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October 31, 2014 12:05 pm

Former Israeli Ambassador to U.S. Affirms That USS Liberty Was ‘Tragic Friendly Fire Incident’ as Al Jazeera America Prepares to Air ‘Shocking Report’ by Conspiracy Theorist

avatar by Ben Cohen

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A memorial plaque dedicated to the deceased servicemen on the USS Liberty. Anti-Israel conspiracy theorists charge that the ship was deliberately attacked by Israeli forces during the 1967 Six Day War. Photo: Wikicommons

With U.S.-Israeli bilateral relations hitting a new low this week, the Qatari-financed news broadcaster Al Jazeera America is tonight broadcasting a special report on the USS Liberty, the American naval vessel that came under deadly fire from Israeli forces on June 8, 1967 – the fourth day of the Six Day War which pitted the Jewish state against a coalition of Arab armies.

Thirty-four Americans died and 171 were injured in the attack. Israel said it mistook the Liberty for an enemy vessel, the Egyptian ship El Quseir. Subsequently, Israel issued a full apology for the attack, and has to date paid out more than $12 million in compensation to the survivors and their families, as well as the U.S. government.

In an interview with The Algemeiner, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, an expert on the Liberty affair who now serves as Ambassador-in-Residence at The Atlantic Council, asserted that “thousands of pages of formerly classified documents on the Liberty have been declassified, both Israeli and American. None of those documents – I stress none – indicate that the Liberty was anything other than a tragic friendly fire episode.”

Among the declassified documents, Oren said, “are the tapes made by Israeli pilots and the tapes intercepted by American intelligence. All of them indicate that the Liberty attack was an accident. Every once in a while, someone comes up with ‘new evidence,’ but it always falls short.”

The USS Liberty affair has long been a favored topic of Israel’s harshest critics in America, as well as more extreme antisemitic conspiracy theorists, who insist the attack was deliberate. These detractors charge that Israel attacked the Liberty because the ship was eavesdropping on Israeli plans to attack the Syrian-controlled Golan Heights. Oren, who authored an extensive report on the matter, is adamant that “Israel made no attempt to hide its preparations for an offensive against Syria, and that the United States government, relying on regular diplomatic channels, remained fully apprised of them.” According to Oren, the attack was a tragic example of friendly fire, with severe operational errors made by both American and Israeli military planners.

Another theory advanced by the American investigative journalist James Bamford – described by Oren as “a well-known conspiracy theorist, who keeps coming up with different stories” – holds that “Israel mounted the attack because it worried that the Liberty would learn of the nearby killing of hundreds of Egyptian POWs by the Israeli army.” As an Anti- Defamation League report on the Liberty incident pointed out, “no evidence has been found to corroborate a war crime charge.”

Al Jazeera’s report is produced by Richard Belfield, a British journalist. In an article for the broadcaster’s website, Belfield left little doubt as to which side of the dispute he falls on. “First, the crew had been attacked in broad daylight by a close ally, then they were betrayed by their government and now they were being humiliated by the same agency many had worked for back in 1967,” Belfield wrote. His article made no mention of the compensation paid by Israel, and nor did he say whether he had spoken to any Israeli sources.

Belfield has somewhat of a penchant for conspiracy theories. His 2005 book “The Assassination Business” claimed the official versions of the death of Britain’s Princess Diana and the murder of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin were false, and that British and Israeli intelligence services were likely involved in both deaths. Belfield’s book was described by the respected book reviewer Kirkus Reviews as an “oddly entertaining exposé,” with readers advised to “keep a tumbler full of salt grains close at hand” when reading it.

In his account of Rabin’s assassination, Belfield declared, “the history of modern Israel is one of conspiracy interrupted by assassination, a volatile and feverish democracy underpinned by the world’s most ruthless intelligence services, for whom there is no moral debate about ends and means.” Even more outlandishly, he wrote of “the long tradition of Jews assassinating other Jews” – without providing examples – and argued, again with no citation, that “ancient Talmudic law” portrays as a “sacred duty” the imperative for a Jew to kill another Jew who “imperils” Jewish lives or properties.

While no evidence has emerged to suggest that Al Jazeera has deliberately timed the broadcast of Belfield’s film to coincide with the current crisis between Washington and Jerusalem, interest in the report is likely to be heightened because of the diplomatic clash. Al Jazeera promises that the report will reveal “the shocking truth behind a deadly Israeli attack on a US naval vessel.”

The ailing Al Jazeera America is certainly chasing ratings, given its poor performance in the 14 months since its American version went on the air. According to media and entertainment website The Wrap, Al Jazeera America “is down 44 percent compared to [predecessor] Current TV,” averaging just 14,000 viewers in a “total day.”

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  • Rexf0rd

    I have never heard anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the incident state a belief that Israel didn’t launch an attack from air and sea against a defenseless ship, with malice and intent to destroy.

    Like the Lavon affair the truth will eventually come out but it will take a while. As for Israel paying compensation don’t be ridiculous. Less than 10 Million against over 100 Billion in aid since ’67.

  • Pingback: 8 juin 1967 : le documentaire que vous ne verrez pas à la télévision française – Reveille toi()

  • curri

    James Scott, author of the definitive book on the attack:
    “One reader wrote that there are “thousands of cases of friendly fire” yet the Liberty always seems to rise to the top. I think one of the reasons it does is the circumstances of the attack never fit the mold of a typical friendly fire incident. Most such assaults are over in seconds, maybe minutes, and occur at night, in inclement weather and otherwise poor conditions. In contrast, the attack on the Liberty lasted approximately an hour and happened on a clear and sunny afternoon. The attack was exceedingly brutal, leaving 821 shell holes in the ship in addition to a 39-foot torpedo hole. Those facts have made it hard – both in 1967 and today – for many to believe it could have been simply friendly fire.

    More importantly, as we now know from declassified Israeli documents, some Israeli personnel in fact knew the Liberty was an American ship. Early in the attack an Israeli pilot radioed in the Liberty’s hull number, and that information was passed to the Israeli Navy. Others inside Israel’s chain of command also later testified that they were aware of the ship’s identity before the torpedo strike. This is unfortunate, because had Israel stopped the attack at that point more than two dozen lives would have been saved. Based on this information, Israel’s ambassador to the United States in 1967, Avraham Harman, insisted that some of the attackers be prosecuted and that American journalists be invited to cover the trial, which unfortunately never happened.”

    • What educated U.S. citizens fail to recognize is the enormous amount of soul-stunting antics these supposed allies have gotten away with against the national security of the United States. With very little effort any secondary school child using a laptop computer can uncover the most recent attack these parasites got away with against the united states. Months,weeks and even on the very day of Sept 11th, 2001 Israeli’s were caught spying! These Israeli military officers penetrated targets like the DEA,FBI,NSA,IRS,EPA,CIA,ATF,INS,etc,etc.They also penetrated the Department of interior and secret offices in our government! The U.S. Marshal Offices and various other U.S. attorney offices..Unlisted phone numbers of hundred of thousands of U.S. law enforcement officers and officials. Hundreds of these Israeli’s were rounded up and questioned.Most stated they served in military intelligence,electronic surveillance intercept, and or explosive ordinance units.This spy ring was the most aggressive espionage operation against the united states of any allies in the history of our nation..Arrested with vans filled with explosives in lower Manhattan on the morning on 9/11. Most U.S citizens don’t know these parasites even got away with exploding another van in Manhattan after New York City Police answered the BOLO for suspicious individuals driving a white van..These are not wild inaccurate assumptions. If you doubt one word do some basic research about these parasites..All questioned and all were free to go back to their homes in Israel..

    • 1967

      USS Liberty will be partnering w/ Palestinians for the 50th Anniversary in June of 2017 of 1967 War. Boat will moor at spot where it sank off Gaza Sinai coast.

  • Heather Czerniak

    I have a conspiracy theory of my own. LBJ himself was trying to get the US involved in the 6-Day War by placing the USS Liberty off the Sinai so that the Egyptian Air Force could attack it. LBJ wanted to jump into the war on Israel’s side. Unfortunately, Israel’s stunning knock-out punch to the Egyptian Air Force changed everything.

    First, there was LBJ’s disappointment with the Vietnam War. By 1965, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara was already expressing doubt as to whether or not the Vietnam War was winnable. China and the USSR had just increased their support of North Vietnam, anti-war protests and negative media coverage were already working against him. Even the Gulf of Tonkin incident was considered by many to be insufficient cause to throw the US headlong into the conflict, since no US casualties occurred. But LBJ was a firm believer in the military-industrial complex theory – to keep the US economy out of recession, it was necessary to keep the country at war. So LBJ decided to look for high adventure elsewhere. In the spring of 1967, he thought he’d found it.

    Egypt had just closed the Suez Canal to all Israeli commercial traffic. Egypt, Jordan and Syria had just begun to amass troops along their borders with Israel. All attempts at a peaceful resolution had failed. It was well and obvious to the world that a war was about to break out. It wasn’t a question of who might throw the first punch, but when. Israel decided to throw the first punch by destroying nearly all of Egypt’s air force while they were sitting on the ground. At this point, the USS Liberty was already well into the war zone, situated just a few miles off the Sinai and a few miles away from Gaza, thus nullifying the US’s claim of neutrality. That plus the US’s complete denial of any of its ships being in the area, despite several Israeli sightings of the ship, was incriminating enough to blow the Liberty out of the water and the world would never know about it. But just in case it really was a US naval ship and not just an Egyptian ship masquerading as American, Israel decided to leave it alone unless it behaved in a way that indicated otherwise.

    On June 5th, the first day of the conflict, LBJ was informed promptly that Israel had successfully neutralized the Egyptian Air Force. He immediately called McNamara and ordered him get the Liberty out of the area. Since Israel had wiped out the Egyptian Air Force in the time it takes to cook a TV dinner, there was no point in keeping the ship in the area, now that Israel had removed what LBJ considered to be the only threat to the Liberty’s presence. The Liberty could have stayed in the area and continued its duties. And, of course, both messages instructing the Liberty to redeploy 100 miles west were misrouted. What’s even more disturbing is that the second message, misrouted to Ft. Meade, was sent a whole three days after the first message. Why the wait?!

    The Israel Defense Forces had repeatedly asked Admiral Castle, the US Naval attache to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, what the Liberty was doing there in the middle of the war zone. Castle simply denied that there were any US ships in the East Med. Um, OK. So Israel could just go ahead and dispatch the Liberty to the bottom and that would the end of it, right? Fortunately, Israel decided to hold off.

    I have some questions of my own about Ambassador Porter’s claim in 1991, when he went on Evans and Novak and claimed that he’d received printed transcripts of a tape recording from two unidentified CIA agents who came to the US Embassy in Beirut and handed them directly to him. He claimed to have destroyed them on one occasion, on another, he claimed that they just disappeared, like the mysterious CIA agents. Huh? Question #1) Why did Porter wait a whole 24 years to finally cough up the goods about these transcripts? He couldn’t have been afraid that someone in Washington would try to silence him. After all, many government officials, including Secretary of State Dean Rusk, his own boss at the time, were ranting non-stop for years that there was a massive cover-up about the attack on the Liberty. Question #2) Of all the people in the world that those two CIA agents could’ve trusted with those transcripts, why Porter? He was a diplomat. Diplomats are never involved in the gathering, dissemination or physical handling of intelligence materials. In fact, every intelligence agency of every country in the world follows one strict, no-exceptions rule: stay away from diplomatic missions of their own countries to avoid suspicion. Embassies are the most scrutinized government buildings in the world. Why add to the suspicion by having their own spies show up at the front door?

    Another question is why Ennes claimed on a website he put up back in the 90’s that after the initial attack and the torpedo hitting the Liberty, he ran into a storeroom, grabbed a spare radio, turned it on and overheard an Israeli ground controller ordering one of the Israeli pilots to continue attacking what the pilot had already stated was an American ship. OK, there are three things wrong with this picture: 1) Ennes was severely injured by the torpedo attack. He spent the next three months in a body cast! He was too busy making peace with his Maker and in no condition to run to any storeroom. 2) Ennes claimed that for thw whole duration of the attack, the Israelis were jamming all radio frequencies, which would’ve prevented him from hearing the conversation between the Israeli pilots and ground controllers. 3) The Israelis he claimed he heard would’ve been speaking to each other in Hebrew. Nowhere in Ennes’s academic or service records is it evidenced that he ever learned Hebrew.

    Capt. McGonagle had his own website too, where he tells the story of the attack in his own words. He claimed that before the Israeli jets began their strafing runs, he had identified them as Israeli because they flew in low and close enough that the Liberty crew members on the main deck could see the Star of David on their tail fins. All evidence in the Naval Court of Inquiry clearly indicate that no one on board the Liberty knew that the planes AND the Motor Torpedo Boats that showed up later were Israeli. In fact, the Liberty’s distress signal read “Under attack by unidentified aircraft.” McGonagle also stated on his website that while the planes were making ID runs on the Liberty, he personally ordered the US flag removed from the mast and replaced with the ship’s holiday colors. HUH?! Ennes testified at the Inquiry that he, being the OOD at the time of the attack, was the one who ordered the flags switch. I don’t know why McGonagle decided to remove the US flag, but Ennes’s reason was that he thought the US flag wasn’t big enough to be seen by any aircraft and ships that might approach the ship. In either case, the US flag was NOT flying on the mast at time of the attack.

    Lloyd Painter, a Liberty crew member, claimed that the life rafts were shot up by the Israelis while they were in the water. He testified at the Inquiry that they were already shot up in the initial strafing run while they were still on the Liberty’s deck.

    Since this post is getting long, I’ll cut it right here. There are many lies and contradictions from some of the Liberty’s crew and they’ve gone far enough with it. They may have been unwitting victims in the incident, but they aren’t helping their cause by lying about certain elements that are already etched in stone with their own sworn testimonies.

    • mark dalton

      Heather I guess it didn’t happen lets just blame the victems for making it up

  • Ed Dobzanski

    Tell it to someone who doesn’t know any better. June 8th, 1967 clear and sunny 3 Israeli planes circle the clearly marked with a 5foot by 8 foot American flag 12 times at 8a.m. At 2pm, 3 Israeli jets began firing upon Liberty, even dropping 2 canisters of napalm on

  • Major Grim


    Oh my my my…

    “antisemitic conspiracy theorists…”
    ..”antisemitic conspiracy theorists…”
    …”antisemitic conspiracy theorists…”
    ….”antisemitic conspiracy theorists…”
    …..”antisemitic conspiracy theorists…”

    “The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie–deliberate, contrived and dishonest–but the myth–persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears.”

    That’s John F. Kennedy speaking to this author, Ben Cohen.

    • Marco Redwolf

      I’m late posting this but after viewing the documentary ” When Israel Attacked America ” last night (Al Jazeera 1/16/15) I must comment. This alleged documentary was nothing more than an Anti Israel hit piece. As my wife reminded me as I was shouting at the screen,” Turn that stupid thing off, you know what really happened” She (always ) is right. I do know, because I was in Israel before, during and after the war as a US Intelligence Officer. I along with other US Operatives and JOURNALISTS was ” embedded” (to use todays term )with the IDF in Sinai during all combat operations. My task was to observe POW interrogations and report on Soviet weapon types and use. Regarding the theory that the Israelis were trying to cover up mistreatment of Egyptian POWs, that’s pure bunk. Egyptian POWs were very well treated and at if they had not been, I would have learned about it. in fact the IDF gave them better food, medical and dental care and shelter than they received from the their own Egyptian Army. After the war , thousands did not want to be repatriated until their dental care had been completed. The Liberty was a classic case of friendly fire. A complete screw up in communication between the IDF Air and naval Commands. AND the USN. Watching the film I could not believe the misinformation, omissions and outright lies that were told. Sure it was a living hell for the crew, not doubt whatsoever but it was not deliberate. But then folks, this is Al Jazeera..As for Dam Inman, he has made it clear on several occasions what and how he feels about Jews and Israel. Enough said.

      • Wrong WRONG WRONG>>They killed aka murdered U.S. service members..PERIOD>>>

      • Mark Dalton

        Its clear where your loyalty lies, if you have ever been to sea ,which I have, you would know what the crew says is true

  • William Sanoma

    The only people that think that Israel deliberately attacked the USS Liberty are racist Jew haters. Don’t try to explain facts to them. They don’t care about facts. They, like most of the Obama voters, make decisions based on emotions and hate, not facts

    • Pete Martenson

      I am not a Jew Hater. I am not a hater of Israel. I am a conservative who voted for Mitt Romney in the last election. However, the truth is the truth. And so I simply ask you this, respectfully, and hope for a respectful answer. Dean Rusk, Richard Helms, Bobby Jo Inman, Thomas Moorer, Rufus Taylor and many, many others, are all on record stating they know the attack was deliberate and that the Israeli’s knew the Liberty was a US Naval Vessel prior to the attack commencing. Why would the US Secretary of State, The Director of the CIA, The Chief of US Naval Operations and future Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the head of the NSA all take such clear and unequivocal positions on the matter? Are they all Jew Haters? Am I a Jew Hater for asking the question? Have you ever considered the damage done by not simply allowing the truth to come to light?

    • Your an idiot and should of been swallowed or flushed..Jew Haters? For talking about the state is Israel attacking a U.S. ship? What is your major malfunction? TRUTH>>>

  • Robert B Geller

    Once again, thank you Mr. Al Gore-AJ, the gift that just keeps giving.

  • Richard Braverman

    Eyewitness Account
    USS Liberty Survivor – Phil Tourney

    Phil Tourney’s speech at the No More Wars Conference

    To this day, sixty-seven year old Phil Tourney and his wife, just like his shipmates, get harassed and assaulted by people, who for political reasons, want him to disappear.

    Freedom of speech does not exist in the former United States.

  • Luigi Rosolin

    Al Jazeera America and here in Australia should not allowed to broadcast as the TV is control by the Qatar monarchy regime that is well know an Islamic supporter of Hamas and other Muslim extremist-terrorist and Turkey regime of Erdogan. Genocide of Jews and Christian’s is the Jihad war reflected with the latest IS proclaim caliphate: philosophy is fund in their cult books that are containing explicit incitement to crime against other. They attempt to undermine the moral and religious of Israel is obvious. Israel should use all the media e political-law in USA to contrast such false misleading information. If Obama is behind this Israel must use all possible influence to oppose his reign. The Egyptian’s had experience the Qatar interference with many other nations. Morsi friend of Clinton- Obama with Muslim Brotherhood is a clear example of Al Jazeera wrong doing, by broadcasting misleading information that were alienating the people 30 million people protest against the MB-Sharia that had topless them after all the killing done. The Military intervention was the only answer in replay from peoples will to stop Morsi genocide. The court reason that punish the reported to jail is base on they passing information to Morsi and divulgate false notice that certainly were influencing country like Australia in favour of Morsi-Obama.

  • Dave Metalious

    Calling highly renowned journalist James Bamford a “well known conspiracy theorist” gives this article away for the sheer lying spin that it is. lol.

  • Paul Martyn

    In the fog of war mistakes happen. Friendly fire incidents occur frequently. In 1967 the US mistakenly attacked a Russian ship in Haiphong harbour. They denied it at the time, but it did happen and it was a case of mistaken identity. In the Gulf War US Warthog jets attacked two British APC vehicles killing friendly troops. Again a case of mistaken identity.
    For the survivors, how do they explain such incidents? for some bitterness leads to imagined conspiracy,and perhaps that gives meaning to unintended suffering, that a mistaken never will.

  • Jonah

    They are trying to stoke a ground swell of evil reports about Jews. They need to coordinate a rage against Jews while farakahns troops can run rampid in the streets justifying the persecution of Jews. This is war and how it starts God help the Jews if things do not go well in the upcoming elections. Their will be Jewish blood in the streets, worldwide, because the antisemitic frenzy being hatched in America will spread like a wild fire.

  • al sheeber

    A.J has a lower viewing public than the former jejune Current T.V an Al-Gore venture, sold to the Arabs for a hefty price, they assumed they also pay for the viewers, mainly young, semi-moronic “useful idiots”, but they don t seem to care, few watch this crappy offering, based in D.C, London, Doha, catering to the mentally challenged Left, and journalism is not their strong suit. A.J is an Arab job, staffed by well paid international lefties, many old wrecks from the BBC, who are all too happy to get on the road with a hefty expense account paid by Arab billionaires. What ever they do there, got nothing to do with news or reporting, it is a well oiled tool of a rotten desert monarch who has a penchant for irritating even his close neighbors.

  • Jeff Blankfort

    This article in the Chicago Tribune of Oct. 2, 2007, proves Michael Oren as well as the Israeli government to have been lying.:

  • AlJazera represents the MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD. IT is a totally discredited, 3 of their reporters were convicted and given long jail sentences for fals and distorted reporting in EGYPT.

  • Journalists have been writing about this story ever since it happened. Let’s see what Al J. has to say, then weigh the evidence and implications against what has already been reported and is already known. If you do nothing else, read the story in the second-paragraph link. At the least, you’ll have a good fix on the facts of the attacks. At the most, you’ll probably stop being a conpiracy theorist in this matter. Israel is probably the U.S.’s closest ally. Why at the time of this attack would it have bitten the hand that feeds it and risk the absolute destruction of its new nation? Can anyone seriously believe that Israel did what it did to incur America’s wrath? If someone does, I have a couple of nice bridges to sell them. But cash only.

  • Mickey Oberman

    I guess Al Jazeera’s readers are getting bored with the unremitting stories of Arabs butchering their fellow Arabs.

    Mickey Oberman

  • Erik

    I thought the program aired by AJ was very interesting, I’ve seen other documentaries about this incident, but hearing the actual victims describe the horror of that ordeal really makes it sink in, how deliberate the attack was. It was a prolonged attack on a US vessel that wasn’t putting up any fight. The vessel was in the international waters. All the Israeli explanations attributing this incident to an error defy logic. I can understand if there was a single attack, but this was clearly a sustained and deliberate attempt to sink the Liberty over a period of multiple hours – are these not the facts? I think the history also shows that there are efforts made to make this incident disappear from public knowledge in the US – for no good reason. As the survivors have pointed out, their testimony has been discarded, and they have been silenced – are these also not the facts? Are the US Navy veterans liars? Another thing is that just because one criticizes the state of Israel – it does not make them Anti-Semitic – Israel is a country that should be held to the same standards as all others, and braking international law should result in appropriate punishment.

    • Lois Feinberg

      Yes, they should be held to the same standard, but most often they are not. Israel is betrayed in the media time and time again. Egypt has displaced hundreds of Gaza citizes, sent them back deeper into Gaza and built a moat along their border because of Hamas tunnels entering Egypt. Not a word from the press. Israel pulled it’s citizens kicking and screamin out of Gaza to give it to the Palestinians who promptly voted for Hamas. They then were bombed from that land. Israel builds settlements in it’s own land and is blasted internationally about it. Equal treatment? Consistantly anti Israel.

  • DockyWocky

    I don’t buy the tragic, or “friendly fire” incident. There was a conspiracy among the Israeli command and control officers to prove some kind of secret point that has never been exposed to public view. Someone had a personal vendetta against the Liberty, and took the opportunity to express it. I can’t fault the flyers are Izzy PT boats as they were just following “orders” from higher-ups. They also were probably sworn to secrecy.

  • On June 8, 1967, Lieutenant Richard F. Kiepfer, was the lone medical doctor on board the spy ship, the USS LIBERTY, who “with complete disregard for his own personal safety, exposed himself to overwhelmingly accurate rocket and machine gun fire…administered first aid…treated [171 wounded] men for pain, shock…[and] conducted a major surgical operation” [Silver Star Medal Commendation].

    Six weeks after boarding the LIBERTY, fifteen minutes into the attack and while operating on a sailor to control his bleeding, Dr. Kiepfer received eleven shrapnel wounds into his abdomen, a gun shot to his leg, burns and a broken knee cap. He remained on his feet and caring for the crew for the next twenty-eight hours and their spirits ever since…

    I had many questions for Dr. Kiepfer, and utmost was what was left out of the Court of Inquiry: such as how could the deck log which documents the hours during the attack be so neatly written and list all the dead and wounded in alphabetical order within the hours of noon to four PM but make no mention of the many Israeli over flights that occurred during the morning before the attack.

    Dr. Kiepfer explained, “The deck log was not written during the attack. Captain McGonagle signed off on the Log and that makes it legal, but not authentic. McGonagle was concerned that he would be blamed for the LIBERTY being in troubled waters. I told him, ‘Over my dead fucking body!’

    “Israel did identify the ship six hours before the attack. Israel did know that the ship was American and admitted to our government that they knew the ship was American; Israel claims only that the attacking forces failed to get the word.

    “Modern diplomacy simply does not permit one to embarrass a ‘friendly’ nation, even when that nation is caught red-handed with its torpedo in one’s ship!

    “McGonagle was tormented by the idea that he was somehow responsible for the agony his ship and crew suffered. One top level theory holds that someone in the Israeli armed forces ordered the LIBERTY sunk because he suspected that it had taken down messages showing that Israel started the fighting during the Six Day War.

    “Typical of Israel’s casual attitude toward the episode, an attitude which suggested from the beginning that it was really our fault for being there-in international waters-in the first place.

    “Messages from Israel directly charged that a share of the blame was McGonagle’s. The Shreveport Times suggested that our government was involved in a cover-up and that the attack itself may have been conducted to prevent the ship and the United States from detecting the pending invasion of Syria” which had been scheduled for June 8th but implemented on June 9th.

    “McGonagle may have misremembered or may have not reported the over a dozen Israeli over flights that morning because he may have thought he should have abandoned our mission-which was to listen in on all communications. My opinion as a civilian is that the Court of Inquiry-which was to determine if the Navy were at fault- should have inquired why he didn’t get the LIBERTY out of the area since we could see the smoke from Al Arish, in Gaza.

    “I was the only Medical Corp officer to be appointed Officer of the Deck-that means I was in charge of everything on the ship when the Captain was off duty. I stood mid watch from midnight to 4 AM the night before the attack of June 8, 1967 and all was quiet. I always slept until 7:29 because breakfast ended at 7:30. Beginning at sunrise to 8 AM, the bridge reported a couple of propeller driven aircraft overhead and by noon several more.

    “At lunch people were talking about all the Israeli over flights, but nobody was worried; they were our friends. Afterwards, as usual I went to the wardroom for coffee while the Corpsmen began the start of sick call and off duty officers pursued the national sport of sunbathing on the quarterdeck.

    “Lieutenant George Golden and I were together when the attack began and we thought a steam line had ruptured when we heard the first explosion. We both headed off to our general quarters stations as the announcement sounded that we were under attack. I assumed it was perpetrated by the Arabs or Russians. Understand that nobody could identify Mirage fighter-bombers that travel at MACH One. IMAGINE as I say these words to you that the jets are a mile away, now they are overhead and now they are a mile away from us. That is how fast they travel.

    “Fifteen minutes into the attack, while I was operating on a sailor and trying to control his bleeding, I was hit with eleven pieces of shrapnel into my abdomen. A rocket struck above the ceiling of sick bay and the light over my head and the operating table protected me; both acted as a life saver for me, otherwise I would have gotten hit in my shoulders, side and back. I was knocked against a wall and waves of red and white pain throbbed through me.

    “I knew I had to finish with the guy on the table-if I walked away, I wouldn’t have returned. All I could think about was keeping limbs attached to sailors. From the moment the attack began, I felt a greater presence within me that was physically holding me up. I thought it was the spirit of all the navy docs who had gone before me. I felt physically held up by my invisible assistants and with all that adrenalin coursing through me and some carefully titrated morphine that I self injected, I was able to do what I did.

    “It was not until I finished that operation did I even examine myself. The fragments that penetrated me were so hot they cauterized my wounds. The pain was intense, but after applying surgical dressings to my wounds and putting on a life vest to control the bleeding I gave myself a shot of morphine and remained on my feet and working for the next twenty-eight hours.

    “Just before the torpedo struck, I was summoned to the bridge and went through the mess decks from sickbay, where a number of wounded sailors were. Captain McGonagle was the only man still functioning there, the lookouts were dead, the helmsman-the guy at the steering wheel was dead and I saw the blown apart remains of our Navigator, Mr. Toth, two decks below me. All I could do was administer morphine to the still living and get them onto stretchers to evacuate them. I had two Corpsmen working with me and knew I needed more surrogates, for the wounded were shoulder to shoulder the full circumference of the passageway.

    “While I was on the deck, I got hit by a fifty caliber machine gun bullet to my leg that came from the torpedo boats. I was bleeding into my shoes and not until the next day when I was able to lie down did the bleeding slow down. You know the story of the Incredible Hulk and mother’s who lift cars off of their kids? When you are angry and hurt you can do amazing things.

    “If you got one hundred people into my skin that day, probably all of them would have thrown up from the hell that erupted on the LIBERTY. Men were groaning and crying for their mothers, but it was just background noise for me. I was slip sliding as I crossed the bloody deck to get to the Captain who had been hit. McGonagle was leaning back in the Captain’s chair, bleeding from many orifices; some natural and some new ones. I applied battle dressings, started an IV, gave him some morphine and sent an enlisted man to find as many officers as possible to come up to the Bridge and assist him and to watch him for shock. The Captain said, ‘If I sit up, I pass out, but as long as I stay in this position, I am OK.’

    “People I had eaten lunch with were dismembered all around me, burned, dead. To this day, every time I have a phone conversation with Phil Tourney, who held the light while I was operating on Blanchard, he tells me he can still see the look in my eyes.

    “Everyone in the Navy hierarchy knew we were scapegoats and the Navy would have done anything to exact retribution, but the Navy never got the chance. “¨

    “In LBJ’s mind we were just an average day’s losses in Vietnam. I doubt Israel would have attacked without the knowledge or complicity of our State Departments willingness to sacrifice a few hundred sailors to have a ‘stabilized’ Middle East and all that oil. Our State Department’s morality and ethics are just slightly below those of a Madame in a house of ill repute or a large-scale drug dealer.

    “June 8, 1967 was like July 4th in hell without the ice cream. And yes, I agree that it was God that kept us afloat.” – EXCERPTED from “IMAGINE: Vanunu’s WAIT for LIBERTY, Remembering the USS LIBERTY and My Life as a Candidate of Conscience for US HOUSE 2012” by Eileen Fleming

  • mickey vhineztain

    SHABBAT SHALOM! Blessed be Yisrael fur ihmer, ahmein, ahmein, ahmein!

  • larry butchins

    yes. and israel was also behind aliens landing at Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947 because the alien high command had promised support to the new Israeli state when it got off the ground. That’s a plausible theory given that both governments have chosen to keep that documentation secret.

  • Bullfrog Europe

    Anti semitism is a widespread disease, after all, the Jews have been a people of over 5000 years of history with very little geography. Today’s great existence of Israel allows this ingrained hate to include anti Israel sentiment.

    It would be great if the Islamist ‘in fighting’ between Sunni & Shia would lead to these sects destroying themselves.

    The world should wake up and realise that the slow creeping islamisation of Europe is the beginning of World War 3.

  • Richard Braverman

    Unfortunately, the attack on the Liberty was premeditated. Johnson wanted war without end and Israel wanted to take out Egypt once and for all time. According to numerous survivors, Israeli war planes visited the Liberty on several occasions during that fateful morning. The sailors and officers have even stated that they waived to the Israeli pilots. Intercepted radio communications recorded Israeli pilots informing IAF headquarters that the ship was indeed American. What a shock the Liberty has been sailing in the waters around Sinai for a week. She had been sent there on specific orders from Sec Def Macnamara and constantly flew her gigantic US Flag the entire time. So to claim surprise is and was absurd. Worse Captain William L. McGonagle request for Destroyer escort was denied.

    Several hours after the first reconnaissance flights the Israeli returned with UNMARKED jets to strafe and bomb the Liberty. They even dropped napalm on the ship severely burning dozens of sailors and making the wooden deck an inferno. The attack lasted for over an hour and the primary target was the destroyed radio communications tower. Under the horrific hail of bullets, several extremely brave sailor were able to rig together a very simple antenna to broadcast a distress signal. Multiple US and non-US intelligence posts captured the signal.
    Both the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga and aircraft carrier USS America received the signal. The battle group commander immediately launched eight fighter aircraft to defend the Liberty only to have Admiral Martin through Sec Def Macnamara recall the aircraft just minutes later. Not long after, the Saratoga launched fighter aircraft to defend the Liberty, only to have Lyndon Johnson get on the phone and scream at the Saratoga’s captain to recall his jets because “Johnson was not going to embarrass an ally. With the threat of fighter aircraft removed the Israelis sent torpedo boats to finish the job. They fired dozens of torpedoes at the Liberty and continued to bombard her with machine gun fire. One torpedo found its mark, instantly MURDERING 34 sailors. The torpedo boats tortured the Liberty for several hours. They even destroyed her life boats but ultimately failed to sink the old double hulled world war 2 supply ship.

    Even when she was listing badly with over a hundred wounded, the Israelis lastly sent helicopter commandos to attempt to board the liberty and dispatch the sailors one by one. Probably because the attack had lasted so long and because the remaining sailors were still ready to fight to the death. The cowardly Israelis finally retreated.

    Only then did the US government acknowledge that ship and its crew was in trouble. What followed was an even worse cover up. Survivors were order to remain silent or face court martial and even death. And just like the JFK assassination four years earlier and the RFK assassination one year later, official Washington and media lackeys buried the story and derided anyone who discussed it.

    The opprobrium, cover up and accusations of antisemitism still exist today. The crime has never been punished.

    • Heather Czerniak

      “…failed to sink the old double hulled world war 2 supply ship.”

      The USS Liberty, originally named the Simmons Victory, never was service in World War II. It was built in 1945.

  • Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Oren seems bent on perpetuating half-truths and myths with regard to the June 8, 1967 Israeli attack on our ship.

    The US government has never conducted an investigation of the attack on the USS Liberty so any conclusion presented that would be based upon such an investigation is without foundation.

    The audio tapes available at the NSA website are conversations between helicopter pilots and their headquarters as they approached the Liberty after the attack was over so do not contain any information regarding the intent of the attackers.

    If AMB Oren wants to know what happened during the attack on our ship all he has to do is to ask us. Given that he is a historian it’s strange that he doesn’t.

    He’s in good company. When Members of Congress are asked what happened during the attack on our ship who do they ask? Not us.


    Joe Meadors
    USS Liberty Survivor
    Director of Operations, USS Liberty Veterans Association

    • Heather Czerniak

      Mr. Meadors, why do you constantly insist that the Israeli MTB’s shot up the life rafts in the water when you testified at the Naval Court of Inquiry that they were already shot up while they were sitting on the Liberty’s main deck? War crime? Hardly!

  • Igor

    I am worried about the effect of this film. It is very well done including both use of music and subliminal heartbeats to stimulate emotions. It is a well done propaganda film and just like our “Viva Palenstine” friend, spktruth200 who angrily posted above, this may feed the emotions of anti-Semites and anti-Israel Americans. The movie is able to increase the tensions between ordinary Americans and Israel at a time when the President is demonstrating his constant preferences. I am concerned.

    • Jeff Blankfort

      These days, for some, the truth has apparently become anti-Semitic.

  • Goodie

    It is blindingly obvious that it was an error for ONE VERY GOOD REASON – if Israel had deliberately attacked the ship, they would have done it properly and sunk it, not just damaged it.

  • steven L

    Does the US have a legal right to spy on Israel? Probably not. So how does a country defend against his/her territory?

  • steven L

    Those who attack Jews are IRRATIONAL. Perhaps the irrationality explain the attack. So it precedes and does not follow. This suggests a psychiatric antecedent!!!!

  • art

    Obama has made it very clear that the US has withdrawn all support for Israel and it is now open season. Early on Obama officially declared that Israeli presence on the west bank was an illegal occupation, that the “settlements” are illegal and “the main impediment to peace” Obama has violated long term “guarantees” and assurances to Israel. After the midterm elections watch for Obama totally abandon Israel in the UN stop arms shipments impose sanctions on Israel, recognition of hezbullah and hamas and a nuclear Iran.

  • Bill

    I understand that Al Jazeera has an office Haifa. I watch the channel regularly. The inability for this so called informational (news) provider has always shown its bias against Israel. It never even displays the temperature in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv on the weather report as if the country didn’t exist. If they do have an office send them packing. Truth about the USS Liberty is just more of the same.

  • Kerry Berger

    On issues other than Israel and the Palestinians, Al Jazeera’s investigative reporting is second to none. Unfortunately, they have hired a conspiracy theorist who is drumming up more anti-Israeli propaganda at a time when Israel is perceived in very poor light by much of the world, and some of it is Israel’s own lack of PR acumen, and a Prime Minister who is not a Statesman, but a political hack, only interested in continuing his hold on the Premiership. I agree that most of us already know that the USS LIberty incident was a tragic error, and such errors happen during conflicts. Friendly fire and collateral damage are actually very closely related. Sadly, there are loud-mouthed elements in American society that keep the incident of the USS LIberty alive because it is a useful tool to castigate Israel. More important is for Israel to condemn this Al-Jazeera report as nothing more than propaganda.

  • Jerry G

    One conspiracy theory not mentioned is that LBJ wanted a false flag event to attack Egypt which was then in bed with Russia. He ordered Israel to sink the Liberty so that he could blame Egypt. Israel indebted to the U.S. for arms,etc.tried to sink the Liberty but failed. This is as good, if not better,than any other theory.

    • zadimel

      You are also a bit off the edge. Get some sleep.

    • Jeff Blankfort

      I’ve read that explanation but the last thing LBJ wanted, in the midst of the Vietnam War, as another war in the Middle East. What he did do was order McNamara to call Adm. Geiss, head of the US Fleet which had sent jets to defend the Liberty, and have him recall the jets.

      When Geiss asked McNamara if LBJ knew about that, the president came on the line and said those were his orders. Said LBJ, “I don’t want to embarrass an all.”

    • Barry

      No it’s not

    • mika

      Given what we know now, many including myself would consider that “conspiracy” fact.

  • Vivienne Leijonhufvud (goldie)

    Well as Al Jazeera is owned by the Saudi Royals what can we expect. Even the reporters are censored no wonder Egypt is holding three of their journalists. Mega money to buy Al Jazerra out. Some of the Journalists do their best but with Wahhabi Islam breathing down their necks? A guess a journalist has to earn a living allbeit an unsavory living working for Saudia! I watch mainly to see the amount of lies coming out of this media outlet. For example the shooting of the Rabbi at the Temple Mount the report was so distorted you would think the Rabbi shot the damn terrorist!

    • Jeff Blankfort

      Al-Jazeera is owned by the Emir of Qatar, a rival of the Saudis.

    • D. Paul

      Al Jazeera is owned by the al Thani family of Qatar. Equally bad.

  • Golum

    Who in their right mind would pay attention to anything out of the mouth of Al Jazeera???

    • I agree—Al Gore left us a legacy-Paid propanganda via cable from a Pro-Hamas country–GUTTER—–

    • zadimel

      Are you certain it is coming from their mouth?

    • Markus E Brajtman


      The problem is that anything which is “hate Israel, hate Jews” is what the world wants to read.
      No matter that coming from any Arab country, the world will believe every lie.
      So, you ask. Who in their right mind would pay attention to anything coming out of the mouth of Al Jazeera?
      Unfortunately, the world is full of those mamzairim who print and say the most disgusting things to “criminalise” Israel and the Jews. Did you listen to, or read what some of the British MP’s said when they voted for a PA state?
      Remember that “Jews IS NEWS.”
      That is what sells rags like NYT , Guardian etc

  • Oscar Shank

    Ben Cohen’s sources about what happened to the USS Liberty are, to say the least, very biased and his conclusions might make many readers here feel better, but there’s more to this controversy than he indicates. The issues remain the issues, regardless of anyone resorting to labeling anyone a “conspiracy theorist.” Governments have never been in the business of being transparent to outsiders, such as John Q Public. That’s why governments have the tool of data classification, etc. I, for one, think there’s plenty of evidence amassed to date on the USS Liberty incident, and it’s up to the inquiring mind searching for truth to connect the dots the best one can. The JFK murder and the 9/11 massacre are two other events leaving much unexplained and therefore, much contested.
    I look forward to the broadcast tonight.

    • shloime

      well, I guess you’re living proof of “conspiracy theorists”, who speak vaguely of dark, unspeakable secrets, and wear tinfoil hats. good luck to ya, and don’t forget to take those meds!

    • Reform School

      Ben Cohen’s “source” is a book published long before the ex-ambassador went to work for the government.

      Michael Oren’s “The Six-Day War” is anything but news.

      Steve Allen’s “Dumbth” is a blueprint for U.S. newsmedia.

    • Veronica

      Everyone makes money its own way. But not everyone can be proud of it.

  • Mo

    Actually, the truth is that the Israelis were trying to turn back the French Revolution. After having attacked the USS Liberty, they planned to attack the USS Equality and then the USS Fraternity. The Israelis felt that a French Monarchy would be friendlier than a Republic. This theory is proven by many unreleased documents.

    • Steven Kalka

      Mo: Very funny! I got a good laugh from that one.

  • Barry

    I’ve heard a different account than the official version.

    What I’ve read in “The Secret War Against The Jews” by John Loftus is that Israel did indeed deliberately attack the Liberty, first with warning shots and then the real thing.

    The reason is that the US was spying on Israel and passing on classified information to the Egyptians resulting in substantial Israel military deaths.

    After the incident, according to the book, President Johnson begged the Israeli’s to claim it was an honest mistake as this was seen to be a better explanation that stating a friend of Israel was betraying it during a time of war and passing on important information to a hostile adversary.

    In fact, the story goes on to say that the US gave the money to Israel to pay the reparations.

    To my mind, this explanation is more logical. The idea that The Liberty could be bombed three times during reasonable weather and that it was an accident is far fetched. It was a spy boat with the most sophisticated equipment and in fact it’s sold purpose was to betray Israel and allow Egypt to save face and do substantial damage to Israel in a losing cause. Egypt had been complaining that the US was favouring Israel and this was seen as a way to show the Arab oil producers that the US supported their cause.

    To assert that it was nothing more than an accident without addressing this plausible theory is unfortunate. Let’s hear all the possibilities and then try to figure out the truth.

    • Rachel

      Makes more sense than anything else I I’ve read

      • Joe

        I will also Amen that.

    • shloime

      we’ll never know the truth, but that’s as good a theory as any. but, it won’t fly with the israel-haters, because it doesn’t put the blame on israel.

    • zadimel

      You are also another BS artist who has failed to read and understand the Dept. of Defense and Congressional studies, as well as the investigation carried out by the ]Israeli government.

  • Heraldo

    “The Secret War Against The Jews” gives an excellent account of this event and the background into why it has been unreported correctly for years.

  • martin

    anything to defame Israel..Can any of them ever say a good word about Israel?

    • Rachel


    • Vance Green

      So, you believe the U.S.S. Liberty survivors all lied about Israeli military deliberately attacking them despite Ward Boston’s virtual deathbed confession/affidavit that he was ordered to conclude it was an accident and Merlin Staring’s refusal to sign the Navy Court of Inquiry report because it did not coincide with the facts? You seriously believe the Israeli military did not have binoculars to discern the identity of a ship with an American flag on it?!

      There are two sides to every story. Talk to the survivors aboard the ship that day.

    • Bullfrog Europe

      Agreed too !

  • Scott

    Please don’t laugh, I’m NOT a conspiracy theorist.

    Watch out for CNN preparing itself to be sold to Aljizeera to become the new Algizeera TV.
    In this Orwellian modern era, I’m afraid it’s possible…..

    • judithg

      yes. anything is possible. i knew that when this anti-semitic piece of(essentially hate crap) showed up on my cable lineup. another wonderful reason for ala carte pricing and selection. this shit is the first thing i would get rid of.

      • BH in Iowa

        I dumped DirectTV immediately. Don’t miss it.

  • si fuera cierto lo que dice este articulo hace tiempo que esta agencia hubiera explotado por los aires, al ser riegosa

  • Corey

    Al Jazeera … Financed by the Qatari royal family who also finances ISIS, Hamas, Muslim brotherhood, al queda, ansar dine, and the LFIG.

    Staunchly anti semetic and anti Yisroel. The best Propaganda money can buy.

    At least they are consistent.

  • Gee

    Of course there will never been an investigate of the sinking of the USS PCF19 or the attacks on the USS Boston, USS Edson, USS PCF12, USCGC Point Dume and HMAS Hobart – all attacked by the United States Air Force.

    No Jews involved, no need to investigate that is there

  • thinkingman

    We need not worry about this because if anyone has seen al jeezra’s ratings lately you would know that no one will be watching this garbage. And if they show it on their international show so what, it is only watched by anti semites anyway, its preaching to the choir.

    • spktruth200

      Don’t worry about AlJazera…you crazies are laughable. VETERANS organizations have been posting about that bombing and all those groups will pick it up….just wait and see…all the dirty tricks you have done for 60 yrs are about to be revealed…VIVA Palestine.

      • shloime

        israel IS palestine. the arabs belong in the “arab homeland in palestine”, aka JORDAN.

        go hump a camel, troll.

  • Bert Walker

    It should come as no surprise that those like Richard Belfield and James Bamford, who themselves have no ethical standard in their lives, fail to follow any ethical standards in their profession. They practice a technique as old as a free press, to throw s**t around and see if any of it sticks. Those with a reprobative journalistic style will always be among us, so we must always be ready to defend the truth.

    • shloime

      yellow journalism has always been around, because “it sells papers”.

      the only way to protect your reputation, if you can afford it, is to sue their assets, and make them defend their lies in a court of law.

    • Jeff Blankfort