Relatives of U.S. military members missing in Vietnam urged President Obama to press Hanoi on the whereabouts of anyone who may have been killed or captured during the post-World War II conflict.
Vietnam was hoping that Obama would agree to lift an arms export embargo so it can better deal with China in the South China Sea dispute, while rights activists want him to hold to account a repressive one-party state seen as treating its critics abysmally during his visit.
Some Americans believe there is still some “unfinished business” to take care of in discovering the unknown fates of more than 1,600 military members who never returned home from the Vietnam War. Relatives of those military members want Vietnam’s help in accounting for those who may have died after being shot down or died as a prisoner of war.
Some others wanted Obama to seek answers as to whether Vietnam held Americans as prisoners of war after 1973 instead of releasing all the captives as the peace agreement called for. Hanoi has repeatedly insisted that it has provided Washington with its help in discovering the whereabouts of all of its missing personnel and denied that it held prisoners of war after the conflict was over. Just over 1,000 Americans have already been accounted for and had their remains returned.
Even though the last 591 American POWs returned to the U.S. in April 1973, there are still suspicions that the then-North Vietnamese retained some prisoners of war to leverage an aid package with President Richard Nixon that could’ve enticed the end of the war. Additionally prisoners or MIA’s after that day could have been retained. The theory states that the aid payment failed because of Nixon’s Watergate scandal and the North Vietnamese kept the prisoners. Additional theories include the possibility of prisoners taken during the Knife 13 and Mayaguez incident.
The theory continues as saying that some American prisoners of war are believed to have been killed or to provide military secrets in exchange for their lives under the Communist rule.
Speculation was also fueled by unconfirmed sightings of American POWs in Vietnam by a Vietnam expat and the findings of a 1993 Senate committee, headed by Secretary of State John Kerry. However, no real proof has ever been offered.
“We acknowledge that there is no proof that US POWs survived, but neither is there proof that all of those who did not return had died,” it concluded. “There is evidence, moreover, that indicates the possibility of survival, at least for a small number, after Operation Homecoming.”
Sen. John McCain, who was a prisoner of war captured by Vietnam, said he received “full access” to the Vietnamese records in the 1990s and didn’t believe there were any surviving American POWs remaining in the Asian nation. However recent evidence released holds Mr. McCains credibility in question.
For many years, American former P.O.W.s who were in the “Hanoi Hilton” North Vietnamese prison with John McCain called him a “Songbird” who collaborated with the enemy against his own country. They accused him of turning against them and against his own country in exchange for preferential treatment while many of the actually brave and honorable American P.O.W.s endured torture and denial of medical care and food for refusing to collaborate. The P.O.W.s branded McCain a traitor who was no hero, but nonetheless used his fake hero status to rise to political power.
But we only had their word against his – until now. Now, from the U.S. National Archives comes the proof of their allegations; McCain, by his own words, WAS in fact a traitor who collaborated with the enemy by recording a “Tokyo Rose” statement condemning his own nation by admitting “crimes” against the North Vietnamese people, stating “I, as a U.S. airman, am guilty of crimes against the Vietnamese country and people.” McCain’s recorded statement also painted a picture of humane treatment of prisoners even though he knew many of his fellow Americans were being tortured and denied medical care and adequate food. In the recording he is heard to say “I received this kind treatment and food even though I came here as an aggressor and the people who I injured have much difficulty in their living standards. I wish to express my deep gratitude for my kind treatment and I will never forget this kindness extended to me.”
Watch this, and listen to the recording yourself:
John McCain, Traitor and Songbird, sings for his masters. Listen above
Statement by Stewart Rhodes:
Las year, I (Stewart Rhodes) was attacked by the left wing media for calling McCain a traitor who deserved to be tried for treason (for his support for the use of military detention and military tribunals for Americans, rather than a jury trial as required by our Constitution), and then, once convicted, deserved to suffer the usual punishment for someone convicted of treason, which is to be hung by the neck until dead. Turns out I was right. He IS a traitor, and now there is direct evidence to back that up, in addition to his horrid voting record against the Constitution. Well, now, can we finally try him for treason and then sentence him accordingly? Or will he, like Hillary Clinton, get a pass on his crimes despite direct, smoking gun evidence, because both of them are part of the political elite? You already know the answer to that.
Here is what they have to say about this:
The 1969 North Vietnamese radio broadcast has never been heard in the United States of America. In fact, there has never been any knowledge that such a recording existed. The audio recording was found in a misplaced file in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The broadcast was recorded by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, a branch of the CIA that monitored international shortwave and foreign radio broadcasts.
Lt. Commander John McCain was shot down over Hanoi by a North Vietnamese missile while flying his 23rd bombing mission. Both of his arms and one leg were broken. He was pulled ashore by North Vietnamese who took him to a prison known by POWs as the “Hanoi Hilton.”
McCain was a prisoner of war for five and a half years. He was released on March 14, 1973, and returned to the United States of America as a war hero. His POW legacy propelled McCain to victory in a race for a U.S. Congressional seat in Arizona in 1982. He replaced Barry Goldwater in the Senate in 1986.
Here is a transcript of the recording:
To the Vietnamese people and the government of the DRVN:
From John Sidney McCain, 624787, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy, born 29 August, 1936, Panama, home state Oregon. Shot down 26 October, 1967, A-4E aircraft.
I, as a U.S. airman, am guilty of crimes against the Vietnamese country and people. I bombed their cities, towns and villages and caused many injuries, even deaths, for the people of Vietnam.
I was captured in the capital city of Hanoi, while attacking it. After I was captured, I was taken to the hospital in Hanoi, where I received very good medical treatment. I was given an operation on my leg, which allowed me to walk again, and a cast on my right arm, which was badly broken in three places.
The doctors were very good and they knew a great deal about the practice of medicine. I remained in the hospital for some time and regained much of my health and strength. Since I arrived in the camp of detention, I received humane and lenient treatment.
I received this kind treatment and food even though I came here as an aggressor and the people who I injured have much difficulty in their living standards. I wish to express my deep gratitude for my kind treatment and I will never forget this kindness extended to me.
The broadcast was recorded by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, a branch of the CIA that monitored international shortwave and foreign radio broadcasts. So, the CIA, our supposed Central Intelligence Agency, knew that he was a traitor. Did they report that bit of intelligence to President Nixon? Did they inform the Joint Chief of Staff? Did they even notify McCain’s command? Again, you already know the answer to that. What they did is sit on it, and no doubt they “misfiled” it in the National Archives, and let McCain know they had it there, somewhere, and that they could have the “misfiling” corrected anytime they wanted, so he would be compliant and do as commanded throughout his career. That is how it is done. They had McCain under their control, as a “Manchurian Candidate” from that moment on, which is why it was kept an internal CIA secret all those years, till now.
So that we understand the magnitude and criminality of McCains actions, calling McCain a traitor for collaborating with the enemy by recording that propaganda broadcast for the North Vietnamese, here is the law’
First, here is what the Code of Conduct says about this (I have highlighted in bold the most pertinent sections):
- Code of Conduct for Members of the United States Armed Forces
- I. I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.
- II. I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.
- III. If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.
- IV. If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.
- V. When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause
- VI. I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.
It really goes without saying that this recording shows that McCain violated that Code of Conduct. Doing so was not excusable because of the “duress” he was under. In fact, the same folks who dug this recording up also say they have his own statements to show he was not under duress: http://gotnews.com/breaking-senjohnmccain-not-duress-north-vietnam-blabbed-military-info-voiced-communist-propaganda/
Even if he were actually under duress, that would not absolve him of his duty to “make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.” Nor does it absolve him of his duty to “accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy“ which is exactly what the other POWs accused McCain of doing.
Medal of Honor recipient James Stockdale, in contrast to McCain, was actually brutally tortured and still refused to collaborate with the enemy. Let’s compare and contrast his actions to that of McCain:
Stockdale was held as a prisoner of war in the Hoa Lo prison (the infamous “Hanoi Hilton”) for the next seven and a half years. As the senior Naval officer, he was one of the primary organizers of prisoner resistance. Tortured routinely and denied medical attention for the severely damaged leg he suffered during capture, Stockdale created and enforced a code of conduct for all prisoners which governed torture, secret communications, and behavior. In the summer of 1969, he was locked in leg irons in a bath stall and routinely tortured and beaten. When told by his captors that he was to be paraded in public, Stockdale slit his scalp with a razor to purposely disfigure himself so that his captors could not use him as propaganda. When they covered his head with a hat, he beat himself with a stool until his face was swollen beyond recognition. When Stockdale was discovered with information that could implicate his friends’ “black activities,” he slit his wrists so they could not torture him into confession.
Stockdale was one of eleven prisoners known as the “Alcatraz Gang“: George Thomas Coker; George McKnight; Jeremiah Denton; Harry Jenkins; Sam Johnson; James Mulligan; Howard Rutledge; Robert Shumaker; Ronald Storz; and Nels Tanner. These individuals had been leaders of resistance activities while in captivity and thus were separated from other captives and placed in solitary confinement. “Alcatraz” was a special facility in a courtyard behind the North Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense, located about one mile away from Hoa Lo Prison. In Alcatraz, each of the prisoners was kept in an individual windowless and concrete cell measuring 3 by 9 feet (0.9 by 2.7 m) with a light bulb kept on around the clock, and they were locked in leg irons each night. Of the eleven, Storz died in captivity there in 1970.
I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.
When Collins asked who didn’t make it out of Vietnam, Stockdale replied:
Oh, that’s easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.
Stockdale then added:
This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.
Stockdale was released as a prisoner of war on February 12, 1973 during Operation Homecoming. His shoulders had been wrenched from their sockets, his leg shattered by angry villagers and a torturer, and his back broken.
On March 4, 1976, Stockdale received the Medal of Honor. Stockdale filed charges against two other officers (Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Edison W. Miller and Navy Captain Walter E. “Gene” Wilber) who, he felt, had given aid and comfort to the enemy. However, the Navy Department under the leadership of then-Secretary of the Navy John Warner took no action and retired these men “in the best interests of the Navy.”
Debilitated by his captivity and mistreatment, Stockdale could not stand upright and could barely walk upon his return to the United States, which prevented his return to active flying status. In deference to his previous service, the Navy kept him on active duty, steadily promoting him over the next few years before he retired as avice admiral. He completed his career by serving as President of the Naval War College from October 13, 1977, until August 22, 1979.
And here is Stockdale’s Medal of Honor Citation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while senior naval officer in the Prisoner of War camps of North Vietnam. Recognized by his captors as the leader in the Prisoners’ of War resistance to interrogation and in their refusal to participate in propaganda exploitation, Rear Adm. Stockdale was singled out for interrogation and attendant torture after he was detected in a covert communications attempt. Sensing the start of another purge, and aware that his earlier efforts at self-disfiguration to dissuade his captors from exploiting him for propaganda purposes had resulted in cruel and agonizing punishment, Rear Adm. Stockdale resolved to make himself a symbol of resistance regardless of personal sacrifice. He deliberately inflicted a near-mortal wound to his person in order to convince his captors of his willingness to give up his life rather than capitulate. He was subsequently discovered and revived by the North Vietnamese who, convinced of his indomitable spirit, abated in their employment of excessive harassment and torture toward all of the Prisoners of War. By his heroic action, at great peril to himself, he earned the everlasting gratitude of his fellow prisoners and of his country. Rear Adm. Stockdale’s valiant leadership and extraordinary courage in a hostile environment sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service (emphasis added).
Now THAT is a hero. And that is also a stellar example of an officer who lead by example, and put the well being of his men first, above himself, and loyalty to his country first, above himself, and his actions directly saved his men from further torture, bolstered their morale, and likely saved lives – the exact opposite of McCain’s actions. Please do not tell me that John McCain somehow deserves a “pass” for his behavior because of supposed duress (with all evidence pointing to him singing like a bird before suffering anything approaching what Stockdale endured) and when a real man, Stockdale, endured real duress, to say the least, and refused to submit and collaborate. And please don’t try to tell me I have no right to condemn him unless I too was a POW. Stockdale tried to press charges against two other officers who were POWs, for corroborating with the enemy, and I have no doubt he would have done the same with McCain had he known the full truth. And many of the men who did know the truth did their best to expose it, but were brushed aside and ignored because McCain’s daddy was an admiral and Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet. Many of those men are now gone, and can no longer speak out. So we will speak for them.
Here is what John McCain himself had to say about the Code of Conduct and the harm caused by prisoners that collaborated with the enemy:
If he were just some poor Joe who endured hardship as a prisoner, I could understand and by sympathetic to him breaking under pressure and collaborating. But he was not just some average Joe. He was an Admiral’s son, and he rode a wave of propaganda of him being some kind of hero into Congress, and he has been there ever since, and because of his status as a “war hero” he has received deference, forgiveness for his repeated sins against the Constitution, and repeated reelection so he can violate it yet again, term after term. He was no war hero. A collaborator simply is not a hero. He is, in fact, the opposite. Maybe someone like that can be forgiven, or considered with sympathy, but he sure as hell should not be hailed as some kind of hero, or “national treasure” like Newt Gingrich just called McCain. Stockdale was a real hero. Calling McCain a hero cheapens that term. And while for years people asserted that he made this recording (which he denied), the public never heard it, until now. – Stewart Rhodes
COMMENT BY NAVY JACK:
The Silver Star was awarded to John McCain for resisting extreme mental and physical cruelties inflicted upon him by his captors in an attempt to obtain a false confession for propaganda purposes. McCain later admitted to signing a confession during his captivity that read “I am a black criminal and I have performed deeds of an air pirate.” McCain denied having made the taped confession you have just heard.
All pilots during the Vietnam War received the following general order:
If you are captured and tortured, you must resist, avoid, or evade, to the best of your ability, all enemy efforts to obtain statements or actions that will help the enemy. Examples of statements or actions to resist that are harmful to the US, its allies, or other prisoners, include:
• Oral or written confessions.
• Questionnaires or personal history statements.
• Propaganda recordings and broadcasts.
• Appeals to other POWs and appeals for surrender or peace.
• Engagement in self-criticism.
• Oral or written statements or communications on behalf of the enemy.
The enemy might use any confession or statement to convict you as a war criminal. It prolongs your right to repatriation until you serve a prison sentence.
Article V of the Code of Conduct:
When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country or its allies or harmful to their cause.
John McCain has received his status and position as a Senator with false claims and false valor. It’s one thing to break down under torture, if he actually was tortured. It is another thing altogether to accept decorations, political advancement and public acclaim based on these lies.
Portions republished from OathKeepers