Covert Ops & Washington’s Contingency Plans for North Korea

Nile Bowie

June 1, 2012

As the long-standing tensions between Washington and Pyongyang remain
enflamed, a media report accusing South Korean and US Special Forces of
parachuting into North Korea to spy on underground military facilities
has sparked further controversy. Journalist David Axe attended the
Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Florida, and claims to
have heard Army Brigade General Neil Tolley discussing the difficulties
of conducting human surveillance operations in North Korea, while
speaking in the present tense, referring to current operations. Axe’s
story “U.S. Commandos Spy on North Korea” was pulled from The Diplomat,
which later posted a clarification suggesting that Tolley was referring
to future plans, rather than current operations. Washington has
vehemently denied these allegations and has accused Axe of fabricating
the quotes. Brigade General Neil Tolley has since reviewed his
presentation at the Special Forces Industry Conference and claims that
he was “accurately quoted” by David Axe of The Diplomat.

While the details of future US-led reconnaissance operations on North
Korean soil remain questionable, Washington’s legal doctrine and policy
initiatives toward Pyongyang offer further insight into future US-led
directives aimed at ultimately extinguishing the North Korean threat by
force. A 2009 policy-paper authored by The Council on Foreign Relations entitled “Preparing for Sudden Change in North Korea
advocates the deployment of up to 460,000 foreign soldiers into a
post-regime North Korea to maintain security and capture Pyongyang’s
WMDs. The March 2005 “Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations
released by the Joint Chiefs of Staff envisages “contingency plans” for
an offensive first strike use of nuclear weapons against both Iran and
North Korea, providing the legal framework to carry out pre-emptive
nuclear war, both in terms of military planning as well as defense
procurement and production; the document cites:

“The lessons of military history remain clear: unpredictable,
irrational conflicts occur. Military forces must prepare to counter
weapons and capabilities that exist in the near term even if no
immediate likely scenarios for war are at hand. To maximize deterrence
of WMD use, it is essential US forces prepare to use nuclear weapons
effectively and that US forces are determined to employ nuclear weapons
if necessary to prevent or retaliate against WMD use.”


Nile Bowie is an independent writer and photojournalist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; he regularly contributes to Professor Michel Chossudovsky’s Global Research and has provided analysis on Russia Today. Twitter: @NileBowie