gulf of tonkin incident

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August 2nd 1964: Gulf of Tonkin incident

On this day in 1964, North Vietnamese gunboats allegedly fired on American destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. The incident was used by the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson to demonstrate the aggression of the North Vietnamese communists, and to justify an escalated US military presence in the country. In the wake of the incident, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Joint Resolution which authorised the President to intervene in Vietnam to counter “communist aggression”. Thus, Johnson was authorised - in what was essentially a blank cheque from Congress - to send troops into Vietnam to fight the communist North and aid the South; there was no formal declaration of war by Congress. It was later confirmed that the USS Maddox in fact fired first on the North Vietnamese, and that the incident was twisted for the purposes of the Johnson administration.

Conspiracy Theories

by  Saṃsāran

The internet is rife with conspiracy theories. Stories about Flat Earth, fake moon landings, Illuminati, the Trilateral Commission, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, 9/11, the Freemasons, Area 51, the assassination of President Kennedy, Roswell and others. All of these subjects make for interesting study and many genuine questions are raised.

People have plenty of reasons to suspect conspiracies involving business and government. The United States government DID secretly infect African American men with syphilis, it DID administer LSD secretly to American citizens, it DID fabricate the Gulf of Tonkin incident and lie about it to get public support for what became the Vietnam War, it DID engage in a cover-up with respect to the Kennedy assassination by down playing Oswald’s connection to the Soviet Union out of fear that the public would demand armed retaliation, it DID engage in an entire campaign of falsehood during the Vietnam war, it did harass and intimidate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. illegally bugging his hotel room, blackmailing him and even trying to convince him to commit suicide, it DID during J. Edgar Hoover’s tenure at the FBI routinely blackmail political figures, celebrities and others, it DID engage in the covert other throw of democratically elected regimes to ensure profits for American business interests and lie about it to the American people. Big oil DID kill the electric car and the mass transit industry in the U.S.

The list goes on and on. However, all of the conspiracies outlined above have been proven with facts. Many of the facts coming from whistle blowers within the organizations. You see, people cannot keep secrets especially if there is a buck to be made by spilling the beans.  Conspiracy theories which rely upon the assumption of a vast network of conspirators and which none have ever come forward just fly in the face of human nature and common sense.


Why in the world would the Illuminati or the Freemasons plant “secret messages” in things like the currency or the National seal? If you want to have a secret society wouldn’t it be best, you know, to keep it secret? When it comes to conspiracy theories what I need is good hard facts.  Not allegations. Not speculation. Not hearsay. Facts with supporting back up documentation. Facts which stand up to Occam’s razor. Motives which are believable. In a word, give me real evidence and I will consider any theory. Give me unsubstantiated allegations and I will dismiss them. Call me a “sheep” or tell me that I am being “duped by the establishment” for so doing and I will dismiss you.

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November 2nd 1963: Diem assassinated

On this day in 1963, South Vietnamese President Ngô Ðình Diệm was assassinated. Diem was the first President of South Vietnam following Vietnamese independence from France. He was anti-communist and therefore had the support of the United States, who feared the fall of the region to Communism would lead to a ‘domino effect’ in the region. Diem was a Catholic, and pursued an aggressive policy towards Buddhists in his country, which led to high level of protests in Vietnam. These protests included self-immolation by Buddhist monks, and one of the most iconic images of the twentieth century was Malcolm Browne’s Pulitzer prize winning photograph of the self-immolation of Thich Quang Duc. The United States withdrew their support for South Vietnam amidst the protests, and soon after Diem was assassinated in a military coup. The United States had been steadily increasing its military presence in the country, trying to stem the tide of communist influence. In 1964, after the Tonkin Gulf Incident, the United States became fully engaged in the war effort against Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Cong, thus beginning America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The Americans began withdrawing troops in the early 1970s, and in 1975 Saigon ultimately fell to the Communists.

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January 27th 1973: Paris Peace Accords

On this day in 1973, the Paris Peace Accords were signed in the French capital, ending U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. American involvement in the country went back to the 1950s, with Cold War fears of the region falling to communism leading a series of Presidents to steadily increase the presence of American advisers in Vietnam. Vietnam successfully achieved independence from the colonial French in 1954, which also resulted in the division of the country between the communist North under Ho Chi Minh, and the South under U.S.-backed Ngo Dinh Diem. The two sections soon broke out in fighting, and in August 1964 the United States fully committed to the war after the Gulf of Tonkin incident. This was when the North Vietnamese allegedly fired on American ships in the gulf, which resulted in Congress passing a resolution allowing the President to intervene in the war to counter the communists. The high casualty rates of American soldiers, and tales of horrific acts of violence like the My Lai massacre in 1968, prompted mass protests against the war in the United States. This increased opposition to the presidency of Lyndon Johnson, who declined to run for another term in 1968 and was succeeded by Richard Nixon. Nixon initially expanded the war into neighboring Laos and Cambodia, but then began to gradually withdraw troops from the war that had reached an unwinnable and bloody stalemate. The 1973 settlement, known as ‘An Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam’, included a cease-fire throughout Vietnam, as well as the withdrawal of U.S. forces. U.S. Representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese Le Duc Tho were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in Paris, though the latter refused the award. However the fighting in Vietnam continued until 1975, when Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese Army, and the nation was united under communist rule.

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January 27th 1973: Paris Peace Accords

On this day in 1973, the Paris Peace Accords were signed in the French capital, ending U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. American involvement in the country went back to the 1950s, with Cold War fears of the region falling to communism leading a series of presidents to steadily increase the presence of American advisers in Vietnam. Vietnam successfully achieved independence from the colonial French in 1954, which also resulted in the division of the country between the communist North under Ho Chi Minh, and the South under U.S.-backed Ngo Dinh Diem. The two sections soon broke out in fighting, and in August 1964 the United States fully committed to the war after the Gulf of Tonkin incident. This was when the North Vietnamese allegedly fired on American ships in the gulf, which resulted in Congress passing a resolution allowing the President to intervene in the war to counter the communists. The high casualty rates of American soldiers, and tales of horrific acts of violence like the My Lai massacre in 1968, prompted mass protests against the war in the United States. This increased opposition to the presidency of Lyndon Johnson, who declined to run for another term in 1968 and was succeeded by Richard Nixon. Nixon initially expanded the war into neighboring Laos and Cambodia, but then began to gradually withdraw troops from the war that had reached an unwinnable and bloody stalemate. The 1973 settlement, known as ‘An Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam’, included a cease-fire throughout Vietnam, as well as the withdrawal of U.S. forces. U.S. Representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese Le Duc Tho were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in Paris, though the latter refused the award. However, the fighting in Vietnam continued until 1975, when Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese Army, and the nation was united under communist rule.

Douglas A-1 Skyraider

Skyraiders from Constellation and Ticonderoga participated in the first U.S. Navy strikes against North Vietnam on 5 August 1964 as part of Operation Pierce Arrow in response to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, striking against fuel depots at Vinh.