Seymour Hersh had ’em nailed all along.
From the New Yorker online:
They want to turn these guys into assassins,â€ a former high-level intelligence officer told me. â€œThey want to go on rumors — not facts — and go for political effect, and thatâ€™s what the Special Forces Command is really afraid of. Rummy is saying that politics is bigger than war, and we need to take guys out for political effect: â€˜You have to kill Goebbels to get to Hitler.â€™ â€
The manhunting teams must be kept â€œsmall and agile,â€ … and â€œmust be able to operate clandestinely, using a full range of official and non-official cover arrangements to travel and to enter countries surreptitiously.”
(Illustration found here.)
Hersh might have mis-spoke about an “executive assassination ring” last March after a constitutional forum with Walter Mondale at the University of Minnesota and that the program was “a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. …”
After the event, in an email exchange, Hersh told the reporter the comments he made were for an forthcoming book and â€œnot something I wanted to dwell about in public.â€
Last week, however, theÂ shit hit the public fan — it was disclosed that in June CIA honcho Leon Panetta told the Senate and House intelligence committees the agency hid a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Panetta claimed he has shut down the operation.
The House intelligence committee on Friday announced plans it would investigate the whole matter, apparently already asking the CIA for documents and, most-likely, to hold public hearings — a situation which could be of extreme interest if allowed.
Calling young, highly-trained assassins/killers moving across the globe part of a “counterterrorism prgram” is ironic at best.
The US has been in theÂ business of special killings for years — they tried to kill Castro with an exploding cigar (among other devices), along with attempts at Gamal Abdel Nasser, Saddam Hussein, Afghanistanâ€™s Gulbadin Hekmatyar, Indonesiaâ€™s Sukarno, Iraqâ€™s Abdel Karim el-Kassem, Chileâ€™s Marxist leaders and, very likely, in conjunction with Israel, Yasser Arafat.
Cheney’s version had On-The-Job-Training in Iraq.
From the UK’sÂ The Guardian in December, 2003:
Israeli advisers are helping train US special forces in aggressive counter-insurgency operations in Iraq, including the use of assassination squads against guerrilla leaders, US intelligence and military sources said yesterday.
US special forces teams are already behind the lines inside Syria attempting to kill foreign jihadists before they cross the border, and a group focused on the “neutralisation” of guerrilla leaders is being set up, according to sources familiar with the operations.
“This is basically an assassination programme. That is what is being conceptualised here. This is a hunter-killer team,” said a former senior US intelligence official, who added that he feared the new tactics and enhanced cooperation with Israel would only inflame a volatile situation in the Middle East.
“It is bonkers, insane. Here we are — we’re already being compared to Sharon in the Arab world, and we’ve just confirmed it by bringing in the Israelis and setting up assassination teams.”
The Bush White House didn’t give a shit about what anyone thought — much less those peoples in the Middle East.
Dick Cheney told the ugly truth when he slobbered out the US must go to “the dark side” to win the Wide, Wide World Global War on Terrorism, but he’d been on the dark side of shitÂ a long time.
From the New Yorker blog quoted at the top of this post:
â€œItâ€™s a finesse to give power to Rumsfeld — giving him the right to act swiftly, decisively, and lethally,â€ the first Pentagon adviser told me. â€œItâ€™s a global free-fire zoneâ€
…later, they were expanded, turning several nations in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia into free-fire zones with regard to high-value targets.
The term â€œfree-fire zoneâ€ means exactly what it says — fire at will at anytime into a certain designated area, creating an intense-indiscriminate view of killing with tons of collateral damage — and became more known from during the Vietnam era.
And the Dick, with five military deferments because of other, more-important shit:
â€œEverybodyâ€™s arguing about the high-value-target list,â€ the former senior intelligence official said. â€œThe Special Ops guys are pissed off because Cheneyâ€™s office set up priorities for categories of targets, and now heâ€™s getting impatient and applying pressure for results. But it takes a long time to get the right guys in place.â€
All it takes, however, is one asshole put in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The only saving grace for all of us is the fact Dick Cheney, though a nasty asshole, is in reality a near-moron incompetent.