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Sunday, September 14, 2008
WND Dismisses McCain POW Story It Once Endorsed
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 13 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn reports that "Left-wing radio talk show host Randi Rhodes attacked GOP presidential nominee John McCain's life story, claiming that during his POW captivity in North Vietnam he was 'well-treated, actually' and that despite his claims of suffering brutal torture, his wife 'knows the truth too.'"

The tone of the article is dismissive -- note that Zahn points out Rhodes' "left-wing" orientation; by contrast, a Sept. 11 WND article by Joe Kovacs quoting Rush Limbaugh called him only a "radio host" and applied no ideological label to him (the words "conservative" and "right-wing" are nowhere to be found). Zahn might want to check his employer's archives a little closer, because earlier this year WND printed a similar attack on McCain, and it didn't come from a "left-wing radio talk show host."

A Feb. 4 column by Jack Wheeler -- whom, as we've noted, WND has previously lionized as "The Indiana Jones of the Right" "whose death-defying adventures span the globe and whose achievements have inspired wide-ranging acclaim" -- called McCain "psychologically unstable" and, in claiming that "the Clintons" were "having discussions with a Russian whom we'll call 'T' for translator" in a purported effort to blackmail McCain, recounted a tale of McCain's POW years that's remarkably similar to the one Rhodes was telling:

T's father was the Soviet military intelligence officer who ran the "Hanoi Hilton" prison holding captured Americans during the Vietnam War. One of those prisoners was John McCain.

The GRU – Glavnoje Razvedyvatel'noje Upravlenije or main intelligence directorate of the Soviet (now Russian) Armed Forces – operated the entire North Vietnamese prison system holding American prisoners of war. GRU officers, all of whom were Russians, oversaw the interrogation of every American POW.

The interrogations themselves were conducted by Vietnamese who spoke some English. After each interrogation session, which could often include torturing the prisoners at the direction of the GRU officers, the Vietnamese interrogator would write a report of the session – in Vietnamese.

These reports had to be translated into Russian. T, a bright teenager living in the GRU compound in Hanoi, had become fluent in Vietnamese, and ended up translating many of the reports and interrogators' notes.

John McCain, flying his A-4 Skyhawk, was shot down over Hanoi on Oct. 26, 1967. Badly injured from the ejection, he was beaten and abused by his captors. In July, 1968, his father, U.S. Navy Adm. J. S. McCain, was made CINCPAC, commander in chief, Pacific Command, commander of all U.S. military forces in the Vietnam theatre. Upon learning this, the Vietnamese offered – according to McCain – to release him.

McCain claims he refused, because he demanded all American POWs captured before him be released as well. He thus remained a prisoner when he could have gone home, and was subjected to constant brutal beatings and torture for years: that is the source of the "war-hero" saga making McCain a greater war-hero than any other American POW.

Yet the offer of release would had to have been approved by the GRU overseers of the North Vietnamese – and T does not recall any such offer being made. T admits, however, that this took place before McCain was transferred to Hoa Loa prison, nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" by the POWs. T had only direct knowledge of what happened at Hoa Loa, and not the other prisons, where T's father was in charge.

McCain was kept at the Hanoi Hilton from December 1969 until his release, along with all the remaining POWs, in March 1973. During this time, T translated all the Vietnamese interrogators' notes and reports regarding John McCain.

According to T, they reveal that McCain had made an "accommodation" with his captors, and in exchange, T's father saw that he was provided with an apartment in Hanoi and the services of two prostitutes. Upon returning to his prison cell, he would say he had been held in solitary confinement. That may be why so many of his fellow prisoners said later they saw so little of him at Hoa Loa.


In other words, the CIA has in its possession the notes and reports of John McCain's interrogators at the Hanoi Hilton, in both the original Vietnamese and translated Russian, showing collaboration with his Communist captors.

Allegations of this nature have been made over the years, many by Vietnam veterans. There is an even an organization, Vietnam Veterans Against McCain. But they are based on suspicions and circumstantial claims. There has never been any hard, direct evidence.

What T says the CIA has is such evidence. Its release would destroy McCain. The threat of its release could force McCain to take a fall, blow the election and lose on purpose.

WND ran Wheeler's article before McCain clinched the Republican presidential nomination; as we'be detailed, since that time, it has done little critical news coverage of McCain despite WND editor Joseph Farah's ever-more-dubious assertion that he doesn't want either McCain or Barack Obama elected.

Zahn fails to note Wheeler's WND piece in his article or the high regard WND has previously exhibited toward Wheeler. Since WND essentially endorsed Wheeler's version of events by publishing it, shouldn't Zahn have reminded WND's readers of it? Or is WND quietly considering making Wheeler's article disappear?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 14, 2008 12:13 AM EDT

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