GIVE US THE USS LIBERTY
In my recent review of Jeff Gates very anti-McCain book, I cited his claim that:
- John McCain's father, led the government commission of inquiry which exonerated Israel for deliberately and with deadly purpose, almost sinking the USS Liberty in 1967.
The issue of the Liberty has deeply poisoned the American relationship with Israel. It is a far greater thorn than Israelis understand because, in fact, Israel did try to kill every sailor on board The Liberty. If I needed persuasion of that, I got it with the correspondence I began with two officers of the Liberty, as well as my personal meetings with British documentary maker, Peter Hounam, who made a highly damning of Israel film of the incident, shown on the BBC.
My conclusion, and it gibed well with Hounam's, was that Israel was creating another Lavon Affair, trying to lure the US into the war against Egypt, as it had done by bombing American targets in Cairo during the mid-50s. But one problem gnawed at me; The Liberty was hit on June 8, when Israel had already as good as won the Six Day War. In short, why bother?
The standard pro-Israel line was taken by the Loftus and Arons book, The Secret War Against The Jews. Within, the authors assert that the Liberty was intercepting Israeli military messages and funneling them to the Syrians. The two Liberty officers I had a dialog with vehemently denied the claim, and frankly, I believed them way more than Loftus and Arons. After all, they were there, while Loftus and Arons collected known public sources into a book filled with no shortage of errors.
That's how things stood until information arrived on the wave of my last article. Admiral McCain was not covering for Israel, he was protecting Pres. Lyndon Johnson, who ordered Israel to attack the Liberty. It all began when my reader, Maria, sent the following internet data:
June 8, 1967 during the 6 day war between Israel and the Arab Nations President Lyndon B. Johnson sends the U.S.S liberty to collect electronic intelligence in the eastern Mediterranean. The clearly marked U.S. ship was 14 miles off the coast of Israel in international waters. Israel's aircraft identified the ship as an American vessel and an ally. At 2:00 PM that afternoon the U.S.S. Liberty was attacked by two unmarked Mirage 3 fighter bombers. The U.S.S. Liberty was then attacked by three Israeli torpedo boats bearing Israeli flags. The torpedo boats opened fire with high caliber machine guns and launched torpedoes. The torpedo boats then began strafing life-rafts in the water, an international war crime. During the attack the U.S.S. Liberty continually called the 6th fleet which was nearby begging for air support. Two groups of fighter aircraft were sent to defend the Liberty but unbelievably they were recalled by the White House. The Admiral in Command of the sixth fleet called Washington to confirm the recall order. Secretary of Defence MacNamara came on the line followed by the president himself who told the Admiral, "I want that G D Ship going to the bottom" Finally after 3 hours into the attack a Russian spy ship appeared so the Israelis withdrew because there were witnesses allowing the Liberty to limp home to safety. Here is what really took place. President Johnson had personal control over the ship, made a backroom deal with Israel to attack it with an order to kill everyone on board. Then the attack was to be blamed on Egypt and U.S. would enter the war and take over the entire Middle East.
"President Johnson had personal control over the ship, made a backroom deal with Israel to attack it with an order to kill everyone on board.
If Johnson made Israel do the sinking, Israel is much on the way home to redemption. Cutting to the chase, it wasn't Israel's idea. Israel still did the killing, and muffed the attack with an amateurish show of its military prowess, but it wasn't the leader of the hit squad. That's far better than being left in the lurch as the mafia's don.
So I spoke with the author and broadcaster Dr. Stan Monteith, ( www.radioliberty.com) who has long researched the Liberty attack and boasts a 4 CD set of interviews, including with the seamen and officers of the ship. He was direct: "Of course Johnson gave the order. But he received his orders from higher up."
"So the attack on The Liberty wasn't an Israeli decision?" I asked.
"It was an American action forced on Israel," he answered.
More research was necessary and this led to such an obvious scenario! The Americans sink ships to start wars. The Maine was sunk to get the Spanish American War rolling. The Lusitania and the attacks on the shipyard at Pearl Harbor were caused by provocation and deliberate military neglect, but they got the Americans to stumble awkwardly and reluctantly into two world wars. But Johnson himself was an active proponent of the sink a ship and go to war philosophy:
1964 The Gulf of Tonkin In the summer of 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson needed a pretext to commit the American people to the expanding covert war in south East Asia. So the Gulf of Tonkin incident was staged claiming that Vietnamese patrol boats had attacked a U.S. destroyer off the coast of Vietnam. This staged incident paved the way for 58,000 American deaths and over 1.500.000 Vietnamese.
"But Israel just couldn't sink The Liberty and screwed up the best laid plans of the whole operation.
The reason to sacrifice over 200 American sailors was the American, and actually accurate perception, that Egyptian President, Gamal Abdul Nasser had drifted into the Soviet camp and threatened to make much of the Middle East, Russian clients. As Johnson saw it, Nasser had to go and fast. A pretext for war was all that was necessary. But Israel just couldn't sink The Liberty and screwed up the best laid plans of the whole operation.
Nasser was not ideologically a communist. And America wanted him as an ally so much that the Eisenhower administration abandoned its allies Britain, France and Israel, who won the Sinai War of 1956, but excluded the US from the action and the spoils. It was over a dam that Nasser brought the Soviets to the most powerful country in the Middle East, with much communist mischief to follow. Following the Sinai Campaign, Nasser's grandiosity was so out of touch with reality, that he demanded the Americans build him a huge dam at Aswan and pay for it to boot.
American engineers went to work and foresaw a project that would hold back the Nile's silt, little by little collecting behind the dam, making the dam less efficient until it would serve no purpose at all; meanwhile killing off the small fish of the Nile delta which feed off the silt, ultimately destroying most of the fishlife of the Eastern Mediterranean. Back on land, farmers would be forced to turn to chemical fertilizers to replace the silt, much of the world's greatest storehouse of antiquities would be drowned, all the while Egypt had enough oil to provide electricity of the non-hydro variety just as cheaply.
The Americans said, no. And all the dire predictions came true. So, Nasser threw the Americans out of Egypt and brought Russian communism in, with promises to spread the ideology. All this happened because the Americans had betrayed their natural allies of the Suez Campaign, and they now felt humiliated and really ticked off. Especially when Israel used French planes to destroy the Air Forces of Egypt, Syria and Jordan.
Sinking The Liberty would get rid of Nasser for good, and quickly create an American-led Egypt, with an obedient quisling like Anwar Sadat, though he would rise a few years later after Nasser was given a killing stroke at age 51. This point is not proven but when I told Peter Hounam my suspicions, he answered, "You know, a lot of Arabs think that."
And finally we have the reason Moshe Dayan turned into Israel's top traitor of his day. As Chief-0f-Staff of the IDF, Dayan HAD to have given the order for his Air Force to sink the Liberty. Johnson may have given the actual command, the American navy did nothing to rescue the stricken ship, but Dayan had the blood of 37 American sailors on his hands and if he didn't play major league ball, he and Israel would be turned into friendless lepers.
Dayan began quickly, by handing over control of the Temple Mount, won by Israel with buckets of blood, to the Jordanian Wakf, the consequences of which are felt deeply to this day. Then in October 1973, as Defence Minister, under the duress of Henry Kissinger, Dayan agreed to give Egypt and Syria a full day to regain lost territory. The consequence of not pre-empting the Yom Kippur War was over 2000 dead Jewish soldiers in two days. After Pres. Carter forced PM Begin to take Dayan into his cabinet as foreign minister in 1977, Dayan abused his position to sway Begin to accept an accord with Egypt, that gave up every square inch of the Sinai to Sadat. This decision led directly to Egypt today allowing the Sinai to be a rocket funnel for Hamas.
There were endless debts to be paid, and America offered Israel $3.2 billion in annual aid to keep its mouth shut. But Israel bore the existential brunt of Dayan sinking close to the entire Egyptian navy, but accidentally keeping afloat one American ship too many.