However, many more important subjects are often overlooked. One of the most important things that have been ignoring about the US is their SpeCIAl Operation Forces that operate in approximately 134 countries worldwide. These forces are currently waging a full-scale war across the globe, and their operations along with their personnel and budget have seen an alarming increase since 9-11. Near to the end of the Bush administration, these SpeCIAl Forces were found in around 60 countries. By 2010, their operation field widened to include 75 countries. In 2011 this number shot up to 120, and in 2013, it reached 134 according to their own statistics. In other words, during the Obama administration, their operation field increased by 123%. Along with the increase of wars, the Obama administration has also expanded its predator drone campaign and electronic spying projects. What’s even more worrying is the fact that the best trained US speCIAl forces who are operating in these 134 countries are unable to be investigated.
While it is difficult to guess what kind of response the US will get, as well as the catastrophic consequences that will be born out of this situation, it’s not difficult to presume that the final result will not be a good one.
From his alternative media website TomDispatch.com, investigative journalist Nick Turse gives his account of what the increase of US military and intelligence operations means.
SOCOM, which is responsible for the speCIAl operations units, was founded in 1987, but became more active after 9-11. While the number of SOCOM staff in 2011 was 33,000, in 2014 that figure stands at 72,000. SOCOM’s budget has also increased from 2.3 billion dllars in 2001 to 6.9 billion dollars in 2013. If bonus funds are included, the current budget stands at 10.4 billion dollars. Additionally, in 2001 only 4,900 staff were operational overseas, but in 2013, 11,500 members of staff were working abroad.
In another study, the TomDispatch website used government sources to show that between 2012 and 2013, US SpeCIAl Forces had been engaged in direct conflict in 106 countries.
Last year, SOCOM chief William McRaven spoke at a committee meeting and explained his vision of expanding the SpeCIAl Forces’ operations. He said that the SpeCIAl Operation Forces were widening their worldwide network of unites and international collaborators in order to deal with the rising threat and be available in the right places to defeat them across a wider operational field. This included keeping small units in certain in certain areas for long periods, ready and waiting to act on demand.
In April and May 2013, US SpeCIAl Forces teams were trained in Djibouti, Malawi and the Seychelles. In June the US navy was involved in operations in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. This included war simulation sessions in Jordan’s Aqaba. In July, a team was sent to Trinidad and Tobago to train in small-scale operations. The following month, they trained the Honduras navy in bomb diffusion. In September, US SpeCIAl Forces also teamed up with elite units from ASEAN nations to train in anti-terror operations, which was funded by both the US and Indonesia.
In October, US teams facilitated the kidnapping of individuals they deemed to be dangerous in Libya and Somalia. While their operation in Libya ended successfully, the operation in Somalia ended in a fiasco. In November they helped distribute aid in the Philippines after it was hit by a devastating typhoon, and in December they also partook in a training session at a British base. In the same month, they also carried out an evacuation operation in South Sudan. In January 2014, they were involved in a clash in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.
SOCOM isn’t simply involved in military operations. They also have 10 propaganda websites, disguised as normal news websites, and are currently looking for clients in other countries to set up new websites that will be used to influence their people. CentralAsiaOnline.com has already been set up for the people of central Asia, Al-Shorfa.com targets the people of the Middle-East, Infosurhoy.com targets Latin America, while Sabahi is aiming to bring the Horn of Africa under its influence.
While SOCOM operates autonomously, it is linked to a number of important organizations. According to Admiral McRaven, SOCOM operates within 38 state-controlled organizations in the US, including the CIA, the FBI and the NSA.