USS LIBERTY REMEMBERED
Survivors Gather for Press Conference
By Richard Walker
Survivors of the USS Liberty were to observe the 38th anniversary of the June 8, 1967, attack by Israel that left 34 crewmen dead and 171 injured with a press conference in Washington June 10.
For more than three decades, the survivors—to the last man—have been telling the world that the attack was not a “mistake,” as President Lyndon Johnson said, but a deliberate attempt to sink the ship and kill all aboard.
Israel was concerned that the Liberty, a lightly armed intelligence-gathering ship in international waters, would report to Washington that Israeli troops were massing on the Golan Heights preparing to open another front in the Six-Day War.
Israel had destroyed the Egyptian air force on the ground in a surprise “pre-emptive” strike and occupied the Sinai. It feared that if Washington became aware of plans to attack the West Bank and Golan Heights, there would be pressure to refrain.
The facts they present are conclusive.
The Israeli Air Force had scouted the Liberty in advance, taking detailed photos. Pilots flew so close, U.S. sailors could see their faces. The sailors smiled and waved at their “ally.” The ship’s distinctive shape and markings, and the American flag fully extended on a breezy morning, made “misidentification” impossible.
Having examined the photos, Israelis pinpointed targets on the ship—the few guns and vulnerable spots. They shot U.S. sailors on lifeboats.
But the cover story from Israel and the American government stood up for nine years until the defunct Spotlight in April 1976 published overwhelming evidence that the attack was deliberate.
Since then, books by survivor James Ennes and former Rep. Paul Findley (R-Ill.) have made the same case.
Adm. Thomas H. Moorer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spent the last years of his life making the same case. All has been blacked out by the mainstream media.