Thursday, April 16, 2015

Genocide in Vietnam

       The Vietnam War: The Defeat of Technowar

   The American empire met a humiliating defeat in the war in Vietnam. Despite it's massive technological advantage it was beaten by a nation of peasants. In "The Perfect War: The War We Couldn't Lose and How We Did" James William Gibson provides a brilliant analysis explaining how the Vietnamese were able to win against these seemingly insurmountable odds. It thus also provides clues to the defeats the empire has suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also exposes the horrors of the war in Vietnam. The "Perfect War" is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant books ever written on the Vietnam War.
   He begins his account by providing a long historical background to the war. He observes later that most American Policy makers had absolutely no understanding of the history of Vietnam. With typical American arrogance they didn't think it was worth studying. They despised the very people they claimed to be helping and hence most had no idea that Vietnam had a history of two thousand years of successful resistance to empires. Vietnam throughout it's history was repeatedly conquered by China and repeatedly won it's independence. This history played an important part in Vietnamese culture which held up various resistance leaders as heroes and models for confucian imitation. Their defiant speeches were preserved and formed an important part of Vietnamese literary tradition. Likewise those Vietnamese who had collaborated with the Chinese were remembered as villains and held up for abuse in the Vietnamese literary tradition. Thus Vietnam possessed a culture and history of resistance. Next the French would attempt to colonize the country. Vietnam would fight a brutal war for independence lasting almost a hundred years. French rule eventually would give way to that of Japan an ally of Vichy France (The government in France which had chosen to collaborate with the Nazi's.)   Ironically the OSS would briefly train the Vietnamese resistance during the war. Ho Chi Minh would attempt to gain American support for an independent Vietnam after the war but his generous proposals were completely ignored. Instead the US would funnel millions of dollars to the French as they attempted to reassert control over their colony. French rule had been a disaster for the Vietnamese the French stole massive swaths of land converting them into huge plantations. This teansformed many peasnts into landless hired laborers. Land reform and independence were the two chief themes of the Vietnamese resistance lead by Ho Chi Minh and General Giap. They had lead the resistance since before the war and another major theme of the resistance was generational struggle. The Vietnamese were willing to carry on the war for as long as it took. However the French defeat occurred surprisingly quickly in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu the Viet Cong managed to capture a massive base the french had believed to be impenetrable. Ironically the French strategy was developed after the failure of their "Fort Strategy." They had built tiny forts across the countryside which proved to be easy targets for the guerrillas. So instead they decided to build massive fortresses which would force the guerrillas to mass their forces if they wanted to attack and then the french assumed with their superior firepower they would be able to destroy any attack by the Viet Minh (The Vietnamese resistance.) At Dien Bien Phu however the Viet Minh were able to enlist the people in a heroic effort to transport artillery by bicycle and by hand through hundreds of miles of dense jungle. Thanks to this they managed to hide artillery positions all around the base and managed to surround and capture the base inflicting a decisive defeat on the French. In the Geneva treaty that ended the war it was agreed that elections would be held to determine the future government of Vietnam. However since Ho Chi Minh was certain to win America instead decided to back Diem as a dictator in south Vietnam and indefinitely postpone nationwide elections. Instead Diem was installed in crooked elections with the help of massive bribery and massive brutality. However his brutal crackdown aimed at eliminating all opposition inspired new resistance. For almost a decade the CIA waged a covert war aimed at keeping Diem in power before a faction of the CIA  decided he had to go. Diem was overthrown in a coup and killed along with his brother replaced by a string of corrupt generals who were constantly plotting against each other. The new president Lyndon Johnson decided to commit American troops since their corrupt South Vietnamese puppets had proved incapable of stopping the North Vietnamese supported guerrillas in the south from controlling the countryside. (See my two previous articles on Vietnam the March 2015 "Wars in Korea of Vietnam" and the April 2015 "The Phoenix Program." for more on the origins of the war and the nature of the Viet Cong resistance.)
   The American officials who planned the war were certain that they would be victorious. James William Gibson gives a brilliant analysis of the mindset of the technocrats who planned the war. To describe their philosophy he coined the term "Technowar." During World War Two the US had succeeded in creating a massive Military Industrial Complex. They had achieved a great deal of efficiency using management science.  They decided the American war effort had been successful because it's production side had been run like a giant business. They decided that the next war itself would be run like a giant business. America would use it's massive industrial base and it's mastery of science and technology to outproduce the enemy. Then on the battlefield it would use it's massive technological advantage to produce massive casualties among the enemy. Eventually a tipping point would be reached when the US would be killing more of the enemy then they could replace and their surrender would become inevitable. A primary theorist behind all this was Henry Kissinger who also believed that only westerners because of their enlightenment traditions had the ability to perceive reality accurately. The author has a great deal of fun throughout the book turning this axiom on it's head by showing that the war managers were on the contrary completely disconnected from the on the ground reality believing in deeply flawed statistics promising victory that bore no relation to the truth. Another feature of technowar was the idea that war could be rationally managed like an algorithim or a computer program. Vietnam was a war fought with flow charts. The whole country was classified and filed. For example there was the so called Hamlet evaluation system every hamlet would be graded on a variety of factors. They applied the same system to their own troops and commanders everyone was graded in an elaborate system of performance evaluation. The war planners believed that the enemy would respond rationally and predictably to the use of force. Ultimately they would realize they had no chance of winning and would surrender.  Ultimately Technowar was the belief that with it's technological advantage America could not lose. With all those tanks, bombers, helicopters and artillery it was only a matter of time before the Vietnamese realized that resistance was futile and would surrender. As noted they paid no attention to Vietnamese ideas of generational resistance. They did not bother to stop and wonder why the french had been beaten. In technowar which reduced the world to numbers there was no place for the human spirit. Their theories assumed that the Vietnamese were merely inferior copies of themselves and that they would respond in the same way as they themselves would. Needless to say they completely underestimated the Vietnamese.
   Ironically the Vietnamese would win by understanding the nature of their foe and turning their strengths into weaknesses. For Instance the American's would wage war along set patterns. First would come a spotter plane. Then helicopters would fly in the men and artillery. The VC (the Communist Vietnamese Guerrilla resistance) would learn these patterns and would thus know exactly when and where the americans were planning to attack. Forgotten by the war planners in their air conditioned Washington offices was just how noisy all this american technology was. Planes and tanks could be heard coming from miles away. The VC knew exactly where the americans were and what they were planning as soon as they would arrive in an area since they always followed the same patterns. As a result they were able to ambush the US forces at will. The author quotes statistics proving that the VC held combat initiative in 75% of engagements with battles at the VC choice of time place, type, and duration. In other words the Americans were constantly being ambushed and further the VC were usually able to successfully escape. Cynically the whole American strategy of search and destroy was based on this fact. the troops would be sent out to get into ambushes which would allow the Americans to pinpoint the enemy and call in massive artillery and airpower to destroy them. However since the VC understood this they were able to calculate exactly how long each attack should last because they knew how long it would take artillery or air support to be called in and thus could escape in time. When the US tried to compensate by using agent orange to destroy the jungles this only made the US troops easier targets.
   The US troops constantly being ambushed retaliated by indiscriminately attacking the civilian population and by destroying their villages. Relying on war memoirs and novels the author reconstructs the brutal war crimes that formed the reality of the war. The Vietnam war was an orgy of rape, torture and murder. However this massive destruction was not merely the result of vengeful troops. Instead the genocidal nature of the war was determined by policy. As mentioned earlier the US hoped to win by producing more death then the other side. As a result they established production targets or kill quotas. Platoons that didn't produce enough kills could be punished by being forced to remain in the field. On the other hand a unit could win privileges and vacation time if it had a high kill count. Officers promotions depended on them meeting their quota on the amount of kills. Some units would get into fights over the body parts each side wanting to get the kill count. Of course this would lead to false and exaggerated reporting that would delude the war managers into believing victory was near. More tragically for the Vietnamese it would result in the reporting of all civilian deaths as VC deaths. One joke floating around american units at the time was "When we kill a pregnant woman, we count it as two VC, One soldier and One Cadet." After that ugly quote I should mention that the author manages to provide quite a Horrifying picture of the war by compiling some of the songs and jokes current among the troops at the time. I'll provide another example here is a forward air patrol song.

Bomb the Schools and Churches.
Bomb the rice fields, too.
Show the children in the courtyards
What napalm can do.

Strafe the town and kill the people.
Drop napalm in the square.
Get out early every Sunday
And Catch them at their morning prayer.

Throw candy to the ARVN [South Vietnamese Army]
Gather them all around
Take your twenty mike-mike [20mm Automatic cannon]
And Mow the bastards down.

As the author discusses in his chapters on the air war schools, hospitals and churches really were frequent targets of american bombers. Just as dead civilians were reported as dead VC. Bombed churches and schools were reported as destroyed barracks. However to return to the ground war in addition to demanding high kill counts war planners were directly responsible for the massive destruction in the countryside. They hoped to cut the VC off from their base of support in the countryside by forcing the vietnamese into model villages in the countryside. Here the author also has many interesting things to say about the delusional war planners who always conceived the VC as some outside other since it fit into their mythology of the war. In this mythology America was there to defend south Vietnam from outside communist aggression. In border regions it was true that the North Vietnamese sent their army to attack keeping the bulk of american forces pinned down. However in the interior of the country the war was a guerrilla war by the south vietnamese peasants themselves they were the VC. However the American strategy constantly sought to create a barrier to protect the vietnamese from some outside other which was pointless since the Vietnamese peasants were that other. However using such a mythology as a justification they carried out war on the entire populace under the cover of protecting them from the VC.
    As mentioned they attempted to force the peasants into model villages. In reality these were more like prison camps surrounded by barbed wire fences and machine gun nests. For the average peasant this was also a spiritual catastrophe. In Vietnamese Buddhism the villagers buried their ancestors in the village and regularly performed rituals to aid them in the after life. To be separated from the burial places of their ancestors was a terrible trauma for them. On a more practical level they were peasants who were cut off from their land. They were handed propaganda leaflets promising them prosperous new lives. The Americans were supposed to supply the new villages with food. However their south vietnamese puppets were notoriously corrupt and specialized in ripping off american aid and making fortunes by selling them on the black market. The food for the peasants met the same fate most of it never reached them. Often the building materials for their new houses were also sold on the black market and they lived in card board boxes. Anyone who didn't leave the village or anyone who returned to it was a target those areas were labeled Free-Fire Zones. One amusing feature of the book is that Vietnam marked a definite turning point towards using euphemisms. Thus such accurate terms as Free Fire Zone, or Search and Destroy were replaced during the war by specified strike zone and search and clear in an effort to disguise reality.  Even ambushed was changed to engaging the enemy on all sides or meeting engagement on all sides. They even made a list for the press of terms that were no longer acceptable and their new and more boring Orwellian replacements.  A process that has reached untold heights during the Obama administration when they attempted to rename the "War on Terror"  "Overseas Contingency Operations."
   A free-Fire Zone was exactly what it sounded like an entire area where everything was a legitimate target for artillery strikes, bombing raids and roving search and destroy patrols. These search and destroy patrols were often exactly what they sounded like when they found a village they would often destroy everything in it the standard order was often "Kill Anything that moves" (The the Title of Nick Turse's excellent book on Vietnam). They would kill old men, women and children. The young men were never around either drafted into the ARVN, fighting with the Viet Cong or hiding since death was certain for any military age man found by US troops. They even killed the livestock burned the crops, blew up the well and burned down the village. This was one of the ways that the Vietnamese were forced into model villages. If they returned to their land they were subjected to daily bombing and artillery strikes. To survive they grew expert in digging bomb shelters beneath their huts usually they could only farm at night. The Americans would spray their crops with agent Orange to destroy them. First to starve would be the children, then the old, then the babies when their mothers milk would run out. Frankly it  is long past time we started calling what happened in Vietnam a genocide. It is time we began writing histories that portray the heroism required for these civilians merely to survive in places  where the US wages it's endless wars. Places like Vietnam, Guatemala, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.  Instead we get histories with a lot of nonsense about tragic errors and noble sacrifice, and best intentions which completely ignore all the horrors the American Empire have inflicted on the planet. Take up your pens Iraqi's and Vietnamese write down your stories before it is to late.
   As You can see I get angry just thinking about all the Vietnamese peasants had to endure so let's return briefly to the land of Technowar back in the air conditioned offices in Washington DC thousands of miles from the hell on earth they had created over in Vietnam. Here they finally received a dose of reality during the Tet offensive. As mentioned everyone had good reason to inflate their kill numbers and to record civilians as dead VC. Even more ridiculously the General in charge decided to erase the entire Viet Cong guerrilla force from the estimates of enemy strength. This was in keeping with the myth that the United States was "defending" south Vietnam. They noticed a lull in incidents and they ignored intelligence of a massive VC offensive. They announced that victory was finally in sight lulled by the phony numbers the military was feeding them. Instead the VC launched the massive Tet offensive targeting cities around the country. The VC suffered heavy casualties in the offensive but on the other hand the US was forced to bring all it's troops in from the countryside to retake the cities. The VC were able to further strengthen their control of the countryside. More importantly this was the moment the war planners realized that they would lose. Thus Tet led to Lyndon Johnson deciding not to run for President again.  Increasingly they turned to air power in an attempt to delay the inevitable.
    The Air war in Vietnam was in many ways the embodiment of the technowar. First it involved demonstrating America's technological superiority. Second the air war planners seemed to believe in the beginning that if they struck just the right targets with the right intensity they could force the North Vietnamese to surrender. They had ever expanding target lists. The war planners viewed the air war as a form of communication and the author cleverly examines their insane views hatched by the technocrats at the Rand Corporation. The Air war would both Signal to north Vietnam that they couldn't hope to win and signal their resolve to their allies in south vietnam. However the air war eventually evolved into bombing everything in sight as I explained earlier. They would drop twice as many bombs on Vietnam as were dropped in all of world war two. They also expanded the air war into Laos and Cambodia. Nixon who replaced Johnson developed the Mad Man doctrine. He would attempt to terrify North Vietnam into submission and told his subordinates to tell the North Vietnamese that he could barely be restrained from using Nuclear weapons. The Americans dropped so many bombs that they caused almost as much destruction as a nuclear war would have in terms of explosive kilotons they actually dropped the equivalent of several nukes in conventional bombs.
    However just as Technowar would fail on the ground it would fail in the Air as well. The Vietnamese came up with clever solution. Everyone in North Vietnam was issued an assault rifle  a major reason that America never dared to invade directly. The North Vietnamese became one giant air defense system every time a plane would approach and they could be heard from miles away everyone would fire up into the air. The Americans were forced to fly out of their range which put them in range of the North Vietnamese radar guided anti-air defenses. Many planes were shot down. During one major bombing offensive the pilots  were forced to fly unfamiliar planes because of the scale of the attack so every plane was supplied with a huge library of technical manuals. When one of these bombers was shot down the North Vietnamese were able to adjust their air defenses perfectly to target US airpower using all the valuable information in the technical manuals. In addition North Vietnam was a largely Agricultural not industrial society thus it was able to survive the massive destruction of it's cities. Aside from trying to force the North Vietnamese to surrender the Air war also hoped to cut off their ability to supply the VC. Yet this only revealed yet another paradox of technowar. It turns out the VC only needed 12 tons of supplies a day. It was impossible to stop such a tiny amount of supply from reaching them. The Americans turned to one of their most high tech solutions. They built a massive sensor network along the Ho Chi Minh trail. If the sensors detected a loud noise the information would be sent to a bomber which would target the site. However the VC learned to mask the sound of trucks using tape recorded nature sounds and also to make the Americans target non existent trucks by playing truck sounds. Since the sensors were also destroyed in the attack they had no idea whether any trucks had actually been destroyed. Of course they reported that trucks had been destroyed but when planes were sent to assess the damage the next day usually there was no wreckage to be found. Even if they had managed to destroy all the north Vietnamese trucks the VC required so little outside supply that they could have used bicycles or backpacks to smuggle the needed 12 tons across the border. They could also always buy whatever they needed from America's South Vietnamese allies who stole billions in supplies and operated a massive black market of American weapons across the country.
      The Air war thus proved as much of a failure as the ground war. There was also an economic war the US tried to win the south vietnamese over by flooding them with cheap consumer goods. In one revealing example they attempted to conquer the country with TV. They set up TV stations to air propaganda tinged soap operas and other programs. Color Television was coming into use in america so the government shipped all the black and white sets people were tossing out over to Vietnam. This was only one aspect of a massive propaganda war the US waged on the country billions of leaflets were dropped and hundreds of Vietnamese journalists were paid to spread CIA propaganda. However since they didn't bother to learn anything about Vietnamese culture this propaganda war often backfired just like every other aspect of technowar. American efforts to turn Vietnam into an urban consumer society were equally disastrous. Millions of refugees who avoided the model villages ended up in the massive slums that surrounded the cities. Many were forced to survive by prostitution, begging, and by eating garbage. The money the US flooded the country with drove up inflation to the point where the south vietnamese troops couldn't support their families. To make matters worse their officers often stole their pay. In this regard America did succeed in shaping south Vietnam in it's own image it was a land where a few crooks got rich while everyone else got poorer. It's the American way.
   The corruption, the poverty, and above all the massive slaughter inflicted by the Occupying american army only served to increase the popularity of the VC and discredit the south vietnamese government.  Despite the massively destructive ground war the VC managed to maintain the initiative throughout the war ambushing the Americans at will. Despite the massive bombing campaign that also targeted Laos and Cambodia the Americans were unable to force the North Vietnamese to surrender nor could they cut off their supplies. In the end there were advantages to being low tech that the americans didn't foresee. It was cheaper making it impossible for the americans to cut off their supplies. It was also quieter and less visible. It was also less detached from reality Technowar allowed the war to be directed from thousands of miles away and thus to be directed by people completely separated from the day to day realities. Even the commanders stationed in Vietnam itself were divorced from reality by technowar. They directed their troops from helicopters flying over the battlefields their experience very different from the grunts trudging through the jungle below. In another technowar disaster they arrogantly sent their commands over open channels. The VC well supplied with american radios purchased on the black market could hear everything further enhancing their ability to lay ambushes and evade detection. Above all it was the VC's irrational determination to struggle on no matter what the odds that foiled the rational plans of the technocrats back in Washington as they re-ran the numbers after Tet they realized that they could never send enough troops to win. Incidentally the author shows that contrary to popular belief the troop buildup in Vietnam was not decided on piecemeal but had been scheduled in advance from the beginning. Nixon hoped to use airpower to prop up south Vietnam but this also proved a failure. South Vietnam quickly collapsed after US troops were withdrawn the country was finally reunited and independent. America would quickly find another war in Angola but it would be forced to wage it covertly and it suffered another humiliating defeat.
   The author ends the book by discussing how American came to understand the war. There were the liberals who saw it as tragic but noble mistake. Then their were the conservatives who claimed America could have won if only the generals hadn't been restrained by the politicians. Both were equally delusional there was nothing noble about a genocidal war that killed millions in order to protect the regimes of a string of corrupt dictators. Nor was America on the verge of victory. If they had invaded North Vietnam they would have encountered an entire nation organized into an armed militia in addition to the massive force North Vietnam kept in reserve to meet this eventuality. They would have faced a more intense form of the same guerrilla war they were already losing in the south and they lacked the manpower to occupy north and south Vietnam.  Not only that but China itself might have intervened. This is why the US never invaded North Vietnam although it did launch covert attacks across the border. Instead of this mythology the lessons we should learn from Vietnam are obvious. First it is the story of a genocidal assault on the Vietnamese people using everything short of an atom bomb. Second it is the story of a successful resistance against this overwhelming might in the end brains and determination were enough to defeat the American Technowar. Wherever people are struggling against the empire they should remember Vietnam. In fact as Pepe Escobar reported in the weeks before the invasion many Iraqis carefully studied the writings of General Giap who masterminded the military campaign in Vietnam. Once again America's massive Technowar machine would be brought to a standstill and shock and awe would prove useless against a determination to resist no matter what. Once again the arrogant war planners were humbled. And once again the Empire killed millions in revenge. Now in Afghanistan the US is poised for yet another defeat and few doubt that their puppet government will quickly collapse once the last foreign troops  are withdrawn.


I based this article on James William Gibson's excellent book "The Perfect War:The War We Couldn't lose and how we did." I highly recommend it. Actually I decided to take my own advice and rewatched Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" and was surprised to find many lines of Dialog taken directly from the "The Perfect War." For more on the American war crimes in Vietnam read "Kill Anything That Moves" By Nick Turse for a discussion of the conventional war. Also Read the excellent "The Phoenix Program" By Douglas Valentine for a discussion of the CIA's covert war in Vietnam using death squads and special forces. For a discussion of the Origin of the War as well as more on the wars in Laos and Cambodia read Peter Dale Scott's "The War Conspiracy." I Discuss Scott's "War Conspiracy in my March 2015 "Wars in Korea and Vietnam." I discuss Doug Valentine's "The Phoenix Program in my April 2015 "The Phoenix Program"

An Excellent two hour interview with James William Gibson is available online it is highly recommended and is what inspired me to read the book in the first place. Warning it contains many graphic descriptions of war crimes.

Check Out More great episodes of alternative views an old public access news show that serves as an invaluable historical resource because of all the great coverage they did. They have great shows on the wars El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Angola as well as many interviews with CIA whistleblower John Stockwell who I discussed in my February 2015 article The CIA in Africa.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Phoenix Program

    The Phoenix Program: CIA Terror, Assassination and Torture in Vietnam

   The Phoenix program in Vietnam in many ways provides a blue print for our own times. Assassinations and torture are the essence of the war on terror. As are death squads and false flag terror attacks. As are mass surveillance of the populace. Thanks to the work of Douglas Valentine in his classic book "The Phoenix Program" we have an extremely detailed account of the Phoenix Program exposing a classic example of the brutality of the CIA's counter insurgency wars. By studying the Phoenix program one can gain a great deal of insight into the  wars in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.
    How the book came to be written is an interesting story in it's own right. Doug Valentine had written a novel about his fathers experiences in a prisoner of war camp during World War 2 called "Hotel Tacloban." He decided his next book would be on Vietnam and he decided to focus on the CIA role since little had been written on the topic. He approached former CIA Director William Colby for help. He sent him a copy of his book and the former CIA director decided that Valentine was a man who understood the harsh realities of war and agreed to meet with him. Valentine cut his hair, bought a suit and tie met with Colby and managed to gain his confidence.  Colby believed Valentine would write a sympathetic account. After all the CIA is used to working with journalists who censor the truth in exchange for inside information. Colby arranged for him to meet hundreds of former agents. Valentine had managed to penetrate the inner world of the CIA. Amazingly it took years for the CIA to suspect that Valentine had no intention of writing a sympathetic account of their crimes in Vietnam. By then it was too late he already had hundreds of hours of taped interviews. He wrote his book one of the most detailed accounts of a CIA program ever. However the CIA used it's influence with the New York Times to kill the book with a bad review. The book was buried in obscurity. Valentine was forced to give up writing and became a private investigator but fortunately one of the contacts he made while writing Phoenix Program helped him find an even more scandalous story and he went on to write "The Strength of the Wolf" and the "Strength of the Pack" which expose in great detail the phony nature of America's decades long war on drugs. Doug Valentine is one of the most fearless researchers alive today his works are required reading for anyone interested in the CIA, Organized Crime, and America's corrupt establishment.
   What was the Phoenix Program? From the perspective of a Bureaucrat like Bill Colby it was merely an attempt to coordinate a number of pre-existing programs.  Sort of like the Department of HomeLand Security or more precisely it's fusion centers where military, police, and intelligence agencies pool information on their enemies the American people. Phoenix sought to provide cooperation between various Vietnamese and American agencies so that they could coordinate their war on the Vietnamese people. What was the Phoenix program? A massive campaign of torture and assassination aimed at destroying what the CIA called the VCI the Viet Cong Infrastructure.  Amusingly this term  was as confusing to Vietnamese as it probably is to you. They had to hold a massive conference to attempt a translation and the word they ended up using only further confused the Vietnamese. By infrastructure the Americans meant not  roads and bridges but the civilian Shadow government the Communist revolutionaries had set up across the country. In many places they were the ones in real control on the local level and they used their power to fight for land reform on behalf of the peasants. America's South Vietnamese allies however were a corrupt class of elitists who supported the land lords against the peasants and were hated by the majority of the populace. For the Vietnamese the Vietnam war was a revolution aimed at land reform and re-uniting the country. Since they had popular support the National Liberation Front had hoped at first to win power peacefully. However the American's had Installed Ngo Dinh Diem as dictator and he ruthlessly crushed all opposition attacking not just the Communist National Liberation Front but all competitors for power including Buddhists and fellow nationalists. His power was narrowly based in Vietnam's catholic minority and he relied on a massive network of corruption to maintain loyalty. After tens of thousands of their supporters had been killed the National Liberation Front appealed to the north for help. When Vietnam was split thousands of South Vietnamese had moved north not wishing to live under Diem's regime. In North Vietnam they had been trained in political organization and Guerrilla warfare. They were sent south to help organize the revolution. They formed what were known as armed propaganda teams. They would enter villages at night administer some revolutionary justice by executing a corrupt local official in front of the whole village and then would explain the goals of the revolution, educate the village about the crimes of the regime, even stage plays and read poems. The NLF expanded their control over the countryside and set up their own system of government. This system extended from the local level of small committees to the top level COSVN which planned the strategy for the war. It was this system that the CIA targeted with the Phoenix program.
    Interestingly the Phoenix program had it's roots in an attempt to mimic the tactics of the Viet Cong Vietnam was quite literally a giant laboratory to study counter insurgency tactics. In the early days of the CIA presence there various CIA province chiefs were allowed to experiment with different ways to combat the growing revolution. Ralph Johnson decided to create the Mountain scouts to imitate the tactics of the armed propaganda teams. Recruiting hardened criminals, Viet Cong defectors, and various ethnic minorities like the hmong, and Montagnards the CIA formed brutal death squads highly trained in methods of covert war. They would sneak into a village at night and brutally slaughter someone they suspected of working with the NLF along with their families and any witnesesed and hope the attack would be blamed on the Viet Cong themselves. They called the tactic counter terror ironically since what they were doing was terrorism. In fact throughout the Vietnam war the CIA staged false flag terror attacks even bombing theaters and blamed them on Viet Cong "Terrorists" it's surprising that this aspect of the war is little mentioned given it's special relevance today. However the primary purpose of the death squad commando's was to sneak into NLF controller territory and kidnap and kill some target. In contrast to most such forces like the contras in Nicaragua in the 80's (trained by people from the Phoenix program) or the Fascist volunteer battalions in Ukraine today who are often poor fighters only effective at terrorizing unarmed civilians The PRU (Provincial Reconnaissance Units) as the CIA's Vietnamese death squads were renamed were the most effective fighting force in south Vietnam. They would form one of the primary elements in the Phoenix Program. Along with the Field Police they would be the enforcers.
    The next element of the Phoenix program was the Province Interrogation Centers or PICs. Using a CIA Front company Pacific Architects and Engineers the CIA built prisons all over the country to be used to torture political prisoners. They are exact forerunners of todays CIA black sites which now dot the world aiming to torture people to produce real or fabricated intelligence, recruit double agents, break people's spirits and terrify the rest of the planet into submission. Vietnam was covered with these torture sites often the only modern building that was built in a village. At first the Viet Cong made freeing the prisoners a major goal and they staged a number of successful attacks until the PICs were redesigned to make them more secure from outside attack. Inside the prisoners were subjected to horrific tortures, starvation, beatings, electric shock, rape. Through a special program USAID the infamous CIA front that pretends to dole out charity sent out telephone generators across the world used by the CIA trained secret police around the world to torture their people. Vietnam was only one example. People would be held for months and there were few survivors.  These PICs in return would obtain names for further targets who would be either killed or sent to the PICs to be tortured to generate even more names. An endless cycle of horror. Many who ended up there were not even part of the resistance. Instead many were the victims of extortion who failed to pay the proper bribes and whose names were fed into the system. Others were set up by their personal enemies. Others were enemies of the VC. The VC managed to infiltrate all aspects of the South Vietnamese government they were masters of espionage and managed to feed the names of their enemies into the system.
   The third aspect of the Phoenix program was intelligence collection. The CIA maintained a network of spies throughout the country and it attempted to assemble a master list of all the NLF members in south Vietnam. They set up ICEX in an attempt to coordinate intelligence from the CIA the Vietnamese Special Branch which ran the high level NLF infiltrations, the Field Police, the PRU and US military intelligence. However in reality this proved impossible since the South Vietnamese were always plotting against each other and jealously guarded their secrets. The various agencies were tools of the various factions in South Vietnam's Machiavellian political struggles. After the fall of Diem Vietnam experienced a long string of coups as South Vietnam's generals battled each other for control. In addition every sought to use their positions to get rich Drug Dealing, embezzlement, Prostitution and protection rackets were how the CIA's allies mainly occupied themselves hunting down the NLF was only a minor concern. Of course many US Contractors, Military officers and CIA Officers also managed to earn fortunes in various corrupt schemes. The whole war after was partly undertaken to simply to enrich the Corporate elite back home. The Military and the CIA also were in competition with the CIA unwilling to share information. The military often re-assigned people to intelligence with no prior experience or training giving them a short training course before making them case officers. Thus for obvious reasons the CIA considered them amateurs.  However despite the difficulties they did manage to set up a massive database of names of people they believed made up the NLF. In addition to gathering intelligence the massive network of agents was a means for the CIA to buy loyalty and the CIA paid more in bribes to agents then USAID's whole development budget for South Vietnam. As mentioned the Phoenix Program was a further attempt to coordinate these various elements into a program to eliminate what they called the VCI or Viet Cong Infrasture.
    The Phoenix program was thus a massive program to capture and Kill the VCI with the captured being tortured to reveal more names. It was also a massive psychological operation. Psychological operations aim at the mind of the enemy. They can range from Propaganda to terrorism and both were prominent features of the Phoenix Program. Edward Landsdale former advertising executive turned CIA counter insurgency expert was an important pioneer in these tactics. In the Philippines he had played on local superstitions about vampires in one famous example. He had used his agents to spread rumors that vampires were infesting the area the local guerrillas were camped. Then when enough time had passed his Commandos grabbed a guerrilla bringing up the rear of a column drained his body of blood and then left it along the trail to be found the next day. The trick worked and the Guerrillas fled the area. Another favorite tactic was to paint an eye facing the front door of those they suspected of supporting the guerrillas as a threat before later kidnapping killing and torturing them. Thus whenever they painted one of these eyes they were sure to terrify their target and let them know they were being watched. Landsdale called it the eye of God. In Vietnam the CIA would use variations of both these tactics. They played on Vietnamese beliefs about the afterlife to add additional horror to their murders. The Vietnamese believed the liver and the third eye were important to reaching heaven. The CIA would have the PRU cut out their victims pineal gland and even have them eat their liver. Thus their victims would not only be killed but denied an afterlife. They left the eye of god painted on corpses. They would also use variations of the eye of God technique. They would fly over their targets addressing the guerrillas by name and telling them to surrender now before it was to late. They Put up wanted posters to keep NLF cadres from being able to travel freely. They even issued comic books explaining the benefits of being an informant.  They  dropped billions of propaganda leaflets throughout the country. These often backfired showing a  cruel disregard for the populace by constantly threatening them with death and destruction. They  had programs to indoctrinate their allies and they employed an eccentric South Vietnamese army officer named Be who was an expert in vietnamese mythology to concoct an elaborate ideology to indoctrinate their own "revolutionary" development cadres in another attempt to imitate the NLF. They forced Vietnam's peasants to form local militias to combat the VC. These RF/PF militias would suffer the highest casualty rate of all the forces fighting in the war.
     Another element of the Phoenix Program involved what were called census grievance teams. In every village the CIA appointed an official who was responsible for interviewing the head of each household every month. Initially the idea was that he would then use some of this information to root out corruption and improve the lives of the people. However since he was invariably a member of the corrupt elite who generally despised the peasants his real function was to discover who was dissatisfied and turn them in as suspected NLF.
    Also involved in the Phoenix Program were US special operations forces. They acted as advisers sometimes training the PRU teams. Often advisers were sent to PRU Units that were already well trained and highly experienced in the ways of covert war. They also lead them on their snatch and grab missions and provided valuable equipment. One fascinating part of the book recounts the early misadventures of the Navy Seals who had been training for many years but who had never been in combat before. They made a disastrous series of mistakes in their first months in country due to faulty intelligence and general ignorance about Vietnam. It was after teaming up with the PRU and their CIA adviser that they found their role in the war dressed as vietcong hiding during the day and traveling at night and kidnapping or killing their CIA provided targets. In todays world special forces are CIA foot soldiers involved in a secret war in 140 countries. There is no telling how many people they have assassinated.
    However all these efforts the enemies lists, torture centers, Psychological operations and Death Squads would in the end prove futile. They rarely managed to capture high level NLF members although they often targeted completely innocent people. They failed to regain control of the countryside. In part this was because the whole program was misconceived they attempted to adopt the Viet Cong tactics while ignoring their goals. The VC were offering land while the government was attempting to force people off their land into new villages that were little more the  prison camps. The VC were acting in Vietnam's two thousand year tradition of battling for national liberation. Throughout the centuries they had suffered repeated conquest by the Chinese and had also successfully fought for their independence repeatedly throwing off Chinese domination. More recently the struggle against the french had lasted almost a hundred years. They had fought the Japanese during World War 2. America was merely the latest foreign invader no amount of propaganda could hide this fact. Another factor in Vietnamese society that made the effort futile was our corrupt allies. Instead of using the program to hunt for communists they used it as a giant extortion racket. In addition they knew that if they targeted the high level NLF members they themselves might be targeted in revenge. They often already knew who the top leaders were but they kept the information from the CIA for fear of the reprisals that might result. In actuality there was often a sort of secret truce in place the NLF would allow the South Vietnamese government the illusion of control in an area in return the government wouldn't interfere with their activities. Often the government ruled by day while at night the NLF ruled.   While 40,000 people were killed by the Phoenix Program the CIA failed to destroy the VCI instead it was the South Vietnamese government which would in the end collapse.
    The legacy of the Phoenix program is a legacy of terror, torture, and death. With all the carnage of the Vietnam War it was little noticed although there was a brief scandal about it when the UN declared the US had a responsibility  to insure South Vietnam adhered to the Geneva Convention on treatment of prisoners, since the US had designed and funded their prison system, one of the worst in the world. Colby was called before congress where he denied that the Phoenix program was an assassination program merely an effort to coordinate intelligence gathering. He admitted 20,000 people had been killed but that was merely a byproduct. The Phoenix program became was just another brief scandal. Andre Vltchek estimates that 8 million people died as a result of America's wars in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The Phoenix program did not end with those wars just as in a sense it did not begin with them. The tactics of Phoenix are common to all counter-insurgency campaigns and One can read accounts of American actions in the Philippines at the beginning of the 20th century that involve many of the exact same tactics. However the connection between the Phoenix program and later events is far more concrete and Doug Valentine ends his book with America's dirty war in El Salvador. The US sent the exact same people involved in the Phoenix program to advise El Salvador on how to wage war on it's own peasants. In Nicaragua there was another infamous example Felix Rodriguez was a PRU adviser in the Phoenix program. He was an infamous figure a Cuban exile he was involved in the bay of pigs, the murder of Che Guevara in Bolivia, then went to Vietnam to serve in the Phoenix Program. After the war He and some of his exile friends did work as hit teams for Miami drug dealers before being sent to advise and train the contras while helping with their drugs and gun smuggling. Drug dealing had been a major element in the Vietnam War as well (a topic I touched on in my March 2015 Article Wars in Korea and Vietnam) It was so prevalent in South Vietnam that the CIA often paid their informants in heroin as well as cash. The highest levels of the vietnamese government were involved in the drug trade. In Nearby Laos much of the war centered over a battle for the Opium poppy fields in the plain of jars and  many of the coups actually centered around how to divide the profits from the drug trade. The CIA ran a front airline CAT later renamed Air America that smuggled in guns and smuggled out drugs to finance their massive  "Secret Army." In Nicaragua personal friend of then Vice President George H.W. Bush Felix Rodriguez was involved in a very similar scheme flying in guns and flying out drugs to fund the contras. The Contras then terrorized the populace in a horrific manner in exactly the same way the original CIA counter terror teams did. Thus in Central America Phoenix was able to live up to it's name rising from the ashes of Vietnam. In El Salvador and Guatemala they advised the government in a massive program of torture and assassination. Death Squads made up a major element in these programs. In Nicaragua they trained the contras to engage in terror and assassination that often targeted Nicaraguan health workers and teachers or any government member they could get their hands on doubtless in an attempt to eliminate the Sandinista "Infrastructure" Of course they also terrorized anyone else who fell into their hands men, women and children.  The Phoenix program would rise once again after the wars in central America ended this time in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq they explicitly called it the El Salvador solution and they sent people who had helped El Salvador wage it's reign of terror to Iraq to train the Shiite Badr brigades. They would use these to wage a massive campaign of kidnapping and torture aimed at destroying the Sunni insurgency. In Syria they would train Wahhabi death  squads in an attempt to overthrow the government in a manner similar to the way they used the contras in Nicaragua only even worse. Again Syria's infrastructure has been targeted quite literally as the CIA backed death squads attempt to destroy food production, Hospitals schools, water, electricity and power, even cultural sites. Of course they also try to kill as many people as possible. Like the death squads of the phoenix program they frequently commit false flag attacks most famously using chemical weapons in attempt to frame the Assad government. Perhaps the latest site for the rebirth of the Phoenix program is Ukraine where Fascist Death Squads have been unleashed to terrorize the populace although after a recent power struggle the government plans to bring them into the regular army. Most ominous for Americans the entire war on terror apparatus mimics the phoenix program and fusion centers have already been set up to share intelligence on the American population itself as Doug Valentine himself explained in a brilliant series of articles. The Phoenix program has spread terror across the planet. It will doubtless continue to be reborn again and again so long as America and it's allies long war against the planet continues.

I relied on Doug Valentine's "The Phoenix Program." A masterpiece made up of hundreds of first hand accounts analyzing every aspect of the Phoenix Program in depth. It is highly recommended for anyone interested in the Vietnam War, The CIA, and the wars in Central America and the Middle East. I've Just started his next book "The Strength of the Wolf" but I can already highly recommend it to anyone wanting to understand the Mafia, the War On Drugs, and the corrupt American Ruling class. His Next book is "Strength of the Pack" which continues the story. For More on Vietnam I highly recommend "The Perfect war" by James William Gibson which will be the topic of a future article. There is a great movie inspired by Graham Greene's classic Novel "The Quiet American" that was actually based on Ed Landsdale.

Many Doug Valentine interviews and articles are available online. He has made all the recordings of the interviews he made on The Phoenix Program available to the public here is is website

A link to an interview he did and an article he wrote on Daniel Ellsberg who shockingly was involved in the phoenix program.

Doug Valentine on what's really going on in Mexico where 100,000 people have died as a result of the war on drugs. Plus a great discussion of the phoenix program

Doug Valentine on the coup in Ukraine

Doug Valentine on the history of the war on drugs


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

War on Yemen

     Saudi Arabia GCC and Egypt Declare War on Yemen

   Last week Saudi Arabia began a brutal bombing campaign in Yemen with the backing of it's GCC allies, the US and Israel. The conflict in Yemen has been little understood. Yemen is the country that receives little attention overshadowed by all America's other wars. The US has used the worlds ignorance of the country to portray it's past actions in the context of the war on terror claiming falsely to be fighting Al-Qaeda. In fact Yemen is probably best known as the home of admitted former FBI informant and probable CIA asset Anwar al-Awlaki the figurehead of an Al-Qaeda branch which launched a series of failed but media grabbing terror attacks involving underwear bombs and printer cartridges. Al-Awlaki ended up being assassinated with his 16 year old son in a drone strike to provide a precedent for the assassination of American citizens who write things the CIA don't like. I feel safer already. In reality however as recent events make obvious the situation in Yemen was far more complex and in reality was a popular revolution aiming to regain control from the countries corrupt Saudi and US backed rulers. Thus I will be writing a brief sketch of the history of Yemen.
   A United Yemen only emerged in 1990 a product of the end of the cold war prior to that there were two Yemens in the south there was the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen. In the North there was the Yemeni Arab Republic. The two countries had very different histories. North Yemen was ruled for nearly ten Centuries by the Zaydis feudal monarchs practicing a unique form of Shiite Islam. Claims that the current conflict are part of the simplistic Sunni Vs the Shiite Crescent peddled by the Saudis and Neocons are false. The Saudi's were in fact aligned to the zaydi monarchs. In 1962 a revolution emerged aiming to overthrow the monarchy and improve north Yemen's backward economy. North Yemen became the scene of a brutal civil war that became a proxy war as the British and Saudi's provided aid to royalist forces resisting the new Republican Government while Nasser in Egypt supplied troops to help the Republican Government. Nasser was one of the great leaders of the non-aligned movement A strident voice against imperialism, Israel, and the Corrupt Saudi Monarchs. The British hated him for humiliating them during the Suez Crisis they sent a private army made up of former special forces to organize attacks against Egyptian troops. Nasser would loose 10,000 troops. North Yemen was prevented by the war from making needed reforms and the area remained backward, Saudi's continued to support the feudal classes against the central government while bringing the government itself ever more under it's influence. In 1978 Ali Abdulla Saleh became president of Northern Yemen and would eventually lead all of Yemen after reunification in 1990 until 2011 when he was finally deposed.
   The South of Yemen was a British Colony. A naval Empire the British saw the geostrategic importance of Yemen. Incidentally it is the British who in the early 19th century gave legitimacy to the obscure Chieftans who would become the gulf monarchs of today's GCC. The Persian gulf was considered an exclusive British area of influence. They encouraged the local rulers to assert de facto independence from the Ottoman empire. The British let loose the scourge of the Wahhabism over 200 Years ago. The ways of Empires never change it would seem. South Yemen was so important that they took direct control ruling through colonial administrators. They imported Somali's and Indian's to act as buffer while the native Yemeni's occupied the lowest part of the social hierarchy in their own country. The British deported many Indians they considered troublemakers a strategy that backfired when South Yemen eventually became a hotbed of radical ideas. The British built the port of Aden which was then as important as Hong Kong is today. South Yemen had a revolution in 1967 bringing the Yemeni Socialist Party to power and achieving independence from Britain. However this party was made up of a broad coalition including liberals, nationalists, Baathists and Communists. Initially the communist's formed the backbone of the new government and South Yemen was one of the most radical governments in the region. However because of the contradictions and rivalries between the various members 3 violent internal revolts took place with fighting between the various factions and many assassinations of the leaders. The Radical wing of the Arab Socialist party was largely wiped out and the liberal wing gained control.
   South Yemen was the weaker of the two parties at the time of reunification. However they still had some influence and apparently some principles because in 1991 they used their influence in Yemen's government to have Yemen oppose the first gulf war. Apparently only Cuba also dared to do this at the time. To get revenge on Yemen Saudi Arabia expelled a million Yemenis that had been working in their country. This had a catastrophic effect on Yemen's already poor and underdeveloped economy. Saleh began to show even greater subservience to Saudi Arabia and the US. In 1994 disgusted with their lack of influence over the new government south Yemen attempted to secede from Yemen. However Saleh successfully crushed this attempt and used it as an excuse to purge the  members of the Arab socialist party from the government. Saleh's regime grew richer and richer while the people grew poorer and poorer. In 2004 the Houthi rebellion broke out in the north demanding economic development as well as demanding Yemen end it's role as an ally in the US war on terror that often targeted innocent Yemenis. What an absurdity this "war" must have seemed to them since as all informed observers know Al Qaeda is a product of Saudi Arabia intelligence in cooperation with it's GCC allies and of Course British, French, US and Israeli intelligence. The Yemenis well know that the US and the Saudi's are funding the groups the US claims it is fighting.
   The Houthi's rose up against their corrupt and cruel government in 2004. They got their name from their leader Hussein Badreddin Al-Houthi who was killed in the first year of the revolt. The rebels were of the exact same Zaydi religious sect as the Saudi supported president. Their rebellion signaled that Saleh had lost the support of the native north. Meanwhile separatist tensions still simmered in the south. To survive Saleh called in help from the US and the Saudi's. The US began sending weapons and opened a drone campaign on the country that made Saleh even more unpopular. They told the world they were fighting Al-Qaeda when in reality they were fighting the Houthi. Unfortunately for Saleh Sectors of his own military had turned against him they funneled a steady supply of the American Supplied weapons directly to the Houthi rebels. The Houthi also proved to be tough fighters. The war was going so badly for Saleh that the Saudi's were actually forced to invade in 2009 and 2010 in a campaign they labeled operation scorched earth. However their Invasion failed to put an end to the Houthi rebellion.
    In 2011 Saleh was Finally forced from power as part of the wave of "Arab Spring" revolutions that toppled the Tunisian, and Egyptian Governments while in Libya they provided the cover for violent covert war that destroyed the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and murdered Muammar Gaddafi turning the country over to NATO's Al Qaeda foot soldiers. It was as an insult to the worlds intelligence that they could still claim after Libya and during Syria to be fighting Al Qaeda while so openly funding them in both those wars. Saleh played the Al Qaeda card as well trying to wait out his people's anger. However as we have seen Yemen's problems went back far longer then 2011 the Houthis were in open rebellion and the public grew poorer and more impatient with each passing year, while America had wreaked random destruction with cruise missiles and drones blowing up villages and weddings, and kidnapping and torturing people.
    Saleh was Finally forced from power. Unfortunately the US and Saudi Arabia picked his successor Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Al-Hadi. As Part of taking power he was supposed to adhere to the terms of a National Dialogue that had taken place during which the whole country had negotiated a consensus on what the future direction of the country would be. Secure in the backing of his US and Saudi patrons He stalled on implementing the agreed reforms. The Houthi rebellion intensified and in September of last year they captured Yemen's capital Sana. Al-Hadi was forced into a power sharing agreement with the Houthis. Instead he began plotting the Saudi intervention. Even his own party became disgusted with him and he was ejected from leadership by the Yemenite General People's Congress on November 8, 2014.  On January 20, 2015 he was detained by the Houthi and they seized the presidential palace and other government buildings. Once they seized the government buildings they uncovered all sorts of information on Saleh's secret dealings with Israel, the CIA, and Saudi Arabia including the fact that he was trying to get the Saudi's to attack. On February 6th he was forced to resign and the Houthi's announced they had discovered Saudi Arabia planned to attack on February 26th. Al-Hadi managed to escape and went to Aden where he reversed his resignation and declared Aden the new Capital. However the Houthis knowing war was on the way rushed to capture important airbases and managed to seize Aden by March 25th. Al-Hadi was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia where he lobbied for a war to reinstall him. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Quwait all declared war. In Addition the US and Israel have agreed to provide intelligence and other aid to the war effort. The Houthis have sought the aid of Iran, China and Russia. They have been inadvertently aided by the US when they where able to seize the massive stockpiles of weapons the US had been supplying al-Hadi  to wage war on his own people. The Saudis have begun bombing the country destroying airbases, and missile storage facilities killing hundreds of civilians in the process. According to a March 31 2015 Unicef report 62 children have been killed while schools and hospitals have been damaged in the fighting.
    For the US Yemen is vital spot on the geostrategic chessboard. According to Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya the US is most interested in the Gulf of Aden, the Socotra Islands, and above all Bab al Mandeb a strategic chokepoint for international maritime trade and energy connecting connecting the Persian gulf via the India Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea via the Red Sea. Israel meanwhile wants to maintain access to the Indian Ocean for it's fleet of Nuclear Submarines it uses to menace the region with the threat of Nuclear War. Saudi Arabia wants to at least maintain control of South Yemen and is attempting to revive the separatist movement there.
   Thus the People of Yemen have no sooner thrown off their corrupt foreign dominated government then they have become a target of a coalition of corrupt monarchs, along with the US and Israel. They have been bombed and no doubt are about to be invaded by an army of saudi backed terrorists of the kind currently wreaking havoc in Libya, Iraq, and Syria. On March 20th Suicide Bombers (Doubtless at the bidding of Saudi Intelligence) struck two mosques killing 300 people. However the Houthis have already proven tough and resilient fighters. They have been fighting for over a decade. Hopefully they will be able to successfully resist this effort to reinstall a puppet regime.  With luck they may be able to inflict a defeat on the Saudi's that will threaten to topple the Saudi's own fragile and backwards regime. The same goes for their allies like Bahrain where people have been battling to install a democracy for many decades. Our hopes are with the brave people of Yemen as they battle on behalf of independence and economic reform. By attacking Yemen the Saudis have exposed to the world the true nature of the war there.  The world must unite in calling for an end to this war against the people of Yemen. Yemen has become a new center in the resistance to the empire.


I owe a special thanks to Alexandra Valiente who runs the Syria 360 and Libya 360 news sites. She dug up an old and obscure article on the History of Yemen that I relied on heavily for this article.( See my June 2014 article "Alternative Media Spotlight 2" which also discusses Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya for more information on her excellent sites) You should check out her sites


And Heres the Article that gives a great short history of Yemen up to 2009 I provided a simplified version

And this Article by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya does a brilliant job of laying out the geopolitical situation as well as the recent history of the conflict which I also heavily relied on.

And Finally Eric Draitser exposes the Hypocrisy of the different reactions to the war in Ukraine and to the war in Yemen.

for an Interesting discussion of British involvement in Yemen among other topics watch Adam Curtis's "Mayfair Set" documentary mini series.