Chris Floyd
"Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)"
Fri Jun 20 02:44:09 2003

The Pentagon Plan to Provoke Terrorist Attacks


This age: layers of lime harden in the sick son's blood... There's nowhere to run from the tyrant-epoch... Who else will you kill? Who else glorify? What other lies will you invent?

Osip Mandelshtam,
"1 January 1924"

This column stands foursquare with the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, when he warns that there will be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large. We know, as does the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, that this statement is an incontrovertible fact, a matter of scientific certainty. And how can we and the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, be so sure that there will be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large?

Because these attacks will be instigated at the order of the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense.

This astonishing admission was buried deep in a story which was itself submerged by mounds of gray newsprint and glossy underwear ads in last Sunday's Los Angeles Times. There--in an article by military analyst William Arkin, detailing the vast expansion of the secret armies being massed by the former Nixon bureaucrat now lording it over the Pentagon--came the revelation of Rumsfeld's plan to create "a super-Intelligence Support Activity" that will "bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception."

According to a classified document prepared for Rumsfeld by his Defense Science Board, the new organization--the "Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)"--will carry out secret missions designed to "stimulate reactions" among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to "counterattack" by U.S. forces.

In other words--and let's say this plainly, clearly and soberly, so that no one can mistake the intention of Rumsfeld's plan--the United States government is planning to use "cover and deception" and secret military operations to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people. Let's say it again: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and the other members of the unelected regime in Washington plan to deliberately foment the murder of innocent people--your family, your friends, your lovers, you--in order to further their geopolitical ambitions.

For P2OG is not designed solely to flush out terrorists and bring them to justice--a laudable goal in itself, although the Rumsfeld way of combating terrorism by causing it is pure moral lunacy. (Or should we use the Regime's own preferred terminology and just call it "evil"?) No, it seems the Pee-Twos have bigger fish to fry. Once they have sparked terrorists into action--by killing their family members? luring them with loot? fueling them with drugs? plying them with jihad propaganda? messing with their mamas? or with agents provocateurs, perhaps, who infiltrate groups then plan and direct the attacks themselves?--they can then take measures against the "states/sub-state actors accountable" for "harboring" the Rumsfeld-roused gangs. What kind of measures exactly? Well, the classified Pentagon program puts it this way: "Their sovereignty will be at risk."

The Pee-Twos will thus come in handy whenever the Regime hankers to add a little oil-laden real estate or a new military base to the Empire's burgeoning portfolio. Just find a nest of violent malcontents, stir 'em with a stick, and presto: instant "justification" for whatever level of intervention/conquest/rapine you might desire. And what if the territory you fancy doesn't actually harbor any convenient marauders to use for fun and profit? Well, surely a God-like "super-Intelligence Support Activity" is capable of creation ex nihilo, yes?

The Rumsfeld-Bush plan to employ murder and terrorism for political, financial and ideological gain does have historical roots (besides al Qaeda, the Stern Gang, the SA, the SS, the KGB, the IRA, the UDF, Eta, Hamas, Shining Path and countless other upholders of Bushian morality, decency and freedom). We refer of course to Operations Northwoods, oft mentioned in these pages: the plan that America's top military brass presented to President John Kennedy in 1963, calling for a phony terrorist campaign--complete with bombings, hijackings, plane crashes and dead Americans--to provide "justification" for an invasion of Cuba, the Mafia/Corporate fiefdom which had recently been lost to Castro.

Kennedy rejected the plan, and was killed a few months later. Now Rumsfeld has resurrected Northwoods, but on a far grander scale, with resources at his disposal undreamed of by those brass of yore, with no counterbalancing global rival to restrain him--and with an ignorant, corrupt president who has shown himself all too eager to embrace any means whatsoever that will augment the wealth and power of his own narrow, undemocratic, elitist clique.

There is prestuplyeniye here, transgression, a stepping-over--deliberately, with open eyes, with forethought, planning, and conscious will--of lines that should never be crossed. Acting in deadly symbiosis with rage-maddened killers, God-crazed ranters and those supreme "sub-state actors," the mafias, Bush and his cohorts are plunging the world into an abyss, an endless night of black ops, retribution, blowback, deceit, of murder and terror--wholesale, retail, state-sponsored, privatized; of fear and degradation, servility, chaos, and the perversion of all that's best in us, of all that we've won from the bestiality of our primal nature, all that we've raised above the mindless ravening urges and impulses still boiling in the mud of our monkey brains.

It's not a fight for freedom; it's a retreat into darkness.

And the day will be a long time coming.

Chris Floyd is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. He can be reached at:
'P2OG' allows Pentagon to fight dirty
By David Isenberg
Asia Times, November 5 2002

"Run away from the light": Such might be the motto of a new, covert policy
that the Bush administration is considering implementing. According to
recent news reports, it would be the largest expansion into the world of
black ops and covert action since the end of the Vietnam War in the 1970s.

And that's saying quite a lot, considering that since Vietnam the Pentagon
has not exactly been dormant in this area.

As well-known military analyst William Arkin pointed out in an October 27
column in the Los Angeles Times, the development of the Pentagon's covert
counter-terror capability has its roots in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The
army created a highly compartmentalized organization that could collect
clandestine intelligence independent of the rest of the US intelligence
community, and follow through with covert military action. Today, it
operates under the code name Grey Fox. In Afghanistan it operated alongside
the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) paramilitary Special Activities
Division and the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command.

Then there are numerous recent initiatives, such as net assessment
capabilities at combatant commands, a new campaign support group at Fort
Bragg, a counter-terrorism Technology Support Office, to name just a few.

Yet the Pentagon wants more. Its Defense Science Board (DSB) conducted a
2002 "Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of
Countering Terrorism". Excerpts from that study, dated August 16, were
leaked and obtained by the Federation of American Scientists, which posted
them on their website. The report was produced by a 10-member panel of
military experts that included Vice Admiral William O Studeman, former
director of the National Security Agency.

According to the leak, the United States is engaged in a global war on
terrorism that is "a real war" in case anyone doubts it. This means, among
other things, a "committed, resourceful and globally dispersed adversary
with strategic reach" against whom the US will wage "a long, at times
violent, and borderless war" which "requires new strategies, postures and

That explains why the United States has, so to speak, decided to fight fire
with fire. Although the study is filled with lots of the usual buzzwords and
phrases that Pentagon planners love, such as "robust connectivity, agile
ground forces, adaptive joint command and control and discriminant use of
force", one thing that does stand out is its call for
"preemption/proaction/interdiction/disruption/quick-response capabilities".

This is consistent with the administration's new National Security Strategy,
which called for preemption; indeed, since the DSB study preceded the
release of the strategy, it is possible that the strategy was written to
incorporate some of its aspects.

The study urges the Pentagon to "take the terrorist threat as seriously as
it takes the likelihood and consequences of major theater war", urging
officials to launch secret missions and intelligence operations to penetrate
and disrupt terrorist cells abroad. Some of those operations should be aimed
at signaling to countries that harbor terrorists that "their sovereignty
will be at risk".

If adopted, some of the proposals appear to push the military into territory
that traditionally has been the domain of the CIA, raising questions about
whether such missions would be subject to the same legal restraints imposed
on CIA activities.

But William Schneider Jr, chairman of the DSB, rejected such concerns,
saying that the panel set out to identify ways that special operations units
could do more to assist the war on terrorism, not encroach on other
agencies' authority.

"The CIA executes the plans but they use Department of Defense assets,"
Schneider said. He emphasized that the board was not recommending any
changes to long-standing US policies banning assassinations, or requiring
presidents to approve in advance US covert operations. Nor, he said, was the
panel advocating changes that would erode congressional oversight.

Yet lawmakers have expressed concern with Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld's push to expand the Pentagon's covert capabilities, mainly because
the Pentagon is not subject to rules that require the CIA to report its
covert activities to Congress.

The DSB summary document suggests that many changes are already under way.
It cites the expansion of existing intelligence analysis centers and the
creation of new management teams to direct covert operations at such
installations as Fort Bragg, where US special forces such as Delta Force are

It recommends the creation of a super-Intelligence Support Activity, an
organization it dubs the Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG), to
bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare,
intelligence and cover and deception. For example, the Pentagon and CIA
would work together to increase human intelligence (HUMINT)
forward/operational presence and to deploy new clandestine technical

To bolster government HUMINT capabilities, the task force advances the idea
of an intelligence "surge/unsurge" capability - a "robust, global cadre of
retirees, reservists and others who are trained and qualified to serve on
short notice, including expatriates". This group could be pressed into
service during times of crisis.

P2OG would launch secret operations aimed at "stimulating reactions" among
terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction, meaning it
would prod terrorist cells into action, thus exposing them to
"quick-response" attacks by US forces. The means by which it would do this
is the far greater use of special operations forces.

Responsibility and accountability for the P2OG would be vested in a "Special
Operations Executive" in the National Security Council (NSC). The NSC would
plan operations but not oversee their execution in order to avoid
comparisons to past abuses, such as the Iran-Contra operations run out of
the NSC by Oliver North during the Reagan administration. Under the board's
proposal, NSC plans would be executed by the Pentagon or the CIA.

Costs would include developing new means to enable "deep penetration of
adversaries" ($1.7 billion annually); exercises and gaming ($100 million
annually); development of technical capabilities and the hiring of 500 new
staff ($800 million annually); establishment of centers of excellence to
handle increased workload ($500 million annually); and expansion of the
Joint Forces net assessment activity ($100 million annually). The total cost
is envisaged as $3.3 billion.

The DSB study also provides tantalizing glimpses of new capabilities already
in the works, referring to new high-tech sensors in development that would
enable the United States more closely to track the movements of vehicles or
even individuals by satellite. Some of these capabilities are already
advanced, such as high-altitude airships, thermobaric weapons and improved
urban assault capabilities. Other new projects are being executed by the
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

If the DSB proposal is adopted, it would only reinforce recent Pentagon
activity. The Washington Post reported last month that the Pentagon was
preparing to consolidate control of most of the global war on terrorism
under the US Special Operations Command, signaling an intensified but more
covert approach to the next phase in the battle against al-Qaeda and other
international terrorist groups.

Special Operations units have been active in Pakistan for months and are
training military forces in Yemen and Georgia. These missions could provide
a cover for conducting any covert raids and other actions against suspected
al-Qaeda members in the two countries.

The United States has also placed more than 500 Special Operations troops in
the African nation of Djibouti, where they are near potential hot spots such
as Yemen and Somalia. The USS Belleau Wood, an amphibious assault ship that
carries attack helicopters and a handful of Harrier jump jets, has been
stationed off the Horn of Africa for about six weeks, ready to carry those
troops and some specialized helicopters.

And, in early October, the Washington Times reported that US commandos
hunting Taliban and al-Qaeda guerrillas in Afghanistan gained permission to
employ "source operations" - clandestine tactics typically confined to the

"Source operations" generally refers to recruiting and maintaining spies
within the enemy's camp. In Afghanistan, it means finding Afghans and Arabs,
possibly within the Taliban and al-Qaeda network, who would supply
intelligence to US special-operations forces.

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