Jump to content
The Education Forum
Paul Rigby

'Arrogant' CIA Disobeys Orders in Viet Nam by Richard Starnes, Washington Daily News, October 2, 1963

Recommended Posts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John,

Mme. Nhu undoubtedly was briefing any journo who would listen, the trouble was, not many of the American kind were, or could afford to, at least, not in 1963, hard on the heels of certain of her less diplomatic offerings.

Starnes wrote of her twice to my knowledge in October ’63, first while in Saigon, then when back in Washington. In chronological order:

New York World-Telegram & Sun, 3 October 1963, p.25

It’s A Dirty War

Saigon – A big fish that wouldn’t die…An old man who died badly in flaming gasoline…The world’s worst newspaper…Oriental despotism and intrigue…Guerilla war…Brave men…And money…lots and lots of good old United States dollars.

These are a few of the ingredients in the dirtiest little war American men have ever been required to fight.

The wonder is not that it is understood so poorly at home, but that there is any understanding at all. Yet it behooves the United States to try to make sense of it.

First, in spite of the dictatorial family rule of Viet Nam, the United States is going to keep on supporting it and trying to do business with it.

Second, and this may be the biggest point of all, no one has any assurance that 16,000 Americans now in Viet Nam, mostly military, are going to be enough. What would the decision be if Ho Chi Minh’s 400,000 regulars poured across the border from North Viet Nam to administer a death blow to President Ngo Dinh Diem’s shaky regime?

That would be Korea all over again, and it would demand the same hard decision: Fight a Korea-size war, or pull out ignominiously.

So let’s start with that fish story. Soon after Viet Nam’s Buddhist crisis erupted, a huge fish was seen in a lake in a northern province. Someone suggested it might be a reincarnation of a long-departed Buddhist holy man.

Soon word spread that the fish was indeed a reincarnated bonze and hundreds flocked to the lake in an attempt to get a glimpse of it. So the big fish threatened to become a symbol of Buddhist protest, and a rallying point for dissident elements.

The province chief, a lieutenant in Diem’s political machine, decided the fish had to be disposed of. He sent American-trained special forces troops to kill it. But the big fish wouldn’t be killed, or so the story goes, and the government was losing face to a fish.

Ultimately, after hand grenades were lobbed at it, the big fish vanished. But people were convinced it wasn’t dead, or at worst was in the process of investing itself in yet another reincarnation.

Then, on June 11, a venerable Buddhist priest saturated himself with gasoline and set himself afire. The photograph of Thich Quang Duc burning to death horrified the Western world and brought the conflict between this nation’s ruling Catholic mandarins and its Buddhist majority into stark, clear focus.

Mme. Ngo Dinh Nhu, the president’s acid-tongued sister-in-law, then retired the trophy for free-style bad taste by declaring she would applaud if any more Buddhist priests “barbecued” themselves.

The English-language Times of Viet Nam is a shameless mouthpiece for Mme. Nhu. Scarcely an edition goes to press without a cloying account of her good works – or without a near-hysterical attack on American newsmen in Saigon.

Particular targets of this Nhu mouthpiece are United Press International and the New York Times. Headlines reading “UPI Lies, Lies, Lies!” are typical.

And when Mme. Nhu outraged Americans here by calling young U.S. officers here “soldiers of fortune,” the Times of Viet Nam ran a column-long account undertaking to explain that her words had been misinterpreted because of faulty translation. She immediately uttered another statement adding that some of our American soldiers were “saboteurs” as well.

The truth is that in South Viet Nam, the United States is involved with a feudal despotism as deadly and absolute as anything ever put together by the Borgias.

And the United States is paying dearly for its policy of trying to get along with the Diems at any cost - a policy that once moved former Ambassador Frederick Nolting to shout at me: “I’m not going to answer any such question” when the question itself was a wholly innocent one. I merely had inquired how long the United States was going to be able to stomach Diem and his kin.

If Starnes was beholden to Mme. Nhu, it was very well disguised, as the second piece confirms:

New York World-Telegram & Sun, 17 October 1963, p.21

So What’s Nhu?

Washington – Mme. Ngo Dinh Nhu’s one-woman roadshow played the Women’s National Press Club yesterday. The girl reporters lost.

The ladies of the WNPC, and slathers of male guests, arrived for the luncheon implacably determined to see that the diminutive First Lady of South Viet Nam got fair play. But by the time the charming torrent of half-truths, Oriental Goldwynisms and an occasional out-and-out whopper had subsided, Mme. Nhu had clearly demonstrated that she needed fair play the way the Borgia girls needed Fanny Farmer’s cookbook.

Example:

Question – Viet Nam’s secret police beat up three American reporters the other day. Why?

Answer (delivered sweetly, vox angelica in full cry): My people never beat anyone – especially Americans.

No civil rights proposal ever brought forth more artful filibustering than Mme. Nhu showed the girl scribes and their guests. The Dragon Lady stumbled just enough in her English (which is good, and which is deadly because she thinks in Vietnamese) to stimulate the juices that Americans traditionally secrete on behalf of the underdog. And by the time this witness discovered he’d been flummoxed, the underdog had bitten him through the ankle and gone scampering away.

Mme. Nhu skillfully disarmed the reporters in her brief and faintly poignant opening remarks.

She had, she said, been accused of calling the young American officers fighting (and once in a while dying) in Vietnam “soldiers of fortune.”

Almost tenderly, the lovely lady said it was her duty to place the true facts before the American press. She never made any such remark, she said, “But if I had made it – and indeed I never did – it was in the European sense of the word, where “little soldiers of fortune” actually means something like “self-made hero.”

Any flannel-mouthed American Throttlebottom could learn this technique from Mme. Nhu. In a bind over an ill-considered tirade? Make Noah Webster your co-defendant and wriggle off the hook.

In a real bad bind, like saying you’d applaud seeing more Buddhist priests “barbecue themselves”? Then, if you’re lucky enough to have one, play your real trump card. It was on this egregious bit of wantonly bas taste that Mme. Nhu was at her lovely, deadly best.

“My daughter,” she explained plaintively, “was in a snack bar where Americans gathered (at this point every eye in the room went to the fragile, beautiful 18-year-old Le Thuy, and all the males present promptly forgot what the question was), and she heard some Americans say that the way to stop the Buddhists from burning themselves was to ridicule them.

“So (now with big eyes and guilelessly) I tried to ridicule them by my barbecuing remark. I was the victim of bad American advice.”

What did Mme. Nhu think of Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge?

“To me (warily) he is more mysterious than an agent.”

When she was asked to explain previous statements that the American government is “too liberal,” Mme. Nhu deftly emphasized that she was talking about only a few members of the administration. “Liberals,” she instructed her audience, “are not red yet, but they are pink.”

In general, the toothsome sister-in-law of the President of Viet Nam kept her talons retracted. Sweet reason prevailed while she explained that the Communists are exploiting the Buddhists because they realize they are losing the war; that there is “absolutely” no religious persecution in South Viet Nam; that it did no good to “boo and hiss” her, but that she truly wanted Americans to like her and to tell her country “precisely” what is expected of it.

And in the end, dazzled by charm and reeling from dissembling, one witness left with the unshakable conviction that if ever South Viet Nam becomes the 51st state of the United States, Mme. Nhu is a cinch to become our first female President.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John,

Mme. Nhu undoubtedly was briefing any journo who would listen, the trouble was, not many of the American kind were, or could afford to, at least, not in 1963, hard on the heels of certain of her less diplomatic offerings.

Starnes wrote of her twice to my knowledge in October ’63, first while in Saigon, then when back in Washington. In chronological order:

New York World-Telegram & Sun, 3 October 1963, p.25

It’s A Dirty War

Saigon – A big fish that wouldn’t die…An old man who died badly in flaming gasoline…The world’s worst newspaper…Oriental despotism and intrigue…Guerilla war…Brave men…And money…lots and lots of good old United States dollars.

These are a few of the ingredients in the dirtiest little war American men have ever been required to fight.

The wonder is not that it is understood so poorly at home, but that there is any understanding at all. Yet it behooves the United States to try to make sense of it.

First, in spite of the dictatorial family rule of Viet Nam, the United States is going to keep on supporting it and trying to do business with it.

Second, and this may be the biggest point of all, no one has any assurance that 16,000 Americans now in Viet Nam, mostly military, are going to be enough. What would the decision be if Ho Chi Minh’s 400,000 regulars poured across the border from North Viet Nam to administer a death blow to President Ngo Dinh Diem’s shaky regime?

That would be Korea all over again, and it would demand the same hard decision: Fight a Korea-size war, or pull out ignominiously.

So let’s start with that fish story. Soon after Viet Nam’s Buddhist crisis erupted, a huge fish was seen in a lake in a northern province. Someone suggested it might be a reincarnation of a long-departed Buddhist holy man.

Soon word spread that the fish was indeed a reincarnated bonze and hundreds flocked to the lake in an attempt to get a glimpse of it. So the big fish threatened to become a symbol of Buddhist protest, and a rallying point for dissident elements.

The province chief, a lieutenant in Diem’s political machine, decided the fish had to be disposed of. He sent American-trained special forces troops to kill it. But the big fish wouldn’t be killed, or so the story goes, and the government was losing face to a fish.

Ultimately, after hand grenades were lobbed at it, the big fish vanished. But people were convinced it wasn’t dead, or at worst was in the process of investing itself in yet another reincarnation.

Then, on June 11, a venerable Buddhist priest saturated himself with gasoline and set himself afire. The photograph of Thich Quang Duc burning to death horrified the Western world and brought the conflict between this nation’s ruling Catholic mandarins and its Buddhist majority into stark, clear focus.

Mme. Ngo Dinh Nhu, the president’s acid-tongued sister-in-law, then retired the trophy for free-style bad taste by declaring she would applaud if any more Buddhist priests “barbecued” themselves.

The English-language Times of Viet Nam is a shameless mouthpiece for Mme. Nhu. Scarcely an edition goes to press without a cloying account of her good works – or without a near-hysterical attack on American newsmen in Saigon.

Particular targets of this Nhu mouthpiece are United Press International and the New York Times. Headlines reading “UPI Lies, Lies, Lies!” are typical.

And when Mme. Nhu outraged Americans here by calling young U.S. officers here “soldiers of fortune,” the Times of Viet Nam ran a column-long account undertaking to explain that her words had been misinterpreted because of faulty translation. She immediately uttered another statement adding that some of our American soldiers were “saboteurs” as well.

The truth is that in South Viet Nam, the United States is involved with a feudal despotism as deadly and absolute as anything ever put together by the Borgias.

And the United States is paying dearly for its policy of trying to get along with the Diems at any cost - a policy that once moved former Ambassador Frederick Nolting to shout at me: “I’m not going to answer any such question” when the question itself was a wholly innocent one. I merely had inquired how long the United States was going to be able to stomach Diem and his kin.

If Starnes was beholden to Mme. Nhu, it was very well disguised, as the second piece confirms:

New York World-Telegram & Sun, 17 October 1963, p.21

So What’s Nhu?

Washington – Mme. Ngo Dinh Nhu’s one-woman roadshow played the Women’s National Press Club yesterday. The girl reporters lost.

The ladies of the WNPC, and slathers of male guests, arrived for the luncheon implacably determined to see that the diminutive First Lady of South Viet Nam got fair play. But by the time the charming torrent of half-truths, Oriental Goldwynisms and an occasional out-and-out whopper had subsided, Mme. Nhu had clearly demonstrated that she needed fair play the way the Borgia girls needed Fanny Farmer’s cookbook.

Example:

Question – Viet Nam’s secret police beat up three American reporters the other day. Why?

Answer (delivered sweetly, vox angelica in full cry): My people never beat anyone – especially Americans.

No civil rights proposal ever brought forth more artful filibustering than Mme. Nhu showed the girl scribes and their guests. The Dragon Lady stumbled just enough in her English (which is good, and which is deadly because she thinks in Vietnamese) to stimulate the juices that Americans traditionally secrete on behalf of the underdog. And by the time this witness discovered he’d been flummoxed, the underdog had bitten him through the ankle and gone scampering away.

Mme. Nhu skillfully disarmed the reporters in her brief and faintly poignant opening remarks.

She had, she said, been accused of calling the young American officers fighting (and once in a while dying) in Vietnam “soldiers of fortune.”

Almost tenderly, the lovely lady said it was her duty to place the true facts before the American press. She never made any such remark, she said, “But if I had made it – and indeed I never did – it was in the European sense of the word, where “little soldiers of fortune” actually means something like “self-made hero.”

Any flannel-mouthed American Throttlebottom could learn this technique from Mme. Nhu. In a bind over an ill-considered tirade? Make Noah Webster your co-defendant and wriggle off the hook.

In a real bad bind, like saying you’d applaud seeing more Buddhist priests “barbecue themselves”? Then, if you’re lucky enough to have one, play your real trump card. It was on this egregious bit of wantonly bas taste that Mme. Nhu was at her lovely, deadly best.

“My daughter,” she explained plaintively, “was in a snack bar where Americans gathered (at this point every eye in the room went to the fragile, beautiful 18-year-old Le Thuy, and all the males present promptly forgot what the question was), and she heard some Americans say that the way to stop the Buddhists from burning themselves was to ridicule them.

“So (now with big eyes and guilelessly) I tried to ridicule them by my barbecuing remark. I was the victim of bad American advice.”

What did Mme. Nhu think of Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge?

“To me (warily) he is more mysterious than an agent.”

When she was asked to explain previous statements that the American government is “too liberal,” Mme. Nhu deftly emphasized that she was talking about only a few members of the administration. “Liberals,” she instructed her audience, “are not red yet, but they are pink.”

In general, the toothsome sister-in-law of the President of Viet Nam kept her talons retracted. Sweet reason prevailed while she explained that the Communists are exploiting the Buddhists because they realize they are losing the war; that there is “absolutely” no religious persecution in South Viet Nam; that it did no good to “boo and hiss” her, but that she truly wanted Americans to like her and to tell her country “precisely” what is expected of it.

And in the end, dazzled by charm and reeling from dissembling, one witness left with the unshakable conviction that if ever South Viet Nam becomes the 51st state of the United States, Mme. Nhu is a cinch to become our first female President.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Colleagues around the World:

Members should read the Richard Starnes article

(that member Paul Rigby posted last year .... at the head of this thread),

an article about the CIA in Vietnam

during the Henry Cabot Lodge days when the

head of mission was in conflict with the head of station.

........the article by R STARNES is a strong

primary document

of the period.

" I wasn't afraid of the vietnamese, I was afraid of the

guys in the black suits that arrived at the base in a helicopter

..........when they landed I knew one of us was gonna die! "

(quoting a West Virginia 1960s era IndoChina combat veteran)

It is also in the public record now that the Tonkin Bay

attacks on US forces were cooked up on site as pretexts by the

military and the agencies..........................best wishes

Edited by Shanet Clark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
........the article by R STARNES is a strong

primary document

of the period.

Thanks, Shanet, too true. And here's the editorial that went with it:

The Washington Daily News, 2 October 1963, p.32

What’s Wrong in South Viet Nam?

It is a brutally messed up state of affairs that our man, Richard Starnes, reports from South Viet Nam in his article on Page 3 today.

And the mess he has found isn’t Viet Namese. It is American, involving bitter strife among U.S. agencies – which may help explain the vast cost and lack of satisfactory progress in this operation to contain communist aggression.

The whole situation, as described by Mr. Starnes, must be shocking to Americans who believe we are engaged in a selfless crusade to protect democracy in this far-off land.

He has been told that:

• The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has flatly refused to carry out instructions from Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, frustrating a plan of action he took from Washington.

• Secret agents, or “spooks,” from CIA “have penetrated every branch of the American community in Saigon.” Who are we fighting there anyhow? The communists, or our own people?

• The CIA agents represent a tremendous power and are totally unaccountable to anyone. They dabble and interfere in military operations, to the frustration of our military officials.

The bitterness of other American agencies in Saigon toward the CIA, Starnes found, is “almost unbelievable.”

On the basis of this last statement alone, there is something terribly wrong with our system out there.

Defense Secretary McNamara, just back from an inspection trip to Viet Nam, gave the President a preliminary report on his findings at the White House this morning. Mr. McNamara is a tough man of decisive action. It may be assumed he now is in a position to assess the blame for this quarreling and back-biting inside the American family – whether it falls on the CIA or other agencies which accuse the CIA.

One way or the other, some official heads should roll.

Who knows, perhaps a professional American historian will pluck up the courage to ask Dick about what he saw and heard in Saigon. There must be one vertebrate among them!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul: "It is a brutally messed up state of affairs that our man, Richard Starnes, reports from South Viet Nam in his article on Page 3 today. And the mess he has found isn’t Viet Namese. It is American, involving bitter strife among U.S. agencies – which may help explain the vast cost and lack of satisfactory progress in this operation to contain communist aggression."

The whole situation, as described by Mr. Starnes, must be shocking to Americans who believe we are engaged in a selfless crusade to protect democracy in this far-off land.

He has been told that:

• The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has flatly refused to carry out instructions from Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, frustrating a plan of action he took from Washington.

• Secret agents, or “spooks,” from CIA “have penetrated every branch of the American community in Saigon.” Who are we fighting there anyhow? The communists, or our own people?

• The CIA agents represent a tremendous power and are totally unaccountable to anyone. They dabble and interfere in military operations, to the frustration of our military officials.

The bitterness of other American agencies in Saigon toward the CIA, Starnes found, is “almost unbelievable." ”

__________________________________________________

Assorted sources (key words: program pale horse)

"And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat

on him was death, and hell followed with him". Revelation 6:7

Operation Phoenix was modeled on Project Pale Horse--a CIA-funded "black op"... that used Navy SEALs and Green Berets in Vietnam to lead indigenous teams of killers in detaining, torturing and murdering grassroots political leaders, and anybody else that the U.S. high command disliked. According to congressional investigations of Phoenix in the early 1970s, Vietnamese mercenaries and U.S. special operations forces selectively terminated more than 21,000 South Vietnamese civilians--so-called terrorist suspects--during the war. (Vietnamese sources state the number is more than 40,000. Basically it was shoot fist and then label victin as VC.)

Most of the counterinsurgency Pathet Lao and VC infrastructure experts were in the "snuff and snatch" (assassination and kidnap) teams operating under the command (1962-1963) of John L. Lee, a CIA clandestine service field advisor, TDY (on loan) from the US Army.

A HALO-qualified Airborne Ranger and an "insurgent terrorist neutralization specialist," Lee had successfully trained, advised, and operationally commanded 3-5 man Black op "snuff and snatch" CIA counter-terror teams operating under the name of Project Pale Horse in the northeastern provinces of Laos between January 1962 and April 1963, when his "neutral civilian foreign aid worker" cover was compromised.

Project Pale Horse sidestepped the official U. S. Intelligence Coordination and Exploitation Program (ICEX), Lao, and GVN military chain of command, and had been running six years prior to the establishment of the "official" GVN Phoenix (Kế Hoạch Phụng Hoàng) program in Vietnam.

Lee's CIA Pale Horse counter-terror ops were so effective against advisors of the Soviet KGB First Chief Directorate, the Pathet Lao, and Red Chinese military advisors that the KGB director at the time, Vladimir Semichastniy, placed a $50,000 bounty in gold bullion for Lee's capture or confirmed assassination (allegedly referring to him as a "Pale Horse's Ass"). The bounty was rescinded after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Lee reported to William E. Colby from 1962 to 1963, and to John Richardson in 1963, respective CIA Chiefs of Station, Saigon Vietnam, CIA Director of Central Intelligence John McCone, Lt. Gen. Wm P. Yarborough, Cmdr. Special Warfare Center, Ft. Bragg, N.C.

Vietnam, in '82 Ex-Phoenix operative reveals that sometimes orders were given to kill U.S. military personnel* who were considered security risks. He suspects the orders came not from "division", but from a higher authority such as the CIA or the ONI. Covert Action Information Bulletin (now Covert Action Quarterly) summer 82 52.

Vietnam, 67-73 The Phoenix Program used the CIA's assassination squads, the former counter terror teams later called the provincial reconnaissance units (PRU). Technically they did not mark cadres for assassinations but in practice the pru's anticipated resistance in disputed areas and shot first. People taken prisoner were denounced in Saigon-held areas, picked up at checkpoints or captured in combat and later identified as VC. Sheehan, N. (1988), A Bright Shining Lie, 732.

Vietnam. Phung Hoang aka Phoenix Program quotas for units set by komer for all 242 districts. One result indiscriminate killing with every body labeled VCI. Powers, T. (1979), The Man Who Kept the Secrets, 181-2.

*Fragging by any other name smells just as foul...

_________

EDIT:: ps.

Spartacus: "Higgins was sent to Vietnam in 1953 where she reported the defeat of the French Army at Dien Bein Phu. During the fighting she narrowly escaped injury when while walking alongside the photographer, Robert Capa*, he was killed when he stepped on a land mine.

In 1955 she travelled extensively in the Soviet Union and afterwards published her book Red Plush and Black Bread (1955). This was followed by another book on journalism, News is a Singular Thing (1955).

Higgins also covered the civil war in the Congo.

Higgins made many visits to Vietnam and her book Our Vietnam Nightmare (1965), documented her concerns about United States military involvement in the region. While in Vietnam in 1965 she went down with leishmaniasis, a tropical disease. Marguerite Higgins was brought back to the United States but died on 3rd January, 1966. In recognition of her outstanding war reporting she was buried at Arlington National Cemetery"

*"..Hungarian-born photojournalist Robert Capa, in 1954, works for Life magazine."

"This is going to be a beautiful story," he said as he set out from the village of Nam Dinh, in Vietnam's Red River delta, on May 25, the last morning of his life. "I will be on my good behavior today. I will not insult my colleagues, and I will not once mention the excellence of my work." Eight hours — and 30 km — later, Capa was dead, killed by a landmine at Thai Binh, as he tried to get just that little bit closer."

John S: "It is rumored that Johnson was the lover of journalist Dickey Chapelle, who became the first American journalist to die in Vietnam when she stepped on a landmine on 4th January, 1965"

Edited by John Dolva

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Assorted sources (key words: program pale horse)

"And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat

on him was death, and hell followed with him". Revelation 6:7

Operation Phoenix was modeled on Project Pale Horse--a CIA-funded "black op"... that used Navy SEALs and Green Berets in Vietnam to lead indigenous teams of killers in detaining, torturing and murdering grassroots political leaders, and anybody else that the U.S. high command disliked. According to congressional investigations of Phoenix in the early 1970s, Vietnamese mercenaries and U.S. special operations forces selectively terminated more than 21,000 South Vietnamese civilians--so-called terrorist suspects--during the war. (Vietnamese sources state the number is more than 40,000. Basically it was shoot fist and then label victin as VC.)

Most of the counterinsurgency Pathet Lao and VC infrastructure experts were in the "snuff and snatch" (assassination and kidnap) teams operating under the command (1962-1963) of John L. Lee, a CIA clandestine service field advisor, TDY (on loan) from the US Army.

A HALO-qualified Airborne Ranger and an "insurgent terrorist neutralization specialist," Lee had successfully trained, advised, and operationally commanded 3-5 man Black op "snuff and snatch" CIA counter-terror teams operating under the name of Project Pale Horse in the northeastern provinces of Laos between January 1962 and April 1963, when his "neutral civilian foreign aid worker" cover was compromised.

Project Pale Horse sidestepped the official U. S. Intelligence Coordination and Exploitation Program (ICEX), Lao, and GVN military chain of command, and had been running six years prior to the establishment of the "official" GVN Phoenix (Kế Hoạch Phụng Hoàng) program in Vietnam.

Lee's CIA Pale Horse counter-terror ops were so effective against advisors of the Soviet KGB First Chief Directorate, the Pathet Lao, and Red Chinese military advisors that the KGB director at the time, Vladimir Semichastniy, placed a $50,000 bounty in gold bullion for Lee's capture or confirmed assassination (allegedly referring to him as a "Pale Horse's Ass"). The bounty was rescinded after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Lee reported to William E. Colby from 1962 to 1963, and to John Richardson in 1963, respective CIA Chiefs of Station, Saigon Vietnam, CIA Director of Central Intelligence John McCone, Lt. Gen. Wm P. Yarborough, Cmdr. Special Warfare Center, Ft. Bragg, N.C.

Vietnam, in '82 Ex-Phoenix operative reveals that sometimes orders were given to kill U.S. military personnel* who were considered security risks. He suspects the orders came not from "division", but from a higher authority such as the CIA or the ONI. Covert Action Information Bulletin (now Covert Action Quarterly) summer 82 52.

Vietnam, 67-73 The Phoenix Program used the CIA's assassination squads, the former counter terror teams later called the provincial reconnaissance units (PRU). Technically they did not mark cadres for assassinations but in practice the pru's anticipated resistance in disputed areas and shot first. People taken prisoner were denounced in Saigon-held areas, picked up at checkpoints or captured in combat and later identified as VC. Sheehan, N. (1988), A Bright Shining Lie, 732.

Vietnam. Phung Hoang aka Phoenix Program quotas for units set by komer for all 242 districts. One result indiscriminate killing with every body labeled VCI. Powers, T. (1979), The Man Who Kept the Secrets, 181-2.

*Fragging by any other name smells just as foul...

Excellent post, John, with the material on Lee entirely new to me, and of precisely the kind I've been looking for. (Will become evident why in future post.) Would be obliged if you could furnish the source(s) of this.

Paul

Edited by Paul Rigby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for confirming with footnoted accuracy the claim I made above,

about the CIA killing US military personnel.....................

Paul: "v

Lee reported to William E. Colby from 1962 to 1963, and to John Richardson in 1963, respective CIA Chiefs of Station, Saigon Vietnam, CIA Director of Central Intelligence John McCone, Lt. Gen. Wm P. Yarborough, Cmdr. Special Warfare Center, Ft. Bragg, N.C.

Vietnam, in '82 Ex-Phoenix operative reveals

that sometimes orders were given to kill U.S. military personnel*

who were considered security risks.

He suspects the orders came not from "division", but from a higher authority such as the CIA or the ONI. Covert Action Information Bulletin (now Covert Action Quarterly) summer 82 52.

Vietnam, 67-73 The Phoenix Program used the CIA's assassination squads, the former counter terror teams later called the provincial reconnaissance units (PRU).

your tax dollars at work

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul, I was surprised to come across 'Program Pale Horse' as well during searching for OP Phoenix info and Ho Chih Minh some weeks ago. A search using Yahoo yielded that from a few sources, primarily Answers.com.

The trigger that reminded me of it was the post by Shanet: "I wasn't afraid of the vietnamese, I was afraid of the guys in the black suits that arrived at the base in a helicopter...when they landed I knew one of us was gonna die! " and your post that followed.

Further research on it is needed. Pick appropriate keywords and names. I posted that initial stuff to see whether others can elaborate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paul, I was surprised to come across 'Program Pale Horse' as well during searching for OP Phoenix info and Ho Chih Minh some weeks ago. A search using Yahoo yielded that from a few sources, primarily Answers.com.

The trigger that reminded me of it was the post by Shanet: "I wasn't afraid of the vietnamese, I was afraid of the guys in the black suits that arrived at the base in a helicopter...when they landed I knew one of us was gonna die! " and your post that followed.

Further research on it is needed. Pick appropriate keywords and names. I posted that initial stuff to see whether others can elaborate.

Many thanks for that, I'll try what you recommend. By way of reciprocating, here's one early glimpse of CIA pseudo-gangs, under Special Forces direction, in mainstream US media:

PETER WORTHINGTON, “Vietnam: School for U.S. Guerillas,” The Nation, 2 March 1963, pp.179-180: p.180:

“U.S. Special Force commandos – the hush-hush branch of the Army – are in isolated villages and deep in rebel-dominated territory. They are taking a page from Communist tactics and organizing resistance movements and spreading propaganda and terrorism. These young specialists are linguists, politically indoctrinated, and are armed with funds for bribing support. They are prepared to kill and terrorize on their own to defeat the enemy.”

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paul, I trust you don't see me as being 'difficult'. There's often stuff one comes across that isn't directly connected with a particular thread of research and if it is, at the moment how and what it means is not clear and so: just 'filed away'. One thing that occured to me when coming across "Program Pale Horse" was that it was during Kennedy's presidency and I wanted to explore it further as it struck me as something he wouldn't approve of. It remained 'filed away' until yours and Shanet's postings when it struck me that perhaps others could make some connections I'm not privy to. I'm going down a different, though perhaps parallell track, and will try to keep abreast of anything further here and contribute where something occurs without judging for myself whether it is significant or not. You and others who are focusing on this issue are better placed to make connections than me. Interesting topic. One thing of particular interest is (to me) is the issue of 'fragging' and whether some of it can be seen as agency sanctioned. Similarly, froma Civil Rights issue and RFK's comment re Blacks dying while others avoid the draft and the issue of chains of command and 'going point' during ops from a civil rights perspective. Ditto, supply of drugs to make the whole mess bearable to those on point and the teatment and implied treatment of whistleblowers around issues such as My Lai.(Pinkville)

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/f...i/Myl_hero.html

"Then something just sunk into me that these people were marched into that ditch and murdered. That was the only explanation that I could come up with."

"Taking the child to the hospital was a day I'll never forget. It was a very sad day, very mad day, very frustrated and everything. So later in the afternoon, (this was brought up when everything hit and became public during interrogations, the Department of the Army IG was asking me about the incident and I had totally blocked it out of my mind. I had no idea what this guy was questioning me for), after the mission that day, I went back to our operations area, which is over in LC Dottie and I was very upset. I was very mad."

"I reported to my platoon leader. He said let's go see the operations officer. In turn we went to our commander and the words were said for me that day that, you know, dean this up. "If this damn stuff is what's happening here," I told him, "You can take these wings right now 'cause they're only sewn on with thread." I was ready to quit flying....My commander was very interested. Within a day or so--- I don't think it was that day, it was probably the next day--- we were called up to the command bunker at LC Dottie and everybody gave their statements."

"This was a full colonel (a full colonel is next to a general); that means he can walk on water. He was very interested it seemed; I remember him taking notes and that was it, I do believe...I guess I assumed something was being done. It wasn't a colonel's position to come down to a Wl and inform him of his investigation, that just was unheard of.

It seemed like it was just dropped after that."

__________

"I believe too...there was a cover-up ... I can see where four or five people get killed, something like that. But that was nothing like that, it was no accident whatsoever. Pure premeditated murder."

" Well, in that four months I guess I witnessed those sorts of events about six times, six or seven times. We would identify somebody just as Hugh had."

"We'd say, OK, here's somebody who is looking suspicious or whatever. And some infantrymen would walk up to him and just shoot him. I mean, no provocation...I'm talking about murder. I'm talking about somebody walking right up, pointing a gun and, without provocation, pulling the trigger...."

" So I had gone down to the division historical section where they keep an account of all the battles and everything, the official history of the division."

"There I found the official report that had been released to the press, reporting the battle(???) at My Lai, in which it was reported, I believe, that a hundred twenty-eight people had been killed---a hundred twenty-eight VC had been killed with force, as it was reported." The truth appears to be that it was between four and five hundred unarmed children, women, elderly, and men. who were massacered in a sanction operation.

"The one thing I needed that I didn't have was somebody who had been there, who was a witness and who had not participated. I didn't have any reason necessarily to believe my friends wouldn't be honest when they were asked about it. On the other hand, they had participated in this terrible crime and maybe they wouldn't. So I felt I needed somebody that I could count on and I knew of such a man, his name was Michael Bernhardt. But he was still out in the field; I could never find him because he was simply never available." "

" The reason he was never available is that Captain Medina...knew that he was a potential troublesome person and threatened him. He said "Bernhardt, you better keep your mouth shut about this, buddy." And Mike said, "Yes, sir." He stayed out in the field; they wouldn't let him out of the field. He tried to transfer into the LRRP company They wouldn't let him. He tried to transfer every place, they wouldn't let him."

"Every time they thought an ambush was coming, they'd send him up to the front of the line, where they thought the ambush was gonna be. He walked point in all the dangerous places and in the last four months he got jungle rot so bad, he could barely walk and they wouldn't let him out of the field."

"The My Lai story is one of heroes as well villains. One such hero is Hugh Thompson, Jr., a helicopter reconnaissance pilot who came upon the My Lai massacre in progress. Chief My Lai prosecutor William Eckhardt described how Thompson responded to what he found when he put his helicopter down: "[Thompson] put his guns on Americans, said he would shoot them if they shot another Vietnamese, had his people wade in the ditch in gore to their knees, to their hips, took out children, took them to the hospital...flew back [to headquarters], standing in front of people, tears rolling down his cheeks, pounding on the table saying, 'Notice, notice, notice'...then had the courage to testify time after time after time." "

So theres not only the sanctioned killings, there's also the treatment meted out to potential 'troublemakers' in the US military.

Edited by John Dolva

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cliff Varnell wrote:

For what it's worth:

An old girl friend of mine is the daughter of a Diem secret police officer. She was 13 at the time of the coup. She's Buddhist, and insists that the Buddhist uprising against Diem in '63 was manufactured by the CIA.

Another post I meant to come back to and forgot about! Still, late, but in earnest, to borrow the Salisbury motto.

Here's three excerpts that shed some light on well-founded suspicions:

TOM BOWER. The Perfect English Spy: Sir Dick White and the Secret War 1935-1990 (London: William Heinemann, 1995) , p.226: “Historically, SIS’s expertise in south-east Asia was superior to the CIA’s. From Bangkok, SIS had financed pro-Western candidates in the Laos elections in 1954, effectively forestalling communist victory, and was attempting similar tactics with the Buddhists in Vietnam.”

MALCOLM W. BROWNE. The New Face of War (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1968 edition), p. 269: “A very few of the Vietnamese monks are extremely well-educated by any standard. Some have studied in Japan, India and even the United States. The venerable Thich Quang Lien, one of the younger monks, holds a degree from Yale University.”

BERNARD FALL. Anatomy of a Crisis: The Laotian Crisis of 1960-61 (NY: Doubleday & Co., Inc, 1969), p. 241, n. 23: “Many Bonzes were sent for advanced Buddhist training to India and Burma; some of them at United States expense and others at the expense of an American private foundation. When they returned to Laos, some of them were found to have acquired a solid foundation of Marxism in addition to that of Buddhist texts, while others used their newly acquired English-language capability to go into more lucrative businesses than that of serving their religion.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paul, have you come across anything in your research to indicate that Diem was secretly negotiating with Ho, and might that have played a part in Harriman coming around to the coup?

One very neglected thread of JFK's search for a way out of Vietnam is that leading through London. Traces are rare - I've found them so, anyway - but they exist. Here's two:

Hilaire Du Berrier. Background To Betrayal: The Tragedy Of Vietnam (Mass.: Western Islands, 1965), p. 238: "Through the labor unions of Western Europe and a London group headed by a certain Labor member of Parliament *, Hanoi was kept informed of the Kennedy team's groping for a way out."

"Today's World Report: Truce Moves Reported In Viet Nam," New York World-Telegram & Sun, (Friday), 25 October 1963, p.6: "LONDON - The government of South Vietnam and Communist North Viet Nam are apparently making exploratory contacts that could lead to a truce, diplomatic sources said. There was no official confirmation…Diplomatic sources said the current moves were believed to be aiming at some sort of truce arrangement with possible wider ramifications."

*My best guess, and it is no more than a guess, would be Philip Noel-Baker. For more on his background, see the following links:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRnoelbaker.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Noel-B...aron_Noel-Baker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One very neglected thread of JFK's search for a way out of Vietnam is that leading through London. Traces are rare - I've found them so, anyway - but they exist. Here's two:

Hilaire Du Berrier. Background To Betrayal: The Tragedy Of Vietnam (Mass.: Western Islands, 1965), p. 238: "Through the labor unions of Western Europe and a London group headed by a certain Labor member of Parliament *, Hanoi was kept informed of the Kennedy team's groping for a way out."

"Today's World Report: Truce Moves Reported In Viet Nam," New York World-Telegram & Sun, (Friday), 25 October 1963, p.6: "LONDON - The government of South Vietnam and Communist North Viet Nam are apparently making exploratory contacts that could lead to a truce, diplomatic sources said. There was no official confirmation…Diplomatic sources said the current moves were believed to be aiming at some sort of truce arrangement with possible wider ramifications."

*My best guess, and it is no more than a guess, would be Philip Noel-Baker. For more on his background, see the following links:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRnoelbaker.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Noel-B...aron_Noel-Baker

David J. Whittaker. Fighter for Peace: Philip Noel-Baker, 1889-1982 (York, England: William Sessions Ltd., 1989), pp.312-315:

Noel-Baker “circled the globe in 1962, visiting Canada, the USA, Moscow and…Peking, Hong Kong, and Tokyo…By the summer of 1965…a letter to The Times…lamented the way in which the American President seemed influenced by military advisers and the CIA*…”

*Philip Noel-Baker, “Letter to the Editor: An Authority Diminished – President Johnson’s Policies,” The Times, Monday, 19 July 1965, p.11. The CIA used a favoured creature of the period, Peter Bessell, to reply in The Times to Noel-Baker. Bessell’s letter appeared on 21 July 1965.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unwitting dupe, quite probably due to premature senescence.

Edited by Paul Rigby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×