On June 8, 1967, Israel attacked the American naval vessel USS Liberty in international waters, and tried to sink it.
After checking the Liberty out for 8 hours – and making 9 overflights with Israeli jets, within 200 feet … close enough for the pilots and the sunbathing Liberty sailors on deck to waive at each other.
Yet the Israelis attacked it with Mirage fighter jets, torpedoes and napalm. The USS Liberty suffered 70% casualties, with 34 killed and 174 wounded.
The Israeli attack 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. The Israelis fired 30mm cannons and rockets into the boat.
Following the attack by fighter jets, three Israeli motor torpedo boats torpedoed the ship, causing a 40 x 40 foot 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).
The Israelis clearly knew it was an American ship, tried to sink it, and tried to frame the Egyptians for the attack, as shown by the following evidence:
(1) The Liberty was flying a huge, brand new American flag. The flag was 5-by-8 feet. The weather conditions were ideal to ensure the flag’s easy observance and identification, because it was clear and sunny, with a wind-speed which made for a constant rippling motion in the flag. After the flag was shot up by the jets, the Liberty’s crew replaced it with a giant 7-by-13 foot American flag, which flew during the entire duration of the attack.
(2) The Liberty had a unique profile and didn’t look like any other boat, since it had more and bigger antennas – including large, high-tech dishes and giant towers – than any other boat in the world (it was an NSA spy ship).
(3) The Liberty was marked with uniquely American numbering and colors in front.
(4) The Israeli pilots shot out the Liberty’s communications equipment first, and specifically jammed the ship’s emergency radio signal … unique to American naval vessels in the 6th Fleet. The ships from other fleets and other nations used different frequencies, which the Israelis did not jam.
(5) The Israelis used unmarked fighter jets and unmarked torpedo boats during the attack.
(6) Recently-declassified radio transcripts between the Israeli attack forces and ground control show that – at least 3 times – an Israeli fighter jet pilot identified the craft as American, and asked whether ground control was sure he should attack. Ground control repeatedly said, yes, attack the vessel.
(7) The Israeli torpedo boats methodically destroyed all of the Liberty’s liferafts one by one (which is a war crime).
(8) The only reason the Israelis did not successfully sink the Liberty and kill all of its crewmen was that one sailor duck-taped together antennae – and took many bullet wounds in the process – which enabled an emergency SOS to get out from the Liberty to American 6th Fleet.
(9) The Israelis later claimed that they mistook the Liberty for an Egyptian vessel. But the Egyptian ship – the El Quseir – was an unarmed 1920s-era horse carrier out of service in Alexandria, four times smaller than the Liberty, which bore virtually no resemblance to the Liberty.
(10) President Lyndon Johnson believed the attack was intentional and he leaked his opinion to Newsweek.
Other high-level Americans agreed:
“I was never satisfied with the Israeli explanation…. Through diplomatic channels we refused to accept their explanations. I didn’t believe them then, and I don’t believe them to this day. The attack was outrageous.” –U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk
“The evidence was clear. Both Adm. Kidd and I believed with certainty that this attack … was a deliberate effort to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew…. 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….” –Affidavit of U.S. Navy Captain Ward Boston, the legal counsel for the official investigation into the Liberty attack
“There is compelling evidence that Israel’s attack was a deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew.” –Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and later Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 14 January 2004
“Israeli authorities subsequently apologized for the incident, but few in Washington could believe that the ship had not been identified as an American naval vessel…. I have yet to understand why it was felt necessary to attack this ship or who ordered the attack.” –C.I.A. Chief Richard Helms
“Yet the ultimate lesson of the Liberty attack had far more effect on policy in Israel than in America. Israel’s leaders concluded that nothing they might do would offend the Americans to the point of reprisal. If America’s leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed clear that their American friends would let them get away with almost anything.” –George Ball, U.S. Undersecretary of State at the time, The Passionate Attachment
Admiral Thomas H. Moorer – former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – chaired a non-governmental investigation into the attack on the USS Liberty in 2003. The committee – which included General of Marines Raymond G. Davis, Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, and former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia James E. Akins – held Israel to be culpable and suggested several theories for Israel’s possible motives, including the desire to blame Egypt and bring the U.S. into the Six Day War.
Indeed, President Lyndon Johnson dispatched nuclear-armed fighter jets to drop nuclear bombs on Cairo, Egypt. They were only recalled at the last minute, when Johnson realized that it was the Israelis – and not the Egyptians – who had fired on the Liberty.
A persistent question relating to the Liberty incident is whether or not the Israeli forces which attacked the ship knew that it was American . . . not a few of the Liberty’s crewmen and [deleted but probably “NSA’s G Group”] staff are convinced that they did. Their belief derived from consideration of the long time the Israelis had the ship under surveillance prior to the attack, the visibility of the flag, and the intensity of the attack itself.
Speculation as to the Israeli motivation varied. Some believed that Israel expected that the complete destruction of the ship and killing of the personnel would lead the U.S. to blame the UAR [Egypt] for the incident and bring the U.S. into the war on the side of Israel . . . others felt that Israeli forces wanted the ship and men out of the way.
Scouring the Liberty records in the LBJ Library in Texas, Ennes [an officer on the bridge of the Liberty] stumbled upon a smoking gun – a one-page memo of the minutes of the 303 Committee [the U.S. National Security Council group that reviewed sensitive intelligence operations] 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.
We haven’t yet located a copy of the alleged memo, and so we’re not sure we believe this explosive claim. But – given that Israel (1) used unmarked jets and ships, (2) destroyed the Liberty’s communication equipment and then jammed the Liberty’s emergency distress channel, and (3) destroyed all liferafts – the logical inference is that Israel intended to frame Egypt for the attack, and didn’t want the Liberty’s crew to be able to tell the world what really happened.
The following must-watch documentaries from the BBC, Al Jazeera and an independent producer provide first-hand interviews with the crew of the USS Liberty which prove that this was a failed false flag attack:
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