Swift Vets and POWs for "Truth" v. The Truth
[Formerly Swift Boat Veterans for "Truth" v. The Truth]

 

Acknowledgements


Home Page Kerry Purple Heart 1 Kerry Bronze Star Kerry and Cambodia
Bush campaign and SBV Kerry Purple Heart 3 Kerry Silver Star Kerry - Other War Related
Who's behind SBV? Other Lies or B.S. SBV v. SBV Who served "with" Kerry? 
Appendix A: Republicans saved by Kerry  Appendix B: The Double-Standards Game
Appendix C: GOP Attack Dogs Inc.  Appendix D: The "He-Said, She-Said" Game

WHO'S REALLY BEHIND SBV - A GROUP THAT CALLS ITSELF "NON-PARTISAN"?

 

SUMMARY FACTS
(For detailed proof, scroll down or click here)

  • Note that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth morphed into a new group calling itself Swift Vets and POWs for Truth. People in this group are behind the fraudulent anti-Kerry book "Unfit For Command" and the fraudulent anti-Kerry film "Stolen Honor".

  • SBV claims to be a "non-partisan" organization. Once you've stopped laughing and picked yourself off the floor (or applied to Fox News for a job as a substitute for Sean Hannity if you believe it), here is what you should know. SBV's claim is plainly false. Just because one's organization is registered as "non-partisan" in the eyes of the Government doesn't make it so, especially when key members of the group are known Republicans and contributed large sums of money to Republicans.

  • Their claim of being "non-partisan" is belied by the fact that some of the top people involved in SBV are staunch, right-wing Republicans, including those with a history of creating egregious and false hit pieces on opponents (especially Bush Sr.'s or Bush Jr.'s opponents - e.g., Senator John McCain). John O'Neill himself is a Nixon stooge who clerked for now-Chief Justice William Rehnquist (U.S. Supreme Court). SBV is also funded by wealthy right-wing Republicans. One of the co-authors of "Unfit for Command", Jerome Corsi, has a history of writing hate-filled, bigoted, articles on the web. Merrie Spaeth, a communications executive behind the anti-Kerry ads (and also behind the despicable ads that were run against John McCain in 2000) once coached Ken Starr during the Clinton impeachment hearings. Bob Perry is a key sponsor of SBV, and he has been "carefully cultivated" in the past as a GOP donor by Karl Rove. Harlan Crow is a trustee of the George Bush Foundation.

  • Moreover, the fact that SBV members or backers have direct or indirect connections to the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign has become very clear now.

  • Do scroll down and read more about these "fine" citizens of the country...

    • ASIDE: Not surprisingly, a bunch of hate-mongering ultra-right-wing frauds who played a key role in cooking up myriad fake stories about Bill Clinton in the 1990s - Citizens United - are now taking aim at John Kerry, using the fabrications of SBV for a new "movie". Are David Neiwert points out, these "are guys whose ethos makes Dick Nixon look like a choirboy".

 

DETAILED FACTS

SBV's BOGUS CLAIM OF BEING "NONPARTISAN": WHO ARE THE KEY PLAYERS BEHIND SBV?

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is a non-partisan organization.

FACT
Some of the key players behind SBV are listed below (click on the links below for more details - and see this handy chart from the New York Times that provides a brief summary). In addition, I have a separate section covering SBV members or backers who have direct or indirect connections to the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign.

1. Jerome Corsi: Ultra right wing, rabid hater of Democrats, Catholics, Muslims and God-knows what else. Expressed a desire that a plane should have crashed into the set of the West Wing, which had Martin Sheen acting as President. Expressed the belief that a lot of people he didn't like were Communists and that the Pope is senile. And so on. Recently flip-flopped and claimed to "apologize" in light of these revelations, but the fact is that he has made countless racist or bigoted statements.

2. John O'Neill: Protégé of Watergate felon Chuck Colson and Richard Nixon (the former President), who set him on the then-anti-war Kerry to attack Kerry's high credibility - and has been a strong Kerry-hater since. His law firm has strong connections with the Bush White House (e.g., one of his partners was the former (scandal-involved) general counsel to Bush Jr. in Texas). Formerly clerked with now Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was Nixon's favorite. Also, Bush Sr. had considered O'Neill for a federal judgeship.

3. Merrie Spaeth: Highly connected Republican communications executive who once worked to build propaganda pieces for Ronald Reagan - and wife of O'Neill's late law partner. She was a coach for Kenneth Starr in the Clinton impeachment hearings, via Ted Olson (until recently Bush's Solicitor General and a participant in the dirty tricks campaign against the Clintons). She was also responsible for creating the egregious, false smear ads against John McCain in 2000, when he ran against Bush.

4. William Franke, Lewis Waterman and Stephen Hayes (of Gannon International): Franke, a major Bush supporter, has longstanding ties to John Ashcroft and the Missouri GOP. All of these people are part of the firm Gannon Intl. which has had profitable dealings with Vietnam, especially thanks to Kerry's efforts to normalize relationships with Vietnam. The irony!

5. Bob Perry and the Crow Family: Generous supporters of Bush and the Republicans, Perry has given them millions of dollars. Perry is a key sponsor of SBV. Karl Rove has "carefully cultivated" donors like Perry. Harlan Crow is a trustee of the George Bush Foundation.

6. Robert Hahn: Runs the Free Republic Network, part of which is the right-wing hate-mongering, extremist website Free Republic which Corsi frequently contributes to.

10. Others

REFERENCES

1. JEROME CORSI

Media Matters

While much has been written about the identity and history of John E. O'Neill -- one of the authors of the forthcoming Regnery book Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry (whose links in the GOP go back to his days as "protégé of Nixon-era dirty trickster Charles Colson") -- little has been said about his co-author, Jerome R. Corsi, PhD.

Corsi on Islam: "a worthless, dangerous Satanic religion"

Corsi on Catholicism: "Boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn't reported by the liberal press"

Corsi on Muslims: "RAGHEADS are Boy-Bumpers as clearly as they are Women-Haters -- it all goes together"

Corsi on "John F*ing Commie Kerry": "After he married TerRAHsa, didn't John Kerry begin practicing Judiasm? He also has paternal grandparents that were Jewish. What religion is John Kerry?"

Corsi on Senator "FAT HOG" Clinton: "Anybody ask why HELLary couldn't keep BJ Bill satisfied? Not lesbo or anything, is she?"

...Corsi asserted that, in 1971, Kerry's anti-war activism amounted to a proclamation by him that "Communists were right in maintaining that American values were corrupt and that the only solution was for America to capitulate so Communism could continue to spread." As Media Matters for America has noted, Kerry was quoted expressing exactly the opposite sentiment in a December 12, 1971, Boston Globe article: "I don't like Communists," Kerry said. "In fact, I hate them. I hate all totalitarians. I'm totally dedicated to representative, pluralistic, free democracy."
...
Scott Swett, who is listed as the webmaster of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth website, swiftvets.com, also appeared on FOX News Channel host Sean Hannity's August 5 radio show to discuss the group. Swett posts frequently to FreeRepublic.com, using the pseudonym "Interesting Times," and is also a director of the Free Republic Network. The wintersoldier.com website to which Swett has contributed articles is a project of the Free Republic Network.

Corsi is also a frequent participant in FreeRepublic.com's online forums, posting under the pseudonym "jrlc" since 2001. (Click here to read a full set of Corsi's posts; click here to read the post in which "jrlc" admits to being Jerome Corsi.)

On FreeRepublic.com, Corsi has, among other things, said that "ragheads" are "boy buggers"; referred to "John F*ing Kerry"; called Senator Hillary Clinton a "Fat Hog"; referred to her daughter as "Chubby Chelsie" Clinton; referred to Janet Reno as "Janet Rhino"; called Katie Couric "Little Katie Communist"; suggested Kerry was "practicing Judaism"; and expressed the wish that a small plane that had crashed into a building in Los Angeles had instead crashed into the set of NBC'S The West Wing, thereby killing actor Martin Sheen.

Atrios (Eschaton):

Carville Today

On Xfire:
John Kerry, Tim Russert, Chris Matthews, Katie Couric, CBS, NBC are all communists. Hillary Clinton is a lesbian fat hog with fake hair. Al and Tipper Gore are terrorists who are part of the Taliban. The pope is senile. And pedophilia is fine with him as long as it's not reported in the liberal press. If you think all this sounds nutty, well, it is.

According to the organization Media Matters For America, all this has been written by Jerome Corsi. Why do we care what Jerome Corsi says? Well, we don't. But as co-author of the book "Unfit for Command" about John Kerry and his service in Vietnam, some people are making the mistake of taking him seriously. In the world of putrid right-wing pond scum, Corsi is one of the biggest bottom-feeders of them all.

Tim Grieve, Salon.com

...in truth it's really impossible to choose just one Corsi-ism to highlight...

Sept. 11: When the infamous Aug. 6, 2001 PDB was released in April -- the one headlined "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." -- Corsi declared the story "DOA" and said that "the RATS" -- Corsi's shorthand for Democrats -- on the 9/11 commission should consider themselves "disgraced" for pursuing it.

The United Nations: Corsi calls the UN a "Communist, anti-American terror-ridden propaganda pulpit." But then, Corsi calls lots of things "communist." Hardball's Chris Matthews is "Communist Chris." Jimmy Carter is a "Total Communist." John Lennon is a "dead Communist guy." Katie Couric is "Little Katie Communist," and NBC is short for "Nothing But Communism."

Atrios (Eschaton):

AP Does Corsi
Says he's sorry.
Of course, he also recently wrote:
Finally, we all owe a huge salute to a great American patriot, Jim Robinson. Free Republic is a ground breaking forum, which allows us the free and robust expression of conservative political ideas.
I am honored to be associated with Free Republic, as I am honored to be participating in bringing the case against John Kerry as co-author of UNFIT FOR COMMAND.
You be the judge...

Disinfopedia:

In another message Corsi wrote: "So this is what the last days of the Catholic Church are going to look like. Buggering boys undermines the moral base and the lawyers rip the gold off the Vatican altars. We may get one more Pope, when this senile one dies, but that's probably about it." Asked about his comments Corsi said they were meant as a joke and he apologised. [24]

However, an examination of the full list of Jerome Corsi's Free Republic postings reveals that Corsi has made hundreds of them, many of which are racist. A February 2003 posting by Corsi asked "Who are the Frogs going to cry to when the ragheads destroy the Eiffel Tower?" [25]. And in March 2004, Corsi even made the wild claim that "JaneFondaKerry is being heavily funded by Iranians -- check out how Gore was funded by the Chinese in 2000." [26]

 

2. JOHN O'NEILL

Joe Conason, Salon.com

Houston attorney John E. O'Neill, the Navy veteran who has emerged recently as a harsh and ubiquitous critic of John Kerry's military service, tells reporters that he has never really been interested in politics and isn't motivated by partisan interests. In the media, O'Neill is often described simply as a Vietnam vet still enraged by the antiwar speeches Kerry delivered more than 30 years ago. That was when O'Neill first came to public attention as a clean-cut, pro-war protégé of the Nixon White House's highest-ranking dirty trickster (aside from the late president himself), Charles Colson.

Colson, who went to prison for Watergate crimes, saw O'Neill as a perfect foil to Kerry, whom Nixon and his aides feared as a decorated, articulate and reasonable opponent of the war and their regime. Indeed, O'Neill was perfect -- a crewcut officer who had served on the same Navy swift boat that Kerry had commanded, although their stints in the Mekong Delta didn't overlap. In June 1971, Colson brought O'Neill up to Washington for an Oval Office audience with Nixon. His impressions live on in a memo filed later:

"O'Neill went out charging like a tiger, has agreed that he will appear anytime, anywhere that we program him and was last seen walking up West Executive Avenue mumbling to himself that he had just been with the most magnificent man he had ever met in his life."
...
To establish his nonpartisan credentials, O'Neill assured the CNN anchor that he was "never contacted" by the Bush-Cheney campaign. What he didn't mention, however, is that his law firm boasts long-standing and powerful connections with the Bush White House.

With an oil and litigation practice focused on the defense of major energy and industrial firms, the dozen partners in Clements, O'Neill, Pierce, Wilson & Fulkerson have clout that exceeds their firm's small size. Their corporate clients include Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Reliant Energy, Koch Industries and Eastman Kodak. More important, among the name partners is Margaret Wilson, the former general counsel to George W. Bush during his second term as Texas governor. (She succeeded Alberto Gonzales, who currently serves as White House counsel.)

In 2001, Wilson went to Washington with the new president, who appointed her deputy general counsel in the Department of Commerce. During her tenure as Bush's counsel in Austin, she was implicated in the Service Corporation International funeral home scandal. State government whistle-blower Eliza May accused Wilson of participating in an effort to "intimidate" her from pursuing an investigation of SCI, a major Bush campaign donor.

Among the firm's partners with close ties to Bush was "Tex" Lezar, who ran for lieutenant governor on the Republican ticket with him in 1994, when Bush won and Lezar lost. An indefatigable conservative activist and lawyer sympathetic to the most extreme elements in Southern GOP circles, Lezar died last January at the age of 55. Before joining the Clements firm, Lezar served in the Reagan Justice Department, where he befriended Kenneth Starr, whom he often defended to the press when Starr was pursuing the Clintons as Whitewater independent counsel. In later years, Lezar held important positions in the Federalist Society, Empower America, the Texas Public Policy Foundation and various other right-wing organizations.

As for O'Neill, his Republican loyalties may well have been cemented in 1974. Three years after Colson first brought him to the White House to meet with Nixon, who encouraged the young O'Neill to "get" Kerry and the protesters in Vietnam Veterans Against the War, he launched his legal career with a coveted clerkship in the United States Supreme Court. No doubt it was mere coincidence that O'Neill clerked with William Rehnquist, the controversial conservative who was Nixon's favorite justice and who went on to be appointed chief justice by President Reagan.

Media Matters

During the CNN interview, Blitzer reported that former President Richard Nixon had urged O'Neill to publicly counter Kerry on The Dick Cavett Show, but there is more to the story. O'Neill was a creation of the Nixon administration, as Joe Klein detailed in the January 5 issue of The New Yorker. Former Nixon special counsel Chuck Colson told Klein that Kerry was an "articulate" and "credible leader" of those veterans calling for an end to the Vietnam War and therefore "an immediate target of the Nixon Administration." As such, the Nixon administration found it necessary to "create a counterfoil" to Kerry. Colson recounted, "We found a vet named John O'Neill and formed a group called Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace. We had O'Neill meet the President, and we did everything we could do to boost his group." Articles from the April 21 Houston Chronicle and the June 17, 2003, Boston Globe confirm close ties between O'Neill and the Nixon administration.

Beyond his role in the Nixon administration's strategy to undermine Kerry in the 1970s, O'Neill is also connected to Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist (a Nixon appointee) and to former President George H.W. Bush, according to Houston Chronicle articles from March 31 and April 21. In the late 1970s, O'Neill clerked for Rehnquist; in 1990, according to an October 7, 1991, report by Texas Lawyer, the former President Bush considered O'Neill for a federal judgeship vacancy.

DailyKos:

We found out earlier today that John O'Neill, the guy Bush trotted out to attack Kerry's military service, also did Nixon's dirty anti-Kerry work (in addition to clerking for Rehnquist). A partisan hack spanning multiple administrations.

We also found out that he's a partner at the Houston firm of Clements, O'Neill, Pierce, Wilson and Fulkerson. One of his co-partners is Margaret Wilson, who was George Bush's general counsel 1998-2000.

Well, there's more about good ol' Margaret. She was a lawyer at Vinson & Elkins before she worked for Bush. Vinson & Elkins was Enron's main law firm -- the very firm that facilitated Enron's frauds. Vinson & Elkins was also the firm that spawned Al Gonzales -- Bush's current general counsel.

In other words, Vinson & Elkins and COPWF are the very embodiment of the Houston good ol' boy Republican network. That this network spawn Kerry's harshest critic should be of no surprise (his career was probably made thanks to the Nixon dirty work). Thus, there should be no illusions that O'Neill is in any way an independent and impartial critic of John Kerry.

Joe Conason, Salon.com

Behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are...eternal Kerry antagonist and Houston attorney John E. O'Neill, law partner of Spaeth's late husband, Tex Lezar; and retired Rear Adm. Roy Hoffman, a cigar-chomping former Vietnam commander once described as "the classic body-count guy" who "wanted hooches destroyed and people killed."

Spaeth told Salon that O'Neill first approached her last winter to discuss his "concerns about Sen. Kerry." O'Neill has been assailing Kerry since 1971, when the former Navy officer was selected for the role by Charles Colson, Richard Nixon's dirty-tricks aide. Spaeth heard O'Neill out, but told him, she says, that he "sounded like a crazed extremist" and should "button his lip" and avoid speaking with the press. But since Kerry clinched the Democratic nomination, Spaeth has changed her mind and decided to donate her public relations services on a "pro bono" basis to O'Neill's latest anti-Kerry effort. 

 

3. MERRIE SPAETH

Joe Conason, Salon.com

Behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are veteran corporate media consultant and Texas Republican activist Merrie Spaeth, who is listed as the group's media contact; eternal Kerry antagonist and Houston attorney John E. O'Neill, law partner of Spaeth's late husband, Tex Lezar; and retired Rear Adm. Roy Hoffman, a cigar-chomping former Vietnam commander once described as "the classic body-count guy" who "wanted hooches destroyed and people killed."

Spaeth told Salon that O'Neill first approached her last winter to discuss his "concerns about Sen. Kerry." O'Neill has been assailing Kerry since 1971, when the former Navy officer was selected for the role by Charles Colson, Richard Nixon's dirty-tricks aide. Spaeth heard O'Neill out, but told him, she says, that he "sounded like a crazed extremist" and should "button his lip" and avoid speaking with the press. But since Kerry clinched the Democratic nomination, Spaeth has changed her mind and decided to donate her public relations services on a "pro bono" basis to O'Neill's latest anti-Kerry effort. "About three weeks ago, four weeks ago," she said, the group's leaders "met in my office for about 12 hours" to prepare for their Washington debut.

Although not as well known as Karen Hughes, Spaeth is among the most experienced and best connected Republican communications executives. During the Reagan administration she served as director of the White House Office of Media Liaison, where she specialized in promoting "news" items that boosted President Reagan to TV stations around the country. While living in Washington she met and married Lezar, a Reagan Justice Department lawyer who ran for lieutenant governor of Texas in 1994 with George W. Bush, then the party's candidate for governor. (Lezar lost; Bush won.)

Through Lezar, who died of a heart attack last January, she met O'Neill, his law partner in Clements, O'Neill, Pierce, Wilson & Fulkerson, a Dallas firm. (It also includes Margaret Wilson, the former counsel to Gov. Bush who followed him to Washington, where she served for a time as a deputy counsel in the Department of Commerce.)

Spaeth's partisanship runs still deeper, as does her history of handling difficult P.R. cases for Republicans. In 1998, for example, she coached Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel, to prepare him for his testimony urging the impeachment of President Clinton before the House Judiciary Committee. She even reviewed videotapes of his previous television appearances to give him pointers about his delivery and demeanor. The man responsible for arranging her advice to Starr was another old friend of her late husband's, Theodore Olson, who was counsel to the right-wing American Spectator when it acted as a front for the dirty-tricks campaign against Clinton known as the Arkansas Project; he is now the solicitor general in the Bush Justice Department. (Olson also happens to be the godfather of Spaeth's daughter.)

In 2000, Spaeth participated in the most subterranean episode of the Republican primary contest when a shadowy group billed as "Republicans for Clean Air" produced television ads falsely attacking the environmental record of Sen. John McCain in California, New York and Ohio. While the identity of those funding the supposedly "independent" ads was carefully hidden, reporters soon learned that Republicans for Clean Air was simply Sam Wyly -- a big Bush contributor and beneficiary of Bush administration decisions in Texas -- and his brother, Charles, another Bush "Pioneer" contributor. (One of the Wyly family's private capital funds, Maverick Capital of Dallas, had been awarded a state contract to invest $90 million for the University of Texas endowment.)

When the secret emerged, spokeswoman Spaeth caught the flak for the Wylys, an experience she recalled to me as "horrible" and "awful." Her job was to assure reporters that there had been no illegal coordination between the Bush campaign and the Wyly brothers in arranging the McCain-trashing message. Not everyone believed her explanation, including the Arizona senator.

Kate Zernike and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times:

Another partner, Tex Lezar, ran on the Republican ticket with Mr. Bush in 1994, as lieutenant governor. They were two years apart at Yale, and Mr. Lezar worked for the attorney general's office in the Reagan administration. Mr. Lezar, who died last year, was married to Merrie Spaeth, a powerful public relations executive who has helped coordinate the efforts of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

In 2000, Ms. Spaeth was spokeswoman for a group that ran $2 million worth of ads attacking Senator John McCain's environmental record and lauding Mr. Bush's in crucial states during their fierce primary battle. The group, calling itself Republicans for Clean Air, was founded by a prominent Texas supporter of Mr. Bush, Sam Wyly.

Ms. Spaeth had been a communications official in the Reagan White House, where the president's aides had enough confidence in her to invite her to help prepare George Bush for his vice-presidential debate in 1984. She says she is also a close friend of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, a client of Mr. Rove's. Ms. Spaeth said in an interview that the one time she had ever spoken to Mr. Rove was when Ms. Hutchison was running for the Texas treasurer's office in 1990.

When asked if she had ever visited the White House during Mr. Bush's tenure, Ms. Spaeth initially said that she had been there only once, in 2002, when Kenneth Starr gave her a personal tour. But this week Ms. Spaeth acknowledged that she had spent an hour in the Old Executive Office Building, part of the White House complex, in the spring of 2003, giving Mr. Bush's chief economic adviser, Stephen Friedman, public speaking advice. Asked if it was possible that she had worked with other administration officials, Ms. Spaeth said, "The answer is 'no,' unless you refresh my memory.''

"Is the White House directing this?" Ms. Spaeth said of the organization. "Absolutely not.''

eRiposte note: Yeah, right!

Information via JohnKerry.com:

John McCain Says It’s Dishonest & Dishonorable—Same Thing That Happened to Him in 2000. “Republican Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, called an ad criticizing John Kerry’s military service "dishonest and dishonorable" and urged the White House on Thursday to condemn it as well. ‘It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me,’ McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press, referring to his bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush’.” [AP, 8/5/04]

* CBS News: “The Press Conference Was Set Up By The Same People Who Tried To Discredit John McCain's Reputation.” “The [May, 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth”] press conference was set up by the same people who tried to discredit John McCain's reputation in Vietnam service when McCain faced George W. Bush for the Republican nomination in 2000. It's the same strategy used to go after Georgia Senator Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in Vietnam.” [CBS Evening News, Pitts, 5/4/04]

* Salon.Com: “Same Vicious Techniques They Used Against McCain” “Behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are veteran corporate media consultant and Texas Republican activist Merrie Spaeth, who is listed as the group's media contact…In 2000, Spaeth participated in the most subterranean episode of the Republican primary contest when a shadowy group billed as ‘Republicans for Clean Air’ produced television ads falsely attacking the environmental record of Sen. John McCain in California, New York and Ohio. While the identity of those funding the supposedly ‘independent’ ads was carefully hidden, reporters soon learned that Republicans for Clean Air was simply Sam Wyly -- a big Bush contributor and beneficiary of Bush administration decisions in Texas -- and his brother, Charles, another Bush "Pioneer" contributor.” [Salon.com, Conalson, 5/4/04]

4. WILLIAM FRANKE, LEWIS WATERMAN and STEPHEN HAYES (of GANNON INTERNATIONAL)

Joe Conason, Salon.com

[SBV's] Web site was put up courtesy of William Franke, a St. Louis businessman with longstanding ties to Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Missouri Republican Party. 

Joe Conason, Salon.com

On closer inspection, the ostensibly nonpartisan "Swift Boat Vets" seem to have another pair of significant sponsors with deep and long-standing Republican connections in Missouri. Both are officers of Gannon International, a St. Louis conglomerate that does lots of overseas business in, of all places, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Ties to Gannon can be traced via the Swift Boat Vets Web site (as an alert reader advised me last week). On April 14, the site was registered under the name of Lewis Waterman, Gannon's information technology manager, at 11301 Olive Boulevard in St. Louis, the firm's headquarters address. Although Waterman wouldn't discuss why he had set up the Web site, he didn't deny that his boss, Gannon president and CEO William Franke, had asked him to do so.

"The information about my client is confidential," said Waterman. He acknowledged knowing, however, that his boss Franke is a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam on swift boats. Gannon vice president Stephen Hayes, who oversees the company's office in Alexandria, Va., is likewise a swift boat veteran who first met Franke when they served together in the Mekong Delta.
...
Franke is well known in Missouri as a longtime Republican Party activist and financier. In 1976, he managed John Danforth's victorious Senate campaign; two years later, he ran unsuccessfully for Congress. He also failed in an attempt to resuscitate the defunct St. Louis Globe-Democrat (which was, despite its name, a staunchly Republican newspaper) in 1986. Before the Globe-Democrat finally went under in 1987, Franke had obtained a commitment from the state industrial development authority -- all of whose members were appointed by then Gov. John Ashcroft -- to raise $9 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds to keep the paper afloat.

Last June, Franke gave the maximum $2,000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign, and he has since donated an additional $2,000 to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, and $2,000 more to Keep Our Majority, the PAC operated by House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Hayes left a long career in government to join Franke's company in 1993. His résumé is littered with public relations posts in Republican administrations dating back at least to 1984, when he worked as a transition spokesman for Treasury Secretary Donald Regan. He moved on to similar jobs at the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Agency for International Development.

Following the departure of the first Bush administration, Hayes joined Gannon. He maintains his conservative credentials as a director of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, an organization that promotes "faith-based diplomacy" to resolve global conflicts. (Among this outfit's other board members are a former Republican congressman from Ohio, an author of books and articles arguing against evolution, and former Reagan national security advisor Robert McFarlane, forced to resign for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal.)
...
None of Gannon's profitable activities in the communist republic would be possible, of course, without the approval of the Hanoi government, which Franke has described as "strong" and "stable." Nor would Gannon be conducting business in Vietnam without the Clinton administration diplomacy, assisted by Sen. Kerry, that established diplomatic and trade ties with the United States in 1994. Franke first began traveling to Vietnam on behalf of Operation Smile, an American charity that provides plastic surgery to children abroad. The relationships he established during those humanitarian missions provided a considerable advantage in doing business under government auspices.

It was also during those early visits to Vietnam, as he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that Franke reached a clearer understanding of the war he had once fought as a young Navy lieutenant.

"As I looked back 20 years, I saw that it was a very imperial relationship we had with these people," said Franke in 1989. "We were young. We were there because we were told to be there and that they were the enemy. This time I saw them as human beings who had fears and hopes the same as we."

Yet he evidently cannot forgive John Kerry for reaching the same conclusion about that war and its victims, so many years before he finally did.

Disinfopedia (via reader BY):

Gannon International, founded in 1983 by William Edward Franke, describes itself as "the classical model of a holding company, with the principal of Gannon International, or Gannon International itself, owning interests in many other corporations, partnerships or companies. Gannon International provides administrative support for many of the companies or partnerships within the three operational groups." [1]
...
The Gannon Technologies Group "provides hardware configurations, software, and services to digitize massive databases for both internal information management and presentation across the Internet. If the Internet is the super highway, The Gannon Technologies Group produces the products carried along that highway.

"The Gannon Technologies Group has provided the software support and services for several United States federal and state agencies, including an extensive staffing commitment to the Anti-Trust Division of the United States Department of Justice.

"The Gannon Technologies Group created the electronic databases for citizenship records for two Central American countries.

"The Gannon Technologies Group has provided critical technical support and created electronic databases for several high profile matters, including the Office of Special Counsel for the Branch Davidian (Waco, Texas) Investigation and the Federal Election Commission's investigation of political fundraising practices." [4]

5. BOB PERRY and THE CROW FAMILY

FactCheck.org

The source of the Swift Boat group's money wasn't known when it first surfaced, but a report filed July 15 with the Internal Revenue Services now shows its initial funding came mainly from a Houston home builder, Bob R. Perry, who has also given millions to the Republican party and Republican candidates, mostly in Texas, including President Bush and Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay, whose district is near Houston.

Perry gave $100,000 of the $158,750 received by the Swift Boat group through the end of June, according to its disclosure report.

Perry and his wife Doylene also gave more than $3 million to Texas Republicans during the 2002 elections, according to a database maintained by the Institute on Money in State Politics. The Perrys also were among the largest Republican donors in neighboring Louisiana, where they gave $200,000, and New Mexico, where they gave $183,000, according to the database.

At the federal level the Perrys have given $359,825 since 1999, including $6,000 to Bush's campaigns and $27,325 to DeLay and his political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, according the a database maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Josh Marshall, Talkingpointsmemo:

If President Bush really wants to tell the Swift Boat group's funder, Bob Perry, that he doesn't like the ads he's paying for, maybe he can have Rove bring it up with him at the fundraiser Perry is hosting in New York next week.

Former President Bush, Karl Rove, and Tom DeLay are all scheduled to be there.

The Dallas Morning News got the story. But when they asked Perry's spokesman what the deal was, he suddenly hadn't heard a thing about it.

Perry's spokesman Bill Miller says he was surprised to see his boss's name on the list.

Various sources, via JohnKerry.com:

  • Fox News:  O’Neill’s funders “are Republicans who have contributed to and backed various Bush campaigns and causes over the decades” “Kerry’s military service was an asset during the primaries; critics hoped to transform it into a liability now. The GOP says it’s not involved with the veterans criticizing Kerry, but many of them are Republicans who have contributed to and backed various Bush campaigns and causes over the decades.” [Fox News, Special Report, Cameron, 5/4/04]
  • Donor Harlan Crow is a Trustee to the “George Bush Foundation” and “Faithful” & “Consistent” Bush Donor . For his generous contributions to the Foundation honoring former President George H.W. Bush, Harlan Crow was named a “Trustee.” “Crow is a faithful donor to Republican candidates and causes, ranging from President George W. Bush to former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.”-- In his 1978 failed bid for Congress, George W. Bush received contributions from “Harlan Crow, of the Trammell Crow real estate family, who would be consistent financial backers of Bush pere et fils for decades.” [American Prospect, “George W’s Compassion”; 9/99-10/99; New Jersey Law Journal, 6/6/02; http://www.georgebushfoundation.org/bush/asp/OverView/Trustees.asp]
  • Texas’ Biggest Republican Donor antes up $200K.  A major Texas donor to the Republican Party and President Bush has given another $100,000 to an independent group challenging John Kerry's military service in Vietnam. Houston homebuilder Bob Perry provided much of the early money for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which recently launched a television ad and book accusing Mr. Kerry of fabricating his war record. Mr. Perry's latest donation brings to $200,000 the amount he has given the organization. … Mr. Perry is a prolific GOP donor who backed Mr. Bush in his races for governor and president and has contributed more than $5 million to state candidates and causes in Texas since 2000 and several hundred thousand dollars to national candidates and the Republican Party.  [Dallas Morning News, 8/18/2004]
  • Karl Rove “Carefully Cultivated” O’Neill Donor Bob Perry “By the mid-nineties, Rove had got himself into a highly unusual position for a political consultant-functioning more in the manner of an old-fashioned political boss than of a for-hire member of the service sector. Rather than his pitching candidates for their business, candidates pitched him for his commitment. The key to his power was that he had a particularly solid connection to the money side of politics. He carefully cultivated Texas's biggest Republican donors, people like Peter O'Donnell and Louis Beecherl, in Dallas, and Bob Perry and Kenneth Lay (before the fall of Enron), in Houston; they saw him as someone whose clients usually won, and made their decisions about whether or not to invest in a candidate partly on the basis of Rove’s decision whether or not to work for the campaign.” [New Yorker, “THE CONTROLLER; Karl Rove is working to get George Bush reelected, but he has bigger plans”; 5/12/03]

Joe Conason, Salon.com

[SBV's] chief financiers, according to the group's last quarterly IRS filing, are Houston builder Bob J. Perry and the Crow family, both major Republican donors from Texas.

Last November, the Dallas Morning News profiled the mysterious Perry. During the past four years, he has given more than $5 million to candidates and causes, nearly all of them Republican and extremely conservative. The article didn't say whether Perry himself ever served in the military. The Crow family, a clan of megadevelopers based in Dallas, are close Bush friends as well as generous backers. Harlan Crow is also a trustee of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation.

In short, the financial supporters of the Swift Boat Vets are not exactly strangers to George W. Bush and Karl Rove.

Geraldine Sealey, Salon.com:

Today, Texans for Public Justice, an Austin-based consumer rights/civil justice advocacy and research organization that tracks money in Texas politics, went through its files for information on the Bush/Texas GOP donor behind the Swift Boat group.

From TPJ: "Bob Perry, a major Texas donor to the Republican Party, George W. Bush, Republican candidates, and conservative, pro-business political committees has contributed $200,000 to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group attacking John Kerry’s Vietnam service."

"The Houston-based Perry owns Perry Homes, one of the state’s largest homebuilders with reported revenues of $420 million in 2002. While an active political donor since the mid-1980's, over the past three years Perry has eclipsed the giving of Texas' elite money men and positioned himself as the largest single political donor in Texas giving candidates and committees more than $5.2 million since 2000. Perry worked with Karl Rove as early as 1986 when Perry served as Campaign Treasurer for Republican gubernatorial candidate William Clements and Rove served as a campaign consultant and fundraiser.

"Highlights of Perry's political contributions:

Perry contributed $46,000 to George W. Bush's 1994 and 1998 campaigns for Texas Governor. He has contributed the maximum allowable $2,000 to Bush’s current reelection.

Perry was the largest individual contributor to the Texas Republican Party during the recent 2002-election cycle (calendar 2001 & 2002) giving $905,000.

Perry is Republican Governor Rick Perry’s (no relation) largest patron, having contributed $225,000 since 2001.

Perry was the largest individual contributor to Republican Lt. Governor David Dewhurst’s 2002 campaign, giving $115,000.

Perry was the largest individual contributor to Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott’s 2002 campaign, giving $387,600. Perry's wife Doylene gave Abbott an additional $150,000.

Perry was the second largest individual contributor to Republican Comptroller Carole Strayhorn's 2002 campaign, giving $100,000.

Perry was the largest contributor to Tom DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC) giving $165,000 in the 2002 election cycle. TRMPAC is currently the subject of a criminal investigation by a Travis Country grand jury for allegedly misusing corporate contributions in the 2002 state elections.

Perry was the single largest contributor to the Texas Association of Business PAC in 2002, giving $105,000. The Association is also under criminal investigation for misuse of corporate funds in the 2002 Texas elections.

Perry contributed a total of $595,500 directly to the campaigns of 23 GOP legislative candidates in the 2002 cycle, including the 21-candidate slate supported by TRMPAC.

Perry contributed $95,000 to Tom DeLay's Republican Majority Issues PAC in 2001.

Perry has been a primary funder of efforts to limit civil liability in Texas, contributing $415,000 to Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC, the state's largest non-party political committee.

Sources: Campaign filings with the Texas Ethics Commission, IRS & FEC. Reports published by Texans for Public Justice and news accounts."

6. ROBERT A. HAHN

Joe Conason, Salon.com

The June 30 filing shows payments to Robert A. Hahn, a right-wing Internet activist and Web designer who also runs something called the Free Republic Network (apparently an affiliate of the extremist Free Republic Web site); and to Tom Wyld, a Navy veteran and former director of public relations for the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association.

 

10. OTHERS

Disinfopedia:

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth appears to have sought professional help with FEC compliance. In May 2004 it paid $7500 to Political Compliance Services Inc., a consulting company in Fairfax, VA [30]. Political Compliance Services describes itself as "an accounting services vendor specializing in FEC regulations. Our comprehensive approach to your individual accounting needs will deliver you from the headaches and legal ramifications of FEC non-compliance." [31]

However, Political Compliance Services itself appears to have strong Republican ties. All its known clients are conservative [32] . And its administrative contact Susan Arceneaux is a Republican stalwart involved with several right-wing organizations. She is treasurer of The Majority Leader's Fund [33], a listed contact for FreedomWorks [34], and was the custodian of records for David Horowitz's defunct 527, PoliticalWar.com Inc. [35] [36].

On Tuesday August 24 2004 the extent of Arceneaux's involvement with SBVT became clearer. According to The New York Times, SBVT had admitted the previous day that Arceneaux "helped set it up and works for it". The NYT had discovered that Arceneaux "is given as the contact person on the post office box that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth lists as its address." The article also pointed out that The Majority Leader's Fund "receives significant financing from Bob Perry", the major donor to SBVT. [37] [38].

Joe Conason, Salon.com

Among the other leaders featured on the Swift Boat Vets' site are Alvin A. "Andy" Horne; Weymouth D. Symmes, also listed as the group's contact on its IRS filings; and Bill Lannom. Horne is a former Houston prosecutor who was once short-listed by former Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, for an appointment as U.S. attorney. Symmes is a retired banker from Missoula, Mont., who along with his wife has donated more than $5,000 to Republican candidates and committees since 2000 (including $1,000 to Bush-Cheney 2004).

Lannom works for Iowa athletic-wear company owned by his staunchly Republican family. As his mother once explained to a local historian, "We've all been active, all my sons have been active in politics." She charmingly recalled that the Lannoms' antagonism toward Democrats dates all the way back to FDR.

The hired help employed by the Swift Vets committee is thoroughly partisan, too. Aside from Spaeth and Thomas Rupprath, the private detective she recommended to provide research services, the group's IRS filing names several experienced Washington political operatives. The June 30 filing shows payments to Robert A. Hahn, a right-wing Internet activist and Web designer who also runs something called the Free Republic Network (apparently an affiliate of the extremist Free Republic Web site); and to Tom Wyld, a Navy veteran and former director of public relations for the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association.

Kate Zernike and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times:

Another participant is the political advertising agency that made the group's television commercial: Stevens Reed Curcio & Potholm, based in Alexandria, Va. The agency worked for Senator McCain in 2000 and for Mr. Bush's father in 1988, when it created the "tank" advertisement mocking Mr. Dukakis. A spokesman for the Swift boat veterans said the organization decided to hire the agency after a member saw one of its partners speaking on television.

Joe Conason, Salon.com

A private detective retained by "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" -- the Texas-based group seeking to discredit John Kerry's military record -- is contacting veterans who may have information about the incidents that led to Kerry's Vietnam decorations. According to a former Kerry crew member, several of the Massachusetts senator's old Navy comrades have refused to talk with the detective, a former FBI agent named Thomas Rupprath -- and some have complained that the detective tried to put damaging words in their mouths.

Also see this illustrative chart from Uggabugga, exploring high-level connections.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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