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Lon’s Blog

Vietnam Deserters in Sweden

Vietnam War Posted on Sat, December 14, 2019 13:19:32

Operation Chaos – The Vietnam Deserters who fought the CIA, the Brainwashers, and themselves
By Matthew Sweet, Picador 2018, UK

As I experienced the events covered by the book, at least in relation to the Deserters and Sweden, I opened it with some amount of eager anticipation. It was a little like watching the first movie version of The Hobbit after having read the book 3 times. I could glimpse the book in the film, but had an uneasy feeling that the director hadn’t read the book.
In the interest of fairness, Sweet wrote a highly entertaining and easily read book, oftentimes providing information and perspectives that I found of value.

Sweet promised a book about Deserters, CIA and Brainwashers. This should have been really interesting, however…

The CIA, as Sweet points out, was fond of shredding any and all documentation of issues that might cast a shadow on their activities, especially when such activities might be seen as clearly illegal. Sweet could therefore find nothing of value or interest in public CIA files relating to the CIA’s Operation Chaos, which was directed against the Deserters in Sweden. He did however find some limited mention made of the CIA operation in FBI files. Thanks to J Edgar Hoover, the FBI has an entirely different attitude towards the documentation and the saving of said documentation than that of the CIA. Unfortunately, the documentation Sweet found in FBI files only justified a few of the pages in his book. The CIA, he found, sent agents to Stockholm and most likely placed agents inside of the deserter/exile community, although their identities have not yet been revealed. Speculation as to their identity has been rife since 1968, both within the exile community and among the general public.

As Sweet mentioned, about 1,000 Americans came to Sweden 1968-1972 in protest against the Vietnam war. Only about 30% of these were actual deserters, i.e., active duty members of some branch of military service. The vast majority were resisters and had not left military service to come to Sweden. Sweet has several main characters that he follows throughout the book, the majority of them being resisters, not deserters. The main character, a kind of spider at the center of the net, Mike Vale, was neither a deserter nor a resister. What he was remains an open question even today.
The brainwashing turns out to have been Mike Vale browbeating a number of members of the exile community to make them his allies. Two such cases, a deserter named Bill Jones and a resister named Warren Hamerman become Vale’s hatchet men in the exile community.

A third close associate of Vale’s, Cliff Gaddy, is something of a mystery man and Sweet insinuates that Gaddy may have been the CIA mole in the exile community. Mike Vale, the spider in our exile community web, occupied a large apartment in central Stockholm where the exile community often collected during 1968. I spent a lot of time there myself during 1968 and yet I managed to miss out on all the brainwashing that Sweet said was taking place. I never even heard anyone mention it.

Oh well, that takes care of the Deserters, the CIA and the Brainwashers. What’s left in the book? Although some mention is made of a number of exile community participants, a great deal of the book’s contents deal with how a select (Vale, Jones, Gaddy, and Hamerman) became involved with a remarkable American political sect, the NCLC (National Caucus of Labor Committees) run by their a cult figure named LaRouche.

If you are interested in paranoid/nutty conspiracy theories then LaRouche is the man to study. Sweet uses far too many of the pages in his book dealing with the absurdities of the various LaRouche front organizations and following these members of the exile community as they wandered in and out of the LaRouchian Maze in Sweden, Germany, France and the USA.
Sweet is a talented writer.

I am looking forward to seeing him write a book about the Vietnam War Deserters in Sweden. Let’s hope he does that. When he does I hope he will take up some of the many success stories to be found in the exile community, as he had no place for them in this book.

What kind of EU do we want to have?

EU issues Posted on Sat, December 14, 2019 10:57:29

Once upon a time, a long time ago, a powerful Chinese warlord is said to have sent several wise men off on an important mission. They were sent to discover what an elephant was.

In order to avoid their being biased by what they might see, they were blinded. Upon their return the warlord was dismayed by their report.

One wise man said he had held the elephant in one hand, and it felt like a snake, while another said that that was nonsense, as he had felt it and found it to be round and thick like a tree. Yet another wise man said it was big and flat, like a wall. All were of course right, the elephant is all of these things and more besides.

People relate to the EU in much the same way. They are all looking at the same thing, but see different things depending upon their different perspectives.

One group is called the federalists. Another the confederates.

The federalists quote from various EU documents and maintain that the goal of the EU is the establishment of a United States of Europe with one currency, one government, one military establishment, a joint income tax, and so on.

And then we have the confederates, who maintain that the EU is a group of sovereign states that have agreed to do certain things together – nothing more or less than a system of cooperation between free and independent countries.

To make matters worse, they all quote from the same documents, albeit different passages. Wherein lies the truth of the matter?

As I see it the EU is in a state of permanent transition, a process of metamorphoses. Where this process of change will lead is still an open question. The EU is not “something,” it is many different somethings to many different people. This “thing” has a system of institutions that “do” stuff.

If you are a staunch federalist then you want the European Parliament to have a greater say in the workings of the EU, and you complain about a lack of democracy in the Union.

If you are a confederate then this does not interest you at all. Why indeed should some Eurocrats somewhere be allowed to vote on questions of vital importance for your country? Such questions ought to be resolved within the confines of your own national Parliament, and nowhere else.

At the heart of Brexit

The EU-Confederates in the UK felt that the EU had become too federalized and chose to leave as they didn’t want to be dominated by the other EU members.

Perhaps some of them wanted to make sure that their pints were not taken from them, and perhaps feared being forced to order a 440ml beer instead of a pint?

In times of turmoil

**source: a right-wing website:

In times of conflict we usually seek to unite in order to better defend ourselves, and the same will probably apply for the EU. Conflict outside of and within our common borders will cause member states to want more of federalism, not less. We may see the emergance of a European Income Tax in order to finance a common European Union Army to defend the EU from external threats. If this is good or bad will depend upon your stance in the federalist/confederate debate.