Is bombing Vietnamese civilians ‘war heroism’?


This 2007 video is called Vietnam: American Holocaust – Bombing Vietnam.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Monday, August 27, 2018

The undeserved eulogising of John McCain serves to bolster an imperialist narrative

NO-ONE’S death should be celebrated, but nor should it be accompanied by undeserved eulogy as US senator John McCain’s is.

He is described in the US mass media, routinely echoed by our own subservient networks, as a war hero, but where is the heroism in bombing a major city to terrorise the population into surrender?

McCain’s F4 Phantom fighter bomber was shot down over the Vietnamese capital Hanoi in 1967, forcing him to parachute into Truc Bach lake where, given the nature of his injuries, he would have drowned but for local people who plunged into the water to rescue him.

Hanoi reported his capture and knew that his father and grandfather were both four-star admirals in the US Navy, making him a prime candidate for any prisoner exchange.

McCain made a statement apologising for his crimes against the Vietnamese people and expressing thanks for medical treatment that saved his life, but, after returning to the US in 1973, he said his confession was extracted through torture.

Hoa Lo Prison chief warder Nguyen Tien Tran was questioned later about the torture allegations, insisting: “We never tortured McCain. On the contrary, we saved his life, curing him with extremely valuable medicines that at times were not available to our own wounded.”

He told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that conditions in Hoa Lo were “tough, though not inhuman” and that it had been his job to keep the gravely injured US pilot alive.

Nguyen could, of course, be lying, so it would be a case of judging which side in the war was more inclined to the truth, the one resisting imperialist aggression or the other that admitted later that its pretext for stepping up military intervention — the 1964 Tonkin incident — was fabricated.

McCain’s war hero status passes virtually unquestioned in the US, except by Donald Trump who sought to diminish his Republican challenger for their party’s presidential nomination.

Trump derided the notion that McCain was a hero for being captured, declaring: “I like people that weren’t captured.”

He certainly ensured no personal danger of being captured in Vietnam, dodging the draft through a series of student deferments, as well as a medical diagnosis of protrusions caused by calcium built up on the heel bone.

His condition never needed an operation. Nor did it prevent him playing squash, gridiron and tennis at college or taking up golf at university and it later healed up of its own accord, according to Trump.

The future president’s good fortune was, like fellow chickenhawk George W Bush who shared his enthusiasm for overseas wars while believing that he shouldn’t have to fight in them, having family connections and an obliging medical professional.

Those who lacked these benefits — the poor, working class and disproportionately black — were press-ganged into Vietnam and subsequent dirty wars.

McCain’s reputation will not be tainted by Trump’s taunts, but nor should his own torture claims, backed by media and military, be swallowed without hesitation.

Vietnam was a resounding defeat for US imperialism, not only militarily when the world’s most powerful country was forced to flee South Vietnam with its tail between its legs but also morally because of global awareness of the scale of atrocities carried out against the civilian population.

Building up McCain, John Kerry and others as war heroes is a co-ordinated bipartisan strategy to retrospectively whitewash a dirty war by encouraging notions of nobility about those who prosecuted it.

By diminishing the enormity of its crimes, the Establishment seeks to make future imperialist wars more acceptable.

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Rare large-antlered muntjac seen in Vietnam


This 2016 video says about itself:

The giant muntjac, sometimes referred to as the large-antlered muntjac, is a species of muntjac deer.

It is the largest muntjac species and was discovered in 1994 in Vũ Quang, Hà Tĩnh Province of Vietnam and in central Laos.

During inundation of the Nakai Reservoir in Khammouane Province of Laos for the Nam Theun 2 Multi-Purpose Project, 38 giant muntjac were captured, studied and released into the adjacent Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area.

From Forschungsverbund Berlin in Germany:

First record of large-antlered muntjac in Vietnam

New hope for the survival of this species

May 22, 2018

In November 2017 — under a biodiversity monitoring and assessment activity supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) — scientists and conservationists of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and WWF-Vietnam captured photographs of one of the rarest and most threatened mammal species of Southeast Asia, the large-antlered muntjac (Muntiacus vuquangensis), in Quang Nam province, central Vietnam. Prior to this milestone, this species had only been camera trapped in three protected areas in all of Vietnam since the year 2000. The new records from Quang Nam — which include photographs of both a male and a female — provide new hope for the continued survival of a species that is on the brink of extinction.

“It is amazing news”, said Phan Tuan, Director of the Forest Protection Department of Quang Nam in Vietnam “The two individuals are both mature and of reproductive age. These images prove that the species still survives in Quang Nam province and give us hope that there might even be a breeding population.”

The large-antlered muntjac was discovered by scientists in 1994 and is found only in the Annamites mountain range bordering Vietnam and Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Illegal hunting, mainly accomplished by the setting of wire snares, has decimated the species across its range. Snaring pressure is apparently high in the forests of central Vietnam. From 2011 to 2017, for example, government rangers and WWF Forest Guards removed more than a hundred thousand wire snares from the Thua Thien Hue and Quang Nam Saola Nature Reserves. In 2016, in response to the snare-driven decline of the species the status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species of the large-antlered muntjac was changed from Endangered to Critically Endangered.

Conservation stakeholders are continuing efforts to protect large-antlered muntjac in the wild. However, in recognition of the overwhelming pressure that the species faces and the fact that its populations are now critically low, the government and international NGOs are planning to establish a captive insurance population for this species and the saola (Pseudoryx nghe inhensis). The saola is another recently-discovered endemic ungulate that is even rarer than the large-antlered muntjac and may be now approaching extinction.

Dr. Benjamin Rawson, the Conservation Director of WWF-Vietnam, notes: “Large-antlered muntjac do not currently exist in captivity, so if we lose them in the wild, we lose them forever. Scientists are racing against time to save the species. Addressing the snaring crisis to protect wildlife in the forests of central Vietnam and setting up captive assurance populations are vital if we are to succeed.”

In addition to large-antlered muntjac, other camera trap surveys funded by USAID also documented other conservation priority species including Owston’s civet (Chrotogale owstoni), Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), Annamite striped rabbit (Nesolagus timminsi), and pangolin (Manis spp). “Finding these rare and beautiful species gives new hope for Vietnam’s precious biodiversity treasures”, says Nguyen Van Thanh, who led the field survey. Thanh is both a PhD student at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and a WWF Russell E. Train Fellowship recipient. “Although populations of all ground-dwelling mammals and birds have declined from snaring, our results show that the forests of Quang Nam province still harbor globally-significant biodiversity” Thanh adds. The findings of this study will help the Forest Protection Department of Quang Nam to develop better management and law enforcement plans to save these species and their habitats.

The Leibniz-IZW and WWF-Vietnam survey teams are now expanding the systematic camera trapping plans to other areas in the region, including places with high biodiversity potential in the province of Thua Thien Hue, just north of Quang Nam. The teams hope to uncover more surprises. But regardless of what they find in the future, the re-discovery of the Large-antlered Muntjac from Quang Nam will always remain a milestone for the survey teams, for the conservation community, and for Vietnam.

‘School to war pipeline’ in United States education


This video from Baltimore, Maryland the USA says about itself:

Hopkins Students Fight Against ‘School to War Pipeline

5 May 2018

At a gathering to honor Vietnam War protesters, students say their university is priming them to work for the country’s military industrial complex.

Vietnam My Lai massacre, 50 years ago


This 16 March 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

50 Years After My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, Revisiting the Slaughter the U.S. Military Tried to Hide

Fifty years ago, on March 16, 1968, U.S. soldiers attacked the Vietnamese village of My Lai. Even though the soldiers met no resistance, they slaughtered more than 500 Vietnamese women, children and old men over the next four hours, in what became known as the My Lai massacre. After the massacre, the U.S. military attempted to cover up what happened. But in 1969 a young reporter named Seymour Hersh would reveal a 26-year-old soldier [lieutenant] named William Calley was being investigated for killing 109 Vietnamese civilians. Today, memorials have been held in My Lai to mark the 50th anniversary of this horrific attack.

This 16 March 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

The GI Resistance Continues: Vietnam Vets Return to My Lai, Where U.S. Slaughtered 500 Civilians

As a group of Vietnam War veterans and peace activists travel back to Vietnam to mark the 50th anniversary of the My Lai massacre, Amy Goodman and Juan González speak with three members of the delegation: Vietnam veteran Paul Cox, who later co-founded the Veterans for Peace chapter in San Francisco; Susan Schnall, former Navy nurse who was court-martialed for opposing the Vietnam War; and longtime activist Ron Carver, who has organized an exhibit honoring the GI antiwar movement at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.

Steven Spielberg’s film The Post, review


This 27 January 2018 Dutch NOS TV video shows an interview with Steven Spielberg on his new film The Post

I saw this film on 18 February 2018.

The theme of the film is the United States war on Vietnam; more especially, the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

Who were the heroes of the resistance against the Vietnam war in the USA? As this film review by David Swanson says, they were the peace demonstrators protesting in their millions, though government violence killed some of them, like at the Jackson State and Kent State universities massacres. However, in the film, anti-war demonstrators are hardly more than extras. Only once, a demonstrator says a few sentences:

There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop!

What that demonstrator says is part of this speech:

That video from the USA is called Mario Savio “The Machine Speech” on The Sproul Hall Steps, December 2, 1964. As the video says, that speech was in 1964 in California, not in 1971 in Washington what the film is about. That Savio speech was not about the Vietnam war, but about the students’ Free Speech Movement for the right to be in solidarity with the civil rights movement of African American people.

Who was the hero of the publication of the Pentagon Papers? It was Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg is not a main character in the film, though more than an extra. The film starts with Ellsberg as a government investigator with United States soldiers in a rainforest in Vietnam. Ever since the early 1950s, United States presidents had lied that the Vietnam war was going hunky dory. But Ellsberg sees how a firefight breaks out, and many US soldiers are injured or killed.

On the way back from Vietnam, Ellsberg is on the same plane as Pentagon Secretary Robert McNamara. A McNamara adviser tells his boss the same official lie about winning the war. Then, McNamara asks Ellsberg for his view, as he is the only person present who has actually seen fighting in Vietnam. Ellsberg says the war is not going well, and cannot be won. I think you are right, McNamara says. Then, the plane lands in the USA. Journalists ask: Mr Secretary of Defence, how is the war going? Very good progress on all fronts, McNamara replies. Ellsberg, just out of the plane, hears this lie; and becomes an anti-war activist. He decides that the secret Pentagon Papers, which expose the successive administrations’ untruths, should be published.

The film says the heroes were Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham and Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. Though these two indeed made the correct decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, in spite of threats by the Nixon administration, as this review says, neither Graham nor Bradlee were overall unblemished characters.

The film also mentions there were connections between the Washington Post and the political elite: Katherine Graham was a personal friend of Robert McNamara, who advised her on appointing Post directors. Ben Bradlee had been a personal friend of President Kennedy. Connections, damaging the possibilities of criticizing government policies.

This Spielberg film correctly points out that all US presidents, from Truman to Nixon, lied about the Vietnam war. But there are limits to its political criticism. Because this film was produced by 20th Century Fox, owned by Rupert Murdoch?

The film has a happy end … well, a happy almost-end. The Supreme court of the USA decides that the Nixon administration is wrong to persecute the Washington Post and New York Times for espionage for publishing the Pentagon Papers, threatening their publishers and journalists with prison. The statement by Supreme Court judge Hugo Black, supporting press freedom, is read:

In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.

However, that happy end is not really the end. As the final scene of the film is about the burglary scandal at the Watergate building, ordered by Richard Nixon.

Unfortunately, it is doubtful whether the Washington Post and similar media will have the same courage now on the many Pentagon wars as they had in 1971 on Vietnam. The Washington Post and similar media today are even more linked to the economic and political establishment than they already were at the time of Katherine Graham and Ben Bradlee. And the Supreme Court today, compared to 1971? President Trump has put a judge there, the founder and ex-president of an organisation calling itself ‘fascism forever’.

The Washington Post’s coverage of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate was in reality only a small island of dissenting journalism in a sea of stenography to established power, writes IAN SINCLAIR.

Why did New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger meet with Trump? Here.

Dutch fight for LGBTQ rights, history


Anti-homophobia demonstrators, 1969. Photo Jac de Nijs/Nationaal Archief

This 1969 photo shows a demonstration at the Dutch parliament in The Hague. It was the first ever demonstration against homophobia in the Netherlands.

The signs refer to paragraph 248bis of the Dutch criminal law. Then, for heterosexuals it was legal to have sex at 16 years of age, but for homosexuals only after 21 years. The signs called that paternalistic and demanded a law, equal for all. The campaign was succesful. In 1971, paragraph 248bis was abolished. Police until then had arrested 5,000 people to enforce it.

Remarkable progress in a relatively short time. A few years before, in 1962 there had still been an article in Vrij Nederland weekly praising electrical torture of gay men to ‘convert‘ them to heterosexuality. In Vrij Nederland: considered a liberal voice in the Dutch media.

In 1968, a year before the The Hague demonstration, the Leidse Studentenwerkgroep Homoseksualiteit (LSWHl; Leiden Student Working Group Homosexuality) had been founded at Leiden university. Not everyone liked that: a university bigwig asked: What next? A Sadism Working Group?

The LSWH organised parties. One of them was ‘Flikkers voor Vietnam‘, ‘Perverts for Vietnam‘. The money made by organising that party went to medical care for Vietnamese victims of United States bombs.

Steven Spielberg’s The Post, film, media and wars


This video from the USA says about itself:

The Post | Behind-the-Scenes Interviews

15 December 2017

We talk with stars Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Carrie Coon, Tracy Letts, writer/co-producer Liz Hannah, writer Josh Singer and director Steven Spielberg about their new film ‘The Post’ .

Katharine Graham is the first female publisher of a major American newspaper — The Washington Post. With help from editor Ben Bradlee, Graham races to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spans three decades and four U.S. presidents. Together, they must overcome their differences as they risk their careers — and very freedom — to help bring long-buried truths to light.

Directed by Steven Spielberg

In Theaters – January 12, 2018

By David Swanson in the USA:

1/28/2018 at 13:03:40

The Post should be viewed by current editors of The Post

I was afraid that The Post would give us a Hollywood film version of the publication of the Pentagon Papers and manage never to say what was in the Pentagon Papers. I was afraid it would be turned into a pro-war movie. I was afraid we’d be told that the Washington Post was a courageous institution while Daniel Ellsberg was a dirty traitor. I am pleased to have had no reason for such concerns.

The Post is not exactly an anti-war movie, Ellsberg is not a main character, the peace movement is just rabble scenery, and the major focus is split between journalism’s struggle against government and Katherine Graham’s struggle against sexism. But we are in fact told in this film that the Pentagon Papers documented decades of official war lies and the continuation of mass-slaughter year-after-year purely out of cowardly unwillingness to be the one to end it. The Post leaves Ellsberg looking like the hero he is and Robert McNamara looking like the Nazi he was. And I’m left to complain that I have nothing to complain about.

Well, except this: We’re supposed to believe that the fact that the U.S. government had been blatantly lying about its motivations, actions, and analyses of its warmaking for decades came as a shocking revelation to every intern, reporter, editor, and publisher at the Washington Post, that they all had simply had no idea, bless their hearts, and that they all immediately believed that this brand-new truth needed to be told (with the only hurdle being the willingness of the publisher to stick to the obvious course of action when faced with legal threats from the Justice Department).

This story obscures the fact that senators, Congress members, independent reporters like I.F. Stone, and many others had been exposing the lies in real time for years. And, of course, many statements appeared to be lies without the need for any exposure. We’re expected to overlook the willful suspension of disbelief required to believe, for example, that predicting imminent success in Vietnam over and over again for years was all driven by honest reflection on facts. The peace movement was the massive recognition of the lies. The peace movement persuaded Ellsberg to act. The people running the Washington Post cannot have been quite as oblivious as we’re led to believe.

The same tale of innocence also may leave the moviegoer with the entirely false impression that the Washington Post has instinctively challenged the most blatant war lies ever since the days of Tricky Dick. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ellsberg has said that Trump should see this movie. I’d rather Jeff Bezos

world’s richest man, owner of Amazon.com and presently also of the Washington Post

and each of his employees at the current Post see it.

Here are some of the wars that the Washington Post has helped to promote since the moment the credits rolled: Grenada, Panama, the Gulf War (the Post outdid itself promoting a fictional account of babies being taken out of incubators), Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, and drone wars in general.

Here are the wars I am aware of the Washington Post having opposed: _______________.

The current U.S.-Saudi war on Yemen is unusual for the Post‘s pretense that the U.S. military isn’t actively engaged in it, even while admirably asking the U.S. to ask the Saudis to open the ports.

Here’s an excerpt from my book, War Is A Lie:

In May and June 2005, the most repeated excuse by U.S. media outlets, including the Washington Post, for not covering the Downing Street Minutes and related documents demonstrating the dishonesty of the planners of the War on Iraq, was that the documents told us nothing new, that they were old news. This conflicted, of course, with the second most common excuse, which was that they were false.

Those of us trumpeting the story as new and important scratched our heads. Of course we’d known the Bush-Cheney gang was lying, but did everyone know that? Had corporate media outlets reported it? Had they informed the public of confirmation of this fact in the form of memos from top government officials in the United Kingdom? And if so, when? When had this particular piece of news been new news?

At what point did it become stale and unnecessary to report that Bush had decided by the summer of 2002 to go to war and to use false justifications related to weapons of mass destruction and ties to terrorism? Judging by opinion polls in spring 2005, we hadn’t reached that point yet. Much of the public still believed the lies.

If you went back, as I did, and reviewed all the issues of the Washington Post that had come out in June, July, and August 2002, you found that, while what was happening behind closed doors in Washington and London may have been known to the Washington Post, it certainly never informed its readers. [i] In fact, during that three month period, I found a flood of pro-war articles, editorials, and columns, many of them promoting the lies the debunking of which was supposedly old news.

On August 18, 2002, for example, the Washington Post ran an editorial, an ombudsman column, and three op-eds about a potential U.S. attack on Iraq, as well as three related “news” articles. One article, placed on the top of the front page, reported on a memo that Secretary of “Defense” Donald Rumsfeld had sent to the White House and the media. “Defense” officials were worried that countries such as Iraq or Iran could use cruise missile technology to attack “U.S. installations or the American homeland”.

The article contained the admission that “no particular piece of new intelligence prompted the warning.” What prompted the reporting?

David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War”, “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union”. He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org.