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The USS LIBERTY Incident


Evan Burton
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So we’re back to no real motive.

I can't agree with that Len.

Actually, I think Ron got the motive broadly correct in his earlier post:

I remember reading the theory that the attack was a false flag operation, with Egypt to be blamed for the attack to bring the U.S. into the war. That's a plausible motive, though I don't know if there was any indication that the Israeli aircraft were disguised to look like Egyptian.
Before discussing motive, I wanted to see whether you - or anyone else - seriously wants to argue the attack was an accident. I suspected you'd want to hedge bets on that. The claim the attack was an "accident" is, after all, the tried and tested fallback position that has served the Israelis well until now.

If you do want to claim the attack was an accident - a wholly untenable case to argue, in my opinion - I suggest we invite Mr Ennes and other Liberty survivors onto the forum. It would also be interesting to hear from any of the Israelis involved, if they are still alive.

I think, however, that Ron (or his source) was probably not correct in suggesting that Israel wanted the USA to intervene in the Arab-Israeli War on Israel's side.

Israel would certainly have known by the day of the Liberty attack that it had already won its latest war with its neighbours. American intervention wasn't needed. Israel's policy, from 1948 onwards, has been to avoid a "close entanglement" with foreign powers. There are no US bases on Israeli soil - that's for second-order colonies like Britain, Germany or Australia. When it goes to war (as it does often), Israel prefers freedom of action. It obtained no real benefits from Anglo-French participation in 1956. Better to be free to act alone.

However, in mid-1967, Israel DID have a very strong motive for locking the USA - and especially US public opinion - into long-term strategic support. At that time, although it had supporters inside the White House and plenty of supporters in Congress, it still faced opponents - and/or potential opponents - in the USA Administration and Legislature. Massive US aid to Israel came later... in 1967, Israel Governments were still at the stage of working out how to orchestrate that. The Israeli leadership had a very strong motive for a false flag operation that would make Eygpt - then its major adversary - appear to the American public like uncivilized, liberty-hating villains.

In a nutshell, I think the attack on the Liberty was clearly deliberate. What's more, this was no rogue operation. The attack was ordered at the highest level in the Israeli chain of military command.

It is also rather clear that the Israeli leadership's intention was to sink the ship with the loss of all the crew.

Had the Liberty gone down in the first hour, as might reasonably have been anticipated, it is hard to imagine how Egyptian denails would have cut much ice in Washington or the western media. The entire west would probably have locked quickly behind the official account - as it did after 9-11. After all, who would believe that the Israelis would be venal and wicked enough to murder their best allies?

Denials by the Eygptians would have been taken as yet more prooof of Arab duplicity. They'd been caught red-handed slaughtering Americans just off the Eygptian shore - yet they still wouldn't admit it! Those perfidious Ay-rabs!

Why didn't the Liberty go down as intended?

I don't pretend to know for sure - nor may it be possible after all this time, absent a belated Truth and Reconcliation Commission where the surviving Israeli participants gave honest testimony.

I suspect luck played a part. Many members of the Liberty crew clearly behaved with enormous courage. Their own determination to survive was important and probably crucial.

However, I'm sure that's not the whole story. What follows is largely speculative, but after reading a variety of soruces on the Liberty assault, I've come to the conclusion that it failed partly because some of the Israeli military assigned to attack the vessel did not execute their orders.

Many years afterwards, one of the Israeli pilots apparently came forward to say that the attack was no accident - and what's more, said that when he realised the Liberty was an American vessel, he returned to base (and presumably a carpeting from his superiors). There may have been others who acted with independence and integrity.

What to make of three torpedo boats that are sent in for the kill - but manage to land only one torpedo hit out of a salvo of five? By that time, because it had already been savaged from the air, the Liberty was barely able to return fire. The torpedo launchers were firing at a sitting duck. They should have been able to finish off the stricken vessel without much difficulty. Yet they didn't.

Perhaps some of the MTB crews couldn't bring themselves to do the job?

After all, these were not, as far as we know, Mossad-trained killers or other Israeli intelligence operatives. The air force pilots and navy personnel were probably kept in the dark about their mission until the moment it was sprung upon them. It is quite plausible, I think, that some of them baulked at carrying out orders to murder - or did so with less than full enthusiasm.

The Liberty crew would not have been aware this at the time. They experienced only attack after attack. They would have felt terrified of all Israelis who approached.

Yet I speculate that the untold story of the Liberty attack is the bravery of some of the Israelis who refused to carry out orders to commit war crimes.

In this context, there's an interesting footnote.

James Ennes' own account of the Liberty attack mentions the bravery of the ship's Engineer:

Lieutenant George Golden, Liberty's engineer officer, was in the wardroom with Ensign Lucas when the attack began. A meeting had been planned for Golden, Scott, Lucas and McGonagle to discuss the drill. The captain was still on the bridge, so the meeting would be delayed. Scott was slow to arrive, as today was his twenty-fourth birthday and he was at the ship's store picking out a Polaroid camera to help celebrate the occasion.

Golden was pouring coffee when they heard the first explosion. "Jesus, they dropped the motor whaleboat!" he cried as he abandoned his cup and started toward the boat. Then he heard other explosions and knew even before the alarm sounded that Liberty was under attack.

Reversing his path, he started toward his battle station in the engine room just in time to see Ensign Scott open the door to his stateroom and slide his new camera across the floor before racing to his battle station in Damage Control Central.

A rocket penetrated the engine room to tear Golden from the engine-room ladder. He plunged through darkness, finally crashing onto a steel deck, miraculously unhurt. He could see rockets exploding everywhere, passing just over the heads of his men and threatening vital equipment. "Get down!" he yelled. "Everybody stay low; on your knees!"

Golden knew that the bridge would want maximum power. Already Main Engine Control had an all-engines-ahead-flank bell from the bridge that they could not answer. Flank speed was seventeen knots, but Golden had taken one boiler off the line just ten minutes earlier so that it could cool for repairs. Without that boiler the best speed he could provide was about twelve knots. He immediately put the cooling boiler back on the line and started to bring it up to pressure.

Even with both boilers on the line, the engines were limited by a governor to eighteen knots. For years Golden had carried the governor key in his pocket so that he could find it quickly in just such an emergency as this. He switched the governor off, permitting the ship to reach twenty-one knots.

As machine-gun fire and aircraft rockets battered the ship, the main engine room began to take on the appearance of a fireworks display. Most lighting was knocked out in the first few minutes, leaving flashlights and battle lanterns as the only illumination in the room except for a skylight six decks above. In this relative darkness, men worked on hands and knees, operating valves, checking gauges, starting and stopping equipment, bypassing broken pipes; and all the while above them danced white, yellow, red and green firefly like particles. Some were small. Some were huge and burst into pieces to shower down upon them. All entered the room with a tremendous roar as they burst through the ship's outer skin.

Golden glanced at the scene above him. It reminded him of meteor showers, except for the noise, or of electric arc welding. Most of his men were here now, having safely descended the ladders through the fireworks to reach their battle stations. Boiler Tender Gene Owens was here and in charge of auxiliary equipment on the deck below Golden. Machinist Mate Chief Richard J. Brooks was here. Brooks was petty officer in charge of the engine room, and he was everywhere.

Golden realized suddenly that far above them, directly in the range of rocket and machine-gun fire, was a hot-water storage tank. Five thousand gallons of near- boiling water lay in that tank, ready to pour down upon them if it was ruptured, and it would surely be ruptured. The drain valve was at the base of the tank, so it would be necessary to send a man up more than three decks to open the valve.

Golden quickly explained to a young sailor what had to be done and sent him on his way, but the frightened man collapsed on the deck grating and refused to move.

Chief Brooks overheard the exchange. "C'mon, you heard the lieutenant. Move!" he cried, jerking the panic-stricken teenager to his feet.

Terror was written on the young man's face. Tears started to flow as his face contorted in a grimace of fear.

With a snarl of contempt, Brooks gave him a shove that sent him sprawling. Then Brooks mounted the ladder leading to the vital drain valve. Two decks above, perhaps fifteen feet up the ladder, a tremendous explosion occurred next to Brooks. In a shower of sparks and fire, he was torn from his place on the ladder and thrown into space to land heavily upon the steel grating below. Brooks was back on his feet before anyone could reach him. Back up the same ladder he headed until he found the valve, opened it and drained the water only moments before the inevitable rocket hit the storage tank to find it newly empty.

In a few minutes, most of the battle lanterns had been struck by rocket fragments or disabled by the impact of nearby explosions. The room was nearly dark. By working on hands and knees, men could remain below the waterline and thus below most of the rocket and gunfire, although they were still vulnerable to an occasional wildly aimed rocket and to the constant shower of hot metal particles from above.

When fresh-air fans sucked choking smoke from the main deck into the engine rooms, Golden ordered the men to cover their faces with rags and to try to find air near the deck. When the smoke became intolerable, he sent a message to the bridge that he would have to evacuate; but just before Golden was to give the evacuation order, McGonagle ordered a course change that carried the smoke away from the fans. Fresh air returned at last to the engine room.

Golden is also mentioned in Paul Findley's book:

Ennes learned that crewmen sensed a cover-up even while the Court of Inquiry was taking testimony at Malta.(20) He identified George Golden, the Liberty's engineering officer and acting commanding officer, as the source of the Associated Press story that charged that the attack was deliberate. Golden, who is Jewish, was so outraged at the prohibition against talking with reporters that he ignored it--risking his future career in the navy to rescue a vestige of his country's honor.

So. at least one of the heroes of the attack on the Liberty was Jewish – a Jewish American, in fact. He performed what may be the most important act of courage - breaking the taboo on speaking the truth. Good on him!

The very name 'USS Liberty' always seemed a strange co-incidence. How paradoxical, I used to think, that the Israelis just happened to attack a ship called 'Liberty'.

I now believe the name was no accident. Like 9-11, this event was intended to have deep symbolic significance for a largely American ‘audience’. One can imagine a typical conversation between Americans circa 1970 had the false flag assault succeeded… (“Hate Arabs? Sure we do! Those bastards sank the Liberty!”)

It would be interesting to know who sent the USS Liberty into the East Mediterranean at that crucial time. Who decided there should be no Hebrew-speaking personnel on board?

In short... who set up the American end of this false flag operation?

Edited by Sid Walker
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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.

Your opinion ain’t worth jack (nor is mine) if you can’t say why you feel that way.

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).
What you describe is a self-contradictory argument not a circular one, let’s try and keep our terminology straight. But there are several problems with your argument.

1) Your previous theory was that the attack was to cover-up the invasion of the Golan Heights, now after I’ve presented evidence that this is improbable your new theory was that is was “to divert attention from the…invasion”. This is a silly motive, Israel was already at war with Syria, outside of Muslim and Communist countries there was relatively little outcry when they attacked their neighbors, nor was there much outcry about the invasion. If they hadn’t been worried about the world’s or the US’s reactions to starting the war why would they be so concerned about reaction to the invasion they would attack a US warship?

2) You say the ships don’t look alike but Evan begged to differ they were ROUGHLY similar. The pilots were flying at high speed were over 1300 feet away and presumably didn’t have copies of ‘Jane’s Fighting Ships’ or a similar reference to consult in their cockpits, the people in Navy HQ did but they never saw the Liberty they were over 100 miles away in Haifa.

elquseir.jpg

3) As to the flag whether or not it was visible is disputed. Owen handled the flag issue fairly well a while a go.

As for the flag, see here, here, here, here, and here.

Also here:

"Immediately prior to the air attack, the Liberty had a 5 by 8-foot American flag hoisted but because of the light wind conditions it probably was not extended. This is the Finding of Fact number 2. of the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry of June 18, 1967. As a matter of fact, a reference to the formula for visual acuity reveals that a flag that size, if fully extended in good light would not be identifiable beyond 1323 feet and the attacking aircraft never came that close. It is also the undisputed testimony of the Commanding Officer of the Liberty that the 5 by 8-foot flag was shot away on the first strafing run. A second, larger, 7 by 13 foot flag was hoisted after the air attack and prior to the torpedo attack but it was engulfed in smoke and thus was not an identification factor during the attacks. The first actual sighting of an American flag on the Liberty was made by an Israeli helicopter pilot more than 30 minutes after both air and sea attacks were over."

If the links don’t work got the original post

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.ph...ost&p=60085

4) You also fail to distinguish between mistakes during the “heat of battle” and “fog of war” with what would have been a carefully laid plan. Misidentifying a ship fits in with the former but attacking the Liberty in the manner it was doesn’t fit with the latter. One must also consider group think and cognitive dissonance, they thought an arms depot had been shelled coloring their judgment. This is not dissimilar to the shoot down of an Iran Air airbus that was taking off by the USS Vincennes.

IranAir300.jpg

Whose crew believed it was an F-14 fighter diving at them

f-14-3seater.jpg

Or Soviet pilots mistaking a KAL 747 for a RC-135

KAL007.jpg

rc-135s.jpg

5) You say such a mistake would indicate the IDF was incompetent because after 4 days of warfare they weren’t able to correctly identify a single ship from another country’s navy. How then would you classify they RAF? Which after 4 years of warfare misidentified 6 ships of their own navy for German ones leading them to sink two and damage 2 others (see earlier post for details and link).

Since according to you theory they would have had time to plan the attack why not hide their identity by using their subs or MIGs or attack at night?

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.

It not really accurate to say there was “an almost unanimous consensus from experienced military officers, Government officials who had access to official reports and hard evidence” because the Navy, NSA, CIA, Clark Clifford and congress (on more than one occasion) concluded the attack was a case of mistaken identity. But of course the list of officials on sites like ussliberty.org is “almost unanimous” but they take some out of context, Clark Clifford concluded the attack was due to “gross and inexcusable failures” but wasn’t intentional* they however made it seem like he thought the attack was intentional**.

* http://www.ussliberty.org/cliffor2.htm

** http://www.ussliberty.org/index.html

Dean Rusk did say he thought the attack was intentional but after acknowledging “he never read the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry findings, the CIA Report, or the Clark Clifford Report” said, "I did not make a career of studying the evidence."* And since he opposed the creation of Israel MAY have been hostile to that country.

http://hnn.us/articles/369.html

The ships Captain said at the inquest he thought the attack was accidental (see ‘hnn’ link above) and said in 1997 "In many years, I have wanted to believe that the attack on the Liberty was pure error. It appears to me that it was not a pure case of mistaken identity” which seems to indicate that he accepted that the attack could have been purely accidental for the first few decades after the attack but by 1997 no longer believed it was a “pure” accident whatever that means, perhaps if the only source of the quote on the Net would offer it in its entirety.

http://www.ussliberty.org/supporters.htm

You speak disparagingly of McNamara, and but I doubt you normally consider the likes of Helms and Rusk credible, but I guess when you agree with them your assessment changes

I’m not even the only member of this forum who disagrees with you Owen does (or did) and Evan seems to as well. Your classification of me as someone with “unbending loyalty to Israel” is false as well, I called that country’s murder of Egyptian POWs and Indian peacekeepers war crimes and previous condemned its recent invasions of Lebanon and Gaza. I could just as easily argue Sid and your obvious hostility to Israel colors your judgment.

I’ll try to reply to Sid tomorrow.

Edit - Photo url fixed

Edited by Len Colby
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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.

Your opinion ain’t worth jack (nor is mine) if you can’t say why you feel that way.

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).
What you describe is a self-contradictory argument not a circular one, let’s try and keep our terminology straight. But there are several problems with your argument.

1) Your previous theory was that the attack was to cover-up the invasion of the Golan Heights, now after I’ve presented evidence that this is improbable your new theory was that is was “to divert attention from the…invasion”. This is a silly motive, Israel was already at war with Syria, outside of Muslim and Communist countries there was relatively little outcry when they attacked their neighbors, nor was there much outcry about the invasion. If they hadn’t been worried about the world’s or the US’s reactions to starting the war why would they be so concerned about reaction to the invasion they would attack a US warship?

2) You say the ships don’t look alike but Evan begged to differ they were ROUGHLY similar. The pilots were flying at high speed were over 1300 feet away and presumably didn’t have copies of ‘Jane’s Fighting Ships’ or a similar reference to consult in their cockpits, the people in Navy HQ did but they never saw the Liberty they were over 100 miles away in Haifa.

elquseir.jpg

3) As to the flag whether or not it was visible is disputed. Owen handled the flag issue fairly well a while a go.

As for the flag, see here, here, here, here, and here.

Also here:

"Immediately prior to the air attack, the Liberty had a 5 by 8-foot American flag hoisted but because of the light wind conditions it probably was not extended. This is the Finding of Fact number 2. of the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry of June 18, 1967. As a matter of fact, a reference to the formula for visual acuity reveals that a flag that size, if fully extended in good light would not be identifiable beyond 1323 feet and the attacking aircraft never came that close. It is also the undisputed testimony of the Commanding Officer of the Liberty that the 5 by 8-foot flag was shot away on the first strafing run. A second, larger, 7 by 13 foot flag was hoisted after the air attack and prior to the torpedo attack but it was engulfed in smoke and thus was not an identification factor during the attacks. The first actual sighting of an American flag on the Liberty was made by an Israeli helicopter pilot more than 30 minutes after both air and sea attacks were over."

If the links don’t work got the original post

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.ph...ost&p=60085

4) You also fail to distinguish between mistakes during the “heat of battle” and “fog of war” with what would have been a carefully laid plan. Misidentifying a ship fits in with the former but attacking the Liberty in the manner it was doesn’t fit with the latter. One must also consider group think and cognitive dissonance, they thought an arms depot had been shelled coloring their judgment. This is not dissimilar to the shoot down of an Iran Air airbus that was taking off by the USS Vincennes.

IranAir300.jpg

Whose crew believed it was an F-14 fighter diving at them

f-14-3seater.jpg

Or Soviet pilots mistaking a KAL 747 for a RC-135

KAL007.jpg

rc-135s.jpg

5) You say such a mistake would indicate the IDF was incompetent because after 4 days of warfare they weren’t able to correctly identify a single ship from another country’s navy. How then would you classify they RAF? Which after 4 years of warfare misidentified 6 ships of their own navy for German ones leading them to sink two and damage 2 others (see earlier post for details and link).

Since according to you theory they would have had time to plan the attack why not hide their identity by using their subs or MIGs or attack at night?

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.

It not really accurate to say there was “an almost unanimous consensus from experienced military officers, Government officials who had access to official reports and hard evidence” because the Navy, NSA, CIA, Clark Clifford and congress (on more than one occasion) concluded the attack was a case of mistaken identity. But of course the list of officials on sites like ussliberty.org is “almost unanimous” but they take some out of context, Clark Clifford concluded the attack was due to “gross and inexcusable failures” but wasn’t intentional* they however made it seem like he thought the attack was intentional**.

* http://www.ussliberty.org/cliffor2.htm

** http://www.ussliberty.org/index.html

Dean Rusk did say he thought the attack was intentional but after acknowledging “he never read the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry findings, the CIA Report, or the Clark Clifford Report” said, "I did not make a career of studying the evidence."* And since he opposed the creation of Israel MAY have been hostile to that country.

http://hnn.us/articles/369.html

The ships Captain said at the inquest he thought the attack was accidental (see ‘hnn’ link above) and said in 1997 "In many years, I have wanted to believe that the attack on the Liberty was pure error. It appears to me that it was not a pure case of mistaken identity” which seems to indicate that he accepted that the attack could have been purely accidental for the first few decades after the attack but by 1997 no longer believed it was a “pure” accident whatever that means, perhaps if the only source of the quote on the Net would offer it in its entirety.

http://www.ussliberty.org/supporters.htm

You speak disparagingly of McNamara, and but I doubt you normally consider the likes of Helms and Rusk credible, but I guess when you agree with them your assessment changes

I’m not even the only member of this forum who disagrees with you Owen does (or did) and Evan seems to as well. Your classification of me as someone with “unbending loyalty to Israel” is false as well, I called that country’s murder of Egyptian POWs and Indian peacekeepers war crimes and previous condemned its recent invasions of Lebanon and Gaza. I could just as easily argue Sid and your obvious hostility to Israel colors your judgment.

I’ll try to reply to Sid tomorrow.

Edit - Photo url fixed

No soap, Len. These are just the same old arguments re-hashed over again to try to muddy the waters.

You claim that cases of mistaken identity are often made, then cite the shooting of the KAL-747 and the Iranian Airbus. They're aircraft----they're not slow moving ships. Apples and oranges. Worthless analogies and in any case, aren't there some who still believe that the shooting down of these aircraft was deliberate?

The ships (Liberty and El Qasir) were not similar--even to someone unfamiliar with seagoing vessels. I know you'll try to argue that the Israeli Air Force made a mistake but I don't believe it. They're much too smart for that. I'm agreeing with the convincing majority of naval officials and political figures who think otherwise. (btw Len, mentioning that Dean Rusk opposed the creation of Israel and hinting that this may have colored his judgement concerning whether the attack was deliberate is a little desperate, don't you think?)

Making the assumption that the attack was deliberate (a fairly safe one in light of the evidence), the questions raised by Sid in his previous post are worth considering. Who placed the Liberty in such a position? Who ensured no Hebrew speaking sailors were on board? Who set up the America's end?

The debate's moving on, Len. You can keep up or be left behind.

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So we’re back to no real motive.

I can't agree with that Len.

Actually, I think Ron got the motive broadly correct in his earlier post:

I remember reading the theory that the attack was a false flag operation, with Egypt to be blamed for the attack to bring the U.S. into the war. That's a plausible motive, though I don't know if there was any indication that the Israeli aircraft were disguised to look like Egyptian.
Before discussing motive, I wanted to see whether you - or anyone else - seriously wants to argue the attack was an accident. I suspected you'd want to hedge bets on that.

Yes I think that’s the most likely conclusion based on the available evidence.

However, in mid-1967, Israel DID have a very strong motive for locking the USA - and especially US public opinion - into long-term strategic support. At that time, although it had supporters inside the White House and plenty of supporters in Congress, it still faced opponents - and/or potential opponents - in the USA Administration and Legislature. Massive US aid to Israel came later... in 1967, Israel Governments were still at the stage of working out how to orchestrate that. The Israeli leadership had a very strong motive for a false flag operation that would make Eygpt - then its major adversary - appear to the American public like uncivilized, liberty-hating villains.

In a nutshell, I think the attack on the Liberty was clearly deliberate. What's more, this was no rogue operation. The attack was ordered at the highest level in the Israeli chain of military command.

There is no evidence the order went any higher than the navy’s war room in Haifa.
It is also rather clear that the Israeli leadership's intention was to sink the ship with the loss of all the crew.

The evidence doesn’t indicate that, as Evan and others have pointed out the MO of the attack and the types of weapons used does fit an attempt to sink the ship at least not a well planed one. If the ship disappeared without any survivors or a distress signal how would the “attackers” (Egypt) have been identified?

Why didn't the Liberty go down as intended?
Perhaps because the intention wasn’t to sink it or was but the attack was put together at the last minute and was called off when the ship identified.
I suspect luck played a part. Many members of the Liberty crew clearly behaved with enormous courage. Their own determination to survive was important and probably crucial.

Luck courage and determination wouldn’t have kept it afloat if it had been struck by torpedoes below the waterline or been bombed, it hadn’t. 500 pound bombs could sink aircraft carriers* so could easily have sunk the much smaller and less well-protected Liberty.

* http://cbs2chicago.com/topstories/local_story_246183059.html , http://hnn.us/articles/369.html

Many years afterwards, one of the Israeli pilots apparently came forward to say that the attack was no accident - and what's more, said that when he realised the Liberty was an American vessel, he returned to base (and presumably a carpeting from his superiors). There may have been others who acted with independence and integrity.
The so called pilot was anonymous so we have no way of knowing if he had an ax to grind or even if he really was an IDF pilot back then let alone that he participated in the attack.
What to make of three torpedo boats that are sent in for the kill - but manage to land only one torpedo hit out of a salvo of five?

How far away were they? How experienced were they? Based on their distance and experience how many should have hit? Why weren’t more torpedoes fired? Is it your theory that all the torpedo men (but one) intentionally failed to hit their target and then all stopped firing but none has had the courage to come forward yet? Why didn’t they fire till fire upon?

By that time, because it had already been savaged from the air, the Liberty was barely able to return fire. The torpedo launchers were firing at a sitting duck.

Not exactly they fired upon Israelis with machine guns, the captain said that it was accidental, but yes they were relatively helpless.

They should have been able to finish off the stricken vessel without much difficulty. Yet they didn't.

Yes they could have but didn’t, which better supports the notion that wasn’t their intention.

The very name 'USS Liberty' always seemed a strange co-incidence. How paradoxical, I used to think, that the Israelis just happened to attack a ship called 'Liberty'.

I now believe the name was no accident. Like 9-11, this event was intended to have deep symbolic significance for a largely American ‘audience’. One can imagine a typical conversation between Americans circa 1970 had the false flag assault succeeded… (“Hate Arabs? Sure we do! Those bastards sank the Liberty!”)

Groundless speculation, the only kind of ship they could have justified sending there would have been justification for sending to the area would have been an intelligence ship, according to the NSA it was one of only two in the area. http://www.nsa.gov/liberty/liber00010.pdf [PDF pg. 23]

It would be interesting to know who sent the USS Liberty into the East Mediterranean at that crucial time. Who decided there should be no Hebrew-speaking personnel on board?

The ship was ordered into the area by the JCS the order was coordinated by various other commanders. (see link above pg. 25)

Actually there was a linguist on the ship who understood Hebrew*, but obviously the crew would have been formed before they were sent to the area. If any Hebrew speaking personnel had been ordered off the ship we would have heard about it. One would have to ask if the other signals gathering ship (the Valdez) in the area had the same technical capacity as the Liberty with personnel more fluent in that language. It also seems likely the US was more interested in what the Soviet allied Egyptians and Syrians were up to then their “allies” the Israelis.

* http://hnn.us/articles/369.html

In short... who set up the American end of this false flag operation?

You would have to include numerous high-ranking military commanders and NSA officials, what would they have to gain from such an attack that would justify killing over 200 of their own men?

Also it wasn’t a false flag operation since the Israeli planes and ships were clearly marked. Your theory is noteworthy because is does reconcile some of the contradictions of the intentional attack theory, however it does have a major shortcoming it envisions the attack as one planned well in advance however the way the attack was carried out (whether the ship had been correctly identified or not) indicates it was hastily organized.

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You claim that cases of mistaken identity are often made, then cite the shooting of the KAL-747 and the Iranian Airbus. They're aircraft----they're not slow moving ships. Apples and oranges.

The Airbus was shot down from a slow moving or stationary ship during peacetime, the Liberty was initially attacked by fighters flying at high speed. The view of a fast moving plane from a slow moving ship is probably similar to the converse (i.e. the view of a ship from a plane) . The Israeli jets were closer to the Liberty than the USS Vincennes but F14’s and Airbus 300’s are far more different in appearance than the American and Egyptian ships and the two planes would obviously have been quite familiar to the crew of the US ship (the USN used F14’s at the time) while the Israeli’s pilots presumably had never seen either ship before and didn’t even have photos to look at.

I noticed to continue to avoid discussing the RAF’s attack on 6 Royal Navy ships at the end of WW2. Since you brought up speed the RAF’s planes would have been a lot slower flying than the IAF ones.

The ships (Liberty and El Qasir) were not similar--even to someone unfamiliar with seagoing vessels.
That’s easy to say comparing side by side photos on your computer in your home during peacetime. The Israeli pilots were trying to identify a ship they had never seen before that they presumed to be enemy during a war. They didn’t have any photos to look at, they radioed descriptions back to the Navy’s command center and people there looked at photos in a book.
I'm agreeing with the convincing majority of naval officials and political figures who think otherwise.

You’ve yet to show that a “majority of naval officials and political figures”

Think or though the attack was deliberate.

btw Len, mentioning that Dean Rusk opposed the creation of Israel and hinting that this may have colored his judgement concerning whether the attack was deliberate is a little desperate, don't you think?
Not any more desperate than your suggestion that my “support” of Israel colored mine, the main strike against him is that he admitted to not having studied the evidence.
The debate's moving on, Len. You can keep up or be left behind

So replying to you is anachronistic?

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Len

I'm shorty of time today, so just a quick reply to one of your rebuttals.

I wrote:

It is also rather clear that the Israeli leadership's intention was to sink the ship with the loss of all the crew.

You replied:

The evidence doesn’t indicate that, as Evan and others have pointed out the MO of the attack and the types of weapons used does fit an attempt to sink the ship at least not a well planed one. If the ship disappeared without any survivors or a distress signal how would the “attackers” (Egypt) have been identified?

Take another look at your last paragraph Len.

Is that a Brazilian sense of humour?

How was Lee Harvey Oswald identified?

How were the "19 Arab hijackers (15 from Saudi Arabia)" identified?

Did any of the above get a chance to plead innocent in a fair court of law?

Did the real culprits come forward early to confuse matters with full and frank confessions?

Don't insult my intelligence, Len.

Had the scheme to sink the Liberty quickly succeeded, the world would have "known" that Eygpt dunnit, because the world would have been told that Eygpt dunnit - by the Johnson Administration ("We are shocked and angered"), by the Israelis ("we watched in horror"...) by the US mass media ("Arabs blow liberty out of the water horror!!!")... did I miss anyone significant?

Of course, the Cairo press might well have denied it.

But hey, who listens to those bums?

Liberty Deniers, everyone!

Edited by Sid Walker
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“How was Lee Harvey Oswald identified?”

Depending on what you believe LHO was either arrested with a gun near where a cop had been shot and killed or had somehow been set up to arrested near the shooting with or without a gun.

”How were the "19 Arab hijackers (15 from Saudi Arabia)" identified?”

Their names were on the flight manifests some had their seat numbers identified by stewardesses.

”Did any of the above get a chance to plead innocent in a fair court of law?”

Irrelevant but suicidal terrorists opt out of the fair trial option.

”Did the real culprits come forward early to confuse matters with full and frank confessions?”

Irrelevant and in the case of 9-11 the “real culprits” killed themselves making confessions rather difficult we do have however what are supposedly their “martyrdom” videos.

“the world would have been told that Eygpt dunnit - by the Johnson Administration ("We are shocked and angered")”

In the other cases there was a rational story about how the suspects were identified. That’s missing here. Your theory depends on massive collusion by high-ranking officials who had little to gain (among other defects).

“by the Israelis ("we watched in horror"...)”

And people could rightly have asked why the Israelis, who had total control of the air space and ships in the area, hadn’t done anything. In any case it would have been the Israelis’ word against the Egyptians’ and would depend on low level people in the NSA and perhaps CIA to have been “in on it’ as well or at least to have kept quite.

Since the Egyptians wouldn’t have a plausible motive it would have been presumed to have been an error or a rouge operation. The case of the USS Stark is instructive. It was presumably misidentified as Iranian by an Iraq pilot who fired two missiles into it killing 37 sailors. There was very little uproar and the incident is all but forgotten today.

All in all it’s a very convoluted and improbable theory requiring the cooperation of many, who had nothing to gain, in the murder of their colleagues and rather intangible benefits and great risks for the people behind the plot.

Edited by Len Colby
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Your theory depends on massive collusion by high-ranking officials who had little to gain..... it’s a very convoluted and improbable theory requiring the cooperation of many, who had nothing to gain, in the murder of their colleagues and rather intangible benefits and great risks for the people behind the plot.

Not at all.

It relies on no more than the collusion of those whom we already KNOW colluded when they helped promote Israel's cover story about the Liberty

Their problem was that - in the event - there were survivors left to contradict them and honest people in the US Administration and military to deal with who could not accept such a ludicrous fall-back story (I refer to the 'accident' fable).

Had there been no survivors, selling the intended false-flag story would have been a much easier task.

Only the Egyptians would have protested.

AS for your claim that Israel would have been blamed because it controlled those waters, well, I think you draw a very long bow. That control was very new. The world as a whole had little idea who controlled what in the fog of war. The USS Liberty was off the Egyptian coastline. I think it's fairly obviously who would have been blamed, in the absence of American survivors determined to tell the truth.

Edited by Sid Walker
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Your theory depends on massive collusion by high-ranking officials who had little to gain..... it’s a very convoluted and improbable theory requiring the cooperation of many, who had nothing to gain, in the murder of their colleagues and rather intangible benefits and great risks for the people behind the plot.

Not at all.

It relies on no more than the collusion of those whom we already KNOW colluded when they helped promote Israel's cover story about the Liberty

No it requires the collusion of:

- The JCS who ordered the ship there

- The various people involved in the move (Hot absolutely necessary but if the move was not justified they might have raised questions.)

- Admiral Martin who refused the captain’s request for and escort

- Admiral McCain and his subordinates who failed to pass on the order for the ship to stay 100 nautical miles from the coast.

- The people who told the UN and the Israelis there were no US warships in the area

- The people who refused the Israelis’ request for a Naval Attaché (this and the previous item being essential for the “cover story”).

- The NSA people involved in over flights who overheard radio communications.

- And yes all the people you THINK were involved in the cover up

Quite an impressive list what motivated them to participate in a conspiracy to murder hundreds of their colleagues? They had all volunteered for a dangerous profession that does pay that well so bribes and/or threats doesn’t seem very likely. I don’t know of any mysterious deaths and 40 years later no one (except Ward Boston) has said anything.

Their problem was that - in the event - there were survivors left to contradict them and honest people in the US Administration and military to deal with who could not accept such a ludicrous fall-back story (I refer to the 'accident' fable).

Had there been no survivors, selling the intended false-flag story would have been a much easier task.

So why was there no effort to disguise the Israeli participation. They had a good number of MiG’s* (none Egyptian but presumably they could have been repainted). Why were the Israeli boats fly their flags, offer assistance to the Liberty and only fire upon it AFTER it fired on them? ** Why did they call off the attack?

*http://home.comcast.net/~anneled/Defections.html

** http://www.ussliberty.org/ncitext.htm

AS for your claim that Israel would have been blamed because it controlled those waters, well, I think you draw a very long bow. That control was very new. The world as a whole had little idea who controlled what in the fog of war. The USS Liberty was off the Egyptian coastline. I think it's fairly obviously who would have been blamed, in the absence of American survivors determined to tell the truth.

It was off a portion of “the Egyptian coastline” controlled by Israel who had reached the Suez Canal, but you misunderstood my point which is not that Israel would have been blamed but rather that people would have questioned why the Israelis didn’t intervene or save any of the crew if they had been close enough to witness the attack.

But now that you bring it up people could have questioned how and why Egypt, whose air force had virtually been destroyed had only a small navy and whose closest position was 100 miles away, attacked the Liberty.

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No it requires the collusion of:

- The JCS who ordered the ship there

- The various people involved in the move (Hot absolutely necessary but if the move was not justified they might have raised questions.)

- Admiral Martin who refused the captain’s request for and escort

- Admiral McCain and his subordinates who failed to pass on the order for the ship to stay 100 nautical miles from the coast.

- The people who told the UN and the Israelis there were no US warships in the area

- The people who refused the Israelis’ request for a Naval Attaché (this and the previous item being essential for the “cover story”).

- The NSA people involved in over flights who overheard radio communications.

- And yes all the people you THINK were involved in the cover up

Who says? If there was a conspiracy to put the Liberty in the line of fire, then who knows how many (or how few) were involved.

How can you possibly state that had there been a conspiracy, then all the aforementioned must have been involved. Suddenly you're an expert on conspiracies?

FWIW, I don't necessarily believe that there was a conspiracy to place the Liberty in jeopardy from the American side but I think it's possible. Recklessly sacrificing those on your own side to further some cause is not without precedent and the more one discovers about US foreign policy the more one suspects that there were (and still are) powerful people in authority in the US who placed Israel's interests ahead of those of the US. This would be an horrific scenario but forty years ago many people regarded the suggestion that the Government, the agencies and the media would conspire to bury the truth about JFK's death to be an horrific scenario. Now we all know that that's exactly what they did.

Of course, I still believe the attack by the Israelis was deliberate. The excuses don't hold up. The Israelis would never confuse the Liberty for an Egyptian horse trading ship.

And Len, you still haven't explained why I should believe you rather than all the officials cited in the Liberty website who regard (with great certainty) the attack to have been deliberate. I've emailed Jim and Joe from the Liberty website and asked if they or any others who were personally involved would like to participate. I hope they do.

Edited by Mark Stapleton
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No it requires the collusion of:

- The JCS who ordered the ship there

- The various people involved in the move (Hot absolutely necessary but if the move was not justified they might have raised questions.)

- Admiral Martin who refused the captain’s request for and escort

- Admiral McCain and his subordinates who failed to pass on the order for the ship to stay 100 nautical miles from the coast.

- The people who told the UN and the Israelis there were no US warships in the area

- The people who refused the Israelis’ request for a Naval Attaché (this and the previous item being essential for the “cover story”).

- The NSA people involved in over flights who overheard radio communications.

- And yes all the people you THINK were involved in the cover up

Who says? If there was a conspiracy to put the Liberty in the line of fire, then who knows how many (or how few) were involved.

How can you possibly state that had there been a conspiracy, then all the aforementioned must have been involved. Suddenly you're an expert on conspiracies?

FWIW, I don't necessarily believe that there was a conspiracy to place the Liberty in jeopardy from the American side but I think it's possible.

The above people would have to be involved for Sid’s theory to be viable, they are the ones responsible for the Liberty being where it was without escort or gave the Israelis a reasonable excuse for misidentifying the ship (i.e. they were told there were no US ships in the area), the NSA people because they recorded Israeli radio transmissions of the attack.

Recklessly sacrificing those on your own side to further some cause is not without precedent and the more one discovers about US foreign policy the more one suspects that there were (and still are) powerful people in authority in the US who placed Israel's interests ahead of those of the US.
So you suspect that all of the above would conspire to destroy their country’s best signals collection ship and kill hundreds of their colleagues in pursuit of a rather intangible goal of another country? Do you have any indication they “placed Israel's interests ahead of those of the US”? Can you cite examples of high-level US officials at the time who did so?

Of course, I still believe the attack by the Israelis was deliberate. The excuses don't hold up.

Then refute them. In Oz Dorothy could go back home by closing her eyes, clicking her heels and repeating what she desired, Goebbels also said that if you repeat something enough times people will believe it. Such tactics don’t cut it here - its not enough to say repeatedly something ‘doesn’t hold’, you need to say why.

The Israelis would never confuse the Liberty for an Egyptian horse trading ship.
Then respond to my previous points, one could argue the British “would never confuse” a flotilla of six of their own ships for a flotilla of German navy ships, especially after four years of war but they did.
And Len, you still haven't explained why I should believe you rather than all the officials cited in the Liberty website who regard (with great certainty) the attack to have been deliberate.

Of course you and Sid have failed to respond to several of my points however I did reply partially:

- I’m not the only one who takes my position so it’s not a ‘me against them’ scenario.

- Rusk admitted to not having studied the incident or read the official reports,

- Clark Clifford who they try to make appear supports their position concluded the attack was accidental,

- The ship’s captain believed at the time the attack was accidental. They quote him as having said 30 years later that he was no longer sure it was “a pure case of mistaken identity” 1) there is no independent confirmation of the quote 2) it is vague, since we aren’t given the full quote it is even more difficult to understand exactly what he meant and why he changed his mind (if he actually had).

As to some of the others:

- The cite “former NSA director…William Odom” in 2003 but don’t tell you that at the time he was a professor of government at West Point and didn’t join the NSA till 1985.

- They also cite Bobby Inman in 2003 who didn’t join the NSA (as director) till 1977 and incorrectly identify him as a former CIA director (he was deputy director for about a year).

- However a 1981 NSA report* concluded the attack was due to mistaken identity and in 2001 (in response to Bamford) a NSA spokesman said the “claim that the NSA leadership was `virtually unanimous in their belief that the attack was deliberate' is simply not true,"**

* http://www.nsa.gov/liberty/

** http://web.archive.org/web/20040401082004/...sa24apr24.story

- Helms said “I had no role in the board of inquiry that followed, or the board's finding that there could be no doubt that the Israeli's knew exactly what they were doing in attacking the Liberty”. But the board (in which played no role) actually came to the opposite conclusion, i.e. the attack WAS accidental. http://www.thelibertyincident.com/docs/CIAreports.pdf

- They quote Admiral Thomas Moorer as telling the Washington Post "To suggest that they [the IDF] couldn't identify the ship is ... ridiculous. ... Anybody who could not identify the Liberty could not tell the difference between the White House and the Washington Monument." 1) I couldn’t find the quote in the Post’s archives http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost...ncedsearch.html

2) He didn’t say directly he though the attack was intentional, if he had presumably they would have quoted him as saying so, might he have concluded like Clifford that the attack was due to gross negligence?

That’s most of them; if you want to bring up some of the others I’ll reply.

I've emailed Jim and Joe from the Liberty website and asked if they or any others who were personally involved would like to participate. I hope they do.

Although it would out me at a very distinct disadvantage so do I, but if it becomes a 4 to 1 debate don’t expect me to be able to keep up.

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Since I have been quoted a bit, I thought I should summarise my position on this topic.

1. I think that due to similarities in hull configuration, during the air attack the LIBERTY could have very well been mistaken for the EL QUSEIR.

2. During the surface attack, the pennant number and difference in hull size should have been apparent to to surface forces.

3. The air attack aircraft would probably have only meant to disable the ship, not sink it. A lucky shot may have done so, but generally they were not equipped for a maritime interception role.

4. Use of the Mirage III - regardless of being marked in national colours or not - would seem to be a very poor choice of aircraft for the attack if deception were the aim. It had limited capability in the maritime interception role and could be clearly identified as being Israeli (no other forces within conceivable combat radius operated the Mirage III).

5. Use of the Mystere IV, Super Mystere, and Ouragan aircraft made more sense in the 'deception' role as they had better surface attack capability and - due to their swept wing configuration - could have been mistaken for Arab-force MiGs.

6. The fact that Israeli forces appeared to make positive identification of the LIBERTY prior to the attack lends weight to the deliberate attack theory, though similar mistakes in the 'fog of war' have happened.

7. LIBERTY was instructed not to approach more than 100nm to the Sinai Peninsula, and these instructions were apparently acknowledged - yet the vessel was somewhere about 13nm off the Sinai around the attack. It is conceivable that 'public' orders were given, but 'classified' orders countermanded them (for intelligence gathering purposes). Even so, the LIBERTY appears to have been in international waters when attacked. The normal limit for territorial waters is 12nm, so it is conceivable their may have been confusion as to whether the LIBERTY was inside international waters.

8. The lack of supporting surface vessels (e.g. destroyers) for the LIBERTY makes military sense in some regards. There are many cases in which you do not wish to provoke a response because of additional forces. This makes sense if the vessel were to approach no closer than 100nm (i.e. no support is required). That being said, if there were a covert order to approach closer, a supporting vessel (especially a warship) not only leads to a greater 'provocation' but also increases the chance of detection by other forces.

9. If the intent by the Israeli MTBs were to sink the LIBERTY, then they could have done so by torpedo attack from a relatively safe distance. The LIBERTY was only lightly armed, and the MTBs could remain outside the effective range of the LIBERTY's weapons whilst still being able to launch a torpedo attack (IMO - I have to confirm the range of the torpedoes used on the MTBs).

10. We must also consider if there were any Israeli submarines in the area at the time, and their ability to join the fight. They were old British T-Class (IIRC) subs, not particularly effective in the modern arena - but still able to launch a salvo of torpedoes to sink a surface vessel.

I'm far from convinced that this was in any way an action which was sanctioned by the US government.

I'm still open to the idea that it was a deliberate attack by the Israelis (in order to draw the US into the conflict), though I see increasing factors which suggest it was a mistaken attack by the Israelis which was "softened" by the US government in order to negate potential adverse repercussions with regard to the pro-Israeli factions.

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No it requires the collusion of:

- The JCS who ordered the ship there

- The various people involved in the move (Hot absolutely necessary but if the move was not justified they might have raised questions.)

- Admiral Martin who refused the captain’s request for and escort

- Admiral McCain and his subordinates who failed to pass on the order for the ship to stay 100 nautical miles from the coast.

- The people who told the UN and the Israelis there were no US warships in the area

- The people who refused the Israelis’ request for a Naval Attaché (this and the previous item being essential for the “cover story”).

- The NSA people involved in over flights who overheard radio communications.

- And yes all the people you THINK were involved in the cover up

Who says? If there was a conspiracy to put the Liberty in the line of fire, then who knows how many (or how few) were involved.

How can you possibly state that had there been a conspiracy, then all the aforementioned must have been involved. Suddenly you're an expert on conspiracies?

FWIW, I don't necessarily believe that there was a conspiracy to place the Liberty in jeopardy from the American side but I think it's possible.

The above people would have to be involved for Sid’s theory to be viable, they are the ones responsible for the Liberty being where it was without escort or gave the Israelis a reasonable excuse for misidentifying the ship

That's what you say. But your statement is too sweeping--that's the point I'm trying to make. All the 'people' you claim must have been involved in order for this conspiracy to exist could comprise a small core of primary conspirators. The rest just followed orders. It's the navy.

So you suspect that all of the above would conspire to destroy their country’s best signals collection ship and kill hundreds of their colleagues in pursuit of a rather intangible goal of another country? Do you have any indication they “placed Israel's interests ahead of those of the US”? Can you cite examples of high-level US officials at the time who did so?

No I don't suspect 'all of the above' would do any such thing, counsellor.

Yes, I do have an indication that they placed Israel's interests ahead of those of the US. The awarding of gallantry medals was a secretive affair. LBJ didn't want American gallantry to be publicly celebrated in this instance, it appears. It would cause too much embarrassment to Israel. Very sensitive chap was Lyndon--to Israel that is.

Can I cite examples? Hersh quotes RFK stating, in regard to Myer Feldman, "His major interest was Israel rather than the United States".

And there's JFK's quip to a family gathering at Hyannisport, retold by close friend Charles Bartlett, "I imagine Mike's having a meeting of Zionists in the Cabinet room". The question of Angleton's primary alliegance has been discussed on the Forum, as you are no doubt aware. And what about LBJ himself?

Of course, I still believe the attack by the Israelis was deliberate. The excuses don't hold up.
Then refute them.

All in good time, Len. Sorry if it conflicts with your timetable.

btw, I think your rapid ascent to the rank of expert has been remarkable. In no time at all, you seem to have acquired comprehensive knowledge of all the intricate details surrounding this matter. I'm not in any great hurry to attempt to match your feat. I would like to see how your arguments and conclusions stand up to analysis from those who have researched this case as meticulously as you have. That's why I hope we can get someone from the Liberty Forum to participate.

The Israelis would never confuse the Liberty for an Egyptian horse trading ship.
Then respond to my previous points, one could argue the British “would never confuse” a flotilla of six of their own ships for a flotilla of German navy ships, especially after four years of war but they did.
And Len, you still haven't explained why I should believe you rather than all the officials cited in the Liberty website who regard (with great certainty) the attack to have been deliberate.
Of course you and Sid have failed to respond to several of my points however I did reply partially:

- I’m not the only one who takes my position so it’s not a ‘me against them’ scenario.

- Rusk admitted to not having studied the incident or read the official reports,

- Clark Clifford who they try to make appear supports their position concluded the attack was accidental,

- The ship’s captain believed at the time the attack was accidental. They quote him as having said 30 years later that he was no longer sure it was “a pure case of mistaken identity” 1) there is no independent confirmation of the quote 2) it is vague, since we aren’t given the full quote it is even more difficult to understand exactly what he meant and why he changed his mind (if he actually had).

As to some of the others:

- The cite “former NSA director…William Odom” in 2003 but don’t tell you that at the time he was a professor of government at West Point and didn’t join the NSA till 1985.

- They also cite Bobby Inman in 2003 who didn’t join the NSA (as director) till 1977 and incorrectly identify him as a former CIA director (he was deputy director for about a year).

- However a 1981 NSA report* concluded the attack was due to mistaken identity and in 2001 (in response to Bamford) a NSA spokesman said the “claim that the NSA leadership was `virtually unanimous in their belief that the attack was deliberate' is simply not true,"**

* http://www.nsa.gov/liberty/

** http://web.archive.org/web/20040401082004/...sa24apr24.story

- Helms said “I had no role in the board of inquiry that followed, or the board's finding that there could be no doubt that the Israeli's knew exactly what they were doing in attacking the Liberty”. But the board (in which played no role) actually came to the opposite conclusion, i.e. the attack WAS accidental. http://www.thelibertyincident.com/docs/CIAreports.pdf

- They quote Admiral Thomas Moorer as telling the Washington Post "To suggest that they [the IDF] couldn't identify the ship is ... ridiculous. ... Anybody who could not identify the Liberty could not tell the difference between the White House and the Washington Monument." 1) I couldn’t find the quote in the Post’s archives http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost...ncedsearch.html

2) He didn’t say directly he though the attack was intentional, if he had presumably they would have quoted him as saying so, might he have concluded like Clifford that the attack was due to gross negligence?

That’s most of them; if you want to bring up some of the others I’ll reply.

You've done your homework. I'll say that for you.

I've emailed Jim and Joe from the Liberty website and asked if they or any others who were personally involved would like to participate. I hope they do.

Although it would out me at a very distinct disadvantage so do I, but if it becomes a 4 to 1 debate don’t expect me to be able to keep up.

It's not about who wins. I doubt if it will ever be proven one way or the other. It's about getting as much information about this matter on the table so those interested can form their own views.

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