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Friday, June 30, 2006

One Video That Says it All...

An appropriate way to start off Independence Day weekend, don't you think?

H/T to Signal 94.

This Month in Terror - Robert Dean Stethem

As we bid farewell to the month of June, I thought it was appropriate to repost this, from June of last year (with updates):

At 10:10 a.m., June 14, 1985, TWA Flight 847 left Athens, bound for Rome. Onboard was 23-year-old Steelworker Second Class and Navy Diver, Robert D. Stethem, returning from an assignment in Greece.

Shortly after takeoff, armed Hezbollah gunmen hijacked the plane. The men allegedly had smuggled their grenades and pistols through Athens airport security.

They first demanded that the plane be flown to Beirut, taking on fuel, releasing 19 hostages, and remaining there for several hours. Next, the hijackers demanded to be flown to Algiers, where another 20 were released, and the plane remained there for another several-hour stay.

The gunmen made initial demands that all Shiites captured in Lebanon by the Israelis be released, and for condemnation of Israeli and US activities in the Middle East.

When the plane made its second ordered stop in Beirut, the hijackers did what still serves as one of the most brutal reminders of what terrorism is.

When they found out that Robert Stethem was US military, they beat him, shot him in the head, and dumped his body out of the plane onto the tarmac below.

The plane then faced the addition of several more armed terrorists. A number of passengers, whose last names sounded Jewish, were removed from the plane, but were not released. It wasn't until June 30th that all of the hostages were freed; one had been released a little earlier because of heart trouble.

One of the hijackers, Mohammed Homadi (or Mohammed Ali Hamadei), was convicted in Germany and sentenced to serve a life sentence.

UPDATE: But he didn't. He was released in December, 2005. He has been indicted in the U.S., and is a member of Lebanese Hizballah. He's worth $5 million to whoever turns him in.

Three of the men allegedly involved in the hijacking are still at large:

Imad Mugniyah's hit parade also includes the 1983 US Embassy bombing in Beirut, and the attack on French and US Marine barracks (241 U.S. Marines killed) in that same year, among others. He also may be coordinating attacks in Iraq.

UPDATE: Mugniyah is the alleged head of the security apparatus for the terrorist organization, Lebanese Hizballah. He is thought to be in Lebanon.

Ali Atwa was actually prevented from joining the hijacking by airport authorities, but later released in exchange for hostages.

UPDATE: Atwa is an alleged member of the terrorist organization, Lebanese Hizballah. He is thought to be in Lebanon.

Hasan Izz-Al-Din is believed to still reside in Lebanon.

All three are on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list, and worth a cool $5 mil to whomever turns them in (each).


The US Navy has honored Stethem's memory by naming a destroyer for him. The USS Stethem (DDG-63) serves as a fitting tribute to this member of a Navy family.

I was 17 when Robert Dean Stethem was murdered. I will never forget it. Still, any time I think of terrorism, the image of what they did to him is the first thing that comes to my mind. And any time I hear someone act as if terrorism began with 9/11, I remember him.

January, 2003 - The first sunset of the year provides a beautiful backdrop for the guided missile destroyers USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS Stethem (DDG 63), USS Howard (DDG 83). The ships are decorated with holiday lights as they are moored in San Diego. U.S. Navy photo by Geoffrey Patrick.


UPDATE: Check out Michael Yon's post about Robert Stethem, here, which includes his brother's thoughts on the deplorable decision to release one of his murderers.

RAVEN LAUNCH — Like their civilian counterparts, military photographers are on the frontlines of the war on terror. "Military Photographers On the Frontlines" is a collection showcasing the work of some of our best military photographers. The most recent addition features U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Larson

View Slideshows

In Today's News - Friday, June 30, 2006

Quote of the Day
"For what avail the plough or sail,
Or land or life, if freedom fail?"
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
US forces have found some old Iraqi WMD, says general
3 terror suspects killed in Iraq fighting

Operation Enduring Freedom
1 Dead, 8 Detained in Afghanistan Anti-Terror Raid

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Israel Hits Palestinian Interior Ministry
Prime Minister to Palestinians: Be Patient
'The Lion of Jihad'
3 Die in Sectarian Attack Aftermath
Prosecutor: Sears Tower Plotter Confesses
Congressional hearings on Guantanamo set

Troops on Trial
Jury Acquits Iraq War Vet of Shooting

Other Military News
Stolen VA Laptop Found
Vet Goes up Against Disabled Elite
Filmmaker Puts Movie in Hands of Soldiers (The War Tapes)

Immigration / Border Control
Guard may Miss Border Deadline

Worldwide Wackos
Bush: North Korea Missile Test 'Unacceptable'- Video: News Conference
US reaffirms it expects Iran answer

Politics / Government
House OKs Bill Admonishing Publication of Classified Info
Bush, Japanese PM Sing Duet at White House Dinner
Bush, Japan's Koizumi to tour Graceland
House intelligence chief berates Negroponte on WMD

In the Courts
'Conspirators Must Be Brought to Justice' (Judge Thomas blasts the Gitmo decision)

Hurricane Season / Wild Weather
Flood Evacuees Return Home - Video: Threat Eases - Photos
Worst over in northeast floods
Delaware River waters begin to recede
FEMA to New Orleans: Build lower than Katrina flood
Northeast floods stir global warming debate

Boy Dies on Disney Coaster
Operation removes lightbulb from anus
Woman auctions herself with her Ferrari
Ex-judge convicted of indecent exposure
Police find skeleton in Cleveland home

Other News of Note
Dutch government collapses
Blair loses popular lead for first time: poll

Fox News
Stocks to Watch: Apple
Venus Scrapes Out Win

Reuters: Top News
Britain contemplated China nuclear attack
WTO round on the ropes as ministers launch talks
Space shuttle cleared for Saturday launch in Florida
Microsoft pushes back Office 2007 release
MTV says it will sell videos on iTunes
Are flip-flops damaging your career?
Babar, elephant hero of children's books, turns 75
Young girls should get cancer vaccine, panel says
Senate to take up stem cell bill in July
"Superman" primed to take box office in single bound
First Beatles sanctioned stage show opens in Vegas
EU says MasterCard may have broken antitrust rules
Apple probe found option grant "irregularities"
Chrysler to announce plans for new Challenger: report
Mizuho to buy and cancel 130 bln yen own shares
Nash-Finch says to take charge in Q2
News Corp. sees Internet revenue rising
Stocks seen opening down after post-Fed rally
Nikkei jumps 2.5 pct on tech gains after Fed move
European shares rise as Fed signals rate hike pause
Palm 1st-quarter view lags Street
Apple shares fall 2.9 percent
Bracing for wind power
On the Radar: Japan ADRs

AP World News
China cracks down on blogs, search engines
Reynolds: ABC said to 'make up a story'
56 cyclists implicated in doping scandal
Ullrich, Sevilla suspended from Tour
Mexico extraditions rise sharply
Red Sox stretch streak to 12, sweep Mets
Calif. scientists reopen Ice Age dig site
Apple: Stock options possibly mishandled
Jackson jury sees star's video testimony
Rob Schneider OK after movie set collapse
Bonds' personal trainer refuses to testify
Pirates end 13-game skid with magic in 9th
Confession may be tossed in Fla. slaying
Obituaries in the news
Ex-Mont. State athletes charged in slaying
Vets Still Seek Credit Monitoring
Congress Finalizes Pay
Rumsfeld Lists Top DOD Priorities
Army Activates VA Data Website
Detainee Operations Will Continue at Gitmo
Rice, Lavrov Quarrel on Iraq
Pentagon to go Back to the Drawing Board

CENTCOM: News Releases


Department of Defense
Afghan Police Compound Opens - Story

Engineers Move Mountains to Improve Roads - Story
Construction Plan Focuses on Water, Roads - Story
Preventive Medicine Team Prepares to Deploy - Story
KC-135 Aircrew Vital Part of Mission Success - Story

Tanks Support 'Darkhorse' Grunts in Habbaniyah
Marines’ Goal: Gain Trust, Improve Community

Air Force Turns to Old Standby for Army Re-supply
Medical Assistance Team Visits Afghan Villages

Renewal In Iraq
Iraq: Security, Stability
Fact Sheet: Progress and Work Ahead
Report: Strategy for Victory in Iraq
Iraq Daily Update
This Week in Iraq (PDF)
Multinational Force Iraq
State Dept. Weekly Iraq Report (PDF)
'Boots on the Ground' Audio Archive
Weekly Reconstruction Report (PDF)
Iraq Reconstruction

Afghanistan Update

Fact Sheet: Budget Request
Fact Sheet: War on Terror
Fact Sheet: Terror Plots Disrupted
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Officials Identify Army Casualties - Story

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut
An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar


Today in History
- Jews are expelled from Berne, Switzerland.
1794 - Battle of Fort Recovery, Ohio.
1834 - Congress creates the Indian Territory (Oklahoma).
1859 - Charles Blondin becomes the first to cross Niagara Falls - on a tightrope.
1862 - Day 6 of the 7 Days - Battle of White Oak Swamp.
1893 - The Excelsior diamond (a 995 carat blue-white diamond) is discovered.
1894 - Korea declares independence from China, requesting Japanese aid.
1914 - Mahatma Gandhi's is arrested for the first time.
1934 - In the "Night of the Long Knives," Hitler purges the Nazi Party.
1936 - The federal 40-hour work week law is approved.
1939 - The Heinkel He. 176 rocket plane takes its maiden flight.
1940 - The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is established.
1942 - The New Orleans U.S. Mint in New Orleans closes down.
1950 - President Truman orders American troops into Korea.
1956 - Over the Grand Canyon, a United Airlines DC-7 and a TWA Super Constellation collide, killing 128.
1960 - Zaire (then the Belgian Congo) gains independence from Belgium.
1961 - Explorer-12 fails to reach an Earth orbit.
1962 - Rwanda and Burundi become independent.
1964 - Centaur-3 fails to reach an Earth orbit.
1967 - Major Robert H. Lawrence, Jr., is named as the first African-American astronaut .
1971 - Ohio becomes the 38th state to approve lowering the voting age to
18, thereby ratifying the 26th Amendment.
1972 - The first leap second day
1977 - Jimmy Carter cans the B-1A bomber; he later "B-1's the B-52"; the U.S. Railway Post Office makes its final train run (NY to DC).
1981 - China's Communist Party condemns the Mao Tse-tung's policies during the Cultural Revolution
1982 - The Federal Equal Rights Amendment misses ratification by three states.
1985 - The 39 remaining hostages from Flight 847 are freed in Beirut. (for info, see here, here, here, and here)
1989 - Attorney General Thornburgh orders Joseph Doherty (IRA) deported to the UK; Congressman Lukins is convicted of having sex with a 16-year-old girl; NASA closes down its tracking stations in Santiago, Chile and Guam; the NY State Legislature passes the Staten Island seccession bill.

1470 - King Charles VIII of France
1768 - Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, First Lady
1819 - William A. Wheeler, 19th Vice President
1837 - Stephen D. Ramseur, youngest West Pointer to become a Major General

1961 - Dr. Lee De Forest, radio pioneer
1971 - Three cosmonauts, as Soyuz XI depressurizes during reentry
1974 - Mrs. Albert King, Sr. (mother of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), murdered in church

Reported Missing in Action
Allen, Merlin R.; USMC (WI); CH46A shot down, KIA, body not recovered

Cole, Legrande O., Jr., USN (CT); A4C shot down, remains returned May, 1989

House, John A. II, USMC (NY); pilot of CH46A shot down, KIA, body not recovered

Howard, Luther H., US Army (NC); drowned, body not recovered

Judd, Michael B. , USMC (OH); CH46A shot down, body not recovered

Killen, John D. III, USMC (IA); CH46A shot down, KIA, body not recovered

McGrath, John Michael, USN (CO); A4C shot down, released by DRV March, 1973 - alive and well as of 1998

Runnels, Glyn L., Jr., USMC (AL); CH46A shot down, KIA, body not recovered

Bell, Marvin E., USAF (AR); HH53C shot down while attempting to rescue a downed pilot, remains returned March, 1995**

Burgess, John L., US Army (MI); UH1H shot down, KIA, body not recovered

Dean, Michael F. USAF (CA); HH53C shot down while attempting to rescue a downed pilot, remains returned March, 1995**

Goeglein, John W., USAF (MO); HH53C shot down while attempting to rescue a downed pilot, remains returned March, 1995**

Hill, Gordon Clark, USAF (WA); F4E shot down, presumed KIA

Jenkins, Paul L., USAF (AR); HH53C shot down while attempting to rescue a downed pilot, remains returned March, 1995**

Sadler, Mitchell Olen, Jr., USAF (CA); F4E shot down

Sanders, Williams S., USAF (ME); HH53C shot down while attempting to rescue a downed pilot, remains returned March, 1995**

Schaneberg, Leroy C., USAF (IL); pilot of HH53C shot down while attempting to rescue a downed pilot, remains returned March, 1995

Bridges, Philip W. , US Army (CA); presumed Killed when the explosives truck he was driving blew up, body not recovered.

** In March, 1995, remains were returned that could not conclusively be identified as any of the individuals in the Chinook. Personal items were included with the remains. It is felt that the remains may represent 1-2 people.