Taoist mythology, Lanna history, mythology, the nature of time and other considered ramblings

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Location: Chiangrai, Chiangrai, Thailand

Author of many self-published books, including several about Thailand and Chiang Rai, Joel Barlow lived in Bangkok 1964-65, attending 6th grade with the International School of Bangkok's only Thai teacher. He first visited ChiangRai in 1988, and moved there in 1998.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Purported Provocations

Three days after Democrats were trounced in mid-term elections, Obama announced he’s sending up to 1,500 more troops to Iraq, roughly double the number of U.S. forces already there. A look back at previous military actions might be appropriate. Mostly forgotten is the Blackhawk War, which began on May 14, 1832, when a U.S. militia opened fire on a delegation of Native Americans. This supposedly gave rise to a policy of Indian removal, with Native American tribes pressured to sell their lands and move west of the Mississippi River, but Natives had been being pushed west for centuries already, usually with no compensation.
Less than a decade after Texas declared independence from Mexico (1836), provocative movements of U.S. troops led to further war. U.S. troops eventually attacked a Mexico City military school (at Chapultepec Castle) defended only by teenage cadets, and the National Palace (the root of the “Halls of Montezuma” line in the Marine Hymn). After the US annexed Texas (1845), Mexico soon severed relations… with little more provocation than that, President Polk sent troops - who rapidly took Baja, Monterrey, Buena Vista, Veracruz and Tampico (Mexico's leading ports) - in fact, most of mainland Mexico.
In 1845, Polk, responding to businesses interested in U.S. Control of Sante Fe and California, offered to purchase those areas, but was rebuffed. Pretending that the area called Texas soon to be annexed was twice the size it actually was, Polk sent troops to an area which beforehand had NOT been part of Texas, a month before annexation. They built a fort on the banks of the Rio Grande at what is now Brownsville, and a patrol sent from that fort was attacked by Mexican troops. Claiming that Mexican had “shed American blood on American soil’ (a gross distortion of fact), Polk railroaded a declaration of war through Congress in two hours. Yankees pretended Mexico had invaded the US, then stole half of Mexico’s land. Of course, the land was really Comanche, Apache, Wichita and Kiowa land, and oppression of indigenous peoples was part of the Mexican weakness which allowed the successful aggression. Regardless of that, there was no military need to attack the Chapultepec military school military school, nor to build a fort 150 km. inside the Mexican border; but purely for expansionist political reasons, these things were done.
The war was expensive, though, and unpopular (seen by many as a land grab for the slave states); at the end, for a little over a dollar a square kilometer, the US was able to annex Texas, California, Nevada, Utah, western Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Arizona (about half of Mexico’s total territory). During the war, a group of Catholic Irish immigrants in the US Army rebelled, objecting to abusive treatment by Protestant officers (and abusive treatment of the Catholic Mexican population). They joined the Mexican army; eventually 46 were hanged as traitors (right after being whipped and branded). They and the cadets remain honored as heroes in Mexico.

By 1898, Spain was losing territories regularly; Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines were in revolt. Cuba’s revolution was bad news for the U.S. owners of Cuban sugar, tobacco and iron industry properties (valued at over $50 million – about $1.2 billion in today’s terms). Main stream media, dominated by newspaper magnates Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst (that era’s Rupert Murdoch and Koch brothers), fabricated stories of horrible conditions under Spanish rule. Ships were deployed to strategic locations for war against Spain’s empire, and then, at 9:40 p.m. on Feb. 15, 1898, the quietly at anchor Maine suffered a massive explosion and sank. 255 to 266 crew members died. The U.S. Navy convened a board of inquiry, which, without forensic evidence, declared the sinking to have been due to a mine - a trumped up story that the Hearst press used to accuse the Spanish of causing the explosion by remote-control. The US declared war, and annexed the Philippines, Guam and Cuba. Later investigations revealed that the explosion originated inside the Maine; the cause hasn’t been definitively determined, but may have come from a time bomb inside the battleship. Definitive scientific analysis says the Spaniards could not have sunk it, and Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the US nuclear navy, decided that a coal fire began aboard the Maine caused the explosion. That seems unlikely to me, but at any rate, the Spanish-American War was begun on the strength of an outright lie: that the Spanish had mined a U.S. ship.
On May 7th, 1915, the Lusitania was sent where German military vessels were known to be, despite carrying passengers and the German embassy having put advertisements in the New York Times telling people that if they boarded the Lusitania they did so at their own risk, as, by sailing from America to England through the war zone, the ship would be liable to destruction. As expected, German U-boats torpedoed the ship, exploding stored munitions and killing 1198 people, including 128 Americans. The ship went down in only 18 minutes - improbable if only hit by one U-Boat torpedo. However, a 1982 examination of the sunken Lusitanian concluded that there were, indeed, explosive munitions on board, and those explosives caused the ship to sink. A large section of the keel area, totally away from where the torpedo entry occurred, was missing; the vessel was certainly sunk by a massive internal explosion. 148 tubs of butter, shipped to the British admiralty by Remington Arms and its parent company DuPont Chemicals, was stored at the place where the massive damage was located; apparently what was shipped was gun cotton, a volatile explosive used in mines, and which can be set off by contact with seawater. The ship was also secretly transporting 6 million pounds of artillery shells and rifle ammunition (in December 2008, divers found 4 million US made bullets in the Lusitania’s holds), as well as other explosives (on behalf of Morgan banking corporation), despite it being against US laws to transport war materials and passengers in the same ship. But, as losses at sea were not quite enough to bring isolationist America into a European war, in January 1917, British “intelligence” turned over a telegram they claimed to have intercepted, sent by Germany to Mexico, promising return of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona to Mexico upon successful “joint conduct of the war.” The telegram was leaked to the American press on March 1; it appeared that Mexico was being encouraged to invade the U.S., and subsequent public outcry helped make possible a U.S. declaration of war on April 2. German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman at first denied, and then admitted, sending the telegram, but claimed it was intended as a warning to Mexico about Germany's intention to wage unrestricted submarine warfare against the U.S., and was certainly not an invitation to join in a war against it. World War I yielded $16,000,000,000 in profits, and is how about 21,000 millionaires and billionaires and got that way.
WWII is a bit more difficult to show as a set-up, but the fact is that the preponderance of citizenry in the USA was decidedly against entering into it. From after WWI until 1941, US foreign policy was dominated by isolationists determined to prevent the United States from being drawn into another European war. With the Neutrality Act of 1935, Congress passed a series of laws designed to minimize American potential involvement with belligerent nations. Shipping arms from the USA to any combatant nation was banned (in 1937, Congress passed an even more stringent act).
As WWII began (with Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939), Congress and most of the American public continued to favor neutrality. President Franklin Roosevelt proposed that peace-loving nations quarantine aggressors, but his proposal created such alarm that he quickly backed off from it. Although well aware that the public wanted America to stay out of the war, Roosevelt was determined to do all he could to thwart Hitler. In October, 1938, he held secret talks with French officials on how to bypass the neutrality laws and allow purchase of US aircraft (which the French couldn’t even pay for). Inadvertent disclosure of these talks led to major isolationist uproar against Roosevelt, and a Senate probe. Because of the prevalence of isolationism, Roosevelt made a series of contradictory statements to the American people. In the winter of 1939 he warned that France and Britain were America's “first line of defense”, and required American aid; meanwhile he also claimed that he was following an isolationist foreign policy that would do nothing to involve the US in another war. When the French offered up colonized islands in the Caribbean and Pacific to pay for aircraft, orders were placed; when the aircraft were ready, they were diverted to the British, as France had already been overrun by Germany. FDR continued in secret negotiations to assist Britain and France, against the wishes of the public and laws passed by its other representatives.
After France fell, FDR pursued his policy by aiding the British against Germany, facilitating the placing of British orders for munitions and making various arrangements for the transfer of surplus American war matériel to them. On September 2, 1940, FDR openly defied the Neutrality Acts by passing the Destroyers for Bases Agreement, which gave Britain 50 WWI-era US destroyers in exchange for 99-year leases on 8 British naval and air bases in the British Caribbean Islands and Newfoundland. British PM Churchill believed that that exchange set in motion a process towards US entry into the war which no one could stop, and indeed, soon FDR had persuaded Congress to revise the 1935 Neutrality Act. By December, ’40, Britain had placed orders for war materials far in excess of what they could possibly muster the dollar exchange to finance, and in March, ‘41 a Lend-Lease agreement began to direct massive military and economic aid to Britain and the Republic of China. Before long the Soviet Union was included in this. The Lend-Lease Act empowered FDR to transfer defense materials, services, and information to any foreign government whose defense he deemed vital to that of the United States, and left to his discretion what he should ask in return. From the time of the German invasion of the USSR, FDR was clearly determined to aid the Soviet Union, but the American public’s suspicions of that country, and Communism in general, delayed his declaring that country eligible for lend-lease - until November 1941. American deliveries of aircraft, tanks, and other supplies to the USSR began shortly thereafter.
By raising the specter of a German invasion of the Western Hemisphere, FDR convinced Congress to enact the first peacetime military draft, a decisive step in preparing the United States to enter the war. As opinion polls showed the American public heavily favoring a policy of “all aid short of war” to Britain, at least, and isolationist sentiment remained strong, FDR's campaign for US intervention had to remain deceptive. He made an unqualified promise to a Boston audience on October 30, 1940: “I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.” When the Japanese sank an American gunboat on the Yangtze River early in December, ‘41, most Americans feared that the attack would lead to war, and were pleased that FDR accepted Japan’s apologies. Meanwhile he secretly stepped up a program to build long-range submarines that could blockade Japan.
By December 1941, the Axis Powers of Germany, Italy and Japan were doing well; Hitler’s troops dominated most of Western Europe, and Japan was gaining control of the islands of the South Pacific. There was enormous pressure on the US to enter the war. On July 26, in pursuance of a new agreement with Vichy France, Japanese forces had begun occupying bases in southern Indochina. FDR froze Japanese assets under US control, imposed an embargo on oil to Japan and restricted exports to Japan of other supplies essential to making war. Dismay at the embargo drove the Japanese naval command, which had hitherto been more moderate than the army, into collusion with the army's extremism. Japan tried to negotiate restoration of trade in curtailed supplies, particularly petroleum products and scrap metals (which Prescott Bush was still supplying to Germany). Negotiations failed, and Japanese leaders planned an attack on the United States - which may have been exactly what Roosevelt wanted. By backing Japan into a corner and forcing it to make war on the US, he’d become able to enter the European war.
He’d pushed Japan into a corner, provoking it into attacking enticing bait at Pearl Harbor. This was done using “8 insults”, including a total blockade of Japanese oil imports, forbidding Japan use of Panama canal (impeding Japanese access to Venezuelan oil), freezing all Japanese assets in the United States; making public loans to Nationalist China, and supplying military aid to the British (in violation of international war rules). Demands that Japan could not concede included renunciation of the Tripartite Pact (which would have left Japan diplomatically isolated) and withdrawal of Japanese troops from China and Southeast Asia (to which it had invested in an overt commitment of four years' standing). The success of the Flying Tigers (a volunteer air group) in downing about 100 Japanese military aircraft, mostly bombers, was seen by the Japanese as part of these insults. The Japanese could see no point in continuing the talks; peace with the US seemed impossible, so Japan set in motion plans for war, which would now be waged not only against the USA, but also against Great Britain (the Far Eastern colonies of which lay within the orbit of the projected Japanese expansion) and the Dutch East Indies (the oil of which was now essential).
FDR and his advisers knew there’d be important Japanese military action on December 6–7. Most historians say that they didn’t know where the attack would come, that intercepted Japanese diplomatic and military messages indicated an attack somewhere, but that information suggested the target would be British, Dutch, or French. The British, Dutch, French and American military forces in the entire Pacific region west of Hawaii amounted to only about 350,000 troops, most lacking combat experience (and including many disparate nationalities). Allied air power in the Pacific was weak, consisting mostly of obsolete planes. If the Japanese, with their large, well-equipped and battle-hardened armies could quickly launch coordinated attacks, they could overwhelm Allied forces and overrun the entire western Pacific Ocean as well as Southeast Asia. Then those areas’ resources could be used to Japan’s military-industrial advantage. The Japanese planned to establish a strongly fortified defensive perimeter extending from Burma to the southern rim of the Dutch East Indies and northern New Guinea and on to the Gilbert and Marshall islands. The Japanese believed that any American and British counteroffensives against this perimeter could be repelled, after which those nations would eventually seek a negotiated peace that would allow Japan to keep her newly won empire. The only truly important impediment to this plan was the American fleet at Pearl Harbor.
The US had broken Japanese encryption codes in 1940, and knew what was going to happen, when and where: US Naval intelligence intercepted and translated hundreds of transmissions to the Japanese attack fleet while it was en-route to Hawaii, dispatches which left no doubt that Pearl Harbor was to be the target of a Japanese attack. On December 7th, 1941, the Japanese killed 2400 soldiers, triggering US entry into that war. Despite giving the information to the British, FDR didn’t give it to his troops in Hawaii. His administration failed to notify the military of decoded Japanese messages indicating that an attack would take place on December 6–7.
Interestingly, despite the amazing lack of military preparedness at Pearl Harbor, enough of the Pacific Fleet, including 3 aircraft carriers, remained available to successfully enter into war. The Japanese attack failed in a crucial respect, as the aircraft carriers were out of port, at sea at the time of the attack, and so escaped harm. These aircraft carriers became the nucleus of US military action in the Pacific. Pearl Harbor’s shore installations and oil-storage facilities also escaped damage, but the attack unified the American public and swept away most remaining support for American neutrality. On December 8 the U.S. Congress declared war on Japan, with just one dissenting vote. The other Axis powers then declared war on the US.
FDR used deceitful tactics to increase U.S. involvement gradually and to stir up pro-war sentiments in the American public. He clearly believed - with good reason - that he could obtain a public consensus in favor of war only if the country were attacked by a foreign power. Circumstances surrounding the attack on Pearl Harbor, when interpreted in light of Roosevelt's behavior in preceding years, strongly suggest that he intentionally provoked the Japanese attack. Perhaps it was right of FDR to carefully not commit the USA to greater involvement in fighting than public opinion would support, while doing all he could to contain the Axis powers, but he clearly did not stay within the letter of the law, nor adhere to clear public sentiments.

There’s evidence that South Korean incursions (the Tiger regiment etc.) into North Korea (1949) led to the Korean “police-action” - and that covert activity by leaders of Taiwan and the US military-industrial complex helped organize those hostilities. 2 to 4 million North Koreans and Chinese, and 54,000 US, killed.
In 1964, while Lyndon Johnson was campaigning as a peace candidate, North Vietnamese allegedly fired on two US ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. Johnson ordered retaliatory action after "renewed attacks" now known not to have occurred. By 1967 Johnson had sent some 550,000 US troops into Southeast Asia. More were sent by allied countries, and about 10% of that number died. Like the Maine and Lusitania disasters, the North Vietnamese PT boats attacks in the Gulf of Tonkin were little more than lies: there had been no unjustified, provocative attacks, only a perceived need to enter into war.
Now we hear of “Islamists”, and that “Truthers” complaining about massive misinformation on WTC 9-11 are as psychologically unstable as the “Birthers” calling their own President an anti-American atheistic Islamic commie Socialist… and nobody seems to know what’s going on in 3 separate wars, wars some see as united in a “War on Terror” – another War to End all War, I suppose…



Blogger Mythorelics said...

Jim Collier posted a reply about "normalization" of relations with Cuba on Facebook:
American leaders always opposed Cuban independence, and viewed it as an inevitable US property. When Madison was president, Jefferson advised him to offer Napoleon a free hand in Spanish America in return for Cuba. He wrote that the US should not go to war for Cuba, 'but the first war on other accounts will give it to us, or the island will give itself to us when able to do so.' Secretary of State John Quincy Adams described Cuba as 'an object of transcendent importance to the commercial and political interests of our Union.' He urged Spanish sovereignty until Cuba would fall into US hands by 'the laws of
political gravitation ... a ripe fruit for harvest.' With the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, the United States laid hegemonic claim to the entire Western hemisphere, and the Doctrine led to 45 US military interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean between the years 1865-1919 (and 18 in the Pacific and East Asia during the same time). While still at Princeton,
Woodrow Wilson wrote of 'our peculiar duty to teach colonial peoples order and self-control' and 'the drill and habit of law and obedience.'
'Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down. Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process. Colonies must be obtained or planted, in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused.' US dominance of the Western hemisphere has always been deemed its natural right, as expressed by Wilson’s Secretary of State Robert Lansing: 'In its advocacy of the Monroe Doctrine the United States considers its own interests. The integrity of other American nations is an incident, not an end. While this may seem based on selfishness alone, the author of the Doctrine had no higher or more generous motive in its declaration.' The US took over Cuba in 1898 and essentially ran it until its revolution in January of 1959. Castro did not align himself with Russia until May of 1961. However, the US Air Force and Navy began strafing and sabotage operations in October of 1959. This was 5 months before Eisenhower authorized the Bay of Pigs planning in March 1960. After its colossal failure, the Kennedy administration initiated the much larger terrorist operation known as Operation Mongoose in 1961. This was largely based out of the University of Miami, and included: sinking Cuban fishing boats and private airplanes, blowing up Cuban factories, poisoning livestock and crops, numerous assassination attempts of Castro, and the devastating embargo that remains in place to this day. Bear in mind all of this preceded the missile crisis which began in October of 1962. So, it seems clear that Cuba would never have gone 'communist' without decades of US dominance and attacks, and there would never have been a near apocalyptic nuclear missile crisis either.

1:57 AM  
Blogger Mythorelics said...

Quite right. But it seems to me that taxpayer subsidization of globalcorp business has become detrimental to security and quality of life. At the very least, let them hire their own armies!

5:45 PM  

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