The armed forces’ interview method raises ethical questions

Peace organization PAX regularly interrogates civilians in conflict areas, especially regarding their security. “We then ask, for example, how they view the police,” says program leader Hans Rouw of Pax. It requires caution. The answers are stored digitally without the interviewee’s name, position or even the place of residence. It is no longer possible to trace the source. “Suppose that in a village many people complain about the police and that information leaks out, then the police might get the idea to get a story in that village. That is why we adjust the GPS location in such a way that only the region can be traced. ”

The Dutch armed forces have also been interviewing civilians on missions for years, in order to understand and possibly influence their behavior, wrote NRC this weekend. They do this with the marketing method BDM, with which the military want to operate more effectively, resulting in less violence and civilian casualties. However, defense acknowledges that there are still no strict guidelines and ethical and legal frameworks for the use of the method. Army boss Martin Wijnen said he wanted a political discussion about this. MPs say they ask questions, a few want a debate.

PAX calls it positive that soldiers learn more about local culture and look for nonviolent solutions, but find it necessary to discuss the preconditions. “What does the Ministry of Defense do to ensure that the local population is not harmed by the application of the method?” Says Rouw. “What, for example, are the safeguards against data breaches? In South Sudan, satellite images of burnt-down villages have fallen into the hands of militias, who used these images to burn down the saved villages. ”

Cooperation is risky

Rouw emphasizes that it is risky for civilians to cooperate with foreign military personnel, because their fellow citizens will often see them as collaborators. “We know this, for example, from local interpreters who work for intervention forces and run incredible risks. I know a Kurdish interpreter who cannot return to Mosul, but who cannot apply for asylum in the country for which he worked,” says Vincent Vrijhoef, also program leader at PAX. “The aftercare is not always well organized.”

In the summer of 2017, Dutch soldiers interviewed seventy people in a refugee camp near Mosul, the city that was then still owned by IS. “Refugees are a vulnerable group” who do not easily say no, says Vrijhoef. PAX therefore uses double permission for this type of investigation: before the interview and afterwards, so that people can withdraw their statements when in doubt. The interviews revealed, among other things, that boys aged 18 to 20 were still entering and exiting the areas occupied by IS on a moped and were prepared to provide the coalition troops with information. Vrijhoef: “Those boys have run an incredible amount of risk, perhaps more than the military think.”

The PAX researchers therefore believe that the armed forces should discuss openly more about BDM than now. The method was discussed at a PAX meeting with defense representatives at the end of 2019, Rouw recalls: “When we came to speak about its application in Burkina Faso, we asked questions such as: ‘How does it work? What is the goal?’ Nobody wanted to say anything about that. That is strange, because you always have to weigh a means and a goal against each other. That must be done in public. ”

British ex-soldier Ade Rudd, who taught Dutch military personnel in influencing operations on a number of occasions, was not involved in such debates. “There is no ethical dilemma for me,” says Rudd when asked whether you can always interview people. “People can always refuse to answer your questions, but I have every right to use all the techniques in the world to let you answer that question.” Rudd spent 24 years in the British Army, which has conducted many influencing operations in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan in recent decades. The Dutch military personnel who are familiar with the BDM method and who spoke to NRC do, however, call ethical considerations important.

Throwing rocks

British soldiers in Iraq had a lot of trouble with children who threw stones at the patrols, Rudd says. “Did the kids do that because they hated us? No, we discovered by asking them and their parents: they were just bored ”, says Rudd. “So we went to the villages, with volleyball and soccer in the back. We played with the children for half an hour and afterwards we gave them the ball. They stopped throwing stones. ” More effective and pleasant, Rudd says, than saying to the parents, “Get your kids in order, because otherwise…”

In Canada, military personnel are also trained in the BDM method, and a similar program is also running in Belgium in which military personnel try to see the world more through the eyes of the local population. At a meeting in November 2018 at the 1 Civil and Military Interaction Command in Apeldoorn, Canadians and Belgians came to see how the Netherlands approached this. Despite a shortage of whiteboards and computers with an internet connection, the atmosphere was ‘relaxed’ and participants experienced the meeting as useful, according to an evaluation.

Yet operations like this have raised ethical questions in the past, such as in the US. It was not the soldiers themselves who tried to fathom the population, but the army took cultural anthropologists, including to Afghanistan. That was controversial from the outset. Critics believed that common standards for academics, such as consent from those surveyed, would erode in a war. The anthropologist association president said to the online medium Inside Higher Ed that it was “in no way possible to obtain information under the terms of a full consent that was not enforced”. The program was quietly discontinued in 2014.

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Dutch soldiers deployed on Curaçao to prevent further unrest NOW

Dutch soldiers have been deployed at the request of Curaçao to prevent further disturbances on the island, a spokesman for Defense confirms to NU.nl.

In recent days, the island has been restless due to protests against Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath and his government.

Dutch army personnel are deployed to guard “vital objects”, such as government buildings, a spokesman said.

“We support the local police in this way, so that they have more capacity to maintain local order.”

The Curaçao militia is patrolling with the police, the spokesman confirms. These local soldiers have been trained by the Dutch armed forces.

At the moment, the spokesperson cannot yet say how many soldiers have been deployed.

Tourism in Curaçao has come to a standstill

Dissatisfaction rules over the difficult economic times that Curaçao is going through. Tourism, the engine of the economy, has collapsed due to the corona crisis.

Demonstrations paved the way for looting and arson on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Meanwhile, Friday night (local time) has remained quiet. A curfew could be lifted thanks to the efforts of the Dutch military, it writes Antillean Dagblad.

Defense permanently present in the Caribbean

Curaçao has been a separate country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 2010, but not entirely independently. The Netherlands is, among other things, responsible for the defense of the island.

There are two military bases of the Dutch Navy on Curaçao. In total, there are about 800 Dutch defense employees in the Caribbean. In addition to supporting local authorities, they also have the task of defending the borders of the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.

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Defense uses method for influencing behavior in conflict areas NOW

Defense has purchased a marketing method to influence the behavior of civilians in conflict areas, a Defense spokesperson confirms after reporting NRC. The method was purchased from a controversial British company. According to the newspaper, the Netherlands is at the forefront of this new way of warfare among Western countries.

It is a marketing method of the British SCL Group, the parent company of data firm Cambridge Analytica. Both were discredited in recent years because of questionable political campaigns.

The Netherlands is at the forefront of this method among Western countries, along with the United Kingdom and Canada NRC.

In places like Iraq, the armed forces hope to get a better picture of how the local population works. The method should make missions more effective and reduce the number of civilian casualties. Behavioral research and influencing goes beyond the traditional way of winning hearts and minds, the newspaper writes. It must actively change the attitude of civilians in conflict areas in order to prevent armed conflict.

In recent years, the Dutch armed forces have, according to NRC 139 soldiers trained in behavioral research and influencing behavior according to a method of SCL Group who Behavioural Dynamics Methodology (BDM) hot.

SCL Group is controversial

BDM training courses were purchased from SCL Group, a party that has proved dubious in the past. The firm conducted political campaigns in vulnerable democracies. Among other things, SCL conducted a political political campaign in Trinidad and Tobago, where black citizens were discouraged from voting.

Subsidiary Cambridge Analytica was exposed worldwide when it widely violated the privacy of US citizens for a political campaign during the 2016 elections.

A spokesperson emphasizes to NU.nl that these mistakes by the company were not known to Defense before they were revealed in the media in 2018.

Newspaper interviews with military personnel show that the method is popular for its effectiveness and the ability to gain a more local perspective on operations. But the method is also controversial. No rules have yet been drawn up for this new way of warfare.

Landlord boss Martin Wijnen acknowledges that legal and ethical standards must be set for the method. That is only possible “after a discussion about what we think of it as the Netherlands,” he says.

‘Ethics are in the user’

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal went around the world in 2018, Defense decided that the collaboration with SCL Group should not stop. The conclusion was that the method would be good, but the ethics are in the user, the newspaper writes.

After the bankruptcy of SCL, Defense still worked together with a former Dutch employee of the company. That cooperation has now been stopped, a spokesman for Defense tells NU.nl.

A meeting with defense lawyers about rules on influencing behavior was postponed this spring due to corona, but should take place shortly.

Deployed in Northern Iraq and Curaçao

Defense has used BDM to learn how the people of Curaçao would react in case of a sudden large influx of Venezuelan refugees.

In Northern Iraq in 2015, this method was used to conduct in-depth research into the motives of the local population, in a refugee camp on the outskirts of IS territory. That would have led to more cooperation between them and the armed forces.

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Influencing behavior encounters resistance – NRC

A marketing method that the Dutch armed forces has been using for five years to investigate and influence the behavior of civilians in conflict areas is internally provoking resistance. Dutch soldiers use this method to collect data about the local population and sometimes interview them for hours about their dreams and fears. This information gives them more insight into their motives, which they can use to influence their behavior.

Citizens have been influenced by this method in Mali, Lithuania, Iraq and Curaçao. Defense sees influencing civilian behavior as a weapon as well as bombing the enemy.

Defense bought the Behavioural Dynamics Methodology from the British SCL Group, parent company of data and marketing firm Cambridge Analytica. Both were discredited in 2018 for questionable political campaigns and ceased to exist.

A Dutch member of the management of SCL has been advising Defense since 2016 on influencing behavior, recruitment campaigns and smarter data processing. Landlord boss Martin Wijnen says he has stopped all cooperation with her for the time being. The Dutch, Gaby van den Berg, denies having been involved in controversial campaigns: “I have never had anything to do with such practices.”

Defense has now trained 139 military personnel in the method and applied it in several countries. However, the Defense has never informed the House of Representatives about it. “I am surprised that this method is used,” said MP Salima Belhaj, defense spokesman for government party D66. She believes that the House should conduct a ‘good substantive ethical debate’ about the ‘use of such a military instrument.’

Defense has no separate legal or ethical frameworks for influencing civilians. Professor Liesbeth Zegveld, specialized in war law: “The idea of ​​war law is that civilians are innocent and should remain so. By influencing their behavior, so that they help you, you make them a party. ”

Wijnen acknowledges that there must be rules for influencing behavior. Defense lawyers were due to meet for the first time this spring to discuss this, but this was canceled due to corona. Within Defense there is enthusiasm about the method, but also resistance.

Soft, but dangerous pages 26-29

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Attention helicopter spotters: 77 American army helicopters will land in Rotterdam in July

A nice month is coming for enthusiasts of (army) helicopters. Between July 1 and 24, 77 American helicopters fly over the region that lands in the port of Rotterdam. The United States has asked the Dutch defense to supervise this process.

Scattered over this period, much American equipment is transported from Eindhoven to Rotterdam. In addition to the flying helicopters, 1,800 other vehicles and containers will be moved on Dutch roads.

All material is brought back to America from the port of Rotterdam. The helicopters and other materiel have been used in Europe for responding to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and for training with Eastern European members of NATO. About a hundred Dutch soldiers are deployed in Eindhoven, Rotterdam and in between to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

For helicopter enthusiasts, the 77 American examples consist of three different types: the UH-60 Black Hawk, the CH-47 Chinook and the AH-64 Apache.

It happens more often that Americans move the material within the Netherlands. This also happened in October 2019.

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Defense uses method for influencing behavior in conflict areas NOW

Defense has purchased a marketing method to influence the behavior of civilians in conflict areas, a Defense spokesperson confirms after reporting NRC. The method was purchased from a controversial British company. According to the newspaper, the Netherlands is at the forefront of this new way of warfare among Western countries.

It is a marketing method of the British SCL Group, the parent company of data firm Cambridge Analytica. Both were discredited in recent years because of questionable political campaigns.

The Netherlands is at the forefront of this method among Western countries, along with the United Kingdom and Canada NRC.

In places like Iraq, the armed forces hope to get a better picture of how the local population works. The method should make missions more effective and reduce the number of civilian casualties. Behavioral research and influencing goes beyond the traditional way of winning hearts and minds, the newspaper writes. It must actively change the attitude of civilians in conflict areas in order to prevent armed conflict.

In recent years, the Dutch armed forces have, according to NRC 139 soldiers trained in behavioral research and influencing behavior according to a method of SCL Group who Behavioural Dynamics Methodology (BDM) hot.

SCL Group is controversial

BDM training courses were purchased from SCL Group, a party that has proved dubious in the past. The firm conducted political campaigns in vulnerable democracies. Among other things, SCL conducted a political political campaign in Trinidad and Tobago, where black citizens were discouraged from voting.

Subsidiary Cambridge Analytica was exposed worldwide when it widely violated the privacy of US citizens for a political campaign during the 2016 elections.

A spokesperson emphasizes to NU.nl that these mistakes by the company were not known to Defense before they were revealed in the media in 2018.

Newspaper interviews with military personnel show that the method is popular for its effectiveness and the ability to gain a more local perspective on operations. But the method is also controversial. No rules have yet been drawn up for this new way of warfare.

Landlord boss Martin Wijnen acknowledges that legal and ethical standards must be set for the method. That is only possible “after a discussion about what we think of it as the Netherlands,” he says.

‘Ethics are in the user’

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal went around the world in 2018, Defense decided that the collaboration with SCL Group should not stop. The conclusion was that the method would be good, but the ethics are in the user, the newspaper writes.

After the bankruptcy of SCL, Defense still worked together with a former Dutch employee of the company. That cooperation has now been stopped, a spokesman for Defense tells NU.nl.

A meeting with defense lawyers about rules on influencing behavior was postponed this spring due to corona, but should take place shortly.

Deployed in Northern Iraq and Curaçao

Defense has used BDM to learn how the people of Curaçao would react in case of a sudden large influx of Venezuelan refugees.

In 2015, in Northern Iraq, this method was used to conduct in-depth research into the motives of the local population, in a refugee camp on the outskirts of IS territory. That would have led to more cooperation between them and the armed forces.

.

Defense uses method for influencing behavior in conflict areas NOW

Defense has purchased a marketing method to influence the behavior of civilians in conflict areas, a Defense spokesperson confirms after reporting NRC. The method was purchased from a controversial British company. According to the newspaper, the Netherlands is at the forefront of this new way of warfare among Western countries.

It is a marketing method of the British SCL Group, the parent company of data firm Cambridge Analytica. Both were discredited in recent years because of questionable political campaigns.

The Netherlands is at the forefront of this method among Western countries, along with the United Kingdom and Canada NRC.

In places like Iraq, the armed forces hope to get a better picture of how the local population works. The method should make missions more effective and reduce the number of civilian casualties. Behavioral research and influencing goes beyond the traditional way of winning hearts and minds, the newspaper writes. It must actively change the attitude of civilians in conflict areas in order to prevent armed conflict.

In recent years, the Dutch armed forces have, according to NRC 139 soldiers trained in behavioral research and influencing behavior according to a method of SCL Group who Behavioural Dynamics Methodology (BDM) hot.

SCL Group is controversial

BDM training courses were purchased from SCL Group, a party that has proved dubious in the past. The firm conducted political campaigns in vulnerable democracies. Among other things, SCL conducted a political political campaign in Trinidad and Tobago, where black citizens were discouraged from voting.

Subsidiary Cambridge Analytica was exposed worldwide when it widely violated the privacy of US citizens for a political campaign during the 2016 elections.

A spokesperson emphasizes to NU.nl that these mistakes by the company were not known to Defense before they were revealed in the media in 2018.

Newspaper interviews with military personnel show that the method is popular for its effectiveness and the ability to gain a more local perspective on operations. But the method is also controversial. No rules have yet been drawn up for this new way of warfare.

Landlord boss Martin Wijnen acknowledges that legal and ethical standards must be set for the method. That is only possible “after a discussion about what we think of it as the Netherlands,” he says.

‘Ethics are in the user’

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal went around the world in 2018, Defense decided that the collaboration with SCL Group should not stop. The conclusion was that the method would be good, but the ethics are in the user, the newspaper writes.

After the bankruptcy of SCL, Defense still worked together with a former Dutch employee of the company. That cooperation has now been stopped, a spokesman for Defense tells NU.nl.

A meeting with defense lawyers about rules on influencing behavior was postponed this spring due to corona, but should take place shortly.

Deployed in Northern Iraq and Curaçao

Defense has used BDM to learn how the people of Curaçao would react in case of a sudden large influx of Venezuelan refugees.

In Northern Iraq in 2015, this method was used to conduct in-depth research into the motives of the local population, in a refugee camp on the outskirts of IS territory. That would have led to more cooperation between them and the armed forces.

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Russian army to send coronavirus to Italy after Putin’s call

FILE PHOTO: The Palazzo Marino building in Milan is illuminated with the colors of the Italian flag while the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. Milan, March 20, 2020. REUTERS / Daniele Mascolo / File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian military will begin sending medical assistance to Italy on Sunday to help it fight the new coronavirus after receiving an order from President Vladimir Putin, the Russian defense ministry said in a statement.

Putin spoke with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Saturday, the Kremlin said, adding that the Russian leader offered his support and help in the form of mobile vehicles and disinfection specialists to help the most affected Italian regions.

Italy reported an increase in coronavirus deaths of nearly 800 on Saturday, bringing the toll in the world’s hardest hit country to nearly 5,000.

The Russian defense ministry said military transport planes will deliver eight mobile brigades of military doctors, special disinfection vehicles and other medical equipment on Sunday.

Russia will also send about 100 military specialists in virology and epidemics, according to reports from the Interfax news agency.

Russia itself has reported 306 virus cases, most of them in Moscow, and one death from coronaviruses.

Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Christopher Cushing and David Goodman

Our standards:Thomson Reuters’ principles of trust.

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The death toll from coronavirus in Italian Lombardy jumps by 546 in one day

ROME (Reuters) – The death toll from a coronavirus outbreak in the northern region of Lombardy, which has borne the brunt of Italian contagion, increased by 546 in a day to 3,095, officials said Saturday.

It is the highest daily increase since the outbreak emerged.

The head of the Lombard pension fund, Giulio Gallera, said that the number of cases in the region, which includes the Italian financial capital Milan, increased from 3,251 to 25,515.

On Friday the death toll in Italy was 4,032, the highest in the world.

Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni; editing by Jason Neely

Our standards:Thomson Reuters’ principles of trust.

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The United States can convert thousands of New York hotels, university rooms into nursing units

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States Army Corps of Engineers is seeking to convert more than 10,000 New York rooms, potentially into college hotels and dormitories, into medical care units to help resolve the rapidly spreading coronavirus, said the commanding general of the Army Corps on Friday.

The pandemic disrupted life across much of the United States, closing schools and businesses, pushing millions of people to work from home, forcing many to quit their jobs and drastically reducing travel.

Lieutenant General Todd Semonite told Pentagon reporters that the Army Corps was trying to convert the rooms and other large spaces into intensive care type facilities and that it should have taken place within weeks, not months.

“We are talking about over 10,000 that we are looking at right now,” Semonite said, adding that a decision will be made by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Earlier this week, the White House said it was in talks with the Pentagon on how the military could be deployed to deal with coronavirus, including setting up field hospitals in states with a spate of cases.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has asked the army to increase hospital capacity. The Army Corps of Engineers is made up of 37,000 soldiers and civilians providing engineering services in over 130 countries, says its website.

Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Curated by Leslie Adler and Howard Goller

Our standards:Thomson Reuters’ principles of trust.

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