[Marxism] On this day in 1979 ... BBC omits important details

Brian Shannon brian_shannon at verizon.net
Sun Jan 8 13:26:37 MST 2006


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  
the countryside.

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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