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Thread: Mumbai style attack in kabul..

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    Default Mumbai style attack in kabul..

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8464763.stm

    A few early observations:
    1. The "Mumbai style attack" is here to stay. Any city in the world can be hit by 10 or 20 suicidal attackers and hours or days of chaos will ensue.
    2. On the other hand, this is not the first mumbai style attack in afghanistan and ALL of them have been cleared within hours, not days. Security forces also learn (and are probably more competent in Afghanistan than they are in India).
    3. These attackers were NOT as ruthless as the Mumbai attackers. Shopkeepers were apparently told to get out. This probably means that Afghans were doing the attacking, not Lashkar e Tayaba types, and afghan taliban continue to be wary of civilian casualties. This is not likely to be the case in future attacks in India or other "infidel" countries, where attackers can and will kill anyone they see.
    4. Ultimately, there is no defence against these attacks in most of Eurasia except by getting the planners and organizers to stop (either by killing them or by pressurizing them in some other way or buying them off or accepting their demands). IF an organization like Lashkar wants to carry out an attack in India or Russia, its only a matter of time. Given the incompetence and general corruption rampant in most states, an opening will be found. Even a country like China can be hit provided the militants WANT to do it badly enough.
    "The future's so bright, got to wear shades...."

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    1. The "Mumbai style attack" is here to stay. Any city in the world can be hit by 10 or 20 suicidal attackers and hours or days of chaos will ensue.
    It's not new or even "Mumbai Style" - Lod Airport 1972 and the Israel Coastal Road attack in 1978 follow this same basic pattern. There are many more examples, if you look.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    William,

    werent those attacks just one or two attackers aiming to shoot some people and die shooting, not 10-20 gunmen who capture buildings and hold out till death? I guess its splitting hairs, but as Hegel would say, at some point quantitative difference becomes qualitative...

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Terrorism is armed propaganda

    With a few exceptions terrorists attack targets for their propaganda impact. Only rarely do they attack key national targets, although attacks on US embassies are the exception - since Beirut - as they are suicidal.

    So there is a continuity over time, as Wilf cites from Israeli history and more contemporary attacks like Mumbai are alas an escalation. They remain armed propaganda, with all the real-time imagery that technology enables.

    In the UK's recent experience the Provisional IRA did mount spectacular attacks like Canary Wharf in London, the Arndale Shopping Centre in Manchester and a M-way junction. All had an impact commercially, notably Canary Wharf. They also tried twice to kill the key members of the UK government, with the Brighton hotel bomb and No.10 Downing Street with mortars - both times nearly killing the cabinet.

    I am sure there are other "near misses" on key national targets, so I await how the discussion goes.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    I guess its splitting hairs, but as Hegel would say, at some point quantitative difference becomes qualitative...
    Split away. It may be useful to do so. My observation is merely that in essence, we have seen this before. It's not new. Now we may have also ignored it, - like IEDs and Insurgents - but it is a known known.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Default Dust settles

    After the hype of the initial reporting, including by the BBC, the "dust" has settled and here is one commentary: http://freerangeinternational.com/blog/?p=2531 which is scathing on the Taliban's tactical ability:
    The attack on Kabul yesterday was yet another demonstration of how inept the Taliban are at the planning and execution of a simple raid. The attack has been described in the press as “audacious” and “brazen” which is true. All their attacks in downtown Kabul are conceptually bold military moves; but they accomplish nothing. A better description of their performance would be incompetent. Seven heavily armed attackers – one in a bomb-rigged ambulance killed three policemen and two civilians, one of them a child. They failed to make it onto their objective retreating instead into the most popular market in downtown Kabul which they then destroyed. That is a dismal performance by a raid force which had gained complete surprise when they unmasked themselves in Pashtunistan Square.
    Here's the BBC's Ms Doucet, who did not give the initial report:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8468231.stm and the veteran BBC reporter, John Simpson has a small column within this report:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8464763.stm where he says:
    the fact that the attack was soon dealt with is far less significant than the fact that the Taliban was able to carry it out....In the eerie darkness of Kabul I spoke to a group of Afghan special forces who had fought the insurgents - tough impressive men. I asked if the Taliban could win this war. No, they shouted. But there are other ways to win a war than simply fighting. And persuading the world that the Taliban can strike when and how they want is one of them.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-20-2010 at 09:23 PM.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Talking Heh. John Simpson emphasizing the supposed power

    of the media to shape events. The older guys excel at that neat little mind trick. John learned it long before he got wounded and lost his driver going into Iraq seven years ago.

    I do not deny they have some capability to do that but I firmly believe that capability is about a tenth of what they believe it is. Still they keep trying...

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    Its hard to see how the ISAF psyops people could change this situation (they could easily make it worse), but someone somewhere should come up with a way to change the media theme from "bold and audacious taliban attack" to "remarkably effective Afghan response"...I think the afghan regime and its foreign supporters can win this war with or without changing the media theme, but it would help...

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    of the media to shape events. The older guys excel at that neat little mind trick. John learned it long before he got wounded and lost his driver going into Iraq seven years ago.
    You got it! Watch the footage he had shot of himself immediately after the incident.
    "But there are other ways to win a war than simply fighting. And persuading the world that the Taliban can strike when and how they want is one of them."
    Well he is utterly wrong, but I guess he'll figure it out.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    A point to simply throw in for debate...

    The insurgents used, it seems, about 15-25 fighters for this Kabul assault. In Oct 08, they used in the region of 300 for an unprecedented conventional assault on Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand. That was a fun night, but more to the point could that tell us anything? In particularr I'm thinking of the debate over the Taliban's unity of command, or lack thereof.

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    When I used to prosecute criminals in jury trials, virtually every case would center on just one or two of the elements of the crimes that the defendant was charged with.

    (For those with the good fortune not to have spent any time in the U.S. criminal system, criminal charges are broken down into sub-components called "elements": typically that this defendant, on or about this date, in this jurisdiction, conducted this act, with this mental state. These elements are what the prosecutor must prove "beyond a reasonable doubt." So as I would sometimes remind juries being introduced to this concept that whether or not Mr. Simpson could put his hand in a glove is certainly interesting and good theater, but it was only important so far as it contributed to their degree of doubt as to that one element of the crime that he was charged with: was it "this defendant" who committed the crime.)

    Anyway, the one or two elements in question were typically in question because this is where the evidence available was either the thinnest, or of a nature to most likely be targeted by the defense attorney in some clever attempt to create "reasonable doubt" where only unreasonable doubts actually existed.

    Not only would I focus my trial theory around these weak points, so that they would be shored up continuously throughout the trial, I would also very pointedly explain the concept of elements to the jury during the opening statement and tell them myself (never let your opponent deliver the bad news and make it look like he caught you either hiding something or simply being unprepared) what I saw as the one or two areas in question for this particular trial. I would then explain to them that it was my duty to prove every element of every crime beyond a reasonable doubt, not every issue that might be brought up that day, and to hold me to that standard. That was then their duty to either acquit the defendant if I failed in my duty; to find him guilty if I succeeded.

    I am a strong believer in understanding what one is trying to accomplish, and being quite forthright about what the potential areas of concern are. You MUST condition the jury to expect certain types of attacks at your points of weakness as well as educate the jury as to what it is that actually signifies success.

    I was rarely the most experienced attorney in the courtroom, but I was always the only combat vet Special Forces officer in the room. I won a lot of trials by applying principles of unconventional warfare and by doing what I describe above.

    Too often leaders try to hide these points of weakness, and do not educate the jury (i.e. the populace) of what the true measure of success is. To me this is fundamental to effective IO. We know for a fact that the TB is committed to conducting such high profile attacks, be it bombings in major cities, or shooting down of a helicopter. We need to condition the populace to the likelihood of such events, and educate them as to what they actually mean in the big scheme of things.

    When the defense attorney would then launch his attack at my weak point, I rarely saw the jury react in a negative way. What I typically saw was them exchange knowing looks with each other, and often me, that here the attack is, just as I, their trusted agent of the state had told them it would be, and they would lean forward and take notes, because they knew not only that it was important, but why.


    Just a thought. We could do much better at conditioning and educating the juries for our current operations.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 01-24-2010 at 02:08 AM.
    Robert C. Jones
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    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Default Trade secrets

    Hi Bob,

    Giving away trade secrets again

    Actually an interesting outline of what a prosecutor should do. Now, I was usually one of those "clever" defense attorneys - albeit pro bono (the fees covered only part of my office overhead) cuz I had to stay on good terms with a couple of judges who were always running short in their usual "public defender" pools.

    Both of them, in their generalized advice to me when I started, emphasized the "elements", which boil down to what you have to prove or to disprove to win the case. Now, you would have been a tough opponent cuz you wouldn't try to gloss over the weak element(s) in your case. Here's the rest of the story (if the defense attorney has a convincing "Narrative").

    The only way to fight your opening statement is to get right in there (no reserved opening in such a case) along the lines of: Now, Mr Jones has pointed out these areas of his case which are weak (name them). He is exactly right in saying that. And now I'll tell you the accurate facts that prove each of those weaknesses, and some more besides.

    So, at that point, our respective "Narratives" are at issue.

    The same "TTPs" govern civil cases, which I found more interesting.

    This trade talk may have some relevance to warfare in general and unconventional warfare. The latter does deal heavily in Narratives. What it has to do Mombai-style attacks somewhat escapes me.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Elements

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    This trade talk may have some relevance to warfare in general and unconventional warfare. The latter does deal heavily in Narratives. What it has to do Mombai-style attacks somewhat escapes me.
    The Mumbai attacks were made of discrete elements. All warfare is a bundle of elements -- a key to warfare is understanding what those elements are and how they interact. If one can do that assessment quickly, one becomes an intuitive fighter...

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    Default Hey Ken,

    you have the creds to make the comparison - so I'll buy it (also in re-reading BW, that does seem his point - so, buy also on his creds):

    All warfare is a bundle of elements -- a key to warfare is understanding what those elements are and how they interact. If one can do that assessment quickly, one becomes an intuitive fighter...
    I suppose one could also make some sort of comparison re: meeting Mr Jones' attack with Mr McCarthy's immediate counterattack. Suffice to say that Mr Jones' attack took some preparation, as also Mr McCarthy's counterattack. Almost everything that works in the courtroom comes from work outside of the coiurtroom.

    But, then there was the attorney (call him Mr Smith) who said he made a point of not preparing "too much" ahead of time because he could be more extemporaneous that way. Can't say about his other cases, but in the one I tried (a joined civil action with the plaintiff claiming separate causes of action against Smith's defendant and my defendant), it was painful to watch the salami-slicing of Smith and his unfortunate client. So much for too much "intuition" of the wrong kind.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Thumbs up Once again, another gem!

    When the defense attorney would then launch his attack at my weak point, I rarely saw the jury react in a negative way. What I typically saw was them exchange knowing looks with each other, and often me, that here the attack is, just as I, their trusted agent of the state had told them it would be, and they would lean forward and take notes, because they knew not only that it was important, but why.
    Downright smart BW, and another tool for the kit bag.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Very true...

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    ...Almost everything that works in the courtroom comes from work outside of the coiurtroom.
    as most everything in warfare was learned, hopefully, before one went to war...

    That's why education and training are so important; pity we do not do that well...
    ...So much for too much "intuition" of the wrong kind.
    Absolutely. Applying intuition is not flying by the seat of the pants -- preparation is half any battle. What good preparation does is allow one to use ones intuition to best effect.

    For example, if Counsellor Jones and Counsellor McCarthy each lay out their elements as you and Bob state, the more intuitive one might see another element or two that his opponent had not seen or failed to mention, deliberately or otherwise and he might discern that it was a deliberate omission (the 'suck-them-in' ambush...) and might counter that by either mentioning it or by not doing so, feigning surprise at its later appearance and having prepared a deft counter ala Erle Stanley Gardner, completely derail the potential effect...

    The courtroom and the battlefield interplay come when the two opponents have identified 7 elements each, 6 of which are identical for each actor -- the 7th in each case provides two wild cards that can change things a great deal. The guy or gal who wins will be the one foresaw the opponents 7th element or can react the most rapidly and effectively to that wild card. In combat, that means the unit must be capable of reacting, not just the boss...

    Combat is thus slightly different in that all the weight is not on one individual per side and the Jury is absolutely, totally, blindly impartial -- no humans that can be swayed or dazzled with footwork, no case to be lost, just the reality of err and die.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    To take this a bit farther, one has to ask, what are the "elements" for victory; and have we communicated those effectively to our populace at home?

    Once this is accomplished, when some dramatic event, such as a Mumbai attack, or the recent attacks in Kabul; or the Tet offensive for that matter; occur the populace is already "conditioned" to the relative importance of the event. Then when the narratives over the event do battle after the fact, your narrative is more likely to prevail.

    "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit!" is a very snappy narrative; it is also complete BS, as the glove was just one of many factors that contribute to proving that one element.

    In Insurgency, the insurgent has the same advantage that a defense attorney does. He can make all kinds of outrageous claims that are merely designed to sound good to the target audience and create doubt in their minds. The counterinsurgent, like the prosecutor, must not only have an effective narrative, but must also perform. Advantage to the Insurgent, advantage to the Defense Attorney.

    (actually, I find most defense attorneys to be a far less honorable category of opponent than I do the average insurgent...but that is another story!! :-) }


    But the state has advantages as well; after all, it is "the state." The powers of the state can easily be abused if not held in check; and the populace is the jury; and while many may hold the average citizen in disdain; the average citizen is what makes this and any country great.

    Sometimes the state gets lazy and is taken down by a clever opponent with a better narrative, even though the state was not in the wrong. Prosecutors understand this; Governments in general sometimes forget.

    Another corollary from trial to COIN; is that as a prosecutor my primary focus was always the Jury, the Jury, the Jury. I really didn't worry much about who the defense attorney was, or who the judge was, or who my witnesses were. I really didn't even worry too much about who got on the jury. What I focused on was getting control of the narrative from the very moment the Jury pool entered the courtroom for Voir Dire (jury selection) and establishing an open, trusting relationship that I would nurture throughout the trial. I did not try to "defeat" the other attorney; I worked to "win" the Jury.

    I guess you all just got a little peak into "Bob's World." Many attorneys are far too focused on defeating their opponent. They may come across as smarter, make the guy/gal look bad, etc. But if they defeat the attorney, but "lose" the jury; they lose. This is true in COIN as well. Never forget that you are playing to the jury at all times, and that they will decide the ultimate outcome.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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    Default where was our IO response?

    Posted by BW,
    Too often leaders try to hide these points of weakness, and do not educate the jury (i.e. the populace) of what the true measure of success is. To me this is fundamental to effective IO. We know for a fact that the TB is committed to conducting such high profile attacks, be it bombings in major cities, or shooting down of a helicopter. We need to condition the populace to the likelihood of such events, and educate them as to what they actually mean in the big scheme of things.
    This Taliban attack on Kabul was a failure for the Taliban and a success for the Afghan security forces who responded quickly and effectively. Yet if you only read the twisted news reports in U.S. and British rags you would have thought that the Taliban had established control of the city with this so called daring attack. The reality is that the Afghan security forces made the Taliban attackers look like the clowns they were.

    Unfortunately, I didn't see a counter message to the spin that the rags put on the attack?

    This type of nonsense reporting on the Kabul attack parallels the sensationalism reporting over the Christmas Bomber attempted attack on the NW airlines. I don't want to down play the seriousness of an attack on a commercial airline with over 200 people on it, but the hyped reporting (entertainment) has unintentionally given Al Qaeda an IO victory on another failed attack. Putting this in context our "international security coalition" has pre-empted many attempted attacks and we are collectively killing and capturing many AQ members around the world. On occassion the AQ and their associates will achieve a tactical success, let's not hand them a strategic success by allowing our media to report sensationalism unchallenged with a more rational view. All they really did was blow something up and murder some people, anything that happens is due to our response. FDR was right when he said all we have to fear is fear itself.

    I recommend those in the IO field take BW's guidance to heart and start educating their populacess now on realistic security expectations and what these attacks mean, and that unforunately in the less than perfect world that we all live in there may be successful attacks. The typical response to date is shortly after an event the CPSAN pointing fingers theater starts to create the illusion of government action and corrective action while the reality is it is distracting the key players creating additional vulnerability, and it simply gives the irresponsible media more ammunition to create the illusion that the world is coming to an end.

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post

    "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit!" is a very snappy narrative; it is also complete BS, as the glove was just one of many factors that contribute to proving that one element.

    But it was the one the Jury was most likely to remember. Plus and most important they didn't just say it didn't fit but SHOWED IT TO THE JURY. One of my big grips with Attorney's is they always want to talk.......people on juries don't want to here all the legal mumbo jumbo by a bunch of overeducated people that live life based upon some abstract theory from the Judges chambers. They want too SEE the evidence. And once they saw the glove didn't fit....they were going to acquit IMO.

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    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Default Agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    But it was the one the Jury was most likely to remember. Plus and most important they didn't just say it didn't fit but SHOWED IT TO THE JURY. One of my big grips with Attorney's is they always want to talk.......people on juries don't want to here all the legal mumbo jumbo by a bunch of overeducated people that live life based upon some abstract theory from the Judges chambers. They want too SEE the evidence. And once they saw the glove didn't fit....they were going to acquit IMO.
    When I first started trying cases I did it like "I was supposed to," but it just didn't work for me. So I stopped asking the jury insanely hard questions during voir dire, and instead used that time to engage them in conversation, with me, and each other, about things they all were comfortable with, but that either directly or indirectly dealt with nature of the case in general, and my predicted point of weakness in particular. Go ahead and throw the mother of the young teenage honor student who was killed by a drunk driver off the panel, Mr. Defense attorney, you can never take back the impact her heartfelt words had on everyone who ended up on the final panel that will find your drunk driving client very guilty no matter how much he paid you for this trial.

    Defense attorneys are quick to object to demonstrations to the jury as well. Keep the facts out of evidence and create doubt. I had a defense attorney base his case on how his client failed his sobriety tests due to some sort of chronic equilibrium problem he had (rather than the 3/4 empty bottle of 151 proof rum rolling around the passenger side floorboard). He opened this door on cross exam of the officer who conducted the tests; on redirect I offered that since we had both the officer and a sober client here in the courtroom today that we should recreate the sobriety tests performed that night here on the courtroom floor for the jury to see for themselves (Ok, BIG risk, never ask a question you don't know the answer to, and I had NO idea how this might play out). Before his attorney could say anything the defendant blurts out that he'll do it; causing his attorney to rocket out of his seat to object. Long story shortened, the judge has the jury taken out, finally decides that he won't allow the sobriety test re-enactment, jury is brought back in and instructed to disregard what they saw and heard. (Truth in lending, I went on to lose that case on a total bonehead move technicality on my part; but the jury was definitely ready to pull the trigger on this guy).

    So Slap, trial, like war, is boring 99% of the time, but being ready to act when those exciting moments occur is the key to success. That and making sure that the judge actually heard your witness ID the defendant, and making a verbal affirmation of that fact yourself and getting it into the record... (That one still stings). Getting the boring part right is important too
    .
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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