John E. O'Neill
O'Neill graduated with a law degree from the University of Texas in 1973 and was a member of Texas Law Review during 1972-1973. Between 1973 and 1974 he was a member of President's National Advisory Counsel on Supplemental Services and Centers, 1973-1974. He was admitted to the Texas bar in 1974, clerking for Supreme Court Justice William H. Rehnquist in 1974 and 1975. 
In the April 22, 2004, CNN article O'Neill claimed that not only had he "served in the same Navy unit as Sen. John Kerry" but also denounced "charges the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee made as an antiwar protester that he and other U.S. troops committed atrocities in Vietnam."
Said O'Neill, "'I saw some war heroes ... John Kerry is not a war hero ... He couldn't tie the shoes of some of the people in Coastal Division 11." O'Neill "joined the Navy's Coastal Division 11 two months after the future senator left Vietnam," according to CNN. 
In an interview on CNN O'Neill said Kerry's 1971 "allegations that people committed war crimes in that unit, and throughout Vietnam, were lies. He knew they were lies when he said them, and they were very damaging lies". 
O'Neill's enmity towards Kerry dates back to the Vietnam war days. A Houston Chronicle artcile reported that in 1971 Richard Nixon and top aide Charles W. Colson turned to O'Neill to discredit Kerry, the veteran turned leader of the leader of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
In a key encounter, Kerry debated the U.S. role in Southeast Asia with O'Neill in a 90-minute televised forum on the Dick Cavett Show.
The PBS program Frontline covered O'Neill's ongoing effort to discredit Kerry in an October 2004 report titled The Choice 2004.
According to "Be Honest," ideamouth.com, 2004: "John O'Neill, the leader of the swiftboat veterans 'for truth' is on record as having lied about the role of the swift boat operators in Cambodia. In 1971, this was his videotaped conversation with Nixon [Scroll down to segment.]:
- O'NEILL: I was in Cambodia, sir. I worked along the border on the water.
- NIXON: In a swift boat?
- O'NEILL: Yes, sir.
"However, he later claimed that no one could cross the border by river and he claimed in an audio tape that his publicist played to CNN that he, himself, had never been to Cambodia either."
"One would think that O'Neill, as the leader of this group, would actually have known something about Kerry's service - especially after reading an OP-Ed he wrote, entitled: 'I was on Mr. Kerry's boat in Vietnam. He doesn't deserve to be commander in chief.' However, he did not serve with Kerry. He arrived in Vietnam after Kerry had already left. O'Neill provided $25,000 of the group's funding."
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Bush administration smear campaigns
- Swift Boat Veterans for Truth
- Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Republican Connection
- John Kerry's 1971 Senate Testimony
Articles & Commentary
- Michael Kranish, "With antiwar role, high visibility", Boston Globe, June 17, 2003.
- Brian Williams, "Nixon targeted Kerry for anti-war views. White House tapes reveal then-president's attempt to discredit Kerry during 1971 war protests, Senate testimony", NBC News/MSNBC, March 16, 2004.
- Bennett Roth, "An old Kerry foe, Houston lawyer back in spotlight", Houston Chronicle, March 31, 2004.
- Bennett Roth, "Longtime Kerry foe says senator is not worthy", Houston Chronicle, April 20, 2004.
- "Fellow vet blasts Kerry's antiwar comments: Democrat's campaign to release military records", CNN, April 22, 2004.
- Joe Conason, ""Smear Boat Veterans for Bush", Salon, May 4, 2004: "The 'swift boat' veterans attacking John Kerry's war record are led by veteran right-wing operatives using the same vicious techniques they used against John McCain four years ago."
- "Who is John O'Neill? CNN's Blitzer failed to probe partisan ties of Kerry critic", Media Matters for America, May 4, 2004.
- John Gonzalez, "Swift Boat Folks Are Kerry's Nemeses of Old", Dallas Observer, August 11, 2004.
- Kate Zernike and Jim Rutenberg, "Friendly Fire: The Birth of an Anti-Kerry Ad," New York Times, August 20, 2004.
- Jamison Foser, "The lies of John O'Neill: An MMFA analysis", Media Matters for America, August 24, 2004.
- Jennifer C. Kerr, "Swift Boat Author Addresses Contradiction", Guardian (UK), August 26, 2004.
- Eric Rasmussen, "Truth and Unfit for Command: A Review". Rebuttal/debunking includes links to relevant U.S. Navy documents.
- Martin Smith, "The Choice 2004", Frontline October 13, 2004.
- Ellen, "On FOX News, War on Democrats More Important Than War On Terror," News Hounds, March 1, 2007. re Sam Fox