Well, I admit it. I've been out for the past month. But unlike times past where I just got lazy or (more often) just had nothing interesting at all happening in my life... er... please try to forget I said that...

Anyway, this time I have a really, really good reason for being out of touch for so long. The work I've been doing on this Vietnam documentary has been taking up more and more of my time. In fact, for the past four days I've been conducting interviews with Air Force and Army vets. We wrapped late yesterday and I've spent today recouping. It's nice to be back in my own bed again!

At this point, I think it's fairly safe to tell you a little something about the documentary. Of course, if I get sued or something I will be forced to have your memories erased and replaced with reruns of "Happy Days."

The documentary focuses primarily on a Special Forces operation that took place in September of 1970. The code name for the mission was "Operation Tailwind," and its primary objective was to serve as a diversion for a CIA operation taking place miles away in Laos. This mission involved a huge ground force of more than 130 men, and it was much more of a success than anyone could have imagined.

By the end of the mission, all but three men had made it out alive. In addition, the ground force had exposed and destroyed a huge cache of munitions and recovered thousands of documents that would provide intelligence on NVA actions. Three men died, one CH-53 helicopter was lost and there were injuries ranging from minor scratches to severe bullet wounds, but Operation Tailwind was among the most daring and successful missions of the entire Vietnam conflict.

Then came a 1998 broadcast by CNN/Time.

In June of 1998, CNN and Time partnered on a news magazine format program called "NewsStand." It's inaugural broadcast included a story called "Valley of Death" -- an expose' on Operation Tailwind. The broadcast made a couple of startling claims:

One, that the objective Operation Tailwind was, in fact, the targeting of US defectors as well as non-combatant women and childern.

And two, possibly even more shocking, that the United States violated the 1925 Geneva Convention mandate on "first use" of chemical weapons. CNN/Time was claiming that the U.S. authorized and carried out a drop of Sarin nerve gas in Laos.

Eventually, after numerous investigations, it was determined that there simply were no facts to back up the statements made by CNN/Time. Despite the producers of the piece sticking by their story right through the loss of their jobs with CNN, the investigators declared that there just wasn't any proof that these allegations and accusations were true. The story was retracted based on "no available evidence at this time."

Here's where MY group comes in. Hat Digital Media and Reel Adventures Productions are telling the story as it actually happened. For the past year I have have personally read every word ever printed about this mission, watched every video clip, heard every scrap of audio, scanned every photo and slide and document that anyone could scrape up. And several times over the past year we have conducted interviews of Marines, Army personnel, chemical weapons experts, Air Force pilots and Special Forces personnel about the events of September, 1970. This past weekend, I interviewed several men who were present on the mission, both on the ground and in the air, as well as an expert on chemical weapons.

So it was a grueling weekend. I'm a little tired and I'm plenty sore form stressful days and lumpy pillows and rock-hard hotel mattresses. But we got some OUTSTANDING interviews.

As far as what I'd like to see happen with this documentary, what I'd really like is for CNN to pick it up and run it themselves. What we're trying to do is set the record straight. We're not out to "punish" CNN... we legitimately want to REDEEM them. This program is all about redemption. Redemption of the Vets, redemption of CNN, and redemption of the media itself. And, frankly, redemption of the United States in the eyes of the world.

So, like I was trying to say, sorry it took a month to get back here and update everyone. I hope you haven't lost patience with me! It's been a busy month, but worth every minute.

Look for more about this project in the future, and on my company web site at www.hatdigitalmedia.com.

Until next time, in the words of my boyhood hero Stan Lee,


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Kevin Tumlinson is the author of numerous novels, novellas, and non-fiction books, and the host of the Wordslinger Podcast. Try three of his best books for free when you download his starter library at kevintumlinson.com/starterlibrary.


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