In a marvelous piece of investigative reporting, John Crewdson has written a piece unseen in recent years in the Baltimore Sun last Sunday (10/2/07) that is destined to be labeled “anti-semitic” by any self-respecting Israeli lobby organization. The issue of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 has remained unresolved for so many years as the massive coverup of purposeful murder of US military by the Israeli Denfense Forces, has persisted.
In this wonderful reporting, Crewdson uncovers mounds of irrefutable witnesses and evidence that Israelis knew they were attacking a US ship and killing Americans and that it was their purpose to sink the ship and kill every member so that no witnesses would survive.
Ray McGovern suggests that the Begin quote of 1982 might have something to do with the reasoning behind this attack:
“In June 1967, we had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that [Egyptian President] Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”
McGovern, a retired CIA intelligence analyst also suggests that the cover-up of the murder of US sailors is in part a success of AIPAC though he presents no evidence to back up this assertion.
Here are some excerpts from the article:
One set of transcripts apparently survived in the archives of the U.S. Army’s intelligence school, then located at Ft. Holabird in Maryland.
W. Patrick Lang, a retired Army colonel who spent eight years as chief of Middle East intelligence for the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the transcripts were used as “course material” in an advanced class for intelligence officers on the clandestine interception of voice transmissions.
“The flight leader spoke to his base to report that he had the ship in view, that it was the same ship that he had been briefed on and that it was clearly marked with the U.S. flag,” Lang recalled in an e-mail.
“The flight commander was reluctant,” Lang said in a subsequent interview. “That was very clear. He didn’t want to do this. He asked them a couple of times, ‘Do you really want me to do this?’ I’ve remembered it ever since. It was very striking. I’ve been harboring this memory for all these years.”
The transcript published by the Jerusalem Post bore scant resemblance to the one that in 1967 rolled off the teletype machine behind the sealed vault door at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, where Steve Forslund worked as an intelligence analyst for the 544th Air Reconnaissance Technical Wing, then the highest-level strategic planning office in the Air Force.
“The ground control station stated that the target was American and for the aircraft to confirm it,” Forslund recalled. “The aircraft did confirm the identity of the target as American, by the American flag.
“The ground control station ordered the aircraft to attack and sink the target and ensure they left no survivors.”
Forslund said he clearly recalled “the obvious frustration of the controller over the inability of the pilots to sink the target quickly and completely.”
“He kept insisting the mission had to sink the target, and was frustrated with the pilots’ responses that it didn’t sink.”
Nor, Forslund said, was he the only member of his unit to have read the transcripts. “Everybody saw these,” said Forslund, now retired after 26 years in the military.
Forslund’s recollections are supported by those of two other Air Force intelligence specialists, working in widely separate locations, who say they also saw the transcripts of the attacking Israeli pilots’ communications.
One is James Gotcher, now an attorney in California, who was then serving with the Air Force Security Service’s 6924th Security Squadron, an adjunct of the NSA, at Son Tra, Vietnam.
“It was clear that the Israeli aircraft were being vectored directly at USS Liberty,” Gotcher recalled in an e-mail. “Later, around the time Liberty got off a distress call, the controllers seemed to panic and urged the aircraft to ‘complete the job’ and get out of there.”
Six thousand miles from Omaha, on the Mediterranean island of Crete, Air Force Capt. Richard Block was commanding an intelligence wing of more than 100 analysts and cryptologists monitoring Middle Eastern communications.
The transcripts Block remembered seeing “were teletypes, way beyond Top Secret. Some of the pilots did not want to attack,” Block said. “The pilots said, ‘This is an American ship. Do you still want us to attack?’
“And ground control came back and said, ‘Yes, follow orders.'”
Gotcher and Forslund agreed with Block that the Jerusalem Post transcript was not at all like what they remember reading.
“There is simply no way that [the Post transcript is] the same as what I saw,” Gotcher said. “More to the point, for anyone familiar with air-to-ground [communications] procedures, that simply isn’t the way pilots and controllers communicate.”
Block, now a child protection caseworker in Florida, observed that “the fact that the Israeli pilots clearly identified the ship as American and asked for further instructions from ground control appears to be a missing part of that Jerusalem Post article.”
…”They said, ‘We’ve got him in the zero,'” Kirby recalled, “whatever that meant — I guess the sights or something. And then one of them said, ‘Can you see the flag?’ They said ‘Yes, it’s U.S, it’s U.S.’ They said it several times, so there wasn’t any doubt in anybody’s mind that they knew it.”
Kirby, now 86 and retired in Texas, said the transcripts were “something that’s bothered me all my life. I’m willing to swear on a stack of Bibles that we knew they knew.”
Read the entire article here: