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Excerpt from the Rock In Opposition A5 booklet (1)


   We may extol our readers to dare to know but it is frequently the case (as has been revealed throughout our recent turbulent history) that agencies concerned with the administration and control of populations - usually but not exclusively governments - prefer not only to prevent the people under their jurisdiction from the attainment of specific knowledge but also they make valiant attempts to hide certain less than palatable knowledge from themselves.


    Corporations have raised this ability to an art form although it could be argued, with some justification, that certain major multinational corporations have attained the status of states rather than individuals anyway. They have proved themselves able to manufacture a manner of collective self deception that allows them to continue their work unimpeded by the paltry constraints of conscience. For example, the Hoover Corporation continued to trade with Nazi Germany throughout the second world war although over 98% of ordinary Americans are blissfully ignorant of this fact. The manufacturers of psychiatric drugs designed medication that enabled American soldiers to fight in the invasion of Vietnam in the complete absence of fear, compassion or constraint and therefore were able to commit horrendous atrocities against poor peasants and innocent villagers on a virtually daily basis. Again, the general public of America is apparently unaware of this salient fact. Why? Because these facts have become data non grata, information that is so despicable that even its perpetrators refuse to acknowledge its reality.


    Corporations may be regarded as a form of tyranny since they are radically opposed to classical liberalism. Since their conception and development in western industrialised nations in the early 20th century, they have been bitterly criticised by conservatives who perceived corporations as the embodiment of a particularly hideous kind of communism. Corporations were founded in the courts, not in any boardroom of central government, as tyrannical structures based on neo-Hegelian precepts not unlike those which resulted in the formation of Bolshevism in Russia and national socialism in Germany and Italy. The notion of corporations is of organic entities that enjoy rights over and above individuals and further that the top directors are that entity and so forth. New treaties, such as the multilateral agreement on investment, are decided and signed in secret since the OECD countries are perfectly aware that the population will react with extreme ambivalence towards them and the media remains silent about such treaties for the very same reason. The success of these corporations prove that it is never difficult to construct new forms of domination and authority but that is no reason to accept them.


    It is widely believed that we are generative organisms that exhibit a fundamental instinct for freedom. In the light of the past 500 years of European history this may appear a rather dubious assertion. Hulme wrote with typical eloquence of his anxiety and perplexity ‘to see the easiness with which the many are governed by the few, to observe the implicit submission with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers’. He states most astutely that this is achieved by the acquisition of control over the minds of the population rather than their bodies. That is to say, we achieve control over a large group of people through propaganda and a cursory glance at the mass manipulation of the public in the 20th century will serve to confirm that Hulme was entirely correct. He implies that the history of all societies from the most militaristic to the most libertarian reveals this innate desire to control the minds of the population through what we would now call propaganda.


    We have to consider that Hulme wrote in the 19th century. Even so, I am impelled to add my own proviso here for I am convinced that in totalitarian regimes such as nations governed by state communism, it is in fact of far less significance what the mass of the people actually think when there is the gulag down the road and the torture chamber around the corner. In such regimes the governments have force at their command which obviates the necessity for a constant barrage of meticulously constructed propaganda. For instance, in Russia in the 1970s, over 70% of the public obtained their knowledge of world events from the BBC, while samizdat underground newspapers reached over half the population.


In a society where the implementation of force and coercion is heavily disguised (although just as real to its recipients), such as a democracy, it becomes imperative for a government to be able to control the minds of its population. It is pertinent to recall that the public relations industry is a purely American invention! Throughout America there has existed with incessant regularity a Herculean effort to divert attention and severely inhibit the ability of people to be aware of what is before them; this process utilises secrecy, covert operations or, if all else fails, blatant lies. The Watergate scandal and the incredible anxiety experienced by CIA leaders only illustrates my contention that all agencies in control are also indubitably controlled by their need to exercise that control.


How do the agents of control - be they government ministers, military leaders or corporation directors - perceive themselves? Often in terms of altruistic nobility - such is the efficacy of their ability to deceive that they are even able to deceive themselves with remarkable alacrity. Consider a typical parasite who feeds off the public sector, Bill Gates. He once stated that his success is derived from his ability to embrace and expand the minds of others. Computer technology and the internet had been developed inside the public sector for over 30 years, mostly within the Pentagon, prior to succession of Gates to the microchip throne and yet his business success story was cited by the American government as an example of a ‘victory of the market’ in terms of ‘consumer choice’ and so on.


There are many other instances of public sector creativity that have no market involvement which is perhaps why the people who display the most contempt for the market are those who own the most money. How are agents of control able to commit such atrocities as the murder of 1,000,000 on the killing fields of Cambodia or the American invasion of Vietnam? Consider what I maintain is the basic nature of humanity in such a situation. Does a 12 year old boy who snatches a toy from his younger brother baldly state that since he is bigger and stronger than his brother and since his parents are not in the room, he will take it? No. Instead he will procrastinate in the most lamentably verbose fashion that his younger brother has no real right to the toy, that he himself would make better use of it and that it was originally intended for him in any case. We are past masters at self deception, at the ability to rationalise tyrannical behaviour with the most colossal excuses and the most corybantic explanations in order that we may justify and even legitimise the most barbaric acts of brutality against our fellow human beings. Even if that is not an accurate description of human nature in a profound sense, it is certainly a description of how we can become and furthermore it is a mode of behaviour that is very easy to achieve.


 In corporate boardrooms one will discover gargantuan mechanisms for self delusion since at some fundamental level at least some of the perpetrators appreciate the basic horror, callousness or simple illegality of those decisions and actions that will cause the demise and collapse of the economy of yet another third world nation. This predilection for self delusion and the acuity acquired for its implementation are taught and learned in Harvard, Yale, Oxford and Cambridge. In his essay Literary Censorship In Little England, George Orwell observed that unpopular opinions can be marginalised in such a manner that after a while they cease to exist. Remember that the newspapers are owned by wealthy men who have every reason to suppress certain ideas and inhibit the expression of certain beliefs.


 If one receives a standard middle class education it soon becomes evident that it is imperative not to allow the dissemination of certain facts, the propagation of certain notions and the expression of certain ideas. In an ideal scenario, not only would it be possible to censor the ability to speak these facts, notions and ideas but it would be impossible even to think them. The American State proved itself to be just as oppressive and tyrannical as even the most noxious communist regime during the 1960s when it castigated any opponents of the American invasion of Vietnam which, in a superb utilisation of semantic recuperation, it called the ‘Vietnam war’. This was deliberate, of course, for it instilled in the minds of the American public the notion that American soldiers actually fought an enemy and people generally perceive an enemy in the form of an aggressor.


The real facts are these: when the south Vietnamese nationalists finally expelled the brutal French colonial government in 1954, the American government reacted with hysterical panic. They believed that the communist government of what was then North Vietnam would invade South Vietnam and form a national communist nation which would then spread through Laos and Cambodia through to Thailand and Burma. America decided that since it was undesirable for any nation in any other part of the world to dare to adopt a system of government not ratified by the White House, it would be forced to take action. A blatant invasion was no longer a viable scenario since imperialism had already become unpopular with the general public and the United Nations had distributed that infernal document that referred to the universal declaration of human rights anyway, just to exacerbate matters. Instead it sent in what was called a ‘peace keeping force’ to ‘protect the south Vietnamese from invasion by the north Vietnamese’.


    This form of rhetoric appealed to the mass consciousness of ordinary Americans, especially when the Pentagon included excerpts from the Bill Of Rights from its own Constitution in presidential speeches and newspaper reports of the invasion. It never occurred to anyone at the time to question the validity or the right of America to interfere in the business of another country with which it did not even have a trade agreement. In fact, it is pertinent to remember that when Russia invaded Afghanistan, the Russians were called ‘aggressors sent in to terrorise a sovereign nation’ yet when America invaded Nicaragua, the Americans became ‘liberators sent in to restore order’. The cogent fact here is that not only did the vast majority of the American public perceive absolutely no contradiction here at all but it never occurred to anyone to question the right of America to interfere in the political systems of other sovereign nations.

    Now the behaviour of those responsible for the escalation of the Vietnam invasion is of interest in terms of the abrupt alteration in attitude before and after the Tet Offensive which, when it occurred, proved to be the most disastrous event in the whole campaign. At that stage, America decided the ‘war’ could not be concluded in a manner that was economically viable so after Tet, the portrayal of current events (as well as of the history of the American invasion of Vietnam) was radically different to versions that were in print prior to the Tet Offensive. This does not present a problem in a disciplined society such as America where, for example, school children are all forced to pledge their allegiance to the stars and stripes on a daily basis. Paid apologists first rewrote history and then concocted accounts of the invasion that were compatible with the current paradigm that prevailed in the Pentagon. Such people usually never considered that they were engaged in any activity that was not noble. When General MacNamara radically altered his position over the invasion of Vietnam and spoke out against it, the Peace Movement first praised him then adopted him, in the manner of a mascot, as their champion. Why? Because he apologised to the American people. General MacNamara never once apologised to the Vietnamese. In his official capacity, he was directly responsible for the mass slaughter of 5,000,000 Vietnamese people but since when have Americans ever cared about anyone who is unable to sing the star spangled banner?

    When I was at Alton County Secondary School, the headmaster Reeves once told us in morning assembly that he felt genuinely sorry for Lyndon B Johnson when anti-war protesters shouted ‘Hey, hey, L B J, how many kids have you killed today?’ He told us that the American president could not be blamed for the terrible tragedy of all those dead and maimed American soldiers. Not once did he spare a thought for the deeply profound tragedy of the millions of butchered Vietnamese men, women and children who were brutally slaughtered by those same troops. Forgive me if the expression of my sympathy for the president appears rather muted. Even today, most ordinary Americans believe that


a)      the invasion of Vietnam was actually a war between protagonists,

b)      that the presence of American troops was initially justified and that

c)      the whole ugly campaign was conducted to liberate the south Vietnamese from communism.


   The apology supplied by MacNamara in particular and the American government in general is motivated by an expression of sorrow and regret


a)      for the considerable disruption caused to American society,

b)      for the extreme cost of the campaign (by which is meant economic cost) and

c)      for the failure to appreciate that such a campaign was destined to fail. The suggestion implicit in this third point is that had the campaign not been destined to fail, then the invasion of Vietnam would have been acceptable. At no time was there any mention of the ‘considerable disruption’ caused to Vietnamese society.

   While this disruption for America resulted in unstable markets and a lack of confidence in the Dow Jones index, the disruption for Vietnam resulted in the mass defoliation of whole forests, the mass destruction of crops and arable land and the mass obliteration of complete towns and villages with the genocide of millions of men, women and children. As for the extreme cost of the invasion, Americans suffered a weak dollar for a period while the Vietnamese suffered the absolute rape of their country in every sense of the term. Forgive me if the expression of my sympathy for those poor Americans on Wall Street appears rather muted.

     In fact it is still true that virtually all American people believe that there is no apology or reparation due from America to the Vietnamese. In that case it was permissible for Sadam Hussein to invade Kuwait - he was right to do what he did, he made a mistake, it was costly and it failed to work. An apology from Hussein to the Iraqi people should therefore satisfy American liberals. It is also true that the vast majority of Americans believe the war was against North Vietnam. The war waged by America against South Vietnam from 1961 to 1965 does not even appear in American history books. This is an issue of supreme importance if only out of respect to the memory of all those south Vietnamese whom the Americans murdered. MacNamara was directly responsible for 2 decisions made in this respect.


1)      He ordered the bombing of South Vietnam in 1961.


2)      He radically escalated this aggression in February 1965 when North Vietnam was bombed since the barrage dropped on South Vietnam was tripled in intensity at the same time. The media attention focused only on the bombing of North Vietnam for two simple if repugnant reasons: the campaign against South Vietnam was cheap and peasants who occupied this agricultural land were unable to retaliate.


   The invasion of the north involved considerable danger and expense. North Vietnam was a recognised State: there were foreign embassies located there and other countries raised objections. A Chinese railway line ran through part of the country while Russian ships berthed in Hai Phong harbour. In their campaign against North Vietnam, America ran the risk of hitting people who could cost them money while in South Vietnam the only victims were totally defenceless people, poor peasants, so therefore it was safe for the Americans to devastate that nation with blanket bomb raids which they achieved with typically blunt efficiency. According to the Peace Movement, this campaign of attrition against South Vietnam never even happened.


   On January 21st 1965 MacNamara authorised the escalation from propeller to jet aeroplanes in order to bomb South Vietnam but in his memoirs he states that ‘we had to bomb North Vietnam’. Nobody mentions the atrocity just as nobody mentions the manner in which that other all American hero, J F Kennedy, sent the United States air force to bomb South Vietnamese villages with napalm and agent orange even though this method of crop destruction is in direct violation of the Geneva Convention. Kennedy, you will recall, was a democrat and a liberal.


   The moral basis usually adopted for any criticism of the invasion of Vietnam is utterly disgusting. In a series of polls conducted in Britain from 1970 onwards, an open question was used: what do you think of the Vietnam War? Notice that the phrase ‘Vietnam War’ as part of the question precludes any question that the campaign of attrition was anything other than a ‘war’. The use of open questions normally results in a low response rate but in any case, 70% of the people interviewed claimed that the ‘war’ was fundamentally wrong and immoral, not a mistake. When the same poll was conducted in Harvard Square in America, virtually nobody gave that response. Instead they claimed that it was a tragic mistake but few people ventured to suggest it was either wrong or immoral. The socialists response to the invasion of Vietnam was that they campaigned for the troops to be withdrawn since it was unfair to subject poor American young men to such brutality! Stalin would have been proud to have such people in his family.


   The controls are internalised. George Bundy said that America should have withdrawn from Vietnam in 1966 because when Suhato seized power in Indonesia in 1965, there was no longer any necessity for an American presence in the far east. General Suhato perpetrated huge massacres that resulted in the slaughter of almost 1,000,000 people in under 4 months which was actually greeted with unrestrained euphoria in the American press since the Pentagon supported the army led coup. Bundy maintained that the spread of communism was like a virus that would infect every country that came into contact with it. This was a resumption of the fear that the red flag would gradually be raised from one country to another as communism spread throughout south east Asia. The communist virus had to be stopped at almost any cost (especially if another country could be persuaded to pay the bill). Therefore when Indonesia, one of the largest and most wealthy far eastern nations at that time, became subject to a military dictatorship, the American government breathed a collective sigh of relief. When this was initially cited as a sufficient cause to cease hostilities in Vietnam, most educated people in America considered this a rational and a moral argument.


   In accordance with the United Nations Charter, the Constitution refers to ‘the supreme law of the land’ which states that when a country finds itself in political crisis, other nations should initially do nothing at all in terms of military action since the threat or use of force in such a situation is illegal unless authorised by the Security Council of the United Nations in a process that includes a series of

meticulously detailed and carefully described stages. That question never arose when America chose to invade Vietnam, Nicaragua or Iraq because it has never been in accordance with American foreign policy to consider that the United Nations Charter applies to America. The only consideration for the Pentagon in such a crisis is whether or not it is wise to take action and, typically, the cost of such action in terms of capital expenditure. America believes it runs the world and is therefore not subject to international law. It is also convinced that its actions are noble and justified. The same attitude was no doubt exhibited by Ghengis Khan.

Kwan Siu Lung & Andy Martin © 2005.




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