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USS Liberty

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Showing 126-150 of 205 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2012 2:20:03 PM PST
vespasian says:
John, TYour fact # 1 is irrelevant. Fact #2 has some relevance but is certainly not determinative..vesp

Posted on Dec 17, 2012 5:39:20 AM PST
anne says:
Hi vespasian! So in summary, what happened to the USS Liberty? I see that it starts with "The Israelis were informed that no American ships would be operating in coastal waters." At one point I read that America had informed Israel that the USS Liberty was elsewhere. I think that communication happened the day of and the other one happened sometime previous to that day.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 6:28:04 AM PST
vespasian says:
Anne, Ive debated thus issue to death on other sites. By way of information I was in the navy in 67 when the attack occurred. My opinion is this and is based ,I feel, on a fair reading of the evidence. Im a practicing trial atty but have no monopoly on the truth. The USS Libery was an inntelligence garthering ship that was essentially unarmed and quite distinct in its look. It had antennas and listening devices all over the place. The ships MO was to sit of shore and listen to electronic emmisions from anyone. We had a couple of these ships and Russians used "trawlers" which would follow us every where at sea. There was nothing unique about the ship and if you get a 1967 copy of Janes, "All the Wrolds Warships" there is a picture of it w/ a description. For some reason that has yet to be admitted or discovered, the IDF intentially attacked this ship which was clearly 1. non threatening and 2 marked as American. The attack came in 3 waves--the total lasting about 2 hrs. First 4 or 5 jet fighters circled and attacked the ship with rockets and cannon fire. When they left, Israeli gunboats approached and machine gunned the crew, apparently trying to cause as many casualties as possible. When they couldnt sink the ship, IDF helocopters appaoached w commandos aboard. They machine gunned the ship and attempted to bomb it. All during this time the Liberty was waving American flags and trying to get help on the radio. Fighters were launcehed from US carrier but recalled before they got there. Russia asked us if we needed help. LBJ stonewalled the entire thing. Afterwards the crew was threatened w court martials if the spoke about the incident where 34 men were killed. Israel said it was a "mistake" and finally gave the families of the dead seamen some compensation. The Israelis were not letting their people involved in the battle to testify before Naval Intelligence. LBJ buried the story, had the ship scrapped as junk and had a lower official; award the Captain the medal odf honor.. Since the attack the Israelis and thier fellow travelers say it must have been a mistake as there was no apparent motive. That is nonsense. Theyre may be a motive that we dont know our it may be due to incompetence( unlikely).. But the fact remains that the Israelis knowingly attacked an American vessel for 2 hrs killing more than 30 men. The fact that they wont tell us why does not relieve them of guilt..vesp

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 8:27:56 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 17, 2012 8:34:20 AM PST
John M. Lane says:
As a practicing attorney, vespasian, you must be aware of the term, "unwarranted assumption."

You make such an assumption when you post that the Israelis "couldn't sink the ship [the LIBERTY]." The Israelis had destroyers and submarines which could easily have sunk a slow moving, lightly armed ship like the LIBERTY. The Israeli aircraft which attacked the LIBERTY weren't armed with anti-ship ordnance. They were part of the combat air patrol over a very active theater of war. Indeed, some of these same Israeli aircraft had attacked an Israeli column near el-Arish. The column was clearly marked as an IDF force.

As you will recall, this was the first war in that region in which jets played such a major role. Given the speed and altitudes at which jets operate, the pilots often couldn't distinguish flags, vehicle insignia or types. Flying low and slow was too dangerous because the Egyptians had the first-generation SAMs.

The Israeli pilots involved in the LIBERTY attack also weren't naval pilots trained in ship identification. One of the Israeli pilots in the first wave of fighters which attacked the LIBERTY identified it as a destroyer and none of them could identify the flag. Indeed, some reported that no flag was visible. Given the wind and course, it's possible that the flag was furled against one of the many masts. The initial strafing run started some deck fires generating smoke which further obscured the flag and configuration of the ship, not that air force pilots would have known what to look for anyway.

This was clearly a SNAFU. It was a potential career-ending mistake and I suspect that's where the coverups were directed. The Navy, like our other military services, is essentially a bureaucracy and any potentially embarassing mistake tends to generate coverups from the careerists involved. Maybe this didn't happen much in the Navy, but it was SOP in my service, the Army.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 1:04:08 PM PST
vespasian says:
John, The term is "warrented inference" . Reasonable inferences can be drawn from facts in evidence. The fact that for two hours 3 branches of the IDF attacked the Liberty with such arms as they did, leads me to assume that they tried to sink it. Because they could have if they had used other more lethal weapons carries no weight. John, all along ive gone where the evidence takes me on theis attack. Ive no hidden agenda to prove that Israel is at fault. If the French or the English had been the attackers, my position would be exactly the same...vesp

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 1:32:08 PM PST
F. Gleaves says:
vesp, you know somtimes people make a snap decision and then everything else is assessed based on that first faulty assumption.

The commander of the torpedo boats thought his radar showed the ship to be escaping at 28 knots, so it couldn't be Liberty.

The IAF lead pilot thought the parabolic antenna on Liberty's foredeck was a gunmount, so he thought it was a destroyer.

So they said.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 1:47:19 PM PST
John M. Lane says:
Thanks for correcting my legalese, vespasian. Your reasoning from inference, however, leaves out the fact that the IDF attacks took place in an active theater of combat. All branches of the Israeli military were engaged.

I inferred the attack to be a SNAFU based on a couple of previously stated facts. The Israelis had been informed by the US that no US ships were in that theater.

Some of the same IAF jet fighter-bombers involved in the attack on the LIBERTY had earlier been involved in an attack on an IDF column moving in the vicinity of el-Arish, near the LIBERTY's position.
Given the chaotic nature of combat operations, I think it's misleading to suggest that the Israelis were focused solely on the LIBERTY. It was one of many things going on.

I never denied that the Israelis attacked the LIBERTY nor have the Israelis. I'm neither an Israeli nor Jewish and really have no ax to grind. I've seen enough SNAFUS, however, to know one when I see it and this was clearly a SNAFU.

The Israelis did not know that they were attacking an American ship. When they finally confirmed its identity as an American ship, they broke off their attack and offered assistance. That's mistaken identity, not an act of war.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 3:06:27 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 25, 2013 5:27:29 AM PST]

Posted on Dec 17, 2012 3:38:46 PM PST

Compare the two ships,El Quseir and the USS Liberty side by side.

Fifteen years after the attack, an Israeli pilot approached Liberty survivors and then held extensive interviews with former Congressman Paul N. (Pete) McCloskey about his role. According to this senior Israeli lead pilot, he recognized the Liberty as American immediately, so informed his headquarters, and was told to ignore the American flag and continue his attack. He refused to do so and returned to base, where he was arrested.

Later, a dual-citizen Israeli major told survivors that he was in an Israeli war room where he heard that pilot's radio report. The attacking pilots and everyone in the Israeli war room knew that they were attacking an American ship, the major said. He recanted the statement only after he received threatening phone calls from Israel.

The pilot's protests also were heard by radio monitors in the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon. Then-U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dwight Porter has confirmed this. Porter told his story to syndicated columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak and offered to submit to further questioning by authorities. Unfortunately, no one in the U.S. government has any interest in hearing these first-person accounts of Israeli treachery. [Washington Report]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 3:43:39 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 25, 2013 5:27:32 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 3:58:24 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 17, 2012 4:00:34 PM PST
John M. Lane says:
You're ignoring the context, Lawrence. The Israeli pilot who correctly identified the LIBERTY did so in the middle of an active theater of war with all kinds of conflicting information.

Remember that the Israelis had been notified by the US that all American ships were out of that theater. Egypt had previously flagged and painted some of their ships as neutrals. The US was such a neutral in 1967 and the Israelis suspected that the LIBERTY was actually an Egyptian ship flagged and marked as a neutral. The EL QUSEIR resembled the LIBERTY and it mounted quick-firing cannons in concealed batteries. The LIBERTY only had some machine guns in deck mounts.

The Israeli pilot you mention refused to fire on what he believed to be an American ship. His attitude is typical for Israeli military personnel. Had they been able to confirm that the LIBERTY was an American ship, they would not have attacked it.

They had nothing to gain by attacking a US ship except a catastrophic war with one of the two superpowers in the world. The Soviets had previously withdrawn their support of Israel and supported Egypt and its allies in the '67 War leaving Israel without any allies whatsoever.

Why on earth would Israel attack what it knew to be an American ship? It didn't gain them anything and they risked being turned into a parking lot if they went to war against us.

Posted on Dec 17, 2012 4:18:35 PM PST
F. Gleaves says:
'The Israeli pilot you mention refused to fire on what he believed to be an American ship. His attitude is typical for Israeli military personnel. Had they been able to confirm that the LIBERTY was an American ship, they would not have attacked it.'

Yes, but didn't he spend the next 15 years in prison? Perhaps a moderate sentence for refusing to carry out orders in time of war - except it WAS a neutral ship in International waters. This is what aways troubled me about the 'accidental' attack.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 4:22:47 PM PST
John M. Lane says:
I don't know, F. Gleaves. When I was in the US Army, they used to shoot people who refused to obey orders in combat.

I don't know what happened to the IAF pilot after the war.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 6:01:20 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 17, 2012 6:04:12 PM PST
John.You never saw an American soldier shot because he failed to follow orders.You have been reading too many Sgt Rock comic books.

John read a book about the USS Liberty affair written by an Israeli apologist and he only knows that side of the story and has never spent any time looking at all sides.Then he claims to be a historian and statesman.Maybe so in his little town of less than 3000 in Montana but in the big world he is but a pimple on the squash.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 6:21:28 PM PST
vespasian says:
FG There is really nothing new on this subject that ive read. People listen to the evidence and make up their minds All I ask is that they be fairmainded and not expect miracles of proof. Like I said, Im totally convinced that the attack was an intentional attack on a US vessel. I dont know why..vesp

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 6:23:34 PM PST
vespasian says:
PS FG How somrboby could mistake that ship for a DD is a joke. It looks more like a bathtub rubberduck. Their pliots must be fools if that is the case. There were 5 planes and I assume they talked to one another. This is what annoys me. Total BS reasonig like this from the IDF...vesp

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 6:29:26 PM PST
vespasian says:
John. We differ on this issue..vesp

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 6:31:13 PM PST
John M. Lane says:
Thank you for displaying your hatred of rural Montana, pimples and squash, Lawrence A. Dickerson. I see that you managed to avoid using any facts whatsoever in your rant.

At least you're consistent.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 6:32:39 PM PST
vespasian says:
Diva. I dont know what the motive is. In a criminal case it is not necessary to prove motive and thats what this is--a war crime..vesp

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 6:36:36 PM PST
John M. Lane says:
You must not know any Air Force pilots, vespasian. A lot of them wouldn't know a destroyer from a bath tub.

We share a lot of points of agreement, although I think you're wayyyy too optimistic in your assessment of pilots and their ability to distinguish one ship from another. These are the same guys who shot up one of their own columns near el-Arish earlier. Identification-Friend-or-Foe is still problem on the battlefield even with all our whiz-bang "smart" weapons. Maybe that never happened when you were in the Navy, but it was SOP in other branches of the service, unfortunately.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 6:39:24 PM PST
vespasian says:
Lawrence, I had heard the first story about the pilot. It makes sense..vesp

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 6:43:28 PM PST
vespasian says:
john, I try not to associate with Airforce types...vesp ps IT is probably easrier to mistake a ground infantry target than a sea target. FIFO doesnt always work, I agree. Its the lenght or duration and coordination of the attack that baffles me. If only the planes attacked for a short time--maybe. But not the 2 hr 3 prong window. It becomes harder and harder to classify that as friendly fire..vesp

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 6:59:00 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 17, 2012 7:57:08 PM PST
John M. Lane says:
I don't understand your point, vespasian. The three waves of aerial attacks were drawn off from the combat air patrol. None of the IAF jets were set up to attack ships. They were armed to attack SAM sites.

This was an active combat zone and had been for quite some time. These pilots were getting pretty ragged as evidenced by their attack of one of their own columns on the ground.

The attacks were triggered when a series of heavy explosions in el Arish convince IDF units entering the city that they'd been taken under fire by naval guns. This had also happened earlier.

Unfortunately, the only ship visible on the horizon was the LIBERTY and it was mistakenly identified as the source of the incoming naval gunfire. The first wave of jet fighter strafed it, setting equipment on the deck on fire generating smoke which obscured the superstructure and flag (which may have been furled against one of the many masts depending on wind direction and strength.) This is where one of the pilots thought it was a destroyer.

A second wave was drawn off the combat air patrol and directed to the LIBERTY. It too, attacked the ship causing more damage. The LIBERTY continued despite the damage to its superstructure and a third wave was dispatched. They attacked doing more damage.

Finally, a squadron of Israeli MTBs (with wooden hulls) spotted the smoke and approached the LIBERTY in attack formation. They reported coming under fire (from the deck-mounted .50 cal. machine guns). They returned fire and launched their torpedoes, one of which struck the LIBERTY killing most of the NSA contingent in the signals section. The ship lost power and began to list.

Israeli MTBs approached closer and an IAF helicopter approached eventually confirming the ship's identity as American. The Israelis broke off the attack at the time when the LIBERTY would have been the most vulnerable. They offered assistance and notified US authorities of the attack.

The only way any of this makes any sense is to recognize it as one of the many SNAFUs encountered in battle. Israel had absolutely nothing to gain by attacking and sinking what they knew to be an American ship. They had everything to lose.

It was what it appears to be, a case of mistaken identity.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2012 5:10:28 AM PST
anne says:
<Previous to that day the Israelis were informed that no American ships would be operating in those waters. That day, America had informed Israel that the USS Liberty was elsewhere.>

John: <It was a case of mistaken identity.>

anne: America's?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 18, 2012 5:49:22 AM PST
vespasian says:
To All, This issue has been debated since the day it happened. In my opinion, what happened is obvious. Those with opposite opinions feel the same. I rue the day when I recently brought it up. Many people are very knowledable on the issue and have reasonable opinons. They will not be altered w/o new reliable information. That seems not to be forthcoming from any gov so we are in the same position as the Kennedy conspiratists. No good final answer. For those who have not studied it, I suggest you do so and draw your own conclusions..vesp
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Discussion in:  History forum
Participants:  28
Total posts:  205
Initial post:  Jul 24, 2012
Latest post:  Jan 4, 2013

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