“Setting the Attack Record Straight” Murray

1186749352 "Lo and behold, it was not the Egyptians attacking Liberty. It was our allies, the Israelis. Liberty was flying the largest American flag I had ever seen in my 26 years of service and her name was clearly visible on the stern.

As the flight leader, I flew over the burning ship at less than 100 feet and observed many wounded or dead sailors on the decks. There were many holes throughout the ship as a result of the attack.

Our attack was aborted because Israel transmitted to American authorities that they thought Liberty was an Egyptian ship. They had made a mistake. This was not a mistake. The unarmed Liberty was monitoring electronic signals and steaming in international waters. This was an attempt to curtail information on Six Day War progress to our leadership.

The day following the dastardly attack on Liberty, America pulled alongside, extinguished fires, provided aid to the wounded and recovered 37 American bodies for proper disposition."  Gordon L. Murray, Captain, USN, (Ret.)

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18 Responses to “Setting the Attack Record Straight” Murray

  1. zanzibar says:

    It is beyond cowardice that our Congress will not have an open investigation to unmask the cover-up of this dastardly attack that USN Capt. Murray observed.
    Shame on you, Senators & Representatives in the US Congress!

  2. doug says:

    This is a link to the article the Captain refers to:
    Israel has long maintained they believed the ship Egyptian but the truncated and rushed “investigation” LBJ ordered was clearly designed to protect the Israel-US relationship.
    If this was intentional, as looks increasingly likely, one wonders what Israel considered important enough to attack the Liberty.
    It’s a reminder countries have interests, not friends. All countries.

  3. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Glad to see another retired Navy man born fighting for the USS Liberty.
    Lots of these guys are popping up near the Holy City — Charleston. Looks like many Liberty vets are living in that low country area. One guy from NY just moved to Pawleys. Low country and no highlander around, apparently.
    But one does wonder if a movement is afoot. More and more Navy vets are taking stands in the tradition of Admiral Moorer. More with Moorer, so to speak. Maybe former crew members of the USS Amberjack, including the captain, are examining their conscience as well as the Liberty incident and then saying, “It’s time.”
    Or maybe, “It’s about time”. Jim Ennes who broke the code of silence 30 years ago and did so on behalf of and for the people of the United States, has reached his mid 70’s now. George Golden — the man with the West Virginia accent — passed on just recently. George Golden is the man who on the BBC Documentary Dead in the Water, says at the Liberty convention to the general public “We need you.” Who knows…he may be saying the same thing to us now, as he has joined others from that tradition of Admiral Moorer born fighting for the Liberty. It’s a true roll call of honor.
    Lt. Commander Dave Lewis — the man who has a brilliant way with words (“what an ignominious way to die” for those who have watched the BBC documentary, which, btw, you can do so for free via google video) — is having a difficult time getting around the woods of stunningly beautiful Vermont.
    Yeah, it’s time and it’s about time. The two thoughts have become one and the same because the USS Liberty crew is getting old and, in this case, the administration of justice and promoting US national security interests appear one and the same too.

  4. J says:

    The Israeli Government and their Hasbra cannot change the cold hard facts — The Israeli Government and its IDF Military on June 8, 1967, intentionally attacked an ‘unarmed’ clearly visibly marked U.S. ship and in cold-blood murdered 34 and wound 174 USS Liberty crew members! Those USS Liberty crewmen were ‘unarmed’ U.S. Military personnel!
    And such actions by Israel were/still are a — act of war against our U.S. — period!

  5. Jackie says:

    At the time of the attack, I was too young to care, I wanted the car keys.
    I’ve been steamed for the past few years about this inexcusable incident.
    The Israeli’s knew what they were doing. I can’t believe LBJ didn’t have the balls to call this murder by an ally. To this day, the Israelis kill anyone who gets in their way.

  6. NH says:

    When I was a young petty officer stationed in Pensacola Florida, we had a survivor of the Liberty, a retired Lieutenant (at the time of the attack he was a Seaman) who would give a lecture every year on his experience. Fortunately this was held in a SCIF and he could speak his mind on the incident, needless to say it was quite an eye-opener. He also had some astonishing images that I’m not sure have been widely seen. I attended that lecture three times during my three year tour and it will undoubtedly stand out as one of the highlights of my time in service.

  7. halfnhalf says:

    LBJ did fine when pursuing JFK’s agenda, but he did have his problems with the navy. Wasn’t he the one, on the basis of an unfounded and suspected attack in the Gulf of Tonkin, who started the Vietnam war in 1964? With that as a background, maybe he didn’t dare touch the USS Liberty incident?

  8. Jackie says:

    Thanks, halfnhalf. I forgot that trumped up incident. Another stunning success (not) on our part.

  9. Serendipitiously, I had about a chapter to go in Scott’s book when I first saw this post, and have since finished it. Although the book is well written I am disappointed that he did not go in more depth into possible Israeli motivations if, as is very likely the case, the attack was not only intentional but had approvals at or near the highest levels of the government. In particular Scott makes no mention whatsoever of allegations that they were attempting to prevent the Liberty from eavesdropping on communications pertaining to atrocities then being committed in the vicinity of El Arish. As James Bamford, author of several books about the intelligence community including The shadow factory : the ultra-secret NSA from 9/11 to the eavesdropping on America, wrote eight years ago in a piece at the History News Network:

    Three days after Israel had launched the six- day war, Egyptian prisoners in the Sinai had become a nuisance. There was no place to house them, not enough Israelis to watch them, and few vehicles to transport them to prison camps. But there was another way to deal with them.
    As the Liberty sat within eyeshot of El Arish, eavesdropping on surrounding communications, Israeli soldiers turned the town into a slaughterhouse, systematically butchering their prisoners. An eyewitness recounted how in the shadow of the El Arish mosque, they lined up about 60 unarmed Egyptian prisoners, hands tied behind their backs, and then opened fire with machine guns until the pale desert sand turned red.
    This and other war crimes were just some of the secrets Israel had sought to conceal since the start of the conflict. An essential element in the Israeli battle plan seemed to have been to hide much of the war behind a carefully constructed curtain of lies: lies about the Egyptian threat, lies about who started the war, lies to the US president, lies to the UN Security Council, lies to the press, lies to the public. Thus, as the American naval historian Dr Richard K Smith noted, “any instrument which sought to penetrate this smoke screen so carefully thrown around the normal ‘fog of war’ would have to be frustrated”.

    Given Bamford’s close ties with the NSA, it’s plausible that people in the agency are his sources for this. Scott’s limited discussions of possible Israeli motivations for a deliberate attack are brief and general and have to do mainly with political and diplomatic considerations. There is no mention that it might have related to what was going on on the ground in the Saini.

  10. Ken says:

    It seems odd to me that this former navy pilot claims he flew over Liberty at about 100 feet, but nobody among the attack survivors or the attackers ever claimed fixed-wing aircraft flew low over the ship as the torpedo boat attack ended.
    And the claim about USS America crewmembers helping put out fires makes no sense. By the time Sixth Fleet arrived (the morning of the day after the attack) all fires had been fully extinguished.
    Finally, body recovery from the torpedoed spaces did not take place until Liberty was dry-docked in Malta; i.e., 37 bodies were not recovered by anybody on USS America.
    This guy’s story is as full of holes as was USS Liberty.

  11. Pat Lang,
    Thanks for Capt. Murray’s testimony about that day. I have a slight correction vis a vis Israel’s status in relation to the United States. In 1967, while we were supporters of Israel, I don’t think that the relationship was yet percieved as an alliance. As I recall, that perception began to be widely held during the 1970’s. I don’t know of any treaty of alliance and the whole notion of one seems to have come about incrementally and,I might add, stealthily.
    There’s another possible motive for the attack. As you’ll recall, in 1956 the American government essentially ordered the Israelis to leave The Sinai and the attack on the USS Liberty may have been a message to the effect that Israel wouldn’t tolerate American interference.

  12. pl,
    In 32 minutes it will have been 146 years since Porter Alexander ordered the Army of Northern Virginia’s artillery to commence the bombardment of Cemetary Ridge.

  13. Patrick Lang says:

    “There was a peculiar calm across the battlefield. Nothing seemed to be happening during much of the morning. Devereux thought of walking into the woods behind their position to climb a big tree to see exactly where the line between the armies might be. He seriously considered this several times, but decided against it. Bill changed the bandage on his leg.
    At about 1:30 P.M., a Confederate artillery bombardment began. The thunder of a hundred guns preceded the rushing sound of incoming projectiles. Shells burst randomly throughout the shallow valley behind the ridge. The gentle roll of the crest must have been too much for the ranging ability of the Southern gunners. Most of the fire just cleared the top of the hill to beat the ground beyond. Solid shot streaked into view, zooming over the top to bound along the grassy hillside. The black iron spheres resembled nothing so much as the balls employed in lawn bowling. Several crossed the road, bouncing inches high at each impact with the earth. The cannon balls entered the woodline near the Sanitary Commission wagon. The nearest struck a three inch sapling, tearing it to bits and leaving the stump a mass of white splinters and shredded bark.
    From his place in one of the trenches, Devereux anxiously studied Meade’s headquarters. Men poured out of the building. It seemed impossible that so many men had found room to work inside. He watched as two soldiers helped his brother off the little porch. Patrick attempted to hobble along with them. They finally picked him up, carrying him toward a group of men lying on the ground halfway up the slope. At that spot the curvature of the hill caused there to be a terrain “shadow” that the Confederate fire passed harmlessly. Patrick and his companions took shelter in this ribbon of safe ground, prostrate while the shells struck below and behind them.
    As was often the case, the army’s animals paid a high price. The horses tied to fences around the headquarters house suffered terrible deaths. One solid shot killed three together. They lay in a row in front of the little white building.
    It seemed endless. Devereux began to feel that all his life had been spent under a rain of explosives and metal balls. So great a weight of shot struck the earth near the two holes that he could not help but wonder if the bombardment was having any effect at all on the Union positions on the western side of the ridge. It went on for so long that he began to get used to it, began to accept it as a normal existence, his portion in life.
    Federal artillery on the cemetery hill worked their guns under a steady pounding. The roar of their pieces served as counterpoint to the more distant reports of the Confederate cannon. As Devereux watched, a howitzer emplaced in the cemetery itself was struck. The barrel, wheels and axles of the piece flew wildly apart, uprooting headstones and throwing them wildly across the ground.
    It stopped.
    Devereux looked at his watch. The bombardment had lasted more than an hour. He looked at the ridge, and watched his brother and the men around him pick themselves up cautiously, slowly standing erect and turning toward the crest. They appeared to be listening to something. The Union infantry troops occupying the long hilltop must have heard the same sound. All heads more or less pointed westward. As he watched, Patrick got his crutches into action. He started uphill, toward the group of trees.
    A mile away, across the grassy valley from the cemetery ridge, Pickett’s Division lay waiting in the woods. They had come up to this position in the early morning hours. The officers occupied themselves with the usual business of placing the long lines of men in the order in which they would attack.
    After that, the men lay down, pretended to sleep, or devoted themselves to the routine of preparation for a major action. They cleaned weapons, wrote letters, talked to their messmates and made final judgments on the comrades with whom they would go forward against the guns.”
    From TBC pl

  14. Dave of Maryland says:

    There is no reason to believe the Israelis could have thought the Liberty to be an Egyptian ship, regardless of the size of the flag it flew, or what might have been engraved on the stern.
    Jane’s Fighting Ships for the year in question would surely have listed – and shown – all, or very nearly every single, Egyptian warship. Just as they would have shown every Israeli warship. As well as the Liberty herself, or so I would presume. Jane’s is the standard reference on the world’s navies, has been for many decades.
    We may presume that Israel / the Israeli navy was monitoring all available Egyptian ports – of which there are not many – and therefore knew the whereabouts of every single Egyptian ship bigger than a rowboat. That is, after all, what a navy is supposed to do with regards to enemy ships, naval as well as merchant.
    Relations between Israel & Egypt having been tense for several weeks prior only reinforces the requirement to know where your enemy ships are. In this case, “enemy ships” included one of our own. Which leads me back to an earlier conclusion, that Israel is our enemy and has been our enemy for many years. It would do as well to state the obvious, out loud. Get used to the sound of it. Did Rahm Emanuel, a foreign national, have to swear an oath before he took his position as chief of staff?
    Thanks for the Gettysburg post.

  15. Buzz Meeks says:

    I agree with Dave of Maryland about the Israeli fifth column. Off the direct topic of the USS Liberty, may I direct everyone to today’s post at Naked Capitalism? “WaPo (Pravda on the Potomac) cancels paid White House-Congress-lobbyist hook up” at home of publisher Katherine Weymouth. Sorry I can’t link it.
    Another connection to the selling out of America by a washed up news rag/Likud shill. I don’t recall the Post saying much about the Liberty attack in 67. I was in high school and Israel lost whatever support I could muster then and there. In later years you see the insidious propaganda in movies like Exodus or any of the other crap written by Leon Uris and his ilk conditioning the American sheeple for the Israeli wars of lebensraum.
    It would be nice to see traitors shot. Franklin, Libby, Cheney, Pollard, Rosen, Weissman, Feith, Wolfowitz and Harman would make a good start. Hope we have a reason to celebrate the 4th again someday soon.
    Buzz Meeks

  16. robt willmann says:

    A man who spent most of his career at the NSA, including during the attack on the USS Liberty, remarked to me that he “didn’t sleep for two days” when that happened, and, after confirming that the Israelis knowingly and intentionally attacked the ship, added that “we’ve got pictures”.
    I assume that the coverup was due to President Lyndon Johnson, a thoroughly corrupt individual.
    But I have always wondered about the position of Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense. I don’t think he was corrupt or compromised. Perhaps he kept quiet because he did not want to publicly oppose the president.

  17. I says:

    In 1967 The US was not !!!
    an Ally to Israel.
    Only after the war United states decided that israel was worthy of attention.

  18. WILL says:

    the whole nation continues to swallow the Kool-Aid. Note well that I am not defending the shoe bomber, he deserved all the life sentences that he got.
    the judge delivering the verdict in the shoe bomber case:
    “It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom.”
    Our freedom to violate our constitution and promote the outlaw state of Israel that rides roughshod over the human rights of millions of people in the middle east and has embroiled us in wars over there.
    they are over here because we and our money are over there: WE have rained death and destruction over there for the sake of West Bank settlements. Our proxy has maimed & killed people, has taken their land, and continue to do so. the judge is a blithering, closeted, idiot!

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