by Golem XIV
JUNE 19, 2012
In the week of May 21st of this year in Tampa Florida, Special Operations Forces from 90 countries got together at a Special Forces Convention. You can see a video of what they got up to here.
The purpose of convention, which is a regular thing now, is (from their web site),
The International Conference objective will be that U.S. and International SOF leaders recognize USSOCOM as a Global Command and gain a better understanding on how to become active partners in that partnership.
Who is USSOCOM? It is the umbrella US military command for all US Special forces. So here we have a programme the purpose of which is to integrate the operations and even the command structure with the US at the top, for the Special Forces of 90 nations. Is this anything to be concerned about? Well on one level, if you have Special forces why not have them work together well? Seems sensible. Except that Special Forces are by design the part of any nation’s armed forces which operate routinely and as a matter of course, outside of the law and beyond democratic oversight. Did you know, for instance that elements of the British SAS operated as a virtually freelance force in South America during the Dirty Wars? Did anyone ask you if you thought that was OK?
Special Forces are quite unlike the rest of the military. They work far more closely with the Intelligence agencies than they do with the regular army and its command structure. While there is some democratic oversight of the regular military there is very little for Special forces. Their operations are covered by Intelligence secrecy and most parts of a civilian government, even those parts which might be privy to most other military operations, would not have any knowledge of, nor oversight of, Special forces operations. Who knew that certain elements of the SAS were on the ground in Libya long before any official admission of any military involvement, acting as spotters and target painters for all those ‘precision’ strikes? Now you might think such secrecy is necessary and even a good thing. I do not share that view. I think about rendition and torture and how the intelligence organizations coordinate and plan while the special forces provide the muscle.
I look at it and think to myself – so now we have vast financial power shielded from any national, democratic regulation or legal oversight. We have data similarly hidden away from the pesky prying eyes of civilian democratic and legal accountability and we now also have the parts of the global military that routinely operate outside of democratic oversight and who regularly break the most fundamental national and international laws, being organized to operate together under an aspiring supra-national command.
What does that International Special Forces Command do? From their web site.
SOF Core Activities
Direct Action: Short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive actions taken to seize, destroy, capture or recover in denied areas.
Special Reconnaissance: Acquiring information concerning the capabilities, intentions and activities of an enemy.
Unconventional Warfare: Operations conducted by, through and with surrogate forces that are organized, trained, equipped, supported and directed by external forces.
Foreign Internal Defense: Providing training and other assistance to foreign governments and their militaries to enable the foreign government to provide for its country’s national security.
Civil Affairs Operations: Activities that establish, maintain or influence relations between U.S. forces and foreign civil authorities and civilian populations to facilitate U.S. military operations.
Counterterrorism: Measures taken to prevent, deter and respond to terrorism.
Psychological Operations: Operations that provide truthful information to foreign audiences that influence behavior in support of U.S. military operations.
Information Operations: Operations designed to achieve information superiority by adversely affecting enemy information and systems while protecting U.S. information and systems.
Counter-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Actions taken to locate, seize, destroy or capture, recover and render such weapons safe.
Security Force Assistance: Unified action by joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational community to sustain and assist host nation or regional security forces in support of a legitimate authority.
Counterinsurgency Operations: Those military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency.
Activities Specified by the President or SECDEF