2 Episode results for "Al-Zour cowie"
12: Assault on Al-Qaeda, Part 2
"Summer two thousand six the elite fighting outfit Task Force Black were on the trail of Iraq's deadliest terrorist Abu Bumu Saab all Zerkalo Zarko the number one priority for a man driven to unleash unspeakable carnage on the people of Iraq and coalition military forces Sarkar. We personified the dark sadistic and medieval vision of the future future of headings suicide bombings and indiscriminate killings but with the help of interrogators and military leadership task force black back finally brings down the death is our cow as we suspected would it was a devastating world organization welcome to covert show show about the shadowy world of international espionage top secret military operations Jamie Rennell take you inside history's greatest special operations Sion's missions to learn about the brave soldiers and operatives who risked their lives terminate the world's most wanted eliminate terrorist threats and protect countless countless innocent lives. This is the true story of Task Force Black Mackillop one of Iraq's most vicious terrorist leaders Abu Musab also also collie. This is the assault on al-Qaeda par to the farmhouse raid that led to the capture of five high ranking. Al Qaeda officers was born out of months of intelligence stemming from an the operation brought about by a general who arrived in Iraq almost three years prior. Stanley McChrystal took a radical new approach for hunting down Al-Zour Collie and destroying destroying a Q. I or Al Qaeda in Iraq. Here's former assistant secretary of defense. Tom O'CONNELL Stan McChrystal unique guy. years of of experience with our special operations forces at all levels former arrange commander he and bill mcraven were to of the early special operations leaders John Mulholland another that really took their operational experience and applied it to the battlefield sorta. I don't WanNa say said forget Washington but we know what to do here and by God we're going to do it and you get personalities that are that strong that experience that well respected the force falls in and their operational experience starts to start the show and it's just the type of guy you want in that position. McChrystal is the newly appointed commander of the Joint Special Operations Command or J. sock formed in the late nineteen eighties to coordinate the work of America's elite troops J. sock controls the best of the best from across the different branches of the United States military. These are these so-called special missions units units navy seal team six Army Delta Force and the Air Force Twenty Fourth Special Tactics squadron active in every corner of the world often on highly classified missions. The soldiers of J. sock are experts in precise targeted strikes against hard to reach enemies. Mark Urban is the author of two thousand eleven task force black. The explosive true story of the special secret forces war in Iraq is a very secret organization and it was tasked with finding the most sensitive types of mission against US enemies obviously in the context post nine eleven terrorist enemies as counter terrorism at the start of the Iraq War J. Socks mission had been to find and arrest the leaders of the old Iraqi regime including President Saddam Hussein sane once this mission was accomplished. A power vacuum was created and also Cowie was ready and waiting to step in in decapitated. See what some call the bath is to nationalise dealership. They probably assisted the growth of Al Khadra in Iraq because by taking away the leadership figures shakes that former the generals the key people who keep off this they live questionable of angry young militants Sunnis with nowhere to go and those people gravitated towards Cardo so McChrystal made a strategic decision to abandon the hunt for ex members of the old Saddam regime instead he focused almost all of his resources on just just one man Abu Saab all's or Kali Matthew Alexander former interrogator in Iraq and author of how to break a terrorist. I when I arrived my feeling was how can I contribute. How can I help in this. the violence and essentially in our commander came in and gave a big speech right after we got there and the point of the speech was the only way to win the Iraq war more to stop the violence between Sunni Shia is to find an killer capture of Hummus levels are Kelly to get to Oliver Cowie himself. McChrystal astill began building a complete picture of his terror network. He set up a large command center at an old Iraqi airbase in the town of ballade north of Baghdad and invited all of America's different spy agencies to set up camp there again former assistant secretary of defense. Tom O'CONNELL was a huge huge room. Saddam did a great job and building A TAILOR-MADE OP Center for those high value target activities in Iraq back. If you walked into their joint operations center you would be shocked at one the the focus on the the targets these are the top ten here the entire collection tasks this is how we're moving against them and as information brakes on each one you see the various various forces and the inner agency and the Allies and in some cases the Iraqis move against it and it's it's an unfolding story every day. It's constantly updated. It never blinks. It never sleeps and you put that much talent together. Give them the authorities days. They're going to be successful. The idea was that every piece of information however insignificant would be brought there and fed into a massive database if if McChrystal and his men learned everything they can about why they may be able to quickly find its weakest points and strike former FBI CIA a senior official Philip Mudd when we started working with special forces and I I remember General McChrystal. WHO's a real hero in this war the guy's a legend Terry not only a legendary operated take the way he constructed joint commands but I remember him coming into headquarters and saying you know we need some of your people and as any bureaucrat? Will you sit back there and say all right is in dog in the hunt. What are we trying to do here. 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Dot Com slash covert McChrystal established a special detention facility next door to his command center enter were interviews of suspected al-Qaeda members would be conducted keeping all of the Intel gathered central to one location former interrogator in Iraq Iraq Matthew Alexander the Interrogation Unit you essentially composed of where we kept the prisoners in also our Turkish Asian rooms in our analysis room in our desks which we called the gator pit part of our facility was an old Saddam era aircraft hangar and then the rest of it was just kind of make shift built additions to a warehouse essentially where you would just take plywood in throw it would up in Crete compartments in rooms but it was really essentially like a very quickly built haphazard facility where sure where it was just kind of all thrown together last minute when it felt like well our task force had its own detention facility because of our pace which essentially Ashley was go out capture senior leaders of al Qaeda get information out of them through interrogation in quickly turn around and go back out in catch new leaders this and do that in a manner in which always going up the chain of command towards Kali using this massive amount of up-to-date intelligence McChrystal unleashed the most most dangerous weapon in J. socks Arsenal the coalition forces special mission units of elite frontline soldiers these units would work in an entirely tiredly new way historically they ran only one or two major operations per year now they would conduct multiple raids on a daily basis Fran Townsend former White House counterterrorism adviser we found over the years in the war was that you need there needs to be a continuous loop right right of information and so the operators need to understand from the intelligence community what the capability is and the intelligence community needs to understand what the operators are seen being on the ground and so they can task each other right and they can and you get better and more refined th you know. I can remember visiting Iraq and watching them. They didn't go out once on a night. They went out multiple times. oftentimes the intelligence operators would go with the special forces they would do they would get what's called pocket litter there were hard drives a piece of paper out of people's pockets they come back they bring it to analyst back on the base who from the CIA who would go through that information that that would lead to another targeting package and the operated the special forces would go out again. That's sort of continuous feed. Continuous loop is what made them incredibly effective well. It all starts by piling in the back of a Stryker vehicle in sitting in a very cramped space. That's very hot in very dark and then you're you're going through the streets you know and there's all types of hazards roadside bombs and snipers in by the time you get to the target usually already drenched in sweat in your adrenaline going and then the team conducts a raid of the location in go out they go in in the the capture your intended target and then they immediately call you say you're jumping out of the vehicle. You're running down. The street won't get when it gets really exciting is when you have more than one house. oftentimes the these terrorists they would run out of one house jump a wall and into another house and then you'd have to wait a second house in sometimes it would ended up with a third or fourth house and then there's only two interrogators so you could end up with as many as ten or fifteen captured personnel and the I need have ten or fifteen minutes between two interrogators to try and figure out who were the bad guys and back to the base. The critical factor is speed every time a militant militant is captured the members of Q. I around that individual will try to cover their tracks by reorganizing the entire network. It's a cat and mouse game. The terrorists wrists constantly changed their routines abandoned safehouses and recruit new men to replace those that have been lost or captured but if McChrystal's people can work worked faster than their enemy they will destroy a Q. I before it can regenerate what I saw general McChrystal do as A. I'm not a field opera but I'm a career analyst. That's what I saw him. Do was not just evolutionary was revolutionary. You think about the history of warfare you know tanks artillery aircraft you think about the history of intelligence strategic work that identifies the Soviet nuclear arsenal for example now. Let's fast forward to what we've been doing. The past decade plus you take technical technical information. Things like stuff you oughta captured cell phone or captured hard-drive. You take detainee. Operation Detainees are saying about the network. They just came from you. Take pieces of paper you might capturing raid last night and you put them in a big hopper and say our software or nationalist. Our people have to be good enough so so that when the with within the the the timeframe of ours they can put together a picture of what that network looks like for example foreign fighters across Iraq doc. What is all this information. Tell us about money about suicide bombers about leadership and not only put that picture together do it well enough so that an operator can conduct a raid raid within twenty four hours contrast were that where we were in terms of intelligence and military operations even fifteen years ago and where we are today all that coming together so that you're not only constructing a picture of a foreign fighter network. You're not only operating on that picture within twenty four hours. You're doing it for years on end with people from every Consi in town incredible in a way the most important Tortilla that general McChrystal Jason brought this whole oh fake was that if you hit an organization false enough accurately enough and repeatedly enough you you could actually cause them to collapse now in other conflicts around the world various counter-terrorist feels. It tried this but they never really found that. It worked the old idea. What if you killed somebody. We drank them screaming from that home. In the middle of the night he would simply create many more people who wanted revenge had held true and and this idea that you could actually take down a whole terrorist militant organization had never been material that never been made real actually made to work that. McChrystal's attitude was yes. I know if we go into someone's home in the middle of the night will create a business that we want to take down so fall elst that when that angry brother will son whatever it is tries to report to take part in the Jihad. There's no one to talk to because all of his father or brothers friends they have also been lifted in the same forty hour period now. This was a critical to what they wanted to do. It involved Mount Mount multiple raids every night. Sometimes a particular task force would do what they call bounce homes they go from one target they would find intelligence there they go on to another target and another another one and they could round up a whole group of people half dozen people say and petit commits and sell in one night and little by little that was going to have an effect. Jay sock had developed into a well oiled machine every single night for special task forces spread out through Iraq doc and performed up to a dozen raids at one time each group was assigned to take down targets in a different part of US occupied territories to the north is task force read formed from the army's seventy fifth Rangers Brigade to the West Task Force blue made up of US Navy seals the center of Iraq was the responsibility of task force green staffed by the US Army's most elite unit Delta Force and finally these soldiers were joined by the SAS ask operating under the codename feeling among many of the American intelligence operators that the SAS and the other British special forces also is the Special Boat Service and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment had skills that were quite unusual and quite different to the type of skills that Delta force or the seals at the American training and operational activity at all been based around if you like action man leaping out of helicopters boarding ships this kind of stuff assault rolls whereas the British special forces because of their long involvement not just in Northern Ireland but in places like the Balkans where they've been involved in the hunt for war criminals they had skills to do with the patient nurturing uh of targets and groups have targets now that involves surveillance involved creativity stealth about how for example could you get a remote surveillance camera hammer onto a balcony overlooking at target. You might be interested in they came up with all sorts of things they drove around in Baghdad taxis they disguise themselves and the American intelligence people saw some of these during the early years in in Baghdad and they liked it. They actually there's something we can learn from these people because because they could better that counseling themselves they also got Iraqi colleagues that they could use some of those cover tasks but right the way through the Americans did value the fact act that the British could add another very highly trained very professional special operations task force to their lay down because they were in Baghdad. They could go after ah the same very very high. Importance targets McChrystal and his team worked through their targets night after night. The supply lines of foreign fighters were being being intercepted. Bombmakers were taken out of action mountains of intelligence captured and analyzed despite two years of taking all Zerkalo as network apart the ultimate objective the man himself still eluded them were under tremendous amount of pressure to deliver results quickly every day we were reminded of how important it was to find an killer taps rebel muscles are Kylie because he was the key to winning the war and that pressure was reinforced from a variety of leaders continuously on US support for covert comes from manscaping who who is number one in men's below the belt grooming manscaping offers precision engineered tools for your family jewels okay so here's the TMI portion of the recording and I no longer rocky nut fro anymore so I have to take care of some things down there and it's a delicate operation and let me tell you razors and testicles tickles don't generally go together and there until now hasn't really been anything on the market that can take care of things down there safely well. 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Thank you so go ahead and get twenty percents off go to manscaping dot com use the code owed covert the turning point was the farmhouse raid in the moments after operatives to control of the Farmhouse Farmhouse Task Force black swept the building looking for any clues to ulcer cowboys whereabouts along with the hostages the task force provided McChrystal's J. Socks Special Operations Command with the computers and phones they found on the premises the rate became known as larch wood four they sweep everything they think might the aerobics mobile phones computers everything else and they take it away as a result of launch with four and subsequent operations consumer generated a huge amount of actionable intelligence came into Jason's hands in the House that Ah fool so all to get they had a computer when Ajay sock analysts started to probe one of the captured computers he discovered something extraordinary raw footage of ulcer collie himself from his recent propaganda video the footage shows him in a desert area firing weapons and urging his his supporters to show no mercy against their so called enemies he Iraq's Shia community and the US forces this video proves to be vital because it shows Jay sock what else collie looks like currently the task force swab the laptop and send the material evidence for DNA analysis through traces of DNA that were found late in the US Senate was backed up and sent back to the US for analysis they would conclude. It was his laptop on the laptop. They found around the video of him. Performing in the desert they found sorts of other things of course information about operations of his sells strategy documents if they were absolutely sure that they had got much closer to the person they wanted the analysts realized that Al-Zour does your car we must have left the house just hours before the SAS arrived. It wasn't until we discovered the video footage of him. from one of our rates that we actually started to get excited that we're close because the house where we picked up that video footage one of the teams told us or are we at least believed from what he told us that that had been in that house probably within the last forty eight hours before we rated it and that's when we we finally had the confidence to think that we're we're trail. The assault team from J. Sock has secured a major breakthrough from my position in the White House. I I remember it building over time. I don't remember there being single. Aha moment where you said now I know we're going to get him. It was the momentum had shifted the raids raids of his network were getting faster and closer to him and so you had the sense we're going to get there you had you had an increase in confidence that we were getting closer that we're putting the squeeze on him and that the military was ultimately going to be successful something else that stood out to the investigators after further reviewing the videos videos made by als or Kali they discovered outtakes. We analyzed it and we we find this raw video our colleagues in the one where he's out in the desert firing in the gun jams and he doesn't know how to declare it. Many of our colleagues followers know him to be a fearsome warrior but the video clearly shows him to be an overweight unimpressive oppressive figure of a man and appears completely unable to control the recoil of his machine gun initially he appears not to know how to fire more than one shot at a time and immediately immediately after he figures out how to switch it to fully automatic mode his weapon jams and the self styled holy warrior can't get it going again. He has to ask a friend. The unblock the stoppage the video that we saw that al-Qaeda released didn't have all the Kooks in it you know it only showed is probably being a strong on fighter that that whole image of infants ability but the reality is on the raw footage he didn't even know how to clear weapon and so the professors told a very different picture of who he was he was far from the seasoned fighter he had led people to believe he was. The coalition released the full. We'll unedited video to the media. Meanwhile deep inside the Task Force's secret detention center Jay socks interrogators gators got to work on the five men they captured from the Farmhouse Matthew Alexander a senior military interrogator who witnessed and conducted many of these. He's interviews firsthand. The men that we brought in we called the group of five and we knew that they were five important members al Qaeda but we didn't know what their roles were. Initially you know they claimed to be just a taxi driver. A guy who was there to videotape a wedding and they had this very unbelievable story that they're there to attend a wedding. Even though there was no bride or groom there were suicide bombers in the house but essentially we went to interrogate these five separately and little oh by little we will get information from one of them and then we'll take that and turn around and use it against the other for one member of the group the senior ache you is operatives known as Abu Hater refused to say anything other hyder initially claimed that he was just a videographer that he was there to film the wedding and he was probably one of the detainees gave the least amount of information initially he was interrogated for about twenty days during that time he just maintained this story that he was just there to videotape a wedding. Even though it was completely unbelievable for weeks rotating teams of interrogators try psychological pressure please for Cooperation Asian subtle threats despite their efforts he would not talk and officials had to make a decision they arranged to have him sent to Iraq's main detention. Shen facility Abu Ghraib prison in the Saddam Hussein era Abu Ghraib prison was one of the world's most notorious with torture weekly the executions and vile living conditions as many as fifty thousand men and women were crammed into cells there at one time after the regime's collapse the complex was deserted and quickly refitted as a US prison with accompanying medical center however even under US military control the prison soon descends ends once again into a place where prisoners were systematically and illegally abused. Matthew Alexander wanted to avoid these men reaching Abu Ghraib. He believed he could get the information he needed from. Abu Haider using the traditional interrogation techniques so after the first few weeks of interrogation when when he wasn't providing any information the the senior analyst on our on our team decided to transfer him decision was made to get rid of him that he would never talk and so we sent him to another prison where he would just disappear into the anonymous crowd and I decided that I would go in and interrogate they gave him one last time before he left and I didn't really have permission to do that but I felt that he was or could provide very important information towards findings or Kali and so about six hours before he was transferred he was to get on a helicopter. I went in and brought him into interrogation. Asian Room and began a conversation and that conversation started with nothing about al Qaeda nothing about terrorism. It started with a friendly conversation about he was What was his life story on. How did he come to be sitting in a chair opposite me and getting to know each other and we shared stories about yeah. are are both of us have appreciation for Ultimate Fighting Championship we talked about wrestling. We talked about soccer. We talked about the politics of the Middle East and we talked about a lot of things just so I can kind of understand who he was and what I understood stood and got to know about him that I five and a half hours is that he was a grand diga West. This is a man who really held himself in high esteem every time. I said I did something he would say. He did that plus one better you know he's that type of person who always had to be the smartest most capable person the room in once. I understood that about him in that was his personality type than I knew exactly what type of technique to use against him and that was a technique called pride go up which is where I would constantly strike a stroke his ego constantly make him believe in this fallacy that said that he was a very important man that he could affect the future of Iraq and then in the last fifteen minutes what I did was essentially offer him a deal offered him the chance to work with US instead of Al Qaeda and a secret program that didn't exist in which he could be a person who could influence the future of Iraq Alexander visited Abu Haider in his cell at night regularly and coaxed more and more information out of him about als are cowboys whereabouts all on the pretext of proving his worth for the non existent secret program. What I asked him was to prove his trust that we did have a relationship in which I could trust him he could trust me and I told him. If I was going to trust him that he would have to give me the name of a terrorist who I was thinking about and that he knew the name and I knew the name but but I wanted him to say it and the reality is I didn't. I didn't have any name in mind. It was all bluff but he thought about it for a while. It looked me up and down. They said the name you're looking for is a boot Abu Ayoub al-Massari in at the time was the number two man al Qaeda right below circle and so I knew immediately he knows other you've Mostra for certain he knows Sikali and so as soon as he said that he knew Eupol mastery I immediately started to think who else does he know Collie because even master himself itself you know he was kind of the ghost of al-Qaeda the guy that nobody would ever admit to meeting nobody had ever seen and here's the guy sitting in front of me was the first person we ever had to admit to meeting almost three so. I knew he was extremely important. In a new he had to know other people in the inner circles of Al Qaeda and a few weeks later I went to meet with him one night in his cell and he said I said you're so close to getting this program. All we need. Is that one last piece of information. That'll that'll convince my bosses and he said I'll give it to the interrogators tomorrow and the next day he came in and he told the interrogators that every month of we would meet with his spiritual adviser. Who was our detainees best friend. Hey folks real quick. I want to talk talk about one of our sponsors this week. vistaprint one of the things that people don't realize about acting and voice overs and podcasting is that just like any other business. It's all about the people that you know and it's the connections that you make and you really never know what those connections are. GonNa come from so it's really important to be able to have something on you so that you can handle somebody just in case you make that one connection. 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We knew we had identified individuals in various cells that were part of the pieces of putting these bombs together the other. We knew that Zarqa we had a spiritual adviser. We knew that he was going to visit him and so as you got each of those little elements you understood but it was absolutely the inevitable that we'd be successful is just a matter of being patient because eventually he would we had enough intelligence and enough of a network that eventually he was going to make a mistake and give us an opportunity and that's exactly what happened using this information. J. sock swiftly traced the spiritual adviser and began following him day and night using high-tech systems uh-huh like Predator drones as well as old fashioned undercover operatives. They created what McChrystal called the unblinking eye. Their target was never out of sight. Abu Haider tells Alexander that if they wanNA find all Zerkalo they need to look for one particular sign so our detainee a hater told us that his best friend was all Rochman any told us where to find out Rochman any told us that we would know when I'll rochman was going to visits our colleague because he would get into a blue car so we went and found Brockman at a mosque in Baghdad to the analysts dismay. Every times are Cowie's. His spiritual adviser drove around the city. It would be in a white car. We followed him from his mosque twenty four hours a day and eventually he did got in a blue car and we lost him in Baghdad traffic and so all that work you know everything that had gone in to try to find some in that moment was lost and we were devastated. We'd put all this effort into it and because we lost a car in traffic we'd lost their chances colleen uh but lucky for us this this adviser. He went back to the same mosque. I mean that's where he teaches. That's where he he lives until he picked him up again and followed him again and I believe a couple weeks later he went and got in that same blue car again and then we fall this man got into his car and headed out of town so the time came they decided that they'd assemble the resources to see where he was going and they use. Predator other methods to fully he's call by now. Pictures from the drone were being fed live to Jason Sox command center. Everyone including General McChrystal himself watched in silence as Roman drives into a large compound and gets out of the car. Uh to the task force's surprise Abu Musab Al-Zour Cali the man responsible for killing so many innocent men women and children walked into the car to greet him time is precious and critical discussion was held in the command center. Is it worth trying to capture all Zerkalo alive in broad daylight. Is it better to wait until nightfall and take him when he's asleep. If they strike they risk a heavy firefight and numerous casualties worse. Al-Zour cow is a master the last minute escape if they wait he could easily slip through the net again. This could be their one and only chance to finish the job. Matthew View looks on totally unaware of what decision the commanding officers would take to take out Al-Zour Cowie McChrystal believes. There's no time to lose he. He can't even wait twenty minutes for the Assault Force to arrive by helicopter he ops for another plan designed to take all cowie completely by surprise. General Stanley McChrystal's decision is that nothing can be left to chance he calls up to sixteen fighters patrolling nearby once the blue car arrived at the house. helicopters took off immediately to go to that House and captures Cali and it was about twenty minutes away and there was a period time in which we were just waiting. I was watching it live on video. in the car had arrived at the house. We'd seen you know all Rochman go inside and we were just waiting and we're expecting to watch the helicopters land in the rate which we typically would watch and instead after about maybe a five minute minute wait the house just exploded and it turns out that the committee had just decided to order the bombing house to ensure that circle he didn't escape again in you know so then maybe ten or fifteen minutes after that the helicopters landed still alive on a stretcher being carried away and and that's when one of the special operations soldiers ran up and stopped these two Iraqis carrying on the stretcher and I looked at him and tried to roll off the stretcher and the soldier grabbed him in conway died. It was sort of a sweet justice office if you will that. SARCOMAS last image was a US soldier grabbing him the day following the bombing the coalition announces to the world that they have their man at last and released photos of his dead body as a grim confirmation. The following is an excerpt group from former secretary of defense. Donald Rumsfeld's two thousand six NATO speech last evening. US forces in Iraq in a town called Baka killed Abu Masada is czar calway the leading terrorists in Iraq and one of the three senior al-Qaeda leaders worldwide there are going to be people who are determined to kill innocent men women children and and they'll others will come along but in terms of someone who has gotten up that high and and then that effective killing Lillard literally thousands of Iraqis were killed bill by this man the death of is our car we while enormously important I will not mean the end of all violence in that country and one ought. I'm not to take it as such but let there be no doubt his the the fact that he is dead. is a significant victory in the battle against terrorism in that country and I would say worldwide because he had interests well outside of Iraq. He was an integral part of the global war on terror. It's a devastating blow to al Qaeda in Iraq. The man who was thought to be invincible was dead. You know it's interesting. I don't from my time in the White House. I remember hearing the the the moment win. Saddam Hussein was killed. I remember coming into to the White House in hearing sarcophagi had been killed but it's not there's no relish in that right because the minute one of these leaders killed or taken out on the battlefield battlefield. You're moving on because there's going to be somebody to replace them. In so I frankly I can remember hearing Sarkhouh was killed knowing that that gave us a window of opportunity thirty while they were regrouping to continue to target them in further degrade their capability clearly their work was not over with the intelligence that was collected from the smoldering remains remains of Ulcer Cowie's compound another series of raids was launched and started to fall like a stack of Dominos. I think the truth is that findings was an absolute imperative he in many propaganda statements had summed his nose he he basically made the case that his ability to wage his kind of G. had without being captured or killed was a sign of his power and of the weakness the US on the Iraqi government that it was trying to set up so killing him on doubtedly had an impact there was a lot of expectation from from the rate of material was recovered it allow further inroads there were dozens of rates in the weeks that followed to be made into the kite strong structure and we can see eh that little by little through two thousand six through to the early party number seven they did successfully take them down to his car is our Co.. If you like was evidence of a bigger strategy that was really getting seriously affected by that point and by the summer of two thousand and seven uh-huh cadre in Iraq had largely been smashed. The death is our cow as we suspected would it was a devastating blow to the organization there was you know a good deal of chaos inside the organization and what you do is you know when you're targeting. You're also collecting intelligence on the network and so with that allows you to do as the minute he's dead their former vulnerable the the the people around him than they realize and so you do a series of raids that is devastating reading and they never really came back from from his death and it turned the tide of the war and the momentum to the side of the coalition in a way. I I suppose should have been expected but you can never be confident. You had that moment. You know I mean obviously it's good news. It's a victory on. He clearly had some operational talent had some leadership talent had the trust of bin Laden. had a larger than life figure so you can't say it's a bad thing to take him in his and his minions out. Was it a blow to al Qaeda and Iraq I think so they changed the landscape escape immediately now and there are those in even in the policy community in the United States and in the media that said it really made no difference personally I think it did better to dump them off than have him still operating on the battlefield and he had killed along America's interrogator. Matthew Alexander offers a different in perspective though I do think there was an element of justice although I think justice is best served in court but in an environment like this. We're doing counterinsurgency. We're still in a combat zone. You know a killer. Capture is the justice that you're trying trying to get from the perspective of a soldier who's hunting a terrorist in in a combat zone and do I lament over the death is our Collie in no way yeah. This was a guy who had murdered thousands of people in fact he murdered many more people than Osama bin Laden ever. Did you say Cali could be responsible for upwards almost one hundred thousand deaths by starting the civil war in Iraq and so. I don't think the world's GonNa Miss Him. I can't really the say do I agree with this or not agree with to bomb the house if it was me I'd like to say that I would have waited in raid the house so we could avoid civilian casualties but I can't blame the commander either for bombing the house because we had escaped before and you can make the argument that killings colleagues saved thousands sense of lives. I the lives at cost but there's no way really to justify this regardless. al-zirkli led the Jihadist insurgency into Iraq. When he was killed it was hoped that his campaign of terror would collapse tragically in death? Al-Zour colley left a legacy of more death and bloodshed by two thousand thirteen terrorist operation he helped grow in Iraq had morphed into the terror group. We know today as Isis and by two thousand fourteen the group had full control of the Iraqi city of collusion thankfully by early two thousand thousand Nineteen Isis influence over the region was diminishing. The fight against terrorism still continues. That's all for covert. Susan to we will be back for season three special. Thanks to the folks at audio boom and world media rights and all the sponsors that help make this podcast possible title. I want to take a second. Thank all of you for listening if you have time and feel so inclined swing on over to Instagram at covert podcast there's all kinds ends of additional content and if you want you can say hi. I'd love to talk to you. Covert is an audio boom in world meteorites co production hosted by me Jaime Renou. It's produced by audio booms. Ben Hasley Rachel Jacobs Casey Georgie and Karen Bevan and by Pascal Hughes for World Meteorites we had additional production action help from world media rights by Gerald's Bangla David mcnabb's the series creative director and executive producers for audio boom are Brendan Regan and Stewart last asked if you haven't already don't forget to follow us on spotify or subscribe on Apple Podcasts stitcher wherever you find your favorite shows and if you've got some time it gives us a review
11: Assault on Al-Qaeda, Part 1
"June two thousand six in the dead of night a Chinook helicopter lifted off from a secluded desert airbase in Iraq inside elite troops from Britain's Special Air Service the SAS were sitting side by side. They were checking their weapons ammunition night vision goggles and radio equipment these fighters were part of a secret of Unit code-named Task Force black they we're traveling towards a remote farmhouse on the outskirts of Baghdad inside was their target Abu Musab Al's Hikari the mastermind into behind countless bombings kidnappings and beheadings as the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq as the operation approached the farmhouse to smaller helicopters flanked them they were accompanied by a couple of smaller headquarters lynxes with snipers in them that would orbit over the target and then last in the order if you like this little fly on Mada were a couple of big helicopters with the force that would be used to put what they call a calm around the Alpha the corden being the belt of security so that if anybody jumped out the window made a run for it S- quarters as they call them they edit eh either the people in the helicopters the orbiting snipers or the call would take care of those people the fighters landed stealthily onto the Desert Floor Floor and began closing in on the property to scouts climbed over a small stonewall and crawled towards the farmhouse looking for signs of life and and possible entrance points pinning their backs against the uneven concrete. They peered through a crack in the wall to catch a glimpse inside inside the building walls if you like a protection detail of people for this particular Amir that's at the SAS targeted there were at least two possibly three wearing wearing suicide vests they will hall a dozen sold rifles. There were dozens of hand grenades. These people are heavily armed. They must be protecting being something or someone important but could it be. Abu Musab also Cari finally after years of brutal anarchy in the war-torn country. Could this be his end. Welcome to covert show about the shadowy world of international espionage top secret military operations rations. The entire country was essentially embroiled in a civil war. There is a beheadings every day. They're suicide bombings. There is retaliatory acts of terrorism going on between the city and she answer every day you would wake up and read about murders decapitations types. I'm Jamie Rennell and I'm going to take you inside history's greatest special operations missions to learn about the brave soldiers and operatives who risked their lives to terminate the world's most wanted eliminate terrorist threats and protect countless innocent law. Abu Mussa Balza Cari had been thought to be responsible for years long bloody war in Iraq. Was this evil I think arguably over over the last several years no single person on this planet has had the blood of more innocent men women and children on his hands then Sarkar why and how and why did our colleagues terror begin but as a cow is doing in Iraq is trying to destroy completely the state in order to to rebuild it and from the ashes of this date we will rebuild the new state and this new states will be sort of carbon. Call me of the Caliphate. This is the true story of Task Force Black and the killing of one of Iraq's most vicious terrorist leaders Abu Abu Musab all's Hikari this is assault on al-Qaeda part one the rest of the fighters from task force black joined the scouts at the perimeter wall of the rustic farm building but as they drew near something surprised them mark urban even the author of two thousand eleven's task force black the explosive true story of the special secret forces war in Iraq as the SAS men from B squadron of twenty two s started to move towards the AL for the target. They realized it was not going to be a typical sort of mission. They they thought they could hear sounds inside the building. They approached the building very gingerly and a few of the men walked around a parked car that was under a car park and to to that surprise and satisfaction found that there was a door just wipe behind the call. If all's are Cowie one of the world's most wanted aged terrorists was inside. Why would he leave the door wide open. Would it be so easy to get inside. The unit opted to enter the compound through through the door only to find it was a trap almost as soon as they went through the door. They were hit by a hell of bullets the people inside clearly the news somebody who was coming they were armed and they will wait so they'd. Father's initial volley of bullets hit a couple of the SAS guys the SAS go always withdrew. Obviously they had casualties to treat so they withdrew to a safe distance. The airwaves were alive at moment with reports that there was resistance instance inside the building under they needed to take the appropriate action immediate action deal without resistance immediately for the commander on the spot a number of very difficult questions some of these incidents where heavy resistance was encountered they simply pulled back and dropped a bomb on the building and killed everybody inside for many different raisins the SAS on the ground decided not to do they wanted this person alive for intelligence purposes the longer they withdrew from the action the more opportunity to terrorists. I would have to destroy data that could lead the coalition forces to other Al Qaeda compounds the team again advanced towards the open door. They felt it was is worth trying to fight their way and that's what we did. They went into the building. They started to engage people in the dauntless in the rooms as they went into the building trying to clear Rimbaud task force black ran through the building taking out each al Qaeda operative in their path while al Qaeda fighters sprayed the night air with AK forty eighty seven fire but the al Qaeda cell were no match for the methodical and controlled fighting style of task force black suffered many casualties now. The downstairs was secured but the upstairs still needed to be investigated as one of the SAS fighters entered the stairwell of the farmhouse farmhouse. The top of the stairs above him was dark with no sign of life. He slowly walked up the stairs readying himself for any signs of booby traps. APPs were ambush as he reached the top step on the stairs a figure appeared as one of the SAS men who who was a staff sergeant. A team leader went up the stairs to the upper level. There was a suicide bomber waiting for him at the top of the stairs who detonated his suicide. We saw device. There was an explosion the SAS man was bloom down the stairs. There was a man down but special forces continued up the stairs moving past. Ask the now dead suicide bomber. The rest of the house was cleared. The fighters scan the rooms to their horror. Several women and children were caught up in the blast tragically. There were no survivors among them. The soldier however was still breathing with only slight bruising and Minor Lacerations Association's he would recover meanwhile operatives had captured five male al Qaeda hostages with the House now clear threat task force black started looking for any evidence linking the House with Alexander Cowie and to the teams surprise the sound of footsteps came came from above them grenade hit the ground outside the compound next to the entrance of the property followed by a flurry of machine gun fire there were other people they've been throwing grenades and opening fire at the SAS. They were killed to another man wearing a suicide vest a squirt or as they call it flat the back of the building and hate under a car that was parked behind the building. He was taken out. It's not clear whether it was one of the snipers helicopters talk about a corden forces were around the building the tallest building the Alpha so at the end of a sort of terrifying twenty minutes. There were a whole lot of dead people in this building including one person blowing himself up in an attempt to kill US soldiers. Another who hadn't had a chance is to detonate his best was lying dead under the car. There were spent cases grenades got every one of the date al Qaeda members that the has been stepped across. I've seen a photo of this had a grenade in his hand with the pain removed and clearly steph quite gingerly across him as they tried I to see what else was in the building. The special OPS mission proved to be a success inside the house. We captured five senior ranking members of al-Qaeda. We didn't know at the time they were senior. Ranking we thought or suspected they were because of the way they dress because of their mannerisms but we didn't really know what we had. That's it's the voice of Matthew Alexander senior military interrogator who oversaw the team tasked with finding out who those five men were and more importantly if they could lead him to Abu Musab collie. This was a guy who had murdered thousands of people in fact he murdered many more people than some of Bin Laden ever. Did you could say a colleague could be responsible for upwards of one hundred thousand deaths by starting the civil war in Iraq he wanted to be the leader of all tied in Mesopotamia and he I saw this struggle as part of the larger al-Qaeda struggle for dominance in the Middle East but is really all about him and his the strategy was to start a civil war in Iraq between Sunni and Shia and he believed American forces. We get mired down in that civil conflict and then the American public would demand and we be withdrawn when he didn't count on is that we would stay now. I know you've heard me talk about the great courses sources plus before and I wanNA bring it up again because I really can't speak highly enough of these folks. I love their streaming service. It's called the great courses plus and it's priceless source of knowledge and just about any field. It's a streaming service that offers thousands of different lectures on a billion different topics. Now the word lecture conjures I to mind division of me falling asleep my backpack in a room full of a thousand other students. This is not that the topics are incredible and they are taught by people who actually really have done whatever it is. They're teaching and they really care about what they're talking to you about. 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I'll ZERKALO WE IN THE NEW GENERATION Loretta Napoleonic other cow is a working class individual. It does not belong to an elitist family in that is very very different from the majority of the lead there some of the Jihadist Movement and arcade them his his background is he was a criminal. You know he spent time in Jordanian prison for sexual assault salt he was a drug dealer. He was a petty criminal Jordan. Well there is a there's a narrative which you find in the lives of of quite a lot the people who got involved without Kaieda and I suppose you could say that there's a period in their lives which you might call the sinful years crazy years as I mean you saw it with some of the nine eleven hijackers that there was a period of their life when they've been drinking heavily and doing lots of things which clearly Islam would consider very very very Harare unplayed Zaccaria was one of those people I mean accounts differ as to whether he was actually hard boozing villa in his hometown now it's certainly true that he was involved in some forms of crime and that he probably had some kind of a piff unie some kind of moments when he realized that he he's life was going the wrong way and the Islam was the answer for him and of course many of those people who had kind of experience often in jail became the most militant jihadist because they felt they had redeemed their lives and discovered purpose in one thousand nine hundred nine. All ZACCARIA traveled to Afghanistan to become a freedom MM fighter against the Soviet occupation it was there he met his mentor and Inspiration Osama bin Laden at the beginning of two thousand finally finally Auxerre car. We met Osama bin Laden. It was a very interesting meeting with the leader of al-Qaeda a very very powerful man in Afghanistan. Also cow was a novelty. It was the leader of this small group of individuals who did not even have a name that did not not have base and the reason why are the Cowie met is because he was looking for a sponsor he was looking for money. He wanted to set up a little camp where he could look after his followers. Osama bin Laden offer Cowie to become part of Al.. Okay dumb former White House counterterrorism adviser Fran Townsend Sir Kelly really came to at least my attention I think many in the counterterrorism community me during the millennium the ninety nine to two thousand period there had been a series of raids in Jordan and there was a threat in inside Jordan there was tremendous cooperation between the FBI the CIA and our Jordanian counterparts during in fact we deployed a number of FBI agents. It's over to Jordan to work with the CIA and the Jordanians and during the course of that investigation it became clear the leader of the cell was an individual by the name of Zarcal. We we knew he was an important terrorists figure. We knew he was an important operational leader. I don't think anyone at that point in time. Imagine you you know more than a decade later we would be chasing him inside. Iraq where he would become an even more influential figure in Al Qaeda in the wake of September eleventh much of the Al Qaeda leadership went into hiding in the tribal belt between Afghanistan and Pakistan the United States had begun its invasion of Afghanistan Afghanistan Zorka we and other al-Qaeda fighters meanwhile had crossed over to Iran and then into the northern Iraq region known as Kurdistan now now that move is very much the beginning of the making with made because the Americans were informed of the existence of outsor- Cowie at the end of two thousand and one by the Kurdish secret service the Kurdish secret service alerted Americans the odds are Cowan was the link between between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein it was clear as we were in Iraq the increasing importance of czar calloway inside al-Qaeda circles he had come up during the course of the war in Afghanistan people understood his importance as an operational leader and he was clearly trusted by bin Laden Auden and Al Qaeda senior leadership and so when he was deployed if you will from the federal administrative tribal aries into Iraq we understood as the the American counterterrorism community that this was a significant event this was he was well liked by soldiers and al Qaeda. He was well respected by leadership. He was incredibly capable he was experienced and so he had that unique combination of skills that would allow him to be a real force on for al Qaeda against US inside Iraq in two thousand three the US and other coalition forces entered Iraq and the Saddam Hussein regime quickly collapsed but it created a major power vacuum houser Collie who was hiding in the shadows kick started a campaign of violence. He stirred up the hatred between Iraq's two main religious groups the majority Shia Muslims and the minority Sunnis he then created a militant group with the aim of killing as many many Shias as possible and sparking a brutal cycle of violence across the nation and it was drawing the attention of the United States especially Secretary Three of State Colin Powell on the fifth of February two thousand and three calling power when to Security Council and in front of the words presented also Cowie as link between Qaidam and Saddam Hussein nobody at art of Our cowie before that day I mean everybody in the community of terrorists expert and never heard his name interestingly pressingly enough from that moment onwards also cowie became the men masterminded immaturity of the terrorist various attack which had taken place after nine eleven also Conway's group was named by intelligence officials al Qaeda in Iraq or for short short a Q. I when you look at Al.. Qaeda's mission in Iraq is our couch mission. We mistakenly look at these organizations as terrorist groups. This is too narrow. These are revolutionary organizations that want to spread an idea they can return to what they call a caliphate of fourteen centuries old old concept that there's a pure way to live according to the Koran Prophet Muhammad targets included bombing the offices of the United Nations and the Red Cross regular attacks tax on the basis of US military coalition forces but in an effort to maximize casualties the terrorist group shifted its attention to targeting public markets. It's police stations mosques and with it media coverage and in the eyes of our Collie this was attention on his movement and an important recruitment Krugman tool former interrogator and author of how to break a terrorist Matthew Alexander. There's a large influx of foreign fighters into Iraq after the Abu Abu Ghraib scandal which was essentially al-Qaeda's number one recruiting tool for convincing young Muslims from all across from everywhere from North Africa all across the Middle East to come to Iraq and fight in what they termed Jihad in these foreign fighters were extremely potent because they were the ones who made most of the suicide bombers so they're the ones that essentially we're also the most brutal I think the largely the ax you see like beheadings happen because of these foreign fighters and not so much because of Iraqis Al-Zour collie orchestrated numerous suicide bombings a devastating series of attacks in March two thousand four killed close to two hundred people at she a holy sites czar Cowie was is at the top of the target list inside Iraq one because of the bloodshed he was causing and not just of Iraqis. I mean this. This terrorist leader became a primary source of injuries and killings of our own soldiers and coalition forces and so absolutely he became prominent on the scope of the president in terms of briefings and targets then on May eleventh two thousand four als. Cowley became linked to a new outrage. US intelligence analyst list discovered a video on a jihadist website it featured a civilian man being paraded in front of heavily armed al-Qaeda fighters. He wore a Guantanamo ontong obey style orange jumpsuit the analysts immediately recognize the civilian as Nick Berg a twenty six year old communications expert from Pennsylvania Selena he had been kidnapped in Iraq a month previously the video showed his unimaginably horrific death so nick Berg at having gone there on rather naive and optimistic hope he might find work got kidnapped in the north of Iraq and essentially he sold sold by the kidnap gang to militant Islamists who of course a loyalty to other missiles Howie when the time came that he had outlived his usefulness to then they murdered him and the video is one of those horror show type of jihadist videos in which long knife life is used to cut his throat and you can even hear the sound of knife owned by its screams a truly horrific video but the point is at the beginning of video capture in original fooling was released and it says Abba Miss Up also call always slaughters in America now a lot of people at the time couldn't quite understand why he was choosing to if you lie incriminate night himself in such a grant and grisly fashion he it he appeared in the video. He's thought to wielded the knife. The intelligence analyst sued looks at it felt that the words of the figure speaking in the video were him. It was his voice based on previous analysis of the voice but he was hooded so why do this why incriminate yourself by putting your name at the beginning of the video. The general view was that the kind of propaganda of the deed that very much informed the Jihad time. There's a Collie could see that if he publicized himself what he was doing as a really militant irreconcilable suitable enemy of the Americans that this would bring him money from the collections in mosques for the Jihadi would bring him volunteers from across the Arab world. I did that calculation. He was right. Do you ever wonder why the big wireless providers in two thousand nineteen costs so much I mean that's true with like TV's and electrical equipment and cars all that stuff. So why are they still so expensive. It's because of the retail stores. 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Unlock your phone for you so you're not stuck with them because you bought a phone from them added no that by the way the folks at Mit Mobile Noble helped me with that so to get your new wireless plan for just fifteen bucks a month and get the plan shipped to your door for free go to mint mobile dot com slash covert art. That's meant mobile dot com slash covert and that's important slash covert cut your wireless build a fifteen bucks a month at mint mobile dot com slash covert once again former FBI NCAA senior official Philip Mudd. The guy was so brutal so tough. It's sort of like a Mafia family operating in New York City. If you kill everybody else eventually people stand back and say well we got a big guy the big big dog on the corner in town and we'd better be careful so just the brutality and the effectiveness have his efforts against. I the Americans and then locals I think people stood back and say this guy's a blow torch. We better let them roll. It wasn't that we're losing. It was just we should you know it was just like when will this end in. How will it end. I didn't have any sense that we had reached a crescendo former assistant secretary of defense. Tom O'CONNELL well I. I don't think there's any question that he was intimately involved with a number of suicide bombings beheadings he certainly had a a major propaganda campaign going we knew him to be in contact with Osama bin Laden. He really put the crosshairs on his own head by all these spectacular acts all the press that that he was receiving so he was important as a figurehead. Berg's death was a signal to the world that Al-Zour calories reign of terror was escalating to mythic proportions. I think the legend was bigger than the man because what the Iraqi Sunni started to believe in those people who had joined al Qaeda was that if the Americans can't can't kill a poem can't stop him then maybe he was predestined to win the war and so you had little kids in the street you know pretending to be hummus also cowie because he was essentially invincible in the fact that we couldn't find him kind of added to his legend in also helped them to recruit new fighters which was extremely important to them was to bring in other. Sunni insurgent groups in foreign fighters in Iraq in so finding a boo missiles are Kobe was more than just decapitating the leadership fall Qaeda was also about disproving the idea the al-Qaeda could win the war in Washington ending ulcer conway's reign of terror had become a top priority for President Bush and his inner circle of advisers. Fran Townsend said that they had to untangle the web of small elements that made up always network with with all kinds of Iraq. Frankly what we what. We said we needed to do when we saw them. Having the mental was to step back and say okay what has given them this momentum clearly they had these individual cells clearly they were able to share bombing expertise clearly removing moving some money and then component pieces to explosives and so you begin to break it down you say okay. I have to look at each of the discrete elements How is he moving money. How are they communicating. Where are they getting the component pieces for what are each of the components and what would you need to put it together and I'm going to target each discrete discreet tiny little element if I can begin to pull little elements away. Suddenly the whole thing falls of its own weight and that's exactly what happened. The president encouraged the entire community military intelligence all of it to look at how they could support each other in pulling discreet little elements away to be creative live to find the technology that it was going to require and the intelligence it was gonNA require and that's exactly what the military and the intelligence community did you come and I and the days where you have where the momentum you feel like the momentum hasn't been with you you start with your thought is really so much so so simple all its let nothing blow up today. Let me get through today with nothing blowing up and I can if I can string two and three and four days together I can then switch switch the momentum. I mean you really you start. When momentum is not with you and you're frustrated with very modest goals. Let us get through this day and figure out how to make that two tim days. Al-Zour Cowie seemed to have the power to strike it will and yet somehow he remained completely hidden when you really didn't know what he was doing in Iraq back in. We didn't know like diddy lives there to have kids there. Where was he moving What was his support network. I think what most counterterrorism officials I will tell you as you go through periods where you feel beleaguered right you go through periods where you have your making very limited progress and you're trying to understand why that that is why does he seem to have momentum behind him and you're trying to figure out what can. I do to change that dynamic but anybody who's been in this fight will tell you that's what that's what happens you go through these periods and you've got to push through and you've got to understand what is it. That's giving him the momentum and how do you take that away from him. He was so well hidden that no one had a recent photo of him. Let alone any idea where he might be. He didn't use a mobile phone for fear. It would be tracked. He only met with a select group of trusted advisers visors whose whereabouts were also on known finding Al-Zour cowie would prove difficult but not impossible over a period of analysis this they had picked up on a few predictable elements of zircon ways movements. We knew that we had a spiritual adviser. We knew that he was going to visit him. We identified a car hard that he was going to take to get there and so as you got each of those little elements you understood that it was absolutely inevitable that would be successful is just just a matter of being patient because eventually he would. We had enough intelligence and enough of a network that eventually he was. GonNa make a mistake us an opportunity and that's exactly what happened through the combined efforts of interrogators under tremendous amount of pressure to deliver results quickly every day we were reminded minded how important it was to find an killer capture. Obama suttles Kylie because use the key to winning the war and that pressure was reinforced for a variety of leaders leaders continuously on us and task force black. The momentum had shifted the the rates of his network. We're getting faster and closer to him so you had the sense. We're we're going to get there. You had you had an increasing confidence that we were getting closer that we putting the squeeze on and and that the military was ultimately going to be successful. Al-Zour Cowie's final days are upon him. That's next time on covert. Covert is an audio boom in world meteorites co-production hosted by me Jaime Rennell. It's produced by audio booms. Ben Hostile Rachel Jacobs is Casey Georgie and Karen Bevan and by Pascal Hughes for World Media Rights we had additional production help from world meteorites by Gerald's Abankwa David mcnabb mcnabb is the series creative director and the executive producers for audio boom are Brendan Regan and Stewart last if you haven't already don't forget to follow us on spotify fi or subscribe on apple podcasts Stitcher or wherever you find your favorite shows you can also find us on instagram at covert podcast and and if you've got some time give us a review.