Dangerous Voyage To Site of Israeli Attack on USS Liberty

Texas man making dangerous voyage to site of 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty


by Ann Wright



At the site, Toenjes will be holding a memorial service honoring those killed on the USS Liberty by the Israeli military.

Larry Toenjes, 74, from Clear Lake Shores, Texas, is sailing his 39-foot sailboat, the s/v Liberty, to the coordinates of the June 8, 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty that killed 34 sailors and wounded another 173. 207 were killed or wounded out of the 294 on board the USS Liberty in the 90 minute attack by strafing attack planes and torpedoes.  At the site, Toenjes will be holding a memorial service honoring those killed on the USS Liberty by the Israeli military.

Toenjes is a 5 year Coast Guard veteran with a PhD in economics.  He worked for years in the Bureau of Budget in the state government of Illinois and upon moving to Texas in 1983, taught at the University of Texas in Austin and was a research professor at the University of Texas.

Toenjes and Joe and Sherrie Wagner, his 2 person crew also from Texas, set sail from Texas in July.  They have sailed over 7,000 miles and are currently in Malta.  According to Joe Meadors, the President of the USS Liberty Veterans Association (www.usslibertyveterans.org), Toenjes has Egyptian government permission to travel in Egyptian territorial waters to the site of the attack.

A Call for Congress to Listen to the Survivors of the Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty

Toenjes said: “I do not intend to go near Gaza.  All I intend to do is exercise my right as an American citizen to proceed to a point in international waters where a grave injustice was perpetrated against US sailors and express my dismay that that injustice is being extended by the failure of Congress to have the “courage” to listen to what these men have to say.   Members of Congress never seem to miss an opportunity to say to a service man or woman, “We thank you for your service!” It seems, however, that their service is not to be acknowledged if it would have the effect of embarrassing the State of Israel and the pro-Israel Lobby here in the US.”

Meadors said Toenjes told him he is considering mooring at the coordinates of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty for a few weeks. Toenjes will be staying well clear of the coordinates of the Israeli blockade of Gaza as published in the Israeli Notices to Mariners, but Meadors said contact with the Naval Attaché’s office in the US Embassy, Tel Aviv had not produced written assurances from the Israeli government that Toenjes will not be harassed or attacked by the Israeli military, even though Toenjes will be in Egyptian waters.

US Embassy Refuses to Send a Delegation to the Ceremony

Meadors has been assisting Toenjes in getting the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to be concerned about the safety of Toenjes.  He said the US Embassy in Tel Aviv has been invited to attend the ceremony but that representatives have refused to send an official delegation to rendezvous with the s/v Liberty and attend the memorial service because “they cannot find a single vessel in all of Israel that is capable of making the trip.”

Meadors added, “You know as well as we do that the last thing the US government wants to do is to send an official to attend a memorial service honoring the 34 of our shipmates who were killed in action during the attack on the USS Liberty  (because of the U.S. Government cover-up of the Israeli attack).  We want the Naval Attaché to convey to American Embassy officials in Israel that their refusal to attend the memorial service for Americans who were killed on the USS Liberty is unacceptable and not in keeping with the way America treats its honored dead.”

Meadors said that he also has invited the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to send an official representative to attend the memorial service.

Letter of Concern for Toenjes’ Safety from President of the USS Liberty Veterans

On August 10, 2011, Meadors wrote an extensive letter to Assistant Naval Attaché Lieutenant Commander Jason K. Edgington at the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel giving details of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty 44 years ago and his concern for the safety of Larry Toenjes.

Given our history with the US Navy, the US government and the Israeli government I’m sure you will understand when I tell you that your reassurances do nothing to quell our concerns for Larry’s safety and the sanctity of the memorial service for our fallen shipmates.

If you will recall your US Navy history you will remember that our skipper, Capt. McGonagle, recognized the potential danger involved in working at the station to which we were sailing.  He asked the Sixth Fleet for a destroyer escort but that request was denied because we were “a clearly identified US Navy ship.”

Further, the Israeli government did not issue any NOTMARS to inform ships sailing in the area of any danger.

When we were attacked, two flights of Sixth Fleet aircraft that had been launched to come to our assistance were both recalled while we were still under attack and calling for help which allowed the Israelis to continue their attack for over an hour more unhampered by the threat of Sixth Fleet intervention.  To this day the US government has refused to conduct an investigation of the attack on our ship despite accounts of USS Liberty survivors telling them that we were attacked by unmarked aircraft, that our radios were jammed on both US Navy tactical and international maritime distress frequencies, that our life rafts were deliberately machine gunned in the water and that the torpedo boats slowly circled our burning and torpedoed ship while firing from close range at Liberty crewmen who ventured topside to help our wounded shipmates.  More information about the attack on our ship is available at usslibertyveterans.org files/Docs.pdf.  I would like to specifically direct you to the War Crimes Report we filed with the Department of Defense (DOD).  To date they refuse to investigate the allegations contained in that report and they refuse to send a spokesperson to USS Liberty reunions to explain their actions vis-à-vis our War Crimes Report.

Move to May, 2010 and the Freedom Flotilla.  The Israelis issued no NOTMARS closing any areas near where the Freedom Flotilla was sailing.  Regardless, the Israelis intercepted the Freedom Flotilla some 60 miles from shore, attacked the Flotilla and killed 9 passengers – one an American citizen. This elicited not a single word of concern from the US government despite the fact that one of the vessels was of American registry.

Just this year the Israelis intercepted, boarded and impounded the French ship Dignite as it participated in Freedom Flotilla 2.  That was done in international waters well clear of the coordinates provided by the Israelis for their blockade of Gaza and very near to the coordinates of the attack on the USS Liberty.  They did this without issuing any NOTMARS closing the area.

That said, I am sure you will understand that your reassurances to the contrary we do not have any confidence whatsoever that Larry will be allowed to proceed to the coordinates and conduct the memorial service absent any harassment from the Israeli government.  Despite his being well outside the area defined by the Israeli government as the boundaries of their blockade of Gaza and despite the s/v Liberty being a US flagged and registered vessel he will be harassed by the Israeli Navy to the extent that his vessel will be boarded and impounded by the Israeli Navy and the US government will do absolutely nothing either to prevent it or to assist Larry in getting the Liberty released from Israeli custody.

In closing, let me respectfully submit that the reason I believe the US government will not provide an official to represent them during the memorial service is not because they cannot find a single vessel in all of Israel capable of making the trip as they claim but because they know the s/v Liberty will be intercepted, boarded and impounded by the Israeli Navy (even in Egyptian waters).

Warmest regards,

Joseph L. Meadors
USS Liberty Survivor
USS Liberty Veterans Association

Call US Embassies and State Department
Meadors asked that concerned citizens call the US Embassies in Tel Aviv (Israel.usembassy.gov/consular/acs/emergency) and Cairo (Egypt.usembassy.gov/consular/emergency) and the State Department in Washington, DC (travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies)with their demand that the United States protect US citizens sailing in international waters.

Israeli Military Attacks on Vessels in International Waters

The Israeli military’s history of attacking ships in international waters extends from 1967 to the present.  In 2009, 2010 and 2011, a vessel carrying a Nobel Peace Laureate and a US Congresswoman was rammed and seriously damaged.  Six ships in the 2010 Gaza flotilla were attacked with eight Turkish citizens and one American citizen executed by Israeli commandos and over 50 wounded.  A seventh ship in June, 2010 was attacked, as well as another boat in September, 2010.  In April, 2011, a cargo ship came under a barrage of bullets from the IDF, but, with the help of the Egyptian navy returned into Egyptian waters.  In June, 2011, one ship out of ten in the Gaza flotilla escaped the Israeli diplomatic offensive that resulted in a Greek government ban on ships sailing from Greece to Gaza.  It was forcefully boarded by the IDF and taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod.

Toenjes and Meadors will update us as the s/v Liberty sails for the site of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty.

Source : warisacrime.org

Col. Ann Wright (Ret.) resigned from the State Department on March 19, 2003 in protest of the invasion of Iraq

About the Author:  Ann Wright is a 29 year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She was an organizer of the 2011 US Boat to Gaza, “The Audacity of Hope” and was on the 2010 Gaza flotilla that the Israeli military attacked and killed 8 Turkish and 1 American citizens and wounded 50.  She is the co-author of the book “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.” (www.voicesofconscience.com).

Tribute to USS Liberty Crew by Catherine Faber :

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28 Responses to "Dangerous Voyage To Site of Israeli Attack on USS Liberty"

  1. Gordon Duff  August 25, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    thank you for contributing

  2. Maggi Carter  August 25, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Yes, Kashu, you are correct. I was in occupied Palestine in 1988 when Hamas was just getting going. The 2 things I kept hearing in Gaza were: Hamas is throwing acid on the hair of women who were uncovered and Hamas is being funded by Israel. I realize that Hamas has become legitimate, sorta…., and includes many who are justice-minded and sincere, but nothing is as it appears, especially in the Middle East. As always, follow the guns, follow the money, and you will find “enemies” who are really “friends” working for their own interests against the interests of the people whose money they are pilaging. Peace.

  3. I love America  August 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Watch this video. There was so much in it that I did not know before…it talks about the USS Liberty and what really happened:

    Here is the article the video came from:

    Another video in the article that is very interesting:

  4. Bergheim  August 18, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I salute Dr. Toenjes’ courage and conviction. There are times we as individuals have to stand up against injustice. When governments try to silence the truth. Let us never forget those who lost their lives on USS Liberty as result of the Israeli attack

  5. Doug  August 17, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Our prayers go with you and best wishes for a peaceful voyage! Doug

  6. Gloria Harvey  August 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    By their rules, someone who lived in Denmark or Norway is a Holocaust survivor just because they were under German rule.

  7. Bob Loblaw Jr  August 17, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Yes indeed. With a real cowboy the bullshit is on the outside of the boots! Cheers.

  8. Smitty  August 17, 2011 at 9:51 am

    The State Department held a panel around seven years back and if I recall it was televised on cspan. Mostly it was intended to push forth the Israeli narrative highlighting a recent propaganda book authored by a bankruptcy judge from Florida, an amateur ‘expert’ on the subject. Some AIPAC goons were there talking too. Uninvited survivors were unknowingly in the audience and wound up stealing the show cutting the whole thing short when they began talking.

    Outside they got way more attention and were questioned by reporters. A yarmulke-wearing guy walks by and says “but it was so long ago!” or something like that. So was the holocaust

  9. Smitty  August 17, 2011 at 9:23 am

    The holocaust is not our responsibility, not our fault, and not my area of interest considering the number of genocides which have gone on around the world not to mention the many more war dead that far eclipse the number of holocaust deaths. Even if that figure was the disputed 6 million figure. I say disputed because rational and sane people who aren’t neo-nazis or antisemites have disputed it and have been attacked. Some have actually been physically attacked.

    Today there are 400,000 – 1,000,000 holocaust survivors with a very loose definition of survivor. Considering that the holocaust happened 70 years ago, these must have been children or teens. Supposedly young children were ‘exterminated’ so why are so many still alive? It would be interesting to know how many children and teens survived.

  10. Gloria Harvey  August 17, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I am a Texas too Alan, and it is a nice change.

  11. Gloria Harvey  August 17, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Elf I completely realize our government is no longer ours but has been coopted to serve the needs of alien traitors. You are absolutely right that this is a War Crime, and if our own govt will not investigate it maybe we should take it to the Hague (LOL). This infuriates me when I read it.
    I personally know a Disabled US Veteran who is living in a metal box from the back of a truck in 100+ Texas heat, and two of our congressmen have introduced bills requiring us to support Jews who were victims of the Shoah (whatever that is). Perhaps we can get our Congress to introduce a bill that require us to support our own injured soldiers before we worry about anyone else.

  12. SuperLuminal Elf  August 17, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Ms Harvey: perhaps you might consider that whilst the US government might be in place, wielding arbitrary authority over the country of America that it is no longer “yours”; hasn’t been for decades. And that the unprovoked attack on the unarmed USS Liberty, in International Waters by the # 1 terrorist state in the Middle East, was not merely a “Travesty”, but an Act of War —as well as a war crime. And that the US Navy engaged in Treason of the lowest order, when naval aviators were prevented from protecting & rescuing their OWN (Navy sailors, doing their job in International Waters).

    My comments are tendered with respect & with no malice toward you.

    I am still outraged …

  13. Gloria Harvey  August 17, 2011 at 7:15 am

    I cringe in shame at my government’s cowardly response to this overt attack on our sailors, even calling back fighters sent to protect them. Can you imagine our wounded sailors trying to dodge bullets in their life rafts? This is a Travesty of the worst order. Kristallnact anyone?

  14. Earlaiman  August 17, 2011 at 6:13 am

    You will read about many heroes inthesepaes. Some big,some small,some created and some born. Hereis but a small one… small lbut a natural bornone… a manwhois doingshathe feelshehasto do, and damn the consequencesor the risks.

    It is the small quiet heroes who sit in unheard and unseen the corners until the shit gets into the fan who carry the day, not the big, shining ones who starred in the company bsegball game, or the regimental bosing tournament, and are hung with medals paraded in movies, on podiums,TV and down Broadway.

    Just sailiing a boat of that size that far is a challenging deed worthy of note. May Allah accompany you in our voyage, Captain, and keep the seas moderate, the wind abaft your beam, and less than twenty.


  15. BobtheGrape  August 17, 2011 at 4:49 am

    I salute Dr. Toenjes’ courage and conviction and hopw that the rest of the US will realize that the attack on the USS Liberty was not an error by the Israeli Zionists but a planned attack. When will we stop kissing Israel’s ass and tell them to go to hell?

  16. TheHolyCrow  August 17, 2011 at 4:01 am

    May Posterity forever vilify the traitorous
    cowards involved in this crime and coverup.
    There is not a noose too tight for them.
    After a fair, public trial of course.

  17. Cloak And Dagger  August 16, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    And of course, you can’t read about any of this on the MSM anywhere. Try posting this on Huffpo and see how far you get!

  18. TruthSeekerHarrison  August 16, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    May God, his Son Jesus and the Holy Saints of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches protect you Mr. Teonjes and your companion on this journey. May the light you are shedding magnify and engulf the world. May the evil Zionist state be prevented from taking any more innocent life and may America be free of the Zionist scourge in all is manifestations in our media, medicine, art, film, education, religion, illegal aliens, economic collapse etc. etc. etc. Free us Oh, God from the horrors of the demented Zionists who no longer worship you but suckle at the breast of the demon. Free us Oh God from the evil in our own nation and may we regain freedom. God Bless this man. Let us all pray for his safety and the success of his mission.

  19. prairiedog  August 16, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I know at least 81 members of Congress will be to busy in Israel to attend the service.

  20. Vox  August 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    He’ll just be labeled an anti-semite and sentenced to life in Gitmo without a trial.

  21. LanceThruster  August 16, 2011 at 11:58 am

    It is shameful that US officials completely ignored their own responsibilities when they failed to take action on the filing of the war crimes report by the Liberty survivors on June 8, 2005. The Sec of Defense is bound by law to make a formal investigation. The USS Liberty crew is due this effort, and their story and sacrifice should be known fully. Instead, it is pretty much dismissed outright. Israel’s veil lies and deceit need to be stripped away.

    I am grateful to everyone working to keep this issue before the public, and shame our political leadership into actually doing their jobs. I like the spirit and creativity of this gesture, particularly with the flotilla events in the public mind.

    And I honor and thank the crew of the USS Liberty for their heroism, skill, and sacrifice. You will long be remembered by those who value truth above expediency.

  22. Alan Folsom  August 16, 2011 at 11:19 am

    As a Texan, it’s refreshing to read about another Texan who isn’t suffering from severe mental problems, i,e,. the Bush family, Rick Perry, Tom DeLay, Dick Armey, Louie Gohmert, John Hagee, Lyndon Johnson, and on and on and on (make your own list, stupid).

    You guys have become one of the best websites around. I refer everyone to you.

  23. Tom Valentine  August 16, 2011 at 7:28 am

    This story reminds me that Admiral Thomas Moorer displayed considerable courage in the face of enormous pressures when he spoke to condemn Israel for this nefarious deed.

  24. 60sstreetpunk  August 16, 2011 at 6:26 am

    Wow, it is good to see a retired LTC (Wright) speak out. I ‘ll add her to my list- Col. Dave Hackworth, LTC Karen Kwiatkowski, and now LTC Ann Wright. There are others but I don’t hear about them. I have to laugh at how I walked around a post with Hackworth’s book and a great former SF captain explained to me why it was not good to have these books in public.
    And to crew going to USS Liberty site, can only support them in any way possible.

  25. kashu  August 16, 2011 at 4:03 am

    Zionists want the backward Islamist groups to be in power in all over the Muslim world since it gets easier for them to have a lasting enemy and paint them as barbaric through the western media. people rejected those Islamist in all over the Muslim world and that’s why they need to be installed and armed by the Zionist west. Taliban was weaker before the invasion of Afghanistan. In Pakistan people never voted for religious parties. Syria is a very secular country. Even in Iran Jews are protected and respected. Bangladesh has always been a secular country. Turkey is well known for its secular culture. only country that is so backward is Saudi Arabia. who is the biggest protector of the Saudi royal family? it’s the west and Israel. if people become more progressive, educated and secular in Saudi Arabia they might not be easily confronted in case they lean toward nationalism. Saudi Arabia gives Israel all the excuses to justify its crimes against the Palestinians. In Zionist controlled western media Saudi Arabia can be portrayed as a horribly backward country that doesn’t let women drive a car. At the same time Israel can claim that they are democratic like the west and point finger at Saudi Arabia or other backward countries they themselves protect. that’s why west and Israel need those manufactured Islamists under the veil of democracy just like Muslim brotherhood in Egypt. remember the Zionists always hide behind the Islamists and ultra right fundamentalist Christians to pass on blames.

  26. Sami Jadallah  August 16, 2011 at 3:15 am

    It is interesting to note that Congressman Frank Wolf ( R-VA) and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fl) are jointly sponsoring a bill in Congress that will set aside special fundings to take care of Holocaust survivors including special medical and house care and other support services, yet the same members of Congress totally ignore the survivor of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, let alone sponsor similar program for the old veterans survivors of WWII and those who saved the Jews in the Concentration Camps. With tens of billions collected by Israel, Jewish organizations and Jewish lawyers in claims for the Holocaust survivor, the US tax payers have to foot the bill for these people. Let the Jewish lawyers and Jewish organizations that collected the money take care of these holocaust survivors but not the US tax payers, we need to take care of our own.

  27. Earlaiman  August 16, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Neither the US Congress, nor any other US Government agency will call for an investigation of the attack on the USS Liberty, its treasonous abandonment by the Highest US Command Authority and the subsequent white-wash and coverup, until the time and atmosphere are politically and diplomatically “right” for such an investigation.

    It is constant and unrelenting efforts like this, and the pubication and widespread dissemination of news and information about these efforts, the attack on USS Liberty, the cover-up, and the efforts of her crew to be heard and seek redress for the crimes perpetrated against them by both Israel and their own Government hich will, in time, change the political and diplomatic environment to such an extent that the time will become “right” and such an investigation will be called.

    Have faith,guys… stick in there and keep kicking back at the pricks. The truth wil lout, and Justice will eventually be served.

    We may none of us be alive when that hapens, but justice is imortal, and it ,b>will prevail.

    In the meanwhile, keep swimming as strongly as you can, and don’t let them push you under.


  28. Robert H. Stiver  August 16, 2011 at 2:13 am

    I salute Dr. Toenjes’ courage and conviction, as I pray for his and his crew’s safety! As a 4-year-plus Army veteran who was discharged just three weeks before the Zionists’ murderous assault on the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967, I condemn the bastards and their entire enterprise. I equally condemn my government, then and now, for its hypocrisy and its traitorous “entangling alliance” with the pariah-“state” criminally psychotic Zionist theocracy/military oligarchy brazenly occupying the Holy Land. I hold particular empathy — the empathy of a comrade — for Joe Meadors and the entire crew of the USS Liberty, dead, wounded, aging, and still seeking justice these decades later. Finally, I honor the people always at the heart of, and under the boot of, the illegal belligerent military occupation of their rightful homeland: the brave, tortured Muslims and Christians of Palestine. (And thank you, COL Ann Wright, for a great article that has caused me to re-live, and renew my anger at, a real day of infamy in my cowardly country’s military and diplomatic history.)

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