- Swift Vets and POWs for Truth
Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, formerly known as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT), was a political group (
527 group) of American Swift boat veterans and former prisoners of war of the Vietnam War, formed during the 2004 presidential election campaign for the purpose of opposing John Kerry's candidacy for the presidency. As of 2008, the group has ceased operations.
SBVT asserted that Kerry was "unfit to serve" as President based upon his alleged "willful distortion of the conduct" of American servicemen during that war, and his alleged "withholding and/or distortion of material facts" as to his own conduct during that war.cite web| title =Swift Veterans Letter to John Kerry| publisher =Swift Vets and POWs for Truth| date= 2004-05-04| url =http://horse.he.net/~swiftpow/article.php?story=20040629220813790| accessdate = 2007-10-25 ] This claim caused tremendous controversy during the election, particularly because some perceived the veterans as partisans who had not been in a place to assess Kerry,cite news | title =Republican-funded Group Attacks Kerry's War Record| publisher =FactCheck.org| date= 2004-08-22| url =http://www.factcheck.org/article231.html| accessdate = 2007-03-28 ] while several other Vietnam veterans who served alongside Kerry or under his command disputed the criticisms and supported Kerry in his presidential aspirations.cite news | last =Dobbs| first =Michael| title =Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete| pages =A01| publisher =Washington Post| date= 2004-08-22| url =http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21239-2004Aug21.html| accessdate = 2007-03-28 ] cite news | last =VandeHei| first =Jim| title =Kerry returns home with 'band of brothers'| publisher =Lawrence Journal-World| date= 2004-07-29| url =http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2004/jul/29/kerry_returns_home/| accessdate = 2007-03-28 ]
SBVT stated that "Kerry's phony
war crimescharges, his exaggerated claims about his own service in Vietnam, and his deliberate misrepresentation of the nature and effectiveness of Swift boat operations compel us to step forward." [ [http://www.swiftvets.com SwiftVets.com | The Real Story on John Kerry's Military Service ] ] The group challenged the legitimacy of each of the combat medals awarded to Kerry by the U.S. Navyand the disposition of his discharge. (See John Kerry military service controversy.) Further, SBVT said that Kerry's later criticism of the war was a "betrayal of trust" with other soldiers, and that by his activism he had caused direct "harm" to soldiers still at war. (See John Kerry VVAW controversy.)
Registered under Section 527 of the
Internal Revenue Code, SBVT publicized its criticisms of Kerry during the election campaign in a book, in television advertisements that the group ran in swing states and in the media coverage some members received. The group was the subject of several complaints to the Federal Election Commission(FEC).
After the election, the group was credited by some media and praised by conservatives as contributing to Kerry's defeatcite news | last =Vlahos| first =Kelley Beaucar| title =Conservatives Laud Swift Boat Veterans| publisher =Fox News| date= 2005-02-16| url =http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,147728,00.html | accessdate = 2007-02-28 ] while critics consider the group an example of a successful political
smear campaign.cite news | last =Conason| first =Joe| title =Smear Boat Veterans for Bush| publisher =Salon.com| date= May 4, 2004| url =http://dir.salon.com/story/opinion/conason/2004/05/04/swift/index.html| accessdate = ]
SBVT was formed in 2004. Membership was initially limited to veterans of the Vietnam War who at some point served in a Swift boat unit, as did Kerry.
Of the 3,500 Swift boat sailors who served in Vietnam, the names of some 250 appeared on the group's statement against Kerry; most did not serve at the same time or in the same place as Kerry. [cite web|url=http://www.swiftboats.org/|title=Swift Boat Sailors' Association] [cite web|url=http://horse.he.net/~swiftpow/index.php?topic=Letter|title=Swift Vets and POWs for Truth] [cite web|url=http://www.swiftboats.net/|title=Coastal Squadron One Directory] Founding members of SBVT include Rear Admiral
Roy Hoffmann(retired), a former commander of Swift boat forces; Houstonattorney John O'Neill, an officer who became commander of Swift Boat PCF 94 several months after Kerry's departure in 1969 and who appeared opposite Kerry in a televised 1971 debate between them on " The Dick Cavett Show"; and 13 other named veterans. Several of those who joined SBVT during the 2004 campaign were officers who had previously praised Kerry's conduct during the Vietnam War. These included Division Commander Grant Hibbard, who wrote positive evaluations of Kerry, and Commander George Elliott, who submitted Kerry for a Silver Star. SBVT counts, in total, 16 officers who served with Kerry in Coastal Division 11 as members. [cite web| url=http://horse.he.net/~swiftpow/article.php?story=20040808144320243| title=‘Any Questions?’ cover letter for TV station managers| date=2004-08-08| archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20050915131707/http://horse.he.net/~swiftpow/article.php?story=20040808144320243| archivedate=2005-09-15] Despite SBVT's statements that Kerry's "entire chain of command" belonged to the group, [cite web| url=http://www.swiftvets.com/index.php?topic=SwiftVetQuotes|title=Swift Veteran Quotes|publisher= SBVT website|date=2004-10-09|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20041009141205/http://www.swiftvets.com/index.php?topic=SwiftVetQuotes|archivedate=2004-10-09] Joseph Streuli, former commander of Coastal Division 13, Charles Horne, former commander of Coastal Squadron 1, and Art Price, former commander CTF 116 who is described in "Unfit for Command" as part of Kerry's chain of command, are not affiliated with the group.
The group's initial letter against Kerry stated "It is our collective judgment that, upon your return from Vietnam, you grossly and knowingly distorted the conduct of the American soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen of that war (including a betrayal of many of us, without regard for the danger your actions caused us). Further, we believe that you have withheld and/or distorted material facts as to your own conduct in this war." [cite web| url=http://horse.he.net/~swiftpow/article.php?story=20040629220813790|title=Swift Veterans Letter to John Kerry|publisher=SBVT website|date=2004-06-29|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20050915133256/http://horse.he.net/~swiftpow/article.php?story=20040629220813790|archivedate=2005-09-15] However, Kerry had posted over 100 pages of his military records at his website nearly two weeks before the issuance of the SBVT letter, and had also made his military medical records available for inspection by reporters (and provided a summary from his doctor).cite news| last =Glionna| first =John M.| title =Kerry Camp Posts His Military Records| pages =A17| publisher =LA Times| date= 2004-04-21| url =http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/621740291.html?dids=621740291:621740291&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Apr+21%2C+2004&author=John+M.+Glionna&pub=Los+Angeles+Times&edition=&startpage=A.17&desc=THE+RACE+TO+THE+WHITE+HOUSE| accessdate = 2007-03-28 ] [cite news|url=http://web.archive.org/web/20051107080149/http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=29302|title=Kerry Doctor Issues Summary of Military Medical Records|publisher=U.S. Newswire|date=2004-04-23] [cite web| title=Military Records, work=Official Kerry website| date=2004-12-09| url=http://www.johnkerry.com/about/john_kerry/military_records.html| archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20041209135553/http://www.johnkerry.com/about/john_kerry/military_records.html| archivedate=2004-12-09]
Not all SBVT members said that they were signing the letter for the same reason. For example, from an interview published the day before the letter was made public: " ' [Kerry] earned his medals, he did what he was supposed to do in Vietnam,' said retired Coast Guard Captain Adrian Lonsdale, who was in the chain of command above Kerry and oversaw various operations dealing with Navy swift boats of the type Kerry commanded. 'But I was very disappointed in his statements after he got out of the Navy.' " [cite news|date=2004-05-04|publisher=Boston Globe|title=$25m ad campaign showcases Kerry's career|url=http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2004/05/04/25m_ad_campaign_showcaes_kerrys_career/]
Of those who served in Kerry's boat crew, only Stephen Gardner joined SBVT. [cite news
title=The Tenth Brother
date=2004-03-09] He was not present on any of the occasions when Kerry won his medals, including his
Purple Hearts. Gardner appeared in two of the group's television advertisements.
All other living members of Kerry's crew supported his presidential bid, and some frequently campaigned with him as his self-described 'band of brothers'. Kerry crewmembers have disputed some of SBVT's various allegations: "totally false" (Drew Whitlow), "garbage" (Gene Thorson), and "a pack of lies" (Del Sandusky). [cite news|url=http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20040806/news_1n6swift.html|title=McCain assails attacks on Kerry wartime record|publisher=San Diego Union-Tribune|date=2004-08-06] [cite news|url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/08/06/MNGUT83SS41.DTL|title=Vets group attacks Kerry; McCain defends Democrat|publisher=San Francisco Chronicle|date=2004-08-06] [cite news|url=http://www.kinston.com/SiteProcessor.cfm?Template=/GlobalTemplates/Details.cfm&StoryID=22061&Section=Local|title= Kerry crewmates defend his record|publisher=Kinston Free Press|date=2004-08-29]
No members of SBVT were aboard Kerry's boat during any of the incidents for which he was decorated. The only member of SBVT who was present at the Silver Star incident, Rood's crewmember Larry Clayton Lee, praised Kerry's tactics and stated that he earned his Silver Star; he stated that based on discussions with other SBVT members, he came to question whether Kerry deserved other medals for incidents at which he was not present.cite news | last =Gerth| first =Joseph| title =Kentucky veteran involved in ambush backs Kerry account| publisher =Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)| date= 2004-08-26| url =http://orig.courier-journal.com/localnews/2004/08/26ky/A1-swift0826-9879.html| accessdate = 2007-04-22 ] cite news | last =Hume| first =Brit| title =Political Grapevine| publisher =Fox News Channel| date= 2004-08-26| url =http://www.accessmylibrary.com/premium/0286/0286-13156512.html| accessdate = 2007-04-07 ]
September 29, 2004, SBVT announced that it was joining forces with a group of American prisoners of war who were held captive by the North Vietnamese during the war to form the new group, "Swift Vets and POWs For Truth". [cite web|url=http://swift4.he.net/~swift4/article.php?story=2004092911015589|date=2004-09-29|title=Swift Boat Veterans Join Forces With POWs, SBVT website|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20041024083924/http://swift4.he.net/~swift4/article.php?story=2004092911015589|archivedate=2004-09-29]
SBVT produced several television advertisements created by
Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholmattacking Kerry's actions both in and after Vietnam. For a detailed discussion of SBVT's allegations about Kerry's service in Vietnam, see John Kerry military service controversy.
First television advertisement
SBVT first went public with a
May 4, 2004, press conference declaring opposition to Kerry. When the press conference garnered little attention, the organization produced television advertisements. On August 5, 2004, SBVT began airing a one-minute television spot [cite web|date=2004-10-12|title=Any Questions (script)|publisher=SBVT website|url=http://www.swiftvets.com/script.html|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20041012040319/http://www.swiftvets.com/script.html|archivedate=2004-10-12] [cite web|date=2004-11-08|title=Any Questions (video)|format=WMV|publisher=SBVT website|url=http://swift3.he.net/~swift3/anyquestions.wmv|archiveurl=http://www.archive.org/download/swb_anyquestions/swb_anyquestions.wmv|archivedate=2004-10-11] in three hotly contested states in the ongoing presidential election. The advertisement, entitled "Any Questions?", was a collage of short clips of 13 SBVT members, many who stated they "served with John Kerry" or had direct contact with Kerry during his service in Vietnam. The veterans appearing in the ad said Kerry was dishonest, unreliable, unfit to lead, and had dishonored his country and fellow veterans. Only one of the men in the advertisement (Steve Gardner) served under Kerry, but some sailed alongside Kerry's Swift boat on multi-boat patrols.
Among the first to criticize this ad was Republican Senator
John McCain, a Bush supporter, Vietnam veteran, and former POW. He said, "I condemn the [SBVT] ad. It is dishonest and dishonorable. I think it is very, very wrong".cite news| title =Morning Show Wrap| publisher =ABC News| date= 2004-08-06| url =http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/TheNote/story?id=120364&page=1| accessdate = 2007-03-28 ]
econd television advertisement
August 20, 2004, SBVT released a second television advertisement [cite web|date=2004-10-12|title=Sellout (script)|publisher=SBVT website|url=http://swiftvets.com/selloutscript.html|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20041010045625/swiftvets.com/selloutscript.html|archivedate=2004-10-10] [cite web|date=2004-11-08|title=Sellout (video)|format=WMV|publisher=SBVT website|url=http://swift3.he.net/~swift3/sellout.wmv|archiveurl=http://www.archive.org/download/swb_sellout/swb_sellout.wmv|archivedate=2004-10-11] featuring a portion of Kerry's , before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. [cite web|title=John Kerry 1971 Senate Testimony (audio)|format=MP3|date=2004-08-25|publisher=Democracy Now!|url=http://play.rbn.com/?url=demnow/demnow/demand/2004/aug/audio/dn20040825.ra&proto=rtsp&start=11:02.227|archiveurl=http://www.archive.org/download/dn2004-0825/dn2004-0825-1_64kb.mp3|archivedate=2004-08-25] Kerry, testifying as a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War(VVAW), had criticized U.S. policy in Vietnam. He had also described VVAW's 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation, in which more than 100 soldiers and civilians said they had seen or committed atrocities carried out by U.S. forces in Vietnam. Kerry's Senate testimony presented a summary of these men's statements; he did not, however, say that he had any personal knowledge of these atrocities. The SBVT advertisement alternated clips of Kerry's summary of these statements with charges from Vietnam veterans, particularly former POWs, that Kerry's "accusations" had demoralized and "betrayed" soldiers in Vietnam.
Third television advertisement
A third television advertisement [cite web|date=2004-10-12|title=Gunner (script)|publisher=SBVT website|url=http://swiftvets.com/gunnerscript.html|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20041011183120/swiftvets.com/gunnerscript.html|archivedate=2004-10-11] [cite web|date=2004-11-08|title=Gunner (video)|format=WMV|publisher=SBVT website|url=http://swift3.he.net/~swift3/gunner.wmv|archiveurl=http://www.archive.org/download/swb_gunner/swb_gunner.wmv|archivedate=2004-10-11] began airing on
August 26, 2004, attacking Kerry's past statements that he was in Cambodiaon Christmas Eve, 1968. This advertisement featured Stephen Gardner stating, " I spent more time on John Kerry's boat than any other crew member. ... John Kerry claims that he spent Christmasin 1968 in Cambodia and that is categorically a lie. Not in December, not in January. We were never in Cambodia on a secret mission, ever."
However, Gardner was only a member of Kerry's crew for a month and a half, from
December 6, 1968to approximately January 22, 1969; crew directories and first hand accounts indicate that other crewmembers served as long or longer under Kerry's command.cite web | last =Wasikowski| first =Lawrence J.| title =Coastal Squadron One Swift Boat Crew Directory| publisher =self-published| url =http://www.swiftboats.net/| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ] cite news | last =Kranish| first =Michael| title =Heroism, and growing concern about war| publisher =Boston Globe| date= 2003-06-16| url =http://www.boston.com/globe/nation/packages/kerry/061603.shtml| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ]
In addition, Kerry had never said that the Christmas Eve incident was a "secret mission," but happened during a routine patrol; furthermore, he stated at least two weeks prior to the ad's appearance that he had been patrolling at or near the border at the time and subsequently ambushed.cite news| last =Canon| first =Scott| title =Kerry's Cambodia account challenged by ex-commander| publisher =Seattle Times| date= 2004-08-05| url =http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002005720_cambodia15.html| accessdate = 2007-03-28 ] cite web| last =Kaplan| first =Fred| title =Holiday in Cambodia| publisher =Slate.com| date= 2004-08-23| url =http://www.slate.com/id/2105529/| accessdate = 2007-03-28 ] The account of the patrol appears in Douglas Brinkley's "Tour of Duty," [pp. 209-219] and Cmdr. Elliott noted in Kerry's fitness report that his boat was ambushed during the Christmas truce of 1968.cite web | last =Kerry| first =John| title =John Kerry Fitness Reports| publisher =JohnKerry.com| format =PDF| url =http://web.archive.org/web/20040716025647/www.johnkerry.com/about/Fitness_Reports.pdf| accessdate = 2007-10-20 ] Moreover, Kerry's biographer, Douglas Brinkley, has stated that Kerry "went into Cambodian waters three or four times in January and February 1969 on clandestine missions".cite news | last =Rennie| first =David| title =Kerry's confusion over Cambodia| publisher =Telegraph| date= 2004-08-13| url =http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/08/13/wus13.xml| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ] cite news|last = Barone|first = Michael|title=Winter in Cambodia?|date=
2004-08-30|publisher=U.S. News|url=http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/articles/040830/30barone.htm | accessdate = 2007-04-05]
Fourth television advertisement
August 31, 2004, a fourth advertisement [cite web|date=2004-10-12|title=Medals (script)|publisher=SBVT website|url=http://swiftvets.com/medalsscript.html|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20041009131707/swiftvets.com/medalsscript.html|archivedate=2004-10-09] [cite web|date=2004-11-08|title=Medals (video)|format=WMV|publisher=SBVT website|url=http://swift3.he.net/~swift3/medals.wmv|archiveurl=http://www.archive.org/download/swb_medals/swb_medals.wmv|archivedate=2004-10-11] was released by SBVT. The advertisement described Kerry as a man who "renounced his country's symbols," a reference to a Vietnam War protest where Kerry threw war decorations over the fence of the U.S. Capitol building on April 23, 1971. The advertisement also contained edited video clips of Kerry from a WRC-TV program called "Viewpoints," in which he stated that he gave back "six, seven, eight, nine" (in response to a question: "How many did you give back, John?"); it then included a clip from another part of that interview where Kerry stated "and that was the medals themselves," although in the interview it was not in reference to the decorations he returned. [cite web|publisher=ABC News|date= 2004-04-25|url=http://abcnews.go.com/sections/Politics/Investigation/kerry_vietnam_medals_040425.html|archivedate=2004-08-04|title=Discarded Decorations Videotape...|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20040804005007/http://abcnews.go.com/sections/Politics/Investigation/kerry_vietnam_medals_040425.html]
name = Unfit for Command
author = John E. O'Neill and
release_date = August 2004
media_type = Hardcover/Paperback
isbn = ISBN 0-89526-017-4
SBVT founder and spokesman John O'Neill and
Jerome Corsiare listed as coauthors of the book "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry", published by Regnery Publishing. A best-seller upon its release in August 2004[cite Wikipedia|date= 2008-08-17|title=New York Times Non-Fiction Bestsellers of 2004 |url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Times_Non-Fiction_Bestsellers_of_2004] , it criticized Kerry's judgment in battle, his truthfulness, his entitlement to certain medals, and his later anti-war activities. The book was based in part on interviews with veterans who served in or with Kerry's division, and also on biographies of Kerry [cite Regnery Publishing book description|date= 2008-08-17|title=Book Details - Unfit for Command|url=http://www.regnery.com/regnery/040809_unfit.html] . Several members of Kerry's crew stated that O'Neill failed to interview them; some veterans who were interviewed asserted that their statements were edited to strip out material favorable to Kerry. [cite news|publisher=New York Times|date= 2004-08-20|title=Friendly Fire: The Birth of an Anti-Kerry Ad|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/20/politics/campaign/20swift.html] Neither O'Neill nor Corsi had any firsthand knowledge of Kerry's service. O'Neill served on the Swift boats after Kerry left Vietnam and Corsi never served in Vietnam. [cite Wikipedia|date= 2008-08-17|title=John O'Neill (Vietnam veteran)|url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_O%27Neill_(Vietnam_veteran)] [cite Wikipedia|date= 2008-08-17|title=Jerome Corsi |url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerome_Corsi]
After controversial statements made by Corsi became public, O'Neill denied Corsi's coauthorship of the book, saying that Corsi was "simply an editor and not really any sort of co-author." [“Scarborough Country,” "
MSNBC", 2004-08-10] [“John O'Neill Interview with Wolf Blitzer,” " CNN", 2004-08-11.] However, portions of the bookcite web| title = Excerpts from Unfit for Command| url =http://www.learnedhand.com/kerryunfit7.htm| accessdate = 2007-03-29 ] contain material also found in articles posted under Corsi's name at [http://WinterSoldier.com WinterSoldier.com] , a website critical of John Kerry,cite web| last =Corsi| first =Jerome| title =Communist Vietnamese honor John Kerry, the war protestor, as a hero in their victory over the United States in the Vietnam War – Part II| publisher =WinterSoldier.com| date= 2004-07-27| url =http://web.archive.org/web/20050324092901/ice.he.net/~freepnet/kerry/staticpages/index.php?page=20040604194804799| accessdate = 2007-03-29 ] cite web| last =Corsi| first =Jerome| title =Coordinating with the enemy: Vietnam Veterans Against the War in Paris and Hanoi| publisher =WinterSoldier.com| date= 2004-05-03| url =http://web.archive.org/web/20050305152602/ice.he.net/~freepnet/kerry/staticpages/index.php?page=2004060123330738| accessdate = 2007-03-29 ] and O'Neill is cited in a later book as describing Corsi as helping to write "Unfit for Command," and urging him to back out of media appearances after the controversial comments became public. [“To Set the Record Straight: How Swift Boat Veterans, POWS and the New Media Defeated John Kerry,” by Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler, pp. 120-124 ]
Truth of allegations
A major part of the SBVT controversy centered on the group's testimony. Among the first to question the first ad was Republican Senator
John McCain, a Bush supporter, Vietnam veteran, and former POW. He said, "I condemn the [SBVT] ad. It is dishonest and dishonorable. I think it is very, very wrong".cite news| title =Morning Show Wrap| publisher =ABC News| date= 2004-08-06| url =http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/TheNote/story?id=120364&page=1| accessdate = 2007-03-28 ] As a naval aviator in Vietnam, McCain had no firsthand knowledge of Kerry's service. The SBVT statements were accompanied by sworn affidavits, although one affiant, Al French, later admitted he had no firsthand knowledge of what he had sworn to.cite news| title =Vets call for resignation of Clackamas prosecutor in Swift Boat ad| publisher =KGW| date= 2004-08-23| url =http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_082304_news_french_protest.a701071e.html| accessdate = 2007-03-28 ]
The first SBVT ad was contradicted by the statements of several other veterans who observed the incidents, by the Navy's official records, and, in some instances, by the contemporaneous statements of SBVT members themselves.
Several major newspapers were also skeptical of the SBVT allegations. For example, a "
New York Times" news article stated, "on close examination, the accounts of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth prove to be riddled with inconsistencies."cite news| last =Zernike| first =Kate| coauthors =Jim Rutenberg| title =Friendly Fire: The Birth of an Anti-Kerry Ad| publisher =NY Times| date= 2004-08-20| url =http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/20/politics/campaign/20swift.html?ex=1250913600&en=9b6f27de16c97265&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland| accessdate = 2007-03-28 ] Regarding the medal dispute, a " Los Angeles Times" editorial [cite news| title =Battle Over Kerry's Record Continues| work =editorial| publisher =LA Times| date= 2004-08-24| url =http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/682222421.html?dids=682222421:682222421&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Aug+24%2C+2004&author=&pub=Los+Angeles+Times&edition=&startpage=B.10&desc=Battle+Over+Kerry%27s+Record+Continues| pages = B10| accessdate = 2007-03-29 ] stated, "Not limited by the conventions of our colleagues in the newsroom, we can say it outright: These charges against John Kerry are false." The editorial argued this position on the basis that "Kerry is backed by almost all those who witnessed the events in question, as well as by documentation." On August 22, 2004"The Washington Post" reported: "An investigation by The Washington Post into what happened that day suggests that both sides have withheld information from the public record and provided an incomplete, and sometimes inaccurate, picture of what took place. But although Kerry's accusers have succeeded in raising doubts about his war record, they have failed to come up with sufficient evidence to prove him a liar."cite news| last =Dobbs| first =Michael| title =Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete| publisher =Washington Post|pages = A01| date= 2004-08-22| url =http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost/access/681534261.html?dids=681534261:681534261&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Aug+22%2C+2004&author=Michael+Dobbs&pub=The+Washington+Post&edition=&startpage=A.01&desc=Swift+Boat+Accounts+Incomplete| accessdate = 2007-03-29 ]
The ABC television show "Nightline" traveled to Vietnam and interviewed Vietnamese who were involved in the battle for which Kerry was awarded the Silver Star. These witnesses disputed O'Neill's charge that there "was little or no fire" that day; they said that the fighting was fierce.cite news | last =Morse| first =Andrew| title =What Happened in Kerry's Vietnam Battles?| publisher =ABC News| date= 2004-10-14| url =http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/print?id=166434| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ] SBVT supporters question whether these witnesses are reliable because they spoke "in the presence of a Communist official",cite news | last =Sowell| first =Thomas| title =ABC News or ABC spin| publisher =Townhall.com| date= 2004-10-20| url =http://www.townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2004/10/20/abc_news_or_abc_spin| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ] but their account of enemy fire is substantially the same as that previously given by another former VC to an AP reporter [cite news | last=Mason | first=Margie | title=Former Viet Cong recalls fierce fighting along Mekong Delta waterways where Kerry served. | date=2004-09-01 | publisher=
Associated Press| accessdate=2007-11-16] and by the American witnesses, including the only SBVT member who was actually present that day, Larry Clayton Lee.cite news | last =Rood| first =William B.| title =This is what I saw that day| publisher =Chigago Tribune| date= 2004-08-22| url =http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/specials/chi-0408220342aug22,1,3455991.story?coll=chi-newsspecials-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true| accessdate = 2007-04-01 Registration required.] cite news | last =Upton| first =Peter N.| title =Kerry's Leadership Is Battle Tested| pages =C01,06| work=editorial| publisher =Hartford Courant| date= 2004-07-25| url =http://www.hartfordinfo.org/issues/documents/neighborhoods/htfd_courant_072504.pdf| accessdate = 2007-04-01 |format=PDF] ["Tour of Duty", pp. 290-292] ["John F. Kerry, The Complete Biography", (Boston Globe), pp. 100-103] ABC News's "The Note" opined, "the Swift Boat ad and their primary charges about Kerry's medals are personal, negative, extremely suspect, or false."cite news| title =ABC News' The Note: Choosing up Sides| publisher =ABC News| date= 2004-08-25| url =http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/TheNote/story?id=120304&page=1| accessdate = 2007-03-28 ]
Jerome Corsi has said that a picture of Kerry's 1993 visit to Vietnam hangs in the War Remnants Museum in
Ho Chi Minh Cityas a gesture of "honor" by the Communists "for his contribution to their victory over [the] United States",cite news | title =Kerry honored at communist museum| publisher =WorldNetDaily| date= 2004-06-01| url =http://wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38738| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ] cite press release| title =Kerry Museum Photo Documented| publisher =Vietnam Veterans For The Truth, LLC| date =| url =http://www.tinyvital.com/Misc/KerryHonoredByCommunists2.htm| accessdate = 2007-04-01 url is self-published] and John O'Neill has stated that Kerry "is in the North Vietnamese war museum as a hero... . one of the heroes who caused them to win the war in Vietnam".cite news | title =Nightline with Ted Koppel| work =TV broadcast| publisher =ABC News| date= 2004-10-14| url =http://www.swiftvets.com/staticpages/index.php?page=Nightline| accessdate = 2007-04-01 Self-published transcript URL.] The statement is also repeated in "Unfit for Command" (pp 167-174). However, Josh Gerstein of the " New York Sun" stated in this regard:
cquote2|While the museum clearly honors opponents of the war from America and other countries, it is not clear that the photo of Mr. Kerry is part of that tribute. The picture of the senator hangs among a set of photos devoted to the restoration of diplomatic relations between America and Vietnam in the 1990s.
It was apparently taken as Kerry took part in a delegation President Clinton sent to
Hanoiin 1993. Other photos nearby show visits during that period by former American officials who played key roles in the Vietnam War, including a Navy admiral who has since died, Elmo Zumwalt, and a defense secretary, Robert McNamara. A secretary of state during Clinton’s term, Warren Christopher, is also shown meeting Vietnamese officials|Josh Gersteincite news | last =Gerstein| first =Josh| title =Kerry’s Photo Raises Eyebrows In Museum In Ho Chi Minh City| pages =| language =| publisher =NY Sun| date= 2004-08-16| url =http://daily.nysun.com/Repository/ml.asp?Ref=TllTLzIwMDQvMDgvMTYjQXIwMDEwMA=&Mode=HTML&Locale=english-skin-custom| accessdate = ]
In this connection, the webpage Corsi and another anti-Kerry veteran originally published on the Kerry museum photo contained the picture of
Robert McNamara's 1995 meeting with General Giap, who was misidentified as " Mao Tse-Tung". [http://www.tinyvital.com/Misc/KerryHonoredByCommunists2.htm] (Photo #10).
In addition, John O'Neill said that in 1971 John Kerry "wanted to abandon ship and leave the POWs [in Vietnam] " and that " [o] n the Dick Cavett show and elsewhere, John Kerry‘s position was that we should accept the Madame Binh seven-point proposal, which called for unilateral withdrawal, setting a date after which at some future time, we‘d negotiate the return of the POWs. So we would set a date. We would withdraw and then we would begin to discuss how to bring them home".cite news | title =Scarborough Country| work =transcript| publisher =MSNBC TV| date= 2004-10-22| url =http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6327790/| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ] However, in the Cavett debate, Kerry actually said:
Early in the advertising campaign, "Time" magazine surveyed public credence in the SBVT advertisements among those who viewed them. The poll, conducted
August 24through 26, showed that about one-third of viewers believed there was at least "some truth" to the allegations. Among swing voters, about one-fourth felt there was any truth to the ads.cite news | last =Schulman| first =Mark| title =Kerry Slips Slightly as GOP Heads for NYC| publisher =Time| date= 2004-08-28| url =http://www.time.com/time/election2004/article/0,18471,689369,00.html| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ]
More recently, an early member of the group, Steve Hayes, stated that he came to believe that the group was twisting Kerry's record, and broke with the group and voted for Kerry. Hayes told the "
New York Times":
"The mantra was just 'We want to set the record straight,' " Mr. Hayes said this month. "It became clear to me that it was morphing from an organization to set the record straight into a highly political vendetta. They knew it was not the truth."
Hayes also told the "New York Times" that he provided a long interview to Kerry's supporters, backing their version of the incident for which Kerry received the Bronze Star.cite news
title =Kerry Pressing Swift Boat Case Long After Loss
publisher =NY Times
accessdate = 2007-04-28 ]
Connections with Republicans
SBVT characterized itself as a non-partisan group both in the legal sense and in spirit, yet several prominent individuals who assisted SBVT also have had close ties to the Republican Party. According to information released by the
IRSon February 22, 2005, more than half of the group's reported contributions came from just three sources, all prominent Texas Republican donors: Houston builder Bob J. Perry, a longtime supporter of George W. Bush, donated $4.45 million, Harold Simmons' Contrans donated $3 million, and T. Boone Pickens, Jr.donated $2 million. Other major contributors included Bush fundraiser Carl Lindner ($300,000), Robert Lindner ($260,000), GOP contributor Aubrey McClendon($250,000), George Matthews Jr. ($250,000), and Crow Holdings ($100,000).cite web | title =Swift Vets Top Contributors, 2004 Cycle| publisher =opensecrets| url =http://www.opensecrets.org/527s/527cmtedetail.asp?cycle=2004&format=&ein=201041228&tname=Swift%20Vets%20&%20POWs%20for%20Truth| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ] cite news | last =Frank| first =John| title =ELECTION 2004 / 2 Texans dig deep for boat vet ads / Pair from Dallas kick in $3 million for group's coffers| pages =A8| publisher =Houston Chronicle| date= 2004-10-05| url =http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=2004_3806652| accessdate = 2007-04-01 Registration required.] cite web | title =Bob Perry - The Man Behind Swift Boat Veterans for Truth| work =fact sheet| publisher =Texans for Public Justice (self-published)| url =http://www.tpj.org/page_view.jsp?pageid=667&pubid=422| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ]
The initial communications consultant for SBVT was
Merrie Spaeth, a Reagan administration press officer and a volunteer consultant to Ken Starrin the Clinton impeachment; she was also a spokesperson for "Republicans for Clean Air," a 527 group opposing John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign and funded by Bush supporters who also helped fund SBVT.cite news | title =Republicans for Clean Air| work =WIKI| publisher =SourceWatch - Center for Media & Democracy| url =http://www.sourcewatch.org/wiki.phtml?title=Republicans_for_Clean_Air| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ] cite news | last =Yost| first =Pete| title =Bush urges end to TV attack ads by outside groups, whatever their target| publisher =AP| date= 2004-08-23| url =http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002013026_webbush23.html| accessdate = 2007-04-02 ] John E. O'Neill — the primary author of "Unfit for Command" and a key player in the formation of SBVT — donated over $14,000 to Republican candidates. He co-operated with the Nixon White House in opposing Kerry in 1971, and seconded Nixon's nomination at the 1972 Republican national convention.cite news | last =Williams| first =Brian| title =Nixon targeted Kerry for anti-war views| publisher =NBC Nightly News| date= 2004-03-16| url =http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4534274/| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ] cite news | last =Dobbs| first =Michael| title =After Decades, Renewed War On Old Conflict| pages =A01| publisher =Washington Post| date= 2004-08-28| url =http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39956-2004Aug27.html| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ]
William Schachte, a principal source for the SBVT allegations about Kerry's first Purple Heart, has donated to both of Bush’s presidential campaigns. Schachte was also a lobbyist for FastShip, a firm that recently announced it was receiving $40 million in federal funding for one of its projects. In addition, Schachte's lobbying firm associate, David Norcross, was chairman of the 2004 Republican convention.cite news | last =Milbank| first =Dana| title =A Swift Shift in Stories| pages =A19| publisher =Washington Post| date= 2004-08-31| url =http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A47542-2004Aug30.html| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ] Chris LaCivita, Political Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2002,cite web | last =Appleman| first =Eric M.| title =Republican Committees-Organization and Finances, 2002 Election Cycle | publisher =Democracy in Action| date= 2003| url =http://www.gwu.edu/~action/2004/parties/rnc02.html| accessdate = 2007-04-01 Self-published?] works as a private contractor providing media advice for SBVT.cite news | last =Rutenberg| first =Jim| coauthors =Kate Zernike| title =Bush Campaign's Top Outside Lawyer Resigns| publisher =NY Times| date= 2007-08-25| url =http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/25/politics/campaign/25CND-SWIF.html| accessdate = 2007-04-01 Registration required.]
The SBVT postal address was registered to Susan Arceneaux, treasurer of the Majority Leader's Fund, a PAC closely tied to the former Congressional leader, Republican
Dick Armey.cite web | last =Conason| first =Joe| title =Sailing buddies| work =opinion| publisher =Salon| date= 2004-08-28| url =http://dir.salon.com/story/opinion/conason/2004/08/28/swift_bush/index.html| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ]
Sam Fox's donation of $50,000 to SBVT during the 2004 campaigncite web| title =Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth "527" Political Organization Filing Information| work =pub info retrieval| publisher =CampaignMoney.com| url =http://www.campaignmoney.com/political/527/swift_boat_vets_and_pows_for_truth.asp| accessdate = 2007-04-07 ] caused a controversy when Bush nominated him to the position of ambassador to Belgium. Because the Democratic members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee indicated that they would not support his nomination, Bush withdrew the nomination; he appointed Fox to the position on April 4, 2007, while Congress was in recess.cite news | title =Bush withdraws nomination after Swift Boat criticism| publisher =CNN| date= 2007-03-28| url =http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/03/28/kerry.swift.ap/index.html?eref=rss_politics| accessdate = 2007-04-05 ] cite news | last =Flaherty| first =Anne| title =Dems call for review of Bush appointment| publisher =Seattle Post-Intelligencer| date= 2007-04-05| url =http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1151AP_Bush_Outflanking_Congress.html| accessdate = 2007-04-05 ]
These ties, along with others (see below), led to suggestions in the popular press that SBVT was a front group for Republicans.cite web | last =Conason| first =Joe| title =Republicans' Dishonorable Charge| work =opinion| publisher =Salon| date= 2004-08-06| url =http://dir.salon.com/story/opinion/conason/2004/08/06/mccain_on_swift_boat_veterans/index.html| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ] cite news | last =Clift| first =Eleanor| title =Fighting a Phony War| publisher =Newsweek| date= 2004-08-27| url =http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5772260/site/newsweek/| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ]
Connections with the Bush campaign
The Bush campaign became part of the general SBVT controversy when McCain condemned the first SBVT ad, and said, "I hope that the president will also condemn it." The Bush campaign did not condemn SBVT or the SBVT ads. The campaign did not endorse the group either, stating "We have not and we will not question Senator Kerry's service in Vietnam."cite news| title =Bush Advisors Say Campaign Won't Question Kerry's Service| publisher =US News & World Report| date= 2004-08-16| url =http://www.usnews.com/usnews/politics/bulletin/archive/bull040816e.htm| accessdate = 2007-04-02 ] Kerry was dismissive of this statement, saying, "Of course, the President keeps telling people he would never question my service to our country. Instead, he watches as a Republican-funded attack group does just that."cite news | title =Kerry Strikes Back Against Vietnam Criticism| publisher =AP| date= 2004-08-20| url =http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,129387,00.html| accessdate = 2007-04-02 ] Kerry also alleged that SBVT was "a front for the Bush campaign. And the fact that the President won’t denounce what they’re up to tells you everything you need to know — he wants them to do his dirty work".cite news | last =Fournier| first =Ron| title =Kerry accuses Bush of relying on front groups to 'do his dirty work' on Vietnam| publisher =AP| date= 2004-08-19| url =http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/federal/20040819-1432-kerry-war.html| accessdate = 2007-04-02 ] When pressed on the issue, President Bush called for an end to all 527 group political advertisements, and challenged Kerry to do the same.cite news | title =Bush urges Kerry to condemn attack ads| publisher =CNN| date= 2004-08-24| url =http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/08/23/bush.kerry/| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ]
Critics and the Kerry campaign pointed to several specific connections between SBVT and the Bush campaign. The Kerry campaign asserted that Bush campaign headquarters in
Floridadistributed fliers promoting SBVT events, a charge the Bush campaign denied.cite news | title =Volunteer links 'Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' flier to Bush| publisher =USA Today| date= 2004-08-24| url =http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-08-20-swift-boat-flier_x.htm| accessdate = 2007-04-01 ] Kenneth Cordier, former vice-chair of Veterans for Bush/Cheney (in 2000) and volunteer member of the Bush campaign veterans steering committee, appeared in the second SBVT advertisement. The Bush campaign asked him to resign and stated that it had been unaware of his SBVT involvement.cite news | last =Milbank| first =Dana| title =Bush Campaign Drops Swift Boat Ad Figure| pages =A13| publisher =Washington Post| date= 2004-08-02| url =http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22957-2004Aug22.html| accessdate = 2007-04-02 ]
August 25, 2004, Benjamin Ginsberg, the top election lawyer to the Bush campaign on campaign finance law, also resigned after it was learned that SBVT was one of his clients. Ginsberg stated that he was withdrawing to avoid being a distraction to the campaign. He declared that he had acted "in a manner that is fully appropriate and legal," arguing that it was not uncommon or illegal for lawyers to represent campaigns or political parties while also representing 527 groups. He also maintained that he did not disclose to the Bush campaign that he was simultaneously representing the SBVT group. After leaving the Bush campaign, Ginsberg retained his status as counsel to SBVT.
In January 2005, Governor
Jeb Bush, the President's brother and Florida chairman for his 2004 campaign,cite web
title =President George W. Bush-Campaign Organization, Florida
publisher =Democracy in Action
accessdate = 2007-04-30 ] sent a letter to SBVT member and former
POW Bud Day, thanking him for his "personal support of my brother in his re-election." In addition, Governor Bush said of the SBVT:
"As someone who truly understands the risk of standing up for something, I simply cannot express in words how much I value their willingness to stand up against John Kerry."cite web
title =Dear Colonel Day
accessdate = 2007-04-30 ]
FEC Cases #5511 and #5525
August 10, 2004, three campaign finance watchdog groups — Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center, and the Center for Responsive Politics— jointly filed an independent complaint with the Federal Election Commission(Case #5511).cite web| last =Democracy 21, et al| title =Complaint against Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT)| publisher =FEC| work =complaint| date= 2004-08-10| url =http://eqs.nictusa.com/eqsdocs/000058CD.pdf| format =pdf| accessdate = 2007-04-03 ] cite news | title =Campaign watchdog groups file complaint over anti-Kerry ad| publisher =USA Today| date= 2004-08-10| url =http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-08-10-anti-kerry-ad-complaint_x.htm| accessdate = 2007-04-02 ] The complaint alleged that SBVT's sources of funding were in violation of federal election law in that "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT) is registered with the IRS as a section 527 group but is not registered with the Commission as a political committee. However, SBVT is, in fact, a federal political committee."
August 20, 2004, the Kerry campaign filed a complaint with the FEC (Case #5525)cite web| last =Kerry-Edwards 2004| title =Complaint against SBVT, President George W. Bush, etc.| publisher =FEC| work =complaint| date= 2004-08-23| url =http://eqs.nictusa.com/eqsdocs/000058A8.pdf| format =pdf| accessdate = 2007-04-03 ] cite news | title =Kerry files FEC complaint against swift boat group| publisher =CNN| date= 2004-08-21| url =http://edition.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/08/20/kerry.swiftboat/| accessdate = 2007-04-02 ] alleging that SBVT and 20 additional named respondents had conducted campaign activity that "has been coordinated with the Bush campaign and the Republican Party from the outset." Under federal election law, SBVT, as a nonpartisan 527 group, was barred from coordinating with any political campaign. The complaint, citing the "ties" noted above, claimed a "web of connections to the Bush family, high-profile Texas political figures, and President Bush's chief political aide, Karl Rove".
The Bush campaign dismissed charges of ties and asserted there was no co-ordination between SBVT and the campaign. Editorial opinion on the evidence for co-ordination varied.
ABC News' "The Note" stated, "There is no evidence that the Bush campaign is orchestrating the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth."cite news | title =The Note| publisher =ABC News| date= 2004-08-23| url =http://www.abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/TheNote/TheNote_Aug2304.html| accessdate = 2007-04-02 ] In contrast, the "New York Times" opined that the SBVT attacks were "orchestrated by negative-campaign specialists deep in the heart of the Texas Republican machine."cite news| title =Swift Boats and the Texas Nexus| publisher =NY Times| date= 2004-08-25| url =http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D02EFD6153EF936A1575BC0A9629C8B63| accessdate = 2008-03-28 ]
FEC Findings - Cases #5511 and #5525
December 13, 2006, in a consolidated finding, the FEC ruled against the Kerry campaign allegations (Case #5525)cite web| last =Federal Election Commission| title =Conciliation Agreement - MURs 5511 and 5525| work =ruling| publisher =FEC| date= 2006-12-13| url =http://eqs.nictusa.com/eqsdocs/000058ED.pdf| format =pdf| accessdate = 2007-04-03 ] finding that...
"Following an investigation, the Commission concluded that Swiftvets did not unlawfully coordinate its activities with, or make excessive in-kind contributions to, any federal candidate or political party committee".
In addition, Kerry campaign complaints against 18 other respondents were relegated to [http://eqs.nictusa.com/eqs/terms.html "dismissed-other"] and 2 relegated to [http://eqs.nictusa.com/eqs/terms.html "Reason To Believe/No Further Action" (RTB/NFA)] status.
The FEC did, however, find "for" the joint complainants (Case #5511)cite press release| title =FEC collects $630,000 in civil penalties from three 527 organizations| publisher =Federal Election Commission| date= 2006-12-13| url =http://www.fec.gov/press/press2006/20061213murs.html| accessdate = 2007-04-03 ] in that the SBVT failed to register and file disclosure reports as a federal political committees, and accepted contributions in violation of federal limits and source prohibitions. SBVT was assessed a fine of $299,500.
The conciliation agreement between the FEC and the SBVT also stated, in part:
" Indeed, the Commission has never alleged that the SwiftVets acted in knowing defiance of the law, or with the conscious recognition that their actions were prohibited by law, made no findings or conclusions that there were any knowing and willful violations of the law in connection with this matter, and, thus, does not challenge SwiftVets' assertion of its good faith reliance on its understanding of the law."
"Solely for the purpose of settling this matter expeditiously and avoiding litigation, without admission with respect to any other proceeding, and with no finding of probable cause by the Commission, SwiftVets agrees not to contest the Commission's conclusions ... ."
In addition, as part of the conciliation agreement, SBVT stated that upon completing its obligations under the agreement, it "intends to cease operations as an IRC Section 527 organization and to donate the remainder of its funds to a charity supporting the families of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen killed or wounded in the
War in Iraq."
Disclosure of documents
During the campaign, SBVT criticized Kerry for not signing a Standard Form 180 authorizing general public access to his Navy personnel records.cite web| title =Frequently Asked Questions| work =self-published| publisher =Swift Vets and POWs for Truth| date= 2004-06-30| url =http://horse.he.net/~swiftpow/index.php?topic=FAQ| accessdate = 2007-04-03 ] Kerry responded that the documents were posted on his website.cite news| last =Scarborough| first =Rowan| title =Records indicate Kerry did his duty| publisher =Washington Times| date= 2004-10-18| url =http://washingtontimes.com/national/20041018-124856-1545r.htm| accessdate = 2007-04-03 ] On
May 20, 2005, Kerry did sign the SF-180 form permitting release of his service records and medical records to reporters from the " Boston Globe", the " Los Angeles Times", and the Associated Press;cite web| title =You saw them here first| work =blog| publisher =Powerline| date= 2005-06-20| url =http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/010795.php| accessdate = 2007-04-03 ] he refused a request by the " New York Sun" for access to the records.cite news| last =Gerstein| first =Josh| title =Kerry Grants Three Reporters Broad Access to Navy Records| publisher =NY Sun| date= 2005-06-21| url =http://www.nysun.com/article/15790| accessdate = 2007-04-03 ] The "Boston Globe" and "Los Angeles Times" reported that the records largely duplicated what Kerry had released during the campaign.cite news| last =Kranish| first =Michael| title =Kerry allows Navy release of military, medical records| publisher =Boston Globe| date= 2005-06-07| url =http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2005/06/07/kerry_allows_navy_release_of_military_medical_records/| accessdate = 2007-04-03 ] cite news| last =Braun| first =Stephen| title =Kerry Makes His Military, Medical File Available| publisher =LA Times| pages =A17| date= 2005-06-08| url =http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/850613301.html?dids=850613301:850613301&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Jun+8%2C+2005&author=Stephen+Braun&pub=Los+Angeles+Times&edition=&startpage=A.17&desc=THE+NATION| accessdate = 2007-04-04 ]
SBVT members also criticized Kerry for not releasing his own private journals and letters. However, SBVT members themselves refused to release documents. For example, a journal by another of the Swift boat commanders and the relevant Navy records of some of the SBVT members involved in specific allegations have not been released.
White Houserefused to release records detailing any Bush administration contacts with prominent individuals associated with SBVT. The denied Freedom of Information Actrequest was filed on August 24by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. [ [http://www.citizensforethics.org/node/19140 CREW FOIAs White House Contacts With Swift Boat Veterans Group] ]
Relationship to Admiral Roy F. Hoffmann Foundation
In July 2006, controversy arose over donations SBVT made to a
non-profitorganization, the Admiral Roy F. Hoffmann Foundation cite web| title =Admiral Roy F. Hoffmann Foundation | work =pub info retrieval| url = http://admhoffmannfoundation.com| accessdate = 2008-05-30 ] , founded by the chairman of SBVT, Roy F. Hoffmann. The address and agent for service for the foundation is Political Compliance Services, the same consulting firm, and consultant - Susan Arceneaux - used by SBVT.cite web| title =Admiral Roy Hoffman Foundation Tax Exempt/NonProfit Organization Information| work =pub info retrieval| publisher =Taxexemptworld.com| url =http://www.taxexemptworld.com/organization.asp?tn=346410| accessdate = 2007-04-08 ]
According to reports and SBVT's own filings, SBVT donated $10,000 to the Hoffmann organization in 2005, and in early 2006 donated another $100,000 to the organization.cite web| last =Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth| title =Form 8872 2006 First Quarterly Report| publisher =IRS| date= 2006-03-31| url =http://forms.irs.gov/politicalOrgsSearch/search/Print.action?formId=22224&formType=E72| format =pdf| accessdate = 2007-04-04 ] cite web| title =Swift Boat Contributions Floated To Foundations, Disney Resort | work =blog| publisher =Wisconsin Democracy Campaign| date= 2006-04-20| url =http://www.wisdc.org/blog/2006/04/swift-boat-contributions-floated-to.html| accessdate = 2007-04-04 ] cite web| last =Johnson| first =Dave| title =The Swiftboaters Are Back in the Water| publisher =Huffington Post| date= 2006-07-17| url =http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-johnson/the-swiftboaters-are-back_b_25223.html| accessdate = 2007-04-04 ] According to a website purporting to quote SBVT treasurer Weymouth Symmes, the latter donation was subsequently reimbursed by the foundation.cite web| last =Kesler| first =Bruce| authorlink =| coauthors =| title =Kerry “Patriot Project” Punks | work =blog| publisher =Democracy-project.com| date= 2006-07-17| url =http://www.democracy-project.com/archives/002664.html| format =| doi =| accessdate = 2007-04-04 ]
According to the foundation's own website, SBVT has donated a total of $500,000, SBVT co-founder John O'Neill has donated his proceeds from the publication of the book "Unfit for Command," and one of SBVT's major funders, T. Boone Pickens, has contributed nearly $2 million.
Since the 2004 election, the term "Swift Boating" (or "swiftboating") has become a common expression for a campaign attacking opponents by questioning their credibility and
patriotism. The term is most often used with the pejorativemeaning of a smear campaign, [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/21/opinion/21rich.html?pagewanted=1 "The Swift Boating of Cindy Sheehan"] Editorial by Frank Rich, August 21, 2005"New York Times" ] but has also been used positively by conservatives.cite news | last =McMichael| first =William H.| title =Former SEAL wages campaign to defeat Murtha| publisher =Army Times| date= 2006-08-14| url =http://www.armytimes.com/legacy/new/1-292925-2035074.php| accessdate = 2007-03-30 ]
Swift Boat challenge
SBVT and Kerry websites
* [http://www.swiftvets.com/ Swift Vets and POWs for Truth]
* [http://www.swiftvets.com/index.php?topic=Ads SBVT advertisement archive]
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20040727101253/http://www.johnkerry.com/about/john_kerry/service.html "John Kerry in Vietnam"]
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20040606071703/www.johnkerry.com/about/military_records.html "John Kerry Military Records"]
* [http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110005460 Jim Rassmann] account from The
Wall Street Journal.
* [http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0408/05/ip.01.html Jim Rassmann, Larry Thurlow] Bronze Star, Third Purple Heart, Judy Woodruff, CNN Transcript
* [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/specials/elections/chi-0408220342aug22,1,2523679.story?coll=chi-news-hed William Rood] account from The
* [http://homepage.mac.com/chinesemac/kerry_medals/PDFs/Upton.pdf Peter N. Upton] self-published transcription, Silver Star, Hartford Courant,
July 25, 2004- see also partial archive [http://www.hartfordinfo.org/issues/documents/neighborhoods/htfd_courant_072504.pdf Peter N. Upton]
* [http://www.telluridegateway.com/articles/2004/08/20/news/opinion/opinion01.txt Jim Russell] Letter to the Editor, Telluride Daily Planet.
* [http://www.nationalreview.com/document/document200408280010.asp William Schachte] First Purple Heart (
* [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5840657/ William Schatche] interview with NBC News.
* [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5843180/ William Zaladonis] interview with NBC News.
* [http://orig.courier-journal.com/localnews/2004/08/26ky/A1-swift0826-9879.html Larry Lee] account, Silver Star incident, The Courier-Journal
* [http://18.104.22.168/search?q=cache:M4kQJ0pj9GgJ:www.printsolutionsmag.com/issues/november04/kerry.html+%22Jerry+Leeds%22+Kerry&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us Jerry Leeds] - Silver Star, Print Solutions Article, November 2004 (Google cache retrieved
April 4, 2008)
* [http://homepage.mac.com/chinesemac/kerry_medals/PDFs/Gibson.pdf Charles R. Gibson] account, Silver Star, Springfield Republican,
September 5, 2004
* [http://www.mailtribune.com/archive/2004/0826/local/stories/01local.htm Robert Lambert] account, Bronze Star, Mail Tribune
* [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5835000/ Robert Lambert] account, Bronze Star, Associated Press via MSNBC
* [http://post-gazette.com/pg/04237/366585.stm Rich Baker] interview, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
* [http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1096905911.shtml Van Odell] - account, Bronze Star, Dean Esmay
* [http://www.swiftvets.com/videos/odell.mp3 Del Sandusky - Van O'Dell] Bronze Star, Purple Heart Number 3, WTWB, Lynne Breidenbach
* [http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1097675269.shtml George Elliott] - Silver Star, Third Purple Heart, Dean Esmay
* [http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1099304309.shtml Steve Gardner] "Sampan Incident", "Christmas in Cambodia", Dean Esmay
* [http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39835 Thomas Wright] Third Purple Heart, Kevin McCullough, World Net Daily [http://www.wintersoldier.com/audio/Wright.wma Audio Excerpt]
* [http://www.factcheck.org/UploadedFiles/Hibbard.pdf Grant Hibbard] - First Purple Heart, Affidavit, FactCheck.org
News articles about SBVT
* [http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/5/4/132751.shtml "Swift Boat Veterans Condemn Kerry as Unfit to Command"]
May 4, 2004— NewsMax.com
* [http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/05-17-2004/0002176071&EDATE= "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Call on John Kerry to Stop Unauthorized Use of Photo"]
May 17, 2004— PRNewswire
* [http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-08-04-veterans-ad_x.htm "Group's ad says Kerry lied"]
August 5, 2004— USA Today
* [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/08/06/opinion/lynch/main634587.shtml "Can Voters See Through Sham Ads?"]
August 6, 2004— CBSNews.com
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A13267-2004Aug18.html "Records Counter A Critic Of Kerry; Fellow Skipper's Citation Refers To Enemy Fire"]
August 18, 2004— Washington Post
* [http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-08-19-swiftboat_x.htm "Fog of war, partisanship cloud Kerry's Vietnam record"]
August 19, 2004— USA Today
* [http://www.boston.com/news/politics/president/kerry/articles/2004/08/20/kerry_comrades_have_credibility_on_their_side/ "Kerry comrades have credibility on their side"]
August 20, 2004— Boston Globe
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A14889-2004Aug19.html "Kerry Says Group Is a Front For Bush"]
August 20, 2004— Washington Post (Staff Writers)
* [http://nytimes.com/2004/08/20/politics/campaign/20swift.html?hp "Friendly Fire: The Birth of an Anti-Kerry Ad"]
August 20, 2004— New York Times
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21239-2004Aug21.html "Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete"]
August 22, 2004— Washington Post
* [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5797164/ "Bush calls for halt to Swift Boat veterans’ ads"]
August 23, 2004— MSNBC
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20040828132902/http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000617645 "Campaign Journalists: Has Swift Boat Story Gone on Too Long?"]
August 24, 2004- Editor and Publisher
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20040827164641/http://www.boston.com/news/politics/president/kerry/articles/2004/08/25/swift_boat_writer_lied_on_cambodia_claim/ "Swift Boat Writer Lied on Cambodia Claim"]
August 25, 2004— Associated Press
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40110-2004Aug27.html "The Political Guns Of August Are Firing"]
August 28, 2004- Washington Post
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/31/politics/campaign/31swift.html "Ex-President Bush Calls Charges of Swift Boat Group Compelling"]
August 30, 2004. — New York Times
* [http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/articles/040830/30john.htm "A very Kerry Christmas"]
August 30, 2004; U.S.News and World Report
* [http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?s_site=lsj&f_site=lsj&f_sitename=Lansing+State+Journal+%28MI%29&p_theme=gannett&p_product=LSJB&p_action=search&p_perpage=10&p_maxdocs=200&p_queryname=700&s_search_type=customized&p_text_base-0=crewman&p_field_base-0=title&p_bool_base-1=AND&p_text_base-1=&p_field_base-1=&p_bool_base-2=AND&p_text_base-2=&p_field_base-2=&p_sort=_rank_%3AD&p_text_YMD_date-0=8%2F31%2F2004&p_field_YMD_date-0=YMD_date&p_params_YMD_date-0=date%3AB%2CE&Search=Search "Kerry crewman slams claims of swift boat vets"]
August 31, 2004. Lansing State Journal - (Pay-for-view archive retrieved April 4, 2008)
* [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,131016,00.html "Raw Data: Swift Boat Veterans' Letter to Kerry"] August 31, 2004 - AP via Fox News
* [http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-09-04-boat-vets-bush-appointees_x.htm "Two Anti-Kerry Vets Tapped for VA Panel"]
September 3, 2004, Associated Press
* [http://www.forrelease.com/D20040905/nysu013.P2.09052004111845.08328.html "Kerry Furious With Cahill Over Not Attacking Swift Boat Ads Sooner"]
September 5, 2004— Newsweek (reposted)
* [http://www.adweek.com/aw/national/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000641141 "Swift Boat Vets, Texans Battle for 'Truth'"] Adweek.com -
September 23, 2004
* [http://www.suntimes.com/output/elect/cst-nws-lip01.html "Did Kerry write own report of disputed clash? "] Chicago Sun-Times -
October 1, 2004
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A2975-2004Oct2.html "Unfriendly Fire"] Story on Roy Hoffmann, October 2, 2004 Washington Post
Editorial and opinion
* [http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NmNhOGVkOTg1ZGMzYmFmMTMyNGQ4NTUzMzRhMjBhZTI= "The Un-Kerry"]
May 3, 2004- "National Review"
* [http://daily.nysun.com/Repository/NYS/2004/08/06/080604_NYSUN.pdf#OLV0_Entity_0008_0011 "Let The Veterans Speak"]
August 6, 2004- "New York Sun"
* [http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39920 "Kerry's SWIFT meltdown"]
August 11, 2004- Hugh Hewitt - WorldNetDaily.com
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A58315-2004Aug11.html "Swift Boat Smears"]
August 12, 2004, "Washington Post"
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9906E2DD1E3FF93AA2575BC0A9629C8B63 "Politics as Usual"]
August 19, 2004, "New York Times"
* [http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/08/22/smear_by_veterans_may_hurt_bush/ "Smear by veterans may hurt Bush"]
August 22, 2004- Thomas Oliphant column in the "Boston Globe"
* [http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=4940 "Kerry Camp Ignores Facts, Attacks Swiftees"]
August 24, 2004- David Limbaugh column in "Human Events Online".
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27343-2004Aug23.html "Swift Boat Sniping"]
August 24, 2004, "Washington Post"
* [http://www.sptimes.com/2004/08/24/Opinion/Conflicting_war_stori.shtml "Conflicting war stories"]
August 24, 2004, "St. Petersburg Times"
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27211-2004Aug23.html "Kerry's Cambodia Whopper"]
August 24, 2004; "Washington Post"
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D02EFD6153EF936A1575BC0A9629C8B63 "Swift Boats and the Texas Nexus"]
August 25, 2004, "New York Times"
* [http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2004/08/25/bushs_dirty_work/ "Bush's dirty work"]
August 25, 2004, "Boston Globe"
* [http://mediamatters.org/items/200408250006 "Survey of recent editorials"] August 25, 2004, Media Matters for America
* [http://mediamatters.org/items/200408260009 "Nine more editorials"]
August 26, 2004, Media Matters for America
* [http://www.townhall.com/columnists/robertnovak/rn20040827.shtml "Swift Boat Interview"]
August 27, 2004- Robert Novak interviews Retired Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr.
* [http://nationalreview.com/kudlow/kudlow200408301535.asp "Swift Surge for Bush"] August 30, 2004
Larry Kudlow- National Review Online
* [http://www.independent-media.tv/item.cfm?fmedia_id=8754&fcategory_desc=Under%20Reported "Call For Investigation Of Conduct By Swift Boat Veterans For Truth In Vietnam"]
August 31, 2004— "Independent Media TV".
* [http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/08/31/dean.swiftboat.book/ "How 'Swift boat' book defames Kerry"]
September 1, 2004- John Dean in CNN.com
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50985-2004Aug31.html"Media double standard clear in coverage of Swift Boat ads"]
September 2, 2004— Benjamin L. Ginsberg, "Washington Post"
* [http://www.bday.co.za/bday/content/direct/1,3523,1696043-6096-0,00.html "Swift boat vets prove devastating"]
September 3, 2004— Richard Medley - "Business Day", NZ
* [http://pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/opinion/columnists/guests/print_247380.html "The Swift Boat saga"]
September 5, 2004— Ann Coulter via PittsburghLive.com
* [http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/2004/09/05/why_has_it_taken_30_years_to_correct_this_so_called_mistake/ "Why has it taken 30 years to correct this so-called mistake?"]
September 5, 2004— Daniel J. Houton in the "Boston Globe".
* [http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/189368_firstperson06.html "Question integrity of vets attacking Kerry"]
September 6, 2004- Albert M. Forget in the "Seattle Post Intelligencer".
* [http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20041024/news_mz1e25caldwe.html Kerry's Vietnam ghosts won't go away]
October 24, 2004- Robert J. Caldwell in "The San Diego Union-Tribune"
* [http://www.nysun.com/article/4278 "Cheap At The Price"]
November 4, 2004- "New York Sun"
* [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-johnson/the-swiftboaters-are-back_b_25223.html "The Swiftboaters Are Back in the Water"]
July 17, 2006- Dave Johnson, Huffington Post
* [http://www.factcheck.org/republican-funded_group_attacks_kerrys_war_record.html Republican-funded Group Attacks Kerry's War Record]
August 22, 2004- FactCheck.org analysis
* [http://www.newsmeat.com/washington_political_donations/John_O'Neill.php John O'Neill's campaign contribution history]
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20050227075406/http://johnkerry.com/pdf/web_of_connections.pdf "Web of Connections"] - Chart of SBVT and ties to Bush campaign [PDF]
* [http://swiftvets.eriposte.com/ "Swift Boat Veterans for 'Truth' v. The Truth"] Eriposte analysis
* [http://mediamatters.org/items/200408060010 "Who is Jerome Corsi, co-author of Swift Boat Vets attack book?"] — Investigation by
Media Matters for America
* [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Swift_Boat_Veterans_for_Truth "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth"] -
* [http://homepage.mac.com/chinesemac/kerry_medals/truth.html Truth and "Unfit for Command"] - a detailed analysis, with links to documentation
* [http://www.c-span.org/search/basic.asp?ResultStart=1&ResultCount=10&BasicQueryText=Swift+Boat+Veterans+for+Truth+&image1.x=33&image1.y=8 CSPAN Search - Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Press Conference] –
May 4, 2004
* [http://www.geocities.com/dbusnipe/subjective_truth/harvardmbas.htm Harvard MBAs for Truth] – A parody of the SBVFT, with slight Republican bias.
* [http://www.c-span.org/search/basic.asp?ResultStart=1&ResultCount=10&BasicQueryText=Swift+Boat+Veterans+for+Truth+&image1.x=33&image1.y=8 CSPAN Search - C-Span Phone Interview - Larry Thurlow, Member, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth]
* [http://www.millinfo.com/pr/Millennium%20Response%20to%20Sun%20Times%20Article.pdf "Former Gardner Employer Responds to 11/29/04 Chicago Sun-Times Article"]
* [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6886726/ "Transcript"]
January 30, 2005; Meet The Press
* [http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/tonysnow_vetaffadavit.pdf Swift Boat Veteran Affidavits]
* [http://homepage.mac.com/chinesemac/kerry_medals/index.html After Action Reports] and other original Navy documentation for the disputed medals.
* The Truth (with Jokes) novel by Al Fraken has an explanatory chapter of this whole Swift Boat affair.
*O'Neill, John and Jerome Corsi, "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry",
Regnery Publishing, 2004. ISBN 0-89526-017-4
*Swett, Scott and Tim Ziegler, " [http://www.tosettherecordstraight.com To Set The Record Straight: How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs and the New Media Defeated John Kerry] ", New American Media Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-0-9799841-5-0
*Grandin, Greg [http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=88057 The Swift Boating of America]
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