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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Syria and Mission Creep, Obama, War, Bin Ladem



THE ABSURD TIMES





Too Much BS in the World
By
Papa Yaga



Illustration: Osama – buried at Sea?


This is a transcript of the interview Amy Goodman did this week with Seymour Hersch.  He is a very worthwhile journalist and exposes many things that we knew but could not prove.  Some are a bit strange, but then we have given a whole new meaning to "strange" this Century and it looks as if this will continue, only accelerate.

This link has been retweeted greatly on Twitter, reliked to an amazing degree on Facebook, and generally made the rounds.  However, I promised to make the transcript available here as well and so here it is.

There is only one thing I find even more strange.  Remember there was no sign of Bin Laden's dialysis machine where he was supposedly captured and then "buried at seas with full Islamic funeral" stuff, ya da da da.  This after carrying the machine over the mountains of Afghanistan for years, if you will remember.  Now Hersch has him in Saudi Arabia, or so it seems.  Everything seems to go well until the end when he suddenly seems to forget who said what to him when, or doesn't want to say, and so on.  Amy said they would continue off the air, but I have yet to find that clarification  If I do, I'll send it around.
 
President Obama has announced the deployment of 250 more Special Operations troops to Syria in a move that nearly doubles the U.S. presence in the country. This comes just days after the Obama administration announced 217 more troops would be sent to Iraq to help in the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State. As the U.S. expands its presence in Iraq and Syria, we speak with the legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who has just published a new book titled "The Killing of Osama bin Laden." In the introduction, Hersh writes: "It's now evident, fifteen years after the 9/11 attacks, that Obama's foreign policy has maintained many of the core elements of the Global War on Terror initiated by his predecessor—assassinations, drone attacks, heavy reliance on special forces, covert operations and, in the case of Afghanistan, the continued use of American ground forces in combat. And, as in the years of Bush and Cheney, there has been no progress, let alone victory, in the fight against terrorism."

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: We're on a 100-city tour marking Democracy Now!'s 20th anniversary. Today, we're broadcasting from the Roundhouse, the Santa Fe, New Mexico, Legislature, here in Santa Fe.
President Obama has announced the deployment of 250 more Special Operations troops to Syria in a move that nearly doubles the U.S. presence in Syria. This comes just days after the Obama administration announced 217 more troops would be sent to Iraq to help in the fight against ISIS. Earlier today, President Obama addressed the wars in Syria and Iraq during a speech in Germany.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Right now, the most urgent threat to our nations is ISIL. And that's why we're united in our determination to destroy it. And all 28 NATO allies are contributing to our coalition, whether it's striking ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq, or supporting the air campaign or training local forces in Iraq or providing critical humanitarian aid. And we continue to make progress, pushing ISILback from territory that it controlled.
And just as I've approved additional support for Iraqi forces againstISIL, I've decided to increase U.S. support for local forces fightingISIL in Syria. A small number of American Special Operations forces are already on the ground in Syria, and their expertise has been critical as local forces have driven ISIL out of key areas. So, given the success, I've approved the deployment of up to 250 additional U.S. personnel in Syria, including special forces, to keep up this momentum. They're not going to be leading the fight on the ground, but they will be essential in providing the training and assisting local forces as they continue to drive ISIL back.
AMY GOODMAN: As the U.S. expands its presence in Iraq and Syria, we turn to the legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who won the Pulitzer Prize for exposing the 1968 My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, when U.S. forces killed hundreds of civilians. In 2004, Sy Hersh broke the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. He has just published a new book titled The Killing of Osama bin Laden. In the introduction, Hersh writes, quote, "It's now evident, fifteen years after the 9/11 attacks, that Obama's foreign policy has maintained many of the core elements of the Global War on Terror initiated by his predecessor—assassinations, drone attacks, heavy reliance on special forces, covert operations and, in the case of Afghanistan, the continued use of American ground forces in combat. And, as in the years of Bush and Cheney, there has been no progress, let alone victory, in the fight against terrorism."
Seymour Hersh, it's great to have you back on Democracy Now! Congratulations on your book. Why don't we start by talking about what President Obama announced in his speech in Germany today, just hours before this broadcast: increased troop presence in Syria. What does it mean?
SEYMOUR HERSH: First, happy anniversary. Glad you're still around, kiddo.
AMY GOODMAN: Thank you.
SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, one of the words he doesn't mention is Russia. Look, I can't begin to tell you what's in his mind. It's a little amazing at this stage he's putting more forces in, but that's—you know, that's his prerogative, I guess, as president. Always makes good news. Nobody ever—nobody seems in this country ever to object too much when we put more people on the ground.
But the real winner in the last year or so of the war there has been the Russians. And the Russians—the bombing was much more effective. If you remember, the president had said publicly, when Putin decided to put his air force hard at work there, he said it would be a quagmire, they wouldn't be able to get out, it's going to be, you know, schadenfreude—it would be like what happened to us in Afghanistan, and is happening to us, and certainly did happen to us in Vietnam. But they did it. They came in, and they did very well.
I will tell you right now, Russian special forces are in the fight against ISIS with the Syrian army, with Hezbollah, with the Iranian army, the Quds Force. And the Russians have done an awful lot to improve the Syrian army in the past year—retrained them, reoutfitted them, etc., etc., etc. It's a much better army since the Russians came in. The fighting in Palmyra that the Syrian army and the Russian special forces did was much bloodier. ISIS fought to the death. It was a terrible toll on everybody, but it was a victory for the Syrian army. We know all these things. The Syrian army is much better. It's probably going to—probably—we don't know. I don't know. Nobody knows. It will probably take Raqqa, the former capital city, if you will, ad hoc capital city ofISIS. ISIS is on the run, particularly in Syria, not necessarily in Iraq.
And I just don't understand what the president is doing, why he wants to engage more. But, you know, it's not my call. I would also—I've been told there are many more forces in Iraq than we're publicly announcing, including even some elements of one of our airborne divisions. What the hell? As usual, we don't really know what the game plan is. I do not understand why he's decided to jump into a war that was being run by—it's being won right now by the Syrian army and its allies, including Russia. I just—I can just speculate that our anti-Putin, anti-Russian instinct in America continues apace. That's all.
AMY GOODMAN: In your introduction to your new book, The Killing of Osama bin Laden, you write, "In a review of my interviews about Obama's early decision to raise the ante in Afghanistan, one fact stood out: Obama's faith in the world of special operations and in Stanley McChrystal, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan who worked closely with Dick Cheney from 2003 to 2008 as director of [JSOC] the Joint Special Operations Command." Seymour Hersh, can you elaborate on this?
SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, it's amazing. Look, you win the presidency—hope and peace, or whatever it was—and you discover, because of—you know, you don't have the power you might dream you would have. You can't get a lot of things done, because you've got a very hostile Congress. And so—and presidents, inevitably, in frustration—look, I've been in this town since the '60s. There's nothing more wonderful for a president—you can feel more like a president by taking a walk with somebody from the Special Operations community or, earlier, the CIA in the Rose Garden, and getting rid of somebody you don't like, whether you're—in the case of—what we do now is we do targeted assassinations. Earlier, I think we just moved them out of office or did operations, you know, political operations. But now it's really just, you know, we hit people. You know, there's a weekly meeting in which they go through names of people to target, assassinate, including, in some cases, an American, without any due process. It's been a wonderful movement. I don't mean to be too sarcastic about it, but what—you know, this guy ended up in the same place in far too many times, as you read and as I wrote, as Bush and Cheney were.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain what these Special Ops forces are doing, both in Iraq and Syria?
SEYMOUR HERSH: I really don't know. I mean, I know what I'm told, but I just don't know what the truth is. Clearly, they're going to be engaged more. They're helping to plan operations. But I—we're great at—we do a lot of dirty tricks in the world. You know, we were inside Iran in the first decade of this year, when the—before the Iranians began to talk seriously about getting rid of their nuclear weapons, that don't exist, that never did exist. We were doing operations inside the Iranian—the borders, and also we even went inside Tehran with surrogates. I mean, yes, we went inside Tehran. We did monitoring for nuclear activity, etc., etc. So we've been deeply involved in that world in covert operations. And how much first-hand stuff, I don't really have. I haven't actually talked to somebody who was in Tehran, but we were doing a lot of stuff, including working with people who were doing stuff like blowing up mosques and trying to whack Iranian scientists. So I assume—one target I do know, the president has designated, is he really wants to take out Mr. Baghdadi, the head of ISIS. He's been a high-priority assassination target for more than a year. We could be doing something like that.
But we're certainly working with the—there's not much you can do in Iraq, because the Iraqi army—you know, it's the usual story: They're going to run away. We've been—one of the great classic lies of America is, every year, some two-star general who's involved with training either the Afghans or, in earlier years, the Vietnam—Vietnamese, or the Iraqi army, they come before Congress. And the two-star looks them in the eye. He's the general in charge of training, and his promotion depends on not so much what he does, but what he says, I guess, at this point. And he tells the Congress how wonderful it's going on, we've got x number of divisions ready to fight. And the congresspeople all nod. It's a little parody that goes on. And, of course, the armies cut and run, and they're no good, and they haven't been. And the Iraqi army we have right now, that we're talking so wonderfully about, is not going to go near Mosul. It's going to be hand-to-hand fighting. If we ever do go into Mosul, we're going to [inaudible]. So, there you are. You know, I—
AMY GOODMAN: Were you—
SEYMOUR HERSH: Yes, I'm sorry.
AMY GOODMAN: Sy, were you surprised by President Obama's announcement today in Germany?
SEYMOUR HERSH: Horrified. I just don't think it's the way to go. I think it's just putting us into—you know, as you mentioned in your introduction, we've been doing this war against terror, against an idea, since after 9/11, you know? And how are we doing, fellas? How's it going there? You know, has the amount of opposition to us spread? Has the hatred of America grown more intense? We are truly a very much hated country in the Middle East. And it's partly because of the way we fight our wars—with drone attacks and a lot of force, the prisons that we did. And Abu Ghraib was just one of many prisons. And a lot of killing goes on by us, you know.
And here's how things have changed, for me, anyway. I'm writing the same kind of stories now about this president, very critical stories, because, you know, somebody has to hold him to—you know, at least based on what I think is as good as evidence I've ever had in all the stories I wrote for The New York Times in the '70s. I was there for six, seven, eight years as a sort of a hotshot there in the Washington bureau. And I wrote a lot of stories, won a lot of prizes, going after the president, going after wars, going after Kissinger, writing about illegal activities. And all of a sudden, the same stories, still anonymous—I mean, I wrote them anonymously then, and I'm writing them anonymously now. And some of the people I knew then, believe it or not, are still operating now. And it's like, we can't do that. It's like the American press has moved to the right, as many elements in this country, as you see, when the Sanders case has moved to the left. It's a much more outspoken opposition to some of the things we—the way we run campaigns. And underneath that is—of those people who support Sanders, also really dislike much more intensely the wars that are going on and the lies that are being told. But, you know, times have changed.
AMY GOODMAN: Sy Hersh, we're going to break and then come back to this discussion. We're speaking to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh for the hour today. He has a new book out; it's called The Killing of Osama bin Laden. We're going to also talk about that, the latest in what's known about the killing of bin Laden in Pakistan, the Saudi government's support for him in hiding there, what the U.S. knew, as well as many other issues. This is Democracy Now! We'll be back in a minute.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.
As we turn right now back to Seymour Hersh, who has a new book out—it's calledThe Killing of Osama bin Laden. Sy, I want to ask you about the presidential race. Last year at a debate in New Hampshire, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders accused former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of being, quote, "too much into regime change." This is what he said.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: But I think—and I say this with due respect—that I worry too much that Secretary Clinton is too much into regime change and a little bit too aggressive without knowing what the unintended consequences might be. Yes, we could get rid of Saddam Hussein, but that destabilized the entire region. Yes, we could get rid of Gaddafi, a terrible dictator, but that created a vacuum for ISIS. Yes, we could get rid of Assad tomorrow, but that would create another political vacuum that would benefit ISIS. So I think, yeah, regime change is easy, getting rid of dictators is easy. But before you do that, you've got to think about what happens the day after.
HILLARY CLINTON: Now, with all due respect, Senator, you voted for regime change with respect to Libya. You joined the Senate in voting to get rid of Gaddafi, and you asked that there be a Security Council validation of that with a resolution. All of these are very difficult issues.
AMY GOODMAN: That's Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debating in New Hampshire a while ago. So, Seymour Hersh, if you could talk about this issue and this most recent news, Charles Koch, the Republican megadonor, the oil baron, saying he could see himself actually supporting Hillary Clinton over a Republican nominee.
SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, I don't believe that for a minute, but that's another story. What Koch said, I think that's just all part of pressure to get rid of Trump, who, in some ways, Trump's pretty—I mean, who ever heard of a Republican talking about "NATO is useless"? Which, of course, pretty much a lot of people I know believe it is pretty much useless. There's a lot of things Trump said that are pretty remarkable. He would talk to Putin, etc. It's a pretty interesting campaign on the Republicans, how they're sort of internally eating up themselves.
But Sanders is right, of course, about that issue. I don't think Sanders is as sound on foreign policy as I'd love him to be, I wish him to be. I don't think he really—he doesn't quite understand the consequences of—he doesn't—I don't think he's terribly—he just hasn't done enough to make me comfortable. But, of course, Hillary—my favorite line about Hillary Clinton is, after Gaddafi was executed—as you know, he was killed by his own people. He was actually sodomized by swords. It was a horrible death. And she said on one show, "We came, we saw, and he died," with a laugh. And that kind of talk is sort of almost bizarre.
You know, here's what I think about this campaign. It doesn't—you know, it's clear where my political thoughts are, but it's—for me to say who I'm going to vote for and all that, I don't think anybody—you know, I'm not a political leader. That's not what I'm into. But I will say this: Something that's amazing is happening in this country. And for the first time, you know, I do think it's going to be very hard for a lot of the people who support Sanders to support Hillary Clinton. Now, times can change. There's a lot more time to go. We've got months before an election and a convention, etc. But at this point, I'm at the point where—I go back to the old days. Remember, if you—you might not remember. We had a lot of talk about a third party in America, a progressive third party. Barry Commoner was one of the people who was going to run it. It went nowhere. But there's really—it seems to me, with what's going on now with these people, 45 and under, the enormous support they're giving to Sanders, just we know by polling, etc.—doesn't always show up in the—it turns out, in the election results. I mean, it certainly didn't show up in New York. And so—but they are there. There's a whole group of young people in America, across the board, all races, etc., etc., who have just had it with our system.
And there's something wonderful in the—you know, look, I've been to Israel many times, have a lot of friends there, and there's a lot of very good people there, but we all know it's headed for—it's chaos coming. And here we have a guy running for president. This is something, I guess, you know, forbidden—a forbidden statement. But he's the first Democrat since I've been watching politics, 50—I'm old, older and crankier than Bernie. But anyway, it's the first Democrat that I can remember that actually did not have to go to the Jewish community in New York to get money to run. And that's something amazing. We may be able to actually change our policy and let the Israelis know that there's going to have to be a settlement—not just divided, not just two countries, but a real settlement, a peace settlement, in that area.
And we've seen some terrific changes happening in this election, as the Democratic Party has been moving to the left, with a lot of contempt for the way the party manages itself, by the people who are pro—working—are interested in Sanders, that look at the chaos on the right. Our system is basically breaking apart right now in this election. And you can only say, "Yay! It's great!" So, it's inchoate. It's not very good. It's a little bit like the new generation of journalism we have with the tweeting and—you know, and blogging, that's going to clearly replace the newspapers, which are dying as we sit, every day. It's all sort of a new world coming.
AMY GOODMAN: Sy, President Obama appeared on Fox News on Sunday a few weeks ago, and he was asked what was the worst mistake of his presidency. This was his response.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you respond, and particularly focus on Hillary as secretary of state under President Obama?
SEYMOUR HERSH: First of all, you're just going have to take my word for it. Gaddafi was a tame cat. We got to him in the Bush-Cheney years. If you remember the history, we had a lot of bad trouble. Bush and Cheney were—I think normally would be embarrassed, should have been embarrassed, by the lies they told and the mistakes they made—let's put it that way—about the WMDs that the—Saddam did not have an ongoing nuclear weapons system, which was known to an awful lot of people before—before we took over Baghdad and discovered nothing. At that point—I think it was a year later, in 2004—suddenly, Gaddafi, after allegedly having caught—we caught a ship full of some dual-use goods, and we stopped a ship that was going to Tripoli with it. He suddenly announced that he was giving up—unilaterally going to give up all his chemical arsenal and his WMD, his nuclear plans or options. And it was a big victory at a very much needed time by the Bush and Cheney crowd, that was a victory that showed our policy is working right. Money was involved, the CIA, covert money. A lot of stuff was going on. As you know, I've been doing a book about Cheney for a long time. And I can tell you that it was a considerable amount of CIAactivity involved to turn him around.
I don't think—which is amazing—it's clear to me that the president and Hillary, the secretary of state, did not know about this secret agreement made. It's just amazing to me that one administration will leave—it's one of the things I first learned from a friend who went to work—I think it was way back—maybe it was for Clinton. This friend got a job, a high-ranking job, in the government. The first thing he discovered, that all the files related to everything significant that had happened, all the agreements that had been made in his area—it was in the State Department—had been gone, had been cleaned out. Nothing was left. So, they were—you know, as I said, they were going after a guy that had been doing a lot of good work for us, believe it or not, horrible as he was. He was a horrible human being. Bad things happened inside that country to the people. But he was actively working with us on the al-Qaeda issue, and, you know, if the—I don't believe al-Qaeda exists there. I think the al-Qaeda we talked about disappeared with bin Laden. There's just copycats, and we like to call it al-Qaeda. But Sunni jihadists, Sunni Salafist and Wahhabi extremists are spreading all over, in part in response to what we did after 9/11. But that's the story we all know. So, they didn't really know what the hell had happened with Gaddafi. They took out a guy that didn't need to go. And the French were pushing for it, and we went along. It looked good.
It's a little bit like putting a couple hundred guys, and maybe a lot more that we don't know about, into Syria now, and many more than that into Iraq, where the—God knows what's going to happen in both places. It's just—it's done without consulting the Congress, which probably this Congress probably doesn't want to be consulted, but that's the—you know, the Constitution is not a nuisance, as many in the Republican Party, as Bush and Cheney, and now, in many areas, even Obama believes, it seems to be a nuisance. We don't tell Congress anything. We don't go and—we don't tell the people anything. And the control—the control of the media that goes on now, the major media, is, I think, much more acute now. I can go days wondering, you know, why we don't do more aggressive reporting on certain things.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.
AMY GOODMAN: So, that was President Obama speaking in May 2011. Sy Hersh, your new book, titled The Killing of Osama bin Laden, you argue the official account of how bin Laden was found and killed was deceptive. Explain what you think really happened, and talk about the role of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and, of course, the United States.
SEYMOUR HERSH: Well, one of the myths that was created was that we discovered where he was living. Abbottabad is about 50 or 60 miles from the capital of Islamabad. It's a hilly, higher elevation. And in the summer, it's a resort place for many of the people who go—many of the people in the government and the military take their vacations there. It's sort of a Pakistani Martha's Vineyard, if you will. And anyway, he was there.
What I know, as in "know," is there was a walk-in, that in August of 2010, a Pakistani—I can say right now, he was a colonel in the regular army, not in the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service, which is a very tough bunch, a separate group. He was an officer who had been passed over for general or whatever, and was—came into our embassy. We have a station chief there who's quite—quite competent guy named Jonathan Bank. And he went in to him and said, "We've had bin Laden for four years." ISI got him. The Pakistani intelligence service picked him up probably in the Hindu Kush area, in the areas—the mountain area between Pakistan and Afghanistan—where we thought he was. He had been on the run for—let's see, since late 2011, when we drove him out of Afghanistan into the mountain region. And we finally got him. We looked for him. We thought we had him in '02. There was a firefight that nobody knows about yet, with the SEALs. But anyway, we finally got him because of a walk-in. And you have to know, in the business of the CIA, protecting a walk-in is the most important thing. And so, a walk-in. And so, if you have a bunch of people somewhere in the basement, intelligence officers working on trying to track him through couriers, you may let them think that they did do it, because that's just the way it works in the CIA. You know, they don't always tell the truth to their people that work for them, when it comes to protecting a source, somebody who walks in.
And where I was dumb—you know, this story, I initially wrote much of this in theLondon Review, oh, about—last year sometime, caused a lot of trouble then. And what I did then, I was so naïve. I thought I had a dog-that-didn't-bark issue. I thought, I'm going to put the name of Bank in there, high in the story, in the—maybe seven, eight graphs into the story. I'm going to say the walk-in went to Jon Bank. And that's—I was going to take a chance that Bank would not succumb to pressure. A knew a lot about him. He's a Harvard grad, very bright guy, very competent. And I just didn't think he would be trotted out by the CIA to say, "What? What's Hersh writing about? I don't know anything about a walk-in." And I thought the fact that I named him and he said nothing after I wrote the story would be important to the media. But it wasn't, and nobody paid a bit of attention. And he didn't do—he didn't. Instead, they trotted out a retired guy that was plugging a book, named Morell, whose book was—let's see, I think it was 53 pages of criticism by the Senate Intelligence Committee for something like 78 lies, or maybe it's 78 pages for 53 lies, that had been published. They just trashed him for the book. And yet, he would go on on television and go after me, nobody asking him about his previous lies in his book. Anyway, big deal.
What's important is, the story we got is that—and I must say, when you do a story like I did, I did have more contact with people in the ISI after I wrote. I learned much more, that was totally—gave me much more flesh on the skimpy bones I guess I had. The first thing the Pakistani high-level—very close to the Saudis. The two generals in charge, General Kayani, who was at the time head of the army, and General Pasha, head of the Pakistani intelligence service, were the two key guys for us. And why so we—Pakistan is very important to us, because they have over a hundred bombs, and it's one of the big national security issues for us constantly. Where are the bombs? Are they telling us the truth? Are they keeping some out of the count? As somebody once said to me, "Are they hiding a few bombs in the tall grass along the runway somewhere?" And that's always our worry.
AMY GOODMAN: Nuclear bombs, you're talking about.
SEYMOUR HERSH: We worry about it. It's, I would say, one of the more acute issues. We don't want—Pakistan is very close to the Saudis, very close. There's a lot of close relationships. Pakistanis go and they work in the security area there, etc. There's always been a fear that one bomb would get transferred somewhere. It's just one of our more rational fears in foreign policy. And we work very hard at it. And so, what happened is, we were stunned when the—
AMY GOODMAN: You're talking, Sy, about nuclear bombs, right? Atomic bombs.
SEYMOUR HERSH: Yeah, oh, my god. Serious nuclear bombs, ranging from small, little, hand-held ones to the major, major ones that can—you know, that mimic some of the high stuff we have—not ICBMs, but they can be delivered by airplane. Anyway, what happened is—
AMY GOODMAN: Sy—
SEYMOUR HERSH: Yes, go ahead.
AMY GOODMAN: I just want to say, we only have a minute to go, and I want to get—
SEYMOUR HERSH: Oh, I'm sorry.
AMY GOODMAN: —to the issue that you allege, that the Saudi government was—was funding Osama bin Laden—
SEYMOUR HERSH: Absolutely.
AMY GOODMAN: —in Abbottabad, in Pakistan.
SEYMOUR HERSH: The Saudi government was funding—we got him in '06. We learned about him in 2010. We killed him—we murdered him, really, in 2011. And the Saudis, for those years didn't—the Pakistanis did not tell us, because the first person they told that they—when they got him, through the ISI in '06, and put him in Abbottabad, they may—the first people they told were the Saudis. Why? Because the Saudis paid a lot of money to the two generals, and to others, perhaps, to keep it quiet, to keep it from us. They did not want us getting to bin Laden and talking to him. And I can tell you, since I've written that—I learned that from Americans—I've learned from ISI people that one of the ways they move money is they send tankers to us. They send—the Saudis would send tankers of oil to the Pakistanis for resale. You can reflag any ship on the ocean. It's an easy way to move money around. You can change ownership from Pakistani to Pakistani—from Saudi to Pakistani on the high sea.
AMY GOODMAN: Twenty seconds.
SEYMOUR HERSH: So, anyway, it's a story we didn't want to push too far publicly. But we actually—we were never supposed to announce the killing in Pakistan. They were supposed to take the body out, take it to the Hindu Kush mountains, and a day—a week or so later, announce that we killed him in a drone raid. And what the president did that night, because of political pressure, because of the worries about waiting a week—maybe somebody else would tell the story—he jumped ahead. It was re-election night. I guess any president would do that. But he did jump ahead. And he left Pasha and Kayani—
AMY GOODMAN: Five seconds.
SEYMOUR HERSH: He left our two generals, the two generals in charge of the bombs, hanging. Not a good thing to do.
AMY GOODMAN: Seymour Hersh, I want to thank you for being with us. We'll continue this conversation, post it online at democracynow.org.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Our Primaries


THE ABSURD TIMES





Tom Lehrer explaining Math, link below.


Our Primaries
By
Chicago Thought



There seems to be a great deal of confusion as to the "Democracy" pervading the United States.  Now this can only be cleared up by realizing that when the political parties use the term democracy it does not mean "one man, one vote".  Once you get that absurd notion out of your head, things become more understandable.

Donald Trump (hey, a broken watch is right twice a day, eh?) is quite right when he says that the system is "rigged".  As a matter of fact, for you mariners out there, the rigging is as elaborate as you ever saw, and it is so rigged that the two-party system will protect its interests and keep sailing on as if the people have no power over it whatsoever.

Now, the Republican system is beyond description in its complexity.  For example, you may hear about the delegates in Pennsylvania amounting to, say, 85 or thereabouts.  However, not told is the fact that only 17 of them are chosen by the voters.  The rest are just there and can do whatever they want.  In addition, two of those 17 that are running against each other both are Cruz supporters.  That really means 15 are left. 

Enough of the Republicans as I have no intention of writing a 300 page book in two days.  Let's look at the Democrats.

Whenever you see the delegate count, it probably says, as of April 21, 2016, that Clinton has 1,930 delegates and Sanders 1,189.  2383 are needed to win.  This means that Clinton only needs 453 while Sanders needs 1144.  When those numbers are presented, it looks as if the primary is over.

However, 540 of those delegates are so-called "Super Delegates" (hereafter referred to as SD to distinguish from STD) and really have not been elected by anyone as a delegate.  Now, Clinton has 502 SDs while Sanders has 38.  Let us just take the whole population and see what happens.

If those 540 SDs were to all support Sanders, he would have 1691 and Clinton would have 1390.  (The 540 is a fixed number and all will vote and not go away so if one person leave one and goes to the other, it makes a total difference of 2)  Why not? Now Sanders is leading and on his way to victory.  

I'll tell you why not: "The system is rigged".  Where have I heard that before? 

One final fact: many Democratic, not as many Republican, states hold primaries that EXCLUDE independents.  In other words, unless you pledge allegiance to the Democratic Party, say in New York, 9 months before the election, you can't vote.  Of course, in the real election, once the parties decode on their nominees, Independents can vote.  So, one man, one vote?  Don't be silly.

Here is a link that will help you understand how the math works:

Apologies for the commercial (something about divorce – just click the x in the upper right-hand corner of the insert).