[R-G] [BillTottenWeblog] Cambodia's empty dock

Bill Totten shimogamo at ashisuto.co.jp
Mon Mar 16 17:48:13 MDT 2009

International justice is a farce while those in the west who sided with
Pol Pot's murders escape trial

by John Pilger

The Guardian (February 21 2009)

At my hotel in Phnom Penh, the women and children sat on one side of the
room, palais-style, the men on the other. It was a disco night and a lot
of fun; then suddenly people walked to the windows and wept. The DJ had
played a song by the much-loved Khmer singer Sin Sisamouth, who had been
forced to dig his own grave and to sing the Khmer Rouge anthem before he
was beaten to death. I experienced many such reminders.

There was another kind of reminder. In the village of Neak Long I walked
with a distraught man through a necklace of bomb craters. His entire
family of thirteen had been blown to pieces by an American B-52. That
had happened almost two years before Pol Pot came to power in 1975. It
is estimated more than 600,000 Cambodians were slaughtered that way.

The problem with the UN-backed trial of the remaining Khmer Rouge
leaders, which has just begun in Phnom Penh, is that it is dealing only
with the killers of Sin Sisamouth and not with the killers of the family
in Neak Long, and not with their collaborators. There were three stages
of Cambodia's holocaust. Pol Pot's genocide was but one of them, yet
only it has a place in the official memory.

It is highly unlikely Pot Pot would have come to power had President
Richard Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, not
attacked neutral Cambodia. In 1973, B-52s dropped more bombs on
Cambodia's heartland than were dropped on Japan during the second world
war: equivalent to five Hiroshimas. Files reveal that the CIA was in
little doubt of the effect. "[The Khmer Rouge] are using damage caused
by B-52 strikes as the main theme of their propaganda", reported the
director of operations on May 2 1973. "This approach has resulted in the
successful recruitment of a number of young men [and] has been effective
with refugees".

Prior to the bombing, the Khmer Rouge had been a Maoist cult without a
popular base. The bombing delivered a catalyst. What Nixon and Kissinger
began, Pol Pot completed. Kissinger will not be in the dock in Phnom
Penh. He is advising President Obama on geopolitics. Neither will
Margaret Thatcher, nor a number of her retired ministers and officials
who, in secretly supporting the Khmer Rouge after the Vietnamese had
expelled them, contributed directly to the third stage of Cambodia's

In 1979, the US and Britain imposed a devastating embargo on stricken
Cambodia because its liberators, Vietnam, had come from the wrong side
of the cold war. Few Foreign Office campaigns have been as cynical or as
brutal. The British demanded that the now defunct Pol Pot regime retain
the "right" to represent its victims at the UN and voted with Pol Pot in
the agencies of the UN, including the World Health Organisation, thereby
preventing it from working in Cambodia. To disguise this outrage,
Britain, the US and China, Pol Pot's main backer, invented a "non
communist" coalition in exile that was, in fact, dominated by the Khmer
Rouge. In Thailand, the CIA and Defence Intelligence Agency formed
direct links with the Khmer Rouge.

In 1983, the Thatcher government sent the SAS to train the "coalition"
in landmine technology - in a country more seeded with mines than
anywhere except Afghanistan. "I confirm", Thatcher wrote to opposition
leader Neil Kinnock, "that there is no British government involvement of
any kind in training, equipping or co-operating with Khmer Rouge forces
or those allied to them". The lie was breathtaking. In 1991, the Major
government was forced to admit to parliament that the SAS had been
secretly training the "coalition".

Unless international justice is a farce, those who sided with Pol Pot's
mass murderers ought to be summoned to the court in Phnom Penh: at the
very least their names read into infamy's register.


guardian.co.uk (c) Guardian News and Media Limited 2009


on the word "comment" highlighted at the end of the version of this
essay posted at http://billtotten.blogspot.com/

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