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In the Name of God بسم الله

Paintballing W/ The Enemy

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Hezbollah members getting in position right before a match starts. It’s almost like they’ve done this before or something.

We figured they’d cheat; they were Hezbollah, after all. But none of us—a team of four Western journalists—thought we’d be dodging military-grade flash bangs when we initiated this “friendly” paintball match.

The battle takes place underground in a grungy, bunker-like basement underneath a Beirut strip mall. When the grenades go off it’s like being caught out in a ferocious thunderstorm: blinding flashes of hot white light, blasts of sound that reverberate deep inside my ears.

As my eyesight returns and readjusts to the dim arena light, I poke out from my position behind a low cinder-block wall. Two large men in green jumpsuits are bearing down on me. I have them right in my sights, but they seem unfazed—even as I open fire from close range, peppering each with several clear, obvious hits. I expect them to freeze, maybe even acknowledge that this softie American journalist handily overcame their flash-bang trickery and knocked them out of the game. Perhaps they’ll even smile and pat me on the back as they walk off the playing field in a display of good sportsmanship (after cheating, of course).

Instead, they shoot me three times, point-blank, right in the groin.

From this distance (well within the 15-foot “safety zone”), paintballs feel like bee stings. I raise my hands in pain and confusion, signaling to the referee that I’m leaving the game. But the bigger one—a tall, muscular farm boy from the deep south of Lebanon who tonight is going by the name Khodor—isn’t finished with me yet: He wraps his giant hands around my body and tries to throw me over his shoulder with the kind of deftness that only comes from practice. I’m quick enough to break free and flee, but my teammate Ben isn’t so lucky. Khodor and his partner move past me in perfect military formation, plunging deeper into our defenses. Soon they apprehend Ben, pushing him ahead of them, human shield-style.

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Apparently none of those guys were really Hezb. Prothero doesn't know what he's doing. He's been in the region for years and doesn't speak any Arabic, and he doesn't know the Party.

Read this (from Dr. As'ad AbuKhalil's blog): http://angryarab.blo...-hezbollah.html.

on paintballing with Hezbollah

A well-placed source in Lebanon sent me this. The source is in a position to know but I can't reveal more on it. But I want to add this: Mitch is more than welcome to respond to this and I would be willing to post his response in full. Here it goes:

"Mitchell Prothero's latest story on paintballing with Hezbollah has been blown out of proportion and its time to speak out. Prothero is a self proclaimed expert on Hezbollah, and he believes he is an expert on Jihadist insurgent movements in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he has been living in the region for almost 8 years and doesn’t speak the language. How can an expert be called an expert on anything if he doesn’t understand the spoken language of the subject he is specialized in? Prothero is unique in his reputation of [here he talks about Mitch's work at the National but I deleted that reference]. He had a fixer who used to do all his street work, or as its known "investigative journalism," then Prothero spiced up the quotes his fixer got him. Prothero almost never left his office, and when he did he took make the rare trip to the South of Lebanon it was driving around with his sectarian driver who hated Shiites. That’s how he considers himself to be an expert on Hezbollah by driving into the South every once in a while.

On to the Paintball Story.

Prothero knows a man from Dahyeh. He likes to call him D, but we will keep this man’s identity hidden for now. In the future we might expose D’s true identity. D is basically a thug who got deported from the US and continued being a thug here in Dahyeh. Prothero met him once on the street in Daheyeh. D saw in Prothero a stupid "Ajnabi" [foreigner] similar to a walking bag of money, and you know the rest. D used to live in Atlanta, Georgia, and he was sent back to Lebanon (this as well we might expose in the future). D is the type of Lebanese man who will sell any rumor or news about sectarian tension, Hezbollah news, or expected clashes to Prothero for a price. Prothero should mention how much money he had to pay D to set up this Paintball game, or should we refer to him as Prothero did in his made up story: “Ali, one of my lower-level contacts within the group”. But who are the rest of his higher contacts or other contacts in the group? None.

The alleged Paintball game with Hezbollah was all set up by D who is not a member of Hezbollah and has nothing to do with the party/resistance. D, just like any other person who lives in Daheyeh knows people in the Hezbollah and in the Amal movement. What D did is use some dollars from Prothero and recruit some of his neighborhood friends, to play a free unlimited shooting game of paintball, at the cost of pretending to be Hezbollah fighters. Imagine a fighter from the resistance called Coco! An expert on Hezbollah will never buy into this; a ten years old child from Lebanon will never buy this story. Ask Prothero why this story was not published since 3 years the time it was done? Why would such an out of the ordinary story take three years to get published in the west and only in Vice magazine?

Why would Hezbollah would play with and expose their fighting tactics with a journalist who publicly calls them a terrorist organization (Torino bar in Gemayzeh witnessed the Prothero's bigotry).

How come Prothero who doesn’t speak a word of Arabic infiltrated the ranks of Hezbollah’s fighters and convinced them to join him and a bunch of white journalists: one of them used to serve in the invading American Army? Prothero thinks that any man in Daheyeh is a Hezbollah fighter.

PS: If Prothero was such a journalist how come he missed the whole Arab spring? Maybe because of his reputation among editors that he makes things up, who knows what other stories were made up.

We still have so much more on Mitchell and his Dahyeh fixer D!"

Edited by Trekker
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