Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader today called on Senator John McCain to come clean on what he knows about the 1967 attack on the USS Liberty.
The attack killed 34 American soldiers and wounded more than 170.
The Israelis claim that the attack on the Liberty was an accident.
But the crew of the Liberty, and high ranking U.S. officials, including then-CIA director Richard Helms, then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk, as well as Admiral Thomas Hinman Moorer, former Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — said the attack was deliberate.
Senator McCain’s father, John S. McCain Jr., at the time Commander in Chief, United States Naval Forces, Europe, rushed approval of an internal report exonerating Israel.
A few years ago, a Florida bankruptcy court judge, A. Jay Cristol, wrote a book — The Liberty Incident — accepting the Israeli thesis that the attack was an accident.
Senator McCain, against all evidence, gave an approving blurb to the book which read:
"After years of research for this book, Judge A. Jay Cristol has reached a similar conclusion to one my father reached in his June 18, 1967 endorsement of the findings of the court of inquiry. I commend Judge Cristol for his thoroughness and fairness, and I commend this work."
In a signed affidavit released at a 2003 Capitol Hill news conference, retired Captain Ward Boston, a former Navy attorney who helped lead the military investigation into the 1967 Israeli attack on the Liberty, said that former President Lyndon Johnson and his defense secretary, Robert McNamara, ordered that the inquiry conclude the incident was an accident.
Boston said Johnson and McNamara told those heading the Navy’s inquiry to "conclude that the attack was a case of ‘mistaken identity’ despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary."
According to press reports, Boston was senior legal counsel to the Navy’s original 1967 review of the attack.
Boston said in the sworn statement that he stayed silent for years because he’s a military man, and "when orders come … I follow them."
Boston said he felt compelled to "share the truth" following the publication Cristol’s book — which concluded the attack was unintentional.
"The evidence is overwhelming that the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty was not an accident," Nader said. "I call on Senator McCain to search his conscience and tell the truth about what he knows about the cover up of this Israeli attack that killed 34 American sailors and wounded 170 other American sailors on that clearly identified U.S. Navy technical research ship."