Chapter 4 – McCain Family Secret: The Cover-up71 min read

Excerpt from Guilt By Association—How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War (2008) State Street Publications, pp. 49-76.

America is proud to be Israel’s closest ally and best friend in the world.

—President G.W. Bush, May 15, 2008, Jerusalem

John McCain’s father covered up the Israeli killing of 34 Americans aboard a U.S. Navy ship during the Six-Day War of 1967. As senior naval officer for Europe and the Mediterranean, Admiral John S. McCain, Jr. helped President Lyndon Johnson deceive Americans about that little known incident involving the USS Liberty. This chapter reveals that family secret.

On June 8, 1967, Israeli jets attacked the USS Liberty, a 455-foot vessel, firing 30 mm aircraft cannons and rockets and dropping napalm. Three Israeli torpedo boats then attacked the ship with 20 mm cannons, 50-caliber machine guns and torpedoes. One torpedo blew a 39-foot hole in a former cargo hold of this refurbished WWII Liberty ship that had its cargo space converted to research facilities for an intelligence team. The blast killed 25 and left the ship listing nine degrees to starboard.[1]

Liberty crewmembers testified that Israeli torpedo boats fired on firefighters and stretcher-bearers. Israeli machine gunners also strafed the ship’s fire hoses and destroyed its life rafts at close range as survivors sought to douse fires and evacuate those most grievously wounded. The attackers killed 34 and wounded 174 of a crew of 294 for a 70% casualty rate.[2]

Insight into the motivation for this presidential cover-up began with identifying how Lyndon Johnson allowed himself to be manipulated. The first clue emerged after a discussion with former Congressman Paul Findley, an 11-term Republican from Illinois (1961-1983). During his 11th term, Findley suggested that, if there was to be peace between

Israelis and Palestinians, Tel Aviv should talk to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Upset by that proposal, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) targeted Findley for defeat in 1982. Richard Durbin, Findley’s AIPAC-recruited successor, has since been elected to the Senate where he is second ranking in the leadership. AIPAC has since evolved into a 100,000-member, $60 million per year political powerhouse now embroiled in a spy scandal involving Pentagon analyst Lawrence Franklin who provided two senior (and now former) AIPAC officials with classified U.S. military intelligence on Iran.[3]

AIPAC evolved from the American Zionist Council when, in 1959, Isaiah “Si” Kenen adopted that nondescript name for an international network of political operations organized to shape U.S. policies critical to Israel, including influencing key U.S. elections. Kenen served as executive director from 1951 to 1954, guided and funded by the Israeli government.[4] From 1947 to 1948, Kenen had served as the Jewish Agency’s information director at the U.N.

The Council was restructured as the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs when Council leaders became uncomfortable using tax-exempt overseas funds to sway elections in the U.S. The Committee registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for Israel. To date, AIPAC has resisted registration as a foreign agent.[5]

In response to a question, Findley identified Arthur Krim as the Jewish adviser and fundraiser closest to Lyndon Johnson. Research quickly uncovered published materials on Krim written by the late Grace Halsell, a speechwriter for LBJ and later an author of books chronicling the political influence of Christian Zionists such as Jerry Falwell. Johnson personally hired Halsell, a native Texan, who, importantly for this analysis, was inside the White House Situation Room during the Six-Day War.

With that war, Israeli security became a priority of U.S. foreign policy and a focal point of Pentagon coordination as Tel Aviv became a favored recipient of U.S. military technology.[6] After that 1967 conflict, the U.S. also emerged as a major Israeli arms supplier.

Pro-Israeli advisers surrounded Johnson in the decision-making that led to the 1967 war. “Everyone around me, without exception was pro-Israel,” Halsell recalled. She identified more than a dozen close advisers to Johnson, including Walt Rostow, his national security adviser,[7] and brother Eugene Rostow serving as under secretary of state for political affairs, and former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, then serving as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

White House counsels Leo White and Jake Jacobsen were likewise pro-Israel as were two key speechwriters: Richard Goodwin, husband of biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Ben Wattenberg whose parents moved to the U.S. from Palestine. Likewise domestic affairs adviser Larry Levinson and John Roche, an avid Zionist and Johnson’s intellectual-in-residence.

It was the role of Arthur Krim, however, that confirmed the lengthy pre-staging of the 1967 war and explained the orchestration that led to LBJ’s cover-up of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. A New York attorney and president of United Artists,[8] Krim also served as finance committee chairman for the Democratic Party when Johnson was its leader and Jewish contributors accounted for more than half the funds raised.[9]

A series of Jewish males chaired the finance committee for the Democratic Party at critical junctures. Those men include August Belmont, a Rothschild financial agent after whom the New York horseracing track is named. Belmont’s financial backing matured into his chairmanship of the National Democratic Committee, 1860-1872.[10]

Henry Morgenthau, a naturalized German Jew, chaired the finance committee of the Democratic National Committee during Woodrow Wilson’s successful presidential campaigns of 1912 and 1916.[11] In 1913, the same year Wilson appointed him U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, Jr. acquired a farm near Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Hyde Park estate.

In 1914, Morgenthau Senior arranged for Jacob Schiff of Kuhn, Loeb & Company to raise $50,000 to rescue Jewish settlements in Palestine. Absent this Morgenthau/Schiff alliance: “Palestinian Jewry almost certainly would have perished.”[12] Morgenthau Senior led one of several elite Jewish delegations to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference where Wilson’s 14 Points were scuttled, including Arab self-determination. In its place, a “mandate” system forced long-warring tribes of Sunnis, Shias and Kurds into a single state (Iraq).

As part of the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I, an onerous reparations burden was imposed on Germany.[13] That debt-imposed humiliation provoked an extreme form of German nationalism and a recession-fueled fascism that led to World War II and Germany’s embrace of the National Socialist Party. Under Adolph Hitler, the Nazi government portrayed all Jews as complicit in the un-payable debts imposed at Versailles. As President Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Treasury during WWII, Henry Morgenthau, Jr. advised that FDR limit Jewish immigration to the U.S.[14]

Deep Insiders

Mathilde Krim, a striking blonde Italian 20 years younger than her husband, was previously married to Davin Danon. Raised in Palestine, her handsome Jewish-Bulgarian husband was exiled by the British for his activities with Irgun Zvai Leumi, the Zionist-terrorist network led by Menachem Begin who emerged as Likud Party Prime Minister in 1977. Mathilde also worked as an Irgun operative, largely in Europe.

The Krims became regular guests at the LBJ Ranch. As Halsell explained: “There were also many instances in which Arthur and Mathilde were guests at the White House, and other times when, for many days running, Mathilde – without her husband – was a guest there. The Krims built a vacation home near the LBJ Ranch known as Mathilde’s house, and Johnson often traveled there by helicopter.”[15]

As with Morgenthau’s proximity to Roosevelt, the Krims’ proximity to Johnson ensured that their friendship flourished when the Senate majority leader became John F. Kennedy’s surprise pick as Vice President and then succeeded him to the Presidency following Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963.[16]

Over the 1967 Memorial Day weekend, the Krims were houseguests at the LBJ Ranch when the commander-in-chief learned of Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin’s warning that “if Israel starts military action, the Soviet Union will extend help to the attacked party.” While waiting for the State Department to draft a response to Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, Johnson and the Krims drove to a neighbor’s home where an aide brought the message for the president’s review.

Halsell described the changes that LBJ made to the message (in italics below)—while in the Krims’ company—to explain America’s perspective on the pending conflict:

After reassuring Eshkol of America’s interest in Israel’s security, the draft message continued: “It is essential that Israel not take any preemptive military action and thereby make itself responsible for the initiation of hostilities.” LBJ restated the warning by adding two key words so that the sentence conveyed a message far more amenable to Tel Aviv, “It is essential that Israel JUST MUST NOT take any preemptive military action….”[17]

According to Kennedy Under Secretary of State George Ball, Johnson made it clear both to the Israelis and his Jewish-American supporters that the U.S. would not object if the Israelis took matters into their own hands.[18] Defense Secretary Robert McNamara offers a different account, recalling that Johnson and he “put immense pressure on [Israeli foreign minister Abba Eban] to persuade his government not to pre-empt.” Johnson’s Kosygin-prompted note to Levi Eskhol, written in the presence of Arthur and Mathilde Krim, suggests that both men are correct: Tel Aviv could preempt provided the American public could be induced to believe that Israel was the victim and not the aggressor, a strategy fully consistent with game theory.

Johnson then traveled to New York for a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser on June 3 sponsored by Arthur Krim who chaired the President’s Club of New York. Mathilde was seated next to Johnson when Abe Feinberg, the American Zionist community’s legendary political fundraiser, leaned over Mathilde’s shoulder and whispered: “Mr. President, it [Tel Aviv’s attack] can’t be held any longer. It’s going within the next 24 hours.”[19]

The next day, Johnson visited the home of political adviser Abe Fortas for a dinner with Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and New York investment banker John Loeb.[20] Fortas had cemented his confidante relationship with Johnson in 1948 when, in LBJ’s first Senate race,[21] the Washington lawyer finessed the extensive vote fraud apparent in the Democratic primary, in which Johnson claimed an 87-vote victory, including 200 votes tallied in alphabetical order.[22] Fortas’ legal strategy ensured that Johnson’s name appeared on the November 1948 Federal ballot as the Democratic Party candidate. In what was then a strongly Democratic state, that Fortas-enabled result assured the ambitious Texan a seat in the U.S. Senate.[23]

In October 1965, as president, “Landslide Lyndon” appointed Fortas to replace Arthur Goldberg on the Supreme Court after persuading Goldberg to serve as U.N. Ambassador. Fortas became embroiled in scandal when it was discovered that stock swindler Louis Wolfson offered to pay Fortas and his wife $20,000 per year to make up for his lost income as a lawyer.[24] Justice Fortas accepted the first installment in January 1966. The payment was revealed in 1968 as part of a successful Senate filibuster by Republicans and “Dixiecrats” (conservative southern Democrats) when Fortas was denied his Johnson appointment as Chief Justice to succeed Californian Earl Warren.[25]

Pre-staging the Six-Day War

In a scenario reminiscent of Eddie Jacobson tearfully lobbying his friend Harry Truman to recognize the Jewish state in 1948 (chronicled later in the Criminal State series), Lyndon Johnson was lobbied in 1967 by Arthur Goldberg to protect the Jewish state in the lead-up to the Six-Day War. When Goldberg deployed heart-rending rhetoric to portray Israeli vulnerability and the pending victimization of Jews at the hostile hands of an Arab “ring of steel,” Johnson waved a Central Intelligence Agency report predicting Israel could win any war in the region in two weeks. When Goldberg persisted, Johnson ordered the CIA to revisit their analysis. The agency returned with a revised report concluding that Israel could win any war in the region in one week.[26]

On June 4, as the Fortas dinner party was winding down, Fortas cautioned Johnson that war might soon erupt in the Middle East. When LBJ turned to Defense Secretary McNamara for his opinion, the Pentagon chief said there would be no war. Johnson confirmed that U.S. intelligence agencies agreed with McNamara’s assessment.[27] Johnson left for the White House at 10:58 p.m.

At 4:30 a.m. on June 5, Walt Rostow called LBJ to inform him that Israel had attacked Egypt. Mathilde Krim, the former Irgun operative, was Johnson’s guest at the White House that night. Before informing anyone else, LBJ stopped by the blonde beauty’s bedroom to tell her, “The war has started.” Not until more than three hours later, at 7:45 a.m., did Johnson speak with Soviet Premier Kosygin who expressed his hope and expectation that the U.S., as Israel’s closest ally, would restrain Tel Aviv.

In the war’s first few hours, the “victimized” Israelis destroyed the Egyptian Air Force while its aircraft were still on the ground. By evening, the Jordanian Air Force was also largely destroyed. Walt Rostow sent Johnson a memo describing Tel Aviv’s military success as “the first day’s turkey shoot.” LBJ also received a memo that day from Arthur Krim that read, “Many arms shipments are packed and ready to go to Israel, but are being held up. It would be helpful if these could be released.” Johnson ordered the arms shipped. By the evening of the second day, two-thirds of Syria’s air force had been destroyed.

According to Halsell, the glee in the State Department Operations Room was palpable, leading Eugene Rostow to caution, “Gentlemen, gentlemen, do not forget that we are neutral in word, thought and deed.” At the State Department’s mid-day press briefing, spokesman Robert McCloskey repeated Rostow’s official “neutrality” lie.[28]

White House counsel Harry McPherson arrived in Tel Aviv enroute to the U.S. from Vietnam the night before the war broke out. In A Political Education, he describes arriving at the foreign ministry for a brief meeting with Abba Eban the first day of the war before conferring with Israel’s chief of military intelligence. In response to the repeated question, “Did the Egyptians attack?” McPherson and U.S. Ambassador Walworth Barbour received only evasive answers.[29] As air raid sirens wailed, McPherson recalls:

Barbour suggested that we might continue the discussion in the underground bunker. The general studied his watch. “No, that won’t be necessary. We can stay here.” Barbour and I looked at each other. If it wasn’t necessary, the Egyptian air force had been destroyed. That could only have happened so quickly if it had been surprised on the ground. We did not need to ask for confirmation, but left at once to cable the news to Washington.[30]

Israel was neither under attack nor under threat of attack as Israeli commanders later conceded. The air raid sirens were props in the stagecraft of waging war by way of deception. The circumstances were stage-managed to make both Israelis and foreign observers believe the Jewish state was endangered while Tel Aviv annexed land belonging to its neighbors that it still occupies four decades later.

The Non-Separation of Powers

In the lead-up to the Six-Day War, Fortas emerged as a back channel between the Israeli embassy and the White House. He had known Israeli Ambassador Avraham Harman since the ambassador’s arrival in Washington in 1959. During Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s visit to the U.S. in March 1960, Fortas sponsored a breakfast at his home attended by Harman and Johnson who was then Senate Majority Leader.

Fortas’ biographer conceded: “For several weeks before the crisis erupted into war, the Israeli ambassador was ‘in very frequent contact’ with Fortas and regularly visited the justice at his chambers or his house.” Fortas also attended a critical White House strategy meeting on the Middle East on May 26, 10 days before the war began. When it came to Israel, Fortas was far from a neutral adviser. “When they get back from Egypt,” a law clerk in his office overheard Justice Fortas say, “I’m going to decorate my office with Arab foreskins.”[31]

Throughout the six days of war, Near East experts met daily with Johnson in the Cabinet Room. Justice Fortas attended each meeting.[32] Reflecting on comments by Fortas to Johnson at their June 4 dinner party, John Loeb wrote to Fortas on June 6: “You were prophetic about the Middle East. Thank the Lord the President has you as a friend and counselor.” In the summer of 1970, The New York Times reported that Fortas had registered as a lobbyist for Kuhn, Loeb & Company.[33]

Abraham Kuhn and his brother-in-law, Solomon Loeb, made their first fortune in Cincinnati during the Civil War selling trousers to Union troops. They opened their first New York store as an outlet for men’s trousers. According to biographer Ron Chernow: “The color-blind Solomon seemed strangely placed in the textile trade. In 1867, flush with their wartime profits, Kuhn and Loeb inaugurated a New York banking house.”[34]

In 1873, Jacob Schiff joined Kuhn, Loeb & Company in Manhattan and, two years later, married Therese Loeb, Solomon Loeb’s daughter.[35] According to Chernow, “Schiff came from a family that had befriended the Rothschilds and that counted six centuries of scholars, rabbis and businessmen.” Paul Warburg married Nina Loeb, daughter of Solomon Loeb of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., then chief financial agent of the Rothschilds in the U.S. Felix Warburg, who moved to the U.S. in 1895, married Frieda Schiff, daughter of Jacob Schiff, then best known for managing bond issues to finance railroads, including a reorganization of the Union Pacific Railroad in 1897.[36]

Orchestrating Realities on the Ground

On June 6, the day after Israel launched its attack, Walt Rostow urged that the Israelis not be forced to withdraw from territories they were then seizing unless they first had peace treaties in place with the Arab states. In a memo since made public, Johnson’s national security adviser proposed a strategy similar to today’s proposed strategy for East Jerusalem and the West Bank featuring then, as now, Israeli claims about “realities on the ground.”

If the Israelis go fast enough and the Soviets get worried enough, a simple cease-fire might be the best answer. This would mean that we could use the de facto situation on the ground to try to negotiate not a return to armistice lines but a definitive peace in the Middle East.[37]

In other words, peace was possible provided everyone agreed that Tel Aviv could retain land seized with a preemptive attack that was still ongoing. In a memo, Ben Wattenberg and Larry Levinson cautioned Johnson that the U.N. may attempt “to sell Israel down the river.” By then, pro-Israeli supporters had gathered in Lafayette Square across from the White House demanding a statement of presidential support for Israel and insisting on a repudiation of the official White House stance of avowed neutrality.

Though Johnson retired for the night at 11:30 p.m., White House records show he received a call at 11:59 p.m. from Mathilde Krim who had traveled to New York earlier in the day though only after leaving LBJ a personal note supportive of Israel and urging that he deliver her message “verbatim to the American people.”[38] Johnson declined to relay her message in a presidential address. He did, however, recommend her comments to Secretary of State Rusk.

On the night of June 7, the naval intelligence ship USS Liberty approached within sight of the Gaza Strip. Cruising in international waters more than 12 miles off the coast of the Sinai Peninsula, the vessel monitored communications in that sensitive area, particularly activity by aircrews assigned to Soviet bombers in Egypt.[39] As Egypt was a Soviet client state, any Egyptian attack on America’s ally Israel could drag the U.S. into a nuclear war. The U.S. had a need to know.

Under the command of General Moshe Dayan, Israel was preparing for an attack the next day that would complete this stage in Israel’s territorial expansion for Greater Israel by capturing Syria’s Golan Heights.[40] Those seeking a reason for Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty suggest it was to prevent Washington from learning that the Israeli offensive was continuing despite calls for a ceasefire by the Syrians, the Soviets and the U.S.[41]

When news of the Israeli attack on Americans reached the U.S., the Israel lobby shifted into high gear along with its Congressional contingent and its media counterpart. Wattenberg assured Johnson that if he supported Tel Aviv’s account of the USS Liberty incident as a case of “mistaken identity” and ignored the 208 American casualties,[42] including 34 killed, influential Jews in the U.S. media would tone down their criticism of his policies in Vietnam.[43] In return for his defense of Israel and a presidential cover-up,[44] the shift in mainstream media opinion provided a temporary political respite for the war-weary president who, less than a year later, declined to run for reelection.

By then Clark Clifford had replaced Robert McNamara, who had grown sour on the war, as Secretary of Defense. On March 22, 1968, Johnson convened a meeting of his senior informal advisory group on Vietnam. To his surprise, only Abe Fortas and General Maxwell Taylor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, continued to support a hard-line approach. The rest were either lukewarm or opposed to the war.

In his memoirs,[45] Clifford recalls how, nine days later, after LBJ announced he would not stand for reelection,[46] the president “wandered around the White House talking to people and viewing, with evident pleasure, the bewildered analysis of the commentators on television” who failed to anticipate his decision.[47] Then Clifford and Johnson returned to the West Hall of the White House where they joined a few others with whom the commander-in-chief enjoyed a special relationship, including the Rostows and Arthur and Mathilde Krim.

Precedents and Repercussions

As the USS Liberty came under attack, Navy fighter jets were launched from nearby aircraft carriers USS Saratoga and USS America. Defense Secretary McNamara had them recalled on Johnson’s direct order. Never before in U.S. military history had a rescue mission been cancelled with a U.S. Navy ship under attack. Richard Parker, former U.S. political counselor of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo in 1967, recalls an initial assumption that the attackers were Egyptian and that the jets were recalled when it was learned that Israel was the attacker.

The Liberty incident also remains the only peacetime attack on a U.S. Navy vessel not investigated by Congress.[48] The cover-up would have been impossible but for the complicity of Admiral John S. McCain Jr., father of the Arizona Senator, who was then stationed in London as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe. After the incident, Admiral McCain allowed a court of inquiry just one week to complete an investigation—a crippling limitation in light of the complex nature of the event and the dispersion of the witnesses.[49] He also instructed the court to investigate only the ship’s response to the attack. As the court’s senior legal counsel later explained: “Admiral McCain was adamant that we were not to travel to Israel or contact the Israelis concerning this matter.”[50]

Nor did the court consider written testimony from any of the 60 medical evacuees who were unable to testify in person,[51] including James Ennes who was officer of the deck when the attack began.[52] Even before the court convened, Admiral McCain framed the findings to support Tel Aviv’s claim that, in the fog of war, its forces mistook a sophisticated U.S. Navy intelligence vessel for a dilapidated Egyptian freighter. Tel Aviv claimed that a clearly marked U.S. Navy ship bristling with 40 special purpose antennae had been mistaken for El Quseir, an Egyptian horse cavalry transport roughly half its size that was then berthed in Cairo waiting to be scrapped. The torpedo depth set by Israeli torpedo boats was perfect for tearing a hole in the USS Liberty. A torpedo set for that depth would have run under the Egyptian ship, due to its shallow draft.

Admiral McCain’s order provided Johnson the “fixed” record required to conceal an Israeli attack on a U.S. Navy vessel that, the evidence suggests, was meant to kill all 294 Americans aboard. Conversations recorded between the pilots and Israeli ground control confirm they not only knew the ship was American but were also frustrated at the difficulty in sinking it quickly and completely with no survivors.[53]

This McCain family secret helps explain the Senator’s support for Tel Aviv no matter how extreme its position—and his close ties with Joe Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew and ardent Zionist. Within days of 9/11, Senators McCain and Lieberman and other pro-Zionists inundated the airwaves with calls to attack Iraq. Three months after 9/11, Lieberman and McCain appeared together on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt where McCain, striking a commander-in-chief pose, waved an admiral’s cap and proclaimed, “On to Baghdad.”

John McCain’s grandfather was known as Slew by his fellow officers and, affectionately, as Popeye by the sailors who served in his command. A native of Mississippi whose grandfather owned slaves, he played the horses, sipped bourbon and water and rolled his cigarettes with one hand. Admiral McCain was commander of all land-based aircraft in the South Pacific during WWII. A 1906 graduate of the Naval Academy, the aircraft carriers under his command once shot down 49 Japanese planes in a single day and destroyed 3,000 grounded enemy planes in a 35-day period. Planes under his command took part in action over Leyte Gulf, Luzon, Formosa and the Japanese Homeland. Admiral McCain died September 2, 1945, less than three weeks after the victory over Japan (VJ Day) on August 14, 1945.

John McCain’s father, a 1931 graduate of the Naval Academy, served as a submarine commander during WWII. He too became a navy aviator and also rose to the rank of four-star admiral, the first family in U.S. military history to achieve that father-son distinction. In July 1968, one year after aiding Johnson with the cover-up, he was named Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Command (CINCPAC) during the Vietnam War, a position he held until 1972. Admiral McCain died March 24, 1981.

Lieutenant Commander John S. McCain III, a 1958 graduate of Annapolis (894th in an academic class of 899), served as a navy pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany when his A4E Skyhawk aircraft was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over Hanoi. He retired a captain after serving from 1958-1981. He was elected to the Congress in 1982 and to the Senate in 1986 to a seat vacated by Barry Goldwater.

Two civilian lawyers scrubbed the official report on the USS Liberty, diverting attention away from Tel Aviv. After the report was redrafted (by the people in between), the official record left no reference to the Israeli machine-gunning of life rafts, a clear war crime. In effect, the McCain cover-up granted plausibility to an implausible claim: Israel Defense Forces mistakenly attacked a U.S. Navy ship with an estimated 30 sorties flown over the 455-foot vessel by a minimum of 12 aircraft, leaving 821 holes, more than 100 of which were rocket-size, while also jamming all five of its emergency radio channels.

Richard Helms, CIA Director from 1966 to 1973, conceded that “few in Washington could believe that the ship had not been identified as an American naval vessel.” Presidential counsel Clark Clifford (who had advised President Truman to recognize Israel in 1948) was among those few:

“Having been for so long a staunch supporter of Israel, I was particularly troubled by this incident; I could not bring myself to believe that such an action could have been authorized by [Israeli Prime Minister] Levi Eshkol.”[54] (emphasis added)

Despite an interim CIA report favoring Israel’s account, Helms noted, “there could be no doubt that the Israelis knew exactly what they were doing in attacking the Liberty.”[55] “It was no accident,” Helms reported.[56] Admiral Thomas Moorer, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1970-74), called it “one of the classic all-American cover-ups.”[57] Helms recalled: “It was the world’s good fortune that the hostilities on the Golan Heights ended before that day was out.” Early on June 10th, Soviet Premier Kosygin utilized the hot line between Moscow and Washington to warn of a “grave catastrophe” and promised “necessary actions, including military” should Israel fail to halt operations within the next few hours.[58]

Even now, few Americans realize that Israel’s 1967 war of expansion in the Middle East resulted in the two nuclear-armed superpowers squaring off just five years after the Cuban missile crisis. In the midst of this conflict, Moscow threatened an “independent decision” if the U.S. failed to bring Israeli aggression to a speedy close.[59]

War by Deception

Captain Ward Boston, counsel to the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry, belatedly confirmed his concerns about the cover-up. Acting as a “good soldier” who followed his orders to remain silent, he waited more than three decades to go public. In October 2003, he admitted that Johnson and McNamara ordered that the inquiry conclude the attack was a case of “mistaken identity.”[60] “It was the most sophisticated intelligence ship in the world in 1967,” according to Admiral Moorer. “With its massive radio antennae, including a large satellite dish, it looked like a large lobster and was one of the most easily identifiable ships afloat.”[61]

After keeping quiet about his firsthand knowledge for 36 years, Boston published a sworn affidavit stating he was “outraged at the efforts of apologists for Israel” who “claim this attack was a case of ‘mistaken identity.’” He singled out for particularly harsh criticism the 2002 publication of The Liberty Incident by A. Jay Cristol,[62] a federal bankruptcy judge, who dismissed as “conspiracy theorists” those who challenged the official court report.[63] Reflecting back on his conversations with Admiral Isaac Kidd, Jr. who served as president of the court of inquiry, Boston recalled, “Admiral Kidd called me two hours after an interview with Cristol and said ‘I think Cristol’s an Israeli agent.’”[64]

In June 2007, on the 40th anniversary of the attack, Boston published “Time for the Truth about the Liberty.”[65] From his home in Miami, Cristol responded by dismissing all criticism as “propaganda” by those “whose agenda is to attack the present excellent symbiotic relationship between the United States and Israel.”[66]

Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, former judge advocate general for the U.S. Navy, was asked to assess the report of the court of inquiry before it was sent to Washington. The report was taken from him, he says, after he began to question certain aspects. He now describes it as “a hasty, superficial, incomplete and totally inadequate inquiry.”[67] In stark contrast, Senator McCain heaped praise on Cristol’s analysis supporting the court’s findings. Now the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain not only endorsed Cristol’s book, he broadcast his support by publishing it in The Congressional Record:

After years of research for this book, Judge A. Jay Cristol has reached a similar conclusion to one my father reached in his June 18, 1967 endorsement of the findings of the court of inquiry. I commend Judge Cristol for his thoroughness and fairness, and I commend this work.

As part of an independent commission to investigate the attack, Admiral Moorer, former commander of the 7th Fleet, described several details confirming why the commission concluded the attack was purposeful:[68]

  • After eight hours of surveillance, Israel launched a two-hour air and naval attack against the USS Liberty.
  • Israel attempted to prevent the Libertys radio operators from sending a call for help by jamming American emergency radio channels.
  • Israeli torpedo boats machine-gunned at close range lifeboats that had been lowered to rescue the most seriously wounded.

As a result, our commission concluded that:

  • There is compelling evidence that Israel’s attack was a deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew.
  • In attacking the USS Liberty, Israel committed acts of murder against U.S. servicemen and an act of war against the United States.
  • That due to the influence of Israel’s powerful supporters in the United States, the White House deliberately covered up the facts of this attack from the American people.
  • That a danger to our national security exists whenever our elected officials are willing to subordinate American interests to those of any foreign nation.
  • The truth continues to be concealed to the present day in what can only be termed a national disgrace.

In addition to calling for a new court of inquiry and a congressional investigation, the commission urged that June 8 be proclaimed USS Liberty Remembrance Day in order to remind the American people of the threat to U.S. national security inherent in any passionate attachment of elected officials to a foreign nation.

Crime Pays

Eyewitness accounts of the incident conflict with claims of an innocent mistake, including the fact that Israel Defense Forces aircraft flew over the Liberty eight times between 6 A.M. and 1 P.M. before opening fire on the easily identified U.S. Navy ship. Israeli requests for secrecy about its role in the attack were delivered to Johnson through Eugene Rostow.[69] Admiral Moorer described the U.S. Navy reaction to the attack on the USS Liberty as “the most disgraceful act I witnessed in my military career.” He posed the uncomfortable question that no one has yet asked the son of the U.S. Navy admiral who played a leading role in this cover-up: “Does our government continue to subordinate American interests to Israeli interests?”[70]

Much as Admiral John S. McCain, Jr. saw his career advance when, after the cover-up, he was named Commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Kidd advanced from Rear Admiral (two stars) to a four-star admiral and Commander of the Atlantic Fleet.[71] Bill McGonagle, the ship’s skipper, received a promotion, command of a newly commissioned ship and the Congressional Medal of Honor. In a break with military tradition, the nation’s highest honor for valor was presented not at the White House but at the Washington Navy Yard.

Admiral Moorer, who became Chief of Naval Operations shortly before the award order arrived for McGonagle, protested to Pentagon chief McNamara but the order stood. During the low-profile ceremony, the commander-in-chief was nowhere in sight. Instead the Secretary of the Navy presented the award. Disgusted by the cover-up, Moorer observed, “The way they did things, I’m surprised they didn’t just hand it to him under the 14th Street Bridge.”[72]

Ambassador Edward Peck, commenting on the “nature and extent of the cover-up,” noted that this was “the first time in history the Congressional Medal was awarded for action in the face of an enemy with which the United States was not at war. In fact, Israel, the nation that launched and sustained a two-hour air and sea attack on a US Navy ship was considered a friend.” On the 40th anniversary of the attack, this former Chief of Mission in Iraq and Deputy Director of Ronald Reagan’s White House Task Force on Terrorism cast this official behavior in stark terms:

This is 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. It should no longer be condoned.[73]

No protest was heard from the Congress for which the medal is named. Before the award was bestowed, the White House consulted the Israelis who gave their permission to proceed. McGonagle’s daughter later conceded to a fellow veteran that her father admitted he was pressured to fabricate a pro-Israeli account of the assault.[74] As court counsel Ward Boston summarized Admiral Kidd’s assessment: “we’ve been ordered to shut up.”[75] Not until 1982 were gravestone inscriptions changed to name the USS Liberty as the ship on which Americans died in what the Liberty’s crew thought was a defense of American interests. For 15 years, the inscriptions read simply, “Died in Eastern Mediterranean.” The ship’s name was added only after a protest from the USS Liberty Veterans Association.

From a game theory perspective, the cover-up enabled by Admiral McCain was essential to preserve Israel’s portrayal of itself as a hapless victim residing in an anti-Semitic region. That lie also helped cover up the fact that the 1967 War was not defensive but a pre-planned land grab for Greater Israel. By taking territory while feigning self-defense, that conflict also served as a provocation certain to catalyze a response that could plausibly enable the next war (in 1973) to be portrayed as “defensive” when Israel’s neighbors sought to reclaim the land taken.

Yitzhak Rabin, Israel Defense Forces chief of staff in 1967 would later concede: “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”[76] Similarly, General Moshe Dayan explained that, “many of the fire-fights with the Syrians were deliberately provoked by Israel.” He explained that the kibbutz residents who pressed the government to take the Golan Heights did so less for the security than for the farmland.[77]

In December 1987 the USS Liberty incident was officially closed with an exchange of diplomatic letters and Israel’s payment of $13.7 million in reparations,[78] including $6 million for a ship then valued at more than $40 million. The USS Liberty was dismantled and sold as scrap in 1973 for $110,000. On June 8, 2005, the USS Liberty Veterans Association filed a war crimes report with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. By law, the secretary is obliged to initiate an inquiry on receipt of such a serious charge.[79] As of September 2008, the report had been forwarded to five separate bureaucracies that declined the challenge the adequacy and integrity of the McCain court of inquiry.[80]

Arming the Belligerent

The Israeli killing of Americans aboard the USS Liberty (a premeditated murder according to Admiral Moorer) marked a strategic milestone for the Jewish state. No one in the Israeli government or military received even a reprimand. Tel Aviv suffered no political repercussions either for its preemptive seizure and continued occupation of Arab lands or for the murder of Americans. Instead, Lyndon Johnson increased U.S. financial, military and political support and the Pentagon was directed to include security of the belligerent Zionist state as a strategic objective of U.S. national security.

By advancing the careers of senior Naval officers complicit in the cover-up up, Johnson signaled future generations of military leaders that they can expect promotions if, following orders, they abandon their tradition of duty and honor. Much as AIPAC intimidated Members of Congress by removing from office Paul Findley and others who challenged Israeli policies, LBJ set a precedent for rewarding military commanders who subordinate their honor to Israeli interests.

As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain heard the February 2003 testimony of Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki when he warned that “several hundred thousand” troops would be required to invade and secure Iraq. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz assured the committee that 50,000 troops would be sufficient.

McCain did not object when General Shinseki was rebuked by war-planner Wolfowitz. Instead, he told the Hartford Courant in a March 5, 2003 article, just before the invasion: “I have no qualms about our strategic plans.” Later he claimed credit for advocating a “surge” in U.S. troops to quell a deadly sectarian insurgency that could have been prevented by heeding Shinseki’s call for more troops. Candidate McCain cites that surge as a key qualification to serve as commander-in-chief.

It is difficult to imagine a presidential candidate less qualified to restore the honor of the U.S. Navy in light of the McCain-enabled cover-up of the USS Liberty incident.

Soon after the Six-Day War, France canceled an Israeli contract for the delivery of 50 Mirage jet fighters. That led to U.S. negotiations for the delivery to Israel of 50 Phantom F-4 jet fighters beginning in 1969.[81] Within two years of the Six-Day War, the Pentagon was training Israeli pilots on U.S.-made fighter jets. With that step, any future Israeli aggression in the region would be perceived as enjoying the approval of U.S. foreign policy and the enthusiastic support of Americans.

Israel soon emerged as a major arms supplier worldwide as a sizeable portion of its workforce became dependent on the perception of Israel as a weak and vulnerable state under siege by a hostile world of anti-Semites, Jew haters and Holocaust deniers.[82] Yet it was only after Israel’s 1967 land grab that such charges were deployed in the U.S. to intimidate and discredit Americans who criticize Israeli policies.[83]

Israel suffered no consequences for killing 34 Americans. Instead, Tel Aviv again proved its prowess at waging war by way of deception based on its mastery at manipulating a U.S. President by servicing not only his personal and emotional needs (Mathilde Krim) but also his political and financial needs (Abe Fortas, Abe Feinberg, Arthur Krim, Arthur Goldberg, In addition, Israel again confirmed the success of a long-term strategy for Greater Israel that pre-stages supportive personnel (agents, assets and sayanim) for key political positions inside the U.S. government: the Rostow brothers, Fortas, Goldberg, Jacobsen, Goodwin, Levinson, Wattenberg, etc.

An Invitation to Game Theorists

When Johnson declined to make delivery of nuclear-capable F-4 Phantom jets contingent on Israeli compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he not only signaled that the U.S. had no objection to Tel Aviv’s nuclear weapons program, he also opened the way for Israeli firms to distribute nuclear components worldwide and signaled the U.S. was not serious about non-proliferation.[84]

When Johnson chose not to pursue John Kennedy’s efforts to shut down the Zionist state’s nuclear weapons program, he enabled Israel to use the fear of nuclear weapons as a means to provoke, without fear of retribution, the regional frictions that made plausible The Clash of Civilizations. That conflict-of-opposites emerged seamlessly as a successor to the nuclear terrorism of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) that dominated an earlier conflict-of-opposites: the Cold War era. The 1967 war pre-staged the regional dynamics that made plausible the latest present danger: the global war on terrorism.

By providing Tel Aviv with an arsenal of modern offensive weapons along with an agreement limiting their use for defensive purposes, Johnson further emboldened Israeli game theorists. With access to America’s state-of-the-art weaponry, Israel became better equipped to provoke reactions to which Israel Defense Forces could respond in “self-defense.” In effect, LBJ gave game theorists the military means and motive to wage agent provocateur warfare against which Tel Aviv could then defend, justifying Israeli requests for more U.S. military assistance.

The history of weaponry confirms that each advance in defensive weaponry catalyzes an advance in offensive weaponry (and vice versa). In the midst of the SALT talks (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1986, Ronald Reagan and Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev were on the verge of overruling their advisers and reaching an agreement to eliminate all strategic nuclear weapons. At the time, Reagan sought to pursue development of a missile defense program.

Gorbachev proposed that the U.S. program be limited to laboratory work for 10 years for fear that Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) might catalyze an arms race in space while jeopardizing steps to eliminate vast arsenals of land- and sea-based nuclear weaponry. Had Reagan agreed to that one-decade limitation two decades ago, nuclear weapons might now be eliminated in their entirety, removing the threat of that weapon of mass destruction.

Richard Perle, an exemplar of the people in between, boasted how he undermined that potential Reagan-Gorbachev agreement when he persuaded Reagan that, by accepting Gorbachev’s proposal, the SDI program would be endangered.[85] Had an agreement been reached in 1986 to eliminate all nuclear weapons, Israel’s “opaque” nuclear weapons program would have been affected as well, negating a key game theory advantage that Tel Aviv has since deployed with success.

In the oft-recurring conflict-of-opposites manipulation chronicled in this account, each new offensive weapon evokes a new defensive weapon, just as each new defense catalyzes a new offense. Thus the focus in this account on identifying those who catalyze serial conflicts-of-opposites while profiting off the misery of both sides.

An Invitation to Terror

From a game theory perspective, by covering up the murder of Americans aboard the USS Liberty, a U.S. President (with the aid of Admiral John McCain, Jr.) confirmed that Israeli extremists could kill Americans without endangering U.S. support. The encouragement of Israeli extremism was further enhanced by the discouragement Americans experienced during the 1960s. The debacle in Vietnam and a decade of high-profile murders (the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, Jr.) laid the mental and emotional threads for Americans to believe four decades later that it was their elected government (vs. an unelected government inside their government) that was responsible for the debacle in Iraq.

The war in Iraq—destined to become a quagmire—was certain to catalyze another round of skepticism, cynicism, self-doubt and disillusionment. As with the Vietnam war in the 1960s, events in Iraq four decades later were guaranteed to erode confidence in government and to heighten distrust of the U.S. by other governments, particularly in the Middle East. Secretary of State Rusk was in the White House Situation Room with Lyndon Johnson when word came of the attack on the USS Liberty. In his autobiography, Rusk put the Israeli attack in geopolitical perspective by describing the discrediting effects of that land grab on Israel’s loyal ally:[86]

I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation. Their sustained attack to disable and sink Liberty precluded an assault by accident or by some trigger-happy local commander. Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanation. I didn’t believe them then, and I don’t believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous.

What followed was just as bad. For 20 years, since the creation of Israel, the United States had tried to persuade the Arabs that they needn’t fear Israeli territorial expansion. Throughout the 1960s the Arabs talked continuously about their fear of Israeli expansion. With the full knowledge of successive governments in Israel, we did our utmost to persuade the Arabs that their anxieties were illusory.

And then following the Six-Day War, Israel decided to keep the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai, despite the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol on the first day of the war went on Israeli radio and said that Israel had no territorial ambitions. Later in the summer I reminded Abba Eban [Israel’s Foreign Minister] of this, and he simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “We’ve changed our minds.” With that remark, a contentious and even bitter point with the Americans, he turned the United States into a 20-year liar.

The Six-Day War pre-staged today’s geopolitics. Following that 1967 conflict, America discredited itself by allowing its values to be associated with Israeli duplicity. By its entangling alliance with a duplicitous state, the U.S. was seen as a partner in the same treachery and deceit for which Israel was already infamous.[87]

Israeli offenses against international law were routinely covered up by U.S. vetoes of U.N. Security Council resolutions. In the U.N. General Assembly, American diplomats routinely defended Israeli violations of norms of civilized behavior. As American values of moderation, tolerance and candor became identified with Israeli extremism, racism and deceit, the U.S. emerged guilty by association. Meanwhile U.S. policymakers continued to deceive themselves that Israel was a democracy and an ally.

With America seen as its defender, Zionist extremists concluded they could ignore international law with impunity.[88] To date, they have been correct, as 39 U.N. resolutions urged that Israel vacate territories occupied since 1967. With each U.S. veto, the credibility and moral standing of the U.S. declined, along with the authority and effectiveness of the U.N. as it too became guilty by association

Nation State as Agent Provocateur

The region-wide resentments provoked by Israel’s 1967 aggression ensured an enduring anger that Tel Aviv periodically rekindled, reinforced and refocused as part of a long-term emotion-management modus operandi. Post-9/11, regional animosities were again inflamed by reports confirming what those in the region had already surmised: The intelligence that induced Israel’s ally to invade Iraq was false, flawed and “fixed” around an agenda advanced by those notorious for their mastery of strategic deceit.

Such strategic duplicity may come as a surprise to misinformed Americans. It comes as no surprise, however, to those who have long lived in close proximity to a state known for routinely waging war by way of deception. Even now, Americans believe that Israel was the victim in the 1967 conflict and not the aggressor, confirming the key role of self-deceit in sustaining this entangling alliance.

Israeli Air Force commander Motti Hod boasted that Tel Aviv’s destruction of the Egyptian Air Force had been planned and rehearsed since 1951, five years before Israel invaded Egypt to catalyze the Suez Crisis (one week before the 1956 U.S. presidential election) and 16 years before the Jewish state launched its preemptive war of 1967.[89] That war, in turn, fed regional dynamics that would make plausible The Clash of Civilizations as the latest present danger, catalyzed by the emotionally wrenching provocation of September 11, 2001.

Lengthy pre-planning ensured that, on a bright June day in 1967, it took only 80 minutes for Israeli jets to destroy 309 of Egypt’s 390 aircraft and kill a third of its pilots. The assault was planned for 7:45 a.m. Tel Aviv time because Israeli intelligence knew Egyptian pilots would be relaxing from early morning patrols and Egyptian commanders would be caught in rush hour traffic enroute to their offices.[90]

According to George Ball, President Kennedy’s Acting Secretary of State, the fiction that a defenseless Israel was playing David to an Arab Goliath was “mythmaking for the ill-informed American public”[91] dispensed by a pro-Israeli media. The saga of the oft-threatened underdog fighting for its survival required, then as now, a combination of national scale psy-ops and geopolitical pre-staging. Had an unbiased media inquired how, if Arabs were the aggressor, they were surprised with their air forces on the ground, Israel’s victim status would have proven a far more difficult sell. Then, as now, a complicit media was essential to sustain the myth.

Tel Aviv continues to stage serial provocations as part of a psy-ops strategy designed to portray Israeli extremists as sympathetic victims. Even now, American lawmakers continue to believe the U.S. enjoys a “special relationship” of trust with a faithful ally. Yet the facts suggest that alleged friend drew on America’s post-WWII stature to vouch for an extremist enclave’s status as a legitimate sovereign state. Then as now, America’s leadership was susceptible to deception and self-deceit.

Israeli mythmaking was granted additional credence when, in August 2000, the Clinton-Gore Administration awarded a former Irgun operative the nation’s highest civilian honor. For her public service on AIDS-related research and policies, the Presidential Medal of Freedom was bestowed on Mathilde Krim in August 2000 for her “extraordinary compassion and commitment.”[92] No mention was made of her well-timed special relationship with an earlier commander-in-chief.

Krim with Johnson

Lady Bird Johnson, Arthur, Mathilde and Daphna Krim and LBJ Lyndon B. Johnson Library, University of Texas—Austin

500GB SSD:Users:jeffgates:Desktop:Mathilde Krim and LBJ.jpeg

Mathilde Krim & LBJ

LBJ Library Photo by Yoichi R. Yokomoto (June 23, 1997)

500GB SSD:Users:jeffgates:Desktop:Krims, Johnsons and Wassermans.jpeg

Lynda Bird Johnson, Arthur and Mathilde Krim, Lew Wasserman, President Lyndon Johnson, Mrs. Wasserman

LBJ Library photo by Yoichi R. Okamoto (June 23, 1997)

Krim with Clinton

President Clinton awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mathilde Krim, Ph.D., during ceremonies in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2000. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais).


  1. See note to President Johnson on White House stationery dated June 8, 1967 from W.W. Rostow that reads, “The LIBERTY is listing badly to starboard.” Featured in James M. Ennes, Jr., Assault on the Liberty (Reintree Press, 1979).
  2. Initially 171 Purple Hearts were awarded; three more were awarded later.
  3. By not being required to register as a foreign agent, AIPAC has thus far obscured its geopolitical goals. Though AIPAC’s Internal Revenue Service filing reports $51.3 million in 2005 revenues, the overall operating budget may be substantially higher
  4. Kenen also founded and edited Near East Report, AIPAC’s monthly in house publication that was later edited by Wolf Blitzer. In 1973, Jerusalem Post editor Ari Rath hired Blitzer as Washington correspondent, a role Blitzer retained until he moved to Cable News Network (CNN) in May 1990.
  5. See Grant F. Smith, Foreign Agents: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Research: Middle East Policies, 2007).
  6. Ken Ringle, “The Attack on Liberty,” Washington Post, February 1, 2003, p. C1.
  7. The National Security Adviser was then known as special assistant to the President for national security affairs. Born in New York City in October 1916, Walt Whitman Rostow was the son of a Russian Jewish immigrant family. His older brother, Eugene, was dean of Yale Law School, 1955-65. During the Reagan Administration, Eugene Rostow served as director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1981-83), the most senior Democrat in that Republican Administration. He was succeeded in that position by Kenneth Adelman (1983-87), a member of the Committee on the Present Danger. During WWII, Walt Rostow served as a major in the Office of Strategic Services where he recommended enemy targets to the U.S. Air Force. From 1961 to 1966, he chaired the State Department’s policy planning council.
  8. When Ronald Reagan left Warner Brothers in 1949, his producer Brian Foy also left. Foy was then appointed executive producer at Eagle-Lion Studios headed by Arthur Krim who acquired United Artists in 1951 with his longtime partner Robert S. Benjamin. Foy hired Johnny Roselli as an Eagle-Lion producer on Roselli’s release from Atlanta Penitentiary. A senior figure in the Chicago Outfit, Roselli was also a member of the Friar’s Club, a Los Angeles men’s club whose membership included numerous pop-culture and mob-related figures, including Ronald Reagan, Mickey Rooney, Groucho Marx and Sydney Korshak, Hollywood’s best-known consigliere, senior labor racketeer and adviser to Lew Wasserman of MCA. Dan E. Moldea, Dark Victory (New York: Penguin, 1986), pp. 79, 83. During WWII, Robert S. Benjamin was executive officer of the Army Signal Corps Photographic Center in Astoria, Queens (a borough of New York City). In 1947, Reagan narrated the Signal Corps film Stilwell Road about General Joseph “Vinegar Joe” Stilwell who fought against the Japanese in Burma. In 1967, Lyndon Johnson appointed Benjamin a delegate to the United Nations. In 1978, Ambassador Benjamin and Arthur Krim left United Artists following its acquisition by Transamerica Corporation and founded Orion Pictures. See Robert S. Benjamin: A Citizen’s Citizen published by the United Nations Association where Benjamin served as chairman (Adlai Stevenson II described Benjamin as “a citizen’s citizen”). The Criminal State series will describe the influence on Ronald Reagan’s career by Jules Stein, Lew Wasserman, Sydney Korshak and Walter Annenberg.
  9. To forge a more potent connection with Washington, MCA President Lew Wasserman worked closely with Arthur Krim who helped organize a 1962 birthday party for President Kennedy at Madison Square Garden where Marilyn Monroe sang a breathless rendition of Happy Birthday, followed by an all-night party at Krim’s Upper East Side town house. The success of the event (it brought in more than $1 million) led Krim to create a “President’s Club” promising a chance to meet the President for $1,000 per person. Wasserman brought the President’s Club to Hollywood with a June 1963 $1,000 per plate dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel just when Kennedy was pressuring Tel Aviv for inspections of its nuclear facilities at Dimona. After Kennedy was assassinated in November, Wasserman-led fundraising raised more money for Lyndon Johnson than had ever been raised for a Democrat in California. Connie Bruck, “The Personal Touch,” The New Yorker, August 13, 2001. “While some credit Sinatra with making the Monroe connection to the White House – Sinatra introduced Marilyn to JFK at Peter Lawford’s Malibu beach house, a popular show biz hangout – there is evidence that it was really Mickey [Cohen].” Brad Lewis, Hollywood’s Celebrity Gangster – The Incredible Life and Times of Mickey Cohen (New York: Enigma Books, 2007), p. 265.
  10. L. Sandy Maisel and Ira N. Forman (eds.), Jews in American Politics (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001), p. 308. Judah P. Benjamin, a Senator from Louisiana, was the first acknowledged Jewish Senator. Elected as a Whig in 1852, he was reelected as a Democrat in 1858 and served until February 1861 when he was appointed Attorney General to the provisional Confederate States. In November he was appointed Secretary of War and in February 1862 Secretary of State in the Cabinet of Jefferson Davis where he was an advocate of “cotton diplomacy” (withholding cotton from European countries that would not barter for arms and supplies). He served in that capacity until 1865 when he moved to Great Britain where he practiced law until 1883. He died in Paris in 1884.
  11. Commodities trader Bernard Baruch was appointed by Woodrow Wilson to chair the War Industries Board. See James Grant, Bernard Baruch (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997).
  12. Howard M. Sachar, A History of the Jews in America (New York: Alfred Knoft, 1991), p. 250.
  13. See John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920).
  14. During the 1944 election year, FDR allowed the entry of 900 Jews. During Christmas 1945, with the war over, President Harry Truman allowed those 900 immigrants to remain in the U.S. Post-WWII, Morgenthau chaired a December 1947 fundraising campaign by the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) in support of Israel’s 1948 war for the Zionist state. Morgenthau was assisted by Edward M.M. Warburg, a Kuhn, Loeb partner, and Canadian-born Henry Montor (né Goldberg), executive director of the UJA whose 1946 campaign raised $101 million for the Zionist cause ($864 million in 2007 dollars). Golda Meir, a Russian-born Jew, relocated from her home in Milwaukee to Palestine in 1921 where she became a member of the Jewish Agency directorate. Meir traveled the U.S. in 1948 as a UJA spokesperson when she and Morgenthau raised $178 million ($1.3 billion in 2007 dollars). Had Morgenthau not been appointed at that time and in that circumstance, it’s doubtful Israel would now function “as the bedrock of American-Jewish identity.” Howard M. Sachar, A History of the Jews in America (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1991), p. 618-19. From 1947 to 1950, the UJA raised $465 million under Morgenthau’s chairmanship. From 1951 to 1954, he led a $500 million bond campaign for Israel ($3.2 billion in 2007 dollars). Robert M. Morgenthau (Junior’s second-born child) was appointed by President Kennedy as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York where he served 8-1/2 years. In 1974, he made the first of eight successful bids for election as District Attorney of New York. New York Mayor Ed Koch recruited Morgenthau to plan a museum and memorial to victims of the Holocaust. On September 17, 2003, Morgenthau oversaw the dedication of a memorial garden in Battery Park, a central feature in the $60 million, four-story, 82,000-square-foot extension of the museum named the Robert W. Morgenthau wing, the first new construction after 9/11. Born July 1919, Morgenthau was elected in 2006 to a new four-year term. During more than four decades in law enforcement, Morgenthau oversaw the non-prosecution of systemic financial frauds that set records not only for their scope, scale and duration but also for their negative impact on national security, as will be chronicled in the Criminal State series. As Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir (a compromise candidate on the death in 1969 of Levi Eshkol) negotiated with President Nixon a policy of “strategic ambiguity” regarding Israel’s development of the nuclear weapons that President Kennedy was determined to halt in June 1963. The Nixon-Meir accord left the Zionist state a U.S.-sponsored non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The NPT seeks to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology. The Treaty established a safeguard system under the responsibility of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that verifies compliance with the Treaty through IAEA inspections. Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970. See
  15. Grace Halsell, “How LBJ’s Vietnam War Paralyzed His Mideast Policymakers,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 1993, p. 20.
  16. Since antiquity, “ritualized friendships” have been used to create and sustain “fields within fields…with fields” of relationships through which influence can be sustained across generations.
  17. Grace Halsell, “How LBJ’s Vietnam War Paralyzed His Mideast Policymakers,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 1993, p. 20. George Ball offers an overview of U.S. rationalizations for non-interference to prevent an Arab-Israeli conflict. American policymakers felt that Egypt’s President Nasser had been ungrateful toward the U.S. after President Eisenhower rescued him during the Suez affair, 1956-57. Knowing of Israel’s military preeminence, the conflict would show that the Soviets were ineffective protectors of Arab nations, thereby strengthening America’s role in the region. By destroying Soviet-provided equipment, Israel would relax its incessant lobbying for more U.S. weapons, an expensive burden. Others thought the conflict might catalyze regional uprisings to overthrow extremist Arab regimes. Lastly, it was envisioned that an Israeli victory would make possible a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict once it was realized that, with three victories in 19 years, Israel could not be eliminated. As Ball concedes: “The political parts of this analysis proved lamentably inaccurate…it is now easy to see that the Arabs had more staying power than the administration thought, and that Israel would refuse to return any but a small portion of its captured territory.” George W. Ball and Douglas B. Ball, The Passionate Attachment (New York: W.W. Norton, 1992), pp. 55-56.
  18. Ibid., p. 55.
  19. Grace Halsell, “How LBJ’s Vietnam War Paralyzed His Mideast Policymakers,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 1993, p. 20.
  20. John L. Loeb of Loeb, Rhoades investment bank was married to a member of the Lehman banking family. In 1953, Sam Bronfman’s elder son, Edgar, married Ann Margaret Loeb, the daughter of John L. Loeb and the granddaughter of the founder of the investment house of C.M. Loeb Rhoades and Company. The marriage did not last. See Stephen Birmingham, The Rest of Us – The Rise of America’s Eastern European Jews (London: Macdonald & Co., 1984), p. 318. One of Johnson’s unofficial advisers was Edwin L. Weisl, a New York attorney who was a senior law partner to Cyrus Vance at Simpson, Thatcher & Bartlett. “Not only was this law firm general counsel to Lehman Brothers, but Weisl himself was dubbed by Fortune magazine as ‘Lehman’s eighteenth partner.’” Murray N. Rothbard, Wall Street, Banks and American Foreign Policy (Burlingame: Rothbard-Rockwell Report, 1995), p.p. 47-48.
  21. During the Roosevelt Administration, Fortas served as an assistant to Interior Secretary Harold Ickes until Ickes transferred him to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  22. For a detailed account of Johnson’s victory over former Texas Governor Coke Stevenson, see “The Stealing” in Robert A. Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Means of Ascent (New York: Random House, 1990), pp. 303-317.
  23. Laura Kalman, Abe Fortas (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), pp. 200-202.
  24. Fortas was previously a partner in the Washington law firm of Arnold, Fortas and Porter. Prior to joining the Robert M. Bass Group in 1983, David Bonderman (a founding principal in Texas Pacific Group, a private equity firm) was a partner specializing in bankruptcy in the Arnold & Porter law firm. See Chapter 3 (“John McCain and Financial Frauds”).
  25. An Orthodox Jew from Memphis, Tennessee, Fortas moved to Washington in 1933 to work with New Deal legal realist Jerome Frank and then practice law with Thurman Arnold, a former professor at Yale Law School and another noted legal realist, New Dealer and co-founder of Arnold, Fortas and Porter. As a political confidante and close friend to Johnson, Fortas also represented Bobby Baker, Johnson’s senior aide when the future President served as Senate Majority Leader. Baker’s close ties to Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana, Meyer Lansky associate Ed Levinson and Ben Siegelbaum (an ally of Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa), led to Baker’s involvement in Serve-U-Corporation, an organized crime operation that profited from vending machines provided to government contractors. President Kennedy was sufficiently upset by the Bobby Baker scandal that he told his secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, he was planning to replace Johnson with Florida Senator George Smathers as his running mate in 1964. Sally Denton and Roger Morris, The Money and the Power (New York: Vintage Books, 2001).
  26. See Richard Helms, A Look over My Shoulder (New York: Random House, 2003), p. 299.
  27. According to a law clerk in Fortas’ Supreme Court office who overheard the conversation, Fortas warned Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Avraham Harman that Secretary of State Rusk was not a strong Israel supporter, suggesting that “Rusk will fiddle while Israel burns.” Fortas then reportedly told the Israeli Ambassador who was returning to Tel Aviv to report to the cabinet that Israel could not count for support on any other country, including the U.S. Given his close relationship to Johnson, the biographer concludes, “the Israelis surely would have assumed he was speaking for the President.” Laura Kalman, Abe Fortas (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), pp. 301.
  28. Peter Hounam, Operation Cyanide (London: Satin Communications, 2003), p. 235.
  29. Walworth Barbour was U.S. Ambassador to Israel from 1961 to 1973. The American International School in Even Yehuda, Israel is named after him.
  30. Harry McPherson, A Political Education (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1972), p. 415.
  31. Laura Kalma, Fortas (New York: Yale University Press, 1990), pp. 300-302.
  32. Richard Helms, A Look over My Shoulder (New York: Random House, 2003), p. 300. In his 1968 Senate confirmation hearings as Johnson’s nominee to succeed Earl Warren as Chief Justice, Fortas denied continuing as an adviser to Johnson while serving on the Supreme Court in violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers between the executive branch and an independent judiciary. The Fortas nomination was withdrawn after a Senate filibuster. Fortas’ conduct is typical of the people in between.
  33. John Loeb of Kuhn, Loeb & Co. was the fourth person in attendance at the Fortas dinner with McNamara and Johnson the night before the Six-Day War commenced.
  34. The Warburgs (New York: Vintage Books, 1993), pp. 47-48.
  35. In 1872, Schiff and former Union Army Major General James H. Wilson (1837-1925) joined forces in an attempt to acquire a share of a Japanese bond issue. Though the venture failed, the relationship blossomed as evidenced in decades of correspondence. A hero of the Civil War, Wilson served under Ulysses S. Grant and trained General William T. Sherman’s cavalry for the March to the Sea. In May 1865, men under his command captured Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy.
  36. Schiff arranged for $200 million in loans for Japan during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, a role for which he was decorated by the Emperor of Japan. In July 1997, Al Gore’s daughter Karenna married Andrew Schiff, the great-great-grandson of Jacob Schiff. The groom’s father was the managing partner of Kuhn, Loeb & Company (Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb, Inc.). Dr. Andrew (“Drew”) Schiff works in New York for Perseus-Soros BioPharmaceuticals. “Andrew Schiff, Karenna Gore,” New York Times, July 13, 1997.
  37. The recurring pattern throughout Israel’s attempt to expand their agreed-to borders has been the seizure of land followed by an attempt to claim “facts on the ground” as evidence of de facto authority, legality and precedent. Thus, President G.W. Bush’s joint statement and exchange of letters with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on April 14, 2004 was widely characterized as “Balfour II” when Bush cited “the realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers” to rationalize an agreement ceding Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories to Israel following U.S.-Israel discussions from which Palestinians were excluded. See “President Bush Commends Israeli Prime Minister Sharon’s Plan,” Office of the Press Secretary, April 14, 2004. British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour, in a November 1917 letter to Walter Rothschild (a.k.a. Lord Rothschild), ceded to a private Zionist organization a “national home” for Zionist Jews in Palestine on land belonging neither to Balfour nor to the World Zionist Federation. President G.W. Bush’s de facto approach (“realities on the ground”) was destined to provoke more resentment in the Arab world while associating U.S. foreign policy with colonial Zionism, further outraging Muslims and fueling the regional dynamics required to make The Clash appear plausible. As a form of psy-ops and global “emotion management,” the Bush-Sharon White House photo-op of April 14, 2004 served as a high profile provocation. From a game theory perspective, the response was perfectly predictable when the announcement catalyzed more terrorism, endangered coalition troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and created more instability throughout the Middle East while reinforcing the branding of Israel as an innocent victim surrounded by hostile anti-Semites.
  38. Grace Halsell, “How LBJ’s Vietnam War Paralyzed His Mideast Policymakers,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 1993, p. 20.
  39. James Ennes, officer on deck when the attack began, reports that the USS Liberty crew, “were specifically told not to collect Israeli signals.” With no Hebrew linguists aboard, the ship’s intercept operators and linguists were instructed, when picking up an Israeli signal, to “log it and drop it.” Ennes also reports that it is “common knowledge within the intelligence community” that whenever the U.S. military sought funds to train Hebrew linguists, the Israel lobby ensured the funds were not forthcoming. Ennes email correspondence with author of April 18-19, 2008.
  40. General Moshe Dayan may have ordered that the USS Liberty be sunk in order to preclude the possibility that the Israeli invasion would be halted before Israeli troops could occupy the Golan Heights the following day. In Jewish History, Jewish Religion (1995), Israel Shahak, an anti-Zionist Holocaust survivor, describes the “Biblical borders of the Land of Israel, which rabbinical authorities interpret as ideally belonging to the Jewish state” that include “in the south, all of Sinai and a part of northern Egypt up to the environs of Cairo; in the east, all of Jordan and a large chunk of Saudi Arabia, all of Kuwait and a part of Iraq south of the Euphrates; in the north, all of Lebanon and all of Syria together with a huge part of Turkey (up to Lake Van); and in the west, Cyprus.”
  41. Others suggest the attack was meant to prevent the disclosure of ongoing Israeli war crimes against Egyptian prisoners of war. Researchers point to a July 1967 CIA report quoting an Israeli official who conceded that Tel Aviv knew the Liberty’s identity and its mission but not who else besides the U.S. may have access to its intercepts, so it put the intelligence-gathering ship out of commission to be sure. Others suggest that Tel Aviv may have sought to blame the attack on the Egyptians, then a Soviet client state.
  42. Before U.S. military leaders could assess the attack, the Israeli embassy in Washington phoned New York Senator Jacob Javits (1957-1981) and Illinois Congressman Roman Pucinski (1952-1973) and they announced on the floor of the Senate and the House that the attack was a case of mistaken identity. Congressional Record—House, June 8, 1967, p. 15131; Congressional Record—Senate, June 8, 1967, p. 15261.
  43. Grace Halsell, “How LBJ’s Vietnam War Paralyzed His Mideast Policymakers,” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 1993, p. 20.
  44. CIA Director Richard Helms reports: “The day after the attack (on the USS Liberty), President Johnson, bristling with irritation, said to me, ‘The New York Times put that attack on the Liberty on an inside page. It should have been on the front page!’” Richard Helms, A Look over my Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency (New York: Random House, 2003), p. 301.
  45. Clifford was also chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Richard Holbrooke co-authored Clifford’s memoirs. Atlanta attorney Stuart Eizenstat arranged for Holbrooke to brief Jimmy Carter on foreign policy in 1976. Holbrooke served as author of the first volume of the Pentagon Papers released by Daniel Ellsberg in early 1971, discrediting the Nixon presidency and U.S. foreign policy in general.
  46. “In choosing March 31, the President was well aware of the fact that President Truman had chosen March 31, 1952, as the date he announced his withdrawal as a candidate for reelection.” W. Marvin Watson and Sherwin Markman, Chief of Staff (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2004), p. 283.
  47. Clark Clifford with Richard Holbrooke, Counsel to the President (New York: Random House, 1961), p. 523.
  48. The attack on the USS Liberty was the second deadliest assault on a U.S naval vessel since WWII. On May 17, 1987, an Iraqi-fired, French-made Exocet missile struck the USS Stark killing 37 seamen. As U.S. interests required that Iraq not lose its ongoing war with Iran, the response from Washington was muted. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein apologized and agreed to pay reparations. The Stark incident led to an increase of U.S. naval ships in the Persian Gulf to escort convoys of Kuwaiti tankers that were being attacked by Iran, leading to several hostile exchanges and increased tensions, fueling The Clash. After a day-long skirmish between Iranian and U.S. forces in April 1988, the Ayatollah Khomeini and Hashemi Rafsanjani, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, sought a new course to defuse tensions.
  49. “Admiral Kidd and I were given only one week to gather evidence for the Navy’s official investigation, though we both estimated that a proper Court of Inquiry would take at least six months.” Ward Boston, Jr., “Forty Years Later, Searching for Truth,” The San Diego Union Tribune, June 8, 2007.
  50. See “Declaration of Ward Boston, Jr., Captain, JAGC, USN (Ret.)” dated January 8, 2004 in which Capt. Boston recollects a conversation with Admiral Issac C. Kidd, president of the court, after Admiral Kidd spoke with Admiral McCain.
  51. Excerpted from declaration of Ward Boston, counsel to the U.S. Navy court of inquiry.
  52. Author’s phone discussion with James Ennes of April 9, 2008.
  53. See John Crewdson, “New revelations in attack on American spy ship,” Chicago Tribune, October 2, 2007 (online at See also
  54. Clark Clifford and Richard Holbrooke, Counsel to the President: A Memoir (New York: Random House, 1991), p. 224. The Criminal State series will include an account of Clifford’s role in influencing Truman’s recognition of Israel in May 1948, in large part to satisfy pro-Zionist campaign contributors in the 1948 presidential elections. Las Vegas publisher Hank Greenspun and Israeli arms dealer Adolph “Al” Schwimmer are the likely source of funds reportedly then delivered aboard Truman’s campaign train. An ardent Zionist and avid gunrunner, compared to what Greenspun did for Israel, The Jerusalem Post wrote (in comparing Greenspun to Israel’s most damaging spy against America): “Jonathan Pollard’s act was pure innocence.” Denton & Morris, The Money and the Power (New York: Vintage Books, 2001), pp. 59-74. During an arms embargo with Israel, Greenspun set up weapons transit depots in Panama, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan operation pre-staged the Reagan-discrediting “Iran-Contra” scandal in which Schwimmer was the primary gunrunner when funds from covert arms sales to Iran were used to support anti-Communist guerillas in Nicaragua. As a rule, the first stop was Czechoslovakia where the government placed an airstrip at the Zionists’ disposal. Howard M. Sachar, A History of the Jews in America (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1992), p. 615. Fifty-four years later, Czech operatives claimed that 9/11 terrorist leader Mohamed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague, an account (since dismissed) promoted by former CIA chief James Woolsey, co-chairman of the Committee on the Present Danger. Clifford played a key role in crafting the National Security Act of 1947 that established the CIA and separated foreign from domestic intelligence gathering, an “intelligence gap” exploited in the pre-staging of 9/11. Clifford played a four-decade role as a trans-presidency asset identified early on for his usefulness in enabling, with partner Robert Altman, an international fraud that helped Middle Eastern investors acquire U.S. banks. Operating in 78 countries, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International was accused of committing a $13 billion fraud that involved money laundering, bribery, smuggling, support of terrorism and the sale of nuclear technologies. That fraud catalyzed a candidate-discrediting scandal during the 1992 presidential campaign of G.H.W. Bush, helping elect Bill Clinton and a pro-Israeli administration that pre-staged the war in Iraq. Along with Iran oil-trader Marc Rich, Schwimmer was granted clemency on January 20, 2001 by president Bill Clinton.
  55. Richard Helms, A Look over my Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency (New York: Random House, 2003), p. 301.
  56. Quoted in Bryant Jordan, “Key Investigators Express Belief That Israel Deliberately Attacked U.S. Ship,” Navy Times, June 26, 2002.
  57. Quoted in Associated Press, “Lyndon Johnson ordered cover-up: Former navy lawyer,” Toronto Star, October 22, 2003. Admiral Moorer believed that Johnson ordered the cover up to maintain ties with Israel.
  58. Ibid., p. 302. Contrary to media accounts, the “hot line” was not a telephone line but a dedicated teletype device for the sending and receipt of encrypted messages. Established after the Cuban missile crisis, the U.S. component was then located not in the White House Situation Room but in the Pentagon.
  59. That experience informs those who question why U.S. policymakers, regardless of party, decline to apply the political pressure required to end Israeli aggression against Palestinians. Had Egypt been the genuine aggressor, as Tel Aviv sought to induce others to believe, that aggression could have triggered a U.S. response, not a prospect that Egypt would have sought as a Soviet client state.
  60. Associated Press, “Lyndon Johnson ordered cover up: Former navy lawyer,” Toronto Star, October 22, 2003. See also “Declaration of Ward Boston, Jr., Captain, JAGC, USN (Ret.)” dated January 8, 2004 in which Capt. Boston recollects a conversation with Admiral Issac C. Kidd, president of the court, in which Kidd said that he had been ordered by Johnson and McNamara “to conclude that the attack was a case of ‘mistaken identity’ despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”
  61. Liberty’s “satellite dish” bounced a microwave signal off the moon. If the ship and the National Security Agency could see the moon at the same time, they could communicate. Thomas Moorer, “A Fair Probe Would Attack Liberty Misinformation,” Stars and Stripes, January 16, 2004.
  62. A. Jay Cristol, The Liberty Incident: The 1967 Israeli Attack on the U.S. Navy Spy Ship (Washington, D.C.: Brassey’s, Inc., 2002).
  63. See A. Jay Cristol, “Why You Shouldn’t Pay Attention to the Claims That Israel Attacked the USS Liberty Deliberately,” June 11, 2007. Online at
  64. Quoted in Associated Press, “Lyndon Johnson ordered cover up: Former navy lawyer,” Toronto Star, October 22, 2003.
  65. Ward Boston, Jr., “Time for Truth About the Liberty,” San Diego Union, June 8, 2007.
  66. “Why You Shouldn’t Pay Attention to the Claims That Israel Attacked the USS Liberty Deliberately,” online at James Ennes confirmed that Cristol is Jewish.
  67. John Crewdson, “New revelations in attack on American spy ship,” Chicago Tribune, October 2, 2007.
  68. Thomas Moorer, “A Fair Probe Would Attack Liberty Misinformation,” Stars and Stripes, January 16, 2004.
  69. Paul Findley, The Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1985), Chapter 6.
  70. Thomas H. Moorer, Stars and Strips, “A fair probe would attack Liberty misinformation,” January 16, 2004.
  71. After the cover up, Admiral Kidd served as Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla 12. Promoted to vice admiral, he then commanded First Fleet, followed by command of Sixth Fleet. He was promoted to admiral in 1971 where, as Chief of Naval Materiel, he served as the Navy’s top Procurement and Logistics Officer with command of a civilian and military workforce of more than 350,000 men and women. He became Supreme Allied Commander in Chief Atlantic and Commander-in-Chief U.S. Atlantic Fleet on May 30, 1975.
  72. Christian Science Monitor, June 22, 1982. Nor did the award mention which nation attacked the USS Liberty, leaving ambiguous the enemy for which McGonagle was decorated for valor under enemy fire. Commentators suggest that such ambiguity is typical for intelligence-related operations.
  73. Statement of Ambassador Edward Peck regarding the USS Liberty, delivered at the U.S. Navy Memorial, June 8, 2007. http://www.ifamericans
  74. Conversation of June 15, 2005 with Gary Brummett, then president of the USS Liberty Veterans Association who reported his confirming conversation with McGonagle’s daughter, Susan.
  75. Boston quoting Admiral Kidd in John Crewdson, “New revelations in attack on American spy ship,” Chicago Tribune, October 2, 2007.
  76. Quoted in John B. Quigley, The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective (Raleigh-Durham: Duke University Press, 2005).
  77. Serge Schmemann, “General’s Words Shed a New Light on the Golan,” New York Times, May 11, 1997.
  78. Brummett suggests this amount is greatly inflated. He describes survivors who received checks for $50 to $400 in return for signing a release holding Israel harmless (he signed a release for $200). He also suggests that survivor payments were made not by Israel but by private Jewish groups. Several sources suggest that any Israeli payments were offset by additional funds paid to Israel as U.S. military assistance.
  79. A Report: War Crimes Committed Against U.S. Military Personnel, June 8, 1967. Submitted to the Secretary of the Army in his capacity as Executive Agent for the Secretary of Defense, June 8, 2005. Online at
  80. Email to author of February 28, 2008 from Gary Brummett; author email exchange of April 18-19, 2008 with James Ennes.
  81. Israel eventually acquired 42 new-build F-4Es, 12 new-build RF-4Es, and 162 ex-U.S. Air Force F-4Es.
  82. The Criminal State series will document the Israeli theft of U.S. technology, including the systematic corruption of U.S. technology transfer centers, an effort reportedly advanced with funds promised by A.I.G.
  83. See Chapter 7 (“The New Anti-Semitism”).
  84. From a game theory perspective, Israel’s nuclear weapons capability provides an additional means to influence U.S. decision-makers to come to Israel’s aide should Tel Aviv claim the Jewish state is endangered and may, in response, deploy its nuclear weaponry as a defensive measure. This strategic use of uncertainty is characterized as “constructive ambiguity” by George Ball in explaining how, “trained in their own school of diplomacy, they insisted on fuzzy language so that they could then start haggling from scratch.” The Passionate Attachment, p. 62. From a game theory perspective, the privileged mindset of those who view themselves as “chosen” also adds an increment of strategic advantage because, as this modus operandi is grasped by an informed global public, Israeli extremists may opt for a modern-day Masada by deploying their nuclear weaponry to destroy themselves and others rather than face the prospect of accountability for trans-generational crimes against humanity. The game theory (expectations-based) component of Israel’s nuclear-state status in the Middle East was acknowledged in November 2006 by Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh when he explained that “an Iranian nuclear bomb could destroy the Zionist enterprise even if the bomb was never used, since its very existence would lead Jews to emigrate from Israel.” Aluf Benn, “A meeting in handcuffs for Ehud Olmert, George Bush,” Haaretz, November 12, 2006.
  85. Perle’s impact on U.S. national security provides a case study in the people in between. Within months of Perle commencing work with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1969, he became embroiled in an incident involving the leaking of a classified CIA report alleging past Soviet treaty violations. Before CIA Director Stansfield Turner could fire CIA analyst David Sullivan, he was hired by Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson where Sullivan thereafter worked with Perle, the person to whom Sullivan leaked the material. In 1970, a wiretap on the Israeli Embassy detected Perle discussing classified information supplied to him by National Security Council staff member Helmut Sonnenfeldt who was investigated in 1967 for providing classified information to an Israeli official concerning the commencement of the Six-Day War. Perle played a key role in the Jackson-Vanik amendment conditioning the shipment of U.S. grain to Russia on the emigration of Jews from Russia. Perle played a critical role in pre-staging and orchestrating the use of Iraqi Ahmad Chalabi as a conduit for fixed intelligence in support of the war in Iraq. He also served as the policy-shaping chairman of the U.S. Defense Policy Advisory Board while enabling what U.K. officials characterized as a “corporate kleptocracy” at Hollinger International, a pro-Zionist publisher and promoter of the war in Iraq. Hollinger was then led by Conrad Black, since imprisoned.
  86. Dean Rusk, As I Saw It (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1990), p. 388.
  87. For example, see the U.S. attack on Tripoli (Chapter 1).
  88. After Israel bombarded Beirut for a full nine weeks, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded an immediate cease-fire on August 1, 1982 and dispatched military observers. When Palestine Liberation Organization leaders refused to comply with General Ariel Sharon’s demand that they leave promptly, he canceled the cease-fire, unleashed another heavy bombardment on West Beirut and sent in troops. When President Reagan questioned whether Israel’s use of American weaponry and munitions was for “legitimate self defense,” Prime Minister Menachem Begin assembled in Jerusalem 190 Jewish-American leaders. After delivering a bitter harangue, the former Irgun terrorist clarified Tel Aviv’s assessment of international law (as well as its regard for the U.S.) when he shouted to those assembled: “No one should preach to us. Nobody, nobody is going to bring Israel to her knees. You must have forgotten that the Jews kneel but to God.” Quoted in George W. Ball and Douglas B. Ball, The Passionate Attachment (New York: W.W. Norton, 1992), p. 125.
  89. Israeli Air Force Commander Motti Hod cited in Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison (New York: Harper, 1991), p. 150.
  90. Ibid., pp. 149-150.
  91. George W. Ball and Douglas B. Ball, The Passionate Attachment, p. 55.
  92. Mathilde Krim, Ph.D., was founding chairman of the American Foundation for AIDS Research. She allied with pop-culture icon Elizabeth Taylor to form the AIDS Medical Foundation. Taylor was already involved in similar efforts due to her friendship with actor Rock Hudson who died of AIDS in 1985.