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Stories on Crime

Update: Diablo Magazine | The Setup

The Clandestine Operation that led to Osama’s Death

At some time in the early morning yesterday, under cover of darkness, a team of U.S. Special Forces soldiers and CIA operators executed a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, with the goal of eliminating notorious al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The mission was a success; U.S. President Barack Obama announced last night that bin Laden was killed in a firefight between U.S. forces and Taliban fighters. The 54 year old bin Laden had managed to evade capture for nearly 10 years while gracing the top of the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list with a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture, but was finally brought to justice yesterday at the hands of those U.S. forces. The following links provide an in-depth look at the operation itself, the months of careful intelligence gathering, planning, and preparation that made it possible, and the aftermath.

1.  Department of Defense images

These images were released in a DoD news briefing today, containing satellite imagery and an illustration of Osama’s compound.

2.  Getting Osama bin Laden: How the mission went down

Politico provides a detailed description of the raid.

3.  CSI bin Laden

Wired investigates the combat forensics techniques used to identify bin Laden and other terrorists.

4.  Intelligence, Secrecy, Drove bin Laden Operation

Armed Forces Press Service news report on the operation.

5.  The Big Picture – Osama bin Laden Killed

A collection of photos concerning bin Laden’s death.

6.  The White House Blog – Osama bin Laden Dead

Official White House blog post on the event.

7.  Gizmodo – The Hunt for Osama

A number of Gizmodo posts that explore the news stories, technology, special forces groups, and equipment behind the operation.

8.  New York Times – Bin Laden is Dead, Obama Says


More information is sure to unfold within the coming days, so stay tuned and keep your eyes on these and other news sources.


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How to Survive an Explosion

Action movies often depict heroes nonchalantly walking away from tremendous explosions. While it might make for good entertainment, the truth is that you most likely wouldn’t be in any condition to walk away from a Hollywood-size explosion. Io9 looks at how explosions work, and why they can be so deadly. They also offer a tip for surviving smaller explosions: RUN . Don’t bother with trying to hit the deck or take cover, just get out of there as fast as possible. Since the force of the explosion decreases exponentially with distance travelled, every bit of distance you can put between yourself and the blast increases your chance of survival. Just make sure you’ve tied your shoelaces properly; trip now and you’re, quite literally, toast.

So How Does One Survive An Explosion?

Generally, one doesn’t. At least not any movie explosion. Films that show people using missiles or using dynamite as a ‘diversion’ or a way to propel themselves or their vehicles or their chairs (Looking at you, Long Kiss Goodnight.) are doing the equivalent of running someone over with a car as a way of patting them on the back. Military-grade explosives unleash millions of pounds per square inch of pressure. Anything near it is getting destroyed.

For more modest explosives, the best defense is distance. Since force is applied over area, it decreases by the square of the distance it travels. Run like hell. A good hundred meter dash will put you in the safe range of one kilogram of TNT. A thousand meters will keep you safe from a thousand kilograms of it. Keep moving directly away from the explosive and keep doing it as far as you can. If you can run while covering your head – especially your ears – you’ll decrease incidental injuries but don’t let anyone distract you from distance. Just get away.

How big an explosion could you realistically survive?

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88 Tricks and Tools of James Bond: Part 3 [How to Be Bond]

Previously, I explored the many tricks, tips and tools of Jason Bourne, and the tricks, tips and tools of James Bond (part 1 and 2) . Now, let’s continue with exploring the tricks, tips and tools of James Bond, part 3. This article will delve into the tips, tricks and gadgets of James Bond’s following five films, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, Never Say Never Again (unofficial), and A View to a Kill.



  1. Bond uses a dart shooter on his wrist that fires when his wrist is flexed.
  2. He also has a cigarette case that is a safe cracker.
  3. Bond has a small pocket camera.
  4. A gondola is used which doubles as a speedboat, and a hovercraft.
  5. Bond has a key that can pick any lock.
  6. Another agent has a diary with a dart thrower, a flame thrower perfume bottle, a purse that doubles as a communicator, and a syringe pen.
  7. Q’s gadgets included exploding Mexican balls, and a false sleeping Mexican which shoots bullets.
  8. Bond maneuvers a boat (Glastron/Carlson CV-23HT) complete with torpedo and mine ejectors, along with a glider.
  9. He also has a watch (Seiko M354 Memory-Bank Calendar) which he can use to blow things up.
  10. The outfit in space is a Moonraker Space Suit.


  1. In the air without a parachute, Bond lands on another person in the air by guiding his body, then removes his opponent’s parachute and puts it on.
  2. When attacked by someone else also falling through the air, Bond pulls his opponent’s parachute to launch him up, and away from him.
  3. In order to cease a machine’s operation quickly, Bond fires a dart into it.
  4. Bond constantly romances women for intelligence.
  5. In order to discover the location of the safe, Bond asks about it, then watches where the eyes moved to find the general location.
  6. Pretending to shoot at a bird, Bond shoots at a hidden sniper which he has spotted.
  7. When a knife is thrown at him, Bond picks the knife up and throws it back at his opponent.
  8. Bond hides and watches someone enter his target to acquire the security code.
  9. When fighting, Bond throws his opponent into a glass case, then grabs a nearby rope to swing into his opponent. Finally, he throws the man out the window.
  10. To travel quickly, Bond grabs a chain and uses it to zip line across the landscape on a nearby wire.
  11. Bond grabs an air tank and sprays it at an opponent to catch him off guard.
  12. When his enemy brings in an unbeatable opponent, Bond turns the man against his enemy with his mind.

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Continue reading “88 Tricks and Tools of James Bond: Part 3 [How to Be Bond]”

Secret Service, Card Sniffing and Proxies [Link Roundup]


Dispose of Documents with Water and a Ziploc Bag

Need to destroy a document in a pinch? With just water and a plastic bag, a document can quickly and easily be reduced to a wet, droopy, unreadable pile of muck. While it’s messy and a bit impractical, it works, and is great if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have access to any better alternatives. [Editor’s side note: while shredding and burning documents can leave readable traces, this method creates virtual unreadable remains.]

Need a document disposed of, but not shredder? Do your best to rip up the papers, put them in a plastic bag and fill it with just a little bit of water. Slosh, roll, squeeze and or crumble the paper into a big, sloppy mess. When you’re finished, you should be left with a waterlogged ball of incomprehensible pulp!

Dispose of Sensitive Documents with a Ziploc Bag and Some Water

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