American rescue flights were recalled when then-President Lyndon Johnson said he didn't "want to embarrass our ally." The attack has been covered up ever since by the government. US media have similarly largely failed to cover it.
Toenjes, who believes strongly in justice, undertook his voyage to honor the men who had been killed and to try to raise awareness and public support of their families' and shipmates' efforts to demand a full investigation of the attack.
Many analysts feel that if the Israel Lobby's hold on Congress and the media in regard to the Liberty can be broken, then all topics might be discussed as well, including US tax money to Israel and Israel's treatment of Palestinians.
On the first leg of his 8,000 mile journey from Galveston, Texas to Malta, Toenjes was accompanied by Joe and Serrie Wagner of Houston. He is now joined by Rusty Glenn, a Marine veteran, also from Texas.
The audio of Toenjes memorial service today will be broadcast on a radio program hosted by USS Liberty survivor Phil Tourney and will also be carried by the Council for the National Interest, which has been posting updates on his trip.
Another Liberty survivor and current president of the Liberty Veterans Association Joe Meadors participated in previous flotillas trying to break the siege on Gaza.
International activists in Gaza, learning of Toenjes voyage, sent the following message of support:
We join Larry Toenjes, Joe and Sherrie Wagner, and all supporters of the s/v Liberty in remembering the deaths of 34 USS Liberty servicemen killed by the State of Israel on June 8, 1967, and the wounding of 174 more.
As crew members of the Oliva, a civilian craft monitoring Israeli naval crimes against fishermen off the coast of Gaza, and as observers on board Palestinian fishing trawlers, we have observed, and at times endured, Israel’s unprovoked use of live gunfire, water cannons, and other military aggression against peaceful vessels. These violent attacks often produce lethal results.
We also remember the nine Turkish citizens, including one Turkish-American, killed on the MV Mavi Marmara by Israeli naval commandos during their May 30, 2010 aerial assault on the first Freedom Flotilla, and the brutality endured by survivors of this attack on a humanitarian mission.
As we mourn the casualties of this aggression, we call on the governments of the world to join the Republic of Turkey and the State of Qatar in imposing meaningful sanctions for Israel’s ongoing crimes against humanity, and global civil society to organize boycotts and divestments demanding its compliance with international law and respect for human rights.
- International Solidarity Movement – Gaza Strip.