Len Colby Posted May 5, 2007 Share Posted May 5, 2007 2. During the surface attack, the pennant number and difference in hull size should have been apparent to to surface forces. According to the Liberty’s captain the following sequence of events took place when around the time of the torpedo attack 1) With the Israeli boats and the Liberty approaching each other at high speed he ordered a crew member to fire a machine gun at them. 2) He noticed that the flag had been shot down and ordered a new one raised, it was raised sometime before the torpedo attack 3) When the Israelis were about 2000 yards (1800 meters) from the American ship they tried to signal it but it was impossible to understand the signal because the view was blocked by smoke and flames. Around the same time they were signaling an Israeli flag was spotted. He gave a cease fire order but the gunner misunderstood and “fired a short burst at the boats” a second machine started firing on its own due to the fire despite being unmanned “fire from machine gun 53 was extremely effective and blanketed the area and the center torpedo boat”, he though the Israelis must have felt they were under attack. 4) Only at this point after having tried to signal without response and being fired on did the Israelis return fire first with their machine guns then torpedos. 5) He also testified that “immediately after” the torpedo hit the Israelis offered assistance but it was refused this was at 1427 the air attacks had begun around 1403, the ship had been under attack for less than half and hour not an hour as frequently stated. 6) A little after 1500 Israeli helicopters approached the Liberty but were waved away (not in quoted text below). According to the NSA intercepts, the CIA report and the main Hebrew linguist on the intercept plane the helicopter crew and their control tower were still trying to identify the nationality of the ship but thought it was Russian till they spotted the American flag: [Emphasis mine, except for last names in original  refers to the page number source - http://www.ussliberty.org/ncitext.htm . The captain’s version of events was in close (but not exact) correlation to that given by the Israelis (http://www.usslibertyinquiry.com/evidence/israel/idfhr.html ), it differs significantly from that of James Ennis but he (Ennis) was below deck due to injuries] I told a man from the bridge, whose identity I do not recall, to proceed to mount 51 and take the boats under fire…When the boats reached an approximate range of 2,000 YARDS, the center boat of the formation was SIGNALING TO US. Also, at this range, it appeared that they were flying an Israeli flag. This was later verified. IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE TO READ THE SIGNALS FROM THE CENTER TORPEDO BOAT BECAUSE OF THE INTERMITTENT BLOCKING OF VIEW BY SMOKE AND FLAMES. At this time, I yelled to machine gun 51 to tell him to hold fire. I realized that there was a possibility of the aircraft having been Israeli and the attack had been conducted in error. I wanted to hold fire to see if we could read the signal from the torpedo boat and perhaps avoid additional damage and personnel injuries. THE MAN ON MACHINE GUN 51 FIRED A SHORT BURST AT THE BOATS before he was able to understand what I was attempting to have him do. INSTANTLY, ON MACHINE GUN 51 OPENING FIREMACHINE GUN 53 BEGAN FIRING AT THE CENTER BOAT. From the starboard wing of the bridge, 03 level, I observed that THE FIRE FROM MACHINE GUN 53 WAS EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE AND BLANKETED THE AREA AND THE CENTER TORPEDO BOAT. It was not possible to get to mount 53 from the starboard wing of the bridge. I sent Mr. LUCAS around the port side of the bridge, around to the skylights, to see if he could tell QUINTERO, whom I believed to be the gunner on Machine gun 53, to hold fire until we were able to clarify the situation. He reported back in a few minutes in effect that he saw no one at mount 53. AS FAR AS THE TORPEDO BOATS ARE CONCERNED, I AM SURE THAT THEY FELT THAT THEY  WERE UNDER FIRE FROM USS LIBERTY. At this time, they opened fire with their gun mounts and in a matter of seconds, one torpedo was noted crossing astern of the ship at about 25 yards. The time that this torpedo crossed the stern in believed to be about 1426. About 1427, without advance warning, the ship sustained a torpedo hit starboard side forward, immediately below the waterline in the vicinity of the coordination center… IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE SHIP WAS STRUCK BY THE TORPEDO, THE TORPEDO BOATS STOPPED DEAD IN THE WATER and milled around astern of the ship at a range of approximately 500 to 8?0 yards. ONE OF THE BOATS SIGNALED BY FLASHING LIGHT, IN ENGLISH, "DO YOU REQUIRE ASSISTANCE"? We had no means to communicate with the boat by light but hoisted code lima india. The signal intended to convey the fact that the ship was maneuvering with difficulty and that they should keep clear. According to the captain his ship maintained a bearing of 283 degrees and the Israeli MTB’s approached at 135. If I’m not mistaken if the Israelis had been on a track of 103 degrees (283 – 180) they would have been heading head on in the Liberty’s direction and thus were approaching at 32 degrees. The letters ‘GTR’ were 4 feet (1.2 meters) high and the number ‘5’ eight feet (2.4 meters) high [ http://www.usslibertyinquiry.com/arguments...llmarkings.html ]. Question for Evan could a combination of the angle, distance, fire and smoke made identification of the ship difficult? Is it reasonable to assume they would have stopped trying to identify ship after being fired upon? 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.And might use of captured MiG’s have been a better choice? Some had already been flown by Israeli pilots.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. According to the Israelis this information was “scrubbed from the board” after an 11:00 AM shift change. Question for Evan (or others) Does this sound reasonable to you? Perhaps you could check with some “old timers” I imagine such a practice would have been abandoned worldwide after June 1967. 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.Slight correction the “official story” was that these orders only reached the Liberty AFTER the attack due to misrouting. The captain said that he took the dangers of being so close to a combat zone into consideration but decided stay close to shore to improve intelligence gathering. Might the location have added to the confusion? Is it common for neutral ships to be so close to combat area? Since the canal was closed I doubt any active shipping lanes would have been in the area.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. Don’t forget that at this point the Egyptians (and Jordanians) had been vanquished and the Syrians (and Iraqis) had their air forces wiped out. The only assistance that would have been useful to the Israelis was ground troops against the Syrians, I don’t see how and “Egyptian” attack on an American ship could have used to justify deploy US ground forces against Syria especially during the Vietnam War. Even if it could I doubt they could have been deployed fast enough to be useful, the Israelis achieved their objective (capturing the Golan Heights) in two days. 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