Annual Fundraising Appeal
Over the course of 21 years, we’ve published many unflattering stories about Henry Kissinger. We’ve recounted his involvement in the Chilean coup and the illegal bombings of Cambodia and Laos; his hidden role in the Kent State massacre and the genocide in East Timor; his noxious influence peddling in DC and craven work for dictators and repressive regimes around the world. We’ve questioned his ethics, his morals and his intelligence. We’ve called for him to be arrested and tried for war crimes. But nothing we’ve ever published pissed off HK quite like this sequence of photos taken at a conference in Brazil, which appeared in one of the early print editions of CounterPunch.
100716HenryKissingerNosePicking
The publication of those photos, and the story that went with them, 20 years ago earned CounterPunch a global audience in the pre-web days and helped make our reputation as a fearless journal willing to take the fight to the forces of darkness without flinching. Now our future is entirely in your hands. Please donate.

Day11

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
cp-store

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Betraying the Sailors of the USS Liberty

Arrest Robert McNamara

by STANLEY HELLER

I propose that 91 year old Robert McNamara be arrested. No, I’m not suggesting he be tried for his role in planning the fire bombings of Japanese cities during World War II, or for being LBJ’s Defense Secretary and architect of the war of aggression against Vietnam. Jail him for one much smaller act, the betrayal of sailors aboard the USS Liberty. While the Liberty was under a massive attack, Robert McNamara twice recalled the airplanes that a navy commander had sent out to defend them.

The crime took place on June 8, 1967 during Israel’s "Six Day" war against Egypt, Syria and Jordan. On the third day of the conflict Israeli forces launched a two-hour air and naval attack on the USS Liberty which was in international waters 14 miles off the coast of Egypt. At least a dozen unmarked Israeli aircraft dropped napalm, and shot 30 mm cannon shells and rockets into the ship over a period of a half hour. Then an assault followed from torpedo boats involving torpedoes and machine gun fire. 34 Americans were killed and 172 were wounded.

The attack on the Liberty began at 1358 (military time). The Liberty was the most sophisticated intelligence ship in the world in 1967 and the first thing hit after the gun mounts were the antennae and the bridge. Nevertheless the radio operator managed to send this distress signal from Captain McGonagle: "Under attack by unidentified jet aircraft, require immediate assistance." Eleven minutes later the USS Saratoga acknowledged receiving the message and Captain Joseph M. Tully ordered 12 F-4 jets and other refueling aircraft to go to the assistance of the Liberty and informed Sixth Fleet Commander Admiral William Martin. The planes were about 40 minutes away. They wouldn’t have arrived in time to stop the air attack, but could have prevented the torpedo attacks in which the majority of sailors were killed. Yet within minutes after launch an order came down from the flagship, the USS Little Rock, to recall the planes. There’s an account that it was done on orders from Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.

Sixth Fleet carrier division commander Lawrence Geis transmitted the message to the Saratoga to recall the planes, but he also told Captain Tully to prepare to launch planes 90 minutes later. At 1450 the order was given to send another group of rescue planes and at 1545 they took off. At 1639 McNamara ordered the recall of these planes. Reportedly Geis demanded confirmation of that recall order from the next higher up in the command, President Lyndon Johnson. Johnson confirmed it and told him that he would not have his allies embarrassed.

The reports about what McNamara and LBJ said are from an account by Liberty intelligence officer David Lewis who said he met privately with Geis after Liberty survivors had been rescued. He said Geis had wanted to assure him that the Saratoga had tried to help. Geis died in 1980 so he can’t confirm Lewis’ account, but surely there are records about these messages and orders about what went on that day in the Sixth Fleet buried in Navy files.

What would be the charge against McNamara? He denied aid to American troops when they were under deadly attack and as a result 20 some men died and many more were injured. I’m no lawyer, but I’ve been told that the applicable crime is treason.

There’s also the matter of obstruction of justice for ordering a cover-up. There was a hasty Naval Court of Inquiry set up to find out what happened to the Liberty. The senior legal counsel for the court was Captain Ward Boston. Admiral Isaac Kidd was president of the Court. In an affidavit signed on January 9, 2004 Captain Ward (now retired) swears that, "Both Admiral Kidd and I believed with certainty that this attack was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew. I am certain that the Israeli pilots that undertook the attacks, as well as their superiors who had ordered the attack were aware that the ship was AmericanI know from personal conversations I had with Admiral Kidd that President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered him to conclude that the attack was a case of mistaken identity’ despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary."

The evidence that the attack was deliberate does seem "overwhelming". Here are some of the facts featured in a 2004 report by the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty that concluded the attack was no accident.

· Israeli planes had observed the Liberty for eight hours before the attack

· June 8 was a clear day with unlimited visibility

· Survivors testify that a 5 by 8 American flag was flying all day on the Liberty until it was shot away and replaced by an even larger flag.

· The flag was flying in a 12-knot breeze for most of the afternoon.

· The Liberty’s five American radio channels were jammed during the attack. The Egyptian military did not broadcast on those frequencies.

· The Israelis machine-gunned the three life rafts the crew put out when it appeared the attack had let up. (This would assure there would be no survivors).

· The Israelis claimed the Liberty had been mistaken for an Egyptian ship. However the Egyptian ship, a 1920’s era horse carrier was a quarter the size of the Liberty

Who was this Independent Commission? Its chairperson was Admiral Thomas Moorer (Ret.). Moorer had a storied career. He was one of the first pilots off the ground during the attack on Pearl Harbor. In his long career he held posts of chief of the Pacific fleet, later chief of the Atlantic fleet and eventually Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The other members of the commission were General of the Marines Raymond G. Davis, former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Rear Admiral Merlin Starling, former Judge Advocate General of the Navy and Ambassador James Akins, former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. You could hardly ask for more expertise.

A last line of defense for those who claim that the Israeli attack was an accident concerns the question of motive. Why would Israel attack its "only friend in the world"? Well, for one Israel had plenty other friends. Recall it had fought a war in ’56 alongside Britain and France without US support. Though it does seem quite mad for Israel to purposely attack the US that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Some theorize Israel wanted to sink the Liberty and blame it on Egypt as a way of getting US support, a supersized version of what their agents did in Cairo during the "Lavon Affair". Others think Israel wanted to cover up its plans for a ground attack on Syria. So let’s find out. Even 40 years later a thorough investigation could come up with most of the truth.

If the Congress had any gumption it would demand the facts. We give Israel multi-billions a year. Congress could require that our Israeli client allow a team of naval investigators and translators examine internal Israeli military documents. Let them interview the Israeli pilots and commanders involved in the assault. Give the investigators a free hand to review all relevant US records.

Robert McNamara has never suffered a day for his crimes. After leaving the Johnson Administration he was appointed head of the World Bank and he held that post for 13 years. In 1995 he wrote a successful memoir "In Retrospect" and in 2003 was subject of an Academy Award winning documentary. He never apologized for anything, least of all to the men he purposely betrayed on the Liberty.

Arrest him.

STANLEY HELLER is chairperson of the Middle East Crisis Committee (Connecticut) and host of its weekly TV program "The Struggle". He welcomes email at mail@TheStruggle.org .