“walking K” escape and evasion code This “USA” in a rice paddy in northern Laos and the huge “walking K” USAF/USN escape and evasion code below it were imaged by a US spy satellite in January 1988. The unmistakable message from the US POW or POWs who constructed this message: “We are alive and awaiting rescue.” (By January 1988, the US Government had received scores of intelligence reports from independent sources reporting the presence of American POWs in this same northern Laotian province.)

The US Government has imaged or photographed perhaps two dozen similar messages from missing aircrewmen since the Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1973 – the first, only weeks after the accords were signed, and the most recent when two missing USAF flight officers put escape and evasion codes, a four-digit authenticator assigned to one and the name of the other in a field just outside a prison in northern Vietnam. That information was imaged by a US spy satellite passing over northern Vietnam on 5 June 1992. None of the brave men who sent these pleas for deliverance nor any of the hundreds of their fellow POWs described in the postwar intelligence as having been held back by the North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao at Operation Homecoming have yet been released. Volumes of this intelligence on live prisoners are discussed in detail in the current New York Times bestseller, An Enormous Crime, the Definitive Account of American POWs Abandoned in Southeast Asia (Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press).

It is entirely possible that a phone call from you—right now—to the White House at 202-456-1414 may well lead to these men’s immediate release. Here is how you can help bring that about:

Cover: "An Enormous Crime"President Bush has a copy of An Enormous Crime. The copy was presented to the President at the White House over Memorial Day weekend by the leaders of Rolling Thunder,® the Vietnam vet bikers who descend by the hundreds of thousands on Washington each Memorial Day to honor their missing brothers.

On this coming Friday, June 22nd, the President of Vietnam, His Excellency Nguyen Minh Triet, will meet with President Bush in the Oval Office. Under pressure from US officials and as a gesture of goodwill, prior to his departure for the US, President Triet ordered the release of two prominent dissidents held in Vietnamese prisons. We want him to release hundreds more – our American POWs.

Action requested:

Please call President Bush at the White House (202) 456-1414 right now and give the operator either version of the following message for the President and ask that it be delivered to him immediately. If the line is busy, please continue calling.

Long version:

  • "Mr. President, please give your copy of An Enormous Crime to President Triet and tell him, ‘ We want the American POWs described in this book and the others that your government and the government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic now hold. We are willing to immediately address all claims made by your government and by the government of the LPDR relating to the several billions of dollars promised to you by the US Government in both the Paris Peace Accords and in the Lao Peace Accords – but never paid. These monies, as you know, relate to healing the wounds of war and to postwar reconstruction in Vietnam and throughout Indochina. To achieve these twin goals – (1) the immediate return of our POWs held by your government and the government of the LPDR and (2) the immediate fulfillment by the US of its treaty obligations to contribute to healing the wounds of war and to postwar reconstruction of Vietnam and the LPDR, I am ready to immediately dispatch a team of negotiators to your respective capitals or to a neutral site of your choosing. Only by proceeding in this fashion can we bring about an honorable end to these twin remaining legacies of the Vietnam War.’ ”

Short version:

  • "Mr. President, please give your copy of An Enormous Crime to President Triet and tell him: ‘ We know you are holding our prisoners. Here is the proof. We are ready to pay the money we owe you if you will return them immediately. Deal or no deal?’ ”

An appropriate conclusion to your telephone message to President Bush might be:

  • "Respectfully, President Bush, should President Triet either (1) deny the existence of these living prisoners or (2) refuse to enter into good faith negotiations for their immediate release under the terms outlined above, then we call on you to end your discussions with him and ask him and his delegation to leave the United States immediately.”