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The End of Rolling Thunder? We Can Only Hope So!


#1

The End of Rolling Thunder? We Can Only Hope So!

Mike Lofgren

The news media inform us that Rolling Thunder (always described in the press as a veterans’ advocacy group or some other such positive term) will run its final annual Memorial Day weekend motorcycle rally in Washington, D.C., in 2019. The organizers reportedly do not have the money to pay for security, logistics, and cleanup. This is an eventuality devoutly to be wished.


#2

You didn’t need to wear your lapel pin today. You just had to tune in to the Packer-Bear pre-game. A photo of a group of soldiers and a flag presentation on the field that must have covered a quarter of that field.
Sure made me proud to be a part our latest scourge of support for the starving and bombing of Yemeni women and children. Yet I saw no pictures of starving children on the jumbotron.


#3

Sara Palin thought they were cool, as does the current thing . .


#4

It should be remembered - with no sense of irony - that “Rolling Thunder” was the operational name of the illegal and immoral bombings of Cambodia that covered a U.S. invasion in 1970. The invasion of Cambodia and its "rolling Thunder’ bombings directly led to the horrific Pol Pot regime that was directly supported by the U.S. and Chinese until a Vietnamese invasion overthrew it.

The “Rolling Thunder” motor cycle riders are no paranoid fringe. They are a reflection of the political culture, institutional policies and practices of the USA.

It is truly curious that Lofgren does not mention Kissinger/Nixon’s Rolling Thunder escalation of the US wars against Southeast Asians. I guess the habits of being a congressional staffer die hard.Or perhaps he’s still confused by his stint at the Naval War College.


#5

Apparently Mr. Lofgren wasn’t as privy to inside information about the MIA-POW issue in Vietnam as he thought he was. I right this not to defend anyone he brought up in the article, but to bring as much light to the situation as I’m able, without getting others in trouble for breaking their non-disclosure agreements.
In 1982 I was shown pictures that were taken by a Force Recon team in Southeast Asia (I can’t be more specific of where they were taken). The team, and other teams were sent there on a sterile mission (meaning no US equipment or identification of any kind, so if captured, the US would have “plausible deniability” that they sent the teams), to the area to look for MIA-POW’s because the issue was raised by Gritz and others in the media. After viewing the photos, I can say with as much certainty as you could with 1982 technology, that I believe what I saw were Caucasian men behind fencing in a jungle setting, other team members agreed with me. As far as the information, all I know is it was sent up the chain of command, and have no idea where it went from there. I do know I never heard of any rescue mission (doesn’t mean there wasn’t one) in the Special Operations family that I was a part of at the time.
I bring this story up because Mr. Lofgren came off as very dismissive and condescending, that there were living MIA-POW’s left behind in Vietnam. With the evidence I saw, I absolutely disagree.


#6

Some Christmas Cheer for everyone…


#7

I was an intelligence analyst for over a decade, part of which was in service to SOCOM at Bragg. there were literally no POWs left after the exchange, with the remote possibility of some Americans held by drug dealers in remote forested locations, but even the Vietnamese doubted this story (and this one was their own!). The reality is that Vietnam had zero motive to retain prisoners–quite the contrary, they had always hoped for a rapprochement that could result in them gaining assistance for dealing with the horrible issue of unexploded ordinance. Holding POWs back out of, what, spite?, would be about the worst thing they could’ve done. I know the military shadow community well enough to say with complete confidence that if there was any solid proof that there were Americans held past the war, most of us would’ve happily leaked it. They were our brothers in arms, too.

By the way, did you ever meet Gritz? Jesus, that was mercifully short for me but still memorably insufferable.

Edit: Btw, while I agree with Lofgren’s piece here, my response isn’t to defend him. Just one war story to another…:slight_smile:


#8

I still like to fly my POW-MIA flag on occasion to remind those of us who were around at the time of the Vietnam Unjust War which was the horrible birth of the “continuous” US world insurrection and the impunity with which the ooosa operates around the globe.

I have had a few members of the younger set ask me what the flag signifies. And since I’m fond of the Howard Zinn project to inform people of our history I am delighted to be offered the opportunity to tell the story.
PS. I know that the ooosa wars of imperialism began in the 1700s


#9

Oh god !!! How perfect!


#10

Like I posted, I’m not defending anyone in the story, and no never met Gritz, but heard he was a piece of work. I have no idea why Vietnam would hold POW’s (bargaining leverage perhaps). I do know, and have complete faith in the honesty of the personnel who took the photos. I wasn’t on the mission, but saw the photos with my own eyes, before the info was sent up the chain of command.


#11

The Vietnamese believe there are as many as 300k of their citizens still missing from the American war.
The US illegally led an imperial war of aggression against a country of peasants. Until we, as a country start at least to pretend to give a shit about the millions of persons around the globe slaughtered in our in name under the guise of peace and democracy, this kind of nonsense is really just that.


#12

You ignorant, un american peice of dirt! You have no clue what RT does for existing Veterans and the POW/MIA issue. Keep your head in the sand instead of printing this useless garbage .


#13

A “new” Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) was created to replace the scandal plagued Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC). Before quitting after less than a year on the job, the “new director” simply reassigned the previous JPAC Scientific Director to be in charge of “partnering with private groups”. What this “partnering” turned out to be was the giving away of millions of taxpayer dollars in annual contracts to “non-profit” corporations to do DPAA’s primary job: recover remains of MIA’s. With no apparent ethical oversight by DPAA, some of these same government contractors actively continue to solicit contributions claiming to be “non-profit” charities. Huge multi-million dollar contracts are doled out under the guise of “health and human services”. This obvious unethical practice is just another example of the past arrogance and abuse by this same old group of poor leaders and managers who continue to remain in functional control of the “new” organization. Disgraceful!

And, in a almost comic opera “deja vu all over again” the Department of Defense announced in September 2017 that it had appointed a former JPAC commander as the “new, new” director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. This is the very same person who had steered the agency, known by its employees as “Dysfunction Junction”, into its final demise and lost his own job under a torrent of Congressional criticism in 2015. Sadly, the government’s idea of the massive reform necessary after JPAC was disbanded was a superficial name change of the organization and re-shuffling the same poor executives and laboratory managers to new desks and titles in a brand new $85 million dollar building in Hawaii. Disgraceful!

JPAC had many dedicated men and women in non-management roles who believed in the mission: researchers, military recovery specialists, and field investigators who hack through jungles, climb mountains, and wade rivers only to be sabotaged in their work by a completely dysfunctional command. Those few essential workers that remain at DPAA are dismayed, disillusioned, disheartened, and disgusted at what they experienced at JPAC and what they now see as a lack of action at DPAA in holding those responsible accountable for the abysmal failures of their leadership. Disgraceful!

DPAA continues to leave unaddressed a long pattern of dysfunction, ethical violations, inefficient practices, wasteful and poor management, lack of leadership, pending complaints of sexual harassment, EEO violations, criminal investigations, lawsuits, and complaints of managerial reprisal that were detailed in scathing official reports by the Inspector General’s Office and the Government Accountability Office. Even more complaints have been added since JPAC was disbanded. The group of serial offenders responsible for this ineptitude is the same group that brought us multiple outrageous scandals including phony “arrival home” ceremonies and the fraud, waste and abuse of government funds that currently produces only five or six dozen field identifications a year by DPAA and its highly paid contractors. Disgraceful!

Meanwhile the JPAC/DPAA management mantra of “Delay, Deny, and Wait for the Families to Die” continues. DPAA continues to practice JPAC’s process known to those who worked inside the organization as “Slow Rolling” of families and researchers who ask for documents by drawing the process out until forced to respond by political pressure or legal intervention in the hope that the requestors will simply give up and go away. Federal law requires that information requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) be provided within 20 days. The response time by DPAA to supply basic documents to families and researchers under the is now approaching THREE YEARS per request! DPAA routinely violates FOIA without consequences and the Department of Defense seems powerless to control DPAA. Disgraceful!

Anyone with any management experience knows that the entire operation that was JPAC should have been deconstructed, brick by brick. Such needed massive reform simply did not happen. Just when families of our missing servicemen and women thought things could not get worse, it did. The same infectious disease of JPAC arrogance and lies to the families of American heroes took root all over again at DPAA. This incredibly dysfunctional organization continues to operate in a “Business as Usual” mode. The JPAC/DPAA disaster has been added to the infamous VA Hospital, Dover Mortuary, Arlington Cemetery, and the Viet Nam Unknown Misidentification debacles.


#14

Thanks for sharing that clip. Let the eggnog flow!


#15

I am curious to hear ReconFire or other commenters’ reactions to Monika Jensen-Stevenson’s research on the POW/MIA issue. She is an author and former producer of “60 Minutes” who was given the Vietnam Veterans National Medal by the Vietnam Veterans Coalition. Her chapter in the book “Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press” outlines the case of Bobby Garwood. Garwood claimed to have been one of the POW’s left behind, and said there were others; the US tried to prosecute him as a defector. Garwood’s story of being a POW was corroborated by General Lam Van Phat, who had fought on the side of the South Vietnamese. The US case against Garwood fell apart, but not before a lot of evidence surfaced that the US was trying to silence him. The 60 Minutes segment was called “Dead or Alive” and aired Dec. 15, 1985.


#16

This article leaves out a crucial issue. At the end of the war the Vietnamese only agreed to return prisoners if reparations were made; this was not made public. Nixon agreed and most were returned, however he reneged on the monetary part of the deal. The Vietnamese, not trusting “Tricky Dick” had kept several hundred prisoners just in case of such deceit. Nixon, by this time his administration self destructing, never followed through- it would be a difficult pill for Congress to agree to also-and the prisoners were ignored. Ford, of course, didn’t do anything and it eventually became an embarrassment for both sides with subsequent presidents not wanting to deal with it, or not knowing.

Then along comes McCain, “Mr. POW”, who is responsible for keeping the fate of the MIA classified, which is why MIA families hate him… His motivation is unstated but likely relates to this act of treachery on the part of a president.