Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘President Nasser

The Six Day War and Israeli Lies: What I Saw at the CIA

By Melvin A. Goodman, CounterPunch

On too many occasions in U.S. history, the use of force has been justified with either corrupt intelligence or just plain lies.

Such was the case in the Mexican-American War; the Spanish-American War; the Vietnam War; and the 2003 Iraq War…

The checks and balances that were needed to prevent the misuse of intelligence were not operative, and Presidents Polk, McKinley, Johnson, and Bush deceived the American people, the U.S. Congress, and the press.

In 1967, Israeli officials at the highest level lied to the White House about the start of the Six-Day War. (And do you believe that USA administration was actually deceived?)

As a junior analyst at the CIA, I helped to draft the report that described Israel’s attack against Egypt on the morning of June 5, 1967.  There were sensitive communications intercepts that documented Israeli preparations for an attack, and no evidence of an Egyptian battle plan.

The Israelis had been clamoring about indications of Egyptian preparations for an invasion, but we had no sign of Egyptian readiness in terms of its air or armored power.  The assumption was that the Israelis were engaging in disinformation in order to gain U.S. support.

My own view was that Egypt would be unlikely to start a war with Israel while half of its army was tied down fighting in a civil war in Yemen.  CIA’s Arabists believed that Egyptian President Nasser was bluffing, and cited the low quality of Cairo’s military equipment.

Walt Rostow meets with President Johnson in the Oval Office. Rostow played down US intelligence estimates in favor of what turned out to be Israeli lies.

We were therefore shocked when President Johnson’s national security adviser, Walt Rostow, refused to accept our intelligence assessment on the Israeli attack.  Rostow cited “assurances” from the Israeli ambassador in Washington that under no circumstances would the Israelis attack first.

Over the protests of Israeli defense minister Moshe Dayan, the Israeli government lied to the White House about how the war started.  President Johnson was told that the Egyptians had initiated firing on Israeli settlements and that an Egyptian squadron had been observed heading toward Israeli. Neither statement was true.

As a result, our report describing surprise Israeli attacks against Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian airfields encountered a hostile response from the National Security Council.  Fortunately, CIA director Richard Helms supported our assessment, and the National Military Command Center corroborated the report as well.

Rostow summoned Clark Clifford, chairman of the President’s Foreign Advisory Board and a leading NSC Arabist Hal Saunders to examine our analysis, and both men provided corroboration.

In addition to lying to the White House about the start of the war, Israeli military officers lied to the American ambassador to Israel, Walworth Barbour, about non-existent Egyptian military movements.

The CIA, meanwhile, had the benefit of satellite photography that showed Egyptian planes parked on airfields wingtip-to-wingtip, which pointed to no plan to attack.

Twenty years later, I learned that a confident of the president, Harry McPherson, was in Israel at the start of the war and accompanied Ambassador Barbour to the meeting with Prime Minister Eshkol.

When Israeli air raid sirens began to wail during the meeting, Israeli intelligence chief General Aharon Yariv assured everyone there was no need to move to an underground bunker.  If we had this information in 1967, it would have corroborated our analysis that the Israelis had destroyed more than 200 Egyptian planes on the ground.

Israeli forces attacked the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967, killing 34 and injuring over 170.

In addition to lying about the start of the war, the Israelis were even more deceitful three days later when they attributed their malicious attack on the USS Liberty to a random accident. 

If so, it was a well planned accident.  The ship was a U.S. intelligence vessel in international waters, both slow-moving and lightly armed.  It brandished a five-foot-by-eight-foot Stars and Stripes in the midday sun, and didn’t resemble a ship in any other navy, let alone a ship in the arsenal of one of Israel’s enemies. Yet the Israelis claimed that they believed they were attacking an Egyptian ship.

The Israeli attack took place after six hours of intense, low-level reconnaissance.  It was conducted over a two-hour period by unmarked Mirage jets using cannons and rockets. 

Israeli boats fired machine guns at close range at those helping the wounded, then machine-gunned the life rafts that survivors dropped in hope of abandoning the ship.  The NSA investigation of the disaster remains classified to this day.

Note: It is about time that the US citizens stop believing that the press, congress and Presidents were fooled and lied to in every expansionist/ pre-emptive wars


Women: Urban and rural (Cairo, Egypt). Part 2. June 23, 2009

Egyptian Urban Women

In the previous article I focused on women in rural Said of Egypt.  This post is on Urban Cairo, the Capital of Egypt, as reported by Laurence Deonna in ” Women: Struggle of the land and of sand” in 1968 for a project “Searching for the woman“.

Cairo keeps assimilating increasing numbers of rural citizens.  Cairo is a metropolis of over 20 millions and increasing at a high rate.

About one third of every new born will end up in Cairo Birth control policies, education, and facilities are not making any appreciable dent in Egypt.

President Nasser called the large birth rate as “politics of rabbits“.  A young woman says “as long as I am pregnant then my husband will take care of me”.

When Deonna tell her that her baby might die if not taken to the hospital, the girl replies “I will have another one, Inch Allah

Rural women have added superstitions to their heavy rural baggage; many ceremonies, traditions, and practices are pre-Islamic and of African origins.

Reading current novels and social accounts you realize that society in Cairo has not changed appreciably in customs and traditions since 1968 as of the accounts of Laurence Deonna.

The heavy international investments are not directly concerned with social improvement.  State institutions are not able to sustain the flow of immigration from rural Egypt and the high rate of birth that no laws or pressures could slow down.

The customs and traditions of rural Egypt are basically setting the tone for any kinds of reforms from the center to the periphery.  Unless reforms are focused on the peripheries then the major urban centers in Egypt will continue to drain any surplus of economic development.

Women demonstrated along side men in 1919 for self-autonomy of Egypt from colonial Britain. Women snatched the right to walk unveiled on streets in 1923.

Panels carried by demonstrating women in 1924 read “Educate your girls, respect your wife; a civilization is judged by the wife“.

Ceza Nabarawi was the right hand assistant of the first leader of women movement Hoda Chaarawi.  Ceza lived in Europe in her youth and refused to wear the veil when she had to be back to Egypt. Thus, she locked herself up for a month.

One windy day, Ceza had her veil and hat blown away; a kid returned them to Ceza saying “I bring your head back“.  Ceza said young girls were locked up in harem at the age of 12 (in rich urban families since peasants had to work).  Women drove out in closed carriages with heavy drapes drawn. In theaters, wood netting separated women from the public.

Hoda Chaarawi was the daughter of a pasha and was married at age 13 to her mentor. She separated of her husband for 7 years.

Hoda founded the magazine “L’Egyptienne” of her own money (father’s money) and Ceza was the editor-in-chief for 15 years; this magazine did not contain kitchen recipes or questionnaires such as “Are you sexually jealous of your girl” or “Do not forget your feet, the main seductive part of your body”.

“The Egyptian women” magazine exposed their rights, political analysis, art critics, and reports on women congress that the women association attended around the world. The “Women association” attended international forums and conventions on women rights and the Palestinian problems in the thirties and forties.

The magazine told stories of women conditions in Northern Africa, Iraq, Sudan, and even China.  Ceza met Gandhi in 1931 in Alexandria because the British authorities refused Gandhi to disembarque.  Gandhi handed Ceza a letter that she published praising the Egyptian women movement as the first messengers for peace and progress; the irreducible disciples for non-violence.

Ceza and Hoda struggled for closing down the privileges of the foreigners in Egypt.  The foreigners houses could not be violated by Egyptian police forces and there were two courts of laws; one for the Egyptians and another for foreigners.

In 1938, the movement held a gathering of the Middle East women in Cairo and discussed the Palestinian problem because Jews were dispatched to inhabit Palestine and form a majority.  The Palestinian problem was also discussed at length during the Copenhagen congress in 1939.

The “Arab Women League” was established in 1944. The Palestinian problem was also exposed at the “International Women Alliance” in 1946.

Hoda Chaarawi died in 1947, a few days after Palestine was partitioned.  Ceza founded in 1951 “Women Popular Resistance Committee” and worked for the Egyptian population to vacate the Suez Canal.

Deonna is visiting the Zoo of Cairo; there are hippopotamus, Indian Elephants, and monkeys among other animals. There is a seat sculpted in stone that fitted the behind of King Farouk who had a “pleasure grotto” in the park when he was King of Egypt.

A woman decked in a long white robe is praying in the zoo. Women are more superstitious than men here; is it because women have learned to be in intimate contact with invisible forces?

Women invoke the Imam or the Sheikh most of the time. Imam Shafeyi, dead 13 centuries ago is their favorite Imam: women line up in front of shrines asking favors; stamped letters are also sent to shrines in the present tense with the name of the sender and the name of her mother, as is the case in Pharaonic custom.  The complaints in the written messages concern mostly the treatments of mother-in-laws; retributions demanded go as far as gouging eyes of the nemesis. Many statutes of famous people are wrongly considered as representing saint “sheikhs”.

Among the superstitions is for families to keep secret engagement transactions for fear of the “spirits” meddling in the affair.  A young girl is readying to get wed; she dips her feet in water containing all kinds of green vegetables, a loaf of bread under her armpit, in her mouth a piece of sugar and a piece of money, and the Koran on her head with a lighted candle on top of the Koran; these things symbolize successively expectancy, food, a soft tongue, prosperity, protection and light that the wife will bring to her new home.

Exorcism and bewitching ceremonies are common. The “sheikh tariks“, including women, are specialized in mystic and magic ceremonies; they distribute hundred of magical recipes for any kinds of condition and situation.  The “sheikh tariks” have huge influence among the superstitious citizens.

The “zaar” is an African ceremony practiced by women as therapeutic outlets and for exorcism purposes. In a corner incense is burned to attract “djinns”.  A dervish turns, dances, and orchestrates the ceremony.  Women pick up the dancing tempo until they lose conscious.  There are the flutist, the tambourine, and the singing specialists. Sitting on straw mats, other women are waiting for their turn.

It was the fashion among the high classes, but now is practiced by the lower classes.  By the mosque Al Hussein blind women assemble. Frightful women mumble unintelligent words accompanied by gesticulations; they are the “megazibs” or fools who pretend to be possessed by the spirit of Allah but do not respect religious holidays.  They are usually simple minded who have been patients in asylums. Many women avoid prosecution by joining this “sanctified” crowd.  The “zikr” is a ceremony practiced by men, close to mosques, and has mystic and religious meaning.

Note: Read part 1 on Egyptian rural women https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/06/21/women-urban-and-rural/


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