USS Liberty

USS Liberty

1018316866In the spirit of today’s memorial day, aware that today 22 Vet lives will end in suicide, the current daily average, I am grateful that my dad made it back after 6 years of killing fascists as an Infantry Captain in the British Army.

Every memorial day I remember Captain William McGonagle and the crew of the USS Liberty. Especially those who died under IDF ordnance in the biggest ever cover up of American soldiers being sacrificed for political ends. Still no justice for the US service men who died that day. And for the pilots of the Phantom jets who scrambled from the nearest carrier after hearing Captain McGonagle’s SOS, only to be turned around by direct order from the White house. Leaving their brother soldiers dying under attack by weapons paid for by Americans.  U.S. defense secretary Robert McNamara ordered jets that had been dispatched to assist the Liberty turned around. “Leave no man behind?”. Do read up on this man. Robert McNamara.

McGonagle was severely wounded during the first air attack and although the bridge had sustained heavy damage he stayed and directed the defense of the ship, refusing to leave his post for medical attention. As the Israeli fighters continued their attack he maneuvered his ship, directed its defense, supervised the control of flooding and fire, and saw to the care of the casualties. Captain McGonagle remained at his battle station and continued to command his ship for more than 17 hours. It was only after rendezvous with a U.S. destroyer that he relinquished personal control of the Liberty and permitted himself to be removed from the bridge. The combined air and sea attack killed 34 crew members including naval officers, seamen, two Marines, and a civilian, wounded 171.

The Israel Air Force warplanes and Israel Navy warships that attacked the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967, at the height of the Six-Day War, were aware that the vessel was an American spy ship, according to new testimony published Thursday in the Chicago Tribune.

The report stated that the U.S. National Security Agency – to which the intelligence gathering ship belonged – was able to intercept IAF communications according to which, at some stage, the pilots identified the ship as American but were nonetheless instructed to push ahead with the attack.

From a senior military source I cannot Identify I learned the reason for the attack was: Israel had that day committed a war crime in executing Egyptian prisoners of war. Radio transmissions for that war crime were picked up by the USS Liberty. And the order came to silence them. Only the arrival of a friendly ship ended what was intended as a ‘kill them all’ attack. All orders came from the White House.

According to the report, some of the transcripts and intelligence information have disappeared, while the rest can be found in U.S. government archives.225px-WilliamMcGonagle

Oliver Kirby, the NSA’s deputy director for operations at the time of the Liberty attack, is quoted by the Tribune as confirming the existence of the transcripts, saying he personally read them.

“They said, ‘We’ve got him in the zero,'” Kirby was quoted as saying, “whatever that meant – I guess the sights or something. And then one of them said, ‘Can you see the flag?’ They said ‘Yes, it’s U.S, it’s U.S.’ They said it several times, so there wasn’t any doubt in anybody’s mind that they knew it.”

Kirby told the newspaper that the transcripts were “something that’s bothered me all my life. I’m willing to swear on a stack of Bibles that we knew they knew.”

The report also states that then U.S. defense secretary Robert McNamara ordered jets that had been dispatched to assist the Liberty turned around.

The Tribune quotes J.Q. “Tony” Hart, then a chief petty officer assigned to a U.S. Navy relay station in Morocco that handled communications between Washington and the 6th Fleet, as saying that he listened in as McNamara said, “President [Lyndon] Johnson is not going to go to war or embarrass an American ally over a few sailors.

McNamara, who is now 91, told the Tribune he has “absolutely no recollection of what I did that day,” except that “I have a memory that I didn’t know at the time what was going on.”

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mark Regev told the Tribune that the attack on the Liberty was “a tragic and terrible accident, a case of mistaken identity, for which Israel has officially apologized.”

The USS Liberty was came under attack, first by IAF jets and then some 15 minutes later by Israel Navy warships, while patrolling off the shores of El-Arish in the Sinai Peninsula. 34 American sailors perished in the attack, 26 of them in the naval assault.

That was 1967. This memorial day lets remember that 22 Vet lives end every day in suicide. While the President has a 25% off sale on his White House memorial day gift store.