Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Bleier: On the Brink of Armageddon: LBJ, the Six-Day War, and the Attack on the U.S.S. Liberty

My long essay, On the Brink of Armageddon: LBJ, the Six-Day War, and the Attack on the U.S.S. Liberty   recapitulates Part I (August 2018) and adds Part II, “The Evidence,” supporting the theory advanced in Part I. The notable change in the new Part I is that I tried to clarify my notion that President Lyndon Johnson was the mastermind of the Six-Day War and the attack on the Liberty. (See the first five paragraphs below.)

In addition, I argue that it was President Johnson who fatefully insured that Israel would capture and retain captured Arab territory. Thus Johnson bears the major responsibility for the consequences of the Greater Israel that was then born.  

President Johnson’s decision to suborn Israel into attacking the U.S.S. Liberty and start WWIII in a failed false flag operation, intending to publicly join Israel’s war with a nuclear attack on Egypt, is the most difficult element to credit. The concluding section on “World War Three?,” appended below, includes author Joan Mellen’s cogent summary of our narrow escape.

Part I РThe Expos̩

Largely through the work of one researcher, BBC documentarian and author Peter Hounam, a disquieting revisionist theory has been abroad, opening windows onto the history of the 1967 Arab-Israel war (a/k/a, the Six-Day War) as well as on the Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, a spy ship. Hounam published his exposé, Operation Cyanide: Why the Bombing of the USS Liberty Nearly Caused World War III in 2003,[i] asserting that the U.S. and Israel colluded to provoke the war and to sink the Liberty in a false-flag attack, blaming it on Egypt. The sinking of the Liberty was to serve as President Johnson's pretext to publicly join Israel's war and to strike a Cold War blow against U.S.S.R. support for Israel's Arab neighbors.

Hounam's book revises our understanding of Israel’s otherwise inexplicable attack on its ally’s ship. Even more than a decade later, many, especially in the West, believe that Israel’s motivation for trying to sink the Liberty was to suppress its eavesdropping capabilities so as to outmaneuver U.S. objections to its planned attack on Syria the next day, the fifth day of the war. But Hounam reveals that besides the Liberty, the U.S. had alternate surveillance platforms monitoring the battlefield, making the Liberty's intelligence collection essentially redundant when it came to controlling Israel’s military movements. Furthermore Hounam insists that the Israelis were aware of U.S. surveillance capabilities, and so had no discernible rationale for its attack. 

Hounam’s revelation of President Johnson’s crucial role in conceiving of the war itself and his plan to openly join Israel’s war via the attack on the Liberty, overturns the popular understanding that both were secret, independent Israeli initiatives. Hounam reprises previously unearthed testimony from an American whistleblower who played a significant operational role in the war. In addition, Hounam uncovers a second operative who details his operational involvement on Israel’s behalf. From these testimonies, and others, and the from the wealth of circumstantial evidence Hounam lays out, it’s clear that the war was the result of long-planned U.S.-Israeli collusion and thus must have been masterminded by President Johnson, who propelled it. Only President Johnson, in complete control of his government’s military and diplomatic apparatus, had the motive, the means and the opportunity to plan such a war and execute the U.S.’s role in it.

Fatefully it was also Johnson’s decision to shield Israel from international pressure to withdraw from captured Arab territory, which opened the door to the ongoing tragedy of more than five decades of Israeli military rule over millions of Palestinians. President Lyndon Johnson thus may be seen as the father of all the terrible ramifications, especially for the Palestinians and for the U.S., of the Greater Israel that he made possible.

Hounam's subtitle, Why the Bombing of the USS Liberty Nearly Caused World War III, references the even more inconceivable element of his theory, namely that only the unanticipated survival of the Liberty prevented President Johnson from proceeding with his plan to initiate World War III by employing nuclear weaponry to attack Egypt. 


World War Three?

What are we to make of Hounam's finding that Johnson was determined to embark on World War Three by joining Israel’s war with a nuclear attack against Egypt? The evidence suggests that had the Liberty not narrowly escaped its intended fate, President Johnson seemed intent on proceeding with a plan that may very well have put an end to civilization as we know it. 

Joan Mellen lists the steps that led to our hairsbreadth deliverance. 
Had Lyndon Johnson’s order that no rescue planes be dispatched achieved its intended result, the sinking of Liberty; had Egypt (with Soviet assistance) been blamed for the attack, as was also intended; had the United States then retaliated by bombing Cairo with those nuclear weapons at the ready on the U.S.S. America; had the Soviets then responded with a nuclear retaliation on Israel, as a Soviet submarine commander has testified that they were prepared to do; and had the Strategic Air Command then further retaliated with its  hydrogen bombs, raising the ante, Lyndon Johnson’s legacy would have been World War Three. He came close. [ii]
It's hard to imagine a more stark difference between John F. Kennedy, who stood virtually alone against his government, trying to prevent World War Three in the course of the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, and Lyndon Johnson who, five years later, planned to start the conflagration.



[i] Peter Hounam, Operation Cyanide: Why the Bombing of the USS Liberty Nearly Caused World War III (London, Satin Publications, Ltd., 2003).

[ii] Mellen, Faustian Bargains, p. 214.