Finding the Gulf of Tonkin: internet, Pentagon Papers censorship/fraud of LBJ’s August 4, 1964 speech: “There were no US losses.”
For the millions of people affected by the US war with Vietnam.
On August 4, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson admitted there was no US losses in the Gulf of Tonkin incident in a televised speech that was also published in leading newspapers the following day. This speech is now hidden in history. The speech and the information of “no losses” is in direct contradiction with presentations of that information as “declassified” since 1995 in the Robert McNamara book and film productions and by the National Security Agency. The information was never classified. It was known all along. And this is how it was known.
Finding the Gulf of Tonkin: an exposé of disinformation; reading the Pentagon Papers; the content and the cover-up of that content; screenshots of search engine lists to witness fraud by the United States government.
Link to jpegs of The New York Times front page August 5, 1964; photographs of In Retrospect: the tragedy and lessons of Vietnam “Yet we were wrong, terribly wrong.”; screenshots of three pages from the Pentagon Papers
The Pentagon Papers
link to newsbank of Providence Journal August 5, 1964
This project requires that we read critically the internet search engine lists. There is a manipulation of these lists, and even the public library/publishing industry, so that the past and the history of that past are reversed. This false history occurs at US President Lyndon Johnson’s Address to the Nation on August 4, 1964. This speech provided grounds for conscientious objection, in all its forms, to the US war with Vietnam. It is evidence for both exculpation of all related accusations and of protest as national service. And it is suppressed. The cover-up of the speech reduces the credibility of the US.
The August 4 speech to the nation was originally broadcast, televised, 11:20pm EST as a US presidential speech, using all television stations and radio. It was published the following day on the front pages of the New York Times and The Washington Post; and in the first sections of The Boston Globe, The Atlanta Constitution, (and The Providence Journal, later), in which Johnson stated at the end of the second paragraph, “There were no US losses.” in the Gulf of Tonkin incident. An additional report from the Pentagon confirmed “no casualties, no damage”, on the same front pages of the Times and the Post. The library I used has the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune on microfilm, but not for this date. The Globe published an Extra edition with the headline “LBJ Orders Navy: Shoot to Kill”.
Subsequent teach-ins and protests then regularly featured this fact about the Gulf of Tonkin, Tonkin Gulf Resolution/incident; of no losses, no casualties, no damage. See links above to pictures of the August 5, 1964 New York Times front page and the video of the televised speech provided by the Miller Center, University of Virginia.
But, to begin an internet search with “Gulf of Tonkin” or “US war with Vietnam” and even all histories available from an urban public library/federal repository, friend and critic alike neglect President Lyndon Johnson’s August 4, 1964 Address to the Nation. When searching “Gulf of Tonkin”, Google, the most popular internet search engine, has Johnson’s August 5 speech to Congress at its first page of internet links. Johnson’s August 4 speech to the nation is finally listed at over 10 pages in, over 100 links later, after links to Iraq. I emailed Google and asked it how this happened. Google replied its lists are organized by relevance; they admitted they did not know how this omission occurred. I checked the list again on June 9, 2014. The speech, in video, was then on the second page of google links, courtesy of the Miller Center; this essay? 6/13: first page; 6/22: second page. bing and yahoo do not list the speech at all. Today, April 29, 2015, I sent this feedback to bing:
“I am writing a Note at facebook wherein I mention an omission by bing. Google has made the same omission. When I brought it to google’s attention, there was some correction. The omission: searching “Gulf of Tonkin”, “Tonkin Gulf”, “US war with Vietnam” fails to list LBJ’s August 4, 1964 Address to the Nation. In it he admitted “There were no US losses.”
The lists change. Since writing and posting this, the speech has been brought forward in some of the searches. (4/15/2015) The evolution of the lists on this and any subject can be witnessed and even preserved as screenshots, a computer function saving copies of the dated screen to PC hard drives.
This is contemporary Vietnam war propaganda. Typically, with all the cynicism that caused that war, it is occurring during the 13 year Vietnam War “Commemoration”. It is evidence of fraud, still, almost twenty years after the publication of In Retrospect: the tragedy and lessons of Vietnam. Again, it is a false witness and history. Anyone online is still able to experience this personally.
A high school student, when assigned to research this war, will search Google and/or Bing, probably not getting beyond the first page of lists of links.
Ask Bill Moyers, then one of LBJ’s speechwriters, now a famous Public Broadcasting Station journalist, who wrote “There were no US losses.”?
Did former school teacher Johnson “tell”? Grammatically, it should be “There was no US losses”, not “were no”, the error at the verb “to be” at the number 0, at the word “no”.
On March 4, 2015, I used the CIA’s website form to ask the CIA if this apparent suppression is a disinformation campaign.
The Evening Bulletin, the evening edition of the Providence Journal, of Providence, RI, did not publish as did the NYT or the Providence Journal. I was an 11 year old paperboy when I delivered those editions of the Evening Bulletin. Somehow, in 2007, I suddenly remembered reading “American units were unscathed” in 1964 days later.
A reversal of media/history amplification, loud then, silent now, a US presidential speech to the nation to be found only if one already knows how to find what one is looking for on the internet or on microfilm: August 4, 1964 Johnson Address to the Nation.
Compare Johnson’s Address to the Nation with his Address to Congress the next day, August 5, in which the statement “There were no US losses.” is omitted and changed to “Two US aircraft were lost in the action.” Those jets were sent to fire upon the Vietnamese patrol boats that had inflicted no damages, no casualties. (The Navy log mentions the USSs Maddox and Turner Joy almost fired on each other in the fog at night.) This is how the United States started its war with Vietnam: the Maddox thought/claimed it had been fired on even though there was no casualties, no damages. Fighter jets were then sent to “return” this “fire”; those jets sank a Vietnamese ship; those jets were then downed by surface to air missiles. SAMs would go on to defeat US air superiority in the war.
(After the Vietnamese forced the French out of Vietnam at the battle at Dien Bien Phu, the Geneva Peace Accord of 1954 divided Vietnam at the 17th latitude, to be united in 1956. But, general unification elections were obstructed by the government of “South Vietnam”, so Vietnam became contested militarily. The British Commonwealth, Australia, had ground troops in Vietnam in 1961, two years before the US. Australia left Vietnam in 1971, two years before the US. The British Commonwealth must accept commensurate responsibility for its significant role in the attempt to divide Vietnam. To date, most histories lay the blame at US policy with scant mention of the UK’s role. To date, the many and very critical histories of that war have been produced in the US. The UK remains relatively silent.
Many speculate, reasonably, that Johnson started the war in August 1964 to win the US general election in November of that year. In a complete reversal, he would go on to refuse to run in the 1968 election because, he said, of the war. Johnson and Nixon were both loath to be the first US president to lose a war. Nixon won the election of 1968 promising to have the US out of the war in 1970, a promise he did not keep.)
Compare audiences: the August 4 speech was to the nation, the August 5 speech was to Congress. Only Congress heard the August 5 speech; the general population did not. Yet, the August 5 speech is much more accessible now in 2007, at elite educational websites (Yale, Mount Holyoke, PBS), among others. The August 5 speech garnered Johnson war powers by the Tonkin Gulf Resolution.
Having claimed attack, the US was obliged to provide a casualty report. “There were no US losses.” implied there was no cause for war. Instead, Johnson proposed war. The President and newspaper editors, including the NYT, then went on, infamously, to describe this as a means to peace, even though this fact, Johnson’s speech, and their own reports implied that there was no cause for war. The need for a “just cause” for war was never met by admission of “no losses”, obviously. And so, we see the need for losses evolve at 9/11, “shock and awe” indeed, which provided lots of losses, followed by two weeks of televised black out broadcasting only videos of the jetliners crashing into the World Trade Center towers, to appear justified. Most of the hijackers were Saudis, none was Afghan, none was Iraqi, none was Iranian; an appearance of serving mideast oil interests is inescapable; mideast royal families are still very upset over secular Iraq’s invasion of royal Kuwait; John O’Neill, The Man Who Knew, the heartbreaking account of the FBI agent whose warnings went unheeded and who died in the towers; the refusal by Vice President Richard Cheney to use NORAD kill jets, even after he must have known of the hijackers’ intent; Cheney is on the board of the international conglomerate Halliburton, primarily interests in oil and munitions; all of the targets/hits, including the Boston Marathon later, were in the northeast US. The strategists behind 9/11 had the Tonkin Gulf in mind: 9/11/2001 occurred in the middle of the McNamara media parade 1995-2005. Wrong and defeated in Vietnam, instead of compensating Vietnam, the United States wages perpetual war in desperate attempts for legitimacy.
Silent and absurd, the information of “no casualties, no damage” made in 1964 has been presented as revelation in a media parade since 1995. This is what the search engines lead with. The Robert S. McNamara productions, 1995 bestseller In Retrospect: the tragedy and lessons of Vietnam and the 2004 Academy Award winning documentary Fog of War would have us wonder if there were two or one attacks. (Mentioned in passing is that the USS Maddox was already conducting land attacks against Vietnam.) McNamara was appointed as Secretary of Defense, a manager, not moralist. His apologies are for not recognizing the logistical impossibility of winning the war. Then US Secretary of Defense McNamara now says he is still not sure what happened in the Gulf of Tonkin. But, like everyone else, he always knew there was no casualties nor damage, except he presents it, in the book, as an internal memo, as if it were classified. Like everyone else, McNamara does not mention the August 4 speech President Johnson presented to the world. (In Retrospect:.. is well indexed. But the subject “Gulf of Tonkin” is listed at “Tonkin Gulf”, like the resolution. This effects search engines lists too. The August 4 speech is even less present when internet searching “Tonkin Gulf Resolution”, there is no video on page two of lists.) McNamara’s true intent can be read in his following book Argument Without End, in which he blames Vietnam for continuing the war as he evades the nasty conclusion with: see title, see perpetual war. And his admission is virtually buried in his movie, 18 scenes in.
A second (or first) look at the Pentagon Papers raises questions. The National Archives at the link seems confused:
“Approximately 34% of the report is available for the first time” ; then: “The complete Report is now available with no redactions compared to previous releases ” The internet file is not digitized, it is in the form of photographs of the actual files, and function with Adobe is clumsy.
This supposed breach of security was actually a non-revelation of information already broadcast and published since 1964; if it isn’t a revelation, then what is it? A gesture? A leak that is a cover-up? Some veterans complain that the August 4 speech “doesn’t make (them) look good.”
The Pentagon Papers is a psychological operation by the CIA, damage control when losing the war with Vietnam, heroics by a combat veteran and CIA agent, trying to save face by using pictures of Daniel Ellsberg, a handsome young officer, husband and father as a “rebel”. The Papers is another attempt to bury the August 4 speech under 7,000 pages that never produce the speech, only an excerpt but not the sentence “There were no US losses.”
At the Files Title Part V. A. Justification of the War. Public Statements. Volume II: D–The Johnson Administration shows only a brief excerpt of the August 4 speech that does not include “There were no US losses.”
; as does the entry of the speech at Mount Holyoke’s list of documents. At Titles, at the archive link, Parts IV. C. 2. the month August 1964 is conspicuously absent.
Ask Daniel Ellsberg about those files. Did he deliberately omit files? It is improbable, highly, that he read all 7,000 files as he was copying them. Were the files scrubbed before he got to them? Is the whole speech in the files? This we do not know. But to omit LBJ’s August 4, 1964 speech anywhere is to abuse the conscientious objection to the US war with Vietnam.
The sentence “There were not US losses.” is willfully neglected in the Pentagon Papers, in the Mount Holyoke history list, and at the latest documentary The Vietnam War, Burns/Novick, PBS, which, like the rest, provides a video excerpt from the speech but not the admission (3rd episode 23 minutes). The series maintains the willful negligence, the sin of omission, of not providing the video of LBJ admitting “There were no US losses.” in the Tonkin Gulf incident.
The above is evidence of a stubborn, virulent propaganda over 60 years old, a cover-up, a psy(chological) op(eration), not a blackout but a whiteout leaving no marks, a willful, criminal negligence, omission worse than lying, rendering what was presented then as loudly as is humanly possible, still, by radio, television and newsprint a deafening silence, an amnesia, a brainwashing, a burying on the internet; and production that poses as revelation, a suppression, a cover-up imposed to this day: there was no report of casualties or damage; there was report of “no casualties, no damage”.
Why the suppression? Because it incriminates the US war with Vietnam. It establishes the lack of cause for waging that war. It incriminates influential people in the United States. It was knowledge, then, of the great crime to come. It establishes guilt. There was no trials for invasion of Vietnam, no convictions, no executions: no one was hanged. President Nixon was pardoned after resigning, over an unrelated misdemeanor, instead of certain removal by impeachment; a curious, unsettling process that removed anyway. Although the cause was not directly related to the war, the incident created a government unaccountable. Unchecked and imbalanced, the same powers that were did it again at 9/11. People say “inside job”. Stunned and pacified by the mad dogs in the Washington lobby-go-round, with nary a protest, the nation lurches without purpose into its 7 nations campaign (3 down, as of this writing), trading acts of terrorism with thousands compelled to flee or fight. A dying dependence on fossil fuels remains the dirty secret, with Russian and Saudi oil pipelines knotted in Syria.
Many peaceful people are motivated, finally, to fight when they know they are fighting for their lives. The general history shows Vietnam was never a threat. This speech, these reports showed there was no such danger. Our government made sure, then, that everyone knew there was no losses, no danger, no cause. It goes far beyond a recitation of atrocities. It goes directly to the heart and mind. It is the source of the guilt complex of the US war with Vietnam.
Thus was a difficult fact of human nature, clinically proven, exploited: because a measure of obedience is a social necessity, a large majority of people will follow even bad orders. Following closely the tragic example of Nazi Germany, which ended with the weak defense of “I was only following orders” at the Nurenberg trials, in the early 1970s American psychology demonstrated by experiment at a state university that a large majority of society will follow an order to torture to death for a small increase in minimum wage, after answering a classified ad for volunteers for an experiment on pain.
There is an appearance of another humbling as well: Lyndon Johnson’s profile notes an ancestor that fought for the Confederate States of America. All of his life, Texan Johnson heard about the folly of the southern states to try to secede from the United States. With Vietnam’s war of secession, also southern, 100 years later, Johnson demonstrated that the USA was no better than the CSA, that it could be misled just like his paternal grandfather had been misled. It is well noted the histories of the two wars share eerie repetitions. Both Lincoln and Kennedy had Vice Presidents named Johnson.
In his In Retrospect: the tragedy and lesson of Vietnam, Robert McNamara writes that he was mistaken to consider the war in Vietnam a communist aggression, that it was actually a civil war. Technically, both the US and the Vietnam civil wars were instead wars of secession, failed. Even Lincoln, in the nation’s best known speech, refers to an attempted secession as a civil war. He may have had his reasons, but the language and the truth must be maintained. A war of secession is not a civil war.
Alternatively, the appearance of a South Vietnam attempting to secede was actually a land grab by the British Commonwealth, Australia, soon after aided by the United States; a war of acquisition and so an offense to all trade. When Red China and the Soviet Union allied themselves with Vietnam, the attempt became too difficult for the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization to continue. Comparisons with the dividing of Korea differ crucially at demographics. To this day, South Korea has twice as many people than North Korea. The cause for dividing Korea remains muddy but effective. The demographics in Vietnam were reversed, with Ho Chi Minh and reunification, including de facto control of 3/4 of the land, being overwhelmingly and obviously popular. And the dividing of Vietnam at the Geneva Accord of 1954 had the reunification written into it, to take place in 1956.
The McNamara productions, admissions and apologies, are not policy. They can serve only as evidence. It is up to the United States to follow through with policy, appropriate, from these admissions.
Instead, the US Pentagon is currently waging a 13 year Commemoration that, to date, appears to be just another lie. Instead of official admission and apology, it is pandering tin medals to veterans who crave honor for an action known as dishonorable. It serves up revision, during negligence/suppression of the August 4, 1964 speech. And it is dodging liability: what veterans and the related need is an official apology from the United States; and a class action federal tort claim award for having been so misled, an award the size of a very large defense contract.
“Favored nation” trading status for Vietnam is inadequate compensation for the torts committed by the US.
We referred to our dead as “wasted”.
Military servicemen obeyed, fought, killed, and were killed and wounded knowing there was no cause, no justifying the action, no justifying the homicide of war: it was broadcast and published, told to them by their President. They obeyed in spite of what they knew, knowledge begun in President Eisenhower’s Mandate for Change. The obedience was so absolute it is maintained long after the war was lost, long after “deescalation“ (coined for the occasion), and includes MIA and defeat denial: the speech is suppressed as the MIA flag is flown excessively and out of location, in violations of federal MIA and US flag laws and its purpose, the expansion of military benefits to include personnel MIA. This flag is part of a psychological operation in the service of despotism, evidence of a democratic republic degenerating into a military junta. It does not apply to US civilians.
The military denial was official: the Paris Peace Accord, Nixon’s attempt at an honorable peace, placed Henry Kissinger in Paris with the Vietnamese in 1973, composing a document that attempted to establish South Vietnam as a nation, forcing Vietnam to sign under threat of more bombing. That was shown to be nonsense when North Vietnam reunited Vietnam in 1975, thus exposing the accord for what it was: a vanity and extension of profiteering of an immoral and lost war. The escalation of ground troops was accurately founded upon the military science that there would be no South Vietnam without US or SEATO ground support. Having adopted a policy of deescalation, the gradual withdrawal of ground forces, a South Vietnam had no future. The peace was anything but honorable, featuring an evacuation/rout by the US from Vietnam that includes surreal, iconic movies of the flying and dumping US helicopters into the ocean as soon as the end of April, 1975, the last days for the US in Vietnam: flying machines drowned in the East Vietnam Sea, a history poetic.
The suppression of the August 4 speech means current histories underestimate the bad order, the misleading of the obedient that included a military draft into a known, at deescalation, admitted bust; the betrayal of the faith and the consequential, justified mutiny, the protest, sometimes violent, saving the lives of Vietnamese and Americans, the Conscientious Objection, literal, actual, at cause, to the US war with Vietnam: knowing right from “wrong, terribly wrong”. Acting as a comparison of a severely tested loyalty with an obedience the breadth of conformity, CO status is about to be redefined by the US war with Vietnam, its first war that it became a real issue: this is different than deferring pacifists, this was specific merits of a prevailing cause, particulars to a case. Precedent will be set: for many, Finding the Gulf of Tonkin is exculpatory evidence, mitigation for rightful civil disobedience and related accusations and convictions, corrections of official records. Suppression of the speech injures the credibility of the United States. The content, the neglected/suppressed/hidden in plain sight statement “There were no US loses.” also reveals an assault on our ability to define and recognize a just cause for war, a Just War. Obviously, and by virtually unanimous agreement, “no losses” does not make a case for war. It makes a case for no war.
The US still observes the attack on Pearl Harbor that caused the deaths of thousands as a “day that will live in infamy”, December 8, 1942, every year. Considered the cause and entry of the US into WWII, it also serves as a comparison with the incident in the Tonkin Gulf, August 1964. There is a reason we do not observe Tonkin Gulf Day.
And this occurs during the 9/11 catastrophe, which provided not just loses but symbolic spectacle that suffers a tortured credibility of its own. The appearance of a dumb beast beaten and terrorized into another war is inescapable. The negligence occurs during the 10 years of the Robert S. McNamara productions, 1995-2005, which claimed to reveal what was instead known all along. The Nixon administrations bred what was then termed a “credibility gap”, so that the government could not be trusted. The presence of Dick Cheney in both Nixon and the 9/11 administrations is not a coincidence. He embodies the historic connection between the two military actions. Exactly what “lesson” did Cheney take from Vietnam? The need for losses to start a military action. The list of evidence includes Cheney and his position with military and oil conglomerate Halliburton in the Oval Office on 9/11; Cheney’s refusal to use the NORAD defense system to maximize the losses; most of the hijackers were Saudi; trading anomalies of airline stocks shortly before 9/11. An inside job.
The 2018 movie “Vice”, a bio pic about Cheney and winner of a Golden Globe for lead actor Christian Bale, who claimed he had lessons from Satan; as of this entry nominated for same at the Academy Awards; dramatized a crucial lie, a history by Hollywood (a history written by the loser): it depicts Cheney ordering the NORAD jets to shoot the 9/11 hijacked jets down. In fact, Cheney did the opposite: he told the NORAD defense system to stand down, in private, to then order an ineffectual shoot down too late.
The suppression of LBJ’s August 4, 1964 speech occurs also with notorious accusations of leaks of security at the same National Security Agency and elsewhere. The NSA, et al., must be behind the suppression of this speech. And Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, and others are victims of both false promises of transparency and an absurd sense of what is classified and declassified. There is no declassifying the information in the LBJ’s Address to the Nation. It has been made well known since 1964. Snowden, Manning, et al. are to be compared with Ellsberg for the stark difference of responses to “leaking” governmental information to its citizens it claims it serves.
Conscientious objection, on the merits, is a military campaign’s worst nightmare.
Not only does Finding the Gulf of Tonkin exculpate, it is evidence of national service. Before this war, conscientious objectors were required to perform alternative services; with all due respect, services that sometimes supports the military action objected to, services that are the same services performed throughout the military excluding direct fighting. Objection to the US war with Vietnam, at cause, on the merits, prevailing, was the service. (“Prevailing” is not a necessity for conscientious objection. While a cause may fail initially, its merits determine its survival. In the case of the US war with Vietnam, “prevailing” provides real weight and a comparison with the example of Henry David Thoreau and the war with Mexico.) Claim of saving many, many lives by opposing this war is accurate. Formal applications to be recognized officially as heroic, Medal of Freedom, can be difficult. Important questions include, for all concerned, are: What did you know then?; What did your local newspaper publish?; Did you see the speech?; What did you do?
The objection prevailed: there was no, there is no South Vietnam, the war’s goal. (Therefore, there was no North Vietnam; therefore, there was no treason by objectors.) This is the maturation of CO service and the United States. Indeed, protesting the US war with Vietnam was national and international service, this landmark in the maturation of the United States, this completion of the experience of war: the first large scale US defeat.
Ironically, it is the Selective Service that makes available the classification of Conscientious Objector.
The United States fails the subject of conscientious objection or, at least, is under developed; and, therefore, also knowing right from wrong, also the standard of legal competence. (Why is there no conscientious consent?) The US Code Service, at 50 USCS Appx § 456 War and National Defense, Selective Service Act, provides citations of the courts dismissing some applications of conscientious objection based on moral and legal grounds; all the citations are from about 1970, before Vietnam’s victory or even the US cessation in 1973. That case law is about evenly split, depending on religious denominational membership. But in Seeger v US 1965; and, Welsh v US 1970, COs no longer needed to call themselves religious. The statute does the same. (One publisher has deleted the statute entirely.) The US war with Vietnam should set legal precedent for conscientious objection, including back pay and benefits for such service by objection, based on moral philosophy. There is no reason to burden CO classification with religious denomination and, given the separation of church and state, there is reason to not burden. Objection should be based on valid grounds, as in a court of law; the legal standard is participation, including adversarial, in good faith and like conscientiousness. As it stands, the courts have refused applications for conscientious objector classification based on particulars, facts that ground the objection. It is a systematic, willful negligence that undermines the validity and quality of national services. Admittedly, I have not researched this beyond law libraries, online, histories, and my own experience. A thorough research is needed.
Scoffing at morality can be fatal. Ignoring right from wrong neglects true from false too, accurate from inaccurate, at a cost of many lives and much wealth.
I was 11 years old in 1964. I had no idea where Vietnam or the Gulf of Tonkin was. I went on to protest the war with Vietnam. I am a victim of COINTELPRO, the US counter intelligence program to subvert the protest of the war. I am officially defamed, still, at the US Selective Service, classified as unfit to serve because of a false psychiatric diagnosis. LBJ thought protesters were mentally diseased (3rd episode The Vietnam War, Burns/Novick, PBS), in an assault on our reputations. I have been appealing this for over twenty years (USDCRI, Judge Mary Lisi; magistrate George Martin). I was a Conscientious Objector, at cause, on the merits, prevailing; by extraordinary service, above and beyond the call of duty. This was my national service, to be honored and compensated. Write to your Congressmen, please.
Arthur Toegemann ℗© 2018 Facebook users are free to Share
Afterword: thanks to all who have read this essay through its many drafts. The diligent, very, note I am still drafting.