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I saw active service in conventional, clandestine and covert units of the South African Defence Force. I was the founder of the Private Military Company (PMC) Executive Outcomes in 1989 and its chairman until I left in 1997. Until its closure in 1998, EO operated primarily in Africa helping African governments that had been abandoned by the West and were facing threats from insurgencies, terrorism and organised crime. EO also operated in South America and the Far East. I believe that only Africans (Black and White) can truly solve Africa’s problems. I was appointed Chairman of STTEP International in 2009 and also lecture at military colleges and universities in Africa on defence, intelligence and security issues. Prior to the STTEP International appointment, I served as an independent politico-military advisor to several African governments. I am a contributor to The Counter Terrorist magazine. All comments in line with the topics on this blog are welcome. As I consider this to be a serious look at military and security matters, foul language and political or religious debates will not be entertained on this blog.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

FEEDING THE INTELLIGENCE PROCESS

In my previous posting I had a brief look at the Intelligence Cycle, a process many speak of but often neglect. This process can be likened to a huge machine that uses information as its fuel. But, this process can either be a highly valuable asset – or a lame duck.

But apart from knowing this process exists, what sources of information are available to feed this process and how are they determined and guided?

It is important to know that there is a vast difference between “information” and “intelligence” - the former being raw, unprocessed data and the latter collated and evaluated information from the different available sources.

The information-feed from sources can be likened to the fuel that drives the intelligence machine. Without sound and credible information – there can be no intelligence process. It then simply becomes a matter of “garbage in, garbage out”. In order to prevent a garbage-like scenario, the identification, selection and exploitation of sources is paramount.

Whereas the PMC operating in a hostile environment will not be able to access the same type of sources as a sophisticated armed force, it can, nevertheless, access a large amount of different sources to provide the information-feed into the intelligence machine. The methods of collection are categorised as either overt or covert. Sources on the other hand can be directed, non-directed or casual.

These information sources can be briefly listed as follows:

1. Space – ie satellites,
2. Aerial – ie aerial observation platforms
3. Ground – ie reconnaissance, GSR, FCR and so forth
4. Maritime – ie ships, boats, etc
5. Underwater sensors, especially at choke points
6. Agents – both penetration and infiltration
7. Electronic warfare – ie radio, telephone, facsimile and email intercepts
8. Open literature – open sources in the public domain
9. Allied forces operating in close proximity
10. Prisoners-of-war, especially those recently captured
11. Defectors from the enemy’s intelligence services
12. Established data base that has been built-up over time
13. Local population who are resident in the area of operations and so forth.

It is of great importance to the intelligence staff of the PMC to focus their efforts on the available sources and to correctly task and guide these sources where possible. Without correct guidance, tasking and leading, the sources will fail to provide the required information and ultimately, this will lead to an intelligence failure.

Intelligence failures are not necessarily only due to the poor identification and exploitation of sources but also due to a lack of knowledge on the target area and the peoples who reside there. Intelligence failures can also be the result of arrogance and a belief that the opposing forces are unsophisticated, untrained and therefore unable to wage war effectively.

It is this arrogance of superiority that has led to many forces being unable to correctly assess their opponents on the field of battle – and has, in turn, led to higher than expected casualties and ultimately defeat.

Identifying and exploiting the available sources prior to entry into a hostile area is the key to any successful military campaign. Failure to do so is the key to defeat.

62 comments:

Robby said...

Intelligence failures....heres a perfect example not so much of "Intelligence failure" rather lack of intelligence within the much vaunted FBI and DHS if press reports are correct it took 100 homeland security and counter-terrorist specialists to set up a bunch of hapless blacks who did not have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of....you can't make this stuff up!

Yet Another Bogus 'Terror' Plot

By the now, it's maddeningly familiar. A scary terrorist plot is announced. Then it's revealed that the suspects are a hapless bunch of ne'er-do-wells or run-of-the-mill thugs without the slightest connection to any terrorists at all, never mind to Al Qaeda. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle: the entire plot is revealed to have been cooked up by a scummy government agent-provocateur.

I've seen this movie before.

In this case, the alleged perps -- Onta Williams, James Cromitie, David Williams, and Laguerre Payen -- were losers, ex-cons, drug addicts. Al Qaeda they're not. Without the assistance of the agent who entrapped them, they would never have dreamed of committing political violence, nor would they have had the slightest idea about where to acquire plastic explosives or a Stinger missile. That didn't stop prosecutors from acting as if they'd captured Osama bin Laden himself. Noted the Los Angeles Times:

Prosecutors called it the latest in a string of homegrown terrorism plots hatched after Sept. 11.

"It's hard to envision a more chilling plot," Assistant U.S. Atty. Eric Snyder said in court Thursday. He described all four suspects as "eager to bring death to Jews."

Actually, it's hard to imagine a stupider, less competent, and less important plot. The four losers were ensnared by a creepy FBI agent who hung around the mosque in upstate New York until he found what he was looking for.

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/dreyfuss/437864/yet_another_bogus_terror_plot?rel=hp_picks

From Sunday Times

FBI ‘lured dimwits’ into terror plot

The arrest of petty crooks over a plan to target Jews has put the use of sting operations under fire

ON the steps of New York city hall on Friday, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor, praised the police officers and federal agents who helped disrupt an apparent terrorist plot to blow up a synagogue and shoot down military aircraft.

The mayor was flanked by more than 100 homeland security and counter-terrorist specialists, all of whom had a hand in an elaborate sting that netted four alleged Muslim extremists. Their plan, according to FBI agents, was to detonate a “fireball that would make the country gasp”.

The operation was acclaimed by New York officials for its success in averting what David Paterson, the state governor, described as “a heinous crime”.

Yet not every New Yorker was impressed by the latest in a long line of purported anti-terrorist triumphs that have supposedly averted tragedy in New York, Chicago, Toronto and several other North American cities since September 11, 2001.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6350389.ece

Alex said...

Hey Eeben,

Intelligence is certainly a fascinating topic (and one on which I can speak with no authority whatsoever), but it's quite amazing how many conflicts seem to be fought, historically and currently, with little or no attention paid to intelligence on the people, region and enemy being encountered.

I imagine given your days in 32 Battalion Recon, CCB and so forth you have quite a deal of expertise on this, and I found your accounts of encounters and operations in intelligence to be some of the most compelling parts of your book. What kind of intelligence apparatus and methods did you usually employ in EO? Apologies if I'm asking for stuff you've covered in the book, I need to re-read it but don't have it with me at the moment. I would guess you wanted to have your own independently verifiable sources outside the stuff you got off whoever you were contracted by at the time.

I imagine certain types of intelligence are harder to tap into or acquire than others, but as you were saying in a previous article the temptation for states with hi-tech assets to ignore the hard-to-gather types of intel and rely on electronics, UAVs and so forth must be overwhelming. I read a very interesting book on the American Intelligence Support Activity a while ago which covered some of these issues, and I'm sure such groups exist in many countries doing the hard intelligence work, but I suppose the issue becomes whether the higher-ups then listen to what they have to say, or even allow them to continue operating if their information contradicts the popular view.

Another point is whether non-military intelligence agencies are willing to share what they've got; the book I read stated that the CIA hid the existence of an agent in Tehran during Op Eagle Claw because they didn't want him compromised, but maybe someone else reading this knows more about it than I do. I'll be interested to see what other posters with more knowledge than me have to say on this issue.

One final question; what does FCR mean? It's one of the myriad of military acronyms I haven't encountered before! Also, has anyone else contacted you asking for 'African speakers' yet? That rather sums up your point I guess.

Regards,

Alex

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You are right, Robby, this one can hardly make up. Agent-provocateurs can play an important role in the intelligence process but if they are randomly chosen with loyalty only to themselves, one finds this type of situation happening. This certainly appears to be the case in this matter.

Reading the articles, I somehow suspect that the agents involved (if one can actually call them that) are the type of people who are in fact sabotaging the entire intelligence process by crying wolf when they see a rabbit. This type of action gives them a sense of self import that they would never receive if they had to really do their jobs. My guess is that they are incompetents who were seeking their moment of glory and in the process discredited a lot of hard-working, dedicated real agents.

A sad, sad situation indeed…

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Wars are fought and won on good intelligence, Alex. Conversely, they are lost with poor or bad intelligence.

In EO we were somewhat strapped with intelligence and had to devise our own systems to support operations. To achieve what we wanted, we infiltrated SA Military Intelligence who was actively, albeit very covertly, supporting UNITA. We also ran penetration agents in UNITA. Then there were POWs and defectors, especially when it became apparent that the rebels were losing the war. This was all confirmed with electronic interception, direction finding, close-in ground reconnaissance and aerial surveillance. The locals also came to see EO not as a threat and were willing to give us information when we wanted it.

FCR is an abbreviation for Fire Control Radar, a source that is often neglected.

Agencies are loath to utilise well-placed agents in a willy-nilly fashion as such can compromise the agent. I can understand that thinking but if the agent has access to information required for an operation, he should be directed and controlled in such a manner as to ensure no compromise. But it is sometimes difficult and then the decision is made to protect the agent at all costs.

Hi-tech information gathering is a very valuable source – but it is merely one of many sources. Over-reliance on this type of source can be a folly. But, the age-old principles of intelligence, if ignored, will aid this folly.

Since I mentioned “African speakers” on my blog, no-one has contacted me in that regard. Maybe some homework has been done and that is a good thing.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Heres the real sad story Americas so called "terrorism experts" are dumber than those at the FBI ...example Steven Emerson whenever the topic of terrorism comes up he is the first one all major media outlets call on

Steve Emerson is executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism and author of five books on terrorism. His most recent book is Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S.

Here is his take on the affair note the term "home-grown terrorists" as mentioned before the recent FBI report on home-grown terrorists included returning vets and pretty much anyone who criticizes official government policy.

As details on New York’s would-be synagogue bombers come to light, Steve Emerson explores the virulent Islamic underworld where America’s home-grown terrorists got their start—and how to infiltrate them.

Just when threats of terrorism had seemingly disappeared from the radar screen, Americans woke up last Thursday morning to hear the news about four radical Muslims who plotted to bomb two synagogues in New York and shoot down a military plane using a Stinger missile. Fortunately, the FBI had infiltrated the plotters from the very beginning with a confidential informant who learned of the plan from an Afghan-born Muslim.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-05-22/stop-protecting-the-jihadists/?cid=bs:archive6

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Whereas I cannot comment on what is happening in the US, Robby, this appears to be a typical case of creating a threat, scaring the people and then justifying that fear to ensure that jobs are not lost and budgets are not cut.

A great danger arises when people believe their own disinformation and then act on it. Having been the victim of such actions, I know what it feels like. Likewise, many of my old enemies who were victim to my actions can also testify to how it feels. But then again, I do think that our situation was somewhat diferent and that we were targetting very real threats that had international support and backing to destroy us.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

I do think that our situation was somewhat diferent and that we were targetting very real threats that had international support and backing to destroy us.

No question about that, Americas guilt complex over slavery caused it to support ANC Obama stated in his birthday salute to Mandela that it was because of the ANC "struggle" that inspired him to enter politics.

In his own words

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ckxh2gWUyMk

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the link, Robby. In those days, we were the bad guys – a stigma that is still attached to us. Of course, being part of CCB and later founding EO only made it worse for me. But the wheeel turns and now we watch with silent glee how those that worked at destroying us are destroying themselves with stupidity.

Of course, it is not too late for the West to wake up but I am afraid that like lemmings, they are rapidly approaching the point-of-no-return.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

As mentioned before Americas "point of no return" is not to far off just like all previous empires the same thing will bring it down....money...it broke Russia ,Great Britain and now for America the chickens will be coming home to roost.. if they are not already here ... Obama stated yesterday "we be broke":-)

Robby said...

I will leave you with this...call it the coming perfect storm/s... talk about intelligence.. you won't find it in Washington or on Wall Street that's for sure.

Former Iraqi insurgent contemplates returning to war

BAGHDAD — Abu Fatma dresses in suits now. He cuts his hair short and talks like a politician.

He looked down at his tie and his clean gray suit.

"Don't be fooled by my clothes," he said.

Abu Fatma agreed to put his guns aside as part of a deal with the U.S. military last year but the former Sunni Muslim insurgent, once known as a killer with no mercy, is still a fighter. If the Americans don't start keeping the promises they made to his group and him he'll fight again, he said.

"All our arms are from old army caches underground; they will allow us to fight another 20 years," said the Kurd from the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. "I've told the Americans, 'If you keep alienating the people, all the Iraqis will fight.' "

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/68616.html

It's Decision Time in the USA
by Michael Pento


Last week Standard and Poor's announced that the AAA credit outlook of the United Kingdom was lowered to "negative" from "stable." The action caused many in the US, including Bill Gross, to impugn the United States' AAA credit rating and wonder if the same devaluation should be applicable here.

If the reasoning behind S&P's decision to call into question Britain's ability to repay debt is due to their budget deficit this year being 175 billion pounds ($273 billion), or 12.4% of gross domestic product for this year alone, then America's budget deficit ($1.84 trillion and approaching 13% of GDP) should yield the same result. Investors agreed with that reasoning and sent the yield on the 10 year note soaring to 3.43% during Friday's trading session, up over 90 bps from the Fed's March 18th announcement to purchase $300 billion in treasuries.

http://www.safehaven.com/article-13406.htm

simon said...

A couple of questions and thoughts. First, there is a huge debate going on in the US over guantanamo and what legal issues are at stake. I am involved in some aspects of the legal problems that will be faced although it will be above my pay grade to deal with such cases involving the detainees. Thats for the big guys in washington. Though Ive dealt with similar issues unrelated.

The detainees are neither POW's or criminals yet. They cant decide on how to try them and what being a detainee means. With the homegrown terrorists...They will be tried under federal prosecution and laws in the United States. Basically as a garden variety criminal.

The unseen problem is that when we bring them onto our soil we have laws about removing them. They have a right under law if tried in civilian court to claim asylum and use CAT. Conventions against Torture to remain here. I doubt they would last long on the street but the problem arises when we grant them civilian prosecution.

I dont think its fair to say Bogus when they intended to commit homicide under the guise of what we have defined as terror. Im familiar with the new admin and dhs presenting the idea that returning vets, dissenters, etc might be on a 'watch list'. Again, no one can decide because its the first time that we have fought an enemy with no uniform, no army. An asymetrical blob. It doesnt seem to fall under military or civilian jurisdiction yet.Law usually doesnt address the opaque. Our Patriot Act is another matter of controversy. If your following the law and have nothing to hide, then I dont worry.

Im curious to ask what E.B. thinks of 'enhanced interrogation'. I think its laughable to be able to bomb and shoot someone but we cant pour water down their throat and nose to get them to talk. Its far from anything goes. And these techniques are not being used as often as the 2 years after 9/11. Interrogation is part of the intelligence cycle as I read the post. What is most effective in getting people to talk ?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is known as backing the wrong horse, Robby, something that comes to the fore when intelligence work has been done in a slap-dash fashion. Bad pre-work has a reputation of coming back to haunt one.

As far as your financial part I concerned, I find it to be something that will most probably worry the average US citizen no end. But then, the citizens are always the victims of poor planning and policies.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I cannot hazard a real comment on your concerns, Simon, as I am very much ignorant of these issues as experienced by the US. However, it does appear to me that little to no real thought – along with the legal implications – was ever given to this issue.

I would assume that prior to the invasion a decision would have been made concerning the status of any armed combatant that the US forces encountered. This was a problem the SA forces also encountered and such people caught opposing our forces and armed with weapons, we considered to be enemy soldiers, regardless of their dress. They were then evacuated to POW camps – something the West was quick to shout at us about as being “inhuman”.

But, I somehow suspect that the West has caught itself with its own politically correct actions and deeds where the criminal (read terrorist) has more rights than a common citizen. They know this and use it against the West – and will continue to do so as long as the West clings to its desire to protect the human rights of the “bad guys” and reduce the rights of the “good guys”. The tail is now swinging the dog and men such as you are expected to read between the policy lines – something that is, apart from causing mass frustration, extremely unfair.

Interrogation is something that has always evoked much controversy. Again, the enemy can do whatever they wish to get information but the forces opposing the enemy are not allowed to do so. Again, I believe the West have been caught with their own laws. I do recall as a soldier that we were not allowed to harm prisoners who had been captured – they were to be handed over to the Intelligence people who did the interrogation. However, there were times when battlefield interrogations were done on snatch targets.

As I was never an interrogator, I would not know how to respond to your question. But I can tell you that after our 1994 change of government, anyone who had used force to interrogate a prisoner, regardless if it was an enemy soldier or a terrorist, were subject to trial. This was part of our Truth and Reconciliation process (TRC) – something the West encouraged the new SA government to hold. Some of the people who used force are now in a position that is not comfortable to them.

Rgds,

Eeben

JoExplorer said...

Eeben,

Many Thanks for the help earlier...

Cheers,
Joe

Robby said...

Simon Don't want to seem to be picking on you but when I hear a American say "If your following the law and have nothing to hide, then I dont worry." it sends chills up my spine and coming from someone I assume is connected to the legal profession...what...you miss the class on Constitutional Law?

The problem with the “If you’ve got nothing to hide” argument is that it makes an assumption of guilt unless you can prove yourself innocent (by having nothing to hide), while simultaneously removing from the individual the ability to decide what defines guilt and innocence.

It assumes a legitimate authority while simultaneously being part of dynamic that diminishes accountability, and thus legitimacy. There’s another form of this argument “If you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve nothing to fear”, which again sounds fair enough from the perspective of an authority, but if remember the history of crimes done by those in authority we need to see it from the perspective of the individual “If they do nothing wrong, you’ve nothing to fear!”.

Why give government powers on the presumption that we can, and always, will be able to trust them not to abuse them? The recent history of these so called anti-terror laws shows that once powers these powers are given they will be used for quite different purposes from those which were invoked to justify their introduction.

I will defer further to someone much smarter than me John W. Dean, former counsel to the President Nixon.

Why, Even If You Have Nothing To Hide, Government Surveillance Threatens Your Freedom:
The Case Against Expanding Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Powers
By JOHN W. DEAN
Friday, Oct. 19, 2007

"I've got nothing to hide, so electronic surveillance doesn't bother me. To the contrary, I'm delighted that the Bush Administration is monitoring calls and electronic traffic on a massive scale, because catching terrorists is far more important that worrying about the government's listening to my phone calls, or reading my emails." So the argument goes. It is a powerful one that has seduced too many people.

Millions of Americans buy this logic, and in accepting it, believe they are doing the right thing for themselves, their family, and their friends, neighbors, community and country. They are sadly wrong. If you accept this argument, you have been badly fooled.

http://writ.corporate.findlaw.com/dean/20071019.html

graycladunits said...

Dear Eeben:

What does a controller end up doing when one of his agents wants to leave the spy business? Did you ever have an agent who wanted to retire? If so, did you make the retiree responsible for training a replacement man on the inside or was another man provided by the CCB? I never really thought about this until I read your last article on here.

Thanks, graycladunits

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You are very welcome, Joe.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

That could sometimes be a problem, GCU, but the CCB was a different type of covert organisation. The operative was a member of Special Forces and at times had to fulfil a dual role of Case Officer and operative. As such, the operative was responsible for running his own agents of various types. Given the difficulty of the situation at that time, a lot of agents were recruited via false-flags and their role was of short duration and usually tied to a specific operation. However, support agents who provided back-up were utilised for longer periods. Agents were either witting or unwitting – the unwitting agent never knew what he/she was really doing so he/she never considered breaking contact. The witting agent usually didn’t know who he was working for and careful control allowed us to see when the agent was close to cracking-up. In such a case, we would break the contact and leave him for a while. But, as the operations were usually of short duration, this didn’t often happen.

One agent never met another agent for fear of compromise. At that time, we as South Africans were vilified all over the world so we could not afford to slip up as we would have been given a one-way ticket to jail. If we cut an agent lose, we had to find the next one and train him/her up for a specific operation or task.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Robby. I however deleted your comment for fear of extreme controversy.

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

If you look up the definition of "extreme controversy" you will find my picture :-)

simon said...

Dont worry, Im not one to go overboard on comments on the internet. I have found that communication over the net is often not what would be communicated in person. IE, if robby said something about american mentality, I wouldnt necessarily take it to be an attack on me personally. Isnt worth the breath. I come here in particular, not to hob nob with modern day 'mercenaries' but to gain perspective I Wont gain on a totally american blog or board. Especially in military matters. And I have benefitted greatly already in appreciating the viewpoints of EB from this blog and posters on it and his book on what its like to be betrayed by a government who supposedly was 'fighting for you'. And myriads of books and stories of rhodesia my first african interest.

I have been fortunate enough to live overseas for time periods and know what its like to be around a group of americans and feign an accent when asked for help or directions out of embarassment. However, I have to believe in some premises of american life and culture and even govt.

I think that there are examples of abuse of power or using the law to infringe on privacy. I have a copy of the constitution right here. I think some of the things going on economically are more unconstitutional than nabbing some piss pore wanna be terrorists. I hate property tax. I think its unconstitutional. There are imperfections in the system yet America is facing a warefare they havent faced before and in trial and error I hope the spirit of the founding documents will prevail. Robby, you mentioned once that you had a radio program ? is there access to it on the net. Respectfully, Simon

Robby said...

Simon...My outspoken criticism of America and Americans is not based on any "un-American" bias rather it is my research of American history.

I guess my disappointment with present day Americans is how uniformed they are about their own history and constitution.Because of this I have seen the devastating effects American policy has made on people thousands of miles from its shores,just to justify some domestic agenda

In the financial world where I live over years I have learned that to understand where the markets are going I needed to identify the market models used by those who make the decisions that effect us all.

There are five main financial models: Keynesian, monetarist, socialist, fascist and Austrian, and there is no consensus about which one is correct.Although logic would point to Austrian being the bases for the founders intent.But knowing which model is being used you can come to fair conclusion where we are going

I use the same theory when it comes to politics, the current American political models (I judge people and politicians by which model I subscribe them to the things they do or say) unlike the 5 financial models politics have 3 basic models

1)American Exceptionalism ,this theory is preached by the likes of Rush Limbaugh,Shaun Hanniety,Michael Medved,Hugh Hewitt and most so called Republicans .This model is based on Americas financial and supreme military power which means every action taken is justified because of it's perceived "moral"authority"...bordering on a supremacist ideology

These folks all supported the "Patriot Act" when Bush was in power now that it's a Obama admin they are now shocked to discover that the same "Patriot Act" is now being used against them...case of beware what you wish for...however these folks all abandoned the constitutional road map when given the chance and cannot now figure out why they only have 25% approval rating.

2)American Socialism the current model a mix of socialism,communism and fascism no need to explain this as we know by history how this model works out

3)Constitutionalist model: might as well call them a "Endangered Species" this model is best understood by the followers of Ron Paul who for the record were called un-American during the recent election by the "American Exceptionalist's" crowd.I subscribe to this model it's based on that the road map laid out by the founders although not perfect held true to a "Republican" form of government.I guess I can sum it up by quoting Thomas Jefferson "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty" it's not rocket science brother.

You said "America is facing a warefare they havent faced before and in trial and error I hope the spirit of the founding documents will prevail.

Maybe America needs to revisit the words of John Quincy Adams, perhaps America's greatest secretary of state, who said, "America, while sympathising with struggling peoples, "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy". Should America seek out monsters, Adams continued, "the fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force ... She might become the dictatress of the world: she would no longer be the ruler of her own spirit."

I host a daily show on RBN out of Texas Monday - Friday, 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM CST you can hear it live here
http://republicbroadcasting.org/?page_id=3

borr1945 said...

Dear Eeben,

From your experience, what would
you consider the most important and
reliable form of intelligence?
Would it be electronic, information gathered from patrolling, or human sources of information such as agents or pow's? In addition, would you
consider intelligence gathering
more important when you are in
a defensive position or an offensive role?

regards ken

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

There are people out there who are better suited to answer this question than I am, Ken.

I however believe that the answer is dictated by the situation. If, for example, we want to know how the enemy has deployed weapon systems in a defensive position, satellite imagery/aerial reconnaissance with UAVs or aircraft can identify and locate most of the weapon positions. Ground reconnaissance will be able to confirm that the positions and weapons are genuine and not dummies. An agent in the enemy’s camp will be the only one who will be able to confirm the set-up as well as tell us how much ammunition is available for each weapon, training of the gunners, morale and so forth.

One of the principles of intelligence is the exploitation of all sources. However, if this information is not correctly collated, analysed and interpreted, it is really not worth much. I somehow believe that this very valuable principle is sometimes overlooked in the quest to find short-cuts in intelligence gathering.

All operations ought to be intelligence-driven, regardless of the phase of war. It is only good intelligence that gives us pre-knowledge of what we can expect when we deploy in a certain posture.

Rgds,

Eeben

simon said...

What do you believe is the most important facet that you have used to recruit and run agents. It seems from your book, there wasnt an organization you could not penetrate. Early in your book you mentioned NLP. Do you believe that aided you in recruiting ? btw, robbie and I have made acquaintance on the email. The world is at peace. haha. Simon

hardnose said...

There is a real shortage of intel ops in the PMC industry. With all of the net profits that many company's are making it's a real failure of leadership that they don't run intel operations to cover their own daily working ops. Of course it's an expensive process, but keeping the headlines to a minimum should be worth the outlay of funds, not to memtion greasing the skids for the operators doing the daily grind.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I think it was planning, Simon. With planning comes an in-depth assessment of the target and his/her strong and weak points for exploitation, the stage-play prior to recruitment and LOTS of luck. Of course, there were also some very good people who helped train me and who pointed me in the right direction. But, given the political climate that we had to operate in, I think that having to conduct recruitments by false-flag also gave a sense of drive where failure was never an option.

I became a firm believer in NLP and whether it was similar to a sort of placebo, I believe it was invaluable.

Good on you and Robbie – may a firm friendship and respect develop.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Intelligence collection can be a large financial output, Hardnose, but it is vitally necessary for many reasons. With good intelligence collection and analysis, the costs are justified as lives are saved and the mission accomplished.

I look forward to the day that many PMCs stop operating by the seat of their pants and make an effort to ensure that their men’s lives are afforded every possible protection, starting with intelligence gathering. As you rightly point out, it will help the operators in their daily grind.

Rgds,

Eeben

Alan said...

Gents:

Regardless of the platform or technique, the 'most reliable form of intelligence' is that which can be verified as accurate time and time again. A blinding flash of the obvious I suppose.

As far as US politics and the Libertarian Party goes, sorry lads, one might as well be supporting the Dalai Lama. We are undergoing a cultural war here in America with conservatives on the right, communists on the left. Yes I said communists! Sound vaguely familiar to anyone in subsaharan Africa? Like it or not we have a two party system. A vote cast for anyone other than a conservative is a vote for the communists. We here in the States have become fat, lazy, complacent, and numbed by endless decades of senseless foreign misadventures, ie, politically inspired "nation building." It is high time we stay at home and let Darwinian natural selection take it's course in Europe and elsewhere. Just my two farthings worth.

Regards, Alan

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Very correct, Alan, but in order to verify it again and again requires the maximum exploitation of all available sources and the correct evaluation of the information (part of the intelligence process) derived from those sources. Too many people confuse rumours with intelligence and then everything goes for a ball of chalk.

I believe that many people in Africa do not necessarily view the US as an ogre. But, given its history of haphazard foreign policies, failed military adventures and gross betrayal and blackmail of governments, there exists a very jaundiced view – coupled with great concern as to “what next?” Whereas Africa needs to be encouraged to resolve its own problems, it cannot do so if it is continually put under the microscope.

As you well know, wars and conflicts can never be resolved in a politically correct manner. Good intelligence allows the real enemy to be identified and neutralised. Again, there can only ever be good intelligence if agencies adhere to the time-tested principles of intelligence – there are no shortcuts.

Rgds,

Eeben

Alan said...

Eeben:

As the "misadventures" continue, pass the Rooivalk please.

Regards, Alan

Administration blocks helicopters for Israel due to civilian casualties in Gaza.

The Obama administration has blocked Israel's request for advanced U.S. attack helicopters.
Government sources said the administration has held up Israel's request for the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter. The sources said the request was undergoing an interagency review to determine whether additional Longbow helicopters would threaten Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.

"During the recent war, Israel made considerable use of the Longbow, and there were high civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip," a source close to the administration said.

The sources said Israel has sought to purchase up to six new AH-64Ds in an effort to bolster conventional and counter-insurgency capabilities. They said Israel wants to replenish its fleet after the loss of two Apache helicopters in the 2006 war with Hizbullah.

Alan said...

Apologies... I forgot to post the link to that IS helo story.

http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2009/ss_israel0424_05_27.asp

Alan

Robby said...

Eeben Sometimes my internal radar is overtly sensitive with good reason I might add.

I'm posting this from Las Vegas I'm staying at Mandala Bay my room has windows that go from floor to ceiling and looks down on McCarron Int Airport.

And right there for all the world to see is a hanger where white 737's with no markings fly in and out all day to a place called Area 51 which the US Government to this day say's does not exist....oh well!

Alan I wish it was that easy but America does not have a two party system liberal/communist/conservative whatever you want to call it's just different wings of the same bird.

America has and always will be controlled by the "Oligarchy" braking this strangle hold will require nothing short of a revolution.

If we look back over Americas short history one come's away with this simple fact.America is the worlds number one warring nation in the past two hundred it has been involved in no less than 10 major conflicts...one ever twenty years...the question is who benefits?...

I have observed Americans treat politics like their favorite sport's teams I live in Scottsdale Az we have more Cub fans than reside in Chicargo getting tickets to any Cub game is tough yet this team has never made it to the World series for 80 some years ..they suck period.Yet Cub fans are loyal to a fault much like political affiliation once a D or a R never shall the Twain cross.

Don't have a answer to say where America is headed but it has been sliding down the slippery slope of socialism for the past 60 years and it does not look like changing direction any time soon.

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

The Rooivalk is sadly about to be shelved, Alan. Apparently there were no buyers and only a few were bought by the SA Air Force. A pity as I am told it is a great gunship.

I think we are witnessing a shift in policy by the new administration who seem intent on changing political direction. But, if allegations that the previous administration did a lot with no intelligence, then the new one is following the same route. It will be interesting to see where it all leads to.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks, Alan.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Having overly sensitive internal radar is not a bad thing, Robby, and you seem to have an interesting view from your hotel, Robby. But, you know that if you treat people like fools, they may just become it. (A good book to read on this matter of internal radar is “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell).

Rgds,

Eeben

hardnose said...

While it is true that the outlay of funds for intelligence production is high. Company's seem to miss the cost vs. benfit concept. Efficency means steady profits and long term growth, not to mention steady employment. The 'take all you can get, and the rest be damned'attidue of many PMC's is just a short ignition train with a big bang at the end, a disappointed client often with front page news headlines.

Robby said...

Thanks...If I could turn back time I would of stayed in school and studied psychology .... follow up to Area 51 found this video seems to be a Russian staying at a hotel not far from where I was ... wish I could understand what he was saying I'm sure the term "intelligence failure" came up

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4dHK831RjA&feature=related

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

A point well made, Hardnose. When things go wrong, people often blame “intelligence” as a product instead of blaming their own lack of intelligence. But, when digging deeper, it is frequently found that there was no intelligence gathering to begin with or it was interpreted in such a manner as to match their presumption of a situation. The fall-out on all fronts can severely embarrass the client, cost lives, wreck a government, result in a battle lost – not to mention the media fall-out.

As the saying goes:”Time spent on intelligence is never wasted”. But many people want it done on the cheap – and they get a cheap result.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the comment, PatientGuardian. Due to the sensitivity of your comment, I have decided not to post it but I ask for your email address where I shall answer it directly. I shall also not publish your email address.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You know what they say about psychologists, Robby – they often appear to be the ones who need help the most…but your point is taken.

Thanks for the link.

Rgds,

Eeben

Alan said...

Eeben and mates:

Remembering passengers, crew family members, and friends of Air France flight 447.

Onse Vader wat in die hemele is, laat U naam geheilig word. Laat U koninkryk kom, laat U wil geskied, soos in die hemel net so ook op die aarde. Gee ons vandag ons daaglikse brood, en vergeef ons ons skulde, soos ons ook ons skuldenaars vergewe. En lei ons nie in versoeking nie, maar verlos ons van die bose. Want aan U behoort die Koninkryk en die krag en die heerlikheid, tot in ewigheid. Amen.

Alan

Robby said...

No sh-one-t Shurlock I need help :-)

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

It is indeed a great and sad loss of life, Alan. I am sure all of our thoughts and prayers are with the Air France crew and passengers. Thanks for your Afrikaans “Our Father”…

Rgds,

Eeben

Alan said...

Eeben:

John P. Sullivan from the LA Sheriff's Office and the Center for Advanced Studies on Terrorism (CAST) has an interesting analysis this week, published in Small Wars Journal, on the connections between gangs, crime and war. This article summarizes and builds upon some of his work on the topic over the past decade. He proposes a "framework for understanding 'criminal insurgencies' where acute and endemic crime and gang violence challenge the solvency of state political control." Sullivan's work represents an excellent opportunity to apply criminological research to global security issues.

http://globalcrim.blogspot.com/2009/06/gangs-insurgencies.html

John P. Sullivan. Future Conflict: Criminal Insurgencies, Gangs and Intelligence. Small Wars Journal 5/31/09.
http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2009/05/future-conflict-criminal-insur/

Regards, Alan

hardnose said...

..."time spent on intelligence is never wasted"... that phrase is often minimized or forgotten altogether, you are not far wrong on that. The key issue here in reference to information/intelligence is something known as 'situational awearness'-i.e. what's happening right now. Preferably this comes from multiple sources(like those mentioned in "feeding the intelligence process"). For the guy on the ground or the command staff the last thing anyone wants is to hear the "we're f--ked" option, although it's all too often what happens. Of course that might beg the question of 'what's a successful operation'.

hardnose said...

Eban, why do I always have trouble logging into this comments section?

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for the link, Alan. I like the reference to “criminal insurgencies” – as I have always maintained that what we refer to as terrorism is nothing but an extension of crime. A good article.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

As far as I am concerned, a successful operation is one that achieves the mission and satisfies both the strategic and the tactical concepts, Hardnose. Developing the strategic concept is one thing but trying to develop the tactical concept with little or no intelligence is a folly many commanders have succumbed to. But having information/intelligence is also not enough to achieve the mission. The neglect of real-time intelligence bmo reconnaissance teams is all too often shrugged off in favour of some unworkable, failure-prone, quick-fix approach. This act of silliness can be traced back to a poor doctrine – or gross arrogance.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I was unaware of difficulties of logging on, Hardnose. Does anyone else have this problem? Please let me know – or, if anyone has advice for Hardnose, please post it.

Rgds,

Eeben

Tango said...

"Criminal Insurgencies"
A Good terminology for terrorists !

Murder ,rape ,robbery or any action causing fear amongst people or destruction of property by any means etc. could be classified as crime.

"Terrorism should not be considered an act of war but a crime. A heinous crime, but a crime nonetheless. People or groups attacking other people or groups of people constitutes a crime. Terrorism is as much a crime as drug trafficking or arms smuggling. Mafia gangsters kill people. The "war" on the Mafia is metaphorical, however, like the "war" on poverty or the "war" on drugs.

Crime will always be with us. All we can do is diminish it. The same is true of terrorism.

Criminals or terrorist must be hunted down right throughout the world.
We have had enough of crime in South Africa which in my mind is inothing more than an extension of terrorism in a different way.( Murder , Cash in transit robberies, rape ,human and drug trafficking ,or the ongoing killings of political or business opponents etc .

Ref:http;//www.watchblog/democrats/archives/002514.html ( Crime/terrorism)

Robby said...

Hardnose depending from which country you are posting from...if in the US I suspect you have a overtly sensitive PC internet provider for the record I have never had a problem.

Alan said...

Eeben and followers:

A current example of the utility found in recruiting paid agents, sorry... emplacement technicians, can be found in the highly successful electronic "tagging" effort in Afghanistan. Now if we could just get the terrs to start wearing specially designed Breitling watches....... we could all go down to Long Street a beer!

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/06/inside-the-militarys-secret-terror-tagging-tech/

Regards, Alan

simon said...

Criminal insurgency. I think that is what we will see more of domestically. So in essence they are terrorists. I thought about this when I first started reading about rhodesia and 'terrs'. We Americans have called them 'insurgents' But the idea of terrorists make sense to me due to the often indivisible content of their activity.

People now are PC and dont want to use terrorist or Global War, we are reverting to pre 9/11 terminology and treating things as a crime than an act of war. Im pretty confused right now and I think the Administration is too, quite frankly. I watched a bit of Obamas speech this morning before work. I get up early. His rhetoric is interesting. Either he really means it or he is taking an avenue for 'victory' that the prior admin never did. Im not a fan of Obama but I give approval to trying a different approach if it can lead to true victory ( I realize it can never be a clean victory in terms of old style wars ).

Perhaps they are employing a different strategy beyond what we are used to and can ascertain on the surface. Time will tell. EB, did the transmission come thru ? Simon

hardnose said...

Eeben,
Would that we had more administrators with your approch running PMC's.

Rgds,

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Good link, Tango. I have always maintained the terrorism is nothing other than a criminal action, albeit heavily armed and using some form of military tactics.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

Thanks for your comment on logging-on, Robby. I hope it helps Hardnose. I have, however, not had any other complaints re logging-on - perhaps others may have some more advice?

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

I am constantly amazed Alan. Thanks for the link.

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

As the West was so quick to point out in years gone by, there were insurgents and freedom fighters, Simon. Both however have the aim of subduing the population by terror and thus determining the political direction of a country. Whereas insurgents were viewed as those who took up arms to overthrow a repressive government, the freedom fighters were people fighting for their freedom. The problem I have with these definitions is that both ultimately rely on using terror tactics to achieve their aims. Both have no hesitation in applying criminal actions to fund themselves and both aim to establish a society where they can rule with whatever means possible.

These actions are not won by being PC – sadly.

I received your communication and will respond this weekend. But I do know him…

Rgds,

Eeben

Eeben Barlow's Milsec Blog said...

You are my hero, Hardnose! Thanks...

Rgds,

Eeben

Robby said...

Tango ....Politicians use words to distort reality "terrorism" is a tactic not a ideology by blurring this definition it gives them the power to define who a terrorist is (pretty much anyone who disagrees with them) always have to laugh when Mugabe and the ANC talk about who a terrorist is.

In America today those that have been identified as terrorists or potential domestic terrorists covers a very broad range people on both sides of the political spectrum the current "terrorist" is a guy who killed a abortion doctor.

The only thing I'm thankful for is that Obama admin has dropped that stupid term "war on terror"

Tango said...

Robby -Agree-" Terrorism is a vile tactic because it targets non-combatant civilians-
No cause,no matter how just warrant such methods,therefore anyone making use of such method to destroy or harm people or innocent civilians must be hunted down no matter where they are in the world ."
The same goes to any murderer ,rapist or criminal of which we have to many in South Africa
ref:http://mondediplo.com/2004/03/01aramonet