Memorial Day

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Memorial Day for many is nothing more than a three-day weekend. Few realize the reason why we have this holiday.

General John Logan, the Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic issued General Order Number 11 on May 5, 1868 stating that May 30th should be observed as Decoration Day. This day would be “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.” Decoration Day would become what we know as Memorial Day.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Every person who has served knows someone who has lost their life in the service of their country. Heroes blood has stain the soil from the beaches of Normandy, to Okinawa, the Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sanh, La Drang Valley, Beirut, Grenada, Kuwait, the mountains of Afghanistan, Fallujah, Ramadi, and numerous other locations around the world.

Americans owes more than can ever be repaid to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Every year I make a visit to Arlington Cemetery to pay homage to those who lost their lives. But remembering those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom is the least we can do. We must make sure that their sacrifices were not in vain. America has always been a beacon of freedom in the world.  In these chaotic days Americans must take a proactive stance to ensure that the freedoms so bravely fought for are secured for the next generation of Americans to enjoy. Enjoy, remember and celebrate this Memorial Day! This holiday has been paid forward for us by so many others and we must all do something to pay it forward  for the next generation of Americans.

One hundred and fifty-three years ago, Abraham Lincoln went by train to Gettysburg for the dedication of the Cemetery and to honor those who lost their lives on that hallow ground. While Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address has been called one of the greatest speeches of all times, the following words are words we should all remember.

“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.” So on this Memorial Day enjoy the freedoms that we all have but do something to honor those who have paid the ultimate price for our nation.

 

 

 

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Mustafa Badreddine: The Ghost of Beirut Invisible No More

  Mustafa Badreddine photo

Cursed is the man who dies, but the evil done by him survives.
Abu Bakr

The results and handiwork of his evil have stretched across the Middle East for the last thirty-three years. Mustafa Amine Badredddine was born in 1961, within the municipality of Ghobeiri, Lebanon located halfway between downtown Beirut and the Beirut International Airport. Like many boys growing up in this area the Lebanese Civil War was not a faceless conflict. The Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila are not far from his boyhood home. At a young age Mustafa joined the PLO’s Fatah Movement but then joined what would become Hezbollah.

Very early on Mustafa became what Hezbollah called “an engineer” or what most would call a bomb maker. Mustafa would become what some called “Hezbollah’s best bomb maker ever.” In September 1983, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) sent a cable to the Iranian Ambassador in Damascus to instruct Husayn al-Musawi to attack the U.S. Marines in Beirut. Musawi chose two of his most skilled operatives to overse and conduct this operation under the guidance of the Iranian Ambassador. One of the key founders of Hezbollah was the Iranian Ambassador Ali Akbar Mohtashemi who played a key role in supervising Mustafa Badreddine and Imad Mughniyeh.

On an October day, thirty three years ago Mustafa Badreddine was busy in the Bekaa Valley preparing two truck bombs. A suicide bomber would drive one truck into the nine story Drakkar Building housing French Paratroopers. The other suicide bomber would drive a big yellow Mercedes truck bomb into the Marine Barracks. On October 23, 1983, Badreddine’s work would kill 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French Paratroopers in Beirut, Lebanon. On that day President Reagan would note in his diary “We all believe Iranians did this bombing just as they did with our embassy last April.” The proxy war being waged between Iran and America was now full bore whether the Americans wanted to be engaged. The ghost of Beirut escaped the ruined Paris of the Middle East.

After the Beirut bombings, Badreddine went to Kuwait where he was part of the Kuwait 17. Fourteen Iraqis and three Lebanese terrorists would conduct a series of bombings inside Kuwait. The Kuwait 17 targeted the American and French Embassies, Kuwait Airport and a number of other targets. Badreddine was arrested and in March 1984 sentenced to death by a Kuwaiti Court for his role in these attacks. Over the next six years, Badreddine’s brother-in-law, Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyeh would kidnap over 30 westerners demanding consistently seeking Badreddin’s release. But all of Mughniyeh’s efforts to free his brother-in-law would be fruitless.

In 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and members of the Iraqi Republican Guard freed all those being held in Kuwait prisons unwittingly giving Badreddine his freedom. Badreddine immediately escaped to Iran where after recuperating he made his way back to Lebanon. Upon his return to Lebanon, Badreddine helped establish Hezbollah Unit 1800, a special unit that assisted Palestinian terrorists conduct operations. Later he helped establish the Hezbollah Unit 3800 along with Iranians which targeted Americans in Iraq.

As an experienced bomb maker Badreddine wasted no time thinking about how to kill Rafik Hariri. Why change tactics just because this next target had an experienced security detail. The operation would require a casing and surveillance network to rival any Badreddine had coordinated. On February 14, 2005, Badreddine’s bomb placed on a Mitsubishi Canter truck detonated and killed Rafik Hariri as his motorcade passed Beirut’s legendary St. George’s Hotel. Two legends of Beirut died that day but the ghost of Beirut vanished once again. Since Hezbollah was so interwoven into Lebanon, an impartial investigation by outsiders was the only way to learn the truth about who was responsible for this assassination of a noted Lebanese government official. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the Hague conducted the investigation and charged Badreddine and four others. The trial in absentia began on January 16, 2014, for Badreddine and the other indicted defendants. Badreddine, the ghost of Beirut and the other defendants had absconded or otherwise could not be found.

But a ghost can be found by friends who could locate him to party on a luxury yacht or dine in a chic Beirut restaurant. A couple years ago one of the few pictures of Badreddine emerged when he used an ATM machine in Beirut. Otherwise he remained a ghost in the midst of so many people looking for him. Over time even people trained in the art of tradecraft become complacent. It happens to the best of them.
When Imad Mughniyeh was killed in Syria in February 2008, Badreddine was tapped to replace his brother-in-law within Hezbollah. For whatever reason, the veteran Hezbollah bomb maker while he remained hard to find was becoming not so invisible any more. He was warned to tone down his public appearances which at times he seem to disregard believing the dozens of kunyas, cover stories and business fronts would provide him with an adequate layer of protection. Since 2012 Badreddine has played a crucial role coordinating Hezbollah activities in Syria. But the war had not gone the way it was planned. There were too many jihadi groups that didn’t kowtow to the ghost of Beirut. What was done in the glory days of resistance meant nothing now. Badreddine was not a ghost in Damascus and he had a larger group of enemies. ISIS, Al-Nusra, factions within Hezbollah, Clerical factions, the Russians, Syrians, Iranians, who to trust, who not to trust. Israel, the United States, Saudi Arabia, the Free Syrian Army, the list goes on and on. Terrorism, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Hezbollah, the IRGC, Mustafa Badreddine and too many victims have all been tied together for over thirty-three years.

In January 2015, Badreddine skipped a meeting in which his nephew Jihad Mughniyeh and Gen. Mohammad Ali Allah-Dadi, a senior commander in the IRGC were killed in an airstrike by Israel. The ghost of Beirut had cheated death once more. But instead of going to ground Badreddin attended his nephew’s funeral. Who killed Mustafa Badreddine remains a mystery and really doesn’t matter. This ghost of Beirut should have been removed but over the years he had so much help. It is this assistance that enables terrorists to hide or remain hidden in plain sight. Those that offered this assistance are just as responsible.

America’s global war with terrorism began back in Beirut. Back then, very few people knew the name of Mustafa Badreddine. But today the ghost of Beirut is invisible no more, and more importantly he is just that a ghost, unable to cause evil ever again.

From the Edge of Raqqa: Mirror Image Training August 1-5, 2016

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Participants will be divided into one of four “replicated cells” to include two cells of ISIS, one cell of Ansar al-Jebhat al-Nusra li-Ahl al Sham and one from one of the following Wilayats. Libya (Wilayat al-Barqah, Wilayat al-Tarabulus, and Wilayat al-Fizan), Algeria (Wilayat al-Jazair), Egypt (Wilayat Sinai), Yemen (Wilayat Sanaa), and Saudi Arabia (Wilayat al-Haramayn). New provinces were announced in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border (Wilayat Khorasan), Northern Nigeria (Wilayat Gharb Afriqiya),] and the North Caucasus (Wilayat al-Qawqaz). This program is a total immersion training program that consists of hardships and long hours. All food, lodging, weapons, ammunition, gear and training materials are provided. A read ahead packet will be provided upon registration.

Each day the participants will attend lectures from special guest speakers and hear from cell advisers. Members of each cell will work various positions to include a cell leader, internal security, religious leader, engineer, media and propaganda, logistics and finance among others.

Lectures will explore the forming and evolution of ISIS, how Wilayats are formed and the process for conducting operations with the blessing of the shura council and the military council. Each cell will conduct an ambush, a kidnapping, an attack on a convoy, as well as undertake a martyrdom mission. For all operations the cell will deal with smugglers, black marketeers and will put together a media and propaganda plan and gain an understanding of the Salafist ideology as well as ISIS’ leadership. Some of the previous speakers we have used have included Peter Bergen, Dr. Michael Scheuer, Gary Berntsen, Rohan Gunaratna, Nir Rosen and a number of others guest speakers who will remain anonymous until after they have spoken to the participants. This class will hear from a special guest speaker with much operational experience in the area and will watch a number of interviews with ISIS fighters.

Some of the lectures will include Kidnappings and Beheadings, ISIS Media and Propaganda, a Letter From the ISIS Intel Chief informing ISIS’ leadership of the current situation in the Levant and abroad, Finances, Operations in Europe, Operations in the Wilayats, Internal Security During Operations, Defeating the Apostate Assad, Our Current Situation, as well as other topics.

                                                           The History of Mirror Image

In 2002, I created Mirror Image: Training to Combat Terrorism after interviewing the first American who traveled to Afghanistan and trained in the Khalid Bin Walid terrorism training camp. The idea was to combine what we had learned conducting that interview as well as interviews of numerous individuals in the Middle East. By replicating a terrorist training camp and allowing military, intelligence and law enforcement to walk in the shoes of the enemy one might gain an understanding of terrorist tactics, techniques and procedures. But more importantly Mirror Image was designed to provide “understanding of the enemy” as well as the “operational methodology” of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda.

TRC has brought some of the most renowned subject matter experts to provide instruction and share their experiences. From the early days when we rented space at Blackwater, Mirror Image has been conducted at such places like Ft Huachuca, Camp Rilea, Camp Blanding, Camp Fogarty, Camp Blanding, Ft. Irwin, Camp Pendleton, Camp Billy Machen, F.E .Warren AFB, Canada, Djibouti and other unmentioned locations. Thousands of military, intelligence and law enforcement have all experienced the spider web and learned to think like a “terrorist.” Living, eating, thinking, planning and executing not like westerners but like the adversaries they would face.  Sun Tzu has been our strategic guide for every Mirror Image. As the Chinese General stated in The Art of War: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
With research trips to the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Africa and other locations we developed other unique one-of-a-kind programs like Mirror Image: Afghanistan, Mirror Image: Kandahar, Mirror Image Iraq, Mirror Image Anbar Province, Mirror Image Kunar Province, Mirror Image Pakistan, Mirror Image: Mindanao, Financial Mirror Image: Understanding the Adversary By Walking in His Financial Shoes, Mirror Image: Across the Sahel, Persian Mirror Image: Understanding the Islamic Republic, Revolution and Sacrifice, and now Mirror Image: From the Edge of Raqqa, the Evolution and Future of ISIS and their Wilayats.

 Culture, food, language, ideology and history have all added important skillsets and aided in framing the correct mindset. Exercises have included the types of operations that terrorists have conducted around the world. These have included car bombings, truck bombings, suicide bombings, assassination by motorcycles, ambushes, kidnappings, assaults on convoys, attacks on protected principals, attacks on aviation, attacks on protected compounds and FOBs, all having detailed case studies and special guest speakers who have stepped the our participants through what happened often hearing from an individual who was kidnapped and held for hundreds of days before being released, ransomed or rescued. Just as terrorists attempt to manipulate and craft a message to their targeted audience all operations include media and propaganda activities.         

No two Mirror Image programs have ever been alike. They are not a canned product like some wanted. Instead, each one is hand crafted and put together to draw teaching points that are unique for the participants. I would know since I have designed them and led every Mirror Image except one since 2002.  We have had numerous Mirror Image attendees return for a second or third program. We have conducted a special “hardship version” that was two weeks long in a special location for a client as part of their preparation for deployment. All of our Mirror Image programs have nontraditional days with students spending up to sixteen hours a day planning for the next attacks.

Very little is in the public domain about these programs and that is how we like it. I would be happy to speak with anyone from the military, intelligence and law enforcement about any of these one of-a-kind programs.

For more information regarding our upcoming Mirror Image or how you can bring this training to your location or to customize a program for your unit or agency contact Walter Purdy at (703) 801-2297 or at Purdy@terrorism3.com. There is a registration sheet attached for your convience. Please mail in immediately if you are interested. Registration is limited so reserve your seat promptly in

Mirror Image: From the Edge of Raqqa, the Evolution and Future of ISIS and their Wilayats.

.                        “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

 “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”

 “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

-Sun Tzu, The Art of War-

 

                                              COURSE REGISTRATION FORM

                     Mirror Image: From the Edge of Raqqa, the Evolution and

                                                 Future of ISIS and their Wilayats

August 1-5, 2016-New Jersey  Limited Number of Seats

Course fee covers housing, meals and all course materials.

Submit Registration and fee to:  Terrorism Research Center, Inc.

5765 Burke Center Parkway, PMB 331

Burke, Virginia 22015

Or Email to trcmirrorimage@terorism3.com

PLEASE PRINT CLEAR

Name/Rank to Appear on Certificate of Completion_____________________________________________
Name                                                                                  Email
Title/Organization                                                             Phone
Address                                                                            State                              Zip
Early Registration Pay by Check  by May 20th                                   $2500
After May 20th                                                                                               $2995
Other form of Payment Call for Credit Card or Purchase Order    $2995
Authorizing Signature                                        Name                                         Title

All Course Attendees must be approved by the Terrorism Research Center to verify credentials and qualifications to attend. Course attendees must be U.S. Citizens in the military, intelligence or law enforcement community and be approved to attend. As with all our Mirror Image programs this is a total immersion course with long days and hardships.  For course information contact Walter Purdy at (703) 801-2297 or at Purdy@terrorism3.com .