Azara Blog: Seymour Hersh visits Britain

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Date published: 2005/06/25

An excerpt from a discussion at the Brighton Festival with the American journalist Seymour Hersh, as summarised in the Financial Times weekend magazine:

He found out about the goings-on in Abu Ghraib from an "Iraqi general friend"; Hersh stayed for three days in a Damascus hotel squeezing the story out of him. He never recommends that his contacts go public with their stories, because they would be crucified by the rightwing news media. "I would never tell anyone to speak up," he says. "They would be pilloried."
What's happening in the US government is disquieting, he says. George W. Bush doesn't read The New York Times or The Guardian, Hersh believes, and doesn't much care what they write. "[The papers] could rattle LBJ, Clinton, even George's father." But after September 11, the mood in the White House was "you're either with us or against us." Hersh cannot decide whether Congress is "supine or prone", and explodes into a quiet rage: "The war crimes committed by this president are incredible. Where were the federal bureaucracy, the military?"

It didn't take 9/11 to make the White House believe "you're either with us or against us", Bush and his cohorts have always been fundamentally nasty people. The difference was that after 9/11 nobody in the American media was willing to challenge them.

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