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Thread: The US & Interrogation (catch all)

  1. #41
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    An interesting collection of essays, published by NDIC in Dec 06:

    Educing Information: Interrogation Science and Art
    ...Educing Information is a profoundly important book because it offers both professionals and ordinary citizens a primer on the “science and art” of both interrogation and intelligence gathering. Because this is a book written by and for intelligence professionals, it starts exactly where one might expect it to start – with Dr. Robert Coulam’s superb discussion of the costs and benefi ts of various approaches to interrogation. For those who are (like me) unschooled in the art and science of intelligence gathering, careful study of the table of contents is perhaps the best way to decide which of the papers would provide the most convenient portal through which to enter a realm that is, by the admission of the authors themselves, both largely unexplored and enormously important to our national security. Steven M. Kleinman’s excellent paper on the “KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Review” provided just the historical and theoretical background I needed to feel comfortable with the other papers. This book “works” either way....
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 04-02-2007 at 04:08 PM.

  2. #42
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    I remember getting the "you may want to look at getting out" letter in 1991. I was still Armor/CAV, but was scheduled to go to the MIOAC.

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    Default Advanced acclerated training?

    They will be provided accelerated training on basic and advanced HUMINT skills and be assigned to units deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom," he said....
    What exactly is accelerated advanced training anyway? Doesn't advanced training normally imply learning advanced skills and concepts, which normally acquire more time to learn, and then much practice to really learn?

    You look at all the posts on this great council and most address the complexity associated with small wars and the requirement for strategic corporal and Lts, and the Army's answer is shake and bake courses and lower recruiting standards?

    There seems to be a serious disconnect between the war fighters and those developing these polices.

  4. #44
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default On possible option at the lower levels...

    Pretty much every group of 40+ has one or two, sometimes more, guys who can just chat with everybody. I mention this, because it is the "talent" that underlies what makes a good Anthropologist or qualitative Sociologist. If a unit does not have "official" HUMINT people, then you can made do with people who like to chat. Toss in someone who is a musician or mathematician, i.e. they have the "talent" for either (or both - they are genetically linked), and you have an untrained analyst who has a "pattern recognition" skill. Like an IED, it is not "official", but it will work in a pinch.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
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    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
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  5. #45
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    Default Genetic screening

    Marc,

    I am partially joking, but I did sort of admire one of aspect of the USSR system, and that was their screening process for aptitude (perhaps not genetic screening, I don't think we had the technology or knowledge at the time) screening for their athletes and some of their academics. They produced some of the world’s best athletes. There is a parallel to what you are suggesting, although not a palatable one in the free world, and that is picking the best guy/gal for the job based on their aptitude whether they want to do it or not. If you could coach us on how to identify these people we could use a mentoring approach to persuade them to move into a career field more suited to their skills. However, I wouldn't confuse the gift of gab with a good human intelligence operator. The more important skill is the ability to listen without prejudice, and skillfully get the other guy to talk using empathy and other techniques. I noticed sometimes our gifted talkers are not the best listeners. They are also the ones most likely to give up our secrets inadvertently.

  6. #46
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    The Sovs also juiced their athletes. Not the best comparo. Also our system produced nearly as many gold medalists and we didn't necessarily cheat to do it, though perhaps it is best to say we outsourced our cheating to the private sector.

  7. #47
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Bill,

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I am partially joking, but I did sort of admire one of aspect of the USSR system, and that was their screening process for aptitude (perhaps not genetic screening, I don't think we had the technology or knowledge at the time) screening for their athletes and some of their academics. They produced some of the world’s best athletes.
    Believe me, I' not a genetic determinist by any means . The comments about a talent for mathematics and music going together is, however, quite well documented in the genetics literature and has been for about 40-50 years. You're quite right that we don't have the technology to do the screening and, to be perfectly honest, even if we did I would be against using it. A "talent", even if it is genetically based, is just a predisposition and doesn't replace actual skill, although it may make it easier for someone to acquire the appropriate skills.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    There is a parallel to what you are suggesting, although not a palatable one in the free world, and that is picking the best guy/gal for the job based on their aptitude whether they want to do it or not. If you could coach us on how to identify these people we could use a mentoring approach to persuade them to move into a career field more suited to their skills. However, I wouldn't confuse the gift of gab with a good human intelligence operator. The more important skill is the ability to listen without prejudice, and skillfully get the other guy to talk using empathy and other techniques. I noticed sometimes our gifted talkers are not the best listeners. They are also the ones most likely to give up our secrets inadvertently.
    I agree with you about the listening component. The thing about people who can talk to anyone is that it's usually pretty obvious to a skilled listener whether or not they are talking to hear themselves talk or whether they are actually listening and engaging the other person. The other type to look for is who do people go to with their problems?

    I suspect that both types of people could be identified back in basic training. If so, it might be worthwhile to consider creating something like a para-HUMINT training course. In fact, as I write this, I believe that a course already exists, or at least the syllabus for such a course, done by Phil Agre in the mid-1990's. If I remember correctly, and it's been years since I talked with Phil, he created a "How to do Ethnography" course and ran it very successfully. Since it was one class a week, I suspect that the entire thing could be reduced fairly easily to a 3 week course.

    NB: This would give you trained HUMINT people, but it would give you people who have some training in participant observation techniques and analytics that could as as para-HUMINT people. If they like it, then I'm sure they would also like the 30k signing bonus currently being offered .

    Marc

    ps. to Tom and Stan: $30,000! And you were willing to acept a mere $2,000 to get me in boots?!? Let's just say that the price of frozen Canadians has jumped radically!
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct
    ...I suspect that both types of people could be identified back in basic training....
    "Could", in an ideal world. Unfortunately, it ain't so, and basic training cadre in any given locale are both under-manned and over-worked. As is the rest of the Army. Hell, as Bill mentioned earlier, the Army doesn't do a very good job of selecting those for its dedicated special skill positions. SF does much better than the general run, of course, but HUMINT is damn near stuck with whoever signs up - despite utter and complete lack of talent. Especially these days.
    Quote Originally Posted by marct
    ...If so, it might be worthwhile to consider creating something like a para-HUMINT training course...
    Not a formal training course, but the doctrine of Every Soldier a Sensor (ES2) promulgated a few years back pointed in that direction. TRADOC picked out two ideal goals:
    • Soldiers trained to actively observe details related to Commanders’ Critical Information Requirements (CCIR) in an area of operations and competent in reporting their experience, perception and judgment in a concise, accurate manner; and,
    • leaders who understand how to optimize the collection, processing and dissemination of information in their organization to enable the generation of timely intelligence.
    It has been implemented to a varying degrees at different training locales, with both high-tech simulations and field exercises.

    For those of you with AKO access, in Aug 04 MNC-I published a handy little TTP on Passive HUMINT Collection, intended for the non-HUMINT trained soldier. Its useful.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 04-03-2007 at 06:14 PM.

  9. #49
    Council Member wierdbeard's Avatar
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    Default every soldier a sensor

    the only problem i have seen crop up from the every soldier a sensor is well, Soldiers that are not HUMINT tend to overstep the program when not properly advised. Knowledge of CCIR's is great but knowing what NOT to say when attempting to be sensor, too often i observed non-MI folks divulging CCIR's PIR's etc to foreign nationals in an attempt to answer them. basically giving alot more than they get. Personally i found that instruction on Tactical Questioning for squad leaders and PL's was beneficial for the limited HUMINT assets in a given area. those that took the instruction to heart so to speak gave great leads to be followed up by HUMINT personnel. As they can't be everywhere at once. On a personal note i made it a point to be able to speak to elements returning from outside the wire and those elements that that had a higher percentage of good leads i accompanied on patrols, granted I also had my own missions and it made for very long days but as far as i was concerned whatever it takes to get the job done.

    of great concern to myself is the decision to bring in SNCO's to the career field, i can foresee some problems at the team level if you have team members that have spent considerable time in the field and a newly qualified Team leader that well is qualified on the theory but not practice. in effect its reducing the amount of collectors in a given area if the TL is "learning the ropes". Its one thing to be close to the "flagpole" for suuport and guidance but another when teams are in "BFE" and contact with the command can be infrequent or virtually non-existant.

    thats just my 2 birr's worth.

  10. #50
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default MNC-I Guide

    For those of you with AKO access, in Aug 04 MNC-I published a handy little TTP on Passive HUMINT Collection, intended for the non-HUMINT trained soldier. Its useful.
    yep and Ft Huachuca disavowed it almost immediately. As for the every Soldier a Sensor, that is directed not so much as a HUMINT team substitute but to get back to basics in recce, int, and observation--those would be called basic skills in another era, especially for scouts.

    Personally I too thought the MNC-I guide was great because it "de-mystified" the HUMINT cult, and that is probably why Huachuca did not like it. I ran into the exact same attitude when dealing with HUMINTers sitting at desks in DC when I was collecting on the ground in Africa.

    And I understand fully Wierdbeard's concerns because I saw many of the same things happen in training and in operations when someoine starting winging it. Your concerns on senior transfers into the field are also valid; I have seen some of the same thing happen when it came to the "dual track" FAOs who had very little time in their AO but looked great on paper.

    Best

    Tom

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    I am a SSG currently reclassing to a 97E. I have read all of these posting and have found them most useful. I also can see where the 97Es are finding this a bad judgement call as well. It does make me a little nervous to know that once I am school trained and at a unit I will have some knowledge and no job experience. I am however a quick learner and have been deployed to OIF and OEF, at least thats a little in my favor. Anyways, even though I am a SSG and will not have the experience and knowledge of other Soldiers in the MOS I am willing to listen and learn. If a PFC ot SPC has the knowledge I need I will soak it up from him/her. The point Im trying to make is when I get to my unit I hope that there are seasoned NCO's and Soldiers there who will help me grow into my new MOS......not make me feel like a "shake-n-bake".

    If you have any advice that will help me prepare and make my transition smoother please provide it...I go to school in March 08 and have started reviewing the Regs that pertain to the MOS.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by John9867
    I am a SSG currently reclassing to a 97E....
    Welcome to HUMINT, John.

    HUMINT is critical at all levels in the current fight, and there is certainly plenty of opportunity to excel operationallly for a good NCO. However, historically the field has suffered from more than a few who are outstanding HUMINT'ers when operating at the strategic level or if kept where they only work with sources, but who fail miserably whenever they are placed in a tactical unit or are placed in any sort of leadership position. On the other hand, those who are good NCOs as regards tactical skills and basic leadership, but who understand little more than -10 level skills of their MOS, are still seriously lacking in that critical factor that all junior soldiers look to their senior NCOs for - the knowledge, experience and technical skills in their career field necessary to train and mentor their subordinates.

    To be effective in the current fight, a good HUMINT NCO must strive for excellence in both areas - as is right and necessary if he ever wants to be a true intelligence professional, and not just change his MOS. As an NCO who is about to change career fields, I'm glad you recognize the professional challenge ahead of you this far out.

    I'll only mention a couple of references in passing, that I don't believe I've mentioned in other threads here on SWC that you pull up with a simple search for "interrogation" (or "torture"). (I'm taking for granted that you are currently fully exploiting AKO, BCKS, CALL, MCCLL etc. for HUMINT AARs, lessons learned and emerging doctrine)

    First, look at the Laboratory for Scientific Interrogation website and take some time to read through the Reports section. Although SCAN is all about statement analysis, the basic methodology is a key element in cognitive interviewing - which is, in my personal biased opinion, the most effective interrogation methodology there is (when implemented by an experienced professional).

    Take some time while you have it and look through some of the academic writings on Social Network Analysis. If you grasp the concepts and can put in operational context, it helps to provide a rock solid foundation for the conduct of HUMINT analysis of the non-conventional organizations that most are struggling to understand.

    But HUMINT collection missions cover a broad spectrum, of which interrogation is only one piece. No one is going to discuss the finer details of running sources here. Yet the human communications skills that are integral to effective interrogation are also effective - with contextual modification - in debriefing, elicitation, negotiation, mediation - the entire spectrum of manipulative communications skills that are absolutely vital to a professional HUMINTer. However, keep in mind that they cannot be gained through reading - only by putting them into practice. And, in the end, only a fraction of those who attain the MOS will ultimately find that they have a real talent for putting those skills into practice in the operational environment. I don't really want to be potentiallly demotivating at the end, but this has always been the case.

    Finally, here on SWC, you will find much that will directly and indirectly help you understand your future mission. I wish you luck.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 05-10-2007 at 02:59 AM.

  13. #53
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Welcome. You didn't state what you were reclassifying from, but just in case you come from a "high speed" or even "medium speed" tactical background, be prepared for a "culture shock". MI guys can be maddening to work with. On one hand, some units are very informal, and they do not take their military bearing very seriously. On the other hand, some units are extremely anal about "playing soldier" to the detriment of common sense.

    As an NCO, pick your battles on the things that drive you up a wall. Most MI guys are good folks and with a firm and reasonable hand will turn out well. My greatest challenge when I went over to the "dark side" was continually refocussing MI types from the arcane to the relevant.

    Remember, whatever your former MOS, you have developed some Knowledge, Skills and Abilities that will be relevant to your job.

    Advance apologies to the many good MI guys who post here.

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    Thanks to you both. I will be sure to check the site out. I look forward to the challenges ahead. Just one more question....Arabic is the language to know right now......but what about Polish, is it ever needed?

    Thanks again!!

  15. #55
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Advisers Fault Harsh Methods in Interrogation

    30 May NY Times - Advisers Fault Harsh Methods in Interrogation by Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti.

    As the Bush administration completes secret new rules governing interrogations, a group of experts advising the intelligence agencies are arguing that the harsh techniques used since the 2001 terrorist attacks are outmoded, amateurish and unreliable.

    The psychologists and other specialists, commissioned by the Intelligence Science Board, make the case that more than five years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has yet to create an elite corps of interrogators trained to glean secrets from terrorism suspects.

    While billions are spent each year to upgrade satellites and other high-tech spy machinery, the experts say, interrogation methods — possibly the most important source of information on groups like Al Qaeda — are a hodgepodge that date from the 1950s, or are modeled on old Soviet practices...

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    Quote Originally Posted by NY Times
    ....a group of experts advising the intelligence agencies are arguing that the harsh techniques used since the 2001 terrorist attacks are outmoded, amateurish and unreliable....
    Wonder how much they paid those "experts"? All they needed to do was ask a few old, experienced HUMINT NCOs. The best advice in the world, for free. Read my posts on interrogation.

  17. #57
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    Kind of apples and oranges trying to compare interrogating German prisoners of war versus Al Qaeda terrorists. I agree, however, that the military can learn alot from good police interrogaters and polygraphists. A good polygraphist can get more information from a suspect with a broken polygraph machine just from the way questions are asked and responses are given. Of course we have to integrate culture and language when dealing with AQ but the techniques are similar.
    "But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet withstanding, go out to meet it."

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  18. #58
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    Default "Read my posts on interrogation."

    Jed, do you have a link?
    Last edited by Merv Benson; 05-30-2007 at 08:52 PM.

  19. #59
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    AKO Log-In and BCKS MI Net registration required

    Interviewing & Interrogating Militant Islamists: A Law Enforcement Perspective
    The paper is unclass, and not even FOUO or LES - but it is not generally available. It is uploaded on BCKS MI Net, but I'll go ahead and repost my comments here regarding the paper.
    The perspectives presented here reflect the collective input of professionals with backgrounds in the fields of law enforcement, intelligence analysis and operations, psychology, and psychiatry, and who have conducted interrogations or otherwise been involved in interviews with militant Islamists. The strategies and practices described have been used effectively in interrogation with militant Islamist terrorists and their supporters. These approaches are offered here to law enforcement personnel, not as a prescription or a cookbook, but as a springboard for thoughtful planning and execution of successful interviews and interrogations.....
    This is a good paper, broadly covering interrogation methodology in the COE. As the title states, it is written for a LE audience, but it is applicable to all whose mission encompasses interrogations of this nature. If I have a criticism of this paper, it is that it touches on certain key areas too briefly and doesn’t clarify the subject adequately before moving on. The following are just some rambling thoughts on the authors’ work…..

    The premise of this paper is the effectiveness of the empathetic approach in interrogation, and they repeatedly emphasize that an overly aggressive/forceful approach tends to be counterproductive. This was also stated clearly back in 1969 by the Army Vietnam-era FM 30-15 Intelligence Interrogation in Chapter 4, Interrogation Support for Stability Operations.

    The paper continually mentions, but never clarifies, the individual elements of the triad of factors essential to effective manipulative human communications: the cognitive, emotional and kinesic elements. The authors also allude to the use of control and repeat questions (which every Army interrogator is quite familiar with) but they are never clearly discussed. I agree with the authors’ conclusions within the paper, but I feel by failing to sufficiently amplify the narrative they leave a chunk of the target audience in the dark.

    The sections on “Foundations of the Rapport-Based Interview Approach” and “Preparing for the Interview” are fairly solid, and contain many elements with which most professional HUMINT’ers are well aware. However, as many of us have experienced, operational constraints such as time, manpower (both simple numbers and capabilities/experience), language ability/translator availability, area characteristics, etc. all can negatively impact the ideal scenario the authors envision.

    For those who haven’t read it, I highly recommend Oreste Pinto’s “The Spycatcher Omnibus”. Lt.Col. Pinto was a CI officer who debriefed/interrogated refugees from WWII continental Europe as they arrived in England. Many statements in this paper are faint echoes of the detailed instructional tales Lt.Col. Pinto relates in his book.

    The observations on associative vs linear thought processes are very important, as are those on shame vs guilt in Middle Eastern culture. These two issues certainly deserve a much more detailed study in the context of interrogation.

    The paper touches on “developing themes”, as is taught throughout the LE community in the Reid technique (it is also a course that is often made available to Army HUMINT’ers). But this is something I’ve long had mixed feelings about. Sure, a capable, experienced interrogators can subtly blend in a “theme” to help leverage his cognitive interrogation skills to effectively extract information. However, in lesser hands this methodology is nothing more than a longer narrative version of a leading question. And we all understand that’s a no-go.

    Finally, I strongly concur with the statement that “the interview may even assume some characteristics common to a negotiation”. After all, interrogation and negotiation are both forms of manipulative human communications. Regarding negotiation, keep in mind that there are two distinct aspects of negotiation, which tend to be separate fields of study. Interest-based negotiation for business and politics, as exemplified by Roger Fisher and William Ury in “Getting to Yes” provides a wealth of value for those smart enough to understand the principles and shift the context. The skills of LE crisis negotiation (hostage/barricade/suicide) also will provide you a significant return on investment the next time you’re sitting down with a source.

  20. #60
    Council Member Abu Buckwheat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post
    Wonder how much they paid those "experts"? All they needed to do was ask a few old, experienced HUMINT NCOs. The best advice in the world, for free. Read my posts on interrogation.
    I wasn't one of those experts they consulted but I have worked as an interrogator/translator/analyst and on the other side of the coin ended up running a SERE program to defeat these tactics when used by AQ or a threat military and I am ashamed to think that our government and military commanders think this works.

    Many of the techniques that have come in for such criticism were based on those used in the military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training, or SERE, in which for decades American service members were given a sample of the brutal treatment they might face if captured.

    Because the training was developed during the cold war, the techniques later adopted by the C.I.A. and Special Operations officers in Iraq were based, at least in part, on how the Soviet Union and its allies were believed to treat prisoners. Such techniques included prolonged use of stress positions, exposure to heat and cold, sleep deprivation and even waterboarding.

    A report on detainee abuse by the Defense Department’s inspector general, completed in August but declassified and released May 18, gives new details of how the military training was “reverse engineered” for use by American interrogators. It says that as early as 2002, some SERE trainers and some military intelligence officers vehemently objected to the use of the techniques, but their protests were ignored.

    Absolutely right! We have been teaching for four decades that the Geneva Convention and global outrage against countries that don't provide the GC and human rights in captivity would pressure them into providing better treatment. It worked in Vietnam and in Korea and now "according to the press" it appears these techniques were taken stock from our SERE training manuals which DO NOT represent American methods of interrogation or prisoner management - they were simulations of our enemies. I won't get into OPSEC but let me say this ... Torture, Stress and Duress doesn't work to meet our goals. Period. Now we have GURANTEED all of our future PWs will be denied requests followed by "Did you give the prisoners of Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo these same rights?" Truth or lie, it will defeat 50 years of consolidated SERE effort to help our captive PWs. Tens of thousands of Americans endured torture and depravity from the Indian War to OIF to create this deep corporate base of knowledge, this wall of resistance information and we have taken it down with our own hands!

    This decision to use coercion and the constant requests for more permission to abuse is a mindless stupidity done without thinking through the consequences!

    Torture and duress will get anyone to talk but nothing, and I mean nothing, they say will be worth the spit that produced it or the shame and disgrace that we have gotten from resorting to our enemy's methods. Getting Zarqawi was good Intel work with no (known) use of torture or real S&D, if OSINT is to be believed. But any of those old HUMINT NCOs who think they can beat answers from a prisoner apart from trying a Threat-Rescue technique are fooling themselves. The issue at question here isn't professional techniques ... none of this is professional. Its about conciously selecting activites that are truely coercive and damaging to the prisoner as well as to the interrogator for the fantasy of getting something good. The more he resists the more frustrated the interrogtor gets and then what? You kill him? We've had that happen already. Who here is proud of that?

    At SERE we taught our students that resistance was possible and that the more a threat force applied torture or coercion showed that you were winning the small battle between you and an authoritarian enemy.

    I guess we are that enemy now and we are essentially running a real-world/Pass-fail SERE program for AQ and the Iraqi insurgents. Let me say this here and now. These 30,000 "terror suspects" from Iraq and the Ghan, gulity or innocent will come out of Camp Buca, Baghram or Abu G as "stress inoculated" people with a GRUDGE against America. Match that with a deep religious belief that Allah has more planned for them and you have a man that will die to avoid in captivity or, if captured can quicky slip into a nether world of insanity ... as we said at SERE "You can't interrogate the dead or the crazy." Now imagine them teaching their experience to hundreds of new Jihadi recruits and running their own resistance programs ... its already happening. We are creating our own professional resistors.

    I've read torturer and victim bios from Argentina, Israel, Rwanda, Britain, China, Laos, Vietnam and went to death camps in Germany, Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda just to wrap my head around how these guys could do such a thing to PWs. In Cambodia I saw a waterboarding technique perfected to a science ... until I went to SERE. I taught Geneva Convetions as a shield to abuse for four years and Voila! Because of 9/11, my own government is embracing this strategy? I am disgusted.

    We as men of honor need to run AWAY from this. Now. ... and use all of the best minds in this country to develop a non-coercive program that makes any captured Jihadi our best friends forever and want to move to Iowa and study agriculture ... there is no "24" taking bomb scenario worth the honor and soul of this great nation. If there was then someone so committed will die before they talk.
    Last edited by Abu Buckwheat; 06-06-2007 at 05:38 AM. Reason: Spelling!
    Putting Foot to Al Qaeda Ass Since 1993

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