Sunday Jun 10, 201207:40 PM GMT
Israel attack on US Navy ship, history or story
File photo shows USS <i>Liberty</i> after Israel
File photo shows USS Liberty after Israel's air and naval attack on June 8, 1967.
Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:33PM
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Although 45 years have passed since Israel attacked a US Navy ship in international waters, the US government still maintains silence on the incident.

June 8 marks the day when Israel’s air and naval forces attacked the US Navy intelligence ship USS Liberty killing 34 crew members and wounding 174 others.

At that time, USS Liberty was the most advanced spy ship in the US navy and was totally destroyed in the powerful attack by Israeli forces.

Although Israeli surveillance recognized the vessel as an American ship many hours before the attack, Israeli officials lied afterwards by claiming that the attack was just an accident.

US media have been banned during the past 46 years from saying anything about the incident.

The attack came on June 8, 1967, when Israel was engaged with Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian armies in its third war with Arab countries.

Washington was concerned that Israel might carry out an attack against Soviet Union’s close ally, Syria and thus bring about a confrontation between the two superpowers.

Washington dispatched USS Liberty, which could monitor all kinds of communication to a radius of 500 miles, to make sure about Israel’s intent to engage with Syria.

Knowing about the ship’s mission, the then Israeli Minister of War Moshe Dayan ordered Israeli forces to target the American vessel.

“After surveilling USS Liberty for more than nine hours with almost hourly aircraft overflights and radar tracking, the air and naval forces of Israel attacked our ship in international waters without warning,” an unnamed former crew member said.

"The Israeli forces attacked without warning and without attempting to contact us. Thirty four Americans were killed in the attack and another 174 were wounded. The ship, a $40-million dollar state-of-the-art signals intelligence platform, was later declared unsalvageable and sold for scrap," the crew member added.

Despite a near-universal consensus that the Israeli attack was conducted with the full knowledge that USS Liberty was a US Navy ship, the Johnson administration began an immediate cover-up of this fact.

Though administration officers continued individually to characterize the attack as deliberate, the Johnson administration never sought the prosecution of the guilty parties or otherwise attempted to seek justice for the victims.

“Americans who volunteer for military service effectively write a blank check, payable to the United States of America for an amount ‘up to and including my life’. The United States, in turn, promises … to protect them and to seek retribution against anyone who harms them. In the case of USS Liberty, the United States has failed to keep its end of the bargain,” the former crew member concluded.

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