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Peter Beter News Alert 4 : Marine Deaths and a New "Vietnam" in Lebanon

Number 4 - September 23, 1983


Perspective: Murder Diplomacy (Part 2)

Marine Deaths and a New "Vietnam" in Lebanon

When U. S. Marines were introduced into Lebanon a year ago, President Reagan promised that they would not be in hostilities. But now, four Marines have been killed and many more wounded in prolonged attacks on their exposed positions. Developments in Lebanon, confusing as they may appear, are following a clearcut, step-by-step pat­tern established in Vietnam. The emplacement of the Marines in positions designed to draw fire has caused a parallel to the Tonkin Gulf incidents of August 1964. The attacks on Marines have triggered the pending War Powers Resolution, similar to the Tonkin Gulf Resolution of 1964. It is designed for expansion of the Lebanon War.

Aquino Assassination to Destabilize the Philippines

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, enriched by U. S. support like the late Shah of Iran, has also made the same mistake as the Shah; making threats and demanding more money. The assassination of his charismatic opponent, Aquino, was arranged to begin Marcos' downfall.

Crisis Alert: Persian Gulf Oil

Copyright © 1983, Audio Books, Inc.

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Perspective: Murder Diplomacy (Part 2)

This issue of NewsALERT is the second of two dealing with a string of three recent rapid-fire events in "murder diploma-cy"--the killing of people to bring about changes in internation­al relations. These three events were (1) the Aquino assassi­nation in the Philippines, Aug. 21; (2) the fatal attacks on U.S. Marines in Lebanon, beginning Aug. 29; and (3) the shooting down of a Korean Air Lines 747 airliner on Sept. 1.

Issue #3 two weeks ago was devoted to a detailed report on the third of these events--the "Korean Airliner Massacre." As we reported, the incident was far from accidental, and was in­tended most of all to begin the total collapse of arms control ne­gotiations. Over the past few days the Reagan Administration has suddenly started making falsely optimistic statements about arms control prospects which, quite simply, are lies. Those who control U„ S. policies are now speaking of alleged new U.S. "flexibility" to impress the public, while making sure it will come to nothing. Reagan & Co. are deliberately building us up for another letdown--which, of course, will be blamed on the Russians as usual.

In this issue we report on the situations in Lebanon and the Philippines. When the Marines were introduced into Lebanon a year ago, President Reagan gave solemn assurances that they would not face hostilities. At the same time, Dr. Beter contradicted those assurances, warning repeatedly that the Marines were to be exposed deliberately to fatal attacks later on (AL#78, 79, 80). Now four Marines have been buried, the victims of vicious, prolonged attacks on their highly exposed positions. Having trusted the President a year ago, their loved ones are now left grieving. Their deaths in turn have triggered a War Powers Resolution, supposedly to limit U. S. involvement and protect the Marines. But it is actually a "Tonkin Gulf-type resolution, designed to open the door to far deeper U.S. involvement in the Lebanon War.

One year ago this month Dr. Beter reported (AL#79) that a Pentagon plan for surprise nuclear war had been thwarted just short of execution. As a direct consequence, he reported in his final tape (AL#80) that plans were already being set in mo­tion to recycle and initiate a new buildup of crises and tensions starting in late 1983. That time has now arrived, and with it the atmosphere of multiplying crises has arrived on schedule. The Aquino assassination was a side product of all this: like the passengers aboard Korean Air Lines Flight 007 and the Marines in Lebanon, Aquino was lured to his death because of the reactions it would trigger.

In addition to these crises which have already erupted, still another potential major crisis is now on the horizon, involving the possible sudden cutoff of all Persian Gulf oil. We include a brief alert about it.

A word of hope: Lest some readers become discouraged at the prospect of all the crises now multiplying around us, let us reiterate our purpose in reporting on them. We take seriously the Biblical exhortation: "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them." (Ephesians 5:11) The murderous intrigues and war plans which are afoot depend upon secrecy to succeed. Exposure is thus the first step toward stopping these things, making way instead for countless urgent, worthwhile, constructive things that need doing.

Marine Deaths and a New "Vietnam" in Lebanon

Two days ago on September 21, U.S. Marine Corps Com­mandant Gen. Paul X. Kelley caused a lot of gasps in Congress with what he termed a "Freudian slip. " Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about Lebanon, he referred to troops "who were sent into Vietnam" a year ago.

Kelley's slip was an appropriate one. He was testifying on the day after the Reagan Administration and Congress had un­veiled a proposed "Tonkin Gulf-type resolution on Lebanon. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution of 1964 handed Lyndon Johnson the powers he needed to plunge America into the disastrous big war of Vietnam. Likewise, the War Powers Resolution of 1983 now pending is designed for big trouble to come in Lebanon.

What is happening now is the partition of Lebanon--the frac­ture of a once-peaceful, beautiful, prosperous country into two bitterly opposed halves. In the course of a decade of fighting climaxed by the Israeli invasion last year, over 120,000 Leba­nese have lost their lives. In proportional terms, the impact is equivalent to the loss of 12 million Americans. If the frail Gemayel government falls, it like the battle of Dienbien-phu in 1954 which led to the partition of Vietnam into North and South portions. And that is only one of the eerie echoes of Vietnam which are reverberating louder every day in Lebanon.

America's betrayal into the catastrophe of Vietnam was ac­complished by a series of steps which we were not equipped to recognize. We were fooled. This time, however, we have the lessons of Vietnam to warn us, if only we will look at them. Viewed on a day-to-day, crisis-by-crisis basis, it is all but impossible to understand what is happening in Lebanon. But when the events there are compared side by side with those which happened in Vietnam, it becomes all too clear. Some­times the specter of Vietnam has been raised in recent years when it was not really applicable. This time it is.
The Vietnam Pattern for Lebanon

America's entanglement in Vietnam passed through a series of phases and turning points. These were obscure and little understood at the time, but in retrospect can be traced very clearly. The Lebanon situation is passing through virtually the same telltale sequence of phases.

Initial Years of Fighting: No American Troops

The early conflict in Vietnam did not involve the U. S. , at least overtly. It was a decade-long fight between France and revolutionary forces in what was part of French Indo-China. Likewise Lebanon was torn by strife ranging from civil war (externally stimulated) to invasion by Israel over nearly a decade before U. S. troops became involved.

Token American Involvement: Non-Combat Troops

The United States got into the act in Vietnam subsequent to the armistice agreements of 1954. President Eisenhower sent military advisors to South Vietnam, supposedly to help that new country to maintain its own integrity against threats to its se­curity. In a similar vein, U. S. Marines were first sent into Lebanon in the present context in August 1982, to help oversee
the evacuation of Palestine Liberation Organization fighters from Beirut. That done, the Marines pulled out temporarily.

Destabilization: Assassination of the Country's Leader

On November 1, 1963, President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam was assassinated following a military coup. Diem had been a professed Christian, and his treatment of the non-Christian majority--the Buddhists--had been a controversial issue. But the Diem assassination was engineered for other reasons: it initiated a progressive weakening of the government of South Vietnam. This provided the excuse for the United States to deepen its involvement, supposedly to prop up the weak government. The increase in American military person­nel continued to be described as non-combatant in nature.

On September 14, 1982, President-elect Bashir Gemayel of Lebanon was assassinated. Like Diem two decades earlier, Gemayel was a professed Christian, and right away there were allegations that the had been killed by the non-Christian major­ity—in this case, Moslems. But this time there can be no question who was responsible. Weeks earlier, in August 1982, Dr. Beter had reported (AL#78) that Gemayel would be assass­inated when Israel was ready. As in Vietnam, the result was a weaker Lebanese government, unable to stand on its own two feet under his replacement, brother Amin Gemayel. And as in Vietnam, the assassination served as the excuse for much deep­er commitment of U. S. military personnel. The Gemayel kill­ing was followed promptly by the Guyana-style Beirut Massacre of Palestinian refugees under Israeli "protection, " which led in turn to re-introduction of the U. S. Marines.
Turning Point Incident: Attack on U, S. Forces

When President Reagan sent the Marines back into Lebanon a year ago this month, he described their open-ended mission as a "peacekeeping" role. He solemnly assured Congress and everyone else that there was no expectation whatever that they would be exposed to any hostilities.
That was a lie. The Marines were sent to Beirut specifi­cally to serve, when the time was ripe, as the targets of a fatal attack designed to transform the situation. That is what

Dr. Beter reported last year (AL#78, 79, 80). Now the plan has been carried out.

The timing of the long-planned attack on the U.S. Marines was entirely in the hands of the Israeli government, which co­ordinated its moves with the Reagan Administration. One of the areas occupied by the invading Israeli Army last year was that of the Shouf Mountains east of Beirut. In the Shouf there are numerous small villages, some inhabited mainly by Maro-nite Christians, others by the Moslem sect known as Druze. Prior to the Israeli invasion these intermingled Christian and Druze communities lived side by side very peacefully. The Shouf was, in fact, one of the few regions of Lebanon which had so far escaped significant violence.

The Israelis fixed that.

As they swept into the Shouf last year, the Israelis brought with them Phalangist "Christian" militias, armed to the teeth. Understandably and predictably, the Druze in the area became alarmed. They demanded arms in order to be able to protect themselves, and their demands were backed up by the sizable Druze community in Israel. The Druze in the Shouf got their arms. It was all done, step by step, in the name of keeping the peace. But the actual result was to transform the Shouf: the previously contented and peaceful communities of Druze and Christians living side by side were turned into armed camps, suspicious and fearful of one another. The lid stayed on as long as the Israeli occupiers were there. . .but the Shouf Moun­tains had been turned into a powder keg, waiting to explode.

The trigger for that explosion was the so-called "partial withdrawal" of Israeli forces. To justify that move, a troop withdrawal agreement was signed last May between Lebanon and Israel. It was designed to sound good superficially, but it was a sham. For example, implementation was totally depen­dent upon Syria's abiding by all of its terms--yet Syria had been completely barred from any role in negotiating the agree­ment. On top of that, the May agreement contained provisions which Syria had warned in advance would be unacceptable. Not surprisingly, Syria rejected the Lebanese-Israeli agreement, and did so angrily. Since then, Israel has blamed Syria for its own continued occupation of southern Lebanon, saying that Syria leaves Israel no choice. But as summer drew toward a close, Israeli troops abruptly withdrew from one small area. . . the Shouf. As they prepared to do so, the anticipated explosion of violence began.

The Vietnam precedent for the attacks on the Marines con­sists of the Tonkin Gulf incidents of August 1964. For public consumption the U.S. role in Vietnam was still being described as strictly non-combatant, but the thousands of Americans were viewed as distinctly hostile by North Vietnam. U.S. Navy ships were ordered to prowl around in the Gulf of Tonkin off North Vietnam, with the full expectation that sooner or later the North Vietnamese would try to do something about it. They did. On August 2, 1964, North Vietnamese torpedo boats at­tacked an American destroyer. The United States protested loudly, and promptly sent some more destroyers into the same area to double-dare the North Vietnamese to do it again. On August 4 they obliged with more torpedo boat attacks. After this second episode, President Johnson announced retaliation in the form of air strikes against the torpedo boat bases.

Just as U.S. Navy destroyers served as bait to draw fire in 1964, U.S. Marines have been used as bait to draw fire in 1983. Late last month on August 29, Marine positions in Beirut came under a five-hour barrage of rockets and mortars that left two Marines dead and 14 wounded. The White House immediately protested, saying it was all Syria's fault, egged on of course by Russia. The Marines stayed put: they were not authorized to take decisive action to stop the attacks (as "peacekeepers" should) nor to redeploy to more secure positions. Like the destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964, the Marines were re­quired to stay exposed, inviting attack. And on September 6 it happened again: more shelling, and two more Marines dead. After this second episode, just as in 1964, the retaliation be­gan: U.S. Navy guns began pounding Druze positions in the Shouf Mountains on September 8.

Disclaimers of Intent

When President Johnson announced retaliatory air strikes against North Vietnam after the Tonkin Gulf incidents in 1964, he insisted that it did not signal any escalation of American involvement. He said it was only a "positive reply" to "re-peated acts of violence" against U. S. forces. Sound familiar?

The Reagan White House has kept insisting that the naval bombardment of positions in the Shouf Mountains is only a limited response that doesn't mean any escalation of American involvement. Johnson's words quoted above might just as well have been spoken by Reagan: the rationales are identical.

History records that Lyndon Johnson's assurances of 1964 were worth nothing at all. Within months after he spoke those words, his government was dragging America into a very big no-win war, with the role of American forces changed into one of open, full-fledged combat. That hard lesson should have taught us that comforting assurances by our leaders are not enough: their actions speak louder than their words. And in that regard, the Reagan Administration is already destroying the credibility of its own assurances. With Marines dying and being wounded, the White House has continued to deny until a few days ago that this constitutes "hostilities. " And while the government insists that there is no thought of escalating Amer­ican involvement, that escalation is already underway. Naval gunfire is already being used to support not only the Marines, but also the Lebanese Army. To those in the Shouf Mountains who are on the receiving end of naval gunfire, that means that the United States has already committed itself to a combat role in Lebanon. Our Marines and possibly our naval ships are liable to bear the consequences, no matter how the White House may try to disguise this fact by juggling words.

Congressional Resolution for War

The North Vietnamese attacks on U. S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin created an emotional atmosphere which was exploited immediately. In response to President Johnson's request, both houses of Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution by near-unanimous votes on August 7, 1964. The resolution gave the President authority to act to "prevent further aggression" in Southeast Asia. It was built around a key passage designed to play on the heat of emotions in the wake of the attacks on U. S. ships. This key passage in the Tonkin Gulf Resolution authorized the President:

". . . to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States. . . "

In like manner, the fatal attacks on U.S. Marines in Leba­non has triggered the writing of a Congressional resolution under the War Powers Act of 1973. On September 20 it was announced that a so-called compromise resolution had been hammered out between House Speaker Tip O'Neill and Reagan. It would allow the Marines to stay in Lebanon for another 18 months, in return for Reagan's recognition of Congressional authority in the matter.

Most of the arguing about the War Powers Resolution which is now pending has been about this one issue--how long the Ma­rines can stay. As a result, the passage which is the real key has so far escaped serious challenge. It authorizes the Pres­ident to order:

". . . such protective measures as may be necessary to ensure the safety of the multinational force in Lebanon. "

These key words from the pending War Powers Resolution should be compared carefully with those from the Tonkin Gulf Resolution of 1964. Both depend upon the rationale of protec­ting U. Si forces. And both authorize any and all measures that can be rationalized as necessary to that protection.
Lyndon Johnson built the Vietnam War on that authority. Now exactly the same type of authority is being steamrollered into existence for expansion of the Lebanon War.

Thus, the Reagan claim that the Marines were sent to be "peacekeepers" in Lebanon was a lie from Day One. The puz-lement of Marines as they have written home over the past year is hardly surprising. Their real role, which has now been ful­filled, was to serve as sacrificial targets for purposes of war.
Our Lord Jesus Christ said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. " Our Marines were sent into Lebanon believing that their mission was one of peace. But those who devised the bogus "peacekeeping" mission to sub­ject them to lethal fire are not the sons of God, but of Satan.

Aquino Assassination to Destabilize the Philippines

Last month on August 21a former Philippine Senator, Ben-igno Aquino, Jr., arrived in Manila after 3 years in exile in the United States. Aquino was the most powerful and charis­matic by far of the opposition to dictator President Ferdinand Marcos. He fully expected to be imprisoned upon arrival, but expected to wield considerable power against Marcos from prison. Instead he was bundled off the airplane by uniformed military officers and shot dead at the bottom of the ramp.

Aquino's fate was another example of "murder diplomacy," and was designed to begin the downfall of Marcos. Marcos, elected President in 1965, declared martial law 11 years ago on September 21, 1972. Since that time he has ruled the Phil­ippines with an iron hand, even though martial law was lifted formally in 1981.

Benefitting from U.S. support, Marcos has become another Shah of Iran: powerful, wealthy, stifling all dissent--and in­creasingly greedy. The downfall of the late Shah began after he made demands in late 1977 for big increases in income, us­ing Iran's strategic importance as leverage. The CIA replied with covert steps that whipped up the long-simmering opposition campaign of Ayatollah Khomeini into revolution (AL#52).

Recently Marcos made the same mistake as the late Shah. The Philippines are the site of the largest U. S. military instal­lations in the world outside American territory--Clark Air Force Base and Subic Bay Naval Base.

Recognizing how cru­cial they are to current American policy, Marcos decided to cash in. In negotiations to renew America's lease of the bases for another five years, Marcos demanded huge increases in the rental fees. The Bolshevized Pentagon, wanting to use the money for secret weaponry and other covert purposes, balked. Marcos then threatened to turn to "other parties" who, he was sure, would be interested in the bases. He left no doubt that he was talking about the Soviet Union.

Finally the U. S. caved in and signed a new rental agreement to pay Marcos $900 million in rent over the next five years. At the same time, it was decided that Marcos would have to go. A new puppet will have to be found.

In order to begin the destabilization of the Marcos regime, a very powerful trigger event was needed. Nothing less could break through the intimidation of Marcos' tough police tactics. The CIA hit upon the idea of using Aquino. Aquino was lured into returning to the Philippines through a combination of ap­peals to his sense of duty and promises of support for his cam­paign against Marcos. "When he arrived, he walked into an assassination trap, designed to enrage all Filipinos so much that they would risk open defiance of Marcos. It worked.

Marcos still does not know what hit him. He is not above murder, but would never have arranged it in such an obvious way. He knows he has been set up, but still does not realize by whom. So far he has vaguely blamed the communists. He continues to make matters worse for himself--as expected--by responding to mounting protests in the only way he knows: threats and bullying tactics. He is only adding fuel to the fire which will consume his government. Three days ago he even raised the issue again which led to his present troubles: the U. S. bases. He threatened that if President Reagan should cancel his scheduled November visit to the Philippines, Marcos would "have to go back to square one" in justifying adherence to the new base leasing agreement.

What lies ahead for Marcos can be guessed from what hap­pened to the late Shah of Iran. Before the de stabilization proj­ect began, the U.S. always professed unflinching support for the Shah; the same has been true up to now for Marcos. But when the Shah started down, the U. S. backed off and let him just twist in the wind. Watch the same happen to Marcos.

It took over a year to bring down the Shah. A similar time scale may apply to Marcos, although that is not certain. In the end, the goal of those who have started the process is to replace Marcos with a new puppet. Marcos owed his rise to power to the Rockefeller Cartel, but the dominant faction now --the Bolsheviks--are opposed to the Rockefeller interests. As a result, whoever replaces Marcos may well implement a mix­ture of policies that will look very strange to Americans. He may, for example, welcome continued presence of U. S. mili­tary bases, yet make life miserable for U.S. (i.e. , Rockefel­ler) business interests there. At any rate, watch for claims of Soviet meddling, which will be exploited by the U. S.

Crisis Alert: Persian Gulf Oil

Three years ago this month Iraq invaded Iran. Behind the scenes, the war reflected opposing interests within America's divided government (AL#58). Since then it has dragged on in very bloody and extremely costly fashion, especially for Iraq, yet has not made much impact on the rest of the world. That could soon change very abruptly and very drastically.

A key event to watch for in the news is the delivery to Iraq of five French Super Etendard fighters equipped with Exocet missiles. That could give Iraq a capability it has lacked up to now: the crippling of Iran's still-thriving oil export business. Iran has threatened to close the Persian Gulf to all shipping if the French deliver the planes. Presumably this would be done by closing the Strait of Hormuz with mines or by other means.

If this happens, it will cut off the flow of all Persian Gulf oil, including that from Saudi Arabia and other oil exporters. Conveniently, the Reagan Administration has just finished par­ticipating in a 2-month international test of the economic con­sequences of such a shutoff. The conclusion: widespread eco­nomic disaster, brought about largely by the Reagan Admini­stration's refusal to abide by international agreements designed to cooperatively contain the impact of an oil cutoff. Gasoline and home heating oil costs, for example, could rise to $3 or $4 per gallon. Reagan Administration policy calls for consump­tion to be reduced by simply allowing those who cannot afford such astronomical prices to do without.

If it happens, of course, the prospect of fast-spreading bankruptcies and low-income people freezing for lack of heating oil will raise cries for action. That action could come in the form of American military involvement in Iran, either to pro­tect the Strait of Hormuz or to reopen it. For five years Iran has been a key ingredient in crisis planning to increase war tensions (AL#37). Iran may soon be in the headlines again.

Next scheduled issue: October 7, 1983

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Peter Beter News Alert 4 - September 23, 1983 - Marine Deaths and a New "Vietnam" in Lebanon  When U. S. Marines were introduced into Lebanon a year ago, President Reagan promised that they would not be in hostilities. But now, four Marines have been killed and many more wounded in prolonged attacks on their exposed positions. Developments in Lebanon, confusing as they may appear, are following a clearcut, step-by-step pat­tern established in Vietnam. The emplacement of the Marines in positions designed to draw fire has caused a parallel to the Tonkin Gulf incidents of August 1964. The attacks on Marines have triggered the pending War Powers Resolution, similar to the Tonkin Gulf Resolution of 1964. It is designed for expansion of the Lebanon War.  Aquino Assassination to Destabilize the Philippines  Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, enriched by U. S. support like the late Shah of Iran, has also made the same mistake as the Shah; making threats and demanding more money. The assassination of his charismatic opponent, Aquino, was arranged to begin Marcos' downfall.
Peter Beter News Alert 4 - September 23, 1983 - Marine Deaths and a New "Vietnam" in Lebanon & Aquino Assassination to Destabilize the Philippines

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