Proxy Force Militants Trained by US Special Ops Troops Not Vetted for War Crimes
“US troops have also trained thousands of Ukrainian troops to fight Russia, despite numerous documented cases of atrocities against civilians and Russian prisoners of war…”
Foreign proxy forces trained by US troops have not been vetted for past human rights violations, a new report has revealed.
Pentagon documents released to a US newspaper through a freedom of information request detail how US special operations forces (SOF) trained insurgents recruited in countries such as Niger and Somalia to act as armed surrogates in Washington’s dirty wars.
The documents set out guidelines for implementing a directive written into the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act — the US military budget set by Congress — “to provide support to foreign forces irregular forces groups, or individuals engaged in supporting or facilitating ongoing and authorized irregular warfare (IW) operations by US SOF.”
Section 127e of the bill — dubbed “Echo 127” by the Department of Defense (DoD) — authorises spending of up to $100 million to train and arm militants for what it calls “counterterrorism” operations.
Section 1202 provides another $15 million for proxy guerrilla forces for black operations against countries with which the US is not openly at war.An un-named senior Pentagon official told the newspaper that recruits for those programs were screened to weed out any who might attack or spy on US forces, claiming that was enough to weed out “bad actors.”
DoD spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Cesar Santiago-Santini insisted that it had found “no verifiable gross violations of human rights” by trainees in either scheme and was “confident that our vetting system for Section 127e and 1202 programs would reveal any human rights concerns with potential recipients.
“US troops have also trained thousands of Ukrainian troops to fight Russia, despite numerous documented cases of atrocities against civilians and Russian prisoners of war since the launch of Moscow’s de-Nazification operation in the country in February 2022. A program to train Ukrainian insurgents was wound up just before the conflict, although leaks indicate that former British army officer had taken over that effort.
The Russian Ministry of Defence states to have caused thousands of casualties among foreign mercenaries.
The revelation prompted criticism from within President Joe Biden’s own Democratic party.
“We need to make sure that we are not training abusive units to become even more lethal and fuelling the conflict and violence that we’re aiming to solve,” said California Democrat Congresswoman Sara Jacobs. “And that starts with universal human rights vetting.”
Jacobs and Fellow Democrat Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland sponsored an amendment to a defense bill last year to require stricter screening of recruits to the Pentagon’s militant training programme. It passed a vote of the House of Representatives but was defeated in the Senate, where Democrats hold a majority.
But the Pentagon remains tight -lipped on where it is spending its funds on training and arming “partner” forces.The US Government Accountability Office completed a report entitled ‘Special Operations: Overarching Guidance Needed to Oversee and Assess Use of Surrogate Forces to Combat Terrorism’ in February this year, but the text has yet to be made public.
Human trafficking becomes normalized in the United States