Unless President Donald Trump appears, the crowd at Section 34, Gravesite 1817 at Arlington National Cemetery is likely to be a little smaller this year when the 50th anniversary of the #Uss Liberty memorial ceremony begins on #June 8, 2017 at noon. Many of the victims have either died or become too frail to travel after half a century. Trump was sent an invitation a couple of weeks ago.

Many can’t wait for the rest of the crew to die. #Israel and its toadies in Washington want their stories to die. They don’t want you to know Israeli jets were scouting the ship for hours before launching an unprovoked, surprise attack that killed 34 U.S.

Advertisements
Advertisements

sailors and wounded more than 170 others. They don’t want you to know that the U.S. flag was flying throughout the murder. They want you to think it was a case of mistaken identity during the six-day war. However, the declassification of U.S. documents and testimony from those involved—on both sides after leaving the service—have released a truth that shall forever be free.

The attack

With no warning or provocation, Israeli fighters attacked the Liberty, a spy ship, with rockets, at about 2 p.m. local time on June 8, 1967. The planes made repeated firing passes with rockets and cannons. Another set of fighters followed that attack with rockets, cannon and napalm. One of the first things the Israelis did was jam the Liberty’s communication channels, and then destroyed the operable radio towers.

Advertisements

An antenna that was inoperable was untouched. Nine crew members were killed during these attacks.

Israeli warships began their runs when the planes left. Torpedo boats launched five torpedoes, one of which struck the side of USS Liberty (AGTR-5), opposite the ship’s research spaces. Twenty-five Americans were killed as a result.

Heroic action

In the meantime, Terry Halbardier moved across the deck to jerry-rig new cable to the inoperable antenna so an SOS could be sent to the Sixth Fleet. Once a radioman sent out the distress signal, the Israelis realized what officially became known as “their mistake.” U.S. planes were sent to protect the listing-ship, but they were recalled by Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.

“Almost immediately the Israeli aircraft and torpedo ships broke off the attack and went back to base; the Israeli government sent a quick apology to Washington for its unfortunate ‘mistake;’ and President [Lyndon] Johnson issued orders to everyone to make believe the Israelis were telling the truth, or at least to remain silent,” ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern wrote after Halibardier’s memorial service in 2014.

Advertisements

“To their discredit, top Navy brass went along, and the Liberty survivors were threatened with court martial and prison if they so much as mentioned to their wives what had actually happened. They were enjoined as well from discussing it with one another,” he added.

Truth revealed

Halibardier received a silver star for his service—42 years after the fact. It was presented by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the recused chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The medal is unique in one important aspect, at least to USS Liberty survivors, veterans and historians. It says: “The USS Liberty was attacked by Israeli aircraft and motor torpedo boats in the East Mediterranean Sea.”

When Capt. William McGonagle, the ship’s skipper, received the Medal of Honor, President Johnson had a scheduling conflict and couldn’t present the award. The White House was booked so the ceremony took place at the Navy Yard. A naval officer involved in McGonagle’s award ceremony reportedly told one of the Liberty crew the government was so jumpy about Israel that the State Department even asked the Israeli ambassador if his government had any objections to McGonagle getting the medal, according to McGovern. McGonagle's #Israeli attack medal noted the attack, not the attacker.