1690 – At Onandaga, New York, the Iroquois Nation renews its allegiance to the English crown.
1807 – President Thomas Jefferson exposed a plot by Aaron Burr to form a new republic in the Southwest. In the course of the New York gubernatorial campaign of 1804, Alexander Hamilton had made derogatory remarks about Burr, who responded with a challenge. On July 11 the two men exchanged shots at Weehawken, N.J., and Hamilton was mortally wounded. A fugitive from the law in both New York and New Jersey, Burr fled to Philadelphia, where he and Jonathan Dayton, a former U.S. senator from New Jersey, developed the grandiose scheme that was to prove Burr’s downfall. Just what the plans were and whether they were treasonous are uncertain, for Burr told different stories to different people. In its most ambitious form the scheme envisaged a vast empire in the West and South, based on the conquest of Mexico and the separation of the trans-Appalachian states from the Union. This much Burr told the British minister, of whom he asked financial and naval aid. Burr then proceeded to Washington to finish his term as vice president. Jefferson received him cordially, for Burr as vice president was to preside over the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase, and the President wanted a conviction. The Chase impeachment failed, but Burr’s conduct of the trial was a model of decorum and impartiality. The trial and the vice-presidential term concluded, Burr returned to his schemes. He made a personal reconnaissance of the West in the spring of 1805. It probably was on this trip that he first met Harman Blennerhassett, an Irish expatriate who lived in feudal splendor on an island in the Ohio River. He also visited James Wilkinson, now governor of the Louisiana Territory, and several other government dignitaries. Burr next acquired title to more than a million acres of land in Orleans Territory, the settlement of which thereafter became his ostensible purpose. Funds were supplied by his son-in-law, Joseph Alston, and by Blennerhassett. By the summer of 1806, boats, supplies, and men were being procured, mainly at Blennerhassett Island. Satisfied, Burr and some 60 followers set out to join Wilkinson near Natchez, Miss. Coded letters from Burr and Dayton already were on the way to Wilkinson alerting him to be ready to move on Mexico. The preparations openly being made seemed too extensive for the avowed purpose, giving substance to rumors that approached the truth. To protect himself, Burr demanded an investigation. With young Henry Clay as his attorney, he twice was cleared of any treasonable intent. At this point, however, General Wilkinson decided to betray his friend. He wrote to the president, who issued a proclamation calling for the arrest of the conspirators. Burr learned of it on Jan. 10, 1807, as he entered Orleans Territory, then saw a newspaper transcript of his coded letter to Wilkinson. He surrendered to civil authorities at Natchez, but jumped bail and fled toward Spanish Florida.
1813 – During the War of 1812, British forces under Henry Proctor defeat a U.S. contingent planning an attack on Fort Detroit. The task of taking back Fort Detroit, which had been lost to the British, fell to General William Henry Harrison. His plan was to gather an army near the rapids of the Maumee River, and from there, to move against Detroit. While building an armed encampment, his subordinate, Brigadier General James Winchester, learned that a small garrison of British and Indians guarded provisions for the Fort Malden near the village of Raison River. There were also reports that the British planned to destroy the pro-American village.Winchester had orders from General Harrison to stay at his camp until the full army was assembled and ready to move on Detroit, but he felt he had to act immediately. On 21 January he sent seven hundred men toward the Raison River under Colonel William Lewis, who defeated the British and Indians there and then sent back to Winchester asking for reinforcements to hold the place. Winchester sent three hundred regulars under Colonel Samuel Wells, and also proceeded by carriage himself. Upon arrival, Wells, pointed out to Winchester that the troops were in a highly exposed position, and recommended that scouts be sent out to learn what the British were doing. Winchester decided that the next day would be time enough to take care of these things, and went off to stay in the comfortable home of one of the community leaders, more than a mile away from his soldiers. That night, Colonel Henry Proctor, who had succeeded General Brock as the British commander at Detroit, led six hundered soldiers and six hundred Indians against the Americans, attacking before dawn. Well’s regulars formed behind a picket fence were able to kill or wound 185 of the attackers. The American militia, however, was taken by surprise in the open and quickly overcome. Winchester was captured By Chief Roundhead, and taken before Colonel Proctor. The British commander persuaded Winchester to order his regulars to surrender, supposedly to avoid a massacre by the Indians. The fighting over, Proctor withdrew to Fort Malden, taking his prisoners with him, except for sixty four wounded Americans he left at Raison River, intending to send sleds to get them the next day. That night the Indians returned and massacred thirty of the wounded men. 1814 – In the Creek Indian War, Tennessee militia forces are repulsed at Emuckfaw. The militia will also suffer defeats at Enotachopo Creek on 24 January and at Calibee Creek on 27 January.
1863 – In an attempt to out flank Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, General Ambrose Burnside leads his army on a march to north Frederickburg, but foul weather bogs his army down in what will become known as “Mud March.” “The auspicious moment seems to have arrived to strike a great and mortal blow to the rebellion, and to gain that decisive victory which is due to the country.” so announced Gen. Ambrose Burnside to his Union Army of the Potomac on the morning of January 20, 1863, as he started out on another great drive to beat Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and capture the Rebel capitol of Richmond, VA. Burnside’s battered soldiers had had but five weeks to recover from their disastrous defeat at the Battle of Fredricksburg, but the government demanded action. The Union and Confederate armies still faced each other across the Rappahannock River at Fredricksburg, and Burnside’s plan was to quickly cross the river above Lee’s left and assail that flank of the Confederate position. The Union soldiers and their great wagon trains of pontoon boats, artillery, and supplies made a good start clearing their camp and moving up the river. Then the sky started clouding, and by mid-afternoon a slow drizzle had begun. By nightfall a steady, relentless rain was falling, not to stop for days. The next morning the great mule-drawn wagons carrying the pontoons churned the road into a quagmire. The wagons sank to their hubs; the artillery sank until only the muzzles were out of the mud. The exhausted horses floundered, as did the men, as each slippery step through the ooze sucked at their shoes and weighed them down. “The whole country was a river of mud,” wrote one soldier. “The roads were rivers of deep mire, and the heavy rain had made the ground a vast mortar bed.” Whole regiments and triple teams of mules hitched to the wagons and guns failed to move them. Still the rain came down in torrents. By noon the next day, Burnside’s plans to maneuver past Lee’s Rebel army were hopelessly stalled, and his own army was exhausted, wet, and cold. Burnside had no choice but to abandon the movement and order his soldiers back to their camps across from Fredricksburg. Across the river, the Confederate pickets watching the struggling Union army with amusement. Some put up a large sign on the riverbank that said “Burnside’s Army Stuck in the Mud” and another that said “This way to Richmond.”
1879 -American soldiers badly beat Cheyenne Chief Dull Knife and his people as they make a desperate bid for freedom. In doing so, the soldiers effectively crushed the so-called Dull Knife Outbreak. A leading chief of the Northern Cheyenne, Dull Knife (sometimes called Morning Star) had long urged peace with the powerful Anglo-Americans invading his homeland in the Powder River country of modern-day Wyoming and Montana. However, the 1864 massacre of more than 200 peaceful Cheyenne Indians by Colorado militiamen at Sand Creek, Colorado, led Dull Knife to question whether the Anglo-Americans could ever be trusted. He reluctantly led his people into a war he suspected they could never win. In 1876, many of Dull Knife’s people fought along side Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull at their victorious battle at Little Bighorn, though the chief himself apparently did not participate. During the winter after Little Bighorn, Dull Knife and his people camped along the headwaters of the Powder River in Wyoming, where they fell victim to the army’s winter campaign for revenge. In November, General Ranald Mackenzie’s expeditionary force discovered the village and attacked. Dull Knife lost many of his people, and along with several other Indian leaders, reluctantly surrendered the following spring. In 1877, the military relocated Dull Knife and his followers far away from their Wyoming homeland to the large Indian Territory on the southern plains (in present-day Kansas and Oklahoma). No longer able to practice their traditional hunts, the band was largely dependent on meager government provisions. Beset by hunger, homesickness, and disease, Dull Knife and his people rebelled after one year. In September 1878, they joined another band to make an epic march back to their Wyoming homeland. Although Dull Knife publicly announced his peaceful intentions, the government regarded the fleeing Indians as renegades, and soldiers from bases scattered throughout the Plains attacked the Indians in an unsuccessful effort to turn them back. Arriving at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, near their Wyoming homeland, Dull Knife and his people surrendered to the government in the hopes they would be allowed to stay in the territory. To their dismay, administrators instead threatened to hold the band captive at Fort Robinson until they would agree to return south to the Indian Territory. Unwilling to give up when his goal was so close, in early January, Dull Knife led about 100 of his people in one final desperate break for freedom. Soldiers from Fort Robinson chased after the already weak and starving band of men, women, and children, and on January 22, they attacked and killed at least 30 people, including several in the immediate family of Dull Knife. Badly bloodied, most of the survivors returned to Fort Robinson and accepted their fate. Dull Knife managed to escape, and he eventually found shelter with Chief Red Cloud on the Sioux reservation in Nebraska. Permitted to remain on the reservation, Dull Knife died four years later, deeply bitter towards the Anglo-Americans he had once hoped to live with peacefully. The same year, the government finally allowed the Northern Cheyenne to move to a permanent reservation on the Tongue River in Montana near their traditional homeland. At last, Dull Knife’s people had come home, but their great chief had not lived to join them.
1917 – President Woodrow Wilson calls on all the combatant nations fighting in World War I, to agree to ‘peace without victory.’ The British and French reject the offer, finding some of the demands made by Germany unacceptable.
1925 – 2nd Expeditionary Force organized at Cavite, Philippine Islands, for duty at Shanghai, China to protect American lives.
1927 – Confederate General John A. McCausland dies in Mason, West Virginia. He lived for over 50 years after the war and remained an unreconstructed rebel at the time of his death. Nicknamed “Tiger John,” McCausland was born to Irish immigrants in St. Louis and moved to Virginia as an adolescent. He attended the Virginia Military Institute and graduated in 1857. When the war began, he organized an artillery regiment and formed the 36th Virginia from the western part of the state. Now a colonel, McCausland spent most of the war in the mountainous region of western Virginia. On May 9, 1864, McCausland distinguished himself at the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain. For the victory, he was promoted to brigadier general. Two bold actions defined McCausland’s career. First, in June 1864, he drove a larger Union force commanded by General David Hunter from Lynchburg, Virginia, earning him the undying gratitude of the city. He then joined General Jubal Early’s invasion of Maryland in July. Early dispatched McCausland and his cavalry to Hagerstown to exact a $200,000 ransom from city officials. McCausland rode into Hagerstown and delivered his hand-written note to authorities. Unfortunately, he accidentally omitted a zero–only $20,000 was secured. McCausland then moved on to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and pulled his second notorious feat–he tried to extort more than $500,000 from Chambersburg, and he burned the city when he did not receive the money. McCausland joined General Robert E. Lee for the Confederates’ last desperate attempt to escape in early 1865. He broke through the Union lines near Appomattox and surrendered later at Charleston, West Virginia, after many Rebels had laid down their arms. After the war, McCausland, facing an indictment for the burning of Chambersburg, fled to Canada, Britain, and then Mexico. He returned to the U.S. in 1868 after he was told that he would not be prosecuted for his war crimes. He settled on a farm in West Virginia and lived as a recluse for the rest of his life. He stubbornly defended the Confederate cause until his death. He died 13 months before Felix Robertson, the last surviving Confederate general.
1939 – A Nazi order erases the old officer caste, tying the army directly to the Party.
1943 – Axis forces pull out of Tripoli for Tunisia, destroying port facilities as they leave.
1943 – US attacks on Guadalcanal are renewed and begin to make progress, especially toward Kokumbona. The Japanese fight well, but US air, artillery and naval bombardment make it futile.
1943 – The last Japanese are cleared from Papua, New Guinea by Allied forces. The Japanese have lost about 7000 killed in this campaign, the Allies, half that.
1944 – U.S. troops under Major General John P. Lucas make an amphibious landing behind German lines at Anzio, Italy, just south of Rome. Following the successful Allied landings at Calabria, Taranto, and Salerno in early September 1943 and the unconditional surrender of Italy that same month, German forces begun a slow, fighting withdrawal to the north and settled into the ‘Gustav Line’, a formidable and sophisticated defensive belt of interlocking positions on the high ground along the peninsula’s narrowest point. Between October 1943 and January 1944 the Allies launched numerous costly attacks against well-entrenched enemy forces at this line. Becasue of this, the Allies initiated a larger assault south of Rome that could outflank the Gustav Line: Operation SHINGLE. During the early morning hours of 22 January 1944, troops of the Fifth Army swarmed ashore on a fifteen-mile stretch of Italian beach near the prewar resort towns of Anzio and Nettuno. The landings were carried out so flawlessly and German resistance was so light that British and American units gained their first day’s objectives by noon. More to the east the key to defeating the Gustav line lay in the small town of Cassino lying on the river Rapido dominated by the historic Benedictine monastery atop the 1,693 foot massif of Monte Cassino itself. Only after four months with three battles the mountain only fell into Allied hands on May 18th. At Anzio, Allied troops only were able to break out around May 25th. Rome was entered by Clark’s Fifth Army on the 4th June. The Anzio Campaign was controversial, the operation clearly failed in its immediate objectives of outflanking the Gustav Line, restoring mobility to the Italian campaign, and speeding the capture of Rome. Allied forces were quickly pinned down and contained within a small beachhead, and they were effectively rendered incapable of conducting any sort of major offensive action for four months pending the advance of Fifth Army forces to the south. Anzio failed to be the panacea the Allies sought. As General Lucas steadfastly maintained that under the circumstances the small Anzio force accomplished all that could have been realistically expected. Lucas’ critics charge, however, that a more aggressive and imaginative commander, such as a Patton or Truscott, could have obtained the desired goals by an immediate, bold offensive from the beachhead. Lucas was overly cautious, spent valuable time digging in, and allowed the Germans to prepare countermeasures to ensure that an operation conceived as a daring Allied offensive behind enemy lines became a long, costly campaign of attrition. Yet the campaign did accomplish several goals. The presence of a significant Allied force behind the German Gustav Line, uncomfortably close to Rome, represented a constant threat. The Germans could not ignore Anzio and were forced into a response, thereby surrendering the initiative in Italy to the Allies. The 135,000 troops of the Fourteenth Army surrounding Anzio could not be moved elsewhere, nor could they be used to make the already formidable Gustav Line virtually impregnable. The Anzio beachhead thus guaranteed that the already steady drain of scarce German troop reserves, equipment, and materiel would continue unabated, ultimately enabling the 15th Army Group to break through in the south. But the success was costly.
1946 – Creation of the Central Intelligence Group, forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency.
1951 – I and IX Corps launched a limited attack to probe the communist positions in preparation for Operation THUNDERBOLT, a reconnaissance-in-force intended to provide Lt. Gen. Matthew Ridgway with more intelligence about enemy capabilities to assist the United Nation’s drive back to the 38th Parallel. Another goal of Thunderbolt was to destroy as many enemy troops as feasible. To meet the second objective Ridgway employed the “meat grinder” strategy for the first time. That consisted of using the Eighth Army’s large artillery resources to lay down a huge barrage ahead of advancing units. The technique required controlling the advance from phase point to phase point, and maneuver commanders had little room for initiative. However, the goal was to kill more enemy soldiers while minimizing casualties among Americans and other U.N. allies. It was also intended to speed up the attrition of Chinese forces in South Korea.
1953 – The 18th FBW withdrew its remaining F-51 Mustangs from combat and prepared to transition to Sabres, thus ending the use of USAF single engine, propeller-driven aircraft in offensive combat in the Korean War. Peking radio announced the capture of Colonel Arnold and his surviving crewmembers, three having perished when the B-29 went down on January 13. The communists did not release Colonel Arnold until 1956.
1957 – The New York City “Mad Bomber”, George P. Metesky, WWI Marine Corps veteran, is arrested in Waterbury, Connecticut and is charged with planting more than 30 bombs.
1964 – U.S. Joint Chiefs foresee larger U.S. commitment: The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff inform Defense Secretary Robert McNamara that they “are wholly in favor of executing the covert actions against North Vietnam.” President Johnson had recently approved Oplan 34A, provocative operations to be conducted by South Vietnamese forces (supported by the United States) to gather intelligence and conduct sabotage to destabilize the North Vietnamese regime. Actual operations would begin in February and involve raids by South Vietnamese commandos operating under American orders against North Vietnamese coastal and island installations. Although American forces were not directly involved in the actual raids, U.S. Navy ships were on station to conduct electronic surveillance and monitor North Vietnamese defense responses under another program called Operation De Soto. Although the Joint Chiefs agreed with the president’s decision on these operations, they further advocated even stronger measures, advising McNamara: “… We believe, however, that it would be idle to conclude that these efforts will have a decisive effect on the communist determination to support the insurgency, and it is our view that we must therefore be prepared fully to undertake a much higher level of activity.” Among their recommendations were “aerial bombing of key North Vietnamese targets,” and “commit[ment of] additional U.S. forces, as necessary, in support of the combat actions within South Vietnam.” President Johnson at first resisted this advice, but in less than a year, U.S. airplanes were bombing North Vietnam, and shortly thereafter the first U.S. combat troops began arriving in South Vietnam.
1968 – Operating in the two northernmost military regions, the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) launches two major operations. In the first operation, conducted by the 1st Cavalry Division in Quang Tri and Thua Thien provinces, south of the Demilitarized Zone, “First Team” units launched Operation Jeb Stuart. This operation was a large-scale reinforcement of the Marines in the area and focused on clearing enemy Base Areas 101 and 114. Jeb Stuart was terminated on March 31 with enemy casualties listed at 3,268; U.S. casualties were 291 killed in action and 1,735 wounded. On the same day that Jeb Stuart was launched, other 1st Cavalry units launched Operation Pershing II in the coastal lowlands in Binh Dinh Province. This operation, designed to clear enemy forces from the area, lasted until February 29.
1968 – Apollo 5 lifts off carrying the first Lunar module into space. Apollo 5 was the first unmanned flight of the Apollo Lunar Module (LM), which would later carry astronauts to the lunar surface. It lifted off on January 22, 1968, with a Saturn IB rocket on an Earth-orbital flight.
1968 – Operation Igloo White, a US electronic surveillance system to stop communist infiltration into South Vietnam begins installation. Operation Igloo White was a covert United States joint military electronic warfare operation conducted from late January 1968 until February 1973, during the Vietnam War. These missions were carried out by the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing (553 RW), a U.S. Air Force unit flying modified EC-121R Warning Star aircraft, and Observation Squadron SIXTY-SEVEN (VO-67), a specialized U.S. Navy unit flying highly modified OP-2E Neptune aircraft. This state-of-the-art operation utilized electronic sensors, computers, and communications relay aircraft in an attempt to automate intelligence collection. The system would then assist in the direction of strike aircraft to their targets. The objective of those attacks was the logistical system of the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) that snaked through southeastern Laos and was known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail (the Truong Son Road to the North Vietnamese).
1969 – Operation Dewey Canyon, perhaps the most successful high-mobility regimental-size action of the Vietnam War, began in the A Shau/Da Krong Valleys when the 9th Marines, commanded by Colonel Robert H. Barrow, and supporting artillery were lifted from Quang Tri. By 18 March the enemy’s base area had been cleared out, 1617 enemy dead had been counted, and more than 500 tons of weapons and ammunition unearthed.
1971 – Communist forces shell Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for the first time.
1973 – The crew of Apollo 17, Commander Eugene Cernan, Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans, and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmitt, addresses a joint session of Congress after the completion of the final Apollo moon landing mission.
1982 -In a revival of the diplomacy “linkages” that were made famous by Henry Kissinger during the Nixon years, the administration of President Ronald Reagan announces that further progress on arms talks will be linked to a reduction of Soviet oppression in Poland. The U.S. ploy was but one more piece of the increasingly complex jigsaw puzzle of nuclear arms reduction. Faced with a growing anti-nuke movement in the United States and abroad, and having drawn criticism for some off-the-cuff remarks about “winning” a nuclear war, President Reagan called for negotiations on reducing intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) in Europe. These talks began in November 1981 but quickly bogged down as both the U.S. and Soviet negotiators charged each other with acting in bad faith. Almost immediately, both nations began to increase their nuclear arsenals in Europe. Some speculated that neither side was truly seeking arms control, and the reaction of building up arms as a result caused a firestorm of protest in several western European nations. Perhaps in an effort to divert attention from the failed talks, the Reagan administration in January 1982 linked further arms negotiations to Soviet actions in Poland, indicating that the U.S. would not engage in further talks until Soviet repression in Poland was eased. In that nation, the Soviet-backed communist government imposed martial law in late 1981 in an effort to destroy the growing Solidarity movement among Poland’s labor unions. Claiming that arms reduction talks could not be “insulated from other events,” the Reagan administration declared, “The continuing repression of the Polish people-in which Soviet responsibility is clear-obviously constitutes a major setback to the prospects for constructive East-West relations.” It was unclear whether the U.S. stance had any direct impact on the ongoing INF talks. Domestic U.S. political opposition to any arms control agreement with the Soviets, combined with intense mutual distrust between the Soviet Union and the United States during much of the Reagan administration, were much more important factors in the delay in finally securing an agreement. The INF agreement did eventually get signed in 1987, when new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev broke the ice for more fruitful talks.
1990 – Robert Tappan Morris is convicted of releasing the 1988 Internet Computer worm.
1991 – Iraq fired six Scud missiles into Saudi Arabia; all were either intercepted, or fell into unpopulated areas. However, in Tel Aviv, a Scud eluded the Patriot missile defense system and struck the city, resulting in three deaths.
1992 – STS-42 was a Space Shuttle Discovery mission with the Spacelab module. Liftoff was originally scheduled for 8:45 EST (13:45 UTC), but the launch was delayed due to weather constraints. Discovery successfully lifted off an hour later at 9:52 EST (14:52 UTC). The main goal of the mission was to study the effects of microgravity on a variety of organisms. The shuttle landed at 8:07 PST (16:07 UTC) on 30 January 1992 on Runway 22, Edwards Air Force Base, California.
2000 – Iraq reaches an agreement on the continuation of oil supplies to Jordan. Under the agreement, Iraq will give Jordan $300 million worth of crude oil in 2000 free of charge, and Jordan will pay a maximum of $19 per barrel for any additional volumes imported.
2002 – US officials reported that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, a former head of al Qaeda training in Afghanistan, had provided information on an alleged plot to blow up the US Embassy in Yemen a week earlier.
2003 – Bill Maudlin (b.1921), WW-II era cartoonist, died in Newport Beach, Ca. In 1945 he won a Pulitzer Prize for his war cartoons and later authored “Up Front,” a collection of cartoons and an essay on war.
2003 – France and Germany joined forces to prevent any U.S.-led war on Iraq. Countering blunt talk of war by the Bush administration, France and Germany defiantly stated they were committed to a peaceful solution to the Iraq crisis.
2004 – NASA said it lost contact with the Mars spirit rover.
2010 – Former U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel James Fondren is sentenced to three years in prison for providing classified documents to Chinese spy Tai Shen Kuo.
2012 – A U.S. drone strike occurred near Mogadishu killing British al-Qaeda operative Bilal el-Berjawi.
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