John E. O'Neill

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John Ellis O'Neill, is a partner at the Houston law firm of Clements, O'Neill, Pierce, Wilson & Fulkerson and has spearheaded the anti-Kerry 527 committee Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

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. [1]

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. [2]

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". [3]

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.[4]

Earlier this year the Houston Chronicle cited a June 15, 1971 memo from Colson that stated "Let's destroy this young demagogue before he becomes another Ralph Nader." [5]

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,", 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."

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