WAYNE MADSEN/WAYNE MADSEN REPORT
Donald Trump Was ‘Spot On’ Relating To John McCain’s Military Career & Records
John McCain was a ‘rat’ or ‘stoolie’ telling on other U.S. officers being held captive at the Hanoi Hilton prison. When McCain first went to congress, members of congress turned their backs on him and did not communicate with him because of this, and also how he disgraced the military and his fellow officers who were severely punished by the North Vietnam guards and commanders of the Communist prison by McCain ratting them out. I am also led to believe that McCain was referred to as ‘the canary’ by the other officers for telling or squealing on the others. If you search the internet you will find some of these articles about what McCain did to his fellow officers in captivity and the stories of the other brave officers who reported on McCain upon returning to the United States. He was also given special treatment by the communists while in prison, because his father was a 4 star Admiral. Donald Trump was and is CORRECT!
Dr. James P. Wickstro
McCain was personally responsible for the deadliest fire in the history of the US Navy. That catastrophe, with 27 dead and over 100 wounded trumps McCain’s record as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.
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USS Forrestal, July 29, 1967 – The worst accident aboard a US Navy surface vessel since WWII
BY WAYNE MADSEN/WAYNE MADSEN REPORT
The Navy released John McCain’s military record after a Freedom of Information Act request from the Associated Press. The record is packed with information on McCain’s medals and commendations but little else. The one thing that the McCain campaign does not want to see released is the record of McCain’s antics on board the USS Forestal in 1967. McCain was personally responsible for the deadliest fire in the history of the US Navy. That catastrophe, with 27 dead and over 100 wounded trumps McCain’s record as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.
WMR has learned additional details regarding the deadly fire aboard the Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Forrestal, on July 19, 1967 in the Gulf of Tonkin. The additional details point to then-Lt. Commander John McCain playing more of a role in triggering the fire and explosions than previously reported.
On January 16, 2006, WMR reported that according to a US Navy sailor who was aboard the Forrestal on the fateful day of the fire, “McCain and the Forrestal’s skipper, Capt. John K. Beling, were warned about the danger of using M-65 1000-lb. bombs manufactured in 1935, which were deemed too dangerous to use during World War II and, later, on B-52 bombers. The fire from the Zuni missile misfire resulted in the heavy 1000 pound bombs being knocked loose from the pylons of McCain’s A-4 aircraft, which were only designed to hold 500-pound bombs.”
WMR further reported, “The unstable bombs had a 60-second cook-off threshold in a fire situation and this warning was known to both Beling and McCain prior to the disaster.” WMR also cited the potential that McCain’s Navy records were used against him by the neo-cons in control of the Pentagon. “The neo-cons, who have had five years to examine every file within the Department of Defense, have likely accessed documents that could prove embarrassing to McCain, who was on board the USS Forrestal on July 29, 1967, and whose A-4 Skyhawk was struck by an air-to-ground Zuni missile that had misfired from an F-4 Phantom.”
WMR has been informed that crewmen aboard the Forrestal have provided additional information about the Forrestal incident. It is believed by many crewmen and those who have investigated the case that McCain deliberately “wet-started” his A-4E to shake up the guy in the plane behind his A-4. “Wet-starts”, done either deliberately or accidentally, shoot a large flame from the tail of the aircraft.
In McCain’s case, the “wet-start” apparently “cooked off” and launched the Zuni rocket from the rear F-4 that touched off the explosions and massive fire. The F-4 pilot was reportedly killed in the conflagration. “Wet starting” was apparently a common practice among young “hot-dog” pilots.
McCain was quickly transferred to the USS Oriskany (the only Forrestal crewman to be immediately transferred). Three months later, McCain was shot down over North Vietnam on October 26, 1967.
As WMR previously reported, at the time of the Forrestal disaster, McCain’s father, Admiral John McCain, Jr., was Commander-in-Chief of US Naval Forces Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR) and was busy covering up the details of the deadly and pre-meditated June 8, 1967, Israeli attack on the NSA spy ship, the USS Liberty.
The fact that both McCains were involved in two incidents just weeks apart that resulted in a total death count of 168 on the Forrestal and the Liberty, with an additional injury count of 234 on both ships (with a number of them later dying from their wounds) with an accompanying classified paper-trail inside the Pentagon, may be all that was needed to hold a Sword of Damocles over the head of the “family honor”-oriented McCain by the neo-cons.
WMR has also been informed by knowledgeable sources, including an ex-Navy A-4 pilot, the “wet-start game” was a common occurrence. However, it is between “very unlikely” and “impossible” for the Forrestal “wet start” to have been accidental. “Wet starts” were later rendered impossible by automated engine controls.
Wayne Madsen reports on military and political affairs in Washington at his website, WayneMadsenReport.com.
USS Forrestal Mishap July 29, 1967
McCain Lies About Being Tortured As A P.O.W.
From: NATIONAL VIETNAM P.O.W. STRIKE FORCE
To: CBS News, 10/12/97
You did not do your homework well enough on “Hanoi John” McCain. If you had read the lengthy article about him in the April 1973 issue of U.S. News and World Report, you would have seen that in none of his quotes did he allege torture, except from the irate civilians at the scene of his crash. Once in captivity, he lived in relative splendor compared to his hapless cohorts who refused to denounce America on the radio and paid for their patriotism in blood, literally. Here are some other facts your sloppy journalism omitted:
(1) USAF Major Overly could not have cared for McCain’s “wounds” for very long; he collaborated and accepted early release in less than five months from shootdown.
(2) Another of McCain’s roommates “disappeared” and was not released at Homecoming I. McCain was kept in the camp for “progressives” (collaborators) and away from “reactionaries” (John Wayne types who spit in the face of their torturers). Other roommates were Day and Flynn, both of whom made propaganda broadcasts along with McCain urging pilots to return to carriers and soldiers to surrender.
(3) McCain returned from communist captivity 10 pounds heavier.
(4) Patricia O’Grady, daughter of a POW/MIA, on a visit to Hanoi to look for her father, was given a tour of the “Hanoi Hilton” prison. They showed her McCain’s cell. It had a writing desk, a large bed, a goldfish bowl, a flush toilet and a nice window of downtown Hanoi out the window.
(5) Both North Vietnamese Generals Giap and Bui Tin met with McCain in his cell. No other returned POWs reported meeting with high-ranking generals. I have a picture of McCain enjoying a large plate of food while talking to a Soviet KGB officer in the Foreign Ministry. A Soviet doctor was rushed to Hanoi to treat his wounds.
(6) In personal conversations I have had with General Bui Tin, he assured me they never touched McCain, saying that since he was the son of the CINCPACFLT Admiral, “He too important”.
(7) McCain said in 1973, he sustained his ordeal with his “love for his wife”. In a matter of months he had dumped her for a woman 1/3rd his age whose father owned the Coors Beer franchise in Phoenix. (His good friend Senator Kerry, about the same time, dumped his wife after fornicating with Jane Fonda.) McCain also has a secret “wife” in Hanoi and an illegitimate son.
(8) McCain would sit beside with army officers at a table when newly-captured pilots arrived and urged them to cooperate.
(9) McCain viciously fought against the formation of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA and then got on it and sabotaged any hopes of finding real answers. He called me and others crooks profiteering on the issue, yet he is the biggest loot recipient of the Keating Five.
(10) If the “Crowned Prince” of the “Plantation” does not stop his outlandish lies about his “torture”, several of his fellow POW’s “will” soon break their “code of silence”. McCain is a brainwashed Manchurian candidate who has fawningly supported Hanoi and the Communist Bloc countries ever since he entered congress. The man is a liar, a traitor and a crook. Any senator who uses the word “scumbag” 20 times a day addressing his employees is not fit to serve.
Also, CBS, you went on to a segment of a Latino who was on death row (wrongfully) in a “miscarriage of justice”. The biggest “MOJ” of this decade would be for traitor and Hanoi lover McCain to continue in office after the 1998 elections.
Joe L. Jordan
USN Squadron VQ-1
Da Nang 1967-68
National Vietnam P.O.W. Strike Force
P.S. McCain is the only returned POW NEVER TO BE DEBRIEFED.
Source: CONTACT: THE PHOENIX PROJECT, October 27, 1997, Volume 18, Number 9, Page 10.
John McCain: Traitor
Forbidden Knowledge TV
Feb. 3, 2015
Earl Hopper spent 30 years with the Army in Airborne Special Services and with Army Intelligence and he was a founding member of the National League of Families, dedicated to returning living POWs and MIAs of the Vietnam War.
He and those interviewed allege that the narrative propagated by McCain, of his five and a half years as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam is about as far from the truth as one could possibly imagine. They allege that McCain, from the very first moments of his capture behaved as a COLLABORATOR and propaganda tool for his North Vietnamese captors.
McCain is described as engaging in no less than 30, and up to 38 anti-American propaganda broadcasts for Radio Hanoi during the period of his captivity.
Far from the image of the dedicated American “hero” sweating it out in a North Vietnamese prisoner’s “hotbox” for five and half years, McCain was observed by fellow prisoners to be receiving special treatment by his captors, who were fully aware of his father’s and grandfather’s 4-star Admiral positions with the US Navy.
Not a single contemporary captive interviewed here ever witnessed McCain’s alleged “torture” at the hands of his jailers and the consensus opinion of the other POWs in McCain’s camps was that McCain was actually NEVER tortured by the North Vietnamese.
McCain’s disgraceful and wholly reprehensible conduct (along with that of John Kerry) during the 1991-93 Senate Committee on POW/MIAs, where McCain made massive efforts to block the release of classified documents and is described here as the person who did the “most harm” to the movement of families who wanted to rescue any remaining loved ones, left behind in Vietnam and Laos.
McCain is described by those interviewed in this clip as perhaps the person who did the most to quash this movement – and they suspect that this was because he didn’t want the truth to be revealed by them.
To them, his actions leave no doubt that McCain is a traitor to this country and its veterans and especially, to the .
John Mccain Traitor- By Vietnam Vets And Pow’s
By Sydney Schanberg
July 1, 2010
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Eighteen months ago, TAC publisher Ron Unz discovered an astonishing account of the role the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, had played in suppressing information about what happened to American soldiers missing in action in Vietnam. Below, we present in full Sydney Schanberg’s explosive story.
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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 U.S. 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 Lt. 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 Feb. 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 adviser, 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: “ 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. 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 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 include Senator Bob Smith 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 postwar 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.
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 U.S. 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 loath 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 Jan. 27, 1973 without the prisoner list. When Hanoi produced its list of 591 prisoners the next day, U.S. intelligence agencies expressed shock at the low number. Their number was hundreds higher. The New York Times published a long, page-one story on Feb. 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 U.S.—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 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 12 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 U.S. 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 Dec. 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 secret digit codes, then I have a newfound respect for grass.”
6. On Nov. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. pilots had been trained to do—no less than 20 authenticator numbers that corresponded exactly to the classified authenticator numbers of 20 U.S. 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 20 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 U.S. 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. Maj. 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 Adviser 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 Jan. 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, Col. 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 Feb. 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 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’ 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.
My Pursuit of the Story
I covered the war in Cambodia and Vietnam, but came to the POW information only slowly afterward, when military officers I knew from that conflict began coming to me with maps and POW sightings and depositions by Vietnamese witnesses.
I was then city editor of the New York Times, no longer involved in foreign or national stories, so I took the data to the appropriate desks and suggested it was material worth pursuing. There were no takers. Some years later, in 1991, when I was an op-ed columnist at Newsday, the aforementioned special Senate committee was formed to probe the POW issue. I saw this as an opening and immersed myself in the reporting.
At Newsday, I wrote 36 columns over a two-year period, as well as a four-part series on a trip I took to North Vietnam to report on what happened to one missing pilot who was shot down over the Ho Chi Minh trail and captured when he parachuted down. After Newsday, I wrote thousands more words on the subject for other outlets. Some of the pieces were about McCain’s key role.
Though I wrote on many subjects for Life, Vanity Fair, and Washington Monthly, my POW articles appeared in Penthouse, the Village Voice, and APBnews.com. Mainstream publications just weren’t interested. Their disinterest was part of what motivated me, and I became one of a very short list of journalists who considered the story important.
Serving in the Army in Germany during the Cold War and witnessing combat firsthand as a reporter in India and Indochina led me to have great respect for those who fight for their country. To my mind, we dishonored U.S. troops when our government failed to bring them home from Vietnam after the 591 others were released—and then claimed they didn’t exist. And politicians dishonor themselves when they pay lip service to the bravery and sacrifice of soldiers only to leave untold numbers behind, rationalizing to themselves that it’s merely one of the unfortunate costs of war.
John McCain—now campaigning for the White House as a war hero, maverick, and straight shooter—owes the voters some explanations. The press were long ago wooed and won by McCain’s seeming openness, Lone Ranger pose, and self-deprecating humor, which may partly explain their ignoring his record on POWs. In the numerous, lengthy McCain profiles that have appeared of late in papers like theNew York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, I may have missed a clause or a sentence along the way, but I have not found a single mention of his role in burying information about POWs. Television and radio news programs have been similarly silent.
Reporters simply never ask him about it. They didn’t when he ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in 2000. They haven’t now, despite the fact that we’re in the midst of another war—a war he supports and one that has echoes of Vietnam. The only explanation McCain has ever offered for his leadership on legislation that seals POW files is that he believes the release of such information would only stir up fresh grief for the families of those who were never accounted for in Vietnam. Of the scores of POW families I’ve met over the years, only a few have said they want the books closed without knowing what happened to their men. All the rest say that not knowing is exactly what grieves them.
Isn’t it possible that what really worries those intent on keeping the POW documents buried is the public disgust that the contents of those files would generate?
How the Senate Committee Perpetuated the Debunking …
READ THE COMPLETE DOCUMENT AT:
Incumbent Sen. John McCain Running For A Fifth Term
May 27, 2016
The above compendium of the articles about the past behavior of John McCain tell it all. As McCain is now running for a fifth term as U.S. senator for Arizona, these articles are being posted once again in an effort to inform more Arizona voters and the American people about McCain past behavior. On November 8, 2016, Arizona voters either reelect John McCain for a fifth term, knowing that he has lied to and deceived the them and the American public throughout his political career, or they will finally do the right thing and run McCain out of office, and replace him with a more honest, honorable and deserving individual. The U.S. Senate and the Republican Party will do just fine without John McCain.
In review: John “McCain was personally responsible for the deadliest fire in the history of the US Navy. That catastrophe, with 27 dead and over 100 wounded’ and over $72 million in aircraft damage, eclipses ‘McCain’s record as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.” McCain has admited: “I’m not a war hero.” , but for nearly 50 years he has allowed falsehoods to be reported about himself by the controlled media and his colleagues in the Washington Establishment. They have repeatedly claimed that John McCain is a “war hero” and that he was tortured by his captors while “imprisoned” at Hanoi.
Due to John McCain’s duplicity in falsely stating his war record, his captivity record, his cooperating with the enemy (North Vietnamese Communists), and his efforts to cover up the truth about P.O.W.’s left in Vietnam, speaks to the man’s character. His continued deceit and profiteering dishonors the memory of all legitimate war heros, war captives, P.O.W.’s left behind, and the military men and women who have died in service to our country. The above articles have been available to the Arizona voters and American public for decades, and yet the incumbent Senator has been undeservedly rewarded with a 34 year political career to date, from 1982 though 2016. Interested parties can contact John McCain or his staff at:
Share Your Opinion – United States Senator John McCain
Washington, DC: Phone: (202) 224-2235 Fax: (202) 228-2862
Phoenix, AZ: Phone: (602) 952-2410 Fax: (855) 952-8702
Prescott, AZ: Phone: (928) 445-0833 Fax: (928) 445-8594
Tucson, AZ: Phone: (520) 670-6334 Fax: (520) 670-6637