Monday, June 24, 2013

Cover Up for Israel

During dinner with a friend, I happened to mention that it was the 46th. anniversary of the assault on the Liberty. My guest, a college professor, responded that she did not know about the Liberty. Even though her field of study was science, not history, I was surprised. I should not have been. She represents a large segment of  America’s educated community and she did not know anything about the USS Liberty.  Of course, it is not her fault.  The news of the Liberty was covered up.  How could she know?  I sat there comparing the assault on the Liberty with the assault on Benghazi.

I don’t know what happened in Benghazi. Don’t guess we will ever know. Congress is screaming to find out.  “We must investigate,” they say. “We’ll leave no stone unturned.  It’s our duty to know. Our credibility is at stake.”

We may never know what happened last September in Benghazi, which caused the death of three brave Americans. However, I do know what happened on June 8, 1967. Israel deliberately attacked an unarmed American ship in international waters, killed 34 brave American sailors, wounded 171 others, and Congress has, to this day, refused to  investigate what or why it happened.

What happened is abundantly clear. Israel’s warplanes, on a sunny afternoon, after circling numerous times, bombed and machine gunned the U.S.S. Liberty. With the Stars and Stripes flying and the ship’s identification numbers clearly visible, Israeli jets struck the antenna to hinder any SOS call for help. Torpedo boats blasted the Liberty while Israeli aircraft strafed our men aboard and dropped napalm on the decks.  Israel fired on the crew as they tried to rescue their fellow sailors and shot up life rafts in the water to prevent there being any survivors.  Yet, none of this merited a Congressional investigation.

Professor James Petras writes:

In an unprecedented act of betrayal, President Johnson, in close liaison with powerful American Jewish Zionist political backers, covered up the mass murder on the high seas by issuing orders, first to recall Mediterranean-based warplanes from rushing to assist their besieged comrades, then threatening to court-martial the survivors who might expose the deliberate nature of the Israeli assault and finally by repeating the Israeli line that the attack was a matter of mistaken identity, a lie which numerous military leaders rejected.[i]

Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chair of the Joint Chief of Staff, described the official conclusion of the Naval Court of Inquiry as a whitewash and “one of the classic all-American cover-up”.   

The clampdown was not actually for security reasons but for domestic political reasons. I don’t think there is any question about it. What other reason could there have been?  President Johnson was worried about the reaction of Jewish voters… I will never buy the idea that the pilots did not know this was an American ship. The attack was deliberate.[ii]   

Secretary of State Dean Rusk agreed,

I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. Their sustained attack to disable and sink Liberty precluded an assault by accident or some trigger-happy local commander. Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations. I didn't believe them then, and I don't believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous.[iii]

In 2002, Captain Ward Boston, JAGC, U.S. Navy, senior counsel for the Court of Inquiry, said that the Court's findings were intended to cover up what was a deliberate attack by Israel on a ship it knew to be American.
Israel claimed it was an accident. Yet, I know from personal conversation with the late Admiral Isaac C. Kidd ---president of the Court of Inquiry --- that President Johnson and Secretary of Defense McNamara ordered him to conclude that the attack was a case of “mistaken identity.” [iv]

Jamal Kanz, Middle East scholar and author, wrote just last week:

The cover-up was finally exposed by an Israeli pilot who was interviewed 15 years later by former Congressman Paul McCloskey about the attack. The senior pilot revealed that he informed headquarters the target appeared to be a US ship, but was told to ignore the American flag and proceed with the attack.[v]

One Liberty survivor, David Lewis summed it up:

If it was an accident, it was the best planned accident I’ve ever heard of.[vi]

Even if it were a mistake, which no one believes anymore, deliberately shooting up life rafts in the water of a ship in distress is a war crime. If it’s not, it should be. Was Johnson afraid of Israel?  Hardly.  He was afraid of the ire of the American Jewish voting community and its lobby. And that’s not the worst of it. Every president thereafter has yielded to an unwritten job description: He must above all else, cover up for Israel.

George Ball, former undersecretary of state wrote, “If America’s leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed clear that their American friends would let them get away with almost anything.[vii]   He was right. And that is the worst of it.  

Thomas Are
June 25, 2013

[i] James Petras, War Crimes in Gaza and the Zionist Fifth Column in America, (Clarity Press, 2010) p.127
[ii] Paul Findley,  They Dare to Speak Out. (Lawrence Hill, New York., 1989) p. 179
[iii] Dean Rusk, As I Saw It, (WW Norton, 1990) p. 388.
[iv], June 9, 2007.
[v] Jamal Kanz,  The USAs Irrational Relationship with Israel,  Intifada-Palestine Newsletter, June 6, 2013
[vi] BBC Documentary on the USS Liberty: Dead in the Water.
[vii] James Scott, The Attack on the Liberty,  Simon and Schuster, 2009.) p.287.