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New book gives credence to US ambassador’s claim that Israel tried to assassinate him in 1980

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John Gunther Dean, now 92, and a former American ambassador to five countries, has long maintained that Israel was behind his attempted assassination on August 28, 1980, in a suburb of Beirut, which was attributed to a rightwing Lebanese group. Dean and his wife and daughter and son-in-law were in a motorcade and narrowly escaped serious injury.

Dean said that he was targeted because he was doing something regarded as antithetical to Israel’s interest: consulting with the Palestine Liberation Organization and its head, Yasser Arafat, at a time when such contacts were the third rail in US politics. He was also outspokenly critical of Israeli attacks on Lebanon.

A new book offers backing to Dean’s claim. But while that book has been highly-publicized, the question of whether Israel attacked our ambassador has gotten no attention in the press. That is not a surprise; for Dean has asserted that the case itself was never thoroughly investigated by the U.S. government.

Let’s begin this story where I first heard about it, from historian Remi Brulin’s twitter thread on May 30:

“On August 28, 1980, the three-car motorcade of John Gunther Dean, the American Ambassador to Lebanon, was attacked on the motorway by several assailants armed with automatic rifles as well as light anti-tank weapons or LAWs. The ambassador and his wife escaped unscathed.

“This attack is in RAND’s ‘terrorism’ database. Entry states that ‘responsibility for attack was later claimed by the Front for the Liberation of Lebanon from Foreigners, a shadowy right-wing group.’ Various media outlets at the time reported on FLLF taking credit for the attack…

“Over the years Ambassador Dean has repeatedly argued that Israel was behind the August 1980 attempt on his life. In an interview for the Oral History Project in September 2000, he explained how the Lebanese Intelligence services had managed to retrieve the empty canisters of two of the light anti-tank weapons (LAWs) that had been used during the attack on his motorcade and, during raiding a house by the intersection where the assault had taken place, found 8 more. Dean collected the numbers on the 10 missiles & sent them to Washington to be traced.

“Three weeks (and one angry phone call) later, the US Ambassador finally learned ‘where the light anti-tank weapons came from, where they were shipped to, on what date, who paid for them, and when they got to their destination.’

“The LAWs had been manufactured in the US and ‘were sold and shipped to Israel in 1974.’ In this interview, Dean further states that he “did find out a great deal about this incident’ over the following years, and calls this assassination attempt ‘one of the more unsavory episodes in our Middle Eastern history’ and ends by noting that ‘our Ambassador to Israel, Sam Lewis, took up this matter with the Israeli authorities.’

“Dean concludes: ‘I know as surely as I know anything that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, was somehow involved in the attack. Undoubtedly using a proxy, our ally Israel had tried to kill me.’ [Haaretz covered Dean’s claim, made in his 2009 autobiography; so did The Nation]

“All of this has been known for years, although it is very rarely discussed in the US media. When discussed, Dean’s assertions/accusations are dismissed as conspiracy theories.

“In January however, a book was published that appears to reinforce the plausibility of Dean’s position. The book is Ronen Bergman’s Rise and Kill First. It has received rave reviews in the US press, and its author has been interviewed countless times since the book was published. The book focuses on Israeli ‘targeted assassinations’ and it contains one truly remarkable revelation.

“In 1979, [Rafael] Eitan and [Meir] Dagan [both brass in the Israel Defense Forces] created the Front for the Liberation of Lebanon from Foreigners, and ran that fictitious group from 1979 to 1983. In 1981 and 1982, Ariel Sharon used that Front to conduct a series of indiscriminate car bombings that killed hundreds of civilians.

“The objective of this massive ‘terrorist’ car bombing campaign was to ‘sow chaos’ amongst the Palestinian & Lebanese civilian population” and, in 1981-82, to provoke the PLO into resorting to ‘terrorism,’ thus providing Israel with an excuse to invade Lebanon.

“The FLLF operation is described in great details in Bergman’s book. His account is based solely on first hand accounts from Israeli officials involved in the operation or who were aware of it at the time. It is also described in detail in my article here [in Mondoweiss in May: The remarkable disappearing act of Israel’s car-bombing campaign in Lebanon or: What we (do not) talk about when we talk about ‘terrorism’].

“As I show in this article, not a SINGLE review of Bergman’s book in the US media has mentioned the FLLF operation. Nor has it been mentioned in a SINGLE of the countless interviews he has given on the topic over the last few months. The US media has thus been fully silent about the fact that Israeli officials directed a major & fully indiscriminate car bombing campaign that killed 100s of civilians in Lebanon. This silence also means that the US media has failed to notice the possible implications of this revelation about the Dean case.

“Bergman himself does not mention the assassination attempt against Dean. But we know that the FLLF took credit for this attack at the time. That Dean’s own investigation pointed to Israel & to its Lebanese proxies. And we now know that the FLLF was CREATED and RUN by Israel.

“None of this is absolutely conclusive, of course. Nonetheless, this topic might warrant investigation from US journalists (who might also want to write about the FLLF car bombing campaign, ie about Israeli officials resorting to ‘terrorism.'”

Brulin subsequently added this important comment:

Bergman does note on several occasions in his book that he is not allowed to write and talk about a lot of the operations that his sources talked to him about. I wonder if this FLLF operation vs Dean is one of those.

Let us add some details and context. Dean was born to a Jewish family in Germany in 1926 and escaped the Holocaust to the United States in 1938, later graduating from a Kansas City high school. It goes without saying that being ambassador to five countries, Cambodia, Denmark, Lebanon, Thailand and India, is a stellar career in foreign service.

I reached out to Dean and did not hear from him, but in his oral history, the ambassador says that the attack was a “horrible experience” that scarred his daughter.

The road at that stretch was wide and a Mercedes car was parked below a small hill overlooking the road. As we turned, our convoy took 21 rifle bullets and two grenades anti-tank fired against the car I was in. My wife threw herself on top of me and said: “Get your head down” because I was trying to look out and was stunned by the “fireworks”. When you have these light anti-tank weapons (LAWs) explode, there are a lot of sparks and explosions. The two LAWs fired at my car bounced off the rear of the car. I also noticed that on the window of my armored car there were some shots all very well centered where I was sitting, but they had not penetrated because the plastic windows were bullet-proof.

In his autobiography Danger Zones, Dean says he urged the State Department to investigate, but: “No matter how hard I tried, I could not get a straight answer from the State Department about what the U.S. had discovered in its investigations… I was simply told to resume my duties as ambassador. That was not so easy when I learned what the Lebanese intelligence agency found out [using the numbers on the weapons].”

Dean says he was clearly understood to be an enemy of Israel because on repeated occasions he had publicly condemned Israel’s attacks on Lebanon’s borders and air space, a stance the State Department usually did not take.

Scurrilous attacks on me in the Israeli Knesset and the Israeli press just prior to the assassination attempt indicate that the Israeli authorities were unhappy with the activist role I played in Lebanon, defending Lebanese sovereignty and maintaining an active relationship with the PLO–the very policies I was given to pursue by the president of the United States. The venomous talk in the Israeli Knesset by the right-wing parties portrayed me as a tool of the Palestinians. Because I was willing, even eager, to talk with all the factions in Lebanon’s civil war, I was suspected of being anti-Israel.

Dean said he had a “close working relationship” with the PLO– including calling on Yasser Arafat to help broker the release of 13 of 66 American hostages held by Iranians in Tehran in November 1979, those 13 being the women and African-Americans. “On a number of occasions the PLO helped me to get Americans released… American authorities considered the PLO a valid interlocutor for discussing ways of finding a nonmilitary solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

At that time, the PLO was verboten in official policy circles. Andrew Young was forced to resign as Jimmy Carter’s ambassador to the U.N. in 1979 after the Israelis leaked the fact that he had met with a representative of the PLO. In 1977, Ted Koppel and Marvin Kalb wrote a thriller that turned on a US official having a supersecret meeting with a fictitious Palestinian group, and it leaking and the official being charged with betraying Israel. In 1976, the dissident Jewish peace group Breira came apart after Wolf Blitzer, who was at the time also working for the Israel lobby group AIPAC, reported in the Jerusalem Post that Breira members had met with PLO officials.

Dean had a reputation for being free-thinking in Washington circles. In 1988, when Dean was ambassador to India, Pakistani President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq died in Pakistan when his plane was sabotaged. Dean maintained that Israel was behind the assassination because it did not want Pakistan to obtain nuclear weapons, which it was then developing. Dean’s speculation was based in part on the fact that pro-Israel congressmen (Stephen Solarz and Tom Lantos) had visited him in New Delhi and pressed him to support Israel’s ally India over Pakistan and to seek to thwart Pakistan’s path toward nukes.

“The more I pushed for answers, the more officials from the Reagan administration pushed back,” he wrote. Within a year, Dean, 63, retired amid official questions about his sanity under “strain.” “The department’s first thought was to send me to an asylum.” Instead he was sent to Switzerland for “recuperation,” he writes in his autobiography. “This was the kind of technique that the Stalinist regime used to silence its critics in the Soviet Union.”

Ronen Bergman’s new book on the Israeli assassination and terrorism campaign contains no reference to the John Gunther Dean attack. I asked him via a twitter message why he had left it out, noting that his revelation about Israeli security officials establishing the Front for the Liberation of Lebanon from Foreigners gives credence to Dean’s claim. He did not respond.

The Israeli investigative reporter is now working for the New York Times, and lately reported in the Times on the killing of a Syrian rocket scientist in a car bomb attack in northwestern Syria on the night of August 4, evidently by Israel.

P.S. The US government has had a miserable record of investigating known Israeli attacks on Americans– on the USS Liberty in 1967 and Rachel Corrie in 2003.

Thanks to Donald Johnson.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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45 Responses

  1. Kay24 on August 22, 2018, 1:24 pm

    This poor man will now be attacked as being old and senile. Of course, it is highly possible that where you find assassinations, false flags, and civilians being killed, Israel’s dirty fingerprints can be found at the scene of the crime. They are masters of going into other nations to assassinate officials, or organize and train rebels.

    Just like the USS Liberty, Rachel Corrie, and the political interference in the US, no American in Congress or the media, will be publicly outraged about this, after all the culprit happens to be our good buddy.

    • Hostage on August 22, 2018, 11:46 pm

      This poor man will now be attacked as being old and senile.

      I don’t know why that would necessarily be the case. The US government still equips and supplies Israel with the weapons it uses to conduct terror attacks, e.g. see the article “The CIA Violated the Terrorist Bombing Convention,” by Kevin Jon Heller at Opinio Juris

      FYI, many of the contributors at Opinio are former or current DOJ or State Department attorneys. They usually try to defend these practices, rather than deny them.

      • Jackdaw on August 23, 2018, 12:53 pm

        Well, well, well.
        Look who the cat dragged in.

        Were you in Lebanon in the mid-eighties?

        BTW, wouldn’t India benefit the most by stopping Pakistan from getting the bomb?

        And does anyone really believe that the Mossad was so stupid as to leave behind rocket casing that would lead directly back to Israel?


      • Maghlawatan on August 23, 2018, 2:36 pm

        The idea that the Mossad is effective doesn’t tally with recent outcomes, Mossad is as sloppy as the rest of Israel.

      • Keith on August 23, 2018, 3:14 pm

        JACKDAW- “And does anyone really believe that the Mossad was so stupid as to leave behind rocket casing that would lead directly back to Israel?”

        How else to explain how these light anti-tank weapons, which were confirmed shipped to Israel, wound up in the hands of Israeli proxy forces? Besides, if Israel can blatantly attack a US intelligence vessel with impunity, the Israeli connection to these rockets and the assassination attempt would be of little concern to the arrogant Israelis.

      • Jackdaw on August 23, 2018, 5:20 pm


        “How else to explain how these light anti-tank weapons, which were confirmed shipped to Israel, wound up in the hands of Israeli proxy forces?”

        Dunno. Ask the ‘Lebanese Intelligence agency’, whoever they are.

        “Besides, if Israel can blatantly attack a US intelligence vessel with impunity,”

        The USS Liberty never spied on Israel. She couldn’t spy on Israel because she only had Russian language interpreters on board.

        The US Air Force did have Hebrew language interpreters that spied on Israel.

        So much for a ‘blatant attack’ on a United States intelligence vessel.

      • Mooser on August 23, 2018, 8:15 pm

        “So much for a ‘blatant attack’ on a United States intelligence vessel.”

        I see, if the Liberty had Russian-language interpreters, and the US Air Force has Hebrew-language ‘spies, Israel couldn’t possibly have attacked the Liberty!

        You sure explained that “Jackdaw”.
        It’s no wonder you have a brash, confident approach in your comments. You must be proud of the things you are accomplishing for Israel.

      • Hostage on August 24, 2018, 12:03 am

        Jackdaw: The USS Liberty never spied on Israel. She couldn’t spy on Israel because she only had Russian language interpreters on board.

        The US Air Force did have Hebrew language interpreters that spied on Israel.

        So much for a ‘blatant attack’ on a United States intelligence vessel.

        Francis Gary Powers didn’t have any interpreter on board his U2 when the Russians shot it down. I wonder if he was really spying on them?

        Thanks to the archaic technologies of tape recorders, employed in combination with longhaul and radio-relay communications, the NSA interpreters who transcribed the USS Liberty’s signal intercepts didn’t have to be on-board the ship. After all, the Liberty wasn’t the end user of the intelligence that the crew collected.

        The U.S. Air Force Hebrew interpreter on-board the EC-121 has always said that he made a tape of the Israeli pilots advising that the the ship had a U.S. flag. He also noted that the tape’s serial number was not among the ones that the NSA has subsequently declassified and released.

        FYI, the Deputy Director of the NSA, at the time, said the Agency had not only transcribed that intercept, but had also transcribed an intercept of UN Ambassador Abba Eban’s cable to the government of Israel advising that U.S. Ambassador Arthur Goldberg had showed him his copy of the transcript between the Israeli pilots and their controllers, which proved they had seen the U.S. flag and were ordered to attack the ship anyway. You can read about that in this Chicago Tribune article:

        I think the Mossad is just another government job, and that they have always employed their fair share of incompetent or arrogant people. They’ve been known to misidentify and assassinate innocent people. They’ve also been caught on video and have even used credit card accounts that could be traced to their accomplices.

      • Jackdaw on August 24, 2018, 3:06 am


        “I think the Mossad is just another government job, and that they have always employed their fair share of incompetent or arrogant people.”

        You oughta know.

        “They’ve been known to misidentify and assassinate innocent people”.

        And they’ve been know to misidentify and attack friendly warships.
        Thanks Hostage!

      • Mooser on August 24, 2018, 1:04 pm

        “And they’ve been know to misidentify and attack friendly warships.
        Thanks Hostage!”

        Yes, those itty-bitty, inconsequential mistakes will happen. Doesn’t mean anything. Hard to think of any allies who haven’t attacked a US ship by mistake recently.

      • Keith on August 24, 2018, 5:19 pm

        JACKDAW- “So much for a ‘blatant attack’ on a United States intelligence vessel.”

        The after the fact knowledge of the Liberty’s crew language capabilities is irrelevant. Obviously so. It was what has been referred to as a “spy ship” bristling with antennas not normally found on other ships. Antennas, I might add, which were the first targets attacked to destroy the Liberty’s ability to communicate. The radios were also jammed, only logical if you knew the ship was an American intelligence vessel and desired to prevent outside communication. The liberty had been surveilled for hours by numerous Israeli aircraft which the crew waved to. There was no mistake. The attack was a sneak attack lasting a couple of hours including shooting the life rafts and napalming the deck. It was a vicious attack intended to sink the Liberty and kill the crew. The facts of the attack were covered up by the US for reasons we can only speculate about. The facts, taken together, leave no doubt that this was a wilful attack on a US vessel likely ordered by Moshe Dayan. It was blatant because Israel was the only force in the area with the capability to carry out the attack.

        This was all confirmed by the account of Israeli pilot Evan Toni. “Toni told Ennes that he had just read his book and wanted to tell him his story. Toni said that he was the pilot in the first Israeli Mirage fighter to reach the Liberty. He immediately recognized the ship to be a US Navy vessel. He radioed Israeli air command with this information and asked for instructions. Toni said he was ordered to “attack.” He refused and flew back to the air base at Ashhod. When he arrived he was summarily arrested for disobeying orders.” (P94, “The Politics of Anti-Semitism,” edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair)

      • Talkback on August 24, 2018, 5:37 pm

        Jackdaw: “And they’ve been know to misidentify and attack friendly warships.”

        Yes, yes. That was the reason why they deliberately jammed US’ emergency channels and not Egypt’s, right? And the Egypt supply ship looks too similar, doesn’t it:


  2. jon s on August 22, 2018, 1:45 pm

    Phil, In fact the Liberty incident was investigated extensively. Perhaps you just don’t like the conclusions.
    Rachel Corrie death was also investigated in the courts.

    • Maghlawatan on August 22, 2018, 3:11 pm

      The Israeli investigation into the murder of Rachel Corrie had all the credibility of a Freisler judgement.

    • Citizen on August 22, 2018, 10:00 pm

      Congress has never done a proper and customary investigation of the USS Liberty event. The Navy did a quickie investigation, followed by a cover-up.

    • JWalters on August 22, 2018, 10:26 pm

      “the Liberty incident was investigated extensively.”

      That statement is flatly false. The official US Navy investigation was shut down by Lyndon Johnson, at the behest of Israel and to the dismay of many Americans. We can add your lie to the blizzard of Zionist lies, many documented in this excellent documentary on Israel’s despicable sneak attack on the USS Liberty.
      “The Day Israel Attacked America”

      An excellent article is
      “Still Waiting for USS Liberty’s Truth”

    • Marnie on August 23, 2018, 12:14 am

      jon s “Phil, In fact the Liberty incident was investigated extensively. Perhaps you just don’t like the conclusions.

      Rachel Corrie death was also investigated in the courts.”

      The USS Liberty is a gigantic shitstain on US history – the eagerness to sweep it under the rug so as not to upset ‘israel’ gave no satisfaction or closure to it’s victims.

      It’s Rachel Corrie’s murder jon s. You wrote that sentence like a 5-year-old. Her murder was ‘investigated’ by someone with the same lackluster interest in the pursuit of honesty and justice as the sheriff of a shitown (like Beersheva) investigating a lynching. Those type of investigations always comes to the same conclusion – the zionist state has done no wrong. No apologies. Now fuck off.

    • Misterioso on August 23, 2018, 10:24 am

      @jon s

      “Phil, In fact the Liberty incident was investigated extensively. Perhaps you just don’t like the conclusions.”

      Anyone with full knowledge of the “incident” knows Israel’s attack on the Liberty was deliberate.

      For the record:

      On Thursday, June 8/67, at 1400 (2:00 P.M.) the Liberty’s radar detected the rapid approach of ships and what turned out to be two Mirage fighters. Although the planes bore no markings, they were correctly identified as Israeli. (The Arabs did not have Mirages.)

      “The planes, Israeli Mirage fighters, one by one dove without warning toward the ship in an attack pattern. Their concentrated rocket, cannon, and machine gun fire rapidly swept away virtually everything above deck – sunbathing off-duty crewmen, lookouts, sailors seeking to man the four pedestal-mounted 50-caliber machine guns that would have allowed the ship to protect itself, and the antennae needed to get off a distress signal. For five to six minutes according to Commander McGonagle…the Israeli planes made pass after pass…. In the first minutes nearly everyone above deck was down – dead or wounded. Lieutenant James Ennes, electronics material officer on the Liberty, in his book Assault on the Liberty describes the scene: ‘Blood flowed, puddled and coagulated everywhere. Men stepped in blood, slipped and fell in it, tracked it about in great crimson footprints’.”

      “‘Despite the loss of antennas, the crew was able to patch up its high-command radio-circuit antenna to send off flash messages….’ They discovered, however, ‘that all frequencies were being jammed. A loud buzz-saw sound drowned out their words. It was only in the brief seconds when the planes launched their rockets that the jamming stopped. Apparently, the jamming came from the aircraft and could not be performed at the same time that the rockets were in the air. It was during one of these lulls that the radiomen finally got off their message: ‘Any station, this is Rockstar [Liberty’s voice radio call sign]. We are under attack by unidentified jet aircraft and require immediate assistance’.”

      “The attack by the two Mirages lasted about five minutes only to be followed by three unmarked Super-Mysteres who launched dozens of rockets followed by napalm. In the words of Commander McGonagle: ‘The Mysteres, slower and more maneuverable than the Mirages, directed rockets and napalm against the bridge and the few remaining topside targets. In a technique probably designed for desert warfare but fiendish against a ship at sea, the Mystere pilots launched rockets from a distance, then dropped huge silvery metallic napalm canisters as they passed overhead. The jellied slop burst into furious flame on impact, coating everything, then surged through the fresh rocket holes to burn frantically among the men inside.’” (Ennes, James M., Jr. Assault on the Liberty. The True Story of the Israeli Attack on an American Intelligence Ship, Random House, New York, 1979, p. 67; quoted by Curtiss in A Changing Image, pp. 93-94)

      In 1985, Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, former Chief of U.S. Naval operations, and Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff declared: “Israel continues to insist that the attack was a case of mistaken identity. This claim simply does not hold water. There is simply no way that the Israeli pilots and torpedo boat crews could have concluded that it was anything other than a U.S. ship…. Before as well as subsequent to the attack on the Liberty, the U.S. Congress has investigated in depth just about every incident of a similar nature in which the military forces participated. At the very least the Congress, in deference to the families of the men who died on board the Liberty, should once and for all clear up the uncertainties, speculations, and the unanswered questions surrounding this tragedy, which still is thought by many to be a deliberate cover up on the part of the Government of Israel as well as the Government of the United States.” (Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May 27, 1985, pp. 1, 3 quoted by Charles Curtiss in A Changing Image…, p. 87)

      Concrete evidence that Israeli pilots knew before they attacked the Liberty that it was an American ship was finally revealed on November 6, 1991, when American columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak “discovered that the U.S. embassy in Beirut had intercepted Israeli radio traffic [on 8 June 1967] in which an Israeli pilot reported: ‘It’s an American ship.’ The Israeli command ignored the report and ordered the pilot to press his attack.” The accuracy of this information was confirmed by Dwight Porter, the American ambassador to Lebanon during the 1967 war. (Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, Washington Post, 6 November 1991; cited by Paul Findley, Deliberate Deceptions, p. 41)

      In October 2003, retired Navy Captain Ward Boston who had served as the chief counsel for the Navy’s 1967 court of inquiry regarding the attack on the Liberty, issued a public statement declaring “that the Navy admiral [Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd Jr.] who investigated the incident had been ordered by President Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to conclude it was a case of mistaken identity, despite evidence to the contrary…. I didn’t speak up earlier because I was told not to.” (James W. Crawley, San Diego Union-Tribune, February 17, 2004.)

    • Mooser on August 22, 2018, 5:31 pm

      Ah, yes, Micheal Oren. Ho-kay!

    • amigo on August 22, 2018, 5:35 pm

      “And Michael Oren’s detailed account:” Jon S.

      Michael Oren and Jewish virtual Library.

      Jon S has too much London Fog on his brain.

      • Misterioso on August 23, 2018, 10:37 am

        @Mooser and amigo

        Well said!!

        Oren is a fraud and the Jewish virtual library is a joke.

    • amigo on August 22, 2018, 5:51 pm

      “I recently noted thes sources:” jon s

      You really should check the sources you provide links for.

      Your source is simply an ad for some guy who wrote a book on the subject.

      Scroll to the end of the first page and read the comments by people who were on the ship on the day of the murderous attack by the zionist navy/airforce.

    • Brewer on August 22, 2018, 6:15 pm

      “Pro-Israeli Cristol Overreaches – When Ahron Jay Cristol, a self-described “amateur historian,” showed up at the National Security Agency’s (NSA) National Cryptologic Museum at Fort George C. Meade, MD., on Jan. 14, 2004, there was something almost sacrilegious about his presence there.

      He was there to peddle his pro-Zionist Israel book, “The Liberty Incident.” It is a clever, but seriously flawed, apologia, that attempts to mask the wrongdoing associated with Israel’s premeditated attack on the USS Liberty, an NSA-fitted spy vessel, on June 8, 1967. That attack killed 34 brave Americans and wounded 172 others. His book also smears those demanding justice in the Liberty matter as “conspiracy theorists.”

      Who is Cristol? Now, in his 70s, he has worked mostly as a bankruptcy judge, a federal sinecure that doesn’t need congressional approval. He has a non-combat background in the U.S. Navy.

      Two days before his appearance, Cristol was on a State Dept. panel, in DC, pontificating about the 1967 “Six-Day War” and the fate of the Liberty. When survivors of the Liberty, during the Q&A period, began to speak out about the “Whitewash,” one Marc Susser, a State Dept. honcho, ordered them silenced.

      Cristol’s insufferable mantra: “The Israelis’ attack on the Liberty was an accident,” was repeated by him ad nauseam at the book signing. However, the overwhelming credible evidence shows that the Israeli attack was intentional (James M. Ennes, Jr.’s “Assault on the Liberty”), and that an insidious cover-up of that fact has continued down to the present day (James Bamford’s “Body of Secrets”). Recently, two individuals from the U.S. intelligence community have come forward to verify that they had viewed intercepted real-time transcripts, on June 8, 1967, between Israeli jet pilots and their ground controllers, in which the Israelis clearly acknowledged that they knew that they were attacking, and worse still, trying to sink, “the American ship” (

      NSA’s Cryptologic Museum was built in 1993. It houses code-breaking, and related artifacts, from our country’s past. It also displays, the actual 5’ by 8’ American flag the Liberty was flying, when it was deliberately assaulted by unmarked Israeli jet planes and torpedo boats for over one hour and 15 minutes. NSA, a/k/a, “The Puzzle Palace,” is located about 15 miles directly north of Washington, DC. Cristol confessed that it was his “first visit to the museum,” which despite the small audience for his talk, brought a large police presence, both uniformed NSA and plain clothes men.

      Also, at the book signing, Cristol made a big deal about the transcripts of NSA-released communications of June 8, 1967, between Israeli helicopter pilots. At best, these transcripts mimic an improvised vaudeville skit of the Marx Brothers and prove absolutely nothing, since the helicopter pilots arrived AFTER the attack. These particular pilots weren’t part of the original assault force. Therefore, their communications are immaterial, self-serving and lack probative value. They would be barred as evidence at any official judicial proceeding worthy of its name. When I confronted him with the above argument, Cristol gave a long winded non-answer that wandered all over the ball park and back again. ”

      “Liberty Incident Author Jay Cristol Still Won’t Let Survivors Tell Their Story”

      “Deeming the Israeli combined air and naval assault on the U.S.S. Liberty, in which 34 U.S. Navy men were killed and 171 wounded, an “accident” and an “incident [of] faulty identifications,” Oren rehashes official Israeli tales and embellishes on them with his own whoppers. He avers that Israeli reconnaissance pilots flying just overhead on a cloudless morning missed noticing the Liberty’s five-by-eight-foot American flag fluttering in the wind because they “were not looking for the Liberty, but rather for Egyptian submarines”; that “the IDF could have easily sunk the Liberty,” although with the IDF’s extended air attack using missiles, cannon and napalm, followed by a torpedo attack followed by sustained fire on the crippled vessel that left 2/3 of the crew dead or wounded, the miracle is that the Liberty managed, just barely, to stay afloat; and that Israeli ships, after torpedoing the Liberty, “ceased firing the instant the mistake was realized and offered to assist the ship,” although surviving members of the crew uniformly testify that the Israeli ships fired from close range after the torpedo explosion and after stopping near the fantail, where the Liberty’s name and hull number appeared in large letters (a new oversized American flag had also been unfurled), finally firing on the life rafts in the water, and then left the area for more than an hour before returning to offer assistance (SDW: pp. 264, 271).”

    • JLewisDickerson on August 22, 2018, 6:54 pm

      ALSO SEE: “New revelations in attack on American spy ship” | by John Crewdson , Tribune senior correspondent | | October 2, 2007

      (EXCERPT) Bryce Lockwood, Marine staff sergeant, Russian-language expert, recipient of the Silver Star for heroism, ordained Baptist minister, is shouting into the phone.

      “I’m angry! I’m seething with anger! Forty years, and I’m seething with anger!”

      Lockwood was aboard the USS Liberty, a super-secret spy ship on station in the eastern Mediterranean, when four Israeli fighter jets flew out of the afternoon sun to strafe and bomb the virtually defenseless vessel on June 8, 1967, the fourth day of what would become known as the Six-Day War.

      For Lockwood and many other survivors, the anger is mixed with incredulity: that Israel would attack an important ally, then attribute the attack to a case of mistaken identity by Israeli pilots who had confused the U.S. Navy’s most distinctive ship with an Egyptian horse-cavalry transport that was half its size and had a dissimilar profile. And they’re also incredulous that, for years, their own government would reject their calls for a thorough investigation.

      “They tried to lie their way out of it!” Lockwood shouts. “I don’t believe that for a minute! You just don’t shoot at a ship at sea without identifying it, making sure of your target!”

      Four decades later, many of the more than two dozen Liberty survivors located and interviewed by the Tribune cannot talk about the attack without shouting or weeping.

      Their anger has been stoked by the declassification of government documents and the recollections of former military personnel, including some quoted in this article for the first time, which strengthen doubts about the U.S. National Security Agency’s position that it never intercepted the communications of the attacking Israeli pilots — communications, according to those who remember seeing them, that showed the Israelis knew they were attacking an American naval vessel.

      The documents also suggest that the U.S. government, anxious to spare Israel’s reputation and preserve its alliance with the U.S., closed the case with what even some of its participants now say was a hasty and seriously flawed investigation. . .


      • JLewisDickerson on August 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

        USS Liberty — the Real Story — as told by the survivors.

      • Tuyzentfloot on August 25, 2018, 3:56 am

        I have no issues with the claim that the Israelis deliberately attacked an american ship and that the US covered it up. But like with a magician’s trick focus on one part of the story makes you automatically accept another part of the story where the real clues are. The default explanation of the event is ‘because Israel can get away with anything and the US will cover for it’. I’m not that well informed but I do want to point out another possible version, namely that there were players in the US, including the president, who wanted to be part of the war. And they found an ally in those in the IDF who wanted the same. In such a case it’s not that surprising that the incident was covered up.

    • Marnie on August 23, 2018, 12:17 am

      I was starting to think you take to the ol’ keyboard while shitfaced, but know for a certainty that each post of yours is calculated for maximum disgust and creep factor for the reader.

    • Bluedevil on August 24, 2018, 7:35 pm

      There is no need to rely upon non-US government sources to determine if the US government has conducted an investigation of the attack on the USS Liberty.

      The fact that the US government has never conducted an investigation of the attack on the USS Liberty can be verified by US government sources.

      Email to the Historian of the US House of Representatives — [email protected] — and the Historian of the US Senate — [email protected] — will reveal that neither office can find any reference to any investigation of the attack on the USS Liberty in the records available to them.

      A request to your Congressional Delegation that they contact the Congressional Research Service and ask the question, “Has the US government conducted an investigation of the attack on the USS Liberty” will result in the emphatic response, “No.”

      If you want to read about the attack on the USS Liberty from USS Liberty survivors, visit

  3. pabelmont on August 22, 2018, 7:36 pm

    We have here an example of an Arab group which is said (i.e., believed by some) to be run by Israel claiming responsibility for attacking an American. Maybe neither claim is true, but it has an amazing similarity to the conspiracy theory which says that the attack in the USA on the Twin Towers and maybe Pentagon was done by Arabs (Saudis mostly) who were acting for the CIA. (I believe it is thought not to be polite to say such things in the USA and maybe in this website, but I am not — here — asserting the truth of this latter conspiracy but merely comparing it to the Ambassador’s story. The formal symmetry is perfect.

    The idea is that the really powerful guys trick the Arabs (or pay them) into believing that an attack is in their own interest when it is really in their paymaster’s interest.

    Sort of black-flag thingies.

    • JWalters on August 22, 2018, 10:30 pm

      Israel does have a history of false flags and inside jobs.
      “Terrorism: How the Israeli state was won” by Tom Suarez

    • Donald on August 22, 2018, 11:13 pm

      We know the FLLF was run by the Israelis. Bergman learned that from his Israeli sources.
      What is interesting about that is, as Brulin said, their responsibility for car bombings is now out in the open and the mainstream simply ignores it.

    • RoHa on August 23, 2018, 1:11 am

      The name “Abu Nidal” springs to mind.

  4. Spring Renouncer on August 22, 2018, 11:32 pm

    It is indefensible that this incident has been neglected by the US press and government, and more broadly, that Israel’s war crimes and terrorism in Lebanon have been almost completely ignored in America. I hope this history will be readdressed soon.

    I trust Ambassador Dean’s re-telling of the attempt against his life in Lebanon, and his analysis of who was to blame is logical. His theory concerning Zia-ul-Haq’s death, on the other hand, is a bit far fetched. By the time Zia-ul-Haq died Pakistan’s nuclear programme had probably achieved significant success and killing him wouldn’t have affected that. The American ambassador to Pakistan and other US officials were on the plane with Zia-ul-Haq and died with him. It seems hard to believe that Israel, America or any other Western player would have sacrificed Americans for no reason, for neither Pakistan’s nuclear weapons nor it’s foreign policy was a threat to Israel, America or Western Europe.

    It is possible – but not very likely – that the crash that led to Zia-ul-Haq’s death was an accident. If it was a planned assassination, as many believe, the most likely perpetrators would have been the Pakistani president’s domestic enemies. The second, slightly less probable explanation would be that foreign players caused the accident. The most likely foreign powers would be the Soviet Union, Iran, India or Afghan elements opposed to Pakistan. It is very unlikely that Israel plotted Zia-ul-Haq’s demise with India, as Dean seems to suggest. In 1988 India and Israel did not have diplomatic relations, let a lone strategic goals in common.

    • CigarGod on August 23, 2018, 7:38 pm

      All very logical, Spring.
      However, spycraft is often designed to be unpredictable.

      • Spring Renouncer on August 24, 2018, 11:47 am

        That’s true CigarGod. Also since spy agencies are so unaccountable and powerful they can end up acting against their own countries’ interests.

    • CigarGod on August 24, 2018, 3:07 pm

      Right on, Spring.
      There are lazy [email protected]#% who think they have special powers in every org.

  5. Ellen on August 23, 2018, 12:15 am

    he was targeted because he was doing something regarded as antithetical to Israel’s interest

    States will and do target those who are a threat to their interests . Israel is no different, but with it’s founding by terrorists of the times (Begin, Shamir, etc.), targeted killings of perceived enemies are in it’s DNA. And as it is a very paranoid State, indeed, threats are everywhere at all times. A society living in fear is a society under control.

    Phil writes that the the US has a miserable record of investigating known attacks. Think of the ones that are not known by the public and simply not investigated. All those State Department deaths under Truman? Until finally all the Arabists were cleaned out. State needed a reinigung (cleansing) to be safe for Israel.

    Targeted killings of perceived threats (including many Americans) have been going on since the founding of the Zionist experiment.

    Phil connected to dots to Deans assertion and Bergman’s revelations that the “Front for the Liberation of Lebanon from Foreigners ” was an Israeli front to sow disruption. Bergman may have slipped too much information to those who have long memories and are students of history. He may not have replied for his own self survival.

    • Maghlawatan on August 23, 2018, 9:24 am

      Israel is a paranoid State. None of the assassinations has solved the ur-problem which is how to live with the Palestinians as a normal country would.

      • DaBakr on August 26, 2018, 1:01 am

        Interesting concept. All of us will just be left to wonder what might possibly have happened were Israel post ’49 to never have spied nor taken any covert actions and Mossad just a small insignificant office. here I am…. Wondering

      • Maghlawatan on August 26, 2018, 8:56 am

        Israël just delayed the inevitable. 67 was insane. The bîll has to be paid.

      • DaBakr on August 27, 2018, 12:18 am


        insane. such an empire. the size alone is astounding. it will bee compared to Genghis Khan and imperial Rome. Maybe even great Britain. And after the Sinai give back….. Even bigger. The bills been paid, you just refuse to see. Faith is a powerful force.

  6. Marnie on August 23, 2018, 12:27 am

    zionists are big on assasinations. One could say they’ve made it their top priority – maximum terror for minimal effort. They have a knack for chaos.

    Jewish Terrorists Assassinate UN Peacekeeper Count Folke Bernadotte…/jewish-terrorists-assassinate-u.n.-peacekeeper-count-folke-b…

    By Donald Neff

    “It was 47 years ago, Sept. 17, 1948, when Jewish terrorists assassinated Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden as he sought to bring peace to the Middle East. His three-car convoy had been stopped at a small improvised roadblock in Jewish-controlled West Jerusalem when two gunmen began shooting out the tires of the cars and a third gunman thrust a Schmeisser automatic pistol through the open back window of Bernadotte’s Chrysler. The 54-year-old diplomat, sitting on the right in the back, was hit by six bullets and died instantly. A French officer sitting next to Bernadotte was killed accidentally.

    The assassins were members of Lehi (Lohamei Herut Israel—Fighters for the Freedom of Israel), better known as the Stern Gang. Its three leaders had decided a week earlier to have Bernadotte killed because they believed he was partial to the Arabs. One of those leaders was Yitzhak Shamir, who in 1983 would become prime minister of Israel.1

    Bernadotte had been chosen the United Nations mediator for Palestine four months earlier in what was the U.N.’s first serious attempt at peacemaking in the post-World War II world. As a hero of the war, when his mediation efforts on behalf of the International Red Cross saved 20,000 persons, including thousands of Jews, from Nazi concentration camps, Bernadotte seemed a natural choice for the post.2 The terms of the mediator’s mandate were to “promote a peaceful adjustment of the future situation in Palestine” and to allow him to mediate beyond the terms of the Partition Plan.3

    It had been only on Nov. 29, 1947 that the U.N. General Assembly had voted to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. Yet, as had been widely predicted, that action had led to war. Fighting intensified after elements of five Arab armies moved into Palestine the day after Israel proclaimed its establishment on May 14, 1948. Bernadotte’s first action had been to arrange a truce, which lasted from June 11 to July 9.

    During the lull, Bernadotte had put forward his first proposal for solving the conflict. Instead, it was to seal his fate. Bernadotte’s transgression, in the view of Jewish zealots, was to include in his June 28 proposal the suggestion that Jerusalem be placed under Jordanian rule, since all the area around the city was designated for the Arab state.4

    The U.N. partition plan had declared Jerusalem an international city that was to be ruled by neither Arab nor Jew. But the Jewish terrorists, including Shamir and Menachem Begin, the leader of the largest terrorist group, Irgun Zvai Leumi—National Military Organization, also known by the Hebrew acronym “Etzel”—had rejected partition and claimed all of Palestine and Jordan for the Jewish state. These Jewish extremists were horrified at Bernadotte’s suggestion.

    By July Sternists were already threatening Bernadotte’s assassination. New York Times columnist C.L. Sulzberger reported meeting with two Stern members on July 24, who stated: “We intend to kill Bernadotte and any other uniformed United Nations observers who come to Jerusalem.” Asked why, “They replied that their organization was determined to seize all of Jerusalem for the state of Israel and would brook no interference by any national or international body.”5

    Since Bernadotte’s first set of proposals had caused criticism from all parties, he spent the rest of the summer working up new proposals, which he finally finished on Sept. 16. Unknown publicly was the fact that in his new suggestions Bernadotte dropped his idea of turning over Jerusalem to Jordan and instead reverted to the partition plan’s designation of it as an international city.6 Thus when Shamir’s gunmen cut down Bernadotte the next day, they were unaware that he no longer was advocating giving Jerusalem to the Arabs.

    The assassination brought an official condemnation from the Israeli government and promises of quick arrests. However, no one was ever brought to trial nor was there any nationwide outcry against the assassination.7 None of Lehi’s leaders or the actual gunmen were ever caught, although they were early known to Israel’s leaders.8

    Israel’s obvious reluctance to prosecute the assassins brought the first U.N. Security Council criticism of the new country. On Oct. 19, 1948, the council unanimously passed a resolution expressing its “concern” that Israel had “to date submitted no report to the Security Council or the Acting Mediator regarding the progress of the investigation into the assassination.”9 An official inquiry by Sweden produced a report in 1950 that charged Israel’s investigation had been so negligent that “doubt must exist as to whether the Israeli authorities really tried to bring the inquiry to a positive result.” 10

    Israel later admitted the laxity of its investigation and in 1950 paid the United Nations $54,628 in indemnity for Bernadotte’s murder.11

    The assassination and Israel’s failure to punish the culprits struck a hard blow against the fledgling United Nations. The first secretary-general, Trygve Lie, said: “If the Great Powers accepted that this situation in the Middle East could best be settled by leaving the forces concerned to fight it out amongst themselves, it was quite clear that they would be tacitly admitting that the Security Council and the United Nations was a useless instrument in attempting to preserve peace.”12 To Secretary of State George Marshall, Lie had written on May 15, 1948 that Egypt had warned him it was about to send troops beyond its borders and against the Jewish state in Palestine, saying: “My primary concern is for the future usefulness of the United Nations and its Security Council…I must do everything to prevent this, otherwise the Security Council will have…created a precedent for any nation to take aggressive action in direct contravention to the Charter of the United Nations.” 13

    But, as author Kati Marton has observed: “If the United Nations spoke with ‘considerable authority’ early that summer, by fall its voice was barely above a whisper in Palestine. Unwilling or unable to enforce its own decisions, the U.N. [United Nations Organization, as it was generally called in 1948] became for many Israelis in Ben- Gurion’s memorable putdown, ‘UNO, schmuno.'” She also observed: “So muted was the world body’s reaction, so lacking in any real sanctions against the Jewish state for its failure to pursue the murderers of the United Nations’ mediator, that for Israel, ‘world opinion’ became an empty phrase.”14

    Indeed, the ideal of the U.N. acting as the world’s peacemaker and peacekeeper was badly wounded with Bernadotte’s death in Jerusalem. After this display of weakness, other nations did not hesitate to thumb their noses at the U.N. when it suited their purposes. The Serbian successor to the former Yugoslavian government is only the latest in a long list of countries that have contributed to the weakening of the world body that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.”

    Possibly the zionist ‘state of israel’, being the newest kid on the UN block with the smallest members, thought a high profile assasination was a great way to impress the other members of the UN with their ruthless machismo.We’ll show those gentiles who runs the shit up in here, right David? Yitzak? Shimon?

    • Misterioso on August 23, 2018, 10:43 am

      @ Marnie

      I’m so happy that you quote the late Donald Neff. He is one of my heroes. I have all of his books on the Middle East and came to know him personally through a couple of phone calls.

      • Marnie on August 23, 2018, 1:29 pm

        Me too! ;^)

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