USS Liberty: Israel Did Not Intend to Bomb the Ship
Mr. Cristol is the author of the forthcoming The Liberty Incident.Editor's Note: This summer HNN devoted a special edition to Israel's attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 during the Six Day War, which resulted in the deaths of 34 Americans. Israel insists the attack was an accident. Many others contend it was deliberate, among them, James Bamford, author of Body of Secrets., which has attracted a great deal of attention. A. Jay Cristol, a federal bankruptcy judge in Florida, has spent 14 years researching the incident and has been allowed exlusive access to Israeli archives and officials. His long-awaited book, The Liberty Incident, will be published in March by Brassey. In the piece below, Judge Cristol critiques the claims advanced by Mr. Bamford. The judge's conclusion? Mr. Bamford is guilty of telling"tall tales."
Bamford: Describes the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty as"unprovoked."
Fact: He completely ignores that the United States had publicly announced to the world at the United Nations Security Council only two days before June 8, 1967 that it had no warships within hundreds of miles of the combat zone. The chain of reactions were started by an Israeli army report of explosions at El Arish. Since Israel controlled the air and the ground, they made the assumption that they were being shelled from the sea and a warship was in eye view. In view of the U.S. public announcement, it seems more logical for the Israelis to have assumed that a haze grey warship sailing within eye view of the ongoing combat was an enemy vessel rather than a U.S. ship.
Bamford:"Israel fighters and torpedo boats assaulted the ship for more than an hour."
Fact: The air attack lasted about 12 minutes and was terminated as soon as the Israel Air Force determined the ship was not an Arab ship. While the Air Force was initiating rescue operations, the torpedo boats approached, stopped, and began signaling to the Liberty. The response of the Liberty was to begin shooting at the torpedo boats which thereupon began the torpedo attack. It lasted less than 15 minutes during which time the navy torpedo boats believed they were facing an enemy who initiated the shooting at them.
Bamford: The Israeli attackers used" cannon fire, rockets, heavy bombs, burning napalm and five torpedoes"
Fact: No rockets were fired at Liberty. No bombs,"heavy" or otherwise, were used. The attacking aircraft were not armed to attack a ship. Had they dropped the standard 500 pound iron bombs normally used against ship targets, the Liberty would very likely have been sunk in minutes. (During the battle of Midway in World War II, U.S. Navy dive bombers using standard 500 pound iron bombs sank three Japanese aircraft carriers in ten minutes.) Four napalm canisters [bombs] were dropped by the attacking aircraft. At least three and possibly all missed. The Liberty's doctor reported no treatment of any crew member for napalm burns.
Bamford:"Israeli reconnaissance planes had positively identified the ship"
Fact: A routine Israel Navy reconnaissance flight at dawn on June 8 sighted Liberty at about 6:00 A.M. steaming southeasterly and south more than 70 miles further west of El Arish. Positive identification was made and the information passed to Naval Intelligence Headquarters and the Liberty was marked on the battle control board at Naval Headquarters. Five hours later, the Liberty mark was considered old information and removed from the battle control board. At 11:00 A.M., shifts changed and the information about the Liberty was not known to the officer who assumed command. At about 1:00 P.M., when the presence of a ship steaming west, 14 miles off the coast of the Sinai and reported to be shelling Israel Army positions from the sea became a tactical issue, the Navy Officer in command did not know about the dawn sighting of Liberty many miles to the west.
Bamford:"Throughout the attack, according to survivors, the Liberty was flying a large American flag,"
Fact: 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.
Bamford:"Nowicki heard both the pilots and the torpedo boat crew members referring to the American flag during the attack,"
"Nowicki also heard the pilots talk about the American flag."
Fact: No reference to an American flag was made on any radio intercept until 1512, approximately 30 minutes after the attack was over. I have obtained transcripts of the Israel Air Force tapes which confirm this. I have an appeal pending before the National Security Agency for release of their tapes, which are the tapes described by Bamford. Release of these tapes by NSA will corroborate both what Nowicki originally told Bamford as well as the transcripts of the Israel Air Force tapes. That is the attack was a mistake.
Bamford: [The Liberty]"had its name painted in English in ten-foot letters across the stern."
Fact: The name Liberty on the curved stern of the ship was not larger than 18 inches and because of the curvature of the stern, was extremely difficult to read under any circumstances. The ships identifier,"GTR-5" was painted on both sides of the ship near the bow and near the stern but only the number"5" was ten feet tall. The"GTR" was substantially smaller. It was the sighting of these markings by the second wave of aircraft that identified the ship as not an Arab ship and resulted in immediate termination of the air attack.
Bamford:"Among those who never believed Israel's explanation are the survivors and the captain of the ship."
Fact: The captain of the ship, William L. McGonagle, testified under oath before the U.S. navy Court of Inquiry on June 13, 1967"I realized that there was a possibility of the aircraft having been Israeli and the attack having been conducted in error." [emphasis added] [Court of Inquiry Record, p. 39] Bamford attributes rejection of the Israel explanation of mistaken identity to"The Survivors." This infers all the survivors. Again, this is not a true statement.
Bamford:"Among those who never believed Israel's explanation are ... Secretary of State, Dean Rusk and Chief of Naval Operations (and later Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) Admiral Thomas Moorer;"
Fact: Dean Rusk never accepted the Israeli explanation but when I asked him in an interview at Athens, Georgia on April 5, 1989 on what evidence he based his opinion, he conceded that he never read the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry findings, the CIA Report, or the Clark Clifford Report. When pressed further, he said,"I did not make a career of studying the evidence."
Admiral Moorer was Commander in Chief Atlantic on the day of the attack on the Liberty and became Chief of Naval Operations on August 1, 1967. In two interviews in Washington, D.C. on February 10, 1989 and May 3, 1990, he explained that the Liberty's identity could not be mistaken because she was the"Ugliest ship in the Navy" and was larger in size than the Egyptian ship for which she was mistaken. The CIA Report concludes the opposite, that the two ships could be mistaken. Ironically, the findings of the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry were approved by Moorer's office while he was the Chief of Naval Operations.
Bamford: [The Liberty] never fired a shot."
Fact: This statement is a lie. The evidence has been undisputed for more than three decades that when the torpedo boats approached, stopped, and began signaling, the Liberty began shooting at them. Captain McGonagle, the commanding officer, testified to this under oath at the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry and reconfirmed it in a videotaped press conference on board Liberty when the ship returned to the United States. He may be observed on videotape telling of the Liberty firing at the torpedo boats in the Thames TV documentary, Attack on the Liberty, aired on British television on January 27, 1987.
Bamford:"The evidence that Israel's attack was deliberate is overwhelming." [He refers to]"the mountain of evidence in my book indicating that Israel knew the ship was American."
Fact: All attacks are inherently deliberate. The question is: did the Israelis attack knowing that it was an American ship. Ten official U.S. investigations and three official Israeli investigations have all concluded that the attack was a tragic mistake or that there is no evidence to establish that it was not a tragic mistake. Seven U. S. Presidents, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Regan, Bush, and Clinton have all accepted the conclusion that the attack was a tragic mistake. Still, more than two dozen conspiracy theories, most of which like Mr. Bamford's conspiracy theory, are based on false or erroneous premises, and have been circulating for years. They all start from the assumption that all the above investigations were wrong or a deliberate cover up; that the Israelis knew they were attacking an American ship; and the only question is:"Why". Bamford's book presents a mountain of allegations but no credible evidence to prove the allegations.
Bamford: Refers to Marvin Nowicki plus"another Hebrew linguist" who, he says,"is" confident that the Israeli attack was a deliberate attack.
Fact: Here again Mr. Bamford lies. Dr. Marvin Nowicki, the U.S. Navy Hebrew linguist on the NSA EC-121 aircraft who heard the Israeli Air Force pilots' radio transmissions and supervised their recording, told Mr. Bamford exactly the opposite, that is Nowicki is certain the attack was a mistake. In an e-mail letter dated March 3, 2000, a copy of which was provided to me by Nowicki and which will be published in full in my forthcoming book, Nowicki wrote to Bamford,"...we recorded most, if not all, of the attack. Further, our intercepts, never before made public, showed the attack to be an accident on the part of the Israelis." Dr. Nowicki's letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal published on May 16, 2001 unequivocally contradicts what Bamford attributes to him. Nowicki said in the Wall Street Journal letter:"My position, which is opposite of Mr. Bamford's, is the attack, ..., was a gross error." There are not one, but two other NSA connected Hebrew linguists that, according to Dr. Nowicki, have heard the tapes and share his - not Bamford's - alleged conclusions.
ABOUT JUDGE CRISTOL: He is a former U.S. Navy carrier pilot, and a lecturer for the Department of Defense on the Law of Naval Warfare. He retired from my Naval service with the rank of Captain. He is professionally knowledgeable about air combat and naval matters. He has spent fourteen years researching one question about the Liberty incident: did the Israelis attack her knowing she was a U.S. ship ("No") or was it a case of mistaken identity ("Yes")? This study was his doctoral dissertation accepted in 1997 by the Graduate School of International Studies of the University of Miami and is on file in the Library of Congress.
The quotations attributed to Mr. Bamford were taken from a statement he published in the New Republic.
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James Caran - 6/5/2010
Dear Judge Cristol,
I'm not here to argue the deliberacy or negligency of Israel's attack on the USS Liberty.
Firstly, the USS Liberty was a Beltrand-class technical research ship. This is not a military warship. Even a casual analysis of the hull reveals that it was a re-fitted "Victory class" ship.
The Victory class ship is a CARGO SHIP. Over 500 Victory class cargo ships were built during WWII to replace cargo ships sunk by German submarines. They were armed with a 5 inch stern gun, a bow-mounted 76mm gun and eight 20 mm cannons. With the exception of the stern gun, these were all anti-aircraft weapons. Count the anti-submarine 5inch stern gun and it's all clearly self defense.
The refitted USS Libtery was a Belmont-class and only had 5 .50 caliber machine guns.
What this means is that, it was not a warship.
It was an auxiliary vessel or technical vessel (with a hull-shape indicative of cargo use) and a trained military pilot would know that this type of vessel would not ordinarily have the type of arms capable of shelling a location.
In order to verify the actual armaments on a ship designed for cargo and armed for self-defense, a closer look for verification would be necessary. Any close look would verify that there weren't heavy armaments.
Again I'm not arguing any side here regarding the Israeli's but your argument that Congress lied about the Liberty because they said they don't have warships in the area is without merit.
Conclusion and Fact: Liberty was not a warship.
"Bamford: Refers to Marvin Nowicki plus "another Hebrew linguist" who, he says, "is" confident that the Israeli attack was a deliberate attack."
Says Bamford: "I specifically noted in my book that Nowicki came to the opposite conclusion: "At the time, based on the fractured conversations he heard on the intercepts, Nowicki just assumed that the attack was a mistake." (Body of Secrets p. 221). In an e-mail to me, Nowicki states in no uncertain terms that I never misquoted him." - James Bamford http://www.fas.org/sgp/eprint/bamford.html
Bamford is not talking about NSA Hebrew Linguists "*in general* but rather about the Hebrew linguists specifically on the plane Nowicki was on. "Nowicki...was only one of the two Hebrew linguists on the plane...I was able to locate the other -- who in fact heard more of the conversations -- and he also confirmed hearing the attacking Israelis talk about the American flag. He, however, came to the exact opposite conclusion as Nowicki, believing the attack was deliberate." -Bamford
Not only have I read Bamford in numerous locations properly quote Nowicki, not even that Bamford has an email from Nowicki corroborating such a position, but you yourself reveal it in your quotation of Bamford:
Bamford mentions Nowicki "and another linguist" who "is" confident.
Nowicki and the other linguist cannot be singular. It is paramountly obvious that Bamford means the other linguist is the one who is confident the Israeli attack was deliberate.
Now look, I'm not arguing the deliberacy or negligency of the Israeli military.
But you definitely need to get your facts straight. Good luck.
Ali A.Jafari - 5/10/2003
Let's assume for the moment that the attack was an accident.The media coverage of it however, could not have possibly been accidental.ABC news launched NIGHTLINE for the sole purpose of reporting on American diplomats being held hostage in Iran.
NIGHTLINE had 444 reports for 444 days that the Americans were held hostage and after they came home, there were many interviews with those hostages. In that event all the hostages came home safe but in case of USSLiberty in which 34 lives were lost and 171 more badly injured,the whole world has been kept in dark.Never ending double standards gives me every reason to believe that it was intentional.
r.johnson - 9/15/2002
The above account is a total load of **** as the BBC found out with their program Dead in the water . I am sure that if we look hard enough we would find that the book was sponsored by some pro jewish group. The pro jewish lobby have managed to make their every act legal even the killing 92 people on the 16/7/1946 was the fault of the British Army funny it was the jews who planted the bomb.
Mike weeks - 10/29/2001
Clearly Mr. Postelnik got the quote, as only one example, regarding what Clark Clifford wrote in his 1991 book off the Internet (the LVA web site replaced the mistake [w/o comment] in the book as to who was the Israeli PM in June 1967), and not from the book itself.
Mr. Postelmik is now simply grasping at straws and with such a lack of credibility there continues to no reason to feel comfortable with whatever he claims. Especially given his inability to move beyond name-calling.
Mike weeks - 10/29/2001
There's only one liar, or at best one very confused individual. That Mr. Postelnik would state Loftus "FIRST PROVES the attack had been deliberate" without it being based on the material Loftus presents in the book (which of course involves Loftus stating the reasons) is beyond belief. Of course Loftus's claim of a deliberate attack are based on the material he presents as having taken place, and given that the material has been completely discredited ...
Mr. Postelnik should just fade off into the sunset with his TALL TALE that "The Naval Board did not interview survivors. This is a matter of fact" when it's an acknowledged fact that 14 Liberty crewmen were questioned. Perhaps Mr. Postelnik would like to explain to any reader what this exchange snip represents:
Questions by Counsel for the Court:
Q. State your name, rank, and present duty station.
A. George H. GOLDEN, Lieutenant, Engineering Officer, USS LIBERTY.
Q. Lieutenant GOLDEN, you know that this Court of Inquiry has been convened to look into the circumstances incident to the attack on USS LIBERTY. Will you please tell the Court what, if anything, you recall about that incident?
A. Yes sir. At approximately 1145, ...
from page 63 of the transcript. With this document example he can actually find the 174 page transcript on the LVA web site. Who the heck does he think was LT Golden, not a survivor?
Of course Mr. Postelnik can not document his other TALL TALE: "The deal between LBJ and Israel is likewise a matter of public record." Perhaps Mr. Postelnik has been reading too many stories of fiction. One would think it would be simple for him to display what he reports is "a matter of public record." Perhaps just one newspaper clipping?
And finally, when shown to be completely uninformed and inaccurate as to the situation regarding the Panay incident, Mr. Postelmik is left with name-calling. What a bore.
Mr. Postelnik's lack of credibly is clear and what must be assumed at best is just a total lack of plain common sense. The inability to recognize that he has so little knowledge of the specifics, in addition to the general background material which gets mentioned, leaves one with a filling that Mr. Postelnik is simply overwhelmed and out of his depth.
Yomin Postelnik - 10/29/2001
Of course I was expecting such an answer. I can assure the reader that I did not get the information "off the internet" as Weeks claims. I think it's clear to th ereader, through the ridiculous examples Weeks has tried to use in twisting the case that he most certainly has an agenda, one I do consider to be subversive. This makes debate with him similar to debating an artichoke.
Mike weeks - 10/29/2001
Wonders of wonder — a "subversive agenda" — this from an individual who clearly hasn't the foggiest notion what it means to state "all survivors support" when it comes to what Bamford has written and how Bamford went about misrepresenting various documents and sworn testimony.
Perhaps if Mr. Postelnik wasn't so naive, and spent more time off the Internet doing some research he'd obtain a better understanding the various issues at play (as well as the details) when it comes to the subject of the Liberty incident. Unfortunately that's doubtful.
Yomin Postelnik - 10/29/2001
As I have stated, I will not waist any further time with a liar. One who lies about Loftus' account (Loftus first proves the attack had been deliberate. Then he goes on to try and explain the reason behind it using other sources which he does not reveal. One issue is not connected with the other in regards to his proof (i.e. proof of the deliberate natural and then speculation as to why).
The Naval Board did not interview survivors. This is a matter of fact. The deal between LBJ and Israel is likewise a matter of public record.
Weeks twisted argument of the Panay would be an insult to the intelligence of a school child. And of course, by "enemy" government, I was referring to the government of the nation which attacked the ship. Weeks apparently can't make any attempt at arguing a position without boldfaced lies, misrepresentations and idiotic twisting of words. That should make it clear that Weeks is either demented or has a cause he wringly feels he must defend at all costs.
Yomin Postelnik - 10/29/2001
It's clear that all survivors support the account written and researched by James Bamford.
It's clear that Weeks is interested only in misrepresenting my words adn is uninterested in any truthful account of history that does not support his subversive agenda.
For further details I ask the reader to go to "Tired of this obfuscation and misrepresentation?" (October 29, 2001 02:41 AM).
I will waist my time with his infantile methods no more.
Mike weeks - 10/29/2001
By not being able, or willing to address the specifics of what Bamford claims and Cristol challenges (w/ multiple documentation), indeed it's time for Mr. Postelnik to move on and stop demonstrating what little knowledge he has on the Liberty subject. To close out both his final misrepresentations and inaccurate statements:
Of course Mr. Postelnik endorsed Loftus' conclusion that the attack was made against a ship known to the IDF as US. Nothing was misrepresented. It's ONLY the details which Loftus got wrong. That's putting the cart before the horse. One doesn't start from a conclusion and then throw out the very details used to come to that conclusion, and still hold to the same view. At least most open-minded folks don't. The classic is Mr. Postelnik's last sentence: "This does not mean that they [survivors] disagree with the proof he provides that this attack was deliberate." The "proof" has been totally discredited.
Mr. Postelnik will be hard pressed to find any reference to what he misrepresents as my "cause" due to his inability to support his conclusion or accurately present any details. My *cause* (as Mr. Postelnik would call it) is merely an attempt to see a more accurate representation of the Liberty incident then what one finds currently on the Internet or in most books.
Naturally Mr. Postelnik is unable to tell the difference between his (and other's) sweeping statement regarding no Congressional investigation ever being held, and the current statement "not one single Liberty survivor ever testified before Congress." It's not one and the same. It would be assumed he'd be aware of that small detail. And as further background, no Pueblo crewman testified before Congress, and a select number of Stark crewmen were interviewed by Congressional staff members (in the immediate days following the attack.)
The crowning jewel of Mr. Postelnik's false statements, or his inability to clearly present his point is "The Navy Board of Inquiry dismissed the case without testimony from a single survivor due to the agreement made between LBJ and the Israeli government that no further investigation would be launched." It's an established fact that the navy board heard direct sworn testimony from crewmen; 14 in all. And once again, not one reference to this supposed "public" (stated previously by Mr. Postelnik) agreement between LBJ and the GOI (assuming it seems that LBJ could mandate to Congress.) And then to compound his lack of knowledge, he continues to ignore survivor Ennes' statement that indeed, there's been at least one Congressional inquiry.
Out of thin air Mr. Postelnik claims "enemy governments fully acknowledged the nature of the attacks" as it pertained to other cases of attacks upon US ships; forgetting that the US was not in a state of war with Japan in 1937 for the case of the Panay (or Germany in Oct. 1941.) He also appears unaware of the established fact that the GOJ "accepted responsibility, but claimed the attack unintentional" (From the US Navy's "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships", Vol. V, pg. 208 [can be viewed on-line: http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/patrol/pr5.htm]) as only one example of not only the official position, but that of those Japanese involved in the Panay incident (See the U.S. Naval Institute "Proceedings" of June 1953; "How the ‘Panay' was Sunk" by Masatake Okumiya and December 1967; "The ‘Panay' Incident: Prelude to Pearl Harbor" by Harlan J. Swanson.)
The point being quite simple: Mr. Postelnik can not accurately state the circumstances of these other incidents/attacks and thus can not draw an accurate comparison in rebuttal to the Liberty incident; especially as it relates to what Congress has done, or not.
Lastly, Mr. Postelnik misleads any reader regarding what he reports is available on the Liberty listserve archives; it only goes back to August 1998. If one wishes to check out exchanges I might have had with others, one should do dejanews searches (now part of Google) in various newsgroups - especially sci.military.naval.
To close: Mr. Postelnik simply fails to make any substantive or convincing case that he's at all familiar with the Liberty incident and therefore it was very misleading when he posted a comment titled: "The attack most certainly was deliberate."
Yomin Postelnik - 10/29/2001
It should by now be as plain as the morning sun that I'm debating with a man who instead of answering objectively and providing proper research, chooses to mischaracterize and insult. All this is nothing compared to the boldfaced lies he has put forth. This is how someone who has no interest in history or the truth debates. This is how one debates when their sole interest lies in propagandizing and advancing a dubious goal which cannot be supported and does not stand up to critical evidence. In lieu of this fact I will not further engage Mr. Weeks in debate. I have no interest in communication with a man who views his agenda as being superior to the truth itself and for which irrefutable facts must bend or conveniently be ignored.
His misrepresentation of my use of Loftus is classic. I did not endorse Loftus. My sole point was that one of the staunchest supporters of Weeks' cause, namely continued support for Israel, has no choice but to agree that the Liberty attack was deliberate. This came through in a book written for the sole purpose of defending Israel and to pressure US policy towards a direction of even stronger support for Israel. Mr. Loftus is at least an honorable man who could not get around the fact that the attack was clearly launched with full knowledge that the ship was an American vessel. I did not endorse Mr. Loftus' work as Weeks would have you believe. His attempts to twist and turn my arguments are nothing short of libelous. Nothing new, as many are well acquainted with this man who poses as a military expert but who is nothing more than a provocateur.
His statement that the Liberty men disagree with Loftus is partially correct, albeit not on the issue Mr. Weeks addressed. Loftus explains what he believes was the motive for the attack. There is no evidence of this and his reasoning is not agreed to by any of the Liberty survivors or by any of the high-ranking military experts. This does not mean that they disagree with the proof he provides that this attack was deliberate.
Of course, this was what I was saying all along. A far cry from Weeks' ridiculous manipulation of my words.
Weeks then goes on to argue the fact that not one single Liberty survivor ever testified before Congress. This is an indisputable fact. The Navy Board of Inquiry dismissed the case without testimony from a single survivor due to the agreement made between LBJ and the Israeli government that no further investigation would be launched. Weeks keeps bringing up a reported congressional inquiry. There has been none, only an affirmation of the Naval Board's preliminary inquest.
Weeks further distorts the attack by comparing it to attacks launched against the US in which the enemy governments fully acknowledged the nature of the attacks. It should be clear to all why under these circumstances no further inquiry was necessary. Not so the attack upon the Liberty, an attack which the Israeli government has repeatedly denied its purposeful nature in spite of irrefutable proof that it was in fact deliberate.
I can no longer debate with someone who resorts to slander and obfuscation as Mr. Weeks does. As can be seen by anyone on the Liberty listserve, http://maelstrom.stjohns.edu/archives/uss_liberty.html
this has been Mr. Weeks' method since he first started dealing with the Liberty attack.
Mike weeks - 10/27/2001
When Mr. Postelnik states "All survivors, each and every one, has said that the attack lasted for the duration James Bamford has recorded." one assumes he has not read the book, or the endnotes. Because if Mr. Postelnik had, then it's assumed he'd understand that Bamford uses a number of later-years oral histories from a selective number (not "each and every one") of the survivors to write their, not Bamford's independently verified, recording of the attack duration.
Thus Mr. Postelnik's statement above simply demonstrates again his lack of understanding of what it really means to state what he does.
For those not aware, the sworn testimony of the Liberty crew topside (in addition to logs and messages) match to a great extent the IDF/Navy War Logs regarding the termination of the attack within minutes following the torpedo attack as the MTBs passed from Liberty's starboard to port side.
Mr. Bamford chose to ignore such material.
Mike weeks - 10/26/2001
The statement(s) on which the "simple" question is based is simply not accurate To wit:
"As I have documented Admr. Thomas Moorer, Sec. of State Dean Rusk and the entire surviving crew of the Liberty agree that this was a deliberate attack."
Is not accurate on it's face. Mr. Postelnik can not speak for "the entire surviving crew" and thus has not documented any such "agreement." And he's shown nothing beyond stated simple personal opinion(s)in any event.
"All survivors, each and every one, has said that the attack lasted for the duration James Bamford has recorded."
Is not accurate because simply not all the survivors were topside to witnessed what Mr. Posetelnik claims. In addition, three who were, Ensign Lucas, Commander McGonagle and Chief Thompson make no such claim in sworn testimony. And Judge Cristol points out another specific statement made by Liberty's skipper; which is ignored. Why does Mr. Postelnik ignore such? That's really the simple question he should address.
"Are we to believe Judge Cristol, an honorable man but one who was neither an eye-witness, nor had access to all classified information, nor has the extensive military experience and knowledge of Admr. Moorer over the words of these eye-witnesses and the highest ranking intelligence specialists the world had at that time?"
IOW, Mr. Postelnik does not believe sworn testimony from eyewitnesses. He also assumes that the survivors have knowledge of what was taking place on the IDF side of the attack. What knowledge has Admiral Moorer presented beyond his own personal experience? Has there ever been any which would demonstrate he knows from obtainable information that the attack took place with the IDF fully aware they were attacking a US ship?
Perhaps Mr. Postelnik should address this from "the highest ranking intelligence specialists" regarding his assumed all-to-broad sweeping claim:
Central Intelligence Agency
Washington, D.C. 20503
27 FEB 1978
Honorable James Abourezk
United States Senate
Washington, D. C. 20510
Dear Senator Abourezk:
Set forth below are your five questions together with our comment.
5. Finally, could I have your judgment and that of the Agency you head, based on information acquired by the Agency from all sources, that the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty was deliberate or an honest mistake?
Comment: It remains our best judgment that the Israeli attack the USS Liberty was not made in malice toward the United States and was a mistake.
Note that the CIA director is stating "our" best judgement, not his personal opinion; unlike Admiral Moorer and others, etc.
Mike weeks - 10/26/2001
It is interesting, but sad, that Mr. Postelnik continues to show his ignorance regarding not only the Liberty incident itself, but the other subjects he mentions. To wit:
The claim: "They [Congress] never spoke to survivors or looked into details of the attack." is false as acknowledged by the survivors themselves. A group met with, and were spoken to, by the chairman (and at least two staff members) of the Subcommittee on Investigations of the House Armed Services Committee on June 25, 1991. And details were certainly "looked into." Unfortunately, the details discovered (or more accurately, not discovered) didn't seem to support the claim that the attack took place with the IDF knowing they were attacking a US ship.
This claim: "Mr. Ennes was simply referring to the US Navy Board of Inquiry's decision that there was no need to investigate." has absolutely nothing to do with any Congressional investigation, and of course is not what Ennes stated (or meant): "the Defense Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, ... investigated the attack in 1967" speaks for itself regarding what Ennes has acknowledged.
This claim: "because of the public agreement LBJ made with the Israelis not to investigate after they agreed to apologize (claiming the attack was an accident)" is without foundation. Especially given the Israeli apology in the afternoon of June 8 and following days. Besides, what "public agreement" and "they agreed"? Where on Earth are these flights of fantasy coming from? Perhaps Mr. Postelnik should spend a little time in the library just going over the newspaper clippings following June 8, 1967 regarding "public agreement."
This claim: "... to pay a paltry sum in lieu of reparations" The GOI paid what was billed by the USG. The USG set the amounts for the deaths and wounded. Had Mr. Postelnik done just a small amount of research he'd be aware of this established fact. The issue of the ship damage is another matter based on the legal standing of both parties. And yes, Israel should have addressed it as quickly as possible. It has nothing to do of course with the stated claims from Mr. Postelnik regarding the attack made upon the ship
The insult to the reader comes from Mr. Postelnik's lack of knowledge regarding both the Panay and Reuben James attacks.
The claim: "the Japanese apologized for the attack while fully acknowledging its deliberate nature" is false as it applies to the word "deliberate" in the context of the Liberty attack. The Japanese did not admit the attack was made knowing that the Panay was US (or that the gunboats HMS Cricket and HMS Scarab were British.) Mr. Postelnik should take the time to read "The Panay Incident" by Hamilton Darby Perry as only a first step.
The claim: "but when ships were being torpedoed all over the Atlantic (as was not the case with the USS Liberty which was specifically targeted) the reason for the sinking [of Reuben James] was clear." Ignores the targeting of a US ship by a German submarine prior to the entry of the US into a declared state of war.
Ennes' statement illustrates that the all-to-broad sweeping claim put forth by Mr. Postelnik (and others) is simply not accurate. As does the two mentioned incidents, as well as the attacks on the USS Augusta in August 1937 and USS Tutuila in July 1941: all four have never been investigated by Congress.
Mr. Postelnik, and others, have to make up their minds regarding the issue of at least one Congressional investigation as Ennes even states, or not. They can't have it both ways regarding what is claimed to be *unique* for the Liberty incident.
Mike weeks - 10/26/2001
When has Mr. Postelnik yet to dealt with "pure facts?" Perhaps that's the problem when he ignores the political context of many who think the attack has been proven to have been deliberate against a ship known to the IDF as US at the time of the attack.
Mr. Postelnik appears unaware of Mr. Ennes' opinion(s) regarding the Israelis beyond his experience of having been wounded in the attack. One example is from the 9/28/89 letter to The Sentinel " ... It is Israel that daily maims and murders an unarmed population in Palestine." as just a snip.
One has every right to question how objective Mr. Ennes has been in his telling of the events; most of which he did not witness in any event, and his later writings. This is not defamation. Too bad Mr. Postelnik has such a narrow base of knowledge.
Now to once again show Mr. Postelnik's ignorance of the material regarding what Clifford wrote: "a. The information thus far available does not reflect that the Israeli high command made a premeditated attack on a ship known to be American." is in direct conflict with Mr. Postelnik's opinion that Clifford states "the attack was ordered by someone within the Israeli chain of command with full knowledge of the nature of the Liberty." What's certainly asinine is Mr. Postelnick's claim regarding what Clifford wrote — either in 1967 or in his 1991 book.
As to some of the other inaccurate statements by Mr. Postelnik concerning the details of the attack; most are covered in the original History Mystery piece. But the most outlandish one is the reported claim that "...dropping napalm on the ship as the survivors were in the midst of trying to mount lifeboats" is without foundation. It's an established fact that no napalm was dropped at the time of the liferafts being dropped over the side. The reason: the air attack was over and had been over for some 30 minutes. All Mr. Postelnik need do is read the sworn testimony of the crew as well as the chronology of events. And, not surprisingly, not ALL survivors claim what Mr. Postelnik states as "pure fact."
It's interesting Mr. Postelnik brings up, and defends the book by John Loftus. A book long discredited by not only the group of survivors Mr. Postelnik supports (without asking any questions,) but by other individuals who have looked at the serious flaws in the material presented regarding the Liberty incident. By so defending Loftus' material, Mr. Postelnik once again shows a lack of knowledge on the subject.
The inaccurate claim regarding there never has been a Congressional investigation has been addressed.
Yomin Postelnik - 10/26/2001
My last post addressed the general issues of the attack. I think it is also necessary to answer to two of Mr. Weeks’ further preposterous allegations. What he refers to as “the crowning jewel of my ignorance” is simply another one of his lies.
Mr. Weeks would have you believe that there was a congressional investigation in the matter. Congress never investigated the attack. They never spoke to survivors or looked into details of the attack. Mr. Ennes was simply referring to the US Navy Board of Inquiry’s decision that there was no need to investigate. A decision the Defense Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations affirmed. This decision was made without looking into ANY of the details of the attack. The reason for their decision was most likely because of the public agreement LBJ made with the Israelis not to investigate after they agreed to apologize (claiming the attack was an accident) and to pay a paltry sum in lieu of reparations (not equaling anywhere near the value of the ship alone and which according to John Loftus - again a staunch defender of Israel - was returned in full to Israel).
Mr. Weeks would also have the reader falsely believe that there is a comparison between the Liberty attack and that which was launched upon the USS Panay. This is simply an insult to the reader’s intelligence and shows that Mr. Weeks chooses to play with straws rather than engage in intellectual debate. Their was no question as to the deliberate nature of the attack on the Panay (as indeed there should be none concerning that which was launched upon the Liberty). Furthermore, since the Japanese apologized for the attack while fully acknowledging its deliberate nature, the US chose not to further press the situation. More so the USS Reuben James. The attack in middle of World War II was not worthy of congressional investigation. It is true that the US had yet to enter the war, but when ships were being torpedoed all over the Atlantic (as was not the case with the USS Liberty which was specifically targeted) the reason for the sinking was clear. In any case, within less than two months of that attack the US was fully involved in a war. I hope the reader will now see Mr. Weeks’ intellectual dishonesty for what it is.
Yomin Postelnik - 10/26/2001
I have come across many who would lie, defame their opponents in debate and misconstrue their words, but few who do so as ferociously as Mr. Weeks has so done. To start with I am not commenting on the state of US - Israel relations. That is a subject worth exploring by itself. My main concern is justice for the surviving crew as well as for those who unfortunately did not survive the attack. By diverting the issue Mr. Weeks shows that in terms of the merits of the case alone, Mr. Weeks avocates a position which cannot be backed up.
Instead of dealing with pure facts (as opposed to twisting of facts and statements), Mr. Weeks has chosen to defame the motives of those involved, most of whom are veterans who survived the attack in which more than a few sustained lifelong injuries.
One example is his defamation of Naval Officer Ennes, a man who went on to direct an anti-racism organization in his home state of Washington. Does Jim Ennes fit the profile Mr. Weeks seeks to portray? As a religious Jew and a rabbi who has personally been in contact with Mr. Ennes and has read his writings, I can honestly say that he does not and I am more than offended by this attack on a veteran of exemplary character.
Clark Clifford’s statement shows clearly that it was his learned opinion that a cover-up did exist and that the attack was ordered by someone within the Israeli chain of command with full knowledge of the nature of the Liberty. This is obvious to anyone who does even minimal research on this subject as a huge American flag flew at full mast throughout that entire day. Mr. Weeks’ pitiful attempt to take Clifford’s statements completely out of context demonstrate further his inability to defend the position that the attack was anything but deliberate, not surprising since this position is absurd.
A further example of Mr. Weeks’ inability to defend his position without misconstruing the words of his opponent is found in his description of my statement that Israel returned to finish off the ship. Mr. Weeks leads one to believe that I have stated the ship was “finished off”. In fact I have not. My point was that Israeli fighters kept returning to the scene in AN EFFORT to completely destroy the Liberty. How else can one explain the fact that no less than three different attacks were launched against the ship with significant intervals in between each of them as well as dropping napalm on the ship as the survivors were in the midst of trying to mount lifeboats? Mr. Weeks as well as Judge Cristol allege that this was not the case, but their statements go against the accounts give by every single one of the survivors (including the Jewish ones - which I bring up in so far as Mr. Weeks has accused the survivors of having ulterior motives).
Most telling is that an author by the name of John Loftus, well known as a staunch defender of Israel, has himself claimed that the attack was deliberate without a doubt. He devoted an entire chapter in a book written in defense of Israel. Mr. Loftus understood that the attack had been deliberate. So does anyone who looks into the facts and who does not have an agenda.
I’ll conclude with one more point. A point which demonstrates that my opponent has neither an interest in the truth nor an interest in logical and truthful analysis. At the end of my last response to Mr. Weeks, I asked why those who present the opinion that this attack was not deliberate are opposed to a congressional investigation into the matter (I’ll remind readers that none has ever been conducted and that this is the only incident of this kind wherein this has been the case). Surely if Mr. Weeks believes is as sure of his position as he portrays himself to be, he will have no problem with such an inquiry.
Mike weeks - 10/26/2001
It seems Mr. Postelnik is unable to address the specifics of what Bamford wrote, for he fails to do so.
Mr. Postelnik should also take a long hard look at the many factions involved in the issue of the Liberty incident, and what possible impact a short tragic event of 34+ years ago in the middle of a war should have on the overall relationship between the U.S. and Israel today. Mr. Postelnik also fails to address (or is unaware of) the very nature of non-Liberty statements by Mr. Ennes (a survivor) as only one additional point which might well constitute "an agenda.".
While some may paint with a too-wide of a brush regarding the more vocal Liberty survivors and their supporters, so do others in painting any who challenge the ever-changing stories of a number of survivors and supporters. And a good example is the comment by Mr. Postelnik on that point: i.e. "not only absurd and offensive but seems to be protocol for Israel's defenders in this situation" regarding the incident. Mr. Postelnik must not be aware of all the additional material which is available beyond the various stories.
As long as Mr. Postelnik is ignorant of the reported events which took place, for example his "in which Israeli planes and torpedoes repeatedly returned to the scene to finish off what they had started" then one can only assume he's unwilling to conduct any research which would show that the statement is accurate; especially given that the IDF called off the attack, and did not, in fact, "finish off" the ship.
Mr. Postelnik's ignorance is compounded regarding what Clifford wrote in his book by the simple fact that Clifford's remarks as quoted do not in any way, shape, or form state what Mr. Postelnik claims. That is: "the attack was deliberate [stated] Clark Clifford, Counsel to LBJ and himself a staunch supporter of Israel" is clearly not what Clifford wrote in his book, and it certainly wasn't in his report to LBJ in 1967. Perhaps Mr. Postelnik did not take the time to actually read what he posted. Or if he did, then there is a simple comprehension problem. How else to ignore this from Clifford's book: " ... somewhere along the chain of command, something had gone terribly wrong ..."
And if Mr. Postelnik had actually read Clifford's book he then would not have repeated the glaring error in his quote. That is, he quotes "Levi Eshkol" when in fact the book has, mistakenly, "Golda Meir." It's suggested Mr. Postelnik should take the time to double check the material he gets from web sites.
Now, if Mr. Postelnik wants to state that Clifford wrote there had been a cover-up, that's another issue.
Yes, Admiral Moorer has stated his personal, repeat, his personal opinion. It's interesting Mr. Postelnik fails to address the established fact that as CNO, Admiral Moorer's office would endorse the navy court's findings. In fact, Admiral Moorer has failed to address that point. Admiral Moorer has stated that his personal opinion is based on what he has been told by a number of the survivors as well as what he himself as a naval aviator (who flew prop aircraft in WWII) believes would be impossible to mistake. Ignoring that the IAF "JET" pilots who attacked the ship were not naval pilots.
Mr. Postelnik would do well to conduct a bit of research before claiming others "would have you believe that the statements of ALL eye-witnesses (scores of them) should be disregarded" when it's the sworn eyewitness testimony of fourteen officers and men of the Liberty he and others wish to have ignored. One can only assume it's another case of Mr. Postelnik not having taken the time to look at the material which has been available for years.
The crowning jewel of Mr. Postelnik's ignorance is the claim: "the fact that this has been the only incident of a US ship being attacked in international waters that has never been investigated by Congress." This is completely false. Even Mr. Ennes, the survivor's historian, has stated in public ("Atlantic Monthly," Dec. 1984) that "the Defense Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, ... investigated the attack in 1967" if one wishes to ignore the other investigations which have taken place over the years.
Perhaps if Mr. Postelnik wishes to ignore Mr. Ennes' statement, he then can address the question of when did Congress investigate the sinking of the USS Panay in Dec. 1937 as well as the sinking of the USS Reuben James on Oct. 31, 1941? And since it can be assumed Mr. Postelnik has not done any research, the Panay was indeed sunk in international waters; by treaty definition.
It's suggested Mr. Postelnik should do some simple research beyond what he reads on the Internet; given he's not willing to address the specifics of what Bamford wrote and Judge Cristol's comments.
Yomin Postelnik - 10/25/2001
As I have documented Admr. Thomas Moorer, Sec. of State Dean Rusk and the entire surviving crew of the Liberty agree that this was a deliberate attack.
All survivors, each and every one, has said that the attack lasted for the duration James Bamford has recorded.
Are we to believe Judge Cristol, an honorable man but one who was neither an eye-witness, nor had access to all classified information, nor has the extensive military experience and knowledge of Admr. Moorer over the words of these eye-witnesses and the highest ranking intelligence specialists the world had at that time?
Yomin Postelnik - 10/25/2001
The subject of the ADL was brought up precisely because of the type of slander which is so often used by those who seek to defend Israel at all costs, whether right or wrong.
Mr. Weeks’ accusation that the scores of survivors, all US Naval crew, all survivors of a gruesome attack in which Israeli planes and torpedoes repeatedly returned to the scene to finish off what they had started, are "motivated by a certain agenda" is not only absurd and offensive but seems to be protocol for Israel’s defenders in this situation. I therefore saw fit to confront this issue from the start in an attempt to expose the vile slurs against innocent US military men for what they are.
Furthermore, if Mr. Weeks is unaware of which statement of Clark Clifford’s I was referring to, then he is too ignorant of the facts to comment on this case. Clifford’s final analysis of the situation is as follows:
“I do not know to this day at what level the attack on the Liberty was authorized and I think it is unlikely that the truth will ever come out. Having been for so long a staunch supporter of Israel, I was particularly troubled by this incident: I could not bring myself to believe that such an action could have been authorized by Levi Eshkol. Yet somewhere inside the Israeli government, somewhere along the chain of command, something had gone terribly wrong-and then had been covered up. I never felt the Israelis made adequate restitution or explanation for their actions.” - Clark Clifford, Counsel to the President: A Memoir
It is noteworthy that Mr. Clifford’s comments are the mildest of among all who have come forward with the truth.
Admr. Thomas Moorer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1970-1974) has said, “If it was written as fiction nobody would believe it.... The attack was absolutely deliberate.... The American people would be ... mad if they knew what was going on.”
Mr. Weeks, as well as Judge Cristol, would have you believe that the statements of ALL eye-witnesses (scores of them) should be disregarded, even though these witnesses are all retired members of the US military. They challenge the opinion of a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as that of former Secretary of State Dean Rusk. When offered the option of a Congressional Investigation, all of those who have publicly challenged the words of these men are firmly opposed despite the fact that this has been the only incident of a US ship being attacked in international waters that has never been investigated by Congress. Maybe Mr. Weeks and Judge Cristol could respond to that.
Mike weeks - 10/25/2001
Mr. Postelnik seems to confuse apples (the Liberty incident) with oranges (the ADL). His repeating the same arguments from his over-1000-word posting in August are no more valid today. Instead of showing what Bamford wrote was correct (and thus Judge Cristol's critique was not), all one reads are the same unsubstantiated (and in some cases completely inaccurate) claims regarding the incident.
As only one case in point: the claim "the attack was deliberate [stated] Clark Clifford, Counsel to LBJ and himself a staunch supporter of Israel."
Well, not quite. He's what Clifford told LBJ in the conclusion to his report of July 18, 1967:
a. The information thus far available does not reflect that the Israeli high command made a premeditated attack on a ship known to be American.
b. The evidence at hand does not support the theory that the highest echelons of the Israeli Government were aware of the Liberty's true identity or of the fact that an attack on her was taking place. To disprove such a theory would necessitate a degree of access to Israeli personnel and information which in all likelihood can never be achieved.
Clifford then goes on to lambast the Israeli gov't for their carelessness and recklessness in making such an error.
This is a far cry from what Mr. Postelnik claims is Clifford's position.
Instead of his most simplistic approach of just repeating generically what others, with a clear political agenda, have stated on the subject, perhaps Mr. Postelnik should take a little time and review more of the data which is readily available. It also would be nice if he would address the subject of this week's history mystery — the accuracy of the material produced by Mr. Bamford.
Yomin Postelnik - 10/25/2001
Here is a piece I provided for the History News Network a few months ago:
The Attack on the USS Liberty and the Truth About the ADL
By Yomin Postelnik
August 13, 2001
I am writing this piece, myself being a religious Jew (with rabbinical ordination) and one who is very troubled not only by Israel’s attack of an American ship but also by the cover-up that ensued and the false accusations hurled at those who only want the truth to be known. Survivors of the attack have been slandered as being anti-semitic when this is not at all the case. I have seen this slander repeated in many a book review or article dealing with the Liberty.
Some slander has also come from the Anti-Defamation League. This group in particular has been known to suppress any thought contrary to its agenda of the day. As a result it has become the scorn of many Jews with its repeat and fierce battle against Judaism itself. In this case the ADL repeatedly sought to block coverage of the Liberty incident and even raised objections to memorials in honor of the victims. The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, June 21, 1991, quotes one Howard Rosenburg as follows:
"The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith (ADL) has questioned the motivation behind a June 8 White House ceremony honoring surviving crew members of the USS Liberty, a naval intelligence ship bombed by Israel aircraft during the 1967 Six Day War. Thirty-four American seamen died in the episode... ADL hopes that the reason for the White House reception was simply to honor the Liberty members, not to give a stamp of approval to those seeking to malign Israel..."
For a clear picture of what the ADL has in fact become, I ask the reader to look at an article written by former ADL board member Carl Pearlston (http://jewishworldreview.com/0601/pearlston.html) in which he outlines how the ADL has "demonized exponents of Jewish values, cheapened the holocaust" (quotes in context) and suppressed diverse (i.e.: non-liberal Democrat) thought within its organisation.
As for the charge of anti-semitism, the fact is that retired Naval Officer Jim Ennes (himself a survivor of the attack and one who has faced some of the worst accusations as a result of his extensive work to uncover the truth surrounding it) was himself director of a local board against racism. Some "anti-semite"! Nothing can be further from the truth. I have been in contact with him as well as with many of the other survivors. They do not blame "Jews," they know the attack had been deliberate on the part of Israel and this is where they lay the blame.
Let us examine what happened on that day, June 8, 1967. Throughout that entire morning Israeli planes continuously flew past the USS Liberty. As they passed by they would wave to the ship’s crew, the waves being reciprocated by those on deck. Both parties had recognized each other. Granted these were not the same planes as those which would later bomb the ship, but herein lies just one proof that the ship had been easily recognisable as an American vessel.
Early that fateful afternoon, about 1500 Liberty time, the first bomber-planes flew above the ship. After the initial bombing Israeli torpedoes attacked from the sea. As the entire crew tried to man lifeboats in order to escape, the Israeli planes shot bullets upon them as they were escaping. The ship was also completely covered in napalm.
The ship was easily identifiable as being an American vessel. Besides for the fact that every Israeli plane that had flown above the ship that very day had easily recognised it as an American vessel, the Liberty flew a huge US flag on its deck that was impossible to miss. Furthermore, the Israelis claimed that no US markings were visible. This statement of theirs proves without a doubt that there is a cover-up.
Many top officials have come forward. Admiral Thomas Moorer, former chairman of The Joint Chiefs of Staffs has called the cover-up a preposterous lie and has tried to expose the attack for what it was. Then Secretary of State Dean Rusk has also clearly stated that the attack was deliberate as has Clark Clifford, Counsel to LBJ and himself a staunch supporter of Israel.
Anyone who takes the time to investigate the attack quickly realises that it was one launched deliberately. Yet the innocent Liberty men are repeatedly slandered and those who seek justice are accused of anti-semitism. Many Jews have come forward to challenge these ridiculous assertions but still not enough. Judaism demands loyalty to one’s country, not to a state of Jews half a world away. It is true that Jews have always defended each other, but only when the other is right and the case is just. Judaism does not support brutality and it is high time for American Jews to support the cause of these innocent men and to battle the constant slander they have now faced for decades.
It is also high time for Israel to admit what transpired and to come forth with the reason for the attack. There is absolutely no doubt that it was a purposeful one despite the amount of protest to the contrary. For those who still question the validity of this argument, they must make it their business to read up on the attack and the circumstances surrounding it. I have and therefore I see that there is no question, the attack was launched purposefully.
No one deserves to be labelled an anti-semite. Men who have served America well and who were brutally attacked as a result should definitely never have to face such slander. They served America and it is high time America stands with them and demands justice. They have suffered for years as a result of slander, as a result of being told to keep quiet and because Congress has to this day refused to investigate the issue. I sincerely hope that other Jews demand a congressional inquiry into the attack and that this inquiry will finally bring forth the truth that noble men who served nobly have waited for, for so long now. Our prayers must be with them and through our actions we must help them by demanding such an inquiry.
Mike weeks - 10/23/2001
Judge Cristol's all-to-brief critique of Mr. Bamford's latest book only scratches the surface of Bamford's "tall tales." It's long overdue that Bamford should be taken to task regarding not only his conclusion but and the very details he uses. Even the details he uses to set the groundwork should be questioned.
How seriously can Mr. Bamford be taken in his telling of the Liberty incident when he seems unable to even get the most simple verifiable facts correct? Just a few examples:
He failed to document Valdez's actual date of passing through the Suez Canal: her deck log states she departed Port Said on April 20. Thus the context is completely inaccurate as it relates to the crisis which developed in mid-May.
He states that Liberty's change-in-orders message of May 23 was sent "Flash" and direct from the JCS. In fact the message was sent "Intermediate" and had worked its way down Liberty's chain of command; thus the message was sent by Commander, Service Squadron Eight with a DTG of 240020Z MAY 67.
He states Liberty was to patrol "just off the coasts of Israel and Egypt." In fact her orders had her operational area as "just off" the Gaza and Egyptian (Sinai) coast.
He places Liberty right off the Sinai coast near El Arish at daybreak. In fact she was steaming eastward toward the Gaza coast from the general NE.
In addition Mr. Bamford decided to cut and paste from different source material to give the impression that a specific point came from one source. As only one example:
On page 199 he implies the quoted comments are those of the naval observer aboard the IAF Nord on it's early AM maritime patrol. They are in fact comments from the IAF flight engineer in the 1987 Thames TV production. Then he compounds the false impression by stating the IAF reported the sighted ship as Liberty at 6:03 AM. In fact the source he cites (the IDF judicial review) stated the ship's identity was reported to naval headquarters at 10:58 AM.
In other cases Mr. Bamford makes statements which are not referenced, and in fact have been directly challenged in various documents from the various investigations conducted following the incident.
The biggest fault one can find with Mr. Bamford's latest book is the most simple one; the supposed motive for why the Israelis would want to sink the ship, knowing she was the Liberty. He now states it was due to the [unsubstantiated] stories regarding the *mass* killing of Egyptian POWs at El Arish. Yet in his 1982 book, "The Puzzle Palace", the stated reason is that the Israelis didn't want the US to learn of the pending strike on the Golan Heights as if the US, and the world, wasn't well aware of how well the war was going for the Israelis.
He never explains why one theory was dropped and this other story is now the reason. That alone should make people pause and carefully consider why it is that Mr. Bamford has written what he has on the subject of the Liberty.
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