Listen: Secret Libya Psyops, Caught by Online Sleuths

Posted: March 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

——- Original Message ——–
Subject: Listen: Secret Libya Psyops, Caught by Online Sleuths
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2011 16:14:25 +0100
From: Eugen Leitl <eugen@leitl.org>
To: info@postbiota.org, cypherpunks@al-qaeda.net

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/03/secret-libya-psyops/

Listen: Secret Libya Psyops, Caught by Online Sleuths

By Noah Shachtman Email Author March 20, 2011 | 7:28 pm | Categories:
Air Force

The U.S. military has dispatched one of its secret propaganda planes to the
skies around Libya. And that bCommando Solob aircraft is telling Libyan ships
to remain in port b or risk NATO retaliation.

We know this, not because some Pentagon official said so, but because one
Dutch radio geek is monitoring the airwaves for information about Operation
Odyssey Dawn b and tweeting the surprisingly-detailed results. On Sunday
alone, bHuubb has identified the tail numbers, call signs, and movements of
dozens of NATO aircraft: Italian fighter jets, American tankers, British
aerial spies, U.S. bombers, and the Commando Solo psyops plane (pictured).

bIf you attempt to leave port, you will be attacked and destroyed
immediately,b the aircraft broadcasted late Sunday night.

Itbs the kind of information that the American military typically tries to
obscure, at least until a mission is over. But Huub is just a single node in
a sprawling online network that trawls the airwaves for clues to military
operations.

Huub, also known online as bBlackBoxb and @FMCNL, has been monitoring longer
than most b more than a quarter-century. A former member of the Dutch
military, he says that hebs captured the sounds of everything from Air Force
One to CIA rendition flights to the travels of Yugoslavian war criminal
Slobodan Mlosevic.

bI just combine the global and free information on the Internet with my local
received information from the ether,b Huub e-mails Danger Room. b[My] main
goal to listen to this communication is to listen to bthe truth,b without any
military or political propaganda.b

Military aircraft have to provide basic information about their position over
unencrypted, unclassified UHF and VHF radio networks; otherwise, theybd risk
slamming into civilian jets in mid-air. That allows savvy listeners like Huub
to use radio frequency scanners, amplifiers, and antennas to capture the
communications. Some spend thousands of dollars homebrewing their own DIY
listening stations. Many others b Huub included b rely on handheld gear, much
of which can be ordered through Radio Shack. Huub uses the ICOM R20 receiver
and the Uniden UBC-785XLT scanner, both of which retail for a little more
than $500.

But the type of gear is almost secondary, Huub writes. bI do not simply
listen to ATC [air traffic control] or NATO frequencies,b he says. Instead,
he monitors everything from aircraft transponder data to IRC chatrooms to
pinpoint his planes. bI use a combination of live listening with local
equipment, audio streaming, video streaming, datamining, intelligence,
analyzing and the general knowledge of ATC procedures, communication,
encryption, call signs, frequencies and a lot of experience on this!b

Huub, who ordinarily spends his days as a digital forensics manager in the
town of Hilversum, has lately spent up to 16 hours a day, scanning for clues
about the attack on Libya. Some of his Twitter followers arenbt so sure Huub
should be devoting that much time to plucking military data from the sky.

bIf you are not delaying your tweets by a WIDE margin, you are putting the
pilots in harms way!!!!b tweets @Joe_Taxi. bWhen the sounds of the
#operationoddesydawn aircraft are heard in #Libya it should be a complete
surprise.b

Huub is hardly the only one eavesdropping on this operation, however. At
least two others recorded the Commando Solo in action on Sunday, for
instance.

And that shows just how easily average folks can now gather intelligence in
ways once reserved for the best-funded spy agencies. Online sleuths now use
Google Earth to find everything from North Koreabs launch facilities to
Pakistanbs drone bases. Plane-spotters scoured tail numbers to uncover the
CIAbs torture flights. So itbs no wonder that the sounds of this newest air
war are being broadcast online b even before the planes return to their
airstrips.

Photo: USAF

http://www.lsdimension.com/2011/03/23/amateur-spying-on-the-usaf-and-nato/

Amateur Spying On The USAF And NATO

A few days ago I posted a USAF warning transmission targeted at Libyan ships.
Somebody had picked that transmission off the ether, recorded it and put it
on the internet. It turns out that somebody was a Dutch guy called Huub. This
digital forensics manager in Hilversum has spent all of his freetime in the
last 25 years on tracking down air movements of military aircrafts. During
the current war in Libya he is spending 16 hours a day monitoring the
positions and movements of the allied warplanes. Wired has a story on this
former member of the Dutch military, in which he explains his methods:

bI just combine the global and free information on the Internet with my
local received information from the ether,b Huub e-mails Danger Room. b[My]
main goal to listen to this communication is to listen to bthe truth,b
without any military or political propaganda.b

(b&)

bI do not simply listen to ATC [air traffic control] or NATO
frequencies,b he says. Instead, he monitors everything from aircraft
transponder data to IRC chatrooms to pinpoint his planes. bI use a
combination of live listening with local equipment, audio streaming, video
streaming, datamining, intelligence, analyzing and the general knowledge of
ATC procedures, communication, encryption, call signs, frequencies and a lot
of experience on this!b

For this he uses his computer and simple handheld radiogear which costs no
more than a couple of hundred dollars. He shares his findings on Twitter,
which raises the question: is he putting fighter pilots and the general
mission in danger? Maybe he should wait a few hours before tweeting his
discoveries?

The Wired article ends with:

And that shows just how easily average folks can now gather intelligence
in ways once reserved for the best-funded spy agencies. Online sleuths now
use Google Earth to find everything from North Koreabs launch facilities to
Pakistanbs drone bases. Plane-spotters scoured tail numbers to uncover the
CIAbs torture flights. So itbs no wonder that the sounds of this newest air
war are being broadcast online b even before the planes return to their
airstrips.

Some recent tweets bij Huub (@FMCNL):

More on Huub and another Dutch radio amateur called Dirk de Jager who is
doing similar stuff at The Guardian, NOS and RNW (last two in Dutch).

– Edit: An Italian guy called David Cenciotti (@cencio4) is doing similar
work and he posts a daily overview of all the actions of the allied forces in
Operation Oddysey Dawn, including a detailed gathering of daily fly ops, ship
movements and military buildup. He puts all this data into a stratigical and
military-historical perspective. Very interesting!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s