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Secondary Targeting

R.W. Johnson, 23 October 1986

‘The target is destroyed’: What really happened to Flight 007 
by Seymour Hersh.
Faber, 282 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 571 14772 0
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... Throughout the time I was working on my own book on the KAL 007 tragedy I heard reports that Seymour Hersh was working on a parallel book, and I looked forward to it keenly. Ever since he sprang to prominence with his exposure of the My Lai massacre 17 years ago I have read his writings with respect, sometimes with admiration ...

Rug Time

Jonathan Steinberg, 20 October 1983

Kissinger: The Price of Power 
by Seymour Hersh.
Faber, 699 pp., £15, October 1983, 0 571 13175 1
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... Seymour Hersh belongs to that small group of American newspaper reporters who made national reputations during the Vietnam War and Watergate. He won a Pultizer Prize in 1970 for his exposure of the My Lai massacre. He exposed the secret bombing of Cambodia and the role of the CIA in toppling the Allende regime in Chile ...

I figured what the heck

Jackson Lears: Seymour Hersh, 27 September 2018

by Seymour M. Hersh.
Allen Lane, 355 pp., £20, June 2018, 978 0 241 35952 5
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... The world​ needs Seymour Hersh. Without his indefatigable reporting, we would know even less than we do about the crimes committed by the US national security state over the last fifty years. While most of his peers in the press have been faithfully transcribing what are effectively official lies, Hersh has repeatedly challenged them, revealing scandalous government conduct that would otherwise have been kept secret: the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, the domestic surveillance programme run by the intelligence agencies in the 1960s and 1970s, the torturing of prisoners at Abu Ghraib ...

Short Cuts

Norman Dombey: False Intelligence, 19 February 2004

... Niger in his 2003 State of the Union speech, he named Britain as the source of the information. Seymour Hersh, in a New Yorker article last March, quoted a former American intelligence officer as saying that ‘at least one member of the UN inspection team who supported the American and British position arranged for dozens of unverified and ...

Dual Loyalty

Victor Mallet, 5 December 1991

The Samson Option: Israel, America and the Bomb 
by Seymour Hersh.
Faber, 256 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 571 16619 9
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Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the US-Israeli Covert Relationship 
by Andrew Cockburn and Leslie Cockburn.
Bodley Head, 423 pp., £17.99, January 1991, 0 370 31405 0
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... undergoing a profound transformation. Walworth Barbour, then US Ambassador to Israel, is quoted in Seymour Hersh’s book as saying alter the 1967 war that ‘Arab oil is not as important as Israel is to us. Therefore I’m going to side with Israel in all of my reporting.’ Such a statement would sound out of place in late 1991, after the despatch of ...

Iran and the Bomb

Norman Dombey: Don’t Do It, 25 January 2007

... to having an implosion capability, which it will need to make compact weapons. Yet according to Seymour Hersh, writing in the New Yorker in November, the CIA recently completed an assessment of the evidence for the existence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons programme. The report, which was based on satellite and other data, concluded that there was ...

Brief Shining Moments

Christopher Hitchens: Donkey Business in the White House, 19 February 1998

Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65 
by Taylor Branch.
Simon and Schuster, 746 pp., $30, February 1998, 0 684 80819 6
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‘One Hell of a Gamble’: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-64 
by Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali.
Murray, 416 pp., September 1997, 0 7195 5518 3
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The Dark Side of Camelot 
by Seymour Hersh.
HarperCollins, 497 pp., £8.99, February 1998, 9780006530770
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Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson , Bobby Kennedy and the Feud that Defined a Decade 
by Jeff Shesol.
Norton, 591 pp., £23.50, January 1998, 9780393040784
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The Year the Dream Died 
by Jules Witcover.
Warner, 512 pp., £25, June 1997, 0 446 51849 2
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Without Honor: The Impeachment of President Nixon and the Crimes of Camelot 
by Jerry Zeifman.
Thunder's Mouth, 262 pp., $24.95, November 1996, 9781560251286
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The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis 
edited by Ernest May and Philip Zelikow.
Howard, 740 pp., £23.50, September 1997, 0 674 17926 9
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Lyndon B. Johnson’s Vietnam Papers: A Documentary Collection 
edited by David Barrett.
Texas A & M, 906 pp., $94, June 1997, 0 89096 741 5
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Taking Charge: The Johnson Whitehouse Tapes 1963-64 
edited by Michael Beschloss.
Simon and Schuster, 624 pp., £20, April 1998, 0 684 80407 7
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Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes 
edited by Stanley Kutler.
Free Press, 675 pp., $30, November 1997, 0 684 84127 4
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The Other Missiles of October: Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Jupiters, 1957-63 
by Philip Nash.
North Carolina, 231 pp., £34.70, October 1997, 0 8078 4647 3
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... in school – fell victim to the swords of all three.Now this is a fairly routine passage from Seymour Hersh’s new book, ill-advisedly (and unironically) entitled The Dark Side of Camelot:Even aboard Air Force One, the President was forced to wear a stiff brace that stretched from his shoulders to his crotch – the aftermath of an errant poolside ...


David Gilmour, 1 June 1989

Prepared for the worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Chatto, 357 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 7011 3459 3
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... peace efforts and instigating lethal military adventures. Many years ago William Shawcross and Seymour Hersh revealed the extent of his hooliganism in Cambodia and elsewhere. More recently Patrick Seale showed in his biography of Asad that Kissinger almost single-handedly wrecked the chances of a Middle East settlement after 1973. And here Christopher ...

Protocols of Machismo

Corey Robin: In the Name of National Security, 19 May 2005

Arguing about War 
by Michael Walzer.
Yale, 208 pp., £16.99, July 2004, 0 300 10365 4
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Chain of Command 
by Seymour Hersh.
Penguin, 394 pp., £17.99, September 2004, 0 7139 9845 8
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Torture: A Collection 
edited by Sanford Levinson.
Oxford, 319 pp., £18.50, November 2004, 0 19 517289 2
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... Angola – lest we must stop them here, at the Rio Grande, the Canadian border, on Main Street. As Seymour Hersh shows in his indispensable guide to the politics of American security after 9/11, these are by no means merely ancient or academic formulations. While liberal critics claim that the Bush administration lied about or deliberately exaggerated the ...

Lace the air with LSD

Mike Jay: Brain Warfare, 4 February 2021

Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control 
by Stephen Kinzer.
Henry Holt, 384 pp., £11.99, November 2020, 978 1 250 76262 7
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... involved … were either out of the country and not available for interview or were deceased.’Seymour Hersh, who had already written a front-page story for the New York Times about the CIA’s illegal domestic surveillance programme, determined that the man who had fallen from the window was Frank Olson, a chemist employed by the CIA. ...

Flyweight Belligerents

Michael Byers: À la carte multilateralism, 5 May 2005

... BLU-109 ‘bunker-buster’ bombs capable of penetrating up to six feet of concrete. In January, Seymour Hersh reported in the New Yorker that US special forces were already in Iran trying to pinpoint underground nuclear facilities and other potential targets. Earlier this year, US and Israeli forces spent a month testing the ability of Israeli air ...


Andrew O’Hagan: The Good Traitor, 25 September 2014

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State 
by Glenn Greenwald.
Hamish Hamilton, 259 pp., £20, May 2014, 978 0 241 14669 9
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... asking that of Woodward and Bernstein. Or of any member of the Sunday Times Insight team or of Seymour Hersh. ‘Beyond the rhetorical fallacy,’ Greenwald writes, a TV journalist had just given credence to the notion that other journalists could and should be prosecuted for doing journalism, an extraordinary assertion. Gregory’s question implied ...

On the imagining of conspiracy

Christopher Hitchens, 7 November 1991

Harlot’s Ghost 
by Norman Mailer.
Joseph, 1122 pp., £15.99, October 1991, 0 7181 2934 2
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A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs 
by Theodore Draper.
Hill and Wang, 690 pp., $27.95, June 1991, 0 8090 9613 7
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... historians like Theodore Draper, Arthur Schlesinger and Garry Wills, or political journalists like Seymour Hersh, Lou Cannon and Robert Woodward, deal with this difficulty in various ways, but seldom succeed for long in firing the general consciousness. This is because they are either apologists for power (Schlesinger, Woodward) or its intimates ...

Ethnic Cleansers

Stephen Smith, 8 October 1992

Four Hours in My Lai: A War Crime and its Aftermath 
by Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim.
Viking, 430 pp., £17.99, May 1992, 0 670 83233 2
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Tiger Balm: Travels in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia 
by Lucretia Stewart.
Chatto, 261 pp., £10.99, June 1992, 0 7011 3892 0
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... serial amnesia in covering it. Journalists wrote about My Lai all right, but with the exception of Seymour Hersh and a handful of others, they hardly pursued it. They attended the opening days of Calley’s court-martial in November 1970, but some of the most damning details revealed in the four-month hearing went unreported, because nobody could be ...

Why use a Novichok?

Tom Stevenson, 6 May 2021

Toxic: A History of Nerve Agents from Nazi Germany to Putin’s Russia 
by Dan Kaszeta.
Hurst, 408 pp., £25, July 2020, 978 1 78738 306 7
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... WMD debacle would be repeated to justify increased American military intervention. Some, including Seymour Hersh in the LRB (19 December 2013), argued that Ghouta might have been a false flag operation conducted by rebel factions with Turkish support, but the weight of evidence suggests that the attack was carried out by the loyalist side. In 2017, sarin ...

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