BBC USS Liberty Documentary
By Ian Henshall
Yesterday evening June 5th the BBC 4 screened a long documentary made by Source Films about the USS Liberty incident, complete with witness testimony on camera from people like ex-CIA boss Richard Helms, ex-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and the military personnel involved. It supported one of the most spectacular accusations against Israel in the last fifty years.
During the Six Day War, launched by Israel in 1967 with American connivance, Israeli jets with their markings painted over and an Israeli torpedo boat tried to destroy the unarmed US spyship USS Liberty and its crew which had been sent unescorted close to the Sinai coast.
Israeli claims that this was a mistake were undermined by the disguised jets and testimony from a US intercept officer that the Israeli pilots had reported the ship was flying the US flag, and twice questioned their orders which were nonetheless confirmed.
The Israeli torpedo boat even attacked a lifeboat with machine gun fire. The US sailors defied Israeli fire to rig an emergency ariel to make a mayday message. Meanwhile US bombers were heading to Cairo with a nuclear bomb to avenge the attack which was blamed on the Egyptians.
When the mayday message was picked up the nuclear attack on Cairo was stopped by the personal intervention of Defence Secretary McNamara and President Lyndon Johnson. Johnson went along with the Israeli line in public, although presidential papers show that privately nobody believed it was an accident. The surviving crew of the Liberty were given medals in semi-secrecy, threatened with prison if they talked and systematically separated from each other by repostings.
The almost inescapable conclusion was that Israel set out to murder its allies to provoke the attack on Egypt. Other details suggested and hints from Helms suggested the strong possibility that McNamara, the architect of the genocidal war in Vietnam, was part of the plot but lost his nerve when the mayday message got out.
This story is relevant today. In 2002 Congresswoman Cynthia Mackinney (sp?) signed an advertisement by the Liberty survivors attacking Israel and triggered a near-collapse of the official 911 story when she demanded to know ‘what Bush knew and when’ about the attacks which are still blamed on Al Qaida acting alone.
There was a brief storm culminating in the New York Post headline BUSH KNEW. Shortly after when Bush met Sharon they agreed to tear up the Oslo accords and the criticism of Bush subsided. Mackinney suffered a shock defeat in the subsequent primary after Jewish groups, accusing her of anti-semitism, poured in funds and encouraged Republican voters to support her unknown Democratic rival.
Could there be a connection between this story and the fact that warmonger David Aaronovitch used his Guardian column to smear Crisis Newsletter editor Ian Henshall for drawing attention to the Israeli Art Student Spy ring active in the US in the months before the 911 attacks? The pro-Mossad web site Globe-Intel has quoted Mossad sources as saying that the Israeli spies were helping the Al Qaida hijackers with a view to foiling the attacks.
Hands up anyone who still takes the official story of the 911 attacks at face value.
Israeli Pilot Speaks Up
[ Original page source: http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0693/9306019.htm ]
Fifteen years after the attack, an Israeli pilot approached Liberty survivors and then held extensive interviews with former Congressman Paul N. (Pete) McCloskey about his role. According to this senior Israeli lead pilot, he recognized the Liberty as American immediately, so informed his headquarters, and was told to ignore the American flag and continue his attack. He refused to do so and returned to base, where he was arrested.
Later, a dual-citizen Israeli major told survivors that he was in an Israeli war room where he heard that pilot’s radio report. The attacking pilots and everyone in the Israeli war room knew that they were attacking an American ship, the major said. He recanted the statement only after he received threatening phone calls from Israel.
The pilot’s protests also were heard by radio monitors in the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon. Then-U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dwight Porter has confirmed this. Porter told his story to syndicated columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak and offered to submit to further questioning by authorities. Unfortunately, no one in the U.S. government has any interest in hearing these first-person accounts of Israeli treachery.
Key members of the Lyndon Johnson administration have long agreed that this attack was no accident. Perhaps most outspoken is former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Thomas Moorer. "I can never accept the claim that this was a mistaken attack, " he insists.
Former Secretary of State Dean Rusk is equally outspoken, calling the attack deliberate in press and radio interviews. Similarly strong language comes from top leaders of the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency (some of whose personnel were among the victims), National Security Council, and from presidential advisers such as Clark Clifford, Joseph Califano and Lucius Battle.
A top-secret analysis of Israel’s excuse conducted by the Department of State found Israel’s story to be untrue. Yet Israel and its defenders continue to stand by their claim that the attack was a "tragic accident" in which Israel mistook the most modern electronic surveillance vessel in the world for a rusted-out 40-year-old Egyptian horse transport.
Despite the evidence, no U.S. administration has ever found the courage to ever found the courage to defy the Israeli lobby by publicly demanding a proper accounting from Israel.