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” (http://www.ussliberty.org/smoking.htm).
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.
The prime suspect, within Tel Aviv’s warmongering cabal, for ordering the attack on the Liberty was General Moshe Dayan, (now deceased), then Israel’s Defense Minister. To start the 1967 “Six-Day War,” Dayan commanded pre-emptive military strikes on Egypt and Syria and directed the illegal confiscation of 750,000 acres of Palestinian land in the West Bank and Gaza. Could one draw a line from this unjust conflict, initiated by the Israelis, to the fireballs that engulfed the WTC on 9/11?
At the signing, I asked Cristol, if Dayan had ordered the attack on the Liberty, and if he didn’t, then who did? He answered, “General Dayan didn’t make that decision. It was made at a tactical level.”
In his book, Cristol claimed that Dayan was out having lunch out in the countryside, around the time the attack occurred. He even offered a photo of the luncheon to support his dubious argument. What irrelevant hogwash! Let’s reduce Cristol’s alibi for Dayan to its absurd basics. After WWII, Japan’s War Minister, Hideki Tojo, was brought before the International Military Tribunal. He had ordered the sneak attack on U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941. The idea that Tojo’s defense counsel could have acquitted him by offering a photo that showed him lunching on sushi at the precise time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor is preposterous. Tojo was hanged as a war criminal on Dec. 23, 1948.
The haughty Cristol persisted with his bogus argument, at the signing, that there has been “seven investigations” that have exonerated Israel. (In his book, he claimed thirteen! Go figure.) He even claimed that the House Appropriation Committee has a “classified report” on the Liberty “locked up in its safe.” However, Terrance O’Keefe’s excellent investigatory article in the “WRMEA,” (12/03), directly contradicted Cristol’s unsupported opinion and labeled it, “pure fantasy.” O’Keefe underscored how Cristol had also alleged that five of 13 supposed investigations had been conducted by the Congress. In fact, the Congressional Research Service, according to O’Keefe, revealed that “Congress has never investigated the attack.”
When I queried Cristol whether it was a war crime or not, under any circumstances, for the Israelis to have machine-gunned the Liberty’s life rafts, he replied, “It’s one of the myths that has grown up,” about the Liberty. He said that story “isn’t accurate.”
Mark Kram, a Liberty survivor, revealed that the Liberty was under constant surveillance and that the Israeli planes were, at times, so close to the ship that he could see the “pilot in the cockpit.” Cristol responded, as if on cue, by saying “Mistakes were made by the Israelis, terrible blunders,” and that there were “a series of blunders.” He said one of the “major blunders” was how the Liberty marker was “taken off” the board, at Naval Intelligence, at Haifa. “It was a terrible mistake,” Cristol said, as the Liberty survivors, and their supporters, in the audience shook their heads in total disbelief.
Thankfully, Cristol’s book is having the opposite effect from the one its author intended. Instead of laying the Liberty controversy to rest, it has revived it from the ashes of lies, half-truths and deceptions, where it has been buried for nearly forty years (See, the compelling “Declaration of Ward Boston, Jr.,” Capt. JAGC, USN, Ret. at: http://www.ussliberty.org/). Check the Internet out and you will see that the question of what really happened to the Liberty has become an issue for a new generation of justice seekers.
At the end of the day, it will be the overreaching Cristol who will get the credit for giving others a golden opportunity to prove that the Israelis DID deliberately attack the Liberty. When that happens, our national honor will demand that the parties responsible for the war crimes committed on June 8, 1967, be brought to the bar of American justice. I leave the last word on all of the above to the immortal British bard, William Shakespeare. In the “Rape of Lucrece,” he wrote:
“Time’s glory is to calm contending kings,
To unmask falsehood and bring truth to light,
To stamp the seal of time in aged things,
To wake the morn and sentinel the night,
To wrong the wronger till he render right.”