September 12, 2008

Footage Shows McCain on Date of POW Release


By Malin Rising

The Associated Press


Previously unseen footage emerged Thursday showing Republican presidential candidate John McCain as a prisoner of war in Hanoi on the day his Vietnamese captors released him to the U.S. military.

A former reporter from Swedish broadcaster SVT, Erik Eriksson, told The Associated Press that he found the video in the network's archives while researching a book he was writing about his experiences as a Vietnam War correspondent.

The footage was filmed by a North Vietnamese photographer with whom Eriksson had contracted to film the release of U.S. prisoners of war.

AP Television News acquired exclusive worldwide distribution rights to the SVT footage from March 14, 1973, and edited it into a two-minute, 14-second video . SVT posted a 39-second clip on its Web site.

The AP footage begins with prisoners being led out of a Hanoi compound one by one, then climbing onto buses taking them to the hand--over area.

Each prisoner is dressed in a blue-gray, long-sleeved shirt and dark pants and carries a beige jacket. As many as 16 U.S. POWs are seen.

McCain grimaces as he steps off a bus with other prisoners.

He has a pronounced limp and needs to put both feet on the same step before continuing but is not using crutches.

The prisoners stand in rows until a Vietnamese official calls their names. McCain, like other prisoners, briskly walks up to salute and shake hands with U.S. military officers. Although he is only 37, he has white hair. Then the prisoners are seen walking to a U.S. plane.

AP Television News kept to the chronological order of the video.

"This summer when I was preparing the release of my book, we were putting together a DVD with some of my reports from Vietnam and then I thought, 'I wonder if we have McCain here?'

" Eriksson said.

Per Yng, head of SVT's national news, confirmed that Eriksson found the film in the network's archives.

"It's our material, so we can confirm its authenticity," Yng said.

Yng could not confirm the exact date, but the AP was able to by matching the footage with black-and-white AP photographs taken of the POW release.

Originally published by BY MALIN RISING.

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