Aletho News


Exposing Nixon’s Vietnam Lies

By James DiEugenio | Consortium News | August 10, 2015

nixon-kissinger-1972-300x225Richard Nixon spent years rebuilding his tattered reputation after he resigned from office in disgrace on Aug. 9, 1974. The rehabilitation project was codenamed “The Wizard.” The idea was to position himself as an elder statesman of foreign policy, a Wise Man. And to a remarkable degree – through the sale of his memoirs, his appearance with David Frost in a series of highly rated interviews, and the publication of at least eight books after that – Nixon largely succeeded in his goal.

There was another aspect of that plan: to do all he could to keep his presidential papers and tapes classified, which, through a series of legal maneuvers, he managed to achieve in large part. Therefore, much of what he and Henry Kissinger wrote about in their memoirs could stand, largely unchallenged.

It was not until years after his death that the bulk of the Nixon papers and tapes were opened up to the light of day. And Kissinger’s private papers will not be declassified until five years after his death. With that kind of arrangement, it was fairly easy for Nixon to sell himself as the Sage of San Clemente, but two new books based on the long-delayed declassified record – one by Ken Hughes and the other by William Burr and Jeffrey Kimball – undermine much of Nixon’s rehabilitation.

For instance, in 1985 – at the peak of President Ronald Reagan’s political power – Nixon wrote No More Vietnams, making several dubious claims about the long conflict which included wars of independence by Vietnam against both France and the United States.

In the book, Nixon tried to insinuate that Vietnam was not really one country for a very long time and that the split between north and south was a natural demarcation. He also declared that the Vietnam War had been won under his administration, and he insisted that he never really considered bombing the irrigation dikes, using tactical nuclear weapons, or employing the strategy of a “decent interval” to mask an American defeat for political purposes.

Nixon’s Story

In No More Vietnams, Nixon said that after going through a series of option papers furnished to him by National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, he decided on a five-point program for peace in Vietnam. (Nixon, pgs. 104-07) This program consisted of Vietnamization, i. e., turning over the fighting of the war to the South Vietnamese army (the ARVN); pacification, which was a clear-and-hold strategy for maintaining territory in the south; diplomatic isolation of North Vietnam from its allies, China and the Soviet Union; peace negotiations with very few preconditions; and gradual withdrawal of American combat troops. Nixon asserted that this program was successful.

But the currently declassified record does not support Nixon’s version of history, either in the particulars of what was attempted or in Nixon’s assessment of its success.

When Richard Nixon came into office he was keenly aware of what had happened to his predecessor Lyndon Johnson, who had escalated the war to heights that President Kennedy had never imagined, let alone envisaged. The war of attrition strategy that LBJ and General William Westmoreland had decided upon did not work. And the high American casualties it caused eroded support for the war domestically. Nixon told his Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman that he would not end up like LBJ, a prisoner in his own White House.

Therefore, Nixon wanted recommendations that would shock the enemy, even beyond the massive bombing campaigns and other bloody tactics employed by Johnson. As authors Burr and Kimball note in their new book Nixon’s Nuclear Specter, Nixon was very much influenced by two modes of thought.

First, as Vice President from 1953-61, he was under the tutelage of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and President Dwight Eisenhower, who advocated a policy of nuclear brinksmanship, that is the willingness to threaten nuclear war if need be. Dulles felt that since the United States had a large lead in atomic weapons that the Russians would back down in the face of certain annihilation.

Nixon was also impressed by the alleged threat of President Eisenhower to use atomic weapons if North Korea and China did not bargain in good faith to end the Korean War. Nixon actually talked about this in a private meeting with southern politicians at the 1968 GOP convention. (Burr and Kimball, Chapter 2)

Dulles also threatened to use atomic weapons in Vietnam. Burr and Kimball note the proposal by Dulles to break the Viet Minh’s siege of French troops at Dien Bien Phu by a massive air mission featuring the use of three atomic bombs. Though Nixon claimed in No More Vietnams that the atomic option was not seriously considered (Nixon, p. 30), the truth appears to have been more ambiguous, that Nixon thought the siege could be lifted without atomic weapons but he was not against using them. Eisenhower ultimately vetoed their use when he could not get Great Britain to go along.

Playing the Madman

Later, when in the Oval Office, Nixon tempered this nuclear brinksmanship for the simple reason that the Russians had significantly closed the gap in atomic stockpiles. So, as Burr and Kimball describe it, Nixon and Kissinger wanted to modify the Eisenhower-Dulles brinksmanship with the “uncertainty effect” – or as Nixon sometimes called it, the Madman Theory. In other words, instead of overtly threatening to use atomic bombs, Nixon would have an intermediary pass on word to the North Vietnamese leadership that Nixon was so unhinged that he might resort to nuclear weapons if he didn’t get his way. Or, as Nixon explained to Haldeman, if you act crazy, the incredible becomes credible:

“They’ll believe any threat of force that Nixon makes because it’s Nixon. I call it the Madman Theory, Bob. I want the North Vietnamese to believe I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We’ll just slip the word to them that ‘for God’s sake you know Nixon is obsessed about communism. We can’t restrain him when he’s angry — and he has his hand on the nuclear button.’”

Nixon believed this trick would work, saying “Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days begging for peace.”

Kissinger once told special consultant Leonard Garment to convey to the Soviets that Nixon was somewhat nutty and unpredictable. Kissinger bought into the concept so much so that he was part of the act: the idea was for Nixon to play the “bad cop” and Kissinger the “good cop.”

Another reason that Nixon and Kissinger advocated the Madman Theory was that they understood that Vietnamization and pacification would take years. And they did not think they could sustain public opinion on the war for that long. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and Secretary of State William Rogers both thought they could, their opinions were peripheral because Nixon and Kissinger had concentrated the foreign policy apparatus in the White House.

Playing for Time

Privately, Nixon did not think America could win the war, so he wanted to do something unexpected, shocking, “over the top.” As Burr and Kimball note, in 1969, Nixon told his speechwriters Ray Price, Pat Buchanan and Richard Whalen: “I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no way to win the war. But we can’t say that, of course. In fact we have to seem to say the opposite, just to keep some degree of bargaining leverage.”

In a phone call with Kissinger, Nixon said, “In Saigon, the tendency is to fight the war for victory. … But you and I know it won’t happen – it is impossible. Even Gen. Abrams agreed.”

These ideas were expressed very early in 1969 in a document called NSSM-1, a study memorandum – as opposed to an action memorandum – with Kissinger asking for opinions on war strategy from those directly involved. The general consensus was that the other side had “options over which we have little or no control” which would help them “continue the war almost indefinitely.” (ibid, Chapter 3)

Author Ken Hughes in Fatal Politics agrees. Nixon wanted to know if South Vietnam could survive without American troops there. All of the military figures he asked replied that President Nguyen van Thieu’s government could not take on both the Viet Cong and the regular North Vietnamese army. And, the United States could not help South Vietnam enough for it to survive on its own. (Hughes, pgs. 14-15)

As Hughes notes, Nixon understood that this bitter truth needed maximum spin to make it acceptable for the public. So he said, “Shall we leave Vietnam in a way that – by our own actions – consciously turns the country over to the Communists? Or shall we leave in a way that gives the South Vietnamese a reasonable chance to survive as a free people? My plan will end American involvement in a way that will provide that chance.” (ibid, p. 15)

If the U.S. media allowed the argument to be framed like that — which it did — then the hopeless cause did have a political upside. As Kissinger told Nixon, “The only consolation we have … is that the people who put us into this position are going to be destroyed by the right. … They are going to be destroyed. The liberals and radicals are going to be killed. This is, above all, a rightwing country.” (ibid, p. 19)

Could anything be less honest, less democratic or more self-serving? Knowing that their critics were correct, and that the war could not be won, Nixon and Kissinger wanted to portray the people who were right about the war as betraying both America and South Vietnam.

Political Worries

Just how calculated was Nixon about America’s withdrawal from Vietnam? Republican Sen. Hugh Scott warned him about getting out by the end of 1972, or “another man may be standing on the platform” on Inauguration Day 1973. (ibid, p. 23) Nixon told his staff that Scott should not be saying things like this in public.

But, in private, the GOP actually polled on the issue. It was from these polls that Nixon tailored his speeches. He understood that only 39 percent of the public approved a Dec. 31, 1971 withdrawal, if it meant a U.S. defeat. When the question was posed as withdrawal, even if it meant a communist takeover, the percentage declined to 27 percent. Nixon studied the polls assiduously. He told Haldeman, “That’s the word. We say Communist takeover.” (ibid, p. 24)

The polls revealed another hot button issue: getting our POW’s back. This was even more sensitive with the public than the “Communist takeover” issue. Therefore, during a press conference, when asked about Scott’s public warning, Nixon replied that the date of withdrawal should not be related to any election day. The important thing was that he “didn’t want one American to be in Vietnam one day longer than is necessary to achieve the two goals that I have mentioned: the release of our prisoners and the capacity of the South Vietnamese to defend themselves against a Communist takeover.” He then repeated that meme two more times. The press couldn’t avoid it. (Hughes, p. 25)

Still, although Nixon and Kissinger understood they could not win the war in a conventional sense, they were willing to try other methods in the short run to get a better and quicker settlement, especially if it included getting North Vietnamese troops out of South Vietnam. Therefore, in 1969, he and Kissinger elicited suggestions from inside the White House, the Pentagon, the CIA, and Rand Corporation, through Daniel Ellsberg. These included a limited invasion of North Vietnam and Laos, mining the harbors and bombing the north, a full-scale invasion of North Vietnam, and operations in Cambodia.

Or as Kissinger put it, “We should … develop alternate plans for possible escalating military actions with the motive of convincing the Soviets that the war may get out of hand.” Kissinger also said that bombing Cambodia would convey the proper message to Moscow.

If anything shows that Kissinger was as backward in his thinking about Indochina as Nixon, this does. For as Burr and Kimball show — through Dobrynin’s memos to Moscow — the Russians could not understand why the White House would think the Kremlin had such influence with Hanoi. Moscow wanted to deal on a variety of issues, including arms agreements and the Middle East.

So far from Kissinger’s vaunted “linkage” theory furthering the agenda with Russia, it’s clear from Dobrynin that it hindered that agenda. In other words, the remnants of a colonial conflict in the Third World were stopping progress in ameliorating the Cold War. This was the subtotal of the Nixon/Kissinger geopolitical accounting sheet.

Judging Kissinger on Vietnam

Just how unbalanced was Kissinger on Vietnam? In April 1969, there was a shoot-down of an American observation plane off the coast of Korea. When White House adviser John Ehrlichman asked Kissinger how far the escalation could go, Kissinger replied it could go nuclear.

In a memo to Nixon, Kissinger advised using tactical nuclear weapons. He wrote that “all hell would break loose for two months”, referring to domestic demonstrations. But he then concluded that the end result would be positive: “there will be peace in Asia.”

Kissinger was referring, of course, to the effectiveness of the Madman Theory. In reading these two books, it is often hard to decipher who is more dangerous in their thinking, Nixon or Kissinger.

In the first phase of their approach to the Vietnam issue, Nixon and Kissinger decided upon two alternatives. The first was the secret bombing of Cambodia. In his interview with David Frost, Nixon expressed no regrets about either the bombing or the invasion. In fact, he said, he wished he had done it sooner, which is a puzzling statement because the bombing of Cambodia was among the first things he authorized. Nixon told Frost that the bombing and the later invasion of Cambodia had positive results: they garnered a lot of enemy supplies, lowered American casualties in Vietnam, and hurt the Viet Cong war effort.

Frost did not press the former president with the obvious follow-up: But Mr. Nixon, you started another war and you helped depose Cambodia’s charismatic ruler, Prince Sihanouk. And because the Viet Cong were driven deeper into Cambodia, Nixon then began bombing the rest of the country, not just the border areas, leading to the victory of the radical Khmer Rouge and the deaths of more than one million Cambodians.

This all indicates just how imprisoned Nixon and Kissinger were by the ideas of John Foster Dulles and his visions of a communist monolith with orders emanating from Moscow’s Comintern, a unified global movement controlled by the Kremlin. Like the Domino Theory, this was never sound thinking. In fact, the Sino-Soviet border dispute, which stemmed back to 1962, showed that communist movements were not monolithic. So the idea that Moscow could control Hanoi, or that the communists in Cambodia were controlled by the Viet Cong, this all ended up being disastrously wrong.

As Sihanouk told author William Shawcross after the Cambodian catastrophe unfolded, General Lon Nol, who seized power from Prince Sihanouk, was nothing without the military actions of Nixon and Kissinger, and “the Khmer Rouge were nothing without Lon Nol.” (Shawcross, Sideshow, p. 391)

But further, as Shawcross demonstrates, the immediate intent of the Cambodian invasion was to seek and destroy the so-called COSVN, the supposed command-and-control base for the communist forces in South Vietnam supposedly based on the border inside Cambodia. No such command center was ever found. (ibid, p. 171)

Why the Drop in Casualties?

As for Nixon’s other claim, American casualties declined in Indochina because of troop rotation, that is, the ARVN were pushed to the front lines with the Americans in support. Or as one commander said after the Cambodian invasion: it was essential that American fatalities be cut back, “If necessary, we must do it by edict.” (ibid, p. 172)

But this is not all that Nixon tried in the time frame of 1969-70, his first two years in office. At Kissinger’s request he also attempted a secret mission to Moscow by Wall Street lawyer Cyrus Vance. Part of Kissinger’s linkage theory, Vance was to tell the Soviets that if they leaned on Hanoi to accept a Nixonian framework for negotiations, then the administration would be willing to deal on other fronts, and there would be little or no escalation. The negotiations on Vietnam included a coalition government, and the survival of Thieu’s government for at least five years, which would have been two years beyond the 1972 election. (As we shall see, this is the beginning of the final “decent interval” strategy.)

The Vance mission was coupled with what Burr and Kimball call a “mining ruse.” The Navy would do an exercise to try and make the Russians think they were going to mine Haiphong and five other North Vietnamese harbors. Yet, for reasons stated above, Nixon overrated linkage, and the tactic did not work. But as Kissinger said, “If in doubt, we bomb Cambodia.” Which they did.

As the authors note, Nixon had urged President Johnson in 1967 to extend the bombing throughout Indochina, into Cambodia and Laos. Johnson had studied these and other options but found too many liabilities. He had even studied the blockading of ports but concluded that Hanoi would compensate for a blockade in a relatively short time by utilizing overland routes and off-shore unloading.

But what Johnson did not factor in was the Nixon/Kissinger Madman Theory. For example, when a State Department representative brought up the overall military ineffectiveness of the Cambodian bombing, Kissinger replied, “That doesn’t bother me … we’ll hit something.” He also told an assistant, “Always keep them guessing.” The problem was, the “shock effect” ended up being as mythical as linkage.

In 1969, after the failure of the Vance mission, the mining ruse, the warnings to Dobrynin, and the continued bombing of Cambodia, which went on in secret for 14 months, Nixon still had not given up on his Madman Theory. He sent a message to Hanoi saying that if a resolution was not in the works by November, “he will regretfully find himself obliged to have recourse to measures of great consequence and force.”

What were these consequences? Nixon had wanted to mine Haiphong for a long time. But, as did Johnson, he was getting different opinions about its effectiveness. So he considered massive interdiction bombing of the north coupled with a blockade of Sihanoukville, the Cambodian port that was part of the Ho Chi Minh trail apparatus on the west coast of Cambodia.

Plus one other tactic: Kissinger suggested to his staff that the interdiction bombing use tactical nuclear weapons for overland passes near the Chinese border. But the use of tactical nukes would have created an even greater domestic disturbance than the Cambodian invasion had done. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird objected to the whole agenda. He said it would not be effective and it would create too much domestic strife.

Backing Up Threats

So Nixon and Kissinger decided on something short of the nuclear option. After all, Nixon had sent a veiled ultimatum to Hanoi about “great consequence and force.” They had to back it up. The two decided on a worldwide nuclear alert instead, a giant nuclear war exercise that would simulate actual military maneuvers in attempting to mimic what the U.S. would do if it were preparing for a nuclear strike.

As Burr and Kimball write, this was another outmoded vestige of 1950s Cold War thinking: “It was intended to signal Washington’s anger at Moscow’s support of North Vietnam and to jar the Soviet leaders into using their leverage to induce Hanoi to make diplomatic concessions.” (Burr and Kimball, Chapter 9)

It was designed to be detected by the Soviets, but not detectable at home. For instance, the DEFCON levels were not actually elevated. The alert went on for about three weeks, with all kinds of military maneuvers at sea and on land. Finally, Dobrynin called for a meeting. Kissinger was buoyant. Maybe the ploy had worked.

But it didn’t. The ambassador was angry and upset, but not about the alert. He said that while the Russians wanted to deal on nuclear weapons, Nixon was as obsessed with Vietnam as LBJ was. In other words, Dobrynin and the Soviets were perceptive about what was really happening. Nixon tried to salvage the meeting with talk about how keeping American fatalities low in Vietnam would aid détente, which further blew the cover off the nuclear alert.

Burr and Kimball show just how wedded the self-styled foreign policy mavens were to the Madman Theory. After the meeting, Nixon realized he had not done well in accordance with the whole nuclear alert, Madman idea. He asked Kissinger to bring back Dobrynin so they could play act the Madman idea better.

The authors then note that, although Haiphong was later mined, the mining was not effective, as Nixon had been warned. In other words, the Madman idea and linkage were both duds.

Nixon and Kissinger then turned to Laird’s plan, a Vietnamization program, a mix of U.S. troop withdrawals, turning more of the fighting over to the ARVN, and negotiations. The November 1969 Madman timetable was tossed aside and the long haul of gradual U.S. disengagement was being faced. Accordingly, Nixon and Kissinger started sending new messages to the north. And far from isolating Hanoi, both China and Russia served as messengers for these new ideas.

The White House told Dobrynin that after all American troops were out, Vietnam would no longer be America’s concern. In extension of this idea, America would not even mind if Vietnam was unified under Hanoi leadership.

Kissinger told the Chinese that America would not return after withdrawing. In his notebooks for his meeting with Zhou En Lai, Kissinger wrote, “We want a decent interval. You have our assurances.” (Burr and Kimball, Epilogue)

Timing the Departure

But when would the American troops depart? As Ken Hughes writes, Nixon at first wanted the final departure to be by December of 1971. But Kissinger talked him out of this. It was much safer politically to have the final withdrawal after the 1972 election. If Saigon fell after, it was too late to say Nixon’s policies were responsible. (Fatal Politics, p. 3)

Kissinger also impressed on Nixon the need not to announce a timetable in advance. Since all their previous schemes had failed, they had to have some leverage for the Paris peace talks.

But there was a problem. The exposure of the secret bombing of Cambodia began to put pressure on Congress to begin to cut off funding for those operations. Therefore, when Nixon also invaded Laos, this was done with ARVN troops. It did not go very well, but that did not matter to Nixon: “However Laos comes out, we have got to claim it was a success.” (Hughes, p. 14)

While there was little progress at the official negotiations, that too was irrelevant because Kissinger had arranged for so-called “secret talks” at a residential home in Paris. There was no headway at these talks until late May 1971. Prior to this, Nixon had insisted on withdrawal of North Vietnamese troops from South Vietnam.

But in May, Kissinger reversed himself on two issues. First, there would be no American residual force left behind. Second, there would be a cease-fire in place. That is, no withdrawal of North Vietnamese troops. As Kissinger said to Nixon, they would still be free to bomb the north, but “the only problem is to prevent the collapse in 1972.” (ibid, pgs. 27-28) The Decent Interval strategy was now the modus operandi.

And this strategy would serve Nixon’s reelection interests, too. As Kissinger told Nixon, “If we can, in October of ’72 go around the country saying we ended the war and the Democrats wanted to turn it over to the communists … then we’re in great shape.” To which Nixon replied, “I know exactly what we’re up to.” (ibid, p. 29) Since this was all done in secret, they could get away with a purely political ploy even though it resulted in the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians. All this was done to make sure Nixon was reelected and the Democrats looked like wimps.

Kissinger understood this linkage between the war’s illusionary success and politics. He reminded Nixon, “If Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam go down the drain in September of 1972, they they’ll say you went into those … you spoiled so many lives, just to wind up where you could have been in the first year.” (ibid, p. 30)

In fact, the President’s February 1972 trip to China was directly related to the slow progress on Vietnam. Kissinger said, “For every reason, we’ve got to have a diversion from Vietnam in this country for awhile.” To which Nixon replied, “That’s the point isn’t it?” (ibid, p.32)

A Decent Interval

In preparations for China, Kissinger told Zhou En Lai that Nixon needed an interval of a year or two after American departure for Saigon to fall. (ibid, p. 35) He told Zhou, “The outcome of my logic is that we are putting a time interval between the military outcome and the political outcome.” (ibid, p. 79)

But aware of this, Hanoi made one last push for victory with the Easter Offensive of 1972. Remarkably successful at first, air power managed to stall it and then push it back. During this giant air operation, Nixon returned to his Foster Dulles brinksmanship form, asking Kissinger, should we “take the dikes out now?”

Kissinger replied, “That will drown about 200,000 people.”

Nixon said, “Well no, no … I’d rather use a nuclear bomb. Have you got that ready?”

When Kissinger demurred by saying Nixon wouldn’t use it anyway, the President replied, “I just want you to think big Henry, for Christ’s sake.” (Burr and Kimball, Epilogue)

The American press took the wrong message from this. What it actually symbolized was that Saigon could not survive without massive American aid and firepower. (Hughes, p. 61) But even with this huge air campaign, the Pentagon figured that the north could keep up its war effort for at least two more years, even with interdiction bombing.

The political ramification of the renewed fighting was that it pushed the final settlement back in time, which Nixon saw as a political benefit, a tsunami for his reelection.

Nixon: “The advantage, Henry, of trying to settle now, even if you’re ten points ahead, is that that will ensure a hell of a landslide.”

Kissinger: “If we can get that done, then we can screw them after Election Day if necessary. And I think this could finish the destruction of McGovern” [the Democratic presidential nominee].

Nixon: “Oh yes, and the doves, which is just as important.”

The next day, Aug. 3, 1972, Kissinger returned to the theme: “So we’ve got to find some formula that holds the thing together a year or two, after which — after a year, Mr. President, Vietnam will be a backwater… no one will give a damn.” (Hughes, pgs. 84-85)

All of this history renders absurd the speeches of Ronald Reagan at the time: “President Nixon’s idealism is such that he believes the people of South Vietnam should have the opportunity to live under whatever form of government … they themselves choose.” (Hughes, p. 86) While Reagan was whistling in the dark, the Hanoi negotiator Le Duc Tho understood what was happening. He even said to Kissinger, “reunification will be decided upon after a suitable interval following the signing.”

Kissinger and Nixon even knew the whole election commission idea for reunification was a joke. Kissinger called it, “all baloney. … There’ll never be elections.” Nixon agreed by saying that the war will then resume, but “we’ll be gone.” (ibid, p. 88)

Thieu’s Complaint

The problem in October 1972 was not Hanoi; it was President Thieu. He understood that with 150,000 North Vietnamese regulars in the south, the writing was on the wall for his future. So Kissinger got reassurances from Hanoi that they would not use the Ho Chi Minh Trail after America left, though Kissinger and Nixon knew this was a lie. (ibid, p. 94)

When Thieu still balked, Nixon said he would sign the agreement unilaterally. How badly did Kissinger steamroll Thieu? When he brought him the final agreements to sign, Thieu noticed that they only referred to three countries being in Indochina: Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam. Kissinger tried to explain this away as a mistake. (Hughes, p. 118)

When Kissinger announced in October 1972 that peace was at hand, he understood this was false but it was political gold.

Nixon: “Of course, the point is, they think you’ve got peace. . . but that’s all right,. Let them think it.” (ibid, p. 132)

Nixon got Senators Barry Goldwater and John Stennis to debate cutting off aid for Saigon. This got Thieu to sign. (ibid, p. 158)

In January 1973, the agreement was formalized. It was all a sham. There was no lull in the fighting, there were no elections, and there was no halt in the supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. As the military knew, Saigon was no match for the Viet Cong and the regular army of North Vietnam. And Thieu did not buy the letters Nixon wrote him about resumed bombing if Hanoi violated the treaty.

But Nixon had one more trick up his sleeve, which he pulled out as an excuse for the defeat in his 1985 book, No More Vietnams. He wrote that Congress lost the “victory” he had won by gradually cutting off aid to Indochina beginning in 1973. (Nixon, p. 178)

It’s true that the Democratic caucuses did vote for this, but anyone can tell by looking at the numbers that Nixon could have sustained a veto if he tried. And, in fact, he had vetoed a bill to ban American bombing in Cambodia on June 27 with the House falling 35 votes short in the override attempt.

Rep. Gerald Ford, R-Michigan, rose and said, “If military action is required in Southeast Asia after August 15, 1973, … the President will ask congressional authority and will abide by the decision that is made by the House and Senate.”

The Democrats didn’t buy Ford’s assurance. So Ford called Nixon and returned to the podium to say Nixon had reaffirmed his pledge. With that, the borderline Republicans joined in a shut-off vote of 278-124. In the Senate the vote was 64-26. (Hughes, p. 165)

Having Congress take the lead meant that Nixon did not have to even think of revisiting Vietnam. He could claim he was stabbed in the back by Congress. As Hughes notes, it would have been better for Congress politically to double the funding requests just to show it was all for show.

As Hughes writes, this strategy of arranging a phony peace, which disguised an American defeat, was repeated in Iraq. President George W. Bush rejected troop withdrawals in 2007 and then launched “the surge,” which cost another 1,000 American lives but averted an outright military defeat on Bush’s watch. Bush then signed an agreement with his hand-picked Iraqi government, allowing American troops to remain in Iraq for three more years and passing the disaster on to President Barack Obama.

Hughes ends by writing that Nixon’s myth of a “victory” in Vietnam masks cowardice for political courage and replaces patriotism with opportunism. Nixon prolonged a lost war. He then faked a peace. And he then schemed to shift the blame onto Congress.

As long as that truth is masked, other presidents can play politics with the lives hundred of thousands of innocent civilians, and tens of thousands of American soldiers.

At Nixon’s 1994 funeral, Kissinger tried to commemorate their legacy by listing their foreign policy achievements. The first one he listed was a peace agreement in Vietnam. The last one was the airing of a human rights agenda that helped break apart the Soviet domination in Eastern Europe. These two books make those declarations not just specious, but a bit obscene.


James DiEugenio is a researcher and writer on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and other mysteries of that era. His most recent book is Reclaiming Parkland.

August 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New Hillary

By Andrew Levine | CounterPunch | April 24, 2015

In the years before he ran for President in 1968, Richard Nixon’s publicists promoted a New Nixon. It was the same old Tricky Dicky with the rough edges smoothed away.

The old Nixon lost the 1960 presidential election to John Kennedy in 1960; then Pat Brown defeated him in 1962, when he ran for the Governorship of California. The hope after that was, as Nixon himself put it, that the press would no longer “have Nixon to kick around anymore.” Nixon had always had trouble with the press.

But this was not to be. You just can’t keep a good scoundrel down.

The Vietnam War was a bipartisan concoction, from its inception to its ignominious end, but, before 1968, liberal Democrats – JFK and Lyndon Johnson, leading figures in their administrations, and Democratic Senators and Representatives — were the ones leading the way. Vietnam was not just an anti-Soviet and anti-Chinese proxy war; it was a liberal’s war.

Republicans were culpable too, and Nixon was hardly an exponent of peace. But neither he nor the party whose ticket he led had yet taken on the now familiar more-bellicose-than-thou persona of the post-Vietnam GOP.

The more unpopular the war became, the happier Republicans were that Lyndon Johnson, not one of their own, was taking the blame. Democrats were still widely considered the more warlike of the two parties. How could they not be – having brought the United States into the First and Second World Wars and into Korea?  Vietnam was their thing.

But then, as now, the Democratic Party was where the liberals were, most of them anyway; and so, the part of the anti-war movement that was electorally inclined, the less radical part, gravitated into their ranks, effectively dividing the party into pro- and anti-war camps.

There were Republican liberals too back then, but a cultural divide already separated the anti-war movement from the GOP; and, with only a few exceptions, Republican liberals and moderates were no more peace-friendly than LBJ. The prospect of turning the GOP into an anti-war party never occurred.

As the 1968 election approached, Nixon said that he had a secret plan for ending the war. He was lying, of course; but, at the time, his claim was not implausible; hadn’t Eisenhower said much the same about Korea, and he was telling the truth.

There were even a few anti-war liberals who voted for Nixon to punish the Democrats, and many more who considered doing so.

The Democrats who led the way in Vietnam, LBJ and the cohort he inherited from Kennedy, were decent enough on domestic policy. By today’s standards, they were outstanding.

Nixon wasn’t bad either. Unlike today’s Republicans and Democrats, but like Eisenhower, he had no interest in dismantling New Deal and Fair Deal advances.

And for getting affirmative action going, for launching various “black capitalism” programs, for floating the prospect of a negative income tax and genuine national health insurance, for breathing life into the environmental movement, for pumping money into scientific research and infrastructure development, and much else, his presidency puts Barack Obama’s and Bill Clinton’s to shame.

Between Nixon and what we can expect from Bill Clinton’s even more retrograde wife, there is no comparison at all.

To get his presidential aspirations back on track, there was therefore no need for him to take a liberal or “populist” turn. This was not what the New Nixon was about.

It was about how he presented himself, his public persona. His publicists understood that that had to be changed – fast.

But, you cannot change a public persona without bringing politics in; not if you are running for President. There must be at least the appearance of substantive change.

And so what made the New Nixon new was his adoption of a more statesmanlike veneer.

The New Nixon was, or was made to seem, more thoughtful than the Old. His anti-Communism was toned down a notch — to appear less paranoid and crass. And, under Henry Kissinger’s tutelage, he learned how to present himself before the world as a geopolitical strategist of uncommon insight.

Of the Old Nixon, people would say: “would you buy a used car from that man?” The New Nixon was less flagrantly sleazy.

The mean-spirited, internally tormented figure voters rejected twice was made over to seem avuncular and wise, an Eisenhower in the rough.

As it turned out, the makeover was not entirely smoke and mirrors. Nixon’s personality was what his detractors knew it to be; there was no changing that. But there was some reality behind the statesman-like veneer that his handlers had him project.

No one would have expected the Old Nixon to lead the opening towards China or to advance détente with the USSR; no one thought he had it in him.

Once in office, it became clear that the man was not as void of vision or as incapable of deep thinking as everyone had believed.

It also became clear that there was more villainy in him than even his most ardent detractors had imagined.

* * *

With her campaign for the presidency in 2016 now officially underway, we are witnessing the roll-out of a New Hillary.

The parallels with Nixon’s makeover are striking.

Clinton’s presidential plans had been thwarted by a more glamorous opponent, just as Nixon’s had been; and she too has always had trouble with the press.

And the New Hillary, like the New Nixon, will be very much like the Old.

There are other uncanny parallels: Barack Obama, the rival who did the Old Hillary in, was, at the time, heralded as the next JFK, the man who defeated Nixon forty-eight years before. Even Caroline Kennedy was on board with that.

For a moment too, there was hope, as they vacated the White House, that, in the new century, we wouldn’t have Clintons to kick around anymore.

Of course, there was never any chance of that – not with Bill being, as the quip went, the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral; and not with Hillary being parachuted into New York state to be its Senator.

That arrangement also conjures up memories of the sixties – of Jack’s brother Bobby, RFK. When Johnson wanted him out of Washington, he too was parachuted into New York to become its Senator.

Massachusetts would have been more appropriate, but brother Teddy was already a Massachusetts Senator, and two Kennedys in the Senate from the same state would be unseemly.

More important to RFK and his minions, adding on to the Kennedy power base in Massachusetts would have been a waste or time and effort. New York was a different story.

Hillary was even less a New Yorker than Kennedy was. She was an Illinois girl, born and bred, who went to college and Law School in New England and then spent her adult life in Arkansas and Washington DC. New York City was just a great place to visit; the rest of the state might as well have been on the dark side of the moon.

This is not the only reason why the parallel with RFK is not exact.

Robert Kennedy had at least been his brother’s Attorney General, and also his closest advisor and most trusted friend. He knew about, and participated in, JFK’s intrigues and assignations; he knew about his brother’s poor health. He was the keeper of the family’s skeletons.

While his brother was alive, the whole world knew that when RFK spoke, he was speaking for the President. He was the Kennedy administration’s unchallenged and unchallengeable consigliere. When need be, he was also the enforcer of his brother’s will.

And he was his brother’s heir apparent. As such, RFK was a power to be reckoned with – not just for his hold over the Democratic Party but, more importantly, over the popular imagination.

With Hillary, there was nothing like that.   She did play a role in her husband’s administration – a comparatively minor and not very successful one. It was she, for example, who, more than anyone, set the cause of health care reform back a generation.

Though hardly a Queen of Camelot, her role was more or less like Jackie’s. She and her husband had arrived at a modus vivendi — based on necessity, not trust.

When she spoke, it was with her own voice, not his; and she would be the last, not the first, to know about his intrigues and assignations.

Hillary’s only qualification for the office she sought in New York was that she had been a First Lady, an official wife.

Because she was the wife of a philandering husband, she sometimes did get her way. Aggrieved wives often do, especially when their husbands are in the national spotlight and hanging on by the skins of their teeth. The last thing Bill needed was political embarrassment on Hillary’s account.

But she was never the voice of the Clinton administration, and she was never her husband’s administration’s consigliere.

By the time Robert Kennedy was assassinated, the hopes of a generation were riding on his shoulders. No hopes ride on Hillary’s; none ever have and none ever will.

Therefore, it wasn’t just within “the great right-wing conspiracy” Hillary spoke of that, for all the wrong reasons, people looked forward to seeing the back of her. There were many who shared this hope – for reasons that are eminently sound.

But, as it had been with Nixon, those who hoped hoped in vain. She never really retired from public view.

Her operatives think that a makeover now will get her back on track for winning the office she believes her due.

One wonders how much the Nixon precedent figures in their thinking. It is unclear what, if anything, his makeover had to do with it, but a made over Nixon did finally gain the office that he too believed his due.

For this, the country paid dearly; and Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile and much of the rest of the world suffered egregiously.

We can expect outcomes similarly horrendous, if and when the New Hillary calls the shots. This is yet another parallel waiting to happen.

* * *

Old Hillary cannot be made over in quite the way that Old Nixon was. After her tenure as Secretary of State, promoting her diplomatic prowess is out of the question.

Future historians will fault her handling of America’s affairs almost everywhere the empire’s talons reached – not just in the Muslim world. But her clueless fumbling during the Arab Spring is sure to receive special attention.

On this, her Republican detractors are on to something.

But if the past is any guide, to drive the point home, they will focus only on her role in Libya in 2011 and in the months that followed.

She does indeed have much to answer for about that. So do Obama and his other humanitarian interveners. They brought Libya to ruin. The consequences of their clueless bumbling are still unfolding.

Thanks to Secretary Clinton and her posse, Libya became a failed state. In the Mediterranean today, off the Libyan coast, refugees and asylum seekers are drowning because of what Clinton and the people around her helped bring about.

But the Republican way is to tell only part of the story, and to tell it in ways that mainly reflect their own disingenuousness. Where the Clintons are concerned, this is how it has been since Day One.

Therefore expect Republicans to focus narrowly, if not exclusively, on the deaths of American diplomats (or whatever they were) in the consulate in Benghazi.

This was indeed a disaster, but their concerns are disingenuous because they know, as well as anyone, that the Benghazi consulate was, as the Iranians would say, “a nest of spies” that neither Clinton nor anyone else in the Obama administration can talk about honestly.

It was the same with the famous “missile gap” that JFK would bring up every chance he got when he ran against Nixon. There was no such thing, and Kennedy knew it. He also knew that Nixon couldn’t say this without compromising what he – and his boss, President Eisenhower — took to be the national interest.

This time, the shoe will be on the other party’s foot.

Still, the fact remains: Clinton was in way over her head when the Arab Spring erupted, and almost everything she did was wrong. If only for that, she should never be allowed anywhere near the corridors of power again.

Just as surely as Republicans will make the attack on the Benghazi consulate the issue, Democrats will do their best to make Clinton’s failures at the State Department a non-issue.

They will probably succeed too – well enough to fool most liberals.

But, to that end, the less they say about her diplomacy, the better for them. This is why Clinton’s makeover, unlike Nixon’s, will have little, if anything, to do with foreign affairs.

It will be about her likeability instead.

The Old Hillary was imperious; she exuded a sense of entitlement. The New Hillary is downright personable.

When New Hillary campaigns, instead of just flying in and out of major venues for mega-rallies or hobnobs with plutocrats, she will now sometimes also chat one-on-one with (carefully selected) “ordinary” people. She will brandish the common touch.

She will also take what media pundits call a “populist” line, doing her best to appeal to voters who would prefer Elizabeth Warren – or anybody to Hillary’s left.

These changes run together – “populist,” “popular.” Some well-remunerated marketing genius in Hillary’s employ must think that the two are one and the same, or that the target audience can be duped into thinking that they are.

It will be a hard sell, but the sales campaign will probably succeed with the target audience. Everybody knows that what candidates say bears almost no relation to what they will do – think, for example, of Obama’s “I will close Guantanamo” — but the will to believe becomes indomitable around election time.

Who is in the audience that Hillary’s hucksters are targeting? Apparently, it is social liberals – people who would vote for her, or any Democrat, over any imaginable Republican anyway, but who may, from sheer disgust or learned indifference, not vote at all.

In other words, they are preaching to the choir. This might seem a waste of time and effort; it usually is. But with a Hillary Clinton presidency looming, the choir cannot be counted on to show up at the church. They must be made to want to sing.

Hillary’s hucksters understand this; they know that their first order of business is to remind the Democratic “base,” the social liberal part of it, what makes Democrats worth supporting.

There are too few Democrats on Hillary’s right on economic policy issues to worry about, in any case; and her team is evidently counting on Republicans scaring off most “swing voters.”  This happened in 2012, and it is likely to happen again in 2016.

And so the idea is to emphasize Hillary’s social liberalism – in the hope of getting potential voters enthused.

Her handlers have an even more compelling reason too: there is no other way to provide her with a more leftish patina that would not upset the donor class.

* * *

As a rule, advertisers like to appeal to the kinds of consumers known in the days when Nixon was starting his makeover, and when Hillary was still a Goldwater Girl, as “the Pepsi Generation,”

The Pepsi Generation was “with it,” whatever “it” was; and they felt good about themselves and about their world. Optimism was in the air they breathed.

The name lingers – it was a triumph of advertising genius – and the idea behind it continues to guide marketing campaigns.

But, in an age of increasing social insecurity, what works for selling soft drinks is no longer directly transferable to advertising campaigns aimed at selling candidates to voters.

Ronald Reagan’s “morning in America” was its last hurrah.

Since then, a succession of Reaganite (neoliberal, aggressively imperialist) Presidents – Reagan himself, the two Bushes, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – have superintended such a profound diminution in voters’ expectations that it is no longer possible be with it and perky, or even mildly optimistic, in political contexts.

The one brief exception was America’s – and the world’s – brief Obamamania phase. In retrospect, the predictable shattering of the illusions that sprouted up around Obama’s candidacy in 2008 only accelerated the long term, increasingly pessimistic trend.

But even if optimism no longer sells candidates, being with it still counts for something – or so Hillary’s hucksters believe.

If their campaign launch video — featuring single moms, a multi-racial family and a gay couple about to be married — is any indication, Hillary’s minions seem to have decided to cede the religious Right to Ted Cruz or whichever wing-nut strikes the fancy of America’s most benighted, and to appeal instead to voters who are already on board, but who may not turn out for Hillary even so.

She is plainly not a candidate to get the juices flowing the way Obama did once upon a time; she is way too uncool.

But social liberalism is cool – cool enough, Team Hillary hopes, to bring the faithful out on Election Day.

In the Golden Age of the Pepsi Generation, Democrats aspiring to become their party’s nominee would be courting labor leaders and appealing to rank-and-file workers.

But Hillary and the people around her see no percentage in that; not when the union movement is a pale shadow of its former self, a casualty of the neoliberal age; and not when the leaders of what is left of it are as eager as their predecessors were to do Democrats yeoman service.

In the old days, there was at least a quid pro quo. Democrats did the labor movement favors too.

When Obama ran the first time, this tradition had not yet entirely died out. Candidate Obama was not about to come out against Taft Hartley, but he did endorse the Employee Free Choice Act. Had it been enacted, union organizing would have become easier. Obama said that he would make it a priority.

Needless to say, no one has heard anything from him about it since.

And now, true to form, most labor leaders are falling into place — behind Hillary. Her people see no need to chat them up; they have — or think they have — nowhere else to go.

Count on them instead to give their all while expecting nothing in return — beyond keeping the Republicans at bay. They no longer even ask.

* * *

Is pandering to later-day Pepsi Generation types, while ignoring workers and other traditional Democratic constituencies, a good strategy?

Not as a rule, especially in general elections. But, this time, it hardly matters because it is as plain as can be that the Republican candidate in 2016 will be whacky enough to scare off all but the most reactionary voters. The Democrat, whoever she is, will win no matter what strategy she deploys.

Meanwhile, the Clinton makeover strategy is a good one insofar as its point is to ward off competitors in Democratic primaries and caucuses.

Were any candidate to advance even modestly “populist” economic proposals in a way that seems that they mean it, the full weight of the donor class would come down upon them. This is not something Hillary would do in any case; it goes against her nature.

Therefore the only thing she can do, when she and her advisors find it expedient to take a more liberal or populist turn, is display support for costless (to capitalists) social issues. When, like gay marriage, those issues enjoy widespread support in nearly all sectors of the population outside the religious Right, proclaiming support is a no-brainer.

No surprise, then, that the Clinton campaign led with this gambit. Her handlers have positioned her well.

Even so, a real populist could defeat Hillary-style “populism,” provided word gets out to voters in the early caucus and primary states in time to build what the first President Bush called “the big Mo.” Even in today’s America, this could happen without billionaire backing.

This is why I am inclined to support the candidacy of Jim Webb.

If he plays his cards right, later-day Pepsi Generation types could become the ones with nowhere else to go, while the kinds of voters who made the New and Fair Deals possible, and who propelled the Great Society forward, putting the Democratic party on the side of racial and economic justice, could come back into the fold – not grudgingly, but enthusiastically.

Webb could turn the New Nixon’s Southern Strategy around, bringing not just “white ethnics” but also white Southerners back onto the right side of a class war that never ended – though it looked like it had because, in recent decades, one side, the wrong one, has been consistently getting its way.

Jimmy Carter, the best and the most underrated American President in a very long time, kept the Southern Strategy more or less at bay through the latter half of the seventies. He did it just by being a Southerner and being there.

But Carter ceded too much power to Cold War liberals like Zbigniew Brzezinski and to economists intent on reviving old nostrums that the New Deal once seemed to have laid to rest.

He even let Henry Kissinger talk him into letting the Shah of Iran into the United States for medical treatment, unleashing a chain of events that has diminished his reputation to this day.

Had Carter made peace with the Iranian Revolution, the United States and the world might have been spared Ronald Reagan; and we might not now, three and a half decades later, be facing the prospect of a war with Iran.

Carter’s instincts were decent, except when it came to deciding whose advice to trust. This cost him dearly. And, by diminishing his power, it rendered him all but useless for holding back the Republican tide in the South.

Bill Clinton, for all his efforts to come on as a Bubba to the good old boys while remaining presentable to donors in Manhattan and Beverly Hills, never made a dent in what the New Nixon got going. It wasn’t just the good old boys who saw through him, working people did too.

Hillary was not the only albatross around his neck. There was also his unctuous and transparent phoniness. It is as if he took the Eddie Haskell character on “Leave It to Beaver” for a role model.

He did indeed have Southern roots, but his heart was where the money was, and where the sleaze balls who had it congregated.

In the run up to the 2008 election, John Edwards seemed just the one to turn the Southern Strategy around — until the Obama steamroller and his own horn dog disposition did him in. Like Carter, Edwards was a bona fide Southern liberal, not a poseur like Hillary’s better half.

His strategy was to outflank Hillary from the left. Her other rivals, Joe Biden excepted, had the same idea. But Edwards could appeal to white Southerners, as they could not. In 2008, he might even have been able to do what Al Gore, eight years earlier, could not: pry away a few Southern states, along with their Electoral College votes, from the solidly Republican South.

But even had he turned out to be more like he (briefly) seemed to be, his candidacy would have been more like Elizabeth Warren’s might be, were she to run, than like Jim Webb’s.

Like Warren and Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, Edwards was a zero on foreign policy and on military affairs – the areas where, even with money talking as loudly as it does, Presidents can actually make a difference.

These are Webb’s strong points. He has consistently opposed America’s Middle Eastern wars. And, knowing what war is about, he is no fan of gunboat diplomacy or military brinksmanship. He despises chicken hawks and the wars they foist on the people he cares about. In these respects, he is the true anti-Clinton.

* * *

The main thing, though, is that, contrary to what the hucksters selling Hillary seem to believe, the stars are now lining up right for moving social liberal considerations off dead-center and bringing working class issues back in.

This is because even the voters Team Hillary is targeting, functional equivalents of yesterday’s Pepsi Generation, are discovering that working class issues are their issues too.

This is happening all over the developed world.

It is more visible overseas than it is here because it is easier to gain a purchase on what voters are thinking in democracies that are less undemocratic than ours. The UK is a case in point.

There, as almost everywhere else, big money is much less a factor in determining electoral outcomes than it is in the United States, and the political culture is not quite as bent out of shape by the prevailing party system.

For this reason, Team Hillary would be well advised to take a close look at next month’s parliamentary elections.

Less than eight months ago, the Scottish National Party (SNP) suffered a significant defeat in a referendum on Scottish independence, its signature issue. Now, mainly at Labor’s expense, it is poised to become the third largest party in the British parliament.

Because neither the Conservatives nor Labor are likely to win a majority of seats in their own right, the SNP will wield tremendous influence in the next Parliament; it may even enter the government as Labor’s junior partner.

The reason for its sudden change of fortune is plain: voters are fed up with neoliberal austerity politics; and voting for the SNP is the best way to make this sentiment known.

The SNP is the most left leaning, most Social Democratic, of any of the larger political parties in Great Britain. If it were less intent on breaking up the country it may soon help govern, and if it fielded candidates throughout the entire UK, it might even be able to win outright.

There is a lesson in the SNP’s rise that has implications for the 2016 electoral season already unfolding in the United States.

In all developed countries, including our own, voters are less inclined than they used to be to think that it is acceptable, or even necessary, that only a tiny fraction of the population benefits as productive capacities expand at a dizzying rate, and while everyone else becomes, in varying degrees, worse off – the greatest burdens falling on those who are already the least well off of all.

Try as neoliberal ideologues might, it is a lot harder than it was just a few years ago to convince the general public that this is how it must be.

Voters everywhere are way ahead of the political leaders of their respective countries.

Hillary’s single moms and biracial families, and her gay couples, don’t speak to these concerns, though they are of great importance to people who fall under those descriptions and to others who do not, but care about those who do.

Even if her sales force gets her to declare support for a few Elizabeth Warren – Bernie Sanders type reforms, it will make hardly any difference; and not just because everybody knows that, were she to become President, whatever she says now will be yesterday’s lunch.

It will make hardly any difference because the realization is dawning that tinkering here and there is, at best, a palliative, not a solution. There is something rotten in the system itself, and more and more people are beginning to realize it.

No Democrat, including Webb, is likely to propose anything that would seriously address this rot.

But a Democrat can address one of the fundamental conditions of its possibility: the Democratic Party’s malign neglect of the working class and of the white, rural population in so-called “red” states, the South especially.

This is what a Webb candidacy could do. It is unlikely that anyone else with any chance at all of winning the Democratic nomination could do it nearly as well.

And it is certain that, no matter how “populist” the New Hillary’s guise, she will not – and probably cannot – do it at all.

* * *

There is a good chance that Hillary understands this, but doesn’t care – because it is the average donor, not the average citizen, that she aims to please.

That has always been the Clinton way. But the times are changing – more quickly and more profoundly than Hillary Clinton’s makeover team imagines.

The New Hillary is nevertheless likely to win the nomination and, if she does, she will win the race for the presidency, just as the New Nixon did.

She and her people ought to reflect on all the harm that came out of that; all the murder and mayhem, and all the devastation.

They might also reflect on Nixon’s fate. Theirs could be even worse.

April 24, 2015 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Deception, Economics, Militarism | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nixon’s Vietnam Treason

By BOB FITRAKIS & HARVEY WASSERMAN | CounterPunch | August 13, 2014

Richard Nixon was a traitor.

The new release of extended versions of Nixon’s papers now confirms this long-standing belief, usually dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” by Republican conservatives. Now it has been substantiated by none other than right-wing columnist George Will.

Nixon’s newly revealed records show for certain that in 1968, as a presidential candidate, he ordered Anna Chennault, his liaison to the South Vietnam government, to persuade them refuse a cease-fire being brokered by President Lyndon Johnson.

Nixon’s interference with these negotiations violated President John Adams’s 1797 Logan Act, banning private citizens from intruding into official government negotiations with a foreign nation.

Published as the 40th Anniversary of Nixon’s resignation approaches, Will’s column confirms that Nixon feared public disclosure of his role in sabotaging the 1968 Vietnam peace talks. Will says Nixon established a “plumbers unit” to stop potential leaks of information that might damage him, including documentation he believed was held by the Brookings Institute, a liberal think tank. The Plumbers’ later break-in at the Democratic National Committee led to the Watergate scandal that brought Nixon down.

Nixon’s sabotage of the Vietnam peace talks was confirmed by transcripts of FBI wiretaps. On November 2, 1968, LBJ received an FBI report saying Chernnault told the South Vietnamese ambassador that “she had received a message from her boss: saying the Vietnamese should “hold on, we are gonna win.”

As Will confirms, Vietnamese did “hold on,” the war proceeded and Nixon did win, changing forever the face of American politics—-with the shadow of treason permanently embedded in its DNA.

The treason came in 1968 as the Vietnam War reached a critical turning point. President Lyndon Johnson was desperate for a truce between North and South Vietnam.

LBJ had an ulterior motive: his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, was in a tight presidential race against Richard Nixon. With demonstrators in the streets, Humphrey desperately needed a cease-fire to get him into the White House.

Johnson had it all but wrapped it. With a combination of gentle and iron-fisted persuasion, he forced the leaders of South Vietnam into an all-but-final agreement with the North. A cease-fire was imminent, and Humphrey’s election seemed assured.

But at the last minute, the South Vietnamese pulled out. LBJ suspected Nixon had intervened to stop them from signing a peace treaty.

In the Price of Power (1983), Seymour Hersh revealed Henry Kissinger—then Johnson’s advisor on Vietnam peace talks—secretly alerted Nixon’s staff that a truce was imminent.

According to Hersh, Nixon “was able to get a series of messages to the Thieu government [of South Vietnam] making it clear that a Nixon presidency would have different views on peace negotiations.”

Johnson was livid. He even called the Republican Senate Minority Leader, Everett Dirksen, to complain that “they oughtn’t be doing this. This is treason.”

“I know,” was Dirksen’s feeble reply.

Johnson blasted Nixon about this on November 3, just prior to the election. As Robert Parry of has written: “when Johnson confronted Nixon with evidence of the peace-talk sabotage, Nixon insisted on his innocence but acknowledged that he knew what was at stake.”

Said Nixon: “My, I would never do anything to encourage….Saigon not to come to the table…. Good God, we’ve got to get them to Paris or you can’t have peace.”

But South Vietnamese President General Theiu—a notorious drug and gun runner—did boycott Johnson’s Paris peace talks. With the war still raging, Nixon claimed a narrow victory over Humphrey. He then made Kissinger his own national security advisor.

In the four years between the sabotage and what Kissinger termed “peace at hand” just prior to the 1972 election, more than 20,000 US troops died in Vietnam. More than 100,000 were wounded. More than a million Vietnamese were killed.

But in 1973, Kissinger was given the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the same settlement he helped sabotage in 1968.

According to Parry, LBJ wanted to go public with Nixon’s treason. But Clark Clifford, an architect of the CIA and a pillar of the Washington establishment, talked Johnson out of it. LBJ’s close confidant warned that the revelation would shake the foundations of the nation.

In particular, Clifford told Johnson (in a taped conversation) that “some elements of the story are so shocking in their nature that I’m wondering whether it would be good for the country to disclose the story and then possibly have [Nixon] elected. It could cast his whole administration under such doubt that I think it would be inimical to our country’s best interests.”

In other words, Clifford told LBJ that the country couldn’t handle the reality that its president was a certifiable traitor, eligible for legal execution.

Fittingly, Clark Clifford’s upper-crust career ended in the disgrace of his entanglement with the crooked Bank of Credit and Commerce (BCCI), which financed the terrorist group Al Qaeda and whose scandalous downfall tainted the Agency he helped found.

Johnson lived four years after he left office, tormented by the disastrous war that destroyed his presidency and his retirement. Nixon won re-election in 1972, again with a host of dirty dealings, then became the first America president to resign in disgrace.


August 13, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Decades of Political Tyranny at the IRS

By Karl Grossman | May 16, 2013

President Barack Obama got it right and wrong Monday when he stated, “If you’ve got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and nonpartisan way, then that is outrageous, it is contrary to our traditions.”

He was right in declaring it was “outrageous” for the IRS to target conservative organizations for tough tax treatment. But he was incorrect in saying “it is contrary to our traditions.”

For the U.S. Internal Revenue Service has for decades gone after organizations and individuals that take stands in conflict with the federal government at the time. This has been a tradition, an outrageous tradition.

It is exposed in detail by David Burnham, longtime New York Times investigative reporter, in his 1991 book A Law Unto Itself: The IRS and the Abuse of Power. He relates how President Franklin D. Roosevelt likely “set the stage for the use of the tax agency for political purposes by most subsequent presidents.” Burnham writes about how a former U.S. Treasury Secretary, banker Andrew Mellon, was a special IRS target under FDR. During the presidencies of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, he recounts, the focus of the IRS’s efforts “at political control” were civil rights organizations and those against the U.S. engaging in the Vietnam War. Nixon’s “enemies list” and his scheme to use the IRS against those on it is what the current IRS scandal is being most compared.

History Professor John A. Andrew III in his 2002 book Power to Destroy: The Political Uses of the IRS from Kennedy to Nixon—its title drawn from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall’s  dictum “The power to tax is the power to destroy”—focuses further on this tradition. He tells of how John F. Kennedy administration’s “Ideological Organizations Project” investigated, intimidated and challenged the tax-exempt status of right-wing groups including the John Birch Society. Then, with a turn of the White House to the right with Nixon came investigations, he writes, of such entities as the Jerry Rubin Foundation, the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Center for Corporate Responsibility.

During the Reagan administration, I had my own experience with the IRS—ostensibly

because of a book I wrote. Nicaragua: America’s New Vietnam? involved reporting from what was then a war zone in Nicaragua and in Florida—where I interviewed leaders of the contras who were working with the CIA to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government—and Honduras, being set up as a tarmac for U.S. intervention in Nicaragua. I visited a U.S. military base there. The book warned against a U.S. invasion of Nicaragua (subsequently decided against by the Reagan White House after the Iran-contra scandal). The book was published in 1985 and soon afterwards I was hit with an IRS audit. It would be more, I was informed, than my showing up at an IRS office. The IRS was to come to my house for a “field audit.”

The investigator sat on one side of our dining room table and on the other side was me and my accountant, Peter Berger of Shelter Island. What would be an all-day event started with the investigator asking me to detail how much my family spent on food each week and then, slowly, methodically, going through other expenses. Then he went through income. He obviously was seeking to determine on this fishing expedition whether income exceeded expenses. He went through receipts for business expenses including restaurant receipts, asking who I ate with. He sorted through receipts for office supplies. By mid-afternoon, he had gotten nowhere. At that point, having been hours together, a somewhat weird relationship had been formed. And he began to tell me how his dream in college was to become a journalist. He expanded on that, and then asked: “Have you ever faced retaliation?”

“What do you think this is?” I responded.

He was taken back—insisting my name had come up “at random.”

In the end, all he did was trim some of what was listed as business use of my home phone.

Was I being retaliated against for the book I had written?  One would never know. Recently, I ran into accountant Berger, now retired, and he commented about how that day at my house was the strangest IRS audit he had ever been involved in.

The IRS has been beyond reform. Burnham writes in A Law Unto Itself: The IRS and the Abuse of Power that a “political imperative of not messing with the IRS” has become “close to being a law of nature almost as unbending as the force of gravity.”  It is “rarely examined by Congress.”

President Obama announced yesterday that the acting commissioner of the IRS was asked and agreed to tender his resignation as a result of the scandal. That’s a small start. Far more important is somehow ending the tradition of IRS political tyranny. Fundamental change in the IRS is called for.

Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College of New York, is the author of the book, The Wrong Stuff: The Space’s Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet. Grossman is an associate of the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).


May 16, 2013 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 3 Comments

Empire Destroys World and Itself

By Sean Fenley | Dissident Voice | September 15th, 2012

The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results.

– Ed Husein, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations

It has been said that America’s last liberal President was Richard Nixon. Nixon set up the EPA, OSHA, and created the Clean Water Act. Additionally, he had a better health plan than Obamacare, and proposed a guaranteed minimum income. Nixon also implemented price controls, which notably — in recent history — Hugo Chavez, has been attacked in Western media, for introducing on basic foodstuffs and household goods.

1981 is said to be the breaking point of when the modern Republican Party began its failure in accepting that government has a role to play in propping up — and, moreover, aiding and abetting — Americans’ livelihood and well-being: the much ballyhooed advent of the so-called Reagan Revolution. This began the coalescing of a system of essentially two neoliberal, militarist, Wall Street political parties largely indifferent to the needs of significant sections of the American population.

We should keep this in mind considering that we have just been enduring the revolting, gross, and gratuitously self-congratulatory (taxpayer funded) spectacles of the — decrepit, moribund and abounding with cretinism — duopoly conventions. So, what are we to make of things after envisaging these überlurid, radically self-aggrandizing, and entirely putrefactive celebrations? For one it’s clear to me that a battle royale between Jill Stein and Gary Johnson would be a marked improvement over the bromides, platitudes, and, undoubtedly, soon-to-be-broken promises of the plutocracy’s kept candidates of their choosing.

Clearing brush, pork rinds, arithmetic, surreptitious tax returns, “presidential” beer recipes and gaffing vice presidential candidates, are about the utmost the level of “cerebreality” that these folks, unequivocally, want to “ascend” toward. Celebreality is much more important anyhow! That is to say, what kerfluffle has a prominent Scientologist befallen him or herself into at the present moment! This stock in trade is all the more important than wars and peace, progressive taxation (or a Tobin tax), guaranteeing health care, poverty, the Great Recession, unemployment, and the greatest disparity of wealth in all of the Western world!

On the foreign affairs front, the French have lurched forward into the preeminent imperialist role in the decapitation, sacking and dismemberment of the Arab Republic of Syria. The “socialist” Hollande is now planning to arm Islamist guerrillas who include voluminous battle-hardened Salafis, and even — the sometime NATO/Western mortal enemy/adversary — Al Qaeda. The neocon enemy image, in fact, which has eroded so many civil liberties in America; cast aside the Constitution and metamorphosized the country into a police/surveillance society and/or (take your pick!) ultra-security state.

Now, of course, Al Qaeda has been reborn as an ally planting “American” values against a regime that is unequivocally authoritarian, but not without its positive attributes. Which includes tolerance of a mosaic of religious and faith traditions, exceedingly low cost university-level education, and government subsidy of many basic provisions, foodstuffs, household items, and everyday wares. In fact, in 2005 the Christian Science Monitor ran an article about what an agreeable experience — that so many Americans were having — studying Arabic in the capital city of Damascus. The Arab Republic of Syria, even with all of its drawbacks, is certainly preferable to the theocratic, anachronistic, strict sharia caliphate “alternative” proffered by precisely the wild-eyed militants that the NATO/Western countries are currently so myopically and narrow-mindedly backing, and so vehemently in support of. (Many of them are not from Syria by the way. They are being brought in from Libya, Chechnya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere — about 60% according to a Medecins Sans Frontieres doctor, who was only recently in the country.)

The French are no doubt stepping up the brazen adventure/interventionism, whilst the American political silly season places handcuffs on some of America’s hegemony; that might spell trouble for Beltway spin doctors to massage, repackage, gussy up, and/or twist or otherwise festoon for the voting “riffraff”, “the great unwashed”, and “the rabble”. Better off not to patently and intentionally seriously over-complicate, a (previously) unsophisticated and garden variety flimflam/deception.

In Libya some Muslim radicals, that are now readily operating in that country — and exceedingly armed-to-the-gills — recently destroyed some sacred Sufi sites, to no doubt christen the US/NATO-brought “freedom” to that country. This, undoubtedly, reminds one of the benighted mentality that led the Taliban to bringing about the batty-headed, incoherent, and lunatic bombing of the Afghan Buddhas of Bamiyan.

Of course, the ignominious Ronald Reagan christened the inordinately fanatical mujaheddin, as much like America’s own Founding Fathers. And perhaps, ironically, today our “democrats” in Libya would seem to be of rather similar rearing, upbringing, tack, style, attitude, worldview and overall demeanor. No doubt, anyone of any other faith would have a difficult run-in with these folks — should they encounter them in a dark alleyway — or, for that matter, any place at all! And moreover, anyone who has been persistently following the events in Libya since the “mainstream” media lost all interest in them, was not, of course, surprised at all to the see the Benghazi consulate attack — and the needless deaths that occurred there (sadly), as a result.

The Christians in Syria, who predominantly support Dr. Bashar al-Assad, know precisely what kind of “freedom fighters” that the West has taken great relish in seemingly infallibly, consistently and unflinchingly backing. In fact, Patriarch Gregorios III of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, has cautioned against foreign interventionism in his country, and furthermore accused the Western media of negligently misreporting on the conflict. A Syrian nun, Sister Agnes Mariam, has recently recounted that she personally witnessed the beheading of nine Alawite Syrians. According to the Sister, they were murdered simply for being Alawite, by, of course, the Western-backed “democratic”, and indeed, raucous proxy forces.

Clearly, an agenda of stopping development on a multitude of levels is an aspect of the pernicious strategy that appears to be at work here. Freedom, human rights, women’s rights, and rights of speech and expression are thinly veiled patinas for domination and “creative destruction” of a ravenous, retrograde, ignoble, antediluvian, and in-illustrious breed. Of course, America has never acted truly consistently toward Wilsonianism, but this is, certainly, a far cry from it, indeed!

Seemingly, that once great beacon on a hilltop has become a beacon of benightedness, for sure. Allied with some of the most backward absolutist monarchies, and the most obtuse of “pious” militants, death squads, and “Godly” roving “religious” warriors, miscreants, and thugs. Unfortunately, for Americans and non-Americans alike, Americans have virtually no choice in this matter at their polling places in the ongoing presidential election/food fight/sham. Either of the two candidates  that are capable of winning will continue on with this sordid trash.

Fortunately, we seem to see other nations (and blocs) rising, unalike that of which we have envisioned in some time. Some examples, of course, include the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas), the Non-Aligned Movement, and the BRICS. This sort of thing, I think, is most probably the beacon lying abreast of today’s enlightened hilltop for all to look upon with great positive portent, and the highest and the utmost of regard.

The wanting of a world with the ending of these vicious cycles of domination, with “great powers” dictating schemes to “lesser”, and “inferior” subsidiary client nations. Of course, the new power configurations aren’t going to be any guarantee of rule by the diminutive, the genteel, the dignified, the noble — and the altruistically and the courageously strong. But at least there is new hope within these nascent rising power configurations. There is hope for elements to originate and to fully consummate that will far outweigh, if it even had any, the positive elements of the previous (ancien) global de facto administration/regime.

Sean Fenley is an independent progressive who would like to see the end of the dictatorial duopoly of the so-called two party adversarial system. He would also like to see some sanity brought to the creation and implementation of current and future U.S. military, economic, foreign and domestic policies.

September 15, 2012 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Insecure in the Security State

By HOWARD LISNOFF | April 6, 2012

In order to understand the roots of contemporary police repression in the United States, readers need to return to the Vietnam War era and the attempt of the government to squelch political activism through the use of a centralized system of monitoring and responding to domestic social action and peace movements.

The protest movement of the Vietnam era scared the hell out of the government. The decision of Lyndon Johnson not to seek a second term and the resignation of Richard Nixon (in addition to the specter of Watergate) were reactions to the peace movement and reflections of that fear. Images of Nixon holed up in the White House portraying himself disinterested in the protest movement are at odds with the paranoia that produced Watergate.

Nixon responded to the demonstrations on the streets of the US by putting into motion the apparatus to monitor peace activists around the nation. By the time Jimmy Carter took office, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (now under the Department of Homeland Security), originally given the responsibility to respond to disasters, expanded into the area of civil affairs. It was no accident that FEMA set up shop in places like National Guard armories around the nation and in other locations.  The agency was given enormously expanded powers under the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, allowing it to coordinate state defense forces (Martin, Harry, V. “FEMA-The Secret Government,” Free America, 1995). Of course, all of this pales in comparison to the enormous powers that both George W. Bush and Barack Obama have added to an imperial presidency! Barack Obama has also given himself the power that allows for the assassination of US citizens deemed a threat to the country. A parallel development in policing that took off as FEMA enlarged its powers was the development of special weapons and tactics (SWAT) teams that resembled storm troopers, or alternately, the forces of darkness portrayed in movies like Star Wars.  So, now there existed a centralized apparatus to respond to and track protest movements, and also to respond to them in a way that elicited terror for those who took to the streets in opposition to government policies and actions. It became routine to view nightly news broadcasts showing masses of police storming an area where a suspected criminal was located. Soon, these same shock troops showed up with regularity at protests in increasingly intimidating gear and in larger and larger numbers. Fast-forward over three decades later and it became expected that peaceful Occupy movements across the nation would be subjected to repression by SWAT teams and assaulted. Indeed, The Department of Homeland Security and Patriot Act gave added life to these shows of brute force in the face of peaceful demonstrations.

Now the police role of local, state, and national governments will be heightened by the 2013 completion of the National Security Data Center in Utah, run by the National Security Agency. Every communication, every traceable word, every electronic connection will be monitored by this spy agency. The data center is an Orwellian scenario in its intent and scope.

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 gave added sustenance to the security state mindset that is now routinely practiced on the streets of this nation. Occasionally, the security state spills over into what is routine policing. Incidents of police violence are now part of evening news telecasts. Such was the case in the police response to a mistaken call for help placed to a medical alert company in November 2011 in White Plains, New York.

Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. accidentally activated the button on his medical alert device in the early hours of a November morning. When he cancelled the false alert, the police showed up at his apartment in force along with an officer dressed in SWAT riot gear. Police demanded entry into Chamberlain’s apartment. He opened his apartment door a crack and told the police to leave. They insisted on entering and removed the door by its hinges and shot the unarmed former Marine Corps veteran dead within minutes of their incursion into his home, but not before taunting him for responding with “Semper fi” in answer to police taunts (“Officers, Why Do You Have Your Guns Out?” The New York Times, March 5, 2012). Ironically, Kenneth Chamberlain had spent twenty years as a corrections’ officer. He suffered from a serious heart ailment. For Kenneth Chamberlain’s innocuous mistake of activating his medical alert device, he paid with his life. At least one officer from White Plains was also heard shouting racial epithets prior to the shooting.

So, whether protesting on the streets of the US or accidentally activating a medical alert device, we are no longer safe and secure within the US security state!

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He can be reached at


April 6, 2012 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The saturated fat scam: What’s the real story?

The “Coca Cola conspiracy” and the obesity epidemic

Written by Atheo | Aletho News | February 7, 2010

In the late 1960’s the US, through conventional hybridization techniques, succeeded in creating new types of corn, dramatically increasing yield per acre by reducing the space required per plant as well as increasing the number of ears per stalk. This development was seen as a phenomenal opportunity for the nation with the world’s greatest capacity of corn production. All that was needed was a way to increase demand for corn. Although shifting the Western diet to grits was not likely, there were other options.

Corn fed hogs and Chicken would now become less expensive to produce in confined animal feeding operations which would later proliferate. But due to the inherent inefficiency of converting grain calories into animal calories the development of processed foods that use corn itself and not animal products would be far more profitable than selling pork or chicken.

Corn syrup and corn syrup solids had seen their uses multiply under the post WWII “better living through chemistry” paradigm. Now they would also be much cheaper to produce. In 1973, Richard Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butz, altered US farm policy to permanently subsidize the increased production of corn, opening a new era in which corn-based processed foods would become far cheaper than their rivals. The convenience and fast food industries were poised to take off. Soft drinks that cost pennies to produce could be marketed at fantastic profit. Corn derivatives would find their way into virtually every processed food.

In the video below, Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, explores the physical damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose (too much) and fiber (not enough) are the cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin.

The processed foods industry knew that their products would cause an epidemic of obesity among their customers, but they also realized that their bottom line would grow exponentially. The FDA and USDA provided all the cover needed and then some by pointing the finger in the wrong direction. Saturated fat was demonized as a health hazard despite the fact that it had been a major part of traditional diets for the entirety of recorded history among most European cultures.

Subsequently, while Americans reduced the percentage of calories from fats in their diets to 30% from 40%, rates of obesity and cardio-vascular disease steadily increased.

The “low-fat” foods fad was a complete fraud. Convincing consumers to choose “lite” products allowed producers to substitute high fructose corn syrup for the relatively expensive saturated fat content in their products. The industrial trans-fats which were combined with the corn syrup turned out to actually increase the risk of cardio-vascular disease when compared to the consumption of saturated fats. These developments would have enormous implications for public health not just in the US but worldwide over the ensuing decades. The damage would eventually become too great to conceal.

In April 2009 Harvard School of Public Health issued a press release revealing the following research results:

Strong evidence developed at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and elsewhere shows that sugary drinks are an important contributor to the epidemic rise of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the United States. Faced with these growing public health threats, experts from the Department of Nutrition at HSPH believe beverage manufacturers, government, schools, work sites and homes must take action to help Americans choose healthier drinks. They propose that manufacturers create a class of reduced-calorie beverages that have no more than 1 gram of sugar per ounce-about 70 percent less sugar than a typical soft drink-and that are free of non-caloric sweeteners. They also propose that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require beverage manufacturers to put calorie information for the entire bottle-not just for a single serving-on the front of drink labels. […]

Americans consume sugary beverages in staggering amounts. On a typical day, four out of five children and two out of three adults drink sugar-sweetened beverages. Teen boys drink more than a quart of sugary drinks, on average, every day. A 12-ounce can of soda or juice typically has 10-12 teaspoons of sugar and 150 or more calories; the popular 20-ounce bottle size now prevalent on store shelves and in vending machines carries nearly 17 teaspoons of sugar and 250 calories. According to research at HSPH and elsewhere, sugared beverages are the leading source of added sugar in the diet of young Americans. If a person drank one can of a sugary beverage every day for a year and didn’t cut back on calories elsewhere, the result could be a weight gain of up to 15 pounds.

Consuming sugary drinks may have other harmful health outcomes: The latest research from HSPH published in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, followed the health of 90,000 women over two decades and found that women who drank more than two servings of sugary beverages each day had a nearly 40 percent higher risk of heart disease than women who rarely drank sugary beverages.

They make the following recommendations:

Individuals: Choose beverages with few or no calories; water is best. Call manufacturers’ customer service numbers and ask them to make sugar-reduced drinks.

Food shoppers: Purchase less juice and cross the soda off your home shopping list. Skip the “fruit drinks” too, since these are basically flavored sugar-water.

Schools and workplaces: Offer several healthy beverage choices and smaller serving sizes. Also make sure water is freely available.

Government: The FDA should require companies to list the number of calories per bottle or can-not per serving-on the front of beverage containers.

In January of 2010 the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition released the following abstract of a newly completed study which finds no link between saturated fat intake and heart disease:

  • Background: A reduction in dietary saturated fat has generally been thought to improve cardiovascular health.
  • Objective: The objective of this meta-analysis was to summarize the evidence related to the association of dietary saturated fat with risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, and cardiovascular disease (CVD; CHD inclusive of stroke) in prospective epidemiologic studies.
  • Design: Twenty-one studies identified by searching MEDLINE and EMBASE databases and secondary referencing qualified for inclusion in this study. A random-effects model was used to derive composite relative risk estimates for CHD, stroke, and CVD.
  • Results: During 5–23 y of follow-up of 347,747 subjects,11,006 developed CHD or stroke. Intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of CHD, stroke, or CVD.The pooled relative risk estimates that compared extreme quantiles of saturated fat intake were 1.07 (95% CI: 0.96, 1.19; P = 0.22)for CHD, 0.81 (95% CI: 0.62, 1.05; P = 0.11) for stroke, and1.00 (95% CI: 0.89, 1.11; P = 0.95) for CVD. Consideration of age, sex, and study quality did not change the results.
  • Conclusions: A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD. More data are needed to elucidate whether CVD risks are likely to be influenced by the specific nutrients used to replace saturated fat.



Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain

By Hilary Parker | News at Princeton | March 22, 2010

A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.

“Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn’t true, at least under the conditions of our tests,” said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. “When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.”

In results published online Feb. 26 by the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, the researchers from the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute reported on two experiments investigating the link between the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup and obesity.

The first study showed that male rats given water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, in conjunction with the standard diet. The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas.

The second experiment — the first long-term study of the effects of high-fructose corn syrup consumption on obesity in lab animals — monitored weight gain, body fat and triglyceride levels in rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup over a period of six months. Compared to animals eating only rat chow, rats on a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup showed characteristic signs of a dangerous condition known in humans as the metabolic syndrome, including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and augmented fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly. Male rats in particular ballooned in size: Animals with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained 48 percent more weight than those eating a normal diet.

“These rats aren’t just getting fat; they’re demonstrating characteristics of obesity, including substantial increases in abdominal fat and circulating triglycerides,” said Princeton graduate student Miriam Bocarsly. “In humans, these same characteristics are known risk factors for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer and diabetes.” In addition to Hoebel and Bocarsly, the research team included Princeton undergraduate Elyse Powell and visiting research associate Nicole Avena, who was affiliated with Rockefeller University during the study and is now on the faculty at the University of Florida. The Princeton researchers note that they do not know yet why high-fructose corn syrup fed to rats in their study generated more triglycerides, and more body fat that resulted in obesity.

High-fructose corn syrup and sucrose are both compounds that contain the simple sugars fructose and glucose, but there at least two clear differences between them. First, sucrose is composed of equal amounts of the two simple sugars — it is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose — but the typical high-fructose corn syrup used in this study features a slightly imbalanced ratio, containing 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose. Larger sugar molecules called higher saccharides make up the remaining 3 percent of the sweetener. Second, as a result of the manufacturing process for high-fructose corn syrup, the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and unbound, ready for absorption and utilization. In contrast, every fructose molecule in sucrose that comes from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized.

This creates a fascinating puzzle. The rats in the Princeton study became obese by drinking high-fructose corn syrup, but not by drinking sucrose. The critical differences in appetite, metabolism and gene expression that underlie this phenomenon are yet to be discovered, but may relate to the fact that excess fructose is being metabolized to produce fat, while glucose is largely being processed for energy or stored as a carbohydrate, called glycogen, in the liver and muscles.

In the 40 years since the introduction of high-fructose corn syrup as a cost-effective sweetener in the American diet, rates of obesity in the U.S. have skyrocketed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1970, around 15 percent of the U.S. population met the definition for obesity; today, roughly one-third of the American adults are considered obese, the CDC reported. High-fructose corn syrup is found in a wide range of foods and beverages, including fruit juice, soda, cereal, bread, yogurt, ketchup and mayonnaise. On average, Americans consume 60 pounds of the sweetener per person every year.

“Our findings lend support to the theory that the excessive consumption of high-fructose corn syrup found in many beverages may be an important factor in the obesity epidemic,” Avena said.

The new research complements previous work led by Hoebel and Avena demonstrating that sucrose can be addictive, having effects on the brain similar to some drugs of abuse.

In the future, the team intends to explore how the animals respond to the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in conjunction with a high-fat diet — the equivalent of a typical fast-food meal containing a hamburger, fries and soda — and whether excessive high-fructose corn syrup consumption contributes to the diseases associated with obesity. Another step will be to study how fructose affects brain function in the control of appetite.


Update #2:

The Brutally Honest Coca-Cola Commercial You’ll Never See On Television

By Arjun Walia | Collective Evolution | September 17, 2013

Coca-Cola plans to run its very first ad defending aspartame and the safety of artificial sweeteners. This move comes as a result of a dramatic drop in diet cola sales within the past year. This is great news as it goes to show how much of an impact we can really make by raising awareness about the health effects of aspartame. More people around the world are making better choices and you can read more about that and the dangers associated with the Coke here.

I came across this video and thought it would be appropriate to share in light of Coca-Cola’s recent move to bring awareness to and “join together” in fighting obesity. This comes before their more recent ad campaign to defend artificial sweeteners like aspartame. It’s the brutally honest Coca-Cola commercial you’ll never see on television. This is a voiced over version of the original Coke commercial which you can see here.

Update #2:

FDA Bans Trans Fats

Bloomberg | June 16, 2015

Artificial trans fat will be removed from the U.S. food supply over the next three years under a ruling by regulators that the products pose health risks that contribute to heart disease.

There’s no longer a scientific consensus that partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fat, are generally recognized as safe, according to a final decision released Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration. The oils are used for frying and in baked goods as well as in confections.

Food companies will be able to petition the FDA to gain approval of specific uses of partially hydrogenated oils if they have data proving the use isn’t harmful. Companies will have until June 2018 to comply with the FDA’s determination, either by removing trans fat or gaining a waiver. The FDA said it hasn’t seen any data to prove that even low levels of partially hydrogenated oils are safe. … Full article


Also by Atheo:

January 9, 2012

Three Mile Island, Global Warming and the CIA

November 13, 2011

US forces to fight Boko Haram in Nigeria

September 19, 2011

Bush regime retread, Philip Zelikow, appointed to Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board

March 8, 2011

Investment bankers salivate over North Africa

January 2, 2011

Top Israel Lobby Senator Proposes Permanent US Air Bases For Afghanistan

October 10, 2010

A huge setback for, if not the end of, the American nuclear renaissance

July 5, 2010

Progressive ‘Green’ Counterinsurgency

February 25, 2010

Look out for the nuclear bomb coming with your electric bill

January 5, 2010 – Updated February 16, 2010:

Biodiesel flickers out leaving investors burned

December 26, 2009

Mining the soil: Biomass, the unsustainable energy source

December 19, 2009

Carbonphobia, the real environmental threat

December 4, 2009

There’s more to climate fraud than just tax hikes

May 9, 2009

Obama, Starving Africans and the Israel Lobby

February 6, 2010 Posted by | Author: Atheo, Deception, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , | 29 Comments



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,085 other followers