Sy Hersh: Neolib Disinfo Operative?

Kurt Nimmo
Mar. 05, 2007

Last week, New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh, supposedly citing insider sources, told us the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia are working together to fan the flames of sectarian violence in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran by unleashing reactionary Sunni terrorists to go up against the Shi’a, namely Hezbollah.

Elaborating on this “incendiary strategy,” Peter Symonds writes: “The close involvement of Saudi Arabia in the enterprise is particularly significant. The Saudi monarchy, which has a long history of financing Sunni fanatics, was a close partner in the 1980s in the CIA’s backing of Mujaheddin fighters against the Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan. The ‘blowback’ from that operation included the creation of Al Qaeda, which called for a jihad against the US after American troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia for the first Gulf War in 1990-91. Now with Saudi assistance, the Bush administration is unleashing the same reactionary forces in its efforts to undermine Iran, with cynical disregard for the consequences.”

If so, this does not explain why “Sunni and Shi’ite heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Iran” are working together “to fight the spread of sectarian strife that threatens to spill over from their neighbor Iraq,” according to Reuters. “Saudi King Abdullah held talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who was on his first official trip to Saudi Arabia. A Saudi official said earlier the kingdom would seek Iran’s help to ease sectarian tensions in Iraq erupting into full-blown civil war.” If indeed Saudi Arabia is working with the neocons to undermine the influence of the Shi’a in Lebanon—and if we are to believe Hersh and his “sources,” Iran itself—how do we explain Abdullah and Ahmadinejad making nice?

“The two parties have agreed to stop any attempt aimed at spreading sectarian strife in the region,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told reporters. “The two leaders stressed that the greatest threat against the Muslim nation are attempts to spread strife between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims.”

But, if we are to believe Hersh, spreading “strife between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims” is precisely what the Saudis, working with Israel and the United States, is interested in accomplishing.

Andrew Sullivan, writing for the Atlantic Online, believes all of this is “very confusing” and not “so long ago, we were told that Cheney favored a pro-Shiite solution in Iraq and the region. Now, we’re told he’s decided to vest American interests and young American lives into supporting the Sunni side of a growing regional war, even if that means that the Saudis are funding terror groups that have close ties to al Qaeda. Blowback, anyone? I have no idea if Hersh is reporting the truth…”

As Dennis Hans, writing for Scoop, noted back in 2003 when Hersh was pedaling asides on the Niger-uranium story, the esteemed journalist would do us all a favor if he bought “a new pair of reading glasses” and spent the time required to vet “dubious sources who tell stories that they think their listener would love to hear,” or rather stories designed to mix things up and create confusion, as Sullivan notes above.

Although Amir Taheri is a neocon shill, uncovered as “a front for pro-Israel ideologues,” his comments on Hersh’s brand of journalism ring true. “As soon as he has made an assertion he cites a ’source’ to back it. In every case this is either an un-named former official or an unidentified secret document passed to Hersh in unknown circumstances,” explains the neocon Iranian. “British journalists often claim that while they write ‘news’, their American colleagues write ’stories.’ Hersh shows that this may well be more than a joke by the British about their American cousins.”

Taheri, of course, is interested in shooting down all of Hersh’s “stories,” including those backed up by redoubled fact, most notably the abuses of Abu Ghraib. However, when it comes to citing one anonymous source after another and building a case upon this, Taheri has a point. It is easy to poke holes in Hersh’s assertions, even though we are told by David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, he knows “every single source that is in his pieces” (see Scott Sherman, Sy Hersh, Then and Now). In other words, we are expected to take Hersh’s claims on faith.

According to journalist and author Douglas Valentine, Sy Hersh is a “disinformation specialist” pedaling half-truths, a claim Valentine makes in relation to Hersh’s story on “Preemptive Manhunting” in Iraq (i.e., a rebirth of the Phoenix program, the nefarious assassination operation carried out in during the Vietnam war). “Hersh and The New Yorker serve as essential instruments of the Big Lie that makes Preemptive Manhunting popular and thus possible. His story in The New Yorker was no mistake, but merely a part of the psychological warfare campaign being waged by the Bush regime to subdue the resistance of the American public to this awful war,” Valentine concludes.

If indeed Hersh is a “disinformation specialist,” his disinfo, mixed in with a heaping dose of truth, is obviously designed to take down the warmongering neocons a peg or two, while at the same time preserving the greater myth—”al-Qaeda” is a sincere threat, Osama is alive and planning to go head-to-head with the infidels—a myth that serves the neolib faction, minus all the scary posturing and demagogic sputtering of the neocons.

Indeed, the neoliberal faction, as represented by the Council on Foreign Relations, European elite, and the international financiers, those without a specific fondness for Israel and Zionism, hanker for the good old days when pesky Arab nationalists and “militant” Islam—that is to say, Muslims contemptuous of IMF and World Bank debt slavery schemes—were undermined in less obvious and spectacular ways: by way of coup d’état, an assassination here or there, and more recently and fashionably, through “color revolution,” that is engineering fake revolution bought and paid for wholesale.

As James P. Tucker Jr. reported for the American Free Press, the neocons, represented by William Luti, special assistant to Bush for defense policy, and Richard Perle, former high Defense Department official, went head-to-head with the traditional neolibs at the “Bilderberg Roundtable” in Ottawa last June.

“Bilderbergers fear a United States attack on Iran, which would have a tremendous global impact,” writes Tucker. “European Bilderbergers said they would have no part in an invasion of Iran, something Bush says is an ‘option on the table.’ Although NATO is helping by adding 9,000 troops in Afghanistan, expect no help if Iran is invaded, they said. ‘We will not help you fight a war for Israel,’ one said.” According to Tucker, another Bilderberger commented, “If you invade Iran, Israel is your only ally and good luck,” while another “suggested that ’surgical strikes’—but no land invasion—may be tolerated but others said they would be ineffective.” In short, the neolibs and neocons agree, more or less, on the need to take down Iran, but disagree on how to accomplish this short of “World War Four,” a scenario dear to neocons far and wide.

Considering this, it makes perfect sense Sy Hersh, writing for a “liberal” magazine revamped by Tina “Lady Evans” Brown, who got her start working for the “conservative” Sunday Telegraph, would serve as a disinfo conduit, writing one article after another taking the neocons to task, much to their chagrin (in 2005, universal fascist and Mussolini lover Michael Ledeen echoed Tony Blankley’s assertion that Hersh “committed espionage” for outing “secret commando teams and joint American-Israeli efforts to target Iranian nuclear facilities,” while Richard “Prince of Darkness” Perle told former AIPAC operative Wolf Blitzer back in 2003 “Sy Hersh is the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist”).

Of course, I cannot prove any of this, nor do I have anonymous sources and an editor in a fancy New York office to back up my claim.

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