Friday, November 30, 2012

Israel's Ludicrous Tale About the Attack on the USS Liberty

John R. Schindler, professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, writes:
It began on June 8, 1967, when USS LIBERTY (AGTR-5), a Navy technical research spy ship, was attacked by Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats in international waters off Sinai during the height of the Six Day War. This devastating assault made casualties of nearly the entire LIBERTY crew – 34 killed and 171 wounded – and the ship was only saved by the heroic actions of her skipper, Commander William McGonagle, who later received the Medal of Honor for his actions that day. For the Naval Security Group (NAVSECGRU), the Navy’s cryptologic – i.e. codebreaking – arm, the LIBERTY was a true catastrophe, as the Israeli torpedo which nearly sank LIBERTY struck the ship’s super-classified NAVSECGRU area, buried below decks, taking out almost all the “secret sailors” who were listening to Soviet and Egyptian communications on behalf of the National Security Agency when disaster struck. The LIBERTY case remains officially unresolved, though recent evidence makes the official Israeli account that it was all a misunderstanding appear more ludicrous than ever.


  1. It's hard to blame Israel without being hypocritical, the US has done far worse.

    For example, putting ships in harms way of someone else's war, never mind the whole issue that there should be no offensive navy floating around the world such as we are forced to have.

    1. I don't blame a country for anything anymore. Hiding behind those flags, slogans and outfits are a tiny minority of individuals who have a set of values and ethics very different than mine. We can only hope that someday an opportunity will come to meet them personally with full knowledge of them and their deeds.

    2. Well goddammit, I blame them! 34 good men died that day. THEY were doing their duty. Of all the activities of our military, this sort of intelligence work is the most valuable. It is NOT offensive!
      The LACK of good intelligence is how wars start.
      They were NOT in Israeli waters!!!
      There is NO EXCUSE for the Israeli actions that day.

    3. Cap'n Mike-

      Have you ever heard of the "Return of the Jedi" argument? It's from the movie Clerks (filthy, wonderful flick) and centers around the plumbers, electricians, etc. working on The Death Star that they blow up. The point made is they KNEW they were working for an "Evil Empire" and went anyway. They deserved whatever happened to them.

      My best friend did 3 tours in Iraq, and is haunted by what he did, as are many of his buddies. They knew they were spreading evil, not fighting for freedom, and they have to live with (or not, considering the suicide rate) what they did in service of the empire.

      Sorry they died, but they died serving evil, and we should pray even harder that God has mercy on them...because I have none.

    4. I get yer drift.
      I am sick of this "honor our heroes" crap I get every time I just want to watch some football.
      But I have a valid point if you'll hear me out.
      This is NOT about the empire. This is about legitimate defense. Not defense as in the dept. of defense/offence.
      Legitimate defense.
      Intelligence gathering (passive) is a legitimate defense activity. I HOPE our side will be sniffing the winds looking for bad guys who will do us harm. This is NOT empire building. This is protecting ourselves. It is consistent with the non-aggression principle.
      If you hate the gummint (ok by me), this could be done by a private organization (I love Rothbard and Block).
      Even the staunchest anarcho-cap believes in self-defense, yes?

    5. Governments don't act, people with influence or power within governments do.

    6. Cap'n-

      These guys were doing work in service of The Empire. Yes, self defense is perfectly acceptable, but when you've stirred the hornets nest, and bombed or threatened to bomb it, and cut off their access to goods...well, getting stung is just the price you pay.

      These guys are broken. When BJ talks about the guys in his command (and he rarely does, just on nights we drink too much together) who call him up crying, or when he cries because he is so tortured it kills me. I can only be around him so much, because the psychological toll is too great. I worry he will end up one of the "casualties we never hear about" aka suicide.

      He is a good man, and served for 20 years because he loved his country, but Ron Paul changed him and he is a huge supporter, as are most of his fellow retired (and active) friends.

  2. It's true the US government shouldn't have been entangled in the conflict at all and has much blood on its hands. But Israel poses as an ally of the US government and receives massive aid from it. Therefore the question of whether or not the attack was intentional is of historical and current political significance. Schindler's link to "recent evidence" showing the attack was intentional points to the book "The Attack on the Liberty" by James Scott, a book I have not read.

    1. And make sure to watch, Dead In The Water, the BBC documentary on the attack.

  3. The sailors who died were professional killers, not "good men."

  4. I want to add something to my comment above.

    The vast majority of veterans (at least recent vets of Afghanistan or Iraq) are Ron Paul supporters, and many of them are more passionate than I am. When they find out that I've been following him for 15 years, and know a LOT about his philosophy and why he opposes government intervention, foreign AND domestic, they listen like I'm Justin Beiber at a concert. They are rapt. Imagine the High School bully begging you to tell him more about "The Creature from Jekyll Island" or the origins of WW1&2 or (once) Mises Regression Theorem.

    People that wonder if the military will be willing to enforce Martial law don't know these guys. They are the most anti-government, anti-violence, pro-freedom people in our society.

    They've seen the horror our "leaders" have unleashed on the world, the children we've killed, the lives

    1. Yeah but it sucks that they only seem to have these 'epiphanies' after they've already participated in the killing. Why are we so quick to forgive them when we don't forgive regular murderers who come to regret what they did?

  5. I am a Jew and live in Israel (grew up in Los Angeles though). I am not old enough to remember the war or the incident (born in 1966). However, there are some good points to consider.

    1. The idea that the US was spying only on Egyptian or Soviet comms is ludicrous on its face. The only question is, which I am not concerned with, but the Israeli government at the time certainly would have been, was, what was the US doing with the intel gathered from Israel? Is it conceivable that it was passed on to belligerents? Sure it is. The US at the time was trying to sway Egypt and other Arab states from Soviet to American alignment.

    2. The US was emphatically not an ally in any way we can understand. After it basically forced Israel to withdraw from the Sinai after 1956 war, it did give some sort of assurance of mutual defense in the event the Strait of Hormuz was closed again to international shipping. In 1967, it broke that agreement. I don't know all the details, and neither do you, but that seems to be the gist.

    The Liberty was a warship near a war zone. Israel probably deliberately bombarded it, and the US government, wanting to avoid publicity on just what it was spying on and to whom the information flowed, agreed to an absurd story about it being an unfortunate and unintentional accident.