"Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths."--Seymour Hersh
by Eric Black
March 11 2009
Hear Seymour Hersh's entire speech regarding US Death Squads...+ Catherine Austin Fitts' claim of poisoning911truth | assassination rings | Death Squads | hit squads
Hear legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh's entire speech at the University of Minnesota this week in which he talked about a US "executive assassination ring".
Hear how 911Truther and former Bush administration official Catherine Austin Fitts was poisoned after daring to speak the truth.
Thursday, March 12th, 2009
At a "Great Conversations" event at the University of Minnesota last night, legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh may have made a little more news than he intended by talking about new alleged instances of domestic spying by the CIA, and about an ongoing covert military operation that he called an "executive assassination ring."
Hersh spoke with great confidence about these findings from his current reporting, which he hasn't written about yet.
In an email exchange afterward, Hersh said that his statements were "an honest response to a question" from the event's moderator, U of M Political Scientist Larry Jacobs and "not something I wanted to dwell about in public."
Hersh didn't take back the statements, which he said arise from reporting he is doing for a book, but that it might be a year or two before he has what he needs on the topic to be "effective...that is, empirical, for even the most skeptical."
The evening of great conversation, featuring Walter Mondale and Hersh, moderated by Jacobs and titled "America's Constitutional Crisis," looked to be a mostly historical review of events that have tested our Constitution, by a journalist and a high government officials who had experience with many of the crises.
And it was mostly historical, and a great conversation, in which Hersh and Mondale talked about the patterns by which presidents seem to get intoxicated by executive power, frustrated by the limitations on that power from Congress and the public, drawn into improper covert actions that exceed their constitutional powers, in the belief that they can get results and will never be found out. Despite a few references to the Founding Fathers, the history was mostly recent, starting with the Viethnam War with much of it arising from the George W. Bush administration, which both men roundly denounced.
At the end of one answer by Hersh about how these things tend to happen, Jacobs asked: "And do they continue to happen to this day?"
"Yuh. After 9/11, I haven't written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven't been called on it yet. That does happen.
"Right now, today, there was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command -- JSOC it's called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. ...
"Congress has no oversight of it. It's an executive assassination ring essentially, and it's been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths.
"Under President Bush's authority, they've been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That's been going on, in the name of all of us.
"It's complicated because the guys doing it are not murderers, and yet they are committing what we would normally call murder. It's a very complicated issue. Because they are young men that went into the Special Forces. The Delta Forces you've heard about. Navy Seal teams. Highly specialized.
"In many cases, they were the best and the brightest. Really, no exaggerations. Really fine guys that went in to do the kind of necessary jobs that they think you need to do to protect America. And then they find themselves torturing people.
"I've had people say to me -- five years ago, I had one say: "What do you call it when you interrogate somebody and you leave them bleeding and they don't get any medical committee and two days later he dies. Is that murder? What happens if I get before a committee?'
"But they're not gonna get before a committee."
Hersh, the best-known investigative reporter of his generation, writes about these kinds of issues for The New Yorker. He has written often about JSOC, including, last July that:
"Under the Bush Administration's interpretation of the law, clandestine military activities, unlike covert C.I.A. operations, do not need to be depicted in a Finding, because the President has a constitutional right to command combat forces in the field without congressional interference."
("Finding" refers to a special document that a president must issue, although not make public, to authorize covert CIA actions.)
Here is a tape of the full Mondale-Hersh-Jacobs colloquy, a little over an hour, without the audience Q and A. If you want to look for the Hersh statement quoted above, it's about at the 7:30 mark.
The rest of the evening was, as expected, full of worry and wisdom and quite a bit of Bush-bashing.
Jacobs walked the two elder statesmen through their experiences of:
The My Lai massacre, which Hersh first revealed publicly and which he last night called "the end of innocence about us and war."
The Pentagon Papers case, which Mondale called the best example of the "government's potential for vast public deception."
Henry Kissinger's secret dealings, mostly relating to the Vietnam War. (Hersh, who has written volumes about Kissinger, said that he will always believe that whereas ordinary people count sheep to fall asleep, Kissinger "has to count burned and maimed Cambodian babies.")
The Church Committee investigation of CIA and FBI abuses, in which Mondale played a major role. (He talked about the fact that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, not only spied on Martin Luther King but literally tried to drive him to suicide.)
The Iran Contra scandal. (Hersh said the Reagan administration came to office with a clear goal of finding a way to finance covert actions, such as the funding of the Nicaraguan Contras, without appropriations so that Congress wouldn't know about them. Mondale noted that Reagan had signed a law barring further aid to the Contras, then participated in a scheme to keep the aid flowing. Hersh said that two key veterans of Iran-Contra, Dick Cheney and national security official Elliot Abrams, were reunited in the George W. Bush White House and decided that the key lesson from Iran-Contra was that too many people in the administration knew about it.)
And the Bush-Cheney years. (Said Hersh: "The contempt for Congress in the Bush-Cheney White House was extaordinary." Said Mondale of his successor, Cheney and his inner circle: "they ran a government within the government." Hersh added: "Eight or nine neoconservatives took over our country." Mondale said that the precedents of abuse of vice presidential power by Cheney would remain "like a loaded pistol that you leave on the dining room table.")
Jacobs pressed both men on the question of whether the frequent abuses of power show that the Constitution fails, because these things keep happening, or whether it works, because these things keep coming to light.
Mondale stuck with the happy answer. "The system has come through again and again," he said. Presidents always think they will get away with it, but eventually reporters like Hersh bring things to light, the public "starts smelling this stuff," the courts and the Congress get involved. Presidents "always, in the long run, find out that the system is stronger than they are."
Hersh seemed more troubled by the repetitions of the pattern. The "beautiful thing about our system" is that eventually we get new leaders, he said. "The evil twosome, Cheney and Bush, left," Hersh said. But he also said "it's really amazing to me that we manage to get such bad leadership, so consistently."
And he added that both the press and the public let down their guard in the aftermath of 9/11.
"The major newspapers joined the [Bush] team," Hersh said. Top editors passed the message to investigative reporters not to "pick holes" in what Bush was doing. Violations of the Bill of Rights happened in the plain sight of the public. It it was not only tolerated, but Bush was re-elected.
And even Mondale admitted that one of his greatest successes, laws reforming the FBI and CIA in the aftermath of the Church Committee, were supposed to fix the problem so that "we would never have these problems again in the lifetime of anyone alive at the time, but of course we did."
Source URL: http://www.minnpost.com/ericblackblog/2009/03/11/7310/investigative_reporter_seymour_hersh_describes_executive_assassination_ring
Five Alarmer: Seymour Hersh Says Assassination Squad Reported Directly to Dick Cheney
Submitted by Anonymous on Wed, 03/11/2009
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ALERT
In a testament to the vital need for non corporate, independent media, the non-profit MinnPost.com posted a Five Alarm bombshell: Seymour Hersh stated that a top secret assassination squad reported directly to Dick Cheney in the Bush Administration.
Ignored by the corporate mainstream press -- as usual -- Hersh's comments were picked up and followed up upon by the MinnPost following a forum at the University of Minnesota.
Hersh almost in passing revealed:
"Right now, today, there was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command -- JSOC it’s called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. ...
"Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths.
"Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.
Moreover, Hersh dropped a second Five Alarm bombshell: the CIA was more deeply involved in spying on American citizens than ever previously revealed: "After 9/11, I haven’t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet."
Like BuzzFlash, the MinnPost has shown the importance of a completely independent media, free of corporate influence, to expose the crimes and shocking actions of those in power.
Coming from anybody else, these allegations would be met with some skepticism. But Eric Black of the online MinnPost knew that Hersh, a long-time intelligence correspondent for the New Yorker, has impeccable credentials and bats nearly 100% with his analysis and conclusions. So he not only found the dynamite buried in a question and answer session, Black followed up by e-mail with Hersh to verify the quotes.
Let BuzzFlash know if a former vice-president ordering and overseeing the assassinations of people in foreign countries makes the front page news of any mainstream corporate newspaper, the nightly news, or corporate radio. Somehow we doubt it will get much play, if any.
That's why we need the independent media, such as MinnPost and BuzzFlash.
Hersh spoke indirectly to the need for alternative sources of information when he observed:
“The major newspapers joined the [Bush] team,” Hersh said. Top editors passed the message to investigative reporters not to “pick holes” in what Bush was doing. Violations of the Bill of Rights happened in the plain sight of the public. It it was not only tolerated, but Bush was re-elected.
But the only completely independent alternative to the corporate press is a grassroots-supported media, which is accountable to the citizens of America and its communities.
MinnPost.com proved that once again.
Now, we still have a question at BuzzFlash.
When will Dick Cheney be tried and put away for war crimes and violations of American law?
SOURCE URL: http://buzzflash.com/articles/node/7929
George W. Bush's Legacy of Cynicism and Contempt
George W. Bush and his henchmen stole the presidency. They threw thousands of innocent people into prison without even charging them with a crime. They're gearing up to invade Iraq without bothering to come up with a substantial justification. Now some Democrats and progressive Americans are asking the unthinkable about an administration they increasingly believe to be ruled by thugs and renegades. Did government gangsters murder the United States' most liberal legislator?
Talk of foul play began hours after Senator Paul Wellstone's plane went down over northeastern Minnesota on Oct. 25, killing him, his wife and his daughter, along with three staffers and two pilots. "Please tell me I'm wrong to be thinking what I'm thinking," a self-described "liberal Democrat" from St. Paul e-mailed me that evening. "I want to be wrong, but I wouldn't put it past the Republicans--THESE Republicans--to sabotage Wellstone's plane." Internet discussion groups and e-mail in-boxes quickly echoed her sentiment.
People expressed similar fears after Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and Missouri Governor Mel Carnahandied in plane crashes--the latter weeks before facing an election challenge from future Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft but the whispers of assassination following the Wellstone tragedy are more widespread and gaining mainstream currency far beyond the usual conspiracy nuts.
A Convenient Death
The Minnesota senator's death certainly comes at an auspicious time for the Republican Party. Wellstone's challenger, former St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman, was considered by both parties to be the GOP's best chance for recapturing the 50-to-49 Democratic U.S. Senate. Wellstone had been considered vulnerable for two reasons: his principled opposition to Bush's Iraq war resolution (the Senate voted 77-to-23 in favor) and a strong Green Party candidacy sure to siphon off leftie votes. Bush was so anxious to silence the Senate's most liberal voice (Mother Jones magazine called him "the first 1960s radical elected to the U.S. Senate") that he personally recruited Coleman to run against him. Bush then campaigned furiously against Wellstone, attending two fundraisers which raised over $2.3 million--more than he raised for any other Republican candidate, including his brother Jeb.
Republicans resorted to Nixon-style dirty tricks in the Coleman campaign. Coleman called Wellstone "extremist" and implied he was a communist. GOP workers phoned senior citizens to tell them that Wellstone was plotting to take away their Social Security. They called members of the National Rifle Association to tell them that Wellstone was plotting to take away their guns. They even ran newspaper ads depicting gruesome photos of late-term abortions.
Despite the money and sleazy tactics being used against him, recent polls showed Wellstone beginning to pull ahead. With Election Day looming on Nov. 5, many analysts were predicting a Wellstone victory and continued Democratic dominance of the Senate. Perhaps, the thinking goes, someone in the Bush regime decided Wellstone had to go.
Assassination by Aviation
If Wellstone's plane was sabotaged, it wouldn't be the first time that a political figure met his end in the friendly skies. A plane carrying Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung's hand-picked successor, Lin Biao, crashed under mysterious circumstances en route to Moscow during 1971. The Chinese later claimed that Lin was defecting to the Soviet Union after a botched coup attempt against Mao; guilty or not, most historians believe that his plane was probably sabotaged. On March 3, 2001, a phosphorus bomb blew up a Thai Airways Boeing 737-400 minutes before the country's new prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, was set to board the jet.
Many American politicians--mostly Democrats and liberal Republicans--have died in aviation disasters. Senator John Tower (R-TX) Senator John Heinz (D-PA), Congressman Mickey Leland (D-TX); Ron Brown and Mel Carnahan are among those who have been killed in airplanes since 1989. "Elected officials expose themselves every day to these kinds of risks as they travel across their states or districts," Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) commented, noting the perils of frequently using small aircraft.
Anyone who has traveled on what is euphemistically called "civil aviation" can tell horror stories about sudden drops, lurches and violent thunderstorms. But it's also true that security at the regional airports and small terminals at major airports used for such flights--Wellstone flew out of St. Paul--is more easily penetrable than that at JFK and LAX. It would hardly be impossible to sabotage a plane chartered for an inconvenient politician.
Wherefore the Black Box?
According to aviation consultant Robert Breiling, the plane that carried Senator Wellstone--the King Air A-100 "business turboprop," also known as a Beech King Air--is remarkably safe, with 25 percent fewer fatal accidents than other planes in its class. Warren Morningstar, spokesman for the Airline Owners and Pilots Association, says: "It's a great airplane."
So why did Wellstone's go down? Weather is the lead suspect. Freezing temperatures, which can be severe in Minnesota, came early this year. "This airplane would typically be equipped with de-ice equipment but there are icing conditions that are beyond the measure of any equipment to remove," Morningstar notes.
Local pilots, however, doubt that ice was a problem. "There was little ice. It was normal. We see it all the time," said Don Sipola, a flight instructor with 25 years experience.
"Black boxes"--a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder--are often crucial for discovering the cause of airplane crashes. According to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Paul Takemoto, the plane was required to be equipped with both. Contradicting the FAA, Carol Carmody, acting chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board which is investigating the site of the crash, says that the plane apparently carried neither. Were the black boxes lost or were they never aboard? Someone may know, but thus far no one's saying.
Both the government and the mainstream media have since tried to portray the 9/11 truth movement as led by people who can be dismissed as 'conspiracy theorists' able to find an outlet for their ideas only on the Internet. Books now available, with essays by intellectuals from Europe and North America, show this caricature to be untrue. Coming from different intellectual disciplines as well as from different parts of the world, these authors are united in the conviction that the official story about 9/11 is a huge deception manufactured to extend imperial control at home and abroad. See the PeaceProject.com Website for top publications.
The End of America: Movie
9/11 Visibility Website
The Exceptional Patriot: Dr. David Ray Griffin
The Exceptional Patriot: Naomi Wolf
The Exceptional Patriot: Charlie Sheen
The Exceptional Patriot: Ed Asner
The Exceptional Patriot: Jesse Ventura
Primitive Evil Resurrected in Bedford, Pennsylvania
The Brainwashing of Children in America
Zeitgeist: Addendum---The true source of Terrorism and Slavery