Military Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on military corruption
A dozen years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, an independent, nonpartisan panel’s examination of the interrogation and detention programs carried out in their aftermath by the Bush administration ... provides a valuable, even necessary reckoning. The work of the [11-member task force convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group] is informed by interviews with dozens of former American and foreign officials, as well as with former prisoners. It is the fullest independent effort so far to assess the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at the C.I.A.’s secret prisons. The report’s authoritative conclusion that “the United States engaged in the practice of torture” is impossible to dismiss. The report found that those methods violated international legal obligations with “no firm or persuasive evidence” that they produced valuable information that could not have been obtained by other means. The task force found that using torture — like waterboarding, slamming prisoners into walls, and chaining them in uncomfortable stress position for hours — had “no justification”. And in engineering “enforced disappearances” and secret detentions, the United States violated its international treaty obligations. As the panel notes, there never was before “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.”
Note: For another informative article on this from the Times, click here.
The president has a clandestine network targeting a 'kill list' justified by secret laws. How is that different than a death squad? The film Dirty Wars, which premiered at Sundance ... tracks the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), a network of highly-trained, completely unaccountable US assassins, armed with ever-expanding "kill lists". [Narrator Jeremy] Scahill and [director Rick] Rowley track this new model of US warfare that strikes at civilians and insurgents alike – in 70 countries. They interview former JSOC assassins, who are shell-shocked at how the "kill lists" they are given keep expanding, even as they eliminate more and more people. Our conventional forces are subject to international laws of war: they are accountable for crimes in courts martial; and they run according to a clear chain of command. As much as the US military may fall short of these standards at times, it is a model of lawfulness compared with JSOC, which has far greater scope to undertake the commission of extra-legal operations – and unimaginable crimes. JSOC morphs the secretive, unaccountable mercenary model of private military contracting, which Scahill identified in Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, into a hybrid with the firepower and intelligence backup of our full state resources. JSOC operates outside the traditional chain of command; it reports directly to the president of the United States. What does it means for the president to have an unaccountable paramilitary force, which can assassinate anyone anywhere in the world?
Note: For more on JSOC, click here.
It's been revealed that the United States and New Zealand conducted secret tests in the 1940s of a 'tsunami bomb' designed to inundate coastal cities. Thousands of underwater tests were carried out near Auckland during the Second World War and showed such a weapon was feasible. The top-secret operation code-named, ''Project Seal'', was shelved just months before the atomic bomb was used on Japan in 1945. The secret plans have been uncovered during research by a New Zealand author and filmmaker, Ray Waru. EMILY BOURKE: Where were these tests carried out? RAY WARU: They were carried out at one of ... New Zealand's most well-known holiday spots, the Whangaparaoa Peninsula just north of Auckland. Over a period of several months they carried out almost 4,000 test explosions to kind of calibrate the size of the explosions, the number of explosions and the depth of the explosion in the water would need to be in order to create a tsunami effect. EMILY BOURKE: Was there any damage that occurred as a result of the research and those tests? RAY WARU: No. They never actually produced a tidal wave. They decided at the end if there were 2 million kilograms and they were detonated in an array a specific number of kilometres from the shore that they would produce a wave ... about ten or 12 ... metres in height. That would have been enough to wash out a shore installation. EMILY BOURKE: Were these tests carried out at the behest of the United States? Did the United States fund it? RAY WARU: Yes they were [and] they were carried out with the full cooperation of the New Zealand government.
Note: This article was published on the website of Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia's equivalent of the BBC. A 1999 article in New Zealand's leading newspaper at this link also discusses this secret tsunami bomb. For a very well researched webpage on HAARP, a secret weapon allegedly used for weather control and much more, click here.
The ocean depths have become a noisy place. The causes are human: the sonar blasts of military exercises, the booms from air guns used in oil and gas exploration, and the whine from fleets of commercial ships that relentlessly crisscross the global seas. Marine experts say the rising clamor is particularly dangerous to whales, which depend on their acute hearing to locate food and one another. To fight the din, ... the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seeks to document human-made noises in the ocean and transform the results into the world’s first large sound maps. “It’s a first step,” Leila T. Hatch, a marine biologist and one of the project’s two directors, said of the sound maps. “No one’s ever done it on this scale.” Michael Jasny, a senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, [which] has sued the Navy to reduce sounds that can harm marine mammals, praised the maps as “magnificent” and their depictions of sound pollution as “incredibly disturbing.” Legal experts say the new findings are likely to accelerate efforts both domestically and internationally to deal with the complicated problem through laws, regulations, treaties and voluntary noise reductions. The Navy estimates that blasts from its sonars — used in training and to hunt enemy submarines — result in permanent hearing losses for hundreds of sea mammals every year and temporary losses for thousands. All told, annually the injured animals number more than a quarter million.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on threats to marine mammals, click here.
Last week, Stanford University and New York University released a major study about the use of drones in the ever-evolving but never-ending war on terror. Drones are terrorizing an entire civilian population. [We] spent weeks in Pakistan interviewing more than 60 people from North Waziristan. Many were survivors of strikes. Others had lost loved ones and family members. All of them live under the constant threat of annihilation. What my colleagues and I learned from these unnamed and unknown victims of America's drone warfare gave the report its title: "Living Under Drones." Drones are a constant presence in the skies above the North Waziristan tribal area in Pakistan, with as many as six hovering over villages at any one time. People hear them day and night. They are an inescapable presence, the looming specter of death from above. And that presence is steadily destroying a community twice the size of Rhode Island. The routines of daily life have been ripped to shreds. Indisputably innocent people cower in their homes, afraid to assemble on the streets. "Double taps," or secondary strikes on the same target, have stopped residents from aiding those who have been injured. A leading humanitarian agency now delays assistance by an astonishing six hours. What makes this situation even worse is that no one can tell people in these communities what they can do to make themselves safe. No one knows who is on the American kill list, no one knows how they got there and no one knows what they can do to get themselves off. It's all terrifyingly random. Suddenly, and without warning, a missile launches and obliterates everyone within a 16-yard radius.
Note: The author of this report, Jennifer Gibson, is a staff attorney with Reprieve, a London-based legal charity that represents dozens of Pakistani drone victims. For an excellent, seven-minute video by professors exploring the tragic reality of drone strikes in Pakistan, click here. For the "Living Under Drones" website where you can read a summary and download this report by Stanford University and the New York Times, click here. To learn about a beautiful movement to place large photos of children's faces in target areas to stop drone operators from killing innocents, click here.
Poor, minority neighborhoods in St. Louis were unwittingly part of Cold War chemical studies. Aerosol was sprayed from blowers installed on rooftops and mounted on vehicles. “The Army claims that they were spraying a quote ‘harmless’ zinc cadmium sulfide,” says Dr. Lisa Martino-Taylor, Professor of Sociology. Yet Martino-Taylor points out, cadmium was a known toxin at the time of the spraying in the mid 50’s and mid 60’s. Worse, she says the aerosol was laced with a fluorescent additive – a suspected radiological compound – produced by U.S. Radium, a company linked to the deaths of workers at a watch factory decades before. “The powder was milled to a very, very fine particulate level. This stuff travelled for up to 40 miles. So really all of the city of St. Louis was ultimately inundated by the stuff.” Martino-Taylor says she’s obtained documents from multiple federal agencies showing the government concocted an elaborate story to keep the testing secret. Part of the deception came from false news reports planted by government agencies. “They told local officials and media that they were going to test clouds under which to hide the city in the event of aerial attack. This was against all military guidelines of the day, against all ethical guidelines, against all international codes such as the Nuremberg Code,” she says. The spraying occurred between 1953 and 54 and again from 1963 to 65.
Note: Dr. Martino-Taylor’s comprehensive research on this incident is available here. Read an incredibly well researched timeline with links for verification of the use of humans as guinea pigs in numerous government experiments. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and health.
Weapons sales by the United States tripled in 2011 to a record high, driven by major sales to Persian Gulf [countries], according to a new study for Congress. Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion last year, or nearly 78 percent of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals. The U.S. weapons sales total was an "extraordinary increase" over the $21.4 billion in deals for 2010, the study found, and was the largest single-year sales total in the history of U.S. arms exports. The previous high was in fiscal year 2009, when American weapons sales overseas totaled nearly $31 billion. Increasing tensions with Iran drove a set of Persian Gulf nations -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman -- to spend record amounts on weapons. These states do not share a border with Iran, and their purchases focused on warplanes and complex missile defense systems. The agreements with Saudi Arabia included the purchase of 84 advanced F-15 fighters, a variety of ammunition, missiles and logistics support, and upgrades of 70 of the F-15 fighters in the current fleet ... all contributing to a total Saudi weapons deal with the United States of $33.4 billion, according to the study. The United Arab Emirates bought a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, an advanced anti-missile shield that is valued at $3.49 billion, as well as 16 Chinook helicopters for $939 million.
Note: For analyses of this deeply revealing Congressional report on the intense preparations for war on Iran, click here and here. If just 1% of these skyrocketing arms sales were put towards feeding the world, global hunger would vanish in no time.
The US government has long maintained, reasonably enough, that a defining tactic of terrorism is to launch a follow-up attack aimed at those who go to the scene of the original attack to rescue the wounded and remove the dead. Yet ... this has become one of the favorite tactics of the very same US government. Attacking rescuers (and arguably worse, bombing funerals of America's drone victims) is now a tactic routinely used by the US in Pakistan. In February, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism documented that "the CIA's drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals." Specifically: "at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims." The UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings ... Christof Heyns, said that if "there have been secondary drone strikes on rescuers who are helping (the injured) after an initial drone attack, those further attacks are a war crime." There is no doubt that there have been. The frequency with which the US uses this tactic is reflected by this December 2011 report ... on the drone killing of 16-year-old Tariq Khan and his 12-year-old cousin Waheed, just days after the older boy attended a meeting to protest US drones: "[Witnesses] did not provide pictures of the missile strike scene. Virtually none exist, since drones often target people who show up at the scene."
Note: Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets and reportedly create more terrorists than they kill. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently mis-reported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Most Americans have gotten used to regular news reports about military and CIA drones attacking terrorist suspects – including US citizens – in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere abroad. But picture thousands of drone aircraft buzzing around the United States. By some government estimates, as many as 30,000 drones could be part of intelligence gathering and law enforcement here in the United States within the next ten years. Operated by agencies down to the local level, this would be in addition to the 110 current and planned drone activity sites run by the military services in 39 states, reported this week by the Federation of American Scientists, a non-government research project. Civil libertarians warn that “unmanned aircraft carrying cameras raise the prospect of a significant new avenue for the surveillance of American life,” as the American Civil Liberties Union put it in a report last December. “The technology is quickly becoming cheaper and more powerful, interest in deploying drones among police departments is increasing, and our privacy laws are not strong enough to ensure that the new technology will be used responsibly and consistently with democratic values,” reported the ACLU. “In short, all the pieces appear to be lining up for the eventual introduction of routine aerial surveillance in American life.”
Note: For deeper analysis of the threats posed to American citizens by military and police drones in the skies, click here. For information on a federal recent law compelling the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drones to fly in US skies, click here. For more information on the use of drones by police in the US, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on surveillance in the US, click here.
Environmental groups sued the Obama administration ... for granting the Navy permits to test underwater sonar along the West Coast -- and potentially harass up to 650,000 porpoises, seals, dolphins and whales over a five-year period. The alliance said it wasn't seeking to stop the testing but to scale it back, especially at certain times and in waters important for feeding and giving birth. Several studies have found that marine mammals can hear low-frequency sonar, which is magnified under water, and periodically dolphins and even whales have been found with perforated ear drums. The National Marine Fisheries Service "fell down on the job and failed to require the Navy to take reasonable and effective actions to protect" marine mammals, Steve Mashuda, an attorney for the law firm Earthjustice, said. The lawsuit ... claims that the Navy's sonar use might be strong enough to kill the animals outright. But even if it doesn't, it claims, the repeated use of sonar in certain critical habitats is unwarranted. In 2010, the fisheries service approved the Navy's five-year plan for operations in the Northwest Training Range Complex, an area roughly the size of California that stretches from Washington state to Northern California. Under the five-year plan, the service said it was acceptable for the Navy to incur up to 650,000 cases of harassment of marine mammals.
Note: Sonar can drive drive marine mammals insane with the intensity of noise. Imagine a huge siren right next to your ears. You would certainly flee to try to get away. This is likely what is causing many of the whale and dolphin strandings. How much sound does it take to perforate an ear drum, as is mentioned in this article? For more on threats to marine mammals, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
In this town which saw 24 unarmed civilians die in a U.S. raid seven years ago, residents expressed disbelief and sadness that the Marine sergeant who told his troops to "shoot first, ask questions later" reached a deal with prosecutors to avoid jail time. They were outraged both at the American military justice system and at the refusal of Iraq's Shiite-led government to condemn the killings and at least try to bring those responsible to face trial in this country. "We are deeply disappointed by this unfair deal," said Khalid Salman Rasif, an Anbar provincial council member from Haditha. "The U.S. soldier will receive a punishment that is suitable for a traffic violation." The raid took place on Nov. 19, 2005. U.S. military prosecutors worked for more than six years to bring Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich to trial on manslaughter charges that could have sent him away to prison for life. [Then] they offered Wuterich a deal that stopped the proceedings and meant no jail time for the squad leader who ordered his men to "shoot first, ask questions later," resulting in one of the Iraq War's worst attacks on civilians by U.S. troops. The 31-year-old Marine, who was originally accused of unpremeditated murder, pleaded guilty Monday to negligent dereliction of duty for leading the squad that killed 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians during raids after a roadside bomb exploded, killing a fellow Marine and wounding two others.
Note: For earlier reports from reliable sources on the Haditha and other massacres carried out by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan, click here.
The Defense Department, which has promised to publish a reliable account of how it spends its money by 2017, has discovered that its financial ledgers are in worse shape than expected and that it will have to spend billions of dollars in the coming years to make its financial accounting credible, the Center for Public Integrity reported [on October 13]. The U.S. military has spent more than $6 billion to develop and deploy new financial systems, but the effort has been plagued by significant added overruns and delays, defense officials told the CPI, a nonprofit investigative news organization. The Government Accountability Office said in a report last month that although the services can now fully track incoming appropriations, they still can't demonstrate that their funds are being spent as they should be. The Pentagon’s bookkeeping has come under increased scrutiny as Congress and the Obama administration have vowed to reduce the federal deficit. The department could face substantial cutbacks if a special bipartisan "supercommittee" can’t agree on a formula for reducing the deficit.
Note: For an essay by a top U.S. general revealing how wars are used to bring huge profits to the powerful elite of our world, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on government corruption, click here.
The Pentagon is asking scientists to figure out how to detect and counter propaganda on social media networks in the aftermath of Arab uprisings driven by Twitter and Facebook. The US military's high-tech research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has put out a request for experts to look at "a new science of social networks" that would attempt to get ahead of the curve of events unfolding on new media. The program's goal was to track "purposeful or deceptive messaging and misinformation" in social networks and to pursue "counter messaging of detected adversary influence operations," according to DARPA's request for proposals issued on July 14. The project echoes concerns among top military officers about the lightning pace of change in the Middle East, where social networks have served as an engine for protest against some longtime US allies. Some senior officers have spoken privately of the need to better track unrest revealed in social networks and to look for ways to shape outcomes in the Arab world through Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. Under the proposal, researchers would be expected to unearth and classify the "formation, development and spread of ideas and concepts (memes)" in social media. DARPA planned to spend $42 million (Ł25m) on the Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program, with prospective contractors asked to test algorithms through "experiments" with social media, it said.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on new Pentagon strategies and technologies for waging war on foreign and domestic populations, click here.
Why do we still go to war? We seem unable to stop. Britain's borders and British people have not been under serious threat for a generation. Yet time and again our leaders crave battle. Why? Last week we got a glimpse of an answer and it was not nice. The outgoing US defence secretary, Robert Gates, berated Europe's "failure of political will" in not maintaining defence spending. He said Nato had declined into a "two-tier alliance" between those willing to wage war and those "who specialise in 'soft' humanitarian, development, peacekeeping and talking tasks". Peace, he implied, is for wimps. Real men buy bombs, and drop them. Libya has cost Britain Ł100m so far, and rising. But Iraq and the Afghan war are costing America $3bn a week, and there is scarcely an industry, or a state, in the country that does not see some of this money. These wars show no signs of being ended, let alone won. But to the defence lobby what matters is the money. It sustains combat by constantly promising success and inducing politicians and journalists to see "more enemy dead", "a glimmer of hope" and "a corner about to be turned". Victory will come, but only if politicians spend more money on "a surge".
Note: For a very similar, classic analysis of war profiteering by famed US Marine Corps General Smedley Butler, click here.
More than 700 leaked secret files on the Guantánamo detainees lay bare the inner workings of America's controversial prison camp in Cuba. The US military dossiers ... reveal how ... many prisoners were flown to the Guantánamo cages and held captive for years on the flimsiest grounds, or on the basis of lurid confessions extracted by maltreatment. The 759 Guantánamo files, classified "secret", cover almost every inmate since the camp was opened in 2002. More than two years after President Obama ordered the closure of the prison, 172 are still held there. The files depict a system often focused less on containing dangerous terrorists or enemy fighters, than on extracting intelligence. Among inmates who proved harmless were an 89-year-old Afghan villager, suffering from senile dementia, and a 14-year-old boy who had been an innocent kidnap victim. The documents also reveal: • US authorities listed the main Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), as a terrorist organisation. • Almost 100 of the inmates who passed through Guantánamo are listed by their captors as having had depressive or psychotic illnesses. Many went on hunger strike or attempted suicide. • A number of British nationals and residents were held for years even though US authorities knew they were not Taliban or al-Qaida members.
Note: For many key reports on government secrecy from major media sources, click here.
United States taxpayers have funneled more than $60 billion of aid into Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak came to power in 1981, but more than half of the money has been spent supplying weapons to the country’s military. About $34 billion of the aid to Egypt has come in the form of grants that Congress requires Egypt to spend on American military hardware. In recent years the large amount of aid earmarked for the military, and the relatively low sums supporting civilian aid, have attracted scathing criticism from Egyptians, some of whom argue that US aid has gone to entrench a military dictator at the expense of the fledgling democracy activists. During the early turmoil, protesters were the target of tear gas canisters that read "made in the USA," fueling debate about the aid. Last year, Egypt was the fifth-largest recipient of US aid, getting $1.6 billion. Congress ... authorized major aid packages to both [Egypt and Israel in 1979], using an informal formula — not enshrined in the peace treaty — that gave Egypt $2 for every $3 that Israel received. Israel quickly became the largest recipient of US aid, and Egypt the second-largest — rankings that were only recently overtaken by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and last year, the disaster in Haiti. The strong interest of US companies could help explain why US military assistance to Egypt has remained at $1.3 billion a year, while its civilian economic assistance has steadily shrunk, from $815 million a decade ago to $250 million requested for 2011. The decline began in 1998, when Israel arranged for a reduction in economic support and an increase military aid. As Israeli’s economic aid shrunk, so too did Egypt’s.
Note: Israel receives about $3 billion a year from the US, yet the population of the country is 8 million. If you do the math, the US is providing the equivalent of nearly $4,000 in aid per year to every man, woman and child in Israel, with $3,000 of that to buy US military hardware. For lots more reliable information on how the military/industrial complex manipulates world politics to support the war machine, click here and here.
After World War II, American counterintelligence recruited former Gestapo officers, SS veterans and Nazi collaborators to an even greater extent than had been previously disclosed and helped many of them avoid prosecution or looked the other way when they escaped, according to thousands of newly declassified documents. With the Soviet Union muscling in on Eastern Europe, “settling scores with Germans or German collaborators ... appeared counterproductive,” said a government report published Friday by the National Archives. In chilling detail, the report also elaborates on the close working relationship between Nazi leaders and the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who ... recruited Muslims for the SS, the Nazi Party’s elite military command, [and] was allowed to flee after the war to Syria. The report, “Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U.S. Intelligence and the Cold War,” grew out of an interagency group created by Congress to identify, declassify and release federal records on Nazi war crimes and on Allied efforts to hold war criminals accountable. It is drawn from a sampling of 1,100 C.I.A. files and 1.2 million Army counterintelligence files that were not declassified until ... 2007. “Hitler’s Shadow” adds a further dimension to a separate Justice Department history of American Nazi-hunting operations, which the government has refused to release ... and which concluded that American intelligence officials created a “safe haven” in the United States for certain other former Nazis.
Note: Following World War Two, more than 1500 Nazi's, including many war criminals, were brought to the US by "Operation Paperclip" and secretly embedded in the US scientific community and intelligence establishment. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes. Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian ... via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. The new logs detail how: • A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender. • More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. The logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities. The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent death. The whistleblowing activists say they have deleted all names from the documents that might result in reprisals.
Note: For an analysis by the Ad Hoc Committee for Justice for Iraq of the still very one-sided picture of the devastation of Iraq provided by this leak of Iraq war logs, click here. For an interview of the leader of Wikileaks on CNN in which he walks out after being asked about his personal life rather than Iraqi deaths, click here.
The Pentagon has burned 9,500 copies of Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's memoir Operation Dark Heart, his book about going undercover in Afghanistan. A Department of Defense official tells Fox News that the department purchased copies of the first printing because they contained information which could cause damage to national security. The U.S. Army originally cleared the book for release. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency attempted to block the book about the tipping point in Afghanistan and a controversial pre-9/11 data mining project called "Able Danger." In a letter obtained by Fox News, the DIA says national security could be breached if Operation Dark Heart is published in its current form. The agency also attempted to block key portions of the book that claim "Able Danger" successfully identified hijacker Mohammed Atta as a threat to the United States before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Note: Able Danger was the program which identified Mohamed Atta and three other alleged 9/11 hijackers as a potential terror threat before 9/11. To read major media reports on the intense controversy around this program (which is likely why the book is being burned), click here.
The effort to win over Afghans on former Taliban turf in Marja has put American and NATO commanders in the unusual position of arguing against opium eradication. From Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal on down, the military’s position is clear: “U.S. forces no longer eradicate,” as one NATO official put it. Opium is the main livelihood of 60 to 70 percent of the farmers in Marja. American Marines occupying the area are under orders to leave the farmers’ fields alone. United Nations drug officials agree with the Americans. Pictures of NATO and other allied soldiers “walking next to the opium fields won’t go well with domestic audiences, but the approach of postponing eradicating in this particular case is a sensible one,” said Jean-Luc Lemahieu, who is in charge of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime here. Though the United States government’s official position is still to support opium crop eradication in general, some American civilian officials say that the internal debate over Marja is far from over within parts of the State Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration. A spokesman for the United States Embassy in Kabul, Brendan J. O’Brien, said officials would decline to comment while the matter was under review.
Note: For weeks the Pentagon and press claimed Marja is a city of 80,000 people, and compared the "battle for Marja" as comparable to the attack on Falluja, Iraq. Then the news leaked out that Marja is not even a town, but an unincorporated agricultural area with a few villages. Now the "city" turns out to be a center of opium poppy production! Could protection of the lucrative poppy crops be the real reason for the selection of this area for the largest single military operation of the occupiers since the invasion in 2001? For more on this, click here.
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