Today’s sermon – hope for America.

by Courtenay Barnett

There is no need for obscurantist speculations about world affairs. In very clear and historically precise terms one can see why and how America, as the world’s most powerful nation, has reached where it has at this time. With just Nixon, China and the military-industrial complex expenditures as reference points one can see in very clear economic terms what has transpired from the early 1970s until the present day.

In the early 1970s then President Nixon and his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, made a rapprochement with China using cheap Chinese labour combined with the investment of American capital to ensure huge profits for American capital (cheap labour; no union challenges; no environment protection legislation to contend with; no pension obligations etc = huge profits – for a while for American corporations). China, during the same period purchased huge amounts of American debt and holds today significant amounts of Treasury Bills etc. ( i.e. China could tank the US economy if it made a call on all the outstanding debt; it won’t; no good biting off your financial nose to spite your economic face – it is a symbiotic relationship which exists of which the Chinese are well aware of as they now invest usable US dollars globally while the dollar still has some value).

Add A and B together and include now the size of the defence budget relative to the demands of the military-industrial complex and you will clearly see the challenge which America is presently facing. Conclusion: one simply cannot continue printing fiat money and expect an economy to thrive and survive.

So, how do you change the process of decline of the US economy? Simple. For all the pontification and pontificators circulating on the internet, they can put this in their intellectual pipes and take a good draw on those ideas and then in reverse order, apply the following process, for the benefit of the American people and by extension, the vast majority of humankind:-

C Substantially reduce the budget relative to the military-industrial complex’s demands on public expenditures. For, there is an opportunity cost to be paid for the directing of such a large proportion of the US budget to arms production, militarism and war.

B Design a transitional global financial plan which fully includes, for starters, the national interests of the so-called BRICS nations.

A Set out to recapitalise the US domestic economy on a basis which factors in the social needs of ordinary American people while simultaneously making job space to absorb the steadily declining military human spill over from the reduced military-industrial complex.


Or, continue to believe the ‘fake news’ ( yes – really – a lot of what is circulating on the internet and in MSM, does not want people to look at the most obvious explanations staring everyone in the face). To look at the financial and economic elephant in the Congressional room is also to discern that there is a better way. Alas, Congress is bought and paid for. And, the US status quo (assisted by a complicit MSM) simply therefore never finger the true foundational and structural roots of the America’s economic problem – for then the people’s eyes will start to be opened. Thus – just blame the Mexicans; the immigrants; the Blacks; the Muslims; the whoevers – but never, never look at the economic and financial fundamentals to then try from that foundational understanding to then extrapolate into addressing the obvious pressing and real difficulties the American economy is facing.

But – who am I to say – that most of the MSM analysts argue around the core source of the problem but rarely, if ever, start from the core and reason therefrom outwards?

Obfuscate as much as possible, feed false information, fake news and confound any chance of ordinary people beginning their understanding of the underlying structural problems at the core of America’s economic problems – which affect them.

Yeah – the armchair revolutionary can say what he wants for he shall but recline in his armchair when all is said and little is done.



For years I have observed, read and written on world affairs. I had been accepted as a post-graduate student to read International Relations, but I changed my mind and focused solely on a career in the law. My intention at that time was to become a diplomat. However, despite abandoning that ambition and substituting it with an activist practice in the law, I have never lost my interest in world affairs – and would therefore describe myself as a self-educated student of world affairs.

So – read and/or listen to each piece – and – hopefully there will be a realistic and comprehensive, objective understanding of some of the major tenets which presently drive our world. Not a majority of global issues here broached, by any stretch of the imagination, but at least a lucid introduction to some of the immediate and major ones – oil – the avowed violation of the concept of sovereignty – US Presidential racism – and so on. I shall confine myself to the post World War 11 period – for that is what the past 30 plus years of my readings have mainly focused on. The list of 5 issues below, for me is a brief refresher course. For all to whom I forward this email – it is also an invitation to share ideas, disagree with me at will, make comments if so motivated to do – and – please do so and tell me where I got it wrong.

1. The structure of the post World War II period based on American ascendance. First – one needs to be acquainted with the name “George Keenan”, who was the US architect of the “Cold War”. He can be googled, but I share with you some of his more prescient observations:-

“We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”― George F. Kennan

( i.e. he is speaking here of what imperialism actually is – and – I observe that this is not a mere aberration. To better understand what I am conveying – please watch the youtube video of General Wesley Clark below)

“Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”― George F. Kennan

2. One needs to understand that the basis for making sustainable argument is to back same with unassailable empirical evidence. Any properly trained scientist would have been taught this. The empirical evidence of US/NATO global aggression is there for all to see.

3. On a smaller scale I forewarned of what Libya would become after the imperialists attacked that country.  In Pazambuka, the largest of all Africa online news publications, my article was published:-

4. On a non-racist – and progressive note, the same publication accepted my submission on President Trump:-

5. And – as a catalyst for global conflict, I explained my views and observations on the Iraq invasion, in this piece. I was invited to give a public lecture, which I did, and it was the US State Department official in attendance who asked the most questions of me ( but – details of that for another time):-

Oil, conflict and the future of global energy supplies


Courtenay Barnett is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, has been arrested for defending his views, has been subjected to death threats, and has argued public interest and human rights cases.

The Phoenix Program, My Lai and the “Tiger Cages”

by douglas valentine

bookcover features a painting of the Phung Hoang, the Vietnamese phoenix bird, standing on a map of Vietnam.  It looks basically like a very colorful rooster.

The following excerpt from The Phoenix Program, by Douglas Valentine, is from Chapter 24: “Transgressions”. It deals with the My Lai massacre and the infamous “Tiger Cages.”

The chapter notes are given at the end of the text, together with a glossary from the book for terms relevant to this chapter. For the reader’s convenience, the more obscure terms are given as links to the glossary on this page, and you can return to the text by clicking on the [Back] link after each glossary term.

This excerpt is posted here with the kind permission of the author.

The My Lai Massacre

The My Lai massacre was first reported in March 1969, one full year after the event. In April 1969, because of congressional queries, the case was given to the Army inspector general, and in August Army Chief of Staff William Westmoreland turned the case over to the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID). In November 1969 Seymour Hersh broke the story, telling how 504 Vietnamese civilians were massacred by members of a U.S. infantry company attached to a special battalion called Task Force Barker.

Ten days after Hersh broke the story, Westmoreland ordered General William Peers to conduct an official inquiry. Evan Parker contended to me that Peers got the job because he was not a West Point graduate.
2 However, Peers’s close ties to the CIA may also have been a factor. In World War II, Peers had commanded OSS Detachment 101, in which capacity he had been Evan Parker’s boss. In the early 1950s he had been the CIA’s chief of training and its station chief in Taiwan, and as SACSA in 1966 Peers had worked with the CIA in formulating pacification policy. Having had several commands in Vietnam, he was well aware of how the war was being conducted. But the most conclusive evidence linking Peers to the CIA is the report he submitted in March 1970, which was not made available to the public until 1974 and which carefully avoided implicating the CIA.

The perfunctory trials that followed the Peers inquiry amounted to slaps on the wrist for the defendants and fueled rumors of a cover-up. Of the thirty people named in the report, charges were brought against sixteen, four were tried, and one was convicted. William Calley’s sentence was quickly reduced, and in conservative quarters he was venerated as a hero and scapegoat. Likewise, the men in Calley’s platoon were excused as victims of VC terror and good soldiers acting under orders. Of nearly two thousand Americans surveyed by Time magazine, 65 percent denied being upset.

Yet, if most Americans were willing to accept the massacre as necessary to ensure their security, why the cover-up? Why was the massacre portrayed as an isolated incident?

On August 25, 1970, an article appeared in The New York Times hinting that the CIA, through Phoenix, was responsible for My Lai. The story line was advanced on October 14, when defense attorneys for David Mitchell — a sergeant accused and later cleared of machine-gunning scores of Vietnamese in a drainage ditch in My Lai — citing Phoenix as the CIA’s “systematic program of assassination,” named Evan Parker as the CIA officer who “signed documents, certain blacklists,” of Vietnamese to be assassinated in My Lai.3 When we spoke, Parker denied the charge.

A defense request to subpoena Parker was denied, as was a request to view the My Lai blacklist. Outside the courtroom CIA lawyer John Greaney insisted that the agency was “absolutely not” involved in My Lai. When asked if the CIA had ever operated in My Lai, Greaney replied, “I don’t know.”

But as has been established in this book, the CIA had one of its largest contingents in Quang Ngai Province. [See: Map of South Vietnam – pop-up window] Especially active were its Census Grievance cadre, directed by the Son Tinh District RD Cadre intelligence chief, Ho Ngoc Hui, whose VNQDD cadres were in My Lai on the day prior to the massacre. A Catholic from North Vietnam, Hui reportedly called the massacre “a small matter.”

To understand why the massacre occurred, it helps to know that in March 1968 cordon and search operations of the type Task Force Barker conducted in My Lai were how RD Cadre intelligence officers contacted their secret agents. The Peers report does not mention that, or that in March 1968 the forty-one RD teams operating in Quang Ngai were channeling information on VCI through Hui to the CIA’s paramilitary adviser, who shared it with the province Phoenix coordinator.

The Phoenix coordinator in Quang Ngai Province at the time of the My Lai massacre was Robert B. Ramsdell, a seventeen-year veteran of the Army CID who subsequently worked for ten years as a private investigator in Florida. Ramsdell was hired by the CIA in 1967. He was trained in the United States and sent to Vietnam on February 4, 1968, as the Special Branch adviser in Quang Ngai Province. Ramsdell, who appeared incognito before the Peers panel, told newsmen that he worked for the Agency for International Development.

In Cover-up Seymour Hersh tells how in February 1968 Ramsdell began “rounding up residents of Quang Ngai City whose names appeared on Phoenix blacklists.”5 Explained Ramsdell: “After Tet we knew who many of these people were, but we let them continue to function because we were controlling them. They led us to the VC security officer for the district. We wiped them out after Tet and then went ahead and picked up the small fish.”6 The people who were “wiped out,” Hersh explains, were “put to death” by the Phoenix Special Police.” 7

Ramsdell “simply eliminated everyone who was on those lists,” said Gerald Stout, an Army intelligence officer who fed Ramsdell names. “It was recrimination.” *8 Recrimination for Tet, at a minimum.

* In August 1966 the CIA’s paramilitary adviser in Quang Ngai, Reed Harrison, unwittingly sent USAID employee Dwight Owen into an ambush outside Tu Nghia. The guerillas who killed young Owen were from the Forty-eighth VC Battalion.

Unfortunately, according to Randolph Lane — the Quang Ngai Province MACV intelligence adviser — Ramsdell’s victims “were not Vietcong.”
9 This fact is corroborated by Jeffrey Stein, a corporal working undercover for the 525th MIG, running agent nets in Quang Nam and southern Thua Thien provinces. According to Stein, the VNQDD was a Vietnamese militarist party that had a “world fascist allegiance and wanted to overthrow the Vietnamese government from the right! The people they were naming as Communists were left-wing Buddhists, and that information was going to the Phoenix program. We were being used to assassinate their political rivals.” 10

Through the Son Tinh DIOCC, Phoenix Coordinator Ramsdell passed Census Grievance-generated intelligence to Task Force Barker, estimating “the 48th Battalion at a strength of 450 men.” The Peers report, however, said that 40 VC at most were in My Lai on the day prior to March 16 and that they had left before Task Force Barker arrived on the scene.

Ramsdell told the Peers panel, “Very frankly, anyone that was in that area was considered a VCS [Vietcong suspect], because they couldn’t survive in that area unless they were sympathizers.” 12

On the basis of Ramsdell’s information, Task Force Barker’s intelligence officer, Captain Kotouc, told Lieutenant Colonel Frank Barker that “only VC and active VC sympathizers were living [in My Lai and My Khe].” But, Kotouc said, because leaflets were to be dropped, “civilians would be out of the hamlets…by 0700 hours.” 13

Phoenix Coordinator Ramsdell then provided Kotouc with a blacklist of VCI suspects in My Lai, along with the ludicrous notion that all “sympathizers” would be gone from the hamlet by early morning, leaving 450 hard-core VC guerillas behind. Yet “the link between Ramsdell and the poor intelligence for the 16 March operation was never explored by the Peers Panel.” 14

As in any large-scale Phoenix operation, two of Task Force Barker’s companies cordoned off the hamlet while a third one — Calley’s — moved in, clearing the way for Kotouc and Special Branch officers who were “brought to the field to identify VC from among the detained inhabitants.” 15

As Hersh notes parenthetically, “Shortly after the My Lai 4 operation, the number of VCI on the Phoenix blacklist was sharply reduced.” 16

In an unsigned, undated memo on Phoenix supplied by Jack, the genesis of the blacklist is described as follows:

There had been a reluctance to exploit available sources of information in the hamlet, village and district. It was, therefore, suggested that effective Cordon and Search operations must rely on all locally available intelligence in order to deprive the Viet Cong of a sanctuary among the population. It was in this context that carefully prepared blacklists were made available. The blacklists were furnished to assist the Allied operational units in searching for specifically identified people and in screening captives or local personnel held for questioning. The information for the blacklists was prepared by the Police Special Branch* in conjunction with intelligence collected from the Province Interrogation Centers.

* In June 1988 Quang Ngai Special Branch chief Kieu participated in a Vatican ceremony which elevated Catholics killed in Vietnam to the status of martyrs.

Kotouc was charged by the Peers panel with concealing evidence and falsifying reports, with having “authorized the killing of at least one VC suspect by members of the National Police,” and with having “committed the offense of maiming by cutting off the finger of a VC suspect.” 17

The CIA, via Phoenix, not only perpetrated the My Lai massacre but also concealed the crime. The Peers panel noted that “a Census Grievance Cadreman of Son My Village submitted a written report to the Census Grievance chief, Quang Ngai, on 18 March 1968,” indicating that “a fierce battle with VC and local guerrillas” had resulted in 427 civilian and guerrilla deaths, 27 in My Lai and 400 in the nearby hamlets of Thuan Yen and Binh Dong!18 The appearance of this report coincided with the release by Robert Thompson of a “captured” document, which had been “mislaid” for nineteen months, indicating that the Cuc Nghien Cuu had assassinated 2,748 civilians in Hue during Tet.

The only person named as having received the Census Grievance report is Lieutenant Colonel William Guinn, who testified in May 1969 that he “could not recall who specifically had given it to him.” In December 1969 Guinn, when shown a copy of the Census Grievance report, “refused further to testify and accordingly, it was not possible to ascertain whether the 18 March Census Grievance report was in fact the one which he recalled having received.”19 With that the matter of the Census Grievance report was dropped.

The My Lai cover-up was assisted by the Son Thinh District adviser, Major David Gavin, who lost a report written on April 11 by Tran Ngoc Tan, the Son Tinh district chief. Tan’s report named the 504 people killed at My Lai, and Tan said that “he discussed [the report] with Gavin” but that “Gavin denies this.” Shortly thereafter Major Gavin became Lieutenant Colonel Gavin. 20

The Eleventh Brigade commander dismissed Tan’s charges as “baseless propaganda.”21 Barker’s afteraction report listed no civilian deaths. Civilian deaths in South Vietnam from 1965 until 1973 are estimated at 1.5 million; none is reported in U.S. military afteraction reports.

The Peers panel cited “evidence that at least at the Quang Ngai Province and Son Tinh District levels, and possibly at 2nd ARVN Division, the Senior U.S. military advisors aided in suppressing information concerning the massacre.” 22

Task Force Barker commander Lieutenant Colonel Barker was killed in a helicopter crash on June 13, 1968, while traveling back to My Lai as part of an investigation ordered by the Quang Ngai Province chief, Colonel Khien. Khien is described “as a big time crook” and a VNQDD politico who “had a family in Hue” and was afraid the VC “were going to make another Hue out of Quang Ngai.” Province Chief Khien and the deputy province senior advisor, Lieutenant Colonel Guinn, both “believed that the only way to win the war was to kill all Viet Cong and Viet Cong sympathizers.” 23

The last piece in the My Lai puzzle concerned Robert Haeberle and Jay Roberts, Army reporters assigned to Task Force Barker. After the massacre Roberts “prepared an article for the brigade newspapers which omitted all mention of war crimes he had observed and gave a false and misleading account of the Task Force Barker operation.” Roberts was charged by the Peers panel with having made no attempt to stop war crimes he witnessed and for failing to report the killings of noncombatants. Haeberle was cited by the panel for withholding photographic evidence of war crimes and for failing to report war crimes he had witnessed at My Lai.

As Jeff Stein said, “The first thing you learn in the Army is not competence, you learn corruption. And you learn ‘to get along, go along.’” 24

Unfortunately not everyone learns to get along. On September 3, 1988, Robert T’Souvas was apparently shot in the head by his girl friend, after an argument over a bottle of vodka. The two were homeless, living out of a van they had parked under a bridge in Pittsburgh. T’Souvas was a Vietnam veteran and a participant in the My Lai massacre.

T’Souvas’s attorney, George Davis, traveled to Da Nang in 1970 to investigate the massacre and while there was assigned as an aide a Vietnamese colonel who said that the massacre was a Phoenix operation and that the purpose of Phoenix was “to terrorize the civilian population into submission.”

Davis told me: “When I told the people in the War Department what I knew and that I would attempt to obtain all records on the program in order to defend my client, they agreed to drop the charges.” 25

Indeed, the My Lai massacre was a result of Phoenix, the “jerry-built” counterterror program that provided an outlet for the repressed fears and anger of the psyched-up men of Task Force Barker. Under the aegis of neutralizing the infrastructure, old men, women, and children became the enemy. Phoenix made it as easy to shoot a Vietnamese child as it was to shoot a sparrow in a tree. The ammunition was faulty intelligence provided by secret agents harboring grudges — in violation of the agreement that Census Grievance intelligence would not be provided to the police. The trigger was the blacklist.

As Ed Murphy said, “Phoenix was far worse than the things attributed to it.” Indeed, the range of transgressions generated by Phoenix was all-encompassing but was most evident in its post-apprehension aspect. According to Jeff Stein, the CIA “would direct the PRU teams to go out and take care of a particular target…either capture or assassination, or kidnapping. Kidnapping was a common thing that they liked to do. They really liked the whole John Wayne bit — to go in and capture someone at night. … They’d put him in one of these garbage collection type bins — and the helicopter would pick up the bin and fly him off to a regional interrogation center.

“I think it’s common knowledge what goes on at the interrogation center,” Stein writes. “It was common knowledge that when someone was picked up their lives were about at an end because the Americans most likely felt that, if they were to turn someone like that back into the countryside it would just be like multiplying NLF followers.”

Bart Osborn (whose agent net Stein inherited) is more specific. “I never knew in the course of all those operations any detainee to live through his interrogation,” Osborn testified before Congress in 1971. “They all died. There was never any reasonable establishment of the fact that any one of those individuals was, in fact, cooperating with the VC, but they all died and the majority were wither tortured to death or things like thrown out of helicopters.” 27

The “Tiger Cages”

One of John Hart’s original ICEX charges was to develop a means of containing within the GVN’s judicial system the explosion of civilian detainees. But as Nelson Brickham explained, no one wanted to get the name of the Jailer of Vietnam, and no agency ever accepted responsibility. So another outcome of Phoenix was a prison system filled to overflowing.

It was not until April of 1970, when ten Vietnamese students put themselves on display in a room in the Saigon College of Agriculture, that treatment of political prisoners gained the attention of the press. The students had been tried and convicted by a military field court. Some were in shock and being fed intravenously. Some had had bamboo splinters shoved under their fingernails. One was deaf from having had soapy water poured in his ears and his ears pounded. The women students had been raped as well as tortured. The culprits, claims Don Luce in his book Hostages of War, were Saigon’s First District police, who used false documents and signatures to prove guilt, and used torture and drugs to extract confessions.

The case of the students prompted two congressmen to investigate conditions at Con Son Prison in July 1970. Initially, Rod Landreth advised station chief Shackley not to allow the congressmen to visit, but Shackley saw denial as a tacit admission of CIA responsibility. So Landreth passed the buck to Buzz Johnson at the Central Pacification and Development Council. Thinking there was nothing to hide, Johnson got the green from light General Khiem. He then arranged for Congressmen Augustus Hawkins and William Anderson and their aide Tom Harkins to fly to Con Son accompanied by Public Safety Adviser Frank Walton. Acting as interpreter for the delegation was Don Luce, a former director of the International Volunteer Service who had been living in Vietnam since 1959. Prison reform advocate Luce had gained the trust of many Vietnamese nationalists, one of whom told him where the notorious tiger cages (tiny cells reserved for hard-core VCI under supervision of Nguyen Minh Chau, “the Reformer”) were located at Con Son Prison.

Upon arriving at Con Son, Luce and his entourage were greeted by the prison warden, Colonel Nguyen Van Ve. Harkins presented Ve with a list of six prisoners the congressmen wished to visit in Camp Four. While inside this section of the prison, Luce located the door to the tiger cages hidden behind a woodpile at the edge of a vegetable garden. Ve and Walton protested this departure from the guided tour, their exclamations prompting a guard inside the tiger cage section to open the door, revealing its contents. The congressmen entered and saw stone compartments five feet wide, nine feet long, and six feet high. Access to the tiger cages was gained by climbing steps to a catwalk, then looking down between iron grates. From three to five men were shackled to the floor in each cage. All were beaten, some mutilated. Their legs were withered, and they scuttled like crabs across the floor, begging for food, water, and mercy. Some cried. Others told of having lime buckets, which sat ready above each cage, emptied upon them.

Ve denied everything. The lime was for whitewashing the walls, he explained, and the prisoners were evil people who deserved punishment because they would not salute the flag. Despite the fact that Congress funded the GVN’s Directorate of Corrections, Walton accused the congressmen of interfering in Vietnamese affairs. Congressman Hawkins expressed the hope that American POWs were being better treated in Hanoi.

The extent of the tiger cage flap was a brief article in The New York Times that was repudiated by U.S. authorities. In Saigon the secret police cornered Luce’s landlady and the U.S. Embassy accused Luce of being a Vietcong agent. Rod Landreth approached Buzz Johnson with the idea of circulating evidence of Luce’s alleged homosexuality, but Johnson nixed the idea. When Luce began writing articles for Tin Sang, all issues were promptly confiscated and his press card was revoked. Finally, Luce was expelled from Vietnam in May 1971, after his apartment had been ransacked by secret policemen searching for his records. Fortunately Luce had mailed his notes and documents to the United States, and he later compiled them in Hostages of War.

Michael Drosnin, in the May 30, 1975 issue of New Times, quotes Phoenix legal adviser Robert Gould as saying, “I don’t know for sure, but I guess Colby was covering up for Con Son too. Nothing really was changed after all that publicity… the inmates who were taken out of the Tiger Cages were simply transferred to something called ’cow cages,’ which were even worse. Those were barbed wire cells in another part of the camp. The inmates were shackled inside them for months and left paralyzed. I saw loads of spidery little guys — they couldn’t stand and they couldn’t walk, but had to move around on little wooden pallets.”28 According to Gould, “It was a well known smirking secret in certain official circles that with all the publicity about the Tiger Cages, no one ever found out about the cow cages.” 29

Added Gould: “The responsibility for all this is on the Americans who pushed the program. We finally made some paper reforms, but it didn’t make any difference. The Province Security Committees did whatever the hell they wanted and the pressure our ‘neutralization’ quotas put on them meant they had to sentence so many people a month regardless. And God, if you ever saw those prisons.”

In Hostages of War Don Luce refers to the GVN as a “Prison Regime” and calls Phoenix a “microcosm” of the omnipotent and perverse U.S. influence on Vietnamese society. He blames the program for the deterioration of values that permitted torture, political repression, and assassination. “While few Americans are directly involved in the program,” Luce writes, “Phoenix was created, organized, and funded by the CIA. The district and provincial interrogation centers were constructed with American funds, and provided with American advisers. Quotas were set by Americans. The national system of identifying suspects was devised by Americans and underwritten by the U.S. Informers are paid with US funds. American tax dollars have covered the expansion of the police and paramilitary units who arrest suspects.” 31

Thus, Luce writes, “the U.S. must share responsibility for the nature of the Saigon government itself. It is a government of limited scope whose very essence is dictated by American policy, not Vietnamese reality.”32 But the CIA absolved itself of responsibility, saying that abuses occurred in the absence of U.S. advisers and that oversight was impossible. However, if the CIA had accepted responsibility, it would have nullified the plausible denial it had so carefully cultivated. Like Phoenix, the prison system was intentionally “jerry-built,” enabling sadists to fall through the gaping holes in the safety net.

Writes Luce: “Abuses of justice are not accidental but an integral part of the Phoenix Program.” For example, “The widespread use of torture during interrogation can be explained by the admissibility of confession as evidence in court…and by the fact that local officials are under pressure from Saigon to sentence a specific number of high level VCI officials each month.” He adds that “Phoenix was named after the all seeing mythical bird which selectively snatches its prey — but the techniques of this operation are anything but selective. For many Vietnamese, the Phung Hoang program is a constant menace to their lives.”


1. McCollum interview.
2. Parker interview.
3. “Calley Defense Asks Disclosure of Top-Secret Data on Song My,” The New York Times, August 25, 1970
4. Wall interview.
5. Seymour Hersh, Cover-Up (New York: Random House, 1972) p. 87.
6. Hersh, p. 88.
7. Hersh, p. 88.
8. Hersh, p. 88.
9. Hersh, p. 88.
10. Myra MacPherson, Long Time Passing (New York: Signet, 1984), p. 625.
11. Joseph Goldstein, The My Lai Massacre and Its Cover-up (New York: The Free Press, 1976), p. 256.
12. Hersh, p. 93.
13. Hersh, p. 93.
14. Hersh, p. 95.
15. Goldstein, p. 145.
16. Hersh, p. 95.
17. Goldstein, p. 339
18. Goldstein, p. 270
19. Goldstein, p. 277
20. Goldstein, p. 278
21. Goldstein, p. 288
22. Goldstein, p. 313
23. Hersh, pp. 188-189.
24. MacPherson, p. 625.
25. Interview with George Davis.
26. Jeffrey Stein and Michael T. Klare, “From the Ashes: Phoenix,” Commonweal, April 20, 1975, p. 159.
27. “U.S. Assistance Programs in Vietnam,” p. 53.
28. Michael Drosnin, “Phoenix: The CIA’s Biggest Assassination Program” (New York Times, August 22, 1975), p. 24.
29. Drosnin, p. 24.
30. Drosnin, p. 23.
31. Don Luce, Hostages of War (Indochina Resource Center, 1973) p. 26.
32. Luce, p. 27.
33. Luce, P. 24.


Agroville — (Khu Tru Mat): garrison community into which rural Vietnamese were forcefully relocated in order to isolate them from the Viet Cong.

ARVN — Army of the Republic of Vietnam

Census Grievance (CG) — CIA covert action program designed to obtain information on the VCI through static agents in villages, or mobile agents in armed propaganda teams. [Back]

CIO — Central Intelligence Organization: formed in 1961 to coordinate South Vietnamese foreign and domestic intelligence operations.

DIOCC — District Intelligence and Operations Coordination Center: office of the Phoenix adviser in each of South Vietnam’s 250 districts. [Back]

Free Fire Zone — Area in South Vietnam where U.S. military personnel had the authority to kill anyone they targeted.

GVN — Government of Vietnam [Back]

ICEX — Intelligence coordination and exploitation: original name of the Phoenix program, formed in June 1967. [Back]

Kuomintang (KMT) — Official ruling party of the Republic of China (Taiwan), formed by Dr. Sun Yat-sen in 1911.

MACV — Military Assistance Command, Vietnam: arrived in Saigon in February 1962 as a unified command under the Commander in Chief, Pacific, managing the U.S. military effort in South Vietnam. [Back]

NIC — National Interrogation Center: CIA facility built in 1964 inside CIO headquarters in the naval shipyard in Saigon.

NLF — National Liberation Front: formed in 1960 by the various insurgent groups in South Vietnam. [Back]

NVA — North Vietnamese Army

Phung Hoang — The mythological Vietnamese bird of conjugal love that appears in times of peace, pictured holding a flute and representing virtue, grace, and harmony. Also the name given to the South Vietnamese version of Phoenix. [Back]

Province Security Committee (PSC) — nonjudicial body charged with the disposition of captured VCI. [Back]

PRU — Provincial Reconnaissance Units: mercenary forces under the control of the CIA in South Vietnam. [Back]

RD — Revolutionary Development: CIA program to build support for the GVN in provinces of South Vietnam. [Back]

RDC — Revolutionary Development cadre: South Vietnamese trained by the CIA at Vung Tau to persuade the citizens of South Vietnam so support the central government.

RDC/O — Revolutionary Development Cadre, Operations: CIA officer in charge of paramilitary operations in a province.

RDC/P — Revolutionary Development Cadre, Plans: CIA officer in charge of liaison with the Special Branch in a province.

SACSA — Special assistant (to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) for Counterinsurgency and Special Activities: office within the Joints Chiefs with responsibility for Phoenix policy. [Back]

USIS — United States Information Service: branch of the U.S. government responsible for conducting psychological operations overseas.

VC — Viet Cong: Vietnamese Communist

VCI — Viet Cong Infrastructure: all Communist party members and NLF officers, plus Vietcong and NVA saboteurs and terrorists. [Back]

VNQDD — Vietnam Quoc Dan Dang: Vietnamese branch of the Kuomintang. [Back]

“Until we go through it ourselves, until our people cower in the shelters of New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere while the buildings collapse overhead and burst into flames, and dead bodies hurtle about and, when it is over for the day or the night, emerge in the rubble to find some of their dear ones mangled, their homes gone, their hospitals, churches, schools demolished — only after that gruesome experience will we realize what we are inflicting on the people of Indochina…”

— William Shirer

Related articles

Bob Kerrey, CIA War Crimes, And The Need For A War Crimes Trial
by Douglas Valentine

“By now everybody knows that former Senator Bob Kerrey led a seven-member team of Navy SEALS into Thanh Phong village in February 1969, and murdered in cold blood more than a dozen women and children.

“What hardly anyone knows, and what no one in the press is talking about (although many of them know), is that Kerrey was on a CIA mission, and its specific purpose was to kill those women and children. It was illegal, premeditated mass murder and it was a war crime.

“And it’s time to hold the CIA responsible. It’s time for a war crimes tribunal to examine the CIA’s illegal activities during and since the Vietnam War.”

Bob Kerry:
the Life and Times of a Throat-Slitter

by Richard Gibson

“Further outside the imperial gaze, even today, is the heroism of the Vietnamese, not only those who Kerrey and many other US officers caught up in the genocidal invasion sought to exterminate, but those who defeated the empire, politically, militarily, and morally, causing imperial troops to run away in their helicopters, pushing their allies off the struts as they ran.”

The Spook Who Went to Washington:
New U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons’ cold-blooded past

by Doug Valentine

“As a CIA officer, Rob Simmons traveled 12,000 miles to terrorize Vietnamese men and women in their own backyards. He did so unflinchingly, without the remorse one might expect from a self-professed devout Episcopalian.

“Behind the pious façade, however, lurks a cold-blooded political warrior who was sworn in last month to represent eastern Connecticut in Congress.

“‘I’m just a poor farm girl,’ Simmons said to me in a 1988 interview. He spoke shrilly, mocking a woman he had in a CIA-sponsored interrogation center where, by many accounts, torture was part of the routine. Frustrated because he couldn’t prove she was a member of the Viet Cong’s underground political infrastructure, he released her ’and watched her for three months, then put her name in the paper. That suppressed her. It suppressed the organization, too.’

“What Simmons is describing is psychological warfare: the application of terror to subdue people politically.”

Related pages

Book review:
The Phoenix Program

The Mylai Massacre, 1968

American Genocide of the Vietnamese people

American Genocide of the Laotian people

American Genocide of the Cambodian People

American Patriots and the Napalm Attack on the People of Trang Bang

Neighborhood Bully: American Militarism
interview with Ramsey Clark


Southeast Asia during the Vietnam Genocide

South Vietnam during the American Occupation and Genocide

About the Author

Douglas Valentine

Douglas Valentine is an author, researcher, investigator, consultant, critic, and poet.

He was born in Pleasantville, New York in 1949, and currently lives with his wife, Alice, in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of Notre Dame College in Manchester, New Hampshire, and began his career as a professional writer in 1981. His philosophy of life is derived from extensive study in classical myth and nature, and is applied through his writing to contemporary political, social, and national security issues.

Mr. Valentine’s published works to date include The Hotel Tacloban, a highly praised account of life and death in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, and The Phoenix Program, which Professor Alfred J. McCoy describes as “the definitive account” of the CIA’s most secret and deadly covert operation of the Vietnam War.

Both The Hotel Tacloban and The Phoenix Program are available through, the on-demand Internet book publisher, as Authors Guild imprint backinprint books.

Mr. Valentine’s most recent book, TDY, also is available through Reviews of The Hotel Tacloban, The Phoenix Program, and TDY can be found at

Mr. Valentine is currently completing work on his fourth book, The Strength of the Wolf: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics 1930-1968.

Apart from his writing career, Mr. Valentine has lectured and appeared on radio talk shows. He has testified as an expert witness, including at a national security-related libel trial in Geneva, Switzerland in 1992. He has served as a documentary film consultant, and in that capacity was hired by the British Broadcasting Corporation and traveled to Vietnam in 1991.

Mr. Valentine also has worked extensively as a private investigator. In 1994 he uncovered the material evidence that gave actor Woody Harrelson’s father, Charles Harrelson, the opportunity to receive a new trial in 1998. Since 1999 Mr. Valentine has worked for the family of Dr. Martin Luther King, and in November 1999 he testified at the King versus Jowers trial in Memphis, Tennessee. An article he wrote about the national security aspects of the King case is accessible through his Articles page.

Related books

The My Lai Massacre and Its Cover-up
by Joseph Goldstein
published by: The Free Press, 1976

by Seymour Hersh
published by: Random House, 1972

Hostages of War
by Don Luce
published by: Indochina Resource Center, 1973

Long Time Passing
by Myra MacPherson
published by: Signet, 1984

Then the Americans Came
by Martha Hess
published by: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1996

Deadly Deceits:
My 25 years in the CIA
by Ralph W. McGehee

On Killing:
The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
by Dave Grossman
published by: Little, Brown

Examines the consequences of the U.S. Army’s conditioning of American soldiers to overcome the instinctive loathing of murdering fellow human beings. Shows how it has increased post-combat stress disorder and how contemporary society — especially the American media — replicates the U.S. Army’s conditioning techniques, resulting in increased violence in American society.

Viet Cong: A Photographic Portrait
by Edward J. Emering
published by: Schiffer

Unique compilation of photographs taken by the Viet Cong themselves. Details Viet Cong guerrillas, main force Viet Cong, political gatherings, weapons, awards, artistic troupes, and jungle life. Fully illustrated, some in color.

Ho Chi Minh
by William J. Duiker
published by: Hyperion

The flag of Vietnam - a yellow, five-pointed star in a red field

Takes full advantage of recently declassified archives to create a riveting portrait of the immensely important and elusive figure. Impeccable research chronicles Ho’s life from his childhood as the son of a poor yet brilliant scholar, through his career as the first president of his country, during which he demonstrated phenomenal political abilities.

Reporting Vietnam: Media and Military at War
by William M. Hammond
published by: UPKs

Uses classified documents as well as extensive interviews to examine the bitter animosity that developed between the U.S. government and the news media during the genocidal Vietnam war. Tells how they first shared a common vision, but as the war dragged on, the truth fell victim to the U.S. government’s “management” of the press.

Nowadays, of course, the mainstream press wouldn’t dream of reporting the latest American military atrocities. The U.S. Corporate Mafia Government has gotten much better over the years at “managing” the press and all the mass-media.

The four books immediately above are available from:
Edward R. Hamilton, Bookseller
Falls Village, CT  06031-5000

Online book:

Vietnam: the Croatia of Asia

This is Chapter 23 of the online book The Vatican’s Holocaust by Avro Manhattan. Details the little-known relationship between the Vatican, the U.S. and the fanatic Catholic regime of President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam.

The events surrounding this relationship led directly to America’s escalation of its war against the Vietnamese people.

Diem was another puppet-dictator installed by the U.S. government. But this particular puppet was also backed by the Vatican.

Serious problems began when his, and his wife’s, religious fanaticism got out of control. In the name of “God” he murdered and terrorized his own people — with the blessings of the Vatican and the U.S. government, of course. He was finally assassinated in 1963, but it was too late, the damage had been done. Diem’s bloody tyranny over his own, mostly Buddhist, country helped to radicalize large numbers of Vietnamese people. It opened the eyes of those with eyes to see, to the truly demonic nature of the United States Corporate Mafia Government and military.

Bloody Hell:
The Price Soldiers Pay
by Daniel Hallock

The Fire This Time:
U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf
by Ramsey Clark

Desert Slaughter:
The Imperialist War Against Iraq
by the Workers League

Killing Hope:
U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since WWII
by William Blum

Rogue State:
A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
by William Blum

What Uncle Sam Really Wants
by Noam Chomsky

The Beast Reawakens
by Martin A. Lee

Blackshirts and Reds:
Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism
by Michael Parenti

Against Empire
by Michael Parenti

The Sword and the Dollar:
Imperialism, Revolution and the Arms Race
by Michael Parenti

Western State Terrorism
Alexander George, editor; essays by Noam Chomsky, Edward S. Herman, Gerry O’Sullivan and others

Terrorizing the Neighborhood:
American Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era

by Noam Chomsky
Pressure Drop Press, 1991

Pirates and Emperors, Old and New:
International Terrorism in the Real World
by Noam Chomsky

The Culture of Terrorism
by Noam Chomsky

Apocalypse 1945:
The Destruction of Dresden
by David Irving

A People’s History of the United States:
1492 — Present
by Howard Zinn

War At Home:
Covert Action Against U.S. Activists and What We Can Do About It
by Brian Glick

Inventing Reality:
The Politics of News Media
by Michael Parenti

War, Lies & Videotape:
How media monopoly stifles truth
edited by Lenora Foerstel; multiple authors

Related sites

“Mission Statement: To preserve the Vietnamese culture and empower the Vietnamese people.”

This site has a wealth of valuable, truthful information about the Vietnam Genocide and its devastating effect on the people and land of Vietnam. An example: in the “Vietnam War” section there are excerpts from Then the Americans Came, by Martha Hess, which contains personal testimonies from surviving Vietnamese victims of massive bombing and torture at the hands of Americans.

Writings by Peace Activist S. Brian Willson

Brian Willson is a courageous Vietnam vet who was wounded in combat — but not during the Vietnam Genocide. He was fighting a war of conscience. In 1987 a military train at a U.S. Navy munitions base intentionally ran over him and severed his legs as he and two other veterans sat on the tracks to block it. The train was carrying weapons to be used in America’s ongoing holocaust of innocent civilian people in Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.

His autobiography is heartfelt, utterly unself-pitying and very instructive, particularly his experiences from Vietnam onward. Brian Willson’s writing is extremely valuable, being from a deeply intelligent and genuinely moral man who has witnessed firsthand the horrors of American state terrorism around the world.

From the site:

“THIS SITE CONTAINS essays describing the incredible historic pattern of U.S. arrogance, ethnocentrism, violence and lawlessness in domestic and global affairs, and the severe danger this pattern poses for the future health of Homo sapiens and Mother Earth. Other essays discuss revolutionary, nonviolent alternative approaches based on the principle of radical relational mutuality. This is a term increasingly used by physicists, mathematicians and cosmologists to describe the nature of the omnicentric*, ever-unfolding universe. Every being, every aspect of life energy in the cosmos, is intrinsically interconnected with and affects every other being and aspect of life energy at every moment.”

*everything is at the center of the cosmos at every moment

Vietnam Veterans Against the War Anti-Imperialist — VVAW-AI

“Vietnam Veterans Against the War Anti-Imperialist is part of a network of anti-imperialist veterans who are proud of our resistance to U.S. aggression around the world. In the 1970s, to be a Vietnam veteran was to be against the war. That proud legacy must be carried forward through the 1990s and into the next millennium. As veterans, we have been to the edge and seen the viciousness of Amerikkka unmasked. We have no doubt that the bastards who sent us to war will use their nuclear arsenal, along with unspeakably cruel conventional weapons, to maintain their empire — and after the Gulf War, do you?”

Vietnam Veterans Against the War — VVAW

VVAW was founded in 1967 by vets who realized that what we were doing in Vietnam was a monstrous evil. Through courageous political activism and grassroots organizing the VVAW helped to awaken the heavily brainwashed American people to the horrible reality of America’s greatest campaign of racist genocide in the 20th century.

Veterans For Peace

“We, having dutifully served our nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace.

“To this end we will work, with others:

  • Toward increasing public awareness of the costs of war;
  • To restrain our government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations;

  • To end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons; and

  • To abolish war as an instrument of international policy.

“We urge all veterans who share this vision to join us.”


This is the website for book Bloody Hell: The Price Soldiers Pay, which provides “a platform for veterans to speak for themselves. Page after page of searing testimony to the brutal, bloody, unmerciful, dehumanising, haunting, destructive, grim black void of war. The pain. The lies. The reality. The aftermath.”

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Or So It Seems To Me Today

By Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA

Say what you will about Donald J. Trump—narcissist, exhibitionist, sociopath, impulsive, fourth grade vocabulary, liar, untrustworthy, stable genius, P.T. Barnum huckster, whatever—he knows how to stay on center stage as a showman in the real life reality show presented by mainstream media. He’s a master Game-player, adeptly switching Game roles back and forth from Rescuer, to Persecutor, to Victim in various sequences on the Drama Triangle, depending on which Game he happens to be playing at the time.

On the other hand, maintaining I’m OK—You’re OK relationships is not his forte. He has now gotten rid of most of his original White House advisors and cronies, having just fired Rex Tillerson, the United States Secretary of State, and the former CEO of Exxon, having spared so far his current wife and children, who still adorn his office in the White House like art objects.

According to various reports, Trump seethes with anger when he sees Persecutors on TV criticizing him or his ideas. This sets him off on walks up and down halls in the White House with jaws and fists clenched to wear the anger off. It’s a wonder he hasn’t had a heart attack yet given the pressure and stress he has caused himself. Maybe for some reason he likes controversy, pressure, and stress and feeds on it.

As happened to Bill Clinton before him in the White House soap opera, Trump’s past affairs, liaisons, and business transactions with female sexual partners are now giving him trouble, including an unusually threatening one, Stormy Daniel, playing a Persecutor role, whom he paid $130,000 to keep quiet, via his personal Rescuer lawyer, who has not kept quiet. Some people are wondering how much more humiliation poor Melania can take.

Trump’s past business relationships with Russian oligarchs have been a thorn in his side during his time in the White House, especially now as Mueller continues to pile up more and more evidence and information in his inquisition, playing a classic Game of COURTROOM in which a Persecutor attempts to force Victims, including Trump in this Game, into a very not-OK position.

Surprisingly, Trump’s Game of IF IT WEREN’T FOR YOU played with Kim Jung-Un of North Korea has taken a dramatic change. All of a sudden both Donald and Kim have switched from the Persecutor role to the Rescuer role, having decided to sit down and talk as buddies. It remains to be seen what Drama Triangle role switches will result from this talk, assuming these two impulsive grown-up Adapted Children do not change their minds about meeting before the meeting happens.

One of the the best Game-players on the Earthian stage, Vladimir Putin, recently switched from Rescuer and Victim to Persecutor by telling Trump, the US Pentagon, and all Earthians aboard Spaceship Earth that Russia has produced some new weapons that will be impossible for the US to defend against. Assuming he’s right, Putin is winning not only a psychological Game of NIGYSOB, Now I’ve Got You, You SOB, but a global chess game involving serious Adult strategic opponents.

According to transactional analysts all people start out in life in an I’m OK—You’re OK life position, which is a fundamental attitude that they and others are OK in all ways. Unfortunately there are three other life positions that may be later adopted: I’m OK—You’re Not OK, You’re OK—I’m Not Ok, and You’re Not OK—I’m Not OK.

Shortly after birth people begin to learn, absorb, introject, and take in the life positions of people around them, parents and others. They soon learn attitudes and beliefs that tell them what their world is like. The process is unfair, bestowing advantages on some and handicaps on others. This comes about through natural evolution, an infinitely regressive and progressive unbroken cause-effect chain, sometimes called the accident of birth. One cannot help learning what one learns by virtue of being exposed to people and events they are born among. Once life positions are learned they are difficult to unlearn. The older a person gets in general the more she or he becomes locked-in with others having the same life positions. Group dynamics determine what beliefs, dogmas, doctrines, and the like people must believe to be accepted by groups and organizations, including beliefs in big groups and organizations such as religions and nations.

Staying I’m OK—You’re OK has never been easy, almost impossible for most people. The I’m OK—You’re Not OK life position is required in some organizations, such as military organizations and business corporations. The United States has generally been I’m OK—You’re Not OK among nations since its inception.   Almost all immigrants to what is now the US were Not OK when they arrived on the shores of North America, and they had little choice but to do battle with the less OK inhabitants they found there to survive.

Europeans and others came to the US because they were in NOT OK positions in their original countries, caused by extreme poverty and religious persecution, caused by over-fecundity, breeding too many children for the country to support, and the agitations, persecutions, and deprivations caused by anti-social political and religious dogmas, doctrines, behaviors and hierarchies.

President Trump of the US operates from an I’m OK—You’re Not OK position with to respect to almost everyone most of the time. His overall life position is I’m OK, My supporters are OK, They (the other group) are Not OK, the World is Not OK, and we are going to make the world pay. Most of his supporters have adopted a similar position, creating a dangerous situation.

No one is fully OK, but some people are more OK with respect to themselves, the other, their group, other groups, and the world than others, existing somewhere between highest OKness and lowest OKness.

No one can be fully OK unless everyone is OK in the orbit they are fixed in, which is presently impossible aboard Spaceship Earth. For more clarification see Martin Groder, MD’s People Map on page 63 of my book Born to Learn and page 149 of Business Voyages. Marty was a founder of transactional analysis and one of my TA mentors. According to Groder, some high-energy pathological entrepreneurs are addicted to risk, which they require to stave off depression, caused by psychological abandonment in early childhood. No amount of money or power is ever enough to compensate for parental inadequacies of early childhood. Higher and higher doses of risk are required for temporary relief.

According to some anthropologists, Michael Adzema for one, humans thousands of years ago lived in a relative Garden of Eden. They lived in a benevolent environment with an optimum climate. They could gather enough food to sustain themselves working about three hours per day. OKness generally prevailed within groups and between groups. Through time things changed. Populations grew, food supply became more of a problem, competition, skirmishes, and wars emerged among groups. Groups got larger and larger and more organized, hierarchies arose within groups, and among groups. Hereditary status and wealth systems were co-constructed. Nation states and religions with powerful leaders and codified dogmas, doctrines, laws, customs, and behaviors were constructed that preserved hereditary hierarchies from generation to generation. Relative and absolute slavery evolved.

During the Middle Ages the institution of feudalism put large tracts of land under the dominion, ownership, and control of hereditary aristocrats, forcing masses of lower classes known as serfs to become legally subordinate to designated aristocrats on particular estates, creating widespread unfairness and Not OKness, which gradually evolved into colonialism and capitalism, new systems in which inherited money and property known as capital became more important than inherited landed estates.

By the 16th Century European nations developed sufficient power and resources to conquer, enslave, and control humans in less developed parts of Spaceship Earth, primarily enslaving people originating in Africa, resulting in the creation of new nations, some, such as the United States, hypocritically based on the notion that all men (and women, and children) were created equal.

One can build the case human life aboard Spaceship Earth has become less OK through time, with the advent of global warming and nuclear weapons, causing the human species to wind up more insecure than ever before, with their incomes, wealth, status, security, and satisfactions being less equally distributed among populations and socio-economic classes.

African slavery was generally abolished in North, Central, and South American nations in the 19th Century, but colonialism and capitalism remain entrenched in much of the world. Under capitalism, especially in large corporations, a form of slavery still exists. The masters are called owners and chief executives and the slaves and serfs are called employees. Almost no one in a large corporation except the top dog is fully OK; everyone else is less OK than his or her boss; and while all are free to quit and leave, all must obey and do the bidding of his or her boss, if they stay; and most can be fired at will for disobedience.

It seems to me the only hope for indefinite human sustainability is to evolve better economic systems, religions, and ways for humans to relate to one another. While I have no fantasies about this happening anytime soon, it seems to me it might happen through time through synergistic learning, a phenomenon I have covered in my article “Toward the Creation of Spaceship Earth Incorporated,” first published by MWC News (Media with Conscience) at  I first encountered synergistic learning, learning in whole systems not predicted by observing subsystems of the whole, in Buckminster Fuller’s book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth.

A major assumption of transactional analysis is that human feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are caused by stimuli people are exposed to as the live their lives and, therefore, it seems to me, if this is true, then they are not to blame or praise for what they feel, think, or do, and If this is true then all people are equally OK, not especially good or bad, but OK. In this light a poor homeless person considered mentally ill would be equal to someone like Donald Trump, having been caused by the same sort of causative forces.

As I point out in my TA books, it seems to me there are three basic types of OKness: existential, subjective, and objective. Existential OKness is what I just discussed, people being equally OK by virtue of coming into this world without asking for it, and being gradually shaped and formed by stimuli as they live. Subjective OKness is how a person subjectively perceives and judges her or his self, other individuals, groups to which one belongs, other groups one perceives as different, and the world in general. While these perceptions vary in terms of positive and negative social merit existentially they are equally OK because they were automatically caused to happen. Objective OKness is how OK one is in light of measurable criteria, for health, wealth, education, strength, intelligence, achievements, accomplishments, and the like. It seems to me global OKness would significantly increase if all people would take into account the relevance of all three types of OKness. While objective OKness would necessarily be most relevant in daily working lives, world peace and Earthian OKness would be increased if existential and subjective OKness were acknowledged by all people in all groups and organizations around Spaceship Earth.

In a nutshell, as I discussed and demonstrated using matrix algebra in my article, “Toward the Creation of Spaceship Earth Incorporated,” it seems to me for long term survival the human species must evolve a computerized mathematical management system to produce and fairly distribute the necessities of life for a reduced human population aboard Spaceship Earth, which requires something like a one woman/one child rule for several generations to peacefully reduce the human population through natural attrition, natural deaths exceeding births.  There is no way humans can have infinite population growth on a planet with finite resources that are rendered useless or harmful in production and consumption processes.

Most mainstream media play a psychological Game of GREENHOUSE, participating in a societal Happiness Racket designed to lull people into a sense of security and to make federal and state governments, their politicians, their political parties, their rich donors, their locust lobbyists, and their voters look good, or at least make it seem they are doing a better job of governing than they are. For more on psychological Games and Rackets, read my book Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning at

For more on the fallacy of composition as it applies to organizational life, i.e. harming or destroying the whole system by maximizing subsystems, read my book Business Voyages: Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata, and Tools for Discovering and Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds at

Following in the EFFECTIVE LEARNING DIGEST are some outstanding articles and one audio interview recently published in various media, primarily internet media, shining light on relevant states of affairs aboard Spaceship Earth.  As Romeo said in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, as time was running out for the star-crossed lovers, “More light and light it grows, more dark and dark our woes.”

I am a Certified Transactional Analyst, a CTA, explained at

Feel free to forward, share, copy, abridge, reprint, or otherwise disseminate this Effective Learning Digest any way you see fit.

Just punch on the web addresses and this month’s selections will pop up.

Richard John Stapleton, Editor & Publisher, 32 East Main Street, Statesboro, Georgia, USA,, February 15, 2018


March 14, 2018

Paul Craig Roberts tells it like he sees it.

SOURCE: “World War 3 is approaching,” by Paul Craig Roberts, INTREPIDREPORT.COM,


March 14

Who knows what the true story here is.

SOURCE: “Tillerson out and Pompeo in: ‘From Exxon’s CEO to the Koch Brothers’ most loyal lapdog,” by Julie Conley, INTREPIDREPORT.COM,


March 14

George Soros says what Trump really wants is a mafia dictatorship like Putin has.

SOURCE: “Trump’s ‘enforcers’ reminiscent of mob actions,” by Wayne Madsen, INTREPIDREPORT.COM,


March 14

Holy shit here

SOURCE: “Syria’s War of Ethnic Clensing,” by Patrick Cockburn, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG,


March 14

I wonder if we will ever know the true story here.

SOURCE: “Trump Replaces Rex Tillerson With CIA Director Mike Pompeo at State; Torturer Named New Head of CIA,” by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, TRUTH-OUT.ORG,


March 13

Yep, they just do not care.

SOURCE: “Perspective: I’m a Depression historian. The GOP tax bill is straight out of 1929,” by Robert S. McElvaine, WASHINGTONPOST.COM,


March 12

Say it aint so Joe

SOURCE: “Blocking Peace in Korea by Lying about the Past,” Joseph Essertier, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG,


March 12

If this is true the human species has a new lease on life aboard Spaceship Earth, if it can make it to 2040.

SOURCE: “The New Atomic Age: Nuclear Fusion and Beyond,” by Gary Norman, OILPRICE.COM,


March 11, 2018

This clever short satirical article written by an international lawyer and social activist shows the absurdity of Trump’s idea to arm teachers. While this article is enlightening the most educational part is the two posts at the end of the article. The first is a long article by the author providing an incisive and comprehensive overview of US foreign policy since the days of Bush II. The second post is a humorous and enlightening video showing what some Dutch people think about some of Trump’s current foreign policy ideas.

SOURCE: “An Open Letter to President Trump,” by Courtenay Barnett, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT,


March 11

One can build the case the US is not “agreement capable” because the US military industrial intelligence banking complex needs wars to put what passes for money these days in their pockets.

SOURCE: “Peace In Our Time? Only if America is ‘Agreement Capable’,” by Tom Luongo, ZEROHEDGE.COM,


March 11

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Hope springs eternal. When will the good times end? As a cotton farmer said across the counter in our lumber yard at Wolfforth, Texas back in the 1950s, when I was a kid working there, in answer to the question someone had raised about when it would ever rain again, he said, “I don’t know but I know one thing for sure, we’re gettin’ closer to a rain ever day.” The same goes for another market crash today.

SOURCE: “The Everything Bubble Is Just Waiting For The Pin,” by David Stockman, ZEROHEDGE.COM,


March 9

Don’t get much worse than that.

SOURCE: “How To Blow $12.2 Billion In No Time Flat,” by MN Gordon, ECONOMICPRISM.COM,


March 11


SOURCE: “Pollution, Invasive Aliens, & Mass Extinction: 20,000 Scientists ‘Warn Humanity’ The End is Nigh,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE.COM,


March 11

Say it aint so Joe.

SOURCE: “The Implications of Russia’s New Weapon Systems,” by Andre Martyanov, UNZ.COM,


March 11

He has a point.

SOURCE: “Assange Lashes Out: ‘Hypocritical Motherf*ckers…Remember How I Exposed Your Secret Deal With The Saudis’.” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE,



March 10

Good question.

SOURCE: “How Effective are International Human Rights Treaties”? by Joan Roelops, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG,


March 10

Bein a real progressive aint gonna make you poplar.

SOURCE: “The Democratic party is now publicly attacking progressive candidates,” by Lawrence Douglas, THEGUARDIAN.COM,


March 10

I remember rumors Nixon might do something like this before he resigned, but someone said the US military was too loyal to the US constitution and the US people to go along. Trump is the first president to my knowledge to come right out and say imposing a military dictatorship with him as lifetime “president”, er dictator, might be a good idea. Shows how far we’ve sunk.

SOURCE: “Trump and a Lifetime Presidency,” by Robert Fantina, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG,


March 10

Unfortunately they can do it anytime they want. No way we the people would have enough power to resist our own military, as big, sophisticated, and powerful as it is today.

SOURCE: “Dictator for life: The rise of the American imperial president,” by John W. Whitehead, INTREPEDIDREPORT.COM,


March 10

Another great podcast by Richard Wolff and Harriet Fraud dealing with economic and psychological issues. This episode is especially relevant for understanding the consequences of the steel and aluminum tariffs recently imposed by the Trump admin and the causes and consequences of the breakdown of family structures in the US. Well worth a listen.

SOURCE: “Economic Update: Winds of Economic Change,” by Richard D. Wolff, TRUTH-OUT.ORG,


March 9

My father who was in the Seabees helped build landing strips on Okinawa during WWII when I was four years old. I used to listen to the radio hearing about US “Flying Tigers” shooting down Japanese airplanes and wondering when he would get back home. Can’t believe we’re still there.

SOURCE: “As US Military Flies Overhead, Okinawa Residents Live Under a Cloud of Fear,” by Jon Letman, TRUTH-OUT.ORG,


March 9

For now they’ve decided they’re buddies.

SOURCE: “A Step Toward Peace? South Korea Announces Trump Will Meet With North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un,” by Amy Goodman, Video Interview, TRUTH-OUT.ORG,


March 9

Raising tariffs. Politicians trying to make it seem they are useful, pitting one group of voters against another in a zero sum game, creating entertainment content for mass media, distracting their populations from the root causes of problems, likely causing a recession or depression, for sure a major hot button. Better to do nothing than to do this. Better for people to be bored than hungry.

SOURCE: “Trump’s Travesty of Protectionism,” by Michael Hudson, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG,


March 8

Is this more limited government?

What about Homeland Security, TSA, and private security forces? Is this more limited government? What about a university hiring a private security company to check womens’ bags outside the gym when they present their season ticket for a basketball game, even a clear plastic bag? What about a young female ticket taker making an older woman show her driver’s license because she said something mildly flippant and critical about her clear plastic bag having to be physically searched? What about four young males walking in behind the ticket taker to stand shoulder to shoulder facing the older woman and me with their arms crossed over their chests as they stared at us like robots with no affect because the older woman had the audacity to complain about having to show her identification when nobody else had to? Is this more limited government? What about an officious young male supervisor, not wearing a security force t shirt, having watched the shake-down operation through windows from inside the gym, telling you they are doing you a favor, after you finally walk in the gym, telling you they are protecting you, telling you we are living in dangerous times, as you tell him this is insane and walk away, since to my knowledge there has never been any violence at a sporting event at this university, wondering if I would then be handcuffed and taken to jail, for saying I thought the whole episode was insane and/or disrespecting this young man/officer? Is this more limited government? No, this is not more limited government. It’s living in a police state. Other members of the security force, all wearing a strange yellowish t shirt that seemed to almost glow in the dark, were stationed at attention around the gym watching people in all sections of the gym, some doing nothing but looking up at people in the stands. I thought this experience and exposure had spoiled the evening, but it was a good game and we won, a close one. I had forgotten about the security attack by the time it was over. This same security force has been employed by this university for several years but it seems their increasing numbers, their demeanors, and their operations have become increasingly chilling. At this last game outside the gym taking tickets they were abusive. Most of the security employees/officers seem to go out of their way to be polite and friendly when they check your tickets and such, but that ticket-taking operation outside the gym last week was not OK. Like most people, they are doing their jobs, most likely the best job they could find. Unfortunately more and more people seem to work in security jobs, including the US military, despite the beliefs, propaganda, and heritage of the Heritage Foundation, discussed in Ralph Nader’s excellent article below.

SOURCE: “Heritage’s Corporate Lobby Inside Trump’s Government is Not the People’s Heritage,” by Ralph Nader, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG,


March 8

Individual freedom works only if you live in isolation. If you live with others you have to get along, which means you are not completely free to do what you want. All people should be free to pursue fairness, which requires arguing with and discussing things with others. In order for fairness to exist there must be commensurate power among arguers, discussants, participants, etc. If you are a teacher and you want fairness it does no good for you to personally argue with your state school system about what your salary should be. In order to have fairness you have to join something like a union with enough power to argue with your powerful state school system. The labor union laws of the US have been generally fair, but people keep trying to make them unfair, by lobbying governments and courts to change the game in their favor, as this article points out. The US Supreme Court often does not produce fairness, or does not know or care what fairness is. Witness the 5-4 Citizens United Case of 2010 in which five right wing supreme court judges decided it was fair for corporations to spend as much money as their elite rich directors wanted to bribe politicians for laws in their favor, which has now about destroyed freedom and fairness in the US.

SOURCE: “Janus, the Meaning of Freedom, and Striking West Virginia Teachers and Staff,” by Ann Robertson, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG,


March 8

Fake news you say? If only all US citizens had real knowledge of historical facts around Spaceship Earth they would not be so easily conned and manipulated by propaganda.

SOURCE: “Wall Street Sells Subprime History,” by Aidan O’Brien,


March 8

Must reading for all citizens. Insane beyond belief. Way to drain the swamp Trump.

“Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group argued that, overall, if the federal government were to manage the weapons labs, it would bring greater transparency and reform than contracting management to universities or corporations. But a bigger question, he said, is whether the labs should exist at all. He said the weapons labs have consistently fended off attempts to bring more oversight and accountability to their operations.

“The resistance of the laboratories to reform is so deep-seated, and their power so great, that it becomes realistic to question whether they can ever be reformed enough to play a positive role in society,” Mello said. “And we have concluded that the labs have no unique role in disarmament, nonproliferation, verification, cleanup, intelligence, or in any other mission that cannot be performed more objectively, cheaper, and better by other institutions.””

SOURCE: “The University of Nuclear Bombs,” by Will Parrish, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG,


March 7

Dumbest of all

SOURCE: “Trump speaks at fourth-grade level, lowest of last 15 US presidents, new analysis finds,” by Nina Burleigh, NEWSWEEK.COM,


March 7

Maybe you don’t have to make a profit anymore? Look at Amazon.

SOURCE: “What Economic Recovery? Half of US Companies Are Losing Money,” by Baruch Lev, KNOWLEDGELEADERS.COM,


March 7

Easy way to make a living. How many millions will he be paid for this service?

SOURCE: “Massive Tax Cuts for Wealthy Friends and Corporate Raiders Complete, Cohn Calls It Quits,” by Jon Queally, Common Dreams, Report, TRUTH-OUT.ORG,


March 7

They knew they weren’t qualified, but unfortunately their voters disagreed.

SOURCE: “Donald Trump Didn’t Want to Win—and Neither Did his Campaign,” by Michael Wolff, NYMAG.COM,


March 7

If you want to see who the greediest, smartest, and luckiest are just take a look at this. Some inherited their money. Some had a good idea or two and went for it, and the capitalistic system and new computer technology did the rest.

SOURCE: “The World’s Billionaires 2018,” Louisa Kroll and Kerry Dolan, editors, FORBES.COM,


March 7

Let’s hope not.

SOURCE: “Trade Wars Set To Go Nuclear: US Considering Broad Curbs On Chinese Imports,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE.COM.,


March 7

How many human robots have already been replaced by electro-mechanical robots?

SOURCE: “How ‘Flippy The Robot Fry Cook’ Will Save America,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE.COM,


March 5, 2018

Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, says his country has developed some new weapons indefensible by the US, capable of rendering US naval aircraft carriers and destroyers obsolete.

SOURCE: “The Implications of Russia’s New Weapon Systems,” by Andre Martyanov, The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection,



The elite rich of course.

SOURCE: “More Korean War is ‘Worth It’ To Whom,” by Thomas Knapp, COUNTERPUNCH.ORG,


March 5

Can’t keep on spending over six hundred and sixty billion dollars per year on the US military if there are no major wars to fight. Kunstler has a good take on the psychological Game of IF IT WEREN’T FOR YOU the US is now playing with Russia.

SOURCE: “Light It Up,” by James Howard Kunstler,




















An Open Letter to President Trump

By Courtenay Barnett

25th February, 2018

President of the United States of America
Donald Trump
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW,
Washington, DC 20500,

Dear President Trump,

Re: Need for an Executive Order:-

It is with great sadness that I express my condolences on the recent shooting tragedy in the state of Florida.

I had many years ago addressed an audience in the US on the legal history of the First Amendment. It is not improbable that at some later stage, maybe when my days in court and my defence in public interest cases wane as I age, I might visit the topic of the Second Amendment. But, I am not qualified so to do, which fact I shall address in a moment.

Court room appearances and addresses to a public audience are by now, after over 30 years in the law, just about second nature for me. We may there have something in common, for, if you recall, you said in a public debate in 2016:-

During a Republican debate in February 2016, Trump said, “I’m the only one on this stage that said, ‘Do not go into Iraq, do not attack Iraq.’ Nobody else on this stage said that. And I said it loud and strong.”

Anyway, I not only opposed the war, but researched the point in depth and was invited to give a public lecture on the issue. A representative from the State Department attended and he was the one who directed the majority of questions at me, which I responded to. My opinions as expressed have been quoted by Professors and cited in publications, so there is good reason, why, I think that in later life I might simply continue to share my thoughts in pubic and even visit the US again to speak – but, I am not qualified. I shall therefore need your help. Let me explain.

I now understand that following the tragedy in Florida you shall be requiring teachers to be armed and even be proficient in the use AR-15 assault rifles. I believe that as a public speaker, I could also be termed a teacher, and so I need to be trained and qualified in the use of the assault rifle. I am presently not so trained and therefore unqualified. Can you  therefore assist and by way of Executive Order make a special dispensation so that I may speak without my full qualifications and a weapon in hand?

I shall remain eternally grateful for such dispensation.

Finally, while I realise that you are a “genius” as you have proclaimed yourself to be; I am not. So take lightly and even discardingly what I am about to say. At the time when the Second Amendment came into being, there were survival issues at hand for the then fledgling nation and also natural challenges from the likes of cougars, bears, rattle snakes and the wretched Indians who threatened ‘White privilege’ by trying to claim back the land which white people had conquered as rightfully theirs. Those were the early days when America was setting out to be great and when men were real men carrying arms as authorised under the Second Amendment. Not to say that I have seen any cougars, bears, rattle snakes or marauding Indians recently in New York or any other major city in the US for that matter. But, we must nevertheless be vigilant lest the Native Americans decide to rise again. So, with your assistance, I shall obtain my qualification to teach in the US – weapon in hand.

President Trump – I assure you – by reference to the Second Amendment and with arms in hand – we shall make America great again.

Thank you in anticipation of a timely issue of the necessary Executive Order.


Courtenay Barnett

P.S. Should you be interested in my views on the Iraq war – great minds thinking alike – then visit here:-

As regards a testament to your greatness – watch this:-

Courtenay Barnett is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, has been arrested for defending his views, has been subjected to death threats, and has argued public interest and human rights cases.