by Enver Masud
While refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden on October 12, the $1 billion USS
Cole was struck by a $5000 boat piloted by two suicide bombers that blasted a 30
feet by 40 feet hole midway in the hull just above the waterline, killing 17
American sailors and injuring 39 others. The USS Cole may have to be scrapped.
The bombing, said President Clinton, in his speech at the USS Cole memorial
ceremony was the act of "hate-filled terrorists" who "envy our strength without
understanding the values that give us strength. For them, it is their way or no
way: their interpretation, twisted though it may be, of a beautiful religious
tradition; their political views; their racial and ethnic views."
John Lehman, secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration, in his
op-ed article of October 15 in the Washington Post, wrote that the attack "was a
well-planned act of war by obviously brave and disciplined warriors."
The values these "warriors," and ordinary citizens in the Middle East,
oppose is Western greed that robs them of their freedom, resources and
opportunities--and the U.S. bias toward Israel that damages U.S. interests in
U.S. forces, of which the USS Cole was a part, enforce crippling sanctions
and the US/UK self-declared "no-fly zones" against Iraq--which the UN says have
resulted in the deaths of at least one million citizens of Iraq, including at
least 500,000 children under the age of 5.
And Iraq is not the only victim of U.S. manipulation in the Gulf. U.S.
puppet regimes live in luxury while squandering their nations' wealth, deterring
democracy, and offering few meaningful job opportunities to their citizens.
According to "The Military Balance 1999-2000," prepared by the U.S. Navy,
these forces include: the U.S. Sixth Fleet patrolling the eastern Mediterranean
sea with 17 ships, 66 aircraft, and 13,010 sailors and marines, and the Fifth
Fleet patrolling the Persian Gulf with 22 ships, 66 aircraft, and 12,880 sailors
and marines. In addition, the U.S. has based 3,590 military personnel in
Turkey; 5,720 in Saudi Arabia, 5,190 in Kuwait, 900 in Bahrain, 30 in Qatar, and
690 in Oman.
Forgotten by most Americans, the U.S. continues its war on Iraq.
Since December 20, 1998, according to the Washington Post, more than 12,000
sorties have been flown against Iraq alone, and other Muslim countries have not
been spared. Among the major strikes:
January 1993--100 U.S., British and French aircraft bombed Iraqi radar and
surface-to-air missile sites. Less than a week later, U.S. warships fired 46
Tomahawk cruise missiles into a site just outside Baghdad.
June 1993--U.S. ships fired 24 Tomahawks into Iraq's intelligence headquarters in
retaliation for an alleged plot to assassinate President George Bush.
September 1996--After Iraq attacked Kurds in northern Iraq, U.S. forces
fired 27 cruise missiles against Iraqi military targets.
August 1998--In retaliation for the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East
Africa, U.S. warships in the Red and Arabian seas fired missiles at targets in
Sudan and Afghanistan.
December 1998--In "Operation Desert Fox," the military dropped more than 600
bombs and launched more than 400 cruise missiles at Iraq in 70 hours of strikes.
These attacks by the U.S., its double standard with respect to UN
resolutions on the inadmissability of acquiring land by force, and its one-sided
support of Israel in the never ending "peace process"--which has failed to
improve the lives of Palestinians living in dire poverty under a brutal,
humiliating Israeli occupation--have given many in the region cause for
Yemeni authorities say they have arrested several "Islamic militants" in
connection with the bombing, but say it is too early in the investigation to
implicate the millionaire Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, whom U.S. officials
suspect of involvement.
Alternative media point to another possible culprit. Israel, they say,
needed to divert world attention and sympathy from the Palestinian
intifada--trigerred by the violation of the Haram as-Sharif by the Likud leader
Ariel Sharon, accompanied by 1000 Israeli troops. The intifada has claimed the
lives of 130, and injured 4000--the vast majority Palestinian. Sharon is reviled
for his role in the massacre of 2000 Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra
and Shatila in Lebanon 18 years ago.
As "proof" alternative media cite the assault on the USS
Liberty by Israel, and Israel's alleged role in the bombing of the World Trade
James M. Ennes, Jr, writing in Assault on the Liberty, states: "In June
1967, jet aircraft and motor torpedo boats of Israel brutally assaulted an
American naval vessel, the USS Liberty, in international waters off the Sinai
Peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea." This attack was covered up by the U.S.
government, and "remains the only major maritime incident in all U.S. history
that has not been publicly investigated by the United States Congress."
Former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky told the New York based Village Voice
in 1993 that Israeli intelligence may have been behind the World Trade Center
bombing. Desperate to crack down on another Palestinian intifada, and draw media
attention away from 400 freezing Palestinians expelled to Lebanon by Israel,
Israel needed a plan to discredit the Palestinians. Ostrovsky admitted that he
didn't have "a shred of evidence" to support his theory.
Besides having a motive, Israel apparently had the means to attack the USS
Cole. On October 19, BBC News Online reported: "Samples of explosives taken from
the destroyer had been identified by US investigators as of a type available
only in Israel, the USA, and two Arab countries."
And the navy itself has cast doubt on the "facts" surrounding the bombing.
Roberto Suro and Alan Sipress of the Washington Post wrote on October 21:
"the Navy now says, the apparent suicide attack took place more than 90 minutes
after mooring had been completed... The revision casts doubt on previous
assertions by top Navy commanders that the bombing was virtually unpreventable
because the small boat blended in with harbor workboats helping the U.S. warship
tie up to a fueling station in the port of Aden."
Enver Masud is an engineering management consultant, author of "The War on
Islam," and founder of The Wisdom Fund--www.twf.org. This article was published
in England in Impact
International, November 2000
["U.S. investigators ... have been told by Yemeni officials that anti-Western
guerrillas had planned to bomb another U.S. destroyer as it refueled in Aden
last January.... A suspect arrested in Yemen had told officials there that the
plot against the destroyer USS The Sullivans went awry when a small boat loaded
with explosives apparently sank before the attack could be carried out....The
attempt had been scheduled for January 3."--Charles Aldinger, "Yemen Is Told of
Earlier Plot Against a U.S. Ship," Reuters, November 10, 2000. Why aren't U.S.
investigators looking for the sunken boat?]
["U.S. officials cautioned that there is still no hard evidence that bin
Laden was behind the Cole attack."--Thomas E. Ricks and Vernon Loeb, "Cole
Security Lapses Found," Washington Post, December 9, 2000]
[President Ali Abdallah Salih "said over and over again that Israel might be
responsible for the bombing of the USS Cole."--"Yemen's President, Naming Names,"
Washington Post, December 10, 2000]
[At the last moment, the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service cancelled the
broadcast of the USS Liberty Cover-up scheduled for February 25, 2001.]
"USS Cole Suspect:
Torture Elicited Confession," Associated Press, March 30, 2007
[The dismissal of the charges eliminates the need for Monday's hearing but
al-Nashiri would remain in U.S. custody and could be recharged under the
commissions system or a replacement drawn up by the Obama
administration.--Jane Sutton and Andrew Gray, "
Judge drops charges in USS Cole bombing case," Reuters, February 6,
[The Saudi prisoner awaiting a death-penalty trial for the USS Cole bombing was
tortured physically, mentally and sexually--Carol Rosenberg, "Suspect
in USS Cole bombing was tortured, expert says," Miami Herald, April 24, 2014
[They also ask the justices to resolve the open legal question of when the "War on Terror" began.--Carol Rosenberg, "In a
first, former CIA captive appeals Guantanamo trial to Supreme Court," mcclatchydc.com,
March 18, 2017]
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