New documents expose secret US wars – The Intercept — Analysis

Washington has waged at least 23 proxy warfare around the globe under the pretense of counterterrorism

The US has reportedly used a secretive authority called ‘127e’ to launch at least two dozen proxy wars since 2017, according to an article published on Friday by The Intercept. According to the outlet, they claim to have gained access to never-before-seen documents from top officials and had direct knowledge about these programs.

The Intercept received the documents through the Freedom of Information Act, claiming these papers are the first ever official confirmation that at least 14 so-called ‘127e programs’ were active in the greater Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions as recently as 2020. The Pentagon launched 23 distinct 127e programs around the world between 2017-2020, costing US taxpayers $310 millions.

The Intercept informs us that the 127e authority was granted to the Defense Department in Congress during the last 20 years. It authorizes US commandos to conduct “counterterrorism operations” in cooperation with foreign and irregular partner forces around the world with minimal outside oversight. 

This program allows the US arm, train and provide intelligence for foreign forces. However, unlike traditional foreign assistance programs, which focus on building up local capacity in partner countries, 127e “surrogate forces” are expected to follow US orders and conduct Washington-directed missions against US enemies to achieve US goals, essentially serving as the Pentagon’s proxy armies.

The outlet claims that almost all information regarding these operations has never been shared with members of Congress and State Department officials. It is not clear where the operations take place, how frequent they occur, the targets or the identities of foreign forces with which the US collaborates to execute them.

Criticisms of these programs claim that they may lead to unexpected military escalation, and involve the US in more than 12 conflicts around the globe. Since 127e prohibits foreign officials from having oversight or input into the program,

‘I’m wondering when we voted to go to war?’ – US Congressman

According to The Outlet, even though the most recent batch of documents provides more information about the 127e program than the previous, the new batch is still largely unknown by both members and the public. Congress almost never gets reports on this program.

A government official familiar with the program, who requested anonymity to discuss it, told the Intercept that most congressional staffers don’t even have the clearance to view 127e reports, and those who do rarely ask for them.

“It was designed to prevent oversight,”He elaborated.

Stephen Semler was a co-founder and former head of the US Foreign Policy Think Tank. The Intercept learned that The Pentagon likes to manage its operations without much oversight or input from Congress, which it has been doing for years. “The Special Operations community likes autonomy a lot,”He explained the matter to the outlet and added that “the problem is this stuff is so normalized.”

“There should be more attention paid to these train-and-equip authorities, whether it’s special forces or [Department of Defense] regular, because it’s really kind of a PR-friendly way to sell endless war,”Semler was successful.

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