Worst Cover-Ups Ever: Jamal Khashoggi and the USS LIBERTY

Worst Cover-Ups Ever: Jamal Khashoggi and the USS LIBERTY
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On Tuesday President Trump condemned Saudi Arabia’s account of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as “the worst cover-up ever,” and warned for the first time that human rights sanctions will be imposed on some of those who took part in the plot.

Trump may not know about the USA Government Cover-Up of Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS LIBERTY; but anyone can by continuing to read on! 

By Eileen Fleming

Mr. Trump continues to complain about how the Saudis botched the crime rather than about who was behind it: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman/MBS/MrBoneSaw.

Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office:

They had a very bad original concept, it was carried out poorly, and the cover-up was one of the worst in the history of cover-ups.

Very simple. Bad deal; should never have been thought of. Somebody really messed up. And they had the worst cover-up ever. And where it should have stopped is at the deal standpoint.

Whoever thought of that idea, I think, is in big trouble, and they should be in big trouble,” Mr. Trump said of the operation inside the Saudi Consulate, during which, Turkish officials say, Mr. Khashoggi was killed and dismembered with a bone saw.

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On Tuesday at the State Department, Mr. Pompeo told reporters, “We’re making very clear that the United States does not tolerate this kind of ruthless action to silence Mr. Khashoggi, a journalist, through violence… Our shared strategic interests with Saudi Arabia remain… We will work with Congress… I’ve spoken to our allies around the world. We want to make sure that everyone understands that the United States doesn’t believe this — that the killing of Jamal Khashoggi was — was anything other than a horrific act.”

Neither Pompeo nor Trump would say whether they believe Prince Mohammed was responsible for the killing.

“Blood in the Water: How the US and Israel Conspired to Ambush the USS Liberty” by Joan Mellon promises to present the “evidence suggesting collusion between US and Israeli intelligence in the attack on a US naval surveillance vessel during the Six-Day War and the more than fifty-year long cover-up.”

The book blurb at Amazon reads:

On June 8, 1967, the USS Liberty, an unarmed intelligence ship reporting to the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the auspices of the National Security Agency, was positioned in international waters off the coast of Egypt when it was attacked with deadly violence by unmarked jet planes firing rockets and machine guns and throwing napalm onto its deck. This ambush was followed by a torpedo strike that blew a forty-foot hole in the starboard side of the ship. Lacking the capacity to defend themselves, thirty-four sailors were killed and 174 wounded, many for life. By the end of the day, Israel had confessed to having been the aggressor, simultaneously arguing that the attack had been an “accident” and a “mistake.”

The facts said otherwise. So intense and sustained was the attack – it lasted for nearly an hour and a half – so specific was the aiming for the antennae and satellite dish on deck, that it was scarcely credible that Israel’s aggression was not deliberate; such was the view of Marshall Carter, the director of the National Security Agency, his deputy director Louis Tordella, and Richard Helms, the Director of Central Intelligence.

Based on interviews with more than forty survivors, knowledgeable political insiders, and Soviet archives of the period, investigative writer Joan Mellen presents evidence suggesting complicity between US and Israeli intelligence in the attack on Liberty and the more than fifty-year long cover-up. What were the underlying motives? Was this a false flag operation conducted in the midst of the Six-Day War? Was it conceivable that Israel would have initiated such an operation without a green light from the United States? For the sake of justice, truth and the murdered and surviving sailors, this is a story demanding to be told.

 

AGREED and my copy is on pre-order; so what follows are pages 9 through 13 from:

A USS Liberty Remembrance of 50 years USA Government Cover-Up of Israel’s 8 June 1967 Attack on USA Spy-Ship:

… On 6 July 2009, I finally received a letter from Florida Senator Bill Nelson after many attempts to reach him regarding the USS Liberty veterans ongoing request for an open congressional investigation of that day in infamy when our government crucified the truth and gagged the survivors.

It remains Senator Nelson’s final reply on topic of establishing every June 8 to be known as USS Liberty Remembrance Day.

Senator Bill Nelson’s letter claimed: “There have been numerous investigations of the USS liberty case by both the executive and legislative branches of the government. Immediately following the incident, the U.S. Navy and Deportment of Defense conducted their own separate investigations of the incident. In its oversight role, Congress also investigated…both the House Armed Services Committee and the House Investigations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee conducted separate investigations, which were completed to the satisfaction of the Congress.”

The attack on the USS Liberty remains“the only incident of damage to a major US ship since the sinking of the USS MAINE in Havana Harbour in 1898, prior to the Spanish-American War, that has not been investigated by the US Congress.” [1]

Not until 1979, did a USS Liberty veteran dare to defy the USA Government gag order.

That breakthrough came with the publication of Liberty survivor, James M. Ennes, Jr.’s book, “ASSAULT ON THE LIBERTY: The True Story of the Israeli Attack on an American intelligence Ship”.

That book also reunited the USS Liberty crew and led to the founding of the non-profit Liberty Veterans Association.

The servicemen began petitioning Congress for an open independent panel to investigate the horrific and unprovoked attack upon them. But, these servicemen have only received pro-forma letters from White House staffers claiming that the attack had already been investigated.

On 2 October 2007, the Chicago Tribune reported:

“The declassification of government documents and the recollections of former military personnel… showed [that] the Israelis knew they were attacking an American naval vessel. The documents also suggest that the U.S. government, anxious to spare Israel’s reputation and preserve its alliance with the U.S., closed the case with what even some of its participants now say was a hasty and seriously flawed investigation.” [2]

J.Q. ‘Tony’ Hart, was a chief petty officer assigned to a U.S. Navy relay station in Morocco that handled communications between Washington and the 6th Fleet.

Hart was listening when Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, in Washington, ordered Rear Adm. Lawrence Geis, commander of the America’s carrier battle group, to bring the jets home. When Geis protested that the Liberty was under attack and needed help, McNamara retorted. “President [Lyndon] Johnson is not going to go to war or embarrass an American ally over a few sailors.” [Ibid]

The Johnson administration did not publicly dispute Israel’s claim that the attack had been nothing more than a disastrous mistake. But internal White House documents obtained from the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library prove the Israelis’ explanation of how the mistake had occurred was not believed.

“Except for McNamara, most senior administration officials from Secretary of State Dean Rusk on down privately agreed with Johnson’s intelligence adviser, Clark Clifford, who was quoted in minutes of a National Security Council staff meeting as saying it was ‘inconceivable’ that the attack had been a case of mistaken identity. The attack ‘couldn’t be anything else but deliberate’ the NSA’s director, Lt. Gen. Marshall Carter, later told Congress.” [IBID]

Ernie Gallo had been above the water line when the torpedo hit the USS Liberty. Gallo informed this reporter:

“It was a beautiful clear sunny day and all morning Israeli reconnaissance planes were flying over us, the bridge counted twelve over flights and one came so close I could see the pilots face; we waved and he dipped his wing as he went by. We were all very comfortable because they were our allies.

“That morning Captain McGonagle called a general quarter’s drill. That’s a created special kind of emergency –I can’t remember what the mock drill was about-but it was to test our skills and the Captain was well pleased. Because we were in dangerous ground he kept the gunners manning the machine guns-two guys on each ‘nest’ –this was unusual for them to stay in flack jackets and heavy helmets after the drill, but we knew we were in hostile territories. But we were all comfortable; guys were sunbathing and we were all happy because we saw our friends, the Israelis in the sky. We were all so very relaxed because of their over flights; it was like a scene out of McHale’s Navy.

“It was about an hour and a half after lunch when the unmarked planes attacked us and they knew exactly where to hit: the communication antennas! They knew the machine guns weren’t a threat, those pilots were very careful to take out the antennas. Then they dropped two napalm bombs on us, miraculously the fires all stayed on the outside, and even though the fire hoses were bullet ridden, like a garden hose and every CO2 canister on board was used, that fire easily could have gone inside the ship, but the firefighters kept their cool and it didn’t. A Signalman constantly watched that our flag was raised, the first one burnt up in the fire but in a few minutes he raised the holiday flag and our ship was well marked with USS LIBERTY on it.

“It wasn’t until the torpedo boats came at us that the Star of David could be seen again. But the Israelis claim mistaken identity, they mistook us for the El-Quseir an Egyptian transport ship that only carried horses [and is also a third of the size of the USS LIBERTY] and had been tied up and out of use for a year. The LIBERTY had at least forty antennas- yet Israel claims they made a mistake in identifying us-if this were ever heard in a Court of Law; it would be beyond belief

“I was a ‘spook’ an interceptor, a CT; Communication Technician. Back then; the NSA had security groups in all the branches of Military Service. Normal operations were that for four months at a time, up and down the African Coast, anything within the ambient atmosphere; the airwaves were monitored. The CT’s had a multitude of talents; Administrators, Linguists, Morse Code Operators, Communicators and Electronics specialists-that’s what I did-kept all the equipment working.

“We all worked behind closed locked doors; none of the rest of the crew ever knew what we were doing. Our whole purpose in life was to intercept messages; RF, UHF, VHF, long and short wave. There were two gigantic Christmas tree antennas on the LIBERTY. Mid-ship there was a pedestal; with a sixteen foot dish pointed sky wards. How they could mistake us for a horse carrying ship is beyond belief.

“You know that when the North Koreans attacked the Pueblo, they wanted to capture it? The North Koreans gave repeated opportunities to surrender. The Israelis never gave us one! Any of the Israeli torpedo boats could have approached and asked us to surrender or follow them, but that never occurred.

“The LIBERTY was built in 1944, it was a converted cargo ship and the mechanics of that ship should have broken up and sunk! One foot more or less from where that torpedo hit and we would have sunk! But that torpedo hit a brace; and that brace absorbed the energy and kept us from blowing up! I honestly believe the Lord saved the LIBERTY for a reason and for this time in the world.”

In 1967, John Hrankowski, was a nineteen year old on his third cruise on the USS Liberty. In a 2007 phone interview he informed me:

I worked in the engineering department, responsible for the air conditioning, electricity, water and steam. I was topside when out of nowhere the blasting of shrapnel knocked me down. I returned to my general quarters space in the boiler room when the call came, ‘this is not a drill; we are under attack.’

Fifteen feet in front of me the torpedo hit and knocked the ship out of the water! If that torpedo had hit the boiler the steam pressure of 750 degrees mixed with cold water would have been like an atomic bomb exploding!

The lights went out, the generator was knocked out, shrapnel flew around me like fire flies; it was dangerous but somehow beautiful. I worked with a lantern to keep the steam under control. If that boiler blew the ship would have blown up too!

On Saturday, June 10, 1967 on stationary imprinted with “USS LIBERTY AGTR-5” an Ensign named John wrote:

Dear Family, 

I AM ALIVE AND UNHURT. I cannot begin to tell you all that has happened to us. It seems so unreal.

The entire crew was magnificent in their efforts to save the ship. We were steaming unescorted about 15 miles off the Suez Canal-we were in international waters!!

At about 2:00 PM we were first hit by jet fighters craft, which first went for our guns- 4 50cal. Machine guns.Every man save one on the guns was killed in a matter of minutes.Next the aircraft hit the bridge area.Wounded the C.O.-killed the executive officer and the navigator.Everybody else was either wounded or killed on the bridge. Only three men were left standing.Next they hit our antennas and our radio station. All our boats and inflatable life rafts were hit—most destroyed. It was a well-planned and coordinated attack. We had been shadowed by the planes and PT boats all morning.Our FLAG was hoisted.I don’t see how they made a mistake. It was too well planned and coordinated—they knew exactly where to hit us– and they did.Next we were attacked by 3 patrol crafts.One torpedo missed.The next one hit us forward starboard side on the 3rd deck.It hit 20 feet from Damage Control Central-my Battle station-it dislodged cabinets-threw books everywhere and knocked us flat on the deck.A watertight bulkhead saved us [two phone talkers and myself].We patched up all holes in hull except torpedo hole-12’ by 15’ and righted the ship.One more torpedo hitand we would have gone down.The entire ship looks like hell.About a third of the crew is wounded…25 men were caught in the flooded spaces…never had a chance to escape.We are heading for Malta… [3]

Purple Heart recipient Warren D. Heaney, reported:

It took us 17 days to limp to Malta. I had to go into the refrigerator over and over. The food supplies were on my right and the body bags on my left. Thirty-four dead and the smell throughout the ship was horrendous. We had no A/C working, so you can IMAGINE the results of blood and body parts everywhere in the June heat.

I stayed aboard the LIBERTY the whole time we were in dry dock-34 days. I watched as the bodies were removed from the torpedo hole and put into body bags; all marked unidentifiable. A body after 17 days in water causes the skin to separate from the bones and muscles…Part of the horror of the whole thing is that we were sworn to secrecy, we were told not to speak to anyone about this, not even to each other.

It wasn’t until a LIBERTY veterans reunion, after talking to shipmates that I found out about PTSD. My shipmates told me how important it is for me to get help for my anger, anguish, and nightmares…

I saw the faces of the men every day as they came through my chow line. Now they are dead and gone, but not forgotten. To this day the Unites States and Israel wish the LIBERTY veterans would just go away.

Electronic Technician Glen Roger Oliphant recalled, “After the wounded were taken off the ship and the Sixth Fleet examined the ship, we proceeded towards Malta. For six nights we slept on the main deck for fear the ship might sink… Admiral Kidd told the crew that we were not to discuss the attack with anyone and any communications to the press would be by the Navy. Every morning at muster in Malta the crew was told not to discuss the attack with anyone. The executive officer said we would be punished if we talked to anyone about the attack.”

One of the memories Oliphant swore to unto perjury of law was after the order came to return to the transmitter room, he discovered there was no electricity to it and went on deck to discover the antennae base had a hole in it and he, “Observed three inflated life rafts floating behind the boat at a range of 100 to 150 yards. Then suddenly, tiny splashes appeared around the rafts and then deflated. Within minutes a torpedo boat appeared and stopped by the rafts. Someone picked up one of the rafts and put it the torpedo boat.

“After several minutes the torpedo boat started up and approached the ship off the port side. I noticed a sailor manning a machine gun and he was pointing it right at me. I quickly lay down on the deck and crawled over to a chock hole and looked and he was still pointing the machine gun at me. I retreated and lay down for several minutes then I heard the torpedo boat start up and proceed along the port side. I looked at the torpedo boat when it was going by and observed a small flag with the Star of David on it and I knew it was an Israeli boat.”

Maurice B. Shafer wrote, “During our stay in Malta a board of inquiry was held and I had no part in this. I did have the experience of Admiral Kidd telling us to forget everything that happened. We were instructed that we could not talk about the attack and if we did we would be in major trouble. That was the beginning of the cover up in our eyes. The big part of the cover up was already under way in Washington.”

USS LIBERTY Commander David Ed Lewis speaks about that D.C. Cover-Up HERE

 

Read the USS LIBERTY Archive at TADN HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eileen Fleming, senior non-Arab correspondent writes for TADN

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Contact Eileen Fleming

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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 WeAreWideAwake.org 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:http://www.eileenfleming.org/
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