From the November 2005 Idaho Observer:
U.S. officials lie, navy pilot comes home in body bag two years after being found alive in SE Asia
The moment our sons and daughters sign up for U.S. military service they become "property" that is "owned" by the U.S. Their newfound chattel status allows them to be "legally" used as guinea pigs for medical research and chemical and biological weapons development programs. With property ownership comes the right to dispose of it-the right to use, abuse, damage, destroy, sell or abandon property is the exclusive domain of the owner. This mindset, that the U.S. government owns whomever puts on one of its military uniforms, is best demonstrated by how it views our sons and daughters when they are taken prisoner during wartime. If the commanders-in-chief came right out and announced that soldiers are property with no rights of their own and will be used as lab rats, or abandoned forever if taken prisoner, a volunteer army would be hard to raise. So, instead, the chattel-to-be are told that a life of excitement, travel, vocational training, medical benefits and a college education awaits them in exchange for their military service; that they will be joining a family that takes care of its own-and leaves no man behind. Diane Van Renselaar says she still hasn't gotten the truth about her husband from the military and lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain who she claims is "no friend" of POW families. He has backstabbed them every step of the way toward getting at the truth.
By Greg Szymanski
The remains of captured navy pilot Larry Van Renselaar came home in a body bag, sent back by the North Vietnamese in 1989, after his wife put up a 20-year fight against a corrupt U.S. government, concealing her husband's whereabouts as a POW for reasons of political expediency.
Instead of telling Van Rensaleer her husband was alive and in a slave labor camp, the lying contingent of morally reprehensible politicians and military brass concealed his status, closing the official book on the pilot in 1978 even though credible CIA intelligence information revealed he was still alive in 1987-two years before he arrived home in a body bag.
"Larry was shot down on September 30, 1968. They closed his case in 1978. In fact, John McCain, who is a very dangerous and violent man, was the driving force behind closing all the POW files, classifying records in order to keep the truth from the families and the American people," said Van Rensaleer this week from her home in Corte Madera, California.
"McCain is even more dangerous than Bush. I don't want to see this man ever become president and that's why I want this story out because he is one of the biggest liars in our government and, by no means, a friend of the POW families.
"After backstabbing all of us, hiding the truth about the POW story, I wish they would have kept him in a prison camp for life like so many others who didn't have his military and political clout. If they lied to us about this, just think about the lies spread about 9/11 and the present-day war in Iraq?"
Van Renselaar's story is just another in a growing number of cases, showing the deceit, deception and outright lies advanced by the Pentagon, Congress and the White House towards POW family members seeking the truth about their loved ones.
The cold, hard facts, said Rensaleer, is the U.S. government has left thousands of prisoners behind, telling family members they were "missing, presumed dead" when high-ranking scoundrel-Senators like John Kerry and John McCain continue to advance government lies started after World War II by then- President Eisenhower.
Van Rensalaar, a leading activist for more than 30 years in bringing home POWs who still may be alive in North Korea and Vietnam, started the search for the POW truth after her husband was taken prisoner. But over the years the story has grown wings larger than expected, revealing government corruption and lies at the highest levels, including Kerry, McCain, former President George H. W. Bush and many others.
Her long and difficult quest of searching for the truth has opened up so many cans of political worms, most high-ranking officials like McCain and "Daddy Bush" run and hide when they see her face in the halls of government.
Perhaps it's guilt, knowing the real truth or wanting to save their political hides, but without question these high-ranking, two-faced politicians want nothing to do with the likes of Renselaar, who was once on the board of directors of the National League of POW/MIA Families.
"In 1992, when George H. Bush was giving a political speech with many of the POW families gathered in a large hotel ballroom trying to get answers, I said straight to his face: 'We can help you get elected if you just tell us the truth about the POWs,'" said Van Renselaar, who added Bush basically ignored her request, but had his jaw drop to the floor when she mentioned the name of Lt. Col. William Atkins, a man who told her many sordid things about Bush, including his involvement with the Iran-Contra scandal when Col. Atkins acted as an intermediary between Bush and Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North.
"When I told him, again straight to his face, that 'you know Col. Atkins briefed you about many things, including the truth of the POWs,' he looked at me with wide-open eyes, saying nothing, but his jaw literally dropped to the floor.
"I talked to Col. Atkins many times about CIA files he had uncovered with Oliver North about John McCain, telling the real truth about McCain's POW captivity. Also, Atkins told me, he was a liaison between Bush and North, the pair traveling on Irish passports during Iran-Contra.
At the time, Americans were being held hostage by Islamic terrorists in Lebanon, and it was hoped that Iran would influence the terrorists to release the hostages. At the same time, Iran, which was in the midst of a war with Iraq, could find few nations willing to supply it with weapons.
The Iran-Contra Affair took place in the mid-1980s. A political scandal of wide-ranging proportions where President Ronald Reagan's administration sold arms to Iran, an avowed enemy, from funds that came from the sale of Central American cocaine smuggled into the U.S. by CIA-protected "mules."
Col. Atkins, who became a friend and close confident of Van Renselaar and other POW family members, was arrested in 1992 for his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal; a twist of fate, she said, that prevented him from testifying about McCain and the POW lies advanced by lawmakers and the military.
"I know for a fact Sen. Bob Smith, who was trying to help us get at the truth in the Senate hearings on the POW issue, never got a chance to depose Col. Atkins since he was arrested and then jailed for years over Iran-Contra," said Van Renselaar, adding it "was very strange" how Atkins was left to rot in a District of Columbia jail system until at least 1999. "They didn't want him to talk about a lot of things, but he talked to me about McCain's CIA file and many things the senator wants kept from the American people.
"People need to know the truth about McCain. He sealed his own records, as well the records of all POWs, so he could continue lying about his POW experience. He was never tortured, never in a dog-cell like the other prisoners and never deprived of food."
In fact, Col. Atkins, who died in 2001 of a cerebral hemorrhage, told Renselaar that when he and Lt. Col. North, the point man for Iran/Contra, acquired McCain's CIA file it showed he was out of the system for at least two years, being in an eastern European country instead of being in solitary confinement in a Vietnam jail cell like he has told the public.
To verify Atkins' claim, Van Renselaar said she has talked to several Vietnam POWs in the same camp McCain was held, including Larry Larson, who told her "without a doubt I didn't see McCain for at least a year."
Further, she added, John Parcels, a former helicopter pilot and his wife, Patty, who visited Vietnam after the war, said they were taken on a tour by the North Vietnamese, who showed-off with pride the 'plush cell' in which McCain was held as well as the memorial in his honor put up by the banks of Lake Hanoi.
"Why have the North Vietnamese honored him? What did McCain tell them and how was he really treated?" questioned Van Renselaar, adding Parcels said McCain's prison cell was of a much higher standard then the other dog-cells prisoners were given.
"They gave him special treatment and it is documented he was even out of the country for two years instead of being in solitary confinement. He is lying about what happened and that is why he had his own POW records sealed for life. He was never tortured, never deprived of food and I've even learned he may have fathered two children after having an affair with his Vietnamese nurse.
"According to my very credible Vietnamese contacts he had an affair with the sister of Nguyen Tan Thanh, a high-placed North Vietnamese official. Since they knew McCain was the son of a navy admiral, he was given a special nurse, Tan's sister. I've been told he fathered two sons with her, one attending the University of Colorado. Up until now, though, we haven't been able to get their names."
Besides what Renselaar calls McCain's "pack of POW lies" about his real record of captivity, she recalls her husband saying McCain was not well-liked by him or other pilots when they were under his direction before the Vietnam War when McCain was an operations officer at a Meridian, Miss., flight training center.
"I remember my husband saying he was not well-liked and thought of as a hot dog and a punk," said Van Renselaar. "And nothing has changed over the years. Once when POW families were outside his Senate office on Capitol Hill demanding answers, he pushed his way through the crowd in a violent manner refusing to answer questions, almost knocking a POW supporter over in her wheel chair."
As of mid-October, 2005, to keep Renselaar's fight alive, as well as the entire POW issue, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) has now taken up the cause on Capitol Hill to get the truth out about the thousands of living POWs still incarcerated in political prisons around the world.
Rep. Paul held a press conference Oct. 28, 2005, to revive the issue, officially sending to each legislator on Capital Hill a copy of an historic video called "Missing, Presumed Dead: The Search for American POWs," in an attempt to open new hearings, being introduced under House Resolution 123 (see page 2).
House Resolution 123 seeks to force Congress to investigate "all the unresolved matters relating to any United States personnel unaccounted for from the Vietnam era, the Korean conflict, WW II, the Cold War missions and the Gulf Wars, including all issues regarding MIA's and POWs.
In a portion of the video, written and directed by Hollywood producer Bill Dumas, former Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) said he was convinced from the evidence that there are many men still alive in political prison camps in both Korea and Vietnam.
"We should accept the evidence and move ahead to find these men," Sen. Smith said in the documentary.
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