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On the Front Lines

The Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer, Part 5

Nhuận left the CIO/SOC in December 1963 to become Chief of the National Police in Quảng-Đức Province, headquartered in Gia Nghia City in the Central Highlands. Like his previous post in Darlac, Quảng-Đức was a mountainous province on the Kampuchea border, populated by Montagnards.

Nhuận maintained his CIO contacts, but there was less contact between the SOC and the Special Branch in the years after the 1963 revolution, as the CIA tightened its control of the CIO at the expense of the Special Police.

As a province police chief, Nhuận was now a manager. His office consisted of three bureaus: the Special …

Using Children for Israeli Propaganda

On Tuesday thousands will gather to celebrate the most aggressive ongoing European settler colonialism. Organizers of Montréal’s annual Israel Day rally claim it is the largest event of its kind in the country.

A significant proportion of the crowd will come from the city’s 15 Jewish day schools, which receive most of their funds from the public purse. Many of the kids bused downtown will carry Israeli flags and their faces will be painted in its colours. At the 2014 Israel Day rally a 12-year-old Herzliah student, Jon Frajman, told the Montréal Gazette, “if we didn’t support Israel, …

World War Whatever

Check out the real situation/Nation war against nation/
Where did it all begin?/When will it end?

— Bob Marley, “Real Situation”, from the album Uprising

Where is the outrage regarding the Trump administration’s bellicose attitude towards North Korea? The past two weeks have been a blur of outright savagery towards other nations, with cruise missiles raining down on Syrians and one giant bomb on an ISIS “cave complex” in Afghanistan. Now, the Donald has promised to send his “armada” towards the Sea of Japan, after it was found heading in the opposite direction a couple weeks ago.

This shifting of belligerent, callous violence and threats around …

Trump’s Hundred Days of Rage and Rapacity

The Lawless-loving corporatists have worked overtime to besmirch the word “regulation” (or law and order for corporations) and edify the word “deregulation,” to help bring about their dream state of  dismantled or weakened regulation.

Here is one little-mentioned ongoing disaster of  non-regulation costing our country. The patsy FAA, for decades after the hijacking of planes to Castro’s Cuba, refused to require the airlines to install toughened cockpit doors and stronger locks to prevent entry by terrorists bent on making the aircraft a destructive weapon. Why? Because the airlines objected to the mere $3000 cost per aircraft and, by its very nature, …

Trump Now a Captive of the Deep State

When the gullible and insouciant American public and the presstitutes who participate in the deceptions permitted the Deep State to get away with the fairy tale that a few Saudi Arabians under the direction of Osama bin Laden, but without the support of any government or intelligence agency, were able to outwit the entirety of the Western Alliance and Israel’s Mossad and deliver the greatest humiliation in history to “the world’s only superpower” by making the entirety of the US government dysfunctional on September 11, 2001, Washington learned that it could get away with anything, any illegal and treasonous act, …

Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with shaping Global Standards for Women

Who Let the Saudi Fox in the Hen House?

It’s hard to sink to a greater depth of hypocrisy than voting Saudi Arabia onto a UN Commission charged with promoting women’s equality and empowerment. And yet, on April 23rd, that is precisely what the UN Economic and Social Council did. Of the 54 countries on the Council, 47 of them agreed to add Saudi Arabia to a four-year term on the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

How did the US Ambassador to the UN and the democratic champions of Europe vote? The ballot was secret, and is it any wonder that the UN representatives refuse to reveal their …

Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past

Israel has resorted to three main strategies to suppress Palestinian calls for justice and human rights, including the Right of Return for refugees.

One is dedicated to rewriting history; another attempts to distract from present realities altogether and a third aims at reclaiming the Palestinian narrative as essentially an Israeli one.

The rewriting of history happened much earlier than some historians would assume. The Israeli hasbara machine went into motion almost simultaneously with Plan Dalet (Plan D), which saw the military conquest of Palestine and the ethnic cleansing of its inhabitants.

But the actual discourse regarding the ‘Nakba’ – or the ‘Catastrophe’ …

“An Impeachable Offence”: Professor Postol and Syria

It is hard to believe that just three weeks ago the entire corporate media was in uproar over Syria; specifically, about the need to ‘do something’ in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun, Idlib, Syria, on April 4. Guardian commentator George Monbiot summed up the corporate media zeitgeist:

Do those who still insist Syrian govt didn’t drop chemical weapons have any idea how much evidence they are denying?

Monbiot linked to evidence supplied by Bellingcat, an organisation hosted by Eliot Higgins. In a 2014 …

Vietnam: 1963-1967

The Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer, Part 4

The dictatorial Ngô regime collapsed in 1963, for several reasons. One contributing factor was its Strategic Hamlet program. Designed to protect the regime by relocating millions of mostly rural people, the program was mistakenly placed under the supervision of Colonel Phạm Ngọc Thảo. A Communist “sleeper” agent, Thảo built as many hamlets as fast as possible, knowing the resettled people would resent being torn from their ancestral lands and garrisoned in forts they were compelled to build. Thảo further subverted the program by having the hamlets built in communist strongholds, a move that provided the insurgents with easy access to …

Short Choices: The French Presidential Elections

The establishment got another burning in the French elections on Sunday, revealing again that there is no level of voter disgust that will not find some voice in the current range of elections.  The terror for pollsters and the establishment now is whether Marine Le Pen will realise her anti-Euro project and drag the French nation kicking and moaning into a new, even more fractious order. In her way will be the pro-European Union figure of Emmanuel Macron.

The French example is similar to others of recent times: parties with presumed tenure were confined to a punitive dustbin, rubbished for stale, …

Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing

New Orleans is the nation’s largest and most complete experiment in charter schools.   After Hurricane Katrina, the State of Louisiaana took control of public schools in New Orleans, and launched a nearly complete transformation of a public school system into a system of charter schools.  Though there are spots of improvement in the New Orleans charter system, major problems remain.

Many of these problems were on display in New Orleans when the NAACP, which last year called for a moratorium on charter schools until issues of accountability and transparency were addressed, held a community forum in New …

Decoding the American Jewish Zionists’ Rise to Power

Part 4: Readings in the Jewish Zionist Control of the United States: Interviews with Francis Boyle, James Petras, and Kim Petersen

Previously I argued that the phony war on “islamic terrorism”, the incessant attacks on and indictment of Islam as a violent religion, and the claim to bring so-called “democracy” to a region ruled by “dictators” are ploys for U.S. wars in the Middle East. Real motives instead, I further argued, are driving these wars with the objective to destabilize, remake, or destroy Arab societies, partition all states that are not in line with the U.S. and Israeli policies, and, in short, dismantle the Arab world. Two agendas converge to implement this effort.

The first has for a focus the aims of …

Into the Central Intelligence Organization

The Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer, Part 3

By 1961, the insurgency was growing and the in-coming Kennedy Administration put the blame on the repressive policies of Ngô regime. The Kennedys were also upset that Diệm’s brothers Cẩn and Nhu, and their spymaster Tuyến, were smuggling opium out of Laos and using the profits to finance a vast agent network targeted against Diệm’s political opponents. Having just endured the Bay of the Pigs fiasco, the Kennedys were angry at the CIA, which had trained many of the agents and commandoes Nhu, Cẩn, and Tuyến used in their smuggling operations.

Compelled to correct the situation, the CIA created the proprietary …

Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech

US authorities are reported to have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This overreach of US government toward a publisher, whose principle is aligned with the U.S. Constitution, is another sign of a crumbling façade of democracy. The Justice Department in the Obama administration could not prosecute WikiLeaks for publishing documents pertaining to the US government, because they struggled to determine whether the First Amendment protection applied in this case. Now, the torch of Obama’s war on whistleblowers seems to …

Internal Exile

The Life and Times of a South Vietnamese Special Police Officer, Part 2

In modernizing the GVN’s police forces, MSUG sent qualified uniformed police officers to study at Michigan State for a year. Theoretically, these individuals became police chiefs upon their return to South Vietnam; in fact, any official who wanted to remain in the Ngô family’s good graces did not stray far from home.

As Nhuận explained, officials were not promoted into positions of authority unless they met the four D criteria. All civil servants and military personnel had to join the first D: Đoàn Công-Chức Cách Mạng Quốc Gia, the National Revolutionary Civil Servants Organization. The second D (Đạo) referred to the …

Guarimbas 2.0: Murder and Terror brought to you by the Empire and the Local Oligarchy

April 19 chavista march in support of the government in Caracas
The episodes in recent days, featuring the erection of barricades, destruction of public property and widespread violence by opposition groups bring back memories of the 2014 guarimbas. After months of violence, with certain neighbourhoods effectively under siege, and a death toll of 43, the opposition gangs slowly demobilised. But some analysts argue that this time it is different. With the right-wing coming …

Canadian Missionaries in Africa and the NGO Model

For more than a century Canadians have gone abroad to do “good” in poorer parts of the world. Whether they spurred positive change or simply became foreign agents should be of interest to international non-governmental organizations.

Last week the Globe and Mail reported on the Canadians Christians who set off to proselytize in China in 1891. Focused on their medical achievements, the laudatory story hinted at a darker side of their work. It quoted a missionary who was “critical of the lifestyle most of the missionaries led, with their large houses, many servants and imported comforts which contrasted with the …

The Omnipresent Pressure to Conform

It was the school holidays and there were lots of teenagers in my local park. I sometimes spot them meandering home, but I rarely see them en masse as it were. Blind to the bluebells, peacocks and glories of nature all around us, they were glued to their palm-sized screens. What were they so engrossed in – some kind of game or trivial video, a map of the park perhaps, unnecessary given the proliferation of signs? Are they texting, e-mailing, or trawling through the Internet, or all of the above? If one did not know what these shiny seductive objects …

Remaining Animal

The philosopher David Abram wrote a book called Becoming Animal (2011), which was, in part, an exploration of shamanism and an attempt to understand what that means from outside a culture in which that term and practice are still central to human life.

What he found was that our fascination with what we call magic in Western civilization is utterly rooted in the mysterious (to us) transformations that take place in quotidian fashion in the living world. He described how our perceptual and cognitive apparatus hinder us from knowing that world intimately, as full participants, and yet give us a unique …

Mike Pence in Oz

Vassal visiting time, and the next slot in the US imperium tourism schedule was one of America’s more cosy allies, Australia. The US Vice President Mike Pence popped in to keep an eye on matters just to make sure that all was in order.

There had been that issue of the notable phone call, when Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had been verbally slapped by The Donald over the “dumb” refugee resettlement deal made with the previous Obama administration.

Not to fear.  Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop came across as caddies willing to do their best for Pence (a US vice …