OT: USS Liberty Incident

From what I've read it seems there's fault on both sides of the incident (Israeli and US governments, not respective militaries).
The Liberty was a spy ship that was ordered closer to the action than it should have been. Apparently the Israelis were not made aware of its presence.
Remember the circumstances: Israel in real danger. USSR heavily involved both in supplying and perhaps fighting for the Arab nations. US trying to get an unbiased handle on the level of Soviet involvement and the Israeli situation, and probably looking to pick up some technical intel at the same time.
The details of the attacks by aircraft and boat on the Liberty are in dispute, probably more due to fog of war than any intent to disguise. Remember years later a techically sophisticated USN Aegis cruiser shot down an Iranian airliner by mistake. Even the IDF makes mistakes.
Also important to remember the US had not yet become Israel's major ally. That was in the process of happening and was in fact accelerated by the Soviet's increased backing of the Arab nations.
Why would the Israelis have knowingly attacked the Liberty? The only answer would be to keep it from subsequently gaining some intel. Anything it had already picked up would be winging its way to Washington or would be recoverable from the ship and or crew. What intel could that have been?
The massacre story has been kicked around but has never been supported by any evidence...and god knows it doesn't take much evidence (if any) for Arab or some Euro nations to acuse Israel of wrongdoing. I'd suggest that's a non starter.
The nuke story is also sometimes suggested. Israel with its back against the wall was preparing its nuclear arsenal and was afraid the US would learn about it and stop them. While I don't doubt the Israelis would have been willing to roll out the nukes, I don't think they would have wanted to keep the info from the USA. In fact, there are more stories suggesting the Israelis TOLD Kissinger and Nixon they were preparing the nukes at least in part to push them to confront the Soviets.
There are also some stories the Liberty was using active electronic measures to appear Soviet and didn't want that capability to become known. With all that we've subsequently learned about the USN Sub technical intel missions this isn't that outlandish.
So what happened? Clearly both sides, then and now, wanted to bury the whole issue. That means both have something to hide. My sense is that the Israels shot first and asked questions later and probably didn't know it was a US ship until afterwards. Or their military screwed up... Maybe there were calls from pilots that were ignored. Maybe the US was spying on Israel as well as the Arabs and Soviets and didn't want to admit it or admit to some intel they gathered in the process or used in the process.
As is always the case, the little guys--the crew of the Liberty--paid the price for whatever really happened. And we probably won't learn the real story for years to come. Look how long it took for the Glomar Explorer story to come out...and there's still disputes about what was and wasn't recovered.
Mark Levine
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Thge point aside, the US flag was flying on the ship, the pilots &/or torpedo boat crews should have seen it. Visual ID is an essential/critical part of any action where 2 forces meet. The opposition force (that force that uses force) must properly ID the opponent. Failure to do so, is their fault. I point out the Vincennes Air Bus shhot down & the F-15 shhot down of the Blackhawks as examples. The Liberty was in international waters, it had every right under the law to be there. It was flying the US flag. Any error in attacking it was not the fault of the Liberty. Any fasult of the Liberty was possibly contributary in nature ot directly at fault. The fault is with the aggressors, the Isrealis for not doing their VID job properly.
In my humble opinion.
Staqn Parker
Admrial DV Gallery's book on the Liberty gives I feel an excellent opinion right after the indident. Recent books with additional facts are in fault in that they use hind sight not available at the time to prove their point.
To quote Lincoln,
If hind sight were as good as fore sight, we'd all be better off by a damn sight.

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The downing of IRan Air 655 was no mere "mistake" - Suppose a wildman intentionally drives at high speeds, and intentionally rams his car into your house, and runs over your children in the living room Can he say "that was just a mistake - I didn't mean to run over anyone"?
The VIncennes was located ILLEGALLY inside IRanian waters (a fact the navy covered up for 4 years) and under a well-known international air corridor,the captain of the VIncennes was warned TWICE that his target was possible COMAIR (commercial airliner) and all of the other US ships properly identified the plane as a commercial airliner. But Capt Rogers STILL decided to shoot it down.
That's not a mistake -that's homocidal recklessess.

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Homicidal recklessness? What the heck are you going for? Have you ever been on a Naval vessel that is at general quarters and under duress from outside action? I have more than once. We spent weeks off of Lebanon (after the Israeli invasion when the PLO and many refugees were take to anything that floated to get out of dodge. We had warnings of potential "kamikaze" action via small aircraft against US ships by hostile forces. So tension ramps up as does radar vigil. Then what do we get but a small private plane flying out towards the Amphibs we were escorting. Plane was called on various frequencies to warn off. No IFF was squaked (most small civilian planes had none anyway). They closed to a couple of miles and circled the ships. Turns out it was media boys getting photos. Our captain held on the SM-1 missiles we had and the plane was tracked by both 5" guns. So this worked out.
How about the USS Stark? It tracks Iraqi jets during the tanker wars and does nothing until it's too late. Why? They had gotten too complacent. Result, one ship badly damaged and a lot of sailors killed or injured. We were overflown more than once. Makes the hair on the back of your neck stand when you have orders to shoot only in response. In the Persian Gulf on another ship of mine we had a message that gave location of a mine infested area. Unfortunately someone screwed up sending the message and we went through instead of around. My point is it's not quite as cut and dry as you might think it was to shoot down the Airbus.Equipment fails and humans make bad choices. Aegis is very sophisticated system but there are still enough people engaged in decision making that errors will always happen. We just try to minimize them.
Dave Henk USN retired
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The news at the time and subsequently tends to dispute some of this. There were reports that the Vincennes was tracking a radar associated with the Iranian F-14 fighters in the direction of the target, and this action was just after the Stark incident. One can make the case that the Iranians had an F-14 following the commercial to get the Vincennes to shoot and cause an international incident. Remeber there were other actions going on at the time. When you're dealing with nations that will send unarmed children into battle to use up the other guys ammunition - all bets are off. The west - in general- has trouble dealing with the actions of states like Iraq and Iran. We tend to split hairs in a situation that pits totalitarian misguided governments like Iran and Iraq, ruled by mad men, against the established democracies. Its time to step back and take a view of the overall situation and stop making excuses for those who wouldm return civilization to the 1400s.
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Define "ILLEGALLY" as you interpret it.
Last I looked the INTERNATIONAL agreement is 12 nautical miles, period. 200 miles is the area of interest for national interests such as fishing and mineral exploitation.
Nobody recognizes anything else, even though many nations claim silly limits.
Cookie Sewell
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(AMPSOne) writes:

These national claims is one reason for decades the US Navy has been practicing "Freedom of Navigation" sailings. Under International Law these sailings are defined as the "Right of Innocent Passage" (for full details see: http://fletcher.tufts.edu/multi/texts/BH363.txt ). The reason is if you do not sail there you are basically legitimizing their claims.
Places I have sailed on destroyers and frigates in these missions is the Gulf of Fonsenca (Pacific ocean bounded by Nicaragua and El Salvador), Perim Island (SW coast of Yemen, and the Black Sea (limited by old treaties to 4 days "uninvited"). We always went with two ships (cruiser and destroyer). In the older days with the Soviet Union) you could also get into "shoving" matches whereby you'd actually have ships "shoulder" each other (basically coming alongside and putting the rudder over to push the other ship over). Wasn't to good on the paint or metal. Basically an expensive game of chicken (I guess that could be chicken of the sea <G>).
Dave
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You're mistaken on just about everything you've alleged and/or assumed in your post. You also show that you clearly didn't/don't understand what was happening at that point in time.
I was also wondering if you knew that those poor innocent Iranians aren't predisposed against DELIBERATE attack on women and children. Did you know that, after this incident, the wife of the Captain was badly injured when a bomb went off in/under her car?
My home page: http://www.bill-woodier.com/home.htm
" In walks the village idiot and his face is all aglow; he's been up all night listening to Mohammad's radio" W. Zevon
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Bill Woodier) wrote in message (Thelasian)

Actually, I do indeed understand what was happening. You're the one who doesn't. I suggest you read Capt Carlson's letter which was published in the US Naval Institute's Proceedings, and the Newsweek/Nightline investigative report entitled Sea of Lies - for starters.

Yes, I do know about that incident. In fact she WASN'T "seriously" injured at all (the bomb fizzled) and in fact the only suspect the FBI had was a RELATIVE of the family who held some sort of personal grudge. There were no Iranian terrorists involved.
See:
TITLE: Inquiry Raises Grudge Motive in Rogers Case
AUTHOR: Ostrow, Ronald J; Serrano, Richard A; Abrahamson, Alan SOURCE: Los Angeles Times SEC,PG:COL: I, 1:2 DATE: Oct 1, 1989
ABSTRACT: Federal investigators probing the Mar 1988 bombing of a van driven by Sharon Rogers, the wife of the skipper of the USS Vincennes, began investigating an American believed to have a personal grudge against the captain.
AND
"Investigators originally believed the March 10 bombing of Rogers' van in San Diego was done by terrorists in retaliation for the attack... Federal investigators changed their thinking on the case when Marxmiller's name emerged... FBI officials also seemed interested in the fact that Rogers' name is among three dozen people listed as witnesses on behalf of Marxmiller's wife, Rebecca, who is suing for divorce in Georgia, according to the newspaper." (The Associated Press, October 4, 1989)
--
So be a man and admit that you're wrong.

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Still waiting for you to prove than the Vincennines was illegally in Iranian waters.
--
"Only A Gentleman Can Insult Me And A True Gentleman Never Will"



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Still waiting to hear who gave the Vincennes the "RoboCruiser" nickname.
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(Tom Cervo) writes:

Reportedly the USS Sides FFG-14 crewmen from a previous encounter early with the Vincennes.
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writes:

They were within 12 miles of the Iranian Island. That is not disputable. However illegal is another case. If a ship or aircraft is fired upon a captain has the right to pursue the attacker even into territorial waters. The Vincennes has (no matter it was a faulty option) pursuing Iranian boats. The pursuit crossed into the 12 mile limit. In effect the pursuit was legal based on the fact that they had shot first at the ships Helo (which did not stay the required 4 mile minimum from target boats).
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (HobbyOasis) wrote in message

No, they don't. And don't bother telling me about hot pursuit. Hot pursuit is a reason for a coastal state to extend its jurisdiction into the high seas to seize a ship which has infringed its laws. In fact, the concept of hot pursuit would have been more applicable to the Iranians in chasing the vincennes beyond Iranian territorial waters. It is not a reason for a foreign ship to violate the international waters of a coastal state, which is what the Vincennes did. And in any case, the Vincennes and its helos were attacked (if you can call it that - some lightly armed speed boats against a cruiser?) until they were inside Iranian waters. From "International Law" 3rd Ed. by M.N. Shaw: " The right of hot pursuit of a foreing ship is a principle designed to ensure that a vessel which has infringed the rules of a coastal state cannot escape by fleeing into the high seas. In reality, it means that in certain defined circumstances, a coastal state may extend its jurisdiction onto the high seas in order to pursue and seize a ship which is suspected of infringing its laws. The right, which has been developing in one form or another since the 19th century, was completely elaborated in Art. 23 of the High Seas Convention. It notes that such pursuit may commence when the authorities of the coastal state have good reason to believe that the foreign ship has violated its laws. The pursuit must start while the ship, or one of its boats, is within the internal waters and may only continue outside of the territorial sea or contiguous zone if it is uninterrupted. .... It is essential that prior to the chase a visual or auditory signal to stop has been given at a distance enabling it to be seen or heard by the foreing ship and pursuit may only be exercised by warships or military aircraft...The right of hot pursuit ceases as soon as the ship pursued has entered the territorial waters of its own or a third state."

In fact, this too is all wrong. First off, the helo drew fire because it was buzzing Iranian speed boats - and the shots were warning shots. Thirdly, the Vincennes started firing AFTER it entered Iranian waters. The Vincennes was the one to initiate hostilities.
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Admiral William Crowe admitted that the Vincennes was inside Iranian waters in July 1992, though during the previous 4 years the US Navy had consistently claimed that it was in international waters... now, why do you suppose they lied for so long?
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Thelasian) writes:

Read this one:
http://www.odu.edu/webroot/orgs/ao/mo/nrotc.nsf/files/Vincennes.PDF /$FILE/ Vincennes.PDF
The Newsweek one I'd read when it came out (I was still in the Navy then). It's more a Hollywood screen play than just getting to the facts. It's also has enough errors to make me wince. The one I posted above leaves out the reporters nonsense. Some of that nonsense is: "1/2 the crew was hacked into command circuits with their Sony Walkmans to listen to what was going on". That's about as ridiculous a notion I've ever heard. Hacked into what? The MC boxes (also called squawk boxes or bitch boxes) connect specific spaces relevant to control of the ships major systems. These would be engineering, the bridge, after steering, CIC, radar spaces. For example our 32MC is for combat systems and connected the Combat sytems equipment room (computers, radar, etc) to CIC, weapons control points, IC/Gyro, and pilothouse. Then there are sound powered phones. These again have circuits set up for distinc functions. Damage Control, Weapons, Engineering, etc all would have separately designated systems.
The captain tells the ship to goes to go to "Full Power". It's always been "Flank Speed". The command is "engines ahead flank". It's marked on the engine order telegraphs as such (which are still used as a backup on the gas turbines). If a ship is at general quarters it'll usually have all engines on line and available.
The "arc lights in combat flickering out every time the 5" gun fires" is nonsense. First there are no "arc lights" they are fluorescent tubes. Emnergency lighting is incandescent with battery backup. Secondly I have never ever been on any ship that has lights flickering every time a weapon fires. Power distribution is such that that is not going to happen. Lights dimming momentarily "like during an electrocution" is another case of reporters trying to overly embellish a story ala Hollywood. Launching SM-2 missiles MK26 launchers is not going to cause "dimming". In fact the highest electrical draw would be the motors moving the launcher to firing position (very fast I might add).
Resetting the range on the IFF is bogus also. The IFF systems do not work this way. IFF is set to appear just after the video from the radar returns. In the case of the Aegis sytem this is digitized and sent to display as readouts on the IFF system decoders. The IFF sytems diplays info in a series of LED readouts based on where the operator positions his cursor. The display shows all responses in Mode 1, Mode 2, Mode3/A (your aircraft ID), Mode C (altitude reporting), and Mode 4 (encrypted military response of Yes or No).
Get the guns to load faster? The gun is a fully automated system that fires a max 20 rounds per minute. Ammo handlers keep a supply up to a drum that holds some 20 rounds. The ammo feed will have more rounds coming up. take a look at: http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/weaps/mk-45.htm
The gun system is quite accurate so you won't be raining shells all over the ocean. Plus there were two mounts that give a capability of 40 rounds without reloading at all. I cannot find anything that states a large quantity of 5" ammo was expended.
I'm not disputing most of what happened just some references (Newsweek in particular). The references I pointed out, do substantiate what happened as a major screw up all around but "Homicidal?" not likely. They do make it the Vincennes fault and particularly the skipper. Major conspiracy to cover up? Again the abscence of factual data immediately after the shoot down had people responding to the Media without all the facts as came out later. I'd also expect folks on the Vincennes to look to cover their own butts afterall it's what humans do best.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (HobbyOasis) wrote in message (Thelasian) writes:

Horseshit. It took 4.5 years for the RETIRED admiral Crowe to accidentally let slip on Nightline that the Vincennes was in Iranian waters and not in International waters. The position of the Vincennes was well known long before then, as the recorded videotape from the ship itself made clear. The facts were suppressed. During the fake whitewash investigation presented to Congress, an entire Iranian island was removed from the US Navy maps to hide this fact too. So you dispute something tiddly facts in the Newsweek article but can't refute the basic facts: the vincennes was inside Iranian waters, contrary to its own ROE, trying to shoot up Iranian speed boats, for no reason other than the Capt. own ambition for glory or as some part of larger provocation plan, when it sighted and shot down a civilian airliner which was doing EVERYTHING the civilian airliner should have been doing.
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Horseshit indeed! In fact your entire post is full of just that. I find it hard to comprehend that anyone over the age of 10 could possibly buy such nonsense. Here's something to think about....perhaps the Iranian airliner was not brought down by a US antiaircraft missile. Perhaps it was downed by the disrupter ray of an intergalactic space frigate from the planet Zarkon.
You'd better get that tinfoil hat back on quick 'cause they're now out to control the minds of every modeler on RMS and you're first! ;~p
-- -- " In walks the village idiot and his face is all aglow; he's been up all night listening to Mohammad's radio" W. Zevon
My home page: http://www.bill-woodier.com/home.htm
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Thelasian) writes:

Horseshit? What are you disputing about anything I mentioned? Did you even read anything or just gloss over it.
FIRST: I NEVER disputed the location of the Vincennes. I had merely taken exception to that crappy Newsweek article that was in fact written along the lines of Hollywood drama. What I said:

people
SECOND: If you had gone to the site ( http://www.odu.edu/webroot/orgs/ao/mo/nrotc.nsf/files/Vincennes.PDF /$FILE/ Vincennes.PDF) I had mentioned and read exactly what I wrote you would have been able to cool your jets as it basically backed up what you are saying (except your inane Homicidal crap!!).
My sole contentioon was the fact that I hate the inaccuracies bandied about by folks that take everything they read as gospel. The items I mentioned were not "tiddly facts" but a correction of the inaccuracies of your famous Newsweek article. The articles I mentioned got to the point. I NEVER disputed the fact that the Captain of the Vincennes screwed up. I do dispute you calling someone a Homicidal Maniac. I further dispute those tiddly details. I do not consider them to be "tiddly" (a word you made up or what?). These probably mean more to me than you because those are systems I worked on for many years.
So come down off your high horse and try to think before you go off on another meaningless tirade.
Geez! Some people need to relax a little.
Dave
What I wrote verbatim:
http://www.odu.edu/webroot/orgs/ao/mo/nrotc.nsf/files/Vincennes.PDF /$FILE/

It's
reporters
boxes)
IC/Gyro,
circuits
engine
never
this
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (HobbyOasis) wrote in message (Thelasian) writes:

You see, a common error among non-lawyers is to assume that you can't be responsible for murder unless you "meant to" kill someone. And if you didn't "mean to" kill someone, then it was "just an accident" and so no one is responsible. That's horseshit.
First off, "homocide" means to kill. Now, you can agree that the people on board Flight 655 were in fact killed, right? Therefore, there was indeed a homocide.
Next, the word "mass" means many. There were 290 people who were killed, and I am pretty sure that qualifies as "mass".
So far we have a MASS HOMOCIDE.
Next, the question is about the captain's mental state: did the Captain "intend" to kill them, or was he "reckless", or was it really just an "accident", and are these relevant questions at all?
INTENT: a person acts "intentionally" when either 1- he acts with the purpose of causing a death, or 2- acts knowing with virtual certainty that a death will result from his actions.
Did the Captian meet the first definition of acting intentionally? Did he shoot the act the plane for the purpose of killing the civilians? We'll its always hard to believe that anyone would WANT to kill a bunch of people but it has happened. There is plenty of evidence that the Captian did indeed INTEND to shoot down a civilian airliner: the Captain was warned TWICE that his target was possible COMAIR, he even acknowledged the warnings. His ship was located under a well-known and well-travelled commercial flight path. All the other ships in the region properly identified the plane as a civilian airliner. etc. etc.
And if you don't accept that, how about the second definition of intent: did he shoot at the civilian airliner knowing that deaths would result, though he didn't necessarily WANT to cause the deaths? Again, there is evidence to support this too. (See above)
So what the Captain "intended" is open to debate. The proper place for that debate is in a JURY room after a fair trial. But that never happened. Instead, the Navy LIED about what happened and blamed the victims.
BUT intentionally causing someone's death isn't the only possible crime here. Beneath that, we have the lesser crime of RECKLESS homocide and NEGLIGENT homocide too.
Then there are the imputed liability homicides and the strict liability homocides. All of which are crimes.
Anyway, under INTERNATIONAL LAW, it doesn't matter what the Capt. did or did not intend. According to international law, whenever a military shoots down a civilian airliner, the military official is ALWAYS and AUTOMATICALLY liable, regardless of what he intended. That's called STRICT LIABILITY.
Finally, there's the defense of "but he thought the plane was an attacking f-14 and he didn't have the time to make a proper determination" That's the mistaken self-defense concept. The problem is that if the Captain was in fact under so much pressure that he didn't have the time to make a proper determination, it was HIS OWN FAULT for getting himself in that position in the first place. HE is responsible for the consequences of HIS OWN misdeeds.
For more info I suggest you pick up a book from the "In a Nutshell" series on criminal law for first year law students.
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