USS Liberty Memorial Service – June 8, 2013
The Annual Memorial Service for USS Liberty victims took place June 8, 2013, at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The solemn ceremony is traditionally held at Section 34, where some of the USS Liberty dead are buried.
It was 46 years ago, on June 8, 1967, when 34 American Servicemen were killed and 174 were wounded, when Israeli planes attacked the USS Liberty in the Mediterranean Sea [international waters] without warning.
The Six Day War began on June 5, 1967, when Israel launched a military attack first on Egypt, then on Jordan and Syria.
Reporter Anthony Pearson, who was in the Middle East at the time covering the war has written that inner members of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Administration in co-operation with the CIA conspired with the Israeli General Staff and selected Israeli politicians to undertake a contained war with Egypt because of an increasing political hardline adopted by President Nasser and the continuing Soviet build-up in Egypt and Syria.
Moreover, when the war was launched – the Israelis assured the Americans – it would be fought to a pre-determined American plan for containment, the war would not affect the territorial lines between Israel and Syria and Jordan.
The Israelis immediately saw an opportunity to expand the State of Israel and therefore they decided to extend the pre-determined scheme into a war of territorial expansion against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.
The USS Liberty was equipped with extremely sophisticated intelligence equipment and had been instructed to monitor both Israeli and Arab transmissions from her listening post off Gaza.
The ship had secretly picked up messages that clearly indicated that the Israelis had violated a predetermined plan developed between the United States and Israel allowing the Israel Military to draw Egypt into a war of containment.
The war was not supposed to affect the territorial lines between Israel, Syria and Jordan.
Those in attendance at this year’s ceremony included three siblings, Marilyn Bigelow, Jane Hand, Susan DeVore and grandson, Scott Triplett. They attended the ceremony to honour both their mother/grandmother, Ida Goss, and their brother/uncle, Gerry Goss, who is buried in the mass grave.
Mrs. Ida Goss passed away in 2012 at the age of 98 after having attended many No Greater Love ceremonies to honour USS Liberty victims.
With radar monitoring, it was possible to carefully map the movements and positions of troops, armor and aircraft, showing the true progress of the unfolding battles. Moreover, all this information was being transmitted in full to the National Security Agency [NSA] in Washington. In fact, selected parts were also forwarded to the United Nations in New York.
The Israeli Military had gained enough time to capture all the Jordanian territory they required to finish off the Egyptians in Sinai, and to mobilize their troop’s right up to the east bank of the Suez immobilizing the Canal.
Furthermore, according to author Anthony Pearson, in Washington D.C. on the evening of June 7, 1967, Avraham Harman, the Israeli Ambassador, had been called to the State Department and informed by Eugene Rostow that the attack on Jordan and Egypt had to stop immediately and that no move was to be made against the Syrians on the Golan.
Moreover, a cease-fire was being implemented at the request of the Arabs by the United Nations. No mention was made about the USS Liberty quietly floating in the Mediterranean Sea.
At the ceremony stood Rick Sturman, sharply dressed in his Navy Whites, he recalled that he used to attend the ceremonies as a young boy with his survivor dad, USS Liberty radioman Rick “Rocky” Sturman.
Within four hours orders were issued from the Israeli offices of the Minister of Defence and the Commander of the Air Force to dispatch aircraft to undertake a surveillance of an American communications ship operating off the Sinai coast.
Then about four hours later, at 1:30 p.m. Tel Aviv time, further orders were issued from the same sources to attack the USS Liberty and knock out all of its communications antennae in the first strike.
Furthermore, subsequent air strikes would completely immobilize the ship, preparatory to final torpedo hits from motor torpedo boats [MTB’s] launched from Haifa.
This was a deliberate Israeli attempt to sink the USS Liberty with all hands on board.
The Israeli attack should have been completely successful. Moreover, Israel would blame the sinking of the USS liberty on the Egyptians or perhaps on Russian fighters from a Soviet fleet carrier.
However, the Israeli attack failed because a Mayday distress call from the USS Liberty had reached the Sixth Fleet, about six-hundred miles to the northwest. Therefore, two flights of four jet fighters were immediately launched to save the ship.
The Israelis intercepted the call and pulled back.
Also attending was Elizabeth Miller from Albany, New York, who first heard about the USS Liberty by watching the History Channel’s film, “Cover Up: Attack on the USS Liberty.”
This year survivors have compared the 1967 Israeli attack on their ship to the 2012 terrorist attack which killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. [See article written by Bryant Jordan published on Military.com]
The survivors are puzzled as to why Congress holds heated hearings and investigations on one incident yet completely ignores their own pleas for a congressional investigation into the 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty which killed far more people.
They have asked supporters to sign a petition at:
to call for a congressional investigation into Israel's attack and the subsequent cover-up by their own Government. The petition will be delivered to President Barack Obama, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
For more information:
I urge everyone to sign the petition and don’t give up the good fight.
Furthermore, readers looking for more detailed information on this American tragedy, subsequent Government cover-up and Human Rights violations should search out Anthony Pearson’s book at your local library or a good used Book Store close to you:
Conspiracy in Silence: Attack on the USS Liberty – Anthony Pearson – London: Quartet Books – 1978.
Source Notes: Washington Report – August 2013 – USS Liberty Survivors Mourn at the Tomb of the Unknowns – Written by: D.C. Hanley
Bitter Harvest – A Modern History of Palestine – Sami Hadawi – Fourth Edition 1991
you can follow USS Liberty survivor Joe Meadors on Twitter @joemeadors.com