thugs, plain and simple. Criminals.
One major error done in the "war on terror" is to label AQ or any of their followers as soldiers, army, etc. They're not. They don't wear uniforms or even an ID. They don't belong to any army or come from any one nation. This is not a "war". Major mistake by W.
They are thugs belonging to a criminal organization and it is a police matter.
To label them as "soldiers" is dignifying them.
Their targets are civilians, mosques. markets, hospitals, UN, the Red Cross, NGOs, tourists, skyscrapers, embassies, schools, women and children more often than soldiers of the 'enemy'.
They flourish where there is no rule of law.
They should be caught and tried in civil courts.
The Geneva Convention is not valid and can not be applied (even notwithstanding the fact that they themselves have no respect for it).
The only leader to adress the problem so far (AFAIK) is W (naming them "illegal combattants"). EU and the UN has not, other than critizising the US..
There's a great need for new definitions. An update of the Geneva Convention as it doesn't work in todays conflicts (civil wars, militias, international crime organizations, private armies such as Blackwater).
my 2 cents

Last edited by priffe; 12 Dec 2009 at 12:11.
  #27  
Old 12 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfiltrate View Post
Future releases might or might not validate my other contributions to this thread.
Xfiltrate, sorry, but I really haven't noticed that you've contributed any non-obvious information to this thread which has since been proven correct based on your supposed capabilities.

So far I think you've said that the hostages were being held underground, had been kidnapped for their knowledge of tunnel construction, and had been taken away by boat.

Anything else we should note for validation by the facts when they emerge? I am profoundly skeptical about your and similar claims but am always ready to consider credible and convincing evidence to the contrary if it is available.
  #28  
Old 12 Dec 2009
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Just the facts, nothing but the facts?

motoreiter,

I have not noticed any factual account of how the 3 Spanish hostages were transported anywhere. I speculate that the published desert crossing into Mali, utilizing the "human shield" defense might well have been a cover operation, complete with 3 cut outs as hostages.

Here is what I actually said:

"If it was false flag, and knowing that the search would probably be mostly land oriented, the hostages might have been or might eventually be taken toward the sea, and put aboard a boat, by those perhaps not familiar with the desert. Just an idea."

I also clarified the "boat" speculation:

"Logistically, I still hold with the idea of some earthen, underground, cave, mine etc is being/was utilized. I agree with those who forward the idea of the "human shield" tactic as a strong possibility, but also hold that the plan was not to transport, via land, to Mali, but by much swifter transport to another location in Mauritania and then out of the West African region."

Is it fact that the 3 Spanish hostages are in Mali and were transported there via a desert crossing? No, these facts have not yet been established.


Nor have any facts been established concerning the tactics employed by the kidnapers to evade the rescue efforts, air cover, etc... so has my "underground speculation" been proven or not?

One established fact is that none of the 3 Spanish hostages fit the typical profile of "cooperantes" or Spanish "volunteers who help deliver relief via convoy, etc. Another fact is the senior hostage is the CEO of one of Spain's largest tunnel construction firm. My first "tunnel reference" was posted before the names and descriptions of the hostages were released.

When responding to Priffe, I agreed with the part of his post assigning culpability: By stating "You Priffe, have already concluded the identity of my referenced *third party." *the kidnappers

"Your own Aqim desert branch description alleged "close connection to drug smuggling."

This was posted, before general releases and official releases declared AQIM as claiming responsibility.

I also posted: "But the "meat" on the bones of my analysis will come through the filter of official press releases that are like an "asado al punto" tender but without blood."

And I reiterate: "Future releases might or might not validate my other contributions to this thread. But, I will immediately exile myself to the HU bar, with any additional comments regarding ........."

I most hardily agree with you when you posted: "I am profoundly skeptical about your and similar claims but am always ready to consider credible and convincing evidence to the contrary if it is available."

Eat, Drink and Be Careful xfiltrate
  #29  
Old 13 Dec 2009
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Where is safe?

Or, how safe is Morocco? And why?
  #30  
Old 15 Dec 2009
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...And why?

Good question. I believe it is because the Moroccans spend a lot more money and time patrolling their relatively manageable borders (as many of us find when we get too near it) as well as the secret police tracking down and crushing any dissent/insurgents (probably at the cost of a few innocent people along the way).

They like Egypt (but not like Alg, RIM, etc) have a lot to lose if tourists are frightened away.

As for alternative speculative techniques, there's a chilling new film all about it here.

Ch
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