America’s Highest Ranking Naval Officer Admiral Thomas Moorer Rejects the Israeli Excuse

America’s Highest Ranking Naval Officer Admiral Thomas Moorer Rejects the Israeli Excuse


From: Admiral Thomas H. Moorer

Subject: Attack on the USS Liberty June 8, 1967

Date: June 8, 1997

I have never believed that the attack on the USS Liberty was a case of mistaken identity. That is ridiculous. I have flown over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, thousands of hours, searching for ships and identifying all types of ships at sea. The Liberty was the ugliest, strangest looking ship in the U.S. Navy. As a communications intelligence ship, it was sprouting every kind of antenna. It looked like a lobster with all those projections moving every which way.

Thomas Hinman Moorer

Israel knew perfectly well that the ship was American. After all, the Liberty‘s American flag and markings were in full view in perfect visibility for the Israeli aircraft that overflew the ship eight times over a period of nearly eight hours prior to the attack. I am confident that Israel knew the Liberty could intercept radio messages from all parties and potential parties to the ongoing war, then in its fourth day, and that Israel was preparing to seize the Golan Heights from Syria despite President Johnson’s known opposition to such a move. I think they realized that if we learned in advance of their plan, there would be a tremendous amount of negotiating between Tel Aviv and Washington.

And I believe Moshe Dayan concluded that he could prevent Washington from becoming aware of what Israel was up to by destroying the primary source of acquiring that information the USS Liberty. The result was a wanton sneak attack that left 34 American sailors dead and 171 seriously injured. What is so chilling and cold-blooded, of course, is that they could kill as many Americans as they did in confidence that Washington would cooperate in quelling any public outcry.

I have to conclude that it was Israel’s intent to sink the Liberty and leave as few survivors as possible. Up to the point where the torpedo boats were sent in, you could speculate on that point. You have to remember that the Liberty was an intelligence ship, not a fighting ship, and its only defensive weapons were a pair of 50-caliber machine guns both aft and on the forecastle. There was little the men could do to fight off the air assault from Israeli jets that pounded the Liberty with bombs, rockets, napalm and machine gun fire for 25 minutes.

With the Liberty riddled with holes, fires burning, and scores of casualties, three Israeli torpedo boats closed in for the kill. The second of three torpedoes ripped through a compartment at amidships, drowning 25 of the men in that section. Then the torpedo boats closed to within 100 feet of the Liberty to continue the attack with cannons and machine guns, resulting in further casualties. It is telling, with respect to whether total annihilation was the intent, that the Liberty crew has reported that the torpedo boats’ machine guns also were turned on life rafts that were deployed into the Mediterranean as well as those few on deck that had escaped damage.

As we know now, if the rescue aircraft from U.S. carriers had not been recalled, they would have arrived at the Liberty before the torpedo attack, reducing the death toll by 25. The torpedo boat commanders could not be certain that Sixth Fleet aircraft were not on the way and this might have led to their breaking off the attack after 40 minutes rather than remaining to send the Liberty and its crew of 294 to the bottom. Congress to this day has failed to hold formal hearings for the record on the Liberty affair. This is unprecedented and a national disgrace. I spent hours on the Hill giving testimony after the USS Pueblo, a sister ship to the Liberty, was seized by North Korea. I was asked every imaginable question, including why a carrier in the area failed to dispatch aircraft to aid the Pueblo. In the Liberty case, fighters were put in the air not once, but twice. They were ordered to stand down by Secretary of Defense McNamara and President Johnson for reasons the American public deserves to know.

The captain and crew of the Liberty, rather than being widely acclaimed as the heroes they most certainly are, have been silenced, ignored, honored belatedly and away from the cameras, and denied a history that accurately reflects their ordeal. I was appalled that six of the dead from the Liberty lay under a tombstone at Arlington Cemetery that described them as having “died in the eastern Mediterranean,” as if disease rather than Israeli intent had caused their deaths. The Naval Academy failed to record the name of Lt. Stephen Toth in Memorial Hall on the grounds that he had not been killed in battle. I intervened and was able to reverse the apparent idea that dying in a cowardly, one-sided attack by a supposed ally is somehow not the same as being killed by an avowed enemy.

Commander McGonagle’s story is the stuff of naval tradition. Badly wounded in the first air attack, lying on the deck and losing blood, he refused any treatment that would take him from his battle station on the bridge. He continued to direct the ship’s defense, the control of flooding and fire, and by his own example inspired the survivors to heroic efforts to save the ship. He did not relinquish his post until hours later, after having directed the crippled ship’s navigation to a rendezvous with a U.S. destroyer and final arrival in Malta.

I must have gone to the White House 15 times or more to watch the President personally award the Congressional Medal of Honor to Americans of special valor. So it irked the hell out of me when McGonagle’s ceremony was relegated to the obscurity of the Washington Navy Yard and the medal was presented by the Secretary of the Navy. This was a back-handed slap. Everyone else received their medal at the White House. President Johnson must have been concerned about the reaction of the Israeli lobby.

The Liberty Veterans Association deserves the encouragement of everyone who wants the facts of the Liberty incident revealed and proper homage paid to the men who lost their lives, to their families, and to the survivors. I have attended many of their reunions and am always impressed with the cohesion of the Liberty family. They arrive in town with their whole entourage grandmas, grandpas, grandchildren. They promote the memory of the boys who were killed and I respect them for that. They are mostly from small country towns, probably a lot like Eufaula, Alabama, where I grew up, and they represent the basic core of America that has enabled us to be a superpower for so long. These are the kind of people who will make certain that our Liberty and freedom survive if fighting is what it takes.

USS Liberty Survivor Ron Kukal Writes Senator Mike Enzi

[ USS Liberty survivor and Purple Heart recipient Ron Kukal witnessed the carnage and supervised the cleanup of dead shipmates killed by the Israeli torpedo strike.]

The Honorable Mike Enzi 379A Senate Russell Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Senator Enzi: I know that you know me quite well, and you also know the Liberty Veterans Association has been a bulwark of strength in bringing back this nation to what it used to be. 
Ron Kukal
Ron Kukal
We have not waivered Senator, and I know that you know that we haven’t.  If our president wants to make America great again, then it is going to take some truth.   I will admit there are few of us left, and I will also admit that I have little use for many who are serving in congress right now.  I figure the swamp is pretty deep, and I should know.  We have battled the main stream media for over fifty years as they work to keep this deliberate attack covered up. The American Legion has passed Resolution 40 at their last convention in Reno.  President Trump wasthere to speak and so was the Secretary of the VA.  President Trump shook hands with Bryce Lockwood who is one of the survivors who wants this nation to know the truth. We have not waivered, and they have tried to destroy us for many years, and yet we are still here.  As the Chaplain for the USS Liberty Veterans Association I know that the ship was saved by Divine Intervention, considering they had it all, and we had next to nothing, and we are still here.  I would ask that our president listen to what the survivors have to say, before it is too late.  We now have the American Legion, The VFW, and Military Order of the Purple Heart behind us.  We are the true patriots in this nation and we have garnered many followers, many, many!! I have deep respect for you Senator, and I will not forget the fine letter that you sent to me personally to read at our dedication in Maricopa.  I know that you know exactly where we are coming from.  It has sir, been hell on earth. Respectfully,
/signed/ Ron Kukal USS Liberty Survivor

USS Liberty: The Pain Continues — An Unanswered Letter to Sen. Warner

[The following is the text of a letter written by the widow of one of the Americans killed during the Israeli attack on USS Liberty. It was addressed to Senator John Warner. The Senator apparently did not feel the subject important enough to warrant a reply – as no reply was ever sent.]
Mr. Warner, I am writing to you in your capacity as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. I am the wife of James Mahlon Lupton, CT1, who was killed aboard the USS Liberty when it was attacked by Israel on June 8, 1967. He was right where the torpedo hit. I have wondered for 32 years what was on his 24-year-old mind as he worked, knowing that the ship was under attack, that she had no defense weapons, that basically she didn’t have a chance unless someone came to the rescue. He probably heard the torpedoes being launched and heard them zinging in the water. Coming toward him. Coming Fast! And perhaps knew, somehow, that this time, there was not going to be a rescue…there was not going to be any help from anybody…that Israel was going to sink this vessel and she didn’t have a chance. And maybe – his last thought was of me. I was 24 years old. We had been married only two years. My husband was 6’2″ tall, 220 pounds, very handsome, with a winning smile (I have pictures to prove it) and many friends. Everyone who knew him respected him because of his integrity. He had the highest sense of honor and “my word is my bond” that I have ever seen in a human being. He did not equivocate or tell lies. I am telling you all this about him because right now he is an unknown person to you. But I assure you, he was a real person, who laughed, loved, had hobbies, enjoyed the company of friends and family, and was looked up to as a man to emulate. And certainly looked up to by me. I had tremendous respect for him. He was such a fine person – he was the only person who could make me laugh when I was angry. (Until I had my son – he had that same quality. Sadly, I also lost my son, 11 years ago, when he was 15.) Senator Warner, he was a real person. And I am a real person, just as you are a real person. You have lived, loved, laughed, enjoyed the respect of your peers, and enjoyed considerable success in your field, because of your intelligence and your expertise. My husband did exactly the same thing. Not in your field, of course – he was a Russian linguist. What I am trying to accomplish here is to make you aware that he was a person, with the rights and privileges that all American citizens enjoy. Except for one thing…he died on the Liberty when it was torpedoed by Israel – our allies – I thought allies were supposed to work together and protect each other. Am I under an illusion here? Or am I just misunderstanding the meaning of the word “ally”? I was in Turkey at the time. I woke up to a beautiful sunlit spring day, and got dressed to go to my job on the air base. I remember that I wore a sky-blue dress. When the officer came into my office to tell me that the ship had been attacked, I started shaking. The coffee I was drinking spilled over the edges of the cup and my knees turned to water. I couldn’t stand up. I sat down and immediately lost focus. All I could do was react to what I had heard. The officer said what he had to say – he was very kind – and left. My boss said I could go home. (Home? What home? Didn’t I have a husband at home?) I could scarcely remember how to drive – but I did. I had some friends who wanted to take my mind off what was going on, so they took me to the movie that was showing on base. The movie was The Bedford Incident. Isn’t that ironic… I’m giving you all this history because you need to know that I am not the only wife who felt that way. I am not the only woman who lost someone she loved on that vessel. And I am not the only person looking for honest answers to a nightmare that has been ongoing for 32 years. You know, the families and the survivors of the Liberty only want the truth. Nobody wants to “get even” or “start something” – we just want to put this at rest, and as long as the truth is hidden, not one of us can rest. And if this happened to us, who among our shipmates is safe? And why would anyone enlist to serve a country that apparently doesn’t even care enough about what happened to us to launch an investigation? Having said all that, I have some questions to ask, and I would sincerely appreciate a response within 10 days. I have read almost everything on the USS Liberty web site – some of it is too painful still -and there are discrepancies and inadequacies which I am certainly not the first to note or point out. My questions are listed below. 1. Why didn’t the Sixth Fleet come to the aid of the Liberty? 2. Why were the rescue aircraft called back by the President of the United states? 3. What involvement did the 303 Committee have in the Liberty‘s deployment and mission? 4. What did Project Cyanide have to do with the Liberty, directly or indirectly? 5. What did Frontlet 615 have to do with the Liberty directly or indirectly? 6. Why wasn’t the USS Amberjack allowed to come to the aid of the Liberty? 7. Where is the film of the attack taken by the Amberjack? 8. Why weren’t violations of the UCMJ investigated? 9. Why were warning and operational messages to the Liberty intentionally mis-routed? 10. Why was the crew told to keep silent regarding the attack? 11. What secret is so volatile that cannot be revealed by our government after 30 years? 12. Why haven’t clear violations of international law been investigated? 13. Why was Admiral Tobin awarded the Bronze Star when he wasn’t even there? 14. Why hasn’t our former ambassador to Lebanon, Dwight Porter, ever been questioned by Congress, when it is known he listened to the attack at our embassy in Lebanon? 15. Why was Commander McGonagle awarded his Medal of Honor, our country’s highest honor, in the Navy Yard instead of in a ceremony conducted by the President at the White House? That certainly was not his request. And it is the only Medal of Honor that has been presented in such a fashion. Begging your pardon, Senator – that was shameful. I would sincerely appreciate any explanation that you can give that would ease the pain I bear. I have remarried and had children, been divorced, worked, and still work at my job, and I still don’t understand. I am trying very hard to get some peace and it just won’t come. I have not forgotten him, and I will never forget that awful day, because my life changed – when I lost a piece of my heart. Can you help me? Thank you for your time and consideration. Very truly yours, Barbara Scott (Lupton) Neilson

President Trump, Let Me Tell You About the Attack on the USS Liberty

USS Liberty Survivor Bryce Lockwood Meets With President Donald Trump

Fresh off his trip to Reno, Nevada where he was instrumental in accomplishing the previously unheard of task of persuading The American Legion to pass Resolution 40 calling on Congress to conduct an investigation of the attack on our ship, USS Liberty Survivor, Bryce Lockwood had a one-on-one meeting with President Donald Trump.

Not one to rest on his laurels and recognizing that while this opportunity has never presented itself before, Bryce quickly briefed the President about the attack and the fact that it has never been investigated by the US government after which he slipped a USS Liberty Challenge Coin into Mr. Trump’s hand.

Bryce then spent time briefing the personnel accompanying Mr. Trump about the USS Liberty and of our effort to ensure the US government finally conducts an investigation of the attack.  Everyone he spoke with was very interested in what Bryce had to say.  Probably because many were either active duty military, veterans or – like USS Liberty Survivor Lloyd Painter – members or veterans of the Secret Service.

Arriving at the 50th anniversary of the attack coupled with the passage of Resolution 40 by The American Legion has wakened a sleeping giant.  Americans are becoming aware of what happened to us during the attack and how we have been treated by Congress and by Americans who are more concerned about the well-being of the forces who attacked us than they are about their own countrymen.

We cannot rest on our laurels.  Some members of The American Legion voted against Resolution 40.  They claim to be patriotic American citizens but clearly their patriotism is conditional.

Conditionally Patriotic Americans (CPA’s).

Many of the CPA’s are in positions of authority.

Authority they have not earned and certainly do not deserve.

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