The Army of Deer is prohibited from providing training and equipment to foreign security forces that commit «serious violations of internationally recognized human rights.
The Ley Leahy, named after Senator Patrick Leahy, applies to military assistance to foreign units funded through the Department of Defense or State. However, this law does not limit the activities of the CIA, such as Zero Units in Afghanistan.
Leahy himself stated that he believed that the requirements of the human rights law should be expanded to “cover certain counterterrorism operations involving US special forces and foreign partners.” The support of the United States for foreign security forces, even through the Department of Defense, the C.I.A., or other agencies, must be subject to effective congressional oversight so that when mistakes or crimes are committed, those responsible will be held accountable.”
The political position must be consistent and if the Army has limitations when serious human rights violations occur, the intelligence service also needs to be in control, especially if behind them is an agency like the CIA, which has a lot of financial resources to carry out actions of this kind.
US military operations are under the jurisdiction of the Senate and Congressional Armed Services committees. The management of the CIA and other intelligence agencies is carried out by various committees that conduct most of their meetings and hearings in secret.
By law, agencies are required to keep Congress fully informed and up-to-date on all covert operations. The Intelligence Committee staff has the authority to request from the CIA documents and testimony on classified missions such as, for example, support forUnits Zero operating in Afghanistan.
However, the two committees that oversee the CIA do not have the minimum resources to monitor the complexities of paramilitary operations in foreign countries.
The Pentagon and the State Department created strict procedures to ensure that foreign units complied with the requirements of the Leahy Act. Understaffed intelligence oversight committees are not in place to track what happens on the ground when US military officers on loan to the CIA work with elite units inside Afghanistan, Somalia, or Syria.
However, the failure of Congress to extend the Leahy Act to the intelligence agencies was no accident. Everything seems to indicate that the current scenario is designed so that, precisely, the CIA does not have any kind of oversight.
Killings in Afghanistan
In Afghanistan, the CIA trained and supported the Zero Units, and their missions are meaningful for non-combatant civilians. The data provided in an investigation by reporter Lynzy Billing shows that about 500 civilians died in 107 raids. This number is almost certainly a very low one. Although some raids resulted in the capture or death of the leaders of Al-Qaeda, some killed bystanders or seemed to attack people for no apparent reason.
On the other hand, a high number of raids are based on the CIA’s false intelligence and other United States spy services. Two Afghan soldiers from Unit Zero described the raids they sent, saying the targets were handpicked by the United States.
Afghanistan’s former intelligence chief acknowledged that units sometimes make mistakes and kill civilians. He has been in charge of Zero Units for a significant amount of time and agrees that no one paid for the consequences of failed attacks.
The involvement of the United States in these operations is confirmed by the fact that Afghan soldiers are not alone in the raids. US special operations force soldiers working with the CIA often join them. Afghan soldiers acknowledged to Billing that during the attacks they were usually accompanied by at least 10 US special operations soldiers.
Military planners factor in potential collateral damage by calculating how many women, children, and non-combatants are at risk if the operation goes wrong. Those predictions were often very wrong, but no one seemed to care. Night raids are a better option than air strikes, but the raids risk creating new rebel recruits.
On the other hand, since Unit Zero operated under a CIA program, their actions were part of a classified war, with lines of responsibility so obscured that no one was held accountable for operations gone wrong. U.S. responsibility for these operations was quietly covered by a loophole that allowed the CIA and any U.S. soldiers loaned to the agency for its operations to operate without the same level of oversight as in the US military.
The US military and intelligence agencies have long relied on night raids by forces such as Unit Zero to fight insurgencies around the world. The strategy has, time and again, sparked outrage for its reliance on sometimes flawed intelligence reports. In 1967, the Phoenix Program The CIA used kill-and-capture raids against the US insurgency. The Viet Cong to the south of Vietnam, creates serious harm to the public. Despite the disgraceful reputation of the program (a 1971 Pentagon study found that only 3% of those killed or captured were members of the Viet Cong), it appeared to serve as a model for future raid operations. at night.
In Afghanistan, Unit Zero soldiers entered homes at night and killed civilians in more than 30 different locations. Neither Afghan nor American officials are investigating it. In one of the cases Billing investigated, a 22-year-old named Batour witnessed a raid that killed his two brothers. One is a professo,, and the other is a university student.
No explanation was given by the families of the dead as to why particular individuals were targeted and what crimes they were charged with. Families who demanded answers from provincial officials about the raids were told nothing could be done because they were Unit Zero operations.