Contributor Post

GUEST POST: CONSIDERING THE USS FITZGERALD INCIDENT

August 6, 2017 By Joseph P. Farrell

(Today's guest post is from Mr. R.P, who has a slightly different take on what may have happened in the USS Fitzgerald incident; if one allows the full implications of what he is saying sink in, then it's one of those involuntary throat-swallowing moments...  Here's his analysis and speculation on the incident, and who he thinks is sending messages):

While  listening to the members' vid-chat several weeks ago, the incident of the USS Fitzgerald came up. One of the commenters was aghast that the Captain was possibly sleeping. This article started as an explanation of how ship’s watches allow for things like eating, sleeping and other work rather than staying on a bridge for 24/7 for the entire deployment. As I dug into the Fitzgerald incident I was reminded of the USS Donald Cook. Then it got fun.

The USS Donald Cook is an Aegis class, guided missile destroyer. An Aegis radar system stitches together the disparate radar inputs and creates an environment-wide real-time electronic scenario with which to combat incoming threats. It is very similar to the "Catch a Pokemon" phenomenon a few months ago were NSA were linking all the inputs of all the smart phones for a 3D rendering of the environment around rare Pokemons. These ships' main weapons are guided missiles and secondary armament is the 5"/54 gun.

The entire ‘attack’ of the USS Donald Cook incident can be summed up as a pair of second line Russian fighters did an over flight of the USS Donald Cook. The SU 24 is a Soviet era fighter-bomber, and it’s lucky if it’s second string. These unarmed aircraft flew past the USS Cook and disrupted the electronic systems. They then flew twelve attack passes on the Cook, "sending a message."

Several points can be unpacked here. The Black Sea is a Russian Lake. The USS Donald Cook was not just performing peaceful exercises in the Black Sea with the Turkish navy but collecting electronic intelligence on radio chatter from the Russian coast. It is capable of filling the role of spy ship or listening post.

The ‘attack’ took place on the 11th and 12th of April, 2016. Less than six months previously, on the 24th of November 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian SU 24. It was probably doing aerial reconnaissance and electronic warfare operations. There can be passive electronic warfare operations where one just "listens" (think of a sonarman on a submarine and you get the idea). Aegis destroyers would have been patching together radar inputs to guide the Turkish F 16s onto the target aircraft, killing one airman.

The pair of SU-24 knocked out electronic systems. No article I could find said it affected the propulsion of the ship. It may have been a type of targeted electronic warfare attack. One very telling photo shows a breaking bow wave on the Cook. (http://www.voltairenet.org/article185860.html) The ship had propulsion systems operational. Only its combative capacity was reduced dramatically. This will be a very important point when we consider the USS Fitzgerald.

The USS Fitzgerald incident happened at 1:30 am in the Philippine Sea. This is the Sea bordered by Japan, China and The Philippines. It was struck amidships by a cargo containership. Seven US sailors lost their lives and others were injured, including the captain of the Fitzgerald. The Fitzgeraldlike the Donald Cook, is a guided missile destroyer.

Several questions arise: Did the Fitzgerald have way? Was it steaming along and able to navigate? This is important as a naval destroyer compares to a container ship as a Porshe to a double decker bus. Why did the Crystal (the container ship) reverse course several times in an obvious attempt to hit the Fitzgerald? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Fitzgerald_and_MV_ACX_Crystal_collision)

Note the speed of the Crystal. The map also shows some very erratic maneuvering of the container ship after the collision. I found no information of the Fitzgerald’s course; just the Crystal's.

Nevertheless, a few points immediately spring to mind. I have sailed in that sea aboard a warship, the Canadian HMCS Restigouche. While at sea there are a minimum of six people on the bridge at all times. Two of these people are sailors who are the port and starboard lookouts. This brings us to the next point: a container ship is tough to miss. Even at night you can use your binoculars to see them as either a ship with running lights or a warship that is a shadow, a negation of the normal light and sea and sky. In several sources, in fact almost all of them, I found that the Fitzgerald is taking the blame for this. Most articles say that the captain was asleep, and the crew were tucked in their berths.  This is a typical sort of article about the incident. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4718884/Investigation-suggests-USS-Fitzgerald-fault-crash.html

All the articles (even Wikipedia!) allege or imply that the American ship was responsible. (See, for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Fitzgerald_and_MV_ACX_Crystal_collision ) Imagine that. It’s not only the government admitting culpability but the Navy!

But there's a huge problem: In one of the photos you can see the damage on the Fitzgerald. Look closely. It’s a kiss from a container ship that weighed eight times as much as the destroyer. It hit amidships. With enough speed from the Crystal it would have ripped the smaller ship, the destroyer in half. Think PT 109. With my checkered background I think something else very likely happened: like Dr. Farrell, I think that an electro-magnetic pulse hit the Fitzgerald, disabling all the systems on board the ship leaving it dead in the water. A parked Porsche. Once the entire ship was ‘nuked’ it would have gone to Action Stations without the bonging and intercoms. All red openings would have been sealed, i.e., all the hatches below the waterline. The crew would have been at action stations and the captain on the bridge. They saw the Crystal coming, but there was nothing they could do.  In this scenario, the navigational systems on the Crystal were "hacked," and possibly then steerage taken over remotely. On the maps it shows the Crystal steaming into the destroyer. It had power and their radar would have picked up the warship. It then hit the destroyer amidships, bounced off, and then turned around for another pass at the disabled destroyer. Which stayed there. Not moving. Parked.

The entire crew of the Crystal would have been at their version of emergency stations. Engineers may have turned off the fuel to the engines manually to limit the damage to the ship. Look at the speed of the Crystal for the second pass at the Fitzgerald. I have been involved in a collision at sea. There would have been sheer terror on both bridges as the inevitable occurred, a slow motion train wreck. Both ships would have been at a very heightened state of readiness and the crew on both vessels will be traumatized.

It is more than coincidental that a Philippine registered ship hit an American warship. Those poor folks in the Philippines have enough trouble with ISIS in their country, to now have to deal with this.  Unless this was a message. To whom? Duterte? I would say no. The US "Deep State" is, I think, the recipient of this message: "We know who ISIS is and we’re not happy." may be the message.

But who sent it?

The Philippine Sea shares its border with Japan, The Philippines and China. You connect the dots if there are any to connect to China. I suggest a Chinese submarine "pulsed" the Fitzgerald. The Crystal would have been hacked from the mainland through Chinese satellites. It would account for a bit of the lag of the collision and track of the Crystal.

Immediately, the USN would either have to "take the blame", or admit to the world that its ships are open to being completely shut down in a war time situation while container ships, like giant torpedoes, "pinball" off the sides of its aircraft carriers and cruisers.

Is this what happened? I don’t know and can’t say. But I can say that I think the USN "doth protest too much."

This second attack is different from the Cook. That was the Russians talking. This is the Chinese talking. The Russians were more surgical yet the Chinese could have caused greater loss of life if the Crystal hit at full speed. I think the war is a lot hotter than we want to believe. All sides are being very creative to not let it get into a shooting war.