American Legion calls on Congress to finally investigate ‘USS Liberty’ attack, 50 years after

US Politics
on 90 Comments

The veterans association of the USS Liberty, the intelligence ship attacked by Israel during the 1967 war, issued a press release this week reporting that the American Legion, “the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization,” approved a resolution at its convention last week calling on Congress to investigate the June 8 attack, which killed 34 sailors and injured scores more.

“It is a very significant vote because the American Legion has looked at us with disdain and dishonor for years, and we didn’t deserve it,” Ernest Gallo, a communications technician on the Liberty and the president of the veterans association, tells me.

Gallo said that the American Legion leadership has repeatedly stuffed resolutions calling on Congress to investigate the attack — an investigation the government has never undertaken — but that at the convention in Reno last week there was a grassroots groundswell, and the measure passed. “They were doing their best to stop it when someone from Iowa stood up and spoke up for it, and whatever he said, the rest of them got on board and it passed,” Gallo said.

He credited the shift to a general change in American attitudes toward Israel for “a whole bunch of different little reasons,” including the growth of Jewish groups that question Zionism and the 50th anniversary of the occupation, to the rising awareness among Americans about Palestinian conditions, making it difficult to suppress the truth. “Anyone with their head screwed on knows that since 1948, Israel has had it thumb on these people,” Gallo said.

The American Legion website does not confirm that the resolution was passed. I called the American Legion and am waiting for an answer.

Gallo said that Legion leadership has long opposed an investigation because it doesn’t want to rock the boat of US Israel friendship, even if that means overlooking the deaths of 34 Americans. When a similar resolution failed a few years ago, Gallo said, a Liberty veteran was told by a Legion leader that the Liberty crew had it coming because they were serving on a spy ship.

What follows are the announcement by the USS Liberty Veterans Association, and then the text of the resolution as drafted.

USS Liberty Veterans Association:

In a historic move, the American Legion, at its national convention in Reno on Thursday, August 24, 2017, approved Resolution 40 (text provided below) calling for the first full U.S. government investigation of Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS Liberty.

Gunnery Sergeant Bryce F. Lockwood (USMC, ret.) was on hand during the entire convention working for passage of the resolution, which originated earlier this year from Post 40 in Seattle in the American Legion Department of Washington (state).

Lockwood was awarded the Silver Star for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action in connection with the unprovoked and unexpected armed attack on U.S.S. LIBERTY (AGTR-5), in the Eastern Mediterranean, on 8 June 1967.”

Lockwood said there were a lot of “hand shakes, hugs, and some tears” after the vote.

The American Legion’s resolution brings the nation’s largest veterans organization back on the side of the USS Liberty survivors, family, and supporter in calling upon the “115th United States Congress to publicly, impartially, and thoroughly investigate the attack on the USS Liberty and its aftermath and to commence its investigation before the end of 2017, the 50th anniversary year of the attack.”

The resolution also aligns the Legion with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which, in 2013, adopted Resolution 423 at their national convention calling for the attack to be investigated.

The Liberty was a U.S. Navy electronics ship operating in international waters in the eastern Mediterranean when it was attacked by Israeli forces, killing 34 and injuring at least 174.

The ship’s commander received the Congressional Medal of Honor and the crew is one of the most decorated for a single engagement in U.S. Navy history.

The claim is sometimes incorrectly made that the attack has already been investigated. However, a one-week-long Naval inquiry was only tasked with investigating crew performance during the attack, and Congress has never investigated it, as reported in the July 1997 issue of The American Legion Magazine and elsewhere. For more information go to [FAQ on the supposed numerous investigations of the attack] or see [USS Liberty veterans association]. See key American Legion resolution documents [here].

Here is the text of the resolution as passed by the American Legion convention’s National Security committee on August 20, according to the Liberty veterans press release:

RESOLUTION
National Headquarters, The American Legion
Ninety-Ninth Annual National Convention, Reno, Nevada August 22, 23, 24, 2017

WHEREAS, on June 8, 1967, while operating in support of the National Security Agency (NSA) in international waters, properly marked as to her identity and nationality, and in calm, clear weather in the eastern Mediterranean, the USS Liberty (AGTR-5) was the target of an unprovoked attack by Israeli military forces that killed 34 members of the Liberty’s crew and wounded 173; and,

WHEREAS, in recognition of their heroic efforts during and after the Israeli onslaught, Liberty crew members were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, 2 Navy Crosses, 12 Silver Stars, 20 Bronze Stars, more than 200 Purple Hearts, and the ship’s captain, Navy Commander William. L. McGonagle, was awarded the Medal of Honor; and,

WHEREAS, the June 28, 1967 public summary of proceedings of the Navy Court of Inquiry into the attack stated: “It was not the responsibility of the Court to rule on the culpability of the attackers and no evidence was heard from the attacking nation”; and,

WHEREAS, according to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) information reports from June and October, 1967, sources in Tel Aviv reported: “Israel’s forces knew exactly what flag the [L]IBERTY was flying” and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan “personally ordered the attack” on the Liberty over the objections of senior uniformed military personnel, one of whom characterized the attack as “pure murder”; and,

WHEREAS, Richard Helms (Director of Central Intelligence, 1966-1973), stated in a 1984 CIA interview: “everything possible was done to keep from the American public really the enormity of this attack on an American naval vessel” and “since this is for the Agency’s record, I don’t think there can be any doubt that the Israelis knew exactly what they were doing … any statement to the effect that they didn’t know that it was an American ship … is nonsense”; and,

WHEREAS, Lieutenant General Marshall S. Carter, USA (ret.) (Director of the NSA, 1965-1969), recalled in a 1988 NSA interview that he stated at a Congressional hearing in 1967 that the attack on the Liberty “couldn’t be anything else but deliberate. There’s just no way you could have a series of circumstances that would justify it being an accident” and Carter indicated this remained his belief in 1988; and,

WHEREAS, in a 2003 affidavit published in the Congressional Record, Captain Ward Boston, Jr., JAGC, USN (ret.), legal counsel for the 1967 Navy Court of Inquiry stated: “I know from personal conversations I had with Admiral Kidd [president of the Court of Inquiry] that President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered him to conclude that the attack was a case of ‘mistaken identity’ despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary”; and,

WHEREAS, according to the findings, published in the Congressional Record, of the 2003 Independent Commission of Inquiry, chaired by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, USN (ret.): “there is compelling evidence that Israel’s attack was a deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew” and “the White House deliberately covered up the facts of this attack”; and,

WHEREAS, in 2013, the Veterans of Foreign Wars adopted Resolution 423 calling “upon Congress to immediately investigate the attack on the USS Liberty by the armed forces of Israel on June 8, 1967, in order to determine the truth behind the attack, and to bring closure to the families and crew”; and,

WHEREAS, in August 1967, after the conclusion of the Navy Court of Inquiry, the American Legion adopted Resolution 508 (rescinded in 1984 without being first reviewed) declaring the published report of the Navy Court of Inquiry “fails to provide the American public with a satisfactory answer as to the reason for the attack” and stating that “The American Legion denounces and condemns Israel’s irresponsible attack” and demanding “a complete and thorough investigation of the incident”; and,

WHEREAS, according to Gurney Williams III, writing in The American Legion Magazine (“Death Strikes the Liberty“, July 1997), Congress has never investigated the Israeli attack on the Liberty; now therefore be it,

RESOLVED, By The American Legion in National Convention assembled in Reno, Nevada, August 22, 23, 24, 2017, that The American Legion calls upon the 115th United States Congress to publicly, impartially, and thoroughly investigate the attack on the USS Liberty and its aftermath and to commence its investigation before the end of 2017, the 50th anniversary year of the attack.

Thanks to John Whitbeck, who says the chances of the Congress investigating are “less than infinitesimal.”

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

90 Responses

  1. jon s
    August 30, 2017, 3:58 pm

    It should be mentioned that Israel accepted responsibility, apologized, and paid compensation for the attack. The tragic Liberty incident has been investigated, exhaustively:

    https://www.usni.org/store/books/cold-war/liberty-incident-revealed

    • amigo
      August 30, 2017, 6:10 pm

      The following should also be mentioned by someone who does nat have a horse in this race.

      “On 2 October 2007, The Chicago Tribune published a special report[7] into the attack, containing numerous previously unreported quotes from former military personnel with first-hand knowledge of the incident. Many of these quotes directly contradict the NSA’s position that it never intercepted the communications of the attacking Israeli pilots, saying that not only did transcripts of those communications exist, but also that it showed the Israelis knew they were attacking an American naval vessel.

      Two diplomatic cables written by Avraham Harman, Israel’s ambassador in Washington, to Abba Eban Israel’s minister of foreign affairs, have been declassified by Israel and obtained from the Israel State Archive. The first cable, sent five days after the attack, informs Eban that a U.S. informant told him (Harman) that there was “clear proof that from a certain stage the pilot discovered the identity of the ship and continued the attack anyway.”[14] The second cable, sent three days later, added that the White House is “very angry” because “the Americans probably have findings showing that our pilots indeed knew that the ship was American.”[7]

      Lots more at !!!.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Liberty_incident#NSA_tapes_and_subsequent_developments

    • Stephen Shenfield
      August 30, 2017, 7:51 pm

      This source claims that the attack was a “tragic mistake” and that only “conspiracy theorists” believe that it was premeditated.

      • Misterioso
        August 31, 2017, 11:24 am

        @Stephen Shenfield

        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.” (Quoted by Richard H. Curtiss in A Changing Image: American Perceptions of the Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1986, p. 87)

        Concrete evidence 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.)

    • John O
      August 31, 2017, 5:11 am

      A “tragic” incident, just like the “tragic miscalculation” of the SS Patria that you defended yesterday. How convenient.

      • jon s
        September 2, 2017, 3:44 am

        John O,
        Unfortunately , war is like that. Combat is the realm of errors, miscalculations, malfunctions and screw-ups, caused by stress, fatigue, lack of accurate intelligence and general confusion. Just see how many soldiers are hit by “friendly fire” and killed in accidents in every war. Anyone who has seen wars up-close -as I have- will tell you so.

      • Mooser
        September 2, 2017, 3:16 pm

        “Anyone who has seen wars up-close -as I have- will tell you so.”

        Which combat actions were you involved in “Jon s”?

      • amigo
        September 2, 2017, 3:54 pm

        “Which combat actions were you involved in “Jon s”?” Mooser

        The 30 year (so far) Eritrean campaign.On one occasion his troops were attacked by one unarmed very pissed off Eritrean .This combat action got up close and personal.Jon was defending his historical Homeland and nation state of the Jewish people and it was his day off.

      • amigo
        September 2, 2017, 3:59 pm

        “Unfortunately , war is like that. Combat is the realm of errors, miscalculations, malfunctions and screw-ups, caused by stress, fatigue, lack of accurate intelligence and general confusion.”Jon S

        Not to worry Jon , the IDF makes up for all that stress and lack of military precision with Morality.

      • Mooser
        September 2, 2017, 7:17 pm

        “Unfortunately , war is like that. Combat is the realm of errors, miscalculations, malfunctions and screw-ups, caused by stress, fatigue, lack of accurate intelligence and general confusion.”Jon S

        And that’s your excuse for war crimes?

      • jon s
        September 3, 2017, 12:45 pm

        amigo,
        Are you trying to be funny? Not really working…
        Incidents of “friendly fire” and other screw-ups occur in all wars, WW2, Vietnam, you name it. The IDF is not immune.

      • Mooser
        September 3, 2017, 1:56 pm

        “The IDF is not immune.”

        So the Haganah equals the IDF? Of course, an army founded on terrorism.

      • amigo
        September 3, 2017, 2:22 pm

        “migo,
        Are you trying to be funny? Not really working…” Jon S

        No, I see no reason for levity in sending rank amateurs to carry out an operation against a ship with 100,s of innocent civilians on board.

        I see far less reason for levity being told by a zionist apologist that it (like the attack on the USS Liberty) was a miscalculation.

        The responsibility belongs to those Jewish terrorists who were responsible for the death of those people–(mostly your fellow Jews) and the people who sent them. And you attempt to justify their acts.

        Me thinks you are the one trying to be funny.

    • Emory Riddle
      August 31, 2017, 7:02 am

      Claiming the attack was an accident is hardly accepting responsibility.

      • jon s
        September 2, 2017, 3:46 am

        Emory,
        Yes it is. We carried out the attack, it was a mistake, we accept responsibility.

      • Emory Riddle
        September 2, 2017, 11:32 am

        Who is “we” jon s? And claiming an attack is which dozens of people were killed was an accident is the opposite of accepting responsibility in the sane world.

  2. JeffB
    August 30, 2017, 4:47 pm

    In the real world the government investigated at the time and several times after. There have been 7 (I thought 5 before I checked) investigations and reports:

    U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry of June 1967
    Joint Chief of Staff’s Report of June 1967.
    CIA Intelligence Memorandums of June 1967
    Clark Clifford Report of July 1967
    Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony during hearings of the 1967 Foreign Aid Authorization bill, July 1967
    House Armed Services Committee Investigation of 1971
    The NSA History Report of 1981

    You can find links to them all: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Liberty_incident#Investigations_of_the_attack

    Meanwhile I’d caution the people here who are pro-iranian. Iran frequently shoots at USA spy planes. and we do the same. Do you really want the policy to be permanent enmity when countries hit each other surveillance equipment? The absolute worst case scenario is during an active shooting war the Israelis decided to take out an American spy ship so that it didn’t collect intelligence on their military air capacity. Even if everything the disgruntled crew members said was true, and all the investigations false this is a non-scandal. I can’t imagine an American wouldn’t take out non-allied surveillance equipment that was collecting information on America’s military during a major campaign.

    • oldgeezer
      August 30, 2017, 5:55 pm

      @jeffb

      First time i have heard of sailors in life boats classified as equipment. But then zionists do love to dehumanize people.

      • JeffB
        August 30, 2017, 9:02 pm

        @oldgeezer

        Even if you assume the worst case, no one even alleges the goal of the Israelis was to just kill a bunch of sailors. They wanted the boat disabled so it couldn’t collect data on some aspect of their aerial operations they wanted to keep secret.

      • marc b.
        August 31, 2017, 8:22 am

        That’s an excellent point, JeffB. So you wouldn’t have an objection to similar measures taken against Israeli intelligence operations gathering information on U.S. Military operations in the ME? The U.S. is after all at war.

      • oldgeezer
        August 31, 2017, 8:35 am

        @jeffb

        You’re merely avoiding the issue. The Moorer report documents that three life rafts were machine gunned by Israeli torpedo boats.

        I stand by my original comments despite you’re attempt to avoid the issue. You can dehumanize the individuals as much as you want but the fact remains attempts were made to murder them. Murders such as these are war crimes and should be prosecuted as such.

    • JWalters
      August 30, 2017, 8:20 pm

      From JeffB’s link –

      “Senator Bourke B. Hickenlooper: ‘From what I have read I can’t tolerate for one minute that this [attack] was an accident.’

      They [Liberty Veterans Association] say it was hastily conducted, in only 10 days, even though the court’s president, Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd, said that it would take six months to conduct properly. The inquiry’s terms of reference were limited to whether any shortcomings on the part of the Liberty’s crew had contributed to the injuries and deaths that resulted from the attack.”

      In other words, the investigation was squelched, like reporting about Israel at the New York Times.

    • James Canning
      September 1, 2017, 1:12 pm

      @JeffB – – The USS Liberty did not have any speakers of Hebrew aboard. Israel in fact planned the attack on the American naval vessel, working with several US officials.

  3. Qualtrough
    August 30, 2017, 10:54 pm

    @JeffB

    Even if you assume the worst case, no one even alleges the goal of the Israelis was to just kill a bunch of sailors. They wanted the boat disabled so it couldn’t collect data on some aspect of their aerial operations they wanted to keep secret

    That’s a damnable lie and you should be ashamed. Using napalm, torpedo, and machine gun fire the JSIL forces intended to kill as many of the sailors as they could, even firing on damage control parties and those preparing life rafts. It’s almost a miracle that the ship didn’t go to the bottom with all hands on board.

    • JeffB
      August 31, 2017, 11:09 am

      @Qualtrough

      If the Israelis had wanted to sink the boat killing everyone on board they had far more than enough force to do it. They had military ships in the area and unlimited bombers. Your version of events is simply inconsistent with reality.

    • marc b.
      August 31, 2017, 5:08 pm

      That’s a line they knew not to cross, qualtrough. If the ship wound up at the bottom of the Med, the U.S. would have had to react more forcefully.

      • JeffB
        August 31, 2017, 6:24 pm

        The USS USS Frank E Evans was sank 2 years later by Australia. We didn’t go to war. We didn’t do much of anything. We concluded our crew did a lousy job, and their crew did a lousy job and in combination we lost a ship. Australia objected in sharing the blame. In the real world not too different than what happened with the Liberty.

        So no. We wouldn’t have had to react more forcefully. If you want an example with deliberately hostile act the Pueblo was captured in 1968 by North Korea.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 31, 2017, 7:38 pm

        We concluded our crew did a lousy job, and their crew did a lousy job and in combination we lost a ship. Australia objected in sharing the blame

        did anyone even suggest australia should share the blame? it sounds pretty straight up what happened:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Frank_E._Evans

        since the conning officer on Evans misunderstood the formation’s base course and believed they were starboard of Melbourne, they turned to starboard, cutting across the carrier’s bow twice in the process.

        ….At the time of the collision the commanding officer of Frank E. Evans was asleep in his quarters having left instructions to be awakened if there were to be any changes in the formation. Neither the officer of the deck nor the junior officer of the deck notified him when the station change was ordered. The bridge crew also did not contact the combat information center to request clarification of the positions and movements of the surrounding ships.[11] The collision occurred at 8°59.2′N 110°47.7′ECoordinates: 8°59.2′N 110°47.7′E.[12]

        so it was the US ship that cut right in front of the melbourne essentially committing suicide. this has no relation what so ever to what happened on the liberty. nothing, no attack nothing.

      • Mooser
        August 31, 2017, 7:04 pm

        “That’s a line they knew not to cross, qualtrough”

        Well, if they were heaving bombs or firing missiles at the ship, and set it on fire, there’s no way they can guarantee it won’t go down. They were prepared to see it sink.

      • JeffB
        August 31, 2017, 8:56 pm

        @Annie

        The unanimous decision of the board was that although Evans was partially at fault for the collision, Melbourne had contributed by not taking evasive action sooner,

        Yes throughout. The unanimous decision of the board was that although Evans was partially at fault for the collision, Melbourne had contributed by not taking evasive action sooner,

      • RoHa
        September 1, 2017, 3:59 am

        “The USS USS Frank E Evans was sank 2 years later by Australia. We didn’t go to war.”

        The Australians didn’t bomb the American ship or strafe the survivors. They actually helped to save as many as they could.

      • marc b.
        September 1, 2017, 10:14 am

        Jeezus, you’re now comparing an accidental collision with a coordinated, sustained attack? What a steaming load.

      • James Canning
        September 2, 2017, 12:43 pm

        @marc b. – – Israel was supposed to sink the USS Liberty, as a key element of the scheme. No witnesses. LBJ expected to blame Egypt for the sinking of the USS Liberty, to justify a massive American attack on that country.

      • Keith
        September 2, 2017, 3:49 pm

        JAMES CANNING- ” LBJ expected to blame Egypt for the sinking of the USS Liberty, to justify a massive American attack on that country.”

        Let me see if I understand you. At the height of the Vietnam war, with students chanting “Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today,” LBJ colluded with Israel to sink a US spy ship and blame it on Egypt, even though communications were monitored by the US, Russia and God knows who else, and even though Egypt’s air force had been destroyed on the ground and only Israel could even conceivably been the attacker? All of this to permit a massive attack on Egypt? Duplicating our success in Vietnam? James, it is guys like you who give conspiracy theorists a bad name.

      • MHughes976
        September 2, 2017, 5:30 pm

        I agree with Keith. The likes of us look eccentric enough already to the distorted consciousness of the West without giving everyone reason to think us so.

  4. Citizen
    August 31, 2017, 12:57 am

    Some day LBJ & McCain’s Daddy will be known by all Americans as huge traitors for what they did to kill saving USS Liberty lives and covering it up.

    • Emory Riddle
      September 1, 2017, 8:53 am

      Imagine using the collision of two ships as an excuse for the attack on the USS Liberty!

  5. RoHa
    August 31, 2017, 2:32 am

    If Congress does investigate, I am sure it will conclude that Israel is totally innocent of all wrongdoing and glowing with virtue. The verdict will be followed by a vote of thanks to and support of Israel, as well as a large donation from the public purse.

    • Keith
      August 31, 2017, 11:16 am

      ROHA- “If Congress does investigate, I am sure it will conclude that Israel is totally innocent of all wrongdoing and glowing with virtue.”

      Indeed, one would expect no less from loyal employees. Perhaps it could become an annual event, each year judged by how much more praiseworthy Israel is described as compared with the previous year?

      ROHA- “The verdict will be followed by a vote of thanks to and support of Israel, as well as a large donation from the public purse.”

      You omitted the part about the mandatory Holocaust education programs and the penalties for low test scores (less than 100%).

  6. Ossinev
    August 31, 2017, 7:29 am

    @Jeffb
    “Even if everything the disgruntled crew members said was true, and all the investigations false this is a non-scandal. I can’t imagine an American wouldn’t take out non-allied surveillance equipment that was collecting information on America’s military during a major campaign”

    Absolute sewage. The crew members who may themselves have been seriously injured and have seen their fellow crew members murdered by so called friendly forces in your twisted Zionist mind are simply “disgruntled” !!!

    PLUS I was under the distinct impression that the US was Israel`s main ally at the time of the attack so how can their surveillance equipment magically become “non allied” ?

    • JeffB
      August 31, 2017, 11:04 am

      @Ossinev

      In 1967 the USA was trying to contain Israel. Their prefered approach since 1965 had been diplomacy with Syria rather than retaliatory strikes. They viewed the heightening of tension as mainly Israel’s fault. They also worried that in a serious war the Soviets could get drawn into the conflict. While an arms dealer to Israel I certainly wouldn’t consider the Americans an ally in the 1967 war. This interpretation BTW is not seriously disputed. The State Department has an excellent write up of USA objectives and strategies at the time:
      https://history.state.gov/milestones/1961-1968/arab-israeli-war-1967

      If the USA ship had been coordinating with the IDF, providing intel on Egyptian planes, it never would have been hit by Israelis. Whether accidental or intentional it got hit because it was spying on Israel not spying for Israel.

      • James Canning
        August 31, 2017, 7:07 pm

        @JeffB – – – The USS Liberty was deliberately attacked by Israel, but with advance approval from LBJ.

      • James Canning
        September 1, 2017, 1:17 pm

        @JeffB – – The US set up Israel’s surprise attack on Egypt in June 1967. Your implicit argument to the contrary is complete rubbish.

      • JeffB
        September 2, 2017, 7:39 am

        @James Canning

        You haven’t really presented any evidence for your claim. Given the historical record without a lot of evidence to counter it, I’m going with the State Department’s version of events. There was no conspiracy: LBJ was moderately opposed to the 1967 war. The investigation into the Liberty was conducted by military experts multiple times who were interested in determing the truth and the crew’s version of events was contradicted by the evidence as evaluated by those experts in navel warfare.

        There are times the government lies. But they are truthful more often than not and when a lie involves huge numbers of people it simply becomes implausible. Once we begin ignoring the evidence you can believe anything.

  7. Shura
    August 31, 2017, 8:28 am

    That will be the day when US government allows the truth to come out about Israeli attacks on Liberty which they nearly sunk. US government is the lackey of Israel

  8. JeffB
    August 31, 2017, 11:07 am

    @marc b. August 31, 2017, 8:22 am

    That’s an excellent point, JeffB. So you wouldn’t have an objection to similar measures taken against Israeli intelligence operations gathering information on U.S. Military operations in the ME? The U.S. is after all at war.

    I’m not sure what theater you mean. But let’s say last year the Israelis setup a surveillance post inn Syria to leak information to ISIS or Al-Nusra. That would be a completely legitimate target.

    • marc b.
      August 31, 2017, 5:03 pm

      There is no evidence the Liberty was leaking information to anyone, so your false analogy does not hold.

      • JeffB
        August 31, 2017, 6:10 pm

        @Marc

        The point of the analogy is to establish some damage to USA interests. What you are objecting to is not the analogy but that the situation isn’t literally the same. And of course it is not literally the same. The USA didn’t go to war with Egypt in 1967. The Liberty was destroyed prior to collecting ay information.

        You can’t have it both ways. If it was attacked deliberately there was motive. You don’t get to play the “innocent Liberty sailors card”. If it was a deliberate attack whatever they were up to was serious enough that Israel decided it was in their best interests to risk the fallout from an attack against the USA military to stop them. If there was a conspiracy, which I find very unlikely, then the most likely cause of that conspiracy is that the USA didn’t want to admit to Congress what the Liberty was up to.

        Only if the Liberty was attacked accidentally there may not have been any hostile intent on the part of the Liberty.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 31, 2017, 7:20 pm

        The point of the analogy is to establish some damage to USA interests. What you are objecting to is not the analogy but that the situation isn’t literally the same. And of course it is not literally the same.

        marc b didn’t say anything about it not being “literally” the same, he pointed out that in the analogy you chose, an example you yourself think was a completely legitimate target, you provided an explanation why it was a legitimate target, and in doing so implied crew of the USSLiberty contributed to their own demise, or was practicing something illegitimate. so answer the question then, you wouldn’t have an objection to the US bombing the f out of Israeli intelligence operations gathering information on U.S. Military operations in the ME? you think that would be fair game? “completely” appropriate to bomb them.

        You can’t have it both ways. If it was attacked deliberately there was motive. You don’t get to play the “innocent Liberty sailors card”.

        marc’s not having it both ways, you are. You don’t get to play the “innocent Israeli bombers card”. i’m sure there was motive. they just won’t disclose it because they are trying to rewrite history.

        won’t work.

    • Emory Riddle
      September 1, 2017, 8:55 am

      So the Liberty was a legitimate target for this accidental attack? Beauty.

  9. yonah fredman
    August 31, 2017, 2:57 pm

    I don’t think the entire US government was on the same page regarding the 67 war: LBJ gave a green light by refusing to meet with an Israeli emissary and stating, the president is aware of the conversation that this emissary had with the secretary of defense (or some other high official in the lbj govt.) this knowing and not knowing, winking and not winking, is not a way for a government to put up a solid front.

    the uss liberty had been commanded to leave the area. it disobeyed its command. there was a part of the us armed forces that went rogue with that disobedience. this indicates that the US armed forces were not all on the same page regarding the 67 war.

    this does not excuse the attack or explain it. but it is necessary context.

    • Annie Robbins
      August 31, 2017, 3:12 pm

      there was a part of the us armed forces that went rogue with that disobedience.

      when? do you have a link to support this?

    • Mooser
      August 31, 2017, 4:15 pm

      ” there was a part of the us armed forces that went rogue with that disobedience…”

      “yonah” knows all about it.

    • Keith
      August 31, 2017, 5:21 pm

      YONAH FREDMAN- “the uss liberty had been commanded to leave the area. it disobeyed its command.”

      The USS Liberty never received orders to leave the area because Admiral McCain did not forward the orders for whatever reason.

    • Misterioso
      August 31, 2017, 6:23 pm

      @yonah fredman

      “the uss liberty had been commanded to leave the area. it disobeyed its command.”

      Reality:

      The USS Liberty was in the eastern Mediterranean on June 5 when Israel attacked Egypt, which prompted Commander McGonagle to ask Vice Admiral Martin at Sixth Fleet headquarters to “send a destroyer to accompany the Liberty and serve as its armed escort and auxiliary communications centre.” (James E. Akins The Israeli Attack…Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Dec. 1999)

      On June 6, Admiral Martin replied: “LIBERTY IS A CLEARLY MARKED UNITED STATES SHIP IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS, NOT A PARTICIPANT IN THE CONFLICT AND NOT A REASONABLE SUBJECT FOR ATTACK BY ANY NATION. REQUEST DENIED.” (Quoted by James E. Akins, ibid)

      “By the evening of June 7, the Liberty was 13 miles off the coast of the Gaza Strip, still in international waters. Due to transmission foul ups Commander McGonagle never received messages from Sixth Fleet headquarters ordering him to withdraw first 20 miles and then 100 miles from the coast.” (ibid)

      On Thursday, June 8, a sunny day with calm seas, the Liberty, still unaware that it had been ordered out of the area, was cruising off the Egyptian coast at about five knots. “Shortly after the minaret in the Sinai town of El Arish came into view at 9:30 A.M., a lookout shouted: ‘Airplane passing astern, sir!’ A single jet flew past on the starboard side too far away for its markings to be discerned. It made only one pass and disappeared.”
      One of “the civilian electronics experts aboard concluded the jet ‘must be Israeli because what else is flying out here at this point in the war and also it’s coming from the direction of Israel and it’s going back to Israel, so it was obvious it was Israeli. I didn’t think much of it. They were just out there checking us out. That’s what I’d do too’.” (Quoted by Donald Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, p. 249)

    • Mooser
      August 31, 2017, 6:50 pm

      “the uss liberty had been commanded to leave the area. it disobeyed its command. there was a part of the us armed forces that went rogue with that disobedience.”

      Oh my gosh! Israel saved the USA from a military coup detats when it attacked the Liberty!!! Rogue disobedient forces!
      If not for those brave Israeli pilots, it would have been Sailor’s Soviets for all of us, and then up against the wall…just like in Russia.
      That was the day the IDF saved US democracy.

    • James Canning
      September 1, 2017, 1:18 pm

      @yonah fredman – – Lyndon Johnson helped to set up Israel’s June 1967 attack on Egypt.

  10. James Canning
    August 31, 2017, 7:04 pm

    Bravo, American Legion. The fullest possible examination of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty is highly important.

  11. JeffB
    August 31, 2017, 8:29 pm

    @James Canning August 31, 2017, 7:07 pm

    The USS Liberty was deliberately attacked by Israel, but with advance approval from LBJ.

    What was his motivation for ordering a foreign army to attack a USA military navel vessel?

    • James Canning
      September 1, 2017, 1:59 pm

      @JeffB – – Lyndon Johnson wanted a pretext for a US attack on Egypt. Israel agreed to provide that pretext, by attacking (and sinking) the USS Liberty. Israel, of course, was trying to set up that American attack on Egypt.

      • Mooser
        September 1, 2017, 4:56 pm

        ” Lyndon Johnson wanted a pretext for a US attack on Egypt. Israel agreed to provide that pretext, by attacking (and sinking) the USS Liberty”

        “James Canning”, that is one of those times the intra-service rivalry between United States Naval Reserve and the regular Navy just got out of hand.

      • MHughes976
        September 1, 2017, 5:43 pm

        I don’t think,this theory about Johnson is very plausible. I’m not persuaded that it was in his character. The risk of killing Soviet personnel and triggering a catastrophe would have been greater than any prospect of gain. Nasser’s pro-Soviet regime was shattered anyway. The extent of guilty knowledge would have been unmanageably great.. Preparations for an attack on Egyot would have been obvious. If a pretext had been wanted it could have been found in a much less risky way.
        The incident stands as a monument to Israel’s arrogance and ruthlessness and to its mighty ring of influence in Washington..

  12. JeffB
    August 31, 2017, 8:50 pm

    @Annie

    you wouldn’t have an objection to the US bombing the f out of Israeli intelligence operations gathering information on U.S. Military operations in the ME? you think that would be fair game? “completely” appropriate to bomb them.

    Yes, anyone acting in a USA military theatre without express permission from the USA is a legitimate target for the USA and that would include Israel. This actually came up in 2001 when during the Afgan war Oxfam and Red Cross refused to coordinate their trucking / food delivery / shipping activities with the USA army and the Bush administration had indicated any truck that wasn’t coordinating with the USA was a target. I sided with Bush then as well. I felt then you are moving on a USA battlefield without the USA’s permission you are a hostile. i haven’t changed my mind. Battlefields are not safe places.

    doing so implied crew of the USSLiberty contributed to their own demise, or was practicing something illegitimate… marc’s not having it both ways, you are. You don’t get to play the “innocent Israeli bombers card”. i’m sure there was motive. they just won’t disclose it because they are trying to rewrite history.

    They didn’t get lost on their way to Caribbean vacation. They were a spy ship deliberately traveling to the likely location of a hostilities and then remained on an active battlefield spying. They didn’t coordinate their positioning with the IDF. Of course they contributed to their own demise! There is no question about that. There are questions to what extent they contributed.

    If the attack was deliberate (which I don’t think it was) then likely there was something they were trying to get that the Israelis really didn’t want them to have. So if you want to go with the deliberate theory then what were up to which led to Israelis to take such strong action?

    • Mooser
      August 31, 2017, 10:34 pm

      .” So if you want to go with the deliberate theory then what were up to which led to Israelis to take such strong action?”

      Trying to prevent the reception of broadcasts and information related to the Israeli execution of Egyptian prisoners-of-war. For one thing.

  13. JosephA
    August 31, 2017, 11:25 pm

    Jeff, I am really impressed with your resilience and dedication to logical fallacies.

    • CigarGod
      September 1, 2017, 10:19 am

      Jeff typing: Aaahhh….it’s nothin’ JosephA, any chicken with his head cut off runs around the same way.

  14. MalcolmLeftly
    September 1, 2017, 3:12 am

    “They had military ships in the area” to do the job.
    —————————————————-
    Obviously having “military ships” attack the “Liberty” would be idiotic. The IDF would be identified and the USN would counterattack with a carrier group.

    The entire operation was supposed to be clandestine with ‘unidentified’ Mirage fighters sent in to knock out the Liberty’s communications and patrol torpedo boats to finish off the job of sending the “Liberty” to the bottom of the ocean.
    The ‘idea’ was to have the crew ‘believe’ that they were being attacked by an Arab force , likely the Egyptians. With a inability to communicate that to their Naval superiors initially and eventually, due to the sustained attack.

    The plan was to silence radio communications, attacking from the air, finish off with torpedoes , sink Liberty, take no survivors.

    As for paying compensation it was about 10% of the vessel’s worth and took about 20 years to actually collect.

    To those who would think this improbable remember the ” Lavon Affair” of 1954. Terrorist attacks in Egypt against US interests code named”Operation Susannah” were eventually admitted to in 2005 when survivor spies were honored (by Moshe Katsav).

  15. James Canning
    September 1, 2017, 3:37 pm

    @MalcolmLefty Israel knew LBJ would prevent any American assistance from reaching the USS Liberty.

  16. James Canning
    September 2, 2017, 12:48 pm

    @JeffB – – You contend that LBJ was “moderately opposed to the war” (June 1967 Israeli attack on Egypt). Are you aware that the US took the aerial photographs of Egyptian military airfields employed by Israel to destroy virtually the entire Egyptian air force, on the ground, on the first day of the war?

  17. MalcolmLeftly
    September 2, 2017, 2:17 pm

    “theory then what were up to which led to Israelis to take such strong action?”
    ———————————————————————-
    Couple of possibilities. Israel wasn’t pleased with US prewar attitude, what NSA were doing with the spy ship, and how US might
    behave at the UN and in brokering peace negotiations. They wanted total victory. Complete military slaughter with territory won. They didn’t want a repeat of Suez ’56. If they saw the Liberty as being in the way –for whatever reason– they just had to be eliminated.

    Israel wanted land. It was the bottom line. All that mattered. If they thought that the “Liberty” was a threat with its Intel capabilities then the sailor/spy crew were fungible. I don’t necessarily think this was a decision taken at the head of Gov’ but perhaps left to General Dayan.

    Think about how few mistakes the IDF made in the Six Days? Were there any ? Just this one really, really, huge error after days of surveillance. It doesn’t add up.

    • MHughes976
      September 2, 2017, 4:40 pm

      They, and especially their monstrous leader Dayan, were on the most terrific roll of any society in modern times, years of planning turning to days of smashing victory, avenging everything from Haman to Hitler. No one else, not even the leading power of the Western world, had any rights to cause the slightest obstruction. That point had to be made and well and truly made it remains, as all the miserable peace processes since have shown. Whether Dayan knew that the ship he attacked was American I don’t know. He must have known it probably
      was. If it was, that fact didn’t matter.

      • Mooser
        September 2, 2017, 6:54 pm

        “Whether Dayan knew that the ship he attacked was American I don’t know.”

        And considering the number dhows which look just like US Navy Electronic Reconnaissance Cruisers, who could tell?

      • gamal
        September 2, 2017, 8:19 pm

        “Whether Dayan knew”

        “You know Foley I only have one eye and have the right to be blind sometimes.” Raising scope to patch..”I really do not see a signal” Horatio Nelson, Copenhagen.

  18. Citizen
    September 3, 2017, 5:48 am

    Motive? Additional to Israeli execution of Egyptian POWS, there was Israel’s taking Golan Heights, eh?

  19. Citizen
    September 3, 2017, 5:53 am

    American Legion has called on Congress to investigate Israel’s attack on #USSLiberty-after half a century! McCain? http://america-hijacked.com/2011/09/02/john-mccain-praises-fathers-whitewashing-of-israels-attack-on-the-uss-liberty/

  20. jon s
    September 3, 2017, 4:26 pm

    Michael Oren wrote a detailed account of the incident:

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/quot-the-uss-liberty-case-closed-quot

  21. MalcolmLeftly
    September 4, 2017, 2:26 am

    ” Oren wrote a detailed account ”
    ——————————————–
    Oren is a scholar. But he has a vested interest now doesn’t he? Just know this: I have never read that any American Government official believes what they have heard from Israel. Nobody.
    Yes there have been a few dubious heartfelt explanations like from Justices Goldberg, Fortes, the Rostow Bros. but that’s to be expected. There has never been someone with the stature of say Clark Clifford that said ‘ I accept the explanation of Israel without question.’

  22. jon s
    September 4, 2017, 7:34 am

    Annie, I’m no fan of Dr. Oren as an ambassador or politician. He is, however, a professional historian. The question is whether the information and analysis in the article is sound.

    • amigo
      September 4, 2017, 9:49 am

      “The question is whether the information and analysis in the article is sound” jon s

      This is a report by “Jewish Virtual Library” a source that is not unlike “C.A.M..E.R.A” .

      Nuff said.

    • Keith
      September 4, 2017, 10:28 am

      JON S- “He is, however, a professional historian. The question is whether the information and analysis in the article is sound.”

      Oren is a Zionist liar, his account utter BS. I am not going to go into detail as we have discussed this in detail already. I leave you with one quote from a longer article on CounterPunch:

      “A few years after Attack on the Liberty was originally published, Ennes got a call from Evan Toni, an Israeli pilot. 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 Ashdod. When he arrived he was summarily arrested for disobeying orders.” (Jeffrey St. Clair) https://www.counterpunch.org/2003/10/24/israel-s-attack-on-the-liberty-revisited/

      • Mooser
        September 4, 2017, 12:32 pm

        “Jon s” is always ready to roll those dice, to gamble with the facts. He doesn’t care how many times he loses, because it never affects his credibility. Just ask him.

    • Marnie
      September 5, 2017, 10:12 am

      Professional historian? Professional bullshit artist, which explains your fondness of him and balls to the wall back up of what he squirts out of his mouth. Oh and right, you’re a ‘history’ teacher, so you and Oren have so much in common.

  23. Ronald Johnson
    September 5, 2017, 7:06 am

    I’m late in reading this. This is for the record for completeness. The most dire aspect of the USS Liberty scandal is that we had Zionists in the White House, with Mossad code names, who snitched to Israel, giving a play-by-play feed as to what the President knew, thus signaling the switch to the “tragic accident” gambit. Quoting:

    “Hamlet” was Abe Feinberg, one of the most influential fund-raisers ever in Democratic Party politics, whose phone calls Johnson couldn’t afford to ignore; “Menashe” was Arthur Goldberg, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; “Harari” was David Ginsberg, a prominent Washington lawyer who represented the Israeli Embassy; and “Ilan” was Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, a longtime Johnson confidant who had dined with the president on the eve of the Six-Day War.

    See, “Israel’s White House Friends” in the link:

    https://www.washingtonreport.me/2015-january-february/behind-the-uss-liberty-cover-up.html

  24. MalcolmLeftly
    September 6, 2017, 1:01 am

    “switch to the “tragic accident” gambit. ”
    ————————————————————–
    I’d say there were three gambits:

    * While appearing like an Egyptian freighter, you were trying to escape (at high speed) and weren’t flying your American colors gambit.

    * It was a tragic mistake gambit. We couldn’t see the flag because the weather was too good and the colors were limp. Condolences.

    * After the LBJ leak to “Newsweek” began the ‘Blood Libel Gambit’. In essence saying ‘we gave you our answer and a friend would accept it’. ‘Failure to do so will cause us to turn to other means and make sure the press and Jewish donors know that LBJ will not allow us to write this off as a mistake, allowing us to revel in our 6-day War Victory.
    ‘If you continue the blame game, we will do what we have to do.’

Leave a Reply