Complaint of Judicial Misconduct against U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge A. Jay Cristol

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Text of complaint of judicial misconduct against U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge A. Jay Cristol relative to the 1967 Zionist attack on the USS Liberty:

    NEW YORK, NY  10185
    TEL/FAX: 212 534 5024
The contact information above is no longer in use.
Current contact information appears at bottom of web page.

Memorial Day 29 May 2001
Clerk of the U. S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
56 Forsyth Street NW
Atlanta, GA   30303

    In accordance with the provisions of the law as set forth in 28 United States Code  § 372(c)(1), and in conformity with the local rules of the Judicial Council of the Eleventh Circuit governing complaints of judicial misconduct or disability, I hereby bring to the attention of this Court certain conduct on the part of A. Jay Cristol, a Federal Bankruptcy Judge of the Southern District of Florida, which I firmly believe this Court will find prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts, and for this purpose my Statement of Facts follows forthwith.  My interest in this matter stems exclusively from my being a founding associate member of the USS Liberty Veterans Association ( and the sole author of An Eight Part Peace Proposal for Greater Jerusalem.

    I firmly believe and hereby allege that A. Jay Cristol has breached both the letter and spirit of the American Bar Association Code of Judicial Conduct (adopted by the House of Delegates of the ABA on 16 August 1972) by:

A)    lending the prestige of his office to advance the private interests of a certain foreign state and of certain foreign nationals, which violates Canon 2(B);

B)    casting doubt on his capacity to decide impartially any issue that may come before him, which is in violation of Canon 4(A);

C)    abandoning the proper restrictions on the conduct of judges by engaging in political activity both of a controversial and an international nature and which properly falls within the constitutional mandate of the Congress of the United States of America, which is in violation of Canon 7(A)(4).

    Specific details of the aforementioned allegations are as follows:

A)     The NEW YORK TIMES of 30 April 2001 published Judge Cristol’s letter of 23 April and identified him as “a federal judge in the Southern District of Florida” (please see Exhibit A, attached).  In his letter, Judge Cristol, writing under the color of authority normally accorded an individual exhibiting such high rank, seeks to rebut indications arising from James Bamford’s new book, Body of Secrets (New York: Doubleday, 2001), that Israel’s attack on the US Navy audio-electromagnetic surveillance ship USS Liberty while on NSA duty during the Six Day War of 1967 was indeed deliberate and not an accident.
     The occasion for Judge Cristol’s letter to the editor was a news report in the NEW YORK TIMES of 23 April (page A7) by James Risen on the imminent release of Bamford’s book the very next day (Exhibit B).  In the small space allotted to any contributor to the letters section, Judge Cristol briefly states that he has conducted research on the matter for a period of thirteen years and that this as well as his analysis of eighteen governmental reports supports their conclusions  that there is no evidence that the attack was intentional but was rather a tragic mistake.
     While Judge Cristol is certainly entitled to his own opinions on this subject, he crossed a line that should not have been crossed when he failed in his professional responsibility to make sure that the editors did not leave open the suggestion that Judge Cristol’s research and analysis were conducted under the authority of the Federal Judiciary.  Indeed, unless one were familiar with the particulars of this case; namely, that Judge Cristol’s research and analysis were carried out as a doctoral dissertation, THE LIBERTY INCIDENT (Exhibit C), in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Departments of History and of International Relations at the University of Miami, one would be almost certain to connect in one’s mind Judge Cristol’s research and analysis - as mentioned in his published letter - with his exalted position on the Federal Judiciary which appears under his name!  I submit to this Court that an overwhelming percentage of those who read Judge Cristol’s letter would fall into this category.
     This not inconsiderable deception tends to favor one side in a dispute about the real circumstances and true story of the attack on the USS Liberty; namely, the Government of Israel and the Israeli individuals who perpetrated the attack and coverup.  Judge Cristol’s black robe advances their collective private interest in seeing their side of the story prevail.
     Moreover, Judge Cristol’s judgelike adventure helps these Israelis continue to avoid the “disciplinary measures which international law requires in the event of wrongful conduct by the military personnel of a State” during the course of a war, which then Secretary of State Dean Rusk called for in the American reply to Israel’s apology for the attack (Exhibit D).  Judge Cristol’s lack of probity in hoodwinking an unwary public is matched by his outright bias in favor of Israel.

B)     Judge Cristol’s dissertation is so full of superficial analysis and avoidance of key evidence and uncritical acceptance of the findings of others as well as a possible instance of outright fabrication that one feels compelled to conclude he lacks the judicial temperament required for a  position on the Federal bench.

     Harking back to the news article in the NEW YORK TIMES (Exhibit B) that triggered Judge Cristol’s letter to the editor and which brought this matter to the fore by publicly connecting his work with his Federal judgeship, I note that Judge Cristol sidesteps entirely the key point of James Risen’s article; namely, that new and compelling evidence indicating a deliberate attack on the USS Liberty has been found.  Since Judge Cristol cannot integrate into his own findings and conclusions a report that crewmembers of a US Navy EC-121 surveillance aircraft overheard the Israeli attackers saying their target was flying the American flag, he simply ignores this matter and declares as if by rote that he found no evidence that the attack was deliberate!  How typical of this man!

     Other examples abound: In his letter Judge Cristol cites “10 official United States investigations of the incident by the Central Intelligence Agency, the United States Navy, the President’s Foreign Intelligence Board, the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency, plus five Congressional investigations.”  Inasmuch as none of these 15 investigations puts the actions of the Israel Defense Force on the day of the attack under serious scrutiny - indeed, not one of these investigations went so far as to speak with the perpetrators of the attack - common sense dictates that their conclusions as to Israeli intent and culpability are therefore worthless.  Clearly, Judge Cristol either lacks this common sense or such apparent deficiency masks the guile it takes to announce to the worldwide readership of the NEW YORK TIMES that a federal judge has looked into this matter and has found all fifteen of these “investigations” wholly convincing.  Whatever the case, Judge Cristol does indeed mislead the public by characterizing as reliable and conclusive these politically motivated and severely limited US investigations, which generally rely on the Naval Court of Inquiry presided over by the late Admiral Isaac Kidd, who assured me in several telephone conversations during the past decade that his investigation was “entirely shipboard”; i.e., the focus was exclusively on the actions of the United States Armed Forces and the USS Liberty crew and not on the Israel Defense Force.  Moreover, contrary to the deep impression Judge Cristol’s letter leaves with NEW YORK TIMES readers, the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty remains the only major peace-time incident at sea involving a US Navy ship which has not been the subject of a full Congressional investigation!

     As for the Israeli “Preliminary Report,” otherwise known as the “Yerushalmi Report” (Exhibit E), which the Israeli Ambassador presented to the White House on 14 August 1967, the State Department legal advisor at the time, Karl Salans, rejected it as lacking in credibility in a report (Exhibit F) that Liberty survivors eventually obtained two decades later; I myself regard this official Israeli report as a subtle vehicle of blackmail of the United States Government (Exhibit G, p 51; Exhibit E, par 3) and I opine that this is one of the reasons behind Ambassador Evron’s request that the “Yerushalmi Report” be withheld from the people of the United States.  Why does Judge Cristol embrace so openly what technically remains secret evidence?  How could he endorse a report whose author wrote, “Although considerations of the credibility of witnesses should not be part of my functions...”? (Exhibit E, par 19)  How does such behavior  accord with the cherished traditions of the Judiciary in the USA?

     Again, Judge Cristol is not without bias; he schmoozes well with Israeli connections on his and their extensive travels but conveniently overlooks many troubling aspects of the attack such as:   the shooting of all life rafts; Ambassador Barbour’s cable (Exhibit H) denying Israel made preliminary inquiry about presence of US ships in the area; the highly visible, white-painted satellite dish on the stern which set Liberty apart from any supposed target in the Egyptian Navy or any other navy; the electronic jamming of Liberty’s radios during the attack, which presupposes knowledge of frequencies and their users.

     Judge Cristol seemingly pulls out of thin air (Exhibit I) Egyptian sappers to explain the huge explosion in Al Arish which provided a pretext for the attack; namely, an obvious prevarication about Liberty’s conducting a shore bombardment from beyond 12 miles out with all 4 of its .50 caliber machine guns!  We have neither footprints of these sappers nor a footnote from Florida.

     Certain difficult questions arise concerning the legal and national security implications of the Halakic prohibition that a Jew cannot inform on another Jew (Exhibit J), which either by design or sheer ignorance are beyond the scope of Judge Cristol’s dissertation.  Credibility and accountability must count!

     Judge Cristol falsely asserted that I wrote that “it is not possible to capture the ‘impregnable Golan Heights’” whereas I had indicated strong skepticism about Israel’s taking of “the virtually impregnable Golan Heights in less than 24 hours” and only after taking out Liberty’s big ear.  (Exhibit G, p 50)

     Time and space do not allow an exhaustive description of the manifold flaws and imperfections of Judge Cristol’s dissertation.  These should be studied, as I do fear his incompetence very likely extends to the bench.

C)     The Israeli Government and its supporters in the USA have long treated the Liberty incident merely - and quite effectively! - as a public relations problem and not as an issue of war crimes and justice denied let alone as an historic military action that is revelatory of the Realpolitik and of the hobbled quest for peace in the region.
     Indeed, the assault on the USS Liberty is closely linked chronologically to the "miracle" taking of the Syrian Golan Heights which proceeded apace only after Liberty’s NSA eavesdropping capability had been neutralized - a circumstance that strongly suggests an extraordinary need for secrecy with regard to the Golan operation.  This should be studied not only in the interests of justice but of peace as well. 
     Whatever the case, Judge Cristol’s open advocacy of what in reality has been a sustained cover-up by the governments of Israel and the USA tends to be supportive of Israel’s illegal occupation and settlement of the Syrian Golan Heights, which is not in accord with United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and the Fourth Geneva Convention or with the USA’s constitutionally mandated commitment to honor its UN treaty obligations by enforcing these measures.  Zionism is actively opposed to the enforcement of these constitutionally mandated UN treaty obligations of the USA and open discussion of the Liberty incident threatens to awaken American public opinion that would be adverse to these goals.
     Thus, the failed Middle East peace process can be seen as a function of domestic politics here in the USA even as the European Union seeks to fill the void.  Indeed, only two weeks ago in Brussels, Belgium, the External Relations Commissioner of the European Union, Christopher Patten, affirmed: “All settlement activities in Gaza, the West Bank including East Jerusalem and on the Golan Heights are illegal under international law and constitute a major obstacle to peace...; these territories do not form part of the State of Israel under public international law.”  Sooner better than later the USA must realize that no Israeli Prime Minister - with or without the support of the Israeli people - can make a “startlingly generous offer” of illegally occupied territory no matter what the public relations mavens have to say on the subject!
     This is the current reality in which the USS Liberty survivors find themselves as their pleas for a full and impartial Congressional investigation still fall on deaf ears.  In this regard Congress remains remiss in its duty “To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations.” (Constitution of the United States of America, Article I, Section 8) Judge Cristol tried but failed to fill this void that only Congress can fill and in so doing threatens to bring disrepute on the Federal Judiciary.  Meanwhile, the Liberty survivors, their families and friends as well as those of the 34 who gave their last full measure of devotion to this nation on that fateful day, continue in their dignified and commendable way to seek redress; let the Special Committee  per 28 USC § 372 (c) establish judicial evidence as a fitting prompt for Congress!

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