Eileen Fleming, A Citizen of CONSCIENCE for House of Representatives 2012 campaign can be followed at EileenFleming.org. Eileen also founded WeAreWideAwake.org, Produced "30 Minutes with Vanunu" and "13 Minutes with Vanunu" and authored "Keep Hope Alive" and "Memoirs of a Nice Irish American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory" and BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's FREEDOM of SPEECH Trial and My Life as a Muckraker: 2005-2010. Visit Eileen's YouTube Channel

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Remembering LIBERTY for Veterans Day: A Book Review and a Candidates Commitment

by Eileen Fleming

 

11/11/11 is Veterans Day and also the day Palestine is to receive a response from the U.N. Security Council regarding their official membership in that global body.

I will never be a politician for I speak TRUTH:

But as a candidate for US House of Representatives 2012, if elected among my first acts of Congress will be to invite all surviving USS LIBERTY veterans to speak on the Congressional record regarding what they saw on that day in infamy, when the LBJ Administration failed to support the troops and American foreign policy aligned itself with the perpetrators.

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]

On June 8, 2007, I attended the 27th annual American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s Washington, D.C. Conference and learned from Congressman Paul Findley who addressed the luncheon crowd:

“I was here for the first convention 27 years ago and I still have a fire in my belly for the civil and human rights of Arabs. It is time to speak openly and honestly about Israel. But, in American politics, that is still forbidden.

“Pity that we cannot seem to shed our fear of Israel! We are afraid to speak out on Capitol Hill, for fear of losing the next election. They are more like trained poodles jumping through hoops than leaders!

“Why this fear? How did we get here?

“Forty years ago to this day, June 8, 1967 the change occurred, the floodgates opened and money poured into Israel as never before. When President Johnson heard about the U.S.S. Liberty being attacked by Israel he ordered the rescue fighter planes to return to the deck. The rescue mission was aborted and the survivors have said they heard LBJ’s voice tell Admiral Giess, ‘Get those planes back on deck. I don’t care if the ship sinks, I will not embarrass Israel.’

“LBJ also threatened to court martial anyone who reported what had happened. Johnson accepted Israel’s false claim of “mistaken identity” and he knew it was a lie. That is when the change began and Israel learned they could get away with murdering U.S.A. soldiers.”

Four days before the forty-second anniversary of that day in infamy, James Scott, acclaimed journalist and son of a LIBERTY survivor, released “The Untold Story of Israel’s Deadly 1967 Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship”.

Scott dedicated his extensively footnoted, compelling and dramatic account to his father and the thirty-four men whose lives were ended on June 8, 1967.

Out of a crew of 294, 171 were also wounded and all have been scarred for life because the US Government failed to support them and continues to deny their request for an open, transparent and thorough Congressional hearing to address the Israeli claim of “mistaken identity”.

Scott blew apart the one and only investigation that was ever conducted by the U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry which was a rush job white wash made to order to confirm the Israeli claim, which is clearly contradicted by the facts.
Scott conducted hundreds of interviews with LIBERTY survivors, senior administration and intelligence officials and investigated recently declassified documents by Israel and America. Scott’s fast paced tome gives voice to the frustrated outrage felt by many inside the Pentagon, State Department, NSA, Navy and even a few Congressional representatives.

Among many issues Scott illuminates, is that Israel’s chain of command were well aware of the USS Liberty’s true identity of the unique American flag waving spy ship.

Scott reveals how the American government de-emphasized the attack because of the war in Vietnam and its preference in support of the Industrial Military Complex over the lives and well being of American servicemen.

Scott documents that Israeli pilots, air control staff and navy officers in Tel Aviv and Haifa were well aware that before their unprovoked brutal torpedo attacks on the unarmed spy ship that the vessel was definitely American.

“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.” [Scott, Page 216]

Many years after the attack, Lieutenant Colonel Shmuel Kislev, the chief air controller at general headquarters in Tel Aviv, confessed that he knew the 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 asked questions that still demand an answer today:

“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.” [Scott, Pages 271-272]

By November 1967, lawmakers were willing to spend six million USA tax dollars to build schools in Israel but during the debate, Representative Gross spoke with the voice of conscience and 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.” [Scott, Page 272-273]

Gross’s amendment failed, justice remains delayed and American tax payers continue to support the ‘Jewish State’ which has reaped a more violent and insecure planet for innocent civilians.

“Since the October War in 1973, Washington has provided Israel with a level of support dwarfing the amounts provided to any other state. It has been the largest annual recipient of direct U.S. economic and military assistance since 1976 and the largest total recipient since World War ll. Total direct U.S. aid to Israel amounts to well over $140 billion in 2003 dollars. Israel receives about $3 billion in direct foreign assistance each year, which is roughly one-fifth of America’s entire foreign aid budget. In per capita terms, the United States gives each Israeli a direct subsidy worth about $500 per year. This largesse is especially striking when one realizes that Israel is now a wealthy industrial state with a per capita income roughly equal to South Korea or Spain.”[2]

During Fiscal Year 2007, the Congressional Research Service’s “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel,” written by Jeremy M. Sharp, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, [updated January 2, 2008] reported that the US gave Israel at least $2,500.2 million in 2007. This number does not include the $137.894 million we spent on joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense projects or the $1.4 billion in loan guarantees made available to Israel in 2007. [Ibid]

While U.S. economic aid to Israel has been phased out, it has been replaced with increased military aid of $3.1 billion each year out of American wallets that go to provide even more weapons of destruction to one of the most powerful militaries the world has ever known.

The United States has given more money to Israel than to any other country, and the “indirect or consequential costs to the American taxpayer as a result of Washington’s blind support for Israel exceed by many times the amount of direct U.S. aid to Israel. Some of these ‘indirect or consequential’ costs would include the costs to U.S. manufacturers of the Arab boycott, the costs to U.S. companies and consumers of the Arab oil embargo and consequent soaring oil prices as a result of U.S. support for Israel in the 1973 war, and the costs of U.S. unilateral economic sanctions on Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria. [Ibid]

During the Bush Administration, Israel killed more than 3,000 Palestinian civilians-including more than 1,000 children during its December-January war on the Gaza Strip-with U.S. made weapons in violation of the Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts. In 2007, the United States agreed to increase military aid to Israel by 25% over the next decade, totaling $30 billion.

In May 2009, President Obama sent his FY2010 budget request to Congress, which included $2.775 billion in military aid for Israel, an increase of $225 million from the 2008 budget.

“This request for an increase in military aid to Israel comes despite the fact that Israel consistently misuses U.S. weapons in violation of the Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts.” [3]

The Pentagon dismantled the spy ship program in 1968 but LIBERTY survivors and supporters continue to pursue justice. In 2009, a letter writing campaign to Congress was established requesting a new Court of Inquiry and that the Congressional Record on June 8th, 2009 would be the first annual “USS LIBERTY Remembrance Day.”

USS Liberty Survivor, Dick Carlson, a member of the National Cryptological Veterans Association, has asked all survivors and supporters to send a snail mail letter to their Congressional representatives.

My letter follows that was mailed in 2009:

Dear President Obama, Senator Martinez, Senator Nelson and Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite,

As we approach the 42nd anniversary of the attack of the USS LIBERTY it is appropriate that all Americans pause a moment to remember the survivors of the attack on the U.S.S. LIBERTY and to observe a national moment of silence for the 34 sailors who died and the 171 wounded on June 8, 1967, aboard the USS LIBERTY that was patrolling in international waters of the Mediterranean when Israeli planes and torpedo boats attacked the ship.

June 8, 1967, will remain a day of infamy because it was the first time in history that the US NAVY was delayed from coming to the aid of an American Ship under attack. Although, planes were launched from the USS SARATOGA, the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, called them back and President Johnson accepted the Israeli excuse, as he did not want to “embarrass an ally”.

Israel paid minimal compensation to the families of the crew and six million for damages to the unarmed spy ship, which in fact should have exceeded 40 million. Israel has never acknowledged that the attack was premeditated and instead, blamed the victims.

In recent years, Admiral Moorer, General Raymond Davis, Rear Admiral Staring, Ambassador James Akins and others have come forth stating the attack was deliberate. All asked for a new Court of Inquiry to be convened by the Department of the Navy, operating with Congressional oversight.

Admiral Moorer and his distinguished colleagues called for June 8th to be known as “USS LIBERTY Remembrance Day, in order to commemorate the Liberty’s heroic crew”.

I ask for your support in opening a new Court of Inquiry, so that the survivors who have been denied justice for 42 years will have their voices recorded and Americans will know what these heroes endured.

Might this June 8th see justice begin to be served by entering into the Congressional Record: USS LIBERTY Remembrance Day.

Most sincerely and with a HOPE that has “two children. The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it.”-St. Augustine ###

I never received a reply from any politician on the issue of justice for the LIBERTY vets and I also now ascribe to hope as understood by Allen Ginsburg, “F%&K hope! It’s not about hope. You don’t do what you do because you hope things will get better. It’s about getting up every morning and asking yourself what’s the right thing to do and doing it” and that just maybe the difference between a candidate and a politician.

1. Captain Joseph Tully, commanding officer of the USS Saratoga, page 175, “Operation Cyanide” by Peter Hounam.

2. U.S. Military Aid and the Israel/Palestine Conflict

3. Action Alert: Tell Congress—No Arms for Israel

Learn More:

THE ATTACK ON THE LIBERTY: The Untold Story of Israel’s Deadly 1967 Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship by James Scott, was published by Simon & Schuster, June 2009.

LIBERTY means Freedom and “Never Give Up!” Read more…

Veterans Day is a week away, Remember LIBERTY

November 6, 2007: Honoring LIBERTY and Calling for a Second American Revolution!

Veteran’s Day: Part 3 in the series: “It was God that kept us afloat.”
The Torpedo that Hit the USS LIBERTY: Made in the USA?

Here’s to Seconding Captain McGonagle’s Two Word Epithet: And the Fourth in the Series: “It was God that kept us afloat”

“July 4th in Hell without the ice cream”
Part 5 in a Series on the USS LIBERTY: “It was God that kept us afloat”

The Blow Back from “My nightmare in the Mediterranean” : 6th in the LIBERTY series “It was God that kept us afloat”

Read more…

“There Can Be No Peace in the Middle East Until Israel Owns its Own Atrocities” 7th in the USS LIBERTY Series: “It was God that kept us afloat” Read more…

Disrespecting the Troops, the McCain’s and Hillary Read more…

Citizens of Conscience: How to Help Read more…

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