USS Liberty Survivor Threatened by Unknown Israeli
By Mark Glenn
A face-to-face threat against the life of a decorated American war hero by someone claiming to be an agent for a Middle Eastern country tied to previous acts of terrorism against the U.S. should spark concern. That is, of course, unless the country from which this foreign agent hails is Israel, and the war hero is a survivor of the USS Liberty, the naval vessel attacked by the Middle East state in 1967, causing the deaths of 34 American servicemen.
This is what happened to Phillip F. Tourney, decorated war hero and survivor of Israel’s premeditated attack on the USS Liberty 43 years ago. On the evening of Aug. 6, Tourney was verbally threatened by a foreign national claiming to work for the government of Israel.
Despite being subjected to threats over the years, Tourney has refused to remain silent concerning the attack on his ship and the subsequent cover-up. These threats have included middle-of-the-night phone calls where the names of his children and grandchildren have been read aloud. He has heard what sounded like guns being fired a few inches from the phone’s receiver. More recently, Tourney says there were two occasions when the lug nuts on both his trucks were loosened, resulting in both vehicles being totaled in crashes.
What makes this most recent threat more ominous is that it was “up close and personal,” in the lounge of a Holiday Inn in southern California.
Vacationing with his wife of 30 years, Tourney was sitting in the lounge when the seat to his right was taken by a well-dressed man speaking with an Israeli accent who wanted to strike up a conversation about—of all things—the USS Liberty. According to Tourney and his wife, the man, in his mid-40s, carried himself in a “professional” way. Within seconds of striking up a discussion, the Israeli national referred to the Liberty as “that horse transport” (the lame excuse Israel has maintained these last 43 years is “mistaking” the USS Liberty for the El Quesir, an Egyptian horse ferry one-quarter the Liberty’s size).
This suggested to Tourney that his newfound “friend” was likely an official or hireling from the Israeli government.
Tourney asked the man what he did, only to be told that he was a “doctor.” When Tourney challenged him to produce a business card, the smirking “doctor” said he didn’t carry them. Obviously trying to get Tourney unhinged, the Israeli then discussed the June 8, 1967 butchering of 34 Americans by the government of Israel in mocking, taunting tones.
Tourney said the man—wearing an oversized watch—repeatedly put the watch directly in Tourney’s face. Tourney indicated he knew that he was being taped and told the man to get the watch out of his face.
After telling Tourney that the men of the USS Liberty “got what they deserved that day,” the man with the Israeli accent admitted he was not a doctor but rather an employee of the state which orchestrated the murder of the men aboard the Liberty. Tourney asked the man what he did specifically. He responded, “many things,” and “I do whatever my government asks of me.”
The Israeli stressed that his bosses were “not happy” with some of Tourney’s recent “activities.” He mentioned specifically the radio programs Tourney has either hosted or appeared on in recent years as well as the book he recently co-authored, What I Saw That Day: Israel’s 1967 Holocaust of American Servicemen Aboard the USS Liberty.*
The man warned that Israel planned on putting a stop to all of this sooner rather than later. Tourney asked the man when the next war was going to start. The smirking foreign agent replied, “Soon. . . .My sources tell me, between 30 and 60 days.”
Tourney then asked, “And what about me? The man responded: “You are on the same list as the Iranians.”
Hearing what was taking place and experiencing for the first time the kind of threats that her husband has endured for decades, Tourney’s wife decided she had heard enough.
She got up from her seat, went around her husband so she could stare eye-to-eye with her husband’s would-be assailant and let loose in the way any devoted wife would. She referred to the man as the devil and told him he had no right to do what he was doing.
At this point, the discussion was attracting the attention of other patrons. As if on cue, the Israeli feigned surprise and contrition, loudly protesting with apologies, to make Tourney and his wife appear irrational and out of control. Shortly afterward, hotel security showed up, and the Tourneys left the lounge.
The FBI was contacted at two different locations, but as of this writing, no follow-up calls have been made by either FBI office.
*What I Saw That Day: Israel’s 1967 Holocaust of American Servicemen Aboard the USS Liberty—written by Mark Glenn and Phil Tourney—is $20 for the softcover book plus $5 S&H ($25 ppd.). For $35 you can get the book and an audio CD of the book read by a professional narrator. Add $5 S&H ($40 ppd.) Order from Liberty Publications, Box 27, Careywood, ID 83809. PayPal customers: http://whatisawthatday.wordpress.com.