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Gen Colin Powell's Grim Past Of Vietnam
Horrors Is Buried Under Praise For Him

By Yoichi Shimatsu
Exclusive to Rense

To paraphrase Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", I speak now to bury Colin  Powell, not to praise him, for the evil that men do lives after them while the truth is so often interred with their bones. Indeed, my role here is as a grave digger, recovering the remains of his day for this forensic autopsy.

An undocumented aspect of Powell's career rise following his military service in Vietnam in the early phase of that U.S. intervention in Southeast Asia was his appalling conduct, nearly all done in secret, as a "civilian" liaison between the National Security Council and its affiliated CIA with those onerous military outfits known as Special Operations Groups (SOG) of rogue assassins in uniform specializing in genocidal slaughter of innocent villagers and termination of undesirable U.S. Army and Navy squads. His mission as a combat-experienced aide to National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger was to eliminate all and any evidence, in terms of paperwork and combatants, of the illegal and supposedly unauthorized Secret War in Laos.

A constant concern that his treachery might be diclosed by the few combatants who escaped summary execution forced Powell to drop out of a presidential nomination rather than any personal concern, as suggested by the news media, over his business partnership with the disgraced football player O.J. Simpson. Later on, as Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, his infamous lie about "weapons of mass destruction" in false justification for an invasion of Iraq, with its consequent death toll and other calamities for the Arab region, was rooted in his earlier involvement and cover-up of a self-inflicted massacre of hundreds, likely thousands, American servicemen serving in the Secret War in Laos in the final months of the Vietnam War and ever since in the hunt for the few remaining survivors.

Powell's rise to media fame and political fortune began by "paying his dues" as a tight-lipped Pentagon-connected aide to national security adviser Henry Kissinger. His earlier combat experience and familiarity with American military commanders in  Vietnam proved to be key to the Nixon-Kissinger "success" on their presidential journey to Beijing in search of an exit from the Vietnam quagmire.

That no-win situation for our armed forces depended on a massive covert operation remembered as the Secret War in Laos. The reason for that illegal intervention against a neutral country was the rising public anger in the U.S., prompted by the weekly casualty count for young American draftees shot and mained by the thousands per month by enemy weapons hauled by Vietnamese troops down the Ho Chi Minh Trail along the jungle-canopied hills of Laos to their guerrilla allies in South Vietnam. The only way to sustain the war effort to protect the French-installed Saigon regime was for the Defense Department to organize a top-secret interdiction program along that spine of Laotian ridges and mountaintops, with civilian personnel and foreign hirees doing the dirty work. The key to this jerry-rigged campaign, which dwarfed most of the battles in World War II, was plausible denial, since the dirty work was done by contractors, many of those under hire by Air America.

The rugged terrain and sheer determination of the North Vietnamese and their Viet Cong allies was met with a massive bombing campaign, defoliation with toxic Agent Orange-grade chemicals, deep interior missions by helicopter-borne CIA assassins, and tribal Hmong guerrillas led by retired Green Berets against Laotian militiamen, North Vietnamese army regulars and their Chinese military advisers. This theater of unauthorized warfare, vociferously denied by the Pentagon, State Department and  its CIA plants at the UN and in NATO, extended well beyond hilly Laos into Cambodia and along the edges of Burma and Thailand in a relentless slaughter, most of the victims being simple villagers.

The famous Mao-Nixon deal in Beijing was focused on ceasing hostilities in the Vietnam theater and preventing the conflict from spilling over into other Asian countries, such as Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Most important in this diplomatic arrangement, crafted and offered by the sly Kissinger, was bilateral denial of either side's illegal intrusions into neutral countries across Southeast Asia. To avoid international condemnation for genocide and environmental devastation, the Secret War was to remain a secret forever. Therefore, anyone on the ground, in the air or behind a desk who was a participant or witness to that clandestine operation, had to be permanently silenced.

As told to me in the recent past by an allied-country pilot who flew over Laos for the CIA proprietary Air America, "Every one of us, except me, has been tracked down and murdered over past decades. Even if you're dying in a hospital, a visiting colleague or a nurse is assigned to pull the plug, because none among us in that secret war is permitted to die a natural death. After all, some dead people do miraculously come back to life."

That retired pilot, upon our chance meeting in a tiny shack of a bar in Southeast Asia, instantly assumed that I was an assassin who had tracked him down for an overdue termination. It took a few mugs of beer to assure him that one of my childhood mentors had likewise been a target of murder attempts by government-paid gunmen and who was thereafter finished off by a nurse who pulled away his respiratory device in the hospital and smothered him to death with a cotton wad. After downing all the foam from the glass, I swore "No, I'm not that captain off a fast boat up the Mekong River, even though you are a Colonel Kurtz."

Aside from his account of bombing villages along the trail, the pilot's tale also involved the dire fate of "his" people, a tribe of 16,000 Hmong guerrillas, their wives and children. Those fiercely independent mountain dwellers were advised by their American paymasters to gather on a moonless night on a hilltop for "evacuation to the USA." Weeping as they left behind their cattle and dogs below the mound, these brave allies congregated closely atop Buffalo Hill while the sound of spinning helicopter blades grew to a roar. Then the searchlights were switched on to illuminate the human circle and the gunships opened fire. As soon as the screaming and moaning ceased, a fighter-bomber arrived to dump cannisters of napalm, torching the hilltop, flaming like a gigantic candle. Huey choppers landed around the base of that death trap to enable a Special Operation Group (SOG) to gun down any unlikely survivors attempting escape from the holocaust.

"The Navy tried to cover up the Tailhook scandal by drugging and then terminating the few witnesses who dared go public about the SOG team that murdered American POWs held captive in Laos," he explained. "It happened, the denials won't wash away the truth. Those sorts of massacres of Americans by Americans were ordered more than once by Kissinger and his henchman Powell." I wished the retired pilot a long life and then strode out the bead curtain out toward the moonlit jungle to relieve my brain of the horror.

Patriotism becomes complicated when high-ranking members of the officer corps consider their enlisted men to be expendable, and even more the self-serving cover-ups by the Defense Department and CIA officials toward the extermination of their agents and contractors on the ground. The best wartime buddy of my mentor, a then high-ranking Defense intelligence official, was posted on intelligence assignment in Danang, where in the wake of the Mao-Nixon deal his home was visited by a platoon of North Vietnamese regulars, who were ordered to take no prisoner since interrogation no longer had a purpose. The enemy combatants knew his exact address and phone number, along with those of other abandoned Americans, thanks to Kissinger.

Most of the Americans, allied personel and Vietnamese staffers left behind in the Saigon rout, betrayed or simply abandoned, were never heard from again after the last chopper zoomed over the South China Sea. The Yellow Ribbon movement of wives and children seeking information about the whereabouts of their husbands and fathers, was tragically and sadly an exercise in futility due to the Kissinger-Powell exit plan, or call it betrayal or indeed treason, have you will.

These and other onerous deeds of Colin Powell stand in grim warning against placing the national trust and personal faith on first-generation birth Americans who harbor too-close a sentimental attachment to empire, through their parents, who immigrated from former colonies of the European Powers. Powell's parents were from the British colony of Jamaica (and so is Kamala Harris's father), and Barack Obama was famously the son of a Muslim Kenyan when Kenya was still a colony of the Crown.  A subject's loyalty to nobility is a difficult nerve to sever, and indeed Powell remained an Episcopalian, a branch of the (Anglican) Church of England.

In the Vietnam War situation, Britain had a clear interest in protecting its imperial holdings of Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaya, even though France had been the colonial master of Vietnam until its catastrophic military defeat at Dien Bien Phu. To the Royal Navy and the Crown's interests, "our cousins", the Americans, have been and continue to expendible.

George Washington's warning against "foreign entanglements" applies not only to the external powers but also to the lackeys and sympathizers here at home of those grasping empires. The United States of America is, by stark contrast, a self-determining and independent republic, which leads by the shining example of its populist norms and ethical values rather than by dreams of empire.  

Powell, like his countless victims, will be soon forgotten, and his gradual fading from the public memory is a tragedy only because future generations should always be reminded that Americans stand by their fellow citizens, never abandoning our soldiers to enemies nor forgetting captives abroad, no matter how long it takes to regain their freedom and in the worst cases returning their remains for grieving families to inter on our native soil. As this minority report might suggest, was the general-diplomat a traitor? He served the national interest as defined by the federal bureaucracy with dedication and loyalty to elite interests and, unfortunately for the victims, who were all average American citizens, thoroughness in his mission. My personal opinion doesn't really matter; the facts remain.

Let the great statesman and general Colin Powell be praised within the District of Columbia by bureaucrats and the fawning news media, even though others among us just might instead turn our gaze away, with boundless grief and immense gratitude, to the Vietnam veterans' wall and then toward the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.