Article on McCaffrey Sparks Furor

Article on McCaffrey Sparks Furor
Posted by FoM on May 16, 2000 at 20:30:16 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: New York Times
A White House lawyer asked human rights activists to help ``discredit'' an impending article raising questions about drug policy director Barry McCaffrey's conduct as an Army general in the Persian Gulf War. The request, sent by fax from the White House two days before The New Yorker published Seymour Hersh's article, arose from a campaign to blunt the impact of a story that McCaffrey labeled ``nonsense.'' 
The Office of National Drug Control Policy also sent some 30 organizations and several reporters a package of information about McCaffrey's commitment to human rights this week in advance of the ``inaccurate'' magazine story, said spokesman Bob Weiner. Weiner said the fax was poorly worded but was otherwise appropriate. But some of the activists, who have no knowledge of McCaffrey's actions during the war, found the appeal unsettling. It appeared that Amnesty International was being asked ``to help bury a story'' about the kind of abuses the organization protests, said Carlos Salinas, the group's acting legislative director. ``It's one thing to refute charges or refute information. I think it's quite another to ask for participation in a pre-emptive strike to discredit,'' Salinas said. ``I let them know this was wrong.'' Salinas said he referred Hersh's article to the group's Iraq specialists for possible follow-up. Hersh reported allegations by soldiers and officers that McCaffrey, as commander of the 24th Infantry Division, led a devastating, unwarranted attack on fleeing Iraqi soldiers two days after the cease fire at the end of the Gulf War. He also wrote that some troops fired on prisoners of war, including a group of wounded soldiers and medical staff unloaded from a hospital bus -- actions that may have been unintended but weren't included in the official record of the war. An Army criminal investigation into the allegations in 1991 found no wrongdoing. Army officials said Monday there was no reason to reopen the case. The fax to six human rights activists or experts was sent by David Shull, deputy general counsel and human rights officer at anti-drug office. The cover sheet, on Executive Office of the President letterhead, included the line: ``Would ask for your help to discredit the Hersh article from your perspective.'' It was sent with copies of an Associated Press account of documents from the closed criminal investigation that were released by the Army last week under the Freedom of Information Act. Shull said McCaffrey was aware of the package sent to activists and reporters but didn't see the fax. ``It was unfortunate wording and a mistake. It should have said 'to discredit the allegations' instead of 'the article,''' Shull said. But Shull said he felt the activists, who have met often with McCaffrey to discuss human rights abuses in Latin America, should know the article might ``put Director McCaffrey's commitment to human rights in question.'' George Vickers, executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America, a think tank, said the fax he received was a questionable use of drug office staff time. Vickers said he has long been impressed by McCaffrey's commitment to training U.S. troops about human rights and encouraging respect of human rights in Latin American militaries. ``But there's no way I can comment on what happened in the Gulf War,'' he said. Hersh said the focus should be on the events in the Gulf, and he dismissed White House attacks against him. ``This is ugly,'' Hersh said. ``But it's much less ugly than what happened out there.'' Washington (AP)Published: May 16, 2000Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company Related Articles & Web Site:Amnesty International Gulf War Crimes? Stands By Decisions in Gulf War Questions U.S. General Director Criticizes Journalist
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 17, 2000 at 10:01:13 PT
What an interesting ongoing story
Hi Kapt and Jeff!This is so interesting to me! Does the truth really always surface? When I was young I believed that truth would prevail and I have become jadded but this would restore a little of my young beliefs! If he did what it is implied he is a murderer in my book. Strickly one woman's opinion of this.Peace, FoM!
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on May 17, 2000 at 07:29:16 PT:
Plenty of dirt to go around
There are thousands of soldiers and former soldiers suffereing all kinds of ultimately deadly illnesses from having been exposed to God knows what during that conflict. There have been a lot of theories as to why, but the main point is that government has largely *denied*, at every step, any liability for them. Despite all the overwhelming evidence that a great many of those diseases were caused by exposure to the supposed anti-nerve agent pills given to our troops, the government denies culpability. (And this happened *after* government studies here and in the UK confirmed that the pills could even *amplify* effects from one particular agent!) Despite the experimental vaccines given our troops, the government claims that they were safe. All kinds of chemically dangerous pesticides were sprayed about with abandon at tent-cities, with no thought for the ultimate cost, and Uncle stil says nothing happened.My point? If the US gov is still lying about Gulf war Syndrome, what else is it lying about? And why would the Clinton Administration want to send a letter out to human rights groups asking to discredit Mr. Hersh and defend their DrugWar Darling?Is someone getting a little too close for comfort? Maybe to something that might be even more embarrassing than the possibility of the DrugCzar being a war-criminal? You might recall in an earlier post I posited that Barry (having been a 4 star General in charge of US Southern Command) has the goods on what went on in Mena, Arkansas during the '80s Iran/Contra scheme, while Billy Jeff was the Guv, there. Perhaps this latest attempt to strong-arm an already compromised and largely supine media (Barry-ola, remember? Once you take Barry-ola, he's your ideological pimp) is to take the heat off of Barry. Because with what he probably knows, he might let the cat out of the bag... and there goes Slick Willy's already tarnished 'legacy', right down the toilet. This is gonna get real interesting, real soon.
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Comment #1 posted by J Christen-Mitchell on May 17, 2000 at 06:15:16 PT:
Barry McCaffrey-War Criminal
That he was responsible for killing fleeing wounded soldiers comes as no surprise to me.This country teaches respect for all the wrong heros. The Conquistadores destroying the culture of Central America. Slavery. The cowboys over the indians. BJ Clinton and Hellary. Former Czar William Bennett as the font of virtue. No wonder teens kill each other and themselves, we live in a world of virtual disconnect from reason. End Prohibition Again
Pothead Congressional Candidate Sites
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