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Monday, February 9, 2015

Misguided policies have given rise to terrorists; negotiation essential: Fallon

Col. David Hackworth    
military journalist
US Army soldier
Amidst rising extremist attacks in the news, Sophie&Co talks with veteran U.S. intelligence official
Excerpting from transcript, editing, end comment  by Carolyn Bennett

ark Fallon is Senior Vice President for Learning and Knowledge Development at The Soufan Group, a New York City enterprise that, according to its website, “provides strategic security intelligence services to governments and multinational organizations, training programs, security services, and research insights … knowledge and skills to prepare for, manage and respond to constantly evolving security needs; … applies decades of operational experience, supported by academic research, to all of [its] training programs and consulting engagements.… The Soufan Group’s representatives regularly appear as featured speakers at security, business, diplomatic, and social events.”

The her February 9, 2015 interview, Sophie Shevarnadze looks at the “Terror … trend of 21st century,” tied to the US “War on Terror”, its flourishing month by month as more and more people “from all strata of society” and from various countries join the ranks of “extremists.” These are some of the questions she ponders with Mark Fallon.

What moves them to war?

How can terror be fought?

Who’s to blame for a world in which we have to live under everyday threat of terrorist attack?

Should we talk with those labeled “terrorist”?

Origin in prior crimes, human rights abuse

The government in power created “misguided policies” and for decades to come, Mark Fallon said, we will pay “an incredible price.” Among the misguided policies he cited are “Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib” as “major recruiting assets for terrorists groups.” Programs such as the “CIA’s RDI program” and “EIT, which gravitated from the CIA to Guantanamo Bay”; individuals such as “the general in charge of Guantanamo Bay who was sent into Iraq and is credited with ‘Gitmo-izing’ Iraq and contributing to what happened at Abu Ghraib.” 

RDI: “rendition, detention and interrogation program” employed by US Central Intelligence Agency

US Guantanamo Bay prison
EIT: enhanced interrogation techniques, “the U.S. government’s program of systematic torture of detainees by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and various components of the U.S. Armed Forces at black sites around the world, including Bagram, (Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan, located next to the ancient city of Bagram), Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), and Abu Ghraib (a city in the Al Anbar Governorate of Iraq just west of Baghdad’s city center, northwest of Baghdad International Airport) authorized by officials of the George W. Bush administration.”

Torture methods [criminal acts, human rights abuses] included “prolonged stress positions, hooding, subjection to deafening noise, sleep deprivation to the point of hallucination, deprivation of food and drink; waterboarding, walling, nakedness, subjection to extreme cold, confinement in small coffin-like boxes, and repeated slapping or beating; also cases of forced rectal feeding and threats to harm family members” [Wikipedia]
US Bagram Airbase

allon continued

“From my perspective, my professional opinion is that RDI program was a significant threat to our national security because it actually enabled Al-Qaeda and other groups to recruit terrorists to fight against us and to raise funding to use against us.

“It was clearly, clearly, a terrible mistake [MISTAKE!?]; and it’s a price we’re going to continue to pay.”

Once US allied
during Cold Wa
Origin in Human beings disaffected, needing identity

Fallon said his investigations on the “terrorist” issue had taken him around the world, into Northern Ireland, France, Southeast Asia, some Scandinavian countries; he had participated in studies on the issue and had “talked to a number of violent extremists and other combatants”; and on the basis of this investigation, he concluded that “They all seem to want to belong to something,”

He said. “If you look at the backgrounds—if you look at that generally, across the spectrum—they are from disaffected groups, populations.… They all seem to want to belong to something.”

Talking to these individuals, he found, “there are triggers that might set them off but it is generally, … with them that sense of identity that drives them to group, and gets them to engage in the activities that that group wants them to do. …” Recruiters capitalize on their being from disaffected groups and needing a sense of identity “by giving them a source of identity.”

This need vulnerable to exploitation cuts across socio economic or class level and educational achievement, he said. “…Some people might be highly educated, some might be uneducated, but generally, across the board, it is that sense of identity that drives them.”

Seeming to bring the issue home to a shared humanity, Fallon says “We are all individuals …. We are all human beings; and as despicable as their actions might be…, they are human beings and the best way to approach them is through understanding. Then capitalize on their nature, once you understand where they are coming from.”

Negotiate with “terrorists”?
Round table illus. of equals
not terrorists 
Mark Fallon said, “I think they have to enter into some type of dialog. … I think there is room to have communications with ISIS.”

Elaborating further, he said that to say “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” might be, for example, in a context of hostage exchange but “we certainly have developed assets within terrorist organizations: we are listening to terrorists; we are creating counter-narratives to what they’re saying. So, it is important that we hear what message they are trying to send, and really determine the underlying messages that they are trying to communicate.”

As to communicating particularly with ISIS, he explained, “It depends on your definition of ‘negotiate with them’  Certainly, there was some type of dialog at some point because there were discussions about the pilot (the latest widely publicized incident) being released, although it seemed to be a ploy and a subterfuge on the part of ISIS.” 

he upshot is, Fallon says, “…You cannot expect to be totally devoid of any type of communications. There will be contact. There will be communications …in any type of conflict.”

US seat of
US seat of misguidedgovernance

Any sane person can see what government officials refuse to see: That they must communicate. They must talk. They must negotiate—unless, of course, their intentions are anything but solving problems and resolving conflict.

Unless they want to perpetuate the terror their policies and practices create. Unless they want endless conflict, endless war that fills the personal coffers of corrupt leaders with military industrial complex kickbacks made possible by fear-driven public funding.

Sources and notes

Pegged to killings and executions in Middle East (Jordan), Sophie Shevarnadze speaks with Mark Fallon, veteran U.S. intelligence official, interrogation expert: “CIA torture based on ‘voodoo science’ of advocates - US intelligence expert”
February 9, 2015, http://rt.com/shows/sophieco/230475-cia-torture-terror-war/

Dissenter (2013): “A Comprehensive Look at the CIA’s Rendition, Detention & Torture Program” by Kevin Gosztola Tuesday February 5, 2013: “A major report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation (RDI) program was released today by the Open Society Justice Initiative. It is one of the most comprehensive examinations of the program to date.”

The Soufan Group, http://soufangroup.com/

A prominent military journalist and highly decorated United States Army soldier, Colonel David Haskell Hackworth (November 11, 1930 – May 4, 2005).

A lifelong American writer and writer/activist (former academic and staffer with the U.S. government in Washington), Dr. Carolyn LaDelle Bennett is credentialed in education and print journalism and public affairs (PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; MA, The American University, Washington, DC). Her work concerns itself with news and current affairs, historical contexts, and ideas particularly related to acts and consequences of U.S. foreign relations, geopolitics, human rights, war and peace, and violence and nonviolence. Dr. Bennett is an internationalist and nonpartisan progressive personally concerned with society and the common good. An educator at heart, her career began with the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since then, she has authored several books and numerous current-affairs articles; her latest book: UNCONSCIONABLE: How The World Sees Us: World News, Alternative Views, Commentary on U.S. Foreign Relations; most thoughts, articles, edited work are posted at Bennett’s Study: http://todaysinsightnews.blogspot.com/ and on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/carolynladelle.bennett. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08UNCONSCIONABLE/prweb12131656.htm http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-000757788/UNCONSCIONABLE.aspx Her books are also available at independent bookstores in New York State: Lift Bridge in Brockport; Sundance in Geneseo; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center in Buffalo; Burlingham Books in Perry; The Bookworm in East Aurora


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