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Editor’s Note: This article draws heavily from an article Jerome Corsi previously co-authored with Scott Swett, founder of WinterSoldier.com, titled “John Kerry and the VVAW: Hanoi’s American Puppets,” published May 6, 2007.
NEW YORK – If the subject of Vietnam comes up at the Senate confirmation hearings for Sen. John Kerry’s nomination to be secretary of state, it’s likely that an attempt will be made to characterize Kerry’s participation in the radical group Vietnam Veterans Against the War as nothing more than a respectful disagreement by a loyal citizen concerned about peace and freedom.
What is unlikely to be probed is the extensive public record showing Kerry and his comrades with VVAW were engaged in working directly with the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese government, contrary to U.S. government war policy.
Kerry, while he was yet a Naval Reserve officer, met without official authorization in Paris with representatives of the Viet Cong and the Vietnamese government during the Paris Peace talks. He subsequently returned to the U.S. to implement specific anti-war protests as instructed by Hanoi in a disinformation plan designed to cause the U.S. government to lose the war in by eroding public support.
In June 1970, Kerry met with leaders of both delegations, the Viet Cong and the Vietnamese government, in Paris, in unauthorized discussions that included Madame Binh, the foreign minister of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam, also known as the Viet Cong. Publicly released FBI surveillance reports document that Kerry, then acting as a spokesman for the VVAW, returned to Paris to meet with the North Vietnamese delegation in August 1971 and planned a third trip in November 1971.
Undermining U.S. support for war
A document captured from the Vietnamese communists during the Vietnam War strongly suggests a close link existed between the Hanoi regime and VVAW while Kerry served as the group’s leading national spokesman. The document, a 1971 “circular” distributed by the Vietnamese communists within Vietnam, discusses strategies to coordinate a national propaganda effort with the activities in the United States undertaken by anti-war activists.
The 1971 circular read: “The spontaneous antiwar movement in the United States have received assistance and guidance from the friendly (Viet Cong/National Vietnamese Government) delegations at the Paris Peace talks.”
Prior to the discovery of the circular, there was no direct evidence that Hanoi was steering the U.S. anti-war movement’s activities by conveying Hanoi’s goals and wishes to movement leaders during their frequent visits to Paris, though many investigators had assumed that to be the case.
Further analysis of the document supports the contention that Madame Binh used her Paris meeting with Kerry to instruct him on how he and VVAW might best serve as Hanoi’s surrogates in the U.S. In the spring and summer of 1971, a key strategy of Hanoi was to advance what was known as Madame Binh’s Seven Point Peace Plan.
The plan was cleverly constructed to force President Nixon to set a date to end the Vietnam War and withdraw American troops.
According to the plan, the only barrier to Hanoi setting a date to release American prisoners of war was President Nixon’s unwillingness to set a specific date for military withdrawal.
Accepting the full terms of the plan would have amounted to a virtual surrender that included the payment of reparations to the Vietnam communists as an admission that America was the wrongful aggressor in an immoral war.
Late in 1970, a defecting Viet Cong organizer described a communist plan to use Viet Cong sympathizers in the U.S. to recruit family members of American POWs held captive in North Vietnam.
On July 22, 1971, John Kerry held a press conference in Washington, D.C., to call on President Nixon to accept Madame Binh’s 7-Point Peace Plan.
Kerry surrounded himself at the press conference with POW wives, parents and sisters who had been recruited to promote his message. The event was reported in the New York Times July 23, 1971, and in the communist newspaper Daily World July 24, 1971. Each article included a photograph of Kerry surrounded by POW family members.
Kerry’s use of POW families directly advanced the North Vietnamese communist agenda as described by enemy defectors and in the newly discovered circular, which suggests Madame Binh had recommended the same course of action to anti-war activists meeting with her in Paris.
A number of POW families were contacted by a “liaison” group headed by Cora Weiss, the daughter of Communist Party financier Samuel Rubin, with offers to provide mail and information about their husbands if the families agreed to publicly denounce the war.
Most POW family members refused to cooperate with this extortion, even when promised better treatment for their husbands or sons in Hanoi.
Four angry POW wives protested at Kerry’s July press conference, one of whom accused Kerry of “constantly using our own suffering and grief” to advance his political ambitions.
A puppet of Hanoi?
A second document captured by U.S. military forces in South Vietnam May 12, 1972, is a communist directive designed to motivate discussions within Vietnam about promoting the ongoing antiwar activities in the U.S.
The fifth paragraph of the document makes clear that the Vietnamese communists were utilizing for their propaganda purposes the activities of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
The protest described as occurring from April 19 through April 22, 1971, coincides directly with the dates of Dewey Canyon III, the Washington, D.C., protest led by Kerry, during which his testimony before Sen. J. William Fulbright’s Foreign Relations Committee was a televised centerpiece.
The description of the protest activities in the directive even include the “return their medals” ceremony in which Kerry and other VVAW members threw their medals and/or ribbons toward the steps of the U.S. Capitol, with several shouting threats of violence against their government.
The document makes clear the degree to which the Vietnamese communists were working in the U.S. with and through the People’s Coalition for Peace and Justice, known as PCPJ.
The House Internal Security Committee in its 1971 Annual Report described the PCPJ as an organization strongly controlled by U.S. communists: “There is no question but what members of the Communist Party have provided a very strong degree of influence, even a guiding influence, in the evolution and formation of policies of the Peoples’ Coalition for Peace and Justice.”
Publicly released FBI surveillance reports establish a strong link between Kerry, Al Hubbard, the VVAW, the PCPJ and their trips to Paris to meet with Madame Binh.
Hubbard, the executive secretary of the VVAW and a hard-line radical with ties to the Black Panthers and the PCPJ, had directly recruited Kerry into VVAW’s Executive Committee, bypassing the organization’s election process.
Hubbard’s claim to have been a transport pilot wounded in combat was discredited when the Department of Defense released documents demonstrating that though he had been in the Air Force, he was neither a pilot nor an officer, had never served in Vietnam and had never been in combat.
Kerry shared the stage with Hubbard during the Dewey Canyon III protest in Washington, D.C., and he appeared together with Hubbard on NBC’s “Meet the Press” April 18, 1971.
Hubbard also signed the People’s Peace Treaty, a PCPJ document that reiterated the positions of North Vietnam and the Viet Cong on behalf of VVAW.
According to an FBI field surveillance report date-stamped Nov. 11, 1971, the FBI had learned at the Regional VVAW Convention in Norman, Okla., Nov. 5-7, 1971, that Kerry and Hubbard were planning to travel to Paris later that month to engage in talks with the Vietnamese communist peace delegations.
While the document is heavily redacted, other FBI reports make it clear that the Communist Party of the USA was paying for Hubbard’s trips to Paris.
A letter written by Hubbard April 20, 1971, leaves no doubt about the strong coordination between the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and the People’s Coalition for Peace and Justice.
Addressed from the offices of the VVAW in Washington, D.C., the letter is an appeal to VVAW members to provide assistance to the PCPJ. The letter authored by Hubbard outlined several ways in which the two organizations have worked closely together:
This is an appeal for help for the Peoples Coalition for Peace and Justice. Over the past months the Peoples Coalition has supported the Vietnam Vets Against the War in many ways. The Coalition has made office space available at no charge, and permitted the use of all necessary office equipment such as mimeograph machines, stencil-making machines, folders and typewriters. They have loaned us cars, bullhorns, and public address equipment. Their staff has taken messages for us and joined fraternally in building our progress. Now we can return this support.
Saturday, April 24, the Coalition needs help collecting money and selling buttons at the great march and rally. Collectors and sellers must be energetic and determined. There will be security problems in taking large amounts of money to banks. The Coalition needs people power, hundreds of workers.
I earnestly hope that you will come forward to support our friends in this emergency.
Two days after the letter was written, Kerry gave his famous testimony to Fulbright’s Foreign Relations Committee in which he likened the American military in Vietnam to the army of Genghis Khan.
The rally for which Hubbard was recruiting VVAW assistance was the PCPJ’s massive April 24 demonstration in Washington, which immediately followed VVAW’s week-long Dewey Canyon III protest.
The communist newspaper Daily World reported April 27, 1971, “Tributes were paid to the special role of the Vietnam Veterans” at the PCPJ rally, and went on to quote at length from Kerry’s speech at the event.