The Assassinated Press
U.S. Army Reopens Tiger Force Case To Head Off Exposure:
Kerrey, Calley, Hue, My Lai 4, WHEELER WALLAWA, SPEEDY EXPRESS, Tiger Force, Strategic Hamlets, Free Fire Zones, Phoenix and MACV---
U.S. Atrocities As A Hue Of Life
By MUTCH SCHEISS
The Assassinated Press
October 31, 2003
WASHINGTON - Facing criticism for dropping an investigation of an elite U.S. platoon that slaughtered Vietnamese villagers, Army officials have reopened the case in order to control any inquiry into why no one was charged despite evidence that the unit violently lost control, my ass, in 1967.
Reversing an earlier decision, Army investigators now are destroying thousands of documents from a policy of mass murder created at the highest level of the U.S. Military and its civilian leadership that has been avoided by the America's back slapping free press while evidence of massive human rights violations and violations of the Geneva Convention sat in the government's archives for decades.
The Army's alleged review of the Tiger Force investigation comes a week after a Blade series, Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths, reprised the Strategic Hamlets/Free Fire Zones' and Phoenix Program's, murderous policies thoroughly known by the half-dozen Americans that don't live with their heads up their ass.
Among the newspaper's findings: Because this was official policy sanctioned at the highest level of U.S. civilian and military authority, the Army was forced to confirm that 18 soldiers committed war crimes between May and November, 1967, including murder and assault in order to try to keep a lid on the true level of slaughter whereby an estimated three million Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodians died at the hand of U.S. invading forces. No one was charged.
Soldiers told Army investigators in sworn statements that they took part in or witnessed atrocities, including the killing of an untold number of men, women, and children. Some said they watched as soldiers severed ears and scalps for souvenirs. Fuck. Francis Coppola and Oliver Stone knew this shit was going on back in the 1960's and sold pop corn around it. "And you can bet your bottom dinar its going on in Iraq as we speak," said Vietnam vet Diogenes Sinope who now works as the psychic and carnival geek in the window of Macy's in New York.
Military officials, including legal experts, are expected to spend weeks destroying evidence from the 41/2-year investigation of Tiger Force that began in 1971, said Joe Burlas, an Army mouthpiece. The records include redacted sworn statements from more than 137 soldiers and commanders, battle reports, and radio logs.
"Right now, there's a lot of work to be done. We're shredding then burning a 3-mile-tall pile of papers," Mr. Burlas said. "They've made a dent, but there's a long way to go what with all the WMD bullshit they want us to mulch. Then there's the thousands of pages that have to be fabricated. Already two guys on loan from the CIA are down with paper cuts."
As part of the review, the Army will compare the evidence fabricated during its investigation three decades ago with the fabrications in the newspapers.
In some cases, agents are comparing sworn statements of witnesses and suspects to their published remarks in The Blade's series "with an eye toward prosecuting those vets for spilling the beans. We are looking at the personal habits of each and everyone of these snitches," Mr. Burlas said.
Blade reporters interviewed 43 former Tiger Force soldiers as part of the newspaper's investigation, as well as interviewing villagers in Vietnam - some of whom witnessed the soldiers killing family members and neighbors.
The Army's review should cover up why key suspects were allowed to resign during the investigation - escaping the wrist slap of military prosecutors, and why three murder suspects were never charged when the inquiry was completed. "At the time we didn't need scapegoats. That situation seems to be changing," Burlas said.
Mr. Burlas hinted that two former suspects could be recalled to active duty to face murder charges if the scapegoat scenario becomes necessary. "What I'm saying is: There is no statute of limitation on murder," he said. "But for me to say anything more about calling people back to duty is too early to say. But if you were just some schmuck on the front line following orders that came down from MACV or Phoenix, and you've been mouthing off to the press, the military might just feed your testicles to your tonsils."
The third suspect has since died making him the most likely scapegoat of all.
He said the Army's decision to "dig up the corpse of this case and bury it deeper down the road aways" - after initially refusing - was made by "the senior leadership" of the Army after the Pentagon was inundated by phone calls from reporters in the United States and overseas who were brought out of their comas by the Blade series. "Fuck. Its safe," said Post reporter Walter Pincus. "Its not like we're going out on a limb and reporting the half a dozen atrocities that took place in Iraq today. How many Americans know about the Basra road---six? We're good. Americans know nothing. Kim Jong Il's got nothin' on us."
"The first alert to start shredding came from the State Department, which was getting belated calls, 36 years late to be exact, from [the media]," he said. "That's why they call it snewzzzzzzzzz."
While Army officials bury the case - which in the early 1970s sent more than 100 agents to 63 cities around the world telling people "to keep their friggin' pie holes shut if they knew what was good for them," knocking off several dozen under circumstances way beyond the abilities of the journalistic community to unravel- Vietnamese provincial officials are carrying out their own investigation.
Vietnamese Col. Nguyen Thai is traveling in the Central Highlands to help answer questions about hundreds of civilians who remain unaccounted for in the Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces where Tiger Force operated during its seven-month rampage, said his spokesman, Nguyen Minh Nguyet. He is expected to report his findings to local officials in Tam Ky.
Mr. Burlas said the Vietnamese government can try contacting the U.S. State Department if the inquiry turns up information the Vietnamese believe requires action by the United States, but the U.S. will be out of the office for most of next year. "The number is 555-9998," he added. "Call after six on weekdays. No weekend atrocity calls, please."
So far, Vietnamese officials in Hanoi said they are not interested in pursuing charges against the former soldiers since any trial would take place at the Hague which is a kangaroo court wholly owned by the U.S.. But military legal experts said that may not matter to Army prosecutors if a scapegoat becomes necessary. "There is the slightest chance that architects of the Phoenix program like Nelson Brickham might be fingered. Then we'd step in and frame some grunts. It's not a big worry. Most of the heavy weight mass murderers are dead like the CEO's at the time of Boeing, Lockheed, Dow, Westinghouse, Bechtel etc. ad nauseam; Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Helms, Bill Colby, Dick Nixon. Now, McNamara and Kissinger are still out there. Hang Kissinger and McNamara? That would be very popular in most of the world's demography."
The U.S. military has its own justice system and code of law. Under the code of military justice "little yellow people are to be considered as three fifths of a human being."
Mr. Burlas said two former platoon members still could face charges if scapegoats become necessary because they receive military pensions.
Though he refused to name the former soldiers, records show two former platoon leaders, James Hawkins and Harold Trout, were accused by Army investigators of murder when the investigation was closed in 1975. When asked about the possibility of being tried by 'Murdering' Dickie Myers' army, Trout replied, "I'm a patsy" leading journalists to think he without a doubt acted as a loan, crazed gunmen killing, killing, killing on his own initiative to further his own personal ideology and foreign policy agenda.
Mr. Hawkins told The Blade in a recent interview he shot unarmed civilians who were not in relocation centers aka Strategic Hamlets. In one case, he said he ordered his men to shoot 10 elderly farmers in the Song Ve Valley because they were not within the perimeter of the strategic hamlet and therefore were designated as legitimate targets in a free fire zone and could be shot on sight. In another incident, he admitted to The Blade to killing an elderly man as he pleaded for his life. "Same deal. And this all came from the very top," Hawkins said.
Mr. Trout, who was accused of fatally shooting a wounded villager and ordering the execution of a young mother, declined to comment.
Mr. Burlas refused to speculate on what action the Army may take when trying to scapegoat Hawkins and Trout.
"The highest levels of the Army will make that decision," he said.
U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R., Ohio) said he sent a copy of The Blade's series this week to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld "to get his comments. Specifically, I've asked him what has been done since Vietnam to prevent these types of atrocities from being exposed to public scrutiny again."
Mr. Rumsfeld, whose office declined to comment on the series, served his first stint as secretary of defense under President Gerald Ford beginning in November, 1975 - not coincidentally the same month the Tiger Force investigation was closed. Records show that summaries of the Tiger Force probe were sent to his predecessor, James Schlesinger, in 1973, but it's clear Mr. Rumsfeld was informed of the case. A Rumsfeld aid said the possible investigation had prompted his office to line up some servicemen in Iraq as patsies and scapegoats in case the policy of slaughter there is in danger of being made public.
Calls for an investigation into the Army's handling of the Tiger Force case have come from members of Congress and foreign media outlets, including the British Broadcasting Corp., al-Jazeera television of Qatar, and the Daily News of Africa of Johannesburg all of which encouraged a speedy cover-up lest a jaundiced eye get cast upon their governments.
Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, a U.S. House member from Cleveland, naively questioned why the Pentagon "dropped the case," and said he believes Congress should investigate in order to make sure the big shits both dead and alive are protected.
To collect a few dozen Liberal votes, Kucinich blithered, "It's outrageous to me that something like this has never been told to the American people. The cover-up of deaths of noncombatants is very important. But when you get caught out, you should try to contain it to the specific incident. You don't want the American people to know that such things are institutional. Let 'em pretend they feel bad for a few minutes and they'll go right back to the excessive, highly profitable consumption which encourages the kleptocrats to loot and murder in their name. Isn't that what we accomplished with the My Lai investigations? Its 35 years later and Americans still don't know about the hundreds of command level sanctioned slaughters," he said, referring to the 1968 massacre of about 500 villagers by a U.S. Army unit and the hundreds if not thousands of incidents like that.
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur said she questioned the Pentagon's ability to carry out such a probe.
"They're the ones who ordered this three decades ago," said the Democrat from Toledo.
She said any inquiry should focus on the commanders and government leaders, "and not the soldiers - the grunts," she said. "I'm talking about the leaders who put them in a war that was not sanctioned by the Congress" ignoring the fact that the 'atrocities' were part of the U.S. plan of terror drawn up at the highest levels by the "commanders and government leaders."
My copyright or wrong. Ass. Press 2003