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The USS LIBERTY Incident


Evan Burton
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The biggest hole it that by June 8, day four of the “Six Day War”, the Israelis had already achieved most of their objectives:

They had captured the Gaza Strip, the Sinai and the West Bank; the Egyptians and Jordanians were in full retreat.

The air forces air airfields of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq had been destroyed, the Israelis had no need for American fighters or bombers.

This may be true--I'll have to verify this claim, but it still leaves the central question unanswered: namely, was it deliberate or accidental?

The Americans established that elements of the IDF had identified the Liberty as early as 9am. Yet the attack still went ahead.

Therefore, two possibilities present themselves,

A-Deliberate. This would constitute an act of war. Technically, this would require a response from the US. The US responded to the USS Maine, Pearl Harbour and the Gulf of Tonkin by declaring war on the nations responsible. Why would this be any different? The only possible defense would be the claim that the attack occured during a time of war. At the very least, the leadership of the IDF should have been hauled before a war crime tribunal, court martialed and imprisoned. The dead and wounded and their families deserved better than to be intimidated into silence.

B-Accidental. This would mean that a significant breakdown in the chain of command had occured. The 'element' which was aware of the Liberty's identity had not communicated this to the 'element' responsible for the attack. Moreover, the element responsible for the attack had not recieved proper clearance from the high command. Somehow, wires were crossed and the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing. This raises the alarming question; if such a breakdown in the command structure occurred, why is Israel in possession of nuclear weapons? Couldn't a similar breakdown result in a nuclear catastrophe for the region? Unidentified 'elements' within the IDF apparently act without properly constituted authority, so if Israel were under attack, or even under the threat of attack, these elements may again respond unpredictably. A nation which contains unpredictable 'elements' and whose chain of command has proven to be unreliable and irresponsible should never possess such weaponry. Their vast conventional armoury is already too much. The US tells the world that its role is to ensure that nuclear weapons don't fall into the hands of irresponsible Governments. If the US was to play that role, pressure should be placed on Israel as it is being placed on North Korea and Iran. Of course, this will never happen because 1) the US is lying about its role and 2) Israel's strongest supporters own the western media and the US politicians.

These are the two possibilities. FWIW, I believe it was no accident.

Edited by Mark Stapleton
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Assuming the attack was deliberate--and it appears the vast majority of researchers fall into this category--the Liberty Memorial website speculates on possible motives:

1. The IDF planned an invasion of the Golan Heights, which was postponed for a day after the arrival of the Liberty into the region. The Liberty was attacked, and the invasion proceeded the following day. The IDF did not wish the Liberty to report back to Washington the details of this invasion.

2. The Israelis wanted to conceal the execution of 1000 Egyptian POWs which was taking place at El Arish while the Liberty was sitting 13 miles from the coast.

3. The Israelis wanted to conceal the murder of 14 Indian UN peacekeepers which that took place in Gaza shortly before Israel's attack on the Liberty.

I haven't looked into these possible motives and whether there could be something to them. However, in light of the apparent absence of plausible motive for the attack, they must be considered.

Did the Israelis commit a war crime to conceal other war crimes?

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Assuming the attack was deliberate--and it appears the vast majority of researchers fall into this category--the Liberty Memorial website speculates on possible motives:

If you restricted your research to sites that back the intentional attack theory most of the researchers you will be exposed to will back that theory. None of these theories makes sense either.

1. The IDF planned an invasion of the Golan Heights, which was postponed for a day after the arrival of the Liberty into the region. The Liberty was attacked, and the invasion proceeded the following day. The IDF did not wish the Liberty to report back to Washington the details of this invasion.
Due to its location the Liberty would not have been able to have picked up signals from anywhere in pre-1967 Israel except PERHAPS areas bordering the Gaza Strip Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa would have been too far away let alone the more distant area surrounding the Golan Heights. It is even questionable if they could have picked up signals from the Gaza Strip or surrounding areas.

Since radio signals work on line of sight (LOS), independent of the strengths of transmitter and receiver range is limited by the curvature of the earth because the waves will reach the horizon. Fortunately there is a simple formula for calculating the distance to the horizon, over water or level ground. It is the square root of the height of the antenna (or observer) in feet times 1.06 for nautical miles or times 1.22 for statue miles. Another words radio signals from an antenna 100 feet off the ground (or water) would cross the horizon 12.2 miles away (the sq. root of 100 = 10, 10 x 1.22 = 12.2) and the signals from an antenna 400 feet off the ground 24.4 miles away. But we have to combine the range of both the transmitter and the receiver so if a plane flying 200 above ground level would have to be with in 36.6 miles (24.4 + 12.2) of an airport whose antenna is 100 feet tall (or rather 100 above the altitude of the ground under the plane). This is a theoretical maximum assuming there are no intervening hills or other geographic features blocking the path and that the equipment is good enough. http://www.auf.asn.au/comms/vhfradio.html

wk29.jpg

According to most sources the Liberty was 460 feet long. It appears that the height Liberty’s antenna (measured from the water line) was approximately 30% the ship’s length or about 140 feet high. The square root of 140 x 1.22 = 14.4 so the LOS from the top of antenna would have crossed the horizon 14 – 15 miles from the ship. The Liberty would have been about 95 miles from Tel Aviv, 110 from Jerusalem and 120 from Haifa (see map below). The antennas in those cities would had to have been tall enough to make up the difference. 95 – 15 = 80, 80 / 1.22 = 65.6, 65.6 x 65.6 = 4302. There would had to have been an antenna reaching 4300 above sea level for its signals to have been picked up by the Liberty’s antenna. The world’s tallest ever man-made structure was the Warsaw radio mast which was 2120 feet (646 meters) tall and it was only completed in 1974 (1). The highest point in Tel Aviv “is approximately 30 meters [100 feet - Len] above the Mediterranean Sea.” (2)

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_radio_mast , http://www.smeter.net/daily-facts/5/fact7.php

2) http://jnfeducation.co.uk/?page=topics_israel

israel.jpg

2. The Israelis wanted to conceal the execution of 1000 Egyptian POWs which was taking place at El Arish while the Liberty was sitting 13 miles from the coast.

See if you can provide documentation for the date and time of this war crime and evidence that it was carried out with the foreknowledge of commanders high enough in the chain of command to have ordered an attack on the Liberty. The easiest thing to have done would have been to maintain radio silence or delayed the executions till the ship left the area.

3. The Israelis wanted to conceal the murder of 14 Indian UN peacekeepers which that took place in Gaza shortly before Israel's attack on the Liberty.
This incident seems to have taken place on June 5th and was discussed by the Security Council the next day.

http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/cd0beba...2c?OpenDocument

http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/f0e5cf0...36?OpenDocument

I haven't looked into these possible motives and whether there could be something to them. However, in light of the apparent absence of plausible motive for the attack, they must be considered.

Well now we’re back to no “plausible motive”.

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Assuming the attack was deliberate--and it appears the vast majority of researchers fall into this category--the Liberty Memorial website speculates on possible motives:

If you restricted your research to sites that back the intentional attack theory most of the researchers you will be exposed to will back that theory. None of these theories makes sense either.

1. The IDF planned an invasion of the Golan Heights, which was postponed for a day after the arrival of the Liberty into the region. The Liberty was attacked, and the invasion proceeded the following day. The IDF did not wish the Liberty to report back to Washington the details of this invasion.
Due to its location the Liberty would not have been able to have picked up signals from anywhere in pre-1967 Israel except PERHAPS areas bordering the Gaza Strip Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa would have been too far away let alone the more distant area surrounding the Golan Heights. It is even questionable if they could have picked up signals from the Gaza Strip or surrounding areas.

Since radio signals work on line of sight (LOS), independent of the strengths of transmitter and receiver range is limited by the curvature of the earth because the waves will reach the horizon. Fortunately there is a simple formula for calculating the distance to the horizon, over water or level ground. It is the square root of the height of the antenna (or observer) in feet times 1.06 for nautical miles or times 1.22 for statue miles. Another words radio signals from an antenna 100 feet off the ground (or water) would cross the horizon 12.2 miles away (the sq. root of 100 = 10, 10 x 1.22 = 12.2) and the signals from an antenna 400 feet off the ground 24.4 miles away. But we have to combine the range of both the transmitter and the receiver so if a plane flying 200 above ground level would have to be with in 36.6 miles (24.4 + 12.2) of an airport whose antenna is 100 feet tall (or rather 100 above the altitude of the ground under the plane). This is a theoretical maximum assuming there are no intervening hills or other geographic features blocking the path and that the equipment is good enough. http://www.auf.asn.au/comms/vhfradio.html

wk29.jpg

According to most sources the Liberty was 460 feet long. It appears that the height Liberty’s antenna (measured from the water line) was approximately 30% the ship’s length or about 140 feet high. The square root of 140 x 1.22 = 14.4 so the LOS from the top of antenna would have crossed the horizon 14 – 15 miles from the ship. The Liberty would have been about 95 miles from Tel Aviv, 110 from Jerusalem and 120 from Haifa (see map below). The antennas in those cities would had to have been tall enough to make up the difference. 95 – 15 = 80, 80 / 1.22 = 65.6, 65.6 x 65.6 = 4302. There would had to have been an antenna reaching 4300 above sea level for its signals to have been picked up by the Liberty’s antenna. The world’s tallest ever man-made structure was the Warsaw radio mast which was 2120 feet (646 meters) tall and it was only completed in 1974 (1). The highest point in Tel Aviv “is approximately 30 meters [100 feet - Len] above the Mediterranean Sea.” (2)

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_radio_mast , http://www.smeter.net/daily-facts/5/fact7.php

2) http://jnfeducation.co.uk/?page=topics_israel

israel.jpg

2. The Israelis wanted to conceal the execution of 1000 Egyptian POWs which was taking place at El Arish while the Liberty was sitting 13 miles from the coast.

See if you can provide documentation for the date and time of this war crime and evidence that it was carried out with the foreknowledge of commanders high enough in the chain of command to have ordered an attack on the Liberty. The easiest thing to have done would have been to maintain radio silence or delayed the executions till the ship left the area.

3. The Israelis wanted to conceal the murder of 14 Indian UN peacekeepers which that took place in Gaza shortly before Israel's attack on the Liberty.
This incident seems to have taken place on June 5th and was discussed by the Security Council the next day.

http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/cd0beba...2c?OpenDocument

http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/f0e5cf0...36?OpenDocument

I haven't looked into these possible motives and whether there could be something to them. However, in light of the apparent absence of plausible motive for the attack, they must be considered.

Well now we’re back to no “plausible motive”.

Len,

Would it be fair comment to say that your major argument against the proposition that the attack on the USS Liberty was deliberate, is that you believe the suggested motives for a deliberate attack (that you've reviewed) are implausible?

Do you have any other grounds for doubting the sworn testimony of so many US sailors, or the considered opinion of so many high-ranking US politicians and government officials?

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From the Liberty Enquiry site:

10.02.95 Time magazine article

OPENING GRAVE WOUNDS: EVIDENCE OF ISRAELI ATROCITIES DURING THE 1967 WAR WITH EGYPT THREATENS THE COUNTRIES' FRAGILE TIES

FREDERICK PAINTON REPORTED BY AMANY RADWAN/CAIRO AND ERIC SILVER/JERUSALEM

Despite a historic peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, the heritage of two wars in two decades still leaves unexpected and bitter traces. Last week new disclosures that Israeli soldiers massacred Egyptian pows during the 1967 war added to a growing wave of anti-Israeli sentiment in Egypt. The sequence of events leading to the unearthing of two mass graves outside the Sinai city of El Arish last week began a month ago with admissions by Israeli war veterans that unarmed Egyptian civilians and pows were murdered in the 1956 and 1967 wars.

The expedition that discovered the shallow burial sites was organized by the semiofficial Al-Ahram newspaper and guided by Abdel Salam Moussa, 55, a former air force officer who was taken prisoner by the Israelis during the 1967 war. The searchers found human bones and estimated that the first grave contained the remains of approximately 90 people. Recalling the killings, Moussa told Al-Ahram, "I saw a line of prisoners, civilians and military, and they [israeli troops] opened fire at them all at once. When they were dead, they told us to bury them." Another witness to such shootings, a local Bedouin named Soliman Salama, identified a second grave 27 km away where he said he saw Israelis kill about 30 Egyptian soldiers after they had surrendered.

The fury aroused in Egypt by the apparent proof of massacres was fueled by the press, which matched wartime photos with imaginative illustrations showing Egyptian soldiers surrendering, being ordered to dig their graves, then being executed. Opposition parties and newspapers are pressing President Mubarak to suspend diplomatic ties with Israel until a full investigation into the executions is conducted. Director of Egypt's State Information Service Nabil Osman responded, "This is a very serious issue. The truth has to be made clear. Such crimes are against humanity, and they just don't fade away."

The sudden revival of old resentments threatened to poison relations between Cairo and Tel Aviv, and worse, to undermine a diplomatic alliance that is essential to the process of reaching a broader Middle East settlement. The controversy led Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to veto Cairo as the site for current talks with the Palestinians over self-rule in the West Bank, explaining that he would have to answer questions about the mass graves.

For the Israelis, who take pride in the morality of their armed forces, the revelations were deeply troubling. Prompted, he said, by conscience, retired Israeli General Arieh Biro admitted last month that he had executed 49 Egyptian pows with submachine gunfire in the 1956 Sinai campaign. The disclosure touched off a bout of soul-searching and prompted Israelis who had witnessed other executions of prisoners to come forward. The newspaper Yediot Aharonot urged a government investigation, not only to satisfy Egyptians but also "for our own sake, our conscience, our beliefs and our principles." Biro, 69, said he had been ordered to advance but lacked the means to take along his Egyptian captives; he could not leave them for fear that they would lead their advancing comrades to Israeli positions. So he killed them. He has "ached over" his actions, he said, but "under the same circumstances, I think I would do it again."

While Egyptian anger was on the rise, the reaction in Israel grew more muted. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said, "We know that Israeli prisoners were killed many times in the past. Without accepting them, atrocities are part and parcel of war. The Egyptians cannot claim the moral superiority to criticize us, while ignoring whatever their own side did."

The Egyptians are demanding that Israel officially apologize, launch an investigation into the incidents, punish those found guilty and compensate the families of every prisoner of war killed by the Israelis. Israel's Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair ruled last month that there was no basis for prosecuting soldiers for offenses in 1956 and 1967 because of a 20-year statute of limitations on homicide charges. Israel's only war-crimes law, Ben-Yair noted, related to crimes of genocide or crimes committed by Nazis during World War II. While the shootings of pows were "unlawful and intolerable acts," he said, they were not the kind of crimes covered by the law on genocide.

That reasoning has rankled many Egyptians, who point out that Israel has set a precedent in such matters by relentlessly tracking down Nazi war criminals all over the globe. "This is not just a political issue," said retired Major General Ahmed Fakhr, director of the National Center for Middle East Studies in Cairo and a veteran of all three wars, "this is an issue of families who were told that their men were missing in action. Now, after 20 years, they learn they were slaughtered in cold blood by the Israelis." Concludes Fakhr: "The Israelis opened that file, now they have to close it. And peace means justice."

The discovery of mass graves outside El Arish indicate that mass executions of POW's occurred at some point during the 1967 war. It's interesting to note that the Israeli Foreign Minister stated, in 1995, that a 20 year statute of limitations precluded prosecution of the Israeli officers responsible. The only war crimes laws in force in Israel were those relating to Nazi genocide during WW2.

Len, as for your request that I uncover documentation proving the date and time of the executions and evidence that the military command were cognizant, I respectfully submit that this is not necessary. You are obviously aware of the difficulty of satisfactorily determining such matters with supporting documentation. The burden of proof you wish to place on those critical of Israel's behavior is a clever trick employed to turn the tables and bask Israel in the benign glow of perennial victim.

Israel committed these war crimes. Israel attacked the Liberty--a premeditated attack, according to most of the senior US military personnel. The burden of providing an explanation for its actions rests with Israel and its defenders, not the other way round.

FWIW, I think that the execution of the POWs at El Arish and the murder of the UN peacekeepers are quite plausible explanations for Israel's decision to attack the Liberty and divert attention from its actions. Of course, the party best placed to provide the answers is Israel itself. Their refusal to do so doesn't get them off the hook. Sorry to disappoint you, Len.

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Len,

Don't forget the LOS applies only to VHF and UHF transmissions. HF transmissions would be detectable by 'skip' across the ionosphere (though this has to be calculated; the LIBERTY may have been in a 'dead zone' for skip).

So far, I can only find theory 1 having any plausibility.

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Evan... a question.

I understand you are a naval officer.

My question is for someone who adeuqately understands the military technology of that time.

Given what we know about the assault capability at Israel's disposal in the vicinty of the USS Liberty, how easy or hard was should it have been for the Israelis to sink the vessel in a daylight attack?

If the Israeli leadership's intention was to sink the USS Liberty, could they have anticipated the vessel would be still be afloat after an hour or so of lethal bombardment?

Edited by Sid Walker
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Given what we know about the assault capability at Israel's disposal in the vicinty of the USS Liberty, how easy or hard was should it have been for the Israelis to sink the vessel in a daylight attack?

If the Israeli leadership's intention was to sink the USS Liberty, could they have anticipated the vessel would be still be afloat after an hour or so of lethal bombardment?

I don't know what forces were in the area of the LIBERTY at the time, so it's difficult to say what the Israelis would have had available.

If you want to sink a vessel, then what you should be aiming for is to hole the vessel below the waterline. That will cause flooding and unless the vessel can provide effective damage control, it is likely to sink. (Slightly off-topic, but that's why you have what are called Command Priorities for damage control - DC - during combat. They are fight / move / float. Depending on what Command wants, that is where your DC efforts go towards. If it is fight / move / float, then you want weapon systems working, propulsion next, and keeping the ship afloat last. It might be float / fight / move, which is keep the ship afloat, make sure we can respond to attack, and worry about getting underway later.)

The most effective weapon that they would have had available would have been torpedoes. These would have holed the ship below the waterline and probably 'broken her back' (literally snapped the hull). On the other hand, you don't necessarily need to sink a vessel to take it out of the fight. You can disable its offensive capability, or simply make it dead in the water.

Considering that the LIBERTY was hardly more than a converted cargo ship, it had little offensive capability. If they had wanted to sink it, they had a variety of weapons available. Air attack could certainly disable it, leaving it defenceless for a latter torpedo attack. Air attack alone (using the Mirage or Mystere) isn't that effective to sink it. The Mystere had unguided rockets which could do some serious damage and possibly sink it, but the Mirage was primarily an air superiority fighter and had dual cannons.

If they had wanted to sink the vessel, then they would most likely have attacked with either torpedoes from the MTBs or a submarine (if one was in the area). It would have been an easy target. Of course, you don't necessarily want to sink such a vessel; disabling it achieves pretty much your military aims.

Once the MTBs came into the fight, if they had wanted the LIBERTY on the bottom then they only needed to launch a torpedo salvo at them.

The method of attack suggests to me they wanted it disabled, not sunk.

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BTW, to demonstrate how resilient ships can be with effective damage control, we can look at the case of the collision between the HMAS MELBOURNE (an aircraft carrier) and the USS FRANK E. EVANS (a destroyer). The MELBOURNE sliced the EVANS in two during exercises in the South China Sea. The bow of the EVANS sunk, but the stern remained afloat and was eventually towed back to Subic Bay.

h98649.jpg

Edited by Evan Burton
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Interesting stuff, Evan.

I remember reading about the FRANK E EVANS as a kid. I tend to agree that the invasion of the Golan Heights is probably the most likely of the possible motives on the table so far.

The question of who bore ultimate responsibility for the attack on the Liberty may not be resolved during the life of this thread but I did discover one fact which may or may not be relevant. While perusing this comprehensive timeline of the region (it actually goes back over more than three millennia), I noticed that Eshkol appointed former IDF Chief Moshe Dayan to the post of Minister for Defense on June 2, 1967---mere days before the Liberty incident occurred. Eshkol obviously wanted Dayan's military expertise in Cabinet for the upcoming war, so it could be assumed that Dayan was widely consulted by IDF Chiefs in relation to important strategies and operations during the course of the six day war.

Anyway, the timeline's a fascinating read:

http://www.mideastweb.org/timeline.htm

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SID WROTE:

“Len,

Would it be fair comment to say that your major argument against the proposition that the attack on the USS Liberty was deliberate, is that you believe the suggested motives for a deliberate attack (that you've reviewed) are implausible?”

That’s a large part of it. I think any reasonable person would agree that if the Israelis intentionally attacked the Liberty they were taking an enormous risk, if the attack didn’t go as planned (which it didn’t according to this theory) it would have been impossible for them to predict the outcome with certainty, LBJ was weakened politically the Democrats had lost a good number of seats in congress in the 1966 elections, his approval ratings were low, his chances of reelection slim. Presidential elections were a little over a year away and LBJ’s challengers could have tried to make the incident a campaign issue. Nor would it have been possible to be sure the military would go along with a cover-up of the deaths of dozens or perhaps hundreds of their “brothers in arms”, 16 years earlier Macarthur had openly challenged Truman and only a few years earlier Maj. General Edwin Walker had been distributing propaganda for the anti-Semitic John Birch Society. The memories of the “Lavon Affair” would have been fresh in their memories. To take such an extraordinary risk they would have had to an extraordinary or a least a reasonable motive.

Lack of a reasonable motive coupled with the fact they made no effort to conceal their identity and that the attack seemed more aimed to disable than to destroy the ship, all seriously undermine the intentional attack theory. Regarding that last point it seems hard to believe that the same air force which was able to destroy most of four countries’ air forces with their planes on the ground in few hours wasn’t able to sink a single lightly defended converted cargo ship in a similar time frame with help of torpedo boats if it had really wanted to.

”Do you have any other grounds for doubting the sworn testimony of so many US sailors, or the considered opinion of so many high-ranking US politicians and government officials?”

For the most part nothing in they say proves the Israelis knew the ship was American, though they believe that was the case. I don’t doubt their testimony as much as I doubt the conclusions they reached.

MARK WROTE:

“Len, as for your request that I uncover documentation proving the date and time of the executions and evidence that the military command were cognizant, I respectfully submit that this is not necessary.”

Your original theory was that the attack might have been to “conceal” the murder of the POW’s and UN peacekeepers. Such a theory would only make sense if:

1) the attacks happened at the same time as the attack on the Liberty or shortly before

2) the high command of the IDF were aware of them

3) we could reasonably expect the Liberty to have picked up evidence of these attacks and

4) in the case of 3) a reasonable explanation of why it would not have been easier and less risky just to have maintained radio silence.

After you implied all three attacks were more or less concurrent (that was implicit in your theory) I showed the attack on the Indians occurred 3 days earlier and had long since been public knowledge, you seem to have abandoned the theory in relation to the POW murders as well.

“FWIW, I think that the execution of the POWs at El Arish and the murder of the UN peacekeepers are quite plausible explanations for Israel's decision to attack the Liberty and divert attention from its actions.”

This is a new theory from you, destroying the Liberty to prevent it from discovering or reporting Israeli atrocities is not the same as saying the attack was meant to “divert attention from” them and the 4 conditions above don’t apply however 2 new ones do:

1) Had the story ‘broken’ yet? and

2) If so was it causing Israel sufficient embarrassment for them to have taken such a risk?

In the case of the POW murders the 1st condition wasn’t met, the story didn’t “break” till 1995, the case of the peacekeepers had broken but I’ve seen no evidence the story got wide attention or proved embarrassing for the Israelis. The fact that none of us seems to have heard about it till a few days ago reinforces the notion that the story didn’t get wide coverage. Judging by a search of the NY Times archive it didn’t http://tinyurl.com/39kk4k. According to a NY Times article the Indians were killed by “Israeli-Arab cross fire” http://tinyurl.com/3dnzf4

If they wanted to allay negative publicity a more logical scenario would have been to attack the ship with their captured MIG’s then send in Israeli boats and helicopters to “rescue” them.

EVAN WROTE:

“Len

Don’t forget the LOS applies only to VHF and UHF transmissions. HF transmissions would be detectable by 'skip' across the ionosphere (though this has to be calculated; the LIBERTY may have been in a 'dead zone' for skip).

So far, I can only find theory 1 having any plausibility”

I can’t forget what I never knew :)

How probable do you think it is the Israeli military used HF radios? From what I gather HF radios are less reliable than UHF/VHF ones since they are affected by climatic conditions. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for the armed forces of a small country surrounded by enemies to use VHF/UHF instead? For theory 1 to be plausible we would have to assume that the Israelis were so dependant on HF radios rather than VHF/UHF and the ‘good ole’ telephone that they only way out was to attack the Liberty.

Is it possible based on what we know to calculate if the Liberty could have picked up HF transmissions between Tel Aviv and the Golan Heights?

There are other problems with this theory:

1) NSA planes were flying over the area. Obviously there wouldn’t have been any LOS problems with them. Sinking the Liberty would have done nothing to prevent the planes from detecting what the Israelis supposedly wanted to hide.

2) The Israelis had apparently previously informed the US of their plan to invade the Golan Heights.

3) If the Israelis had so much power over the US military and government as the “cover up” theory presupposes why would they care what the US knew?

4) Most “researchers” who back this theory claim that there was a ceasefire between Israel and Syria in place on June 8 and that the Israelis violated the ceasefire in order to conquer the Golan but falsely claimed the Syrians had violated it. The Liberty was attacked to cover up this lie. I) I have never heard about a mid-war ceasefire between Syria and Israel nor seen evidence as to which side broke it, if it ever really existed II) Since the US only played lip service to condemning Israel’s “pre-emptive” strike against its neighbors, why would the Israelis be concerned about discovery of a “ceasefire” violation to degree that they would feel motivated to attack the ship? III) Wouldn’t it have been easier to avoid using HF radios during Israel’s initiation of hostilities in the Golan?

If the Israelis wanted cover up war crimes the Liberty might discover the broad daylight attack would make more sense. If it was to keep the ship from reporting about the invasion of the Golan Heights why not wait till nightfall when being identified would have been more difficult?

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How probable do you think it is the Israeli military used HF radios? From what I gather HF radios are less reliable than UHF/VHF ones since they are affected by climatic conditions. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for the armed forces of a small country surrounded by enemies to use VHF/UHF instead? For theory 1 to be plausible we would have to assume that the Israelis were so dependant on HF radios rather than VHF/UHF and the ‘good ole’ telephone that they only way out was to attack the Liberty.

I can't say I have checked, but it would be most likely.

Military aircraft of the era predominantly used UHF radios, and occasionally were fitted with VHF (for comms with civil ATC). Ground forces used VHF for short range comms (the typical 'back pack' radio you see in the era), but used HF for anything more than LOS.

The surface vessels would have used VHF for intership communication, and HF for long range comms.

Being an intel gatherer, the LIBERTY would have had a full suite of radios.

I'll see if I can find out what the Israelis typically used during the Six Day War.

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So we’re back to no real motive. Proponents of “theory 1” need to propose the Israelis had a secret that couldn’t be kept off HF radio so imperative for them to keep that they would take the enormous calculated risk of trying to sink the Liberty even though that secret might have been discovered anyway by NSA spy planes or the US embassies in the region which presumably had CIA and NSA stations.

As since there was an ongoing war the Liberty presumably would have had hundreds of frequencies in numerous locations to monitor. The odds of them picking up “the secret” would have been minimal, probably far less than Israeli an attack on it backfiring.

Once they explained the above, they can explain why:

the Israelis made no effort to hide their identity by using submarines or captured MIGs or wait till nightfall.

The Israeli torpedo boats did fire on the Liberty till it fired on them (according to the Liberty’s captain)

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So we’re back to no real motive.

No we're not.

You haven't discredited or debunked any of the possible motives, imo.

You're using a classical circular argument in order to excuse Israel's culpability and intent. ie, you claim that if Israel had used the attack on the Liberty to divert attention from the Golan Heights invasion, they would not have been stupid enough to do it in daylight and would have attempted to conceal their identities from the Americans. However, you would then have us believe the Israelis were indeed stupid enough to launch a comprehensive air and sea attack on a ship bearing the US flag and bearing little resemblance to the Egyptian ship they claimed was their true target--BY MISTAKE. The Israeli explanations, hastily cobbled together and full of contradictions, are fanciful at best and were dismissed by the Americans (with the exception of that poodle McNamara).

The answer you submitted to Sid's question was no answer at all.

"do you have any other grounds for doubting the sworn testimony of so many US sailors, AND THE CONSIDERED OPINION OF SO MANY HIGH RANKING US POLITICIANS AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS".

Your weak reply was to state that you doubted the conclusions they reached. Well Len, on one side we have an almost unanimous consensus from experienced military officers, Government officials who had access to official reports and hard evidence, and sailors who witnessed the attack personally. On the other side, we have the opinion four decades later of a researcher whose unbending loyalty to Israel renders his historical objectivity doubtful at best.

On the question of which side is more credible it's no contest.

You have the awesome task of proving why we should believe you rather than the impressive list of those who believed it was no accident. I've got no doubt you'll have the front to attempt to scale that peak but you haven't even arrived at base camp yet.

Edited by Mark Stapleton
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