How a shy, nerdy kid became the world's most-feared terrorist - We Are The Mighty
Intel

How a shy, nerdy kid became the world’s most-feared terrorist

America’s biggest hater was born into one of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest families.


In 2009, the Bin Laden family was listed as the 5th wealthiest Saudis by the Wall Street Journal, with a reported net worth of $7 billion. Yet, despite being born into extreme privilege he used his wealth to fund extreme ideology and terror. The way he lived his life was the key to his charisma, according to the American Heroes Channel video below.

Here’s Osama Bin Laden’s evolution into evil.

Watch:

Intel

This awesome GoPro video takes you inside an F-16 flying over Alaska

How a shy, nerdy kid became the world’s most-feared terrorist


Most people will never get to experience a flight in an F-16 fighter but this awesome GoPro video gives a little taste.

Produced with footage from the 35th Fighter Squadron out of Kunsan Air Force Base in South Korea, the video shows pilots as they trained in Alaska last year. It has everything: barrel rolls, air-to-air combat, low-level flight, and live fire at a range.

The squadron was in Alaska to take part in Red Flag Alaska 15-1, a training exercise that allows pilots to sharpen their skills in the air.

“The greatest takeaway from this exercise is being able to fly with other air frames that I don’t normally get to fly with at Kunsan,” 1st Lt. Jared Tew told Air Force public affairs. “And the challenges that RF-A brings are what makes me a better pilot.”

Watch the video:

(h/t The Aviationist)

NOW: The 18 greatest fighter aircraft of all time

Articles

This mysterious desert air base could be China’s new ‘Area-51’

What started out as a lone dusty airfield in the middle of a remote desert in China is being built up at a furious pace. The airstrip raised eyebrows when the Chinese government landed its first unmanned space aircraft there in 2020. Now intelligence analysts are wondering: is this the Chinese “Area 51?”

Somewhere near Nevada’s Groom Lake and the Nevada Test and Training Range is a top secret U.S. Air Force installation where the most advanced aviation and weapons testing takes place. It was where the U.S. Air Force built and tested the U-2 spy plane used to conduct photographic reconnaissance over the Soviet Union during the Cold War, as well as any number of other unheard-of technologies.

How a shy, nerdy kid became the world’s most-feared terrorist
The U-2, one of many top secret projects developed at Area 51 (U.S. Air Force photo)

Because of its secretive nature and the wonder tech (likely) developed there, it acquired a reputation and mythology that involved conspiracy theories, UFO sightings, and of course, allegations of alien activity. How much of that is true is open for debate, but what is certain is that some of the greatest Air Force aircraft of the Cold War (and beyond) got their start at Area 51. 

The U-2, the SR-71 Blackbird, the B-2 Spirit and the F-117 Nighthawk were all developed at Area 51. Not a bad track record for any facility. It’s no wonder the area is so top secret the United States wouldn’t even officially admit it existed for around 70 years. 

When China landed a reuseable, unmanned spacecraft at a remote area in the Taklamakan Desert, in China’s Xinjiang province, it was the first notable activity anyone ever saw in the area. Now, reconnaissance satellites are detecting a frenzy of activity and new buildings at the site, leading many to believe that it’s a facility designed for China to create and build its own wonder weapons. 

How a shy, nerdy kid became the world’s most-feared terrorist
Wikimedia Commons

The China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) outlined a plan to develop commercial satellite launch services and to perfect a reusable space plane at a conference in October 2020. The announcement included plans for lowering the costs and increasing the frequency of space launches.

The month before, China launched an experimental space aircraft with a two-stage Long March 2F launch vehicle that was successfully delivered into orbit. The concept is similar to the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane, which was currently in orbit at the time of the Chinese launch. Not much else was known about the mission until the aircraft landed in Xinjiang.

How a shy, nerdy kid became the world’s most-feared terrorist
“Long March 2F” launch vehicle (Chinese News Service/ Wikimedia Commons)

Like the USAF’s X-37B, no one really knows what the aircraft did while in orbit, but some believe it may have launched a secret satellite or other spacecraft. When the aircraft landed, the Taklamakan Desert facility was little more than the landing strip, but more recent photographs provided to NPR show built up facilities in the form of an equilateral triangle. 

Once large hangars that could house experimental aircraft are built, the world may have a better idea of what’s going on in Xinjiang. Until then, everyone outside of the Chinese government is left to speculate. 

China has a lot of catching up to do in terms of military power and prowess – and it’s been working on it. On top of creating its own homegrown aircraft carrier and its own fifth-generation fighter, it’s rumored to be creating its own stealth bomber (dubbed the H-20). A remote desert airfield might be exactly what the Chinese Communist Party needs to keep its developments a secret.

Feature image: satellite image of Taklamakan Desert/ Wikimedia Commons

Intel

Meet the Marine sniper who killed 32 insurgents in 13 days

In 2004, Ethan Place earned a Silver Star for gallantry in action during the first battle of Fallujah in what some describe as the fiercest urban combat since the Vietnam War.


Also read: Meet Musa the Sniper, scourge of ISIS in Kobani

As the only sniper attached to Echo Company, the 21-year-old’s mission was to provide cover for the troops on the ground. He killed over 30 enemy fighters in 13 days and terrorized thousands with his M40A3 sniper rifle.

“I didn’t care if it was the second coming of Christ, Santa Claus or the Easter bunny, it didn’t matter,” said Ethan Place. “If they were posing a threat to my fellow Marines I was going to take them out.”

Watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwfWCc0a27I

Intel

Enlisted women are going to serve on Navy submarines for the first time ever

How a shy, nerdy kid became the world’s most-feared terrorist
Female sailors visit USS Ohio Photo: Flickr


The U.S. Navy is now recruiting enlisted servicewomen to serve on submarines in 2016.

This move will take the 2011 decision to integrate female officers into the submarine force one step further, assigning female chief petty officers and senior petty officers to co-ed crews.

Navy officers are reportedly optimistic about the transition process — even despite a video-taped shower scandal that took place aboard the USS Wyoming — one of the first subs to be assigned female officers in late 2011.

For more on this story, check out military.com

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OR: Navy to deploy first underwater drones from submarines

Intel

Here’s how you can buy a nuke on the black market

You can buy anything on the Bulgarian black market, including drugs, women, guns and even fully functional nuclear warheads.


Also read: We’re freaked out about Iran, but what other countries already have nukes?

Fascinated by a French reporter’s ability to purchase a nuclear warhead on the black market, American journalists from Vice travelled to Bulgaria to meet the man who sold it, according to the video below.

They met with Ivanoff, a former military intelligence colonel turned entrepreneur, whose business led him into the Saudi Arabian building industry. Through his business dealings, Ivanoff met with terror mastermind Osama Bin Laden, who was interested in making a “dirty bomb” out of radioactive waste. Ivanoff suggested why not get the real thing, a nuclear warhead.

Watch:

NOW: The US nuclear launch code during the Cold War was weaker than your granny’s AOL password

OR: 32 times when the U.S. military screwed up with nukes

Articles

How the Vietnam War changed the Navy SEALs forever

When the war in Vietnam kicked off, the Navy’s special warfare operations weren’t exactly the same as we know them today. During World War II and the Korean War, the Navy’s special operators were mostly “Frogmen,” members of the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT).

Within months of the start of the Vietnam War, the Frogmen were carrying rifles and became experts in special operations tactics. The Navy SEALs were about to be reborn and tested in the jungles of Vietnam. 

The Navy SEALs, as we know them today, were established in 1962 in a commitment from the Kennedy White House to develop America’s unconventional warfare capabilities. The SEALs were descended from the World War II-era joint “Scouts and Raiders” and the Navy’s UDTs used extensively throughout that war. 

Although they kept a low profile throughout the Korean War, the UDTs’ Frogmen perfected many of their operations along the North Korean coastline (even moving inland in many cases) and honed their commando abilities against a real-world enemy. 

How a shy, nerdy kid became the world’s most-feared terrorist
The UDT/ “Frogmen,” predecessors to today’s SEALs, on a mission to clear mines off the coast of North Korea in 1950 (U.S. Navy / National Archives)

But Vietnam was the first war in which the Navy SEALs were fully funded and fully developed, graduating three classes of SEALs from the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Course (BUD/S) every year. 

By 1967, the number of BUD/S classes increased to five per year. Before the mid-1960s, SEALs in Vietnam were being used to reconnoiter beaches and landing sites, survey waterways and train South Vietnamese commandos. The CIA began to use SEALs in its Phoenix Program, an effort to undermine the Viet Cong in South Vietnam through counterterrorism and counterintelligence operations.  

In the late 1960s, the Viet Cong, the guerrilla forces of the North Vietnamese communist government, had created an entire shadow government of its own in North Vietnam. The bread and butter mission of the U.S. Navy SEALs was to deploy into the jungle and take down VC leaders. 

How a shy, nerdy kid became the world’s most-feared terrorist
SEALs in the Mekong Delta, 1967 (U.S. Navy/ National Archives and Records)

Most of these leaders were mid-level, and the SEALs would deploy in nine-man  teams, with two of those being South Vietnamese commandos and one being a Navy SEAL officer. The team would head out into the jungle for a couple of days, complete the destruction of a VC official, and then head back to base. 

These direct action, search-and-destroy missions were a far cry from the SEALs earliest days of carrying demolition explosives to a specific structure and destroying it before leaving the area. On top of killing the enemy, SEALs also had to gather intelligence in Vietnam. This meant they had to actually capture enemy troops and interrogate them. 

Sometimes, this meant learning to speak Vietnamese. The SEALs had truly come into their own as a complete, well-rounded special operations force. For the duration of the war in Vietnam, there were at least eight full platoons of Navy SEALs in the country.

The elite status of the special operators also included the look they’re still known for to this day: relaxed uniform and grooming standards. One of the favorite items among Vietnam-era Navy SEALs, were Levi’s blue jeans – because the government-issued camouflage just didn’t hold up against the dense jungle foliage.  

How a shy, nerdy kid became the world’s most-feared terrorist
Why Levi’s didn’t capitalize on this with a marketing campaign, we may never know… (U.S. Army)

For all the trouble SEALs had at the start of the war, including high casualty rates, public anger over the Phoenix Program, and internal Navy division over the relaxed grooming and uniform standards, the SEALs proved they were worth the trouble. They were willing to do what other units weren’t willing to do, in the face of overwhelming odds. 

And the Navy SEALs still do it, almost 60 years later. 

Intel

This West Point cadet recites the Soldier’s Creed from inside a tear-gas filled room

Basic Training can be incredibly challenging for new recruits, and nothing tests a future soldier’s resolve like the gas chamber.


The U.S. Army recently released a video of one cadet’s valiant endurance during gas chamber training as a #TBT to last year’s Cadet Basic Training.

The video shows Class of 2018 Cadet Bradley Gibson not only powering through the tear gas like a champ, but reciting the Soldier’s Creed as he does it. Talk about dedication.

Watch:

 NOW: 15 common phrases civilians stole from the US military

Intel

A mesmerizing look at a taser being fired in super slow-motion

The Slow Mo Guys — a YouTube channel dedicated to filming action shots in super slow motion — released a cringeworthy video of one of their cameramen getting bare body tazed.


The video starts with a couple of incredible slow motion shots of the Taser being deployed: one side shot followed by a frontal.

How a shy, nerdy kid became the world’s most-feared terrorist
Source: The Slow Mo Guys/YouTube

Dan Hafen, the volunteer for this experiment, is introduced at 1:50 of the video and soon takes off his shirt to capture the full prong penetration. OUCH.

How a shy, nerdy kid became the world’s most-feared terrorist
Source: The Slow Mo Guys/YouTube

Watch his muscles contract from the point of impact to the rest of his back like a water rippling in a pond after a stone is tossed in.

How a shy, nerdy kid became the world’s most-feared terrorist
Source: The Slow Mo Guys/YouTube

His face says it all.

How a shy, nerdy kid became the world’s most-feared terrorist
Source: The Slow Mo Guys/YouTube

Here’s the barbed prong being pulled out of his skin.

How a shy, nerdy kid became the world’s most-feared terrorist
Source: The Slow Mo Guys/YouTube

Service members authorized to carry Tasers have to pass a written test and be able to effectively engage a target with a minimum of two Taser cartridges before they can carry a Taser. Once they complete training, they have the option to get tazed, according to the Air Force.

Watch:

NOW: Airman gets tasered, grabs another airman’s junk

OR: Here’s the military’s incredibly painful ‘OC Spray’ training

Intel

Here’s what it looks like when paratroopers jump out of a helicopter

Army paratroopers are trained in the art of jumping out a perfectly-good airplane.


After they jump — most of the time with the use of static-line parachutes — they’ll often land behind enemy lines to seize an objective, such as an airfield. They are constantly training and maintaining their jump status, and that means going out of traditional aircraft, helicopters, and jumping alongside NATO allies.

A video posted by the 82nd Airborne shows an example of those last two items. 1st Brigade Combat Division writes:

Join your1st Brigade Paratroopers on a beautiful Day!! airborne as they conducted a joint airborne operation with German paratroopers on Fort Bragg, N.C., July 15, 2015. Operation Federal Eagle is an annual event led by the German paratroopers to promote friendship and military partnership.

Now watch:

// ![CDATA[/pp(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1#038;version=v2.3”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));/pp// ]]

Join your1st Brigade Paratroopers on a beautiful Day!! airborne as they conducted a joint airborne operationwith German paratroopers on Fort Bragg, N.C., July 15, 2015. Operation Federal Eagle is an annual event led by the German paratroopers to promote friendship and military partnership. #paratrooper #alltheway #devils #82ndAirborneDivision #fit #awesome #StrikeHold #US Army Airborne School, Fort Benning #bragg

Posted by 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

NOW: 12 awesome photos of troops jumping out of perfectly good airplanes

Intel

The UK’s newest infantry weapon fires tiny drones from grenade launchers

Now that a top American general has declared tiny drones as the biggest threat in the Middle East since IEDs, the British military is bringing some tiny drones of their own. But the UK’s drone swarms can be fired from a 40mm grenade launcher.

Whether an infantry unit needs the drones to carry cameras, bombs or act as a swarm, they can now field what they need with the pull of a trigger. British troops in Mali supporting Operation Newcombe will soon be fielding the Australian-designed Drone 40.

The Drone40 is being used for long range ISR in the sub-Saharan country to support United Nations troops operating there. 

Military reporters at Overt Defense first reported the Drone40 debut at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in 2019. The devices were able to bring flashbangs and smoke to the battlefield along with other weapons and reconnaissance capabilities. 

British Army Light Dragoons and Royal Anglian Regiment were training with the weapon by October 2020. 

Drone40 UAVs are adaptable to many battlefield situations and can be adapted quickly to changing situations. When used in a non-combat situation, the devices are retrievable and can be reused multiple times. In a combat environment, they can carry an explosive payload with armor-piercing warheads. 

The British troops in Mali are apparently using only the ISR functions. 

tiny drone
Civilians have enjoyed using tiny drones as toys, as well as for photography, but the military applications are endless.

“Although the system is in use, the version we are using is hand launched and does not include any munitions – it is purely used for surveillance and reconnaissance,” British Royal Anglican commander Will Meddings said on Twitter.

He also clarified that British troops in Mali are only hand launching them because there is “plenty that needs to be trialed, tested and assured.”

The new drone can be fired from 40mm launchers but its size depends on the kind of drone being used. Launchers that only fire short rounds will not be able to use some of the different payloads. 

Operation Newcombe is the British effort in the United Nations’ Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali. The UK has 300 soldiers in the country to help support French peacekeeping efforts after a 2012 uprising by al-Qaeda linked nearly tore the country in two. 

The British are supplying logistical and long-range reconnaissance support to the French antiterrorism effort. The British Long Range Reconnaissance Group is part of the UN Peacekeeping mission there, in order to determine how best to help the people of Mali in a time of political instability. 

Intel

Israel just sabotaged Iran’s nuclear enrichment program – again

It’s just one of those things – Israel didn’t take responsibility, but everyone seems to know it was Israel. Iran’s nuclear scientists seem to keep dying in explosions. The Natanz centrifuges keep finding ways to go out of commission, either from computer viruses, mysterious explosions, or this time, due to a blackout. 

It happens so often, even Israeli media back in Tel Aviv seem to know Mossad’s work when they see it. 

On April 11, 2021, centrifuges at Natanz, Iran’s main nuclear material production site suffered a catastrophic blackout, which may have been caused by an explosion. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the Israeli government of sabotaging the plant with an act of “nuclear terrorism.” 

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied any responsibility for the incident. Nor has it ever confirmed or denied responsibility for any one of the many Iranian nuclear scientists who have died from explosions, poisonous gas leaks, or a one-ton automated gun. At least seven Iranian nuclear scientists have met a mysterious fate since 2007. 

But killing nuclear scientists haven’t been the only setbacks for the Iranian nuclear program. Aside from their deaths and the latest setback, a fire at the facility in August of 2020 caused the temporary shutdown of the Iranian enrichment program. In 2010, a virus called Stuxnet caused chaos at the facility, forcing sensitive equipment to spin out of control and overheat. 

The blackout, which may sound harmless, may still have done untold damage to the centrifuges at the facility.

“Since the first-generation centrifuges are very sensitive and precise devices, it is likely that the sudden power outage damaged 5,000 of them and made them unusable,” Behrooz Bayat said in an interview with VOA Persian on Monday. Bayat is a consultant with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. “This does not mean that they cannot be repaired, but it will take months, and Iran’s enrichment program will be postponed.”

How a shy, nerdy kid became the world’s most-feared terrorist
Centrifuges found in a warehouse near Tuwaitha, Iraq that could be used to seperate high-grade Uranium from natural Uranium. Similar centrifuges were damaged in Iran, setting back their nuclear program substantially. (Action Team 1991-1998 / IAEA, Flickr)

The incident comes just days before the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin landed in Israel for a historic meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Benny Gantz. It also comes at the heels of talks between the U.S. and Iran for rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. 

“The diplomatic discussions that have been taking place … we expect them to be difficult and long,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki told Voice of America. “We have not been given any indication about a change in participation for these discussions.”

Iran stopped short of officially blaming Israel for the blackout, but has promised future retribution for the repeated attacks. Originally built in a bunker to protect it from an air attack, external forces have to get creative in hitting the Natanz facility. Iran is now rebuilding the entire facility deep inside a nearby mountain, south of the capital of Tehran.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often described Iran as the premier threat to the nation of Israel, a sentiment echoed by many Israeli officials

“The Tehran of today poses a strategic threat to international security, to the entire Middle East and to the state of Israel,” Gantz said. “And we will work closely with our American allies to ensure that any new agreement with Iran will secure the vital interests of the world, of the United States, prevent a dangerous arms race in our region, and protect the state of Israel.”

Attacks on the Natanz facility or any part of Iran’s nuclear program are not likely to stop anytime soon.

Intel

Here’s a video of a soldier jumping out of an airplane and solving a Rubik’s Cube

Jumping out of an airplane can get kind of boring, so sometimes you need to bring along something to keep your mind occupied during the parachute ride down.


That’s what happened in a video posted to YouTube last month, which appears to show an airborne soldier solving a Rubik’s cube while under canopy. It’s strangely mesmerizing to watch as the ground nears, and the soldier manages to figure it out seconds before touching down.

The video description has very little detail however, so it’s hard to say where this came from or whether it’s even legit.

In the Washington Post, Dan Lamothe writes:

The video has generated a lot of questions. On the Facebook page “Do You Even Jump?” users questioned whether it actually could have been a jump by an active-duty U.S. soldier, considering he stays airborne for about 2 1/2 minutes. A traditional static-line jump carried out from a C-130 military transport plane from a height of about 2,100 or 2,200 feet would have been over much faster, they said. The jumper also appears to jump from a civilian plane using a European parachute, raising the prospect he isn’t American, others added.

The video also appeared on Reddit and YouTube, where one person questioned whether the video is fake.

Over in this Reddit thread, the poster says it was a British paratrooper. Whether that’s true or not, we’re not sure.

Either way, it’s a cool video. Watch (and learn):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.bev=Yojm0kzKKkAapp=desktop

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