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EP PODCASTSXML

June 29, 2007

Memory and National Identity

Big BrotherWhen a country can't remember its own history — or doesn't want to — it risks losing more than dusty museum relics. It could lose its soul. That's what happens when the U.S. constitution is routinely flouted, or when, in extremis, a U.S. warship is sacrificed upon the alter of political expediency. If the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, on June 8, 1967, had succeeded in sinking her with all hands then this history, indeed, would have been permanently lost. But by some miracle the Liberty survived, as did many crew. Despite government efforts to suppress the facts of what really happened the story refuses to go away. Forty years later, to understand things better, I talk with Captain Ward Boston (USN, Ret.), then chief counsel to the Navy's Board of Inquiry which white-washed the affair. For decades Captain Boston kept his silence, following orders, but is now outspoken in his judgment: the attack was deliberate, and there was an official cover-up. I find Captain Boston eminently credible, I admire his willingness to correct the record, and I am very grateful to him for talking with me. Plus which this is fascinating general oral history of the times. Total of an hour and twenty minutes.

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Comments


Hmm... well that must have been somewhat confusing to anybody with no knowledge of the Liberty incident. Fortunately most internet users with a tad of curiosity probably do have some. The moral of the tale is that geopolitical expediency trumps truth, human life and alliances as it always has. To the psychopathic and narcissistic personality types who tend to claw their way to the top in most political systems the military are just another tool, to be expended as convenient. Tentative conclusion — yet another false flag op, of which the Israelis are particularly fond, but which this time didn't come off. (The Israelis seem to have judged Johnson's likely reaction to this contingency quite well.) The plan being to quickly sink an unarmed American navy ship, ensure there are no SOS signals or survivors, hence first destroying the ships aerials and machine gunning the lifeboats, then blaming the incident on the Egyptians with some confected 'intelligence'. Result, America comes into the war in some capacity and it's a win for the Israelis, who then get US marines to do their dieing for them, and for the military-industrial complex which makes a ton of money, as usual. Unfortunately it didn't pan out as planned because the damned ship refused to sink, mainly down to the incredible endurance and heroism under fire of the crew. Johnson must have been livid. The interesting known unknown is the level of complicity at high level on the American side. Who knew what about this plan and when did they know it? Certainly Johnson and McNamara knew what was going on after the attack had started as evidenced by the recall of air cover. But before that? Hmm...

ps 25 minutes of preamble is too long. Just yank your interviewees leads a little, George, I'm sure you can manage it without seeming rude. In this case I think it would have been helpful to have steered Captain Boston more rapidly into a contextual summary of the event — the Arab Israeli 6 day war of 1967, and then a brief description of the incident itself — I know you tried with the latter but the good captain successfully rambled away from that one!


I found this archived article from Time magazine (1958) on Captain Boston's mentor, Harold Gomberg. Though Captain Boston has a kind of "aw shucks" attitude about it, he was clearly being groomed to be one of the top oboists in the U.S., perhaps indeed in the world. But the war changed all that. Did the man change much? I don't think so, but what explains the persistence of character?

It's also worth emphasizing again Captain Boston's perhaps unique combination of skills and experience going into the Liberty investigation. As a WWII pilot who'd flown both photo-reconnaissance missions and combat (sometimes both on the same day) off an aircraft carrier, he had unsurpassed expert knowledge of how warplanes go about sinking ships.


I don't care about "orders." He waits forty years to bring this up? Is he supposed to be a hero or something? He's gone along with this government cover-up all this time? How did this guy sleep at night? This is what U.S. naval officers do, when their own government lies to the public about a foreign attack on its own citizens? People in his own branch of military service?

Unbelievable.


Thanks for covering this important story.


Here are links mentioned by Ward Boston:

John Conyers Jr. (then ranking minority member, House Judiciary Committee, now chairman), "In Recognition of Admiral Thomas H. Moorer," 150 Congressional Record E1886-E1889 {pf} {28kb.txt, 89kb.pdf} (U.S. Congress 108-2, daily edition 150:130, October 11 2004) {SuDoc: X/A.108/2:150/130}.

Charles Judson Harwood Jr.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jksonc/docs/palestine-peace-not-apartheid-2007.html#70629wardboston.ussliberty.ep

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