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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pentagon Uses 'Phony' Ceremonies for MIAs, with Planes that Can't Fly

What more could a patriot say or add to this atrocity?

Government ‘Big Lie’ Plays Horrific Joke on U.S. Veterans and Their Families

By Bill Dedman, Investigative Reporter,

HONOLULU — A unit of the U.S. Department of Defense has been holding so-called “arrival ceremonies” for seven years, with an honor guard carrying flag-draped coffins off of a cargo plane as though they held the remains of missing American service men and women returning that day from old battlefields.

After NBC News raised questions about the arrival ceremonies, the Pentagon acknowledged Wednesday that no honored dead were in fact arriving, and that the planes used in the ceremonies often couldn’t even fly but were towed into position.

The solemn ceremonies at a military base in Hawaii are a sign of the nation’s commitment to returning and identifying its fallen warriors. The ceremonies have been attended by veterans and families of MIAs, led to believe that they were witnessing the return of Americans killed in World War II, Vietnam and Korea.
Petty Officer 1st Class Barry Hirayama / U.S. Navy

A joint service honor guard escorts a transfer case during an “arrival ceremony” at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu on April 27, 2012. The Defense Department has acknowledged that human remains were not in fact arriving on that day. The ceremonies are held by the Pentagon’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.

The ceremonies also have been known, at least among some of the military and civilian staff here, as The Big Lie.

Photos behind the scenes show that the flag-draped boxes had not just arrived on military planes, but ended their day where they begin it: at the same lab where the human remains have been waiting for analysis.

The Pentagon insisted that the flag-draped cases do contain human remains recently recovered, just not ones that arrived that day. It said its staff “treat the remains with the utmost of care, attention, integrity, and above all, honor.” The Pentagon statement did not explain why the rituals were called “arrival ceremonies” if no one was arriving, or why the public had been told that remains removed that morning from the lab were about to go to the lab to “begin the identification process.” (Read the full Pentagon statement.)

From now on, the Pentagon said, the ceremonies will be re-branded as “honors ceremonies,” expressly described as symbolic honors for bodies previously recovered.

“The name changed because they’ve already arrived, technically,” said Army Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith, public affairs officer for the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), whose mission is to return and identify the 83,000 missing service men and women from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The agency is identifying the dead at a rate of fewer than 80 per year, at a cost of more than $1 million per identification. Bodies now wait in the JPAC lab an average of 11 years before being identified, according to an internal report released this year.

What the audience sees

Here’s what the public has seen at the ceremonies, usually held about four times a year.

A C-17 military transport aircraft was parked, its ramp down, outside hangar 35 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. At precisely 9 a.m., after generals and other dignitaries were introduced, a military chaplain offered a prayer, the audience sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and a Marine bugler played “Taps.” Then a military honor guard in dress uniforms carried flag-draped transfer cases, which look like coffins, down the ramp and across in front of the audience. The cases were placed in the back of blue buses and driven away…Finish reading>>