« Remember them | Main | Appeal for contributions »

10 July 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Hi guys - as Itai salutes us,

Do I recall correctly that the postulated motivation did not concern Israeli war plans but rather something to the effect that we had uncovered either highly secret Israeli communication codes and/or intelligence sources?

Pat - please clarify



I do NOT 'trust' any account from a member of the Israeli Defense Force, be they their Air Force or Land/Sea forces. They have shed American blood, according to my fellow brethren in American Arms the Israeli took American Military lives with malice and forethought. To that degree Major Itai and his fellow brethren in the IDF can take a leap at a rolling doughnut, I do NOT nor will I ever believe Israeli accounts that say it was a 'mistake'. I say bullshit and they are liars to their Israeli faces. The strewn bodies of the fallen American Sailors/Marines on the USS Liberty speak otherwise.

Mr. Itai, Major Itai, which ever you prefer, your nation, the State of Israel on that day June 8th 1967 declared war upon my U.S., for that you have my personal American indemnity until I go to my American grave. I regard your government no better than Al-Qaeda, and your Bibi Netanyahu no different than Usama bin-Laden.



I chose the wrong word, I should have used 'eternal contempt', or 'eternal enmity', my rage at Israel's shedding American blood got the better of me. For that I apologize.

Charles I

Hmmm, who machine gunned the life rafts?

Itai L

There is no doubt that this was a deliberate attack. Even Spector in his story reports as much.
The question is if what led to the attack was an honest mistake or not.
Every criminal act, needs a motive, and all those who claim it was a deliberate attack never provided one.
The navel court stated "U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry finding number 2 states: "The calm conditions and slow speed of the ship may well have made the American flag difficult to identify." And finding number 28 states: "Flat, calm conditions and the slow five knot patrol speed of LIBERTY in forenoon when she was being looked over initially may well have produced insufficient wind for steaming colors enough to be seen by pilots".[86] "



You know you've struck a nerve when they roll out yet-another-latest-revised-version-of-reality.

I suspect that some niche historians & American Jews who are tiring of the damage being done by the Likudniks are asking questions that must be answered.

But, let's not be ridiculous... not with the truth.



Nice job of firing up the troops on a slow sunday.



The Egyptian AF had been destroyed on the ground in the first hours of the war. The IDF pilot you quote claims he had been trained in ship identification and didn't recognize it as either Israeli or Egyptian. He and his wingman made multiple passes of USS Liberty and received no fire. The idea that the Egyptian navy would send an unescorted vessel without air support behind the lines of MG Tal's division (which by then had destroyed the Egyptian forces in and around El Arish) is just insulting.

At least the pilot quoted, Yiftah Spector, is correct in this comment in his book "...conquered the west bank...". So much for defending Israel.

Hopefully you won't be following in the tradition of Dr. Lani Kass; formerly a major in the Israeli Air Force.

Itai L

I understand the subject is of an emotional nature, soldiers have died.
nevertheless, i was hoping for an educated discussion, and i think that in such there is no room for emotional overflow.
I am here to educate myself, and obviously i have a different perspective then most of you. I grew up hearing the story from the Israeli side (I was born in 1969) and i am open minded enough to absorb knowledge i wasn't exposed to prior. What most of you offered is the regular rant. It's unproductive.


If anything sounds too good to be true, it seldom is. This account warrants a lot of skepticism. There have to be a big pile of excuses to justify it. While there have been plenty, and one more now, they are all rather thin.

Patrick Lang


How do you explain he repeated passes the aircraft made on Liberty with no return fire efore the atacks by fire? How do explain the attcks on life rafts?

You are here to learn? I don't think so. You appear to be here to tell us we are wrong. pl


The implication of Itai's narrative is that the USS Liberty survivors after the 'horrible accident' collectively have amnesia, are confused and/or falsely remember and retell the incidents of that day.

That, or well, that they flatly lie. Well, why should they?

Ken Halliwell

General Spector tells an interesting story that doesn't conform to the IDF's official investigation and History Report. Here are comments about a few glaring differences.

Spector: "The controller did ask us to try and contact the ship using the International maritime frequency, but the only ones to answer were soldiers of the IDF navy, no response from the ship."

Comment: An attempt to contact USS Liberty via radio is NOT mentioned in any IDF report. The U.S. Navy's Court of Inquiry made clear that USS Liberty monitored all International Calling and Distress Frequencies at all times.

Spector: "I started transmitting to the IDF navy people a physical description of that ship hoping that they have further intelligence that will help us identify the ship. I described the shape of the ship’s body, the front structure, the pipe and the mast, I was especially looking for the IDF navy identifying marks which was a red X over a white background."

Comment: The IDF History Reports states that Spector described the ship as "colored battleship grey, had a foremast, one smokestack and two guns on her bow." Anybody who has seen aerial photos of USS Liberty knows that she was grey, had three masts, a large superstructure with a smoke stack rising from the middle, and a very large dish antenna located aft of the superstructure -- all highly visible attributes. The 0.50 caliber machine guns, on each side of her bow, were barely visible.

Spector: "...I lost some more altitude and flew parallel to the ship’s right side, I was able to detect the letter C.T.R and the number 5, and told the controller about it. For me the name was meaningless, it wasn’t in any language I known, it looked like no more than a serial number, something equivalent to the number 73 on the tail of my Mirage IIIC, the marking assured me it was a military ship, as the letters weren’t in Hebrew, I was convinced the ship didn’t belong to the Israel Navy. Another pilot who arrived after I left the area identified the letters as G.T.R-5, to this date I have no idea if my error was substantial to the events that followed."

Comment: The IDF History Report says that "[n]o flag or other identifying sign was discerned. The formation leader [Spector] reported this to the torpedo boats and Control and then the aircraft received permission to attack." In other words, nothing is stated in any IDF report about Spector seeing CTR5 or GTR5 before attacking.

Spector: "...then the voice over the Radio got back to me and told me that the ship was identified as the Egyptian ship El-Kutzier, this is a cargo ship that was involved in some action against our troops around El-Arish and is now escaping west. Attack it and Stop were the orders."

Comment: The IDF History Report says that the ship was identified as El Quseir, by all three torpedo boat captains, only AFTER the air attack ended; i.e., the ship was not identified before or during the air attack.

Spector: "...the ship was attacked with few hundreds 30 mm rounds which caused white smoke to come out of it."

Comment: This reads like a weak attempt to explain the unexplained "white smoke" that appears in the IDF History Report's fake gun camera photos, and the fake gun camera photos in A. J. Cristol's book about the attack.

When all is said and done, Spector's defense is: I was responsible for adequately describing the ship to ground control, to determine its identification. Obviously, I failed to do so. In spite of my 20/20 vision and multiple attempts, I was unable to determine whether the ship was an enemy or neutral ship. Regardless, I did not hesitate to follow my ground controller's orders to attack it.

Hey, don't blame me. I was just a dumb pilot; the guys on the ground must have known something that I didn't.

The beauty of the "dumb-pilot-just-following-orders" defense is that it works even if Spector saw an American flag – doesn’t it?

used to post here

from michael b. oren's book, published 2002 by oxford univ. press, entitled, six days of war, page 265:

4th paragraph

"...at this point-1:54-one of the iaf controllers lazar karni, whose function it was to listen to ground to air communications and make occasional suggestions, blurted out, "what's this? americans?" he later told israeli investigators that his question arose from a gut feeling, his sense that the egyptians were unlikely to send a lone boat to shell al-arish. yet when another controller on the line retorted, "americans, where?" karni did not respond. "an attack was underway on an enemy vessel, he testified","and i did'nt think it was my place to press what was merely a hunch."...

i would beg to differ with lazar karni, it was his place to press ahead, he should have trusted his own reasoning and put his reputation on the line, i did it in a hospital operating room once and pissed a number of colleagues off royally, especially one particular chief resident who thought she was the latest thing since swiss cheese, but it resulted in uncovering a laparotomy sponge left in the patient's abdomen after the incision was closed and dressings placed, hidden under the intestines. i demanded an x ray be taken and she immediately declared the missing sponge was not on the x ray, it took her two seconds, too short, i looked at the film and showed her the radio opaque fibers imbedded in the lap. sponge.
lazar was on the right track but got cold feet. i don't think lang would have done that, would you colonel, assuming it happened that way.

QUESTION AUTHORITY,to save lives, no?

Itai L

To answer your questions, On June 8th the Egyptian's army spirit had been broken, In many occasions they chose not to fight. That may explain the airplane repeated passes without being fired upon, from the pilot perspective.
Hoping the pilots will not be able to identify the ship,and because of lack of AA fire will not identify it as a hostile ship, may be another. Nevertheless not being fired upon for whatever reason is up against the the controller order, what would an american pilot do ? Most likely the same thing.

2. The boats, don't forget that after the initial report was made by the pilots, and the ship misidentified, The torpedo boats appeared at the area knowing they are about to encounter an enemy vessel. IDF claim that it didn't fire anything after the torpedo attack.

I have a question, do you think American officers would lie in Israel's favor ?
I read that orders were given to the USS liberty to alter its position and never executed. I read the claim the McNamara no less called off the rescue mission executed by the US six fleet.

and the last question i have is this, how many cases of friendly fire due to miss-identification in time of war, in the US armed forces do you know about ?

I can testify to at least few the IAF was involved with. One of them an F4 bombarded and armored column during the Lebanon war in 82, the F4 killed 24 and wounded 100. Mistake do happen in a time of war.

and last, why would Israel execute such attack deliberately ? What was the motive ? What did the Liberty discover that granted such a reaction ?



Why is Itai not willing to use his full name when explaining to us what we don't understand about the slaughter of American seamen by Israeli pilots?


hmmm, seems to have struck a nerve somewhere if the israelis feel compelled to provide yet another rationale for their attack on the u.s.s. liberty.

keep poking ...

Patrick Lang


I know his full name because it is in his e-mail address, but he chooses not to use it. pl

Itai L

Thank you for your response.
I will respond to each of your points later today.
Just for starters i will answer this "Comment: The IDF History Report says that "[n]o flag or other identifying sign was discerned. The formation leader [Spector] reported this to the torpedo boats and Control and then the aircraft received permission to attack." In other words, nothing is stated in any IDF report about Spector seeing CTR5 or GTR5 before attacking"

I would like to refer you to the Incident report made by Sgan-Sluf I.Yerushalmi, sometime in 1967 (couldn't read the date) which states "Preliminary Incident Report, Dated 7/67 Signed by Sgan-Aluf I.Yerushalmi
“But during the last run a low flying aircraft observed the markings CPR -5 on the hull of the ship”
Paragraph 7.

Charles I

itai, I asked you a question. Pat asked you the same question, which you completely ignored.

Who machine gunned the life rafts? Why?

According to all primary source the material I've encountered, there were multiple air attacks followed by torpedo gunboats over several several hours. When the order to abandon ship was eventually given, life rafts were strafed in the water.

For example, several crew testify to this in the BBC documentary "BBC Dead in the Water The Sinking of the USS Liberty"

So, who did that, and why? Why was an intentional attack by MISTAKE followed up by torpedo gunboats and then the murder of survivors in life rafts?

I could pose these questions in the form of a rant if that's what you'd prefer to not to respond to.



Now I'm flabbergasted, just plain flabbergasted. It appears that Itai is trying to define 'friendly fire' and 'unprovoked intentional attack' all in the same 'excuse making' breath regarding Israel's IDFs Act-Of-War upon our U.S..

In one hand, Al-Qaeda launches an 'unprovoked' attack upon our U.S. and it is then called war, in the other hand Israel's government (little g) and their idf (small caps) launched an unprovoked attack upon the unarmed USS Liberty. I don't frankly see any difference between Al-Qaeda and the Israeli government/idf, both committed an Act-Of-
War upon our U.S..

Itai L

I didn't ignore anything, i my reply to the col. i stated the IDF formal response is that no firing was done after the torpedo attack.

From the IDF formal Investigation report:
The Helicopters dispatched to assist the Liberty, left the scene at 15:33, The torpedo boats launched prior to Helicopters arrival on scene, so your claim is simply that the attack took hours is simply not accurate.
Page 22 http://thelibertyincident.com/docs/israeli/IDF-history-report-en.pdf


Again, what about the torpedo attacks and the strafing of the life rafts? And as Col Lang noted above, what about the NSA transcripts. They have been noted in numerous accounts- and have been attested to by people like Col Lang, whom I trust.
And the misidentification of the ship, according to Itai's account, leaves much to be desired. Both the IDF Air Force and Navy have to have been incompetent to have made thatmistake.

Patrick Lang



It is fascinating in an awful way to read in this wiki on the subject that theship was overflown eight times that morning before the attack and by the Israeli account was identified as "friendly" at one point by the Israeli naval command center. Particularly poignant is the mention of Israeli pilots waving at the crew during one of the pre-attack overflights and that the crew waved back. As I have written elsewhere, I read these transcripts when I took an electve in cryptology when a student at the US Army Intelligence Officer Career Course at Ft. Holabird, Md. the course was taught by the national cryptologic school at Ft. Meade. the transcripts were unclassified since they were a record of un-encrypted plain voice. My wife has a contemporary memory of my having mentioned them to her. pl

Lydia D.

Itai, yours and Israel's gig is up. The real truth is out there now, you and your ilk cannot suppress it any longer. It is obvious your version is a deception, a game you are most familiar with. Justice will be served for those crew members who suffered at the hands of the IDF on June 8th, 1967.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

January 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Blog powered by Typepad