Senate report reveals POWs from WWII still held
By Harry V. Martin
Copyright FreeAmerica and Harry V. Martin, 1995
The chief of the Special Office for POWs and MIAs resigned last year, stating that the highest officials in the United
States government were committing a travesty and even a cover‑up. Colonel Mike Peck resigned as head of the
special unit of the Defense Intelligence Agency because he believed that evidence was sufficient to show American
POWs were still alive in Southeast Asia.
A special Congressional Select Committee, in a report dated May 23, 1991, revealed not only were American POWs still alive
from the Vietnam War, but that 25,000 American POWs from World War II were transferred from German POW camps to
Siberia. In 1975, an escapee from a Soviet labor camp in Siberia reported that he was held with 900 American POWs, POWs
from World War II, Korea and Southeast Asia. In fact, there report indicates the Soviets were holding American POWs from
World War I.
Yet for political reasons, none have been returned to the United States. For many years there have been reported sightings of
American POWs in Southeast Asia, but in every case the United States government has denied that any American POWs are
alive in Vietnam or Laos today. In all, there were over 70,000 missing Americans in World War II, 10,000 from the Korean
War, and 2200 in Vietnam. The KGB reports interrogating American POWs long after the Vietnam War concluded.
There is a split in government, many military insiders know there are still POWs in Vietnam and support any effort,
government‑financed or privately‑financed, to repatriate these long‑held prisoners. Yet the highest echelons in government does
not support the military contention. Former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Eugene Tighe, Jr., has always insisted
that POWs remain in Vietnam. Tighe has never abandoned this belief. (Note: Tighe was the chairman of the board of Defense
System Review, the international military magazine owned by this writer from 1983‑1985.) Colonel Peck surrendered a
promising career over the same issue.
One of the key figures in the U.S. government's POW negotiation efforts was Richard Armitage, who worked for the Defense
Intelligence Agency. His mission was to find and repatriate POWs. Yet Armitage has been accused by the Golden Triangle's
biggest drug lord of being the top drug dealer for the United States in Southeast Asia. The drug lord indicated that some U.S.
POWs were used as virtual slave labor in the drug trafficking. Approximately 90 percent of the heroin trade between the
Golden Triangle and the United States was sanctioned by the Central Intelligence Agency. The drugs were used, in part, to
finance covert military operations in Central America, in direct violation of Congressional edicts that no military aid be sent to
Central America. They were creating a secret military slush fund from the drug sales.
When George Bush was vice president he issued a report that at least five POWs were alive in Vietnam and indicated there
were at least 70 others.
French television reports at least 72 American POWs in three camps in southern Vietnam. There have been unconfirmed
reports that American POWs are being held on Guam, Hawaii and in a few locations within the United States. There are also
unconfirmed reports that many were shipped to North Korea.
There have been too many sightings, too many reports from military, Russian, Laotian and Vietnamese officials to write off all
American POWs as dead. But that has been the official policy of the United States government from Presidents Jimmy Carter,
Ronald Reagan and George Bush. Even Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower had to grapple with the Soviet
imprisonment of thousands of American POWs once held by the Germans.
A privately financed expedition has claimed that it has retrieved 10 American POWs in Southeast Asia. Once word was
received of their mission, the United States has sent in a large contingent to find the private team. In return, more privately
financed personnel have been sent to Southeast Asia to bolster the size of the original team in case of conflict with the official
U.S. forces. One unconfirmed report claims that the families of the 10 POWs have been notified. According to the leader of the
group, arrangements have been made to bring family members over to Southeast Asia to be reunited with their loved ones held
captive for so many years. A television satellite uplink might be attempted to broadcast to the world the freeing of the 10
POWs along with the reuniting of them with their families.
Though the mission was covert, the leaders of the privately financed team did not object to the recent publicity it received.
When a Frenchman associated with the expedition broke the secrecy of the operation on French television, later to be
interviewed by the Boston Globe and the Senate Select Committee, as well as the Defense Intelligence Agency, the team
leaders felt that shedding public light on the expedition might be the best insurance to assure its success. The operation began in
August with a special Hanoi mission on January 15.
The team reports it has successfully withdrawn the POWs from Vietnam. The team does not specify where they are now
located. French Intelligence has notified the team that at least four U.S. operatives are in the area in search of the team. "We
are going to win this thing," the leader of the expedition stated, "despite the competition." He indicated that when the POWs
arrive safely, it will "blow the lid off of Washington". He also indicated, "We have become more visible than we wanted." He
indicates that about 300 American POWs are still alive in the Vietnam‑Laos area. He said that this was the first time, to his
knowledge, that an American team has actually seen, heard, touched and spoken with American POWs.
The Vietnamese government is in a Catch 22 position. In 1973 President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger promised the
Vietnamese $3.25 billion over a five year period. With the agreement, Hanoi released 591 POWs. But the United States
reneged on its financial promise. The Vietnamese held the POWs. They did a similar thing at the end of the French‑Indo China
War. Some French POWs were not returned until 10, 15 and 20 years later. Some prisoners from that war were not released
until 35 years later. But right now Mobile Oil Company is seeking off‑shore oil rights and the U.S. government wants to move
its military and naval units from the Philippines to Vietnam. The U.S. government could pressure Hanoi to hold or release
POWs, which ever fits its policy. "Our team is trying to bring the POWs home," the expedition leader stated, "but the Executive
Branch of our government is trying to bury them."
A ham radio broadcast last week indicated the 10 American POWs being freed by the privately‑financed group, have left
Vietnam. The organizers indicated Monday that the POWs are out of Vietnam. One Congressman's office indicated that the
POWs may now be in Burma. All this information is unconfirmed.
But if the U.S. government is involved in a major cover‑up on the POW issues, as claimed by several military officials, what
would be the government's reason for not wanting POWs released?
BREAKING THE FAITH
13 Presidents write off POWs from five wars
By Harry V. Martin
Second in a Series
"I have seen firsthand how ready and willing the policy people are to sacrifice or abandon anyone who might be
perceived as a political liability. It is quick and facile, and can be easily covered. 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.", from the resignation of Colonel Millard A.
Peck, Chief of the Special Office for Prisoners of War and Missing in Action, February 19, 1991.
On the record, the U.S. government has professed to give these (POW/MIA) concerns "the highest national priority". Off the
record, this priority vanishes. Instead, other considerations emerge: Grand visions of a foreign policy of peace and
reconciliation; desire for a new economic order of trade and investment; ideological imperatives to downplay the hostility of
antagonistic systems, and the natural tendency of the bureaucracy to eliminate its workload by filing cases marked "closed"
instead of finding people. This is a statement made in a report entitled An Examination of U.S. Policy Toward POW/MIAs.
This did not come out of a science fiction novel or a Rambo movie. , it is from an official report of the U.S. Senate Committee
on Foreign Relations.
The report indicates that the Department of Defense is "more interested in manipulating and managing the issue than in finding
live POWs listed as missing. But as the investigation proceeded, the weight of evidence of failure, a failure of the U.S.
Government to meet its sacred trust, became overpowering.
The report, issued on May 23, 1991, was not reported by the major news media, save but a very few. The Senate report is
one of the most damning condemnations of American government policy. But the policy does not just belong to the current
Bush Administration, it began as early as President Woodrow Wilson. No single American administration is guiltless in the
POW issue. Thousands of America's fighting men never came home from five war fronts.
Fortunately for Americans captured in the Gulf War, the war was short and therefore accountability more substantial. But the
Senate said that the U.S. military failed to list some individuals taken prisoner and failed to follow up on reports supplied by
Saudi forces. Fortunately, the Iraqis did release the prisoners even though they were never on an official POW/MIA list.
"This report originally proposed to study the problem of POW/MIAs from the Vietnam War, or more properly, the Second
Indochina War. Yet as more and more information became available, it became obvious that the concerns raised in the Interim
Report released last October, the policy that there was "no evidence" of POW/MIAs, that all POW/MIAs should be presumed
dead, that evidence to the contrary should be discredited and dismissed, and all of these combined with the determined pursuit
only of remains of the dead, while dismissing hope of finding anyone alive, all formed a pattern with an uncanny similarity to
earlier wars of this century," the Senate report states. "Moreover, the negotiating techniques of the adversary in the Vietnam
War, a denial that POW/MIAs existed, a demand for diplomatic recognition and financial aid from the United States, a
suggestion that POW/MIAs might be found if recognition and money were forthcoming, all of these had been seen before. And
all of them had emerged in U.S. dealings with Communist regimes since 1917."
The study begins with a largely forgotten page of American history, the U.S. Expeditionary Force in Siberia in 1917‑1919.
"The sudden rise of the Bolshevik regime, the creation of the Red Army, and the perceived threat to Allied armies and territory
in Eastern Europe led to furious fighting near Murmansk, and the capture of thousands of Allied, including American, soldiers
by the Red Army," the report states. "The attempt to get them back in the face of the intransigence and deception of Bolshevik
diplomacy faded as the U.S. Government itself lost interest in their fate." The report continues, "A series of parallel events
occurred after World War II when the government of Joseph Stalin seized control of hundreds of prisoners of war, including
Americans, and millions of displaced persons caught in Nazi prison camps as the Red Army was allowed to move into Eastern
Europe. The anguished secret cables of Ambassador Harriman and the classified accounting provided by General Eisenhower
made it clear that Stalin refused to account for either POWs or civilians once they fell under Communist control, while
nevertheless demanding that Russian or Eastern European prisoners "liberated" by the West be forcibly returned to the Soviet
Union. The Korean War is closer to present memories, yet documents from that period also suggest the abandonment of 944
American prisoners, and a disinclination by the United States to follow up their disappearance. Finally, the fate of POW/MIAs
of the Vietnam war may be tied to the diplomatic history of the Paris Peace Accords of 1973. Some may agree, as Col. Peck
indicated, that the abandonment of the American POW/MIAs took place at the Paris Conference, and that the present
POW/MIA policies of the U.S. Government are merely an implementation of flawed decisions taken at that time."
In the years after World Wars One and Two, the Soviet regime, and later their North Korean cohorts, held American soldiers
and citizens captive in the aftermath of these wars. A 1954 New York Times articles provides an insight into the Communist
style and attitudes toward POWs. In January 1954, three Americans, two held by the Soviets and one by the Chinese
Communists, were repatriated. The Times stated, "All three confirm that the Soviet bloc and the Chinese Communists are
holding in their jails and slave camps many foreigners, including soldiers, and civilians, women and children...according to State
Department figures, the total number of Americans held by the Soviets and their European satellites exceeds 5000...Many of
these Americans, like many Europeans, were residents in the iron curtain countries caught by the Communist tide; others were
deported from German war prisoner camps; some, like Cox, were simply kidnapped."
The Senate report states, "The fact is that Soviet and Asian Communist regimes view POW/MIAs, living or dead, not as a
problem of humanitarian concern, but as leverage for political bargaining, as an involuntary source of technical assistance, and
as forced labor. There is, therefore, no compelling reason in Communist logic to return POWs, or their remains, so long as
political and economic goals have not been met. The logic of the Vietnamese position requires them to conceal, to dissimulate,
to titillate, and to dole out actual information grudgingly, piece by piece, but always in return for very practical results. This
perverse thinking is shocking to Americans who are straightforward and honest in interpersonal dealings. Yet we should instead
be surpirsed if this were not the case. Indeed, the policy began with Lenin. From the time of the Bolshevik treatment of POWs
from the Expeditionary Force in World War One, to the Soviet treatment of POWs in World War II, to the North Korean
actions in the Korean War, and finally in the First and Second Indochina Wars, POWs, including MIAs, were used by
Communist regimes as cynical bargaining tools in contravention of international law."
The report states that in 1973, the Vietnamese used POWs in an attempt to blackmail the United States into providing nearly
$5 billion is so‑called reparations. In 1945, Stalin wanted $6 billion for 25,000 American POWs transferred from Nazi control
after the war to Soviet prisons.
The report states, "Most of this information is not well‑known by the American public; however, all of it is based on
open‑source material, including official U.S. Government documents that have been declassified and collected from official
agencies through Freedom of Information Act requests and through research from the National Archives, Washington, D.C."
This series will commence to examine all American wars this century and how American fighting soldiers were abandoned by
their country as a matter of expedient policy.
21 CRITICAL DATES IN POW/MIA HISTORY
By Harry V. Martin
Third in a Series
"I was an asset of the National Security Agency/Central Security Services from September 14, 1967 until July 9, 1984. During
this time, I saw, not as a result of directed search, but as a matter of routine, material that stated emphatically Americans were
held by both the Vietnamese and Soviet military forces in Southeast Asia and that some of these Americans were sent to the
Soviet Union.", Testimony of Terrell Alan Minarcin before the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, January 22,
Before an indepth examination of the Senate Foreign Relations Committees report An Examination of U.S. Policy Toward
POW/MIAs, this series would not be complete without an analysis of specifically documented events surrounding American
POW/MIAs in Vietnam and Laos. With the full understanding of how these men were abandoned, it is easier then to go back
into history and show how our captured or missing fighting men from World War One, World War Two, and Korea were also
Twenty‑one dates adequately sum up the betrayal of the United States government toward its captured and missing or missing
fighting men in the Vietnam War. All these items are a matter of PUBLIC record.
April 3, 1973, Pathet Lao (Laotian Communists) forces admit they are holding in excess of 100 American POWs and
are prepared to give a full accounting of them. They are emphatic that Americans captured in Laos by Laotians will be
returned only by Laotians, they will not be released pursuant to the Paris Peace Accords signed with the Vietnamese
government. The United States government issued a presumptive finding nine days later that all POWs held by Laos are
dead, without ever talking to the Laotians about the POWs they admit holding. To this day, no American POW has ever
been released by the Laotians.
June 25, 1981, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Eugene Tighe, Jr. (chairman of the Board of Directors of
Defense Systems Review and Military Communications and Military Advisor, this writer was the publisher and owner of
that magazine.) testifies before the House Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs that live American POWs remain in
1982, a French soldier, Mssr. Leget, held prisoner by the Vietnamese since the fall of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, escapes
after almost 30 years as a POW.
December 7, 1984, the Washington Times reports Marine Private Bobby Garwood, a POW who returned from
Vietnam in 1979, told of seeing up to 70 live captive Americans long after the war ended.
June 28, 1985, the Washington Times reports that Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. General Eugene Tighe, Jr.,
has testified Hanoi is still holding at least 50‑60 live American POWs.
October 15, 1985, the Wall Street Journal reports that National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane says live American
POWs remain in Southeast Asia.
September 30, 1986, the New York Times reports a Pentagon panel estimates that up to 100 live American POWs are
held in Vietnam, alone.
August 19, 1986, the Wall Street Journal reports the White House knew in 1981 Vietnam wanted to sell a number of
live POWs for $4 billion. The White House decided the offer was genuine but ignored it.
October 7, 1986, CIA Director William Casey, speaking to a group of Congressmen, stated, "Look, the nation knows
they (the POWs) are there, everybody knows they are there, but there's no groundswell of support for getting them out.
Certainly you are not suggesting we pay for them, surely not saying we could do anything like that with no public
January 1988, a cable from the Joint Casualty Resolution Center states that during General Vessey's visit to Hanoi the
previous August, "The Vietnamese people were prepared to turn over 7 or 8 live American POWs if Vessey told them
what they wanted to hear. All the prospective returnees were allegedly held in a location on the Lao side of the border."
June 10, 1989, the Washington Post reports a Japanese monk released after 13 years in a Vietnamese prison spent that
time with a group of American POWs who saved his life by nursing him back to health."
September 1990, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Interim Report on the Southeast Asia POW/MIA Issue
states that despite public assurances in 1973 that no POWs remained in the region, the Defense Department "...in April
1974 concluded beyond a doubt that several hundred American POWs remained in captivity in Southeast Asia." The
U.S. Senate report finds that there is a "probability" POWs remain in prison camps today.
October 1990, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach admits his government continues to hold American
POWs and that Vietnam is willing to release "as many as 10 live American POWs". He also releases the photograph of
one of the POWs. Secretary of State James Baker reportedly ignores the offer.
April 25, 1991, Senator Robert Smith addresses the U.S. Senate and reveals that, of more than 1400 eyewitnesses
sightings of live American POWs, NOT ONE has ever received an on‑sight investigation by the U.S. government.
May 1991, Colonel Millard Peck, Chief of the Pentagon's Special Office for POW/MIAs, resigns in protest. He states
that he has been ordered by policy makers in the POW/MIAs Inter‑Agency Group NOT to investigate live sighting
reports of American POWs in Southeast Asia.
May 23, 1991, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee issues its report Examination of U.S. Policy Toward
POW/MIAs. The report concludes that the U.S. government abandoned thousands of American POWs to Soviet slave
labor camps, and North Korean, Laotian, and Vietnamese prisons. The report states that the policy of the U.S.
government was that "any evidence that suggest an MIA might be alive was uniformly and arbitrarily rejected."
July 1991, a significant amount of evidence is received, consisting of photographs, letters, fingerprints, handprints, hair
samples, and other physical proof, to support the contention that American POWs are still being held in Southeast Asia.
The names of the American POWs including Albo Lundy, Jr., Larry Stephens, John Robertson;, Donald Carr, and
Daniel Borah. Their families take their cases to the news media in an effort to prod the U.S. government into action. The
photo of Donald Carr was positively identified by a leading forensic scientist, Dr. Michael Chamey, who has also served
as an "expert witness" for the U.S. government on more than 400 occasions.
August 1991, the U.S. Senate establishes a bipartisan Select Committee to investigate the POW/MIA issue.
August‑September 1991, the Bush Administration, through National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and the Defense
Department, moves overtly and behind the scenes to "debunk" the evidence. Some of the "evidence" used in the attempt
to discredit the evidence are statements by Vietnamese and Laotian spokespersons who claim the photographs and
other evidence are forgeries. The Vietnamese officials were the same ones who just the previous year had returned the
"remains" of one of the POWs in the picture; the "remains" turned out to be dog bones. Scowcroft held a similar position
in the Nixon Administration, which also declared all the POWs dead.
September 13, 1991, CNN reports that the U.S. government claims to have located a Laotian man who the government
alleges was paid to pose for a series of photographs purported to show POW Daniel Borah. The U.S. government,
however, does not publish a photograph of the "imposter" nor does it name him nor does it permit either the Borah family
nor the American public to view him for comparison purposes. Judge Hamilton Gayden, who released the original Borah
photos to the public, stands by his identification and asks the public to decide; the Borah family is undeterred by the
official U.S. government rejection of the evidence, and continues to believe that the photograph is an authentic picture of
their family member.
What puzzles the American public and what is hard for them to digest, is why the U.S. government would want to cover up the
POW/MIAs rather than make efforts to support them. The record is clear, through public statements of high ranking military
officials, the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee, and the captors, themselves, that POW/MIAs are still alive in Southeast Asia.
With this known as a fact, why has the U.S. government deliberately lied to the people about these betrayed American fighting
"A terrible wrong was perpetrated against the POW"
By Harry V. Martin
Fourth in a Series
On January 22, 1992, Terrell Alan Minarcin, who served with the National Security Agency and the Central Security Services
for 17 years, provided testimony to the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. When he came forward to the Senate,
he stated, "I, along with many others, constantly ask myself why I am stepping forward to discuss my knowledge of this
controversial matter. I am not a glory hound. I do not do this for monetary gain. I do this, not out of some perverse joy of
blabbing secrets, but rather to appease my conscience. I do this because I know, without a single shred of doubt, that
American POWs were left behind in Southeast Asia after America disengaged from either the war, itself, or from supporting
South Vietnam. I do this, not to exonerate myself or my colleagues, not to place blame on some, but to correct a terrible wrong
perpetrated by all against the most helpless, the POWs, themselves."
Minarcin, in daring to step forward and testify, lost the friendship and respect of many individuals with whom he had worked. "I
gave my word never to discuss what I did while I worked as an asset of the National Security Agency/Central Security
Service," he said. "I also was charged with making every attempt humanly possible with ensuring no American was ever
abandoned to the wiles of any hostile government. That was the crux of the problem I faced. Maintain my pledge to remain
silent, but by maintaining my silence I would condemn my fellow service members to death. Instead, I chose to break my
Minarcin admitted that there was a government conspiracy to abandon American POWs and MIAs. "I am part of that
conspiracy," he told the Senate. Minarcin described the three categories that American POWs and MIAs were classed into:
POLITICAL/ECONOMIC EXPLOITATION: The Vietnamese would try to exchange the lesser number of POWs for
the greater. Failing that, they would exchange them for concessions.
MILITARY EXPLOITATION: The Vietnamese would try to learn from the POWs military information, particular
weapon systems, communication systems and infiltration/exfiltration methodologies.
GENERAL KNOWLEDGE EXPLOITATION: The Vietnamese would use POWs for their general knowledge, such
as an electrical engineer, not for military application but for civil use.
In 1973 the United States and Vietnam entered into a cease fire. Minarcin reports direct knowledge in the field of American
POW centers. He reported the capture of 12 Americans acting as an advisory team on March 21, 1975. Minarcin said that
immediately after the capture of the Americans he was ordered not to transmit the information. He further told the Senate that
on March 3, 1978, four Americans were flown to the Soviet Union. Additional flights carried two POWs, then four more, and
six. Over a six week period he testified under oath that he saw 28 POWs transported from various camps to the Soviet Union.
Minarcin's testimony went on and on, sighting specific dates, times and places that American POWs were being transported,
long after the war.
Minarcin presented to the Select Committee maps that showed the locations of five POW camps. The camps were located in
the Quan Lang Corridor, the Muong Sen Corridor, the Bai Thuong Corridor, the Black River Valley, and the Dien Bien Phu
Valley. "We saw that around the end of October 1975, and continuing through April of 1978, the North Vietnamese were still
transporting American POWs into Sam Neua to be turned over to the Soviets at that location," Minarcin testified. "This was in
addition to those POWs who were being turned over to the Soviets at Hanoi's Gia Lam International Airfield.
The Soviets apparently received a shot in the arm to their space program with the capture of an FB‑111 pilot, Colonel Brown.
(Could this be the Colonel Brown that is rumored to be returning to the United States in July, arranged by the Bush
Administration?) Brown was an electrical engineer who worked on the Gemini space program's electrical circuitry system. Prior
to Colonel Brown's capture the Soviet space program was in a shambles. But after Brown's capture, the Soviet space program
went through some major upgrades equal to the Gemini program. Brown was captured in 1972 and by early 1974 the Soviets
had upgraded their system to Gemini technology.
Minarcin testified that between 200 and 300 American POWs were sent to the Soviet Union to be used as slave laborers. "I
saw a collateral report that reiterated the totals of the POWs being sent to the Soviet Union and added that these POWs were
to be used in various general construction efforts. One of the projects they were to be used on was to possibly finish the Kiev
Canal. This was a series of canals in the Uzbekhistan, Turkistan, and other areas in south center U.S.S.R.," stated Minarcin
before the Senate Committee.
"From January 1, 1983, until July 9, 1984, I found 436 live American POWs with the following approximate breakdown:
225 in Bai Thuong;
150 in Muong Sen;
85 in Quan Lang; and
76 in Black River Valley."
Minarcin also reported evidence of about 56 American POWs dying. "Most died of disease or as a result of flooding. Others
died from accidents," he said. "The nature of the accidents were rarely revealed. None of these 56 were executed." He
reported 34 deaths in Black River Valley, 10 in Muong Sen, and 8 in Bai Thuong.
In 1978, according to Minarcin's Senate testimony, the U.S. had a plan to hijack a Soviet Aeroflot aircraft with American
POWs aboard. A Delta Force was to storm the IL‑62 and free the American POWs after forcing the aircraft to land in a
neutral country. The mission failed when the Soviet aircraft flew just out of range of U.S. carrier based aircraft. The operation
was being conducted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Minarcin told the Senate a chilling report of an incident that took place in the first part of 1981, eight years after the end of the
war. "During several weeks at the end of the first quarter of 1981, an American team, consisting of seven individuals, staged a
rescue attempt out of Nakhorn Phanon, Kingdom of Thailand. Two of the individuals stayed in Thailand with the other five
going across the border. We were briefed that this team had rescued an American POW from a new economic zone in the
tri‑border area. While we saw nothing in SIGINT indicating a rescue, we did see increased and heightened security from
unspecified insurgent activity coming from the tri‑border area. We were briefed that the team crossed back into Thailand and
that the eight Americans would depart Bangkok to return to the States via Hawaii. The team was also carrying some remains of
other Americans. Nothing further was heard about the eight Americans (one POW). However, two days after the eight
Americans left Thailand, the Pacific Stars and Stripes reported that the seven man team had returned with the remains of
several missing Americans. We had heard that the team had flown back on one aircraft with the POW remains aboard a
C‑141. It made a lot of us upset to learn that seven went in, eight came out, but only seven returned." What happened to the
POW who was rescued?
"The first question that needs to be answered is how many Americans are being held POWs. I have been asked for my best
estimate on the number of American POWs. I don't know," Minarcin said. "I feel there are at least 1600. President Nixon, in
the Fall of 1972, stated that there were 5000. One former SPECOPS person I know feels there are about 4000. Until we can
determine how many Americans are being held, there is no way we can honestly begin to resolve the question."
"The next question is where are these POWs being held. I know an individual who flew COMBAT TALON operations in
Southeast Asia for two years and then flew the same type of missions in Europe for 11 years. He told me in private
conversations that he saw lists of American POWs from Southeast Asia that had been transferred primarily to the Soviet Union,
but also that some might have been transshipped to other Warsaw Pact countries. I work with an individual who has
knowledge of an attempt to exchange POWs between the U.S. and the People's Republic of China in 1970. This tells me that
the People's Republic of China was holding more than two American POWs. I have tried to present some information showing
American POWs being sent to the Soviet Union," Minarcin testified.
"I do not know why Americans were held back," he said. "Oil, precious stones, gold and drugs might play some part in it.
Exploitation of the POWs might. Or it could be as easy as the POWs being split into six equal groups to meet the six
prerequisites that the U.S. had to meet, one cease fire and final equal payments of reconstruction aid. I don't know. I do know
that America and other nations have POWs still alive in Southeast Asia."
Minarcin told the Senate Committee, "America must live up to its word in that area of the world. As the richest nation in the
world, $4.5 billion would not hurt at all." Minarcin advocated that the United States fulfill the pledge it gave to the Vietnamese
government at the end of the war, billions of dollars and normalization of relations. "It is an option that does have a high
percentage chance of succeeding," he said.
History, however, shows that throughout the 20th century, the Soviets and their communist allies have held American POWs
from five wars, and despite American aid and assistance, these POWs never returned.
Top secret CIA team proved POWs were still alive
By Harry V. Martin
Fifth in a Series EXCLUSIVE REPORT
Despite the continual denial by the United States government that POWs still remain alive in Southeast Asia, a top secret
operation was organized and headed by CIA Director William Casey in 1984. Operation Elephant, a mission never before
mentioned in the media, provided positive proof that American servicemen were still being held captive in Southeast Asia.
Operation Elephant was Casey's "baby". He personal oversaw all the aspects of this CIA operation. The project, however,
was always a sore spot for the rest of the intelligence community not related to the CIA. The special operation consisted of six
mission teams, these teams were made up of Marines, Green Berets, Navy Seals and medical personnel. Project Elephant
lasted 18 months and was able to bring out positive proof of American POWs still being held in Southeast Asia as late as 1984,
11 years after the Paris Peace Accords and the end of the American military involvement in Vietnam. Yet previous to 1984 and
after that date, the official U.S. line was that there were no more live POWs in Southeast Asia.
In making such a bold statement, the U.S. has never provided proof that thousands of American POW/MIAs had died. If the
government could state as fact that all were dead, they should have been able to cite the name of each individual, the date and
place of their death, and other circumstances. The government has no such proof.
Project Elephant, one of the closest guarded secrets of the Reagan Administration, was assigned to digest all information
gathered on POW sightings. It also inserted an insurgency operation in Southeast Asia to get POWs out. Project Elephant
established front companies in the United States. They operated out of Ft. Benning, Georgia, Livingston, Montana, and
Collusa, in Northern California. The Collusa operation, which eventually moved to Montana, was fronted as a
privately‑financed paramedic emergency service.
Casey set up operations under the guise of private corporations and provided all the expense money for a facade private
enterprise operation. Project Elephant obtained nine 35mm shots from within 230‑240 meters of a POW compound in Muang
Sah in Northern Laos. The pictures showed four Caucasian and one Chinese person. Three of the four Caucasian were
identified as Roy Townley, Ed Weinsback, and Charles Ritter. The photographs were taken in 1983. Project Elephant also
went back in to photograph the compound seven months later. The photo mission was to provide a comparison for the earlier
shots, it had five photographs taken. But no comparison was made. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency was excited about
the second set of photographs, but were shocked when they received a message from the CIA that no comparison could be
made because the original photographs and negatives were "lost in a routine paper shuffle".
A high ranking DIA official has stated that no one has done any follow‑up on Project Elephant. "If something is not done soon
to bring attention to the POW issue now, we will never recover them. It is not on the agenda for the political establishment and
the political climate is not right."
The DIA official is correct, and history has proven his theory. American fighting men have served in POW camps long after
World War One, World War Two, Korea and Vietnam. According to An Examination of U.S. Policy Toward POW/MIAs
published by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1991, the United States has had a dismissal record negotiating
the release of POWs in five conflicts and through 13 Presidents. The U.S. Senate report provides reams of documents to
support U.S. cover‑ups and neglect.
The POW problem began in 1917 after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. During World War One there were two main
fronts against the Germans, the Western Front and the Eastern Front. When the Bolshevik Revolution took place the new
government signed the Treaty of Brest‑Litovsk with the Germans and withdrew Russian forces from participation with the
Allies. The Allies grew apprehensive about the German threat to the ports of Murmansk and Archangel and sent the Allied
Expeditionary Force to Siberia to protect the rear.
As a result of the fighting against Soviet Bolshevik forces around Archangel in 1918‑1919, there were many casualties and
eyewitness accounts of hundreds of U.S., British and French personnel who disappeared. The U.S. government of American
POW/MIAs from the conflict was officially recorded on November 12, 1930 from the U.S. Acting Assistant Chief of Staff,
G‑2. "An administrative determination has been placed on each of their records that they were killed in action on the date they
were reported as missing."
This official policy created an outcry and resulted in the formation of the VFW/U.S. Graves Registration Expedition. The group
wanted to identify the dead. In 1921, before the secret government memo, the New York Times reported, "The American
prisoners held by the Soviet Government of Russia have been told by the Bolsheviks that they are being held because the
United States government has not made vigorous demands for their release." It was widely known that the Bolsheviks held
many American POWs and other U.S. citizens against their will. In fact, the report states, the new Soviet Government
attempted to barter U.S. POWs held in their prisons for U.S. diplomatic recognition and trade relations with their region. "The
United States refused, even though the Soviets had at one time threatened that Americans held by the Soviet government would
be put to death".
No satisfactory accounting of U.S. POWs held in Russian captivity was ever given, even after President Franklin D. Roosevelt
recognized the Soviet government in the early 1930s. "Since an administrative determination had been placed on each of their
records that they were killed in action on the date they were reported as missing, as far as the United States government and
laws of the United States were concerned, these men were legally dead," the U.S. Senate report states. "Other than a small
number of U.S. government officials with access to the intelligence about these men in Soviet concentration camps and prisons,
these men were legally, and otherwise generally considered to be no longer alive." On November 30, 1930, some 11 years
after the conflict ended in Russia, an affidavit was taken by the U.S. Justice Department of Alexander Grube, a Russian
seaman. He stated that he had been imprisoned in the Soviet gulag, including in the infamous Lubianka Prison, where he states
he saw four American Army officers and 15 American soldiers, and was then transferred to Solovetz Island Prison where he
met "many" American soldiers and civilians. Grube further warned the U.S. government that any inquiry made to Soviet officials
of specific individuals will result in their immediate execution.]
The Senate reports states flatly, "This episode in the history of World War I illustrates succinctly the major problems which still
affect attempts to account for and ensure the repatriation of U.S. military personnel captured by Communist regimes in the
aftermath of World War II, the Korean War, and the Second Indo‑China (Vietnamese) War:
The bureaucratic and legal assertion by the U.S. Government that the men who were MIA were killed in action on the
date they were reported as missing or sometime thereafter;
the attempts by the Communist regime to use prisoners as barter for economic and diplomatic benefit;
the dissimulation and lies of the Communist regime about the existence and location of prisoners;
the on‑again, off‑again return of remains; and
where there is no clear military victory over the Communist enemy, the vulnerability of U.S. POW/MIAs who are at the
mercy of the reluctance of the enemy and U.S. government to pursue a clear, open policy for their repatriation."
The U.S. Senate reports further states, "It is difficult to accept the official U.S. accounting of U.S. casualties of the 1918‑1919
Northern Russian Expedition, particularly because all men who were MIA were officially determined to be killed in action on
the date they were reported as missing. According to several accounts, several hundred U.S., French, and British soldiers were
left unaccounted for during the fighting in Northern Russia. Indeed, the official history of the Expedition states there were
'hundreds missing from our ranks'."
This scenario would be repeated again and again in World War Two, Korea and now Vietnam. In 1921, the United States
government sent millions of dollars to aid Russia and kept it from starvation. But American POWs remained in Soviet prisons.
Recently the Bush Administration has offered billions of dollars in aid to Russia and still American POWs are being held captive
decades after the cessation of war.
Military records show Soviets held 20,000 U.S. POWs
By Harry V. Martin
Sixth in a Series
A classified government document, declassified and released under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that in 1955
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles admits the United States is aware that American POWs from World War Two were still
being held in Soviet captivity, 10 years after World War Two had ended.
The document marked "secret" was declassified on July 30, 1991. It reads:
"July 18, 1955. Memorandum for the President. Subject: Americans Detained in the Soviet Union.
"The American people share with other peoples of the world a real concern about the imprisonment of some of their
countrymen in the Soviet Union. Most of these persons have been held since World War II. It is time to liquidate problems
rising out of that War so that we may proceed with greater mutual trust to the solution of major issues facing the world today.
"Of greatest concern to American people are reports reaching the United States about Americans still being held in Soviet
prison camps. The American Embassy in Moscow has made many representations on this subject. While we appreciate the
recent release of several Americans, others still remain in Soviet custody. On July 16 the American Embassy in Moscow gave
the Foreign Office a list of eight American citizens about whose detention in the Soviet Union we have information from
returning prisoners of war. Any action you would take to bring about the early release of these particular persons would help
relations between our countries.
"We have also received a number of reports from returning European prisoners of war that members of the crew of the U.S.
Navy Privateer, shot down over the Baltic Sea on April 18, 1950, are alive and in Soviet prison camps. We are asking for their
repatriation and that of other American citizens being held in the Soviet Union not only because of general humanitarian
principles, but also because such action is called for under the Litvinov‑Roosevelet Agreement of 1933."
The tragedy of World War One duplicated itself again after World War Two, only 10 fold. The United States Senate
Committee on Foreign Relations, in its report An Examination of U.S. Policy Toward POW/MIAs, states, "However, despite
the total victory in Europe by Allied forces, thousands and thousands of U.S. soldiers, perhaps as many as 20,000, were never
repatriated from POW camps, prisons and forced labor and concentration camps." U.S. Major General R. W. Baker was the
Allied Chief Negotiator for repatriation of Allied POWs under the Soviet Army control. On May 23, 1945, Baker wrote a
report to the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Allied Headquarters. He stated, "...the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied
European Forces representatives came to the firm conviction that British and American prisoners of war were, in effect, being
held hostage by the Russians and deemed expedient by them to permit their release." The Soviets had requested $6 billions in
credits from the United States, equivalent to $59.8 billion in 1991 dollars, in exchange for American POWs held by them.
Today the Russians are seeking $20 billion in aid, while American POWs from at least Korea and Vietnam are reported still in
Siberia, and perhaps some survivors from World War Two.
"The problem of accounting for POW/MIAs was complicated by the fact that the Soviets were just as uncooperative in the
repatriation of the millions of displaced civilians," the Senate report states. "In Europe, as well as the Far East, the Soviets
guarded a sea of prisoners, human capital and slave labor in their view, who were not only Allied and Axis POWs, but also
hundreds of thousands of displaced Western European citizens, as well as Eastern European citizens, who desperately wanted
to flee from Red Army occupied territory. Nationalists of smaller countries of Western Europe, like the Dutch and Belgians, as
well as formerly Nazi occupied countries like France, tragically, had little military, political or diplomatic leverage with the
Soviet government to secure the repatriation of their citizens at the end of the War. As a result, tens of thousands of Dutch and
Belgians, and hundreds of thousands of French were never repatriated by the Soviets."
On May 31, 1945, the Allied Command determined that what the Soviets claimed they were holding and those displaced
persons and POWs known to be in the hands, differed by over 1 million souls. The Allies stated in a cable to the Soviets on
June 25, 1945, that 850,000 French citizens still were not repatriated from Red Army occupied territory and that 116,250
Dutch citizens suffered the same fate.
U.S. Intelligence reports, examined by the U.S. Senate Committee, stated that in Tambov, a Soviet concentration camp, there
were well over 20,000 German, French, American, British, Dutch and Belgian prisoners. "All prisoners were forced to work,
and the food they were given was very bad and monotonous. They were housed not in huts, but in dug‑outs." The report
continues, "The monotonous food caused some strange disease which made the legs and arms swell. After a time men afflicted
with the disease died. More than 23,000 Italians, 2500 French, and 10,000 Romanians and Hungarian prisoners died."
On February 11, 1945, the Western Allies and Soviets agreed at the Yalta Conference to provisions which would expedite
repatriation. Less than a month after the signing of the Yalta agreement, in an Urgent Top Secret personal message to the
President, U.S. Ambassador W. Averell Harriman cabled from Moscow, "Since the Yalta Conference General Deane and I
have been making constant efforts to get the Soviets to carry out this agreement in full. We have been baffled by promises
which have not been fulfilled." Harriman further stated, "I am outraged that the Soviet Government has declined to carry out the
agreement signed at Yalta in its other aspects, namely, that our contract officers be permitted to go immediately to points were
our prisoners are first collected, to evaluate our prisoners, particularly the sick, in our own airplanes, or to send out supplies to
points other than Odessa, which is 1000 miles from point of liberation, where they are urgently needed. There appear to be
hundreds of our prisoners wandering about Poland trying to locate American contact officers for protection. I am told that our
men don't like the idea of getting into a Russian camp. The Polish people and the Polish Red Cross are being extremely
hospitable, whereas food and living conditions in Russian camps are poor."
Harriman cabled Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., stating, "I feel the Soviet Government is trying to use our
liberated prisoners of war as a club to induce us to give increased prestige to the Provisional Polish Government." Harriman
even suggested in the March 14, 1945 cable that the U.S. Military consider some "retaliatory measures we can immediately
apply". Harriman proposed that the American troops being repatriated be allowed to speak to the media and report on the
poor Russian conditions. He also felt that the United States could hold Lend Lease agreements hostage.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a personal and secret cable on March 18, 1945, to Marshal Josef Stalin. "I have
information that I consider positive and reliable that there are still a considerable number of sick and injured Americans in
hospitals in Poland and also that there have been, certainly up to the last few days and possible still are, large numbers of other
liberated American prisoners either at Soviet assembly points or wandering about in small groups not in contact with Soviet
authorities looking for American contact officers. I cannot, in all frankness, understand your reluctance to permit American
contact officers, with the necessary means, to assist their own people in this matter. This Government has done everything to
meet each of your requests." Stalin replied to Roosevelt stating, "I must say that the information is inaccurate." Roosevelt
accepted Stalin's explanation. He ordered all stories and criticism about the Russian treatment to be censored.
"This new policy of censoring all stories of Russian mistreatment of U.S. POWs effectively ensured that the public perception of
the Soviet Union was that the Soviet Union was a stout ally of the United States," the U.S. Senate Committee report states.
The report reveals a Secret OSS report dated June 18, 1945. "American POWs freed by the Red Army were in the main
treated very shabbily and came to hate the Russians. Many of them were robbed of watches, rings and other personal
possessions which they had managed to retain even after extended periods of captivity under the Germans. Their food at
Odessa was very poor, consisting mainly of soup with cucumbers in it and sour black bread. The Russians generally tended to
throw obstacles in the way of repatriation, frequently calling off shipments at the last minute and insisting always upon clearance
from Moscow for every prisoner released. American POWs at Odessa were guarded by Russian soldiers carrying loaded rifles
with fixed bayonets, and Russian security was more stringent there than German security had been in the various Stalags and
Oflags. A number of American officers who went to Poland at various times to coordinate the hunt for liberated POWs were
ordered out very quickly at Russian insistence."
The Soviets also refused the British contact teams access to their prisoners in Red Army controlled territory. Acting British
Secretary of State Sir Orme Sargent, cabled Lord Halifax, the British Ambassador to the United States, on April 20, 1945,
stating, "It is clear that Soviet Government will not allow our contact team into Poland. The Russians deny the existence of any
British prisoners of war in Poland, but we have evidence that there are prisoners of war concentrated at Cracow and
Czestochow and in hospitals. This is a clear breach of the Yalta agreement."
Despite the Soviet tactics, the Allies under the Yalta agreement, repatriated Soviet citizens regardless of whether they wanted
to be returned to the Soviet Union, they were forcibly sent back and hundreds of thousands of them were either shot or sent to
forced labor camps, according to a State Department memorandum of April 19, 1945. U.S. Government documents described
how these Soviet citizens reacted to repatriation. The Allies tried to repatriate 399 former Russian soldiers. "All of these men
refused to entrain. They begged to be shot. They resisted entrainment by taking off their clothing and refusing to leave their
quarters. It was necessary to use tear gas and some force to drive them out. Tear gas forced them out of the building into the
snow where those who had cut themselves fell exhausted and bleeding in the snow. Nine men hanged themselves and one had
stabbed himself to death and one other who had stabbed himself subsequently died; while 20 other are in the hospital for self
inflicted wounds. The entrainment was finally effected of 368 men who were sent off accompanied by a Russian liaison officer
on a train carrying American guards. Six men escaped enroute. A number of men in the group claimed they were not Russian."
Five days after V‑E Day, the Associated Press reported, "Nearly half of the estimated 200,000 British and 76,000 American
prisoners of war still in Germany are believed to be within the Russian zone of occupation." General Baker's report, according
to the U.S. Senate Committee, was the "first high level report that openly suggested that the Soviets may not repatriate all of the
Allied POWs in Red Army occupied terry. "There is every indication that the Russians intend to make a big show of rapid
repatriation of our men, although I am of the opinion that we may find a reluctance to return them all, for an appreciable time to
come, since those men constitute a valuable bargaining point." On May 19, 1945, General Eisenhower signed a cable which
stated, "Numbers of U.S. prisoners estimated in Russian control 25,000." A Top Secret letter dated May 31, 1945, from
Major General John R., Deane, stated, "I had a cable from General Marshall in which he states he has received information
which indicates that 15,597 United States liberated prisoners of war are now under control of Marshal Tolbukhin."
At the end of the war in Europe, the Soviets still had 50,000 Belgian POWs and 115,000 displaced Belgian citizens; 4,000
Dutch POWs and 140,000 displaced citizens; 20,000 British POWs, 20,000 American POWs, and 250,000 French POWs
and 850,000 displaced French citizens.
The real shocker is the public image created by American military commanders. On May 30, 1945, General Kenner reported
to General Eisenhower that 20,000 American POWs were still being held by the Russians. Two days later, on June 1, 1945,
Eisenhower signed a cable, which stated. "It is now estimated that only small numbers of U.S. prisoners of war still remain in
Russian hands. These no doubt are scattered singly and in small groups as no information is available of any large numbers in
specific camps. Everything possible is being done to recover U.S. personnel and to render accurate and prompt reports
thereon to the War Department." In 1921, the War Department decided that thousands of World War One soldiers trapped
behind Russian lines were dead, killed in action on the day they were missing. Twenty‑four years later, 20,000 American
POWs were just written off , with no explanation of what happened to them, despite official intelligence reports to the contrary.
Eisenhower's cable contradicts General Kenner's report and General Deane's separate report. The U.S. Senate report states
boldly, "The Eisenhower cable of June 1 appears to be an attempt to gloss over a serious problem. At any rate, the Eisenhower
cable was merely following the official U.S. news propaganda line. The major news media, as usual bought it hook, line and
sinker. On the same days as Eisenhower's cable, the New York Times reported, "...substantially all of the American soldiers
taken prisoner in Europe are accounting for, Under Secretary Robert P. Patterson said. 'This means that it is not expected that
many of those who are still being carried as missing in action will appear later as having been prisoners of war'." The 1991
Senate report comments, "In other words, on June 1, 1945, the U.S. government's public position was that most American GIs
taken prisoner have come home and been repatriated even though the classified cable traffic for the previous fortnight was
reporting between 15,000 and 20,000 still held."
The U.S. Senate report states, "The bureaucratic precedents created in World War One in the cases of 'presumed dead'
among these missing from the American Expeditionary force were once again followed. Thousands of U.S. personnel who
were known to be POWs held by the Germans in World War Two, but were not repatriated once the territory they were being
held in was occupied by Red Army, and were legally determined to be dead."
After the end of the war in the Pacific, Mercy Teams were sent to former prisoner of war camps in China and Manchura. The
Japanese troop commanders cooperated with the Teams, but the Chinese Communists and the Soviets refused and denied the
Teams access to camps holding U.S. POWs.
The Senate report defines the reasons why the Soviets kept American POWs and other Western European citizens:
For economic concessions.
To satisfy the Soviet view that it "was dangerous" merely to disarm an adversary (or in the case of the U.S., any ally who
may be a future adversary), but it was also necessary to "make them work".
A source of slave labor to rebuild the Soviet industrial base.
To satisfy the Soviet "inclination to blackmail us into dealing with Warsaw authorities" and for other political concessions.
To ensure that the Allies forcibly repatriated Russian and other eastern European citizens who did not wish to return to
their countries under Soviet control.
Like the sighting reports of American POWs after the Vietnam war, hundreds of reports from people who had been released
or escaped from Soviet camps reported American POWs from World War Two captive in Russian. The U.S. Senate report
states, "The daughter of one such U.S. Army officer, Major Wirt Thompson, was never told that in 1955 a German POW
repatriated from the Soviet concentration camp system reported to the United States government that while he was in prison,
he met her father. The German repatriate told American officials that Thompson told him that he had been imprisoned at
Budenskaya prison near Moscow, and also in the Tayshet labor camp after World War Two. Not only was Thompson's
daughter 'overwhelmed' when she found out early in 1991 that this information existed, but she wondered how her family could
have been told by the United States government in 1944 that Major Thompson had been killed in action, body not recovered."
Deceiving POW families is 'simply good politics'
By Harry V. Martin
Seventh in a Series
The U.S. Senate Select Committee on POW/MIAs is preparing to leave for a trip to Southeast Asia to gather first‑hand
evidence for itself. The Senate Committee has taken reams of testimony from present and former military leaders, all indicating
that American POWs still remain alive and captive.
The U.S. Senate Select Committee has also reviewed testimony of a privately financed mission that went to Southeast Asia in
February to free 10 POWs, at a cost of $200,000 a piece. That team met and photographed three A6 pilots held captive since
the early 1970s. Their mission is being financed by a wealthy Texan. The team has until April 27 to retrieve the POWs, after
which the mission may be permanently aborted.
The mission's cover was recently blown by a French television program. The team abruptly left their covert operation in
Vietnam and headed back to the United States, some went directly to Paris. ABC Television recently concluded an interview
with one of the principles of the mission, and that individual provided the national TV network with the names of the operatives,
names the Sentinel has kept secret for two months. Because of that disclosure, sources within the Defense Intelligence Agency
have told the Sentinel that the mission is in danger, "too many people know about it," they said.
Part of the team has arrived in Hanoi, departing from Honolulu. The main mission leader is still in the United States but is
departing soon. The financial support for the team is presently waiting in Paris, presumably to release the millions of dollars
necessary to pay for the hostages. The exchange is expected to take place in France between the privately‑financed operation
personnel and representatives from both Laos and Cambodia. Dates, times and places of the exchange are secret. The team
wants to get in and out of Southeast Asia prior to the visit of the U.S. Senate Select Committee, but there is a possibility their
visit and the mission may be interlinked.
High ranking officials of the Defense Intelligence Agency have indicated that recent Sentinel articles revealing the mission and
also the holding of 12 "POWs" in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has caused "quite a stir at DOD (Department of Defense) and
Capitol Hill (Congress)."
The Defense Intelligence Agency officials have expressed major concern over what they see as the "window of opportunity"
closing. They stated that if the POWs are not returned soon, they will never come home. The problem area appears to be the
fact that the United States is heading toward normalization with Vietnam, and once that occurs the POWs will vanish and be a
forgotten issue. The Laotians and Cambodians appear to be cooperating in attempting to get American POWs out, the
Laotians are motivated by money, the Cambodians want the prestige and accolades of the American people. Cambodia has
just concluded years of civil war and needs American aid and friendship during its recovery stages.
As the Sentinel series has shown, American POWs and MIAs have been sacrificed in various wars during the 20th century , all
to Communist governments. Between August 5, 1953 and September 6, 1953, their was a major swapping of POWs between
Communist China, North Korea and the United States. "However, U.S. government documents state that the U.S. government
knew that nearly 1000 U.S. POWs, and an undetermined number of some 8000 U.S. MIAs, were still held captive and were
not repatriated at the end of the Korean War," states the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relation's report An Examination
of U.S. Policy Toward POW/MIAs. On August 8, 1953, the New York Times published an article which stated, "Gen. James
A. Van Fleet, retired commander of the United States Eighth Army in Korea, estimated tonight that a large percentage of the
8000 American soldiers listed as missing in Korea were still alive." A report by the U.N. Combined Command for
Reconnaissance Activity, Korea, stated that U.N. POWs were transferred to Manchuria and the USSR. "Many POWs
transferred have been technicians and factory workers. Other POWs transferred had a knowledge of Cantonese and are
reportedly used for propaganda purposes," the U.N. report states.
One consideration the U.S. military had as early as January 1954, three months after the exchange of prisoners, was monetary.
"A further complicating factor in the situation is that to continue to carry these personnel in a missing status is costing over one
million dollars annually. It may become necessary at some future date to drop them from our records as missing and presumed
dead," wrote Hugh M. Milton II, Assistant Secretary of the Army. These American fighting men in Korea were dropped just
like the American Expeditionary Force of World War One and the American POWs of World War Two, it was government
Perhaps the most shocking revelation about the U.S. government's attitude toward POWs is found in a confidential report
prepared by the Defense Advisory Committee on Prisoners of War, an official document of the Department of Defense. The
report, Recovery of Unrepatriated Prisoners of War, written on June 8, 1955, two years after the end of the Korean War,
states, "Such as they are, our current efforts in the political field, plus the 'stand‑by' alternatives developed by the military,
represent the full range of possible additional efforts to recover personnel now in custody of foreign powers. On one hand, we
are bound at present by the President's 'peaceful means' decree. The military courses of action apparently cannot be taken
unilaterally, and we are possessed of some rather 'reluctant' allies in this respect. The problem becomes a philosophical one. If
we are 'at war', cold, hot or otherwise, casualties and losses must be expected and perhaps we must learn to live with this type
of thing. If we are in for fifty years of peripheral 'fire fights' we may be forced to adopt a rather cynical attitude on this for
political course of action something like General Erskine outlined which would (1) instill in the soldier a much more effective
'don't get captured' attitude, and (2) we should also push to get the military commander more discretionary authority to
retaliate, fast and hard against these Communist tactics."
The Soviets denied holding any American POWs from the Korean War. As late as April 15, 1991, the U.S. Department of
State had asked the Soviets for an accounting of American POWS from World War Two, the Korean War, and the Vietnam
War. The Soviets recently responded by indicated eight Americans, who died in Soviet hands, had actually fought on the side
of the Communists.
"The sincerity of the State Department's declared intention to follow 'every credible lead in providing families of U.S. service
members with information about their loved ones' is, therefore suspect," the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee report
states. "One U.S. government document dated January 21, 1980, a memorandum from Michael Oksenberg to Zbigniew
Brezinski, the National Security Advisor under President Carter, reveals the cynical view and attitude of a least one U.S.
government official with regard to the non‑repatriation issue," the Senate report states. "A letter from you is important to
indicate that you take recent refugee reports of sighting of live Americans 'seriously'. This is simple good politics; DIA and State
are playing this game, and you should not be the whistle blower. The idea is to say that the President (Carter) is determined to
pursue any lead concerning possible live MIAs."
The Senate states, "The executive branch's disinformation tactics against concerned mothers and fathers extended to
Congressmen and Senators. One case is found in a December 21, 1953 letter sent to the Secretary of State from Senate
Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson with regard to a constituent letter from Mr. Paul Bath of Marshall, Texas, who wrote
Senator Johnson about a U.S. News and World Report article titled 'Where are 944 Missing GI's?" The first reaction of the
Secretary of State was to call Johnson and dispose of the matter by phone, the report states. Johnson wanted a written reply
and Thurston B. Morton, the Assistant Secretary of State wrote four drafts. "On September 9, the United Nations Command
presented to the Communist representatives on the Military Armistice Commission a list of approximately 3404 Allied
personnel, including 944 Americans, about whom there was evidence that they had at one time or another been in Communist
custody. On September 21 the Communists made a reply relative to the list of names presented, in which they stated that many
of the men on the list had never been captured at all, while others had already been repatriated." All this was crossed out, and
he finally wrote, "Your constituent may be assured that it continues to be our determined purpose to obtain the return of all
personnel in Communist custody."
None of these POWs and MIAs from the Korean War ever returned home.
Military intelligence confirms at least 170 POWs still alive
By Harry V. Martin
Eighth in a Series
Cable traffic and recent secret government reports from Southeast Asia reveal some startling details on U.S. POWs in the
region. According to top secret government communications received this week, there are over 170 POWs who have been
These sites and the numbers of POWs are as follows: (Editor's Note: the spelling of some of these locations may not be exactly
Ban Nak Ham, 9 Americans.
Bankha Mphe, 7 to 9 Americans.
Bak Sam, 6 Americans, including naval personnel.
Ban Thao La, 42 Americans.
Tcepo Ne, 105 Americans.
Phu Xun Mountain, several groups of Americans.
Yen Vai Camp, 7 groups, including black personnel.
Ban Puoi Crossing, 2 Americans.
The names of four American POWs have been verified. All these POWs are being moved to central locations in Laos. Laos is
still technically at war with the United States and has a legal right under the Geneva Convention to hold POWs until a formal
treaty is signed.
In the meantime, President George Bush has sent a special envoy to Hanoi to intercede with a privately financed team seeking
to liberate 10 to 13 POWs. Cable traffic also verifies the interdiction. The mission has also been endangered by a former team
member, who has provided PBS and ABC with the names of the team, the maps of the mission locations, names of the POWs
they are seeking to release, and the names of three Cambodian nationals assisting in the operation. After the release of this
information, one of the Cambodian nationals was arrested on Sunday.
"There is a great deal of evidence that live Americans are being held in Southeast Asia.", Lieutenant General Eugene F. Tighe,
Jr., (USAF, ret), former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, 1985. JANUARY 6, 1988
"You should be aware that when we came to office in 1981, neither the President nor I were satisfied with the effort the U.S.
Government had made to that time on behalf of our POWs and MIAs. Fundamental to our approach, and contained in the
mandate the President issued to his staff and all agencies, was and is the assumption that live American prisoners remain in
Southeast Asia.", Vice President George Bush, January 6, 1988. FEBRUARY 12, 1991
"That National leaders continue to address the prisoner of war and missing in action issue as the 'highest national priority' is a
travesty. The mindset to 'debunk' is alive and well. 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.", Colonel Millard A. Peck, Chief of the Special Office for Prisoners of War and Missing in Action,
February 12, 1991. MAY 23, 1991
"After examining hundreds of documents relating to the raw intelligence, and interviewing families and friends of POW/MIAs,
the Minority Staff concluded that, despite public pronouncements to the contrary, the real, internal policy of the U.S.
government was to act upon the presumption that all MIAs were dead. As a result, the Minority Staff found, any evidence that
suggested an MIA might be alive was uniformly and arbitrarily rejected, and all efforts were directed towards finding and
identifying remains of dead personnel, even though the U.S. government's techniques of identification were inadequate and
deeply flawed. Colonel Peck confirmed that a 'cover‑up' has been in progress.", U.S. Senate Jesse Helms, member of the U.S.
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, May 23, 1991
The POW/MIA debate continues to plague the United States. The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has addressed
the issue in 1991. The U.S. Senate Select on POW/MIAs is presently addressing the issue today. Armed with the facts of
non‑returning POW/MIAs from World War One, World War Two, Korea and the French Indo‑China War, it is apparently
that negotiations with the Communists short of all‑out victory, which the American nation has never seen, American POWs and
MIAs are not returned.
After nearly two decades, are any POWs from any of the wars, and especially Vietnam, still alive? The debate over Vietnam
POWs and MIAs is the strongest in history, perhaps because the war was so distorted, fragmented and inconclusive. To this
day, there are still 2271 American fighting men still unaccounted for, by official government records of the Reagan
Administration. During the Paris Peace Accords, the Vietnamese wanted war reparations which included 700,000 square
meters of prefabricated housing and warehouses; 200,000 metric tons of steel building supplies; 50,000 cubic meters of timber;
40 million meters of cloth; 2000 metric tons of Rayon fibers; between 2650 and 2900 tractors, bulldozers and excavators;
three repair plants for the equipment; 20,000 metric tons of steel tubes; 25‑50 tug boats; 3 floating ports and 3 cranes, one
floating; 600 metric tons of barges; 570 trucks; 10 diesel locomotives; between 250‑500 freight cars; 10,000 metric tons of
rail; 10 6‑25 ton pile hammers; 15,000 metric tons of synthetic rubber; 10,000 metric tons of caustic soda; 10,000 metric tons
of steel; 5000 metric tons of coal; 1 million meters of tire cord; and other items.
The deal was agreed upon, the POWs were to be released. But political problems arose, however, and endangered the
Administration plans to aid North Vietnam. The American nation had helped all its enemies in the 20th century and Vietnam
was not going to be an exception, the Nixon Administration decided. Congress balked. The Secretary of State William P.
Rogers warned the Congress three times to restrain their adverse comments on the aid issue at least until American troops were
out of Vietnam and all American prisoners were released. Rogers asked that the controversy over aid be kept to a minimum for
the next month or so. Such a recess in debate would allow the release of American prisoners to be completed and would also
provide time for the administration to formulate its proposals.
The American government listed 5000 American soldiers were held prisoner by the Vietnamese, but only 591 were repatriated.
According to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, many U.S. POWs were transported to the Soviet Union. According to
the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "United States government officials have been told by North Vietnamese
officials that the North Vietnamese government was still holding U.S. POWs well after the conclusion of Operation
Homecoming. Lt. Col. Stuart A. Harrington, who worked on the POW/MIA issue as a military intelligence and liaison officer
with the North Vietnamese and the People's Republic of China from 1973 to 1975, stated that North Vietnamese officials told
him U.S. POWs would be returned when the reparations that Kissinger promised to the North Vietnamese were paid."
Harrington stated, "U.S. casualties under North Vietnamese control would be accounted for and prisoners returned after
fulfillment of the promise."
The promise was never fulfilled. The U.S. Senate report states, "The North Vietnamese, apparently, were waiting for the
reparations that Kissinger had promised them, before the vast majority of American POWs were repatriated. Doubtless the
North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao held the prisoners back as human collateral. The North Vietnamese knew well enough that
the internal political dynamics of the peace movement in the United States had forced the United States to the bargaining table
in a weakened condition. Through this same political network, they clearly saw that it was unlikely the U.S. Congress would
vote for billions in reparations."
The Senate voted 88‑3 roll call vote to indicate aid to North Vietnam would be impossible. The final death knell of aid came
when Armed Services Chairman F. Edward Herbert served notice he was going to introduce a proposal to prohibit any U.S.
aid for Hanoi. The Louisiana Democrat also said justification for President Nixon's request for $1.3 billion aid to Southeast
Asia so far is either nebulous or nonexistent." The very next day, after Herbert announced his proposal, the United States
government made a definitive statement that there were no more Americans alive in Southeast Asia and that "rumors" did the
families a disservice.
The Administration hid from Congress a secret agreement between Kissinger and Hanoi, the United States had promised $3.25
The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report stated, "Perhaps if Congress and the American public had known of
the existence of the secret (Kissinger) letter, perhaps if Congress had been given a full accounting of the information on MIAs
possessed by the U.S. government, instead of a cover‑up, then a concrete plan for implementing the provisions for gaining
accounting of captives as described in the Paris Peace Accords, might have been implemented. But there was no way that
Congress, with honor, could be blackmailed into accepting the payment of reparations with its tacit implication of surrender to a
ruthless Communist regime."
There have been 1519 first‑hand sighting reports of U.S. POWs in Southeast Asia. The Defense Intelligence Agency has stated
that 373 were fabrications. At least 109 first‑hand sightings are currently under investigation.
There is a tremendous amount of activity currently in Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese are seeking normalization with the United
States, but normalization doesn't mean repatriation. The United States government is torn from within. The Military Intelligence
Community wants to continue to locate POWs, and they believe there are hundreds there, but the Defense Intelligence Agency
does not make policy, they carry it out. The Bush Administration and the CIA do not want the POWs out, according to the
various reports that have surfaced, even to this day. The main reason they don't want release of POWs is because of the
massive heroin trade, and the CIA's use of heroin to gain ready cash for covert operations, operations that are banned by
POWs are alive in Southeast Asia, plenty of proof
By Harry V. Martin
Ninth in a Series
If the United States government declares that all POWs and MIAs are dead, dead from World War One, dead from World
War Two, dead from Korea, and dead from Vietnam, what proof have they offered to the American public? Can they name
when, where and how each one died? No, they cannot. The United States has made a bookkeeping entry, crossing off names.
The government has ignored tons of evidence, reports from its own intelligence organizations, internal documents from their
own officials, thousands of first and second hand sightings.
On March 9, 1988, a Central Intelligence Agency memorandum was issued from Col. Joseph A. Schlatter, U.S. Army Chief,
Special Office for Prisoners of War and Missing in Action. The subject of his memo was Alleged Sightings of American POWs
in North Korea from 1975 to 1982. The letter, which has many blacked out portions, states, "In response to your request,
(blacked out), three separate reports of such sightings, which are attached:
The first report, dated April 1989, indicates that (blacked out) sighted two Americans in August 1986 (blacked out) on
outskirts of P'youngyang. (blacked out) about 10 military pilots captured in North Vietnam were brought to North
The second report, dated April 1980, apparently describes the same incident (blacked out).
In the third report, dated March 1988, (blacked out) indicated sighting as many as 11 Caucasians, possibly American
prisoners from the Korean War, in the fall of 1979 on a collective farm north of P'youngyang."
These reports are numerous. Some are old, but let's look at one secret report that only surfaced on Monday. It is a military
intelligence report that cites approximately 170 POWs, a few of them have been actually named: Navy Lieutenant Larry James
Stevens at Bak Sam, Jim Dooley at Yen Vai Camp, Charles Scharf at Ban Puoi Crossing. A top secret military communication
dated April 10 also states, "American Embassy received validation of visual ID USN Lt. Larry James Stevens MIA 02/14/69.
That secret document also states, "Private Sector Project may have established direct contact with USAF Lt. Col. Charles
In the case of Lt. Larry James Stevens, a photograph alleged to be taken of him was debunked by the U.S. Government as
being a fake. Yet official U.S. military cables indicate that a U.S. Embassy has verified his location, not once, but twice.
The United States Senate Select team on POW/MIAs has already arrived in Vietnam. A privately financed force has also
arrived in Hanoi, without their leaders. The U.S. Government is concerned about this privately financed force. Top secret
military intelligence reports state that private sector is obtaining intelligence directly from Laos and Nakhon Ratchasima. The
government has sent out a dispatch requesting intervention with the private sector missions. In one part of the document, it
states, "American Embassy unable to penetrate operational net(work) suspected to be operational in Northern California. To
preclude anticipated mission, recommend interdiction."
In a secret memo dated 27, March 1992 from Guatemala, the statement is made as to the reference of the memo:
"Neutralization of private sector recovery efforts." The letter by C. H. Fehlandt to Carl West in Miami, a "Rambo‑type", states,
"Please investigate the matter discussed during our meeting, with particular attention to the anticipated threat of a private sector
domestic recovery program. As of this date, the indigenous network being utilized by this private effort has been impenetrable.
As you may conclude following our meeting with embassy MILGRP (Military Group) representatives; a serious dilemma may
be inflicting it's unwanted repercussions upon the party. Therefore I can only conclude that your services may be most
appropriate for the problem."
The U.S. States Senate Foreign Relations report on POWs and MIAs states, "For Vietnam, the U.S. Government has at least
1400 such reports, indicating reports that have been received up until publication of this report in May, 1991. In addition, the
U.S. Government has received thousands and thousands of second‑hand reports, accounts often full of vivid detail, such as 'my
brother told me he saw 11 American POWs being transported in a truck at such and such a place.'
"Yet, amazingly, the U.S. Government has not judged a single one of these thousands of reports to be credible. Instead, the
policy enunciated by an official statement of the U.S. Government in 1973 was that 'There are no more prisoners in Southeast
Asia. They are all dead.' That policy, in the face of extensive evidence that all U.S. POWs in Southeast Asia were not dead,
evolved to the U.S. government's present policy that there is no credible evidence that there are any U.S. POWs still alive in all
of Indochina. In spite of 1400 unresolved reports of first‑hand live‑sightings, the Department of Defense, remarkably, still
believe it has 'no credible evidence'. How does it dismiss these reports?"
The U.S. Senate report states, "In reviewing hundreds of the raw intelligence files on the 1400 reports, investigators found a
predisposition by DOD evaluations to ignore corroborative evidence, and has little interest to follow‑up what normal searches
would consider as good leads. Many cases, of course, were quite properly disposed of. Yet often DOD evaluators seemed
more intent upon upholding the validity of the 'no credible evidence' policy." The U.S. Senate report states it is contrary to
common sense that all of the reports, all 1400, are spurious, especially in the light of such obvious contradictions as the actual
return of the unfortunate Private Robert Garwood in 1979. Garwood was court martialed on his return, the only POW known
to have returned. Records of his court martial are sealed, but records of other court martials are not sealed.
Garwood was a battle casualty taken into custody by the North Vietnamese under fire. "However," the Senate report states,
"his court martial as a collaborator and deserter solved two problems for DOD: By bringing up the charges DOD sought to
redefine his case as a voluntary expatriate and therefore not technically a prisoner, and it enabled DOD evaluators to dismiss
fully 64 percent of the live‑sighting reports as sightings of Garwood. Since Garwood reported that he had been moved from
prison to prison, the faulty logic of DOD seemed to demand that any report from the prisons he cited must have been a sighting
of Garwood. The policy that there was 'no credible evidence' of living prisoners made it necessary to assume that other U.S.
prisoners in those prisons could not and did not exist."
Garwood was convicted of one count of simple assault on a fellow POW, one count of aiding the enemy by acting as a
translator, interpreter, and interrogator, one count of wearing black pajamas, the enemy uniform, and one count of transporting
an AK‑47 (unloaded) during a patrol. "Whether these convictions added up to meaningful collaboration with the enemy or not,
it was never proven that he was a voluntary deserter. Nevertheless the living proof that the 'no credible evidence' policy was
not correct, thoroughly discredited the policy," the Senate report states.
"Convenient as the Gardwood case was for DOD, the embarrassment still remained. Garwood was alive. There had been a
live‑sighting report on him in 1973 after DOD had publicly issued the 'they are all dead' policy. Indeed, documents and
witnesses available to the Minority Staff (Senate) show that CIA and DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) knew of Garwood's
location, as well as other so‑called U.S. deserters in Vietnamese custody, after 1973," the report continued. "And these reports
of Garwood, obviously, proved to be correct. Since Garwood was alive in Indochina from 1973 to 1979, DOD policy was
salvaged to some degree by his court martial. As a 'collaborator' he may have been in North Vietnamese custody in 1973, but
he no longer fit the definition of 'prisoner'. Nevertheless, Garwood, upon his return, reporting seeing another presumed
deserter, Earl C. Weatherman, alive in 1977. He stated also that a third presumed deserter, McKinley Noland, was alive after
1973. It may be assumed that Garwood was not reporting a live‑sighting of Garwood in these cases."
Garwood stated publicly on his return as well as to the Senate Committee investigators when questioned that he had seen at
least 30 U.S. POWs off loading from a box car in Vietnam in the late 1970s. "In the light of what appears to be a compelling
need on the part of DOD to uphold the 'no credible evidence' policy, the Minority Staff believes that every live‑sighting should
be pursued vigorously without prejudgment. Even if one POW who was detained in Southeast Asia is still alive, then no
resources of the U.S. Government should be spared to locate him and effect his return to the United States if he so desires," the
Senate report states. (To be continued.)
Government documents show efforts being made to stop POW release By Harry V. Martin
Tenth in a Series
Elements of military intelligence arrived in Auburn, California Saturday in efforts to prevent a privately financed mission to
Southeast Asia designed to free three American POWs. The leader of the mission was tipped off in advance of the military
intelligence unit's arrival in Auburn and fled with all the documentation on the planned mission.
Top Secret cables from intelligence units within U.S. embassies in both Bangkok and Guatemala have targeted the Auburn man
for some time, providing instructions to interdict any mission to Southeast Asia that might result in the freedom of POWs.
On March 27, a letter from C.H. Fehlandt to Carl West addressed the issue of "Neutralization of Private Sector Recovery
Efforts". Fehlandt wrote, "A serious dilemma may be inflicting its unwanted repercussions upon the party. Therefore, I can only
conclude that your services may be most appropriate for the problem." He asked West to investigate the matter with "particular
attention to anticipated threat of private sector domestic recovery program. The alleged leader for the operation may be former
United States Army Captain Allen Goetch." He further indicates that the network in Southeast Asia being used by Goetch is
This letter was followed 14 days later by a Top Secret dispatch from the intelligence community working inside the U.S.
Embassy in Guatemala. The subject of the dispatch was "Review of Elint (Electronic Intelligence)/DIA (Defense Intelligence
Agency), indig assets (Southeast Asian residents), MIA/POW sighting, private sector intervention".
The dispatch reads:
1. Amembassy (American Embassy) officials and COMUSMILGRP (Communication U.S. Military Group) reviewed intel
(intelligence), and direct intel from indig assets Laos and Nakhon Ratchasima. Confirm private sector receiving intel via indig
network operational" independent of government.
2. Amembassy unable to penetrate operation net suspected to be operating in Northern California. CIA CONUS (Continental
U.S.) field ops confirms oper may be directed by Former SF (Special Forces) Goetsch. Former TL (Team Leader) Elephant
Project. Individ (Individual) presently under surveil/Agency discretion.'
3. Amembassy received validation of visual ID USN Lt. Larry James Stevens, MIA 2/14/69.
4. Amembassy received confirm sitrep (situation report) CONSU private sector project may have est direct indig contact with
USAF Lt. Col. Charles Stoddard Rowley. Other contacts not named.
5. To preclude anticipated mission, recommend interdiction of Goetcsh. Operational window concludes 4/25/92. Confirm bank
assets frozen Banco De Guatemala De Nationale.
On April 10 a document was sent from Ft. Rucker, Alabama. "I have personally confirmed Nazarene Carpenter (Goetsch)
report. Agency personnel validate location of indig asset control Larry Stevens. Recommend relocation of same. Should advise
Nazarene Carp regard security precaution.
More communication traffic occurred from the intelligence agency in Washington states, "Re: Private sector efforts aka
Goetsch/Keplinger." Keplinger is the leader of the other group attempting to rescue 10 POWs in Southeast Asia. Goetsch
group is after 3 POWs.
"I'm distressed at the progress related in your most recent conversation. It would seem that Goetsch is far from being
neutralized. I should think a call to the prosecutor (District Attorney of Marysville, California) handling this matter would be
"Since Max's review, there has been an increased resolve to strengthen the internal network and as there are just too many
potential targets to aim at; I can see no alternative but to strike at those which would carry the greatest psychological impact."
The retired general who wrote the letter is referring to the fact that there are too many POWs that might be targeted for rescue
and that high profile POWs should be moved. This brings up the critical question of how does the U.S. intelligence agency have
the power to move POWs, who's control are they under, the enemy's or the American's. "Stevens, Scharf and Robertson
would be my first suggestion, and as Lund appears to be well controlled; we might consider using him should we be forced to
negotiate this matter after the 27th." All those named are POWs. Yet the official U.S. policy is that all POWs and MIAs in
Southeast Asia are dead. The reference to the 27th is the fact that the U.S. Senate Select Committee on POWs/MIAs will be
departing Southeast Asia on the 27th and returning to Washington.
The government document concludes, "Confirm the afore noted thoughts and I will look forward to seeing you on the 15th.
Again thanks for talking with Jim Gritz (Col. Jim "Bo" Gritz whose team was involved in the mission to rescue 10 POWs), he
will be an excellent conduit as this matter is terminated once‑(and)‑for‑all."
Another Top Secret communication was sent from Bangkok to Guatemala on April 15, 1992. It's subject was "indig asset
sitrep MIA/POW sighting. Private sector ops."
The communication states:
1. Amembassy Bangkok confirms LULF contact initiated via Goetsch. Unable to verify contact 4/10/92.
2. Amembassy Bangkok confirms former Raven Papa Fox (code name for an electronics warfare pilot shot down in Southeast
Asia during the war) contact with Goetsch. Have concerns re possible use of Thai indig resources Chiang Mai. Unable to
impede, suspect close link to Khun Sa elements. (Khun Sa is a drug lord in Burma.)
3. Amembassy confirm sitrep control USN Lt. Larry James Stevens. Anticipate elimination at site. Ultimatum given NLT
4/23/92. Essential Goetsch unable to effect extract. (American intelligence has given an ultimatum to Laos units not to allow
Stevens to be extracted and that they should eliminate him if extraction is imminent. Stevens was the subject of a photograph
recently. Even though forensic scientists and his family identified him, the U.S. government ruled the photograph to be a fake.)
4. Amembassy Bangkok recommend CONUS interdiction efforts increase with specific direction applied to Goetsch group.
Keplinger group neutralized and penetrated. Reliable ELINT/Intel continues via (Jim "Bo") Gritz. TM considered low risk and
ineffectual for extraction. Hatchet remains in place will continue to provide ELINT. (The government memo indicates that the
leader of the original team to extract 10 POWs is supplying the government with information. Gritz was recently interviewed by
5. Amembassy Bangkok confirm inquiry re Charles Scharff. Request status reply. (The government names another POW and
wants to know his status.)
6. Amembassy Bangkok request validation of former station analyst Pat Johnson (Saigon 73 ‑ 75) inquire nature of security
following retirement. Contact resource with Goetsch group.
The U.S. intelligence community has targeted both Keplinger's group operating out of Nevada (formerly headed by Jim "Bo"
Gritz, and the Goetsch group operating out of Northern California. Both groups are privately financed and are seeking to
rescue POWs. Keplinger has already testified to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on POW/MIAs. A part of his team is in
Southeast Asia at the moment, as is the Select Committee. The team was in Vietnam in February, having been supplied 10
names by the Vietnamese government of American POWs whose freedom could be purchased for $200,000 a piece. There
has been speculation that H. Ross Perot might be financing the "hostage money" if the mission is successful. The group reports it
made contact with two former A6 pilots held as POWs for over two decades. The pilots were photographed and fingerprinted
and the mission has returned to the area.
Goetsch's group was a much lower profile operation which does not need the high level financing the Keplinger group requires.
the Goetsch group is a smaller operation not dealing directly with government sources, and thus less expensive.
The Top Secret cables from the intelligence community through the Bangkok and Guatemala embassies indicate that
Keplinger's group has been compromised, penetrated and neutralized. Keplinger does not believe his team's mission has been
thwarted. Goetsch, however, has been subject to various attempts at arrest and prosecution. The District Attorney of
Marysville, according to confidential Washington, D.C. documents, is being pushed to prosecute or otherwise delay Goetsch to
prevent him from going to Southeast Asia to extract three POWs.
Will U.S. sacrifice its POWs for oil, military bases?
By Harry V. Martin
Eleventh in a Series
Retired General John W. Vessey, Jr., former chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and now de facto Ambassador to Vietnam on the
POW/MIA issue, supports the contention of retired General Eugene F. Tighe, Jr., and Colonel Millard Peck, both of whom
say there are live POWs in Southeast Asia. "There is good evidence that there are live prisoners, and it is in the Vietnamese
interest to straighten out their relations with the United States," Vessey said.
Vietnam is inching toward normalization with the United States, but such normalization will not occur until after the November
elections and only if President George Bush is reelected. The Bush plan for normalization involves the use of former U.S.
military bases in Vietnam after the United States leaves its bases in the Philippines. It also involves massive oil exploration by
Mobile Oil. One major stumbling block to normalization is the POW/MIA issue. All evidence indicates that the Bush
Administration is making every effort in its power to assure that POWs do not emerge from Southeast Asia. Bush continues to
claim there are no POWs alive in Southeast Asia despite the findings of various Congressional probes, 1500 first‑hand
sightings, and the revelations of their own military staff, in both public or private. Either Bush, the former head of the CIA during
the Vietnam era, is incredible naive or his underlings are responsible for one of the greatest cover‑ups in recent American
history. When Colonel Peck resigned from the Defense Intelligence Agency POW/MIAs office in 1991, he called the policy of
the United States toward POW/MIAs a cover‑up. When General Tighe retired, he made the same comments.
On April 9, 1991, a U.S. State Department official met with Trinh Xuan Lang, Vietnam's Ambassador to the United Nations.
The meeting took place in New York. The State Department official presented Lang with a blueprint for a new policy toward
Vietnam , a policy designed to rebuild Vietnam's collapsed economy and to fully recognize the Communist government. The
plan would officially end U.S. hostility toward Vietnam. The POWs were not part of the plan. Yet over two‑thirds of the
American public still believe that American POWs are still alive in Southeast Asia, according to a 1990 Gallup Poll. A 1991
CNN/Time poll indicated that 70 percent of the American people believe American POWs are still alive in Southeast Asia.
The blueprint ignores the human suffering of POWs and focuses, instead, on access by U.S. companies to Vietnamese oil.
Vietnam has the potential to produce from 1.5 billion to 3 billion barrels of oil, worth an estimated $3 billion a year for a decade
and one‑half. If the United States lifts its 1964‑imposed embargo on Vietnam within a year, they could gain lucrative oil
contracts. Greedy American oil companies are pushing hard for normalization of relations between the United States and
Vietnam. Bush's history has been tied to oil, including owning his own oil company.
While the United States is anxious to establish relationships with Vietnam, it has been in no hurry to establish ties with another
former enemy, North Korea. It is believed North Korea still holds 8000 POWs. Vietnam has oil, North Korea doesn't.
The blueprint calls for the Vietnamese to fully cooperate on the "remaining unsolved last known alive discrepancy case",
POWs. The agreement allows Vietnam to receive full recognition, full access to the World Bank, admission to the United
Nations and favored nation status with the United States, but does not force or mandate release of POWs.
According to the American Legion, the blueprint would have unfortunate consequences for American POW/MIAs.
Vietnam is not required to meet any specific conditions on the POW/MIA issue.
History shows that the Vietnamese cannot be trusted. The blueprint heavily relies on Vietnam's honesty.
The U.S. government's track record on POW/MIA issue isn't much better than the Vietnamese.
The French only repatriated one‑third of their MIAs, and the United States has only repatriated 10 percent of theirs from
Vietnam. The French Army reported 39,888 POWs held by the Vietnamese, 29,954 were never repatriated. The United
States claimed 5000 POWs were being held by the Vietnamese, only 591 were returned.
After the Vietnamese claimed they had returned all the French POWs, about 40 French POWs were returned to France long
after the war, the French government charged these men with desertion and court‑martialed them. When Robert Garwood, a
former U.S. POW, returned after being held prisoner for 14 years, he also was court martialed.
On January 21, 1980, National Security Council advisor Zbigniew Brezinksi wrote a memo to President Jimmy Carter. "Once
again, the National League of Families seeks to meet you. They have nothing new to say. So I recommend turning down their
"However, a letter from you is important to indicate that you take recent refugee reports of sightings of live Americans
'seriously'. This is simply good policy; DIA and state are playing this game, and you should not be the whistle blower. The idea
is to say that the President is determined to pursue any lead concerning possible live MIAs.
"Do not offer an opinion as to whether these leads are realistic. Apparently you revealed skepticism to Congressman Gillman,
and my recommended letter to the League walks you back from that."
Captain Red McDaniel, a former POW who served as the Navy/Marine Corps liaison to the House of Representatives, says
that President Richard Nixon and the State Department had all POWs declared dead on April 12, 1973. "That became policy,
a flawed policy to deal with Watergate politically." Nixon states, "For the first time in 12 years, we can observe Armed Forces
Day with all of our fighting forces home from Vietnam and all our courageous prisoners of war set free and here back home in
America." The end of the war was a diversion from the troubles of Watergate.
Colonel Peck stated when he quit his job, "It appears that the entire issue is being manipulated by unscrupulous people in the
government, or associated with the government. Some are using the issue for personal or political advantage and other use it as
a forum to perform and feel important or worse. The sad fact, however, is that the issue is being controlled and a cover‑up may
be in progress. The entire charade does not appear to be an honest effort, and may never have been."
The United States Senate Select Committee on POW/MIAs is currently in Southeast Asia. It has received strong testimony
virtually proving the existence of POWs being alive in Southeast Asia. A spokesperson for the Committee told the Sentinel that
the Committee has no intention of issuing its report or findings until AFTER the Presidential Elections.
Oil, military bases, and political expediency are more important to the U.S. government than hundreds of captive Americans.
One retired officer now working with the U.S. Senate, told the Sentinel yesterday, "After what I know about the POWs, I
would never serve in the American military again."
What a privately financed POW expedition found
By Harry V. Martin
Twelfth in a Series
Members of the U.S. Senate Committee of POW/MIAs returned to the United States today. They are prepared to make a
statement, according to government sources, which indicates there are no American POWs alive in Southeast Asia. Despite all
the evidence it has received and flying in the face of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report of POW/MIAs,
the Select Committee will end its investigation. The Select Committee will hold a news coverage with credentialed press only,
excluding any family members of POWs. They have also indicated that over 500 pilots being held in Laos were executed years
ago and were held by renegade groups and not government units. The Sentinel reported a few months ago that this would be
the official government line.
The Senate Committee report is the forerunner of the United States clearing the way for normalization of relations with
Vietnam. The rush to normalize is to obtain lucrative oil contracts and military bases in Vietnam. The United States sought such
lucrative oil contracts three decades ago, but the North Vietnamese government rejected the American proposal. After that
rejection, the United States government increased pressure on the North Vietnamese which resulted in the war. The overall
purpose of the American effort was to bring Vietnam down economically and now it has been successful. Vietnam is bankrupt
and can no longer rely on the Soviets for economic support. Normalization will provide Vietnam with needed cash and the
Americans with oil.
Last week, the Napa Sentinel revealed top secret communications between the American Embassy in Bangkok to the
Intelligence Unit of the Guatemala Embassy to U.S. Military in the United States. In one of the top secret cables dated April
15, which confirms the existence of POWs and MIAs in Southeast Asia and is concerned with privately‑financed groups
attempt to extract them, the cable reads, "Hatchet remains in place. Will continue to provide ELINT (electronic intelligence)."
The Sentinel has obtained a sworn affidavit from John Thompson, code name Hatchet Jack. The affidavit was made in
Olongapo, Republic of the Philippines. Hatchet Jack is the person identified in the top secret government documents as being
the person who remains in place.
Hatchet Jack is also associated with the privately financed expedition which was seeking to recover 10 live POWs. That team
is reportedly in place in Hanoi. The team, itself, is confused as to why Hatchet Jack even made a sworn statement. The
statement provides a key insight to the entire mission which was originally in Vietnam in February.
On February 3, Hatchet Jack was recruited as a volunteer by Lt. Col. James "Bo" Gritz, (U.S. Army Special Forces, retired).
Gritz is also mentioned in the top secret government documents as being a source for reliable electronic intelligence and regular
intelligence to the U.S. government. The government documents would, therefore, indicate that Gritz is working against his own
team, not for it.
Hatchet Jack indicates that the operation was a special mission to liberate American prisoners presently being held captive in
Southeast Asia. "My partner of this operation was Mr. Robert Keplinger," Hatchet Jack stated. Keplinger is also noted in the
top secret documents, which states, "Keplinger group neutralized and penetrated." Keplinger was the intelligence officer for the
operation and Hatchet Jack was his assistant and the security man. Keplinger was a former captain in the Fifth Special Forces
in Vietnam. Hatchet Jack is a retired sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in Vietnam.
On February 3, Hatchet Jack and Keplinger were dispatched to Thailand in pursuit of a report of six American POWs that
were said to be accessible in Laos. "We arrived in Bangkok and made rendezvous with another agent of Vietnamese descent.
We were instructed to wait in Bangkok until arrangements could be made for a meeting with the responsible persons said to
have access to the reported six American POWs," Hatchet Jack stated. "After a period of about four days, Bob and I were
then dispatched by our Vietnamese source to Udorn Thany, East Thailand. We moved during the time of Chinese New Year to
cover ourselves and avoid detection. We arrived safely in Udorn and without detection. We checked into a local hotel and
made arrangements for a meeting room in another hotel, the Charden Hotel."
The next morning, at 10 o'clock, the two‑man team rendezvoused with their Vietnamese contact in the lobby of the Charden
Hotel. Several other Asian men were in attendance at the meeting. (The second page of the six‑page affidavit was not
transmitted to the Sentinel and it is necessary to jump forward from the meeting.) "We were also provided the names of four of
six American POWs who were said to be held on Savoy Island in Vinh Bay, North Vietnam. The four American names were:
Major Albro Lundy, Jr., USAF, captured October 12, 1969. (His name appeared on the top secret government
Commander Larry Stevens, USN, captured February 11, 1969. (His name appeared on the top secret government
E‑4 Auskel C. Lawrence, USA, captured November 12, 1968.
Colonel John Robertson, USAF, captured September 16, 1966. (His name appeared on the top secret government
Hatchet Jack named the Asians who were meeting with the two‑member team. They included a Laotian investor, a boat
captain, and two Thai attorneys who were making the bank account exchange agreements. "The plan was that the entire six
American POWs were to be brought out of Savoy Island by the camp commander and his wife, and children, 30 defecting
Vietnamese. They were to be transported by boat to the mainland and transported across Vietnam via Highway 8 and 13 into
Laos. They would be exchanged at Pak Sane, Laos. The convoy is one used weekly to carry marijuana which is exported to
Hong Kong and Singapore.
The financial negotiations, as originally reported in the Sentinel in February, was for $250,000 for each American POW. "All
six POWs were to be brought out. The price was agreed upon by both sides. The two Thai attorneys were to set up foreign
bank accounts for exchange of money," Hatchet Jack stated. "More physical evidence was also to be provided on all six
American POWs by the Vietnamese and Laotian officials."
Hatchet Jack indicates that the Asian officials were to provide the team within one month, photographs of all six POWs, voice
recording and a series of provided questionnaires that only the POWs could possibly answer themselves." A fee of $3000 was
provided to the Asian officials in order to provide the information. "We were told that this could be accomplished in 30 days
with no problem," he said. Keplinger returned to the United States and provided testimony to the U.S. Senate Select
Committee on POW/MIAs. "I was to wait in the Philippines, three hours away from Thailand by air and to await further would
from Bo or Bob to return in 30 days to intercept the further physical evidence that was to be provided by the Vietnamese and
Hatchet Jack stated, "The call never came for me to return to Thailand, rather on another subsequent mission I learned that the
Laotian representative who claimed to be a Free Laotian Resistance fighter turned out to be an agent for General Vang Pao,
who is in alliance with the American CIA. My partner, Bob, also informed me later that when he returned to the United States
he was visited at his office by CIA agents who offered to recruit him into the agency. Bob refused."
What proof does Hatchet Jack have? "This information can be confirmed not only by the photograph of Colonel John
Robertson, Major Albro Lundy and Commander Larry Stevens, released to the Press by retired Navy Captain Eugene "Red"
McDaniel of the American Defense Institute on 20 July 1991, but also by:
Video tapes of both meetings Bob and I had with the men mentioned in this sworn affidavit. Also fingerprints and letters
written by the POWs, which can be confirmed through handwriting analysis.
A personal source of mine, which I cannot and will not provide, which verified to me the fact that USAF Intelligence had
intercepted message traffic over the airways that the Vietnamese had custody of and mentioned by name the same
POWs of which my source also made positive identification of by comparing the names I gave him to the lists of names
that had been intercepted by USAF intelligence the USAF was told by U.S. government officials to take no action."
Hatchet Jack also points to a special North Vietnamese newspaper (Police Issue) published during the week of March 20‑26,
1991, which features an article entitled The Truth about American POWs in Vietnam. The newspaper features a photograph
and handwritten letter of American POW Walter T. Robinson. The Letter was dated 25 April 1990. Robinson was captured
April 1, 1969. The newspaper printed information on other POWs, James C. Johnson, Andrew C. Dieterman and Russell P.
Bott. These are not actually POWs, but resistance fighters.
Hatchet Jack reports that he provided this information to the Defense Intelligence Agency and they did nothing about it. "I am
available to testify before any committee at any time and I am willing to be subject to a polygraph test," he said.
Hatchet Jack explained in private correspondence to a family of a POW, that, "The purpose of that affidavit at the time was to
pass it with other supporting information through a Swiss contact to the International Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland, in an
attempt to get them to take action on the matter, which they had promised to do previously. The results were negative. I am
now in another identical project/attempt with Amnesty International, which also has an office in Geneva, Switzerland."
If we don't learn from history ‑ we must repeat it
By Harry V. Martin
Last of a Thirteen Part Series
History is often the best indicator for tomorrow. With reference to American POWs in Southeast Asia, it is important to take a
step back from the issue and look at the experience of another country involved in an Asia war. That war was popularly known
as the French Indo‑China War. It took place in the early 1950s. How the Vietnamese treated French POWs and MIAs
provides verification to the non‑repatriated American POWs from a war two decades after.
French records show that 39,888 French soldiers were prisoners of the Vietnamese. Of that total, 75 percent of those people
were never repatriated, including 2350 French nationals and 2867 members of the French Foreign Legion. Today, nearly four
decades after the war, public interest in French prisoners of the Indo‑China War has been renewed.
What renewed the public interest was the "Boudarel Affair", the discovery of Georges Boudarel, a Frenchman who acted as a
deputy political commissar in Vietnamese prison camps during the Indo‑China War. He was in charge of brain‑washing and
interrogating French prisoners, and has been accused of being an accessory to torture. Nothing was known of his whereabouts
for years. Then it was discovered that, after serving in the Communist International underground in Southeast Asia and in
Eastern Europe, he had obtained a teaching post at a university in France.
A new book by a former prisoner who charges that he was tortured by Boudarel was recently released in France. Written by
Claude Bayle, Prisonnier au Camp 113 is a detailed revelation of life as a prisoner of the Vietnamese, revealing the primitive
conditions under which thousands of French prisoners were held.
In 1946, the Vietnamese took several hundred French prisoners, both military and civilian. The 1954 Geneva Accords ending
the war required France to withdraw its colonial government from Indochina, provide for an exchange of prisoners, repatriation
of remains of war dead, and division of Vietnam. During the war, the largest group of French prisoners taken by the
Vietnamese was at the famous battle of Dien Bien Phu on May 8, 1954. President Eisenhower even consider the use of atomic
weapons to relieve the French fortress. A total of 6500 French troops surrendered when the battle was lost.
None of France's war dead from Dien Bien Phu or other battle sites in North Vietnam, and none of the war dead from prison
camps or military hospitals were repatriated. By contrast, all French prisoners held by nationalists or Communist forces in Laos
and Cambodia were returned or accounted for.
Much of the French war dead from prison camps occurred because of the harsh conditions in isolated camps. Prisoners with
severe wounds, such as head, chest and abdominal wounds, stood little chance of survival in the camps. Many also died in a
death march from Dien Bien Phu, similar to Batan in the Philippines during World War Two. And even when the prisoners
were to be exchanged at the end of the war, they were again force marched and many died.
Reports also surfaced, as in World War One, World War Two, Korean and Vietnam, that POWs were kept as slave labor,
while others were given years of indoctrination into Marxist‑Leninist philosophy. The Soviets also took French POWs to the
In 1962, 40 French POWs, having spent a decade or more in Vietnamese prison camps, returned to France and were
immediately charged with desertion and court martialed. Some were given prison sentences of up to five years and no back pay
for the period they were held prisoners in Vietnam. The same type of treatment was afforded to Robert Garwood, who
returned to the United States in 1979 after being a POW. Garwood reported that he saw French prisoners used as forced
laborers in a Northern Vietnamese dairy farm not far from Hanoi. Garwood believed the French POWs he saw were former
Throughout the years, the Vietnamese would send the remains of Frenchmen home to France, in small dribbles.
In 1971, 17 years after the French Indo‑China War ended, the French Foreign Minister declared all unaccounted for French
POW/MIAs in Indochina dead.
The listing of French dead is a bookkeeping entry, used by the United States immediately after World War One, World War
Two, Korea and Vietnam, with no evidence of actual deaths, but a statistical act to reduce government costs of keeping
potential POW/MIAs on the books.
It is said that if you do not learn from history, you are bound to repeat it. The United States did not learn its lessons after World
War One, World War Two, Korea and now it is paying the price with the lives of American POWs and MIAs still alive in
The Napa Sentinel has come up against many giants, Goliaths. In its infancy, it took on the Napa County Grand Jury. As time
went on it battled with the Napa Police Department and a once all‑powerful District Attorney, an entrenched Congressman and
State Senator, and the once mighty Napa Valley Register, each time the twice weekly newspaper survived the battles.
But a new and more powerful Goliath has appeared on the scene, and with the same tenacity, the Sentinel is squared off with
them. The new Goliath is the United States Senate, specifically the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs.
The Senate Committee investigators have been bugging the Sentinel for weeks, wanting to know its sources relative to articles
and documents on POWs and MIAs in Southeast Asia. Even the FBI has become involved, not in any criminal investigation,
but checking background and sources of the Sentinel in order to learn where it obtained several "top secret" documents on the
whereabouts of POWs and MIAs and on alleged efforts by the U.S. intelligence community to block any privately‑financed
expeditions into Southeast Asia to free Americans held there for over two decades.
The Sentinel has remained steadfast that it does not and will not reveal its sources. The Senate investigators have called the
Sentinel office at least 12 to 15 times, attempting to convince the newspaper to reveal its sources. It has also gathered tapes of
national and regional radio broadcasts done by Sentinel Publisher Harry V. Martin on the POW and MIA issue, as well as
talked with local people.
The irony of the pressure being applied by the Senate is the fact that they are claiming the "top secret" documents are bogus.
The Sentinel, in turn, continues to inquire of the Senate investigators why they have any interest in documents that are not real
and sources they claim provide bogus material. There were a total of seven documents, two "top secret" plus cover, one
"confidential", one map, one Mailgram and a private letter. On Wednesday, the Senate Committee's Chief Counsel, J. William
Codinha, wrote to the Sentinel, stating that only the Mailgram was a "fraud", but even hedged on that issue by stating, "It also
indicates that the document that was used for formatting Document A dates back to the early‑to‑mid 1980s. This may indicate
that at one time the individual that provided the documents to you may have had access to some type of correspondence from
that time frame."
Basically, the Mailgram may be genuine, but an old copy. The importance of the Mailgram was not to point out any current
operation, but to prove that an individual named in the Mailgram was operational in the mid‑1980s. Though the investigators
have indicated they believe the "top secret" documents may be bogus, they indicate they have no way of proving their premise.
The investigators indicate that if one document was bogus it would stand to reason the others would be also. But the Sentate
Committee says it cannot absolutely rule out the fact that the docuemnts are not bogus. The "top secret" memos reveal that
efforts to penetrate a privately‑financed group in Northern California, organized to rescue POWs and MIAs, has not been
successful, but that another operation has been penetrated and compromised. Lists of several POWs were named in the "top
secret" memos, which were allegedly sent from the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok to Guatemala 16 (an intelligence unit within the
U.S. Embassy in Guatemala) and routed to the United States.
Western Union indicates the Mailgram may be legitimate, but not from this time period. It indicates that the sending equipment
identifier was used up to 1989 and that the receiving line identifier was also used up to 1989.
While the Senate investigators are putting pressure on the Sentinel to reveal its sources, there has been tremendous pressure
placed on the Defense Intelligence Agency because the Senate believes officers in the DIA might be leaking vital information to
the Sentinel. Cordina stated in his letter to the Sentinel, "At this point, we ask your continued cooperation with this Committee
to determine the genesis of these documents and for what purpose they were generated and disseminated."
Despite volumes of testimony indicating many American POWs and MIAs still are alive in Southeast Asia, the Senate Select
Committee recently visited Southeast Asia and indicated no American POWs or MIAs are alive. The Senate Committee is now
challenging those statements, as well, indicating the all national media misquoted them. At the base of the problem is the fact
that the United States government wants normalization with Vietnam in order to exploit large oil deposits and to use military
bases to replace the loss of bases in the Philippines. Normalization, unfortunately, means closing the books on the POWs and
The Sentinel documents have apparently been widely distributed. According to the Senate Committee investigators, they have
been flooded with calls from all over the country because of the Sentinel articles and documents on the POWs and MIAs.
The investigators became very hostile this week when the Sentinel refused for the 12th to 14th time to reveal its sources. The
"top secret" cables have been confirmed by some sources and rejected by others, but in no instance, has anyone documented
how or why they would be bogus or for the reason the documents would be disseminated.
Two documents the Sentinel confidentially delivered to the Senate Select Committee ended up in the hands of the Defense
Intelligence Agency and in the hands of Laotians, the next day. The Senate investigators had no plausible explanation for the
breech. The documents, fortunately, were not sensitive and were sent as a test to ascertain how trustworthy the situation was.
It is the Napa Sentinel's policy to retain all sources absolutely confidential, and the powerful United States Senate, with its
subpoena powers, will not gain access to Sentinel sources, period!
Now It Can Be Told, a national television show, has stated that it wishes to produce a show on the POWs and MIAs, based
on the Sentinel series of articles. Originally, Unsolved Mysteries, another national television show, had requested the Sentinel
series and then recommended to Now It Can Be Told that they produce the show. Though no date has been established, Rob
Kiviat, one of the show's producers, believes the show would air sometime in late May.