Thursday, November 25, 2021

Liberty

"American Pravda: Remembering the Liberty" (Unz).

The Americans sent the USS Liberty to the Mediterranean for the specific purpose of having it attacked and sunk by the Israelis, a sinking which would then be blamed on Egypt, which was useful to President Johnson at the time as an American-Egyptian war would distract from his Vietnam problems, and get rid of the bothersome Nasser.

"We must always keep in mind that only a miracle kept the Liberty afloat, and if it had been sunk without survivors as expected, almost no one in American media or government would have dared accuse Israel of such an irrational act. Instead, as Stephen Green had first suggested in 1984, Egyptian forces would very likely have been blamed, producing powerful demands for immediate American retaliation, but probably on a vastly greater scale than the fictional Tonkin Gulf attack, which had inflicted no injuries. 

Indeed, Hounam’s detailed investigation discovered strong evidence that a powerful American “retaliatory” strike against Egypt had already been put into motion from almost the moment that the Liberty was first attacked. Paul Nes then served as charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, and in a taped interview he recalled receiving an urgent flash message alerting him that the Liberty had been attacked, presumably by Egyptian planes, and that bombers from an American carrier were already on their way to strike Cairo in retaliation. With an American-Egyptian war about to break out, Nes and his subordinates immediately began destroying all their important documents. But not long afterward, another flash message arrived, identifying the attackers as Israeli and saying that the air strike had been called off. According to some accounts, the American warplanes were just minutes from Egypt’s capital city when they were recalled. 

Let us consider this. In a taped interview a former top American diplomat revealed that in 1967 America came very close—perhaps even within minutes—of attacking Egypt in retaliation for the Liberty. Surely a revelation of this magnitude from such a credible source might be expected to reach the front page of the New York Times and other leading world newspapers. But instead I had never heard a word about it during the past 18 years, and a little Googling suggests that it has received virtually no discussion anywhere, except within the most obscure fringes of the Internet. 

Most of this seems like very solid factual material, and although the resulting interpretations may differ, I think the hypothesis advanced by Hounam is quite plausible. He suggested that President Johnson helped arrange the attack on the Liberty, hoping to orchestrate a new Tonkin Gulf Resolution but on a much grander scale, allowing him to attack and oust Nasser in retaliation. An American military assault against such an important regional Soviet ally would certainly have raised the risk of a much broader conflict, so our strategic bomber force had been put on full war-alert an hour or more before the Liberty incident unfolded. However, the Liberty and its crew of eyewitnesses somehow managed to stay afloat and survive, and eventually word that their attackers had been Israeli rather than Egyptian reached our top political and military leadership ranks, so the plan had to be abandoned."

and:
"There is also an intriguing backstory both to Hounam’s book and to the British documentary that had originally brought the author into the topic. The entire project apparently came about through the efforts of Richard Thompson, a former American Intelligence officer, who later became a highly successful international businessman. For years he had been a determined champion of the Liberty issue and the surviving crew members, and he organized and funded the film project, investing a total of $700,000 of his own money to bring it to fruition. After the documentary was complete, Jewish groups in Britain went to court to block its release, forcing Thompson to spend $200,000 in legal fees to overcome their challenge and allow the broadcast. And although Thompson’s name is not listed on the cover of the accompanying book, he seems to have played a major role in providing some of the underlying research and he shared the copyright with Hounam. 
Thompson had regularly attended annual Liberty reunions, and at the 40th in 2007, he arranged to meet with Mark Glenn, a journalist for American Free Press, an alternative tabloid newsweekly, known for its willingness to cover controversial issues, including those portraying Israel in a negative light. Thompson claimed to have important new information about the backstory to the Liberty incident, facts that further extended Hounam’s findings, and he promised to provide the material to Glenn in a series of interviews. However, while driving home from Washington the following morning, Thompson died in a strange one-car accident, as his vehicle crossed the dividing meridian of the interstate highway and collided with a tree. Although aged 76, Thompson had seemed in perfect health and he had previously reported being stalked by individuals apparently connected to Israel, so Glenn found his death suspicious, as did Michael Collins Piper, a noted conspiracy-researcher. More of Thompson’s background was provided in a fairly lengthy obituary that appeared in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, a well-regarded and somewhat establishmentarian publication critical of Israel. 
This possibly suspicious death was not the only one associated with the Liberty issue. Anthony Pearson’s articles in Penthouse and his subsequent book had been the first to claim that the Israeli attack was deliberate, and a few years later he began to complain of persecution by the Mossad; soon afterwards, he was dead, allegedly having been poisoned. Bourne’s research reported that a rather dubious individual involved in numerous unsuccessful attempts during the mid-1980s to raise funding for a film on the Liberty was found shot to death in his Pasadena home in 1988, though the motive for the unsolved homicide may have been entirely unconnected."
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