Friday, June 22, 2007

Bringing high technology to Iraq, just not the kind they need

Baqubah's Biometric Squeeze

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10,000 U.S. troops have surrounded western neighborhoods in the Iraqi city of Baqubah. The goal "is not merely to reclaim it from insurgent control, but to capture or kill the estimated 300 fighters to 500 Al Qaeda fighters who are believed to be based" there, according to the New York Times.

But with so many civilians — nearly 300,000 — in Baqubah, the Islamists can easily blend with the local population. "To frustrate such plans, the Americans intend to take fingerprints and other biometric data from every resident who seems to be a potential fighter after they and Iraqi forces have gained control of the western side of the city. The Americans will also test for the presence of explosive material on suspects’ hands."

These biometric sweeps are becoming an increasingly common U.S. tactic in Iraq. American forces are fingerprinting new militia allies. Advisers training the Iraqi police have been fingerprinting recruits — and cross-checking the results against Saddam's old biometric databases. Marines in Anbar province have done an end-run around the Pentagon bureaucracy to get fingerprint scanners into the field. Now, $320 million from the latest war-funding bill will go towards biometric programs

Original article posted here.

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