Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jalaluddin Haqqani & CIA's Phoenix Program in Vietnam

Admiral Mullen's candid and stunning testimony that directly links Pakistan's intelligence service, ISI, to recent attacks on NATO forces and the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan puts America and Pakistan on a collision course. Why are the ISI and the Pakistani Army making such risky moves? What is the calculation in the generals’ minds? Short answer is, they believe we are on the run in Afghanistan and they want to push us out faster. Mullen has been Pakistan’s strongest advocate inside the White House situation room since President Obama took office in 2009. He prudently argued for patience and tolerance with the ISI’s duplicity for years, rightly stressing Pakistan’s critical importance on many vital issues like the nuclear-arms race, counterterrorism, and the Afghan war. This makes his remarks linking ISI to the Afghan Taliban’s Haqqani network attacks on our forces this month all the more stunning. Mullen labeled the Haqqani Taliban a “veritable arm” and “proxy” of the ISI. Afghan sources have said the Taliban suicide team that attacked our embassy was in constant contact by cell phone with their masters back in Pakistan during the firefight. REFERENCE: Why Pakistan Is Getting Cocky Sep 23, 2011 1:21 PM EDT Pakistan’s Army and intelligence service are behaving ever more provocatively—with potentially drastic ramifications for the war in Afghanistan. Bruce Riedel on the ISI’s psyche. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/09/23/pakistan-isi-and-army-trying-to-push-us-out-of-afghanistan-faster.html  

Let us revisit US History and Bag of Dirty Tricks all over the place particularly in Vietnam

From Left: United States Air Force; Robert Young Pelton; Mike Wintroath/Associated Press; Adam Berry/Bloomberg News - From left: Michael D. Furlong, the official who was said to have hired private contractors to track militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan; Robert Young Pelton, a contractor; Duane Clarridge, a former C.I.A. official; and Eason Jordan, a former television news executive. Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants - KABUL, Afghanistan — Under the cover of a benign government information-gathering program, a Defense Department official set up a network of private contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help track and kill suspected militants, according to military officials and businessmen in Afghanistan and the United States. The official, Michael D. Furlong, hired contractors from private security companies that employed formerC.I.A. and Special Forces operatives. The contractors, in turn, gathered intelligence on the whereabouts of suspected militants and the location of insurgent camps, and the information was then sent to military units and intelligence officials for possible lethal action in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the officials said. While it has been widely reported that the C.I.A. and the military are attacking operatives of Al Qaeda and others through unmanned, remote-controlled drone strikes, some American officials say they became troubled that Mr. Furlong seemed to be running an off-the-books spy operation. The officials say they are not sure who condoned and supervised his work. REFERENCE: Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants By DEXTER FILKINS and MARK MAZZETTI Published: March 14, 2010 A version of this article appeared in print on March 15, 2010, on page A1 of the New York edition. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/15/world/asia/15contractors.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/15/world/asia/15contractors.html?pagewanted=3 ALSO READ : The headline read like something you might see in the conspiracy-minded Pakistani press: "Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants." But the story appeared in Monday's New York Times, and it highlighted some big problems that have developed in the murky area between military and intelligence activities. The starting point for understanding this covert intrigue is that the U.S. military has long been unhappy about the quality of CIA intelligence in Afghanistan. The frustration surfaced publicly in January in a report by the top military intelligence officer in Kabul, Maj. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, that began: "Eight years into the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. intelligence community is only marginally relevant to the overall strategy." REFERENCE: Outsourcing intelligence By David Ignatius Wednesday, March 17, 2010 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/16/AR2010031602625.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

1954: CIA’s Phoenix Program Establishes Secret Units : Under the Phoenix Program, the CIA creates and directs a secret police ostensibly run by the South Vietnamese. Its objective is to destroy the Viet Cong’s infrastructure. During the course of the program’s existence, the secret police units, operating as virtual death squads, are implicated in burnings, garroting, rape, torture, and sabotage. As many as 50,000 Vietnamese are killed. [Pilger, 1986, pp. 274; Valentine, 2000 Sources: Ralph McGehee, Anthony Herbert] The most decorated American soldier of the war, Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert, will later recall in his book, Soldier, “They wanted me to take charge of execution teams that wiped out entire families and tried to make it look as though the VC themselves had done the killing.” [Pilger, 1986, pp. 274] http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=vietnam_636

The CIA Phoenix Project - Part - 1

URL: http://youtu.be/p0_lF-pQbfQ

The Vietnam War ranks among the most bizarre episodes of this century. And no part of it was more insanely conceived and executed than the Phoenix program. ''The Phoenix Program,'' by Douglas Valentine, documents the results of an unseemly liaison between impotent military tactics and money-logged technology. According to those who formulated it, this monster child with its computer brain and assassin's instinct would make the Vietcong wither from within. Not by attacking guerrillas in the field, but by destroying infrastructure - a term, as Mr. Valentine explains, used to refer to ''those civilians suspected of supporting North Vietnamese and Vietcong soldiers. . . . Central to Phoenix is the fact that it targeted civilians, not soldiers.'' ''Infrastructure'' was the hobgoblin of the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department. The military mouthed the word - a shopworn mantra - only to pacify the safari-suited civilians who actually ran the war. For the military dreamed of head-on assaults; it was the civilians who blathered on about infrastructure. The intention of the planners who devised Phoenix was to ''neutralize'' this infrastructure - which meant, in practice, to kill, capture or coerce into defection those figures identified as belonging to it. So out into the countryside went teams of accountants and case officers, Vietnamese assassins and their American counterparts, with bags and bags of money, the whole effort tethered to a computer in the United States Embassy in Saigon. And from the embassy came reports again and again that the program was working. Body count became our most important product. The bodies turned out to be just about anyone who got in the way, sometimes even genuine, certifiable ''infrastructures.'' The Phoenix program became a playground for the demented fringes of both American and Vietnamese society. It was a brothel for both blood lust and printout lust, featuring a weird crew of characters: grizzled Army officers, bespectacled accountants and bloodless computer modelers. It had its own air force, training camps and interrogation centers. Torture chambers, if you like. It is the stuff of both awful history and glorious black comedy. It needs to be chronicled by an A. J. P. Taylor or an Evelyn Waugh, or both - not by Douglas Valentine. Mr. Valentine - the author as well of ''The Hotel Tacloban,'' about life in a Japanese prisoner of war camp - has written as turgid and dense and often incomprehensible a book as I have ever had the misfortune to open. Somewhere in those almost 500 gray pages there is stuff of great importance: examples of human folly, courage, stupidity and greed. Mr. Valentine handles these epic themes as so much fodder from a database - not unlike the paper end of the Phoenix program itself. He has interviewed scores of participants in Phoenix, but instead of putting the interviews into some kind of historical (or even logical) framework - it's called editing - he has simply transcribed them. And if Phoenix acted like Phoenix talked, then the American intervention in Vietnam was even more inept than those of us who were witnesses believed. Here is a typical eye-glazing example: ''Said Dillard: 'Well, I am a military man, and I have a job to get done.' And from that day on the Field Police and their Public Safety advisers were the Phoenix program's scapegoats in the Delta. At their expense Dillard achieved peace between the CIA and MACV in the Delta. He convinced the CIA that by sharing its information, military resources could be used against the VCI. In exchange for supporting the CIA's attack on the VCI, the military benefited from CIA intelligence on the location of main force enemy units. That translated into higher body counts and brighter careers. ' 'I could do what I wanted within the guidelines of the Phoenix program,' Doug Dillard said with satisfaction, 'which to me was the overall coordination of the units that existed in the Delta to destroy the infrastructure.' With his regional reaction force ready and raring to go, Dillard mounted regional Phoenix operations on the Ward mini-cordon and search technique. '' 'At the province level we had almost daily involvement with the CIA's province adviser and SEAL team PRU adviser,' Dillard explained. 'This was either trying to help them get resources or going over the potential for operations.' '' The words don't inform; they simply take up space. The most cogent sentences in the book come from Bruce Palmer, a retired general who commanded the Ninth Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1968. General Palmer, perhaps wisely, chose to communicate with Mr. Valentine by letter rather than tape recorder. '' 'My objection to the [Phoenix] program,' he wrote in a letter to the author, 'was the involuntary assignment of U. S. Army officers to the program. I don't believe that people in uniform, who are pledged to abide by the Geneva Conventions, should be put in the position of having to break those laws of warfare.' '' General Palmer sounds like a thoughtful man with a belief in the power of the simple declarative sentence. Perhaps he should have written the book. REFERENCE: Body Count Was Their Most Important Product By MORLEY SAFER; Morley Safer is a co-editor of ''60 Minutes'' and the author of ''Flashbacks: On Returning to Vietnam.'' Published: October 21, 1990 THE PHOENIX PROGRAM By Douglas Valentine. http://www.nytimes.com/1990/10/21/books/body-count-was-their-most-important-product.html http://www.nytimes.com/1990/10/21/books/body-count-was-their-most-important-product.html?pagewanted=2&src=pm

The CIA Phoenix Project - Part - 2

URL: http://youtu.be/JOwhO7ghByI

It's not uncommon these days to hear talk of "lessons" learned in Vietnam and their application to current U.S. conflicts. Unfortunately, most observers have ignored the uniqueness of the Vietnam War, picking and choosing the lessons learned there with little regard for their application to the present. This is particularly true with the current buzz over the "clear and hold" concept, which has gained popularity in some circles. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice invoked it during Senate testimony in October, and columnist David Ignatius reported in his Nov. 4 op-ed that many Army officers are reading historian Lewis Sorley's book "A Better War," which argues that the United States could have prevailed in Vietnam if the military had used Gen. Creighton Abrams's ideas earlier in the war. This simplistic notion may resonate in Washington, but it means little to troops on the ground. Marines in Fallujah or soldiers in Baghdad or near the Syrian border will tell you that they have been "clearing" areas for more than a year now, but "holding" them is a different matter. That takes a lot of troops, not small teams. So much for simple lessons from Vietnam. But for better or worse, Vietnam is the most recent example of American counterinsurgency -- and our longest -- so it would be a mistake to reject it because of its complex and controversial nature. Stripped to essentials, there are three basic lessons from the war. All must be employed by any counterinsurgency effort, no matter what shape it takes. First, there must be a unified structure that combines military and civilian pacification efforts. In Vietnam that organization was called CORDS, for Civil Operations and Rural Development Support. Formed in 1967, it placed the disjointed and ineffective civilian pacification programs under the military. This was accomplished only at the insistence of President Lyndon Johnson, who took an active interest in seeing the pacification process function smoothly under a single manager: Gen. William Westmoreland. CORDS gave the pacification effort access to military money and personnel, allowing programs to expand dramatically. In 1966 there were about 1,000 advisers involved in pacification, and the annual budget was $582 million; by 1969 that had risen to 7,600 advisers and almost $1.5 billion. This rapid progress was possible only because of CORDS's streamlined system under Defense Department control. In Afghanistan, the provincial reconstruction teams have viewed CORDS as a model, but there is no truly integrated system yet. In Iraq, the old Coalition Provisional Authority suffered from the same problems that caused the formation of CORDS, in particular a dual chain of command that failed to coordinate military and civilian efforts. Not enough has been done since the CPA's dissolution in 2004 to integrate nation-building into military planning. The second lesson involves attacking the enemy's center of gravity. An insurgency thrives only if it can maintain a permanent presence among the population, which in Vietnam was called the Viet Cong infrastructure, or VCI. This covert presence used carrot and stick -- promises of reform and threats of violence -- to take control of large chunks of the countryside. U.S. planners were aware of VCI, but until 1968 only the CIA paid it much attention. Under CORDS, however, the United States implemented the much-maligned Phoenix program, which targeted VCI and resulted in the capture or killing (mostly capture) of more than 80,000 VCI guerrillas. Criticisms of Phoenix abound, and there were many problems with the system, but the fact is that a counterinsurgency plan that ignores the guerrilla infrastructure is no plan at all. The application of intelligence aimed at guerrillas' ability to live among the population is obvious. In Afghanistan, the Taliban are weak enough that their ability to influence the people is limited, but failure to watch them as they try to worm their way back into the villages will bring disaster later. In Iraq, the situation is different in that the guerrillas have not made a concerted effort to mobilize the people. A large part of the Sunni population seems to support the insurgency, but the guerrillas are not forming local shadow governments or attempting to establish their own political and economic programs. Still, it makes sense to aim intelligence directly at the guerrillas' recruiting process to try to disrupt it. Finally, it is crucial to form militias in order to raise the staff necessary to maintain a permanent government presence in dangerous areas. This is the only way "clear and hold" has any hope of working. Even an eventual U.S. troop strength of more than 500,000 and a similar number of South Vietnamese soldiers were not enough to take the countryside from the insurgents. But the early creation of a territorial militia helped return a government presence to the countryside. These militia members were recruited in villages and paid by the government; they lived in the areas where they operated, making it more difficult for the Viet Cong to settle among the population. Their numbers also reached 500,000, thanks partly to early participation by U.S. advisers. Although the militia's performance was sometimes lacking, overall it was an important part of the pacification program. In Afghanistan and Iraq the lack of government-controlled militias is a serious weakness, and the United States has not pushed for their formation. Militias exist in both countries, but they are often loyal to warlords (Afghanistan) or under the command of various ethnic or religious groups (Iraq). Their allegiance to the government is questionable. In the end America failed in Vietnam, and it is difficult to convince the public or policymakers that there is anything to learn from a losing effort. But the U.S. military did make important headway in pacification, and it would be foolish to let that experience slip away. Saigon's ultimate collapse was due to factors beyond the scope of counterinsurgency -- North Vietnam's large army and Washington's decision to allow it sanctuaries outside South Vietnam's borders were pivotal -- but the communist insurgency was badly hurt by pacification. In Afghanistan and Iraq none of these three lessons is being applied with any rigor, though there appears to be progress on the first two. But as one counterinsurgency expert told me, failure to employ all these basic tenets "doesn't mean you will lose the war, but you sure can't win." REFERENCE: Three Lessons From Vietnam By Dale Andrade Thursday, December 29, 2005 The writer is a historian and author of "Ashes to Ashes: The Phoenix Program and the Vietnam War." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/28/AR2005122801144.html 

The CIA Phoenix Project - Part - 3

URL: http://youtu.be/Mps7BsUBedE

In Hong Kong, an agent of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency slips into a railroad yard and checks the wear on ball hearings of freight cars coming in from China to try to spot unusual troop movements. Meanwhile, another agent goes to the Hong Kong central market and buys a large order of calf's liver from animals raised in China to run a lab test for radioactive fallout. In Eastern Europe, a CIA team tries to obtain a sample of a Communist party chief's urine. Purpose: to determine his state of health. The CIA did this successfully with Egypt's late King Farouk but failed recently with Yugoslavia's President Tito. THESE are only a few of myriad missions that the CIA has performed around the world. The agency is also constantly accused of fantastic James Bondian exploits that more often than not it has nothing to do with. The fact is that no nation can any longer accept Secretary of State Henry Stimson's bland dictum of 1929 that "gentlemen do not read other people's mail." In a nuclear-ringed globe, intelligence is more vital than ever. Nor can a world power automatically limit itself to such a passive role as mere information gathering; trying to influence events may at times be necessary. But it can no longer be done with the crudity and arrogance displayed in the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, or the attempt with the International Telephone and Telegraph Corp. to sow economic chaos in Chile in 1970. To harness the CIA's excesses and yet utilize its immense capabilities for keeping the U.S. abreast of world developments, the Nixon Administration has ordered the greatest reorganization in the agency's 25-year history. Cooperate. Reports TIME's Diplomatic Editor Jerrold Schecter, who has been keeping a watch on the CIA: "For the first time since its founding the CIA is undergoing a thorough shakeup of personnel and redirection of mission. The two main targets of U.S. intelligence activities continue to be the Soviet Union and China. But a rapidly developing détente with those countries has created different demands on the intelligence establishment. Along with traditional estimates of the missile and military capabilities of Communist countries, the White House is insisting on a new emphasis on assessments of their political and strategic intentions. The entire intelligence estimating process is being refined to include more stress on such developments as Soviet and Chinese grain outputs and computer advances." To chart this new direction. President Nixon has turned to a tweedy, pipe-smoking economist and military strategist, James R. Schlesinger, 44, who in February took over as director of the CIA. Aides quote Schlesinger as saying that "the entire intelligence community can produce a better product with a lower level of resources." In short, the nation's spy network should generate better intelligence for less money. Schlesinger has ordered the firing or forced retirement of 600 of the CIA'S 18,000 worldwide employees; 400 more are expected to go by year's end. His aim is to cut costs, eliminate marginal performers, and change the leadership of the agency. Among those who have gone are several of the long-entrenched top deputies of former CIA Director Richard Helms, who tended to favor the "operational men," or spies in the field, over the cerebral analysts, who ponder the intelligence and make policy recommendations. These two sides of the agency, traditionally separated, have orders to cooperate more. Paramilitary operations are being scaled down. In South Viet Nam, the CIA's role in the "Phoenix"—or counterterror—program has already been phased out. The program used CIA agents to advise the South Vietnamese in the "neutralization," or killing, of Viet Cong officials. Such covert activities are under the CIA'S deputy director of operations, currently William Colby, 53, a former ambassador who was in charge of pacification in Viet Nam from 1969 to mid-1971. Often called the agency's "dirty tricks department," Colby's section controls field agents who are involved in clandestine activities, including keeping a watch on the KGB (Soviet intelligence) and working with intelligence organizations in Western countries. But Colby's group is now placing new emphasis on such activities as getting early warnings of—and curbing—international terrorist operations and narcotics traffic. Through intercepts of communications, the CIA has discovered who ordered the killing of the U.S. and Belgian diplomats in Khartoum two months ago. It also knows the financial sources of the Black Septembrists, who carried out those assassinations, as well as the murders of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. Rivalry. With the downgrading of cloak-and-dagger operations, one of Schlesinger's tasks will be the strengthening of the "leadership for the [intelligence] community as a whole," a recommendation that he himself urged on the President in 1971, when he was an assistant director of the Office of Management and Budget. Now, Schlesinger not only heads the CIA but also has ultimate responsibility for the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, which provides intelligence for the armed forces, and the National Security Agency, which directs spy planes, satellites and a vast communications-monitoring apparatus that cracks codes and gathers data from other countries. Schlesinger, as chairman of the Intelligence Resources Advisory Committee, will be taking a hard look at the combined $6.2 billion (some estimates put it as high as $8 billion) spent by the three agencies. Nearly half of the money goes for satellite reconnaissance and spy planes; about $750 million is budgeted to the CIA. Schlesinger also must watch out for a smoldering rivalry between the CIA and the DIA. The rivalry broke out in the open recently in the form of an article in the small (circ. 75,000) monthly magazine Army, written by Major General Daniel O. Graham last December—before he was picked by Schlesinger to be a member of his five-man Intelligence Resources Advisory Committee. Graham's article contended that the Pentagon should win back from the CIA primary responsibility for analyzing strategic military intelligence. To the embarrassment of military leaders, he conceded that in the past the Pentagon's estimates of Communist military potential were vastly overstated, and that the nation's decision makers rightly regarded those estimates as "self-serving, budget-oriented and generally inflated." But, he wrote, the Pentagon has so greatly reformed and improved its analysis in recent years that there will be no more "bad overestimates" like "bomber gaps," "missile gaps," and "megaton gaps." Aided by Graham, who will be the primary link between the CIA and the DIA, Schlesinger hopes to improve relations with the Pentagon. Under the able Richard Helms, CIA analysts had remained aloof from the military, and there were bitter battles between the CIA and DIA during the Viet Nam War over estimates of enemy infiltration and intentions. To increase accountability within the agency, Schlesinger has told CIA's analysts to sign all their intelligence reports. He hopes that bylines on the blue and white-covered CIA assessments will sharpen analyses and make the authors feel personally responsible for their assessments. Schlesinger seems just the man to shake up the CIA. A seasoned scholar, bureaucrat and Republican, he enjoys the confidence of President Nixon. He was graduated summa cum laude from Harvard ('50), later got his Ph.D. in economics there, taught at the University of Virginia, and was director of strategic studies at the Rand Corp. He joined the old Bureau of the Budget in 1969, and two years later was named chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. His prodding of utility executives to pay more attention to environmental safeguards impressed the President. When industry leaders complained, Schlesinger told them: "Gentlemen, I'm not here to protect your triple-A bond ratings." While maintaining traditional secrecy about clandestine operations, Schlesinger is moving fast to lift the veil of conspiracy that has shrouded the agency. In an unprecedented move last month, he allowed a CIA agent, William Broe, the former chief of clandestine operations for the Western Hemisphere, to testify before a Senate subcommittee investigating the involvement of the CIA and the International Telephone and Telegraph Corp. in Chilean political affairs. As tough-minded as he is candid, Schlesinger leaves little doubt that he is determined to reform and redefine the CIA's role. Said he recently to an old CIA hand: "The trouble with this place is that it has been run like a gentleman's club—but I'm no gentleman." REFERENCE: THE CIA: The Big Shake-Up in a Gentlemen's Club Monday, Apr. 30, 1973 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,907100-1,00.html
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,907100-2,00.html http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,907100-3,00.html

The CIA Phoenix Project - Part - 4

URL: http://youtu.be/faT0SAFroKk

The Bush Administration has authorized a major escalation of the Special Forces covert war in Iraq. In interviews over the past month, American officials and former officials said that the main target was a hard-core group of Baathists who are believed to be behind much of the underground insurgency against the soldiers of the United States and its allies. A new Special Forces group, designated Task Force 121, has been assembled from Army Delta Force members, Navy seals, and C.I.A. paramilitary operatives, with many additional personnel ordered to report by January. Its highest priority is the neutralization of the Baathist insurgents, by capture or assassination. The revitalized Special Forces mission is a policy victory for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who has struggled for two years to get the military leadership to accept the strategy of what he calls “Manhunts”—a phrase that he has used both publicly and in internal Pentagon communications. Rumsfeld has had to change much of the Pentagon’s leadership to get his way. “Knocking off two regimes allows us to do extraordinary things,” a Pentagon adviser told me, referring to Afghanistan and Iraq. One step the Pentagon took was to seek active and secret help in the war against the Iraqi insurgency from Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East. According to American and Israeli military and intelligence officials, Israeli commandos and intelligence units have been working closely with their American counterparts at the Special Forces training base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and in Israel to help them prepare for operations in Iraq. Israeli commandos are expected to serve as ad-hoc advisers—again, in secret—when full-field operations begin. (Neither the Pentagon nor Israeli diplomats would comment. “No one wants to talk about this,” an Israeli official told me. “It’s incendiary. Both governments have decided at the highest level that it is in their interests to keep a low profile on U.S.-Israeli coöperation” on Iraq.) The critical issue, American and Israeli officials agree, is intelligence. There is much debate about whether targeting a large number of individuals is a practical—or politically effective—way to bring about stability in Iraq, especially given the frequent failure of American forces to obtain consistent and reliable information there. Americans in the field are trying to solve that problem by developing a new source of information: they plan to assemble teams drawn from the upper ranks of the old Iraqi intelligence services and train them to penetrate the insurgency. The idea is for the infiltrators to provide information about individual insurgents for the Americans to act on. A former C.I.A. station chief described the strategy in simple terms: “U.S. shooters and Iraqi intelligence.” He added, “There are Iraqis in the intelligence business who have a better idea, and we’re tapping into them. We have to resuscitate Iraqi intelligence, holding our nose, and have Delta and agency shooters break down doors and take them”—the insurgents—“out.” A former intelligence official said that getting inside the Baathist leadership could be compared to “fighting your way into a coconut—you bang away and bang away until you find a soft spot, and then you can clean it out.” An American who has advised the civilian authority in Baghdad said, “The only way we can win is to go unconventional. We’re going to have to play their game. Guerrilla versus guerrilla. Terrorism versus terrorism. We’ve got to scare the Iraqis into submission.” In Washington, there is now widespread agreement on one point: the need for a new American approach to Iraq. There is also uniform criticism of the military’s current response to the growing American casualty lists. One former Pentagon official who worked extensively with the Special Forces command, and who favors the new military initiative, said, “We’ve got this large conventional force sitting there, and getting their ass shot off, and what we’re doing is counterproductive. We’re sending mixed signals.” The problem with the way the U.S. has been fighting the Baathist leadership, he said, is “(a) we’ve got no intelligence, and (b) we’re too squeamish to operate in this part of the world.” Referring to the American retaliation against a suspected mortar site, the former official said, “Instead of destroying an empty soccer field, why not impress me by sneaking in a sniper team and killing them while they’re setting up a mortar? We do need a more unconventional response, but it’s going to be messy.” Inside the Pentagon, it is now understood that simply bringing in or killing Saddam Hussein and his immediate circle—those who appeared in the Bush Administration’s famed “deck of cards”—will not stop the insurgency. The new Special Forces operation is aimed instead at the broad middle of the Baathist underground. But many of the officials I spoke to were skeptical of the Administration’s plans. Many of them fear that the proposed operation—called “preëmptive manhunting” by one Pentagon adviser—has the potential to turn into another Phoenix Program. Phoenix was the code name for a counter-insurgency program that the U.S. adopted during the Vietnam War, in which Special Forces teams were sent out to capture or assassinate Vietnamese believed to be working with or sympathetic to the Vietcong. In choosing targets, the Americans relied on information supplied by South Vietnamese Army officers and village chiefs. The operation got out of control. According to official South Vietnamese statistics, Phoenix claimed nearly forty-one thousand victims between 1968 and 1972; the U.S. counted more than twenty thousand in the same time span. Some of those assassinated had nothing to do with the war against America but were targeted because of private grievances. William E. Colby, the C.I.A. officer who took charge of the Phoenix Program in 1968 (he eventually became C.I.A. director), later acknowledged to Congress that “a lot of things were done that should not have been done.” The former Special Forces official warned that the problem with head-hunting is that you have to be sure “you’re hunting the right heads.” Speaking of the now coöperative former Iraqi intelligence officials, he said, “These guys have their own agenda. Will we be doing hits on grudges? When you set up host-nation elements”—units composed of Iraqis, rather than Americans—“it’s hard not to have them going off to do what they want to do. You have to keep them on a short leash.” The former official says that the Baathist leadership apparently relies on “face-to-face communications” in planning terrorist attacks. This makes the insurgents less vulnerable to one of the Army’s most secret Special Forces units, known as Grey Fox, which has particular expertise in interception and other technical means of intelligence-gathering. “These guys are too smart to touch cell phones or radio,” the former official said. “It’s all going to succeed or fail spectacularly based on human intelligence.” A former C.I.A. official with extensive Middle East experience identified one of the key players on the new American-Iraqi intelligence team as Farouq Hijazi, a Saddam loyalist who served for many years as the director of external operations for the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi intelligence service. He has been in custody since late April. The C.I.A. man said that over the past few months Hijazi “has cut a deal,” and American officials “are using him to reactivate the old Iraqi intelligence network.” He added, “My Iraqi friends say he will honor the deal—but only to the letter, and not to the spirit.” He said that although the Mukhabarat was a good security service, capable, in particular, of protecting Saddam Hussein from overthrow or assassination, it was “a lousy intelligence service.” The official went on, “It’s not the way we usually play ball, but if you see a couple of your guys get blown away it changes things. We did the American things—and we’ve been the nice guy. Now we’re going to be the bad guy, and being the bad guy works.” Told of such comments, the Pentagon adviser, who is an expert on unconventional war, expressed dismay. “There are people saying all sorts of wild things about Manhunts,” he said. “But they aren’t at the policy level. It’s not a no-holds policy, and it shouldn’t be. I’m as tough as anybody, but we’re also a democratic society, and we don’t fight terror with terror. There will be a lot of close controls—do’s and don’ts and rules of engagement.” The adviser added, “The problem is that we’ve not penetrated the bad guys. The Baath Party is run like a cell system. It’s like penetrating the Vietcong—we never could do it.” The rising star in Rumsfeld’s Pentagon is Stephen Cambone, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, who has been deeply involved in developing the new Special Forces approach. Cambone, who earned a doctorate in political science from Claremont Graduate University in 1982, served as staff director for a 1998 committee, headed by Rumsfeld, that warned in its report of an emerging ballistic-missile threat to the United States and argued that intelligence agencies should be willing to go beyond the data at hand in their analyses. Cambone, in his confirmation hearings, in February, told the Senate that consumers of intelligence assessments must ask questions of the analysts—“how they arrived at those conclusions and what the sources of the information were.” This approach was championed by Rumsfeld. It came under attack, however, when the Administration’s predictions about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and the potential for insurgency failed to be realized, and the Pentagon civilians were widely accused of politicizing intelligence. (A month after the fall of Baghdad, Cambone was the first senior Pentagon official to publicly claim, wrongly, as it turned out, that a captured Iraqi military truck might be a mobile biological-weapons laboratory.) Cambone also shares Rumsfeld’s views on how to fight terrorism. They both believe that the United States needs to become far more proactive in combatting terrorism, searching for terrorist leaders around the world and eliminating them. And Cambone, like Rumsfeld, has been frustrated by the reluctance of the military leadership to embrace the manhunting mission. Since his confirmation, he has been seeking operational authority over Special Forces. “Rumsfeld’s been looking for somebody to have all the answers, and Steve is the guy,” a former high-level Pentagon official told me. “He has more direct access to Rummy than anyone else.” As Cambone’s influence has increased, that of Douglas Feith, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, has diminished. In September, 2001, Feith set up a special unit known as the Office of Special Plans. The office, directed by civilians who, like Feith, had neoconservative views, played a major role in the intelligence and planning leading up to the March invasion of Iraq. “There is finger-pointing going on,” a prominent Republican lobbyist explained. “And the neocons are in retreat.” One of the key planners of the Special Forces offensive is Lieutenant General William (Jerry) Boykin, Cambone’s military assistant. After a meeting with Rumsfeld early last summer—they got along “like two old warriors,” the Pentagon consultant said—Boykin postponed his retirement, which had been planned for June, and took the Pentagon job, which brought him a third star. In that post, the Pentagon adviser told me, Boykin has been “an important piece” of the planned escalation. In October, the Los Angeles Times reported that Boykin, while giving Sunday-morning talks in uniform to church groups, had repeatedly equated the Muslim world with Satan. Last June, according to the paper, he told a congregation in Oregon that “Satan wants to destroy this nation, he wants to destroy us as a nation, and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army.” Boykin praised President Bush as a “man who prays in the Oval Office,” and declared that Bush was “not elected” President but “appointed by God.” The Muslim world hates America, he said, “because we are a nation of believers.” There were calls in the press and from Congress for Boykin’s dismissal, but Rumsfeld made it clear that he wanted to keep his man in the job. Initially, he responded to the Times report by praising the General’s “outstanding record” and telling journalists that he had neither seen the text of Boykin’s statements nor watched the videotape that had been made of one of his presentations. “There are a lot of things that are said by people in the military, or in civilian life, or in the Congress, or in the executive branch that are their views,” he said. “We’re a free people. And that’s the wonderful thing about our country.” He added, with regard to the tape, “I just simply can’t comment on what he said, because I haven’t seen it.” Four days later, Rumsfeld said that he had viewed the tape. “It had a lot of very difficult-to-understand words with subtitles which I was not able to verify,” he said at a news conference, according to the official transcript. “So I remain inexpert”—the transcript notes that he “chuckles” at that moment—“on precisely what he said.” Boykin’s comments are now under official review. Boykin has been involved in other controversies as well. He was the Army combat commander in Mogadishu in 1993, when eighteen Americans were slain during the disastrous mission made famous by Mark Bowden’s book “Black Hawk Down.” Earlier that year, Boykin, a colonel at the time, led an eight-man Delta Force that was assigned to help a Colombian police unit track down the notorious drug dealer Pablo Escobar. Boykin’s team was barred by law from providing any lethal assistance without Presidential approval, but there was suspicion in the Pentagon that it was planning to take part in the assassination of Escobar, with the support of American Embassy officials in Colombia. The book “Killing Pablo,” an account, also by Mark Bowden, of the hunt for Escobar, describes how senior officials in the Pentagon’s chain of command became convinced that Boykin, with the knowledge of his Special Forces superiors, had exceeded his authority and intended to violate the law. They wanted Boykin’s unit pulled out. It wasn’t. Escobar was shot dead on the roof of a barrio apartment building in Medellín. The Colombian police were credited with getting their man, but, Bowden wrote, “within the special ops community . . . Pablo’s death was regarded as a successful mission for Delta, and legend has it that its operators were in on the kill.” “That’s what those guys did,” a retired general who monitored Boykin’s operations in Colombia told me. “I’ve seen pictures of Escobar’s body that you don’t get from a long-range telescope lens. They were taken by guys on the assault team.” (Bush Administration officials in the White House, the State Department, and the Pentagon, including General Boykin, did not respond to requests for comment.) Morris Busby, who was the American Ambassador to Colombia in 1993 (he is now retired), vigorously defended Boykin. “I think the world of Jerry Boykin, and have the utmost respect for him. I’ve known him for fifteen years and spent hours and hours with the guy, and never heard him mention religion or God.” The retired general also praised Boykin as “one of those guys you’d love to have in a war because he’s not afraid to die.” But, he added, “when you get to three stars you’ve got to think through what you’re doing.” Referring to Boykin and others involved in the Special Forces planning, he added, “These guys are going to get a bunch of guys killed and then give them a bunch of medals.” The American-Israeli liaison on Iraq amounts to a tutorial on how to dismantle an insurgency. One former Israeli military-intelligence officer summarized the core lesson this way: “How to do targeted killing, which is very relevant to the success of the war, and what the United States is going to have to do.” He told me that the Americans were being urged to emulate the Israeli Army’s small commando units, known as Mist’aravim, which operate undercover inside the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “They can approach a house and pounce,” the former officer said. In the Israeli view, he added, the Special Forces units must learn “how to maintain a network of informants.” Such a network, he said, has made it possible for Israel to penetrate the West Bank and Gaza Strip organizations controlled by groups such as Hamas, and to assassinate or capture potential suicide bombers along with many of the people who recruit and train them. On the other hand, the former officer said, “Israel has, in many ways, been too successful, and has killed or captured so many mid-ranking facilitators on the operational level in the West Bank that Hamas now consists largely of isolated cells that carry out terrorist attacks against Israel on their own.” He went on, “There is no central control over many of the suicide bombers. We’re trying to tell the Americans that they don’t want to eliminate the center. The key is not to have freelancers out there.” Many regional experts, Americans and others, are convinced that the Baathists are still firmly in charge of the insurgency, although they are thought to have little direct connection with Saddam Hussein. An American military analyst who works with the American-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad told me he has concluded that “mid-ranking Baathists who were muzzled by the patrimonial nature of Saddam’s system have now, with the disappearance of the high-ranking members, risen to control the insurgency.” He added that after the American attack and several weeks “of being like deer in headlights,” these Baathists had become organized, and were directing and leading operations against Americans. During an interview in Washington, a senior Arab diplomat noted, “We do not believe that the resistance is loyal to Saddam. Yes, the Baathists have reorganized, not for political reasons but because of the terrible decisions made by Jerry Bremer”—the director of the C.P.A. “The Iraqis really want to make you pay the price,” the diplomat said. “Killing Saddam will not end it.” Similarly, a Middle Eastern businessman who has advised senior Bush Administration officials told me that the reorganized Baath Party is “extremely active, working underground with permanent internal communications. And without Saddam.” Baath party leaders, he added, expect Saddam to issue a public statement of self-criticism, “telling of his mistakes and his excesses,” including his reliance on his sons. There is disagreement, inevitably, on the extent of Baathist control. The former Israeli military-intelligence officer said, “Most of the firepower comes from the Baathists, and they know where the weapons are kept. But many of the shooters are ethnic and tribal. Iraq is very factionalized now, and within the Sunni community factionalism goes deep.” He added, “Unless you settle this, any effort at reconstruction in the center is hopeless.” The American military analyst agreed that the current emphasis on Baathist control “overlooks the nationalist and tribal angle.” For example, he said, the anti-coalition forces in Falluja, a major center of opposition, are “driven primarily by the sheikhs and mosques, Islam, clerics, and nationalism.” The region, he went on, contains “tens of thousands of unemployed former military officers and enlistees who hang around the coffee shops and restaurants of their relatives; they plot, plan, and give and receive instructions; at night they go out on their missions.” This military analyst, like many officials I spoke to, also raised questions about the military’s more conventional tactics—the aggressive program, code-named Iron Hammer, of bombings, nighttime raids, and mass arrests aimed at trouble spots in Sunni-dominated central Iraq. The insurgents, he told me, had already developed a response. “Their S.O.P.”—standard operating procedure—“now is to go further out, or even to other towns, so that American retribution does not fall on their locale. Instead, the Americans take it out on the city where the incident happened, and in the process they succeed in making more enemies.” The brazen Iraqi attacks on two separate American convoys in Samarra, on November 30th, provided further evidence of the diversity of the opposition to the occupation. Samarra has been a center of intense anti-Saddam feelings, according to Ahmed S. Hashim, an expert on terrorism who is a professor of strategic studies at the U.S. Naval War College. In an essay published in August by the Middle East Institute, Hashim wrote, “Many Samarra natives—who had served with distinction in the Baath Party and the armed forces—were purged or executed during the course of the three decades of rule by Saddam and his cronies from the rival town of Tikrit.” He went on, “The type of U.S. force structure in Iraq—heavy armored and mechanized units—and the psychological disposition of these forces which have been in Iraq for months is simply not conducive to the successful waging of counter-insurgency warfare.” The majority of the Bush Administration’s manhunting missions remain classified, but one earlier mission, in Afghanistan, had mixed results at best. Last November, an Al Qaeda leader named Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi was killed when an unmanned Predator reconnaissance aircraft fired a Hellfire missile at his automobile in Yemen. Five passengers in the automobile were also killed, and it was subsequently reported that two previous Predator missions in Yemen had been called off at the last moment when it was learned that the occupants of suspect vehicles were local Bedouins, and not Al Qaeda members. Since then, an adviser to the Special Forces command has told me, infighting among the various senior military commands has made it difficult for Special Forces teams on alert to take immediate advantage of time-sensitive intelligence. Rumsfeld repeatedly criticized Air Force General Charles Holland, a four-star Special Forces commander who has just retired, for his reluctance to authorize commando raids without specific, or “actionable,” intelligence. Rumsfeld has also made a systematic effort to appoint Special Forces advocates to the top military jobs. Another former Special Forces commander, Army General Peter Schoomaker, was brought out of retirement in July and named Army Chief of Staff. The new civilian Assistant Secretary for Special Operations in the Pentagon is Thomas O’Connell, an Army veteran who served in the Phoenix program in Vietnam, and who, in the early eighties, ran Grey Fox, the Army’s secret commando unit. Early in November, the Times reported the existence of Task Force 121, and said that it was authorized to take action throughout the region, if necessary, in pursuit of Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and other terrorists. (The task force is commanded by Air Force Brigadier General Lyle Koenig, an experienced Special Forces helicopter pilot.) At that point, the former Special Forces official told me, the troops were “chasing the deck of cards. Their job was to find Saddam, period.” Other Special Forces, in Afghanistan, were targeting what is known as the A.Q.S.L., the Al Qaeda Senior Leadership List. The task force’s search for Saddam was, from the beginning, daunting. According to Scott Ritter, a former United Nations weapons inspector, it may have been fatally flawed as well. From 1994 to 1998, Ritter directed a special U.N. unit that eavesdropped on many of Saddam Hussein’s private telephone communications. “The high-profile guys around Saddam were the murafaqin, his most loyal companions, who could stand next to him carrying a gun,” Ritter told me. “But now he’s gone to a different tier—the tribes. He has released the men from his most sensitive units and let them go back to their tribes, and we don’t know where they are. The manifests of those units are gone; they’ve all been destroyed.” Ritter added, “Guys like Farouq Hijazi can deliver some of the Baath Party cells, and he knows where some of the intelligence people are. But he can’t get us into the tribal hierarchy.” The task force, in any event, has shifted its focus from the hunt for Saddam as it is increasingly distracted by the spreading guerrilla war. In addition to the Special Forces initiative, the military is also exploring other approaches to suppressing the insurgency. The Washington Post reported last week that the American authorities in Baghdad had agreed, with some reluctance, to the formation of an Iraqi-led counter-terrorism militia composed of troops from the nation’s five largest political parties. The paramilitary unit, totalling some eight hundred troops or so, would “identify and pursue insurgents” who had eluded arrest, the newspaper said. The group’s initial missions would be monitored and approved by American commanders, but eventually it would operate independently. Task Force 121’s next major problem may prove to be Iran. There is a debate going on inside the Administration about American and Israeli intelligence that suggests that the Shiite-dominated Iranian government may be actively aiding the Sunni-led insurgency in Iraq—“pulling the strings on the puppet,” as one former intelligence official put it. Many in the intelligence community are skeptical of this analysis—the Pentagon adviser compared it to “the Chalabi stuff,” referring to now discredited prewar intelligence on W.M.D. supplied by Iraqi defectors. But I was told by several officials that the intelligence was considered to be highly reliable by civilians in the Defense Department. A former intelligence official said that one possible response under consideration was for the United States to train and equip an Iraqi force capable of staging cross-border raids. The American goal, he said, would be to “make the cost of supporting the Baathists so dear that the Iranians would back off,” adding, “If it begins to look like another Iran-Iraq war, that’s another story.” The requirement that America’s Special Forces units operate in secrecy, a former senior coalition adviser in Baghdad told me, has provided an additional incentive for increasing their presence in Iraq. The Special Forces in-country numbers are not generally included in troop totals. Bush and Rumsfeld have insisted that more American troops are not needed, but that position was challenged by many senior military officers in private conversations with me. “You need more people,” the former adviser, a retired admiral, said. “But you can’t add them, because Rummy’s taken a position. So you invent a force that won’t be counted.” At present, there is no legislation that requires the President to notify Congress before authorizing an overseas Special Forces mission. The Special Forces have been expanded enormously in the Bush Administration. The 2004 Pentagon budget provides more than six and a half billion dollars for their activities—a thirty-four-per-cent increase over 2003. A recent congressional study put the number of active and reserve Special Forces troops at forty-seven thousand, and has suggested that the appropriate House and Senate committees needed to debate the “proper overall role” of Special Forces in the global war on terrorism. The former intelligence official depicted the Delta and seal teams as “force multipliers”—small units that can do the work of much larger ones and thereby increase the power of the operation as a whole. He also implicitly recognized that such operations would become more and more common; when Special Forces target the Baathists, he said, “it’s technically not assassination—it’s normal combat operations.” ♦ REFERENCE: Annals of National Security Moving Targets Will the counter-insurgency plan in Iraq repeat the mistakes of Vietnam? by Seymour M. Hersh December 15, 2003 http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/12/15/031215fa_fact 

The CIA Phoenix Project - Part - 5

URL: http://youtu.be/lBGRqjKzkxw

The CIA's Vietnam Histories - Newly-Declassified CIA Histories Show Its Involvement in Every Aspect of the Indochina War National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 283 Posted - August 26, 2009 For more information contact: John Prados - 202/994-7000 http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB284/index.htm

FROM THE ASHES OF THE PHOENIX: LESSONS FOR CONTEMPORARY COUNTERINSURGENCY OPERATIONS. United States Army War College http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/army-usawc/ksil241.pdf

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