May 19, 2009

"Vice president Cheney does not have a death squad. I have no idea who killed Mr Hariri or Mrs Bhutto," Seymour Hersh said.


What is this madness in The Nation?


ricpic said...

Aw c'mon, we all know that Cheney's a death squad type of guy. It's that curl in his lip that gives the game away.

traditionalguy said...

What is the uproar about? We know that government sponsored Delayed-Abortion may be controversial but we need to keep an open mind and respect both sides of the issue. This story is merely a repetition of the NYT propaganda efforts to pound the US government leadership in time of a War with Muslim Guerrilla Forces that the Cheneyzilla and Rummymonster tricked dumb Bush into. Everybody knows that the real war should on Hot Weather caused by Filthy Carbon.

Maguro said...

Love the banner on The Nation's homepage:

The Nation is the most credible of English Newspapers in Pakistan.

Could be true!

AJ Lynch said...

"What is this madness in THe Nation"?

Have you never seen its loon publisher, Katrina Van De Heuvel, an angry trust fund baby boomer?

Cmon Althouse, I bet you know many many people like her.

Maguro said...

Have you never seen its loon publisher, Katrina Van De Heuvel, an angry trust fund baby boomer?

This is from a Pakistani newspaper called The Nation, not the left-wing magazine with the same name.

EDH said...

Hersh can't be pleased with the degree to which the international propaganda network is pinning all of this story on his credibility alone. Russia Today.

Randy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Randy said...

Hersh can't be pleased with the degree to which the international propaganda network is pinning all of this story on his credibility alone.I'm not sure about that.

OldGrouchy said...

Seymour Hersh always, always, publishes the names of his reliable sources, always!

AJ Lynch said...


Steven said...


What credibility?

Hersh is, after all, the guy who allowed himself to be used as the propaganda trumpet for the nonsense spewed by a defense attorney trying to get a prisoner-abusing guard off the hook by claiming he was just following never-issued orders.

Issob Morocco said...

Mr. Hersh, what goes around comes around. You have just been punk'd by the Arab News Media. Your integrity is sullied, and what ever protestations to the opposite, the toothpaste is out of the tube.

How does it feel?

Roost on the Moon said...

Weird that so many of commenters are gloating over this. Smug, pleased.

Completely fabricated story of US wrongdoing that might enrage the Muslim world: HA HA! HOORAY!

...3 days earlier...
Completely factual disclosure of US wrongdoing that might enrage the Muslim world: DISASTER!

It's unsurprising to see your phony love of country washed away so easily by the mention of Seymour Hersh and an uninvolved liberal periodical.

Mr. Forward said...

"Vice president Cheney does not have a death squad. I have no idea who killed Mr Hariri or Mrs Bhutto, and I'm perfectly capable of writing my own fake stories, thank you very much" Seymour Hersh said.

I added the last bit.

traditionalguy said...

Roost on the moon: I don't like the harm done in the Conspiracy-theories-R-us middle eastern media any more than Pictures of interrogation techniques would do harm. The great irony is that they have Quoted Hersch as their source, instead of just plagerizing him for great material as they have been doing for the last 10 years.

paul a'barge said...

Hersh: ...going bonkers with misleading and fabricated stories and professional journalists repeating such rumours without doing their job<....
Pot. Meet Kettle. Kettle. Meet Pot.

William said...

After the tsunami several years back, there was a poll that showed that the people of the region affected believed that the tsunami was a result of an underground nuclear test jointly executed by the US and Israel....Some Soviet operative in his memoirs wrote how he planted the rumor that AIDS was the result of an American biological warfare experiment in Africa that went awry. This is still widely believed in Africa and parts of Chicago. He also wrote that as a joke he planted the story that J Edgar Hoover attended a gay party with Cardinal Spellman and that one of the men wore a tutu. This story has become part of the collective unconscious of the left.....If you sincerely dislike a person or a people, it is truly amazing the crap you can be made to believe about them. There are anti-American bigots. Hersh believes that sharing in their bigotry is a higher form of patriotism. He wishes to dispell incredible myths in order to spread credible lies.

BJM said...

Hersch has credibility? Since when?

the quietist said...

I'm 30 years old, and I truly have no idea why Hersh has any credibility. In my adult lifetime, all I've seen from him are wild predictions based on anonymous sources that NEVER come to fruition. Didn't he predict that a Bush/Cheney attack on Iran was imminent back in 2004?

Maybe he got things right 30 years ago. But anybody who tries to hold Seymour Hersh up as a model of investigative journalism today is a f--king idiot.

Jeremy said...

BJM said..."Hersch has credibility? Since when?"

My Lai Massacre

Vietnam War in the United States.

Attack on pharmaceutical factory in Sudan

KAL 007

Jeremy said...

the quietist said..."I'm 30 years old, and I truly have no idea why Hersh has any credibility."

Maybe that's because you're only 30 years old.

Hersch was covering the Vietnam war and winning a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting while you were still...oh, weren't anywhere.

rwflemi said...

For some reason, I'm picturing Mr. Hersh reading this statement in a monotone, while his eyes flick to somebody out of frame. But I always find denials more convincing than assertions.

Big Mike said...

@Jeremy, Hersh was certainly right about My Lai, but wrong about KAL 007. There is no way a 747 can be mistaken for a 707-based electronics aircraft. The only thing the two jets have in common is the fact that both are four-engined aircraft.

When you wrote about the attack on the "pharmaceutical factory in Sudan" I assume you are talking about al Shifa. But for all the postulating and prevaricating by Noam Chomsky and other members of the very far left lunatic fringe, there is no known use for EMPTA in any of the pharmaceuticals that al Shifa is known to produce. But EMPTA certainly is used to produce VX nerve gas. The less of that in the world, the better.

Jeremy said...

Why would anybody lend any credence to a report appearing in the Daily Times in Pakistan??

Other than the usual, we hate Seymour Hersh or anybody critical of George W. Bush mantra?

Jeremy said...

Big Mike - "Later releases of government information confirmed that there was a PSYOPS campaign against the Soviet Union that had been in place from the first few months of the Reagan administration.

This campaign included the largest US Pacific Fleet exercise ever held, in April to May 1983. The report states that the Soviets, "probably didn't know (KAL 007) was a civilian aircraft" and uses Hersh's book as a reference for the PSYOPS campaign."

On August 20, 1998, Hersh strongly criticized the destruction of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory, the largest pharmaceutical factory in Sudan—providing about half the medicines produced in Sudan—by United States cruise missiles during Bill Clinton's presidency.

Jeremy said...

Toobin - "In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff."

That should give one pause.

Big Mike said...

@Jeremy, like you, Hersh focuses on something utterly orthogonal to the point that a civilian 747 was shot down. The US conducted both PSYOPS and electronic surveillance -- and the Soviets routinely sent Bear aircraft to attempt penetration into US or Canadian air space. The response of the US to Bears -- which are nuclear-capable military bombers -- was to intercept with fighters and escort to international air space. The Soviets should have done the same, particularly since the US electronic surveillance aircraft at that time were based on the 707 air frame and, as anyone brighter than a lizard is aware, the 747 profile cannot be mistaken for a 707.

Hersh can criticize the cruise missile attack on al Shifar all he wants. But if they weren't manufacturing EMPTA then how did it show up in the soil around the plant? Where else could it have come from?

Big Mike said...

@Jeremy, Toobin can say what he wants. Whether it's true is another question.

Sigivald said...

Jeremy: Criticizing something doesn't make him a credible investigative reporter.

Likewise, noticing that KAL 007 happened after FleetEx '83 and that the Soviets were nervous... isn't exactly Crack Investigative Reporting that makes him generally credible, is it?

What he's done since My Lai is still... nothing significant or especially credible.

He's made a lot of outlandish accusations and insinuations that never seem to be verifiable, though - when he strays from merely analysing the publicly known, into "investigative" work.

(Also, is it too difficult to cite when you quote Wikipedia?)

the quietist said...

Jeremy, you demonstrate your subtle, extremely penetrating insight by replying to the first sentence of my post and then ignoring the rest.

My point was that Hersh has been riding the My Lai accolade train for the past 40 years. Nowadays, every time he comes out with some big expose, based on unnamed, anonymous sources, he gets all kinds of attention, goes on all the shows, gets paid tens of thousands to speak at universities, and everybody mentions My Lai to reaffirm his credibility. But then, when he (inevitably) turns out to be miserably, embarrassingly wrong, nobody ever goes back and acknowledges it.

Stepping back for a moment, can you admit that if somebody NOT named Seymour Hersh practiced investigative journalism the way he does, that person would be working for the National Enquirer at best? Why does Hersh get a pass from the normal epistemological standards of basic journalism just because of My Lai?

And if you argue that his Pulitzer renders him automatically credible, even while -- with no evidence other than his venerable reputation -- stirring up ludicrous conspiracy stories about Dick Cheney's death squads like a shrieking drug-addicted lunatic in Golden Gate Park, how is that any different from the most medieval epistemologies of argument-by-authority (that is, the Pope is correct not because he has better evidence, but because he is the Pope)?

The fact that I am young gives me the perspective to see that the Boomers in media and government are so f--king self-centered and hung up on the earth-shaking importance of the Vietnam era that they can't see when they are making asses of themselves. Sy Hersh is simply no longer credible by any standard other than a quasi-religious mystification of him as an avatar of their own preferred representation of Vietnam-era activism. But face it, he's a dinosaur now, and probably needs some Aricept. I hope and pray that, 40 years hence, I have enough self-awareness to restrain from hectoring young people and referring back to grunge music and Anita Hill as the most important, all-consuming events in American history.

Maguro said...

The idea that the Russians might have mistaken KAL 007 for an American RC-135 is not too far-fetched...after all ,we shot down an Iranian airliner by mistake a few years later.

Not saying it validates some of the crazy stuff Hersh wrote later, but that particular theory has some merit.

Michael McNeil said...

[Addressed to Jeremy aka Michael] Also, is it too difficult to cite when you quote Wikipedia?

At least he's putting quotation marks around it instead of blithely plagiarizing as he's done here in the past.

the quietist said...

Hersh breaks My Lai (1968).

More recently:

Writes a 3,000 word retraction in the NYT for erroneously accusing the US ambassador to Chile of participating in Pinochet's coup (1981)

Writes books on Israel and JFK based on phony sources (1991, 1997)

Tries to relive the past (again) by making up stories of the massacre of Iraqis during Desert Storm (2000)

Claims Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi doesn't really exist (2004)

Claims to have heard tapes of Americans raping Iraqi prisoners; turns out tapes don't exist, he admits he hadn't heard them (2004)

Claims that Bush/Cheney was planning to attack Iran by the end of 2005 (2004)

Can anybody tell me how I can get into the life of getting to make up my own facts and have people defend my right to do so based on my reputation from 40 years ago? And get paid $15,000 to go speak to trained seals at universities and recite my made-up facts?

Big Mike said...

@quietist, I beg your pardon but I am a Boomer and Vietnam Era Vet, and I put that war behind me a long time ago. You should not smear all of us so quickly.

@Maguro, the point of sending fighters up is that they can take a look at the danged thing. The official story on the Iranian airliner shoot down is that the AEGIS cruiser's CIC mistakenly identified the A300 as an F-14 based on electronic signals. If that wasn't really the case then hows come no one on board the Vincennes on the bridge or in the CIC has come forward to dispute that? The Vincennes didn't have eyes on the aircraft. For KAL 007 the Soviets certainly did have eyes on the aircraft.

Big Mike said...

@quietist, maybe you've got something there. How about you and I concoct a story about George Soros deliberately causing the US finacial system to crash just before the election so that Obama could win. There are a couple nuggets that are indisputably true: Soros funded MoveOn and other far left political groups, Soros made a bundle on the the financial system crash, and just before the crash McCain looked to be pulling ahead in electoral votes. Then we'll quote a few unnamed sources a la Hersh and see if we can get a splashy front page scoop on the NYT.

Even splitting the $15K or $20K speaking fees, we wouldn't have to speak very often before I, for one, would be way ahead of my current salary.

Well, it was a good daydream until the last bit about the NYT, wasn't it?

Maguro said...

@Big Mike - My point is simply that mistakes happen.

If you want another example, think about the USAF F-15s that down the Army helicopters while enforcing the no-fly zone over Iraq. They laid eyes on those choppers and thought they were Russian attack helicopters.

Visual recognition just isn't 100% accurate.

Jeremy said...

John - More fundamentally, Wilkinson argues that Heller, like Roe, amounts to "judicial aggrandizement," defined as "a transfer of power to judges from the political branches of government -- and thus, ultimately, from the people themselves."

Jeremy said...

Sorry, posting meant for John on another thread.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Mike said...

@Maguro, it's one thing to mistake a Blackhawk for a Hind but quite another to mistake a civilian 747 for an RC-135.

Even if the Soviet SU-15 pilots weren't capable of differentiating one from the other, wasn't the USSR obligated to force the plane to land, knowing that it was unarmed so there was no risk to the fighter pilots?

I do get tired when people heap every bit of blame they can dredge up on the US (and, to be fair, some -- but by no means all -- is justified) while finding all sorts of excuses for everybody else.

Jeremy said...

the quietist - I suggest you never read anything via Hersh.

Wouldn't that solve all of your problems?

Sticl with Rush and Sean...the REAL journalists.

Jeremy said...

the quietist - Where are the links to all of your comments about Hersh stories?

Big Mike said...

@Jeremy, why should he provide links when you don't? The data he points to is readily available via Google.

Now go away. He (or she -- that's the trouble with online posting) and I are going to make up some scandals a laHersh and get rich.

Henry said...

Jeremy (and Big Mike) -- the URL is there, just above the 2:29.

Big Mike said...

@Henry, you're right. I even followed that link. Shoot. Gettin' old and forgetful, I guess.


Cedarford said...

KAL 007 was a compendium of human errors, dangerous Korean deference to "senior boss in charge", and rigid Soviet ROE, heightened Cold War tensions, and Soviet military unprofessionalism.

Some of the key reasons:

1. The US had badly punk'd the Soviets in Pacific Fleet exercises in previous months, causing a mass purge of military commanders. This followed a previous purge when the Americans did an electronic deception that put an entire carrier battle group smack in the middle of the Sea of Ohtosk (the Russians western FBM sun bastion) before the Russians were aware, in 1981, causing another mass purge.

This led to Moscow commands to new command - detect and stop intruders, or else...

2. The Koreans were sued hard, and sucessfully, because they crossed over 200 miles of Kamachtka Penninsula land, high mountainous land, knew they were badly off course. Yet deferred to the senior pilot. Who made no calls as he was procedurally required to do to KAL or ground controllers to inform them he screwed up and request help.

3. The Soviets, stupid butchers they were, gave the pilots rigid ROE (rules of engagement)...but ignored some common sense, did not request additional info from the fighter pilots only ordering the pilots to query if the plane had a Soviet IFF transponder by automatic query signal. They were under severe time pressure to take action before the plane sucessfully escaped Soviet airspace..or end up in inner Siberia gulags or Chechnya.
And in focusing only on the military threat, the ground controllers in charge ignored completely air travel treaty obligations to challenge the crew of the craft on international distress frequencies.

"Conspiracy nuts have insistently mistranslated the Soviet pilot's report about the target "not responding to the call" as proof that 007 ignored a voice call. But the Russian-language term unambiguously refers to an electronic query, not a verbal one. Neither the Soviet pilot nor any ground station ever called the airliner on the international distress frequency, as required by international standards. "

The dumb butchers never contacted the crew of the plane directly. Then the Soviets, knowing they screwed up, covered up like crazy. A pattern repeated, initially, at Chernobyl.
But no conspiracy. Just lots of small things that added up to 160 lives being lost, mainly out of Korean and Soviet stupidity.

Big Mike said...

@Cedarford, everything you just wrote jibes with my understanding of the incident (and I might note that the Koreans, like the Dutch, continued their over deference to the captain until after KAL 801 crashed into a mountain on Guam and KLM 4805 crashed on Tenerife).

But to get back to where we started from, the original topic being Seymour Hersh's absurd assertion in his book The Target is Destroyed that the Soviets couldn't have known that the 747 was a civilian aircraft, not to mention Hersh's even more absurd suggestion that somehow the US was in a way to blame for it because of our successful intelligence operations (including the fleet exercise you mention).

the quietist said...

Sticl with Rush and Sean...the REAL journalists.Jeremy, it really shows how weak your hand is and how simplistic your outlook is when you have to put words into my mouth and then argue with your own little cartoonish fantasy rather than what I actually said.

I never listen to right-wing radio, but I suppose I understand that if you are so intent on defending the credibility of Sy Hersh, even after decades of complete embarrassment, it might make you feel better to pretend that I'm some kind of misinformed nut so you don't have to face inconvenient truths.

Truth #1: Sy Hersh is only batting about .100, and the only reason he still gets the benefit of the doubt, even though he's wrong over and over again, is because he hit a homerun during his first at-bat, and because his fictions confirm the moral worldview of certain sort of upper-class leftist, freeing them from the hard democratic responsibilities of complex and nuanced thinking.

Truth #2: if anybody else tried what Hersh does regularly with his outrageous unsourced accusations, they would be hounded out of journalism.

You ask for a link? I put it there in my last post. I'll repeat it here. NOTE: this link does not go to Rush or Sean.@ Big Mike: sorry about the Boomer overgeneralization. I agree that was unjustified. I am a PhD student in history, surrounded by Boomer professors who constantly inflate their own importance via an outsized appraisal of the importance of their own youth (as if nobody in American history had ever heard of or argued for "liberty" and "justice" before they came along). I apologize.

SMGalbraith said...

At the start of every year, the late psychic (ahem) Jeanne Dixon used to issue about 845 predictions for the coming 12 months.

Well, inevitably two or three would come true and, trumpets and flourish, Dixon would take credit for her amazing psychic abilities.

Hersh is a journalistic Jeanne Dixon. If you read his pieces, he makes 87 different claims (all based on anonymous ex-government officials) in each of them. Months later, they all turn out to be (mostly) bunkum.

But like Dixon, he gets one or two right and some credulous folks, like Dixon's fans, forget all the other nonsense he posits.

Sorry Sy, I see bad things for your future career.

the quietist said...

Just looking at Hersh's article about how Bush was planning to attack Iran.The guy is so slimy. This story is 75% anonymous sources just spouting the same kinds of talking points that I hear from the Lyndon LaRouche nutballs that stand outside my office accosting people and handing out pamphlets. The other 25%, the named sources, are completely unremarkable statements about how the US (gasp!) plans for future threats.

The worst thing about this article is that the only actual verifiable facts that he gives in page and page of tabloid-worthy hyperbole are facts that are completely not-newsworthy: the Pentagon has contingency plans to deal with potential threats wherever they may arrive. Would you have it any other way? But Hersh reports this as if it is the prelude to a big nuclear war, so he can communicate the message "Bush is going to attack Iran" without actually saying those words.

It's a win-win situation for him: if there is a war in the future, he gets another Pulitzer. If there isn't, nobody will care, and he can still go back on the lecture circuit making $15,000 of student dues for a one-hour innuendo and misinformation session.

Big Mike said...

@quietist, apology accepted. I'm a Civil War history buff myself (which is why I gagged the first time I read Newt Gingrich's "alternate history" of Gettysburg) and my son got his B.A. in history.

Getting back to your colleagues, I suspect that an awful lot of the people in Code Pink and other "professional demonstrators" are Boomers trying to recapture the days of their lost youth: drugs! sex! power salutes! the sweet smell of tear gas! A couple black and blue marks that you wrap in a bloody bandage to give you credibility. Those were the days.

Gawd, I'm glad they're gone.

Good point about the Pentagon having contingency plans for just about everything. I'm pretty sure that the Pentagon has a contingency plan in case Quebec breaks away from the rest of Canada and invades Vermont (make them keep it!) or Russia attacks Alaska (send Sarah with her over-and-under 12 gauge!).

OldGrouchy said...

Hey BM, I kind of liked Newt's alternative history of Gettysburg because it was plausible. God Bless Bobbie Lee for his stubbornness!

However, to your other point, Quebec would not only have to keep Vermont, they'd have to take Massachusetts too! Such a deal, eh!
However, they must keep their hands off New Hampshire and Maine!

Methadras said...

Can someone send this guy a really sturdy tinfoil hat? I suspect his other 50 have been damaged from the assassination attempts on his life.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Jeremey said with a straight facethe quietist - Where are the links to all of your comments about Hersh stories?.

I'd say of all the bulshit you spout on this blog, that has got to be the most flat out ballsy statement I have read coming from you.

Actually his link was at the end of his post. You'd know that if you actually read it.

jeff said...

I don't know, Hoosier. He accused me of hiding behind my id a couple of years ago. That was two of his names ago. I still have my full name and a good email address easily accessible to those who look for them.