October 04, 2007
USS Liberty sort-of followup: Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune does a service by giving the USS Liberty-attack veterans a full say. As I discussed many weeks back, the case deserves full fresh investigation. At the time, I shared my own developing conviction that it was more likely than not a case of culpable mistaken identity rather than a willful attack on an American ship (at least when it was ordered). The article erodes that conviction somewhat -- I'll downgrade mistaken identity from "buy" to "hold" -- but essentially the attack-with-foreknowledge argument often goes back to the same flaw: the belief that merely by defeating the "innocent mistake" claims by Israel and Fans, the only other conclusion is Israeli foreknowledge of the ship's American-ness before the attack began.
Again, for you Liberty-tutored ones: despite the article, it does NOT all come down to the flying US flag being seen, or to the incredibility of the alleged misidentification of the ship as the Egyptian horse-carrier el-Quseir. Of course, the US flag was flying nearly all the time of the attack, and the identity with the el Quseir ship is a bogus excuse, an embellishment of a tentative identification. The issue is really when the Israeli command decided to take US identity seriously -- before the attack for some mysterious hard-to-imagine reason, or during (but they kept going out of uncertainty, miscommunication, etc.)
To develop those points, it really doesn't matter much if the ship was decked out in red white and blue and the crew was singing and dancing Yankee Doodle Dandy on the deck. OK, that matters a bit but my point is that false flagging is as old as ships on the sea, and such easily could have been presumed as false flagging. Has it come to the point that I really need to refer even you knee-jerk anti-Israel types to your own manual, the not-false parts where Israelis are socialized to think of Arabs as sneaky? And following up a mistake with piling-on fire is a phenomenon seen as recently as the Blackwater shootings in downtown Baghdad.
The tantalizingly referred to, but never fully heard anywhere, alleged recorded pilots' conversations may suggest that there was some discussion and sighting of an American flag, and a dispute over whether to keep attacking or abort. That may be criminal to have disregarded the flag, but it doesn't prove foreknowledge. As noted in my previous entry, mistaken air attacks happen even while the pilots are talking about the very thing (orange NATO panels in this incident) that indicates they shouldn't attack.
Still, all is worthy of fresh investigation, especially to alleviate the anger of the sailors and intelligence workers and families. Alot of questions -- namely if they wanted to sink it quickly why didn't they, or why didn't they use weapons on the aircraft designed to sink a ship?
Far more interesting are some of these documents at the CIA. At least two have unnamed Israeli sources implying or directly stating there were orders from Moshe Dayan or high command to attack the ship (something the pro-foreknowledgers should use more conspicuously). This is almost a smoking gun, but unevaluated rumor from an unspecified source which includes the ridiculous boast that Israelis don't make mistakes isn't enough. Plus, if the Moshe Dayan story is true, there was enough reported resistance and even disgust in his own circles of command to the attack, that it would assuredly have leaked, even if indirectly, through conventional (press, archival and journalistic) routes. Especially given that Dayan had many political enemies.
Israel leaks like a sieve; the reason we know many of its past and present misdeeds is because Israelis report and publicize them.
And again, a believable motive would really really help, if it was done with foreknowledge.
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Even before these latest revelations, there was an Israeli pilot (Evan Toni) who defied orders to attack because he was well aware that the Liberty was clearly a US Naval vessel ( http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0693/9306019.htm ) & ( http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair1126.html ). I would like to know motive too, but the facts of the incident are enough to support the war crimes charge recently filed by members of the Liberty crew.
Posted by: LanceThruster at October 5, 2007 12:05 PM
That pilot story seems to have no legs. Not that the people reporting it (Evans and McCloskey) made it up, but that the source was questionable. A similar thing happened with an alleged informant reported by Evans and Novak 15 or so years ago, and they couldn't back it up and the claimant (Seth Mintz) backed off. If a credible named Israeli insider made a claim, it would have stuck, and not be floating about the rumorsphere.
Posted by: matthew hogan at October 5, 2007 08:13 PM
I agree though that the war crimes charge filed by the crew should be acted on, an investigation should be done in Congress or by an authorized Congressional body.
Posted by: matthew hogan at October 5, 2007 08:40 PM
Interesting. Any site or further reading you'd suggest to a casual layman?
Posted by: Ibn Kafka at October 8, 2007 11:59 AM
I haven't checked lately but wikipedia has or had a good entry.
Posted by: matthew hogan at October 8, 2007 12:20 PM
A careful study of photographs taken during and after the attack tells me the IDF's mistaken identity claim is full of holes. So much so, that the IDF perjured itself by publishing crudely made fake gun camera photos of the attack, in a effort to make the ship appear difficult to identify. (See: "Gun Camera Fraud" forensic essays at ussliberty-inquiry.us)
At the very least, on its face, the attack was a reckless and depraved act for which nobody suffered prosecution except the victims.
Posted by: Ken at October 28, 2007 12:38 PM
"At the very least, on its face, the attack was a reckless and depraved act for which nobody suffered prosecution except the victims."
Can't argue with that. All the more reason it needs a final investigation.
Posted by: matthew hogan at October 28, 2007 07:42 PM