Vice-President had his own military hit squad that carried out executions abroad
Paul Joseph Watson
March 12, 2009
Award-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh dropped another bombshell this week when he revealed that former Vice-President Dick Cheney had his own SS-style political assassination unit that reported directly to him.
Hersh told a University of Minnesota audience on Tuesday, “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 how the Joint Special Operations Command was an executive assassination unit that carried out political`assassinations abroad. . “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.”
The revelation that Cheney had his own private assassination unit is not too far removed from Hitler’s notorious SA (Sturmabteilung), the much feared para-military wing of the Nazi party who were used to beat, torture and kill political opponents of the Nazi party in 1930’s Germany and the Waffen SS, who were later used in the war to carry out executions and war crimes.
The SA were later targeted by Hitler during the Night of the Long Knives, a brutal purge to eliminate political adversaries both inside and outside of the Nazi party. Hundreds of people were executed in cold blood by the Gestapo and the SS.
Tellingly, German courts and cabinet quickly swept aside centuries of legal prohibition against extra-judicial killings to demonstrate their loyalty to Hitler. The Waffen SS was deemed beyond prosecution despite it blatantly being involved in egregious and ongoing war crimes, as well as domestic assassinations.
The Joint Special Operations Command, Cheney’s assassination unit, is also described as an area of ‘extra-legal’ operations.
“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.”
And it’s still going on. None of Obama’s reversals of Bush executive orders say anything about abolishing the Joint Special Operations Command. Indeed, the specialist unit is an integral part of Obama’s vastly expanded bombing raids and other incursions in Pakistan.
John Dean: Cheney is guilty of ‘murder’ if Hersh claims are true
David Edwards and Rachel Oswald
March 14, 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.