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Gulf Of Tonkin - Wars, Lies And Audiotape - Radio 4

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Radio 4 link. The iplayer link will presumably appear elsewhere.

A very interesting listen especially as we watch in real time what's happening in regard to Russia and Gaza.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04c9lp4

The war between the United States and Vietnam cost over 58,000 American and more than one million Vietnamese lives. It left one country physically devastated and the other socially splintered. It began, President Lyndon Johnson told the world, with an "unprovoked attack" on American ships on the night of August 4, 1964.

What we know today is that the incident that was reported to have taken place in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam didn't ever happen. Yet three days later it was cited as the justification for the Gulf of Tonkin resolution which authorised "the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression."

The Gulf of Tonkin was the crucial turning point. In 1960 there were 900 American troops in Vietnam - by the end of 1965 there were over 200,000.

Did President Johnson take his country to war on a lie, or was he misled?

Journalist and historian D D Guttenplan explores these dramatic events through archive recordings and new interviews with the key players, bringing all the evidence together for the first time. Taped White House phone calls transport us back to that day - we'll listen in on President Johnson as he discusses the situation with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and hear the situation unfold through conversations between key military personnel.

Daniel Ellsberg remembers being in the Pentagon receiving reports of the incident on the day, and Jim Stockdale tells us how his father was flying above the USS Maddox when the attack supposedly happened.

Edit: link corrected

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Careful now, don't want to be labelled as a conspiracy theorist do you?

Struck by the factual content actually.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-28905504

US accuses China fighter of reckless mid-air intercept

A Chinese fighter came perilously close to a US military patrol plane over international waters east of China's Hainan Island, the Pentagon has said.

Spokesman John Kirby said that the US had protested to the Chinese military over the mid-air intercept, calling the fighter pilot's actions "unsafe and unprofessional".

He said that the Chinese aircraft came within 10 metres of the US Navy plane.

Correspondents say that it is the fourth such incident since March.

So far there has been no comment about the reported near-miss from China.

Rear Admiral Kirby said that the incident happened on Tuesday when an armed Chinese Su-27 fighter intercepted a US Navy P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft that was on a routine mission

"We have registered our strong concerns to the Chinese about the unsafe and unprofessional intercept, which posed a risk to the safety and the well-being of the air crew, and was inconsistent with customary international law," he said.

He said that the Chinese manoeuvre detracted from efforts to improve American relations with China's military.

The warplane flew close to the surveillance aircraft three times, he said, flying above, underneath and alongside it. At one point it performed "a barrel roll" in an apparent display of its weapons.

Rear Adm Kirby said that the Chinese manoeuvre was "very, very close, very dangerous".

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