Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Adam Larson / Caustic Logic
[USS Liberty series]
July 21 2009
last update 7/29/09

As a side-note to my little investigation, and a cautionary note about double-checking your sources, I’ll relate an episode surrounding IDF transcripts of the air attack on USS Liberty<>, as published in the Jerusalem Post in 2004. Writer Arieh O’Sullivan had been granted a special session to hear the tapes as well as keep and publish paper transcripts, a privilege shared with but a few others, like Miami judge A. Jay Cristol. The article is only openly available on the internet in places like this discussion forum post, where I first found it. I had first relied on this version but found – as is common in fruit - the juiciest spot was also the most rotten. The placement of a key quote seemed to support the fighters at the scene spotting and reporting the US flag on Liberty - it emerged as a discrepancy when I was comparing Judge Cristol’s transcript to the Post’s and found two major differences about two minutes apart, graphed out below.






L.K.: What is that? Americans?

LK What is this? Americans?


Shimon: What Americans?

X[not included]X


Kislev: Robert, what did you say?

KISLEV Robert, what are you saying?


[No one answers]

(quickly disregarding the comment, Kislev moves on)







Shimon: Robert, have Royal call us on 19.

SHIMON Robert, have Royal call us on 19.


Robert: Royal to you on 19.

ROBERT Royal to you on 19.


X[not included]X

SHOMON Where are Americans?


Shimon: Just a minute Kislev, we see the ship [on radar]. That’s one hell of a ship.

SHIMON Just a second, Kislev, we see the ship. (on radar) That's one hell of a ship.


The obvious point to note up-front here is that each transcript is missing exactly one line that’s in the other, and the two lines are quite similar – “what” compared to “where are” Americans. It’s quite possible this is just some error or misplacement of a line that fits better earlier in response to LK’s “hunch,” which I’ve pondered on elsewhere. O’Sullivan’s entry there has Shimon misspelled as “Shomon,” for what it’s worth. A sign of sloppy tampering?

Once I had thought out the implications, this lead became so exciting I included it in the oiginal Telex and Tapes part III. I never felt right about taking this at face value, and my main point was to just explain what the IDF’s evidence shows, vis-a-vis the flag. They insist it shows they had no such report, but it seemed the opposite was true! So I got a bit gung-ho as I was actually writing the post and went ahead and included the point so:
[the quote comes] immediately after talking to Royal flight, the second wave attackers at the scene, in an unheard exchange. […] I already noted no flag reports unless they were on another line. And here is just such a moment, about a minute into the air attack when the pilots first got up close, and the first response is “where are Americans?” According to one of the versions, at least.

With the proper qualifiers it went up and then I checked it out. Good thing, since the evidence was false. Other on-line postings of the article from Free Republic and United Jerusalem do not have the “error” - the line is in the right spot at 13:54, and not at 56. The misspelled “Shomomn” label, however, is attached to the entry in this version as well.

In each case the story’s title is given as “Exclusive: Liberty attack tapes revealed,” credited to Arieh O'Sullivan and dated Jun. 3, 2004. When I finally took the time and a few bucks to get a direct copy from the Jpost archive, I found no article of that title. The archive is supposed to have everything they’ve printed, but this version is missing. In its place is a slightly different article, by O’Sullivan, under a different name and published the next day. "Liberty revisited: the attack," published June 4, 2004 (partial re-post here).

I didn’t compare them top-to-bottom, but intro wording is slightly different, the all-caps labels were dropped, and “Shomon” has been changed to the correct spelling. I didn’t compare the transcripts closely, but my main question was answered. Apparently the first article had a typo that was fixed, along with other minor tweaks, with a second printing the next day.

And some jackass switched the order of certain potent lines in the first version to create some fake evidence for someone to latch onto. Forum member big80a2, or someone he/she trusts, got this important line scrambled to just the right wrong spot in what cannot be considered a plausible accident. This poster specifically felt that despite this curiously potent line “these tapes prove it was a onfurtune mistake.” I don’t know how widely this ruse worked, but it got me for a bit. Sort of.

By placing Shimon’s question in the right spot, all the non-altered versions leave no audible record on Shimon’s talk with Royal flight or responses. A remaining point still stands about this transaction. Cristol noted: “At this time Royal is on another channel (frequency). Royal is arguing with his controller about the fact that he is carrying napalm, not iron bombs.] It’s not clear how he knows that’s what the argument was about. As far as we know, Mr Shimon really did hear about a flag and ask about Americans, or conspicuously ignore the info and demand attack. We don’t know what was said, as there’s been no evidence revealed, that channel was either not recorded or not included in these tapes, for some reason.

Update 7/29: I was just looking at my link to the erred posting, as provided at top, and it is not in error now. I searched and found another posting of the same article by a different member at the same forum, thinking maybe that's the one I cited, but it too is correct. I know the one I copied had the error, and it was still there as i was writing my article, but now I'm not sure which one it was - the second actually looks more familiar. Whatever the case, it was changed back just recently after five years of being wrong, so probably due to this exposure.

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