In his new book, Remember the Liberty! Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas, Philip F. Nelson has documented U.S. treason at the highest levels of government in a planned false-flag operation that called for Israel’s high-seas slaughter of USS Liberty sailors on June 6, 1967.
By S.T. Patrick
Phillip F. Nelson’s new book, Remember the Liberty! Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas,* seeks to out the American politicians responsible for the planning, execution, and cover-up of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967. In tracing the planning of the June 8 attack back to 1965, Nelson has written a work that holds President Lyndon B. Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara responsible.
In 1979 Liberty survivor James M. Ennes Jr. wrote the first full treatment concerning the Israeli assault on the unarmed U.S. naval ship. After the release of his book, Ennes pursued further research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas. Within that research, Ennes found a misfiled document that detailed the minutes of a meeting held by a “303 Committee” in April 1967. The 303 Committee was responsible for all covert CIA operations within the Johnson administration.
The 303 Committee consisted of CIA director Richard Helms, former ambassador to the Soviet Union Foy Kohler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Earle Wheeler, Deputy Secretary of Defense Cyrus Vance, and National Security Adviser Walt Rostow. Rostow also headed a separate White House group that consisted of Johnson’s most adamantly Zionist advisors.
McNamara was often used by LBJ as the key liaison and chief executioner of the covert operations birthed by the 303 Committee and the other groups.
The minutes of the 303 Committee meeting—held two months before the attack on the Liberty—referenced an operation called “Frontlet 615.” Operation Cyanide was found within the subparts of Frontlet 615. The 303 Committee used Frontlet 615 as a code name for the pending Six-Day War between Israel and Egypt. As planned, the war was scheduled to begin on June 15. The Americans had agreed to provide equipment, officer training, and the limited use of aircraft to the Israelis.
Operation Cyanide was a provocative false flag that called for an Israel Defense Force attack on a U.S. ship. The assault on the unarmed ship would use unmarked fighter jets so that the destruction could then be blamed on the Egyptians, and the Americans could enter the war on the side of Israel.
It was not the first time Johnson had dabbled in false-flag operations. Years earlier, he had tasked National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy with “Plan 34A” in Vietnam. Buddy was charged with constructing a series of provocations that would cause the North Vietnamese to attack American destroyers (i.e., Gulf of Tonkin). Some historians cite Tonkin as the primary reason for Johnson’s 1964 win over Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.).
In a decision that confounded LBJ, Israel began its war with Egypt 10 days early. The USS Liberty was rushed from its position off the horn of Africa to the Mediterranean Sea. The Liberty had been chosen as the victim of Operation Cyanide.
In Remember the Liberty! Nelson recalls the tense confusion and abandonment Admiral Lawrence Geis experienced as the Liberty was being attacked. Geis later relayed the tale to Chief Intelligence Officer David Lewis, who agreed not to reveal the information until Geis had died, which he did in 1987.
Geis explained to Lewis that Johnson had ordered two sorties of fighter jets recalled—one that had been en route to the Liberty ten minutes after the attack. Johnson had also recalled two A-4s, launched from the USS America within minutes, armed with nuclear weapons and headed for Cairo, Egypt.
McNamara called Geis and instructed him to recall the aircraft. “We’re not going to war over a few dead soldiers,” McNamara told Geis. McNamara, expecting the Liberty to sink within the hour, told Geis that he could order another sortie of fighter jets in 90 minutes. When the hour-and-a-half had passed, Geis prepared to order assistance. McNamara again instructed him to recall the order.
Geis demanded to speak to the president, who was standing next to McNamara. Johnson confirmed to Geis that he should “recall the wings.” He told Geis that he didn’t care if the Liberty sunk to the bottom of the Mediterranean. He was not going to embarrass his ally.
Upon assuming the presidency after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Johnson had told Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Golda Meir in 1963, “You’ve lost a great friend, but you’ve found a better one.” He promised Ms. Meir that there would be no repeat of the Eisenhower incident of 1956. Ike had rebutted Johnson, who had attempted to persuade the president to back off on sanctioning Israel. The threat of sanctions was levied by Eisenhower after Israel had refused to release lands in the Sinai Peninsula.
In Remember the Liberty! Nelson further details the political maneuverings that make Johnson, McNamara, and LBJ’s administration culpable in the 1967 attack on American sailors off the coast of Egypt and Israel. A part of the proceeds from Nelson’s work are donated to the Liberty Veterans Association.
*Remember the Liberty! Almost Sunk by Treason on the High Seas (softcover, 480 pages) by Phillip Nelson is available from the American Free Press Bookstore for $20 plus $4 shipping and handling inside the U.S. If you prefer, send cash, check or money order to AFP, 16000 Trade Zone Avenue, Unit 406, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774. Or call 1-888-699-NEWS Mon. thru Thu. 9-5 ET to charge.
S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent ten years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer” News Show. His email is [email protected].