The USS Liberty Incident — Truly a National Disgrace By Sidney O. Smith III

 1186749352 America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace. Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness.


I believe that it is time to bring together the best minds in America to confer, report, and make concrete recommendations about how we can reform the process.  Senator Jim Webb,  The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009


Excellent words from the good senator.  And if Senator Webb from Virginia truly wants to expose “irregularities and inequities” that cut against our notion of “fundamental fairness”,  then he need go no further than the Record of Proceedings of the Navy Court of Inquiry (NCOI) into the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967.  


Two days after the attack, on June 10, Admiral John S. McCain, Jr, then the Commander-in-Chief,  US Naval Forces, Europe, headquartered in London, England appointed this Navy Court of Inquiry, with Admiral Isaac Kidd presiding and Captain Ward Boston, JAGC, USN, as the senior legal counsel.  And at the initial convening of the Court in London, Admiral McCain then ordered that it conduct and complete the proceedings in one week — an abbreviated time that Rear Admiral Merlin Staring later described as  patently unusual and unreasonable”.


Yes, one week.  As anyone familiar with our criminal justice system can tell you — and certainly Senator Webb would agree — you cannot adequately investigate a barroom brawl in Mobile, Alabama in one week, much less a repeated and coordinated  military attack that took place at sea and left 34 men slaughtered, at least 171 wounded, and an essentially unarmed spy ship dead in the (international) water.


One week.  Good grief.   Ward Boston later claimed that he and Admiral Kidd disagreed with Admiral McCain’s order to complete the NCOI in one week.  In 2003, he signed an affidavit in which he stated that both he and Admiral Kidd had estimated that “a proper Court of Inquiry into an attack of this magnitude would take at least six months to conduct.”   Common sense would appear to agree wholeheartedly.


And for those, along with Senator Webb, who are genuinely concerned that we remain a society “founded upon fundamental fairness”,  take a few minutes and read two evidentiary essays that focus on this Navy Court of Inquiry.  Both are written by USN vet Ken Halliwell, certainly one of the world’s leading forensic experts on the attack on the Liberty.


For any of you who just raised eyebrows about Ken Halliwell’s credentials, consider the following: Halliwell is the first person who presented overwhelming evidence that Jay Cristol relied upon fake photographs to argue the attack on the Liberty was one of mistaken identity.  (Just click and then scroll down to the Gun Camera Photo Fraud Series).  


So one can safely describe Ken Halliwell as a leading forensic expert.  And he has penned an essay in which the title alone fully reveals what Senator Webb so eloquently termed “irregularities and inequities”.  It reads,  The Navy Court of Inquiry: Evidence of Negligence”.   And the title of Halliwell’s second  recommended essay hits the mark as well, 'Smoking Gun' for Claims of NCOI Testimony Tampering.  


Halliwell has authored other evidentiary essays, and they are all highly recommended.  But, for our purposes,  reading just these two essays will make it much easier for you to decide if you agree with the recurring VFW Resolution that calls for a Congressional investigation into the attack on the Liberty.

For starters, and speaking more specifically of what Senator Webb refers to as “inequities” in the administration of justice, one quote by Halliwell illustrates Senator Webb’s point so well that it leaps right off the computer monitor and, therefore, simply must be highlighted.  Halliwell contrasted the Record of Proceedings of the NCOI for the Liberty with that of the USS Pueblo — the US Navy spy ship captured by North Koreans roughly 7 months after the Israeli attack on the Liberty.  Halliwell’s draws the distinction:

“Thus, about 19 hours of testimony was heard from 17 witnesses during two days of testimony on June 13 or 14, and 15. Combining this with six hours of testimony from two witnesses heard on June 10 and 16,[2] the total is 25 hours of testimony from 19 witnesses. This pales in comparison with similar matters subject to NCOI hearings; e.g., the NCOI for the USS Pueblo incident heard over 200 hours of testimony from 104 witnesses.”


And it is indisputable that the same legal standard applied to both NCOI’s.  As Halliwell writes: "The JAG Manual provides that the responsibility of Counsel for the Court is to exploit all practicable sources of information and to bring out all facts in an impartial manner without regard to the favorable or unfavorable effect on persons concerned."


Surely Senator Webb, as a 1975 graduate of Georgetown Law School,  is aware of this glaring discrepancy or “inequity” between the two NCOI’s,  — one that certainly raises, at a minimum, a rebuttal presumption that the NCOI for the Liberty violated well-established principles of  “fundamental fairness”.  And certainly Senator Webb, as an officer of the court, is aware that to overcome such a presumption, the burden is now on those who acquiesced to the ongoing code of silence — an appalling silence that has suggested that the NCOI for the Liberty was not a corrupt investigation but, instead, complied with the law to the same extent and in equal measure to the NCOI for the Pueblo.


So continuing to adhere to Senator Webb’s own rationale, let’s move to the next step and examine not only “inequities” but also “irregularities” that suggest partiality to (very) concerned persons.   And in this regard, the wording from the recurring VFW Resolution on the USS Liberty itself documents one of the most glaring “irregularities” in the history of American jurisprudence, civilian or military, bar none:


WHEREAS, the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty is the only such naval incident to have never been investigated by Congress….


Applying Senator Webb’s own level of judicial scrutiny, one can conclude that the lack of a Congressional investigation constitutes a per se violation.  It is the only time a Congressional investigation into such a naval incident has not taken place, period.  So, once again, the burden shifts to those who want to argue that the lack of a Congressional hearing was indeed consistent with the legal standards of the time (or anytime in American history for that matter).  In other words, they must successfully argue that the lack of a Congressional hearing satisfies all requirements that constitute what Senator Webb has defined as “fundamental fairness”.


As for more specific “irregularities” in the Record of Proceedings itself,  Halliwell indicates that crucial testimony of some of the Liberty vets was left out.  One glaring omission from the Record is that of Liberty survivor Lloyd Painter who later went on to a distinguished career as a US Secret Service agent.  According to Painter (watch Dead in the Water, available for free online viewing, at minute 55), during the NCOI, he testified about Commander McGonagle’s condition (he blacked out from injuries sustained during the attack), the Israeli pilots firing armored piercing projectiles at the Liberty as well as his observation that the Israeli Motor Torpedo Boats machine-gunned life rafts floating astern of the ship.  None of this testimony made it into the Record.


Additionally, the Record reflects other “irregularities”.  Chief Engineer George Golden who actually took over command of the ship after McGonagle blacked out, stated that Admiral Isaac Kidd, whom McCain appointed president of the court, intentionally kept Golden out of the proceedings.  According to George Golden in  Dead in the Water, “I got so peeved off I couldn’t see straight”. 

And then, to completely slam shut any hope of “fundamental fairness”, according to retired Secret Service Agent Painter and others, various high ranking Navy officers threatened the Liberty crew with court-martial if they discussed the attack at all.   


Fundamentally fair?  You decide.  But certainly if we apply the standard of judicial review suggested in Webb’s pending legislation, this evidence alone reaches a threshold that, again, shifts the burden to those defending the NCOI and who claim “Case Closed”.  To overcome the presumption of a flawed investigation, the defenders of the NCOI must establish with clear and convincing evidence that it was a thorough and impartial proceeding and devoid of “irregularities” and “inequities.”

And the bar to overcome this presumption of a flawed investigation, for all intents and purposes, is insurmountable because of the work of one heroic American —  Rear Admiral Merlin Staring.   This former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, in an extraordinarily detailed June 2005 letter to the Secretary of the Navy, claimed that the Record of the Proceedings was completely unreliable, in large measure because of the abbreviated and highly unusual one week timeframe in which Admiral McCain ordered it completed.  In other words, this man who, in 1972, became the highest ranking JAG officer and lawyer in the entire US Navy, concluded that the NCOI was an absolute disgrace and refused to partake in a cover-up.


Rear Admiral Staring did much more than address the profound “irregularities and inequities” of the NCOI for the Liberty in a June 2005 letter to the Secretary of Navy.  In June, 1967, then Captain Merlin Staring, JAGC, USN was the senior Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps officer on Admiral McCain’s staff in London.  At the completion of the Court of Inquiry into the attack on the Liberty, Admiral McCain requested that Captain Staring review the Record of the Proceedings.  As Staring points out in the 2005 letter, such a request was “a normal and anticipated procedure whereby the Convening Authority [Admiral McCain] would have available a legal opinion and recommendations concerning the Inquiry proceeding and its results…”


Captain Staring never endorsed the Record or its findings.  After Captain Staring reviewed it for several hours during the afternoon and evening of June 17 and morning of June 18,  Admiral McCain sent word to Captain Staring, wanting to know how much longer it would take for him to finish the review.  Captain Staring then raised his genuine concerns, namely that the Record contained many clerical errors and that he “had not yet been able to find, in the parts of the record that he had so far reviewed, testimony or other evidence to support some of the Court's stated findings….” 


At that point, Admiral McCain never let him finish the review.  Captain Staring was asked to surrender the Record, which he did.  Then, as Staring describes in the 2005 letter,  Admiral McCain immediately “endorsed the record forward, addressed to the Judge Advocate General of the Navy as required by the Navy's investigative procedures…”


In other words, Rear Admiral Staring never sold out despite pressure to do otherwise.  His words from the documentary  Dead in the Water make the point loud and clear:


“Well, I simply could not find an evidentiary basis for that conclusion [of mistaken identity].  I had considerable trouble with the record in attempting to, as I read through it, attempting to find the evidence, the testimony and/or other evidence that would support some of the findings or opinions or conclusions that the Court of Inquiry had drafted and reached.”


Doubtless history will judge that Rear Admiral Staring was an officer of the court, not a politician.  And by refusing to partake in a deliberate strategy of deep-sixing what he saw as a terribly flawed investigation, he made a sacrifice in 1967 that helps us today.  To borrow words from Senator Webb’s pending legislation, Rear Admiral Staring is someone who held on to the idea that we are a “society founded upon fundamental fairness”. 


Senator James Webb was the US Secretary of the Navy from May 1, 1987 until February 23, 1988, but no evidence exists, as far as I am aware, that Webb has publicly supported Rear Admiral Staring’s stance either then or anytime for that matter.   And while Jim Webb was Secretary of the Navy,  he was in a supervisory position, much like Rear Admiral Staring and, in the civilian world, much like a district attorney, so he knew or should have known of the Liberty incident as well as the flawed NCOI.


For one thing, approximately eight years before James Webb became Secretary of the Navy, Liberty vet survivor Jim Ennes, Jr. broke the code of silence on behalf of the American people when he chronicled the attack in his book, Assault on the Liberty. So by 1987, knowledge suggesting that the attack was deliberate and a cover-up took place was in the public domain.


Secondly, just a few months prior to Webb assuming the office, the Navy Law Review published in Vol. 36 (1986) an article titled, A Juridical Examination of the Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty by Lt. Commander Walter Jacobsen, JAG.   And as the abstract states, “the author concludes that the attack was not supportable in international law and recommends a thorough, public investigation into the attack by the United States Congress.   As an officer of the court, Senator Webb knew or should have known of this law review article and its conclusions.


Thirdly, and potentially most troubling, one aspect of the Liberty incident suggests that affirmative steps were taken to forever deep-six the investigation while Webb was Secretary of the Navy.  As reported repeatedly all over the internet, described in books about the Liberty incident, and according to Wiki: “On  December 17, 1987, the [Liberty incident] issue was officially closed by the two governments [USG and GOI] through an exchange of diplomatic notes.”


Senator Webb was Secretary of the Navy on December 17, 1987.  While I have tried to verify this information but am yet unable to do so (and continue to question if this actually should refer to 1980), Senator Webb can clear up this confusion very quickly with a public statement — one that confirms whether or not, as Secretary of the Navy, he agreed that the Liberty incident was “officially closed”.  And he is obligated to do so if he wants to act in a manner consistent with the spirit and rationale underlying his pending legislation that recommends the creation of a commission to investigate prior miscarriages of justice.


Everyone ultimately is part of a tradition and, unfortunately, nothing indicates, as far as I am aware, that Senator Webb, as an officer of the court, is of the same tradition as that of Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, specifically in regard to the Liberty incident.  Nothing at all.


For that matter, no evidence exists that Senator Webb is part of the tradition of Admiral Thomas Moorer (US Naval Academy, Class of 1933) and General Raymond Davis, USMC (MOH), both of whom, along with Rear Admiral Staring, signed the report of the Moorer Commission (2003) that investigated the Liberty incident.  And astonishingly, this report included, among other things, a finding that echoes the very same wording that Senator Webb relies upon to justify his proposed legislation.  Here is the relevant finding from the Moorer Commission: 


“That the truth about Israel's attack and subsequent White House cover-up continues to be officially concealed from the American people to the present day and is a national disgrace….”


Please note the words — “national disgrace”.  And now here are Senator Webb’s words from his pending legislation. “America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace.”


So surely Senator Webb would agree that the rationale that justifies his pending legislation also warrants a Congressional investigation into the USS Liberty incident.  As Senator Webb states in his proposed legislation,  I believe that it is time to bring together the best minds in America to confer, report, and make concrete recommendations about how we can reform the process.”


But no evidence, that I am aware of, indicates that Senator Webb supports a Congressional investigation into the attack on the USS Liberty incident — an inquiry that would be consistent with the VFW Resolution as well as the rationale underlying his proposed legislation.  To the contrary, much evidence suggests that Senator Webb has participated in a code of silence that has led to a cover-up of a flawed investigation that includes “irregularities and inequities.”


Regardless, at this juncture, it is noteworthy to point out that Col. Patrick Lang — a retired Green Beret and graduate of VMI — has stated the following at his website Sic Semper Tyrannis in reference to Senator Webb and his stance on the USS Liberty incident.



I am disappointed in the lack of response or action on the part of Senator Webb. I expected more from a US Marine officer. pl

Posted by: Patrick Lang | 31 July 2009 at 07:33 PM


And with this quote in mind, it should be remembered that Col. Lang, at the Athenaeum, among other sources,  has left us with a statement that justifies Rear Admiral Staring’s stance and further reveals that the NCOI was, indeed, a travesty.   Col. Lang has read “transcripts of the translated intercepts of radio conversations between the Israeli strike commander and his base before and during the attacks on USS Liberty.”  In other words, Col. Lang is not only an expert witness but also a fact witness.


So, at least in the State of Virginia, promoting justice for the USS Liberty is now associated with Col. Lang and VMI and not with Senator Webb and the tradition he represents.  At this point, Senator Webb appears more closely aligned with the tradition of Admiral McCain (US Naval Academy, Class of ‘31) who oversaw the NCOI for the Liberty and not that of Admiral Thomas Moorer (US Naval Academy, Class of ‘33) and others who called it a “national disgrace.”


But it does not have to be that way.  Senator Webb could reevaluate the situation at hand and meet with members of the USS Liberty Veterans Association (Ernest Gallo, President, USS Liberty Veterans Association, Tele: 386-446-6855).  Then after apologizing to them, Senator Webb could do one of two things.  One, he could offer evidence that he believes legitimates the ongoing code of silence and cover-up.  Such information, in and of itself, would help give closure to the Liberty vets and families.


However, if no such credible evidence is forthcoming, then Senator Webb should include a rider to The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009.  And this additional provision should call for a Congressional investigation that focuses exclusively on the attack on the Liberty and the subsequent cover-up.  Yes?  No?


Better yet, Senator Webb could rely upon the exact same rationale underlying The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 and sponsor new legislation, titled, American Justice for The USS Liberty Act of 2009.  The proposed legislation could even incorporate the findings of the Moorer Commission and recommend June 8 as USS Liberty Remembrance day.  And best of all, this new legislation could include language borrowed straight from Senator Webb’s recently drafted bill and referenced above:


America’s investigation into the attack on the USS Liberty deteriorated to the point that it was a national disgrace. Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness. 

So I believe that it is time to bring together the best minds in America to confer, report, and make concrete recommendations about how we can address this miscarriage of justice —  an injustice that has  profoundly and adversely affected our national security interests.  And with an attack on Iran looming large, the Obama administration should place the highest priority possible to ensure this legislation is enacted.


So here’s hoping that Virginia’s Senator Webb, in his capacity as a graduate of the US Naval Academy, a US Marine war hero, and an officer of the court, will help restore confidence in our government by becoming an advocate for the Liberty vets.  By doing so, he will allow the Liberty vets and the American people to experience the best that our system of justice has to offer, thus proving that we indeed are “a society founded upon fundamental fairness”.  



* For further information on the flawed NCOI for the Liberty, see Halliwell’s essay, “Attack Photos Prove NCOI Testimony and Finding Wrong”. 

The USS Liberty Veterans Association approves this message and respectfully requests that Senator Jim Webb state publicly whether or not the NCOI for the Liberty contained “irregularities and inequities” and therefore is a “national disgrace”.


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49 Responses to The USS Liberty Incident — Truly a National Disgrace By Sidney O. Smith III

  1. par4 says:

    I recommend this post

  2. McGee says:

    The pilot of the SR-71 who taped the Israeli voice communications (and having understood much of what he overheard insisted that the recordings be retained) is still around and a friend of mine, fyi.

  3. Brandy Lupton Neilson says:

    The fact that a Congressional Investigation was never conducted is a wart on the face of America, and it is a shame and a disgrace that the word of the attacker was taken for truth over the word of those attacked. Where would our courts be if every criminal’s protestation of innocence was accepted as truth over the victim’s word? There would Never be any justice! And 42 years later, there has yet to be justice shown to the crew of the Liberty. This is pathetic. Shame on our Congressional leaders!

  4. jeff gates says:

    The preemptive Six-Day War pre-staged the geopolitical dynamics for the “global war on terrorism,” including the preemptive war in Iraq Those masterful at waging war “by way of deception” (the Mossad’s operative credo) remain active. Anyone expecting to see these issues addressed in mainstream media need only examine the pro-Israel bias that—then as now—undermines public access to the facts required for informed choice.
    Pro-Israelis continue to operate a “fifth column” inside the U.S. that actively displaces facts with what “the mark” can be deceived to believe. That modus operandi created a consensus belief in Iraqi WMD, Iraqi ties to Al Qaeda, Iraqi mobile biological weapons laboratories and assorted other fictions that we were induced to embrace as facts.
    The facts of the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty mandate that this four-decade deceit be sustained as even a modest good faith investigation would conclude the obvious: the pro-Israelis who obscured the facts of that attack are obscuring the fact that it was pro-Israelis that induced us to invade Iraq.
    As one example of how this duplicity proceeds in plain sight through mainstream media with, to date, with legal impunity, see:’s-fifth-column-the-people-in-between/
    Jeff Gates, author, Guilt By Association — How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War

  5. Ron says:

    Would he be willing to talk
    to us??
    I am a survivor and of course we would like his statement.

  6. An old salt says:

    This commentary entitled, “The USS Liberty Incident — Truly a National Disgrace” By Sidney O. Smith III …. Is perhaps the best article I have ever read on Israel’s and the US government’s role in the cover-up of this heinous crime. Indeed, if those of us reading it really care about the safety and welfare of members of our armed forces, about equality before the law and about preserving our constitutional freedoms we will print out a copy of Sidney’s article here:
    And send it to our elected representatives in (both) Houses of Congress by US Mail.

  7. Tosk59 says:

    You keep plaintively hoping that Senator Webb will take up this issue… What is this based on? What exactly is he waiting for? Possibly you are giving him too much credit.

  8. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    An old Salt and others:
    Thank you very much and I hope this essay helps.
    USN vet and Liberty supporter par excellence — John Gidusko — emailed me and gave me even further information that documents what I can only call the heroism of Rear Admiral Staring as an officer of the court. Most of the info is contained in a letter that Admirals Staring and Hill wrote to the Secretary of the Army after the War Crimes Report was filed. You can read all about it at the following link:
    Mr. Gidusko’s website is full of unique info, so here is a link for anyone who is interested:

  9. optimax says:

    It looks like someone didn’t like the thread at A Growing Hysteria. It reminds me of Raskolnikov’s dream in Crime and Punishment where the world is destroyed by a pestilence. Each person is infected with a unique idea they kill for because they are sure they are right. But the few who are not infected survive and create a better world.

  10. F B Ali says:

    Sidney O. Smith III
    I did post a belated reply to your post on the Athenaeum. Apologies again for the delay.
    I admire your persistence in trying to get Senator Webb to live up to his reputation and seek justice for the crew of the USS Liberty.

  11. Hannah K. O'Luthon says:

    I sincerely hope that Sidney O.Smith’s efforts to “rattle the cage” of all those allowing the official lie to continue its masquerade as “official truth”. It is difficult not to see this affair as an American Dreyfus case, wherein revelation of a continuing deception is seen as more dangerous to the nation than passive acceptance of flagrant malfeasance by “friend” and foe alike. The main target of righteous indignation should be not Israel or its professional apologists, but rather those American politicians of both parties who have knowingly chosen to continue to betray the men of the U.S.S. Liberty, and in so doing have betrayed the republic.
    This is indeed a national disgrace, enabled even now by a conspiracy of silence.

  12. rjj says:

    optimax, that is so century before last. the growing hysteria thread catastrophe was caused by cuteness cum incompetence. metaphorize from that what you will.
    in penance am abstaining from all formatting save punctuation.

  13. i says:

    why would Israel attack an American ship deliberately?

  14. Patrick Lang says:

    Israel was involved in a complex set of maneuvers against Egypt and Syria. they did not want the ship reporting on what they were doing. what they didn’t seem to understand very well was that there were other SIGINT collection capabilities as well as the ship. pl

  15. LeaNder says:

    in penance am abstaining from all formatting save punctuation.
    😉 happened to me all the time on typepad blogs, and especially in cases like yours ;). I am famous for creating italic/inverse threads … You simply have to pay heightened attention if your code is at the end of the text. Thus you won’t notice it’s closed in preview.
    Strictly, I am wondering why typepad doesn’t manage to modify the code so that each unclosed tag is automatically closed with the comment, just in case one is left open.
    The new software on Mondoweiss does just that, but has no preview button. And yes I miss the button.
    I belong to the easily embarrassed crowd too, especially when I notice mistakes in my comments, which on the other hand doesn’t keep me from adding new ones due to a to hurried note or other things on my mind. We can form a club for the easily embarrassed? You will be our star, since hardly anyone would have noticed the extra s. 😉

  16. If the purpose of these posts is to remind US of the victims of our policies in middle-east great. By the way how many Israelis, Palestinians, and Arabs generally have been killed or severely injured b US weaponary? I ask only because the US sailors died on an assigned missions, some no doubt acted heroically, but not sure what these continued Liberty Posts represent? The dead cannot be brought back to life! The US and Israel will continue to act as though this event never occurred. Could it happen again? Absolutely! Will it happen again absolutely? Why? When it comes to the middle-east and its policy and wars, neither Arab, Palestinian, Israli, or US policy maker are learning individuals or polity! These tragedy is only more likely each passing day and month and year to occur again only this time far more than those directly involved may feel the pain and suffering that continues daily in the middle-east and Lebanon and Palestine!

  17. Fred says:

    From reading the legislation the USS Liberty incident will not be reviewed by this commission. The key items for review, which are long overdue, are:
    1, prison population growth: With 5% of the world’s population, our country now houses 25% of the world’s reported prisoners.
    2. Impact of ‘drug’ crimes and mandatory sentencing plicies: Incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1200% since 1980.
    3. The mentally ill and crime: Four times as many mentally ill people are in prisons than in mental health hospitals.

  18. I says:

    I don’t understand.
    They didn’t want the US to find what?
    why was the US Ship there?
    report to whom? the egyptians?

  19. Patrick Lang says:

    The unprovoked and deliberate attack by Israel on this US Navy ship was an act of war which Lyndon Johnson let them get away with. they have treated us with contempt ever since. I will not relent until this set of facts is well understood by the American people.
    Your assertion the Israelis have been injured by American made ordnance is simply ludicrous. They kill everyone else with our stuff. Come by my office some time and I will show you my collection of American made ordnance items that I have acquired from the Pslestinian houses into which these TOW missiles and tank HE rounds were fired. pl

  20. Patrick Lang says:

    You are either dense or a provocateur.
    They did not want the US, GET IT, the US, to know what they were doing until they had done it. pl

  21. Cloned Poster says:

    I, is being obtuse, a sort of nice guy but is like a Kerryman, from Ireland, answers responses from questions with questions.
    I, why are you here?

  22. PL! Perhaps to oversimplify my post, there are no innocents in the Middle-East. The drama is being played out with the consent of all of the actors. Also I consider land mines to be ordnance. There is some evidence of SCUD missle guidance items being from the US. But I get your point. This is an important cause and hoping thta your posts on this subject will bring justice. And always remember Justice is different very different than truth.

  23. John Gidusko says:

    Always the question comes up, “Why would Israel do this?” I don’t know but there are plenty of possibilities. One of which is that they told the U.S. ahead of time to move that ship or they would sink it. The ship wasn’t moved due to communication problems, and they sure tried to sink it.
    Asst Sec. of Defense Stenbit told us in 2003 about the warning, check this web site for more info:

  24. Patrick Lang says:

    “There are no innocents in the Middle-East” What absolute crap! Tell me what there was about an unarmed US Navy SIGINT collector in international waters that was NOT innocent?
    What was there about that situation that justified repeated air and surface attacks on the ship by a supposed ally?
    You wrote something to me about this perhaps having been necessary for the greater good. What the hell are you talking about?
    You sound like an Israeli. pl

  25. GZB says:

    If I sound like an Israeli too – be it. Why is a mistake in a war fought by the Israelis against
    Nasser a criminal act, the killing of thousands of civilians in Iraq or Afghanistan
    an innocent error ? Because in the case of the “Liberty” the
    mistake was done by Jews ??

  26. Patrick Lang says:

    It was not a “mistake.” It was quite deliberate, ordered by higher authority and they persisted in doing it for hours.
    Perhaps by “mistake” you mean a moral lapse. That it was.
    We have been at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The civilians we killed were not killed deliberately. When there were incidents like that, the culprits were put on trial for their crimes.
    This is quite different The Israeli armed forces deliberately attacked our ship. We were not a party to your war. Quite the opposite. you attacked our ship and killed our people. Who will you put on trial? pl

  27. Trent says:

    You have to understand the contempt Israelis have for Americans. Dissenting American Jews can make aliyah or shut up. American goyim can write checks and keep the UN votes and vetoes coming.

  28. Ron says:

    The mode of operation for the apologists is always the same. I feel like I went to one of their schools. What will it be next? Long commentaries that mean nothing, an avid attempt to change the subject, or will it be name calling? I have seen most of it. Do you have anything new??

  29. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Benjamin Disraeli once wrote: “Justice is Truth in Action”.
    Those words should act as a guiding light to shine on the Liberty incident, imo. And as you well know, there is no statute of limitations for murder nor should there be.
    As Rear Admiral Staring and others have pointed out, the USN has stated that the original NCOI constitutes the entire investigation of the Liberty incident. One week.
    And certainly probable cause exists that the original NCOI was flawed; in other words the evidence is overwhelming that the Record includes irregularities and inequities that cut against our notion of fundamental fairness.
    So once that standard is met –particularly as defined by Senator Webb — then the case should be reopened.
    A civilian analogy perhaps (admittedly I need to think it through a little more) is the murder of some innocent civil rights workers in Mississippi back in the 60’s. Or for that matter in Michigan (just check out what happened to Malcolm X father in the liberated North).
    Suppose, just suppose, the accused are politically connected and they put the heat on the mayor who needs their support for reelection. The mayor leans on the local district attorney to deep-six the case, which he or she does through an abbreviated investigation and via a “no bill” in grand jury.
    It is then proven that the Record includes irregularities and inequities. At that point, I believe a district attorney is obligated to re-examine and re-open the case.
    It has happened, and I have known some very good district attorneys and they would do such. (In the military world that is exactly what Admiral Staring has attempted to accomplish, rather heroically, imo.)
    And, if I recall, the good State of Mississippi recently prosecuted some old klansman (aka ethnic nationalist?) recently for crimes that took place in the 1960’s, under a similar fact pattern.
    I also would like to mention ABA informal opinion 1210. It states, “there is a duty on the part of a lawyer as a good citizen to aid in the enforcement of criminal laws, … to report unprivileged knowledge of criminal conduct to the appropriate authorities.” (Surely a similar rationale exist in the UCMJ, codified in regard to following unlawful orders).
    I simply am trying to report unprivileged knowledge of criminal conduct to the appropriate authorities. It is consistent with Disraeli’s notion that justice is truth in action.
    Senator Webb set the standard of review in his proposed legislation. Your statistical evidence about prisons is a non sequitur, imo.
    If Senator Webb publicly states that the original NCOI contains no irregularities because too many people are in prison, then I am glad I never attended Georgetown.

  30. Ken says:

    It was a surprise attack on a neutral U.S. naval vessel in international waters — no shots fired over the bow or other type warning was issued to the ship to leave the area or risk attack. There were no exigent circumstances, IDF high-command had plenty of time and opportunity to establish positive identification the ship, evaluate the situation and make a decision — they chose to mount a surprise combined air and sea attack that lasted over one hour.
    As Commander David Lewis (Liberty’s Research Operations Officer) once said: “If it was a mistake, it was the best planned mistake I ever heard of.”

  31. Lets please look at the facts. Israel had ID our ship many hours before they decided to sink us or was it many months in advance we were set up?
    What we do know is that Israel MURDERD 34 Americans wounding 174 others on the high seas and tried to murder the rest of the crew and leave no trace that Israel did the MURDERING.Israel wanted to blame it on an Arab State. They all most got by with it in fact they did get by with it because our bought and paid for congress “ALLA” AIPAC, ADL,has kept this war crime hidden from the AMERICAN public.They shot our only two life rafts out of the water for GODS sake and took one aboard there PT boats now that is just flat out a filthy crime. No one should be able to get by with MURDERING AMERICANS EVER not even ISRAEL. If this case is so easy to explain how come congress runs away from it like RATS runnig from a sinking ship?I can tell you why they are covering up FLUNKYS for ISRAEL and the good ole USA.Get mad America before it is too late if it is not already.If the public gets so mad about health care as they are.They better get mad about Americans being MURDERED in cold blood we could take this country back in days. No more free rides for Israel no more money no more arms no more any thing peroid. God bless America and all of our fighting men and women boy do we need it now more than any time in our short history they are fighting wars for Israel and don”t have a clue .We must stop our PASSIONATE ATTACHMENT in favor of Israel NOW!!
    AMERICA comes FIRST before any country that includes ISRAEL the MURDERS of my friends and mates.
    Phillip F Tourney
    USS Liberty Survivor
    Three Time President
    USS Liberty Veterans

  32. wisedup says:

    as regards the reason for the attack on the USS Liberty, consider this link.
    “It is widely reported that Israel had two (atomic) bombs in 1967, and that Prime Minister Eshkol ordered them armed in Israel’s first nuclear alert during the Six-Day War.”
    Taken from
    If the Isrealis had wanted to use the weapons then it would certainly make sense to deny Pres. Johnston the “embarrassment” of ordering the Isrealis to stop. If the USS Liberty was seen by the Isrealis as their weakest intel link then eliminating the leak would make sense — to hell with how many US military died.

  33. Besides the outrage of the attack, the appearance of rushed cover-up in the service of domestic (American) politics, one also has to wonder exactly what Israel was protecting when it ordered the attack on the Liberty?
    There have been many theories over the years (e.g., killing of Egyptian POWs, plans to invade Golan, etc). But I wonder if the attack had more to do with masking Israel’s arming of newly built nuclear devices? Michael Karpin passes on this rumor in his book The Bomb in the Basement, and makes a convincing case that Israel had built nuclear weapons by the eve of the Six Day War. (And at the same time, the U.S. had just concluded that Israel did not have the bomb and was not about to get it.
    No matter the underlying reason, the attack was unprovoked and the justice due has been and continues to be denied.
    Without question, the Liberty crew were victims of “big power” politics – then and now. Politics at the highest level of the US Government as demonstrated by the Presidential decision little more than a year later to “sell” F-4 Phantoms to the IDF. The man who penciled the F-4 deal with Israel? Paul Warnke, who was an Undersecretary of the Navy in June 1967 and later undersecretary of defense. Warnke attempted to condition the F-4 transfer on Israel’s accession to the NPT and opening strategic weapon development sites to US inspection. Not surprisingly, he was overruled by the White House (after Rabin activated the Lobby) and Israel got the planes.
    (Karpin’s account of the Six Day War, the F-4 sale and its aftermath is quite a read — one I encourage all to take the time to do.)
    One has to wonder what the response would be to an Iranian attack upon a U.S. naval auxiliary? Even in a time of war with its neighbor. Oh yeah, I think we know what happens.

  34. Fred says:

    I should have been more clear in my post. The statistical evidence about prisons is directly quoted off the Senator’s website.
    There may be a ‘standard of review’ but there is no mention of the USS Liberty and my opinion is that the Senator would not use this commission to review that incident.

  35. McGee says:

    I can ask and get back to you. My guess would be yes. He’s currently undergoing medical treatment so don’t want to bother him right now, but should be able to get an answer within a week or two. Send your email address to me at

  36. Viet Vet says:

    WRC, as you have a company that claims to be in the Homeland Security business, I distrust you already. The innocents in this story were the American sailors who died on the Liberty. I’m a former military intelligence analyst and from the Liberty to small site on a hillside in Laos where 18 Air Force guys died, this country has a bad habit of leaving guys like me in the wind every time something like the Liberty tragedy happens.
    What I want to know is, who are you really working for? And what’s in it for you to dismiss this terrible event as if it didn’t happen. We sent those boys into harms way. Those that didn’t die were told to keep their mouths shut. That’s not America. We’re better than that.

  37. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Hi Fred
    I agree with you.
    Hence the notion of a rider or new legislation. I simply am raising the idea that Senator Webb should apply the same standard of review that he incorporates into his proposed legislation to the USS Liberty incident.
    If he did, then at long last, our nation could redress a horrendous injustice — one that has had enormous repercussions on our society and one that is contributing to the ever accelerating fragmentation of our country. And yes, I do believe the deep sixing of this injustice is a proximate cause of a disastrous foreign policy that is ripping our nation apart.
    However, sad to say, if Webb did apply the same standard that he is now advocating so strongly to the USS Liberty incident, evidence indicates he does not score very high as an officer of the court when he was Secretary of the Navy, at least from what I can tell so far.
    Webb convicts himself, basically.
    Generally speaking, those elected officials and those in supervisory positions who participate in the ongoing code of silence do so out of political ambition. But at what price to our nation?
    With that in mind, and unfortunately, when it comes to the USS Liberty, nothing suggests that Senator Webb is part of the tradition of Admirals Staring, Moorer and Hill. Countless others as well.
    Senator Webb wrote that he likes to walk through National Arlington Cemetery. I applaud that decision. But I hope this war hero walks by the burial plots of those who died on USS Liberty and now lie in that sacred ground. And I hope he goes by the cemetery plot of George Marshall and while thinking of the USS Liberty incident, ask himself, “What would George Marshall do?”.

  38. Ron says:

    May I make a suggestion to those who are not up to speed on this? The newest book “Attack on the USS Liberty” by James Scott can
    be found on
    James and his father John have been interviewed several times on this subject. Eyewitness reports are used in this book and James’s father John was an officer aboard the Liberty during the attack. I know he was there as I worked for him at times. I was there also, I am a survivor and the man in charge of the body recovery and identification.

  39. jdledell says:

    GZB – This has nothing to do with Jews per se. Hell, I’m one myself. If you look at the evidence in the Liberty case it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY this was a mistake on Israel’s part. The US was not a participant in the war – we were not Israel’s enemy – our ship was in International waters – it appears to be a deliberate act of war by Israel against the US!!!!That is what makes this a big deal.

  40. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Thank you very much for your remarks.
    It is vitally important, imo, that as many other Americans as possible know about people such as yourself and Rocky Sturman who is a USS Liberty survivor, vice president of the USS Liberty Vets Association, and Jewish American.
    Rocky has worn a Star of David when he gives interviews. I call it America’s Star of David.
    And in my opinion, the USS Liberty, America’s Star of David, and the Touro Covenant are all one in the same.
    When Jewish Americans start promoting the Liberty cause, then the odds of extremist voices trying to take over the narrative decrease dramatically. And the chance of justice increases.
    So please persuade Phil Weiss, Richard Silverstein, and/or Stephen Walt to examine the evidence and take a stand. And again, many thanks.

  41. Sid,
    Having just finished “The Attack on the Liberty” by James Scott, I have a few observations pertinent (I hope) to the discussion. I should like to refer to the noble quest to get a congressional investigation and the reluctance of congress to initiate one. I was struck by the passages in chapter 2 which illustrated the influence of the Israeli Lobby on the eve of the Six Day War. They were able to mobilize their supporters, to a degree that other organizations can only dream of emulating. That ability to organize has not waned over the years since. So, I reluctantly conclude that there won’t be an investigation and that Senator Webb won’t try to intiate one. The reason being that “The Lobby” has the weapon that places politicians in a state of abject terror. It can prevent virtually anyone from being re-elected and has demonstrated that ability.
    As for the court of inquiry, as everyone seems to agree, it was would have been laughable if this were a laughing matter. It was set up to fail and, when it didn’t sufficiently fail, was helped along to that end. Most egregious were the deliberate lies and falsifications used to support unsupportable conclusions. I have nothing to say about the Israelis. They are what they are and do what they do. The real question is, why do we put up with it? Oops, I think I answered that in the first paragraph.
    Finally, and, on the subject of naval inquiries and lies, we have the shooting down of Iran Air 655 by the USS Vincennes. Proving that what goes around comes around, that act was followed 5 months later by the explosion of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.

  42. Patrick Lang says:

    I have reluctantly reached the same conclusion. There is something called “3 o’clock in the morning courage.” Not everyone has it.
    Either that, or he knows something that we do not. pl

  43. johnny says:

    To the person wondering why this happened. It is literally a disgrace to this country.
    The United States of America conspired with Israel in this attack, the White House was aware of the attack within minutes but LBJ called rescue fighters off twice. They both wanted to bring the United States into the 6 day war, which was an Israeli land grab, and turn it into a US and Israeli land grab.
    18 hours our boys were left to die, resulting in 34 deaths and 171 injuries. Disgusting.
    The parasitic state of Israel must be destroyed.
    As you know, Netanyahu state that Israeli benefited from 9/11. Funny how Israel always benefits from the world’s tragedies. JFK wanted a nuclear free mid east, he was assassinated and LBJ enacted the policy of Israeli nuclear ambiguity as well as attacking his own men for the benefit of the Israelis. Truly disgusting.

  44. Fred says:

    Sam Will,
    That propaganda got posted here at least once before. Once again, where’s all the video evidence of the Dakar supposedly filmed “…At the end of May 1999, a U.S.-Israeli search team, with the U.S. firm Nauticos as prime contractor…”
    Once again, any posting or public documentation other than the 1 blog you link too? Somebody supposedly paid millions to use deep diving submersibles to find this sub and a third rate rightwinger’s blog is the only reference. They didn’t even bother to put out a video?

  45. Patrick Lang says:

    Sam Will
    I checked on the Dakar thing at very high levels in the US Navy at that time. the answer is no. Retribution was made but not with that. pl

  46. Well somehow missed the thread that followed my various comments. So here goes!
    First the investigation of the USS Liberty incident never should have been left solely to the NAVY. Second, Senator James Webb as a former Secretary of the Navy has a direct conflict of interest on this one. What did he do about the Liberty incident when Secretary?
    Third confusing the domestic criminal justice system with the Liberty investigation or lack thereof is mixing apples and oranges and detrimental to both. Also, just make Israel coming clean of the Liberty attack a condition of Pollard’s release and probably not the only condition.
    What is the standard protocol for SIGINT ships in International Waters and are they allowed to be armed and shoot back or are they designed to be sacrificial lambs to US policy if killed or captured? In other words did the Liberty change US policy in any way with respect to any issue?
    Good post SoS! Like the identity of DEEP THROAT that I was hoping to find out before I died I hope your dreams of justice for the Liberty and its crew succeeds. A worthy cause.

  47. More! Perhaps I should also have pointed out that Senator Webb has now had 4 years in the Senate to look into the Liberty history and has not.
    Viet Viet! Distrust is probably healthy in today’s America. But I am not in the Homeland Security business but run my own nonprofit think tank. Actually I advocated against the use of the term “Homeland” when DoD started to use it (the Defense Science Board) and advocated use of the term “Civil Security” but the smart goppeldangers in DoD knew that they would be less likely to get their “cut” of the swag if “civil Security” had been utilized. As it is probably less than 100 people in the use can accurately distinguish between “Homeland Defense” the DoD terminology and “Homeland Securit” the primarily DHS terminology.
    Disclosure: I was once paid as a 4th tier contract consultant by the S&T Directorate in a contract with TASC for two days of input on RDD [Radiological Dispersal Devices] and I was probably the least distinguished member of the panel review the problem and policies. That study was open source but to the best of my information was later classified not by DHS but by DOE. IMO RDDs are not nearly the threat of an actual device being exploded in a major city of the West.

  48. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Sorry, Sid, this essay, while well-intended, needs a bit of a rewrite. Since you posted this, our criminal justice system has deteriorated even further than you suggested. We now live in Surveillance State in which the 4th Amendment has been blown to smithereens and no one give a damn. But just wait until JSOC takes over the joysticks of the drones flying over America.
    After reading the first couple of paragraphs, I got the sense your heart was still with prosecutors and the State when you wrote this. Sure, there are good people who work for the State but many of them are simply unaware.
    But I still am with you about Born Fighting™. He sold out. If he had taken a stand as a national politician – or as he likes to call himself, a rough and tumble statesman – then he very well could have put a stop to the buildup of war propaganda to attack Iran and he could have saved countless lives. Proximate causation is a strange thing, no?
    ‘Tis a pity born fighting didn’t take a stand, one way or the other. Silence seems to suggest personal ambition over the welfare of the American people. If he had just taken a position, one way or the other, he could have ended the controversy surrounding the incident. He was in a position to know the truth as Sec of the Navy. And history would have remembered him.
    Since he didn’t, like you, I do kinda’ wonder about a guy who went to Georgetown law school and then claims he is only interested in dipping a little skoal and going turkey hunting with the boys in sw Virginia. Something isn’t ringing true, although nothing wrong with Georgetown law school and leading a good urban life. ( I hate driving, so I can understand living in a place like DC, but I admit it, plus I have shopped at a Dollar General in the country and enjoyed that too; the woman at the cash register calls everyone “honey” ).
    And, my God, how long does a person last walking around Anyplace, USA with a t-shirt that says, “Born Fighting” on it in big letters? It would only be a matter of time before someone would see him walking down the street and then say, “You wanna’ bet?” Guaranteed. There a lot of crazy people out there who don’t give a damn. Maybe he can get away with it at Georgetown law school, maybe CastleRock productions, but I don’t see it happening anywhere else. Much of this is just common sense.
    But, yep, old born fighting potentially could have saved the USA if he had stood tall and played the role of a rough and tumble statesman. People would have noticed and he would have richly deserved all the accolades.

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