Joe Baker: Beware of Pentagon's SSB forces

Military intelligence analyst William Arkin recently disclosed something secret, scary and Orwellian. It is a directive called “JCS Conplan 0300-97.”

This directive reportedly authorizes the Pentagon to use ultra-secret “anti-terrorist” military units in this country for what are termed “extra-legal missions.”

Some characterize “extra-legal missions” as nice, bland terminology for using U.S. troops to kill or arrest U.S. citizens who may disagree with the neo-con government’s policies and programs.

That kind of action has been illegal since the Civil War.

This is revealed as Washington is in paranoid throws of the War on Terror hysteria. Vice President Dick Cheney is making hostile rumbles against Iran, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has just emerged the victor in a huge bureaucratic battle with the CIA.

Rumsfeld has been rewarded and given more power, despite the scandals—such as Abu Ghraib—that have plagued his agency. He has now created a new special operations group within the Pentagon, called the Strategic Support Branch. The CIA has been relegated to third class status.

Veteran intelligence officers who were critical of Bush and Cheney’s claims about Iraq and terrorism have been swept out by the new director of that agency, Porter Goss. Many CIA veterans view him as a “yes man” for Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush, who will not give analysis contrary to the neo-con agenda.

Rumsfeld has taken over the spy business with his new lavishly funded SSB that will, in effect, be the Pentagon’s CIA. It comes equipped with commando units, spies, mercenaries, intelligence gathering and analysis, and a direct line to the White House.

This new spy operation will be largely exempt from Congressional oversight or media scrutiny. Its special ops crews will roam the globe, carrying out “deep black” missions for which there will be no records and no questions.

These units will be headed by Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who calls the U.S. Army “the house of God” and all Islamic fighters “agents of Satan.” He told Muslims: “My God is bigger than your god, which is an idol.”

These special forces will be able to run operations that will be unknown to the CIA.

Bush has decided to release on the world special forces and all sorts of irregular units, including mercenaries and uniformed bounty hunters. Many fear these units are sure to generate new scandals and further sully the once good name of America.

The U.S. employment and accompanying pitfalls of South African mercenaries in Iraq was addressed in a recent Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio.

Eric Margolis, columnist for the Toronto Sun, wrote: “The second Bush administration has been taking dangerous steps that continue to curtail personal rights, further emasculate the supine, cowardly U.S. Congress, and empower ideological or religious extremists and shadowy agencies with unrestrained powers that endanger Americans at home, and all abroad suspected of troubling the Pax Americana” (

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