Seymour Hersh’s second strike

Apr 30, 2023
R12X4B Prague, Czech Republic. 08th Nov, 2018. Discussion with American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, holder of Pulitzer Prize in Prague, Czech Republic, November 8, 2018. Then he signs his latest book Reporter: A Memoir. Credit: Vit Simanek/CTK Photo/Alamy Live News

Hersh’s latest revelations on 12 April 2023 in his self-published Substack blog, Trading with the Enemy, detail, among other Ukrainian corruption scandals now widely known in Washington military and intelligence circles, the Zelensky regime’s embezzlement of $400 million from US military aid to Ukraine.

This article is proving even more incendiary in Washington than was his 8 February article, ‘How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline’.

Hersh reports, from his as usual unnamed senior US military and intelligence sources, the CIA’s knowledge of Ukrainian military corruption, siphoning off $400 million profits from the sale of US and NATO weapons on the international black market. He reports that Zelensky was personally reprimanded for this by CIA Director William Burns. This led to Zelensky’s firing of the most conspicuous ten out of 35 corrupt generals and high Kiev government officials named and shamed by Burns.

Hersh also details Ukrainian purchases of Russian diesel fuel used to drive Ukrainian tanks against Russia; the presence of 25,000 soldiers from the two most elite divisions of the US military on Ukraine’s borders with Poland and Romania amid the escalating risk of a wider war; and US mainstream media exposing and helping the US government target Jack Teixeira, the young National Guardsman accused of leaking a large batch of US secret military information.

Last week, Hersh went on Afshin Rattansi’s influential Dubai-based current affairs program, ‘Going Underground’ to talk further about this article. More interesting information emerged from this discussion about the growing underground struggle in Washington over whether the United States should wind back its unproductive military commitment to Zelensky’s weakening regime.

This policy battle in Washington matters also in Australia. Our Prime Minister by his unnecessary attendance at a NATO leaders’ planning meeting in Lithuania is digging Australia more and more deeply into the US-NATO proxy war in Ukraine – just when this war is going more badly for the West. Albanese was probably enlisted by Washington to bolster in NATO the cause of the war, to help Biden counter growing criticism by some European NATO members of NATO’s continuing military commitment to a war that is going badly.

It is important to look at Hersh’s recent independent public journalism on the Ukraine war as a whole. For him it is all one connected narrative. He is a totally credible, very senior and respected, ex-mainstream New York Times journalist who still commands unstated but real respect in mainstream US media, senior military and intelligence circles.

This goes back to his My Lai US atrocities exposures in the Vietnam War. His present importance is that he is still a journalist whose present work validates for mainstream US elite audiences what the dissident contrarian press are saying about the Ukrainian war. When Hersh endorses a position, it matters in Washington, even if official Western disinformation tries to ignore him.

It is significant that even now the NYT, Washington Post and other mainstream Western media do not dare to attack Hersh by name. They simply try to ignore and minimise his allegations. Hersh in turn is reluctant to criticise his old newspaper by name, he generalises his criticisms to the Western press.

It is clear from Hersh’s latest article and his interview with Rattansi that Hersh despises the Biden administration. His criticisms of Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, as former Biden Democratic Party political operatives with no real diplomatic or national security professional expertise, are particularly damaging in his intended audience – the US professional military and intelligence establishment.

The Ukrainian arms sales corruption story is more important for its political impact in Washington than for its military importance. The alleged $400 million worth of smuggled Western weapons, etc., is only around 0.1% of the total value of Western military goods supplied to Kiev. There has always been huge corruption and Western arms leakage in Ukraine, well known since 2014, but it did not stop the West supplying weapons to Kiev in large quantities especially since Feb 2022. The supply only started to tail off in late 2022 and continues to do so, as Ukraine’s prospects of victory against Russia have visibly diminished. In recent months, more and more the Western message to Kiev has been: our military support is not unlimited, it must come to an end.

Making official complaints in Kiev, as CIA Head William Burns did, about smuggled weapons that profit corrupt Ukrainian military up to and including Zelensky is Biden’s way of reinforcing this message, by casting discredit on the Kiev regime. Biden is also cynically preparing the ground for avoiding responsibility for Ukraine’s military defeat when it comes, which now seems increasingly inevitable. If Biden’s people can create the impression back in the US that their Ukrainian proxy warriors lost the war because they were too corrupt, it will perhaps take pressure off Washington from war critics who say they are losing the war because the US did not give strong enough support to Kiev. We saw this in the Vietnam War, with many in the US trying to blame Saigon generals’ corruption for the final defeat.

Hersh is bringing all this into the public arena now, which makes his journalism important and valuable in the cause of restoring peace to Ukraine.

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