Skip to comments.How 'Hanoi Jane (Fonda)' Betrayed America (LONG READ)
Posted on 03/06/2002 12:33:51 PM PST by RetiredArmy
On July 11, 1972, a confidential cable from the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane, Laos, to the secretary of state in Washington, the United States delegation at the Paris peace talks, the commander in chief of Pacific Forces, and the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam, revealed the following:
Subject: Travel to NVN [North Vietnam] Jane Fonda
As Dept. is likely aware from press reports, actress Jane Fonda arrived in Hanoi July 8 via Aeroflot from Moscow. Subject was not carried as passenger on Aeroflot manifest deposited during Vientiane transit morning July 8 nor did she disembark to transit lounge.
Fonda had left the United States, traveled to Paris and, fittingly, flown from there to Moscow. Boarding an Aeroflot flight in the Soviet capital, apparently incognito, she remained on the airplane when it landed in supposedly neutral Laos and exited only when she arrived in Hanoi, North Vietnam. "Clad in black pajamas [typically worn by the Viet Cong in the South] and a white tunic, Jane stepped off her Aeroflot jet on July 8, 1972. She arrived, she told her uniformed, helmeted hosts, with 'greetings' from revolutionary 'comrades' in America."
Fonda had come to Hanoi - as had [Tom] Hayden, Joan Baez and other Americans before her - willingly and knowingly to provide grist for the North Vietnamese propaganda mill.
Despite the "public-relations" risk of torturing American prisoners of war, the North Vietnamese chanced it because of the high value they placed on propaganda. At no time was this more apparent than in 1967, when the Communists opened yet another POW facility in Hanoi; this one "devoted specifically to the production and dissemination of propaganda." Among its several prisoner-given names, it is probably best known as the "plantation." "The Vietnamese converted a portion of the facility into a Potemkin village of sanitized cells, garden patches and scrubbed corridors that would serve as a showplace for displaying the captives to visiting delegations and conducting photo sessions and other propaganda activities."
The POWs, however, were not going to play Hanoi's propaganda game. They resisted torture as best they could. Another method of thwarting the Communists' propaganda plans was self-defacement.
[Navy Cmdr. James] Stockdale was convinced that officials at the [Hanoi] Hilton were after him to make a movie for propaganda-warfare consumption in which he would advise junior officers to cooperate with the captors. To defeat the plan, he tried fasting, then disfigured himself by chopping his hair and scalp with a razor and, when the Vietnamese requisitioned a hat, pounding his face with a stool and against the wall until he was unfit to be photographed or filmed. But the best counterextortion technique proved to be the self-defacement. Painful as it was he had to "freshen" his bruises with his fists to keep his eyelids swollen and cheekbones mashed; it allowed him to regain some measure of control against his tormentors.
Yet, in the face of the heroic, mostly successful, efforts of American POWs to deny the North Vietnamese their much-needed propaganda victories by taking indescribable torture, by voluntarily defacing themselves, by seeing the plantation for what it was and acting accordingly and by every other means open to them - Jane Fonda handed her Communist hosts a pro-Communist, anti-American propaganda coup.
Why? Fonda biographer Peter Collier understood what was driving the actress-turned-militant: "When she arrived in Hanoi, Jane was as malleable as she had been when she returned to the United States after her Paris exile two years earlier - ready to find her relevance in the use others could make of her.">p> And use her, to good effect, the "others" - the Communists - would. Indeed, the use to which the North Vietnamese put Fonda - with her knowing consent and active participation - gave them what they needed: legitimacy and favorable propaganda.
Once Fonda was in Hanoi, her Communist hosts laid on a full schedule for their American comrade who had come halfway around the world to assist them in their international propaganda efforts.
In the years since Fonda's July 1972 pilgrimage to Hanoi, there have been many reports of what she did there. Some have been accurate, some not. Since our opinion that she could have been indicted and tried for treason rests mostly on Fonda's actual pro-Communist, anti-American, propaganda broadcasts and her other conduct in North Vietnam, it is essential to get the facts down correctly. Principally, Fonda's activities in North Vietnam fell into four categories: (1) broadcasts - some live and some taped - under the auspices of Radio Hanoi; (2) meetings with senior Communist officials; (3) tours of civilian and military sites; and (4) an "interview" with seven American prisoners of war.
To set the record straight, let's begin with the broadcasts, which, outside of a few government agencies, have never been heard in the United States in their entirety. Indeed, few people outside of government have ever even read the transcripts. There are two categories: (1) Fonda's broadcasts to American military personnel and (2) her broadcasts targeted to others.
From [her] broadcasts it is apparent that Fonda was addressing not only every American serviceman and woman (enlisted and officer) on the ground in Vietnam and on ships off the coast, but also South Vietnamese soldiers and civilians as well. Her broadcasts were beamed to the jungles of the South, the prisons of the North and even to Eastern (that is, Communist) Europe.
To the extent there may be any sympathy at all for Fonda among Americans, it's probably because they've never known what she actually said in Hanoi and what was attributed to her. The list of her accusations follows:
- American pilots were bombing nonmilitary targets such as hospitals, villages, schools, factories, pagodas, theaters and dikes.
- Americans were using "illegal, outlawed weapons," including chemical bombs and chemical toxic gases.
- Ordering the use of, and using, these weapons makes one a "war criminal."
- In the past, users of such weapons were "tried and executed."
- The Vietnamese people were peasants, leading a peaceful life before the Americans came to destroy Vietnam.
- The Vietnamese seek only "freedom and independence," which the United States wants to prevent them from having.
- The Vietnamese fighters are her "friends."
- The operations of the million infantry troops the United States put into Vietnam, and the Vietnamization program, have failed.
- The United States seeks to turn Vietnam into a "neocolony."
- Patrick Henry's slogan "liberty or death" was not very different from Ho Chi Minh's "Nothing is more valuable than independence and freedom."
- Her meeting with seven "U.S. aggressor pilots" found them "healthy and repentant."
- President Nixon violated the 1954 Geneva Accords.
- Vietnam is "one nation, one country."
- The Communists' proposal for ending the war is "fair, sensible, reasonable and humanitarian."
- The United States must get out of South Vietnam and "cease its support for the - Thieu regime."
- "I want to publicly accuse Nixon here of being a new-type Hitler whose crimes are being unveiled."
- "The Vietnamese people will win."
- "Nixon is continuing to risk your [American pilots'] lives and the lives of the American prisoners of war - in a last desperate gamble to keep his office come November. How does it feel to be used as pawns? You may be shot down, you may perhaps even be killed, but for what, and for whom?"
- "Can you justify what you are doing?"
- Nixon "defiles our flag and all that it stands for in the eyes of the entire world."
- "Knowing who was doing the lying, should you then allow these same people and some liars to define for you who your enemy is?"
- "If they told you the truth, you wouldn't fight, you wouldn't kill."
- "Our parents were having to pay in order to finance, to buy weapons for the French to kill the Vietnamese people."
- American troops are fighting for ESSO, Shell and Coca-Cola.
- ; "Should we be fighting on the side of the people who are, who are murdering innocent people? Should we be trying to defend a government in Saigon which is putting in jail tens of thousands of people into the tiger cages, beating them, torturing them? - I don't think - that we should be risking our lives or fighting to defend that kind of government."
- "I am very honored to be a guest in your country, and I loudly condemn the crimes that have been committed by the U.S. government in the name of the American people against your country."
- "We have understood that we have a common enemy - U.S. imperialism."
- "We have followed closely the encroachment of the American cancer in the southern part of your country, especially around Saigon. And we hope very soon that, working together, we can remove this cancer from your country."
- "We thank you [the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese] for your brave and heroic fight."
- "Nixon's aggression against Vietnam is a racist aggression [and] the American war in Vietnam is a racist war, a white man's war."
- Soldiers of the South Vietnamese army "are being sent to fight a war that is not in your interests but is in the interests of the small handful of people who have gotten rich and hope to get richer off this war and the turning of your country into a neocolony of the United States."
- "We read with interest about the growing numbers of you [South Vietnam Army troops] who are understanding the truth and joining with your fellow countrymen to fight for freedom and independence and democracy. We note with interest, for example, that as in the case of the 56th Regiment of the 3rd Division of the Saigon army, ARVN [Army of the Republic of Vietnam] soldiers are taken into the ranks of the National Liberation Front, including officers who may retain their rank. We think that this is an example of the fact that the democratic, peace-loving, patriotic Vietnamese people want to embrace all Vietnamese people in forgiveness, open their arms to all people who are willing to fight against the foreign intruder."
- "We know what lies in store for any Third World country that could have the misfortune of falling into the hands of a country such as the United States and becoming a colony."
- "The only way to end the war is for the United States to withdraw all its troops, all its airplanes, its bombs, its generals, its CIA advisers and to stop the support of the Thieu regime in Saigon."
- "There is only one way to stop Richard Nixon from committing mass genocide in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and that is for a mass protest … to expose his crimes."
- "In 1969-1970 the desertions in the American army tripled. The desertions of the U.S. soldiers almost equaled the desertions from the ARVN army."
- Although "we do not condone the killing of American officers - we do support the soldiers who are beginning to think for themselves."
- American soldiers in Vietnam discovered "that their officers were incompetent, usually drunk."
- "Perhaps the soldiers - who have suffered the most - [are] the black soldiers, the brown soldiers and the red and Asian soldiers."
- Recently I talked to "a great many of these guys and they all expressed their recognition of the fact that this is a white man's war, a white businessman's war, that they don't feel it's their place to kill other people of color when at home they themselves are oppressed and prevented from determining their own lives."
- "I heard horrifying stories about the treatment of women in the U.S. military. So many women said to me that one of the first things that happens to them when they enter the service is that they are taken to see the company psychiatrist and they are given a little lecture which is made very clear to them that they are there to service the men."
- "I think Richard Nixon would do well to read Vietnamese history, their poetry, and particularly the poetry written by Ho Chi Minh."
On that literary suggestion, we can end this summary of Fonda's propaganda statements in Hanoi.
Fonda's own words - make plain beyond any reasonable doubt the intent and import of her statements. They contained lies about the United States, its leaders, their motives and their acts. They maligned the president of the United States. They spouted the Communist propaganda line in every respect. They sought to undermine the morale and military effort of our soldiers in the field and our prisoners in jungle camps and North Vietnamese prisons.
And her words even encouraged mutiny and desertion.
That there was a consistent pro-Communist, anti-American, propaganda theme to virtually everything uttered by Fonda in her broadcasts from Hanoi, that Fonda's statements reveal a clear intent to aid the North Vietnamese and injure the United States, cannot be disputed.
Although more detailed analyses of Fonda's Hanoi propaganda statements are found [later in the complete book], which address her statements' impact, it is useful to emphasize a related point here. Consider some of the statements made by this young actress who lacked political sophistication, who was ignorant of history, who had an almost nonexistent knowledge of international affairs and who probably had never before written anything more complicated than a check. What did she know about "neocolonialism," the 1954 Geneva Accords, what constituted a military target or the different types of aircraft and ordnance? It is obvious that in Hanoi, Fonda was acting as a willing tool of the Communists, to a considerable extent simply reading "canned" material created by professional Communist propagandists (albeit perhaps with an occasional ad-lib). Indeed, some of the words and syntax are those of a person or persons for whom English was not a first language, and it is doubtful that the political language came from Fonda herself.
But Fonda's broadcasts were not her only statements in aid of the North Vietnamese. In addition to the live broadcasts made by Fonda on Hanoi Radio, and replayed endlessly not only throughout Vietnam but also within the Northern prison camps, she made many other statements while being escorted around the city and its environs to view what her hosts claimed were bombed-out civilian installations like schools and hospitals. Examples abound. She was taken to a hamlet called Hong Phong, and afterward the North Vietnamese issued a news release saying that the day before Fonda's visit American bombing had killed two elderly people — and adding that "Jane Fonda felt great indignation at the U.S. attack on civilian populations." As some of her propaganda broadcasts indicated, she "was taken to see dikes allegedly destroyed the day before.
"In her assessment," read the Hanoi news release, "the U.S. had made deliberate attacks on dikes to jeopardize life and terrorize the people." At a press conference she said that every evidence of bombing that she had seen was directed at a nonmilitary target.
As to Fonda's tours, it is noteworthy that virtually on her first day in Hanoi she was taken to the North Vietnam Communists' "War Crimes" museum which displayed ordnance and artifacts allegedly used by American forces in Vietnam.
But even worse than her "War Crimes" museum tour, Fonda's most notorious visit was to the site of a Communist antiaircraft gun, which was used to blast American pilots and their planes out of the sky. Even many of Fonda's supporters were shocked and disgusted to see the helmeted Fonda smiling, clapping, shaking hands and otherwise fraternizing with the weapon's crew. Film of this episode makes clear beyond any doubt whatsoever that Fonda was enjoying herself greatly; indeed, she looks nearly orgiastic. Fraternizing with the gun crew was obscene enough. But then Fonda climbed into the antiaircraft weapon's control seat, put her eye to the sight and feigned taking a bead on imaginary American aircraft. The Communist crew smiled and applauded. The North Vietnamese propagandists had a field day, and French and other cameramen distributed the film worldwide. The photo's caption reads: "American actress and activist Jane Fonda is surrounded by soldiers and reporters as she sings an antiwar song near Hanoi during the Vietnam War in July 1972. Fonda, seated on an antiaircraft gun, is here to 'encourage' North Vietnamese soldiers fighting against 'American imperialist air raiders.' She is wearing a helmet and Vietnamese-made ao-dai pantaloon and blouse."
In addition to this photo-op, there were many others — with "workers, peasants, students, artists and dancers, historians, journalists, film actresses, soldiers, militia girls, members of the women's union, writers" — especially when Fonda met and socialized with high-ranking North Vietnamese officials. At the end of her trip, she spent some time with Nguyen Duy Trinh, vice premier of North Vietnam. Fonda "told him that she was deeply impressed by the Vietnamese people's determination to emerge victorious. She also told the vice premier that his people would 'certainly triumph' over the Americans."
Even worse than Fonda's broadcasts, her photo-op tours and her chumminess with North Vietnamese Communists was her encounter with American POWs being held captive in Hanoi. Since one of the two essential elements of the crime of treason is "adhering" to the enemy - that is, committing an "overt act" - it is unfortunate that there has been so much erroneous reportage about Fonda's interaction with American POWs in Hanoi. The fact is that Fonda is not guilty of certain acts attributed to her, but she is certainly guilty of others.
Let's set the record straight. It has been reported in recent years on the Internet that POWs surreptitiously slipped Fonda messages which she turned over to the North Vietnamese. That story is false. Also untrue is that any POW died for refusing to meet with Fonda. It is true, however, that POWs were unwillingly made to meet with her.
Needless to say, Fonda quickly lied about her meeting with the Hanoi Hilton POWs, continuing to parrot the North Vietnamese propaganda line:
"This is Jane Fonda speaking from Hanoi. Yesterday evening - I had the opportunity of meeting seven U.S. pilots. Some of them were shot down as long ago as 1968 and some of them had been shot down very recently. They are all in good health. We had a very long talk, a very open and casual talk. We exchanged ideas freely. They asked me to bring back to the American people their sense of disgust of the war and their shame for what they have been asked to do.
"They told me that the pilots believe they are bombing military targets.
"They told me that the pilots are told that they are bombing to free their buddies down below but, of course, we all know that every bomb that falls on North Vietnam endangers the lives of the American prisoners.
"They asked me: 'What can you do?' They asked me to bring messages back to their loved ones and friends, telling them to please be as actively involved in the peace movement as possible, to renew their efforts to end the war.
"One of the men who has been in the service for many, many years has written a book about Vietnamese history, and I thought that this was very moving, that during the time he's been here, and the time that he has had to reflect on what he has been through and what he has done to this country, he has - his thought has turned to this country, its history of struggle and the people that live here.
"They all assured me that they have been well cared for. They listen to the radio. They receive letters. They are in good health. They asked about news from home.
"I think we all shared during the time I spent with them a sense of deep sadness that a situation like this has to exist, and I certainly felt from them a very sincere desire to explain to the American people that this is a terrible crime and that it must be stopped, and that Richard Nixon is doing nothing except escalating it while preaching peace, endangering their lives while saying he cares about the prisoners.
"And I think that one of the things that touched me the most was that one of the pilots said to me that he was reading a book called The Draft, a book written by the American Friends Service Committee [Quakers], and that in reading this book, he had understood a lot about what had happened to him as a human being in his 16 years of military service. He said that during those 16 years, he had stopped relating to civilian life, he had forgotten that there was anything else besides the military and he said in realizing what had happened to him, he was very afraid that this was happening to many other people.
"I was very encouraged by my meeting with the pilots [because] I feel that the studying and the reading that they have been doing during their time here has taught them a great deal in putting the pieces of their lives back together again in a better way, hopefully, and I am sure that when they go home, they will go home better citizens than when they left."
This live broadcast by Hanoi Jane directed to American troops, free and captive throughout North Vietnam, was blatantly false.
- The prisoners were not "all in good health."
- Fonda did not have "a very long talk" with them.
- The meeting was not "very open and casual."
- They did not "exchange ideas freely."
- The prisoners did not express "their sense of disgust of the war and their shame for what they have been asked to do."
- They did not ask Fonda to encourage their "loved ones and friends … to please be as actively involved in the peace movement as possible."
- They did not assure her "that they have been well cared for."
- They did not express "a very sincere desire to explain to the American people that this was a terrible crime and that it must be stopped, and that Richard Nixon is - endangering their lives while saying he cares about the prisoners."
These lies were simply more canned North Vietnamese propaganda, broadcast in furtherance of Fonda's intent to damage the United States and help the North Vietnamese.
Can it be said that these lies, and the rest of what Fonda said and did in Hanoi, could have been construed by a jury as having provided "aid and comfort" to our North Vietnamese enemy? [We provide the answer to that in our book]. For now, suffice it to note the words of an American POW who would later become a U.S. congressman:
In the summer of 1972, "the voice of Jane Fonda hung in the air over Camp Unity. Our camp guards and the commander were overjoyed to have a celebrity of her status come over and align herself with their 'humane cause.' I'll never forget seeing a picture of her seated on an antiaircraft gun, much like the one that had shot my plane out of the air and given seven years of my life to the North Vietnamese prison system. I stood in front of her photograph in a quiz [interrogation] room and stared in disbelief until the twisting in my gut made me turn away." While Sam Johnson was revolted by Fonda's visit, a prominent North Vietnam colonel/ "journalist," Bui Tin, saw the value of her presence in Hanoi: "That visit and the support it showed had great impact on the Vietnamese people. - We realized that there were two Americas - one who dropped bombs on us, and the other who had sympathy."
From Paris, having spent nearly a month in North Vietnam consorting with America's enemy - by making broadcasts, by meeting with senior Communist officials, by touring civilian and military sites, by "interviewing" American prisoners of war - Fonda returned to New York. She landed at Kennedy Airport, reportedly wearing the black pajamas and coolie hat of the Viet Cong.
Copyright © 2002 by McFarland & Co. Used by permission.
These excerpts are from Chapter 4 of "Aid and Comfort": Jane Fonda in North Vietnam, a new book by Henry Mark Holzer, professor emeritus at Brooklyn Law School, and Erika Holzer, an attorney and novelist. To order a copy of the book, contact McFarland & Co. at (800) 253-2187, or visit www.hanoijane.net and follow the link to McFarland & Co.
There are more traitors for Leavenworth
As much as I know I should, I don't know if I will be able to.
In God We Trust.....Semper Fi
'Though, in fairness, I could recommend a lot more, much less famous, cretins from those days who earned my enmity up close and personal.
Were her Treason against me, alone, I'd've forgiven her.
But it was against us all. And forever most against those whose names are as etched on that Wall in DC.
...Far beyond any power or ability of mine to pardon.
I saw Jane Fonda in Beverly Hills
A razor sharp Gerber makes an overkill
I slip up the stairs in the middle of the night
Reach around the corner and flip on the light
I unsheath my Gerber with a big 'ol grin
AND I SLIT THAT BITCH FROM HER BELLY TO HER CHIN!
There's nothin' in the world that I'd rather see
THAN A COMMUNIST BITCH IN MISERY!
Pretty much sums it up for me.
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