The following is an archived copy of a message sent to the CASI Analysis List run by Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq (CASI).
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [CASI Homepage]
[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] This is an automated compilation of submissions to email@example.com Articles for inclusion in this daily news mailing should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a full reference to the source of the article. 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" <khanly@DELETETHISmb.sympatico.ca> To: "newsclippings" <email@example.com> Subject: Psyops in Iraq: Modest proposals Date: Wed, 26 May 2004 09:04:24 -0500 http://www.antiwar.com/lind/?articleid=2662 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? Hello? 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" <khanly@DELETETHISmb.sympatico.ca> To: "newsclippings" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Liability of private contractors in Iraq Date: Wed, 26 May 2004 09:25:46 -0500 http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/26/international/middleeast/26PROS.html?ei= =3D1&en=3Df8cfc8cffa7e730f&ex=3D1086541405&pagewanted=3Dprint&position=3D May 26, 2004 THE LAW Who Would Try Civilians of U.S.? No One in Iraq By ADAM LIPTAK 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= k 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= y 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= eva 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= e 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 covered. 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= e 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= r 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 government. End of casi-news Digest _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk