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reliant
12 April 2004, 05:08 PM
In our campaing one of the characters has been spying on the Rebellion for some time and they just got caught. I want to do a session with the court marshal and such, but am kinda fuzzy on how the rebs might deal with a traitor. It's probably going to be a full miltiary tribunal (I'm going to try and do some research into how the modern military handles traitors and such).

Anyway, I was just looking for ideas/suggestions from the holonet... Anyone? Bueller?

reliant
12 April 2004, 05:13 PM
Just a little more info:

The woman on trial is an officer and second in command of a fighter squadron. The rebs found out that she may have leaked the location of the base on Hoth to the Hutts.

Darth Bile
12 April 2004, 06:35 PM
well, most of the time, there wouldn't be a trial for a spy, they would interrogate them to see how much information was passed, what kind of information was passed, try to get information about the enemy from them, and then execute them. well, that would be a "evil" government thing to do. but not in my opinion, if you spy, you die. plain and simple.

Darth_Cassed
12 April 2004, 06:52 PM
Darth Bile is right in this fact. The rebels dont have the time or the resources to send someone to trial. They must quickly find out what the other side knows and act to prevent a cataclysmic event.

So this would be more of a chase down of the traitor.

Vanger Chevane
13 April 2004, 02:10 PM
A Courtmartial in such a case would happen only after Intel has gotten as much as they reasonably could. They have a lot of information to try & get, not only to protect the Rebellion & its operations, but also gathering evidence for the Prosecution.

In this case said spy would disappear for a while, then Cracken would hand her over to Ackbar to face a Tribunal of 3 Flag-Rank Officers. In SW this would be Commander/Colonel or higher.

Cracken could not sit on the tribunal due to a clear conflict of interest. Other officers that are not related to the incident, such as General Dodonna (if available), Madine, Adm. Ackbar, even Colonel Crespin or Commanders Skywalker, Antilles, or Salm could volunteer or be assigned to the proceedings.

The Military Code of Justice is much more stringent and streamlined than the Civilian version, partly from the need to deliver justice while fighting a campaign. A quick Execution or Life at Hard Labor are allowable, even suggested sentences for certain offenses.

I suggest you look at the US's Uniform Code of Military Justice (http://usmilitary.about.com/library/milinfo/mcm/blmcm.htm) for an idea on what crimes tend to be associated with which punishments, and possibly some procedures.


Also check X-Wing: Krytos Trap for the bits on the Celchu Trial as it is similar to yours, tho the era is a bit later & the profile of the case much higher

Talonne Hauk
13 April 2004, 02:39 PM
In my campaign, once the culprit was caught, the CO finished him off with a blaster to the head. No muss, no fuss. This caused my players some anguish, as a couple were Force-sensitive. Too bad for them.

Vanger Chevane
13 April 2004, 02:48 PM
That would depend on the situation.

In combat, that may be a viable option, especially when faced with an immediate threat. If reasonable, the individual would be disarmed, detained, then turned over to the Criminal Investigation Division for holding & interrogation.

In a case such as Espionage, a lot of valuable, potentially life-saving Intel & Counter-Intel would have been lost by yer blaster-happy commander, and that individual would face significant censure if not dismissal or the preferring of charges.

johnnyputrid
13 April 2004, 04:16 PM
A much grittier option is to "question" the culprit to death. The Uniform Code of Military Justice can be thrown out the window in matters of national, or in this case, Rebel Alliance security. Several of our real-world foreign intelligence agencies are masters at getting information out of traitors and spys, usually resulting in that person's death. Once the necessary intel has been gained, a hole is dug, and that person ceases to ever have been. Consider all the technologically advanced methods the Rebels might have to coerce info from a subject: pharmacueticals, controlled use of a disruptor or blaster beam (ie, The Burning), interrogation droids, etc. Once you're convinced that the subject has or hasn't committed treason, you deal with them as your circumstances permit: Peacetime=trial, Wartime=hasty burial.

This may not fit in with your vision of the Rebels, and some kind of formal trial may be more fitting, but none-the-less the use of such ruthless methods like this do happen during war. Since he Rebellion probably doesn't have the luxury of maintaining a full-time prison facility, a sentence of execution seems the most probable course of action.

Talonne Hauk
13 April 2004, 05:08 PM
Vanger Chevane, you are right. That's why I made it the player's mission to insert themselves into the Intel community to determine what exactly the culprit in question knew, and to whom he squealed. It was a great adventure, and it really made the villain a more dangerous and capable bad guy. We're still playing the campaign two years later, and that adventure was a great springboard into the spy games of the Rebellion.

reliant
14 April 2004, 11:10 AM
Okay, thanks for all the replies. I'm still thinking about what to do, but it's definately going to trial. There's not going to be an instant execution or anything like that (she's a PC, that wouldn't be very dramatic). She may be executed AFTER the trial (depending on how good her defense is), but we're for sure going to roleplay the trial and everything leading up to it.

Vanger Chevane, thanks for the info about the modern military code of justice, that should help out a bit.

I'm probably not going to bring in any big names from the Star Wars universe, probably just the higher ups in the task force that she's assigned to (admiral, captains, etc.). She'll have a representative and there's gonna be one for the alliance (similar to the Tycho trial, but slightly different because she's not such a big name).

Vanger Chevane
14 April 2004, 01:48 PM
Johnnyputrid, the Quick-and-Dirty method you describe does fit what happens to Espionage cases during wartime. If you check the UMCJ, the only allowable punishment is an execution.

If the Interrogators, Intel, & Special Ops folks have discovered enough proof to justify to a review after-the-fact, and time is pressing, you form up as many ppl as you can and have yourself a quick execution. During weighing the evidence, there will be some sort of advocate for Command and for the Accused. With a clear preponderance of evidence, or a clear confession (Can't have it look like you've gotten them to admit it just so you'll stop torturing them) going ahead with a conviction & execution will stand a review of the facts by JAG. And in such a case it will be reviewed. Minor technical errors are likely to be glossed over, but the Discovery Process can't have major gaps, assumptions, or flaws in it.

The ceremony is meant to be public as a deterrent: "Spy for the enemy, we will catch you, beat you near death, then dangle you in public before finishing the job". Few witnesses to an execution of this style, rather heavy on drama and formality develops the desire to chance one themselves.


Talonne that's a great, and logical follow-on, but you'd have to be sure that you'd gotten as much intel as possible from the spy before executing them.


Reliant, you're welcome and look to be well along the right track. The Military tends to use Tribunals instead of Jury Trials in cases where sensitive information is a part of the case for security reasons. Expanding the circle of knowledge beyond those who really need, and have been cleared, to know is considered a bad thing.

Happy I could help ya out here.

johnnyputrid
14 April 2004, 05:45 PM
See? I knew that 10 years in the Army would one day allow me to share some useful knowledge!:D

I've had more than my fair share of encounters with the UCMJ. But I'll take a forfiture of half a months pay over execution any day!

Ardent
30 April 2004, 07:41 AM
Actually, for the Rebel Alliance command ranks begin at Lt. Commander and Major. Same goes for the Imperial Army & Navy.

Oh, and the equivalent for Commander is Lt. Colonel. Colonel is a flag rank, as is Captain. Personally, I'm of the opinion that if the Rebs even bothered with a courtmartial they'd only be able to muster command ranks at any given facility.

I don't know if execution would be their game (it depends on the unit and the evidence of guilt)...my group used to just maroon war criminals. It's not like the Empire'd have 'em.

Vanger Chevane
30 April 2004, 03:48 PM
Originally posted by Ardent
Actually, for the Rebel Alliance command ranks begin at Lt. Commander and Major. Same goes for the Imperial Army & Navy.

Oh, and the equivalent for Commander is Lt. Colonel. Colonel is a flag rank, as is Captain. Personally, I'm of the opinion that if the Rebs even bothered with a courtmartial they'd only be able to muster command ranks at any given facility.

I don't know if execution would be their game (it depends on the unit and the evidence of guilt)...my group used to just maroon war criminals. It's not like the Empire'd have 'em.
For the Militaries of Planet Dirt, you are correct on the equivalences. However I have never seen Light Colonel/Commander nor 2Lt/LtJG used anywhere in SW.

I don't know where or when you got your info on Flag Ranks, but the US Army beat it into my skull Flag starts at O-6 (Colonel/Captain). This is the Brigade/CapShip Command level.

While it's easily presumed that Navy Flag Ranks start with Captain, there's no clear answer for Starfighter Command nor Ground Forces, but Colonel Crespin was Comet Group Commander, Commander Varth leads a Starfighter Wing so it's reasonable to presume that for Starfighter Command & Ground Troops Colonel/Commander is a Flag Rank, while the Naval Commander is not. Both Colonel Crespin's and Commander Antilles' next promotion is to General.


The SW Officer ranks I'm certain of:

Rebel/NR Starfighter Command: Flight Officer, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Colonel/Commander, General.

Rebel/NR Fleet Command: Ensign, Lieutenant, Commander, Captain, Admiral.

The Imperial Navy seems to follow this pattern with one notable exception. In X-Wing Bacta War, it's implied that Ait Convarion's rank of Commander is higher than Captain. There may be 2 diff levels of Commander to the Imp Structure, or it may be some additional title like Group Commander that really isn't fully explained.

Could also be a mistake that got past the editors.


Page, commander of the Katarn Commandos (presumably Rebel Army) is ranked only as Lieutenant, later Captain. If there is an Army Officer Rank below Lt. it's never mentioned AFAIK, nor is Lt. separated into degrees such as 1st & 2nd. Other than the probable nonexistence of Flight Officer, Ground Force ranks likely follow those for Starfighter Command.

Command & Rank structure is a bit strange for Starfighter Command as a Captain leads a squadron. Colonels, Commanders, and Generals tend to lead groups of squadrons, or the NR's Elite Squadron in Antilles' case.

The ranks of Major & Colonel are never AFAIK mentioned in the Starfighter Command structure until X-Wing: Isard's Revenge.

Prior to this, Captain Cracken is forced to take a reduction in rank to Lieutenant to join the Rogues, Antilles' XO is always a Captain. This implies the complete absence of Major in the rank structure.

Celchu is promoted to Colonel, Janson & Kilvian Major. Rogue Squadron at this point also has a Captain Horn leading a 4-ship flight where anywhere else in the Command he's be leading a full squadron. We also have a case of a Junior officer commanding a Senior. Were things kept strictly to rank, 1Flight is led by Celchu, 2 & 3 Flights by Janson & Klivian.

Clearly some exceptions are in place specifically for Rogue Squadron and they cannot be strictly cited as an example of the norm during the latter NR Era.

wolverine
30 April 2004, 03:52 PM
Here is a ranking chart made up for the Sparks starwars game...

Enlisted.
Private/recruit
Private
Private first class
Corporal
Sergeant
Staff sergeant
Sergeant first class
Master sergeant
First sergeant
Sergeant major

Officer.
second LT
First LT
Captain
Major
LT colonel
Colonel
Brigadier general
Lt General
Major general
General

johnnyputrid
30 April 2004, 05:42 PM
Originally posted by wolverine
Here is a ranking chart made up for the Sparks starwars game...

Enlisted.
Private/recruit
Private
Private first class
Corporal
Sergeant
Staff sergeant
Sergeant first class
Master sergeant
First sergeant
Sergeant major

Officer.
second LT
First LT
Captain
Major
LT colonel
Colonel
Brigadier general
Lt General
Major general
General

No offense meant at all, but those are the ranks used by the U.S. Army, not SW. I don't think such a system fits in the SW way of things. I'm gonna start a new thread in the General Discussion forums to try and address this issue.

Ardent
1 May 2004, 06:22 AM
Rebel Alliance SpecForce guidebook. D6 but still the most reliable source of information we have on the Rebel Alliance military structure (and the clearest interpretation of the Imps, at that). They actually have a rank chart designed to display equivalencies. I'm almost 100% positive light colonel is on there. I'll doublecheck when I'm at my books.

Darth Bile
1 May 2004, 07:48 AM
Why not just find out the ranks for the us navy, and use them for star wars ranks, and the the same with the army for the sw army, lot simpler and easier, even though the rebel alliance book doesn't have them that way.

but here is the rank system they have for the navy.
lieutenant black pip so army
captain blue pip so equals navy
major black pip so army
commander blue pip so navy
colonel black pip so army
general black pip so army

now they don't give all the ranks they used in the movies, like admiral or anything, so the rebel alliance sourcebook is incomplete in my opinion, so i know for a fact there are no general's or colonel's or major's in the navy, so, i still say just use modern day ranks for the navy and army for the game, and could even possibly do the same with marines, since marines are always on the navy ships and an offshoot of the navy anyways.

Ronin
1 May 2004, 08:29 AM
Haven't a clue about the ranks-issue...

as for Int getting info outta the spy, as Reservoir Dogs pointed out: torture doesn't necessarily work!
In a Judge Dredd game me and a mate caught a Sov soldier (just a line grunt)...and I got a little over zealous with my interrogation...removed his kneecap with a screwdriver and stubbed out a cigar in his bullet wound...etc... (real "pair of plyers and a blow-torch" stuff)
the poor fool didn't know anything and I nearly alienated our allies in the campaign.
Torturing a guy doesn't get info outta him...he'll just tell you whatever you wanna here.
A proper, psychological questioning session is needed.
But of course...that takes time... ;)

johnnyputrid
1 May 2004, 09:08 AM
Originally posted by Ronin
as for Int getting info outta the spy, as Reservoir Dogs pointed out: torture doesn't necessarily work!
Torturing a guy doesn't get info outta him...he'll just tell you whatever you wanna here.
A proper, psychological questioning session is needed.
But of course...that takes time... ;)

Sorry my man, but this is incorrect. The use of torture has been used to successfully get information for hundreds, probably thosands of years. Everybody has a breaking point, everybody. Anyone who says they don't is full of it. A good torture expert will carefully apply pain until you reach that state where you will tell him anything he wants to hear. He'll only back off just enough to make sure you don't die or have a stroke or something.

I learned about the nasty business of torture at an Air Force SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Escape) course. All of the students were interrogated at one point.They do this to reineforce the idea that NOT getting caught is the idea. And I "talked", let me tell you. They found all sorts of creative ways to inflict pain. Personally, I think every soldier, marine, airman, or seaman should go through this course, especially considering the current global situation. You never know when you might find yourself taken hostage.

Corwin
1 May 2004, 12:19 PM
Just a note on Alliance interrogation techniques.

Keep in mind that, in keeping with their principles, there are methods which Alliance interrogators will not use, mainly direct physical torture. However, they are very into psychological torture, and will use such methods as drugs (such as “truth serums”), sleep depravation, sensory depravation, intimidation (such as telling a prisioner “have you ever heard about what Wookiees do to arms?”), and other similer tactics. While one could argue that these tactics are just as bad, and in some cases worse then physical torture, this is what was deemed acceptable for use by Alliance personnel during the galactic civil war.

For more information about Alliance interrogators, take a look at the Rules of Engagement from West End Games.

As far as trials go, my guess would be that the Alliance would try to have a courts martial when ever possible. I also think that they would universally favor a three officer tribunal over jury trial, as there just aren’t enough Rebels to tie up with jury duty. Presumably for less serious offense, local commanders would be authorized to try less serious offenses, though for espionage and of acts of treason, I think the process that Vanger described would be how things would work.

Vanger Chevane
1 May 2004, 12:33 PM
Just remember to check their blood chemistry for Lotiramine before you start pumping em fulla Skirtopanol. :P

The big diff is Military vs. Civilian. Most Military Court Proceedings are Tribunal, not Jury, in nature.

Minor offenses you argue your case before the Provost Martial (single judge, usually no lawyers/JAG), or your CO handles Non-Judicial (Article 15) punishment.


But that's my experience how Military Justice works.

Ronin
1 May 2004, 07:13 PM
Originally posted by johnnyputrid


Sorry my man, but this is incorrect. The use of torture has been used to successfully get information for hundreds, probably thosands of years. Everybody has a breaking point, everybody. Anyone who says they don't is full of it.

Fair enough :)
I guess my Judge Dredd GM was simply evil! :D

Talonne Hauk
1 May 2004, 08:28 PM
Actually, johnnyputrid, your own statement reveals the futility of torture.

A good torture expert will carefully apply pain until you reach that state where you will tell him anything he wants to hear.
Once a prisoner is at that state, anything he says is usually garbage. It is exactly what the torturer wants to hear, because at that point, the prisoner will say anything to make the torture stop, regardless of whether it is true or not.
I hate making references to Star Trek in a Star Wars forum, but one of the most emotionally powerful shows I have ever watched was the one where Captain Picard was kidnapped, beaten and interrogated by Cardassians. The biggest point was when the Interrogator would ask Picard the number of lights that were shining down at him. Picard would state the number of lights (Five), but the Interrogator would state that there were in fact six lights, when there weren't. The Interrogator would proceed to tortue Picard in various manners, until at the end of the show, Picard was wavering, about to say there were six lights, when he was dramatically rescued in a timely fashion. The point is that Picard was about to cave in and tell the Interrogator exactly what he wanted to hear to make the torture stop. Any intelligence gleaned after that would have to be considered suspect, if not outright trash.

johnnyputrid
1 May 2004, 10:46 PM
Originally posted by Talonne Hauk
Actually, johnnyputrid, your own statement reveals the futility of torture.

Once a prisoner is at that state, anything he says is usually garbage. It is exactly what the torturer wants to hear, because at that point, the prisoner will say anything to make the torture stop, regardless of whether it is true or not.
I hate making references to Star Trek in a Star Wars forum, but one of the most emotionally powerful shows I have ever watched was the one where Captain Picard was kidnapped, beaten and interrogated by Cardassians. The biggest point was when the Interrogator would ask Picard the number of lights that were shining down at him. Picard would state the number of lights (Five), but the Interrogator would state that there were in fact six lights, when there weren't. The Interrogator would proceed to tortue Picard in various manners, until at the end of the show, Picard was wavering, about to say there were six lights, when he was dramatically rescued in a timely fashion. The point is that Picard was about to cave in and tell the Interrogator exactly what he wanted to hear to make the torture stop. Any intelligence gleaned after that would have to be considered suspect, if not outright trash.

You do have a valid point. But a good interrogator will also be able to glean the truth from a person in this state. When a person reaches a state where the pain becomes so intense, he will tell you anything you want to hear. This includes useful information. It becomes merely a process of sifting through the usual babble to discover what it is you want. The fact remains that physical (and mental) torture is a tried and true method of intelligence gathering. In your example, Picard was rescued. This is an exception to the norm. In most, if not all cases, the victim of the torture WILL cave in, and tell the interrogator everything, whether it actually means anything or not. He will not be resuced. He will be tortured, probably to death. And if he doesn't break the first few times, eventually he will. It becomes simply a matter of time.

There are two things that will happen when a person is tortured. They will either crack, and spill everything they know, to include useful intelligence, or they will retreat into a sort of fantasy world, erecting a mental barrier around themselves. Not only should an interrogator be skilled in inflicting pain, but he should also have a good working knowledge of psychology, specifically, psychology orientated towards gleaning information from partial sentences and random phrases.

So yes, an interrogator can break a person to a specific point where anything they say is meaningless, but a GOOD interrogator will be able take the victim to a place where the truth becomes not only a release from the pain, but a release from the mental barrier he has erected around himself. Torture is effective, but not always the best answer. But then again, most captors will enjoy a sick pleasure from beating a captive into a pulp. It is the job of the interrogator to determine when the proper stage is acheived to accurately gain usefull information.

Ronin
1 May 2004, 10:50 PM
Yeah...everyone has a breaking point....Robert DiNiro's, IIRC, was a Grasshopper... ;)
(from Ronin )

johnnyputrid
2 May 2004, 05:02 AM
Originally posted by Ronin
Yeah...everyone has a breaking point....Robert DiNiro's, IIRC, was a Grasshopper... ;)
(from Ronin )

...one part gin, two parts vermouth....
Wait, I just described a martini. Well, I don't remember exactly what he says, but that was a great example, I love that flick!

I guess the point is conceded. Torture is an effective method, but not always the best choice when trying to get info out of someone. Would the Rebels torture a subject for info? Maybe. Depends on what kinda folks they have working in their intelligence department. We'd like to think that they wouldn't, but they are in a war. Sometimes you have to do things in a war that might not agree with your principles.

Ronin
2 May 2004, 05:07 AM
Well...how about from the opposite POV?
How should (whoever's on trial/ being interrogated/tortured) resist?

From what I've read (mostly Andy "Mc Stab" McNab books like Bravo-2-0 and his "fiction" work) trying to be the Mr Nobody, an unimportant, know-nothing grunt is the best course...?
Then they don't beat the pudu out of you (as much, everything's comparable ;) ) cause they think there's nothing to pound out of you.
Experts?

johnnyputrid
2 May 2004, 05:27 AM
Good question, Ronin. The old "name, rank, service number" routine will probably make the torture increase when dealing with the wrong people. But that's pretty much the extent of resistance techniqes that are taught to us regular military folks. The course I took advised us not to talk, and spout out the above mentioned spiel.

Playing the unimportant grunt could work as you described. But it could also get you killed that much faster. The torturerers might just decide you are worthless and kill you outright, perhaps as an "example" to others they've captured.

By the way Ronin, do you read any of The Rogue Warrior books as well? I like McNab's stuff too, but I think that Marcinko is a bit more entertaining with his "fiction".;)

Ronin
2 May 2004, 05:34 AM
Originally posted by johnnyputrid
Playing the unimportant grunt could work as you described. But it could also get you killed that much faster. The torturerers might just decide you are worthless and kill you outright, perhaps as an "example" to others they've captured.

By the way Ronin, do you read any of The Rogue Warrior books as well? I like McNab's stuff too, but I think that Marcinko is a bit more entertaining with his "fiction".;)

Don't know Marcinko...?
I'll take a look...

Hmmm...didn't think about the enemy just capping "the grey man" as an example...
you're damned if you do and your damned if you don't! :D

johnnyputrid
2 May 2004, 06:10 AM
Originally posted by Ronin


Don't know Marcinko...?
I'll take a look...


Richard Marcinko, the Rogue Warrior, former Commander in the U.S. Navy, and founder of SEAL Team Six. Start with his autobiography, Rogue Warrior, then move on to his "fictional" novels. I got to meet him once, at a book signing. They guy is extremely funny, easy to talk to, and one of the most dangerous looking people I've ever seen. He's even got three different 12" action figures of himself! His books are some great reading.

How did we go from Rebel Military Trials to torture methods?

wolverine
2 May 2004, 11:38 AM
I wonder if my players would consider me EVIL if i did that when they got captured. Capping the lowest man on the proverbial totem pole and letting them know that is what will befall the rest if they do not co-operate...

Ronin
2 May 2004, 06:25 PM
Sometimes PCs need to be reminded of their mortality.
Taking it away from one would serves as a good lesson to the rest...heck, they might talk even without needing any dice rolls.
Threatening to (or actually) remove limbs might be a better course, and it doesn't leave you with one mildly angry player with a dead PC.
Just a maimed one.

Sarge
2 May 2004, 10:46 PM
Johnnyputrid, when did you go through SERE? I graduated from that course just over a year ago, and I came to the opposite conclusion: torture is ineffective because the victim will tell the interrogator anything, true or not, to make the torture stop.

And for the record, they never got me to talk. I gave them name, rank, service number, and date of birth. The next question was age. I repeated my date of birth. The interrogater wasted the whole session trying to beat my age out of me. He never even got to the important questions like what my mission was because I was too stubborn to tell him something that he already knew. :D

Maynard
3 May 2004, 02:02 AM
If I knew I'd get caught, I'd eat a lot of beans and eggs. Counter-tourture, very smart...8o

johnnyputrid
3 May 2004, 03:21 AM
Originally posted by Sarge
Johnnyputrid, when did you go through SERE? I graduated from that course just over a year ago, and I came to the opposite conclusion: torture is ineffective because the victim will tell the interrogator anything, true or not, to make the torture stop.


10 years ago. It was an Air Force course, and they only rarely offered it to non-pilots. I didn't go through the "downed pilot" scenario portion of the course, just the basic survival and SERE parts. I did learn how to eat all kinds of nuts and berries, and how to catch rabbits with snare. Stuff like that.

I don't know what the SERE courses are like nowadays, but when I went, the instructors were seriously evil. This was back in the days when "physcial intimidation" and "wall-to-wall counseling" were often overlooked and things like sexual harrasment were only taught because they were required. The instructors were all professional interrogators. At the time I didn't even realize there were specific MOSs devoted to interrogation. I also went through the course as a young 21-year old Private with a whopping 4 months time in service. I had no clue what I was getting into. Maybe now I'd do better, having a few more points of widsom under my belt.

Vanger Chevane
3 May 2004, 02:43 PM
Sarge, keep in mind that the SERE School won't do to you what a real enemy can.

They don't want to do anything extreme or long lasting as they want to have you back at work afterward & not have the press making them out to be some kind of monsters who get their jollies by whipping/electrocuting/starving/etc. As a force, many of those tactics are illegal and illegitimate but, as was the case in VietNam, this does not seem to apply to everyone as we would like.

SERE is built to give you a taste of the real thing with built-in safety margins, like an amusement park. IRL, those margins may not be there and you could well be in a mortal danger from starvation, disease, mis- and mal-treatment that result in a very slow, humiliating, and agonizing death.

Once a subject has broken and will tell you anything, it does take a lot of analysis and careful chioce of interrogative techniques to get & filter out the useful info from the trivial and fabricated.


One of the main objectives of the SERE School is to teach ppl that almost anyone will break at some point given a professional interrogator/analyst and a complete disregard for things like the Geneva Convention. I've heard many people claim "I'll never break", but that simply doesn't hold true and some require that concept to be driven home with a sledgehammer. While we all would work to hold out as long as possible, odds are good that a professional and unethical interrogator will manage to get what they want eventually, and possibly far sooner than we expect of ourselves...

johnnyputrid
3 May 2004, 04:21 PM
Uh, what Vanger said.

Keep in mind also that when I went, putting hands on a soldier was not allowed by regulation, but still held as acceptable by a good many of the "old timers" who taught and organized courses like SERE. I work at Fort Jackson, a post that conducts more than 50% of the Army's basic training, and Drill Sergeants still get relieved quite often for touching, pushing, and yes, even hitting soldiers. While not tolerated anymore, these things still happen, and a lot more than most folks would think.

By the way Sarge, I'd really like to hear what SERE is like nowadays. It sounds like you had a very different experience than I did, and were probably older and more experienced when you took the course. I haven't met too many people who've been through the course, and I'm curious about how the class is conducted now. Is it rough? All classroom? Is it "hands-on" (if you know what I mean)? Or is it like many of the military's courses nowadays, with too much emphasis on high-content, low-quality blocks of instruction?

Sarge
3 May 2004, 07:17 PM
I was 37 and a tech sergeant (E-6) when I went to SERE, after I volunteered to crosstrain as a flight engineer. Instructors were very much hands-on. 8o One of the guys I went through the course with was watching the first time they hit me, and he said he was really scared by the way my head snapped back.

Vanger, I never claimed I was unbreakable, I just couldn't be broken by the SERE interrogators when they were working within their safety rules. Obviously their limitations are much stricter than those of our enemies. Also, basic SERE is intended to prepare us mainly for dealing with enemies who respect the Geneva Convention. There is another SERE course nicknamed "advanced beating" that teaches people how to resist enemies who don't play by civilized rules. I haven't been to that one.

There's a lot more I'd like to share with you guys about SERE, but the most interesting parts of the course are classified. Can't have the bad guys finding out what our resistance techniques are.

johnnyputrid
3 May 2004, 07:59 PM
Originally posted by Sarge
I was 37 and a tech sergeant (E-6) when I went to SERE, after I volunteered to crosstrain as a flight engineer. Instructors were very much hands-on. 8o One of the guys I went through the course with was watching the first time they hit me, and he said he was really scared by the way my head snapped back.

OK, maybe we did go to the same course! I sure as heck didn't enjoy getting zapped with a cattle prod and sucker punched over and over. But at least they didn't bring out the car battery and jumper cables. I do believe my youth and inexeperience was a deciding factor in my "breaking", but that doesn't mean I could go through it all again with different results. Each of us has a different point at which we break, and I'm not very proud to say that I did, but it happened. Maybe I wouldn't talk now, maybe I would, I don't know.

I think we all agree that an enemy willing to put you through rigorous torture and interrogation, and ignore the more civilized and humane aspects of handling prisoners, would potentially be able to break anyone.

And to move back on to the original topic, I would have to say the the Rebels would most likely abide by certain moral and ethical conducts when extracting info from a prisoner or a turncoat within their ranks. But conversely, Rebel intelligence may be willing to go to longer lengths to protect vital information, such as base locations, personnel rosters, and other nuggets of strategic info they'd wish to keep out of the Empire's hands. Its hard to say whether or not a tribunal would be called for in such a case. Survival of the Rebel Alliance might cause more than a few principles to be forgotten, at least long enough to ensure no vital infomation has been leaked.

Vanger Chevane
4 May 2004, 03:45 PM
Originally posted by johnnyputrid
I think we all agree that an enemy willing to put you through rigorous torture and interrogation, and ignore the more civilized and humane aspects of handling prisoners, would potentially be able to break anyone.

And to move back on to the original topic, I would have to say the the Rebels would most likely abide by certain moral and ethical conducts when extracting info from a prisoner or a turncoat within their ranks. But conversely, Rebel intelligence may be willing to go to longer lengths to protect vital information, such as base locations, personnel rosters, and other nuggets of strategic info they'd wish to keep out of the Empire's hands. Its hard to say whether or not a tribunal would be called for in such a case. Survival of the Rebel Alliance might cause more than a few principles to be forgotten, at least long enough to ensure no vital infomation has been leaked.
Right. The pretrial interrogation and such may well get quite severe with official permission, and the following investigation be a high priority as the Rebellion can't afford for a lot of intel to leak to the other side or the entire movement could collapse.

After the fact, holding a tribunal and going through all the Civilized Procedures would be seen as quite desirable to reinforce the fact that they are the Good Guys and will conduct Justice aboveboard and publicly, quite unlike the Evil Empire.


A Rebel caught by Imperial Forces tends to disappear with some Intelligence Agent & never be seen again, unless they've been successfully processed through Lusankya or a similar facility, or are of such little value the only use for them is to reinforce that Rebels wind up in some nasty Penal Colony so thinking like them is also bad...



Sarge, "Advanced Beating", LOL. The limit for Classified Information is around 50 years, by that point we'd be drinking Ensure & Vodka White Russians while telling "the kiddies" those stories. :P

Corwin
4 May 2004, 10:39 PM
Just to add to the SERE discussion, a guy I know who’s an Army blakchawk mechanic with designs on a position as flight crew told me that before entering SERE soldiers sign a waiver giving the instructors permission to brake up to two of the soldiers bones.

I didn’t place a lot of stock in this, as my friend likes to make things up (one time when he was wearing his Class A uniform I asked him what the ribbon he was wearing was for; he told me it was because we were at war, when in fact it was a training ribbon).

In any case, is there any truth to the rumor that SERE instructors break bones, or is that a myth?

wolfe
5 May 2004, 12:57 AM
well your friend is indeed messed up..

ahhh yes, SERE training...and i love the 'advanced beating' Sarge, we called it 'S&M 101',pisses the interrogators right off.. and hands on is a very nice way to put it.
i have a slight twitch in my right eye after my session..
some of us had to do it every now and then depending on our unit.
enlisted have it easier,us officers well it becomes open season to the interrorgators.
the name,rank,serial is good for going up against those who'll honor the convention but you may notice we have ben going up against those who dont more and more in this day and age.
BUT the other thing have going for you is the age of televised everything..
I spent more time pissing the interrorgators off than anything

50 years isnt the limit of being classified.thats when it goes up for its classification review.
anyways...

since you have already decided on having a trial..I would have the result of the spies work presented..such as the possibility of a base location reveiled and then the total destruction with loss of all personel,including any'friends' may have made at that base.
but doubtful you have such a thing to use.

Corwin
7 May 2004, 10:48 PM
Originally posted by wolfe
well your friend is indeed messed up..

The fact you can figuer that out with out even knowing him is kind of the final nail in the coffen :P

Back to the subject of Rebel military justice, I thought it might be helpful for those who aran't already familer with it to take a look at the US Uniform Code of Military Justice (http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ucmj.htm#803.%20ART.%203.%20JURISDICTION%20TO%20TRY%20CERTAIN%20PERSONNEL). The provisions here would pretty much go for both the Alliance and Impieral armed forces, with some Star Wars specific additions. Still, the proceduers and so on would all be about the same I think.

Sarge
11 May 2004, 12:47 PM
Recent events bear out the wisdom of treating your prisoners decently. I'm sure we've all seen the pictures of the American guards and Iraqi prisoners. And today I heard Al Qaeda beheaded an American in revenge.

The actions of those guards are having serious repercussions on captive Americans. I hope those guards end up in jail with their own prisoners; that would be poetic justice.

Steering the topic back to SW... If anybody crosses over the line and abuses prisoners, there damn well better be a trial and serious repercussions. One of my firmest GM philosophies is that actions have consequences, and I won't hesitate to make a character regret it when he deserves to be punished.

Vanger Chevane
11 May 2004, 01:35 PM
Especially when dealing with the Rebel Alliance/nascent New Republic.

They really want to prove they're the Good Guys, so misbehavior on a scale like that simply will not be tolerated, and severely punished if discovered.

Gulor
11 May 2004, 01:38 PM
I'm sure that by now the in-game trial has already come and gone, but I kinda feel like, from the Intelligence standpoint, once damage assessment was done, their next priority would be to TURN the traitor and see if they can get some use out of it before striking up the blaster band.

"You're slipping information to Nal Hutta, huh? Well, here's what you're going to tell them the next time they ask."

On a related note, what if an Alliance agent was selling information to (Rebellion Era) Talon Karrde?

Gulor

Corwin
12 May 2004, 09:34 PM
Originally posted by Gulor
On a related note, what if an Alliance agent was selling information to (Rebellion Era) Talon Karrde?

I’d imagine that if they sold classified information, and did so without authorization, and with out vetting the information to protect Alliance Intel sources and methods they would be tried for misuse of classified information, possibly espionage, as well as theft, conduct unbecoming, etc. I think the main difference would be the solider in question would not face the death penalty if found guilty, as they would if the information went to Imperial agents.



Originally posted by Vanger Chevane
Especially when dealing with the Rebel Alliance/nascent New Republic.

They really want to prove they're the Good Guys, so misbehavior on a scale like that simply will not be tolerated, and severely punished if discovered.

That’s true, though remember that quite a few Imperial defectors joined the Alliance over the years, and are serving in the New Republic at this time, especially in the NR intelligence community. I heard it suggested once that some of these defectors may still unofficially use methods more in keeping with Imperial practices.

Also, the New Republic period sees a lot of opportunities for those who suffered at the hands of Empire to get revenge. If any of you read the Black Fleet Crisis, you might recall the anecdote of the former Rebel who kept several wounded Imperial prisoners on life support for years, only to eventually to have his son execute them. No doubt that despite the best of intentions, abuses by NR personnel against Imperial prisoners did occur; and with much more frequencies in the NR period then in others.

An interesting adventure idea might for a group of characters closely tied to the New Republic government to be brought into an investigation into such practices (not to necessarily draw any comparisons to what’s going on in the real world -I first had this idea a long time ago).