The Tonkin Bay Incident

As we talked about when we worked with Gasland it is a course aim that you should be able to find information and be able to question the credibility and reliability of different sources. I just wanted to return to this topic again and at the same time let you have a look at two important historical events in the United States. Both events really makes you question to which extent you can trust what politicians say.

History is filled with lies and deceit. Falsehoods are often a necessary ingredient in the world of politics.

The first event is the Tonkin Bay Incident, which started the Vietnam War. The initial story about what happened at Tonkin Bay was later questioned and some said that the politicians lied to further their own ends.

The Tonkin Bay incident resulted in the Tonkin Bay resolution, which gave the president (Lyndon Baines Johnson power to go to war in Vietnam.)

The US Naval institute’s version

Historynet’s version of the events

Second event is the Iraq War and the whole controversy of ”the smoking gun”. UN’s weapons inspectors had not found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but Colin Powell claimed they had a thick intelligence file that showed that the Iraqis had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). His argument in the UN made most people think that the US was in the right: that Iraq still had WMDs.

Task 1

Here is his speech at the UN. Do you get the impression that the US had proof of WMDs? Why? Post as a comment.

(The different perspectives on the issues is presented and mixed into one in the wiki about this subject. Also former vice-prime minister of Sweden Per Ahlmark wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the head of the weapons inspectors (a Swede called Hans Blix) was incompetent and weak. [Per Ahlmark’s criticism of UN’s weapons inspector Hans Blix.]

If information can be fabricated and politicians lie how are you supposed to find good information? How do you judge information? For instance what happened when the Russian plane was shot down by Turkey?)

Task 2

What do you think you can do to avoid being deceived in a world both companies and politicians can lie? Post as a comment.

Task 3

The Second World War started with a false flag operation. What is a false flag operation? (How did the war star?). Post as a comment.

11 reaktioner till “The Tonkin Bay Incident”

  1. 1. I think they are knowingly lying because everyone will believe them. Why shouldn’t they lie when there are no serious repercussions. It’s a win-win situation for them.

    2. You should always be suspicious when politicians or companies say something. It’s not abnormal for them to lie and use biased sources to further their agenda. It’s unlikely that they will ever bring something up that affects them in a negative way. When listening to a politician or company you should also listen to their competitor to get both sides of the argument, and can decide for yourself.

    3. Germany fabricated evidence for a Polish attack on Germany. Germanys people thought they were being attacked and saw no wrong in attacking back. The population didn’t know that a Polish attack never happened and Germany attacked without reason.


  2. TASK 1. I feel like his proof was that he knew a guy who said they have MWDs and to me thats kinda too little to justify this war. But he seems to have fooled the entire UN with that simple point, alright if he brought the guy there or something but he had very little proof in my opinion.

    TASK 2. Since you are kinda dependent on companies and politicians I see very little ways to avoid their lies and deception. They have so much power compared to the average person that there is little one single man can do, but if you band together maybe you can care for yourself. Although I think almost every person is too lazy in this day and age.

    TASK 3. A false flag operation is when you deceive the world that for example trick people into that something happened (that the polish attacked Germany for example). This is done in some cases to convince the public and others that war is necessary.


  3. 1. I don’t know if the US are telling the truth because they have no backup for the statements they make. The general said there was an eye witness but does not mention anything else and they have a thick file but of course they can’t use that as proof because it is confidential, so it’s hard to tell if it really is true or if it is made up.

    2. It is hard to avoid being deceived by companies and politicians because they are the most dependable source and those who have the opportunity to gather most information. What you can do is to be suspicious and seek information for yourself from other sources or listen to what the other party says.

    3. A false flag operation is when for example a country attacks a second country and uses a third country’s flag or marking on their units. By other words it is when they pretend to be a country even if that is not true.


  4. 1.Do you get the impression that the US had proof of WMDs? Why?

    I don’t think the US had any real proofs because they only said that they had eye-witnesses and what they have done and no real proof. They showed no pictures or materials and only written text of what they had seen and the ”Eye-witness” wouldn’t speak themselves

    2.What do you think you can do to avoid being deceived in a world both companies and politicians can lie?

    The only real way to not being tricked is by analyzing everything you see, listen to or reading. To understand the hidden messages of politicians and corporations you need to understand what they want to get out of their powerful-positions, and try to counter it and try to see the negative side of their agenda that they are not showing themselves.

    3.The Second World War started with a false flag operation. What is a false flag operation? (How did the war star?)

    A false flag operation is when a group of countries try justify some sort of claim by using another flag i.e. they are saying they’re from a country they’re not from. The Glewitz incident started WW2. A group of germans created false proofs for the germans population that the polish mobilized for an attack against the germans to try and get the war enthusiasm up by the people and get the public opinion that war was the best option.


  5. Task 1. The only justification for his ”proof” was that he has a friend who said that they had MWD’s which is not something that you can justify for an entire war. Even though he only had a weak ”proof” everyone seem to believe that he was reliable and just went with him.

    Task 2. Even though that you depend on politicians words, you have to have the slightest idea of what they are talking about, but in this scenario you have no idea of these secret things only politicians know, to actually come to a conclusion of what they is truth and was isn’t the truth, most of the time politicians are lying to get an advantage and get as many people as possible to believe in them, to avoid them people have to pay close attention of what they are talking about and try and figure out if they’re lying or not.

    Task 3. A false flag operation is where you trick the world to believe that something happened which actually didn’t for example the polish attacked Germany. This is used to make the people believe that a war is necessary.


  6. Task 1. They seemingly didn’t have any direct evidence proving their statements. They did have eye witness accounts and suspicions, but no real evidence. Since i don’t know the prerequisites to stating a real opinion, i wont. What i can say though, is if that was all the ”evidence” they had, it wasn’t enough to start a war.

    Task 2. If you want to avoid being deceived, you just have to not believe them. It’s impossible to entirely avoid it, since almost everything is controlled by the politicians and companies. Meaning that whatever truth they may want to hide from us, more often than not, doesn’t get out in public. Which gives little to nothing to use as evidence for their deceit. And whatever ”evidence” does get out, doesn’t necessarily have to be the truth either.

    Task 3. A false flag is false information that gets out in public in an attempt to make people believe that faulty information, justifying whatever it is they are trying to do. Germany tried to do this before invading Poland. They claimed Poland had attacked Germany, and planted evidence as proof. Which would justify the war with Poland, and get them support from the german population. This with other False Flag Operations was used to mobilize support from the german population, but it didn’t convince international public. Both Britain and France (Poland’s allies) declared war 2 days after the invasion of Poland.


  7. Task 1:
    We all are aware that Mr Colin Powell is lying. The biggest reason for not trusting him is the source of information, for me that isn’t enough to prove the Iraq has WMD. What Mr Powell states is that they had a eye witness in Iraq that had seen everything being built, that isn’t enough to go with and declare war against them. What I have been thinking of is why they wanted to lie to the world and declare war against Iraq, what I have concluded is that they did that to reach the oil in Iraq and collect it.

    Task 2:

    We the people need to have more information what they are actually talking about so the companies and politicians cannot tell whatever they want to us without us stating that they are wrong.
    Make the companies and politicians show us hard proof that their statement is right and there would be no chance of contradiction. There would also be more than one politician or company debating about it all to make it all more balanced.

    Task 3:

    A false flag is like a misunderstanding of each other and in this situation are the countries. A false flag between countries can be when one side falsely accuses that the other country had attacked them and that had given them a reason to “rightfully” strike them and conquer the country without the other countries thinking bad of them but the country that got falsely accused. This is a coward way to attack an enemy who doesn’t expect it and make the other countries despise them.
    The second world war started with Germany lying that the Poland was invading them. Making the Poland think that they started a war against them and attacked them themselves. That gave a “rightful” excuse for Hitler to attack Poland.


  8. I think that Colin Powell’s proof was that he knew a guy from Iraq which was working with chemical engineering. The guy from Iraq said they have MWD’s. But it seems that Colin seems to fooling with us because how are we supposed to know that he have met him? He has little proof in my opinion. He used a lot of emotions in his speech and it seems that he wants to attack Iraq because he maybe hate them for their religion or some other reason.

    When you’re reading, listening, analyzing etc. You should always be suspicious when politician or companies say something that is not reliable. It isn’t normal for the them to lie and use sources to further their speech. They use like more emotions, like hitler did. Hitler used a lot of emotions in his speech to increase the attention of his audience. Anyway it’s unusual that they will ever bring up something that affect in a negative way. My conclusion is when you’re listening to a politician or a company you should always check if they have both sides of argument because then you know what’s the best for your country.

    A false flag operation is when for instance a country attacks another country for instance trick people into a trap (When Poland attacked Germany for instance).


  9. Task 1:
    I believe they are lying. Why would they not? They are one of the largest countries with almost no major opposition they can lie and get their intentions through, basically a win-win situation for the US government. From a critical POV it’s absurd that this ever went through, no OFFICIAL evidence was shown all the ”info” is based on something a someone that this politican knew said. That’s EXTREMLY vague and should not have ever been able to fool all of UN.

    Task 2:
    There is one main way to avoid getting decieved that is to analyse everything you see or hear and be critical. Although from this main way a bunch of different methods and factors come into play. You should look at different sources and read/listen to the sources multiple times. Try to think yourself into different perspectives, what if you were and outsider or a professional? How would the story and it’s intention change from different viewing points. If it’s written on a newspage look at different newspages and try to find similarities and also opposites so you are able to be sure that the information is accurate. A helpful skill to have is being able to read between the lines and understand the hidden purpose behind a sentence not just what is said.

    Task 3:
    A false flag op is somewhat like a covert op. It is a way to conceal the main perpetrators and make it seems like the op is done by a large group or a whole nation. In the example of the Second World War a false flag op was made by Hitler in the form of a mutiny by court members and overall members of the Deutsh government. A false flag op can also be used in a way as to conceal once true identity. For example in a naval warfare a enemy battleship can disguise themselves with a literal false flag raised.


  10. task 1:
    we know that the USA ambassador is lying to the others politician but as to why i don’t really know the cause of them lying if not for the oil they have. so the USA want it for themselves by saying they have a witnessbut it isn’t really enough evidence to start a war just for oil.

    task 2:
    listening if their words are true and see if there is enough information about that topic if its true or not. like showing us how it all works and see if they are lying or not.

    task 3:
    A false flag means that someone is proclaiming that i saw him taking my phone or something but he hasn’t so i kan have a reason to accuse him or punch him that he hans’t done. the second world started with Germany saying that polland har soldiers in their country but polland doesn’t have soldiers in their country but it gives Germany a reason to attack polland by their false proclaim.


  11. TASK 1:
    You cant ever be certain that your info are correct if you do not study it yourself. Why? Becuase you cant trust anyone, someone heres one thing and another thing is said to another one and so on. This means it just becomes rumors. If politicians say one thing, then the point is for you to follow what he says becuase he is the countrys representive. The problem is that sometimes they are not correct, sometimes beucase of politics and sometimes becuase they have a greed/need for something but they cant straight up take it. WE could take info from diffrent sources and figure out yourself something in between that are more likly than one source.

    TASK 2:
    You could look it up yourself or start study it yourself to find out what it really is (no matter subject). Try to find people who know about it, people who have worked with it during a long time.

    TASK 3:
    German troops pretenting to be polish terrorists, they took control over a german radio station and they played anti-german propaganda. One known polish associate was killed with a poision injection but the body where shot to prove thier story.

    A false flag means that a country instead of using rightful claims (like the Sudetenland becuase they were mostly german citizens there and most german culture), they come up with false info or events that is used to strengthen their claim. When this is done they can use the claim to claim land or even annex countries for their own gains. Often countries dosnt agree of being annexed, so a war usually breaks out but this time becuase of the treaty between UK and Poland a few months before the war, UK(+Colonies) had a claim to join the war.



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