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Douglas Caddy

Blood in the Water - Joan Mellen's book on the USS Liberty

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20 minutes ago, Ron Ecker said:

Larry, thanks.

 

Ditto.

 The inclusion of the BDS laws clip was for two reasons: 1) "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize" is often attributed to Voltaire and the idea applies here because there is a "special alliance" - formed by whomever - that restricted an inquiry into this awful attack. Why?

2) Dulles said that the American people don't read; now I think it might be said they don't care to read. How could 26 States have passed such a law? Why? Is it "unspeakable" and not reported; is it reported but no one cares? The very thought of this law turns my stomach. Why the free pass with the USS Liberty? Why this first amendment attack as law?

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8 hours ago, Larry Hancock said:

Robert, I have the same books and used that as well as more current information in my section on the Liberty in Surprise Attack.  One thing I would point out is that there were a series of warning messages sent to the Liberty and indeed the attacks themselves were monitored in real time on a NSA surveillance aircraft monitoring the entire conflict from an orbit over the Mediterranean.  Why those warnings and advisors were not received by or responded to by the Liberty is a story in Command and Control and tragically similar to the same thing the happened to the Pueblo.  If Joan does not include that sort of information in her book then it would be missing something substantial.  And of course another aspect of the story is that quick reaction aircraft, both Navy and Air Force, of that point in the Cold War were quite frequently nuclear equipped since first priority was responding to a Soviet preemptive strike.  That posed real problems for scrambling strike aircraft configured with an entirely useless set of weapons for actually defending surveillance ships like the Liberty and Pueblo (which were Navy ships operating under a separate command, yet another problem).  Note: none of that is a defense of LBJ whose reaction was loathsome...but that's a different story.

Larry, Ms. Mellen does address the warnings sent to the ship. Pg. 136 "Tech (E-6) Joe Lentini … there was no way to send them and have them not arrive, but go elsewhere… sent and received all traffic from the ship, broadcast over multiple frequencies multiple times." But not to the Liberty, They reportedly received no warnings while shore stations did.  "Any legitimate order to move the Liberty would also be sent from NSA via Naval Security Group special broadcast frequencies.  No such...was ever sent or received."  

Regarding ordering the Liberty to it's isolated, remote location, that was purportedly done on by Deputy Secretary of Defense Cyrus Vance on behalf of he 303 Committee.  (Brown Brothers, not Brown Brothers Harriman?). 

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I'm afraid that sounds like a less than fully comprehensive discussion of the warnings and command and control process Ron,  there were definitely legitimate warnings sent and I believe at least some of them are discussed in the books Robert mentioned earlier. Discussion of the issues with the warnings definitely goes way beyond the actual receipt of messages on the Liberty - it involved major errors in routing, message transmission protocols and follow up.   As to the orders on the ship's movements, they came from the Pentagon and the movement of the ship and its assignment to monitor the conflict actually extended over a fairly long period of time because the ship was being relocated from the East Coast of Africa to fill in for another similar electronics ship that was going into a scheduled maintenance and refit. 

On the other hand I don't have a personal interest in either reviewing the book or getting into a lengthy discussion of Joan's sources.  If anyone here has read Surprise Attack they can continue - if interested.  Other than that I felt I should at least raise the issue and having done so I will defer to the discussion and sources in my own book (which is why I write books in the first place...certainly making detailed forum posts from memory is something I have also learned to avoid...grin).

 

Edited by Larry Hancock

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That would just be a guess Jim but based on some radio intercepts by the NSA aircraft off Italy there was no doubt an American ship was being attacked....and given the repeated attacks and the types of munitions involved it seems clear that the goal was probably the actual sinking of the ship and eliminating its crew.  My best guess (and others have made this before me) is that there was a  fear that field level messaging within the Israeli forces might have included orders that involved unintentional or even intentional attacks on civilians or surrendering Egyptian forces. That could well have been captured on tape on the Liberty. 

There could also have been message traffic related to the potential use of weapons would have been way outside of what the Israeli government wanted to have documented - its not out of the realm of possibility that tactical nuke strikes were at least discussed or that nuke carrying aircraft were in the air in case that decision was made. Message traffic relating to the protection the Dimona plant or of nuclear weapons storage facilities could have been involved. I personally recall the media coverage of how much a surprise and how successful the initial attacks on Israel were....its not hard to imagine that any and all options were not on the table.

If any of that had been intercepted and taped on the Liberty, it would have a) exposed war crimes or b) exposed nuclear capabilities - I have to guess that it was something on that order.

 

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Never thought about it from this perspective before.  If Liberty had records on tape of a planned US nuclear attack (coded) on Cairo would that not have been basis for it's destruction?  As well as an excuse for attacking Cairo by blaming the sinking of the ship on Egypt.

I'm not done with it but the book makes me wonder.

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In an ADL statement paper, which uses the term "anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist" at least 50 times in its 32 page screech, the following  apropos:

 

Conspiracy-oriented material also pointed to previous "treacherous" acts allegedly carried out by Israel as proof that the country has a history of clandestine terrorist operations against the U.S., and that its alleged actions on 9/11 were nothing new. The example cited most often is the 1967 attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, an American naval vessel that Israel mistakenly targeted in the Six Days War. Over 30 American servicemen stationed on the ship were killed in what official inquiries determined was a tragic accident.

 

Couple of thoughts came to mind. Why not the exact number killed? You can bet you a-- that an "attack" by the Palestinians under occupation would get the number of Israelis killed, "right" since "every life counts", right? And, what "official inquiries " do they mean?

I hope the oft repeated reference to the "Elders of Zions" in this tax-deductible funded "study" finds its resting place because it gets boring; and  I'm not even convinced it wasn't "disinfo" in the first place.

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Ron,  actually I was speaking to the possibility of Israeli nuclear weapon's use, not American.  Israel has consistently denied it even has nuclear weapons although of there is no doubt of that, there is also no doubt they had tactical grade versions and the aircraft needed to deliver them...however officially and in terms of geopolitics that has always been their greatest national secret. 

However if you look at the nature of the 1967 war,  there actually seems little need for the nuclear threat - certainly not compared to the Egyptian attack which took Israel by surprise a few years later and could well have produced a nuclear threat as a counter to the initial Egyptian ground success.

In 1967 preemptive Israeli air strikes largely took out the Egyptian air force, destroying it with virtually no Israeli losses.  The Israeli ground advance caught the Egyptians totally by surprise and they rolled up Gaza and moved very quickly into the Sinai - leading to speculation that Israeli forces used unconstrained tactics, killing civilians and very possibly surrendering Egyptian forces. Its not my field of study but the rapid Israeli advance was spectacular and has raised questions about the possibility of war crimes.

There have also been conflicting stories of who started the air and ground combat, both sides blaming the other.  Certainly the Liberty could have collected messages which would have shown the Israel as the aggressor, and possibly something much worse.

As to an American atomic strike on Egypt, as far as I know that makes no military sense at all, Egypt had triggered the confrontation by closing the Suez but the preemptive response by Israel answered that quickly and dramatically.  

 

 

On 5 June, Israel launched what it claimed were a series of preemptive airstrikes against Egyptian airfields. Which side caused the war is one of a number of controversies relating to the conflict.

The Egyptians were caught by surprise, and nearly the entire Egyptian air force was destroyed with few Israeli losses, giving the Israelis air supremacy. Simultaneously, the Israelis launched a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip and the Sinai, which again caught the Egyptians by surprise.

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That is interesting about the dubious causes of the Israel attack.

See, the backers of Israel, which included even smart and respected people like Theodore Draper, maintained for a long time that the Israeli air strikes against the Egyptian Air Force were of a preventive nature.  That is, either Egypt moved first, or was on the verge of moving.  The tenet in international law is called the Caroline Test for a preemptive attack.

Well, as time went on, this whole idea has been brought further and further into question.  But LBJ and the State Department still backed Israel, at the time and after.  But if the Liberty had evidence that there was no cause for the attack and it was all just a planned offensive, then that would have changed things.

Over time, I have come to the conclusion that the Israel air attack was not preventive in nature.  It was focused on Egypt because Israel perceived Nasser as being the kind of charismatic leader who could have united the Arabs in a very effective way. 

If I recall, Nasser was so outraged that Johnson took the side of the Israelis that he broke relations with Washington.

Edited by James DiEugenio

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This is the unmentionable "Pandora's Box" of the history of Zionism in the 20th century.

The French historian, Laurent Guyenot, has written at length about the subject in his recent monograph, From Yahweh to Zion-- a truly fascinating read.

(Guyenot is also the author of the book, From JFK to 9/11-- 50 Years of Deep State.)

I noticed that Michelle Goldberg at the New York Times recently published an op-ed on the subject of Anti-Semitism vs. Anti-Zionism.

Can one criticize militant Zionism (Haganah, Mossad, Likud, etc.) without being "anti-Semitic?"

My own feeling about it is that it is more appropriate for Jewish intellectuals (rather than non-Jews) to criticize Zionism, given the disastrous history of Anti-Semitism in the 20th century.

Ron Unz and Israel Shamir (and Alan Sabrosky) are examples of Jewish intellectuals who have published detailed critiques of modern Zionism.

Edited by W. Niederhut

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I hate to ask this kind of question because it makes me look lazy.   Believe me, I've done all kinds of searches since this thread appeared, I can't find anything.   I see where Joan Mellen teaches at Temple, but can anyone tell me where she herself was educated?   Maybe someone here knows her.

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I have always thought the two concepts were distinct, if one is anti zionist, then that does not mean one is anti semitic.

But the whole dispute has become so politicized, especially by the right-wingers in Israel, that any time one criticizes the policies of Israel then the anti Semite card is played.

I mean when Kennedy tried to press Israel on the atomic weapon issue, guess what they brought up with him: the Holocaust.  

And they really did not like Nasser or the fact that JFK was trying to forge a friendship with him.

 

Edited by James DiEugenio

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I just finished reading this.  One May conclude from it that the Sailors of the Liberty May have saved us all from a nuclear WWIII.

While it goes back much further and deeper, authorization to proceed with the attack most likely came a week before.  Head of the Mossad Meir Amit came to the US on the last day of May.  The six day war started on June 6th, the Liberty was attacked on the 8th.  The first person Amit went to see upon arrival was Angleton.  Then he went to see Director Helms and I think after that Secretary of State Rusk.  He went home telling military commander Moshe Dyan he felt confident the US would not interfere with their invasion plans and might even support them (we already had - over flight photos of Egyptian airfields they didn't have the capability to do then, informing them of gaps in Egyptian radar, which the used to invade through).

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That is really interesting if she is correct.

If that is so then you have to consider the Mideast as another turnaround due to the death of JFK.

From what I have read of JFK and Nasser, he would never have allowed Amit to clear it in advance.

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The air attacks against Egypt were over and done with and successful at the time of the Liberty attack - what was in progress was the rapid Israeli ground advance across Gaza and the Sinai.  So how does the sinking the Liberty prevent WWIII? 

On the other hand I probably should not have commented on this thread in the first place because it sounds like the discussion is going way beyond the factual and well documented command and control mistakes that I wanted to weigh on so I best stick with what I documented in Surprise Attack.

 

 

 

 

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