Sunday, August 15, 2004

The Truth about the Swift Boat Vets for Truth

These individuals were not the same crew-mates that appeared with Kerry at the DNC. In fact, it turns out that none of these guys were in Kerry’s unit. They only “served with Kerry” in the sense that they were in the same theater of operations at more or less the same time as Kerry. It may interest you to know that these are the same folks who “served with McCain” and launched a smear campaign against him during the 2000 Republican primary in South Carolina. That campaign made the outrageous assertion that, while a POW in Vietnam, McCain collaborated with his communist captors. This could be why, within hours of the ad’s release, Senator John McCain condemned the ad and called upon President Bush to do the same. You can read more on the subject by following this link: McCain Condemns Anti-Kerry Ad

A number of news organizations and websites have de-bunked the various claims, but probably the most thorough review can be found at the following link: Factcheck

To me, the bigger story is the story behind the story. In other words, who are these guys, what is their motive, where is their funding coming from and what do they hope to accomplish?

Rear Adm. Roy Hoffman
The group’s founder is Rear Admiral Roy Hoffman, who until recently has been best known as the commanding officer whose obsession with body counts and "scorekeeping" is believed to have provoked the February 1969 massacre of Vietnamese civilians at Thanh Phong.

John E, O’Neill
The group’s spokesman is Houston Attorney, John E. O’Neill. O’Neill is a long-time Kerry foe who was first tapped by the Nixon administration in 1971 to counter Kerry’s anti-war rhetoric. During that time, O’Neill debated Kerry on the Vietnam war in a 90-minute forum on the Dick Cavett Show. Since that time, O’Neill has remained one of Kerry’s harshest critics. So, it should come as no surprise that he is speaking out against Kerry as part of SBVT. What may surprise you are O’Neill’s close connections to the Bush administration and to Bush, himself. First, one of O’Neill’s law partners, Margaret Wilson, was the general counsel to Governor George W. Bush from 1998-2000. Also when governor of Texas, Bush appointed Harriet O’Neill to a state appellate court; then, in 1998, Harriet O’Neill won election to the Texas Supreme Court in 1998, with the help of White House Political Director, Karl Rove. Harriet’s husband was Jack O’Neill, John O’Neill’s law partner. Another of O’Neill’s law partners was Tex Lezar. As you may recall, in 1994, Lezar ran as the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Texas, alongside George W. Bush, then the party’s candidate for Governor (Lezar lost; Bush won.)

Merrie Spaeth
Lezar’s widow is Merrie Spaeth, founder of the Dallas media relations firm, Spaeth Communications, Inc. In the 1980’s, Spaeth served in the Reagan administration as Director of Media Relations. In 1998, Spaeth coached independent council Kenneth Starr to prepare him for his testimony urging the impeachment of President Clinton before the House Judiciary Committee. During the 2000 Republican primaries, Spaeth produced a series of ads that falsely attacked Senator McCain’s environmental record in California, New York and Ohio. Today, she is the public relations consultant representing Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. She is donating her services to the group on a “pro bono basis”.

Bob Perry
The group’s initial funding was provided by Houston home-builder Bob Perry (ever heard of Perry Homes?); who has provided $100,000 to the group. Perry and his wife Doylene are the largest campaign contributors to the Republican party in the state of Texas and are among the largest contributors in New Mexico and Louisiana as well.

Rumors abound that, despite the group’s claims of being non-partisan, the ads are politically motivated and are the work of White House Political Advisor Karl Rove. Now, what could possibly give people that idea???

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