Against Forgetting: “The Phoenix Program” and the Awakening of Historical Memory

By Kara Z. Dellacioppa

The republication of Douglas Valentine’sThe Phoenix Program as the first installment in a series of repressed, forgotten books by Open Road Media offers the opportunity to observe the continuity between the CIA’s secret war against civilians in Vietnam and our own “Homeland Security” apparatus.

Douglas Valentine’s The Phoenix Programis the first installment in a series of repressed, forgotten books that have recently been republished by Open Road Media in their “Forbidden Bookshelf” series. The Phoenix program was the CIA’s secret war on the political (civilian) infrastructure of the Viet Cong with the ultimate goal of “pacifying” dissent against the unimaginably corrupt South Vietnam government. “Pacifying” included torture, indefinite detention and assassination. It is also worth noting that The Phoenix Program was the first repressed book to be showcased in the series. The Phoenix program was not only responsible for horrific crimes against the Vietnamese people, but the program was replicated in US counterinsurgency campaigns in both El Salvador and Iraq. And of most significance, as Valentine states in his new introduction, is the fact that the Phoenix program became a “template” not only for counterinsurgency campaigns in the Third World thereafter, but also for the “Homeland Security Apparatus” the American people are living under today.

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