The man who Sen. John Kerry’s campaign reportedly has offered a position – whose background includes plotting to kill members of Congress in 1971 – was one of the “Gainesville Eight,” a group of Vietnam War protesters indicted and then acquitted of a plan to violently disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami.
As WorldNetDaily reported, Scott Camil, a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, presented to the group, including Kerry, a plot to assassinate conservative congressmen at a November 1971 meeting.
The Kerry campaign denies the senator and presidential candidate was present at the meeting, saying he quit the organization prior to the heated session in Kansas City, Nov. 12-15, 1971.
However, Randy Barnes of Missouri Veterans for Kerry, disputes that account. Barnes participated in the meeting and he says Kerry, then 27, was at the meeting, voted against the plot and then resigned from the organization. According to a New York Sun report, another Vietnam vet who attended the meeting, Terry Du-Bose, agreed that Kerry was there.
Camil, who was never prosecuted for the plot, plans to accept an offer by the Florida Kerry organization to become active in the presidential campaign, according to the Sun. Camil’s plot, involving eight to 10 Marines, targeted the Southern senatorial leadership including John Stennis, Strom Thurmond and John Tower.
Larry Turner, one of the Gainesville Eight’s attorneys, spoke at a 30-year reunion of four of the defendants in September.
“They clearly had no plans to do anything besides complain and protest [at the convention],” he told the University of Florida’s Alligator newspaper. “It was clearly not a very strong case.”
At the same event, Camil slammed President Bush’s involvement in Iraq.
“It is a war based on lies and destruction,” he told the paper. “The things I am seeing now are the things my father fought against in World War II.”
The Alligator reported Camil held back tears as he recalled his time in Vietnam, claiming President Nixon lied to the public about the war.
“Democracy can’t really function if the public doesn’t have access to the truth,” he said.
Like Kerry, Camil, a former member of the 1st Marine Division, drew attention to himself in the ’70s by testifying about alleged crimes by U.S. soldiers during the war. He claimed GIs cut off ears of dead Vietnamese, raped women and eviscerated prisoners.
The case against the Gainesville Eight involved testimony by FBI informants against the anti-war activists. The case ended in acquittal before the defense was presented.
Camil posted a narrative about the trial on a Columbia University website called the Human & Constitutional Rights Resource Page:
“[FBI informant] Emerson Poe was one of my best friends. My girlfriend and I used to baby-sit for his wife and him. When she had a miscarriage, we took care of his kid while they were at the hospital. Poe had been right with me as assistant regional director of VVAW. He worked with us when we met with lawyers, talked strategy, and he even helped us select a jury. And then we’re sitting there near the end of the trial, and Jack Carrouth, the prosecutor, calls him. Emerson Poe gets up – and he’s one of them. It blew me away. I couldn’t believe he could be an informer, but the whole time he was reporting back to the FBI.”