WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Sen. John Kerry's anti-war activism following his service in Vietnam is coming under attack by former U.S. prisoners of war and their families, who are launching a Web site and documentary that will likely further fuel election campaign rancor, sources told UPI Tuesday.
The Web site, "Stolenhonor.com." could be online as early as Thursday night or Friday and will feature comments and statements about Kerry, the Democratic Party's nominee for president, by former inmates of North Vietnam's infamous "Hanoi Hilton" prison complex, Ken Cordier said.
Among those appearing are Medal of Honor recipients Col. Leo Thorsness and Col. Bud Day, people Cordier called the "stars" of the Hanoi Hilton.
"This is going to be the POW story," he said. "They are going to be telling about the documentary ... and will tell the story about how John Kerry betrayed the POWs, his fellow Vietnam veterans and the country."
Kerry, following four months service in Vietnam commanding river patrol boats in the Mekong Delta, became a prominent anti-war activist and participated in the so-called Winter Soldier investigation, in which men claiming to have seen service in Vietnam told tales of participating regularly in atrocities. Kerry repeated the unsubstantiated claims in testimony in 1971 before a Senate committee as a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, which was staging demonstrations in Washington.
"They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country," Kerry said.
In a later television interview, Kerry said: "There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used .50 caliber machine guns, which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare, all of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this is ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down."
Cordier, who spent more than six years in the Hanoi Hilton, said the anti-war activities by Kerry and others were used for communist propaganda and to harm prisoner morale.
Jim Warner, another former POW, told UPI earlier that his interrogator showed him a transcript of Kerry's testimony and clippings from a left-wing U.S. newspaper and said Warner had committed atrocities and would never go home.
Cordier is currently a focus of attack by the Kerry campaign. He was a co-chairman on a Bush-Cheney veterans' steering committee but was dumped by the Republican campaign when it was learned he had appeared in a television advertisement attacking Kerry's war record by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a 527 advocacy group made up of former colleagues of Kerry in Vietnam. Other veterans, including a man who credits Kerry with saving his life, who served with Kerry have supported the senator's version of events in Vietnam.
Cordier denies any wrongdoing and said the Bush campaign in no way coordinated with the Swift boat veterans, which Kerry alleges are Republican hit men.
Sources said snippets of the documentary in final production will appear on the Web site around Labor Day and it was hoped it would also appear on television or other venues.
It is "material like 'Fahrenheit 9/11' but it won't be a pack of lies," Cordier added.
'Fahrenheit 9/11' is a virulent anti-Bush documentary by Michael Moore that won the highest honor at this year's Cannes Film Festival and packed movie theaters earlier this summer.
Information on the funding for the Web site and the documentary was not immediately available but finances were coming "from a Pennsylvania group," Cordier said.
The Kerry campaign has put pressure on television stations in three key battleground states that were airing the Swift boat veterans' first ad, in which veterans said Kerry lied about incidents that earned him three Purple Hearts, two medals for bravery and a ticket home after four months of a 12-month tour of duty in Vietnam. The Kerry campaign has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission about the group's work.
The POW Web site and documentary would be a new wrinkle in the battle for the White House. The argument over Kerry's service record is primarily a duel of conflicting accounts. In the battle over Kerry's anti-war activism, Kerry's own words will be used against him.
The Massachusetts Democrat has defended his stand and actions against the Vietnam War but admitted he may have used stronger language than he should have in his Senate testimony.
(Please send comments to email@example.com.)