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Thread: The US & Interrogation (catch all)

  1. #1
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    Default U.S. Army Adds Interrogators

    2 Jan. Baltimore Sun - Military Aims to Bolster Language Skills.

    The Pentagon plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars over the next five years to bolster foreign language skills within the military, a move to correct what is considered a critical handicap as soldiers pursue missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to documents and defense officials.

    The effort is part of a broader plan, expected to be unveiled by President Bush this week, that will also include new language programs through the State and Education departments, officials said. There was no immediate estimate on the total cost of the plan, although officials expect it to range in the hundreds of millions of dollars from fiscal 2007, beginning in October, to 2011...

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    That speaks to my personal nettle - the fact that HUMINT Collectors are no longer required to learn a language at initial entry level (PVT - SPC) and most will be waivered for promotion to SGT without a language, and the requirement only really coming into effect for promotion to SSG.

    The demand for HUMINT in the field is very high. However, once again, we are sacrificing quality for quantity. Non-language qualified HUMINT personnel are extremely circumscribed in the missions they are able to accomplish effectively, and require the use of an interpreter as a crutch for much else. I say "crutch" because a HUMINT Collector who cannot speak the language of the operational area is crippled in his abilities (Not to mention the loss of the regional and cultural knowledge the soldier gains during acquisition of the language - especially critical to the HUMINTer).

    Instead of taking the hard road to mission effectiveness, and improving language and operational skill training, a critical tool in the HUMINT skill set was simply cut in order to put more bodies in the field.

    This will have long-term implications. 97Es used to leave DLI as a PFC or SPC with fresh language skills, and by the time they achieve SSG they matured in their linguistic abilities and became comfortable in using in the manipulative human communications skills that are at the core of HUMINT.

    Although there are still a few initial-entry 97Es arriving at DLI, the die has been set. It will take a while for the full effects to be felt, but this was a very damaging decision.

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    Default Army Interrogation FM Put on Hold

    11 May Los Angeles Times - Army Rules Put on Hold.

    The Pentagon has been forced to delay the release of its updated Army Field Manual on interrogation because of congressional opposition to several provisions, including one that would allow tougher techniques for unlawful combatants than for traditional prisoners of war.

    The Defense Department's civilian leaders, who are overseeing the process of rewriting the manual, have long argued along with the Bush administration that the Geneva Convention does not apply to terrorists or irregular fighters. The United States needs greater flexibility when interrogating people who refuse to fight by the rules, they have said...

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    The "new" interrogation manual has been under development for far longer than the year that the article states. The supposed "Final Draft" of FM 2-22-3 HUMINT Collector Operations (AKO log-in required for the link) was published back in Apr '04. I also have a "Final Approved Draft" version published in Sep '04 - but it seems to have disappeared from AKO. I haven't seen any '05 versions. In any case, the FM has yet to make it into approved doctrine.

    I don't recall any provisions in the drafts that specifically approve "tougher treatment" for unlawful combatants. In fact, the Drafts I saw went into greater detail on the Geneva Conventions than did the previous FM, in a manner I thought was intended to address the concerns raised by Abu Ghraib.

    That FM is intended to replace the old FM 34-52 Intelligence Interrogation, published in '92. The newer pub addresses a broader spectrum of HUMINT collection than is dealt with in the previous FM, and updates the role of HUMINT in today's force structure.

    What seems to have been completely ignored as a resource by the current writers of HUMINT doctrine is the US Army's Vietnam Era interrogation field manual (published in 1969). It's available for download in two parts:

    FM 30-15 Intelligence Interrogation

    FM 30-15 Part II

    In the second link, Chapter 4, Interrogation Support for Stability Operations is of particular interest - both the Draft FM 2-22.3 and the current FM 34-52 do not go into this subject in the same degree of detail.

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    Default Update

    According the LA Times of 6 Sep - Army to Use Geneva Rules for Detainees by Julian Barnes.

    Bowing to critics of its tough interrogation policies, the Pentagon is issuing a new Army field manual that provides Geneva Convention protections for all detainees and eliminates a secret list of interrogation tactics.

    The manual, set for release today, also reverses an earlier decision to maintain two interrogation standards one for traditional prisoners of war and another for "unlawful combatants" captured during a conflict but not affiliated with a nation's military force. It will ban the use of such controversial methods as forcing prisoners to endure long periods of solitary confinement, using military dogs to threaten prisoners, putting hoods over inmates' heads and strapping detainees to boards and dunking them in water to simulate drowning, defense officials said.

    The manual and its related policy directives the legal framework for interrogations originally were to be released in the spring. But when State Department officials and Republican senators on the Armed Services Committee raised objections, they were pulled back.

    The Pentagon's decision to drop the objectionable provisions appears to mark a victory for advocates of closer U.S. adherence to the protections of the Geneva Convention, an international agreement on the treatment of prisoners and others during wartime. Human rights groups said they planned to study the manual carefully to see what parts of the international treaty it included and what it left out...

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    The Army states that "The manual has been published in the interest of full transparency, and does not bear "For Official Use Only" markings.". (but when you open the doc, you'll see the FM still has the markings in bold print top and bottom)

    FM 2-22.3 Human Intelligence Collector Operations, Sep 06

    Edit: Updated the link, and the FOUO markings are now gone, replaced by Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 04-02-2007 at 03:52 PM.

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    Council Member SSG Rock's Avatar
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    Default Republican Revolt over interrogation techniques?

    Three prominent Republicans who either have presidential aspirations or have an axe to grind with the administration disagree with Bush and it is an "Open Revolt?" Sheeesh.

    I don't know what all of the hubub is really about. I read this article http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...091400160.html and I'm still not sure what the debate is. The Washington Post dedicates more space to the fact that there is a disagreement between Republicans than the issue itself. Someone who knows about this clarify please?
    Don't taze me bro!

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quite simply, do we relook Geneva convention statutes on interrogation or not.

    Senators and GEN Powell: No

    Adminstration: Yes

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    Council Member SSG Rock's Avatar
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    Default Yes! By all means, yes!

    I tend to come down on the side of the administration don't you? The Geneva Convention doesn't adequately address asymetrical warfare. Obviously it needs to be updated. I think part of the reason Bush has so much trouble prosecuting the GWOT is that we have no precedent for almost anything concerning it.

    These arguments make no sense to me. Why should we fear that Islamic radicals would treat our captured troops any worse than they already have? Didn't the SC ruling suggest that the administration go back to the Congress to clarify this issue?
    Don't taze me bro!

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    Default Just a thought or two

    As I see it, the problem is not how terrorists will treat our troops in response to this proposed program (they do not respect law and that won't change), but how our actions are perceived in the world community. Speeches regarding our fight for democracy and the rule of law ring hollow in the face of legislation designed to strip away fundamental legal rights. Rightly or wrongly, it has been determined that captured terrorists will be tried criminally for their actions. If we are going to do this, it should be done the right way. Our society does not tolerate a kaflaesque trial wherein the accused is merely permitted to show up. If we are to champion the rule of law and advertise our desire to bring it to Iraq and other such places, we must not disregard its tenets simply because it suits our immediate needs. This serves only to weaken our position and support in the world community.

    Part of the issue with GWOT is world support. Many countries do not see the legal justification for the war in Iraq and the Bush administration has not adequately confronted this issue. Similarly, the Bush administration often attempts to redefine or invent law to fit particular situations (tribunals, etc.). This has caused a number of countries (and our own citizens) to doubt our sincerity when we profess to come from the side of law and righteousness. The problem with this is that it has a negative effect on our chief center of gravity.

    Since at least Vietnam, our enemies have recognized that to beat us, they need to influence US public opinion. This is done a number of ways, from body counts, to spent treasure, to a feeling that we cannot win, to convincing the public that we are on the wrong side both morally and legally. All of these things contribute to what I call the attrition point, i.e. the point at which US public opinion determines that the costs are no longer worth the benefits conferred. By seeking to circumvent law (or create such a perception), we merely step closer to the attrition point.

    Yes, it is rather difficult to obey the rule of law when the enemy does not. However, if we are truly in a war of ideology we cannot afford to foresake more than 200 years of being a nation of laws to defeat the current enemy. We must wear the white hat not because others say we should but because it is who we are.

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    Default For sake of argument...

    ... let's assume we are not engaged in a "war of ideology" but a "war of civilizations".

    Does that change the equation?

    One assumption here is that world opinion really does not matter much, as it is inevitable that lines are being drawn and there is nothing we can do in the information operations arena that can change Islamist ideology and its increasing acceptance in the Muslim world.

    The only variable is when each Western country will realize they are in a fight for survival of their way of life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    One assumption here is that world opinion really does not matter much, as it is inevitable that lines are being drawn and there is nothing we can do in the information operations arena that can change Islamist ideology and its increasing acceptance in the Muslim world.
    I strongly disagree with that last bit. In effect, that mindset condones incompetence and accepts failure. By continuing along such a path the worst case scenario becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    The only variable is when each Western country will realize they are in a fight for survival of their way of life.
    As others have stated and explained in great detail, it is not the terrorism that truly threatens our way of life, it is the reaction to that terrorism.

    The terrorists are not soldiers - they are criminals, and should be prosecuted as such. But even a scumbag that has raped a number of pre-teen girls under his responsibility in a day-care center has to be interviewed, investigated and prosecuted under the rule of law. Terrorists are also criminal scum - and they should be treated no different.

    Despite our emotional feelings about the rightness of summary justice for either the terrorist or the child-rapist, following the rules ensures that the rights of innocent people aren't violated (it isn't about protecting the rights of the bad guy - its about ensuring that he is the bad guy). It also demonstrates to the world that we are truly a free country, unafraid to display to the world the bad guys we've captured, the evidence clearly linking them to terrorism, and then try them openly as common criminals. This diminishes the status of the terrorist and enhances our moral standing.

    On the other hand, indefinite detention in the absence of evidence, secret evidence, secret tribunals, prosecutions hidden from view are things for which we used to vilify the Soviets and the Eastern Bloc (I'm sure there's a few of you on here that remember those days...). Such methods enhance the status of the bad guys we hold, clearly display a disturbing mix of national arrogance and fear, and then those that are inevitably eventually released spread tales of that system which have a significant negative impact upon our already virtually non-existent IO campaign.

    Let's just do this the right way. And I mean that in both aspects: being morally right as well as operationally effective. Believe it or not, we can do it.

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    Council Member aktarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    One assumption here is that world opinion really does not matter much, as it is inevitable that lines are being drawn and there is nothing we can do in the information operations arena that can change Islamist ideology and its increasing acceptance in the Muslim world.
    Wold opinion matters because it will influence where lines will be drawn.

    If western countries will loose it's moral high ground than conflict will be seen as clash of two evils by many. And as many Soviets did, people will choose that evil which will speak their language (I'm not saying west will be evil but if it adopts measures that will make it loose it's moral high ground it will be seen as such).

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    I strongly endorse the sentiments of Jedburgh and LawVol.

    It seems to me the Geneva Conventions as they stand are just a codification of simple humanity. For us to "re-define" them will be seen as, and I think is, an attempt to get around doing the right thing. If we stand for the right when it is hard and painful to do so, it ennobles and strengthens us in the long run. It doesn't weaken us.

    On a personal note, as an American living overseas, I don't like the Administration placing me in a position where I have to explain this kind of thing.

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    Default I am going to continue playing Devil's Advocate...

    ... we adhere to all the Conventions - down to the last dotted i and crossed t. But, say in 5 or 10 years, there is little or no progress in defeating the threat we now face. Is there some "line in the sand" scenario where we should throw caution to the wind in reference to the Geneva Conventions?
    Last edited by SWJED; 09-16-2006 at 12:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    ... we adhere to all the Conventions - down to the last dotted i and crossed t. But, say in 5 or 10 years, there is little or no progress in defeating the threat we now face. Is there some "line in the sand" scenario where we should throw caution to the wind in reference to the Geneva Conventions?
    We have made tremendous progress in the broader fight against terrorism in the past five years. This despite continuing turf battles, blinkered parochialism, and plain old bureaucratic stupidity. I tend to agree with the sentiments expressed in the article I posted in the "The Whole News" forum earlier today. We are generally on the right path, although much still remains to be done. Dispensing with the questionable procedures under discussion and bringing the processes to light would enhance our current efforts, not impede them.

    Where we are having significant problems is with Iraq and, increasingly, Afghanistan. Much of what has been discussed on this board since its inception deals broadly with those two areas of conflict. Although events in both areas certainly have an effect upon the wider GWOT, there is no "line-in-the-sand" where we should throw out the Law of War in the conduct of those operations in a desperate final attempt to maintain control. There may come a time when we have to admit failure and withdraw, from one or both. And that will cause us some significant strategic headaches, should it come to that.

    Rather than a line-in-the-sand, the situation where I can see the US throwing out the Conventions and all other restraints, is if there is a massive failure that results in a catastrophic attack on our shores. Say, along the lines of a nuclear explosion at a major US port, as described in the recent RAND pub, Considering the Effects of a Catastrophic Terrorist Attack. If such a horrific scenario should come to pass, the American public would not accept, they would demand the gloves come off completely.

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    Default Latitude & Choices

    I have to point out that treating illegal combatants -those whose actions preclude being given POW status - humanely in accord with Geneva and the Torture conventions in no way preclude us for trying and executing them for the commission of war crimes.

    The USG is fully within it's sovereign rights to try terrorists simply for being members of al Qaida, proscribing it as an outlaw organization as we once did with the SS, Gestapo, SD and other Nazi affiliates. Especially, trials for fighting out of uniform, for deliberately targeting civilians, for the wanton murder of injured American soldiers on the battlefield, streamlined military trials are justified under international law, the laws of war ( as saboteurs) and Ex Parte Quirin. The recent SCOTUS decision pointed, in fact, to Ex Parte Quirin as the appropriate model and not the vague, shifting, arguments offered by the Bush administration..

    In the latter examples, the death penalty is both reasonable and an appropriate outcome upon conviction, barring any mitigating circumstances in terms of cooperation on intelligence matters. As this option could not be, legally and historically speaking, more clear, I can only conclude that the Bush administration, as an act of policy, seeks to avoid any kind of trials indefinitely or at least until they can drop the issue in the next administration's lap.

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    Default Can I get an Amen for Jed and Zen

    These two posts have said it all. In my humble or not so humble opinion. Terrorism is a man made concept (problem) and it's counter is a man made solution (Rule of Law). The more we stray from this the more our country will loose the moral high ground. Zen especially points out that there are laws to handle this situation that we have not even begun to use!! Why we haven't done this I don't know, but we need to get at it!!!

    As for line drawing that is exactly what the enemy wants, for us to have a half baked policy of you do this and I will drop the big one. If we follow this policy what do we think the enemy will do?? exactly that which will provoke us into killing huge numbers of civilians. Just like they do !!!

    One area that we can exploit is non-lethal and less lethal weapons development. Weapons of mass protection!!! I have never seen a detailed study of the Russian experience where they used knock out agents to paralyze the bombers in Moscow. The bad side effects were that there were not enough medical personnel on site ready to deploy the anti-dote which resulted in about 1/3 of the hostages being killed. But this could be overcome I am sure.

    The other is the seizure of terrorist financial assets and give them to the victims family!!! They may kill a family member but the family as a whole will become stronger. I believe this would have a dramatic effect on the terrorist. If we can ever figure out a way that terrorism can be turned into a benefit to this country instead of a financial drain, I suspect it will help change their method of operation and push it more toward a political dialog in order to achieve a long term solution.

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    Default The failure of the lawfare model

    9-11 was the result of following the lawfare model embraced by some of the comments above. By treating the enemy as criminals, entitled to due process and discovery we revealed intelligence that permitted Osama to hide his plans for the 9-11 attacks. This occurred when evidence was provided to defendents in the African Embassy bombing case that the US was intercepting Osama's satelite phone conversations. Many have mistakenly attributed Osama's halt in using his satelite phone to media stories about the fact he used one, but Osama never hid that fact. He instead used his satelite phone to talk to the media and among otherthing deny that he was responsible for the embassy bombings.

    Besides the problems caused by having to reveal intelligences sources and methods, the lawfare approach has another problem. It leaves us on the strategic defensive, mainly reacting to attacks rathr than taking the battle to the enemy and disrupting his plans.

    The current debate over what form the trials of unlawful enemy combatants will take is in many ways a result of a flawed interpretation of the Geneva Conventions by the Supreme Court in the Hamdan case. I would take a more passive aggressive approach to dealing with that problem. The unlawful enemy combatants would be told that they will be held until the ened of the conflict like any other detainee in a war. If that results in an effective life sentence so be it.

    As for the issue over interrigation techniques, it is clear to me that the President's approach will be more effective at preventing future attacks and that the PR advantages of the alternative approach do not offset the risks of not preventing further acts of mass murder. Supporters of the alternative approach are asking the US to risk paying a high price for some minimal PR brownie points with people who are at best, indifferent to our national security.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merv Benson View Post
    Besides the problems caused by having to reveal intelligences sources and methods, the lawfare approach has another problem. It leaves us on the strategic defensive, mainly reacting to attacks rather than taking the battle to the enemy and disrupting his plans.
    If we can't convict a bad guy without supposedly compromising a significant source, we obviously ain't got that much on him. Translation: somebody isn't doing a very good job. Look at the record of domestic terror-related cases that have been dismissed for lack of evidence in the past year. There is an issue that needs to be fixed there, but it has more to do with building competencies than with changing the rules.

    Your disparaging comment about adhering to the rule of law putting us on the "strategic defensive" is utterly false. We have made a lot of progress in advancing beyond the traditional LE post-incident investigative approach towards leveraging inter-agency intelligence fusion in support of both LE and SOF ops disrupting the bad guys before they can act. There have been many unheralded successes over the past few years, although we still have a long way to go - especially domestically.
    I would take a more passive aggressive approach to dealing with that problem. The unlawful enemy combatants would be told that they will be held until the ened of the conflict like any other detainee in a war. If that results in an effective life sentence so be it.
    I believe that by treating them as captives in a war, we unjustifiably elevate their status. Treat them as common criminals - with due procedure and appropriate sentencing.
    As for the issue over interrigation techniques, it is clear to me that the President's approach will be more effective at preventing future attacks and that the PR advantages of the alternative approach do not offset the risks of not preventing further acts of mass murder. Supporters of the alternative approach are asking the US to risk paying a high price for some minimal PR brownie points with people who are at best, indifferent to our national security.
    ...and your experience with interrogation is...?

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