“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

- Nelson Mandela

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bombing Laos: The Secret CIA War

                In the 1960s, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech about Indochina and the threat of communism in the region. Pronouncing the countries name incorrectly, JFK said that “all we want in Laos is peace, not war.” Over the next 15 years, Laos became the most intensely bombed area in the entire world. Another civilization destroyed at the hands of America. Laos set the stage for how the US would conduct wars in the future. The tactics we saw during “Shock and Awe” in Iraq  and during the US-supported overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya, and also what we are seeing in Yemen and Pakistan all started with Laos. The practice that did not start there but continued and still continues today is that the US government lied about its intentions and its reasons. So let’s take a quick look at what happened in Laos from 1960-1975. And as I point out in all my blogs; don’t think for a second that these things are not happening today, because they are. The US has already started its operation in Syria and Iran is probably next.
                In 1958, Laos was able to hold a relatively free-election. There was of course massive efforts to subvert it by the US and Russia. Both tried their best to install puppet governments as the US has certainly always done when they felt it necessary. The election was won by a coalition dominated by the Pathet Lao, Communist-led anti-French guerrillas. The Pathet Lao said that women should have the same education as men. They intended to change the old associations into new ones. A majority of the new teachers and doctors that were being trained were women. They also intended to change the lives of the poor. The Pathet Lao decided that those with land would have to share it with those who don’t have it. Agrarian reform took place. The wealthy in Laos became afraid of the message being sent by Pathet Lao. The US became afraid that the message of Pathet Lao would spread throughout this important strategic and economic region.  The Pathet Lao was overthrown almost immediately with the help of the US, and “pro-western neutralists” took over. The US decided they needed to take action to ensure that the “neutralist” government stayed in line with American interests. Kennedy stationed 5000 troops on the border in Thailand and then gave the CIA the go ahead to begin its operation in Long Tieng.
                The US began to set up a military presence in the Long Tieng region of Laos. Long Tieng was a CIA-administered secret air base that at the time became the busiest airport in the world. Over 400 flights per day were flying out of Long Tieng.  One of the most beautiful places on earth, the Plain of Jars, in the Long Tieng region, was home to 50,000 people. The CIA would begin to make an army.
                The US paid 100 percent of the expenses for this operation to fight off the communist threat in Laos. The US was so afraid that their message would spread (whether it was a good message was never considered because it isn’t our message).  The CIA propped up a man named Vang Pao to lead its fight against the Pathet Lao. Vang Pao was an ex-general in Laotian army. The US provided training for Vang Pao’s army, as well as training some to fly planes. Vang Pao and his men, trained and supplied by the US, set out to remove the people from the Plain of Jars. The result of this was all out war, destabilizing Laos. The end goal was to line up Laos with US interests in order to help the US fight for capitalism in the entire region. Internationally, the UN and the US continued to declare Laos as “neutral”.
                James Lilley and Vint Lawerence started their careers with the CIA in Laos. These men helped to train the Vang Pao army that was still growing. There are extensive interviews with both men in you are interested, just YouTube it. By 1961, a US organized and supported army of highland tribesmen were fighting under the leadership of the CIA. Through the 1960s, Pathet-Lao controlled areas were subjected to the fiercest bombing in history, in an effort to, according to a Senate subcommittee, “destroy the physical and social infrastructure.” These bombings happened while the US public was completely unaware.
                By 1964, the USA, working out of Long Tieng, had pumped $564 million into Laos. The CIA operatives oversaw the writing of the Laotian constitution. The government of course was very corrupt but the people of Laos did not take very well to “democracy” and “capitalism”. They had aspirations of equality and sustainability. Then in 1965, the troops were sent into Vietnam putting a veil over the war in Laos. This gave the US government and US corporations the ability to work as they pleased in Laos.
                The US military and humanitarian aid in Laos and Vietnam was conducted by Air America, a commercial corporate airline. In Laos, Air America dropped aid, flew refugees to camps and also brought in the extensive military supplies to Long Tieng. The CIA carved hundreds of landing strips out of the mountains of Long Tieng. It was later revealed that the CIA owned Air America.
                On the ground, the CIA had created a 30,000 man army. The guerillas were fighting and terrorizing the population with air support from the Long Tieng CIA base. American and Laotian troops came to Long Tieng with their families. Outsiders were not allowed into the newly formed city. The coalition of CIA agents, a commercial airline, and hill people were devastating the country. Another key component of this war was the drug trade.
                While the CIA army blocked the communist Pathet Lao from gaining ground in Laos, drug production became very vital to US efforts in Laos. By 1970, US troops began using substantial quantities of heroin. There were more heroin addicts in Vietnam in 1970 than in all of the US. Vang Pao and his army took control of the heroin supplies, as well as rice. Vang Pao and the CIA would offer villages rice in exchange for all the village men, ages 14 and up. With no men to harvest rice, opium emerged as the only viable source of income. Opium would be loaded into CIA planes and helicopters and it was brought back to Long Tieng before it was sent off to America and Europe. The press remained silent.
                Many years later a former US government official in Laos, Jerome Doolittle wrote in the NY Times that “when I first arrived in Laos, I was instructed to answer all press questions about our massive and merciless bombing campaign in that tiny country with: At the request of the Royal Laotian Government, the United States is conducting unarmed reconnaissance flights accompanied by armed escorts who have the right to return if fired upon.” He essentially repeated the words of President Nixon. Nixon had said that our only involvement in Laos was “unarmed reconnaissance flights.” But every informed Congressmen and reporter knew that these were lies but they didn’t the massive atrocities that were happening at the hands of American tax payer money.
A 26 year old nurse from Xieng Khouang said that “in 1964 and 1965 I could feel the trembling of the earth and the shock from the sounds of arms exploding around my village. I began to hear the noises of airplanes, circling about in the heavens… We needed holes to save our lives… We who were young took our sweat and our strength, which should have been spent raising food… squandered it digging holes to protect ourselves.” The US was dropping bombs every 8 second in Laos. If a plane was unable to locate targets in Vietnam it would simply fly over and drop the bombs on Laos because the pilots were instructed not to land until the bombs were dropped. Major reporters and Congressmen  knew about the refugee camps and the bombings in Laos, but it wasn’t until 1971 that the secret base was exposed, even though not on front pages.
Fred Branfman talks about the camps with “thousands of refugees were living like animals on the floor.” Before Branfman had arrived the “bombings had been going on for 5 years.” In 1971, 800,000 tons of bombs were dropped by the United States on Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.  In 1971, Long Tieng was attacked by the Pathet Lao troops. After 11 years of war, most of the men of the original Vang Pao army were dead. So the CIA increased the bombings and the largest bombings had yet to come. B-52 strikes were 1 km wide and 3 km wide. With no troops, it turned exclusively to bombing.  It was the largest air war in human history, more bombs then were dropped on Germany and Japan combined.
With illegal policies, the US destroyed a civilization. There is no way for death tolls to be known but they are in the hundred thousand’s. All of this bombing and killing and the US lost in the end. 3 weeks after we left Vietnam, Pathet Lao won the battle in Laos and the CIA left. The war ravaged the country and destroyed the country’s infrastructure. The American government spent hundreds of millions to bomb innocents and spent no money to pay reparations or to clean up the mess we left. Today in Laos, hundreds of people die each year because of what the Laotian call “bombies”.  Weapons, from the bombing campaign which are on the ground today explode, killing children and more innocents. The resistance forces were abandoned by the US government after the war. There are entire villages in Laos built out of war scrap. Refugee camps have become villages.
Henry Kissinger, ex-secretary of state testified before the Church Committee about the bombing of Laos, orchestrated in secret by the CIA, he said “I do not believe in retrospect that it was a good national policy to have the CIA conduct a war in Laos.” And we did all of this to fight ideas of equality and nationalism. Ideas that we could learn from today but the US leadership continues to give us bogus reasons and fears for fighting these wars. The security arguments made by our leadership are too ludicrous to even consider. The fear is and was that even if a “marginal and impoverished country can begin to utilize its own limited human and material resources and can undertake programs of development geared to the needs of the domestic population then others may ask: why not us?” And that is the fear of our leadership, that people will claim what is theirs and call for a stop to constant exploitation. Exploitation that needs to stop.

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1 comment:

  1. Some facts are missing:

    CIA run Dope Inc in Laos:
    - http://seawapa.blogspot.be/2014/03/35-countries-where-us-has-supported.html

    CIA is the Jewsuit organisation:

    They are the NWO: