Referring to a 1971 investigation organized by Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) in which Vietnam veterans described atrocities that they had witnessed or participated in, right-wing film producer Carlton Sherwood (producer of the anti-Kerry film Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal) falsely claimed that "everything that came from the Winter Soldiers hearing has been utterly discredited through volumes and volumes of books." In fact, research by Media Matters for America has uncovered no evidence that any witness testifying in the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation in Detroit has had his story discredited.
Sherwood was disputing claims by VVAW member and Winter Soldier witness Kenneth J. Campbell on the September 9 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews. Campbell said that testimony by him and other Winter Soldier witnesses formed the factual basis for Senator John Kerry's 1971 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. When Sherwood attempted to discredit the Winter Soldier investigation, Campbell defended himself and the other veterans who testified:
SHERWOOD: And as far as what Ken said, everything that came from the Winter Soldiers hearing has been utterly discredited through volumes and volumes of books and not one...
CAMPBELL: That's untrue.
There was only one person in the Vietnam Vets Against the War that was uncovered as having been a sergeant when he said he was a captain. Otherwise, the rest of the folks, we all brought our DD-214s [a document issued to military members upon separation from active service] that day. I brought mine today, in case you challenged my credibility. And we were not frauds. And we did do or see or participate in what we said we did.
As MMFA has previously documented, conservative historian Guenter Lewy claimed in his 1978 book, America in Vietnam, that a Naval Investigative Service report into the Winter Soldier allegations had discredited many of the witnesses and accounts, and in some cases impostors had assumed the identities of real veterans who were not present at the investigation. But Naval Criminal Investigative Service public affairs specialist Paul O'Donnell told (registration required) the Chicago Tribune: "We have not been able to confirm the existence of this report, but it's also possible that such records could have been destroyed or misplaced." And Lewy himself admitted to The Baltimore Sun that "he does not recall if he saw a copy of the naval investigative report or was briefed on its contents." Apart from Lewy's allegations, a search by MMFA turned up no other reports of evidence that any Winter Soldier witness was an impostor.
MMFA has documented Sherwood's previous smears against Kerry.