Aug. 29 in U.S. military history

Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Emperor Hirohito in Sept. 1945. When the Japanese attempt to censor the photo showing the American commander towering above their revered emperor, MacArthur orders all newspapers to print the image.

1940: At Lawson Army Airfield (modern-day Fort Benning, Ga.), 1st Lt. William T. Ryder and his Parachute Test Platoon conduct the first mass parachute jump in U.S. military history.

Meanwhile, a delegation of British scientists begin sharing radar and other military technologies with the United States, hoping to secure assistance from the still-neutral nation.

1944: Four years after German conquerors marched through Paris’ famous Arc de Triomphe, 15,000 American soldiers of the 28th Infantry Division parade down the newly-liberated capital’s Champs-Élysées.

1945: An American B-29 “Superfortress”, carrying a load of humanitarian aid to Allied prisoners of war in Korea, is intercepted by Soviet Yak-9 fighters. The supposed allies attack the bomber, forcing 1st Lt. Joseph Queen’s crew to bail out before the plane crashes. The air crew are rescued, and the incident marks one of the first international confrontations between the soon-to-be Cold War rivals.

Across the Sea of Japan, Allied occupation forces begin arriving in Japan, as well as the battleship USS Missouri, which will host the upcoming formal surrender ceremonies on Sept. 2. Gen. Douglas MacArthur is granted the authority to oversee the formation of a new Japanese government. Rather than disband the existing government, MacArthur rules through the emperor – whom the Japanese people still view as divine – during Japan’s transition to democracy.

1983: During the Lebanese Civil War, mortar crews target American positions, killing two Marines and wounding 14 – the first fatalities for the American peacekeeping force in Beirut. In less than two months, suicide bombers will target a barracks complex, killing nearly 300 U.S. and French peacekeepers, and leading to the eventual withdrawal of the Multinational Force in February.

Posted on August 29, 2017 at 12:24 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
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Terrorism Roundup

Egypt: According to Ynet, Egyptian security forces captured 100 anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons believed destined for Gaza on Wednesday according to the Egyptian newspaper al-Youm al-Sabe’. Egyptian forces also discovered three tunnels linking Rafah to the Gaza Strip, and confiscated dozens of vehicles used for smuggling.

Gaza: The Kuwait News Agency reports that Palestinians fired two more rockets into Israel on Wednesday. Local radio stations said the Ali Mustafa Brigade – the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – claimed responsibility.

And just hours after Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov urged Hamas to stop militants from firing rockets into Israel, a Qassam rocket was fired into Ashkelon.

Israeli warplanes responded by launching at least five attacks on various targets.

Lebanon: Tribunal investigators have summoned 12 Hizballah members and close supporters for questioning for the 2005 assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

Hizballah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah referred to the 12 as “witnesses and not as suspects,” and told al Manar – the jihadist group’s television station – that “We have nothing to fear and we will co-operate.”

Nasrallah stated that six additional members would appear for questioning.

Hizballah, Israel, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Syrian intelligence, and even al Qaeda have been speculated to be involved in the Hariri killing. But in May of last year, Der Spiegel reported the tribunal had evidence showing that Hizballah was behind the massacre.

Russia: Chechen terrorist leader Doku Umarov has claimed responsibility for the “Black Widow” suicide attacks on the Moscow Metro, which killed 39 Russians on Monday. Another double attack in Dagestan killed 12, including nine policemen on Wednesday. A second Dagestan bombing killed two more on Thursday. President Dimitri Medvedev said in a Security Council meeting that the attacks are “links in the same chain,” and called for a “brutal” response.

Monday’s blasts were the first terrorist attacks against Russia in six years.

Posted on April 2, 2010 at 10:56 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
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Military Milestones from Greene’s Tigers to MacArthur’s Promise

This Week in American Military History (by W. Thomas Smith Jr.):

Oct. 18, 1859: U.S. Marine Lt. Israel Greene and a detachment of Marines – under the overall command of U.S. Army Col. (future Confederate general) Robert E. Lee – storm the now-famous fire-engine house at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. Inside the building, abolitionist John Brown and his raiders have barricaded themselves following a failed attempt to spark a slave uprising in the town.

The signal for Greene’s Marines to attack is a simple waving of U.S. Army Lt. (future Confederate general) James Ewell Brown “J.E.B.” Stuart’s plumed hat, after Stuart (Col. Lee’s aide and the designated negotiator) fails to persuade Brown to surrender.

Signal given, the Marines rush forward. Two leathernecks attempt to batter down the door with sledgehammers. Greene then orders 10-12 men to break through the door by ramming it with a wooden ladder. They do, and Greene leads his Marines into the breach.

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Surprise! Hezbollah is violating UN embargo

(AP) United Nations troops salute the coffins of Hezbollah militants during a prisoner exchange in Tyre, Lebanon. Israeli officials called for their removal following the gesture.

(AP) United Nations troops salute the coffins of Hezbollah militants during a prisoner exchange in Tyre, Lebanon. Israeli officials called for their removal following the gesture.

A recent explosion in Southern Lebanon provides another glaring example that Hezbollah operates with impunity despite U.N. Security Council Resolutions expressly calling for their disarmament, and that the 15,000-strong UNIFIL force won’t do anything to stop them.

The exploding warehouse actually turned out to be a Hezbollah weapons cache that according to military analyst W. Thomas Smith Jr. “is said to have stored all manner of ‘rockets, mortars, artillery shells, grenades,’ and other munitions smuggled by Iran and Syria to the terrorist group in Lebanon since the Hizballah-Israel war.”

Smith adds:

… upon setting up a security perimeter around the blast site, the Lebanese army blocked soldiers with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) from entering the security zone to investigate. Hizballah on the other hand, was given a green light.

In the same article, Smith reports that Hezbollah has trained between 100 and 150 Lebanese army soldiers on the use of the terrorist group’s offensive missiles obtained from Iran.

How can this be?

Smith’s sources tell him that “Hizballah has penetrated many elements of the Lebanese army from intelligence to combat arms units; and this is due primarily to the active, though illegal, joint Hizballah-Lebanese Army ‘Operations Room’ established by the Lebanese government and Syria in the 1990s.”

Elements within the Lebanese army (an army which receives direct military support from the U.S.) are complicit. And UNIFIL – 14 of whose soldiers were injured by stone-throwing civilians when they attempted to move against another suspected cache – appears unable to do anything about it.

Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Gabriela Shalev said in a letter to the Security Council that Hezbollah’s actions represented “a clear violation of [UNSCR] 1701,” and added that “Such violations jeopardize the fragile stability along Israel’s northern border and stand in contravention of UN Security Council resolution 1701, in particular paragraph 8 that calls for ‘full respect for the Blue Line by both parties’.”

Who has any respect the ‘Blue Line’ at this point? UNIFIL considers this incident a “serious violation,” but really – what are they going to do about it?

Posted on July 29, 2009 at 17:36 by Chris Carter · Permalink · 2 Comments
In: Geopolitics · Tagged with: ,

Hezbollah Unlikely to Remain Angry at Biden

On May 22, U.S. vice president Joe Biden traveled to Lebanon to express support for the Lebanese government. Biden’s trip has drawn criticism from the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, but considering Biden’s history regarding Hezbollah and their handlers, the anger isn’t likely to be long-lived.

The Central News Agency reported that Biden would deliver a message from President Obama expressing U.S. support for Lebanese stability, discussing cooperation with the Lebanese military, and calling for the implementation of security resolutions, including United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which calls for the disarmament of Hezbollah.

Biden’s trip was the second trip in two months by a high-ranking American official (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited in April) and was the first by an American vice president in 26 years. George H.W. Bush traveled there in 1983, two days after Hezbollah terrorists killed 241 American Marines, sailors, and soldiers.

“Lebanon has suffered terribly from war and we have a real opportunity now … for peace,” Biden said after meeting with President Michel Suleiman. “So I urge those who think about standing with the spoilers of peace not to miss this opportunity to walk away from the spoilers.”

Hezbollah is now accusing the U.S. of trying to influence the vote in favor of the pro-freedom, Western-backed March 14 Alliance. They claim that the visits by Clinton and now Biden raised “strong suspicion and amounted to a clear and detailed interference in Lebanon’s affairs.”

“The U.S. will evaluate the shape of its assistance program based on the composition of the new government and the policies it is advocating.” Biden said of future American assistance to Lebanon. Since 2006, the U.S. has contributed over $400 million worth of military assistance alone to Lebanon – including ammunition, artillery, M60 battle tanks, Raven unmanned aerial vehicles, and other weapons systems.

“The high American interest in Lebanon raises strong suspicion as to the real reason behind it,” said Hezbollah in a statement, “especially since it has become a clear and detailed intervention in Lebanese affairs.” Apparently Biden’s call for “fair, free and transparent elections” classifies as an “intervention in Lebanese affairs” to Hezbollah.

But the terrorist group will not likely remain angry at Biden. Back in 2007, Biden voted against a Senate amendment that would name Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – Hezbollah’s benefactor – as a terrorist organization.

Read the rest at the International Analyst Network

Posted on May 31, 2009 at 16:49 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
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Poland Withdraws from UNIFIL and HAMAS on the market for new MANPADS

LEBANON – A Polish ambassador announced that Poland will withdraw its 450-member force from Lebanon after a Polish officer was arrested by Hezbollah.

On March 28 in Southern Lebanon, a UNIFIL patrol was stopped by armed Hezbollah militants. Hezbollah searched the vehicle, seizing a map and camera, which were handed over to authorities. The Polish officer was arrested and handed over to the Lebanese army.

NOW Lebanon reports that an investigation is underway as to why the captain took pictures without permission from UNIFIL and whether he was spying for Israel.

Poland – who has maintained a peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon since 1982 – blames their withdrawal on the global economic downturn. Agence France Press reported that Poland announced their intention to withdraw in February 2009. They are also ending their troop commitments to Chad and the Golan Heights.

GAZA – HAMAS terrorists got a nasty surprise when they tried to shoot down an Israeli helicopter during their 22-day war with Israel in January.

According to The World Tribune, HAMAS had smuggled four American-made Stinger portable anti-aircraft missile systems through Egypt in 2008. When an (American-made) Israeli Apache attack helicopter came under fire by HAMAS, the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system on the Stinger would not allow the gunner to target what the system thought was a friendly target. When the missile was launched, instead of acquiring the helicopter, it picked up the heat signature of a HAMAS machine gun position.

“The Stinger was drawn by the heat of our guns rather than the engines of the Israeli helicopters,” The Tribune‘s source said. “At that point, we stopped using this weapon.”

The source said that HAMAS is now on the market for a Russian-made SA-16.

Posted on April 7, 2009 at 16:32 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
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Transcript of W. Thomas Smith Interview

Recently on Unto the Breach, we interviewed military analyst W. Thomas Smith, Jr. on the activity of the terrorist organization Hezbollah. The audio can be found here. Following is a transcript of the interview.

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Posted on September 23, 2008 at 09:19 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
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Counterterrorism Expert on Unto the Breach

W. Thomas Smith, Jr. will be appearing on Unto the Breach on Friday, September 5. He will be discussing Hezbollah’s recent activities in Lebanon.

From his website, uswriter.com:

Author, journalist, nationally-acclaimed military analyst  W. Thomas Smith, Jr. specializes in counterterrorism and international defense issues: His work appearing in The New York Post, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, BusinessWeek, Human Events, many others.  

A former U.S. Marine rifle-squad leader and parachutist, Smith is a technical consultant for military tech films airing on The Military Channel. He directs the Counterterrorism Research Center of the Family Security Foundation, and he is a contract technical editor for two major book publishing houses.

Smith — a columnist and veteran war correspondent — has covered conflict in Iraq, Lebanon, the Balkans, and on the West Bank.

Posted on September 6, 2008 at 12:15 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
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Lebanon: “Calling it on the Money”

Editor’s Note: This piece was first published on May 9, 2008 at World Defense Review

W. Thomas Smith Jr. was reporting from Lebanon for National Review Online in September and October of 2007. The former Marine headed straight into the proverbial lion’s den – the cities, camps, and remote border areas where the international terrorist group Hezbollah was planning, building, organizing, even rehearsing, some seven months prior to the recent violence it has unleashed on the Mediterranean state.

Smith knew exactly what he was doing. He had direct access to multiple high-level sources within the Lebanese government and Army – one of whom has since been assassinated – and he reported on Hezbollah’s once private activity, which is a job few correspondents seem to have been doing at all. At least not until the fighting began a few days ago, and Hezbollah began seizing new ground in Lebanon.

If anyone knows how to uncover and accurately report a story, it’s Smith. And it’s obvious now, “he called it” on the money.

If anyone knows how to manipulate and use the media to their advantage, it’s Hezbollah. And we are today seeing what the group is capable of militarily, just as we did during the group’s war with Israel in 2006.

The Iranian-funded, Syrian-supported, Lebanon-based terrorist group has been very guarded. Its members, numbering in the thousands, never answer questions that might reveal to the world what they have actually been doing in Lebanon unless it is something they have wanted the world to see. Hezbollah has escorts who accompany local and foreign journalists so that the organization can manage the news that is reported. The group posts guards so that the media and Lebanese authorities do not have access to protest camps and larger security zones unless those members of the media are friendly with Hezbollah. It has its own television stations, newspapers, and radio stations, some of which are on the U.S. State and Treasury Departments’ lists of terrorist organizations.

The group even has paid mercenaries in both Lebanese and Western media, to include our own. Those mercenaries have been known to write both flattering and unflattering stories about Hezbollah. They write unflattering stories which they know will not actually damage Hezbollah, but they do so to create a false sense of objectivity and fairness in their own reporting. Then they are perceived as legitimate when Hezbollah needs them to propagate whatever it is the group wants the public to see.

This method of writing flattering and unflattering stories is a commonly used – and thus far successful – tactic of deception. Hezbollah and its sympathizers are masters of this tactic.

Smith on the other hand, is an enemy of international terrorists, and he has been one of the most defiant journalists ever to expose the truth about Hezbollah.

What Smith wrote damaged Hezbollah, slapped the group and its sympathizers in the face publicly, and defied Hezbollah’s intricate media campaign. Since many members of our own media are sympathetic to Hezbollah, Smith angered them too by reporting what he saw personally and the information his sources were providing him. American reporters and bloggers fed – some wittingly, some unwittingly – by Hezbollah propagandists, launched a smear campaign against Smith, calling him a “fabulist” and a “liar.” They had no proof or evidence beyond what their political allies told them (another means by which terrorist groups effectively infiltrate our media). In fact, those members of the media who attacked were the ones who lied; which is obvious to anyone who takes the time to read what Smith actually wrote – and what many counterterrorism experts have said – and compare it with what Smith’s attackers said he wrote.

What did Smith actually say? On September 25th, 2007, he wrote:

“Between the airport and the committee’s office, we (my escorts and I) passed by the sprawling Hezbollah tent city – some 200-plus heavily armed Hezbollah militiamen – positioned between the parliament and the Serail, basically the headquarters of the prime minister, his deputies, and all the cabinet members.”

Tom Harb, the secretary general for both the International Lebanese Committee for UN Security Council Resolution 1559 and the World Council of the Cedars Revolution, as well as many other members of the pro-democracy movement in Lebanon, have said that Smith actually underreported the numbers in the camp. Even Hezbollah themselves admitted to a force of 600 in November (three-times Smith’s reported numbers, and this after the numbers had in fact decreased from when Smith was there).

On September 29th, 2007, Smith wrote:

“Hezbollah is rehearsing for something big here. Not sure what or when. But a few days ago, between 4,000 and 5,000 [Hezbollah] gunmen deployed to the Christian areas of Beirut in an unsettling “show of force,” positioning themselves at road intersections and other key points throughout the city.”

According to both Harb and John Hajjar, the US director for the World Council of the Cedars Revolution, Hezbollah does in fact deploy from their neighborhoods in the southern suburbs of Beirut into East Beirut, sometimes by the hundreds, sometimes thousands. This deployment in September was confirmed several others.

After Smith had returned from Lebanon, international media reported that Hezbollah did deploy in the thousands south of the Litani River. The first report on this exercise came from none other than the Hezbollah-supported al-Akhbar newspaper. No other reporter reported this until Hezbollah’s own newspaper reported it.

Also, as late as January of this year, counterterrorism expert Dr. Walid Phares wrote:

“Isn’t it interesting to see how back in the fall of 2007 Western-based media, friendly to Hezbollah, attacked an American journalist reporting from Beirut, [W. Thomas Smith Jr.], for daring to mention that Hezbollah has ever deployed forces in Beirut, while according to [a Stratfor intelligence report], the organization is sending in -not only regular militiamen, but special forces.”

While Smith was in Lebanon, several of his sources warned him that Hezbollah might engineer a character assassination through members of the Western media. In January 2008, a phone conversation with Al Sayed Mohammad Ali El Hussieni (a former senior commander in Hezbollah who was slated to be the replacement for Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah) confirmed that. Hussieni said that Hezbollah had “quite a few American journalists who are Hezbollah sympathizers … Many are paid a lot of money.” Many of their own publications are not even aware of this. Several senior members of the Lebanese Diaspora and the pro-democracy movement agree that is in fact what happened.

Smith’s only problem, if you want to call it that, is that he didn’t always detail where his personal observations ended and where his sources’ intelligence begin. There were several reasons why, not the least of which was the absolute necessity of protecting sources. Smith, however, concedes he should have done a better job attributing his sources because it opened holes for his attackers. However, he was writing for a blog, not a newspaper article. Smith had well-placed sources in the Lebanese government, members of the military, former members of Hezbollah, and members of Lebanon’s pro-democracy movement. Many of his sources were not known to – and not friendly with – his other sources. So he found himself often walking a tightrope where it would have been irresponsible and dangerous to name anyone or even suggest to one person that he was talking with (or collecting information from) another. Few in the media actually understand this.

On Monday, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported:

“An official Lebanese government report reveals that Iran is setting up an illegal telecommunication network across Lebanon, capable of intercepting all telephone conversations in the country, the Saudi-owned daily al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Sunday … Iran has set up this network to aid the Lebanon-based guerilla group Hezbollah.”

This telecommunication network was in many ways the catalyst that launched the recent fighting between Hezbollah and pro-government forces in Lebanon.

Smith warned us about the telephone network more than seven months ago. On October 9, 2007, he wrote:

“… [Hezbollah] is monitoring and jamming cell-phone communications, and tracking phone signals. They also have their own private telephone comm lines running from the south to the Bekaa Valley, and from both regions to Dahiyeh (in Beirut) and who knows where else. The very Internet service provider I am using to post this entry is a subsidiary of a larger Hezbollah-owned or affiliated company.

“Worse: Many of the Lebanese ‘leaders’ here are afraid to go on the record about these issues or anything else related to Hezbollah.”

By keeping reporters at arm’s length from their activity, Hezbollah was in many ways able to prevent the world from learning the truth. At least until Smith showed up. The former Marine dared to squeeze in tight to the chest of the terrorists in order to get the truth out. He risked his life to tell us what Hezbollah was doing. And when the attacks against him began, he resigned from National Review because he did not want his attackers using him to attack the publication he continues to revere and respect. For these reasons, Smith is a hero.

Smith does not in any way reflect the profane and false monikers his attackers have labeled him with. Those monikers belong to the ones who never attempted to seek his side of the story. They never spoke to him. They dismissed his honorable military service, his distinguished journalism background, and his vast body of work. They created things he never said, then published their fanciful propaganda in an attempt to destroy him. They in fact lied to destroy him, and they did so in a profane and vitriolic way, because it has been their mission to quash the truth.

But they would have to physically kill the former Marine to shut him up. And that might be a bit more than they could handle.

©2008 Unto the Breach Media

Posted on May 9, 2008 at 13:12 by Chris Carter · Permalink · Leave a comment
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