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MILLION$ IN MILITARY SURPLUS
EQUIPMENT MISSING IN PANAMA!
GUNS, COMMO GEAR INCLUDED

Why are we not surprised? The Pentagon and Secretary of Defense William Cohen have yet another scandal to answer for.

One year ago, the U.S. military were so quick to pull out of the Panama Canal Zone, literally millions of dollars of equipment was left behind and "given away."

According to The Associated Press, an estimated $7.7 million - including $1.5 million in firearms, communications equipment and gun parts - "cannot be accounted for because of sloppy bookkeeping, congressional investigators report."

Don't hold your breath waiting for some generals to be called on the carpet for this fiasco. That would result in "bad publicity" and the Clinton administration, who have known about this debacle since July 1999, didn't want yet another example of gross mismanagement of the nation's military to come to light.

With the impending pullout fast approaching in Panama, some brasshats got the bright idea to "save" money shipping goods out of the country by giving the gear to government agencies and humanitarian organizations in that country and surrounding nations. Trouble is, some of the items began showing up on the Panamanian black market. One surplus military boat given to a charity in nearby Honduras was "confiscated in an alleged cocaine-running scheme."

Investigators suspected recipients were "using goods for commercial rather than humanitarian purposes," the AP reported.

Sources within the U.S. Army criticized the slow-moving, so-called "investigation" into the giveaway program by the Army's Criminal Investigation Command.. Are these the same "sleuths" who gave COL James Hiett a "clean bill of health" when CID investigated his actions in Columbia?

As readers of MilitaryCorruption.com will recall, Hiett - one-time favorite of Clinton "Drug Czar" retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey - later admitted in U.S. federal court he laundered his wife's drug money and lied about doing so. In part, our story on this gross example of "different spanks for different ranks" finally resulted in the Army, at the last minute, dropping the "cocaine colonel" from the rolls and thus preventing him from receiving his retirement pension. That wasn't the Pentagon's position last July at Hiett's sentencing (he got a five month incarceration "slap on the wrist") when they urged the judge to put the colonel on "probation."

In a report by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, it was revealed that poor record-keeping by untrained personnel made it impossible to "know what happened" to millions of dollars in military gear, including property "that required special handling such as firearms, communications equipment and gun parts."

Could it be this stuff is now being utilized by the very drug traffickers that the U.S. is allegedly battling in the much-ballyhooed "War on Drugs?" Not only is the job tougher now to contain the flow of drugs into the U.S., but the American taxpayers get stuck with the tab.

Business as usual.



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