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Exposing Nixon’s Vietnam Lies

By James DiEugenio | Consortium News | August 10, 2015

nixon-kissinger-1972-300x225Richard Nixon spent years rebuilding his tattered reputation after he resigned from office in disgrace on Aug. 9, 1974. The rehabilitation project was codenamed “The Wizard.” The idea was to position himself as an elder statesman of foreign policy, a Wise Man. And to a remarkable degree – through the sale of his memoirs, his appearance with David Frost in a series of highly rated interviews, and the publication of at least eight books after that – Nixon largely succeeded in his goal.

There was another aspect of that plan: to do all he could to keep his presidential papers and tapes classified, which, through a series of legal maneuvers, he managed to achieve in large part. Therefore, much of what he and Henry Kissinger wrote about in their memoirs could stand, largely unchallenged.

It was not until years after his death that the bulk of the Nixon papers and tapes were opened up to the light of day. And Kissinger’s private papers will not be declassified until five years after his death. With that kind of arrangement, it was fairly easy for Nixon to sell himself as the Sage of San Clemente, but two new books based on the long-delayed declassified record – one by Ken Hughes and the other by William Burr and Jeffrey Kimball – undermine much of Nixon’s rehabilitation.

For instance, in 1985 – at the peak of President Ronald Reagan’s political power – Nixon wrote No More Vietnams, making several dubious claims about the long conflict which included wars of independence by Vietnam against both France and the United States.

In the book, Nixon tried to insinuate that Vietnam was not really one country for a very long time and that the split between north and south was a natural demarcation. He also declared that the Vietnam War had been won under his administration, and he insisted that he never really considered bombing the irrigation dikes, using tactical nuclear weapons, or employing the strategy of a “decent interval” to mask an American defeat for political purposes.

Nixon’s Story

In No More Vietnams, Nixon said that after going through a series of option papers furnished to him by National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, he decided on a five-point program for peace in Vietnam. (Nixon, pgs. 104-07) This program consisted of Vietnamization, i. e., turning over the fighting of the war to the South Vietnamese army (the ARVN); pacification, which was a clear-and-hold strategy for maintaining territory in the south; diplomatic isolation of North Vietnam from its allies, China and the Soviet Union; peace negotiations with very few preconditions; and gradual withdrawal of American combat troops. Nixon asserted that this program was successful.

But the currently declassified record does not support Nixon’s version of history, either in the particulars of what was attempted or in Nixon’s assessment of its success.

When Richard Nixon came into office he was keenly aware of what had happened to his predecessor Lyndon Johnson, who had escalated the war to heights that President Kennedy had never imagined, let alone envisaged. The war of attrition strategy that LBJ and General William Westmoreland had decided upon did not work. And the high American casualties it caused eroded support for the war domestically. Nixon told his Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman that he would not end up like LBJ, a prisoner in his own White House.

Therefore, Nixon wanted recommendations that would shock the enemy, even beyond the massive bombing campaigns and other bloody tactics employed by Johnson. As authors Burr and Kimball note in their new book Nixon’s Nuclear Specter, Nixon was very much influenced by two modes of thought.

First, as Vice President from 1953-61, he was under the tutelage of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and President Dwight Eisenhower, who advocated a policy of nuclear brinksmanship, that is the willingness to threaten nuclear war if need be. Dulles felt that since the United States had a large lead in atomic weapons that the Russians would back down in the face of certain annihilation.

Nixon was also impressed by the alleged threat of President Eisenhower to use atomic weapons if North Korea and China did not bargain in good faith to end the Korean War. Nixon actually talked about this in a private meeting with southern politicians at the 1968 GOP convention. (Burr and Kimball, Chapter 2)

Dulles also threatened to use atomic weapons in Vietnam. Burr and Kimball note the proposal by Dulles to break the Viet Minh’s siege of French troops at Dien Bien Phu by a massive air mission featuring the use of three atomic bombs. Though Nixon claimed in No More Vietnams that the atomic option was not seriously considered (Nixon, p. 30), the truth appears to have been more ambiguous, that Nixon thought the siege could be lifted without atomic weapons but he was not against using them. Eisenhower ultimately vetoed their use when he could not get Great Britain to go along.

Playing the Madman

Later, when in the Oval Office, Nixon tempered this nuclear brinksmanship for the simple reason that the Russians had significantly closed the gap in atomic stockpiles. So, as Burr and Kimball describe it, Nixon and Kissinger wanted to modify the Eisenhower-Dulles brinksmanship with the “uncertainty effect” – or as Nixon sometimes called it, the Madman Theory. In other words, instead of overtly threatening to use atomic bombs, Nixon would have an intermediary pass on word to the North Vietnamese leadership that Nixon was so unhinged that he might resort to nuclear weapons if he didn’t get his way. Or, as Nixon explained to Haldeman, if you act crazy, the incredible becomes credible:

“They’ll believe any threat of force that Nixon makes because it’s Nixon. I call it the Madman Theory, Bob. I want the North Vietnamese to believe I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We’ll just slip the word to them that ‘for God’s sake you know Nixon is obsessed about communism. We can’t restrain him when he’s angry — and he has his hand on the nuclear button.’”

Nixon believed this trick would work, saying “Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days begging for peace.”

Kissinger once told special consultant Leonard Garment to convey to the Soviets that Nixon was somewhat nutty and unpredictable. Kissinger bought into the concept so much so that he was part of the act: the idea was for Nixon to play the “bad cop” and Kissinger the “good cop.”

Another reason that Nixon and Kissinger advocated the Madman Theory was that they understood that Vietnamization and pacification would take years. And they did not think they could sustain public opinion on the war for that long. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and Secretary of State William Rogers both thought they could, their opinions were peripheral because Nixon and Kissinger had concentrated the foreign policy apparatus in the White House.

Playing for Time

Privately, Nixon did not think America could win the war, so he wanted to do something unexpected, shocking, “over the top.” As Burr and Kimball note, in 1969, Nixon told his speechwriters Ray Price, Pat Buchanan and Richard Whalen: “I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no way to win the war. But we can’t say that, of course. In fact we have to seem to say the opposite, just to keep some degree of bargaining leverage.”

In a phone call with Kissinger, Nixon said, “In Saigon, the tendency is to fight the war for victory. … But you and I know it won’t happen – it is impossible. Even Gen. Abrams agreed.”

These ideas were expressed very early in 1969 in a document called NSSM-1, a study memorandum – as opposed to an action memorandum – with Kissinger asking for opinions on war strategy from those directly involved. The general consensus was that the other side had “options over which we have little or no control” which would help them “continue the war almost indefinitely.” (ibid, Chapter 3)

Author Ken Hughes in Fatal Politics agrees. Nixon wanted to know if South Vietnam could survive without American troops there. All of the military figures he asked replied that President Nguyen van Thieu’s government could not take on both the Viet Cong and the regular North Vietnamese army. And, the United States could not help South Vietnam enough for it to survive on its own. (Hughes, pgs. 14-15)

As Hughes notes, Nixon understood that this bitter truth needed maximum spin to make it acceptable for the public. So he said, “Shall we leave Vietnam in a way that – by our own actions – consciously turns the country over to the Communists? Or shall we leave in a way that gives the South Vietnamese a reasonable chance to survive as a free people? My plan will end American involvement in a way that will provide that chance.” (ibid, p. 15)

If the U.S. media allowed the argument to be framed like that — which it did — then the hopeless cause did have a political upside. As Kissinger told Nixon, “The only consolation we have … is that the people who put us into this position are going to be destroyed by the right. … They are going to be destroyed. The liberals and radicals are going to be killed. This is, above all, a rightwing country.” (ibid, p. 19)

Could anything be less honest, less democratic or more self-serving? Knowing that their critics were correct, and that the war could not be won, Nixon and Kissinger wanted to portray the people who were right about the war as betraying both America and South Vietnam.

Political Worries

Just how calculated was Nixon about America’s withdrawal from Vietnam? Republican Sen. Hugh Scott warned him about getting out by the end of 1972, or “another man may be standing on the platform” on Inauguration Day 1973. (ibid, p. 23) Nixon told his staff that Scott should not be saying things like this in public.

But, in private, the GOP actually polled on the issue. It was from these polls that Nixon tailored his speeches. He understood that only 39 percent of the public approved a Dec. 31, 1971 withdrawal, if it meant a U.S. defeat. When the question was posed as withdrawal, even if it meant a communist takeover, the percentage declined to 27 percent. Nixon studied the polls assiduously. He told Haldeman, “That’s the word. We say Communist takeover.” (ibid, p. 24)

The polls revealed another hot button issue: getting our POW’s back. This was even more sensitive with the public than the “Communist takeover” issue. Therefore, during a press conference, when asked about Scott’s public warning, Nixon replied that the date of withdrawal should not be related to any election day. The important thing was that he “didn’t want one American to be in Vietnam one day longer than is necessary to achieve the two goals that I have mentioned: the release of our prisoners and the capacity of the South Vietnamese to defend themselves against a Communist takeover.” He then repeated that meme two more times. The press couldn’t avoid it. (Hughes, p. 25)

Still, although Nixon and Kissinger understood they could not win the war in a conventional sense, they were willing to try other methods in the short run to get a better and quicker settlement, especially if it included getting North Vietnamese troops out of South Vietnam. Therefore, in 1969, he and Kissinger elicited suggestions from inside the White House, the Pentagon, the CIA, and Rand Corporation, through Daniel Ellsberg. These included a limited invasion of North Vietnam and Laos, mining the harbors and bombing the north, a full-scale invasion of North Vietnam, and operations in Cambodia.

Or as Kissinger put it, “We should … develop alternate plans for possible escalating military actions with the motive of convincing the Soviets that the war may get out of hand.” Kissinger also said that bombing Cambodia would convey the proper message to Moscow.

If anything shows that Kissinger was as backward in his thinking about Indochina as Nixon, this does. For as Burr and Kimball show — through Dobrynin’s memos to Moscow — the Russians could not understand why the White House would think the Kremlin had such influence with Hanoi. Moscow wanted to deal on a variety of issues, including arms agreements and the Middle East.

So far from Kissinger’s vaunted “linkage” theory furthering the agenda with Russia, it’s clear from Dobrynin that it hindered that agenda. In other words, the remnants of a colonial conflict in the Third World were stopping progress in ameliorating the Cold War. This was the subtotal of the Nixon/Kissinger geopolitical accounting sheet.

Judging Kissinger on Vietnam

Just how unbalanced was Kissinger on Vietnam? In April 1969, there was a shoot-down of an American observation plane off the coast of Korea. When White House adviser John Ehrlichman asked Kissinger how far the escalation could go, Kissinger replied it could go nuclear.

In a memo to Nixon, Kissinger advised using tactical nuclear weapons. He wrote that “all hell would break loose for two months”, referring to domestic demonstrations. But he then concluded that the end result would be positive: “there will be peace in Asia.”

Kissinger was referring, of course, to the effectiveness of the Madman Theory. In reading these two books, it is often hard to decipher who is more dangerous in their thinking, Nixon or Kissinger.

In the first phase of their approach to the Vietnam issue, Nixon and Kissinger decided upon two alternatives. The first was the secret bombing of Cambodia. In his interview with David Frost, Nixon expressed no regrets about either the bombing or the invasion. In fact, he said, he wished he had done it sooner, which is a puzzling statement because the bombing of Cambodia was among the first things he authorized. Nixon told Frost that the bombing and the later invasion of Cambodia had positive results: they garnered a lot of enemy supplies, lowered American casualties in Vietnam, and hurt the Viet Cong war effort.

Frost did not press the former president with the obvious follow-up: But Mr. Nixon, you started another war and you helped depose Cambodia’s charismatic ruler, Prince Sihanouk. And because the Viet Cong were driven deeper into Cambodia, Nixon then began bombing the rest of the country, not just the border areas, leading to the victory of the radical Khmer Rouge and the deaths of more than one million Cambodians.

This all indicates just how imprisoned Nixon and Kissinger were by the ideas of John Foster Dulles and his visions of a communist monolith with orders emanating from Moscow’s Comintern, a unified global movement controlled by the Kremlin. Like the Domino Theory, this was never sound thinking. In fact, the Sino-Soviet border dispute, which stemmed back to 1962, showed that communist movements were not monolithic. So the idea that Moscow could control Hanoi, or that the communists in Cambodia were controlled by the Viet Cong, this all ended up being disastrously wrong.

As Sihanouk told author William Shawcross after the Cambodian catastrophe unfolded, General Lon Nol, who seized power from Prince Sihanouk, was nothing without the military actions of Nixon and Kissinger, and “the Khmer Rouge were nothing without Lon Nol.” (Shawcross, Sideshow, p. 391)

But further, as Shawcross demonstrates, the immediate intent of the Cambodian invasion was to seek and destroy the so-called COSVN, the supposed command-and-control base for the communist forces in South Vietnam supposedly based on the border inside Cambodia. No such command center was ever found. (ibid, p. 171)

Why the Drop in Casualties?

As for Nixon’s other claim, American casualties declined in Indochina because of troop rotation, that is, the ARVN were pushed to the front lines with the Americans in support. Or as one commander said after the Cambodian invasion: it was essential that American fatalities be cut back, “If necessary, we must do it by edict.” (ibid, p. 172)

But this is not all that Nixon tried in the time frame of 1969-70, his first two years in office. At Kissinger’s request he also attempted a secret mission to Moscow by Wall Street lawyer Cyrus Vance. Part of Kissinger’s linkage theory, Vance was to tell the Soviets that if they leaned on Hanoi to accept a Nixonian framework for negotiations, then the administration would be willing to deal on other fronts, and there would be little or no escalation. The negotiations on Vietnam included a coalition government, and the survival of Thieu’s government for at least five years, which would have been two years beyond the 1972 election. (As we shall see, this is the beginning of the final “decent interval” strategy.)

The Vance mission was coupled with what Burr and Kimball call a “mining ruse.” The Navy would do an exercise to try and make the Russians think they were going to mine Haiphong and five other North Vietnamese harbors. Yet, for reasons stated above, Nixon overrated linkage, and the tactic did not work. But as Kissinger said, “If in doubt, we bomb Cambodia.” Which they did.

As the authors note, Nixon had urged President Johnson in 1967 to extend the bombing throughout Indochina, into Cambodia and Laos. Johnson had studied these and other options but found too many liabilities. He had even studied the blockading of ports but concluded that Hanoi would compensate for a blockade in a relatively short time by utilizing overland routes and off-shore unloading.

But what Johnson did not factor in was the Nixon/Kissinger Madman Theory. For example, when a State Department representative brought up the overall military ineffectiveness of the Cambodian bombing, Kissinger replied, “That doesn’t bother me … we’ll hit something.” He also told an assistant, “Always keep them guessing.” The problem was, the “shock effect” ended up being as mythical as linkage.

In 1969, after the failure of the Vance mission, the mining ruse, the warnings to Dobrynin, and the continued bombing of Cambodia, which went on in secret for 14 months, Nixon still had not given up on his Madman Theory. He sent a message to Hanoi saying that if a resolution was not in the works by November, “he will regretfully find himself obliged to have recourse to measures of great consequence and force.”

What were these consequences? Nixon had wanted to mine Haiphong for a long time. But, as did Johnson, he was getting different opinions about its effectiveness. So he considered massive interdiction bombing of the north coupled with a blockade of Sihanoukville, the Cambodian port that was part of the Ho Chi Minh trail apparatus on the west coast of Cambodia.

Plus one other tactic: Kissinger suggested to his staff that the interdiction bombing use tactical nuclear weapons for overland passes near the Chinese border. But the use of tactical nukes would have created an even greater domestic disturbance than the Cambodian invasion had done. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird objected to the whole agenda. He said it would not be effective and it would create too much domestic strife.

Backing Up Threats

So Nixon and Kissinger decided on something short of the nuclear option. After all, Nixon had sent a veiled ultimatum to Hanoi about “great consequence and force.” They had to back it up. The two decided on a worldwide nuclear alert instead, a giant nuclear war exercise that would simulate actual military maneuvers in attempting to mimic what the U.S. would do if it were preparing for a nuclear strike.

As Burr and Kimball write, this was another outmoded vestige of 1950s Cold War thinking: “It was intended to signal Washington’s anger at Moscow’s support of North Vietnam and to jar the Soviet leaders into using their leverage to induce Hanoi to make diplomatic concessions.” (Burr and Kimball, Chapter 9)

It was designed to be detected by the Soviets, but not detectable at home. For instance, the DEFCON levels were not actually elevated. The alert went on for about three weeks, with all kinds of military maneuvers at sea and on land. Finally, Dobrynin called for a meeting. Kissinger was buoyant. Maybe the ploy had worked.

But it didn’t. The ambassador was angry and upset, but not about the alert. He said that while the Russians wanted to deal on nuclear weapons, Nixon was as obsessed with Vietnam as LBJ was. In other words, Dobrynin and the Soviets were perceptive about what was really happening. Nixon tried to salvage the meeting with talk about how keeping American fatalities low in Vietnam would aid détente, which further blew the cover off the nuclear alert.

Burr and Kimball show just how wedded the self-styled foreign policy mavens were to the Madman Theory. After the meeting, Nixon realized he had not done well in accordance with the whole nuclear alert, Madman idea. He asked Kissinger to bring back Dobrynin so they could play act the Madman idea better.

The authors then note that, although Haiphong was later mined, the mining was not effective, as Nixon had been warned. In other words, the Madman idea and linkage were both duds.

Nixon and Kissinger then turned to Laird’s plan, a Vietnamization program, a mix of U.S. troop withdrawals, turning more of the fighting over to the ARVN, and negotiations. The November 1969 Madman timetable was tossed aside and the long haul of gradual U.S. disengagement was being faced. Accordingly, Nixon and Kissinger started sending new messages to the north. And far from isolating Hanoi, both China and Russia served as messengers for these new ideas.

The White House told Dobrynin that after all American troops were out, Vietnam would no longer be America’s concern. In extension of this idea, America would not even mind if Vietnam was unified under Hanoi leadership.

Kissinger told the Chinese that America would not return after withdrawing. In his notebooks for his meeting with Zhou En Lai, Kissinger wrote, “We want a decent interval. You have our assurances.” (Burr and Kimball, Epilogue)

Timing the Departure

But when would the American troops depart? As Ken Hughes writes, Nixon at first wanted the final departure to be by December of 1971. But Kissinger talked him out of this. It was much safer politically to have the final withdrawal after the 1972 election. If Saigon fell after, it was too late to say Nixon’s policies were responsible. (Fatal Politics, p. 3)

Kissinger also impressed on Nixon the need not to announce a timetable in advance. Since all their previous schemes had failed, they had to have some leverage for the Paris peace talks.

But there was a problem. The exposure of the secret bombing of Cambodia began to put pressure on Congress to begin to cut off funding for those operations. Therefore, when Nixon also invaded Laos, this was done with ARVN troops. It did not go very well, but that did not matter to Nixon: “However Laos comes out, we have got to claim it was a success.” (Hughes, p. 14)

While there was little progress at the official negotiations, that too was irrelevant because Kissinger had arranged for so-called “secret talks” at a residential home in Paris. There was no headway at these talks until late May 1971. Prior to this, Nixon had insisted on withdrawal of North Vietnamese troops from South Vietnam.

But in May, Kissinger reversed himself on two issues. First, there would be no American residual force left behind. Second, there would be a cease-fire in place. That is, no withdrawal of North Vietnamese troops. As Kissinger said to Nixon, they would still be free to bomb the north, but “the only problem is to prevent the collapse in 1972.” (ibid, pgs. 27-28) The Decent Interval strategy was now the modus operandi.

And this strategy would serve Nixon’s reelection interests, too. As Kissinger told Nixon, “If we can, in October of ’72 go around the country saying we ended the war and the Democrats wanted to turn it over to the communists … then we’re in great shape.” To which Nixon replied, “I know exactly what we’re up to.” (ibid, p. 29) Since this was all done in secret, they could get away with a purely political ploy even though it resulted in the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians. All this was done to make sure Nixon was reelected and the Democrats looked like wimps.

Kissinger understood this linkage between the war’s illusionary success and politics. He reminded Nixon, “If Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam go down the drain in September of 1972, they they’ll say you went into those … you spoiled so many lives, just to wind up where you could have been in the first year.” (ibid, p. 30)

In fact, the President’s February 1972 trip to China was directly related to the slow progress on Vietnam. Kissinger said, “For every reason, we’ve got to have a diversion from Vietnam in this country for awhile.” To which Nixon replied, “That’s the point isn’t it?” (ibid, p.32)

A Decent Interval

In preparations for China, Kissinger told Zhou En Lai that Nixon needed an interval of a year or two after American departure for Saigon to fall. (ibid, p. 35) He told Zhou, “The outcome of my logic is that we are putting a time interval between the military outcome and the political outcome.” (ibid, p. 79)

But aware of this, Hanoi made one last push for victory with the Easter Offensive of 1972. Remarkably successful at first, air power managed to stall it and then push it back. During this giant air operation, Nixon returned to his Foster Dulles brinksmanship form, asking Kissinger, should we “take the dikes out now?”

Kissinger replied, “That will drown about 200,000 people.”

Nixon said, “Well no, no … I’d rather use a nuclear bomb. Have you got that ready?”

When Kissinger demurred by saying Nixon wouldn’t use it anyway, the President replied, “I just want you to think big Henry, for Christ’s sake.” (Burr and Kimball, Epilogue)

The American press took the wrong message from this. What it actually symbolized was that Saigon could not survive without massive American aid and firepower. (Hughes, p. 61) But even with this huge air campaign, the Pentagon figured that the north could keep up its war effort for at least two more years, even with interdiction bombing.

The political ramification of the renewed fighting was that it pushed the final settlement back in time, which Nixon saw as a political benefit, a tsunami for his reelection.

Nixon: “The advantage, Henry, of trying to settle now, even if you’re ten points ahead, is that that will ensure a hell of a landslide.”

Kissinger: “If we can get that done, then we can screw them after Election Day if necessary. And I think this could finish the destruction of McGovern” [the Democratic presidential nominee].

Nixon: “Oh yes, and the doves, which is just as important.”

The next day, Aug. 3, 1972, Kissinger returned to the theme: “So we’ve got to find some formula that holds the thing together a year or two, after which — after a year, Mr. President, Vietnam will be a backwater… no one will give a damn.” (Hughes, pgs. 84-85)

All of this history renders absurd the speeches of Ronald Reagan at the time: “President Nixon’s idealism is such that he believes the people of South Vietnam should have the opportunity to live under whatever form of government … they themselves choose.” (Hughes, p. 86) While Reagan was whistling in the dark, the Hanoi negotiator Le Duc Tho understood what was happening. He even said to Kissinger, “reunification will be decided upon after a suitable interval following the signing.”

Kissinger and Nixon even knew the whole election commission idea for reunification was a joke. Kissinger called it, “all baloney. … There’ll never be elections.” Nixon agreed by saying that the war will then resume, but “we’ll be gone.” (ibid, p. 88)

Thieu’s Complaint

The problem in October 1972 was not Hanoi; it was President Thieu. He understood that with 150,000 North Vietnamese regulars in the south, the writing was on the wall for his future. So Kissinger got reassurances from Hanoi that they would not use the Ho Chi Minh Trail after America left, though Kissinger and Nixon knew this was a lie. (ibid, p. 94)

When Thieu still balked, Nixon said he would sign the agreement unilaterally. How badly did Kissinger steamroll Thieu? When he brought him the final agreements to sign, Thieu noticed that they only referred to three countries being in Indochina: Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam. Kissinger tried to explain this away as a mistake. (Hughes, p. 118)

When Kissinger announced in October 1972 that peace was at hand, he understood this was false but it was political gold.

Nixon: “Of course, the point is, they think you’ve got peace. . . but that’s all right,. Let them think it.” (ibid, p. 132)

Nixon got Senators Barry Goldwater and John Stennis to debate cutting off aid for Saigon. This got Thieu to sign. (ibid, p. 158)

In January 1973, the agreement was formalized. It was all a sham. There was no lull in the fighting, there were no elections, and there was no halt in the supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. As the military knew, Saigon was no match for the Viet Cong and the regular army of North Vietnam. And Thieu did not buy the letters Nixon wrote him about resumed bombing if Hanoi violated the treaty.

But Nixon had one more trick up his sleeve, which he pulled out as an excuse for the defeat in his 1985 book, No More Vietnams. He wrote that Congress lost the “victory” he had won by gradually cutting off aid to Indochina beginning in 1973. (Nixon, p. 178)

It’s true that the Democratic caucuses did vote for this, but anyone can tell by looking at the numbers that Nixon could have sustained a veto if he tried. And, in fact, he had vetoed a bill to ban American bombing in Cambodia on June 27 with the House falling 35 votes short in the override attempt.

Rep. Gerald Ford, R-Michigan, rose and said, “If military action is required in Southeast Asia after August 15, 1973, … the President will ask congressional authority and will abide by the decision that is made by the House and Senate.”

The Democrats didn’t buy Ford’s assurance. So Ford called Nixon and returned to the podium to say Nixon had reaffirmed his pledge. With that, the borderline Republicans joined in a shut-off vote of 278-124. In the Senate the vote was 64-26. (Hughes, p. 165)

Having Congress take the lead meant that Nixon did not have to even think of revisiting Vietnam. He could claim he was stabbed in the back by Congress. As Hughes notes, it would have been better for Congress politically to double the funding requests just to show it was all for show.

As Hughes writes, this strategy of arranging a phony peace, which disguised an American defeat, was repeated in Iraq. President George W. Bush rejected troop withdrawals in 2007 and then launched “the surge,” which cost another 1,000 American lives but averted an outright military defeat on Bush’s watch. Bush then signed an agreement with his hand-picked Iraqi government, allowing American troops to remain in Iraq for three more years and passing the disaster on to President Barack Obama.

Hughes ends by writing that Nixon’s myth of a “victory” in Vietnam masks cowardice for political courage and replaces patriotism with opportunism. Nixon prolonged a lost war. He then faked a peace. And he then schemed to shift the blame onto Congress.

As long as that truth is masked, other presidents can play politics with the lives hundred of thousands of innocent civilians, and tens of thousands of American soldiers.

At Nixon’s 1994 funeral, Kissinger tried to commemorate their legacy by listing their foreign policy achievements. The first one he listed was a peace agreement in Vietnam. The last one was the airing of a human rights agenda that helped break apart the Soviet domination in Eastern Europe. These two books make those declarations not just specious, but a bit obscene.


James DiEugenio is a researcher and writer on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and other mysteries of that era. His most recent book is Reclaiming Parkland.

August 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scioli Vows to Keep Argentina on Progressive Path as President


Argentina’s Daniel Scioli (R) during a press conference in Buenos Aires, Aug. 10, 2015. | Photo: teleSUR
teleSUR | August 10, 2015

After winning Sunday’s presidential primaries in Argentina, the ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli promised to continue progressive social programs if he wins the general election to be held on October 25, at a press conference Monday.

With more than 90 percent of Sunday’s votes counted, Scioli leads the race with more than 38 percent of the vote cast, against his closest rival, the opponent Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri who reached 22 percent in the ballots.

At the press conference the candidate of current President Cristina Fernandez’s Front for Victory party said he is seeking to show all Argentinians who voted for him and also those who didn’t, that he will continue a project of government that has taken the country in the right direction.

“This is a new chapter, Argentina is free of debt and the social programs are the backbone of our programs, we will continue showing the people that their confidence in us is being rewarded.” Scioli said and revealed that his current strategy includes also an ambitious international agenda.

The candidate will travel to China and Russia in order to ratify agreements that have been reached in sectors like construction and education, but also substantial investments in general.

Scioli ended saying that his campaign will try now to reach “other political forces, independent and undecided voters to persuade them from their current position” ahead the October general elections.

August 10, 2015 Posted by | Economics | , | Leave a comment

How rejecting neoliberalism rescued Bolivia’s economy


CONALCAM brings Bolivia’s main indigenous and popular organisations together with state representatives to coordinate and debate economic policies.
By Fred Fuentes | Green Left | August 10, 2015

The small Andean nation of Bolivia has received praise from many quarters due to the economic transformation it has undergone over the past decade.

Curiosity regarding this conversion from “economic basket case” to the fastest growing economy in the region has been heightened by the fact it occurred under left-wing president Evo Morales. Understanding how the Morales’ government achieved this transformation is of great interest for those seeking an alternative to crisis-ridden neoliberalism.

Before Morales’ election in December 2005, Bolivians suffered through 20 years of neoliberalism. Successive right-wing governments privatised state-owned companies and handed over control of important chunks of the state to international financial institutions.

As public revenue shrank, the country entered a vicious cycle of deficits and debt. Each new budget required further international loans that were always accompanied by greater restrictive conditions. International loans and aid ended up covering about half of Bolivia’s public investment.

However, since electing their first indigenous president in a nation with a majority of previously excluded indigenous peoples, Bolivians have experienced economic growth rates higher than any period during the past three and a half decades.

At the same time, inequality has been greatly lessened and public debt brought under control. These successes are the result of the government’s overall strategy of focusing on recovering sovereignty over the economy and state.


When Morales was sworn into office in January 2006, he said: “After hearing the reports from the transition commissions, I have seen how the state does not control the state and its institutions. There is a total dependency.”

He described Bolivia as “a transnationalised country” and noted that, under the pretext of “capitalisation” — a euphemism for privatisation — “the country has been decapitalised”.

Morales said, therefore, Bolivia needed “to nationalise our natural resources and put in process a new economic model”.

This new model, known as the “New Economic, Social, Communitarian and Productive Model”, has sought to roll back neoliberalism by:

• Reasserting state sovereignty over the economy, particularly Bolivia’s natural resources;

• Breaking out of Bolivia’s traditional position as an exporter of primary materials by industrialising these resources;

• Promoting productive sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture;

• Redistributing the nation’s wealth to tackle poverty; and

• Strengthening the organisational capacity of working class and campesino (peasant) forces as the two essential pillars of the transition to socialism in Bolivia.

According to the minster of the economy Luis Arce Catacora, this economic model rests on two pillars: strategic sectors, such as hydrocarbons and mining, which generate rent; and productive sectors, such as manufacturing, tourism, housing and agriculture, which generate profits and jobs.

To break the economy’s dependency on raw material exports, the government has begun using rent generated in the strategic sector to industrialise natural resources and promote productive sectors, with an emphasis on collective, cooperative, and family-based enterprises.

A key plank of the new economic model was the May 2006 nationalisation of the hydrocarbon sector. Before nationalisation, transnational capital claimed 82% of the wealth generated by gas royalties. Under the new system, the state keeps about 80% of gas rent.

This means the total amount of gas revenue received by the Bolivian government during Morales’s first six years was about seven times greater than that obtained during the previous five years.

Revenue collection is set to rise further as Bolivia starts to export value-added processed gas as a result of its industrialisation program.

The Morales government has also carried out nationalisations in other strategic sectors such as mining, telecommunications and electricity. Taken as a whole, these nationalisations have enabled the state to become the largest player in the economy.

Unlike transnational capital, whose sole motivation is profits, the state has directed its economic activities towards ensuring Bolivians have greater access to basic services.

Within the first five years of the Morales government, the number of households with gas connections had risen by 835%. The percentage of rural households with access to electricity jumped from 20% to 50% and the number of municipalities with telecommunications coverage has gone from 110 to 324 out of 339.

Bolivians have also benefited increased spending on health and education, the introduction of social security benefits, wage rises and price controls on staple foods.

These pro-poor policies have helped push a surge in internal demand. This has been the real driving force in Bolivia’s spectacular economic growth. External demand — hit by the global economic crisis — had a negative impact on growth. But internal demand rose at an average 5.2% a year between 2006 and 2012.

State redistribution of funds has also helped fuel a dramatic rise in the number of registered enterprises – from less than 20,000 in 2005 to more 96,000 by mid-2013. This in turn has created jobs, leading to a big fall in unemployment.

To help foster the “communitarian” (collectively run) sector, the government has experimented with small state-owned enterprises in food processing, gold and cardboard production. The plan is to hand these companies over to local communities to run.

Furthermore, more than 20 million hectares of land have been handed over to campesino communities as communitarian property or placed under the direct control of the land’s indigenous owners. Small agricultural producers now have preferential access to equipment, supplies, no-interest loans and state-subsidised markets.

Refounding the state

These economic advances have been accompanied by changes in the political arena aiming to empower Bolivia’s indigenous and popular classes.

The Morales government continues to function within the framework of deeply entrenched capitalist culture and social relations. But it has been able to use the increased revenue from gas nationalisation to break its dependency on international funding and begin “nationalising” the state.

As taxes and royalties collected by the state went from 28% of GDP in 2004 to 45% in 2010, public debt dropped from 90% of GDP in 2003 to 31.5% in 2012.

This strong economic position has allowed the government to dictate its own domestic and foreign policy, free from impositions set by international financial institutions.

Today, it is not US or International Monetary Fund officials who develop government policies; instead, Bolivia’s social movements play this role. To facilitate this process, the government initiated the National Coalition for Change (CONALCAM) in 2007.

CONALCAM brings together Bolivia’s main indigenous and popular organisations with state representatives to coordinate and debate strategies.

When debates between the government and its social base have spilled out onto the street, the government sought dialogue and consensus. It has retreated where necessary, but always tried to continue to drive the process forward.

The most important step taken by the Morales government in the political sphere was convening an elected Constituent Assembly. Established to rewrite Bolivia’s constitution, the assembly’s goal was to create a new “plurinational” state that finally recognised the previously excluded indigenous “nations” and provided them with a legal framework to help advance their demands.

Bolivia’s traditional capitalist elites tried to block the changes pushed by the Constituent Assembly. Their opposition to the threat to their interests from a new constitution triggered their unsuccessful September 2008 coup attempt.

The profound nature of the class mobilisations during this period, combined with the Morales government’s ability to expand and unite its support base among the indigenous working classes, the military and internationally, was the key factor in its ability to crush the right-wing revolt.

Notwithstanding some important weaknesses, the final version of the constitution approved at the end of 2008 is generally viewed as a significant achievement of the social movements. It satisfies three key social movement demands: plurinationalism, indigenous autonomy and popular control over natural resources.

The new constitution has facilitated the process of “decolonising” the state. For example, it paved the way for Bolivia’s first popular elections to elect judicial authorities.

After the October 2010 elections, a record number of women (50%) and indigenous people (40%) flooded into a judiciary, whose membership was previously restricted to those with connections to the traditional ruling parties of the old elite.

‘Govern by obeying’

The Morales government has showed that an alternative to neoliberalism is possible. At the heart of this alternative has been the recovery of popular control over the state and economy. The results are plain to see.

None of this has been easy: the government has had to face down a right-wing revolt that threatened to become a military coup. It also had to deal with an inherited capitalist state apparatus that is largely ill-equipped to implement progressive reforms.

Finally, it has faced protests from among its own supporters who have mobilised to raise their particular sectoral demands.

Despite this, 10 years on, the Morales government maintains the support of most Bolivians. This has been possible because the majority agree with their government’s strategy and because Morales has remained true to his word of “governing by obeying” the people.

Those seeking lessons from Bolivia’s example should also learn from this approach to governing.

August 10, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , | 2 Comments

COLOMBIA: Campesino lives matter too—racism in U.S. aerial coca fumigation policy

By Phil Hart | CPTnet | August 10, 2015

I’ve claimed to be an organic gardener since I originally started planting vegetables in SE Ohio in the early 1970s. At the same time, I confess to having used Roundup and a few other herbicides to deal with poison ivy and a few other invasive species that were frustrating me. I apply it as sparingly and specifically as possible, never when windy or wet.

Here in Colombia this spring when we were sitting in a restaurant watching the mid­day news on the TV I was stunned to see video of US planes flown by US contractors aerial spraying US­ supplied glyphosate on suspected coca farms (the plant used to make cocaine). Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup. Everything I knew about applying this chemical said aerial spraying had to be a bad idea.

The practice is making the news because in March the World Health Organization’s research arm issued its finding that Glyphosate probably causes cancer. 1) Then on 9 May President Santos called for a ban on all aerial coca fumigation. It has been a controversial program with opponents likening it to Agent Orange use during the Viet Nam War. Residents in the areas of spraying report the loss of food crops, and various illnesses have been linked to the practice. The cancer link has moved Colombia’s Health Ministry to support the ban.

According to Adam Isaacson of the Washington Office on Latin America, the US has spent nearly two billion dollars, paying for the spraying of sixteen acres for every one-acre of coca reduced over the last twenty years. He sees Colombia’s use of glyphosate as a substitute for actual governance in the remote areas where resident access to traditional agricultural markets is virtually non­existent for lack of infrastructure. (2)

Proponents of this kind of aerial spraying are few. Colombia is the only coca producing country that has allowed aerial fumigation. The US, one of the last countries to support the practice, says that in the long run the benefits outweigh the risks. They point to the decline in coca production since 2008. (But see footnote) (3) They also point to GPS units now installed in the planes that allow complaints from farmers to be promptly investigated.

And this is where I’d like to point out two things that I have learned working in Colombia with Christian Peacemaker Teams over the past seven years. First, there is no such thing as a prompt investigation of any incident that involves rural farmers or indigenous people in Colombia. Specific incidents of violence often see weeks pass before police arrive to investigate. There is no reason to expect a crop failure to be investigated any more quickly. But the bigger, more subtle, violation of human rights is the US position that essentially says, “Yes, there is a risk of collateral civilian damage in Colombia, but we are saving American lives and money by keeping cocaine out of our country.”

To this I say, campesino lives matter, too. I cannot imagine the public outcry if the federal government were to begin aerial spraying of Roundup in rural communities to control marijuana planting in the US. How can we continue to treat citizens of other countries as if their lives do not have the same value as American lives?

Colombia’s justice minister recently asked the United Nations to come up with alternative policies to combat drugs, claiming “we declared a war that hasn’t been won. Because of this, it will be imperative to on a global level come up with and agree on policies and interventions that allow us to respond to this enormous challenge in a more humane, intelligent and effective way.” (2)

I totally agree.


(1)NYT March 22, 2015

(2) Washington Office on Latin America…

(3) The proponents are having a hard time explaining why a 14% increase in spraying in 2014 led to a 21% to 39% surge in the total area of land area under coca cultivation. CR – Santos calls for ban, May 10­calls­for­ban­on­aerial­coca­fumigation­in­colombia/

August 10, 2015 Posted by | Environmentalism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Obama is Setting his Sights on Armed Intervention in Syria

By Nikolai BOBKIN – Strategic Culture Foundation – 08.08.2015

At a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the White House on Aug. 4, US President Barack Obama stated that Syria needs a “realistic political process” to settle its internal armed conflict, which would “lead to a stabilizing of the country and a transition to a government that is reflective of all the people of Syria.” A few days earlier, the US president had authorized the use of US aircraft to defend the ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition troops (trained by the Pentagon), in case they were attacked by the Syrian army. The Americans have already launched the first air strikes in support of the rebels.

National Security Council spokesman Alistair Baskey warned that Washington is ready to offer broader military aid to opposition forces in Syria. This will take the Syrian crisis – which has already gone on for four years – to a whole new level: for the first time US forces could be drawn into a direct clash with the Syrian army.

Washington still seeks regime change in Syria and the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power. The Military Times notes that for the first time since the air strikes against Syrian targets began a year ago, the US military now has an ally on the ground. Their small numbers do not bother the US president – what is important is the shift in the wind, and that is strong enough for the Americans to manifest a willingness for direct, armed intervention in Syria.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated at an Aug. 3 2015 press conference in Qatar that America’s plans are counterproductive and hampering the fight against the Islamic State (IS). Russia is pushing for an immediate end to foreign interference in the Syrian crisis and a stop to the bloodshed. Moscow is not offering its unconditional support to any party to this conflict, except for the Syrian people. But the Russians are in no way discounting the threat posed by IS. Russia is providing military and technical support to both Syria and Iraq in order to combat this threat, cooperating with the governments of both countries. “We have every reason to believe that, without this support, this terrorist organization (IS) would have captured hundreds or even thousands more square kilometers of territory,” Russia’s top diplomat stressed.

The US administration prefers to ignore Russia’s role in the battle against the terrorists of the Islamic State, focusing instead on the Pentagon’s statistics. Over the past 12 months, the US and its allies have carried out a total of nearly 6,000 attacks on IS positions (3,570 in Iraq and 2,267 in Syria). During this period, about 17,000 bombs and missiles were dropped and delivered. However, given the current scuffle over the White House being waged between the Democrats and Republicans, it is becoming increasingly difficult for President Obama to explain to voters why the measures his administration has taken against IS have been so ineffective. After all, they have spent a lot of money with nothing to show for it. For example, it costs between $1,000 (for a Predator or Reaper) and $7,000 (for a Global Hawk) per hour to fly a reconnaissance drone.

One quarter of all the staff of the CIA and other intelligence agencies are employed as part of counter-terrorism programs, and that price tag tops $15 billion each year.

But despite all this, IS is only getting stronger. That terrorist pseudo-state has found sources of self-financing (the air strikes have not stopped oil production), is imposing its rule in the vast areas seized last year in Syria and Iraq, and quickly replenishes its ranks depleted by combat casualties, using mercenary ‘jihad warriors’ from around the world. According to US intelligence estimates, IS controls about 30,000 combat troops. IS is gradually carving out a zone of influence in Libya, Egypt, and Afghanistan. This is ultimately less than reassuring, and it leaves the Obama administration increasingly vulnerable to criticism from his Republican opponents.

Meanwhile President Obama is maintaining his insistence on a regime change in Damascus. And in its relations with Baghdad, the current US administration is more fearful of Tehran’s growing influence in Iraq than the actual threat posed by IS. The White House has still not made up its mind what is more important in the Middle East – fighting against the growing power of IS terrorists or continuing its own confrontation with both Syria and her backer, Iran.

Meanwhile, America’s Arab allies in the Gulf will not commit themselves to anything beyond declaring their intention to fight IS. Saudi Arabia has engineered a war with Yemen in order to prevent Iran’s influence from expanding there. By destroying Yemen’s Shiite Houthis, Riyadh is striking a blow at Tehran, which, it must be said, is providing quite substantial support to the government of Iraq in its confrontation with the forces of the Islamic State in the east. It is telling that, under the onslaught of Shiite militias, IS is pulling back and losing the areas it had previously occupied in Iraq’s eastern regions on the Iraqi border.

Obama’s decision to render military support to the pro-American opposition in Syria looks like a calculated maneuver. There is now a danger that America’s NATO allies might also enlist in this adventure. Air strikes will be launched from air bases in Turkey, so if Syria decides to retaliate, the war will then spill over that country’s borders.

Information has already come to light about the actions of British special forces in Syria. The Sunday Express reports that more than 120 British military elite units, dressed in black and flying IS flags, have attacked Syrian government forces. Both the armed-conflict zone in Syria, as well as the scale of NATO’s intervention in that country, are expanding under the guise of combating terrorist factions. This threatening sequence of events suggests the possibility that the Libyan scenario could be repeated.

August 10, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 2 Comments

The Iranian Debacle

By Christopher Black – New Eastern Outlook – 10.08.2015

KerryMany commentators in the west have welcomed the results of the Iranian surrender on the nuclear issue as a victory for the BRICS, as a sign of the weakened position of the United States, and as a win-win deal for Iran and those who forced it to its knees. Thousands of words have been written about the benefits to Iran of released funds and economic development to come and how the US surrendered some of its power and agreed to this “deal” because it wants to concentrate its efforts elsewhere.

But are any of these things true? The fact is that Iran, a sovereign nation that has the right to develop its economy as it sees fit and to defend itself as it sees fit, has been stripped of its ability to develop its civilian nuclear programme as it deems necessary and has been forced to abandon most of it by nations that themselves not only have fully developed nuclear programmes for civilian use but also are armed with nuclear weapons, and have used them against civilian populations.

Iran, an ancient and great power throughout history, has now been essentially disarmed by its enemies in the NATO powers and also by its neighbours, China, and Russia, which latter country, while complaining about the French double dealing regarding the Mistral Affair, itself reneged on a deal to supply Iran with anti-aircraft defence systems that could protect it against US or Israeli air attack. No doubt this was due to pressure from the US as well and perhaps can be forgiven if not forgotten in its own struggle to avoid war. China also has an interest in placating the US in the face of constantly increasing American threats. But the fact remains, that if the US or Israel decide to launch a nuclear attack against Iran from a distance there is nothing that Iran can do to retaliate. It is essentially defenceless.

If Iran had succeeded in getting the US, and its allies to abandon their nuclear weapons in return for its concessions, then something bold and world shaking would have taken place, but the nuclear disarming of the very people that still threaten Iran and the rest of the word was never on the agenda, although the Iranians bravely pointed out the obvious double standards countless times in statements made in and out of Iran.

The unjustified claims by some commentators that the US has somehow retreated or even, as some claim, that the US has changed its strategy from opposing Iran to drawing it into the US orbit through economic engagement, are distorting what took place in Vienna and the reality of the “deal” that was struck and now given the imprimatur of the Security Council.

No one reading the statement of John Kerry made on July 14th in Vienna about the Plan of Action, as the agreement is called, or its terms, can understand anything else than that Iran has suffered a severe blow and one from which it will not be allowed to recover until the Americans and their gang have put in power a regime they completely control. To understand this let’s look at some of the highlights of this “deal,” a word I put in quotes because it implies equal bargaining power when in fact Iran was ganged up on by the most aggressive and militaristic alliance known to man. And to do that, let’s use the statement of the American foreign minister, John Kerry so we can truly understand what has really happened to Iran.

Kerry said the Plan of Action,

“is…. a step away from the prospect of nuclear proliferation…it is a step away from the spectre of conflict and towards the possibility of peace.”

Note the careful language. “The prospect of nuclear proliferation” really means the possibility of Iran defending itself from nuclear attack by the United States. “A step away from conflict and towards the possibility of peace” means “we won’t attack Iran if it obeys all our diktats but an attack is in our discretion at all times.”

Kerry continued,

“Believe me, had we been willing to settle for a lesser deal, we would have finished this negotiation long ago,” and, “our persistence has paid off.”

This is not the language of a government that has been weakened or lost the game, a United States that sees itself as the loser or has been weakened. No, it is the gloating of the spider as it picks apart a fly.

Kerry is very specific about the Iranian defeat. He says,

Iran’s breakout time-the time it would take to speed up its enrichment and produce enough fissile material for just one nuclear weapon…has been increased from one year to a period of at least ten years.”

The effect of this is that if Iran believes that either Israel or the USA is planning to attack it, instead of being able to arm itself within a few months, it won’t be able to do it at all.

The leaders of the government in North Korea must be shaking their heads in amazement at such folly. They know very well the Americans cannot be trusted and the Americans and Israelis are laughing up their sleeves, despite the crocodile tears by Netanyahu and the US Congress who play the propaganda game that the Plan of Action is a give away to Iran, all play acting for the cameras and to give Iran some air of having won something in this defeat.

If there is still doubt, here is the most startling aspect of the Plan of Action. Kerry states,

“this agreement has no sunset. It doesn’t terminate. It will be implemented in phases… some of the provisions are in place for 10 years, others for 15 years, others for 25 years… and certain provisions-including many of the transparency measures and prohibitions on nuclear work-will stay in place permanently.”

Reading this one could have the impression that Iran is a conquered nation being dictated to by the victors as Germany was at Versailles. The effect is to surrender its rights as a sovereign nation forever to a gang of nuclear criminals who refuse to renounce the use of nuclear weapons themselves. Iran will have to suffer the humiliation of constant inspections and interference for generations to come.

It gets worse. Two thirds of Iran’s centrifuges will be removed and the infrastructure that supports them, built at huge expense and effort, will be placed under the lock and key of the International Atomic Energy Agency, an organisation largely controlled by the USA. The design and construction of future nuclear reactors must be approved by the Unites States and its allies.

And what does the USA offer in return for these concessions? Nothing, but the unfreezing of Iranian monies kept in western banks for years earning money but there will be no compensation for lost profit or opportunity from these monies, and a promise of the future lifting of the illegal trade and economic embargo placed on Iran by the USA under the cover of the name “sanctions” which, it openly admits, hurt the Iranian people.

This collective punishment will only be lifted, “when Tehran has met its key initial nuclear commitments”-in other words when Iran has removed the possibility of defending itself with nuclear weapons.

But can Iran really expect things to change once they have done that? The Americans promised similar things to the North Koreans under Clinton in the early 90s. They too shut down their nuclear reactors used for weapons production [in the case of North Korea] in return for economic assistance. But the Americans reneged once they had shut the systems down. Fortunately, the Koreans realised quickly what the game was and brought those systems back on line and now have an effective deterrence against an American attack. What will Iran do when the Americans renege on this deal? Unfortunately, not much, since, unlike the Koreans, they have allowed daily inspections and daily interference in their internal affairs and any attempt to bring its systems back on line will no doubt be used as an excuse for further “sanctions” or an attack.

Kerry stated clearly,

“I want to underscore: if Iran fails…in these commitments, the US, the EU, and even the UN sanctions that initially brought Iran to the table can and will snap back into place.”

In summing up why Iran has been forced into this terrible position Kerry stated the real reason very clearly,

“Anybody who knows the conduct of international affairs knows that it is better to deal with a country if you have problems with it if they don’t have a nuclear weapon.”

No reporter asked him why that didn’t apply to the United States as well but we cannot expect courage from the international press these days.

But what is Kerry really saying except that “we the USA cannot enforce our will on those who can resist. We prefer to deal with defenceless opponents. It makes it easier to bully them.”

Then he added insult to injury by stating that “sanctions” against Iran put in place for concerns about “terrorism,” “human rights,” and ballistic missiles, will remain despite this agreement. So the pressure on Iran can be expected to increase with this agreement, not decrease.

Kerry made this clear when he added,

“the USA will continue our efforts to address concerns about Iran’s actions in the region, including providing key support to our partners and allies and by making sure we are vigilant in pushing back against destabilizing activities.”

This statement is aimed at Iran’s support of Syria, Hezbollah and Iraq. The Plan of Action will be used as a device to try to control and limit Iranian solidarity with the governments now being attacked by the US and its proxy forces in the region.

At the end of his statement Kerry said that the agreement averted, “an inevitable conflict that would come were we not able to reach agreement.”

What he means is that the Iranians knew that if they did not submit, the United States and Israel would attack them. He then misquoted Clausewitz and said “I know that war is the failure of diplomacy and the failure of leaders to make alternative decisions.”

What he meant was, “Iran had two choices, submit or cease to exist and the Iranian leadership decided to try to continue to exist.”

So this is the state of the world after Hitler. Now new Hitlers have arisen and new diktats are issued against countries that resist. Instead of Czechoslovakia we have Yugoslavia, instead of Austria, we have Greece, Instead of Spain we have Syria and Iraq, Afghanistan. Instead of Poland we have Ukraine but always the constant targets remain, Russia and China.

Far from seeing a United States in retreat or a pause, surely, we see a United States that has increased its room for manoeuvre in its drive for world hegemony. It seems to me that we cannot expect any peace coming from this Plan of Action, but more war, as Iran will be pressured to give up its support of Hezbollah and Syria and Iraq so that the NATO powers can advance their drive to the east. With this Iranian debacle, with Iran under control and out of the military equation in real terms, that plan has just been advanced one more step.

Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes.

August 10, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 2 Comments

Zionist Entity Releases Suspects in Arson Attack

Al-Manar | August 10, 2015

Baby_burnedIsraeli occupation authorities released all suspects detained as part of a probe into the firebombing of a Palestinian home that burned to death an 18-month-old child and his father.

“All those arrested yesterday for interrogation have been released,” a spokeswoman for the Shin Bet security agency told AFP, without providing further details.

They did not provide the number of those detained in the raids early Sunday in wildcat Jewish settlement outposts in the West Bank near the Palestinian village of Duma, where the brutal firebombing occurred.

Wildcat outposts in the Israeli-occupied West Bank are notorious for housing Zionist settlers, referred to as hilltop youth.

The Palestinian family’s small brick and cement home in Duma was gutted by fire early on July 31, and a Jewish Star of David spray-painted on a wall along with the words “revenge” and “long live the Messiah”.

The arson attack on the family’s home in the occupied West Bank that killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha and his father, Saad sparked an international outcry over the ongoing Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

Mother Riham and four-year-old son Ahmed were also in an Israeli hospital, where a spokeswoman described their condition last week as life-threatening.

Source: AFP

August 10, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | Leave a comment

As Palestinians Die, NY Times Shields Israel

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | August 9, 2015

One week has passed since a Palestinian toddler died in an arson fire, one day since the boy’s father also perished from burns, and The New York Times has provided us with some half dozen stories on the tragedy. Only one of these was deemed fit to make the front page, however, and this fact is instructive: The favored story was not the original crime or the deaths of two villagers but a report on Israeli angst.

This maneuver was just one more piece of evidence that the Times has tried to provide an Israeli spin to this story. The paper has also adopted the government line that the concern here is extremism, not official policies and actions, and it has failed to provide the full context of settler violence in occupied Palestine.

When the story broke, the Times placed the news that 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh was burned to death on page 4 of the Aug. 1 of the print edition. The brief article about his father’s demise appears on page 9 today. Other stories—concerning protests, accusations and additional responses to the news—were also on inside pages.

It was only when Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren filed an article on Israeli “soul searching” that the editors saw fit to give the story a prominent spot in its Friday edition.

The print article, “Two Killings Make Israelis Look Inward,” received a favored site on page 1 above the fold. This, the editors are saying, is the real news here—not the shocking death of a helpless child, the lingering and painful death of his father or even the legacy of settler attacks—but the feelings of ordinary Israelis.

The arson attack has received this much attention in the Times only because it was impossible to ignore: It made headlines worldwide and forced Israeli officials to condemn the act and vow to take action. But the Times stories have failed to report the full extent of violence against Palestinians and official complicity in these actions.

Readers of the newspaper are unlikely to know that Israeli settlers have often resorted to arson and that their actions have never, until now, caused much concern among government officials. B’Tselem, an Israeli rights group, reports that “in recent years Israeli civilians set fire to dozens of homes, mosques, businesses, agricultural land and vehicles in the West Bank. The vast majority of these cases were never solved, and in many of them the Israeli police did not even bother taking elementary investigative actions.”

B’Tselem also notes that West Bank Palestinians are tried in military courts, with minimal rights and protection, while settlers living in the same area appear in civilian courts. Most shocking of all: The conviction rate for Palestinians in military courts is 99.74 percent.

The Times has acknowledged the charges of unequal treatment in an Isabel Kershner story titled “Israeli Justice in West Bank Is Seen as Often Uneven,” but the headline leaves the impression that we are dealing with opinions here, not facts, and the story fails to provide the data that would reveal just how uneven the system is.

In fact, B’Tselem reports that over an 11-year period only 11 percent of settler violence cases resulted in an indictment, nearly a quarter of the cases were never investigated and in the few cases where settlers were tried and convicted, they usually received “extremely light sentences.” The numbers are even more glaring when we note that Palestinians, knowing the outcomes and facing obstacles, often fail to file complaints.

These percentages, however, are less scandalous than the statistics concerning security forces. The Israeli monitoring group Yesh Din reports that 94 percent of the investigations into complaints about Israeli soldiers suspected of violence against Palestinians and their property are closed without action.

Yet the Times, following the lead of the Israeli government, has focused on “extremists” as the problem, ignoring the officially sanctioned destruction wrought by the military: In defiance of international law, the army helps the state confiscate land and destroy property  to make room for illegal Jewish settlements.

In recent weeks and months, the Israeli army has been responsible for widespread destruction of Palestinian property in the West Bank. Here are a few examples:

  • On July 22 the army invaded the village of Beit Ula and destroyed a Roman-era water well and 450 olive trees.
  • On July 2 the army uprooted an acre of agricultural land west of Hebron and issued demolition orders for a home and a water well.
  • On June 15 the Israeli army uprooted dozens of olive tree saplings over five acres in Husan, a village west of Bethlehem.
  • On May 4 the army evacuated the residents of Wadi al Maleh in the Jordan Valley for “training exercises” and set fire to grazing land using live ammunition. Residents were denied access to the land to put out the fires.
  • During the month of June in the Jordan Valley the army forced hundreds of Palestinians from their homes for “military maneuvers” and used live ammunition that set fire to acres of grazing land.
  • As of Aug. 3 the army was responsible for demolishing 302 Palestinian structures in 2015, displacing 304 people in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Times readers almost never read of these actions taken by the military with the official blessing of the government, and they rarely learn of most settler attacks. (Nor do they learn that settlers are allowed to carry weapons while Palestinians are denied even the most basic arms for defense.)

Now the Times, in the face of an international scandal, has done what it can to minimize the damage to Israel, muting the charges of unequal justice, placing Israeli “soul searching” on prominent display, joining the Israeli effort to blame extremists and ignoring the officially sanctioned crimes against Palestinians.

Israeli angst is fit to print in the Times, but Israeli crimes against Palestinians are something else again. If they are deemed worthy of notice, they may come to light in the back pages, under evasive headlines—all part of an effort to protect Israel at the expense of our right to be informed.

August 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | Leave a comment

My weekend in Palestine

Robert Martin is an Australian activist who lives in Melbourne. Robert was drawn to Palestine at the commencement of Israel’s Gaza attack. Robert began to investigate what actually was happening in Palestine and couldn’t believe what he was reading. He knew he couldn’t rely on mainstream media for the truth so he decided to see for himself.

Robert had read and watched plenty of interviews and documentaries on Issues faced by both sides, including Miko Peled, Illan Pappe, Doc Jazz (Tariq Shadid) and Andrew Tucker (Christians for Israel) and the belief of the Zionist movement.

Robert knew he was in for an eye opening trip immediately after the Israeli army entered the bus he was in and asked to see his passport. After disembarking the bus he was invited to the front of the line to have his passport checked again, this shocked Robert a bit as he saw so many Palestinians in the line and he refused to push ahead in the line.

Robert made a trip to Bil’in as he had made contact with Hamde Abu Rhama and was keen to see the village in which Hamde lived. Robert was being given a quick tour of the village (it’s small as so much of its land has been taken) when he saw the truth of life under occupation. Hamde and Robert had been chasing some animals as Hamde wanted to take pictures of them and they were interrupted by soldiers. An army van came rushing down the road, stopped quickly and a few soldiers stood up and shouted they must move. This startled Robert as it was so unexpected, Robert asked the soldiers what was happening. He then was faced with an M16 being pointed straight at him as the other soldiers told him to leave.

Robert had to know more and asked some questions as to why he wasn’t allowed to be there as he was clearly away from the Apartheid Wall and clearly away from the barb wire also. The soldiers threw something in Roberts direction and it exploded with an incredibly loud noise that Robert had never experienced in his life. To the soldiers amazement and surprise Robert did not move and again questioned the soldiers. The only response Robert received was they were protecting Israel and they had rules that we must follow.

The next day Robert was having coffee and with a few people from the village when a distressed call came in explaining the soldiers were at the only play ground taking equipment. Robert saw everyone in a panic and insisted he tag along to see what was happening.

They got to the hill and were stopped by heavily armed soldiers and a truck that had a small crane on it. Robert had not been in the village of Bil’in for even 24 hours and he was again faced by the strength of the Israeli army insisting he leave with an M16 at his head. For whatever reason Robert refused and walked towards the soldiers filming with his iPhone and he asked the soldiers what they were doing. Again the soldiers told him to leave or he would be shot. He continued towards the soldiers and again asked what they were doing. There were some younger People from the village behind him watching and to his amazement they all started running a away. He saw the truck with the equipment already loaded and again demanded the soldiers give him an answer. The soldiers were taken back by Robert and his inability to be intimidated by these soldiers clearly provoking a fight. The soldiers began to retreat even though they again said if he continued they would shoot him. As they left they threw another object at him that exploded and began to smoke.

Everything Robert had read and heard about could not have prepared him for what he had just witnessed as the disregard towards the Palestinians was so blatant, how could this be?

August 10, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment