September 7, 2004
Kerry, Kansas City, and the FBI filesBy Steve Gilbert
An American Thinker Exclusive must credit americanthinker.com
By now you've probably heard that John F. Kerry attended a meeting of his Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) group in Kansas City in November 1971, where they considered a proposal to murder top governmental leaders. You have probably even heard that Kerry met at least once in May, 1970, and maybe several times subsequently, with the North Vietnamese and Vietcong Peace Delegation in Paris, and that he went on to aggressively agitate around the country and even before the US Senate for accepting their terms.
Not that long ago, the notion that John Kerry could have been involved in such activities was so unthinkable that when I first stumbled upon this information back in January, I could not find any journalists in the news media to take these stories seriously.
For even though the information is briefly touched—upon in a couple books on the anti—war movement—a passing reference to the assassination proposal in Gerald Nicosia's Home To War, a photograph of the VVAW's delegation in Paris in Richard Stacewicz's The Winter Soldiers—the putative historians downplayed these events to such an extent you could almost believe they were trying to protect John Kerry's reputation.
Indeed, Kerry supporter Nicosia even went so far as to portray Kerry as resigning from the VVAW after a melodramatic showdown with Al Hubbard months before the Kansas City meeting took place. All of which is pure fantasy, as the witnesses who have since come forward testify, and more compellingly, the FBI files (which Nicosia had then—unique access to) so clearly reveal.
For the material in the FBI files is not subtle at all. There is no nuance. It is almost impossible to believe that Kerry got so far in his political career without anyone ever bringing it up before. Especially when a historian had access to these very files. But also when so many people who lived through these events are still sitting up and taking nourishment.
Still, since most people have not read these FBI files, but at best have only heard other people's interpretations of them, I thought it would be a service to transcribe a few pages from them, pages which briefly describe some of the events around that fateful November meeting in Kansas City in 1971.
I believe they offer a revealing glimpse into the people involved in the VVAW, including, most significantly of course, Presidential candidate John Kerry.
From an FBI file* marked 'urgent' and dated November 12, 1971:
pp. 1922—3 of the Kerry FBI files
RETEL TO BH, OKLAHOMA CITY, [REDACTED] NEW YORK AND BOSTON NOV. TEN LAST.
FOR INFO NO, RETEL DISCLOSED THAT IT WAS LEARNED AT REGIONAL VVAW CONVENTION, NORMAN, OKLAHOMA, NOV. FIVE — SEVEN LAST THAT JOHN KERRY AND AL HUBBARD, MEMBERS OF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, VVAW, WERE PLANNING TO TRAVEL TO PARIS, FRANCE, WEEK OF NOV. ONE FIVE — TWENTY NEXT FOR TALKS WITH NORTH VIETNAMESE PEACE DELEGATION.
[REDACTED] TO PAY HUBBARD'S EXPENSES FOR HIS TRIP TO PARIS, [REDACTED]
IT IS NOTED THAT THE 'COMMUNIST PARTY' REFERRED IN RETEL IS PROBABLY COMMUNIST PARTY, USA, BECAUSE AL HUBBARD IS A MEMBER OF COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF PEOPLES COALITION FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE (PCPJ)...
Here is a fuller description of subsequent events from another FBI file dated November 18, 1971:
VIETNAM VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR (VVAW)
A confidential source, who was furnished reliable information in the past, advised as follows:
On November 12, 1971, a meeting of the Steering Committee of the Vietnam Veterans Against The War (VVAW) was convened in Kansas City, Missouri. The meeting was attended by approximately sixty persons, not more than seventy, which included the Executive Committee, people from the National Office in New York, the Regional Coordinators from around the country and some other representatives from some regions.
The first meeting convened at 9:00 a.m. on November 12, 1971, in rooms A, B, and C of the Student Center, University of Missouri at Kansas City. Room A was a smaller room with an oval—shaped table and leather chairs. Rooms B and C were used for the general meeting and large rectangular tables were pushed together in the center at the room making a large conference table. The Regional Coordinators sat around the table and their delegates were behind them. This was done to facilitate the vote procedure. Many of the Regional Coordinators and other delegates discussed that they came to the meeting for a commitment to action and wanted VVAW to take the initiative in the peace movement.
At approximately 2:30 p.m., November 12, 1971, the Agenda Committee, composed of [redacted] adjourned to room A for a three or four hour meeting supposedly to discuss the topics to be considered by the general meeting.
AL HUBBARD did not make an appearance at the general meeting. There was only one black man at the general meeting. He sat with the California and Wisconsin delegations. He left Saturday afternoon. The Friday meeting ended at approximately 11:00 p.m.. A party ensued at the home of [redacted], which was attended by many of the delegates.
At the party SCOTT CAMIL, VVAW Regional Coordinator for [redacted] and [redacted] from Gainesville, Florida, bragged that he had a training range in either Florida or Georgia but would not divulge the location. CAMIL proposed the establishment of "readiness groups" of the "Phoenix type". This proposal was made in the presence of [redacted] VVAW Arkansas organizer, [redacted] and [redacted] (LNU), all from Arkansas, [redacted] the VVAW regional coordinator for Missouri and Kansas, and a delegate from Montana, and three delegates from St. Louis, names unknown.
When asked if CAMIL meant "Phoenix type" in the same context as understood by military personnel, CAMIL answered in the affirmative and outlined a plan for "political elimination" of the "governmental chain of command". The "Phoenix type" is a military term given to groups with specific assassination assignments and the delegates knew that CAMIL meant political assassinations rather than political eliminations.
CAMIL said the activities would depend upon the men being devoted enough to carry out their assignments. CAMIL said that even talking and planning such activities was against the law and therefore the "Phoenix type" groups should carry out their assignments.
CAMIL said he had training ranges for rifle, pistol and mortar practice. He claimed he had rifles, pistols and rifle grenades, but no mortars. CAMIL's proposal for the 'readiness squads" and the training was favorably received by many of the persons present and was thereafter quietly disseminated to those at the party. CAMIL indicated he was already conducting his own training program...
The general meeting on Saturday, November 13, 1971, started at 9:00 a.m. and was held in a church, the Institute for Human Studies, near 40th and Main Streets, Kansas City. The first day and part of the second day was spent establishing order. There were numerous interruptions and discussions and very little order during that period.
On Saturday morning MIKE OLIVER, a VVAW national leader from New York, acted as chairman and recognized persons wishing to speak from the floor.
JOHN KERRY, a VVAW national leader from Massachusetts, arrived and spoke to the committee. He resigned from the executive committee of VVAW for "personal reasons" but added he would still be active in VVAW and available to speak for the organization.
The next topic discussed concerned AL HUBBARD, a national VVAW leader from New York. HUBBARD was not present at the meeting and MIKE OLIVER read a telegram to all those present. The telegram had been sent from HUBBARD, who is currently in Paris, France, to [redacted] VVAW Regional Coordinator for Missouri and Eastern half of Kansas, at his residence in Kansas City, Missouri.
The telegram said that HUBBARD was in contact with the North Vietnamese Peace Delegation and he had been confidentially told that the next prisoner of war (POW) released would be effected to VVAW delegates. The telegram further said that the North Vietnamese had promised to not take any major offensive against US troops during the Christmas period up until December 31, 1971; however, they would defend themselves. In the telegram HUBBARD said he was currently negotiating with the North Vietnamese delegation to extend the Christmas cease—fire, which had already been agreed upon, for an indefinite period beyond the December 31, 1971, deadline. HUBBARD said the North Vietnamese are upset over President Nixon's use of POW issue as a reason to keep US troops in Vietnam.
MIKE OLIVER explained to those present that VVAW National Office had decided to send a five—man delegation to Hanoi, North Vietnam, early in December, 1971. They hoped to effect the POW release during that time so that the delegates could return to the US to participate in the national actions at Christmastime. This would demonstrate to the people at the national actions that VVAW has real power. When asked how many POWs would be released, OLIVER said no specific number had been mentioned but that at least one POW would have to be released in order to give the VVAW claimed validity. They planned to present this to the people of the United States and if they were successful in gaining public sympathy and support, they would enter further negotiations for POW release.
The Wisconsin delegation proposed a plan to contact 2,000 active—duty GI's in South Vietnam and in effect ask them for a mutinous action by refusing to take up arms when ordered to do so. This proposal was favorably accepted by the committee
The topic of the funding of expenses for HUBBARD's trip to Paris was laid aside. OLIVER told the conference that [redacted] had paid for HUBBARD's trip from her own personal account. There was talk among many of the regional coordinators and others speculating as to why [redacted] paid the expenses. It was agreed informally between them that [redacted] is anti—war but neutral, meaning neither for nor against communism, and that by having the money come from her it would remove any taint or suspicion that the funds came directly from the Communist Party, USA.
This was not an official discussion and was merely speculation by some regional coordinators and did not include any person in authority. An agreement was reached to set aside the discussion because some of the delegates believed that VVAW should not be afraid of a "witch hunt". They stated that if VVAW was afraid of a "witch hunt", then they never should have set up the National Office next to the office of the People's Coalition for Peace and Justice (PCPJ).
The Agenda Committee again held a meeting of approximately one hour and returned to the general meeting prior to noon. SCOTT CAMIL proposed to the Agenda Committee the discussion of the training ranges and "readiness squads". The Agenda Committee would not allow CAMIL to discuss his proposal at the general meeting, because of the time element and other matters to be discussed but placed CAMIL's proposal on the agenda for a vote at the spring meeting in February, 1972....
Many of the delegates to the meeting slept in the basement of [redacted] house. A one—pound chunk of marijuana was made available for those delegates wishing to indulge, and many smoked themselves to sleep.
Some of the delegates who were present were: [redacted] Kansas City, Missouri, who was responsible for most of the arrangements; MIKE OLIVER; JOHN KERRY; SCOTT CAMIL from Florida...
*The FBI files are available on CDs for sale by Paperless Archives, and are represented to be copies of the original FBI files released under a Freedom of Information Act request.