back to article ISIS command post obliterated after 'moron' jihadi snaps a selfie, says US Air Force

Medieval butcher bastards ISIS are adept at using the web to lure Western followers to their warped cause – but the internet can turn around and bite back. Air Force General Hawk Carlisle, head of US Air Combat Command, told a conference that analysts at the 361st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group spotted a …

  1. Len Goddard

    Why do we tell them this?

    "Based on this latest case, ISIS is doing a pretty good job of making it easy for Uncle Sam to spot them. "

    Right, so now we let them know how we found out where they were. That is just as stupid as the original selfie. Keep quiet and let them figure out how we are taking out their C&C.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Why do we tell them this?

      "Keep quiet and let them figure out how we are taking out their C&C."

      Or better yet, let it leak who clued them in, but not how.

      Isn't that how intelligence agencies are supposed to work? Spread fear and mistrust among the baddies, not crow about how you did it to World + dog?

      Looks like 'American Intelligence' ain't!

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Why do we tell them this?

        Military Intelligence?

        Adrian: Once again we've got our friend from military intelligence. Can you tell us what you've found out about the enemy since you've been here?

        Adrian as Gomer: We found out that we can't find them. They're out there, and we're having a major difficulty in finding the enemy.

        Adrian: Well, what do you use to look for them?

        Adrian as Gomer: Well, we ask people, 'Are you the enemy? And whoever says yes, we shoot them. [Pause] It's very difficult to find a Vietnamese man named Charlie. They're all named Nyugen or Doh or things like that. It's very difficult for me.

    2. bg2b
      Black Helicopters

      Well, maybe

      Or maybe the US knew where the place was in some other manner which they don't want to give away, and they didn't want to just bomb it without any justification since that might lead someone in ISIS to investigate carefully. But the picture provided enough information that the US could go ahead and attack and then claim the selfie as the source.

      1. ma1010 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Well, maybe

        Quite possible. I know that during WW II the UK War Cabinet didn't take action using ULTRA decodes unless they could come up with some plausible alternative source for the RSHA to blame the leak on. This could well be that sort of disinformation.

        1. John 98

          Re: And the US didn't

          There was actually talk of ceasing to share ULTRA with the US. Churchill decided the political hit of doing so outweighed the risk of losing the data. So maybe little has changed?

    3. Mr.Mischief

      Re: Why do we tell them this?

      Well maybe that'll make them think twice about posting things online. Might put a dent in their social media efforts at least.

      So win-win?

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Why do we tell them this?

        I'm reminded of a similar story from a few years ago where Israel boasted that they'd managed to target someone using his mobile phone. It seemed a little silly to give the game away, but perhaps the real intention was to make the enemy nervous about using mobile phones.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Why do we tell them this?

        "So win-win?"

        Not really, no. Now ISIS can flood social media with "selfies" labelled C&C taken outside of places or buildings they would like to be destroyed.

        1. Thorne
          Mushroom

          Re: Why do we tell them this?

          "Not really, no. Now ISIS can flood social media with "selfies" labelled C&C taken outside of places or buildings they would like to be destroyed."

          I hear the new ISIS command has an oval office.......

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why do we tell them this?

      Not necessarily. Depends on what do you assign value to. Also depends if you think it will have an effect.

      Assuming it has an effect: Anything to decrease the flow of f***book drivel coming out of there is good. If they posture less on social media, the amount of silly brainwashed cannon fodder they collect from Western Europe will decrease. Not that it will help - the Saudis financing the entire operation will switch to hiring Chechen mercenaries the same way it happened in Bosnia and Kosovo.

      Now, on "having effect" - have a look at your average selfie-stick wielding d***head and try to convince him to stop engaging in narcisssism. Will he listen?

    5. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Why do we tell them this?

      Well if we did have another way of knowing this and we're trying to hide it by claiming it was a selfie, if that detail had been leaked by Snowden they'd have held it up as an example of how he's damaging our ability to fight terrorism.

      Apparently leaking operational "secrets" is OK if you're a general, but not if you're on the administration's shit list. Sort of the military version of the Valerie Plame thing.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @USAF

      Obviously, they'll next attempt to twist it around.

      They'll post a subtle embedded clue that will lead you to bomb something they want you to bomb.

      Beware.

      1. forkbomber

        Re: @USAF

        That actually makes sense, now just hope your post didn't speed up the process, right?

        Let's face it, they have thousands of fighters and vehicles, we won't get close to hurting or helping them with a single comment...

    7. JDEvolutionist

      Re: Why do we tell them this?

      Could not agree more but we seem to excel at doing this type of thing. One has to ask who really is the moron?

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why do we tell them this? @Len Goddard

      You don't think they know already? Why do you think most of the statements they release are indoors in front of a white sheet? The bloke who posted the selfie was just an idiot.

    9. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Why do we tell them this?

      Right, so now we let them know how we found out where they were.

      Oh, please. The number of ISIS masterminds paying attention to this story is probably very close to zero. The number of ISIS masterminds itself is probably very close to zero.1

      This is not a cunning game of cat and mouse. It's a bunch of fanatics with guns (and other munitions) running around doing whatever damn thing enters their heads, versus an awkward coalition of all sorts of military and paramilitary forces constrained in various ways and frequently internally at odds, with a suffering populace caught in the middle.

      ISIS combatants will continue to post selfies because there's little discipline in groups like that, and even in the most disciplined modern armies, under combat conditions people do dumb stuff.

      1The government used to like to talk up the "terrorist masterminds" plotting against the US, too. But the vast majority of them never managed to create as much terror in the US populace as two guys with a rifle and a car did for three weeks in the DC area. And Muhammad and Malvo could have continued their activities for a long time, and spread them around the country, if they hadn't gotten greedy.

      There are many highly effective potential terror attacks that are easy to mount, don't require suicide missions (so your trained operatives can move on and commit them again somewhere else), and don't require difficult-to-obtain materials. Coordinated arson, for example; a small team with some prep time could easily create a set of inner-city fires beyond the capabilities of city infrastructure in any large or medium-size US city. Do that two or three times and you'd get plenty of terror. But no, the "masterminds" focus all their efforts on explosive clothing, because they're unimaginative idiots who can't be bothered to do any research. Fortunately.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why do we tell them this?

      "Right, so now we let them know how we found out where they were"

      ...now that they've been clued up by this revelation, they'll start taking their propoganda selfies next to civilian buildings instead so that the Merkins start scoring (more) own goals.

  2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Air Force General Hawk Carlisle

    Wasn't he a character in Dr Strangelove?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Air Force General Hawk Carlisle

      I wondered the same! OK, not quite as sinister as General Jack D Ripper, but a triumph of naming nevertheless.

      Paris, as she could have my precious bodily fluids...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Air Force General Hawk Carlisle

        Low standards from an El Reg reader - Paris maybe hah ha ha but otherwise yukkkk

    2. Michael Thibault

      Re: Air Force General Hawk Carlisle

      Perhaps you're thinking of Buck Turgidson.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Air Force General Hawk Carlisle

      Major Kong from Dr Strangelove, had more brains than this General even after his ride.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Air Force General Hawk Carlisle

      No, but a good example of nominative determinism.

      Almost as good as having your home security product being run by someone called Roger Vigilance.

    5. Duffy Moon
      Mushroom

      Re: Air Force General Hawk Carlisle

      "Colonel Bat Guano, if that is your name"

  3. elDog Silver badge

    Yup. And there were no youtube videos of the JDAM crap raining down?

    I call scam. At least have IS-whatever get a rebuttal on CNN. Happened, didn't happen, we wanted it to happen, etc.

    1. Trollslayer Silver badge

      Re: Yup. And there were no youtube videos of the JDAM crap raining down?

      Because it wasn't a smart bomb but a dumb one with a guidance head added on, probably wouldn't have room for the transmitter.

      1. Boork!

        Re: Yup. And there were no youtube videos of the JDAM crap raining down?

        They could at least have tied a selfie-stick to the JDAM.

  4. depicus

    No info on the selfie or post strike images so I call US propaganda.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      post-strike images?

      There wasn't anything in the background of the original image, so it could just have been a camp with a few tents off to one side. What, then, would be convincing supporting evidence?

      If I post a picture of some empty desert, are you going to start believing that I've wiped ISIS off the map?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smoke and Mirrors

    They found out some other way, and that they're keeping to themselves

  6. kain preacher Silver badge

    I think I typed the reg but got the onion instead.

  7. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "Right, so now we let them know how we found out where they were. That is just as stupid as the original selfie. Keep quiet and let them figure out how we are taking out their C&C."

    Don't think it makes any difference. People already know it's stupid to post themselves drinking at parties, smoking joints or whatever, drag racing, even outrunning the police. They seem to do it anyway without a thought. Some people seem to have this odd mental disconnect with social sites such as Facebook that the posts will go to friends and family rather than to anyone on the planet that pulls up your page, even if they've done nothing whatsoever to actually restrict their "wall", "posts", "photostream", or whatever the particular site uses.

    I have a friend that doesn't do all that, but does complain every so often about how Facebook restricting some posts is violating freedom of speech. I point out Facebook's not a public forum, it's a private company's site whose goal is to data mine whatever info you put on there and show you ads, and they are not restricting what you say anywhere but on their own private site. Next time he hears about someone's post being pulled, he's back on "freedom of speech" again -- a disconnect that Facebook is an anything goes public forum.

  8. Buzzword

    Geotagging hack

    I'm going to find a picture of some bearded bloke in the desert and edit the EXIF data such that the geotag points to the White House, then post it on Twitter. Let's see if they actually do basic sense checks before typing the coordinates into the missiles.

    1. Grikath Silver badge

      Re: Geotagging hack

      I have a feeling that they checked one way or another.

      22h is a pretty long time between spotting the pic and delivering the presents, especially in a theatre where your potential targets like to move around regularly, and are not beyond misdirection by, for instance, bragging next to something they can use for some instapropaganda about the Evil of the Infidels like , say, a hospital or school, or...

      Religious fanatics, may be nasty, insane, unscrupulous, merciless, or any combination, but "stupid" is generally only reserved for the cannon fodder.

  9. skeptical i
    Mushroom

    Loose lips used to sink ships,

    is the updated version "loose pics nuke dicks"? Let there be light. ------>

  10. Brian 3

    Billions of dollars to the NSA to archive and scan a large part of the internets, and this was found by some dudes surfing?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Unless the NSA found it from the metadata.... <rolls eyes>

  11. Breen Whitman

    The US is wanting to use similar technique for copyright infringers.

    But only on foreign citizens obviously.

    Oh an exception is for designated lapdog countries. Although there is only one so far: Australia.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      That's fortunate for Australia considering we seem to all be pirates. Phew!

  12. streaky Silver badge

    Official Title

    "Medieval butcher bastards ISIS"

    I wish the BBC would use this name rather than calling them the terminally incorrect "Islamic State".

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Official Title

      I'd go for accuracy, Murderous gits seems about right.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Official Title

        +1 for correct use of word "gits" i.e bastard squared, most people using it have no clue what word actually means

        1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

          Re: Official Title

          git - pregnant camel. No mention of marriage, although like many camels they can be utter bastards (see Terry in Pyramids - or shod this be an alternative Godwin?)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Alien

      Re: Official Title

      "Medieval butcher bastards ISIS"

      This rag-tag army of 30,000 medieval butcher bastards is doing a pretty good job of avoiding complete destruction by billions of dollars worth of western might. The last couple of times the west steamed into Iraq they defeated the 200,000 strong* well-armed and trained Iraqi military in a matter of days.

      * I can't be arsed to check the exact number but wasn't Iraq supposed to have the fifth biggest army on the planet?

      1. Trollslayer Silver badge

        Re: Official Title

        Except that IS don't have military objectives, they just want to destroy.

        That makes a big difference.

        1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

          Re: Official Title

          They appear to have an objective of sorts: provoke the west (Rome, as they think of it) into a "final battle" at a specific location in Syria (can't remember the name of the place).

          They want this to happen because, according to their prophetic scribblings, once they are defeated in that battle (yes, they know they can't win), then the end of the world will be heralded and what is left of "true islam" will inherit the earth and the remaining kufir will be destroyed.

          ISIS entirely understand that they are outmatched, and that they will be utterly defeated by their enemies, but want to provoke that battle anyway. That's why they are carrying out atrocities, destroying world heritage sites, performing mass executions and putting the lot on social media. They *want* us to fight them.

          This linked article is highly insightful and worth a read..

          http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants/384980/?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pubexchange_facebook

          1. fajensen Silver badge

            Re: Official Title

            ... once they are defeated in that battle (yes, they know they can't win), then the end of the world will be heralded ...

            That's a Win-Win then ... they get to die and we don't have to pay our mortgages back. I mean, nobody "here" actually believe in that kind of thing, right?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Official Title

        "This rag-tag army of 30,000 medieval butcher bastards is doing a pretty good job of avoiding complete destruction by billions of dollars worth of western might."

        Well there's two reasons for that. The first is that many in the Sunni community regard IS as acceptable, and preferrable to either US occupation, or occupation by Shiite forces loyal to the crooked official Iraqi government. The second is that not only did the CIA train and arm many people now fighting for IS or allied factions, but having poured weapons into both Iraq, Syria and Libya, these weapons are now inevitably being captured and used by IS (if not actively sold to IS by bent officials).

        Do the Yank government really think that occasional bombing and pouring in more weapons will help?

        1. mattBee

          Re: Official Title

          Finish the transitive end of your last sentence...

          "Do the Yank government really think that occasional bombing and pouring in more weapons will help...bring order to the area and achieve peace?" No. No way in hell. No one in our government thinks that.

          "Do the Yank government really think that occasional bombing and pouring in more weapons will help...them get re-elected?" Yes. If they can spin it to somehow blame the other side or show that they are being 'tough on terrorism'.

          The sad bit is, they may be right - just by framing the issue this way, it implies that maybe their opponents within the government might be 'soft on terrorism' or at least 'polite and mannerly towards terrorism'. Not on a first-name basis, but more 'Hello, how do you do, Mr. Terrorism' terms.

      3. streaky Silver badge

        Re: Official Title

        This rag-tag army of 30,000 medieval butcher bastards is doing a pretty good job of avoiding complete destruction by billions of dollars worth of western might

        Probably help if the "west" was actually trying to end them. It's literally a 3 day job if they used an equal amount of air power and just went to town on them.

        They're rabid animals that need putting down regardless of the competence of the war against them.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          @streaky

          Sure, if you don't care about killing tens or hundreds of thousands of civilians in the process. They aren't living on bases away from the population like a typical army, they're living inside cities and villages among the population. Even if each ISIS fighter was tagged with a GPS locator we'd kill thousands of civilians if we targeted them all with air strikes.

          Anyway, the US didn't defeat the Iraqi army twice by killing them, but more by showing up and accepting their surrender after we bombed their infrastructure and deliberately tried to minimize the casualties inflicted in doing so. They didn't want to die, and neither did the US soldiers they were facing. ISIS fighters are quite willing to die, which is what makes them much more difficult to defeat than any conventional army. If we launched an all-out war against them, they'd probably gain more new recruits based on that than we could ever kill and ISIS would grow in numbers!

          1. fajensen Silver badge

            Re: @streaky

            Sure, if you don't care about killing tens or hundreds of thousands of civilians in the process

            I think we ought to care about as much about these people that we cared for the Germans, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and even the Iraqis. The IS guys are still running around in Toyota-parades, which must light up every sensor-system known to man, and we don't light them up because "civilians"?

            In WW2 none of those convoys would have gotten un-strafed away after 1943!

            If we haven't got the stomach for war, a.k.a., murdering people on an industrial scale, then we should save 95% of the money spent on the military, because it will just be wasted anyway.

        2. Charles Manning

          Use of air power

          The US (and West) has exactly the same problem they had after 9/11.

          All those huge aircraft carriers etc are designed to take on a national military in a conventional war and are fairly useless at winkling out small groups of guerillas hiding amongst friendlies. That was very frustrating for GWB, hence the need to fabricate WMD so he could use his toys against a bigger target.

          ISIS are pretty much the same. Too small a target to use those big war machines against.

    3. Mycho Silver badge

      Re: Official Title

      For the record, calling them Daesh actually seems to piss them off.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Official Title

      Rather a slur on butchers, isn't it? I have nothing but the greatest respect for my local vendor of fine meats.

      For that matter, it seems quite unfair to bastards. And the medievals.

      How about we go with "those ISIS shits"?

  13. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    The "mid east"? So, Kentucky?

  14. MD Rackham

    Can we get the Air Force to do this to everyone who posts a selfie?

    It would help weed the narcissists out of the gene pool.

  15. GrumpyOldBloke

    At last a win

    Important strike against proxy army USA created, funded and continues to support by turning small piece of desert into desert at a strike cost of $M's. Claims bearded dudes were the foolish ones in this charade. No proof of event but world cheers the good guys. In other news, reports that the USA has been at war for 222 out of its 239 years means world hates freedoms. Western governments doing their best to respond.

  16. moiety

    22 hours seems a bit slow to me. Is there lots of paperwork?

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      The Air Force might have been checking the target to offset casualties to civilians.

    2. Boork!

      >22 hours seems a bit slow to me. Is there lots of paperwork?

      Must have been wasting time on Facebook.

    3. fajensen Silver badge

      CIA had to relocate their local presence to another location first.

  17. herman Silver badge

    Nice, so now all Daesh needs to do is have a supporter post a selfie from the front of an opponent's house, then wait and watch the US destroy it.

    1. Boork!

      >Nice, so now all Daesh needs to do is have a supporter post a selfie from the front of an opponent's house, then wait and watch the US destroy it.

      Rival clans did something like that in Afghanistan. I expect that the US is more cautious now, and that the 'selfie' was a security leak that led to the discovery of the base, not the sole piece of intelligence justifying the strike.

  18. Trollslayer Silver badge

    22 hours - special forces in the area checking?

  19. Wolfclaw Silver badge

    Wrong Target

    Wouldn't it be quicker for USAF to just bomb Facebutt, Twatter and like, nip the recruitment and PR in the bud, also does the rest of the planet a good service !

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could just all be bullshit

    Who'd know?

  21. John Deeb
    Pirate

    Next "selfie" from Da'esh will be then (edited) in front of a command center of the Iraqi or Syrian army. Or some US military post. But I hope the Air Force do verification first!

  22. mattBee

    US Airforce Trying to Correct The Error

    "Jihadists just need more training in OpSec," says Carlisle, "It all comes down to education and training." The Airforce is providing valuable feedback to Jihadists in an effort to help them climb this steep learning curve. "The just need to learn not to do this. Then they would be harder for us to find."

    In other news, Facebook is providing an app to would-be criminals who use their online service to advertise their misdeeds to law enforcement called Don't Catch Me. The app interrupts postings with a popup that asks "Is It Really a Good Idea To Share This Stuff?"

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excellent work by all...

    ...except the dead terrorists. Another good day in the fight to save the world from barbarians. The only good terrorists is a very dead terrorists. It's noteworthy that we have finally found some tangible value in social media. Vanity can get you killed if you're an arse clown terrorists and that's a good thing for society.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What the shit Lana...

    Wrong ISIS?

  25. John Savard Silver badge

    Security

    Why tell them what they did wrong? Why not give them the chance to make the same stupid mistakes again and again? I know stories like this can be morale boosters, but it would seem that is outweighed.

  26. tesmith47

    the author of this article is a part of the ethnic group that has caused the people in the middle east to resort to violence. the west opposes ISIS and that is legitimate but there is no need to demonize and vilify the people the west has abused, misused and exploited for 150 years. people like this author dont seem to remember when the middle east was pleading with the west to help them and the west response was to rape them some more. (remember the secret treaties in the league of nations on how to parcel out those countrys?, remember assassinating Mosedgghi? remember taking palestine ? etc etc???? considering all of the history of the west fu- king them up i am surprised more of them are not ISIS!!

    1. lucki bstard

      Well if your going to go and start quoting History, be careful what you wish for. Maybe an apology and compensation for the Barbary pirates; combined with restitution for the Constantinople slave market... Need I go on?

      Don't try and justify your actions in the present by events in the past. In essence you are saying 'They were bad to us then and it was wrong, so we will be bad to them now and that will be right'. If you look closely I'm sure you will see the paradox.

      1. FutureShock999

        Except the history the OP posted all took place in the last few decades, not centuries ago. There are still whole nations living with the injustices caused by assassinating the democratically elected PM of Iran (and putting in place the murderous, corrupt-as-hell Shah), of dislocating the entire population of Palestine because another religious group asserted their claims based upon a 2000 year old book of fairy tales, or underwriting Iraq's war against Iran and literally killing off almost an entire generation of Iranian men, etc. The US has LOTS of blood on its hands in the region...and more importantly, plain bad decision making. We cannot lay all of the blame on the residents of the region...we cause a lot of it.

        This isn't ancient history to these people - it is within their or their parents lifetimes.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a cunning plan.

    Carpet selfie stick them!

  28. Lionel Baden

    pretty blase,

    Regardless people died.

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