[Marxism] On this day in 1979 ... BBC omits important details
brian_shannon at verizon.net
Sun Jan 8 13:26:37 MST 2006
1979: VIETNAM FORCES KHMER ROUGE RETREAT
Hundreds of Khmer Rouge troops have fled Cambodia after being crushed
by Vietnamese-led rebel forces. The capital, Phnom Penh, has been
seized and Pol Pot and many of his soldiers forced to retreat into
It signals the end of nearly four years of brutal domination by the
guerrillas. Defeated soldiers crossed the border into Thailand where
they were taken to prison as illegal immigrants. The Thai authorities
have said they will not be forcibly returned to Cambodia.
It wouldn't have taken many lines to point out that the Pol Pot
forces were supported diplomatically and militarily by Carter and
Reagan. Here is John Pilger on what happened next:
Washington also backed the Khmer Rouge through the United Nations,
which provided Pol Pot's vehicle of return. Although the Khmer Rouge
government ceased to exist in January 1979, when the Vietnamese army
drove it out, its representatives continued to occupy Cambodia's UN
seat. Their right to do so was defended and promoted by Washington as
an extension of the Cold War, as a mechanism for US revenge on
Vietnam, and as part of its new alliance with China (Pol Pot's
principal underwriter and Vietnam's ancient foe). In 1981, President
Carter's national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, said, "I
encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot." The US, he added, "winked
publicly" as China sent arms to the Khmer Rouge through Thailand.
As a cover for its secret war against Cambodia, Washington set up the
Kampuchean Emergency Group (KEG) in the US embassy in Bangkok and on
the Thai-Cambodian border. KEG's job was to "monitor" the
distribution of Western humanitarian supplies sent to the refugee
camps in Thai land and to ensure that Khmer Rouge bases were fed.
Working through "Task Force 80" of the Thai Army, which had liaison
officers with the Khmer Rouge, the Americans ensured a constant flow
of UN supplies. Two US relief aid workers, Linda Mason and Roger
Brown, later wrote, "The US Government insisted that the Khmer Rouge
be fed ... the US preferred that the Khmer Rouge operation benefit
from the credibility of an internationally known relief operation."
In 1980, under US pressure, the World Food Program handed over food
worth $12 million to the Thai army to pass on to the Khmer Rouge.
According to former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke
"20,000 to 40 000 Pol Pot guerrillas benefited." This aid helped
restore the Khmer Rouge to a fighting force, based in Thailand, from
which it de stabilized Cambodia for more than a decade.
Although ostensibly a State Department operation, KEG's principals
were intelligence officers with long experience in Indochina. In the
early 1980s it was run by Michael Eiland, whose career underscored
the continuity of American intervention in Indochina. In 1969-70, he
was operations officer of a clandestine Special Forces group code-
named "Daniel Boone," which was responsible for the reconnaissance of
the US bombing of Cambodia. By 1980, Col. Eiland was running KEG out
of the US embassy in Bangkok, where it was de scribed as a
"humanitarian" organization. Responsible for interpreting satellite
surveillance photos of Cambodia, Eiland became a valued source for
some of Bangkok's resident Western press corps, who referred to him
in their reports as a "Western analyst." Eiland's "humanitarian"
duties led to his appointment as Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
chief in charge of the South east Asia Region, one of the most
important positions in US espionage.
from Brian Shannon
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