Seymour Hersh On Covert Operations In Iran

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh believes that the United States may be closer to armed conflict with Iran than previously imagined. He writes about Congress' funding of covert military operations in the upcoming issue of The New Yorker.

A regular contributor to The New Yorker, Hersh exposed the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in a series of articles published in the magazine early in 2005.

During the Vietnam War, Hersh was the first to report on the My Lai massacre. He has been the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, five George Polk Awards, two National Magazine Awards, and a dozen other prizes. He is also the author of eight books, including Chain of Command about Abu Ghraib. (6.30.2008)


U.S. Plans For Iran Examined


Leaders from neighboring Iran are addressing the talk of a possible U.S. military action there. Today, Iran's foreign minister called it craziness. President Bush, on the other hand, did not call it crazy. But today, he once again sought to play down the possibility.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: I have always said that all options are on the table, but the first option for the United States is to solve this problem diplomatically.

NORRIS: NPR senior news analyst Daniel Schorr takes note of two articles this week that address what the current or future administration might do about Iran.

DANIEL SCHORR: Seven and a half years into the Bush presidency, two-thirds of his nuclear axis of evil countries have been delisted - Iraq by invasion, North Korea by negotiation. That leaves Iran, and the prospects that Iran will give up its nuclear ambitions are dim. It seems clear that the Bush-Cheney administration is intent on doing something to eliminate the Iranian threat, and the constant reiteration that all options are on the table is chilling.

An article by Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker magazine titled, "Preparing the Battlefield," describes a major escalation of covert operations against Iran. Authorized by a secret presidential finding, $400 million are being spent according to Hersh on activities in Iran designed to destabilize the leadership and to gather intelligence about Iran's nuclear program.

Iranian commandos have been seized and brought to Iraq for interrogation. Senator Obama calls for direct talks with Iran without preconditions; Senator McCain denounces him. I don't know what President Ahmadinejad will make of all that.

Brookings Institution scholars Ivo Daalder and Philip Gordon, who are also unpaid advisors to Senator Obama, have had intensive discussions with officials in Western Europe, Moscow and Beijing. They write in the Washington Post that these capitals would universally welcome the idea of an America willing to talk to Iran.

So far, the Bush position is no talks before Iran suspends its nuclear enrichment program. Judging from the Iranian reaction, that will not happen soon. And so, stand by if diplomacy fails for the administration to take the next of those unspecified options off the table.

This is Daniel Schorr. (7.02.2008, Daniel Schorr)


Seymour Hersh: US Training Jondollah and MEK for Bombing preparation

Seymour Hersh: US Training Jondollah and MEK for Bombing preparation

In an interview with NPR on his latest New Yorker Article, titled ‘Preparing the battlefield', the renowned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reveals more striking details of his findings on the aim of the $400 million budgeted US covert operations inside Iran. He provides valuable information on US military preparations to strike the country, on the total expansion of the Bush Administration's executive power, about the US recognition of Iran's overall positive role in Iraq and on the US support for the anti-Iran terrorist organisations Jondollah, PJAK and MEK.

Hersh explains that the aim of the US covert operations inside Iran is to create a pretext for attack with the goal of regime change. “The strategic thinking behind this covert operation is to provoke enough trouble and chaos so that the Iranian government makes the mistake of taking aggressive action which will give the impression of a country in acute turmoil”, he said. “Then you have what the White House calls the ‘casus belli', a reason to attack the country. That is the thinking and it is very crazy.”

On Iran's role in Iraq, Hersh points out: “There is absolutely no clear evidence known to the American government that the Iranian leadership has any interest in provoking trouble with the United States in Iraq by sending in people to cause mayhem or kill Americans. There is just no evidence for it.” He continues further on: “Frankly, the guys I know in the inside-- in the Special Forces, high up in DoD, high up in the intelligence community--if you push them hard enough, they tell you that Iran has been more of a force for stability in Iraq than negative”.

Hersh comments that the decision to launch these covert operations was prompted by the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate's verdict that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons programme and that the approval by the US Congress leadership of the $400 million budget for the operations “is totally an expansion” of the executive powers of the Bush Administration.

He explains how the Bush Administration's policy of “my enemy's enemy is my friend” has led the US to support the Baluchi organisation Jondollah and the MEK (Mujahideen-e-Khalq a.k.a PMOI), both of which have clear track records of terrorist activities including against the US. He reiterates that the US has been giving arms and cash to the terrorists in the MEK for years and reveals that “most of the [MEK] leaders have been taking our money and cashing it in an awful lot of bank accounts in London.” He also reveals for the first time that the US has trained MEK teams in the state of Nevada and that “they do a lot of crazy stuff inside Iran”.

Hersh warns that “we have been moving cruise missiles there for a few months now”, and that the US military is ready. “Our submarines are there, our destroyers are there with cruise missiles aboard, our aircrafts are there, our soldiers are there” to attack Iran within “10 to 12 hours” of the go-ahead order by President Bush, he says, stressing that troops have to go on the ground in Iran in order to destroy Iran's defensive systems.

He finally points out that Bush “is going to be a very active president, I am afraid, until 11:59:59 seconds on January 20, 2009” and raises the alarm about an “October surprise”, a military attack on Iran, in particular if Obama continues to have a lead in the polls. (7.08.2008)

Listen to the whole interview here . For more information or to contact CASMII please visit


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