MIA Facts Site

Dornan's Special Orders Speech

The following is the text of Representative Bob Dornan's special orders speech of August 2, 1996.  In this speech, Dornan described the "Cuban program" and attacked Mr. Bob Destatte, senior analyst in the Defense POW-Missing Personnel Office.   Dornan's claims that the US government had identified by name the Caucasians responsible for the torture of Americans in Hanoi are not accurate.  This article should be read in conjunction with the following articles:

bulletThe Cuban Program
bulletBeck's Fantasies
bulletThe Official Record

This is not the entire text of Mr. Dornan's comments; it is only the portion of the text that contains some of Dornan's assertions that US intelligence knew who the "Cubans" are and his attacks on Bob Destatte.  The entire text is available by going to the Thomas search engine for the Congressional Record:  http://thomas.loc.gov/home/crquery.html

From there, click on the 104th Congress (1996) then search for Representative Dornan, and limit your search to dates from 08/01/1996 to 08/02/1996.

In the document quoted below, the text of Mr. Dornan's speech is in this typeface and my notes are in this typeface and color.

Quote from Mr. Dornan's special orders speech, August 2, 1996

AMERICA ON THE BRINK OF SELF-DESTRUCTION (House of Representatives - 
August 02, 
1996)
[Page: H9913]  GPO's PDF
[TIME: 1815]
They are going in there with blood on their hands to deal with these people that 
may still have Americans locked up. One Senator calls speeches like mine on the 
House floor hobbyist speeches. What a disgraceful challenge to me, particularly 
after what I just read about honor in the Wall Street Journal today.      
 
Chapter 25 of POW, Fidel, Kassler and the faker. Fidel was the name given to a 
tall, some prisoners thought he was from Argentina he was so tall, and 
Castillian as a Cuban, but he is a Cuban, Fidel was the nickname they gave this 
torture master. Kassler is a hero from both wars, an unparalleled hero from both 
wars, like our Sam Johnson, Jim Kassler, shot down 8 Mig's in the Korean war and 
then led the first major strike against Hanoi on the Air Force side against the 
petroleum oil and lubricant storage areas of North Vietnam to stop them from 
this slaughtering people in South Vietnam. It was written up big in Time 
Magazine.       

Then his fate was to be captured a few weeks later and to be severely tortured 
because they knew they had their hands on an American war hero. 
What they called a criminal and an air pirate and the faker is a man that, when 
this book was written, his identity was uncovered by the author, John Hubbell. 
Now we know his remains have been returned, showing the horror of what he had 
gone through, even in just the bones that remained. It was major Earl Cobeal.
(USAF Major Earl G. Cobeil.  Died in captivity, remains returned 6 Mar 74.) 
This pain is known to his family. I am not revealing anything on the House floor 
tonight.       

My fellow Americans and Mr. Speaker, listen to this: At the zoo in Hanoi, that 
is an annex, part of the Hanoi prison system, the one whom the prisoners 
believed to be Cuban and whom they called Fidel had been very busy. Footnote, we 
knew who this brigadier general was of Cuban intelligence. He was in New York in 
1977 and 1978. My 2 years in this House, if only God had let me know he was 
there, I personally would have made a citizen's arrest on him. Our intelligence 
people failed miserably under Jimmy Carter to arrest this man as a war criminal, 
the way we had done in World War II at Nuremberg and at the Japanese trials 
where we hung people for this type of war crime.       

He was allowed to dine in New York restaurants for 2 years, known to our 
intelligence people, known to Admiral Stansfield Turner, head of the CIA, and 
allowed to go back to Cuba. I wish I knew where we could get 
our hands on him today. I believe his name is Fernandez. 
(US intelligence attempted for years to identify the "Cubans," without success.  
Mr. Dornan's "identifications" appear to be speculation.)      

He had been very busy. The prisoners were never to be certain of the Latin's 
mission, but they generally were in agreement that it was to teach the North 
Vietnamese how to handle captured American military men and how to learn as much 
as possible on the same subject on behalf of their own Government, Cuba, 
whatever it was.       

Fidel had selected a dozen or so American prisoners and dealt with them one by 
one. He attempted to browbeat the men into yielding military information and 
cooperating in Hanoi's propaganda campaign. It seems clear at first that he did 
not want to brutalize the men, perhaps Hanoi's mysterious ally wanted to 
demonstrate that mind and will games were more effective than hell cuffs and 
torture ropes that the men had been undergoing, this horrible torture for, at 
this point, 3 years or more with them dying under torture and another 100, as 
Kassler told me himself, executed in the villages before they made it into the 
prison system.       

In any event, the prisoners judged this to be the case and one by one set their 
own minds and wills to frustrate Fidel. And he thus proved unable to show his 
host, the Vietnamese Communists, any results. Defeated, furious, he turned to 
savagery, directing horrendous torture and beatings. So intense was the 
mistreatment that each prisoner had finally acquiesced to Fidel's enraged demand 
to surrender. He broke each one of the 11 and some never came home. 
(One US POW died of the torture inflicted by the "Cubans," not "some.")       

Now, there is a man named Robert Destat, (sic) who has worked for years in and out of 
the Pentagon's missing Americans office. He had the gall, the effrontery, the 
treachery to put in writing recently that these men were interpreters only. It 
is a plausible Cuban story, he says. I am going to attempt to bring this man up 
on charges under the law that when Clinton signs it will be stripped out of the 
books soon over the next few weeks while it is on the books. It is only 5 months 
old, since February 10. I am going to bring him up on charges for willfully and 
knowingly lying to our families, and I understand he owns property in Hanoi, 
that he is marrying into that system over there, and that he has been allowed 
for years to disgracefully manipulate and psychologically torture the families 
of these men that were tortured by these three Cubans, nicknamed Fidel, Pancho, 
and Chico. 
(Mr. Dornan's claims re: Destatte are substantial misrepresentations of fact.
Read the facts on the Official Record article at this link.)

      

End quote from Mr. Dornan's special orders speech, August 2, 1996

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Here are links to other articles in this series.

  1. Follow this link to read the statement by Mr. Robert J. Destatte, senior DOD POW-MIA analyst regarding the "Cuban program."   Statement made November 4, 1999, in Congressional hearing.
  2. Follow this link to an article regarding CDR Beck and his fantasies.
  3. Follow this link to an article about former Congressman Bob Dornan and his venture into the "Cuban program." 
  4. Follow this link to a collection of newspaper articles that report on the November 4 hearings.
  5. Follow this link to a collection of items from the official record of a previous Congressional hearing.
  6. Follow this link to an attempt by author Al Santoli to make something out of nothing.
  7. If you have a copy of the book Honor Bound:  American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1961 - 1973, you can read about the "Cuban program" on pages 394 - 407