New Military Drone: The Beast of Kandahar

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Photo: Secret DéfensePhoto: Secret DéfenseWired‘s Danger Room has the lowdown on new photos of a long-rumored new unmanned drone the military is supposedly operating in Afghanistan, popularly known as “the Beast of Kandahar”:

Earlier this year, blurry pictures were released by the French magazine Air & Cosmos of a previously unknown stealth drone taken at Kandahar in Afghanistan. The photos, snapped in 2007, prompted a wave of speculation about the classified aircraft. That speculation grew even more intense this week, when a blog belonging to the French newspaper Libération released an even better photograph. But while the new picture may answers some questions, it also creates a heap of new mysteries. Chief among them: Why use such a fancy, stealthy aircraft in Afghanistan? The Taliban have neither the radar to spot the plane, nor the weaponry to shoot it down.

The speculation is that the stealthiness of the drone is intended to allow it to operate undetected in Pakistan or even Iran. Wired has much more, including this:

 

The Beast has also been identified with the covert Desert Prowler program, identified by black ops spotter Trevor Paglen. The Desert Prowler’s patches include the phrases “alone and unafraid” and “alone and on the prowl” as well as the figure of a wraith taken from an album cover by Insane Clown Posse. The wraith is said to represent the Grim Reaper…peculiar as it may seem, Paglen has shown that a remarkable amount of information can be gleaned from Black Ops patches and has written a book on the subject.

Peglen’s book, I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon’s Black World, is pretty cool, and he has a website where you can get a taste of what it has to offer. It’s a treasure trove for anyone interested in Black Ops, symbology, or random trivia.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate