- Contrary to statements
from callers on a number of radio talk shows, FTW has not
been sued and has not retracted any portion of its stories
on the Tailwind Mission, the Moorer deposition or the repeated
use of Sarin (GB) gas and other lethal chemical agents in
during the Vietnam
era. From The Wilderness hereby gives notice that anyone
who publicly and knowingly utters such falsehoods with the
intent to damage our reputation or harm our business operations
is subject to immediate legal action.
[Editor's Note - When
researching my story on the Tailwind lawsuits for the July
issue of From The Wilderness I contacted all of the named
parties soliciting comments and responses. I gave my word
to the Special Forces Association that I would print every
word of what they wrote in response. As of this date
SFA is the only entity to respond. Henry Kissinger, John
Singlaub, Peter Arnett and CNN have not.
The response below was
received on August 4, 2000. Due to a death and the loss of an
employee at FTW I have not been able to prepare this response
and post it until now. There was no unfair intent
in this delay and I apologize to SFA . I just couldn't get
it done sooner.
However, it is safe
to say that this ongoing and highly emotional story is far
from over. That is especially true as FTW is developing
a story indicating that there are between 8 and 15 live
and unexploded U.S.
lethal chemical munitions currently on the ground in Laos.
Some of those are less than 50 kilometers from the general
area of the Tailwind mission and are believed, by EOD technicians
on the ground, to contain Sarin (GB) or another lethal nerve
agent known as VX. FTW will be breaking more news on that
story as soon as we are confident that we have it nailed
down. Suffice it to say that we have already accumulated
a number of highly credible, on-the-record statements from
qualified experts who have examined photographs of these
devices - www.copvcia.com/free/pandora/bomb.html.
All have declared them to be consistent with U.S.
manufactured, rack mounted aerial bombs constructed for
the delivery of lethal nerve agents. This also includes
the experts on the ground in Laos
who examined and photographed the devices this year.
We have presented the
SFA response here in its entirety. We have added notes in
superscript  to direct the reader to our comments and
responses. - MCR ]
Association (SFA) Response to From The Wilderness Stories
on the Tailwind Lawsuits - Rec'd. 8/3/00
This is in response to your article entitled "Moorer
deposition in "Tailwind"  suits confirms allegations
of Sarin use against Vietnam
defectors, POW's- incriminates CIA, Kissinger".
As director of the Special Forces Association investigation
of the CNN horrific program "Valley of Death, Operation
Tailwind", produced by April Oliver and Jack Smith,
and having access to a footlocker full of evidence, letters,
statements, interviews, video Tapes, audio tapes, photos,
maps, etc, I believe myself to be fully qualified to respond
to your interpretation of Admiral Moorer's deposition.
First let me correct some remarks made in your opening statements.
One, you stated that the CIA directed "Operation Tailwind".
Dead wrong Mr. Ruppert, "Operation Tailwind" was
directed by OP 35 of MACV-SOG and executed by B Company,
FOB 2, CCC, and SOG. Two, you stated that there was
a series of Tailwind missions. Dead wrong Mr. Ruppert;
there was only one "Operation Tailwind" it was
conducted in the vicinity of Chavane, Laos
on 11-14 September 1970.  Three, you stated that
SOG was then commanded by CIA veteran and Army General John
Singlaub. Dead wrong Mr. Ruppert, SOG was commanded
by Col. John "Skip" Sadler who obtained permission
for and ordered "Operation Tailwind" be conducted.
John Singlaub commanded SOG from 1966 to 1968. 
Now to the deposition of Admiral Moorer held on 24 June 2000 from
That's right, 88 year old Admiral Moorer was questioned
for over eight hours with only three short breaks (To change
tapes and pass out documents) and one short lunch break.
From tape marking 0014 to marking 0217, Admiral Moorer answered
direct questions concerning the use of Sarin gas and the
targeting of defectors over 55 times with one word, NO!
Also, during this same tape marking, over fifty times the
Admiral wandered over on other questions and had to be asked
the question again or did not understand the question. 
From Tape marking 0218 to marking 0365, Mr. Simmons, April
Oliver's Attorney, conducted his interrogation (The other
attorneys called it an ambush) of Admiral Moorer.
During this interrogation, Mr. Simmons handed the Admiral
documents of April Oliver's off camera interviews and memoranda
from the JCS office that Moorer had not seen or remembered
seeing before this time. The Admiral asked to be allowed
to take the documents home and study them before answering
questions pertaining to them. Mr. Simmons denied his
requests over the protests of other attorneys present.
The Admiral was then directed by Mr. Simmons to read the
questions of April Oliver and his response to those questions,
and then Mr. Simmons would ask the Admiral if those questions
and answers seemed to be correct. During this interrogation
the other attorneys present objected to Mr. Simmons questioning
and his presentation of documents not available prior to
the deposition. This should give the readers a background
on the ambush of Admiral Moorer. 
You stated in your article "both Singlaub and Moorer
denied that they had used the gas or brought it any closer
to Southeast Asian operations than the island of Okinawa.
Yet according to admissions made by Moorer near the end
of the deposition, as much as 300 pounds of the gas was
stored at a secret CIA controlled Thai Air\Operations base
called Nakhorn Phanom or NKP". (The correct spelling
is Nakhon Phanom).  ON TAPE MARKING 0298 Admiral Moorer
is reading a question by April Oliver in off-camera interview:
Q. "If the U.S. used nerve gas in combat in Vietnam,
is it worthy to report". A. Admiral Moorer reads a
very lengthy reply and states "so this would include
GB weaponized in the U.S. Arsenal. We know there was
4 million pounds of it manufactured and it was stocked at
NKP". Later on in the Admiral's reading of the
same document, April Oliver asked, "So you were aware
Sarin gas was used". A. Admiral Moorer
read his answer "I am not confirming for you that it
was used. You have told me that". (April
Oliver must have smiled at this answer, that smile would
soon leave her face during later testimony). ON TAPE
0352, Mr. Simmons asks the question "You have referred,
and there's a reference in these two interviews (April Oliver's
interviews with Admiral Moorer), to NKP. Was that
Nakhorn Phanom (Spelled wrong again) in Thailand?"
Admiral Moorer's answer "No, that's in Okinawa".
(April Oliver's smile now leaves her face). It is
obvious to everyone; Admiral Moorer thought NKP was in Okinawa.
Admiral Moorer's stated throughout this deposition that
Sarin gas was stored on Okinawa, he knew that much, but
he didn't know where in the hell NKP was, Okinawa, Korea,
Thailand, wherever. The Special Forces Association
has documented evidence that Sarin gas was only stored on
Okinawa until the decision was made to destroy the gas on
the Johnson Islands. Special storage facilities were necessary
for Sarin gas and special handling and equipment were needed.
NO such facilities were available in Vietnam or Thailand.
You stated in your article "Mr. Simmons secured a basic
admission (hum--basic admission) from Moorer that the Tailwind
missions in to Laos was controlled by Henry Kissinger and
the CIA not the Pentagon". Maybe so Mr. Ruppert,
but it "taint so". Lets visit a moment with
documented SOG history. On 1 November 1963, President
Kennedy ordered that the CIA covert operation programs in
Vietnam be transferred to the Military. On 24 January
1964 the Studies and Observations Group (SOG) was formed
to conduct these missions and reported directly to the JCS,
via a special liaison, SACSA. Then in 1969, the President
directed a new program, Vietnamization. To insure
this program could progress without constant enemy interruptions,
the President directed that SOG activities be increased
in Laos and Cambodia. This directive changed the rules.
Now SOG could conduct operations, up to company size, with
approval of MACV (General Abrams) and notification to the
American Ambassador in Laos and CINCPAC. THE CIA HAD
NOT HAD OPERATIONAL CONTROLL OVER COVERT OPERATIONS SINCE
1963. Certainly, JCS was presented with up-dates on
all operations, BUT NOT CONTROLL. 
Concerning the Memoranda documents, entered as evidence
by Mr. Simmons. There were five documents given to
the Admiral but Mr. Simmons only had specific questions
on one, DOD 01159, dated 11 September 1970. This Memo
was addressed to DJS (Director of Joint Staff) with a hand
printed 9\11 and the following words "Hold until President
settles issue. Moorer". Why only this document
and not the other four? When taken in context, the
five documents tell a story that Mr. Simmons would not have
liked, he only wanted one answer, and so he only directed
tough questions to this memo. Mr. Simmons asked the powerful
question "As you sit here today, what issue can you
think of regarding Operation Tailwind that would have required
Presidential approval". Admiral Moorer answered
" Any operation that involved the use of poison gas,
for instance". Wahoo! That's the answer Mr. Simmons
wanted, however, the operative words in that answer were
"For instance". Those two words indicate
that there was more than one case, on that mission, that
would possibly need Presidential approval. The five
memoranda introduced at this deposition, give at least one
more reason for a Presidential decision. (There are several
more to include employment of nuclear weapons). DOD 01158
is a very important document, it was received on 5 September
1970, the original date for "Operation Tailwind"
infiltration and forwarded from the JCS to be returned to
the Chairman with remarks from DJSM recommend release on
9 September 1970. This document covered 4 subjects
(1) Number of Americans on this operation (2) CINCPAC and
MACV had not received all the information on expanded Prairie
Fire Operations (3) the suggestion that targets west of
the EXISTING PF line would be favorably considered on a
case by case basis (4) To inform CINCPAC\MACV of Sec. Def.
position regarding use of U.S. personnel in PF exploitation
phase. It is obvious that CINCPAC\MACV were not fully
informed of U.S. policy changes, policy changes that the
President had made and a new suggested area of operation,
west of the approved Prairie Fire line. Both of these
concerns could require a Presidential decision. DOD
01157 tells of "Operation Tailwind" supporting
"Operation Gauntlet". Mr. Simmons did not
want to talk about that operation, did he Mr. Ruppert.
We know why, Operation Gauntlet was a CIA\Hmong operation
on the Bolevens Plateau and Operation Tailwind was to divert
enemy troops, supplies and equipment from that operation.
 DOD 0155 is the "I got you" memo. Mr.
Simmons presented these 5 documents into the records to
show Operation Tailwind was involved, However, this document
shows a 14 September 1970 date, subject: Operation Tailwind,
From the Director for Operations, to the Director, Joint
Staff "Recommend the attached memorandum be approved,
signed and returned to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff".
As of this date, 14 September 1970, nothing had been approved.
Lets give the Pentagon credit for dedication and say they
were at the office by 0700 hours, what time was it in Laos
Mr. Ruppert? You got it, Laos\Vietnam time 11 hours
ahead of Washington, DC. It was 1800 hours on 14 September
1970 and the Operation Tailwind participants had already
been extracted from Laos, were back at FOB2 in Kontum, Vietnam,
had a beer or two, treated for wounds received in action
and cleaned up all the blood, dirt and mud. TOO LATE
MR. RUPPERT FOR ANY DECISION TO HAVE AFFECTED OPERATION
TAILWIND IN ANY WAY! SORRY, PLEASE DO NOT WEEP. 
April Oliver's "Contemporaneous notes" on her
interviews with Admiral Moorer need no rebuttal. On
each subject, defectors or nerve gas, she began with statements
that were hypothetical or suggestive. Thus, the Admiral's
answers were also hypothetical and suggestive. The
Admiral NEVER stated that Defectors were targeted and Sarin
gas was used on Operation Tailwind.
Mr. Ruppert, you listed eight confirmations that were made
by Admiral Moorer, Let me close with this statement:
Of the eight you listed only one was correct, Operation
Tailwind was successful, the Hatchet Force destroyed an
enemy ammo complex, engaged the NVA in nine (9) separate
fire fights and won, attacked and destroyed a NVA base camp,
captured critical enemy documents and diverted enemy troops
from the CIA "Operation Gauntlet". The courageous
Special Forces soldiers and Montagnards from SOG, Marine\
Air Force Pilots and Crewmen, deserve praise for their bravery
and devotion to duty, not to be accused of war crimes as
April Oliver and CNN attempted to do with this horrific
program. A program that the American Public did not
believe and CNN could not support.
In conclusion, April
Oliver and CNN made three (3) allegations in their program
" Valley of Death"; (1) defectors were targeted, (2) Sarin
Gas was used, (3) and women and children were killed.
All three are lies. No defectors were in the NVA Base
Camp, Sarin gas was never used to "prep" The Base Camp or
the extraction and no women or children were killed on this
operation. The SFA has documented evidence that these
allegations are false. CNN and April Oliver have no
documented evidence. That is why there will never
be a case that goes to trial. The SFA has obtained
the services of an independent production company for airing
of "Operation Tailwind, The Real Story". The production
should be released this winter. Look for it Mr. Rupert
and if you can force yourself to watch, it should be an
educational and emotional experience.
The primary issue is
all of this debate is whether or not Sarin gas was used
and whether or not defectors were targeted by the Tailwind
mission. Here FTW agrees wholeheartedly with one of the
foremost law reviews in the country, The Fulton County Daily
Report of July 28, 2000 - www.Law.com. It is apparent that FTW read
the Moorer deposition the same way that The Daily Report
The story by R.
Robin McDonald states:
In that deposition,
taken Jan. 17, the 88-year-old admiral confirmed he had
made each statement attributed to him in Oliver's interview
notes, including the following exchange, which he read aloud:
"We are going to
report that [the] U.S. used nerve gas in combat during Tailwind,"
Moorer read from Oliver's notes. "Will we be correct
in saying this is the first time the U.S. used it?"
"I said, 'You might
want to qualify that a bit.'
"Well, I'm not
so familiar with the European theater. But I think there
might have been a few isolated pockets where poison gas
was used," Moorer continued.
"You mean in World
"Yes, I think so."
"So we would be
okay in saying first time in the Vietnam War?" Oliver
asks, according to her notes.
responded. "I think so."
Simmons, Oliver's attorney,
then asked the retired admiral: "So to the best of
your recollection, sir, does that accurately reflect what
she [Oliver] asked you and what you said in December of
"Well, I think
that by and large this was exactly the way-what I said,
but I don't understand the point of the question,"
Moorer also confirmed
in his deposition that in May, 1998, a month before the
broadcast aired, Oliver came to interview him again. According
to Oliver's notes, Moorer acknowledged that the Special
Forces group involved in Tailwind generally targeted defectors.
"So killing these
defectors was the mission? And it was done to protect American
lives?" Oliver asked.
responded. "I have no doubt about that."
"Is that correct?"
Simmons asked Moorer in the deposition after he read the
exchange with Oliver aloud.
Said Moorer: "I
Says Oliver: "He
told us to go with it. We had it right. пїЅIt will be very
hard for the men out in California to prove we acted recklessly,
that we acted with malice.
Oliver says she remains
committed to setting the record straight. "When they
throw money at Moorer, when they throw money at Singlaub,
it makes it look like I did something wrong when I didn't.
I'm very, very committed to using the legal process to correct
the public record where journalists failed.
"We had a story
approved by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and
we got crushed for going with that story," she says.
"It all goes down
to the corporation not having the will to stay the course."
Oliver says she gave
the broadcast script to Admiral Moorer to read, and that
he approved it. The admiral has acknowledged that Oliver
showed him the script, but said he neither read nor approved
Jack C. Doppelt, an
associate professor at Northwestern University's Medill
School of Journalism says CNN never should have fired Oliver
"I never understood
that, and thought it was excessive," he says "In
this case, firing Oliver and Smith to me did not make the
corporate leadership at CNN look any better. It made them
look worse. They acted in a way that made it look like they
were scapegoating two people."
FTW's Comments on the
 - Your cake
and eat it too? At FTW note  you specifically refer to
a CIA operation connected to the Hmong and thereby establish
a CIA connection to the mission. I could produce book after
book, example after example of plausible deniability and
the sheep-dipping of CIA personnel into military operations
but that would lead astray from the basic issue. Anywhere
the Hmong went, there went CIA opium/heroin.
 - You are
quite correct. What is the relevance to whether the gas
was used or not?
 - FTW made this
statement only in one initial Subscriber Bulletin dated
6/23/00. As is common when a news organization report "breaking
news" such errors are routinely announced and corrected.
This we did in a subsequent Subscriber Bulletin dated 6/28/00.
Also, in both out web postings and in the print copy of
FTW which was dated June 30, the statement you
accuse us of was never made. Again, what is the relevance
to Sarin gas use?
 - A slight misinterpretation
of the tape trying to make readers believe that Moorer is
somehow confused or feeble of mind. Everyone we know who
has read the deposition in its entirety has come to the
conclusion that Moorer's mental acuity is as astonishing
as is his apparent physical vigor.
 - The legal tactics
used during the deposition were appropriate and within established
procedure. Your use of the word "ambush" is the
equivalent of saying that in a criminal trial there should
be no cross examination of prosecution (or defense) witnesses.
The Daily Review found no fault with it.
 - FTW was
aware of the spelling discrepancy for Nakhon Phanom. However,
for consistency we decided to use the spelling used in the
deposition which was, we believe, provided by one of the
plaintiff's attorneys. Does that mean that the gas wasn't
 - I suggest that
you sue me over this one and we can go to court and hash
it out with witnesses and mountains of documentary evidence
of how CIA operates. You might review the case of former
U.S. Army Special Forces Captain John McCarthy who has some
expertise in CIA operations in the area. You may view his
story at http://www.fromthewilderness.com/Mac.htm.
FTW categorically and unequivocally stands by its assertion
and belief that nothing - absolutely nothing - by way of
a U.S. Government operation took place in Laos or Cambodia
between 1958 and 1975 without the complete blessing and
knowledge of the Central Intelligence Agency.
 - This is a very
interesting point and we cannot dispute it. It does not
establish that gas was not used, nor does it invalidate
a time-honored practice in both the military and intelligence
agencies of providing paper authorizations for missions
that have already been carried out successfully. In fact
this process occurred frequently during the Contra War when
Presidential Findings and Presidential Decision Directives
were issued after the fact to provide legitimacy to operations
already carried out by the National Security Council and
Nothing in anything
written by the Special Forces Association invalidates the
admissions made my Admiral Moorer that the gas was used
and that it was used to kill defectors. FTW is convinced
that when the time comes, General Singlaub, under oath,
will find himself in the same position that Admiral Moorer
did. He will have to affirm his own confirmation that Sarin
gas was used to kill American defectors.
[This continuing story
will be covered in more detail in upcoming issues of From
The Wilderness for our paid subscribers.]