Editors note: Most of the tactics described below are now being implemented and used in the United States against the American people.
Wikileaks has released a sensitive 219 page US military counterinsurgency manual. The manual, Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces (1994, 2004), may be critically described as what we learned about running death squads and propping up corrupt government in Latin America and how to apply it to other places. Its contents are both history defining for Latin America and, given the continued role of US Special Forces in the suppression of insurgencies, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, history making.
The leaked manual, which has been verified with military sources, is the official US Special Forces doctrine for Foreign Internal Defense or FID.
FID operations are designed to prop up a friendly government facing a popular revolution or guerilla insurgency. FID interventions are often covert or quasi-covert due to the unpopular nature of the governments being supported (In formulating a realistic policy for the use of advisors, the commander must carefully gauge the psychological climate of the HN [Host Nation] and the United States.)
The manual directly advocates training paramilitaries, pervasive surveillance, censorship, press control and restrictions on labor unions & political parties. It directly advocates warrantless searches, detainment without charge and (under varying circumstances) the suspension of habeas corpus. It directly advocates employing terrorists or prosecuting individuals for terrorism who are not terrorists, running false flag operations and concealing human rights abuses from journalists. And it repeatedly advocates the use of subterfuge and psychological operations (propaganda) to make these and other population & resource control measures more palatable.
The content has been particularly informed by the long United States involvement in El Salvador.
In 2005 a number of credible media reports suggested the Pentagon was intensely debating the Salvador option for Iraq.. According to the New York Times Magazine:
The template for Iraq today is not Vietnam, with which it has often been compared, but El Salvador, where a right-wing government backed by the United States fought a leftist insurgency in a 12-year war beginning in 1980. The cost was high more than 70,000 people were killed, most of them civilians, in a country with a population of just six million. Most of the killing and torturing was done by the army and the right-wing death squads affiliated with it. According to an Amnesty International report in 2001, violations committed by the army and associated groups included extrajudicial executions, other unlawful killings, disappearances and torture. . . . Whole villages were targeted by the armed forces and their inhabitants massacred. As part of President Reagans policy of supporting anti-Communist forces, hundreds of millions of dollars in United States aid was funneled to the Salvadoran Army, and a team of 55 Special Forces advisers, led for several years by Jim Steele, trained front-line battalions that were accused of significant human rights abuses.
From the WikiLeaks site:
DISTRIBUTION RESTRICTION: Distribution authorized to U.S. Government agencies and their contractors only to protect technical or operational information from automatic dissemination under the International Exchange Program or by other means. This determination was made on 5 December 2003. Other requests for this document must be referred to Commander, United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, ATTN: AOJK-DTD-SFD, Fort Bragg, North Carolina 28310-5000.
Destruction Notice: Destroy by any method that must prevent disclosure of contents or reconstruction of the document.
There are three general strategies of insurgency: foco, mass-oriented, and traditional.
A foco (Spanish word meaning focus or focal point) is a single, armed cell that emerges from hidden strongholds in an atmosphere of disintegrating legitimacy. In theory, this cell is the nucleus around which mass popular support rallies. The insurgents build new institutions and establish control on the basis of that support. For a foco insurgency to succeed, government legitimacy must be near total collapse. Timing is critical. The foco must mature at the same time the government loses legitimacy and before any alternative appears. The most famous foco insurgencies were those led by Castro and Che Guevara. The strategy was quite effective in Cuba because the Batista regime was corrupt and incompetent. The distinguishing characteristics of a foco insurgency are The deliberate avoidance of preparatory organizational work. The rationale is based on the premise that most peasants are intimidated by the authorities and will betray any group that cannot defend itself. The development of rural support as demonstrated by the ability of the foco insurgency to strike against the authorities and survive. The absence of any emphasis on the protracted nature of the conflict.
In 1952, Fidel Castro began his revolutionary movement in Cuba. After an unsuccessful attack of Ft. Moncada, he was imprisoned. Upon release in 1955 he fled to Mexico to train a new group of guerrilla warriors. In 1956, Castro and 82 of his followers returned to Cuba on a yacht. Of this group, only 12 of Castros followers made their way to the Sierra Maestra mountains. From his remote mountain base, he established a 100to 150-man nucleus. As Castros organization grew, small unit patrols began hit-and-run type operations. While Castro continued to expand his area of influence, the popularity of the corrupt Batista government waned. In May of 1958, the government launched an attack on the Sierra Maestra stronghold. Castro withdrew deeper into the mountains, while spreading his message on national reform. Batistas continuing repression of the country led to general strikes and continuing growth in popular support for Castros small cell of revolutionaries. Finally, Batista fled the country on 1 January 1959, and Castro established a junta and became the Prime Minister and President.
This insurgency aims to achieve the political and armed mobilization of a large popular movement. Mass-oriented insurgencies emphasize creating apolitical and armed legitimacy outside the existing system. They challenge that system and then destroy or supplant it. These insurgents patiently build a large armed force of regular and irregular guerrillas. They also construct a base of active and passive political supporters. They plan a protracted campaign of increasing violence to destroy the government and its institutions from the outside, Their political leadership normally is distinct from their military leadership. Their movement normally establishes a parallel government that openly proclaims its own legitimacy. They have a well-developed ideology and decide on their objectives only after careful analysis. Highly organized, they mobilize forces for a direct military and political challenge to the government using propaganda and guerrilla action. The distinguishing characteristics of a mass-oriented insurgency are:
Political control by the revolutionary organization, which assures priority of political considerations. Reliance on organized popular support to provide recruits, funds, supplies, and intelligence. Primary areas of activity, especially in early phases, in the remote countryside where the population can be organized and base areas established with little interference from the authorities. Reliance upon guerrilla tactics to carry on the military side of the strategy. These tactics focus on the avoidance of battle, except at times and places of the insurgents choosing, and the employment of stealth and secrecy, ambush, and surprise to overcome the initial imbalance of strength. A phased strategy consisting first of a primarily organizational phase in which the population is prepared for its vital role. In the second phase, armed struggle is launched and the guerrilla force gradually builds up in size and strength, The third phase consists of mobile, more conventional warfare. Conceptually, this third phase is accompanied by a popular uprising that helps overwhelm the regime. It is a concept of protracted war.
The Vietnam conflict (1959-1975) is one example of a mass-oriented insurgency. In December 1960, under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, the National Liberation Front was formed in North Vietnam. Its main goal was to establish shadow governments at all levels in South Vietnam to take control of the population from the South Vietnamese. The National Liberation Front also used propaganda and guerrilla action, expecting the South Vietnamese population to rally to their side and overthrow the government. The insurgency was actually a failure because the mass uprising of the population, envisioned by the communist leaders, never occurred. Relentless guerrilla attacks did serve to weaken the government of South Vietnam, but they did not cause it to fall. In the spring of 1975, North Vietnam launched a massive conventional invasion of South Vietnam using armored vehicles. Saigon, the capital city, fell on 30 April.
This insurgency normally grows from very specific grievances and initially has limited aims. It springs from tribal, racial, religious, linguistic, or other similarly identifiable groups. The insurgents perceive that the government has denied the rights and interests of their group and work to establish or restore them. They frequently seek withdrawal from government control through autonomy or semiautonomy. They seldom specifically seek to overthrow the government or control the whole society. They generally respond in kind to government violence. Their use of violence can range from strikes and street demonstrations to terrorism and guerrilla warfare. These insurgencies may cease if the government accedes to the insurgents demands. The concessions the insurgents demand, however, are so great that the government concedes its legitimacy along with them.
The Huk rebellion in the Philippines can be considered a traditional insurgency despite its Communist origin. The Huks first surfaced as an armed force resisting the Japanese occupation of the Second World War. After the war, when other resistance bands disarmed, the Huks did not. After the American liberation, the Huks saw a chance to seize national power at a time when the newly proclaimed Philippine Republic was in obvious distress as a result of a monetary crisis, graft in high office, and mounting peasant unrest. By 1950, the Huks had built a force of 12,800 armed guerrillas with thousands of peasant supporters on central Luzon. They were defeated in a series of actions by the Armed Forces of the Philippines led by Ramon Magsaysa. By 1965, they were nearly extinct, down to 75 members. Largely agrarian, the Huks do not view the government as totally in need of replacement but believe that many of the people in it need to be replaced. Recently the Huk movement has been gaining popular support, once again on the island of Luzon.
Most of the counterintelligence measures used will be overt in nature and aimed at protecting installations, units, and information and detecting espionage, sabotage, and subversion. Examples of counterintelligence measures to use are
PSYOP [Psychological Operations] are essential to the success of PRC [Population & Resources Control]. For maximum effectiveness, a strong psychological operations effort is directed toward the families of the insurgents and their popular support base. The PSYOP aspect of the PRC program tries to make the imposition of control more palatable to the people by relating the necessity of controls to their safety and well-being. PSYOP efforts also try to create a favorable national or local government image and counter the effects of the insurgent propaganda effort.
SF [US Special Forces] can advise and assist HN [Host Nation] forces in developing and implementing control measures. Among these measures are the following:
Legal Considerations. All restrictions, controls, and DA measures must be governed by the legality of these methods and their impact on the populace. In countries where government authorities do not have wide latitude in controlling the population, special or emergency legislation must be enacted. This emergency legislation may include a form of martial law permitting government forces to search without warrant, to detain without bringing formal charges, and to execute other similar actions.
PSYOP can support the mission by discrediting the insurgent forces to neutral groups, creating dissension among the insurgents themselves, and supporting defector programs. Divisive programs create dissension, disorganization, low morale, subversion, and defection within the insurgent forces. Also important are national programs to win insurgents over to the government side with offers of amnesty and rewards. Motives for surrendering can range from personal rivalries and bitterness to disillusionment and discouragement. Pressure from the security forces has persuasive power.
Intelligence personnel must consider the parameters within which a revolutionary movement operates. Frequently, they establish a centralized intelligence processing center to collect and coordinate the amount of information required to make long-range intelligence estimates. Long-range intelligence focuses on the stable factors existing in an insurgency. For example, various demographic factors (ethnic, racial, social, economic, religious, and political characteristics of the area in which the underground movement takes places) are useful in identifying the members of the underground. Information about the underground organization at national, district, and local level is basic in FID [Foreign Internal Defense] and/or IDAD operations. Collection of specific short-range intelligence about the rapidly changing variables of a local situation is critical. Intelligence personnel must gather information on members of the underground, their movements, and their methods. Biographies and photos of suspected underground members, detailed information on their homes, families, education, work history, and associates are important features of short-range intelligence.
Destroying its tactical units is not enough to defeat the enemy. The insurgents underground cells or infrastructure must be neutralized first because the infrastructure is his main source of tactical intelligence and political control. Eliminating the infrastructure within an area achieves two goals: it ensures the governments control of the area, and it cuts off the enemys main source of intelligence. An intelligence and operations command center (IOCC) is needed at district or province level. This organization becomes the nerve center for operations against the insurgent infrastructure. Information on insurgent infrastructure targets should come from such sources as the national police and other established intelligence nets and agents and individuals (informants).
The highly specialized and sensitive nature of clandestine intelligence collection demands specially selected and highly trained agents. Information from clandestine sources is often highly sensitive and requires tight control to protect the source. However, tactical information upon which a combat response can be taken should be passed to the appropriate tactical level.
The spotting, assessment, and recruitment of an agent is not a haphazard process regardless of the type agent being sought. During the assessment phase, the case officer determines the individuals degree of intelligence, access to target, available or necessary cover, and motivation. He initiates the recruitment and coding action only after he determines the individual has the necessary attributes to fulfill the needs.
All agents are closely observed and those that are not reliable are relieved. A few well-targeted, reliable agents are better and more economical than a large number of poor ones.
A system is needed to evaluate the agents and the information they submit. The maintenance of an agent master dossier (possibly at the SFOD B level) can be useful in evaluating the agent on the value and quality of information he has submitted. The dossier must contain a copy of the agents source data report and every intelligence report he submitted.
Security forces can induce individuals among the general populace to become informants. Security forces use various motives (civic-mindedness, patriotism, fear, punishment avoidance, gratitude, revenge or jealousy, financial rewards) as persuasive arguments. They use the assurance of protection from reprisal as a major inducement. Security forces must maintain the informants anonymity and must conceal the transfer of information from the source to the security agent. The security agent and the informant may prearrange signals to coincide with everyday behavior.
Surveillance, the covert observation of persons and places, is a principal method of gaining and confirming intelligence information. Surveillance techniques naturally vary with the requirements of different situations. The basic procedures include mechanical observation (wiretaps or concealed microphones), observation from fixed locations, and physical surveillance of subjects.
Whenever a suspect is apprehended during an operation, a hasty interrogation takes place to gain immediate information that could be of tactical value. The most frequently used methods for gathering information (map studies and aerial observation), however, are normally unsuccessful. Most PWs cannot read a map. When they are taken on a visual reconnaissance flight, it is usually their first flight and they cannot associate an aerial view with what they saw on the ground.
The most successful interrogation method consists of a map study based on terrain information received from the detainee. The interrogator first asks the detainee what the suns direction was when he left the base camp. From this information, he can determine a general direction. The interrogator then asks the detainee how long it took him to walk to the point where he was captured. Judging the terrain and the detainees health, the interrogator can determine a general radius in which the base camp can be found (he can use an overlay for this purpose). He then asks the detainee to identify significant terrain features he saw on each day of his journey, (rivers, open areas, hills, rice paddies, swamps). As the detainee speaks and his memory is jogged, the interrogator finds these terrain features on a current map and gradually plots the detainees route to finally locate the base camp.
If the interrogator is unable to speak the detainees language, he interrogates through an interpreter who received a briefing beforehand. A recorder may also assist him. If the interrogator is not familiar with the area, personnel who are familiar with the area brief him before the interrogation and then join the interrogation team. The recorder allows the interrogator a more free-flowing interrogation. The recorder also lets a knowledgeable interpreter elaborate on points the detainee has mentioned without the interrogator interrupting the continuity established during a given sequence. The interpreter can also question certain inaccuracies, keeping pressure on the subject. The interpreter and the interrogator have to be well trained to work as a team. The interpreter has to be familiar with the interrogation procedures. His preinterrogation briefings must include information on the detainees health, the circumstances resulting in his detention, and the specific information required. A successful interrogation is contingent upon continuity and a welltrained interpreter. A tape recorder (or a recorder taking notes) enhances continuity by freeing the interrogator from time-consuming administrative tasks.
Political Structures. A tightly disciplined party organization, formally structured to parallel the existing government hierarchy, may be found at the center of some insurgent movements. In most instances, this organizational structure will consist of committed organizations at the village, district province, and national levels. Within major divisions and sections of an insurgent military headquarters, totally distinct but parallel command channels exist. There are military chains of command and political channels of control. The party ensures complete domination over the military structure using its own parallel organization. It dominates through a political division in an insurgent military headquarters, a party cell or group in an insurgent military unit, or a political military officer.
Special Intelligence-Gathering Operations
Alternative intelligence-gathering techniques and sources, such as doppelganger or pseudo operations, can be tried and used when it is hard to obtain information from the civilian populace. These pseudo units are usually made up of ex-guerrilla and/or security force personnel posing as insurgents. They circulate among the civilian populace and, in some cases, infiltrate guerrilla units to gather information on guerrilla movements and its support infrastructure.
Much time and effort must be used to persuade insurgents to switch allegiance and serve with the security forces. Prospective candidates must be properly screened and then given a choice of serving with the HN [Host Nation] security forces or facing prosecution under HN law for terrorist crimes.
Government security force units and teams of varying size have been used in infiltration operations against underground and guerrilla forces. They have been especially effective in getting information on underground security and communications systems, the nature and extent of civilian support and underground liaison, underground supply methods, and possible collusion between local government officials and the underground. Before such a unit can be properly trained and disguised, however, much information about the appearance, mannerisms, and security procedures of enemy units must be gathered. Most of this information comes from defectors or reindoctrinated prisoners. Defectors also make excellent instructors and guides for an infiltrating unit. In using a disguised team, the selected men should be trained, oriented, and disguised to look and act like authentic underground or guerrilla units. In addition to acquiring valuable information, the infiltrating units can demoralize the insurgents to the extent that they become overly suspicious and distrustful of their own units.
After establishing the cordon and designating a holding area, the screening point or center is established. All civilians in the cordoned area will then pass through the screening center to be classified.
National police personnel will complete, if census data does not exist in the police files, a basic registration card and photograph all personnel over the age of 15. They print two copies of each photo- one is pasted to the registration card and the other to the village book (for possible use in later operations and to identify ralliers and informants).
The screening element leader ensures the screeners question relatives, friends, neighbors, and other knowledgeable individuals of guerrilla leaders or functionaries operating in the area on their whereabouts, activities, movements, and expected return.
The screening area must include areas where police and military intelligence personnel can privately interview selected individuals. The interrogators try to convince the interviewees that their cooperation will not be detected by the other inhabitants. They also discuss, during the interview, the availability of monetary rewards for certain types of information and equipment.
Civilian Self-Defense Forces [Paramilitaries, or, especially in an El-Salvador or Colombian civil war context, right wing "death squads"]
When a village accepts the CSDF program, the insurgents cannot choose to ignore it. To let the village go unpunished will encourage other villages to accept the governments CSDF program. The insurgents have no choice; they have to attack the CSDF village to provide a lesson to other villages considering CSDF. In a sense, the psychological effectiveness of the CSDF concept starts by reversing the insurgent strategy of making the government the repressor. It forces the insurgents to cross a critical threshold-that of attacking and killing the very class of people they are supposed to be liberating.
To be successful, the CSDF program must have popular support from those directly involved or affected by it. The average peasant is not normally willing to fight to his death for his national government. His national government may have been a succession of corrupt dictators and inefficient bureaucrats. These governments are not the types of institutions that inspire fight-to-the-death emotions in the peasant. The village or town, however, is a different matter. The average peasant will fight much harder for his home and for his village than he ever would for his national government. The CSDF concept directly involves the peasant in the war and makes it a fight for the family and village instead of a fight for some faraway irrelevant government.
Members of the CSDF receive no pay for their civil duties. In most instances, however, they derive certain benefits from voluntary service. These benefits can range from priority of hire for CMO projects to a place at the head of ration lines. In El Salvador, CSDF personnel (they were called civil defense there) were given a U.S.-funded life insurance policy with the wife or next of kin as the beneficiary.If a CSDF member died in the line of duty, the widow or next of kin was ceremoniously paid by an HN official. The HN administered the program and a U.S. advisor who maintained accountability of the funds verified the payment. The HN [Host Nation] exercises administrative and visible control.
Responsiveness and speedy payment are essential in this process since the widow normally does not have a means of support and the psychological effect of the government assisting her in her time of grief impacts on the entire community. These and other benefits offered by or through the HN government are valuable incentives for recruiting and sustaining the CSDF.
The local CSDF members select their leaders and deputy leaders (CSDF groups and teams) in elections organized by the local authorities. In some cases, the HN [Host Nation] appoints a leader who is a specially selected member of the HN security forces trained to carry out this task. Such appointments occurred in El Salvador where the armed forces have established a formal school to train CSDF commanders. Extreme care and close supervision are required to avoid abuses by CSDF leaders.
The organization of a CSDF can be similar to that of a combat group. This organization is effective in both rural and urban settings. For example, a basic group, having a strength of 107 members, is broken down into three 35-man elements plus a headquarters element of 2 personnel. Each 35-man element is further broken down into three 1 l-man teams and a headquarters element of 2 personnel. Each team consists of a team leader, an assistant team leader, and three 3-man cells. This organization can be modified to accommodate the number of citizens available to serve.
Weapons training for the CSDF personnel is critical. Skill at arms decides the outcome of battle and must be stressed. Of equal importance is the maintenance and care of weapons. CSDF members are taught basic rifle marksmanship with special emphasis on firing from fixed positions and during conditions of limited visibility. Also included in the marksmanship training program are target detection and fire discipline.
Training ammunition is usually allocated to the CSDF on the basis of a specified number of rounds for each authorized weapon. A supporting HN government force or an established CSDF logistic source provides the ammunition to support refresher training.
Acts of misconduct by HN [Host Nation] personnel
All members of training assistance teams must understand their responsibilities concerning acts of misconduct by HN personnel. Team members receive briefings before deployment on what to do if they encounter or observe such acts. Common Article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions lists prohibited acts by parties to the convention. Such acts are-
If team members encounter prohibited acts they can not stop, they will disengage from the activity, leave the area if possible, and report the incidents immediately to the proper in-country U.S. authorities. The country team will identify proper U.S. authorities during the teams initial briefing. Team members will not discuss such matters with non-U.S. Government authorities such as journalists and civilian contractors.
Most insurgents doctrinal and training documents stress the use of pressure-type mines in the more isolated or less populated areas. They prefer using commandtype mines in densely populated areas. These documents stress that when using noncommand-detonated mines, the insurgents use every means to inform the local populace on their location, commensurate with security regulations. In reality, most insurgent groups suffer from various degrees of deficiency in their C2 [Command & Control] systems. Their C2 does not permit them to verify that those elements at the operational level strictly follow directives and orders. In the case of the Frente Farabundo Marti de la Liberation Nacional (FMLN) in El Salvador, the individual that emplaces the mine is responsible for its recovery after the engagement. There are problems with this concept. The individual may be killed or the security forces may gain control of the area. Therefore, the recovery of the mine is next to impossible.
Homemade antipersonnel mines are used extensively in El Salvador, Guatemala and Malaysia. (Eighty percent of all El Salvadoran armed forces casualties in 1986 were due to mines; in 1987, soldiers wounded by mines and booby traps averaged 50 to 60 per month.) The important point to remember is that any homemade mine is the product of the resources available to the insurgent group. Therefore, no two antipersonnel mines may be the same in their configuration and materials. Insurgent groups depend to a great extent on materials discarded or lost by security forces personnel. The insurgents not only use weapons, ammunition, mines, grenades, and demolitions for their original purpose but also in preparing expedient mines and booby traps.
A series of successful minings carried out by the Viet Cong insurgents on the Cua Viet River, Quang Tri Province, demonstrated their resourcefulness in countering minesweeping tactics. Initially, chain-dragging sweeps took place morning and evening. After several successful mining attacks, it was apparent that they laid the mines after the minesweepers passed. Then, the boats using the river formed into convoys and transited the river with minesweepers 914 meters ahead oft he convoy. Nevertheless, boats of the convoy were successfully mined in mid-channel, indicating that the mines were again laid after the minesweeper had passed, possibly by using sampans. Several sampans were observed crossing or otherwise using the channel between the minesweepers and the convoy. The convoys were then organized so that the minesweepers worked immediately ahead of the convoy. One convoy successfully passed. The next convoy had its minesweepers mined and ambushed close to the river banks.
Psychologically pressuring the HN [Host Nation] counterpart may sometimes be successful.Forms of psychological pressure may range from the obvious to the subtle. The advisor never applies direct threats, pressure, or intimidation on his counterpart Indirect psychological pressure may be applied by taking an issue up the chain of command to a higher U.S. commander. The U.S. commander can then bring his counterpart to force the subordinate counterpart to comply. Psychological pressure may obtain quick results but may have very negative side effects. The counterpart will feel alienated and possibly hostile if the advisor uses such techniques. Offers of payment in the form of valuables may cause him to become resentful of the obvious control being exerted over him. In short, psychologically pressuring a counterpart is not recommended. Such pressure is used only as a last resort since it may irreparably damage the relationship between the advisor and his counterpart
PSYOP [Psychological Operations] Support for Military Advisors
The introduction of military advisors requires preparing the populace with which the advisors are going to work. Before advisors enter a country, the HN [Host Nation] government carefully explains their introduction and clearly emphasizes the benefits of their presence to the citizens. It must provide a credible justification to minimize the obvious propaganda benefits the insurgents could derive from this action. The countrys dissenting elements label our actions, no matter how well-intended, an "imperialistic intervention."
Once advisors are committed, their activities should be exploited. Their successful integration into the HN [Host Nation] society and their respect for local customs and mores, as well as their involvement with CA [Civil Affairs] projects, are constantly brought to light. In formulating a realistic policy for the use of advisors, the commander must carefully gauge the psychological climate of the HN and the United States. (Statism Watch, 6.15.2008, Julian Assange)