June 8, 2017 Arlington Cemetry Speech by Ernie Gallo, Excepts

Quoted with kind permission  

“The USS Liberty was attacked at 2 PM for 90 minutes on a beautiful sunny day in the Mediterranean Sea after attacking forces uss-liberty-newobserved us all morning. The attack eye witnesses here today will tell you our ensign was proudly flying but yet our attackers claim they did not know that we were an United States Navy vessel. Nevertheless, after 831 bulkhead penetrations, a 39 by 24 foot torpedo hole in our starboard side, napalm canisters dropped port and starboard, 34 were killed, 174 wounded and the attempted murder of 294 Americans took place. Some of those wounded are here today. Since all life boats were destroyed and inflatable life rafts were machine gunned by the attacking forces, our only hope to survive was to rescue and care for our wounded, maintain water tight integrity, and maintain our propulsion system.

We did not have the ability to fight back as the Liberty was not a man-of-war but an intelligence ship. Our attackers knew that and the Liberty was safe target practice. When all was said and done, America indicated that the attack was accidental and our attackers were then given a free pass by President Lyndon Banes Johnson. How could this miscarriage of justice occur? With 34 killed, the political benefit to LBJ must have been enormous. We will not go quietly into the night! America are you listening to us? You gave us honesty and integrity to be assigned to a highly classified intelligence ship. You taught us to determine what is right and wrong. You gave us the passion and the will to complete our mission despite any adversity. Yet, the Navy at the behest of the White house abandoned us under fire. Do you hear us America? Yes, America you abandoned us. Why?

Our country sent us into war-time conditions and refused our request for a destroyer escort and then prevented Sixth fleet planes from coming to our aide and then ordered us never to talk about the attack to anyone. The gag order worked from 1967 until James Ennes’ book was published in 1979. The American public had no idea what happened to us. Our adversaries never realized our love of country would compel us to keep on fighting for the truth to be known about the cowardly attack killing 34. America you taught us that we would be remiss if we did not stand up for this terrible wrong.

Yes, America the crew of the USS Liberty has been abandoned. The Navy Court of Inquiry turned out to be fraudulent as indicated by Captain Ward Boston, the legal Navy Inquiry counsel in a sworn affidavit and others. What happened to the Code of Military Justice? The conclusion is that 291 sailors and 2 marines were denied justice by interference from the White House. That is judicial interference at the highest level. When do our 34 shipmates and their families receive justice? Does it matter? …

Hear us America as our Congress has not and will not investigate this attack even though our Constitution, article 1, section 8, mandates and I quote “the House of Representative shall define and punish Pirates and Felonies committed on the high seas and offenses against the Law of Nations”. America, when the Liberty crew recites the Pledge of Allegiance, when do we receive “liberty and justice for all”. Since our truthful claim that the attack was deliberate and the power structure claims otherwise, we are then labeled bigots and such. America, are you getting the picture?

We then suffer embarrassment and condemnations. As a recent example, in my town of Palm Coast, Florida, I cannot have a plaque honoring the Liberty given to me by Ms. Nora Whisnant placed in our Heroes Memorial Park because of their bigotry toward the USS Liberty. A town representative stated, a segment of our citizens would be upset about it (they make up less than one percent of our population). As a combat veteran, I must assume their rights are better than mine. Then, I had to endure their bitterness and comments inferring I was a trouble maker. When will this stop for us?”


 An opaque motive

Only the Israeli Defence Force knows with certainty the exact sequence of events that led to the tragic accident.   

Commander Castle, Reporting to the White House[1]

 Since the Israeli attack upon the US Liberty in 1967, US taxpayers have subsidised that country’s government to the tune of over $100 billion; which may help us to apprehend why key questions about that event can hardly ever be asked, or answered. Was it really a false-flag attack? It would be that, if its purpose was to make it look as if the Egyptians had done it – and thereby drag America into a conflict against Egypt. It is quite difficult to argue that, as we’ll see.

This is an incoherent story, because of all the secrecy and also I suspect because whatever planning went into the event never was coherent – the US never wants to admit the extent to which it can be controlled by Israel.

Was it maybe a failed false-flag attack, because the ship (quite miraculously) did not sink? We will never know what would have happened had it sunk – except that it would have been blamed upon Egypt. The surviving crew of the Liberty have had to go through their lives without anyone telling them why they were attacked by Israel: and perhaps even worse, why after they had sent a distress message to the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean, saying they were under attack, no planes came out to rescue them: ‘None of the planes ever reached our location’ as the Captain of the Liberty wrote to President Clinton in 1998.[2]  

A couple of weeks before the incident, when Israel was known to be considering a ‘pre-emptive’ surprise strike against Egypt, the Israeli ambassador Mr Eban was summoned by US President JBJ, who told him: The central point, Mr Minister, is that your nation not be the one to bear responsibility for any outbreak of war.’ The US could not support Israel if it were the nation to initiate hostilities, that was the President’s point. ‘Israel will not be alone unless it decides to go alone.’ This sombre message from LBJ postponed the Israeli attack for a while, until they has deviously figured out how, applying the Mossad motto ‘By way of deception shall you wage war,’ a war could be launched while pretending to be reacting to Egyptian aggression. 

The six-day war kicked off with a surprise attack pulverizing the Egyptian air-force at dawn on June 5th. Israel jammed the US embassy at Tel Aviv on that day so it could not tell that that surprise attack was being launched. Jerusalem was captured by the Israeli army on 7th and by the 8th the war had more or less been won. Israel did not want the USA to know that it had started this war, so tried to destroy the listening ship which knew that it did. By June 8th Egypt was conceding defeat, with Israel secretly poised to grab the Golan Heights on the 9th: it did not want any US spyship around to report on this.

Two books The Zionist Connection 1978 by Lilienthal and Body of Secrets by Bamford 2001 both surmised that the attack was because the spy-ship Liberty had gained too much sensitive information: the Israelis did not want it lurking around during their six-day war. Israel had successfully deceived most of the world into believing that it was responding to Arab aggression in launching their massively-successful blitzkrieg. During the war they had intercepted and ‘cooked’ messages between Egypt and Jordan in a successful campaign of deception, which gave the impression that Israel was losing the war when the reverse was the case. The war was a massive land-grab and Israel’s claim to retaining that land would be very shaky if it became known that it had initiated the war. It had inveigled Jordan into the conflict in order to steal its land. If the USS Liberty had that info, it may not have realised quite how dangerous that knowledge was.

The more recent Assault on the Liberty (2007) by a surviving crew-member endorses this view with some extra detail. On the 7th of June, the Israeli army gathered around the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias) poised to invade Syria the next day. Early the next morning the Liberty was spotted 170 miles from the coast, and in consequence at ten O’clock on the 8th the invasion was postponed for twenty-four hours. General Moshe Dayan personally ordered the attack upon the Liberty – as messages released under the Freedom of Information Act revealed.[3] Next day the war against Syria was launched.

The 8th of June

It was a very lightly-armed US spy-ship which entered international waters in the Mediterranean, intercepting messages from embassies etc to give the US its information. At 5.15 am of 8th June, the USS Liberty was steaming towards the Sinai coast and was identified as a US ship by Israeli intel. A photo-reconnaissance plane flew over it, then Israeli planes continued flying over it a dozen times, all morning. Early that morning there seemed to be no need for them to have an armed escort, after all it was a scene of total Israeli victory, following the capture of Jerusalem. The US crew were relaxed and sunbathing, reassured to see these planes of their friendly ally – ‘We waved at them, they waved at us…We felt safe.’ The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album had just been released. A huge American flag was flying and it was a bright sunny day. What folly!

At 1.53 pm Israeli delta-wing Mirage aircraft with no identifying marks began to fire upon the Liberty, while jamming the distress frequency, in violation of international law. Who told the Israelis what those US distress frequencies were? The Liberty tryied to contact the 6th Fleet that was five hundred miles away, in vain, for it was now totally cut off from the world. It was the only ship of any size in the area, all others had fled from the war-zone. No-one could see any markings on the Delta-Mirage jets: they were unmarked jets. Life-rafts put into the sea were shelled as well as those still on the ship. At 2.03 Israeli pilots were ordered to use napalm and this burnt the whole top side of the ship. Canon-fire and armour-piercing rounds swiftly followed. ’ Earlier that day the Israelis had been massacring  civilians and prisoners in the desert, now they were clearly prepared to ensure no Americans survived the sinking of the Liberty.

But amazingly, Liberty radiomen patched up the shot- to- bits radio equipment and antennae and sent a distress message to the 6th Fleet, ‘despite intense jamming by the Israelis’(Body of secrets p.211) saying ‘We are under attack by unidentified jet aircraft.’ At 2.09 the USS Saratoga near to Crete picked up the message.

At 2.11 Israeli jets flew down to confirm the identity of the ship, then pulled out and instead three motor torpedo-boats arrived. At 2.35 five torpedoes were fired and one hit, creating a huge hole in the side. All the lights went out. That initial strike by IDF fighters destroyed all antennae, and was combined with jamming of all five secret radio frequencies.

At 2.50 pm (Liberty time) the 6th fleet, in the Western Mediterranean launched four Skyhawk planes and the USS Saratoga also sent four armed jets. At 3.05 the 6th Fleet commander sent a message saying, ‘we are sending aircraft to cover you’ –which the Liberty could not receive. The President was informed around 4 p.m. and supposedly came to fear that the attackers were Soviet, he was ‘relieved to learn the attackers were Soviet not Egyptian’ – which sounds rather doubtful. This is the moment when LBJ fails in his duty as Commander-in-Chief, by abandoning and betraying the crew when they were in harm’s way. At 5.30 Liberty time the jet fighters were recalled, while the Liberty was still a smouldering wreck, and LBJ memorably commented that he didn’t care if the ship sunk, he would not embarrass his allies.[4] That is called treason, high treason.

Once the Israeli fleet heard the message of the Sixth Fleet picking up the distress call the attacks soon ceased, especially once they knew that the US jets were in the air; the American naval attaché was informed of the ‘terrible mistake.’ A scornful message was dropped onto the deck of the Liberty by an Israeli helicopter: ‘Do you have any casualties?’ – with body parts strewn all around the deck and two-thirds of the crew dead or wounded: maybe that was their idea of an apology? Within hours of the event, Israel was requesting the US to bury the incident. 

Bogus apology

Sending Liberty to Gaza was a calculated risk from the beginning, a CIA source said. “Israel had told us long before the war to keep our intelligence ships away from her coast. Liberty was sent anyway because we just didn’t think they were serious.”  An Israeli source confirmed this: “There was plenty of warning. Israel warned the United States to get that ship out of there. The United states just didn’t react.”[5]

A clearly fictional view was expressed by Israel when apologizing, saying that the USS Liberty had been attacked in error after being mistaken for an Egyptian ship. A whole series of official reports have endorsed that impossible claim. The name ‘USS Liberty’ had been newly-painted on the stern. Israel Defense Forces’ investigative reports have claimed their pilots and torpedo boat commander saw no flags during the attack which again is untenable. In 2014 tapes were made public, showing unequivocally and right from the start that Israeli commanders knew all along they were attacking an American ship – supposedly their closest ally. No-one was ever court-martialled, reduced in rank or even reprimanded over this event.

From Israel’s point of view the operation was a 100% success: it destroyed the electronic memories of the Liberty, for whatever had been gathered, and stopped it from gathering any more sensitive info, and avoided sinking it – which could have had incalculable consequences –  and simply apologised, knowing it had control over the US media. Its sacred mission of acquiring land was all that mattered, from its point of view.

Covert US Action?

Three messages from the Joint Chiefs of Staff ordering the Liberty to retreat out of the war-zone were sent but mysteriously not received, even though rated ‘highest priority.’ The US Navy has never offered to explain this. The last of these messages was sent only minutes before the attack began at 2 pm.[6]

The 6th Fleet was sent to the eastern Mediterranean with some sort of conditional readiness to attack Egypt. That implies foreknowledge, when few were expecting a war. The US Air Force had notified naval HQ in Haifa of the ship-ship’s position, so the Liberty’s position was then marked on a combat information map. A request for collateral support was denied by the 6th fleet.

Israel originally tried to claim that Egyptian jets had been responsible, in order to draw the US into attacking Egypt.[7] The US Navy may at first have believed Israel’s claim it was an Egyptian attack and sent fighter jets over Cairo, until they received evidence from survivors on the Liberty.   If it had been sunk, would the US have been drawn into attacking Egypt, and would Russia have entered to defend her allies?

The attack strangely failed to sink the Liberty, despite tons of explosives, rockets, cannon-fire, napalm and six torpedoes expended against the ship in attacks that went on for almost two hours. The operation had to be abandoned because it required absolute radio silence and the disappearance of the ship. Providentially it was not sunk, limping into port at Malta. How it made that six-day voyage remains quite a mystery. Were nuclear-armed American jets launched against Cairo from a US aircraft carrier but recalled because the Liberty managed to send a distress signal with a repaired radio and antenna?[8] Did the non-sinking of the Liberty avert an unthinkable global escalation of conflict in 1967? That part of the story remains controversial.


LBJ, the most pro-Israel president in US history, at first told Newsweek that Israelis had attacked, possibly because they had not wanted US intel on the scene: a correct analysis which fails however to explain why he prevented the US 6th fleet from sending planes to the rescue. Then threats started being made that would have ended LBJ’s career by teams of Jewish lawyers and these soon killed stories critical of Israel, replaced them with a‘no-one was to blame’ viewpoint. A year later, aid to Israel had increased fourfold. The Liberty crew were strictly told not to talk.

Moshe Dyan the Israeli Defence Chief had wanted to deceive the US into thinking Israel was not only innocent of starting the War but was losing it: thereby giving Israel time to destroy as much of Syrian and Egyptian defences as they could.[9]

James Bamford believed that: ‘What is patiently clear under any theory, is that had the Israelis been successful in sinking the Liberty, the atrocity would have been blamed on the Egyptians and produced a Pearl harbour reaction in the US. When the first news of the Liberty attack reached the Sixth Fleet, so certain was America reaction that it was the Egyptians who had struck, that a squadron of jets was sent in a threatening sweep over Cairo, as if in a preliminary to war.’[10]

One Israeli motive, may have been to disrupt cordial US-Arab and US-Egyptian relations. Were they playing very high stakes to realise this? A total Washington blackout soon descended on whatever had happened that day, endorsing the simple explanation that Israel knew it could control the US even in the aftermath of shooting down the spy-ship!

‘Operation Cyanide’

British author Peter Hounam dug up the spooky Operation Cyanide, as a clandestine plan between the CIA and Mossad to spark the Six Day War and guarantee victory for Israel. Hounam was the Chief Investigative Journalist for The Sunday Times of London from 1986-1994 and is the author of five books. He described how twice the White House recalled aircraft rescue missions for the Liberty, leaving the Liberty “dead in the water,” without any assistance for over 16 hours.

Could a US President be manipulated by the secret agents of a foreign power? Was the American submarine USS Amberjack standing by to sink the Liberty and save Operation Cyanide, but the presence of the Russian ship 626/4 prevented this from happening? The destroyer 626/4 came to the aid of the Liberty in the aftermath of the attack and stuck by her until US forces were allowed to approach about seventeen hours later.

An excellent BBC4 Documentary ‘Dead In The Water’ was made in 2002, ‘False Flag attack: Operation Cyanide | USS Liberty’ – but it could not be shown! It did not air on either of the BBC’s main channels (1 & 2). It’s a documentary the likes of which the BBC refuse to produce these days. Part 2 of the five parts on Youtube tells how a nuclear attack upon Cairo was just minutes away.

For me the most hard-to-believe part of that Operation Cyanide film, was the way many F-4s and their pilots during the Six-Day War were American. The jets were re-painted in IDF (Israeli Defence force) colours – some of the pilots attacking the Liberty were Americans!! Pilots objected to attacking a US ship but the command centre ordered them to go ahead and do it. The jamming of Liberty’s radios was done by Robert Douglas, an American.  He said he ‘regretted’ using his equipment against a US ship! O, he regretted it did he? Has he been court-martialled? Serious questions are thereby raised over who controls the US military.

The CIA agent Richard Helms ran a top-secret ‘303 Committee,’ of which the President could deny any knowledge, and this hatched “A secret political agreement in 1966 by which Israel and the U.S. had vowed to destroy (Egypt’s Gamal Abdel) Nasser:” its military name was, “Operation Cyanide.” 

Peter Hounham interviewed Robert McNamara and found that he could not remember anything much about the incident. The Sixth Fleet requested to be allowed to send aircraft to protect the USS Liberty, which had been sending them distress signals, and this had to be authorised by secretary of Defence McNamara. His reply was: permission denied, recall the aircraft. The planes were reconfigured to be unable to carry nuclear weapons and then a second request put through – but still McNamara denied permission. The Sixth Fleet commander persisted! Finally LBJ came on the phone, and said “He didn’t give a damn if the Liberty sunk, he would not embarrass his allies” (Part 2 of 5-part video) – as if his primary loyalty were to Israel.



[1] James Ennes,  Assault on the Liberty, 2007, p.164

[2] Peter Hounam, Operation Cyanide, How the Bombing of USS Liberty nearly caused WW3, 2003, p.246.

[3] Ennes, Ibid.,  p214.

[4] James Bamford, Body of Secrets, Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency, 2001, p.226.

[5] Both quotes from Assault on the Liberty, p.207, from secondhand sources.

[6] Alfred Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection, What Price Peace? 1978, p.563.

[7] Ibid., p.575

[8] This is the theme of Operation Cyanide, not confirmed in Ennes’ Assault on the Liberty (2007, p.238): he has two American fighters nuclear-armed passing over Egyptian positions, but ‘on their way’ to help the Liberty, from a US base in Libya, and LBJ notified Kosygin of this fact, who notified Nasser. 

[9] Alfred Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection, p.575 

[10] Body of Secrets, p.575.