POW/MIA Insider: Another attempt to fleece the Issue

james-webb.jpg  I really have to wonder, is the Webb family just out to get us?  Althought it has been made clear that the infamous Johnie Webb at JPAC and James M. Webb, a retired investigative team leader who worked on the ground in SEA in both Detachment 1 and 2 from 1989 to 2003, are not related, they both obviously have the same goal – to make a living off of us for as long as they can.

 Johnie has a record that those who know the Issue do not need to hear again, and still today he continues to quietly mislead family members and make excuses for investigative shortcomings.  Yet now, we have a new nemesis in James M. Webb.  It would appear that now he has retired from active military service and did a stint in the Middle East, this adrenaline junkie wants to cash in on the POW/MIA Issue, that means cash in on us.   He along with a few others have marketed the following website, http://www.powmiainsider.com/ as “the untold story”.   They have an e-book available, The POW/MIA History 101, which, interestingly enough you can download but not print for easier reading, an instant red flag.  The information in the e-book is nothing new to any of us and unless you are looking for a refresher course, it is old news.  They are also selling, for the low, low price of $29.95 plus shipping and handling, a 3 DVD interview with James M. Webb himself which advertises as “The Untold Story”.   The DVD also eludes to a book that will soon be published, “Last Known Alive”, as well as the JTF-FA Team Commander’s Handbook.

I had some preconceived notations before viewing the DVD, expecting it to be as riveting and well made as the Dumas production of “Missing Presumed Dead”, I was sorely mistaken.   As the title of this entry states, this is just another attempt to fleece those who hold the Issue near and dear to their hearts.   The entire interview takes place in Tailand in front of an elephant herd carved in stone with a small cocktail table as the setting for the approximate two and a half hour interview.  Neither the interviewer or Webb move from this site nor is there any additional footage, maps or even photos shown to the audience.  It is merely these two men talking into the cameras for the whole length of the presentation.  The interview seems contrived at times and at other times it appears that the questions weren’t even really discussed in details beforehand.  The general topics were obvious but the viewer gets the sense that both the interviewer and the guest are constantly searching for words and that very little prep time was spent on the interview. 

The actual content of the interview has literally nothing that even the newest POW/MIA activist wouldn’t already know and much of the information has no bearing on the issue either.  Webb is simply telling stories about his time in SEA.  He comes across as unpolished and somehow thinks that his stories about his time in the field have some real bearing on the Issue.  Aside from wearing a suit, which he appears to be very uncomfortable in, this interview would have been much more appropriate taking place in a bar, unscripted.

He makes no mention of specific cases and gives the impression that each of these missions he refers to were simply that to him, missions, devoid of the human element that drives those of us, family members in particular.  He does speak about the Garwood case specifically but gives no new information or insight that isn’t out there already in books like “Spite House” or “Kiss the Boys Goodbye”.  He also give some detail to the shredding incident which he took part in but really doesn’t appear to be all that broken up about the lives that were lost and the families that were destroyed by such a callious act.  He gives the impression that due to the fact that the new Detachment head didn’t really know what was in those files, it was a rookie mistake.  Yet the version he tells of the story gives an almost Lorel and Hardy touch as the shredding was ordered, then stopped, then started again, then stopped.  The Ambassador was even in on the mixed orders.  It should be noted here that his take on this shredding incident is that they were only following orders.   The simple fact that such total and complete disregard was taken with sensitive documents that pertained to the cases of our loved ones and in particular live sighting reports, makes the excuse of “only following orders” one that I personally cannot accept. 

In closing, don’t waste your time, money and effort purchasing the DVD and there is even some question as to the status of the “Last Known Alive” book that the website makes reference to.  The sooner we can shut down Webb’s fleecing operation, the better it will be for the Issue as a whole.  He expresses no real passion for the Issue and his infrequent references to how much the Issue means to him were telling indeed.

Until Next Time,

The POW Warrior

One thought on “POW/MIA Insider: Another attempt to fleece the Issue

  1. JPAC has now been officially dissolved. After multiple JPAC scandals were exposed by NBC, CBS, Fox News, NPR, the AP, Stars and Stripes and a host of other media outlets; the American public and families of our MIAs channeled their anger, frustration, humiliation, and feelings of betrayal to demand the immediate removal of those responsible for what the the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, called “disgraceful” when he described the situation at JPAC. The Secretary of Defense pledged to the American public that a “paradigm shift” away from “outdated, institutionalized thinking” at JPAC was in the offing. So far, the “deactivation” of JPAC has simply demoted the previous JPAC commander to the deputy commander position and “replaced” the previous JPAC scientific director but allowed him to stay in place. The same old group of poor leaders and managers remain in functional control. So far, the “re-organization” has produced a worse situation by making the old leadership even more arrogant and unresponsive to the families of missing American servicemen and women by giving them the attitude that they are invulnerable and will suffer no real consequences to their ineptitude. Many, many more personnel changes are needed or else this fix of JPAC will be akin to putting a band aid on the top of a tumor and expecting the cancerous cells that caused the malignant growth to simply go away.

    The new agency commander inherits a long pattern of dysfunction, inefficient practices, wasteful and poor management, lack of leadership, and more than 40 pending complaints of sexual harassment by command personnel, EEO violations, criminal investigations, lawsuits, and complaints of managerial reprisal that were detailed in scathing official reports by the Inspector General’s Office and the Government Accountability Office. The same group of serial offenders responsible remain in the “new” DPAA. The same group that brought us multiple outrageous scandals including phony “arrival home” ceremonies, fraud, waste and abuse of government funds, and a “it can’t be done” attitude that produces only five or six dozen identifications a year with an annual budget that far exceeds $100 million. The same group that average ELEVEN YEARS to make an identification after remains are recovered. The same group who warehouse the backlogged sets of recovered remains of more than 1,000 American servicemen and women in cardboard boxes in the laboratory storage room. The same group who are incapable of identifying these heroes because their methods are antiquated and obsolete. More scandals by this group will soon come to light and there is no end in sight until they are gone for good.

    There are many truly dedicated men and women who worked at JPAC in non-management roles who believed in the mission: researchers, military recovery specialists, and field investigators who hack through jungles, climb mountains, and wade rivers only to be sabotaged in their work by a completely dysfunctional command. They are dismayed, disillusioned, disheartened, disgusted, and still disbelieving of what they experienced at JPAC and what they now see as a lack of action in holding those responsible accountable for their abysmal failures.

    The entire operation that was JPAC must be deconstructed, brick by brick, so that a new phoenix can rise from the ashes of JPAC’s disaster. Such needed massive reform cannot be accomplished by changing the name of the organization, removing just a few low level contract researchers, re-shuffling the same poor managers to new desks and titles in a brand new $85 million dollar building in Hawaii, and allowing those in the JPAC laboratory who continue to support the complacent attitude of not keeping up with modern science such as DNA, to keep their jobs. To do so would only allow the same infectious disease of arrogance and lies to the families of American heroes to take root all over again. The disaster that was JPAC has been added to the VA Hospital, Dover Mortuary, Arlington Cemetery, and the Viet Nam Unknown debacles. Tthe ghosts of over 83,000 brave American heroes who remain unaccounted for, and their families, are deserving of much more than the status quo of leaving those in charge at JPAC to stay and infect the “new” organization before it is even off the ground.

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