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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #100 - 2 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. Psyops in Iraq: Modest proposals (k hanly)
   2. Liability of private contractors in Iraq (k hanly)


Message: 1
From: "k hanly" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Subject: Psyops in Iraq: Modest proposals
Date: Wed, 26 May 2004 09:04:24 -0500

May 26, 2004
Psyops In Fourth Generation War

by William S. Lind
I recently received an invitation to speak at a conference at Ft. Bragg on
psychological operations, or psyops. Regrettably, a schedule conflict
prevented me from accepting, but the invitation got me thinking: what are
psyops in Fourth Generation war (4GW)?

It is clear what they are not: leaflets saying, "No on can hope to fight the
American military, surrender now," or "We are here to liberate you." After
the Iraq debacle, those messages will be met with open derision. The only
way such leaflets are likely to be useful is if they are printed on very
soft paper.

Colonel John Boyd said that the greatest weakness a person or a nation can
have at the highest level of war, the moral level, is a contradiction
between what they say and what they do. From that I think follows the basic
definition of psyops in Fourth Generation war: psyops are not what you say,
but what you do.

If we look at the war in Iraq through that lens, we quickly see a number of
psyops we could have undertaken, but did not. For example, what if instead
locating the CPA in Saddam's old palace in Baghdad and putting Iraqi
prisoners in his notorious Abu Ghraib prison, we had located the CPA in Abu
Ghraib and put the prisoners in Saddam's palace? That would have sent a
powerful message.

What if, when we get in a firefight and Iraqis are killed, General Kimmitt
the Frog, our military spokesman in Baghdad, announced that with regret
instead of in triumph? We could use every engagement as a chance to
reiterate the message, "We did not come here to fight." That message would
be all the more powerful if we treated Iraqi wounded the same way as
American wounded, offered American military honors to their dead and sent
any prisoners home, quickly, with a wad of cash in their pockets.

Years ago, my father, David Lind, whose career was in advertising, said, "If
the day World War II ended, Stalin had sent all his German prisoners home,
giving them a big box of food for their families and a wallet full of
Reichsmarks, the Communists would have taken all of Western Europe." He may
have been right.

In Fallujah, the Marines just showed a brilliant appreciation of psyops in
4GW. How? They let the Iraqis win. At the tactical level, the Marines
probably could have taken Fallujah, although the result would have been a
strategic disaster. Instead, by pulling back and letting the Iraqis claim
victory, they gave Iraqi forces of order inside the city the self-respect
they needed to work with us. Washington and the CPA seem to define
"liberation" as beating the Iraqis to a pulp, then handing them their
"freedom" like a gift from a master to a slave. In societies where honor,
dignity and manliness are still important virtues, that can never work. But
"losing to win" sometimes can.

The CPA's complete inability to appreciate psyops in 4GW was revealed in a
recent episode that suggested Laurel and Hardy are in command. It seems our
Boys in Baghdad decided the "new Iraq" needed a new flag. Never mind that
the new flag suggested Iraq is still a province of the Ottoman Empire and
also conveniently included the same shade of blue found on the Israeli flag.
What giving any new flag to Iraq's Quisling government in Baghdad really did
was give the Iraqi resistance something it badly needed - its own flag, in
the form of the old Iraqi flag. Couldn't anybody over there see that coming?

Perhaps our most disastrous failure (beyond Abu Ghraib) to realize that
psyops are what we do, not what we say, is our ongoing fight with the Mahdi
Army of Muqtada al-Sadr. At the beginning of April, Sadr had almost no
support in the Shi'ite community outside Baghdad's Sadr City, while
Ayatollah Sistani, who has passively cooperated with the occupation, had
overwhelming support. Now, thanks to our attacks on Sadr and his militia,
polls taken in Iraq show Sadr with more than 30% support among Shi'ites
while Sistani has slipped to just over 50%. The U.S. Army has been Sadr's
best publicity agent. Maybe it should send him a bill.

Some of our psyops people probably understand all of this. Unfortunately,
the people above them, in Iraq and in Washington, appear to grasp none of
it. The end result is that, regardless of who wins the firefights, our
enemies win one psychological victory after another. In a type of war where
the moral and mental levels far outweigh the physical level, it is not hard
to see where that road ends.


Message: 2
From: "k hanly" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Subject: Liability of private contractors in Iraq
Date: Wed, 26 May 2004 09:25:46 -0500

May 26, 2004
Who Would Try Civilians of U.S.? No One in Iraq

hough civilian translators and interrogators may have participated in the
abuse at Abu Ghraib prison, prosecuting them will present challenges, legal
experts say, because such civilians working for the military are subject to
neither Iraqi nor military justice.

On the basis of a referral from the Pentagon, the Justice Department opened
an investigation on Friday into the conduct of one civilian contractor in
Iraq, who has not been identified.

"We remain committed to taking all appropriate action within our
jurisdiction regarding allegations of mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners," Mar=
Corallo, a Justice Department spokesman, said in a statement.

Prosecuting civilian contractors in United States courts would be
"fascinating and enormously complicated," said Deborah N. Pearlstein,
director of the U.S. law and security program of Human Rights First.

It is clear, on the other hand, that neither Iraqi courts nor American
courts-martial are available.

In June 2003, L. Paul Bremer III, the chief American administrator in Iraq,
granted broad immunity to civilian contractors and their employees. They
were, he wrote, generally not subject to criminal and civil actions in the
Iraqi legal system, including arrest and detention.

That immunity is limited to their official acts under their contracts, and
it is unclear whether any abuses alleged can be said to have been such acts=
But even unofficial conduct by contractors in Iraq cannot be prosecuted
there, Mr. Bremer's order said, without his written permission.

Similarly, under a series of Supreme Court decisions, civilians cannot be
court-martialed in the absence of a formal declaration of war. There was no
such declaration in the Iraq war.

In theory, the president could establish new military commissions to try
civilians charged with offenses in Iraq, said Jordan Paust, a law professor
at the University of Houston and a former member of the faculty at the
Army's Judge Advocate General's School. The commissions announced by
President Bush in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks do not, however, have
jurisdiction over American citizens.

That leaves prosecution in United States courts. There, prosecutors might
turn to two relatively narrow laws, or a broader one, to pursue their cases=

A 1994 law makes torture committed by Americans outside the United States a
crime. The law defines torture as the infliction of severe physical or
mental pain or suffering.

But some human rights groups suspect that the administration may be
reluctant to use the law, because its officials, including Defense Secretar=
Donald H. Rumsfeld, have resisted calling the abuse at Abu Ghraib torture.

"If they don't want to use the word `torture,' " Ms. Pearlstein said,
"prosecutions under the torture act aren't likely."

A 1996 law concerning war crimes allows prosecutions for violations of some
provisions of the Geneva Conventions, including those prohibiting torture,
"outrages upon personal dignity" and "humiliating and degrading treatment."

Bush administration lawyers cited potential prosecutions under the law as a
reason not to give detainees at Guant=E1namo Bay the protections of the Gen=
Conventions. But the administration has said that the conventions apply to
detainees in Iraq.

Both the torture law and the war-crimes law provide for long prison
sentences, and capital punishment is available in cases involving the
victim's death.

The broader law, the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, allows
people "employed by or accompanying the armed forces outside the United
States" to be prosecuted in United States courts for federal crimes
punishable by more than a year's imprisonment. People who are citizens or
residents of the host nations are not covered, but Americans and other
foreign nationals are.

The law has apparently been invoked only once, in a case involving charges
that the wife of an Air Force staff sergeant murdered him in Turkey last
year. The case will soon be tried in federal court in Los Angeles.

The law was passed to fill a legal gap that had existed since the 1950's,
when Supreme Court decisions limited the military's ability to prosecute
civilians in courts-martial during peacetime.

In 2000, a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in New York,
citing that gap, reluctantly overturned the conviction of an American
civilian who had sexually abused a child in Germany. In an unusual move, th=
judges sent their decision to two Congressional committees. That helped
encourage enactment of the law that year.

The law requires the Pentagon, in consultation with the State and Justice
Departments, to establish regulations on how to carry it out. Though it was
enacted four years ago, the regulations are still under consideration.

In any event, there are gaps and uncertainties in the law.

For one thing, it applies only to contractors employed by the Defense
Department. Contractors hired by other agencies, like the C.I.A., are not

It is also unclear precisely where in the United States such prosecutions
could be brought. Legal scholars have suggested that three places might be
available: the area of the defendant's last known residence, the place wher=
the defendant is first brought from abroad and the District of Columbia.

In addition to such criminal charges, the companies that provided the
translators and interrogators may be subject to civil suits for money, unde=
a 1789 law that allows federal courts to hear "any civil action by an alien
for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations." Torture is
such a violation, legal experts say.

The Supreme Court is considering a case concerning the scope of that law,
which has been used to hold American companies accountable for abusive
actions abroad.

But, in an echo of the defenses offered by several members of the military
police who have been ordered to face courts-martial for actions in Iraq,
companies may be able to offer a "government contractor defense," in an
effort to show they were operating under specific instructions from the

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