Seymour Hersh is not an investigative reporter. People make that mistake all the time. His career has been about his being fed information by the intelligence community. Oliver Stone believes Sy is actually CIA.
C.I. doesn't believe that. She and Sy go back. He's one of the reasons that she and Coretta Scott King dropped out of the 1972 Ring Around The Capitol action. Sy was circling that and getting all sorts of information -- some of which -- just by chance you understand -- did end up in the files the FBI kept on C.I.
After Jack Anderson revealed to Jane Fonda the spying on her taking place, C.I. and I both filed requests for any files the FBI had on us. It was very illuminating to learn what had been passed on and we could usually identify the source by how they spoke of us.
Joan Baez had a snit fit when Coretta and C.I. walked on that action but they were right to do so. Equally true, Sy was spying. Spying for the government, yes. Not because he worked for them but because he did favors for them and, in return, from time to time they fed him information.
That is reality. Coretta didn't trust him, C.I. doesn't trust him to this day.
I mention that as a prelude to this piece of writing by Jeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH) about Sy:
+ I read with intense interest Seymour Hersh’s account of the bombing of the Nordstream pipelines. Hersh certainly presents a plausible scenario for how the sabotage could have been executed. The reaction has, of course, been polarized, largely because the piece, published on Substack without, one presumes, any irritating queries from fact-checkers, rests entirely on the word of one unidentified source (referred to somewhat coyly throughout as “the Source”), who seems to command an almost omniscient knowledge of an operation involving many parts and players, including another country: Norway.
Hersh has built a dazzling career based on the use of anonymous sources, with major exposés over the decades in the New York Times, New Yorker and London Review of Books. In most of those cases, the anonymous source was backed up by tangible evidence of some sort. That’s not the case here. There’s no documentary or evidentiary trail. Indeed, some of the public data that is available seems to undermine (so to speak) Hersh’s account in at least one respect: there don’t appear to have been any Norwegian Alta-class ships in the area during the Baltops operation (June 5 to June 17, 2022).
Long-time Moscow correspondent John Helmer (who is convinced it was a NATO operation, involving the UK, Germany and the US) points out another curious, and perhaps revealing, blunder in Hersh’s piece. Hersh refers to meetings on the plot taking place in the Old Executive Office building at the “President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB).” As Helmer notes: “This reported acronym comes from the Carter Administration’s revival of the organization in 1978 and before the Clinton Administration merged and reorganized it in 1993. Nowadays — when Hersh’s source claims they were meeting – the acronym is PIAB.”
The piece plays to your prejudices and it has spawned a real guessing game as to who Hersh’s source is, what kind of axe he’s grinding, and against whom. If you’re curious, the current PIAB is chaired by retired Navy Admiral Sandy Winnfeld. At the time of the Nordstream caper its members included venture capitalist Gilman Louie, former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, former US Ambassador to India Richard Verma, and former Indiana Governor and US Senator Evan Bayh.
Is the US capable of such a plot? Yes. Has it done such things in the past? Yes. Did it have an incentive to act here? Maybe, though the risks of exposure were high and the consequences potentially catastrophic.
So, you can understand the skepticism. Imagine if Hersh had written a similar piece based on information from an unidentified intelligence source alleging that the bombing of Nordstream was a false flag attack conducted by the Russians to blame the Ukrainians and keep the European nations, especially Germany out of the war. The reaction would have flipped.
For years, Hersh has been sitting on a demolition of Dick Cheney. He has said that it can’t be published as long as his inside source is still alive. The question in Washington has long been: who’ll die first, Cheney, Hersh or the Source? Woodward and Bernstein just gave their source the name of a porn film and went with it.
Still Hersh’s recent track record isn’t unblemished. (Cf., the LRB piece on Bin Laden, the strange interview with Errol Morris in the documentary Wormwood on the CIA’s role in the death of Frank Olson (Hersh claimed to know how and why Olson died but couldn’t reveal it because he’d blow his source) and his unfortunate Seth Rich “theorizing,” (Hersh claimed to have an FBI source who saw a–nonexistent–report confirming Rich had been in touch with Wikileaks, which helped boost one of the more depraved conspiracies of the Russiagate era. He later claimed it was just DC gossip. See: Andy Kroll’s recent book A Death on W Street.)
Sy doesn't make things up. He's fed everything he's ever written. Some times he's fed the truth, some times he's fed lies. He's happy to be used.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, February 10, 2023. The US government (and Tara Reade) stay silent about the murder of Tiba al-Ali, Tara is eager to share the stage with both a registered sex offender and a man fired by FOX NEWS because he was harassing employees.
"The police always come late if they come at all." Tracy Chapman nailed it. Sadly, it's true of much more than just the police. Next month is the 20th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War (or the latest phase of an ongoing war that began in the last century). US troops remain on the ground in Iraq to this day. Last December, US Marine Staff Sgt Samuel D. Lecce became the most recent US service member to die in Iraq. "Round and round it goes, where it ends, nobody knows." That's supposed to be a slogan for roulette but it's become the US government's 'plan' for war.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that the Senate will vote to repeal two decades-old measures giving open-ended approval for military action in Iraq, raising the hopes of a bipartisan group of senators who want to reclaim congressional powers over US military strikes and deployments.
The vote, which would come after consideration in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, could take place just before the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. It would repeal the 2002 measure that greenlighted that March 2003 invasion, along with a separate 1991 measure that sanctioned the US-led Gulf War to expel Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.
“Every year we keep this authorization to use military force on the books is another chance for a future president to abuse or misuse it,” Schumer said. “War powers belong squarely in the hands of Congress, and that implies that we have a responsibility to prevent future presidents from hijacking this AUMF to bumble us into a new war.”
Igor Bobic (HUFFINGTON POST) notices the glass knocked off the table and now broken into shards on the floor and sees it as half-full -- why else would he write, "The push to repeal the 2002 Iraq War military authorization and the 1991 Gulf War authorization has steadily gained bipartisan momentum in recent years." Grace Segers breathes a little more reality at THE NEW REPUBLIC:
Roughly 32 years ago, Congress approved its first authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, in Iraq. Another AUMF for Iraq was approved 11 years later, in 2002, approving further action in the country after the September 11 terrorist attacks. More than two decades later, Congress is a step closer to repealing these authorizations, formally bringing the Gulf and Iraq wars to a close. True AUMF buffs know that this isn’t the first time that lawmakers have tried to repeal these measures—but a new momentum is threatening the inertia that has kept them in place.
Staying with the US government, yesterday the US State Dept issued the following:
Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein Before Their Meeting
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Good morning, everyone.
FOREIGN MINISTER HUSSEIN: Good morning.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: It’s a great pleasure to have my longtime friend Fuad Hussein, the foreign minister of Iraq, here at the State Department in Washington. We have worked together for many years – too many years. But it’s always wonderful to have you here.
But this is an important moment, an important meeting. We have a Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq, but we are now focused very intensely on the economic dimension of that agreement and the work that we can do together, the United States and Iraq, to continue to strengthen Iraq’s economy, its integration, reintegration in the region, in ways that make a material difference in the lives of the Iraqi people and Iraqi citizens.
One particular focus will be on energy, on electricity. Iraq can and should be strongly energy independent, and this is something that I think the United States and others can continue to support Iraq as it moves in that direction.
So that’s the focus of our conversations, but I would just say as well that President Biden had a very good conversation with Prime Minister Sudani just a few days ago, and we look very much forward with the prime minister to strengthening the strategic partnership that unites Iraq and the United States.
FOREIGN MINISTER HUSSEIN: Thank you very much, and thank you, Tony. Thank you for your friendship – personal friend, but also you are a friend of the Iraqi people. Thank you very much for your support in the fight against ISIS. And we worked together, we fought together, we defeated the so-called Islamic State together, and we will continue working together on the basis of building and rebuilding our economy. And with your support, with the American companies’ support – we are in need for your support in various fields, and we will continue our cooperation.
And thank you very much for your time and for receiving us here.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you, my friend.
FOREIGN MINISTER HUSSEIN: Thank you. Bye-bye.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thanks, everyone.
Iraq came up at yesterday's State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Ned Price.
NED PRICE: And finally, today the Secretary hosted the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Fuad Hussain and his delegation in the first-ever economic-focused Higher Coordinating Committee of the U.S.‑Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement, reinforcing the strong relationship between our countries. The Iraqi delegation will meet with a range of U.S. officials to discuss strengthening Iraq’s economy, pursuing Iraqi energy independence, and combatting climate change. This is our first HCC since Prime Minister Sudani formed a new government, and we are looking forward to a robust discussion.
The United States supports a strong, stable, and sovereign Iraq, and we recognize the critical important of a healthy and growing economy for this end.
[. . .]
QUESTION: Thank you. As you know, the Iraqi delegation have come to talk about security relationship and politic and economy. My question is: Does the U.S. Government instead on it is demands on the Iraqi Government in terms of trade relations with the countries that are listed on your sanctions, including Iran and Russia?
MR PRICE: Our relationship with the Government of Iraq is one based on partnership. It is one based on mutual respect. It is based on our mutual interests and what works to the benefit of both of our countries. It is not our approach, whether it is the Government of Iraq or any other partner of ours, to issue demands, to issue decrees. When we engage with our Iraqi partners, we do often talk about the challenges that we confront in the region and well beyond. Many of those challenges are challenges to both of our interests. Iranian-backed forces in some cases pose a challenge to both of our interests.
So when we talk about sanctions, we don’t talk about it in terms of what we are demanding of our Iraqi partners. We talk about it in terms of what is good for both of our countries, and there is a lot that is good for both of our countries. That is the relationship of shared interests, mutual interests we have. The very fact that we have so many mutual interests allows us to have these conversations and allows us to arrive at common positions.
[. . .]
QUESTION: Thank you, Ned. Just to follow up on my colleague’s question about the Russian sanctions related to Iraq, what – I met deputy prime minister yesterday. He said that we owe the Russian companies, but the United States will not let us to pay them back because they are imposing sanction to us. Then my question is that: Are you going to waive Iraq from the Russian sanctions to pay their owes, their debts to Russian companies?
And my second question: Last week, the House Representatives Foreign Affairs chairman, he sent a letter to Secretary Blinken and said when you have a meeting with the Iraqi delegation, bring the dispute between KRG and also Baghdad into the table, because some of the disputes, they make problem for oil and gas companies to working in Kurdistan Region. Then – but I don’t hear you and Secretary Blinken to mention that. Have you touched this issue with the Iraqi delegation?
MR PRICE: So a couple of things. We’ll have more to say on the meeting, I would expect, later today. But this meeting was the first time the Higher Coordinating Committee met exclusively on economic issues. The fact is that we have a 360-degree relationship with our Iraqi partners. That means that, beyond our cooperation in the security and defense realm, we’re committed to expanding all facets of that bilateral relationship: fighting corruption, combating the climate crisis, growing the private sector, creating jobs, improving public services, expanding educational and cultural programming, establishing Iraq’s energy independence, and strengthening Iraqi sovereignty.
Now, today’s session is focusing on the economics of all of that, the climate impacts of that relationship, the energy elements of it as well. So I would expect the issues that you raise will be up for discussion. I suspect we’ll have more to say before —
QUESTION: What about disputes between —
MR PRICE: — the (inaudible). Go ahead.
QUESTION: The disputes between KRG —
MR PRICE: Let me – let me move around. I need to move to others. Yes.
Once the KRG came up, Ned rushed off to another journalist and another topic. That's far from the only thing being ignored.
Tiba al-Ali. Is there a reason that the US government has made a decision to ignore her murder? Is there a reason that the press covering the State Dept and the White House can't get off their lazy asses and ask for a statement regarding the murder.
So-called 'honor' killings continue in Iraq. And not just in Iraq. And it's past time that the US government made a public response about this latest murder.
They're real good about starting wars, the US government, not real good about ending them (or winning them). Maybe if they could use Tiba's murder to start a new war, they'd have something to say?
There's a non-action coming up that's getting press attention for the pedophile they'll be putting on stage. THE VANGUARD did a good job covering it in the video below.
An anti-war rally slated for later this month has been thrown into disarray by disagreements about a convicted child sex predator’s participation, with many speakers threatening to pull out of the Libertarian Party-led event if it booted the pedophile.
Pressure mounted internally for the Libertarian Party to disinvite Scott Ritter from the rally after the Washington Free Beacon reported about Ritter’s criminal past, which includes a 2011 prison stint for masturbating online in front of an undercover cop he believed to be an underage girl. He was arrested twice in 2001 after showing up for what he thought were meetings with 14- and 15-year-old girls. But as of this writing, Ritter's status as a featured speaker for the "Rage Against the War Machine" rally is still in limbo.
[. . .]
Judge Andrew Napolitano, a former Fox News regular who is speaking at the rally, confirmed that he stood up for Ritter in an attempt to keep him in the event. He told Libertarian Party leaders that Ritter "is intellectually honest, personally courageous, profoundly trustworthy, and utterly fearless," according to an email he shared with the Free Beacon.
"He may be the most valued and knowledgeable public person in America in the Peace Movement today," said Napolitano, who lost his job at Fox News over accusations that he "sexually harassed numerous young male employees" at the network.
Other speakers rallied in support of Ritter, including Tara Reade, a former Joe Biden aide who said the president sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.
"It would be my honor to stand with" Ritter, she tweeted, adding that "Scott is a heroic anti war voice."
The Libertarian party has long been a home for those who have questioned the role of government in regulating sex between adults and minors. Just last year a Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate in Arizona named age of consent laws as something he'd move to change if elected. And in 2016 a Libertarian congressional candidate said all incidents of adults having sexual relationships with minors should be viewed on a case-by-case basis. "Hard age of consent laws don't take into account the actual maturity of the child," the candidate argued.
I told you Tara Reade was a bitch. Some of you didn't like hearing the truth. Doesn't mean she wasn't assaulted. Just means she's not just an airhead, she's a really lousy person. She pretends to support victims but apparently standing with registered sex offender Scott Ritter is her new hot thing. Also note that the fact Andrew Napolitano was fired from FOX NEWS for his harassment of young men. I think Tara puts the "ME" in MeToo and honestly nothing else. Again, she's a selfish bitch -- which is why she has that long list of former friends that she leached off of and never repaid. Again, I believe she was assaulted. I also believe she's a very bad person and she makes that clearer every day. Right now, she's eager to share the stage with convicted sex offender Scott Ritter and workplace harasser Napolitano. These are her people, please remember.
And this week, she couldn't stand with Tiba. Of course not. But she stood with another questionable man -- James O'Keefe. Remember when Tara used to claim to be of the left? She's so pathetic and her little con games always end with her exposed.
The following sites updated: