The USS Liberty in Pictures

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. We have hundreds of photos of the damage done by the attack. How many words do our pictures tell about the USS Liberty?

by Joe Meadors

Yes, Virginia. There was an attack on the USS Liberty. That may seem to be a novel way to begin a blog post by a USS Liberty survivor. It’s liberally based on a September 21, 1897 editorial in the New York’s Sun written by Francis Pharcellus Church in response to 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon’s question to the editor, “Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?”

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Francis Pharcellus Church, Sept. 21, 1897 Editorial in the New York’s Sun

The first paragraph of Mr. Church’s editorial can be modified only slightly to address the skepticism some feel about the facts about the attack on our ship.

To address that skepticism and hoping they will believe what they see, let me provide some photos taken following the attack:

Hundreds more photos of the damage inflicted upon the USS Liberty during the attack can be found in the Photos section of our official Facebook Page.

If the physical damage to the ship does not support our effort to ensure the US government finally investigates the attack, consider those killed during the attack.

In the 54+ years since the attack, not a single Member of Congress has attended a Memorial Service honoring those fallen during the attack. There was a time when we held an annual Memorial Service at the site of the mass grave in Arlington National Cemetery, Mass Grave #1817, Section 34 on the anniversary of the attack. That Memorial Service was moved to the Navy Memorial in Washington, DC when it became difficult for some of our supporters to make the walk to the mass grave.

Not a single Member of Congress ever attended or sent an official delegation to attend any of those annual Memorial Services.

Here are those Killed in Action during the attack on the USS Liberty that Members of Congress have deemed to be unworthy of publicly displaying their honor, support and compassion.

Members of Congress live for the opportunity of expressing public affirmations of honor, support and compassion for those lost on the USS Pueblo, USS Stark and USS Cole and the 1983 bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut.

Members of Congress never miss the opportunity of attending a Memorial Service for those lost in those attacks.

But not for the USS Liberty.

Why is it ok to refuse to attend a Memorial Service for those lost on the USS Liberty?

Where is the outrage?

What did we do that resulted in our being a pariah in the Halls of Congress?

If your son, daughter, father or mother were killed in action and their deaths were treated so disrespectfully by Members of Congress would you sit idly by and allow it to happen?

How Will Historians Study the USS Liberty Attack?

Merriam-Webster defines “history” “as a chronological record of significant events (such as those affecting a nation or institution) often including an explanation of their causes” and “events that form the subject matter of a history”

They also define “cover-up” as “a usually concerted effort to keep an illegal or unethical act or situation from being made public”

by Joe Meadors

What happens when a few generations from now someone learns about the attack on the USS Liberty and does a bit of research to find out what happened? What sources will be available to them?

The US government?

The DoD and every Member of Congress will point to the US Navy Court of Inquiry Report and the record in the Naval History and Heritage Command as the gold standard of what happened during the attack.

Historians will have access to the US Navy Court of Inquiry Report.

Available evidence combines to indicate the attack on LIBERTY on 8 June was in fact a case of mistaken identity.

US Navy Court of Inquiry Finding of Fact Number One

But they won’t have access to statements from the Members of the Court of Inquiry that bring into question that Finding of Fact. Not on any US government website is Ward Boston’s statement:

I know from personal conversations I had with Admiral Kidd that President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered him to conclude that the attack was a case of “mistaken identity” despite overwhelming evidence to the Contrary.

Capt. Ward Boston, Legal Advisor to the US Navy Court of Inquiry Investigating USS Liberty Attack

They will also be presented with the official US Navy Historian’s position that IS on an official US Navy website:

It involves the mistaken attack by four Israeli jet fighters and three motor torpedo boats (MTB) on the USS Liberty (AGTR-5), which was conducting an intelligence collection mission in international waters off the north coast of the Sinai Peninsula in the midst of the Six-Day Arab-Israeli War. (Emphasis Added)

H-Gram 007 Written by Samuel Cox Senior Executive Service Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Retired) Director, Naval History and Heritage Command, Curator of the Navy

How about the Israeli government?

The documentation published to the public in the IDF archives is what is in our database. We could not find any additional documentation on the subject.

Limor Itzhak, Director of the public unit, I.D.F & Defense Establishment archives, Ministry of Defense in a Sept. 14, 2021 Email to the Author

We already have the documents included in the IDF Archives posted to our Archive but they’re literally worthless for an effort to determine what happened.

How do you create the honest historical record of an attack on a US Navy ship?

Do it the same way we did for the attacks on the USS Pueblo, USS Stark, USS Cole and the 1983 bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut.

I may be going out on a limb here, but I view the reaction of Congress to the attack on our ship as a defining moment in the relationship between members of Congress and our military.

In the past many could claim to support the military but oppose the action they are involved in.

Now they ignore the action we were involved in and refuse to honor, support, and even listen to those of us who were involved with the attack on the USS Liberty.

They are trying to bury the attack—and their response to the attack—in the dustbin of history.

Ignore USS Liberty Survivors. Refuse to investigate the attack. Don’t make any complete, official and honest record of the attack.

The attack on the USS Liberty is on the verge of disappearing right before our eyes. We cannot allow that to happen.

Contact your Congressional Delegation and tell them convene a Congressional investigation of the attack on the USS Liberty. Ask them to create an official record of the attack.

“The Liberty Incident Revealed”-Published by USNI Press-Revealed

In his screed about the June 8, 1967, Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, “The Liberty Incident Revealed,” Capt. Jay Cristol paints a picture of an attack different from one that USS Liberty survivors lived through. Despite being highly touted by the US Naval Institute Press, the book doesn’t live up to the hype. It’s obvious purpose is to serve as an Israel apologia.

But it fails miserably.

by Joe Meadors

The USNI Press does yeoman’s work in advertising Jay Cristol’s book, “The Liberty Incident Revealed” That is IF you are into blatant pro-Israel propaganda.

The Liberty Incident Revealed is the complete and final story about the Israeli Air Force and Navy attack on the USS Liberty during the Six Day War in June 1967.

US Naval Institute Press

It is “the complete and final story” about an attack on a US Navy ship that the US government hasn’t investigated in the past 54+ years and shows no inclination to do so now. How can the USNI Press claim Cristol’s account is “the complete and final story” when our own government hasn’t bothered to find out what happened.

Cutting through all of the controversy and conspiracy theories about Israel’s deadly attack, Cristol revises his well-regarded book about the event with an expanded and in-depth analysis of all of the sources, including the released tapes of the National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts.

US Naval Institute Press

The NSA tapes should be the gold standard that proves the attack was as Capt. Cristol (and obviously the USNI Press) wants you to believe. That the Israeli military conducted the attack in accordance with international law and US statutes.

But they don’t. In fact, what the NSA has released is virtually worthless when it comes to determining what happened during the attack. Cristol mentions the NSA as if just mentioning the name gives his account credibility.

But it doesn’t. And it is so obvious that it doesn’t that it makes one wonder why the USNI Press included the claim in their advertisement.

The first recording (104) is 15 minutes.

The second recording (105) is 32 minutes.

The third recording (106) is 4 minutes.

The NSA would have you believe that their radio intercept officers turned on their tape recorders for 15 minutes, then turned them off and on again for 32 minutes, then off and finally on again for 4 minutes, then off.

Is that how the NSA works?

Cristol’s successful Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the NSA, while resulting in the release of those tapes, has been greeted by anti-Israel sources insisting that the NSA tapes are fraudulent and are part of a larger conspiracy to deceive the American public.

US Naval Institute Press

This comment is obviously not directed at us since we don’t insist the NSA tapes are fraudulent but that they are incomplete.

And we don’t believe that a conspiracy exists to deceive the American public.

What we DO believe is that an opposing force committed War Crimes during the attack on the USS Liberty. Further, we believe that the US government has not investigated the attack which makes this the only attack on a US Navy ship since the end of WWII NOT to be the subject of a Congressional investigation, or as the Congressional Research Service tells us, not the subject of a US government investigation.

I will continue this analysis in a subsequent blog entry.

We live to educate the American Public about the attack on our ship and to ensure the US government finally investigates it. To do this, we must enlist those who follow this blog to ask their followers to do the same, etc.

To participate in our effort, please encourage your friends and colleagues to visit our Landing Page and subscribe to our blog updates.

You can also ask the NSA to release all the tapes of the attack. They admit they have them but won’t release them. I’ve asked them so many times they have told me they will simply discard any further requests from me to have them released.

How Congress Should Have Reacted to USS Liberty Attack–But Didn’t

Congress has a tradition of honoring our servicemen and women and holding those in power to account for their actions in the numerous military engagements our country has been engaged in. It is a tradition Americans should focus on ever more so when it is NOT followed by Congress. And it WASN’T followed after the USS Liberty attack.

by Joe Meadors

A recent email from my Congressman is undoubtedly being repeated by every Member of Congress.

Cong. Michael Cloud (R-TX27) Honors American KIA During Evacuation

Notice how much honor and reverence the announcement shows for those Killed in Action at the airport in Kabul.

Notice also the use of future tense when referring to the need for accountability.

Compare that to the reaction of Senator Jacob Javits (R-NY). He made the comment on the floor of the Senate on June 8, 1967.

I wish to join with all of my fellow Americans in expressing deep sorrow over the tragic error which resulted in the bombing of a U.S. Navy communications ship off of Sinai this morning, with a reported loss of four American lives and 53 wounded.

Notice that he was declaring the attack to be a “tragic error” before a single word is taken in any investigation of the attack.

Not to be outdone by his colleagues, past and present, Congress has not yet investigated the attack.

If you’re fine with War Crimes being committed against the United States with impunity and without remorse, you’re obviously a Member of Congress so you can go back to lying to your constituents about the attack on our ship and raising money for your reelection campaign.

If it troubles you that those same Members of Congress have allowed War Crimes to be committed against the United States with impunity and without remorse during the attack on our ship, Write Your Congressional Delegation and tell them to investigate the attack on the USS Liberty.

The USS Liberty Attack “Should Never Be Forgotten” Congressman Michael Cloud (R-TX27)

“. . . our nation is indebted to the brave men and women in uniform — and their families — who sacrificed blood and treasure to answer the call of their country. Their sacrifice should never be forgotten.” Congressman Michael Cloud (R-TX27) Email 8/20/2021

by Joe Meadors

Congressman Michael Cloud (R-TX27)
Congressman Michael Cloud (R-TX27)

I will be the first to admit that in creating the title for this blog post I am taking the position of my Congressman—Michael Cloud (R-TX27)—grossly out of context.

Indeed, it is exactly opposite what his position is.

Not only his, but a position proudly held by every Member of Congress who served during the attack as well as every Member of Congress who has served since the attack.

The USS Liberty Veterans Association represents the survivors of the June 8, 1967, Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, our families and the families of 34 of our shipmates who were killed in action during that attack.

Among the awards won by the officers and crew of the USS Liberty are the Medal of Honor, two Navy Crosses, eleven Silver Stars, twenty Bronze Stars, nine Navy Commendations, 208 Purple Hearts, 294 Combat Action Ribbons, the Presidential Unit Citation and the Battle Efficiency “E” which makes the USS Liberty the most decorated ship in US Navy history for a single event since the end of World War II.

A dubious honorific the attack on our ship has is it is the only attack on a US Navy ship since the end of World War II NOT investigated by Congress.

The Congressional Research Service took that considerably further when they told us their research did not reveal a single US government investigation of the attack.

CRS Response to Congressional Investigation of USS Liberty Attack
CRS Response to Congressional Investigation of USS Liberty Attack

An attack on a US Navy ship warrants a complete and comprehensive public investigation.
Evermoreso given the fact that not only War Crimes but a capital violation of Article 99 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and a violation of 18 U.S. Code § 2441 – War Crimes were committed during that attack.

Most Americans share our concern that the US government has not investigated the attack and want to know what they can do to ensure not only the attack is investigated but also the refusal of the US government to investigate the attack.

The simple answer is to Click Here to send a letter to your Congressional Delegation telling them to investigate the attack.

In doing so, you will be a participant in US Navy History. No other crew of a US Navy ship had to lobby the US government to investigate the attack on their ship.

Welcome to everyone who becomes a participant in USS Liberty history. You are joining with a crew that does not know the meaning of defeat.

On June 8, 1967, we defeated the most powerful military in the Middle East.

We now set our sights on defeating an uncaring Congress. You’re invited to join with us.

ET3 Terry Halbardier Silver Star Citation

ET3 Terry Halbardier Silver Star Citation

Silver Star Medal (1) Awarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the Navy or Marine Corps, is cited for gallantry in action that does not warrant a Medal of Honor or Navy Cross. (a) While engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; (b) While engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or (c) While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. (2) The heroic act(s) performed must render the individual conspicuous and well above the standard expected. An accumulation of minor acts of heroism normally does not justify the award, but unusual or exceptional cases will be decided on their merits. Authorization 10 U.S.C. S6244

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Electronics Technician Third Class James Terry Halbardier, United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving on board the U.S.S. LIBERTY (AGTR-5), on 8 June 1967.

Terry Halbardier
Terry Halbardier

The U.S.S. LIBERTY was attacked by Israeli aircraft and motor torpedo boats in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea on the fourth day of the SIX DAY WAR. Petty Officer Halbardier, without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, fearlessly and repeatedly exposed himself to overwhelming rocket and machinegun fire to repair a damaged antenna in an open deck area during heavy aerial attacks.

Aware that all of the ship’s transmitting antennas had been destroyed and that communication with higher authority depended upon antenna repair, Petty Officer Halbardier risked his life to run connecting coaxial cable across open decks from the antenna to the main transmitter room.

His efforts allowed the ship to establish communications with distant elements of the SIXTH Fleet and call for assistance.

Despite being wounded, Petty Officer Halbardier ignored his injuries until the antenna had been repaired and the call for help had been received and acknowledged.

His courageous actions were critical in alerting distant Navy commanders to the ship’s need for assistance and were instrumental in saving the ship and hundreds of lives.

Petty Officer Halbardier’s outstanding display of decisive leadership, unrelenting perseverance, and loyal devotion to duty reflected great credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

USS Liberty Capt. William McGonagle-Medal of Honor Citation

USS Liberty Capt. William McGonagle-Medal of Honor Citation

§8291. Medal of honor: The President may award, and present in the name of Congress, a medal of honor of appropriate design, with ribbons and appurtenances, to a person who, while a member of the naval service, distinguishes himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty-(1) while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; (2) while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or (3) while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

WILLIAM LOREN MCGONAGLE MEDAL OF HONOR CITATION

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.

Sailing in international waters, the Liberty was attacked without warning by a jet fighter aircraft and motor torpedo boats which inflicted many casualties among the crew and caused extreme damage to the ship.

Capt. William McGonagle

Although severely wounded during the first air attack, Capt. McGonagle remained at his battle station on the badly damaged bridge and, with full knowledge of the seriousness of his wounds, subordinated his own welfare to the safety and survival of his command.

Steadfastly refusing any treatment which would take him away from his post, he calmly continued to exercise firm command of his ship. Despite continuous exposure to fire, he maneuvered his ship, directed its defense, supervised the control of flooding and fire, and saw to the care of the casualties.

Capt. McGonagle’s extraordinary valor under these conditions inspired the surviving members of the Liberty’s crew, many of them seriously wounded, to heroic efforts to overcome the battle damage and keep the ship afloat.

Subsequent to the attack, although in great pain and weak from loss of blood, Capt. 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.

Even then, he refused much needed medical attention until convinced that the seriously wounded among his crew had been treated. Capt. McGonagle’s superb professionalism, courageous fighting spirit, and valiant leadership saved his ship and many lives.

His actions sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

 

RIP Robert Lee Wilson, USS Liberty Survivor

RIP Robert Lee Wilson, USS Liberty Survivor

Robert Lee Wilson
Robert Lee Wilson, USS Liberty Survivor

Robert Lee Wilson, 78, a resident of Edgewater for over 20 years and previously of Severna Park, MD, passed away on August 2, 2021 at the South River Health and Rehabilitation Center from complications of pneumonia and ongoing health and back-related maladies that ultimately took his life.

Born in Big Stone Gap, VA on March 8, 1943, Robert had a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, and a Master’s of Science of Strategic Intelligence degree from the Defense Intelligence College. One of his most profound moments in life was his time spent on the USS Liberty especially June 8th 1967. Robert served his country in the U.S. Air Force. Prior to retiring in the early 2000s, he was a long-tenured employee of the National Security Agency.

In addition to being a sports and physical fitness enthusiast, his greatest hobby and joy was archeology and history. He’d also served many years with the American Research Center in Egypt as its Vice President, and developed a tremendous group of friends he always cherished.

Robert was a loving, caring father and husband. His level of empathy, good common sense, humor and humility knew no bounds. We all were fortunate to have him in our lives.

He is survived by his spouse of over 39 years, My Kieu Wilson; two children, Kevin Wilson and Kelly Gaestel and their respective families.

Relatives and friends are invited to celebrate Robert’s life at the Kalas Funeral Home & Crematory, 2973 Solomons Island Road, Edgewater, MD on Saturday August 7 from 2 to 4 pm.

Cong. Michael Cloud (R-TX27) Ignores USS Liberty Survivors’ Requests

Cong. Michael Cloud (R-TX27) Ignores USS Liberty Survivors’ Requests

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and timeless as infinity. It is the void, bereft of conscience and patriotism, but not of callousness and hypocrisy. This is the dimension of dystopia. It is an area we call Congress.

by Joe Meadors

Contact a Member of Congress. Any member. Ask if they support the American military. To a person, they will loudly and repeatedly heap their admiration and unwavering adoration on the members of our Armed Forces.

Ask them to give a visible sign of that unwavering support of our American Armed Forces by publicly supporting USS Liberty Survivors’ effort to ensure the US government investigates the attack on their ship.

Silence.

Ask them to express outrage at the fact that machine gun fire from the torpedo boats attacking the USS Liberty deliberately destroyed life rafts USS Liberty crewmen dropped over the side in anticipation of abandoning ship. That action removed any chance USS Liberty crewmen would survive the sinking of our ship.

Silence.

Ask them to express outrage that the President of the United States ordered the rescue effort of the Sixth Fleet to stand down and recall aircraft that had been launched to come to our help.

Silence.

Invite them to attend a Memorial Service honoring our 34 shipmates who were killed in action during the attack.

Silence.

Correspondence from survivors of other attacks on US Navy ships since the end of WWII would be quickly and satisfactorily addressed by their Congressional Delegation.

Not so correspondence from USS Liberty survivors.

How do I know this happens?

Because it is happening to me.

For over 30 years, I have lived in this Congressional District. During that time, I could not elicit any concern about the actions conducted by the forces attacking us and by the President of the United States. Both Democrat and Republican Members of Congress who have represented and are representing me have ever expressed any concern at all about what happened to us.

For those who applaud Congressman Cloud’s policy of ignoring the requests of American Servicemen who survived the War Crimes committed by the Israeli military during the attack on our ship, feel free to express your gratitude by emailing Nicole Beamer at nicole.beamer@mail.house.gov

Hasbara Doesn’t Bring It’s Best and Brightest to Discuss the USS Liberty Attack

Hasbara Doesn’t Bring It’s Best and Brightest to Discuss the USS Liberty Attack

It’s no big secret that Israel partisans and their lackeys both inside and outside the Beltway have hoped the Israeli military would have succeeded in its obvious aim of sinking our ship and ensuring no one survived. But we did survive. And have been telling our story for over 54 years. Now that people are listening, the grand Poo-Bah in Hasbara has decided they should become involved. To him we say, bring it on.

By Joe Meadors

Merrian-Webster doesn’t have a definition of “Hasbara” but Wikipedia describes it as a “Public-relations efforts to disseminate, abroad, positive information about the State of Israel and its actions.”

Out of all the members in the Hasbara stable, it’s obvious that @FalconApoda is the only one tasked with engaging on Twitter about the attack on the USS Liberty.

He has to the vast archive of information available to him in Israeli military archives but he has ignored that resource and chosen to go it alone.

Was it his choice? Maybe he just hasn’t gotten the word yet. “Stay away from the USS Liberty!”

“Don’t f*ck met me on this subject, boyo. You’re way over your head.” he warns a Tweeter hoping his lies and propaganda will go unchallenged.

He claims to have done extensive research about the attack but when offered eyewitness testimony from Americans who were there, he dismisses them as “lies.”

Bring it on @FalconApoda.

The most powerful military in the Middle East allied with the President of the United States couldn’t defeat us.

What chance do you and your colleagues in Hasbara have?