Today is the 46th Anniversary of the USS Liberty Attack

This Attack by Israeli Killed 34 American Crew Members of the USS Liberty and Survivors Demand a Congressional Inquiry

by Jason Ditz, June 07, 2013

Saturday marks the 46th anniversary of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, a Naval spy ship in the Mediterranean Sea. The attack killed 34 American crew members and wounded 171 others.

The incident came during the Six-Day War of 1967, during which Israeli occupied large chunks of territory from its Arab neighbors. The attack on the USS Liberty was America’s only involvement in the conflict.

The attack began with two Israeli Mirage III fighter jets attacking the ship, claiming they assumed the antenna was a gun, and began attacking the US ship with rockets. The attacks escalated despite the ship being unable to return fire in any form, with torpedoes hitting the ship and napalm bombs setting it ablaze.

The immediate US response was to deploy warplanes against Egypt on the assumption that they might conceivably have been the attackers. Though never confirmed, some reports have persisted that the planes had nuclear weapons on board, though they were thankfully recalled at the last moment when it was revealed that it was an Israeli attack.

Israel claimed that they assumed the USS Liberty was an Egyptian destroyer, despite it flying a US flag and having clearly identified Latin alphabet letters all over it. The US rejected the claim but accepted an Israeli apology, along with a $6 million payment made in 1980 to cover a fraction of the repair costs for almost destroying the ship.

Israel’s own investigations into the matter throw their own story into doubt, with a 1982 IDF History Department Report (pdf) noting that the Israeli Navy knew hours before the attack that the ship was from the US Navy, and then goes on to speculate that the ground controllers directing the attack were just never told about this.  It then brushed off the whole incident as “an innocent mistake.”

There were some limited US military inquiries into the matter but nothing in the way of Congressional investigations, and 46 years later survivors of the attack are still pressing Congress on the incident, saying it’s high time they got around to actually probing unprovoked attacks on a US Navy ship in international waters.

The survivors noted the incongruence between the treatment of the USS Libertyattack and the September 11, 2012 Benghazi consulate attack, saying it made no sense that Congress has dedicated months to that attack while refusing even nominal hearings on the USS Liberty, an attack which had many, many more casualties.
USS Liberty Veterans Association

USS Liberty Memorial

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In Wake of US-Israeli Attack on Syria, UN Reveals Terrorists Not Government Used Sarin Gas

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The reasoning behind recent US-Israeli attacks on Syria has been undermined further as the UN reveals Western-backed terrorists, not the Syrian government, deployed sarin gas during the 2 year conflict. Reuters reported in their article, “U.N. has testimony that Syrian rebels used sarin gas: investigator,” that:

U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria’s civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin, one of the lead investigators said on Sunday.

The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons, which are banned under international law, said commission member Carla Del Ponte.

“Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,” Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television.

Why the Small Amounts of Sarin Cited by Washington, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv are a Set Up

The small amounts of sarin gas reportedly used would defy any tactical or strategic sense had they been deployed by the Syrian government to tip the balance in the destructive 2-year conflict. According to the US military’s own assessments of chemical weapon use during the 1980′s Iran-Iraq War, only under ideal conditions and with massive amounts of chemical agents can tactical and strategic outcomes be achieved – and that conventional weapons were still, by far, superior to chemical weapons of any kind.

A document produced by the US Marine Corps, titled, “Lessons Learned: The Iran-Iraq War” under “Appendix B: Chemical Weapons,” provides a comprehensive look at the all-out chemical warfare that took place during the devastating 8 year Iranian-Iraqi conflict. Several engagements are studied in detail, revealing large amounts of chemical agents deployed mainly to create areas of denial, not mass casualties.

The effectiveness and lethality of chemical weapons is summarized in the document as follows (emphasis added):

Chemical weapons require quite particular weather and geographic conditions for optimum effectiveness. Given the relative nonpersistence of all agents employed during this war, including mustard, there was only a brief window of employment opportunity both daily and seasonally, when the agents could be used. Even though the Iraqis employed mustard agent in the rainy season and also in the marshes, its effectiveness was significantly reduced under those conditions. As the Iraqis learned to their chagrin, mustard is not a good agent to employ in the mountains, unless you own the high ground and your enemy is in the valleys.

We are uncertain as to the relative effectiveness of nerve agents since those which were employed are by nature much less persistent than mustard. In order to gain killing concentrations of these agents, predawn attacks are best, conducted in areas where the morning breezes are likely to blow away from friendly positions.

Chemical weapons have a low kill ratio. Just as in WWl, during which the ratio of deaths to injured from chemicals was 2-3 percent, that figure appears to be borne out again in this war although reliable data on casualties are very difficult to obtain. We deem it remarkable that the death rate should hold at such a low level even with the introduction of nerve agents. If those rates are correct, as they well may be, this further reinforces the position that we must not think of chemical weapons as “a poor man’s nuclear weapon.” While such weapons have great psychological potential, they are not killers or destroyers on a scale with nuclear or biological weapons.

Clearly, the minute amounts of sarin the West has accused the Syrian government of using, makes no tactical, political, or strategic sense. However, these small amounts of sarin gas, now suspected to be the work of Western-backed terrorists, would have been perfect for establishing a pretext for Western military intervention, and in fact, have been in part cited by the US and Israel in their latest, unprovoked aerial assault on Damascus.

The terrorists operating in Syria possess the means and motivation to carry out such an operation, as do their Western sponsors.

Where Did Western-backed Terrorists Obtain Sarin?

A number of methods could have lent sarin gas to terrorists operating in Syria – from Turkey, Israel, and the US simply handing select units the chemical agent in a clandestine operation, to Libyan terrorists confirmed to have been flooding into Syria for the past 2 years, bringing looted chemical stockpiles with them after NATO’s disastrous invasion in 2011 left them in the hands of a sectarian extremist regime.

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Indeed, Libya’s arsenal had fallen into the hands of sectarian extremists with NATO assistance in 2011 in the culmination of efforts to overthrow the North African nation . Since then, Libya’s militants led by commanders ofAl Qaeda’s Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) have armed sectarian extremists across the Arab World, fromas far West as Mali, to as far East as Syria.

Libyan LIFG terrorists are confirmed to be flooding into Syria from Libya. In November 2011, the Telegraph in their article, “Leading Libyan Islamist met Free Syrian Army opposition group,” would report:

Abdulhakim Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, “met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey,” said a military official working with Mr Belhadj. “Mustafa Abdul Jalil (the interim Libyan president) sent him there.”

Another Telegraph article, “Libya’s new rulers offer weapons to Syrian rebels,” would admit

Syrian rebels held secret talks with Libya’s new authorities on Friday, aiming to secure weapons and money for their insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

At the meeting, which was held in Istanbul and included Turkish officials, the Syrians requested “assistance” from the Libyan representatives and were offered arms, and potentially volunteers.
“There is something being planned to send weapons and even Libyan fighters to Syria,” said a Libyan source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There is a military intervention on the way. Within a few weeks you will see.”

Later that month, some 600 Libyan terrorists would be reported to have entered Syria to begin combat operations and have been flooding into the country ever since.

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In Time’s article, “Libya’s Fighters Export Their Revolution to Syria,” it is reported:

Some Syrians are more frank about the assistance the Libyans are providing. “They have heavier weapons than we do,” notes Firas Tamim, who has traveled in rebel-controlled areas to keep tabs on foreign fighters. “They brought these weapons to Syria, and they are being used on the front lines.” Among the arms Tamim has seen are Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, known as the SAM 7.

Libyan fighters largely brush off questions about weapon transfers, but in December they claimed they were doing just that. “We are in the process of collecting arms in Libya,” a Libyan fighter in Syria told the French dailyLe Figaro. “Once this is done, we will have to find a way to bring them here.”

Clearly NATO intervention in Libya has left a vast, devastating arsenal in the hands of sectarian extremists, led by US State DepartmentUnited Nations, and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf)-listed terrorist organization LIFG that is now exporting these weapons and militants to NATO’s other front in Syria. It is confirmed that both Libyan terrorists and weapons are crossing the Turkish-Syrian border, with NATO assistance, and it is now clear that heavy weapons, including anti-aircraft weapons have crossed the border too.
The Guardian reported in their November 2011 article, “Libyan chemical weapons stockpiles intact, say inspectors,” that:
Libya’s stockpiles of mustard gas and chemicals used to make weapons are intact and were not stolen during the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, weapons inspectors have said.
But also reported that:
The abandonment or disappearance of some Gaddafi-era weapons has prompted concerns that such firepower could erode regional security if it falls into the hands of Islamist militants or rebels active in north Africa. Some fear they could be used by Gaddafi loyalists to spread instability in Libya.
Last month Human Rights Watch urged Libya’s ruling national transitional council to take action over large numbers of heavy weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, it said were lying unguarded more than two months after Gaddafi was overthrown.On Wednesday the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said the UN would send experts to Libya to help ensure nuclear material and chemical weapons did not fall into the wrong hands.

And while inspectors claim that Libya’s chemical weapons are in the “government’s” hands and not “extremists’,” it is clear by the Libyan government’s own admission, that they themselves are involved in sending fighters and weapons into Syria to support NATO and Al Qaeda’s joint operation there.

Furthermore, it is confirmed that the US had been providing select terrorist units training in the handling of chemical weapons. CNN had reported in December of 2012, in a report titled, “Sources: U.S. helping underwrite Syrian rebel training on securing chemical weapons,” that:

The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday.

The training, which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.

NATO not only ensured that chemical weapons in Libya remained in the hands of a proxy regime now openly arming, aiding, and sending fighters to assist terrorists in Syria, but also appears to have ensured these terrorists possessed the know-how on handling and using these weapons.

Israel vs. Hezbollah – Lie of Last Resort

It appears that once again, those truly responsible for the most egregious atrocities and the crossing of “red lines,” are the very Western interests drawing these lines in the first place.

The decision to shift attention away from the chemical weapons “red line,” and toward Israel and Hezbollah is a desperate ploy to extend the faltering viability of the West’s current operations in Syria.

While Israel, with the help of the Western media, attempts to portray itself as reluctantly entering a war it has so far avoided, it has been documented since as early as 2007 that Israel, along with the US and Saudi Arabia were openly conspiring to overthrow the Syrian government via armed and funded Al Qaeda terrorists and an unprecedented sectarian bloodbath.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 New Yorker article, “The Redirection,” stated (emphasis added):

“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

Of Israel and Saudi Arabia’s partnership it specifically stated:
“The policy shift has brought Saudi Arabia and Israel into a new strategic embrace, largely because both countries see Iran as an existential threat. They have been involved in direct talks, and the Saudis, who believe that greater stability in Israel and Palestine will give Iran less leverage in the region, have become more involved in Arab-Israeli negotiations.”

Additionally, Saudi Arabian officials mentioned the careful balancing act their nation must play in order to conceal its role in supporting US-Israeli ambitions across the region. It was stated even then, that using Israel to publicly carry out attacks on Iran would be preferable to the US, which would ultimately implicate the Saudis. It was stated:

“The Saudi said that, in his country’s view, it was taking a political risk by joining the U.S. in challenging Iran: Bandar is already seen in the Arab world as being too close to the Bush Administration. “We have two nightmares,” the former diplomat told me. “For Iran to acquire the bomb and for the United States to attack Iran. I’d rather the Israelis bomb the Iranians, so we can blame them. If America does it, we will be blamed.””

This ploy was further developed in 2009 by the Fortune 500-funded (page 19) Brookings Institution in their document, “Which Path to Persia?” In regards to Iran, and now clearly being utilized against Syria, the gambit was described as follows (emphasis added):

…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.) ” –page 84-85, Which Path to Perisa?, Brookings Institution.

And:

“Israel appears to have done extensive planning and practice for such a strike already, and its aircraft are probably already based as close to Iran as possible. as such, Israel might be able to launch the strike in a matter of weeks or even days, depending on what weather and intelligence conditions it felt it needed. Moreover, since Israel would have much less of a need (or even interest) in securing regional support for the operation, Jerusalem probably would feel less motivated to wait for an Iranian provocation before attacking. In short, Israel could move very fast to implement this option if both Israeli and American leaders wanted it to happen.

However, as noted in the previous chapter, the airstrikes themselves are really just the start of this policy. Again, the Iranians would doubtless rebuild their nuclear sites. They would probably retaliate against Israel, and they might retaliate against the United States, too (which might create a pretext for American airstrikes or even an invasion).” page 91, Which Path to Perisa?, Brookings Institution.

It is unlikely the West possesses the political, economic, or even tactical ability to pursue a greater regional war against Syria and Iran. The aim of using Israel against Syria is to alleviate pressure on Western-backed terrorists, create tension and opposition within the Syrian government and military, and perhaps even crack “fortress Damascus” ahead of one final push by whatever remains of the so-called “opposition.”

Brookings, in another report titled, “Assessing Options for Regime Change,” stated specifically that:

“In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.” –page 6, Assessing Options for Regime Change, Brookings Institution.

Clearly, Israel has been involved in Western designs against Syria from the beginning. Its role has been intentionally kept subtle until now, specifically to exercise options of last resort. It is now up to Syria and its allies to ensure they both survive increasingly provocative assaults by the West, while both winning the political battle abroad and sweeping away the remnants of the West’s terrorist proxies at home.

 

Israel Stations Nuclear Missile Submarines Off Iran’s Coast

Three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline.

The first has been sent in response to Israeli fears that ballistic missiles developed by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, a political and military organisation in Lebanon, could hit sites in Israel, including air bases and missile launchers.

The submarines of Flotilla 7 — Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan — have visited the Gulf before. But the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels.

The flotilla’s commander, identified only as “Colonel O”, told an Israeli newspaper: “We are an underwater assault force. We’re operating deep and far, very far, from our borders.”

Each of the submarines has a crew of 35 to 50, commanded by a colonel capable of launching a nuclear cruise missile.

The vessels can remain at sea for about 50 days and stay submerged up to 1,150ft below the surface for at least a week. Some of the cruise missiles are equipped with the most advanced nuclear warheads in the Israeli arsenal.

The deployment is designed to act as a deterrent, gather intelligence and potentially to land Mossad agents. “We’re a solid base for collecting sensitive information, as we can stay for a long time in one place,” said a flotilla officer.

The submarines could be used if Iran continues its programme to produce a nuclear bomb. “The 1,500km range of the submarines’ cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran,” said a navy officer.

Apparently responding to the Israeli activity, an Iranian admiral said: “Anyone who wishes to do an evil act in the Persian Gulf will receive a forceful response from us.”

Israel’s urgent need to deter the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance was demonstrated last month. Ehud Barak, the defence minister, was said to have shown President Barack Obama classified satellite images of a convoy of ballistic missiles leaving Syria on the way to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, will emphasise the danger to Obama in Washington this week.

Tel Aviv, Israel’s business and defence centre, remains the most threatened city in the world, said one expert. “There are more missiles per square foot targeting Tel Aviv than any other city,” he said.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk

Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons

According to secret South African documents, Mr Peres, then Israel’s defence minister, responded to a request in 1975 from the white minority government for Jericho Missiles by offering to fit them “in three different sizes”, The Guardian reported. The 1975 documents marked “top-secret” provide the first documentary corroboration of a nuclear relationship between South Africa and Israel that was long suspected but until now never proved. At the time, South Africa was years away from being able to build their own nuclear bomb.

South Africa eventually built its own nuclear bombs, albeit possibly with Israeli assistance. But the collaboration on military technology only grew over the following years. South Africa also provided much of the yellowcake uranium that Israel required to develop its weapons.

The Apartheid government was interested in buying Jericho missiles “if the correct payload was available”. The deal collapsed on cost issues. South Africa later developed six nuclear weapons, an arsenal long rumoured to have been built with Israeli help. According to academics, Israel gave South Africa 30g of tritium, a gas used to enhance the explosive power of nuclear weapons, in exchange for a large quantity of uranium.

The existence of Israel’s nuclear weapons programme was revealed by Mordechai Vanunu to the Sunday Times in 1986. He provided photographs taken inside the Dimona nuclear site and gave detailed descriptions of the processes involved in producing part of the nuclear material but provided no written documentation.

Documents seized by Iranian students from the US embassy in Tehran after the 1979 revolution revealed the Shah expressed an interest to Israel in developing nuclear arms. But the South African documents offer confirmation Israel was in a position to arm Jericho missiles with nuclear warheads.

Israel pressured the present South African government not to declassify documents obtained by Polakow-Suransky. “The Israeli defence ministry tried to block my access to the Secment agreement on the grounds it was sensitive material, especially the signature and the date,” he said. “The South Africans didn’t seem to care; they blacked out a few lines and handed it over to me. The ANC government is not so worried about protecting the dirty laundry of the apartheid regime’s old allies.”