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Old 07-07-2006   #1
SWJED
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Default Capture, Detain and COIN: merged thread

The following excerpts appeared in the 17 July (print) issue of National Review - not online to non-subscribers - Bing West e-mailed a copy to the SWJ / SWC...

Quote:
America as Jailer

by Bing West

...The original Gitmo population hovered around 800, but it is now down below 500. Thanks to years of questioning and thousands of inquiries with intelligence services around the globe, a record several inches thick has been accumulated on each prisoner. The interrogators are convinced that 85 percent of Gitmo inmates are terrorists who are intent on continuing their jihad even during imprisonment. Killing a guard is their highest goal, followed by suicide—as a political weapon, not an act of despair. Of 44 suicide attempts, only three have succeeded. The rest have been thwarted because guards have intervened, often at the risk of their lives.

In Guantanamo’s relatively small population, the huge expenditure of American energy has garnered intelligence dossiers that are deep in detail but narrow in scope. In Iraq, where the U.S. holds 14,000 prisoners, the problem is the opposite: Too many are set free because there are not enough resources to closely analyze each prisoner. In Guantanamo, the focus is on extracting information about terror networks through tedious, uncoerced interrogations. In Iraq, the focus is on distinguishing between al-Qaeda-type extremists and nationalist resisters. This requires skilled interrogators, and there aren’t enough of them.

THE REVOLVING DOOR

Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, recently took the risk of releasing 10 percent of the estimated 25,000 prisoners in his country. The intent was to wean “mainstream Sunni resisters” away from the al-Qaeda types by releasing the former and keeping the latter in prison. While courageous and well-intentioned, this reconciliation gesture had a stark downside: After being set free, many insurgents have only had their status enhanced in the eyes of their peers. We don’t know the recidivism rate in Iraq, but in the U.S. it is over 60 percent. It is telling that some of our soldiers have begun referring to Abu Ghraib as “Osama U.”

The policy of releasing Sunni insurgents has the tragic consequence of attenuating deterrence. What do insurgents have to lose from being arrested for fighting if they know they will soon be released by authorities? By not wearing uniforms, they can take advantage of rights comparable to those afforded to criminal suspects in a liberal democracy.

The data on Iraq’s revolving door are revealing. In May, for instance, one American battalion in Ramadi detained 178 suspects—35 percent for possession of explosive devices that kill Americans, 45 percent for illegal weapons or inciting to riot, and 20 percent for outstanding arrest warrants. Every arrest required an enormous amount of hard work under a blistering sun. Each detainee was questioned by an experienced team of interrogators, supervised by a military lawyer who had been an assistant district attorney in the U.S. Within 18 hours, 100 of these arrestees were released with mere warnings. Most had been illegally carrying weapons in their cars.

The remaining 78 were charged with serious offenses. Most refused to answer questions. The arresting American soldiers filed two sworn statements for each arrest, together with photos from the crime scene. The detainees were sent to the brigade level, where 50 were released and 30 were sent to Abu Ghraib Prison to await an Iraqi hearing. Once at Abu Ghraib, still more of these detainees were released by a Combined Review & Release Board, consisting of American and Iraqi officials. The battalion was notified of each release via a convoluted Internet system. To protest any release, American troops had to secure the signature of a colonel...

... Net result: Over 85 percent of all those detained are released within six months.

Senior American officials believe the battalions are indiscriminate in making arrests. The battalions believe the senior officials are under political pressure to release hard-core killers who know how to lie. Either way, the system is broken: In the U.S., one male in 75 is in jail. In Iraq, it is one in 500. So either Iraqis are seven times more law-abiding than Americans, or the judicial system in Iraq is a mess.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s death, while a major achievement, does not affect the motivations of the foot soldiers in the Iraqi insurgency. We have not created jobs for a million angry Sunni youths. Nor have we created an effective deterrent against their working for the insurgency. In Ramadi, for instance, an unemployed youth is paid $40 to emplace a roadside bomb. It is unlikely that he will be caught in the act, and, if he is caught, he knows the odds greatly favor his release. Our soldiers mock the arrest of insurgents as a “catch and release” fishing tournament.

At best, our current operating procedure shows a failure to communicate between our senior and junior military leaders. Either the lawyers and interrogation teams at the battalion level are incompetent, or the senior reviewers have become timorous because of adverse publicity, and are now determined to close all American-run prisons.

At worst, our porous anti-insurgency effort is undercutting the larger reconciliation strategy. The lack of a justice system inspires vigilantes and fuels sectarian violence, which is compounded by Shiites with militia ties who are hired as prison guards. Reconciliation is a mockery if there is no punishment for rebellion or murder. Prime Minister Maliki has justified the release of 2,500 prisoners as “a chance for those who want to rethink their strategy.” But if these freed prisoners persist with their violent attacks, more Americans and Iraqis will die...

CRIME & PUNISHMENT

So what should be done? First, stand firm on life imprisonment for terrorists. In Guantanamo, the physical evidence justifying detention is weak, but knowledge of the prisoners has led the reviewers to conclude that they remain a danger to society. In Iraq, the physical evidence is much stronger, but knowledge of terrorists’ states of mind is usually nonexistent, owing to a lack of interrogators...

Second, advertise and showcase Guantanamo as the last stop for terrorists. The Pentagon’s program of inviting reporters to see for themselves is the correct course. The United States has nothing to hide at Gitmo. The prisoners are well treated and the guards are a credit to their country. The more reporters who visit, the better.

Third, get tough on the killers. Most Americans and civilians in Iraq are killed by improvised explosive devices, yet the administration has refused to say whether it is a war crime for a man in civilian clothes to plant such a device. Stop this shilly-shally...

Fourth, repair the disconnect between the U.S. battalions in Iraq making the arrests and the senior officials who keep releasing detainees. The frequency of releases is brewing cynicism, and we must come up with a single system that enables arresting soldiers to be a part of the review-and-release program...
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Old 07-07-2006   #2
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Default Politics.....

Bing Wests' piece is an affirmation of my deep seated fear. Political considerations hampering the war effort. Very frustrating, and I also suspect that this problem spans pretty much the full spectrum of ops to some degree.
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Old 04-17-2007   #3
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Default Iraq: COIN and Detention Ops

An interesting pair of articles from the Spring 07 MP Bulletin:

Counterinsurgency Operations Within the Wire—The 306th Military Police Battalion Experience at Abu Ghraib
Quote:
...The detainee mission in COIN is difficult. Numerous factors and other missions will be encountered. Leaders simply must incorporate the art and science of war to complete the mission. I would suggest that the enemy prisoner of war internment/resettlement battalion modified table of organization and equipment be adjusted to include a JAG officer, a cultural advisor, and an information operations officer to support the operational theme. In an insurgency, the U.S. Army needs a civil affairs team to work with maneuver units in matters that occur between family members and detainees held by the United States. The 306th Military Police Battalion completed its mission at Abu Ghraib without having to use deadly force against any detainees. There were no serious injuries to U.S. personnel or detainees due to the use of force, and there were no substantiated claims of abuse....
Attack on Abu Ghraib: Warrior Police in an Iraq Theater Internment Facility
Quote:
The 306th Military Police Battalion (Internment/Resettlement) operated the Abu Ghraib
Internment Facility (AGIF) in Iraq from January to November 2005. The insurgent attack on the
facility on 2 April 2005 was a testament to the quality of our Warrior Police and provided key
lessons learned for future detainee missions. The intricacy, length, and intensity of the attack and the number of attackers made this one of the most sophisticated assaults ever on a coalition facility within Iraq. More than 60 insurgents conducted this well-planned and well-coordinated attack using improvised explosive devices (IEDs), truck bombs, indirect fire, and a small-unit assault that signaled a new era in insurgency attacks.

Last edited by Jedburgh; 04-17-2007 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 11-18-2007   #4
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Default Detention operations and COIN

Looking for any and all information that may relate to detention operations in COIN. I've gone through FM 3-24 and Galula's Counterinsurgency Warfare. I am also aware of the recent article in Joint Force Quarterly.
What I am looking for goes beyond the TTPs of detainee treatment, how to interrogate, etc. I'm looking for anything that describes how detainee policies were used for IO effect (selective and general release programs, differing cultural perspectives on insurgents being detained vice being killed, etc.).
To my mind its the recognition that a counterinsurgent's COIN battlespace extends "behind the wire;" Its not just from the intelligence that may be gathered, but from the actual fact of detainees being held from a community and how their status may be used in the overall COIN battle. I think it must go beyond the law enforcement impetus to get bad guys off of the street (espeically if the community does not necessarily recognize them as "bad" guys).
Thanks.

Last edited by PhilR; 11-18-2007 at 06:25 PM. Reason: grammar and spelling
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Old 11-18-2007   #5
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Check your email.
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Old 11-18-2007   #6
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Default Chieu Hoi

Hi,

I got all three of these by googling "Chieu Hoi." The first two seem somewhat on-point, the last less so. Hope these are helpful.

Regards
Jeff

http://www.rand.org/commentary/082505NYT.html

http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniont...e26jenkin.html

http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_me...6/RM4830-2.pdf
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Old 11-19-2007   #7
Mike in Hilo
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Phil: For post-release treatment so attractive as to be tailor-made for IO, and successful IO exploitation of this fact (granting of land titles to the former insurgents), you may wish to check out the EDCOR op in the Philippine Huk insurgency. MG Lansdale offers a couple of melodramatic (as was his wont) anecdotes in his book, In the Midst of Wars, but more useful details are likely available on the net. I'd be hardput to see direct Iraq applicability, but at the least it's a potential footnote for your project.

As you no doubt know from the literature, the undeniably (see the numbers!) successful Chieu Hoi project missed the boat on post-release follow up---Some ralliers were enlisted in the allied effort (scouts, propaganda team members, PRUs), but most of the 100K plus were left to sink or swim, sans monitoring, after release from the Chieu Hoi Centers.... In retrospect, the potential use of this manpower in, say, an expanded RD Cadre force composed of ralliers instead of urban draft dodgers, could have raised interesting possibilities...

(I mention this hypothetical alernative because I suspect this is the kind of thing you're looking for, if I've correctly understood your query. Such a return of the Hoi Chanh to their villages as an organized force didn't happen, though.)

Cheers,
Mike.

Last edited by Mike in Hilo; 11-19-2007 at 11:34 PM. Reason: Add final parenthetic para for clarification.
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Old 11-19-2007   #8
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It's not too detailed, but this is an account from the CO of the 306th MP BN -

http://www.wood.army.mil/mpbulletin/...dfs/Hussey.pdf
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Old 11-19-2007   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffWolf
....I got all three of these by googling "Chieu Hoi." The first two seem somewhat on-point, the last less so. Hope these are helpful....
You will find a tremendous amount of primary material on the Chieu Hoi program running searches in the Virtual Vietnam Archive, an outstanding resource.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Rodgers
It's not too detailed, but this is an account from the CO of the 306th MP BN....
Previously posted on SWC.

...also previously posted, but containing some discussion of the subject under discussion, both direct and tangential, is last year's reprint from RAND of Counterinsurgency: A Symposium, April 16-20, 1962
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Old 11-19-2007   #10
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Default Further references

Hi,

I came across this list on Amazon: PSEUDO-TERRORIST OPS: Deep Cover Military Sting Operations

Both this - How collusion was built into the system, and this - DOUBLE BLIND: The untold story of how British intelligence infiltrated and undermined the IRA, <Teague, Matthew, Atlantic Monthly Apr 06, Vol. 297, Issue 3> - deal with Northern Ireland.

This title sounds promising - From Coercion to Consent: Selective Amnesty and Reward Programs in COIN

Finally, I came across: Ramakrishna, Kumar. 2002. “‘Bribing the Reds to Give Up’: Rewards Policy in the Malayan Emergency.” 9 War in History 332.

Regards,
Jeff

Last edited by Jedburgh; 11-19-2007 at 11:14 AM. Reason: Fixed links.
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Old 11-19-2007   #11
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Default Dillon, Dirty War

Hi,

I forgot to post this title:

The Dirty War: Covert Strategies and Tactics Used in Political Conflicts.

<http://www.amazon.com/Dirty-War-Strategies-Political-Conflicts/dp/041592281X/ref=si3_rdr_bb_product>

Regards
Jeff
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Old 11-19-2007   #12
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Default Lessons from jail

I'd recommend a closer look at the Northern Ireland situation, where it is commonly agreed jailing terrorists had a remarkable political impact and there was more pressure from prisoners on the political process than those outside exercised. Similar effect in South Africa. Indeed there is traffic in expertise between the two since peace.

Less well known here (in the UK) is the experience in Italy, with the Red Brigades and Spain, with ETA.

From a different angle the study of women suicide bombers held in Israeli jails has some lessons, best source I can readily find is:

http://www.labat.co.il/

Set up by an Israeli academic, Yoram Schweitzer.

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Old 11-19-2007   #13
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From Mao's little red book. Pretty interesting, because he wasn't exactly a democrat. I read somewhere that it worked pretty well. His policies might be worth researching.

"Our policy towards prisoners captured from the Japanese, puppet or anti-Communist troops is to set them all free, except for those who have incurred the bitter hatred of the masses and must receive capital punishment and whose death sentence has been approved by the higher authorities. Among the prisoners, those who were coerced into joining the reactionary forces but who are more or less inclined towards the revolution should be won over in large numbers to work for our army. The rest should be released and, if they fight us and are captured again, should again be set free. We should not insult them, take away their personal effects or try to exact recantations from them, but without exception should treat them sincerely and kindly. This should be our policy, however reactionary they may be. It is a very effective way of isolating the camp of reaction."

"On Policy" (December 25, 1940), Selected Works, Vol. II, pp. 446-47.*
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Old 11-22-2007   #14
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Default Thanks

I appreciate everyone's response. It has provided some leads and additional material to look at. I think this is a relatively understudied point. For many tactical commanders, it seems like once the intel has been pulled out of a detainee, the attitude is that they are now out of the picture and that is a good thing (I know this is probably an unfair generalization).
However, the detainees still count in the minds of the populace. Unless they are considered bad actors by the general populace, detaining them is not percieved as an action to protect the populace. This all plays into long term reconciliation and amnesty considerations.
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Old 11-22-2007   #15
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Two additional sources:

Fran Lisa Buntman, Robben Island and Prisoner Resistance to Apartheid. Cambridge University Press (2003)
http://www.amazon.com/Robben-Island-...28/ref=ed_oe_p

Kieran McEvoy, Paramilitary Imprisonment in Northern Ireland: Resistance, Management, and Release, Oxford University Press, (2001)
http://www.amazon.com/Paramilitary-I...5717446&sr=1-2

The Buntman book is excellent and develops a theory of prisoner resistance (referred to as a 'continuum'); i.e. the different motivations and means by which 'political' prisoners exist in prison; it is also a useful account of how the ANC leadership prepared for its eventual move into government.

The McEvoy book is a slightly different book, not developing quite such a high level set of conclusions, but I don't think there is a single better detailed examination of PIRA's (and others) activities in prison.
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Old 11-22-2007   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilR View Post
I appreciate everyone's response. It has provided some leads and additional material to look at. I think this is a relatively understudied point. For many tactical commanders, it seems like once the intel has been pulled out of a detainee, the attitude is that they are now out of the picture and that is a good thing (I know this is probably an unfair generalization).
However, the detainees still count in the minds of the populace. Unless they are considered bad actors by the general populace, detaining them is not percieved as an action to protect the populace. This all plays into long term reconciliation and amnesty considerations.

Good luck. Happy Thanksgiving. I know you're busy over there, but if you get a chance, let us what you've learned. (There's lots of very smart people here, thinking about their next deployment.)
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Old 06-11-2008   #17
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Default COIN behind the wire

"His most notable innovation has been to institute “COIN behind the wire” — that is a counterinsurgency program aimed at weaning detainees away from terrorism."

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/bl...php/boot/10831

No offense to the good general, but I have doubts about the innovation of an idea that took 50 years to realize. Probably there were other examples prior to Korea, but the most poignant example of POW insurgency was in that war, when the North had trained operatives get captured so that they could continue the war in the camps. The gap between Koje Do and Abu Ghraib suggests we might need to speed up our response cycle. The real problem that situation created for the UN war and peace effort further argues that this ought to have been more important to strategists and practitioners than a fifth-year-of-the-war effort.

Regards,
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Old 06-11-2008   #18
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Default Not the American way. We don't pay any attention

to our history; it's poorly taught, mostly and de-emphasized everywhere -- amazingly so in the Armed Forces. That and the ego that says "I don't need to know what someone else did because this situation is unique (almost never true) and I am unique (too often true -- and not in a good way)."

So, we get to continually reinvent wheels. In my lifetime we've invented round ones three times, triangular ones twice, Square five times (a US Army specialty) and polygons of various degrees about six times.

We also have 'up or out' and a personnel system that moves you to justify its own existence and those two things destroy any attempts at continuity. Add the pressure to do something stupendous in each rating season and you've got an invitation to trouble. The truly sad -- even agonizing -- thing is that virtually every error in Iraq either I or one of my equally old buds predicted and that includes the detainee bit...
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Old 07-25-2008   #19
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USIP, 24 Jul 08: Iraq: Positive Change in the Detention System
Quote:
In the spring of 2004, the Abu Ghraib scandal marred detainee operations in Iraq. The photographs of American mistreatment of Iraqi detainees tarnished the U.S. image, undermined Washington’s efforts in Iraq and enflamed the insurgency. Even today, one single common denominator is found among foreign insurgents captured by Coalition forces: each has seen a seven-minute al-Qaeda film showing U.S. servicemen and women committing acts of torture and abuse.

In an effort to reverse this legacy, Major General Douglas Stone, former deputy commanding officer for detainee operations from April 2007 to June 2008, undertook massive reforms of Multinational Forces – Iraq (MNF-I) detainment. Stone spoke at USIP on June 11, 2008, one week after his redeployment from Iraq. The following is a summary of his remarks.....
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Old 07-28-2008   #20
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US military: Iraq inmates imposed Islamic justice

By KIM GAMEL – 1 day ago

BAGHDAD (AP) — For years, extremist Iraqi detainees in U.S. custody held self-styled Islamic courts and tortured or killed inmates who refused to join them, military officials said, disclosing new details about the use of American prisons to recruit for the insurgency.

The problem became the main catalyst for a decision to separate moderate detainees from the extremists, part of a broader reform package aimed at correcting widespread U.S. prison abuses that sparked international criticism.

"We were having people who weren't insurgents who were being forced to be insurgents because of the power of these courts, the power of al-Qaida and other extremist groups," said Lt. Col. Kenneth Plowman, a spokesman for Task Force 134, which operates coalition detention facilities in Iraq.

He told The Associated Press Friday that the jailhouse Sharia courts were formed, despite the presence of U.S guards, to enforce an extreme interpretation of Islamic law. They were then used to convict moderate inmates, who were then tortured or killed, he said.

In comments published in the Sierra Vista Herald in Arizona, Brig. Gen. Rodney L. Johnson, commander of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, put the number of detainees tried by the courts in the double-digits. Neither he nor Plowman would give specific numbers.

The courts were eradicated and none has been detected in six months although some gang-related issues persist, Plowman said.

"We have a detainee population of about 21,000. You're gonna have extremists who will find a way to communicate and to form these kind of organizations," he added.

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5h...ttSmgD925PU1O0
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