Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Iowa Veterans for Peace Screen USS Liberty Documentary

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Iowa Veterans for Peace Screen USS Liberty Documentary

Article excerpt

Iowa Veterans For Peace (VFP) Chapter 161 sponsored a screening and discussion of "USS Liberty: Dead in the Water," a 2002 documentary produced for the BBC, at the Iowa City Public Library on May 27.

The USS Liberty, a U.S. Navy technical research ship tasked with gathering intelligence by monitoring electronic communications, was attacked by Israeli jet fighter aircraftand torpedo boats while in international waters offthe coast of Egypt on June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War.

"This event is one of several organized by Iowa veterans to honor the men of the USS Liberty and mark the 45th anniversary of the attack that killed 34 American military and civilian personnel and wounded 171," said VFP Chapter president Ed Flaherty.

Despite a rushed and deeply flawed investigation that provided the basis for a continuing cover-up, the Israeli attack is now widely acknowledged to have been deliberate.

Immediately after the attack, the Navy imposed a news blackout and the officer in charge of the Court of Inquiry, Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd, warned the Liberty crew, "You are never, repeat never, to discuss this with anyone, not even your wives. If you do, you will be court-martialed and will end your lives in prison or worse."

After the film, VFP member Terry Philips joined Flaherty at the podium to discuss the attack and answer questions.

"It's frustrating to think that our government kind of abused the people at the time," said Philips, a former Navy communications technician (CT) who was at sea in the Pacific in June of 1967.

"When we signed up we knew that there were a lot of things that we couldn't talk about. We accepted that 45 years ago. We could accept that a lot of things went on that nobody could admit to-that was part of the military; part of war," Philips said. "But when it is so drastic as this, it makes you a little bit ill."

Israel's attack on the USS Liberty is the only major maritime incident involving a U.S. Navy vessel that has not been investigated by Congress, which is widely viewed as being extraordinarily reluctant to offend, if not slavishly subservient to, the state of Israel.

Among the many high-level former U.S. officials and military officers who have publicly stated that the Israeli attack was not accidental are U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk, CIA Director Richard Helms, CIA Deputy Director Admiral Rufus Taylor, NSA director and U. …

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