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The Shadow Warriors' First Big Success

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

This morning the cruise ship Achille Lauro is hijacked by 4 terrorists, and there are Americans on board, but this time the US military is ready. Carl Stiner is commanding general of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and he has plans for a situation just like this. By 1 AM he and his operators are wheels up. They land in Cypress which is the ship's projected destination, but an Israeli patrol boat spots the ship heading for Egypt. The Egyptian government claims that the terrorists have surrendered. Everyone is safe. Well... no. A elderly Jewish man has been shot and dumped overboard along with his wheelchair. The terrorists are now on an EgyptAir 737. President Reagan authorizes forcing the 737 down at the US Naval air station in Sicily. The Italians are totally cool with it! (The Italians have no frickin' idea, but when President Reagan calls, the Italian Prime minister wants it all to go away. Unfortunately, the Italian military doesn't get the memo. Two F-14s force down the EgyptAir flight and two C-141s with Special Forces troops land right behind them, lights out. The terrorists can be seen inside the 737. Next to them are members of Egypt's Force 777 counter-terrorism unit, trained by the US Special Forces team. (WHAT?) Special Forces has the plane surrounded, but then the Italian military shows up. Everyone slowly backs away. Eventually, the 4 hijackers are turned over to the Italian authorities because the Achille Lauro is an Italian-registered ship. Two unidentified men remain on the plane. One of them is Abu Abbas, the mastermind of several terrorists plots, but you can't just shoot terrorists in Italy these days, and the Italians won't arrest them, so Special Forces must settle for following them home. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Italian judicial system did a reasonable job in prosecuting the hijackers and even sentenced Abu Abbas to life in prison (in absentia). This is the operation that brought Special Forces into their own. They got off the tarmac in a reasonably quick manner, adjusted to the changing situation, and made it all work. This was a very important success after the failure to recover the American hostages in Iran. That mission failed for several reasons, not least of which was a lack of a coordinated command structure. In other words, the actual shooters were fine. It was getting them to the target without killing them in the process. Although, the Achille Lauro operation could have gone more smoothly, the delays were mostly on the political side. For some reason, the military wants a go order from the President before doing something like this. Yeah. OK. That seems right. And I don't want the President firing from the hip either. All-in-all this operation was a success. [8] [9]


Contributed by Southpaw Ben

What does a senior official in the White House do when congress refuses to fund militant groups in Nicaragua any further? Sell arms to Iran in defiance of it's arms embargo, obviously! Originally intended as an operation to free seven America hostages from the Iranian backed terrorist group Hezbollah, eventually it snowballed into a backdoor operation to continue funding the contra's operations in defiance of congress. This deal continued for a while, until a senior Iranian official leaked the arrangement to a Lebanese magazine, which was the confirmed by the Iranian government. Reagan addressed the scandal by saying that the purpose of the deal was to improve the US-Iranian relationship. The affair grew worse when Oliver North was discovered destroying and hiding documents related to the affair, and claimed it was in order to protect the lives of individuals involved in the affairs. All those who were indicted or convicted in connection to the scandal were pardoned in the final days of George H. W. Bush's presidency.

My Take by Southpaw Ben
By "lives", North meant "livelihood", and by "individuals", he meant himself and other senior officials involved. Also, the aftermath of this incident helped to solidify in the American political system the fact that high ranking individuals implicated in scandals would be pardoned by the following president, most likely at the end of his term of office, to avoid push back from congress, such as impeachment. This idea was first started when President Ford pardoned Nixon, despite him never being formally charged with any crimes.


Contributed by Someone


My Take by Someone

Notable Births

Kind of sparse unless I start listing Sports Illustrated swimsuit models...

  • -- In Movies: Bug Hall (Alfalfa in The Little Rascals), and Michelle Trachtenberg (Harriet the Spy, and in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Mercy). [10] [15] [16]

This Year in Film

  • Back to the Future: Michael J. Fox. (Hey Libyan terrorists! A VW van? Seriously?--alexshrugged) [17]
  • The Color Purple: Whoopi Goldberg wins Best Actress. (Well deserved, but her politics suck like a Hoover.--alexshrugged) [17]
  • Cocoon: The elderly are renewed by space aliens. (The careers of a lot of aging actors get renewed too.--alexshrugged) [17]
  • Witness: Harrison Ford. (Thus begins our fascination with the Amish.--alexshrugged) [17]
  • And...: The Goonies, Fright Night, and Desperately Seeking Susan (Starring a credible Madonna.--alexshrugged). [17]

This Year in TV

  • VH1 launches: With lighter, popular music. [18]
  • NBC uses satellites to connect to affiliates: They also drop the NBC chime and broadcast in STEREO! [18] [19]
  • Moonlighting: Bruce Willis is a playboy private detective partnering with Cybill Shepherd. (Extremely cute.--alexshrugged) [18]
  • Larry King Live: He thinks it is a virtue to go on the air unprepared. [18]
  • The Golden Girls: An all-star cast including Betty White. [18]
  • MacGyver: An improbable action-adventure series and a favorite of Mythbusters. [18]

This Year in Music

  • Shout Shout (let it all out): Tears For Fears. "You shouldn't have to sell your soul." [20]
  • We Are the World: Music artists raise money for African charity. In 2015 dollars they pulled in around $138 million. (It's a good song.--alexshrugged) [20] [21]
  • Take On Me: A-Ha. A young woman is drawn into a cartoon comic book. (I think that was a pun.--alexshrugged) [20]

This Year in Video Games

  • Paperboy is released: The controller is bicycle handlebars. (I am tenuously associated with this game.--alexshrugged) [22]
  • Ghosts 'n Goblins is released: (My daughter did beta testing on the PC version.--alexshrugged). [22]
  • Nintendo releases Super Mario Bros: The character of Princess Peach is introduced. [22]
  • Commodore releases the Amiga: Ladies and gentlemen CGI IS HERE! The Amiga is used for Babylon 5. Thanks, Tim Jenison! [22] [23] [24]

In Other News

  • The ozone hole is discovered in the Antarctic: (I've seen various explanations such as termite excreting methane to hairspray.--alexshrugged). [25] [26]
  • Blood donations are now screened for the AIDS virus: The public is in a panic. (My daughter received blood products before this time, so we were afraid. She tested OK though.--alexshrugged) [27]
  • Coca-Cola changes its formula: THOSE IDIOTS! [27]

These are events under consideration.

  • The Iran–Contra affair: BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles are sold to Iran: This is in exchange for hostages in Lebanon. The profits are then used to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. WHY? Because the Congress has cut off funding for the Contras. [27]
  • President Ronald Reagan attends a funeral service in Bitburg, West Germany: 59 S.S. troops from World War II are buried there. (I was very unhappy with the President, but I got over it.--alexshrugged) [27]

  • 8.0 Earthquake hits in Chile: 177 are dead. Thousands injured. Hundreds of thousands of homes destroyed. See 1985 Algarrobo earthquake. [27]
  • 8.1 Earthquake hits Mexico City: 10,000 killed. 30,000 injured. See 1985 Mexico City earthquake. [27]

  • MUSLIMS IN SPACE!: Sultan bin Salman Al Saud becomes the first Arab and Muslim in space. He is on Space Shuttle Discovery. [27]
  • Steve Jobs resigns from Apple Computer: He will found NeXT computers, but he is destined for greater things. [27]
  • Microsoft releases Windows 1.0: It requires a mouse. A MOUSE! Who uses one of those? [27]
  • The Internet's DNS service is created: Now you can use names for destinations instead of numbers. [27]

  • SPIES! Johnny Walker Jr. is a Soviet spy: He has been arrested. [27]
  • SPIES! Thomas Cavanaugh is a Soviet spy: He is sentenced to life for trying to sell stealth bomber secrets. [27]

  • A microburst slams Delta Flight 191 to the ground near Dallas, Texas: 137 are killed. [27]
  • Aspen, Colorado passes the first smoking ban: . [28] [27]
  • UK's Vodafone launches the first cell phone network: Next comes Cellnet. [27]

  • Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior sinks in Auckland Harbor for some strange reason: OK. French DGSE agents did it. [27]
  • Japan Airlines Flight 123 crashes in Japan: 520 are killed making it the worst single-aircraft disaster in history. [27]
  • Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker, is caught: He is unrepentant. [27]
  • Elmo comes to Sesame Street: . [27]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1985, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Shadow Warriors: Inside the Special Forces. G.P. Putnam's Sons. ISBN 0399147837. “
    Getting inside Tehran and into the embassy undetected and with sufficient force to do any good presented many problems.
    Major General James Vaught was picked to head the rescue operation. He had a capable Special Forces Unit, but that was all he had. He literally had to begin from scratch to create an effective headquarters for command, control, and intelligence support functions--to select and train a competent staff, develop a plan, select the support units, and train the force for the mission.
    If Special Forces could get to the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, they were certainly capable of conducting the rescue operation, but getting them there and back was the challenge.”
  2. Lockheed C-141 Starlifter - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 16 April 2017. “Introduced to replace slower propeller driven cargo planes such as the C-124 Globemaster II and C-133 Cargomaster, the C-141 was designed to requirements set in 1960 and first flew in 1963. Production deliveries of an eventual 285 planes began in 1965: 284 for the Air Force, and one for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for use as an airborne observatory. The aircraft remained in service for over 40 years until the USAF withdrew the last C-141s from service in 2006, after replacing the airlifter with the C-17 Globemaster III.”
  3. MS Achille Lauro - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 16 April 2017. “MS Achille Lauro was a cruise ship based in Naples, Italy. Built between 1939 and 1947 as MS Willem Ruys, a passenger liner for the Rotterdamsche Lloyd, she was hijacked by members of the Palestine Liberation Front in 1985.”
  4. HOME OF M.A.T.S. - Tomcat (1999). Retrieved on 16 April 2017. “What followed was condemned by many as an act of 'airborne piracy', but it was in fact a well planned precision operation by carrier aircraft launched from USS Saratoga (CV-60) and intelligence aircraft from the USAF: No less than seven F-14As from VF-74 and VF-103 were launched, four to undertake the interception of the B737 plus three to fly top cover for the unlikely event that Libyan fighters would take aggressive action against the US aircraft. Additionally, an E-2C, four KA-6D tankers, EA-6B Prowlers, EA-3B Skywarriors and a RC-135 electronic intelligence aircraft participated in the operation. Once on its way to Libya, the Egypt Air Boeing 737 with the terrorists on board was located by an E-2C Hawkeye which vectored the Tomcats into position to perform the interception. The Tomcats approached the B737 with all lights extinguished in total radio silence, only using modern data link facilities between the participating aircraft. The Tomcats positioned themselves ahead, to the rear and on each side of the airliner. Once in position, the F-14s switched on position ligths and made a call to the B737 pilot to follow. Without another choice the airliner was escorted to NAS Sigonella in Italy, where a Navy SEAL (Sea-Air-Land) team surrounded the airliner and captured the terrorists.”
  5. "How Achille Lauro hijackers were seduced by high life - The Independent", 5 May 2013. Retrieved on 16 April 2017. “When the Achille Lauro later sailed into Port Said and the gunmen surrendered on the orders of the leader of their Palestine Liberation Front, Abu al-Abbas, I stood with many other journalists on the waterfront. What we all saw was horrifying. Klinghoffer’s blood was still streaked down the side of the vessel. Tragic, the Palestinians claimed, but had not the Israelis sent their murderous Lebanese militia into the Sabra and Chatila camps three years earlier, an 'operation’ in which up to 1,700 Palestinian civilians were slaughtered? It was not a parallel the world was prepared to accept. Leon Klinghoffer’s vicious killing outraged even those nations which had tried to support the Palestinian cause.” 
  6. "AROUND THE WORLD - P.L.O. Aide in a Charge Against Mrs. Klinghoffer - NYTimes.com", December 5, 1985. Retrieved on 16 April 2017. “Referring to Mr. Klinghoffer, Mr. Kaddoumi said, One was killed and the campaign is spread over the world that the Palestinians are terrorist. According to witnesses aboard the ship, Mr. Klinghoffer was shot by the hijackers and pushed overboard in his wheelchair. His body was later found with two gunshot wounds.” 
  7. CNN - World Briefs - April 24, 1996 (April 24, 1996). Retrieved on 16 April 2017. “Palestinian guerrilla leader Mohammad Abbas said in Gaza Monday that the seizing of the cruise ship in 1985 was a mistake, and apologized for the killing of disabled U.S. passenger Klinghoffer.”
  8. Alex Shrugged notes: I've painted too rosy a picture here because my force is on Special Forces and I only have so much room. The Italian government has something called a furlough system and the man who murdered Kinghoffer escaped while on furlough. Lest we criticize Italy too much, several US states had a similar furlough program at the time with similar grisly results.
  9. CNN - PLO settles with family of Achille Lauro victim - August 11, 1997. (August 11, 1997). Retrieved on 16 April 2017. “The PLO reached settlements a week ago with the family of Leon Klinghoffer and with a cruise travel company, but all parties agreed to keep the terms of the deals confidential, said Rodney E. Gould, lawyer for Crown Travel Service Inc.”
  10. 10.0 10.1 1985 Births - Wikipedia (1985).
  11. Carly Rae Jepsen - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 13 April 2017. “In 2011, she released the single 'Call Me Maybe', which was followed in 2012 by her debut EP, Curiosity, and her second album, Kiss. 'Call Me Maybe' reached number one in 18 countries during 2012 and was the year's best-selling single worldwide.”
  12. Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me Maybe - YouTube. Retrieved on 14 April 2017.
  13. Bruno Mars - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 13 April 2017. “Peter Gene Hernandez (born October 8, 1985), known professionally as Bruno Mars, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and choreographer. Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, by a family of musicians, Mars began making music at a young age and performed in various musical venues in his hometown throughout his childhood. He graduated from high school and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a musical career. After being dropped by Motown Records, Mars signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records in 2009.”
  14. Bruno Mars - Just The Way You Are [OFFICIAL VIDEO] - YouTube. Retrieved on 14 April 2017.
  15. Bug Hall - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 13 April 2017. “Brandon Hall, nicknamed 'Bug' by his family, was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on February 4, 1985. He is the second oldest in his family. Most popular as a child actor during the 1990s, he is best known for portraying Our Gang kid Alfalfa in the 1994 film The Little Rascals. He and five others in the cast of The Little Rascals won a Young Artist Award for Best Performance by a Youth Ensemble in a Motion Picture.”
  16. Michelle Trachtenberg - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 13 April 2017. “Michelle Christine Trachtenberg /'trækt?nb??rg/ (born October 11, 1985) is an American actress. She is known for portraying Nona F. Mecklenberg in The Adventures of Pete & Pete (1994–96), Dawn Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2000–03), Celeste in Six Feet Under (2004), and Georgina Sparks in Gossip Girl (2008–12). She has also appeared in films such as Harriet the Spy (1996), Inspector Gadget (1999), EuroTrip (2004), Ice Princess (2005), Black Christmas (2006), 17 Again (2009), Cop Out (2010), Weeds (2011), and Killing Kennedy (2013).”
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 1985 in film - Wikipedia (1985). Retrieved on 27 January 2017.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 1985 in television - Wikipedia (1985).
  19. NBC Chimes - Network ID - YouTube. Retrieved on 14 April 2017.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 1985 in music - Wikipedia (1985). Retrieved on 30 January 2017.
  21. USA for Africa - We are the World - YouTube. Retrieved on 14 April 2017.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 1985 in music - Wikipedia (1985).
  23. NewTek - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 14 April 2017. “In addition, the company developed Lightwave 3D, a 3D modeling, rendering, and animation system, which has been used extensively in television and film, with early adoption by the television series Babylon 5, which eschewed models for space scenes, and was 100% CGI from the first episode using the NewTek software.”
  24. CGI first introduced to TV in Babylon 5 by MIT presentor - Geek.com (May 12, 2009). Retrieved on 14 April 2017. “His encounter with computer graphics began in the early 1990’s when Ron Thornton, Foundation Imaging’s visual effects director, started working with the Commodore Amiga and New Tek’s Video Toaster, an add-on graphics card. The creators of Babylon 5 discarded the miniature, physical, static models of Star Trek for new possibilities.”
  25. Ozone depletion - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 16 April 2017. “The discovery of the Antarctic 'ozone hole' by British Antarctic Survey scientists Farman, Gardiner and Shanklin (first reported in a paper in Nature in May 1985) came as a shock to the scientific community, because the observed decline in polar ozone was far larger than anyone had anticipated. Satellite measurements showing massive depletion of ozone around the south pole were becoming available at the same time. However, these were initially rejected as unreasonable by data quality control algorithms (they were filtered out as errors since the values were unexpectedly low); the ozone hole was detected only in satellite data when the raw data was reprocessed following evidence of ozone depletion in in situ observations. When the software was rerun without the flags, the ozone hole was seen as far back as 1976.”
  26. J.C. Farman; B.G. Gardiner; J.D. Shanklin (May 1985). "Large Losses of Total Ozone in Antarctica Reveal Seasonal ClOx/NOx Interaction". Nature 315 (6016): 207-210. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/246650409_Large_Losses_of_Total_Ozone_in_Antarctica_Reveal_Seasonal_ClOxNOx_Interaction. Retrieved 16 April 2017. "We suggest that the very low temperatures which prevail from midwinter until several weeks after the spring equinox make the Antarctic stratosphere uniquely sensitive to growth of inorganic chlorine, ClX, primarily by the effect of this growth on the NO2/NO ratio. This, with the height distribution of UV irradiation peculiar to the polar stratosphere, could account for the O3 losses observed.". 
  27. 27.00 27.01 27.02 27.03 27.04 27.05 27.06 27.07 27.08 27.09 27.10 27.11 27.12 27.13 27.14 27.15 27.16 27.17 27.18 1985 - Wikipedia.
  28. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2506&dat=19850828&id=PZJJAAAAIBAJ&sjid=PgwNAAAAIBAJ&pg=3431,9212508

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