Tomgram: Nick Turse, A Shadow War in 150 Countries

The Golden Age of Black Ops: Special Ops Missions Already in 105 Countries in 2015

Read Tom Engelhardt’s introduction here.

In the dead of night, they swept in aboard V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.  Landing in a remote region of one of the most volatile countries on the planet, they raided a village and soon found themselves in a life-or-death firefight.  It was the second time in two weeks that elite U.S. Navy SEALs had attempted to rescue American photojournalist Luke Somers.  And it was the second time they failed.

On December 6, 2014, approximately 36 of America’s top commandos, heavily armed, operating with intelligence from satellites, drones, and high-tech eavesdropping, outfitted with night vision goggles, and backed up by elite Yemeni troops, went toe-to-toe with about six militants from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.  When it was over, Somers was dead, along with Pierre Korkie, a South African teacher due to be set free the next day.  Eight civilians were also killed by the commandos, according to local reports.  Most of the militants escaped.


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That blood-soaked episode was, depending on your vantage point, an ignominious end to a year that saw U.S. Special Operations forces deployed at near record levels, or an inauspicious beginning to a new year already on track to reach similar heights, if not exceed them.

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2 comments

  1. Nick, you have spent a lot of time covering how US elite special forces operate. Now with all that experience and expertise, why not try to do the same detailed coverage of how Putin’s speznoz with sophisticated weapons operate in the ‘shadow war’ in east Ukraine? Why do you only criticize the US for ‘shadow wars’? I look forward to your reply to me. -Colin

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    1. to contact Nick Turse you need to go to TomDispatch.com where you should find his contact info.
      Rise Up Times Editor

      Like

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