The Spectacle Blog

Hersh Accuses Cheney of Ordering the Hit on Bhutto UPDATE: Hersh Denies Report

By on 5.18.09 | 6:08PM

The Pakistani newspaper the Nation reports that:

Former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on the orders of the special death squad formed by former US vice-president Dick Cheney, which had already killed the Lebanese Prime Minister Rafique Al Hariri and the army chief of that country."

The squad was headed by General Stanley McChrystal, the newly-appointed commander of US army in Afghanistan. It was disclosed by reputed US journalist Seymour Hersh while talking to an Arab TV in an interview.

Hersh said former US vice-president Cheney was the chief of the Joint Special Operation Command and he clear the way for the US by exterminating opponents through the unit and the CIA. General Stanley was the in-charge of the unit.

I guess we should expect a forthcoming New Yorker article featuring anonymous high-ranking officials who deliver quotes that fit perfectly into Hersh's story. The problem is, while I can laugh at Hersh's claims, when he makes them to an Arab audience where he is billed as a "reputed US journalist," it can actually have a damaging effect and add fuel to anti-Americanism.

UPDATE: Seymour Hersh is denying he made this accusation:

LAHORE: US journalist Seymour Hersh on Monday contradicted news reports being published in South Asia that quote him as saying a “special death squad” made by former US vice president Dick Cheney had killed Benazir Bhutto. The award-winning journalist described as “complete madness” the reports that the squad headed by General Stanley McChrystal – the new commander of US army in Afghanistan – had also killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafique Al Hariri and a Lebanese army chief. “Vice president Cheney does not have a death squad. I have no idea who killed Mr Hariri or Mrs Bhutto,” Hersh said. “I have never said that I did have such information. I most certainly did not say anything remotely to that effect during an interview with an Arab media outlet.” He said Gen McChrystal had run a special forces unit that engaged in “high value target activity”, but “while I have been critical of some of that unit’s activities in the pages of the New Yorker and in interviews, I have never suggested that he was involved in political assassinations or death squads on behalf of Mr Cheney, as the published stories state.” He regretted that none of the publications had contacted him before carrying the report. “This is another example of blogs going bonkers with misleading and fabricated stories and professional journalists repeating such rumours without doing their job – and that is to verify such rumours.” staff report.

Though back in March, Keith Olberman ran a story that Hersh claimed Cheney was running a "covert executive assassination ring."

UPDATE II: Transcript corroborates Hersh; the Pakistani report was erroneous.

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