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Fear and loathing in Vietnam
Posted By Anthony C. LoBaido On 11/19/1999 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
Editor’s Note: This is the third and final installment of Anthony
C. LoBaido’s investigative series on the Hmong hill tribes of Laos and
Vietnam. During the past year, WorldNetDaily’s roving international
reporter has traveled extensively throughout Laos, Thailand and Vietnam
to document the fate of the Hmong, who served in the CIA Special Forces
during the Vietnam war, when around 20,000 Hmong men, women and children
were killed. After the war, more than 100,000 Hmong fled to
Thailand-based refugee camps, where they languished — invisible to the
Western media — under brutal Thai guards, until being forcibly
repatriated to Laos, where they faced certain death. Paid for almost
exclusively with American tax dollars, this ongoing repatriation,
carried out by the United Nations and Thai military, was the subject of
In Part 2,
LoBaido took readers through a dangerous trip to Laos, revealing the
“dirty little secrets” long harbored there, while uncovering the current
status of the anti-Communist Hmong.
DIEN BIEN PHU, Vietnam — Tucked neatly away in the northwest corner
of Vietnam, the town of Dien Bien Phu holds a tremendous fascination for
both the French and the Vietnamese Communists.
It was in this town that, on May 6, 1954, after a 57-day siege,
Vietnamese forces finally overwhelmed the French Foreign Legion. That
victory — ending French rule in Indochina forever — also opened the
door to a floodgate of war, genocide and persecution of Christians in
Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos that continues to this day.
Dien Bien Phu is also the site of a Hmong Christian community, on the
run from persecution by the rabidly anti-Christian, Communist government
“The French are the people of Joan of Arc. The French empire had its
faults, but it was Christian-based. They built roads, hospitals and
schools,” says Nathan Vann, a historian and teacher hailing from the
Hmong tribe of northern Vietnam. “What does the new colonialism of Nike
and Coca-Cola do for anyone, except take their money?”
One of many tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam war.
As he speaks, the sound of Christian hymns fills the air around the
church. An armed militia stands watch outside the simple facility near
the Laos-Vietnam border, prepared to repel attacks by Communist
“The Communists fear Christians for the same reasons the Romans,
Nazis and even liberals in America do today. We have a long-term view
of life. Our allegiance is to God and His Son Jesus Christ — not to the
state. We are not afraid to die for our faith. And we can fight like
Christian soldiers if pushed too far,” says Vann.
Like the Jews of the World War II era, the Hmong have faced
biochemical genocide at the hands of a tyrannical foe. The use of
“Yellow Rain,” a deadly Soviet-made toxin has been well documented in
neighboring Laos by medical and military experts.
Yet the Hmong have had no voice to bring their plight to the world’s
attention. The Khmer Rouge of Cambodia were exposed in the Hollywood
film, “The Killing Fields,” and numerous films like “Apocalypse Now,”
“Full Metal Jacket” and even “Forrest Gump” have educated the American
public about the Vietnam War. But the plight of the Hmong has remained a
As for the aforementioned “Yellow Rain,” despite overwhelming
evidence of both chemical and biological warfare employed against the
Hmong, Vann says, “the State Department turned a blind eye to this
blatant violation of the Geneva Convention. Furthermore, they didn’t
even include these genocidal acts in their annual reports. Instead, they
invented stories about bee pollen and bee feces as a cover for the
Soviet-sponsored biochemical warfare.”
As a man might race past a car wreck to cash a paycheck at the bank,
the Western transnational financial community has chosen to finance the
Marxist Mekong Delta regimes of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia while
ignoring the widespread persecution of the Hmong.
“Madeleine Albright recently visited Vietnam to open a new U.S.
consulate and endorse a wide-reaching trade accord,” adds Vann, who lost
his wife and two children during the war against the Communists.
“How can she do this? This woman is only alive because the British
gave her Jewish parents refuge from the Nazi regime in Eastern Europe.
Yet she has the audacity to embrace these Communists who butcher
innocent Christians. Where is the outrage of American and French
An old Hmong woman sells handicrafts in a Hanoi market.
The ‘Tribulation Force’
The Asian Hmong culture is basically agrarian in nature. The
Hmong’s traditional religion is focused on animism, shamanism, worship
of hard spirit entities and conjured healing. However, the Hmong make
up a large portion of Vietnam’s seven million ethnic minorities, at
least 750,000 of which have converted to evangelical Christianity since
1975. About 300,000 of those are Hmong. Add to this a total of eight
million Catholics in Vietnam proper, and you have the makings of a
Christian revolution in the works.
However, this rapid rise in Christianity is terrifying to the
Communist authorities. Fear of a Hmong right-wing resistance movement
and a Christian revolution such as occurred in Communist Romania in 1989
greatly concerns the Vietnamese government. Officials there also fear
the “Tribulation Force” — an alleged stealthy Western Christian
mercenary army composed of ex-Green Berets, Delta Force, South African
Recces, Kovoet and Civil Cooperation Bureau officials, ex-French Foreign
Legion troops, Ghurkas and Christian soldiers from every corner on
“The Tribulation Force is funding and training the resistance
movement of the Hmong in Laos, and we believe that they are now active
in Northern Vietnam,” says Col. Le Min Ho of the Vietnamese People’s
“Our greatest fear is that it will enlist the help of Blondie Wong,
the Chinese dissident computer hacker,” says one Communist official.
“With Blondie Wong’s computer hacker army in Europe, it could easily
disrupt the operations of the foreign companies investing in our
country.” The government also fears assassination attempts on the part
of the Tribulation Force.
All Hmong leaders interviewed by WorldNetDaily vehemently denied that
any such “Tribulation Force” exists.
Despite the posturing of the Communist government, the conversion of
the Hmong rolls on like a Texas-style revival.
Messiah in a jeep
“The Hmong have been the most fertile group for conversion of all
the ethnic minorities,” says Baptist missionary Casey Walden of First
Baptist Church in Reagan, Texas.
A Young Hmong Girl.
“The reasons are twofold. First, they have suffered tremendous
persecution. Second, their traditional culture speaks of a returning
Messiah who will deliver them from their oppression. The mythology led
the Hmong to visualize a man in a military uniform driving up in a Jeep,
rather than a Messiah descending from the clouds.
“Sometimes we evangelize the Hmong via short wave radio. I even saw
several villages convert to Christianity at a crusade. Someday in the
near future we may need a revival tent so big it will have to be made by
aliens from outer space,” Walden says with obvious pleasure.
“Christianity has brought tangible gains to our people,” adds Vann.
“They don’t get drunk or smoke opium. Fighting and stealing are on the
downside. Husbands are devoting themselves to their wives and children.
Animism requires animal sacrifice, which is wasteful. The Communist
government would like to see us drunk, lazy and unorganized — but the
exact opposite is happening.”
The response to all this from the government has been to send machine
gun-toting anti-Christian squads to the hills of northern Vietnam to try
and force the Hmong to renounce their faith.
Communist Party officials questioned by WorldNetDaily admit that only
a handful of the 300,000 have renounced their faith. Yet many Hmong
have been forced to flee to the central highlands of Vietnam to avoid
death and persecution at the hands of the Communist government soldiers
– a thousand-kilometer trek filled with danger.
Recent flooding in Vietnam has slowed anti-Christian government
operations in the northern Highlands.
“It is as though God is using water to judge evil and protect us, as
He did with Moses on the trek out of Egypt, and with Noah and the
flood,” says Vann.
But the government keeps trying. According to official Communist
Party radio, TV and print media, foreign missionaries are persona non
grata. For example, in a recent broadcast the government claimed, “Our
minority peoples and the Hmong tribe from time immemorial have never had
this Christian religion. It is the deception of bad people who want the
Hmong to believe, to lure them into bad ideas, to bring people together
and fight against our regime.”
A Junk in Halong Bay in Vietnam.
Most U.S. Vietnam war veterans had no idea who the Hmong were during
their time in country. After all, the Hmong were fighting a secret war
in Laos, unknown to the American public. Yet today, more and more vets
are gratefully acknowledging the role the Hmong played on the American
side of the war.
Bob Anderson, a Vietnam veteran who works with the Hmong refugee
population in Minnesota, says, “For many years, the Hmong people fought
at our request with incredible bravery and tenacity, greatly slowing the
advance of the North Vietnamese into Laos and South Vietnam. They
sacrificed thousands of their lives in deadly missions that ultimately
saved thousands of American lives.
“The U.S. got them into war against our enemies, trained them, urged
them to fight, depended on their bravery — then broke our promises to
them as we pulled out without doing anything to protect them against the
terrible revenge that was promised, and has been delivered.”
So, while the Hmong fed and cooked for American soldiers, buried the
dead and watched their backs, the U.S. military-political complex has
turned its back on them.
Jack Austin Smith, a retired chief master sergeant with 27 years of
military service, also laments the betrayal of the Hmong.
“The main American battleground was in the southern end of South
Vietnam. In order for the North Vietnamese forces to fight us there, it
was necessary for their supplies and troops to go through Laos and
Cambodia on the Ho Chi Min Trail. Laos was controlled by a
pro-Communist government at that time. Therefore, America was not
allowed to have any forces on the ground, although we were allowed to
bomb and attack North Vietnamese troops with our aerial forces,” says
“About 99 percent of the combat forces on the ground were Hmong
irregulars who were persuaded by Americans to forget about being
neutral, and to fight the North Vietnamese regulars — not relatively
poorly trained Viet Cong guerrilla forces. We supplied air cover, but
every combat trooper knows aircraft can’t take and hold ground. We
depended on the Hmong to do this — without modern arms, without medical
Ho Chi Min monument in Hanoi.
“After the fall of Saigon, we pulled out of Southeast Asia and left
the Hmong to continue the fight without air support. When we left, the
Hmong had to fight both the pro-Communist Laotians and the North
Vietnamese. They could not fight tanks, heavy artillery and aircraft
with rifles. A great many Hmong were slaughtered in their villages. Many
were slaughtered at airfields where they waited for evacuation planes
that never came. Out of an estimated 300,000 pre-war Hmong population,
less than 200,000 made it to safety. Most of the survivors are in
Australia, France and the U.S.,” says Smith
“The Hmong gave up literally everything for us — their country,
their homes, their peaceful way of life, most of their families,
everything that we would cherish. We promised them our continued support
– and then we bugged out.”
While America wrestles with “intervention fatigue” in places like
East Timor, it appears the Hmong, like the Kurds and black South
Sudanese Christians, will have to rely on a higher power to survive the
current onslaught of the Vietnamese Communist regime.
Yet Vann is hopeful. “There is no doubt that we’re going to have our
own homeland — as will the Kurds and Sudanese Christians,” he says.
“And nothing, I mean nothing on this earth, is going to stop it. The
Book of Revelation asks all believers, Who is able to fight the Beast,
the Antichrist? I say, simply, ‘We Hmong are.’ If the Communists want a
war, we’ll give them a war they won’t believe.”
Anthony C. LoBaido
is a roving international correspondent for WorldNetDaily and Dispatches. For more
in-depth reports by Anthony LoBaido, subscribe to Dispatches, WorldNetDaily’s special monthly insider magazine.
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