Essays

The USS Liberty’s Russian Angels

In the middle of the Cold War

by Rainer Chlodwig von K.

ONE OF THE lesser-known elements of the story of Israel’s false-flag attack on the USS Liberty on the afternoon of June 8, 1967, is that the survivors aboard the ravaged vessel floated in uncertainty all through that night – 34 of them having been killed in the attack, with another 174 wounded – wondering whether they had been abandoned by their country and not knowing if hostile forces might return to sink their ship. Giving the lie to the Cold War pretext for the U.S. alliance with Israel against its Arab neighbors is a strange but touching encounter that the Liberty’s crewmen had with a Soviet destroyer.

“American ships arrived only in 16 hours after the attack,” survivor John Hrankowski told Pravda.ru in 2002. “A Soviet ship offered help to us on that night. They said that they would stay just at the horizon and, if our ship began to sink, they would help us.” Another survivor, James Ennes, gives this more detailed account of the incident in his book Assault on the Liberty:

For one day and night when the ship was slowly moving northward, no other ships or planes could be seen. At midnight, the Liberty came across the 626/4 Soviet missile destroyer that signaled in English. The following information was exchanged by both ships:

626/4: Do you need help?

Liberty: No, thanks.

626/4: I will stay at the horizon and be ready to help if you need it.

The Soviet ship followed a parallel course at a distance of several miles for the next six hours.

This being the middle of the Cold War, and with the Liberty having just been attacked in the context of a hot conflict between U.S. “ally” Israel and the Soviet Union’s client, Egypt, the Americans were distrustful of the Russian destroyer crew’s motivations in offering assistance. As an intelligence vessel hosting personnel from the NSA, the Liberty was equipped with surveillance technology that the American crew would not have wanted to see fall into the hands of the hated communist enemy.

It is possible that the Soviet offer of assistance had this ulterior motive; but that is not how I choose to read this amazing anecdote. I see Europeans who saw fellow seamen in need of their aid. I find in this episode a moment of humanity – a politics-transcending breakthrough of decency that blows a bigger hole in the wreck of the Cold War fraud than the gaping breach an Israeli torpedo put into the Liberty’s hull with Lyndon Johnson’s blessing.

Curiously, the Russians – perhaps to obfuscate some Soviet operation of the time or in order to avoid going on the record in contradiction of the United States’ official narrative on the Liberty attack in too much detail – have denied (or at least not volunteered) the presence of the destroyer 626/4 in the eastern Mediterranean on June 8, 1967. “The matter of the fact is it is still a secret to whom it belonged,” says a Russian submarine captain and historian, Nikolay Cherkashin. “I tried to find some veterans of the Soviet Navy who had been there in the summer of 1967, but in vain. Also, nothing is also mentioned in the archives.”

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Source: Aryan Skynet

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