Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Preempitve Manhunting, the CIA’s New Assassination Program

The major media outlets have ignored the CIA’s on-going strategy of mass assassinations as one of the main weapons in Bush’s burgeoning global war of terror. This is why it came as something of a shock to highbrows and media elites when Seymour Hersh, in a recent article for The New Yorker, revealed the existence of what he wrongfully referred to as “a new Special Forces operation” that is intended to assassinate the people comprising “the broad middle of the Ba’athist underground.”

This is a half-truth at best. To begin with, this is a CIA assassination program, not a Special Forces program; and while Hersh is correct when he says the targets are members of the outlawed Ba’ath Party, he tactfully skirts the fact that this assassination program is illegal because it targets civilians not soldiers. Americans have denied these Iraqui civilians due process in their own country. Based on the word of a single anonymous informant, Ba’ath Party members who have never harmed a single American can be detained indefinitely, tortured until they rat out some colleagres, or become a double agent, or they can be assassinated along with their family, friends and neighbors.

And not just Ba’ath Party members, but anyone who gets their name on the CIA’s blacklist of political and ideological enemies.

Preemptive Manhunting: The New Phoenix Program

The CIA has concocted various euphemisms for its long-standing policy of assassinating civilians whose ideas and political beliefs it hates. In a 24 July 2003 article for CounterPunch titled Nation of Assassins, I listed some of them: “targetted kill” being the most popular, along with neutralize and “executive action”. I’ve been waiting for the new euphemism with which the media will assuage the public and now we have it from disinformation specialist Seymour Hersh: “Preemptive Manhunting.”

Preemptive Manhunting is the new name for assassination and, according to Hersh (quoting one of his usual anonymous sources), the rationale for resorting to this immoral and illegal measure is that “The only way we can win is to go unconventional. We’re going to have to play their game. Guerrilla versus guerrilla. Terrorism versus terrorism. We’ve got to scare the Iraqis into submission.”

This is a textbook description of “selective terrorism” as the ultimate form of psychological warfare, and Hersh is correct in describing Preemptive Manhunting as the rebirth of the CIA’s Phoenix Program in South Vietnam.

For those who are unaware of it, a typical Phoenix Program operation occurred in February 1968, when former Senator Bob Kerrey (now added to the 9/11 Investigation team) led a seven-member Navy SEAL team into Thanh Phong village and murdered more than a dozen women and children–a war crime for which Kerry received a Bronze Star. That’s right–Kerrey lied when he got back to camp and reported that he and his boys had killed 21 Viet Cong guerrillas. We can expect a lot of this in Iraq, Afghanistan, and any other place Bush sends the CIA to terrorize the civilian populoation into submission.

In Vietnam, Kerrey & Company were supposedly after the local Communist Party District Chief. Like the Ba’ath Party in Iraq, the Communist Party was outlawed in South Vietnan, thus providing the CIA with the pretext it needed to kill its members. A Vietnamese informant provioded the intelligence that Kerrey based his mission on, and, in Iraq, the CIA’s Phoenix assassination teams will rely on paid, anonymous Iraqi informants to identify which Ba’ath Party members will be murdered along with all their family, friends, and neighbors. And anyone else the CIA wants killed.

That’s right–terrorizing the people into submission is the point of Preemptive Manhunting, just as it was the point of the CIA’s Phoenix Program. As in Kerrey’s operation in Thanh Phong, that means killing anyone in any way related to the target. Hundreds of My Lai massacres occurred in South Vietnam in the name of Phoenix, and starting in Afghanistan and Iraq, the CIA will perpetrate a hundred times that many massacres around the world, in the name of George Bush, Ariel Sharon, and the Judaeo-Christian God.

One final note. Hersh mentions that Israel is guiding the CIA’s Phoenix Program in Iraq, and as everyone knows, the Israelis are the world’s masters of assassination and terrorizing an entire people into submission. What Hersh doesn’t mention is that the blanket of censorship that prevents the American media from criticizing Israel for its war crimes has now been cast over Bush and the CIA, and all the people they use to conquer foreigns nations and assassinate people who never did any American any harm–until the Americans invaded their country.

Compare America’s conquest of Iraq with Israeli’s conquest of Palestine, and you begin to understand. In each case the stragey is massive war crimes on the one hand, and targetted kills of inspirational leaders on the other. This devastating one-two punch is easier through the complicity of the corporate media.

In this respect both Hersh and The New Yorker serve as essential instruments of the Big Lie that makes Preemptive Manhunting popular and thus possible. His story in The New Yorker was no mistake, but merely a part of the psychological warfare campaign being waged by the Bush regime to subdue the resistance of the American public to this awful war.

DOUGLAS VALENTINE is the author of The Hotel Tacloban, The Phoenix Program, and TDY. His fourth book, The Strength of the Wolf: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1930-1968, will be published in May 2004. His latest article, “Whose Homeland Security”, appeared in the July 2003 issue of Penthouse Magazine.

For information about Mr. Valentine, and his books and articles, please visit his web sites at www.DouglasValentine.com and http://members.authorsguild.net/valentine

 

More articles by:
October 18, 2018
Erik Molvar
The Ten Big Lies of Traditional Western Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lockheed and Loaded: How the Maker of Junk Fighters Like the F-22 and F-35 Came to Have Full-Spectrum Dominance Over the Defense Industry
Lawrence Davidson
Israel’s “Psychological Obstacles to Peace”
Brian Platt – Brynn Roth
Black-Eyed Kids and Other Nightmares From the Suburbs
John W. Whitehead
You Want to Make America Great Again? Start by Making America Free Again
Zhivko Illeieff
Why Can’t the Democrats Reach the Millennials?
Steve Kelly
Quiet, Please! The Latest Threat to the Big Wild
Manuel García, Jr.
The Inner Dimensions of Socialist Revolution
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ Over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Adam Parsons
A Global People’s Bailout for the Coming Crash
Binoy Kampmark
The Tyranny of Fashion: Shredding Banksy
Dean Baker
How Big is Big? Trump, the NYT and Foreign Aid
Vern Loomis
The Boofing of America
October 17, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
When Saudi Arabia’s Credibility is Damaged, So is America’s
John Steppling
Before the Law
Frank Stricker
Wages Rising? 
James McEnteer
Larry Summers Trips Out
Muhammad Othman
What You Can Do About the Saudi Atrocities in Yemen
Binoy Kampmark
Agents of Chaos: Trump, the Federal Reserve and Andrew Jackson
David N. Smith
George Orwell’s Message in a Bottle
Karen J. Greenberg
Justice Derailed: From Gitmo to Kavanaugh
John Feffer
Why is the Radical Right Still Winning?
Dan Corjescu
Green Tsunami in Bavaria?
Rohullah Naderi
Why Afghan Girls Are Out of School?
George Ochenski
You Have to Give Respect to Get Any, Mr. Trump
Cesar Chelala
Is China Winning the War for Africa?
Mel Gurtov
Getting Away with Murder
W. T. Whitney
Colombian Lawyer Diego Martinez Needs Solidarity Now
Dean Baker
Nothing to Brag About: Scott Walker’s Economic Record in Wisconsin:
October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail