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American Pravda: the Legacy of Sydney Schanberg
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Sydney H. Schanberg, center, in Cambodia, August 1973

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The death on Saturday of Sydney Schanberg at age 82 should sadden us not only for the loss of one of our most renowned journalists but also for what his story reveals about the nature of our national media.

Syd had made his career at the New York Times for 26 years, winning a Pulitzer Prize, two George Polk Memorial awards, and numerous other honors. His passing received the notice it deserved, with the world’s most prestigious broadsheet devoting nearly a full page of its Sunday edition to his obituary, a singular honor that in this degraded era is more typically reserved for leading pop stars or sports figures. Several photos were included of his Cambodia reporting, which had become the basis for the Oscar-winning film The Killing Fields, one of Hollywood’s most memorable accounts of our disastrous Indo-Chinese War.

But for all the 1,300 words and numerous images charting his long and illustrious journalistic history, not even a single mention was made of the biggest story of his career, which has seemingly vanished down the memory hole without trace. And therein lies a tale.


Could a news story ever be “too big” for the media to cover? Every journalist is always seeking a major expose, a piece that not merely reaches the transitory front pages but also might win a journalistic prize or even change the history books. Stories such as these appear rarely but can make a reporter’s career, and it is difficult to imagine a writer turning one down, or an editor rejecting it.

But what if the story is so big that it actually reveals dangerous truths about the real nature of the American media, portrays too many powerful people in a very negative light, and perhaps leads to a widespread loss of faith in our major news media? If readers were to see a story like that, they might naturally begin to wonder “why hadn’t we ever been told?” or even “what else might be out there?”

Towards the end of the 2008 presidential campaign, while John McCain battled Barack Obama for the White House, I clicked an intriguing link on a small website and discovered Syd’s remarkable expose, one which had been passed over or rejected by every major media outlet in the country, his enormous personal reputation notwithstanding.

The basic outline of events he described was a simple one. During the Paris Peace Talks that ended the Vietnam War, the U.S. government had committed to pay its Hanoi adversaries \$3.25 billion in war reparations, and in exchange would receive back the American POWs held by the Vietnamese. The agreement was signed and the war officially ended, but the Vietnamese, suspecting a possible financial double-cross, kept back many hundreds of the imprisoned Americans until they received the promised payment.

For domestic political reasons, the Nixon Administration had characterized the billions of dollars pledged as “humanitarian assistance” and Congress balked at appropriating such a large sum for a hated Communist regime. Desperate for “peace with honor” and already suffering under the growing Watergate Scandal, Nixon and his aides could not admit that many hundreds of the POWs remained in enemy hands, and so declared them all returned, probably hoping to quietly arrange a trade of money for prisoners once the dust had settled. Similarly, Hanoi’s leaders falsely claimed that all the captives had been released, while they waited for their money to be paid. As a result, the two governments had jointly created a Big Lie, one which has largely maintained itself right down to the present day.

In the troubled aftermath of America’s military defeat and the Nixon resignation, our entire country sought to forget Vietnam, and neither elected officials nor journalists were eager to revisit the issue, let alone investigate one of the war’s dirtiest secrets. The Vietnamese continued to hold their American prisoners for most of the next twenty years, periodically making attempts to negotiate their release in exchange for the money they were still owed, but never found a American leader daring enough to take such a bold step. The Big Lie had grown just too enormous to be overturned.

Over the years, rumors surrounding the remaining POWs became widespread in veterans’ circles, and eventually these stories inspired a series of blockbuster Hollywood movies such as Rambo, Missing in Action, and Uncommon Valor, whose plots were all naturally dismissed or ridiculed as “rightwing conspiracy theories” by our elite media pundits. But the stories were all true, and even as American filmgoers watched Sylvester Stallone heroically free desperate American servicemen from Vietnamese prisons, the real-life American POWs were still being held under much those same horrible conditions, with no American leader willing to take the enormous political risk of attempting either to rescue or ransom them. Over the years, many of the POWs had died from ill-treatment, and the return of the miserable survivors after their secret captivity would unleash a firestorm of popular anger, surely destroying the many powerful individuals who had long known of their abandonment.

Eventually, America’s bipartisan political leadership sought to reestablish diplomatic relations with Hanoi and finally put the Vietnam War behind the country, but this important policy goal was obstructed by the residual political pressure from the resolute POW families. So a Senate Select Committee on the POWs was established in order to declare their non-existence once and for all. Sen. John McCain, a very high profile former POW himself, led the cover-up, perhaps because the very dubious nature of his own true war record left him eager to trade secrecy for secrecy. Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, our media declared that the abandoned POWs had never existed and closed the books on the long, lingering controversy.


As it happens, not long after the committee issued its final report and shut down, a stunning document was unearthed in the newly-opened Kremlin archives. In the transcript of a Hanoi Politburo meeting, the Communist leadership discussed the true number of POWs they then held and made their decision to keep half of them back to ensure that America paid the billions of dollars it had promised. Former National Security Advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger both stated on national television that the document appeared genuine and it seemed undeniable that American POWs had indeed been left behind. Although the national media devoted a couple of days of major coverage to this uncomfortable revelation, it then reported denials from both the U.S. and Vietnamese governments, and quickly dropped the story, returning to the official narrative: There were no abandoned POWs and never had been.


As I reviewed Syd’s massively-documented 8,000 word exposition, and confirmed for myself that the bylined Sydney Schanberg was indeed the Sydney Schanberg, I experienced a growing sense of unreality. I was reading what might rank as “the story of the century,” a scandal vastly greater and more gripping than the sordid political abuses of Watergate or Iran-Contra, a tale of national treachery suppressed for forty years by our government and our media, but now broken by one of America’s most distinguished journalists. The gravest possible charges were being levied against Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee, coming right at the height of his presidential campaign. And not one word of this was being mentioned in any of our mainstream media outlets, while almost all of the thousands of political websites, large and small alike, remained just as silent. From that day forward, I have never looked upon our national media with the same eye.

Everyone to whom I showed the article was just as shocked as myself, except for one or two individuals with a strong Vietnam War background, who privately confirmed that it was all probably true.

The election came and went with McCain’s defeat, and the incoming Obama Administration began coping with the intensifying financial crisis, but I still couldn’t put Syd’s remarkable article out of my mind, nor the deafening silence it had received. Perhaps, I thought to myself, the piece had been ignored because it appeared on a small website with few readers, and the unprepossessing circumstances of its release had raised serious doubts about its credibility.

At that time I served as publisher of The American Conservative, a small but generally well-regarded opinion magazine, and I eventually decided to commit my publication to providing the story the wider attention it so obviously deserved. By October I had gotten in touch with Syd, and spent several hours with him on the phone, explaining my interest, gaining his trust, and also assuring myself that he was still just as solid and sober a journalist as he had always been. I began preparations to republish his long expose as the cover story of one of my issues, making it the centerpiece of a symposium on government cover-ups and media lapses, with a special focus on the POW issue.

TAC-McCainPOWs As part of that plan, I recruited a number of strong participants for the symposium, including Andrew Bacevich, the well-known military writer, the late Alex Cockburn, and even a former Republican House Member, who had independent evidence confirming the POW facts. Syd wrote a 2,000 word introductory piece entitled “Silent Treatment,” recounting his unsuccessful efforts to persuade any mainstream media outlet to investigate the scandal, and I added an introduction, providing my own perspective on the story and its implications.

My magazine had tens of thousands of regular readers, and with the story’s prestigious placement and Syd’s stature bolstered by the symposium contributors, I felt confident we would attract a great deal of mainstream attention. I was on friendly terms with quite a number of established reporters and opinion columnists, and sent them advance copies of the material, speaking with some of them by phone, and discovering that all were as shocked by Syd’s revelations as I had been. Yet the result once again was utter and complete silence from mainstream media outlets, and no response to any of my follow-up notes. I was later told that one of America’s best-known investigative reporters read the story and found it stunning, yet he never said a word about it in public.

Although totally boycotted by the establishment media, the article and the related pieces were heavily discussed and reviewed on several popular alternative media websites, left, right, and libertarian, so the facts must have come to the attention of many of the regular journalists who frequent those sources of information, and the cover story of our very next issue provoked considerable mainstream coverage. But Syd’s “scandal of the century” had seemingly vanished into the ether.

Not long afterward, Syd published a collection of his articles in book form, with his McCain/POW expose being one of the last and longest pieces. David Rohde, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning war reporter then at The New York Times, described the outstanding journalism contained within, writing that “Sydney Schanberg is one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century,” and the praise from Pulitzer Prize winner Russell Baker was equally fulsome. Joseph Galloway, a journalist who had authored major books on the Vietnam War, explicitly contrasted Syd’s integrity with the shameful reticence of nearly all other journalists who failed to acknowledge the reality of America’s hundreds of abandoned Vietnam POWs. So the historical truth seems to be known and generally accepted within informed circles, but no mainstream publication has been willing to allow it to reach the eyes or ears of the general population.

I do believe that the evidence is simply overwhelming to anyone with an open mind, and the universal silence of our media is the only slight contrary indicator. A few months ago I served on a government secrecy panel with Daniel Ellsberg, whose role in leaking the Pentagon Papers had established him one of America’s leading voices on cover-ups of embarrassing military secrets. A major portion of my talk focused on Syd’s POW findings, and the way in which the government and media had successfully colluded to keep the story hidden for over four decades. Ellsberg found the claims totally astonishing, and saying he’d never previously heard a word about them, eagerly took home copies of the article and some related material. At the dinner reception the next evening, he told me he’d carefully read them, and was fully convinced that everything was probably true.


At one point I also received a note from an elderly, rather prominent mainstream conservative academic. He told me that at the end of the Vietnam War he had been a young intelligence officer in Washington, and even after all these decades the abandonment of American POWs still made him sick to his stomach. He said he hoped that someday there might be a U.S. President willing to tell the American people the truth of what had actually happened. I asked him for permission to publish his remarks, even anonymously, but got no reply.

Syd had always believed that the American media was simply scared of his story, with its troubling implications, and I tend to agree with him. Just as the government has maintained its cover-up for all these years because admitting the truth would destroy too many reputations, crucial elements of the media may feel the same way. There is the famous precedent of Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty, whose reports from the Soviet Union regularly ridiculed claims of any significant Ukrainian famine during the 1930s and thereby helped ensure that nearly all of America’s elite media discounted and ignored the reports that millions were dying. The Times took nearly sixty years before finally admitting its error.

And the cautious and hierarchical structure of mainstream journalism probably produces a cascading effect. The editor of any media outlet who might consider covering the POW scandal would naturally conclude that “it can’t possibly be true or it would have already reached the headlines of one of America’s leading publications.” Meanwhile, the editors of any one of those latter outlets would note Syd’s 26 years as a star journalist at the New York Times, and wonder why our national newspaper of record would be ignoring the story if it had any substantial basis in reality. And perhaps the editors making such decisions at the august Times itself would be ashamed to admit that they had completely ignored the facts for so long. A story which is “hot” will surely boost a journalist’s career, but one which is “too hot” might risk destroying it.

Sometimes lower-ranking individuals are reluctant to stick their necks out on something so explosive, or even to trouble their superiors on the matter. Syd once told me that some years ago, he had dinner at his home with a retired Executive Editor of the Times, who was astonished to learn of the explosive POW findings, and dismayed that his own newspaper had never covered any of it at the time. “Why didn’t you come to me yourself?,” he asked. Syd responded that he considered it inappropriate to make a personal appeal for coverage on a story of such great significance, and that the material should stand or fall on its own journalistic merits. They parted with some angry words.

The historical events under discussion took place over forty years ago, and I am sure that many would suggest that they have little relevance today. I was just a child when the Vietnam War ended, and barely have a memory of it. The American troops deliberately left behind to die by our own government numbered less than one percent of their comrades who fell in battle, and merely the tiniest sliver of the millions of overall fatalities in that misbegotten war.

But I have never believed that Syd’s remarkable findings would significantly alter our view of the Vietnam War or even of our political leadership. The meaningful issue is not whether the Vietnamese Communists held our prisoners for ransom or whether American leaders sought to escape embarrassment by hiding that reality, but rather whether our supposedly free and vibrant mainstream press can be trusted on anything important, with a cover-up of such length and magnitude suggesting a negative conclusion. I think it would be an important and absolutely fascinating exercise for some enterprising media journalist to go around to a considerable number of the appropriate editors and reporters, bring them face to face with Syd’s remarkable findings, and ask them what did they know, when did they know it, and why did none of them ever decide to report it?

The media is an enormously powerful and shaping force in our society, and receives far less scrutiny than it should. Taken together, it constitutes the sensory organs of the body politic, and if these grow unreliable, the results for our society can be disastrous, just as an animal in the wild with failing eyesight must surely face its doom.


Twelve months ago I would have been quite pessimistic that Syd’s revelations might reach the media headlines in the foreseeable future, but today a confluence of independent factors may have made that a real possibility.

Most pundits have been flummoxed by the recent rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, whose repeated victories over their establishmentarian opponents seemed to violate every rule of modern political campaigns. But I think the obvious explanation is the visceral, burning hatred of so many Americans, both left and right, toward what they perceive to be the total dishonesty and corruption of their reigning political and media elites.

Last year I published an article gathering together the limited available evidence concerning John McCain’s true wartime record, and demonstrating that it seemed at utter variance with that presented by the media. In many respects, my piece was a coda to Syd’s own POW expose, and I was gratified at the very kind words he extended to my work. John McCain is currently up for reelection in Arizona this year and deeply unpopular, with the latest poll putting him at below 40% in his own Republican primary.


Much of my analysis had focused on the strong indications that McCain spent nearly his entire imprisonment as a leading Communist collaborator, whose widespread propaganda broadcasts rendered him the “Tokyo Rose” of that era; later he concocted false claims of torture in order to protect himself against plausible accusations of treason. Although the evidence I found of McCain’s broadcasts seemed persuasive, it was from secondary sources and inexact. But now the actual McCain tapes have been located and may soon be released. I’ve listened to one of them myself and it exactly matches the descriptions contained in my article, while an actual audio file naturally carries much greater evidentiary weight. And the very tight connection between McCain’s deep wartime secrets and those surrounding the abandoned POWs ensure that if the first gains the awareness of the general public, the second will almost inevitably follow. McCain’s sordid wartime record would represent the triggering fuse that might ignite a massive national political explosion.

Will the Arizona voters learn the true facts about John McCain? Perhaps, perhaps not. Trump is very much a loose cannon, whose 10 million agitated Twitter followers constitute an enormous alternative media distribution channel, and one which served him very well during the primaries. Just a few days ago, Trump held a remarkably hostile meeting with all the Republican senators, at which he threatened to personally ensure the defeat this year of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake. Apparently, he confused Flake, who is not up for reelection in 2016, with McCain, who is, and the latter has also been a major target of his political wrath.

Syd despised Donald Trump and everything he stood for, so it would be ironic indeed if Trump became the inadvertent vehicle of “the great cleansing of the Augean Stables” that Syd had sought for so many years.


I doubt if one Americans in twenty is aware that over forty years ago, his government deliberately abandoned hundreds of POWs in Vietnam, and then spent four decades desperately covering up that enormous crime, with the media being a willing co-conspirator. But even if our citizens remain ignorant of that particular dark deed, over the years they have strongly come to suspect their elites are guilty of a vast number of equally heinous offenses, some of which are plausible and others ridiculous; and who can reasonably blame them? If our entire media would willfully ignore “the story of the century” as massively documented by one of its most distinguished members, who can say what other matters might remain hidden from public view?

For years I’ve been telling my friends that unless and until our major media publications are finally willing to report Sydney Schanberg’s stunning POW expose, I simply won’t trust a word they write about anything else. And perhaps that is the most important legacy of one of America’s greatest journalists.

For Further Reading:

The American Pravda Series
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  1. Rest in peace.

    I have a high schooler heading off to college. Our culture is no longer set up to impart in the young the values of deep integrity, honesty and intellectual courage that people Sydney Schanberg had, routinely. Not to mention a capacity for sometimes unrewarding hard work and a hard acquired toolkit of well honed professional skills.

    People like him have become generational curiosities, and not moral heroes that young people try and model themselves after. Indeed, the very notion of a role model—a morally heroic person—is not known very well any more.

  2. If true this completely discredits the entire power structure, and there appears to be evidence to back it up.

    • Agree: Jacques Sheete
  3. RobinG says:

    Thank you for this. I’ll share with my Arizona contacts.

    While the POW’s may be the most personal to some Americans, there are many other huge stories subverted by the malfeasance of the media. The press inaccurately reported ‘Ferguson’ and inflamed the public with false claims of Michael Brown’s innocence.

    The press parroted stories of WMD that never existed, chemical red lines never crossed, etc. When Seymour Hersh actually investigated like a real journalist, he had to leave the US to publish his Libya expose.

    For over 65 years our presstitutes have slobbered propaganda about the Zionist entity in the Holy Land. On Sunday I attended a screening of “Occupation of the American Mind: Israel’s Public Relations War in the United States” sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace of the DC Metro area. While not a perfect film, it should give a jolt to any sleepy believers in our vaunted free and impartial press, and thereby is doing a great service.

  4. Pat Casey says:

    Ron Unz should rest assured he’s done enough on this matter. The ones who really know, they know. And the ones who don’t probably don’t deserve to.

    I almost can’t blame the powers that be for keeping such secrets. Knowledge is Power, and secrets have a secret power, something mystical in man’s nature that wants to keep them. Why did they paint that animal art twenty-five thousand years ago in the labyrinth recess of caves? My strong suspicion, which others have probably stated, they thought a bounty of food and good season would be summoned by consecrating a secret.

    No I don’t much think we owe the hoi polloi truth. But I know that might just be because I enjoy reading The New York Times with the text-pecking eye of a hierophant. When you stumble onto secrets being esoterically communicated you delight in knowing what others don’t. That prominent obit they gave him, that was them telling Ron, you’re right.

    And it’s thrilling when one esoteric secret leads to another so that you track down a truth somehow now possessed of a power more sacred than simple fact. My problem is that I’m not good at keeping these secrets, and since a job well done deserves a reward, I’ll point toward a secret I’ve recently enjoyed uncovering that others might enjoy it too.

    Richard Ellmann’s wikipedia entry ends with a mite strong opinion, for what’s typical from wikipedia in my experience, and the ones who really know, well they would know why it was written so: “For more than forty years, Ellmann’s writing set the highest standards of critical inquiry and humanistic scholarship.”

    Not quite, to put it nicely.

    Hugh Kenner’s 1983 work, A Colder Eye: The Modern Irish Writers, opens with Acknowledgments that include this signal: “Darcy O’Brien lent necessary and more general counsel, when tone and strategy were fluid still. He even encouraged me to persist in my stubborn courses. So study the chapter called “Warning.””

    What happens when you do really study that chapter is almost magical, you understand exactly the indictment he’s making, and moreover simply just know you are in the hands of the greatest literary critic who has ever lived, that he could write the thing so deftly.

    So that’s me pointing, for anyone with ears to hear, an Irish Bull might go. And if you do don’t forget to laugh with him at the way he starts “The Three Provinces.”

    Oh and the other camouflaged stepping stone that leads back to the truth about Mr. Richard Ellmann, he of the highest standards of critical inquiry, who wrote “the definitive” biography of the pivotal writer of English after Milton, that you will find, in a most convoluted way that was designed to hinge on Irish Intuition, in the pivotal novel after Ulysses, Infinite Jest.

    • Replies: @King George III
  5. You know something is amiss when Big Media has the opportunity to pin something on Tricky Dick and either fails or refuses to take the shot.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    , @Outwest
  6. Wow! Explosive stuff indeed. It needs to come out now as the MIC will soon be wanting lots of fresh meat for their globalist plans to continue.

    I wonder how many times the term Conspiracy Theorist was used to help keep the lid on this?

    I could never understand why men continued to enlist after Vietnam, all of it.

  7. This is one superb piece of writing and the conclusion is “spot on.”

    For years I’ve been telling my friends that unless and until our major media publications are willing to finally report Sydney Schanberg’s stunning POW expose, I simply won’t trust a word they write about anything else. And that is perhaps the most important legacy of one of America’s greatest journalists.

    Not only should we not trust the media, we should not trust anyone in politics or in any position of power for that matter.

    Another major lesson is that we should also be wary of accepting the “standard” stories about any major event and dismissing the rest as “conspiracy theories.” Ya, sure Kennedy was killed by a lone nut, and Tim McVeigh dunnit all by his lonesome, and 911 was pulled off by 19 Muslim Ay-rabs.

    Say what you want about Upton Sinclair, but regarding the function of the press, he lays it all out in his “Brass Check” written around 1919 and I defy anyone to prove that things have improved since then.

    It’s all bullshit until proven true.

  8. And another thing… the fact that the reeking McCain is and has been a major political player in this country speaks volumes about the ineffable degeneracy of the so called republic.

    That cat stinks as bad as Hillary, and anyone who puts a shred of faith in this country’s political processes needs a brainstem transplant. I said brainstem and I meant it because that’s the highest level on which they’re capable of functioning, if that.

  9. brabantian says: • Website

    Very profound story by Ron Unz here … underscoring that media control & truth suppression, is a nearly-central but still ill-understood fact of our time

    E.g., few people know that the often horridly false ‘Wikipedia’ they consult & trust – artificially pumped by the CIA-tied Google – is run by a CIA-tied ex-p-rnographer; Wikimedia admins use CIA contractor e-mail addresses; & manipulate the global public with ’20 Major Techniques of Wikipedia Deception’. (See the EU police report online on the CIA’s corrupt Wikipedia)

    But another hidden story here – this one really hard to digest, given the deep hunger for ‘heroes’ even tho supplied by CIA-tied media – is that Daniel Ellsberg himself named above, is in part a manipulative fraud, a ‘limited hang-out’ fake ‘hero’ … one in a series of 5 famous CIA-backed fake ‘leakers – dissidents’ of ‘limited hang-out’ partial truth, in order to sell even bigger lies:

    1971 Daniel Ellsberg NY Times Pentagon Papers ‘stolen documents leak’ … (1) Ellsberg promoted JFK assassination ‘lone gunman, not CIA & Deep State’ hoax (2) Distracted from US Vietnam war crimes outside of ‘limited hang-out’ My Lai (3) Set up meme of ‘brave, trusted’ CIA media … which can identify, help bury & silence real dissidents who contact CIA media

    1973 Watergate ‘Deep Throat’ fictional leaker … (1) Set up ‘Silent Coup’ of Richard Nixon by US military Joint Chiefs & CIA (2) Pumped CIA ‘brave media’ story for WashPost ‘reporter’ Woodward, actually Naval Intel agent working for Admiral Maurer heading Joint Chiefs & running US coup d’état (3) Deepened fake ‘brave media’ meme for CIA-tied journalists, public feeling assured ‘brave reporters’ will break open any ‘real story’

    2010 Julian Assange Wikileaks … (1) Leaks ‘selected’ for agendas, & shielded Israel, publicly admitted by Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu & US-CIA Zbigniew Brzezinski to be a fraud (2) Anti-9-11 truth (3) Sold ‘USA torture war crimes’ story USA enjoys spreading, generally aiding global blackmail & gov fears (4) ‘Rat trap’ for dissidents who could be silenced killed after trusting ‘Wikileaks’ & its media, NYT, Guardian (5) Assange helps hide US court corruption tho allegedly fearing US ‘trial’, won’t use data that would stop any ‘extradition’ (6) Assange apparently not ‘living in London Ecuardor Embassy’ at all, only there for photos, meetings (7) Known as fake to all major gov intel agencies

    2013 Edward Snowden ‘leaked stolen documents’ … (1) Laughably ‘leaked’ to Dick Cheney pal at CIA WashPost, Rothschild employee & ex-gay-p-rnographer Greenwald (2) Anti-9-11-truth (3) Nothing really new beyond more than 5+ previous NSA whistleblowers (4) Has CIA lawyers (Cacheris, others), worked with Brzezinski son, promoted by Brzezinski daughter, fake CV history (5) Snowden helps hide US court corruption tho allegedly fearing US ‘trial’, won’t use data that would stop any ‘extradition’ (6) Rat-traps real dissidents who contact NYT, Guardian (same as Assange gang), Greenwald (7) De-legitimises real dissidents because ‘they are not in media like ‘Snowden’, (8) Known as fake to all major gov intel agencies
    (See the Intel agency FSB SVR report online, ‘Snowden, Greenwald are CIA frauds’)

    2016 Panama Papers ‘leaks’ … (1) ‘Leaked’ to Mossad-&-oligarch-tied well-funded ‘investigative journalists’ (2) Shielding high Israelis & prominent US & Nato political figures (3) Focus on targets of hostility for US & related oligarchy (4) ICIJ ‘International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ another CIA-Mossad ‘rat trip’ to identify & then harass, even silence & kill, real whistle-blowers & dissidents (5) Quickly recognised as a political psy-op more than usual for a CIA ‘leaker – dissident’ fraud

    • Replies: @IMNAHA
  10. Mr. Unz, thank you so much for bringing this vital story to our attention. I probably would not have known about it were it not for you. Like so many, I grew up believing that the POW/MIA families were ‘made delusional by grief’ and were ‘indulging in conspiracy theory’, but now I know that I was the one who was deluded.

    As far as John McCain is concerned, I am really glad that man lost in 2008. As much of a disappointment as Obama has been, McCain just scared the living sh_t out of me!

    • Replies: @Kiza
  11. Thanks also for mentioning the lying scumbag, Walter Duranty.

    People, especially those who still trust the press, really ought to be made aware of his perfidy and they should also learn the stories of Malcolm Muggeridge, Eugene Lyons and Gareth Jones, to name a few.

    Lyons was prolific in exposing the truth about the USSR and wrote several books and quite a few articles, many of which are available on line. They are well worth reading for anyone who still thinks the US involvement in WW2 in support of the USSR was done because the truth about Stalin wasn’t known. Thanks to Lyons and others, the truth was public knowledge, and FDR and Churchill both supported the most evil monster the world had ever seen up to that time.

    Eugene Lyons, after becoming disillusioned with Stalin’s USSR, actually admitted to and apologized for the role he and other “journalists,” including Duranty, played in bashing Jones for exposing the truth about the Ukrainian famine. For the moment I don’t recall the exact quote or the source, but I’ll look for it if anyone is interested.

    • Replies: @NewModelArmy
    , @colm
    , @Alden
    , @Alden
  12. Rehmat says:

    I bet during his employment with the ‘The Jew York Time’, Sydney Schanberg must had found out the difference between “journalism” and “jingoism”, and censorship practiced by his employers under Israel’s GAG Order.

    I remember in 2007, the B’nai B’rith Canada accused world-renown journalist Yvonne Ridley of “glorifying terrorism” – a Zionist Jewish organization which is in the habit of glorifying a state established and maintained on Zionnazi terrorism since 1948. Yvonne Ridley responded her accusers:

    “If you’re going to call somebody a terrorist sympathizer – you have to come up with the facts to back that up – otherwise you’re going to wind up on the wrong end of an expensive lawsuit….I do not distinguish between a suicide bomber and a stealth bomber because they both kill innocent people. And death of innocent people always to be condemned.”

    No wonder, Sydney Schanberg never dared to follow Paul Eisen’s Jewish morality.

    Writer, human rights activist and blogger Paul Eisen was born into a British Jewish family. He is very proud of his Jewish faith even though he doesn’t practice it the way his rabbi might have told him to do. I consider him one of the few ‘Righteous Jews’. I know him through his blog which has been blanked since the Jewish Chronicle has connected Corbyn with him.

    As one of directors of Deir Yassin Remembered, Paul Eisen brought awareness of Israeli and Jewish crimes against Palestinians.

    In 2014, Paul Eisen even announced formation of ‘Jews for Justice for Germans’ group.

  13. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I was in 8th grade when the Vietnam war ended so I remember those years well although with the understanding of a child. I remember the POW bracelets we were all supposed to wear and my mom wouldn’t buy me one – she thought it disgraceful to wear a bracelet rather than get the guy home. It’s an attitude I’ve fully embraced because I’m just as disgusted by all the ribbons we’re supposed to wear now while pretending that does something toward fixing a problem.

    I heard plenty of talk in my middle class flyover country upbringing about there being POWs we knowing left behind. Men from previous wars were outraged by politicians and the press because they truly believed we’d left men behind for nothing more than politics.

    Thanks for the link to Sydney Schanberg’s old article. I’ll read it when I have the time and energy to be truly outraged. Vietnam isn’t old to me because it was a thread that ran all through my childhood.

  14. Priss Factor [AKA "Anonymny"] says: • Website

    Ironically, Schanberg had Duranty-like tendencies as he’d been willfully blind to the dangers posed by the Khmer Rouge.

    But his firsthand experience of communist terror and involvement with Dith Pran woke him up.

  15. You spent two opening paragraphs extolling his virture with mainstream adulations . Had to stop. No time for jew virtue.

    Will follow up the rest later when I have time, in the meantime, I bet the guy was a treasonous cunt.

    • Replies: @Lurker
  16. A great writer who was always interesting in knowing the truth of the matter. Always–the truth comes first. A pity that there are so few true journalists like him left anymore.

  17. Mr. Unz does us all a service with this piece. And it should serve as a reminder that Big Media hasn’t changed one iota. Now they are in bed with The Clintons, and have been since the beginning. I mean…do they SERIOUSLY believe that the Clinton Foundation is anything more than a money-laundering scam? Do they SERIOUSLY believe that she wasn’t cutting deals on behalf of the same while serving in her capacity as Sec’y of State? And all the while, the NY Times drones on and on about Trump.

  18. Mr. Anon says:
    @The Alarmist

    “You know something is amiss when Big Media has the opportunity to pin something on Tricky Dick and either fails or refuses to take the shot.”

    Indeed. Nixon is nothing less than Satan himself to a lot of people who came of age politically in the late 60s / early 70s. Their reluctance to lay a charge at his feet speaks volumes.

  19. Mr. Anon says:

    R.I.P. Mr. Shanberg. He was of a rare breed – a real reporter – who put his own life in danger to get at the facts, and whose allegiance was to the truth, not to a narrative. He will be missed.

    • Replies: @Connecticut Famer
  20. It is equally shameful that the US government could not find a trifling \$3.25 billion from one of its under-scrutinised or “black ops” budgets, and quietly give it to the Vietnamese; laundering the money if necessary.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  21. Mr. Unz,

    Could you please elaborate on the audio recordings of John McCain. Where were they found? Who has them now? When will they be released?

    Thank you for your efforts to bring all this to light.

  22. @NoseytheDuke

    I wonder how many times the term Conspiracy Theorist was used to help keep the lid on this?

    678,423 times.

    • Replies: @Barbara
  23. There have been very times in the 20th century where parts of the media actually had some integrity. CNN once had it long ago.

    I remember when Ted Turner first started CNN in the early 1980s and Americans were first exposed to television that actually presented both sides of political debates and true impartiality in its coverage of our foreign affairs. This was quite startling considering that this had never really happened before in my lifetime. (I was born in the early 1940s).

    But this was not to last because of the threat that this presented to the shadow government. Turner ended up losing his network just as many in the past had done when they presented such a threat: loans were suddenly called and Turner was mysteriously denied access to ways torefinance them. As a result the AOL merger was the only way out for Turner. Turner always regretted losing his network.

    The same sort of debt bondage has recently resulted in dual citizen Haim Saban, the Democratic Party’s biggest financial supporter and fanatical supporter of Israel, being able to take over both the previously black owned network BET and the Spanish language channel UNO. Since their takeovers both networks have become slavishly subservient versions of the Jerusalem Post in foreign policy and the present day homomanical CNN or PBS in social policy.

    This sort of total censorship in the mainstream media in the US goes back well over a hundred years. I remember reading something published by Henry Ford in the 1920s in which it was mentioned that a Chicago publisher friend of Ford”s (Colonel McCormick of the Chicago Tribune?) had angered the shadow government by a little too much truthfulness about the forces which had pushed for US entry into World War One (and had profited so enormously from it such as The Copper Cartel). This sin was compounded by a little too much truthfulness about who the Bolsheviks and their supporters actually were.

    Representatives of the shadow government met with this publisher and told him if he crossed them again they would simply cut off of his absolutely vital access to newsprint (newspaper paper) to print his newspaper on. This threat was viable because this group had by then been able to get almost total control of the pulp mills that made newsprint. This publisher was able to just fend off these threats by the skin of his teeth at that time but was eventually forced to toe the line by threats against his advertisers. Threats against advertisers are the most effective tool that the shadow government is able to use to force compliance in the mainstream media that they don’t already own.

    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
  24. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Groovy Battle for Blair Mountain"] says:

    Off topic

    Ron Unz

    Why don’t you carry Bill Kauffman as part of your stable of writers? And I say this as someone who has strong disagreements with Kauffman. But he is a very talented writer, and writes with great passion about the wonders of provincialism-localism.

  25. Outwest says:
    @The Alarmist

    Actually the media nailed Nixon. What really got him was attempting to clean up the corrupt and vindictive FBI. Upon Hoover’s death, he appointed a relatively clean FBI director thereby infuriating the passed over number 2 under Hoover. This deposed number 2 was Deep Throat, a detail the press failed to disclose. Messing with the corrupt FBI is the third rail of Washington.

    Nixon wasn’t a favorite of mine. But he deserves better if the full story is known. And even more so if contrasted with Clinton the first.

  26. Priss Factor [AKA "Anonymny"] says: • Website

    Castro was a hero to many leftists, even liberals.

    His revolution was much lionized.

    During Kennedy yrs, many libs were torn between pro-Camelotism and pro-Castroitism.

    Though Castro turned dictatorial, he was rather mild compared to many other commie leaders.

    So, the ‘heroic’ Cuban Revolution became the template in Western radical(even liberal) eyes of what 3rd world revolutions would be like. Che was far more extreme and radical than Castro but he died before he got to realize his vision, so he became the object of romanticization(like Mao since Edgar Snow’s RED STAR OVER CHINA).

    So, western lefties saw the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese as no worse than the Cuban commies.
    And this extended to the Khmer Rouge.

    But the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia that exposed the horrors of the Khmer Rouge and the revelations of Maoist madness in the 80s under Deng’s reform era ended the illusions of the Left.

    Though lefties see ‘fascism’ and ‘nationalism’ as the worst things, Castro’s formative influence was Mussolini and he was motivated by nationalism.

    But then, Mussolini was a moderate compared to Lenin or Stalin.

    Indeed, Castro’s best qualities were fascist and his worst were communist.
    Had he developed Cuba along nationalism and free markets(with tight oversight by the state and some degree of socialism), he could have done so much more.

  27. gdpbull says:

    Any surviving POW would have by now, and probably quite some time ago, given up on being freed by their country or anyone else, and would have accepted their new reality. They would have probably by now sworn allegiance to their captors country, and could even be living out their years with some degree of freedom within the Vietnamese or Laotian population. And who could blame them? Their home country forsook them. Or more likely, their captors killed them to get rid of the evidence once it was clear they were not going to get their \$3B.

  28. Toddy Cat says:

    If this is true, this probably also explains the almost hysterical opposition of the Establishment to the candidacy of Donald Trump. For all his faults, does anyone doubt that Trump, outraged, would blow the lid off a scandal like this. Personally, I have my doubts, but there’s no doubt that the possibility exists.

    Lots of Establishment types have told us that Trump is a “loose cannon”. They may mean more by that than we think.

  29. Rehmat says:

    Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali (1942-2016) was one of the few Afro-Americans whose showed their opposition to the Vietnam War. Ali was drafted in 1966 and called up for induction in 1967, however he refused to answer to his name or take the oath. This led to Ali’s arrest and conviction, later overturned on appeal by the US Supreme Court. In March 1967, one month before his scheduled military induction, Ali explained why he would not be enlisting to fight in Vietnam: “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”

    Rabbi Michael Lerner, the founder of Tikkun Jewish community and editor-in-chief of Tikkun magazine made a ‘historic speech’ at Ali’s funeral.

    Though the Organized Jewry ran a vicious campaign against Muhammad Ali and the Nation of Islam for decades for supporting Palestinian cause – some moderate Jews have different views of Muhammad Ali. For example, in 2013, Jewish boxing promoter Bob Arum told JTA that he had to confer with Elijah Muhammad, former leader of the Nation of Islam, before signing Ali. Arum claimed that Elijah Muhammad was never antisemitic towards me. He was anti-white for sure, but never anti-Semitic.

    • Replies: @Lurker
  30. Curle says:

    You decry press failure to follow this story but what would you have them do? With racism, micoaggressions and privilege exploding all over the place for the last thirty years they’ve had their hands full. Agitprop stories don’t write themselves.

  31. CanSpeccy says: • Website

    An important article.

    But while the integrity, or rather the lack of integrity, of the American press may be the most important issue — there is no free society without a free press and there is no meaningful free press if the press has no integrity — a most vital question concerning the Vietnam POWs remains:

    Are there any still alive?

    The war ended in April 1975, which means the youngest of any surviving POW’s could be less than 60 years of age. Thus, there is not a moment to lose in demanding repatriation now.

    This seems the perfect challenge for Trump, the veterans’ champion:

    Do you promise to pay the agreed Vietnam war reparations immediately upon assuming office in exchange for any surviving POWs plus information about all those who died while held hostage?

  32. timothy says:

    Ron, I don’t know what to believe, but what about the mid-70s House Committee that produced evidence China was manufacturing stories about left-over POWs in order to thwart the normalization of relations between the US and Vietnam?

    Perlstein writes about this here, in what reads like a dispatch from a completely different universe.

    Also, aren’t there at least some good reasons to doubt the authenticity of the Hanoi Politburo document? In her book on the POW/MIA “myth,” Susan Katz Keating apparently claims we have evidence it was not only a forgery but the work of the CIA. I don’t know what to think. This is all news to a millennial.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
    , @Ron Unz
    , @Whoever
  33. Durruti says:

    Thanks: Ron Unz, for a fine article.

    Chronology is the key to this and subsequent scandals and brutalities on the part of the Zionist American Government.

    Begin with the date November 22, 1963.

    On that day a WW II hero, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, was assassinated, and the American Republic was overthrown.

    Think of who the assassins were, and of all the crimes they have committed since. The Coup D’etat in Dallas opened the door to all the wars, and millions of deaths since.

    1. In case anyone has forgotten, Americas imperialist and Unconstitutional 12 year War – Against Vietnam, killed 2 million people, (mostly civilians, and mostly through bombing). Vietnam did not attack, or bomb the United States, and their non-existent Navy did not attack the American 7th Fleet in the Gulf of Tonkin.

    2. Utilizing the same Phoenix Program as in Vietnam, in 1965, the US Armed Forces and CIA slaughtered 1 million unarmed Indonesian civilians.

    3. The death toll from American interventions(after 1963), into Latin America, from Guatemala, to Nicaragua, to Argentina, to Chile, to the Dominican Republic-1965, approach 250,000.

    4. Subsequently, more than 1 million Arabs have been murdered by the Zionist Americans, from Iraq, to Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan. The death total in Afghanistan rises as we write.

    5. This is not the end of the horror list. Europe has received much imperialist attention. The Serbians have been bombed, and the Ukrainians have had their Democratically elected President and his Government overthrown, by among others, American Agents, Obomber, Killery Clinton, Kerry, Nuland, and, and, and, the Traitor John McCain, among others.

    For Love of Country:

    There is no alternative, no easy way out. Until Our Democratic Republic is restored, the terrorist horrors will not end. Only an Unconstitutional Totalitarian Foreign (mostly), Zionist Oligarch bought Government is capable of:
    1. launching a genocidal war of conquest – of someone else’s country, Vietnam, and, upon defeat, 2. abandoning its imprisoned military veterans.

    All the Vietnamese wanted was some Money, (Capital) to aid them in the rebuilding of their infrastructure, which had received a brutal bombing that exceeded in explosive weight, all the bombs dropped by both sides in WW II.

    *The Pol Pot butchery in Cambodia was a direct result of the American assault upon Cambodia’s Legal and Lawful Government of Prince Sihanouk. The ‘Khymer Rouge’ bear the same moral and organizational tatoos as the ISIS, Blackwater, and the MOSSAD and Zionist occupiers of Palestine. Kindly do not blame it on the Asian Communists. It was the Vietnamese Liberation Army that ended the bloodshed in Cambodia.

    And the American puppet Congress who gave a standing ovation to the capital police who gunned down a confused woman on Pennsylvania Avenue – do I need a verb?

    For the Restoration of our Democratic Republic!

    Alternate Elections to Alternate Government to Dual Power to the Reconquest of our Liberties!

    • Replies: @Ivan
  34. @silly billy

    Well stated!

    You are correct that this goes back over a century. I commented that Upton Sinclair wrote about it in 1919, so it had been nothing new at that time, I’m sure.

    Very nice description too about the exact mechanics of the arm twisting. Guy Russo’s “Supermob” lays it out as well.

    Two of the reasons we don’t hear much about mobsters these days are that the press and judiciary are owned by them and if you do get something published, you run the risk of getting snuffed. They probably don’t stop at mere blinding anymore.

    Victor Riesel was an American newspaper journalist and columnist who specialized in news related to labor unions. In 1956 a mobster threw sulfuric acid in his face on a public street in Chicago causing his permanent blindness.

    In February 1906, David Graham Phillips of Cosmopolitan magazine wrote, “Treason is a strong word, but not too strong to characterize the situation in which the Senate is the eager, resourceful, and indefatigable agent of interests as hostile to the American people as any invading army could be.” This indictment launched a nine-part series of articles entitled “Treason of the Senate.”

    In 1911 Phillips was shot multiple times by Fitzhugh Coyle Goldsborough at Gramercy Park in New York City. The killer was a Harvard-educated scion of a prominent Maryland family

  35. Rurik says:

    pundits have been flummoxed by the recent rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, whose repeated victories over their establishmentarian opponents seemed to violate every rule of modern political campaigns. But I think the obvious explanation is the visceral, burning hatred of so many Americans, both left and right, toward what they perceive to be the total dishonesty and corruption of their reigning political and media elites.

    we’re just returning the favor

    having endured the seething hatred that our elites manifestly have for all traditional Americans

    if all they did was loot us and enslave us, that’d be one thing. But they never relent in trying to foment strife and murderous hatred between us. As for instance with the manufactured, synthetic divide they’re cynically foisting with their media hysteria vis-à-vis BLM.

    they hate our f’n guts and want us all to be as miserable and wretched as their rotten souls justifiably condemn them to be.

    who can doubt that George Soros must certainly be one of the most hatred-consumed and bitter men that has ever lived?

  36. Ron Unz says:

    Perlstein writes about this here, in what reads like a dispatch from a completely different universe.

    Well, Perlstein may or may not be a good cultural historian, but he’s a young guy who obviously hasn’t investigated the issue at all, and clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    It looks like almost all of his analysis is drawn straight from the writing of H. Bruce Franklin, a Maoist professor of television studies or something. Back in 1991, Franklin had published a very long cover story in The Atlantic debunking the POW/MIA hoax, which I’d read at the time and which helped persuade me it was all just nonsense.

    But after I read Schanberg’s stunning expose, I went back and carefully reread that article along with the couple of others I’d also seen and found persuasive during the 1980s, and the factual material they provided was so thin as to be invisible. Basically, Franklin (being a professor of movies/TV) spent half his article ridiculing the Rambo-type movies made by Hollywood as being unrealistic and implausible. Well, duh. Since most of the Hollywood WWII movies are also unrealistic, does that mean WWII never happened?

    Frankly, I’ve never heard of Susan Keating, but just ordered her book for \$0.01 from Amazon and see what she says, though her journalistic credentials hardly seem that formidable. However, the notion that the CIA forged that document in the Kremlin archives seems *exceptionally* implausible since the entire position of the US government and all its organs was *exactly* on the other side, namely trying to debunk the POW hoax.

    I’d really suggest you read Schanberg’s exhaustive article and the massive evidence he provides, plus my own introductory summary and also my McCain/Tokyo Rose analysis and judge for yourself. Unless you believe the CIA went rogue and forged such an enormous volume of evidence of all types just to embarrass its own government, you’re left in a quandary.

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @James Kabala
  37. @Mr. Anon

    Yes he was indeed a rare breed. Though he was a liberal, he never (insofar as I am aware) ever let his political beliefs get in the way of The Story, which is a mark of a pro.

  38. Art says:

    Clearly these troops where expendable. Politics, power, and reputations were foremost.

    Where are all the supper patriots at FOX, on this grievous historical matter. Where are those who shout “support the troops support the troops.” Where is their honesty?

    Hmm – not one of those cowards will say “peep.”

    Giving one or two or three of the main names is not enough – it is all of FOX who conspire – they are all creepy brainstem warmongers. They all love their paychecks more than the lives of the troops.

    Look at all the pompous generals and flag waving politicians who hide this – the conspiracy of silence and hypocrisy is deafening. How can we put up with this?

    It is time to say “no more wars – no more manipulation of sovereign peoples.” Put the generals and spies and nation state warmongers to bed. Do not give them the power to kill.

    There is no other choice. Absolute power corrupts absolutely! We the People are sovereign – not the rulers, no matter how they come to power.

    New rules. If a ruler kills, home or abroad – out they go – PERIOD.

    Mr Unz – thank you.


  39. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Mr unz: the empire kills and bombs left and right, cheered on by msm, but how dare they abandon our own guys. This has to be the american exceptionalism obama talks about.
    Your website is quite informative and would be the better if you didn’t allow the bigoted haters vomit venom on the comments section. God open your mind’s eye.

  40. Ron Unz says:

    Actually, I should have provided convenient links to some of the detailed material for those who wish to explore it further. They’ve also now been added to the bottom of the article.

  41. iffen says:
    @Ron Unz

    . However, the notion that the CIA forged that document in the Kremlin archives seems *exceptionally* implausible since the entire position of the US government and all its organs was *exactly* on the other side, namely trying to debunk the POW hoax.

    This is faulty reasoning. It would only be implausible IF the premise that the US government was trying to debunk a POW hoax was true. You pre-suppose a position and then use that as proof that something is false. I assume you mean that the idea that all POWS were returned was the hoax and the idea that some were intentionally left behind with knowledge of government officials was the “truth”.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  42. If this is true, then for the POWs and their families, it was certainly an ignominious end.
    However, by American standards this is small change.
    In December 1941, the Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor. As the Japanese secret code had been broken , the American, British and Australian Governments had known of the attack for weeks, if not months.
    Franklin Roosevelt and his minions were prepared to let thousands of Americans die in order to enter the war against Japan. Where was the American press? Supporting Roosevelt.
    The main American War Aim was to bring China under American Hegemony. It totally failed. Indeed China may supplant the US very shortly as the main global power.
    So Roosevelt was not only a villain, but a stupid cretin to boot.
    Don’t give me garbage about Watergate and Iran-Contra, Mr Unz. The biggest American scandal is Pearl Harbour 1941 The unintended consequence of this is the destruction of American power

    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
    , @Jacques Sheete
  43. CanSpeccy says: • Website

    If this is true, then for the POWs and their families, it was certainly an ignominious end.

    Question is, have all the POW’s actually come to an end?

    Some, at least, may still be alive. Shouldn’t there be some slight concern to get them home now? Or would it be too embarrassing to do the right thing?

    • Replies: @Rurik
  44. @Verymuchalive

    As the Japanese secret code had been broken , the American, British and Australian Governments had known of the attack for weeks, if not months.

    Yes, they did. In fact, there are tons of credible evidence that Churchill and FDR plotted ways to get the US to goad the Japanese militarists into war knowing full well that Japan lacked the resources to win. This was easy to see since they couldn’t even realistically hold their colony, Manchukuo, against much weaker forces.

    For more amazing details read the three page “Congressional Report” of December 8, 1942, by Jeanette Rankin entitled, “Some Questions About Pearl Harbor” if you haven’t already. You may need to contact a library for a copy since I have not been able to find an online source.

  45. Whoever says:

    Well, it’s known that the North Vietnamese kept some French POWs from the Indochina War for years after releasing others at the conclusion of hostilities in 1954. One was released 10 years later and 13 more in 1970. There were reports as late as 1973 that some French POWs were still being held.
    There were 317 POWs believed held by the Pathet Lao in 1973, but only nine were returned.
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn believed he know what happened to the POWs who didn’t come home: they were the ones who didn’t break.
    “If the government of North Vietnam has difficulty explaining to you what happened to your brothers, your American POWs who have not yet returned, I can explain this quite clearly on the basis of my own experience in the Gulag Archipelago that those who withstood the most bravely never again come out into the world,” he said in 1975, quoted by Rear Admiral Jeremiah Denton in his book When Hell Was in Session. Denton was a POW for eight years.
    Sybil Stockdale, wife of Vice Admiral James Stockdale, also a POW, was told by the Johnson Administration to suppress her knowledge that POWs were being tortured. She held her peace for four years before finally going public with her knowledge and founding the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, aimed at forcing the government to negotiate for the return of our captives.
    This was an awful, awful time and I’m glad that Mr. Unz is reviving this issue, even though I may not necessarily agree with some of his beliefs. I come from a multi-generation family of naval aviators. My father flew combat missions against the communists 1971-73. This POW issue is our community’s wound of Philoctetes. It never heals.

    • Replies: @prusmc
  46. @NoseytheDuke

    @Jonathan. “….could never understand why men continue to enlist after Vietnam….”

    Think about it: Some enlist because they genuinely want to; others because the military is for some down on their luck, the employer of last resort; for others the military is nobility and patriotism for the common man; and, among many other reasons, a chance to prove oneself, rise to the challenge, get job training, and obtain financial assistance for trade school or college after completion of their enlistment. The reality, which all enlistees know, is that they sign the proverbial blank check for the government to use them as it wishes.

    • Replies: @coyote
  47. Rurik says:

    Some, at least, may still be alive. Shouldn’t there be some slight concern to get them home now? Or would it be too embarrassing..

    too embarrassing

    a fundamental foundation of the compact between the American people and their elites is based on the premise that the elites care about them

    .. and use the trust and power that we vouchsafe them with to do what’s right by the American people. If somehow, some of those POWs were to find their way back here, after so much time- hollow and wasted away shells of human beings.. it could potentially be inconvenient to the preposterous narrative that our elites actually want to do what’s right by the people.

    People might start to question all the wars our elites wage and the use of our young people as cannon fodder and disposable assets to be discarded and encouraged to commit suicide once their usefulness to the elites has expired.

    It’s sort of like if livestock ever really came to understand why the farmer fed them? It’s the same with the bipedal farm animals living in their respective human farms; nations. If they ever really understood the nature of the relationship between ruled and ruler, then as George Bush the senior put it

    “if the American people knew what we have done, they would string us up from the lamp posts”

    actually I think that would be far too good for that lot

    Pearl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin, 911

    • Replies: @CanSpeccy
  48. anon • Disclaimer says:

    The media ignores many big stories . One example . The ongoing Indonesian occupation of Papua has been going on since 1963 and I have yet to see it covered in the media . It has some interesting hallmarks and themes that the media usually loves to cover . A lighter skinned population , Indonesians ( in reality Javanese muslims ) occupying and subjugating a darker , almost black population . Mass rape and genocide ( half a million killed ) summarily ignored . Some international intrigue as the worlds largest goldmine is located in Grasberg ,Papu . USA has had a mining concession awarded to them shortly after the occupation began.

    • Replies: @Durruti
    , @Anon
  49. @Jacques Sheete

    Duranty was actually able to sleep at night . Thanks to an honest and ethical Welsh journalist, Gareth Jones, and the others named above, the massive brutality of Soviet starvation was exposed. The problem was that all too many fellow travellers in the West willingly refused to open their eyes to Soviet mass murder. Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands offers horrendous primary source evidence on Stalin’s extermination. Those in the 1930s who flirted or made a full commitment to the Workers Paradise had to prepare to sup with the devil using a long spoon. John Dos Passos and many others from Western Europe and North America found out the hard way about Soviet totalitarianism. Dos Passos was lucky to escape Russia with his life. This is a bit removed from Schanberg, except for the bottom line that integrity in journalism is necessary to fully inform the citizenry and expose dishonesty. As the adage goes, the first casualty of war is truth.

    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
  50. Barbara says:
    @Jonathan Revusky

    I wonder how many times “Conspiracy Theorist” was used to keep the lid on all of the corruption? Can we count that high? The media, the 6 corporations that own it, the puppets of the invisible government, the whole ball of wax is complicit in mass crimes against humanity. That citizens are sitting in front of their boob tubes still being lied to endlessly is profound. There has been a vast army of truth tellers working endlessly, mostly for no pay, trying to bring the truth to the people and they’ve been mocked, jailed, abused, and worse. It’s the theater of the absurd.

    We must have justice!

    • Agree: Jacques Sheete, Rurik
    • Replies: @Kiza
  51. @NewModelArmy

    This is a bit removed from Schanberg, except for the bottom line that integrity in journalism is necessary to fully inform the citizenry and expose dishonesty. As the adage goes, the first casualty of war is truth.

    I liked your comment and agree that a main point is journalistic integrity. Unfortunately there are many more stories of lack thereof than of…

    As I’m sure you know, the whole WW2 era was one of massive propaganda, and while the Germans were blamed for being masters of it, the opposite is true. Evidence for that idea is that as a result of Allied propaganda, “Goebbels” is practically a household word in the US, while I bet not 1 person in 100,000 can name one Soviet, Brit or American propagandist! If the Germans were so good at it then we’d know their names, and there were plenty.

    As Mr Unz came close to concluding, the media is not to be trusted at all. I’d like to add, and can provide support for, the contention that it never was reliable.

    “I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors.”

    Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, 14 June 1807

  52. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I am a Vietnam veteran and always felt that we left good men behind. Finally when “Kiss the boys goodbye” was printed I discovered the truth. A great read, should be read by every American who really feels for the folks who risk all.

  53. Kiza says:
    @Seamus Padraig

    John McCain’s character just got re-incarnated in an even worse new form – Hillary Rodham Clinton, she just scares the living sh_t out of me! True possibility of an end to the planet Earth.

  54. Kiza says:

    I am not trying to be patronizing, but who would want to watch the MSM for any information? Take just the yesterday’s example of the ruling regarding SCS historical claims!

    Spending most of my time on the Internet and being much closer to the truth, I watch and read MSM mainly for the entertainment value of knowing when the regime liars lie and to laugh at them. Although, sometimes, the constant and brazen bull they endlessly generate throws me out of the laughs and into anger. Because MSM are simply a barrier to human advancement, the maintainers of the Status Quo (the elite’s privilege).

  55. Why has everyone forgot about the left-behind POW who later escaped – Robert Garwood?

    Here is the CIA edited overview of him from Wiki

    Note that a great book “Into the Buzzsaw” pursued this topic, with these comments about Garwood’s “embarrassing” escape:

    Mr. Garwood is still alive. How about an interview with him Mr. Unz? He is what they call “hard evidence.” I’m sure a nice stipend would encourage him, which he deserves after his years of abuse in Vietnam, and the USA.

  56. denk says:

    they did sent teams to vn to ‘locate mia’…..
    ‘The American people have not been told that officials of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon have been for several years plotting a U.S./Vietnam mutual security agreement to replace a similar pact that the Vietnamese had with the Soviet Union before it collapsed.

    Cloaked in the supposed effort to account for American servicemen still missing from the Vietnam War, the U.S. government established the Joint Task Force for a Full Accounting (JTF-FA). Instead of experienced intelligence analysts and personnel familiar with and equipped to deal with searching for MIAs, JTF-FA was staffed with veteran Operation Desert Storm officers and men experienced only in infantry, artillery, and logistics operations.’

    the rest of that piece is typical ‘bill gertz’ style ‘yellow peril’ bs,

    • Replies: @denk
  57. Ivan says:

    Had the Vietnamese not invaded, God only knows how many more would have perished in the Bamboo Gulags. The Chicoms took the opportunity to teach the Vietnamese a ‘lesson’, which as is usual with the Chinese military, ended up teaching them a lesson on their own incapabilities.

    • Replies: @Durruti
    , @denk
  58. Lurker says:
    @Pat Hannagan

    Pat, I’ve asked before – are you the Aussie who used to have the tunnel running blog?

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
  59. @James N. Kennett

    “It is equally shameful that the US government could not find a trifling \$3.25 billion from one of its under-scrutinised or “black ops” budgets, and quietly give it to the Vietnamese; laundering the money if necessary.”

    They would tell you that back then they had more scruples, and a lot of them really believed there were no more POWs … that was the official party line communicated to those of us in active service during the 80’s.

  60. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    We all owe a massive debt of gratitude to people like Schanberg, Ellsberg, Assange, Snowden, Hersh, Edmonds, Manning and all the others, well known or not, who’ve taken huge personal risks to bring the truth before our eyes. It’s just so much easier to to take the money and roll over; court flatterers abound and are paid well while others are hounded. People of conscience are a breath of fresh air. The truth is neither ‘left’ nor ‘right’, it simply is, and let the chips fall where they may.

  61. “Could a news story ever be “too big” for the media to cover? Every journalist is always seeking a major expose, a piece that not merely reaches the transitory front pages but also might win a journalistic prize or even change the history books. Stories such as these appear rarely but can make a reporter’s career, and it is difficult to imagine a writer turning one down, or an editor rejecting it.”

    I’ve never been in a newsroom, and I’ve never spoken to a reporter or politician above the local level. In short, I am as far removed from power of any sort as one can be, and I find Mr. Unz’s piece shocking in its naivety. It’s almost as far removed from reality as his views on race and immigration.

    Like most Americans, I’m feeling around in the dark, but I still understand that most journalists DO NOT want to find a major expose. Judging by what is reported, most want status, acceptance and a paycheck. Otherwise, they seem to be completely on board with their masters in terms of ideology. Off the top of my head, I can think of quite a few major issues that the media refuses to touch, and that’s just what comes through loud and clear from my vantage point as a complete nobody in the middle of nowhere.

    1. AIPAC and loyalty to Israel that corrupts and drains everything it touches.
    2. If there were no WMDs, why did we go to war? Still no answer on that one!
    3. Countless Clinton scandals. Why do they keep getting off?
    4. Obama-Jeremiah Wright connection. Who did we elect?What would race relations be like right now, if the media had the courage and honesty to confront Barack Obama’s past?
    5. Immigration! Do we have laws in this country? What does citizenship even mean? Do we even need the massive numbers of legals? Is there even a contract between the rulers and the ruled? What is the end goal?
    6. Media bias! Now that should be something that someone in the media should really latch onto! What’s the agenda and why? It’s obvious that Media Correctness is a strictly enforced code, that attempts to create reality rather than reflect or explain what is happening.
    7. Wall Street! Why did nobody go to jail? Where did the bailout money go?
    8. What happened to Antonin Scalia? I’d get an autopsy if I died alone in a hotel room. Why not throw that in for fun?
    9. Voter fraud. How do dead people vote, and why are voter id laws opposed by so many powerful people?
    10. Affirmative action! Shouldn’t the 1964 civil rights acts bar affirmative action?

    My list is no more naive or biased than Unz’s statement. However, from Unz’s position, I don’t see how he can be naive or have any faith in the system. It’s obvious from below how thoroughly rotten and corrupt the whole power structure (I can’t think of a better word right now) is.

    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
    , @Rurik
  62. Marie says:

    Ten years ago (this was in high school), I was strangely unaffected by the mandatory classroom viewing of The Killing Fields. The movie was a staple in government school curricula then and I’m sure it still is now. I then read Schanberg’s book out of additional curiosity, became horrified, read “Year Zero” by that French journalist, became even more horrified, and so on and so forth. But I didn’t dwell on it by any means. Thus Schanberg’s morality, rare courage and honesty of reporting (qualities you can’t take for granted in the current year) remained basically unknown to me in that interim period before I read his shocking McCain expose. It physically hurt to read the truth about McCain and the POW cover-up after logging untold hours in ’08 volunteering – in good faith – for his useless, retarded campaign.

    It is so unbelievably shocking, but not at all surprising, that the quislings and pseudo-intellectual liars in the MSM (pretending to be journalists) would work to totally cover up the basic truths to which Sydney Schanberg wrote and affirmed.

  63. @OilcanFloyd

    It’s obvious from below how thoroughly rotten and corrupt the whole power structure (I can’t think of a better word right now) is.

    Yes, it is glaringly obvious and has been for some time. But hey, what do we “kunspirasee theerists” know? We’re all just a bunch of dimwit paranoids and malcontents doncha know. 😉

  64. CanSpeccy says: • Website

    What you say is depressing but true.

    However, Ron Unz and others have brought the truth to light. Folks must spread the word. When enough people know of the likely continued existence of US POWs in Vietnam, government will be forced to act.

    The Government must be made to fear the people. Not a stupid mob, but a people informed and morally enlightened.

  65. Durruti says:


    Try to include the proper chronology, and ALL the relevant facts.

    The Zionist American decimation of the Indonesian -Secular, Progressive, Middle Class, in 1965 (1 million unarmed civilians slaughtered – just Google “Indonesian Massacres-1965“), put an end to a human upward developing post-colonial Indonesia. Indonesia is one of the potentially wealthiest nations on earth as it has a vast wealth of mineral and natural resources.


    Remember the unpaid Nike – slave labor – scandal?

    In 2016, Indonesia is famous as a source of some of the lowest paid labor on the planet. The Indonesian masses, the Timor Nation, and the West Papua people are paying the price for the 1965 genocide committed against the Indonesian people by the American government. The current Indonesian puppet government (puppets of the Zionist and American Oligarchs), are butchering their own and neighboring peoples, as well as destroying their habitat.

    The genocide against Indonesians, not to mention Vietnamese, was begun by the Democrat Gang L B Johnson administration. Not that the Republican Gangers made any attempt-then to stop the genocide, or, later, to reveal the truth about these crimes.

    Some have hoped that the Australians and Zealanders would militarily intervene and save the West Papuans. Unfortunately, they cannot save themselves.

    For the Democratic Republics!

    • Replies: @anon
  66. Sam Shama says:

    Memoria publica levis est, the public memory is fickle; even an eulogist and hagiographer of the time, writing of the Emperor Constantine’s successful campaign to erase the stain of filicide, had noted: he murdered his son Crispus, and sent mother Helena [later St. Helena] on a goodwill tour of the provinces to regain his good name, which the public gladly obliged upon being showered with public works, bread and a bit of circus.

    So it continues, Ron. Your industry, presenting Syd Schanberg’s investigative labour and grit and McCain’s sordid history is admired but only by a select readership, one which relishes an uncommon insight hidden quite in plain sight for the masses to pass-by with a curious nod; perhaps.

    Crimes of this magnitude from decades past, especially when the blame can be dispersed amongst bureaucracies are squarely in the limited arena of the intelligentsia to deconstruct. The masses enjoy the 2 hours watching Rambo, care only that their sons and fathers are not sent to war and their modest economic lot assured by the elite. Its a simple enough contract, one which needs resurrection, and while I support Trump I am increasingly apprehensive that he will prove unequal to the task.

  67. denk says:

    another cover up of a hideous crime against humanities,

    uncle sham formed a ‘task force for mia’ to nam, but mia was the last thing on his mind, the real purpose was to co-opt vn into the anti chinese alliance.

    the cabal would even allow jp to bomb pearl harbor even tho the plan had been deciphered, killing hundreds of murkkans, just cuz it wanted an excuse to attack jp.

    when jp was defeated, unit 731 [1] personnels didnt face trial at the nuremburg, cuz uncle sham coveted the database of their hideous experiments which were done on live humans, including murkkan pows.
    unit731 personnels got away scott free to lead cushy lives in post war jp, while uncle got its macabre secrets that kick started murkka’s own biowar program.
    like the mia’s in nam, the murkkan victims of unit 731 were just dispensable ‘assets’, to be sacrificed on the altar of ‘murkka’s national interest’.


  68. Rurik says:

    but I still understand that most journalists DO NOT want to find a major expose.

    they assassinated Michael Hastings out in the open to send a message

    they didn’t even try to hide it, they just blew up his car and then told any and all journalists who asked about it that there was nothing to see, and no evidence of anything untoward. Just go away.
    And go away they did. Even the Rolling Stone magazine where Hastings worked acted like the whole episode was an innocent accident.

    1. AIPAC and loyalty to Israel that corrupts and drains everything it touches.
    2. If there were no WMDs, why did we go to war? Still no answer on that one!
    3. Countless Clinton scandals. Why do they keep getting off?

    here’s a very good video about Waco

    it’s got a lot of today’s players in there. Chertoff, Schumer, Hillary, Vince Foster and others

    at 1:21:56 you can watch a congressman express his doubts about how a human can resist the instinct to flee from a fire, but then it follows right after that there is automatic fire into the only exit from the building, where they found over a dozen people who had been shot.

    anyways, they murdered those people (burned them alive in a church) and then lied about it, and yet the people who were in the White House at the time, (and according to the video, once the military had arrived at Waco, the Commander in Chief must have been giving orders)- yet this same murderous bastard and his satanic bitch wife are poised to return to the very same White House!

    and only a very few crazy ‘conspiracy’ people cares about any of this

    no one cares about all the lies that were told and how Americans were terrorized and then simply murdered (horrifically) by their own government – (the very people who’re highly paid and trusted to protect them)

    they don’t care about the lies about WMD or the millions of innocent lives that have been ended or destroyed as a consequence of those singularly nefarious lies

    Voltaire said “To Learn Who Rules You, Find Out Who You Can’t Criticize”

    that is why there are no questions about AIPAC or WMD or 911 or the endless and eternal wars for Israel or Waco or Obama or immigration or Affirmative Action or Wall Street mega fraud or genocidal Zionism or Antonin Scalia’s missing autopsy. Because questioning these things would be inconvenient to the PTB, and so the cud-chewing, bovine sheeple keep their heads down. And shuffle off to work, and pay their taxes and watch TV. Who wants to be reviled as a horrible person by questioning that which we’re not allowed to question. Who wants to be thought of as a kind of Timothy McVeigh or David Duke?

    I’ll end this just by mentioning that a long time ago I started to read about the Holocaust, and then started to question and doubt, (as is my wont) the official narrative. And then becoming even more skeptical, I mentioned a doubt I had to a person close to me. They were mortified, horrified in fact, that anyone might question such a thing.

    It is now our societal religion. Holocaustianity from one end of Western civilization to the other. You can put a crucifix in a bucket of piss, and be hailed as a genius from the most prestigious galleries of NYC. But express a doubt about one aspect of the holy Holocaust, and you’ll be scourged and hounded as a monster from beyond the pale.

    So as Ron Unz makes this site available where we can have these discussions, and writes articles like this that point out the insidious and demonic nature of our elites and the contempt they have for us all and the ubiquitous mendacity of our society, I think he should be applauded. No?

    • Replies: @OilcanFloyd
  69. Ron Unz says:

    This is faulty reasoning. It would only be implausible IF the premise that the US government was trying to debunk a POW hoax was true. You pre-suppose a position and then use that as proof that something is false.

    Well, look. Syd Schanberg was generally regarded as one of the greatest journalists of his generation, while you’re just some anonymous Internet crank who for some reason chooses to hang around my website.

    But even leaving that aside, Syd and others have gathered a gigantic mountain of hard evidence that the POWs were abandoned. And as Syd once pointed out, aside from the public declarations by Hanoi and (eventually) Washington, there’s really not the slightest evidence that all the POWs were returned. So unless you assume that all governments always tell the truth all the time, why should anyone believe that’s the case?

    Again, what exactly is the evidence that leads you to believe that the POWs were all returned?

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @Whoever
  70. Lurker says:

    Well that’s a relief, Jews get to play on both teams! And YT gets to be the bad guy either way, what’s not to like?

  71. colm says:
    @Jacques Sheete

    A bad western trait is people might think an apology is enough.

    Instead of bulls*ting Lyons should have shot his head for all the lies he did.

  72. iffen says:
    @Ron Unz

    I hang around because it is a good source of political information, analysis and commentary by some of your writers and some of the commenters.

    You impute quite often.

    I never said or implied that Schanberg was not a good reporter. I have only expressed doubt that this particular conspiracy theory out of the many thousands that are available is viable.

    It is absolutely impossible to “know” for sure about some of these issues.

    When evaluating a conspiracy theory I look to what the effect would be if it was irrefutably known and who or what benefited from the action that was taken.

    By example, the JFK assassination had little or no effect on the US or political events. NE patrician politicians were a dime a dozen. About the only possible difference that has made sense to me was that LBJ was a true New Dealer and JFK wasn’t. LBJ was more politically astute with regards to getting legislation passed which gave us the Civil Rights legislation. Maybe the CIA and Hoover collaborated to get the Civil Rights Movement and Legislation in full swing.

    The MLK assassination is more questionable in that MLK was on the road to taking black Americans out of the Viet Nam War. Combine this with the fact that the Armed Forces were coming apart and I think you have a situation where some people could have concluded that the only reasonable action was to kill him. Also, it seems more than serendipitous that Ray just happened to be a Most Wanted Fugitive and the FBI just happened to check the fingerprints in that file, otherwise Ray would never have been identified.

    The Liberty incident is interesting in that if it could have been (could be) shown that the Israelis willfully and knowingly attacked the ship knowing that it was a US vessel, I think the loss of support in the US for them would be catastrophic. Which is also an argument that they would never risk such an operation.

    I believe that my (and other) governments lie to their citizens. I have no doubt that my government participates and has participated in many covert operations.
    I do not think that this government operates in the best interests of the citizens as a whole.
    Also, I shouldn’t have to point out that the government is not monolithic and can be going in more than one direction at the same time.

    I do not take the MSM media at face value, UR either, and never have.

    You are selective in your use and trust of establishment sources, you pick and choose which stories or writers in which you have confidence. (Just like most of us.)

    BTW, you referenced WWII, does that mean you don’t believe it took place in a Hollywood studio?

  73. Art says:

    Let us not forget that a million people died in the Vietnam War – that is 1,000,000 human beings.

    Let us not forget that we lost sixty-six thousand troops in the Vietnam War – that is 66,000 Americans.

    Let us not forget the domestic troubles the Vietnam War cost us.

    Let us not forget how the generals and politicians lied to us.

    When is hindsight going to be foresight?

    This is the twenty first century – we do not need the wars – governments MUST stop killing people.

    We must NOT give government the right to kill – PERIOD!

  74. @Rurik

    “So as Ron Unz makes this site available where we can have these discussions, and writes articles like this that point out the insidious and demonic nature of our elites and the contempt they have for us all and the ubiquitous mendacity of our society, I think he should be applauded. No?”

    I appreciate what Ron Unz is doing by providing this website and not banning most of us. The only exchange I’ve had with him was positive. I’m not bashing him at all. I’m just surprised that someone in his position would have any faith in the system. At least from where I’m at the corruption is obvious.

    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
  75. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Some have hoped that the Australians and Zealanders would militarily intervene and save the West Papuans. Unfortunately, they cannot save themselves.

    Not likely as just like the Americans , the Australians were given mining concessions . America was rewarded with the worlds largest gold mine located in occupied Papua and Australia was awarded the worlds 3rd largest goldmine also located in occupied Papua.

    Indonesia is an Islamist dominated country not zionist . Its laughable to make the accusation . Saudi Arabia has the most influence and promotes wahabbism and builds mosques all over the country . I was living in Indonesia for a almost a year and never saw any zionist influence whatsoever in Java or Sumatra. Quite to the contrary , I observed anti Israel protests , also saw anti Shia protests and the news reported weekly on massacres of the minority Ahmadia islamic sect. All financed and propagandized by Saudi Arabia .

    The only place I encountered any support of Israel was in Timor Leste where you can often see Israeli flags painted on walls and buildings. Timor Leste is a majority Christian Province. Although I never was able to visit , I understand that Christian majority Manado is also very pro Israel , erecting the worlds largest menorah on a mountain side.

    The Indonesian masses, the Timor Nation, and the West Papua people are paying the price for the 1965 genocide committed against the Indonesian people by the American government. The current Indonesian puppet government (puppets of the Zionist and American Oligarchs), are butchering their own and neighboring peoples, as well as destroying their habitat.

    Timor and Papua are paying the price for Islamic expansionism not the American government. Javanese muslims , the ruling class of Indonesia are responsible for the destruction of habitat and butchering the natives ,after all they are the ones who did the butchering and destroying of habitat . Indonesian government is not a Zionist pawn. The assertion is laughable . Its a pawn if Saudi Arabia and it regularly welcomes islamic despots like the genocidal Omar Bashir of Sudan. One of the only countries in the world to welcome him . . It also welcomes and financially supports the North Korean government . All of the above are anti Israel .

    • Replies: @Durruti
  76. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Meant to say worlds 3rd largest copper mine for australia. It would not let me edit .

  77. Agent76 says:


    Since the end of World War Two the Central Intelligence Agency has been a major force in US and foreign news media, exerting considerable influence over what the public sees, hears and reads on a regular basis. CIA publicists and journalists alike will assert they have few, if any, relationships, yet the seldom acknowledged history of their intimate collaboration indicates a far different story–indeed, one that media historians are reluctant to examine.

  78. Durruti says:


    Thanks for your input. However, in your entire substantial comment on my comment, you do not mention or refer to my mention of, (not even once, not even in passing) the Slaughter of 1 million Indonesians in 1965.,d.dmo




    A hundred more links.

    May we glibly (or purposely) pass by:

    1. Such a huge massacre, conducted by the Zionist Imperialist Post-Republic American Government (in a version of the American Phoenix Program), set in motion a huge reversal of Indonesia’s Post Colonial direction.

    2. The stroking of self-destructive Muslim fanaticism is a hallmark of the work of the Pink Elephant in the room, the Zionist American Imperialist Oligarchs. The Zionists have used the Muslin fanaticism to expel the Russians from Afghanistan, and to divide and weaken their Arab neighbors, in order to more easily construct their Greater Israel. They have killed millions, already.

    3. The Saudis, like Oswald, are convenient whipping boys for the Zionist controlled Media. When the Land Thieves are ready, they will trigger the obedient Saudi Puppets to turn over the depopulated (as is being done to Yemen), Arabian Peninsula to their Land Thieving Settlers.

    It appears you have swallowed their (Zionist), Propaganda Line, including the Hook.

    • Replies: @anon
  79. @Pat Casey

    [i]Hoi[/i] means “the”, so “the hoi polloi” is roughly equivalent to saying “the the masses”.

  80. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Thanks for your input. However, in your entire substantial comment on my comment, you do not mention or refer to my mention of, (not even once, not even in passing) the Slaughter of 1 million Indonesians in 1965.

    I did not respond to the 1965 anti-communist massacres because your assertions are so compltely false . You are referring to an Indonesian coup attempt , the resulting killings by the Indonesian army , the killings of less devout muslims by devout muslims and the usual Javanese muslim habit of mass killing their Chinese ethnic minority whenever the chance arises , as a “zionist” operation . It was an internal Indonesian occurrence . There were no “zionists” involved. Was it Israeli soldiers or Indonesian soldiers doing the massacres ?? It was Suharto ousting Sukarno using purported communism as the excuse .

    By the way , have you visited Indonesia ? I have a few times , once spending almost an entire year there , living with Christian families and Muslim families. I had several conversations about Indonesian history and not once ,not one single time did an Indonesian blame zionists or even mention zionists , jews or isreael for the cause of 1965 or any of their conflicts. Food for thought.

    2. The stroking of self-destructive Muslim fanaticism is a hallmark of the work of the Pink Elephant in the room, the Zionist American Imperialist Oligarchs. The Zionists have used the Muslin fanaticism to expel the Russians from Afghanistan, and to divide and weaken their Arab neighbors, in order to more easily construct their Greater Israel. They have killed millions, already.

    Muslims need no stoking to be self destructive fanatics. The Sudanese government led by Omar Bashir killed 2 million plus as the worst genocide since WW2. The turkish government killed 1 million plus Armenians . Muslims have free will , are fanatical and have no qualms about it . When muslims kill , the blame stands with them , not an imaginary puppeteer . I keep hearing about this greater Israel , when is it coming ? Israel was founded as one of the smallest countries in the world and remains so in the present day . By the way , is there a single conflict in the entire world where you don’t see the ” zionists ” as being at fault ??

    By the way Im sure you are aware but it bears mentioning that Papua and Timor are stridently pro Israel .

    • Replies: @RobinG
  81. @OilcanFloyd

    I’m just surprised that someone in his position would have any faith in the system. At least from where I’m at the corruption is obvious.

    I’m surprised as well, and you are correct that the corruption is obvious. It’s also been apparent for at least a century and was openly discussed in the 1920s for sure.

    Countless credible people have been making claims like Roberts, below for decades as well.

    Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, writes, “What’s that I hear? You say you knew nothing about this? Little wonder. Your media consist of people well paid to deceive you and to deliver you into a Police State.”

    He’s been saying that sort of thing for years so none of this should come as a surprise.

  82. RobinG says:

    This is very funny. [“Food for thought.’]

    Leaving Indonesia aside, how many American families do you think you’d have to live with before you found one that made the connection between the Zionist Lobby and the US invasion of Iraq? (And even less likely, one willing to talk about it with a foreigner.)

    • Replies: @anon
  83. anon • Disclaimer says:

    impossible for me to quantify . america has 330 million people . if it was your house i would expect non stop whining about jews though ….:)

    • Replies: @RobinG
  84. RobinG says:

    Why do you conflate Jews with Zionists? I never do.

    And to quote myself, “Acting in concert with new cold warriors and the arms industry, the Israel Lobby has its hand in all our Mid-east misadventures.” I’m a multi-faceted whiner. 😉

  85. Durruti says:


    Agree. The Chinese attack on Vietnam was disgraceful.

    The good news is that the Chinese Backed Off & withdrew, & the conflict wound down – & ended.
    Today’s relations between the Chinese & the Vietnamese are fairly cordial. Their political differences have not led to any further conflicts (despite Zionist America’s efforts to exacerbate those differences – and divide & conquer).

    Unlike the Zionist American Imperialist conflicts against the peoples of the Mid East, (Syria, Iraq, & Afghanistan), that never seem to end.

  86. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “For years I’ve been telling my friends that unless and until our major media publications are finally willing to report Sydney Schanberg’s stunning POW expose, I simply won’t trust a word they write about anything else.”

    There are plenty of reasons not to trust a word that appears in the American Pravda these days, but this one is just as valid–and heinous–as the others.

  87. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I have known about this story for years. I long ago read a book titled “Into The Buzzsaw,” which is about investigative journalists whose stories were buried by mainstream media. One of the stories was about Robert Garwood, who was one of the American POWs who was held back in Vietnam and escaped in 1979. Of course, the mainstream media did all they could to debunk his story and were nearly completely successful. And, of course, Garwood’s story was true.

    I highly recommend that book as it shows the almost complete corruption of most of the mainstream media.

  88. Whoever says:
    @Ron Unz

    Syd Schanberg was generally regarded as one of the greatest journalists of his generation.

    Sigh…. I really didn’t want to make this post, because I applaud you for bringing up our MIAs and all the questions remaining. I’m on your side. But….
    I got as far as Point 6 in Shanberg’s piece before I gave it up. Sheer dismay overwhelmed me.
    First off, PAVE SPIKE was a laser designator pod for illuminating targets for laser-guided bombs.
    It doesn’t have anything to do with anything related to MIAs.
    So let’s assume Shanberg was referring to the Acoustic Seismic Intrusion Detector program (ACOUSID)–but if so, why didn’t he say that, or at least refer to its code name MUSCLE SHOALS? But it seems he is quoting a senate committee hearing transcript and just took it at face value. Did it not occur to him that those giving testimony could be misinformed? Or dissembling?
    The last ACOUSID sensor was dropped in February, 1973. Battery life was about six weeks.
    Yet in 1974–a year later–according to Schanberg’s article, “the gathered data showed that a person or people had manually entered into the sensors—as U.S. pilots had been trained to do—no less than 20 authenticator numbers that corresponded exactly to the classified authenticator numbers of 20 U.S. POWs who were lost in Laos.”
    The timing doesn’t make any sense at all, and can’t be true. So let’s say that the report was made in 1974 but the data was gathered earlier.
    ACOUSID sensors were camouflaged, disguised to look like leaves or grass so they couldn’t easily be found. And none was equipped with a keypad or any other method of entering data on the ground. They were just sensors. I asked my father, a Yankee Sky Pirate, if he had been trained to enter authenticator numbers into an ACOUSID sensor should he have stumbled across one while evading and escaping. His short answer was no. His long answer…well, never mind. So naval aviators in the early 1970s, at least were not so trained.


    By the way, I really feel for Dolores Alfond. Somebody was manipulating her emotions and telling her lies. My mother’s older brother was killed at Dak To, and she’s never gotten over that to this day. If somebody had messed with her head the way someone did with Alfond, my father and my grandfather would have made him wish he had never been born.
    Alfond’s brother, Capt. Victor Apodaca, just turned 30, was flying an F4C 22 miles northeast of Dong Ha at 4,500 ft., on the evening of June 8, 1967, when his aircraft was hit by ground fire and sustained damage to the hydraulic control system.
    The F4 was extremely vulnerable to damage to its hydraulic system. A loss of hydraulic pressure was catastrophic. When that happened, the stabilator locked, the aircraft pitched straight up and went out of control. That’s almost certainly what happened to Capt. Apodaca because when he ejected he was at 16,000 ft. The same thing happened to my father in an F4J, but fortunately he was able to get feet wet before ejecting. The F4 was a bastard of an airplane.
    Capt Apodaca was listed as MIA, though a report some years later reached the CIA stating that he had been captured alive and immediately beaten to death by local militia. His family only learned of that after they filed a Freedom of Information request in 1985.
    In 1988, the North Vietnamese returned remains they claimed were those of Capt. Apodaca, but they proved to be animal bones. In 1989, they again returned remains claimed to be the captain’s but again they were initially said to be animal bones. However, a DNA test of these remains in 1997 reported them as human…. The Apodaca story is a sad and sordid one, involving “remains traders,” fake dog tags, and false hopes constantly revived by charlatans and liars. There are hundreds of cases like it. Hundreds. There are so many still wondering: what happened to my son, my brother, my husband, my father? Was he killed? Did he suffer? Did he live? What did he endure? Did he finally die, alone, forgotten, lost to all? Or–could he still live yet? We want to know. We want to know.
    I was hoping for something better from the Shanberg piece, something definitive.
    I was disappointed.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
    , @iffen
    , @Carlton Meyer
  89. Ron Unz says:

    First off, PAVE SPIKE was a laser designator pod for illuminating targets for laser-guided bombs.
    It doesn’t have anything to do with anything related to MIAs.

    Well, personally I don’t know “PAVE SPIKE” from lemonade. Perhaps your claims are correct or perhaps it’s the claims made in the U.S. Senate testimony.

    But your whole argument seems totally irrelevant and you’re missing the forest for the trees. Syd provided an entire set of 10 major and independent evidentiary arguments, all of which strongly supported the abandoned POW hypothesis. If you shoot down one, that still leaves all the others.

    Since you seem like a knowledgeable individual, with strong opinions on this issue, I’d be glad to consider publishing an article of your own as a rebuttal to Syd’s analysis. But only if you seek to refute *all* the separate elements of evidence he provided rather than just one or two.

    Let’s step back a bit. As near as I can tell, with the exception of the public statements by Hanoi, there is absolutely *zero* evidence that all the POWs were returned. So unless you believe governments always tell the truth, there’s zero evidence on one side versus a huge mountain of evidence on the other side. And the transcript from the Hanoi Politburo meeting specifically recorded their plans to keep back about half the POWs because they (correctly) suspected that the Americans would try to stiff them on the \$3.25 billion they’d been promised.

    I’d also like to point out that after Dien Bien Phu, Hanoi kept all the French POWs and only released them years later, after receiving large financial payments from the French government. So why exactly are you so sure that they wouldn’t have done the same thing with America?

    The only real difference is that the American politicians were just too proud to admit they needed to pay “the Communists” any money to get their men back, so the payment was never made and the men were never returned. Is that really so mysterious a historical reconstruction?

  90. denk says:

    ah, ivan the indian who was given a russian name by his father who loved ussr so much.
    ironically these days ivan turned into an uncle sham apologist and china baiter !

    ‘The Chicoms took the opportunity to teach the Vietnamese a ‘lesson’, which as is usual with the Chinese military, ended up teaching them a lesson on their own incapabilities.”

    perhaps u should tell that to the indian troops who intruded into chinese territory 1962 despite numerous warning , got routed and chased all the way back into india. the pla could’ve recovered its lost territory robbed by the brits in 1903 and later ‘bequeathed’ to india . it could even rode right up to delhi cuz there’s nothing infront to stop them. but beijing ordered pla to retreat after achieving its objective of ‘teaching bharat a lesson’.

    the same in the 1979 war with vn.
    pla broked thru vn defence and advanced deep into the country, after achieving its objective voluntarily pull back, never pursued by a ‘victorious’ vn army.
    its not an easy ‘victory’ like in india tho, chinese own accounts readily admitted heavy casualities suffered when troops and armours were trapped in the treacherous terrain and bombarded by vn artillery embedded up on the hill sides. one account estimated chinese/vn casualties both in tens of thousands.

    these days western, especially murkkan msm all parroted the meme that ‘china got its ass kicked in vn’,
    its part and parcel of the incessant propaganda game, or perhaps its a way of ‘getting back’ at beijing for helping vn to kick the french ass at dien bien fu and later sent the last murkkans scurrying away home dangling below a helicopter from the top of murkkan embassy.

    unlike indians and their murkkan soul mates, i dont normally indulge in such military bravdo and triumphalism, but western propaganda repeated Ad nauseam is getting tiring.

    the moral part.
    unlike the indians and their murkkan bed fellows, china’s action has always been reactive.
    prior to vn attack, practically every day i read about beijing warning hanoi to stop its border provocations.
    vn troops had been lobbing shells into chinese villages wreaking extensive damage and casulaties.
    chinese accounts also mentioned vn special forecs sneaking into chinese border towns to terrorise the villagers until chinese special forces counter raids forced them to call a truce.

    then i suppose u’r old enough to hear about the ‘boat people’.?
    hundreds of thousands of vn, mostly ethnic chinese were driven out of the country , sent out to sea on rickety sampans. many ended up at the bottom of scs. worst fate awaited those who were waylaid by pirates, men were thrown overboard, daughters, wives, sisters were taken for sex slaves, later sold to brothels in sea .

    china’s ‘punitive’ action in vn was defensive like all wars fought by the pla, it was also the pioneer of r2p.
    western imperialists in later yrs hijacked this nobel concept and turned it into r2p[lunder].

    • Replies: @Joseph E Fasciani
  91. iffen says:

    Do you know if there has been any collection and systematic study of the reports by returning POWS of his knowledge of other POWS that did not make it back? Each POW likely knew of other POWS. Has there been a study of each POW that was known to other POWS and when and where was the last contact? I would think that the existence of a particular POW would be known by more than one POW.

    • Replies: @Whoever
  92. @Whoever

    “Sigh…. I really didn’t want to make this post”

    But a huge ego or a professional debunker has appeared, so I must help the gallant Mr. Unz.

    According to his article: “She asked for information about data the government had gathered from electronic devices used in a classified program known as PAVE SPIKE.”

    So it was the name of a program, not a sensor. And since it was classified, very, very few were aware. PAVE SPIKE as a laser designator didn’t appear until 1974 and was never used in Vietnam.

    “ACOUSID sensors were camouflaged” Yes but they were air dropped and stuck in the ground and anyone coming within 10 feet would recognized them, which is why they didn’t work well, the NVA simply destroyed them. But since they were acoustic, of course there was a way to use them for messages, like morse code.

    But this is not the main argument and we needn’t get sidetracked by sidetrackers. We were not legally allowed to have fighting men in Laos, and that was not part of Vietnam, so one can reason the Vietnamese felt they had no reason to return POWs captured there, since they had no real legal protection. The CIA had thousands of “sheep dipped” Americans fighting in Laos with no US military ID or uniforms, in violation of international agreements and law. Those captured had no POW status, so were not POWs.

    Sorry to stomp on your post, but as you wrote: “Sheer dismay overwhelmed me.”

  93. iffen says:

    Sorry to stomp on your post

    I think you would need to actually stomp on the post before any apology would be appropriate.

  94. Gareth Porter attempted to debunk Schanberg 2008 essay in an article published by ACA in 2010 (the same issue of ACA Unz describes above).

    I can’t find anything online in which Schanberg or Unz responded to Porter’s piece,nor have I found anything Porter has written on the subject since 2010.

    What is the status of Porter’s critique?

  95. It appears that iff’n is off’n its f’in foot’n ag’n.

  96. Chopper says:

    What a great article! In this “Summer of Trump” we have seen so many of our national institutions and their leaders fall from grace. The loss of public confidence in our political system as well as the media is staggering .

    Dark things have always occurred in our government. With the Internet and social media, these types of stories and those who have chosen to cover them up, are now coming to light. I am truly sickened by the mainstream media and their willingness to fall in line with a disastrous political agenda and not print the unbiased truth and the whole truth…

    Somewhere there must be a reset button!

    Thanks for your courage

  97. Whoever says:

    According to Vice Admiral James Stockdale’s senate testimony, none of the returned POWs knew of any left-behind POWs. (Report of the Senate Select Committee on POW-MIA Affairs, Section 17–this is the committee alleged to be a McCain-led whitewash, so make of it what you will.)

    Vice Chairman Smith: To your knowledge, and with all of
    your contacts and communications with other POW’s who
    have returned, did any POW ever report to you seeing or
    having seen, or knowing of a POW that they made direct
    contact with, who did not return?
    Admiral Stockdale: Never did that happen, in eight
    years,. . . .Never did anybody say, “We’ve got a guy over
    there.” And if you find somebody that says, “I was in
    the Hanoi prison and I saw a guy, and then he didn’t come
    home and I don’t know what happened to him,” he’s not
    telling the truth.
    Vice Chairman Smith: Did any POW that you came back
    with, ever indicate to you that there was any type of
    segregation in the camp system, that you were a part of,
    concerning military specialty, where people or specialty
    in the military?
    Admiral Stockdale: No, I don’t know of any. . . .
    In February or March 1973, I and several senior prisoners
    visited Secretary of Defense Elliott Richardson in his
    office at the Pentagon. He said, did you leave anybody
    over there? I answered as spokesman for the group and
    said no, and told him the story I just told you . . .
    .the farthest thing from my mind was anybody being left.
    I thought it was impossible. . . .I told him how we
    counted noses.
    He said, what about a second prison, a secret enclave —
    the first time I’d ever heard that. . . . I told the
    Secretary I had spent the best part of seven years trying
    to judge just what the North Vietnamese are thinking
    about, what they were capable of, and what they could get
    away with to our detriment. . . and the thought never
    crossed my mind that they could have sort of a stash for
    special prisoners that could be kept secret from the rest
    of us for years.
    Senator McCain: Admiral, from your very strong statement
    it indicates to me that you do not believe that we
    knowingly left any Americans alive in Southeast Asia. .
    . Is that your view?
    Admiral Stockdale: . . . I know there are some things I
    don’t know about Laos, but I’m positive there’s nothing.
    . . ..I have no evidence of anybody that was left
    intentionally alive in Laos or anywhere.

    I think a key phrase here is “left intentionally alive.” The fate of those missing, especially those who were shot down over Pathet Lao-controlled territory in Laos remains the major concern to this day.
    Another key phrase is “I have no evidence.” Absence of evidence is not proof, as we all know.
    Those four words are big enough to hang a lot of hope on, as many an MIA family has done, year after year, decade after decade.
    One thing I’d like to point out is that many, many Americans have visited Viet Nam and Laos in the years since the war, not as part of government committees but as ordinary citizens. Veterans, family members of MIAs and KIAs, looking for…something.
    Both my mother (who enlisted in the Army after finishing nursing school and served at Cu Chi) and father have done so. They visited Dak To, among other places, which is now mostly cassava farms, apparently, to try to get a sense of what it was like for her brother in his last days, and visited several sites in the former North Vietnam, and even met with persons represented as being the crew of an SA-2 Guideline active in the area where my father’s aircraft was shot down. They also visited caves in Laos where they were told captive American aircrew were held.
    But who knows? Catering to Americans of that generation is part of the country’s tourist industry. I asked my parents if they really believed those they met and the places they were shown were actually who and what they were represented to be. My father just shrugged and noted that although he had been born at night, he hadn’t been born last night. My mother acknowledged that there was no way to know, but it was sufficient for her to breathe the same air, see the same sights, and get the same dust on her shoes once again.

    Here is an interesting 1972 report, “Communist Treatment of Prisoners of War” by the Senate Judiciary Committee, that gives details of POW numbers, treatment, ultimate fate and numbers returned. The sections on the French Indochina War and the Korean War are very interesting. The report was prepared in conjunction with our negotiations for the release of our POWs.
    Note in the Introduction this sentence:
    “Many hundreds of thousands of Polish, German, Japanese, and other prisoners taken by the Russian forces in World War II–according to some estimates the total figure exceeds 1.5 million–were never released and never accounted for.”

    This report for congress from 2006, “POWs and MIAs: Status and Accounting Issues,” may also be of interest. Note this sentence in the Summary:
    “Those who believe Americans are now held, or were after the war ended, feel that even if no specific report of live Americans has thus far met rigorous proofs, the mass of information about live Americans is compelling.”

    My own personal view about our MIAs, FWIW, is that some unknown number were not returned. But that’s just a sense of probability based on the previous behavior of the Vietnamese communists and other communist regimes.
    It’s a shame that there is so much immediately disprovable nonsense surrounding this issue, let alone all the wild hand-waving, insults and innuendo. The personal pain of individual human beings has become a political issue, and as they say, politics spoils the character. I have never seen anything to refute that.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
    , @iffen
  98. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    [Commenting in allcaps is shouting. Stop shouting.]


  99. mtn cur says:

    The salient point in all of this is that idiots, ours/theirs, who will slaughter millions in a fight over monkey jungle for fatuous reasons are criminally insane and most any allegation is credible, true or not.

    • Agree: Jacques Sheete
  100. Ron Unz says:

    Well, I was just a child during the Vietnam War and have absolutely no family connection to the conflict one way or the other. I’d always assumed that the POW/MIA activists were just the crackpots our MSM suggested they were and never paid any attention to the issue until just a few years ago. Ironically enough, I think that gives me the more objective view of a total outsider, just as if I were analyzing what had happened in Ancient Greece.

    It seems to me that the evidence in favor of hundreds of POWs having been left behind is simply overwhelming.

    I think one reason the liberal media discounted it for all those years was that the rightwing POW activists described it in an exactly backwards manner. They always portrayed keeping the POWs as “vile treachery” by the Communists in Hanoi, which made them sounds paranoid and ridiculous. Why would the Communists want to keep the American POWs? Out of pure evilness or something?

    The truth was *exactly* the opposite. It was the *American* government that was treacherous, by refusing to pay the Vietnamese the \$3.25 billion that had been part of the agreement. If you buy a car and you refuse to pay, is it “treacherous” if the car dealer repossesses your car?

    The problem was that the American government, for domestic political reasons, was unable to appropriate the money they’d promised and couldn’t publicly admit that they’d never get the other POWs back until they did. Paying “ransom” to Hanoi Communists just wasn’t very popular.

    If the POW activists had framed the issue in a more neutral and objective manner, maybe the media would have believed them, and once the story broke, perhaps the U.S. government would have been pressured into paying the money they owed and getting back the POWs.

    So it wouldn’t really surprise me if the ideological fanaticism of the POW activists was a major reason behind the failure of their movement.

    By the end of the 1980s, the Vietnamese probably gave up on ever getting their money, and just executed the last of the POWs. Personally, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if some of the very powerful Republican leaders who were terrified of the consequences if the POWs ever came home quietly told the Vietnamese they’d never get their money but promised to normalize relations if Hanoi made sure that all the remaining POWs permanently “disappeared.” And that’s exactly what happened with the Senate POW Hearings.

  101. iffen says:


    There is so much bad information and people working all different angles.

    I have some doubts about McCain.

    I had a lot of confidence in the integrity of Admiral Denton and I don’t think for one second that if he thought, or if someone that he trusted thought that there were still POWS there, then he would have spent every day of the six years that he served as Senator doing everything possible to get them back home.

  102. JackOH says:
    @Ron Unz

    Ron, thanks. You’ve done a real service here.

    “Why would the Communists want to keep the American POWs? Out of pure evilness or something?” Just a casual reader here. I, too, could not believe the POW/MIA activists in my area. What did Hanoi stand to gain? I was, too, put off by the occasional political theatrics, and the camo hat and denim jacket uniform most seemed to wear. I dismissed the issue as something like acting-out behavior or a subcult-like article of faith. Your explanation makes sense.

    I suppose it would have been psychologically and politically difficult for the POW/MIA to explain to the public that the defeated American government had failed to pay reparations (or ransom) to the victorious Vietnam government. How do you drum up popular support for that?

    (I served Stateside during the Vietnam period.)

  103. @Ron Unz

    That would suggest that Vietnam’s senior military and political leaders are aware of this secret deal with the U.S. government. Given that, they must have some blackmail power over our leaders.

    It’s interesting that McCain was a strong supporter of normalization of relations with Vietnam, over the opposition of his party. McCain tends to very bellicose in general, so it was unusual for him to have supported improving diplomatic relations with a Communist regime. Especially a regime that tortured him. Perhaps the Vietnamese were playing the blackmail card?

  104. @Ron Unz

    Some of this may have been a political game played by our CIA. It was absurd that we had thousands of armed Americans on the ground in Laos and dozens of aircraft flying around “covertly” (Air America) and publicly stating there were none there. The CIA and Pentagon didn’t even admit to any ground ops in Laos until the 1980s.

    I can imagine the games in the secret negotiations, where the Vietnamese said they had a couple hundred European looking soldiers they captured in Laos who claim they were working for the CIA. They would grin and say that if the USA openly admitted they were American personnel, they would be added to the POW tally and released. But our arrogant CIA refused to budge while the State Dept refused to admit a massive violation of international agreements and statements.

    So these mysterious international terrorists were kept imprisoned! Our CIA let them die. Hey, we told them this might happen, that’s why they got double pay.

  105. @Ron Unz

    This site purports to refute the document:

    In most of these cases (e.g., whether or not prisoners were segregated by rank) I do not have the knowledge or expertise to evaluate the claims made. But if the document really claims that there were three astronauts among the prisoners, that is obviously absurd. No astronaut was ever deployed to Vietnam after his selection as an astronaut, let alone captured as a P.O.W. (But then why would anyone put such an obviously false fact in a forgery? It seems to be a puzzler either way.)

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  106. @Lurker

    Yes. Hiya, Lurker. Good to hear from you. Hope all is well for you and yours.

    Keep the faith, mate.

    • Replies: @Lurker
  107. @Ron Unz

    Mr. Unz,

    Can you please tell us more about the soon to be released audio recordings of John McCain that you mentioned in the article.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  108. prusmc says:


    Solzhenitsyn has the credibility that few match. My question: Jeremiah Denton and James Stockdale were POWs and became Rear Admirals, McCain a POW retired as Capt. Is there any record of contact between Denton and McCain while they were both serving as Republican Senators? Stockdale ran for VP with Perot in 1992 so he was not innocent of political affairs. Is there any information about him and McCain {friendly or hostile} during their political life? I regret my vote for McCain in 2008 but I would never voted for Obama and would have found a minor candidate.

    • Replies: @Whoever
  109. denk says:

    yet another cover up.
    how the unitedsnake smothered the murder case of two american citizens by indonesian troops,
    flamed a dozen innocent civilians for the crime, in order to get indon onboard its anti chinese bandwagon.

    ‘U.S. Secretary Of State Condoleeza Rice’s recent visit to Jakarta was the concluding act in the Bush administration’s five-year drive to whitewash the Indonesian military’s sordid past, green light Indonesia’s occupation of West Papua, and forge another l ink in Washington’s plan to ring China with U.S. military bases and allies.

    two american teachers were murdered in indonesia occupied west papua 2002.
    tni, the notorious indonesian shock troops claimed the attack was engineered by the Free Papua Movement (OPM), a group resisting Indonesia’s 1969 unilateral seizure of West Papua.
    But the OPM vigorously denied any involvement in the ambush, and human rights groups and the local police instead implicated Kopassus.
    A police report argued that the OPM “never attacks white people,” and found that the teachers were killed with an M-16, the TNI’s basic weapon. The OPM is generally armed with bows and arrows. Based on the investigation of the incident, then Police Chief of West Papua concluded that the TNI was behind the ambush.

    Attorney General John Ashcroft and the FBI soon rode to Wolfowitz and Rice’s rescue, indicting self-described OPM “commander” Anth onius Wamang for the attack, even though the OPM says Wamang works for Kopassus. This past January, the FBI helped arrest Wamang and 11 other civilians, including a priest, a teenager and several farmers, for the murders.

    The arrests allowed the Bush adm inistration to declare Indonesia a “strategic partner,” and waive congressional restrictions on military aid. The latter will increase six-fold by 2007. Meanwhile, the TNI has poured troops and police into West Papua to crush demonstrations against Freepo rt and smother growing sentiment for an independent West Papua. ‘

  110. Whoever says:

    You know, I never thought about the fact that McCain didn’t make admiral, while Denton and Stockdale did. That is a huge deal. I’m glad you pointed it out. Somewhere along the line McCain burned some bridges with the Navy.
    It seems Denton and McCain were not that close. I’ve started reading Robert Timberg’s The Nightingale’s Song. It examines the lives of John McCain, James Webb, Oliver North, Robert McFarlane, and John Poindexter.
    Timberg describes McCain as easy going, a person who “didn’t regard lapses in personal behavior as Armageddon,” while describing Denton as a grim moralizer. He attributes to William Bader, majority staff director of the Foreign Relations Committee, the belief that McCain emerged from his POW experience as St. Francis of Assisi, while Denton came out of it as the Grand Inquisitor. I don’t know what to make of that.
    Timberg says that McCain became very close with Sen. John Tower, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, and one of the most powerful men in the senate. He quotes Jim Jones, a political foe of Oliver North, as saying that “John McCain is the son John Tower never had.”

    • Replies: @iffen
  111. iffen says:

    Maybe Denton and Stockdale were honorable military men that played the politician, while McCain found his true calling.

    • Replies: @Whoever
  112. Ron Unz says:
    @James Braxton

    Can you please tell us more about the soon to be released audio recordings of John McCain that you mentioned in the article.

    I’m not sure about the details of most of the others, but I already have a copy of one of the most clearest onea, and I’d say I’m at least 99% sure the Communist propaganda broadcast is indeed by John McCain.

    However, I’m not sure the tapes will provide anything that new since the text is exactly what was indicated in the published news stories of the time, including in Stars & Stripes magazine. I think it’s simply an acknowledged historical fact that McCain spent the war as one of one of Hanoi’s chief propaganda broadcasters, though admittedly one would never discover this from reading today’s MSM. There are also widespread rumors floating around POW circles that McCain was given easy access to prostitutes in return for his assistance, and speculation that Hanoi still retains those videotapes as a useful point of leverage.

    If you haven’t already done so, you might want to look at the article I published last year analyzing McCain’s wartime record:

    • Replies: @prusmc
    , @Jacques Sheete
  113. Ron Unz says:
    @James Kabala

    This site purports to refute the document:

    Well, it’s been five or six years since looked into the POW issue, but I glanced over that debunking website to try to refresh my memory a bit.

    Bear in mind that the document purports to be a transcript of a Hanoi Politburo meeting as summarized by a Soviet intelligence source and provided to Moscow, during which it was presumably translated into Russian. Then it was afterward translated into English for the benefit of the American journalists and analysts. Given that complex chain of transfer, it’s hardly surprising if various details got garbled, especially specialized technical terms and ranks. So those sorts of minor errors hardly demonstrate it was a forgery.

    The Kremlin archivist claimed it was genuine, so either it probably was or the Russians forged it at some point. The latter is possible, but unless they were somehow in cahoots with the Western researcher who happened to stumble across it by chance in the Kremlin archives, I can’t see that as being likely.

    Most importantly, after the story broke in the front page of the NYT, both Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger were interviewed on the PBS Newshour, and said that they thought the document was genuine and it did indeed prove that American POWs had been “left behind.” Now unless both those former National Security Advisors either knew or at least strongly suspected that hundreds of POWs had been left behind in Vietnam, why would they possibly react in such a way? If the document had made wildly implausible claims, wouldn’t they have simply ridiculed it?

  114. Alden says:

    The New York Times has been an anti White pro affirmative action pro school desegregation pro communist propaganda sheet since 1930
    I well remember how the Times trumpeted the Twanna Brawley Al Sharpton take hoax which led to the suicide of a White man and the destruction of White lives
    I was in high school when Castro took over. For a couple years before the Times praised Castro and jumped for joy when Castro took over

    More recently the Times led the witch hunts UN the Rodney King, Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin cases. The Times worships and adores BLM.

    The Times headline about the Nice bombing was “Truck attack in Nice scores dead” that’s right, a truck killed 84 people and injured more than 100.

    If this Sydney Schanberg worked for the Slimes as most people call it, then I don’t believe a word he ever wrote in that lying anti White pro black criminal pro communist propaganda rag.

    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
  115. Whoever says:

    The more I read about McCain, the more dismayed I become. Somebody who knew him back when calls him “a typical Navy jock.” I know the type. He was certainly no Capt. Edwin Atterberry, who actually escaped but was recaptured and beaten to death by the North Vietnamese.
    There were other men like him–John Dramesi, James Rowe–who defied their captors and never gave in.

    Regarding the fate of MIAs, I just ran across the story of Monika Schwinn, a German nurse captured along with four co-workers by the North Vietnamese in 1969 and held in captivity for four years. Three of those captured with her starved to death. She wrote a book about her experiences, We Came to Help, which I am looking for, but here’s a brief AP story about her:

    And here’s a photo of Capt. Atterberry’s RF-4C at the moment an SA-2 Guideline explodes under it:

    • Replies: @iffen
  116. prusmc says:
    @Ron Unz

    I supported McCain for the nomination in 2000. I cooled but voted for him in..
    2008. I was concerned because of an article written by Col Harry Summers in Army Times raising the specter of McCain’s conduct, don’t remember the date.At the time the Military Times publications were trustworthy {unlike the PC rags they are today} but I discarded the idea . Now I have great doubts about the matter and disgusted with McCain.

  117. Alden says:
    @Jacques Sheete

    I read Eugene Lyons in college. I’m glad other people know about him and his brave expose of the Soviet Union

    • Replies: @Jacques Sheete
  118. iffen says:

    was sufficient for her to breathe the same air, see the same sights, and get the same dust on her shoes once again

    I lot of people can’t understand how this could possibly work. I am very happy for your Mother and grateful for the fact that she was able to so this.

    Regardless of what some here have asserted, the POW/MIA community always had the support and sympathy of most Americans. They were not thought of as crackpots, but as victims of an indifferent and unresponsive government.

    The personal pain of individual human beings has become a political issue.

    This is the killing part for me, and just like the Liberty incident many are just using it for ideological or political advantage.

    You know, I never thought about the fact that McCain didn’t make admiral, while Denton and Stockdale did. That is a huge deal.

    • Replies: @Whoever
  119. @Ron Unz

    I’d say I’m at least 99% sure the Communist propaganda broadcast is indeed by John McCain.

    Which is one reason he’s been known as “Songbird” McCain. Why anyone would put any faith in that scum of the Earth, or even give it the benefit of the doubt, is beyond me.

    But then, I know of people who think Hillary is Mama Messiah. Go figger…!

  120. @Alden

    There were many more like him as well. Many became disillusioned with the murderous Leninist-Stalinist brands of idiotic Marxism even before Hitler and Stalin became allies.

    The many I’ve read all pretty much say the same things.

    What amazes and disgusts me is that most Americans seem to think that Uncle Joey’s buddies, FDR and Churchill, were something special.

  121. @Alden

    If this Sydney Schanberg worked for the Slimes as most people call it, then I don’t believe a word he ever wrote in that lying anti White pro black criminal pro communist propaganda rag.

    Another reason to question the dude is his Poolitzer Prize. It means about as much as O-bomb-ers Piss Prize.

    However, the point of this excellent article is that the NYT refused to print the story. That should tell us something and induce us to ask,

    But what if the story is so big that it actually reveals dangerous truths about the real nature of the American media, portrays too many powerful people in a very negative light, and perhaps leads to a widespread loss of faith in our major news media?

  122. Whoever says:

    Thanks for the link. Very interesting. Apparently McCain resigned too early in the promotion flow, so maybe not making admiral is not a big deal after all. It’s always somewhat of a puzzle who makes the promotion list and who doesn’t.

  123. Most of the McCain lies and distortions have been covered in the article and the comments.

    Here are a few extras:

    1) He got a Navy nurse pregnant and the abortion was done at Bethesda

    2) Russia flew in a prominent surgeon to tend to McCain’s injuries in Hanoi.

    3) Ejecting from a jet in level flight in peacetime gives you time to tighten all your
    straps and get in the proper configuration. A tumbling jet spiraling down in flames
    not so much. His injuries were caused by a bad ejection and ground impact. The fact
    he landed in a lake may have saved his life. Bystanders also beat him up.

    4) I spoke with a North Vietnamese general at a Vietnam summit at Texas Tech University. I asked him if McCain was tortured. He replied, “We never touch him, he too important”.

    5) McCain allegedly had a room with a view of downtown Hanoi, a desk and an aquarium with

    6) McCain returned from captivity weighing more then the day he was captured.

    7) There were several groups of POWs who took early release. There was also a “Peace Committee” of collaborators. There were two prominent USMC pilots who were members of the Peace Committee. At the reunion dinner at the White House, some POWs refused to attend if the collaborators were invited.

    8) John Kerry’s anti-war testimony before congress was played repeatedly over the PA system at the Hanoi Hilton. Some prisoners did not recognize it as “Senator Kerry” until after the war and they heard him mis- pronounce Gebghis Khan as “Jengiss Khan”.

    9) Admiral McCain was at sea a lot. It is questionable if McCain Jr. is actually his real son.

    10) McCain made many radio propaganda broadcasts. After the war he asked his father, “Did you hear any of THEM”. The father said no, but in reality he put orders out that those broadcasts were of the absolute highest priority and needed to be delivered to him at once and kept at the highest security clearance (Above Top Secret). It is also believed that the NSA jammed the signal.

    11) McCain had a mistress in Hanoi who bore him a son. It is rumored that this son came to the
    USA and went to a nice university.

    12) McCain was the co-chairman of the POW/MIA Senate Committee (Along with John Kerry).
    The committee in 1992 concluded that “There was no COMPELLING evidence that US POWs were left behind at the end of the war”. Senator Kerrey of Nebraska was also a member of this charade.

    13) McCain’s wife while he was a POW was fervent in her League of Families POW/MIA activities during the war. On return, McCain dumped her and married a college cheerleader and heir to the Coors beer fortune.

    14) McCain did indeed do a wet start that caused the Forrestal fire. He was rapidly transferred
    to the Oriskany and another squadron. It takes three years and four million dollars to train a pilot. They should not be used to put out fires. What the Navy learned from this fire was to
    never commit more than 1/3rd of your firefighters at any given time. The whole firefighting department had gone into action, several planes exploded and most of the fatalities were
    damage controlmen (Firefighters).

    15) When North Vietnamese generals and politicians came to the USA in 1992, there are pictures of McCain giving them enthusiastic bear hugs. He was probably whispering, “Keep our secrets quiet”. Why would McCain hug someone who “Tortured” him?

    16) McCain’s grandfather was also an admiral.

    17) The Aircraft Carrier Forrestal was named after the WWII secretary of the Navy who was trying to warn President Roosevelt that Japan was about to attack Pearl Harbor within hours. Forrestal was jailed by Marines and later died under mysterious circumstances, but I digress.
    So many conspiracies, so little time.

    18) When Clinton was briefed as a new president he was told that in fact, many POWs were left behind in Vietnam. He was shocked. To his credit, no POWs were abandoned on his watch.

    19) There is a Texas congressman who was running for re election and was travelling the State
    sleeping on the couches of supporters. At one home, he thanked his host and asked if he could somehow return the favor. The host said, “Yes, my Ucle is a POW unaccounted for in Nam,
    could you look into the matter”? The congressman said “I went to a Republican freshman congressional retreat. We went into a room in tennis clothes and no notes, phones or recorders were allowed. They told us we would need party support in order to be re elected. They then said there are 10 issues you will never support or mention. The first one was POW/MIAs left behind in Vietnam. I am sorry, I cannot help you”.

    20) People who flew with McCain said he was a lousy pilot and during missions if Migs showed
    up, McCain always headed into the clouds to hide from them until his fuel level necessitated his return to the carrier.

    21) In 1996, the North Vietnamese Air Minister visited Houston. Continental Airlines let him fly the 747 jumbo simulator at IAH. They also flew him to Vegas and Disney World. The minister’s resume: An Ace pilot who shot down seven American planes. Continental wanted the landing routes to Hanoi Bac My and Saigon Thanh Son Nhut.

    22) There are many more McCain stories I could recount, but the fog of memory sets in. In my case it is age and I am entitled, (Not like Kerrey). I was a leader in the veteran POW/MIA movement for many years. I was a close associate of Ted Sampley, Dolores Alfond and Janet Akers, all of whom seemed to have died before their time. It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.

    I would be glad to reply to anyone interested. I would especially like to hear from you Mr. Unz.
    I can come up with more data on McCain if you are interested.

    • Replies: @iffen
  124. iffen says:
    @xinh loi 1969

    There was also a “Peace Committee” of collaborators. There were two prominent USMC pilots who were members of the Peace Committee. At the reunion dinner at the White House, some POWs refused to attend if the collaborators were invited.

    I read that one or more of the returning officers tried to get charges brought against some POWS who were thought to fall into the “aid and comfort” category, but were put off by the Navy hierarchy. What do you know about that?

  125. coyote says:

    most sane normal persons do not, and cannot, understand the meaning of that ‘blank check’; as noted in the essay above: the truth is worse than what we believe, or think we believe. Evil rules this world; freedom from tyranny has never lasted long in our history. cannon fodder has always been the tool, and the masters of usury and financial woes for others know the science of fomenting wars on either side of any issue. the worship of the golden calf continues today; the deadly sins sink another empire. alas, babylon.

  126. @denk

    At 73, and a long-time veteran of the politico-social wars in Murrika, I’ve had to deal w/a lot of curious language uses, but yours is excessive in that it demands an unfair amount of decipherment by readers less knowledgeable than myself.

    Can you not observe basic English grammar, punctuation, and style to better get your points across? Or do you just fire these blanks for a temporary resolution of the lack of attention you need?

    So, to cut to the chase, what is your point? I’m pretty certain I solved yr lower case acronymns -a barrier to communication which no doubt serves you well- the end result’s that the reader is left w/much the same BS as you started.

    Before you fire a wet dream salvo at me you’d best research my name and Internet postings, esp. ‘The Ghost of George Carver is Haunting Bush 43’, esp. if you are as insightfully savvy as you claim to be.

    I look forward to a straight-forward statement from you as to what your previous rant was meant to convey.

    • Replies: @denk
  127. iffen says:

    The idea that there were “sensors” that a MIA could use to send a message is not supported by any evidence.

    Most of the returned POWS knew of other POWS. Unless you think that all of the military men like Stockdale were complete liars then there were no “known” POWS left behind. In order to “keep back” POWS the N. Vietnamese would have had to plan way ahead and keep individuals or small blocs of POWS segregated and concealed from the beginning of their imprisonment.

    As other commenters have mentioned Laos was a different story. Even with regards to Laos, the POWS originating from there report being quickly turned over to N. Vietnam.

    Knowing for certain whether some POWS, and how many, were left behind is an impossible task which is fraught with soul killing emotion.

    Linking to this impossible task, we posit that certain individuals knew “the truth,” but because they were political opportunists they covered it up. Leaving aside the fact that the government didn’t know the numbers and names of all the POWS before the Accords, they, and the ones who knew “the truth” had such information the day after the Accords were signed. As years go by other political operatives rise in the hierarchy and learn “the truth”, but being corrupt opportunists continue the cover-up and even help insure its complete success by bribing the Vietnamese to kill the evidence.

  128. denk says:
    @Joseph E Fasciani

    i’ve known only one ivan here so far, he told us he’s an indian given a russian name by his dad who loved ussr.

    if u are a different man try using ivan2 or something different from now on.

    my comment is very clear and straight forward , if u find it incomprehensible its not my problem dude.

  129. A non-story story. The Vietnam POWs were pilots, kept for their political value. Enlisted men were seldom if ever kept prisoner. The pilots in many cases chose to take the war to N Vietnam even while Congress had prohibited that action. If you flew by the book you were going to make it back to base, but in the Top Gun occupation there are more than a few type A personalities.
    The Hollywood studios made films which misdirected public anger at the missing POWs to make it seem like something it was not. The war turned in 1970 from a ground war to an air war. Despite the fact that Russian freighters brought SAM missiles into Haiphong harbor, the US did nothing to block the shipment. This made it doubly difficult when a few rogue pilots made a bombing run on Hanoi.
    Congress repeatedly placed N Vietnam off limits, one can criticize them, but they were trying to limit the war, at the direction of their constituents, and to end the war altogether. The end of the war was also secretly negotiated, and more pilots were shot down in the 1972 Christmas raid on Haiphong. POWs deserve America’s support, most of their names on the wall, and they were never in a prison camp of any kind.

    • Replies: @Nam Marine
  130. America cares for it’s Veterans………………………MY ASS !

  131. @ambrose bierce

    Enlisted men were killed ! Especially Marines ! I know, I was there in 1968-69 during the TET

  132. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    two of my kin are on he Wall, both Army. one a draftee and one regular army.

    I was a Marine serving briefly over in the big puddle. Ages ago, just after Admiral Stockdale was awarded The Medal [figure out what that is your own selves], but it was for being a true blue senior officer over all the rest of the POWs [of all braNCHES TOO] LOCATED at the Hanoi Hilton; I figured out he would ‘out’ McCain. He didn’t.

    But at a Vietnam Pilots and Aircrew Assoc convention [actually a drunken circus], Admiral Stockdale reported upon McCain’s behavior as a POW numerous times. this action continued for several consecutive conventions. once, maybe twice, McCain, always the politician, tried to approach Stockdale at one or two of these events. Admiral Stockdale LOUDLY SHOUTED, that he would not entertain even a few seconds of conversation with a goddam, cowardly traitor. He went on to describe in detail, after McCain left how
    mccain was a traitor. The only smart thing McCain did as a POW was to NOT acceot ‘early release’, [because both his daddy and grand daddy were or had been Navy Admirals].

    then there is the famous incident when he was in his jet on the flight deck of some carrier and ‘accidentally released a bomb or missile, killing or horribly injuring a large number of flight deck crew. in this incident he was the first to be evacuated, not because of injury, but to get the son and grandso9n of Admirals, from being killed by the non injured flight deck crew.

    there is so much more. maybe this newsman asshole, should talk to some former Navy enlisted personnel to get most if not all the truth on this man, McCain’s behavior. he was NOT beloved by either his men nor his peers within naval aviation.

    ’nuff said from me.

    • Replies: @ambrose bierce
    , @iffen
  133. denk says:

    moral of the story,

    when bush said
    ‘u’r either with us or against us”

    who exactly are ‘us‘ ??

    sorry for those chest thumbing rednecks lurking here, u aint in it !
    u live to serve murkka’s ‘national interest’

    bush thought he’s in but he isnt, like clinton, obama, etc he’s merely disposable ‘front manager’, just ask jfk !

    ‘us’ is the 0.1% who runs murkka, the ‘deep state’ puppeteers.
    rest of murkkans are just dispensable ‘assets’

  134. @Anonymous

    McCain’s jet set off ordinance on the deck of the Forrestal, (as the story goes) while he was racing his engine. If he had been culpable in any way I doubt he would have kept flying.

    The bombing of North Vietnam was no different than the no-fly zone over Iraq, they were taking out infrastructure, power, roads. It’s widely accepted we killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians before the war ever started. The difference in Nam was that they were shooting back, and after they caught a few of these pilots they made examples of them.

    The US was afraid of China, after Korea they realized China might jump into the war unannounced at any time, and North Vietnam has a border with China. It also became obvious to those selling the war that they could market it to the American people only if it was a struggle between good and evil, international communism and democracy. If the US military didn’t actively bring Ho Chi Minh into the war, they were glad, after Tet, that he was in control. It made their job easier.

    Early on American pilots were up against MIGS, which is what they wanted (they wanted the Top Gun school and they got it) they wanted to meet the most advanced fighters in air combat. US military policy was in the hands of a few zealots. Pilots were and are still considered our first line of attack, where technology and human skill will make a difference. That much is boilerplate in US military strategy since 1970. McCain and Duke Cunningham were part of that, they are not the most well balanced personalities.

  135. iffen says:

    November 26, 1999

    John McCain in the Crucible



    CORONADO, Calif. — I am not surprised by reports that Senator John McCain’s political enemies have been spreading rumors that his famous temper is a sign of a broader “instability” caused by his imprisonment in Vietnam.

    In fact, a few weeks ago I received a call from an old friend who is also close to the George W. Bush campaign soliciting comments on Mr. McCain’s “weaknesses.” As I told that caller, I think John McCain is solid as a rock.

    And I consider it blasphemy to smudge the straight-arrow prisoner-of-war record of a man who was near death when he arrived at Hoa Loa prison 1967: both arms broken, left leg broken, left shoulder broken by a civilian with a rifle butt.

    He was eventually taken to the same rat-infested hospital room I had occupied two years earlier, and, like me, he had surgery on his leg. By then the Vietnamese had discovered that his father was the ranking admiral in the Pacific Fleet, and he received an offer that, as far as I know, was made to no other American prisoner: immediate release, no strings attached. He refused, thereby sentencing himself to four more years in a cell.

    There was a special cramped and hot privy-like structure in that Hanoi prison reserved for whichever American was causing the Vietnamese the most trouble. I was the first in the camp to be locked up in it, and I gave it the name Calcutta.

    There was only room for one person at a time in the cage, and after a couple of months I was taken out and marched back to a regular cell. As I limped along, I sneaked a peek at my replacement: John McCain, hobbling along on his own bad leg.

    As one of the few Americans who spent more than four years in solitary confinement during that war, I know that pride and self-respect lead to aggressiveness, and aggressiveness leads to a deep sense of joy when one is under pressure. This is hardly a character flaw.

    The military psychiatrists who periodically examine former prisoners of war have found that the more resistant a man was to harsh treatment, the more emotionally stable he is likely to become later in life.

    The troublemakers who endured long stretches in solitary, the men we called the tigers, are for the most part more in tune with themselves now than are those who chose the easier path of nonconfrontation, which made them “deserving” of cell mates. The psychiatrists tell us that many of those prisoners who chose a more docile existence missed out on the joy of “getting even” after release; some look back on their performances with regret.

    The psychiatrists have it partly right, but the truth of imprisonment is best learned from the writings of men who have spent a lot of time in cells, like Dostoyevsky, Cervantes and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The last described his feeling of high-mindedness in his gulag writings:

    “And it was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts. . . .

    And that is why I turn back to the years of my imprisonment and say, sometimes to the astonishment of those about me: ‘Bless you, prison!’ ”

    I understand that, and so does John McCain.

    James B. Stockdale, a retired Navy Vice Admiral, was the Reform Party vice-presidential candidate in 1992.

    • Replies: @Whoever
  136. Whoever says:

    Isn’t it amazing the amount of absolute BS surrounding this topic? I’ve been asking naval aviators who are veterans of the Viet Nam war about John McCain, and not one has anything bad to say about him. They may not agree with his politics, but about his career in the Navy, his performance as an aviator or how he handled his POW experience, none has anything negative to say.
    Mostly they just say thank God I wasn’t shot down and captured, I would have sung like Barry Manilow. Of course, all you get out of them when you try to get them to talk about the war is jokes and funny stories or discussions of technical issues. They are not interested in talking about the whys and wherefores and what ifs. It’s just not their nature. They’ll be happy to spend an hour discussing Pilot Induced Oscillation in the F-4B, but dissing another aviator? Not gonna happen. And the farther you are from the naval aviation community, the more locked out you are going to be.
    In any case, had John McCain never been born, the war would have happened and we would still have had the MIA issue. He was just a guy, as another scooter driver said, who had a really bad day at the office.

  137. Lurker says:
    @Pat Hannagan


    Are you on Disqus mate?

    I’ve burned through several ID’s, this is my main one now:

  138. IMNAHA says:

    As we used to say “RIGHT ON”. I had the exact same reaction v/v the Ellsberg reference. The one researcher I’ve run across that is connecting a lot of these dots is Miles Mathis. He uses Wikipedia knowing it’s intelligence origins, not so much for what they write but for what they DON”T write. On the up side it makes reading the MSM a short task, knowing that so much is manufactured.

  139. Whoever says:

    I know this is an old article and comment thread, but in case anyone comes across it and is not aware of Dieter Dengler, as I was not, I wanted to place these links here. Dengler was a Navy aviator who was shot down over Laos and escaped. Not only is his story remarkable in itself, as he tells it in Escape From Laos, you can learn about the likelihood of prisoners who escaped being able to signal our forces for help, and what were the chances of them surviving for long periods in captivity by reading his account. You can listen to an Audio recording with Gene Deatrick and Dieter Dengler discussing Dengler’s Rescue.

  140. lavoisier says: • Website

    Why is it that the good and the noble labor in obscurity while the rotten and mendacious rise to the top?


    And thank you to Ron Unz to produce a site that allows free speech in all its purity and self-expression.

  141. McCain should be referred to as “Hanoi John” going forward. Seriously: This play on “Hanoi Jane” Fonda might help spread the story.

  142. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    I’ve done some research on the culture and natives of New Guinea. Frankly, we can afford to see them disappear from the planet. They’re godawful people; every bit as nasty as the population of a violent, criminal black ghetto and then some. They’re utter genetic losers.

    • Replies: @Adrian
  143. What a painful story, all the way around.

    It brought to mind Bob Kerry — I forget what was tainted about his past; I don’t think it was as explosive as McCain betraying his country several times, then participating in a cover-up of what military men claim is their most sacred duty: to recover their comrades.

    Bacevich appeared on a panel w/ Kerry and with the cringe-worthy Evan Bayh & equally cringe-worthy Steve Ambrose
    Disregarding the threats to his fine white suit at being in such company, Bacevich did his best to inform the audience of the FDR-to-Truman-era foundations of many of the most troubling institutions that have metastasized and affect US foreign policy today.
    Hat’s off, Mr. B. And Mr. U.
    RIP Mr. Schanberg and POW-MIAs.

  144. The “we never leave anyone behind” stuff finds its way into Wag The Dog.
    I also note some controversy is developing about what actually happened when four Special Forces members were killed in Niger.

  145. Alden says:
    @Jacques Sheete

    I was raised by ultra left parents and their friends. And then one day I went for a walk. The local library had one of those book sales. I bought several books. One of them was Eugene Lyons book.
    It was a total revelation to me. I read more and more and discovered the truth about communism and the communist influence in the FDR administration and all the rest of it.

    I’ got my impression of the NYSlimes from reading its coverage of the Cuban revolution and Castro when I was a teen. One would think Castro was one of the great heroes of the ages. He was nothing but a soviet front. Cuba is one of the most strategic islands in the world. That’s why the soviets wanted it.

    I learned all I need to know abut the press and the left when I was young. All those government programs instituted by Nixon and Johnson were filled with the grown up red diaper babies born of the soviet lovers.

    And now they run the country and have been running it for a long long time.

  146. anastasia says:

    They got the tape from the National Archives. Listen!!!

  147. Adrian says:

    You are utterly wrong. I lived in West Papua during the fifties and early sixties and was, as a colonial officer, in close contact with the native population. I was (as Jared Diamond was) often surprised about their practical intelligence and pleasant temper. Your idea that they should be written off as “genetic losers” though no doubt welcome in the higher echelons of the murderous Indonesian army is utterly abhorrent to me.

  148. It doesn’t surprise me they wouldn’t pay out 3.2 billion to return the POWs. Hell, they wouldn’t pay the returned Veterans who slogged it through the Agent Orange and came away with cancers never before seen. Denied it, not service connected. They put millions of sailors aboard ships the were full of asbestos from one end to the other, even lined ventilation ducts with the stuff, but denied Veterans benefits and claims for their asbestosis and mesothelioma. Tough shit, not service-connected. They still refuse to acknowledge as service connected the radioactivity-related diseases of Veterans returned from Iraq, polluted by the depleted uranium bullets fired by the millions by ‘coalition’ aircraft into the sands they had to trudge over and which are causing a horrible time of cancers and birth defects in Mosul, Falujah and Baghdad. Not service connected.

    Funny part is, the apparatus-of-denial of the tens of thousands of 6-figure employees at the Veteran’s Administration costs ten times the amount it would cost to simply pay those guys, give them a pension, give them their meds. The girls, of course, who saw none of any of this can draw 100% for life because they have PTSD because the sailors would look at them on the ships, triggering rape fears (or fantasies).Most at the VA have never served the military, yet they’re enriched with high-paying jobs, pensions and THEIR medical care for life. Theft on a grand scale. And they’re all SEIU, all for saying no to Veterans.

    The guys that did the heavy lifting? Fuck em! They don’t even get the common courtesy extended to civilians on workman’s comp claims. That’s what Veterans mean to the United States. Sorry, guy, not-service connected. As if anywhere in civilian life could give you these diseases. They wait until 90% of the victims are dead of their diseases, THEN they admit it. See: Agent Orange.

  149. Kelso says:

    There are several good reasons the MSM would want to limit damage to John McCain’s image or legacy. McCain’s father was responsible for calling back aircraft going to the assistance of the USS Liberty which was attacked by Israel in 1967. McCain Sr. was instrumental in covering up the attack which is the only time a foreign power attacked a US Navy ship and Congress did not hold hearings. John McCain Jr. inherited that legacy and became one of the greatest recipients of AIPAC support because of his support for endless wars that deplete the US treasury but improve Israel’s hegemony in the Middle East.
    The real payoff in suppressing the POW issue was that the Lobby, which includes the owners of the NYT, would “own” McCain if he ever deviated from Israel”s playbook. Under this interpretation, McCain appears to be the victim of blackmail by the Jewish-owned MSM and had little opportunity to be anything other than the primitive warmonger that he perhaps came by naturally.

  150. Czerny says:

    the world’s most prestigious broadsheet ?? ……..Says who ?

  151. This is once again, a fine example of absolute US Government Corruption. Why should be surprised? The people in charge are more than willing to shed a few thousand sheep to maintain censorship and control.

    Oklahoma City – See the Documentary, “A Noble Lie”
    Rubby Ridge
    9/11 – See the 8 part “Great American PsyOpera”
    Gulf of Tonkin
    USS Liberty
    Pearl Harbor
    Allied War Crimes in WWII – The Burning of Dresden
    Holocaust Industry
    The illegal State of Israel

    Soon Hate Speech laws will be passed to prevent the exposure of the biggest lie in history.

    Here is the biggest lie ever foisted upon humanity:

  152. MEH 0910 says:


  153. MEH 0910 says:


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