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  • post-9-25-01
    the Army s infantry school I remember carrying five dead guys out of a minefield in Korea A study published by the Army this year noted that 16 United Nations employees have been killed and an additional 20 injured while involved in tightly controlled mine clearing work in Afghanistan Those workers removed a total of 13 542 antipersonnel mines and 636 antitank mines last year according to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines The damage is even worse in wartime About one third of the 68 000 casualties suffered by the Red Army in Afghanistan during its decade of fighting there were inflicted by various kinds of mines according to a 1998 study in the U S Army s journal on military medicine With almost all U S veterans of the Vietnam War now retired the Army lacks many medical specialists seasoned in handling mine injuries that 1988 study also observed The military has studied mines closely in recent years because of their widespread presence in the Balkans where the U S military has been on the ground since 1995 But mainly because of extensive mine awareness training required of all U S soldiers before deploying that includes practice patrols American servicemen have suffered surprisingly few mine casualties Those casualties can be fearsome The public image of mines is that they blow off toes or feet but the injuries inflicted can be far more extensive Two thirds of the Soviet troops wounded by mines in Afghanistan needed blood transfusions totaling two or more liters of blood an unusually large amount the Army medical study noted Also nearly half suffered some heart injury from the mine s blast and smaller numbers sustained damage to the lungs and brain But one general at the Pentagon argued that the mines would present less of a threat to American forces because they would be operating differently than the Red Army did The Soviets were trying to secure terrain patrol and assault places he said We re going to be going in to do direct action vertical insertion in and out Direct action is military jargon for small quick raids either to assassinate or to apprehend a small number of adversaries Even so the mines are having an effect on U S planning In addition to the physical damage they can do the Army study noted mines also can have a psychological impact on soldiers undercutting their confidence and slowing the movement of units to a crawl Land mines can cause you to be very careful about how you go into a place and deal with it said retired Army lieutenant general Thomas Burnette a career light infantryman By contrast experts said the threat presented by the Stinger probably has been overestimated They achieved a kind of mythological reputation in Afghanistan because the first five that were fired brought down Soviet aircraft said Vincent Cannistraro a former CIA official who was involved in the 1986 decision to provide the Stingers to the Afghans fighting the

    Original URL path: http://twa800.com/news/post-9-25-01.htm (2016-02-13)
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  • iht-9-26-01
    States showed that the vintage Stingers were still working perfectly They may have battery problems but they are fixable he said The Stingers enjoyed mythological status because they turned the tide in Afghanistan according to Vincent Cannistraro a former CIA official who was involved in the 1986 decision to provide the Stingers to the Afghans fighting Soviet invaders As a result they have always commanded political attention Perhaps too much according to critics of the CIA who have blamed the agency for concentrating on recovering the hardware that had done so much damage to the Soviet military forces and neglecting the larger problems of the political vacuum left in Afghanistan when the Soviet forces pulled out in 1989 The CIA campaign to retrieve the Stingers reflected this misplaced sense of U S priorities according to one intelligence source who said the focus on the weaponry seemed to blind Washington including even the intelligence community to the danger caused by political disintegration in Afghanistan after the Russian withdrawal and the collapse of any effective central government The intelligence source cited a conversation with a senior CIA officer shaping U S intelligence operations in the region When asked to explain why the agency seemed to have lost interest in Afghanistan the CIA official reportedly said dismissively We don t do windows meaning that Afghanistan had become a trivial issue other than as a potential hiding place for Stingers Britain repeatedly urged the United States during the mid 1990s to pay more attention to Afghanistan citing the danger posed by the Taliban to stability in neighboring Muslim countries Indeed one source said the British started providing covert assistance mainly in the form of small special forces teams dispensing training to Ahmed Shah Massoud a leading anti Taliban insurgent who was recently assassinated The

    Original URL path: http://twa800.com/news/iht-9-26-01.htm (2016-02-13)
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    last week referring to the sporadic anti aircraft fire directed at U S warplanes in preceding days Vulnerable aircraft The introduction of AC 130 gunships lumbering propeller driven planes that drop to low altitudes to attack troop emplacements and the possible use of Special Forces helicopters launched from the carrier USS Kitty Hawk increase the threat posed by Stingers Weighing about 35 pounds the Stinger can be carried and operated with high accuracy by one soldier It consists of a missile 5 feet in length packaged within a disposable launch tube mounted on a reusable grip stock The Stinger is known as a fire and forget weapon meaning it guides itself to the target once it has been fired in the general direction of an aircraft U S officials suspect the two greatest concentrations of Stingers may be around Kandahar the southern Afghan city that is headquarters for the ruling Taliban and at the remote strongholds of Osama bin Laden s Al Qaeda organization Military experts debate how serious a threat the Stingers pose After 15 years of being hauled around in harsh climate they may be deteriorating their wiring decaying and their batteries dead or dying experts say High speed aircraft generally are not vulnerable to the Stinger The Taliban and Al Qaeda won t be fighting with the aid of U S satellite technology that helped the mujahedeen use the weapons more effectively against the Soviets The weapons are far less effective at night when U S Special Forces helicopters are most likely to be airborne Pentagon weapons experts know precisely what the capabilities of the Stingers are and aircraft that would be vulnerable to a Stinger can deploy flares and other decoys that can confuse the missile s infrared seeker A Pentagon official speaking on condition of anonymity said the older version of the Stinger that the Taliban and Al Qaeda have is only about 30 percent accurate though even that level of accuracy could do serious damage Sent to rebels in 1986 The decision to sell Stingers to Afghanistan was part of President Ronald Reagan s rollback strategy aimed not simply at containing Soviet aggression but if possible reversing it For years the Pentagon and CIA resisted providing sophisticated weapons to the mujahedeen Deployment of American made weapons might make the U S an overt party to the Afghan conflict instead of a covert foe of the Soviet invasion they reasoned In 1985 the Reagan administration sent Stingers to Angola for use by Jonas Savimbi s UNITA forces The results were immediate and helped persuade the administration to provide the weapons to the Afghans in early 1986 On the first day the mujahedeen used the Stingers in combat they hit three out of four targets former Reagan adviser and CIA Director Robert Gates wrote in his memoir Indeed it was not long before they were mounting a devastating anti aircraft campaign against both Soviet and Afghan government aircraft Mujahedeen forces are believed to have downed 270

    Original URL path: http://twa800.com/news/ct-10-21-01.htm (2016-02-13)
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    of Stinger missiles considered among the most dangerous weapons in the American arsenal United States officials say the Islamic Jihad has conducted a series of terrorist operations against the United States and Israel since the 1980 s with the backing of Iran The C I A began supplying the Stingers to Afghan rebel groups fighting the Soviets in 1986 and the missiles played a crucial role in the outcome of the Afghan Soviet war After losing several aircraft the Soviets were forced to curtail their use of air power a shift that helped turn the tide of the battle When the Soviet Army withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 the United States ended its support for the Afghan rebels as well But when the Americans left many of the Stingers remained unaccounted for left behind in the hands of warlords across Afghanistan Ever since the C I A has had a secret program to recover the Stingers from Afghanistan but in recent years American officials have estimated that as many as 200 have not been located American Special Forces and C I A officers operating in Afghanistan since Sept 11 have tried to track down the missing weapons but it is not known whether they have had any success The missiles that the Iranians delivered to the Islamic Jihad operative had been purchased in July 1994 in Afghanistan by agents from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps a militant Iranian intelligence agency according to one of the intelligence reports Later after the Iranians and Islamic Jihad discovered that the Stingers did not work Iranian operatives contacted the representative of an Afghan warlord to try to open talks about buying others But the Iranians were told that the United States had learned about the 1994 missile purchase complicating any further negotiations according to

    Original URL path: http://twa800.com/news/nyt-1-12-02.htm (2016-02-13)
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    two miles from the nearest runway said Rear Adm Craig Quigley a spokesman for U S Central Command The spot was inside the base s outer perimeter fence and near an inner fence Quigley said A cover on the front of the launch tube was intact but there were scorch marks on the back of the tube indicating it could have been used to fire or try to fire a missile Quigley said The 3 foot long tube was for a Soviet made SA 7 anti aircraft missile The discovery has U S military officials puzzled and worried No pilots reported seeing hearing or detecting any missiles fired and Quigley said he had no reports of any threats against the air base About 4 500 U S troops and an unspecified number of American warplanes use the base in the Saudi desert Right now it s a mystery about what it all means whether it was used or meant to be used said Pentagon spokesman Lt Col Dave Lapan Someone firing an SA 7 from the spot where the tube was found could possibly have hit a plane taking off or landing at the air base Quigley said It s

    Original URL path: http://twa800.com/news/ap-5-11-02.htm (2016-02-13)
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    believes al Qaida may try to use such weapons against U S led military forces in the region The FBI message marked law enforcement sensitive noted that U S planes have used the Prince Sultan Air Base south of the Saudi capital Riyadh since the 1991 Gulf War The FBI said Thursday it was unknown how long the missile tube had been there before its discovery by Saudi soldiers about three weeks ago The FBI sent the message May 22 urging state and local police departments to remain vigilant but cautioned there was no hint of any attack plot We have no information to indicate al Qaida is planning to use any type of missile or weapons systems against commercial aircraft in the U S the bulletin said Saudi security guards at the base found the 4 foot long launcher for a Soviet made SA 7 missile about two miles from the nearest runway inside the base s outer perimeter fence and near an inner fence A cover on the front of the launch tube was intact but there were scorch marks on the back of the tube indicating it could have been used to fire or try to fire

    Original URL path: http://twa800.com/news/ap-5-30-02.htm (2016-02-13)
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    stressed that they had no evidence to suggest that Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups had managed to smuggle any of the small missiles into the United States or that they intended to try We are not aware of any credible specific intelligence information that Manpad attacks are being planned against commercial aircraft in the U S at this time said James M Loy director of the Transportation Security Administration using the acronym for Man Portable Air Defense Systems the technical name for the missiles The administration does however recognize the potential threat Officials say the attempt to shoot down the Israeli plane in Kenya last November had created alarm in Washington that Al Qaeda would try a similar attack in the United States The incident near the international airport at Mombasa came six months after a similar Russian made missile was fired at an American military plane in Saudi Arabia That missile also missed American intelligence officials say that in the attacks in both Kenya and Saudi Arabia the planes may have been saved by antimissile technology that is routinely installed in Israeli passenger jets and United States military planes There is no similar federal requirement that antimissile defense systems be built into American passenger planes But since the Kenya attack a growing bipartisan movement in Congress has called for the installation of antimissile systems on American owned commercial planes in the United States After a Congressional briefing on the issue by representatives of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon earlier this month Representative John L Mica a Florida Republican who is chairman of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation said that the missile threat was sobering and we can t afford not to act Mr Mica said that he would seek immediate federal financing to protect commercial planes against terrorist missiles Federal aviation officials say that it costs about 1 million to 2 million to outfit a passenger plane with equipment to deflect a missile There are a variety of different types of antimissile technologies available including a system that releases decoy flares to draw a heat seeking missile away from a plane other systems use jamming equipment to interfere with a missile s guidance system Lawmakers say that among the American passenger planes likely to be outfitted first would be those used routinely for flights overseas especially to parts of the world where Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are known to exist In a speech last month to an air travel conference in Thailand Steven J McHale the No 2 official in the Transportation Security Administration warned his Asian counterparts about the dangers of portable missiles and called on their governments to step up security around their airports and to make sure that their own military stocks of the missiles were secure There are thousands available on the gray and black markets and many of these are finding their way into the hands of terrorist groups Mr McHale said of the portable missiles He warned

    Original URL path: http://twa800.com/news/nyt-3-30-03.htm (2016-02-13)
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    ground from 3 miles or more on either side of the jet s flight path The heat seeking missile is considered very accurate yet can be hidden almost anywhere The 5 foot long launcher weighs only 13 pounds the missile another 22 pounds and all can fit in a van or a car trunk They are fire and forget meaning a terrorist could aim fire and leave the area before the missile even hits the aircraft Stingers and their Soviet or Chinese copies litter the world like straw blown from a hay truck The U S shipped them to Afghan rebels to knock down Soviet aircraft and hundreds are still unaccounted for there The Soviets and Chinese also gave or sold them to clients since they are the perfect tool for rebels fighting an air power Security experts say unreliable knockoffs can be had on black markets for 5 000 while high quality Stingers can be found for 100 000 or less Smuggling them into the United States would not be a challenge these experts say with overwhelmed borders and millions of unsearched containers arriving at American ports Somebody could be in their backyard in Los Angeles and fire a missile There s no way of knowing it will happen until the missile is fired Merluzeau said The density of Los Angeles is mentioned frequently in Stinger discussions Denver officials even compare themselves favorably to other airports when making limited comments on the missile threat When you can stand on public property and throw a tennis ball at an airplane that s a more difficult situation We have more wide open spaces that make it more difficult not to be seen from a distance said Amy Bourgeron deputy manager of aviation at DIA Bourgeron declined to give specifics but said perimeter patrol at DIA has increased for a number of threats not just missiles since 9 11 Denver also exceeds federal standards in other areas she said including body scans to identify airport employees at all worker entrances United Airlines the dominant passenger carrier at DIA declined to comment referring questions to federal and industry sources Among other measures the Department of Homeland Security is talking to civilian pilots and aviation related groups to teach them to identify the missile launchers to be another set of eyes on airport surroundings said Brian Roehrkasse spokesman for the agency Roehrkasse acknowledged increased government worries about the risk but added that the threat is general at the moment There is no credible intelligence that terrorists have such weapons in the U S or plan to use them for commercial jet attacks he said The agency has compiled statistics however to answer public questions about the threat Since 1978 there have been 35 attempts worldwide to shoot down civilian aircraft with such missiles 24 of those were successful killing more than 500 people But only six of the attempts were on multi engine jets and five of those escaped with little or no damage

    Original URL path: http://twa800.com/news/dp-4-27-03.htm (2016-02-13)
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