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A Black Hole in History: How Americong Won Vietnam War Against America

Filling a Black Hole in History
Comrades in Arms:  How the Ameri-Cong Won the Vietnam War against the Common Enemy—America. Copyright Roger Canfield, 1988-2010.
The excerpt below about an obscure meeting in Germantown, Ohio in 1973 is from a book on Vietnam uniquely important to current events. Today a divided American political elite has a declining will both to fight terrorism and to remain vigilant to a rising Communist China. A large faction of the America political elite, even President Obama, still carries a “blame America” template to all U.S. military and foreign policy. This is contemporary evidence of the power of Hanoi propaganda extended down to the present day.
Comrades in Arms fills a black hole in history by the telling story never told of how closely the top leaders of the American peace movement coordinated their antiwar demonstrations and propaganda themes with Hanoi.  In one place for the first time the book names hundreds of Americans who met the Vietnamese Communists frequently not only in Hanoi and Paris, but also in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Windsor, Havana, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Geneva, Munich, East Berlin, Moscow, Budapest, Helsinki, Sofia, Bratislava, Tokyo, Jakarta, Peking, Phnom Penn, and Vientiane. In these meetings antiwar leaders and the enemy agreed to common political strategies and tactics and propaganda themes. They  coordinated their political actions by date, place and themes. This collaboration and coordination was not to achieve peace, but to defeat U.S. imperialism and impose communism upon Indochina.
Much of what our children learn, our historians write and the mass media tells us about the war in Vietnam is false. In particular effusive accounts of the peace movement, portray idealistic youth and honest pacifists rightfully protesting an illegal and immoral war by U.S. imperialism against innocent peasants in a far away place of no strategic interest to the United States. Au contraire, the book demonstrates how the Vietnamese Communists considered the antiwar movement an essential, ultimately the most critical factor, in their grand strategy for a military victory. Indeed, very many of those named leading demonstrations and lobbying congress happily collaborated with Hanoi. They made the U.S. homeland a second front in the rear of their enemy. After all, by 1972 the United States and South Vietnamese ARVN had both all but won the war on the ground and in the hearts and minds of the people of South Vietnam until America’s national leaders lost the will to win.  The book confronts most of Hanoi’s propaganda themes, point by point. It describes in horrific detail Communist atrocities that far surpass the sins of the allies in Vietnam.
Though scores of meetings and hundreds of persons are named and quoted, the usual American suspects include: John Kerry, William Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, Joan Baez, David Dellinger, Cora Rubin Weiss, Daniel Berrigan, Tom Harkin, John Conyers and hundreds of others. Similarly, the book describes top Vietnamese Communist leaders meeting American fellow travelers: Ho Chi Minh, Pham Van Dong, Nguyen Van Hieu, Nguyen Khac Vien, Madame Nguyen Thi Binh, Nguyen Thi Dinh, Col. Ha Van Lau, Le Duan, Le Duc Tho, Xuan Thuy, Nguyen Minh Vy, Huyn Van Ba, Do Xuan Oanh, Hoang Tung, Hoang Minh Giam, Mai Van Bo and scores more.  The book also names spies, agents of influence and gullible journalists who played critical roles. Of particular interest are reports from American POWs who had ringside seats to observe American collaborators and to learn Hanoi’s propaganda themes.
The whole story has not been told previously this account is comprehensive, covering 1,500 pages, 4,700 footnotes citing long lost or rare documents, interviews and memoirs, letters and leaflets, CIA and FBI files, captured Viet Cong documents, Radio Hanoi and Vietnamese and American newspapers.
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In January 1973 a peace accord had been signed in Paris, but the Hanoi conquest of South Vietnam was incomplete. The American peace movement played the critical role in that conquest. Tom Hayden, returning from meeting Hanoi and Kymer representatives in Paris, in mid October 1973[1] would bring back a new sense of focus for the peace movement.
Germantown Brings ‘clarity and…coordinated strategy” October 26-28, 1973
In order “to clarity and to develop a coordinated strategyamong over a dozen peace organizations, the Indochina Peace Campaign, IPC, held a National Planning Conference on Indochina October 26-28, 1973, at a chapel in a Methodist camp in Germantown outside Dayton, Ohio.[2] According to Max Friedman the conference had been “delayed for a week for Tom Hayden, Jane Fonda and others to meet with VC/VN in Paris for their marching orders. Hayden actually said this” (on Friday October 26.) Hayden and Fonda’s Indochina Peace Campaign had been on a U.S. road tour from late September to mid October, e.g. Chicago, Austin, and Madison. The week before the Germantown gathering the IPC group met the Vietnamese communists in Paris. [3] Indeed, Tom Hayden was in Paris meeting with PRG and DRV and on October 20, 1973 interviewing Ly Van Sau,[4] a Viet Cong representative and spokesman of Hanoi’s puppet, the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam.[5] Ly told Hayden “We want to convey to our American friends to be with us on the long march.”[6] He instructed Tom Hayden that political “action should be pursued” to cut aid to Thieu and Lon Nol, free 200,000 political prisoners and to implement the Paris Peace Treaty, i.e. overturning the Thieu regime. Ly, Viet Cong spokesman of a political-military operations known for terror and assassinations said, it was the Thieu regime which “burn houses, plunder property, raping etc” and it “tortured and massacred” political prisoners.
Ly Van Sau also made promises through Tom Hayden to a larger American audience: “We do not want to build Communism in South Vietnam…We do not want a monopolization of political power in South Vietnam.” The Viet Cong only wanted an independent and neutral South Vietnam. Indeed, “We will be very glad to see the people of South Vietnam to vote freely in elections.”[7] To reinforce this message of peace and freedom, Hanoi apologist Gareth Porter of the Indochina Resource Center wrote that Hanoi was taking no aggressive actions only defending its zones of occupancy.[8]
Responding Premier Nguyen Van Theiu proclaimed there was a real but unseen, “phantom” Communist offensive. If only Hanoi were left with arms, as Hayden and Ly wished, a Communist political and military victory was a near certainty.
Hayden arrived a week late in Germantown, Ohio on Friday October 26, 1973 delivering messages from Hanoi via Paris, which became instructions for future actions of the US peace movement until the final defeat of South Vietnam.
Some 200 representatives from 15 organizations attended the Germantown gathering of mostly hard-left organizations: America Friends Service Committee, Clergy And Laity Concerned, Women Strike for Peace, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, War Resisters League, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, People’s Coalition for Peace and Justice, Fellowship of Reconciliation, SANE, Episcopal Peace Fellowship. Church groups were in the majority.[9] Some others organizations performed specialized tasks or represented special interests such as Bill Zimmerman’s Medical Aid to Indochina, Indochina Resource Center, Don Luce’s Indochina Mobile [tiger cage] Education Project, church affiliated International Committee to Free South Vietnamese Prisoners from Detention, Torture and Death[10] and the small, but symbolic Union of Vietnamese in the U.S.A.[11] Together the tax exempted United Methodist Church, Board of Social Concern, United Church of Christ, and the United Presbyterian Church funded the tax exempt Indochina Resource Center,[12] which illegally lobbied Congress despite a demand for records from the House Committee on International Affairs.[13] AFSC/NARMIC was tightly tied to the IPC sharing events, administrative support and Indochina Resource Center[14] research staff–Don Luce, David Marr, Gareth Porter, Mike Klare, and Fred Branfman.[15] We know the names of some of the individuals who attended the Germantown conference from materials listing participants in each of twenty workshop groups on the 27th.[16] Among the most noteworthy organizations and their representatives were; WSP, Trudi Young; IPC, Tom Hayden, Susan Wind, Marianne Schneller, Steve Cagan[17], Ira Arlook, Nina Mohit, Sokum Hing[18] and Allen Imbarrato; Chicago Seven, John Froines; NARMIC, Merlin Rainwater; Indochina Resource Center, Fred Branfman, G.C. Hildebrand, Bill Goodfellow; AFSC John McAuliff, Gail Pressberg, Jack Malinoski, Lo Anh Tu; WILPF, Roland and Paula Westerlund, Beatrice Pearson, Rosalie Riechman; Medical Aid to Indochina, Bill Zimmerman; [19] Union of Vietnamese in the U.S.A, Tran Quoc Hung.[20]
At this conference in late October an earlier IPC offshoot formed in late 1972, the Coalition to Stop Funding the War, changed its name to the United Campaign for Peace in Germantown and thereafter the United Campaign to End the War and the United Campaign to Honor the Peace Treaty.[21] The tax exempt Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church acted as the ultimate Communist front group becoming the major conduit of funds for Hanoi agents in the United Campaign to End the War and the United Campaign to Honor the Peace Treaty and its successor, the Coalition for a New Foreign Policy.[22] Stewart Mott, General Motors heir, used the Methodists to launder $90, 000 to the Coalition to Stop Funding the War.[23]
After Hayden’s trip to Paris to talk to the Vietnamese communist, the IPC’s ad hoc coalition, pursuing a hodgepodge of goals, was transformed into a strategically defined political campaign with quite specific tactical objectives. The tactics created the conditions to achieve the strategic objective of a communist victory in Vietnam.
Prior to the meetings in Paris, an IPC strategy dated October 7th, had contained a long laundry list of calendared objectives involving war funding, political prisoners, amnesty, medical aid, and crisis planning.[24] The final preconference document, almost certainly drafted in Paris, focused with “clarity” upon a single overriding issue, political prisoners, and a single target, members of Congress in selected states. The IPC said South Vietnam had 200,000 political prisoners, many kept in inhumane tiger cages, and had created six millions of refugees. IPC-Hanoi would stick to this 10-year old, story, a political campaign plan, for another two years. If believed to be true this story would reduce the legitimacy of the southern regime making it easier to persuade a credulous post-Watergate Congress to cut off all remaining aid to South Vietnam and Cambodia. The alleged horrific treatment of political prisoners was a powerful moral issue among Americans, which if left unchallenged, was indefensible. Moreover, two other demands not in the October 7 document were payment of reparations and establishing a “government of national reconciliation,”[25] which were elements of the Paris peace treaty giving Hanoi all the fruits of a total victory—both a political coup of Thieu and the plunder of the defeated.  The October Pledge to End the War was replaced with an Indochina Peace Pledge. All these elements given “clarity” in Germantown were North Vietnam’s precise propaganda themes,[26] which IPC had been instructed to clarify, use and coordinate.
IPC outlined a sophisticated grass roots political campaign in key states and Congressional districts to put local service group pressure on U.S. Senators and House members to cut off aid to Thieu. Geoffrey Pope of Atlanta said, they’d “gotten down to the nitty gritty of how realistically to accomplish that goal.”[27] With tactics acceptable to an American majority, the campaign would focus on Congress. This plan was later laid out in tactical detail in the IPC’s Organizers Guide For the United Campaign to Honor the Peace Agreement, 9 February 1974, a document demonstrating a high level of professional political competence.[28] It was what Hanoi wanted– a clear and coordinated strategy.  From Saigon, Ambassador Graham Martin asked Rep. Ron Dellums to place the “manual of instructions” in the Congressional Record, which Dellums did on October 31, 1973.[29]
Indochina Resource Center and IPC produced common pamphlets and sample letters to be used by all groups affiliated with the campaign. National liaison with local groups were Karen Nussbaum (Boston), Ira Arlook (Cleveland) and out of the IPC Resource Center Tom Hayden and Carol Kurtz. IPC national travelers were “nationally funded” to go to designated areas, states and congressional districts, where they would be most effective. IPC states and contacts were: New York, Suzanne Ross; New Jersey, Eldridge; Pennsylvania, David Hughes; Ohio, Jay Westbrook; Michigan, John R, Illinois, Gardels-Culran; Texas, Dan Thibodeau; Arizona, Nina Mohit; Oregon, Brunner and Willens; and California, Ren Mabey and Shari Whitehead. In Washington, IPC had a full time lobbyist, Larry Levin, using the offices of Rep. Ron Dellums (D-CA).
Back on their IPC road tour Tom and Jane were accompanied by as many as 20 bodyguards in coats and ties and collected fees of $1,000 or so with Tom calculating the exact finances of each stop.  IPC introduced Don Luce’s infamous mobile education project on the “tiger cages.” At a Hayden/IPC speaking engagement on the Hanoi-approved topic of political prisoners at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, the event cosponsors were the National Lawyers Guild, Vietnam Veterans, Young Socialists Alliance, Women’s Liberation Union, United Mexican American Students and the Communist Party, USA.[30]
During the fall of 1973 and spring of 1974 (broken by a trip to Vietnam in another episode), Tom Hayden, Jane Fonda and entourage toured 40 cities in 10-12 states. Meanwhile the word from Hanoi and its Hanoi agent, IPC, was presented simultaneously on the international scene.

[1] Max Friedman, Council for Inter-American Security, study in lieu of testimony to Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee, Lobbying and Political Activities of Tax-Exempt Organizations, Hearings, Committee on Oversight, March 12-13, 1987, 403.
[2] Emphasis in original, IPC, “Indochina: A National Planning Conference, October 26-28, in a camp near Dayton, Ohio, initiated by the Indochina Peace Campaign,” n.d., [October 1973] provided by Max Friedman; Conference materials also are in the papers of Jan Waggoner Suter, 1954-1985, MSS-059 at the Ward M. Canaday Center, University of Toledo. Suter, a Harvard graduate, was an antidraft Counselor for the Toledo Area Council of Churches, 1969-1973.
[3] Max Friedman to Canfield, June 5, 2008.
[4] Ly Van Sau was a Viet Cong spokesman at the Paris Peace talks, a journalist and Vietnamese Ambassador to Cuba. Politics in Brief, “Cuban hero’s birthday celebrated,” June 13, 2008.  Http://english.vietnamnet.vn/politics/2008/06/788292/
[5]IPC, “Peace Groups Unite on ’74 Plan,” Indochina Focal Point, November 16-30, 1973 provided by Max Friedman.
[6] IPC, “Peace Groups Unite on ’74 Plan,” Indochina Focal Point, November 16-30, 1973 provided by Max Friedman.
[7] Tom Hayden, IPC, “a Vietnamese vision: interview with Ly Van Sau, ‘be with us on their long march,’ in “Peace Groups Unite on ’74 Plan,” Indochina Focal Point, November 16-30, 1973 provided by Max Friedman.
[8] IPC, “Peace Groups Unite on ’74 Plan,” Indochina Focal Point, November 16-30, 1973 provided by Max Friedman.
[9] Max Friedman, Council for Inter-American Security, study in lieu of testimony to Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee, Lobbying and Political Activities of Tax-Exempt Organizations, Hearings, Committee on Oversight, March 12-13, 1987, 403.
[10] The International Committee to Free South Vietnamese Prisoners from Detention, Torture and Death was affiliated with AFSC, War Resisters League, Catholic Peace Fellowship and Canadian Council of Churches. Sources: CCPF 1/13 folder, Catholic Peace Fellowship Records, University of Notre Dame Archives, Ann Buttrick Collection, University of Toronto Library; Records of War Resisters League, box 25, Collection DG 040, Swarthmore College Peace Collection.
[11] IPC, “Indochina: A National Planning Conference, October 26-28, in a camp near Dayton, Ohio, initiated by the Indochina Peace Campaign,” n.d., [October 1973]; Tom Hayden, “Cutting Off Funding for War: the 1973 Indochina Case,” Huffington Post, March 20, 2007 at huffingtonpost.com.
[12] Max Friedman, Council for Inter-American Security, study in lieu of testimony to Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee, Lobbying and Political Activities of Tax-Exempt Organizations, Hearings, Committee on Oversight, March 12-13, 1987, 403.
[13] Max Friedman to Canfield, November 26, 2008.
[14] Wells, The War Within 567-8N102-3 cite “Notes from IPC National Meeting, Feb 16-18, 1973 (IPC papers SHSW); Santa Barbara IPC, “IPC’s Original, Continuing and current goals,” early 1973; Hirsch, “Notes on Congressional Pressure,” July 31, 1973; IPC Boston/Cambridge Resource Center to IPC state offices, December 15, 1972b; Tom Hayden, “Cutting Off Funding for War: the 1973 Indochina Case, Huffington Post, March 20, 2007.
[15] SDS and NACLA (No. American Committee on Latin America. From an old red family. Max Friedman to author, February 25, 2008. Wells, The War Within 567-8N102-3 cite “Notes from IPC National Meeting, Feb 16-18, 1973 (IPC papers SHSW); Santa Barbara IPC, “IPC’s Original, Continuing and Current Goals,” early 1973; Hirsch, “Notes on Congressional Pressure,” July 31, 1973; IPC Boston/Cambridge Resource Center to IPC state offices, December 15, 1972b; Tom Hayden, “Cutting Off Funding for War: the 1973 Indochina Case, Huffington Post, March 20, 2007.
[16] “Workshops for Saturday,”[27 October 1973] from Max Friedman.
[17] Brother of Leslie Cagan. Rick Perloff, “Radical Family Values: The Activism Gene Rarely Skips A Generation. But Even Protesters Kids Insist On Doing Things Their Own Way,” Cleveland Free Times, Volume 13, Issue 38, January 11, 2006.
[18] A Kymer representative, one presumes, Kymer Rouge.
[19] “Workshops for Saturday,”[27 October 1973] from Max Friedman.
[20] Wells, The War Within 567-8N102-3 cite “Notes from IPC National Meeting, Feb 16-18, 1973 (IPC papers SHSW); Santa Barbara IPC, “IPC’s Original, Continuing and current goals,” early 1973; Hirsch, “Notes on Congressional Pressure,” July 31, 1973; IPC Boston/Cambridge Resource Center to IPC state offices, December 15, 1972b; Tom Hayden, “Cutting Off Funding for War: the 1973 Indochina Case, Huffington Post, March 20, 2007.
[21] IPC, Organizers Guide For the United Campaign to Honor the Peace Agreement, 9 February, 1974; http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1660323/posts
[22] Max Friedman, Council for Inter-American Security, study in lieu of testimony to Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee, Lobbying and Political Activities of Tax-Exempt Organizations, Hearings, Committee on Oversight, March 12-13, 1987, 403.
[23] Fortune, March 1974; cited in Max Friedman, Council for Inter-American Security, study in lieu of testimony to Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee, Lobbying and Political Activities of Tax-Exempt Organizations, Hearings, Committee on Oversight, March 12-13, 1987, 405.
[24] IPC “Proposed Strategy for Action in the Coming Year,” October 7, 1973 provided by Max Friedman.
[25] IPC, “Indochina: A National Planning Conference, October 26-28, in a camp near Dayton, Ohio, initiated by the Indochina Peace Campaign,” n.d., [October 1973]
[26] AFSC/NARMIC promotional materials, “From the New NARMIC slide show, THE POST-WAR War, Dollars for War, Dollars for Repression, order form, NARMIC Publications, 11/73 at FBI, FOIA, A, AFSC.
[27]IPC, “Peace Groups Unite on ’74 Plan,” Indochina Focal Point, November 16-30, 1973 provided by Max Friedman.
[28] The author has written and implemented just such strategic plans for political campaigns for candidates and ballot initiatives in California.
[29] Political Prisoners in South Vietnam and the Philippines, Hearings, Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, May 1 and June 5, 1974, 108.
[30] Daily World, November 1, 1973, 11.

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