National Alliance of Families

For The Return of America's Missing Servicemen

+ World War II + Korea + Cold War + Vietnam +

BITS 'N' PIECES - July 24, 1999

Dolores Apodaca Alfond

National Chairperson - (

Voice/Fax 425-881-1499

Lynn O'Shea

New York State Director - (

Voice/Fax 718-846-4350

The National Alliance of Families mourns the loss of Spc. Sherwood Brim, 30, of DeSoto Tx. and Sgt. William Wright, 27, of Clearlake Ca. killed when their armored personnel carrier flipped over near U.S. bases in Kosovo.

Of her only son, Mrs. Valreasia Brim stated "Sherman's just so much like his father, (a Vietnam Vet) he said he was coming back, that it was just peacekeeping, no fighting. So I just assumed he'd come back."

Of his brother, Buddy Wright said "(he) died doing something he loved, which was fighting for his country." (Source Associated Press)

To the Brim and Wright families, we offer our deepest sympathy.

Can't believe we did that - In our June 26th edition, we thanked all those who helped make our C-SPAN presentation a wonderful success. In doing so, we forgot one very important person, our good friend, member of our Board of Directors, and former POW, Michael Benge. Mike sat on our first panel and gave a detailed presentation of Vietnamese handling of American POWs and their meticulous record keeping.

C-SPAN TAPE - you can still order your copy of the C-SPAN presentation. To order send a check for $15.00 to the:

National Alliance of Families
P.O. Box 40327
Bellevue, Washington 98015

Our Meeting - in reporting on our 10th Annual Meeting, you may have noticed that there was no briefing provided by representatives of the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL). They were invited but could not find the time to send a representative. Perhaps they just did not want to handle the hard questions. Or could there have been another reason?

Serviceman returned to family - from the Department of Defense "Memorandum for Correspondents" July 7, 1999 -- "The remains of an American serviceman previously unaccounted-for from the war in Southeast Asia have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial in the United States."

"He is identified as Army Specialist 4th Class Roger L. Smith of South Point, Ohio. On Oct. 3, 1968, Smith was the crew chief aboard a UH-1H Huey helicopter flying on a command-and-control mission. While over Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam, the aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire and crashed, catching fire almost immediately. Two of the crewmembers were rescued, but two others perished. Onsite attempts to locate Smith's body among the smoke and aircraft wreckage were unsuccessful."

"In November 1993, a joint U.S./Vietnam team, led by the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting, interviewed several villagers in Tay Ninh Province who supplied information about the wreckage of a U.S. helicopter. One of the villagers said she had found the burned wreckage of a helicopter in 1977 or 1978 and observed what she believed to be human remains. She led the team to the crash site where they confirmed the presence of the wreckage and recovered small pieces of wreckage and two boot fragments. In October and November 1994 a joint U.S./Vietnam team excavated the crash site surveyed the previous year. The team recovered bone fragments as well as crew-related artifacts amid the wreckage."

"Anthropological analysis of the remains and other evidence by the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii confirmed Smith's identification...."

Why does Johnnie Webb still have a job.

Jackson - Vanick Waiver - So far, our efforts, along with the efforts of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Senator Bob Smith (I-NH) has not persuaded congress to veto the Presidential Wavier of the Jackson - Vanick Amendment as it applies to Vietnam. Turning a blind eye to gross violations of human rights, freedom of the press freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, this congress, once again put profit ahead of morality.

Human Rights & Religious Freedom - Vietnamese Style -- "HANOI, July 14 (Reuters) - Vietnam on Wednesday scolded the United States for trying to impose its human rights values on other countries and urged Washington to cooperate on unresolved wartime issues. The Foreign Ministry, in a statement following bilateral talks earlier this week on human rights and religion, also indicated communist-ruled Vietnam would ignore a U.S. request that certain prisoners be freed.

Vietnamese officials held talks on Monday and Tuesday in Hanoi with Bennett Freeman, U.S. deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor along with Robert Seiple, U.S. ambassador at large for religious affairs. "Vietnam repeated its principle for dialogue based on... non-interference in each others' internal affairs," the ministry statement said."

"(Vietnam) emphasized that it's unacceptable for America to try to impose its law on other countries...," it added, referring to a U.S. law passed last year that calls for sanctions on countries engaged in religious persecution. Hanoi, which tolerates little dissent, is regularly criticized by some Western governments for its poor human rights record and restrictions on religion...."

"... In a February report, the U.S. State Department cited sources that put the number of prisoners held for political reasons in Vietnam at between 100 and 150. Rights group Amnesty International put the figure at 40, the report said...."

Freedom of the Press - Vietnamese Style -- "HANOI, July 12 (Reuters) - Vietnam's leading dissident, retired General Tran Do, has applied to publish a newspaper in his latest joust with the country's communist authorities, sources said on Monday. But the Foreign Ministry, without referring directly to Do, indicated the former revolutionary's application would not be approved. He lodged the application recently at the Ministry of Culture and Information, sources close to Do said."

"As far as we know, according to regulations in the Press Law applicable to Vietnam, individuals are not yet permitted to establish a press organ," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement in response to questions from Reuters...."

"...Diplomats said Do would never have expected to obtain permission to publish a newspaper, but that his move was intended to annoy the party. All media in Vietnam is controlled by the state."

"Hanoi, which has previously said Do's views would lead to chaos, rarely tolerates dissenting political opinions. Do has not been arrested despite his outspokenness, mainly because of his stature among some senior members of the military, diplomats have said. However, Do has complained of harassment and surveillance of his Hanoi residence. Because of official restrictions, few foreign journalists have been able to contact him."

Vietnam's Me$$age - "Mind your own busine$$... ignore our human right$ violation$... but keep $ending the money," and that is exactly what this congre$$ doe$.

The Vote - From the Associated Press - "Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire made his first stand as an independent Tuesday, protesting GOP leaders' decision to keep any debate on U.S. trade with Vietnam and China off the Senate floor. The Senate rebuffed his effort, voting 81-12 to keep the debate on China in the Finance Committee, and 94-5 to do the same for the matter regarding Vietnam."

"This is not the time to engage in a protracted debate on the Senate floor over our relations with China and Vietnam," said retiring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y. Armed with charts, Smith insisted that the full Senate, not just the Finance Committee, debate extending U.S. government credits to the two countries, as President Clinton has proposed."

"Smith... said he had evidence that Vietnam has severely restricted that ability of its citizens to emigrate to the United States. That, he said, should make Vietnam ineligible for U.S. programs that subsidize business deals between American and foreign companies. China, Smith said, has made little progress on its human rights record and Congress should reverse Clinton's grant of low-tariff normal trade relations."

"Clinton last year waived a requirement of the Trade Act of 1974 that makes countries that deny free emigration ineligible for U.S. credit and investment guarantees. The White House justified that action because Vietnam since 1979 has allowed more than 480,000 of its citizens to leave legally for the United States. Both chambers of Congress are required to veto such waivers. The process begins in the House, which is still considering the matters to which Smith referred."

Lie And Deny - It doesn't matter the topic, POWs, Agent Orange, Gulf War Syndrome, radiation experiments on the mentally disabled, horrific medical experiments on African Americans, the U.S. government lies and denies, until they are caught flatfooted. Here is another example.

From the Associated Press - "SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Reversing earlier denials, the U.S. Navy confirmed Monday it used napalm on an island training ground that has become the focus of an escalating feud between Puerto Rico and the United States."

"The Navy said in a report released Thursday that it dropped 24 bombs of the intensely flammable chemical on the island of Vieques in 1993, and Navy spokesman Roberto Nelson confirmed its use Monday."

"Activists say the admission bolsters claims by the Puerto Rican government that exercises contaminated the island with explosives residue and chemicals. The government estimates the cancer rate among the island's 9,400 residents is 27 percent higher than the Puerto Rican average...."

"...As recently as 1997, a Navy spokesman denied activists' claims that they doused part of the island with napalm in October 1992 -- even though the Navy newspaper El Navegante had reported it..."

Let's Get This Straight - The Navy newspaper El Navegante reported on the use of Napalm in Puerto Rico and those in De Ceit denied it. Lie and Deny, they do it so well.

Goin' Fishing - It's that time. Bits N Pieces will suspend distribution for the summer. During our "off" time we will continue with research. Hopefully, that research will generate interesting information for future Bits N Pieces.

We will return with our next edition on September 11th, 1999. Should urgent news develop we will bring it to you, immediately.

Enjoy your summer.... Dolores and Lynn

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