October 31, 2000
The Wisdom Fund

USS Cole: A Diversion, or Casualty of War

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 the region.

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 retaliation.

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 Center.

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 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, 2009]

[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,", March 18, 2017]

[The US ruled Sudan was responsible for the attack as the two suicide bombers involved were trained in the country.--"USS Cole bombing: Sudan agrees to compensate families,", February 13, 2020]

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