U.S. military will continue surveillance in Afghanistan far beyond the supposed 2014 exit date

Madison Ruppert, Contributor
Activist Post

While I have repeatedly made it clear that the American military will not be leaving Afghanistan by the alleged 2014 deadline, as evidenced by last year’s Loya Jirga which was surrounded by a complete media blackout, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the winding down of the war in Afghanistan.

Of course what we learned from that Loya Jirga is just one piece of the puzzle which shows that while there may be a small-scale departure of some troops (who will likely just be repositioned in the Persian Gulf region), we will continue to hold a strong presence in Afghanistan for the indefinite future.

Consider the nonsensical propaganda which was intended to give the impression that al Qaeda could plan another September 11, 2001-style attack from Afghanistan if we stop occupying that nation, the massive expenditure on an Afghan jail which was supposed to be closed, or the new drones being deployed.

While one could make quite a strong case with just these facts in hand, yet another indication has emerged via Wired’s Danger Room.

Noah Shachtman reports that even years after the conflict is officially over, palm-sized sensors which can be disguised as rocks may continue to monitor the movement of Afghans across the countryside.

These sensors will stay strewn across Afghanistan and will detect when anyone moves nearby them and then report the individual’s location to a remote headquarters. How exactly this doesn’t indicate an ongoing conflict is beyond me.

This surveillance tool will be disguised in a myriad of ways ranging from being placed in imitation rocks with miniature solar-rechargeable batteries enabling the devices to last two decades or even possibly buried in order to even harder to detect.

This technology is known as an “unattended ground sensor” (UGS), and while it isn’t quite as bad as abandoned unmarked landmines or unexploded cluster bombs, it will give the Pentagon the power to keep tabs on Afghanistan for an indeterminate amount of time.

Of course even Shachtman has to point out that this is only after “regular American forces are supposed to have returned home,” a hint at the fact that Special Forces (or “special operators” as some prefer to call them) and contractors will remain regardless of any so-called deadline.

“Were going to leave behind a lot of special operators in Afghanistan. And they need the kind of capability that’s easy to put out so they can monitor a village without a lot of overt U.S.-made material on pathways and roadways,” said Matt Plyburn, a Lockheed Martin executive.

Keep in mind, Lockheed Martin is one of the world’s most prominent so-called defense contractors and is one of the few corporations in the United States that actually out-lobbies financial institutions.

Surprisingly, these UGS devices are far from new; in fact they have used them in a much more crude form dating back to at least 1966.

One instance, which began in January of 1968, is known as Operation Igloo White, wherein electronic sensors and other equipment were used in order to enable automated intelligence collection which would assist in the direction of strike aircraft.

The battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan are already littered with UGSs which form a kind of electronic perimeter around the many combat outposts in addition to monitoring out-of-the-way locations.

“You use them to cover up your dead space — the areas you’re concerned about but can’t cover with other ISR [intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance] assets,” explains Lieutenant Colonel Matt Russell, a program manager with the Army who oversees the deployment of UGSs.

“What we found in the field was significant under-usage,” Russell told Danger Room, referring to the fact that even recent UGS devices have been large, prone to providing inaccurate intelligence and had short life spans.

The military is hoping with these new devices – which Lockheed has dubbed “field and forget” systems enabling “persistent surveillance” – they will be able to keep much larger areas under their thumb for longer periods.

But it is not just the military who will be deploying these devices. Indeed, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol already uses over 7,500 UGSs on the Mexican border and most disturbingly, Shachtman writes, “Defense contractors believe one of the biggest markets for the next generation of the sensors will be here at home.”

This is just another case of military hardware being exported from the battlefield back here to the United States to be used against the American people.

Personally, I find this far from surprising given how insanely paranoid and surveillance obsessed our government has become as of late.

Did I forget anything or miss any errors? Would you like to make me aware of a story or subject to cover? Or perhaps you want to bring your writing to a wider audience? Feel free to contact me at admin@EndtheLie.com with your concerns, tips, questions, original writings, insults or just about anything that may strike your fancy.

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This article first appeared at End the Lie.

Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on Orion Talk Radio from 8 pm — 10 pm Pacific, which you can find HERE.  If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at admin@EndtheLie.com

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