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29

Seymour Hersh Concurs with Wayne Madsen

Seymour Hersh Concurs with Wayne Madsen Osama Killing a Hoax

Wayne Madsen Report

May 2-3, 2011 — Bin Laden: Body buried at sea, shoddy proof of death — another “Made in Hollywood” performance from “Ari Gold”

Years after Public Enemy Number One, Osama Bin Laden, was reportedly killed in the mountains of the Afghan-Pakistani border region or died from kidney failure in his native Hadhramaut region of Yemen, President Obama pulled the Bin Laden rabbit out of his political hat during a Sunday late-night television address, when many Americans were already watching the tube, thus increasing Obama’s market share for his “surprise announcement.” After all, Obama, who has close links to Oprah Winfrey and Rahm Emanuel’s super-Hollywood agent brother, Ari Emanuel, depicted as the vile “Ari Gold” in fiction, is well-aware of TV Sunday prime time ratings.

So, in a few words, Obama announced that Bin Laden had been killed by a U.S. team that caught the wily Saudi Arabian terrorist mastermind by surprise. Bin Laden was not caught in a cave or some other underground facility in Waziristan but in a $1 million walled-off estate in Abbottabad, a military cantonment where a number of active and retired members of Pakistan’s military and intelligence community lived. Abbottabad is also home to Pakistan’s version of West Point, the Kakul Military Academy, where the firefight between U.S. Navy SEALS and Bin Laden’s security guards allegedly took place a mere 800 meters away.

Up until the 1980s, the mountains around Abbottabad were dotted with small U.S. National Security Agency (NSA)/U.K. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) listening posts in places like Bada Bier and Parachinar were used to eavesdrop on signals from the Soviet Union and China. It was a time period when Bin Laden was operating his mujaheddin forces in Afghanistan under the aegis of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency and its CIA overseers.

Abbottabad is also very familiar to the CIA and U.S. Special Forces, which operated from the nearby Kalabagh air force base, which has reportedly been used in the past by U.S. Special Operations forces, including U.S. Marines. Why Bin Laden would want to locate a massive safe house in the heart of Pakistani and American counter-insurgency and intelligence activity is curious.

Bin Laden’s body was reported by the Pentagon to have been buried somewhere in the north Arabian Sea from the aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson. The Pentagon has assured the public that they confirmed Bin Laden’s identity through DNA sampling and are “100 percent” certain that the body they buried in the sea was that of Bin Laden. The question remains as to where Bin Laden’s comparative DNA samples were obtained over the past several years when the terrorist mastermind was supposedly a phantom-like fugitive.

However, the word from WMR sources at NSA is that no signals intercepts, from Pakistan or U.S. military sources, indicate that the man shot to death in Abbottabad was Osama Bin Laden. After the so-called killing of Bin Laden, operators were deluged with intercepted chatter about Bin Laden having been killed. However, not once did signals intercept operators, linguists and intelligence analysts based in Pakistan, Afghanistan, NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, or on ships offshore — who would have been cleared for and involved with the top secret mission to kill Bin Laden — pick up any intelligence about Bin Laden prior to his reported assassination by the U.S. Special Forces “kill” team acting on the direct orders of President Obama.

George W. Bush and other neo-con leaders, like Obama, have often pulled the Bin Laden rabbit out of their hat, years after reports of the Al Qaeda leader’s death in either thr Afghanistan-Pakistan border region or Yemen. On September 7, 2007, WMR reported: “‘Osama bin Laden’ supposedly appears in a new videotape with a dyed and trimmed beard and talking about Democratic control of Congress and the coming to power of Nicolas Sarkozy in France and Gordon Brown in Britain. ‘Bin Laden’ also refers to George W. Bush as the ‘leader of Texas.’ He also talks of the Democrats’ failure to ‘stop the war.’ “Bin Laden,’ who once recommended William Blum’ s book ‘Rogue State,’ is back in the Book-of-the-Month Club business in plugging Noam Chomsky and ex-CIA ‘Bin Laden Unit’ chief Michael Scheuer. ‘Bin Laden’ also mentions ‘neoconservatives’ like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Richard Pearl [sic], meaning Richard Perle. He also refers to Colin Powell and Richard Armitage and ‘their blood history of murdering humans.’ Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair also gets honorable mention. ‘Bin Laden’ also states that President John Kennedy was killed and ‘corporations were the primary beneficiary of his killing.’ Days before a huge anti-war march in Washington, on September 15, Bin Laden states that carrying ‘anti-war placards’ in the streets is of no use. As if expecting that many people will view the tape as a fake, the neocon media and their usual ‘sources’ and ‘experts’ are already claiming that it is quite common for Arab mean to dye their beards to make themselves look younger.”

On September 9, 2007, WMR reported on how “Al Qaeda” video and audiotapes are transmitted to the news media as authentic: “The so-called ‘Osama Bin Laden tape’ was not only transmitted via the auspices of the Search for International Terrorist Entities (SITE) Institute, a Washington, DC-based research institute with links to Israeli right-wing Likud elements, but U.S. intelligence officials are now claiming that large portions of the ‘Bin Laden’ speech were written by Los Angeles native Adam Gadahn, born Adam Pearlman, (aka Azzam the American), the number three man in charge of Al Qaeda, whose grandfather, Carl K. Pearlman, was a member of the board of the Anti Defamation League (ADL), an important component of the Israeli Lobby in the United States. Carl Pearlman, a prominent California urologist, was the chairman of the Orange County Bonds for Israel campaign and the United Jewish Welfare Fund. SITE and an Israeli intelligence front operation in Washington, MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute), are closely linked. MEMRI has been responsible for mis-translating several speeches made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. SITE’s director is Rita Katz, an Iraq-born Jew who moved to Israel after her father was executed by Saddam Hussein’s government for spying for the Mossad. She emigrated to the United States from Israel in 1997. Katz worked for the U.S. Treasury Department in its pursuit of Muslim charity funds in the United States in Operation Green Quest and as a consultant for the FBI. The main coordinator for Green Quest was the then-head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Michael Chertoff.

Not surprisingly, the Zawahiri tape ridiculing Obama was made available by the SITE Intelligence Group in Washington.

Our September 9, 2007 report continued: “The delivery of the latest ‘Bin Laden’ video was reported by the Associated Press as follows: ‘the 30-minute video was obtained by the SITE Institute, a Washington-based group that monitors terrorist messages, and provided to the Associated Press.’ In the past, Bin Laden videos were sent to Al Jazeera and other Arab media sources directly. The first news of the video’s release came on the al-Sahab web site, where ‘Al Qaeda’ has previously posted messages. Last year, a leaked French intelligence report stated that Bin Laden died of typhoid fever in Pakistan. There are other reports that after the US attack on Afghanistan, Bin Laden was spirited out of Afghanistan to his native Hadhramaut region of Yemen, where he later died of kidney failure surrounded by his close and extended family members. Bin Laden’s post-9/11 presence in Hadhramaut was hinted to by reputable Israeli intelligence sources in discussions with this editor in 2002. The speed at which the corporate media accepted the obviously bogus ‘Bin Laden makeover’ tape is amazing. However, considering the links between the neocon disinformation machinery in Washington, DC and the corporate media, it may not be so surprising when put into context.”

After years of lies from the U.S. government about Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, including “intelligence” about mobile biological weapons trailers from a known fraudster code named “Curveball”; bogus Niger documents on Iraq’s possession of yellow cake uranium; bogus Iraq Oil Ministry documents on Iraqi payoffs to Western political leaders under the UN’s Oil-for-Food program; and, more recently, false charges from Obama’s ambassador to the UN that Muammar Qaddafi’s troops in Libya were ingesting Viagra tablets before raping women, the public should be wary of a president who shows every tendency to lie as much as his three immediate predecessors: Bush II, Clinton, and Bush I. The White House is, perhaps, the greatest source of lies and disinformation in the world today, topping anything similar that may emanate from Pyongyang or Tripoli. There is no reason for any sane person to believe that anything Mr. Obama says is true. But Obama’s supporters wasted no time in proclaiming that Bin Laden’s killing ensures Obama’s re-election next year.

 Seymour Hersh UK Guardian

Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the ‘pathetic’ American media

Pulitzer Prize winner explains how to fix journalism, saying press should ‘fire 90% of editors and promote ones you can’t control’

Seymour Hersh exposed the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam war, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. Photograph: Wally McNamee/Corbis

Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.

It doesn’t take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as “the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist”.

He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.

Don’t even get him started on the New York Times which, he says, spends “so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would” – or the death of Osama bin Laden. “Nothing’s been done about that story, it’s one big lie, not one word of it is true,” he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011.

Hersh is writing a book about national security and has devoted a chapter to the bin Laden killing. He says a recent report put out by an “independent” Pakistani commission about life in the Abottabad compound in which Bin Laden was holed up would not stand up to scrutiny. “The Pakistanis put out a report, don’t get me going on it. Let’s put it this way, it was done with considerable American input. It’s a bullshit report,” he says hinting of revelations to come in his book.

The Obama administration lies systematically, he claims, yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him.

“It’s pathetic, they are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama],” he declares in an interview with the Guardian.

“It used to be when you were in a situation when something very dramatic happened, the president and the minions around the president had control of the narrative, you would pretty much know they would do the best they could to tell the story straight. Now that doesn’t happen any more. Now they take advantage of something like that and they work out how to re-elect the president.

He isn’t even sure if the recent revelations about the depth and breadth of surveillance by the National Security Agency will have a lasting effect.

Snowden changed the debate on surveillance

He is certain that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden “changed the whole nature of the debate” about surveillance. Hersh says he and other journalists had written about surveillance, but Snowden was significant because he provided documentary evidence – although he is sceptical about whether the revelations will change the US government’s policy.

“Duncan Campbell [the British investigative journalist who broke the Zircon cover-up story], James Bamford [US journalist] and Julian Assange and me and the New Yorker, we’ve all written the notion there’s constant surveillance, but he [Snowden] produced a document and that changed the whole nature of the debate, it’s real now,” Hersh says.

“Editors love documents. Chicken-shit editors who wouldn’t touch stories like that, they love documents, so he changed the whole ball game,” he adds, before qualifying his remarks.

“But I don’t know if it’s going to mean anything in the long [run] because the polls I see in America – the president can still say to voters ‘al-Qaida, al-Qaida’ and the public will vote two to one for this kind of surveillance, which is so idiotic,” he says.

Holding court to a packed audience at City University in London’s summer school on investigative journalism, 76-year-old Hersh is on full throttle, a whirlwind of amazing stories of how journalism used to be; how he exposed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, how he got the Abu Ghraib pictures of American soldiers brutalising Iraqi prisoners, and what he thinks of Edward Snowden.

Hope of redemption

Despite his concern about the timidity of journalism he believes the trade still offers hope of redemption.

“I have this sort of heuristic view that journalism, we possibly offer hope because the world is clearly run by total nincompoops more than ever … Not that journalism is always wonderful, it’s not, but at least we offer some way out, some integrity.”

His story of how he uncovered the My Lai atrocity is one of old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism and doggedness. Back in 1969, he got a tip about a 26-year-old platoon leader, William Calley, who had been charged by the army with alleged mass murder.

Instead of picking up the phone to a press officer, he got into his car and started looking for him in the army camp of Fort Benning in Georgia, where he heard he had been detained. From door to door he searched the vast compound, sometimes blagging his way, marching up to the reception, slamming his fist on the table and shouting: “Sergeant, I want Calley out now.”

Eventually his efforts paid off with his first story appearing in the St Louis Post-Despatch, which was then syndicated across America and eventually earned him the Pulitzer Prize. “I did five stories. I charged $100 for the first, by the end the [New York] Times were paying $5,000.”

He was hired by the New York Times to follow up the Watergate scandal and ended up hounding Nixon over Cambodia. Almost 30 years later, Hersh made global headlines all over again with his exposure of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Put in the hours

For students of journalism his message is put the miles and the hours in. He knew about Abu Ghraib five months before he could write about it, having been tipped off by a senior Iraqi army officer who risked his own life by coming out of Baghdad to Damascus to tell him how prisoners had been writing to their families asking them to come and kill them because they had been “despoiled”.

“I went five months looking for a document, because without a document, there’s nothing there, it doesn’t go anywhere.”

Hersh returns to US president Barack Obama. He has said before that the confidence of the US press to challenge the US government collapsed post 9/11, but he is adamant that Obama is worse than Bush.

“Do you think Obama’s been judged by any rational standards? Has Guantanamo closed? Is a war over? Is anyone paying any attention to Iraq? Is he seriously talking about going into Syria? We are not doing so well in the 80 wars we are in right now, what the hell does he want to go into another one for. What’s going on [with journalists]?” he asks.

He says investigative journalism in the US is being killed by the crisis of confidence, lack of resources and a misguided notion of what the job entails.

“Too much of it seems to me is looking for prizes. It’s journalism looking for the Pulitzer Prize,” he adds. “It’s a packaged journalism, so you pick a target like – I don’t mean to diminish because anyone who does it works hard – but are railway crossings safe and stuff like that, that’s a serious issue but there are other issues too.

“Like killing people, how does [Obama] get away with the drone programme, why aren’t we doing more? How does he justify it? What’s the intelligence? Why don’t we find out how good or bad this policy is? Why do newspapers constantly cite the two or three groups that monitor drone killings. Why don’t we do our own work?

“Our job is to find out ourselves, our job is not just to say – here’s a debate’ our job is to go beyond the debate and find out who’s right and who’s wrong about issues. That doesn’t happen enough. It costs money, it costs time, it jeopardises, it raises risks. There are some people – the New York Times still has investigative journalists but they do much more of carrying water for the president than I ever thought they would … it’s like you don’t dare be an outsider any more.”

He says in some ways President George Bush‘s administration was easier to write about. “The Bush era, I felt it was much easier to be critical than it is [of] Obama. Much more difficult in the Obama era,” he said.

Asked what the solution is Hersh warms to his theme that most editors are pusillanimous and should be fired.

“I’ll tell you the solution, get rid of 90% of the editors that now exist and start promoting editors that you can’t control,” he says. I saw it in the New York Times, I see people who get promoted are the ones on the desk who are more amenable to the publisher and what the senior editors want and the trouble makers don’t get promoted. Start promoting better people who look you in the eye and say ‘I don’t care what you say’.

Nor does he understand why the Washington Post held back on the Snowden files until it learned the Guardian was about to publish.

If Hersh was in charge of US Media Inc, his scorched earth policy wouldn’t stop with newspapers.”I would close down the news bureaus of the networks and let’s start all over, tabula rasa. The majors, NBCs, ABCs, they won’t like this – just do something different, do something that gets people mad at you, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing,” he says.

Hersh is currently on a break from reporting, working on a book which undoubtedly will make for uncomfortable reading for both Bush and Obama.

“The republic’s in trouble, we lie about everything, lying has become the staple.” And he implores journalists to do something about it.