Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wet Work in Dubai- Double-Double Cross? Post 9-11 Black-Ops

Since the hit on Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, there has been enormous speculation as to the who.

We know- or we are told by Dubai- that there were eleven with a variety of fake passports from European countries. We know that several of those names match dual citizens from Israel- people with both European passports and Israeli passports. We also know that the pictures on the passports do not match the faces that Dubai is saying belong to the hit-team.

The hit team knew, without question, that they would be on camera. Dubai is known to have money and the most modern hotels and resorts - maybe the most modern on the planet. Dubai is also known as the "playground" of the middle-east, the equivalent of Las Vegas for Americans. What happens in Dubai stays in Dubai- well, maybe not this time.

There are those that are saying this is a Mossad screw-up. The team pictures are everywhere.

There are also those that are saying that there is no-way this could be a Mossad job- the team was too obvious.


Maybe that was the entire point… Conducting a "black-op" in a highly technological society means dealing with that technology. You know camera's are going to be everywhere. They are everywhere in London. They are everywhere in Las Vegas, and as we have seen, they are apparently everywhere in Dubai. So, the question becomes, how do you beat the cameras?

The answer is, you don't- at least not directly. You play to the cameras. That is what this team did. They know where the cameras are and they know they can't avoid them. They know that information is being grabbed at the airport from the passports used. So they use disguises, and try to hide in plain site as much as possible. But, most importantly, they make sure that their faces do not match their names. They have become completely anonymous in that everyone in the world knows that the identity they used was blatantly false. There is no guarantee that the pictures used on the passport were of the actual hit team. The pictures may be of people that look enough like them, that it will pass a "human eye"- but in this age of technology, the if the picture is not of the actual person, it will never hold up the scrutiny of eventual computerized facial recognition or matching. Who knows- maybe the pictures that we are being shown are of people who are actually dead.

The key is plausible deniability. Those named certainly have it. The "that’s not me" has be broadcast around the world, and countries like Great Britain are running in circles screaming for everyone to hear that the passports were fake. We know the names that are listed were NOT the actual hit squad.

So, now we come back around to Mossad. There is an argument that the team was too obvious to be Mossad. Mossad analyst are saying it is too much like the 1997 job. In other words, Mossad would never do something this obvious. Plausible deniability.

There are also statements that Israel would never use passports of Israeli's-- again that would be TOO obvious. But, if we think about it backwords, maybe that is the point. The people who hold the passports have been cleared for all practical purposes.

Right now it is SO OBVIOUS that this job was Mossad that it CAN'T BE Mossad.


Right now it is SO OBVIOUS that is job was NOT Mossad, that it MUST BE Mossad.

Anyone have a coin to flip? Or should I be asking for a Shekel?

Either way, if I were a terrorist, I certainly would not want to be crossing Mossad.


  1. So, when does this movie come out?

  2. Mossad or not, what is obvious is that this was a State sponsored act.

    What I wonder is, given that the perps knew they were going to be on candid camera, to what extent were they able to manipulate their facial features to throw off facial recognition software?

    All such software is based on algorithms using key points of the face. As you note, the problem isn't not being seen so much as not being subsequently identified.

    From an intelligence perspective if it is possible to be identified at a later date then you are unsafe, as your movements and contacts could be used as a source for an enemy to gain intelligence, ie. your career is over. Who really is willing to spend the rest of their life in hidden exile? And can any intelligence service really afford for such well trained assets to be treated as single use items?

    So, given a good knowledge of facial recognition software what kinds of procedures can be done before (temporary things like botox, and collagen injections) an operation to render the person subsequently unidentifiable Sure they could go in 'natural' and then have true reconstructive surgery, but that is going to attract it's own attention, and does have serious limits on repeatability.

  3. Many good intelligence agencies use a facial mask, not unlike cosmetic types only clear, to manipulate features for photos and cameras, but can be changed or easily removed. Hidden in plain view is the idea.


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