A recently-translated Al-Qaeda document published by The Associated Press outlines 22 helpful hints for evading or taking down US drones, ranging from radio silence to jamming communications equipment with an "ordinary water-lifting dynamo fitted with a 30-meter copper pole." The list was originally published on an extremist website in Arabic in 2011, and has been republished several times online, but has remained unreported in English. One suggestion — to "hide under thick trees" — is believed to have been written by Osama bin Laden. Another hint involves using a Russian device called a "sky grabber" to "infiltrate the drone's waves and frequencies."
"These are not dumb techniques."
AP reporters found a Xeroxed copy of the document in Timbuktu, Mali, after militants fled the area last year. The US has been working to establish a new drone base in nearby Niger, the AP reports, and the document — written by al-Qaeda commander Abdallah bin Muhammad — shows that the group was preparing to deal with the increased presence. While some of the suggestions would be more helpful than others, Air Force Col. Cedric Leighton insists, "these are not dumb techniques. It shows that they are acting pretty astutely." Here is the list in full:
It is possible to know the intention and the mission of the drone by using the Russianmade "sky grabber" device to infiltrate the drone’s waves and the frequencies. The device is available in the market for $2,595 and the one who operates it should be a computer know-how.
Using devices that broadcast frequencies or pack of frequencies to disconnect the contacts and confuse the frequencies used to control the drone. The Mujahideen have had successful experiments using the Russian-made "Racal."
Spreading the reflective pieces of glass on a car or on the roof of the building.
Placing a group of skilled snipers to hunt the drone, especially the reconnaissance ones because they fly low, about six kilometres or less.
Jamming of and confusing of electronic communication using the ordinary water-lifting dynamo fitted with a 30-metre copper pole.
Jamming of and confusing of electronic communication using old equipment and keeping them 24-hour running because of their strong frequencies and it is possible using simple ideas of deception of equipment to attract the electronic waves devices similar to that used by the Yugoslav army when they used the microwave (oven) in attracting and confusing the Nato missiles fitted with electromagnetic searching devices.
Using general confusion methods and not to use permanent headquarters.
Discovering the presence of a drone through well-placed reconnaissance networks and to warn all the formations to halt any movement in the area.
To hide from being directly or indirectly spotted, especially at night.
To hide under thick trees because they are the best cover against the planes.
To stay in places unlit by the sun such as the shadows of the buildings or the trees.
Maintain complete silence of all wireless contacts.
Disembark of vehicles and keep away from them especially when being chased or during combat.
To deceive the drone by entering places of multiple entrances and exits.
Using underground shelters because the missiles fired by these planes are usually of the fragmented anti-personnel and not anti-buildings type.
To avoid gathering in open areas and in urgent cases, use building of multiple doors or exits.
Forming anti-spies groups to look for spies and agents.
Formation of fake gatherings such as using dolls and statutes to be placed outside false ditches to mislead the enemy.
When discovering that a drone is after a car, leave the car immediately and everyone should go in different direction because the planes are unable to get after everyone.
Using natural barricades like forests and caves when there is an urgent need for training or gathering.
In frequently targeted areas, use smoke as cover by burning tires.
As for the leaders or those sought after, they should not use communications equipment because the enemy usually keeps a voice tag through which they can identify the speaking person and then locate him.