- On June 8, 1967, the U.S.S. Liberty, then the world's
most sophisticated intelligence-gathering ship, came under attack in the
eastern Mediterranean. After a two-hour attack by planes and torpedo boats,
70 percent of its 294-man crew were either dead or wounded. The attack
was launched by a friendly country, Israel, which three days earlier had
begun its six-day war with Egypt and was preparing to invade Syria the
- The Chronicle of the 20th Century, which briefly records
newsworthy events in chronological order, says for its entry on June 8,
1967: "Sinai: Israelis accidentally attack U.S. ship, killing 10 and
injuring 100." That reflects the inadequate and inaccurate reporting
by the news media at the time of the attack.
- This deplorable incident has festered like an infected
wound for 36 years. Israel insisted that its pilots mistook the Liberty
for an Egyptian freighter, a claim that those members of the crew who survived
the attack deride. They charge that the Israelis conducted aerial surveillance
of the Liberty for six hours before they attacked it.
- They and others familiar with the ship say that it was
flying a large American flag, which was replaced by an even larger flag
when it was destroyed by the attackers.
- They also point out that the claim the ship was mistaken
for an old Egyptian freighter is absurd. As an intelligence ship it was
loaded with antennas and carried a large satellite dish on an elevated
structure near the stern. It was four times as large as an old Egyptian
freighter, and its identification numbers were painted on the bow in white
letters 10 feet high.
- If the numbers couldn't be seen by the Israeli pilots,
they could not have been missed by the torpedo boats that fired on the
lifeboats deployed by the Liberty.
- The Liberty Alliance, an organization formed to counteract
the lies said to have been told to justify the Israeli attack and the cover-up
by President Lyndon Johnson, deployed its forces on Capitol Hill on Oct.
22, 2003. The chairman of the Liberty Alliance, Adm. Thomas H. Moorer,
former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presided over the news conference
in the Rayburn House Office Building.
- The most stunning revelation was a statement by Capt.
Ward Boston, the senior legal counsel for the Navy's Court of Inquiry into
the attack on the Liberty. His statement was read by Rear Adm. Merlin Staring,
a former judge advocate general of the Navy. Following are portions of
what he read.
- The late Admiral Isaac Kidd and I were given only one
week to gather evidence for the Navy's official investigation. 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 Adm. 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 our flag, which had visibly identified the ship
as American, riddled with bullet holes, and heard testimony that made it
clear that the Israelis intended that there be no survivors. Not only did
the Israelis attack the ship for over two hours with napalm, gunfire and
hundreds of rockets and missiles, Israeli torpedo boats machine-gunned
three life boats that had been launched in an attempt to save the crew
a war crime.
- After saying he was moved to speak out by a book titled
"The Liberty Incident" by Jay Cristol, he described it as an
attempt to whitewash the facts. He then dropped a bombshell, saying, "I
have firsthand knowledge from many personal conversations with Admiral
Kidd that President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara
personally ordered him to cover up the true facts and conclude the attack
was a case of mistaken identity despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary."
- He did not mention that LBJ also rescinded an order to
send carrier-based fighter planes that were only 15 minutes away to defend
- The Liberty Alliance is pressing for an official, openly
conducted reinvestigation of the tragedy that will consider this new testimony,
along with the evidence that was suppressed or ignored.
- Some say that cover-ups ordered by presidents can't succeed
because someone in the know will talk. Capt. Boston has finally talked.
He and the Liberty survivors deserve a hearing
- Reed Irvine is the Publisher of the AIM Report and can
be reached at <mailto:email@example.com>firstname.lastname@example.org.