Tag Archives: vietnam

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)

Advertisements

Porkins Policy Radio episode 87 MLK Assassination 49 Years Later with Doug Valentine

Doug Valentine joins me to discuss the 49th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. We begin by discussing Doug’s involvement with the King families civil case against alleged co-conspirator Loyd Jowers. Doug talks about how and why he was hired by King family lawyer William Pepper and the aspects that he was tasked with investigating. Doug discusses his time in Memphis interviewing witnesses to the crime, some of whom had never been questioned by police. Doug also describes the bigger meaning behind Kings murder, and how it represented the everyday murder of black Americans through out the country. We then move on to some of the specifics of the case itself. Doug and I explore some of the core pieces of evidence that point to a larger government conspiracy. Doug talks about Loyd Jowers and his connection with alleged assassin James Earl Ray, as well as how Ray was able to flee the country and travel around on fake passports. Doug describes how the Memphis police detail guarding King was removed and how at least one undercover police officer, Marrell McCollough, was inserted into the King entourage. Doug also goes into detail about the allegations that US Army personnel were stationed in the near by firehouse in order to film the assassination. Doug also touches on mafia involvement in the assassination, and the links this has to the CIA. We finish off the first hour by talking about the importance of the 1999 civil trial against Loyd Jowers. Doug and I talk about the significance of a jury being able to come to the conclusion that the government was capable of conspiring to murder Martin Luther King.

In the second hour I talk about a few more intriguing aspects of the King assassination. I talk about Reverend Billy Kyles bizarre Freudian slip in which he appears to admit foreknowledge of the murder. And I also elaborate on Marrell McCollough and the fact that he later worked for the CIA. I finish off the episode by discussing King’s greatest and most controversial speech, Beyond Vietnam. I talk about the significance of King’s assassination taking place on the one year anniversary of Beyond Vietnam. I also talk about King’s message that poverty, racism, materialism, and militarism are all intrinsically linked to one another. I finish off by discussing how the media has white-washed the legacy and radicalism of Martin Luther King.

Download PPR episode 87

Show Notes:
Who Killed Martin Luther King?

Deconstructing Kowalski

Reverend Billy Kyles Freudian Slip

King Conspiracy Theories Still Thrive 40 Years Later

Beyond Vietnam Speech

Black Op Radio episode 823

black-op-radio-pic-2

Tom Secker and I were recently guests on Len Osanic’s Black Op Radio. We discussed The CIA and Hollywood series and specifically our episode on The Quiet American and Edward Lansdale. We discuss the theory that Lansdale was acting as a former ad-executive and was attempting to sell war in South East Asia. Tom and I also talk about the CIA’s use of George Orwell as propaganda, Charlie Wilson, and why government interference in cinema and culture is so dangerous.

Download episode

Show Notes:

The Ballad of Ed Lansdale

Porkins Policy Radio episode 78 Hugo Turner: Ted Shackley a Life in The CIA

Hugo Turner of Anti-Imperialist-U for an in depth discussion of Ted Shackley and his infamous career in the CIA. We focus on Hugo’s articles chronicling Ted Shackley as well as the Iran Contra Scandal. We begin by taking a look at Shackley’s beginnings in military intelligence recruiting Nazi’s, and his later recruitment into the CIA during the Korean War. Hugo paints us a picture of the man that Shackley would become: obsessively driven and cutthroat. We touch on some of Shackley’s early mentors such as William Harvey who introduced Shackley to the Cuban exile committee. Hugo explains what Shackley was up to in Miami while Station Cheif there as well as his possible connection to the JFK assassination. Next we move onto Laos where Shackley would truly come into his own. We explore Shackley’s role in the Laotian heroin trade and his use of the Hmong people as a CIA mercenary force. Hugo explains how this would later become the blue print for CIA operations in places like Afghanistan and Libya. We also discuss Shackley’s time as Station Chief in Vietnam.

Next we talk about Shackley’s role in the overthrow of Chilean leader Allende and the installation of the fascist Pinochet. We then explore how Shackley would come to befriend George H W Bush, and being a long time collaboration with the deep cover CIA agent. Hugo and I also touch on some of the forgotten scandals of the past that Shackley was involved with including EASTCO and the Nugan Hand Bank. Hugo also explains how Shackley was a trend setter in the field of private intelligence by talking about his work with the powerful Safari Club. We finish off the conversation by looking at Shackley’s role in Iran Contra and the War on Drugs as a whole. Hugo also discusses WACL and the major role it continues to play in covert operations. We briefly talk about the TV show Narco’s and what it gets completely wrong. We round out by talking about Trump and the CIA speech he gave and what might be in-store for future CIA operations.

Download PPR episode 78

Show Notes:

Anti-Imperialist-U

@HugoTurner1969

Ted Shackley a Life in The CIA

Beyond The Iran Contra Affair Part 1: The Secret Team

Beyond The Iran Contra Affair Part 2: World War 3 Has Already Happened

Beyond The Iran Contra Affair Part 3: The World Anti-Communist League

Beyond The Iran Contra Affair Part 4: World War WACL

Operation Condor: The CIA, Fascism, and Murder in Latin America

Safari Club

Porkins Policy Radio episode 76 The CIA as Organized Crime with Douglas Valentine

My guest today is the great Douglas Valentine. Doug joins me to discuss his latest book The CIA as Organized Crime. We begin by looking at why Doug decided to write this book and the way in which it is structured. Next we delve into Doug’s relationship with the CIA and how he came to write about it’s inner-workings. Doug talks about his relationship with the agency and how he began getting access to operatives and officials while writing The Phoneix Program, including his meetings with former CIA Director William Colby. Doug also talks about how the agency attempted to co-opt him with money and a job, and their monitoring of his activities and research. Doug and I also talk about how the agency has grown and evolved from the late 1940’s to the present. We also touch on the recent anti-Russian media operations the CIA is involved with. Doug explains how this is both a distraction and a divide and conquer tactic that the CIA has perfected over the years.

In the second hour Doug explains how his research into the CIA led him to explore and write two books chronicling the narcotics trade and the War on Drugs. Doug talks about the way in which the CIA took over the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and later the DEA. We talk about how important the drug trade is to the CIA and how it is a cornerstone of the agency and its operations. I finish off by talking about several exciting upcoming episodes coming out in the next two months.

Download PPR episode 76

Show Notes:

Douglas Valentine

The CIA as Organized Crime

CIA documents on Douglas Valentine

Excerpt from The CIA as Organized Crime

@HugoTurner1969

Anti-Imperialist U

The CIA and Hollywood episode 8 The Quiet American

In this first episode of the new season Pearse and I discuss the 1958 spy drama The Quiet American, adapted from the novel by Graham Greene.  We focus in on the role of Air Force and CIA officer Ed Lansdale’s relationship with the film-maker Joseph Mankiewicz, and how the CIA were involved in assisting Mankiewicz the first major American movie to be filmed in Vietnam.  Mankiewicz met Lansdale in Vietnam while doing research for the movie and, apparently unaware that Lansdale is one of the inspirations for the Pyle character in the original book, befriended him.  Lansdale later reviewed the script and wrote to Mankiewicz encouraging the changes he had made to the storyline and characters.

Another angle is Graham Greene’s transition from an MI6 agent in World War 2 to an anti-establishment author who was spied by the FBI for supposed Communist affiliations.  We look at how his original novel of The Quiet American was an excellent critique of post-WW2 American imperialism, secret warfare and so-called ‘humanitarian interventions’, which was butchered in the Hollywood version.  In particular the character of Pyle is turned from a bookish, virginal ‘war nerd’ into the charming all-American version played by real-life war hero Audie Murphy.  Likewise, while the original book has Fowler’s worst suspicions about Pyle being proven right (Pyle is sponsoring terrorism), the film changes this so Fowler is fooled by the Communists into betraying Pyle.

We round off this episode by briefly discussing the far superior (and not state-sponsored) 2002 film version directed by Philip Noyce and starring Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser.  This version is not only better written, acted and directed but is also, crucially, a faithful adaptation of the original book.

Download The CIA and Hollywood ep 8

Vimeo Version

 

Show Notes:

The Quiet American (book)

The Quiet American (1958 film)

The Quiet American (2002 film)

Edward Lansdale’s Cold War by Jonathan Nashel

Lansdale’s letter to Mankiewicz

Edward Lansdale

Operation Northwoods document collection

Graham Greene’s FBI File

The Dangerous Edge – Graham Greene documentary

Michael Redgrave MI5 file

%d bloggers like this: