Late game thoughts on the brain damaged puppet McCain and his supporters.
This photo can also apply to the Obama zombies.
Oct. 25, 2008
Here is one of the biggest differences between the parties, in my view, and it’s one of style: Democrats sometimes tell the truth, especially when they’re talking about Republicans. But Republicans never tell the truth about anything, even — especially! — about the Democrats.
None of this is news; more than 50 years ago, in the midst of another rancid and rancorous campaign, Adlai Stevenson offered a solution to the animosity, saying if the Republicans would stop lying about the Democrats, the Democrats would stop telling the truth about the Republicans.
With the failure of the Republican party to nominate a candidate who can even pretend to be level-headed, it’s going to take a massive hack to deliver the proper result in this election. The inevitable backlash will be dealt with — but the wealthy have to be onside. And McCain is doing his insane best to make sure they are.
Read the rest
Meghan McCain was in Denver yesterday to pitch her new book about her father and her. Dad John arrives today where he will campaign with former Denver Quarterback John Elway. From her interview with local 7 News,
John McCain’s daughter calls campaigning with him “like being on tour with a band except we’re trying to save the world.”
Katie Couric asked John McCain when was the last time he cried.
John McCain: I cry regularly.
Couric: You do?
McCain: Aw, yeah. You know, I’m very sentimental.
Charles Fried, a professor at Harvard Law School, has long been one of the most important conservative thinkers in the United States. Under President Reagan, he served, with great distinction, as Solicitor General of the United States. Since then, he has been prominently associated with several Republican leaders and candidates, most recently John McCain, for whom he expressed his enthusiastic support in January.
This week, Fried announced that he has voted for Obama-Biden by absentee ballot. In his letter to Trevor Potter, the General Counsel to the McCain-Palin campaign, he asked that his name be removed from the several campaign-related committees on which he serves. In that letter, he said that chief among the reasons for his decision “is the choice of Sarah Palin at a time of deep national crisis.”
Fried is exceptionally thoughtful and principled; his vote for Obama is especially noteworthy.
Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat and veteran of the civil rights movement felt compelled to chastise John McCain by comparing him to George Wallace.
New Release POW – John McCain
Added: October 23, 2008
by Roy Murtishaw
After nearly eight years of the Bushevik’s witless madness, we’ve progressed from idiocy overload to outrage burnout. However, the latest ” lies are the new truths ” outrages have merely escalated since the McCain-Palin reptiles have taken the field.
A review of John McCain’s life, political career, personality, and character reveal remarkable similarities to George W. Bush. Both men are the sons and grandsons of distinguished men; McCain’s father and grandfather were both 4 star admirals and Bush’s father was a POTUS, his grandfather a United States Senator from Connecticut. Both Bush and McCain were largely undistinguished until mid-life and their late life success has been mostly bought, manufactured and fraudulent. In fact, an unbiased review of both Bush and McCain strongly indicates the most authentic characteristic of both men is how thoroughly inauthentic they are in matters of character, intellect and judgment.
John McCain was called John McNasty during his prep school days and despite his marginal record, his family connections secured him a place in the United States Naval Academy and, as is true of Bush in never being accountable, he continued his “McNasty” behavior both on the campus and in the classroom. Not surprisingly, McCain managed to graduate 894th out of 899 in his class. Despite his dismal record, again Mccain suffered no normal consequences, and was able to leap frog over countless new midshipmen being accepted as a prospective Naval Aviator.
As a result, John McCain ” lost ” 5 jets during his aviation career and even reportedly was involved in a tragic fire resulting in the deaths of 134 and severe injuries to another 161 sailors on the deck of the USS Forrestal in 1967 when his “wetstarting” hotdogging of his plane caused a chain reaction of explosions and firestorms on the deck. McCain was spirited off the plane by helicopter to spare him the murderous rage of his fellow sailors.
Somehow (Daddy, John Sidney McCain II? ), John SidneyMcCain III was able to exit the war as an acclaimed hero and has subsequently milked his suspect war record to enjoy a 26 year carreer as a star in the Republican Party.
McCain has fashioned his political career from his phony fabric of “straight talking,” “family values,” and eschewing big money influence. His actions, though, actually totally shred the fabric, leaving only worthless threads.
When he returned to his courageous first wife who had been gravely injured and disfigured in an automobile accident and had kept this from her husband so as to not add to his already significant burdens, she was greeted by McCain’s contempt which fueled his compulsive womanizing until McCain met Cindy Hensley, a woman of striking beauty and incredible wealth and 18 years his junior.
The married McCain thus began a worldwide courtship and married Cindy just weeks after his divorce from Carol. Cindy and her family wealth soon financed McCain’s political career, not to mention his enormous gambling debts, in his newly adopted state of Arizona. While carefully creating a high-minded persona, the real McCain has been a fervent advocate for the moneyed elite, awol on children’s issues, remarkably light in supporting veterans issues.and such a champion of flip-flopping he now disavows bills he himself sponsored and that bear his name.
McCain’s demonstrated extraordinary lack of intellect, character, judgment and consistency was never more clearly displayed than with his selection of Sara Palin as his running mate.
Sara Palin is anti-choice in all instances except the life of the mother, anti-sex education, anti-evolution, anti-global warming. She is, however, pro-wolf slaughter from airplanes, pro-Council for National Policy right wing extremism, pro-literal biblical interpretation, pro- Newt Gingrich’s GOPAC training where she was graduated with honors, pro-abstinence only sex education despite her 17-year-old daughter’s unwed pregnancy, pro-abuse of elected authority, pro-compulsive lying and pro-perpetual war. She is so abominably unqualified for the office of the presidency or vice-presidency, her selection decidedly confirms McCain’s own abominably demented decision-making.
Despite the frightening formation of the McCain/Palin team, many of our corporatist MSM spokemen such as Tom Brokaw, Bob Shiefer, David Gregory, Fox News, Right Wing Radio, etc. continue to spin their candidacy as favorably as possible. Conversely, the Obama/Biden ticket is spun as negatively as neccessary to insure some degree of competiveness for ratings/ad revenue purposes and to hopefully prevent any chance the corporatist-globalist-dominionist-neo con cabal will not be challenged.
All the above having been said, the events in store leading up to the November elections should be a cacophony of out-of-whackness. Fargo Police Chief, Marge Gunderson’s evil twin–a.k.a.Sara Palin–has been officially designated the McCain mob’s muscle and has already begun her campaign of lobbing smears. Pat Buchanan now acts as head cheerleader of her chants tying Obama to terrorists, wacky preachers, elitism, charmlessness, corruption. All this coming from a woman who is married to an Alaska secessionist, who’s own preacher frequently employs a Kenyan witch doctor to cast out demons which might impede Sara’s political ambitions, who openly embraces the “end times” and the joys of the impending rapture. From a woman whose political gurus include indicted U.S. senators, Newt Gingrich, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, who gets her political quotes off of Star Bucks mocha cups while being unable to name a single newspaper she reads even though she reportedly received a BA degree in journalism after attending six colleges in six years.
McCain meanwhile has chosen to echo Palin’s mud slinging in hopes of “generating doubts” about his opponent with the strange name, strange childhood stays in places like Indonesia and …..Hawaii, strange religious beliefs arising from a church called the United Church of Christ–which might be a clever trick to hide Obama’s godless Muslim exposure when he briefly attended elementary schools accepting muslim children and most especially his strange genetic ties to the “dark ” continent of Africa.
Meanwhile back at the McCain ranch in Arizona, McCain is emphasizing his ordinariness (if you don’t count his own constant reminders he is a war hero, he is a POW survivor) and, save a few Keatingesque slips, he has been a crusader for justice, the American Way and apple pie in the United States Senate for decades. His dearth of strangeness also discounts the facts he has 9 additional homes, he owns 13 cars and a private jet, his wife has an inherited beer fortune of over $100 million, he wears $550 dollar loafers, he recently spent $5500 to be made up for a TV appearance, and he is able to win or lose tens of thousands of IRS unreported dollars at casino crap tables without fear.
Roy Murtishaw is a 65 year-old disabled/retired psychotherapist who is a proud progressive activist despite having lived in Pine Bluff, Arkansas amidst extreme conservatives all his life.
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam
Research support provided by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute. This is an expanded version, with primary documents attached, of a story that appears in the October 6, 2008 issue of The Nation.
By Sydney H. Schanberg
John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn’t return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.
Almost as striking is the manner in which the mainstream press has shied from reporting the POW story and McCain’s role in it, even as the Republican Party has made McCain’s military service the focus of his presidential campaign. Reporters who had covered the Vietnam War turned their heads and walked in other directions. McCain doesn’t talk about the missing men, and the press never asks him about them.
The sum of the secrets McCain has sought to hide is not small. There exists a telling mass of official documents, radio intercepts, witness depositions, satellite photos of rescue symbols that pilots were trained to use, electronic messages from the ground containing the individual code numbers given to airmen, a rescue mission by a special forces unit that was aborted twice by Washington—and even sworn testimony by two Defense secretaries that “men were left behind.” This imposing body of evidence suggests that a large number—the documents indicate probably hundreds—of the US prisoners held by Vietnam were not returned when the peace treaty was signed in January 1973 and Hanoi released 591 men, among them Navy combat pilot John S. McCain.
Mass of Evidence
The Pentagon had been withholding significant information from POW families for years. What’s more, the Pentagon’s POW/MIA operation had been publicly shamed by internal whistleblowers and POW families for holding back documents as part of a policy of “debunking” POW intelligence even when the information was obviously credible.
The pressure from the families and Vietnam veterans finally forced the creation, in late 1991, of a Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. The chairman was John Kerry. McCain, as a former POW, was its most pivotal member. In the end, the committee became part of the debunking machine.
One of the sharpest critics of the Pentagon’s performance was an insider, Air Force Lieut. Gen. Eugene Tighe, who headed the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) during the 1970s. He openly challenged the Pentagon’s position that no live prisoners existed, saying that the evidence proved otherwise. McCain was a bitter opponent of Tighe, who was eventually pushed into retirement.
Included in the evidence that McCain and his government allies suppressed or sought to discredit is a transcript of a senior North Vietnamese general’s briefing of the Hanoi politburo, discovered in Soviet archives by an American scholar in 1993. The briefing took place only four months before the 1973 peace accords. The general, Tran Van Quang, told the politburo members that Hanoi was holding 1,205 American prisoners but would keep many of them at war’s end as leverage to ensure getting war reparations from Washington.
Throughout the Paris negotiations, the North Vietnamese tied the prisoner issue tightly to the issue of reparations. They were adamant in refusing to deal with them separately. Finally, in a February 2, 1973, formal letter to Hanoi’s premier, Pham Van Dong, Nixon pledged $3.25 billion in “postwar reconstruction” aid “without any political conditions.” But he also attached to the letter a codicil that said the aid would be implemented by each party “in accordance with its own constitutional provisions.” That meant Congress would have to approve the appropriation, and Nixon and Kissinger knew well that Congress was in no mood to do so. The North Vietnamese, whether or not they immediately understood the double-talk in the letter, remained skeptical about the reparations promise being honored – and it never was. Hanoi thus appears to have held back prisoners—just as it had done when the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and withdrew their forces from Vietnam. In that case, France paid ransoms for prisoners and brought them home.
In a private briefing in 1992, high-level CIA officials told me that as the years passed and the ransom never came, it became more and more difficult for either government to admit that it knew from the start about the unacknowledged prisoners. Those prisoners had not only become useless as bargaining chips but also posed a risk to Hanoi’s desire to be accepted into the international community. The CIA officials said their intelligence indicated strongly that the remaining men—those who had not died from illness or hard labor or torture—were eventually executed.
My own research, detailed below, has convinced me that it is not likely that more than a few—if any—are alive in captivity today. (That CIA briefing at the agency’s Langley, Virginia, headquarters was conducted “off the record,” but because the evidence from my own reporting since then has brought me to the same conclusion, I felt there was no longer any point in not writing about the meeting.)
For many reasons, including the absence of a political constituency for the missing men other than their families and some veterans’ groups, very few Americans are aware of the POW story and of McCain’s role in keeping it out of public view and denying the existence of abandoned POWs. That is because McCain has hardly been alone in his campaign to hide the scandal.
The Arizona Senator, now the Republican candidate for President, has actually been following the lead of every White House since Richard Nixon’s and thus of every CIA director, Pentagon chief and national security advisor, not to mention Dick Cheney, who was George H. W. Bush’s defense secretary. Their biggest accomplice has been an indolent press, particularly in Washington.
An early and critical McCain secrecy move involved 1990 legislation that started in the House of Representatives. A brief and simple document, it was called “the Truth Bill” and would have compelled complete transparency about prisoners and missing men. Its core sentence reads: “[The] head of each department or agency which holds or receives any records and information, including live-sighting reports, which have been correlated or possibly correlated to United States personnel listed as prisoner of war or missing in action from World War II, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam conflict, shall make available to the public all such records held or received by that department or agency.”
Bitterly opposed by the Pentagon (and thus McCain), the bill went nowhere. Reintroduced the following year, it again disappeared. But a few months later, a new measure, known as “the McCain Bill,” suddenly appeared. By creating a bureaucratic maze from which only a fraction of the documents could emerge—only records that revealed no POW secrets—it turned the Truth Bill on its head. (See one example, at left, when the Pentagon cited McCain’s bill in rejecting a FOIA request.) The McCain bill became law in 1991 and remains so today. So crushing to transparency are its provisions that it actually spells out for the Pentagon and other agencies several rationales, scenarios and justifications for not releasing any information at all—even about prisoners discovered alive in captivity. Later that year, the Senate Select Committee was created, where Kerry and McCain ultimately worked together to bury evidence.
McCain was also instrumental in amending the Missing Service Personnel Act, which had been strengthened in 1995 by POW advocates to include criminal penalties, saying: “Any government official who knowingly and willfully withholds from the file of a missing person any information relating to the disappearance or whereabouts and status of a missing person shall be fined as provided in Title 18 or imprisoned not more than one year or both.” A year later, in a closed House-Senate conference on an unrelated military bill, McCain, at the behest of the Pentagon, attached a crippling amendment to the act, stripping out its only enforcement teeth, the criminal penalties, and reducing the obligations of commanders in the field to speedily search for missing men and to report the incidents to the Pentagon.
About the relaxation of POW/MIA obligations on commanders in the field, a public McCain memo said: “This transfers the bureaucracy involved out of the [battle] field to Washington.” He wrote that the original legislation, if left intact, “would accomplish nothing but create new jobs for lawyers and turn military commanders into clerks.”
McCain argued that keeping the criminal penalties would have made it impossible for the Pentagon to find staffers willing to work on POW/MIA matters. That’s an odd argument to make. Were staffers only “willing to work” if they were allowed to conceal POW records? By eviscerating the law, McCain gave his stamp of approval to the government policy of debunking the existence of live POWs.
McCain has insisted again and again that all the evidence—documents, witnesses, satellite photos, two Pentagon chiefs’ sworn testimony, aborted rescue missions, ransom offers apparently scorned—has been woven together by unscrupulous deceivers to create an insidious and unpatriotic myth. He calls it the “bizarre rantings of the MIA hobbyists.” He has regularly vilified those who keep trying to pry out classified documents as “hoaxers,” charlatans,” “conspiracy theorists” and “dime-store Rambos.”
Some of McCain’s fellow captives at Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi didn’t share his views about prisoners left behind. Before he died of leukemia in 1999, retired Col. Ted Guy, a highly admired POW and one of the most dogged resisters in the camps, wrote an angry open letter to the senator in an MIA newsletter—a response to McCain’s stream of insults hurled at MIA activists. Guy wrote: “John, does this [the insults] include Senator Bob Smith [a New Hampshire Republican and activist on POW issues] and other concerned elected officials? Does this include the families of the missing where there is overwhelming evidence that their loved ones were ‘last known alive’? Does this include some of your fellow POWs?”
It’s not clear whether the taped confession McCain gave to his captors to avoid further torture has played a role in his post-war behavior in the Senate. That confession was played endlessly over the prison loudspeaker system at Hoa Lo—to try to break down other prisoners—and was broadcast over Hanoi’s state radio. Reportedly, he confessed to being a war criminal who had bombed civilian targets. The Pentagon has a copy of the confession but will not release it. Also, no outsider I know of has ever seen a non-redacted copy of the debriefing of McCain when he returned from captivity, which is classified but could be made public by McCain. (See the Pentagon’s rejection of my attempt to obtain records of this debriefing, at left.)
All humans have breaking points. Many men undergoing torture give confessions, often telling huge lies so their fakery will be understood by their comrades and their country. Few will fault them. But it was McCain who apparently felt he had disgraced himself and his military family. His father, John S. McCain II, was a highly regarded rear admiral then serving as commander of all US forces in the Pacific. His grandfather was also a rear admiral.
In his bestselling 1999 autobiography, Faith of My Fathers, McCain says he felt bad throughout his captivity because he knew he was being treated more leniently than his fellow POWs, owing to his high-ranking father and thus his propaganda value. Other prisoners at Hoa Lo say his captors considered him a prize catch and called him the “Crown Prince,” something McCain acknowledges in the book.
Also in this memoir, McCain expresses guilt at having broken under torture and given the confession. “I felt faithless and couldn’t control my despair,” he writes, revealing that he made two “feeble” attempts at suicide. (In later years, he said he tried to hang himself with his shirt and guards intervened.) Tellingly, he says he lived in “dread” that his father would find out about the confession. “I still wince,” he writes, “when I recall wondering if my father had heard of my disgrace.”
He says that when he returned home, he told his father about the confession, but “never discussed it at length”—and the Admiral, who died in 1981, didn’t indicate he had heard anything about it before. But he had. In the 1999 memoir, the senator writes: “I only recently learned that the tape…had been broadcast outside the prison and had come to the attention of my father.”
Is McCain haunted by these memories? Does he suppress POW information because its surfacing would rekindle his feelings of shame? On this subject, all I have are questions.
Many stories have been written about McCain’s explosive temper, so volcanic that colleagues are loathe to speak openly about it. One veteran congressman who has observed him over the years asked for confidentiality and made this brief comment: “This is a man not at peace with himself.”
He was certainly far from calm on the Senate POW committee. He browbeat expert witnesses who came with information about unreturned POWs. Family members who have personally faced McCain and pressed him to end the secrecy also have been treated to his legendary temper. He has screamed at them, insulted them, brought women to tears. Mostly his responses to them have been versions of: How dare you question my patriotism? In 1996, he roughly pushed aside a group of POW family members who had waited outside a hearing room to appeal to him, including a mother in a wheelchair.
But even without answers to what may be hidden in the recesses of McCain’s mind, one thing about the POW story is clear: If American prisoners were dishonored by being written off and left to die, that’s something the American public ought to know about.
10 Key Pieces of Evidence That Men Were Left Behind
1. In Paris, where the Vietnam peace treaty was negotiated, the United States asked Hanoi for the list of American prisoners to be returned, fearing that Hanoi would hold some prisoners back. The North Vietnamese refused, saying they would produce the list only after the treaty was signed. Nixon agreed with Kissinger that they had no leverage left, and Kissinger signed the accord on January 27, 1973, without the prisoner list. When Hanoi produced its list of 591 prisoners the next day, US intelligence agencies expressed shock at the low number. Their number was hundreds higher. The New York Times published a long, page-one story on February 2, 1973, about the discrepancy, especially raising questions about the number of prisoners held in Laos, only nine of whom were being returned. The headline read, in part: “Laos POW List Shows 9 from US —Document Disappointing to Washington as 311 Were Believed Missing.” And the story, by John Finney, said that other Washington officials “believe the number of prisoners [in Laos] is probably substantially higher.” The paper never followed up with any serious investigative reporting—nor did any other mainstream news organization.
2. Two defense secretaries who served during the Vietnam War testified to the Senate POW committee in September 1992 that prisoners were not returned. James Schlesinger and Melvin Laird, both speaking at a public session and under oath, said they based their conclusions on strong intelligence data—letters, eyewitness reports, even direct radio contacts. Under questioning, Schlesinger chose his words carefully, understanding clearly the volatility of the issue: “I think that as of now that I can come to no other conclusion…some were left behind.” This ran counter to what President Nixon told the public in a nationally televised speech on March 29, 1973, when the repatriation of the 591 was in motion: “Tonight,” Nixon said, “the day we have all worked and prayed for has finally come. For the first time in twelve years, no American military forces are in Vietnam. All our American POWs are on their way home.” Documents unearthed since then show that aides had already briefed Nixon about the contrary evidence.
Schlesinger was asked by the Senate committee for his explanation of why President Nixon would have made such a statement when he knew Hanoi was still holding prisoners. He replied: “One must assume that we had concluded that the bargaining position of the United States…was quite weak. We were anxious to get our troops out and we were not going to roil the waters…” This testimony struck me as a bombshell. The New York Times appropriately reported it on page one but again there was no sustained follow-up by the Times or any other major paper or national news outlet.
3. Over the years, the DIA received more than 1,600 first-hand sightings of live American prisoners and nearly 14,000 second-hand reports. Many witnesses interrogated by CIA or Pentagon intelligence agents were deemed “credible” in the agents’ reports. Some of the witnesses were given lie-detector tests and passed. Sources provided me with copies of these witness reports, which are impressive in their detail. A lot of the sightings described a secondary tier of prison camps many miles from Hanoi. Yet the DIA, after reviewing all these reports, concluded that they “do not constitute evidence” that men were alive.
4. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, listening stations picked up messages in which Laotian military personnel spoke about moving American prisoners from one labor camp to another. These listening posts were manned by Thai communications officers trained by the National Security Agency (NSA), which monitors signals worldwide. The NSA teams had moved out after the fall of Saigon in 1975 and passed the job to the Thai allies. But when the Thais turned these messages over to Washington, the intelligence community ruled that since the intercepts were made by a “third party”—namely Thailand—they could not be regarded as authentic. That’s some Catch-22: The US trained a third party to take over its role in monitoring signals about POWs, but because that third party did the monitoring, the messages weren’t valid.
Here, from CIA files, is an example that clearly exposes the farce. On December 27, 1980, a Thai military signal team picked up a message saying that prisoners were being moved out of Attopeu (in southern Laos) by aircraft “at 1230 hours.” Three days later a message was sent from the CIA station in Bangkok to the CIA director’s office in Langley. It read, in part: “The prisoners…are now in the valley in permanent location (a prison camp at Nhommarath in Central Laos). They were transferred from Attopeu to work in various places…POWs were formerly kept in caves and are very thin, dark and starving.” Apparently the prisoners were real. But the transmission was declared “invalid” by Washington because the information came from a “third party” and thus could not be deemed credible.
5. A series of what appeared to be distress signals from Vietnam and Laos were captured by the government’s satellite system in the late 1980s and early ’90s. (Before that period, no search for such signals had been put in place.) Not a single one of these markings was ever deemed credible. To the layman’s eye, the satellite photos, some of which I’ve seen, show markings on the ground that are identical to the signals that American pilots had been specifically trained to use in their survival courses—such as certain letters, like X or K, drawn in a special way. Other markings were the secret four-digit authenticator numbers given to individual pilots. But time and again, the Pentagon, backed by the CIA, insisted that humans had not made these markings. What were they, then? “Shadows and vegetation,” the government said, insisting that the markings were merely normal topographical contours like saw-grass or rice-paddy divider walls. It was the automatic response—shadows and vegetation. On one occasion, a Pentagon photo expert refused to go along. It was a missing man’s name gouged into a field, he said, not trampled grass or paddy berms. His bosses responded by bringing in an outside contractor who found instead, yes, shadows and vegetation. This refrain led Bob Taylor, a highly regarded investigator on the Senate committee staff who had examined the photographic evidence, to comment to me: “If grass can spell out people’s names and a secret digit codes, then I have a newfound respect for grass.”
6. On November 11, 1992, Dolores Alfond, the sister of missing airman Capt. Victor Apodaca and chair of the National Alliance of Families, an organization of relatives of POW/MIAs, testified at one of the Senate committee’s public hearings. She asked for information about data the government had gathered from electronic devices used in a classified program known as PAVE SPIKE.
The devices were motion sensors, dropped by air, designed to pick up enemy troop movements. Shaped on one end like a spike with an electronic pod and antenna on top, they were designed to stick in the ground as they fell. Air Force planes would drop them along the Ho Chi Minh trail and other supply routes. The devices, though primarily sensors, also had rescue capabilities. Someone on the ground—a downed airman or a prisoner on a labor gang —could manually enter data into the sensor. All data were regularly collected electronically by US planes flying overhead. Alfond stated, without any challenge or contradiction by the committee, that in 1974, a year after the supposedly complete return of prisoners, the gathered data showed that a person or people had manually entered into the sensors—as US pilots had been trained to do—”no less than 20 authenticator numbers that corresponded exactly to the classified authenticator numbers of 20 US POWs who were lost in Laos.” Alfond added, according to the transcript: “This PAVE SPIKE intelligence is seamless, but the committee has not discussed it or released what it knows about PAVE SPIKE.”
McCain attended that committee hearing specifically to confront Alfond because of her criticism of the panel’s work. He bellowed and berated her for quite a while. His face turning anger-pink, he accused her of “denigrating” his “patriotism.” The bullying had its effect—she began to cry.
After a pause Alfond recovered and tried to respond to his scorching tirade, but McCain simply turned away and stormed out of the room. The PAVE SPIKE file has never been declassified. We still don’t know anything about those twenty POWs.
7. As previously mentioned, in April 1993, in a Moscow archive, a researcher from Harvard, Stephen Morris, unearthed and made public the transcript of a briefing that General Tran Van Quang gave to the Hanoi politburo four months before the signing of the Paris peace accords in 1973.
In the transcript, General Quang told the Hanoi politburo that 1,205 US prisoners were being held. Quang said that many of the prisoners would be held back from Washington after the accords as bargaining chips for war reparations. General Quang’s report added: “This is a big number. Officially, until now, we published a list of only 368 prisoners of war. The rest we have not revealed. The government of the USA knows this well, but it does not know the exact number…and can only make guesses based on its losses. That is why we are keeping the number of prisoners of war secret, in accordance with the politburo’s instructions.” The report then went on to explain in clear and specific language that a large number would be kept back to ensure reparations.
The reaction to the document was immediate. After two decades of denying it had kept any prisoners, Hanoi responded to the revelation by calling the transcript a fabrication.
Similarly, Washington—which had over the same two decades refused to recant Nixon’s declaration that all the prisoners had been returned—also shifted into denial mode. The Pentagon issued a statement saying the document “is replete with errors, omissions and propaganda that seriously damage its credibility,” and that the numbers were “inconsistent with our own accounting.”
Neither American nor Vietnamese officials offered any rationale for who would plant a forged document in the Soviet archives and why they would do so. Certainly neither Washington nor Moscow—closely allied with Hanoi—would have any motive, since the contents were embarrassing to all parties, and since both the United States and Vietnam had consistently denied the existence of unreturned prisoners. The Russian archivists simply said the document was “authentic.”
8. In his 2002 book, Inside Delta Force, Retired Command Sgt. Major Eric Haney described how in 1981 his special forces unit, after rigorous training for a POW rescue mission, had the mission suddenly aborted, revived a year later and again abruptly aborted. Haney writes that this abandonment of captured soldiers ate at him for years and left him disillusioned about his government’s vows to leave no men behind.
“Years later, I spoke at length with a former highly placed member of the North Vietnamese diplomatic corps, and this person asked me point-blank: ‘Why did the Americans never attempt to recover their remaining POWs after the conclusion of the war?'” Haney writes. He continued, saying that he came to believe senior government officials had called off those missions in 1981 and 1982. (His account is on pages 314 to 321 of my paperback copy of the book.)
9. There is also evidence that in the first months of Ronald Reagan’s presidency in 1981, the White House received a ransom proposal for a number of POWs being held by Hanoi in Indochina. The offer, which was passed to Washington from an official of a third country, was apparently discussed at a meeting in the Roosevelt Room attended by Reagan, Vice-President Bush, CIA director William Casey and National Security Advisor Richard Allen. Allen confirmed the offer in sworn testimony to the Senate POW committee on June 23, 1992.
Allen was allowed to testify behind closed doors and no information was released. But a San Diego Union-Tribune reporter, Robert Caldwell, obtained the portion relating to the ransom offer and reported on it. The ransom request was for $4 billion, Allen testified. He said he told Reagan that “it would be worth the president’s going along and let’s have the negotiation.” When his testimony appeared in the Union Tribune, Allen quickly wrote a letter to the panel, this time not under oath, recanting the ransom story and claiming his memory had played tricks on him. His new version was that some POW activists had asked him about such an offer in a meeting that took place in 1986, when he was no longer in government. “It appears,” he said in the letter, “that there never was a 1981 meeting about the return of POW/MIAs for $4 billion.”
But the episode didn’t end there. A Treasury agent on Secret Service duty in the White House, John Syphrit, came forward to say he had overheard part of the ransom conversation in the Roosevelt Room in 1981, when the offer was discussed by Reagan, Bush, Casey, Allen and other cabinet officials.
Syphrit, a veteran of the Vietnam War, told the committee he was willing to testify but they would have to subpoena him. Treasury opposed his appearance, arguing that voluntary testimony would violate the trust between the Secret Service and those it protects. It was clear that coming in on his own could cost Syphrit his career. The committee voted 7 to 4 not to subpoena him.
In the committee’s final report, dated January 13, 1993 (on page 284), the panel not only chastised Syphrit for his failure to testify without a subpoena (“The committee regrets that the Secret Service agent was unwilling…”), but noted that since Allen had recanted his testimony about the Roosevelt Room briefing, Syphrit’s testimony would have been “at best, uncorroborated by the testimony of any other witness.” The committee omitted any mention that it had made a decision not to ask the other two surviving witnesses, Bush and Reagan, to give testimony under oath. (Casey had died.)
10. In 1990, Colonel Millard Peck, a decorated infantry veteran of Vietnam then working at the DIA as chief of the Asia Division for Current Intelligence, asked for the job of chief of the DIA’s Special Office for Prisoners of War and Missing in Action. His reason for seeking the transfer, which was not a promotion, was that he had heard from officials throughout the Pentagon that the POW/MIA office had been turned into a waste-disposal unit for getting rid of unwanted evidence about live prisoners—a “black hole,” these officials called it.
Peck explained all this in his telling resignation letter of February 12, 1991, eight months after he had taken the job. He said he viewed it as “sort of a holy crusade” to restore the integrity of the office but was defeated by the Pentagon machine. The four-page, single-spaced letter was scathing, describing the putative search for missing men as “a cover-up.”
Peck charged that, at its top echelons, the Pentagon had embraced a “mind-set to debunk” all evidence of prisoners left behind. “That national leaders continue to address the prisoner of war and missing in action issue as the ‘highest national priority,’ is a travesty,” he wrote. “The entire charade does not appear to be an honest effort, and may never have been….Practically all analysis is directed to finding fault with the source. Rarely has there been any effective, active follow through on any of the sightings, nor is there a responsive ‘action arm’ to routinely and aggressively pursue leads.”
“I became painfully aware,” his letter continued, “that I was not really in charge of my own office, but was merely a figurehead or whipping boy for a larger and totally Machiavellian group of players outside of DIA…I feel strongly that this issue is being manipulated and controlled at a higher level, not with the goal of resolving it, but more to obfuscate the question of live prisoners and give the illusion of progress through hyperactivity.” He named no names but said these players are “unscrupulous people in the Government or associated with the Government” who “have maintained their distance and remained hidden in the shadows, while using the [POW] Office as a ‘toxic waste dump’ to bury the whole ‘mess’ out of sight.” Peck added that “military officers…who in some manner have ‘rocked the boat’ [have] quickly come to grief.”
Peck concluded: “From what I have witnessed, it appears that any soldier left in Vietnam, even inadvertently, was, in fact, abandoned years ago, and that the farce that is being played is no more than political legerdemain done with ‘smoke and mirrors’ to stall the issue until it dies a natural death.”
The disillusioned Colonel not only resigned but asked to be retired immediately from active military service. The press never followed up.
Hat tip to: http://stevemdfp.blogspot.com/
It’s probably more bullshit but you never know. Deception is the rule in this game of criminal politics as it is now being played out.
It certainly would be a giant diversion away from the economic scams now being enabled by Paulson, Bernanke, et al.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Calling ‘Social Security’ an ‘absolute disgrace’, John McCain wants to force you to turn over a portion of your hard earned wages and salaries to Wall Street insiders! When Wall Street is crooked and ailing, Dr. John McCain’s prescription: ‘Just keep on doing whatever makes you sick’. McCain’s campaign could not have picked a worse time to invent and exploit a phony crisis. Can you say ‘idiot’?
At a time when Wall Street is proven to be sick, crooked, bloated, corrupt, and voracious, McCain proposes to force young workers to trust Wall Street with their money. Meanwhile, Wall Street will be bailed out –at your expense –and no one bothered to ask your opinion! It’s the most draconian legislation since George Bush declared himself a dictator and declared the Constitution ‘just a goddamned piece of paper!
Like the rest of the GOP, John McCain uses the Orwellian terms ‘privatize’, ‘privately managed accounts’, etc to describe what amounts to the dismantling of Social Security –the ONLY government program that works.
McCain calls Social Security ‘an absolute disgrace!’ It is –in fact –the government’s only unqualified success. His plan to force younger workers to trust Wall Street with their savings will be another AIG disaster –but McCain will give workers no choice. It is literally ‘your money and your life!’
Would you patronize a doctor if he told you: “just keep on doing whatever it is that makes you sick!” Meanwhile, Dr. John tells you in effect: “let’s just keep on sending your money up to Wall Street! They need it more than you do!”
The annual report of the Social Security system’s trustees reveals a system in pretty good financial shape. In fact, it would take only modest injections of money to maintain that system’s current benefit levels for at least the next 75 years. Other reports, however, appear to portray a system in deep financial trouble. For example, a 2002 Treasury study, described on Tuesday in The New York Times, claims that Social Security and Medicare are $44 trillion in the red. What’s the truth? —New York Times
Social Security is in even better condition than the Times have described. According to the Treasury study –there is NO Social Security crisis.
Here’s a hint: while even right-wing politicians insist in public that they want to save Social Security, the ideologues shaping their views are itching for an excuse to dismantle the system. So you have to read alarming reports generated by people who work at ideologically driven institutions — a list that now, alas, includes the U.S. Treasury — with great care.First, two words — ”and Medicare” — make a huge difference. According to the Treasury study, only 16 percent of that $44 trillion shortfall comes from Social Security. Second, the supposed shortfall in both programs comes mainly from projections about the distant future; 62 percent of the combined shortfall comes after 2077. .–PAUL KRUGMAN, Social Security Scares
What McCain will not tell you is that the source of the ‘crisis’ is the shortfall caused by Bush’s tax cuts —not Social Security. Krugman reminds that Social Security –“unlike the rest of the federal government” –actually runs a surplus! The GOP has always coveted the ‘surplus’. The GOP has always schemed to get its mitts on it. The downside of this success is that GOP leeches have fought a war of naked aggression with looted Social Security revenues.
Another problem is Bush’s tax cut. It benefits only the very, very wealthy. Unless you are among Bush’s ‘base’, in fact, an elite of just one percent of the nation, you are screwed. The lingering effects of Bush/GOP incompetence will continue to be the source of real problems and real crises. That will continue to be the case until GOP crooks and liars are shown the door, hanged for mass murder, or hauled before the ICC at the Hague.
McCain’s record on this issue is full of lies and distortions based on the GOPs disingenuous philosophy of ‘laissez faire’ –deregulation and weakened consumer protections. McCain calls his proposed theft of Social Security –‘reform’ and wrote an article in which he praised banking deregulation and promised the same for the health insurance industry. [What has either industry done for you lately?] Is McCain senile or just out of touch?Is he aware that the people of the US are now ‘bailing out’ the Wall Street fat cats? Nevermind! Just keep on doing whatever makes you sick!
In the meantime, send McCain a message! Bombard his hide out..uh…headquarters. Tell him in all caps:
THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH SOCIAL SECURITY BUT THE GREEDY BASTARDS ON WALL STREET AND IN WASHINGTON!
STOP LYING ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY!
STOP TRYING TO MANUFACTURE A CRISIS!
STOP DEMAGOGUING THIS ISSUE!
KEEP YOUR MITTS OFF SOCIAL SECURITY!
You might also remind the fuzzy cheeked idiots in your congressman’s office that Paul Krugman was right and prophetic when he said that the biggest risk facing Social Security was and remains ‘political’. McCain’s demoguogery is proof of it. As Krugman asked “Will those who hate the system use scare tactics and fuzzy math to bring it down?” Of course they will! It’s the GOP way!This just in: John McCain says that war critics should be thrown out of the country.
I suggest we throw McCain out of the country for supporting Bush’s capital crime! A parting shot: FUCK YOU, MCCAIN! And FUCK THIS STUPID WAR CRIME!
“The date was Oct. 26, 1967. I was on my 23rd mission, flying right over the heart of Hanoi in a dive at about 4,500 feet, when a Russian missile the size of a telephone pole came up – the sky was full of them – and blew the right wing off my Skyhawk dive bomber.”
~ John McCain
Over and over again it has been said or inferred that one of the reasons John McCain deserves to be president is because he is a war hero. Even Barack Obama has called McCain “a genuine American hero.”
Make that an American war criminal.
John McCain graduated (near the bottom of his class) from the Annapolis Naval Academy in 1958. After flight training in my city of residence, Pensacola, Florida (where he admits he frequented strip clubs), to “become an aviator and an instrument of war for my country,” McCain spent some time on aircraft carriers in the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas before volunteering for combat duty. In 1967 Lieutenant Commander McCain began bombing runs over North Vietnam from the deck of the USS Forrestal. After a bad fire that put the ship out of commission, McCain switched to bombing North Vietnam from the deck of the USS Oriskany (which was recently sunk off the coast of Pensacola to make an artificial reef). McCain was shot down on his twenty-third bombing mission over North Vietnam and then held as a prisoner of war for five years. After his release in 1973, McCain resumed his naval service until his retirement as a captain with a disability pension in 1981.
All wars are not created equal. An unjust war is criminal, and soldiers who participate in it are murderers. No North Vietnamese gook (McCain referred to them as gooks in a U.S. News & World Report interview in 1973) had ever posed a threat to the United States or harmed an American until the United States intervened with military advisors, military aid, the CIA, intelligence missions, puppet governments, and finally, U.S. troops – thousands and thousands of U.S. troops.
How could John McCain possibly be considered a war hero? He was not captured, imprisoned, and tortured because he was defending U.S. soil against invading enemy forces. Had this been the case, I would be the first one to congratulate him as a war hero.
McCain is a war criminal because he rained down death and destruction on the people of Vietnam during twenty-three bombing missions. It doesn’t matter if the “incident” in the Gulf of Tonkin really happened – U.S. ships had no business being within a thousand miles of North or South Vietnam. There can be no heroism in the performance of evil. If McCain had been executed by the Vietnamese after being shot down, would he not have deserved it? What would you do to the pilot who just ejected and landed in your backyard after bombing your house? Why is it that war criminals are always foreigners? If McCain is a war hero then so are the September 11th hijackers. At least they had a reason to attack the United States.
The real American heroes are the men who refused to go to Vietnam and participate in an immoral, unconstitutional, and unjust war. U.S. soldiers who refuse to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan because it is another immoral, unconstitutional, and unjust war (not just because they don’t want to get killed) are real heroes as well.
In an interview with 60 Minutes in 1997, McCain mentioned the confession his North Vietnamese captors forced him to write: “I was guilty of war crimes against the Vietnamese people. I intentionally bombed women and children.” The truth, of course, is that what McCain wrote under duress is actually an accurate statement.
Although while in the Navy McCain earned the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross, there is one designation he earned that he doesn’t wear on his chest: WAR CRIMINAL.
September 15, 2008
Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from Pensacola, FL. His latest book is a new and greatly expanded edition of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State. Visit his website.
Copyright © 2008 LewRockwell.com
That shining city on the hill vision thing the Republicans like to evoke to make people feel all woozy about America and themselves?
The city is not shining, but glowing from the massive number of arson fires lit by Bush/Cheney devotees to cover up their looting, pillaging and plundering of America.
“The Ballad of John and Yoko Palin”
After watching parts of the recent RNC Love In at Nuremberg, Minnesota, and seeing the attendees acting like they were smashed on booze, lustily cheering on “John and Yoko Palin,” one wonders why they don’t much mention the last 7.5 years of government run amuck under the reign of the Bush/Cheney cabal?
And why should those Republican delegates waste good money on fine 12 yo scotch, when they were already drunk on a potent cocktail mixed with their own arrogance, hubris and stupidity?
THE REPUBLICAN MOTTO: “DRILL AND KILL”
What have these last 7.5 years of this Freddy Krueger type nightmare visited upon America?
700% increase in oil prices since the inauguration of oil robber barons, censorship of alternative, renewable energy sources, amoral invasions of sovereign nations and resource theft, 1,200,000 innocent men, women, children and babies raped, tortured, butchered and murdered, thousands of defrauded dead soldiers, tens of thousands more defrauded soldiers to die horribly from depleted uranium poisoning, glorification of the disgusting practice of unmentionable acts of torture, media lies and censorship, obscene war profiteering, epic environmental decay, pervasive racism and scapegoating, destruction of America’s Constitutional Republic, irreparable alienation of friends and allies, millions of jobs “outsourced” & lost, the worst foreclosure crisis in US history, more homeless Veterans, more tax cuts for the super wealthy, blind unconditional allegiance to the rogue state of Israel and the stupid drunken manchild, Bush, brags about what a good ole’ time he is havin’ with no accountability whatsoever.
Along with no respect for privacy, land or life. Everything they say involves the words “I”, “me” and “mine”, the proclivity to recklessly consume and destroy, self gratification, gluttony, greed, jealousy, myopia, hegemony, exploitation, xenophobia, racism, narcissism, insufferable selfishness, the need to be seen and heard, hypocricy and laziness
But at least we have a well educated bunch of young adults, thanks to the Bush act “No Child Left Behind” coming into the work force, right?
Only if your idea of work is joining the Army or Marines, to get shipped to distant deserts, fighting wars for Empire and Israel. Those not inclined to be used as cannon fodder can get one of those well-paying, lucrative $8 an hour jobs at Wal Mart.
UHH, but at least we still have the foundation of our country, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, don’t we? What’s that?
Major ass-kissers in both parties and in both houses have sworn absolute loyalty to Bush and helped cover up his and Cheney’s massive number of crimes, both financial and homicidal.
Not a day goes by that these knuckle draggers don’t spit and defecate on that precious piece of paper, the Constitution.
“It’s morning in the new Fatherland.”
Next act for the criminals in the WH?
Using “nookyalar” weapons on Iran to prevent that country from using nuclear power to generate electricity.
Stay tuned, this nightmare is no way over
They will always believe that if Bush were removed from office the “terrorist’s” will win. Apparently they believe Bush is a “honorable man”, although Iraq had nothing to do with “9/11? the Iraq Holocaust is completely justified, tax cuts for Exxon and tax breaks for the super wealthy is good economics, torture is only torture when another country does it, environmental concerns are mere “conspiracy theories” and even though Iran has not invaded anyone for over 300 years, it poses a direct threat to the U.S. with Bush’s version of “nookyalar weapons”
The RNC platform for McCain/Palin should be “Drill and Kill.” Both produce liquids, and both liquids are used to make obscene amounts of money on.