Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tapes of Secret Military Investigation Into My Lai Massacre Found

Thanh Nien News: Fisherman To Tuu, 85, shows the names of victims from the My Lai Massacre listed on a grave stone next to his home in My Lai Village in Quang Ngai Province last week

Audiotapes of a secret 1970 Pentagon inquiry into the My Lai massacre were discovered in the National Archives by a British journalist, and broadcast for the first time on BBC Radio 4 last night. 403 witnesses were interviewed, and 400 hours of tapes were made. You can listen to a one-hour program including some of the footage at the first link below. It is chilling.

BBC: The Archive Hour (1 hr)
Broadcast on Radio 4 Sat 15 Mar - 20:00

1968: The My Lai Tapes. Robert Hodierne reveals the truth about the infamous My Lai massacre of 16 March 1968, based on the transcript of a Pentagon enquiry that was suppressed.

BBC: My Lai: Legacy of a massacre

Before [Lt. William Calley's] trial got under way, the United States army had, behind closed doors, completed an investigation of its own into the events at My Lai, and specifically into the possibility that those in authority had deliberately covered up a massacre.

Convened on 1 December 1969 in the basement of the Pentagon, The Department of the Army Review of the Preliminary Investigations into The My Lai Incident, known in abbreviated form as The Peers Inquiry, was chaired by Lt Gen William 'Ray' Peers.

In just 14 weeks, the Peers Inquiry conducted a comprehensive and wide-ranging investigation into the events of 16 March.

More than 400 witnesses were interviewed, and their testimony was tape-recorded.

When the inquiry concluded on 15 March 1970, those recordings were boxed-up, stored and forgotten.

In 1987, they were shipped to the US National Archives, as one small portion of a massive group of records of US Army activities in Vietnam.

There they remained hidden, never catalogued, never investigated, never uncovered - until last year.


[O]n 15 March, on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the massacre, some of the most powerful testimony will be broadcast for the first time, on the Archive Hour on BBC Radio 4.

Some of the interviewees' statements reveal the mentality of the soldiers involved in the massacre.

"I would say that most people in our company didn't consider the Vietnamese human... A guy would just grab one of the girls there and in one or two incidents they shot the girls when they got done," said Dennis Bunning.

"That day it was just a massacre. Just plain right out, wiping out people," said Leonard Gonzales.

"Kill everything"

The wider, more awful truth that Gen Peers uncovered, was that this was an illegal operation, planned and co-ordinated at Task Force level by Lt Col Frank Barker.

It wiped out not one but three villages: My Lai, Binh Tay and My Khe.

And not one, but two companies were involved: Bravo and Charlie.

Both of these companies were given the same briefing by their respective commanding officers, permitting them "to kill everything and anything."

"It's not just the people of Task Force Barker that are on trial... It's the Army, it's you and it's me... and it includes our country and our people in the eyes of the world," said Gen Peers, during his investigation.

He concluded that 30 senior officers had been negligent in their duty.

Lt. Calley was the only military officer ever convicted in the My Lai massacre. Today he is retired and lives in Atlanta.

Independent (uk): Forty years on, survivors gather to remember My Lai

Thanh Nien Daily, Vietnam: Forty years on, scars of My Lai Massacre remain

1 comment:

Reza said...

Maybe you would be interested to listen to Peter Hamills words on the subject as contained in the album I recently posted