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:: Sunday, February 02, 2003 ::

The Liberty Incident

A while back, I mentioned receiving an advance copy of A. Jay Cristol's book on the 1967 attack on the U.S. intelligence-gathering platform by Israeli forces. I also got the chance to hear Cristol speak at the Middle East Institute, and want to reiterate how impressed I was with his deference to the Liberty crew members who have argued that the attack was intentional, even while presenting a damning refutation of their specific claims (for example, James Ennes, the most vocal proponent of Liberty conspiracy theories, has made claims in his memoir that simply cannot be reconciled with his testimony to the Navy's Court of Inquiry on the incident).

I finally got around to reading the book a few weeks ago, and have been meaning to post some sort of review here. But the book is so rich in compelling evidence and reasoning (I was green with envy as I read it) that I can't think of a way to summarize it without transcribing the entire book here.

So, in the interest of conserving space (and fending off a possible lawsuit), I'll simply post the book's epilogue, written by Ernest Castle, who was the naval attache at the U.S. embassy in Israel at the time of the attack:
On June 8, 1992, a plane departed Sde Dov Airport just north of Tel Aviv, twenty-five years to the day, to the hour, almost to the minute of my take-off in the Super Frelon helicopter provided me by Israel in my capacity as naval attache at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. In 1967 my mission was to try to assist the USS Liberty.

The 1992 flight was in memory of the 1967 event. Airborne, Judge Jay Cristol, the author of this book, set a course to the point where the Super Frelon had overflown the Liberty on the late afternoon of that fate-blemished day. Also in the small aircraft was my wife, Dr. Jeanie Castle; Major Danny Grossman, an Israel Air Force flyer (and former U.S. Air Force flyer); and Groosman's young son, Akiva. Cristol flew the aircraft, with the aid of the global positioning system to the precise point where I had observed the Liberty twenty-five years before. As the plane circled the point, Judge Cristol dropped thirty-four pink carnations into the sea, one in the name of each American who lost his life. The aircraft's flight path and the laws of gravity caused the flowers to fall in an approximate circle around the ship's position twenty-five years earlier.

I askd a blessing upon the souls of the dead and their surviving loved ones. The U.S. Navy hymn was recited. Major Grossman intoned the Kaddish, the Jewish Prayer for the dead. The event was sufficiently moving to bring tears.

In silence the little plane broke away from the site and returned to Tel Aviv. It was a small tribute to the gallant sailors who had died in the tragedy -- tragedy for them, their loved ones, their country, and Israel. The sorrow-filed event is now over three decades behind us. I have waited all that time for the emergence of this book. It is, for the first time, the complete, accurate, and evenhanded report of the Liberty incident. It is now time to turn this final page and close the book.

My own view is shaded by my constant exposure to C-SPAN's Washington Journal, on which the incident is brought up by hydrophibic anti-Semites critics of Israel almost on a daily basis, and even when the topic du jour is Social Security reform. As Cristol noted in his talk at MEI, he doesn't expect to sway many of these people, and frankly, he doesn't care to.

But I, for one, greatly appreciate his contribution to the factual record, and highly recommend his book.
:: COINTELPRO Tool 7:13 PM [+] ::