Don't See, Don't Tell: Pentagon Buys Up the Satellite Imagery of Afghanistan

October 18, 2001

The British newspaper the Guardian reported yesterday that the Pentagon is spending millions of dollars to prevent the US and other western media from seeing highly accurate civilian satellite pictures of the effects of bombing in Afghanistan. The Pentagon has essentially bought the rights to commercial satellite imagery of the country, even though it has its own satellites doing the same work.

The decision to shut down access to satellite images was taken last Thursday, after reports of heavy civiliancasualties from the overnight bombing of training camps near Darunta, north-west of Jalalabad.

The buy-up of satellite imagery marks a dramatic escalation of the Bush Administration’s efforts to control what themedia sees and says about its bombing of Afghanistan.


  • Tim Brown, an organization seeking to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons and the riskof their use.
  • Jim Naurekas, Fairness and Accuracy in Media (FAIR).

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