Dick Cheney Had a Death Squad

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    Bob Fertik
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Seymour Hersh, the legendary investigative reporter who exposed My Lai and Abu Ghraib, exploded another bombshell at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday: Dick Cheney had his own Death Squad (h/t Alternet).

"Right now, today, there was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command -- JSOC it’s called. 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. 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 [Cheney] ...

"Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths.

"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.

Is anyone surprised? We've all seen the movies about assassination teams. And we know there is nothing - absolutely nothing - that Dick Cheney wouldn't do. 

Hersh didn't identify the countries, but the NY Times article he cited focused on Afghanistan, where commando operations have killed numerous civilians and enraged Afghan president Hamid Karzai. But Afghanistan doesn't really fit Hersh's description because U.S. troops have been fighting there since 2001; they are not "going in... and leaving." That sounds more like the cross-border raids from Afghanistan into Pakistan, which are well-known. Hersh's revelation suggests similar operations went into other countries, but these remain secret.

So will Congress investigate Cheney's death squads? Who has jurisdiction? After all, Cheney pretended he was a "fourth branch" of the government, neither in the Executive nor the Legislative branches. Of course he was always part of the Executive.

"It’s complicated because the guys doing it are not murderers, and yet they are committing what we would normally call murder. It’s a very complicated issue. Because they are young men that went into the Special Forces. The Delta Forces you’ve heard about. Navy Seal teams. Highly specialized.

"In many cases, they were the best and the brightest. Really, no exaggerations. Really fine guys that went in to do the kind of necessary jobs that they think you need to do to protect America. And then they find themselves torturing people.

"I’ve had people say to me -- five years ago, I had one say: ‘What do you call it when you interrogate somebody and you leave them bleeding and they don’t get any medical committee and two days later he dies. Is that murder? What happens if I get before a committee?’

"But they’re not gonna get before a committee.”  

If Cheney's death squads were comprised of Special Forces, then it's a military operation. Obviously the lines of authority were drawn carefully to bypass the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but the Times says the officer in charge of JSOC Vice Adm. William H. McRaven, obviously a senior military officer. And the order to suspend operations in Afghanistan was "supported" by Gen. David Petraeus, also a military officer. 

So the Armed Services Committees need to hold hearings: that's Carl Levin (D-MI) in the Senate and Ike Skelton (D-MO) in the House.

Hersh also exploded a second bombshell, which is even scarier for those of us here in the U.S.A. 

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. That does happen.

That's all he said, which isn't much. But the idea of the CIA operating inside the US against people deemed "enemies of the state" by George Bush and Dick Cheney is terrifying. What exactly did they do??? We need to know more - lots more.

This one clearly falls under the jurisdiction of the Intelligence Committees. That's Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in the Senate and Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) in the House.

Congress, it's time to get to work.

Update 1: Attytood says this should be reviewed by Pat Leahy's Truth Commission. He adds,

in case there's any ambiguity on the subject, President Gerald Ford in 1975 signed an executive order that said this: "No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination." It's been upheld by every subsequent president. Apparently vice presidents are another matter.

Who was Ford's Chief of Staff? Dick Cheney! Makes it kinda hard for Cheney to plead ignorance...

Update 2: Scott Horton explains how Presidents give themselves (or their Vice Presidents) the power to assassinate:

The practice of targeted killings is controlled by Executive Order 12333, issued by President Reagan in 1981, which provides “No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.” There are two exceptions to this rule. One is that as a basic principle of the law of armed combat, it is permitted to strike against the command-and-control apparatus (including both political and military leaders) of a hostile force in connection with armed conflict. The other is that the President may, by special action, authorize such an operation. The operation that Hersh describes almost certainly would have required a presidential finding which concluded that it was in the nation’s national security interest, and authorized the operation to go forward. Hersh suggests that the entire process was delegated to the Vice President, however, which may have required a more extensive modification of E.O. 12333. President Bush issued a complete revamping of EO 12333 on July 30, 2008—and he directed that the details of his revision be withheld from the public. The publicly disclosed text of Bush’s action in 2008 focus on a structural reorganization, bolstering the authority of the intelligence czar, largely at the expense of the director of central intelligence. There has been continuous speculation that Bush also made changes in the operational guidelines on this occasion, or perhaps in an earlier secret order or finding.

Update 3: Marcy Wheeler says Bush paid no attention to Executive Orders like E.O. 12333, so that was not a constraint on Cheney's actions.

Update 4: Marcy Wheeler thinks Yassir Arafat might have been a victim, but if his mysterious illness was unnatural, it would be the result of a spy operation, not a military one.

Update 5: Raw Story's Muriel Kane adds:

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.

Update 6: Rep. Dennis Kucinich asked for an investigation of Cheney's Death Squad by Chairman Edolphus Towns of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Update 7: Rob Arend traces previously published reports about JSOC.

Comments

"And he added that both the

  • AnnetteS's picture
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"And he added that both the press and the public let down their guard in the aftermath of 9/11.

“The major newspapers joined the [Bush] team,” Hersh said. Top editors passed the message to investigative reporters not to “pick holes” in what Bush was doing. Violations of the Bill of Rights happened in the plain sight of the public. It it was not only tolerated, but Bush was re-elected."

That's what pisses me off... and no matter what Pres. Obama does or doesn't do.. he gets questioned and is even asked the other day if he is a socialist for trying to put this country back together after what Bush and Cheney have done to it..with the damn press's help. Right there is proof that the press..our so called "liberal" media helped Bush cover up his crimes against the people in this country. And they want to say that Pres. Obama is destroying the country and the Constitution. Give me a break.

What gets me

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The thing is we all new bad stuff was going on when the election irregularities popped up. That was way in the beginning. These were liars and crooks, willing to do or say anything in the name of "the end results" that they deemed necessary. They have supremacist beliefs and mafia rules so what do you expect. My view is they (as mafia types do) got something on the members of house and senate, or just the fact that they got them to go along on Iraq and some other things making them accomplices to hold the upper hand if we tried to prosecute them. As you see not many are rushing to hold them accountable. And here we stand with these criminals in our midst naming roads and ships after them as if they were heroes. But at some point in time a very bright light will be shown on the full measure of there deceit and atrocities, weather our leaders have the courage or not. And for every day they are not held accountable more of our leaders become complicit in their crimes and the light shines brighter on what is really going on and who exactly is and was involved.

It was once called P2OG

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P2OG. The pentagon preemptive operations group. The idea was to stimulate, or simulate terrorist activity, so we could hit 'em with the military. Run by Dick, out of sight from George.

Naturally, success breeds success. And things develop.

My comment is :
There is a standard method to ensure loyalty to a cause that deserves none. It is to lead the initiate to perform a reprehensible act. Then, ever after, the victim of the psychological operation is not able to question the cause, its' leaders, or their orders, without immediately and automatically coming face to face with his own guilt. Should that guilt be strong enough, or the victim weak enough, that guilt will be fled. It is not coincidental that with the same motion all thought of questioning cause, leader or order is also fled. It is the point of the Psychological Operation.

There are many who, by themselves, will never break out of this prison with bars of guilt. However, they can be let out, with the same key they would use if they could get out themselves.

That key is truth, and the admitting of it.

In the final analysis, punishing the perpetrators has to be secondary to ending the transgression. If We insist on Justice, for all, We will drive the Psy-op victims into a tightly knit, extremely capable organization controlled by the very men who created the problem in the first place. The option is to use the model shown us by South Africa, when they had a similar problem of a Black country Policed by White criminals. They used a truth Commission.

The rules were simple. You will not be prosecuted for anything (Any-Thing) you tell the Commission. But you will be prosecuted for anything the Commission finds out about you that you try to keep secret. All the information will be cross referenced for 1/ Perjury, and 2/ Any bad guys still running around loose that need to be arrested.

If you think this over, calmly, coolly and carefully, I think you will come to agree that this is the way to uncover and deal with WHATEVER may be hiding in the dark. No matter what or how hairy.

It should also be noted that the response will scale itself up to meet the problem, and then afterward scale itself back down to zero. Automatically.

Patrick Leahy needs signatures for Investigation 100,000

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Senator Judiciary Patrick Leahy is asking us to sign a petition for 100,000 to get the investigation started. I told him I would send it to the blogs.

BushTruthCommission.com

Take it viral and let the Judiciary and Congress know, YES WE CAN!!

Well America, Justice is about to start.

Open and America can see the hearings on C-span or the pc at c-span.org 1, 2, or 3

Let's Help them out!

Gooooooooo American Blue Tsunami!!!

mommapanther

Leahy's pursuit of an investigation...

is pretty nearly worthless. He has been a pimple on the party(remember his failures during the 9-11 investigation)for the past 8 years. Just another do-nothing Dem in the congress. Screw his idea of investigation--we need to initiate prosecution of BushCo immediately.

Leahy, Conyers, Kucinich, Kerry, et al, all strive for photo and video spots and don't manage to ever DO anything worthwhile.

A mind once expanded can never return to its original dimensions.

Anne Hathaway: 1556-1623

 

The greatest derangement of the mind is to believe in something because one wishes it to be so.

War on Terrorism

  • looey's picture
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When Bush stood on that pile of rubble of twin towers, I was sickened that he had received an early Christmas present. His approval ratings were very low until he stood on the ruble and then they hit the moon. He could now go for the neo colonial world domination which Cheyney and Rumsfeld wanted and got through Weapons of Mass Destruction and War in Iraq. And the administration could usurp the Constitution. I don't know how many trillions we have spent that would been better spent on healthcare and education.

Just as bad was that anyone who spoke against American imperialist goals was silenced. John Kerry was terrorized into competing with Bush. A truth commission is a white wash. Prosecution for crimes against humanity is called for.