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VVAW and Hanoi: Joined at the hip?

By Jeremy Reynalds
web posted November 1, 2004

In an explosive article on the web site www.wintersoldier.com, writers Jerome R. Corsi and Scott Swett claim that two recently discovered documents captured from the Vietnamese communists during the Vietnam War strongly support the existence of a close link between the Hanoi regime and Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) -- all while John Kerry served as the group's leading national spokesman.

John Kerry testifies as a Vietnam Veterans Against the War director to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee on April 22, 1971
John Kerry testifies as a Vietnam Veterans Against the War director to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations committee on April 22, 1971

Corsi and Swett say that the first document is a 1971 information sheet distributed by the Vietnamese communists within Vietnam. It discusses strategies to coordinate their national propaganda effort with their orchestration of the activities of sympathetic counterparts in the American anti-war movement.

Specifically, the document notes that the Vietcong and North Vietnamese delegations to the Paris Peace talks were being used as the communications link to direct the activities of anti-war activists meeting with them in Paris.

According to Corsi and Swett, the documents were unearthed on Oct. 22 by Swift Veterans and POWs for Truth researchers Troy Jenkins and Tom Wyld in the archives of the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech University, in the Douglas Pike Collection.

"Douglas Pike was a leading authority on the Vietnam War who collected over 2 million pages of original documents now archived at the Vietnam Center. James Reckner, Ph.D., Director of the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech, verifies that the documents in the Pike collection are original and authentic," Corsi and Swett say. "The Circular and the Directive are listed as items numbered 2150901039b and 2150901041 respectively."

A call for comment to the Kerry Edwards National Campaign Headquarters was not returned but Matt Farrauto, the communications director for the Democratic Party of New Mexico, quickly responded when asked.

"The authors of this book (Corsi is a co-author of the book Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry) have been discredited by major news organizations," Farrauto said, "and it is an embarrassment to the journalistic profession that anyone would give them the time of day. I am aware of the group and these last minute ploys don't deserve any coverage."

Farrauto added, "George Bush has led us astray on every major issue. These are journalistic distractions and there is no point in engaging in discussions about lies."

Quoting from the documents, Corsi and Swett comment "The spontaneous antiwar movements in the US have received assistance and guidance from the friendly (VC/NVN) delegations at the Paris Peace Talks." (The reference to "VC" indicates the Vietcong; "NVN" is the North Vietnamese government).

This sentence is particularly important, Corsi and Swett say, after Kerry's admission that he met with leaders of both communist delegations to the Paris Peace Talks in June 1970, including Madame Binh, foreign minister of the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) of South Vietnam, also known as the Vietcong. FBI files record that Kerry returned to Paris to meet with the North Vietnamese delegation in August of 1971, and planned a third trip in Nov. of the same year.

"Prior to the discovery of the Circular, there was no direct evidence that Hanoi was actually steering the U.S. antiwar movement's activities by conveying Hanoi's goals and wishes to movement leaders during their frequent visits to Paris, though many investigators had assumed that to be the case," Corsi and Swett say. "Further analysis of this document supports the contention that Madame Binh used her Paris meeting with John Kerry to instruct him on how he and the VVAW might best serve as Hanoi's surrogates in the United States."

According to Corsi and Swett, Madame Binh constructed a seven-point peace plan with the intention of forcing President Nixon to set a date to end the Vietnam War and withdraw American troops.

The only barrier for Hanoi setting a date to release American prisoners of war, Corsi and Swett say, was President Nixon's unwillingness to set a specific date for military withdrawal.

"Of course," Corsi and Swett say, "accepting the full terms of the Seven-Point Peace Plan would have amounted to an American capitulation, a virtual surrender that included the payment of reparations to the Vietnam communists as an admission that America was the wrongful aggressor in an immoral war."

On July 22 1971, John Kerry held a press conference in Washington, DC, to call upon President Nixon to accept Madame Binh's Seven-Point Peace Plan. Kerry surrounded himself at the press conference with POW wives, parents and sisters who had been recruited, Corsi and Swett say, to promote his message.

The event was reported in The New York Times of July 23, 1971 and the communist Daily World of July 24, 1971. Each article included a photograph of Kerry surrounded by POW family members.

"Kerry's use of POW families directly advanced the North Vietnamese communist agenda as described by enemy defectors and in the newly discovered Circular," Corsi and Swett claim, "which suggests that Madame Binh had recommended the same course of action to antiwar activists meeting with her in Paris."

The second document captured by US military forces in South Vietnam on May 12, 1972, Corsi and Swett claim, is designed to motivate discussion within Vietnam about promoting the ongoing American antiwar activities.

"The fifth paragraph of this document makes clear that the Vietnamese communists were utilizing for their propaganda purposes the activities of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War," Corsi and Swett say.

"The protest described as occurring from April 19 through April 22 1971, coincides directly with the dates of Dewey Canyon III, the Washington DC protest led by John Kerry, during which John Kerry's testimony before Senator Fulbright's Foreign Relations Committee was a televised centerpiece," Corsi and Swett say. "The description of the protest activities in the Directive even include the ‘return their medals' ceremony in which John Kerry and other VVAW members threw their medals and/or ribbons toward the steps of the US Capitol, with several shouting threats of violence against their government as they did so."

The documents also discuss, Corsi and Swett say, how closely the Vietnamese communists were working with and through the People's Coalition for Peace and Justice. (PCPJ).

After disclosing how the communist delegations to the Paris Peace talks were being used to guide the US antiwar movement, the flyer stresses the importance of the PCPJ to these efforts.

"Of the US antiwar movements, the two most important ones are: The PCPJ (the People's Committee for Peace and Justice) and the NPAC (National Peace Action Committee). These two movements have gathered much strength and staged many demonstrations. The PCPJ is the most important. It maintains relations with us," the document reads.

In its 1971 Annual Report, Corsi and Swett say the House Internal Securities Committee described the PCPJ as an organization strongly controlled by US communists.

Recently released FBI surveillance reports, Coprsi and Swett say, establish a strong link between John Kerry, the PCPJ and others and their trips to Paris to meet with Madame Binh.

Corsi and Swett say that there are also many other examples of the VVAW's advocacy of Vietnamese communist positions while Kerry had a leadership role.

The group issued a proclamation in February 1971 calling for mass civil disobedience and military mutiny if American forces entered Laos. Following the warm Corsi and Swett say, "North Vietnamese military leaders acknowledged that one of their greatest fears was that America would move significant forces into Laos to interdict the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The VVAW's eagerness to comply with the wishes of the Vietnamese communists even extended to its choice of nomenclature."

In addition, Corsi and Swett write, the VVAW's Executive Committee issued a directive in a July 1971 meeting that the terms "Vietcong" and "North Vietnamese" were not to be used in VVAW press releases and communications.

Acceptable terms were, Corsi and Swett said, "‘PRG (Provisional Revolutionary Government)' and ‘DRV (Democratic Republic of Vietnam)'... ‘are to be used by us to reflect our acceptance of their designations.' And the VVAW's unremitting insistence that American forces were mass-murdering Vietnamese civilians perfectly echoed the primary propaganda theme put forth by the Vietnamese communists, their international communist allies, and their Soviet sponsors."

These newly uncovered documents provide clear conclusions the authors write. They "help clarify the relationship of the North Vietnamese, the Vietcong, the PCPJ, the Communist Party of the USA, and John Kerry's VVAW. They indicate that these organizations worked closely together, using the Paris Peace Talks as a central point of communication, to employ the strategy and tactics devised by the Vietnamese communists to achieve their primary objective: the defeat of the United States of America in Vietnam." 

Jeremy Reynalds is a freelance writer and the founder and director of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter. He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico and is pursuing his PhD in intercultural education at Biola University in Los Angeles. He is married with five children and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work can be viewed here and weekly at www.americasvoices.org. He may be contacted by e-mail at reynalds@joyjunction.org.

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