Reprise: Operation Tailwind: Pentagon Murdered Deserters in Vietnam

They were not “defectors” they were “deserters”.

From: “Mike Ruppert” <>
Subject: Adm Moorer Deposition Confirms Tailwind Allegations, Incriminates CIA, Kissinger

1200 HRS – JUNE 24, 2000



“From The Wilderness” has obtained the January 17 deposition of retired Joint Chiefs Chairman, Admiral Thomas Moorer taken in connection with a series of civil suits filed in the aftermath of 1997 and 1998 CNN reports relating to a series of 1970 CIA directed missions known as “Tailwind.” Those missions, as originally, and apparently accurately, reported by CNN involved the use of the poison nerve gas Sarin to kill American defectors in Laos. The Moorer deposition not only confirms all of the aspects of the original CNN broadcast, it also suggests that former CNN Producers April Oliver and Jack Smith may have actually understated the extent of Sarin Gas use by U.S. forces under CIA control during the Vietnam war.

On June 7, 1998 CNN aired the “Tailwind” report as a feature news segment on their show “Newsstand.” Reported by CNN veteran Peter Arnett, the stories stated that the CIA connected Studies and Observations Group (SOG), then commanded by CIA veteran and Army General John Singlaub, had used the lethal gas during covert operations into Laos. In particular, the “Tailwind” story reported that American defectors were the intended targets of the attacks. The Tailwind report came eight months after an initial CNN “Impact” report (also produced by Oliver) that featured extensive, lengthy, and highly consistent on-camera quotes from Singlaub regarding similar and related missions during the period. The stories established that the United States had committed acts during the Vietnam era – specifically the use of lethal nerve gas – that would be considered war crimes under current international law. Indeed, the United States has repeatedly bombed civilian and military targets in Iraq in retaliation for Sadam Hussein’s use of the exact same tactics.

In the wake of the June 1998 CNN “Tailwind” story Oliver was sacrificed, crucified, tarred, feathered and fired after enormous pressure was brought to bear on the network and “TIME” magazine by the likes of Henry Kissinger and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell. Ted Turner’s stock values were saved. Singluab subsequently sued both Oliver and the network for defamation and slander. He also demanded a public apology and exoneration. Both Singlaub and Moorer denied that they had used the gas or brought it any closer to Southeast Asian operations than the island of Okinawa. Yet, according to admissions made by Moorer near the end of the deposition, as much as 300 pounds of the gas were stored at a secret CIA controlled Thai air/operations base called Nakhorn Phanom or NKP. [The full text of that deposition, as received by FTW, is included as a text file attachment to this bulletin.]

Relying upon several exhibits including official memoranda from the Joint Chiefs bearing classified notations approved by Moorer and meticulously detailed contemporaneous notes from Oliver describing her interviews with both Moorer and Singlaub, Oliver’s attorney Roger Simmons secured a basic admission from Moorer, who served as Joint Chief’s Chairman under Richard Nixon, that the Tailwind missions into Laos were controlled by Henry Kissinger and the CIA, not the Pentagon. This then invalidated Moorer’s original strident assertions that he had controlled SOG missions as JCS Chair and had never authorized the use of Sarin gas or allowed it into the area of operations. Later in the deposition, while reading notes taken by Oliver during her seven hours of interviews with Moorer and later placed in CNN files, Simmons elicited agreement from Moorer that he had made statements to Oliver, and not disputed her findings that: * Military staff near the White House and the National Security Council routinely stole documents from Henry Kissinger’s briefcase so that they could find out what was really going on, * As many as twenty U.S. defectors were targeted for elimination by Special Forces troops assigned to SOG in the Tailwind mission into the Savan region of Laos in 1970, * Sarin gas was employed in the mission, * The mission was successful, * Defectors were a routine “high priority” for execution on all SOG missions inside Laos, * As many as 30 A1E Skyraider pilots at NKP had planes equipped to dispense Sarin gas and that they had authorization to do so on both support and search and rescue missions inside Laos, * Sarin was routinely used in extractions of downed aircrews in hostile conditions, and that * It had been an option for pilots unable to rescue downed US aircrews in Laos before nightfall to dispense Sarin gas on the U.S. aircrews in order to kill them and prevent them from falling into “enemy” hands.

FTW routinely communicates with several Special Forces and CIA veterans of the era. We cannot help but note that these particular areas of Laos were heavily occupied by CIA personnel and CIA mercenaries including Montangard and Hmong tribesmen actively involved in the heroin trade on CIA’s behalf and with CIA protection. In a previous issue of FTW (7/98) we reported at length how and why we believed that evidence existed that CIA ordered the deaths of American POWs to prevent their repatriation and eventual disclosure of CIA criminal activities.

When FTW first learned that the Tailwind cases had been settled we also heard something else, utter silence from the allegedly offended party who screamed bloody murder when the stories first aired – John Singlaub. That suggested to us that April Oliver might have emerged victorious. Inasmuch as additional public vindication was one of the main objectives sought by Singlaub when he sued Oliver, the fact that the settlements deny him that objective only increased our suspicions. Reading the text of Moorer’s deposition then convinced us.

Following the Tailwind stories I had the opportunity to meet with Oliver several times in person and was a guest on a radio talk show program with her. I found her documentation to be meticulous and unassailable. One of the reasons for this was that, as she alleged in her counter suit against both Singlaub and CNN, Singlaub himself had been a confidential source for the story originally. He had violated that confidentiality agreement when he initiated suits against her and CNN. Also, Oliver stated that she had submitted the entire script of the Tailwind segment to Moorer and secured his approval of the script before the broadcast. Moorer admitted to that meeting.

Moorer’s repeated insistence under oath that John Singlaub never lied and that anything he said could always be totally trusted was put to the test when Oliver’s attorney confronted Moorer with his own confirmation of statements made by Singlaub that defectors were a high priority target. A number of people present in the room, including Singlaub, Singlaub’s attorney and what FTW took to be a CIA handler for Moorer named Rudi Gresham, appeared to be caught off-guard by the accurate detail contained in contemporaneous notes taken by Oliver during her interviews with both Moorer and Singlaub. Those notes had been stored, apparently unnoticed, in CNN files after the broadcast.

Also at issue in the suits was CNN’s questionable act of hiring so-called “First Amendment Champion,” attorney Floyd Abrams to represent Oliver without advising her that he was also representing the network. CNN rushed into initial agreements that left Oliver and associates twisting in the breeze while saving Ted Turner’s bacon in the wake of his fawning public apology for a crime his vaunted network never really committed in the first place. CNN regularly uses military satellites for live news feeds and a source inside CNN advised us that the military had threatened to pull the plug if Turner did not kill the stories.

FTW is aware of other cases like that of Los Angeles air freight contractor Irwin Rautenberg who have won suits against the government and the CIA for illegal activities wherein the essential ingredient for settlement was that the victor remain absolutely silent about the victory. The basic rule would be something like, “You can fight City Hall but no one can ever know that you won because then everyone would do it.”

Coverage of the settlements of the lawsuits has apparently been limited to brief stories in the Associated Press and TV Guide. FTW has contacted Oliver on several occasions but she has steadfastly refused to discuss or even hint at the nature of the settlements. However, she has told FTW that her personal life is fine and that – absolutely apart from the settlements – she and her husband have just purchased a new car and are have placed a contract on a six bedroom, five bathroom house in Bethesda, Maryland where her daughter will attend public school.

Having been a guest in April’s current home I can only state that the Oliver family has apparently not suffered as a result of the settlement. Oliver has not disclosed her future plans but FTW wishes her and her family all the best.

Ms Oliver adds that she unequivocally and wholeheartedly stands by her original stories – as she produced them.

Michael C. Ruppert Publisher/Editor From The Wilderness

[The Moorer affidavit is available for download, free of charge, at the web site. Moorer’s stunning revelations begin on page/section 0217.]


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