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Manual Captors Confession

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Dramesi knows what they thought about him, and still think. As Dickinson noted, Dramesi escaped and was recaptured twice.

The second time, the North Vietnamese made vicious reprisals against the rest of their prisoners, and Dramesi and Ed Atterberry, the POW he escaped with, were beaten so badly that Atterberry died. Dramesi planned a third escape, but the senior POWs at his camp ordered him not to try it. Nobody wanted to be tortured again. In his memoir Faith of My Fathers , McCain admitted to being a lousy midshipman at the naval academy and a flier who lost four or five planes.

The time he decided to hug the ground in Spain for the hell of it and flew into some power lines the plane may have survived--it's not clear from his account. And when he was captured he caved under torture.

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He concedes other POWs performed better. I asked Dramesi if four or five planes was par for the course. He laughed long and hard. How could anybody still be in the military and lose six or eight planes. Here he was talking to a guy who had friends who killed themselves trying to save an airplane.


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So Dramesi doesn't think much of McCain. But in his eyes, few of his fellow prisoners measured up. He told me their behavior, graphed, would form the familiar bell curve, with the outright collaborators on the far left and the POWs like Atterberry who died resisting on the far right. The prisoners to the left of center were easy to break, while those to the right of center took the North Vietnamese a little longer. Dramesi, according to his memoir Code of Honor -- and the testimony of other prisoners -- didn't break at all. I mentioned one of his prison's senior officers, James Bond Stockdale.

A navy pilot, Stockdale attempted suicide to show his captors he'd rather die than talk. He feared that under unremitting torture he would talk, and there was no way he could let the North Vietnamese find out what he knew: Later he wrote, "I was in possession of the most damaging information a North Vietnamese torturer could possibly extract from an American prisoner of war. But the origins of the Vietnam war are another story.

Friday, October 10, 2008

When Stockdale came home he was awarded the Medal of Honor. The best Dramesi can do for him is place him on the right side of the bell curve. He told me about a conversation they once had. Stockdale was wondering how Dramesi had managed to do what so few POWs could -- give the North Vietnamese nothing beyond his name, rank, and serial number.

Stockdale told Dramesi it had been so hard to uphold the code he was prepared to kill himself rather than violate it. And again he asked, "How did you do it? What was Stockdale's reaction to that? He has never been a spy for any country or entity or person. Even if one accepts the assertions by the Iranian officials as true, which we do not, Amir has served enough time and they have punished him enough.

The Hekmati family has repeatedly pleaded with the Iranian authorities to release him, arguing that he needs to be with his father, who has cancer. We urge his immediate release.

Full transcript

Iran does not recognise dual citizenship and considers Hekmati Iranian. Tehran and Washington have not maintained diplomatic relations since the hostage crisis after the Islamic revolution. I first of all would like to thank you and your department for your sincere efforts in supporting me and securing my release. My family and I are extremely grateful and appreciate the value the State Department places on U. For over 2 years I have been held on false charges based solely on confessions obtained by force, threats, miserable prison conditions, and prolonged periods of solitary confinement.

This is part of a propaganda and hostage taking effort by Iranian intelligence to secure the release of Iranians abroad being held on security-related charges. Iranian intelligence has suggested through my court-appointed lawyer Mr. Hussein Yazdi Samadi that I be released in exchange for 2 Iranians being held abroad.

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He teamed with political activist Ted Sampley of North Carolina to distribute the fliers to South Carolina media outlets this month. Sampley did not respond to requests for comment. Sampley also is a longtime McCain opponent. In , he gained attention when he called McCain a "Manchurian candidate" on his Web site and said that he was an agent of the Vietnamese.

In , Sampley was convicted of misdemeanor assault and sentenced to days' probation for attacking a McCain aide, according to a article in the New York Times. McCain is not the first politician to draw the men's ire.

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Kiley has twice interrupted events featuring Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, forcing an American flag in his hand on one occasion and throwing red wine at him on another, according to a Secret Service agent who later arrested Kiley. He admits he threw the wine, but he was later acquitted in federal court of threatening Khai.

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Kiley says he bases his most damning charges against McCain — that McCain gave information about the schedule of U. In an interview, Hopper's wife, Patty, said that Hopper wasn't able to address the charges over the phone because of poor hearing. She cited as evidence for Hopper's charges a article by McCain that ran in U. News and World Report and what she said were "declassified U. Patty Hopper said she was away from her Arizona home and could not fax those documents.

But the article does not back up the charges made in the flyer. It provides the same basic account as McCain's book, corroborated by Timberg's book, which was based on interviews with many POWs. Timberg, Day and Swindle noted that McCain, the son of a Navy admiral, was offered an early release from the prison but refused so that he could adhere to the military's code of conduct.

There can be lots of issues you disagree with him about.