Robert Anderson: Same Cover, Same Lies
In the Vietnam War the country of Laos held a geo-strategic position, as does Pakistan does to Afghanistan today. As in Pakistan, in Laos our country conducted covert military operations against a sovereign people, using the CIA.
I was a demolitions technician with the Air Force who was reassigned to work with the CIA’s Air America operation in Laos. We turned in our military IDs cards and uniforms and were issued a State Department ID card and dressed in blue jeans. We were told if captured we were to ask for diplomatic immunity, if alive. We carried out military missions on a daily basis all across the countries of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.
We also knew that if killed or captured that we would probably not be searched for and our families back home in the U.S. would be told we had been killed in an auto accident of some kind back in Thailand and our bodies not recovered.
Our team knew when the UN inspectors and international media were scheduled to arrive - we controlled the airfields. We would disappear to our safe houses so we could not be asked questions. It was all a very well planned operation, 60 years ago, involving the military and diplomats out of the US Embassy. It had been going on a long time when I was there during the 1968 Tet Offensive. This continued for a long time, until we were routed and had to abandon the whole war as a failure.
In Laos the program I was attached to carried out a systematic assassination of people who were identified as not loyal to U.S. goals. It was called the Phoenix program and eliminated an estimated 60,000 people across Indochina. We did an amazing amount of damage to the civilian infrastructure of the country, and still lost the war. I saw one team of mercenaries I was training show us a bag of ears of dead civilians they had killed. This was how they verified their kills for us. The Green Berets that day were telling them to just take photos of the dead, leave the ears.
Mel Gibson made a movie about all this, called Air America. It included in the background the illegal drug operation the CIA ran to pay for their operations. Congress had not authorized funds for what we were doing. I saw the drug operation first hand too. This was all detailed in The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia by Alfred McCoy. I did not connect all this until the Iran-Contra hearings when Oliver North was testifying about it. Oliver North was a leader of the Laos operation I was assigned to work with.
Our country has a long history of these type programs going back to World War Two. We copied this from of warfare from the Nazis in WWII it seems. We justified it as necessary for the Cold War. One of the first operations was T.P. Ajax run by Kermit Roosevelt to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953to take over their oil fields....