Military Corruption News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on military corruption
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.
Deception [is reliant] on the close control of information, running agents (and double-agents) and creating stories that adversaries will readily believe. In an era of ubiquitous information access, anonymous leaks and public demands for transparency, deception operations are extraordinarily difficult. Nevertheless, successful strategic deception has in the past provided the United States with significant advantages that translated into operational and tactical success. Successful deception also minimizes U.S. vulnerabilities, while simultaneously setting conditions to surprise adversaries. Thus, strategic deception capabilities and plans must perforce be highly classified. Deception cannot succeed in wartime without developing theory and doctrine in peacetime. In order to mitigate or impart surprise, the United States should develop more robust interagency deception planning and action prior to the need for military operations. To be effective, a permanent standing office with strong professional intelligence and operational expertise needs to be established.
Note: The above excerpts can be found on pages 77 and 78. For a powerful two-page summary of a top general's description of how the American public is deceived into supporting war, click here.
The deadly trade in cluster bombs is funded by the world's biggest banks who have loaned or arranged finance worth $20bn (Ł12.5bn) to firms producing the controversial weapons, despite growing international efforts to ban them. HSBC, led by ordained Anglican priest Stephen Green, has profited more than any other institution from companies that manufacture cluster bombs. The British bank ... has earned a total of Ł657.3m in fees arranging bonds and share offerings for Textron, which makes cluster munitions described by the US company as "leaving a clean battlefield". HSBC will face protests outside its London headquarters today. Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JP Morgan and UK-based Barclays Bank are also named among the worst banks in a detailed 126-page report by Dutch and Belgian campaign groups IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen. Goldman Sachs, the US bank which made Ł3.19bn proft in just three months, earned $588.82m for bank services and lent $250m to Alliant Techsystems and Textron. Last December 90 countries, including the UK, committed themselves to banning cluster bombs by next year. But the US was not one of them. So far 23 countries have ratified the convention. The UK has yet to do so.
Note: For many verifiable revelations of war profiteering by large corporations, click here.
The unmanned bombers that frequently cause unintended civilian casualties in Pakistan are a step toward an even more lethal generation of robotic hunters-killers that operate with limited, if any, human control. The Defense Department is financing studies of autonomous, or self-governing, armed robots that could find and destroy targets on their own. On-board computer programs, not flesh-and-blood people, would decide whether to fire their weapons. "The trend is clear: Warfare will continue and autonomous robots will ultimately be deployed in its conduct," Ronald Arkin, a robotics expert at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, wrote in a study commissioned by the Army. Autonomous armed robotic systems probably will be operating by 2020, according to John Pike, an expert on defense and intelligence matters and the director of the security Web site GlobalSecurity.org in Washington. This prospect alarms experts, who fear that machines will be unable to distinguish between legitimate targets and civilians in a war zone. "We are sleepwalking into a brave new world where robots decide who, where and when to kill," said Noel Sharkey, an expert on robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Sheffield, England. Human operators thousands of miles away in Nevada, using satellite communications, control the current generation of missile-firing robotic aircraft, known as Predators and Reapers. Armed ground robots, such as the Army's Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System, also require a human decision-maker before they shoot.
Note: For further reports from reliable sources on new weapons under development for future wars, click here.
The U.S. military bankrolled early development of a non-lethal microwave weapon that creates sound inside your head. The project is known as MEDUSA – a contrived acronym for Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio. And it should not be confused with the Long Range Acoustic Device and similar gadgets which simply project sound. This one uses the so-called "microwave auditory effect": a beam of microwaves is turned into sound by the interaction with your head. Nobody else can hear it unless they are in the beam as well. The idea (dubbed "the telepathic ray gun") was mentioned in a 1998 US Army study, which turned up in a recent Freedom of Information Act document dump. Five years later, the Navy decided to put some R&D dollars into the project. Now ... Dr. Lev Sadovnik of the Sierra Nevada Corporation has provided more details. There are health risks, he notes. The biggest issue from the microwave weapon is ... the risk of brain damage from the high-intensity shockwave created by the microwave pulse. A device that delivered a lethal shockwave inside the target's skull might make an effective death ray. Dr. Sadovnik also makes the intriguing suggestion that ... it might be used at low power to produce a whisper that was too quiet to perceive consciously but might be able to subconsciously influence someone. Sadovnik even suggests subliminal advertising, beaming information that is not consciously heard (a notion also spotted on the US Army's voice-to-skull page).
Note: This 20 minute CNN Special Report on electromagnetic frequency weapons from 1985 shows some of what this technology was known to be capable of over 30 years ago. Recent incidents in Cuba and China suggest the possibility that much more advanced forms of acoustic or electromagnetic weapons are currently in use. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing non-lethal weapons news articles from reliable major media sources.
One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted. Or worse. For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods. He had thought he was doing a good and noble thing when he started telling the FBI about the guns and the land mines and the rocket-launchers — all of them being sold for cash, no receipts necessary, he said. The buyers were Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, State Department workers, and Iraqi embassy and ministry employees. The seller, he claimed, was the Iraqi-owned company he worked for, Shield Group Security Co. “It was a Wal-Mart for guns,” he says. “It was all illegal and everyone knew it.” So Vance says he blew the whistle, supplying photos and documents and other intelligence to an FBI agent in his hometown of Chicago because he didn’t know whom to trust in Iraq. For his trouble, he says, he got 97 days in Camp Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad. Congress gave more than $30 billion to rebuild Iraq, and at least $8.8 billion of it has disappeared. “If you do it, you will be destroyed,” said William Weaver, professor of political science at the University of Texas-El Paso and senior advisor to the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition. “Reconstruction is so rife with corruption. Sometimes people ask me, ‘Should I do this?’ And my answer is no. If they’re married, they’ll lose their family. They will lose their jobs. They will lose everything,” Weaver said.
A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night. So it was with a provision quietly tucked into the enormous defense budget bill at the Bush administration’s behest that makes it easier for a president to override local control of law enforcement and declare martial law. The provision, signed into law in October, weakens two obscure but important bulwarks of liberty. One is the doctrine that bars military forces, including a federalized National Guard, from engaging in law enforcement. The other is the Insurrection Act of 1807, which ... essentially limits a president’s use of the military in law enforcement to putting down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion, where a state is violating federal law or depriving people of constitutional rights. The newly enacted provisions upset this careful balance. The president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or to any “other condition.” Changes of this magnitude should be made only after a thorough public airing. But these new presidential powers were slipped into the law without hearings or public debate. The president made no mention of the changes when he signed the measure, and neither the White House nor Congress consulted in advance with the nation’s governors.
The Taliban ... briefly banned poppy cultivation in 2000 in an effort to gain U.S. diplomatic recognition and aid. When the Bush administration invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, poppies were grown on only 7,600 hectares. Under the American occupation ... poppy cultivation spread to every province, and overall production has increased exponentially ever since -- this year by 60 percent. Within Afghanistan, where perhaps 3 million people draw direct income from poppy, profits may reach $3 billion this year. In-country profit adds up to an estimated 60 percent of Afghanistan's gross domestic product, or more than half the country's annual income. Afghanistan provides 92 percent of the world's heroin. Through many administrations, the U.S. government has been implicated in the Afghan drug trade. Before the American and Pakistani-sponsored mujahedeen took on the Soviets in 1979, Afghanistan produced a very small amount of opium for regional markets, and no heroin at all. By the end of the jihad against the Soviet army, it was the world's top producer of both drugs. The CIA made it all possible by providing legal cover for these operations. The United States [encouraged] Islamist extremists (then "our" soldiers) and ... set the stage for the Taliban. [Currently,] President Hamid Karzai['s] strategy is to avoid confrontation, befriend potential adversaries and give them offices, often in his Cabinet. The trade penetrates even the elected Parliament. Among the 249 members of the Wolesi Jirga (lower house) are at least 17 known drug traffickers, in addition to 40 commanders of armed militias, 24 members of criminal gangs, and 19 men facing serious allegations of war crimes.
Note: Could it be that some U.S. officials are turning a blind eye, or even supporting this drug trade? For some very strong evidence of this from a former award-winning DEA agent turned journalist and author, click here.
The Pentagon ... has resisted entreaties from U.S. anti-narcotics officials to play an aggressive role in the faltering campaign to curb the country's opium trade. Military units in Afghanistan largely overlook drug bazaars, rebuff some requests to take U.S. drug agents on raids and do little to counter the organized crime syndicates shipping the drug to Europe, Asia and, increasingly, the United States. Poppy cultivation has exploded, increasing by more than half this year. Afghanistan supplies about 92% of the world's opium. "It is surprising to me that we have allowed things to get to the point that they have," said ... a former top State Department counter-narcotics official. Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said that Afghanistan's flourishing opium trade is a law enforcement problem, not a military one. The opium trade is one-third of the country's economy. Several dozen kingpins ... have become more brazen, richer and powerful. [They] openly run huge opium bazaars and labs that turn opium into heroin. [The] head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said ... that the location of major drug operations were "well-known to us and to the authorities." The Pentagon has balked at drug interdiction efforts even when it had the resources, said a former senior U.S. anti-drug official. "There were [drug] convoys where military people looked the other way," the former official said. "DEA would identify a lab to go hit or a storage facility and [the Pentagon] would find a reason to ground the helicopters." A recent congressional report said the DEA asked the Pentagon for airlifts on 26 occasions in 2005, and the requests were denied in all but three cases.
Note: Some observers and insiders believe the reason Afghanistan was attacked is because the Taliban had virtually stopped the opium trade in 2001. For reliable evidence supporting these allegations, click here.
GAO is required by law to annually audit the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government. Until the problems discussed in GAO's audit report on the U.S. government's consolidated financial statements are adequately addressed, they will continue to...hinder the federal government from having reliable financial information to operate in an economical, efficient, and effective manner. For the ninth consecutive year, certain material weaknesses in internal control and in selected accounting and financial reporting practices resulted in conditions that continued to prevent GAO from being able to provide the Congress and American people an opinion as to whether the consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government are fairly stated in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. Major impediments to an opinion on the consolidated financial statements continued to be (1) serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense. The federal government's fiscal exposures now total more than $46 trillion, representing close to four times gross domestic product (GDP) in fiscal year 2005 and up from about $20 trillion or two times GDP in 2000.
Note:For the official .pdf version on the GAO website click here. Why didn't this become headline news? Why isn't anyone being assigned to seriously investigate these continually unresolved core issues and report to the public that the largest, most powerful country in the world is a long way from being able to track its own finances. For lots more major media articles on major government corruption, click here. You can help to build a better world by sharing this vital information with your friends and colleagues and contacting members of the media and your government representatives asking them to address this pervasive problem. Thanks for caring.
Military officials and weather modification experts could be on the verge of joining forces to better gauge, react to, and possibly nullify future hostile forces churned out by Mother Nature. While some consider the idea farfetched, some military tacticians have already pondered ways to turn weather into a weapon. What would a military strategist gain in having an "on-switch" to the weather? Clearly, it offers the ability to degrade the effectiveness of enemy forces. In this regard, nanotechnology could be utilized to create clouds of tiny smart particles. Atmospherically buoyant, these ultra-small computer particles could navigate themselves to block optical sensors. Alternatively, they might be used to provide an atmospheric electrical potential difference - a way to precisely aim and time lightning strikes over the enemy’s head – thereby concoct thunderbolts on demand. Perhaps that’s too far out for some. But some blue sky thinkers have already looked into these and other scenarios in "Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025" – a research paper written by a seven person team of military officers and presented in 1996 as part of a larger study dubbed Air Force 2025. In 2025, the report summarized, U.S. aerospace forces can "own the weather" by capitalizing on emerging technologies and focusing development of those technologies to war-fighting applications. "Such a capability offers the war fighter tools to shape the battlespace in ways never before possible," the report concluded.
Note: Explore an excellent summary of the 1996 USAF report titled "Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025." Links to the original report are available.
The Department of Defense forbade a military intelligence officer to testify Wednesday about a secret military unit that the officer says identified four Sept. 11 hijackers as terrorists more than a year before the attacks, according to the man's attorney. The Judiciary Committee was hearing testimony about the work of a classified unit code named "Able Danger." Zaid, appearing on behalf of Shaffer and contractor John Smith [stated] that Able Danger, using data mining techniques, identified four of the terrorists who struck on Sept. 11, 2001 - including mastermind Mohamed Atta. "At least one chart, and possibly more, featured a photograph of Mohamed Atta," Zaid said. Maj. Paul Swiergosz, a Defense Department spokesman, said Wednesday that open testimony would not be appropriate. "There's nothing more to say than that," Swiergosz said. "It's not possible to discuss the Able Danger program because there are security concerns." Zaid also charged that records associated with the unit were destroyed during 2000 and March 2001, and copies were destroyed in spring 2004. Former members of the Sept. 11 commission have dismissed the "Able Danger" assertions.
The U.S. Air Force is quietly spending millions of dollars investigating ways to use a radical power source -- antimatter, the eerie "mirror" of ordinary matter -- in future weapons. The most powerful potential energy source presently thought to be available to humanity, antimatter is a term normally heard in science-fiction films. But antimatter itself isn't fiction. During the Cold War, the Air Force funded numerous scientific studies of the basic physics of antimatter. Following an initial inquiry from The Chronicle this summer, the Air Force forbade its employees from publicly discussing the antimatter research program. Still, details on the program appear in numerous Air Force documents distributed over the Internet prior to the ban. It almost defies belief, the amount of explosive force available in a speck of antimatter. One millionth of a gram of positrons contain as much energy as 37.8 kilograms (83 pounds) of TNT. A simple calculation, then, shows that about 50-millionths of a gram could generate a blast equal to the explosion ... in Oklahoma City in 1995. Officials at Eglin Air Force Base initially agreed enthusiastically to try to arrange an interview with ... Kenneth Edwards, director of the "revolutionary munitions" team at the Munitions Directorate at Eglin. "We're all very excited about this technology," spokesman Rex Swenson [said] in late July. But Swenson backed out in August after he was overruled by higher officials in the Air Force and Pentagon. Reached by phone in late September, Edwards repeatedly declined to be interviewed. His superiors gave him "strict instructions not to give any interviews personally. "I'm sorry about that -- this (antimatter) project is sort of my grandchild."
The Defense Department spent an estimated $100 million for airline tickets that were not used over a six-year period and failed to seek refunds even though the tickets were reimbursable, congressional investigators say. The GAO estimated that between 1997 and 2003, the Defense Department bought at least $100 million in tickets that were not used or used only partially by a passenger who did not complete all legs of a flight. The waste went undetected because the department relied on individuals to report the unused tickets. They did not do so. "The millions of dollars wasted on unused airline tickets provides another example of why DOD financial management is one of our high-risk areas, with DOD highly vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse," the GAO said. Two of the three lawmakers who asked for the study were Republicans, and both were highly critical of the Pentagon's lack of financial control. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said, "It's outrageous that the Defense Department would be sending additional federal tax dollars to the airlines by way of unused passenger tickets." While one GAO report focused on the unused tickets, the second investigation found potential fraud. It said the department paid travelers for tickets the department already bought and reimbursed employees for tickets that had not been authorized. It is a crime for a government employee knowingly to request reimbursement for goods and services he or she did not buy. To demonstrate how easy it was to have the Pentagon pay for airline travel, the investigators posed as Defense employees, had the department generate a ticket and showed up at the ticket counter to pick up a boarding pass.
Note:To read this astonishing article on the New York Times website, click here.
In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the North American Aerospace Defense Command conducted exercises simulating what the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties. One of the imagined targets was the World Trade Center. In another exercise ... the target was the Pentagon — but that drill was not run after Defense officials said it was unrealistic, NORAD and Defense officials say. NORAD, in a written statement, confirmed that such hijacking exercises occurred. "Numerous types of civilian and military aircraft were used as mock hijacked aircraft," the statement said. "These exercises tested track detection and identification; scramble and interception; hijack procedures; internal and external agency coordination and operational security and communications security procedures." On April 8, the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks heard testimony from national security adviser Condoleezza Rice that the White House didn't anticipate hijacked planes being used as weapons. President Bush said ... "Nobody in our government ... could envision flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale." One operation, planned in July 2001 ... involved planes from airports in Utah and Washington state that were "hijacked." NORAD officials have acknowledged that "scriptwriters" for the drills included the idea of hijacked aircraft being used as weapons. "Threats of killing hostages or crashing were left to the scriptwriters to invoke creativity and broaden the required response," Maj. Gen. Craig McKinley, a NORAD official, told the 9/11 commission.
A former Navy attorney who helped lead the military investigation of the 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty that killed 34 American servicemen says former President Lyndon Johnson and his defense secretary, Robert McNamara, ordered that the inquiry conclude the incident was an accident. Retired Capt. Ward Boston said Johnson and McNamara told those heading the Navy's inquiry to "conclude that the attack was a case of 'mistaken identity' despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary." Boston was senior legal counsel to the Navy's original 1967 review of the attack. He said in the sworn statement that he stayed silent for years because ... "when orders come ... I follow them." The USS Liberty was an electronic intelligence-gathering ship that was cruising international waters off the Egyptian coast on June 8, 1967. Israeli planes and torpedo boats opened fire on the Liberty. It was "one of the classic all-American cover-ups," said Ret. Adm. Thomas Moorer, a former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman who spent a year investigating the attack as part of an independent panel he formed with other former military officials. The panel also included a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, James Akins. David Lewis of Lemington, Vt., was on the Liberty when it was attacked. In an interview, he said Israel had to know it was targeting an American ship. He said a U.S. flag was flying that day and Israel shot it full of holes. The sailors on the ship, he said, quickly hoisted another American flag, a much bigger one, to show Israel it was a U.S. vessel.
Note: For lots more on this major cover-up by a U.S. president and top military officers, click here. ABC producer James Bamford, who exposed the Operation Northwoods cover-up, also has an excellent chapter on this event in his highly revealing book, Body of Secrets, about the National Security Agency.
At least 11 countries provided advance warning to the US of the 9/11 attacks. Two senior Mossad experts were sent to Washington in August 2001 to alert the CIA and FBI to a cell of 200 terrorists said to be preparing a big operation. The list they provided included the names of four of the 9/11 hijackers, none of whom was arrested. In November 2001 the US airforce complained it had had al-Qaida and Taliban leaders in its sights as many as 10 times over the previous six weeks, but had been unable to attack because they did not receive permission quickly enough. The BBC reported [that] a former Pakistan foreign secretary was told by senior American officials at a meeting in Berlin in mid-July 2001 that "military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October". Zacarias Moussaoui ... was arrested in August 2001. One agent wrote, a month before 9/11, that Moussaoui might be planning to crash into the Twin Towers. US agents ... sought a warrant to search his computer. They were turned down by the FBI. [A] PNAC blueprint supports an earlier document ... which said the US must "discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership". The document also calls for the creation of "US space forces" to dominate space, and the total control of cyberspace to prevent "enemies" using the internet. It also hints that the US may consider developing biological weapons "that can target specific genotypes [and] may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool". The conclusion of all this analysis must surely be that the "global war on terrorism" has the hallmarks of a political myth propagated to pave the way for a wholly different agenda - the US goal of world hegemony, built around securing by force command over the oil supplies required to drive the whole project.
Note: This is one of the very few articles recommended as a must read. Michael Meacher was the U.K. Minister of Environment from May 1997 to June 2003. Mr. Meacher lays out a wealth of highly revealing information backed by reliable sources. To confirm most of his statements on our 9/11 timeline, click here. Mr. Meacher's cliams were reported on BBC News, as well, though the BBC mentioned amazingly little on his claims of U.S. involvement in 9/11. To see the BBC article click here.
"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." Vice President Dick Cheney, Aug. 26, 2002 [White House website] "Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent." President Bush, Jan. 28, 2003 [St. Petersburg Times website] "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." President Bush, March 17, 2003 [White House website] "There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. As this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them." Gen. Tommy Franks, March 22, 2003 [Washington Post] "They may have had time to destroy them, and I don't know the answer." Donald Rumsfeld, May 27, 2003 [Washington Post website]"For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction [as justification for invading Iraq] because it was the one reason everyone could agree on." Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, May 28, 2003 [CNN website]
Note: This article was published on the front page of the editorial section in the June 8, 2003 edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Yet within weeks of its publication it disappeared from their website. Why have the media so avoided these most important facts? For an enlightening answer to this question, a powerful article by a highly decorated U.S. general is available here.
The Ministry of Defence turned large parts of the country into a giant laboratory to conduct a series of secret germ warfare tests on the public. A government report just released provides for the first time a comprehensive official history of Britain's biological weapons trials between 1940 and 1979. Many of these tests involved releasing potentially dangerous chemicals and micro-organisms over vast swaths of the population without the public being told. While details of some secret trials have emerged in recent years, the 60-page report reveals new information about more than 100 covert experiments. The report reveals that military personnel were briefed to tell any 'inquisitive inquirer' the trials were part of research projects into weather and air pollution. The tests [were] carried out by government scientists at Porton Down. In most cases, the trials did not use biological weapons but alternatives which scientists believed would mimic germ warfare and which the MoD claimed were harmless. But families in certain areas of the country who have children with birth defects are demanding a public inquiry.
Note: Military personnel were ordered to lie to cover-up potentially dangerous experiments on the public. So how can we trust that these people have the public interest as a priority?
In retrospect, and with the benefit of dozens of accounts from the participants, the battle for Tora Bora looks more like a grand charade, a deliberate ploy to cover bin Laden's quiet escape. The US strategy bore little logic for those suffering the brunt of the attacks. "When we round up a pack of stray sheep, we send in shepherds from four sides, not just one," said Malik Osman Khan, a one-eyed tribal chief whose 16-year-old son Wahid Ullah was one of more than 100 Afghan civilians killed in the intense US bombing. "At first, we thought that the US military was trying to frighten the Arabs out, since they were only bombing on one side." Haji Zahir, one of the three Afghan commanders whose ill-prepared fighters led the charge up the southern slopes of Tora Bora, agreed that the US bombing worked against his efforts on the ground. "They started the bombing before they surrounded the area." Bin Laden had left some days previously, and even as the US military's proxy war got under way, the rush of his fighters out of Tora Bora, which had been a trickle and then a stream, now became a mad dash for freedom. The eastern Afghanistan intelligence chief for the country's new government, Pir Baksh Bardiwal, was astounded that the Pentagon planners of the battle for Tora Bora had failed to even consider the most obvious exit routes. He said: "The border with Pakistan was the key, but no one paid any attention to it. Al-Qa'eda escaped right out from under their feet."
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.