The short answer is that I know nothing of any speech broadcast on North Vietnamese radio 30 years ago, or ever. Hence can't comment, any more than if you asked me about a speech I gave over BBC 30 years ago. The passage enclosed is reminiscent of things I actually wrote at the time, touching on the very same topics, which are easily checked.hence not discussed. On returning from Laos and North Vietnam, I wrote articles in the NY Review of Books.mostly on Laos, where I found out a lot more than in North Vietnam, including a lot that was new, and that is still mostly suppressed, so that material is never discussed. This material is reprinted with some extensions in a book that came out in 1970: At War With Asia (Pantheon). Anyone who happens to have an interest in what I had to say about these topics at the time can easily discover it. End of story.

There's a far more interesting question that is not raised but that merits a longer answer: namely, why are we spending 30 seconds on the first question? Notice that that's a special case of many others of the same type. E.g., why is page after page of newsprint and hour after hour of news broadcasting devoted to silly Washington gossip of no significance.and of no interest to the general population; this is an elite obsession, quite strikingly. We can generalize further: why does the PR industry inundate the population with diversion instead of serious inquiry into things that people care about, like their work, health care, education, the environment, the alleged (mostly phony) Social Security crisis, trade issues, etc.? We know the answers to these questions: it's surely to the benefit of the doctrinal managers and the interests they serve to keep people far away from things that might matter. So in the case of Indochina, US wars led to the death of about 4 million people and destroyed four countries. In the Plain of Jars of Laos alone the number of people killed every year from unexploded "bombies" (antipersonnel weapons, designed to kill and maim, not damage property like landmines) is estimated from the hundreds to 10,000 (the veteran Asia reporter of the Wall Street Journal, only the Asia edition however), about half of them children, the others farmers trying to clear the land.

Fortunately, there is a British-based mining team that is trying to clear the remnants of the hundreds of thousands of unexploded bombies, hampered because the US won't give them "render harmless procedures" that would make their work easier and safer, but have to be kept a state secret; and hampered also because the US is "conspicuously missing" from the countries that are trying to deal with the US-created plague. Or shift over a few miles and consider the hundreds of thousands of tortured victims of US chemical warfare in South Vietnam, scenes that reminded a well-respected Israeli reporter of what they'd heard at the trials of Eichmann and Demjanjuk.

Sometimes we do hear a little about this, say in the Science columns of the New York Times, where it's pointed out that Vietnam provides great experimental conditions to study the effect of chemical poisons, since there's a control population (the north was spared this particular horror), so we're losing a real opportunity to learn something that might be useful to us. Suppose Jones (to make it anonymous) is a Stalinist clone, utterly dedicated to the power and violence of the state he worships. Would Jones want to have people thinking about topics like these? Or would Jones prefer to have them devote endless hours to the profound question of whether Smith, who opposes these atrocities, made too strong a statement 30 years ago over the radio in support of the people who Jones wants to torture and murder? In that context, would it matter even if the charges about Smith were true?

To put the same question at arms length, where it's sometimes easier to think about these things, let's imagine that Nazi Germany came out of the war quite successful, but without having achieved all its war aims, and that the same was true of the USSR after Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan . . . We now imagine web pages in Nazi Germany and Brezhnev Russia where dedicated Nazis and Stalinists seek avidly to find radio broadcasts where some critic may have made a questionable statement about the targets of their atrocities and crimes.

What would we think of the performance, or the fact that dissident circles found themselves drawn into this shameful and degrading farce? What would that tell us about the incredible power of the propaganda systems organized by advocates of state terror and other atrocities by the powerful? It seems to me that those are the questions worth asking, rather than being caught up in the antics of fanatic worshippers of state violence.