By Victor Thorn
Created over a century ago and boasting more than 140,000 members, the prestigious United States Naval Institute (USNI) describes itself as a non-profit professional military association, “with no government support, that does not lobby for special interests.” Located on the grounds of the Naval Academy just outside of Annapolis, Maryland, the organization has been in operation since 1873 when it was first established by a group of naval officers who sought to further a legacy of “the knowledge of sea power, and to preserve our naval and maritime heritage.”
In its mission statement, the organization’s goals are “to provide an independent forum to those who dare read, think, speak and write in order to advance the professional, literary and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to national defense.”
On the surface, such sentiments sound noble. But recently when the USNI was approached by Bart Van Ness, a lifetime member of AMERICAN FREE PRESS’s READERSHIP COUNCIL, to review the book What I Saw That Day: Israel’s June 8 1967 Holocaust of U.S. Servicemen Aboard the USS Liberty and Its Aftermath, the organization’s true allegiances were revealed.
What I Saw That Day by Phil Tourney is the provocative, no-holds-barred book that tells the truth about Israel’s bloody attack on the USS Liberty.
Once one begins examining USNI’s board of directors, an unsettling picture emerges. For instance, the honorary chairman of the board is none other than John Lehman, an infamous Project for the New American Century (PNAC) signatory and member of the trumped-up 9-11 Commission.
Lehman cut his teeth during the Nixon administration as a National Security Council senior staff aide to none other than Henry Kissinger. He also formed ties with another shady operator—Richard N. Perle—during his stint in the Navy. Lehman has also owned a company named Abington Corporation, and his partner was the so-called “Prince of Darkness” himself, Perle.
Dr. Michael Saba, an international relations consultant, wrote of this partnership in the Arab News on June 26, 2004. “In 1983, a mysterious package of materials in an unmarked envelope was allegedly delivered to New York Times investigative reporter Jeff Gerth. The materials led to a major Times story about then-U.S. Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman Jr. The materials pointed out that Lehman had supposedly taken payments from an Israeli arms company while he was secretary of the Navy.”
Saba continued, “Perle, who was also a U.S. government official during this period in 1983, had also allegedly received money from the same Israeli arms company.”
British journalist Claudia Wright reiterated these charges. “Well known in Israeli military circles, [Lehman] sat on the board of a Philadelphia think tank run by American supporters of Israel, and operated a highly profitable defense consulting company with business ties to the Israeli arms industry,” wrote Mrs. Wright.
Lehman’s ties to Israel become even more sinister when we consider the infamous case of Jonathan Pollard, a civilian analyst who betrayed our country by stealing secrets and passing them along to our supposed ally. In his article, “9-11 and the Neo-Cons,” independent journalist Tom Wilson wrote: “When Pollard’s espionage was exposed, the following individuals were suspected by then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger’s office of being Pollard’s co-conspirators: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and John Lehman.”
None of these revelations should surprise anyone because Lehman and his neocon colleagues have had a long history of traitorous behavior against the U.S. in favor of Israel. They have also been doing the Zionists’ dirty work for decades by pushing a pro-military agenda in the Middle East that advances war against Israel’s enemies.
Lehman has been in the thick of this since the early 1970s, yet somehow he was considered “independent” enough to be on the 9-11 Commission.
In the early 1990s Lehman joined the Committee on U.S. Interests in the Middle East. This organization’s purpose was to lobby for U.S. tax dollars for the nation of Israel. Its organizers were notorious pro-Israeli U.S. officials Perle, Feith and Elliott Abrams.
Lehman was also deputy director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, where he was closely associated with Wolfowitz and Perle. He was also a member of PNAC, which has been described as the most influential warmongering group since The Committee on the Present Danger, another Lehman group.
PNAC, of course, achieved infamy by producing two particularly notorious letters: One was sent to President Bill Clinton, while the other went to President George W. Bush, 11 days after the 9-11 terror attacks. In each of these letters, the signatories—including Dick Cheney, Lewis Libby, Abrams, Donald Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz—urged the then-presidents to engage in one specific act—an acceleration of America’s plans to invade Iraq.
As we all know by now, the Bush neocon administration immediately embarked on these plans only hours after the 9-11 attacks.
Author of Book on 1967 Attack Fights Top-Level Censorship
By Victor Thorn
Despite receiving a cold shoulder from the Navy, State Department and Congress in regard to conducting an authentic investigation of Israel’s murderous 1967 attack on the USS Liberty, survivor Phil Tourney acknowledged a longtime ally.
“Ever since Willis Carto paid my way to speak at a conference in Washington sometime around 23 or 24 years ago, we’ve been friends,” said Tourney. “AFP and The Spotlight have been some of the only people to ever help us. They’ve always been—bar none—our strongest supporters.”
During a March 21 interview with this writer, Tourney described how he’s been brushed off for the past 30 years. Once, at a 2003 State Department conference that had cover-up artist Ahron Jay Cristol and three other Jewish individuals on its panel—as well as author James Bamford—Tourney rose to address the speakers during a question-and-answer session. But instead of hearing him out, the organizers cut off Tourney’s microphone. When other attendees objected, demanding, “Let him speak,” the conference abruptly ended.
“It was one of the biggest disappointments of my life,” Tourney confided. Fortunately, there did exist a silver lining, as Phil explained. “Ten minutes before the conference began, Bamford received a faxed letter from Captain Ward Boston, who said the naval investigation was a sham. In essence, Boston insisted that our crewmen were left out there to die in order to protect Israel.”
The 45-year news blackout extends all the way to Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Tourney told AFP, “His father, John McCain Sr., demanded that Boston could not speak to any of the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] pilots or torpedo captains.”
At this same conference, Tourney told of how the State Department’s Marc Susser repeatedly pushed the Board of Inquiry’s “mistaken identity” angle by claiming that Israel thought Liberty was actually an out-of-service Egyptian horse carrier, the El Quseir.
Of course, legitimate researchers have debunked this smokescreen long ago. Or, as Boston wrote in his October 2003 affidavit: “The evidence was clear. Both Admiral Kidd and I believed with certainty that this attack, which killed 34 American sailors and injured 172 others, was a deliberate attack to sink an American ship and murder its entire crew.”
Despite the obstacles facing him, Tourney still refuses to quit. “I wrote to Colin Powell, but never heard back from him. This government right now is beholden to Israel, more than it’s ever been. The ADL [Anti-Defamation League] and AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] are very demanding. They put a lot of pressure on Congress. Everyone is afraid to push back. At a USS Liberty Memorial Library ceremony, the Navy wouldn’t even send a color guard. A SWAT team had to protect the Liberty crewmen because they thought someone would kill them.”
Sadly, time is running out for these brave men.
“We’re getting older,” Tourney stressed, “and the government is just waiting for us to die off.”
Softcover, 282 pages
The Man Who Officially Codified the Lies
By Victor Thorn
Following the 2003 release of his scurrilously deceptive book, The Liberty Incident, the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) added insult to injury by seeming to solely promote A. Jay Cristol’s version of events to the exclusion of all others. In the June 2003 issue of USNI’s official magazine, Proceedings, David C. Walsh endorsed many of Cristol’s dubious claims, such as the “mistaken identity” theory and how Israel’s attack—which he claims only lasted for 22 minutes—resulted from a mere “communications gaffe.”
Cristol—formerly a federal judge and a Naval Reserve captain—cleared Israel of any intent. Rather, Cristol asserted, due to the “fog of war,” both sides—Israel and the U.S.—must share blame for the incident.
In the aforementioned June 2003 article entitled “Friendless Fire,” Walsh wrote, “The author [Cristol] surmises that most survivors—some of whom openly criticize Israel’s domestic policies and its formidable Washington lobby—have a political ax to grind.”
Piling on even more venom, Walsh says of Cristol, “The judge is dubious of naysayers [who] rely on ‘conjecture, hearsay and plain wishful thinking,’ flawed or traumatized memories, and ‘various conspiracy theories.’”
Even former Secretary of State Dean Rusk said, “There was every reason to believe that the USS Liberty was identified, or at least her nationality determined, one hour before the attack.”
Cristol, USNI and Proceedings should be ashamed of themselves for continuing this cover-up, and the blood of every murdered, wounded or disfigured Liberty crewmember will forever be on their hands until they correct this miscarriage of justice—and that is the truth.
Cover-Up a Slap in the Face of All U.S. Vets
By Victor Thorn
An 80-year-old Maryland resident and lifetime AFP READERSHIP COUNCIL member, Bart Van Ness is an American patriot who still believes everyday citizens can make a difference. He also feels that all of us as individuals should stand up for what we believe is right, especially if an egregious crime has been committed against our fellow countrymen.
During a March 21 interview with AFP, Van Ness told this writer, “As long as I can physically do it, I’m going to keep fighting for America.”
As a 52-year Golden Life member of the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI), Van Ness has recently taken a courageous stance to expose the truth about what happened on June 8, 1967, when Israeli jet fighters and torpedo boats assaulted the USS Liberty for nearly two hours, killing 34 and injuring 172. His efforts reveal that even when confronted with seemingly insurmountable odds, nothing can defeat persistence.
Van Ness described how, over the years, he had read possibly every book and watched every documentary produced on the Liberty attack. But after the Naval Institute published an article by arch-disinformation agent A. Jay Cristol in 2005, Bart wrote a letter to the editor asking USNI to consider covering Tito Howard’s film Attack on the Liberty. He never heard back from them.
Fast-forward to 2011, where Van Ness picks up the story.
“After I read Liberty survivor Phil Tourney’s book, What I Saw That Day, I sent a book review on July 13 to Proceedings, which is USNI’s official magazine,” said Van Ness.
Due to some purported miscommunication, Van Ness re-sent the review in September 2011, whereupon he spoke with Admiral Peter Daley, who is USNI’s CEO and a member of its board of directors.
At first, prospects seemed positive. Van Ness recalled: “Daley told me: ‘Let us answer John Adams’s call. Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people. Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.’”
Encouraged, on January 11 Van Ness wrote a letter to Daley in regard to the Tourney book review.
“I feel very strongly that this should be published so people will not only be made aware of what happened [to the USS Liberty], but in memory of the 34 crew members killed and 172 wounded that day,” Van Ness said.
Two weeks later, on January 24, editor Liese Dougherty responded, informing Van Ness that USNI had chosen not to use his review.
Taking time to cool off and approach this matter with a level head, on February 14 Van Ness sent a letter to Daley informing him that he was giving up his 52-year Golden Life membership.
Van Ness told AFP: “The reason I resigned was because I lost respect for the Naval Institute. They don’t have any guts. Their cover-up is a slap in the face of every Liberty crewmember.”
When learning of USNI’s decision, author Tourney told Van Ness, “They not only insulted the Liberty, they insulted you, too.”
Still upset about the Naval Institute betraying their brethren, Van Ness said with conviction: “What they’re saying to me in so many words is, to hell with you. This stance reflects the arrogance, intellectual dishonesty, lack of integrity and hypocrisy of this organization. Why don’t they look at the facts?”
Refusing to surrender, Van Ness is now taking his campaign to the media, specifically AFP.
“I’d like every reader to contact CEO Peter Daley at the USNI’s address below and express their displeasure over their decision not to run a review of Phil Tourney’s book,” said Van Ness.
AFP fully stands behind Van Ness and his efforts to expose the protection racket that our government is running for Israeli murderers that deliberately attacked a U.S. Navy ship floating in international waters. Together, maybe all our voices can be heard.
Daley can be contacted at U.S. Naval Institute, 291 Wood Road, Annapolis, Md. 21402.
Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and author of over 50 books.
What I Saw That Day
• Gripping book recommended reading for all patriots
By Bartow Van Ness III
What I Saw That Day details the experience of crewman Phil Tourney, while on the USS Liberty (GTR-5), during the attack by Israeli forces on June 8, 1967, resulting in the deaths of 34 American servicemen and 170 wounded. It is a story of extreme heroism on the part of the ship’s company, resulting in the Liberty incident being brought to the attention of the American people.
From a first-hand account the author brings forth the viciousness of the attack on a ship that had a large American flag displayed, the carnage inflicted on her crew and the tremendous damage done, which included over 820 bullet and shrapnel holes and areas burned by napalm and a torpedo hole the size of a house.
The book is quite disturbing because of not only the attack by our supposed ally, but also that it exposes the fact that our own government has tried to keep the truth from the American people for 45 years.
Tourney pulls no punches when he describes how the crew was treated by Admiral Isaac Kidd, with threats of court-martial and imprisonment “or worse” if they told anyone what they saw.
The surviving crewmembers were later broken up and dispersed to other ships and told not to discuss the incident with anyone, including their own families. Many never said anything for at least 20 years, for fear of reprisal. As time went on, crewmembers started to come forth and talk.
High-ups in the U.S. government, including President Lyndon Johnson, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and admirals John S. McCain and Kidd, were energetically involved in trying to keep the truth from being told.
In October 2003, Captain Ward Boston, outraged at the cover-up, came forth and issued a legal affidavit that he had been ordered by Johnson to conclude that the attack on Liberty was a case of mistaken identity and that he was given one week to gather information when he estimated that a proper court of inquiry for an official Navy investigation would take at least six months to complete, due to the magnitude of the attack.
Tourney was given a free trip to Naples and Rome, all expenses paid by the Navy, while the investigation was being conducted when Liberty was in dry-dock in Malta being repaired. This was done because he was one of the key witnesses to the attack, and he was wanted out of the way.
A group of Liberty survivors were invited by President George H.W. Bush to visit with him concerning Liberty and were kept waiting for two hours by him, and then told he was too busy. Many of the group of 50 had traveled long distances for the event. The captain of the Liberty was almost at the point of tears. Tourney describes this in no uncertain terms as being “bushwhacked.”
Many prominent figures have questioned the findings of the court of inquiry concerning Liberty and have been staunch supporters of the crew. They include former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Thomas Moorer, Admiral Merling Staring, former Congressional Representatives Pete McCloskey, John Hostettler and Cynthia McKinney, former Central Intelligence Agency officer Philip Giraldi, U.S. Ambassador Richard Peck, Israeli dissident Mordechai Vanunu, former Under Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts, former director of the Army War College Alan Sabrosky and many others.
Tourney very succinctly states that by the crew saving Liberty, WWIII was prevented, because Egypt would have been blamed for the attack. He also states the attack on Liberty was a forerunner to September 11, 2001.
Bart Van Ness is a lifetime AFP READERSHIP COUNCIL member, a naval history buff, and an avid fisherman and hunter.
This is by far the best book ever produced on the 1967 massacre . . .
When U.S. Navy sailor Phil Tourney saw Israeli planes circling the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967, he and his crewmates thought nothing of it. The Israelis waved at the crew and the Liberty crew, waved back. The USS Liberty was a unique vessel, unlike any other in the world, with a large tower and radar dishes used for eavesdropping, so the chance it could be mistaken for an “enemy” vessel were zero. The huge U.S. flag and the large ID numbers painted on the ship also made identification of the ship possible from miles away. Imagine the shock and horror when the Israelis attacked the lightly armed intelligence gathering vessel in broad daylight. A torpedo was fired and struck Liberty dead on. Israeli aircraft strafed the men aboard and dropped napalm on the decks. Torpedo boats machine-gunned the crew as they tried to rescue wounded U.S. servicemen. They even shot up life rafts to prevent any escape. The attack lasted for hours. And Phil Tourney witnessed every second of it.
Here is his story. A complete description of the attack, everything he saw that day, and details of the ensuing threats from U.S. military officers and government officials to shut up or face the consequences. Phil and co-author Mark Glenn also recount the brave men who have tried to break the wall of censorship that has surrounded this event. It also details the personal toll inflicted upon Phil and the crew—the years of harassment from Israeli agents and high-level U.S. government lackeys and the trauma of the events. Readers of this book have called it the best book ever written on the USS Liberty attack. And if you’ve read books or seen films about it in the past, these readers say this book picks up where those left off, revealing intimate details of the event that none other has dared touch. Many have been brought to tears by Phil’s story. But he seeks no profit, no glory, no accolades. This book was written and dedicated to those men who were killed and wounded that June day in 1967—and to the myriad lives that were changed by one of the most treacherous acts in modern history.
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