Editor’s note: Having traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia during the past year, WorldNetDaily international correspondent Anthony C. LoBaido filed several groundbreaking stories on the betrayal by the U.S and U.N. of the Hmong hill tribes — staunch allies of the U.S. during the Vietnam war. This is his latest report.
By Anthony C. LoBaido
© 2000, WorldNetDaily.com, Inc.
VIENTIANE, Laos — The Stalinist regime currently ruling Laos refer to the Hmong hill tribes as “Meo” — meaning “less than human.”
WorldNetDaily has reported previously, Laos’ Hmong tribesmen — including former CIA Special Forces soldiers who fought side-by-side with American soldiers during the Vietnam war — have been the object not only of great persecution by the communist governments of Laos and Vietnam, but also of betrayal by their former allies — the United States government and the United Nations. The Hmong’s forced repatriation into Laos from Thai refugee camps, sanctioned and encouraged by the U.S. State Department, has put the Hmong in danger for their lives. The Pathet Lao government despises the “Meo” doubly — for their having helped the “enemy,” America, during the Vietnam war, and for their growing embrace of Christianity.
Recently, the ongoing persecution of the Hmong by the government of Laos has heated up:
- The abduction and suspected murder of two Hmong-Americans by the Pathet Lao has brought down the wrath of the FBI and State Department on the Lao government.
- The Pathet Lao’s total lack of cooperation with the FBI and its
ongoing persecution of Christians has led conservatives in the U.S. Congress to block normalization of trade with the Loatians.
- The continued forced repatriation of the Hmong by the United Nations, Thai military and U.S. State Department has caused a major expansion of the shooting war in Laos. Indeed, the Hmong Resistance Movement has formed a guerrilla “War Party” to take the action to their oppressors after a 25-year retreat.
|The celebrated eclipse a few months ago was regarded by the native hill tribes as a portent of great changes that would soon befall the Greater Mekong Delta Region, formerly known as Indochina.|
In recent months, the birth of an unblemished white ox, or “Kwai,” as well as the fantastic eclipse that made global headlines have been regarded by the Hmong as a sign of great changes that are coming in regard to their plight and destiny.
Who are the Hmong?
Rugged mountain people who served in the CIA Special Forces during America’s war in Vietnam, the Hmong were recruited by the U.S. to fight the Viet Cong. The Hmong soldiers, many of whom were just children, fought and died to take out Russian and communist Chinese supplies on the infamous Ho Chi Minh trail. The Hmong intercepted almost half of these supplies, which were sent to kill American, Australian and South Korean troops fighting in Southeast Asia.
Historically, the Hmong tribe was hunted and killed in more than 75 military expeditions by bloodthirsty Chinese warlords and emperors between the 14th and 17th centuries. In 1800, an estimated 500,000 Hmong were killed by Chinese warlords. In the 20th century, communism and Soviet biological weapons have combined to enact a
genocide against the Hmong.
Since World War II, the whole of Southeast Asia has been plagued by war and genocide. Pol Pot’s ubiquitous “Killing Fields” — in which 1.7 million Cambodians were murdered without the use of guns — is most prominent. Lesser known genocides include the Hmong, as well as the Karen of Burma (a key ally of the U.S. and Great Britain in fighting the Japanese during World War II). Some even see the drug-induced decimation of much of Thailand’s population by the
Chinese-produced amphetamine Ya Baa (or “Crazy Medicine”) as a form of genocide.
As for how all of this killing could have unfolded without the intervention of the U.S, NATO or the United Nations, Dr. Michael Korpi, a Baylor University Film Professor who has worked extensively with the Hmong says, “Sadly, during the mid 1970s, the liberals in America were on the side of the communists in Vietnam. They thought it would be a good idea if America and the West were pushed out of Indochina. This led directly to the Killing Fields of Cambodia, the Pathet Lao and the rape and murder of the Montagnards (Hmong) in Vietnam.”
|This communist Chinese propaganda poster, circa the late 1940s and early 1950s, depicts America as a “paper tiger.” Today, China directs the persecution of Christian hill tribes like the Hmong of Laos, the Montagnards of Vietnam and the Karen of Burma/Myanmar.|
The persecution of the Hmong, who today number around 13 million, is not limited to Laos. In fact, it is
more vicious in communist Vietnam. The Christian Hmong (or “Montagnards,” the French word for “mountain people”) of Vietnam are hunted by the Vietnamese military. Many thousands of Hmong have had to flee the razing of their churches and walk over 1,000 kilometers into the central highlands of Vietnam seeking safety. This persecution takes place because the Hmong, even at gunpoint, will not renounce their Christian beliefs.
All the while, the Clinton administration pushes for the normalization of trade ties with communist Vietnam, despite the fact that the
Vietnamese military is in virtual control of the Vietnamese economy. Show Me The Money
|The European Union, which engages in a variety of work projects within Laos, is heavily involved in subsidizing the Pathet Lao government.|
Of course there is a financial element to the persecution of the Hmong. A project known as the Greater Mekong Development Plan or “East-West Corridor” — funded by U.S. and Japanese multinational corporations — is rapidly progressing with the explicit goal of linking Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma and Southern China into a single economic regional entity. As such, the
hilltribes of Burma and Laos are standing in the way of the new roads and railways that will be built to link the region.
FBI and State: The Loatian connection
Recently, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Stanley Roth, on a trip to Bangkok, told the international media that Laos was unlikely to get “Most Favored Nation” status and its accompanying trading privileges from the U.S. Congress if the Pathet Lao government doesn’t start cooperating in finding Hua Ly and Michael Vang. The two men were reportedly abducted and, some believe, murdered by the Pathet Lao government.
“The FBI dispatched two agents to Laos to ascertain the whereabouts of Hua Ly and Michael Vang — real American patriots,” said U.S. Army General Albion Knight Jr. (ret). Knight served in both Vietnam and with NATO, focusing on nuclear issues.
Ly, a 56-year-old from Wisconsin, and Vang, a 38-year-old who had been living in California, were trained by the CIA to fight as Special Forces against the Viet Cong. Moreover, Vang is the nephew of Vang Pao, the pre-eminent leader of the Hmong resistance — both during the Vietnam war and today. And Hua Ly rescued countless downed American pilots behind enemy lines in Laos during the Vietnam war.
According to U.S. Army Maj. Carl Bernard (Ret.), who was the point man on the CIA’s “Operation White Star” which trained the Hmong Special Forces, “Men like Hua Ly are well trained and motivated. He knows the terrain of Laos like the back of his hand.”
The Bangkok Post and The Nation — the major English-language news organs in Thailand — have written numerous articles on Ly and Vang, stating the two men “bragged” about the money and guns they were smuggling into Laos from Thailand. The money and guns, claim the reports, were to be used for fighting the Pathet Lao. Consequently, the story circulating in the newspapers, and at the American embassy for that matter, is that Ly and Vang were lured into Laos by ordinary Loatian criminals and subsequently murdered.
No chance, says Bernard.
|Searching for POWs/MIAs in the Laos countryside is no easy task.|
“Why would two CIA-trained operatives talk openly to strangers — or even the Lao secret police — about a clandestine intelligence operation?” asked Bernard.
For his part, Roth said, “Unfortunately, I think that until we can resolve the matter of the two disappeared [men], it’s going to be virtually impossible to envision Congress extending MFN status.”
“Furthermore, if it becomes apparent the authorities in Laos are either not cooperating with the investigation, or are impeding it, I think that could have a spilled-over effect to other aspects of the relationship. The burden is really on the government in Laos,” said Roth.
The Pathet Lao for its part claims it knows nothing of Ly and Vang’s whereabouts. And it has blamed the Hmong community in America for the media attention paid to the two missing men. Furthermore, Western diplomats based in Laos and Bangkok tell WND the Pathet Lao also blames Hmong allies like author Jane Hamilton-Merritt, Maj. Bernard, Vang Pao — and WorldNetDaily.com for its extensive news coverage.
Attempts to reach the two FBI agents who have searched in Laos for Ly and Vang have been unsuccessful.
The Hmong are fighting once again in a shooting war against the Pathet Lao. On March 27, the Hmong rebels in Laos, known as the “Chao Fa,” engaged in hit-and-run operations in Xieng Khouang province, Bolikamsay province in the rugged Karst mountain region and also in nearby Xaysomboune.
In response, the Pathet Lao has responded by ferrying in helicopters and government troops to attack Hmong villages in the region. Last month, WorldNetDaily visited some of these villages. The Hmong people interviewed by WND remain resolute in their willingness to take on the Pathet Lao.
“Many people are protesting the government. Their economic policies have ruined the country. Their days are numbered, not ours,” said a Hmong woman from the burned ruins of one such village.
Confusion in the press
Some of the establishment press in the U.S., taking State Department press briefings as gospel, question the allegations of a Hmong genocide. A March 27 Associated Press article reported, “The vociferous American-Hmong lobby has accused the regime of a genocide of hundreds of thousands of Hmong since 1975, but has come up with no evidence to support such a claim.”
Dr. Korpi, an award-winning filmmaker who has produced a video on the Hmong entitled “City of Refuge,” counters the AP’s characterization: “There is so much documented evidence on the genocide of the Hmong it could fill a small library,” he says. “The Internet is filled with many such sites. Hundreds of thousands of Hmong are either dead or living in exile. Proof of biochemical war against the Hmong has been well documented. To deny the Hmong genocide is ludicrous.”
Adds Claire Roy, a French missionary working with the Hmong in Laos and Thailand, “Like a mirror in a fun house, the media distorts the truth about so many areas of the world where anti-communist Christians are persecuted. This is especially true in Laos. But we can only challenge the lies and duplicity of the establishment press by speaking the truth,” said Roy.
“It gives me great joy to say that the Pathet Lao’s murderous regime is breaking apart, slowly,” she added.
The reason the Hmong are fighting once again after a quarter-century lull is simple.
Many of the Hmong forced to repatriate back to Laos from Thai-based refugee camps have been required to live in the lowlands of Laos rather than in their traditional mountain homes. This is because the Pathet Lao wants to keep an eye on them.
|A young Hmong girl holds up her handicrafts for sale.|
Some Hmong sent back to Laos have been executed for helping the CIA and U.S. Special Forces during the Vietnam war.
Fran Keck, a Georgia native who, along with his wife, has been working with the Hmong in Thai refugee camps, told WorldNetDaily, “My wife and I are currently working with many Hmong folks through a Baptist Mission in Winder, Georgia. We have worked in the Phraphutta Baht refugee camp in Saraburi, Thailand. It is my understanding that these 30,000 people have to leave this camp by year’s end.”
He added, “There is supposed to be some kind of program for them to move to villages in northern Thailand. The reports we are getting from the camp are not good. If the people can’t raise the money to leave, they probably will be dumped into Laos. You know better than most people what awaits them there.”
Keck described what he observed in the Phraphuttha refugee camp as a “crime.”
“I still have terrible dreams of how these people live, and yes, even die,” Keck said. “The villages are a little better, but in one village we visited, an American doctor that we work with examined the refugees and said he believes that only half the children will live to be teenagers.”
One seemingly small, but positive, development from the Hmong’s perspective is that the episode, “The Spirit of Liberty Moon,” from the CBS hit series, “Touched by an Angel,” has been copied and delivered to Hmong leaders and also other resistance fighters worldwide. The episode deals with the horrendous persecution in communist China of religious and political dissidents. The delivery of the videotapes was made possible through the efforts of public relations specialist Lara Moore-Jones.
“America and her allies can still be saved. It can be done quickly and without a lot of money being spent,” Knight told WorldNetDaily.
“Let’s not trade with or aid the perpetrators of genocide in Vietnam or Laos.”
See Anthony LoBaido’s commentary:
James Rubin’s white lies and damned lies