Ethics Corrects Mistakes to End 50 yr. USA Govt. Cover-Up USS Liberty Incident

Ethics Corrects Mistakes to End 50 yr. USA Govt. Cover-Up USS Liberty Incident
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Ethics are moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity.

Journalism ethics, Media ethics, code of ethics and the canons of journalism share common elements including the principles of: truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and being accountable to the public.

By Eileen Fleming

Ethical Journalism is guided by important values beginning with truthfulness, gathering facts and following where ever they lead.

A journalist or Media outlet that reports erroneously and is notified of their ‘mistake’ must correct it to retain ethical credibility.

In the case of the USS Liberty incident we are faced with 50 years of journalistic failures due to a USA Government Cover-Up and obstruction of justice case set in play by the LBJ Adsministration.

Last week USS Liberty Veteran Donald Pageler wrote the Los Angeles Times to correct their journalistic error in the article by Lucas Money titled, “Story telling project gives voice to U.S veterans” because the report claimed “the attack on the USS Liberty was a mistake.”

As of this writing Pageler is still waiting for a reply.
On June 2, I emailed reporter Lucas Money of the Los Angeles Times with subject: Regarding: “Storytelling project gives voice to U.S. veterans.”

As of this writing no reply has been received from the reporter and so I will email him again after publication of this piece to alert him to the link.

On June 3, I submitted an Oped to the Los Angeles Times and received an auto-reply with Subject:

Thank you for your submission to the Los Angeles Times OpEd and Sunday Opinion pages.

Because of their three day exclusive policy, I will NOT publish what I emailed them.

Instead I offer excerpts from A USS Liberty Remembrance of 50 years USA Government Cover-Up of Israel’s 8 June 1967 Attack on USA Spy-Ship: Part 1

USS Liberty Veterans Association President Ernest Gallo is a lifelong Catholic who said, “Some of the Liberty survivors think the Lord wants us to tell this story. My focus is on our government, who abandoned the crew when Israel targeted the USS Liberty and murdered 34 servicemen and injured 174 on June 8, 1967. Ever since, we have been chastised and dishonored by our government.”


After more than two hours of unremitting assault, the Israelis finally halted their attack. One of the torpedo boats approached the Liberty. This same torpedo boat crew had been circling the ship, machine-gunning anyone who stuck his head above decks, as well as the lifeboats the crew had put over the side.

What had changed? The Israeli government knew that US aircraft carriers had just launched aircraft to come to Liberty’s aid and the attack was quickly called off. The Israeli government called the US Embassy and said that they had made a “mistake.”

A torpedo boat officer asked in English over a bullhorn: “Do you need any help?”

The wounded commander of the Liberty, Captain William McGonagle, instructed the quartermaster to respond emphatically: “Fuck you.” [4]


On June 8, 1967, Lieutenant Richard Kiepfer, was the lone medical doctor on board the spy ship, the USS LIBERTY, who “with complete disregard for his own personal safety, exposed himself to overwhelmingly accurate rocket and machine gun fire…administered first aid…treated [171 wounded] men for pain, shock…[and] conducted a major surgical operation.” [5]

Fifteen minutes into Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty and while operating on a sailor to control his bleeding, Dr. Kiepfer received eleven shrapnel wounds into his abdomen, followed by burns and a broken kneecap.

Doc remained on his feet and caring for the crew for the next twenty-eight hours!

In 2007, I visited with the then 70 year old Dr. Richard F. Kiepfer, a Catholic born and bred in Brooklyn, in his Texas home where the deer ignore the corn put out by his neighbors, for Doc provided prime feed in his front yard. Obese raccoons dined on at a nightly feast of dog food on the back porch laid out by friends, who checked on Doc a few times a day, for Doc could no longer do what he once did.

A Master Bridge player while still in his teens, Doc Kiepfer continued to play the cards he has been dealt in life with aplomb and grace until his death in 2015…
Being a retired nurse, I had many questions for Dr. Kiepfer, and utmost was what was left out of the Court of Inquiry: such as how could the deck log which documents the hours during the attack be so neatly written and list all the dead and wounded in alphabetical order within the hours of noon to 4 PM but make no mention of the many Israeli over flights that occurred during the morning before the attack.

Doc explained, “The deck log was not written during the attack. Captain McGonagle signed off on the Log and that makes it legal, but not authentic!

“McGonagle was concerned that he would be blamed for the LIBERTY being in troubled waters. I told him, ‘Over my dead fucking body!’

“Israel did identify the ship six hours before the attack. Israel did know that the ship was American and admitted to our government that they knew the ship was American; Israel claims only that the attacking forces failed to get the word.

“Modern diplomacy simply does not permit one to embarrass a ‘friendly’ nation, even when that nation is caught red-handed with its torpedo in one’s ship.

“McGonagle was tormented by the idea that he was somehow responsible for the agony his ship and crew suffered. One top level theory holds that someone in the Israeli armed forces ordered the LIBERTY sunk because he suspected that it had taken down messages showing that Israel started the fighting [during the Six Day War].”


In “Assault on the Liberty”, James Ennes wrote:

“Typical of Israel’s casual attitude toward the episode, an attitude which suggested from the beginning that it was really our fault for being there [in international waters] in the first place. Messages from Israel directly charged that a share of the blame was McGonagle’s…the Shreveport Times suggested…that our government was involved in a cover-up…and that the attack itself may have been conducted to prevent the ship [and the United States] from detecting the pending invasion of Syria which was scheduled for June 8th but implemented on June 9, 1967.” [6]

Dr. Kiepfer told me:

“McGonagle may have misremembered or may have not reported the over a dozen Israeli over flights that morning because he may have thought he should have abandoned our mission-which was to listen in on all communications. My opinion as a civilian is that the Court of Inquiry-which was to determine if the Navy was at fault- would have inquired why he didn’t get the LIBERTY out of the area since we could see the smoke from Al Arish, in Gaza…

James Ennes wrote:

Word of the attack reached President Johnson in the White House about two hours after it all began. Pentagon officials had apparently been aware of the situation for nearly forty minutes when NSA Advisor Walt Rostow telephoned the President to tell him that a U.S. Navy ship was in trouble…ready aircraft, which normally carry nuclear weapons, were launched toward Liberty, and the Pentagon reacted to the launch with anger bordering on hysteria.

“Help is on the way!” [COMSIXTHFLT message 081305Z]…was received by a Liberty radioman and quickly passed to every man aboard.

Navy radio operators at the Naval Communications Center in Morocco worked to establish communications for the emergency…they could hear USS Liberty, her operators still pleading for help, and in the background the exploding rockets.Through the Morocco communications relay station, destined for the Pentagon, State Department and the White House…

Every man recognized the voice [of] Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara, and he spoke with authority: ‘Tell the Sixth Fleet to get those aircraft back immediately,’ he barked. A few minutes later the Chief of Naval Operations himself came on the air. The circuit was patched to the Sixth Fleet flagship and Admiral David L. McDonald bellowed, “You get those fucking airplanes back on deck, and you get them back now!” [7]


Lieutenant General Marshall S. Carter, Director National Security Agency/NSA from 1965-1969 wrote: “There was no other answer than it was deliberate.”

Dr. Louis Tordella, Deputy Director of NSA from 1958 -1974, scrawled across the top page of the formal Israel ‘mistake’ report: “A nice whitewash.” He also said, “I believed the attack might have been ordered by some senior commander on the Sinai Peninsula who wrongly suspected that the LIBERTY was monitoring his activities.”

Major General John Morrison, NSA Deputy Director of Operations, [1963-1967] stated: “Nobody believes the [Israeli] explanation. The only conjecture that we ever made that made any sense is that the Israelis did not want us to intercept their communications at that time.”

In 1967, David G. Nes, the deputy head of the American mission in Cairo said: “I don’t think that there’s any doubt that it was deliberate… [It is] one of the greatest cover-ups of our military history.”

George Ball, Under Secretary of State from 1961-1966, is on the record that, “American leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of its citizens.”

Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, former Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff stated:

“I 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 US 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. Israel knew perfectly well that the ship was American.” [8]


On 3 November 2007, I spoke on the phone with Commander Dave Ed Lewis, who informed me:

“Rear Admiral Lawrence Geiss was in charge of the USS Saratoga and USS America. He swore me to secrecy until his death, which happened about nineteen years later. What he told me I kept secret until I learned of his death at the first reunion and twenty year anniversary of the veterans of the USS LIBERTY.

“He told me that as soon as he got the word of our distress he launched aircraft and notified D.C. Immediately he heard from McNamara to recall the aircraft. He said he assumed it was because some idiots in Washington thought that he was launching nuclear weaponry. He reconfigured and then re-launched aircraft without nuclear capabilities. Admiral Geiss notified Washington of this and once again the immediate response that came from McNamara was the order to recall the aircraft. Admiral Geiss challenged the order and pleaded that people are dying! LBJ was heard to say, ‘I don’t give a damn! I won’t embarrass an ally.’”


Journalist and son of a Liberty survivor, James Scott wrote, “More than twenty minutes before the fatal torpedo strike killed twenty-five sailors; Israel’s chief air controller conclusively identified the Liberty as an American ship.” [9]

Years after the attack, Lieutenant Colonel Shmuel Kislev, the chief air controller at general headquarters in Tel Aviv, confessed that he knew the U.S.S. LIBERTY was an American ship as soon as an Israeli pilot radioed in its hull numbers.

Two months before the sailor’s mass burial at Arlington Cemetery, Navy analysis also uncovered that the Israeli torpedo boat gunners had targeted the spy ship with 40-mm tracer rounds made in the United States.

In 1967, the Republican representative from Iowa, H.R. Gross rose up in The House and asked:

“Is this Government now, directly or indirectly, subsidizing Israel in the payment of full compensation for the lives that were destroyed, the suffering of the wounded, and the damage from this wanton attack? It can well be asked whether these Americans were the victims of bombs, machine gun bullets and torpedoes manufactured in the United States and dished out as military assistance under foreign aid.” [10]
By November 1967, lawmakers were willing to spend six million USA tax dollars to build schools in Israel but during the debate, Representative Gross introduced an amendment that “not one dollar of U.S. credit or aid of any kind [should] go to Israel until there is a firm settlement with regard to the attack and full reparations have been made [and Israel] provides full and complete reparations for the killing and wounding of more than 100 United States citizens in the wanton, unprovoked attack.

“I wonder how you would feel if you were the father of one of the boys who was killed in that connection-or perhaps you do not have any feelings with respect to these young men who were killed, wounded and maimed, or their families.” [11]

Gross’s amendment failed and justice for the Liberty remains delayed due to bad religion in bed with militant politics…


This STORY CONTINUES at We Americans and The USS Liberty






Eileen Fleming is TADN’s volunteer Health Reporter and Senior Non-Arab Correspondent

Fleming produced the UNCENSORED “30 Minutes with Vanunu” Mordechai, Israel’s nuclear whistleblower

On 8 June 2017, Eileen Fleming begins taping “This American and the USS LIBERTY Documentary”

Contact her HERE

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Eileen Fleming

Senior Non-Arab Correspondent for TADN at The Arab Daily News
Senior Non-Arab Correspondent for The Arab Daily News
Producer "30 Minutes with Vanunu" who founded in response to her first of 8 trips to both sides of The Wall in Palestine Israel.
In 2012, Eileen ran for US House of Representatives District 5, in Fl.
Read her FREE eBooks and more at:
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