Swift Boat Veterans for Truth
"Sell Out" Advertisement
Dear Station Manager:
This letter provides the factual support for the advertisement "Sell Out" sponsored by
Swift Boat Veterans for Troth ("SBVT"), an independent organization which is organized under
section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code. SBVT acts independently of and is not affiliated with
any political party or candidate for public office. The organization is led by Rear Admiral Roy Hoffmann, USN (retired), Commander of all Swift boats in Vietnam during the period of John
Kerry's four-month tour in Swift boats between late November 1968 and mid-March 1969. A
list of the 254 members may be found on www.swiftvets.com. A large majority of those who served with John Kerry in Swift boats in Vietnam have joined the organization.
The purpose of SBVT is to add to the public debate essential information about John
Kerry's post-Vietnam charges of war crimes and John Kerry's own Vietnam record. SBVT is
uniquely positioned to do so since it includes most of the locatable sailors and officers who
served with John Kerry in Vietnam.
As the attached documents demonstrate, John Kerry helped shape the post-Vietnam debate by attacking Vietnam Veterans as war criminals before the United States Senate and on nationally televised news programs. In 1971, he alleged that American forces engaged in war crimes such as rape, mutilation, and torture. John Kerry implied that these acts were perpetrated by the men present at the "Winter Soldier" meeting in Detroit and others on a regular basis with the full knowledge of the chain of command. These sweeping, false charges launched John Kerry's political career, and while political posturing now compels him to say that some of his statements were "over the top," the members of SBVT and other veterans to this day feel the pain and disgrace that John Kerry inflicted on them by making those statements. The American public needs to know the full story behind the picture John Kerry has painted throughout his political career and, most recently, at last month's Democratic National Convention. This advertisement educates the American public about this important issue.
A transcript of the advertisement entitled "Sell Out" is attached as Exhibit 1. The
advertisement uses an audio recording of the April 22, 1971 statements John Kerry made before
the United States Committee on Foreign Affairs -- the infamous "Winter Soldier" testimony.
John Kerry begins his testimony by stating that he speaks for a larger group of veterans who
would provide the same testimony. He also states that veterans who participated in the Winter
Soldier meeting in Detroit discussed war crimes that were "not isolated incidents but crimes
committed on a day-to-day basis with full awareness of officers at all levels of command."
(Exhibit 2) In short, John Kerry was not just commenting on the war crimes of the men who
participated in the Winter Soldier meeting in Detroit; he presented the allegations of war crimes to the United States Senate as facts.
In addition to his Senate testimony, John Kerry made similar allegations of "war crimes"
on the April 18, 1971 edition of NBC News Meet The Press. Specifically, he stated:
"There are all kinds of atrocities and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free-fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50-caliber machine guns which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took
part in search-and-destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare. All of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down. And I believe that the men who designed
these, the men who designed the free-fire zone, the men who ordered us, the men who signed off the air raid strike areas, I think these men, by the letter of the law, the same letter of the law that tried Lieutenant Calley, are war criminals."
NBC News Meet The Press, April 18, 2004 (replaying NBC News Meet The Press, Apri1 18, 1971). (Exhibit 3) Accordingly, the portion of John Kerry's testimony used in the advertisement accurately captures his public testimony. Significantly, neither Kerry nor his campaign have ever supported these public charges with any evidence or eyewitness accounts.
The advertisement intersperses Kerry's Senate testimony with statements from three Vietnam veterans concerning their personal reactions to John Kerry's "war crimes" allegations. The men featured iti the advertisement are Vietnam veterans who have earned the right to voice
their opinions about John Kerry's false allegations. Paul Galanti served as a naval aviator in Vietnam and was held by the North Vietnamese as a Prisoner of War ("POW") for six years and eight months. He was in a North Vietnamese prison camp on the day John Kerry testified before the Senate. (Exhibit 4) Ken Cordier served as an Air Force fighter pilot in Vietnam and was held by the North Vietnamese as a POW for six years and three months. Mr. Cordier was also in a North Vietnamese prison camp on the day John Kerry testified before the Senate. (Exhibit 5) Joseph Ponder is a disabled Vietnam veteran of Coastal Division 11 -- the same Swift Boat division that John Kerry served in during his four-month tour of duty in Vietnam, (Exhibit 6)
SBVT's advertisement serves an important function in the public debate by educating the general public about John Kerry's anti-war activities, false war crimes allegations, and the effect
these activities had on the men who served in Vietnam. The advertisement intersperses John
Kerry's own voice giving his testimony before the United States Senate with the reactions of
Vietnam veterans to the false allegations that they committed war crimes on a day-to-day basis
with the awareness of officers at all levels of command.
Thank you for your kind consideration. Please do not hesitate to call me with any questions.
Very truly yours,
John E. O'Neill
Index of Exhibits
1. Transcript of "Sell Out" Advertisement, August 2004
2. Testimony of John Kerry before the United States Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations (April 22, 1971)
3. Transcript of NBC News Meet The Press (April 18, 2004)
4. Affidavit of Paul Galanti, August 20, 2004
5. Affidavit of Kenneth W. Cordier, August 19, 2004
6. Affidavit of Joseph L. Ponder, July 21, 2004
7. Affidavit of Alfred J. French III, July 21, 2004
8. Affidavit of Grant W. Hibbard, July 21, 2004
9. Affidavit of Roy F. Hoffmann, July 22, 2004
10. Affidavit of Shelton White, July 30, 2004
11. Ian Bishop, John A Viet Con: Dole, New York Post, Aug. 23, 2004.