Israel Sank ‘USS Liberty’ US Navy Ship – Friendly Fire?  

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By Dr Shahid Qureshi : –

On June 8, 1967, the armed forces of Israel attacked the American intelligence ship USS Liberty for 90 minutes in international waters following several hours of close, low-level reconnaissance. Israel was later to claim the attack was a mistake, a simple case of mis-identification, but survivors maintain otherwise. And some researchers contend that the attack was a deliberate attempt to prevent US Intelligence from witnessing the massacre of Egyptian Prisoners of War.

According to eyewitness accounts by Israeli officers and journalists, the Israeli Army executed as many as 1,000 Arab POW’s during the 1967 war. Historian Gabby Bron wrote in the Yediot Ahronot in Israel that he witnessed Israeli troops executing Egyptian prisoners on the morning of June 8, 1967,in the Sinai town of El Arish.

Bron reported that he saw about 150 Egyptian POWs being held at the El Arish airport where they were sitting on the ground, densely crowded together with their hands held on the back of their necks. Every few minutes, Bron writes, Israeli soldiers would escort an Egyptian POW from the group to a hearing conducted by two men in Israeli army uniforms. Then the man would be taken away, given a spade, and forced to dig his own grave.

Marion Woolfson, USS Liberty cover-up blown apart Referring to the attack on USS Liberty, you ask, “Why was no one ever told?” (The cover-up, G2, August 8, 2001) wrote in The Guardian on August 9, 2001, a full account of this atrocity, ‘USS Liberty’ Attempts to have the material published in UK newspapers failed. Several editors admitted they were afraid of being accused of “anti-Semitism” – a most potent form of blackmail then and now.

The full story, entitled The Liberty cover-up, also appeared, on June 15 1976 , in Voice, a London-based journal on Middle Eastern affairs, owned by the late Claud Morris. He had been editor of a flourishing Welsh newspaper and owner of a printing company, but was forced out of business when, as a result of printing Free Palestine, his press was destroyed by arsonists.

Mr Morris also published Middle East International and the Jewish Chronicle reported on October 22, 1971 that Jewish advertisers had withdrawn their advertising from his newspaper and Mr Morris had “lost a number of his senior staff”.

In 1972, the Sunday Times published a carefully researched report on the torture of Palestinians in Israeli prisons and the then editor, Harold Evans, was subjected to accusations of “anti-Semitism”.

It is surely time for the media to resist the blackmail of Israel’s supporters and print the truth as the Guardian has so courageously done.

Israel’s Attack on the USS Liberty: Justin Cowgill throws some more light on the atrocity and cover up.

On June 8, 1967, the armed forces of Israel attacked the American intelligence ship USS Liberty for 90 minutes in international waters following several hours of close, low-level reconnaissance. Israel was later to claim the attack was a mistake, a simple case of mis-identification, but survivors maintain otherwise. And some researchers contend that the attack was a deliberate attempt to prevent US Intelligence from witnessing the massacre of Egyptian Prisoners of War.

According to eyewitness accounts by Israeli officers and journalists, the Israeli Army executed as many as 1,000 Arab POW’s during the 1967 war. Historian Gabby Bron wrote in the Yediot Ahronot in Israel that he witnessed Israeli troops executing Egyptian prisoners on the morning of June 8, 1967, in the Sinai town of El Arish.

Bron reported that he saw about 150 Egyptian POWs being held at the El Arish airport where they were sitting on the ground densely crowded together with their hands held on the back of their necks. Every few minutes, Bron writes, Israeli soldiers would escort an Egyptian POW from the group to a hearing conducted by two men in Israeli army uniforms. Then the man would be taken away, given a spade, and forced to dig his own grave.

“I watched as (one) man dug a hole for about 15 minutes,? Bron wrote. afterwards, the (Israeli military) policeman told him to throw the shovel away, and then one of them leveled an Uzi at him and shot two short bursts, each of three or four bullets.?

Bron says he witnessed about ten such executions, until the grave was filled. Then an Israeli Colonel threatened him with a revolver, forcing him to leave the area.

As these executions were underway, America’s most sophisticated intelligence platform, USS Liberty, was less than 13 miles from El Arish.

Could the USS Liberty have intercepted voice radio messages authorising these killings? Did senior Israeli officers sanction the murders, or did they learn of them? How would they have reacted to the knowledge that USS Liberty was nearby and might have heard incriminating radio traffic?

We may never know because Israel, America’s ally launched a murderous attack on the virtually unarmed American intelligence ship.

To this day, many Americans are unaware that this attack even took place. But recently, PRAVDA.Ru took the opportunity to interview Mr. Hrankowski, a survivor and crew member of the USS Liberty.

Greetings Mr. Hrankowski! We at PRAVDA.Ru greatly appreciate this exclusive interview. We feel that, as a USS Liberty survivor, you are in the unique position to shed light on actually what happened and why. It is a great tragedy that 34 young American sailors died while serving their country. It is an even greater tragedy that the general public knows next to nothing about this event.

What position did you serve on the USS Liberty?

My position on the USS Liberty was in the Engineering Department. I was a boiler man. I also worked for the chief engineer in the log room office.

One of the main questions regarding this attack is whether or not the Israeli attackers knew that they were attacking an American ship. The Israelis have claimed that they misidentified the Liberty for the Egyptian horse carrier El Quseir, but it has been reported that the USS liberty flew an American flag and was distinctly marked with US markings. It is also known that slow moving recon plans flew over the USS Liberty numerous times. Is there any doubt in your mind that the Israeli military knew that they were attacking an American ship?

There is no doubt in my mind that the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty was deliberate. Israel has claimed that it was a mistake and that they were firing upon an Arab horse freighter. The El Quesir was the name of the Arab ship. It was tied up and not sea worthy during the Six Day War, and the Israelis knew this.

As for our Flag. All American ships fly the flag. Ours was flying until the Israelis shot it down and within seconds another was put up. It was our holiday Ensign, sized 9 feet by 13 feet.

As for the slow moving aircraft. Planes started flying over us and checking us out at 5:30am and did so 9 to 13 times until the attack at 2:00 pm. There is no doubt in my mind that they knew who they were attacking.

It has been reported that the USS Saratago, responding to a SOS from the Liberty, launched jets to help the Liberty approximately 15 minutes into the Israeli attack. Why were the jets recalled? One could say that this act left American sailors to be murdered by an enemy force?

A message from the USS Liberty got to the USS Saratoga 9 minutes into the attack. The USS Saratoga launched a flight of fighters immediately and they were called back. This happened three different times throughout the attack. Robert MacNamara called them back twice, and President Johnson called them back once, saying his thoughts were not for the USS Liberty. He did not want to embarrass his ally Israel. That act did leave us to get murdered, and what it actually is called is abandonment.

Once your captain, William Loren McGonagle, realized that the Liberty was in danger of sinking, he ordered the crew to abandon ship. At this point, there were only three life rafts left that weren’t damaged. Your crew placed as many wounded into the life rafts and lowered them over the side of the Liberty. Please tell us what happened next.

The order was given by the captain to abandon ship, because he thought we were going to sink. Three life rafts were in the water, but then Israeli Torpedo boats came up to them and shot two of them up and grabbed one on the boats. That is against the Geneva Convention.

What prompted the Israelis to terminate their assault?

I’m not sure what caused them to terminate the attack, but after 2 hours, they could not sink us. I would think that their time had run out.

How long did it take for American help to arrive?

It took 16 hours for the American fleet to get to us. But that night, while we were sailing to the sixth fleet, a Soviet ship offered help to us. They said that they would stay just at the horizon and if our ship was going to go down, they would help us.

Do you keep in contact with fellow Liberty survivors? If so, do they express hope that American will re-investigate the attack?

We USS Liberty survivors are always in contact. We all fight for the same thing. They want the investigation to happen soon, so we can all go on with our lives.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

I thank PRAVDA.Ru for the time to express my views of the June 8, 1967 attack on my ship, the USS Liberty. I do hope your country will be able to see the new film by the BBC Dead in the Water by Mr. Christopher Mitchell. There is also a new book that goes along with the new film. It was written by Pulitzer Prize winner Mr. Peter Hounam and is due to come out very shortly. The film and book open the incident up very well.

http://english.pravda.ru/main/2002/07/04/31794.html

 

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