July 13, 1998
Mr. Turner

   I read today your retraction and apology for the infamous Tailwind story.
 I found it very interesting. You stated that this was one of the saddest and
 troubling days of your life and that you wished you could remove your shirt
 and whip yourself.  While making that simple statement, it did not escape me
 and I thought, why could he  just finish the sentence and say “I am sorry for
 this hideous lie, I realize that I have done a grievous wrong to every veteran
 living and dead who was honor to have served this great country in its many
 wars”.  Instead, you go on to say that CNN could not prove this story beyond a
 reasonable doubt.  I would submit to you sir, that this was hardly an apology.
 Rather, it was nothing more than an effort to quiet the waters and appease or
 mollify your many critics.  As I communicate with Veterans across this great
 land, I can report to you that your apology is not acceptable.  We feel it is
 self serving and further perpetuates the lie foisted upon the American public.
 Further, it damages the credibility of this great nation, its foreign policy
 and shows the American soldier to be nothing less than wanton war criminals.

   Mr. Turner, I do not know if you or members of your family have ever
 served. I do not know if you can feel the pride that we have in our service,
 our honor and this country.  It is clear to me that you take great pride in
 your many successes, most especially the concept, development, birth and the
 successes of CNN over the last 18 years.  I know you must feel the pain, so
 wrongfully inflicted on every member of the CNN family by this fanciful lie.
 Can you even begin to feel the hurt, one that has gone to our very soul, that
 this story has inflicted on all those who gallantly served this great nation.
 Do you wonder why we are so upset?

   Sir, this is not a story.  It is an indictment, a blatant lie, one which
 you have elected to leave hanging in the air like a rotting carcass.  The rot
 and stench of this lie raises the bitter taste of bile in the throat of all
 just men who live by and demand the truth. Sir, this lie has branded all
 members of Special Forces as wanton murderers.  This story publicly stated to
 the world that members of Special Forces, the most elite unit that this
 country has ever fielded , knowingly and willfully set out as their mission,
 to locate and kill other American servicemen.  It goes on to state that these
 forces used lethal war gas, a weapon which is illegal under the terms of the
 Geneva Convention, in an effort to kill these Americans and innocent women and
 children. Do you realize that this hideous piece puts us in the same box as
 the Nazi War Criminals who where tried at Nurinburg for these same crimes?
 Can you begin to comprehend the damage you have done to our honor? The effect
 it has had on so many parents of missing service members who have now been
 told that its own armed forces attempted to hunt down and kill their loved
 ones.  Do you even begin to comprehend the advantage you have given to our
 many potential enemies who can now use story to their advantage? These
 fallacious charges that we, as Iraq, used lethal war gas to kill its own
 citizens, while a lie, gives aid and comfort to our many adversaries and will
 surely come back to haunt us in the future.

    It challenges the imagination as to how this story  ever saw the light of
 day.  What was the motive for its development?  What really is the hidden
 agenda? Who in management was so inept not to see the many lies and pitfalls
 contained in this piece. When you are alone in the silence of your own
 thoughts, here are some hard facts you may want to consider.

-All have forgotten or just never learned by their lack of military training,
 that all forces committed to combat are governed very strictly by:

  --The Geneva Convention
  --The Rules of Land Warfare
  --The Rules of Engagement as promulgated by the President, the Joint Chiefs
 of Staff through the National Command Center and the Theater Commander.

- A rank amateur on the internet can obtain in a matter of minutes all
 pertinent information on every type of known War Gas, by nation, their
 effects, means of dispersal, persistence and protection necessary for
 survival. The accusation that GB (Sarin) was used on unprotected soldiers and
 civilians cries out as being blatantly untrue.  We all know that GB is a
 highly toxic nerve agent.  Does it not seem strange to you that all US and
 Indigenous members survived after inhalation of this deadly substance. Only
 minor exposure kills in a matter of minutes. Why are they not dead?  I think
 the question answers itself, it could not have been Sarin.

-The concept that because this was a “Black Operation”  documents or other
 information were not available is laughable.  Most documents have long since
 been declassified and were available for review in Albuquerque in June.  In
 fact your camera crews photographed many of them during the very excellent
 brief by Maj (Ret) Plaster.  I am sure you have a copy of this briefing.  This
 operation was black only to the extent that it was a cross border operation
 when we were telling the world that we were not operating in Laos.  In fact it
 was nothing more than a Reconnaissance by Fire to draw NVA forces away from
 other friendly units.

-Reconnaissance Teams were not on the ground prior to insertion of Capt
 McCarleys’ force as stated in the report. No one was on the ground with the
 mission to locate or observe this or any other “village”.  In fact, as
 friendly forces were moving toward their extraction point, they observed two
 dogs and followed them to a NVA way station manned by logistic personnel, one
 which contained large quantities of munitions.  This force and the munitions
 were destroyed, a large quantity of documents were recovered and our forces
 proceeded under heavy pressure to their pickup point.  This so called village
 was nothing more than a target of opportunity.

-Withdrawing friendly forces, all wounded, low on ammunition and under
 increasing NVA pressure, were pinned down. They called for close air support
 and US A1Es fighters responded. A variety of weapons were used to hold the
 enemy advance in check. They then dropped CN, Tear Gas, on the advancing force
 to create a diversion which gave our forces the opportunity to move through
 this gas to the rescue helicopters.  All ground personnel and helicopter crews
 were exposed to this gas, all survived.

-Adm Moorer was highlighted throughout this program.  AS CJCS, he would have
 been deeply involved in any decision along with other advisors and policy
 makers in the deliberations to develop the Presidential Finding.  This finding
 is mandatory for the release of Nuclear or Chemical weapons.  Throughout this
 piece, Adm Moored denied any such authorization and in fact, it was clear,
 that what little that he did say, was taken out of context.  Throughout, his
 denials came through loud and clear.

-The Armed Forces maintains extensive records on personnel. Most notably,
 Personal records and the Morning Report. With these reports, it has been
 proven that several people did not participate in this operation as reported.
 Jay Graves was in Vietnam, and records show that the member of the Air Force
 was never connected to Special Operations, a part of any known reconnaissance
 team and was in fact, on that date, in Vietnam.

-Mr. Arnett was told by LTC (ret) Bishop, a pilot of one of the attack A1E
 fighters that he never carried GB. He again in an article only yesterday,
 stated unequivocally, that the bombs he carried that day were CN.

-MGEN Smith, CNNs Military Advisor in his investigation before the airing of
 this story, reported to management that this story was untrue. His
 investigation proved that Lethal War Gas was not stored or available at NKP,
 Thailand.  His conversations with the crews of the attack aircraft confirmed
 that CN, Tear Gas was carried and dropped. To stress the truth in this matter,
 he resigned his position with CNN in protest.

-In this article, it was alleged that the US military used lethal war agents
 at least 20 times.  It is noteworthy that no proof, no time, date or location
 was given. No other evidence was presented to substantiate such horrendous
 allegations. Again, the allegations were left as a festering sore for all to
 observe and contemplate.  During this very critical period in our history,
 highlighted by public unrest, activism, demonstrations, etc, is it even
 conceivable that such weapons could have been used without public knowledge
 and world condemnation?

   With the above, I don’t mean to insult your intelligence.  My intent was
 only to lay out the complete and unvarnished truth for your consideration.  It
 is simply not true that the validity of the story could not be determined
 beyond a reasonable doubt. I submit to you sir, that any unbiased investigator
 would immediately see this story for what it was, a complete fabrication made
 from whole cloth.  We believe this fabrication is a result of Mr. Arnetts long
 held belief, as substantiated by his past writings, that lethal gases were
 used on the suffering people of Indochina.  While Mr. Arnetts anti-military,
 anti-US bias is well known, we cannot understand his possible motivation to
 perpetuate this lie, one that he first surfaced in the 1960s. We must honestly
 ask, why does he again attempt to resurrect this myth after so many years.  Is
 it perhaps, as many suspect, that his primary aim is to give cover to his
 friends in Baghdad for their criminal use of these weapons against their own
 citizens.  What better cover than to put the United States in bed with this
 international criminal?  That is a question you may want to ponder as you
 determine CNNs future path.

   As I stated by letter to the  management of Time Warner and CNN in the
 persons of Messieurs Johnson,  Levin and Parsons, the damage has been done but
 the effects can yet be mitigated.  For our part, we want this stain removed
 from our honor.  We do not expect you to flog yourself, only to take those
 hard first steps necessary to regain the good name of CNN. To be again, in the
 eyes of the public, trusted journalists that can relied upon to tell the
 unblemished truth.  To accomplish this, we demand the following:
 

-  Insure that all guilty parties who had a hand in the production of this lie
 be discharged immediately.  This includes Mr. Arnett and possibly Mr. Kaplin.

-  Host a totally neutral airing of a new program that tells the whole story
 as it existed.  It should be under the expert hand of an independent arbiter,
 perhaps MGEN Smith whose honesty is known to the Special Forces Community. The
 single criteria of this production is that the truth must be told by all
 interested parties and let the chips fall where they may. The Special Forces
 and Special Operations Associations can provide any number of formerly
 classified documents, the crews of the fighters, helicopters and those
 personnel who participated on the ground.  Any and all expert witnesses can be
 aired who have competent knowledge of chemical warfare, weapons, tactics and
 use. Most importantly, expert witnesses should be called to detail the highest
 priority that was given to the recovery of all US and Allied personnel
 regardless of category.  It would be especially useful to hear the testimony
 of the confidential witnesses that Ms Oliver so lavishly uses to justify her
 allegations.

- That a complete copy of all transcripts, out takes, and all other pertinent
 information held by CNN and Time be provided to the Special Forces and Special
 Operations Associations for inspection.

- That a public, on air apology be made to this nation, its citizens and those
 many veterans who have fought and died in its defense.  It must on its face
 identify this story as a lie if we are to right this grievous wrong.

  I realize that the above is difficult and I am sure that your attorneys will
 counsel against it.  I can assure you that all that is necessary is for you
 reach out your hand in friendship.

Sir, I can assure you that I have no hidden agenda. If I may challenge Mr.
 Arnetts assertions made just today that it is the Right Wing Media that is
 attempting to damage his reputation, I can assure him that nothing could be
 further from the truth.  I am but a private citizen who with many friends,
 like to refer to ourselves as the cyber voice of Special Forces. Immediately
 on viewing this flight into fantasy, en masse, we began to voice our
 collective voice of indignation to this blatant lie, this insult to our honor
 to every media outlet in the nation. Had we not raised the cry of alarm, it is
 doubtful that the media would have noticed the passing of this story. We are
 simply a group of proud, retired soldiers.  Many disabled, many not as spry as
 30 years ago, but old soldiers who know the truth, an insult, a lie and how to
 use the internet.  Soldiers who are prepared for this one last battle.
 Soldiers who have nothing better to do than to continually flood this vast
 body called the internet, the media, your advertisers, stockholders, the
 congress, the senate and our many friends with the truth. Our message is
 simple our demand are non-negotiable. It is simply that the truth be told and
 our good name returned to us.

  Mr. Turner, we have time, 24 hours a day. We have the determination and the
 power of right on our side.  You can believe that for my part, if our demands
 are not honored, than you can be assured that several time during the waking
 day, that this letter and others like it will be spammed onto the internet. It
 will be sent to every address on my database which now numbers 827 .  You must
 also know that my messages and those of my friends  will be multiplied by the
 hundreds and thousands as they are picked up and forwarded to thousands of
 addressees around the world. Our potential readership far eclipses the total
 viewers of the US media, both TV and print combined. It may take months or
 years, time is immaterial.  I know that at some point, the pressure will
 become great enough that even CNN as big as it is, will cry enough.

  Sir, My day is complete when I have done my small  part to carry this fight
 to fruition, time is free.  Is it really worth your time, effort, and company
 treasure to protect the lie and the liars? If you wish to come to know us and
 our hospitality, please have your secretary go to the internet and type
 http://www.sflistteamhouse.com.  I am sure you will be proud of our efforts.  Both
 our honors are on the line.  Mr. Turner, just do the right thing and get this
 abomination, this thing called Tailwind, behind us.
 

Respectfully
 

Richard E. (Jim) Laritz
LTC (Ret) US Army Special Forces

CF:  Mr Gerald M. Levin  Chairman/CEO
     Mr Richard E. Parsons, President
 
 

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