How do wars begin? With a “master illusion,” according to Ralph McGehee, one of the CIA’s pioneers in “black propaganda” – known today as “news management.”
In 1983, he described to me how the CIA had faked an “incident” that became the “conclusive proof of North Vietnam’s aggression.” This followed a claim, also fake, that North Vietnamese torpedo boats had attacked a US warship in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964.
“The CIA,” he said, “loaded up a junk, a North Vietnamese junk, with communist weapons – the agency maintains communist arsenals in the United States and around the world. They floated this junk off the coast of central Vietnam. They shot it up and made it look like a firefight, and they brought in the American press. Based on this evidence, two marine landing teams went into Danang and a week after that the American air force began regular bombing of North Vietnam.”
An invasion that took three million lives was under way.