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Al Jazeera investigates the USS Liberty attack in ‘The Day Israel Attacked America’

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On June 8, 1967, in the midst of the Six Day War, a state of the art intelligence ship controlled by the National Security Agency was sitting near Egypt in international waters when it was attacked by unmarked Israeli aircraft  who strafed its decks and dropped napalm.  An unmarked Israeli naval vessel torpedoed its target five times.  For seventy-five minutes Israel pummeled the unarmed U.S.S. Liberty and when it was over 34 Americans were dead and 172 wounded which amounted to two-thirds of the ship’s crew.   Israel owned up to the attack but claimed it was an accident, that the ship was mistaken for an Egyptian vessel.

“The Day Israel Attacked America,” a 50 minute video produced by Al Jezeera, offers proof that Israel deliberately intended to destroy the Liberty.  The video broadcasts for the first time ever audio exchanges in Hebrew between the pilots and ground control.   At least three times, starting at 5:15 a.m, ground control is told the ship is American.   By 2:00 pm, ground control commands the pilot to attack the ship.  An argument ensues when the pilot reminds his superiors the ship is American.  Ground control confirms the order and the pilot is forced to obey.

Through interviews with now elderly Liberty crewmen, Part I of the video covers what happened and how Israelis assuredly knew the ship was American.  The crew point to the ship’s huge American flag visible “for miles.”  One man described how earlier in the day an Israeli marked plane swooped low enough for he and the pilot to wave at one another, and he felt comfort that an ally was near.   Several men explain that only an ally can know a ship’s frequencies.   To a man, they are convinced that it was an intentional assault.  If, as the Israelis claim, it was an accident, then, as one veteran put it, it was the best planned accident in history.

Most dismaying to the Liberty’s crew was the belated response by the U.S. Sixth Fleet aircraft carrier 500 miles away to send fighter jets to the scene.  Even more inexplicable, indeed personally devastating to the surviving crew, was the cover-up.   Not only were the men ordered not to discuss any of the events, especially not with journalists, but the gag order applied to their families as well.

Subsequent government reports excluded crew testimony damaging to Israel, such as, that life boats were machine gunned by the Israelis and the jar of napalm collected by one sailor mysteriously disappeared.   Basically the U.S. government accepted Israel’s “my dog ate my homework” excuse and a lame apology.  In 1980, the Americans sought $17 million compensation for damage to the Liberty. The Israelis counter offered $6 million.  Done deal.  The crew and family members of the dead received compensation but to this day remain painfully aggrieved by the betrayal.

Part II of the video explores the confounding why? of it all.   Why did Israel attack the Liberty?   Why did American fighter jets delay a response?  Why did the U.S. government not treat Israel’s action for the war crime that it was?   What was the Liberty’s real mission in the region? Why is the subject today not grounds for outrage among Americans?

As to the first question, the video proposes that the Israelis had promised U.S. officials it would be a limited war and not a land grab.  Having captured Jerusalem and crushed the Egyptians, the Israelis were poised to invade the Golan Heights and they wanted to keep this secret from the Americans, and they did so by debilitating all the ship’s sophisticated surveillance.  But that theory doesn’t explain in any way why the Israelis clearly tried to sink a U.S. spy ship and backed off only when U.S. retaliatory fighter jets finally came to the rescue.

In addition to the Golan Heights invasion, the U.S.S Liberty Memorial website offers two additional possible motives:

It is possible that [the Israelis] were afraid Liberty might learn and report to the United States that Israeli forces were executing up to 1,000 Egyptian Prisoners of War at El Arish at the very moment that Liberty was just 13 miles off the shore.

It is also possible that USS Liberty was attacked to prevent the ship from reporting a deliberate massacre of 14 Indian United Nations peacekeepers that took place in Gaza shortly before Israel’s attack on USS Liberty.

President Lyndon Johnson believed the attack was intentional and he leaked his opinion to Newsweek.  When that sourcing was then leaked, the Israelis rallied their forces. If Johnson did not change his position they would cry “blood libel” and accuse him of gross anti-Semitism.  As Bobby Ray Inman, former NSA director, put it in the video, it was “blackmail” pure and simple.  If Johnson decided to run for reelection he would get nowhere when the “Jewish lobby” waged the campaign that it threatened to. One legacy of the Liberty affair is that similar coercive tactics against politicians have been employed to this day to great success.

The Israelis had captured and hauled away the entirety of Egypt’s surface to air missiles made in the Soviet Union, including the maintenance manuals.  These were the same pesky missiles that the Vietnamese used to shoot down American aircraft left and right in that pesky war LBJ just couldn’t seem to defeat.   The Israelis turned the weaponry over to the Americans.   As a reward, the following year, aid to Israel increased four-fold and the government kept the Liberty issue out of the public eye and tacitly accepted Israel’s accident/mistaken identity excuse.

“The Day Israel Attacked America” is definitely worth watching to get your feet wet on this subject.   But it has limitations.   It doesn’t interview a single Israeli and it doesn’t present other evidence that seemingly implicates U.S. intelligence as a partner to the Israeli crime.  A 2002 BBC video, “Dead in the Water,” interviewed the late former CIA Director Richard Helms who stated that Israel “intended to attack the ship” and it has “no excuse to say it was a mistake.”   Yet, when asked about U.S. intelligence involvement, he told the BBC they’d have to ask former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, which BBC did, but McNamara categorically denied the allegation on camera.

The BBC also interviewed James Ennes, an officer on the Liberty’s bridge, who spent years searching for answers which culminated in his book, Assault on the Liberty: The True Story of the Israeli Attack on an American Intelligence Ship.  Scouring the Liberty records in the LBJ Library in Texas, Ennes stumbled upon a smoking gun – a one-page memo of the minutes of the 303 Committee held in advance of the war in April 1967.   The Committee consisted of a handful of top level intelligence and government officials who examined black operations and devised plausible deniability for the executive branch in the event of public discovery of an attack.  The memo relates to a clandestine joint US-Israeli effort to blame Egypt for the sinking of the Liberty.  The BBC examines how this false flag plot was foiled, but it was not able to answer a number of questions that remain to this day.

It  is interesting that the “The Day Israel Attacked America” has come out at a moment when U.S.-Israeli relations are perhaps at their lowest point in history.   The nadir results from the American public’s increasing refusal to accept Israeli war crimes in Gaza,  routine blackmail of Congress by the same tactics used against LBJ, and the ongoing brazen theft of Palestinian land in the Occupied Territories. This video has the potential to tip the scales even more given how highly emotionally Americans respond when land, property or people are attacked by a foreign force.

Colleen McGuire

Colleen McGuire has been involved in the Israel-Palestine issue since 1975 when she spent three months there. She was a member of the National Lawyers Guild's Middle East Committee. She participates in Follow the Women bicycle rides for peace in the Middle East.

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79 Responses

  1. Boomer on November 11, 2014, 9:49 am

    Thanks for this. I don’t have access to Al Jazeera, so I particularly appreciate it. The history deserves to be known. It was a betrayal and blatant criminal act. Likewise, the American complicity in the coverup. That coverup has contributed to the on-going American guilt in enabling the dispossession and oppression of Palestinians, and to the corruption of the American political process.

  2. American on November 11, 2014, 10:11 am

    Americans have many, many scores to settle with the Israelis and their US Lobby and the US politicians who have protected them.

    Israel Charged with Systematic Harassment of U.S. Marines

    By Donald Neff
    Former Time Magazine Bureau Chief, Israel
    Washington Report, March 1995

    It was 12 years ago, on March 14, 1983, that the commandant of the Marine Corps sent a highly unusual letter to the secretary of defense expressing frustration and anger at Israel. General R.H. Barrow charged that Israeli troops were deliberately threatening the lives of Marines serving as peacekeepers in Lebanon. There was, he wrote, a systematic pattern of harassment by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) that was resulting in “life-threatening situations, replete with verbal degradation of the officers, their uniform and country.”

  3. peterfeld on November 11, 2014, 10:33 am

    As to the why: an account in Stewart Steven’s generally Israel-friendly The Spymasters Of Israel and summarized in the study linked below (search for “signals”) claims Israeli intelligence intercepted signals from Egypt to Jordan reporting Egyptian defeat, and instead sent the Jordanians deceptive signals boasting of great victories to lure them into the fighting in which Israel conquered East Jerusalem and the West Bank. When the US informed Israel they were aware of the deception, Israel realized it was being spied on by the USS Liberty.

  4. Horizontal on November 11, 2014, 10:50 am

    Again with the blood libel.

    If President Johnson, a product of the rough and tumble world of cutthroat Texas politics buckled under the pressure of the Israel Lobby, than that lobby must be insanely powerful. Imagine, turning the loyalty of the Commander in Chief against those who died serving under him. Israel continues to disgust me.

    So another thing to utter, besides “Jonathan Pollard,” whenever anyone makes the outrageous claim that Israel is our ally: “What about the USS Liberty?”

  5. Brewer on November 11, 2014, 11:11 am

    I was told the truth of this matter many years ago by my late best friend, a former ranking U.S. Naval officer who had met the commander of the torpedo boat sent to finish Liberty off. They met in a Yacht Club when both were retired and the Israeli confirmed that his orders were to sink the American ship. Such was the integrity of my friend that I could not doubt his story of the meeting but as evidence it was valueless.
    Nevertheless, the knowledge continued to colour my analysis as I studied the political events both before and after that shameful incident and I believe that there is more to it than meets the eye, a deeper and darker secret.
    Consider Johnson’s subsequent behaviour which seems counter-intuitive:

    Israeli author Michael Karpin writes that “as soon as [Johnson] entered the White House the pressure on Israel on the Dimona issue ceased.”

    And while Kennedy’s final budget, for fiscal year 1964, allocated $40 million in aid to Israel, Johnson’s first budget, for fiscal year 1965, set aside $71 million – an extraordinary increase of 75 percent. The amount nearly doubled in 1966, to $130 million.

    Beyond the numbers, the precise nature and terms of the aid signaled a dramatic break with past American policy. Development loans and surplus food had constituted the extent of U.S. aid under Eisenhower and Kennedy, and the anti-aircraft missiles sold to Israel by the Kennedy administration required a cash payment. Johnson changed all that: Not only did he become the first American president to sell offensive weapons to Israel (the missiles from Kennedy were defensive), but from now on the Israelis would be permitted to buy American arms with American aid money, which meant no funds would have to leave Israel’s hard-pressed government coffers.

    As a result of the new arrangement, the percentage of American aid to Israel earmarked for military expenditures rose dramatically, more than tripling between 1965 and 1967. By the middle of 1966, the Israelis were purchasing military hardware the type of which would have been unthinkable under prior administrations, including four-dozen Skyhawk bomber attack planes and more than 200 M-48 tanks

    I cannot help wondering what caused Johnson, who was initially outraged by the Liberty attack, to not only cover it up but then to display this unprecedented largesse before declining to run for a second term:

    He left the White House in January 1969 a broken man, vilified as perhaps no president in American history up to that time. He died four years later, not yet 65 but looking like a man two decades older.

    Whatever else can be said of Lyndon Johnson, he proved to be a true friend of the Jews and Israel. He proved it as a young lawmaker when, with limited clout and resources, he did everything he could to get as many Jews as possible out of Europe; he proved it as one of Israel’s strongest and most important backers in Congress during the Jewish state’s early years; and he proved it as president by granting Israel then-unprecedented levels of financial and military aid and by refusing, in marked contrast to Eisenhower’s actions after the Suez crisis of 1956, to force unilateral concessions on Israel following the Six-Day War.

    • Horizontal on November 11, 2014, 3:18 pm

      Thanks. I was unaware of that.

      So not only did Johnson keep our country in a divisive, ruinous war during his term, but now I have an entirely new reason to hold him in utter contempt.

    • lysias on November 11, 2014, 4:22 pm

      The reactor at Dimona went critical on Dec. 24, 1963. Interesting date.

      As for what hold Israel had over LBJ, I strongly suspect Israel knew the truth about the JFK assassination and the extent of LBJ’s involvement in it. (There can be no doubt that LBJ orchestrated the coverup after the assassination. That much is incontestable.)

    • just on November 11, 2014, 6:04 pm

      thank you for sharing this, Brewer. i’m sorry for your loss.

  6. seanmcbride on November 11, 2014, 11:16 am

    email notifications (delete this)

  7. Philip Munger on November 11, 2014, 11:21 am

    When the USS Liberty was attacked, I was on leave from the Army. My best friend at the time was also on leave, from the Navy. We were camped on the eastern shore of Hood Canal in Washington, diving for oysters. We had a big portable radio with us, to listen to the 6-Day war unfold.

    He had trained with two of the Liberty’s crew, though he only knew that one was on “that spook ship.” Both were injured, one severely.

    Dave said, as the attack was announced on the radio as “an accident,” – “THAT was NO accident!” Dave believed that for the rest of his life.

    There is not one single USS Liberty survivor who believes the attack was an accident. When I brought that fact up to the head of AIPAC in Alaska, when a discussion brought up the 1967 incident, his reply was that every single one of these men suffered from a combination of PTSD and anti-Semitism.

    I walked away from my table in disgust.

    • American on November 11, 2014, 11:59 am

      Philip Munger says…

      ” When I brought that fact up to the head of AIPAC in Alaska, when a discussion brought up the 1967 incident, his reply was that every single one of these men suffered from a combination of PTSD and anti-Semitism. >>>>

      You just don’t know how to effectively communicate with zionist and Israelis Philip….lol
      If you want to have a satisfactory interaction with them you first put a gun to their head.

      By RICHARD HALLORAN, Special to the New York Times
      Published: February 3, 1983

      WASHINGTON, Feb. 2— A United States Marine Corps captain drew and loaded his pistol, then climbed aboard an Israeli tank near the Lebanese University Library in Beirut and ordered an Israeli lieutenant colonel to remove his three tanks, the Defense Department reported today.

      It said the lead tank in the Israeli formation stopped a foot in front of the captain, Charles B. Johnson of Company L, at his checkpoint in Beirut at 9 A.M. today. Captain Johnson told the Israelis that they would pass only ”over my dead body.”

      The confrontation, the sixth incident between United States and Israeli forces in recent weeks, prompted Deputy Secretary of State Kenneth W. Dam to summon the Israeli charge d’affaires here, Benjamin Netanyahu, to lodge a protest.

      The State Department spokesman, Alan D. Romberg, said, ”These recurring challenges by the Israeli forces are unacceptable.” He said Mr. Dam had expressed to Mr. Netanyahu ”the gravity with which we view” the incident.

      The Israeli Embassy here rejected the allegation in a statement this afternoon. The embassy denied that ”there was any attempt to cross the American lines or to challenge the Marines.” It said ”there was no such attempt.”

      On Capitol Hill, Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger told the House Armed Services Committee that Captain Johnson, who is from Rock Island, Ill., would be commended for his ”courageous action” when confronting the ”threatening moves” by the Israeli tanks.”

      • Daniel Rich on November 11, 2014, 6:05 pm

        @ American,

        I guess you’ve stopped wondering why 241 Marines died on October 1983 in Lebanon?

        Unless the US government does what it’s supposed to do [about the attack on the USS Liberty], I’m not interested in whatever more ‘blah, blah, blah.’

        “The U.S. has always had a pretty sacred rule: We don’t leave our men or women in uniform behind.” – Obombi.

        Unless the IDF does it, bc in that case they’ll get the USS Liberty/Rachel Corrie/Furkan Doğan/Orwah Hammad treatment.

        What a ff-ing joke.

      • Daniel Rich on November 11, 2014, 6:06 pm

        Oops, on October, 23rd

    • just on November 11, 2014, 2:07 pm

      oh Phil, may your mate rest in peace.

      “THAT was NO accident!” is something that sentient humans have always known, but they were always dismissed as conspiracy theorists.

      I only hope that we will get to the bottom of, and end this unholy alliance.

    • lysias on November 11, 2014, 4:25 pm

      As an enlisted man in Air Force signals intelligence from 1969 to 1972 and a reserve officer in Navy signals intelligence for many years after that, I can confirm that it was the general opinion throughout the U.S. military signals intelligence community that Israel, in attacking the Liberty, knowingly attacked a U.S. ship. To say that it was accidental is hogwash.

      • lysias on November 11, 2014, 4:31 pm

        Even before the attack started, the Israelis were jamming any radio frequencies the Liberty might use to get off an SOS: both the International Distress Frequency (which it is a war crime to jam) and U.S. Navy frequencies. Why would you do that if you didn’t know it was a U.S. ship.

        Then, when Israeli aircraft launched the attack, the first thing they did was to send heat-seeking missiles to knock out the Liberty’s radio antennae. The obvious purpose was to prevent the ship from sending out an SOS. Fortunately, one of the antennae had been out of order and thus down, so the crew frantically repaired it, brought it back up, and succeeded in sending out an SOS to the U.S. fleet despite the jamming. Had they not done that, the ship would undoubtedly have been sunk with all hands on board. (Remember, they fired at the lifeboats.)

      • RoHa on November 11, 2014, 6:00 pm

        I’m repeating myself, but at my age it’s expected of me.

        Many years ago (shortly after the event) I read that, when the 1967 war started, a young Jewish officer ran through the ship shouting “my people have risen”.

        I do not know whether this actually happened, but had I been the captain I would have had that officer in front of me and told him that as long as he was an officer in the US Navy, “his people” were the all and only the people of the United States.

        However, the Israeli Air Force made the same point a bit later.

      • Daniel Rich on November 11, 2014, 6:17 pm

        @ lysias,

        GTR 5 a web site run by the USS Liberty’s former crew members and worth a visit. Almost 40 years have passed since that horrible day in June, ’67, so it looks like TPTB are patiently waiting for all crew members to pass away and then declare ‘problem solved, it was an unfortunate accident that just happened to last almost 2 hours…’

  8. Talkback on November 11, 2014, 11:29 am

    Al Jazeera has uploaded the documentary to Youtube:


    • Kris on November 11, 2014, 12:56 pm

      Talkback, the link to youtube says that Al Jazeera “has not made this available in your country.”

      Many thanks for giving us this back-up, which works!

      • Talkback on November 12, 2014, 3:24 pm

        You’re welcome. But it wasn’t Al Jazeera which made it unavailable in the so called land of the free and the home of the brave. I linked the second video because it maybe just a question of time until it’s banned, too.

  9. Kay24 on November 11, 2014, 11:46 am

    This documentary was riveting to me. The never before heard tapes, and the fact that the ship carried a huge American flag, clearly shows our so called ally KNEW it was an American ship.
    They simply did not want the US to be there, and did not want us to know the truth about what they were up to. They did promise to not start that war, and yet they did.
    It was also startling to see an US leader being intimidated into watering this crime down, being able to ignore the plight of American servicemen, who were killed and injured, and allow the brutes to go free, without being held accountable, and in fact got more aid from the US soon after. None of the evidence by the witnesses were taken into account. In other words, our leaders ignored them, defended and supported an alien criminal nation that bombed us.
    To this day, their lobbies continue these ugly tactic, holding power over our Congress and maybe the White House.
    You have got to wonder how many around Obama, are the eyes and ears of Israel. It is frightening.

    No wonder one Israeli leader boasted that they control us and we know it.

  10. John O on November 11, 2014, 1:16 pm

    I give the Israeli narrative another two and a half years – until the 50th anniversary of the 1967 war. There will be books, documentaries, articles, etc. Inevitably (even if it’s mostly outside the USA) the story will be up for reappraisal. And given the way non-USAans are increasingly heartily sick of Israel, the whole mythology of the Six-Day War is ripe for destruction.

  11. eGuard on November 11, 2014, 1:32 pm

    For the record. Mistake or no mistake: Israel failed in the sinking.

    • Horizontal on November 11, 2014, 9:31 pm

      That kind of misses the point, don’t you think?

      • eGuard on November 12, 2014, 6:06 am

        don’t you think – No I don’t think so. It is more of a new point: Israel failed. Had Israel succeeded in the sinking, the coverup would have been much easier.

        Here is another new point: this was an Israeli action to keep the US out of a war. That was long ago.

  12. American on November 11, 2014, 4:57 pm

    At least entered into the congressional record.

    Thursday, October 7, 2004

    Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, on February 5 of this year, a legendary American naval hero passed away in Bethesda, Maryland. Admiral Thomas H. Moorer epitomized the finest qualities of dedication and national service. His distinguished naval career spanned 41 years, including service as a naval aviator, as one of the first pilots off the ground during the attack on Pearl Harbor, as a decorated hero of numerous combat missions in the Southwest Pacific and the Battle of Midway, as Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, as commander of NATO’s U.S. Atlantic Command and the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, becoming the only officer in the Navy’s history to command both our Atlantic and Pacific Fleets, as Chief of Naval Operations, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as a tireless advocate for American veterans. Admiral Moorer was instrumental in establishing the United States Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue. In numerous appearances before Congressional Committees, Admiral Moorer provided valuable testimony on a variety of national security concerns.

    Capping this extraordinary career, Admiral Moorer made his final appearance on Capitol Hill on October 22, 2003, as Chairman of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the 1967 attack on the USS Liberty. It is a privilege for me to introduce the Findings of the Independent Commission of Inquiry Into the Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty into the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD.

    We, the undersigned, having undertaken an independent investigation of Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty, including eyewitness testimony from surviving crewmembers, a review of naval and other official records, an examination of official statements by the Israeli and American governments, a study of the conclusions of all previous official inquiries, and a consideration of important

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    new evidence and recent statements from individuals having direct knowledge of the attack or the cover up, hereby find the following:

    1. That on June 8, 1967, after eight hours of aerial surveillance, Israel launched a two-hour air and naval attack against the USS Liberty, the world’s most sophisticated intelligence ship, inflicting 34 dead and 172 wounded American servicemen (a casualty rate of seventy percent, in a crew of 294);

    2. That the Israeli air attack lasted approximately 25 minutes, during which time unmarked Israeli aircraft dropped napalm canisters on the Liberty’s bridge, and fired 30mm cannons and rockets into our ship, causing 821 holes, more than 100 of which were rocket-size; survivors estimate 30 or more sorties were flown over the ship by a minimum of 12 attacking Israeli planes which were jamming all five American emergency radio channels;

    3. That the torpedo boat attack involved not only the firing of torpedoes, but the machine-gunning of the Liberty’s firefighters and stretcher-bearers as they struggled to save their ship and crew; the Israeli torpedo boats later returned to machine-gun at close range three of the Liberty’s life rafts that had been lowered into the water by survivors to rescue the most seriously wounded;

    4. That there is compelling evidence that Israel’s attack was a deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew; evidence of such intent is supported by statements from Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Undersecretary of State George Ball, former CIA director Richard Helms, former NSA directors Lieutenant General William Odom, USA (Ret.), Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, USN (Ret.), and Marshal Carter; former NSA deputy directors Oliver Kirby and Major General John Morrison, USAF (Ret.); and former Ambassador Dwight Porter, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon in 1967;

    5. That in attacking the USS Liberty, Israel committed acts of murder against American servicemen and an act of war against the United States;

    6. That fearing conflict with Israel, the White House deliberately prevented the U.S. Navy from coming to the defense of the Liberty by recalling Sixth Fleet military rescue support while the ship was under attack; evidence of the recall of rescue aircraft is supported by statements of Captain Joe Tully, Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga, and Rear Admiral Lawrence Geis, the Sixth Fleet carrier division commander, at the time of the attack; never before in American naval history has a rescue mission been cancelled when an American ship was under attack;

    7. That although the Liberty was saved from almost certain destruction through the heroic efforts of the ship’s Captain, William L. McGonagle (MOH), and his brave crew, surviving crewmembers were later threatened with “court-martial, imprisonment or worse” if they exposed the truth; and were abandoned by their own government;

    8. That due to the influence of Israel’s powerful supporters in the United States, the White House deliberately covered up the facts of this attack from the American people;

    9. That due to continuing pressure by the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, this attack remains the only serious naval incident that has never been thoroughly investigated by Congress; to this day, no surviving crewmember has been permitted to officially and publicly testify about the attack;

    10. That there has been an official cover-up without precedent in American naval history; the existence of such a cover-up is now supported by statements of Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, USN (Ret.), former Judge Advocate General of the Navy; and Captain Ward Boston, USN, (Ret.), the chief counsel to the Navy’s 1967 Court of Inquiry of the Liberty attack;

    11. That the truth about Israel’s attack and subsequent White House cover-up continues to be officially concealed from the American people to the present day and is a national disgrace;

    12. That a danger to our national security exists whenever our elected officials are willing to subordinate American interests to those of any foreign nation, and specifically are unwilling to challenge Israel’s interests when they conflict with American interests; this policy, evidenced by the failure to defend the USS Liberty and the subsequent official cover-up of the Israeli attack, endangers the safety of Americans and the security of the United States.

    Whereupon, we, the undersigned, in order to fulfill our duty to the brave crew of the USS Liberty and to all Americans who are asked to serve in our Armed Forces, hereby call upon the Department of the Navy, the Congress of the United States and the American people to immediately take the following actions:

    First, That a new Court of Inquiry be convened by the Department of the Navy, operating with Congressional oversight, to take public testimony from surviving crewmembers; and to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the attack on the USS Liberty, with full cooperation from the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the military intelligence services, and to determine Israel’s possible motive in launching said attack on a U.S. naval vessel;

    Second, That every appropriate committee of the Congress of the United States investigate the actions of the White House and Defense Department that prevented the rescue of the USS Liberty, thereafter threatened her surviving officers and men if they exposed the truth, and covered up the true circumstances of the attack from the American people; and

    Third, That the eighth day of June of every year be proclaimed to be hereafter known as USS Liberty Remembrance Day, in order to commemorate the Liberty’s heroic crew; and to educate the American people of the danger to our national security inherent in any passionate attachment of our elected officials for any foreign nation.

    For more than 30 years, I have remained silent on the topic of the USS Liberty. I am a military man and when orders come in from the Secretary of Defense and President of the United States, I follow them.

    However, recent attempts to rewrite history compel me to share the truth.

    In June of 1967, while serving as a Captain in the Judge Advocates General Department of the Navy, I was assigned as senior legal counsel for the Navy’s Court of Inquiry into the brutal attack on the USS Liberty, which had occurred on June 8th. The late Admiral Isaac C. Kidd, president of the Court, and I were given only one week to gather evidence for the Navy’s official investigation into the attack. Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., then Commander-in-chief, Naval Forces Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR), at his headquarters in London, had charged Admiral Kidd (in a letter dated June 10, 1967) to “inquire into all the pertinent facts and circumstances leading to and connected with the armed attack: damage resulting therefrom; and deaths of and injuries to Naval personnel.” Despite the short amount of time we were given, we gathered a vast amount of evidence, including hours of heartbreaking testimony from the young survivors.

    The evidence was clear. Both Admiral Kidd and I believed with certainty that this attack, which killed 34 American sailors and injured 172 others, was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew. I am certain that the Israeli pilots that undertook the attack, as well as their superiors who had ordered the attack, were aware that the ship was American.

    I saw the flag, which had visibly identified the ship as American, riddled with bullet holes, and heard testimony that made it clear that the Israelis intended there be no survivors. Not only did the Israelis attack the ship with napalm, gunfire, and missiles, Israeli torpedo boats machine-gunned three lifeboats that had been launched in an attempt by the crew to save the most seriously wounded–a war crime.

    I am outraged at the efforts of the apologists for Israel in this country to claim that this attack was a case of “mistaken identity.” In particular, the recent publication of Jay Cristol’s book, The Liberty Incident, twists the facts and misrepresents the views of those of us who investigated the attack. It is Cristol’s insidious attempt to whitewash the facts that has pushed me to speak out.

    I know from personal conversations I had with Admiral Kidd 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. Contrary to the misinformation presented by Cristol and others, it is important for the American people to know that it is clear that Israel is responsible for deliberately attacking an American ship and murdering American sailors, whose bereaved shipmates have lived with this egregious conclusion for many years.

    1. What happened to the USS Liberty? The USS Liberty was a virtually unarmed American Navy ship that was attacked by Israeli planes and torpedo boats on June 8, 1967.

    2. What were the American casualties? 34 American sailors were killed and 172 injured that day, a casualty rate of 70%. This is the highest casualty rate ever inflicted upon a U.S. naval vessel that remained afloat after an attack.

    3. What was Israel’s explanation for the attack? Israel claimed the attack was “a case of mistaken identity”; that they didn’t know it was an American ship.

    4. Why would we question that explanation more than 30 years later? The ship’s survivors were afraid to speak out in the early years because of threats of “court martial, prison or worse” if they did not remain silent. However, as time passed, they have stepped forward to say the attack was deliberate.

    Recently, high government and military officials have suggested that not only was the attack deliberate, but that the US government covered up the incident. Today, an Independent Commission of Inquiry has found that Israel committed “an act of war” against the United States (see Findings of Independent Commission).

    In addition, the Navy’s chief attorney to the original 1967 military Court of Inquiry has issued a statement that orders to cover up the incident were issued by President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara [see Statement of Captain Ward Boston, USN, JAG (Ret.)].

    5. Did Israel have reason to believe the USS Liberty was an Egyptian ship? Israel says its pilots and torpedo boat commanders

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    confused the USS Liberty with the El Quseir, an Egyptian ship allegedly firing upon its forces in the Sinai. But there was no Egyptian naval bombardment that day; nor did the El Quseir (an unarmed 1920s-era horse carrier out of service in Alexandria) bear any resemblance to the Liberty.

    6. Isn’t it difficult to identify a ship if you’re in an airplane? In 1967, the USS Liberty was the most sophisticated intelligence ship in the world, with dozens of large antennas, including a large moon-bounce “satellite-dish” mounted on a tall structure near the stern. It may have been one of the most easily identifiable ships of any navy in the world. With a displacement of 10,000 tons, it was four times the size of the antique Egyptian transport it is claimed to have resembled. Freshly painted, the Liberty carried large white identification numbers on its bow. Egyptian hull numbers are painted black.

    7. Doesn’t Israel say that the Liberty flew no flag? According to American survivors, a 5-by-8 feet American flag was hoisted early that morning and was flying all day until it was shot away by attacking aircraft. Within several minutes, it was replaced by the giant 7-by-13 feet holiday ensign, which flew for the duration of the attack.

    8. Could Israel have thought the ship was in a war zone, acting suspiciously? According to surviving crewmembers, Israeli reconnaissance aircraft closely studied the Liberty over an eight-hour period prior to the attack, one flying within two hundred feet of the ship. At all times the Liberty was a clearly marked American ship in international waters, proceeding at a speed of only 5 knots.

    9. What was the weather like the day of the attack? Weather reports confirm that it was a clear day with unlimited visibility. The Israeli reconnaissance planes could have seen the Liberty’s crew sunbathing on the upper decks just before the attack. The flag was flying in a 12-knot breeze for most of the afternoon.

    10. Doesn’t Israel say they ended the attack the minute they saw someone hoist an American flag? The Israeli attack by combined air and naval forces spanned two hours–as long as the attack on Pearl Harbor. The air attack alone lasted approximately 25 minutes: consisting of more than 30 sorties by approximately 12 separate planes using napalm, cannon, and rockets which left 821 holes in the ship. Following the air attack, three Israeli motor torpedo boats torpedoed the ship, causing a 40¬ x 40¬ wide hole in her hull, and machine-gunning firefighters and stretcher-bearers attempting to save their ship and crew. More than 3,000 machine-gun bullet holes were later counted on the Liberty’s hull. After the attack was thought to have ended, three life rafts were lowered into the water to rescue the most seriously wounded. The Israeli torpedo boats returned and machine-gunned these life rafts at close range. This was followed by the approach of two large Israeli Army assault helicopters filled with armed commandos carrying what appeared to be explosive satchels (they departed after hovering over the ship for several minutes, making no attempt to communicate).

    11. Did the Liberty send out a distress signal when it was under attack? Throughout the air attack, the Liberty’s radio operators found it difficult to transmit a distress signal because the attacking Israeli aircraft jammed all five of the Liberty’s American, not Egyptian, emergency radio channels. However, a call for help did reach the U.S. Navy command in the Mediterranean.

    12. What was the American response time? Although American carrier-based air support was only 40 minutes away, help did not reach the USS Liberty for seventeen hours. Navy fighters were launched from the aircraft carriers America and Saratoga while the Liberty was under attack. However, they were quickly recalled by the White House. This is the only instance in American naval history where a rescue mission was cancelled when an American ship was under attack.

    13. Why would Israel have deliberately attacked an American ship? Israel’s motive for launching the attack has never been determined with certainty. This is why an impartial investigation is critical. One hypothesis is that Israel intended to sink the ship (with no survivors) and blame Egypt because this might have brought the United States into the 1967 war. Another hypothesis is that the Liberty was gathering intelligence about activities that Israel did not want revealed. Examples might include the massacre of Egyptian prisoners of war that was then occurring in the Sinai, as well as Israel’s impending invasion of Syria.

    14. Has the incident been investigated in the past? Some people say that there have been “thirteen official investigations” all concluding the attack was a case of mistaken identity. Several were conducted by Israel. Upon examination, however, every one is based upon the conclusions of the original 1967 U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry, which accepted the Israeli version, but which has been exposed and discredited by its chief attorney as a cover-up.

    15. Did the surviving crewmembers testify in the other investigations? In not one of these “investigations” were any of the Liberty’s surviving crewmembers permitted to publicly testify.

    16. Why would the White House prevent the rescue of an American ship? This is, perhaps, the most disturbing question arising out of Israel’s attack. It is why there needs to be a thorough investigation of the actions taken by the White House and the Secretary of Defense. Why did they order the recall of the planes that had been sent to rescue the Liberty? Why did they order that the survivors be silenced and the true facts be withheld from the American people?

    17. What kind of investigation are you calling for? We are calling for a new Court of Inquiry by the Department of the Navy, with congressional oversight, to take public testimony from surviving crewmembers and otherwise thoroughly examine the circumstances of the attack.

    18. Why are you calling for a naval–and not a congressional–investigation? We believe this would remove the inquiry from the political pressures traditionally exerted by special interest groups upon individual congressional offices. Fundraising and election pressures have prevented an honest investigation from being conducted for the past 36 years.

    19. Why is this significant for the American people 36 years later? We have a duty to the crew of the USS Liberty, while the survivors are still alive to testify, and while the perpetrators can be brought to justice. Furthermore, any policies that paralyze our elected leadership to the extent they become unable or unwilling to protect Americans and American interests, endangers not only the safety of all Americans but also the national security of the United States.

    20. Doesn’t America have a special relationship with Israel? No nation or people should be above the law; nor should American interests be subordinated to the interests of any foreign nation. Those Israelis responsible for ordering the attack and the resulting murder of American sailors must be held accountable for their actions.

    Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff–The distinguished naval career of Admiral Thomas H. Moorer spanned 41 years. Following his Graduation from the Naval Academy in 1933, he became a Navy pilot, a war hero, and a ship’s captain. On December 7, 1941, as a naval aviator, Lieutenant Moorer was one of the first pilots off the ground following the attack on Pearl Harbor. A hero of the Battle of Midway, his numerous decorations for valor during WWII include the Silver Star and Purple Heart. In 1957, Moorer was promoted to the rank of Admiral. In 1965, he broke new ground, becoming the only American admiral to have ever commanded both our Atlantic and Pacific Fleets. He later served as Chief of Naval Operations, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The F-14 Tomcat, the Navy’s main fighter for many years, was named for Admiral Moorer. Since his retirement in 1974, Admiral Moorer has served on the boards of many American corporations, and is a tireless advocate for American veterans. Working with Admiral Arleigh Burke (CNO), Admiral Moorer was instrumental in establishing the United States Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. He is currently Chairman of the Liberty Alliance, an organization dedicated to obtaining an honest investigation of Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty and the official cover-up that followed.

    General of Marines Raymond G. Davis (MOH), former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps–General Davis, one of America’s most decorated heroes, passed away on September 3, 2003. As a combat veteran of three wars and a dedicated member of the Marine Corps for 34 years, General Davis received the Congressional Medal of Honor–the nation’s highest award for valor–as well as the Navy Cross, two Distinguished Service Medals, two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merit awards, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart. General Davis was renowned for his exploits in the Pacific during WWII, as a battalion and regimental commander during the Korean War, and as Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Division in Viet Nam. Attaining four-star rank in 1971, Davis served as Assistant Commandant of the Corps before retiring in 1972. A strong proponent of veterans’ issues, General Davis served as chairman of the advisory board to the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., dedicated in 1995. Prior to his death, General Davis served as Vice Chairman of the Liberty Alliance and was a principal member of the Commission of Inquiry into the cover-up of the attack on the USS Liberty.

    Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, former Judge Advocate General of the Navy–Merlin Staring’s distinguished naval career, which spanned nearly 25 years, began as an ensign in December 1941. Among his numerous decorations, Admiral Staring was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. In June of 1967, Staring served as Staff Legal Officer to Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., the Commander-in-chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR) in London, which encompassed the Mediterranean, and was assigned to review the record of the Navy Court of Inquiry’s investigation into the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. Admiral Staring later served as the Navy’s legal advisor to Secretaries of the Navy Paul R. Ignatius and John H. Chafee. Attaining the rank of Rear Admiral in 1972, he was appointed Judge Advocate General of the Navy–the Navy’s chief attorney–a position he held through 1975. Currently, Admiral Staring is Treasurer and a director of the Liberty Alliance.

    Ambassador James Akins, former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia–James Akins served his country for 25 years as a distinguished member of the diplomatic corps. From 1963-1965, he served as an attache at

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    the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and later as the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the Nixon administration. An internationally respected expert on the Middle East and energy issues, Ambassador Akins has been an active and outspoken proponent for a just resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He is a respected and highly sought speaker and analyst on the Middle East peace process as well as Arab politics in general. Author Jeans-Jacques Servan Schreiber called Ambassador Akins “the westerner who knows the most about the Middle East and has the closest relationship of trust with its leaders.” Ambassador Akins is a director of the Liberty Alliance.

    • Horizontal on November 11, 2014, 9:34 pm

      If the Israeli’s thought they were attacking an Egyptian vessel, why would they use unmarked aircraft? Has this point ever been addressed?

  13. RoHa on November 11, 2014, 5:55 pm

    Americans are not allowed to watch Al Jazeera, are they?

    • Horizontal on November 12, 2014, 8:44 am

      We can get AlJazeera America online and watch shows there. I wish it was on cable at the airport and at motel breakfast rooms instead of the insufferable Fox or CNN. Americans might actually start thinking in larger numbers.

  14. Amar on November 11, 2014, 5:58 pm

    The problem is that no matter how accurate or credible Al-Jazeera’s report may be, it will be ridiculed as preposterous and from a terrorist sympathizing news channel. Sadly the bulk of the American populace will view it that way too. Not that many will see or even hear about it to begin with.

    • annie on November 11, 2014, 6:28 pm

      don’t be so sure about that.

      • Horizontal on November 11, 2014, 9:36 pm

        I went with Al Jazeera’s coverage during the Iraq war. As an American, it was one of the few news outlets that I could trust. What does that say?

      • jd65 on November 11, 2014, 9:52 pm

        Unfortunately, Annie, I’d have to fully agree w/ Amar here. The fact that Israel’s attack on the U.S.S. Liberty was deliberate has been known (w/ public information available to prove the point relatively easily accessible) for maybe a couple decades now. At this point, for an honest documentary delineating the full story on the subject to be taken seriously by the American public it would have to have been produced and narrated by Sean Hannity. I think we all know how likely that would be. In Hannity’s documentary on the Liberty Bombing, Israel would be portrayed as having saved American lives during the event…

        And Horizontal: “What does that say?” It says your in the minority who can separate the wheat from the chaff, my friend.

        Trustworthy Americans… Even if folks disagree w/ his ideas of how to govern and many of his other ideas, I think the majority of Americans who dislike Ralph Nader would still admit that he’s trustworthy, extremely well-informed, and not a liar. It’s essentially undeniable. Even w/ that being the case, the Israel issue is so corrupted that even this titan of decency and integrity cannot break through the Zionist Iron Wall of Hasbara and into the vast majority of Americans’ minds. From 6 years ago:

      • bryan on November 12, 2014, 1:53 am

        Annie – a follow-up piece on US mainstream media coverage of the Al Jazeera findings would surely be of interest?

      • Walid on November 12, 2014, 5:28 am

        “As an American, it was one of the few news outlets that I could trust. What does that say? ”

        Horizontal, Jazeera offices were twice bombed by the US with some of its journalists thrown into Abu Graib. George Bush even discussed bombing it but Blair dissuaded him from doing it but the US forces did it anyway. The network because of its straightforward reporting has a long history of getting into trouble all over the world. Jazeera was my favourite choice up until it started becoming partial with its misreporting on the uprisings in Libya and Syria. It was instrumental in the overthrow of Mubarak and the Tunisian dictator, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. Jazeera, that’s staffed wall-to-wall with members of the Muslim Brotherhood (in the Arabic section at least) currently has a couple of reporters in an Egyptian jail serving a 7-year sentence for having sided with Morsi after his overthrow.

        From The Nation in 2004:

        “… Donald Rumsfeld has called Al Jazeera’s coverage “outrageous” and “inexcusably biased” and implied that he’d like to see the satellite channel thrown out of Iraq. So far the American military has bombed the network’s offices in both Baghdad and Kabul, killing one employee; arrested and briefly jailed twenty-one of Al Jazeera’s reporters; and now has imprisoned and allegedly abused and humiliated Hassan and Darwish in ways that the UN convention on such matters would consider torture.

        At the same time that the US military is harassing Al Jazeera reporters, other parts of the US government, including the State Department, are attempting to answer Al Jazeera in its own language and format. On February 14 the United States launched a nominally independent, US-funded Arabic-language satellite channel called Al Hurra, which means “the free one.” The purpose of this effort is to address the lack of popular support for the US occupation in Iraq, as well as the deepening crisis of American legitimacy throughout the Arab world; polls from the region indicate that more and more people hate the United States every day.

        Unlike other US-funded forays into Arabic-language media, Al Hurra, with an annual budget of $62 million, could be quite sophisticated and possibly effective in reshaping the beliefs of the politically important and demographically dominant Arab youth scene. …”

      • Horizontal on November 12, 2014, 8:58 am

        I remember after 9/11 that it was the network which showed Bin Laden tapes ,which were picked up by the major American networks. After a bit, Condoleeza Rice ordered that the tapes’ audio not be rebroadcast due to security reasons — Osama could be giving instructions to sleeper cells in code, like, “Ombay another ildingbay in Ewya Orkya.” Insane.

        Naturally, all the patriotic American networks complied, and equally naturally, the real reason for the censorship was so the government could control the narrative and eliminate any reasons his wanting to bomb the United States — like our support for Israel’s attack on Lebanon or basing our military in the ME — and make it instead about his “hating our freedom,” the main reason given that supposedly animated all that destruction.

        Al Jazeera was a welcomed window outside that bubble of disinformation.

      • hophmi on November 12, 2014, 11:58 am

        It’s not that. It’s that even if this conspiracy theory were in any way true, there have been far more American murdered by Islamic terrorists than there have been Americans killed on the USS Liberty. The fact that this conspiracy theory is repeated and repeated by the Arab lobby and their tiny cohort of American supporters only highlights that fact.

      • Mooser on November 12, 2014, 12:13 pm

        Good ol’ Hophmi.
        He may phone it in, but he gets it in.
        No one is going to say that Hophmi didn’t do his bit.

      • Mooser on November 12, 2014, 12:16 pm

        ” there have been far more American murdered by Islamic terrorists than there have been Americans”

        Gosh, Hophmi, I bet you never forget to mention a certain date in your daily devotions! What would you do without it?

      • jd65 on November 12, 2014, 3:04 pm

        @ Hophmi:

        “…this conspiracy theory is repeated and repeated by the Arab lobby and their tiny cohort of American supporters…”

        Are these the Arab Lobbyists you’re referring to:

        Thomas Moorer: Chief of Naval Operations from 1967 to 1970 and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1970 to 1974

        James Akins: U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from September, 1973 to February, 1976

        Dwight Porter: served in the United States Marine Corps 1942–45; Assistant Secretary of State for Administration from October 2, 1963 until March 28, 1965; United States Ambassador to Lebanon, from June 22, 1965 until September 12, 1970

        George Ball: Under Secretary of States in the administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

        Ward Boston: served in World War II as a Navy fighter pilot; also special agent for the FBI; chief counsel to the Naval Board of Inquiry during the investigation of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty

        Admiral Isaac Kidd: Supreme Allied Commander of NATO’s Atlantic Fleet; headed the court of inquiry into the bombing of the USS Liberty.

        How very un-American of you, Hophmi, to speak so disrespectfully of the U.S. Gov’t/Military. Why do you hate America?

        Or this:

        “…there have been far more American murdered by Islamic terrorists than there have been Americans killed on the USS Liberty.”

        Ah, the numbers game. When it suits you, Hophmi, you can cherry-pick some numbers and say, “Look, those Muslims kill so many people.” But when other numbers/statistics are brought up in debate (ie: the wild disproportion of casualties in essentially all Israeli attacks against the Palestinians), you’ll brush them off as “unhelpful” or “misleading” or somehow unimportant to the wider issue being discussed. And, of course, if we’re talking sheer numbers of people killed, I can’t imagine anybody beats the USA if you add up all the deaths from Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Native Americans, African-American killed due to slavery policies/transport, Central America (Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, etc…), deaths resulting from sanctions against Iraq, attribution of at least a portion of Palestinians killed by IDF due to their connection to US funding, etc etc etc… If you wanna bring up numbers, Hophmi, you should first make sure the people you’re talking with are uninformed. Else you’re liable to come off as… how shall I put this… not credible.

      • hophmi on November 13, 2014, 10:14 am

        “Are these the Arab Lobbyists you’re referring to:

        Thomas Moorer: Chief of Naval Operations from 1967 to 1970 and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1970 to 1974

        James Akins: U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from September, 1973 to February, 1976

        Dwight Porter: served in the United States Marine Corps 1942–45; Assistant Secretary of State for Administration from October 2, 1963 until March 28, 1965; United States Ambassador to Lebanon, from June 22, 1965 until September 12, 1970

        George Ball: Under Secretary of States in the administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

        Ward Boston: served in World War II as a Navy fighter pilot; also special agent for the FBI; chief counsel to the Naval Board of Inquiry during the investigation of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty

        Admiral Isaac Kidd: Supreme Allied Commander of NATO’s Atlantic Fleet; headed the court of inquiry into the bombing of the USS Liberty.

        How very un-American of you, Hophmi, to speak so disrespectfully of the U.S. Gov’t/Military. Why do you hate America?”

        LOL. As I said, you’re free to bring up this conspiracy theory as often as you’d like, and also free to have literally no one outside the anti-Israel community care.

      • Talkback on November 12, 2014, 4:12 pm

        “It’s that even if this conspiracy theory were in any way true, …”

        According to Hophmi the US tape which recorded Israelis identifying the USS Liberty as an American ship must be fabricated. And this is not a conspiracy theory. ROFL.

        “… there have been far more American murdered by Islamic terrorists than there have been Americans killed on the USS Liberty.”

        And there have been far more Muslim killed by American or Israeli terrorists than there have been Americans killed on the USS Liberty. So what is your point?

        Oh, I get it. It’s ok to kill members of an ally, as long as its enemy kills more of them – and the killed members are not Jewish, right?

    • Kay24 on November 12, 2014, 7:18 am

      AJA was demonized even before it came into the US. Although the neocons made negative comments about it, Hillary Clinton said it was “real news”. Obviously pro Israeli elements feared AJ because it would, and does give the American people a non zionist narrative, refreshing to those who are tired of the Israeli propaganda and zionist media.
      Although not perfect, and I still wish it would try to not toe the line, it has given many viewers good coverage of what is happening on that part of the world, and have shown excellent documentaries from the other side.
      This documentary about Israel attacking the USS Liberty was an eye opener, and no one can question the fact that there is so much truth to it. The survivors and vets who who were interviewed could not have made it up, and we have got to feel sorry for them, and that their account of the attack was never taken into consideration. We have let them down.
      What Israel did was deliberate, and mean.

      • Horizontal on November 12, 2014, 9:02 am

        You’re right. I wonder if there will be any widespread awareness as a result of the broadcast.

        Unfortunately, the very people who need to see this are the ones busy watching Bill O’Reilly and voting for folks like Mitch McConnell. To them, it will always be the “ter’rist’s network.”

      • Walid on November 12, 2014, 10:38 am

        “Although the neocons made negative comments about it, Hillary Clinton said it was “real news”. ”

        That was in 2011 when Clinton took the opportunity to be critical of VOA. It somehow surpassed her that as Secretary of State, she had under command 3 TV and radio networks, Voice of America, Radio Liberty and Hurra TV with all three costing the State Department a total of $200 million/year and all 3 are mouthpieces for the State Department and the 3 of them total failures. Her aides probably forgot to mention that little detail. Hurra was hastily put up by State Dept after the Iraq invasion to have an “American voice” to give the Arabs a different point of view from Jazeera’s. Viewership surveyed in 10 Arab countries showed that Hurra has less than 1% penetration with an annual operating budget of about $75 million, roughly the same amount as Jazeera Arabic, which is fully covered by the Emir of Qatar’s petty cash.

      • hophmi on November 12, 2014, 4:20 pm

        “Oh, I get it. It’s ok to kill members of an ally, as long as its enemy kills more of them – and the killed members are not Jewish, right? ”

        I have no idea whether they were Jewish or not, and I doubt you checked either.

        “According to Hophmi the US tape which recorded Israelis identifying the USS Liberty as an American ship must be fabricated. And this is not a conspiracy theory. ROFL.”

        Old story. The question is whether that info got to the people who ordered the attack. But really, continue to rehash this story over and over again, dismissing any information that would seem to militate against your view and accepting anything that supports it, as conspiracy theorists always do.

  15. Philip Munger on November 11, 2014, 7:29 pm

    Veterans Day is a good day to post this article by Ms. McGuire.

    Here are the names of those murdered that June day in 1967:

    Cryptologic Tech 3rd Class William B. Allenbaugh, USN
    Lt Cmdr. Philip M. Armstrong Jr., USN
    Seaman Gary R. Blanchard, USN
    Cryptologic Technician 2nd Class Allen M. Blue, NSA
    Quartermaster 3rd Class Francis Brown, USN
    Cryptologic Tech 2nd Class Ronnie J. Campbell, USN
    Cryptologic Tech 2nd Class Jerry L. Converse, USN
    Cryptologic Tech 2nd Class Robert B. Eisenberg, USN
    Cryptologic Tech 2nd Class Jerry L. Goss, USN
    Cryptologic Tech 1st Class Curtis L. Graves, USN
    Cryptologic Tech Lawrence P. Hayden, USN
    Cryptologic Tech 1st Class Warren Hersey, USN
    Cryptologic Tech 3rd Class Alan Higgins, USN
    Seaman Carl L. Hoar, USN
    Cryptologic Tech 2nd Class Richard W. Keene, USN
    Cryptologic Tech James L. Lenau, USN
    Chief Cryptologic Tech Raymond E. Linn, USN
    Cryptologic Tech 1st Class James M. Lupton, USN
    Cryptologic Tech 3rd Class Duane R. Marggraf, USN
    Cryptologic Tech David W. Marlborough, USN
    Cryptologic Tech 2nd Class Anthony P. Mendle, USN
    Cryptologic Tech Carl C. Nygren, USN
    Lt. James C. Pierce, USN
    Sgt. Jack Raper, U.S.M.C.
    Cpl. Edward Rehmayer II, U.S.M.C.
    Interior Comms Electrician David N. Skolak, USN
    Cryptologic Tech 1st Class John C. Smith Jr, USN
    Chief Cryptologic Tech Melvin D. Smith, USN
    Postal Clerk 2nd Class John C. Spicher, USN
    Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Alexander N. Thompson, USN
    Cryptologic Tech 3rd Class Thomas R. Thornton, USN
    Cryptologic Tech 3rd Class Phillipe C. Tiedtke, USN
    Lt. Stephen S. Toth, USN
    Cryptologic Tech 1st Class Frederick J. Walton, USN

    • lysias on November 12, 2014, 4:52 pm

      Cryptologic technicians were enlisted men in the Navy’s signals intelligence outfit, the Naval Security Group. (I was myself a Cryptologic Technician 1st Class before I got a direct commission as a Lieutenant Junior Grade.)

  16. Keith on November 11, 2014, 7:42 pm

    Well, here we go again. Another rehash of the USS Liberty with nothing new added. I’m not objecting to the review, but why nothing new? Initially, the Joint Chiefs denied the Liberty’s request for an armed escort, apparently thinking there was no danger. Two days before the attack, however, the Joint Chiefs ordered Admiral McCain to reposition the Liberty 100 miles farther out, away from the combat zone. The order was never implemented, Admiral McCain claiming the order was not received due to a highly improbable technical snafu. What prompted the Joint Chiefs to elect to reposition the Liberty? Why not an armed escort? One would think that there are enough avenues of legitimate inquiry to clear up some of these unanswered questions concerning LBJ, the Joint Chiefs, Admiral McCain and the circumstances causing Moshe Dayan to order the attack. How about the back channel communications between Dayan and the US?

    Let me add one point. Since Israel was the only power capable of launching and sustaining this attack, the notion of a false flag operation to stage an attack and blaming it on Egypt (which was obviously incapable of doing it) is, in my view, utterly preposterous.

    Finally, subsequently, on another occasion, Dayan threatened to shoot down US reconnaissance planes and the flights were halted. Dayan publically stated that “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.”

    • Chu on November 12, 2014, 1:00 pm

      New details:

      1. I never heard that that Israelis used Napalm bomblets on the USS liberty.
      The crewmen on the deck of the Liberty explain this detail.

      2. Israelis Jammed distress freq. and tactical frequency blocked during the Liberty Attack. (*International distress frequency is a violation in international law.) quote: [Crewman Kavanaugh:] who would know the frequency other than an ally? Who was the ally in the war, it wasn’t Egypt, it was Israel. They would know, and only they would know in this conflict what are frequencies would be.”

      3. LBJ (the most pro Israel president to date) was the actual Newsweek leaker where he indicated that Israel intentionally targeted the USS Liberty to Newsweek > which alarmed the Israel embassy> declassified docs showed the Lobby was going to use the blood libel against LBJ would arouse the Jewish Donors. Israel gov’t coordinated team of lawyers beginning an all out offensive to support Israel with assistance from the media. LBJ wanted to run for reelection next year.

      I think in the end Israel aimed to sink the Liberty but failed, as they wanted to keep their plans to occupy the Golan heights a secret the following week. Transcripts indicate that they knew it was an American ship and have the audio to back it up. The crew said they were flying the largest American flag possible on the deck time of the attack.

      • Keith on November 12, 2014, 5:32 pm

        CHU- “New details….”

        I am glad that the al Jazeera video provided you with additional information you were previously unaware of, however, none of this information was actually new. Had you previously read “Assault on the Liberty” by James Ennes or “Attack on the Liberty” by Jeffrey St. Clair (one chapter in “The Politics of Anti-Semitism,” Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair eds.) most of these “revelations” would already be known to you. Once again, not to say that this review wasn’t informative for many, but merely to emphasize that it broke no new ground, which I found somewhat strange insofar as the actions of LBJ, the Joint Chiefs, Admiral McCain and the possibility of back channel communication between Israel (Moshe Dayan) and the US (LBJ, Joint Chiefs, etc) practically cry out for investigation. A lot of people seem to want to keep the deep story buried.

        I didn’t bother to watch the video so I don’t know if they mentioned that the first pilot ordered to attack refused and was arrested and court martialed when he landed. When he was released, the pilot, Evan Toni, contacted Ennes with his story. I guess what I am trying to say is that even these “exposes” seem to me to be a sort of ongoing cover up insofar as they simply review what has been previously known with no additional detail. In other words, what cannot possibly be denied is discussed, however, what can be successfully covered up is.

      • Chu on November 13, 2014, 12:13 pm

        Some of the video was new to me. The only downside was they didn’t interview any Israelis, but I don’t think they’d be willing to comment on any of it. What is strange is that it took 47 years for the crew of the Liberty to have their story told, and the only organization willing to make a documentary was Qatar’s Al Jazeera network. Anyway, check out the 50 minute documentary, surely you’ll learn something new.

    • W.Jones on November 14, 2014, 4:01 pm

      Since Israel was the only power capable of launching and sustaining this attack, the notion of a false flag operation to stage an attack and blaming it on Egypt (which was obviously incapable of doing it) is, in my view, utterly preposterous.

      Finally, subsequently, on another occasion, Dayan threatened to shoot down US reconnaissance planes and the flights were halted.

      1. How do you know that Egypt could not be confused with the attackers?
      2. Dayan threatened the planes but didn’t attack.
      3. How likely is it that the Israelis would attack a US ship without telling the US?
      4. Why did LBJ recall the rescue planes?
      5. Planes were ready to go with nukes soon before the attack occurred. Whom were the nukes intended to be dropped on?

      • Keith on November 15, 2014, 9:32 pm

        W. JONES- “How do you know that Egypt could not be confused with the attackers?”

        The Egyptian air force had already been destroyed on the ground, among other reasons which I don’t feel like going into.

        “Dayan threatened the planes but didn’t attack.”

        That is because they halted the flights after Dayan’s threat. Had the Liberty been repositioned as ordered by the Joint Chiefs, I suspect that it wouldn’t have been attacked. And yes, I suspect that the US was warned that the Liberty would be attacked if not repositioned. That scenario, if it became public, would have been a huge blow to US Middle East geostrategy, as well as resulting in severe repercussions for Johnson and McNamara. That is probably why the Navy fighter planes were recalled. Not only would that have destroyed our strategic alliance with Israel (who had destroyed Nasser and Pan Arabism, much to our delight), but it would have politically catastrophic for LBJ, et al.

        “Planes were ready to go with nukes soon before the attack occurred. Whom were the nukes intended to be dropped on?”

        I believe that the ready aircraft on an aircraft carrier are armed with a variety of weapons in order to respond to a variety of contingencies, however, I am not familiar with the navy’s operational procedures, nor with what they may have been anticipating during the 6 day war.

  17. BBSNews on November 11, 2014, 9:06 pm

    RoHa, what do you remember about that time where it seemed the Bush administration might just criminalize the reception of Al Jazeera? Somehow I don’t think your comment was snark, I think it probably had an element of truth behind it. I’ve had FTA satellite receivers for decades.

    At the time I was wondering just how they would go about busting someone for watching free to air satellite, even if it was Al Jazeera. But such were the times, with the enormous change in the security state, starting a behemoth of a new security apparatus that wasn’t even needed (a beefing up and better communication between agencies would have sufficed) cheesily called Homeland Security, and it all seemed to be about preventing Americans from knowing what was going on, instead we should have just gone shopping.

    Do you have some insight on those times where it was threatened to treat Al Jazeera as a “terrorist” live video source?

    Jeez now it’s forcing me to remember all that talk about secret codes in speeches by Al Qaeda that would trigger another attack. I don’t think even the Israelis have that amount of control.

  18. Shingo on November 12, 2014, 7:18 am

    Justin Raimondo has an excellent piece on this.

    Oh, it was quite a party, as the two philanthropists did their best to conform to every caricature out of the anti-Semites’ playbook. Complaining that the media is biased against Israel, Adelson suggested to Saban that they “go after the New York Times” by offering “more than it’s worth”: shareholders could then sue the owners if they don’t accept the buyout. Saban told the audience he tried to buy the Washington Post, but Amazon’s Jeff Bezos got it for “bupkis” – a mere $250 million. He went on to say he’d “tried everything” to influence reporting about Israel, “including threats.”

    These thugs are pretty much living up to every anti-Semitic stereotype in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

    • Horizontal on November 12, 2014, 9:05 am

      Israel’s current government & settler population are doing a pretty good job reinforcing negative stereotypes, for that matter.

  19. Horizontal on November 12, 2014, 9:28 am

    If this is any indication of the media play this story is going to receive in Middle America, it don’t look good:

    From the Des Moines Register, written by Kyle Munson:

    Veterans Day: A proper tribute to those lost in USS Liberty attack

    Jerry Converse will be publicly honored today, more than 47 years after he was killed aboard the USS Liberty alongside 33 of his fellow sailors, with 174 more of them wounded.

    He got caught up in one of the most controversial attacks in American history. The furor, unfortunately, has come at the expense of paying proper tribute to those who died in service to their country.

    (Snip three paragraphs. Notice that Israel isn’t mentioned until the 6th paragraph, below:)

    The attack came from an ally, Israel, during its Six-Day War against Egypt, Syria and Jordan in a struggle over the Sinai Peninsula and other territory. Both the Israeli and U.S. governments have long maintained the attack was a tragic mistake. (An explosion in El-Arish, for instance, was mistaken by the Israelis for bombardment from a ship, but likely it was sparked by an ammunition dump fire.)

    But a small, persistent chorus of survivors and retired military brass in recent decades have insisted the attack was intentional.

    Past efforts to honor sailors created backlash

    Jewish groups, meanwhile, occasionally have objected to attempts to honor the USS Liberty because such events become all-too-convenient bait for anti-Semites. Sen. John McCain has been harangued at public events because his father was a Navy admiral at the time of the attack whom protesters implicate in an alleged cover-up.

    “It’s the conspiratorialists that want to make something out of this,” said Mark S. Finkelstein of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines.

    “As Americans we regret the loss of life in a situation of war where obviously things were not as clear as they should have been,” he added. “But to point fingers at this juncture is not historically accurate or useful.”

    Entire article here

    The article does go on to quote investigators who question the official accident theory, but the table’s been set by the above statement, which to me, couches everything that follows as some form of misguided, contrary anti-Semitism.

    Let’s hope some other sources are doing it better.

  20. Dan Crowther on November 12, 2014, 1:51 pm

    Another USS Liberty article? Gee whiz.

    For those who think Israel is special in this case, I’d like to direct your attention to the Iraqi air attack on the USS Stark during the Iran/Iraq war, when Iraq was a pliant American client state under Saddam. An Iraqi jet killed 37 aboard the Stark with missiles as it sat off the coast. Iraq said sorry, paid some money and that was that.

    The point is, if you’re an important American client state, you can get away with this shit, the Israeli’s aren’t special.

    • lysias on November 12, 2014, 2:14 pm

      There’s every reason to believe that the attack on the Stark, unlike the attack on the Liberty, really was a case of mistaken identity. The Iraqis later claimed that the Stark was mistaken for an Iranian tanker. One Iraqi plane fired two Exocet missiles at the Stark, and one of them detonated. The Iraqi plane immediately withdrew. The whole attack occupied mere seconds. There was no further attack.

    • Chu on November 12, 2014, 4:20 pm

      The Iraqi’s didn’t jam their distress frequency though.

      Israelis Jammed distress freq. and tactical frequency blocked during the Liberty Attack. (*International distress frequency is a violation in international law.) quote: [Crewman Kavanaugh:] who would know the frequency other than an ally? Who was the ally in the war, it wasn’t Egypt, it was Israel. They would know, and only they would know in this conflict what are frequencies would be.”

    • Dan Crowther on November 13, 2014, 10:20 am

      OK, so you don’t like the USS Stark example – what about sept 11 2001? All the redacted pages from the 9/11 report? The Saudi’s gov’t def had a hand in that, that Prince Bandar guy loves him some crazies.

      That’s got to be a good example right? I mean, the US government let 9/11 slide – they didn’t come for the Saudi’s, just the opposite in fact.

      Today, the intercept has a story on “Duqu” the joint US-Israeli spy virus:

      Oil and high technology. Useful.

      • hophmi on November 13, 2014, 10:24 am

        Don’t bother, Dan. I doubt most of these folks believe most of what they claim about the USS Liberty, or about American troops; these are radical leftists. They’re just looking for a talking point, that’s all.

    • Daniel Rich on November 13, 2014, 7:10 pm

      @Dan Crowther,

      Q: For those who think Israel is special in this case, I’d like to direct your attention to the Iraqi air attack on the USS Stark during the Iran/Iraq war。。。

      R: To extend your logic, shut up about the holocaust already, bc 50,000,000 more died…


      • Dan Crowther on November 17, 2014, 3:52 pm

        Umm, what? Dude, I have no idea where you came up with that one.

  21. Nevada Ned on November 13, 2014, 2:34 am

    The “special relationship” between the US and Israel has endured as long as it has because the US ruling class and Israeli ruling class think that the interests of both sides are parallel, for the most part and in the long run.

    The US wants to control the oil of the Middle East, because its strategy value is immense. The main threat to US control is Arab nationalism. In order to defeat Arab nationalism, the US wants to keep the Arab world divided, backward, and weak. (With rare exceptions, the US has maintained control, Iran being the main exception – a former US colony under the Shah, now strongly anti-US),

    For its part, Israel also wants to keep the Arab world divided, backward, and weak. A strong Arab world would support the Palestinians, who have been ethnically cleansed by Israel.

    I said the US and Israel interests, at least as seen by their respective ruling classes, are parallel, “for the most part and in the long run”. There are exceptions. The Israeli attack on the Liberty, clearly deliberate, is a big exception. There are other exceptions: the Pollard case, the Larry Franklin case and some other Israeli spy cases. And the Lavi warplane (whose development costs were funded by the US and Israel, but the whole plane project was terminated by the US because it would have competed against a US warplane in world markets.)

    The Palestinians are potentially a threat to Israel’s power. If the Palestinians get any power of their own – at least enough power to fend off further Israeli land grabs – then Israel would have to take the interests of the Palestinians into account. But Israel is so powerful that it can do whatever it pleases, ignoring international law, morality, and world public opinion.

    In contrast, the interests of the US would not be affected appreciably by a Palestinian state.

    So why is the US helping Israel, by building up Israeli military power and using the US veto in the UN to prevent the UNSC from making demands on Israel to (for example) withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories? Yes, it’s the power of the Israel Lobby, without any question. That’s part of the answer. But the other factor is the convergence of interests between US imperialism and Israeli “sub-imperialism”.

    In recent months, articles have appeared that are strongly critical of Israel, on mainstream sites like Yahoo News. That’s unusual. I think important forces are worried that Israeli extremists will blow up the Dome of the Rock, poisoning US relationship with over 1 billion Moslems while getting nothing (for the US) in return. Or maybe just that the US and Israel are losing control over the information war, and critical voices are starting to be heard.

    Phil and Adam, thanks for running the Liberty story. Years ago, I mentioned the Liberty case to an air force veteran, about 70 years old, with conventional political leanings. He immediately said, “it was deliberate”. Of course it was.

    On a related topic, some commenters have professed shock that LBJ would abandon the Liberty crew. Personally, I’m not surprised. LBJ, an extreme hawk, didn’t care about 50,000 US soldiers killed and 300,000 wounded in Vietnam. At least he didn’t care enough to avoid the war. Both George Bushs (41 and 43) are responsible for 40,000 killed and wounded in Iraq. Obama has continued the war with only minor changes, such as using drones. Actually the number of US soldiers wounded could be in the many hundreds of thousands if you include psychological wounds – Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

    • hophmi on November 13, 2014, 12:43 pm

      “Years ago, I mentioned the Liberty case to an air force veteran, about 70 years old, with conventional political leanings. He immediately said, “it was deliberate”.”

      Oh, well, then it MUST be true. It’s very truthy.

      • Chu on November 13, 2014, 1:37 pm

        Those crewman finally have their story told after 47 years. Imagine tanning on the the deck of this ship that sunny day and your ally (seeing the 5’x8′ American Flag on a clear day) drops bombs on the deck and a bloodbath ensues. Added torpedoes and then blocks your radar distress signal (a violation of international law) only to become a political issue which LBJ swept under the rug. Even after 5 decades, I do see why this topic would scare any pro-Israel zealot.

        Lysias makes the point above “Even before the attack started, the Israelis were jamming any radio frequencies the Liberty might use to get off an SOS: both the International Distress Frequency (which it is a war crime to jam) and U.S. Navy frequencies. Why would you do that if you didn’t know it was a U.S. ship.” and the documentary makes the point that only an ally would know the frequencies to jam the Liberty.

      • lysias on November 13, 2014, 3:10 pm

        Care to explain why, if it was not deliberate, the Israelis were jamming U.S. Navy frequencies?

  22. lysias on November 13, 2014, 10:05 am

    Recent arrivals at this site may find this earlier thread on the attack on the Liberty of interest.

  23. Nevada Ned on November 13, 2014, 1:56 pm

    Hophmi has recorded a voicemail greeting on the Hasbara Hotline!

    You have reached the Hasbara Hotline:
    press 1 for “Israel attacked the Liberty but it was mistaken identity”
    press 2 for “The attack never happened”
    press 3 for “The US ship Liberty never existed”
    press 4 for “Israel retaliated in self defense”
    press 5 for “Israel had no choice”
    press 6 for “The Liberty failed to recognize Israel’s right to exist”
    press 7 for “The Liberty crew were a bunch of anti-Semites”
    press 8 for “It is a blood libel to claim that Israeli forces were involved, directly or indirectly”
    press 9 for “these accusations are rejected with the contempt that they deserve”
    press the star key to repeat your choices…


    • lysias on November 13, 2014, 3:08 pm

      You don’t believe someone like me who belonged for several years to the branch of the Navy that the USS Liberty belonged to should care about what happened to that ship and that crew?

      • lysias on November 13, 2014, 5:54 pm

        To explain my last posting in this thread (from 3:08 PM), it was a response to a posting of Hophmi’s that has apparently now been deleted.

  24. W.Jones on November 14, 2014, 3:21 pm

    Is there a full version of this story?

    • W.Jones on November 14, 2014, 4:03 pm

      OK, I saw the backup version in the comments section here. I suggest updating the original MW article to link that.

  25. lysias on November 20, 2014, 5:33 pm

    Philip Nelson, the author of LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination, has a new book just out, LBJ: From Mastermind to the Colossus. It has a chapter on the USS Liberty attack. I have just been reading it on my Kindle. He accepts Peter Hounam’s Operation Cyanide theory. I can’t tell you everything he says, as I am only midway in the chapter.

    • lysias on November 21, 2014, 6:46 pm

      I finished reading the section of Nelson’s book (it turns out to be more than one chapter) on the Liberty. Nelson argues that LBJ ordered the Israelis to attack the ship. This, if true, would mean that LBJ was primarily responsible, and the Israelis only secondarily responsible, for the attack.

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