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Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2002 18:41:57 -0800
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Adhering To Their Enemies: Jane Fonda in North Vietnam
"Adhering To Their Enemies": Jane Fonda in North Vietnam
By Henry Mark Holzer
FrontPageMagazine.com | March 15, 2002
Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from Henry Mark Holzer's new
book Aid and Comfort: Jane Fonda in North Vietnam.
ON JULY 11, 1972, a confidential cable from the American embassy in
Vientiane, Laos, to the Secretary of State in Washington, the United States
delegation at the Paris peace talks, the Commander-in-Chief of Pacific
Forces, and our embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam revealed the following:
Subject: Travel to NVN: Jane Fonda
As Dept is likely aware from press reports, actress Jane Fonda arrived in
Hanoi 8 July via Aeroflot from Moscow. Subject was not carried as
passenger on Aeroflot manifest deposited during Vientiane transit morning
July 8 nor did she disembark to transit lounge.
Fonda had left the United States, traveled to Paris, and, fittingly, flown
from there to Moscow. Boarding an Aeroflot flight in the Soviet Capital,
apparently incognito, she remained on the airplane when it landed in
supposedly neutral Laos, and exited only when she arrived in Hanoi, North
Vietnam. "Clad in black pajamas [typically worn by the Viet Cong in the
South] and a white tunic, Jane stepped off her Aeroflot jet on July 8,
1972. . . . She arrived, she told her uniformed, helmeted hosts, with
'greetings' from revolutionary 'comrades' in America."
Fonda had come to Hanoi as had Tom Hayden, Joan Baez, and other Americans
before her willingly and knowingly to provide grist for the North
Vietnamese propaganda mill.
As we noted in the previous chapter, despite the "public relations" risk of
torturing American prisoners of war, the North Vietnamese chanced it
because of the high value they placed on propaganda. At no time was this
more apparent than in 1967, when the Communists opened yet another POW
facility in Hanoi this one devoted specifically to the production and
dissemination of propaganda. Among its several prisoner-given names, it is
probably best known as the "Plantation." "The Vietnamese converted a
portion of the facility into a Potemkin village of sanitized cells, garden
patches, and scrubbed corridors that would serve as a showplace for
displaying the captives to visiting delegations and conducting photo
sessions and other propaganda activities."
The POWs, however, were not going to play Hanoi's propaganda game. As
we've seen, they resisted torture as best they could. Another method of
thwarting the Communists' propaganda plans was self-defacement.
Stockdale was convinced that officials at the Hilton were after him to make
a movie for PW consumption in which he advised junior officers to cooperate
with the captors. To defeat the plan, he tried fasting, then disfigured
himself by chopping his hair and scalp with a razor and, when the
Vietnamese requisitioned a hat, pounding his face with a stool and against
the wall until he was unfit to be photographed or filmed. But the best
counterextortion technique proved to be the self-defacement. Painful as it
was he had to "freshen" his bruises with his fists to keep his eyelids
swollen and cheekbones mashed it allowed him to regain some measure of
control from his tormentors.
Yet, in the face of the heroic, mostly successful, efforts of American POWs
to deny the North Vietnamese their much-needed propaganda victories by
taking indescribable torture, by voluntarily defacing themselves, by seeing
the Plantation for what it was and acting accordingly, and by every other
means open to them Jane Fonda handed her Communist hosts a pro-Communist,
anti-American propaganda coup.
Why? Again, Fonda biographer Peter Collier understood what was driving the
actress-turned-militant: "When she arrived in Hanoi, Jane was as malleable
as she had been when she returned to the United States after her Paris
exile two years earlier ready to find her relevance in the use others
could make of her."
And use her, to good effect, the "others" the Communists
would. Indeed, as we shall see in this chapter and even more in the next,
the use to which the North Vietnamese put Fonda ^× with her knowing consent
and active participation gave them what they needed: legitimacy and
Once Fonda was in Hanoi, her Communist hosts laid on a full schedule for
their American comrade who had come halfway around the world to assist them
in their international propaganda efforts.
In the years since Fonda's July 1972 pilgrimage to Hanoi, there have been
many reports of what she did there. Some have been accurate, some
not. Since our opinion that she could have been indicted and tried for
treason rests mostly on Fonda's actual pro-Communist, anti-American,
propaganda broadcasts and her other conduct in North Vietnam, it is
essential to get the facts down correctly. Principally, Fonda's activities
in North Vietnam fell into four categories. (1) broadcasts some live and
some taped under the auspices of Radio Hanoi; (2) meetings with senior
Communist officials; (3) tours of civilian and military sites; (4) an
"interview" with seven American prisoners of war.
To set the record straight, let's begin with the broadcasts, which, outside
a few government agencies, have never been heard in the United States in
their entirety. Indeed, few people outside of government have ever even
read the transcripts. There are two categories: (1) Fonda's broadcasts to
American military personnel, and (2) her broadcasts targeted to others.
>From her broadcasts it is apparent that Fonda was addressing not only
every American serviceman and woman (enlisted and officer) on the ground in
Vietnam and on ships off the coast, but also South Vietnamese soldiers and
civilians as well. Her broadcasts were beamed to the jungles of the South,
the prisons of the North, and even to Eastern (that is, Communist) Europe.
To the extent there may be any sympathy at all for Fonda among Americans,
it's probably because they've never known what she actually said in Hanoi,
and what was attributed to her. The list follows:
American pilots were bombing non-military targets, such as hospitals,
villages, schools, factories, pagodas, theaters, and dikes.
Americans were using "illegal, outlawed weapons," including chemical bombs
and chemical toxic gases.
Ordering the use of, and using, these weapons makes one a "war criminal."
In the past, users of such weapons were "tried and executed."
The Vietnamese people were peasants, leading a peaceful bucolic life before
the Americans came to destroy Vietnam.
The Vietnamese seek only "freedom and independence," which the United
States wants to prevent them from having.
The Vietnamese fighters are her "friends."
The million infantry troops the United States put into Vietnam, and the
Vietnamization program, have failed.
The United States seeks to turn Vietnam into a "neocolony."
Patrick Henry's slogan "liberty or death" was not very different from Ho
Chi Minh's "Nothing is more valuable than independence and freedom."
Her meeting with seven "U.S. aggressor pilots" found them "healthy and
Nixon violated the 1954 Geneva Accords.
Vietnam is "one nation, one country."
The Communists' proposal for ending the war is "fair, sensible, reasonable
The United States must get out of South Vietnam, and "cease its support for
the . . . Thieu regime."
"I want to publicly accuse Nixon here of being a new-type Hitler whose
crimes are being unveiled."
"The Vietnamese people will win."
"Nixon is continuing to risk your [American pilots] lives and the lives of
the American prisoners of war . . . in a last desperate gamble to keep his
office come November. How does it feel to be used as pawns? You may be
shot down, you may perhaps even be killed, but for what, and for whom?"
"Can you justify what you are doing?"
Nixon "defiles our flag and all that it stands for in the eyes of the
"Knowing who was doing the lying, should you then allow these same people
and some liars to define for you who your enemy is?
"If they told you the truth, you wouldn't fight, you wouldn't kill."
"Our parents were having to pay in order to finance, to buy weapons for the
French to kill the Vietnamese people."
American troops are fighting for ESSO, Shell and Coca-Cola.
"Should we be fighting on the side of the people who are, who are murdering
innocent people, should we be trying to defend a government in Saigon which
is putting in jail tens of thousands of people into the tiger cages,
beating them, torturing them. . . And I don't think . . . that we should
be risking our lives or fighting to defend that kind of government."
"I am very honored to be a guest in your country, and I loudly condemn the
crimes that have been committed by the U.S. Government in the name of the
American people against your country."
"We have understood that we have a common enemy U.S. imperialism."
"We have followed closely the encroachment of the American cancer in the
southern part of your country, especially around Saigon. And we hope very
soon that, working together, we can remove this cancer from your country .
"We thank you [the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese] for your brave and
"Nixon's aggression against Vietnam is a racist aggression, [and] the
American war in Vietnam is a racist war, a white man's war . . ."
Soldiers of the South Vietnamese army "are being sent to fight a war that
is not in your interests but is in the interests of the small handful of
people who have gotten rich and hope to get richer off this war and the
turning of your country into a neocolony of the United States."
"We read with interest about the growing numbers of you [South Vietnam Army
troops] who are understanding the truth and joining with your fellow
countrymen to fight for freedom and independence and democracy. We note
with interest, for example, that as in the case of the 56th Regiment of the
3d Division of the Saigon Army, ARVN soldiers are taken into the ranks of
the National Liberation Front, including officers who may retain their
rank. We think that this is an example of the fact that the democratic,
peace-loving, patriotic Vietnamese people want to embrace all Vietnamese
people in forgiveness, open their arms to all people who are willing to
fight against the foreign intruder."
"We know what lies in store for any third world country that could have the
misfortune of falling into the hands of a country such as the United States
and becoming a colony."
"The only way to end the war is for the United States to withdraw all its
troops, all its airplanes, its bombs, its generals, its CIA advisors and to
stop the support of the Thieu regime in Saigon . . ."
"There is only one way to stop Richard Nixon from committing mass genocide
in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and that is for a mass protest . . .
to expose his crimes . . ."
"In 1969-1970 the desertions in the American army tripled. The desertions
of the U.S. soldiers almost equaled the desertions from the ARVN army . . ."
Although "we do not condone the killing of American officers . . . we do
support the soldiers who are beginning to think for themselves."
American soldiers in Vietnam discovered "that their officers were
incompetent, usually drunk . . ."
"Perhaps the soldiers . . . who have suffered the most . . . [are] the
black soldiers, the brown soldiers, and the red and Asian soldiers."
Recently I talked to "a great many of these guys and they all expressed
their recognition of the fact that this is a white man's war, a white
businessman's war, that they don't feel it's their place to kill other
people of color when at home they themselves are oppressed and prevented
from determining their own lives."
"I heard horrifying stories about the treatment of women in the U.S.
military. So many women said to me that one of the first things that
happens to them when they enter the service is that they are taken to see
the company psychiatrist and they are given a little lecture which is made
very clear to them that they are there to service the men."
"I think Richard Nixon would do well to read Vietnamese history,
particularly their poetry, and particularly the poetry written by Ho Chi
On that literary suggestion, we can end this summary of Fonda's propaganda
statements in Hanoi.
Fonda's own words . . . make plain beyond any reasonable doubt the intent
and import of her statements. They contained lies about the United States,
its leaders, their motives, and their acts. They maligned the President of
the United States. They spouted the Communist propaganda line in every
respect. They sought to undermine the morale and military effort of our
soldiers in the field and our prisoners in jungle camps and North
And her words even encouraged mutiny and desertion.
That there was a consistent pro-Communist, anti-American, propaganda theme
to virtually everything uttered by Fonda in her broadcasts from Hanoi, that
Fonda's statements reveal a clear intent to aid the North Vietnamese and
injure the United States, cannot be disputed.
Although more detailed analyses of Fonda's Hanoi propaganda statements are
found in the next chapter, which address her statements' impact, it is
useful to emphasize a related point here. Consider some of the statements
made by this young actress who lacked political sophistication, who was
ignorant of history, who had an almost non-existent knowledge of
international affairs, and who probably had never before written anything
more complicated than a check: "neocolonialism," the 1954 Geneva Accords,
what constituted a military target, different types of aircraft and
ordnance, the "Anglico" reference, and more. It is obvious that in Hanoi,
Jane Fonda was acting as a willing tool of the Communists, to a
considerable extent simply reading "canned" material created by
professional Communist propagandists (albeit perhaps with an occasional
ad-lib). Indeed, some of the words and syntax are those of a person or
persons for whom English was not a first language, and it is doubtful that
the political language came from Fonda herself.
But Fonda's broadcasts were not her only statements in aid of the North
Vietnamese. In addition to the live broadcasts made by Fonda on Hanoi
Radio, and replayed endlessly not only throughout Vietnam but also within
the Northern prison camps, she made many other statements while being
escorted around the city and its environs to view what her hosts claimed
were bombed-out civilian installations like schools and
hospitals. Examples abound. She was taken to a hamlet called Hong Phong,
and afterward the North Vietnamese issued a news release saying that the
day before Fonda's visit American bombing had killed two elderly people
and adding that "Jane Fonda felt great indignation at the U.S. attack on
civilian populations." As some of her propaganda broadcasts indicated, she
"was taken to see dikes allegedly destroyed the day before. 'In her
assessment,' read the Hanoi news release, 'the U.S. had made deliberate
attacks on dikes to jeopardize life and terrorize the people.' At a press
conference she said that every evidence of bombing that she had seen was
directed at a nonmilitary target."
As to Fonda's tours, it is noteworthy that virtually on her first day in
Hanoi she was taken to the North Vietnam Communists' "War Crimes" museum,
which displayed ordnance and artifacts allegedly used by American forces in
But even worse than her "War Crimes" museum tour, Fonda's most notorious
visit was to the site of a Communist antiaircraft gun, which was used to
blast American pilots and their planes out of the sky. Even many of
Fonda's supporters were shocked and disgusted to see the helmeted Fonda
smiling, clapping, shaking hands, and otherwise fraternizing with the
weapon's crew. Film of this episode makes clear beyond any doubt
whatsoever that Fonda was enjoying herself greatly; indeed, she looks
nearly orgiastic. Fraternizing with the gun crew was obscene enough. But
then Fonda climbed into the anti-aircraft weapon's control seat, put her
eye to the sight, and feigned taking a bead on imaginary American
aircraft. The Communist crew smiled and applauded. The North Vietnamese
propagandists had a field-day, and French and other cameramen distributed
the film worldwide. The photo's caption reads: "American actress and
activist Jane Fonda is surrounded by soldiers and reporters as she sings an
anti-war song near Hanoi during the Vietnam War in July 1972. Fonda,
seated on an anti-aircraft gun, is here to 'encourage' North Vietnamese
soldiers fighting against 'American Imperialist Airraiders.' She is
wearing a helmet and Vietnamese-made ao-dai pantaloon and blouse."
In addition to this photo-op, there were many others with "workers,
peasants, students, artists and dancers, historians, journalists, film
actresses, soldiers, militia girls, members of the women's union, writers"
especially when Fonda met and socialized with high-ranking North
Vietnamese officials. At the end of her trip, she spent some time with
Nguyen Duy Trinh, Vice Premier of North Vietnam. Fonda "told him that she
was deeply impressed by the Vietnamese people's determination to emerge
victorious. She also told the Vice Premier that his people would
'certainly triumph' over the Americans."
Even worse than Fonda's broadcasts, her photo-op tours, and her chumminess
with North Vietnamese Communists, was her encounter with American POWs
being held captive in Hanoi. Since one of the two essential elements of
the crime of treason is "adhering" to the enemy that is, committing an
"overt act" it is unfortunate that there has been so much erroneous
reportage about Fonda's interaction with American POWs in Hanoi. The fact
is that Fonda is not guilty of certain acts attributed to her, but she is
certainly guilty of others.
Let's set the record straight. It has been reported in recent years on the
Internet that POWs surreptitiously slipped Fonda messages which she turned
over to the North Vietnamese. That story is false. Also untrue is that
any POW died for refusing to meet with Fonda.
It is true, however, that POWs were unwillingly made to meet with Fonda.
Needless to say, Fonda quickly lied about her meeting with the Hanoi Hilton
POWs, continuing to parrot the North Vietnamese propaganda line:
This is Jane Fonda speaking from Hanoi. "Yesterday evening . . . I had the
opportunity of meeting seven U.S. pilots. Some of them were shot down as
long ago as 1968 and some of them had been shot down very recently. They
are all in good health. We had a very long talk, a very open and casual
talk. We exchanged ideas freely. They asked me to bring back to the
American people their sense of disgust of the war and their shame for what
they have been asked to do.
They told me that the pilots believe they are bombing military targets.
They told me that the pilots are told that they are bombing to free their
buddies down below, but, of course, we all know that every bomb that falls
on North Vietnam endangers the lives of the American prisoners.
They asked me: What can you do? They asked me to bring messages back to
their loved ones and friends, telling them to please be as actively
involved in the peace movement as possible, to renew their efforts to end
One of the men who has been in the service for many, many years has written
a book about Vietnamese history, and I thought that this was very moving,
that during the time he's been here, and the time that he has had to
reflect on what he has been through and what he has done to this country,
he has his thought has turned to this country, its history of struggle
and the people that live here.
They all assured me that they have been well cared for. They they listen
to the radio. They receive letters. They are in good health. They asked
about news from home.
I think we all shared during the time I spent with them a sense of of
deep sadness that a situation like this has to exist, and I certainly felt
from them a very sincere desire to explain to the American people that this
was is a terrible crime and that it must be stopped, and that Richard Nixon
is doing nothing except escalating it while preaching peace, endangering
their lives while saying he cares about the prisoners.
And I think that one of the things that touched me the most was that one of
the pilots said to me that he was reading a book called "The Draft," a book
written by the American Friends Service Committee [Quakers], and that in
reading this book, he had understood a lot about what had happened to him
as a human being in his 16 years of military service. He said that during
those 16 years, he had stopped relating to civilian life, he had forgotten
that there was anything else besides the military and he said in realizing
what had happened to him, he was very afraid that this was happening to
many other people.
I was very encouraged by my meeting with the pilots [because] I feel that
the studying and the reading that they have been doing during their time
here has taught them a great deal in putting the pieces of their lives back
together again in a better way, hopefully, and I am sure that when when
they go home, they will go home better citizens than when they left."
This live broadcast by Hanoi Jane, directed to American troops, free and
captive, throughout North Vietnam, was blatantly false.
The prisoners were not "all in good health."
Fonda did not have "a very long talk" with them.
The meeting was not "very open and casual."
They did not "exchange ideas freely."
The prisoners did not express "their sense of disgust of the war and their
shame for what they have been asked to do."
They did not ask Fonda to encourage their "loved ones and friends . . . to
please be as actively involved in the peace movement as possible."
They did not assure her "that they have been well cared for."
They did not express "a very sincere desire to explain to the American
people that this was a terrible crime and that it must be stopped, and that
Richard Nixon is . . . endangering their lives while saying he cares about
These lies were simply more canned North Vietnamese propaganda, broadcast
in furtherance of Fonda's intent to damage the United States and help the
Can it be said that these lies, and the rest of what Fonda said and did in
Hanoi, could have been construed by a jury as having provided "aid and
comfort" to our North Vietnamese enemy? We'll have the answer in the next
chapter. For now, suffice it to note the words of an American POW who
would later become a United States Congressman: In the summer of 1972, "the
voice of Jane Fonda hung in the air over Camp Unity. Our camp guards and
the commander were overjoyed to have a celebrity of her status come over
and align herself with their 'humane cause.' I'll never forget seeing a
picture of her seated on an antiaircraft gun, much like the one that had
shot my plane out of the air and given seven years of my life to the North
Vietnamese prison system. I stood in front of her photograph in a quiz
[interrogation] room and stared in disbelief until the twisting in my gut
made me turn away." While Sam Johnson was revolted by Fonda's visit, a
prominent North Vietnam colonel/"journalist," Bui Tin, saw the value of her
presence in Hanoi: "That visit and the support it showed had great impact
on the Vietnamese people ^Å We realized that there were two Americas one
who dropped bombs on us, and the other who had sympathy."
>From Paris, having spent nearly a month in North Vietnam consorting with
America's enemy ¾ by making broadcasts, by meeting with senior Communist
officials, by touring civilian and military sites, by "interviewing"
American prisoners of war ¾ Fonda returned to New York. She landed at
Kennedy Airport ¾ reportedly wearing the black pajamas and coolie hat of
the Viet Cong.
This excerpt is from Chapter 4 of "Aid and Comfort": Jane Fonda in North
Vietnam, a new book by Henry Mark Holzer, Professor Emeritus at Brooklyn
Law School, and Erika Holzer, a lawyer and novelist. Ordering information
may be obtained at www.hanoijane.net.
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