Round of Tailwind Lawsuits
Moves Toward "High Noon"
The Likelihood That Sarin
Gas Use To Kill VN War Defectors on Kissinger Orders Will
Make It To Court Is High -- Will AOL/CNN Buy Everyone Off?
Michael C. Ruppert
© COPYRIGHT 1998, 1999,
2000 Michael C. Ruppert. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Permission
to reprint or excerpt only if the following appears: "Reprinted
by permission, Michael C. Ruppert & From The Wilderness at
[The following appeared in
the April 31, 2000 issue of From The Wilderness]
CNN's June 7, 1998 Tailwind story
on the use of the poison gas Sarin (or GB) by Army Special
Forces to kill American defectors in Laos refuses
to disperse in the winds of time. On March 21, District
Court Judge Marvin Shoob, while dismissing five of the
counts in a lawsuit filed by fired CNN Producer Jack Smith
against his former employer, allowed others to proceed.
Shoob let stand the five remaining counts arising from
network's brutal response to the story in the wake of angry
protests from, among others, Henry Kissinger and Colin
The story reported that in 1970, commandos from the Special
Operations Group (SOG) - closely connected to the CIA
infiltrated Laos and used Sarin to kill as many as 20 U.S. "defectors" at
a secret camp in Laos. The gas also killed more than 100
Montangard tribesmen, employed by the CIA,
because their faces were too small to complete effective
seals in U.S. issued gas masks.
Immediately after the story
broke, CNN owner Ted Turner and CNN President Tom Johnson
caved in and summarily fired the show's producers April
Oliver and Jack Smith. This, in spite of the fact that as
many as seven key executives at CNN, including attorneys,
had vetted the story and approved its broadcast.
FTW has been
following the story closely from the start. In July, 1998
we wrote a detailed story in support of Oliver and Smith
and on June 23, 2000 we were the first news entity in the
world to post the entirety of a deposition given by retired
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Thomas Moorer.
That deposition, resulting from a barrage of suits, including
a counter suit by Oliver, categorically affirmed every aspect
of the story. Shortly after the deposition Oliver's suit
against CNN was settled out of court. According to CNN co-founder
Reese Schonfeld, her confidential settlement may have been
as high as $3.5 million.
Smith's suit raises the possibility
that the details of Moorer's deposition as well as other
evidence, such as the notes containing confirmation of the
Sarin use by former SOG commander John Singlaub, will be
both introduced and confirmed in open court.
Of the seven key CNN execs
who approved the story, and the scapegoating of Oliver and
Smith, only three remain. Jim Conner is the latest to leave.
As Schonfeld wryly notes on his web site www.meandted.com:
Connor is leaving CNN on April 20th. CNN
refuses to comment. Connor was one of those who supervised
the Tailwind investigation.
After the Tailwind firings, Conner was put in charge of
the "Newsstand" unit. If he's on his way out, CNN is
now firing the people who fired the people who produced
CNN should not underestimate
Jack Smith's desire for public vindication. He's an old
school man-of-honor with little to lose. And the truth is
on his side.