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Sipe-Peterson Post 44  ---  Scottsdale, Arizona
Established May 13, 1935

Jane Fonda E-mail

There are some statements that one may consider correct on face value alone:

E-mail rumors blending fact and fiction about Jane Fonda's activities as an anti-war protestor during the 1970s have reopened old wounds for Vietnam veterans and inspired a new round of recriminations for things the actress did long ago, and things she never did.

The rumors center around Fonda's tour of North Vietnam in 1972, during which she cozied up to the enemy, posing for photo ops with communist troops and broadcasting anti-American propaganda over Radio Hanoi.

During the same trip she participated in a staged press conference with American POWs, the purpose of which was to demonstrate that they were not being mistreated by their captors. Years later when the released POWs described the torture and degradation they really did suffer at the hands of the North Vietnamese, including our own United States Senator John McCain, Fonda called them "hypocrites and liars."

Those facts are not under dispute. Fonda's behavior at that time, considered treasonous by some, earned her the nickname "Hanoi Jane" among the veterans and POWs of the Vietnam War, some of whom hate her to this day.

Since the '70s Fonda has revamped her image several times over, rededicating herself to her acting career, becoming a fitness guru in the early '80s, and marrying billionaire Ted Turner in 1991. In 1988 she delivered a televised apology to Vietnam veterans and their families, a gesture that did not mollify everyone but established some distance between the new Fonda and old Fonda, whose actions, she finally admitted, had been "thoughtless and careless."

As the '90s progressed Fonda's past was less frequently brought up as an issue and seemed to dwindle in importance until 1999 that is, when Barbara Walters chose to honor the actress in a television special called "A Celebration: 100 Years of Great Women." The announcement of the program, which aired in April, 1999 and did include honoring Jane Fonda, prompted an outcry from veterans and former POWs, many of whom vented their indignation via the Internet. Angry recriminations were posted in newsgroups, published in newsletters and on Web pages, and circulated by e-mail.

Apparently bits and pieces of these texts, along with a few shameless fabrications, were cobbled together by persons unknown to create the "Hanoi Jane" diatribe which still circulates today. Parts of it are true and parts of it are false however.

Though we do not know precisely when versions of the "Hanoi Jane" message first began making the rounds, they found their way into general circulation in early September, 1999, again in September, 2000 and have come around still again in January, 2002. Each of the versions exhibit slight variations in format and wording, and in some cases added comments and/or deletions.

Jon E. Dougherty, a columnist for WorldNetDaily, saw fit to quote a version of the message verbatim in his September 15, 1999 column entitled "Not Saluting Jane Fonda." Interestingly, Dougherty's piece, complete with his own commentary, was copied and distributed by readers and quickly established itself as another popular variant of the already-circulating text, lending credibility to the story.

Below is a representative example of the basic message. Bear in mind that only part of what you're about to read is true.
Looks like Hanoi Jane may be honored as of the "100 Women of the Century". JANE FONDA remembered? Unfortunately may have forgotten and still countless others have never known how Ms. Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our "country" but the men who served and sacrificed during Viet Nam. There are few things I have strong visceral reactions to, but Jane Fonda's participation in what I believe to be blatant treason, is one of them. Part of my conviction comes from exposure to those who suffered her attentions. The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot. The pilot's name is Jerry Driscoll, a River Rat. In 1978, the Commandant of the USAF Survival School was a former POW in Ho Lo Prison-the "Hanoi Hilton".

Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a cell, cleaned, fed, and dressed in clean PJs, he was ordered to describe for a visiting American "Peace Activist" the "lenient and humane treatment" he'd received. He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and dragged away. During the subsequent beating, he fell forward upon the camp Commandant's feet, accidentally pulling the man's shoe off- which sent that officer berserk.

In '78, the Air Force Colonel still suffered from double vision (which permanently ended his flying days) from the Vietnamese frenzied application of a wooden baton.

From 1983-85, Col Larry Carrigan was the 347FW/DO (F-4Es). He spent 6 years in the "Hilton" - the first three of which he was "missing in action". His wife lived on faith that he was still alive. His group, too, got the cleaned/fed/clothed routine in preparation for a "peace delegation" visit. They, however, had time and devised a plan to get word to the world that they still survived. Each man secreted a tiny piece of paper, with his SSN on it, in the palm of his hand.

When paraded before Ms. Fonda and a cameraman, she walked the line, shaking each man's hand and asking little encouraging snippets like: "Aren't you sorry you bombed babies?" and "Are you grateful for the humane treatment from your benevolent captors?" Believing this just had to be an act, they each palmed her their sliver of paper. She took them all without missing a beat. At the end of the line and once the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned to the officer in charge... and handed him the little pile.

Three men died from the subsequent beatings. Col Carrigan was almost number four. For years after their release, a group of determined former POWs Including Col Carrigan, tried to bring Ms. Fonda and others up on charges of treason. I don't know that they used it, but the charge of "Negligent Homicide due to Depraved Indifference" would also seem appropriate. Her obvious "granting of aid and comfort to the enemy", alone, should have been sufficient for the treason count.

However, to date, Jane Fonda has never been formally charged with anything and continues to enjoy the privileged life of the rich and famous. I, personally, think that this is shame on us, the American Citizenry.

Part of our shortfall is ignorance: most don't know such actions ever took place. Thought you might appreciate the knowledge. Most of you've probably already seen this by now... only addition I might add to these sentiments is to remember the satisfaction of relieving myself into the urinal at some air base or another where "zaps" of Hanoi Jane's face had been applied.

To whom it may concern: I was a civilian economic development advisor in Viet Nam, and was captured by the North Vietnamese communists in South Viet Nam in 1968, and held for over 5 years. I spent 27 months in solitary confinement, one year in a cage in Cambodia, and one year in a "black box" in Hanoi.

My North Vietnamese captors deliberately poisoned and murdered a female missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Ban me Thuot, South Vietnam, whom I buried in the jungle near the Cambodia border. At one time, I was weighing approximately 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs.) We were Jane Fonda's "war criminals."

When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi, I was asked by the camp communist political officer if I would be willing to meet with Jane Fonda. I said yes, for I would like to tell her about the real treatment we POWs were receiving, which was far different from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by Jane Fonda, as "humane and lenient."

Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees with outstretched arms with a piece of steel placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane every time my arms dipped.

I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda for a couple of hours after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She did not answer me, her former husband, Tom Hayden, answered for her. She was mind controlled by her husband. This does not exemplify someone who should be honored as "100 Years of Great Women."

After I was released, I was asked what I thought of Jane Fonda and the anti-war movement. I said that I held Joan Baez's husband in very high regard, for he thought the war was wrong, burned his draft card and went to prison in protest. If the other anti-war protestors took this same route, it would have brought our judicial system to a halt and ended the war much earlier, and there wouldn't be as many on that somber black granite wall called the Vietnam Memorial. This is democracy. This is the American way.

Jane Fonda, on the other hand, chose to be a traitor, and went to Hanoi, wore their uniform, propagandized for the communists, and urged American soldiers to desert. As we were being tortured, and some of the POWs murdered, she called us liars. After her heroes -- the North Vietnamese communists -- took over South Vietnam, they systematically murdered 80,000 South Vietnamese political prisoners. May their souls rest on her head forever. Shame! Shame!

Please take the time to read and forward to as many people as you possibly can. It will eventually end up on her computer and she needs to know that "we will never forget". Lest we forget... "100 years of great women", Jane Fonda should never be considered.
There's no disputing that Jane Fonda toured North Vietnam, propagandized on behalf of the communists, and participated in an orchestrated "press conference" with American POWs in 1972. There's no denying that she defamed POWs by white washing the Viet Cong's treatment of them and later calling them liars when they spoke out.

But how true are the further allegations in the current e-mail rumors?

Let's examine their veracity point by point, beginning with the most serious: "It's a figment of somebody's imagination," says Ret. Col. Larry Carrigan, who was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967. He has no idea why the story was attributed to him. "I never met Jane Fonda," he has publicly stated. It goes without saying he never handed her a secret message.

He confessed that he did see Fonda once while he was a POW on film.

He recalled a night when he and the rest of the 80 or so men he was interned with were called out into the prison courtyard, "the first time we'd been outside under the stars in 5 or 6 years." As they all stood there wondering what was in store for them, a projector started whirring in the background. Their captors proceeded to show them footage of Jane Fonda's visit to Hanoi. This story is attributed in the e-mail to former Air Force pilot Jerry Driscoll, who says it's false and did not originate from him rather, as he put it, "the product of a very vivid imagination."

Although Driscoll seldom addresses this issue any more, Mike McGrath and Paul Galanti, fellow officers of the Nam-POWs organization to which Driscoll belongs, will stay that Driscoll unequivocally disavows the story. Mike McGrath, who has served as the president of Nam-POWs, has been trying for years to help Driscoll and Carrigan squelch the false rumors circulating under their names.

"They would like to get their names removed but the story seems to have a life of its own," he has stated. "There are a lot of folks out there who would love to have a story like that to hang their hat and their hate on." The final anecdote in the "Hanoi Jane" message recounts the experience of a POW who agreed to meet with Fonda but announced to his captors that he planned on telling her how horrid conditions in North Vietnamese prison camps really were.

"Because of this," the narrative continues, "I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees with outstretched arms with a piece of steel placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane every time my arms dipped."

Those words were written by Michael Benge, a civilian advisor captured by the Viet Cong in 1968 and held as a POW for 5 years. When contacted, he has confirmed that the story was indeed his, and true.

Benge's original statement, entitled "Shame on Jane," was published in April by the Advocacy and Intelligence Network for POWs and MIAs. The nameless, faceless author of the "Hanoi Jane" message evidently picked it up from a Web page or a newsgroup and combined it with fabricated stories to create the forwarded text. Some versions now circulate with Benge's name appended, others quote his statement anonymously.

A good cause is never well-served by lies, and that's how many former POWs when asked about the falsehoods in this message feel. Paul Galanti has stated: "None of us are members of the Jane Fonda Fan Club, but these fabrications are something she just did not do."

No one has an absolute answer to the question "Who made up these stories and why?" but both Carrigan and McGrath have expressed doubt that it was a POW.

"She did enough to place her name in the trash bin of history," McGrath explained. "None of us need to make up stories on her."

Why this page on our web site?
We had been asked to post the bogus e-mail message on the site and advise our Members and visitors of it.
As always, we felt it would be more appropriate to post the facts.

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