Presents evidence suggesting collusion between US and Israeli intelligence in the attack on a US naval surveillance vessel during the Six-Day War and the more than fifty-year long cover-up.
On June 8, 1967, the USS Liberty, an unarmed intelligence ship reporting to the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the auspices of the National Security Agency, was positioned in international waters off the coast of Egypt when it was attacked with deadly violence by unmarked jet planes firing rockets and machine guns and throwing napalm onto its deck. This ambush was followed by a torpedo strike that blew a forty-foot hole in the starboard side of the ship. Lacking the capacity to defend themselves, thirty-four sailors were killed and 174 wounded, many for life. By the end of the day, Israel had confessed to having been the aggressor, simultaneously arguing that the attack had been an "accident" and a "mistake." The facts said otherwise. So intense and sustained was the attack - it lasted for nearly an hour and a half - so specific was the aiming for the antennae and satellite dish on deck, that it was scarcely credible that Israel's aggression was not deliberate; such was the view of Marshall Carter, the director of the National Security Agency, his deputy director Louis Tordella, and Richard Helms, the Director of Central Intelligence. Based on interviews with more than forty survivors, knowledgeable political insiders, and Soviet archives of the period, investigative writer Joan Mellen presents evidence suggesting complicity between US and Israeli intelligence in the attack on Liberty and the more than fifty-year long cover-up. What were the underlying motives? Was this a false flag operation conducted in the midst of the Six-Day War? Was it conceivable that Israel would have initiated such an operation without a green light from the United States? For the sake of justice, truth and the murdered and surviving sailors, this is a story demanding to be told.
About the Author
Joan Mellen is professor emerita at Temple University, where she taught literature and creative writing for fifty years, and the author of twenty-four books including, most recently, Faustian Bargains: Lyndon Johnson and Mac Wallace in the Robber Baron Culture of Texas; The Great Game in Cuba: CIA and the Cuban Revolution; Our Man in Haiti: George de Mohrenschildt and the CIA in the Nightmare Republic; and A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK's Assassination and the Case That Should Have Changed History. She is a winner of Temple's Great Teacher Award, a lifetime achievement award, and a Temple University Faculty Award for Creative Achievement. Her media appearances include C-SPANBook TV and NBC's Today show.
“Finally, the definitive reconstruction of the greatest moral and political scandal in American history, which demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt that the US government at its highest level conspired with Israel in 1967 to destroy a surveillance naval vessel, USS Liberty, and murder its own sailors to gain a pretext for launching an aggressive attack on Egypt. With this exposé, based on exhaustive research and extensive interviews, Joan Mellen has done an immense patriotic service. An extraordinary book that should be not only read but acted upon.”
—Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law, Emeritus, Princeton University
“With predictable moral courage and impressive literary deftness, Mellen has now written a very important book that punctures the long-standing official explanations of what exactly happened when Israel attacked the intelligence ship USS Liberty during the frenzy of the Six-Day War. The truth about this incident has been deliberately buried for decades in misleading documents. Both aspects of its history come through in this inspired book.”
—Burton Hersh, author of Edward Kennedy: An Intimate Biography, Bobby and J. Edgar, and The Old Boys: The American Elite and the Origins of the CIA
“The USS Liberty, sailing in international waters off the Sinai Peninsula, is suddenly and deliberately attacked on June 8, 1967, in the midst of the Six-Day War. Thirty-four men are killed and 174 wounded. . . . Mellen unravels this sad saga in the nation’s history. Hers is a riveting account that is essential reading for anyone who wants to fully understand this dark time in American history as a warning about the dangers of secret, unelected operatives who are still in positions to direct foreign and military policy.”
—David R. Contosta, author of America’s Needless Wars
“This investigation has uncovered the depth of this horrendous attack on an unarmed US Navy ship by one of our allies. I have always believed that the Israelis would never have conducted such a cowardly, murderous act without a green light, or at least a blinking yellow light, from the Johnson administration.”
—Lloyd Painter, lieutenant on the USS Liberty and former agent of the United States Secret Service
“Mellen has crystal clear vision, especially when it comes to describing history in shades of gray. The author presents factual accounts without bias, and honors the valiant crew of the USS Liberty. This is a must-read for a true accounting of the administration of Lyndon Baines Johnson.”