Bellingcat

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Syrian Franken-bomb!

I'm often sent videos and pictures with requests to identify the weapons shown, and one I've been seeing a lot of in the last 24 hours is this video from Qalaat al Mudeeq, near Hama


This screenshot gives you a full view of the weapon


The men in the video seem a bit confused about what dropped this, one claiming a MiG, the other a helicopter, but it's likely they are both right, as what we're seeing here is the remains of two totally different bombs.

The bottom half clearly belongs to a RBK series cluster bomb, used widely in that region, an example of which can be see here.  Note the number of tail fins which extend beyond the metal ring at the end of the bomb


The top of the bomb is a less commonly seen weapon an ODAB, which I've written about before here.  There's not many examples of the ODAB where the nose cone is with the rest of the bomb, this being one of them, but if you compare the following two pictures of ODAB variants to the nose cone in the Franken-bomb video you get an idea of what they look like

Source

Source
Here's a close up for comparison


So what are we seeing?  Some DIY hybrid dropped by the Syrian Air Force?  That seems unlikely, as while this bomb has a nose cone and tail it's missing the all important payload, which makes it only really effective if it lands on top of someone and crushes them to death.  What's more likely is the men in the video have mis-identified two pieces from different bombs as belonging to the same weapon, and inadvertently created the Franken-bomb we see above.

Related Articles
NPR Interview - Variety Of Weapons Increases In Syrian Conflict - Additional Information 
Cluster Bomb Usage Rises Significantly Across Syria
Collected ODAB Thermobaric Bomb Evidence
A Beginner's Guide To Identifying UXO In Syria
The Mystery Of The Syrian Barrel Bombs
New Bomb Identified In Syria
The Weapons Of The Syrian Air Force 

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com




Hackgate - Andre Baker - A Hackgate Footnote?

The latest from my regular contributor.

Readers of these Brown Moses posts on Hackgate may remember a recent post - 'News Corp - Diplomatic Immunity?' It offered a different perspective regarding politicians subjected to News International 'dark arts' - shifting the focus from WHO to WHAT Offices of State they held at the time they were allegedly hacked, burgled or put under surveillance. This current article is an experiment in doing the reverse - shifting the focus from WHAT law enforcement office was held to WHO?

The starting point is a small gathering in a side office at Scotland Yard - convened to confront Rebekah Wade and ask why the News of the World (NOTW) had apparently undertaken surveillance of a Metropoltan Police (MET) officer investigating the barbaric axe murder of Daniel Morgan.   At the meeting were Rebekah Wade, Dick Federcio, the MET officer himself Dave Cook, and Cook's boss Commander Andre Baker.

But WHO is Andre BAKER?  And what are his connections to the complex Hackgate saga?

Andre (Andy) BAKER has had a lengthy career in the MET.  He joined in 1975 and rose through the ranks in posts throughout London, including notoriously tough beats in South East London around Lewisham, Eltham and Catford. 

October 2001 He was promoted to the rank of Commander, Serious Crime Directorate (Homicide). As such, he would have been well aware that three previous investigations into Daniel Morgan's murder had been abortive, and that one of those investigations had involved MET bugging conversations of suspects (Operation Nigeria) - eavesdropping on apparently corrupt procurement of information by NOTW.

21 March 2002  Milly Dowler disappeared from Walton-on-Thames.  Surrey Police started their abduction - then murder - inquiry.  The MET Serious Crime (Homicide) - under Commander Andre BAKER - liaised closely with Surrey Police in case Milly's murder might be linked to suspects in other London murder investigations.

It is not known if Surrey Police at that time apprised Andre BAKER and his team that NOTW had hacked Milly Dowler's phone.  If Surrey Police did, then this knowledge would have added considerably to Commander BAKER's growing intelligence on the 'dark arts' and NOTW.

25 June 2002  Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Cook appeared on BBC Crimewatch to appeal for any information on the murder of Daniel Morgan.

10 July 2002  Cook noted an unfamiliar parked van outside his home. It tailed him whilst he drove his children to school. His then wife, Jacqui Hames, later noticed photographs of their house being taken surreptitiously from a parked vehicle. Further investigations by fellow MET officers are alleged to have connected NotW to this covert surveillance.  The MET were concerned enough to give the Cook-Hames family witness protection status and additional security.



9 January 2003  The confrontation at Scotland Yard.   Dick Fedorcio arranged the meeting, at the request of Andre BAKER.  As Fedorcio described it (Evidence to the Leveson Inquiry p54)
Commander Baker was doing it because of his concerns about Mr Cook's concerns, really. It wasn't about taking any action against the News of the World; it was to help Mr Cook understand and come to terms with what had gone on. That was how Commander Baker described to me, as a welfare meeting, looking after a member of his staff
At a subsequent Metropolitan Police Authority meeting (the then MET oversight body) in 2011, a Member understandably asked why (MPA: Strategic and Operational Policing Committee minutes -14-Jul-11 p4)
... no further action was taken. He asked: first, who took the decision to proceed in that way - a conversation with the editor but no further action - and were then Commissioner or Deputy involved or informed? Secondly, were any other senior officers involved or informed? And finally, would John Yates' team who reinvestigated the Daniel Morgan murder have known?
The MPA were advised by the MET Acting Commissioner that no public response could be made as the Cook-Hames alleged surveillance was now under active investigation.

November 2004  Levi Bellfield arrested in west London on suspicion of murdering French student Amelie DelaGrange.  Commander BAKER said "There were reasonable grounds to arrest this individual" . A Daily Mail report added, "detectives have previously linked the murder to five other attacks in south-west London."  Publicly at least, no connection was yet made with the Surrey murder of Milly Dowler.

2006  As a consequence of Operation Motorman uncovering prima facie Data Protection Act breaches by journalists of national newspapers (including NOTW), the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) published 'What Price Privacy' and 'What Price Privacy Now?'  These two Reports (here and here) to Parliament and relevant law enforcement bodies detailed industrial scale data procurement by national newspaper titles from private investigators.  The ICO Commissioner also informed the Press Complaints Commission that the ICO would have no hesitation in prosecuting any journalists suspected of similar data breaches in future.

2006-7  Operation Caryatid - the investigation of phone hacking of the royal household by NOTW's Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire. As the sheer volume and extent of phone hacking became apparent, the MET Operation Caryatid team liaised with and briefed other relevant law enforcement agencies (para 72) - including the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

By this time (from January 2006), the Deputy Director of SOCA was Andre BAKER.

2006-07 was clearly a busy time.  The Haute de la Garenne child abuse scandal in Jersey (in which Jimmy Savile is now implicated) needed a mainland, ACPO-nominated authority to oversee the investigation. Former MET Homicide Commander, Andre BAKER took up the role in addition to his Deputy Director of SOCA duties. This necessitated liaison with Jersey States police and several visits to Jersey.  The controversial Haute de la Garenne investigation was ramped up by lurid, sensationalised  press reporting. A subsequent Review observed (final para)
The approach taken by the States of Jersey Police to releasing information about the teeth found was unusual, not consistent with normal working practice in the UK and encouraged further media reporting and speculation.
2007-09 At the same time, back on the mainland, Surrey Police were still pursuing the Milly Dowler murder investigation as well as allegations of sexual abuse by victims of Jimmy Savile.  Just as knowledge of the NOTW Dowler phone hacking was apparently not shared by Surrey with the MET, it seems perhaps the Surrey team investigating Savile were not informed of crucial information known to MET and Jersey police forces.

Throughout this period, some of the national press were critical of police crime-fighting.  For example, The Sun's crime reporter, Mike Sullivan, castigated Andre BAKER, the MET, and Surrey Police for failing to catch the killers of several murder victims - including Milly Dowler.

2007-08 SOCA researched and complied an intelligence report entitled 'The Rogue Element of the Private Investigation Industry'.  It highlighted the corrosive effect of press collusion in illegal practices such as phone hacking, Police National Computer abuse, computer hacking, corruption, vehicle tracking, surveillance etc etc.

2005-09  Operation Millipede.  This was a lengthy SOCA investigation into a network of private investigators' blagging and computer hacking.  It led to four arrests in 2009 and four convictions in Feb 2012.



July 2009 John Yates undertook an 8 hour consideration of Operation Caryatid before concluding there was no necessity to re-open the investigation.  Two days later, Yates received a written briefing from two of the original Caryatid investigating officers. It reiterated that "briefings of the emerging security risks in relation to mobile phone voicemails were given to SCDI4, The Security Service, Cabinet Office, The Royal Household and SOCA."  (p6)


2010-11  First a New York Times report on phone hacking, then Nick Davies' Guardian exposé of NOTW's hacking of Milly Dowler's mobile phone prompted demand for an independent, judge led Inquiry.  Lord Justice Leveson's Inquiry into 'Culture, Practice and Ethics of the Press' started in October 2011.

June 2011  Serial killer Levi Bellfield is finally convicted of the murder of Milly Dowler.

2012  BAKER, Deputy Director of SOCA, moves to another post as Deputy Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) where he will probably be involved with police investigations into the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Andre BAKER will no doubt be grateful that he was not called to give evidence to Leveson, and that his name is relegated to a footnote in the history of Hackgate - a mere bit player at that small, informal Scotland Yard meeting with Rebekah Wade.

Related Articles
Hackgate - Ten To Watch For
Hackgate - Dear Surrey Police
Hackgate - The John Boyall Files
One Rogue Email And The Indestructible Archive 
John Yates And Neil Wallis - A Mutual Understanding
Alex Marunchak - Presumed Innocent

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

Saturday, 27 October 2012

NPR Interview - Variety Of Weapons Increases In Syrian Conflict - Additional Information

This morning NPR broadcast an interview I took part in discussing the weapons being used in Syria, and in this post I hope to expand on some of the points discussed.

At the start of the interview I explain how tanks are being sent in with poor infantry support, making them vulnerable to RPG attacks, something that is demonstrated perfectly in this video film in the Hanano area of Aleppo in July


In this video we see the opposition fighters spotting a tank parked not too far from the corner they are hiding behind, followed by them waiting 5 minutes for another fighter with an RPG to show up, all the time seemingly unconcerned about being attacked by infantry.

After that we discuss weapons that have recently been spotted with the opposition, in particular multi-barreled rocket launchers, specifically Type-63's, which I wrote about at more length here.  I should point out when I said they had a range of 8 milies I actually meant 8 kilometers.  This example shows a slightly unusual example of a Type-63 that hasn't been mounted on a truck


As I say in the interview there's ample examples of weapons and ammunition being looted in great quantities, for example in this video we see Type-63 rocket launchers at a checkpoint recently captured by the opposition, and later boxes of ammunition being looted. In this following video we see another example of a huge amount of weapons and ammunition captured in an attack by opposition forces, including ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft guns and a partial SA-7 surface to air missile system


You can read more about the weapons used by the opposition in my article for Foreign Policy, Syria's DIY Revolt, and more about SA-7s in CJ Chivers article Heat-Seeking Missiles in Syria: The SA-7 in Action with Rebels.

I also discussed the use of giant slingshots to launch pipebombs, and this video shows an unexploded bomb being harvested for explosives used in these pipebombs


And this videos demonstrates that giant slingshots aren't always the safest weapon in the opposition arsenal


This post details some of the other DIY weapons used by the opposition.

Finally we went over the escalation in the air war, a topic recently examined by the Institute for the Study of War in their recent overview of the Syrian Air Force.  I examine the different weapons being used in Syria in a piece written shortly before the upsurge in cluster bomb use, The Weapons Of The Syrian Air Force, and look at the use of cluster bombs in Cluster Bomb Usage Rises Significantly Across Syria.

Related Articles
Cluster Bomb Usage Rises Significantly Across Syria
Collected ODAB Thermobaric Bomb Evidence
A Beginner's Guide To Identifying UXO In Syria
The Mystery Of The Syrian Barrel Bombs
New Bomb Identified In Syria
The Weapons Of The Syrian Air Force 

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

Clear Evidence Of DIY Barrel Bombs Being Used By The Syrian Air Force

Over the past few months I've been collecting UXO evidence of what has appeared to be crude DIY barrel bombs being dropped by the Syrian Air Force. CJ Chivers has also written about these DIY weapons on the New York Times At War Blog and the Russian Military Analyst Col. Evgeny Khrushchev has written for Russia Today describing reports as "barrel bomb baloney".

Now for the first time we have video footage, apparently leaked or captured from members of the Syrian Air Force and filmed inside a Mil Mi-8 (Hip) helicopter, showing what appears to be DIY barrel bombs thrown out of the rear door of the helicopter.



As Bjørn H Jespersen helpfully pointed out at 45s on the 5th video you see the fuze being lit by a cigarette.

This seems to support earlier video footage that appeared to show a barrel bomb being dropped in much the same way (35s)


This seems to clearly demonstrate that bar any accusations that the videos have been faked (certainly not by the opposition, unless they suddenly have access to helicopters) that DIY barrel bombs are being used by the Syrian Air Force, as opposed to claims of their use being "baloney".

Big thanks to @RobotNickk for highlighting these videos.

Related Articles
Cluster Bomb Usage Rises Significantly Across Syria
Collected ODAB Thermobaric Bomb Evidence
A Beginner's Guide To Identifying UXO In Syria
The Mystery Of The Syrian Barrel Bombs
New Bomb Identified In Syria
The Weapons Of The Syrian Air Force 

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Selected Cluster Bomb Videos October 17th - 23rd

Due to the large quantity of cluster bomb videos coming out of Syria at the moment it's not really reasonable to post endless videos of cluster bomb tail fins sticking out the ground, so I've selected some of the more interesting and unusual videos posted in the last week.

In this first video from Al Hivounah, Douma we see an excellent example of clearly marked cluster bomblets


This video from Maarrat al-Numan, Idlib shows the holes left by detonated cluster bomblets alongside bomblets that have become embedded in the ground after failing to detonate


Here we see the shrapnel left behind from exploded cluster bomblets in Kafr Tahari-m, Idlib


In this video from East Bweyda, Homs we see a cluster bomb canister's ejection rod causing difficulties for the people trying to remove it from the ground


In Alth, Idlib, this unusual video shows a cluster bomb canister tail lodged in the roof of a nearby building


The next two videos from East Bweyda, Homs, and Maarrat al-Numan, Idlib, claim to show civilians injured as result of cluster bomb attacks, but it's extremely difficult to verify the accuracy of the those claims


Human Rights Watch has put out a new report with more details of cluster bombs used in Syria in the two weeks since their last report.  I've been providing them with videos of cluster bombs during that time, and I would like to thank all of you who sent me links to videos for your help with gathering all the videos of cluster bombs in Syria.  I'm fairly confident the vast majority of videos (if not all) of cluster bombs in Syria were gathered together for this, along with many photographs.  More videos, photos, and images can be found on the HRW site, as well as this video explaining the details of the report


Related Articles
Collected Evidence Of Cluster Bombs Used In Syria
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A Beginner's Guide To Identifying UXO In Syria


You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Syrian Opposition's Latest Missiles and Rockets

In the last couple of weeks there's been much written about the Syrian military's latest escalation, the use of cluster bombs, but at the same time the Syrian armed opposition* appears to have been having an escalation of their own.  Aside from increased sightings and the apparent use of SA-7 surface to air missiles by the armed opposition, as reported by CJ Chivers in the New York Times At War Blog, there's also been a sudden increase in videos showing two other kinds of weapons being used.

Type 63 multiple rocket launcher


In recent weeks a number of videos have been posted from locations across Syria, including Hama, Rastan, Idlib, and Lattakia, showing truck mounted Type 63 multiple rocket launchers being used by the armed opposition. Type 63s are generally towed rocket launcher, firing 107mm rockets, manufactured in China, but licensed for manufacture in a number of other countries, including Iran and Turkey.  With a range of 8km it would be one of the longest range weapons in the armed opposition's armoury, and the below video from 7:20 shows an example of the launchers being captured by the armed opposition



9K115-2 Metis-M

The 9K115-2 Metis-M (NATO reporting name AT-13 Saxhorn-2) is a Russian anti-tank missile system, with a 2km and SACLOS wire guided targeting system.  While the system has been spotted on very rare occasion before in Syria, notably an air base attack in March 2012, it appears in the last two weeks there's been a sudden increase in videos showing the systems, for example this video and this video from Idlib, and the below example from Hama, showing the missile being fired, and apparently hitting it's target


The Syrian Army's vehicle's wouldn't stand much of a chance against these system, especially with their range compared to the RPG rockets they are used to going up against, so if their use becomes widespread it seems likely the Syrian Army will face a great number of tank loses.

* Personally I prefer the term Syrian armed opposition as it covers all armed groups, and I feel the term "FSA" is now rather inaccurate as some armed groups in Syria aren't part of the actual Free Syrian Army, and "rebels" wouldn't accurately reflect the presence of foreign fighters, many of which are Jihadists, in Syria.



You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

New Cluster Bomb Videos October 17th

[Videos for October 16th]

To start with here's two pictures demonstrating extremely irresponsible behaviour with unexploded cluster bomblets, both showing AO1-Sch bomblets being held by children

[source]
[source]
On the opposite end of the UXO handling spectrum we have this video from al-Qusayr, Homs, showing PTAB 2.5m bomblets buried in the ground marked with circles of rocks as a warning to others, an effect unfortunately ruined by the handling of one of the bomblets at the end of the video


In Armanaz, Idlib, we have a series of videos, first two showing holes left by detonating bomblets, then one showing unexploded bomblets lodged in the ground, and finally one showing the tail end of a canister


In Maarrat al-Numan, Idlib, we have this photo of AO1-Sch bomblets, including the markings "55 107 77", which if I believe shows the factory it was manufactured in, the batch, and the year of manufacture, which is an interesting consideration when looking at these bomblets

[source]
Also from the same area we have 3 PTAB 2.5m cluster bomblets


In Ketian, Idlib, we have this canister tail


And we also have these two videos from unspecified locations in Idlib, one showing a tail section, another a bomblet lodged in the ground


In Taftanaz, Idlib, we have a unexploded AO1-Sch collection including one with the markings "55 78 74", and a photo gallery of the same bomblets, including one with the markings "55 107 77", seen on the bomblet in Maarrat al-Numan, Idlib


In Douma we have a cluster bomb canister and a clearly marked PTAB 2.5m bomblet


In Babbila, Damascus, the tail section of a canister


East Bweyda, Homs has this English subtitiled video with a collection of canister and bomblets, including some with the markings "55 47 74"


Finally this video from an unknown location


Related Articles
Collected Evidence Of Cluster Bombs Used In Syria
Evidence Of Cluster Bombs Being Deployed In Syria
New Cluster Bomb Evidence Emerges From Syria
A Beginner's Guide To Identifying UXO In Syria


You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

New Cluster Bomb Videos October 16th Plus Bonus FABs

[Videos for October 15th]

Five new videos today, the first from Rastan, Homs, showing children showing off the AO-1 Sch cluster bomblets to the camera


This video from East Bweyda, Homs, shows a cluster bomb canister and AO-1 Sch cluster bomblets that are held up to the camera, showing the factory marking 56 47 74, the third number being the year of manufacture.  As with many of these bomblets they appears to have been manufactured in the 1970s and early 1980s


This video from Isqat, Idlib, shows a cluster bomb canister marked with RBK 250-275 and the bomblet type AO-1 Sch


Next we have two videos showing larger PTAB cluster bomblets, first from Hamouriyah, Damascus


And this video of a cluster bomb with PTAB bomblets from Al Bab, Aleppo, that appears to have crashed into a building without scattering the bomblets first


Thanks to @sherbalkis and @hlk01.

One other change in the air war I'd like to briefly highlight is the appearance of FABs.  You may have read about OFAB high explosive fragmentation bombs on my blog, which are very similar, the main difference being the design of the shell, with the OFAB's shell causing greater fragmentation compared to the FAB.  Here's a few examples spotted in recent weeks (thanks to Bjørn H Jespersen of the excellent .processing blog for help with this)


Related Articles
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You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

Hackgate - Ten To Watch For

The latest piece from My Regular Contributor, looking at ten things to watch for in the ongoing Hackgate saga

1  Hole-in-the-Wall:  Steve Coogan told the Leveson Inquiry how the minutiae of his life was intruded on by Glenn Mulcaire.  Coogan was shown Mulcaire's notes (p14):
I saw a redacted copy, which had information about money I'd withdrawn from a cash machine,...the precise amount of money I'd withdrawn from a cash machine, which would suggest someone was looking over my shoulder when I was doing it.
Shoulder-surfing is only one explanation. A case cited in the 2008 Serious Organised Crime Agency report ('The Rogue Element of the Private Investigation Industry') is clearly Glenn Mulcaire. Following a description of his modus operandi, is this curiosity (p5, SOCA 2008):
The investigator also managed to intercept the landline of an Automated Telling Machine at a local shop to distance himself from his calls to the voicemail boxes.
Mulcaire is known as a former footballer, not telecomms technician.  Did he have that expertise himself?  Or was technical expertise recruited from amongst a wider private investigator network?  What kinds of ATM info interception were feasible?

2  Tracking: UK parent company of News International, News Group Newspapers (NGN), does not dispute that it commissioned Derek Webb to do surveillance on targets for stories.  Ex-policeman Webb was variously designated as private investigator / freelance journalist depending on when it was considered politic for him to hold an NUJ card.  But NGN has also admitted (p8 para 31, Admission of Facts) that information, unlawfully obtained by its own journalists from Mulcaire, was used to enable un-named "private investigators employed by News of the World to monitor, locate and track individuals to place them under surveillance."  It will be interesting to know what tracking and surveillance technology was deployed, and by whom.

3  Safety First: And on the subject of security technology, this small nugget from Mary-Ellen Field's evidence to Leveson is intriguing - the last time she ever spoke to celebrity client Elle McPherson after acrimoniously parting company:
I received a call out-of-the-blue from Elle asking me who the security people were who checked her house, office and car.  Elle did not explain why she wanted this information -- however I provided it to her.  It occurs to me now that it is likely that she needed that information following contact from the police in relation to phone hacking, having arrested Mulcaire.  I know now that Clive Goodman's column in the NOTW was cancelled the previous week.
If accurate, it is interesting to note police interest in how celebrities are willing to pay elite private security companies to safeguard their privacy.  For example, one such specialist company - Brookmans International - were very supportive in providing protection and security technology to Kerry Katona. Sadly, their best efforts did not prevent stories about Katona's private life appearing in newspapers.

4  Still on the topic of technology:  Operation Tuleta will soon be back in the news as awaited charging decisions are due.  The ongoing Operation Tuleta investigation includes Operation Kalmyk, focusing on alleged computer hacking related to Northern Ireland.  Outgoing MET DAC Sue Akers was asked about computer hacking at her final appearance before the Home Affairs Select Committee in early September
Q You mentioned computer hacking in the course of your remarks. What can you tell us about the progress of investigations on that, please?
Akers: It is difficult for me to go into any detail, obviously, because it is an ongoing investigation, but there are seven people who are on bail in relation to computer hacking.
Q  I know it is difficult for you but are you able to tell us generally what the nature of the allegation is in those cases, the general character?
Akers: You will have seen, maybe, the Panorama programme. There are inquiries in connection with that. It is difficult for me to go into much more detail.
Q  Are you able to say anything about the characteristics of the seven people who are under investigation, what category they might fall into?
Akers: I suppose the general category you would say is private investigator, some of them ex-police.
Q  Are there files with the CPS in relation to those matters or not?
Akers: Yes.
5  Weeting: There are still charging decisions outstanding under Operation Weeting.  Eight have already been charged:  Rebekah Brooks, Andrew Coulson, Stuart Kuttner, Glenn Mulcaire, Greg Miskiw, Ian Edmondson, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup.  However the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Principal Legal Advisor announced at the same time that three others arrested would have no further action taken and
There are two suspects in relation to whom the police have asked me to defer making a decision whilst further enquiries are made. For this reason I do not intend to give their names or say anything further about them at this stage.
6  Andy Coulson - is still waiting for his Appeal over News Group Newspapers refusal to pay his legal fees.  In essence, Coulson argues NGN are contractually obliged tp pay his legal costs accrued as a result of his time in employment at NGN, whilst they argue their contractual obligation does not apply to illegal acts he may have undertaken. At the time of his unsuccessful hearing in December 2011, Coulson had been arrested by both Operation Weeting and Operation Elvedon.  Since then he has additionally been arrested once more (Operation Rubicon) and charged twice (Operation Rubicon and Operation Weeting).  Coulson is therefore clocking up massive legal fees for which he is, pending Appeal, personally liable.  The Appeal Hearing should be instructive.

7  DCI April Casburn - suspended from her MET job in Counter Terrorism Command (Specialist Operations), is due back in court, at the Old Bailey on November 2nd.  She is charged with offences which include an alleged offer to supply News International with insider information on Operation Varec - a sub-investigation of Operation Weeting.  Arguably the most significant aspect of Casburn's Old Bailey appearance is that she "must enter a plea to the charge"  - the first defendant to do so since the News of the World scandal erupted.

8 ICO:  There may be more charges to come, but this time by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).  Asked about the future sequence of events which might, in time, signal the closing stages of Hackgate, DAC Akers told the Home Affairs Select Committee that it would be necessary to involve the ICO in charges to be laid.  The ICO has its own powers to take action in relation to the Data Protection Act, in addition to any police/CPS prosecutions -
the Information Commissioner must get involved where there is not quite such serious criminality but, nonetheless, there are breaches of privacy.
Given the criticism of the ICO's failure to achieve convictions under Operation Motorman, they would doubtless be glad of the opportunity to take action on data protection offences.  And who is to say that potential prosecutions might not result, belatedly, from Operation Motorman itself?

9  Will Hackgate spread further?  Possibly
Home Affairs Select Committee  Q49 Mr Winnick: In your evidence to the Leveson inquiry, you said that Trinity Mirror, News International and Express Newspapers were being investigated for corrupt payments to officials. That is what you said?
Sue Akers: Yes.
Q50 Mr Winnick: Are there other organisations now involved in the investigation, apart from those?
Sue Akers: Those are the organisations that I have said publicly, and I think I should not go any further than what is in the public domain.
Q51 Mr Winnick: When you say you do not want to go any further, I do not want to press you when you consider that it would be inappropriate, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, but you have mentioned companies already to the Leveson inquiry. You are saying, in effect, if I understand you, that there are other companies but for some reason you do not want to mention them today.
Sue Akers: I am certainly not ready to say anything in the way that I did about the Mirror Group and the Express Group because our investigation is still continuing.
Mr Winnick: If that is the position, I will not press you further. Thank you.

10  Sue Akers' replacement - is MET Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh, so his name will become familiar to Hackgate watchers.  His face may already be familiar from his press conferences during the London riots in 2011.  There is already one Hackgate gig awaiting him at the Leveson Inquiry. In addressing Future Directions, Leveson said
As I have just made clear to DAC Akers, it is important that my report is based on what is then the most up to date information about the progress of the criminal investigation.... I make clear that I will issue another request under s. 21 of the Inquiries Act 2005... Notice of a hearing will be provided in good time to all core participants to Modules 1 and 2 
Unless Lord Justice Leveson decides to accept a substitute written statement, Steve Kavanagh could be back in front of the cameras soon in Court 73.

So, plenty still to watch out for....

Related Articles
Hackgate - Dear Surrey Police
Hackgate - The John Boyall Files
One Rogue Email And The Indestructible Archive 
John Yates And Neil Wallis - A Mutual Understanding
Alex Marunchak - Presumed Innocent

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

Monday, 15 October 2012

New Cluster Bomb Videos October 15th

[Videos for October 13-14th]

Here's the latest videos of cluster bombs and bomblets from the last 24 hours in Syria, starting with two videos from Al-Bab, Aleppo, showing PTAB 2.5m bomblets, as well as the canister in the second video


This photograph was also taken in the same area [source]


This video from Urem al-Kubra, Aleppo shows a small group of AO1-Sch bomblets


In Mesraba, Damascus we have this pair of tail fins


And from Rankus, Damascus, we have this video showing multiple cluster bomb canisters and bomblets, as well as a gallery of photographs from the same area


In Talbiseh, Homs, we have this video showing a cluster bomb canister, and multiple bomblets


And in Dayr Ful, Homs, we have this video of a partial canister


From Duweir, Deir Ez Zor, a cluster bomb canister


And finally from Maarrat al-Numan, Idlib, this very interesting video that appears to show a cluster bomb that didn't deploy correctly and appears to have detonated with all the bomblets still inside, worth a look


Related Articles
Collected Evidence Of Cluster Bombs Used In Syria
Evidence Of Cluster Bombs Being Deployed In Syria
New Cluster Bomb Evidence Emerges From Syria
A Beginner's Guide To Identifying UXO In Syria


You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com