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Old 04-12-2007   #1
Jedburgh
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Default Brazil: violence in (merged thread)

IHT, 11 Apr 07: Rio governor requests Brazil army intervention to quell violence
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Gov. Sergio Cabral Filho has formally requested that the army intervene to contain the violence that has been spiraling out of control in Brazil's most famous city....

...Silva planned to meet with army officials Thursday about the operation. Rio — one of the world's most violent — is scheduled to host the Pan American Games in July....
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Old 11-07-2007   #2
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Reuters, 6 Nov 07: Brazil Busts Death Squads After Wave of Killings
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Police in northeastern Brazil arrested 34 people, including policemen, lawyers and merchants, on Tuesday on charges of participating in death squads believed to have killed hundreds of people.

The groups operated in Recife, capital of Pernambuco state and the most violent of Brazil's crime-ridden cities based on per capita homicides.....
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Old 09-26-2008   #3
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Default Interesting Film

I recently saw an interesting movie on comcast on demand, possibly called, "Elite Unit" about a law enforcement group known as BOPE in Brazil which is like a self autonomous elite SWAT/SOF L.E. unit. They have a long operational leash to put it mildly.

Its not at the same level as the classic film, Battle of Algiers but its an interesting film. I researched it on the net and the director stated that while filming a torture scene that an actual BOPE member approached him and told him that the technique was all wrong and showed him the proper way to execute it without leaving marks on the victim. The director felt it was their way of showing they didn't care about the film being made. Its worth watching if you can find it.
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Old 01-10-2009   #4
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Default Police in Rio Try War Tactics

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...010502741.html

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"They probably thought we were going to leave like usual," Cunha said from the school, which has become the headquarters of Rio's latest experiment in urban policing. "But this time we're staying."

The police have regularly launched large operations in Brazil's favelas, or slums, in their battle against drug gangs over the years, but authorities say the occupation of Santa Marta, a relatively small, contained neighborhood, is part of a new approach, a pilot project for the future of crime fighting in this violent city. Brazilian police officers are attempting counterinsurgency tactics similar to those used by U.S. soldiers in Iraq -- setting up small bases occupied around the clock inside violent neighborhoods, developing intelligence by living among their adversaries, and using government funds to rebuild broken areas and generate goodwill.

"Santa Marta is like a laboratory for policing a conflict area," said Antônio Roberto Cesário de Sá, a senior official in the office of the public security secretary of Rio de Janeiro. "The idea is to rescue a territory that until now has belonged to a drug-dealing gang."
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Old 01-10-2009   #5
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Default War Tactics?

Sorry, this reported experiment in Rio is not an application of "new" COIN war tactics. This is a tried and tested police tactic, which lives under all manner of names: sector policing, neighbourhood policing etc. IIRC this method has appeared in the USA, the snag was keeping the assigned officers living in their patrol base.

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Old 01-10-2009   #6
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Sorry, this reported experiment in Rio is not an application of "new" COIN war tactics. This is a tried and tested police tactic, which lives under all manner of names: sector policing, neighbourhood policing etc. IIRC this method has appeared in the USA, the snag was keeping the assigned officers living in their patrol base.

davidbfpo

Absolutely correct.

In several western states to this day Deputy Sheriffs officers live in their communities as a requirement of the job. Though that is starting to wane as a technique of controlling crime.
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Old 01-11-2009   #7
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Default Agree, but

Dave, I agree it isn't new, but I do think you can make an argument that it is under utilized, and that most "modern" police forces are not equipped or trained to do this. I believe there are still several neighborhoods in the U.S. alone (as compared to globally) that are controlled by gangs, and in these areas the police at most do drive by policing or respond to 911 calls.

The way the article read, it sounds like they established a combat outpost (with the emphasis on combat) in the heart of bad guy turf in order to get control of the turf. They had to fight their way in, then put in sufficient force to hold. Makes you wonder where the bad guys went, and if the next fight will be harder. I'm not a law enforcement expert, but I haven't read about too many cases where police have done this type of operations before. I think the NYC police did some surge operations, and used large buses as their police outposts?

Anyway I thought it was of interest for a few reasons, one you captured, the other is nature and degree of the criminal threat in many places.
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Old 01-11-2009   #8
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Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
The way the article read, it sounds like they established a combat outpost (with the emphasis on combat) in the heart of bad guy turf in order to get control of the turf. They had to fight their way in, then put in sufficient force to hold. Makes you wonder where the bad guys went, and if the next fight will be harder.
I read something about this... Oh yes. Carl Von Clausewitz. On War.
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Old 01-11-2009   #9
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Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Makes you wonder where the bad guys went, and if the next fight will be harder. I'm not a law enforcement expert, but I haven't read about too many cases where police have done this type of operations before. I think the NYC police did some surge operations, and used large buses as their police outposts?
From different aspects it is a fairly common tactics of United States domestic law enforcement. Often called emphasis patrols or similar catchy titles (my favorite is wolf packs). Emphasis patrols can be sweeps for prostitution, drugs, or juvenile (gang) campaigns. Emphasis patrols usually last a few weeks at most. They usually sweep up some percentage of the criminal target population, and then create dislocation of some percentage, and some percentage hibernates until the sweep is done.

The problems with long term emphasis patrols is that the justice system has a single input, various storage mechanisms, and various outputs. Hundreds of cops arresting hundreds of crooks all process through just a few judges and courts. So anything like a "surge" (ick) in domestic law enforcement won't work for very long. Law enforcement is not a military operation regardless of all those M4 toting SWAT teams who keep trying to "wage war" on crime.
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Old 01-11-2009   #10
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Default Can the ink spot really work?

Quote:
The problems with long term emphasis patrols is that the justice system has a single input, various storage mechanisms, and various outputs. Hundreds of cops arresting hundreds of crooks all process through just a few judges and courts. So anything like a "surge" (ick) in domestic law enforcement won't work for very long. Law enforcement is not a military operation regardless of all those M4 toting SWAT teams who keep trying to "wage war" on crime.
Selil, I had my doubts about the ink spot for other reasons, but your thoughts just added to my doubts. In many countries (ours included) the court and detention system is overwhelmed, so even if we're successful on the COP, surge, end of the problem, we eventually (sooner rather than later) come a point where this strategy collapses upon itself.

The concept of the ink blot strategy is to pacify one area at a time, and then push out to an adjacent area and pacify it. To enable this to work we need a legal system (and ideally a rehabilitation system) that can handle this surge of detentions, which will probably be the long pole in the tent. If it is only one gang in one area, then this strategy will probably work, but the problem in Brazil is large scale.

It is easier to deal with an insurgency usng this strategy where you can mobilize the nation's resources, employ the military, etc. to deal with what we hope will be a relatively temporary problem.

If there is a lesson here, then it appears to be nipping the problem in the butt before it gets to this level. Goes back to the broken glass theory of law enforcement. It will be interesting to see how this play out over the next few months.
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Old 01-11-2009   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Dave, I agree it isn't new, but I do think you can make an argument that it is under utilized, and that most "modern" police forces are not equipped or trained to do this. I believe there are still several neighborhoods in the U.S. alone (as compared to globally) that are controlled by gangs, and in these areas the police at most do drive by policing or respond to 911 calls.

The way the article read, it sounds like they established a combat outpost (with the emphasis on combat) in the heart of bad guy turf in order to get control of the turf. They had to fight their way in, then put in sufficient force to hold. Makes you wonder where the bad guys went, and if the next fight will be harder. I'm not a law enforcement expert, but I haven't read about too many cases where police have done this type of operations before. I think the NYC police did some surge operations, and used large buses as their police outposts?

Anyway I thought it was of interest for a few reasons, one you captured, the other is nature and degree of the criminal threat in many places.
I'm not a law enforcement expert either, but I would offer that the situation is Rio is a bit different than in the US, even in some of the very bad parts of the US.

Most of the slums in Rio are like de facto independent fiefdoms run by the gangs. It goes beyond being the gang's "turf" where they represent just a physical danger to officers. It most cases they are not only the "government," but they also provide services, administer justice, charge rent, etc... Some members of the police have formed their own extralegal militias that seize territory and administer the favelas in much the same way, but without (official) government support.

I understand there is no fine line, but knowing some folks who are cops in some dangerous areas of the US and having spent some a number of months in Rio I think there are probably some elements of COIN not present in US community policing. Especially if we are talking about the Mexico situation being a small war, which I think probably has more in common here.
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Old 01-12-2009   #12
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Default Consider a couple of quotes ....

from the OP article.

Quote:
from OP link
About 10,000 people live in Santa Marta, a warren of 1,000 to 2,000 shoddy houses threaded with narrow concrete paths and perched on a hillside so steep that many residents ride a tram to get up the slope. About 50 to 60 drug dealers operate here, residents estimate, and the graffiti of the gang in charge -- "CV" for Comando Vermelho, or Red Command -- scar walls. Those are modest numbers, given the scope of the sprawling city -- an advantage for a police operation that employed just 150 men in the initial push. The small favela also has few entrances and is bordered by jungle, rather than blending into other slums.
A bit light on the "insurgent-counterinsurgent ratio", but as David correctly states, this was more of a police than a military operation (with favorable geography, to boot).

More important than the manpower ratio is the question of how long the government is inclined to keep the police presence - 10 months, 10 years, etc. In the long run, will Santa Marta become a pacified colonia ? - after all, even Colchester had its down before its ups, as David can attest better than I.

At least to some inhabitants, the police effort has survived its authoritarian phase, but has yet to win over them - perhaps, a question of valuation of principles in Bob's World terms.

Quote:
from OP link
Nata Maravilha Nael, 48, a school security guard who grew up in City of God, said even the residents who want the officers in the neighborhood describe such police excesses as speeding through the narrow streets in armored vehicles, screaming at residents and demanding bribes.

"It's an abuse of power," he said. "They're like criminals themselves."

The police have shut down popular dance parties, and several residents said they do not feel comfortable being outside after dark anymore, because of the risk of being accused of criminal activity.

"It's going backward. They're acting aggressively against normal people," Nael said. "When the criminals were here, they didn't mess with normal people."
Nothing new here - we've heard it here so many times in regard to "real" armed conflicts.

It seemed to me to be an illustration of how the counterinsurgent's values (reduction of principles to practice) become the governing criteria for success or failure.
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Old 01-12-2009   #13
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Default Good points

Gringo Malandro, I wasn't trying to compare the situation in Rio as parallel to a gang controlled neighborhood in Philly or Las Vegas, but simply illustrate there are several neighborhoods in the developing and modern world that are controlled by thugs, not by the police. I agree with all your points, except perhaps downplaying the relevance of this article.

Perhaps it is a school of thought versus a principle, but I believe you have to control the populace to defeat an insurgency, so any articles I find on the government attempting to re-establish control I tend to think they're important. During an insurgeny either the police, military or a combination there of may be employed to control the populace, so I think the tactics being employed by the police are relevant (unfortunately as jmm99 points out, as an example to avoid) to both mlitary and police.

jmm99 points out that legitimacy is the main issue, perhaps the center of gravity, and it is clear that the police are not legitimate to the relevant populace in this case, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out over time.

Quote:
IIRC this method has appeared in the USA, the snag was keeping the assigned officers living in their patrol base.
David please cite a couple of examples when you have tiime. Also how realistic is it to expect a police officer with a family to actually live in a depressed neighborhood, send his kids to the gang infested schools, etc.?

While I agree in principle, I think there is a limit to what we should expect. Perhaps bringing in a national level law enforcement force for 4 to 6 months at a time (without moving their families) might be acceptable? Thoughts?

If you hire locals, then they are vulnerable to having their families threatened. I think this all ties into how we plan to address long term stability issues in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. It may be a different apple, but it is still an apple.
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Old 01-12-2009   #14
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Default Short answer for Bill

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Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
David please cite a couple of examples when you have tiime. Also how realistic is it to expect a police officer with a family to actually live in a depressed neighborhood, send his kids to the gang infested schools, etc?

While I agree in principle, I think there is a limit to what we should expect. Perhaps bringing in a national level law enforcement force for 4 to 6 months at a time (without moving their families) might be acceptable? Thoughts?

If you hire locals, then they are vulnerable to having their families threatened. I think this all ties into how we plan to address long term stability issues in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. It may be a different apple, but it is still an apple.
Bill and others,

I recall when in Washington DC, at least fifteen years ago, that Metro PD had tried deplaying resident officers to a few neighbourhood; it worked well at first, but the officers - often IIRC - were newly recruited and after sometime wanted to buy their own homes. (Bear with me, I will ask two friends closer to the scene).

Deploying a national LE unit for a short period is really a band-aid and few national forces are culturally / organisationally suited.

Hiring locals and related vulnerability issues. Yes, valid. A galaxy of issues and solutions. Difficult and in Afghanistan? I'll not comment.

Possibly an one illustration; locally there have always been Irish-born / descended police officers and throughout 'The Troubles' a large minority in the then Special Branch anecdote indicates were Irish (mainly from the south). Loyalty was not an issue.

Hope that helps as an early answer over breakfast.

davidbfpo

Having a mixture of local and non-local helps. Alongside moving people on when promoted, at least for a few years before returning.
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Old 01-12-2009   #15
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Default Living on the beat

Bill & others,

From a recently retired US police colleague, from upstate New York State:
Quote:
In my experiences, officers living in patrol neighborhoods works if there is a general respect for authority. In neighborhoods where this respect is absent, the officer’s presence (and, in turn, that of his/her family) is seen and acted towards as a threat. In the few cases where officers have ventured to live within their jurisdiction, even fewer have done so with children and less while children attended the public schools. (Note: Rochester PD has offered ownership incentives to officers to do this.) In theory, the idea is sound… in practice, impractical. I lived in my patrol area for the first five years of marriage but moved out at first arrival of offspring
Hope that helps and firsthand knowledge,

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Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-25-2013 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 01-13-2009   #16
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Bill & others,

From a recently retired US police colleague, from upstate New York State:

'In my experiences, officers living in patrol neighborhoods works if there is a general respect for authority. In neighborhoods where this respect is absent, the officer’s presence (and, in turn, that of his/her family) is seen and acted towards as a threat. In the few cases where officers have ventured to live within their jurisdiction, even fewer have done so with children and less while children attended the public schools. (Note: Rochester PD has offered ownership incentives to officers to do this.) In theory, the idea is sound… in practice, impractical. I lived in my patrol area for the first five years of marriage but moved out at first arrival of offspring'.

Hope that helps and firsthand knowledge,

davidbfpo

David, the issue here is not "respect for authority." The cops can't even enter the favelas without being engaged, and they generally go in pretty heavy (armored vehicles, automatic weapons). The idea of renting a room or a house would not be possible, they would be killed. Though the tourist areas are relatively safe, even the police stations there are more like FOBs.

These places are totally off the grid and totally independent from the state. These tactics might not be new everywhere, but they are new here. I suspect that part of that is because it would not have been possible before. A few years ago they had coordinated attacks on bus and police stations, 115 people died in 5 days. I'd say the ability to do this showshow much the city has improved, congrats to the Brazilians for that.

On the article, keep in mind that it's from the NYT and thus meant for mass-consumption. This may not be true textbook COIN, but the "big blue arrow" parallels to the US pushing off the FOBs and engaging the populace are a close enough illustration for the casual reader, the NYT could have done worse, and has.

By the way, sorry Bill wasn't discounting the article, I was trying to address a couple posts.

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Old 01-13-2009   #17
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I saw the Brazilian film Elite Squad last week after several strong recommendations, The COIN Graduate Seminar among them:
Quote:
Brazil, a hotbed of corruption, crime, and vicious urban warfare between heavily armed special operations police and AK-toting gangsters, is a preview of a possible future for American urban centers. Tropa De Elite (The Elite Squad) is about BOPE, a Brazilian military police special operations unit confronting gangsters and their well-bred sympathizers. The film leaves no one in Brazilian society unscathed, attacking the corrupt municipal government, the fashionably left-leaning university students whose addictions finance the gangs; the horrific gangs themselves, and BOPE itself—depicted as a brutal instrument of repression against the residents of the favelas.
It is an excellent film. If the film is an accurate depiction then, and it is congruent with what I've read and been told by people who have been, then Gringo Malandro's above post sounds accurate.


Quote:
Letter from São Paulo: City of Fear, by William Langewiesche. Vanity Fair, April 2007.

Operating by cell phone, a highly organized prison gang launched an attack that shut down Brazil’s largest city last May, with the authorities powerless to stop it. For many in São Paulo, this vast, amorphous criminal network is the only government they have.
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Old 01-13-2009   #18
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Default A lot of lessons in that article

Excellent post Bourbon, the article/letter you attached addresses a lot of topics we surfaced over the years in the SWJ council, and it probably is a prediction of what urbanization throughout the developing world will look like in the very near future.

The attack sounded very familiar to the Mumbai attack in some respects, but involved more of a swarming approach, than an infiltration of one team.

I'll have to read it in depth later, but a couple of quotes caught my eye,

We frequently approach the ideology of insurgent and insurgent like groups with a degree of western naiveity where we assume (population centric approach) that everyone simply wants democracy and our economic system. If we can give them that, they'll turn their guns into plows, etc. That is B.S., many of them are as loyal to their cause as we are to our country.

Quote:
Prisoners were attracted to the group because it brought order to their lives and gave them purpose, protection, and power. There were obligations. P.C.C. followers lived by its laws under penalty of death. Those who formally joined became “Brothers” for life. They were initiated with a baptism involving water, and had to sign a 16-point manifesto that still serves as the P.C.C.’s constitution.
In this case it is somewhat difficult to attack their strategy.

Quote:
“So the Command is a revolutionary movement?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, so jump ahead and tell me what you are fighting toward. Let’s say you win your revolution and take power. What kind of Brazil do you want to build then?”

A smile flickered across his lips. He said, “We do not think about winning. We rebel against the government more to give a response now than with a vision of the future in mind.”
A government official,

Quote:
The lack of control is much larger than that. It extends to the favelas and, more important, to the office towers where global money flows. People see this, or they should. São Paulo is not alone. Consider all the other Third World cities, consider Moscow, consider L.A. The P.C.C. is just another inhabitant of the growing feral zones. I said, “But isn’t it possible that this is a level of chaos that São Paulo can continue to live with? With all its fortifications and armored cars? Doing business with the world?”
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Old 01-13-2009   #19
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Default Not Brazil

From an academic friend who has studied policing around the world, who has also read the thread:

This is an interesting debate though, as pointed out, bit chalk and cheese in places. Mike McConville and Dan Shepherd (1992) Watching Police, Watching Communities, Routledge was an interesting study that, from memory, drew sharp distinction between 'urban' and 'rural' policing in UK in this respect. In latter, police tend to live in areas they police whereas in former they do not because, even if they come from those areas, they are aspirational, well-paid etc and move to the suburbs.

The other point from history that comes to mind is that the powers-that-be actually don't want cops policing their own area sometimes because of problem that they may have mixed loyalties - the other side of the 'community policing' coin can be 'corruption'!

Re. the broader debate on the blog, we might imagine a spectrum of 'policing' with rural communities in UK forty years ago at one end and the favelas at the other. The point is that in the latter, as made by one contributor, it is not an issue of policing but of governance where gangs provide a whole range of services, one of which is enforcement (just like that state!) Shifting policing in any particular place along this spectrum is an issue on which there has been much work (but not a special issue he has pursued).

Like others I have seen TV documentaries on policing in Brazil, hardly a place to learn from. Others threads have touched upon the issues of policing urban areas where the government's authority is minimal, e.g. Republican areas in Northern Ireland.

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Last edited by Jedburgh; 01-14-2009 at 12:37 AM. Reason: Added link.
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Old 02-04-2009   #20
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Default Story now on the BBC

The new policing is now reported on the BBC News website, after a comment by the President: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7870395.stm
Short film clip attached.

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