As darkness falls over Kabul on October 7, 2001, the US launches its first air strikes against Afghanistan, including carpet bombing from B-52s flying at 40,000 feet, and more than 50 cruise missiles. President Bush describes the attacks as “carefully targeted” to avoid civilian casualties.

Just before launching the airstrikes, the US Defense Department purchased exclusive rights to all available satellite images of Afghanistan and neighboring countries. The National Imagery and Mapping Agency, a top-secret Defense Department intelligence unit, entered into an exclusive contract with the private company Space Imaging Inc. to purchase images from their Ikonos satellite.

The agreement also produced an effective white-out of the operation, preventing western media from seeing the effects of the bombing and eliminating the possibility of independent verification or refutation of government claims.

The CEO of Space Imaging Inc. said, “They are buying all the imagery that is available.” There is nothing left to see.

This is why I wrote Tourist Trap