Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Monday, 6 December 2010


There's really nothing new under the sun.

An insightful comment from Cav on Kev Gillett's blog has reminded me of this - not that I needed reminding.

I found the book illustrated above at Uralla in a secondhand bookstore in the main street - can't remember its name. (The bookstore, that is - the book's called The Palace File).

I bought it because I'm fascinated by what was going on behind the scenes around about the time I was in Vietnam in 1970 ostensibly fighting for freedom and democracy. The more I research this particular conflict, the more I understand that our participation in it fits into a well-worn historical pattern. Our involvement was driven by lies, deceit and cover-up. As Cav observed, the pattern is evident - Watergate, Climategate and now Wikileaks.

The most recent example is of course, Iraq. Where were those WMDs?

The Palace File  is a collection of letters written during the years 1973 - 1975 when the co-author, Nguyen Tien Hung, was Minister of Economic Development and Planning in Nguyen Van Thieu's government of the Republic of Vietnam.

What they show is the absolute duplicity of the Nixon administration who were telling Thieu that that they would defend South Vietnam to the end, whilst at the same time, clearly deciding that the Republic of South Vietnam was dispensable.

This is an example of a letter from Nixon to Theiu on January 17th, 1973 -

I must repeat what I have said to you in my previous communications:
The freedom and independence of the Republic of Vietnam remains a paramount
objective of American foreign policy. I have been dedicated to this goal
all of my political life, and during the past four years I have risked many grave
domestic and international consequences in its pursuit. It is precisely in order
to safeguard our mutual objectives that I have decided irrevocably on my present
course .... Let me state these assurances once again in this letter:
-First, we recognize your Government as the sole legitimate Government
of South Vietnam.
-Secondly, we do not recognize the right of foreign troops to remain on
South Vietnamese soil.
-Thirdly, the U.S. will react vigorously to violations of the Agreement.

Richard Nixon

I wonder how much of the words -
freedom and independence of the Republic of Vietnam
Nixon and his cronies understood.

But of course, that letter was hidden from the public eye until Hung published it in 1979, four years after the fall of Saigon.  Likewise, the deception around WMDs in Iraq didn't become completely apparent until long after thousands of US soldiers had died on the basis of a lie.

The point of departure for Wikileaks is that the process is happening in real time, which allows scrutiny which will hopefully effect decision-making once those in power - whether in Iran, the USA, or Russia think twice before attempting to continue to lie and deceive. The funny thing is, this level of deception is so ingrained in international relations, that it's doubtful whether those involved know any other behaviour.

It's obvious that Assange's releasing of this information is a game-changer, given the level of vitriol directed at him, and the clumsy attempt to discredit him by trumped-up charges that the Brits are ignoring. They'd have to arrest every third or fourth adventurous male in Britain if they were fair dinkum, on the basis of what the Swedes have produced.

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