THE CIA’S SECRET WAR



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GREAT MEDIA JOURNALISM

VICTORY AT SEA
Let me start this project of the secret war by my motivation.  If you asked me over the years, almost sixty, what journalistic work in any media really had an impact on me, my life changed when I watched the TV production series of Victory at Sea.  It was originally broadcast by NBC in the United States in 1952–1953.  It was and told a story, real, alive, visual, telling and truthful. I was glued to it.  

It was condensed into a film series released in 1954. Excerpts from the music soundtrack, by Richard Rodgers and Robert Russell Bennett, were re-recorded for record albums. Some of the music still rings in my mind from time to time. I have the album, the entire show on DVD and digitized music on remastered DVDs. I must admit its the music that doesn’t go away.

The series, which won an Emmy award in 1954 as the  “Best public affairs program”, played an important part in establishing historic “ Compilation” documentaries as a viable television genre.  When I write about the military or war, this is my go to music as the tempo and pitch changes so does my creativity...


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THE VIETNAM WAR SERIES ON PBS 
THE VIETNAM WAR produced in 2017 by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick is an incredible piece of work.  It is readily available, and should be required watching by all students as well as Victory at Sea. 

In an interview with Simon Wiesenthal, the NAZI hunter who did the eulogy at my uncles funeral, Hy Katz , Sam Cohen, and others from the garment center in NY  who were supporters of his work,  I asked him, “Why do you do what you do”?  

His answer was quite simple.  “Because if we forget history we will repeat it.  We cannot allow anyone to get away with these atrocities”.  We learn from the past and we have sworn to never let it happen again”.

It’s a crime that we do not we do not teach historywe teach kids to pass FCAT tests and other feel good programs.  History repeats itself and the studies of past history is a way of reducing and recognizing problems as they develop today.   

And not just a quote or statement, unfortunately as we have learned, history does repeat itself and man has not learned.  It is one of the most scared of truths.  I think of it as the eleventh Commandments. Our world today is complex, irrational, and doomed to failure using nationalism as the catalyst and the stupidity of the weak minded as the carrier.  And we learned little from those in power today... 

I had to find the origional quote...  It was George Santayana who said,  “  Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.  George Santayana 1863-1952 in Rome, Italy, was a philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist.

You may order the series on DVD  with the related book from PBS.com   You may stream  or download from APPLE, AMAZON and tie it together with another new book just out about the Secret War in LAO, this is the real thing once again.  

I was aware of most of the information in this series.   I’m adding, information about the “ Secret War” and it puts some parts of the puzzle into correct order. My findings were based on factual information secured from many sources, several in particular I believe to be the most complete.  There is a lot out there, finding and autheticikating

Fifty years after the war ended, the killing didn’t,  Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s ten-part, 18-hour documentary series, THE VIETNAM WAR, tells the epic story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in American history as it has never before been told on film. 

Visceral and immersive, the series explores the human dimensions of the war through revelatory testimony of nearly 80 witnesses from all sides—Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as combatants and civilians from both North Vietnam and South Vietnam. 

Ten years in the making, the series includes rarely seen and digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th Century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and secret audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. 


THE VIETNAM WAR
features more than 100 iconic musical recordings from greatest artists of the era and haunting original music from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross as well as the Silk Road Ensemble featuring Yo-Yo Ma.  This is new music in my mind.

The importance of this piece of work is “Let the truth be told and the truth about this war will change your opinion about leadership in this country, that stretched clear to the top” and there is nothing nice about it.  From statements totally untrue to body counts and fake field reports, from stupid military miscalculations and stupidity of  irresponsible commanders resulting in 58,240 dead American soldiers, and millions of civilians.


MUST READS - THE WAR FOUGHT ON THE LAO SIDE

In his book, this is one you must read,  “ A GREAT PLACE TO HAVE A WAR ” Joshua Kurlantzick really explains in detail the establishment of the CIA and the real story behind the incredible “ Operation Momentum”, President Eisenhower’s last major military movement in the White House. 

It was Eisenhower’s fear if LAO fell to the Communists, then Thailand, Viet Nam, Taiwan,  would fall too and then the Philippines.  The so-called “ Domino effect".  It would, as explained, open the door to India.  And the information in the book is very descriptive and almost 50 pages of acknowledgements verify the information given.

At a time and place when both Congress and the American people knew little of the largest paramilitary operation by the CIA and kept under wrap till recently.  It was President Kennedy who carried forth President Eisenhower’s beliefs and Laos received more attention than Viet Nam.  

It wasn’t till 2000 and 2010 till the real stories of the Secret War came to the surface. The LAO government repressed journalism and even for the press visiting parts of LAO and talking to anyone about the war.  The “ Secret war” was really two wars under one roof.

The stoic war fought in the south of Lao using American, Thai and Lao air support close to Viet Nam and the “Secret War” fought in the jungles of the highlands and the Ho Chi Minh Trail by an incredible guerrilla army composed of the Mountain tribes like the Montenards, and Hmong tribes.



I LITTLE SLAVE” by Bounsang Khamkeo

A Prison Memoir from Communist Laos

Raised in the hierarchical society of traditional Laos, Bounsang Khamkeo earned his doctorate in political science in France and returned home in 1973 to a country in political chaos in the wake of the Vietnam War. He worked for the government until 1981 before being imprisoned by the communist Pathet Lao government after running afoul of a politically ambitious boss.

 I Little Slave is the account of his seven-year struggle in prison to stay alive and keep sane in spite of harsh physical privation and endless psychological abuse. Khamkeo's story is a moving and important one at a time when political oppression and crimes against human rights are on the rise throughout the world.

Readers wrote:
I had the pleasure of taking a Mature Learning Course from Dr Bounsang Khamkeo at our local junior college. I bought the book to supplement his lectures and was almost overwhelmed by his details in the book. It was staggering for me to comprehend the mental strength he had to begin each day of his prison sentance knowing that he could be eliminated at a whim and no one would know. He survived over seven years without medical care, adequate food and clothing while knowing that his sentence might never end. 

Do not read this book unless you, yourself, are strong. It details a prison life in a country which does not respect the value of a human life. Be strong and grow to love our way of life by sharing his survival story after the Vietnam War.

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"Bounsang Khamkeo has given us all a tremendous gift: an extraordinary story of the power of the human spirit to overcome almost unimaginable odds." “ his memoir of the Laotian death camps is the first full account of the Pathet Lao's secret jungle prisons . . . a jolting reminder of the atrocities that states rush to commit once fanaticism--political or religious--rips off the precious shackles of human decency."

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"This memoir of the Laotian death camps is the first full account of the Pathet Lao's secret jungle prisons. As gripping as A Cambodian Odyssey, it is a jolting reminder of the atrocities that states rush to commit once fanaticism―political or religious―rips off the precious shackles of human decency. What a miracle that Dr. Khamkeo survived to write the story. And what a gift to us is this haunting narrative of undaunted will.” 

"Bounsang Khamkeo has given us all a tremendous gift: an extraordinary story of the power of the human spirit to overcome almost unimaginable odds. I Little Slave is not just a riveting story that will keep you glued to the page. It is also an important reflection on the seemingly limitless ability of humans to inflict pain on one another. In an age when the temptation to sweep aside civil liberties and give into fanaticism is all around us, I Little Slave is a book worth reading.


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BOUNSANG KHAMKEO grew up in Laos but left at the age of seventeen to study in France. Thirteen years later, in 1973, he returned to his homeland, having recently completed a doctorate in political science at the University of Toulouse. Eager to help his country recover from the devastation of the Vietnam War years, he joined the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he continued to be employed after the Pathet Lao seized power in December 1975. 

In 1977 he was assigned to work with the Interim Mekong Committee, an intergovernmental organization devoted to regional development, and in the fall of 1978 was appointed the executive secretary of the Lao National Mekong Committee. He was arrested on the evening of June 1, 1981, at the home of the president of the Lao Mekong, with whom he had argued in the course of a business meeting. He was subsequently accused of entirely fictitious crimes and spent the next seven years, three months, and four days as a political prisoner.

In September 1988 the Laotian government chose to release Khamkeo from prison, and he was able to return to his family in Vientiane. His safety was by no means guaranteed, however, and in March 1989 he, his wife, and their two daughters fled Laos. After spending two months in Thailand, they emigrated to the United States, where Khamkeo was reunited with his two sons, who had left Laos prior to his release. Today, he works as a behavioral health counselor at Oregon Health and Science University, in Portland. He lives with his wife, Vieng, in Vancouver, Washington.

It was after leaving Laos that Bounsang Khamkeo began to work on the present volume. "Deep in my soul," he writes, "I had come to understand that if someone witnesses a great wrong and fails to speak out, he loses his place as a righteous man. And so I found my reason to survive and the purpose for my existence: to bear witness.”

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REVIEW BY THE JACOBS LADDER -  AL JACOBS:
   This book will open your eyes to what survival is, oppression is real human rights and values mean little to some.  This is a  gulag memoir.  Starvation, brutalization, arbitrary executions, hope of release, are the consequence of countries without a Judicial System of protection for its people.   We live in a world that to some equality and a right to survive or live may be a luxury. 

Based on todays events and attacks on our freedoms and Judicial system I wonder how far away are we from a totalitarian form of government with a totally corrupt sole individual calling the shots on hirings,  firings, and exonerations by executive pardons for fellow crooks and corruptive, and a mentality that some people have more rights than others.

Never happen?   The haves and have-nots down through the ages have cost entire populations to vanish, If one was to Google bad people and ruthless dictators and regimes, it will shock you. Thats why I write about it on the Jacobs ladder, and why we say history,  the past is the future if you do nothing about it.

Some great empires whose common denominator was brutality and murder sooner or later something will happen, just ask the many Romans, notably Caligula, the Mongolians Genghis Kahn, Torquemada the Inquisitor, The Tamerlane, Vlad the impaler, Ivan the IV,  Bloody Mary Bothory,  the Blood Countess,  Mehmet, and let us not forget Lenin, Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler,  Choibalsan of Mongolia, Franco, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot ( 2-3 million) Pinochet of - Chili, the Goths, the Huns, the Japanese, the Nazi’s, the Ottoman Empire,  and more currently North Korea, China and Russia, this list is growing. Modern tomes dictate, Syria, Russia, and North Korea are currently on the list.

My work with the Lao people on a few projects opened my eyes.


NOTE:   MY COMMENTARY CONTAINS SENSITIVE MATERIAL 
Many of these stories have been told, retold, altered and changed when I started researching, and no sense re-writing them again, other authors did a good job.  Based a lot on personal experience working with many Lao people, refugees from this region, and those who were there,  I learned  a lot about a lot of things.  I had to put it all together.  

Some things favorable, some things I accepted as real, topics already known and a lot of information from what is and was published.  I’m trying to put it all together for better understanding. I have no other aspirations, I just want to tell the story truthfully... 

If I have copied information from others, or offended anyone, I apologize yes,  but it was for brevity and getting the story out.  I will happily give credit where it was due.  I commend this who had the courage and foresight to tell this complex story.  It’s most poignant fact is about and those who didn’t tell the truth, and lied to the people... the Presidents of the United States. 

This is a graphic description of parts of the “Secret War” or what some called the “Left Side of Vietnam”.  The Russians knew we were there, the Chinese knew we were there, the Viet Cong knew we were there, basically the whole world knew.  The American Congress and the American public did not know we were there... puzzling.  

Till you realize just how much the American public was lied to.  From the top down it is a story of mistakes and miscalculations. From Presidents to field officers, missions to body counts.  When you research you learn about the decisions made, lies accountable and 58,000 dead American and allied soldiers, in Vietnam but were never told about the 50,000 LAO and includes the 30,000 Hmong soldiers killed also.  

When we add about 2,2 million (est.) civilians to the equation, this was not just a communist incursion. Many of the tribes never kept birth records, some had no written language so the real body count of all those killed will never be known. Many estimates climb to the 3 million count, sheer genocide.

Understand it’s not just the  ARMY, NAVY, AIR FORCE, MARINES and COAST GUARD, but in the sixties we now added the CIA who were not known for transparency.  There may be information in this series I’m writing  you might find appalling and disheartening, unfortunately it is now forty plus years later, factual and horrific. 

And I start with modern day LAO.  There is more unexploded ordnance on the ground, mostly cluster bombs in LAO than the rest of the world.  LAO is a country that many have exploited, the Chinese, the French, the Pathet Lao, the Viet Cong, the Khmer Rouge, Communists, and the irony is it’s an agrarian state with little military usage other than the Ho Che Minh Trail during the Vietnam war.  And today the country is still as, undeveloped as any poorly managed country in the world.  The killing has stopped on a large scale, but it is still a communist country.

Its value was described by Eisenhower as a stepping stone of communism, referred to as “ The Domino Effect” and that initiated “Operation Momentum, the CIAs first involvement in a very real war with very real consequence.


THE POST ( Movie )

The Post is a 2017 American political thriller film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg from a screenplay written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer. 

Set in the early 1970s, the film stars Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Carrie Coon, and Matthew Rhys. The Post depicts the journalists from The Washington Post and The New York Times who published the Pentagon Papers regarding the involvement of the United States government during the Vietnam War.

Steven Spielberg directs Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in The Post, a thrilling drama about the unlikely partnership between The Washington Post's Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents. 

The two must overcome their differences as they risk their careers - and their very freedom - to help bring long-buried truths to light. The Post marks the first time Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have collaborated on a project. In addition to directing, Spielberg produces along with Amy Pascal and Kristie Macosko Krieger. The script was written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, and the film features an acclaimed ensemble cast including Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Matthew Rhys, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bradley Whitford and Zach Woods.

Principal photography began in New York City in May 2017. The film premiered at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on December 14, 2017, and had a limited release in the United States on December 22, 2017, before a scheduled wide release on January 12, 2018.

The Post received highly positive reviews, with specific praise for the performances of Streep, Hanks and Odenkirk, and critics noting the film’s comparisons of the administrations of Richard Nixon and Donald Trump. 

It was chosen by the National Board of Review as the best film of 2017, and was named as one of the top 10 films of the year by Time and the American Film Institute.At the 75th Golden Globe Awards, the film received six nominations: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actress – Drama for Streep, Best Actor – Drama for Hanks, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score.



TRUMP MAY REPEAT A TRAGIC HISTORY

By Fareed Zakaria, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s comprehensive documentary series on the Vietnam War is filled with the stories and voices of ordinary soldiers on all sides of the conflict. But the most tragic aspect of the tale, for me, was hearing President Lyndon B. Johnson on tape, before full U.S. engagement, admitting that the war could not be won.  Johnson’s dilemma is one that presidents dread facing — and one that President Trump is bringing upon himself with North Korea and Iran.

In May 1964, when the United States had fewer than 20,000 troops in Vietnam, serving as advisers and trainers, Johnson said to his national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, “I just stayed awake last night thinking about this thing. . . . It just worries the hell out of me. I don’t see what we can ever hope to get out of there with once we’re committed. . . . I don’t think that we can fight them 10,000 miles away from home and ever get anywhere in that area. I don’t think it’s worth fighting for, and I don’t think we can get out.”

“I look at this sergeant of mine this morning,” Johnson continued. “He’s got six little old kids . . . What in the hell am I ordering him out there for?  What the hell is Vietnam worth to me? . . . What is it worth to this country?”

Johnson was asking all the right questions. He understood that Vietnam was not actually vital and that it could easily become a quagmire. And yet, he could never bring himself to the logical conclusion — withdrawal. Like so many presidents before and after him, he could not see how he could admit failure. No president could do that. In another conversation, with his mentor from the Senate, Richard Russell, Johnson speculated that “they’d impeach a president, though, that’d run out [of Vietnam], wouldn’t they?”

And so, because the president of the United States could not think of a way to admit that the United States needed to reverse course, Johnson increased troop levels in Vietnam from fewer than 20,000 to more than 500,000, tearing apart Indochina, American society and his presidency. The example is dramatic, but it is generally true that in foreign policy, when the United States is confronted with a choice between backing down and doubling down, it follows the latter course.

In two crucial arenas, North Korea and Iran, Trump has dramatically raised the risks for the United States, and for no good reason. Determined to seem tougher than his predecessor, he has set out maximalist positions on both countries. He wants a totally denuclearized North Korea and an Iran that stops making ballistic missiles and stops supporting proxy forces in countries such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen. There is a vanishingly small possibility that North Korea and Iran will simply capitulate because Washington demands it. And if they don’t, what will Trump do? Will he back down or double down? And where will this escalation end?

Trump seems to view international negotiations as he does business deals. He has to win. But there is one big difference. In the international arena, the other person also has to worry about domestic politics. He or she cannot appear to lose either.

As a leading businessperson recently said to me, “Trump is playing a two-person negotiation, thinking it’s just him and the other guy, two principals, making a deal, as in business. But actually there are people outside the room — the two nations’ publics — that place huge constraints on the negotiators. It’s not a two-person game at all.”

For any international negotiation to succeed, there has to be some element of “win-win.” Otherwise, the other side simply will not be able to sell the deal back home. But Trump seems to believe above all that he must win and the other side must lose.

A senior Mexican official told me that there would have been a way to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, even find a way to fund the border wall, “but Trump needed to allow us to also declare some kind of victory, give us some concessions. Instead he started out by humiliating us and made it impossible for [President Enrique] Peña Nieto to make a deal. After all, no Mexican government can be seen to simply surrender to Washington.”

Trump’s way of negotiating might have worked in his past life, although there, too, many argue it was not the way to build a great reputation. But he’s not doing real-estate deals anymore. The arena is different, the conditions are far more complex, and the stakes are higher — astronomically higher.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group


DISCLAIMER

APPRECIATION 
I started this project because, I wanted a compilation to help students understand what war and truth is, and no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States.   I am who am, I have always wanted to know the truth,  I have this urge, a desire to find the truth in almost anything I’m interested in. 

Sounds like much of the world we live in is corrupt or lets just say not exactly truthful. As a friend on the Tampa SWAT team once told me whenever they respond to a severe domestic disturbance, there are three sides to the story, his, hers and the truth.  Just like those adds for new and used cars.  There is the advertised price, the gimmick laden price, the disclosure at the bottom, too small to read, and the real bottom line the dealer will take.

And I won’t even touch those TV ads for China laden JUNK  (Whats a four letter word for boat in Mandarin?)  Wait! Send your money now and we’ll send you two for just the handling and postage addition.  Yup, the 3.00 dollar item from China, mailed from China , never seen by human hands in the US and you paid eight dollars more for the second one.

The bottom line is the truth, and much of what is written here took almost forty years for it to come out. Many have written about this war, it was dirty, non productive and led by leaders who were not afraid to lie.  Much of the information I gleaned from Lao who live in the US, refugees who were there.

My appreciation is to those who sent me information, I do my best to source the data and give credit to those before me who took the time and effort to get the truth out.  It’s not easy sometimes and If I miss someone, forgive me, I just want to truth to get out. I will try to get the names updated. There is so much, it’s exponential, it grows every day.

The strongest point that came to me was the realization, the war in LAOS really was  a conglomeration of effort, but not on the same page and really two wars ( the Royal Lao side, and the Guerrilla fighting by the Hmong against the HO CHI MINH TRAIL in the northern hill country).  Adding to that was the ground and air war in Vietnam, and the ruthless savagery of the KHYMER ROUGE against the Cambodians which led to the Cambodian-Vietnamese war.

When they talk of the fog of war, the Lao - Cambodian - Vietnam war certainly exemplifies more so, something closer and more powerful like the perfect storm.  Two huge nations, proxy governments and armies, the truths never told, and the bottom line three million bodies of women, children and men, and no one really knows the count as migrations and records were never kept.

Never taking anything away from those who paid the ultimate price, the only end product of war is the misery and few wars in history produced anything of usefulness in a world that tends to repeat itself.  We have to learn rom these mistakes and bring history back into the classrooms. Then the next generation will realize what harm, accepting lies brings to the table. 

In Washington today, we have untruths, fake news ( mostly words spoken by fakes) a President on a truth meter that would blow the room up,  a Vice President who knows nothing of the separation of Church and State nor any insight other than the Presidents bottom.  A lying Attorney General, an EPA  Chairman who doesn’t believe in global warming, a HUD director who would starve people, an Education Director who hates public schools, Congressmen who make great talking heads that do nothing, create divisiveness, racial hatred and the list goes on.

Things like this sooner or later will get out of hand, have we have learned nothing from the past.


HERE IS THE STORY IN TRUTH AND REAL TIME

-------*11-2018 aljacobsladder.com