Among the more interesting revelations to surface as legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh continues a book tour and gives interviews discussing his newly published autobiography, Reporter: A Memoir,is that he never set out to write it at all, but was actually deeply engaged in writing a massive exposé of Dick Cheney — a project he decided couldn’t ultimately be published in the current climate of aggressive persecution of whistleblowers which became especially intense during the Obama years.
Hersh has pointed out he worries his sources risk exposure while taking on the Cheney book, which ultimately resulted in the famed reporter opting to write an in-depth account of his storied career instead — itself full of previously hidden details connected with major historical events and state secrets.
In a recent wide-ranging interview with the UK Independent, Hersh is finally asked to discuss in-depth some of the controversial investigative stories he’s written on Syria, Russia-US intelligence sharing, and the Osama bin Laden death narrative, which have gotten the Pulitzer Prize winner and five-time Polk Award recipient essentially blacklisted from his regular publication, The New Yorker magazine, for which he broke stories of monumental importance for decades.
Though few would disagree that Hersh “has single-handedly broken more stories of genuine world-historical significance than any reporter alive (or dead, perhaps)” — as The Nation put it — the man who exposed shocking cover-ups like the My Lai Massacre, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, and the truth behind the downing of Korean Air Flight 007, has lately been shunned and even attacked by the American mainstream media especially over his controversial coverage of Syria and the bin Laden raid in 2011….
1) On a leaked Bush-era intelligence memo outlining the neocon plan to remake the Middle East
… The document declared that the war to reshape the Middle East had to begin “with the assault on Iraq. The fundamental reason for this… is that the war will start making the U.S. the hegemon of the Middle East. The correlative reason is to make the region feel in its bones, as it were, the seriousness of American intent and determination.”…
2) On early regime change plans in Syria…
3) On the Neocon deep state which seized power after 9/11…
I began to comprehend that eight or nine neoconservatives who were political outsiders in the Clinton years had essentially overthrown the government of the United States — with ease. It was stunning to realize how fragile our Constitution was. The intellectual leaders of that group — Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle — had not hidden their ideology and their belief in the power of the executive but depicted themselves in public with a great calmness and a self-assurance that masked their radicalism….
4) On Russian meddling in the US election
From the recent Independent interview based on his autobiography — Hersh has vociferously strong opinions on the subject and smells a rat. He states that there is “a great deal of animosity towards Russia. All of that stuff about Russia hacking the election appears to be preposterous.” He has been researching the subject but is not ready to go public… yet.
Hersh quips that the last time he heard the US defense establishment have high confidence, it was regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He points out that the NSA only has moderate confidence in Russian hacking. It is a point that has been made before; there has been no national intelligence estimate in which all 17 US intelligence agencies would have to sign off. “When the intel community wants to say something they say it… High confidence effectively means that they don’t know.”
5) On the Novichok poisoning
From the recent Independent interview — Hersh is also on the record as stating that the official version of the Skripal poisoning does not stand up to scrutiny. He tells me: “The story of novichok poisoning has not held up very well….
7) On the official 9/11 narrative
From the Independent interview: We end up ruminating about 9/11, perhaps because it is another narrative ripe for deconstruction by sceptics. Polling shows that a significant proportion of the American public believes there is more to the truth. These doubts have been reinforced by the declassification of the suppressed 28 pages of the 9/11 commission report last year undermining the version that a group of terrorists acting independently managed to pull off the attacks. The implication is that they may well have been state-sponsored with the Saudis potentially involved….
[bzzzzzt! Sorry Seymour, the cat is long out of the bag on this one. Of course it was state sponsored. USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia. If they set up SA to take the fall it’s because they have plans for a military invasion to secure oil fields if the regime there gets out of control -rw]
8) On the media and the morality of the powerful
From a recent The Intercept interview and book review — If Hersh were a superhero, this would be his origin story. Two hundred and seventy-four pages after the Chicago anecdote, he describes his coverage of a massive slaughter of Iraqi troops and civilians by the U.S. in 1991 after a ceasefire had ended the Persian Gulf War. America’s indifference to this massacre was, Hersh writes, “a reminder of the Vietnam War’s MGR, for Mere Gook Rule: If it’s a murdered or raped gook, there is no crime.” It was also, he adds, a reminder of something else: “I had learned a domestic version of that rule decades earlier” in Chicago.
“Reporter” demonstrates that Hersh has derived three simple lessons from that rule:
- The powerful prey mercilessly upon the powerless, up to and including mass murder.
- The powerful lie constantly about their predations.
- The natural instinct of the media is to let the powerful get away with it.
9) On the time President Lyndon B. Johnson expressed his displeasure to a reporter over a Vietnam piece by defecating on the ground in front of him…
10) On Sy’s “most troublesome article” for which his own family received death threats
From Reporter: A Memoir pages 263-264 — The most troublesome article I did, as someone not on the staff of the newspaper, came in June 1986 and dealt with American signals intelligence showing that General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the dictator who ran Panama, had authorized the assassination of a popular political opponent. At the time, Noriega was actively involved in supplying the Reagan administration with what was said to be intelligence on the spread of communism in Central America. Noriega also permitted American military and intelligence units to operate with impunity, in secret, from bases in Panama, and the Americans, in return, looked the other way while the general dealt openly in drugs and arms. The story was published just as Noriega was giving a speech at Harvard University and created embarrassment for him, and for Harvard, along with a very disturbing telephone threat at home, directed not at me but at my family.
[he was definitely swimming in shark-infested waters on that one. The noriega drug running operation was intimately tied in with the ghw bush latin america guns/drugs/regime change/death squad/torture operation and the domestic terror/election theft/assassination/treason operation. I actually have some personal knowledge of this syndicate myself. I had no idea what I was dealing with. These people don’t fool around. I’m lucky to be alive. -rw]