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4. Rumsfeld’s Plan to Provoke Terrorists

Source: CounterPunch (http://www.counterpunch.org/floyd101.html)
November 1, 2002
Title: “Into the Dark”
Author: Chris Floyd
Evaluator: Catherine Nelson Ph.D., Meri Storino Ph.D.
Student Researcher: Jennifer Scanlan

Corporate Media Coverage:
Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2002, “The Secret War”, by William Arkin

According to a classified document, “Special Operations and Joint Forces in Countering Terrorism” prepared for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld by his Defense Science Board, a new organization has been created to thwart potential terrorist attacks on the United States. This counter-terror operations group- the “Proactive Preemptive Operations Group” (P2OG) will require 100 people and at least $100 million a year. The team of covert counter-intelligence agents will be responsible for secret missions designed to target terrorist leaders. The secret missions are designed to “stimulate reactions” among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to “counterattack” by U.S. forces.

This means that the United States government is planning to use secret military operations in order to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people. In a strange twist of logic, it seems the plan is to somehow combat terrorism by causing it. According to the report, other strategies include stealing money from terrorist cells or tricking them with fake communications. The Defense Department already maintains a secretive counter-terror operations group known as Delta Force that is called in when a crisis happens.

Exactly what type of actions would be required to “stimulate reactions” by terrorist groups has yet to be revealed. When asked questions regarding what measures would be taken, Pentagon sources responded with, “Their sovereignty will be at risk.”

The current P2OG program is not entirely new to the United States. One similar program was Operation Northwoods. In 1963, America’s top military brass presented a plan to President John Kennedy that called for a fake terrorist campaign – complete with bombings, hijackings, plane crashes and dead Americans – to provide “justification” for an invasion of Cuba, a 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 his predecessors, and no counterbalancing global rival to restrain him.

Former president Nixon wanted such a group, but congress denied it; President Reagan tried to use the National Security Council instead, but ran into trouble with the Iran-Contra affair. Now, President Bush may finally realize the dream.

UPDATE BY CHRIS FLOYD: Appropriately enough for a story about the deepest possible covert operation – penetrating terrorist cells and provoking them into action – the saga of the Pentagon’s “Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group” (P2OG) went straight back into the dark after strutting its brief hour upon the stage. There has been no new information about the group since it was first mentioned nationally in the Los Angeles Times as part of a larger story on Pentagon plans for new “secret armies.” Was it funded? Is it operational? Has it “flushed out” any terrorists lately by goading them into “action”? Are any of the post-Iraq War spate of terrorist atrocities linked to P2OG activities? We don’t know. And with Donald Rumsfeld’s openly avowed penchant for “strategic misinformation,” how will we ever know? Certainly the mainstream press has done nothing to enlighten us. Although the CounterPunch article (which appeared simultaneously in The Moscow Times) provoked a lively response in the “alternative” media (print, web and radio), there has not been a single subsequent mention of the group in the U.S. national press. In the UK, John Pilger has raised warning flags about P2OG in The New Statesman and the Daily Mirror, while The Ecologist also ran a version of the CounterPunch article. The rest is silence. At first glance, this decided lack of interest might seem a curious reaction, given the American media’s insatiable-and profitable-obsession with terrorism. But the media’s equally intense, and equally profitable, abhorrence of moral ambiguity-especially when it involves possible American complicity in mayhem and murder-makes the silence easier to understand.

For more information see:

“The Secret War,” by William Arkin, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 27, 2002, at http://www.commondreams.org/views02/1028-11.htm.
“P2OG Allows Pentagon to Fight Dirty,” David Isenberg, Asia Times, Nov. 5, 2002, at http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DK05Ak02.html.
At excerpt from the partially classified Defense Science Board briefing that proposed the creation of P2OG at http://www.serendipity.li/more/dsbbrief.ppt.
“Friendly Fire: Operation Northwoods,”
ABCNews.com, May 1, 2001, at http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/jointchiefs_010501.html.
John Pilger, The New Statesman, Dec. 12, 2002, http://pilger.carlton.com/print/124759.

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