Archive for June, 2012

The U.S. & Syria: Facts you should know [Workers World]

Posted in CIA, Corporate Media Critique, Egypt, El Salvador, EU, European Union, France, Haiti, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Libya, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, NATO, Obama, Pentagon, Qatar, Sanctions as weapon of war, Saudi Arabia, State Department, Syria, Turkey, U.K., US imperialism, USA on June 29, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Published Jun 27, 2012

The following timeline reviews the progression of U.S.-NATO intervention in Syria and counteracts the Big Lie in the corporate media aimed at preparing open imperialist military aggression against the Syrian people.

* Sanctions follow establishing opposition *

• Washington has funneled money to a right-wing Syrian opposition group since at least 2005. (Washington Post, April 16, 2011)

• The U.S. reopened its embassy in Damascus in January 2011 after six years . This was no thaw in relations. The new ambassador, Robert S. Ford, who served until October 2011, is a protégé of John Negroponte, who organized death squads in El Salvador in the 1970s and in Iraq while ambassador there in 2004-05. There terror squads killed tens of thousands. Ford served directly under Negroponte at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

• Ford “played a central role in laying the groundwork within Syria as well as establishing contacts with opposition groups.” Two months after he arrived in Damascus, the armed insurgency began. (Global Research, May 28)

• Armed opposition to Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011 in Daraa, a small town on the Jordanian border. Mass protest movements usually start in large population centers. Later, Saudi Arabia admitted sending weapons to the opposition via Jordan. (RT, March 13)

• The U. S. and its NATO allies used grassroots protests in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere as a cover to build support for right-wing insurgencies whose goal was not to help the Syrian people but to bring Syria into the pro-imperialist camp. Any excesses or mistakes by the Assad government were not the real issue.

• The Arab League, European Union and U.S. begin imposing economic sanctions, a form of warfare, against Syria in November 2011 on the pretext of stopping state-sanctioned violence against protesters. Stepped-up sanctions and freezing of Syrian assets caused the value of the Syrian pound to drop by 50 percent against the dollar, with the cost of necessities often tripling.

• Exiles who received U.S. funding became part of the Syrian National Council. SNC’s Burhan Ghalioun said he would open up Syria to the West, end Syria’s strategic relationship with Iran (and with the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance), and realign Syria with the reactionary Arab regimes in the Gulf. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 2, 2011)

– U.S. & NATO escalate involvement –

• Ex-CIA agent Philip Giraldi admitted that the U.S. was involved in Syria and laid out the U.S. plan: “NATO is already clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey taking the lead as U.S. proxy. Ankara’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davitoglu, has openly admitted that his country is prepared to invade as soon as there is agreement among the Western allies to do so. The intervention would be based on humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine that was invoked to justify Libya.” (theamericanconservative.com, Dec. 19, 2011)

• Giraldi continued: “Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to … the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers. … French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and U.S. Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence. …

• “The frequently cited United Nations report that more than 3,500 civilians have been killed by Assad’s soldiers is based largely on rebel sources and is uncorroborated. Likewise, accounts of mass defections from the Syrian Army and pitched battles between deserters and loyal soldiers appear to be a fabrication, with few defections being confirmed independently. Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained, and financed by foreign governments are more true than false.”

• The “Free Syrian Army” has rear bases in Turkey, is funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and is made up of defecting Syrian soldiers. Spiegel Online sites a source in Beirut who reports seeing “‘hundreds of foreign fighters’ who have attached themselves to the FSA.” (Feb. 15)

• The U.N.-mandated commission of inquiry, in its February 2012 report, documented torture, taking of hostages, and executions by armed opposition members.

• The first heavy fighting in Syria’s capital, Damascus, started in March. Pipelines were blown up, and huge explosions ripped through intelligence and security buildings in Christian areas on March 16, killing at least 27 people. The Syrian government charged then that terrorist attacks supported from abroad have been responsible for eight car bomb attacks since December, killing 328 and wounding 657. This got little Western media attention.

• Human Rights Watch on March 20 accused armed Syrian opposition members of “Kidnappings, the use of torture and executions … of security force members, individuals identified as members of government-supported militias, and individuals identified as government allies and supporters.”

• In the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, the armed opposition has formed its own laws, courts and death squads, according to Spiegel Online. Abu Rami, an opposition commander in Baba Amir, interviewed by Spiegel, said in the city of Homs his group has executed between 200 and 250 people. (March 29)

– U.N. steps in –

• Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan went to Syria in March at the behest of the U.N. and Arab League to put together a peace proposal. But Annan and the U.N. are not impartial. Annan is an architect of the “responsibility to protect” doctrine, cited by former CIA agent Giraldi as the planned pretext for intervention in Syria. The U.N. endorsed this doctrine under Annan’s tenure.

• In 2004, Annan gave U.N. approval to the U.S., French and Canadian intervention that deposed Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Annan’s stated reasons were the same then as now in Syria: an alleged impending “humanitarian catastrophe.” Annan provided a similar U.N. cover for France to tighten its colonial grasp on the Ivory Coast in 2006. In Syria, Annan’s calls for a Syrian government ceasefire and for outside “humanitarian” aid are really calls for foreign intervention.

• Syria agreed to an Annan-brokered ceasefire March 27. The opposition refused. While the Western heads of state and the corporate media heaped blame on Assad for “not honoring” the ceasefire, the West kept arming the opposition.

• What the U.S. government really thought of the ceasefire was revealed by Robert Grenier, former director of the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center, who called upon those who would “help” Syria “to climb metaphorically into the ring and dirty themselves,” adding, “what the situation needs is not high-minded sentiments, but effective, lethal aid.” (Al Jazeera, March 29)

• As the imperialists “climbed into the ring,” they continued to blame Assad. Speaking at an anti-Assad “Friends of Syria” meeting in Istanbul on April 1, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Assad had “defiled” the ceasefire. She called for Damascus to unilaterally stop fighting and withdraw from areas of heavy right-wing infiltration. She said the U.S had pledged at least $25 million in “nonlethal” aid to the Syrian opposition, which included satellite communication equipment.

• By May, the reactionaries “have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons … paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated … by the U.S.” (Washington Post, May 15) “The Syrian rebels have received their first ‘third generation’ anti-tank weapons . They are supplied by Saudi and Qatari intelligence agencies following a secret message from President Barack Obama.” (debkafile.com, May 22)

– The Houla massacre –

• Right before a scheduled visit to Syria by Annan, news broke of a horrible massacre of 108 people in Houla on May 25, which included whole families and as many as 48 children. Headlines worldwide blamed the Syrian government, and all Western capitals called for increased sanctions and more international pressure on Assad.

• By May 27, the imperialists had coordinated their “international outrage” and expelled Syrian diplomats from the U.S., the Netherlands, Australia, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and Canada.

• The U.N. Security Council reacted to the massacre — with no investigation as to who was responsible — by unanimously condemning Syria for allegedly using tanks and artillery after agreeing to a ceasefire. Ignored were statements from the Assad government that it was not responsible. A closer look showed this was the case.

• Marat Musin, reporting for Russia’s ANNA News, was in Houla and interviewed witnesses right after the massacre. Musin determined that the massacre was committed by the so-called Free Syrian Army, not the Assad forces. His report concluded: “The attack was carried out by a unit of armed fighters from Rastan, in which more than 700 gunmen were involved. They brought the city under their control and began with a cleansing action against loyalist [pro-Assad] families, including elderly people, women and also children. The dead were presented to … the U.N. and the ‘international community’ as victims of the Syrian army.” (May 31) The conservative German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, corroborated the ANNA report on June 7.

• Residents knew many of the killers by name and identified them as local criminal elements now working for the FSA. (Syria News, May 31) Anti-Assad forces then posed as villagers and invited the U.N. observers in. Some put on uniforms of the Syrian soldiers they had killed and said they were defectors.

• A widely shown photo of dozens of shrouded bodies, which the BBC first presented as the aftermath of Houla, was really taken by photographer Marco di Lauro in Iraq in March 2003.

• BBC world news editor Jon Williams admitted in his blog June 7 that there was no evidence whatsoever to identify either the Syrian Army or Alawite militias as the perpetrators of the May 25 massacre. United Kingdom’s Channel 4 senior reporter Alex Thomson said June 7 that the opposition led him into a line of fire and tried to get him killed by Syrian military forces so it would “look bad” for Assad.

• There has been no independent investigation of Houla to date, yet at a June 7 meeting, Annan and current U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-moon again made statements putting the responsibility for the Houla massacre on Assad.

• Major General Robert Mood, head of the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria, suspended patrols of the 300-member team on June 16, citing “spiraling violence in restive areas.” The suspension was right before the G-20 Summit in Mexico, providing another opportunity for imperialism to criticize Assad.

• In initial remarks, Annan called the Houla massacre the “tipping point.” The deaths at Houla have been used by the U.S. and NATO to more aggressively and openly organize for Assad’s overthrow. U.S. officials and Arab intelligence officers admit that the CIA is in southern Turkey funneling weapons to the FSA. It is also there to “make new sources and recruit people.” (New York Times, June 21)

• As a result, “The onetime ragtag militias of the Syrian opposition are developing into a more effective fighting force with the help of an increasingly sophisticated network of activists here in southern Turkey that is smuggling crucial supplies across the border including weapons, communication gear, field hospitals and even salaries for soldiers who defect. The network reflects an effort to forge an opposition movement … that together can not only defeat … Assad but also replace his government.” (New York Times, June 26)

Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2012/world/syria_facts_0705/

“Lee Myung-bak government making biggest US arms purchases in south Korean history” [The Hankyoreh / 한겨레]

Posted in Lee Myung-bak, Pentagon, south Korea, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA on June 29, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

May 22, 2012

In administration’s last year, huge haul of weapons being bought without public discussion
By Ha Eo-young, staff reporter

The Lee government has become one of the US arms industry’s biggest customers. The government is now pushing ahead with a massive purchase of heavy weaponry that is expected to go through by the end of 2012. It now appears that the purchased items will cost South Korean taxpayers more than twice what was originally anticipated.

Controversy over the steeper-than-expected price tag for navy helicopters comes on the heels of similar revelations about the price of next-generation fighter jets. There is now substantial reason to expect that the total cost of these weapons will be far above the 14 trillion won (about US$12 billion) initially announced by the administration.

A Defense Acquisition Program Administration official said Monday that the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) had submitted an application for approval to Congress on May 16 with an itemized list of the weapons to be purchased. The application stated that the South Korean government had requested the sale of eight Seahawk helicopters (MH-60R), eighteen engines, communications equipment, and electronic combat systems for a cost of US$1 billion. With the current exchange rate, the figure is more than double the figure of 553.8 billion won initially given by the administration.

The purchase of the helicopters will be a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) through the US Defense [sic] Department. The South Korean Ministry of National Defense and DAPA plan to finish selecting models and sign a purchase contract by October.

A DAPA official said, “The price isn’t set in stone, even if a report did go to the US Congress.” The official added that confidentiality terms in advance of the deal’s signing prevented any further explanation.

The Lee Myung-bak administration plans to introduce 14 trillion won in weapons during 2012, the last year of its rule. It previously stated that eight trillion won was being spent on next-generation fighters, 1.83 trillion won on attack helicopters, 1.805 trillion won in KF-16 fighter improvements, 500.2 billion won on unmanned surveillance planes, and 553.8 billion won on navy helicopters.

“There are errors in the prices set for all the state-of-the-art weapons, not just helicopters,” said Kim Jong-dae, editor-in-chief of the online military affairs journal Defense 21+.

“The purchase price is going up to 20 trillion won, and with the cost of operations added to that, there‘s a good chance the next administration is going to be hit by a debt bomb executing the terms of the contract,” Kim predicted.

“The plans for purchasing US weapons are the biggest in the history of the Korean nation, and they’re being pushed without any kind of public debate,” Kim said. “The purchases need to be postponed and reconsidered by the next administration.”

Article link: http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/534023.html

US-Japan-ROK drills aim to fix alliance weakness [People’s Daily]

Posted in Australia, DPR Korea, Neo-colonialism, Philippines, S. Korea government cover-up of Cheonan incident, south Korea, US "War on Terror" on June 29, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

(People’s Daily Online)
June 26, 2012

Recently, the temporary tranquility in the Korean Peninsula was once again interrupted by the uproar of a series of military exercises. From June 21 to 22, the navy of the United States, Japan, and South Korea jointly held military exercises in waters to the south of the Korean Peninsula. From June 23 to 25, the United States and South Korea met again for military exercises in the Yellow Sea. Of these, the military exercise of the three countries is the first successful “matchmaking” by the United States for the joint participation of its two allies.

The United States has troops stationed in both Japan and South Korea, which are two big military allies of the United States in Northeast Asia. However, the military relations between Japan and South Korea had been quite “cold”, mainly because of the anti-Japanese public opinion in South Korea. Since South Korea had been subjected to long-term Japanese colonial rule, added by the island territorial disputes between the two, the South Korean people have a strong distrust of Japan and are especially wary of the Japanese military.

But then the United States wishes to “reconfigure the Asia-Pacific layout” and borrow as much “leverage” as possible from its allies. The United States and Japan were always trying to hook in South Korea to compensate for the “short board” of Japan-South Korea military alliance and establish a military “iron triangle”. Meanwhile, the situation on the Korean Peninsula has become tense again since a series of conflicts including the “Cheonan Warship” incident in March 2010.

Gong Keyu, researcher at Shanghai Institute of International Studies said that in the new round of tensions on the peninsula after North Korea launched a satellite in April this year, the South Korean government has the idea to make a tough response to such “provocation.” The United States takes such opportunity to once again promote their “equilateral triangular” cooperation, resulting in the “unprecedented” military exercise.

It should be noted that each of the three countries has its own intention despite standing on the same military exercise “stage”. At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, the United States ends the war on terrorism and starts to devote more resources toward the Asia-Pacific region, represents a significant variable in international relations in the region. Under the residual influence of the economic crisis and due to the lack of strength, the United States has adopted the “United States plus X” mode by gathering Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines and other allies through strategic dialogue, military exercises and a variety of ways so as to establish an intersectional, multi-level, new type of military alliance and maintain hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region.

In regard of the recent series of military exercises, the United States stresses that the North Korean military forces threaten regional stability and seems to regard North Korea as the “imaginary enemy.” But the discerning can easily see that mere North Korean would not be worthy for the two major military powers to shovel [sic]. To a certain extent, their actual “ulterior” intention is to curb the other regional powers. However, South Korea’s participation in the military exercises still mainly aims to take advantage of the power of the United States and Japan to guard against and deter North Korea. After reluctantly tying itself to the U.S.-Japan “chariot”, whether South Korea can get off easily is quite another question.

Source: Jiefang Daily, Author: Wang Shaoji

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90883/7857011.html

U.S. Can Never Cover up Its True Colors as Provocateur of Korean War (1) [Korean Central News Agency]

Posted in Anti-communism, DPR Korea, Historical myths of the US, Korean Central News Agency of DPRK, Korean War, Pentagon, State Department, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USSR on June 29, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Pyongyang, June 27 (KCNA) — It is 62 years since the U.S. ignited the Korean War.

The Korean War ignited by the U.S. on June 25, 1950 imposed unspeakable misfortune and sufferings on the Korean people, causing tremendous human and material losses.

The U.S. has, however, falsified the truth of history and persisted in its moves to stifle the DPRK.

This is a foolish act to evade the responsibility as the provocateur of the Korean War and realize its wild ambition for domination.

Historical facts bring to bolder relief the true colors of the U.S. as provocateur of the Korean War and a war criminal.

The Korean War was an inevitable product of the U.S. strategy for putting the world under its control.

It was pursuant to the U.S. foreign policy for aggression and its direct result.

The U.S. set it as an immediate strategic goal of its foreign policy to establish “leadership over the world” and dominate the world by taking advantage of its favorable position in which it emerged the boss of the imperialists after the end of World War II.

U.S. President Truman in his “message” sent to Congress on December 19, 1945, said that at last it became possible for the U.S. to get the leadership position which U.S. President Wilson had wished to grant to it after the end of World War I, adding that it should assume with pleasure the mission to “lead the world”.

In order to realize its wild ambition to dominate the world the U.S. declared the Cold War against the growing socialist countries and world revolutionary forces and came out with what it called “containment strategy.”

The so-called Truman Doctrine spelled out by Truman at a joint meeting of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in March 1947 was an open declaration of a war against the socialist forces and the world independent forces and a declaration that called for carrying out its strategy for world domination and “containment strategy” in real earnest.

The proclamation of “Truman Doctrine” and the establishment of the above-said strategy meant that the U.S. launched an “anti-communist crusade expedition.”

The U.S. attached importance to the Far East in Asia in carrying out its strategy for dominating the world.

MacArthur, commander of the U.S. forces in Fart East and commander of the UN forces during the three-year Korean War, said at that time that Europe had a dying system but Asia having 800 million population would decide on the advance of the world history in 1 000 years to come, adding that the U.S. will lose the whole world if it fails to put Asia under its control.

The U.S. reactionary government ostensively advocated the policy of putting main emphasis on Europe but it enforced the policy of attaching importance to Asia in practice under the influence of “those advocating Asia first” including MacArthur.

They attached great importance to Korea, in particular, among Asian countries,

“Top secret document No. 4849″ of the Information Research Bureau of the U.S. Department of State on January 28, 1949 said that in the light of Korea’s geographical situation in Northeast Asia to control Korea and its people was of value to any other states interested in the Far East and it was beyond any doubt that Korea was very important for the U.S. from the political point of view.

For its military and strategic position of Korea the U.S. regarded it as a strategic stronghold for making a military strike at any region in the Far East and as a ” bridgehead” and a “forefront in the Far East” from which to intrude into China and the Far Eastern region of the Soviet Union.

To cite just an example, MacArthur was reported to say that Korea was like a bridgehead leading to the continent and that conquering the whole of Korea would help the U.S. forces cut off the only supply line linking Siberia of the Soviet Union with its southern parts and put the whole areas between Vladivostok and Singapore under the U.S. control.

The U.S. also said Korea was the forefront in the East where it was standing in confrontation with communism and a political and military confrontational hotspot between the East and the West as the north and the south of Korea were taking quite different paths after the end of World War II.

Much upset by the fact that the DPRK was making a leaping advance toward socialism, bringing about epoch-making changes, the U.S. termed Korea an “ideal battle site on which every possible success of the U.S. in Asia might hinge” and a “testing ground for the confrontation between the U.S.-style democracy and communism.”

This finally prompted the U.S. to adopt it as a basic policy toward the DPRK to colonize the whole of Korea by means of war.

The U.S. considered war as an effective lever for bringing down the people’s democratic system deeply rooted in the DPRK and imposing aggressive demands upon its people strong in independence.

The U.S. illegally brought the issue of Korea up for discussion at the UN in autumn of 1947, cooking up the puppet regime in south Korea in 1948 and worked hard to build “Asia’s best” puppet army. All this was aimed at meeting these demands.

As seen above, the Korean War was an inevitable product of the U.S. brigandish strategy and policy for aggression toward the DPRK, both aimed to colonize the whole of Korea and realize its scenario for dominating the world in the Far East, using it as an outpost.

KCNA English homepage link: http://www.kcna.kp/goHome.do?lang=eng

HISTORY: Reversing the Vietnam Verdict [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in Afghanistan, Assassination, Cambodia, China, CIA, Encirclement of China, France, Historical myths of the US, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Laos, Obama, Pentagon, Torture, USA, War crimes, World War II on June 29, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

June 6, 2012

by Jack A. Smith

The Pentagon has just launched a multi-year national public relations campaign to justify, glorify and honor Washington’s catastrophic, aggressive and losing war against Vietnam — America’s most controversial and unpopular military conflict.

President Barack Obama opened the militarist event, which was overwhelmingly approved by Congress four years ago, during a speech at the Vietnam Wall on Memorial Day, May 28. The entire campaign, which will consist of tens of thousands of events over the next 13 years, is ostensibly intended to “finally honor” the U.S. troops who fought in Vietnam. The last troops were evacuated nearly 40 years ago.

In reality, the unprecedented project — titled the Vietnam War Commemoration — will utilize the “pro-veteran” extravaganza to accomplish two additional and more long lasting goals:

• The first is to legitimize and intensify a renewed warrior spirit within America as the Pentagon emerges from two counter-productive, ruinously expensive and stalemated unjust wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and prepares for further military adventures in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Within days of Obama’s speech, for instance, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced a big increase of U.S. Navy forces in the Pacific, a move obviously targeting China. At the same time the Obama Administration’s drone wars are accelerating as the Oval Office’s kill list expands, and the president engages in cyber sabotage against Iran.

• The second is to dilute the memory of historic public opposition to the Vietnam war by putting forward the Pentagon’s censored account of the conflict in public meetings, parades and educational sessions set to take place across the nation through 2025. These flag-waving, hyper-patriotic occasions will feature veterans, active duty military members, government officials, local politicians, teachers and business leaders who will combine forces to praise those who fought in Vietnam and those on the home front who supported the war. There won’t be much — if any — attention focused on the majority of Americans who opposed this imperialist adventure, except as a footnote describing how tolerant U.S. democracy is toward dissent.

The principal theme of the president’s address was that American troops have not received sufficient laurels for their efforts to violently prevent the reunification of North and South Vietnam. He did not point out that there would have been no war had the United States permitted nationwide free elections to take place in Vietnam in 1956 as specified by the 1954 Geneva Agreement ending the French colonialism in Indochina. Washington recently decided that the war “officially” began in 1962 (although U.S. involvement dates back to the 1950s), allowing the commemoration to begin during the “50th anniversary” year.

President Obama told the large, cheering crowd of veterans and their families at the Vietnam Wall exactly what they — and all those who still resented the era’s large antiwar movement — wanted to hear: “One of the most painful chapters in our history was Vietnam — most particularly, how we treated our troops who served there….

“You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor. (Applause.) You were sometimes blamed for misdeeds of a few, when the honorable service of the many should have been praised. You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated. It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened. And that’s why here today we resolve that it will not happen again. (Applause.)….

“[Y]ou wrote one of the most extraordinary stories of bravery and integrity in the annals of military history. (Applause.)…. [E]ven though some Americans turned their back on you — you never turned your back on America…. And let’s remember all those Vietnam veterans who came back and served again — in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. You did not stop serving. (Applause.)

“So here today, it must be said — you have earned your place among the greatest generations. At this time, I would ask all our Vietnam veterans, those of you who can stand, to please stand, all those already standing, raise your hands — as we say those simple words which always greet our troops when they come home from here on out: Welcome home. (Applause.) Welcome home. Welcome home. Welcome home. Thank you. We appreciate you. Welcome home. (Applause.)….

“May God bless you. May God bless your families. May God bless our men and women in uniform. And may God bless these United States of America.”

There was virtually no criticism in the corporate mass media about the president’s gross exaggerations concerning the “mistreatment” of Vietnam era veterans. True, there were no victory parades, but that was because the U.S. Armed Forces were defeated by a much smaller and enormously outgunned adversary — the guerrilla forces of the South Vietnamese National Liberation Front (NLF) and regular forces from North Vietnam.

By the time many vets returned home the American people had turned against the war and wanted it over, as did a significant portion of active duty troops, including the many who identified with the peace movement or who mutinied or deserted. Undoubtedly some veterans were disrespected — but to a far lesser extent than Obama and pro-war forces have suggested over the years.

Whenever the U.S. conducts unpopular invasions, as in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, Washington and the mass media invariably insist that it is the duty of patriotic citizens to “support the troops” even if they oppose the war. But to manifest the kind of support the government seeks inevitably implies support for the war. This is why the peace groups came up with the slogan “Support the Troops — Bring ’em home NOW!”

According to the Pentagon, which is in charge of staging the Vietnam War Commemoration, the main purpose is “To thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War… for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans. To highlight the service of the Armed Forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of Federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the Armed Forces. To pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War….”

Thousands of community, veteran, and various nongovernmental organizations throughout the U.S. are expected to join the Commemorative Partner Program “to assist federal, state and local authorities to assist a grateful nation in thanking and honoring our Vietnam Veterans and their families. Commemorative Partners are encouraged to participate… by planning and conducting events and activities that will recognize the Vietnam Veterans and their families’ service, valor, and sacrifice.”

In addition the government and its “partners” will be distributing educational materials about the war, according to the Pentagon, but it is unlikely that the Vietnamese side of the story or that of the multitude of war resisters in the U.S., civilian and military, will receive favorable attention. Many facts, including the origins of the war will undoubtedly be changed to conform to the commemoration’s main goal of minimizing Washington’s defeat and maximizing the heroism and loyalty of the troops.

Officially, the Vietnam war lasted 11 years (1962-1973), but U.S. involvement actually continued for 21 years (1954-1975). The U.S. financially supported the restoration of French colonial control of Vietnam and all of Indochina after the defeat of Japanese imperialism in 1945 (Japan earlier displaced French rule). By 1954, Washington not only supplied money and advisers but sent 352 Americans to Vietnam in a “Military Assistance Advisory group” supporting the French against liberation forces led by the Vietnamese Communist Party. The liberators defeated the French army at the historic battle of Dien Bien Phu that same year.

The Geneva Conference of 1954, facilitating impending French withdrawal, established that Vietnam would be divided temporarily into two halves until free elections were held in 1956 to determine whether the liberation forces, led by Ho Chi Minh, or Emperor Bao Dai, who had collaborated with both French and Japanese occupation forces and was a puppet of the U.S., would rule the unified state.

It is doubtful that the commemoration is going to emphasize the fact that the U.S., led by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, used its power to prevent nationwide elections from taking place when it became clear that Ho Chi Minh would win 80% of the vote. Eisenhower acknowledged this in his memoirs. Instead, Washington allied itself to right wing forces in the southern sector to declare “South Vietnam” to be a separate state for the first time in history and set about financing, training and controlling a large southern military force to prevent reunification. The U.S. dominated the Saigon government throughout the following war.

When Paris withdrew remaining French troops in April 1956, according to John Prados in “Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable war, 1945-1975” (2009), “their departure made America South Vietnam’s big brother,” i.e., overlord and military protector against popular liberation forces in the southern half of the country.

By June 1962, 9,700 U.S. “military advisers” plus a large number of CIA agents were training and fighting to support the corrupt U.S.-backed regime in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), at which time President Kennedy’s Defense Secretary, Robert McNamara, announced that “every quantitative measure shows that we’re wining the war.”

By 1968, when the number of U.S. troops attained their apogee of 535,040, Washington was obviously losing to its tenacious opponent. This is when Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson decided not to seek reelection rather than face the humiliation of defeat. Republican President Richard M. Nixon succeeded to the presidency and vastly increased the bombings while also calling for negotiations to end the war. Facing an impending defeat and political catastrophe, American troops pulled out in 1973. The CIA and some U.S. military personnel and political advisers remained in diminished South Vietnam assisting the right wing government in Saigon until April 1975 when the entire country was liberated.

The U.S. lost 58,151 troops in the war. Between four and five million Vietnamese civilians and soldiers were killed on both sides in a catastrophe that could have been entirely avoided had Washington allowed the free elections to take place. Over a million civilians in neighboring Laos and Cambodia also were killed or wounded by U.S. firepower.

Vietnam, north and south, was pulverized by U.S. bombs and shells. The Pentagon detonated 15,500,000 tons of ground and air munitions on the three countries of Indochina, 12,000,000 tons on South Vietnam alone in a failed effort to smash the National Liberation Front backed by the North Vietnamese army. By comparison, the U.S. detonated only 6,000,000 tons of ground and air munitions throughout World War II in Europe and the Far East. All told, by the end of the war, 26,000,000 bomb craters pockmarked Indochina, overwhelmingly from U.S. weapons and bombers.

The Pentagon also dumped 18,000,000 gallons of herbicides to defoliate several million acres of farmland and forests. Millions of Vietnamese suffered illness, birth defects and deaths from these poisonous chemicals. The AP recently reported from Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, that “More than 100,000 Vietnamese have been killed or injured by land mines or other abandoned explosives since the Vietnam War ended nearly 40 years ago, and clearing all of the country will take decades more.”

It should also be mentioned — since it will be suppressed during the commemoration — that U.S. forces, including the CIA and the Pentagon-controlled South Vietnamese military, tortured many thousands of “suspected” supporters of the liberation struggle, frequently with portable electrical current. An estimated 40,000 “Vietcong” (suspected members or supporters of the NLF) were murdered during the long-running “Operation Phoenix” assassination campaign conducted by the CIA, Special Forces and killer units of the Saigon forces.

There were three main fronts in the Vietnam war, in this order: First, the battlefields of Indochina. Second, the massive antiwar movement within the United States and international support for Vietnam. Third, the Paris Peace Talks. Well over 60% of the American people opposed the war by the late 1960s-early ’70s. The first peace protest took place in 1962; the first very large protest took place in Washington in 1965. Subsequently there were thousands of antiwar demonstrations large and small in cities, towns, and campuses all over America.

[Disclosure; This writer was a war opponent and a conscientious objector during this period. His information about the war derives from when he functioned as the news editor, managing editor and then chief editor of the largest independent leftist paper in the U.S. at the time, the weekly Guardian. This publication thoroughly covered the war, peace movement, antiwar veterans (Vietnam Veterans Against the War [VVAW] was founded in 1967 and is still active today), the extraordinary resistance of active duty troops in Vietnam and at U.S. bases and COs in prison or in Canada and Europe throughout the period of conflict.]

Most of the allegations about insults directed at solders or vets from war opponents have been fabrications to discredit the antiwar forces — falsehoods Obama chose to repeat as part of the Pentagon’s campaign to reverse history’s negative verdict on the war in Vietnam. The peace movement’s targets were the warmakers in Washington and their allies abroad, not members of a largely conscript army. Perhaps the most notorious of the false accusations were frequent reports about antiwar individuals “spitting” at GIs and vets. The rumors were so wild that sociologist Jerry Lembcke wrote a book exposing the lies — “The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam,” New York University Press, 1998.

It’s extremely doubtful that the war commemoration will dare touch honestly upon the movement of active duty troops against the war and the hundreds of cases killing their own officers.

Historian Howard Zinn included this paragraph on the opposition to the Vietnam War by American soldiers in his “People’s History of the United States”:

“The capacity for independent judgment among ordinary Americans is probably best shown by the swift development of antiwar feeling among American GIs — volunteers and draftees who came mostly from lower-income groups. There had been, earlier in American history, instances of soldiers’ disaffection from the war: isolated mutinies in the Revolutionary War, refusal of reenlistment in the midst of hostilities in the Mexican war, desertion and conscientious objection in World War I and World War II. But Vietnam produced opposition by soldiers and veterans on a scale, and with a fervor, never seen before.”

According to the Washington Peace Center: “During the Vietnam War, the military ranks carried out mass resistance on bases and ships in Southeast Asia, the Pacific, U.S. and Europe. Military resistance was instrumental in ending the war by making the ranks politically unreliable. This history is well documented in ‘Soldiers in Revolt’ by David Cortright and the recent film ‘Sir! No Sir!'”

One of the key reports on GI resistance was written by Col. Robert D. Heinl Jr. and published in the Armed Forces Journal of June 7, 1971. He began: “The morale, discipline and battle worthiness of the U.S. Armed Forces are, with a few salient exceptions, lower and worse than at anytime in this century and possibly in the history of the United States.

“By every conceivable indicator, our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers and non-commissioned officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not near mutinous. Elsewhere than Vietnam, the situation is nearly as serious.

“Intolerably clobbered and buffeted from without and within by social turbulence, pandemic drug addiction, race war, sedition, civilian scapegoatise, draftee recalcitrance and malevolence, barracks theft and common crime, unsupported in their travail by the general government, in Congress as well as the executive branch, distrusted, disliked, and often reviled by the public, the uniformed services today are places of agony for the loyal, silent professions who doggedly hang on and try to keep the ship afloat.”

According to the 2003 book by Christian Appy, “Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides,” Gen. Creighton Abrams — the U.S. military commander in Vietnam — made this comment in 1971 after an investigation: “Is this a god-damned army or a mental hospital? Officers are afraid to lead their men into battle, and the men won’t follow. Jesus Christ! What happened?”

Another former Army colonel in Vietnam, Andrew J. Bacevich Sr. (now a professor of international relations at Boston University and a strong opponent of U.S. foreign/military policy) wrote a book about how the U.S. military labored for a dozen years after the defeat to revamp its war strategy and tactics. (“The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War,” Oxford University Press, 2005.) One major conclusion was that a conscript army may become unreliable if the war is considered unjust in nature and unpopular at home. This is why conscription was ended for good and the Pentagon now relies on better paid professional standing military supplemented by a large number of contractors and mercenaries, who perform many duties that were once handled by regular soldiers.

Veterans’ movements from the professional military of contemporary wars, such as Iraq Veterans Against the War and March Forward, as well as from the Vietnam era, are still out in the streets opposing imperialist wars, and public opinion polls reveal that over 60% of the American people oppose the Afghan adventure.

Despite the colossal damage the U.S. inflicted on Vietnam and its people during the war years, the country has emerged from the ashes and is taking steps toward becoming a relatively prosperous society led by the Communist Party. The Hanoi government has received no help from Washington. During the Paris Peace Talks of 1973, Nixon promised Prime Minister Pham Van Dong in writing that the U.S. would pay Vietnam $3.5 billion in reparations. This promise turned out to be worthless.

What strikes visitors to Vietnam in recent years, including this writer, is that the country appears to have come to terms with what it calls the American War far better than America has come to terms with the Vietnam War. Despite the hardships inflicted upon Vietnam, the government and people appear to hold no grudges against the United States.

Hanoi has several times extended the welcome mat to former antagonists, urging Americans and residents of southern Vietnam who now live abroad to “close the past and look to the future.” Wherever touring U.S. citizens — including former GIs — travel in Vietnam, they are met with the same respect as visitors from other countries.

In the U.S., the Vietnam war still evokes fighting words in some quarters. Some Americans still argue that the U.S. “could have won if it didn’t have one hand tied behind its back” (i.e., used nuclear weapons), and some continue to hate the antiwar protesters of yesteryear, just as they do demonstrators against today’s wars. And some others — in Congress, the White House and the Pentagon — still seem to continue fighting the war by organizing a massive propaganda effort to distort the history of Washington’s aggression and unspeakable brutality in Vietnam.

Article link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31296

Dalai Lama connected with CIA’s support of Tibetan secession: media report [Xinhua]

Posted in China, CIA, Dalai Lama, India, Pentagon, US imperialism, USA on June 28, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BERLIN, June 26 (Xinhua) — Despite his frequent claims of peace, the Dalai Lama knew much more about the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s [military] support of Tibetan secessionists in the 1950s and 1960s than he admitted, Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported recently.

A report titled “Seemingly Sacred,” which shed light on the relationship between the Dalai Lama and the CIA, said a shadow of violence falls on the divine king.

The report said an emissary of the Dalai Lama first contacted the U.S. through its embassy in New Delhi and consulate in Calcutta in 1951, and both sides discussed U.S. military and financial aid to Tibetan separatists. One of the Dalai Lama’s elder brothers also attended the meetings.

In the same year the U.S. Defense [sic] Department gave the Dalai Lama a letter, in which “light weapons” and “financial aid” were promised to the Tibetan separatist movement, it said.

The Dalai Lama also received 180,000 U.S. dollars a year from the CIA, which was described as “monetary aid for the Dalai Lama” in confidential documents.

The report said the CIA launched “St. Circus Operation” in 1956, which trained Tibetan guerrillas on a South-Pacific island to kill, shoot, lay mines and make bombs.

The CIA also made air drops that provided the guerrillas with machine weapons, ammunition, medicine, and propaganda materials, among others, it said.

According to the newspaper, “The Dalai Lama clearly stood closer to the CIA and knew significantly more than he let on.”

Though the Dalai Lama had always claimed that he only came to know the operations afterwards, it should be no later than 1958 when he was aware of the paramilitary training given by the CIA that was closely linked to poison [sic], killing and other violent acts, it said.

The report said a U.S. movie director, Lisa Cathey, had conducted more than 30 interviews in her shooting of a documentary, CIA in Tibet.

One of those interviewed was a retired CIA agent named John Kenneth Knaus, who was in charge of CIA operations in Tibet and had preserved documents that recorded the training.

The Dalai Lama had met with Knaus twice, once in 1964 and again in the 1990s.

The Dalai Lama apparently hasn’t been honest on whether he knew [about] the CIA’s support to the Tibetan separation, the paper said…

The report called the Dalai Lama “a chess piece of the CIA during the Cold War” and his direct CIA connection does not match his [alleged] “supreme moral authority.”

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-06/26/c_131677701.htm

“Huge scale of A-bomb gene study revealed: Medical records of 1,200 babies of hibakusha shipped to U.S.” [Japan Times]

Posted in Hiroshima, Japan, Nagasaki, Nukes, US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, USA, World War II on June 27, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

[‘hibakusha’ = Survivors of US A-bomb attacks in Hiroshima & Nagasaki – Zuo Shou]

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kyodo

HIROSHIMA — Organ samples and medical records on more than 1,200 babies who were stillborn or died shortly after birth after being carried by mothers who survived the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were sent to the United States for radiation research, a researcher in Hiroshima says.

It has been known that the United States conducted research on how radiation influences genetics, and that samples from A-bomb victims and their newborns in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were sent there during the Allied Occupation following World War II. But this is believed to be the first time that the scale of the study has been revealed because it was classified as military information and thus had been secret.

Hiroko Takahashi, an assistant professor at the Hiroshima Peace Institute, has said internal documents from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology show that some 77,000 newborns were studied between 1948 and 1954. She estimates that tissue samples and records from more than 1,200 newborns were sent to the United States.

“Newborns were treated in the same way as guinea pigs for the study of nuclear weapons and radiation,” Takahashi said, adding that the “current radiation standard” is based upon that…

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120423a2.html