The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

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The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#1

Post by Plutodog » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:55 pm

I believe Stern asked for this thread. Best place to go asking questions might be the Liberty survivor sites. Will get links. But first, some pictures at the NSA site:[/break1]nsa.gov/public_info/declass/uss_liberty/photos.shtml]http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/declass/ ... otos.shtml
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The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#2

Post by Foggy » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:15 pm

Thank you, Dawg.
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The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#3

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:22 pm

Thank you Foogie. :sterngard:What was the motivation of Israel to undertake the attack? And of our country to cover up what it knew (assuming that it was that Israel attacked intentionally)?Those were the first two questions :sterngard: I had.

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The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#4

Post by Foggy » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:00 pm

What was the motivation of Israel to undertake the attack?The Liberty was a spy technical research ship. Did a lot of work for the NSA. Yep, same NSA. It was parked not far from Israel, gathering signals intelligence. From all parties to the war. Israel was right in the middle of the Six Day War. I suspect one of two things: either there was something they were planning to communicate to the army and/or air force that they did not want us to hear, or possibly they simply overreacted to having a spy ship within 25 miles of the Mediterranean Coast. They knocked out the radios and antennas so the ship couldn't call for help.





And of our country to cover up what it knew (assuming that it was that Israel attacked intentionally)?I think you probably know a lot more about U.S.-Israeli relations over the years than I do.





But it was an act of war. When some other nation commits an act of war against you, you're supposed to go to war against that nation. Works that way in Westerns, too. But we couldn't go to war against Israel. By the time the Pentagon figured out what had really happened, the shooting was over, the damage was done. They had time to think about it. Think of what the uproar would have been in the U.S. if we had joined the Arabs in a war against Israel and won. If the truth had come out, the public would have demanded that we retaliate. It would have been an enormous political firestorm, not to mention the consequences for the Israelis.





That's one conspiracy theory to which I do subscribe, because there is no doubt that the Israeli armed forces deliberately attacked a ship they knew was our ship, because our flags were flying in broad daylight and they overflew the ship many times before beginning the attack.





But we couldn't go to war against Israel. So they covered it up. Badly, but officially.
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The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#5

Post by SueDB » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:09 pm

I think that all we really needed to do was not send more supplies etc to replace the Israeli combat losses at the time. We could have let them chew on their own bagel.
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The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#6

Post by Suranis » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:18 pm

There's some speculation that the attack was designed to draw the US into a war against Egypt and help Lyndon Johnson's re-election prospects. But it was scuppered then the Isreali pilots started screaming that it was a USN ship they were being ordered to attack and overflew a few times while being told to attack anyway, and the Liberty managed to get their radios working and started screaming that they were under attack by Isreali fighters. Once the word was out the plan failed.I actually have a book on the attack somewhere that I must re-read.
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The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#7

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:19 pm

This is horrible. Another LBJ failure.

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Re: The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#8

Post by RTH10260 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:52 am

FIFTY YEARS LATER, NSA KEEPS DETAILS OF ISRAEL’S USS LIBERTY ATTACK SECRET
Miriam Pensack June 6 2017, 5:58 p.m.

ON JUNE 8, 1967, an Israeli torpedo tore through the side of the unarmed American naval vessel USS Liberty, approximately a dozen miles off the Sinai coast. The ship, whose crew was under command of the National Security Agency, was intercepting communications at the height of the Six-Day War when it came under direct Israeli aerial and naval assault.

Reverberations from the torpedo blast sent crewman Ernie Gallo flying across the radio research room where he was stationed. Gallo, a communications technician aboard the Liberty, found himself and his fellow shipmates in the midst of an attack that would leave 34 Americans dead and 171 wounded.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the assault on the USS Liberty, and though it was among the worst attacks in history against a noncombatant U.S. naval vessel, the tragedy remains shrouded in secrecy. The question of if and when Israeli forces became aware they were killing Americans has proved a point of particular contention in the on-again, off-again public debate that has simmered over the last half a century. The Navy Court of Inquiry’s investigation proceedings following the incident were held in closed sessions, and the survivors who had been on board received gag orders forbidding them to ever talk about what they endured that day.

Now, half a century later, The Intercept is publishing two classified documents provided in the cache of files leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden related to the attack and its aftermath. They reveal previously unknown involvement by Government Communications Headquarters, the U.K. signals intelligence agency; internal NSA communications that seem to bolster a signals intelligence analyst’s account of the incident, which framed it as an accident; as well as a Hebrew transliteration system unique to the NSA that was in use at least as recently as 2006.
https://theintercept.com/2017/06/06/fif ... ck-secret/

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Re: The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#9

Post by Fortinbras » Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:35 pm

Many years ago I was offered an "inside explanation" by someone who knew then-Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. Essentially it was that the attack on the USS Liberty was a stage-managed affair that went badly.

At the time, the Liberty - which was known to all as a high-tech spy vessel - was parked just north of the Sinai Peninsula, and by that day in the war, the Arabs were losing and were assuming that the US was actively assisting Israel (which the US denied, insisting it was a neutral observer). There was good reason to believe that the Arabs had already concluded that the Liberty spy ship was sharing intelligence with the Israeli military and that Egyptian forces might launch a devastating attack on the Liberty.

In a very secret phone conversation between LBJ and Eshkol it was decided that a convincing way to demonstrate that the Liberty was not helping Israel, and at the same time justifying removing the Liberty as an easy target for the Egyptians, would be if Israel went through the motions of a "mistaken" bombardment of the Liberty - which would do very little tangible damage to the 22-year-old ship but would demonstrate to the Arabs that the Liberty was clearly not working for the Israelis, after which the lightly damaged Liberty would sail away from the immediate war zone.

This bit of choreography was agreed upon, but the real trick was communicating the details to the participants, since presumably the Arab forces might be able to eavesdrop on US and Israeli radio signals in the war zone, and even one slight hint that this "mistaken attack" was mere window dressing would completely reverse the intended result. Presumably the Liberty received some instruction that bombardment was possible and clear the decks to minimize injuries -- and it did not understand that the bombardment was for mere show and would be deliberately brief and mild. On the side of the Israeli Air Force, there were instructions (very coyly worded in the belief that maybe the Arabs could overhear) that an Egyptian ship looking like a US ship was at such-and-such a spot by the Sinai Peninsula, just buzz it and drop only one or two bombs in the vicinity to give it a scare. Evidently both the American sailors and the Israeli pilots took the cautious phrasing as a sort of sarcasm and instead planned on their own to take this encounter very seriously as a life-or-death confrontation with a deadly (and mis-identified) enemy. So the Israelis hit the Liberty with all they had, and the Americans fired back with all they had -- not at all like two friendly countries who realize they are mistakenly exchanging friendly fire - and what should have been little more than fireworks turned in a very bloody battle.

Even afterward it would have been indelicate to reveal how this was an arrangement that had gotten out of hand in an attempt to deceive the Egyptians. So the Israelis and Americans have been rather tongue-tied on this matter ever since.

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Re: The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#10

Post by RoadScholar » Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:50 pm

Fascinating. Thanks for that very plausible explanation of an otherwise baffling tragedy.
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Re: The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#11

Post by Foggy » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:23 pm

It would also explain the secrecy that is still in effect today. But it would be nice to have more evidence to support that explanation. My father lost a friend in the attack, a classmate at the Naval Academy. He never will forgive Israel.
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Re: The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#12

Post by Dr. Caligari » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:44 pm

Michael Oren, in his book "Six Days of War," contends (based on declassified Israeli records) that it was a mistake on the part of the Israelis, who thought it was an Egyptian ship.
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Re: The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#13

Post by Foggy » Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:50 pm

... an Egyptian ship which prominently flew the American flag during the entirety of the attack, which lasted many hours. Unless all the Israeli pilots and sailors were blind, that's simply not credible at all.
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Re: The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#14

Post by Fortinbras » Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:22 pm

It was not beyond the Arab Legion to fly false colors, as various and similar acts of treachery (forbidden under the Hague and Geneva Conventions) have often been used by the Arabs against the Israelis (or other opponents). The mere painting over of a WW2-surplus ship and the flying of a false flag was certainly not beyond the technical abilities of the Egyptians, at least in the Israelis' estimation.

Regrettably, the fact that deck crew of the Liberty promptly responded to the Israeli bombardment by firing back enthusiastically at the Israeli planes convinced the Israelis that the ship really was Egyptian, not American. Undoubtedly someone below deck was trying to radio the Israeli command about mistaken friendly fire, but the actual shooting back made it appear to the planes in the air that they were in an honest-to-God battle with the actual enemy - which probably caused a great deal of confusion on the Israeli side between radio messages that it was a friendly target and the experience of the target firing back in a most unfriendly way.

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Re: The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#15

Post by Foggy » Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:45 pm

"Regrettably," the sailors on the Liberty, having just been shot at, fired back at their attackers?

No. That's what the military does. You shoot at them, they shoot back.

Until I see real evidence to the contrary, I will always believe that Israel attacked the ship because we were intercepting signals showing that the Israeli government was attacking the Golan Heights after Syria had already announced a cease fire and stopped attacking the Israelis.
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Re: The Murderous Attack on the USS Liberty - 34 KIA 173 WIA

#16

Post by GlimDropper » Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:07 pm

In 2002 the BBC made a documentary about the attack titled USS Liberty: Dead In The Water. [YouTube Link]

On the whole it seems up to BBC standards and contains many interviews with survivors of the attack. I invite comments and criticism of the piece.

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