Control and seizure under the guise of “assistance” is Colonization 101, especially when it comes to American history in connection to the motherland.
Politico reports that for the last five years (at least), the Pentagon has authorized special operations teams within the Green Berets, Navy SEALs and other commando groups to engage in combat raids that are essentially small scale wars across the African continent.
The mysterious death of Sergeant La David Johnson and his comrades in Niger is believed to have been caused by one of these combat raids.
There are secret programs in place allowing combat raids to occur in various other African nations such as Cameroon, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Somalia, Tunisia and more. Because the Pentagon won’t publicly confirm the ongoing operations, and because the information about them remains classified we don’t know much about the details of these operations.
However, thanks to both anonymous and on-the-record sources who spoke to Politico, we do know something.
Here’s what you need to know about the programs:
- The special ops soldiers are targeting suspected terrorists.
The operation functions under a legal authority called Section 127e, which “funds classified programs under which African governments essentially loan out units of their militaries for American commando teams to use as surrogates to hunt militants identified as potential threats to American citizens or embassies.”
The teams working under Section 127e specifically target militants working under the Al Qaeda, the Islamic State or one of their affiliate groups.
- The Pentagon may be “lying by omission” about the United States’ direct involvement with African troops.
After the October 2017 ambush of Tongo Tongo village in Niger, which left four special operations officers dead, Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, was asked at a news conference whether U.S. troops participated in “direct action” with African troops. McKenzie denied it, stating, “No, we’re not involved in direct action missions with partner forces.”
However, former White House official and former special operations officer General Donald Bolduc is calling that statement a lie.
“We are advising those forces on direct action missions, and to say otherwise is lying by omission,” confirmed Bolduc.
- The line between U.S. “assistance” and African operations is blurry.
Alice Friend, a former Obama administration Pentagon official, said commanders try to keep U.S. troops out of combat, but during certain missions that becomes impossible.
“You have these gray lines between what are African operations with U.S. assistance, and what are U.S. operations with African assistance, and what risk profile we’re comfortable with,” noted Friend, who headed the counterterrorism policy in northwest Africa. “At what point is it actually a U.S. operation? It’s ambiguous.”
- The programs are considered permanent with an annual budget of $100 million.
The programs began in Afghanistan on a temporary basis, but because of positive testimonies to Congress from generals, lawmakers have made the once-temporary programs permanent. These generals told Congress the programs have been wildly successful in curbing terror. Previously, Congress had to reapprove the programs on an annual basis.
The programs in Africa aren’t as expensive as those in, say, Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Most of these individual programs are $7 [million] to $10 million a year or less. They’re not very expensive,” noted General Joseph Votel, who previously led the Special Operations Command programs and now commands U.S. forces in the Middle East.
There are 21 programs run by special operations worldwide.
- The number of African countries in the programs fluctuates, with some governments supporting it, and others not.
“The partners who host these programs are concerned about any optics that would make their citizens think the U.S. is using them as puppets in their own countries,” said Bolduc. Mauritania is an example of a country that decided to end the program.
Niger and Somalia are willing hosts.
Overall, Bolduc believes the programs ultimately serve as a gateway to host countries being able to handle the missions on their own.
“These programs are not meant to be indefinite, and we have to do them in such a way that the capability can eventually be handed over to our partners once we’ve accomplished the original goal,” said Bolduc.