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The Ship That Refuses To Die

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  • ummyakoub
    The USS Liberty, attacked by Israel, resurfaces on Washington U.S. Says 1967 Attack Act of Negligence By BARRY SCHWEID The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) -
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 2 5:09 PM
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      The USS Liberty, attacked by Israel, resurfaces on Washington

      U.S. Says 1967 Attack Act of Negligence

      By BARRY SCHWEID
      The Associated Press

      WASHINGTON (AP) - Reviewing documents covering 36 years, amid a lack
      of consensus, a State Department official concluded Monday that
      Israel's attack on the U.S. spy ship Liberty during the 1967 Six Day
      War was an act of Israeli negligence.

      The United States also was negligent, the official maintained, for
      failing to notify Israel that the electronic intelligence-gathering
      ship was cruising international waters off the Egyptian coast and for
      failing to withdraw the Liberty from the war zone.

      A daylong conference that studied fresh documents as well as the
      established record failed to produce a consensus for any of three
      views voiced most often: Israel intentionally attacked what it knew
      to be a ship of the U.S. Navy, the attack was accidental, or the
      attack resulted from faulty judgment.

      Thirty-four Americans were killed in the June 8, 1967, attack, and
      more than 170 were wounded.

      Israel long has maintained that the attack was a case of mistaken
      identity, an explanation the Johnson administration did not challenge
      formally. Israel said its forces thought the Liberty was an Egyptian
      horse carrier, apologized to the United States and paid almost $13
      million in compensation, some to victims or their families.

      Since the United States did not intercept the order to attack the
      ship with cannon fire and napalm, precise facts of the attack remain
      elusive, the State Department official said Monday, speaking on
      condition of anonymity.

      He called the Israeli attack and the U.S. actions a classic example
      of Murphy's law: ``If anything can go wrong, it will.''

      David Hatch, a technical director at the National Security Agency,
      said, ``The good news is that information long sought by researchers
      is now out, and the bad news is that it does not settle it.''

      The occasion for the State Department conference was the release of
      historical documents about the 1967 war in which Israel defeated the
      combined forces of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and other Arab countries in
      six days.

      Charles Smith, a professor at the University of Arizona, said in his
      presentation that Israel should have known the Liberty was an
      American ship.

      ``If they didn't know, they didn't try hard enough to find out,'' he
      said.

      James Bamford, an investigative journalist who has written about the
      incident, demanded further investigation ``instead of people getting
      up here and giving their opinions.''

      ``There were cover-ups,'' Bamford said, citing a signed affidavit by
      retired Navy Capt. Ward Boston, who was a leader of a military
      investigation into the incident.

      Boston said in the affidavit in October that then-President Johnson
      and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara had told those heading the
      Navy's inquiry to ``conclude that the attack was a case of `mistaken
      identity' despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.''

      Boston, 80, who did not attend Monday's conference, said the Navy
      investigators were given only one week but still were able to amass
      ``a vast amount of evidence, including heartbreaking testimony from
      young survivors.''

      Accusing Israel of a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and
      kill its crew, Boston said in a legal declaration in Coronado,
      Calif., that he was certain the Israel pilots knew the Liberty, which
      clearly displayed American flags and had markings in English instead
      of Arabic, was a U.S. Navy ship.

      Additionally, Boston said, ``Israeli torpedo boats machine-gunned
      three lifeboats that that had been launched in an attempt by the crew
      to save the most seriously wounded - a war crime.''

      Jay Cristol, a U.S. bankruptcy court judge who has written about the
      incident, cited the finding of the Navy's inquiry as proof the attack
      was a mistake. ``There was no indication they had any knowledge they
      were attacking a U.S. ship,'' Cristol told the conference.

      If the attack were deliberate, its motivation remains uncertain.

      Adm. Thomas Moorer, a former chief of naval operations and chairman
      of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in a memorandum on June 8, 1997,
      the 30th anniversary of the attack, that Israel deliberately attacked
      to hide its intentions in the war.

      ``I am confident that Israel knew the Liberty could intercept radio
      messages from all parties and potential parties to the ongoing war,
      then in its fourth day, and that Israel was preparing to seize the
      Golan Heights from Syria despite President Johnson's known opposition
      to such a move,'' Moorer wrote.

      ``I believe (then-Israeli Defense Minister) Moshe Dayan concluded
      that he could prevent Washington from becoming aware of what Israel
      was up to by destroying the primary source of acquiring that
      information, the USS Liberty.'' Israel took the strategic Syrian
      territory and still holds it 37 years later.



      01/12/04 21:18 EST

      http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?
      pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1073280974558&p=101257
      1727162

      Tempers flare over US spy-ship inquiry
      By Guy Dinmore in Washington
      Published: January 12 2004 23:14 | Last Updated: January 12 2004
      23:14

      Survivors of one of the most hotly disputed incidents in American
      military history - the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty spy-ship in
      1967 - on Monday accused the US authorities, past and present, of a
      cover-up in backing Israeli claims that it was a tragic mistake.

      Emotions boiled over in the basement of the State Department as the
      Office of the Historian opened a public conference on the six-day
      Arab-Israeli war with heated debate over newly released intercepts
      from the archives of the secretive National Security Agency.

      Most of the basic facts are undisputed. On June 8 1967, Israeli
      aircraft and later torpedo boats struck the Liberty just off the
      Mediterranean coast, killing 34 crew and wounding 172. The ship, one
      of the world's most sophisticated listening vessels but only lightly
      armed, limped into port.

      From there the controversy begins. An immediate US Navy court of
      inquiry backed the Israeli claim that it had been mistaken for an
      Egyptian warship. The US accepted $12m (?9.4m, £6.5m) in
      compensation.

      While some historians have accepted this, survivors and a varied
      group of academics and former military officials insist the attack
      was deliberate.

      "You're trying to whitewash it," one survivor shouted from the
      audience as Marc Susser, the State Department's historian, acted as
      moderator and sought to keep order, refusing to allow speeches from
      the floor. Even debate on the panel of invited historians descended
      into acrimony with one contributor accused of being an Israeli agent.

      Two recent developments added fuel to the controversy.

      Last week Ward Boston, a naval captain who acted as senior legal
      counsel for the Navy's court of inquiry in 1967, signed an affidavit
      declaring that the late Admiral Isaac Kidd, president of the court,
      had told him that President Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara,
      defence secretary, had ordered a cover-up.

      And on Monday, David Hatch, the National Security Agency's own
      historian, elaborated on the recently declassified NSA material, the
      first time the eavesdropping agency had released real voice
      intercepts.

      Mr Hatch confessed that the information "doesn't settle much". But
      his analysis of the conversations between an Israeli air controller
      and two helicopter pilots "suggested strongly" that the Israelis did
      not know at first they were attacking a US vessel, although there was
      mention of a US flag flying.

      He also regretted that the new NSA material did not clarify why the
      Liberty had not received orders sent to it to leave a war zone.

      Joseph Lentini, a survivor who has spent the past 36 years
      researching the tragedy, told reporters he remained convinced that
      the attack was deliberate.

      He admits it is hard to understand why the Israelis would want to
      sink a ship of its closest ally at a time of war. Conspiracy theories
      abound.

      The most important section of the following article is near the end
      where it is conveyed that James Bamford read Captain Ward Boston's
      declaration (it mentioned that Admiral Kidd thought that A. Jay
      Cristol was an Israeli agent):

      Here is a copy of the declaration (Bamford read a signed copy by
      Captain Ward Boston) which James Bamford read during the USS Liberty
      attack panel discussion which was broadcast live on C-SPAN 2 earlier
      today (hopefully it will repeat as well):

      DECLARATION OF WARD BOSTON, JR., CAPTAIN, JAGC, USN (RET.)

      I, WARD BOSTON, JR. DO DECLARE THAT THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IS TRUE
      AND COMPLETE:
      1. FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS, I HAVE REMAINED SILENT ON THE TOPIC OF USS
      LIBERTY. I AM A MILITARY MAN AND WHEN ORDERS COME IN FROM THE
      SECRETARY OF DEFENSE AND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, I FOLLOW
      THEM.
      2. HOWEVER, RECENT ATTEMPTS TO REWRITE HISTORY COMPEL ME TO SHARE THE
      TRUTH.
      3. IN JUNE OF 1967, WHILE SERVING AS A CAPTAIN IN THE Judge Advocate
      General Corps, Department of the Navy, I WAS ASSIGNED AS SENIOR LEGAL
      COUNSEL FOR THE NAVY'S COURT OF INQUIRY INTO THE BRUTAL ATTACK ON USS
      LIBERTY, WHICH HAD OCCURRED ON JUNE 8TH.
      4. THE LATE ADMIRAL ISAAC C. KIDD, PRESIDENT OF THE COURT, AND I WERE
      GIVEN ONLY ONE WEEK TO GATHER EVIDENCE FOR THE NAVY'S OFFICIAL
      INVESTIGATION INTO THE ATTACK, DESPITE THE FACT THAT WE BOTH HAD
      ESTIMATED THAT A PROPER COURT OF INQUIRY INTO AN ATTACK OF THIS
      MAGNITUDE WOULD TAKE AT LEAST SIX MONTHS TO CONDUCT.
      5. ADMIRAL JOHN S. MCCAIN, JR., THEN COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, NAVAL FORCES
      EUROPE (CINCUSNAVEUR), AT HIS HEADQUARTERS IN LONDON, HAD CHARGED
      ADMIRAL KIDD (IN A LETTER DATED JUNE 10, 1967) TO
      "INQUIRE INTO ALL THE PERTINENT FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING TO
      AND CONNECTED WITH THE ARMED ATTACK; DAMAGE RESULTING THEREFROM; AND
      DEATHS OF AND INJURIES TO NAVAL PERSONNEL."
      6. DESPITE THE SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME WE WERE GIVEN, WE GATHERED A VAST
      AMOUNT OF EVIDENCE, INCLUDING HOURS OF HEARTBREAKING TESTIMONY FROM
      THE YOUNG SURVIVORS.
      7. THE EVIDENCE WAS CLEAR. BOTH ADMIRAL KIDD AND I BELIEVED WITH
      CERTAINTY THAT THIS ATTACK, WHICH KILLED 34 AMERICAN SAILORS AND
      INJURED 172 OTHERS, WAS A DELIBERATE EFFORT TO SINK AN AMERICAN SHIP
      AND MURDER ITS ENTIRE CREW. EACH EVENING, AFTER HEARING TESTIMONY ALL
      DAY, WE OFTEN SPOKE OUR PRIVATE THOUGHTS CONCERNING WHAT WE HAD SEEN
      AND HEARD. I RECALL ADMIRAL KIDD REPEATEDLY REFERRING TO THE ISRAELI
      FORCES RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTACK AS "MURDEROUS BASTARDS." IT WAS OUR
      SHARED BELIEF, BASED ON THE DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE AND TESTIMONY WE
      RECEIVED FIRST HAND, THAT THE ISRAELI ATTACK WAS PLANNED AND
      DELIBERATE, AND COULD NOT POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN AN ACCIDENT.
      8. I AM CERTAIN THAT THE ISRAELI PILOTS THAT UNDERTOOK THE ATTACK, AS
      WELL AS THEIR SUPERIORS, WHO HAD ORDERED THE ATTACK, WERE WELL AWARE
      THAT THE SHIP WAS AMERICAN.
      9. I SAW THE FLAG, WHICH HAD VISIBLY IDENTIFIED THE SHIP AS AMERICAN,
      RIDDLED WITH BULLET HOLES, AND HEARD TESTIMONY THAT MADE IT CLEAR
      THAT THE ISRAELIS INTENDED THERE BE NO SURVIVORS. 10. NOT ONLY DID
      THE ISRAELIS ATTACK THE SHIP WITH NAPALM, GUNFIRE, AND MISSILES,
      ISRAELI TORPEDO BOATS MACHINE-GUNNED THREE LIFEBOATS THAT HAD BEEN
      LAUNCHED IN AN ATTEMPT BY THE CREW TO SAVE THE MOST SERIOUSLY
      WOUNDED - A WAR CRIME.
      11. ADMIRAL KIDD AND I BOTH FELT IT NECESSARY TO TRAVEL TO ISRAEL TO
      INTERVIEW THE ISRAELIS WHO TOOK PART IN THE ATTACK. ADMIRAL KIDD
      TELEPHONED ADMIRAL MCCAIN TO DISCUSS MAKING ARRANGEMENTS. ADMIRAL
      KIDD LATER TOLD ME THAT ADMIRAL MCCAIN WAS ADAMANT THAT WE WERE NOT
      TO TRAVEL TO ISRAEL OR CONTACT THE ISRAELIS CONCERNING THIS MATTER.
      12. REGRETTABLY, WE DID NOT RECEIVE INTO EVIDENCE AND THE COURT DID
      NOT CONSIDER ANY OF THE MORE THAN SIXTY WITNESS DECLARATIONS FROM MEN
      WHO HAD BEEN HOSPITALIZED AND WERE UNABLE TO TESTIFY IN PERSON.
      13. I AM OUTRAGED AT THE EFFORTS OF THE APOLOGISTS FOR ISRAEL IN THIS
      COUNTRY TO CLAIM THAT THIS ATTACK WAS A CASE OF "MISTAKEN IDENTITY."
      14. IN PARTICULAR, THE RECENT PUBLICATION OF JAY CRISTOL'S BOOK, THE
      LIBERTY INCIDENT, TWISTS THE FACTS AND MISREPRESENTS THE VIEWS OF
      THOSE OF US WHO INVESTIGATED THE ATTACK.
      15. IT IS CRISTOL'S INSIDIOUS ATTEMPT TO WHITEWASH THE FACTS THAT HAS
      PUSHED ME TO SPEAK OUT.
      16. I KNOW FROM PERSONAL CONVERSATIONS I HAD WITH ADMIRAL KIDD THAT
      PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON AND SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ROBERT MCNAMARA
      ORDERED HIM TO CONCLUDE THAT THE ATTACK WAS A CASE OF "MISTAKEN
      IDENTITY" DESPITE OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY.
      17. ADMIRAL KIDD TOLD ME, AFTER RETURNING FROM WASHINGTON, D.C. THAT
      HE HAD BEEN ORDERED TO SIT DOWN WITH TWO CIVILIANS FROM EITHER THE
      WHITE HOUSE OR THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT, AND REWRITE PORTIONS OF THE
      COURT'S FINDINGS.
      18. ADMIRAL KIDD ALSO TOLD ME THAT HE HAD BEEN ORDERED TO "PUT THE
      LID" ON EVERYTHING HAVING TO DO WITH THE ATTACK ON USS LIBERTY. WE
      WERE NEVER TO SPEAK OF IT AND WE WERE TO CAUTION EVERYONE ELSE
      INVOLVED THAT THEY COULD NEVER SPEAK OF IT AGAIN.
      19. I HAVE NO REASON TO DOUBT THE ACCURACY OF THAT STATEMENT AS I
      KNOW THAT THE COURT OF INQUIRY TRANSCRIPT THAT HAS BEEN RELEASED TO
      THE PUBLIC IS NOT THE SAME ONE THAT I CERTIFIED AND SENT OFF TO
      WASHINGTON.
      20. I KNOW THIS BECAUSE IT WAS NECESSARY, DUE TO THE EXIGENCIES OF
      TIME, TO HAND CORRECT AND INITIAL A SUBSTANTIAL NUMBER OF PAGES. I
      HAVE EXAMINED THE RELEASED VERSION OF THE TRANSCRIPT AND I DID NOT
      SEE ANY PAGES THAT BORE MY HAND CORRECTIONS AND INITIALS. ALSO, THE
      ORIGINAL DID NOT HAVE ANY DELIBERATELY BLANK PAGES, AS THE RELEASED
      VERSION DOES. FINALLY, THE TESTIMONY OF LT. PAINTER CONCERNING THE
      DELIBERATE MACHINE GUNNING OF THE LIFE RAFTS BY THE ISRAELI TORPEDO
      BOAT CREWS, WHICH I DISTINCTLY RECALL BEING GIVEN AT THE COURT OF
      INQUIRY AND INCLUDED IN THE ORIGINAL TRANSCRIPT, IS NOW MISSING AND
      HAS BEEN EXCISED.
      21. FOLLOWING THE CONCLUSION OF THE COURT OF INQUIRY, ADMIRAL KIDD
      AND I REMAINED IN CONTACT. THOUGH WE NEVER SPOKE OF THE ATTACK IN
      PUBLIC, WE DID DISCUSS IT BETWEEN OURSELVES, ON OCCASION. EVERY TIME
      WE DISCUSSED THE ATTACK, ADMIRAL KIDD WAS ADAMANT THAT IT WAS A
      DELIBERATE, PLANNED ATTACK ON AN AMERICAN SHIP.
      22. IN 1990, I RECEIVED A TELEPHONE CALL FROM JAY CRISTOL, WHO WANTED
      TO INTERVIEW ME CONCERNING THE FUNCTIONING OF THE COURT OF INQUIRY. I
      TOLD HIM THAT I WOULD NOT SPEAK TO HIM ON THAT SUBJECT AND PREPARED
      TO HANG UP THE TELEPHONE. CRISTOL THEN BEGAN ASKING ME ABOUT MY
      PERSONAL BACKGROUND AND OTHER, NON-COURT OF INQUIRY RELATED MATTERS.
      I ENDEAVORED TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS AND POLITELY EXTRICATE MYSELF
      FROM THE CONVERSATION. CRISTOL CONTINUED TO RETURN TO THE SUBJECT OF
      THE COURT OF INQUIRY, WHICH I REFUSED TO DISCUSS WITH HIM. FINALLY, I
      SUGGESTED THAT HE CONTACT ADMIRAL KIDD AND ASK HIM ABOUT THE COURT OF
      INQUIRY.
      23. SHORTLY AFTER MY CONVERSATION WITH CRISTOL, I RECEIVED A
      TELEPHONE CALL FROM ADMIRAL KIDD, INQUIRING ABOUT CRISTOL AND WHAT HE
      WAS UP TO. THE ADMIRAL SPOKE OF CRISTOL IN DISPARAGING TERMS AND EVEN
      OPINED THAT "CRISTOL MUST BE AN ISRAELI AGENT." I DON'T KNOW IF HE
      MEANT THAT LITERALLY OR IT WAS HIS WAY OF EXPRESSING HIS DISGUST FOR
      CRISTOL'S HIGHLY PARTISAN, PRO-ISRAELI APPROACH TO QUESTIONS
      INVOLVING USS LIBERTY.
      24. AT NO TIME DID I EVER HEAR ADMIRAL KIDD SPEAK OF CRISTOL OTHER
      THAN IN HIGHLY DISPARAGING TERMS. I FIND CRISTOL'S CLAIMS OF A "CLOSE
      FRIENDSHIP" WITH ADMIRAL KIDD TO BE UTTERLY INCREDIBLE. I ALSO FIND
      IT IMPOSSIBLE TO BELIEVE THE STATEMENTS HE ATTRIBUTES TO ADMIRAL
      KIDD, CONCERNING THE ATTACK ON USS LIBERTY.
      25. SEVERAL YEARS LATER, I RECEIVED A LETTER FROM CRISTOL THAT
      CONTAINED WHAT HE PURPORTED TO BE HIS NOTES OF OUR PRIOR
      CONVERSATION. THESE "NOTES" WERE GROSSLY INCORRECT AND BORE NO
      RESEMBLANCE IN REALITY TO THAT DISCUSSION. I FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE
      THAT THESE "NOTES" WERE THE PRODUCT OF A MISTAKE, RATHER THAN AN
      ATTEMPT TO DECEIVE. I INFORMED CRISTOL THAT I DISAGREED WITH HIS
      RECOLLECTION OF OUR CONVERSATION AND THAT HE WAS WRONG. CRISTOL MADE
      SEVERAL ATTEMPTS TO ARRANGE FOR THE TWO OF US TO MEET IN PERSON AND
      TALK BUT I ALWAYS FOUND WAYS TO AVOID DOING THIS. I DID NOT WISH TO
      MEET WITH CRISTOL AS WE HAD NOTHING IN COMMON AND I DID NOT TRUST
      HIM.
      26. CONTRARY TO THE MISINFORMATION PRESENTED BY CRISTOL AND OTHERS,
      IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT IT IS CLEAR THAT
      ISRAEL IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DELIBERATELY ATTACKING AN AMERICAN SHIP AND
      MURDERING AMERICAN SAILORS, WHOSE BEREAVED SHIPMATES HAVE LIVED WITH
      THIS EGREGIOUS CONCLUSION FOR MANY YEARS.
      DATED: JANUARY 8, 2004
      AT CORONADO, CALIFORNIA.
      __________________________________________
      WARD BOSTON, JR., CAPTAIN, JAGC, USN (RET.)
      SENIOR COUNSEL TO THE USS LIBERTY COURT OF INQUIRY

      Subj: State Department Forum
      Date: 1/9/04 9:39:14 AM Pacific Standard Time
      From: jim@...


      ========================


      Attendees should study
      www.usslibertyinquiry.com
      and especially
      http://www.usslibertyinquiry.com/commentary/cristoltravesty.html.

      Cristol's main crutch is to claim that 13 investigations have
      all exonerated Israel. That is totally false.
      NONE has exonerated Israel. See
      www.ussliberty.org and
      www.ussliberty.org/wrmead03.htm
      which looks at the "13 investigations".

      Who is A. Jay Cristol? See
      http://www.usslibertyinquiry.com/commentary/travesty/whoiscristol.html


      When asked hard questions, Cristol's standard reply is
      "Read the book."

      http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/outlook/2348386

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