Yes, yes, we should make all nicey nice with CUBA. Aside from the missiles, what did they ever do to us?
John Lowery — February 10, 2015
This column was originally published at www.aim.org
Whatever one thinks of President Barack Obama’s overtures to Cuba and the accompanying prisoner exchange, an important consideration in need of immediate attention is an accounting of our servicemen captured in the Vietnam War and imprisoned in Cuban-operated POW camps. Of utmost importance is an accounting of the 17 American airmen captured in North Vietnam and then taken to Cuba for medical experiments in torture techniques.
Most Americans are unaware that Cuba was deeply involved in the Vietnam War. In fact they had an engineering battalion called the “Girón Brigade,” that was maintaining Route Nine, a major enemy supply line into South Vietnam. Their facilities included a POW camp and field hospital very near the DMZ, just inside North Vietnam. Meanwhile Cuban interrogators worked in Hanoi at a prison known as the Zoo. We know of these operations and some of what happened to our servicemen after so managed to survive and be repatriated in the winter of 1973, during Operation Homecoming.
Following his release Major Jack Bomar, a Zoo survivor, described the brutal beating of Captain Earl G. Cobeil, an F-105F electronics warfare officer, by Cuban Major Fernando Vecino Alegret, known by the POWs as “Fidel.” Regarding Captain Cobeil, Bomar related, “he was completely catatonic. … His body was ripped and torn everywhere…Hell cuffs appeared almost to have severed his wrists…Slivers of bamboo were imbedded in his bloodied shins, he was bleeding from everywhere, terribly swollen, a dirty yellowish black and purple [countenance] from head to toe.”
In an effort to force Cobeil to talk “Fidel smashed a fist into the man’s face, driving him against the wall. Then he was brought to the center of the room and made to get down onto his knees. Screaming in rage, Fidel took a length of rubber hose from a guard and lashed it as hard as he could into the man’s face. The prisoner did not react; he did not cry out or even blink an eye. Again and again, a dozen times, [Fidel] smashed the man’s face with the hose.”
Because of his grotesque physical condition Captain Cobeil was not repatriated but instead was listed as “died in captivity,” with his remains returned in 1974. (Miami Herald, August, 22 1999, and Benge, Michael D. “The Cuban Torture Program, Testimony before the House International Relations Committee, Chaired by the Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman, November 4, 1999.) Incredibly, Fidel’s torture of Major James Kasler is well known as he somehow managed to survive the Cuban’s torture.
Much less is known about our 17 captured airmen taken to Cuba for “experimentation in torture techniques.” They were held in Havana’s Los Maristas, a secret Cuban prison run by Castro’s G-2 Intelligence service. A few were held in the Mazorra (Psychiatric) Hospital and served as human guinea pigs used to develop improved methods of extracting information through “torture and drugs to induce [American] prisoners to cooperate.”
After being shot down in April of 1972, U.S. Navy F-4 pilot, Lt. Clemmie McKinney, an African-American, was imprisoned near the Cuban compound called Work Site Five. His capture occurred while then-Cuban president Fidel Castro was visiting the nearby Cuban field hospital. Although listed as killed in the crash by DOD, his photograph standing with Castro, was later published in a classified CIA document.
More than 13 years later, on August 14, 1985, the North Vietnamese returned Lt. McKinney’s remains, reporting that he died in November 1972. However, a U.S, Army forensic anthropologist established the “time of death as not earlier than 1975 and probably several years later.” The report speculated that he had been a guest at Havana’s Los Maristas prison, with his remains returned to Vietnam for repatriation. (We also paid big money for the remains—delivered in stacks of green dollars to Hanoi aboard an AF C-141 from Travis AFB, California.) Unfortunately, our servicemen held in the Cuban POW camp near Work Site Five (Cong Truong Five), along with those in two other Cuban run camps were never acknowledged nor accounted for and the prisoners simply disappeared.
If our honor code of “Duty, Honor, Country,” and our national policy of “No man left behind,” are more than meaningless slogans, then before our relations with Cuba can be normalized, their murderous leadership must account for our POWs—especially the 17 airmen taken to Cuba. The civilized world and American veterans demand it.#
Additional research on this topic, by John Lowery, is below:
Cuba’s Vietnam War Involvement
Research by John Lowery
1. “Torture of American Prisoners by Cuban Agents,” Juan O. Tamayo, Miami Herald, August 22, 1999.
2. “ Cuban War Crimes Against American POWs,” Michael D. Benge, Cuba Program Research Paper, October 4, 1999. www.vvof.org/cuba_res.htm
3. “The Cuban Torture Program …Torture of American Prisoners by Cuban Agents,” Testimony of Michael D. Benge, before the House International Relations Committee Chaired by the Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman. November 4, 1999. www.aiipowmia.com/testimony/cuba_benge.html.
4. “Cuban War Crimes Against American POWs During the Vietnam War,” Mike Benge, National Alliance of Families,www.nationalalliance.org/cuba/benge2.htm (Undated)
5. “The Evidence is Clear,” POW/MIA Freedom Fighters,www.powmiaff.org/evidence.htm, May 23, 2006.
6. “ Benge, Michael Dennis, Bio” Loss/Capture report, 31 January 1968.
Guest columns do not necessarily reflect the views of Accuracy in Media or its staff.
“Fundamentally transform” I believe is the felicitous phrase used by The President, with regard to what his agenda
Of course, we are now friends and trade partners with
North Vietnam, too.
And, over the past 70 years, we made what was left of Nazi Germany into world power. Fortunately for the world, reunification with financially-inept East Germany crippled them, as will our pending annexation by Mexico.
And Mexico didn’t point missiles at us and torture our POWs during the Vietnam War…
Political correctness will kill The United States.
At least 400 non-existent Borak rockets loaded with Sarin nerve gas were secretly purchased and destroyed by the CIA in 2005 and 2006, despite Saddam Hussein’s regime, as we all know, having been merely pretending to possess undeclared WMDs as a bluff.
New York Times:
The Central Intelligence Agency, working with American troops during the occupation of Iraq, repeatedly purchased nerve-agent rockets from a secretive Iraqi seller, part of a previously undisclosed effort to ensure that old chemical weapons remaining in Iraq did not fall into the hands of terrorists or militant groups, according to current and former American officials.
The extraordinary arms purchase plan, known as Operation Avarice, began in 2005 and continued into 2006, and the American military deemed it a nonproliferation success. It led to the United States’ acquiring and destroying at least 400 Borak rockets, one of the internationally condemned chemical weapons that Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government manufactured in the 1980s but that were not accounted for by United Nations inspections mandated after the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
The effort was run out of the C.I.A. station in Baghdad in collaboration with the Army’s 203rd Military Intelligence Battalion and teams of chemical-defense and explosive ordnance disposal troops, officials and veterans of the units said. Many rockets were in poor condition and some were empty or held a nonlethal liquid, the officials said. But others contained the nerve agent sarin, which analysis showed to be purer than the intelligence community had expected given the age of the stock.
The buying of nerve-agent rockets from an Iraqi seller in 2006 was the most significant recovery of chemical weapons until that point in the Iraq War.
A New York Times investigation published in October found that the military had recovered thousands of old chemical warheads and shells in Iraq and that Americans and Iraqis had been wounded by them, but the government kept much of this information secret, from the public and troops alike.
So, President Bush LIED about those WsMD* to get us into a war in the Middle East to (pick a conspiratorial answer involving oil profits and V.P. Chaney). And there was no evidence of them (except those they already found in Syria, moved across the border from Iraq) and these.
And Saddam Hussein would never have used them, especially against his own people.
*I simply refuse to write WMDs, as it’s grammatically poor. Just as as I refuse to say Favre as FAHR’VE.
Conservative media folk like to paint John Kerry as a defacto traitor. Or at least as a wimp. His Swift Boat companions did derail him, albeit temporarily. And now he’s out there making innocuous statements about war, terrorism and Iran. As the United States’ Secretary of State.
Speaking of who knew (this is what’s known as a segue – albeit a poor one) RINO Arizona Senator John McCain has always been a mystery to me. Sometime-Republican, sometime-conservative, sometime NOT, the man has made more waffles than the WAFFLE HOUSE!
And now THIS:
– Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, former Chief-of-Staff to the President (quoted in the blog title)
One of the most important yet overlooked factors that will occur in the aftermath of a massive terrorist attack on the United States is that such an attack would spark martial law on a national basis. Several national security experts were contacted who have no doubt that martial law will be declared. This declaration would include not only forced curfews but mandatory confiscation of citizen owned firearms.
The very same scenario would be implemented in the event of a devastating national disaster, such as a rare 1000-year volcano, a deadly tsunami that would decimate either the east or west coasts, or a direct hit by an asteroid.
Since the days of the Reagan administration, government has had a blueprint for continuing to operate in secret underground bunkers that have been built all across the United States. It is called simply “Continuity of Government” that establishes specific, detailed protocols for addressing the threat posed to the entire U.S. government. While some of these protocols are prudent and necessary, the section that would implement martial law is particularly troublesome. (in part from Examiner.com)
The Administration (and their socialist minions) use every criminal shooting to continue to beat the drum for civilian disarmament – even if the firearms chosen had nothing to do with the crime. Every oil spill, however slight, is an ecological disaster. Every attempt to increase private business growth is viewed as a product of the evil 1%. Every attempt to privatize (translation – let the people decide instead of the government) pretty much anything is de facto evil, because it takes power and control away from the all-powerful, and knowledgeable
The gun control movement began in this country as a means of keeping firearms away from freed slaves (in Kentucky, in 1809) and the great unwashed (in New York City 1911). And the same forces responsible continue to push for civilian disarmament, especially of the poor. (Cheap guns are dangerous and only used in crime).
How racist is gun control?
Now that the gun rights folks have achieved CCW statutes in most States, even in Illinois, their only response is the bigger picture.
Foment nationwide discord and just wait for the next big terrorist attack. Then institute martial law and disarm the populous.
I’m sure Al Qaeda and company are just waiting so they can attack a second time. From Saudi Arabia.
h/t The Liberty Sphere
Well, not exactly…
There have been (largely un or under reported) stories regarding the ‘whys’ of the Iraq War. That’s because much of the media (not ALL Biff!) had an agenda.
Then, the NEW YORK TIMES (sacre’ bleu!) actually reported a few weeks ago about the WsMd* that had not been moved to Syria. Or used against us or the Kurds.
Funny how the folks who clamored against President Bush and mocked him and call;ed him a cowboy and a liar aren’t saying much now. (Not that he didn’t introduce many measures like the PATRIOT ACT and it’s illegitimate legislative children to protect us!) At least that would have been a legitimate reason to protest.
And the current President has continued and amplified the PATRIOT ACT. So much for campaign promises…
And let’s not forget the UN voted FOR our incursion on 17 other points, WsMD*, aside! Why didn’t they protest THE UN?
*WsMD – I simply refuse to say WMDs! To my ear it’s as ‘mother-in-laws’, it’s incorrect!
The identity of the Navy SEAL who killed Osama Bin Laden has finally been revealed. His name is Rob O’Neill, and his resume reads like it should for one of the most highly trained special operators in the world.
According to the Daily Mail, O’Neill is the one responsible for putting three rounds into the former Al-Qaeda Commander.
O’Neill has served in over 400 combat missions. In addition, he has earned 52 distinguished awards.
He helped in the mission to save the life of Captain Phillips from Somali pirates.
After serving as a SEAL for sixteen years, O’Neill now works as a motivational speaker, sharing his SEAL experience and encouraging others to “Never Quit.”
O’Neill was planning to reveal his identity on Fox News in a few weeks. However, the Daily Mail’s exclusive interview with O’Neill’s father has clearly changed things.
When asked whether he or his family is worried about being targeted by terrorists, O’Neill’s father said they were not concerned, stating, “‘I’ll paint a big target on my front door and say come and get us.”
And that last paragraph outlines the crux of this post.
A United States Navy Seal – who took an oath and was sworn to secrecy – has come forward and identified himself. If I recall, as recently as last week, the Navy ORDERED the personnel involved in the Bin Laden operation to keep quiet about it. Other sources claim he revealed himself because the Defense Department was reneging on promises made him, and he isn’t getting full retirement benefits as he didn’t finish his requisite 20.
“Never Quit” – but he quit(?)
Now, certainly we desire open government in this Republic, but we don’t want those who serve us or their families to be put at risk because of this openness. And, certainly the government has been remiss regarding many promises made to our service personnel.
I’m proud he and his team (not the politicians) got Bin Laden, but I’m a little unclear as to his motivation or ethics here.
Any veterans care to expound on this issue?
From MSNBC. Who knew? (sarcasm)
Of course, the gov’t called the mass shootings at Ft. Hood workplace violence, too.
Wouldn’t want to upset the Muslim (Islamic fundamentalist version) folks.
(New York Daily News)
Naw, now I see it! Workplace violence. (sarcasm)
I remember when I read The Warren Report and kept seeing the phrase ‘no credible evidence’ of conspiracy.
Nothing to see here, certainly not home-grown Islamofascist terrorism.
PS – IF we are ‘at war’ with Islamoterrorism, and Americans choose to align themselves with the enemy, isn’t that giving aid and comfort? IOW TREASON? Perhaps this is why the government is so slow to mark such acts as terrorism, and to treat them as civilian crimes?
In a continued display of intimidation reminiscent of the Cold War, Russia continues on the march as reported by U.S. Northern Command, which identified six Russian planes flying near Alaskan air space Wednesday. The Command reported that among the Russian planes were two nuclear aircraft — two Bear H nuclear bombers along with two Mig-31 fighter jets. American F-22 fighter jets were deployed to intercept the Russian aircraft.
One day later, on Thursday, the Russians sent two more Bear H nuclear bombers to the region. These bombers were intercepted by Canadian jets.
Spokesmen for both the U.S. and Canadian command stated that although the Russian jets did not cross into American or Canadian airspace, they came very close. (…)
I was a friend (and for a while, an underling) of a former Marine who was posted aboard the Glomar (something-something – a spy ship) in the Pacific, during the 70’s – The Cold War. I remember him telling me tales of NORAD alerts. The PRC had a regular practice of buzzing our frontiers (i.e. just outside the 12 mile limit) with airplanes of various types.
Just to be annoying, and (not unlike the velociraptors of Jurassic Park fame) testing the ‘fences’!
Seems the practice continues, even though the Red Chinese/Russians have embraced Western trade and have loaned us bazillions of dollars to keep our economy afloat…
And of course, made our children dangerous toys with which to play, and our pets poisonous pet food, and have continued to attack our electronic infrastructure.
All while being our friend!
Now, I don’t want such friends – I don’t know about you?
They used to be our sworn enemies, and us theirs. How much is this costing us – to keep watching their efforts to breach our security and hurt us?
Who moved? Sounds as if THEY never did!
h/t The Liberty Sphere, Examiner
Or rather MY libertarian conundrum!
I’m generally a libertarian (small L), politically and philosophically. Want to MAKE me do something as a function of government? I don’t think so. (conscript me, tax me w/o representation, ad infinitum). Want to believe something different than me? Sure – have at it! Believe in Krishna or The Flying Spaghetti Monster, or nothing. I don’t care.
Just don’t knock on my door demanding I believe as you, with or without the force of government behind you!
I respect your right to think and act and believe differently, as long as you leave me to do the same. Period.
Now comes the conundrum –
I tend to be isolationist. If one tribe or political party in far off Boogaboogastan wants to kill another tribe or political party, it’s no skin off my nose. As long as it doesn’t affect me. Or the National interest. (whatever THAT is!)
BUT, what if I had this opinion (and had been alive) during WWII? What if The United States did? Would we all be speaking German or Japanese now? (Those of us who are alive?)
In short, what is in keeping with libertarian principles, but allows us to have our National Security and Sovereignty and be able to look ourselves in the mirror?
Do our National Principles apply only to us? And if not, to whom, and when?
ProudHillbilly posted on 09/11 about the numerous folks killed and injured because of their religion World-wide.
A partial sampling:
||Thirty-seven Iraqis are reduced to pulp by a Shahid suicide bomber.
||Two Shahid suicide bombers take out a half-dozen human beings.
||A Shahid suicide bomber disassembles six other people.
||Boko Haram militants spray machine-gun fire into villages while yelling praises to Allah. At least fourteen are killed.
||Muslim terrorists murder a teacher with a bomb.
Should we have gone into Iraq initially? I won’t debate that, because the fact is we did. And we then left.
hundreds thousands are paying for our having done so.
A libertarian tenet is WE ARE NOT THE WORLD’S POLICEMAN. We cannot afford to be, and we are not going to make everyone believe as we do.
It would be great if we could just leave others alone to their own Destiny. Or Hell. Pick one.
Then look in the mirror the next morning.
(It’s that horrible anniversary, again. I’d no idea what to write – thank goodness others did! – Guffaw)
By Alan Caruba
As we close in on the 13th anniversary of the infamous 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, the media is full of predictions about attacks that will occur.
A September 2nd Debka File, an Israeli news agency, reported “Credible information has reached Saudi, British and Australian agencies that two al Qaeda branches—ISIS in Iraq and Syria and AQAP at its base in Yemen—have wrapped up plans to roll out coordinated terrorist spectaculars around the 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. According to Debka File’s counterterrorism sources, they are preparing to strike simultaneously in the Middle East and a West European city. Next, they will go for U.S. targets in the Middle East and Europe.”
This report and other factors incline me to believe there will not be a major attack somewhere in the U.S. on what is now officially called “Patriot Day.” There could be a lone wolf attack along the lines of Major Hassan’s 2009 “workplace violence” at Fort Hood or the Boston Marathon bombing, but the threats being made by the Islamic State and other elements of al Qaeda, while intended to raise fears in America, are likely to be manifested in the Middle East. American outlets there will be on full alert for sure.
The Islamic State, while now wealthy, well equipped militarily, and attracting every lunatic Islamist and wannabe terrorist, is facing an increasingly united group of Middle East nations that have put old enemies like Iran and Saudi Arabia on the same page together. Iran has dispatched troops to Iraq to support the Kurds. When other Middle Eastern nations finally screw up enough courage to actually do something they will wage a war on ISIS in the interest of self-defense, a powerful motive.
As for al Qaeda’s war on America, it was declared in 1996 by the late, unlamented Osama bin Laden and, other than 9/11, it has done little to follow up on that dramatic sneak attack except for a few failed efforts. The U.S. responded by bombing the hell out of Afghanistan and our troops there have been attacking the Taliban ever since. Obama says he will pull them out in 2015. Given events in Iraq, that is a very bad idea.
The Department of Homeland Security has been on alert ever since it was created shortly after 9/11. This is not to say that the U.S. doesn’t need more on-the-ground intelligence penetration of al Qaeda and its affiliates. Indeed, DHS and other government agencies don’t know the whereabouts of several thousand foreign students who are supposed to be at our colleges and universities. They likely do not know who else among those with easy access to the nation is a potential terrorist.
So, yes, that could mean I am very wrong and that 9/11 would be a day for a whole series of attacks for much the same reason our consulate in Libya was attacked that day in 2012. The Benghazi cover-up has been falling apart ever since. The lie that it was caused by a video grows more absurd and obscene very day.
The Israelis have made a far greater and more successful effort than us to infiltrate their enemy’s organizations. Hamas was so rattled by the effectiveness of the Israeli bombing of sites where its rockets were stored and fired from, as well as the killing of a number of its leaders, that they made a public display of executing a number of people they accused of being Israeli spies, whether they were or not. The likelihood was that they were Gazans who had spoken out against Hamas.
After breaking a number of ceasefires, Hamas, running out of any support, accepted the most recent one and Israel thereafter announced the annexation of more West Bank territory for its settlements and, no doubt, for militarization to protect against further attacks. The Israelis know how to deal with their enemies, to prepare, and to take action rather than issue empty threats.
There have even been a number of small events by American Muslims speaking out against barbarity of the Islamic State and the threats leveled at the U.S. That is a hopeful sign, but it needs to increase in numbers and volume. The vast silence of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world is an offense to humanity.
The Arabs of the Middle East are forever making dramatic threats, but they have a record of doing little. When Saddam Hussein controlled Iraq, he waged a war against Iran that ended inconclusively and then invaded Kuwait and was defeated by a U.S. coalition. When he continued to make threats the U.S. invaded again and deposed him.
What followed was an effort in several Middle Eastern nations to rid themselves of their despots. This occurred in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Only Egypt, after a brief encounter with a Muslim Brotherhood government, rallied again with a military coup that led to the election of a new military leader. The Brotherhood has been banned! Libya is a failed state that has been taken over by Islamic militants. Tunisia has a new constitution as of January and numerous political parties. Its government is battling local militias.
Iraq is in near failure as it tries to unite its Shiite and Sunni factions in a functioning government. Much of the nation has been taken over by the Islamic State in the same fashion as northern Syria whose civil war has killed 190,000 and driven over a million out as refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and anywhere else they could flee. Who has put troops into Iraq to resist the Islamic State? The Iranians!
One threat the President of the United States does not appear to have taken seriously is an Iran with a nuclear weapon and the intercontinental missiles to deliver it. Both Israel and Saudi Arabia are far more aware of the danger this poses and in all likelihood Israel will conclude it must destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities and military installations.
The United States has lost virtually all the influence it once had in the Middle East, even if it came from the barrel of a gun. Our Secretary of State, John Kerry, is held in low regard by both the Israelis and Arabs. The President, Kerry, and Hillary Clinton keep insisting that “climate change” is the greatest threat to mankind.
If President Obama does not engage in the destruction—not “containment”—of the Islamic State, its oil wealth will enable it to become a major threat in the Middle East and beyond, including us. They have demonstrated no restraint on their use of violence and pose a threat comparable or even greater than the Nazi regime of the last century.
Will there be attack or attacks in the U.S. on 9/11? We all wish we know the answer, but we don’t.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
My only responds to Alan is how do we separate the wheat from the chaff? The normal from the radical Islamic folks?
Those held hostage by radical elements of their own religion?
Regardless – please take a moment to remember the innocents lost thirteen years ago.
As they said on Flight 93 – “Let’s roll!”
h/t Theo Spark