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Liberty Cover-Up and John McCain’s Conscience
by William Hughes
July 12, 2004

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is the “Conscience of the Senate.” Nevertheless, he won’t come clean about what really happened to the USS Liberty, at the hands of the Israelis, via napalm, gunfire, torpedoes and missiles, on June 8, 1967, 13 miles off the coast of the Sinai Peninsula. McCain’s conscience, it seems, has its limits. I suspect it’s because the powerful Israeli Lobby weighs in so ominously in Washington, DC, protecting the interests of its favorite country -- Israel -- and making sure the mostly mousey congress people are kept totally in line or else. (

I wrote Sen. McCain, the “Conscience of the Senate,” back on March 8, 1997, pointing out to him that for “close to 30 years, the truth concerning Israel’s murderous attack on the USS Liberty has been covered-up...” I underscored for him that, “The conspiracy of silence concerning the Liberty must be ended now.” I urged him, “To stand up on the Senate floor and demand that Congress do its duty: investigate the Liberty all the survivors and all relevant witnesses to testify at a public hearing. Let justice, finally, be done for the fallen heroes of the Liberty.” (I found out later that one of the fallen heroes was Petty Office William B. Allenbaugh, a Baltimorean, who had graduated from my alma mater, Calvert Hall H.S.)

McCain declined my offer to raise his voice on behalf of the Liberty. He said that he wasn’t going to do anything about it because the “matter was thoroughly reviewed.” Really! In his letter to me, dated, April 28, 1997, he relied on the results of the now totally discredited Naval Court of Inquiry, which was conducted by Rear Admiral Isaac Kidd, USN. It began on June 10, 1967, and lasted less than a week. A scathing and devastating rebuttal of that seriously flawed Naval Inquiry can be found in the “Declaration,” dated Jan. 8, 2004, of Capt. Ward Boston, Jr., JAGC, USN (Ret). He was the senior legal counsel to the USS Liberty’s Court of Naval Inquiry. Boston said that Admiral Kidd, the presiding officer of the Court, felt that the attack was “deliberate” and that the Israelis were “murderous b.......” Boston added that Kidd was pressured by the White House and the Defense Department to return a finding that the attack was a result of “mistaken identity.”

The unprovoked assault on the Liberty, which lasted 75 minutes, killed 34 brave Americans and wounded 172 others (Assault on the Liberty, James M. Ennes, Jr. and James Bamford’s Body of Secrets). The Israelis were trying to murder all 294 Americans on board the surveillance vessel, sink it, and make it look like the Egyptians had done it (Operation Cyanide, by Peter Hounam). The Israelis claimed it was “a mistake,” (See, Zionist Israel apologist’s Ahron Jay Cristol, “The Liberty Incident.” Cristol also smears those demanding justice in the Liberty matter as “conspiracy theorists.”)

Now, here’s the kicker: One of the Navy bigwigs pushing hard for a sanitized Liberty inquiry was none other than Sen. McCain’s father, Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., Commander-in-Chief, Naval Forces Europe. He wanted the investigation done in less than a week. Boston said a “proper inquiry would take at least six months.” Admiral McCain also wouldn’t permit Admiral Kidd to travel to Israel or to contact any potential Israelis witnesses. In fact, according to Boston, the written affidavits of 60 witnesses from the Liberty itself, who were hospitalized at the time of the restricted Inquiry, were also excluded from the final report and not considered as part of the evidentiary record. Boston is convinced, too, that the Israelis’ machine-gunning of the Liberty’s lifeboats, while the crew was trying desperately to assist their colleagues that were seriously wounded, was “a war crime.” Boston said higher ups wanted “to put a lid on everything” concerning the Liberty.

Many competent and authoritative responses have been made to all of the lame excuses raised by the Israelis and their sycophants. For compelling evidence, check out the books of Ennes, Bamford and Hounam cited above; also, go to the site itself, and its related links. Terrence O’Keefe’s insightful The Myth of Thirteen Investigations is a good place to start anyone’s education in a quest for the full truth, along with the excellent video, “USS Liberty Dead in the Water.”

So, McCain, the “Conscience of the Senate” wasn’t going to do anything about bringing justice to the Liberty! He did, however, say something else in his letter that made me feel suspicious about his do-nothing position. He said, “The attacking nation” did not submit any evidence or testimony on their behalf about the assault at the inquiry. “Attacking nation!” What is that suppose to mean? Why couldn’t McCain just come right out, he is the “Conscience of the Senate” after all, and simply say: The Israelis? Why use a deceptive term, like: “attacking nation?” Talk about Orwellian Double Speak! I can’t imagine McCain writing about the attack on U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941, and instead of stating up front that Japan was responsible, refer to that sneaky, militant aggressor as the “attacking nation.”

McCain may be known as the “Conscience of the Senate,” but considering the low reputation of that body, that’s not really saying much. I mean these are the same political weasels, led by that repulsive Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Ct), who passed the USA Patriot Act in the middle of the night, without any public hearing. Then, they gave away their Constitutional war-making power, under Art. 1, Sec. 8, to President George W. Bush, Jr., so he could lie us into the Iraqi conflict. And, while the country was still reeling from all of that, the Congress enacted the draconian Homeland Security Law. McCain participated in all three of these gross violations of the public trust, acting as a lap dog for the hawkish Lieberman.

Now, having said all of that, everyone knows that McCain is a genuine war hero. He spent 7 dreadful years as a Vietnam POW, under some horrific conditions. He was a naval pilot, who was shot down on a bombing run over that beleaguered country. Some POWs, however, seem like bigger, more celebrated heroes than others. I think it depends on your family, and PR connections, too, and also your propaganda value, if you know what I mean. For example, it didn’t hurt McCain that his dad and his grandfather were both admirals in the U.S. Navy.

Meanwhile, my old buddy from South Baltimore, Harry Agro, was a U.S. Navy guy, and a POW, too. He was a gunnery mate on merchant marine ships and survived two sinkings. Somebody should make a movie about Agro’s harrowing war time experiences. He spent close to 3 years in a Japanese POW camp, Hakodate, on the northern most island of Hokkaido, during WWII. The racist Japanese guards, (they hated Americans), beat Agro viciously just about every day of the week. They also worked him almost to death in their coal mines, while giving him little to eat. Harry’s father, a native of Sicily, unlike McCain’s, was a blue-collar worker. So, nobody has heard much about his son’s POW ordeal. McCain, yes. Agro, no. Even so, Agro will always be one of my personal heroes.

Finally, important and relevant disclosures have been made regarding the Liberty matter, since the “Conscience of the Senate” sent his half-baked letter to me on April 28, 1997. During this presidential election year, McCain will be making numerous campaign stops on behalf of the Bush-Cheney Gang. If you get a chance, ask him this question: “When are you going to stop covering-up about what really happened to the USS Liberty?”

William Hughes is the author of Saying “No” to the War Party (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at © William Hughes 2004

Other Articles by William Hughes

* The Land of the Unfree and the Home of the Unwitting!
* The Church, Abortion & the Bush-Cheney Gang
* Should Sean Hannity Be Denied Communion?
* Memorial Day’s Opposite: Warmongers’ Day
* Ugly America: Wolfie, Hannity & Rent-A-Union Basher