be careful where you clique
Seymour Hersh is a pretty polarizing journalist. As a New Yorker regular, he’s known for breaking some pretty incredible stories with his mouth as well as with his articles. He’s also notorious for using anonymous sources, a technique that draws a lot of heat. What’s interesting is that given, his track record- he’s usually spot on. In 1969, he broke wind by exposing a massacre carried out by Charlie Company in the previous year in and around the village of Mỹ Lai in Vietnam. Soon after, army photographs began reaching mainstream media outlets, and public opinion of the war, already eroding, took a complete nosedive.
In 1974, Hersh again surfaced when he attempted to publish a story on Project Jennifer, a CIA operation to secretly recover the sunken Soviet submarine, K-129 at a depth of 4900 meters at the coordinates 40N/180 in the Pacific. Howard Hughes had been commissioned to build a ship, The Glomar Explorer (pictured below). Lockheed was in charge of designing the crane, Clementine, that would do the heavy lifting. What exactly happened remains undisclosed. The government, after being pressed, reports that the recovery flopped, when halfway up from the seabed the submarine split in twain. Military insiders speculate that the entire vessel may have been retained. How exactly the submarine sank is also a matter of conspiratorial speculation. Nevertheless without the squawking of Hersh, little of this story would be known.
And so it comes to more recent days… Hersh has been foaming throughout the War on terror (example read here) about Abu Ghraib, Nuclear Iran, Special Operations in Afghanistan. On Tuesday night, He gave a talk with cohost and half-man-half-owl, Walter Mondale at the University of Minnesota. You can follow this link to the full audio of the conversation.
In the talk Hersh comments on what he calls the Joint Special Operations Command and it’s “execution rings”, overseen only by the former VP’s office and headed up by one Admiral William McRaven. This this little unit handled operations such as assassinating those people deemed in the way and picking up the ordered Afghan take-out.
“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.”
As the NYT has recently reported, McRaven has cancelled any further “biddings” as the collateral damage has gotten to be a little to much. Whether Hersh is blabbering or not, it’s important to note these types of activities for what they are, and not be surprised later when the locals don’t appreciate all we’ve done.