incoming (2006-49)

No Lumps about It

Under the Bridge

MP 1, Haters 0

Last Week, Promise

John L. Hamilton

Under the Bridge

Richard F. Robinson

MP 1, Haters 0

Casey Taylor

Last Week, Promise

Ms. Golding stressed the Steve Harrington video clip on the use of water boarding. She should note that Mr. Golding was exposed to the technique (by his own account) for approximately 15 seconds and knew he was about to be released.

I would propose an alternate test. Mr. Harrington is an investigative reporter who has an exclusive story based on “classified” government information. The government suspects that the source of the information is government employee Jones. So government agents accost Mr. Harrington and demand that he “confirm that you received the information from Jones.” He, of course, refuses. The government (our government) then subjects him not to 15 seconds but 15 hours of water boarding. After each immersion they ask, “Confirm that Jones is your source.” How long will it be before Mr. Harrington says “Yes, I got it from Jones”?

Mr. Harrington is then whisked off to a secret CIA detention center, and the government (our government) pursues Mr. Jones based on a “voluntary” confession from Mr. Harrington.

Extend the scenario. The government (our government) determines that the current uprising in Iraq is sponsored and controlled by al Qaeda. In this predetermined scenario, an Iraqi is detained and told, “Confirm that you were supported and trained by operatives of al Qaeda.” If he denies it, another trip to water board. If he concedes, the “questioning” stops. The government (our government) then solemnly pronounces, “We have voluntary admissions that the uprising is supported by external agents of al Qaeda.”

This is justice? This is fair play? This is logical intelligence gathering? This is the government of equal justice for all?

Ms. Golding then asks if I can provide a logical method to extract information from Islamic fascists. Glad to comply. They are the same guidelines used in any successful intelligence interrogation.

First: Understand patience. If you are trying to find the location of an apple orchard and you discover an apple seed, you are well on your way to success. You find one fact, which confirms a prior fact, which leads to a new truth, etc.

Second: Know your enemy. Understand the social and political enmities that separate Shiite from Sunni from Kurd from Christian and, within each group, specific sub sects. Not a one-week course, but in-depth knowledge gained by years of exposure.

Third: Speak the language. If you are questioning a Sunni and are only able to communicate via a Shiite translator, how valid will the retrieved information be?

Fourth: Ask open-ended questions rather than simply demanding confirmation to predefined assumptions. “Where are you from?” leads to he is operating 300 miles from home. “It must be hard to be so far away. When were you home last?” leads to he has been in the field for seven months and so on.

Fifth: Correlate information. Twenty-five apple seeds lead you to an apple, leads you to a path, leads you to the orchard.

Sixth: Share information. The great failure of any information agency is the tendency to keep information “our secret.” Not only share your information, but ask (if necessary, beg) for help from other agencies.

Seventh: Plan for the long term. You cannot become an effective intelligence operator with a 12-month in-country tour. You need to be in the country and immersed in the structure for years.

Eighth: Know that disagreement or minority opinions will be accepted and encouraged by your superiors. If it isn’t a popular opinion, it can still be the truth.

Last: Be humble. People who work in intelligence rarely become generals or lead divisions into battle, but they provide the information upon which battles are won.

Franklin Greene, Lt. Col. USAF (Retired)

Duck and Cover, Everyone!

Firstly, Harold is off the list since he did nothing offensive other than losing the election. Playboy bunnies aren’t offensive either, thanks to Photoshop. Moving along, Mel, Michael and Ted did do, and say, some horrible things. All due to alcoholism, severe emotional stress, or uncontrollable urges of sorts. All have made genuine efforts to make amends. In each case, they could plead temporary insanity, and legitimately win a dismissal in court— if any of these reprehensible acts were illegal— which they aren’t. The real standout in the bunch is Scott West, downtown weed dealer. It’s illegal. It’s a felony. It’s a major criminality. Embarrassing an entire business community, at least. He boosted central city development as a cover. He used his business as a front. Just a small, benign node in a huge weed pipeline. Look a little further upstream to find the deadly, addictive stuff. West put money into that monstrosity. All for-profit, tax-free, big moolah. Not due to desperate financial hardships, just plain greed. Damage done. I just cannot find a warm, forgiving cockle in my big, fat heart for such a cold, calculating, self-serving chameleon.

Finally, and inexplicably, Dupree left out goofball gunman Lumpy Lambert, for drawing down on a TV guy. A forgivable offense, but that has to be the dumbest-ass video I ever seen, and I ain’t gonna fergit it, neither. Duck and cover!

Joe Acree

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