US President’s first year sets record for deployment of elite forces overseas. The countries include “independent” Canada (see map below) | NICK TURSE in TomDispatch*
“However, with special ops deployments rising above Bush and Obama administration levels to record-setting heights and the Trump administration embracing the use of commandos in quasi-wars in places like Somalia and Yemen, there appears to be little interest in the White House or on Capitol Hill in reining in the geographic scope and sweep of America’s most secretive troops.” | AFP / Getty Images
“We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world, militarily, and what we’re doing,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in October. That was in the wake of the combat deaths of four members of the Special Operations forces in the West African nation of Niger. Graham and other senators expressed shock about the deployment, but the global sweep of America’s most elite forces is, at best, an open secret. Continue reading
America’s war-fighting footprint in Africa: Secret U.S. military documents reveal a constellation of American military bases across that continent | NICK TURSE*
General Thomas Waldhauser sounded a little uneasy. “I would just say, they are on the ground. They are trying to influence the action,” commented the chief of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) at a Pentagon press briefing in March, when asked about Russian military personnel operating in North Africa. “We watch what they do with great concern.” Continue reading
Does eleven plus one equal sixty? AFRICOM’s new math, the U.S. base bonanza, and “scarier” times ahead in Africa | NICK TURSE
U.S. military outposts, port facilities, and other areas of access in Africa, 2002-2015 (Nick Turse/TomDispatch, 2015)
For years, as U.S. military personnel moved into Africa in ever-increasing numbers, AFRICOM has effectively downplayed, disguised, or covered-up almost every aspect of its operations, from the locations of its troop deployments to those of its expanding string of outposts. NICK TURSE*
Six people lay lifeless in the filthy brown water.
It was 5:09 a.m. when their Toyota Land Cruiser plunged off a bridge in the West African country of Mali. For about two seconds, the SUV sailed through the air, pirouetting 180 degrees as it plunged 70 feet, crashing into the Niger River.
Three of the dead were American commandos. The driver, a captain nicknamed “Whiskey Dan,” was the leader of a shadowy team of operatives never profiled in the media and rarely mentioned even in government publications. Continue reading
2044 or Bust –The U.S. military’s battlefield of tomorrow. In 2014, the U.S. carried out 674 military activities across Africa, nearly two missions per day, an almost 300 per cent jump in the number of annual operations, exercises, and military-to-military training activities since U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) was established in 2008. The number of security cooperation activities skyrocketed from 481 in 2013 to 595 last year. NICK TURSE,* TomDispatch.com Continue reading
US Special Black Ops missions already in 105 countries in 2015 – over 60 per cent of the nations on the planet. NICK TURSE*, TomDispatch
US Special Operations Forces around the world, 2012-2013.
Key to the Map of US Special Operations Forces around the world, 2012-2013
Red markers: US Special Operations Forces deployment in 2013.
Blue markers: US Special Operations Forces working with/training/advising/conducting operations with indigenous troops in the U.S. or a third country during 2013.
Purple markers: US Special Operations Forces deployment in 2012.
Yellow markers: US Special Operations Forces working with/training/advising/conducting operations with indigenous troops in the US or a third country during 2012.
Map courtesy of TomDispatch and Google
(Click to enlarge)
In the dead of night, they swept in aboard V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. Landing in a remote region of one of the most volatile countries on the planet, they raided a village and soon found themselves in a life-or-death firefight. It was the second time in two weeks that elite U.S. Navy SEALs had attempted to rescue American photojournalist Luke Somers. And it was the second time they failed. Continue reading