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Wife of POW Navy Pilot, Who Had Husband's Remains Sent Home By North Vietnamese in 1989, Was Lied to by U.S. Officials For Years About His Whereabouts And POW Status
Diane Van Renselaar says she still hasn't gotten the truth about her husband from the military and lawmakers, including Sen. John McCain who she claims is 'no friend' of POW families and has backstabbed them every step of the way toward getting at the truth.
31 Oct 2005

By Greg Szymanski


The remains of captured Navy pilot, Larry Van Renselaar, came home in a body bag, sent back by the North Vietnamese in 1989, after his wife put up a 20 year fight against a corrupt U.S. government, concealing her husband's whereabouts as a POW for political expediency reasons.


Instead of telling Diane Van Rensaleer her husband was alive and in a slave labor camp, the lying contingent of morally irreprehensible politicians and military brass concealed his status, closing the official book on the pilot in 1978 even though credible CIA intelligence information revealed he was still alive in 1987, two years before he arrived home in a body bag.


"Larry was shot down on September 30, 1968. They closed his case in 1978. In fact, John McCain, who is a very dangerous and violent man, was the driving force behind closing all the POW files, classifying records in order to keep the truth from the families and the American people," said Van Rensaleer this week from her home in Corte Madera, California.


"McCain is even more dangerous than Bush. I don't want to see this man ever become President and that's why I want this story out because he is one of the biggest liars in our government and, by no means, a friend of the POW families.


"After backstabbing all of us, hiding the truth about the POW story, I wish they would have kept him in a prison camp for life like so many others who didn't have his military and political clout. If they lied to us about this, just think about the lies spread about 9/11 and the present-day war in Iraq?"


Van Renselaar's story is just another in a growing number of cases, showing the deceit, deception and outright lies advanced by the Pentagon, Congress and the Executive towards POW family members seeking the truth about their loved ones,


The cold, hard facts, said Rensaleer's wife, is the U.S. government has left thousands of prisoners left behind, telling family members they were "missing, presumed dead" when high-ranking scoundrel-Senators John Kerry and McCain continue to advance government lies started after World War II by then President Eisenhower.


Van Rensalaar, a leading activist for more than 30 years in bringing home POW's who still may be alive in North Korea and Vietnam, started the search for the POW truth after her husband was taken prisoner, but over the years the story has grown wings larger than expected, revealing government corruption and lies at the highest levels, including Kerry, McCain, former President George H. Bush and many others.


Her long and difficult quest of searching for the truth has opened up so many cans of political worms, most high-ranking officials like McCain and "Daddy Bush" run and hide when they see her face in the halls of government.


Perhaps it's guilt, knowing the real truth or wanting to save their political hides, but without question these high-ranking, two-faced politicians want nothing to do with the likes of Renselaar, once being on the board of directors of the National League of POW/MIA Families.


"In 1992, when George H. Bush was giving a political speech with many of the POW families gathered in a large hotel ballroom trying to get answers, I said straight to his face: 'we can help you get elected if you just tell us the truth about the POW's,'" said Van Renselaar, who added Bush basically ignored her request, but had his jaw drop to the floor when she mentioned the name of Lt. Col. William Atkins, a man who told her many sordid things about Bush, including his involvement with the Iran-Contra scandal when  Col. Atkins acted as an intermediary between Bush and Oliver North.


"When I told him, again straight to his face, that 'you know Col. Atkins briefed you about many things, including the truth of the POW's,' he look at me with wide-open eyes, saying nothing, but his jaw literally dropped to the floor.


"I talked to Col. Atkins many times about CIA files he had uncovered with Oliver North about John McCain, telling the real truth about McCain's POW captivity. Also, Atkins told me he was a liaison between Bush and North, the pair traveling on Irish passports during Iran-Contra.


The Iran-Contra Affair, also known as "Irangate", took place in the mid-1980s. A political scandal of wide-ranging proportions where President Ronald Reagan's administration sold arms to Iran, an avowed enemy.


At the time, Americans were being held hostage by Islamic terrorists in Lebanon, and it was hoped that Iran would influence the terrorists to release the hostages. At the same time, Iran, which was in the midst of the Iran-Iraq War, could find few nations willing to supply it with weapons.


The U.S. diverted proceeds from the sale to the Contras, anti-Communist guerrillas engaged in an insurgency against the socialist, democratically elected Sandinista government of Nicaragua.


Both the sale of weapons and the funding of the Contras violated stated administration policy as well as legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress, which had blocked further Contra funding.


Col. Atkins, who became a friend and close confident of Van Renselaar and other POW family members, was arrested in 1992 for his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal,  a twist of fate she said preventing him from testifying about the real truth about McCain and the POW lies advanced by lawmakers and the military.


"I know for a fact Sen. Bob Smith, who was trying to help us get at the truth in the Senate hearings on the POW issue, never got a chance to depose Col Atkins since he was arrested and then jailed for years over Iran-Contra," said Van Renselaar, adding it "was very strange" how Atkins was left to rot in a District of Columbia jail system until at least 1999. "They didn't want him to talk about a lot of things, but he talked to me about McCain's CIA file and many things the senator wants kept from the American people.


"People need to know the truth about McCain. He sealed his own records, as well the records of all POW's, so he could continue lying about his POW experience. He was never tortured, never in a dog-cell like the other prisoners and never deprived of food.

In fact, Col. Atkins, who died in 2001 of a cerebral hemorrhage, told Renselaar that when he and North acquired McCain's CIA file it showed he was out of the system for at least two years, being in an eastern European country instead of being in solitary confinement in a Vietnam jail cell like he has told the public.


To verify Atkins' claim, Van Renselaar said she has talked to several Vietnam POW's in the same camp McCain was s held, including Larry Larson, who told her "without a doubt I didn't see McCain for at least a year."


Further, she added John Parcels, a former helicopter pilot, and his wife, Patty, who visited Vietnam after the war, said they were taken on a tour by the North Vietnamese, who showed-off with pride the 'plush cell' in which McCain was held as well as the memorial in his honor put up by the banks of Lake Hanoi.


"Why have the North Vietnamese honored him? What did McCain tell them and how was he really treated?" questioned Van Renselaar, adding Parcels said McCain's prison cell was of a much higher standard then the other dog-cells prisoners were given.


"They gave him special treatment and it is documented he was even out of the country for two years instead of being in solitary confinement. He is lying about what happened and that is why he had his own POW records sealed for life. He was never tortured, never deprived of food and I've even learned he may even have fathered two children after having an affair with his Vietnamese nurse.


"According to my very credible Vietnamese contacts he had an affair with the sister of Nguyen Tan Thanh, a high-placed North Vietnamese official. Since they knew McCain was the son of A Navy Admiral, he was given a special nurse, Tan's sister. I've been told he fathered two sons with her, one attending the University Of Colorado, Up until now, though, we haven't been able to get their names."


Besides what Renselaar calls McCain's "pack of POW lies" about his real record of captivity, she recalls her husband saying McCain was not well-like by him or other pilots when they were under his direction before the Vietnam War when McCain was an operation's officer at a Meridian, Miss., flight-training center.


"I remember my husband saying he was not well-liked and thought of as a hot dog and a punk," said Van Renselaar. "And nothing has changed over the years. Once when POW families were outside his Senate office on Capital Hill demanding answers, he pushed his way through the crowd in a violent manner refusing to answer questions, almost knocking a POW supporter over in her wheel chair."


And last week to keep Renselaar's fight alive, as well as the entire POW issue, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) has now taken up the cause on Capital Hill to get the truth out about the thousands of living POW's still incarcerated in political prisons around the world.


Last Friday, Rep. Paul  held a press conference to revive the issue, officially sending to each legislator on Capital Hill a copy of an historic video called "Missing, Presumed Dead: The Search for American POW's," in an attempt to open new hearings, being introduced under House Resolution 123.


House Resolution 123 seeks to force Congress to investigate "all the unresolved matters relating to any United States personnel unaccounted for from the Vietnam era, the Korean conflict, WW II, the Cold War missions and the Gulf Wars, including all issues regarding MIA's and POW's.


In a portion of the video, written and directed by Hollywood producer, Bill Dumas, former Sen. Bob Smith, pushed out of pubic life, said he was convinced from the evidence that there are many men still alive in political prison camps in both Korea and Vietnam.


"We should accept the evidence and move ahead to find these men," Sen. Smith said in the documentary.


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Greg Szymanski is an independent investigative journalist and his articles can been seen at www.LewisNews.com. He also writes for American Free Press www.AmericanFreePress.net and has his own site www.arcticbeacon.com. Greg  has a live Radio show every Monday night on mms://media.LewisNews.com/Greg and on mms://media.LewisNews.com/RadioLewisNews at  8 pm Pacific time. Greg is also looking for sponsors for his popular new show and he can be contacted at patriott2424@aol.com.  On Oct. 3, Greg will be starting a daily afternoon show on the Republic Broadcast Network, airing on shortwave, low band FM and on the internet. Go to www.rbnlive.com for information.




Greg Szymanski