Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

9/4/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Al Qaeda is seeking ways to stop Allied drones.

Drones are a pillar of the U.S. counter-terrorism network around the world. Tasked with hunting al Qaeda terrorists, the drones send death from above and beyond the horizon. There is nothing al Qaeda fears more than American drones. In response, the organization is working to undermine our technology and defeat the drones.

Civilians from Pakistan's tribal areas protest the use of drones over their homes.

Civilians from Pakistan's tribal areas protest the use of drones over their homes.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

9/4/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: drones, al Qaeda, arms race, terrorists, Snowden, leak, report, manual, lasers, encryption, arms race

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Today, the Washington Post detailed some of the efforts taken by al Qaeda to find a way to defeat drone technology. Drones are responsible for numerous kills of al Qaeda fighters and leaders, and are the bane of that organization.

Drones are in widespread use and are a mainstay of covert operations, so it's no surprise al Qaeda is working hard on countermeasures to defeat them.

Drones are designed to be stealthy, so they tend to be quiet, high-flying, and are painted to provide camouflage when flying at altitude. Despite the difficulty in detecting them, they can be spotted. According to documents leaked by Edward Snowden, which detail al Qaeda efforts to defeat the drones, al Qaeda has tried several approaches including the deployment of rudimentary listening devices.

If al Qaeda operatives can tell the direction a drone is approaching, they may be able to evade detection or a subsequent attack.

In addition to listening for drones, al Qaeda operatives have tried to spot and even jam laser designators used by drones in the moments before they fire their Hellfire missiles. Guided by lasers emitted by the drone, the missiles are deadly accurate. However, if terrorists can detect they are being "lased" they can scatter before a missile hits.

Other methods include pointing lasers at the drones to blind them. So far, these tactics have yielded little result. However, like all super-weapons, the drones have one glaring weakness which is their reliance on communications.

Drones are remotely operated and are constantly receiving and transmitting signals. When these signals have been unencrypted, terrorist hackers have managed to intercept the communications. They have not yet managed to take control or destroy any drones, but they have managed to intercept video feeds. This is far from devastating. On the contrary, in Iraq it demonstrated our ability to monitor their movements in real-time, so hapless insurgents there were simply treated to the horrifying spectacle of American power.

Despite the potential to demoralize the enemy, those communications were subsequently encrypted.

Last year, Iran claimed to bring down a drone by means of an "electronic ambush" however officials dispute this and say it is more likely that an internal malfunction resulted in the autonomous crash-landing of the drone. As evidence, the Iranians have not been able to repeat their accomplishment.

Drone aircraft have the ability to fly autonomously and when they lose communications, reportedly a common and ordinary occurrence, they fly gentle loops until communications are restored. If communications remain offline, the drones can use GPS to fly themselves home and land.

Al Qaeda has been confounded by drone warfare, and their attempts to defend themselves are ongoing. Operations manuals dating back to 2006 and widely distributed reveal the terror organization has considered a variety of approaches. More novel approaches include the deployment of hobby-aircraft, cheap, radio controlled aircraft that can be equipped with cameras to search for drones. This tactic has not worked.

Other attempts include efforts to spoof the drones' GPS, and to shoot them down with surface-to-air missiles. Al Qaeda has even put out an open call for engineers and computer experts to find ways to stop the drone offensive.

Although the terrorist organization has failed to stop the drones, documents revealed by Snowden show that the CIA and other services are keenly aware that clever, low-tech tactics can interfere and even mitigate the effectiveness of drones.

Also of concern is growing anti-drone sentiment in the United States. As drones are authorized to fly over the U.S. and are being employed by law enforcement agencies, privacy concerns are developing. Intelligence officials are worried that public backlash against drones could crimp development and operations of the otherwise effective craft.

Of course, the greatest impact of drones is psychological. Terrorists and their sympathizers in restive regions say that drones are a constant worry and they take a mental toll. At any moment, death can come from above. It creates an atmosphere of terror where the terrorists and their families are themselves being terrorized with the possibility of instant, blazing death.

Tragically, drones also hit innocent people, including women and children, much like terrorism everywhere else. This raises an ontological question that we should consider. Have we become like that which we despise?

For now, this is a question for others to debate. While al Qaeda scrambles to find whatever solution they can to a high-tech threat, our operations continue as Predators and Reapers take their grim toll on those who would harm us.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Middle East

Is the U.S. fully responsible for Kunduz hospital airstrike? Watch

Image of Afghan staff react inside a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On Monday, the American commander of international forces in Afghanistan announced Afghan forces asked for U.S. air support as they fought the Taliban in Kunduz prior to an air strike that killed civilians. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - U.S. Army General John ... continue reading

ISIS destruction of Palmyra temple infuriates world community Watch

Image of ISIS pledged to destroy only what it deemed idolatrous. Items, such as grave markers and statues symbols are considered signs of paganism to be destroyed, according to its puritanical version of Islam.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The world community - particularly among historians and archaeologists, is feeling anger and growing despair after Islamic State released images showing the destruction of the 2,000-year-old temple of Baal Shamin in the historic Syrian city of Palmyra. LOS ... continue reading

Grotesque images show Syrian treatment of political prisoners Watch

Image of A woman covers her mouth as she views shocking images smuggled out of Syria on display at the UN headquarters in New York (Reuters).

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Syrian military photographer, code named Caesar, smuggled and shared to the world evidence showcasing Bashar al-Assad's grotesque cruelty toward political prisoners. While the dictator's regime asks for assistance from abroad for their fight against the Islamic ... continue reading

'Tragic' and 'Inexcusable': Investigation launched on U.S. Airstrike that hit Afghanistan Doctors Without Borders hospital Watch

Image of


Several people were injured and the death toll rose to 19 during the tragic, inexcusable U.S. airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan. Reports reveal that the bombing continued even after the military was advised the hospital had been hit. ... continue reading

Islamic State executes ten Kurdish fighters, releases video (WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT) Watch

Image of A new beheading video has been released.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Another execution video has been posted by Islamic State terrorists. In this video, they behead ten Kurdish fighters after forcing them to recite prayers. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Ten Kurdish fighters were filmed kneeling in orange jumpsuits, reciting ... continue reading

Iranian troops flood Syria: Plan to launch a ground attack Watch

Image of Iran sends troops into Syria (AFP/Atta Kenare).

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over the past ten days, hundreds of Iranian troops entered Syria and will soon accompany government forces and Lebanese Hezbolla allies. The purpose of the move is to host a ground offensive as the Russian military continues air strikes. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

Russia calls up 150,000 conscripts as Syrian invasion accelerates Watch

Image of Syrians rally in favor of Assad and Putin.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Russia could be planning a full-scale invasion of the Islamic State, granting the terror organization the final, apocalyptic struggle they have been waiting for. In addition to airstrikes, Putin has called up 150,000 conscripts amid calls to send Muslim troops to crush ... continue reading

Russia launches airstrikes in Syria but didn't target ISIS strongholds Watch

Image of


Russia conducted its first airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Following reports of Russian familiarization flights, it came as no surprise to hear official reports Russian airstrikes have begun.Only yesterday CNN reported Russia ... continue reading

Yazidi woman recounts decapitation of husband and loss of 16-year-old daughter taken to serve as ISIS sex slave Watch

Image of 9-year-old Shilan held her father's headless body following his execution by ISIS soldiers (Owen Holdaway).

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Yazidi mother speaks out against ISIS, who executed her husband and took one of her daughters as a sex slave. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -The Daily Mail reported the story as 33-year-old Hayar recounted the horrific day she lost her husband and daughter."When ... continue reading

Islamic State cutting out organs from 'healthy' captives to strengthen injured jihadists Watch

Image of Former prisoner Abo Rida says that surgeons for the terror group remove kidneys and corneas from prisoners.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to an eyewitness, captives of Islamic State are forced to endure daylong torture sessions. Even worse, captives who are healthy become unwilling donors of body parts in order to tend to injured jihadists. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Former prisoner ... continue reading

All Middle East News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jonah 3:1-10
1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to Jonah a second ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 130:1-2, 3-4, 7-8
1 [Song of Ascents] From the depths I call to you, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:38-42
38 In the course of their journey he came to a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 6th, 2015 Image

St. Bruno
October 6: Bruno was born in Cologne of the prominent Hartenfaust family. ... Read More