The Counterinsurgency Strategy


by Alfred Mendes

America’s seemingly irrational tactics/behaviour in Iraq can best be fathomed by a closer look at its role in Post-World War 2, which had resulted in the openly-deep rift between it and the USSR - known as ‘The Cold War’. This was a case of Capitalism versus its antithesis, Marxism. Communism having spread to China and Korea - and ‘diplomacy’ having flown through the window now that FDR was dead - America intervened with military might into Korea (keep in mind that, far from being ‘far east’ from America, Korea was ‘closer west’). Result? The 3-year Korean War débacle. The Geneva Convention had now become a hindrance and would have to be bypassed.

This called for an up-dating of America’s political/military strategy in order to ensure that capitalism would prevail on a global scale. This would now be known as ‘The counter insurgency Strategy’. Simply put: this meant that America would now embark on the dangerous tactic of interfering, militarily if necessary, in the affairs of a foreign country. Implementation of such strategy called for the re-training of certain troops – in conjunction with Intelligence Services - and in the early sixties the Special Warfare School was set up at Fort Bragg, in North Carolina. This was soon followed by the setting up of similar subsidiary schools (the following is not a comprehensive list) at Elgin Air Force Base (Florida), Fort Gutrick and the Inter-American Police Academy at Fort Davis - the last two in the US-controlled Panama Canal Zone. This last-named was moved to Washington in 1963 under a new title, ‘The International Police Academy’ (IPA), where it was subsequently revealed that methods of torture were both taught and learned. The scale of this counterinsurgency schooling is best illustrated by the fact that, until 1984, when Fort Gutrick was ‘handed over’ to Panama, “45000 Latin-Americans - including the leaders of many subsequent military governments - would graduate”. To sum up: in all, a total of 41 special organisations (psychological warfare units; sea-air-land unconventional teams; counterinsurgency aviation forces; naval technical assistance teams - et al.) were created expressly for this counterinsurgency task. Not only Americans would be trained here - military personnel, intelligence officers and police from chosen foreign countries would also attend. It should be noted that this new strategy did not initially please the established military at home - which is understandable inasmuch as it inevitably meant an impingement on their authority. [1]

That Fort Bragg would play a central role in this ‘Counter insurgency Strategy’ is borne out by many subsequent events, of which the following two were examples:

(a) In march 1982, General Efrain Rios Montt was brought to power in Guatemala on the back of a CIA coup. Montt had attended Fort Bragg, where he had been trained how to set up concentration camps similar to the ones used by the U.S. in the Vietnam War under the so-called ‘strategic hamlet program’. Result: “The air force base of Retalhuleu was turned into a vast torture centre. Prisoners were flung into deep pits filled with water, their bodies later thrown into mass graves and sealed with cement”..and.. “The notorious death squads, with such names as ‘Secret Anti-Communist Army’ and ‘Eye For An Eye’, continued their ruthless use of torture, machine-gun executions and ‘disappearance’. Some 70,000 people were murdered in the early 1980s, while U.S. military aid to Guatemala continued, peaking at $50 million in 1983.”[2]

(b) General Mario Renan Castillo was appointed head of the Mexican Seventh Military Region in February 1995. Trained at the counter-insurgency warfare school at Ft. Bragg, he had been chief coordinator of the February 9, 1995 military invasion of all perceived Zapatista communities in Chiapas.

“Conservative estimates suggest 1500 assassinations/murders in the two years leading up to the Acteal, Chiapas massacre on December 22, 1997. The National Mediation Commission (CONAI) has clear evidence that at least 60 communities have been subjected to numerous thefts, and regular campaigns of murders and house burnings.”...“Airmobile Special Forces Group (GAFE) units have been in training at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, and are now operating in most or all of Mexico's 12 military regions and 40 zones.”... “Experts familiar with the history of units throughout the Hemisphere and world trained by the U.S., including by the CIA and Green Berets at or from Ft. Bragg in counterinsurgency doctrines, know the central importance of

paramilitary operations and terrorism in subduing ‘insurgent’ communities. Some of the most demonic cases of human rights violations have been committed by military and paramilitary forces trained in counter- insurgency and terror campaigns by the CIA and the U.S. military.”...In July 1996, the Organisation of American States (OAS) human rights delegation visited “the states of Guerrero and Chiapas and found an extensive pattern of abuses that included torture, murder, and regular harassment of human rights monitors by both police and the Mexican military.” [3]

The American government/Administration having been under the influence/control of corporations - particularly those of a military/industrial nature - for previous decades, this now meant that such corporations would play an increasingly intrusive mercenary role in military matters, including the schools noted above. Their ‘unaccountability’ (to say nothing of their profit) would prove advantageous to the government – so long as it was effective! This was a dangerous precedent, as subsequent events would reveal. Of necessity, because of their mandatory links to intelligence and military services, their activities are covered by a veil

of secrecy - but this veil is sometimes breached and thus filters into the public domain, as in the following instances (not a comprehensive list):

(a)    The Military Professional Resources International (MPRI of the L-3 Communications Corp.) - the most prestigious of these mercenary groups, played a crucial role in the recent Balkan Wars, having been closely involved in the notorious expulsion of the Serbs from West Krajina by the Croats.They had subsequently become involved with the KLA - on a cooperative basis - in both Kosovo and Macedonia, and are presumably still there.


(b)   DynCorp also operated in Bosnia and Kosovo, their main clain to infamy being involvement in a prostittution racket known as the ‘Arizona Market’ in the former.


(c)    The Vinell Corporation (of BDM International Inc.) Carried out covert military operations in the Vietnam War, and subsequently contracted to trainthe Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG) in cooperation with the Office of the Program Manager, an agency of the US Army Material Command. As reported in the ‘Independent on Sunday’ of 16/5/’04, the SANG offices in Riyadh were destroyed by suicide bombers, killing 35 people and injuring 200. The main lesson to be learnt from these instances is that the activities of these mercenaries are engendering worldwide distrust in the ‘Counterinsurgency Strategy’ of their country! Indeed, that this is so can be confirmed by the more recent activity of another - but less-well-known mercenary group - CACI. It is now common knowledge that Iraqi prisoners in the American-run prison at Abu Ghaib have been subjected to interrogation torture, which is an integral part of the training within the counterinsurgency strategy as laid out above - and is therefore not surprising.. As further confirmation, the American journalist, Seymour Hersch, writing in the ‘New Yorker’, revealed that Major General Antonio Teguba, in his report on Abu Ghabi (completed in February 2004), “had saved his harshest words for the military-intelligence officers and private contractors.. and...further urged that a civilian contractor, Stephen Stephanowicz of CACI International, be fired from his army job....He clearly knew his instructions equated to physical abuse”. Taguba also “recommended disciplinary action against a second CACI employee, John Israel”. It is of further pertinence to note that Private Lynndie England, who had been photographed more than once as one of the torturers, had been reassigned to Fort Bragg (presumably her base?) after becoming pregnant. [4] CACI was founded in 1962 as the California Analysis Center Inc., and after two further name-changes, was incorporated as CACI International Inc. in 1985. In their own words: it “provides the IT and network solutions needed to prevail in today’s new era of defense, intelligence, and e-government”. [5] CACI Chairman, Dr. J.P. (Jack) London was awarded the Albert Einstein Technology Award in recognition of its achievements in the field of defence and national security. This award was presented by the Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to Dr. London at the Jerusalem City Hall on January 14 2004. [5]

As is the case in all other multicultural countries, religion in America has created a divisive society. For instance, anyone who has lived/studied there in the late ‘30’s (as this author has) would have been aware of widespread anti-semitism - particularly among the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASP’s) of the East Coast: Indeed, joining a queue of job-seekers in

Manhattan in, say 1940, would soon reveal that if one were a Jew it would be futile to apply for a job in such corporations as Lockheed, for instance. But the subsequent rapid rise of ‘fundamentalism’ within the WASP society has led to the seemingly ironic situation that exists today: namely, these fundamentalists, such as George W. Bush, now consider Zionist Israel its best friend! The only rational explanation for this is the fact that in the post-WW 2 period Corporate America soon realised that the newly-formed State of Israel would be a useful diversionary foil vis-à-vis the oil-rich Arab states in the region - to say nothing of satisfying the

politically-influential Jewish lobbies at home. As evidence of this fundamentalist/Fort Bragg relationship, the New York Times on April the 6th 2003 reported that Maj. Gen.William G. Boykin, commanding general of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, had invited a group of predominantly Southern Baptist pastors - among whom was his friend, the Rev. Bobby H. Welch, a Southern Baptist minister in Daytona Beach, Fla.,(who had started an evangelistic campaign called FAITH Force Multipliers), to participate in a military-themed motivational program for Christian evangelists. Conscious of the fact that Fort Bragg was on a war footing, Maj. Gary Kolb, spokesman for Army Special Operations at the base,

called it off. Pastor Welch had been a Vietnam veteran, who had trained at Fort Bragg and sought to apply military principles to evangelism, and he revealed that a previous FAITH Force session of seventy pastors had been held at Fort Bragg the previous year, at General Boykin's invitation. [6]

In his election campaign speech in 1961, JFK stated: “The cause of all mankind is the cause of America...We are responsible for the maintenance of freedom all round the world”. In his book, America and the World Revolution (Oxford University Press 1961), Arnold J. Toynbee answered: “America is today the leader of a worldwide anti-revolutionary movement in

defence of vested interests. She now stands for what Rome stood for. Rome consistently supported the rich against the poor in all foreign communities that fell under her sway”. [7] A very good answer!

Alfred Mendes writes regularly for Spectre. Judging from the frequency of visits, his articles are consistently our most popular.


[1] here

[2] here

[3] here

[4] here

[5] here

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[7] here