USS Liberty

On this day, June 9th, 1967, Israel’s sea and air forces knowingly attacked the USS Liberty in international waters off of the coast of Egypt’s Gaza Strip in an undeclared Act of War that killed 34 U.S. Navy serviceman, while seriously injuring over 174 other American sailors. Following the attack, the captain and entire crew of the USS Liberty, then one of the most decorated crew in US History, were sworn to secrecy to never divulge the truth of what had actually happened under the threat of an immediate court martial, dishonorable discharge, punitive fines or serious prison time.

Israel’s act of war was never reported to the American people or to the rest of the world because of mutual collusion between the governments and leaders of The United States and Israel who both already could be called veritable partners in crime in the civil and human right violations they were perpetrating against the citizenry within their own borders. In the case of Israel, it was the Palestinians in occupied Palestine and in the United States Black Americans within many states in America, right up to the present day with the murder of Floyd George and the ensuing race riots and protest that ensued.

By 1967 America was still recovering from its Race Riots of 1964 in Detroit, while in Milwaukee, in 1967, the Race Riots that already had destroyed parts of Detroit were erupting while anti-war riots and protests against the aggressive war that America was waging against the government and people of Vietnam were erupting in the U.S and around the world. Yet in the midst of all this racial strife, as if a contradiction of terms and mockery of the truth, Thurgood Marshall was being confirmed as the first African American Justice of the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Israeli Zionist forces were in the midst of fighting their own vicious, bloody Six-Day War against Egypt, Jordan Syria and the Palestinians; while Israel’s Zionist forces were continuing to carry out its war of conquest called the Naksa in the region, that was an extension the Palestinian Catastrophe of 1948, known as Al-Nakba, that originally displaced 750,000 Palestinians and began the mass exodus that became known as the Palestine Refugee Problem that, to date, continues unabated and has never been resolved.

So, by 1967, in the midst of all this conflict at home and abroad, the USS Liberty, an American electronic spy ship was positioned in international waters in the Mediterranean off of the coast of Egypt’s Gaza Strip when it was suddenly attacked by Israel war planes firing napalm and rockets, while torpedo boats launched torpedoes at it. Though 12 fighter jets were immediately dispatched from the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga, along with four tanker planes, to defend the USS Liberty they were scandalously recalled by non-other than the Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara himself and so they never were able to defend the USS Liberty protect the lives of American sailors against Israel’s unprovoked attack.

The explanation for McNamara’s decision has never been made known to the public, other than President Lynden “LBJ” Johnson, and Robert McNamara both lied at the time to the public by calling it a case of “mistaken identity”, in spite of the fact that the Israeli jet fighter pilots and torpedo boat captains could plainly see the USS Liberty’s American flags boldly flapping in the wind at the top of its masthead and were in voice communications with the Liberty. Why the Israel’s continued the attack is also still an unexplained mystery.

The then U.S. President Lynden “LBJ” Johnson and his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, simply dismissed the ‘incident’ as an unfortunate “mistaken identity”, which, of course, was categorically an out-and-out bald-faced lie and so the real truth behind the events was quickly buried and soon faded from the public’s memory.

Yet today, in 2020, as they have ever since 1948, the American government and the American people have willingly given billions of so-called “foreign aid”, that Israel has used to conveniently purchase U.S. arms and weaponry of war which itd continues to use against Palestinian people or pass on to other nations who hate those within their own borders. In 2020, the amount now being debated in the U.S. Congress is $38 billion, or $10 million per day, to Israel that has been and continues to be an apartheid state, like the United States, as far as many Black-Native-Mexican-Asian-White Americans consider it to be.

Jerome Irwin is a freelance writer and author of “The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle Island Odyssey” (www.turtle-island-odyssey.com), a three volume account of his travels as a spiritual sojourner, during the 1960’s, 70’s & 80’s, among Native American & First Nation peoples in North America. It encompasses the Indigenous Spiritual Renaissance & Liberation Movements that emerged throughout North America during the civil rights era. In addition to being a long-time political activist and organizer, Irwin has authored over the years a number of environmental, political, cultural, spiritual articles with special emphasis on Native Americans, First Nations, Australian aboriginals, native peoples of Israel, Gaza, Palestine and Syria and especially Black Americans who Irwin taught before he retired as a special education teacher at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Secondary in San Francisco’s Bayview and Hunter’s Point/Candlestick Park Districts. Irwin also is the publisher of The Wild Gentle Press.


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