"Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR."
~ Vietnam Pilot
"In combat, honor is obtained by those who do what must be done, not what is allowed by those who refuse to fight or die for their own cause...my extremes pump fear into the enemy for generations come, your extremes cause warriors to bow in the presence of the unworthy, presenting weakness and opportunity ... well, I bow to no man"
~ Antonio Cezar Vega
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Category Archives: World War
August 14, 1945: A jubilant crowd of American Italians are seen as they wave flags and toss papers in the air while celebrating Japan’s unconditional surrender in their neighborhood in New York City. (AP Photo)
American combat engineers eat a meal atop boxes of ammunition stockpiled for the impending D-Day invasion, May 1944.
See more great images here.
Uploaded by UnknownWW2InColor on Apr 9, 2010
Uploaded by UnknownWW2InColor on Apr 9, 2010
The Convoy on Route to the Normandy Coast
Recently declassified color footage of the D-day. Part 1 of 3
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Ever since religious materials from terrorist detainees in Afghanistan were burned because “they contained extremist messages or inscriptions,” there have been ongoing, orchestrated attacks on our troops.
And I’m not talking about the attacks coming from our enemies in the Taliban or angry Afghan troops incited to kill our military personnel by the non-stop news about the burnings.
Rather, I’m talking about the attacks that have come from the Obama Administration’s Department of Defense (DOD), which has hedged our troops in and tied their hands ever since the materials that “contained extremist messages or inscriptions” were burned.
In short, the DOD is treating our troops as infidels just as our jihadist enemies do. And if you think I go too far suggesting this, consider the sensitivity training guidelines the DOD published to prevent our troops from offending the Taliban again. Titled “Proper Handling and Disposal of Islamic Religious Materials Service Members/Training Guide,” here are the first two guidelines:
Verbal disrespect for Islam and/or the Quran is as inappropriate as physical desecration of the Quran.
If you must search a location of a person’s belongings, ask them if they have a Quran or religious item present. If so, ask them to remove it or put it in a suitable place before conducting the search.
In case you missed it, according to these first two guidelines, non-Muslim members of our military are not only barred from touching a Quran but also from speaking disrespectfully of one. read the rest here.
Sunday, December 14, 2008; Page B01 on the Washington Post
KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan Capt. Roger Hill stood behind a long wooden desk, reading from a piece of paper that trembled lightly in his hand. “Please know that seeing your brothers whittled down one by one by a cowardly and ghost-like enemy is difficult,” he said, glancing up only briefly at the team of military prosecutors assembled around him.
Hill is a U.S. Army officer in Afghanistan accused of detainee abuse, including a mock execution, war crimes, dereliction of duty and other serious charges stemming from an incident last August at a U.S. military base outside the capital city of Kabul. Members of his unit allegedly slapped Afghan detainees, and Hill himself is said to have fired his pistol into the ground near blindfolded Afghans to frighten them.
But after exploring the personalities and circumstances involved in this case, it’s hard for me to condemn Hill or his first sergeant, Tommy Scott, who has been charged with assaulting the detainees. Stuck in the deadly middle ground between all-out war and nation- building, these men lashed out to protect themselves. To me, their story encapsulates the impossible role we’ve asked U.S. soldiers to play in the reconstruction of this devastated country. They are part warrior, part general contractor, yet they are surrounded on all sides by a populace that wants nothing more than to kill or be rid of them.
The soldiers who have served at Hill’s side call him heroic. Others describe the career that the 30-year-old West Point graduate might have had if he and his men hadn’t apparently crossed the line one day last summer. Instead, I watched Hill fight for that career — and for his freedom — earlier this month in a conference room at Forward Operating Base Salerno, a large U.S. military base near the Afghan town of Khost, about 17 miles from the Afghan-Pakistani border.
As Hill tried to defend his actions at a military hearing, his soft voice filled the small, bare room: “Know that sifting through the charred and crumbling remains of fellow service members in order to identify their bodies, or picking up the pieces of another after this ghost-like enemy has hacked off his arms and cut out his heart . . . only for you to later find out that his fingers are being distributed downtown amongst the locals, can somehow make a commander more protective. ”
It was against this “ghost-like enemy” that Hill, Scott and the rest of their unit were fighting at Forward Operating Base Airborne in Wardak Province, west of Kabul, where Hill’s company was the sole coalition force for miles around.
There are dozens of bases throughout the country like Airborne. They are full of soldiers who bear the dual and confounding burden of being both an army fighting the Taliban, with all the killing and dying that entails, and a corps of civil servants. They attend shuras (meetings with village leaders), construct roads and help train the Afghan police force. They are expected to work hand-in-glove with people who might have tea with them one moment and inform Taliban killers about U.S. troop movements the next. But talking with local leaders — even leaders who might be playing both sides — is the only way to begin progress toward building institutions in Afghanistan.
I traveled here to work as an embedded reporter with the soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, Ky., about an hour from my home in Nashville. I’d planned on spending most of my time with the 101st as they engaged the Taliban on the Pakistan border.
But while waiting at FOB Salerno for a helicopter ride to a smaller base, I heard talk about Hill and the Article 32 inquiry he was about to face — the military justice version of a grand jury hearing. I learned that Hill and Scott could face life in prison if the matter proceeded to a court martial. Another half-dozen members of Hill’s company will soon have Article 32 hearings of their own. One soldier is already being held in a military jail in Kuwait for his role in the incident.
I decided to stay.
Hill’s path to the hearing room in Khost began, according to witness testimony, when he received reliable intelligence late last August that Taliban agents were working on his unit’s base, which is manned by no more than 200 coalition soldiers. One of these reported interlopers, a man identified only as “Noori,” was Hill’s personal interpreter. Two more purported Taliban informants were running the base’s small, locally owned coffee shop. The intelligence said that all three, as well as some others, were relaying information about U.S. troop movements and artillery positions to Taliban agents in Wardak, an area the size of Connecticut where Hill’s small company faced off against a large number of hostile locals.
The intelligence report detailing how these Afghan men were working with the Taliban is classified “top secret.” But an Army spokesman who has seen it said that the evidence against them was incontrovertible. “There was a legitimate report saying that [Hill’s translator] was a bad guy and was sharing information with the Taliban,” said Marine Capt. Scott Miller, media liaison for the hearing. “He was providing information to recognized bad people.”
Continue reading this here.
Cross Posted from Counterterrorism Blog
By Andrew Cochran
The transcript of our panel on the Mumbai attacks, held December 4 in Washington, is available here as an Acrobat document. The panel consisted of Contributing Experts Dr. Walid Phares and Farhana Ali, and Dr. David Kilcullen, and I served as the moderator. Some highlights from each panelist are below. I also want to invite your attention to the archive of posts here on the activities of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in the U.S., some of which were discussed by the panel. Contact me if you have questions for the panelists or comments. I especially want to thank Assistant Newslink Editor Brett Wallace for his usual stellar job in compiling the transcript.
Walid Phares: “(W)hat we are dealing with here is a decision made at the level of regional jihadists. It has the flavor, has the mark of the whole operation chronologically speaking, it comes at the heal of previous incidents on one hand but if you project the operation it may lead you on the other hand to the logic that a decision had been made on a much higher level. It is probably all the way up to a war room between Al Qaeda and the Taliban, with the LeT being “subcontracted” for the operation and information supply by infiltration within the Pakistani security apparatus. If you look at the scheme, the structure, you will see the interests of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, the execution by LeT and security provided by an intelligence apparatus in Pakistan.”
Farhana Ali: “A few days after the attacks, I received an email from a source in Pakistan who meets with… the leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the political wing for LeT, and who has family that are hard-core loyalists to Laskhar. He sent me an email on November 30th in which he wrote, ‘According to two senior sources within jihadi outfits and as many in the intelligence agencies, the recent terror attacks in different parts of Mumbai…were masterminded by Pakistani intelligence agency ISI… The Lashkar leaders are not accepting the responsibility at official level but they are taking pride is claiming it among their trusted people.’… I think it is very clear that if you look at the LeT’s strategy it is to weaken India and to help establish the caliphate which is part of their ideological program… My sources say at least 23 (attackers).”
David Kilcullen: “This was not some Islamic charity or some group working alone from the Deccan Mujahedeen: this has all the hallmarks of a Special Forces raid, closer to a commando or SBS raiding activity than a traditional Al Qaeda style terrorist attack. Al Qaeda has never attacked a land target from the sea, though they have attacked maritime targets from the sea, such as the Cole, the Limburg and attacks on Saudi oil installations. There has never been anything close to this level of sophistication of a seaborne attack: this was a high professional bar. We can deduce they had some professional help though I think it is much too early to state who that support came from. It has been set up to look like a Pakistani government operation. We should be careful until we know more. As a side bar, European CT forces captured an Al Qaeda CD that highlighted Al Qaeda urban warfare tactics, and these matched those used in Mumbai to the letter. The sea part was new but the land parts followed Al Qaeda tactics pretty closely.”
Andrew Cochran: “One story that caught my eye was a story about SIM cards and cell phones, because there have been increasing concern about terrorists using stored value cards and SIM cards in cell phones… SOCOM (NOTE: The Pentagon’s Special Operations Command) has met with a number of representatives of financial institutions, telecom companies and builders of those systems to learn more about mobile banking techniques… So the Mumbai attack presents the possibility – we won’t know until the investigation is completed – that this was the first large-scale terrorist attack involving stored value card and mobile banking technologies…
Posted: 05 Dec 2008 01:18 PM CST
ISLAM IS ON the march. Today that march is known as the “third jihad.” The term refers to the murder of non-Muslims around the world (for the crime of being non-Muslims), but it refers to much more than that. There are many ways to wage jihad, and nearly every Muslim can play a part.
For example, Muslims have deliberately emigrated into foreign lands in order to fulfill Allah’s command to make the whole world submit to Islam. In those new countries, they are organizing and building up their political power. Islamic supremacists are recruiting new Muslims into their ranks every day. Some have gained vast wealth and are using it to build mosques and madrassas all over the world. Islamic supremacists have infiltrated the political machinery in Western nations, they’ve successfully manipulated the press and disabled and silenced resistance against them, and of course, they are also killing non-Muslims around the world. This is the third jihad.
Jihad means “struggle,” but a particular kind of struggle. Jihad means to struggle to make Islam dominate all other religions and governments. This is one of the religious duties of all devout Muslims, and according to Mohammad, it is the most important obligation a Muslim must fulfill.
The first jihad started with Mohammad. His armies conquered all of Arabia. In the hundred years after his death, his armies conquered most of the Middle East, North Africa and Spain. The first jihad lasted from 622 AD until 750 AD. Read more about that here.
The second major jihad started in 1071 AD. Islamic armies toppled Constantinople and spread into Europe, India, and further into Africa. The second jihad began to decline when the Muslim army was stopped on September 11th, 1683 at the gates of Vienna, Austria. Read more about the second jihad here.
The Islamic push to dominate — all other cultures, all other religions, and all other governments — has never stopped. But we are referring to large waves of success for the Islamic expansion; periods where vast new territories were brought under the control of Shari’a law.
Now we are in the third jihad, the third great wave.
Non-Muslims in the past have fought back, of course (otherwise the whole world would already be ruled by Islam). Some successfully resisted subjugation.
But many countries and cultures took too long to recognize the threat or organized their resistance too slowly, and they were swallowed up by Islam’s relentless aggression.
Today, Islamic supremacists are waging jihad in subtler and more clever ways (waging jihad by gaining concessions, for example), in addition to simple violent aggression, but non-Muslims around the world are beginning to notice the pattern and are rousing themselves to defend their cultures, their religions, their governments, and their lives.
I hope you join us in defeating the third jihad. We need you to help others recognize the threat. We need your participation in organizing an effective resistance. And we need to move quickly. Here’s how to get started.
I tried to post this on Apaceclips.com Forum and it would not post there. So I’m posting it here and will link it to Apache.
This is kind of an older report about some of the WMD’s found in Iraq. Bush keep it quiet for about a year-ish so they could get it out of Iraq without the insurgents getting their hands on it. But since I’ve not seen this report here or hardly any other places, I’m posting it here. Once again this was a report that most MSM buried. This was back in July when the yellowcake was removed from Iraq and sent to Canada who bought it from Iraq.
Did you hear about this?
Yellow Cake Uranium
We interrupt this scandal to ask a question that, due to it’s ‘explosive’ nature was never asked when the story broke almost exactly a year ago…
What were 500 tons of yellow cake uranium still doing at the nuclear research center of Al—Tuwaitha in Iraq when American tanks rolled into Bagdhad.
The fact that the material was under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for more than a decade opens an entirely different line of questioning: Is the entire group of United Nations bureaucrats running the IAEA legally insane?
These issues are somewhat separate from the Plame—Wilson—Rove dust up that’s been roiling Washington recently, but nevertheless shed light on why Joe Wilson went to Niger in February of 2002 and why the bureaucratic tussle over those 16 words about the Iraqi—Niger yellow cake connection was so fierce.
The story begins at the end of the first Gulf War when inspectors found a 500 ton cache of refined yellow cake uranium at Iraq’s primary nuclear research facility in Al—Tuwaitha outside of Bagdhad. The cache was part of a huge inventory of nuclear materials discovered by UN inspectors that included low—level radioactive material of the type used for industrial and medical purposes as well as a quantity of highly enriched uranium suitable for bomb production.
This HE uranium was shipped to Russia where it was made relatively harmless by a process known as ‘isotopic dilution’ — but only after the Iraqis dragged their heels for more than 6 months following the cease fire by playing a cat and mouse game with the IAEA’s inspectors. The history of those early IAEA inspections can be found here and is an eye opening look at both the gullibility of the IAEA and the lengths to which Saddam sought to keep as much of his nuclear bomb making capability as he could.
The IAEA placed a seal on the nuclear materials in November of 1992. From then until the fall of Saddam, the agency attempted to make sure that Iraq did not use the yellow cake to reconstitute its nuclear program, something the IAEA acknowledged could be done if the Iraqis were able to rebuild its centrifuges and gain access to additional fissile material. Keeping track of the material was made extraordinarily difficult by the Iraqis who regularly impeded IAEA officials from carrying out even the most routine inspections.
Flash forward to 1999 when British intelligence found out through multiple sources that representatives of the Iraqi government had met with officials from the Niger government.
This fact is not in dispute. The mystery is in what they talked about. A memo obtained by the British — later proven to be a forgery — purported to show the Iraqis were interested in purchasing 500 tons of yellow cake uranium from Niger’s mines. Forgery or not, since Niger’s exports are extremely limited, consisting largely of uranium ore, livestock, cowpeas, and onions, one doesn’t have to be an intelligence analyst to figure out in which one of those items the Iraqis might be interested.
Both the Butler Review and the Senate Select Committee on Pre War Iraq Intelligence (SSCI) point to other efforts by Saddam to purchase uranium, most notably from the Democratic Republic of the Congo . The Butler Review states in 2002 the CIA ‘agreed that there was evidence that [uranium from Africa] had been sought.’ In the run—up to war in Iraq, the British Intelligence Services apparently believed that Iraq had been trying to obtain uranium from Africa; however, no evidence has been passed on to the IAEA apart from the forged documents.
This then was the context in which Ambassador Joe Wilson went to Niger in February of 2002. Based on multiple sources and the best judgement of the CIA, Saddam Hussein was trying purchase uranium. Since there were no working commercial nuclear reactors in all of Iraq, his interest could only be based on his desire to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program.
There was no ‘fixing’ of intelligence or ‘shaping’ intelligence to fit some preconceived agenda. Despite UN resolutions and sanctions, Saddam was looking to build the bomb.
What about that 500 tons of yellow cake under seal at Al—Tuwaitha? As long as the sanctions were in place, the inspectors would be able to confirm, albeit with great difficulty, that Saddam would not be able to use the material for his bomb building program. But that fact doesn’t answer the question: why would any organization charged with keeping a lid on nuclear proliferation allow that much fissile material to be kept by a bloodthirsty tyrant who had already demonstrated a desire to construct a nuclear weapon?
In an article that appeared in The American Thinker on July 20, 2004, Douglas Hanson draws some rather unflattering conclusions about the IAEA and their mission:
The actions, or more appropriately, the inactions of the IAEA regarding Iraq since the end of Gulf War I, betray the agency’s true agenda. Rather than inspect, report, and implement restrictions in accordance with the provisions in the treaty, the agency has in effect become an enabler of rogue nations who are attempting, or who have already succeeded in developing or acquiring special nuclear material and equipment. In other words, the IAEA is simply a reflection of its parent organization, which routinely delays and obfuscates the efforts of the US and the UK in controlling banned substances and delivery systems.
Time after time, the agency has either intentionally or naively bought into the lies and deceptions contrived by nations of the Axis of Evil during IAEA visits and inspections. In most cases, the IAEA avoids confrontation like the plague in order to maintain access to the facilities. If they are booted out, as was the case with North Korea, their impotence is on display for all to see. In other cases, the agency joins in the deception, thereby allowing these rogue states to level the nuclear playing field with the West and Russia.
Clearly then, the IAEA was totally dependent on the sanctions to even carry out the limited inspections it was performing in the 1990’s. But how long would the sanctions be in place?
It is an article of faith with critics of the war that ‘Saddam was in a box’ and there was no need for an invasion to remove him. It’s a pity that many of those critics have such a short memory because a review of what many of them were saying about the sanctions prior to September 11, 2001 would show that they were eager to lift the very same sanctions that they now claim was keeping Saddam in check.
Thanks to a remarkable propoganda program that included funeral processions of Iraqi babies whose dead bodies were used over and over again in macabre effort to make it appear that the death toll of infants was higher than it was, the world community was, by 2001, agitating for the lifting of sanctions on the Iraq economy. And while the lifting of economic sanctions would not have meant a lifting of the arms embargo, given the limited resources available to both The United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the IAEA as well as Iraq’s demonstrated ability to impede, obstruct, and deceive inspectors, it stands to reason that the continuation of the arms embargo would have been a sham. Even with the embargo, the Dulfer Report showed that Saddam’s ability to evade the sanctions and purchase illicit weapons was extremely troubling.
All of this is important to remember when thinking about that 500 tons of yellow cake uranium sitting under seal at Al—Tuwaitha. How worried was the CIA that Saddam would someday be able to use that material to construct a bomb?
That question goes to the heart of the current controversy over not just who may have ‘outed’ a covert CIA operative, but whether the Administration was trying to discredit Mr. Wilson so that his charge that the White House manipulated intelligence to fool the American people into support for war would also be disbelieved.
Why would the White House want to discredit Mr. Wilson? Given that the Mr. Bush was in the midst of tight Presidential campaign, it’s obvious that politics had something to do with it. But the effort by the White House to push back against who Mr. Wilson was running interference for — the CIA — was at bottom what this conflict has been about from the start.
From the time of the President’s State of the Union in January of 2003 until Mr. Wilson’s celebrated July Op—Ed in the New York Times in which he basically called the President of the United States a liar, the former Ambassador had been peddling his story of the Administration ‘twisting’ pre war intelligence regarding efforts by Saddam to purchase uranium from Niger to reporters all over Washington, D.C. Wilson said as much in an interview with LA Weekly:
I spoke to a number of reporters over the ensuing months. Each time they asked the White House or the State Department about it, they would feign ignorance. I became even more convinced that I was going to have to tell the story myself.
This is where the yellow cake story became a club that the CIA could bash the Administration over the head with. Never mind that Saddam already had 500 tons of the stuff on hand just waiting for the world to turn its back so that it could be used to jump start his nuclear program. And since the intelligence regarding Saddam’s further efforts to purchase uranium was partially discredited, the President’s opponents at the agency thought they saw an opening. Already under fire for missing the 9/11 plot thus making that tragedy the biggest intelligence failure since Pearl Harbor, the hyper sensitivity of the CIA to criticism would now manifest itself into an attack on its more vocal critics in the Administration.
One of the most underreported aspects of this scandal has been the hostility by a faction in the CIA toward the White House during the period following the discovery that weapons of mass destruction were not to be found in Iraq. This kind of bureaucratic infighting is usually too arcane a subject for most people to pay much attention to. However, in this case, there appears to be a measure of partisan politics on the part of CIA personnel thrown into the mix in addition to the very human impulse to shift blame for failure.
The Wall Street Journal commented on this conflict in an editorial on September 29 following a selective leak of a CIA report predicting post—war instability in Iraq. Not only was the leak a brazen attempt by the CIA to embarass the administration, but the fact that it came two days before the first debate between the President and Senator Kerry was evidence that this faction in the CIA was determined to affect the election.
In it’s editorial, the Journal noted the following about the CIA’s war with the White House:
Keep in mind that none of these CIA officials were ever elected to anything, and that they are employed to provide accurate information to officials who present their policy choices for voter judgment. Yet what the CIA insurgents are essentially doing here, with their leaks and insubordination, is engaging in a policy debate. Given the timing of the latest leaks so close to an election, they are now clearly trying to defeat President Bush and elect John Kerry. Yet somehow the White House stands accused of ‘politicizing’ intelligence?
The leaking of pre—war intelligence nuggets prior to the election in 2004 that showed the CIA in the best possible light by highlighting alternate analyses of Iraq WMD capabilities was a remarkable demonstration of partisanship by supposedly non—partisan bureaucrats. And while the partisanship was not necessarily due to any allegiance to the Democratic party on the part of the leakers, it did reveal a mind set that wished to establish a public record absolving the CIA of failure. The fact that the President would be hurt politically by the revelations was also a probable motive for the leaks.
Was Valerie Plame a part of this faction? In his column naming her as a CIA employee, Robert Novak describes her as an ‘operative on weapons of mass destruction.’ Since most of the leaks coming from the CIA faction at war with the White House involved the analysis of the WMD threat from Iraq, it’s tempting to connect the dots and say that Plame was part of a group that wished to, at the very least, prove that the CIA was not as wrong about WMD in Iraq as some in the Administration were saying. At worst, Mrs. Wilson may have been a party to an effort to influence an election by trying to embarass the President.
And by connecting the dots between Mrs. Wilson and other agency rebels who sought to take down the President, doesn’t this open up a whole slew of questions about Mr. Wilson? The former ambassador has been portraying himself as a whistleblower. What if he was an errand boy instead? Wilson, by virtue of his former employment at the State Department could be the perfect front man for a propoganda campaign by his wife’s employer to shift blame for the WMD fiasco from the agency’s incompetence to the neoconservative hawks and their rush to war.
Another question raised by this effort of the CIA to discredit the President is about the complaint filed with the Justice Department by the agency when Mrs. Wilson’s “cover” was blown.
Having worked at CIA headquarters at Langely for nearly 6 years, the idea that any foreign intelligence service who wanted to find out wouldn’t have known of Mrs Wilson’s employment at the agency strains credulity. The turnoff from the highway into CIA headquarters is clearly marked. Is it possible that foreign spies could have observed Mrs. Wilson entering the complex at Langely over a six year period? Or, more likely, could they have gotten a hold of a list of agency personnel who work at Langely? Given the number of truly damaging revelations regarding traitors over the years, it seems logical to conclude that a list of employees at Langely could be in the hands of one or more foreign intelligence services. The filing of the complaint over the leak could then be seen in the context of further efforts by the CIA to get back at the Administration.
The question of whether or not Saddam wanted to purchase yellow cake uranium to augment his existing supply sitting in the Al—Tuwaitha facility, when viewed in the context of this White House—CIA conflict, becomes not a question of the CIA analyzing Saddam’s intentions but rather a question of the CIA attacking the Administration’s intentions. The rationale for war given by the President goes far beyond any disputed effort by Saddam to buy uranium. But the only way to attack the President’s motives is by concentrating solely and exclusively on the lack of WMD. And since it’s been widely reported that most western governments believed Saddam had a large stockpile of chemical and biological weapons prior to the invasion, the only possible line of attack by the President’s opponents at CIA was the single reference to uranium found in the State of the Union address given by Bush in 2002.
Did the White House go overboard in its effort to push back against this effort by the CIA to discredit the President? At this point, it’s unclear if any laws even were broken by Karl Rove or anyone else in the White House. But however the scandal shakes out, it would be hard to argue that Plame, Wilson, or Rove acted honorably and in the best interests of the United States.
You can also read about the Yellow Cake Uranium at these sites:
Just google “Yellowcake Uranium in Iraq” and I’m sure you’ll find tons more posts about it.
The yellowcake was sold to canada.
PRESIDENT BUSH AND TONY BLAIR WERE RIGHT! WHO WILL BE THE FIRST TO APOLOGIZE TO HIM AND ACKNOWLEDGE THE U.S.AND COALITION FORCES GOING INTO IRAQ WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO?
by Chuck Holton
November 17, 2008
They should have killed him while they had the chance.
Marine Corporal Garrett Jones is back in combat, and he’s mad as…well, you get the picture.
While on patrol with his unit, the 2/7 Marine Regiment in Iraq a little over a year ago, Cpl Jones remembers a flash and a cloud of smoke. He was thrown through the air into a sewage canal. After that, things got fuzzy. When he awoke, a chaplain informed him he’d lost his leg above the knee. Jones recalls saying, “I hear they make really good prosthetics.”
Seventeen surgeries and a whole lot of physical therapy now behind him, the tough young corporal is back in battle with his buddies – this time in Afghanistan. He’s one of a growing number of amputees who refuse to allow the loss of a limb to stop them from serving. And Jones recuperated in record time – a little under nine months after his injury, he was training to return to his unit. To do so, he had to prove himself all over again, going through all the same pre-deployment training as the others.
This is, after all, the Marine Corps. They don’t play wait-up.
“My leg popped off a couple of times in the humvee scenario and once when I was leaving a range,” Jones said. “I thought it was funny because ‘How many guys walk around with combat loads and have a leg fall off?’ I still did it to prove that I could deploy as an amputee.”
It’s that kind of spirit that enables him to endure the brutal operational tempo and primitive living conditions that his unit must endure in the Helmand province of southern Afghanistan. And being the first above-the-knee amputee to return to combat with his unit makes him a literal walking legend with his peers.
Jones recently submitted his paperwork to reenlist for another stint with the unit he loves. He also plans to represent the Marine corps this winter in another amazing display of toughness – a national snowboarding competition.
“I love being with the guys, the same people. I really do,” Jones said. “If it wasn’t for the guys in this unit, I wouldn’t be here. It’s an honor to serve with them and be in a place where many Marines don’t get a chance to go.”
Are we prepared for these new kind of sophisticated attacks?
November 28, 2008 12:31 AM
Almost two days after terrorists attacked the Indian financial hub of Mumbai, the military is still working to root out the remnants of the assault teams at two hotels and a Jewish center. More than 125 people, including six foreigners, have been killed and 327 more have been wounded. The number is expected to go up, as Indian commandos have recovered an additional 30 dead at the Taj Mahal hotel as fighting has resumed.
The Mumbai attack is unique from past terror strikes carried out by Islamic terrorists. Instead of one or more bombings at distinct sites, the Mumbai attackers struck throughout the city using military tactics. Instead of one or more bombings carried out over a short period of time, Mumbai I entering its third day of crisis.
An attack of this nature cannot be thrown together overnight. It requires planned, scouting, financing, training, and a support network to aid the fighters. Initial reports indicate the attacks originated from Pakistan, the hub of jihadi activity in South Asia. Few local terror groups have the capacity to pull of an attack such as this.
While it is early to know exactly what happened in Mumbai as the fog of war still blankets the city, multiple press reports from India allow for a general picture to be painted. An estimated 12 to 25 terrorists are believed to have entered Mumbai by sea. After landing, he attack teams initiated a battle at a police station, then fanned across the city to attack the soft underbelly of hotels, cafes, cinemas, and hospitals. Civilians were gunned down and taken hostage, while terrorists looked for people carrying foreign passports.
While the exact size of the assault force and the support cells is still not known, police estimate about 25 gunmen were involved in the attack. The number of members of the supporting cells that provide financing, training, transportation, and other services could be two to four times this number. Operational security for such a large unit, or grouping of cells, is difficult to maintain and requires organization and discipline.
To pull off an attack of this magnitude, it requires months of training, planning, and on-site reconnaissance. Indian officials have stated that the terrorists set up “advance control rooms” at the Taj Mahal and Trident (Oberoi) hotels, and conducted a significant amount of reconnaissance prior to executing the attack. If the news about the “control rooms” is accurate, these rooms may also have served as weapons and ammunition caches for the assault teams to replenish after conducting the first half of the operation.
A terrorist outside the train station in Mumbai.
The planners of the Mumbai attack appear to have chosen able military-aged males. Witnesses have described the men as young and fit. Some of the gunmen appear to have been well trained; some have been credited with having good marksmanship and other military skills.
A witness who saw one of the teams land by sea adescribed the gunmen as “in their 20s, fair-skinned and tall, clad in jeans and jackets.” He saw “eight young men stepping out of the raft, two at a time. They jumped into the waters, and picked up a haversack. They bent down again, and came up carrying two more haversacks, one in each hand.”
An Indian official claimed the attackers used “sophisticated weapons,” however this may be an overstatement. Reports indicate the gunmen used automatic rifles, hand grenades, and some machineguns, as well as several car bombs. The terrorists did not have sophisticated weapons such as anti-aircraft missiles to attack helicopters supporting Indian counterterrorism forces.
Getting to Mumbai
One of the more intriguing aspects of the attack is how the teams entered Mumbai. Reports indicate at least two of the assault teams arrived from outside the city by sea around 9 p.m. local time. Indian officials believe most if not all of the attackers entered Mumbai via sea.
Indian Coast Guard, Navy, Mumbai maritime police, and customs units have scoured the waters off Mumbai in search of a “mother ship” that transported one or more smaller Gemini inflatable boats used by the attackers. A witness saw one of the craft land in Colaba in southern Mumbai and disgorge eight to 10 fighters.
Two ships that have been boarded are strongly suspected of being involved in the attacks: the Kuber, an Indian fishing boat, and the MV Alpha, a Vietnamese cargo ship. Both ships appear to have been directly involved. The Kuber was hijacked on Nov. 13, and its captain was found murdered. Four crewmen are reported to still be missing.
Indian security officials found what they believe is evidence linking the boat to the attack, as well as linking the attackers to Pakistan. “A GPS map of south Mumbai was found along with a satellite phone on the ship, Coast Guard officials confirmed,” The Times of India reported. “There were reports that this phone was used to make calls to Karachi immediately before the shootings began in Mumbai.”
Indian police also detained three terrorists from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terror group closely allied with al Qaeda. The three men are said to be Pakistani nationals, and claimed to have been part of a 12-man team that launched from the MV Alpha. They said the MV Alpha departed from Karachi.
Another Indian official said that it is “suspected that the Pakistan Marine Agency helped the terrorists hijack the trawler (the Kuber),” although this has not been confirmed. Another unconfirmed report indicated the Kuber originated from Karachi, Pakistan.
After landing in Colaba, the terrorists moved north and attacked the Colaba police station, possibly as a single unit. The attack on the police command and control node disrupted the police response and pinned down police units.
The Mumbai police paid a heavy price. Early in the fight, the attackers killed the chief of Mumbai’s Anti-terrorism Squad and two other senior officials. At least 14 police were reported to have been killed during fighting throughout the city.
From the Colaba police station, the assault force broke up into smaller teams and fanned out to hit secondary targets throughout Mumbai. At least one police van was hijacked and the terrorists drove around the city, firing automatic weapons from the truck at random targets.
In all, ten locations, including the police station, were attacked. The assault teams struck at vital centers where foreigners were likely to congregate: the five-star Taj Mahal and Trident hotels, the Nariman House (an orthodox Jewish center), the Cama hospital, the CSP train station, a cinema, and a cafe were all struck almost simultaneously. Two Taxis were also blown up near the airport in the north and the docks in the southern part of the city.
At the Taj, Trident, and Nariman House, several bombs or hand grenades were tossed into the lobbies and in other areas. The Taj Mahal Hotel was set on fire due to the blasts.
Gunmen opened fire indiscriminately in the hotel lobbies and at the cafe, cinema, train station, and the Jewish center. At the hotels, gunmen then sought out foreigners holding American, British, and Israeli passports.
More than 200 hostages were reported to have been held at the Taj and scores more at the Trident and the Jewish center. Mumbai was under siege as police and counterterrorism officials struggled to regain control of the city.
Police appear to have regained control of the situation at the CSP train station, cafe, and cinema relatively quickly, however they were unable to handle the hostage situation at the hotels, the hospital, and the Jewish center. Police officials admitted they were “overwhelmed” by the attacks and unable to contain the fighting.
After a delay, more than 200 National Security Guards commandos and a number of elite Naval commandos, as well as an unknown number of Army forces were deployed to Mumbai. The hotels, the hospital, and the Jewish center were surrounded as the special operations forces prepared to assault the buildings.
Commandos are in the process of clearing the Taj and the Trident in room by room searches. Some of the rooms are reported to have been rigged with explosives. Several National Security Guards commandos have been reported to have been killed or wounded in the fighting. Indian forces are also storming the Jewish Center after air assaulting soldiers into the complex. Curiously, it does not appear the terrorists have executed hostages once they were taken.
At this time, police said seven terrorist have been killed and nine have been detained. Several more are still thought to be hiding in the Taj and Trident hotels, and the Jewish center.
Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility
A group called the Deccan Mujahideen, or Indian Mujahideen, has claimed responsibility for the Mumbai strike in an e-mail to local news stations. While the Indian Mujahideen’s role in the attack has yet to be confirmed, at least two of the terrorists fighting in Mumbai indicated they were linked to Islamic terrorists.
One of the terrorists phoned a news station demanding jihadis be released from jail in exchange for prisoners. “We want all Mujahideens held in India released and only after that we will release the people,” a man named Sahadullah told a media outlet. “Release all the Mujahideens, and Muslims living in India should not be troubled.”
Another terrorist named Imran phoned a TV station and spoke in Urdu in what is believed to be a Kashmiri accent. “Ask the government to talk to us and we will release the hostages,” he said. “Are you aware how many people have been killed in Kashmir? Are you aware how your army has killed Muslims. Are you aware how many of them have been killed in Kashmir this week?”
The Indian Mujahideen has taken credit for several recent mass-casualty attacks in India. The group claimed credit for the July 25 and 26 bombings in Ahmedabad and Bangalore. At least 36 Indians were killed and more than 120 were wounded in the attacks. The Indian Mujahideen took credit for the Sept. 13 attacks in New Delhi that resulted in 18 killed and more than 90 wounded. The group also claimed credit for the bombings in Jaipur last May (60 killed, more than 200 wounded), and bombings in Uttar Pradesh in November 2007 (14 killed, 50 wounded).
In several of those attacks, an Indian Mujahideen operative who calls himself “Arbi Hindi” e-mailed the media to claim responsibility. Arbi Hindi’s real name is Abdul Subhan Qureshi, an Indian national who is believed to be behind many of the recent terror attacks inside India. Qureshi, a computer expert, is beleived to have trained hundreds of recruits to conduct terror attacks in India. He is often called India’s Osama bin Laden.
Indian intelligence believes the Indian Mujahideen is a front group created by the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat ul Jihad al Islami. The Indian Mujahideen was created to confuse investigators and cover the tracks of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, a radical Islamist movement, according to Indian intelligence.
The Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat ul Jihad al Islami receive support from Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence to destabilize India and wage war in Kashmir. Both of these terror groups are local al Qaeda affiliates in Pakistan and conduct attacks in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The Indian “occupation” of Kashmir helped spawn these groups.
Reports indicate signals intelligence has linked the attackers back to Pakistan. Intelligence services are said to have intercepted the terrorists’ conversations via satellite phone. The men spoke in Punjabi and used Pakistani phrases.
Indian politicians have been quick to point the finger at Pakistan. Gujarat state Chief Minister Narendra Modi accused Pakistan of allowing terrorists to use its soil as a terror launchpad. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed terror groups backed by India’s “neighbors,” a reference to Pakistan. Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said ‘elements in Pakistan’ were behind the Mumbai attacks.
A unique attack
The Mumbai attack differs from previous terror attacks launched by Islamic terror groups. Al Qaeda and other terror groups have not used multiple assault teams to attack multiple targets simultaneously in a major city outside of a war zone.
Al Qaeda and allied groups have conducted complex military assaults on military and non-military targets in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, Algeria, and Pakistan. But these are countries that are actively in a state of war or emerging from a recent war, where resources and established fighting units already exist.
Al Qaeda has also used the combination of a suicide attack to breach an outer wall followed by one or more assault teams on military bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as at the US embassy in Yemen. But again, these attacks are focused on a single target, and again occur where the resources and manpower is available.
Previous terror attacks in non-war zone countries such as India, London, Spain, the United States, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, and elsewhere have consisted of suicide or conventional bombings on one or more critical soft targets such as hotels, resorts, cafes, rail stations, trains, or in the case of the Sept. 11 attack, planes used as suicide bombs.
The only attack similar to the Mumbai strike is the assault on the Indian Parliament by the Jaish-e-Mohammed, aided by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, in December 2001. A team of Jaish-e-Mohammed fighters attempted to storm the parliament building while in a session was held. A combination of mishaps by the terrorists and the quick reaction of security guards bunted the attack.
The Mumbai attack is something different. Foreign assault teams that likely trained and originated from outside the country infiltrated a major city to conduct multiple attacks on carefully chosen targets. The primary weapon was the gunman, not the suicide bomber. The attack itself has paralyzed a city of 18 million. And two days after the attack began, Indian forces are still working to root out the terror teams.