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Vietnam, Iraq and Iran: Government Deception Then and Now

There are two recent news items that reveal the American government s lies and dirty tricks during the 1960s. You might notice a few parallels between our government sleaze in Vietnam and Latin America and the current manufactured hysteria over Iraq and Iran.

This report shows some of the trickery played by both sides during the Vietnam War. For one thing, the famous Gulf of Tonkin “incident never occurred. This alleged “attack” happened in August 1964. This was Lyndon Johnson’s excuse to escalate American attacks on North Vietnam. This was the attack that changed the Vietnam War from a “minor” conflict involving just a few American troops (with “light at the end of the tunnel”) to a full-blown war bringing thousands of American soldiers home in bodybags. And now we find out that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident never even happened.

This report was released at the request of the Federation of American Scientists for their project on government secrecy. The director of the project, Steven Aftergood, said: “What this study demonstrated is that the available intelligence shows that there was no attack. It’s a dramatic reversal of the historical record.”

Philip Agee, a former CIA agent, died this past Wednesday. He left the CIA in 1969 after working mostly in Latin America for twelve years. In 1975 he wrote a book, “Inside the Company: CIA Diary” which revealed the CIA’s dirty tricks in Latin America.

His book also revealed the identities of some of his former CIA colleagues. Agee said he disclosed their identities “to weaken the instrument for carrying out the policy of supporting military dictatorship s” in Greece, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. He said those regimes “were supported by the CIA and the human cost was immense: torture, executions, death squads.”

Agee’s book inspired a law — passed in the 1970s — making it illegal to disclose the identity of a CIA operative. Hmmm… that’s illegal? Who knew.

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