March 8, 1965 -- The first Stockholm Conference on Vietnam is held in Stockholm, Sweden. The conference is the creation of Romesh Chandra, chairman of the KGB-funded World Peace Council. Former Soviet bloc spy chief Ion Mihai Pacepa will later describe it as "a permanent international organization to aid or to conduct operations to help Americans dodge the draft or defect, to demoralize its army with anti-American propaganda, to conduct protests, demonstrations, and boycotts, and to sanction anyone connected with the war." The operation is staffed by undercover intelligence officers and funded to the tune of about $15 million per year by the Communist Party. Between 1966 and 1972 it will generate "thousands of 'documentary' materials printed in all the major Western languages describing the 'abominable crimes' committed by American soldiers against civilians in Vietnam, along with counterfeited pictures."
May 2, 1967 -- Bertrand Russell's International War Crimes Tribunal opens in Stockholm, Sweden, with Jean-Paul Sartre as executive president. The members of the tribunal are all well-known supporters of North Vietnam, and the "evidence" presented is supplied largely by North Vietnam, the Vietcong, and communist investigators. The Tribunal concludes that American forces are engaged in the "massive extermination" of the people of South Vietnam, and are committing "genocide in the strictest sense."
November 20, 1967 -- A second session of the International War Crimes Tribunal is held at Roskilde, Denmark.
Early April, 1969 -- U.S. Naval Lieutenant John Kerry leaves Vietnam and is soon reassigned as a personal aide and flag lieutenant to Rear Admiral Walter F. Schlech, Jr. with the Military Sea Transportation Service based in Brooklyn, New York.
November, 1969 -- In response to a public call from the Bertrand Russell foundation in New York, Jeremy Rifkin and Tod Ensign launch a new organization called Citizens Commissions of Inquiry (CCI) to publicize American war crimes in Indochina.
December, 1969 -- Kerry requests an early discharge from the Navy in order to run for a Massachusetts congressional seat on an antiwar platform.
January 3, 1970 -- Kerry is discharged from active duty and is transferred to the Naval Reserve (inactive).
February 13, 1970 -- Candidate Kerry tells the Harvard Crimson, "I'm an internationalist. I'd like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations," and that he wants "to almost eliminate CIA activity."
February, 1970 -- CCI co-sponsors its first "commissions of inquiry" in Toronto and Annapolis MD, and begins providing accounts of war crimes to the press. During the next few months, the CCI holds events in Springfield Massachusetts, Richmond, New York City, Buffalo, Boston, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Portland Oregon.
March, 1970 -- Kerry drops out of the Fourth District congressional race to make way for antiwar activist Father Robert F. Drinan, dean of Boston College Law School, and later becomes chairman of Drinan's campaign. Drinan defeats pro-war incumbent Philip Philbin in the Democratic primary and goes on to win the general election.
May 7, 1970 -- Kerry appears on The Dick Cavett Show for the first time, speaking in opposition to U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
May 23, 1970 -- Kerry marries Julia Stimson Thorne in New York.
Late May, 1970 -- John and Julia Kerry travel to Paris on a private trip. Kerry meets with Madam Nguyen Thi Binh, the Foreign Minister of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of Vietnam (PRG) -- the political wing of the Vietcong -- and with representatives of Hanoi who were in Paris for the peace talks.
June, 1970 -- Kerry joins Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), a national veterans group that is part of the Peoples Coalition for Peace and Justice. The PCPJ is a broad coalition of local and national organizations, including the Communist Party, USA, "committed to conducting demonstrations aimed at ending the war in Indochina, and poverty, racism and injustice at home." The VVAW, CCI and PCPJ all have headquarters at 156 Fifth Avenue in New York City. VVAW Executive Secretary Al Hubbard, a former Black Panther, is also on the coordinating committee of the PCPJ. Hubbard soon appoints Kerry to the VVAW's Executive Committee, bypassing the normal election process.
August, 1970 -- Al Hubbard asks Tod Ensign and Jeremy Rifkin of the CCI to join with the VVAW, the Reverend Dick Fernandez of Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam (CALCAV), Jane Fonda, Mark Lane and others to organize national hearings on war crimes. Lane suggests calling the hearings "Winter Soldier," a play on the opening lines of Thomas Paine's The American Crisis: "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink for the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." By the end of the month the Winter Soldier Investigation has been planned as a simultaneous event featuring "Vietnamese victims" in Windsor, Canada, and Vietnam veterans in Detroit, connected by closed-circuit television.
September 4, 1970 -- Operation RAW (Rapid American Withdrawal). Some 75 VVAW members begin a three-day hike to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Along the way they simulate war atrocities against civilians, and hand out flyers to townspeople stating that they might have been raped, murdered or tortured by the U.S. Infantry had they been Vietnamese, and claiming that "American soldiers do these things every day."
September 7, 1970 -- At the conclusion of Operation RAW, a rally is held in Valley Forge, featuring speeches by John Kerry, Jane Fonda, and Mark Lane. Fonda is quoted as saying that "...My Lai was not an isolated incident but rather a way of life for many of our military."
September 11, 1970 -- A VVAW Executive Committee meeting is attended by president Jan Crumb, executive secretary Al Hubbard, treasurer Jason Gettinger, Northeast representative John Kerry, and three others. The organization leadership decides to picket against the National Guard Association in New York, send Hubbard on a "speaking tour" with Jane Fonda, consider an "appropriate induction center action for purpose of making clear transition from citizen to war criminal," and "sponsor turn in of war crimes testimony to UN" after the Winter Soldier event.
September 17, 1970 -- The VVAW protests the National Guard's national convention, handing out flyers that read:
The National Guard Uses Your Tax Dollar:
To support the military-industrial complex
To honor war criminals - Westmoreland, Laird, Nixon, etc.
To applaud campus murders by National Guard units
To encourage armed attacks on minority communities
October, 1970 -- Jane Fonda, Al Hubbard and Jan Crumb raise money for the VVAW and create new chapters through a nationwide lecture tour covering more than 50 college campuses. Fonda and Mark Lane also plug the VVAW during appearances on the Dick Cavett Show.
November 22, 1970 -- Jane Fonda is quoted in the Detroit Free Press as telling a Michigan State University audience, "I would think that if you understood what communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would someday become communist," and "The peace proposal of the Viet Cong is the only honorable, just, possible way to achieve peace in Vietnam."
November, 1970 -- After a falling-out between Mark Lane and the CCI leadership, the CCI splits from the VVAW and drops out of the Winter Soldier event. The CCI turns to planning a National Veterans Inquiry in Washington, D.C. in early December. Fonda and Lane continue working with the VVAW on Winter Soldier.
December 27, 1970 -- In Mark Lane: Smearing America's Soldiers in Vietnam, reporter and Vietnam veteran Neil Sheehan savages Mark Lane's Conversations With Americans in the New York Times Book Review as "irresponsible" and details several fabricated claims of American atrocities. Publisher Simon & Schuster quickly cancels future printings of Lane's book.
December 29, 1970 -- Playboy subscribers start receiving the February 1971 issue of the magazine, which contains a full page ad provided for free to the VVAW by publisher Hugh Hefner. The ad brings in thousands of new members during the next several weeks.
January, 1971 -- Jane Fonda raises funds for the Winter Soldier Investigation through a series of benefit concerts. Participants include Fonda, Dick Gregory, Donald Sutherland, Graham Nash, David Crosby and Phil Ochs. Fonda is named Honorary National Coordinator of the event.
Late January, 1971 -- Newly elected Congressman Ronald Dellums permits the CCI to set up a display of "war crime materials" in his Washington office.
Late January, 1971 -- Canadian authorities deny visas to the Vietnamese refugees who had been scheduled to describe American atrocities in Windsor, limiting the Winter Soldier Investigation to the single event in Detroit.
January 31 - February 2, 1971 -- The Winter Soldier Investigation (see invitation). Members of the VVAW meet in a Detroit hotel to document war crimes that they claimed to have participated in or witnessed in Vietnam. During the next three days, more than 100 Vietnam veterans and 16 civilians give anguished, emotional testimony describing hundreds of atrocities against innocent civilians in South Vietnam, including rape, arson, torture, murder, and the shelling or napalming of entire villages. The witnesses state that these acts are being committed casually and routinely, under orders, as a matter of policy.
February 2, 1971 -- The VVAW issues a press release threatening civil unrest and violence if American forces attempt to interdict the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. Here are some excerpts:
"We, as veterans of the war in Vietnam, give notice that if Laos is attacked, we will respond at once. We call for mass civil disobedience to take place all over this country. We call for industry to shut down. We call upon the students to close the schools. We call upon our brothers who are still in uniform to close the military bases throughout America and the world. We call on the anti-war movement to shut down the major cities of America.... If this be a threat, let us make the most of it... We have been trained to fight. If need be we will use the knowledge we have gained against those who are seeking to extend this war." -- VVAW FBI Files: Section 02, page 66.
Early February, 1971 -- VVAW leaders meet with Vietcong representatives in Windsor, Canada after the Winter Soldier Investigation.
February 16, 1971 -- Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland form "FTA" (F*** The Army), an anti-war, anti-American road show that tours near Army bases in order to undermine troop morale. Skits and songs portray American defeats, soldiers refusing to fight, and the murder of officers by their troops. FTA cast members mingle with soldiers after the shows, encouraging them to desert or to sabotage the Army.
February 19, 1971 -- VVAW leaders meet in New York to plan the organization's next action. John Kerry proposes to "march on Washington and take this whole thing to Congress." The protest is designated "Dewey Canyon III," after two military operations into Laos intended to interdict the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
March 14 - 18, 1971 -- Jane Fonda, Mark Lane, and VVAW representative Michael Hunter fly to Europe for a five-day tour. In Paris, Fonda meets privately with Madame Binh of the PRG, then the three activists fly to London, where Fonda alleges American atrocities that include "applying electrodes to prisoners' genitals, mass rapes, slicing off of body parts, scalping, skinning alive, and leaving 'heat tablets' around which burned the insides of children who ate them.'"
March 16, 1971 -- The VVAW holds a news conference in the office of Congressman Michael Harrington (D-Mass.) on the third anniversary of the My Lai massacre to announce the forthcoming protest in Washington, DC. Retired Marine commandant General David Shoup and John Kerry demand an immediate end to the war. Kerry, wearing his medals, describes American soldiers as being "given the chance to die for the biggest nothing in history."
Early April, 1971 -- The VVAW is flat broke the week before the Dewey Canyon III event, with no way to transport protestors. In his book "Home to War," Gerald Nicosia will report that "Kerry immediately got on the phone to some of the biggest Democratic Party fund-raisers in New York and set up a meeting. When it broke up, VVAW was $75,000 in the black, and busfare for at least a few hundred out-of-towners was assured." Writing in "Winter Soldiers," Richard Stacewicz will cite an FBI memorandum dated April 13, 1971 as follows, "VVAW had received fifty thousand dollars from United States Senators McGovern and Hatfield, who... obtained the money from an unknown New York source."
April 18, 1971 -- John Kerry and Al Hubbard appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" to allege widespread atrocities by U.S. soldiers in Vietnam. Hubbard is introduced as a former Air Force captain who had spent two years in Vietnam and was wounded in action. Kerry seems to admit to committing war crimes, saying, "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 calibre 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."
April 18 - 23, 1971 -- Operation Dewey Canyon III. More than a thousand VVAW members stage an "invasion" of Washington D.C., where they hold memorial ceremonies, meet with sympathetic members of Congress, camp on the Mall, perform "guerilla theater" -- re-enactments of atrocities against civilians, complete with fake blood -- on the Capitol steps and in front of the Justice Department, and hold a candlelight march around the White House carrying an upside-down American flag. At the end of the six-day event, a number of the veterans throw military medals and ribbons over a fence in front of the Capitol in a gesture of contempt. Many shout obscenities or threats against the government. The protests receive enthusiastic coverage in the communist Daily World newspaper on April 20th (Part 1, Part 2), 21st (Part 1, Part 2), 23rd (Part 1, Part 2), and 24th (Part 1, Part 2). Later in 1971, Kerry and the VVAW will publish The New Soldier, a book of essays and photographs documenting the event.
April 22, 1971 -- John Kerry testifies on behalf of the VVAW before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs. He claims that American soldiers 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..." and that these acts were "not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." Kerry also accuses the U.S. military of "rampant" racism and of being "more guilty than any other body" of violating the Geneva Conventions, supports "Madame Binh's points" when asked to recommend a peace proposal, and states that any reprisals against the South Vietnamese after an American withdrawal would be "far, far less than the 200,000 a year who are murdered by the United States of America."
April 22, 1971 -- The NBC Nightly News reveals that Al Hubbard had not been an Air Force Captain, as he claimed, but a staff sergeant E-5. A later investigation of Hubbard's military records shows that he was never assigned to Vietnam.
April 24, 1971 -- Hundreds of thousands of protestors march in Washington, D.C., led by members of the VVAW. Kerry addresses the crowd, accepting applause on behalf of "the 1,200 active-duty GIs who took part in the [Dewey Canyon III] demonstration." The Daily World is on the job, with glowing coverage of the day's events (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).
April 25 - 28, 1971 -- Congressman Dellums sponsors ad hoc war crimes hearings organized by the CCI and attended at least in part by twenty members of Congress.
May 3, 1971 -- VVAW members throw bags of cow manure on the steps of the Mall Entrance to the Pentagon, then offer to clean up the mess in return for an audience with an assistant Secretary of Defense. This offer is rejected, and 28 people are arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
May 25, 1971 -- Kerry appears on 60 Minutes with Morley Safer. Asked whether he wants to be President of the United States, Kerry replies in the negative, and calls it a "crazy question."
May 30-31, 1971 -- Several hundred VVAW members march from Concord to Boston, reversing the path of Paul Revere's 1775 midnight ride. After defying a ban on overnight use of Battle Green in Lexington, site of the first battle of the American Revolution, 458 people are arrested and held overnight, including John Kerry. The following day the group marches from Bunker Hill to Boston Common.
June 20, 1971 -- Kerry appears on The Dick Cavett Show to debate Navy veteran John O'Neill, who is representing the group Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace.
July 17, 1971 -- Following a month-long speaking tour of the Soviet Union and other countries, six VVAW and CCI members meet with PRG representatives in Paris to show support for the communist peace plan.
July 20, 1971 -- Leaders of the VVAW hold a staff meeting. They agree to use the designations favored by North Vietnam (Democratic Republic of Vietnam) and the Vietcong (Provisional Revolutionary Government) for future press releases, decide to remove all American flags from VVAW offices, and discuss how best to handle Al Hubbard's planned trip to Hanoi.
July 24, 1971 -- The Daily World features a photograph of John Kerry speaking in support of the Provisional Revolutionary Government (Vietcong) Seven Point Plan.
August, 1971 -- The FBI opens a full investigation of the VVAW to "determine the extent of control over VVAW by subversive groups and/or violence-prone elements in the antiwar movement," noting that "sources had provided information that VVAW was stockpiling weapons, VVAW had been in contact with North Vietnam officials in Paris, France, VVAW was receiving funds from former CPUSA members and VVAW was aiding and financing U.S. military deserters. Additionally, information had been received that some individual chapters throughout the country had been infiltrated by the youth groups of the CPUSA and the SWP [Socialist Workers Party]." Source: FBI Memorandum to Senate Select Committee, 12/2/75, pp. 2-3; Hearings, Vol. 6, Exhibit 72.
August, 1971 -- VVAW Executive Committee member Joe Urgo travels with other antiwar leaders to North Vietnam, where he meets with Prime Minister Pham Van Dong and others. According to FBI records, (see PDF file) Urgo makes the following proposals to the communist leaders: 1) that the VVAW make tapes to be broadcast over Radio Hanoi to get U.S. troops to stop fighting, and 2) to send a VVAW delegation to Hanoi in the near future.
August, 1971 -- Kerry travels to Paris to meet with the North Vietnamese delegation to the Paris Peace Talks. Source: FBI HQ 100-448092 Section 5, 216-231 (esp. 230).
Late August, 1971 -- Kerry and Hubbard meet with leftist millionaires in East Hampton to promote the VVAW and show film clips of atrocity claims from the Winter Soldier Investigation. According to the New York Times, a request for funds had the attendees "scrambling for pens and checkbooks."
Early November, 1971 -- According to FBI records, (see PDF file) Al Hubbard meets with the North Vietnamese and Vietcong delegations in Paris. Hubbard's trip comes in response to an invitation to "VVAW, Communist Party (CP) USA, and left wing group in Paris, name unrecalled," and is financed by the Communist Party USA.
November 7, 1971 -- John Kerry tells the Sunday Oklahoman that the political power structure within the United States can and must change if the nation is to avoid violent efforts to seize power, saying, "If it (the government) doesn't change we are asking for trouble. If it is not done, those who are talking about seizing it will have every right to go after it." [see page 251 of Section 10 of the VVAW FBI files]
November 12 - 15, 1971 -- the VVAW leadership meets in Kansas City. Fearing surveillance by authorities, the group relocates the meeting to another building. They debate, then vote down a plan to assassinate several pro-war U.S. Senators. Despite John Kerry's claim to have left the VVAW before this event, several witnesses, meeting minutes and FBI records eventually place Kerry at the Kansas City meeting.
November 15, 1971 -- After trying unsuccessfully to have Al Hubbard removed from the group's leadership, John Kerry resigns from the Executive Committee of the VVAW for personal reasons. Kerry will continue to represent the organization in interviews and public appearances for several months.
December 26, 1971 -- Fifteen VVAW protesters take over the Statue of Liberty for some 40 hours and drape an upside-down American flag across the statue's face. Per the New York Post, the VVAW later receives a "congratulatory message" from Vietcong negotiator Le Mai in Paris.
December 27, 1971 -- Twenty-five VVAW protesters take over the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia.
December 28, 1971 -- 150 VVAW protesters splash bags of blood in front of the White House, then take over the Lincoln Memorial. 87 are arrested. John Kerry tells the New York Times that he is helping raise bail money for some of the demonstrators.
January 11, 1972 -- John Kerry represents the VVAW at Dartmouth College.
January 25, 1972 -- John Kerry represents the VVAW at the "People's State of the Union" in Washington, D.C.
February, 1972 -- A VVAW delegation attends a World Assembly for Peace and Independence of the People of Indo-China in Versailles, France.
March, 1972 -- VVAW Executive Secretary Al Hubbard visits Hanoi and meets with North Vietnamese Vice-Premier Nguyen Duy Trinh.
April 22, 1972 -- John Kerry represents the VVAW at the "Emergency March for Peace" in Bryant Park in New York City.
June 25 - 28, 1972 -- The VVAW sent a delegation of 15 people to Paris "to establish closer contact with the people of Indo-China." Their international travel and stay in Paris was paid for by the French Communist Party. [FBI HQ 100-448092 Section 34, page 36]
July 1, 1972 -- Kerry is transferred to the Standby Reserve (inactive).
July 5, 1972 -- In Cuba, Radio Havana reports that a group of visiting VVAW members and leaders has donated blood to be given to the North Vietnamese.
July 8 - 22, 1972 -- Jane Fonda visits Hanoi, where she makes numerous radio broadcasts to American and South Vietnamese military personnel encouraging mutiny and desertion, while repeatedly claiming that the United States is committing war crimes in Vietnam. Fonda also visits American prisoners, reporting on the air that they are being "well cared for" and that they wished to convey their "sense of disgust of the war and their shame for what they have been asked to do." Upon leaving North Vietnam, Fonda accepts from her hosts a ring made from the wreckage of a downed American plane.
July 29 - August 12, 1972 -- Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark travels to Hanoi on behalf of the communist Stockholm International Commission for Inquiry. Clark denounces the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam and visits American POWs, reporting that they are in good health and their conditions "could not be better."
August 1972 -- The VVAW's Operation Lost Patrol, publicized as "a massive caravan of 25,000 cars and 100,000 persons traveling to Miami to protest the Republican Convention" only attracts 300 members.
September 18, 1972 -- John Kerry's brother Cameron and Vietnam veteran Thomas Vallely are arrested in Lowell, Massachusetts in the basement of a building that houses both Kerry's campaign headquarters and those of opposing candidate Tony DiFruscia. Cameron Kerry and Vallely are charged with breaking and entering with intent to commit larceny. Kerry will win the Democratic nomination for a Massachusetts congressional seat the next day, but lose in the general election to Republican Paul Cronin. Thomas Vallely will later become director of the Vietnam Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
Late 1972 -- The U.S Congress votes to eliminate funding for military operations in Indochina.
January, 1973 -- The Nixon Administration signs the Treaty of Paris.
February and March, 1973 -- American prisoners of war are released by North Vietnam. They report having been starved, beaten and tortured by their captors, in an effort to make them sign documents in which they admitted to committing war crimes.
April, 1973 -- Jane Fonda calls the freed American prisoners "hypocrites and pawns," insisting that, "Tortured men do not march smartly off planes, salute the flag, and kiss their wives. They are liars. I also want to say that these men are not heroes."
April 19 - 22, 1973 -- Now dominated by the Maoist Revolutionary Union (RU), the VVAW is renamed Vietnam Veterans Against the War / Winter Soldier Organization (VVAW/WSO) to focus on fighting "American imperialism."
Fall, 1974 -- North Vietnam initiates minor probing attacks into South Vietnam, in violation of the Paris treaty. There is no military response by the United States.
Early 1975 -- North Vietnam launches a massive invasion of South Vietnam.
April 30, 1975 -- Saigon falls.
1975 - 1979 -- Communist regimes in southeast Asia murder an estimated two million Cambodians, as well as tens of thousands of South Vietnamese. One million South Vietnamese are imprisoned in "re-education camps," and hundreds of thousands die there. An additional two million flee the country, with many drowning in the attempt.
1978 -- The original VVAW splits when a minority breaks away to form Vietnam Veterans Against the War Anti-Imperialist (VVAW-AI), with the larger faction retaining the original name. Both the VVAW and the rabidly anti-American VVAWAI remain in operation today.
1978 -- Former VVAW leader Robert Muller founds the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA). The VVA also describes John Kerry as a "co-founder" of the organization. In the late 1980s, Muller and the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) will split from the VVA.
1981 -- Muller leads a VVAF delegation to Hanoi, where he praises the communist leadership of Vietnam and lays a wreath on the grave of Ho Chi Minh.