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I would have thought that yesterday’s House Intelligence Committee comments by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair would have provided an “I can’t believe it” moment, but apparently not. The ACLU might be preparing a position paper, but so far not a bleat out of anyone. Blair said that US citizens abroad might be killed by CIA or the Defense Department if they are “taking action that threatens Americans.” He added that in so doing the government would “follow a set of defined policy and legal procedures that are very carefully observed” and described the policy as designed to “protect most of the country.”

Well, I guess it’s tough luck if you’re not one of the “most” and I will definitely sleep better knowing that there is a “defined policy” being overseen by some dude at CIA or the Pentagon whose promotion prospects depend on killing terrorists.

I must admit to having a problem with extrajudicial killing unless someone is absolutely caught in flagrante because, as a former intelligence officer, I know full well how bad intelligence can be. Would we be killing someone without any due process just because someone else bearing a grudge manages to plant some false info, as has occurred all too often in Afghanistan? If it is true that something like 19 civilians die in drone strikes for every bad guy we manage to get, there is something seriously wrong with the intelligence and about the system in general. And who makes the judgment of what constitutes something that “threatens Americans”? Blair went on to explain that being targeted might be based on being “involved in a group that is trying to attack us.” Involved? What does that mean?

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Assassinations 
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  1. Come on Phil, nobody is talking about a purge. But take a guy like Adam Pearlman. The American Taliban guy, ( forgot
    what his arabic name is now ) Doesn’t he deserve a rocket up his you know what?

  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    If the evil doer actually did it, then yes, he deserves a rocket up his you know what. But that is the whole purpose of due process, to make sure he actually did it before you accidentally commit murder against the wrong guy. First, you make sure he is guilty. Then you make sure the punishment fits the crime. That has always been the American way.

  3. I’m sorry, you take up arms against America you deserve what’s coming to you. And before you guys bring up the USS Liberty, ( a popular stalking horse with the TAC readership ) I’d like to remind everyone that this was investigated ad infinitum and the history of warfare is replete with friendly fire incidents. But I digress. Adam Pearlman ( no relation ) doesn’t deserve due process. Neither does KSM and his boys, and neither does the Christmas bomber. ( Can’t spell his name )

  4. TomB says:

    Phil is exactly right here in identifying how far down the slippery slope things have already gotten when Blair talked about whacking someone because they are somehow “involved” with some group.

    He’s also exactly right to point up the extraordinary non-reaction that accompanied Blair’s talk (and the obvious fact that he and others have been thinking about this kind of thing) which I think is the cost of the extreme partisanship we see in Washington. (And an example of how that game is played utterly cynically for the benefit of the parties and with no real regard for what’s in the public’s interest.)

    That is, if Bush were still in office you bet I think Blair’s talk would have made headlines; justifiably so. But not today, just as if it had been under a Republican that Waco had happened, or Ruby Ridge, there would have been much bigger explosions. But because those happened under a Democrat, the Democrats and their friends in the media treated them much differently and tried to stifle the reaction as much as possible.

    Good for Phil to note the amazing nature of Blair’s talk, now let’s hope that there’s those on the Left who note it too, perhaps Glenn Greenwald or someone at the HuffPost or etc.

    Used to be that after being concerned about attacks on America in general U.S. foreign service people had as their natural second sense of duty the protection of Americans who were overseas. Now it appears that this has been replaced by the calculation of which Americans need to get whacked overseas so as to avoid messy things like the need for evidence and trials and all that.

    Will the costs of Mr. Bush’s conception of this conflict ever stop being discovered? Will they ever stop mounting? The idea of murdering Americans abroad just because they are “involved” with this or that group … *this* is patriotic?

  5. Dennis Dale says: • Website

    Bill:
    Penalties for “taking up arms” against the US exist already. Blair is talking about targeted assassination of US civilians abroad for “involvement” in hostile foreign entities. As Mr. Giraldi asks, have they defined what level of “involvement” makes one fair game? What constitutes a hostile entity?

    They claim a definite and legal process for such activity, but they have not made it public, which very nearly assures the process is neither definitive nor legal, as it is necessarily shrouded in secrecy.
    It’s debatable whether any gov’t action that is not subject to public scrutiny (leaving aside the joke that’s become of congressional oversight) can in any way be “legal.”
    “Trust us” isn’t good enough.

  6. In fact, Ruby Ridge took place under a Republican administration, the regime of the first Bush. Waco and Ruby Ridge were excused by the media because the victims were unsympathetic to liberals.

  7. It’s always telling when a so-called conservative acts as if the military and intelligence agencies are immune from the travails of bureaucracy and ineptness that they assume infects every other aspect of big government. Someone with a uniform says he’s a terrorist, so it must be true. Frightened Authoritarians have taken over the GOP. These people are a bigger threat to our freedoms than any chump with a bomb in his pants.

  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It looks like the legal breakdown has already occured, and Blair’s admissions are merely a trial baloon to see how inclusive the policies of disinformation have succeeded in dumbing down the masses.

  9. RK says:

    TomB

    Good for Phil to note the amazing nature of Blair’s talk, now let’s hope that there’s those on the Left who note it too, perhaps Glenn Greenwald or someone at the HuffPost or etc.

    Greenwald has:

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/02/04/assassinations/index.html

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/01/27/yemen/index.html

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/02/05/lynch_mobs/index.html

  10. Jeff Davis says: • Website

    “Bill Pearlman, on February 4th, 2010 at 2:37 pm Said:

    I’m sorry, you take up arms against America you deserve what’s coming to you. And before you guys bring up the USS Liberty, ( a popular stalking horse with the TAC readership ) I’d like to remind everyone that this was investigated ad infinitum and the history of warfare is replete with friendly fire incidents. But I digress. Adam Pearlman ( no relation ) doesn’t deserve due process. Neither does KSM and his boys, and neither does the Christmas bomber. ( Can’t spell his name )”

    Oh good grief. Talk about a guilty conscience.

    Tel Aviv is not the capital of the United States. Israel is an extremely costly, dubious ally with few benefits. Of all those manufactured investigations you cite (apologist propaganda), how many involved the USS Liberty crew?

    To this day only 13 USS Liberty crewmen have ever testified as to what happened in a politicized Naval Court of Inquiry with a predetermined outcome ordered. But I thank you for playing the Israel First Liberty apologist game.
    The deliberate attack on the USS Liberty is one of the most shameful cover ups for political expediency in modern history. Take your hobby horse and go home, a popular device for the disingenuous who still propagate the cover up of the Liberty attack 40+ years later. With your apologist values as a USS Liberty apologist, you seem to me to be the last person to pass judgment on anyone’s patriotism and motivations.

  11. TomB says:

    RK:

    Thanks! I’d like to think I planted the idea in his head but it seems he was onto it himself.

    In any event you just never know where you’re going to find allies these strange days, do you?

    Thanks again for not only alerting me but supplying the links for everyone too.

    Cheers,

  12. gcochran says:

    Several retirees who saw the intercepted orders to the Israeli planes that attacked the Liberty confirmed that the Israeli command ordered it destroyed while knowing it was an American ship. Quite a few people saw those transcripts: there was a nice article about in the Chicago Tribune in 2007.

    ” Oliver Kirby, the NSA’s deputy director for operations at the time of the Liberty attack, confirmed the existence of NSA transcripts.

    Asked whether he had personally read such transcripts, Kirby replied, “I sure did. I certainly did.”

    “They said, ‘We’ve got him in the zero,’” Kirby recalled, “whatever that meant — I guess the sights or something. And then one of them said, ‘Can you see the flag?’ They said ‘Yes, it’s U.S, it’s U.S.’ They said it several times, so there wasn’t any doubt in anybody’s mind that they knew it.”

    Kirby, now 86 and retired in Texas, said the transcripts were “something that’s bothered me all my life. I’m willing to swear on a stack of Bibles that we knew they knew.”

    The only plausible reason was a false-flag atttack: destroy the ship leaving no survivors, blame the Egyptians, and guarantee US military support for Israel, which really didn’t exist yet in 1967.

  13. Congratulations to Mr. Jeff (Jefferson) Davis for clearly making Bill Pearlman’s point regarding the TAC readership and what’s used as a stalking horse.

    Oh, BTW it was a total of 14 Liberty crewmen who testified; Nine being officers (one of who just happened to be commanding officer) of a total of 16 assigned to the ship. Of the seven who did not testify, three were killed and three were too badly wounded and were hospitalized. That left only one, young, Ensign (R. P. Taylor) of all the officers who did not testify.

    IOW, it can be stated that all but one Liberty officer, available to testified, did so.

    And three senior enlisted personnel testified, of the five enlisted. All but one were cryptological techs (CTs).

  14. “gcochran, on February 5th, 2010 at 1:32 pm Said:

    Several retirees who saw the intercepted orders …”

    No, it can _only_ be stated that some retiress who _claim_ they saw the intercepted orders. Nothing more.

    Actual intercepts made by the NSA do not support whatsoever these claims. In fact the NSA is _very_ clear about what intercepts were made; i.e., “THERE ARE NO COMINT REFLECTIONS OF THE ACTUAL ATTACK ITSELF.” from the NSA to the WH on 22 June 1967.

    Thus one should suspect (especially any reporter who works for the Chicago Tribune) the claims of any retiree who can not provide proof of any such claim(s).

    And as for long-retired Mr. Kirby, from one reporter who questioned him and it appears not involved in some agenda-driven piece of reporting has this response:

    “Oliver Kirby, a former deputy director of the National Security Agency who took part in the investigation, said he needs more proof before he can say that the attack was deliberate. The 83-year-old from Greenville, Texas, said that he never understood the attack’s intent.” back in 2004 by the AP’s Jean Ortiz.

    It’s truly a mystery as to how some folks can claim that the attack was a “false-flag” operation when the Israeli forces were ID’d by Liberty crewmen as having Israeli markings.

  15. gcochran says:

    Ward Boston had something to say also:

    “Ward Boston:

    3. IN JUNE OF 1967, WHILE SERVING AS A CAPTAIN IN THE Judge Advocate General Corps, Department of the Navy, I WAS ASSIGNED AS SENIOR LEGAL COUNSEL FOR THE NAVY’S COURT OF INQUIRY INTO THE BRUTAL ATTACK ON USS LIBERTY, WHICH HAD OCCURRED ON JUNE 8TH.

    4. THE LATE ADMIRAL ISAAC C. KIDD, PRESIDENT OF THE COURT, AND I WERE GIVEN ONLY ONE WEEK TO GATHER EVIDENCE FOR THE NAVY’S OFFICIAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE ATTACK, DESPITE THE FACT THAT WE BOTH HAD ESTIMATED THAT A PROPER COURT OF INQUIRY INTO AN ATTACK OF THIS MAGNITUDE WOULD TAKE AT LEAST SIX MONTHS TO CONDUCT.

    16. I KNOW FROM PERSONAL CONVERSATIONS I HAD WITH ADMIRAL KIDD THAT PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON AND SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT MCNAMARA ORDERED HIM TO CONCLUDE THAT THE ATTACK WAS A CASE OF “MISTAKEN IDENTITY” DESPITE OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY. ”

    I can’t think why he would say this unless it had actually happened. It’s not as if the Navy is chock-full of crazy people.
    Are military investigations sometimes cooked, with the verdict ordered in advance? Sure: everyone knows that.

    Sometimes the truth gets buried for reasons of state. This would hardly be the only example. Who knows, maybe it’s the right thing to do, sometimes: I’m unconvinced. But then, the reasons have never been revealed, so how can I agree or disagree with them?

  16. Jeff Davis says: • Website

    “Congratulations to Mr. Jeff (Jefferson) Davis for clearly making Bill Pearlman’s point regarding the TAC readership and what’s used as a stalking horse.”

    For the record it was Mr. Pearlman who FIRST introduced and mantioned the USS Liberty into this discussion that the article never even mentioned and claimed it was “a stalking horse.”
    Nice try. Birds of a feather and all that.

    It has been reported that at least 60 USS Liberty crew were denied access to testify either verbally or even allowed written statements to be entered in the LBJ Administration and the Navy’s “rush to judgment” and sweep the matter under the rug to state the accident ‘diktat’ without any proof of such other than Israel’s word.

    The entire Liberty Court of Inquiry only lasted lasted a week (In fact, it was initially convened less than 48 hours after the attack while the following Navy tug Papago was retrieving bodies from the torpedoed areas that were being washed out to sea) on its voyage to Malta. Those who were selected did testify did so in less than two days.
    The USS Cole’s Court of Inquiry lasted a year.
    The USS Jackson COI lasted two months.
    The Israelis themselves even took a month before they released their first rambling inaccurate apologia.
    Nor has the attack ever been investigated by Congress.

    There has never been an open and honest investigation of the deliberate attack by Israel on the USS Liberty. The ones that think there has do so out of a misguided loyalty and reverence of the “official version” which never has withstood scrutiny or even common sense.

    Congrats Mr. Weeks for your usual obfuscations and apologias as an institutional USS Liberty apologist. An honor I know you cherish in your ‘Israel First’ patriotism as an American. No doubt a tree will be planted in Israel in your name for services rendered one day. We can only hope.

  17. “gcochran, on February 5th, 2010 at 5:19 pm Said:

    Ward Boston had something to say also: ”

    Ward Boston (retired or otherwise) never saw any intercepts. That reportedly was the point of comments from gcochran.

    “I can’t think why he would say this unless it had actually happened.”

    Apparently he’s the only former board member to make such a claim; long after retiring, and only after all other members of the board were dead, and _only_ after being contacted by certain folks who have been pushing a certain claim in the hope of “rewriting” history. Since he never responded to direct questions, one will never know why he signed the statement written up for him.

    Be assured, there’s no one in authority who cares what the late Ward Boston claimed far too many years after the event. There’s a _small_ problem for those who wish to believe Bostion:

    “(e) The members, counsel, the reporter, and interpreters of courts of inquiry shall take an oath to faithfully perform their duties.”

    That’s Art. 135 from the UCMJ — that’s the oath Boston took back in 1967. So it appears Boston created a credibility problem for himself.

    Besides, from the former board President, retired Admiral Kidd:

    “Admiral Kidd declared emphatically that there was ‘no hard U.S. evidence … absolutely nothing to support the conclusion that the attack was intentional.’ He declined to elaborate.”

    From 1982, Bat’l Evening Sun, Thomas Hasler

  18. Not a good try by Mr Jefferson Davis – Mr. Pearlman claimed, correctly it turns out given the first posting by same Mr. Davis, that the subject of the USS Liberty is “a popular stalking horse with the TAC readership”. It was an observations in general, which proved true. Congrats again to Mr. Davis.

    “It has been reported that at least 60 USS Liberty crew were denied access to testify either verbally or even allowed written statements …”

    Well, this subject has produced many claims over the years. If it was factual, then it reflects, again, badly on the board’s counsel, since it was his responsibility, and not one word from his lips prior to his death about the job _he_ reportedly did regarding this reported claim.

    Of course the court of inquiry was convened within 48 hours – it would have been suspicious otherwise. It convened in London, the initial part death with the U.S. communication foul-up that still had the Liberty within sight of the Sinai during the course of a major regional war.

    So just another red herring, followed by another one dealing with the reported “length” of another court of inquiy well after this 1967 incident.

    If USS Jackson was meant to be loss with all hands of USS Scorpion — apples to oranges in that matter.

    The actual first formal Israeli inquiry “release” (i.e., completion) came on 16 June. That debunks the claim of “The Israelis themselves even took a month before they released …”

    Heck, the very first Israeli “release” was right afterwards, made at 3 PM on 9 June to the US naval attache.

    When was the Liberty’s COI completed and initially signed off? Well, that was on 18 June.

    Of course the burning question was addressed and answered by the Liberty COI – no smoking gun that would show that the Israelis knowing attacked a ship they knew to be a U.S. ship. There was only so much crewmen could bring to the table in that regard — since they were only in one location, with one rather limited view, and had not initiated any action prior to the aerial attack.

    Congrats Mr. Davis — once again for confirming Mr. Pearlman’s observation as well as throwing out more nonsense.

  19. Dennis Dale says: • Website

    No, it can _only_ be stated that some retiress who _claim_ they saw the intercepted orders. Nothing more.

    Yes; what’s eyewitness testimony when we have explanations from a spy agency?

    the NSA is _very_ clear about what intercepts were made; i.e., “THERE ARE NO COMINT REFLECTIONS OF THE ACTUAL ATTACK ITSELF.”

    Note the hedge about “actual attack itself”, also; the real question is why the attack was ordered. But this part really takes the cake:

    It’s truly a mystery as to how some folks can claim that the attack was a “false-flag” operation when the Israeli forces were ID’d by Liberty crewmen as having Israeli markings.

    Yes, “false flag” isn’t quite accurate. But talk about stepping on your own willie! How is this a defense of Israel’s actions? There’s no way the pilots could have mistaken the Liberty for anything other than a US ship, if crewmen on deck could make out their markings. Weak, truly. Or rather, Week.

  20. gcochran says:

    The Trib article mentioned a number of people who reported seeing transcripts of the messages to the pilots – transcripts that showed that the attacked was not an accident:

    Bryce Lockwood, Marine staff sergeant, Russian-language expert

    Steve Forslund, who worked as an intelligence analyst for the 544th Air Reconnaissance Technical Wing at Offutt

    James Gotcher, now an attorney in California, who was then serving with the Air Force Security Service’s 6924th Security Squadron, an adjunct of the NSA

    Air Force Capt. Richard Block was commanding an intelligence wing of more than 100 analysts and cryptologists monitoring Middle Eastern communications.

    Oliver Kirby, the NSA’s deputy director for operations at the time of the Liberty attack

    W. Patrick Lang, a retired Army colonel who spent eight years as chief of Middle East intelligence for the Defense Intelligence Agency

    ********

    Internal White House documents obtained from the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library show that the Israelis’ explanation of how the mistake had occurred was not believed. Dean Rusk didn’t believe it: Clark Clifford didn’t. The headof the NSA and the DDI didn’t believe it.

    ************

    Ward Boston, of course, matters for another part of the story: the official cover-up.

    Your argument that you can’t believe anyone who ever admits to lying is hilarious: I gather you’ve never lied?

    By your logic, no-one can ever retract a falsehood, because admitting to a falsehood proves they once lied and are therefore untrustworthy. Horsefeathers.

  21. “Dennis Dale, on February 6th, 2010 at 10:16 am Said:

    Yes; what’s eyewitness testimony when we have explanations from a spy agency?”

    Ah, those “eyewitnesses” were in fact, working for, or directly employed by, a spy agency. And these “eyewitnesses” are unable to supply one bit of documentation in support of their later-years stories — all which were claimed _after_ the release of the actual IAF & NSA tapes. Just now convienent is that.

    Step on your own willie – it’s not a defense of Israeli actions to point out the many wild and unsupported claims that are being made by some folks who can not provide one bit of proof of what they claim.

    One has to just luv this claim of “there’s no way the pilots” You’ve got to be kidding here. Foreign jet (i.e., jets move at a much greater speed than prop planes) pilots, never trained in maritme operations and given instructions which pre-supposed already that the vessel was not friendly ..

    One truly has to wonder where on earth this claim of “there’s no way” comes from. Foreget the actual facts which setup the situation, but just put forth this rather silly claim of “there’s no way”. Wonder if it’s the belief that there are never mistakes ever made in warfare.

  22. “gcochran, on February 6th, 2010 at 11:41 am Said:

    The Trib article mentioned a number of people who reported seeing transcripts …”

    Lockwood – He does not make any such claim in the article.

    Forslund – sitting in Omaha assigned reportedly to a USAF SAC Wing (apparently enlisted); the NSA sends to them, over a teletype link no less, some supposed copy of the transcripts of Israeli AF tapes which have otherwise never seen the light of day?. Which part of “THERE ARE NO COMINT REFLECTIONS OF THE ACTUAL ATTACK ITSELF.” isn’t clear?

    Gotcher – sitting in VN as an E-5 up on Monkey Mtn. Now we have the NSA also sending to VN transcripts of ME actions, to an outfit chest-deep in fighting their own “little” war? See Forslund above.

    Block – reportedly sitting on Crete — his claim originally was that he was listening to the pilots – they were speaking Hebrew, he does not know Hebrew … But again, back to Forslund above.

    Kirby – see previous exchange as well as Forslund above.

    Lang – Quite possible the actual NSA tapes were used in some course material — but again, he makes a claim as reported in the Trib article and there’s not one piece of evidence in support. see again Forslund above.

    Bottom line, all these claims are _after_ the release of the NSA tapes and definite NSA statement — anyone can make the claims that they have — but who really cares, and it’s just a bunch of stale air. It hasn’t done squat to move the agenda forward.

    You want to prove the stories are accurate, then produce the tapes/transcripts.

    Personal opinions are just that, personal opinions. As for Clark Clifford; another incorrect claim. Clifford’s report to LBJ was quite clear:

    “a. The information thus far available does not reflect that the Israeli high command made a premeditated attack on a ship known to be American.

    b. The evidence at hand does not support the theory that the highest echelons of the Israeli Government were aware of the Liberty’s true identity or of the fact that an attack on her was taking place.”

  23. “gcochran, on February 6th, 2010 at 11:41 am Said:

    “Your argument that you can’t believe anyone who ever admits to lying is hilarious: I gather you’ve never lied?”

    Where does Boston admit to lying? He claims there was a cover-up ordered — naturally not directly to him of course, but to ADM Kidd. He makes this claim after all others are dead. Yet you’ve read, I suppose, what Kidd was stating all the way back in 1982 …

    “By your logic, no-one can ever retract a falsehood, because admitting to a falsehood proves they once lied and are therefore untrustworthy. Horsefeathers.”

    What did Boston retract? He didn’t claim he did anything wrong and thus failed to carry out faithfully his duties that he _swore_ to do. However, Boston’s refusual to address directly the claims written in that statement he signed, and his actions back in 1967, should make any reasonable person question the validity of the claims — afterall, no other member of the board can support it — again since he just happened to make them after all had died.

    Why should anyone believe Boston?

    You’re logic appears to be that anyone who makes a claim without any proof is to be believed without question as long as it supports your already held opinion regarding a certain subject.

  24. Dennis Dale says: • Website

    One has to just luv this claim of “there’s no way the pilots” You’ve got to be kidding here. Foreign jet (i.e., jets move at a much greater speed than prop planes) pilots, never trained in maritme operations and given instructions which pre-supposed already that the vessel was not friendly ..

    You’re the one who claims the markings on these fast-moving aircraft were clearly visible from the deck of the Liberty; it necessarily follows that the ship’s flag was visible to the pilots. Were their rules of engagement then to fire on the ship regardless?
    At this point you’re arguments amount to cupping your hands over your ears and singing “nay-nay-nay” over and over. No one is discounting the possibility of a mistake–we’re only objecting to the cursory nature of the investigation, which can only mean one of two things: our gov’t knows something it doesn’t want to reveal, or it doesn’t want to know (like you).

  25. Dennis Dale, on February 6th, 2010 at 1:40 pm Said:

    “You’re the one who claims the markings on these fast-moving aircraft were clearly visible from the deck of the Liberty;”

    There was no such claim. It ended as “… when the Israeli forces were ID’d by Liberty crewmen as having Israeli markings.”

    The positive ID of actual Israeli markings were of the MTBs — you know, the boats which did in fact come up close to the ship following the attack … so when you get these rather silly claims of a “false-flag” operation, one can’t but laugh.

    There never was a claim that you state and thus your “it necessarily follows” is totally meaningless. Of course it’s meaningless regardless, given the size of the flag flown and the distance from the ship the Mirage jets flew.

    Nice to read yet another misrepresentation of what have been the claims put forth here by some folks (i.e. “No one is discounting the possibility of a mistake”). Talk about sticking one’s fingers into their ears — but hey, go ahead and believe in unsupportive claims if it makes you feel better.

    And one has to simply laugh at the claim of “cursory nature of the investigations.” Just because there’s no support in any of the numerous investigations to support the claims made so many years later, it must make one feel better to claim such.

  26. gcochran says:

    Again, from that Trib article:

    “The ground control station stated that the target was American and for the aircraft to confirm it,” Forslund recalled. “The aircraft did confirm the identity of the target as American, by the American flag.

    “The ground control station ordered the aircraft to attack and sink the target and ensure they left no survivors.”

    Forslund said he clearly recalled “the obvious frustration of the controller over the inability of the pilots to sink the target quickly and completely.”

    “He kept insisting the mission had to sink the target, and was frustrated with the pilots’ responses that it didn’t sink.”

    “No survivors” is key info. If the attack had succeeded and left no survivors, false-flag could have worked. Pretty much any motive for attacking that ship would have been furthered by hiding the identity of the attackers – but that would almost inevitably have led to blaming the Egyptians. After all, _someone_ had to do it.

    Simplest explanation is that putting the blame on Egypt was the actual goal. It’s the only case in which the potential rewards (superpower backing and aid against the Arabs) outweighed the risks, which were real although not overwhelming. Not overwhelming, because although essentially everyone in the Johnson administration thought that it was a deliberate attack, there was no response. To someone who understood what made LBJ and his administration tick, this may have been quite predictable.

    Many governments have set up such things in the past, and elements of the US government have at least considered such, for example in the Cuban missile crisis and before the invasion of Iraq.
    Realpolitik is a bugger.

  27. Dennis Dale says: • Website

    Secretary of State Dean Rusk:

    “At the time of the attack, the USS Liberty was flying the American flag and its identification was clearly indicated in large white letters and numerals on its hull. … Experience demonstrates that both the flag and the identification number of the vessel were readily visible from the air….”

  28. Dennis Dale says: • Website

    The MTBs did not appear “following” the attack, but during it; they were fired upon by the Liberty, and returned fire, if I’m not mistaken.
    I asserted the “cursory nature” of the investigation (singular), referring to the initial inquiry–the attention the incident has received since does not contradict that, as you suggest, but supports it–a more thorough investigation might not have left so many questions out there, and certainly would have inspired more confidence.

    It’s not the “fog of war”, perhaps, but the “heat of war” we should be considering–a deliberate attack doesn’t take the whole of or the highest levels of Israeli gov’t (indeed, this seems less likely), but a few well-placed military commanders taking the initiative. I wouldn’t discount the possibility either the Israelis mis-identified the Liberty as a “false flag” operation.

    What I don’t find in the least bit implausible is the idea that after the fact officials on both sides decided to sweep the thing under the rug as quickly as possible. Hell, there’s even an argument on behalf of this–it wouldn’t be the first time our gov’t concealed something from us out of fear the resultant outrage would lead to war.

  29. Dennis Dale, – “I wouldn’t discount the possibility either the Israelis mis-identified the Liberty as a “false flag” operation.”

    All Egyptian war ships were of British origin. To my knowledge Egypt possessed no liberty ships. They did posses one supply ship of very roughly the same type called the El Quseir. No naval personnel would confuse the two. If the Israeli’s really suspected a false flag operation, what prevented them from picking up the phone? They pressed the attack in the face of all evidence of an American naval identification. Their MTBs machine gunned the lifeboats and the crew from well within visual range.

    Let’s remember that the Israelis were murdering Egyptian POW’s as this was happening. The Israelis are ruthless in the use of force and famously duplicitous in their statements.

  30. I would just like to go on record– for the benefit of any NSA personnel who might be tuning in– and say that I am fully supportive of anything my government does. When I go to Tokyo this summer, I will be engaging in harmless, patriotic consumption of sake and sushi.

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Personal Classics
Shouldn't they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?
A Modern Guernica Enabled by Washington
Pressuring Candidates Even Before They Are Nominated
But is it even a friend?
The gagged whistleblower goes on the record.
Today’s CIA serves contractors and bureaucrats—not the nation.