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Pentagon Lobbying Congress To Reactivate Special Ops Programs In Ukraine

The Department of Defense (DOD) wants to restart special operations programs in Ukraine aimed at countering disinformation and spying on the Russian military, The Washington Post reported, citing 15 current and former officials mostly speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Pentagon suspended the two highly classified programs, which involve allowing U.S. Special Operations personnel to “employ” Ukrainian operatives, as Russia appeared poised to invade in late 2021 and early 2022, the Post reported. While the so-called “surrogate” programs, often used in counterterrorism missions, typically require American personnel to advise partner forces from within the host country, Special Operations forces have at times directed operations from a distance.

“What started as a reconnaissance mission can quickly turn into combat when the surrogates start getting shot at,” one official familiar with the Pentagon’s lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill told the Post. “I think that’s a real possibility in Ukraine, and I’m not sure how the department is going to change people in Congress’s minds about that.”

The Pentagon characterizes the programs as forms of “irregular warfare,” or a way to counter the militarism and aggression of an adversary while avoiding open conflict, according to the Post.

One program involved “people taking apart Russian propaganda” and posting blog content, while the other employed Ukrainian troops to conduct surveillance on Russian military assets, one official told the Post.

“When you suspend these things because the scale of the conflict changes, you lose access,” Retired Gen. Mark Schwartz, who commanded U.S. Special Operations forces in Europe when the program began in 2018,  told the Post. “It means you lose information and intelligence about what’s actually going on in the conflict.”

However, Section 1202 of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which created the programs, says that they cannot run during “traditional armed conflict.”

DOD declined to comment to the Post, citing the programs’ classification status.

The Biden administration may not allow U.S. special operators to reenter Ukraine if the war is still going on, given a precedent of expressing unwillingness to do anything that could appear to show the U.S. as an aggressor. The only known military personnel to have entered Ukraine exist under a non-combatant status and returned to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv by November.

The administration has also upped the intensity of weapons deliveries to Ukraine, including in recent assistance packages M1 Abrams tanks and artillery that have a longer range than prior donations.

Critics in Congress say reactivating the programs risks implicating the U.S. active participant in military operations against Russia, the Post reported. The Pentagon maintains that the program does not represent an escalation because the individuals involved — both American and Ukrainian — would be restricted to nonviolent activities.

DOD plans to include a funding proposal in the yearly budget request for 2024, although it remains unclear how much risk Congress will be willing to take in authorizing the funding, the Post reported. In any case, Congress will not have to make a final decision until the fall of 2023 at the earliest, and the programs would not be reactivated until sometime in 2024.

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  1. Once one American soldier is killed in Ukraine, we will be in a hot war with Russia. Then there’s the other story that has been ignored this week Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh definitively reported on “Substack” that the U.S. blew up the Nord Stream pipeline. With the cooperation of Norway, Navy Seals planted the explosives during a supposed Navy NATO exercise called “Baltops 22” in June of 2022. That was three months before they detonated the explosives and the pipeline was destroyed in an extraordinary act of sabotage and an act of war against Russia. Of course you knew that because Biden and his Undersecretary of State both said that we would “end the Nord Stream pipeline” if Russia invaded Ukraine. You also knew that because after they blew up the pipeline Biden and the State Dept. and the Defense Dept. then said that the Russians blew up their own pipeline in one of the most brazen and ridiculous lies ever perpetuated.

    As a refresher, here’s a couple of other truths.
    1. The U.S. started pushing Ukraine to join NATO as early as 2008. This was always a “red line” for Putin as Ukraine was actually part of Russia until 1991 when the USSR collapsed and, in fact, 30% of Ukrainians speak Russian. U.S. officials met with Putin multiple times in late 2021 and early 2022 to discuss Ukraine and Putin promised to not invade Ukraine if the U.S. promised that Ukraine wouldn’t join NATO. The U.S. refused even though other NATO states would likely never permit Ukraine to join NATO and Ukraine was never in our national security interest.
    2. There could have been a negotiated peace 10 months ago in April of 2022 when NATO member Turkey volunteered to host peace talks but Biden refused as he and the Neocons in Congress morphed the purpose of the war from “defense” of Ukraine to “regime change” in Russia.
    3. Before the war and before Biden blew up the Nord Stream pipeline, he actually approved of it when Trump was against it and warned that Europe was too dependent on Russian gas and oil. In fact, after decades of Europe’s own “Green New Deal” policies, they became totally dependent on Russia for 40 to 50% of their energy needs. So Biden’s blowing up of the Nord Stream pipeline to hurt Putin is actually economically very damaging to Europe and especially Germany and will likely cause a fracture in NATO where inflation is worse in Europe than here and, in some places, energy costs have risen 1000%

    So the bottom line is, and not to excuse Putin’s invasion, but we are at least partly responsible for the war in Ukraine. And we are certainly responsible for its escalation as Ukraine would have long ago been defeated if not for our 115 billion dollars worth of armaments and increasingly deadly weapons. Even so, it’s clear that Ukraine can’t defeat Russia (even though our government lies and says they are winning) and so we are in for another never ending regime change war that we didn’t want, didn’t vote on and can’t win. A war that is causing a new refugee crisis in Europe, that is killing hundreds of thousands, is devastating our economy and especially Europe’s and, oh yeah, may cause WWII.

    Wake up America. It’s time to end this useless and dangerous “regime change” war. How did that work out in Iraq?, in Afghanistan?. And remember that the same Bureaucratic clowns and Military geniuses that are running this operation are the same ones responsible for our 20 year war and disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. Do you think that it’s going to end well this time?

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