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Thread: Hersh: "Executive Assassination Ring" Reported Directly To Cheney

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    Hersh: "Executive Assassination Ring" Reported Directly To Cheney

    Hersh: 'Executive assassination ring' reported directly to Cheney

    http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Hersh_...tive_0311.html

    Muriel Kane
    Published: Wednesday March 11, 2009

    Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh dropped a bombshell on Tuesday when he told an audience at the University of Minnesota that the military was running an "executive assassination ring" throughout the Bush years which reported directly to former Vice President Dick Cheney.

    The remark came out seemingly inadvertently when Hersh was asked by the moderator of a public discussion of "America's Constitutional Crisis" whether abuses of executive power, like those which occurred under Richard Nixon, continue to this day.

    Hersh replied, "After 9/11, I haven’t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet."

    Hersh then went on to describe a second area of extra-legal operations: the Joint Special Operations Command. "It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently," he explained. "They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. ... Congress has no oversight of it."

    "It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on," Hersh stated. "Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us."

    Hersh told MinnPost.com blogger Eric Black in an email exchange after the event that the subject was "not something I wanted to dwell about in public." He is looking into it for a book, but he believes it may be a year or two before he has enough evidence "for even the most skeptical."

    Stories have been coming out about covert Pentagon assassination squads for the last several years. In 2003, Hersh himself reported on Task Force 121, which operated chiefly out of the Joint Special Operations Command. Others stories spoke of a proposed Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group.

    As Hersh noted in Minnesota, the New York Times on Monday described the Joint Special Operations Command as overseeing the secret commando units in Afghanistan whose missions were temporarily ordered halted last month because of growing concerns over excessive civilian deaths.

    However, it appears that Hersh is now on the trail of some fresh revelation about these squads and their connection to Vice-President Cheney that goes well beyond anything that has previously been reported.

    Eric Black's blog posting, which includes an hour-long audio recording of the full University of Minnesota colloquy, is available here.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    John Dean: Cheney is guilty of 'murder' if Hersh claims are true

    http://rawstory.com/news/2008/John_D...ered_0313.html

    3/13/2009

    Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh’s bombshell earlier this week that Vice President Dick Cheney controlled an “executive assassination ring” continues to reverberate throughout Washington, with Nixon aide John Dean going so far as to accuse the former VP of murder if the charges are true.

    MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann visited the issue on his show Countdown Thursday night where he discussed the legal implications of Hersh's allegations with Dean, who was White House legal counsel under President Richard Nixon.

    “It’s potentially a war crime,” Dean said of the reported assassination ring. “It’s potentially just outright murder and it’s clearly in violation of the Ford Executive Order.”

    Hersh told the students at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday that the assassination squad was “a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. In the Bush-Cheney Days, they reported directly to the Cheney, Cheney office. They do not report to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or to Mr. Gates, the secretary of defense. They report directly to him. Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring, essentially.”

    “If this is true you have to prosecute this. There is no way around this,” said Olbermann, noting the 1976 executive order of President Gerald Ford which explicitly outlawed the engagement of political employees in political assassination. Cheney was Ford’s chief of staff at the time the order was issued.

    “By the time Cheney was back in the West Wing it appears that Cheney had forgotten his own boss’s executive order, or worse, he had decided to ignore it,” Olbermann said.

    Dean told Olbermann that “the President’s the only one you can argue who may have the authority to engage in assassinations.

    Newsweek editor Howard Fineman shared with Olbermann his own investigation into the veracity of Hersh's claims. Fineman said his talks Thursday with sources in the intelligence community had revealed that while they are skeptical of the existence of any assassination ring, they had too much respect in Hersh's reporting to dismiss the allegations outright and that they warranted further study.

    However, not everyone is buying the claims made by Hersh. The Weekly Standard's Bill Roggio writes, "Hersh has made a living of making fantastic claims that don't quite live up to the hype. Chalk this one up as another Hersh fantasy."

    Claims by the CIA that the Hersh allegations were “utter nonsense,” are not surprising, said Fineman.

    “If there is in fact such a thing... and the CIA was kept in the dark about it, the last thing they would want to do right now is to admit it,” Fineman said.

    Fineman said he has been told by aides to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee who has proposed forming an independent ‘Truth Commission’ to investigate abuses of the Bush administration, that not many members of the Senate have signed on to the proposal as of yet.

    However, the new allegations by Hersh may be shocking enough to push more senators over to Leahy’s side Fineman said.

    “This could be that thing, depending on how much it pans out,” Fineman said. “One more really serious allegation…I think you’re going to see a lot of senators wanting to join Sen. Leahy’s side on this.”

    This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast Mar. 12, 2009.

    Video At Source
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Kucinich requests investigation into 'executive assassination ring'

    http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Kucini...tion_0316.html

    John Byrne
    Published: Monday March 16, 2009

    After comments made by a New Yorker journalist about Vice President Dick Cheney's alleged involvement in a "executive assassination ring" abroad, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) called Monday for a formal congressional probe.

    Kucinich's call was concomitant with a letter he sent to House Oversight Chairman Edolphus Towns.

    Describing the allegation, Kucinich writes, "Mr. Hersh made the allegation before an audience at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday, March 10, 2009" in which "he stated, ‘Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. It is 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... Congress has no oversight of it.'"

    Hersh's claim is detailed here in an earlier piece by Raw Story.

    “If true, these operations violate longstanding U.S. policy regarding covert actions and illegally bypass Congressional oversight," Kucinich adds. "Hersh is within a year or more of releasing a book that is said to include evidence of this allegation. However, we cannot wait a year or more to establish the truth.”

    The 62-year-old lawmaker and former Democratic presidential candidate is known for his bold and liberal moves. In April 2007, he filed an impeachment resolution against Vice President Cheney over manipulating evidence about Iraq's weapons program prior to the US invasion. The measure was blocked by the Democratic leadership. He also presented articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush in June 2008, but that effort again went nowhere.

    Hersh, the New Yorker journalist who made the claim, also revealed US preparations for a possible Iran strike that was later sidelined, and is also known for revealing the My Lai massacre during Vietnam.

    The full text of Kucinich's letter follows:

    March 13, 2009

    The Honorable Edolphus Towns
    Chairman
    Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
    U.S. House of Representatives
    2157 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515

    Dear Chairman Towns:

    As you may already be aware, recent media reports indicate that investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh, while answering questions before a public audience at the University of Minnesota divulged information about what he calls an “executive assassination ring” operating under the George W. Bush Administration.

    If substantiated, the allegation would have far reaching implications for the United States. Such an assertion from someone of Hersh’s credibility that has a long and proven track record of dependability on these issues merits attention. Mr. Hersh is within a year or more of releasing a book that is said to include evidence of this allegation. However, we cannot wait a year or more to establish the truth. As such, I request that the Full Committee immediately begin an investigation to determine the facts in this matter.

    Mr. Hersh made the allegation before an audience at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday, March 10, 2009. He stated, “Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving.”

    Mr. Hersh continued, “It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently," he explained. "They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. . .Congress has no oversight of it.”

    If true, these operations violate longstanding U.S. policy regarding covert actions and illegally bypass Congressional oversight. Current statute governing covert action (50 U.S.C. 413b) requires a presidential finding and notification to the appropriate congressional committees. Additionally, Executive Order 12333 clearly states that “[n]o person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in or conspire to engage in assassination.”

    I urge the Committee to explore Mr. Hersh’s allegation. Please do not hesitate to call on me or my staff if we can be of assistance.

    Sincerely,

    Dennis J. Kucinich

    Member of Congress
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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