Seymour Hersh and the killing of bin Laden: who gives a flying f**k?

June 12, 2015 at 6:50 pm (conspiracy theories, Jim D, Pakistan, publications, terror, United States)

Seymour Hersh – who won a Pulitzer in 1970 for exposing the My Lai massacre – has in recent years been going in for conspiracy theories based on unnamed and/or unreliable sources and generally tenuous evidence, resulting in unlikely conclusions that often defy common sense and certainly defy the principle of Occam’s razor.

Over the last three years, for instance, Hersh has come up with pieces alleging that the George W Bush administration trained Iranian militants in Navada and that Turkey (not Assad) was behind chemical attacks in Syria.

Hersh’s most recent ‘revelation’ appeared in the 21 May edition of the London Review of Books, in which he claimed that the official White House account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden “might have been written by Lewis Carroll.” Far from being a top secret US action, the raid was, according to Hersh a joint operation between the US and  senior officers of the Pakistani army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI).

Central to Hersh’s account is the claim that since 2006, bin Laden was under Pakistani control, kept in the Abbottabad compound with financial assistance from Saudi Arabia. The problems with this scenario are pretty obvious – not least, why would the Saudis support someone who wanted to overthrow them? And if the US and Pakistan were actually co-operating, why was an elaborately staged and risky raid necessary in order to kill him?

Hersh’s article has been called into question by several serious journalists with no obvious axes to grind – notably Max Fisher of Vox, Peter Bergen of CNN and Ben Mathis-Lilley at Slate.

But, with all due respect to the journalists who have spent much time and effort examining and debunking Hersh’s version of events, the best response to his LRB article (and, by the way, its a long article, spread over more than five full foolscap pages)  is a brief letter published in the present edition. My only quibble with Francis X. Archibald of Hilton Head, South Carolina would be his use of the words “Most Americans”; I’d have said  “most rational people”:

Regarding Seymour Hersh’s story, the facts are these  (LRB, 21 May):

1. Osama bin Laden orchestrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America.

2. The CIA found out where he was living.

3. US Navy Seals killed him.

End of story. Most Americans don’t give a flying f**k about the details of the venture.

13 Comments

  1. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    Maybe Lindsay German cares and some other lefties.

    • Steven Johnston said,

      Despite Bin Laden belonging to the capitalist class & not giving a flying f**k about the workers as he used them for his own ends…he was anti-American, so yep, Lindsay German and her cronies probably loved him.

      • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

        A friend described the hard letf thus, If a fuse is blown they call a plumber such is their association with the working class.

  2. caseypurvis said,

    MOST AMERICANS HIRED OBOAMO 2 TIMES. IF YOU LOOK AT HIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE WITH PHOTO SHOP IT LOOKS AS IF IT WAS DONE BY A 10 YEAR OLD. HE IS NOT AN AMERICAN CITIZEN.
    “THE AMERICAN PEOPLE” WHO HIRED HIM MAYBE HAD A MEDIAN IQ OF 90 OR LESS.
    I HAVE A 135 IQ AND I AM INTERESTED.
    YOUR IQ IS WHAT?

    • Dave Draycott said,

      ‘Some ideas are so stupid only intellectuals could believe them.’ George Orwell. Intellect isn’t everything. In your case it’s nothing.

      • caseypurvis said,

        UMM-SHOWS ME YOU ARE WAY UP THERE===85
        BY THE WAY NUM NUTS IQ REALLY HELPS

      • caseypurvis said,

        I ONLY HAVE 135. HOW ABOUT YOU.

  3. mark taha said,

    My IQ was once measured at 147. This “Obama not American” nonsense is racist sour grapes.

  4. Paul Canning (@pauloCanning) said,

    Here’s a comprehensive demolition of the ‘great man’ myth surrounding Hersh https://www.commentarymagazine.com/article/the-deceits-of-seymour-hersh/

    • Jim Denham said,

      Hersh seems to have gone the same way as Pilger: a once-serious journalist who now deals in poorly-researched conspiracy theories and irrational enmity to the “west”, even if that means aiding and abetting some very nasty anti-“western” forces.

      • Paul Canning (@pauloCanning) said,

        I loathe Pilger but not for the obvious reasons. Wrote this a couple of years ago http://paulocanning.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/the-guardians-avatar-view-of-aboriginal.html

        Off topic> This from a Bradford socialist deserves a wider readership
        https://jatkinson1977.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/720/

        “So Galloway’s legacy hasn’t been to stop Labour taking us for granted… but maybe it is something far more important than that. Personally, I won’t put so much faith, trust and responsibility in politicians. Perhaps his greatest legacy is to teach us that we must do it for ourselves and not rely on politicians who are, like us, human, fallible and frail. Galloway, a promised panacea that turned out to be a placebo, has, maybe, taught us to do things for ourselves and use politicians as conduits, as tools, for us to use and, when they have been worn out, discarded and traded in for new.

        What a legacy for George it would be if we treat politicians as we should, and make them fear being picked for Bradford West, a constituency with such active, vociferous, uncompromising, unforgiving voters that the incumbent trembles and the upstart shivers; a constituency which sends chills down the back of the media and SPADs alike; a constituency that becomes the rocks on which careers are smashed.

        What a legacy it would be if George has taught us to push politicians to perform and produce or be punished.”

  5. Lamia said,

    As Jim notes, Hersh was once a serious journalist. In my view he started obviously losing the plot during the 2000s when from 2005, year after year in the New Yorker he kept claiming he had the inside track on imminent US attack on Iran. This kept not eventualising and yet less than a year later he was back making the same assertion – one included a planned nuclear strike.

    I read it speculated somewhere that perhaps he was even being fed this soon-to-be-proven-nonsense-again stuff for some darker propaganda purpose. But in any case it’s pretty clear he lost his touch, and while he was repeatedly wrong about Iran, those stories at least logically made more sense than this rubbish about bin Laden.

    Like Paul, I dislike Pilger greatly and I am also sick of Fisk. But it is depressing when any journalist who once had an ability to find and report actual useful big stories gets into a habit of straying into the realms of utter fantasy. One idea I have read about those who report from front lines especially – like Fisk – is that instead of maintaining or raising their quality, eventually they become worse because in middle age they become (understandably) far more careful of their own safety, and they lose the scoops that may come with danger and end up just repeating lazy/dodgy rumours and ‘inventing’ somewhat.

  6. RDS said,

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