"War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed
degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is
worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to
fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a
miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so
by the exertions of better men than himself." -- John Stuart Mill
GRUNT POWER WORKS (8 July 98)
Vietnam-era vets, all
14 million of them, won a major battle last week.
Finally, after three weeks of protesting that they got their story right,
the head liars at CNN and Time Magazine retracted their despicable work of
fiction -- that lethal nerve gas was used by our warriors against fellow
Americans in Laos during Americaís long and cruel war in Southeast Asia --
and ran up the white flag.
Our bloodied, battered,
but not beaten Vietnam vets rallied and zapped the
CNN/Time storytellers. Reinforced by an amazing number of vets from World
War II to the Gulf War to tens of thousands of serving soldiers, sailors,
airmen and Marines to hundreds of thousands of other concerned citizens,
they bombarded their attackers with repeated salvos. Round after round,
they blew away the lies.
Honor was at stake.
The good guysí primary
weapons against these so-called guardians of the
public trust were thousands of e-mail/snail mail/faxes/phone calls to
Atlanta and to the rest of the media.
Advertisers were also
barraged, and when they got the message Iím sure CNN
and Time got hit where it hurts. Members of Congress were contacted with
requests for an investigation, and press releases and media conferences
World Net daily, Talk
radio and Fox News were first to respond and slowly
the truth began to get out as more and more people joined the crusade.
For 26 days the tempest
grew from a light drizzle to a hard rain to a
thunderstorm. Interestingly, the big networks -- ABC, CBS and NBC -- stayed
quiet, giving strength to the belief that the big boys all scratch each
otherís backs. The old "You donít rat on me when I sin and Iíll do the same
for you" shell game.
Finally, CNN and Time
magazine admitted to being caught red-handed in one
of the most egregious press manipulations Iíve ever witnessed.
Now CNNís top enabler
Tom Johnson says the fairy tale he green-lighted
"cannot be supported." And "there is insufficient evidence that sarin or
any other deadly gas was used."
What weasel words: "Cannot
be supported." "Insufficient evidence". What a
crock of slick lawyer double talk! There was nothing to support because
there was no evidence -- none, nada, zilch, zip. Because it never happened!
CNNís reporters, producers
and executives simply made up a grotesque story
that put American fighting men in the same dirty death business as Saddam
Like so many members of
todayís American press corps, the manipulators of
this story had become so arrogant that they figured they could present
whatever they wanted and no one would challenge them.
Boy, were they wrong!
This accusation was one too many for the Vietnam
Vets, whoíve been abused and dishonored by an ungrateful nation since
Lyndon Johnson sent them to Vietnam to stop the dominoes from falling.
Since the 1960s the survivors
of the doomed generation that fought in
Vietnam have been spit upon, called "baby killers" and "losers." The
self-proclaimed elite who didnít serve -- including CNNís New Zealand born
Peter Arnett and Americaís Richard Kaplan, both key fabricators of this
outrage -- seem to openly loath Vietnam-era soldiers and have always gone
out of their way to savage those who stood tall in Vietnam. It's probably
because of their own obvious and well earned guilt over dodging the draft
when their countries called.
This story has done grievous
damage to America. When it broke it was the
lead story right around the world. CNNís retractions will be given a tiny
spot back by the comic strips. The world will continue to believe we are
the same as Saddam Hussein unless CNN shouts over and over that it lied.
Vietnam proved that winning
battles doesnít win wars and this fight is far
from over. The pressure must continue on CNN until it does the right thing.
Arnett must be fired and returned to his beloved Baghdad, and Johnson and
Kaplan should both be given 10,000 hours of community service to be done at
a VA hospital. They could care for the broken vets while learning about
honor, integrity and humility. Along the way, they might just pick up a
decent value system from those good souls who fought so valiantly to
preserve our way of life.
Let justice be served!
Great victory. How sweet
it is. Thanks to all for your fine contributions,
because you made it happen! It was your effort -- barraging CNN, their
advertisers and other media outlets --that forced the betrayers of the
public trust to take the first step towards doing the right thing.
This complete edition
is devoted to Tailwind and CNN-Time Magazineís fairy
tale. Joe Beranek, my brilliant Ops Sgt. from Vietnam, put this package
together on short notice with bulls-eye affect. Thank Joe.
Special thanks too to
Vietnam vet Tom Marzullo. Tom worked tirelessly
behind the scene collecting intel and putting the straight skinny out to
the world and beyond. He was the main supplier of the ammo which eventually
caused CNN to surrender, and I suspect if Tom hadnít been the driving
force, hanging onto CNN like a pit bull, justice would not have been served.
So thank you Special Operations
Group Sergeant Tom. You were not only a
hero in Vietnam, but you are one of the real heroes of this story.
Thanks too to SOG Vietnam
vet John Plaster, whose hard hitting piece in
the NY Times followed by scores of media blasts, got the word out and
helped mightily in unmasking the liars. Thanks also to all the other SOG
guys who spearheaded this fight.
SFTTís President Carl
Bernard and Chief of Staff Roger Charles similarly
busted their butts doing national media stuff which kept the pressure on
CNN and tore away their lies.
And thanks to General
Perry Smith for following his conscience and
blasting CNN, his employer, which cost him his job and a possible lawsuit.
He showed great moral courage and I salute him for standing tall, just as
he, Tom, Joe, John, Carl and Roger did in Vietnam, under enemy fire.
Thanks too to former Vietnam
Special Force warrior Bob Brown of SOLDIER OF
FORTUNE MAGAZINE, who along with his fine SOF crew provided real leadership
and direction. We won't forget how he reached in his pocket and spent some
hard dough putting on a press conference at Washington DCís National Press
Club that was key in our fight for right.
Thanks again to all those
who phoned, faxed and raised hell. Job well
done. What an effort. Shows the people still have the power in this great
country of ours. All we have to do is harness it and point it in the right
WorldNetDaily, Fox News,
Washington Times, Accuracy in Media, the Weekly
Standard and Talk Radio right across America took your input , turned it
into razor sharp bayonets and jabbed CNN and Time Magazine until they were
a well punctured running red splotch.
But as I said in this weekís column, thereís more to be done.
This fight ainít over
until CNN has made clear to the world that they lied
and no one on this planet lumps us with Saddam Hussein and his dirty deeds.
Arnett talked the talk -- now he must walk the walk. And Johnson and Kaplan
must be held accountable as well.
For sure the press will
be careful in the future and perhaps editors will
sign up more military veterans -- people who know a tank from a turd or
tear gas from lethal stuff instead of the arrogant, ignorant talking heads
who purport to cover the military yet have never worn a uniform. (There are
a dozen or so exceptions who do an unbiased and often excellent job
covering the military, but theyíre in the minority.)
An E-2 could have told
the CNN crowd that they were about to step on their
dicks, but they didnít want to hear. Instead they chose to ignore Perry
Smith, the brilliant retired Air Force major general on their staff, and
carried on with their agenda to deceive the world. The scary thing is they
almost got away with itÖ
So donít celebrate until
we have our final victory. Remember, we won a lot
of battles in Vietnam, but still lost the warÖ
As George Patton used
to say to his famous Third Army as it punched its
way across Europe: Attack, Attack, Attack.
Breaks over. Up and at Ďem. Let's do it.
KEEP Five Yards,*
* Means spread out so one round won't get us all.
MAJOR GENERAL PERRY SMITH SOUNDS OFF
"I am pleased that Tom
Johnson, the CEO of the CNN News Group, has made a
complete retraction of the nerve gas story. However, I think this can only
be the first step in a process of restoring the credibility of CNN as a
news network of substance that people can trust. For three and a half
weeks, many heroic Americans stood accused of the most heinous of war
crimes. To correct this terrible wrong there must be full accountability at
CNN; those who created this terrible production must be unequivocally and
permanently removed from CNN employment.
In addition, CNN should
initiate a serious ongoing educational program
relating to ethics and integrity so that every producer, writer, editor,
reporter and executive is fully aware and completely supports the highest
of ethical standards. The Tailwind debacle should be the lead case study in
that program. CNN has a special responsibility in the area of ethics
because it is an international network which reaches the people of more
than 180 nations.
In addition, it is long
overdue for CNN to create a full-time ombudsman to
keep a close eye on the content and integrity of its programming. I am
hopeful that CNN can learn from this dreadful experience. My heart goes out
to those patriotic and heroic soldiers, airman and Marines who did not
deserve to be vilified for what was one of the most dangerous and most
successful operations in the entire Vietnam War."
Perry Smith, US Air Force, Retired.
Following is the full and unedited text of General Smith's 6/15/98 letter
to his West Point classmates concerning his resignation to CNN.
Dear classmates and other fellow West Pointers.
I wanted you all to know
that I have just quit CNN. For a solid week I
tried to convince the top bosses that the special last Sunday night was
profoundly wrong. I have not been able to do so. The clincher was an e-mail
from Ft. Benning. Part of it follows. ---"Sir, please assist us in
regaining our honor, you "fast movers" never let us down in SVN, you and
your peers got me out of hot water many times, so I hate to impose and ask
you to once more leap into the breach. So many of the men of SOG that ran
those dangerous missions are dying now as a result of the wounds received,
the diseases that ran through them, malaria, dengue, etc., the physical
abuse one's body had to absorb in the performance of duties, that this is
having a terrible effect on them. Please don't let their last thoughts be
that once again their sacrifices were in vain, and that the press can once
again crucify us as they did thirty years ago."
There is an outside chance
that my resigning in protest will finally get
the attention of the top guy and he will run a full retraction. A few of
his people snuck this special by him--a real sad story. You might be
interested in knowing that a lot of the lower level troops at CNN were with
me on this.
Best to all.
Perry M Smith, USMA '56
IS CNN CORRUPT FROM TOP TO BOTTOM
The media took one on the chin after the T-R-U-T-H hit Cable News Network.
I am glad for all the
men and women who do fight for the freedom of our
country and fought in Vietnam, that this truth won out. Just as Christ said
himself, "For ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
Now THAT's truth.
-- Joe Rutland
CNN SHOULD HAVE THEIR LICENSE REVOKED
It is sad to see the sorry
state that journalism is in, in this country.
Reporting facts and truth is a foreign language to a number of journalist
(CNN being the biggest alien). They should have never reported such a
sensitive story without having the facts. Peter Arnett should have his
journalism credentials stripped away, and banned from broadcasting
altogether. We don't need a liar like him reporting news to us. Of course,
he'll get a light slap on the wrist, and will continue to report lies and
half-truths. He's lucky if he reports a half-truth. He's not worthy of
being in the same room with a soldier, much less worthy of reporting such
bunk about our freedom fighters.
But it doesn't really
surprise me that CNN would pull such a stunt,
considering that Hanoi Jane is associated with the network. She probably
gave Arnett the green light to report the story. While people like my uncle
were fighting in the jungles, and others were dying face first in the mud,
she had her backside in Hanoi degrading the people who were fighting for
her freedoms. She should be ashamed of herself, but she has no conscience.
She thought what she did was right. What a disgrace!
-- Jason R. Baber
YELL THE STORY AND WHISPER THE RETRACTION
What else can we expect
from the Communist News Network. At the end of the
day, all of us who joined in the fray can give ourselves a small pat on the
back for getting this little bit out of them.
Now there is another job
to do and we can't give up now. The SOG types who
led the charge on this have lined up some pretty impressive big guns and it
would be a shame to unload them without hitting a good (and meaningful)
If we let the SOB's get
away at this point, it will all happen again in
another month, or six months or a year. This is not the first time Arnett
has tried to bring up allegations of toxic gas use by US forces. Last time,
he used those false allegations to get himself a Pulitzer Prize.
There is AMPLE evidence
from the interviewees that Arnett and Oliver
deliberately disregarded their specific statements or "cut and pasted" to
make them say what they wanted the world to hear. Specifically, it is the
Arnett/Hanoi Jane axis deliberately trying to manipulate the news to push
their own slanted views and justify their anti-military bias in the same
way the John Plummer (The preacher liar who said he directed napalm on the
village where the world famous photo of the little girl running down the
road when it was a VNAF strike) big lie was rammed down our throats, and we
all know about that, don't we? Generally, it is an example of yellow
journalism at its worse. It is the perpetration of a fraud.
This is NOT shoddy reporting,
it is deliberate misinformation --
fabrication for the purpose of sensationalism.
Let's ride the bastards
until Arnett and Oliver are drawing unemployment
in disgrace and no one will hire them, and make damn sure ALL the news
media gets the message that we aren't going to take this kind of treatment
lying down any more.
When "Dateline NBC" was
exposed for faking test crashes to show how
certain GM pickups would burst into flames, the NBC News president and
senior members of the Dateline staff got the chop. We need to loudly demand
the same sort of punishments for the key CNN, Time and Time/Warner staff
involved in the Operation Tailwind fabrications, particularly CNN president
Richard Kaplan, CNN's chairman and CEO Tom Johnson, Arnett and Oliver and
Walter Isaacson, managing editor of Time magazine. Kaplan and Arnett have
repeatedly shown their complete disregard of the ethics required of a
reputable journalist or, indeed, a reputable news organization. Their
continued employment can only reflect on the journalistic standards that we
can expect from their respective organizations.
In spite of a few individuals
who spoke up before it went to air, they
pushed the story, knowing it was false. The media needs to learn that when
they want something "explosive" to launch their new news magazine in
competition with established ones, they should stick to the news and not
invent fairy tales.
"Never let the truth get
in the way of a good story" is NOT the way to
establish a reputation for honest journalism.
Frank Drinkwine said it
best a year ago: "One thing I will do now that I
did not do before is to hold my head up higher and SPIT BACK!!!!!"
Let's use this opportunity
to strike while the iron is hot. Don't let the
bastards get away scot-free like So-Damn-Insane did.
Let's make an example that won't easily be forgotten!
-- Larry Tweedie
IS AMERICA NOW A MONSTER
As a veteran of SOG, I
am pleased to see that CNN has finally retracted
their deliberately falsified story. The damages done by CNN/TIME to all
veterans and our nation are of the highest order. CNN/TIME's actions have
better enabled Saddam Hussein's regime to keep the horrible chemical
weaponry they have already used to murder their own unarmed people at
The participation of Amy
Stimpson and other activists in this journalistic
travesty has set their just cause of removing chemical weapons from our
world back at least a full decade. From my point of view, CNN/TIME have
acted the part of an intruder who has broken into our houses, raped our
wives and murdered our children and now wishes to quietly back away with an
apology. It must not be allowed. The effects of what they have wrought are
-- Tom Marzullo
CNN AND TIME NEED AN ETHICS LESSON
CNN and TIME (have) issued
joint statement retracting their story about SF
brothers being sent to hunt down USA defectors using nerve gas. They also
apologized for their lack of veracity and sloppy journalism standards on
this incident and henceforth will try to do better. And, they issued an
apology to the SF men on the ground and Marine chopper and special ops
Congratulations to our
SF brothers for standing tall against this
Shame on CNN and TIME
for wasting over ten plus days finding a way to
weasel out of being caught with their pants down around their ratings while
issuing dip-shit whining spin, cockamamie justifications and delays. I will
make the time to write a letter to the publisher at TIME canceling my
subscription to their lying rag which I have no doubt will never be
published in their letters to the editor page, and to CNN's board of
directors regarding this story as the break-into-the-public-eye best effort
of their new news magazine. I encourage you to do the same.
-- Jay Vincens
TELL THE TRUTH!
We did it!!! All our calls
and letters actually made the bastards
investigate and tell the truth!!! Hell must be freezing over!!!
As president of CNN, and
given his careless but enthusiastic endorsement
of the Tailwind story as reported by CNN/Time, Rick Kaplan must resign from
CNN for that organization to retain any semblance of journalistic credibility.
CNN's smear of Tailwind
participants as nerve gas wielding murderers is
simply part of the decades-long media elite sponsored vilification of
Vietnam veterans and can only be redressed by Kaplan's resignation.
The honor of our soldiers' deserves no less!
-- Charles Bates
CORRUPTION OF THE PRESS
CNN's shameful retraction
of the nerve gas story, coupled with other
recent press fabrications and illegal activities, should serve as a wake-up
call for all press supervisors and editors. Such examples of flawed media
behavior will surely fuel greater public distrust, that will soon render
the press totally impotent in the arena of information, insight and
understanding. With the lingering burden of public shame and outrage,
heaped on all Vietnam veterans, we certainly do not need false news reports
added to the load. Thanks CNN.
Hardly a day goes by that
newspaper and television editors are forced to
correct errors and mistakes published in previous editions, most of them
minor, but some serious. While the pressures of deadlines are credited with
such sloppy reporting, there is no acceptable excuse for publishing
fabricated, illegally obtained and false information.
David Lawrence, of the
DETROIT PRESS, wrote, "I quickly acknowledge that
we make too many mistakes, most of them, I would add, in human and sloppy
ways and not just from bias. Yet I realize we visit those mistakes,
wherever they come from, on a great many people; hence, we need to work
even harder toward perfection." Written in 1984, this analysis remains
The CNN example of media
character failure is just another product of
"news competition." However, I believe all the recent embarrassing episodes
can be attributed to press arrogance, that colors the public's perception
of all news reports. Those who rely on unnamed, unidentified sources are
often caught up in fabrications, lies and false reporting. They seem to
regard themselves too highly, while displaying limited concern for the
lives of those impacted by false news reports. Retractions and apologies
can hardly offset the lasting impact of widely distributed inaccurate
information. Such efforts are about as useful as attempting to put tooth
paste back into its tube.
The false CNN nerve gas
story confirms my belief that some reporters and
well known journalists bring preconceived notions of truth to their
reporting. This human flaw clouds judgment and often spawns unfairness. The
public will never know why those with the authority to prevent the
broadcast of the faulty nerve gas story failed to exercise the minimum of
common sense when presented with such conflicting evidence of the report's
accuracy. Such failure should cause the public to exercise even greater
caution when it comes to the accuracy of news reports, particularly so
called investigative reports. Let the reader/viewer beware.
-- The Old Soldier!!
MORE CORRUPTION OF THE PRESS
In days past UP and AP
were relied on as "down the middle" reporters on
everything, on the basis that we had clients on both sides of every issue.
When the Vietnam situation
came along, several correspondents,
specifically Neil Sheehan of UPI, Malcolm Brown of AP and David Halberstam
of the New York Times, decided over a couple of beers in Saigon that they
didn't like the government of the country they were covering. Each of them
has stated in published works, as has Peter Arnett, that they felt they
should "do something," and so they began to color their reporting against
At one point Earnie Hoberecht,
UPI Asia manager, told Sheehan that he was
not supposed to take sides because UPI does not take sides. Nevertheless,
Sheehan and the others boast in their books of how they DID take sides and
achieved through their reporting the overthrow of the Diem government.
Brown and Halberstam got the Pulitzer Prize for it. Sheehan was not
included because Hoberecht had ordered him to take a few weeks vacation in
Tokyo at the time of the actual overthrow of Diem.
In the new AP book Arnett
says: " Not only were we eyewitnesses to
history, by our presence we influenced it."
Then came along the Watergate
thing in which supposedly impartial
reporters took up the ax and ground it.
I think that the interference
by Halberstam, Sheehan and Brown in
Vietnamese politics in the 1960s contributed as a partial cause of the war
we had down there in which we lost so many young people and destroyed an
important part of our American culture.
If they had just reported
what happened, the political outcome in Vietnam
would have been the same, without the sacrifice of so many young men.
-- An old school pro journalist
RECENT MEDIA BLOOPERS
Recent incidents involving inaccurate reports at major media companies:
CNN-NERVE GAS: CNN on
Thursday retracted its story that the U.S. military
used deadly nerve gas during a Vietnam-era mission in Laos to kill American
defectors. CNN said an internal investigation concluded that its joint
report with Time magazine could not be concluded and apologized to viewers,
Time and U.S. military personnel.
Cincinnati Enquirer on Sunday ran a front-page
apology to Chiquita Brands International Inc., saying its series of stories
questioning the company's business practices were untrue and based on
stolen voice mail. The newspaper fired the lead reporter and agreed to pay
more than $10 million to settle any claims against it by the company, even
though no lawsuit had been filed.
GLOBE COLUMNIST: Boston
Globe columnist Patricia Smith, a 1998 Pulitzer
Prize finalist, was forced to resign last month after admitting she made up
people and quotations in four columns this year. The American Society of
Newspaper Editors withdrew her 1998 Distinguished Writing Award.
Editors at The New Republic apologized to readers
last month after discovering in May that associate editor Stephen Glass
invented all or part of 27 of the 41 articles he wrote for the magazine.
Glass was fired after confessing he had ``embellished'' a story about
computer hackers in the May 18 issue.
George magazine also said
Glass used two fabricated quotes in a profile of
DISMISSED CNN PRODUCER STANDS BY HER STORY
Ever since she entered
the television news business in the mid-1980s,
April Oliver has impressed her colleagues as an extremely confident and
dedicated journalist. She gathered and synthesized details quickly. Her
brisk, articulate presentations inspired trust. Now Ms. Oliver and her
style are at the center of the latest in a series of news scandals -- CNN's
retraction of its report that the United States used nerve gas in Laos in
the Vietnam War as part of a secret mission to kill U.S. defectors.
Floyd Abrams, the noted
constitutional lawyer who investigated the affair
for CNN, said overconfidence was a prime factor in a series of calamitous
journalistic errors in the CNN report. Ms. Oliver, 36, a graduate of
Princeton University, was dismissed along with her immediate superior,
seasoned senior producer Jack Smith, in the aftermath of the report, which
appeared on the program "Newsstand: CNN and Time." But Ms. Oliver stands by
her reporting, which also appeared in Time magazine, and blames her
superiors for a lack of care in handling it. Both Ms. Oliver and Smith said
they had pressed for an hour-long broadcast that could have captured more
of the complexity than appeared in the blunt 18-minute version that was
But Abrams and Ms. Oliver's
colleagues said she might have been better
served not by more time but by a less committed and dogged approach. When
fundamental objections were raised within CNN in the final days before the
broadcast on June 7, she provided such a spirited and detailed defense of
the piece that even her most skeptical colleagues felt she must have had a
strong foundation for her work.
And as late as Wednesday,
as Abrams was finishing his report, she sent a
letter to Richard N. Kaplan, the president of CNN/US, saying she welcomed
the investigation but that "anyone attempting to retrace my eight months of
reporting in two weeks -- in this extraordinarily hostile environment --
will simply not be able to match my work." That was typical, say those who
worked with her. Long before last fall, when she started looking through
27-year-old manuals of military ordnance and making herself fluent in the
old Vietnam-era military jargon, she moved smartly up the ladder of
television production. "I hired her on the strength of her experience and
presentation of herself," said Smith, a former chief of the Washington
bureau for CBS. "She was one of the best reporters and the quickest
reporters and the quickest writers that I ever worked with," Smith added.
"I worked with Bill Mooney at The Chicago Daily News -- the fastest rewrite
man in history, God rest his soul -- and she's almost as fast."
And Ms. Oliver's response
to the Abrams report, which was released on
Thursday and repudiates her work as "journalistic overkill," was a
passionate defense of what she and Smith still believed. "There were strong
interests out there who wanted to discredit this report," she said in an
interview Friday. "The clear tactic was to kill the messenger -- me.
They're portraying me as the producer from hell who takes special forces
veterans and pushes them against the wall and makes them say things they
don't mean." The decision to keep the piece to 18 minutes was made by the
show's senior executive producer, Pamela Hill, who resigned on Thursday,
saying she agreed with Abrams' conclusions. "It would have been great to
put a lot of things in," Ms. Oliver said Friday. "But there was a time
issue. You can overload your audience with detail. There are two main
points here. Nerve gas and defectors. To put in all these little details --
maybe this person was a Russian not an American, maybe it was a CIA
cover-up -- you can overload the audience. There are a lot of maybes in
this. "We felt that we had hard confirmation from multiple sources, some of
whom had read the script. So getting into the various potential cover
stories could possibly be confusing to the audience."
About five days before
the broadcast, she gave detailed and courteous
responses to a colleague, CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, and
his producer, Chris Plante, who had challenged the report and pointed out
that no one quoted on camera directly supported the report's central
conclusions about nerve gas. Ms. Oliver responded, and still vigorously
contends, that in the following exchange, Adm. Thomas Moorer, 87, the
former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had confirmed the use of
nerve gas -- variously code-named CBU-15 and GB -- during the mission
Operation Tailwind. The exchange, as broadcast, began with Ms. Oliver
saying: "Isn't it fair to say that Tailwind proved that CBU-15, GB, is an
Moorer responded. "Yes,
I think -- but I think that was already known,
otherwise it would never have been manufactured." Abrams concluded that
Moorer was a questionable source, partly because his answers were often
given in response to hypothetical questions. In the final days before the
broadcast, Ms. Oliver and Smith said, her 156-page briefing book, which
contained 35 pages of information from those she called "naysayers," or
witnesses denying the allegation, was sent to the network's top executives
The rough cut of the broadcast
at that time included a 10-second clip from
Art Bishop, a pilot, saying that he had been told his plane was loaded with
tear gas. But according to Ms. Oliver, Smith and Ms. Hill, after various
superiors requested additional material that gave a historical context for
the events of 1970 and added an interview with an expert in chemical
warfare, Ms. Hill had cut Bishop's denial to a glancing reference. The
denial did not appear in the Time version. And Ms. Oliver said that she
never believed that Robert Van Buskirk, a crucial source, who had been a
lieutenant in the commando unit in Laos and told CNN he had called in a gas
attack to save his men, had experienced repressed memory syndrome. That
syndrome was attributed to him in later interviews with reporters from
other news organizations.
Sources like Van Buskirk
clearly remember Ms. Oliver's certainty about her
facts. "They got convinced that it was the nerve gas sarin somewhere beyond
me," he said in an interview.
Kaplan, on a program called
"Insight," which is seen on CNN's foreign
outlets but not in the United States, Friday said of Ms. Oliver and Smith,
"I think that what they did was fall in love with their reporting and come
to believe their reporting despite what they might have been learning."
"A lot of major information
was left out of the piece, and while they may
have done it because, out of good faith on their part, they believed they
were doing the right thing, the fact is it doesn't stand up journalistically."
-- Felicity Barringer
I have looked at the wording
of the "retraction" carefully. It does not
admit they had no story, simply that they had insufficient evidence to
press forward. A fine point but a critical one for the court disputes sure
to follow. Mr. Abrams labored mightily on that document and it shows. It is
a very well crafted statement. But all that begs the point... damage was
done to persons, groups and nations. A near apology is hardy grounds for
release from those responsibilities.
Would you be interested
in a factual analysis of what was actually done? I
believe can amply demonstrate to you that the story was deliberately
manufactured. It was brought forth with a pre-conceived story line and for
which evidence was either manufactured or altered, attempts made by at
least one CNN interviewer to coerce changes in testimony of a major eye
witness to conform to the story line, expert and eye witness testimony was
ignored when it did not agree with the story line and other sundry
Would you also be interested
in a series of verifiable events that
reasonably point to a connection between Arnett and Iraq? Read on....
PETER "SADDAM" ARNETT
I believe I can draw a
connection between Peter Arnett and the Iraqi
regime of Saddam Hussein.
In 1991, Arnett covered
Desert Storm for CNN in Baghdad. He was granted
access and information no other western journalist could match. Arnett
produced shows that were decidedly pro-Saddam and at least one well known,
true propaganda piece, the "milk factory" story.
In 1994, Arnett had been
a constant visitor to Iraq since the end of the
Gulf War. He had had a continuous and unusually free access to Iraqi
officials that was not granted to any western journalist. Following the
regional customs, Arnett had to have an Iraqi driver, as it is an
unforgivable breach of etiquette for a person of high status to drive his
own car anywhere. Failure to abide by this custom meant that he would lower
his social status and make many of his contacts inaccessible. Arnett's
driver had been working for him for some two years, when the Iraqi secret
police seized this driver and questioned him for days using electro-shock
and other methods of torture, then thrown out into the street near death.
The Iraqi story was that the driver was suspected of being a spy for the
CIA. The driver was not assisted in any way by CNN and left to recover or
not as chance may have it. Sources within the Anti-Saddam Iraqi
organizations hold forth that the person that turned in the driver was
Arnett. Even if this last is or is not true, why would Arnett's routine of
visits in Iraq be of such importance to the Iraqi secret police?
In August of 1997, Arnett's
protégé, April Oliver meets with two veterans
of the MACV Studies and Observations Group (SOG) in a restaurant called
Charlie's in a Virginia suburb of Washington DC. MACV-SOG was a super
secret commando unit during the Vietnam war, conducting intelligence
operations and raids into Cambodia, Laos and North Vietnam. In that
meeting, she starts to pump the two SOG veterans about calling in bombers
to kill their own people and just how many times, not if, nerve gas was
used in SOG operations. This is two months before the time Ms. Oliver
claims to have begun her investigation into Tailwind. Goes to intent.
On June 7, 1998, CNN/TIME
introduced their first joint effort, the
flagship television news show, "Newsstand." The opening story is about
Operation Tailwind, where they allege the use of nerve gas and the
targeting of Americans for death by SOG. This show is nor substantiated by
research, documentation or eye witnesses and indeed the overwhelming
preponderance of evidence denies the show's theme. The risk to the network
is very substantial to air such a show under any circumstances but doubly
so as the lead story of the new joint effort between CNN and TIME magazine.
The CNN internal review process are either circumvented or the results
ignored, else the shortcomings of the evidence would have been spotted and
questioned, effectively removing the show from the lineup.
CNN executives keep the
military advisor (Perry Smith) completely out of
the program's review loop and inform him of the show scant hours before its
air time. In the introduction of the show, Peter Arnett draws the
connection between the allegations and Iraq. He asks how can the United
States condemn Iraq for having chemical weapons when they used them in
1970. Tom Johnson ignores the results of an internal investigation
conducted by Perry Smith and continues to back the story, albeit in an
altered form. The second installment makes no mention of killing American
defectors and appears to have been hastily cut. The nerve gas allegation is
The international effects
of the CNN/TIME program are immediate and
predictable. The international press picks up this story and within hours
the entire world knows of the allegations. The efforts to remove the
chemical weapons from Iraq's Saddam Hussein comes to a sudden halt. France
and Russia, eager for lucrative Iraqi contracts to bolster their ailing
economies take up the call to end US hegemony in the gulf region. Iraq now
has and begins to employ a propaganda tool of biblical proportions.
Retraction or not, the
world stage has been altered for the worse. Saddam
Hussein wins more prestige and a chance to keep his weapons, the US loses
hard won credibility and the ability to effect change.
-- Tom Marzullo
As a part of this new
phase of the CNN/TIME Tailwind story, there is an
important task that needs to be done TODAY and for the next few weeks or
months. Everybody and anybody can help in this task. It is critical that it
be started right now. We need to have a copy of every newspaper and
magazine article and editorial printed in the United States that addresses
the recent "retraction" statement by CNN. Of special interest will be any
article or editorial that takes the side of CNN's sly insinuation about"
they don't have the proof, but we know it really happened." Or even better
if the article or editorial is negative towards the Vietnam, Special Forces
or SOG veterans. Please look at the left leaning rags for that kind of
slant... such as the Village Voice, etc. Make sure we have the name of the
newspaper/magazine, the city/state and the date of publication along with
This may look like a useless
exercise on it's surface, but it is most
definitely not... So please start clipping them and putting them in the
mail addressed to:
NEVER AGAIN COALITION
P.O. Box 222064
Carmel, CA 93922
HIT 'EM AGAIN AND HARDER
Nothing brings redemption like getting hit in the pocket book.
Here's a list of the Tailwind show sponsors.
US Post Office -- Priority Mail - 4 times
AT&T - 4
Anti-tobacco tax commercial
Oppenheimer Funds - 2
UUNET (a WorldCom Company)
Sony - 2
AT&T - 4
Priority Mail - 4
Chrysler - 2
Oppenheimer Funds - 2
Wyndham Hotel & Restaurants
Office of National Drug Control Policy
International Paper - 2
anti-tobacco tax commercial
CNN's Newstand/Time ads --June 7 & 14, 1998
AT&T Corporation, Chairman C. Michael Armstrong, 32 Ave. of the
New York, NY 10013, Phone 212-387-5400, FAX 908-204-2186, TOLL FREE
1-800-222-0300, WEB SITE: www.att.com , E-MAIL: email@example.com .
PRODUCTS: AT&T PHONE SERVICE.
Chrysler Corporation, Chairman Robert J. Eaton, 1000 Chrysler Dr.,
Hills, MI 48326, Phone 810-576-5741, , TOLL FREE 1-800-992-1997. PRODUCTS:
CHRYSLER, Dodge, Eagle, Jeep, and Plymouth automobiles and Dodge trucks,
Ford Motor Company, Chairman Alex Trotman, P. O. Box 1899, Dearborn,
48121, Phone 313-322-3000, TOLL FREE 1-800-392-3673, WEB SITE: www.ford.com
. PRODUCTS: Budget Rent a Car, FORD CARD AND TRUCKS, Hertz car rentals,
Lincoln luxury cars, Mercury cars and minivans.
HFS, Inc., Chairman Henry Silverman, 339 Jefferson Rd., Parsippany,
07054, Phone 201- 428-9700, FAX 201-428-6057. PRODUCTS: Century 21 real
estate, COLDWELL BANKER REALITY, Days Inn motels, Howard Johnson motels,
Ramada Inns motels, Super 8 motels.
International Business Machines Corp., Chairman Louis V. Gerstner
Orchard Road, Armonk, NY 10504, Phone 914-499-4711, FAX 914-765-4392, WEB
SITE: www.ibm.com . PRODUCTS: IBM INFORMATION PRODUCTS, IBM office
equipment, Lotus computer software.
Motorola, Inc., Chairman Gary L. Tooker, 1303 E. Algonquin Rd., Schaumburg,
IL 60196, Phone 847-576-5000, FAX 847-576-5611, WEB SITE: www.mot.com .
PRODUCTS: MOTOROLA ELECTRONICS.
Ricoh Corporation, Chairman Hisao Yuasa, 5 Dedrick Place, West Caldwell,
07006, Phone 201-882-2000, FAX 201-808-7555, TOLL FREE 1-800-63-RICOH, WEB
SITE: www.ricohcorp.com . PRODUCTS: RICOH OFFICE EQUIPMENT.
Sony Corporation of America, Pres. Howard Stringer, One Sony Dr.,
Ridge, NJ 07656, Phone 201-930-1000, FAX 201-358-4060. PRODUCTS: Columbia
records, Columbia Pictures Industries, Epic records, SONY ELECTRONIC
PRODUCTS, Tri-Star film production.
U.S. Postal Service, Chairman Marvin Runyon, 475 L'Enfant Plaza S.W.,
Washington, DC 20260, Phone 202-268-2000, WEB SITE: www.usps.gov .
PRODUCTS: U.S. MAIL, STAMPS, ETC.
Volkswagen of America, Inc., Chairman Clive Warrilow, 3800 Hamlin
Auburn Hills, MI 48326, Phone 248-340-5100, FAX 248-340-5150, TOLL FREE
1-800-822-8987, WEB SITE: www.vw.com . PRODUCTS: AUDI AUTOMOBILES,
THE MAN BEHIND CNN'S NERVE GAS HOAX
Cable News Network has
now retracted its story claiming that during a 1970
raid into Laos, the U.S. Special Forces used sarin nerve gas to kill
American deserters. A senior producer was forced to resign, along with the
two main producers of the report. But the lead reporter, Peter Arnett, is
merely being reprimanded, despite his long history of anti-American
propagandizing under the guise of journalism.
In the CNN report that
aired June 7, Mr. Arnett's narration, which he says
he did not write, not only distorted and twisted the facts but deliberately
suppressed evidence to the contrary. The final product was unadulterated
disinformation--deliberate as opposed to inadvertent misinformation. Anyone
with a modicum of information about chemical warfare immediately concluded
the CNN "scoop" could not be true, for U.S. ground troops in the raid were
not issued chemical protection gear or autoinjected antidotes to nerve gas.
In fact, a dozen veterans of the operation told CNN that it was tear gas.
Mr. Arnett has been called
many things in his 36-year career--from "the
best of the war correspondents" to "traitor." Presidents Johnson and Nixon
complained about his antimilitary reporting, which landed him a Pulitzer
Prize in 1966. He had arrived in Saigon four years earlier at the age of 27
and worked for the Associated Press. He was a prototype of the
blame-America-first school, though not a self-hating American, as he hailed
from New Zealand.
In a March 22, 1965, AP
story, Mr. Arnett quoted Radio Hanoi in his lead
paragraph accusing U.S. and South Vietnamese troops of using "poisonous
chemicals" against innocent children in an experiment. Further down in that
dispatch, Mr. Arnett referred to the non-lethal tear gas being used by the
military. But it didn't take long for war critics at home and abroad to
charge that the Johnson administration was experimenting with toxic chemicals.
Mr. Arnett's tremendous
physical courage is much admired by his
colleagues. Immensely likable, a great raconteur, he was the darling of the
left-liberal media establishment that ruled the roost during the Vietnam
War. Anti- anti-Communist was the dominant media culture. The U.S.
administration was the enemy, on the wrong side of history.
I was a foreign correspondent
for Newsweek during the Vietnam War (though
I was fired in 1980 for what then-executive editor Lester Bernstein later
described as "ideological incompatibility"). I was part of a small minority
of journalists who felt the U.S. should stick to its commitments after
President Kennedy escalated the stakes when he turned U.S. military
advisers into fighting men.
But Mr. Arnett and the
media "cabal" (as he himself described it in a
C-Span interview) saw the U.S. military as a meat grinder killing poor
defenseless Vietnamese who only wanted their freedom and independence. Ho
Chi Minh was the good guy; the Vietcong were an indigenous, spontaneous
In 1972 Mr. Arnett was
selected by antiwar activists for an anti-American
propaganda exercise in Hanoi. His new pals were Cora Weiss, a pro-Communist
peace activist; Richard Falk, a Princeton professor long active with the
International Association of Democratic Lawyers, a Moscow-backed front
group; and the late David Dellinger, a self-described "communist with a
small 'c.' " Mr. Arnett told C-Span that this antiwar group had offered him
an exclusive on six prisoners of war being released into their custody in
Hanoi. In that same interview, Mr. Arnett said his only regret about
Vietnam is that his coverage "should have been tougher"--on the U.S., one
Mr. Arnett's anti-Americanism
has not been limited to his reporting on
Vietnam. He became known as "Baghdad Pete" during the Gulf War, at one
point the only U.S. journalist allowed to stay in the Iraqi capital, where
he became a mouthpiece for Saddam Hussein. His most criticized story was
what his Iraqi handlers told him was the destruction by U.S. bombs of a
"baby milk" factory. His piece for CNN showed the flattened plant and "baby
milk" workers clad in spanking clean overalls with English lettering. The
stage managing was obvious, but Mr. Arnett swallowed it. The destroyed
facility was in fact the headquarters for an Iraqi intelligence unit whose
coded signals had been intercepted by U.S. monitors before it became a target.
Perhaps one day Mr. Arnett
will issue his mea, hopefully maxima, culpa.
For the sake of balance, he might consider a story on the only document the
Pentagon has unearthed on the use of chemical agents in Vietnam. It was a
June 8, 1969, "Secret--Eyes Only" memo titled "Enemy Use of Unknown
Chemical Agents." It catalogues four instances from late 1968 to early 1969
in which enemy troops--Hanoi's troops --were suspected of using chemical
agents against U.S. soldiers. Whatever it was, it was not tear gas, because
it achieved "temporary mental incapacitation."
-- ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE
Mr. de Borchgrave is editor-at-large of the Washington Times and
adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
PUZZLED IN SACRAMENTO
Retract? What the hell
for? We used Sarin Gas in the Oh' deuce (502D
Airborne Infantry) all the time! I know, I used to have to burn it in them
55 gallon cut-in-half drums now and then...That stuff could gag a maggot.
You know, this incident
is a perfect example of how the Vietnam Suicide
myth and now the Homeless Vietnam vet myths all got started and likely will
never die. I've seen lots of claims that more of us have committed suicide
than were killed in Nam and that something like half of all homeless men
are Vietnam vets and I've never seen any proof of either claim. Not one
shred of proof from any quarter but lots of data to show neither is
true.... Go figure?
Why does the media publish these lies? I don't get it.
And how come Vietnam Vets
were so quick to fight back and kill CNN's lie
but they sit by idly while our reputations are sullied by the other big
lies such as suicide and homelessness?
-- Mike Kelley