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The Phoenix Program

bookcover features a painting of the Phung Hoang, the Vietnamese phoenix bird, standing on a map of Vietnam.  It looks basically like a very colorful rooster. From DouglasValentine.com:

Created by the CIA in Saigon in 1967, Phoenix was a computer-driven program aimed at “neutralizing”, through assassination, kidnapping, and systematic torture, the civilian infrastructure that supported the insurgency in South Vietnam. It was a terrifying “final solution” that violated the Geneva Conventions and traditional American ideas of human morality.

You can read an excerpt of The Phoenix Program on this site. It deals with the My Lai massacre and the cruel “Tiger Cages.”

The Phoenix Program is available directly from the author at DouglasValentine.com and also from iUniverse.com and the CounterPunch Bookshelf.


“This definitive account of the Phoenix program...remains sobering reading for all those trying to understand the Vietnam War and the moral ambiguities of America’s Cold War victory. Though carefully documented, the book is written in an accessible style that makes it ideal for readers at all levels, from undergraduates to professional historians.”

— Alfred W. McCoy
Professor of History
University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Valentine has shined a bright light into the darkest corner of the Vietnam War, and one of the darkest in American history.”

— Nicholas Proffitt
author of Gardens of Stone

“An important book.”

— John Prados
author of Presidents’ Secret Wars

“No book to date conveys the hideousness of the Vietnam War as thoroughly as this one.”

— Publisher’s Weekly

Ranked by CounterPunch magazine as “One of the Top 100 Nonfiction Works of the 20th Century.”

The Phoenix Program was originally published by The William Morrow Company in 1990, and by Avon Books in 1992.

See also:

Bob Kerrey, CIA War Crimes, And The Need For A War Crimes Trial
by Douglas Valentine

“By now everybody knows that former Senator Bob Kerrey led a seven-member team of Navy SEALS into Thanh Phong village in February 1969, and murdered in cold blood more than a dozen women and children.

“What hardly anyone knows, and what no one in the press is talking about (although many of them know), is that Kerrey was on a CIA mission, and its specific purpose was to kill those women and children. It was illegal, premeditated mass murder and it was a war crime.

“And it’s time to hold the CIA responsible. It’s time for a war crimes tribunal to examine the CIA’s illegal activities during and since the Vietnam War.”

The Spook Who Went to Washington:
New U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons’ cold-blooded past

by Doug Valentine

“As a CIA officer, Rob Simmons traveled 12,000 miles to terrorize Vietnamese men and women in their own backyards. He did so unflinchingly, without the remorse one might expect from a self-professed devout Episcopalian.

“Behind the pious façade, however, lurks a cold-blooded political warrior who was sworn in last month to represent eastern Connecticut in Congress.

“‘I’m just a poor farm girl,’ Simmons said to me in a 1988 interview. He spoke shrilly, mocking a woman he had in a CIA-sponsored interrogation center where, by many accounts, torture was part of the routine. Frustrated because he couldn’t prove she was a member of the Viet Cong’s underground political infrastructure, he released her ‘and watched her for three months, then put her name in the paper. That suppressed her. It suppressed the organization, too.’

“What Simmons is describing is psychological warfare: the application of terror to subdue people politically.”

About the Author

Douglas Valentine

Douglas Valentine is an author, researcher, investigator, consultant, critic, and poet.

He was born in Pleasantville, New York in 1949, and currently lives with his wife, Alice, in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of Notre Dame College in Manchester, New Hampshire, and began his career as a professional writer in 1981. His philosophy of life is derived from extensive study in classical myth and nature, and is applied through his writing to contemporary political, social, and national security issues.

Mr. Valentine’s published works to date include The Hotel Tacloban, a highly praised account of life and death in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, and The Phoenix Program, which Professor Alfred J. McCoy describes as “the definitive account" of the CIA’s most secret and deadly covert operation of the Vietnam War.

Both The Hotel Tacloban and The Phoenix Program are available through iUniverse.com, the on-demand Internet book publisher, as Authors Guild imprint backinprint books.

Mr. Valentine’s most recent book, TDY, also is available through iUniverse.com. Reviews of The Hotel Tacloban, The Phoenix Program, and TDY can be found at http://www.douglasvalentine.com/books.html

Mr. Valentine is currently completing work on his fourth book, The Strength of the Wolf: The Federal Bureau of Narcotics 1930-1968.

Apart from his writing career, Mr. Valentine has lectured and appeared on radio talk shows. He has testified as an expert witness, including at a national security-related libel trial in Geneva, Switzerland in 1992. He has served as a documentary film consultant, and in that capacity was hired by the British Broadcasting Corporation and traveled to Vietnam in 1991.

Mr. Valentine also has worked extensively as a private investigator. In 1994 he uncovered the material evidence that gave actor Woody Harrelson’s father, Charles Harrelson, the opportunity to receive a new trial in 1998. Since 1999 Mr. Valentine has worked for the family of Dr. Martin Luther King, and in November 1999 he testified at the King versus Jowers trial in Memphis, Tennessee. An article he wrote about the national security aspects of the King case is accessible through his Articles page.

Related pages

The Phoenix Program, My Lai and the “Tiger Cages”

American Genocide of the Vietnamese people

The Mylai Massacre, 1968

American Genocide of the Laotian people

American Genocide of the Cambodian People

Neighborhood Bully: American Militarism
interview with Ramsey Clark


Southeast Asia during the Vietnam Genocide

South Vietnam during the American Occupation and Genocide

Related books

Deadly Deceits:
My 25 years in the CIA
by Ralph W. McGehee

Bloody Hell:
The Price Soldiers Pay
by Daniel Hallock

Killing Hope:
U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since WWII
by William Blum

Rogue State:
A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
by William Blum

The Fire This Time:
U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf
by Ramsey Clark

Desert Slaughter:
The Imperialist War Against Iraq
by the Workers League

What Uncle Sam Really Wants
by Noam Chomsky

Blackshirts and Reds:
Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism
by Michael Parenti

The Beast Reawakens
by Martin A. Lee

The Real Terror Network:
Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda
by Edward S. Herman

Western State Terrorism
Alexander George, editor; essays by Noam Chomsky, Edward S. Herman, Gerry O’Sullivan and others

Terrorizing the Neighborhood:
American Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era

by Noam Chomsky
Pressure Drop Press, 1991

Pirates and Emperors, Old and New:
International Terrorism in the Real World
by Noam Chomsky

The Culture of Terrorism
by Noam Chomsky

Against Empire
by Michael Parenti

The Sword and the Dollar:
Imperialism, Revolution and the Arms Race
by Michael Parenti

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire
by Gore Vidal

Apocalypse 1945:
The Destruction of Dresden
by David Irving

A People’s History of the United States:
1492 — Present
by Howard Zinn

The Hotel Tacloban
by Douglas Valentine

Inventing Reality:
The Politics of News Media
by Michael Parenti

War At Home:
Covert Action Against U.S. Activists and What We Can Do About It
by Brian Glick

War, Lies & Videotape:
How media monopoly stifles truth
edited by Lenora Foerstel; multiple authors

On Killing:
The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
by Dave Grossman
published by: Little, Brown

Examines the consequences of the U.S. Army’s conditioning of American soldiers to overcome the instinctive loathing of murdering fellow human beings. Shows how it has increased post-combat stress disorder and how contemporary society — especially the American media — replicates the U.S. Army’s conditioning techniques, resulting in increased violence in American society.

Viet Cong: A Photographic Portrait
by Edward J. Emering
published by: Schiffer

Unique compilation of photographs taken by the Viet Cong themselves. Details Viet Cong guerrillas, main force Viet Cong, political gatherings, weapons, awards, artistic troupes, and jungle life. Fully illustrated, some in color.

Reporting Vietnam: Media and Military at War
by William M. Hammond
published by: UPKs

Uses classified documents as well as extensive interviews to examine the bitter animosity that developed between the U.S. government and the news media during the genocidal Vietnam war. Tells how they first shared a common vision, but as the war dragged on, the truth fell victim to the U.S. government’s “management” of the press.

Nowadays, of course, the mainstream press wouldn’t dream of reporting the latest American military atrocities. The U.S. Corporate Mafia Government has gotten much better over the years at “managing” the press and all the mass-media.

The three books immediately above are available from:
Edward R. Hamilton, Bookseller
Falls Village, CT  06031-5000

Online book:

Vietnam: the Croatia of Asia

This is Chapter 23 of the online book The Vatican’s Holocaust by Avro Manhattan. Details the little-known relationship between the Vatican, the U.S. and the fanatic Catholic regime of President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam.

The events surrounding this relationship led directly to America’s escalation of its war against the Vietnamese people.

Diem was another puppet-dictator installed by the U.S. government. But this particular puppet was also backed by the Vatican.

Serious problems began when his, and his wife’s, religious fanaticism got out of control. In the name of “God” he murdered and terrorized his own people — with the blessings of the Vatican and the U.S. government, of course. He was finally assassinated in 1963, but it was too late, the damage had been done. Diem’s bloody tyranny over his own, mostly Buddhist, country helped to radicalize large numbers of Vietnamese people. It opened the eyes of those with eyes to see, to the truly demonic nature of the United States Corporate Mafia Government and military.

Related sites

Robert Kerrey and the bloody legacy of Vietnam
by Patrick Martin and David North

“Former US Senator Robert Kerrey, newly inaugurated as the president of the New School University, one of the most prestigious positions in American academia, has admitted participating in a death squad attack on a Vietnamese village [Thanh Phong] 32 years ago, in which he and six soldiers under his command killed 21 women, children and elderly men.

“In the course of the nighttime assault, the American raiders [U.S. Navy SEALS] killed every Vietnamese they encountered — men, women, children. They used every weapon in their arsenal, from knives to rifles and grenades to light anti-tank weapons, expending more than 1,200 rounds of ammunition on a village where only a few dozen people lived.

“...the SEALS slit the throats of an elderly man, his wife and three grandchildren in the first hut they encountered when they entered the village. The graves of these five victims, marked with a common date of death, can be seen in the village today.”

See also:

What is at stake in the fight to remove Robert Kerrey?

Bob Kerry:
the Life and Times of a Throat-Slitter

by Richard Gibson

“Further outside the imperial gaze, even today, is the heroism of the Vietnamese, not only those who Kerrey and many other US officers caught up in the genocidal invasion sought to exterminate, but those who defeated the empire, politically, militarily, and morally, causing imperial troops to run away in their helicopters, pushing their allies off the struts as they ran.”

Writings by Peace Activist S. Brian Willson

Brian Willson is a courageous Vietnam vet who was wounded in combat — but not during the Vietnam Genocide. He was fighting a war of conscience. In 1987 a military train at a U.S. Navy munitions base intentionally ran over him and severed his legs as he and two other veterans sat on the tracks to block it. The train was carrying weapons to be used in America’s ongoing holocaust of innocent civilian people in Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.

His autobiography is heartfelt, utterly unself-pitying and very instructive, particularly his experiences from Vietnam onward. Brian Willson’s writing is extremely valuable, being from a deeply intelligent and genuinely moral man who has witnessed firsthand the horrors of American state terrorism around the world.

From the site:

“THIS SITE CONTAINS essays describing the incredible historic pattern of U.S. arrogance, ethnocentrism, violence and lawlessness in domestic and global affairs, and the severe danger this pattern poses for the future health of Homo sapiens and Mother Earth. Other essays discuss revolutionary, nonviolent alternative approaches based on the principle of radical relational mutuality. This is a term increasingly used by physicists, mathematicians and cosmologists to describe the nature of the omnicentric*, ever-unfolding universe. Every being, every aspect of life energy in the cosmos, is intrinsically interconnected with and affects every other being and aspect of life energy at every moment.”

*everything is at the center of the cosmos at every moment

Vietnam Veterans Against the War Anti-Imperialist — VVAW-AI

“Vietnam Veterans Against the War Anti-Imperialist is part of a network of anti-imperialist veterans who are proud of our resistance to U.S. aggression around the world. In the 1970s, to be a Vietnam veteran was to be against the war. That proud legacy must be carried forward through the 1990s and into the next millennium. As veterans, we have been to the edge and seen the viciousness of Amerikkka unmasked. We have no doubt that the bastards who sent us to war will use their nuclear arsenal, along with unspeakably cruel conventional weapons, to maintain their empire — and after the Gulf War, do you?”

Vietnam Veterans Against the War — VVAW

VVAW was founded in 1967 by vets who realized that what we were doing in Vietnam was a monstrous evil. Through courageous political activism and grassroots organizing the VVAW helped to awaken the heavily brainwashed American people to the horrible reality of America’s greatest campaign of racist genocide in the 20th century.

Veterans For Peace

“We, having dutifully served our nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace.

“To this end we will work, with others:

“We urge all veterans who share this vision to join us.”


This is the website for book Bloody Hell: The Price Soldiers Pay, which provides “a platform for veterans to speak for themselves. Page after page of searing testimony to the brutal, bloody, unmerciful, dehumanising, haunting, destructive, grim black void of war. The pain. The lies. The reality. The aftermath."

An account of American terrorism in Vietnam

“At a time when acts of military aggression perpetrated or planned by the US government are typically justified in the name of fighting ’international terrorism,’ a book has appeared which documents America’s role as the organizer of the biggest campaign of terrorism and sabotage since World War II."

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