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Sy Hersh on Defense Secretary Gates

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Posted on Dec 7, 2006

Veteran journalist and Bush administration critic Seymour Hersh speaks to Amy Goodman on “Democracy Now” about what to expect from Robert Gates as defense secretary: “The reality is Gates is a fresh face and there’s a lot of people, [Brent] Scowcroft and James Baker among them, who are very worried about what’s going to happen in ‘08.”


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  • Partial Transcript (from Alternet / Evan Derkacz):

    SEYMOUR HERSH: Look, you can spend a lot of time going over the past. Iran-Contra was one of the most underreported stories of the time. As much attention as it got, there’s no question that the president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, and all of the people immediately around him, knew much more. This is one of the worst reported stories of the decade, of the last couple of decades. We really didn’t get to it, none of us in the press corps. It was a failure. Bob Gates was certainly in the middle of this, but I’ll tell you right now, the issue for Gates, you know, if you want to worry about the past, worry about the past. The issue for Gates now is, is he going to throw—he’s president of a major university, he’s written a memoir, he’s come out of it with his reputation pretty much intact—is he going to throw it away by going into the tank?

      In other words, one way he’s brought in, one reason he’s brought in, he’s seen as somebody, unlike Rumsfeld, who in case they decide to go to war or they think there’s intelligence that supports going to war with Iran, he’s seen as somebody that can go brief it and be accepted by the Congress. As you know, many of the legislators are Democrats, Joe Biden among them, who voted against Gates, were very—when he was up for CIA director, a decade ago—were very quick to say they would vote for him now.


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      And so the issue for Gates—Gates is really going to be in a very tough spot. Is he going to throw away 35 years and put himself right back in the maelstrom by being—you know, being a mouthpiece for some of the people who want to do things that he may not agree with, or is he going to tell it straight? But he’s going to have credibility, he’s going to be seen as somebody who is going to be replacing Rumsfeld. Bob Gates is not the worst person in the world. I don’t disagree with what Mel Goodwin says—Goodman says—and he and I have talked about this in the past. But Gates is also very strong-minded, and what he could see as tilting intelligence could be Gates inflicting his views, which is also wrong, but it’s different.

      It’s not quite—in any case I’m not apologizing for him, I’m just saying let’s deal with reality. The reality is Gates is a fresh face and there’s a lot of people, Scowcroft and James Baker among them, who are very worried about what’s going to happen in ‘08. The Republicans do not want to lose the election in ‘08 as they lost it in ‘06. They don’t want to see a Democratic president in, and so this is a sort of the last hurrah. The old boys, around George Bush Sr., saying that whatever the kid, the young boy wants to do as a lame duck next year, he better be aware that the party’s future’s at stake and that’s what’s going on here. I think this is really sort of a huge big canvass that we really don’t quite fully understand. But Gates, if he’s going to come in and be the briefer they think he might be on all issues, and spin it the way they want, well that’s going to be his problem. But if he’s going to have some credibility and he’s told friends, he understands his position and he’s not going to, as I say, he’s not going to throw away a lifetime on this issue, let’s just hope that’s right.

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    By Quy Tran, December 7, 2006 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Don’t worry after George W. will be Jeb.

    The whole monarch family, from the father to his sons, shows us how to get into dead-gate !

    Their second book will be published to eulogize their high talent in governing and helping humanity.

    Report this

    By Jackie T. Gabel, December 7, 2006 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Pertinent contribution by the foremost expert on state-sponsored terrorism:

    Wed. Dec. 6
    Webster G. Tarpley
    Washington DC

    In the final report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters, Lawrence Walsh left little doubt that he believed Gates had given perjured testimony during that investigation. But Walsh concluded that the matters involved were so complicated that it would be very difficult to prove them before a jury. For this reason and for no other, Gates did not face criminal charges for perjury.

    Most damning of all is the fact that Gates was one of the founders of al Qaeda, the CIA’s Arab Legion which was assembled to attack the Soviets in Afghanistan. Gates is thus part of the infrastructure that produced the patsies of 9/11:

    According to former CIA Director Robert Gates’s memoir From the Shadows, the big expansion of the US covert operation in Afghanistan began in 1984. During this year, “the size of the CIA’s covert program to help the Mujaheddin increased several times over,” reaching a level of about $500 million in US and Saudi payments funneled through the Zia regime in Pakistan. As Gates recalled, “it was during this period [1985] that we began to learn of a significant increase in the number of Arab nationals from other countries who had traveled to Afghanistan to fight in the Holy War against the Soviets. They came from Syria, Iraq, Algeria, and elsewhere, and most fought with the Islamic fundamentalist Muj groups, particularly that headed by Abdul Resaul Sayyaf. We examined ways to increase their participation, perhaps in the form of some sort of ‘international brigade,’ but nothing came of it. Years later, these fundamentalist fighters trained by the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan would begin to show up around the world, from the Middle East to New York City, still fighting their Holy War – only now including the United States among their enemies. Our mission was to push the Soviets out of Afghanistan. We expected a post-Soviet Afghanistan to be ugly, but never considered that it would become a haven for terrorists operating worldwide.” (Gates 349) But the international brigade Gates talked about was in fact created – as the group now known as al Qaeda. (Tarpley, 9/11 Synthetic Terror, pp.139-140 )

    This is the same al Qaeda which provided the troupe of patsies, psychotics, and double agents (bin Laden, Atta, Moussaoui, etc.) which were used to pin the 9/11 attacks on Arabs and Moslems – instead of the US bankers’ rogue network which actually carried out 9/11 for geopolitical reasons. Gates is up to his ears in the terror apparatus of this rogue network, the September criminals who created 9/11.

    There can be no question of approving such a candidate. Even the Senate’s willingness to hold hearings for so compromised a figure amounts to an obscene farce. In the recent election, Democrats campaigned against the rubber-stamp Republican Congress. These same Democrats dare not rubber stamp the Gates nomination now. In particular, Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate are reminded that if they fail to filibuster Gates, the aroused anti-war base of the Democratic Party will demand accountability on the campaign trail. We do not want bi-partisan sellouts, but rather a real opposition to the Bush regime and its crimes. Above all, we want 9/11 truth as the essential precondition for restoring lawful government.

    Internet posting, thanks to Reprehensor—complete posting and comments at

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