Seymour Hersh and His Lebanon Fables


Seymour Hersh should probably start all of his writings with the words "Once upon a time..."

Hersh has penned outrageous, conspiratorial idiocies over the last year, including a piece on the standoff between America and Iran that had George Bush ready to use nuclear weapons against hardened Iranian sites and several top officials in the Pentagon ready to resign in protest of that decision. The White House and most rational people laughed it off. "That's our Seymour," as if talking about a crazy uncle who shows up at family reunions drunk all the time.

In this month's Commentary Magazine, Gabriel Schoenfeld takes on Hersh's outrageous charge that the United States and Saudi Arabia have been funding radical Sunni terrorists in Lebanon in order to "confront" Hezb'allah.

Here was Hersh in March on CNN giving the details of the "plot:"

Key player are the Saudis, of course, and [Saudi Prince] Bandar. What I was writing about was a sort of a private agreement that was made between the White House, we’re talking about [Vice-President] Dick Cheney and Elliott Abrams, who is one of the key aides in the White House, with Bandar. And the idea was to get support, covert support—money, from the Saudis to support various hard-line jihadists, Sunni groups, particularly in Lebanon, who would be seen in case of an actual confrontation with Hezbollah.

Where did Hersh get such a crazy notion? Apparently, he swallowed disinformation from various Syrian and pro-Syrian sources in Lebanon hook, line, and sinker. Anton Effendi, a Middle East scholar and Lebanese blogger explains:
Just to follow up on the brain-numbing topic of Sy Hersh. I had argued that one of Hersh's sources may have been Syrian ambassador Imad Moustapha. My argument has since been bolstered, unveiling a larger network of Syrian tools feeding Hersh his material.

Indeed, some of Hersh's sources have been exposed in Lebanese papers and media and they include a Syrian businessman by the name of Raja Sidawi. But the main minder, it seems, is an old reliable Syrian tool by the name of Michel Samaha, a Lebanese former minister and Syrian agent extraordinaire. It seems that he has been the major source feeding Hersh all this venomous nonsense (including, by the way, that stupid -- and as always, false -- story about Israelis and Kurds that Hersh made up in another piece). Another source is reportedly Farid Abboud, who is Imad Moustapha's personal poodle, and who, despite being relieved from his duty as ambassador to the US, still loiters around, at the behest of his boss Emile Lahoud (Syria's primo pitbull), only to sabotage the Lebanese government any chance he gets. This includes feeding lies to ignorant journalists.
Anton demolishes Hersh's laughably ignorant foray into conspiracies involving radical Sunni groups being sicced on Hezb'allah by the US and Saudi Arabia - specifically Fatah al-Islam who have been engaged in a conflict not with Hezb'allah but with the Lebanese Army for almost 5 months in the Palestinian refugee camp Nahr al-Abed. In essence, Effendi and others  have exposed Hersh as a willing tool of the anti-democratic forces seeking to tear Lebanon apart.

Read the rest of Schoenfeld's excellent takedown of Hersh.

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