Thursday, October 24, 2013

America’s “Secret Wars” in Over 100 Countries Around the World

It is easy to dismiss this as propaganda and just another conspiracy theory. However, I think it is interesting how Mr. Marshall assembled information from open source reporting and then interpreted in such a way to support his thesis.  I am sure that we have read all of the articles listed in the footnotes and most of us have different interpretations than Mr. Marshall.  But this is an example of what can be done in the age of transparency but also because of the overuse of military specific jargon combined with the use of chest pounding descriptors of the force and operations.  There are links to part one and part two of this series.  Part two focuses more on the CIA and part one advances his thesis that the US is attempting to rule its empire of the world using "Mafia Principles."  Again we can laugh off many of the absurdities and the thesis but I think Mr. Marshall provides a short case study on how seemingly routine press reporting combined with our overuse of jargon and misuse of words can be spun to provide a very nice conspiracy theory that may be entertaining to us but also believed by some if not many.
V/R
Dave

America’s “Secret Wars” in Over 100 Countries Around the World

Empire Under Obama: Part 3
by Andrew Gavin Marshall / October 23rd, 2013
Obama’s global terror campaign is not only dependent upon his drone assassination program, but increasingly it has come to rely upon the deployment of Special Operations forces in countries all over the world, reportedly between 70 and 120 countries at any one time. As Obama has sought to draw down the large-scale ground invasions of countries (as Bush pursued in Afghanistan and Iraq), he has escalated the world of ‘covert warfare,’ largely outside the oversight of Congress and the public. One of the most important agencies in this global “secret war” is the Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC for short.
JSOC was established in 1980 following the failed rescue of American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Iran as “an obscure and secretive corner of the military’s hierarchy,” noted the Atlantic. It experienced a “rapid expansion” under the Bush administration, and since Obama came to power, “appears to be playing an increasingly prominent role in national security” and “counterterrorism,” in areas which were “traditionally covered by the CIA.” 1  One of the most important differences between these covert warfare operations being conducted by JSOC instead of the CIA is that the CIA has to report to Congress, whereas JSOC only reports its most important activities to the President’s National Security Council.2
During the Bush administration, JSOC “reported directly” to Vice President Dick Cheney, according to award-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh (of the New Yorker), who explained that, “It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on.” He added: “Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.” 3
In 2005, Dick Cheney referred to U.S. Special Forces as “the silent professionals” representing “the kind of force we want to build for the future… a force that is lighter, more adaptable, more agile, and more lethal in action.” And without a hint of irony, Cheney stated: “None of us wants to turn over the future of mankind to tiny groups of fanatics committing indiscriminate murder and plotting large-scale terror.” 4  Not unless those “fanatics” happen to be wearing U.S. military uniforms, of course, in which case “committing indiscriminate murder and plotting large-scale terror” is not an issue.
The commander of JSOC during the Bush administration – when it served as Cheney’s “executive assassination ring” – was General Stanley McChrystal, whom Obama appointed as the top military commander in Afghanistan. Not surprisingly, JSOC began to play a much larger role in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. 5 In early 2009, the new head of JSOC, Vice Admiral William H. McRaven, ordered a two-week ‘halt’ to Special Operations missions inside Afghanistan, after several JSOC raids in previous months killed several women and children, adding to the growing “outrage” within Afghanistan about civilian deaths caused by US raids and airstrikes, which contributed to a surge in civilian deaths over 2008. 6
JSOC has also been involved in running a “secret war” inside of Pakistan, beginning in 2006 but accelerating rapidly under the Obama administration. The “secret war” was waged in cooperation with the CIA and the infamous private military contractor, Blackwater, made infamous for its massacre of Iraqi civilians, after which it was banned from operating in the country. 7
Blackwater’s founder, Erik Prince, was recruited as a CIA asset in 2004, and in subsequent years acquired over $1.5 billion in contracts from the Pentagon and CIA, and included among its leadership several former top-level CIA officials. Blackwater, which primarily hires former Special Forces soldiers, has largely functioned “as an overseas Praetorian guard for the CIA and State Department officials,” who were also “helping to craft, fund, and execute operations,” including “assembling hit teams,” all outside of any Congressional or public oversight (since it was technically a private corporation).8
The CIA hired Blackwater to aid in a secret assassination program which was hidden from Congress for seven years. 9 These operations would be overseen by the CIA or Special Forces personnel. 10 Blackwater has also been contracted to arm drones at secret bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan for Obama’s assassination program, overseen by the CIA. 11 The lines dividing the military, the CIA and Blackwater had become “blurred,” as one former CIA official commented, “It became a very brotherly relationship… There was a feeling that Blackwater eventually become an extension of the agency.” 12
The “secret war” in Pakistan may have begun under Bush, but it had rapidly expanded in the following years of the Obama administration. Wikileaks cables confirmed the operation of JSOC forces inside of Pakistan, with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani telling the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson (who would later be appointed as ambassador to Egypt), that, “I don’t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.”13
Within the first five months of Obama’s presidency in 2009, he authorized “a massive expansion of clandestine military and intelligence operations worldwide,” granting the Pentagon’s regional combatant commanders “significant new authority” over such covert operations. 14 The directive came from General Petraeus, commander of CENTCOM, authorizing Special Forces soldiers to be sent into “both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa.” The deployment of highly trained killers into dozens of countries was to become “systemic and long term,” designed to “penetrate, disrupt, defeat or destroy” enemies of the State, beyond the rule of law, no trial or pretenses of accountability. They also “prepare the environment” for larger attacks that the U.S. or NATO countries may have planned. Unlike with the CIA, these operations do not report to Congress, or even need “the President’s approval.” But for the big operations, they get the approval of the National Security Council (NSC), which includes the president, as well as most other major cabinet heads, of the Pentagon, CIA, State Department, etc.15
The new orders gave regional commanders – such as Petraeus who headed CENTCOM, or General Ward of the newly-created Africa Command (AFRICOM) – authority over special operations forces in the area of their command, institutionalizing the authority to send trained killers into dozens of countries around the world to conduct secret operations with no oversight whatsoever; and this new ‘authority’ is given to multiple top military officials, who have risen to the top of an institution with absolutely no ‘democratic’ pretenses. Regardless of who is president, this “authority” remains institutionalized in the “combatant commands.”16
The combatant commands include: AFRICOM over Africa (est. 2007), CENTCOM over the Middle East and Central Asia (est. 1983), EUCOM over Europe (est. 1947), NORTHCOM over North America (est. 2002), PACOM over the Pacific rim and Asia (est. 1947), SOUTHCOM over Central and South America and the Caribbean (est. 1963), SOCOM as Special Operations Command (est. 1987), STRATCOM as Strategic Command over military operations to do with outer space, intelligence, and weapons (est. 1992), and TRANSCOM handling all transportation for the Department of Defense. The State Department was given “oversight” to clear the operations from each embassy, 17 just to make sure everyone was ‘in the loop,’ unlike during the Bush years when it was run out of Cheney’s office without telling anyone else.
(Continued at the link below)
Read Part 1 here,  Part 2 here
• Originally posted at The Hampton Institute
  1. Max Fisher, “The Special Ops Command That’s Displacing The CIA,” The Atlantic, 1 December 2009 []
  2. Mark Mazzetti, “U.S. Is Said to Expand Secret Actions in Mideast,” The New York Times, 24 May 2010 []
  3. Eric Black, “Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh describes ‘executive assassination ring‘,” Minnesota Post, 11 March 2009 []
  4. John D. Danusiewicz, “Cheney Praises ‘Silent Professionals’ of Special Operations,” American Forces Press Service, 11 June 2005 []
  5. Max Fisher, “The Special Ops Command That’s Displacing The CIA,” The Atlantic, December 1, 2009 []
  6. Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt, “U.S. Halted Some Raids in Afghanistan,” The New York Times, 9 March 2009 []
  7. Jeremy Scahill, The Secret US War in PakistanThe Nation: November 23, 2009 []
  8. Adam Ciralsky, “Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier, Spy,” Vanity Fair, January 2010 []
  9. Mark Mazzetti, “C.I.A. Sought Blackwater’s Help to Kill Jihadists,” The New York Times, 19 August 2009 []
  10. R. Jeffrey Smith and Joby Warrick, “Blackwater tied to clandestine CIA raids,” The Washington Post, 11 December 2009 []
  11. James Risen and Mark Mazzetti, “C.I.A. Said to Use Outsiders to Put Bombs on Drones,” The New York Times, 20 August 2009 []
  12. James Risen and Mark Mazzetti, “Blackwater Guards Tied to Secret C.I.A. Raids,” The New York Times, 10 December 2009 []
  13. Jeremy Scahill, “The (Not So) Secret (Anymore) US War in Pakistan,” The Nation, 1 December 2010 []
  14. March Ambinder, “Obama Gives Commanders Wide Berth for Secret Warfare,” The Atlantic, 25 May 2010 []
  15. Mark Mazzetti, “U.S. Is Said to Expand Secret Actions in Mideast,” The New York Times, May 24, 2010 []
  16. Marc Ambinder, “Obama Gives Commanders Wide Berth for Secret Warfare,” May 25, 2010 []
  17. Max Fisher, “The End of Dick Cheney’s Kill Squads,” The Atlantic, 4 June 2010 []
  18. Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe, “U.S. ‘secret war’ expands globally as Special Operations forces take larger role,” The Washington Post, 4 June 2010 []
  19. Dexter Filkins and Mark Mazzetti, “Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants,” The New York Times, 14 March 2010 []
  20. Mark Mazzetti, “U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts,” The New York Times, 15 May 2010 []
  21. Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt, “Special Operations Veterans Rise in Hierarchy,” The New York Times, 8 August 2011 []
  22. Elisabeth Bumiller and Thom Shanker, “Obama Puts His Stamp on Strategy for a Leaner Military,”The New York Times, 5 January 2012 []
  23. Eric Schmitt, Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker, “Admiral Seeks Freer Hand in Deployment of Elite Forces,” The New York Times, 12 February 2012 []
  24. Ibid. []
  25. David S. Cloud, “U.S. special forces commander seeks to expand operations,” Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2012 []
  26. Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, “A Commander Seeks to Chart a New Path for Special Operations,” The New York Times, 1 May 2013 []
  27. Nick Turse, “How Obama’s destabilizing the world,” Salon, 19 September 2011 []
  28. Walter Pincus, “Special Operations wins in 2014 budget,” The Washington Post, 11 April 2013 []
  29. David Isenberg, “The Globalisation of U.S. Special Operations Forces,” IPS News, 24 May 2012 []
  30. Tom Bowman, “U.S. Military Builds Up Its Presence In Africa,” NPR, 25 December 2012; and Lolita C. Baldor, “Army teams going to Africa as terror threat grows,” Yahoo! News, 24 December 2012 []
  31. Nick Turse, “The Startling Size of US Military Operations in Africa,” Mother Jones, 6 September 2013 []
Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, writing on a number of social, political, economic, and historical issues. He is co-editor of the book, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI CenturyRead other articles by Andrew Gavin, or visit Andrew Gavin's website.
This article was posted on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 at 10:29pm and is filed under AfghanistanCIADronesObamaPakistanTerrorism (state and retail).

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