zaterdag 30 juli 2011
Laos: The Not So Secret War (1970)
MP4 - 100MB - 24m43s - Youtube rip
Secret War in Laos: CIA, Hmong, Pathet Lao, US Documentary - Laotian Civil War (1970)
The Hmong are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Hmong are also one of the sub-groups of the Miao ethnicity in southern China. Hmong groups began a gradual southward migration in the 18th century due to political unrest and to find more arable land.
A number of Hmong people fought against the communist Pathet Lao during the Laotian Civil War. Hmong people were singled out for retribution when the Pathet Lao took over the Laotian government in 1975, and tens of thousands fled to Thailand seeking political asylum. Thousands of these refugees have resettled in Western countries since the late 1970s, mostly the United States but also in Australia, France, French Guiana, Canada, and South America. Others have been returned to Laos under United Nations-sponsored repatriation programs. Around 8,000 Hmong refugees remain in Thailand.
In the early 1960s, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) Special Activities Division began to recruit, train and lead the indigenous Hmong people in Laos to fight against North Vietnamese Army intruders into Laos during the Vietnam War. It became a Special Guerrilla Unit led by General Vang Pao. About 60% of the Hmong men in Laos were assisted by the CIA to join fighting for the "Secret War" in Laos. The CIA used the Special Guerrilla Unit as the counter attack unit to block the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the main military supply route from the north to the south. Hmong soldiers served against the NVA and the Pathet Lao, helping block the Hanoi's Ho Chi Minh trail inside Laos and rescuing downed American pilots. Between 1967 and 1971, a total of 3,772 Hmong soldiers were killed; another 5,426 were wounded. Between 1962 and 1975, some 12,000 Hmong also died fighting against Communist Pathet Lao troops.
General Vang Pao led the Region II (MR2) defense against NVA incursion from his headquarters in Long Cheng, also known as Lima Site 20 Alternate (LS 20A). At the height of its activity, Long Cheng became the second largest city in Laos. Long Cheng was a micro-nation operational site with its own bank, airport, school system, officials, and many other facilities and services in addition to its military units. Before the end of the Secret War, Long Cheng would fall in and out of General Vang Pao's control.
The Secret War began about the time the United States became actively involved in the Vietnam War. Two years after the U.S. withdrawal from South Vietnam, the Kingdom of Laos was overthrown by communist troops supported by the North Vietnamese Army. The Hmong people immediately became targets of retaliation and persecution. While some Hmong returned to their villages and attempted to resume life under the new regime, thousands more made the trek across the Mekong River into Thailand, often under attack. This marked the beginning of a mass exodus of Hmong from Laos. Those who reached Thailand were kept in squalid United Nations refugee camps until they could be resettled. Nearly 20 years later, in the 1990s, a major international debate ensued over whether Hmong refugees remaining in Thailand should be forcibly repatriated to Laos, where they were still subject to persecution, or should be allowed to emigrate to the United States and other Western nations.
Of those Hmong who did not flee Laos, somewhere between two and three thousand were sent to re-education camps where political prisoners served terms of 3--5 years. Many Hmong died in these camps, after being subjected to hard physical labor and harsh conditions. Thousands more Hmong people, mainly former soldiers and their families, escaped to remote mountain regions—particularly Phou Bia, the highest (and thus least accessible) mountain peak in Laos. Initially, some Hmong groups staged attacks against Pathet Lao and Vietnamese troops while others remained in hiding to avoid military retaliation and persecution. Spiritual leader Zong Zoua Her rallied his followers in a guerrilla resistance movement called Chao Fa (RPA: Cauj Fab). Initial military successes by these small bands led to military counter-attacks by government forces, including aerial bombing and heavy artillery, as well as the use of defoliants and possibly chemical weapons. These events led to the yellow rain controversy, when the United States accused the Soviet Union of supplying and using chemical weapons in this conflict.