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Posted: 10/5/2007 5:55:05 AM EST

chicagotribune.com
Special report
New revelations in attack on American spy ship
Veterans, documents suggest U.S., Israel didn't tell full story of deadly '67 incident
By John Crewdson

Tribune senior correspondent

October 2, 2007

Bryce Lockwood, Marine staff sergeant, Russian-language expert, recipient of the Silver Star for heroism, ordained Baptist minister, is shouting into the phone.

"I'm angry! I'm seething with anger! Forty years, and I'm seething with anger!"

Lockwood was aboard the USS Liberty, a super-secret spy ship on station in the eastern Mediterranean, when four Israeli fighter jets flew out of the afternoon sun to strafe and bomb the virtually defenseless vessel on June 8, 1967, the fourth day of what would become known as the Six-Day War.

For Lockwood and many other survivors, the anger is mixed with incredulity: that Israel would attack an important ally, then attribute the attack to a case of mistaken identity by Israeli pilots who had confused the U.S. Navy's most distinctive ship with an Egyptian horse-cavalry transport that was half its size and had a dissimilar profile. And they're also incredulous that, for years, their own government would reject their calls for a thorough investigation.

"They tried to lie their way out of it!" Lockwood shouts. "I don't believe that for a minute! You just don't shoot at a ship at sea without identifying it, making sure of your target!"

Four decades later, many of the more than two dozen Liberty survivors located and interviewed by the Tribune cannot talk about the attack without shouting or weeping.

Their anger has been stoked by the declassification of government documents and the recollections of former military personnel, including some quoted in this article for the first time, which strengthen doubts about the U.S. National Security Agency's position that it never intercepted the communications of the attacking Israeli pilots -- communications, according to those who remember seeing them, that showed the Israelis knew they were attacking an American naval vessel.

The documents also suggest that the U.S. government, anxious to spare Israel's reputation and preserve its alliance with the U.S., closed the case with what even some of its participants now say was a hasty and seriously flawed investigation.

In declassifying the most recent and largest batch of materials last June 8, the 40th anniversary of the attack, the NSA, this country's chief U.S. electronic-intelligence-gatherer and code-breaker, acknowledged that the attack had "become the center of considerable controversy and debate." It was not the agency's intention, it said, "to prove or disprove any one set of conclusions, many of which can be drawn from a thorough review of this material," available athttp://www.nsa.gov/liberty .

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mark Regev, called the attack on the Liberty "a tragic and terrible accident, a case of mistaken identity, for which Israel has officially apologized." Israel also paid reparations of $6.7 million to the injured survivors and the families of those killed in the attack, and another $6 million for the loss of the Liberty itself.

But for those who lost their sons and husbands, neither the Israelis' apology nor the passing of time has lessened their grief.

One is Pat Blue, who still remembers having her lunch in Washington's Farragut Square park on "a beautiful June afternoon" when she was a 22-year-old secretary for a law firm.

Blue heard somebody's portable radio saying a U.S. Navy ship had been torpedoed in the eastern Mediterranean. A few weeks before, Blue's husband of two years, an Arab-language expert with the NSA, had been hurriedly dispatched overseas.

As she listened to the news report, "it just all came together." Soon afterward, the NSA confirmed that Allen Blue was among the missing.

"I never felt young again," she said.

Aircraft on the horizon

Beginning before dawn on June 8, Israeli aircraft regularly appeared on the horizon and circled the Liberty.

The Israeli Air Force had gained control of the skies on the first day of the war by destroying the Egyptian air force on the ground. America was Israel's ally, and the Israelis knew the Americans were there. The ship's mission was to monitor the communications of Israel's Arab enemies and their Soviet advisers, but not Israeli communications. The Liberty felt safe.

Then the jets started shooting at the officers and enlisted men stretched out on the deck for a lunch-hour sun bath. Theodore Arfsten, a quartermaster, remembered watching a Jewish officer cry when he saw the blue Star of David on the planes' fuselages. At first, crew members below decks had no idea whose planes were shooting at their ship.

Thirty-four died that day, including Blue, the only civilian casualty. An additional 171 were wounded in the air and sea assault by Israel, which was about to celebrate an overwhelming victory over the combined armies of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and several other Arab states.

For most of those who survived the attack, the Six-Day War has become the defining moment of their lives.

Some mustered out of the Navy as soon as their enlistments were up. Others stayed in long enough to retire. Several went on to successful business careers. One became a Secret Service agent, another a Baltimore policeman.

Several are being treated with therapy and drugs for what has since been recognized as post-traumatic stress disorder. One has undergone more than 30 major operations. Another suffers seizures caused by a piece of shrapnel still lodged in his brain.

After Bryce Lockwood left the Marines, he worked construction, then tried selling insurance. "I'd get a job and get fired," he said. "I had a hell of a time getting my feet on the ground."

With his linguistic background, Lockwood could have had a career with the NSA, the CIA, or the FBI. But he was too angry at the U.S. government to work for it. "Don't talk to me about government!" he shouts.

U.S. Navy jets were called back

An Israeli military court of inquiry later acknowledged that their naval headquarters knew at least three hours before the attack that the odd-looking ship 13 miles off the Sinai Peninsula, sprouting more than 40 antennas capable of receiving every kind of radio transmission, was "an electromagnetic audio-surveillance ship of the U.S. Navy," a floating electronic vacuum cleaner.

The Israeli inquiry later concluded that that information had simply gotten lost, never passed along to the ground controllers who directed the air attack nor to the crews of the three Israeli torpedo boats who picked up where the air force left off, strafing the Liberty's decks with their machine guns and launching a torpedo that blew a 39-foot hole in its starboard side.

To a man, the survivors interviewed by the Tribune rejected Israel's explanation.

Nor, the survivors said, did they understand why the American 6th Fleet, which included the aircraft carriers America and Saratoga, patrolling 400 miles west of the Liberty, launched and then recalled at least two squadrons of Navy fighter-bombers that might have arrived in time to prevent the torpedo attack -- and save 26 American lives.

J.Q. "Tony" Hart, then a chief petty officer assigned to a U.S. Navy relay station in Morocco that handled communications between Washington and the 6th Fleet, remembered listening as Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, in Washington, ordered Rear Adm. Lawrence Geis, commander of the America's carrier battle group, to bring the jets home.

When Geis protested that the Liberty was under attack and needed help, Hart said, McNamara retorted that "President [Lyndon] Johnson is not going to go to war or embarrass an American ally over a few sailors."

McNamara, who is now 91, told the Tribune he has "absolutely no recollection of what I did that day," except that "I have a memory that I didn't know at the time what was going on."

The Johnson administration did not publicly dispute Israel's claim that the attack had been nothing more than a disastrous mistake. But internal White House documents obtained from the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library show that the Israelis' explanation of how the mistake had occurred was not believed.

Except for McNamara, most senior administration officials from Secretary of State Dean Rusk on down privately agreed with Johnson's intelligence adviser, Clark Clifford, who was quoted in minutes of a National Security Council staff meeting as saying it was "inconceivable" that the attack had been a case of mistaken identity.

The attack "couldn't be anything else but deliberate," the NSA's director, Lt. Gen. Marshall Carter, later told Congress.

"I don't think you'll find many people at NSA who believe it was accidental," Benson Buffham, a former deputy NSA director, said in an interview.

"I just always assumed that the Israeli pilots knew what they were doing," said Harold Saunders, then a member of the National Security Council staff and later assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs.

"So for me, the question really is who issued the order to do that and why? That's the really interesting thing."

The answer, if there is one, will probably never be known. Gen. Moshe Dayan, then the country's minister of defense; Levi Eshkol, the Israeli prime minister; and Golda Meir, his successor, are all dead.

Many of those who believe the Liberty was purposely attacked have suggested that the Israelis feared the ship might intercept communications revealing its plans to widen the war, which the U.S. opposed. But no one has ever produced any solid evidence to support that theory, and the Israelis dismiss it. The NSA's deputy director, Louis Tordella, speculated in a recently declassified memo that the attack "might have been ordered by some senior commander on the Sinai Peninsula who wrongly suspected that the LIBERTY was monitoring his activities."

Was the U.S. flag visible?

Though the attack on the Liberty has faded from public memory, Michael Oren, a historian and senior fellow at The Shalem Center in Jerusalem, conceded that "the case of the assault on the Liberty has never been closed."

If anything, Oren said, "the accusations leveled against Israel have grown sharper with time." Oren said in an interview that he believed a formal investigation by the U.S., even 40 years later, would be useful if only because it would finally establish Israel's innocence.

Questions about what happened to the Liberty have been kept alive by survivors' groups and their Web sites, a half-dozen books, magazine articles and television documentaries, scholarly papers published in academic journals, and Internet chat groups where amateur sleuths debate arcane points of photo interpretation and torpedo running depth.

Meantime, the Liberty's survivors and their supporters, including a distinguished constellation of retired admirals and generals, have persisted in asking Congress for a full-scale formal investigation.

"We deserve to have the truth," Pat Blue said.

For all its apparent complexity, the attack on the Liberty can be reduced to a single question: Was the ship flying the American flag at the time of the attack, and was that flag visible from the air?

The survivors interviewed by the Tribune uniformly agree that the Liberty was flying the Stars and Stripes before, during and after the attack, except for a brief period in which one flag that had been shot down was replaced with another, larger flag -- the ship's "holiday colors" -- that measured 13 feet long.

Concludes one of the declassified NSA documents: "Every official interview of numerous Liberty crewmen gave consistent evidence that indeed the Liberty was flying an American flag -- and, further, the weather conditions were ideal to ensure its easy observance and identification."

The Israeli court of inquiry that examined the attack, and absolved the Israeli military of criminal culpability, came to precisely the opposite conclusion.

"Throughout the contact," it declared, "no American or any other flag appeared on the ship."

The attack, the court said, had been prompted by a report, which later proved erroneous, that a ship was shelling Israeli-held positions in the Sinai Peninsula. The Liberty had no guns capable of shelling the shore, but the court concluded that the U.S. ship had been mistakenly identified as the source of the shelling.

Yiftah Spector, the first Israeli pilot to attack the ship, told the Jerusalem Post in 2003 that when he first spotted the Liberty, "I circled it twice and it did not fire on me. My assumption was that it was likely to open fire at me and nevertheless I slowed down and I looked and there was positively no flag."

But the Liberty crewmen interviewed by the Tribune said the Israeli jets simply appeared and began shooting. They also said the Liberty did not open fire on the planes because it was armed only with four .50-caliber machine guns intended to repel boarders.

"I can't identify it, but in any case it's a military ship," Spector radioed his ground controller, according to a transcript of the Israeli air-to-ground communications published by the Jerusalem Post in 2004.

That transcript, made by a Post reporter who was allowed to listen to what the Israeli Air Force said were tapes of the attacking pilots' communications, contained only two references to "American" or "Americans," one at the beginning and the other at the end of the attack.

The first reference occurred at 1:54 p.m. local time, two minutes before the Israeli jets began their first strafing run.

In the Post transcript, a weapons system officer on the ground suddenly blurted out, "What is this? Americans?"

"Where are Americans?" replied one of the air controllers.

The question went unanswered, and it was not asked again.

Twenty minutes later, after the Liberty had been hit repeatedly by machine guns, 30 mm cannon and napalm from the Israelis' French-built Mirage and Mystere fighter-bombers, the controller directing the attack asked his chief in Tel Aviv to which country the target vessel belonged.

"Apparently American," the chief controller replied.

Fourteen minutes later the Liberty was struck amidships by a torpedo from an Israeli boat, killing 26 of the 100 or so NSA technicians and specialists in Russian and Arabic who were working in restricted compartments below the ship's waterline.

Analyst: Israelis wanted it sunk

The transcript published by the Jerusalem Post bore scant resemblance to the one that in 1967 rolled off the teletype machine behind the sealed vault door at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, where Steve Forslund worked as an intelligence analyst for the 544th Air Reconnaissance Technical Wing, then the highest-level strategic planning office in the Air Force.

"The ground control station stated that the target was American and for the aircraft to confirm it," Forslund recalled. "The aircraft did confirm the identity of the target as American, by the American flag.

"The ground control station ordered the aircraft to attack and sink the target and ensure they left no survivors."

Forslund said he clearly recalled "the obvious frustration of the controller over the inability of the pilots to sink the target quickly and completely."

"He kept insisting the mission had to sink the target, and was frustrated with the pilots' responses that it didn't sink."

Nor, Forslund said, was he the only member of his unit to have read the transcripts. "Everybody saw these," said Forslund, now retired after 26 years in the military.

Forslund's recollections are supported by those of two other Air Force intelligence specialists, working in widely separate locations, who say they also saw the transcripts of the attacking Israeli pilots' communications.

One is James Gotcher, now an attorney in California, who was then serving with the Air Force Security Service's 6924th Security Squadron, an adjunct of the NSA, at Son Tra, Vietnam.

"It was clear that the Israeli aircraft were being vectored directly at USS Liberty," Gotcher recalled in an e-mail. "Later, around the time Liberty got off a distress call, the controllers seemed to panic and urged the aircraft to 'complete the job' and get out of there."

Six thousand miles from Omaha, on the Mediterranean island of Crete, Air Force Capt. Richard Block was commanding an intelligence wing of more than 100 analysts and cryptologists monitoring Middle Eastern communications.

The transcripts Block remembered seeing "were teletypes, way beyond Top Secret. Some of the pilots did not want to attack," Block said. "The pilots said, 'This is an American ship. Do you still want us to attack?'

"And ground control came back and said, 'Yes, follow orders.'"

Gotcher and Forslund agreed with Block that the Jerusalem Post transcript was not at all like what they remember reading.

"There is simply no way that [the Post transcript is] the same as what I saw," Gotcher said. "More to the point, for anyone familiar with air-to-ground [communications] procedures, that simply isn't the way pilots and controllers communicate."

Block, now a child protection caseworker in Florida, observed that "the fact that the Israeli pilots clearly identified the ship as American and asked for further instructions from ground control appears to be a missing part of that Jerusalem Post article."

Arieh O'Sullivan, the Post reporter who made the newspaper's transcript, said the Israeli Air Force tapes he listened to contained blank spaces. He said he assumed those blank spaces occurred while Israeli pilots were conducting their strafing runs and had nothing to communicate.

'But sir, it's an American ship!'

Forslund, Gotcher and Block are not alone in claiming to have read transcripts of the attack that they said left no doubt the Israelis knew they were attempting to sink a U.S. Navy ship.

Many ears were tuned to the battles being fought in and around the Sinai during the Six-Day War, including those belonging to other Arab nations with a keen interest in the outcome.

"I had a Libyan naval captain who was listening in that day," said a retired CIA officer, who spoke on condition that he not be named discussing a clandestine informant.

"He thought history would change its course," the CIA officer recalled. "Israel attacking the U.S. He was certain, listening in to the Israeli and American comms [communications], that it was deliberate."

The late Dwight Porter, the American ambassador to Lebanon during the Six-Day War, told friends and family members that he had been shown English-language transcripts of Israeli pilots talking to their controllers.

A close friend, William Chandler, the former head of the Trans-Arabian Pipe Line Co., said Porter recalled one of the pilots protesting, "But sir, it's an American ship -- I can see the flag!' To which the ground control responded, 'Never mind; hit it!'"

Porter, who asked that his recollections not be made public while he was alive because they involved classified information, also discussed the transcripts during a lunch in 2000 at the Cosmos Club in Washington with another retired American diplomat, Andrew Kilgore, the former U.S. ambassador to Qatar.

Kilgore recalled Porter saying that he "saw the telex, read it, and passed it right back" to the embassy official who had shown it to him. He quoted Porter as recalling that the transcript showed "Israel was attacking, and they know it's an American ship."

Haviland Smith, a young CIA officer stationed in Beirut during the Six-Day War, said that although he never saw the transcript, he had "heard on a number of occasions exactly the story that you just told me about what that transcript contained."

He had later been told, Smith recalled, "that ultimately all of the transcripts were deep-sixed. I was told that they were deep-sixed because the administration did not wish to embarrass the Israelis."

Perhaps the most persuasive suggestion that such transcripts existed comes from the Israelis themselves, in a pair of diplomatic cables sent by the Israeli ambassador in Washington, Avraham Harman, to Foreign Minister Abba Eban in Tel Aviv.

Five days after the Liberty attack, Harman cabled Eban that a source the Israelis code-named "Hamlet" was reporting that the Americans had "clear proof that from a certain stage the pilot discovered the identity of the ship and continued the attack anyway."

Harman repeated the warning three days later, advising Eban, who is now dead, that the White House was "very angry," and that "the reason for this is that the Americans probably have findings showing that our pilots indeed knew that the ship was American."

According to a memoir by then-CIA director Richard Helms, President Johnson's personal anger was manifest when he discovered the story of the Liberty attack on an inside page of the next day's New York Times. Johnson barked that "it should have been on the front page!"

Israeli historian Tom Segev, who mentioned the cables in his recent book "1967," said other cables showed that Harman's source for the second cable was Arthur Goldberg, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The cables, which have been declassified by the Israelis, were obtained from the Israeli State Archive and translated from Hebrew by the Tribune.

Oliver Kirby, the NSA's deputy director for operations at the time of the Liberty attack, confirmed the existence of NSA transcripts.

Asked whether he had personally read such transcripts, Kirby replied, "I sure did. I certainly did."

"They said, 'We've got him in the zero,'" Kirby recalled, "whatever that meant -- I guess the sights or something. And then one of them said, 'Can you see the flag?' They said 'Yes, it's U.S, it's U.S.' They said it several times, so there wasn't any doubt in anybody's mind that they knew it."

Kirby, now 86 and retired in Texas, said the transcripts were "something that's bothered me all my life. I'm willing to swear on a stack of Bibles that we knew they knew."

One set of transcripts apparently survived in the archives of the U.S. Army's intelligence school, then located at Ft. Holabird in Maryland.

W. Patrick Lang, a retired Army colonel who spent eight years as chief of Middle East intelligence for the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the transcripts were used as "course material" in an advanced class for intelligence officers on the clandestine interception of voice transmissions.

"The flight leader spoke to his base to report that he had the ship in view, that it was the same ship that he had been briefed on and that it was clearly marked with the U.S. flag," Lang recalled in an e-mail.

"The flight commander was reluctant," Lang said in a subsequent interview. "That was very clear. He didn't want to do this. He asked them a couple of times, 'Do you really want me to do this?' I've remembered it ever since. It was very striking. I've been harboring this memory for all these years."

Key NSA tapes said missing

Asked whether the NSA had in fact intercepted the communications of the Israeli pilots who were attacking the Liberty, Kirby, the retired senior NSA official, replied, "We sure did."

On its Web site, the NSA has posted three recordings of Israeli communications made on June 8, 1967. But none of the recordings is of the attack itself.

Indeed, the declassified documents state that no recordings of the "actual attack" exist, raising questions about the source of the transcripts recalled by Forslund, Gotcher, Block, Porter, Lang and Kirby.

The three recordings reflect what the NSA describes as "the aftermath" of the attack -- Israeli communications with two Israeli helicopters dispatched to rescue any survivors who may have jumped into the water.

Two of the recordings were made by Michael Prostinak, a Hebrew linguist aboard a U.S. Navy EC-121, a lumbering propeller-driven aircraft specially equipped to gather electronic intelligence.

But Prostinak said he was certain that more than three recordings were made that day.

"I can tell you there were more tapes than just the three on the Internet," he said. "No doubt in my mind, more than three tapes."

At least one of the missing tapes, Prostinak said, captured Israeli communications "in which people were not just tranquil or taking care of business as normal. We knew that something was being attacked," Prostinak said. "Everyone we were listening to was excited. You know, it was an actual attack. And during the attack was when mention of the American flag was made."

Prostinak acknowledged that his Hebrew was not good enough to understand every word being said, but that after the mention of the American flag "the attack did continue. We copied [recorded] it until we got completely out of range. We got a great deal of it."

Charles Tiffany, the plane's navigator, remembers hearing Prostinak on the plane's intercom system, shouting, "I got something crazy on UHF," the radio frequency band used by the Israeli Air Force.

"I'll never forget it to this day," said Tiffany, now a retired Florida lawyer. He also remembers hearing the plane's pilot ordering the NSA linguists to "start taping everything."

Prostinak said he and the others aboard the plane had been unaware of the Liberty's presence 15,000 feet below, but had concluded that the Israelis' target must be an American ship. "We knew that something was being attacked," Prostinak said.

After listening to the three recordings released by the NSA, Prostinak said it was clear from the sequence in which they were numbered that at least two tapes that had once existed were not there.

One tape, designated A1104/A-02, begins at 2:29 p.m. local time, just after the Liberty was hit by the torpedo. Prostinak said there was a preceding tape, A1104/A-01.

That tape likely would have recorded much of the attack, which began with the air assault at 1:56 p.m. Prostinak said a second tape, which preceded one beginning at 3:07 p.m., made by another linguist aboard the same plane, also appeared to be missing.

As soon as the EC-121 landed at its base in Athens, Prostinak said, all the tapes were rushed to an NSA facility at the Athens airport where Hebrew translators were standing by.

"We told them what we had, and they immediately took the tapes and went to work," recalled Prostinak, who after leaving the Navy became chief of police and then town administrator for the village of Lake Waccamaw, N.C.

Another linguist aboard the EC-121, who spoke on condition that he not be named, said he believed there had been as many as "five or six" tapes recording the attack on the Liberty or its aftermath.

Andrea Martino, the NSA's senior media adviser, did not respond to a question about the apparent conflict between the agency's assertion that there were no recordings of the Israeli attack and the recollections of those interviewed for this article.

U.S. inquiry widely criticized

Rather than investigating how and why a U.S. Navy vessel had been attacked by an ally, the Navy seemed interested in asking as few questions as possible and answering them in record time.

Even while the Liberty was still limping toward a dry dock in Malta, the Navy convened a formal Court of Inquiry. Adm. John McCain Jr., the commander of U.S. naval forces in Europe and father of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chose Adm. Isaac Kidd Jr. to preside.

The court's charge was narrow: to determine whether any shortcomings on the part of the Liberty's crew had contributed to the injuries and deaths that resulted from the attack. McCain gave Kidd's investigators a week to complete the job.

"That was a shock," recalled retired Navy Capt. Ward Boston, the inquiry's counsel, who said he and Kidd had estimated that a thorough inquiry would take six months.

"Everyone was kind of stunned that it was handled so quickly and without much hullabaloo," said G. Patrick March, then a member of McCain's staff in London.

Largely because of time constraints, Boston said, the investigators were unable to question many of the survivors, or to visit Israel and interview any Israelis involved in the attack.

Rear Adm. Merlin Staring, the Navy's former judge advocate general, was asked to assess the American inquiry's report before it was sent to Washington. But Staring said it was taken from him when he began to question some aspects of the report. He describes it now as "a hasty, superficial, incomplete and totally inadequate inquiry."

Staring, who is among those calling for a full congressional investigation on behalf of the Liberty's survivors, observed in an interview that the inquiry report contained several "findings of fact" unsupported by testimony or evidence.

One such finding ignored the testimony of several inquiry witnesses that the American flag was flying during the attack, and held that the "available evidence combines to indicate the attack on LIBERTY on 8 June was in fact a case of mistaken identity."

There are also apparent omissions in the inquiry's report. It does not include, for example, the testimony of a young lieutenant, Lloyd Painter, who was serving as officer of the deck when the attack began. Painter said he testified that an Israeli torpedo boat "methodically machine-gunned one of our life rafts" that had been put over the side by crewmen preparing to abandon ship.

Painter, who spent 32 years as a Secret Service agent after leaving the Navy, charged that his testimony about the life rafts was purposely omitted.

Ward Boston recalled that, after McCain's one-week deadline expired, Kidd took the record compiled by the inquiry "and flew back to Washington, and I went back to Naples," the headquarters of the 6th Fleet.

"Two weeks later, he comes back to Naples and calls me from his office," Boston recalled in an interview. "In that deep voice, he said, 'Ward, they aren't interested in the facts. It's a political issue and we have to put a lid on it. We've been ordered to shut up.'

"It's time for the truth to come out," declared Boston, who is now 84. "There have been so many cover-ups."

"Someday the truth of this will come out," said Dennis Eikleberry, a NSA technician aboard the Liberty. "Someday it will, but we'll all be gone."

James Ennes, now 74, who was officer of the deck just before the attack began, and later spent two months in a body cast, is one of the more vocal survivors. Like the others, Ennes is tired of waiting.

"We want both sides to stop lying," he said.


Link Posted: 10/5/2007 5:58:11 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2007 5:59:28 AM EST by M4]
Long article, I know...but the Liberty is just one of those subjects that deserves resolution...particularly for those who were killed that day.

IMO, Israel knew exactly what they were doing and who they were attacking....along with some high ranking U.S. officials.

The whole thing disgusts me frankly.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 6:08:01 AM EST
The evidence is pretty conclusive to me.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 6:10:27 AM EST
Aw, shit!

BRACE FOR IMPACT!

I miss Eric.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 6:36:54 AM EST

Originally Posted By llanero:
I've yet to hear a decent WHY? answered.


+1..why?
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 6:37:25 AM EST

Originally Posted By llanero:
I've yet to hear a decent WHY? answered.


You've heard the "why." Conspiracy theories are just more fun to talk about on the internet than a case of mistaken identity.
Matt
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 6:38:45 AM EST

Originally Posted By llanero:
I've yet to hear a decent WHY? answered.


Just because we don't understand "why?" doesn't mean it didn't happen.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 6:39:55 AM EST
Israel LIED. They MURDERED our sailors and then covered it up. They sell our weapons technology to China and North Korea, spy on us and then suck up free billions in economic and weapons grants paid for by the US Taxpayer.
Iran hell? Israel is as much an enemy as Iran.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 6:40:35 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 6:43:50 AM EST
Oh, by the way... if an Israeli pilot was convinced enough that the ship was American (and not a legitimate target) before he fired to ask his controller TWICE, he wouldn't have fired. I can't think of any fighter-pilots (from any nation) who would have pursued an un-briefed attack on a questionable target. That's just not the way we do business.
In order to fire, the pilot would be convinced (mistakenly) that the ship was a legitimate enemy combatant (mistaken identity).
Matt
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 6:46:54 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2007 6:50:53 AM EST by valheru21]

Originally Posted By Jarhead_22:
usslibertyinquiry.googlepages.com/essay1-image999.jpg

usslibertyinquiry.googlepages.com/essay1-image000.jpg


As I sit here in my nice cushy leather chair, eating lunch, those two ships look a bit different.

In the midst of an attack on my country, from the seat of my fighter at 5000' and with orders to attack the ship at that location... such a mistake is very possible. I don't think most of you appreciate the way the world looks from a few thousand feet up... especially with the relatively ancient targeting technology available at that time.

Given the legitimate evidence, I am convinced the pilots believed they were attacking an enemy combatant. Once they realized their mistake, they ceased the attack.
Matt
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 6:48:02 AM EST

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

I miss Eric.


Me too.

I will never think of The USS Liberty without thinking of him.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 6:49:46 AM EST

Originally Posted By valheru21:
Oh, by the way... if an Israeli pilot was convinced enough that the ship was American (and not a legitimate target) before he fired to ask his controller TWICE, he wouldn't have fired. I can't think of any fighter-pilots (from any nation) who would have pursued an un-briefed attack on a questionable target. That's just not the way we do business.
In order to fire, the pilot would be convinced (mistakenly) that the ship was a legitimate enemy combatant (mistaken identity).
Matt


What if they were confirming that it was indeed the correct target...
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 6:52:33 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2007 6:53:00 AM EST by valheru21]

Originally Posted By skin290:

Originally Posted By valheru21:
Oh, by the way... if an Israeli pilot was convinced enough that the ship was American (and not a legitimate target) before he fired to ask his controller TWICE, he wouldn't have fired. I can't think of any fighter-pilots (from any nation) who would have pursued an un-briefed attack on a questionable target. That's just not the way we do business.
In order to fire, the pilot would be convinced (mistakenly) that the ship was a legitimate enemy combatant (mistaken identity).
Matt


What if they were confirming that it was indeed the correct target...


America was not a combatant in that war. If the pilots received confirmation that the ship was American, they would not have pursued the attack - regardless of orders. Pilots are not known (in any nation) for blindly following orders. That's one of the reasons they are officers in most countries.
Matt
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 6:54:45 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:05:21 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2007 7:08:46 AM EST by valheru21]

Originally Posted By Jarhead_22:

Originally Posted By valheru21:
As I sit here in my nice cushy leather chair, eating lunch, those two ships look a bit different.

In the midst of an attack on my country, from the seat of my fighter at 5000' and with orders to attack the ship at that location... such a mistake is very possible. I don't think most of you appreciate the way the world looks from a few thousand feet up... especially with the relatively ancient targeting technology available at that time.
Matt

If you're a fighter/attack pilot for an air force of a coastal nation and you can't differentiate between a broken down, dirty boat 275 ft long and one that's squared away and Haze Gray with eight foot white designation letters on the hull, an American flag and a giant dish antenna, that's 455 ft long, you have no business being in the same compartment with the firing controls of anti-ship missiles.


Have you EVER flown off the coast and tried to ID ships while keeping your own aircraft outside the WEZ (weapons engagement zone) of the suspected ship? Without a targeting pod and a VERY intimate knowledge of every ship out there (or at least a very thick book with pictures and names), it's a bit more difficult than you think it is.

Also, these pilots were trained to attack ground targets since most of the threat was coming from the desert - not the sea. Tactical flying is a VERY perishable skill. If they weren't training to ID ships, you can bet they could easily make the mistake.

As I recall, they also didn't use anti-ship missiles...


No one was shooting at those IAF fighters. They flew around the Liberty for two hours before they opened fire.


I guarantee those particular fighters did not fly around for two hours and then attack in the manner described. They don't have the gas for it.

After reading threads like this one, I tried IDing ships - hell, I'd have been happy to be able to ID the flag from the altitude at which I was flying - in the Gulf without using my targeting pod... You are assuming WAY too much about how pilots operate and what the world looks like from 5-10k feet.
Matt
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:07:59 AM EST
Amazing how the Izzy's score a particularly successful raid on on the Syrians recently, benefiting Israel and America, and the Jew-hating crowd drags out the USS Liberty to hash over in the media again.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:16:19 AM EST
Great article, except for the fact the ISRAEL HAD NO FUCKING REASON TO ATTACK THEM ON PURPOSE.

I guess facts shouldnt get in the way of a good conspiracy theory. Say did you guys hear the one about how the US government faked the moon landing!!!



Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:19:40 AM EST
Ok, so I read some more of the article... They're saying the Israelis wanted the ship sunk... Yet the aircraft were not armed to sink it.... A couple of 500# dumb bombs could have made short work of that ship.
Matt
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:19:41 AM EST
As soon as I read in that article that the Liberty was hit by napalm, I knew it is a B.S. hit piece.

That article is completely biased towards one opinion.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:20:49 AM EST

People REALLY should read the official reports that were issued after exhaustive investigations. They are available on-line and can be doanloaded, and while there are hundreds of pages - they are extremely informative. (Of course, most people prefer to believe rumor and hearsay and what they read on the internet, rather than inform themselves).

When looking at all the known facts, it appears to be nothing more than a tragic misunderstanding, combined with incompetence and miscommunications on both sides.



RIP to the brave souls that were tragically lost.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:21:13 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:23:15 AM EST

Originally Posted By valheru21:
Ok, so I read some more of the article... They're saying the Israelis wanted the ship sunk... Yet the aircraft were not armed to sink it.... A couple of 500# dumb bombs could have made short work of that ship.
Matt


The Israeli torpoedo boats that showed up could EASILY have sunk the Liberty, but stopped and offered assistance as soon as they realized their mistake.


The huge flaw in the "it was a deliberate act" conspiracy theory is that the Liberty was NOT sunk. There is zero doubt that the Israelis could have sunk it if they had wanted to, and sinking it and leaving NO survivors would give them an even better opportunity to "cover up" and make up stories about what happend. The fact that the Liberty was NOT sunk is the one huge problem for any conspiracy theory about it being a deliberate attack.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:24:38 AM EST

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:
People REALLY should read the official reports that were issued after exhaustive investigations. They are available on-line and can be doanloaded, and while there are hundreds of pages - they are extremely informative. (Of course, most people prefer to believe rumor and hearsay and what they read on the internet, rather than inform themselves).

When looking at all the known facts, it appears to be nothing more than a tragic misunderstanding, combined with incompetence and miscommunications on both sides.



RIP to the brave souls that were tragically lost.


Here ya go.
http://www.nsa.gov/liberty/
Matt
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:26:34 AM EST

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:

Originally Posted By valheru21:
Ok, so I read some more of the article... They're saying the Israelis wanted the ship sunk... Yet the aircraft were not armed to sink it.... A couple of 500# dumb bombs could have made short work of that ship.
Matt


The Israeli torpoedo boats that showed up could EASILY have sunk the Liberty, but stopped and offered assistance as soon as they realized their mistake.


The huge flaw in the "it was a deliberate act" conspiracy theory is that the Liberty was NOT sunk. There is zero doubt that the Israelis could have sunk it if they had wanted to, and sinking it and leaving NO survivors would give them an even better opportunity to "cover up" and make up stories about what happend. The fact that the Liberty was NOT sunk is the one huge problem for any conspiracy theory about it being a deliberate attack.


Agreed - the article in questions says that the ground controllers were miffed because the aircraft couldn't sink the ship with 30mm and rockets - no kidding.
Matt
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:42:21 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2007 7:44:32 AM EST by valheru21]
Those aircraft have no targeting pods or precision strike capability (i.e. Laser or GPS guided munitions). They carry guns, rockets and dumb bombs. They have roughly 1.5-2.0 hour loiter times. They do not aerial refuel. They are bare-bones fighter aircraft. They are not Super-Hornets or Raptors with x-ray vision and the magical panty-viewing FLIR pod. They use the pilot's eyeballs. If those eyeballs didn't see a flag - it might as well have not been there. Once those pilot's eyes saw the flag, the attack ceased. That lends A LOT more credibility to the "mistaken identity" scenerio than the massive zionist conspiracy theory.
Matt
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:44:54 AM EST

Originally Posted By postpostban:
As soon as I read in that article that the Liberty was hit by napalm, I knew it is a B.S. hit piece.

That article is completely biased towards one opinion.


The ship was, in fact, hit by napalm. No one disputes this. Whats your prob?
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:47:12 AM EST

Originally Posted By shotar:
What I find interesting at this juncture, is that now we have a real Naval fighter pilot here in the discussion. Not a an ace of computer flight simulators, but the real deal. Someone who's job it is to attack ships and ground targets.

He is someone who should be viewed as an expert on the subject, yet we have amatures who are disputing his opinion about what one can or cannot see or distinguish from altitude at sea at high speed.


The Israeli Nord "Flying Boxcars" that repeatedly overflew the Liberty were at masthead height, and slow. Nice try tho....
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:49:39 AM EST

Originally Posted By :

Originally Posted By 1GunnerHogan1:

Originally Posted By hourglassing:
Amazing how the Izzy's score a particularly successful raid on on the Syrians recently, benefiting Israel and America, and the Jew-hating crowd drags out the USS Liberty to hash over in the media again.




Where did you see ANYONE say "Jew Hating"? Such tired and trite comments are so asinine. The fact remains Israel THE COUNTRY intentionally bombed and killed US Servicemen and tried to cover it up. Facts are a bitch huh?


They intentionally struck the ship. The credible evidence suggest they did not know it was an American ship. The credible evidence does not suggest a cover-up. The internet does...

When you present some facts, we'll discuss whether or not they're a "bitch."
Matt


Agreement from me with valheru21. The fact that Israeli warplanes attacked a US ship and killed US servicement is indisputable. The Israeli intent is, as mentioned, is up for dispute. Your knee jerk reaction, 1GunnerHogan1, sums up your position on Israel quite nicely.

This was truly a regrettable incident in history. There will always be a crowd that will use it to paint Israel in a bad light, decades later. No country is perfect, including the US and Israel, but these our two nations share enough principals that you can include the Izzys in the same club as the UK and Australia, along with precious few others, as allies. Some folks will just never get over the Jewish thing, though, and use any excuse to knock them.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:50:00 AM EST

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:

Originally Posted By valheru21:
Ok, so I read some more of the article... They're saying the Israelis wanted the ship sunk... Yet the aircraft were not armed to sink it.... A couple of 500# dumb bombs could have made short work of that ship.
Matt


The Israeli torpoedo boats that showed up could EASILY have sunk the Liberty, but stopped and offered assistance as soon as they realized their mistake an SOS got sent and pissed off F-4s were inbound.

Fixed that one for you...


The huge flaw in the "it was a deliberate act" conspiracy theory is that the Liberty was NOT sunk. There is zero doubt that the Israelis could have sunk it if they had wanted to, and sinking it and leaving NO survivors would give them an even better opportunity to "cover up" and make up stories about what happend. The fact that the Liberty was NOT sunk is the one huge problem for any conspiracy theory about it being a deliberate attack.



Do you have even a CLUE how close to sinking it DID come? Perhaps the fact that the Captain got a Congressional Medal of Honor for keeping it afloat might be a clue.....
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:50:09 AM EST

Originally Posted By Rick-OShay:

Originally Posted By shotar:
What I find interesting at this juncture, is that now we have a real Naval fighter pilot here in the discussion. Not a an ace of computer flight simulators, but the real deal. Someone who's job it is to attack ships and ground targets.

He is someone who should be viewed as an expert on the subject, yet we have amatures who are disputing his opinion about what one can or cannot see or distinguish from altitude at sea at high speed.


The Israeli Nord "Flying Boxcars" that repeatedly overflew the Liberty were at masthead height, and slow. Nice try tho....


That was a few hours before the attack. The ship was ID'd as American... then someone forgot about it - as happens in war. Later the shore was taking fire from the sea. They sent fighters to deal with it. The new guy on watch didn't get the passdown that an American ship was in that area. He assumed (as happens in war) that it was an enemy combatant. The fighter pilots couldn't see anything that changed that assessment (flag/number/etc) and so, saw what they thought was correct. It happens at 5000' and 500 knots - it just doesn't happen to you in your nice comfy chair.
Matt
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:51:32 AM EST

Originally Posted By valheru21:

Originally Posted By 1GunnerHogan1:

Originally Posted By hourglassing:
Amazing how the Izzy's score a particularly successful raid on on the Syrians recently, benefiting Israel and America, and the Jew-hating crowd drags out the USS Liberty to hash over in the media again.




Where did you see ANYONE say "Jew Hating"? Such tired and trite comments are so asinine. The fact remains Israel THE COUNTRY intentionally bombed and killed US Servicemen and tried to cover it up. Facts are a bitch huh?


They intentionally struck the ship. The credible evidence suggest they did not know it was an American ship. The credible evidence does not suggest a cover-up. The internet does...

When you present some facts, we'll discuss whether or not they're a "bitch."
Matt



How about the flag the Liberty was flying, complete with bullet holes? Is THAT enough "credible evidence" for you?
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:51:56 AM EST

Originally Posted By Rick-OShay:

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:

Originally Posted By valheru21:
Ok, so I read some more of the article... They're saying the Israelis wanted the ship sunk... Yet the aircraft were not armed to sink it.... A couple of 500# dumb bombs could have made short work of that ship.
Matt


The Israeli torpoedo boats that showed up could EASILY have sunk the Liberty, but stopped and offered assistance as soon as they realized their mistake an SOS got sent and pissed off F-4s were inbound.

Fixed that one for you...


The huge flaw in the "it was a deliberate act" conspiracy theory is that the Liberty was NOT sunk. There is zero doubt that the Israelis could have sunk it if they had wanted to, and sinking it and leaving NO survivors would give them an even better opportunity to "cover up" and make up stories about what happend. The fact that the Liberty was NOT sunk is the one huge problem for any conspiracy theory about it being a deliberate attack.



Do you have even a CLUE how close to sinking it DID come? Perhaps the fact that the Captain got a Congressional Medal of Honor for keeping it afloat might be a clue.....


Did you know that there's no such thing as the "congressional" medal of honor - it's just the "Medal of Honor."
Matt
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:53:24 AM EST
Where is the "Blame Bush" crowd? Is their propaganda machine asleep?
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:53:39 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2007 8:03:14 AM EST by valheru21]

Originally Posted By Rick-OShay:
How about the flag the Liberty was flying, complete with bullet holes? Is THAT enough "credible evidence" for you?


How big was this flag? Take that same size flag, tie it to a busy intersection and drive 1 mile away. Turn back around and look at the flag. Tell me what you see. Now try this looking over the side of the airplane going 500 knots and worrying about getting shot at the same time.

Most of the flags I've seen on ships were through my targeting pod - I normally looked on the stern (ass) of the ship for the country of origin instead of the flag. If the flag is limp or waving too much, it's almost impossible to tell. That's why hull shapes are so important. 400' at 10,000' looks a lot like 200' at 5,000'. The water looks the same no matter your altitude (over about 4,000'), and with no frame of reference, length is only comparable to width and height of the object. The shape, not the size (unless we're talking rowboat and battleship) becomes the identifying feature.

I'm not defending their actions - I'm saying they fucked up. I'm also saying it wasn't intentional.

For credibility... I've ID'd submerged submarines while flying - it can be done - but it take a LOT of practice... and I wasn't thinking about getting shot at.
Matt
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:54:19 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:55:29 AM EST

Originally Posted By shotar:

So the pilots who might well have identified the ship, were not the same pilots who fired on it? How long between the recon aircraft overflights and the fighter attack?


It was the same day, but separated by a few hours - long enough for someone to not get the whole pass-down.
Matt
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 7:59:47 AM EST
you are now reading page 2 of a 7+ page thread.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 8:00:19 AM EST

Originally Posted By postpostban:

Originally Posted By valheru21:

Originally Posted By 1GunnerHogan1:

Originally Posted By hourglassing:
Amazing how the Izzy's score a particularly successful raid on on the Syrians recently, benefiting Israel and America, and the Jew-hating crowd drags out the USS Liberty to hash over in the media again.




Where did you see ANYONE say "Jew Hating"? Such tired and trite comments are so asinine. The fact remains Israel THE COUNTRY intentionally bombed and killed US Servicemen and tried to cover it up. Facts are a bitch huh?


They intentionally struck the ship. The credible evidence suggest they did not know it was an American ship. The credible evidence does not suggest a cover-up. The internet does...

When you present some facts, we'll discuss whether or not they're a "bitch."
Matt


....and they admitted fault


Not completely, they haven't. In fact, they treat the attackers as heros, and have monuments to them in museums.


....and paid over $12 million 1960's dollars in fines

...for killing 37 men and destroying (the Liberty never sailed again) a ship that cost over $20,000,000 just to OUTFIT as a technical research vessel, never mind the actual cost of the ship itself. Oh, and you MIGHT want to take a look at the "foreign aid" to Israel during the time they were supposedly "paying" us - their aid money was upped by the same amount! Israel didn;t pay SQUAT - the US taxpayers did!

What else should they do today , in 2007?


What does Israel INSIST be done when they find some 90 year old concentration camp guard in Ohio, or whatever? If time going by doesn't diminish the right of Israel to persue justice against those who've wronged it, Israel can hardly turn around when its own have commited war crimes and DENY their victims justice, based on "...it was long ago..." Yeah, well so was WWII....
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 8:00:52 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 8:04:17 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2007 8:05:21 AM EST by valheru21]

Originally Posted By shotar:

Originally Posted By valheru21:

Originally Posted By shotar:

So the pilots who might well have identified the ship, were not the same pilots who fired on it? How long between the recon aircraft overflights and the fighter attack?


It was the same day, but separated by a few hours - long enough for someone to not get the whole pass-down.
Matt


So, lets say dayshift is on patrol and they note that there is a family picnic going on at the park. I am on second shift and a couple hours into the shift, I get a report of a raucus drunken brawl at the park and go in expecting trouble. Should I expect to find trouble or a peaceful picnic? After all Some hours earlier there was a picnic. I guess that is what I too should expect to find rather than relying on the current report of the dispatcher.

Bingo - if you're even told about the picnic at all. With that, I'm out. I have rooms to paint.
Matt
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 8:04:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By valheru21:

Originally Posted By Rick-OShay:

Originally Posted By shotar:
What I find interesting at this juncture, is that now we have a real Naval fighter pilot here in the discussion. Not a an ace of computer flight simulators, but the real deal. Someone who's job it is to attack ships and ground targets.

He is someone who should be viewed as an expert on the subject, yet we have amatures who are disputing his opinion about what one can or cannot see or distinguish from altitude at sea at high speed.


The Israeli Nord "Flying Boxcars" that repeatedly overflew the Liberty were at masthead height, and slow. Nice try tho....


That was a few hours before the attack. The ship was ID'd as American... then someone forgot about it - as happens in war. Later the shore was taking fire from the sea. They sent fighters to deal with it. The new guy on watch didn't get the passdown that an American ship was in that area. He assumed (as happens in war) that it was an enemy combatant. The fighter pilots couldn't see anything that changed that assessment (flag/number/etc) and so, saw what they thought was correct. It happens at 5000' and 500 knots - it just doesn't happen to you in your nice comfy chair.
Matt


Even if i were inclined to grant you that, (and I'm not - we expect OUR troops to be DARN SURE what they expend ordinance on, for just such reasons...) TORPEDO BOATS don't operate at 5000' and 500 knots - they were close enought to machine gun the liferaft (another war crime), which is plenty close to seel the "GTR 5" hull number, the American flag, the 20 foot Moonbounce antenna.... sorry, no points for your side.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 8:04:38 AM EST
What a whiner.

There was a war going on. The ship was a secret spy ship. Spy ships don't go chugging around adorned with stuff that clearly shows they are US naval ships. If they did they wouldn't be secret spy ships.

Basically S*** Happens in war. To say the Israeli's intentionally tried to sink a US ship is absurd. They are one of our closest allies.

It is called friendly fire. I'm sorry this guy can't keep a job but blaming it on the Israeli's for something that happened 40 yrs ago is ridiculous. Get over it. My uncle was maimed by Brittish friendly fire in WWII. He isn't hobbling around bitching about the Brits.

I call:

<­BR>

Link Posted: 10/5/2007 8:08:50 AM EST

Originally Posted By Rick-OShay:

Originally Posted By postpostban:

Originally Posted By valheru21:

Originally Posted By 1GunnerHogan1:

Originally Posted By hourglassing:
Amazing how the Izzy's score a particularly successful raid on on the Syrians recently, benefiting Israel and America, and the Jew-hating crowd drags out the USS Liberty to hash over in the media again.




Where did you see ANYONE say "Jew Hating"? Such tired and trite comments are so asinine. The fact remains Israel THE COUNTRY intentionally bombed and killed US Servicemen and tried to cover it up. Facts are a bitch huh?


They intentionally struck the ship. The credible evidence suggest they did not know it was an American ship. The credible evidence does not suggest a cover-up. The internet does...

When you present some facts, we'll discuss whether or not they're a "bitch."
Matt


....and they admitted fault


Not completely, they haven't. In fact, they treat the attackers as heros, and have monuments to them in museums.


....and paid over $12 million 1960's dollars in fines

...for killing 37 men and destroying (the Liberty never sailed again) a ship that cost over $20,000,000 just to OUTFIT as a technical research vessel, never mind the actual cost of the ship itself. Oh, and you MIGHT want to take a look at the "foreign aid" to Israel during the time they were supposedly "paying" us - their aid money was upped by the same amount! Israel didn;t pay SQUAT - the US taxpayers did!

What else should they do today , in 2007?


What does Israel INSIST be done when they find some 90 year old concentration camp guard in Ohio, or whatever? If time going by doesn't diminish the right of Israel to persue justice against those who've wronged it, Israel can hardly turn around when its own have commited war crimes and DENY their victims justice, based on "...it was long ago..." Yeah, well so was WWII....


Israel didn't set the prices for the retribution, take it up with those who did.
Israel admitted to a mistake, not to running Gulags and concentration camps, there is a world of difference.
When a person is convicted of and accidental homicide and pays their debt to society, maybe even settles a lawsuit, it's over. You can't retry them or resue them.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 8:09:57 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 8:12:57 AM EST

Originally Posted By shotar:

Do we really? I'm sure a few Canuckians would dispute that point. No, we really don't. We might applogize or punish later, but we expect our pilots to bomb the crap out of whatever they are sent out to bomb. They were sent to bomb a ship that was at a particular location, they found a ship and bombed one.


Last parting shot. If the pilots had been sent to bomb a ship and seen a friendly flag, they would have aborted the strike - I have no doubt about that. To suggest anything else is quite silly.
Matt
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 8:16:54 AM EST

Originally Posted By Rick-OShay:

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:

Originally Posted By valheru21:
Ok, so I read some more of the article... They're saying the Israelis wanted the ship sunk... Yet the aircraft were not armed to sink it.... A couple of 500# dumb bombs could have made short work of that ship.
Matt


The Israeli torpoedo boats that showed up could EASILY have sunk the Liberty, but stopped and offered assistance as soon as they realized their mistake an SOS got sent and pissed off F-4s were inbound.

Fixed that one for you...


The huge flaw in the "it was a deliberate act" conspiracy theory is that the Liberty was NOT sunk. There is zero doubt that the Israelis could have sunk it if they had wanted to, and sinking it and leaving NO survivors would give them an even better opportunity to "cover up" and make up stories about what happend. The fact that the Liberty was NOT sunk is the one huge problem for any conspiracy theory about it being a deliberate attack.



Do you have even a CLUE how close to sinking it DID come? Perhaps the fact that the Captain got a Congressional Medal of Honor for keeping it afloat might be a clue.....




Yes - I have a clue because I've actually READ the reports and testimony from the investigations.

I suggest you do the same.


(But, exciting imagines of "pissed of F-4's inbound" are much more exciting explanations than the FACT the the Israeli torpedo boats stopped firing as soon as they realized it was a U.S. ship. It had NOTHING to do with any messages sent - which you would know if you had read the reports and understood the communications failtures and tragic fuckups that took place that day)
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 8:23:08 AM EST

Originally Posted By Rick-OShay:
- we expect OUR troops to be DARN SURE what they expend ordinance on, for just such reasons


So the British troops killed during GW1, allied helicopters shot down, and Candian troops bombed in Afghanistan - were all killed on purpose by U.S. troops?

(Heck, in GW1 I think the British lost more troops to U.S. fire than they did to Iraqi fire. )



These things happen in the "fog of war"

Was it a huge and incompetent fuck-up for the Israeli planes to attack? Hell yes, and there should have been criminal charges against the pilots, in my opinion.

But there is NO EVIDENCE that it was a deliberate attack, other than conspiracy theory and anger.

And the fact remains that the torpedo boats could easily have sunk the Liberty, had they wanted to. I can honestly think of no reason they would not have done so, if the whole thing was a deliberate and orchestrated attack. The fact that the stopped firing as soon as they realized it was a U.S. ship defeats the entire argument, to my mind.

Does it excuse gross incompetence and huge fuck-ups earlier in the day? Hell no - but to me, it does indicate that there was no coordinated or deliberate plan to attack the Liberty.

Link Posted: 10/5/2007 8:23:57 AM EST

Originally Posted By 1GunnerHogan1:

Originally Posted By hourglassing:
Amazing how the Izzy's score a particularly successful raid on on the Syrians recently, benefiting Israel and America, and the Jew-hating crowd drags out the USS Liberty to hash over in the media again.




Where did you see ANYONE say "Jew Hating"? Such tired and trite comments are so asinine. The fact remains Israel THE COUNTRY intentionally bombed and killed US Servicemen and tried to cover it up. Facts are a bitch huh?


Nope, that’s wrong…

Countries don’t have independent wills. Individuals do. Sometimes it’s convenient to talk about groups or organizations as real entities. But you’ve always got to remember that the group is just a convenient fiction we use and not a real person.

So, someone in a position of authority in Israel wanted the ship sunk… That’s what you are really saying. I think it’s fairly obvious that most of the people of Israel wouldn’t want to attack an American ship. I also think it’s probable that no one with Israel’s best interests at heart would want to attack an American ship either.

Where does that leave us?

If the attack was actually intentional and not just a tragic mistake, (I honestly don’t know.) then the question is both who and why? The “who” would probably be the controller or his immediate superior. The reason I say that is the obvious resistance the pilots had to shooting at an American ship. Imagine trying to project those orders through several links of the chain of command… People would demand those orders in writing or even refuse to obey. And, if the attack was planned by the highest levels of the Israeli government then they would have handpicked a few pilots for the mission, briefed them ahead of time, and used more effective anti ship weapons on the first pass. (30mm and rockets aren’t likely to sink a ship, at least not quickly.) No, this was a target of opportunity, staged with the force at hand by the controller, not some well planned surgical strike organized at the highest levels.

And, why would some ground controller, or his immediate superior, (or even an imposter) order an attack on an American ship? The official answer is that it was a misunderstanding. But some people don’t believe that… If a rogue Israeli officer ordered an attack on an American ship then it’s safe to say that he didn’t have Israel’s best interests in mind when he did so. In fact it seems likely that he wanted to start an incident with America. And that’s something that no one loyal to Israel would want.

What nation back then had both the capability of inserting one of their agents into a high position in the Israeli military and the desire to cause tension between America and Israel? There’s one really big and obvious answer…

And, what would be the reaction of both American and Israeli officials when they found this out. Making the incident public would be a serious embarrassment for Israel and would drastically increase the tensions between two nuclear superpowers. It could possibly even trigger a nuclear war. So they would have to stage a major cover up.

I’m not saying that’s definitely what happened. All I’ve got is one thread of reasoning that I think shows this as a probable cause for the incident. And all anyone else has to show the official account is wrong is a thread of reasoning. I think everyone ought to consider the possibility that the whole thing was really set off by a Soviet agent or two.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 8:26:19 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 8:26:56 AM EST
To those who can't accept the mistaken identity answer all I can say is don't hold your breath for another outcome. A terrible tragedy happened and all the conspiracy theories in the world are not going to prove anything else. Even if there is more to this tragedy, it will probably not be known in our lifetime. The closure some are demanding is just plain not going to happen. I'm amazed that anyone would advocate abandoning our alliance with israel over the issue and prefer an alliance with those who blow up 300 marines sleeping and sponsor global terrorism. That is just plain asinine.
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