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Motive: According to the Anti Defamation League "the argument that Israel

knowingly attacked an American ship has always lacked a convincing motive".


[65] In addition to the numerous possible ones already mentioned, James
Bamford, among others, says one motive was to prevent the United States from
eavesdropping on Israeli military activities and monitoring the events taking place
in nearby Gaza.[63] In a study of the incident concluding that there was
insufficient evidence to support either accidental or deliberate attack, Colonel
Peyton E. Smith wrote of the possibility that "The attack was most likely
deliberate for reasons far too sensitive to be disclosed by the US (or) Israeli
government and that the truth may never be known".[66]

Israeli aircraft markings: Some American survivors of the attack assert that the
Israeli aircraft were unmarked. However, aircraft markings are not required by the
laws of war and two of the attacking aircraft were highly distinctive[citation
needed] Dassault Mirage III aircraft, flown only by Israel in that region.[citation
needed].

Jamming: Both Liberty and USS Saratoga radio operators reported hearing the
distinctive buzzing sound usually indicative of radio frequency jamming.[citation
needed] However, the Navy Court of Inquiry found that the Saratoga in fact
received radio reports from the Liberty and successfully relayed these to the 6th
Fleet. [17] (see page 28). According to a book by Russell Warren Howe (see
below), Captain McGonagle testified that the jamming of his transmissions had
been on American, not Egyptian, frequencies, suggesting that someone was aware
of the nationality of the ship. However changing frequency is a standard
technique to avoid radio jamming and jamming equipment is often designed to
find the actual frequencies in use.

Visual communications: Joe Meadors, the signalman on bridge, states that


"Immediately prior to the torpedo attack, he was on the Signal Bridge repeatedly
sending 'USS Liberty U.S. Navy Ship' by flashing light to the torpedo boats." The
Israeli boats claim to have sent the signal "AA" (general call) for which the
formal reply would be TTTT later followed by both vessels sending identification
codes. Commander Moshe Oren claims he thought Liberty signaled AA in reply
which was the same reply he received from the Egyptian destroyer Ibrahim AlAwal eleven years earlier. Oren then consulted "The Red Book" (identification of
Arabian navies) noting that the only match for the "old tub" with one funnel and
two masts was the El Quseir. Meadors claims he never sent "AA".[67]

Israeli ships' actions after the torpedo hit: Officers and men of Liberty claim that
after the torpedo attack and the abandon ship order, motor torpedo boats strafed
the ship's topside with automatic gunfire preventing men from escaping from
below, and either machine-gunned or confiscated the empty life rafts that had
been set afloat.[68][69] The IDF claims that Liberty was not fired upon after the
torpedo attack and that a rescue raft was fished from the water while searching for
survivors.[70]

Israeli offers of help: Claims differ about the Israelis offering help. The Liberty's

captain and the Israelis both claim that help was offered, but at different times.
The Liberty's Deck Log, signed by the captain, has an entry at 3:03 stating: "One
MTB returned to the ship and signalled, 'Do you need help.' Commanding officer
directed that 'Negative' be sent in reply." The captain testified before the Court of
Inquiry, on page 40 of recorded testimony: "One of the boats signaled by flashing
light, in English, 'do you require assistance?' We had no means to communicate
with the boat by light but hoisted code lima india. The signal intended to convey
the fact that the ship was maneuvering with difficulty and that they should keep
clear." Liberty's logbooks (exhibits attached to Court of Inquiry proceedings) all
indicate signal flags were raised at about 3:40 to warn the Israeli boats to stay
away, the ship was "not under command." James Ennes, in his book about the
attack, on pages 102 and 103, acknowledges the Israelis offered help, claims it
occurred at 4:30, and the offer was rejected. The Israel Defense Forces's History
Report about the attack, on page 19, claims help was offered at 4:30 and the offer
was rejected.
Protesters at 2007 rally.

U.S. rescue attempts: At least two rescue attempts were launched from U.S.
aircraft carriers nearby but were recalled, according to David Lewis. Lewis wrote
and made an audio recording about a meeting 6th Fleet Rear Admiral Lawrence
Geis requested in his cabins: "He told me that since I was the senior Liberty
survivor on board he wanted to tell me in confidence what had actually transpired.
He told me that upon receipt of our SOS, aircraft were launched to come to our
assistance and then Washington was notified. He said that the Secretary of
Defense (Robert McNamara) had ordered that the aircraft be returned to the
carrier which was done. RADM Geis then said that he speculated that Washington
may have suspected that the aircraft carried nuclear weapons so he put together
another flight of conventional aircraft that had no capability of carrying nuclear
weapons. These he launched to assist us and again notified Washington of his
actions. Again McNamara ordered the aircraft recalled. He requested confirmation
of the order being unable to believe that Washington would let us sink. This time
President Johnson ordered the recall with the comment that he did not care if
every man drowned and the ship sank, but that he would not embarrass his allies.
This is, to the best of my ability, what I recall transpiring 30 years ago."