Real News 24/7
Posting: February 9, 2004
A great American, in a final public statement made just weeks before
his death, urges that the truth finally be revealed about the attack
that killed 34 crew members and wounded 172 others aboard the USS
Liberty in 1967
US betrayal went hand-in-hand with Israel's attack on USS Liberty
during 1967 war
by Admiral Thomas Moorer (USN, Ret.)
(Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1970 to 1974)
Admiral Thomas H. Moorer (1912-2004, RIP)
On Thursday, February 5th, this great patriot passed away, just four
days shy of his 92nd birthday. It was also less than a month after
the following column of his appeared in the Houston Chronicle on
January 9, 2004 (it subsequently has disappeared, despite its obvious
importance--more about that at the bottom of this page). We posted
the column as a Latest News and Analysis feature on January 15th (the
Chronicle link will be changed to this page), but felt that Admiral
Moore's comments are of such great importance that they deserve to be
preserved in the form of a Featured Story, to be more readily seen
near the top of our homepage and so the title will later be
prominently displayed in our archives. After his column, we have
assembled numerous links concerning the USS Liberty and Admiral
Moorer. This page is meant to serve in some small way as a memorial
to them both.
"I've never seen a President -- I don't care who he is -- stand up to
[Israel] ... They always get what they want. The Israelis know what
is going on all the time. I got to the point where I wouldn't write
anything down. If the American people understood what a grip these
people have got on our government, they would rise up in arms."
Admiral Moorer, 1984, quoted by Richard Curtiss in A Changing Image:
American Perceptions of the Arab-Israeli Dispute
After State Department officials and historians assembled in
Washington, D.C., last week to discuss the 1967 war in the Middle
East, I am compelled to speak out about one of U.S. history's most
shocking cover-ups. On June 8, 1967, Israel attacked our proud naval
ship -- the USS Liberty --killing 34 American servicemen and wounding
Those men were then betrayed and left to die by our own government.
U.S. military rescue aircraft were recalled, not once, but twice,
through direct intervention by the Johnson administration.
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara's (photo, right) cancellation of
the Navy's attempt to rescue the Liberty, which I personally
confirmed from the commanders of the aircraft carriers America and
Saratoga, was the most disgraceful act I witnessed in my entire
To add insult to injury, Congress, to this day, has failed to hold
formal hearings on Israel's attack on this American ship. No official
investigation of Israel's attack has ever permitted the testimony of
the surviving crew members.
A 1967 investigation by the Navy, upon which all other reports are
based, has now been fully discredited as a cover-up by its senior
Capt. Ward Boston, in a sworn affidavit, recently revealed that the
court was ordered by the White House to cover up the incident and
find that Israel's attack was "a case of mistaken identity."
What our investigation uncovered
Some distinguished colleagues and I formed an independent commission
to investigate the attack on the USS Liberty. After an exhaustive
review of previous reports, naval and other military records,
including eyewitness testimony from survivors, we recently presented
our findings on Capitol Hill. They include:
Israeli reconnaissance aircraft closely studied the Liberty during an
eight-hour period prior to the attack, one flying within 200 feet of
Weather reports confirm the day was clear with unlimited visibility.
The Liberty was a clearly marked American ship in international
waters, flying an American flag and carrying large U.S. Navy hull
letters and numbers on its bow.
Despite claims by Israeli intelligence that they confused the Liberty
with a small Egyptian transport, the Liberty was conspicuously
different from any vessel in the Egyptian navy. It was the most
sophisticated intelligence ship in the world in 1967. With its
massive radio antennae, including a large satellite dish, it looked
like a large lobster and was one of the most easily identifiable
Israel attempted to prevent the Liberty's radio operators from
sending a call for help by jamming American emergency radio channels.
Israeli torpedo boats machine-gunned lifeboats at close range that
had been lowered to rescue the most seriously wounded.
As a result, our commission concluded that:
There is compelling evidence that Israel's attack was a deliberate
attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew.
In attacking the USS Liberty, Israel committed acts of murder against
U.S. servicemen and an act of war against the United States.
The White House knowingly covered up the facts of this attack from
the American people.
The truth continues to be concealed to the present day in what can
only be termed a national disgrace. What was Israel's motive in
launching this attack? Congress must address this question with full
cooperation from the National Security Agency, the Central
Intelligence Agency and the military intelligence services.
The men of the USS Liberty represented the United States. They were
attacked for two hours, causing 70 percent of American casualties,
and the eventual loss of our best intelligence ship. These sailors
and Marines were entitled to our best defense. We gave them no
Did our government put Israel's interests ahead of our own? If so,
why? Does our government continue to subordinate American interests
to Israeli interests? These are important questions that should be
investigated by an independent, fully empowered commission of the
The American people deserve to know the truth about this attack. We
must finally shed some light on one of the blackest pages in American
naval history. It is a duty we owe not only to the brave men of the
USS Liberty, but to every man and woman who is asked to wear the
uniform of the United States.
Admiral Moorer was joined in the independent commission of inquiry by
Gen. Ray Davis (recently deceased); Rear Adm. Merlin Staring; former
Judge Advocate General of the Navy and Ambassador James Akins.
The USS Liberty
US Naval history--USS Liberty
US Naval photos of USS Liberty attack by Israeli forces, 8 June 1967
The USS Liberty--A perspective of one of the rescuers
Israeli attack on USS Liberty - Wikipedia
USS Liberty Memorial
LBJ , Israel & the USS Liberty Massacre
The cover-up of the 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty
Tempers flare on spy-ship sinking
State Department official calls attack an act of gross negligence
" Liberty " Smearing Backfires : Pro - Israeli Cristol overreaches
'The USS Liberty': America's Most Shameful Secret
The Attack on the USS Liberty
The USS Liberty Bombshell
USS Liberty--Israeli pilot speaks up
History News Network--USS Liberty: Historians Debate
The USS Liberty: still covered up after 35 years
USS Liberty: Did Israel commit one war crime to hide another?
Admiral Thomas Moorer
Admiral Moorer Remembered by Military Colleagues
The passing of a military giant
Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Boss Dies
Adm. Thomas H. Moorer, 91, WWII hero, led Joint Chiefs
Adm. Moorer set standards in Navy
Moorer's Fight for the Panama Canal
Adm. Moorer's Last Warning
Bio from website of Alabama school named after him
Admirals Moorer and C.A. "Mark" Hill warn against national security
Operation Tailwind -Admiral Moorer Vindicated
Real News 24/7: Admiral Moorer's comments were originally published
in the Houston Chronicle, 9 Jan 2004 as "Betrayal behind Israeli
attack on U.S. ship." The title used above comes from a Lebanese
publication, The Daily Star. Curiously (or, perhaps, not curiously),
the column's Chronicle link
now dead, despite having gone up only a month ago. It is not even
found in the archive or as a link appended to his obituary, but has
been pitched into the Chronicle's memory hole (as in information
black hole). Did the powers-that-be at the Chronicle decide that this
was too hot to retain or were they forced to get rid of it by its
parent company, the Hearst Corporation? And what part did the
government and the pro-Israeli lobby have in its banishment? Whatever
the answers to these questions, important as they are, the fact
remains the same no matter that the same shameful act deprives
Americans of access to an important opinion they're unlikely to find
elsewhere. Fortunately, though, some websites were able to save this
before it vanished forever. We have posted it both as a tribute to
the memory of a true American hero and as an important document in
the fight to restore America's sovereignty.
See also http://www.ussliberty.org
June 8, 2007
years ago this week, I was asked to investigate the heaviest attack on an American ship
since World War II. As senior legal counsel to the Navy Court of Inquiry, it was my job to
help uncover the truth regarding Israel's June 8, 1967, bombing of the Navy intelligence
sunny, clear day 40 years ago, Israel's combined air and naval forces attacked the Liberty
for two hours, inflicting 70 percent casualties. Thirty-four American sailors died, and
172 were injured. The Liberty remained afloat only by the crew's heroic efforts.
claimed it was an accident. Yet I know from personal conversations with the late Adm.
Isaac C. 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.
ensuing cover-up has haunted us for 40 years. What does it imply for our national
security, not to mention our ability to honestly broker peace in the Middle East, when we
cannot question Israel's actions even when they kill Americans?
survivors of Israel's cruel attack will gather in Washington, D.C., to honor their dead
shipmates as well as the mothers, sisters, widows and children they left behind. They will
continue to ask for a fair and impartial congressional inquiry that, for the first time,
would allow the survivors themselves to testify publicly.
decades, I have remained silent. 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, attempts
to rewrite history and concern for my country compel me to share the truth.
and I were given only one week to gather evidence for the Navy's official investigation,
though we both estimated that a proper Court of Inquiry would take at least six months.
the crippled ship at sea and interviewed survivors. The evidence was clear. We both
believed with certainty that this attack was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship
and murder its entire crew.
certain the Israeli pilots and commanders who had ordered the attack knew the ship was
American. I saw the bullet-riddled American flag that had been raised by the crew after
their first flag had been shot down completely. I heard testimony that made it clear the
Israelis intended there be no survivors.
did they attack with napalm, gunfire and missiles, Israeli torpedo boats machine-gunned at
close range three life rafts that had been launched in an attempt to save the most
outraged at the efforts of Israel's apologists to claim this attack was a case of
told me that after receiving the president's cover-up orders, he was instructed to sit
down with two civilians from either the White House or the Department of Defense and
rewrite portions of the court's findings. He said, Ward, they're not interested in
the facts. It's a political matter, and we cannot talk about it. We were to
put a lid on it and caution everyone involved never to speak of it again.
that the Court of Inquiry transcript that has been released to the public is not the same
one that I certified and sent to Washington. I know this because it was necessary, due to
the exigencies of time, to hand-correct and initial a substantial number of pages. I have
examined the released version of the transcript and did not see any pages that bore my
hand corrections and initials. Also, the original did not have any deliberately blank
pages, as the released version does. In addition, the testimony of Lt. Lloyd Painter
concerning the deliberate machine-gunning of the life rafts by the Israeli torpedo boat
crews, which I distinctly recall being given at the Court of Inquiry and including in the
original transcript, is now missing.
I join the
survivors in their call for an honest inquiry. Why is there no room to question Israel
even when it kills Americans in the halls of Congress?
survivors testify. Let me testify. Let former intelligence officers testify that they
received real-time Hebrew translations of Israeli commanders instructing their pilots to
sink the American ship..
uncovering the truth about what happened to American servicemen in a bloody attack is more
important than protecting Israel. And surely 40 years is long enough to wait.
Ward Boston served as chief counsel to the Navy's
Court of Inquiry into the attack on the U.S. Navy intelligence ship Liberty. He also
served as a naval aviator in World War II on the carrier Yorktown and as an FBI agent
prior to his assignment to the Navy's Judge Advocates General Corps. He is a graduate of
the College of William and Mary School of Law and a resident of Coronado.
USS Liberty: Is the Truth Anti-Semitic? What's a few sailors, when it saves our
Middle-East ally from potential "embarrassment."
Funny, how that "special relationship" the U.S. is supposed to have with
Israel demands that, in the interests of good relations, a few American lives be thrown
away every now and then. Well, if it's not exactly the U.S. throwing them away . . . then
it's our president and Congress downplaying any public outcry about our "friend"
Witness the New York Times April 23 review of James Bamford's book, "Body of
Secrets," about the June 1967 attack on the USS "Liberty," an electronic
surveillance ship that was in the eastern Meditteranean about the time that Israel and
Egypt had their little war. Israeli aircraft and gunboats attacked the unarmed vessel for
a period of several hours, killing 34 sailors and wounding 171. Israel later claimed it
was all a mistake and after a long stretch, paid nominal compesation to the families of
According to records Bamford discovered in his research on the book, unbeknownst to the
Israelis, a U.S. spy plane was high overhead at the time, and recorded conversations among
the Israeli air force pilots, one of whom said that he could clearly see a large American
flag on the vessel, contradicting Israel's claims about the vessel's identity being
obscure. The article naturally drew a lot of comments, most of them saying that the fact
that the attack was deliberate has been long known to the U.S. defense and intelligence
establishment, as well as to knowledgeable Israelis--it was only the governments of the
two "allies," who wanted to hush up the truth.
Among the Middle-East experts who commented on the story, according to Salon's April 25
reprise of the Times story, were two former ambassadors, both of whom are involved in
various Middle-East think tanks, and a fellow of the Institute of Policy Studies who heads
their Middle-East project. All are basically agree that Bamford's version of the story is
very plausible: The attack was not a mistake. It was deliberate--some think that it was
ordered because Israel didn't want the Western Powers to know that it was not in danger of
being overwhelmed by United Arab Republic (the short-lived union of Nasser's Egypt and
Syria) troops but, rather, was winning at the time, but wanted to keep the information
secret to keep Israel's supporters from pressuring her to agree to a cease-fire. One also
raises the possibility that Israel's military had massacred a number of Egyptian captives
in the Sinai desert and didn't want the Americans to find out about it by listening to
military communications. In fact even many knowledgeable Israelis believed at the time
that the attack was deliberate.
Not so for Mr. Thomas Neumann, executive director of the "Jewish Institute for
National Security Affairs." (Kind of makes you wonder, why should American Jews have
need such an institute--after all, there is no Lutheran or Catholic or Greek Orthodox or
Muslim institute of national security? Who funds it, and which nation's security are they
really concerned with?) And to Mr. Neumann, the best argument against facts or opinions he
doesn't seem to like is the charge of anti-Semitism:
"James Bamford has attacked Israel before. It's not the first time. He did it in
"The Puzzle Palace" and from what I understand -- though I have not personally
read the book -- he hasn't come up with any new information. He has added to his
anti-Semitic and anti-Israel (evidently the same in Mr. Neumann's mind) allegations. . .
Bamford doesn't come to the table as a clean scholar. He comes to the table having made
these kinds of charges against Israel in the past."
And you just don't do that in today's special-interest-focused,
State Dept plans conference on Israeli attack on U.S. ship
Last update - 02:56 07/01/2004
State Dept plans conference on Israeli attack on U.S. ship
By The Associated Press
The State Department will cast a spotlight next week on the 1967 Israeli
attack on the U.S. spy ship Liberty where 34 American servicemen were
Israeli, Arab, British and Canadian diplomats have been invited to
attend a conference Monday and Tuesday at the department's Henderson
A. Jay Cristol, a former U.S. bankruptcy court judge who has written
about the incident, will be a featured speaker.
The two-day conference involves the release of historical research on
the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. David Saterfield, a deputy assistant
secretary of state, will deliver the keynote address.
Critics of Israel have cited the attack on the Liberty in questioning
strong U.S. support of Israel and Israel's allegiance to the United
Last October, a former U.S. Navy attorney who helped lead a military
investigation into the incident said in a signed affidavit that
then-President Lyndon Johnson and his defense secretary, Robert
McNamara, ordered that the inquiry conclude the incident was an
Retired Capt. Ward Boston said Johnson and McNamara told those heading
the Navy's inquiry to "conclude that the attack was a case of 'mistaken
identity' despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary."
Boston said he felt compelled to "share the truth" following the
publication of Cristol's book, "The Liberty Incident," which said the
attack was unintentional.
The USS Liberty was an electronic intelligence-gathering ship cruising
international waters off the Egyptian coast on June 8, 1967. Israeli
planes and torpedo boats opened fire on the Liberty in the midst of what
became known as the Israeli-Arab Six-Day War.
In addition to the 34 Americans killed, more than 170 were wounded.
Israel has long maintained that the attack was a case of mistaken
identity, an explanation that the Johnson administration did not
formally challenge. Israel claimed its forces thought the ship was an
Egyptian vessel and apologized to the United States.
After the attack, a Navy court of inquiry concluded there was
insufficient information to make a judgment about why Israel attacked
the ship, stopping short of assigning blame or determining whether it
was an accident.
From: Ed Toner firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Saturday, June 08, 2002 5:09 AM
From the June/July issue of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
THE USS LIBERTY: STILL COVERED UP AFTER 35 YEARS
James M. Ennes, Jr.
June 8 marks 35 years since Israel attacked the USS
LIBERTY without warning in international waters, killing
34 Americans and wounding 172 more. The Israelis lied
about it and persuaded our Congress to look the other
way, and they are still lying about it today. But the
LIBERTY will not go away. Every attempt to hide this
story seems to bring more attention.
This past year brought a 60-minute documentary pro-
duced by CBS News Productions that was broadcast by The
History Channel on Aug. 9 -- much to the dismay and over
the heated objections of the Israeli Embassy and various spokesmen for
Israel who did all in their power to block it.
CAMERA, a leading pro-Israel propaganda arm, produced
an extended and angry critique of the film, accusing
survivors and CBS News itself of producing a "propaganda-
laden bogus history" that is deliberately distorted and anti-Semitic.
In a personal attack on this writer, CAMERA unearthed
a 1990 Internet newsgroup in which I made what they con-
sider a damning comment. In response to a claim that
Israel was "surrounded by enemies," I replied that Israel
would have no enemies if it didn't steal its neighbors'
land and water and shoot its neighbors' children. CAMERA
cited that remark as evidence of bias and anti-Semitism;
I would defend it even today as a truism that might well
be engraved in stone.
The History Channel's report was aired as scheduled
and rebroadcast this past March 14. Although CAMERA
urged The History Channel not to sell a video version,
it was made available anyway. In fact, the video tem-
porarily sold out and was described by some retailers as
their best selling such product ever. CAMERA, it seems, convinced only
Also this past year, author James Bamford released
BODY OF SECRETS, his second book on the National Security Agency, with a
chapter devoted to the LIBERTY. Bamford received wide attention in book
reviews and on the talk show circuit because his book revealed
interviews with an airborne Navy radio intercept operator who listened
to the attack from overhead while it was happening. This man confirmed
the crew's claims that the Israelis knew they were attacking an American
Further confirmation came a few weeks later, when an
Air Force intelligence analyst privately told us the same story. Those
transcripts, we learned, were widely dis- tributed to intelligence
processing centers around the world. The Israelis not only knew we were
American, but were deeply frustrated and angry when the LIBERTY did not
sink quickly, as they intended.
Another intelligence analyst told us that, a few days
after the attack, a "consensus report" concluding that
the attack was deliberate was briefly circulated through-
out the intelligence community. The report was then
cancelled and all copies were ordered collected and des- troyed.
On June 10, London's BBC plans a worldwide release of
its new documentary called "Dead in the Water." In it
the BBC reports that the LIBERTY attack almost led to a
U.S. nuclear strike on Egypt, which was briefly but mis- takenly thought
responsible for the attack. The film, which includes interviews with
former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, former CIA chief Richard
Helms and others, reveals secret collaboration between Wash- ington and
Tel Aviv during the Six-Day War.
A new book entitled OPERATION CYANIDE, by prize-winning British
investigative reporter Peter Hounam, researcher for the BBC film, will
be published to coincide with the release of the film. Hounam argues
that carefully laid plans were made to sink the LIBERTY, and that the
U.S. was as much to blame as Israel for what happened.
Meanwhile, independent film-maker Tito Howard has pro- duced in VHS
format the documentary "Loss of Liberty," which includes interviews with
several LIBERTY survivors and former U.S. Navy leaders.
Undeterred by all this, bankruptcy Judge A. Jay Cristol
is about to release a commercial trade book version of his doctoral
thesis which seeks to make the case that the attack really was just a
tragic mistake. The original thesis is a ponderous but seemingly
scholarly account that may well convince readers uninformed about the
Survivors see it as a flawed work, packed with evasions
and misleading statements. Cristol seems to accept at
face value all the arguments that support his case, while
he nitpicks, dismisses and ignores entirely the eyewitness reports of
survivors and other supporting evidence. Because he comes to the subject
as a federal judge and a reserve naval officer, however, he brings some
apparent credibility that probably will get him a ride on the talk show
Michael Oren, a senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem,
recently released a book entitled, SIX DAYS OF WAR, with a chapter
arguing that the LIBERTY attack was a tragic accident. An Internet
search for "Michael Oren" will turn up the gist of his one-sided
Even the venerable NAVY TIMES came out April 4 with an article
arguing Cristol's case that the attack was a tragic accident. Its
author received an avalanche of e-mail, mostly challenging his
conclusions. This writer submitted a rebuttal statement, which was
published in April as a guest column (see box). Other rebuttals and
counter-rebuttals are in the works as we go to press.
Through it all, despite the passage of 35 years, con- troversy
builds and interest in the subject continues to grow. LIBERTY survivors
welcome the Cristols and Orens and misguided articles from Israel's
defenders, because every published attack causes even more people to
want to know what really happened to the USS LIBERTY. The con- tinued
controversy caused ASSAULT ON THE LIBERTY to sell out months ago. It is
being reprinted, and should be available soon.
The award-winning LIBERTY Web site,
sometimes hosts more than 1,500 visitors a day as people search for
informtaion on the subject. Survivors are happy to oblige.
James Ennes retired from the Navy in 1978 as a lieutenant commander
after 27 years of enlisted and commissioned ser- vice. He was a
lieutenant on the bridge of the USS LIBERTY on the day of the attack.
His book on the subject, ASSAULT ON THE LIBERTY (Random House, 1980), is
a "Notable Naval Book" selection of the U.S. Naval Institute and was
"editor's choice" when reviewed in THE WASHINGTON POST.
A SURVIVOR SPEAKS
SURVIVORS OF ISRAEL'S 1967 attack on the USS LIBERTY that killed 34
Americans and wounded 172 find it very sad that some Americans can argue
endlessly that the attack on our ship was a tragic accident and not the
deliberate attack on a known- American ship that we experienced.
We felt secure after 13 very low reconnaissance orbits by Israeli
aircraft, our supposed friends. Our intercept oper- ators heard the
pilots reporting that we were American.
I was relieved of the conn[ing tower] as the attacking jets
approached, and then was severely wounded by the first rocket salvo. I
was lying in a stretcher in a starboard passageway when the torpedo
I recall the warning that torpedo boats were approaching, followed
by the explosion, the ship lifting away from the blast, then settling
back to starboard and the very real fear that it would continue to
settle until it rolled over and sank.
Moments later the torpedo boats approached within 50 feet of the
ship. One boat stopped alongside and trained a heavy machine gun on a
man who was standing alone on a hatch cover on the main deck screaming
obscenities and giving them the finger. They did not fire.
Then the boat moved to within 50 feet of the fantail where the ship
displayed her name in large letters in English and her hull numbers in
even larger letters. The boatmen clearly examined those markings and
can hardly have failed to see other distinctive American markings and
the American flag that flew from the mast.
The Israeli government claims it was at that point that they offered
help and that they never fired after the torpedo explosion. But this is
Survivors recall that the torpedo boats then circled the ship firing
at anything that moved. Men on deck were fired upon as they tried to
help their wounded shipmates. Fire- fighters saw their fire hoses
punctured by machine gun fire. At one point the boatmen concentrated
their fire near the waterline amidships, presumably seeking out the
Forty minutes after the torpedo explosion, the boats drew closer and
methodically machine-gunned three life rafts that we had just launched
in response to orders to prepare to abandon ship.
The Israeli's excuse? They claim they mistakenly plotted our
at 32 knots, marking us as a warship suitable for attack. We were
moving only at five knots and were more than 30 miles away, double their
16 mile radar horizon.
They claim the officers on two torpedo boats mistook the USS LIBERTY
for a 40-year-old out-of-service Egyptian horse transport. Israeli
naval officers tell me that story is an embarrassment to them. It
should be. It is unbelievable.
Yet despite these things a few Americans seem to accept
the preposterous claims that a tiny motor torpedo boat can
have a 30-mile radar horizon, or can miscalculate a target's speed by
500 percent, or can mistake a clearly marked 10,000 ton United States
ship a mile away for an ancient 2,640 ton Egyptian horse carrier, can
fail to recognize an oversize American flag from as close as 50 feet,
and can then con- tinue to fire on that target from close range for
another 40 minutes before suddenly recognizing us as American after
learning that Sixth Fleet jets were on the way.
Survivors cannot accept that.
The typical Israeli reaction is that we are liars or anti-Semites,
which of course we are not. We are American sailors honestly reporting
an act of treachery at sea.
-- James Ennes,
LCDR, USN (retired), survivor
Israel's Attack On USS Liberty -
The Truth About America's 'Ally'
Exclusive Interview By Pravda.ru
Questions By Justin Cowgill
- On June 8, 1967, 34 American sailors of the USS Liberty lost their lives
serving their country. These Americans died when Israel, America's "ally,"
launched a murderous attack on the virtually unarmed American intelligence ship. To this
day, many Americans are unaware that this attack even took place. Recently, PRAVDA.Ru had
the opportunity to interview Mr. Hrankowski, a survivor and crew member of the USS
- Greetings Mr. Hrankowski! We at PRAVDA.Ru greatly appreciate this
exclusive interview. We feel that, as a USS Liberty survivor, you are in the unique
position to shed light on actually what happened and why. It is a great tragedy that 34
young American sailors died while serving their country. It is a even greater tragedy that
the general public knows next to nothing about this event.
- What position did you serve on the USS Liberty?
- My position on the USS Liberty was in the Engineering Department. I was
a boilerman. I also worked for the chief engineer in the log room office.
- One of the main questions regarding this attack is whether or not the
Israeli attackers knew that they were attacking an American ship. The Israelis have
claimed that they misidentified the Liberty for the Egyptian horse carrier El Quseir, but
it has been reported that the USS liberty flew an American flag and was distinctly marked
with US markings. It is also known that slow moving recon plans flew over the USS Liberty
numerous times. Is there any doubt in your mind that the Israeli military knew that they
were attacking an American ship?
- There is no doubt in my mind that the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty
was deliberate. Israel has claimed that it was a mistake and that they were firing upon an
arab horse freighter. The El Quesir was the name of the Arab ship. It was tied up and not
sea worthy during the Six Day War, and the Israelis knew this.
- As for our Flag. All American ships fly the flag. Ours was flying until
the Israelis shot it down and within seconds another was put up. It was our holiday
Ensign, sized 9 feet by 13 feet.
- As for the slow moving aircraft. Planes started flying over us and
checking us out at 5:30am and did so 9 to 13 times until the attack at 2:00PM. There is no
doubt in my mind that they knew who they were attacking.
- It has been reported that the USS Saratago, responding to a SOS from the
Liberty, launched jets to help the Liberty approximately 15 minutes into the Israeli
attack. Why were the jets recalled? One could say that this act left American sailors to
be murdered by an enemy force?
- A message from the USS Liberty got to the USS Saratoga 9 minutes into
the attack. The USS Saratoga launched a flight of fighters immediately and they were
called back. This happened three different times throughout the attack. Robert MacNamara
called them back twice, and President Johnson called them back once, saying his thoughts
were not for the USS Liberty. He did not want to embarrass his ally Israel. That act did
leave us to get murdered, and what it actually is called is abandonment.
- Once your captain, William Loren McGonagle, realized that the Liberty
was in danger of sinking, he ordered the crew to abandon ship. At this point, there were
only three life rafts left that weren't damaged. Your crew placed as many wounded into the
life rafts and lowered them over the side of the Liberty. Please tell us what happened
- The order was given by the captain to abandon ship, because he thought
we were going to sink. Three life rafts were in the water, but then Israeli Torpedo boats
came up to them and shot two of them up and grabbed one on the boats. That is against the
- What prompted the Israelis to terminate their assault?
- I'm not sure what caused them to terminate the attack, but after 2
hours, they could not sink us. I would think that their time had run out.
- How long did it take for American help to arrive?
- It took 16 hours for the American fleet to get to us. But that night,
while we were sailing to the sixth fleet, a Soviet ship offered help to us. They said that
they would stay just at the horizon and if our ship was going to go down, they would help
- In a recent letter to President Bush, survivor Phillip F. Tourney
claimed that the crew of the USS Liberty were "ordered to remain silent under threat
of court martial, imprisonment, or worse, and we all know what worst meant." Did you
yourself experience such threats?
- Admiral Kidd was the one who ordered us silent. That was a direct order
to all of the crew. I heard it myself that day.
- If what has been reported is true, the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty
can only be described as deliberate. In your opinion, why did this attack take place?
- As for why the Israelis attacked us, I'm not sure. I would not be able
to give you a reason, because it would only be a guess. There is a new film out by the BBC
called Dead in the Water. It was released in England on 6-10-02 and it gives some
startling new evidence as to why the attack happened.
- Has the American government considered reinvestigating the attack?
- There are a few Congressional personal interested in helping us. We're
hoping that they are really willing.
- It would seem that this event has been covered up. Giving all the
information that has come forth and the testimony of such people as Secretary of State
Dean Rusk and former JCS Chairman Admiral Thomas Moorer, the version that this attack was
a mistake is very hard believe, which means that it was covered up for some reason. Why,
in your opinion, was such a tragic event as an attack on US sailors covered up?
- You ask if the USS Liberty attack was covered up. My answer is simple:
yes, it was. The question still remains today as to why. And with a Congressional
Investigation, all the facts should be laid out and the reasons known.
- Your commanding officer, Captain William Loren McGonagle, received the
Congressional Medal of Honor for his services to his country. However, unlike tradition,
when the president of the United States bestows the Congressional Medal of Honor, Captain
McGonagle was awarded his medal in the Washington Navy Yard. In your opinion, why wasn't
your captain awarded the medal according to tradition?
- Our Captain did receive the Congressional Medal of Honor but not in the
White house like it usually is given, but in a shipyard in Washington DC. Not many of us
knew that he got it until many years later. On his written citation, there is no mention
that Israel was the attackers. The same goes for all of our medals and citations; the
Israelis are not mentioned at all.
- In your opinion, if the general American public were to become fully
aware of Israel's attack on the Liberty, could this affect the "special"
relationship that America shares with its "ally" Israel? For instance, if many
Americans learned of the attack and the cover-up, they might be less willing to bankroll
Israel with financial and military aid.
- I'm not sure if that would happen. I think that if the truth be known
about the attack it would hurt for a little while, but it would be a piece of history
finally put to bed.
- Do you keep in contact with fellow Liberty survivors? If so, do they
express hope that American will reinvestigate the attack?
- We USS Liberty survivors are always in contact. We all fight for the
same thing. They want the investigation to happen soon, so we can all go on with our
- Is there anything else that you would like to add?
- I thank PRAVDA.Ru for the time to express my views of the June 8, 1967
attack on my ship, the USS Liberty. I do hope your country will be able to see the new
film by the BBC Dead in the Water by Mr. Christopherer Mitchell. There is also a new book
that goes along with the new film. It was written by Pulitzer Prize winner Mr. Peter
Hounam and is due to come out very shortly. The film and book open the incident up very
- Mr. Hrankowski can be contacted at the following address:
- John Hrankowski 45 Drumcliff Way Rochester, New York 14612 USA
NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive
AG-168 / AGTR-5 Liberty
Belmont Class Technical Research Ship: Laid down, 23 February 1945, as Simmons
Victory, a Maritime Commission type (VC2-S-AP3) hull, under a Maritime Commission
contract at Oregon Shipbuilding Corp., Portland, OR.; Launched, (date unknown); Delivered
to the Maritime Commission, 4 May 1945; Chartered to Pacific Far East Line, San Francisco,
CA.; Returned to the Maritime Administration in 1958 for lay up in the National Defense
Reserve Fleet, Olympia, WA.; Acquired by the Navy, February 1963; Converted to a Miscellaneous
Auxiliary, (Technical Research Ship) at Williamette Iron and Steel, Portland, OR.;
Named Liberty (AG-168), 8 June 1963; Reclassified Technical Research Ship (AGTR-5),
1 April 1964; Commissioned USS Liberty (AGTR-5), 1 April 1964 at, Puget Sound Naval
Shipyard, Bremerton, WA; Attacked and damaged by Israeli forces, 8 June 1967, 34 killed,
171 wounded; Decommissioned, and Struck from the Naval Register, 28 June 1968; Laid up in
the Atlantic Reserve Fleet, Norfolk, Va.; Transferred to MARAD, December 1970 for
disposal; Final disposition, sold for scrapping, 1973. Liberty was awarded the
Presidential Unit Citation and Captain McGonagle, the commanding officer, received the
Medal of Honor
Specifications: Displacement 7,725 t.(fl); Length 455'; Beam 60': Draft 23';
Speed 16 kts; Complement 358; Armament four .50 cal. machine guns; Propulsion, steam
turbine, single shaft, 8.500shp.
A Memorial To Those Who Sail In Harms Way
The Attack on USS Liberty
The following summary is from the jacket of the book, Assault on the Liberty by
James M. Ennes, Jr.; Random House, New York, 1979, ISBN 0-394-50512-3:
In June 1967, jet aircraft and motor torpedo boats of Israel brutally assaulted an
American naval vessel, the USS LIBERTY, in international waters off the Sinai Peninsula in
the Mediterranean Sea. The attack was preceded by more than six-hours of intense low-level
surveillance by Israel photo-reconnaissance aircraft, which buzzed the intelligence ship
thirteen times, sometimes flying as low as 200 feet directly overhead. The carefully
orchestrated assault that followed was initiated by high-performance jet aircraft, and was
followed up by slower and more maneuverable jets carrying napalm, and was finally turned
over to lethal torpedo boats, which blasted a forty-foot hole in the ship's side.
The attack lasted more two hours-killing 34 Americans and wounding 171 others-and
inflicted 821 rocket and machine-gun holes in the ship. And when the LIBERTY stubbornly
remained afloat despite her damage, Israeli forces machine-gunned her life rafts and sent
troop-carrying helicopters to finish the job. At this point, with Sixth Fleet rescue
aircraft finally enroute, the government of Israel apologized and the attacking forces
suddenly withdrew. Only then did the identity of the assailants become known.
|Click On Image
For Full Size Image
||Liberty (AGTR-5), 28 December 1964, Williamette Iron and
Steel Co. photo
||Cdr Louis D Chirillo USN Ret
||Liberty (AGTR-5), date and place unknown.
||From the collection of Frank Guilfoy
via USS Oxford (AG-159/AGTR-1)
||Liberty (AGTR-5), date circa 1966, place unknown..
US Navy photo # NH 97473,
|US Naval Historical Center
||Liberty (AGTR-5) at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth,
VA. 2 October 1966. Waldron (DD-699) tied up astern of Liberty
US Navy Photo # NH 66862 Courtesy Mariners Museum, Newport News, Virginia. Ted
|US Naval Historical Center
||Liberty (AGTR-5) underway in Chesapeake Bay, 29 July
1967, upon her return from the Mediterranean Sea. She had been attacked and seriously
damaged by Israeli air and surface forces while operating off the Sinai Peninsula on 8
June 1967, during the "Six-Day War", and was subsequently repaired at Malta.
US Navy Photo # K-39927
|US Naval Historical Center
||Liberty (AGTR-5) seen here after attack by Israeli forces
US Navy photo
View the Liberty (AGTR-5) DANFS history entry
located at NavSource.
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
Fleet Reserve Association
Subject : FW: Fw: Emailing: liberty_attack_scheme.htm
LIBERTY ATTACK SCHEME
Mark: I have read both of your excellent articles that appeared in the
American Free Press
concerning the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty and the brutal murder of 34 American
should be no doubt that what happened to the U.S.S. Liberty was an intentional act,
false flag operation, designed to drag the U.S. into war with Egypt and the Soviet Union.
is the undisputed fact that an order came from somewhere in the chain of command direct to
commander of the U.S.S. America to launch a flight of fighter bombers with nuclear
bombers were actually launched, and the mission was to b--b Cairo. The
aircraft were recalled
only when it appeared that the Liberty would not sink. Captain Mcgonagle in
performing some of the
finest seamanship in U.S. Naval history, not only saved his ship and his crew but probably
the world from a nuclear holocaust.
Keep up the
good work. The truth is out there and someday the whole world will have
full knowledge of these crimes. Tom
LIBERTY ATTACK PART OF GRAND SCHEME
Newly Uncovered Evidence Indicates Assault May Have Been Pre-Planned 'Useful
By Mark Glenn
This June 8, 2007, marks the 40-year anniversary of Israel's bloody attack on the
USS Liberty, a lightly armed U.S. Navy ship sailing off the coast of Egypt at the time.
Over the years, there have been numerous reports indicating that the unprovoked
assault caught the White House and the military by surprise.
New information, however, reveals that officials in various agencies in the U.S.
government played a key role in setting up the Liberty for the purpose of drawing the
into a fight in the Middle East and ultimately igniting World War III.
For those who follow the intrigues and explosive events surrounding the
relationship between America and Israel over the last four decades it is easy to "get
into a rut"
so to speak and blame every single catastrophic event solely on the treachery of Israel.
tragedy though (and certainly the hardest part to swallow by patriotic Americans who would
take their own lives than betray their fellow countrymen) is that there have been and are
on the American side of the equation whose hands are just as dirty as those of their
Whether it was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK, the
bombing of the twin towers in 1993, the bombing of the Murrah Federal
Building in 1995 or the
events taking place on 9-11, the only way these could have taken place is if elements
U.S. government cooperated with the planning, execution and subsequent dissemination of
in the aftermath of these operations.
Now, a new and terrible tale has surfaced indicating yet again that elements of
the U.S. government were involved at the highest level in even more criminal acts against
same American people whom it is charged with protecting. The case in question involves the
1967, attack on the USS Liberty by the air and naval forces of the state of Israel during
height of the Arab-Israeli war that led to the deaths of 34 American servicemen.
Long believed that players within the Johnson administration simply assisted in
the cover-up of the attack so as "not to embarrass" America's greatest ally,
Israel, it now it
appears that American political, intelligence and military persons played a key role in
the Liberty for the purpose of igniting WW III in what was code-named "Operation
It was a heady time, to be sure. The United States and the Soviet Union were neck-
deep in the Cold War, and by all appearances it seemed that a shooting match between the
superpowers was inevitable.
The incident in question took place only a few short years after the Cuban
Missile Crisis and at a time when America seemed unable to stop the spread of communism in
other parts of the world.
In the Middle East, states such as Egypt, with dynamic, fiery and recalcitrant
leaders such as President Gamal Abdel Nasser, were forming strong bonds
with the Soviets for
military and economic aid. Using the same rationale that led to America inserting itself
into Korea and Vietnam, it was believed that, if not stopped, the Soviets would entrench
in the Middle East to the point that America's access to the oil of that region would be
jeopardized and that, just as the communists had predicted decades before, the West would
conquered "without a shot being fired."
It has long been assumed that Israel's deliberate attack on the USS Liberty was
just another of Israel's made-to-order false flag operations done simply for the purpose
dragging an unwilling America into a Middle East war on the side of the Jewish state.
information uncovered by former BBC investigative journalist Peter Hounam reveals that the
government-and more specifically the administration of Lyndon Johnson-was not as much the
unsuspecting victim in all of this that Israel has claimed these last 40 years.
Based on relatively new evidence, the attack on the Liberty was actually part of
a much larger plan. The Liberty incident was just one domino in a series that had as the
goal a real live shooting war between the United States and the Soviets. Had the Liberty
with no witnesses as planned, the world would be a much different place as a result-and
not for the better.
The plan for that awful day in American history was to sink the defenseless,
unarmed American ship sailing in international waters off the coast of Egypt. The Soviets
Arab allies (in particular Egypt) would then be blamed for the event.
As with the sinking of the USS Maine nearly 70 years earlier, the cry would
be "Remember the USS Liberty" and America's
"justifiable" response to such a horrendous act would
be the launching of nuclear weapons against Egypt, an ally of the Soviet Union. Working in
with the United States would be allies such as Israel, Great Britain and, interestingly,
The end result would be a Middle East free of any Soviet presence, leaving
America and her ally Israel in possession of Arab oil for the foreseeable future and in a
position to dictate terms to the communists. In the minds of powerful men such as
these-men who sit
in comfortable offices and expensive chairs and who do not have to answer to anyone for
actions, the rationale for such an act was simple: It is better for 300 U.S. sailors to
die in the
service of their country than have the "free world" fall into the clutches of
What prevented all of this from taking place was that-simply by the grace of God-
the Liberty did not sink, and the world was spared. Of course, there is no official
Operation Cyanide. In fact there is no mention of it at all. In various interviews that
conducted over the years, individuals from Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara to Dean
Richard Helms to Mossad spy chief Rafael Eitan have demonstrated great intellectual and
dexterity for men their age when discussing various items. However, they clam up
when Operation Cyanide is mentioned as if they were witnesses to an organized crime hit
feared for their lives.
However, the smaller players involved at the time have a different tale to tell.
Piecing together all the small parts that they individually bring to the table fleshes out
picture that, although not crystal clear, is clear enough to suggest
that America was involved in
the murder of 34 young men on that day in a much deeper fashion than previously thought.
For the sake of those men who died then, and for those who survived the attack
and who have endured the assault of lies that has been waged against them these last 40
truth concerning what took place must be told.
In the opinion of many, exposure of the Liberty incident may very well hold the
key to freeing America from the bondage it suffers under men such as those who have
only American citizens, but our traditional political system as well.
A former schoolteacher fluent in several languages, Mark Glenn spoke at the AFP-
TBR conference on the Middle East panel. He is a prolific writer whose provocative essays
published worldwide. He and his wife Vicki and their eight children maintain a ranch in
Idaho. His book, No Beauty in the Beast, can be ordered from TBR BOOK CLUB
(1-877-773-9077) for $28
(Issue #23, June 4, 2007)