Tag Archives: opium

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 Great Game ep. 3 Afghan withdrawal, Kyrgyz Maidan, trouble in Georgia

On this week’s episode Christoph Germann and I cover three major flash points in Central Asia and the Caucasus region:  We start by examining some of the recent developments in Afghanistan, beginning with the surge in opium cultivation and heroin production.  We discuss how this was always one of the main goals of the NATO-led invasion and how integral opium is to black operations such as Gladio B.  Next we take a look at a story which received almost no coverage in the mainstream media, the “invasion” of Afghanistan by neighboring Turkmenistan.  We look at why the Turkmen government decided to send in troops to the Faryab region of Afghanistan and what this means for the future of the nation, as well as the proposed TAPI natural gas pipeline.  We then explore the reality of the so-called “withdrawal” of US and NATO troops from the war-ravaged country. Christoph explains why there is no actual withdrawal, given the thousands upon thousands of remaining military contractors, a massive embassy and Obama’s’ quiet expansion of the US mission with each passing day.  We end the Afghanistan segment by taking a look at China’s increased involvement in the nation.  We look at the Chinese proposal to restart peace talks with the Taliban, and explore the notion that they could sway the Pakistanis to ease up their support for Taliban factions.
For our next segment we move to Kyrgyzstan and first take a look at that nation’s warm relations with Russia.  Christoph explains what the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union is, and why the Kyrgyz government has decided to join in.  Later we discuss recent actions the Kyrgyz government has taken against various western-funded NGO’s, including Freedom House and the George Soros-funded Advocacy Center for Human Rights.  Christoph explains why Kyrgyzstan is quite worried about these NGO’s “promoting democracy” in a country that saw two recent color revolutions orchestrated by western NGO’s.  We finish off by looking at Soros’ recent visit to the nation, as well as allegations that the State Department’s Tech Camp event could be a prelude to a Maidan-style “revolution.”
Our third segment takes a critical look at the recent firing of Georgian Defense minster Irakli Alasania, and at how this is being framed as some sort of reversal of Georgia’s pro-NATO Euro-Atlantic choice by Alasania, while the current regime is doing all it can to integrate faster into the NATO sphere.  Christoph and I discuss what this could mean for the future of the NATO-controlled nation, especially with the upcoming 2016 elections in Georgia.  We also look at billionaire oligarch Bidzina Ivanashvili and his control of Georgian politics.  We finish off the podcast by taking a look at the recent “killing” of infamous terrorist Samantha Lewthwaite in Eastern Ukraine and Tarkhan Batirashvili in Syria.  We both offer our perspectives on what the FSB and Russia may be trying to say with these  announced killings, and explain why neither of these figures is actually dead.

Download PGG episode 3

Show notes:

Afghanistan:

Opium production:

Opium harvest in Afghanistan reaches record levels after troop withdrawal

What did $7 billion spent on opium eradication in Afghanistan buy? More opium.

Interview 610 – Sibel Edmonds on Gladio Protected Drug Running and Money Laundering

Russia Claims IS Supplying Half Of All Afghan Heroin Coming To Europe

Turkmenistan’s invasion:
The New Great Game Round-Up #43 – Turkmenistan Boosts Defense Against Taliban

The New Great Game Round-Up #54 – Turkmen-Afghan Border Sees More Violence

The Islamic Movement Of Uzbekistan: An Evolving Threat

The New Great Game Round-Up #67 – Turkmenistan “Invades” NATO’s Narco-Criminal State Afghanistan

So-called withdrawal from Afghanistan:

Obama plans to end U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan by 2016

When 9,800 Doesn’t Equal 9,800

In a Shift, Obama Extends U.S. Role in Afghan Combat

US legacy of rogues in Afghanistan

Local police selling weapons and ammunition to Taliban

Afghanistan Quietly Lifts Ban on Nighttime Raids

China’s growing role:

The New Great Game Round-Up #73 – China, Afghanistan Herald Start Of New Era Of Cooperation

The New Great Game Round-Up #75 – China Sets Out To Bring Peace To Afghanistan, Xinjiang

The New Great Game Round-Up #61 – Taliban Welcome China’s Involvement in Afghanistan

China mulls new law to deploy counter-terrorism troops abroad

Kyrgyzstan:

The New Great Game Round-Up #71 – Kyrgyzstan Targets U.S. NGOs Amid Fears Of Kyrgyz Maidan

Party of Regions MP Tsariov accuses US Embassy in Ukraine of training revolutionaries for street protests

Ukraine presidential candidates attacked in Kiev

Ukrainian oligarch puts $1 million bounty on opponent’s head – audio recording

The New Great Game Round-Up #74 – CSTO Alarmed At NGO Activities As Soros Visits Krygyzstan

The New Great Game Round-Up #76 – Soros’ Visit A Bad Omen As Kyrgyzstan Prepares To Join EEU

Sacking of Georgian DM Alasania:

The New Great Game Round-Up #74 – Georgia On Euro-Atlantic Course Despite Government Shake-Up

RFE/RLive: Georgia’s Political Crisis

The New Great Game Round-Up #76 –  Georgia’s “Pro-Russian” Government Continues NATO Integration

Music:

Lighting Seeds – “Pure”

New Order – “Dreams Never End”

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