A CRITIQUE OF COLONEL JOE SCHLATTER'S "MIA FACTS PAGE."


Colonel Schlatter, on his web site, would appear to provide cogent arguments for the theory, that the Vietnamese returned all living Americans in 1973. The problem with this idea, is that it is known by the Colonel to be untrue and only through "sleight of hand" can he try and ignore the true facts.

First Colonel Schlatter, a veteran of one tour in combat with the Field Artillery, sets himself up as an expert on the Vietnam War and Vietnamese. He also only deals with those that he has blessed with the label "POW" and not all those on the list of missing. What this former artillery man has done is quite simple. He has set himself up as judge and jury for all missing Americans from Private Robert Garwood to those who remain in Southeast Asia.

The Colonel states emphatically that no one was left behind after 1973. He also is unequivocal in his proclamation that no Americans were taken to other countries. The Colonel is either being less than truthful or he is incredibly gullible and stupid. I regret to say the former appears to be true.

Colonel Schlatter goes into great detail about the book "Kiss The Boys Goodbye." He roundly trashes Monika Jensen-Stevenson's ability to separate fact from fiction. He speaks specifically of one Robin Gregson. He knows nothing about Gregson, except of course, what has been put out by one James Coyne. Internal DIA documents tell a different story about Robin Gregson and what happened to those who decided to try and bring him down in a bogus "drug case." Jim Coyne provided a whining document for his publisher, which was also posted to DIA and found its way into the hands of certain CIA operatives. It came to me.

Coyne states that his wife, Thuy, came under fire from her former employer, CIA for accessing documents and handing them to Jim. He also states that Colonel Dennison Lane lost his job over his actions vis--vis Robin Gregson. He then decries the fact that CIA was protecting Gregson. This protection went so far as to see action taken against one of the stars of the Royal Thai Army, General Pichit. It seems Coyne asked the good General to assist in "getting Gregson." This led to Police General Saneh, who duly charged Gregson in a "drug case" for the heinous crime of arranging bail for two foreigners, at the request of their families. Coyne and DIA have stated on numerous occasions that Gregson never had any official position with the US Government. This is a lie and former members of USAID in Laos will tell of their co-worker Gregson, who ran the motor pool.

Further, Gregson had been in Vietnam in 1969. No one likes to talk about that. His so called scams in Thailand started out in the rather benign areas of shrimp farming and leather goods. Time and again the intelligence agencies of various countries tried to recruit him. The American CIA made much better use of Gregson than did the DIA. It seemed that DIA were fearful of those Gregson described as Americans "just living in Laos." It was pictures of these people that Senator Alan Simpson called "lightweight stuff" during my forced testimony before the US Senate. Of course, these pictures have never seen the light of day, since the Committee received them. They wanted all the pictures and other evidence. But we just settled on those "just living in Laos" for a start.

Contrary to the assertions of Colonel Schlatter, our lack of "cooperation" was at the direction of my attorney in the case; Mark Smith vs. Ronald Reagan. A fact that Colonel Schlatter seems to have missed in all of this. The Senate hearings were a scam and were intended to negate the "discovery" phase of my law suit. The Government would gain all the evidence in Senate hearings and thus declare that "Discovery" would be a one sided affair. Did I challenge Senator Simpson to box in the parking lot? Yes I did. I simply became tired of sitting there being trashed by someone, who under the Constitution, worked for us. Later, there were mutual apologies all around in Simpson's office. Much later, Simpson again brought this up and made it appear he had given me a break by not boxing in the parking lot. Well, O.K. Simpson's later actions were at the urging of Senator John McCain, another boxer from the Naval Academy, who did not wish to call me before the Senate Select Committee. This was after I was threatened with a supoena by Committee staff in Bangkok. Oh well, Colonel Schlatter and Simpson have a good story to tell, even if they obviously did not like to box.

Earlier I stated that Colonel Schlatter only dealt with those he had deemed "POWs." But by law, he could no declare all those "bad guys" on the list non persons. They are missing, as was Garwood, just like the rest of us. Taking only the "deserters," "collaborators" and etc as an example, they are indeed a sizable number. The Colonel states that no one was taken to the USSR or other countries. What about the great DIA hero Sergeant Sweeney, USMC? He was sent to Europe, including Russia, after collaborating his butt off. He is portrayed as "smart" by DIA "for making the enemy believe he was collaborating." They never show any of those films or statements made by collaborators prior to release. Except for Garwood, of course. None of the "rights" given other POWs, including collaborators, have been extended to this one lone Private. No films made in North Vietnam are released and no letters sent by POWs are published or released by DIA.

This, they claim, is done to protect we "heroes" privacy. Unless your name is Garwood, of course. The U.S. Government did not have any letters from Garwood, though he readily admitted signing one, so called "Soldier's Appeal." But the boys from DIA got busy and obtained a copy of that "Soldier's Appeal" from the Communist Vietnamese! It was in Vietnamese! Not in English, but Vietnamese. I am sure it had a real impact on U.S. troops fighting the NVA. What the good Colonel fails to tell you on his web site is that DIA files are filled with letters, films, tapes and etc. of some of my fellow POWs damning their country and whining to go home. But only Garwood gets the treatment from Colonel Schlatter.

Colonel Schlatter quotes the "Old Boy Network" at DIA extensively. He claims agreement that no POWs were kept after 1973. Yet, that opinion was not shared by Lieutenant General Eugene Tighe, the former Director of DIA. That man had more intelligence at his beck and call than anything Colonel Joe Schlatter ever saw or even heard rumors about. Further, unlike Colonel Schlatter, General Tighe was not in the Artillery in Vietnam, he was in Intelligence. He also served as the principle Intelligence Officer at CINPAC Headquarters in Hawaii. He did not share Colonel Schlatter's view on POWs or Garwood.

Colonel Mike Peck resigned from the office Colonel Schlatter came to occupy. He said the folks there had a "mindset to debunk." He was describing the same people Colonel Schlatter uses to buttress his argument about all POWs being dead, except for those of us who returned in 1973. (Though Garwood was found innocent of desertion. Colonel Schlatter and his friends still label him as such). Colonel Schlatter makes no reference to the set of remains, returned long after the war, nicknamed "Stinky" by his own DIA. This name was applied, because they still reeked of rot, many years after death was said to have occurred. I don't know how many dead the Colonel dealt with in the Artillery, but I can tell you as an Infantryman, that how fresh a body is can be determined by any Infantry Soldier of broad experience in Vietnam, by how it smells or if the remains stink at all. Scott Barnes comes in for a trashing by Colonel Schlatter. Barnes is an easy target. That is why my Attorney put him into the hands of the Chief of Psychology at Duke University. He put Barnes under Sodium Amythal. I don't know if Barnes lied about everything else, including his own name, but I do know he passed the test on S.A. about if he had observed and photographed live POWs. The people Barnes claimed to have gone with, did in fact, conduct such a mission. One died in Bangkok and is buried on Hmong General Vang Pao's ranch in Montana. The other, a Special Forces soldier is not talking.

Here is what Colonel Schlatter does not tell you on his web site. He does not tell you about how our Government passed off an individual at the Central Identification lab as an "Forensic Anthropologist" and "Doctor," when he was neither. He does not tell you that the technique devised to identify remains by this same non-doctor, was judged by the true Forensic Anthropologist community to be "voodoo forensics."

He does not tell you a Lao, the DIA claimed made a Romanised symbol in the middle of his field, knew no ABC's as a point of reference. He will tell you that other people in the mountains, who could neither read nor write in their own language, let alone English, stamped, cut and burned initials, numbers and in some cases, full names into the landscape, just for grins.

He does not tell you about the deployed parachutes found along a track of a burning AC-130 Gunship. He does not tell you about the piles of bloody bandages found by the search team.

All of this is in the files of the office once occupied by Colonel Schlatter. He does not tell you the search team was controlled by US personnel. He does not even mention it. But he tells you there was no evidence of survival. That is more than a mere oversight by Colonel Schlatter, it is a lie. He has a ball trashing the late Czech General Senja. He calls him a liar, because he spoke of American POWs being taken to the USSR from Korea and Vietnam. Senja was no "fly by night" POW activist, he was employed by the U.S. Government after his defection. I suppose they just wanted to help him out?

They believed Senja enough to hire him to deal with other intelligence matters, but they knew he was lying about POWs? The Colonel protests too much! Colonel Schlatter claims that Senator Bob Smith, Garwood and Billy Hendon fabricated a camp on an island, under the noses of the Vietnamese Communists. He does not tell you that Hendon and Smith also found a cistern that DIA claimed did not exist at 17 Ly Nam De Street in Hanoi. Garwood claimed to have seen American POWs bathing in this cistern long after the war. Colonel Schlatter's office claimed there was no cistern there, let alone POWs. Maybe Smith and Hendon and the ABC film crew that filmed the scene, fabricated the cistern also. Seems to me that Smith and Hendon did what DIA did not do. They went and looked.

Oh, by the way, the Colonel also neglects to tell you that Billy Hendon also worked in that same POW Office at DIA as the good Colonel did. That is where the majority of intelligence Hendon speaks of came from. Not some "Asian scam artist" or "American POW Activist," but from Colonel Schlatter's own files. Colonel Schlatter does not mention Colonel Mike Peck, Commander Chip Beck or Mr. Bill Bell on his web site. All of these people also worked for DIA in the POW arena. All had much more extensive combat experience in Vietnam than Colonel Schlatter. All feel we left men behind in Southeast Asia. I guess Colonel Schlatter and those he names as the "good guys" are just a lot smarter than these seasoned veterans.

Of course Colonel Schlatter has blatantly lied about some things. But I wouldn't want anyone to think ill of him for merely claiming to have been Commander Beck's rating officer, when in actuality, they had never met. But that should be an indicator of how reliable he is.

Frankly, after reading Colonel Schlatter's material from his web site, I can only quote the erstwhile, non-boxing, former Senator from Wyoming, Alan Simpson; "Lightweight stuff." Present your argument Colonel, but don't lie. God will get you!


Copyright 1998, by Mark A. Smith, Major, USA, Retired

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