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Saturday, August 30, 2014

The worst thing about our plunder of the Earth's Oil

I have thought this for a long time and yet I've never heard it spoken of or written about it myself before, but I will now. Maybe it has something to do with being in Texas. And forgive me it my numbers don't have the usual precision. I'm not going to Wikipedia this one. I'm going to "ball park" it, but I know my numbers are close enough for government work, so here goes.

First some context.

This is how I see the human experiment I'm trying so hard to help succeed, and I have no idea how it has or will work out on other inhabitable planets, but here's how it went on Earth:

This is my time-line. About 2 million years ago we started to separate out ourselves as a species, probably 200,000 years ago we were fully formed as modern homo sapiens. Still we stumbled around the rain forests for most of that time, learned the basics - how to make fire, how to make tools, how to hunt, how to hunt in teams, how to raise animals we didn't have to hunt, and finally, how to grow our own food so we could stay in one place and start making some real progress. Those basics took a really long time. We call that period pre-historic because we didn't even start writing things down until say 8,000 years ago.

So here we are today. We've made a lot of progress since then. The technology we don't yet have is easily within our grasp. Not knowing how to conjure up fire when it gets cold is not our problem our problem is a lack of justice within the dominate species on this planet.

Now, if we can get through this rough spot and make it into clearer waters, and I believe that will sort itself out, one way or the other, in the next couple hundred years. if not in our lifetime, the prospects are for a very long future ahead of us given that its said that our Sun is but a middle-aged star and it is about 4.5 billion years old. What we may do with that time is beyond my imagination, I'm just trying to do my part to keep us from imploding before we get there.

Did I mention that I'm an optimist? I think we should be planning on that very long future.

Now Oil is two things. On the one hand, it is a highly complex mixture of organic compounds that nature has cooked up for us by subjecting once living matter to heat, pressure and time. We get an almost endless list of lubricates, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, name it from Oil. While all of those things can probably be synthesised without petroleum, that can only be done at greater costs while using more energy. After all, nature has already put a lot of energy into creating them.

On the other hand, Oil is a cheap and easily used source of energy. You simply put fire to it, or you refine it a bit and put fire to it. All those lovely complex molecules, that nature took so long to build, are turned into air pollution, but you do instantly release all that energy.

As a source of energy, we can easily replace Oil with solar, water or wind power, replacing it as a starting point for producing lubricates? Not so easy. So I think one of the sorriest things we can do with Oil is to burn it. We are going to need that stuff for a long time. Using it as a highly portable fuel to jump-start the industrial revolution may have been justified for a hundred years or so, but we are past that now. We should stop using oil for energy now! We need to save that stuff for the future, We should be around for a billion more years, These first million or so have just been the birth pangs. We are bound to run out of Oil no matter how sparingly we use it. Just think of what future generations will think of us for letting so much of it go up in flames.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

If Obama doesn't want to do it, he'll go to Congress

That's what the commentator or politician, I didn't get the name, said on CNN this morning. He was talking about President Barack Obama's threat to attack ISIS in Syria. His point was that if Obama was bluffing and really didn't want to attack, as was the case after Bashar al-Assad's use of sarin to kill more than a thousand people in East Ghouta, Syria last year, he would go to Congress and let it die. If he did want to bomb ISIS in Syria, he would just do it.

When Obama was looking for a reason to renege on his promise to attack Assad if he killed with chemical weapons, he took his problem to Congress. Most of the anti-imperialist "Left" promptly started organizing anti-war protests to protect Assad from Obama, as if Obama ever had any real intentions of attacking the fascist dictator that for years he has been publicly appealing to "step down" voluntarily.


When Congress did what everyone knew they would do, oppose Obama's "proposed" military action against Assad, the whole anti-imperialist "Left" burst out in celebration, took credit for the "reversal", and bragged about their growing power. I heard David Swanson do exactly that when he spoke in Los Angeles afterwards. Now he calls Obama's new bombing in Iraq without going to congress first "justified." What jerks these people are! At the time I likened them to the little boy in car commercial dressed as Darth Vader that thinks he started the family car with "the Force," while his father creates the magic with the cars remote start.



Ironically, the threat we face from ISIS this year is owed, in no small part, to Obama's failure to attack Assad last year. When Obama went back on his word, when all of America, as represented by Congress, reneged on its promise to the Syrian people to finally respond militarily when Assad used chemical weapons, many Syrians who had been looking to the West felt stabbed in the back. Some left the fight entirely, others joined fighting groups with an anti-western stance. The Free Syria Army lost strength and ISIS gained strength, as many concluded that the west lacked even the moral foundations to do what it says and only a return to the most reactionary forms of Islam may save them.

Now Obama really is in the advanced stages of planning the bombing of Syria. It is clear he will only go to Congress if it suits him. Most likely he won't go to Congress at all, and where is the anti-imperialist "Left" this time? Silence! One would think they would be trying to fill the streets to defend the "gains" they made a year ago by "forcing" Obama to seek congressional approval before taking military action. Instead the silence is deafening.

As I said, what jerks these people are.

From Linux Beach in San Antonio.

Like I've been saying:
How Obama has supported Assad's gas murder always
Obama's Real Syria Policy: Endless War
The Courtship Continues: Obama stopped French strike on Assad
The Courtship Continues: Obama's New Gift to Assad
How Obama Helped Assad Kill with Poison Gas in Syria
Win-Win for Assad as Obama Response to CW Mass Murder Put on Hold
Obama Denied Gas Masks to Assad's Victims
Obama's Dilemma and Assad's Opportunity
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad Exposed!
Obama "green lights" Assad's slaughter in Syria
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
Chemical weapons use in Syria, Has Obama's red-line has been crossed?
AP weighs in on Obama's Green Light for Assad's slaughter in Syria
Syria: Obama's moves Assad's "red line" back as SOHR reports 42,000 dead!
SecState John Kerry and his "dear friend" Bashar al-Assad
How Obama's 'No MANPADS for you' policy in Syria is backfiring
More thoughts on Obama's 'No MANPADS for you!' policy
Obama: Did the CIA betray Assad's opposition in Syria?
Obama planning drone strikes against Assad's opposition in Syria
How Obama helps Assad: US tried to start war between FSA & al Nusra Front

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Counter-revolutionary "Left"will again be with NATO

This time it will be by their silence.

Here's the situation:

The rise as ISIS, a group that al Qaeda calls too extreme, and the connection of a British voice to the brutal beheading of James Foley, has caused the leaders of western imperialism to address the fact that many holders of European, British, Canada, Australian and American passports have gone to fight in Syria.

This has in turn forced them to address the question of motivation: Why have thousands of young people from those countries given up relatively comfortable lives in the west to play "Lawrence of Arabia" in the very land that Lawrence made a name for himself? Why have they joined the Arab revolt? And here they start to sound like idiots. They talk about the attraction of jihad and Internet brainwashing and everything else they can think of but in the end they can conjure up no good reasons why a sane person would risk his young life in a foreign land.

The simple, and for them, unspeakable fact is that what motivates these recruits most is that having witnessed the valor and the suffering of the Syrian people on the Internet these past few years, a growing number have desired to come to the aid of the Syrian people and have taken up their cause. I think these foreign fighters in Syria have much in common with the internationalists that went to Spain to fight for the republic as the clouds where gathering for World War 2. Coincidentally, war clouds are gathering in Europe again. They were motivated by the cause of the republic, the courage of the revolutionaries, and the suffering of the Spanish people fighting against such uneven odds. It will ultimately save humanity that young people are willing time and again to put aside their fears and personal safety in the service of others.

While its true that the Lincoln Brigade and groups like it came under relatively progressive leadership, whereas most of the young foreigners fighting in Syria have given themselves to very reactionary leadership, the motivations are quite similar, they want to intervene against Assad's murder of the children. It certainly isn't the fault of these young people that there is no "left" or progressive road to Damascus, no "Lincoln Brigade," those that occupy the high ramparts of the "Left" have seen to that. But for Muslim youth around the world the Islamists have put in place a highway that leads from the local mosque to the front-lines. Because they have mobilized for the Syrians while the "Left" has cheered on Assad, these reactionary jihadists have gained in strength while the "Left" has been complete discredited in their eyes. [The Left is with Assad.]

Of course, these commentators on CNN, Fox News and the like can't afford to talk about these more noble motivations for going to Syria and fighting with whoever claims to be fighting Assad, because then they would have to talk about what is really happening in Syria and try to explain why the murder of two hundred thousand people in three years in a relatively small country merited so little coverage. They can't do that.

And the "anti-imperialist" Left can't raise these points either because they are guilty of the same crimes as the bourgeoisie when it comes to Syria.
UPDATE: Douglas MacArthur McCain was a baseball fan and would be rapper from San Diego. He was born in Minnesota. A few years ago he tweeted #FreeGaza. Recently he was killed by the Free Syria Army in a battle with ISIS. He was fighting for ISIS. The question that everyone on the left that is serious about winning has to ask is why are people like Douglas are being won to extreme reaction rather than the left.
Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Officer Darren Wilson fired 10 shots at Michael Brown in 6.5 seconds

As was bound to happen in our age of ubiquitous electronic gadgets, an audio recording has turned up that appears to have captured the distinct sound of the gunfire that killed Michael Brown. After having worked with the audio from the YouTube video below to isolate and time the sound of the bullets, I am quite confident that this is a true recording of that night and what it reveals is a total of 14 shots fired in less than 6.5 seconds.

A half second after the first shot was fired, there was a staccato of 9 shots fire in 1.252 seconds followed by a pause of more than 3 seconds which was then followed by 4 shots fired in just over 3 seconds. Of particular interest is the very first shot which reverberates on the timeline for 0.25 seconds as compared it the almost instantaneous snap of the other shots. That would seem to lend credence to the claim that the first shot was fired in the car. Beyond that I will make no attempt to interpret the data that I am presenting here. However I do believe that if this is a true recording of the sounds of Officer Darren Wilson gunning down Michael Brown, then we now have very precise information on how many shots where fired and their timing.

My data points:

Secs.into clip        Shot No.
1.6920001
2.0755932
2.2280163
2.4447794
2.5839135
2.7296726
2.8638377
2.9963468
3.1371369
3.32761710
6.34549511
7.27802212
7.59273013
8.03663314

This is the YouTube video from which I took the audio:



This is a screen print of the Open Source Audacity audio program which I used to analysis and time the video:


This is a close up of the first shot:


These are the facts, those stubborn things!

UPDATE: It has been reported that the Ferguson PD standard issue is a SIG Sauer 2022 .40 which uses a 12 round magazine. This gun is also popular with Navy SEALs and Special Forces. Allowing for a round in the chamber, that would mean a maximum load of 13 rounds fired without reloading so it is possible I am wrong on the count and counted some echoes as shots. It is also possible that Officer Wilson reloaded in the three second interval. It has also been said that the first shot was not recorded. If that is the case it would have happened at least 3.48 seconds before the first recorded shot because the released audio tape shows no shots in that period.

It should also be mentioned that SIG makes a high-capacity magazine for this gun that holds 15 .40 rounds.  

Also see my Some thoughts on Michael Brown & the Law in St. Louis

UPDATE 2: I have re-examined the graphic of the audio evidence in light of CNN's audio experts count of 10 shots and now agree with him, a total of to shots are heard on the clip. I now believe the audio peaks I have marked at 2, 4, 6 & 8 on the above graphic were echoes of the preceding shots and not new shots.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Some thoughts on Michael Brown & the Law in St. Louis

I've been busy in San Antonio this week learning a new job so I haven't had time for blogging. Haven't had time for much of anything else. That doesn't mean my heart hasn't been with the protesters in Ferguson, especially since I have my own history with St. Louis law enforcement. Now comes the weekend, which suddenly has new meaning for me, like time to write a blog.

Before I get to my own experiences, I have a few words for the media, especially CNN. I'm working second shift and I have been catching their late night coverage from my Home2 @ the Hilton:

What you don't seem to get is that it isn't particularly about what Michael Brown did or whether Officer Darren Wilson was justified in killing him. Its about a culture in this country that pre-dates the United States that says a white law enforcement officer is always justified in gunning down a black man and the lack of evidence, with each new "Michael Brown," that that has changed or ever will change. Honestly, I don't know whether Darren Brown is guilty of murder, but I know they can't all be innocent and I know they all get off. I was in Los Angeles when the verdict came down in the Rodney King case. The video tape made no difference. When's the last time a white cop went to jail for killing a black person? Hence the rage.

Now to your coverage. I haven't blogged about Ferguson this week but I have done a few things. Last night I sent this tweet to CNN's Don Lemon:

I want him or someone in the media to explain why this woman's hearsay story was covered as though she was an eyewitness, or even considered news worthy. The bias in the media coverage of this story has been incredible. I'd call Don Lemon an "Uncle Tom" reporter but for the injustice that would do to Mark Twain's character.

Now to your courage. I sent this email To CNN's Steve Kastenbaum as the police were forcing the media to leave while they were making arrests:
Subject: Tell the police you'll take your chances

Dear Steve:

The next time the police tell you that you and other members of the media to move for your own safety, will you please thank them kindly for their concerns and then tell them that you are very aware of the danger but it has never been the role of the media to shirk your responsibility to report the news because of danger. Tell them that CNN has had reporters on the ground in Syria, in Iraq, Gaza, Ukraine and Nigeria, so you should certainly be free to take your chances in Ferguson, Missouri.

Clay Claiborne
That was Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 at 12:43 AM and as if to put the explanation point on my comment, an hour later they announced that James Foley had been beheaded by ISIS.

In facing the danger and going to Syria to report on the conflict because hundreds of thousands were dying in it, Jim Foley represented the courage of the media in its best light. Now all media has crocodile tears for him but they had little use for his coverage when he was risking his life in Syria and spent little time decrying Assad and ISIS atrocities as long as it was Syrians being butchered. In their coverage of Syria we have seen the "courage" of the media in its worst light. If there is one thing they can do to honor the memory of James Foley, it is to reform their coverage of Syria. If there is one thing we all can do to honor his memory, it is to redouble our efforts to see the Syrian conflict to a peaceful resolution.

Now back to St. Louis where a county sheriff once bragged to me in all confidence how they murdered this guy in his car. They just surrounded him and blasted him. He said they all used shotguns so they would leave no traceable ballistics. This was more than 40 years ago, as are my other experiences with St. Louis law. I lived there between 1966-1975 when I was still a young black man.

Another time, this was ~ 1973, a well known "Starsky & Hutch" type St. Louis undercover rolled up next to me at a traffic light on N. Grand in North St. Louis, pointed his gun out the window at me and threaten to blow my head off in I didn't quit it. This was in broad daylight. At the time I was active in the protests against another St. Louis police killing. In this case a ten year old boy.

Then there was the time the St. Louis police discovered they had fucked with the wrong nigger. I used that term because the cop did to my face. I had just left the home of a fellow activist in North St. Louis, Mike, and was walking down the side walk. This was about 11pm on a Sunday night. Just as I was about to cross an alley, a speeding car came through, barely missing me. I had yelled "What the hell?" even before I saw it was a police cruiser. Upon hearing me, the cop apparently forgot all about whatever he was speeding to, slammed on his brakes and put it in reverse. "What did you say to me nigger?" It was just me and him on this empty St. Louis street approaching mid-night. Then it was up against the car, you know the drill, "I think I saw you trying to break into that store across the street."

The next thing I knew, I was in handcuffs in the Penrose station, demanding my phone call while they prepared to given me the usual treatment, which generally involved a beating in the basement. I kept demanding my one phone call until finally they threw a phone in front of me. I quickly called Mike, who also happened to be an attorney. When I left him, he was in a t-shirt and shorts. Ten minutes after my call, he was in the Penrose station and looking very much like my lawyer. I was soon released with all apologies and left the St. Louis police wondering just who was this nigger that could whistle up an attorney in minutes near midnight on a Sunday.

Another time two St. Louis County sheriffs perjured themselves on the witness stand in an effort frame me in an anti-Vietnam war protest. Take these stories for what they are worth. I've already passed the criminal background check at my new job and have no reason to make this stuff up. All of these events happened more than 40 years ago but judging form what I've seen out of St. Louis on this week's media coverage, not much has changed.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Air strikes can't beat ISIS but Free Syrians can!

US President Obama is being forced to order air strikes against ISIS in Iraq this August because he failed to order air strikes against Assad in Syria last September. His failure to make good on his "red-line" threat after Bashar al-Assad's Syrian army killed more than 1,400 Syrians with sarin last August was a great bonus to jihadist Islamists like ISIS and their ranks grew as a direct result. All those who looked westward as they battled against Assad felt stabbed in the back when Obama reneged on his promise. Some left the fight entirely. Some joined the anti-western jihadists. While Assad gave ISIS safe-haven in Syria, Obama's betrayal of Assad's democratic opposition so shifted the balance of forces in Syria that ISIS could make its triumphal "return to Iraq" with the resulting need for air strikes.

Cokey Roberts spoke the truth on ABC News "This Week" today when she said:
I agree with Hillary Clinton, as you quoted her earlier, saying well, if we had gotten into Syria when the rebels were begging us to come in and saying here we are, trying to secure our freedom, where is America, then you wouldn't have had this group filling the vacuum.
Relying on regional strongmen to stop the Islamic State won't work. They have helped create it. In Syria, Bashar Al-Assad let the jihadists out of jail as soon as the revolution began because he needed a fake opposition. Many of the jihadists and criminals he freed went on to become founding members of ISIS. After the Free Syrian Army liberated Raqqa, Assad bombed them mercilessly. After ISIS took it over, there were no air strikes on them. Assad gave them safe haven. They were his poster boy "enemies" but he never attacked them. He left them to grow and flourish until they were ready to spread to the fields so well prepared by Maliki in neighbouring Iraq.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has led the Iraqi government the United States left in charge when it ended its occupation in such a sectarian fashion that much of the Sunni community has been in open revolt against his Shiite regime. His sectarianism has led to such desperation among these Sunnis that they have been willing to ally themselves even with the likes of ISIS if it promises a change in the situation. He has obviously been unable to build a national army willing to stand and fight for its country with the sorry result that many of the arms with which he has been so generously supplied are now in the hand of ISIS, making it better armed with US weapons than any group fighting against it.

In Egypt, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi's criminalization of the Muslim Brotherhood, the executions of their members, banning of their legal organizations and exclusion from electoral politics will only fuel the growth of jihadist terror groups. Throughout the region we can see that these secular fascist strongmen do more to engender than discourage the growth of these religious fascist organizations. They are two sides of the same coin. The solution to both is a free people operating in an atmosphere where all views can be aired and government is by and for the people.

For more than three years there has been a little drama going on in Syria that has been too little noticed by the world. As a component part of the Arab uprisings in the Spring of 2011, a large section of the Syria people, composed of and representing every sect and religion, rose up to demand an end to the forty-year-old Assad Baathist dictatorship. With the full support of Putin's Russia, and regional support from Iran and Iraq, Bashar al-Assad has responded with the genocidal policy of wholesale murder against any group that opposes his rule.

The response of US President Obama and other world leaders with the power to intervene against this slaughter has been to look the other way and make statements. Because the struggle in Syria has been so one-sided, Assad won't step down and enjoys an endless weapon supply from his allies, while the Free Syria Army gets little from its so-called allies; the Syrian conflict became a festering wound in which ISIS could grow to become the danger it is today.

If the FSA had been given just a little help in the past, if Obama's CIA had even allowed it access to MANPADS and other heavy weapons from Libya, Qatar, China and other sources, the struggle in Syria would have been decided long ago and ISIS never would have had a chance to take root there. Still today, the best way to defeat ISIS now is to fight them in both Iraq and Syria. In Iraq, Obama should be encouraging reform in the government and support Kurdish forces confronting ISIS. In Syria he should be supporting and arming forces allied with the Free Syrian Army.

Air strikes alone can't defeat ISIS. That job will require boots on the ground and those ground forces can only be supplied by the freedom fighters in the neighborhood.


Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Friday, August 8, 2014

On Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine & MH17

With all the focus on the rights of Russian speakers in Ukraine and the struggle of pro-Russian separatists, it should be lost on nobody that an imperialist Russia is conducting a war of aggression against its smaller neighbour, Ukraine. Those were Russian troops that occupied Crimea before it was annexed. More recently Russia has become even more aggressive and we have seen reports of Russian armor entering Eastern Ukraine  - of course we are suppose to be stupid about where the "separatists" get their heavy weapons. We also have reports of missiles being fired into Ukraine from Russia and Russian warplanes downing Ukrainian planes. So quite apart of the demands and organization of pro-Russian Ukrainians in the east, we have a Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

Now to the case of MH17. We have the Ukrainian telephone intercepts. I believe they are accurate and have gone into detail as to why I think that. I have also debunked the Russian "expert's" claim that they are fake. The story they tell is that the shoot down of MH17 was an accident on the part of the pro-Russian forces. They first thought it was a Ukrainian military plane and then found out otherwise. This is an explanation I can believe, although I would add that such an accident was the inevitable result of Putin's aggressive attempts to impose a no-fly zone over part of the country he is attacking.

The Russian response is that Ukraine did it and it was no accident but the sacrifice of 298 lives by Ukraine in the hopes of winning support for its side, just as, according to Putin and Assad, the Free Syrian Army was willing to use sarin on its own people for the same reason. I have recently been reminded just how common this twisted logic is after reviewing events surrounding the "Mississippi Burning" murder of three civil rights workers in 1964. The KKK city officials suggested the civil rights movement disappeared the three kids themselves in a ploy to get the federal government involved! Those "anti-imperialists" who rallied to Assad's claim that the rebels gassed themselves in hopes of provoking NATO intervention? This is the company they keep.

The Russian story has many parts. One is that the Ukrainian intercepts are fakes, prepared well in advance, another is that MH17 was filled with corpses in the first place, and another is that an Su-25 was tracking (and possibly shot down) MH17. All of this implies some grand conspiracy involving multiple branches of the Ukrainian government with advanced planning and support from the US and possibly also Malaysia Air.

This is why I regard all those that try to argue that technically an Su-25 could shoot down MH17, leaving aside why anyone in the Ukrainian air force would even choose a plane so unequal to the task when they have much better, and all the other aspects of the implausible Russian tale, as first rank Putin apologists.

Now to the question of who shot down MH17, one man, Igor Bezler, claimed "We have just shot down a plane," and the only plane he could be referring to is MH17. So who does Igor Bezler work for? If we can answer that we know who shot down MH17. Bezler claims to be a separatist militia leader of Horivka, but he is also a Russian GRU agent. He was Soviet army airborne in Afghanistan. Until 2002 he was a Lieutenant Colonel in the GRU, a few years ago he retired to eastern Ukraine. He was involved in the annexation of Crimea before turning up in Donestsk. He was talking to another Russian officer when he reported the downed jet. So is Bezler still under the same command he has been under for more than 20 years or is he a renege from it? If he still honors the Russian command, that could explain how he got control of a BUK. It also means Russia shot down MH17 as part of its war of aggression against Ukraine and thus even though it be an accident it was manslaughter committed during the commission of a violent crime, meaning Russia should be charged with 298 counts of murder in the first degree by any laws I would respect.

Additional notes:
STOP FAKES: Top Russian Lies about Ukraine [Part 1] [Part II]

Apparently the tracker and commander units can be separated from the missile launcher units by great distances in the Russian BUK systems. This piece by Eugene Leng puts forward the view that at all times, control of the BUK system that shot down MH17 remained in Russia.


According to Alexander Bunin, this is what the "trigger" end of the BUK looks like.
This is not a MANPADS, whoever pulled this trigger was well trained.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Libya on the Brink

The new congress elected 25 June held its first official session Monday in Tobruk as the rejected Islamist dominated congress vows to continue meeting in Tripoli. 4 August had been set as the date for the power transfer. Because the Islamists have controlled the General National Congress since the last election and like the power, this transfer is being strongly resisted. This has also lead to fierce fighting over control of the Tripoli Airport which has long been under the control of militias protected by the Islamists dominated congress. Meanwhile the renege General Khalifa Haftar has been leading a much needed struggle against the Islamist militias but he is not trusted by most Libyans because of his past Qaddafi and alleged CIA ties. Few want to see a new strongman running Libya.

The violence in post-Qaddafi Libya has reached new peaks in recent weeks, many on the "anti-imperialist" Left have been gleefully predicting total collapse, pointing to their opposition to UN and NATO intervention and saying "I told you so." They find it convenient to forget that this is not what they predicted at the time.

At the time they predicted the NATO air campaign would lead to NATO "boots on the ground" and an occupied Libya which would also become the new home of AFRICOM. They called the Transitional National Council a puppet organization and predicted that any future government enabled by NATO's support would necessarily be an instrument of Western imperialism that would sell-out the Libyan people and their resources. As Carl Davison wrote me about the NATO project on 11 July 2011:
What it really means is to use NATO air and sea power to destroy Gadaffi and his regime and supporters, regardless of 'collateral damage.' And its turning out not to be easy without trained and disciplined 'boots on the ground.' Whether Obama and NATO are willing to take that step is what they are up against, and that is the step Kucinich is trying to block--and I agree with him. Their initial claim that Gadaffi could be wiped out with a week or two of air strikes has been proven wrong. The question for you and Gilbert [Achcar] is whether you are willing to go the distance to supporting a NATO invasion and occupation, and still call the results progressive.
NATO invasion and occupation isn't what happened. What happened was closer to chaos. The revolution utterly destroyed this weird tribal-based fascist state that Mummar Qaddafi had constructed over a 40 year period along with his army. Everyone had to study his 29 page "Green Book" to graduate. That was the only state most Libyans knew. Libya itself has only been independent since 1951. The state is being reconstructed from scratch, much of it by trial and error, and while there have been two successful national elections in the past three years, the state has remained weak and stability has been a dream.

The principal reason for this is the many armed groups that sprung up during the revolutionary war and those that have formed up since. These groups range from revolutionary secular militias who have vowed not to give up their guns until they know revolutionary democracy will prevail in Libya to Islamist jhadist groups and criminal gangs. There are many other lesser problems but they don't include massive damage to infrastructure from NATO bombing or NATO occupation and overt manipulation of the body politic.

The problems they are having are part and parcel of every revolutionary aftermath. Anyone doubting that should review the decade of French history between the Estates-General of 1789 and the 1799 coup by Napoleon Bonaparte. That's not what the "anti-imperialists" predicted when they "told us so," but in as much as what they did predict did not come to past, they will take what they can and following the logic that NATO support enabled them to overthrow the Qaddafi dictatorship therefore NATO must be held accountable for everything that happens in Libya today.

You see, these "anti-imperialists" didn't mind when Mummar Qaddafi sent in helicopter gunships to settle tribal disputes. They never wrote one word about it. Or about the massacres in his prisons, or about the mass graves that have been found since. They didn't mind about it. But now they are all up in arms about the chaos following his overthrown and blame Obama. Well the Daily Beast responded to their nonsense on Saturday:
It’s Not the USA that Made Libya the Disaster it is Today

Decades of rule by Gaddafi left Libyans with a collective case of PTSD, or something very much like it.

03 August 2014
Ann Marlowe
...
One pilot friend in Zwara pointed out that just “two Apaches,” attack helicopters, would intimidate the militias into a ceasefire. A Libyan businesswoman friend sighed and said that if only the U.N. or U.S. had put a foreign advisor in every government ministry, things might have worked. Libyans tweeting in English started pleading for international intervention. My reply is always that they had better be careful about what they wish for: help like the Turkish who ruled them for hundreds of years, the Italians who invaded in 1911 and put a third of the population in concentration camps, or perhaps the British and European contractors, lawyers and bankers who allowed the Gaddafi regime to loot the country blind?

This isn’t to say Libya’s current crisis is the fault of others. To the contrary: since the 2011 ouster of Gaddafi, the world has cut Libya a lot of slack. No, the blame for the mess rests squarely on the shoulders of Libyans, especially but not limited to the governing class.

That’s what’s hard to convey to hand-wringing Americans, who are inclined to see every world drama as about us. We did not have much involvement with Libya under Gaddafi, we did not launder his money, and we did not have boots on the ground in the revolution. For the most part, Europeans flew the NATO bombing runs that pounded Gaddafi’s troops; we refueled them.

Libya’s descent into infighting and extremism following its 2011 NATO-enabled revolution is neither an argument for American intervention in troubled countries nor an argument against it. Nor does it lend support to generalizations about Islamic extremism—though it is not irrelevant to its dissolution that Libya is a Muslim country. Instead, as I’ve come to realize while working as a consultant to a branch of the Libyan government, the weakening of the state is a direct consequence of the culture Libya developed after 42 years of a chaotic dictatorship. More...
In point of fact, NATO did exactly what it was commissioned to do and then it went home. Like a good Samaritan who stops a thug from beating someone up, it isn't responsible for what happens to the would-be victim later. NATO put an end to Qaddafi's murder of civilians, this was their mandate, and because Qaddafi refused to refrain from wanton attacks on civilians even to the end, NATO could only fulfil its mandate and go home by putting Qaddafi down.

The Left should learn from its mistakes, not double down on them

We can take Richard Seymour's writing on Libya at Lenin's Tomb as and example of the Left's main error on Libya, which is its failure to learn from its mistakes. Lenin's Tomb has now demonstratively been wrong on Libya but rather than examining its past analysis for errors, it ignores them and doubles down on its generally negative assessment of the Libyan Revolution. Let's examine the record:

In March 2011 this was its best-case scenario for the Libyan revolution, which it thought unlikely:
The best-case scenario is that people are killed to little avail, and the former regime elements in the transitional leadership have just diverted energies and initiative down a blind alley. I suppose you might object that the best-case scenario is that the air strikes exclusively kill the bad guys, turning the initiative in favour of the revolutionaries, allowing them to sieze power, build a liberal democratic state, and the cavalry heads home. And the band played, 'Believe it if you like'.
My assessment of what did happen is that the air strikes killed 90-95% "bad guys," did turn the initiative in favor of the revolutionaries, allowing them to seize power, and then the cavalry flew home. The process of rebuilding the state virtually from scratch, and not in the way Lenin's Tomb envisioned, is ongoing and continues to be the center of political struggle.

In April 2011, Lenin's Tomb offered the opinion that after NATO intervention only a puppet government could emerge:
Can I just risk a modest proposition? NATO, the CIA and the special forces belonging to the world's imperialist states are not forces of progress in this world. Does anyone disagree with that? If not, then it follows as surely as night follows day that the successful cooptation of the Libyan revolution by NATO, the CIA and special forces is a victory for reaction. It's no good hoping that the small, poorly armed, poorly trained militias of the east of Libya, who are now utterly dependent on external support, will somehow shake themselves free of such constraints once - if - they take power.
Lenin's Tomb thought the most likely outcome would be a deal brokered by NATO that left the Qaddafi state machinery in place:
they [NATO] offer a prolonged civil war at best culminating in a settlement with Saif and his sibling.
Given events in Syria, I wouldn't call Libya's civil war "prolonged" and Saif's relation to state power is detention awaking trial. Lenin's Tomb elaborates:
Yes, I know. A negotiated settlement would be a step back from outright victory for the rebels. But that is an increasingly improbable outcome anyway, and I thought we were trying to save lives here? And as it happens, a diplomatic solution seems to be exactly what is on the cards now.
Lenin's Tomb came to the conclusion early that the Libyan Revolution had been converted into the US War on Libya:
The opposition leaders are now adjuncts to a NATO strategy which may not even have been disclosed to them. Let's at least give credit where it's due. This is NATO's war. And that means, this is Washington's war.
As things developed, the US never flew more than about 17% of the strike missions in what Lenin's Tomb had called "Washington's war," so Lenin's Tomb changed its position accordingly, in April predicting a Qaddafi victory unless NATO put in troops:
The US is pulling out of the air war, amid divisions and recriminations, and is saying that it will not engage in the training or arming of the rebels. In short, it is retreating from any explicit military involvement in the Libyan revolt. This may amount to an admission of failure.

Qadhafi's recent recovery in some parts of the country may be reversed, but he is unlikely to lose the core western territories that he now commands. Is this the kind of stability that is sought? A constant war of attrition between two slightly better matched forces? What's the alternative, apart from a land invasion?
Lenin's Tomb thought "Washington's war" would ultimately result in a re-constituted Qaddafi regime. This was said in August before the uprising in Tripoli vanquished the Qaddafi forces even as the revolutionary armies were converging on the city from four sides:
Their weakest point had been the failure of the revolt to spread to Tripoli, which seemed unlikely to fall to the sorts of relatively light bombing sorties that NATO was deploying. Aerial bombing was no substitute for the spread of the revolution, which was actually receding as the initiative passed into the hands of Africom planners and others. Leading politicians in the UK and France were admitting that Qadhafi would not be driven out by military force, and calling for a negotiated settlement.

I think we would see a recomposition of the old regime, without Qadhafi but with the basic state structures intact. The former regime elements would become regime elements, within a pro-US, neoliberal state with some limited political democracy.
Lenin's Tomb, and much of the Left, was wrong on Libya

Its not just that Lenin's Tomb misjudged the situation, we all do that from time to time, but that he so badly misjudged the situation on the side of reaction, on the side of counter-revolution. At a time when the Libyan forces rallied against the fascist dictatorship needed all the support they could get, practical as well as moral, Richard Seymour, we now know wrongly, predicted failure on all fronts.

Of course, as revolutionary Marxists, it is incumbent on us to always tell the truth to the people and never take the ultra-left road of advocating a struggle that can't be won. So we should be cautious in setting doable goals so the people can go from victory to victory, but I think the far greater "danger," if you can call it that, is the outright avocation of the failure of the revolutionary forces when that is not called for by the facts. I put "danger" in quotes because it isn't a danger for the forces of counter-revolution generally, it is what we expect them to do, but it is an embarrassment to Lenin that someone taking his name should also take that stand.

With its predictions of a negotiated settlement leaving the Qaddafi regime largely intact, NATO boots on the ground and a puppet government controlled by Washington, all proven wrong by history, one might hope that a historical materialist would get busy examining the basic assumptions that led to these counter-revolutionary conclusions.

To have at precisely the moment when the revolutionary forces are engaged in desperate battle and need all to rally to their cause and have heart, have faith in their eventual victory, to at that moment incorrectly predict failure and defeat, to so publicly underestimate the strength of the revolutionary forces and the revolutionary possibilities of the situation has to be ranked as a first rate failure for a Leninist. Such a failure should be the subject of serious examination. Not so with Lenin's Tomb, instead it calls for an outcome congruent with its initial vision, it calls for a US occupation of Libya [Correction (9 Aug 2014) I incorrectly attributed this quote to Richard Seymour whereas, as he points out below, he merely reprinted and miss-attributed [see note below] Richard Haass on Lenin's Tomb without comment. I missed the attribution at the top. My bad.]
Now Nato has to deal with its own success. International assistance, probably including an international force, is likely to be needed for some time to help restore and maintain order. The size and composition of the force will depend on what is requested and welcomed by the Libyan National Transitional Council and what is required by the situation on the ground. President Barack Obama may need to reconsider his assertion that there would not be any American boots on the ground; leadership is hard to assert without a presence.
Because he stopped the rapist, Lenin's Tomb saddles him with on-going responsibility for the victim. First Lenin's Tomb, along with much of the Left, charged that NATO was going further than the UN resolution allowed by continuing operations until Qaddafi stopped killing civilians. Now this "non-interventionist" is demanding what the UN resolution specifically dis-allowed - NATO boot's on the ground - in the name, not of stopping the wholesale slaughter of civilians, but of meddling in Libyan politics.

Is Richard Seymour's desire to be proven right in his earlier predictions of NATO boots on the ground so strong that he would welcome them in to Libya to "restore order" while the murder rate is still less than in the city of Chicago?

Yes, revolutions, like most births, are messy, painful affairs, but we can't move forward without them and this is no time for calling upon the Libyans to retreat from theirs.

Update 8 Aug - Note on Richard Seymour's use of Richard Haass in his blog:
As I corrected the record above I incorrectly attributed the words of Richard Haass to Richard Seymour. For this I apologize. This happened because of my sloppy reading of Lenin's Tomb reprint of Haass without comment, which I generally take to imply approval. I missed the attribution at the top which reads "This is from the head of the Committee on Foreign Relations."

But on closer inspection, I find that this attribution by Richard Seymour is also false and misleading. Richard Haass is the head of the private "Council of Foreign Relations," but not naming him makes is sound like the comments are coming from the far more powerful head of the Senate "Committee on Foreign Affairs" and gives them far greater weight. He should make the correction before this blog posts up coming 3rd anniversary.


Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Israel massacres Gaza - "Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel"

Israel is a European-American settler state in Palestine. The Bible stories of the Old Testament and the Torah gave it a mythological history. The holocaust of the Jews in Europe created the 20th century impetus. But it remains, at heart, what most such settler states are, a land grab aimed at taking a section of the Earth's surface [and what's under it!] away from the indigenous population and putting it under the control of the "settlers."

The United States grew out of a settler state, so did Australia. Calling themselves "settlers" was already a part of their mythology. They pretended that they were settling an "unsettled" land. They pretended that there weren't already people living on that land that they intended to remove by force and murder. The Zionists promoted the myth of "A land without a people for a people without a land" and as soon as they got a mandate, they started removing Palestinians from the land.

Palestine was already a colonial land under British rule, and fighting against it, when large parts of it were given over to European Jews to form the settler state of Israel. Using one excuse or another, the amount of land under settler control as steadily increased since 1948 [the year I was born] because that's what settler states do. They tend to gobble up all the land to the water's edge and beyond - if you let them.

This brings us to Israel's latest offensive in Gaza and the thousands of Palestinians Israel is now killing there. It's an operation they refer to as "mowing the lawn." It is a procedure of the occupation and and continuation of the Zionist effort to rid Palestine of Palestinians. All the talk about tunnels and rockets is besides the point, however the Palestinians resist, Israel would complain.

Every time Israel massacres another school or UN center, President Obama repeats his mantra about Israel's "right to defend itself" and every time he says this he green-lights another massacre. As long as Israel is carrying on the occupation and as long as it is expanding settlements, both illegal under international law, its claim to a right to self-defense have as much standing as that of a bank robber's claim to a right to self-defense  while committing a bank robbery.



Pictures from pro-Gaza rally in Los Angeles | 2 August 2014



FYI: Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt et al 1948 letter on Israel

This is a letter to The New York Times on Saturday December 4, 1948 by Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, Sidney Hook, others on the occasion of a visit to the US by Menachen Begin. What what they said then still rings true today. The source is the original microfilm.
New York, Dec. 2, 1948
TO THE EDITORS OF NEW YORK TIMES:

Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the "Freedom Party" (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.

The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin's political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.

Before irreparable damage is done by way of financial contributions, public manifestations in Begin's behalf, and the creation in Palestine of the impression that a large segment of America supports Fascist elements in Israel, the American public must be informed as to the record and objectives of Mr. Begin and his movement.

The public avowals of Begin's party are no guide whatever to its actual character. Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character; from its past actions we can judge what it may be expected to do in the future.

Attack on Arab Village

A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin. This village, off the main roads and surrounded by Jewish lands, had taken no part in the war, and had even fought off Arab bands who wanted to use the village as their base. On April 9 (THE NEW YORK TIMES), terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants (240 men, women, and children) and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem. Most of the Jewish community was horrified at the deed, and the Jewish Agency sent a telegram of apology to King Abdullah of Trans-Jordan. But the terrorists, far from being ashamed of their act, were proud of this massacre, publicized it widely, and invited all the foreign correspondents present in the country to view the heaped corpses and the general havoc at Deir Yassin.

The Deir Yassin incident exemplifies the character and actions of the Freedom Party.

Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultranationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority. Like other Fascist parties they have been used to break strikes, and have themselves pressed for the destruction of free trade unions. In their stead they have proposed corporate unions on the Italian Fascist model.

During the last years of sporadic anti-British violence, the IZL and Stern groups inaugurated a reign of terror in the Palestine Jewish community. Teachers were beaten up for speaking against them, adults were shot for not letting their children join them. By gangster methods, beatings, window-smashing, and wide-spread robberies, the terrorists intimidated the population and exacted a heavy tribute.

The people of the Freedom Party have had no part in the constructive achievements in Palestine. They have reclaimed no land, built no settlements, and only detracted from the Jewish defense activity. Their much-publicized immigration endeavors were minute, and devoted mainly to bringing in Fascist compatriots.

Discrepancies Seen

The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party, and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a "Leader State" is the goal.

In the light of the foregoing considerations, it is imperative that the truth about Mr. Begin and his movement be made known in this country. It is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has refused to campaign against Begin's efforts, or even to expose to its own constituents the dangers to Israel from support to Begin.

The undersigned therefore take this means of publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party; and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism.

ISIDORE ABRAMOWITZ, HANNAH ARENDT, ABRAHAM BRICK, RABBI JESSURUN CARDOZO, ALBERT EINSTEIN, HERMAN EISEN, M.D., HAYIM FINEMAN, M. GALLEN, M.D., H.H. HARRIS, ZELIG S. HARRIS, SIDNEY HOOK, FRED KARUSH, BRURIA KAUFMAN, IRMA L. LINDHEIM, NACHMAN MAISEL, SEYMOUR MELMAN, MYER D. MENDELSON, M.D., HARRY M. OSLINSKY, SAMUEL PITLICK, FRITZ ROHRLICH, LOUIS P. ROCKER, RUTH SAGIS, ITZHAK SANKOWSKY, I.J. SHOENBERG, SAMUEL SHUMAN, M. SINGER, IRMA WOLFE, STEFAN WOLFE.
As you can see, all my life, the problem has been the same.




https://medium.com/i-data/israel-gaza-war-data-a54969aeb23e

Monday, August 4, 2014

50 years ago today: Tonkin false flag attack kills millions

"This ship is allegedly uh to be attacked tonight."
                  - Defense Secretary to President before phony attack.
Fifty years ago today, on the 4th of August 1964, the claim was made that North Vietnamese PT boats attacked US warships in the Gulf of Tonkin. Based on that claim, Congress passed the "Gulf of Tonkin" resolution empowering the Commander-in-Chief to "do whatever may be necessary." As a result of what was seen as "necessary," more than fifty-thousand Americans and some three million Vietnamese would be slaughtered over the next eight years in the war authorized by the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

However, the claimed 4th of August attacks that were the casus belli for the Vietnam War never took place. It was a hoax perpetrated on the World by the White House and as I revealed in Vietnam: American Holocaust, US President Lyndon B Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert S McNamara were at the center of it.

White House recordings are made public after forty years, so one advantage I had in doing this documentary in 2006-2008, as compared to earlier works, was access to White House tapes [ as well as other documentation released by statue after 40 years. ] for those war years. This included the White House tapes for 4 August 1964, the day of the so-called Gulf of Tonkin attack. This co-incidentally was also the day that the FBI found the three slain civil rights workers. ["Mississippi Burning"] They reported to the White House which then decided how to make the news public. All and all a "big news" day at the White House and the recordings are an incredible record of how LBJ juggled these two major events.
a day in the life...August 4, 1964

At 9:15pm LBJ is on the phone planning his announcement of the bombing of North Vietnam in response to the alleged Gulf of Tonkin attacks and tells McNamara "I don't see why we bring Goldwater in on this. Why don't we just say I felt it appropriate just to communicate my decision to the Republican candidate for president. And I'll say he's assured me of his full support. I think it makes us sound like we're very much together and buddies and agreein' on bombing everybody."

Twenty minutes later he is on the phone with the Governor of Mississippi about the found bodies of Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney. He tells the Govenor "I've been in this Vietnam Security Council and we're, uh, we're having to retaliate out there tonight, uh, that this shooting that took place at our destroyer today. I'm goin' on television after a while, as soon as I get our planes off the ground, and tell the people about it."

Then he gets to the business of finding the killers of the civil rights workers. The President tells the Governor "I thought I'd better talk to you. I know you're gonna do everything you can to apprehend 'em. And anyway in the world we can help, we want to do it." When the Governor pledges continued cooperation, Johnson tells him "You've, uh, you certainly, uh, acted fine under all the circumstances. And I certainly do appreciate you attitude and your cooperation."
Most significantly, the first discussion of the North Vietnamese "surprise" attack takes place before the attack with McNamara and Johnson already planning their response "in the event this attack takes place within the next six to nine hours." No such attack took place 50 years ago today even though it was dutifully reported by the task force commander and used to justify a war by the President. While it has long been conceded, even in the official Navy records that "that there was actually no North Vietnamese attack that night," These recordings provide the "smoking gun" that shows the fraud used to justify the murder of millions involved the very highest levels of the US government.

Vietnam: American Holocaust was the first documentary to reveal this "smoking gun" to the World. Below is the screenplay of the section on the Gulf of Tonkin Incident from the film:

Section Break: Tonkin
Scene is LBJ cabinet meeting.
MARTIN SHEEN
LBJ wanted to greatly expand the war but the resolution he had put to congress had been shelved for months.
Subtitles for tape of LBJ and McNamara.
LBJ: I want is somebody that can lay up some plans to trap these guys...and whoop the hell out of 'em. Kill some of 'em that's what I want to do.

McNamara: I’ll try to bring something back to meet with that objective.

LBJ: OK Bob.
MARTIN SHEEN
After what he called 'an unprovoked attack', he got his resolution.
Cronkite is off camera.
Congressional leaders of both parties supported the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. In fact only two members of congress voted against the resolution, Senators Morse of Oregon and Greuning of Alaska.
Senator Morse at a press conference.
Being in the minority never proves that you're wrong. In fact, history is going to record that Senator Greuning and I voted in the interest of the American people this morning when we voted against this resolution.

And I'd have the American people remember what this resolution really is. It's a resolution which seeks to give the President of the United States the power to make war without a declaration of war.
Cronkite is now on camera announcing. Then film of planes being launched from an aircraft carrier.
The Gulf of Tonkin resolution was not a Declaration of War. There never was a declaration of war in Vietnam but it served much the same purpose. The president was given broad powers to wage war. But what the congress did not know, what the country did not know is that the second attack in the Gulf of Tonkin may never have happened.
Camera zooms to high lighted words on U.S. Navy website.

MARTIN SHEEN
It is now known beyond any reasonable doubt that an attack did not take place. Even the official U.S. Navy history states "that there was actually no North Vietnamese attack that night."
Senator Fullbright speaks to camera, continues speaking as McNamara is shown giving briefing.

SENATOR FULLBRIGHT
If one telegram, which we later found from Commander Herrick of the Maddox, had been made available to the Committee at that time, I’m quite sure they would have had long hearings, gone into it thoroughly. And if they had been able to discover the facts as they were, I don’t believe they’d have pasted the Resolution, because it was based on absolutely false, erroneous information. The events that they related then on August 4, 1964, were not true. Our ships were -it was not an unprovoked, deliberate attack; in fact there was no attack at all.
Scenes of the Maddox
MARTIN SHEEN
Did the captains report what they were ordered to report?
Morley Safer on the Maddox. Safer interviews Herricks on a ship.
Morley Safer: It’s also been suggested that Washington was putting a great deal of pressure on you to come up with some positive answers to what happened that night. A positive answer being, “Yes, we were attacked."

Captain herrick: Well, I’m sure they needed one. And that’s what we were trying to obtain for them and we did and sent it in.
Scenes of outside of Maddox.

MARTIN SHEEN
Did the gunners shell an empty gulf?
Guns, radar, sonar panel
Morley Safer: Just above the bridge of the Maddox where Captain Herrick was is the main
gun director. And inside the director was a sailor who was in charge of firing those powerful five-inch guns. His job was to open fire once the enemy targets were spotted on radar or sonar. Those are the main methods for detecting targets you can't see directly. The man in charge of the main gun director, August 4, 1964, was a four-year veteran, he was also an expert sonar man, Patrick Park. Park is now a businessman in Los Angeles.
Safer interviews Park in an office.
Morley Safer: Tell me, do you think that night, August 4, 1964, in the pitch black, in the heavy swell, rain storms, was there anything to shoot at out there?

Park: No, I don’t-I’m certain that there was not anything to shoot at, right from the beginning. The Captain asked me immediately after the attack, to go down and evaluate all the recordings that had been made of noise that was-that sonar was recording. And I kept myself pretty busy for the next three days really trying to evaluate these things and determine if we had heard anything that might have been even a question mark, that might have been a torpedo or anything else in the water not related to the two ships or noise of either one of them.

Morley Safer: And what was your evaluation?

Park: Absolutely nothing.
Scenes of air craft carrier.

MARTIN SHEEN
The pilots didn’t see anything either. Before James Bond Stockdale became a North Vietnamese prisoner of war, he was flying air cover over the destroyers at the time of the alleged second attack.
Scenes of Stockdale and squad.
In Stockdales words “I flew so low there was salt spray on my windshield and I still didn’t see a thing” Meaning he never saw torpedoes or any evidence that the U.S. ships had been fired upon. The captain of the Ticonderoga attack squadron 56, Commander Wesley L. MacDonald concurred. He didn’t see anything that night except the Maddox and the Tuner Joy.

After this flight he and those in his command met behind closed doors and each wrote accounts of what he did and didn’t see. Stockdale then locked these in his safe. The next morning Stockdale was ordered to lead the first strike on North Vietnam.
Senator Fullbright speaks to camera, like before.
I personally am convinced, in my own mind, that no attack took place on the 4th. Of course it’s impossible, in a way, for me to prove a negative. I’ll put it this way. They certainly did not prove the affirmative case that there was an attack.
Scenes of ships in Tonkin Gulf, then many B52s flying in formation.

MARTIN SHEEN
Since there was no second attack, and since that attack was the excuse that the President used to take the U.S. to war in Vietnam, what are we to make of the following recently released White House tape? In it LBJ and McNamara discuss the second Gulf of Tonkin attack before it takes place. How would they know about the attack before it happened and why would they want to keep that prior knowledge a secret, unless they were planning it?
Phone call between McNamara and LBJ with sub-titles.
MCNAMARA: Now this is an action that we might well wish to consider after the second attack. But I think it would be inappropriate, and General Wheeler agrees, and Dean Rusk agrees, inappropriate to provide the task force commander that authority. There will be ample time for us, after a second attack, to bring this problem to your attention, and you can then decide how far you wish to pursue the attacker into his base area....

LBJ: but I wish we could have something that we already picked out, and uh

MCNAMARA: We'll see

LBJ: and just hit about three of them damned quick. Right after

MCNAMARA: We will have that, and, and I, I've talked to Mac Bundy [national security adviser] a moment ago and told him that I thought that was the most important subject we should consider today, and, and be prepared to recommend to you a response, a retaliation move against North Vietnam in the event this attack takes place within the next six to nine hours. And we

LBJ: All right. Now we better do that at lunch. There's some things I don't want to go in with these other, I want to keep this as close as I can. So let's just try to keep it to the two.

MCNAMARA: I will be prepared to do so at lunch.
NVA General Phung The Tai in uniform speaks to camera, fade to single large bomb being dropped on Vietnam.
On the night of August 4, the United States made public that so-called "Gulf of Tonkin incident." But the story was a fabrication, created by the U.S. National Security Council. Even as the National Security Council met, American aircraft were being sent to destroy several areas of our country. In reality, the second Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened.
MARTIN SHEEN
Was the whole basis of this war a fraud and a lie perpetrated at the highest levels of our government? We must ask ourselves that as we survey the damage that was done to ourselves and especially to Vietnam.

Buy the DVD from the Vietnam: American Holocaust website or Amazon.com