OK... it's the day before the American thanksgiving holiday, and in trying to sort through all the articles in my inbox (and believe me, I'd like to blog about all of them!), I saw that many of you had sent along this story about yet another collision of a US naval warship with another ship, this time a Japanese tugboat. So with Saudi coups going on, airplane-helicopter collisions over a Rothschild estate in Great Britain, Mad Madam Merkel's ongoing woes, and a circus of sexual charge and countercharge in American politics, why choose this story as the final pre-holiday blog?
Well, I'll get back to the whys and wherefores. Here's two versions of the story, if, indeed, you can call them versions:
Now, you'll have noticed that the Yahoo version of the story is superficially longer than the Zero Hedge version, but that both contain such a paucity of information that the "story", such as it is, boils down to:
"A Japanese tugboat experienced problems and crashed into our ship."
Really? That's it?
Indeed, there's so little information here that I cannot help but indulge my habit of driving truckloads of high octane speculation through this one. Indeed, it's like an open invitation to do so. First, there's so little information that I strongly suspect that there's a bigger story here and that the US Navy, which was met with all sorts of speculation after the USS John McCain and USS Fitzgerald incidents (not to forget the USS Donald Cook), has clamped down hard on any press releases. The collision, after all, occurred during naval exercises designed to impress North Korea.
My guess is that they're probably not laughing in Pyongyang, and certainly not in the Pentagon, because what is absent here is almost a complete blackout of what may have caused the accident. Notably, this time it cannot be blamed on American crew incompetence (so it would seem), because the Zero Hedge version of the story states this:
According to the report, the US Navy carried out towing exercises when the boat experienced technical problems and crashed into the side of the USS Benfold.
This is the statement that, frankly, caught my eye. Notably, it is not a quotation from any US Navy source, but it does reference a Sputnik report of the incident. In any case, the language is - again - invitingly ambiguous: which boat experienced technical problems? The Japanese tugboat? or the USS Benfold? But the latter doesn't make sense, since were told that "the US Navy carried out towing exercises when the boat experienced technical problems...," clearly implying that it was the Japanese ship, rather than the American one, that was experiencing "technical problems". Does this mean the American warship "stopped everything" during a wargame exercise to tow a Japanese tugboat? If so, that suggests that the problem on the tugboat was of a somewhat serious nature. Otherwise, why not radio the Japanese authorities for a civilian vessel to assist the stricken tugboat? In other words, on this reading, the situation was serious and perhaps urgent.
Yet, we're told next to nothing about it, nor about the nature of the "technical problems." Were these problems with the vessel itself? or the crew? or both?
I stress these points because in all the attention focused on the Fitzgerald incident some weeks ago, everyone was focused on the warship itself. No one seemed to be asking about the freighter that struck it: why had its crew not steered to avoid collision? Did its crew experience some sort of mental haze or confusion? Had control of the freighter been taken over... perhaps even hacked? (After all, if one can hack airliners, why not freighters?) The US Navy, it will be recalled, tried to place some blame on the warship's crew and the then commanding flag officer of the 7th Fleet who was subsequently dismissed. That boat didn't float, as far as I was concerned, because the freighter crew, by the same lights, would appear to have been equally, if not more, culpable and incompetent. And you'll notice, not a word has been said about the crews of the ramming freighters since the Fitzgerald and McCain incidents. The whole thing smelled of technical failure, and regular readers here will recall that I even suspected a bit of mind manipulation technology might have been in play.
Oh, and interestingly enough, RT reported that the "technical problems" were that the Japanese tug "lost its propulsion." Was this serious enough to make the US warship, during wargames, become a tugboat? Even the specificity, when provided, raises my suspicion meter into the red zone: Hmmmm...
So, yes, I'm putting this into the same column as the Fitzgerald and John McCain incidents, and even in the same column as the Donald Cook incident until more information is forthcoming, and yes, I'll probably be skeptical of that too. Something is going on; someone is sending messages, and that someone appears to possibly have some very sophisticated technology.
See you on the flip side...