Update:The Time for a Truth Commission is Now

Seymour Hersh has issued a strong statement denying that he ever made the statement attributed to him below: I did not say Cheney killed Benazir: Hersh

"Vice president Cheney does not have a death squad. I have no idea who killed Mr Hariri or Mrs Bhutto," Hersh said. "I have never said that I did have such information. I most certainly did not say anything remotely to that effect during an interview with an Arab media outlet."

Raw Story has published a correction of a story that they ran, also with the misquote now denied by Hersh. The explain how the story originated on the Pakistani site from which I picked it up, 'US special squad killed Benazir', and was ithen picked up by the Wall Street Journal and Raw Story as well as her by me. I am appending the correction that appears on Raw Story in full in a comment below, because it contains an interview with Hersh in which he definitively rejects the views attributed to him.. Carol White.

The appointment of General Stanley McChrystal as commander of US forces in Afghanistan underscores the danger of President Obama's stated desire to move on from the crimes of the Bush Administration. Not only is Dick Cheney publicly advocating for the continued use of torture but it appears that General McChrystal's headed Cheney assassination team. Without exposing the crimes of Bush, Cheney et al, we are in grave danger of seeing them repeated, whatever the President's intentions.

Here is an excerpt from a guest post exclusive to the Washington Note by Col Lawrence B. Wilkerson, who is former chief of staff of the Department of State during the term of Secretary of State Colin Powell. He is now a visting professor at the College of William and Mary. Here is an excerpt:

My investigations have revealed to me--vividly and clearly--that once the Abu Ghraib photographs were made public in the Spring of 2004, the CIA, its contractors, and everyone else involved in administering "the Cheney methods of interrogation", simply shut down. Nada. Nothing. No torture or harsh techniques were employed by any U.S. interrogator. Period. People were too frightened by what might happen to them if they continued.

What I am saying is that no torture or harsh interrogation techniques were employed by any U.S. interrogator for the entire second term of Cheney-Bush, 2005-2009. So, if we are to believe the protestations of Dick Cheney, that Obama's having shut down the "Cheney interrogation methods" will endanger the nation, what are we to say to Dick Cheney for having endangered the nation for the last four years of his vice presidency?

Likewise, what I have learned is that as the administration authorized harsh interrogation in April and May of 2002--well before the Justice Department had rendered any legal opinion--its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qa'ida.

So furious was this effort that on one particular detainee, even when the interrogation team had reported to Cheney's office that their detainee "was compliant" (meaning the team recommended no more torture), the VP's office ordered them to continue the enhanced methods. The detainee had not revealed any al-Qa'ida-Baghdad contacts yet. This ceased only after Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under waterboarding in Egypt, "revealed" such contacts. Of course later we learned that al-Libi revealed these contacts only to get the torture to stop.

There in fact were no such contacts. (Incidentally, al-Libi just "committed suicide" in Libya. Interestingly, several U.S. lawyers working with tortured detainees were attempting to get the Libyan government to allow them to interview al-Libi....)

This story appeared on Raw Story, Pakistani president: Osama bin Laden is dead, and is accompanied by an audio recording and a video. I would like to call attention to this from Pakistan President Asif Ali Zadari:

Two weeks ago, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zadari suggested that Osama bin Laden might be dead, saying that U.S. and Pakistani intelligence agencies had been unable to detect any sign of the world’s most wanted man since an audio recording of his voice was released in March.

Sunday morning, Zadari went further: “I don’t think he’s alive,” the president told NBC’s David Gregory. “I have a strong feeling and reason to believe that.” Zadari continued: “I have asked my counterparts in the American intelligence services and they haven’t heard [from] him in seven years.”

And from the Nation, a report on charges by Seymour Hersch, 'US special squad killed Benazir'. Note that the head of the squad was none other than General Stanley McChrystal,

 Former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on the orders of the special death squad formed by former US vice-president Dick Cheney, which had already killed the Lebanese Prime Minister Rafique Al Hariri and the army chief of that country.
The squad was headed by General Stanley McChrystal, the newly-appointed commander of US army in Afghanistan. It was disclosed by reputed US journalist Seymour Hersh while talking to an Arab TV in an interview.
Hersh said former US vice-president Cheney was the chief of the Joint Special Operation Command and he clear the way for the US by exterminating opponents through the unit and the CIA. General Stanley was the in-charge of the unit.
Seymour also said that Rafiq Al Hariri and the Lebanese army chief were murdered for not safeguarding the US interests and refusing US setting up military bases in Lebanon. Ariel Sharon, the then prime minister of Israel, was also a key man in the plot.

Alternet has a profile fo McChrystal by James Petras, Cheney's Chief Assassin Is Now Obama's Commander in Afghanistan. It begins:

Obama's appointment of General Stanley McChrystal reflects a grave new military escalation of his Afghanistan war.

"The Deltas are psychos…You have to be a certified psychopath to join the Delta Force…”, a US Army colonel from Fort Bragg once told me back in the 1980s. Now President Obama has elevated the most notorious of the psychopaths, General Stanley McChrystal, to head the US and NATO military command in Afghanistan."

In an Op Ed is yesterday's New York Times, Frank Rich summed up the situation, Obama Can’t Turn the Page on Bush . After reviewing the present situation and President Obama's expressed desire to move on from the Bush Administration crimes, Rich sums up this way:

I’m not a fan of Washington’s blue-ribbon commissions, where political compromises can trump the truth. But the 9/11 investigation did illuminate how, a month after Bush received an intelligence brief titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.,” 3,000 Americans were slaughtered on his and Cheney’s watch. If the Obama administration really wants to move on from the dark Bush era, it will need a new commission, backed up by serious law enforcement, to shed light on where every body is buried.

It does seem to me this is a turning point. 




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 I did not say Cheney killed Benazir: Hersh

LAHORE: US journalist Seymour Hersh on Monday contradicted news reports being published in South Asia that quote him as saying a “special death squad” made by former US vice president Dick Cheney had killed Benazir Bhutto. The award-winning journalist described as “complete madness” the reports that the squad headed by General Stanley McChrystal – the new commander of US army in Afghanistan – had also killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafique Al Hariri and a Lebanese army chief. “Vice president Cheney does not have a death squad. I have no idea who killed Mr Hariri or Mrs Bhutto,” Hersh said. “I have never said that I did have such information. I most certainly did not say anything remotely to that effect during an interview with an Arab media outlet.” He said Gen McChrystal had run a special forces unit that engaged in “high value target activity”, but “while I have been critical of some of that unit’s activities in the pages of the New Yorker and in interviews, I have never suggested that he was involved in political assassinations or death squads on behalf of Mr Cheney, as the published stories state.” He regretted that none of the publications had contacted him before carrying the report. “This is another example of blogs going bonkers with misleading and fabricated stories and professional journalists repeating such rumours without doing their job – and that is to verify such rumours.” staff report


Hersh did not say Cheney ordered Bhutto assassination by Stephen C. Webster

UPDATE (below): Wall Street Journal removes links

Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator linked phony reports

In a telephone conversation with RAW STORY, Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh refuted reports that he told an Arab television network that former Vice President Dick Cheney ordered the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Numerous Internet and mainstream publications picked up the story on Monday. Even The Wall Street Journal linked to unverified sources carrying the story. (Screenshot.) U.S. conservative magazine The American Spectator also published a blog with the false information. (Screenshot.)

Hersh told RAW STORY Investigative News Editor Larisa Alexandrovna that he made no such statements.

Following RAW STORY’s Monday evening report, the Journal removed the links from its Web site. (Screenshot.)

“We’ve tried to reach out to people in the media that we know and correct this,” confirmed Alexa Cassanos, director of public relations at The New Yorker, speaking to this reporter. “We’re not even sure where this came from.”

Web sites which appear to be based in India and Pakistan reported that Hersh made the allegation during an interview with “an Arab television channel.” Outlets which reported this include thenation.com.pk (no affiliation with U.S. news magazine The Nation), webindia123.com, thaindian.com and dawn.com.

The stories also falsely allege Hersh said former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was key to the plot.

The only Arab television channel to interview Hersh recently is Gulf News, which spoke to him during the Arab Media Forum in Dubai. In the interview, Hersh does not even mention Bhutto’s name, but does condemn former Vice President Cheney for running an “executive assassination ring” which carried out operations all over the world.

A video of Hersh speaking to Gulf News reporter Abbas Al Lawati is available on the Internet.

“In Cheney’s view this isn’t murder, but carrying out the ‘war on terror,’” he said. “And in the view of me and my friends, including people in government, this is crazy. The vice president is committing a crime. You can’t authorize the murder of people. And it’s not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s in a lot of other countries, in the Middle East and in South Asia and North Africa and even central America.”

Hersh originally alleged Cheney oversaw the activities of an assassination ring while speaking at the University of Minnesota in March.

“If true, these operations violate longstanding U.S. policy regarding covert actions and illegally bypass Congressional oversight,” said Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), in reaction to the allegation. “Hersh is within a year or more of releasing a book that is said to include evidence of this allegation. However, we cannot wait a year or more to establish the truth.”

Kucinich wrote Congressman Edolphus Towns (D-NY), who chairs the House Oversight Committee, to request an investigation into Hersh’s claims. None has been announced.