Fraud in Cristol's Book, The Liberty Incident
K. J. Halliwell  (November 14, 2004 -- Revised June 12, 2015)

For many years, USS Liberty attack survivors and researchers have sought an explanation for the very poor quality of gun camera images presented in both a Thames Ltd. film and A. J. Cristol's book about the attack.  The following presents an analysis and finding that provides an explanation.

Image from page 79 of the hardback book edition of 'The Liberty Incident'.

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The first thing one notices about the images is their grossly blurred and highly contrasted appearance.  Typically, apart from relatively minor motion blurring, most gun camera images or prints appear reasonably well-focused and properly exposed -- even under poor lighting conditions, as shown in the gun camera image below.

Gun camera image from air attack on RFA Sir Bedivere, 1982 Falklands war

Considering that USS Liberty was attacked on a cloudless, late Spring day, with the sun high-in-the-sky (about 60 degrees above the horizon) and well-illuminating the target from above and behind the camera's position (i.e., ideal lighting conditions), why are these gun camera images of such extremely poor quality?

For comparison, below is an example of an image from WW2 gun camera film footage showing a cargo ship (left-side) similar in size to USS Liberty (right-side).  Lighting conditions for the WW2 image appear similar to those on the day USS Liberty was attacked.  As you can see, the difference in image quality is striking.

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In addition to the images' poor quality, their content is strange.  For example, what is the large white cloud-like object, with a relatively smooth bottom edge, near the starboard bow?  The ship took no large hits in this area during the air attack; thus, it cannot be explained as white smoke or vertical water spray from an explosion.  Also, the dark smoke rising from behind the superstructure appears in a location (main deck, in front of the Captain's Gig) where no fire occurred.  How can this be explained?  And why is there absolutely no trace of the ship's large identification letters "GTR" (4 foot high) and number "5" (8 foot high) on the bow?  Even if the letters and number were partially shaded by the bow's curvature, they should be at least marginally visible.

To answer these questions, the images printed in and on the cover of A. J. Cristol's book were carefully enhanced, studied and analyzed.

One analysis involved comparing one of the gun camera images with clear and well-exposed photographic images of USS Liberty.  This analysis paid-off.  It showed clearly that the gun camera image contained many identical and unique features contained in an image of USS Liberty docking at a pier in Little Creek, Virginia, in July 1967, upon her return from repairs in Malta, after the attack.[1]

In the comparative analysis shown below, you will see many uniquely matching patterns and features (e.g., shadowing and position of nonstationary objects), in both photographic images, shown within circles and connected with a line between them.  Aside from obvious brightness and contrast differences, the matching attributes and features highlighted, in the two photographic images, appear virtually identical.  The only difference between them being a minor change in perspective and time, as the photographs were taken.  This strongly supports that the gun camera photo series is based on an image from a series of photographs or film footage taken during docking, and not gun camera film footage of the attack.[2]

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To show further that the gun camera images are fake, take a look at how high USS Liberty floats in the water.

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When USS Liberty was attacked, she was heavily loaded and floating low in the water, with only one or two feet of black paint showing.  But in all docking photos, the lightly loaded ship is shown floating high, with about 8 feet of black paint showing when analyzed, after completing her crossing of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.  This single feature alone demonstrates that the gun camera images cannot be real.

Finally, take a look at the bow wave in the gun camera images.

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When compared to a real bow wave, taken from a photograph of USS Liberty, you can see that the gun camera image's bow wave has a very poor resemblance, and lacks proper overall physical characteristics when closely analyzed.

The odd-looking gun camera images mystery is solved: their grossly blurred and contrasted appearance, and unexplainable content are all a result of creating and attempting to disguise fake images.[3,4]