Tag Archives: Allen Dulles

Porkins Policy Radio episode 113 Michael Swanson on Ken Burns Vietnam Propaganda

Michael Swanson, the author of The War State, joins me for an in-depth discussion of the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick Vietnam documentary series. I begin the conversation by discussing my own fascination with the Vietnam War. I talk about the influence my father has had on my understanding of the war, touching on his experiences with the army when he was drafted in 1969. Michael and I then dive into the film itself. We look at some of the serious flaws and aspects that the we felt were left out with the film including the CIA and drug trafficking. Michael and I dive deeper into the bizarre narrative that Burns and Novick craft, whereby the politicians and military leaders are never shown actually making policy decisions, but instead are shown as making bad choices with good intentions. Michael and I explore this concept in some depth and offer up our own reasons for why the Vietnam war was not started “in good faith by decent men.” Michael and I also critique the way in which the Gulf of Tonkin Incident is handled in the film. We explain how the film avoids admitting that the whole incident was made up and instead repeats an outright lie.

In the second hour Michael and I talk about some of the government talking heads that appear in film such as: John Negroponte, Leslie Gelb, Rufus Philips, and Donald Gregg. We explore their backgrounds and the destructive impact they had on the Vietnamese people. I talk with Michael about the Phoenix Program which is only briefly touched on in the whole series. We explore why Burns and Novick lay most of the blame of the Phoenix Program at the feet of the Vietnamese. Michael also elaborates on this by talking about the negative portrayal of the Vietnamese through out the film. We pay particular attention to North Vietnamese leader Le Duan and South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem. Michael and I also discuss the documentaries skewed version of the assassination of Diem, and how yet again the CIA is almost completely airbrushed out of it. Michael and I touch on Lucien Conein’s integral role in the assassination as well as heroin trafficking. We also discuss the CIA’s war in Laos and discuss the overarching agenda behind the film. Michael and I also talk about the impact of Vietnam and its parallels with the Iraq and Afghan War.

Download PPR episode 113

Show Notes:

The War State

The War State (book)

Wall Street Window

PPR Special Michael Swanson Ken Burns Vietnam Extra

The Vietnam War

Douglas Valentine: Expectations for PBS/Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War”

Reflections on the Vietnam War and the Ken Burns/PBS Series: John Ketwig

Alfred W. McCoy: The History of the Southeast Asian Drug Trade

What the Pentagon Papers Do and Do Not Reveal w/ Peter Dale Scott (1971)

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Porkins Policy Radio episode 85 The Truth Shall Make You Free with Aaron Franz

Good friend Aaron Franz joins me on the show this week to discuss our recent work in The American Journal of Economics and Sociology. We begin by talking about some of the behind the scenes aspects of the issue. I talk about the whole process of how the issue came into being from the initial offer from Clifford Cobb, getting all the writers together, and dealing with all the road bumps along the way. Aaron and I talk about the actual writing process and the challenges involved in writing for an academic journal. Next we explore Aaron’s piece which deals with secret societies, CIA, occult practices, and the ways in which this is mimicked in Hollywood films. We talk about the similarities between secret societies and the CIA, particularly with their strong reliance on cryptography. Aaron and I discuss the famous Kryptos sculpture outside CIA headquarters and the agencies use of art’s powerful occult properties. We also talk about the bizarre Fallen Angel sculpture in CIA headquarters.

In the second hour we talk about the notion of truth as it now exists today. We begin by talking about the biblical verse “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” which is carved into the lobby wall of the CIA’s Original Headquarters Building. We talk about the significance and deeper meaning behind not only the quote but why CIA Director Allen Dulles insisted that it be inscribed. Later Aaron and I move onto the current environment that we find ourselves in right now. We talk about the way truth has become an almost meaningless notion in today’s political and media landscape and what this means for us as a society. Aaron and I also discuss the hidden truths behind the various statements and missteps of Donald Trump. We talk about the possible occult meanings behind this as well as the notion that a magick spell was cast on America after the election.

Download PPR episode 85

Show Notes:

The Age of Transitions

Themes and Memes

Uncle The Podcast

The American Journal of Economics and Sociology Vol. 76 Issue 2

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