[sixties-l] Fwd: US Govt Murdered GI's in Laos: Adm. Moorer

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Wed Jul 19 2000 - 21:10:21 CUT

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    >Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2000 22:57:09 -0500 (CDT)
    >From: webmaster <pnews@pnews.org>
    >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
    > defectors?"
    >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
    > eliminated?
    >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
    > lives?
    >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
    > village?
    >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
    > objective?
    >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
    > over."
    >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?
    >MOORER: "Yes."
    >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
    > used."
    >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?"
    >MOORER: "Yes."
    >QUESTION: How many Americans' lives were
    > saved by this weapon?
    >MOORER: "I don't want to speculate on that."
    >SEE PNEWS ARCHIVES for previous articles about Tailwind -->
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