>Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2000 22:57:09 -0500 (CDT)
>From: webmaster <email@example.com>
>Subject: Tailwind Revisited: US Govt Murdered GI's in Laos: Adm. Moorer
>Use of Sarin and Killing American in Laos
>Excerpt from General Moorer's July 17th (2000) deposition.
>MOORER: "Generally SOG's objectives
> was to locate personnel such as defectors or
> Laotian military or track NVA movements within
> Laos. Tactics -- I did not get involved with
> exactly how they did it. I knew what they were
> trying to do. But I was too busy. I had the
> Israeli problem to worry about. I didn't go into
> detail on exactly how they would do it. It was
> not the only such mission of its kind.
> "Compartmentalization is key here. I
> didn't even tell General Abrams about when I was
> going to mine Haifong Harbor because I was too
> worried about leaks. That would have been
> disastrous. Leaks were always a problem.
> I can also remember talking about the Christmas bombing
> with Nixon. He asked me if there was a leak or
> not. And I promised him it wouldn't."
>QUESTION: Now you had told us before the CIA was involved
> in this operation. Was it the CIA's job to track
>MOORER: "Yeah, trying to track defectors was one
> of the jobs but it had several jobs. Again, I
> knew the general overall task on this mission.
> But I did not know about the tactics."
>QUESTION: But was the mission at hand here to try
> and kill these defectors, that they were creating
> a real military problem that had to be
>MOORER: "I told you before that I would not
> hesitate to use any tactic or weapon to save
> American lives....One of the breaks we have had in
> the last" -- "best few weeks is locating several
> SOG recon teams who were sitting on the ridge line
> surrounding the village base camp where the
> defectors were. They report back to headquarters
> that there are roundeyes or longshadows in that
> village. At least one person we have talked to
> observing the camp says they were walking about
> unfettered, freely mixing with locals...."
>QUESTION: So killing these defectors was the
> mission? And it was done to protect American
>MOORER: "Yes, I have no doubt about that."
>QUESTION: Why not capture?
>MOORER: "Well, you would have to examine that possibility.
> You would have to see to it.....see if it was possible to
> capture them and bring them out. If it was
> impossible, then you can't leave them out there.
>QUESTION: You would have to eliminate them?
>MOORER: "Yes. Elimination was successful in
> this case? I say Yes. But again, I do
> not remember the specifics of this action. I am
> the aware of the fact that there was this
> objective in Laos."
>QUESTION: Our understanding when you mention a
> large group, is that there were as many as 20 in
> this village. Isn't 20 a large group, and isn't
> that memorable?
>MOORER: "That's a very large group. Probably
> others had been picked up by the Russians. They
> really liked electronic repairmen. The NVA really
> liked getting their hands on them. They would
> treat them nicely.....The problem at the outset of the
> operation, now again I did not get an exact
> rundown on the tactics of it, but there were
> people mixed up with the locals. It is very
> difficult to capture such people as a group,
> especially if it's a big group. Now, I'm sure
> that there would be an effort to capture them
> alive. If they could capture them alive, they
> would do it. Because we would want to interrogate
> them about the other side.
>QUESTION: Is communications, codes, signal
> interpretation what was going on in this specific
>MOORER: "I think it could have been.
> The enemy would interrogate them in detail. But
> the enemy would get useful information out of them
> and do anything to get them to turn. And if they
> could get them to do something useful, they would
> do anything to keep them cooperative, even serve
> them ice cream."
>QUESTION: You mean drugs, women and so forth?"
>MOORER: "Drugs, yes. Women, I don't know about. Have you
> ever seen the women over there?"
>QUESTION: When the Tailwind hatchet force hit the
> ground the defectors went scrambling into a
> defensive perimeter around the base camp. Does
> that make them enemy?
>MOORER: "If they are participating
> in a defense and you are on the offense, then of
> course. No holds barred."
>QUESTION: Wouldn't the White House have to
> approve such an operation to go after defectors?
>MOORER: "There's a lot of people in the White House."
>QUESTION: Specifically did NSA Kissinger know and approve it?
>MOORER: "He would be generally aware. That would
> be......That would be a member of the National
> Security Council staff that would know....There
> would be a member of the National Security Council
> staff that would know" what Kissinger knew and so on.....
> The CIA gives the President a report every day on what they
> do. They give him the key points in intelligence.
> There could have been a CIA action officer on the
> National Security Council that would have had that
> conversation. I don't know."
>QUESTION: Was it your
> understanding that the SOG team achieved their
>MOORER: "I don't know about achieve. I knew
> about the problem. And I knew when the operation
> Was finished. I didn't analyze the details.
> There was no hooray, hooray, we've won."
>QUESTION: Now, about the mission completed. It's
> got to be a difficult choice. On the one hand,
> those defectors are somebody's father or child.
> On the other hand they are a huge military
> headache and need to be taken care of. Is there a
> moral choice here, any ambivalence?
>MOORER: "When you go into a fight it is life or death.
> You can't ease up on an operation.
> You can't go in with sentiment.
>QUESTION: How can you be sure that there were not
> POWs there? The hatchet force team was told to go
> in and shoot anything that moves. They wouldn't
> be told that if they were POWs there, would they?
>MOORER: "Now you're getting into the rules of
> engagement. Every combat force gets information
> on the rules of engagement. We had terrible rules
> of engagement during the Vietnam War. The rules
> of engagement tell you who to shoot and who not to
> shoot. Sometimes it comes down that all right,
> all targets are okay."
>QUESTION: Is our number of about 15 defectors
> killed about right?"
>MOORER: "I do not know if there were 20 or 15. But there was
> a group...... "Defectors are deserters.
> And they were out there seeking the best way to
> stay alive until they could escape and go home.
> They were in my opinion probably deserters that,
> after all, this war was unique. There was no
> public support for it. Soldiers came back in
> uniform, were booed.....These people apparently couldn't
> take it anymore. They said, I'll escape. Going into
> Laos is not the same as the Germans...they endeavored to
> make their way back home through Laos. And they were
> picked up by Laotian military people. And they
> were biding their time until the war was over.
> And they could make an escape back to the United
> States..... "In order to surv they were cooperating with the
> enemy, doing things, to get through this stage and achieve
> their hope of getting home. They had set about
> doing things that would not displease their
> captors.....displease their captors. They were
> collaborators. They did not wave the Laotian
> flag, but they did not want to be eliminated.
> They were taking the long range view....
> They all got together and somehow
> decided how to survive until they could get out.
> They knew it would not have been effective to have
> attacked their captors. They did not have the
> equipment and in that situation that could not
> escape. If they had to in some way assist their
> captors they would do it to survive....the enemy
> would give them a job that they were fully
> conservant with and also give them food. And they
> would do anything to survive until the war was
>QUESTION: How many were there in general?
> Singlaub has given us a figure of 23 and someone
> else has said 300 and so on.
>MOORER: "But there is no way that I can really give you accurate
> figures on that. Even today, several bodies are disputed. I
> tell you this, one figure is too low and the other
> is too high. It's someplace in the middle....Many of the
> missing on the missing list are truly missing. Not every
> missing person is a defector. There is not a reliable source
> of figures on this. It depends on who is computing
> the information and how they handle the inferences."
>QUESTION: We have been told, including
> by Singlaub, that killing defectors, that
> defectors were always a top priority target for SOG.
>MOORER: "Yes, I think so. You can rely on
> Singlaub. He was heavy into this from the start.
> He would have no reason to misinform you...
> ....But the conventional forces might be
> more apt to take a defector prisoner....It's on a
> case by case basis. You get into the game here."
>QUESTION: The PR game?
>MOORER: "PR game here. You can't have soldiers
> writing home, dear mom, yesterday I saw a defector
> and he was American but we had to shoot him. That
> would hit the papers sooner or later and LBJ would be mad."
>QUESTION: So a big PR problem?
>MOORER: "Sure...... Many mothers and fathers do not believe
> their sons would defect. If you kill a defector, you have a
> big PR problem."
>QUESTION: Because of the PR problem wit defectors, that is why the
> operation was given to a black operation like SOG?
>QUESTION: Turning now to another subject matter, the gas. We discussed
> CBU 15, which is GB, which is sarin when we last met.
> I have been talking to lots and lots of Air Force
> people. And specifically to 30 different A1
> pilots based at NKP. And they say that they had
> this weapon and used it a lot on search and rescue, SARs.
>MOORER: "That's right....."
>QUESTION: The sun is going down. The pilot is
> surrounded. In moments he will be captured and
> killed. They drop the CBU 15. But what is
> dramatic is that sometimes the pilot on the ground
> might not have a gas mask. How would it be
> decided to use such a weapon in that situation?
>MOORER: "Well, the weapon had to be on the
> airplane to begin with. The pilots would have had
> sufficient information that this weapon was needed
> to remove this threat. But the pilot would not
> want to kill his objective -- the downed man. You
> can't go dropping weapons like this willy-nilly."
>QUESTION: How do you decide whether to drop the weapon?
>MOORER: "It depends on good communication
> between the man on the ground. Hopefully the
> pilot can tell you, I'm just behind the big oak
> tree, up the hill. The pilots would have to know
> they have a good chance of attacking without
> killing him. There is no point in killing him
> while trying to save him....The key to that decision
> depends on sufficient communications to pinpoint his
> position. And if that is the case, and they are
> confident, then the attack would take place and
> the helicopter would make the pickup while the
> results of the attack is debilitating the enemy.
> You would not want to use the weapon unless you
> know exactly where he was. If he gets killed it's
> a lost cause."
>QUESTION: Some describe a situation in which the gas would be dropped
> enemy... "The sun is going down. The gas
> could prevent the capture of another POW who would
> then not give info to the enemy. And it would
> kill a lot of enemy and keep them from gaining the
> radios and other weapons on the aircraft. So the
> pilots would drop the weapon in the hope of
> preventing a capture, as a sort of prophylactic,
> even if it killed the airman."
>MOORER: "Well, one important factor here is the
> wind. It's important to talk to the pilots to
> make sure you drop the weapon downwind. You
> obviously want to drop downwind from where he is.
> You want to make sure the wind is not blowing over
> him. But the decision to use the weapon or not is
> an on-the-scene decision. There are three or four
> vital pieces of information what to do. And if
> the wind is right and communication is good, I
> would be included to go ahead with the attack."
>QUESTION: Now, turning to Tailwind for a
> moment, one of the new pieces of information we
> have is that A1s had prepped the camp where the
> defectors were based the night before the SOG team
> attacked. We've been told CBU 15 was used in
> preparing the camp. Are you aware of that? Does
> that fit with what you said earlier about any
> weapon, any tactic, and so on, "in saving an
> American life?"
>MOORER: "I do not know this for sure. I know
> they were trying to....what they were trying to
> do there. I do not know exactly how they did it.
> But the fact that this was an unconventional
> operation, yes, I tried to use every capability
> and facility to ensure success....."
>QUESTION: And so prepping the camp with gas
> was a part of the battle plan?"
>MOORER: "Fundamentally what you described is aimed at saving American
> lives. I have no problem with it...."
>QUESTION: One pilot told me he flew the weapon 15
> different times. There are 60 or so pilots at NKP
> who fly A1s. Could this weapon have been used
> more than a hundred times?"
>MOORER: "I don't have the figure....I can comfortably say that if a
> pilot was involved in a SAR operation, then he probably
> flew it. I think it could be useful in a lot of
> those operations. I'm not aware of how many times it was
>QUESTION: We have heard the weapon was generally available from
> '69 to '70."
>MOORER: "I do not know the exact dates of
> the weapon in the area. I am not aware
> specifically. Let me say this. It was definitely
> available in the Vietnam War, which is a much
> bigger operation than you realize.
>QUESTIN: Would the White House be aware?
>MOORER: "Someone on NSA staff would be aware....I'm sure he had a
> briefing. He was generally briefed on all weapons
> in Southeast Asia. And I'm not sure he thought
> about it seriously. It was just another weapon in
> war. He was told what its characteristics are.
> But in the broadest sense the U.S. was not to
> initiate gas warfare."
>QUESTION: But you told me before the NVA didn't use gas.
>MOORER: "That's true. What I mean is that we
> would not initiate in terms of regiment versus
> regiment or division versus division. But when
> you get into special operations, that's another
> question. If the weapon could save American
> lives, I would never hesitate to use it."
>QUESTION: And did it save American lives in Laos?"
>QUESTION: How many Americans' lives were
> saved by this weapon?
>MOORER: "I don't want to speculate on that."
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