LIBERTYGATE The coverup uncovered, in three parts. It has been twenty-two years since the
The coverup uncovered, in three parts.
It has been twenty-two years since the military forces of
the State of Israel attacked the U.S.S. Liberty. It has
been 43 years since Hitler's atrocities.
If Congress can spend our money chasing senile Nazis, after
all these years, it's about time they spend a little money
investigating the Liberty coverup.
The only way it will ever happen is if YOU write your
representatives and insist on a full investigation.
The following article appeared in *Defense Electronics*,
Editor's Note: This article is printed by *Defense
Electronics* as an example of a direct attack on U.S. forces
by a nation that has access to advanced western military
equipment, and which is an ally. In light of the Libyan-U.S.
air clash in August and the loss of advanced equipment in
Iran, the danger of western technology being used against
U.S. forces by a hostile Third World nation is apparent.
This article is presented in unabridged form and represents
only the views of its author.
Israeli Attack on U.S. Ship Reveals Failure of C3
By James M. Ennes, Jr., Deck Officer of the USS Liberty
Fourteen years ago, the USS Liberty was attacked by Israeli
Warplanes and ships, resulting in the deaths of 34 Americans
and the wounding of 171 others. The attack lasted 2 and 1/2
hours and ended the Navy's program of dedicated electronic
intelligence collection ships.
Fourteen years ago, one of the most serious peacetime
American naval disasters occurred, and perhaps the most
serious since the sinking of the battleship *Maine* in 1898.
But while every bright schoolchild remembers some details of
the explosion that led to the Spanish-American War, hardly
anyone can recall the attack on the USS Liberty in 1967,
which cost the lives of 34 Americans, wounded 171 others,
and brought a premature end to the Navy's program of
dedicated electronic collection ships.
The attack on the USS Liberty by Israeli forces on the
fourth day of the Arab-Israeli Six Day War is not widely
known because the facts are politically and diplomatically
awkward. The truth about the attack includes evidence that
this was a planned, carefully coordinated and deliberate
attack by a friendly power upon a known American naval
vessel, and a botched exercise of Command, Control, and
Communications. But such knowledge is politically unwelcome
in the United States, so the facts about the attack were
witheld from the American people.
In 1967, the US Navy operated a worldwide fleet of
electronic intelligence collection ships under tasking from
the Department of Defense. These consisted of United States
Ships *Oxford*, *Georgetown*, and *Jamestown*, which
operated on converted Liberty hulls; *Belmont* and
*Liberty*, on Victory hulls; *Banner*, *Pueblo*, and *Palm
Beach*, on converted 180-foot AKL hulls; and civilian-manned
United States Naval Ships *Private Jose E. Valdez* and
*Sergeant Joseph P. Muller*, on converted 338-foot T-AG
In May 1967, as tension built rapidly toward what would soon
become the "Six Day War," USS Liberty was diverted from her
usual patrol area on the west coast of Africa to patrol a
section of the Gaza Strip in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The trip required 16 days of hard steaming, and when Liberty
arrived at her assigned station, the war was four days old
and almost over.
I was Liberty's electronic materials officer. A 34-year-old
former enlisted man, I took special pride in my Navy
commission, my lieutenant's rank, and my specialty in
cryptology. I was soon to be assigned officer of the deck
for special sea detail and general quarters. And as the ship
arrived on station 13 miles from the Israeli and Egyption
coasts, I was to be officer of the deck for the forenoon
Throughout the Night
The ship had been reconnoitered throughout the night by
Israeli military aircraft. Well before midnight, Liberty's
crytologic operators had detected fire control radar
directed steadily at the ship by orbiting Israeli aircraft.
But the supervisor on duty refused to believe that Israeli
forces would direct fire control radar at an American ship,
and so he insisted that the operators must have
misinterpeted the signal. The signal went unreported.
At about 0700, as I relieved the watch on the bridge, I was
told that a "flying boxcar," later identified as an Israeli
Nord 2501 Noratlas reconnaissance aircraft, had circled the
ship from a distance at sunrise.
I checked out colors, found them dirty and ragged after
several days of high-speed steaming, and ordered them
replaced. Two extra lookouts were stationed above the
bridge, and I ordered them to keep an eye on the flag to
assure that it never fouled.
At 0900, the ship reached point "alfa," the northernmost
point of our assigned patrol track. I turned south and
slowed to five knots, and at that moment we were
reconnoitered by a single jet aircraft. I immediately
checked the flag and saw it clearly displayed in a good
breeze. We were headed almost directly into a four-knot
wind, giving us nine knots over the decks, which was more
than enough to hold the flag aloft. For the next several
hours, the wind increased steadily, reaching 12 knots over
the deck before the ship came under attack.
At about 1000, the ship was circled three times at low level
by two armed Israeli Mirage jets, each carrying 18 rockets
under each wing. One of the pilots was heard reporting by
radio to Israeli headquarters that we were flying the
American flag, but this was no news to the Israeli war room.
Duty officers in the war room had identified the ship long
before and had plotted her track on a large wall chart,
along with her name, her top speed, and a reference to her
intelligence mission. And according to several reports,
Israel's immediate reaction to the ship's presence was to
complain bitterly to the United States via the Central
Intelligence Agency, demanding that the ship be moved.
The United States made several serious, almost frantic
attempts to move the ship. As the Liberty approached Gaza,
the Joint Chiefs of Staff first sent a priority message
ordering the ship to move 20 miles from the coast; the
message was swamped by higher precedence traffic and was not
processed until long after the crisis had ended. Hours
later, a JCS duty officer phoned naval headquarters in
London to relay an urgent JCS order to move the ship 100
miles from the coast; the telephone call was ignored, and
Liberty's copy of the confirming message was misrouted to
the Philipines before being returned to the Pentagon, where
it was again misrouted, this time to Fort Meade in Maryland,
where it was lost.
Eventually, at least six critical messages were lost,
delayed, or otherwise mishandled. Any one of those messages
might have saved Liberty. None reached the ship.
During the next four hours, the ship was visited five more
times by Israeli reconnaissance aircraft, usually flying at
very low level, and always close enough that I could readily
see the pilot. On one occasion, the captain was on the
bridge when the Noratlas approached at masthead level,
causing him to warn me of a posible bombing run; the
aircraft passed overhead at such low level that the deck
The continued close surveillance was reassuring. Israel was
an ally and, although several Arab states were then hostile
toward the United States, Israel clearly dominated the sky,
and we were comforted to be watched so closely, as this
seemed to assure that there could be no mistakes.
After being relieved of the watch at noon, I spent most of
the noon hour on the bridge preparing for a general quarters
drill scheduled for 1300. Finally, at 1400, all drills and
bridge duties were completed, and I was preparing to go
below after nearly seven hours on the bridge when three
aircraft and three high-speed surface craft were
simultaneously picked up on radar, all approaching the ship
from starboard quarter.
Moments later, the ship came under severe and continued
attack, first by Israeli Mirage jets that momentarily
knocked out our four puny 50-caliber machine guns and
disabled all radio antennas, then by slower Israeli Mystere
jets, which plastered the stack, gun mounts, open bridge,
and superstructure with an inferno of napalm.
When technicians jury-rigged an antenna in order to call for
help, radiomen found the frequencies blocked by buzz saw
signals from the jets. Radiomen worked on their hands and
knees and held microphones close to the deck to escape smoke
and heat from fires nearby, and in less than nine minutes,
they broke through the jamming. The carrier *Saratoga*,
operating about 500 miles away from the Sixth Fleet near
Crete, was first to answer.
On the bridge of the Saratoga, Captain Joseph Tully promptly
turned his ship into the wind and relayed Liberty's message
to the Sixth Fleet commander, Vice Admiral William Martin,
who was on the bridge of his flagship conducting maneuvering
exercises. Because of the emergency, Captain Tully addressed
the message directly to Admiral Martin with his personal
callsign on the Primary Tactical Maneuvering Circuit
(PRI-TAC), and then he duplicated the transmission by
teletype and flashing light with information copies to naval
headquarters in Washington and London.
Admiral Martin immediately directed carriers *Saratoga* and
*America* to launch aircraft to defend Liberty, but when the
launch order was executed, only Saratoga launched. Except
for some F-4 Phantoms that were eventually sent up to defend
the fleet, *America* did not respond. She had, according to
some reports, been authorized to relax from an alert posture
that was imposed on much of the rest of the fleet. (The
aircraft *America* did launch for air defense were thought
by some to have been armed with nuclear weapons, since it
was widely known that nuclear-armed weapons were in alert
status, but it is now clear that no such aircraft were
Captain Tully sent a flashing light query to Captain Donald
Engen on the America, and got no reply. Moments later
Saratoga's aircraft were recalled without explanation by
Rear Admiral Lawrence Geis, who commanded the carrier task
America, which had no appropiate conventional armament in
position, started bringing up weapons from below decks,
while Saratoga, which *was* prepared to defend Liberty was
required to wait -- apparently for White House permission.
Meanwhile, unobstructed by Sixth Fleet air power, the three
Israeli torpedo boats arrived on schedule to finish the job.
The target was already in flames after 25 to 30 minutes of
aerial strafing and napalm bombardment by perhaps a dozen
The boats approached at high speed and fired torpedos from
2,000 yards but, owing to a near collision between two boats
at the moment of firing, the first shots went wild. One
torpedo passed safely astern, where it missed by a bare 25
yards. Another passed so close ahead of the ship that it
vanished under the bow, "sounding like amotorboat" to Petty
Officer Rick Aimetti, who stood, astonished, on the
forecastle. And one torpedo made a direct hit on the ship's
crytologic spaces, where it killed 25 men and momentarily
trapped at least 50 more in the flooded compartment.
to be continued..............
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