“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Although badly wounded by Israeli fire on June 8, 1967, McGonagle was able to keep the bombed, torpedoed, napalmed Liberty afloat and limping toward Malta, where what was left of the bodies of the 34 crewmen killed and the 174 wounded could be attended to. Do the math: yes, killed and wounded amounted to more than two-thirds of the Liberty crew of 294

A USS Liberty Hero’s Passing

Terry Halbardier, who -- as a 23-year-old seaman in 1967 -- thwarted Israeli attempts to sink the USS Liberty, died on Aug. 11 in Visalia, California. It took the U.S. government 42 years after the attack to recognize Halbardier's heroism by awarding him the Silver Star, a delay explained by Washington's determination to downplay Israeli responsibility for the 34 Americans killed and the 174 wounded.
On June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War, the Israeli military attacked the USS Liberty, an American spy ship which had been monitoring Israeli transmissions about the conflict. Intercepted Israeli communications indicated that the goal was to sink the Liberty and leave no survivors.
Warplanes and torpedo boats had already killed 34 and wounded 174, when Halbardier slid over the Liberty's napalm-glazed deck to jury-rig an antenna and get an SOS off to the Sixth Fleet. The Israelis intercepted the SOS and broke off the attack immediately. In effect, Halbardier prevented the massacre of all 294 onboard. Still, the infamy of the attack on the Liberty was two-fold.
First, the Liberty, a virtually defenseless intelligence collection platform prominently flying an American flag in international waters, came under deliberate attack by Israeli aircraft and three 60-ton Israeli torpedo boats off the coast of the Sinai on a cloudless June afternoon during the six-day Israeli-Arab war. Second, President Lyndon Johnson called back carrier aircraft dispatched to defend the Liberty lest Israel be embarrassed -- the start of an unconscionable cover-up, including top Navy brass, that persists to this day.
Given all they have been through, the Liberty survivors and other veterans -- who joined Halbardier to celebrate his belated receipt of the Silver Star on May 27, 2009 -- can be forgiven for having doubted that the day of the hero's recognition would ever come.
In the award ceremony at the Visalia (California) office of Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican congressman pinned the Silver Star next to the Purple Heart that Halbardier found in his home mailbox three years ago. Nunes said, "The government has kept this quiet I think for too long, and I felt as my constituent he [Halbardier] needed to get recognized for the services he made to his country."
Nunes got that right. Despite the many indignities the Liberty crew has been subjected to, the mood in Visalia was pronouncedly a joyous one of Better (42 years) Late Than Never. And, it did take some time for the moment to sink in: Wow, a gutsy congressman not afraid to let the truth hang out on this delicate issue.
Treatment Accorded the Skipper
I was present that day and I could not get out of my head the contrast between this simple, uncomplicated event and the earlier rigmarole that senior Navy officers went through to pin a richly deserved Medal of Honor on another hero of that day, the Liberty's skipper, Captain William McGonagle.
Although badly wounded by Israeli fire on June 8, 1967, McGonagle was able to keep the bombed, torpedoed, napalmed Liberty afloat and limping toward Malta, where what was left of the bodies of the 34 crewmen killed and the 174 wounded could be attended to. Do the math: yes, killed and wounded amounted to more than two-thirds of the Liberty crew of 294.
I remembered what a naval officer involved in McGonagle's award ceremony told one of the Liberty crew: "The government is pretty jumpy about Israel...the State Department even asked the Israeli ambassador if his government had any objections to McGonagle getting the medal."
When McGonagle received his award, the White House (the normal venue for a Medal of Honor award) was all booked up, it seems, and President Lyndon Johnson (who would have been the usual presenter) was unavailable.
So it fell to the Secretary of the Navy to sneak off to the Washington Navy Yard on the banks of the acrid Anacostia River, where he presented McGonagle with the Medal of Honor and a citation that described the attack but not the identity of the attackers.
Please don't misunderstand. The Liberty crew is not big on ceremony. They are VERY-not-big on politicians who wink when Navy comrades are killed and wounded at sea. The Liberty survivors are big on getting the truth out about what actually happened on that otherwise beautiful day in June 1967.
The award of the Silver Star to Terry Halbardier marked a significant step in the direction of truth telling. Halbardier said he accepted his Silver Star on behalf of the entire 294-man crew. He and fellow survivor Don Pageler expressed particular satisfaction at the wording of the citation, which stated explicitly -- with none of the usual fudging -- the identity of the attackers: "The USS Liberty was attacked by Israeli aircraft and motor torpedo boats in the East Mediterranean Sea...."
In the past, official citations, like Captain McGonagle's, had avoided mentioning Israel by name when alluding to the attack. I think former U.S. Ambassador Edward Peck put it best in condemning this kind of approach as "obsequious, unctuous subservience to the peripheral interests of a foreign nation at the cost of the lives and morale of our own service members and their families." Strong words for a diplomat. But right on.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

HOW AIPAC Subverts the US:


  1. O God, no, no, no............

    Idaho BobWed Sep 03, 02:49:00 PM EDT

    I'd rather talk about the garbanzo bean harvest, which just got started here.

    Unfortunately it is threatening rain out this way, which can be very bad news for the garbanzo bean harvest.

    Garbanzo beans are holding in there at 32 cents a pound.


    Idaho BobWed Sep 03, 02:52:00 PM EDT

    Garbanzo beans can shatter out with too much rain.

    On the ground they go for 0 cents per pound.

    The birds love them though.


    Why are my desires never taken into consideration around here?


  2. In the past, official citations, like Captain McGonagle's, had avoided mentioning Israel by name when alluding to the attack. I think former U.S. Ambassador Edward Peck put it best in condemning this kind of approach as "obsequious, unctuous subservience to the peripheral interests of a foreign nation at the cost of the lives and morale of our own service members and their families." Strong words for a diplomat. But right on.

  3. As your outlook was losing, and losing badly, on the former thread, it is a wise move to change topics.


    1. I don’t care if I’m on the losing side as long as I’m on the right side.

    2. Unlike a creep that pretends to be such an all-American patriot, a right-wing flag waving Yankee Doodle misty eyed nationalist mother fucker that ridicules dead American fighting men and takes the sides of the shit birds that killed them.

    3. .

      Hey, Obumble, I see you were still looking for a reply today to your rhetorical question on Hamas, the same question I had answered a couple of times before. Try looking at the responses to your posts before making a fool of yourself.

      As an addendum to my previous answer to your question add in the info I provided near the end of the last stream on Hamas and its equivalents.


  4. France has said conditions are "not right" for delivery of the first of two Mistral navy assault ships to Russia.

    President Francois Hollande's office blamed Moscow's recent actions in Ukraine.

    France had until now resisted pressure to halt the delivery, saying it had to respect an existing contract.

    Russia's Deputy Defence Minister Yury Borisov said the French decision would not hold back Moscow's plans to reform its armed forces.

    "Although of course it is unpleasant and adds to certain tensions in relations with our French partners, the cancelling of this contract will not be a tragedy for our modernisation," he said, quoted by Itar-Tass news agency.

    Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin tweeted his thanks to the French leadership for its "responsible decision", which he said was "important for restoring peace in Europe".

    The Vladivostok, the first of the two helicopter carriers, was expected to have been delivered to Russia by late October.

    The second, the Sevastopol, was to have been sent next year, although no mention of it was made in Mr Hollande's statement.

  5. Paul Craig RobertsWed Sep 03, 04:31:00 PM EDT

    he United States, wallowing in arrogance and hubris, pretends to be “the world’s sole superpower,” the “exceptional and indispensable nation” chosen by history to exercise hegemony over the world.

    In truth, the US is the two-bit punk puppet of the Israel Lobby. If the Zionist government orders Washington to eat dog excrement, Washington eats it.

    Not even the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Military could get the facts acknowledged that Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty in 1967, which made casualties of most of the crew, was not a “mistake,” but the intentional act of destruction of a US Navy vessel and its crew.

    Not even state universities in the hinterlands of America are independent of the Israel Lobby, which can determine tenure and hiring decisions independently of the decisions of faculty and deans.

  6. Paul Craig RobertsWed Sep 03, 04:50:00 PM EDT

    I am obviously totally nuts, but I don't mind, it's just the way I roll.

  7. Yankee Doodle Dandy?


    That's really something, Deuce.

    If you recall, I have said if I had a vote here in Idaho on the subject, I would vote for secession.

    I have nothing in common with all you 'shit birds' back east, or the ones along the west coast, either.

    And I am not, unlike yourself, anti-Semitic.

    For Christ's sakes it about all you thread about any longer.

    Don't take this personally but I don't much care for you, either.


    1. I am not taking part in the 6th or 7th iteration of the Liberty incident, but reserve the right to respond to personal attacks, if I may.

    2. Bob, when you pull the shit like you did regarding your Hamas terrorism question you are more than deserving of the personal attacks that come your way.

    3. .

      A wise decision, Obumble. I also am tired of once again covering the same old turf. However, please note that is was your pal Allen that first brought it up this time.

      There is no one here left to convince. Allen is the sole holdout here that still argues that the attack was a 'terrible mistake'. You might want to direct your impatience towards him this time.


    4. Quart-o, I really have no opinion on the incident. It is like the Kennedy Assassination to me. I do not know what happened.

      I do have a hunch about Ferguson however, though I without it until I see the complete toxicology report, and other actual evidence.

      Ash, it was an excellent question. I am sorry if I spaced Q's reply out.

    5. .

      You had it right the first time.


  8. The "Authentic Fudd" giving way?

    Don't believe it not for a day.

  9. The US is siding with Putin on ISIS ...

    Chechen leader, Putin pal vows to crush ISIS after threat against Russia

    Kadyrov, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, went on an Instagram rant after Islamic State posted a video threatening Putin over his support for Syria's Bashar al-Assad and vowing to liberate Chechnya. The Muslim strongman, who has fought Islamic militants in his backyard for years, seemed to take special umbrage at a threat aimed at his patron in Moscow.

    "I state with full responsibility that the one who had the idea to express a threat to Russia and say the name of the president of the country Vladimir Putin, will be destroyed, where he did it," Kadyrov seethed. "I emphasize that they finish their days under the hot sun in Syria and Iraq, and in the first instant of death meet their eternal flames of Hell. Allahu Akbar!"

    1. Or is it Putin who is now siding with the US.

      Putin has always been anti-ISIS, the US is now anti, after being mildly supportive, but not really, not if they were not "Moderates'.

    2. Whether the US was misled by our Israeli 'friends', well, it has happened before.

      Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren told the Jerusalem Post that Israel so wanted Assad out and his Iranian backers weakened, that Israel would accept al-Qaeda operatives taking power in Syria.

      “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.”

      Even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.
      “We understand that they are pretty bad guys,” Oren said in the interview.

    3. The threat against Russia and Chechnya came as an Israel-based intelligence news service claimed that the Saudi, British and Australian governments have "credible information" that Islamic State and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have plans to launch a coordinated attack around the time of the Sept. 11 anniversary.

      DEBKAfile reported that unnamed "counterterrorism sources" say the groups are preparing to hit in the Middle East and somewhere in western Europe. According to the site, the militants are holding off on planning an attack on the U.S. for now. ISIS operates in Iraq and Syria, while AQAP is based in Yemen.

  10. All I can say?

    If you love the arabs/palestinians and islam so much?

    I hope you enjoy your life under their control…

    Many of you deserve it...

  11. A state judicial commission said on Tuesday that two California judges have been censured for having sex in their respective chambers. One judge had sex with his clerk, the other had sex with multiple women. The events are separate as the judges are in separate courts and are located in difference parts of the state.

    One judge was from Orange County.

    Orange County Superior Court Judge Scott Steiner was censured by the state Commission on Judicial Performance for engaging in sexual activity in his chambers on multiple occasions with women. The commission called it "the height of irresponsible and improper" behavior.

    "It reflects an utter disrespect for the dignity and decorum of the court, and is seriously at odds with a judge’s duty to avoid conduct that tarnishes the esteem of the judicial office in the public’s eye," the commission said in a written order.

    The other judge was in Kern County.

    The commission also censured Kern County Superior Court Judge Cory Woodward, who it said carried on an intimate affair with his court clerk from July of 2012 until May of last year, engaging in sexual activity with her in his chambers and in public places.

    The commission said Woodward passed notes of a sexual nature to the clerk during court proceedings and lied about the relationship when confronted by his presiding judges in a bid to block her transfer.

    "Judge Woodward cooperated fully with the Commission’s inquiry. As the Commission recognized, he expressed great remorse and contrition," Meyer, who also represented Woodward, said in a separate statement. "He has apologized and appreciates the thorough review of the Commission in this matter.”

    Both judges will be allowed to remain on the bench.

    :)/ (this is a face with a cigar) o/ This is something else.

    1. .

      Both judges will be allowed to remain on the bench.

      Could we really expect anything different?



    What else does scripture command Mr. Kerry?

    1. :):):):)

      Kerry has been wind surfing way too much.

    2. He is a very devote fellow as his relationship with the NVA and the Ortega brothers show.

    3. Today, the Egyptians claim that Mr. Kerry threatened Mr. el-Sisi's government if it did not make nice with the Muslim Brotherhood. See JP.

  13. FACEBOOK INTERRUPTED..............drudge

    The Western World grinds to a halt.....

  14. QuirkWed Sep 03, 05:50:00 PM EDT
    There is no one here left to convince. Allen is the sole holdout here that still argues that the attack was a 'terrible mistake'.

    The word allen used was "malice". Allen has no problem with his opinion based on evidence.

    You are the only person on this site to refer to the military personnel involved in the investigations as paper pushing assholes and, by inference, careerists. That may be projection.

  15. I may have missed it but I do not recall a tribute to the Marine and Naval personnel murdered by Iranian proxies in Lebanon.

    1. The operative words ...

      ... in Lebanon.

      Not ... "International Waters"

    2. Iran ...
      Subject to year upon year of US led economic sanctions.
      While Israel receives loan guarantees.

      Those should end.

    3. No, they should not.

      Israel was not providing explosives to blow up our guys in Iraq, among many other Iranian sins.

      Nor is Israel pledged to a world without "The Great Satan", the USA.

      You have an extremely odd sense of priorities.

    4. Not at all. The US should end the loan guarantees to Israel.
      The actions of the Iranians have no bearing on US actions towards Israel.

      They are not competing for favors, are they?

      The US should end all subsidies to Israel, all aid and comfort.
      Same holds true for Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
      Qatar and the UAE.


    5. About the only political regime out there worthy of supporting is Jordan's.

    6. They did expel your pals the Palestinians/PLO.

      Black September.

      That counts in their favor.


  16. I share your pain in being tired of the subject, but when I see smug sarcasm about it, it makes my blood boil. Not only were the lives and life pleasures stolen from the crew, their integrity has been continuously impugned on a micro-scale on this blog and globally by the Israeli sycophants in the US.

    1. Not by me.

      I have repeatedly said I have no idea what happened.

    2. I have certainly never said a word against the crew of the Liberty.

    3. So, Bob, you call US sailors liars?

      They were there, they report. You decide not to believe them.
      Why is that?


    4. Your lack of decision, that is an indicator that you dishonor those sailors, distrust their testimony.

    5. Your lack of decision, it is a decision, in and of itself.

      You dishonor the men that laid their lives on the line, while you were dodging the draft.
      Obtaining an English Lit degree.

      Shame on you, Draft Dodger Bob!

    6. .

      Bullshit, rat.

      Bob hasn't investigated the subject enough to make up his mind on it. You would be a fool to make up your mind on any subject regardless of who said what until you have investigated all the facts as far as possible.

      I wish I could say nice try but it wasn't.


    7. Rat is a figment of your imaginationWed Sep 03, 08:47:00 PM EDT

      He's had years and years,and refuses to come to a decision.

      He is an equivocator of legend.
      He is a Draft Dodger. He is a coward.

      He dishonors those that served with his equivocations.

    8. .

      More rat droppings.

      He is a Draft Dodger. He is a coward.

      And you are a moron. You claimed to have served in the military and yet you don't even know the definition of 'draft dodger'.

      He dishonors those that served with his equivocations.

      More bullshit. The Liberty Incident occurred 45 years ago. If he decides he would rather spend his time reading up on garbanzo beans, that is his business. It's certainly not the business of some moralizing little prick like you.


    9. If he were going to pass on speaking to the subject, as he said he was going to, then that would be one thing.

      But he does not, he continues to pontificate, while passing gas.
      You can excuse it all you like, Quirk. It does not matter a lick.

      It does not change the fact that Bob is a Draft Dodger that refuses to take veterans of an action at their word.

      That is the only pertinent point, Bob dishonors those sailors killed and wounded on the U Libery, when he dismisses their heroics as so much "story telling".


    10. That is the only pertinent point, Bob dishonors those sailors killed and wounded on the USS Liberty, when he dismisses their heroics as so much "story telling".

    11. Thank you, Quirk.

      A return defense of yourself when you are falsely accused is coming your way one of these days.

      Go fuck yourself, rato.

    12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    13. Don't know what you said, Quirk, but never turn down assistance for any source.....

  17. O'Reilly on Fox is urging Congress to pass a Declaration of War against ISIS. I'm not certain what I think about this either. If ISIS does a terrorist attack in the USA it will happen.

    1. There are a lot more things I am uncertain of than things about which I am certain.

      Signed, Perplexed

    2. Funny - humility on this issue but not on much larger and more complex ones.

    3. Ash, everyone agrees on the basics of what happened. The Liberty was attacked by Israeli aircraft and boats. The questions begin after that. Why, how did this occur?

      Misidentification ?
      Confusion among command and control during the heat of a extremely violent and rapidly moving war?
      Some confused junior officer(s)
      Confusion among mid level officers, contradictory orders...?
      Confusion at the very top level........or, even, an inexplicable decision to knowingly attack the ship of a friend for some unknown reason(s)?

      Dear Sir, I am not trying to be humble, I just don't have the answers, even I, your intellectual wizard.

      There are much larger issues that seem much simpler to me.

    4. There are nearly as many theories out there about all this as there are about the Kennedy Assassination.

    5. Ash, there are two theories out there that I know of that purport to explain why Israel might want to intentionally attack the Liberty:

      1) A desire to cover up some massacre or alleged massacre of Egyptian prisoners by the IDF, a knowledge of which was being captured by the Liberty's monitoring of communications all over the battle field

      2) A suspicion that Egyptian forces were somehow benefitting from the activities of the Liberty

      I have read counter arguments to both of these ideas so I am left with -


    6. Israeli lies and disinformation. Bullshit. Slanderous liars.


    7. Remarks Made By Knowledgeable American Leaders

      "A nice whitewash for a group of ignorant, stupid and inept [expletive deleted]."
      -- Handwritten note of August 26, 1967, by NSA Deputy Director Louis W. Tordella reacting to the Israeli court decision exonerating Israelis of blame for the Liberty attack.

      "Never before in the history of the United States Navy has a Navy Board of Inquiry ignored the testimony of American military eyewitnesses and taken, on faith, the word of their attackers.
      -- Captain Richard F. Kiepfer, Medical Corps, US Navy (retired), USS Liberty Survivor

      "The evidence was clear. 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.... It was our shared belief. . .that the attack. . .could not possibly have been an accident.... I am certain that the Israeli pilots [and] their superiors. . .were well aware that the ship was American."
      -- Captain Ward Boston, JAGC, US Navy (retired), senior legal counsel to the US Navy Court of Inquiry

      That the attack was deliberate "just wasn't a disputed issue" within the National Security Agency
      -- Former NSA Director retired Army Lieutenant General William Odom on 3 March 2003 in an interview for Naval Institute Proceedings

      Former NSA/CIA Director Admiral Bobby Inman "flatly rejected" the Cristol/Israeli claims that the attack was an accident
      -- 5 March 2003 interview for Naval Institute Proceedings

      Of four former NSA/CIA seniors with inside knowledge, none was aware of any agency official who dissented from the position that the attack was deliberate
      -- David Walsh, writing in Naval Institute Proceedings

      "I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. . . . Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations. I didn't believe them then, and I don't believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous "
      -- US Secretary of State Dean Rusk

      "...the board of inquiry (concluded) that the Israelis knew exactly what they were doing in attacking the Liberty."
      -- CIA Director Richard Helms

      "I can tell you for an absolute certainty (from intercepted communications) that the Israelis knew they were attacking an American ship."
      -- NSA Deputy Director Oliver Kirby

      "That the Liberty could have been mistaken for the Egyptian supply ship El Quseir is unbelievable"
      -- Special Assistant to the President Clark Clifford, in his report to President Lyndon Johnson

      "The highest officials of the [Johnson] administration, including the President, believed it 'inconceivable' that Israel's 'skilled' defense forces could have committed such a gross error."
      -- Lyndon Johnson's biographer Robert Dallek in Flawed Giant, Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. 430-31)

      "It appears to me that it was not a pure case of mistaken identity."
      -- Captain William L. McGonagle, Commanding Officer, USS Liberty, speaking at Arlington National Cemetery, June 8, 1997

      "To suggest that they [the IDF] couldn't identify the ship is ... ridiculous. ... Anybody who could not identify the Liberty could not tell the difference between the White House and the Washington Monument."
      -- Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and later Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, quoted in The Washington Post, June 15, 1991, p. 14

    8. Like I said and will respond as often as is necessary. There is no Jewish truth. There is no Israeli truth. There is only the truth. The Israelis are guilty of the obvious. They tried to destroy a US military ship. They tried to murder an entire American crew. The defenders of this Israeli lie slandered and continue to slander better people than themselves to serve the greater cause of their Zionist agenda. The truth doesn’t matter. The welfare of American servicemen does not matter. They can try it elsewhere. They are not going to get away with it here.

    9. The traitor lives, the true man’s put to death.

    10. I am never going to doubt the American men who were there and were the survivors of the Israeli killers and believe the lies of the deceivers and defenders whose agenda is to protect the interest of Israel over all others.

    11. If the Israelis will boldly lie and continue to distort this obvious truth about the USS Liberty to protect their greater cause, they cannot be credible in anything that they say and cannot be trusted.

  18. Democrat drops out of Kansas Senate race which probably gives the Independent Candidate the edge.

    >>>Taylor’s decision to drop out comes on the same day that Orman was endorsed by more than 70 former Republican lawmakers.

    Orman’s candidacy, buoyed by television commercials and social media, has received national attention. Although he trailed both major party candidates in the polls, several analysts saw him as the candidate with the momentum in the race.

    “He’s created a buzz for himself and that’s pretty impressive for an independent candidate,” said Michael Smith, a professor of political science at Emporia State University.

    Orman would lead Roberts 43 percent to 33 percent in a head-to-head race, according to an August poll from Public Policy Polling.<<<

    Former British commander in Afghanistan: No army acts with as much discretion as IDF does