June 7, 2011

The Attack on the USS Liberty and the Lavon Affair

Today on June 8, exactly 44 years have passed since the USS Liberty was attacked by Israeli fighter jets.

The USS Liberty was stationed outside the Egyptian coast in 1967 when Israel was attacking Egypt. Egypt had tried to save the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip from being invaded in what is known as the Six-Day War, today portrayed by the media as an Egyptian attempt to invade Israel. Thanks to the massive supply of modern weaponry from the U.S. and Britain, Israel could invade Egypt and occupy the Sinai Peninsula.

The USS Liberty was a surveillance ship listening in on Egyptian and Israeli communications. On June 8, Israeli fighter jets circled over the ship several times. The ship was easily recognizable as American and was flying under American flag. The crewmen also unfolded a large American flag on deck. They informed of their nationality on several radio channels, which could be heard as far away as Lebanon. 

At 2 pm, unmarked Israeli aircraft began attacking the ship with 20-caliber rounds. No warning was given, no attempt to contact the ship was made. The USS Liberty was unarmed and could not defend itself. A napalm bomb was used to attack the crewmen on the ship’s deck.

Then three Israeli torpedo boats appeared and started attacking. The USS Liberty was hit by torpedoes but didn’t sink. The crew called for help, and American fighter jets were launched from Cyprus. For unknown reasons the American planes were called back, and the USS Liberty was left to fend for itself.

One of the Israeli pilots told his commanders over radio that he could tell it was an American ship and did not want to fire, but he was given firm orders to attack. He refused and returned to base, where he was arrested.  Fifteen years later, a dual-citizen Israeli major told survivors of the attack that he was in an Israeli war room when he heard the pilot’s radio report. The major said it was clear to both the pilots and every commander in the war room that the ship was American. Nevertheless the attack went on for two hours.

Throughout the attack the USS Liberty kept moving westward, and eventually could return to port in Cyprus, badly damaged. The ship didn’t sink, but 34 Americans had been killed. 173 were wounded.

An investigation was held by the U.S. Navy, which accepted the Israeli explanation that they had believed it to be an Egyptian ship. The crewmen were threatened with severe consequences to their careers should they talk about the attack. The Liberty’s commander, Captain McGonagle, has defied the warning and written a book about the attack. He has therefore been accused in the media of being an “anti-Semite.” The same accusation has been leveled against all crew members who have demanded justice for the attack.

In 2007 it was revealed in the Chicago Tribune that the U.S. National Security Agency had picked up radio communications by the Israeli Air Force where the pilots identified the ship as American and were ordered to attack. This information had been kept secret for forty years.

There was a near-complete media cover-up, and to this day few Americans have heard of how one of their naval ships was almost sunk outside the Egyptican coast. Had the attack succeeded in sinking the ship, it would most likely have been blamed on Egypt to pull the U.S. into the war, or to justify Israel’s actions in Egypt.

This is strongly reminiscent of the Lavon Affair, where Israeli agents, working with Egyptian Jews, planted bombs in buildings in Egypt, including a U.S. Information Agency libraries in Alexandria and Cairo on July 14, 1954. A British-owned theater was also bombed. A post office in Alexandria has been firebombed on July 2. False evidence was prepared to make it seem like Arab terrorists had carried out the attacks, but one of the bombs went off prematurely and the spy ring could be arrested by the Egyptian authorities. When the spy ring was revealed to be led by Israeli agents, Israel blamed "anti-Semitism" for the accusations. It has been shown conclusively that the attacks were indeed organized by Israel, and yet almost no Americans know of this attack.

Every U.S. president has joined in the cover-up both of the USS Liberty attack and the Lavon Affair. Not one of them brings up the attacks, carried out by a U.S.-supplied and U.S.-funded Israeli military. Instead Israel is still called "our brave ally in the Middle East" and "the first line of defense against Islamofascism."

Read more about the USS Liberty: