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The Gulf of Tonkin incident: the false flag operation that started the Vietnam war.

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

Did you know that the Gulf of Tonkin Bay incident that led the US to wage all out war on Vietnam was based on a false flag, or in other words, a lie? Questions about the Gulf of Tonkin incident have persisted for more than 40 years. But once-classified documents and tapes released in the past several years, combined with previously uncovered facts, make clear that high government officials, including the then US President Lyndon Johnson, distorted facts, lied and deceived the American public about the events that led to full US involvement in the Vietnam War.

US President Lyndon Johnson.

The official story was that North Vietnamese torpedo boats launched an “unprovoked attack” against the US destroyer "Maddox", which was on “routine patrol” in the Tonkin Gulf on August 2—and that North Vietnamese PT boats followed up with a “deliberate attack” two days later on August 4, firing 22 torpedoes on the "Maddox" and another destroyer, the "Turner Joy". Following this incident, President Johnson ordered retaliatory air strikes against North Vietnamese military targets and bases and authorized sending US troops into Vietnam and by late 1965 some 180,000 American troops were on the ground, with more on the way. What was a low scale American involvment with Vietnam up until the Gulf of Tonkin incident, erupted into a full blown war which would end up causing the deaths of millions of Vietnamese. However, the truth of what really happened in the Gulf of Tonkin on August 4 1964, was very different.

The USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin.

The Johnson administration asserted that the destroyers, the "Maddox" and "Turner Joy", had been on routine patrol in international waters on August 2 when they were fired on by North Vietnamese Torpedo boats. In actuality the destroyers were on an espionage mission in waters claimed by North Vietnam and were the ones who opened fire on the North Vietnamese boats and sunk all three of them after a brief firefight. But the biggest lie was that on August 4 1964, the two destroyers came again under attack, that they were ambushed, with enemy N. Vietnam boats firing 22 torpedoes at them. This August 4 incident never happened.

President Johnson's Vietnam Address, August 4, 1964 about the Gulf of Tonkin Incident.

An F8 Crusader from the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga flew overhead for ninety minutes and failed to locate any North Vietnamese ships attacking the "Maddox" and "Turner" on august 4. The plane’s pilot, Commander James B. Stockdale, later wrote: “I had the best seat in the house to watch” and I saw “no boats, no boat wakes, no boat gunfire, no torpedo wakes—nothing but black sea and American firepower.” In fact the Maddox’s captain, John J. Herrick sent an urgent message to Pacific Command in Honolulu saying that the Maddox and C. Turner Joy had never been attacked: "No actual visual sightings by MADDOX. Suggest complete evaluation before any further action taken." According to National Security Agency documents declassified in 2005 “The overwhelming body of reports told the story that no attack had happened.” Even the US Navy had came out later and declared that “it's clear that North Vietnamese naval forces did not attack Maddox and Turner Joy that night, on August 4, 1964.”


President Lyndon Johnson had deliberately lied and misled the American public into the Vietnam War when he used the justification of the non existent 4th of August attack on the "Maddox" and "Turner". So much like with Iraq's WMD in 2003, the US launched its full scale war on Vietnam on nothing but lies and propaganda.

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