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The Story of USS Liberty (2002)

USS Liberty: Dead in the Water (original title)
During the Six-Day War, Israel attacked and nearly sank the USS Liberty belonging to its closest ally, the USA. Thirty-four American servicemen were killed in the two-hour assault by ... See full summary »
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Richard Helms ...
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During the Six-Day War, Israel attacked and nearly sank the USS Liberty belonging to its closest ally, the USA. Thirty-four American servicemen were killed in the two-hour assault by Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats. Israel claimed that the whole affair had been a tragic accident based on mistaken identification of the ship. The American government accepted the explanation. For more than 30 years many people have disbelieved the official explanation but have been unable to rebut it convincingly. Now, Dead in the Water uses startling new evidence to reveal the truth behind the seemingly inexplicable attack. The film combines dramatic reconstruction of the events, with new access to former officers in the US and Israeli armed forces and intelligence services who have decided to give their own version of events. Interviews include President Lyndon Johnson's Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara, former head of the Israeli navy Admiral Shlomo Errell and members of the USS Liberty crew. Written by Ørnås

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Documentary | War

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1 October 2002 (USA)  »

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The Story of USS Liberty  »

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A well put together film then that builds a convincing case that is as compelling as it is depressing
12 July 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In 1967 the listening ship the USS Liberty was on duty around the coasts of Africa and the Middle East. On the 8th June, the Liberty was mistakenly attacked by three seemingly unmarked aircraft, an attack that left 8 men dead but around 70 injured. Later the same ship was torpedoed, with further loss of life. The official explanation was one of mistaken identity and confused orders, one that America – Israel's new ally – accepts. However, the surviving crew do not accept that this was anything other than a very deliberate act and this film looks back at the "accident" to find suggestions of an attempt to sacrifice the Liberty in order to blame Egypt and Russia and allow the North America to fall in and support Israel.

A depressing film this one. I had never even heard of the Liberty and my parents didn't know one another at the time the events in this film took place. Time passes and we all get caught up in the politics and wars of our own time – why we went to war in Iraq; why our military lack the equipment they need for war; where is all the money going in Iraq etc. All these issues fill our life today and what has gone before is forgotten or filed for later reference. That is why this film is depressing, because it not only shows that this sort of thing doesn't get sorted out – once the official truth is spoken often enough, it becomes the only truth and soon people tire of hearing about it; like the people now who turn the news off when Iraq comes on because they're bored with it – give them Paris Hilton though, at least that is constantly changing and easy to understand.

Anyway, the case around the Liberty is well made and presented in as balanced a manner as one would reasonably expect from a film that is presenting the crew's side of things. Considering so few people are willing to officially talk about the subject and that the official truth is already done and dusted, the film brings out nuggets really well and builds a compelling case that, even if the suggested conspiracy is not 100% true, this was certainly no accident. Whether it be the little things the crew remember about the attack, the blocking of the radio frequencies or things like the aborted strike on Egypt and the seeming lack of urgency to rescue the survivors on the day itself, the film uses all of it well to ask questions that nobody can answer in a clear way. This leaves the viewer with few answers that they can come up with and ultimately the theory put forward by the film does not seem like a stretch at all.

A well put together film then that builds a convincing case that is as compelling as it is depressing.


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