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Thread: Former Phoenix Project Member Wants to Speak Out

  1. #1

    Default Former Phoenix Project Member Wants to Speak Out

    Dale contacted me by PM. He has been a member of the Forum for five months, but has never posted. He has sent me a number of emails and finally gave me permission to post them. Anyone here is welcome to post and we can hope will be respond to questions, or contact him directly. He seems to prefer calls to writing things down. I have urged him to post here, but so far he has not...so I am instead. For those of you not familiar with Doug Valentine's book on the Phoenix Project, I recommend it highly. These below are not in the order he sent them to me and there is some overlap in information.

    ------
    I am Dale E. S. Blommendahl and during the Vietnam war I was to be assigned to the Phoenix Program, an assassination program used to neutralize Vietnamese civilians who were suspected of being unsympathetic to the South Vietnamese Government. This is a synopsis of my almost 38 months in the US Army.
    US Army time line and Phoenix issues:
    Joined US Army (to allow me to select an MOS and duties of my choice) after being classified 1A in December 1967.
    Took Basic at Fort Ord, California starting end of Feb 1968 soon after the Pueblo Incident.
    Took Leadership Prep Course immediately after basic (Honor Graduate)
    Took Advanced Individual Training as a Clerk immediately after Leadership Prep Course
    I was pushed hard (I “was going to go into OCS or regret it”) by my company commander which got me to apply for Officer Candidate School, selected Combat Engineer school at Fort Belvoir, VA
    Attended OCS in the Combat Engineer Regiment immediately after AIT (starting about July 1968)
    Injured on obstacle course (left knee, blind side tackle by MI State lineman) cast on left leg for 6 weeks
    Turned back from Charlie Company to Hotel Company (two months)
    Offered commission in Military Intelligence Officer as MOS 9666 which I accepted.
    Graduated OCS as 2nd Lieutenant in early 1969 and left for Fort Holabird, MD to attend US Army Intelligence School.
    Graduated Intelligence School June 1969 with orders to be operations officer at the Palo Alto Field Office (California) of the 115th MI Group.
    I went to the field office on the Friday before I was supposed to report and because I did not look “appropriate” was asked to come in to the office and explain “who the hell” I was.
    Commander of Field Office was Major Ralph W. Dulin (soon thereafter promoted to LTC), operations officer was a civilian employee named DeCagney.
    My early and poor first impression was not good on Dulin or DeCagney.
    When I reported on Monday the three of us had a long talk in which I explained that the only reason I came by the office was to ensure that I knew where the office was. I was asked what my expectations and desires were related to being operations officer were. I told Dulin that I if I had a choice I’d rather work as a Special Agent in the field until I had proved myself to myself, DeCagney and Dulin. I later found out that Dulin had been enlisted prior to being commissioned and that my desire to prove to myself and them that I did know what I was doing gave me a chance to improve my image in both their minds.
    I ran every Special Investigation Section case (complex and sensitive) for months until DeCagney came to me and said “Now you’re going to learn how to be an operations officer.” No more fun cases.
    Around that time the field office was moved to Sunnyvale and Captain Allen Jones (Westpoint grad and biological son and stepson of two generals, nicknamed “Tappy,” last I knew he lived in Huston, TX) who had just returned from Vietnam and became the office commander when Dulin was promoted to LTC.
    By mid 1970 Captain Jones resigned and Dulin left me as the office commander as a 1st LT long enough to get a commanders MOS.
    At that time I got orders to attend the Military Assistance Security Advisor course, Class 70-1. LTC Dulin was elated that I had been accepted(?). He proceeded to tell me just how privileged my career had become; I had previously turned down US Army Flight School and a Regular Army commission due to an option the Army reserved to switch me to rotary wing from the fixed wing that I wanted). Dulin then went on to explain to me the benefits of the MASA assignment for my career:

    1. Guaranteed promotion to Captain at 2 years being an officer. (They did send me orders promoting me to Captain but I declined the promotion because I knew from my clerk training that a promotion causes many other personnel actions to be dropped and I had a request for change of assignment out of the Phoenix Program pending).
    2. My family would have first choice at any military housing anywhere for the length of my Vietnam tour.
    3. I would have two out of Vietnam R&R periods
    4. I would have one out of Vietnam leave.
    5. I would have one in Vietnam R&R (maybe it was a leave).
    6. I would be promoted to Major at the end of my Vietnam tour (w/ three years as an officer).
    7. I would have first choice at any assignment (including finishing college) after Vietnam.

    I was instantly on guard as this was highly abnormal.
    I left for the Special Warfare School, Fort Bragg, NC in Summer of 1970 to attend MASA class 70-1. While travelling to Fort Bragg I had a second head ache episode that put me in a hospital for a very short stay on the border of Arkansas and Texas. Later I would be diagnosed with service connected “vascular headaches” by the VA. Still later (much later) with Multiple Sclerosis which the VA automatically covers as a service connected disability.
    I arrived at Fort Bragg and signed in I was assigned to the bachelor officer quarters with 1st LT Michael Mcgraw (he was in my graduation class at Engineer OCS and like me was commissioned in MI). Michael was from the Indianapolis, IN area. His sister later came to live with my wife and I in California due to problems at her home.
    At some point I rented a mobile home off base as my wife was due to have our first daughter soon, within a month or so, (she was born at Stanford, CA on Oct 27, 1970, but she was a month late).
    Wife and daughter arrived the first week of November 1970.
    MASA class consisted of Vietnam language training followed by Phoenix instruction.
    Language class was uneventful (I’m bad at language but there was clearly no way to “fail.”)
    As soon as the Phoenix instruction began most classes were classified SECRET including classes on the Geneva Convention. I got copies of some the title pages for the classes (which I think had instructor names on them) and began listening closely. At one meeting of the class in an auditorium Evan Parker from the CIA (Phoenix) and a couple of General Officers (whose names I don’t remember) gave the class a “pep talk” about how important we were to the Nixon Administration’s plan to end the Vietnam war with honor; made my skin crawl.

    Two significant class themes were:

    1. The Geneva Convention used specific words to describe things that were not “legal.” Our convention classes were secret because we were being instructed on how to speak of things using words that would sound like they did not violate the convention. I pointed out that I did not think the words being used would change the FACT that we were being told to assassinate civilians (anyone accompanying a “target”, put them in “detention” (tiger cages) without judicial procedures and clearly breaking the intent of the convention.
    2. I said above that we were intended to assassinate civilians. Here is how:
      1. We ran intelligence collection among the civilian population looking for those who might be opposed to the South Vietnam government or sympathize with the Vietcong or North Vietnamese government.
      2. If we got three “reliable” reports of wavering loyalty the MASA officer was to determine if we thought it was “sufficient” evidence to “neutralize” them (which as intended to mean, for purposes of the convention, to remove them as a “threat” by “detaining” them).
      3. The method was to set up an ambush along a known travel route. People frequently travel in family units of up to 6 or so people and occasionally they had some who might be armed, Vietnam was a dangerous place. The ambush design was to have a 3 foot by 3 foot square which was a “no fire zone.” When the target stepped into the no fire zone the ambush was sprung. If the target stayed in the no fire zone I was told that 1 in about 13 survived. The rest of the group usually perished. Of the one in 13 targets who survived each would be brought before a three person South Vietnam Government appointed commission(?). They would decide whether the target should be detailed as a threat to the government.
      4. I ask how many of the targets that survived were “determined” to be a threat. The answer blew me away: 1 in 3. Assuming the ratios are anywhere near accurate (and the Major was pretty sure of himself) means that two thirds of the targets and their travelling companions were “not a threat.” That was a highly certain fact since they were almost certainly dead. The provincial reconnaissance units (PRU) and the long range reconnaissance patrols (LRRP) were used to ambush targets.
      5. I offered my analysis of the numbers in class and was threatened with a court martial by the Major teaching the class:


    Individuals Targeted Number of People Who Accompanied a Target Targets Surviving People Killed Surviving Targets that are deemed a threat
    3 18 0 21 0
    4 24 0 28 0
    5 30 0 35 0
    6 36 0 42 0
    7 42 0 49 0
    8 48 0 56 0
    9 54 0 63 0
    10 60 0 70 0
    11 66 0 77 0
    12 72 0 84 0
    13 78 1 90 0
    14 84 1 97 0
    15 90 1 104 0
    16 96 1 111 0
    17 102 1 118 0
    18 108 1 125 0
    19 114 1 132 0
    20 120 1 139 0
    Individuals Targeted Number of People Who Accompany a Target Targets Surviving People Killed Surviving Targets that are deemed a threat
    21 126 1 146 0
    22 132 1 153 0
    23 138 1 160 0
    24 144 1 167 0
    25 150 1 174 0
    26 156 2 180 0
    27 162 2 187 0
    28 168 2 194 0
    29 174 2 201 0
    30 180 2 208 0
    31 186 2 215 0
    32 192 2 222 0
    33 198 2 229 0
    34 204 2 236 0
    35 210 2 243 0
    36 216 2 250 0
    37 222 2 257 0
    38 228 2 264 0
    39 234 3 270 1
    40 240 3 277 1
    41 246 3 284 1
    42 252 3 291 1
    43 258 3 298 1
    44 264 3 305 1
    45 270 3 312 1
    46 276 3 319 1
    47 282 3 326 1
    48 288 3 333 1
    49 294 3 340 1
    50 300 3 347 1
    51 306 3 354 1
    52 312 4 360 1


    1. After the threat of a court martial I went to the Judge Advocate General’s staff to discuss my “issues.” After ensuring that I had a confidential relationship with the JAG officer to whom I spoke, I tried to tell him the full Phoenix Program story. He stopped me after about 15 minutes and advised that I never return to a JAG office and get a civilian attorney.
    2. My wife was having a hard time because she figured out how bad the Phoenix Program was. I had about six other officers in our trailer to talk about what kind of trouble Phoenix might cause us. I said it did not matter about trouble with the Program because I was not going to do it. All seven of us agreed that the words used could not cover for or excuse the actions being taken … it was clearly an terrorization program being used against the civilian population.
    3. I got orders for Vietnam assigned to Phoenix and left SWS, Fort Bragg to settle my wife and daughter in the LA area. Oddly my orders put me into the LA field office of the 115th MI Group on temporary duty.
    4. I had no duties and kept busy throwing wrenches into the machine. I intentionally missed my flight for Vietnam three times, each time notifying my superiors that I was not going to go unless my orders removed me from Phoenix. At one point someone made it clear that I “knew too much” to go in any other capacity.
    5. Then in March 1971 I received a “hardship” discharge at my earliest convenience. I picked April 1, 1971 to leave my army career behind.


    Among the wrenches I threw into the machine were all the political figures and congressional committees I mentioned in my previous message. (Peter you are welcome to stitch together whatever parts of the two messages seem appropriate and post or send on to others who might be interested).

    During my TDY at the LA Field Office my wife and I purchased a home. After my discharge more fun started. I had been forced to submit a request for VA treatment of my “vascular headaches” as it was an unresolved medical problem.

    On the afternoon of April 1, 1971, after driving to my parents home in Valencia, CA from Fort MacArthur in Long Beach, CA my parents phone was ringing. I answered and LTC Dulin ask if I knew who he was (he had not identified himself), I answered “Yes I know who you are LTC Dulin.” He went on to say that if I revealed anything about Phoenix I would “never work again.” My answer to him was that he “should know enough about me by now to know that I would call every broadcast news outlet and newspaper I could think of immediately and tell them everything and he was welcome, along with the others listening, to stay on the line. I hung up and started calling every news organization I could think of.

    I spent a week in the Sepulveda VA Hospital while being tested for whatever they could think of. End result was I had an abnormal EEG in that my theta rhythm was “way outside normal” with a flashing light in my eyes. The VA insisted that I come in for follow up every year.

    As soon as I could look for a job I hit the high-tech firms in the San Fernando Valley and interviewed and tested for at least a half dozen jobs. Every one of my interviews went extremely well, as did my testing. Each time it was implied that I should be ready to start as soon as possible. Each time within three days I either got a call from the high-tech firm very shyly asking what the hell did the Army have against me or a call or letter saying that they could not proceed at this time. I’d tell them the whole story if they would listen, most did for time. One gentleman said that I was the best candidate for the position I applied for that they had ever had but some men visited the company the day before said I could never get a security clearance. I finally took a job fixing automatic sprinkler systems.

    After a while someone talked me into applying to be a firefighter I was in the top ten on a list of over 1,000. Best job I’ve ever had. I was forced to retire after five years by the Chief of the department due to a shoulder and back injury.

    While a firefighter I had finished my Mathematics degree and I went into computer programming. Eventually, I got back into high-tech and went to work for Bunker-Ramo and ended up working on the “World Wide Command and Control System” that the joint chiefs used to run our military. It took a year for Bunker-Ramo to be notified that I could have a secret clearance but to never even ask for a top secret clearance for me. NOTE: They must have changed the adjudication rules after I was trained as an adjudicator because up to that time if you were unfit for a top secret you could not be fit for even a confidential clearance. I think they knew I’d fight them again.

    Dale E S Blommendahl
    4243 Thomas Court
    Simi Valley, CA 93063

    Mobil: 805 338-xxxx [PM P. Lemkin for his phone number]
    Home: 805 583-xxxx [PM P. Lemkin for his phone number]
    Last edited by Peter Lemkin; 04-30-2018 at 05:33 AM.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  2. #2

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    I gave you a brief summary of my background. And it should be easily verifiable. I'm listed all over the internet related to my former company XYPRO.

    Phoenix:

    As I said in my last message I was involved in both Phoenix (at least from a selection point of view) and CHAOS because my office got requests to monitor Stanford, San Jose State, Cal State Santa Cruz, etc. I was the Sunnyvale Field Office Commander (115th MI Group) for a short time in 69 or 70 (and the Operations Officer before that) until I got selected for a "voluntary" program called MASA (Military Assistance Security Advisor) (Phoenix). I had a great reputation with a 99% Officer Efficiency Rating (but I'm apparently tactless, one point off my rating). MASA Class 70-1 was the first MI class after the US Army took over Phoenix from the CIA. Evan Parker (CIA) spoke to Class 70-1 along with a couple of US Army Generals to tell us how important we were to "winning the Vietnam War with honor." Phoenix was supposedly Nixon's secret plan to win the Vietnam War.

    I attended the MASA 70-1 training class at the Special Warfare School, Fort Bragg, NC and even before I got there I knew something was very wrong. The "offer" from the Army was "too good to be true." Two out of Vietnam R&Rs, one in country R&R, guaranteed promotion to Captain before deployment to Vietnam. Guaranteed promotion to Major after Vietnam. First choice of family housing at any base in the US for duration of tour. First choice at any assignment after Vietnam (including bootstrap education program), etc. All this while Lt. Calley, Sgt. Mitchell, and Capt. Medina were being tried for My Lai 4.

    After a few months of Vietnamese language training the "program" was revealed:
    a. It was counter-terror (not counterterrorism in the normal sense) terrorism (by US and Vietnamese) against the opposition cadre and civilians (non-combatants).
    b. Get three sources that say an individual was against the South Vietnamese government.
    c. Identify their regular travel routes.
    d. Set up Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRP) or Provincial Reconnaissance Unit (PRU) ambush where "target" and the entire travel group is ambushed when the target enters a 3 foot square.
    e. If target does not jump out of the square, 1 in 13 get captured for a "hearing" and possible "detention" in tiger cages (most of the rest die in the ambush women and children, too).
    f. The "hearing" consisted of three appointed representatives of the South Vietnamese government.
    g. One in three of the surviving targets is found to be worthy of detention by the three government representatives of SVN. Detention for indeterminate period BUT not a trial and no judicial involvement (per Geneva Convention avoidance plan).

    I got these numbers from a Major teaching one of the many classified "Secret" classes on the Geneva Convention (very unusual). Where everything was about redefining the words (very weakly) to avoid "violating" the Geneva Convention. I argued that redefining words would not work and that I'd not participate in the illegal violations of the convention and was threatened with a court martial on the spot.

    I went to the Judge Advocate General's office and asked to speak to an attorney. I told a JAG Captain officer my story and he advised me to:
    a. Never come back to JAG.
    b. Get a civilian attorney ASAP.

    I subsequently missed my plane for Vietnam three times and was sent new orders with a delayed date each time. I was followed by members of the Los Angeles Field Office, 115th MI Group (or the FBI) during my temporary assignment there. After my third missed plane I received orders to be given a "hardship" discharge at my earliest convenience (April 1, 1971, my wife's birthday).

    For many months after my discharge MI or FBI followed my attempts to obtain employment with visits to the companies where I applied and told the companies NOT to hire me. Many of the companies either had or intended to make employment offers and called me to ask "What the hell was going on?" I was unemployed for over six months due to the follow up punishment.

    CHAOS:

    Many requests (usually imbedded as "additional information requests") for all sorts of information on activists who were "perhaps" associated with the subject of a security background request. Some were clearly illegal. I sent back clearly illegal surveillance requests to 115th MI Group HQ at the Presidio of San Francisco and was told never to do that ... quoting regulations to HQ.

    Dale
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  3. #3

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    One issue I have not summarized is the call from an acquaintance who said he found a connection between Phoenix and Watergate. There is some back story on my communications with congress during the MASA 70-1 class that i'll need to write that will take some time to research. I contacted quite a few people in Washington and while they were sympathetic they were not very willing to say what they were doing. If you have any sources that might be able to assist please feel free to put them in contact with me. Here is a list of names that I had some contact with:
    Staff of Senate Foreign Relations Committee
    Muskey
    Ellender
    Goldwater
    Kennedy
    Cranston


    That is the best I can do for now.


    Dale
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  4. #4

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    Hi Peter,

    I have a few minutes so let me say this as clearly as I can. I gave my whole story to at least a dozen republican and democratic politicians and spoke with eight to ten news organizations ... NO ONE at the time would even discuss it. I've told the story to every person I'm close to in my life. I've paid in damage to my careers, lost income, medical expenses and stress and strain on my wife and me. The information that I sent to members of congress that apparently lead to the DNC's law suit against Nixon and CREEP is out there somewhere but I cannot even get to anyone in the democratic party to discuss it now. This was 45 years ago and my military 201 file is very sparse in terms of any information, much less Phoenix information ... it was cleaned and I've been unsuccessful in getting anything under the freedom of information act. I'm not in need of a fake name, money, protection or anything of the like. I alerted you to the law suit the DNC (Perez) filed against Trump and his campaign that appears to follow the same path as the one against Nixon. If anyone is actually interested in my story put them in touch with me and I'll gladly speak with them about my experiences. You can then easily verify my story, my identity, my career and if you (or one of your cohorts) are a good investigator maybe you can find what has previously been unavailable. Much of the information stated in Phoenix related forum posts is (from what I was taught) incorrect.

    Dale
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  5. #5

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    Thanks for posting this Peter and thank you Dale.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

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