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Thread: "How We Train Our Cops to Fear Islam"

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    Default "How We Train Our Cops to Fear Islam"

    Sadly, I run across this kind of thing quite often (and not just in law enforcement, in the military and elsewhere in government too at times):

    How We Train Our Cops to Fear Islam
    There aren’t nearly enough counterterrorism experts to instruct all of America’s police. So we got these guys instead.

    By Meg Stalcup and Joshua Craze

    Washington Monthly, March-April 2011


    ...In recent years, the United States has become more and more committed to the idea of bringing local police forces into the business of sniffing out terrorists. In 2002, the National Joint Terrorism Task Force was set up to coordinate existing collaborative efforts among federal, state, and local law enforcement. And since 2006, the Department of Justice has been developing a program called the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative, through which local cops are meant to act as intelligence gatherers on the ground, feeding reports of suspicious activity to a network of data “fusion centers” spread out across the country. The system is scheduled to be up and running in all seventy-two of the nation’s fusion centers by the end of this year. But in order for the cops to play a role in counterterrorism, the thinking goes, they need to be trained. And that’s where Kharoba and his ilk—counterterrorism trainers for hire—come in.

    The very idea of integrating local police into the nation’s counterterror intelligence efforts is a subject of debate among security experts. People at the highest level of law enforcement and intelligence—to say nothing of civil liberties groups—have concerns about the strategy. While the premise is perhaps intuitively appealing—particularly in a place like Florida, where several of the 9/11 hijackers took flying lessons—one danger is that the system will be flooded with bad leads. An increase in incidents like the mistaken arrests on Alligator Alley would only degrade police work, obscure real threats, and spoil relations between America’s cops and America’s Muslims—who have thus far volunteered some of the most fruitful leads in preventing domestic terror attacks.

    It might be theoretically possible to ward off such an outcome if police could be provided with impeccable training. But one of the central problems is that the demand for training far exceeds the supply of qualified instructors. Even the CIA and FBI have had trouble finding people with the key skills to fill their ranks. For state and local law enforcement departments, the scarcity is even more acute. Into the void, self-styled experts have rushed in.

    While expertise in counterterrorism training may be in short supply, money for it is not. Each year the federal government directs billions of dollars (no one knows exactly how much) in terrorism-related training grants to state and local governments. These funds cascade down into myriad training programs like the one at Broward College, where instructors like Kharoba ply their trade with only minimal supervision....
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Not surprisingly, there are nut jobs who can get a job doing about anything they choose, and enough sheep gullible enough to buy the silly they are selling. It tends to take a while before the wheat can be separated from the chaff.

    Who remembers the ominous "RECONDO" training camps advertised in the back of SOF Magazine?

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    An interesting economic question here: is this a supply problem, as in the lack of qualified experts who can give a good presentation, or is it a demand problem, as in the lack of informed chain of command who can separate out the kooks?

    From my own limited experience, I think that this is at least as much a demand-side problem. I've had to endure two presentations where SLA Marshall's theories on WWII GI refusal to fire was cited as authoritative, as well as the mass-rapes-in-Beslan-as-tool-of-Muslim-warfare trope was bandied about as well. These were speakers specifically hired and endorsed by our COC.

    And this is not just a problem related to cultural or religious education. As our COC changed, we also got different training presentations from different companies that taught completely contradictory TTPs for things like unarmed combat and CQC. One guy tried to sell everyone kubatons.

    Thankfully the troops tend to view this sort of thing with a grain of salt. Awful classes are part and parcel of training, unfortunately.

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    Fortunately, Air Force counter-terrorism training successfully identifies the real Muslim terrorism enemy: Harvard and Columbia universities.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    Default Sales

    Some "experts" are able to sell to the upper echelon of an organization. The cops on the beat understand what is BS and what is not.

    I have been to classes taught by state, local, or national agencies that were excellent.

    I have also been to classes taught by the feds that were more sales and PR fronts. What is being sold is that we are now "one happy family" in the war against tooth decay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Majormarginal View Post
    The cops on the beat understand what is BS and what is not.
    It would be nice if that were always true. In my experience, however, it isn't.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    Default Chasing $$$, not effectiveness

    There has always been a market for snake oil salesmen, and despite having some of the best universities in the world our nation's popular culture is largely shaped by various forms of media that present stories for profit, not to provide a non-bias study for intelligent consideration of the audience.

    The view above represents the extreme view that every Muslim is a potential terrorist, and then makes some stupid acquisitions about head banners being an indicator of being a terrorist. Some of his points on body language on the other hand were correct, so don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. Hopefully both Police and Soldiers can tell the difference between legitimate advice and BS. I guess we could use he same line of logic for the Italian Mafia. To be a member of the Italian you need to be Italian. Any Italian who discusses family matters in an airport must be referring to the Mafia and should be reported. Sadly, I'm sure that kind of logic would find a market somewhere. The views represented by this kind of extremist play into AQ's strategy of creating them versus us mindset.

    On the opposite end of the extreme scale we have those who blindly embrace the philosophy of political correctness where no behavior is wrong, except for those who condemn someone else's views. Accuse a Muslim extremist who promotes violence to establish sharia law and abuse women within the U.S., then you are biggot in their eyes. Somehow in their perverse logic the Muslim extremist isn't? This group of PC extremists would leave our country vulnerable if it was up to them.

    The reality seems to be that we do have a growing homegrown threat that needs to be addressed wisely, which doesn't mean over reacting which will only accerlate the spread of radicalism, nor does it mean ignoring the problem as the PC crowd would propose.

    The responses also have to appease to the voters in a democracy, so it is important to pull the media into the role of informing insteading of entertaining the public so appropriate decisions are supported. I could make some comments about Congress, but rather not waste my time with that den of radicals.

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    Default Dispelling the Falsehoods of Washington Monthly Magazine

    Dispelling the Falsehoods of Washington Monthly Magazine
    by
    Major Joseph M. Bail, Jr. (ret.)
    Chester, Pennsylvania Police SWAT Commander

    Recently, the Washington Monthly published an article entitled, “How We Train Our Cops to Fear Islam,” by Meg Stalcup and Joshua Craze. In it, the authors maligned the reputations of Sam Kharoba; John Giduck; retired Marine Lt. Col. Joe Bierly; and retired Army Major Richard Hughbank. I’m going to explain how the authors told portions of the truth, twisted to convey false impressions, and how the information they were given was obtained under false pretenses.
    Giduck has a law degree, a master’s degree in Russian studies, and a Ph.D. in Middle East studies. He was contacted by Craze who said he was writing an article on the need for American police to be better prepared to respond to terror attacks. In response to questions about how Giduck knew Russian spetsnaz soldiers whom he interviewed after the Beslan school siege in September 2004 for his book, Terror at Beslan, he explained that years before he had known the former director of the KGB for the St. Petersburg region, Anatoli Kurkov. With Kurkov’s help he met and trained with Russian spetsnaz hand-to-hand combat instructors, and over time met with others from different units. Giduck said he knew men in Alpha, Vityaz, SOBR, Rus and others. However, in the article they say that they called Rus and Vityaz. Rus supposedly said that they never heard of John, and Vityaz confirmed that he had attended some type of “commercial” course, but not any counter-terror training.
    To think that Russian spetsnaz units can be called by looking up their numbers in a phone book is ridiculous. Even if they had somehow gotten a number, would anyone really believe that they would tell these unknown people the truth about anything, if they even talked to them at all? Giduck said, “They obviously didn’t want confirmation. If they had, they could have simply asked me and I would have put them in touch with the right people.” Retired Green Beret Sergeant Major John Anderson was given permission to accompany John on some training programs. “They did everything John said. This included counter-terror hostage-rescue and close quarters battle,” he said.
    Yuri Ferdigalov was a spetsnaz commando and war veteran. He traveled to Beslan with John as the siege was happening, then on two more trips interviewing those involved in the operation. Yuri confirms that they spent a great deal of time with officers from Alpha, SOBR and Rus. I can verify the same thing as I accompanied them on their final trip. We did days of interviews of Rus commanders on their base. I also met an Alpha officer John wrote about in his book.
    Professor Emeritus Walt Copley destroys Stalcup and Craze’s intimation that John did not know a KGB chief. After retiring from the Air Force as an intelligence officer, he became the head of a college criminal justice department. “I had tried for years to get a study abroad in Russia put together, but with no success,” he said. When he met Giduck they immediately flew to St. Petersburg to set it up. One of the first people he met was Kurkov. “Director Kurkov even got us into the Lubyanka, the KGB’s headquarters in Moscow,” he said.
    Anderson says Kurkov visited John in Colorado. During one visit Anderson held a dinner for Kurkov. “In all my years in Special Forces I never imagined I would have a KGB head in my own house,” he said.


    Giduck flanked by KGB Director Kurkov and his wife Nina,
    at Anderson’s house.

    The authors also attacked John’s book for reporting the rapes of teenage girls inside the school. “When we first got there all everyone was talking about were the rapes,” Ferdigalov said. “[Everyone was] telling us about how the terrorists brutalized these girls.” “Then somewhere along the line the story from the media changed,” Giduck said. He points out that sometimes the political needs of both sides coincide. “The terrorists and the liberal western press don’t want the world to hear that they are rapists. But also the Russian government recognizes that it appears incapable of protecting its citizens when people think that they stood outside while girls were being brutalized.”
    Russian speakers Igor Livits, Lisa Tongren and Lance Alred confirmed that a year ago a spetsnaz colonel visiting John said: “The official position of my government now is that no rapes occurred.”
    Stalcup and Craze cited journalist C.J. Chivers who wrote an article about Beslan for Esquire in 2006, and who also insisted that no rapes occurred. Giduck said:
    Chivers suffers from the same problem as the rest of us. He wasn’t inside the school either. So just like me, he is left to report what others tell him. In their article Chivers challenges me to give the name of one girl who was raped at Beslan. Two hundred thousand females are raped in America every year, but I bet he couldn’t give the name of a single one of those either. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen to them.
    Bierly says, “They misrepresented themselves to me. I was honest in trying to answer their questions and they lied. They said that I did ten years of ‘black ops’ after the Marine Corps. I never said that.”
    Hughbank, a decorated veteran with two tours in Afghanistan, insists Craze interviewed him under the pretext that he was a doctoral student conducting research for his dissertation. Hughbank is columnist for Inside Homeland Security magazine, and has written two books on terrorism. He has a master’s degree and graduate certificate in terrorism studies, and is a doctoral candidate in homeland security.

    Clearly the targets of the article are experienced Americans providing much needed training to law enforcement. Many statements in the article were false, or skewed to create false impressions. Perhaps the lesson to be learned is that we need to stop trusting people like Craze and Stalcup who say they’re on our side.
    To see the complete rebuttal, go to www.archangelgroup.org.

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    "KGB"? Sounds a bit Cold War-ish to me, or was the FSB re-named again?

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    The authors also attacked John’s book for reporting the rapes of teenage girls inside the school. “When we first got there all everyone was talking about were the rapes,” Ferdigalov said. “[Everyone was] telling us about how the terrorists brutalized these girls.” “Then somewhere along the line the story from the media changed,” Giduck said. He points out that sometimes the political needs of both sides coincide. “The terrorists and the liberal western press don’t want the world to hear that they are rapists. But also the Russian government recognizes that it appears incapable of protecting its citizens when people think that they stood outside while girls were being brutalized.”

    Russian speakers Igor Livits, Lisa Tongren and Lance Alred confirmed that a year ago a spetsnaz colonel visiting John said: “The official position of my government now is that no rapes occurred.”

    Stalcup and Craze cited journalist C.J. Chivers who wrote an article about Beslan for Esquire in 2006, and who also insisted that no rapes occurred. Giduck said:

    Chivers suffers from the same problem as the rest of us. He wasn’t inside the school either. So just like me, he is left to report what others tell him. In their article Chivers challenges me to give the name of one girl who was raped at Beslan. Two hundred thousand females are raped in America every year, but I bet he couldn’t give the name of a single one of those either. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen to them.
    If there was systematic rape at Beslan, then why have none of the survivors or victims' advocacy groups in Beslan ever revealed or made claims to this effect? Note that both Mothers of Beslan and Voices of Beslan, two such groups, have made quite aggressive criticisms of Vladimir Putin and the Russian security forces' response, so if a coverup occurred it doesn't appear to have been very effective in stifling criticism of the Russian government.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    ... various forms of media that present stories for profit, not to provide a non-bias study for intelligent consideration of the audience.
    Could be, but U.S. Army Public Affairs truly outdid itself in 2003 when it made up the story of Jessica Lynch's valiant resistance out of the whole cloth. Which is worse, "liberal bias" in the mainstream media or outright fabrications by people who ought to know better?

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    Posted by Pete
    Which is worse, "liberal bias" in the mainstream media or outright fabrications by people who ought to know better?
    I felt sorry for Jessica and wanted to stomp on the PAO that came up with that trash story. Looked like something you would have read in National Enquier or Star magazine while standing in line at the grocery store. I would argue that story had links to liberal bias and the PAO was playing to it by drumming up a tale of a heroic female in combat. The U.S. couldn't get enough of it, but quickly were reminded that many of our PAO generated stories are just B.S.. I don't know what is worse, the liberal media doesn't disappoint me anymore because I expect it to be bias and left leaning, just like I expect Beck and Limbaugh to be bias and right leaning, while on the other hand while I expect B.S. from our PAOs, it still disappoints.

    Joe, thanks for the post above.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe_Bail View Post
    The authors also attacked John’s book for reporting the rapes of teenage girls inside the school.
    It is a significant claim, and I believe Mr. Giduck is the only person in the world to publicly claim that there were instances of rape at Beslan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe_Bail View Post
    “When we first got there all everyone was talking about were the rapes,” Ferdigalov said. “[Everyone was] telling us about how the terrorists brutalized these girls.”
    “Then somewhere along the line the story from the media changed,” Giduck said.
    That is everyone except for the actual victims of the alleged rapes.
    Please show any story where the media said rape occurred.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe_Bail View Post
    He points out that sometimes the political needs of both sides coincide. “The terrorists and the liberal western press don’t want the world to hear that they are rapists. But also the Russian government recognizes that it appears incapable of protecting its citizens when people think that they stood outside while girls were being brutalized.”
    I don’t buy that, rape and murder sells newspapers; and how would the terrorists have any means to cover-up the rape story?

    Further, Putin and the Siloviki used Beslan to increase their control over the state and expand the powers of the security services; they would have had the incentive and the callousness to exploit such a rape story. In the aftermath of Beslan they did not downplay their weakness; indeed Putin came right out and said it, I believe his exact line was “we showed ourselves to be weak, and the weak get beaten”.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe_Bail View Post
    Chivers suffers from the same problem as the rest of us. He wasn’t inside the school either. So just like me, he is left to report what others tell him. In their article Chivers challenges me to give the name of one girl who was raped at Beslan. Two hundred thousand females are raped in America every year, but I bet he couldn’t give the name of a single one of those either. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen to them.
    Mr. Chivers could easily obtain the law enforcement records and witness statements of said 200k raped women in America should he desire to do so. Likewise, given Mr. Giduck’s pull with MVD & FSB, he should be able to the procure witness statements of the alleged Beslan rape victims.

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    Giduck has been milking the Beslan cow for a long time. And those who are better qualified to critique the event - and there are a few - just don't do the training circuit gig. There are also a few issues with his bio - when speaking about his own background he's master of avoiding direct claims while still implying as much as possible. And well before the Washington Monthly piece, there was a standing trend on various forums, that whenever Giduck was publicly criticized, there were almost immediately new members posting in his defense. This thread from '07 on SOCNET makes for an entertaining read-through.....

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    Council Member Pete's Avatar
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    To my way of thinking DoD Public Affairs and Information Operations ought to be based on facts, not upon gross exaggerations or fabrications. To the extent that they have a slant it should be in the area of themes, that we're wearing the white hats and the other side is not.

    Perhaps it was too long ago and in the last century for this to be of any relevance, but in 1945 my late Dad helped to write, edit, and design this pocket booklet that G.I.s could send home to their families:



    That was in the days before PAO was a term -- I believe it was then called public relations. In Dad's case it was a provisional office formed under the division G-2. (To an extent the division intel officers dual-tracked the guys -- Dad was occasionally the G-2's jeep driver.) As for journalistic objectivity, they wrote stories that cast the division in a favorable light, but to my knowledge did not make things up; on the other hand if the commander of Company B of the XXX Infantry was relieved for cause they didn't write anything about it. One of Dad's stories from Occupation Japan was on how rural citizens had buried the bodies from a shot-down B-29 with the same dignity they would have shown to their own guys. The story he wrote as an E-4 was published by the New York Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, not too bad for a kid of 20.

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    Pete,

    PAO's almost present facts, and when they don' t is it is due to a bad PAO taking shortcuts (not confirming the facts), or worse intentionally lying whichis not an acceptable practice in public affairs for obvious reasons. The PAO that misrepresened Jessica Lynch's story was an incompetent clown who doesn't represent the majority of the PAOs. My reference to B.S. was not that they normally lie, but rather their articles are happy pieces devoid of critical thought and opposing views on a specific topic, which in my mind a good journalist would attempt to do.

    I'll let the IO bubbas comment on IO, but if we're trying to shape the enemy's perception I don't see anything wrong with being deceptive. You may not call it AO, but setting up inflatable trucks and tanks in locations where enemy sensors will see them and shape their perception on our location and strength in a way that is to our advantage, then I'm a fan. This example doesn't necessarily fit into IO as defned, but it does fit into the intent of IO.

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    It seems that the thrust of the article was less about making apologies about Islam and character assassination, and more about the industry that has cropped up in the wake of the Long War, and frankly how easy it is to work a gig on very thin shreds of a reputation. Too often, the facts simply cannot be checked. A key point is made here:

    But regardless of what role cops on the streets should or should not play in fighting terrorism, the fact is that rivers of federal training dollars are already flowing, many of them straight into the pockets of instructors like Sam Kharoba. The training system clearly needs reform. Again, federal control is not the solution, but a first step would be for the federal government to issue voluntary guidelines on how states can best reform their oversight of counterterrorism training—since the most robust reforms will need to happen at the state level.
    Does it make for juicy media? Certainly, but so does the lathering that goes on, on the other side of the street when someone peddles their wares. As a taxpayer, I tend to like opposing points of view that allow me to do some thinking on my own. I see a vociferous rebuttal to the article, but it just seems off the mark a bit.

    In fact, the argument that hundreds of law enforcement professionals trained somehow proves the validity of a method of instruction is exactly what the authors of the article seemed to be addressing.

    Poole and Grossman make a living getting people pretty whooped up about things in their lectures too, and love to direct you to the back of the room where they will be selling autographed copies of their book. It's how they make their living, no doubt, but when you put your stuff out there on front street, be prepared to be looked at with a suspicious eye.

    Ted, I remember that SOCNET thread. Real deal guys tend to sniff out curious smells. I especially enjoyed this snippet, and remember it like it was yesterday:

    Allow me to rephrase my opinion: I. Do. Not. Listen. To. CT. Experts. Who. Did. Not. Serve. In. CT. Units. Training with them doesn't count.
    These threads never seem to end well...
    Last edited by jcustis; 03-08-2011 at 05:35 AM.

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    Bill, I really don't know what Info Ops people do so I can't comment. What I hope to avoid are the days in '68-'73 when just about everything Military Assistance Command-Vietnam or DoD said was believed to have been false or misleading. We're the good guys and we should avoid saying or doing things that lead to the perception that we're not.

    One aspect of the Vietnam War that is not much commented upon is the extent to which the U.S. effort there received favorable coverage from the press prior to Tet in 1968; most of the guys running the media then were World War II veterans who were trying to do their part for the country. Whether right or wrong, Tet -- which was a defeat for the National Liberation Front and North Vietnamese Army -- was also a turning point in the U.S. perception of the war. Many editors and journalists felt they'd been too trusting of Westmoreland's and MACV's upbeat pronouncements. Afterwards MACV got no more free rides, in fact public opinion and press coverage went far, often unfairly, in the other direction.

    In the here and now we don't need people on our own side undermining our credibility.
    Last edited by Pete; 03-08-2011 at 06:38 AM.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    What I hope to avoid are the days in '68-'73 when just about everything Military Assistance Command-Vietnam or DoD said was believed to have been false or misleading. We're the good guys and we should avoid saying or doing things that lead to the perception that we're not.
    True and agree on both counts with the emphasis I added. There were untruths and there was dissembling but the truth was often ignored due to the beliefs...
    One aspect of the Vietnam War that is not much commented upon is the extent to which the U.S. effort there received favorable coverage from the press prior to Tet in 1968...
    That's a sweeping statement, too sweeping IMO. While it has some truth in it, there were pockets of unfavorable -- by design, I believe -- coverage from specific reporters and organizations.
    most of the guys running the media then were World War II veterans who were trying to do their part for the country.
    That part is correct; the problem was at lower levels, the reporters and their immediate superior editors far down the chain -- like most of their still ib college brethren, many of them were rather anti-military by inclination. I'll be the first to admit that inept PAO and Commander handling exacerbated that problem but those things did not cause it.
    Whether right or wrong, Tet -- which was a defeat for the National Liberation Front and North Vietnamese Army -- was also a turning point in the U.S. perception of the war. Many editors and journalists felt they'd been too trusting of Westmoreland's and MACV's upbeat pronouncements. Afterwards MACV got no more free rides, in fact public opinion and press coverage went far, often unfairly, in the other direction.
    True. The Big Story (LINK) by Peter Braestrup, a Purple Heart in Korea owning ex-Marine turned WaPo Bureau Chief in Saigon at the time of Tet puts a lot of myths to rest and shows how the Media folks deliberately twisted and buried things -- he also contended, accurately IMO, that for the first time, Tet caused a number of 'reporters' to actually be exposed to combat and it frightened and upset them...
    In the here and now we don't need people on our own side undermining our credibility.
    Probably not but people are venal and if it bleeds it leads...

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    I've got a copy of Pete Braestrup's book and have read it a couple of times. I believe my Dad knew him. Braestrup's boss at the time, Phil Foisie, the Post foreign editor, was another friend of the family.

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