Why Israel is Not My "Close Friend"Submitted by James_Madison_Lives on Sun, 05/22/2011 - 20:03
No one was more shocked than I at Ron Paul's apparent kowtowing to AIPAC in the wake of Obama's recent stern - if questionable like everything he says - remarks toward Israel. Obama suggested that the 1967 border which comprised the basis of the state before the campaign of illegal settlements sought to make it irrelevant was indeed the proper basis for negotiation. Dr. Paul interjected:
“Israel is our close friend. While President Obama’s demand that Israel make hard concessions in her border conflicts may very well be in her long-term interest, only Israel can make that determination on her own, without pressure from the United States or coercion by the United Nations."
Excuse me, but Israel is not my "close friend." Dr. Paul has an avowed policy of friendship and trade with "all nations," and so his remarks have been interpreted as merely in keeping with this spirit. But the difference between Israel all other nations is that "all nations" did not attack the USS Liberty unprovoked to drag us into a war against Egypt, with new revelations still emerging and the survivors still calling out for justice. The survivors want a real inquiry, like a Truth Commission, and an end to the lies and cover up.
The USS Liberty was attacked deliberately by Israel, in a false flag attack by unmarked warplanes and attack boats, to drag the United States into the Six Day War against Egypt. This would have benefited Israel, but not the United States. The government of Israel has every right to conduct its foreign policy in its best interests, but this illustrates how those interests are not always in accord.
The Liberty was strafed and torpedoed mercilessly for nine hours and sailors frantically waved and signaled that they were American. The idea was for the ship to sink with no survivors, and therefore no witnesses. Due to the characteristic heroism of the American fighting man, the fires were extinguished, damage managed, and the ship did not sink. This is the only reason we now know what happened.
Dr. Paul said further:
“I am not the only one who can see the absurdities of our foreign policy. We give $3 billion to Israel and $12 billion to her enemies. Most Americans know that makes no sense."
One would hope Dr. Paul really meant to imply that all military aid to other countries, including Israel, should be ended, but the timing of his remarks leave open to question whether he meant to say that our priorities are skewed and if our "friends" shouldn't be getting more money than her "enemies."
As the son of an American soldier who made a life of serving his country, and damned proud of it, you better believe I have not forgotten the 34 dead sailors of the USS Liberty, who for my family are brothers, fathers, and sons. Between the branches of service there many bar fights and other rivalries, and always will be, but under fire, we are one. I know this criticism of Dr. Paul, who remains my candidate because he speaks for me so well on the Constitution, sound money, and in most cases, foreign policy, will be unpopular at this website. I am grateful to Dr. Paul for giving voice to common sense, and I do not jump ship over one remark. But this time, I don't give a damn. I stand with the sailors of the USS Liberty, and Israel is not, repeat not, my "close friend."
New revelations in attack on American spy ship
Veterans, documents suggest U.S., Israel didn't tell full story of deadly '67 incident
By John Crewdson
Tribune senior correspondent
October 2, 2007
Bryce Lockwood, Marine staff sergeant, Russian-language expert, recipient of the Silver Star for heroism, ordained Baptist minister, is shouting into the phone.
"I'm angry! I'm seething with anger! Forty years, and I'm seething with anger!"
Lockwood was aboard the USS Liberty, a super-secret spy ship on station in the eastern Mediterranean, when four Israeli fighter jets flew out of the afternoon sun to strafe and bomb the virtually defenseless vessel on June 8, 1967, the fourth day of what would become known as the Six-Day War.
For Lockwood and many other survivors, the anger is mixed with incredulity: that Israel would attack an important ally, then attribute the attack to a case of mistaken identity by Israeli pilots who had confused the U.S. Navy's most distinctive ship with an Egyptian horse-cavalry transport that was half its size and had a dissimilar profile. And they're also incredulous that, for years, their own government would reject their calls for a thorough investigation.
"They tried to lie their way out of it!" Lockwood shouts. "I don't believe that for a minute! You just don't shoot at a ship at sea without identifying it, making sure of your target!"
Four decades later, many of the more than two dozen Liberty survivors located and interviewed by the Tribune cannot talk about the attack without shouting or weeping.
Their anger has been stoked by the declassification of government documents and the recollections of former military personnel, including some quoted in this article for the first time, which strengthen doubts about the U.S. National Security Agency's position that it never intercepted the communications of the attacking Israeli pilots -- communications, according to those who remember seeing them, that showed the Israelis knew they were attacking an American naval vessel.
The documents also suggest that the U.S. government, anxious to spare Israel's reputation and preserve its alliance with the U.S., closed the case with what even some of its participants now say was a hasty and seriously flawed investigation.
Rear Adm. Merlin Staring, the Navy's former judge advocate general, was asked to assess the American inquiry's report before it was sent to Washington. But Staring said it was taken from him when he began to question some aspects of the report. He describes it now as "a hasty, superficial, incomplete and totally inadequate inquiry."
Staring, who is among those calling for a full congressional investigation on behalf of the Liberty's survivors, observed in an interview that the inquiry report contained several "findings of fact" unsupported by testimony or evidence.
One such finding ignored the testimony of several inquiry witnesses that the American flag was flying during the attack, and held that the "available evidence combines to indicate the attack on LIBERTY on 8 June was in fact a case of mistaken identity."
There are also apparent omissions in the inquiry's report. It does not include, for example, the testimony of a young lieutenant, Lloyd Painter, who was serving as officer of the deck when the attack began. Painter said he testified that an Israeli torpedo boat "methodically machine-gunned one of our life rafts" that had been put over the side by crewmen preparing to abandon ship.
Painter, who spent 32 years as a Secret Service agent after leaving the Navy, charged that his testimony about the life rafts was purposely omitted.
Ward Boston recalled that, after McCain's one-week deadline expired, Kidd took the record compiled by the inquiry "and flew back to Washington, and I went back to Naples," the headquarters of the 6th Fleet.
"Two weeks later, he comes back to Naples and calls me from his office," Boston recalled in an interview. "In that deep voice, he said, 'Ward, they aren't interested in the facts. It's a political issue and we have to put a lid on it. We've been ordered to shut up.'
"It's time for the truth to come out," declared Boston, who is now 84. "There have been so many cover-ups."
"Someday the truth of this will come out," said Dennis Eikleberry, a NSA technician aboard the Liberty. "Someday it will, but we'll all be gone."
James Ennes, now 74, who was officer of the deck just before the attack began, and later spent two months in a body cast, is one of the more vocal survivors. Like the others, Ennes is tired of waiting.
"We want both sides to stop lying," he said.
The USS Liberty Memorial
On June 8, 1967, US Navy intelligence ship USS Liberty was suddenly and brutally attacked on the high seas in international waters by the air and naval forces of Israel. The Israeli forces attacked with full knowledge that this was an American ship and lied about it. Survivors have been forbidden for 40 years to tell their story under oath to the American public. The USS Liberty Memorial web site tells their story and is dedicated to the memory of the 34 brave men who died.
After surveilling USS Liberty for more than nine hours with almost hourly aircraft overflights and radar tracking, the air and naval forces of Israel attacked our ship in international waters without warning. USS Liberty was identified as a US naval ship by Israeli reconnaissance aircraft nine hours before the attack and continuously tracked by Israeli radar and aircraft thereafter. Sailing in international waters at less than five knots, with no offensive armament, our ship was not a military threat to anyone.
The Israeli forces attacked without warning and without attempting to contact us. Thirty four Americans were killed in the attack and another 174 were wounded. The ship, a $40-million dollar state-of-the-art signals intelligence platform, was later declared unsalvageable and sold for scrap.
The Cover Up
Despite a near-universal consensus that the Israeli attack was made with full knowledge that USS Liberty was a US Navy ship, the Johnson administration began an immediate cover-up of this fact. Though administration officers continued individually to characterize the attack as deliberate, the Johnson administration never sought the prosecution of the guilty parties or otherwise attempted to seek justice for the victims. They concealed and altered evidence in their effort to downplay the attack. Though they never formally accepted the Israeli explanation that it was an accident, they never pressed for a full investigation either. They simply allowed those responsible literally to get away with murder.
In an ongoing effort to reveal the truth about the attack, the USS Liberty Veterans Association has filed with the Secretary of the Army in the manner prescribed by law a detailed, fully documented Report of War Crimes describing the circumstances of the attack on our ship and evidence that it was a crime under international law. In accordance with international law and treaties, the United States is obligated to investigate the allegations. So far, the United States has declined even to acknowledge that the report has been filed. The full text of the report can be found at http://www.gtr5.com/evidence/warcrimes.pdf
The USS Liberty Memorial
War Crimes Committed Against U.S. Military Personnel, June 8, 1967
Submitted to the Secretary of the Army in his capacity as Executive Agent for the Secretary of Defense, June 8, 2005.
This report of war crimes committed against U.S. military personnel is submitted to the Honorable Secretary of the Army in his capacity as Executive Agent for the Secretary of Defense, pursuant to Department of Defense Directive Number 5810.01B (29 March 2004)  .
This Report is filed by the USS Liberty Veterans Association, Inc. a California non-profit corporation, recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a Section 501(c)(3) tax exempt veterans organization, acting on behalf of the surviving crewmembers of USS Liberty.
On June 8, 1967 while patrolling in international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, USS Liberty (AGTR-5) was savagely attacked without warning or justification by air and naval forces of the state of Israel.
Of a crew of 294 officers and men (including three civilians), the ship suffered thirty four (34) killed in action and one hundred seventy three (173) wounded in action.
Names of casualties
William B. Allenbaugh Baltimore, Md.
Philip McC. Armstrong, Jr. Detroit, Mich.
Gary R. Blanchard Wichita, Kan.
Allen M. Blue* Yakima, Wash.
Francis Brown Albany, N.Y.
Ronnie J. Campbell* Sevierville, Tenn.
Jerry L. Converse Puyallup, Wash.
Robert B. Eisenberg St. Paul, Minn.
Jerry L. Goss* North Vernon, Ind.
Curtis A. Graves* Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.
Lawrence P. Hayden* Houston, Texas
Warren E. Hersey Philadelphia, Pa.
Alan Higgins* Weymouth, Mass.
Carl L. Hoar Mount Vernon, Ohio
Richard W. Keene, Jr. Batavia, N.Y.
James L. Lenau Washington, Mo.
Raymond E. Linn Adamsville, Ohio
James M. Lupton Shreveport, La.
Duane R. Marggraf Fond du Lac, Wis.
David W. Marlborough Waterville, Maine
Anthony P. Mendle Waterbury, Conn.
Carl C. Nygren Williamsport, Pa.
James C. Pierce Clinton, N.C.
Jack L. Raper Cedartown, Ga.
Edward E. Rehmeyer, III York, Pa.
David Skolak Gary, Ind.
John C. Smith, Jr. Ithaca, N.Y.
Melvin D. Smith Alamance, N.C.
John C. Spicher Terentum, Pa.
Alexander N. Thompson, Jr. Philadelphia, Pa.
Thomas R. Thornton Sprinfield, Ohio
Philippe C. Tiedtke Santa Cruz, Calif.
Stephen S. Toth San Diego, Calif.
Frederick J. Walton Niagara Falls, N.Y.