TBR News A{ril 19, 2020

Apr 19 2020

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. April 19, 2020: Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Trump aches from his head to his toes
His sphincters have gone where who knows
And his love life has ended
By a paunch so distended
That all he can use is his nose.

Comment from April 19, 2020: :Donald Trump, who has appealed to far rightwing groups and fanatical evangelicals, has proven, clearly, he is grossly incompetent in dealing with a serious national emergency. His conduct during and after the major hurricaine was an indicator of his total inability to cope with unexpected disaster but this was brushed off by the general public who do not care what happens outside the country. This time, they do care and Trump has failed the test again but this time his failure has a much larger and very active audience.”

The Table of Contents
• U.S. stay-at-home frustration spreads; coronavirus-battered New York says may be past the worst
• Trump is playing a deadly game in deflecting Covid-19 blame to China
• DOD Study of domestic insurgency
• Journalists Promoted ISIS Coronavirus Propaganda. They Should Stop.
• Encyclopedia of American Loons

U.S. stay-at-home frustration spreads; coronavirus-battered New York says may be past the worst
April 18, 2020
by Maria Caspani amd Nathan Layne
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Demonstrations to demand an end to stay-at-home measures that have pummelled the U.S. economy spread to Texas on Saturday as the governor at the epicentre of the U.S. coronavirus crisis said his state of New York may finally be past the worst.
New York, which has recorded nearly half the country’s deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the highly infectious virus, on Saturday reported 540 coronavirus-related deaths for April 17, down from 630 a day earlier and the lowest daily tally since April 1.
The number of patients in the state requiring intensive care and ventilators to help them breathe was also down.
“If you look at the past three days, you could argue that we are past the plateau and we’re starting to descend, which would be very good news,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in his daily briefing.
Some 2,000 people were still being hospitalized with COVID-19 every day, Cuomo said, and he noted 36 of the latest New York deaths occurred at nursing homes, which have been ravaged by the pandemic nationwide.
In neighboring New Jersey, both the number of new hospitalizations and new coronavirus cases were also slightly down from the day before, Governor Phil Murphy said. But he added: “We are not out of the woods, we have not yet plateaued.”
Illinois reported 125 new coronavirus deaths and an additional 1,585 cases but said the growth rate was slowing.
Murphy said he had a “concerning” call with Senate minority leader and fellow Democrat Chuck Schumer, who told him there was no momentum in the U.S. Congress for direct aid to states whose economies were suffering from the stay-at-home orders aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.
Without federal aid, the state will see “historic” layoffs, he said.
More than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits in the past month as closures of businesses and schools and severe travel restrictions have hammered the economy.
But an influential research model said late on Friday the strict adherence to the orders imposed in 42 of the 50 U.S. states was a key factor behind an improved outlook for the country’s coronavirus death toll.
The University of Washington’s predictive model, regularly updated and often cited by state public health authorities and White House officials, projected the virus would take 60,308 U.S. lives by Aug. 4, down 12% from a forecast earlier in the week.
The model predicted some states may be able to begin safely easing restrictions as early as May 4.
Many have already started pushing back against the measures.
Governor Murphy chastised an official in Atlantic County, home to Atlantic City, for expressing frustration in a Facebook post over the effect of the closures on the casino-dependent local economy. County surrogate Jim Curcio said his comments were his personal opinion.
“I’ve lived here all my life and when we go into a recession here we seem to be the last to come out of it and people suffer terribly and the most vulnerable suffer the most,” Curcio told Reuters on Saturday. “What is happening to the private sector is my breaking my heart.”
On Saturday, several dozen protesters gathered in the Texas capital of Austin chanting “USA! USA!” and “Let us work!”
In Brookfield, Wisconsin, hundreds of demonstrators cheered as they lined a main road and waved American flags to protest at the extension of that state’s “safer at home” order.
Earlier in the week, scattered protests erupted in the capitols of Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia. The demonstrators mostly flouted the social-distancing rules and did not wear the face masks recommended by public health officials.
As of Friday night, New York has mandated the statewide wearing of masks for anyone out in public and unable to practice social distancing.
Republican President Donald Trump appeared to encourage protesters with a series of Twitter posts on Friday calling for them to “LIBERATE” Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia, all run by Democratic governors.
Trump had touted a thriving economy as the best case for his re-election in November.
Several states, including Ohio, Michigan, Texas and Florida, have said they aim to reopen parts of their economies, perhaps by May 1 or even sooner, but appeared to be staying cautious.
Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis reopened some beaches with restrictions from Friday evening, but also said on Saturday that schools will remain closed and continue distance learning the rest of this school year.
Fellow Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas has also extended school closures to the end of the academic year.
Health experts say that to avoid a second wave of infections as people return to work, extensive testing must be available to track infections, as well as contact tracing and antibody testing to learn who had been previously infected and might have some immunity.
Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday the United States had the capacity to do a sufficient amount of testing for states to move into a phase one of reopening.
Governors and state health officials say there is nowhere near enough test kits and equipment available, however.
The United States has by far the world’s largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 720,000 infections and over 37,000 deaths.
The handful of states that did not issue stay-at-home orders have all seen significant surges in new cases.
Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut, Maria Caspani in New York, Jennifer Hiller in Houston and Idrees Ali in Washington; Writing by Bill Berkrot and Sonya Hepinstall; Editing by Daniel Wallis

Trump is playing a deadly game in deflecting Covid-19 blame to China
As Mr ‘Total Authority’ keeps his focus firmly on re-election, he risks lives far beyond the United States
April 19, 2020
by Simon Tisdall
The Guardian
Many had wondered what would happen when Donald Trump, failed salesman and gameshow host, faced a real crisis. Now they know. The man who pledged to stop “American carnage” in his inaugural address now owns it. Covid-19 has crowned him lord of misrule.
That’s fitting for a man who last week claimed to exercise “total authority”. Andrew Cuomo, the New York governor who understands what leadership means, reminded him the US does not do kings. But Trump and America’s last monarch, George III, share much in common, tyranny-wise.
Trump is more instinctive dictator than democrat, in the style of his favourite potentate, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Just look at his recent threat to shut down Congress, and his enthusiasm for suppressing minority voter turnout.
It’s worth recalling that old King George became mentally ill, since Trumpism is clearly dangerous for your health. It’s beyond reasonable dispute that his coronavirus posturing, preening, prevarication and paranoia fatally hindered the early US response.
“The president’s denial at the beginning was deadly,” Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, said last month. “As the president fiddles, people are dying.” She repeated the charge last week, claiming Trump was still causing “unnecessary death and disaster”.
The result, so far, is around 700,000 Covid cases and 35,000 US fatalities. Is it fair to blame him personally for every preventable death? No. But they all occurred on his watch. It’s his job to look out for the American people. He is ultimately responsible.
Trump’s primary motive in issuing “guidelines” last week to ease the lockdown was not concern for citizens’ welfare. It was about reviving the economy and getting himself re-elected, come what may. Health experts and state governors forced him to drop rasher measures.
Likewise, Trump endangers the world the US once aspired to lead. The under-resourced, under-pressure World Health Organization has made mistakes during this pandemic. But it retains a vital role in coordinating a global response. Trump unfairly maligned it.
Developing countries, which could be hardest hit in humanitarian and economic terms, need all the help they can get. Trump could not care less. His unjustified suspension of WHO funding threatens lives. Thanks to him, more people may die.
When it comes to scapegoats, however, Trump’s fall-guy of choice is China. Supplanting Iran, Beijing is his latest, indispensable bogeyman. This is truly dangerous. It risks turning an already badly strained relationship into a second cold war.
Trump raised the stakes again last week, alleging that China deliberately under-reported virus deaths. He gave credence to a conspiracy theory, already debunked by the Pentagon, that a biotech weapons lab in Wuhan caused the original outbreak.
Even Trump’s blinkered “base” can surely see what is going on. Their hero messed up big-time, so now he’s trying, as usual, to avoid responsibility by deflecting blame on to others, preferably foreigners and the Chinese communist party – an easy target.
Trump plans to use this crude anti-China narrative to bash Democrat presidential rival, Joe Biden. It has already started. A Trump online ad released this month claims “Biden stands up for China while China cripples America”.
According to analyst Jonathan Swan, writing on Axios: “Trump officials had long been planning to brand Biden as ‘soft’ on China, but the coronavirus pandemic … has stoked public anger towards Beijing and made the attack more resonant in polling.”
Trump also intends to highlight business dealings with China by Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, in a reprise of his spurious Ukraine impeachment defence. “You’d better believe voters will hear about that,” a Trump campaign operative said.
Trump’s ongoing inability to show competent, rational leadership at home and abroad is decimating America’s worldwide reputation. The WHO decision sparked a fierce backlash from G7 allies and the UN, who pointedly stressed the need for multilateral solidarity.
Meanwhile, Trump’s enduring hostility is bringing out the worst in Beijing. Anger over his Covid-19 smears, coupled with long-running trade disputes, regional tensions, and lecturing about human rights, has goaded China into dropping its non-threatening, diplomatic “peaceful rise” approach. A more aggressive generation of official and semi-official spokespeople has been unleashed by the emperor-president, Xi Jinping. These so-called “wolf warriors” are churning out propaganda and lies of their own, notably a claim that the US army planted the virus in China.
There is much to suggest that China, regardless of Trump, is exploiting the crisis to further its long-term aim of establishing a technological, economic and geopolitical advantage over the west. At home, rising ultra-nationalism and xenophobia are officially tolerated, even encouraged.
China’s top cadres should pause and think again. So, too, should Trump. His reckless blame-games and political machinations are not only killing Americans and American influence overseas. Intensifying mutual antagonism also risks killing any chance that the world’s two biggest powers will cooperate sensibly to eradicate this and future pandemics – for example, by backing a necessary, independent international inquiry into what went wrong. That, in turn, bodes ill for vital bilateral collaboration on the climate crisis and other urgent global challenges such as debt relief.
The world cannot afford another four years of the chaos and carnage personified by Trump. Voting him out in November is the best solution. But what if, fearful of losing amid continuing mayhem, he tries to delay the election?
Experts say he lacks power to do so. But Mr “Total Authority” may disagree. Amid so much avoidable death and destruction, why not kill the constitution and the Founding Fathers, too? As everybody surely realises by now, he’s capable of almost anything.

DOD Study of domestic insurgency
A detailed study released on April 16, 2020 to elements of the domestic US military to include the Military Police and the recently formed DCG (Domestic Control Groups)

Domestic insurgencies date to the earliest forms of government and will continue to exist as long as the governed harbor grievances against authority that they believe cannot be resolved by peaceful means.
What is a domestic insurgency? The Department of Defense (DOD) defines domestic insurgency as “an organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict.” Simply put, a domestic insurgency is a struggle between a non-ruling group and their ruling authority. Domestic insurgents use political resources, to include the increased use of the media and international opinion, as well as violence to destroy the political legitimacy of the ruling authority and build their own political legitimacy and power. Examples of this type of warfare range from the American Revolution to the previous situation in Iraq. The conflict itself can range from acts of terrorism to the more conventional use of the media to sway public opinion. Whatever form the insurgency takes, it serves an ideology or political goal.
Some of the motivating factors in the current politico/sociological situation are:
Massive and continuing unemployment in all levels of American business and industry. Only those who are technically proficient, i.e. in fields of computer science, are employable. Another point of contention is the huge influx of illegal foreign immigrants and the perception that these prevent Americans from obtaining work and also are perceived as draining the national welfare rolls. Also, a growing functional illiteracy in the American public, which has sharply diminished the reading of newspapers and increased the popularity of the Internet with its brief “sound bites.”A growing public perception of both disinterest and corruption on the part of National and State legislators has caused massive disillusionment on the part of the people. The recent revelations that the American (and foreign) public is closely watched and spied upon by governmental organs at the behest of the President has created a very volatile and very negative attitude towards any and all official programs.
An insurgency is defined as an organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict It is a protracted politico-military struggle designed to weaken government control and legitimacy while increasing insurgent control. Political power is the central issue in an insurgency.
Each insurgency has its own unique characteristics based on its strategic objectives, its operational environment, available resources, operational method, and tactics For example, an insurgency may be based on mass mobilization through political action or the FOCO theory. Insurgencies frequently seek to overthrow the existing social order and reallocate power within the country.
The goal of an insurgency is to mobilize human and material resources in order to form an alternative to the state. This alternative is called the counterstate. The counterstate may have much of the infrastructure possessed by the state itself, but this must normally be hidden, since it is illegal. Thus the counterstate is often referred to by the term “clandestine infrastructure.” As the insurgents gain confidence and power, the clandestine infrastructure may become more open, as observed historically in communist regions during the Chinese Revolution, in South Vietnam after the North Vietnamese 1972 Easter Offensive, and in Colombia in the summer of 1998.
Successful mobilization provides active and passive support for the insurgency’s programs, operations, and goals. At the national level, mobilization grows out of dissatisfaction by some elite members with existing political, economic, or social conditions. At the regional level, members of an elite have become marginalized (that is, they have become psychologically alienated from the system), and have established links with followers by bringing them into the counterstate. At the local, district and province-levels, local movement representatives called the cadre address local grievances and do recruiting. The cadre gives credit to the insurgent movement for all local solutions. Loyalty to the insurgent movement is normally won through deeds but may occur through appeal to abstract principles. Promises to end hunger or eliminate poverty may appeal to a segment of the population, while appeals to eliminate a foreign presence or establish a government based on religious or political ideology may appeal to others. Nonetheless, these promises and appeals are associated with tangible solutions and deeds.
What are the root causes of a domestic insurgency? For a domestic insurgency to flourish, a majority of the population must either support or remain indifferent to insurgent ideals and practices. There must be a powerful reason that drives a portion of the populace to armed opposition against the existing government. Grievances may have a number of causes, such the lack of economic opportunity, restrictions on basic liberties, government corruption, ethnic or religious tensions, excessivly large number of illegal immigrants, especially those from Central America who clog national welfare rolls and are perceived to take jobs from entry-level Americans,or an unassimilitable religious and ethnic minority such as the Muslims who are seen to harbor domestic terrorists. It is through this line of thought or ideal that insurgents attempt to mobilize the population.
Understanding Counterinsurgency
What is counterinsurgency?—DOD defines counterinsurgency as “those military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency. Also called “COIN” The United States government intends to use a wide breadth of national capabilitie to defeat any domestic insurgencies through a variety of means. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) use special teams to generate strategic objectives and assist the sitting government. The military will support those efforts by employing conventional forces, in combination with Special Operations Forces (SOF), in a variety of activities aimed at enhancing security and/or alleviating causes of unrest.
The cadre is the political activists and local political leaders of the insurgency. They are referred to as militants since they are actively engaged in struggling to accomplish insurgent goals. The insurgent movement provides guidance and procedures to the cadre, and the cadre use these to assess the grievances in local areas and carry out activities that satisfy those grievances. They then attribute the solutions they have provided to the insurgent movement itself. Deeds are the key to making insurgent slogans meaningful to the population.
Larger societal issues facilitate such action, because these larger issues may be blamed for life’s smaller problems. Insurgents, however, may have no regard for popular dissent or local grievances. The insurgents play by no rules, and they will use fear as a means to intimidate the populace and thereby prevent cooperation with the military or local law enforcement..
The mass base consists of the followers of the insurgent movement that are the population of the counterstate. Mass base members are recruited and indoctrinated by the cadre, who implement instructions and procedures provided by the insurgent leadership. Though they do not actively fight for the insurgency, mass base members provide intelligence and supplies. Mass base members may continue in their normal positions in society, but many will either lead second, clandestine lives for the insurgent movement, or even pursue new, full-time positions within the insurgency. Combatants normally begin as members of the mass base before becoming armed manpower.
The insurgent leadership thus provides organizational and managerial skills to transform regions into an effective base for armed political action, while the cadre accomplishes this same transformation at the community and mobilized individual level. What results, as in any armed conflict, is a contest of resource mobilization and force deployment. A state is challenged by a counterstate. No objective force level guarantees victory for either side. It is frequently stated that a 10 to 1 or 20 to 1 ratio of counterinsurgents to insurgents is necessary for counterinsurgency victory. In reality, research has demonstrated time and again there are no valid ratios that, when met, guarantee victory. As in conventional war, correlation of forces in an insurgency depends upon the situation. Though objective and valid force-correlation ratios do not exist, counterinsurgency has been historically manpower intensive. Time, which often works on the side of the insurgent, just as often places serious constraints upon counterinsurgent courses of action.
Rising up against constituted authority has been present throughout history. The causes for such uprisings have been as numerous as human conditions. Uprisings against indigenous regimes have normally been termed “rebellions.” Uprisings against an external occupying power have normally been termed “resistance movements.” Historical particulars can at times combine the two.
Rebellions and resistance movements are transformed into an insurgency by their in-corporation into an armed political campaign. A popular desire to resist is used by an insurgent movement to accomplish the insurgents’ political goal. The insurgency thus mounts a political challenge to the state through the formation of, or desire to, create a counterstate.
The desire to form a counterstate grows from the same causes that galvanize any political campaign. These causes can range from the desire for greater equity in the distribution of resources (poverty alone is rarely, if ever, sufficient to sustain an insurgency) to a demand that foreign occupation end. Increasingly, religious ideology has become a catalyst for insurgent movements. The support of the people, then, is the center of gravity. It must be gained in whatever proportion is necessary to sustain the insurgent movement (or, contrariwise, to defeat it). As in any political campaign, all levels of support are relative.
Violence is the most potent weapon available to insurgents. Nonetheless, violence can alienate when not linked to a vision of a better life. Violence is often accompanied by a variety of nonviolent means that act as a potent weapon in an external propaganda war and assist recruiting. Historically, astute movements have recognized the efficacy of both means to the extent they have fielded discrete units charged with nonviolent action (for example, strikes in the transportation sector) to supplement violent action. The insurgents in Algeria rarely defeated French forces in the field; they employed indiscriminate violence, success fully initiated nonviolent strikes, developed associated propaganda for external use, and thereby handily won their war. “People’s war” in its Chinese and Vietnamese variants did this also.
Insurgency Development
Insurgent movements begin as “fire in the minds of men.” Insurgent leaders commit themselves to building a new world. They construct the organization to carry through this desire. Generally, popular grievances become insurgent causes when interpreted and shaped by the insurgent leadership. The insurgency grows if the cadre that is local insurgent leaders and representatives can establish a link between the insurgent movement and the desire for solutions to grievances sought by the local population.
Insurgent leaders will exploit opportunities created by government security force actions. The behavior of security forces is critical. Lack of security force discipline leads to alienation, and security force abuse of the populace is a very effective insurgent recruiting tool. Consequently, specific insurgent tactical actions are often planned to frequently elicit overreaction from security force individuals and units.
Leadership figures engage in command and control of the insurgent movement. They are the idea people and planners. They see solutions to the grievances of society in structural terms. They believe that only altering the way the institutions and practices of society fit together will result in real change. Reforms and changes in personalities are deemed insufficient to “liberate” or “redeem” society. Historically, insurgencies have coalesced around a unifying leader, ideology, and organization. However, this precedent can no longer be assumed. It is possible that many leaders at the head of several organizations with different ideologies but united by a single goal of overthrowing the government or ridding the country of a foreign presence will emerge.
Leadership is critical to any insurgency. Insurgency is not simply random political violence.It is directed and focused political violence. It requires leadership to provide vision, direction to establish and set the long-term way ahead, short-term guidance, coordination, and organizational coherence. Insurgent leaders must make their cause known to the people and gain popular support. Although, theoretically, the insurgent leader desires to gain popular support for the cause, that desire is often accompanied by a terror campaign against those who do not support the insurgents’ goals. Their key tasks are to break and supplant the ties between the people and the government, and to establish legitimacy for their movement. Their education, family, social and religious connections, and positions may contribute to their ability to think clearly, communicate, organize, and lead a an insurgency; or their lack of education and connections may delay or impair their access to positions where they are able to exercise leadership.
Insurgencies are dynamic political movements, resulting from real or perceived grievance or neglect that leads to alienation from an established government. Alienated elite members advance alternatives to existing conditions. (Culture defines elites. For example, in most of the world educators and teachers are members of the elite; in Islamic and many Catholic nations, religious leaders are elite members.) As their movement grows, leaders decide which body of “doctrine” to adopt. In the mass mobilization approach, leaders recruit, indoctrinate, and deploy the cadre necessary to carry out the actions of the movement. In the armed action approach, there is often a much more decentralized mode of operations, but this is usually guided by a central organization. Extreme decentralization results in a movement that rarely functions as a coherent body but is nevertheless capable of inflicting substantial casualties and damage.
The combatants do the actual fighting and are often mistaken for the movement itself. This they are not. They exist only to carry out the same functions as the police and armed forces of the state. They only constitute part of the movement, along with the planners and idea people. In many insurgencies the combatants maintain local control, as well as protect and expand the counterstate. Combatants who secure local areas are the local forces. The local forces use terror initially to intimidate and establish local control and later to enforce the will of the leadership. They conduct limited ambushes of government forces and police, also. Combatants who link local areas and provide regional security are the regional forces. Both of these elements normally are tied to specific AO. Main forces, in contrast, are the “heavy” units of the insurgent movement and may be deployed in any AO. Rather than employing terror (local forces) and guerrilla warfare (the main activity of regional forces), they engage in mobile warfare and positional warfare, both subsumed under the “conventional warfare” rubric but different in emphasis when used by insurgents. Due to the growing possibility of separate leaders in different regions with various goals, this force-role linkage may not be present. Instead, independent insurgent leaders may carry on military operations, to include terror, independent of other insurgent forces.Conventional warfare may be minimized. Ultimately, time is on the side of the insurgent. Fear, intimidation and violence—coupled with the television and internet—may achieve the social upheaval the insurgent seeks and force foreign powers to abandon the sitting government because of pressures from their own people at home.
Insurgent doctrine determines how insurgents actually implement the two types of insurgency. A defensive insurgency has much in common with a resistance movement, since the counterstate already exists and will normally adopt overt techniques necessary for self-defense. An offensive insurgency, on the other hand, is faced with the task of creating the counterstate from scratch. To do this, there are two basic approaches.
Mass mobilization. A first approach is to emphasize mobilization of the masses. This course places a premium upon political action by the cadre in local areas, with strategic and operational directives coming from above. Emphasizing mass mobilization results in a hierarchical, tightly controlled, coordinated movement. The insurgent movement that results will resemble a pyramid in its manpower distribution, with the combatants the smallest part of the movement (the apex of the pyramid).
Armed action. A second approach emphasizes armed action. This course favors violence rather than mass mobilization and normally results in an inverted pyramid, with the combatants themselves the bulk of the movement. This was the approach taken by Castro in Cuba during the 1950s and may be an approach some insurgents in Iraq have taken against the post-Saddam government, although some efforts to mobilize have been reported.
A mass base sustains the first approach. The second approach has a much smaller support base. The support base will not have the numbers of the mass base generated by the mobilization approach.
If emphasis is upon mass mobilization, the combatants exist to facilitate the accomplishment of the political goals of the insurgent movement. In local areas, terror and guerrilla action are used to eliminate resistance, either from individuals who are opposed to the movement or from the local armed representatives of the state, initially the police and militia, but later the military. Main force units, which are guerrilla units that have been “regularized” or turned into rough copies of government units but are usually more mobile and lightly armed, are used to deal with the state’s inevitable deployment of the military. The purpose of main forces is to engage in mobile (or maneuver) warfare. The intent is force-on-force action to destroy government main force units. Tactics may include major battles as well as ambushes and small-scale engagements. These battles and engagements result in the securing and expansion of the counterstate (which may be clandestine in all or part), but are not designed to seize and hold positions as in conventional warfare. This occurs only in positional warfare. Though the terminology is drawn especially from Soviet usage, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the Viet Cong (VC) used both mobile and positional warfare throughout the war in Vietnam. Examples of insurgencies that used the mass mobilization approach follow:
The NVA and VC frequently deployed battalions and regiments using classic mobile warfare, even as terror and guerrilla action continued against US forces from 1965 until the US withdrawal from Vietnam in 1973. Classic positional warfare was seen three times in the Vietnam War: the Tet Offensive in January–February 1968; the Spring 1972 “Easter Offensive,” which resulted in the permanent seizure and loss of portions of South Vietnamese territory; and the Spring 1975 offensive, which saw the fall of South Vietnam and its absorption into a unified Vietnam. In the latter two of these campaigns, enemy divisions and corps were used, with terror and guerrilla action assuming the role of special operations in support of conventional operations. During Tet, the NVA employed all 52 VC battalions exclusively, and multiple battalions attacked objectives simultaneously, though these battalions were under individual command and control. More recently, in El Salvador, where the United States successfully supported a counterinsurgency, government forces twice, in 1981 and 1989, had to beat back “positional warfare” offensives designed to seize widespread areas, including portions of the nation’s capital.
In Colombia, where the US has been similarly involved in support of the counterinsurgency, the insurgents of FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) initiated their mobile warfare phase in 1996. There followed a string of Colombian Army defeats that culminated in a FARC positional warfare attack that seized a department capital, Mitu, in mid-1998. The relief of Mitu galvanized a military reform effort that led to government success in a half dozen major mobile war battles fought between 1998 and 2001. The largest of these involved a FARC force of eight battalion-equivalents engaged by an equal number of Colombian Army counterguerrilla battalions. FARC consequently returned to an emphasis upon terror and guerrilla action. In Nepal, where US assistance has played an important role in government counterinsurgency, the ’mass mobilization approach adopted by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), or CPN (M), has progressed in classic fashion. Widespread use of terror and guerrilla action has been complemented by mobile warfare to overrun government positions of up to company size. Mobile warfare targets have been chosen operationally (that is, as part of campaign planning) to position the CPN (M) for anticipated positional war offensives, notably against major population centers.
If emphasis is on the second approach, armed action, the political goal is to be accom-plished primarily by violence rather than mass mobilization. The insurgents attempt to inflict such a level of casualties and destruction the state is incapable or unwilling to continue counterinsurgency actions. Both approaches emphasize inflicting casualties. The distinction is whether mobilization or armed insurrection is the initial emphasis. Insurgents may also employ terrorist tactics if they lack a mass base, do not have the time needed to create such a base, or have objectives that do not require such a base. In this approach, the combatant force rarely moves beyond terrorist and guerrilla actions. Units are small and specialized, frequently no more than squad or platoon sized. Sympathizers provide recruits for the support base, but these sympathizers are actively involved only occasionally, though they are often central to the information warfare component of the insurgent campaign. An illustration of the armed action approach is “The Troubles” of 1968–98 in Northern Ireland (Ulster). An initial mass mobilization approach followed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army was penetrated by the state; hence it was abandoned in favor of a cellular “active service unit” methodology. Normally composed of no more than 300 people, the active service unit network engaged almost exclusively in terror actions and was sustained by a support base that numbered only in the thousands out of a total 1.5 million population in an area the size of Connecticut.
Sympathizers came overwhelmingly from a minority within the Catholic community, thus forming a minority within a minority. At its peak, however, this sympathetic base proved capable of mustering 17 percent of the votes in democratic elections and served to keep open to question the legitimacy of British rule, which was actually favored by a substantial majority.
More recently, the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan have used the armed action approach. Terror and low-level guerrilla action have been focused on the indigenous supporters and infrastructure of the new regimes in Baghdad and Kabul. Simultaneously, attacks on US forces have sought to inflict casualties to break the will of the US public to continue. The foreign insurgents have recognized that the indigenous regimes cannot continue in the short term without US backing and assistance. Neither will the new regimes be able to continue if their populations can be suitably terrorized into sullen neutrality as the US begins to withdraw.
There are seven dynamics that are common to most insurgencies. These dynamics provide a framework for analysis that can reveal the insurgency’s strengths and weaknesses. Although analysts can examine the following dynamics separately, they must study their interaction to fully understand the insurgency. These seven dynamics are—
• Leadership.
• Ideology.
• Objectives.
• Environment and geography.
• External support.
• Phasing and timing.
Effective analysis of an insurgency requires interpreting strategic, operational, and tactical objectives. Understanding the root causes of the insurgency is essential to analyzing the insurgents’ objectives. The strategic objective is the insurgents’ desired end state: the seizure of political power and the overthrow of an existing government. Operational objectives are the decisive points (military, political, and ideological) along lines of operation toward the strategic objective, and they are the means to link tactical goals with strategic end states. One of thepolitical decisive points is the total destruction of government legitimacy. Tactical objectives are the immediate aims of insurgent acts. Tactical objectives can be psychological and physical in nature. Some examples include the dissemination of PSYOP products, intimidation (a psychological objective), and the attack and seizure of a key facility (a physical objective).
In its ideology, a domestic insurgency sets forth a political alternative to the existing state. Both theoretically and actually, it offers a vision of a counterstate. The most powerful ideologies tap latent, emotive concerns of the populace, such as the desire for justice, the creation of an idealized religious state, or liberation from foreign occupation. Ideology influences the insurgents’ perception of the environment by providing the prism, to include vocabulary and analytical categories, through which the situation is assessed. The result is that ideology shapes the movement’s organization and operational methods.
Environment and geography, including cultural and demographic factors, affect all participants in a conflict. The manner in which insurgents and counterinsurgents adapt to these realities creates advantages and disadvantages for each. The effects of these factors are immediately visible at the tactical level, where they are perhaps the predominant influence on decisions regarding force structure, and doctrine (including TTP). Insurgency in an urban environment often presents a different set of planning considerations than in rural environments. These planning considerations affect structure, and TTP directly.
The need for access to external resources and sanctuaries has been a constant throughout the history of insurgencies. Rarely, if ever, has an insurgent force been able to obtain the arms and equipment (particularly ammunition) necessary for decisive action from within the battle area. External support can provide political, psychological, and material resources that might otherwise be limited or totally unavailable.
A recent phenomenon has been the advent of internal sanctuaries. These may be in the form of religious structures. There may be large cities where neither local law enforcement nor external military forces are sufficiently strong to counter the insurgents.
Insurgencies often pass through common phases of development. The conceptualization generally followed by insurgents is drawn from that postulated by Mao Zedong. Regardless of its provenance, movements as diverse as communist or Islamic insurgencies have used the Maoist conceptualization because it is logical and based upon the mass mobilization emphasis.
It states that insurgents are first on the strategic defensive (Phase I), move to stalemate (Phase II), and finally go over to the offensive (Phase III). Strategic movement from one phase to another incorporates the operational and tactical activity typical of earlier phases. It does not end them. The North Vietnamese explicitly recognized this reality in their “war of interlocking” doctrine, which held that all “forms of warfare” occur simultaneously, even as a particular form is paramount.
Not all insurgencies experience every phase, and progression through all phases is not a requirement for success. The same insurgent movement may be in different phases in different regions of a country. Successful insurgencies can also revert to an earlier phase when under pressure, resuming development when favorable conditions return.
Political organization occurs throughout all phases. While on the defensive, however, in Phase I per Mao, a movement will necessarily fight the “war of the weak,” emphasizing terror and guerrilla action. These will be used to eliminate resistance from individuals and local government presence, especially the police. Invariably, the government must commit its main force units (normally the army) to reclaim what it has lost. Knowing this, insurgents form their own main force units. These are used to defeat government forces in detail as the latter disperse to engage in area domination. It is through such action that stalemate, Phase II, is achieved. The government’s forces in the contest of armed power are systematically neutralized through mobile (or maneuver), force-on-force warfare. Only in Phase III does a transition to the holding of position occur (hence the term, “positional warfare”).
A successful counterinsurgency results in the neutralization by the state of the insurgency and its effort to form a counterstate. While many abortive insurgencies are defeated by military and police actions alone, if an insurgency has tapped into serious grievances and has mobilized a significant portion of the population, simply returning to the status quo may not be an option. Reform may be necessary, but reform is a matter for the state, using all of its human and material resources. Security forces are only one such resource. The response must be multifaceted and coordinated, yet states typically charge their security forces with “waging counterinsurgency.” This the security forces cannot do alone.
The state first decides upon its goal (restoration of legitimate government writ), then, produces a plan to accomplish that end. All elements of national power are assigned their roles in carrying out the plan. The government establishes the legal framework and command and control (C2) mechanisms to enable the plan to be implemented. The legal framework normally includes a series of extraordinary measures that are associated with emergency situations, or even martial law. It will frequently expand military powers into areas delegated solely to the police in “normal times.” Historically, effective C2 architecture has involved setting up local coordinating bodies with representation from all key parties. This local body directs the counterinsurgency campaign in the AO concerned, though one individual will have the lead. Minimally, such a coordinating body includes appropriate representatives from the civil authority, the military, the police, the intelligence services, and (though not always) the civil population. The most effective use of coordinating bodies has given permanent-party individuals (for example, district officers) responsibility for counterinsurgency C2 in their AOs and control over civil or military assets sent into their AOs. Reinforced intelligence bodies, in particular, have been assigned as permanent party. Involvement of pro sitting government local officials and civilians can defeat the insurgents’ attempt to undermine the national American political system.
The counterinsurgency plan analyzes the basis of the insurgency in order to determine its form, centers of gravity, and insurgent vulnerabilities. These dictate the most effective type force to employ (either police, militia, and military; or primarily military and police). The counterinsurgency plan details the scheme to reclaim what has been lost and establish priority of effort and timelines. Concurrently, it outlines how the government intends to secure the critical infrastructure of the state and the government’s centers of power.
Counterinsurgency operations must balance elimination of grievances (that is, reform, to include elimination of human rights abuses) and security force action that eliminates the insurgents. The security forces are constantly described as those who will provide the populace the protection necessary for the restoration of legitimate government presence, basic services, and control.
Counterinsurgency plans and operations exploit shifts in the internal or external situation
that work against the insurgent and favor the state. This normally involves an extended period of time, a “protracted war.” This makes it difficult for representative governments to sustain counterinsurgency campaigns, particularly in the present world environment where there appears to be a lack of overt, sustained agreement regarding strategic interests, ends and means, and operational and tactical concerns.
When supporting a counterinsurgency, the US forces assist the local law enforcment in implementing a sustainable approach. To the extent the local law enforcement has its basic institutions and security forces intact, the burden upon US and multinational forces and resources is lessened. To the extent the local law enforcement is lacking basic institutions and functions, the burden upon the US forces is increased. In the extreme, rather than building upon what is, the US will find themselves creating elements (such as local forces and government institutions) of the society they have been sent to assist. Military forces thus become involved in nation building while simultaneously attempting to defeat an insurgency. US forces often lead because the US military can quickly project and sustain a force. This involves them in a host of current activities regarded as nonstandard, from supervising elections to restoring power and facilitating and conducting schooling.
Leaders and planning staff need to be aware that there will always be constraints upon the prosecution of counterinsurgency. Constraints must be identified and analyzed systematically, because they impact upon the conduct of operations at all levels. They ought to be reevaluated regularly. The bottom line is that forces have to operate in the environment as it is, not as they might wish it to be. Some constraints may include—
Political and military leaders realistically evaluate troop requirements in a counterinsurgency environment. In addition to those tasks inherent in any military situation—such as base security and offensive operations—some tasks occur with greater frequency in counterinsurgency and deserve special attention. Among these are—
• Urban operations.
• Protection of government facilities.
• Protection of infrastructure.
• Protection of commercial enterprises vital to the HN economy.
• Protection of cultural facilities.
• Prevention of looting.
• Military police functions.
• Close interaction with civilians.
• Assistance with reconstruction projects.
• Securing the borders.
• Training or retraining military forces.
Establishing and maintaining local government credibility.
Faced with these additional tasks, the joint force may be required to provide more units, and a different mix of units, than would be required for operations against a conventional force the same approximate size as the insurgent force. The preponderance of many ofthese units may only be available in the Reserve Components. All planning considers the long-term implications and second- and-third order effects of counterinsurgency missions
Counterinsurgency is a long-term approach and effort requiring support from political and military leaders. Additionally, leaders must recognize counterinsurgency operations may involve nation building. Counterinsurgency often involves nation building, but not all nation building involves counterinsurgency.
At all levels, the conduct (planning, preparing, execution, and assessment) of counterinsurgency operations involves coordination among local law enforcement forces and agencies, US organizations, and NGOs that may influence the mission.
What is the role of the military? While military forces may be the most visible sign of U.S. military involvement, especially in the early phases of a domestic counterinsurgency, they play a supporting role to the political and economic initiatives designed to enhance the effectiveness legitimacy of the sitting government. Establishing a secure environment for these initiatives is normally a primary objective of military forces and can take many forms. This can be a minimal requirement to support pro-sitting government supporters with advisors and equipment or it can mean a large scale- commitment of U.S. forces to carryout the preponderance of operations. In addition to providing a secure environment, U.S. military forces may also be called upon to support infrastructure development, provide health services, conduct police functions, or directly target insurgent cells. Given the wide range of potential military contributions, it is imperative that all military personnel understand how their actions and decisions must support the overall campaign design to de-legitimize the domestic insurgency in the eyes of the population. Significantly, successful counterinsurgencies are normally measured in years or even decades and require a unity of effort across the spectrum of U.S. agencies.
Within a joint force, ARSOF assets (less PSYOP and CA units) are ordinarily attached to and under OPCON of a designated joint special operations task force (JSOTF) commander.
The special operations command and control element (SOCCE) assists the JSOTF commander in fulfilling the supporting or supported commander responsibilities. A SOCCE is based on a special forces operational detachment-B and is augmented with a special communications package and personnel as required. It may include a ranger liaison officer, PSYOP and CA representatives, and special operations aviation personnel. The SOCCE is normally collocated at corps level and above, with smaller liaison teams operating at division level and below. The supported unit provides the SOCCE administrative and logistic support.
The SOCCE is the focal point for ARSOF coordination and synchronization with conventional forces. At corps level, the SOCCE coordinates with the corps operations center, fire support element, deep operations coordination cell, and battlefield coordination detachment to deconflict targets and operations. It provides ARSOF locations through personal coordination and provides overlays and other friendly order of battle data to the fire support element and battlefield coordination detachment. The SOCCE can exercise C2 of designated ARSOF units when the JSOTF commander determines the need.

Journalists Promoted ISIS Coronavirus Propaganda. They Should Stop.
April 19, 2020
by Murtaza Hussain
The Intercept
A few weeks ago, as the tide of the coronavirus pandemic began crashing down on Western countries, a provocative news story broke through the clamor and went viral in dozens of outlets. The strange headlines stated that the terrorist group Islamic State had issued a travel warning urging its fighters to avoid going to Europe due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Citing a “full-page infographic” posted on a newsletter associated with the group, ISIS had allegedly told its members “to put trust in God and seek refuge in Him from illnesses,” prudently advising them to wash their hands and stay out of areas where the disease had spread.
Under normal circumstances, even absent a global pandemic, an obscure message published in the foreign-language newsletter of a militant group should be unlikely to gain much traction in a fierce global attention economy. But ISIS has always been catnip for journalists.
From Politico to The Independent to the New York Daily News, the odd news about ISIS responding to the coronavirus was picked up and amplified across the world. It would not be hard to imagine that tens of millions of people saw the story — making it an impressive return on investment for an infographic that likely cost nothing to make.
If you’re trying to grow a political movement, or even just keep it alive, attention is your oxygen. And, for some time now, the media has been acting as a ventilator: amplifying the most obscure and ridiculous ISIS propaganda in what genuinely seems like an attempt to wish it back into prominence. This hunger for the notoriety the group provided is an advantage that ISIS supporters seem to have learned to capitalize on, producing content to keep its public image alive even as most of its members have been killed and its real-world power mostly destroyed.
Writing in The Atlantic as far back as 2017, Charlie Winter, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London, noted the group’s skill at turning the media’s hunger for infamy into a weapon. “For ISIS, provided it’s on the propagandists’ terms and conveys the group’s purported strength and omnipresence, any coverage is good coverage,” Winter wrote. “In that sense, ISIS terrorism doesn’t end when a bomb detonates. Rather, it continues for hours, days, and weeks after, living on through the media.”
During the period when ISIS actually was setting off bombs and carrying out attacks in Western cities, the group was able to win attention for its cause through what other long-ago terrorists and anarchists called “propaganda of the deed.” At its peak, there was genuine newsworthiness in ISIS’s novel use of highly produced visuals to promote themselves. Over the past few years, however, journalists have had to go out of their way to gin up propaganda for the group as its attacks become increasingly pathetic, and its actual organization reduced to an insurgency in the borderlands of Iraq and Syria.
As the actual ISIS has gone further into decline, news outlets in search of clicks — usually, but not always, tabloids — have had to dive deeper and deeper into the online dumpster heap to find provocations from the group’s supporters.
It’s not clear what effect distributing ISIS’s messages for it is having, but in the past we have seen people take inspiration from published material about the group. In the summer of 2016, after killing 49 people in an Orlando nightclub, Florida resident Omar Mateen called 911 and claimed that the attack had been a response to the death of “Abu Waheeb,” an ISIS commander who had become famous in the tabloid media after being mocked for looking like a rotisserie shawarma. No evidence has ever surfaced that Mateen had any actual contact with the group other than reading about it in the press.
Time has apparently not diminished ISIS’s media appeal. Last fall, the British media provided weeks of wall-to-wall coverage to a teenage ISIS captive held in Syria, even publishing exclusive stories providing readers with her opinions on recent negotiations over Brexit.
There’s a related phenomenon that should be familiar to many Americans: the 2016 election campaign of Donald Trump. As should be painfully familiar to everyone by now, the current president had never played any role in politics before his campaign. His entire campaign, admittedly an entertaining one, was dismissed by many at the time as a publicity stunt. The news media however could not get enough of him, giving copious airtime to broadcasting Trump’s provocations even as they became increasingly serious and making him perhaps the most-discussed person in the country.
In 2016, ex-CBS executive Les Moonves boasted that Trump’s campaign “may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” The news media rewarded him well for being such a good showman. During the course of the election cycle, Trump was estimated to have received a staggering $5 billion in free media coverage. One cannot say that the media itself got Trump elected, but, given its role in keeping him front and center before the public for months and months, the media helped Trump achieve one of the most valuable goals of any political movement: keeping people’s attention.
Even as president, there is still a debate raging as to whether his daily updates on the coronavirus pandemic should be gifted with live, primetime news coverage. It’s a question worth keeping in mind when considering whose voices to elevate on a subject of global importance, whether we’re talking about irresponsible officeholders hawking untested coronavirus cures or supporters of a terrorist group trying to keep its cause alive by telling people to wash their hands.
“When you have millions of public voices as we have today because of digital connectivity, then attention becomes the most valuable thing you can garner,” said Martin Gurri, a former CIA media analyst and author of “The Revolt of the Public.” “It’s even more important than money because, in the end, if you can keep getting attention, you’ll probably wind up not just with money but with power as well.”

Encyclopedia of American Loons

James Taylor

James Taylor is an Oklahoma pastor (University Church) who is anti-gay enough to tour with people like Peter LaBarbera. Part of his stand on LGBT issues is of course anchored in the Bible. Now, many people like to point out, to Biblically-minded LGBT opponents, that the Old Testament, for instance, doesn’t merely prohibit homosexuality but also has rather strict rules e.g. against eating certain foods – are categorized as “abominations” in Leviticus, for instance – which might be taken to mean that people like Taylor are somewhat selective in their use of the Old Testament. Well, Taylor has actually responded to that sort of observation: thanks to “refrigeration” it is no longer a sin to eat foods like pork or shellfish, while since there is no equivalent to refrigeration for homosexuality, it remains a sin. He also claimed the people who are really trying to “pick and choose” biblical principles here, are the gay-affirming Christians. This is a notably poor attempt at defending what is ultimately an indefensible position – although it is always interesting to see fundies go for radical moral context-dependence.
Taylor is also the author of It’s Biblical, Not Political, which is concerned with ensuring that you, the reader, are voting for appropriately conservative candidates in elections (yes, it’s obviously political and not Biblical, and the title is really a pretty feeble attempt to suggest otherwise), and a one-time Tea Party candidate. He is also a climate change denialist, assigning all responsibility for and ability to affect climate to God.
Diagnosis: Stock fundie idiot.

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