Analysts and commentators across the alternative media expressed alarm about the controversial announcement, likening it to a scene out of the movie Red Dawn or the predictions made by the late radio host Bill Cooper. It was not immediately clear exactly why the Obama administration decided to allow the scheme.
“The Russian soldiers are here as invited guests of the U.S. government; this is part of a formal bilateral exchange program between the U.S. and Russia that seeks to develop transparency and promote defense reform,” Cmdr. Wendy L. Snyder, U.S. Defense Press Officer for policy, told The New American in an e-mail. “This is the first time that American and Russian special operations troops have participated in a bilateral exercise.”
According to Snyder, the exercises — which she said would last about three weeks in all — will serve to train and improve skills related to terror-war fighting. About 20 Russian soldiers will be participating, with most of the training to take place on the Fort Carson, Colorado, Army base and a mountain training area several hours away.
“Aside from typical military training, the exchange will include discussions on the rule of land warfare, developing appropriate rules of engagement, and employing cultural literacy and competency in the tactical environment,” Snyder explained. “This type of training is routinely conducted by 10th Special Forces Group.”
While U.S. officials remained largely silent on the operation until contacted by the press, the Russian government has been touting the unprecedented terror drills through official announcements and news reports in state-controlled media for over a week. In fact, virtually all of the details about the exercise that emerged publicly early on came from Kremlin sources.
“According to the exercise scenario, soldiers of the two countries will hold a tactical airborne operation, including reconnaissance of an imaginary terrorists' camp and a raid,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Aleksandr Kucherenko was quoted as saying in official news reports, also noting that it was the first time such an exercise would be held. “The Russian Airborne Assault Force will contribute a special task group that will exercise with U.S. special service weapons.”
Before the official drills begin on May 24, the Russian government’s forces will reportedly be training to use a wide array of American military equipment at the U.S. Army's Fort Carson base. Parachuting, operations planning, reconnaissance, assaults, raids, and evacuations will all be on the agenda. The training is expected to last until May 31, though U.S. officials said it would go until early June.
One of the highlights of the cooperation will be a joint terror assault and raid on a “camp.” The exercise will apparently bring together U.S. and Russian troops from the planning stages to the final evacuation from the scene by helicopter. Russian forces will also be attending a baseball game at some point during their stay, Kremlin sources reported.
According to a report entitled “The Russians are coming! First joint 'Top Gun' drills to be held in US” in the state-funded Russian media outlet RT, the agreement to hold the drills was drafted late last year by the Russian Airborne Command and a U.S. military delegation in Moscow. It was not immediately clear which government proposed the scheme or what the precise goals were, though apparently the Russians were invited to participate by the U.S. government.
“The U.S. military routinely conducts such joint exchanges with foreign forces to strengthen relationships, provide familiarization with each other's tactics and procedures, and to exchange best practices,” DoD spokesperson Snyder explained. “The end result of this type of program is that our military has improved operational effectiveness with foreign forces as well as, and in this case, supporting the defense reform of Russia.”
President Obama has made improved ties with the Russian government a top priority it seems. Last month during a security summit, Obama even promised to pursue yet another controversial agreement with Russian officials to further slash both governments’ nuclear arsenals, saying the U.S. already controls more than enough atomic weapons.
Despite several high-profile apparent disagreements in recent years — on Syria, Libya, missile shields, and more — outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev praised the Obama administration, saying relations between the two governments had reached their “best level” in a decade. Obama, meanwhile, thanked Medvedev for his “cooperation” and said he could not have asked for a “better partner” in Russia.
"Going forward, we'll continue to seek discussions with Russia on a step we have never taken before — reducing not only our strategic nuclear warheads, but also tactical weapons and warheads in reserve," Obama said during a speech at South Korea’s Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. “We can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need.”
After the summit, Obama also came under fire when he was overheard telling then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that, “This is my last election. After my election, I'll have more flexibility.” Critics pounced on the statement from all angles to criticize Obama, with some claiming that he had sold out to the Russians.
Meanwhile, e-mails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor released by WikiLeaks show that top executives in the company — well-connected individuals, obviously — believed President Obama had taken Russian money for his campaign. The news has already become something of a scandal among alternative media outlets and commentators.
“The hunt is on for the sleezy Russian money into O-mans coffers. A smoking gun has already been found,” wrote Fred Burton, Stratfor’s Vice President of Intelligence. “My source was too giddy to continue. Can you say Clinton and [Chinese Communist] ChiCom funny money?” The company refused to confirm whether the e-mails were genuine, but most analysts believe they are.
This week, the Russian Navy is also engaged in unprecedented joint “war games” with the Communist regime ruling mainland China. The training exercises, taking place in the Yellow Sea, involve more than two-dozen vessels including submarines and destroyers.
The U.S. government, meanwhile, is simultaneously engaged in war games in the Asia-Pacific region with the Communist regime ruling Vietnam and the government of the Philippines. And in August of 2010, U.S., Russian, and Canadian air forces worked together on terror drills involving hijacked airplanes.
Foreign troops — from Europe, Latin America, and more — have been engaged in countless training exercises on U.S. soil over the years. Critics, meanwhile, have been sounding the alarm about the controversial drills for over a decade.
Several prominent media outlets reporting on the Russian terror training in the U.S. picked up information from a well-known disinformation source. The almost certainly false “article” claimed — citing official “reports” allegedly circulating in the Kremlin — that Russian troops would also be tasked with taking over and holding certain CIA and NSA facilities.
However, the original source of claims — “whatdoesitmean.com” — is widely known as notoriously unreliable. Aside from the Department of Homeland Security, which used the hoax website to compile a report labeling most Americans potential right-wing terrorists, virtually all reputable information services have been aware of the disinformation peddling for years. DHS later retracted the report and apologized.