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Thread: Capture, Detain and COIN: merged thread

  1. #61
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Presley Cannady View Post
    How long does it take to replace an IED?
    That's actually the first questions that I wanted answered in my PIR (Priority Intelligence Requirements). During the first three weeks, we'd watch from observation posts to get an idea of the enemy's TTP's. Typically, it was a 72 hour process. Day one, dig. Day two, emplace the IED. Day three, wire it and prepare to blow it.

    After we understood the enemy's decision making cycle, in their OOODA loop as some would say, we started killing emplacers. I wanted to make it too costly for them to emplace IEDs. The bad guys turned to using young children. We didn't shoot them.

    Or a bombmaker for that matter?
    They didn't, and my IED problem went away fast. We went from taking 12 attacks a day to only one every three days. The enemy turned to assassination attempts on key local figures and harrasing attacks on regular folks.
    Last edited by MikeF; 06-24-2010 at 11:00 AM.

  2. #62
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    I can't follow what you are talking about here. Are these prisoners taken in combat or people picked up at road blocks for during sweeps/searches?
    This was in a village that I was seizing that served as Al Qaeda's headquarters for my area of operations. After we cleared it, I established a patrol base at the former AQ headquarters. We literally took down the Black AQ flaq and replaced it with an Iraqi one.

    Most of the prisoners were picked up during patrols for doing something bad- shooting at us, trying to blow us up, etc. The only time that I did sweeps was to bring four guys in so that I could talk to one source without blowing his cover. We didn't really do checkpoints. Instead, we used blocking positions as part of our attempt to limit traffic in and out of the town. That, and some serious curfews until we could get the violence under control.

    Bottom line, the tactical questioning of prisoners was very effective for us.

  3. #63
    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    This doesn't make sense to me. Are you talking about releasing people taken in arms against us because they won't be kept long enough or provide enough intel? How would that be a good idea? Are you seriously trying to put forward the idea that we tell the troops, "Hey, you know the guy who just took a shot at you but you captured him instead of killing him? Well, take his gun and send him home."? Good luck with that.
    “Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.”

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Heh. Well, implementing that would likely make the detainee

    population decline. However, I suspect the 'enemy' KIA count would suddenly climb...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    population decline. However, I suspect the 'enemy' KIA count would suddenly climb...
    That is pretty much what I was thinking as well. There would not be outright executions, before someone hysterically suggests that. There would probably be a lot less enthusiasm to put one's self or one's subordinates in harms way to capture bad guys who will then be released. This would be incredibly bad policy and I can't see any government adopting it, least of all ours.
    “Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.”

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default True on all counts. Producing more KIAs would be explicitly

    prohibited and the ROE would be tightened to try and make it officially difficult. Officers and NCOs would be told to not allow it and most would try to do so. However, Joe tends to ignore Leaders, niceties and rules when his survival is at stake -- as he should when Leaders implement dumb rules...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    population decline. However, I suspect the 'enemy' KIA count would suddenly climb...
    As you would expect, preferably with command sanction. My read of Shu Han's expedition to Nanzhong is that ROE was very loose; she burned thousands of insurgents and civilians alive when the fighting took the villages, but quickly turned the survivors loose with some sort of reparation for their hardship. I ask the question to find out to what extent detention and ROE restrictions mutually interact to advance or deter pacifying an insurgent populace. I also get the impression the COIN camp focuses on ROE at the expense of other means in which to assuage enmity within the host population. So, could a more liberal detention policy offset the impact of a more robust firefight?
    PH Cannady
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    You release them and they are back in the front line before you know it.
    General Stone releases 10,000 detainees and only 40 return. What I'd like to know is what percentage were dead to rights fighters, and what was the median length of their detention.

    You detain them until the war is over. You do understand the futility of just releasing captives don't you?
    Well, the hypothesis is that released insurgent can tell his friends, family, and neighbors about the folly of resistance, assuming the message is loud and clear and he gets it. Put another way, a low recidivist rate amongst detainees should correlate to some size web of resources unavailable to the enemy in the future. Given I can only find fragments of evidence from a single case in history, I freely admit this is nothing more than a hypothesis.
    PH Cannady
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    Default 80,000

    If I remember the numbers correctly we officially processed 80000+ detainees in Iraq up to 2008 or 9 ? Of that number we release 73,000+. Question: Are our soldiers and Marines really that bad when it comes to IDing the enemy? If you catch a civilian with a rifle he is a combatant and therefore a POW. They belong in the POW camp for the duration. This processing detainees under the Rules of Law is not what the US Military is trained for. Now if you want to release a POW in exchange for information....hmmm...OK...especially, if he can tell me something I don't know. In a insurgency you gotta have a system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polarbear1605 View Post
    If I remember the numbers correctly we officially processed 80000+ detainees in Iraq up to 2008 or 9 ? Of that number we release 73,000+. Question: Are our soldiers and Marines really that bad when it comes to IDing the enemy? If you catch a civilian with a rifle he is a combatant and therefore a POW. They belong in the POW camp for the duration. This processing detainees under the Rules of Law is not what the US Military is trained for. Now if you want to release a POW in exchange for information....hmmm...OK...especially, if he can tell me something I don't know. In a insurgency you gotta have a system.
    Don't know what percentage of detainees are noncombatants inadvertently swept up, but my understanding is that the released also include known insurgents vetted by some process to secure low recidivism.

    From Chapter 2, Article 10 of Hague Convention IV 1907

    Art. 10. Prisoners of war may be set at liberty on parole if the laws of their country allow, and, in such cases, they are bound, on their personal honour, scrupulously to fulfil, both towards their own Government and the Government by whom they were made prisoners, the engagements they have contracted. In such cases their own Government is bound neither to require of nor accept from them any service incompatible with the parole given.


    Art. 11. A prisoner of war cannot be compelled to accept his liberty on parole; similarly the hostile Government is not obliged to accede to the request of the prisoner to be set at liberty on parole.


    Art. 12. Prisoners of war liberated on parole and recaptured bearing arms against the Government to whom they had pledged their honour, or against the allies of that Government, forfeit their right to be treated as prisoners of war, and can be brought before the courts.
    Clearly the laws of war anticipate the release of prisoners of war within the duration, and other than where where the laws of a belligerent reciprocate there doesn't seem to be any limit on the generosity with which parole may be offered. More to the point, there doesn't seem to be a restriction at all on releasing detainees with no conditions placed on them whatsoever. That last option is precisely what I'm investigating.
    PH Cannady
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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polarbear1605 View Post
    If I remember the numbers correctly we officially processed 80000+ detainees in Iraq up to 2008 or 9 ? Of that number we release 73,000+. Question: Are our soldiers and Marines really that bad when it comes to IDing the enemy? If you catch a civilian with a rifle he is a combatant and therefore a POW. They belong in the POW camp for the duration. This processing detainees under the Rules of Law is not what the US Military is trained for. Now if you want to release a POW in exchange for information....hmmm...OK...especially, if he can tell me something I don't know. In a insurgency you gotta have a system.
    That was definitely an issue for us. We would roll a guy up with proof that he was making IEDs or financing a cell or whatever. We would then have to turn him over to the local legal system for processing. If he knew the right people or had the money, he would be out before our after action reports would be done. That was not every time, mind you, but it was often enough.
    “Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.”

    Terry Pratchett

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    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    That was definitely an issue for us. We would roll a guy up with proof that he was making IEDs or financing a cell or whatever. We would then have to turn him over to the local legal system for processing. If he knew the right people or had the money, he would be out before our after action reports would be done. That was not every time, mind you, but it was often enough.
    I'd simplify that into,

    What is the fairness of the host nation judicial system?

    Two other factors to consider,

    1. How are prisoners treated?

    2. Does an environment exist for radicalization at the prisons?

  13. #73
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Hard to say, I think...

    Quote Originally Posted by Presley Cannady View Post
    As you would expect, preferably with command sanction.
    In this era, I doubt that, if by sanction you mean the Command encourages more killing and less detention. I believe the reverse would be the case and there would be a top loaded effort to ensure that Troops did not do the logical (to them at the time) thing regardless of 'rules.'
    I ask the question to find out to what extent detention and ROE restrictions mutually interact to advance or deter pacifying an insurgent populace.
    I believe that is quite complex issue and the answer is very much situation -- METT-TC / specific war and location -- dependent. I doubt there's one catch all answer.
    I also get the impression the COIN camp focuses on ROE at the expense of other means in which to assuage enmity within the host population. So, could a more liberal detention policy offset the impact of a more robust firefight?
    I concur with your impression but believe the answer to the question is subject to many variables.

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    Default Task Force 134, Camp Bucca, etc.,

    was a Rule of Law operation (treating detainees as criminal suspects to be eventually charged and tried under Iraqi domestic law), as Polarbear pointed out in post #18. In effect, our (US) forces acted as quasi-police officers.

    Currently, US detainees under the Laws of War (all under Common Article 3, 1949 GCs) are those held at Gitmo and some held at Bagram. So, be careful about applying Laws of War to the Iraq situation - clearly, US Laws of War applied to members of the Iraqi armed forces detained in 2003 during the course of major combat operations (those being EPW under 1949 GC III).

    The issue, of course, is whether Task Force 134, Camp Bucca, etc., were effective in at least neutralizing detainees who were released. The 2008 article re: Task Force 134 (cited by PC at post #17) was impressive in its apparent conversion of most all releasees.

    But, in following up, I came on this Kings of War article from 1 Jun 2010, US detention ops: whatever happened to COIN ‘inside the wire’?:

    Around two years ago, several articles and blog-posts appeared detailing the hard work of Gen. Douglas Stone, then the commander of Task Force 134 and in charge of detention operations in Iraq. The attention converged on the change of strategy within the Task Force, previously known mostly for its implication in various prisoner-abuse scandals. Under the command of Gen. Stone, the focus changed toward something more akin to the counterinsurgency principles of separating extremists from moderates, and of working with the latter to curb the influence of the former. To that end, each inmate was given an ‘initial assessment’ to determine his political orientation, religious beliefs and social concerns. The point was to engage with the prisoners’ motivation for violence, both within the prison and upon their release. It emerged that whereas some were hellbent on killing Americans, or other Iraqis for that matter, others were simply disillusioned, angry, acting out of revenge, or had no other prospect than to pick up a gun and become an insurgent.

    Based on these assessments, Task Force 134 tailored a range of measures to deal with the inmates on the basis of their individual situation rather than as an undifferentiated whole. These measures included educational courses for those uneducated or of school age, vocational training for lower-risk inmates, religious courses (deradicalisation) for Islamist extremists, and psychological help for particularly traumatised inmates. The detention facilities held 140 reviews daily to assess inmates’ threat level. Those granted release were placed in front of an Iraqi judge to discuss their future and sign a binding pledge to renounce violence. While Gen. Stone said he did not envisage turning ‘radicals’ into ‘choir boys’, the Task Force apparently experienced a significantly reduced return rate (maybe 3-4%). Within the prisons, moderates had even launched a backlash against the extremist elements that had previously used the facilities as insurgency training grounds.

    This astonishing work first gained my attention as part of some research I was doing on political reintegration in Iraq (the result of which will soon be released in paper-back). Since then, I admit to having lost the thread somewhat, so I was surprised and dismayed to read in The Guardian last week, that according to Iraqi Major General Ahmed Obeidi al-Saedi, a full ‘80% of prisoners released from US-run Camp Bucca have rejoined terrorists’ (H/T Jeff Michaels). Just a week earlier, another senior Iraq Army officer, Major General Qassim Atta, put forward a similar charge, noting that ‘the majority of the detainees who used to be inside US prisons went back to work in crimes and terrorism’ and that ‘many of them occupied leadership positions in Al-Qaeda’. (more in article, comments and links)
    The two articles outlining the May 2010 Iraqi claims on ineffectiveness were:

    Iraq prison system blamed for big rise in al-Qaida violence. "General claims 80% of prisoners released from US-run Camp Bucca have rejoined terrorists." (Featuring Major General Ahmed Obeidi al-Saedi).

    Iraq says prisoners released by US rejoined Qaeda. (Featuring Major General Qassim Atta).

    Now, I'm not saying that we should believe the Iraqi generals over our own. I am saying that it would pay here to make haste slowly in suggesting a scenario that is counter-intuitive to many of us.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Default Jail Break

    Early this morning, Afghan time, 476 prisoners escaped from a prison in Kandahar. The terp in our office says the local talk shows are having a field day with this. The corruption and incompetence of the Karzai government is exposed for all to see.

    Another story, says ISAF has arrested or killed 453 "militant leaders" this year. So the bad guys are up 23 so far? Is this indicative of the future here?
    Last edited by LawVol; 04-25-2011 at 05:40 PM. Reason: add link
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    "You must, therefore know that there are two means of fighting: one according to the laws, the other with force; the first way is proper to man, the second to beasts; but because the first, in many cases, is not sufficient, it becomes necessary to have recourse to the second." -- Niccolo Machiavelli (from The Prince)

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    I have this recurrent image of a "Abdullah McQueen" bouncing a ball off a wall, waiting for the tunnel to be finished...
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    Default The Sarposa Prison Break (2008)

    The Sarposa Prison Break (2008)

    Entry Excerpt:

    The Sarposa Prison Break (Kandahar, Afghanistan, 2008) by Captain Nils N. French, Canadian Army, Canadian Army Journal, Summer 2008.

    "Prison breaks have been used as an insurgent tactic on other occasions. Examples from the last few years include the release of 23 prisoners from a jail in Yemen in February of 2006, 33 prisoners from a prison in Muqdadiyah, Iraq in March of 2006, 49 prisoners from a prison in Cotabato, Philippines in February of 2007, and 300 freed from a facility in Chattisgarh, India in December, 2007."
    The Sarposa Prison Break (Kandahar, Afghanistan, 2008).
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-30-2013 at 12:53 PM. Reason: Merged today

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    Default The Rules - Detaining HVTs and Others

    This thread is a non-identical twin to the thread, The Rules - Engaging HVTs & OBL, which deals with the kill aspect of neutralizing the enemy. This thread deals with the capture (detention) aspect of neutralizing the enemy. It also can tie in with the convert aspect of the tri-part neutralization concept (kill, capture or convert).

    Two reasons for the thread are (1) the apparent uncertainty within the ICRC concerning the rules of capture and detention in non-international armed conflicts (to the US, Common Article 3 situations); and (2) the definite uncertainty in what US law will be as the President and Congress work toward (or away from) a common detention and trial framework in the National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA; see Lawfare over the last few weeks).

    As to the ICRC's issue, we have from Lawfare, Red Cross Conference Acknowledges “Gaps” in International Humanitarian Law Governing Detention (Lawfare 3 Dec 2011; by John Bellinger, who is a partner at Arnold & Porter LLP. Prior to that, he was Legal Adviser at State [2005-2009], and previously was Legal Adviser to the National Security Council (NSC) [2001-2005]):

    The 31st Quadrennial Conference of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent closed on Thursday in Geneva with the adoption of a resolution inviting the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to study whether existing international humanitarian law is adequate, or needs to be strengthened and clarified, as applied to persons detained in armed conflicts. The Quadrennial Conference comprises the 194 States Party to the Geneva Conventions and all the national humanitarian aid societies that are part of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The resolution, and the ICRC reports that preceded them, constitute a candid and remarkable acknowledgment that — contrary to the adamant assertions of some observers — international law in general, and the Geneva Conventions in particular, do not in fact provide clear guidance to states engaged in detention activities and instead have some legal gaps.

    Although the next steps are not clear, it appears likely that the ICRC will convene some kind of working group, in coordination with states, to examine the gaps and how to fill them. In an interview on the Conference website, an ICRC expert says “One possibility would be to negotiate a new treaty on detention issues. But other possibilities would also have to be considered, because some States may not see the need to adopt new treaty law. One of these, for example, would be to use more “soft-law” instruments – i.e. detailed rules that provide guidance without being legally binding. Or we could state more precisely what constitutes good practice.”
    The ICRC prepared two important background reports for the conference:

    Report on International Humanitarian Law and Challenges of Contemporary Armed Conflicts

    Strengthening Legal Protection for Victims of Armed Conflicts

    The ICRC has conducted a two-year internal survey to consider whether the GCs are "relevant" to present-day armed conflicts. I would suggest that the issue is not whether the GCs are "relevant" (a fairly low bar); but whether they are "material" (and if so, to what extent).

    In any event, here is Bellinger's assessment of the present ICRC position on a number of key issues:

    While international humanitarian law contains detailed rules on conditions of detention in international armed conflicts, this is not the case in conflicts not of an international character, especially those governed by Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions, the minimum norm applicable in all non-international armed conflicts. There is a need to elaborate specific provisions on the various elements that make up a detention regime with a view to ensuring that detaining parties, whether State or non-State, ensure that those who are in their power are treated humanely.

    The relevant rules of customary law are by necessity formulated in general terms, and thus do not provide sufficient guidance to detaining authorities on how an adequate detention regime may be created and operated.

    In contrast to the Fourth Geneva Convention rules governing international armed conflicts, there are no international humanitarian law treaty provisions on procedural safeguards for internment in non-international armed conflicts.

    Customary international humanitarian law prohibits arbitrary deprivation of liberty, but does not provide criteria for determining what is “arbitrary”. Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions contains no provisions regulating internment, apart from the requirement of humane treatment. Internment is, however, clearly a measure that can be taken in noninternational armed conflicts, as evidenced by the language of Additional Protocol II, which mentions internment in Articles 5 and 6 respectively, but likewise does not give details on how it is to be organized.

    Given the evident challenges faced by persons who might have reason to fear for their safety if they are transferred to another State, it is absolutely necessary to provide legal guidance to detaining authorities in such cases. The lack of legal provisions in the humanitarian law governing non-international armed conflicts suggests that it would be highly advisable to provide for a set of workable substantive and procedural rules that would both guide the actions of States and non-governmental armed groups and protect the rights of affected persons.

    Some of the gaps in the existing applicable law require the preparation of new legal solutions.
    Bellinger and co-author Vijay Padmanabhan recently addressed a similar set of concerns, “Detention Operations in Contemporary Conflicts: Four Challenges for the Geneva Conventions and Other Existing Law.”

    The most extensive practice in the area of detention lies in the US Courts (primarily the DC Circuit and District judges), as we have seen in individual cases discussed in this thread, Crimes, War Crimes and the War on Terror.

    Regards

    Mike

  19. #79
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    Default A place to check

    Mike,

    My apologies I should have mentioned this blogsite before, run by a contact in Belgium, Legal Issues in the Fight Against Terrorism:http://legalift.wordpress.com/

    Currently for example it has:
    An Interview with Jeremy Sarkin, Chair-Rapporteur of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, on the Study on Global Practices in Relation to Secret Detention
    Link:http://projects.essex.ac.uk/ehrr/V8N...iew_Sarkin.pdf
    davidbfpo

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    Default Interesting blog, ....

    David, since the blogger is Mathias Vermeulen, Research assistant of Martin Scheinin, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism, at the European University Institute.

    Scheinin, Helsinginpoika, is well-known in the International Law "community" - as an advocate of a "law enforcement" approach to terrorism; that is, that International Humanitarian Law (Laws of War, Armed Conflict) is not directly applicable and that primary recourse must lie in International Human Rights Law. That is also the approach taken by our Mary Ellen O'Connell; as is exemplified in this post by Vermeulen, Last thoughts on the ‘kill-or-capture’ order of Bin Laden:http://legalift.wordpress.com/2011/0...-of-bin-laden/

    I mentioned Scheinin's credentials in this post from a couple of years ago, Martin Scheinin.

    To make it clear (so that no one will mistake me for what I am not), my position on Violent Non-State Actors is not defined by whether one calls them "terrorists". Below a certain violence level, they are criminals; above that level, they are combatants (albeit probably irregular and not privileged under the GCs). So, unlike Vermeulen, Scheinin and O'Connell (mentioned by me more regularly), I follow the 2001 AUMF and the Law of Armed Conflicts as being available in situations they would find exclusively belonging to "law enforcement". I also see criminal law as a useful adjunct (as I've stated numerous times).

    In various cases, these people and I reach the same results; but for different reasons.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-09-2011 at 08:37 AM. Reason: Repair broken link

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