On June 21, you will either be experiencing summer in the northern hemisphere or winter in the southern hemisphere. June 1 is the beginning of hurricane season in the Atlantic and Caribbean and tsunami and cyclone season in the Pacific.
The header image is one of my absolute favorites. I took it during Eid al-Fitr at the India Gate Lawns park in New Dehli, India, in July 2016. It was at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Celsius). The humidity was so intense that I had to clean the internal lens on my Canon SLR camera each time I switched lenses. The boys were having a blast in the enormous fountain despite the heat. No, the girls were not playing in the water. They were wearing fancy Eid dresses, like princesses. I was drenched in sweat, ready to be wrung like a wet rag, yet the Indian women seemed immune and looked gorgeous. I'd love to know how they stay so put together in heat and humidity!
I am trying a new format for this issue: Intro, key anniversaries, main themes, key sporting events, notable events, and one event in-depth, the spotlight. That is the reason this is a bit long. Several of the events required context.
Let me know if you like it for month summaries. Topic issues will continue as before.
SIX DAY WAR (Israel, Egypt, Syria, Palestine)
June 2022 is the 55th anniversary of the Six-day War (June 5 - 10, 1967) between Israel, Egypt, and Syria, which resulted in the ongoing military occupation of the West Bank, Golan Heights, and Gaza Strip. The Sinai Peninsula, also captured, was returned to Egypt in stages beginning in 1979, following the peace agreement between the states of Israel and Egypt, brokered by US President Jimmy Carter. This 1978 peace agreement is called the Camp David Accords.
LOVING V VIRGINIA (United States)
June 2022 is also the 55th anniversary of Loving v Virginia, the court case that challenged laws against inter-racial marriage in the United States, decided on June 12, 1967. Because of Loving, Americans can marry people of any race without prejudice, loss of rights, or citizenship. Before Loving, several states and jurisdictions in the United States enforced laws stating it was illegal to marry someone of another race.
I wrote this entry before the Supreme Court opinion draft on Roe v Wade leaked. What would have been a quick note of an anniversary is now front and center in the American consciousness. Suddenly, people are talking about Loving v Virginia again, which is good.
WATERGATE BREAK-IN (United States)
Finally, the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the cover-up brought down a President, the infamous Watergate scandal. The break-in occurred on June 17, 1972, and the book and film All the President's Men is an excellent telling of this event and those following. Currently, the mini-series, Gaslit on Starz, starring Julia Roberts and Sean Penn, covers the break-in and fallout from a different perspective.
The following section is a summary of the major themes for June.
THE RAINBOW CONNECTION: PRIDE MONTH
Dates: June 1-30
If you are in North America, Europe, Oceania, or traveling in many parts of the world, you'll see many rainbows this month. June is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer plus (LGBTQ+) Pride Month, with events scheduled each day but concentrated during the last weekend of the month. June is Pride Month due to the Stonewall Riot of June 28, 1969.
The Stonewall Inn was a popular gay nightclub located in the Greenwich Village area of New York City. Police raided the club in the early morning hours of June 28. Though the mafia-owned club violated several laws, safety, and liquor, there had been a demonstrated pattern by the New York Police Department of targeting establishments frequented by the gay and lesbian community. Difficulty getting licenses is a primary reason for its state of ownership. Public expressions of homosexuality, at the time, were illegal in New York. The patrons and neighborhood were tired of their clubs closing and the targeting of their community. The raid on the Stonewall turned into a flashpoint, partly because the police did not notify the owners before the raid, as they had a few days before. This time, everyone was caught unaware.
Patrons and residents of the area began attacking police with bottles, rocks, and other projectiles, plus fire as the mayhem spilled into neighboring streets. Riot police eventually took control of the situation after 4 AM. However, the protests, now peaceful, grew and expanded into the following days leading toward the annual July 4th celebration.
Stonewall is considered the critical turning point of the gay rights movement and led to the formation of the Gay Liberation Front in 1970. The first gay pride parade occurred that year, originating at the Stonewall Inn, on the anniversary of the riot. Today the Stonewall Inn and its surrounding streets are a national monument.
Learn more at: https://www.history.com/topics/gay-rights/the-stonewall-riots.
INTERNATIONAL FATHER'S DAY
Date: June 19
Father's Day honors men's vital roles in their children's lives. Unlike Mother’s Day, which occurs on different days throughout the world, Father’s Day is universal and observed on the same day in most countries.
Fathers, research has shown, especially in early childhood, provide critical emotional security, and dads significantly impact a child's mathematical and verbal skills. As children grow, fathers play a crucial role in teaching problem solving and coping skills while providing the guardrails on behavior, planning, success attainment, and achievement.
On June 19, 1910, the first Father's Day occurred in Spokane, Washington, at the YMCA. Sonora Smart Dodd hosted the event to honor her father, a single dad who raised her and her five siblings.
Annually on the third Sunday of June.
Date: June 19; Observed June 20, 2022
Location: United States
This year, at least in the United States, dads get a three-day weekend. June 19th is also Juneteenth, the newest federal holiday, observed on Monday, June 20th. Juneteenth marks the actual end of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865, nearly two and a half years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in the United States. It is the day when the slaves of Galveston, Texas, finally learn of their release from slavery.
SUPREME COURT SEASON
Dates: Last two-three weeks of June
Location: United States
Decisions of the US Supreme Court arrive in June before the conclusion of its legal year. This season is particularly contentious with decisions on reproductive rights, gun control, affirmative action, and religious liberties.
For my non-American readers, this is how the Supreme Court fits into the US government.
US GOVERNMENT PRIMER
The United States is a representative republic built upon democratic and socialist principles. The federal government's power resides in three separate but equal institutions. The tasks, or job descriptions of each branch, are outlined in the US Constitution. Later amendments were added to the Constitution defining the population's rights or clarifying statements in the Constitution.
The Executive branch is the elected office of the presidency, departments, and its appointed leaders. It administers the country, engages in international affairs, and facilitates interstate commerce and freedom of movement between states while defending and protecting national borders, interests, resources, and assets. The executive branch oversees social welfare and cooperative programs. These are policies and programs designed to support and benefit the population, society, or social well-being. These include in whole or in part interstate public transportation, national parks, education, retirement benefits, some health care, disaster relief, industry subsidies, federal holidays, and programs for the poor and disabled.
The Executive branch cannot declare war, make laws, impose taxes, or determine the national budget. These actions require Congress. Criminal and civil law enforcement falls under justice; the executive branch cannot imprison or arrest American citizens on American soil. These distinctions are vital in separating the executive branch powers from absolute monarchies and dictatorships, which retain these powers. In the US system, no branch or individual has absolute power.
The Legislative branch (Congress) is the people's elected representatives through the House of Representatives. State representation is via the Senate. Currently, US territories and districts do not have representation in the Senate, though some do have non-voting honorary congressional representation in the House. The legislative branch's job is to ensure the people's will is incorporated into decisions, represent their constituents, make laws, and determine the federal budget and taxes. Only Congress can declare war, create taxes, or create new laws (bills). Interpretation of these laws is the job of the judicial branch.
The Judicial branch is the third. It interprets constitutional law and interstate law. It defines how these are applied and has the power to arrest and detain persons, settle differences between states, deal with interstate crime, and serve as a check on both congressional power and executive power. Agencies including the FBI, US Marshals, DEA, and all federal courts and prisons fall under the judicial branch.
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the top federal court and includes nine justices. Presidents appoint these. SCOTUS is the highest court a petitioner can appeal. Its determination is considered final. The absence of a retirement age or term limits for the justices is a unique quirk in American democracy. SCOTUS justices serve for life.
Given the SCOTUS leak earlier this month, this Supreme Court season will be one wild ride. Hang on!
Dates: May 7 - June 30
June concludes the academic year in most of the world, with late May through June hosting most graduation ceremonies. Graduation celebrations compete for caterers and other event suppliers. June is also popular for weddings, reunions, or other mass gatherings. Plan accordingly. And for the graduates? Welcome to the rest of your life. Now the learning starts!
These are the major international sporting events occurring in June.
NBA (Basketball) Finals begin June 2 in the United States.
The Belmont Stakes (Horse Racing) is on June 11 in New York.
24 Hours of Le Mans (Auto Racing) occurs June 11-12 in France.
The Stanley Cup Finals (Hockey) play throughout June in the United States.
The European Archery Championships occur in Germany from June 6-12.
The AFC U-23 Asian Cup (Soccer/Football) is in Uzbekistan from June 1-19.
UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship (Soccer/Football) is from June 26 - to July 9 in the Czech Republic.
The French Open (Tennis) will be played May 29 – June 11 in France, followed by Wimbledon, June 27 – July 10 in England.
INTERNATIONAL MEN'S HEALTH EDUCATION MONTH
Dates: June 1-30
Champion: Pharmacists Public Health Initiatives, Inc.
Playing on Father's Day and other events focused on men, Men's Health Education Awareness Month uses June to help men learn how to safeguard their health and live their lives fully. This event focuses on preventing heart disease, osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction, BPH, STDs, cancer, and other issues.
CARIBBEAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Dates: June 1-30
Location: United States
Champion: Presidential Proclamation
In June 2005, the House of Representatives adopted H. Con. Res. 71, recognizing the significance of Caribbean people in the United States. Later, the White House issued an annual proclamation recognizing June as Caribbean-American Heritage Month. The following is an excerpt from the 2013 presidential proclamation:
"National Caribbean-American Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the enduring achievements of this unique demographic. It is also a chance to recognize men and women who trace their roots to the Caribbean. Caribbean-Americans have made our country stronger through every chapter of our nation's history -- reshaping our politics and reigniting the arts, spurring our movements, and answering the call to serve."
A note of some delight, my international friends, are eternally amused that Americans seem compelled to hyphenate origin with the nation. Nowhere else in the world do people hyphenate. Case in point, have you ever heard or seen in print African-English, Asian-German, or Arab-Australian? Cultural hyphenation is another uniquely American quirk.
HISTORY DAY COMPETITION
June 12, 18, 2022
Champion: National History Day
History Day is a competition that begins in May. It was created in 1974 “to counter the devaluation of history as a field of study.” Students present their research, analysis, and conclusions in one of five formats: a paper, an exhibit, a performance, a documentary, or a website. The contest is open to students in junior high and high school. Each year a theme is released, and students and teachers then choose a topic within that theme. Approximately 500,000 students enter each year, and around 2,500 make it to the finals. About 100 receive awards ranging from $500 to $2000 in winning categories. This year's awards occur on June 12 and June 18.
Most Americans do not realize this, but we do not study history in the United States in K-12. We learn social studies. Social studies focus on when, who, and what, the event's impact on society, the contributions of individuals, and stories. History includes the why and context of the period it occurred. It requires critical thinking, analysis, and the ability to look at events, trends, and the larger picture dispassionately and absent from current political pressures or trends. Whereas social studies are more about sociology and culture, history is closer to science in its analytical approach to information.
Instructions for entering and themes for this year are available at: https://www.nhd.org.
GREENCARE FOR THE TROOPS AWARENESS WEEK
Dates: June 19-25
Location: United States
Champion: Project Evergreen
This event is a charitable program I am highlighting because it can easily be duplicated in other nations on a local level to assist the elderly, disabled, ill, or families of the deployed. It has proven highly successful for those administered and those who volunteered.
As the weather warms and the grass grows, Greencare for the Troops Week encourages volunteers to help with outdoor care (mowing lawns, pulling weeds, watering plants) at the homes of families of deployed active servicemen and women, the deceased, elderly, and injured veterans.
Project Evergreen also hosts a Snowcare for the Troops Week each winter. See the organization's website for information on participating within your area, either as someone needing help or as a volunteer. http://projectevergreen.org/greencare-and-snowcare-for-troops/.
55th ANNIVERSARY OF THE ATTACK ON THE USS LIBERTY, JUNE 8, 1967
This issue closes with an in-depth look at an anniversary, the attack on the USS Liberty.
On June 8, 1967, a foreign nation launched a surprise 75-minute air and sea attack on an American naval ship, the USS Liberty, in international waters. The United States was not at war in the region. Ultimately, 34 men died, and 172 were wounded. The American government opted to bury the assault for diplomatic favor and assuage a foreign nation's vanity following the attack.
The USS Liberty story epitomizes bravery and beating the odds. It is the kind of story Hollywood loves, and Hollywood tried to tell the Liberty's story in the mid-1980s. Interests benefiting from silence threatened participants in the film with blacklisting, effectively shutting it down. One gruesome threat arrived via a decapitated cat thrown on a survivor's front porch. The intimidation of the survivors and producers of the Liberty feature film exemplifies why it is difficult to speak about the attack and why most Americans do not know about it.
On June 8, 1967, the USS Liberty sailed quietly in the eastern Mediterranean, going about its business monitoring events in the region. It was a perfect late spring day, and the ship was in international waters, well away from the shore.
Preceding the ambush, the crew felt safe, having observed up to nine reconnaissance flights by the Israeli air force, in marked planes, over the ship throughout the morning. Israel was currently in combat with Egypt and Syria, but the Liberty was outside the territorial waters of the combatants. On its mast hung a giant ceremonial American flag (20 by 38 feet, six by 11.5 meters). Israel was and continues to be an ally of the United States; the Israelis were watching out for them, the crew thought. The US was not at war in the region, and the ship, lightly armed, was no threat.
With lunch concluded and the galley cleared, several off-duty crewmen were sunbathing on the main deck. Suddenly, at 14:00 hours, unmarked fighter jets descended upon the ship and attacked. Under fire, the communications room frantically called for help using both military and international civilian maritime frequencies, only to discover their communications were jammed. Jamming civilian frequencies violates international law, and only an ally might know the Liberty's top-secret military frequencies. Yet, both were jammed. The Liberty found itself alone, without comms, and fighting for its life against an unknown enemy. The nearest American aircraft carrier was 500 miles (805 km) away.
The jets attacking were modern, fast, and agile; the Liberty's crew could see this much. But who was shooting, and why? Was it the USSR or another state actor with an advanced air force? Nobody on the Liberty knew, nor would they know for most of the 75-minute strike. The attacker concealed the identifying markings on their planes, making them ghost planes, unknown. Three military ships, as yet unidentified, were spotted approaching quickly on the horizon.
The crew of the Liberty scrambled to hold the ship together, destroying sensitive documents and attending to the wounded as bullets and napalm engulfed the deck. The ship's armaments were useless, designed to repel boarders, not a sustained air and sea attack. The Liberty was not a warship; it was an intelligence ship. One of the first targets hit in the attack was its primary gun, and both gunnery technicians died instantly.
An hour into the assault, the crew discovered their attacker's identity, the air and naval forces of the state of Israel. The markings on the nearest warship became visible. One of the Liberty's officers noted its Star of David as he witnessed it using its deck guns to shoot the crewmen attempting to launch the lifeboats (a war crime). The gunfire rendered the dinghies unusable, trapping the Liberty's crew on the ship. Ultimately, the Israeli navy fired five torpedoes at the American ship. Four missed, but one hit the Liberty mid-ship, punching a 45 ft (13.7 meters) hole in its side and killing at least twenty instantly. The vessel was taking on water fast.
Israeli forces were close to sinking the ship when Israeli command intercepted communications confirming the American Air Force was on its way (the Liberty crew jury-rigged a radio and finally got a call out). The Israeli attack boats and planes retreated. Some minutes later, a helicopter appeared to check on the ship. The note dropped from the aircraft landed in a bundle beside a severed leg on the main deck, and the Liberty's captain picked it up.
"Do you have any casualties?" it asked cheekily.
Reading it, Captain McGonagle paused, looked up, and presented the hovering airship with a pronounced, sustained, and defiantly blatant bird (middle finger). Upon receiving the message, the helicopter slithered back to its base. McGonagle and the crew went to work navigating the severely listing ship to safe harbor, six days away in Malta. The rescue never arrived. On the orders of US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, the US government pulled the rescue jets back once they confirmed who was attacking. The attack was over, but the drama was just beginning for the survivors.
Within hours of their arrival in Malta, US intelligence forbade the survivors from telling their stories. Years later, Lt. James Ennes, who was on the bridge of the USS Liberty during the attack, defied the gag order. He authored the first book on the attack, published in 1980, Assault on the Liberty.
The US government's handling of the atrocity, including calling back the rescue planes upon confirmation that Israel was the belligerent, is unprecedented in US military history.
A TRAGIC CASE OF MISIDENTIFICATION...
The state of Israel said it misidentified the USS Liberty, believing it to be a civilian Egyptian freighter. Accepting this premise requires factual gymnastics.
First, aside from no similarity in ship silhouette, civilian ships do not use military grey; it is camouflage.
Second, the ship's oversized standard would need to change to an Egyptian flag, not American. Other than the color red, the flags of Egypt and the United States have nothing in common.
Next, in the first two minutes, the single gun turret and all communications antennas were disabled in precision airstrikes. Some freighters may have deck-mounted machine guns; they do not have a military-grade canon, even a small one, like the Liberty. Nor did 1967-era civilian freighters have dozens of high-tech antennas emanating from the bridge and upper decks.
Finally, if the Israelis believed the ship to be an Egyptian freighter, why jam US military communications channels? To do so required knowledge of its top-secret frequencies, and a civilian freighter, particularly one of a foreign nation, would not know these or use them.
None of these facts mattered. Israel insisted the attack was a massive error, a misjudgment. It was simple incompetence. Israel's version became the accepted narrative.
ONE SHIP, 239 COMMENDATIONS CLANDESTINELY AWARDED
Upon their return to the United States, the Liberty and its captain, William McGonagle, received the Medal of Honor (MoH) for guiding the heavily damaged ship from the eastern Mediterranean to Malta. Typically, as they are so rare, MoH awards are awarded by the President of the United States in a public ceremony. The Department of Defense awarded the Liberty's in a clandestine ceremony. In addition to the MoH, crew members received two Navy Crosses, eleven Silver Stars, twenty Bronze Stars, nine Navy Commendation Medals, two hundred and four Purple Hearts, and the ship received the Presidential Unit Citation. None of these ceremonies occurred publicly. The awards were secret, under threat of court-martial or imprisonment if the recipients disclosed how or why they received their commendations.
The Israeli pilot transcripts debunk the misidentification lie and several others. American intelligence acquired access to these shortly after the attack. The transcripts prove Israeli command knew it was an American ship when they attacked with gunfire, bombs, torpedos, and napalm. Their mission, confirmed by the pilot transcripts, was to sink the ship. Why continues to be speculation. As a spy ship, the logical conclusion is that Israel was about to engage in something it didn't want to be recorded, even by its closest ally.
After the first few days, the media could not tell this story due to US censorship. More recently, avoidance is due to aggressive activities by the Israel lobby. Lobby activities focus on defamation, slander, and libel of crewmen and journalists who dare report on it. An intensive disinformation campaign via books, videos, and speeches on the attack, is also part of the strategy.
Ironically, one diplomat was horrified by the attack, and he did take action. Officially protesting Israel's assault and the subsequent US whitewash of the event at the time, he implored Tel Aviv to come clean and make amends. Who was this man of character and gravitas? Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Avraham Harman.
Harman tried, and he was one of few who officially did. In 1968, after nine years in his post, he was succeeded as ambassador by Yitzhak Rabin.
In Malta and back in the United States, the USS Liberty underwent 40 million dollars in repairs. Ultimately, the highly decorated ship was beyond full restoration, and she was stripped, partitioned, and sold for scrap.
Since the attack, the survivors and the families of the USS Liberty have lobbied the US government for full recognition. As of May 2022, despite it being one of the most decorated ships in US history, there is no official US memorial commemorating the survivors or the attack. The US government has not publicly and formally recognized the USS Liberty in totality, removed the gag orders, or publicly celebrated the crew's extreme bravery, endurance, and fortitude on that day. Nor has it defended and protected the crew and their families from defamation by interests associated with the attacking nation. Fifty-five years later, the survivors and the families of the slain continue to fight, hoping the American people will push their government into acknowledging them publicly and end the harassment.
A) For more information on the USS Liberty, see the survivor's site at: http://www.gtr5.com.
B) Al Jazeera's (AJ) 2014 fifty-minute documentary is the most recent and concise: The Day Israel Attacked America:
on YouTube with commercials.
Or on AJ without commercials: https://www.aljazeera.com/program/featured-documentaries/2014/10/30/the-day-israel-attacked-america
The AJ special report includes the actual Israeli pilot radio calls with control. It is the first to publish these.
C) The 2002 BBC documentary USS Liberty, Dead In the Water is available here:
The BBC documentary came out before Admiral Thomas Moorer's testimony and the leaking of the Israeli pilot transcripts a few years later. It is also good but not as current or detailed as the AJ special report.
That's a wrap. The next issue will have the same format unless feedback says differently. The event spotlight for the next issue will be Hajj, which is fascinating. See you in a few weeks. Cheers!
Please correct "formerly" to "formally" in the final paragraph. Also, I think it would have been appropriate to note that the $40M Liberty -- recently refurbished/made into a state-of-the-art intelligence-gathering vessel -- was so mangled and unrepairable that it was, in due course, sold somewhere in the US for *scrap value*!
Otherwise, a great and informative and damning report! Appreciated....