Seymour Hersh reports from journalistic exile

Seymour Hersh, once regarded as one of the top U.S. investigative reporters, has in recent years been unable to publish his articles in the United States—only in the London Review of Books and other British publications.

But he couldn’t even get his most recent expose published even in the LRB.   The LRB commissioned, then decline to print his report on the truth behind the Assad regime’s alleged sarin attacks, and he had to turn to a German newspaper, Die Welt.

Long story short, here’s what Hersh claimed:

  • President Donald Trump was engaged by propaganda pictures allegedly showing that children were killed by a sarin attack by Syrian government forces, and disregarded intelligence reports that questioned the evidence that such an attack occurred.
  • He ordered a military attack on Syria in retaliation, but U.S. military officers, knowing that there was no good reason for the attack, conducted it in such a way that it would do minimum damage.

Note that Hersh does not claim to know what happened.  He is just saying that Trump’s claim action has no basis.

Seymour Hersh was an obscure freelance reporter in 1969 when he uncovered the truth about the My Lai massacre.   The New York Times and Washington Post didn’t want to publish that article, either, but he got it out on a small wire service, the North American Newspaper Alliance.

Later he broke the story of Abu Ghraib.  He was just as hard on the Clinton and Obama administrations as he was on Republican administrations.   One of his unacceptable stories was a claim that the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden was done with the knowledge and cooperation of the government of Pakistan.

The stated reasons why Hersh’s articles have been rejected by the New York Times, the New Yorker and now the London Review of Books is that he relied for his information on anonymous sources.   Yet the New York Times and the New Yorker runs lots of leaked information about alleged Russian connections with Donald Trump.

The difference is that Hersh’s reporting contains information that the government wants covered up.  The Russiagate leaks—in my opinion—are part of a propaganda campaign intended to undermine President Trump and foster confrontation with Russia.

The believability of any news report based on anonymous sources depends largely on the reader’s confidence in the reporter’s ability to sift fact from fiction.  No reporter gets everything right 100 percent of the time, but I have more confidence in Hersh than I do in his detractors.


Trump’s Red Line by Seymour M. Hersh for Die Welt.

Transcript of conversations between an American soldier and a security adviser.

Air Strike in Syria: the Fog of War by Dirk Laabs for Die Welt.

Transcript of Seymour Hersh interview on The Real News Network.

Ex-Weapons Inspector: Trump’s Sarin Claims Built on Lie by Scott Ritter for The American Conservative.

Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried from View by Jonathan Cook for Counterpunch.

The Useful Idiots Who Undermine Dissent on Syria by Jonathan Cook for Counterpunch [Added 7/5/2017]

The Fraud of the White Helmets by Philip Giraldi for The Unz Review.  [Added 7/7/2017]


As a young student in the early 1950s, I wrote articles criticizing Senator Joseph McCarthy and violations of civil liberties in the name of anti-Communism.  I was always careful to mention that I has by no means justifying Joseph Stalin or Soviet Communism.   And I in fact was a strong anti-Communist in those days – what is now called a “Cold War liberal.”

In the same spirit, I want to be careful to mention that I am not an advocate for Vladimir Putin or Bashar al-Assad.   You don’t have to be pro-Putin or pro-Assad to be opposed to acting on bogus information or to risking war for bogus reasons.

I don’t think our present international situation is comparable to the events leading up to World War Two.  If anything, the present situation is more like the events leading up to World War One or to the Cuban missile crisis.

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One Response to “Seymour Hersh reports from journalistic exile”

  1. louisproyect Says:


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