Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says that US forces in Afghanistan are carrying out what he referred to as “battlefield executions” of prisoners.
“One of the great tragedies of my country is that Mr. Obama is looking the other way, because equally horrible things are happening to prisoners, to those we capture in Afghanistan,” Hersh said during a discussion at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference last month in Geneva, where he was also the keynote speaker. “They’re being executed on the battlefield.”
Hersh, who broke the Abu Ghraib prison abuse story in 2004, says that five or six people had told him about the battlefield executions of prisoners. A video of his comments was uploaded to Michael Moore’s YouTube Channel on Tuesday.
Here’s how Hersh described the executions:
What they’ve done in the field now is, they tell the troops, you have to make a determination within a day or two or so whether or not the prisoners you have, the detainees, are Taliban. You must extract whatever tactical intelligence you can get, as opposed to strategic, long-range intelligence, immediately. And if you cannot conclude they’re Taliban, you must turn them free. What it means is, and I’ve been told this anecdotally by five or six different people, battlefield executions are taking place. Well, if they can’t prove they’re Taliban, bam. If we don’t do it ourselves, we turn them over to the nearby Afghan troops and by the time we walk three feet the bullets are flying. And that’s going on now.
During the discussion Hersh also warned that he thought President Obama was in “real trouble” when it came to geopolitics. “The military are dominating him on the important issues of the world: Iraq, Iran, Afghan, and Pakistan,” Hersh said.
“He’s never going to win in Afghanistan,” Hersh said. “He’s got the wrong policy in Pakistan.”