Almost four decades after Israel’s premeditated attack on the USS Liberty, on June 8, 1967, an agency of the federal government is going to give the controversy some air time. The State Department is sponsoring a conference entitled, ” The United States, the Middle East, and the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.” It will be held on Jan. 12-13, 2004, in Washington, DC.
Incredibly, A. Jay Cristol, the leading protagonist for Zionist Israel’s version of what happened on that fateful day will be one of the affair’s prime presenters on the 12th. Because of the context of the “War, Intelligence & the USS Liberty” segment of the designed program, he will be permitted to put on the record, without the benefit of any cross examination, his prejudiced views. Fortunately, the distinguished author, and supporter of the Liberty cause, James Bamford, will also be on the two hour agenda to add some needed balance. It is wrong for Cristol to get equal billing with Bamford.
According to Cristol’s press release, he intends to hype the supposed relevance of the recorded conversation of “two helicopter pilots” of the Israelis, that has “been kept secret for 37 years.” He claims the “recordings proved that Israel had mistaken the USS Liberty for an Egyptian ship.” They will do nothing of the kind. The attack was deliberate and no after-the-fact dissembling by Cristol, the author of the hearsay-dominated book, “The Liberty Incident,” will alter that inescapable fact.
The Liberty was one of the most sophisticated electronic intelligence ships in the world at the time it was murderously attacked. It was stationed in international waters, 13 miles off the Sinai Peninsula in the eastern Mediterranean, proudly flying the American flag. The Arab-Israeli War, which Tel Aviv had started, was shutting down. At 10: 55 AM, on June 8th, the Israelis had correctly identified the Liberty (AGTR-5), as an American vessel. By 2 PM, however, on that same day, it was trying to sink it, and, without any mercy and in violation of international law, kill every living soul on board (See, Bamford’s book, “Body of Secrets,” pp. 185-239).
Cristol has acknowledged that the Israelis had properly identified the Liberty on the morning of the attack, but he alleges that “an error cycle” kicked in leading to its marking on the plotting table in Tel Aviv to be moved. What hogwash! Who moved it? Could it have been that one-eyed adulterer of a general, Moshe Dayan?
As for the rusting Egyptian vessel, the El Quseir, it was a 1920s-vintage horse calvary transport. It was actually docked on June 8th, in Alexandria, and being readied for scrapping. It also was only one-quarter of the tonnage of the Liberty and about half her size. In addition, the Liberty was flying a 5′ by 8′ American flag, and had a huge satellite dish, 16 ft. high, on her topside, along with large microwave dish and video capturing antennas and other highly visible communication-related equipment The notion that the all-too-clever Israelis, who had access to “Jane’s Fighting Ships” mistakenly took the Liberty for the El Quseir, is ludicrous.
Talk about a kick in the face! Why is Cristol, an Israeli sympathizer, being given such a prominent place, at the scheduled conference to spout out his pro-Zionist spiel, as though it is a favored opinion, substantiated and corroborated by American eyewitnesses to the event?
Thirty four Americans died on the Liberty and 172 others were seriously wounded. The Israelis attacked the ship for over an hour with unmarked jet planes, using missiles, napalm, rockets, and torpedo boats, too. The Zionist thugs even machined gunned its life rafts (James M. Ennes, Jr., “Assault on the Liberty.”) The Israelis also jammed the Liberty’s emergency frequencies, which were “peculiar to the US Navy” (Naval History, “Friendly Fire,” June, 2003, David C. Walsh).
Cristol is expected to state at the conference that the Israelis felt compelled to attack the vessel because they suspected it had been lobbing artillery shells 13-plus miles onto the Sinai shore. Keep in mind that the Liberty had been under constant surveillance for over two days and was subject to at least 12 over flights by the Israelis and “six hours of close surveillance.” They knew it was physically incapable of such action and only had machine guns on it for its defense. And, even if it was capable of such offensive action, the Laws of War required the Israelis to take other non-hostile i.d. measures before launching a lethal attack.
Author Bamford revealed that on the tragic day in question, the ruthless Israelis were “systematically butchering” Egyptian POWs, as many as “1,000 Egyptian prisoners in the Sinai, including some 400 in the sand dunes of El Arish.” This might have been one of the reasons why the attack on the Liberty was authorized. Another might have been to hide Israel’s covert plans to seize the Syrian-held Golan Heights. Bamford added that the Israelis had carefully constructed a “curtain of lies. Lies about the Egyptian threat, lies about who started the war, lies to the American president, lies to the UN Security Council, lies to the press, lies to the public…” (p. 203).
During the blood-filled attack on the Liberty, one of the Israeli pilots was overheard boasting, “Great wonderful, she’s burning, she’s burning” (p. 211). Another Israeli made this coarse crack, ” Menachem is screwing her” (p. 212).
A National Security Administration report, fifteen years after the fact, speculated that the Israeli motive may have been that the “destruction of the ship and killing of the personnel would lead the U.S. to blame Egypt for the incident and bring the U.S. into the war on the side of Israel…” (p. 235). This sounds like a reprise of the notorious “Lavon Affair,” another dirty tricks operation of the Israelis, back in the early 50s. It entailed Israeli sabotage of U.S. and British facilities in Egypt for the purpose of undermining Egypt’s relationship with the UK and the U.S.
Considering all of the above, the State Department’s decision to host a program on the USS Liberty, featuring the Israeli promoter, A. Jay Cristol, is insulting to the sacred memory of those 34 unsung heroes who died on that vessel. The program should feature Bamford, or some other comparable Liberty figure, like Lt. Ennes, with Cristol, if allowed at all, participating only in a minor, dissenting, pro-Israeli role.
Finally, at the Jan. 12th conference, somebody should demand that Cristol answer this question: Did Israeli General Moshe Dayan order the attack on the Liberty, and if he didn’t, who did?