A Little Truth About Israel
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Mon Oct 15 22:10:15 EST 2001
BODY OF SECRETS: EVIDENCE OF DELIBERATE ISRAELI ATTACK ON USS LIBERTY
BEYOND CIRCUMSTANTIAL AT LAST
By Andrew I. Killgore
On June 8, 1967, Israeli planes and warships attacked the USS Liberty, a
U.S. Navy intelligence gathering ship off the coast of the Israeli
occupied Sinai Peninsula, killing 34 Americans and injuring 171. Israel
has insisted ever since that the attack was "a tragic accident" - in spite
of overwhelming circumstantial evidence to the contrary.
June 8 was a clear day, the American flag was flying, while the name of
the ship (USS Liberty) and its identifying markings (GTR-5) were clearly
visible. Israeli planes circled or flew near the Liberty for an hour or
two before the attack began, so there could have been no chance that the
Israelis mistook the Liberty, as they claimed, for the El Quseir, an
Egyptian vessel configured quite differently and only one-third the
The surviving crewmen of the Liberty have been frustrated over the ensuing
34 years in their demands for a real investigation of the Israeli attack.
They have borne personal witness that attacking Israeli planes and motor
torpedo boats tried to sink the Liberty and kill all of the Americans
aboard her. But an Israel-leaning American media and U.S. Congress have
continued to cover up for Israel.
Two major books, Assault on the Liberty (1980) by Jim Ennes, a lieutenant
on the Liberty who was badly injured during the attack, and the scholarly
The USS Liberty by John E. Borne, carefully examine the Liberty attack,
leaving in tatters Israel's "tragic accident" claim. Through the years
Israel has fabricated ever more claims in an effort to refute new evidence
about the Liberty as it has emerged. It has adamantly rejected any
investigation into the attack which, if Israel really had attacked the ship
by mistake, would clear its name.
Now - finally - comes James Bamford's vast new book (720 pages) on the
National Security Agency, Body of Secrets - including 60 pages dealing
with the Liberty. Its reports of Hebrew-language recordings of
communications by attacking Israeli planes and ships demolish the
continuing series of lies constructed by Israel to conceal its crime
against the United States. Some representative excerpts of those
conversations follow in the paragraphs below.
The Middle East had been heating up for several months before Israel
attacked Egypt on June 5, 1967, claiming in a barrage of lies that Egypt
was attacking it. The Liberty had been sent at top speed from West Africa
to within 12 miles of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to follow what was going on.
At the same time, NSA electronic listening posts were airborne between the
military side of Athens airport and the Israeli-Egyptian coast. On June 8
these planes flew high overhead, picking up voices in Hebrew of the Israeli
attackers. "What we could see was the GTR-5 written on that ship. And we
gave those letters to the ground control." (Israeli pilot on June 8, 1967,
identifying the USS Liberty.)
"It had a big Star of David on it and it was flying just a little bit above
our mast of the ship... they [Israeli pilots] had seen the ships' markings
and the American flag." (USS Liberty crewman describing an Israeli
reconnaissance plane circling the Liberty.) "Oil is spilling into the
water." (Israeli Mirage pilot reporting back to base during the attack on
the Liberty.) "Great, wonderful, she's burning." (Israeli pilot as the USS
Liberty was being attacked.) "He's hit her [the Liberty] a lot. There's
black smoke, there's an oil slick in the water." (Israeli army commander
at just-occupied El Arish, Egypt, reporting on the results of the Israeli
attack.) "Hey, Chief, I've got really odd activity on UHF [ultra-high
frequency employed by Israel].
They mentioned an American flag. I don't know what's going on." (U.S.
Navy Chief Petty Officer Marvin Nowicki, fluent in Hebrew and Russian,
relating a conversation with another Hebrew-speaking linguist during the
attack on the Liberty. Nowicki was aboard an NSA surveillance plane, not,
repeat not, on the Liberty.) "He's going down low with the napalm all the
time." (Shouted in Hebrew from El Arish during the attack on the Liberty.)
"It would be a mitzvah [blessing] if we can get a flight with iron bombs.
Otherwise, the Navy's going to get here and they're going to do the
shooting." (Israeli pilot during the attack.) Author Bamford points out
that three Japanese aircraft carriers were sunk with such bombs at the
World War II naval battle of Midway, explaining that the pilot was hoping
for the coup de grâce, to sink the Liberty before the Navy arrived to
finish her off.
"Pay attention. The ship's markings are Charlie Tango Romeo-5." (Israeli
pilot to his headquarters.) The Liberty was actually GTR-5, the pilot
having misread the "G".
"He told me about the activity and the American flag as being mentioned
again. I heard a couple of references to the flag during an apparent
attack. The attackers weren't aircraft; they had to be surface units [we
later found out at USA-512] it was the Israeli motor torpedo boats
attacking the Liberty. Neither [the other Hebrew linguist] nor I had ever
heard MTB attacks in voice before, so we had no idea what was below us. I
advised the evaluator; he was mystified as we were." (Nowicki, in the NSA
EC-121 aircraft above, relating a conversation with another Hebrew linguist.)
"I watched in horror as the floating life rafts were riddled with holes.
No survivors were planned for that day. When the 'prepare to abandon ship'
was announced, what was left of our lifeboats were released overboard; they
were immediately machine-gunned by the torpedo boats. It was obvious that
no one was meant to survive this assault." (Stan White, top American
enlisted man on the Liberty.)
"Israel chose to honor Motor Torpedo Boat 203, which fired the deadly
torpedo at the Liberty. The ship's wheel and bell were placed on prominent
display in the [Israeli] naval museum, among the maritime artifacts of
which the Israeli navy was most proud." (Author Bamford.)
"As I recall we recorded most, if not all, of the attack. I heard a couple
of references to the [American] flag during an apparent attack." (NSA
Chief Petty Officer Marvin Nowicki, described by author Bamford as an
enthusiastic supporter of Israel who originally thought his information
would help clear Israel. Instead, as Bamford writes in Body, "It convicts
the government. If the Israelis did see the flag, then the attack was
"After many years I finally believe the attack was deliberate." (Liberty
Captain William McGonagle, dying of cancer after maintaining a silence of
more than 30 years.) "To speculate on the motives of an attack group that
uses unmarked planes and deprives helpless survivors of life rafts raises
disturbing possibilities, including the one that the Liberty crew was not
meant to survive the attack, and would not have, but for the incorrect 6th
Fleet radio broadcast that help was on the way-which had the effect of
chasing off the MTBs [motor torpedo boats]." (From an article by Navy Lt.
Commander Walter J. Jacobsen for the U.S. Navy's Naval Law Review.
The USS Liberty's desperate call for help saved the ship and the survivors.
The promised help from the 6th Fleet never arrived, but it did drive off
the Israeli attackers. As long known, and reported in Body, President
Lyndon Johnson ordered the 6th Fleet rescue flights to return to their
carriers. This shameful act is "explained" by LBJ's stated determination
not to embarrass Israel, an "ally" in Johnson's words.
Johnson is long dead and there is no way to get any clarification from him.
But Israel is very much here and still sticking by its compound lies about
the Liberty which it has been able to sustain - sort of, and in a
pathetically shameless way - because the overwhelming evidence of its guilt
was circumstantial. But not any more.
The immense importance of Body of Secrets is its direct evidence, from NSA's
Hebrew-language recordings of the Israeli attackers, that the attack was
deliberate. Even the Israeli mantra that "we never saw a flag" is shown
in Body to be just another part of the old compound lie.
What will Israel do now? A recent New York Times book review of Body tries
to dodge the basic theme of Israeli guilt. Instead it dwells on Bamford's
stated view that Israel sought to cover up its execution at El Arish of
several hundred Egyptian prisioners-of-war.
In fact, Israel's motives hardly count. The killing and wounding of
Americans constitute the crime. Jim Ennes speculated that Israel sought to
prevent the U.S. from learning of its forthcoming attack on Syria's Golan
Heights. This writer's guess is that Israel sought to sink the Liberty,
kill all of its crew and blame the Egyptians.
The hope is that Body and the publicity surrounding it will stir the U.S.
Congress to carry out a real investigation; or that Israel will stop lying
and finally admit the truth. A congressional investigation does not seem
an unreasonable hope. An Israeli confession seems wildly improbable. If
neither of these happens, a lawsuit against Israel by the surviving crewmen
and relatives of those killed would now have a greater chance of success.
Copyright © 2001 American Educational Trust. All Rights Reserved.
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