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Thread: Brazil: violence in (merged thread)

  1. #41
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    I have generally been a fan of Kilcullen's books and articles, although I found this particular book not as well thought out as his previous books. Perhaps because he is still exploring this concept. To be fair Ralph Peters, and many others, did meet him to the punch on this issue, and I recall a number of discussions and papers in the 1990s discussing potential military scenarios in large urban areas and how complex they would be.

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...-and-dangerous

    Peters' wrote in 1996:
    Cities always have been centers of gravity, but they are now more magnetic than ever before. Once the gatherers of wealth, then the processors of wealth, cities and their satellite communities have become the ultimate creators of wealth. They concentrate people and power, communications and control, knowledge and capability, rendering all else peripheral. They are also the post-modern equivalent of jungles and mountains--citadels of the dispossessed and irreconcilable. A military unprepared for urban operations across a broad spectrum is unprepared for tomorrow.
    Peters made a lot of interesting points regarding the future of urban warfare in a talk I attended in 2001 (before 9/11), but most of the points focused on the physical aspects of fighting in a city and the difficulty of templating irregulars. Kilcullen adds the socio-political aspects and I found his thoughts on the city as an ecosystem (system of systems) and how competitive control works very helpful in observing and explaining what many of us have experienced and simply labeled it as chaos, yet there was an underlying order that wasn't necessarily visible to us at the time.

    On the other hand his book in my opinion is still is missing the so what factor for security planners. He is also focused currently on data analysis to analyze cities which may prove to be valuable, but similar studies in the past have generally led us astray. Ralph Peters on the other hand glances over the socio-political and focuses on the so what at the tactical and doctrine level. Curious about readers' thoughts on his projections made in 1996 as a Major now that we have extensive experience fighting in cities (though done would qualify as a megacity the principles still apply). regardless there is considerable room for further study in this area to inform military doctrine and future capabilities required.

    How, or even if, Brazil can secure the games will be interesting to see unfold. We could be overstating the threat by assuming the masses will think and act collectively and actually have an interest in attacking the games. I'm sure some do, but what percentage? Is it enough to be threatening? How good is Brazil's intelligence in identifying the leaders who could provoke a serious security threat? What is their ability to pre-empt it? Will they leverage engineers to create obstacles and channelize potential protesters / trouble makers into zones they can control? What will the impact be if the disenfranchised citizens effectively disrupt (or worse) the games?

  2. #42
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flagg View Post
    I sometimes wonder if the life cycles of insects may be an analog to illicit megaslum networks?

    embryo
    larvae
    pupa
    imago/maturity/legitimacy

    Comparing the favela video above with the Vice series on Karachi found here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgIl1vmIchA

    It would superficially appear that Karachi's slums/ghettos are well into the transition to political machines

    -----

    Are developing world megaslums simply echoing our own western history of slum/ghetto development with two adjustments for sheer scale and the catalysing effects of technology?

    IF that is the case, and while I am a big fan of David Kilcullen's book and derived great value from it(particularly his conflict entrepreneur and "city as biological system" perspective), I don't see enough emphasis on what I see as the life cycle of illicit networks on the journey from criminality to legitimacy.

    Using Kilcullen's own biological system viewpoint, I wonder if the illicit networks can be viewed as a parasitic/symbiotic biological system within a system?
    I had been hesitating on picking up Kilcullen's book but now you have sparked my interest.

    However, I would seriously caution you or anyone else with using biological metaphors for sociological systems. It is true that, like a life form, a social system is a complex adaptive system. However, Life forms evolve to improve the survivability of the species where social systems evolve to improve the desires of the members of the system.

    The most common error, and the one that most people still believe is true, is the comparison of “social evolution” to biological evolution. This creates the impression that the more complex, Western societies are more “evolved” and therefore “better” than any other system. It would also imply that the “social system” is the unit that is evolving, that humans are sub-units inside a system in which they have no control. They are simply cells in the social system. The social systems are what are reproducing and it is the social system that is surviving, not the people in it.

    That is not true, social systems have adapted to meet the needs of the people in it, the people in it have not evolved to serve the social system.

    The rub of this kind of thinking is that it makes Westerners believe that their system is more evolved and therefore “better” than everyone else’s system. That, since we are at the panicle of social evolution it is our responsibility to bring the rest of the world up to our level. It is one of the fundimental components of Modernization theroy. Ideas like this can cause poorly conceived foreign policy.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 05-21-2014 at 01:52 PM.
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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    I had been hesitating on picking up Kilcullen's book but now you have sparked my interest.

    However, I would seriously caution you or anyone else with using biological metaphors for sociological systems. It is true that, like a life form, a social system is a complex adaptive system. However, Life forms evolve to improve the survivability of the species where social systems evolve to improve the desires of the members of the system.

    The most common error, and the one that most people still believe is true, is the comparison of “social evolution” to biological evolution. This creates the impression that the more complex, Western societies are more “evolved” and therefore “better” than any other system. It would also imply that the “social system” is the unit that is evolving, that humans are sub-units inside a system in which they have no control. They are simply cells in the social system. The social systems are what are reproducing and it is the social system that is surviving, not the people in it.

    That is not true, social systems have adapted to meet the needs of the people in it, the people in it have not evolved to serve the social system.

    The rub of this kind of thinking is that it makes Westerners believe that their system is more evolved and therefore “better” than everyone else’s system. That, since we are at the panicle of social evolution it is our responsibility to bring the rest of the world up to our level. It is one of the fundimental components of Modernization theroy. Ideas like this can cause poorly conceived foreign policy.
    I would agree with your caution sign.

    The analogies can be rough and imperfect....or even potentially hazardous if clung to rigidly.

    But I do think there is a place for the use of the terms "evolved" and "better"(maybe more elegant/sophisticated might be a better choice in this case) when used in describing the TTPs and capabilities of networks as some of them attempt to shift from illicit criminal networks to legitimate political networks.

    As a political science grad and infanteer I would think governance and light infantry combat both possess best practices that will in some cases have changed little in centuries(as in "it's all about the fundamentals"). But layered on top over the years are more complex capabilities that don't inherently make one better, just potentially more capable if well employed/deployed.

    In terms of poorly conceived foreign policy, it's probably easy to imagine near future scenarios where a nation's diplomats are face with the conundrum of dealing directly with both the self-appointed representatives of ungoverned/self-governed megaslums via back channels as well as the government representatives of the sovereign state surrounding the ungoverned/self-governed space.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I have generally been a fan of Kilcullen's books and articles, although I found this particular book not as well thought out as his previous books. Perhaps because he is still exploring this concept. To be fair Ralph Peters, and many others, did meet him to the punch on this issue, and I recall a number of discussions and papers in the 1990s discussing potential military scenarios in large urban areas and how complex they would be.

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...-and-dangerous

    Peters' wrote in 1996:

    Peters made a lot of interesting points regarding the future of urban warfare in a talk I attended in 2001 (before 9/11), but most of the points focused on the physical aspects of fighting in a city and the difficulty of templating irregulars. Kilcullen adds the socio-political aspects and I found his thoughts on the city as an ecosystem (system of systems) and how competitive control works very helpful in observing and explaining what many of us have experienced and simply labeled it as chaos, yet there was an underlying order that wasn't necessarily visible to us at the time.

    On the other hand his book in my opinion is still is missing the so what factor for security planners. He is also focused currently on data analysis to analyze cities which may prove to be valuable, but similar studies in the past have generally led us astray. Ralph Peters on the other hand glances over the socio-political and focuses on the so what at the tactical and doctrine level. Curious about readers' thoughts on his projections made in 1996 as a Major now that we have extensive experience fighting in cities (though done would qualify as a megacity the principles still apply). regardless there is considerable room for further study in this area to inform military doctrine and future capabilities required.

    How, or even if, Brazil can secure the games will be interesting to see unfold. We could be overstating the threat by assuming the masses will think and act collectively and actually have an interest in attacking the games. I'm sure some do, but what percentage? Is it enough to be threatening? How good is Brazil's intelligence in identifying the leaders who could provoke a serious security threat? What is their ability to pre-empt it? Will they leverage engineers to create obstacles and channelize potential protesters / trouble makers into zones they can control? What will the impact be if the disenfranchised citizens effectively disrupt (or worse) the games?
    Any thoughts on human/social networks developing like an insect life cycle?

    When I think of the possibilities of networks in the favelas disrupting(for benefit like conflict entrepreneurs exploiting opportunities) FIFA World Cup and the Olympics, I can't help but recall Air France's pilots union back in 1998 during the French World Cup:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/fa...f-1162409.html

    I'm thinking what/how can the favela(and Brazil's notorious prison based) networks influence/disrupt logistics essential to FIFA and Olympic events.

    And how much does the sophistication of the network and leadership decision making impact on it?

    I think I hear what you're your saying both in terms of modern western networks aren't worth emulating in every respect(sometimes far from it) as well as how sometimes guys who live in caves are playing a pretty good game of chess, while folks flying first class are playing a lousy game of checkers.

  5. #45
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default D-6 in Brazil

    Not being interested in football I had missed the first game is due to be played in six days in Sao Paulo. So a mass transit strike is not unexpected and the almost inevitable confrontation with the police:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...up-opener.html A better report:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-27745401

    This week the BBC have shown documentaries on Rio from different angles. One focussed on the sex trade, especially under-age boys and girls. Another on Rio, mostly filmed in one favela, from both sides - the public represented by a former gang leader turned community worker - and the state in the form of the military police. Neither readily found on the BBC website alas.
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  6. #46
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    Default Time to be friendly in Rio: goodbye pacification

    A new Governor for the province and a new policy:
    If those in charge succeed, the controversial top-down term "pacification" may soon fall into disuse. Instead, police have announced that they are reaching out to civil society to help them do a better, less violent job of keeping Rio safe.
    Link:http://www.insightcrime.org/news-ana...licing-at-last
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  7. #47
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    Default Moderator's Note

    The nine post thread 'Out of the mountains into the slums?' has been merged into the longer running Brazil: violence in (merged thread) today.
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  8. #48
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    Default Amid Rising Violence Rio Continues to Implement Pacification Program

    A short article, it starts with:
    Outbreaks of violence in one of Rio de Janeiro's major favelas are raising questions about the long-term effectiveness of Brazil's controversial pacification program, even as plans to expand the program continue.
    Link:http://www.insightcrime.org/news-bri...cation-program
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  9. #49
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    Default Out of the mountains into the slums: Rio

    Just how Rio copes with the threat of violence is a recurrent theme here, let alone how the 2016 Olympics affects this. Today IISS had an event today 'Urban Warfare in the ‘Marvelous City’: Securing Rio from the Gangs', with two speakers and the podcast is one hour long:http://www.iiss.org/en/events/events...rio-gangs-58a9

    The event's chair Nigel Inkster referred to David Kilcullen's book, hence the title.

    One speaker didn't make it and her book is due out soon. From an IISS email:
    Juliana Barbassa is an award-winning journalist and author. Her book, Dancing with the Devil in the City of God: Rio de Janeiro on the Brink, is based on her years in Brazil as a correspondent for the Associated Press and will be published in July 2015. She was born in Brazil, but has lived in Iraq, Malta, Libya, Spain, France and the United States. She is currently based in Switzerland.
    There is thread on Brazil and violence into which this maybe merged:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=2602
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  10. #50
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Can 'monsters' be a trusted police?

    Two articles appeared today via Twitter on BOPE, the military police unit, one is a commentary following a death. Its starts with:
    The investigation of an elite police unit in Brazil for allegedly trying to cover up the disappearance of a Rio de Janeiro man may represent an opportunity to restore the public’s trust in the rule of law, and perhaps repair the reputation of a controversial program to pacify favelas.
    Link:http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/a...te-police-unit

    The second is an interview of a convicted BOPE member:
    A former military police officer in Brazil talks about the culture of violence that permeates the force, and how this can dehumanize those who initially joined in order to serve and protect the public.
    Link:http://www.insightcrime.org/news-ana...eates-monsters
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  11. #51
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    Default Brazil is relying on soldiers instead of regular police – here’s why

    A commentary that explains why soldiers are so often on the streets and the refrain "Oh no, not again":
    The army has, in effect, become a “parapolice” force – a substitute for the country’s badly stretched police. Contrary to what some doom-mongering commentators say, this doesn’t signal an impending military coup, but it does show just how badly the authorities have failed to maintain public security.
    Link:https://theconversation.com/brazil-is-relying-on-soldiers-instead-of-regular-police-heres-why-73034?
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-18-2017 at 11:39 AM. Reason: 44,512v
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    Default Brazil: violence in (merged thread)

    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-27-2017 at 10:00 AM. Reason: Copied for reference

  13. #53
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    Brazilian police near the border with Paraguay have exchanged gunfire with members of a gang who carried out what Paraguayan officials are calling the robbery of the century.
    Three gang members were killed and two injured in the clash, police say.
    Earlier on Monday about 50 men moved into the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este, blew up the front of a private security firm, and fired on police.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-39700931
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-27-2017 at 10:01 AM. Reason: 48,983v 4.5k up in a month
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

  14. #54
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    Default Has 'Pacification' Policing Failed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil?

    A new report on crime statistics in Brazil's state of Rio de Janeiro shows deteriorating violence indicators over a period of several years, raising continued questions about the extent to which the city's public security policies have been effective.
    Link:http://www.insightcrime.org.linkis.com/iVCl4

    A new phrase to me:
    homicides resulting from police intervention
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-05-2017 at 07:40 PM. Reason: 50,101v
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  15. #55
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    Default What works for a Favela boss

    I attended a lecture yesterday in London @ LSE on 'Militarised Response to Transnational Crime', a book now published and one speaker, ex-BBC reporter Misha Glenny, referred to his time living in a Rio favela (Rosina? Rochina) and an interview with a boss (now deposed or dead):
    Three factors gave him control: a monopoly of violence in the favela, with just 120 armed men amidst 100k people; corrupting the local police and other state institutions and having community support. Rosina became known as a safe place to visit, for drugs and entertainment, so drug trade profits went up and jobs were created.
    Finally Misha raised a point IIRC appears here irregularly on other threads; non-state bodies are beating the nation-state in providing stability.

    See Journal article:http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...upport-operati
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-09-2017 at 08:44 PM. Reason: 61,413v up 11k since last post
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  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    I attended a lecture yesterday in London @ LSE on 'Militarised Response to Transnational Crime', a book now published and one speaker, ex-BBC reporter Misha Glenny, referred to his time living in a Rio favela (Rosina? Rochina) and an interview with a boss (now deposed or dead):Finally Misha raised a point IIRC appears here irregularly on other threads; non-state bodies are beating the nation-state in providing stability.

    See Journal article:http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...upport-operati
    Well, to be fair, this is hardly a phenomenon unique to Brazil, and can also be notably found in Colombia (albeit on a much-decreased basis), Mexico, much of Africa, Syria, Iraq, the West Bank, Gaza, and Lebanon.

    The first mission of the state is security. The state itself is derived from the army, the first human bureaucracy. The army originated from a group of militants who would conquer, extort and protect a community, which was typically engaged in farming and animal husbandry.

    In this respect, the leader of the gang in the Rio favela or the head of the cartel in Juarez imitates the emergence of the very first kings, and his sicarios, the very first warrior aristocracy. We may refer to these organizations as "non-state bodies", but they form in areas of anarchy, chaos and lawlessness, and are as much a historically-accurate attempt at establishing a state, as the black markets of North Korea are at establishing free markets.

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