Behind the Liberal Facade: The Crimes of JFK

Kennedy was the first American president to authorize chemical warfare and napalm, launching Operation Ranch Hand against South Vietnam in 1962.



As Noam Chomsky once remarked, if the Nuremberg Principles applied today, then every US president since 1945 would have been hanged. Kennedy, he says, “was one of the worst”.

Kennedy was the first American president to authorize chemical warfare and napalm, launching Operation Ranch Hand against South Vietnam in 1962. This Operation damaged or destroyed some 4 million acres of forest and 500,000 acres of food crops with Agent Orange and other chemical defoliants and herbicides[1], destroying/poisoning the food supply of countless civilian families. Millions were directly sprayed with Agent Orange, inflicting subsequent generations with horrific deformities[2].

This Operation was modeled on Britain’s ‘strategic hamlets’ in 1950s Kenya, when the Mau Mau revolt against British colonial rule was savagely suppressed. As revealed in 2011 with the release of declassified files from Britain’s Foreign Office, British troops stabbed/shot, tortured, raped and mutilated up to 1 million Kenyan detainees. Read Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Elkins’ comprehensive account, ‘Britain’s Gulag’.

Like Britain’s Malay Emergency, Kennedy’s Ranch Hand was also a counter-insurgency operation: the Saigon regime, “a Latin American-style terror state” (Chomsky) installed by Washington in the 1950s, had killed 20,000 people. American money and guns, however, were proving insufficient in sustaining the despised regime. To keep its client regime propped up, Washington had to intervene. LBJ sent in the troops following the (fake) Gulf of Tonkin incident, but it was JFK who initiated the war’s most devastating dimension: air raids.

Then there’s Cuba. Kennedy implemented his predecessor Dwight Eisenhower’s plans to oust the revolutionary government of Fidel Castro, whose courageous guerillas had toppled the murderous junta of Gen. Batista, a CIA stooge who had ruthlessly guarded Wall Street’s interests in the de facto corporate colony.

The President’s brother, Robert Kennedy, masterminded the most vicious crimes against Cuba: Operation Mongoose, a CIA terrorist/sabotage campaign, was designed (in his words) to “raise the terrors of the earth” against Havana.

He almost succeeded: Mongoose, perhaps the biggest campaign of international terrorism until that of Al Qaeda, involved attempted bombings of oil/sugar refineries. For decades, the US allowed terrorists to launch tourist shootings and hotel bombings from their base in Miami. Cue Bush II: “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbour them!”.

Malcolm X got stick for greeting JFK’s assassination with the phrase “chickens have come home to roost”, with Kennedy’s actions abroad partly in mind. RFK would be next, having promised to send 50 Phantom jets to Israel (Six Day War) if elected president. “I can explain it well”, his assassin Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian Christian, explained upon arrest: “I did it for my country”.





This is the best articulation of pro-war liberal hypocrisy over Trump I have read. A must read.



An avalanche of post-mortem election analysis is being unleashed. However, much of it seems to operate in a vacuum. There are various critiques of Trump. He may certainly be appalling and objectionable but there is a huge amount of hypocrisy at play here, which needs to be unmasked. Let’s take the points one by one.


Yes he clearly ran a divisive, xenophobic and sexist campaign. His conciliatory victory speech provides a ray of hope. He has stated that he will govern for all citizens. He was also generous towards Hillary – no suggestion of imprisoning his opponent for example.

And if we really want to discuss racism then it is worth recalling that the Bush and Obama War on Terror is responsible for 1.3 million deaths according to Physicians for Social Responsibility. Obama…

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Barry Riesch | Vietnam: What have we learned?

Rise Up Times

Scant mention was made in the film of the real heroes of the war. Those who resisted, burnt draft card files, left the country and did what they could to stop the horror of Vietnam.   

By Barry Riesch  November 11, 2017   Also included: Veterans Reflect on the Shattering Effects of U.S. Warmongering (Video)  with Oliver Stone, Ron Kovic, and Robert Sheer.   

Image result for vietnam warImage: IndieWire  

I have noticed little discussion in local papers of late regarding the highly touted Burns/Novick Vietnam War documentary. That is surprising because so many of our lives were deeply affected by that war.

I am a lifelong Minnesota resident with the exception of the 20 months I spent in the US Army, one year (’69-‘70) of which was in Vietnam, where I served with the 82nd Airborne and 199th Light Infantry Brigade.  I was a draftee but I always felt obliged to do my part, as…

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Human Nature: Cooperative or Competitive?

It is only 5000 years ago that society was first divided into class

The classical economist David Ricardo sometimes sought to resolve the contradictions of capitalism by recourse to nature, a fallacy that Karl Marx decried as “organic chemistry”. The apologists of neoliberalism have extended such chemistry to the system as a whole. Humans are competitive by nature, they say, and capitalist competition is merely an expression of this.

Even if we grant the premise that humans are competitive by nature, that would no more vindicate capitalism than the equivalent human inanity of violence (assuming we were to concede such an equally tenuous proposition) would vindicate the Jewish Holocaust. Capitalism is a humanly organised economic system, just as the Final Solution was an industrially organised act of genocide.

The rapacity of violence in the world today renders a critique of the latter notion (violence as human nature) equally relevant and deserving. Imperialists have historically employed the fallacy as a justification for their militarism: by explaining violence as human nature, they characterise their own actions as merely expressive thereof, by which logic any conscious criminal act or conspiracy can be ultimately rationalised. Thus, as noted above with the Holocaust analogy, this conclusion doesn’t follow even if the premise were true. The deep reaction imbuing both reflect the limited historical and analytical insight of said imperialists.

Human history, they say, is riddled with violence. Of course it is, but for concrete reasons. The majority of human history (the hunter gatherer period) has in fact been characterised by a peaceful, harmonious communal continuum. It is only 5000 years ago, with the agricultural revolution, that society was first divided into class. The subsequent monopolisation of society and its resources by a ruling minority, a plutocracy, ushered in the period of violence we have since seen, which climaxed with the organised violence of empires, both pre-capitalist and post-capitalist.

The latter is evident even today when one compares the amount killed by Islamic terrorism to those killed by America since WWII, or even since 9/11. The Holocaust was a product of the historic crisis of German capitalism (another post). Even genocide, e.g. Rwanda, occurs within a political and ethnic context. Indeed, such reactionary violence is itself a product of the colonialist partition of Africa and the Middle East, not that the average Westerner has even heard of the Sykes-Picot Agreement.

The above record would thus indicate that violence is not necessarily ‘human nature’, but consciously organised by historical ruling elites. They enforce the violence via, as Nazism did, what Marx termed the lumpen-proletariat: the dregs at the very bottom of society. In relation to Nazism in particular, one must factor in of course not only the ‘national humiliation’ of the Treaty of Versailles (which was real, and a crucial pole from which to understand the rise of Hitler) but its physical compunction by the economic chaos of the Great Depression.

In ‘Origins of Altruism and Cooperation’ (Springer 2011), Robert Sussman (PhD) and Robert Cloninger (MD) make the case that “altruism and cooperation are inherent in primates, including humans”. There are, of course, other studies affirming that competition and/or violence is inherent in human nature.

Of course, it is extremely important for such inquiries to distinguish between human nature and human behaviour within an artificial environment. In this frame of reference, human competition within the capitalist market is determined by a particular purpose: self-enrichment. As such, the internal behaviour within such a (albeit human) setup can hardly be construed as being necessarily a mere extension of human nature, any less than a murder by the mafia should be.

Explosive New Book/Film On The Threat of Nuclear War

As NATO carries out the biggest military buildup on Russia’s borders since Hitler’s invasion of the USSR in 1941, the spectre of an accidental nuclear war has returned with a vengeance.

On August 6 1945, the United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Japan. The subsequent Cold War between the West and Soviet Russia witnessed the most dangerous flashpoints in human history.

Today, as NATO carries out the biggest military buildup on Russia’s borders since Hitler’s invasion of the USSR in 1941, the spectre of an accidental nuclear war has returned with a vengeance.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the U.S. conducts a parallel encirclement strategy against China, whose economic and military rise marks the end of American dominance in the Asia Pacific.

Author Jimmy Colwill journeys through the genesis of the nuclear age and the string of dangerous historical flashpoints ever since 1945, culminating in today’s Eurasian tinderbox.

Order the book for just $3.01 at visit See Colwill’s explosive NATO/Russia Documentary ‘Flashpoints’ for free at

The Corbyn illusion and the reality of the Labour Party

Corbyn’s agenda is to keep anti-capitalist agitation in Britain under control by channelling it through Labour, lest it mobilise against the entire political establishment as a whole.

WEBPAGE_20171105_233856Corbynmania reflects the seething hostility of whole swathes of British workers and youth to the ‘Age of Austerity’ launched by Theresa May’s predecessor David Cameron in 2010. Largely ignored by the corporate media, the effects contextualise such anger: according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the combined effect of Cameron’s benefit cuts and tax breaks for the super-rich has been a 38% income drop for the poorest tenth of Britons. The link between public cuts and the rise in food bank demand has been documented by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Trussels Trust. This is amidst an already unequal society in Britain, where 25% of all children are living in poverty and 33% of GDP is concentrated in just 1000 individuals.

Athough it’s always been an establishment party, Labour’s pretence to the contrary was electorally sustainable in the post-war era, having presided over the great post-45 reforms (NHS, welfare state etc) that a bulk of the Tories also backed. It was a Tory MP no less, Quentin Hogg, who implored the House of Commons in 1943: “If you don’t give the people social reform, they will bring you revolution” (paraphrase). Such pretensions as the party of the working class, however, were historically dispensed with after ‘New Labour’.

With the 2015 general election defeat after five years of 1930s-style Tory cuts, veteran backbencher Jeremy Corbyn was roused to intervene with a ‘left’ platform to revive working class support for Labour and prevent its collapse.

Corbyn has an honourable record supporting causes of international justice, from Apartheid South Africa to Israeli-occupied Palestine, and was the only MP to vote against the then latest round of Tory austerity cuts. But an honest appraisal of the veteran backbencher would have to acknowledge that his ultimate allegience is to the Labour Party, not the international proletariat.

His entire tenure as Labour leader has been to compromise with the Blairites (that is, virtually every Labour MP except himself) on every issue for which people voted for him. The former Stop The War Coalition chairman allowed a free vote on bombing Syria and renewing Trident and, most crucially for those investing anti-austerity hopes in a future Corbyn government, he secretly instructed Labour councils to adhere to Theresa May’s budget cuts. He has opposed a system of MP reselection, the only mechanism that would have at least a chance of replacing Labour’s Blairite MPs with working class ones.

Duplicitious by definition, the UK Socialist Party advises the trade unions to build “momentum” for Corbyn so as to “transform Labour into a working class, socialist party”. The unions have been backing and funding Labour from time immemorial and dominate the Socialist Party’s core leadership, revealing the material basis for this duplicity. The Socialist Party leadership are themselves largely on the trade union committees, i.e. Labour and the trade unions form the basis of their social privilege. They are part of, as Robert Clough says in “Labour: A Party Fit For Imperialism”, a labour aristocracy that benefits from British capitalism, and who wish to ultimately preserve it amidst its current crisis by channeling working class opposition into the dead-end of electoral politics and petty-bourgeois reformism.

As former economic consultant Tony Norfield, author of “The City”, said last year*: “Basically, as has been shown more or less indefinitely over the past century or so, every time you put a regulation down, the system finds a way around it. Capitalism is international;  it gets around barriers…it’s capitalism that’s the problem, and you should address that, not think that there can be some moderated version of it that could work better. I think there’s no evidence to suggest that’s the case”.

Corbyn’s agenda is to keep anti-capitalist agitation in Britain under control by channelling it through Labour, lest it mobilise against the entire political establishment as a whole. In this trend, he is joined by Greece’s Syriza (look how that turned out!) and Bernie Sanders, who equally argued that the Democratic Party could be transformed into a party of “workers and youth”. Workers beware: these bourgeois figures are wolves in sheeps’ clothing.

*See for the full interview; check out Norfield’s great analysis at