How the CIA used refugees to create civil war in Vietnam

Author’s Note: I have been engaged in writing a comprehensive article of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This article has begun to assume the shape of a small book.  The present article is based on material accumulated and written down for the said book. It has relevance to the current Pakistani scenario.


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Owing to its strategic location, its strong army, its nuclear capability, the CPEC agreement, American presence in Afghanistan and above all Indian and Israeli designs, Pakistan has been a target of terrorism and sabotage by foreign powers. There are numerous dimensions and facets of this sponsored terrorism and its tactics.  Pakistani authorities have now overtly focussed on Afghan refugees as one source of terrorism. The use of refugees to carry out subversion is an old technique that was perfected by the CIA in Vietnam. The plan to create refugees and then to use these refugees to commit subversion, leading to civil war in Vietnam, was perfected by a Col. Edward Lansdale. Though apparently in the army, Lansdale was a CIA employee and retired as a Major General.  Lansdale was one of the most evil and brutal men of the twentieth century. He used to brag how he would torture Vietnamese and throw them out of helicopters alive. This is the real face of the CIA.  And the Pakistani army and the civilian leadership must keep this in mind while assessing what is happening in Pakistan.

The astonishing thing about the war in Vietnam is that the decision to wage war in Korea and Indochina was made even before WW II had ended. Japan formally surrendered unconditionally on September 2, 1945, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been needlessly atom bombed.  Ostensibly, in order to force the Japanese to surrender unconditionally, the U.S. had amassed huge stockpiles of arms and ammunition on Okinawa island. These stockpiles were apparently meant for a full-scale assault by 500,000 men. But this equipment and ammunition became redundant in view of the nuclear development.

Col. Fletcher Prouty, an intelligence officer, who subsequently became chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and occupied a desk in the White House from 1954-1963, was in Okinawa on the day of the Japanese surrender. He narrates that suddenly, on September 2, 1945, U.S. naval transport vessels started appearing in Naha Harbour, Okinawa and the equipment began to be loaded onto these vessels. By chance Prouty happened to be in the harbour, and asked the harbour-master if the equipment was being sent back to the U.S.  His reply was: “Hell, no! They ain’t never goin’ to see it again. One half of this stuff, enough to equip and support at least one hundred and fifty thousand men, is going to Korea and the other half is going to Indochina.” Who decided this? According to Prouty there is no record of any such order in the military documents. It was decided by what he calls the “power elite” and what Churchill called the “High Cabal”. The CIA was set up for protecting Wall Street interests and the High Cabal owns Wall Street, among other things. For those of us who were mature in the 1960s, it may come as a shock that the equipment and ammo sent to Vietnam was received by Ho Chi Minh and his military adviser, the later famous General Ngo Yen Giap!

On January 8, 1954, when it became clear that the French would be defeated, President Eisenhower stated categorically in a meeting of the National Security Council, that he was “bitterly opposed” to U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. He said that the U.S. would become hated in Vietnam like the French if it sent its forces there.  Only 6 days later, on January 14, 1954, his Foreign Secretary John Foster Dulles stated: “I do not believe that in this contingency this country [the U.S.] would simply say, `Too bad; we’re licked and that is the end of it.’” This statement flew in the face of what the President of the U.S. had stated.  The Foreign Secretary also said that the U.S. should “carry on effective guerrilla operations against the new Vietminh government.” He also added: “We can raise hell against the Communists.” He was a lawyer and engaged in sophistry by using the words “raise hell.”  John Foster Dulles, and his brother Allen W. Dulles, both were agents of the High Cabal. Allen Dulles was heading the CIA and was a Director of the Elite “think” tank, the Council on Foreign Relations, since 1927.

The CIA was to “raise hell” in Vietnam in the following years. On January 29, 1954, Dulles managed to add Col. Lansdale, “an unconventional-warfare officer”  to a group of five liaison officers that had been accepted by the French. The reality of Lansdale’s mission, known as the Saigon Military Mission, has been described by Col. Prouty in the following words:

“The Saigon Military mission entered Vietnam clandestinely to assist the Vietnamese rather than the French. Again it might be asked, Who did they mean by the ‘Vietnamese’? . . . What Vietnamese government was there to help? As members of the team they understood their orders, they were to wage paramilitary operations against the enemy and to carry out psychological warfare. They might not have known who their friends were, but they knew who their enemy was – the Vietminh. They also knew their job . . . They were a band of super terrorists . . . They saw their role as promoting sabotage, subversion, labour strikes, armed uprisings, and guerrilla warfare.”

The Saigon Military Mission installed a puppet regime in South Vietnam once they had helped Vietminh eliminate the French government. This puppet government was to be used to fight a war against its brethren, the Vietminh, now labelled as Communists.  The French were defeated at Dien Bein Phu on May 8, 1954, and a good deal of the $3 billion U.S. military supplies the French had purchased from 1945-1954 also fell into the hands of Ho Chi Minh’s Vietminh.  On July 21, 1954, the Geneva Conference on Vietnam divided Indochina into two roughly equal halves along the 17th parallel. The northern part was to be run by the Vietminh which had mysteriously received massive arms and equipment form the U.S. in 1945 and then, after defeating France with U.S. help, was able to get additional arms and equipment abandoned by the French. South Vietnam had never existed as a state.  The power elite had decided to divide Indochina for a future war between the two halves.

Ngo Dinh Diem, a Catholic, who had lived in exile in the U.S. and Belgium, arrived in Saigon on June 26, 1954, met Lansdale the following day and was installed as puppet president in office on July 7, 1954. As Prouty wrote: “After an election campaign carefully orchestrated by the CIA and Lansdale, Diem became Prime Minister of South Vietnam in October 1954.” Prouty then asks:

“How are a new nation and a new government created? How does a man who has lived in exile outside of a country for years (and keep the fact in mind that South Vietnam was never a country) come back, under te auspices of a totally foreign nation (the United States), and all of a sudden assume the role of president? Where does his government infrastructure and his people come from? Where does his police and his army come from? Where does the money come from?”

Diem, a puppet of Lansdale, did whatever was desired. He asked the French to leave South Vietnam. The French had been performing constabulary duties for a long time and their departure created a vacuum in law enforcement. At the same time the Saigon Military Mission used every form of propaganda and subversion to hoodwink people in the north to leave their land and migrate to the south.  This was a most unbelievable thing. People who had been rooted to their land for thousands of years were being asked to leave on the basis of sheer lies. The real reason they were being asked to leave was that they would be penniless, landless, hungry, homeless and unwanted in the south and that would create a condition for violence because destitute and hungry people have to snatch food from someone.  Such violence would eventually be labelled communist activity and create a pretext for U.S. military intervention involving them in a purposeless war without any real objective. They would have no idea who the enemy was and who was with them.  The power elite, the High Cabal, wanted profits and genocide and even the president of the U.S. could not stop them.

What were the activities of the brutal Saigon Military Mission (SMM)? Col. Prouty describes them in the following words:

“Using a well equipped cadre of saboteurs, it performed many terrorist acts in Hanoi and surrounding Tonkin. SMM agents polluted petroleum supplies, bombed the post offices, wrote and distributed millions of anti-Vietminh leaflets, printed and distributed counterfeit money. AS was intended, these clandestine activities played right into the hands of the war makers by creating a growing rift between the Vietminh and the Tonkinese Catholics.”

These tactics were straight out of the Devil’s book and were intended to provoke division and fratricide among peaceful people who posed no threat to U.S. interests. Through subversive tactics and sheer propaganda, the CIA was able to uproot over 1.1. million North Vietnamese who, mesmerised and scared by CIA propaganda and subversion, ended up in the south, homeless, penniless, destitute and hungry. They were then to be made cannon fodder for a war planned by the High Cabal even before WWII had ended. How cruel and how inhuman and how unforgivable. What right did the Dulles brothers and men like Lansdale and their patrons and masters have to be honoured? What interest of the American public was served by such hideous and secret machinations? In fact, these individuals must be tried for premeditated crimes against humanity, and for genocide, even if posthumously. This was “genocide by transfer.” But its true nature was concealed from the world. Phrases like “peaceful and humane transfer” and “those who wish to go and live there” deceived the whole world and, above all, the U.S. public. The U.S. Navy arranged for the transportation of 660,000 North Vietnamese to the south in an operation which was given the deceptive name “Operation Passage to Freedom.” The rest were transported by CIA planes. This was passage to bloodshed and fratricide in which eventually over 4 million would die in South Vietnam alone.

As the late Michael Ruppert, who was “suicided” wrote: “It is in the nature of CIA that if it finds a difference of the size of a pinhole, it widens it into an eight lane highway and keeps dressing it.” The activities of the SMM are a horrible illustration of Ruppert’s deep observation. The president of the U.S. had not authorised these activities. The decisions were taken by the Dulles brothers and were taken in obedience to the Grand Strategy of the High Cabal and in defiance of the wishes of President Eisenhower.  It was so important for the High Cabal to have war in Indochina that the president of U.S.A. had no powers to stop it.  That had been the way the High Cabal worked until John Kennedy got elected.

Once Diem had been installed he was totally dependent upon Lansdale and his team for advice.  A sequence of decisions after he took charge aggravated and confused the situation in such a way that everything went into a melting pot. The Ho Chi Minh government in the north had been armed to the teeth mostly by U.S. equipment! Then the CIA, through subversion and propaganda managed to hoodwink 1.1 million North Vietnamese Catholics to move to the south where they had nothing and had to fight to eat and survive. This was in 1954-55. The French were then asked to leave with the consequence that the civil administration, particularly law and order, collapsed. Since the Diem government lacked trained cadres Lansdale took another diabolical measure. Under the garb of training civil administrators, he set up a training institute in which, instead of people from the south, he recruited displaced northerners, trained them and installed them on the southerners generating resentment. The final nail in the coffin of a stable civil society was an edict that directed that all Chinese leave on the grounds that all Chinese were communist sympathisers. This had a devastating effect on the economic system. Col. Prouty writes:

“The Chinese had been brokers. They purchased the rice, other crops, lumber, etc., and in return provided the necessities of life for the village. This simple, basic, village oriented system had kept a most effective political system alive for years. When the Chinese left the system collapsed. Diem was so inexperienced and so poorly advised that each time he came out with new orders, the situation worsened. In the villages where the council form of government had existed, and was the supreme political authority, Diem abolished all political authority, Diem abolished all elections in June 1956. He followed this by abolishing all municipal elections. These errors tended to help thrust northern Catholics into positions above the local people. As we have said earlier, the natives of southern Vietnam were being rapidly being made into an enemy, known as the Vietcong.”

There should be no doubt that such measures, that widened the rift within the society, came from Lansdale et al. It had taken the OSS and then its successor the CIA a decade and a half to completely decimate a system that had been operating for centuries. A society that had lived peacefully for centuries had been converted into a boiling cauldron seething with resentment and anger and with no law and order. Can anyone forgive the CIA and its real masters for what they had done and were about to do?  Incidentally, the murder of tribal elders by “terrorists” in the Pakistani tribal belt was meant to destroy the traditional Jirga system and carries the unmistakable stamp of the CIA.

By 1960 the situation was so bad that only the Vietminh were benefitting from it, and the CIA felt that it could now openly say that a war was needed, not just to save South Vietnam, but the entire South Asia from communism. Though sheer lies and propaganda and deception, the CIA had, in the minds of the West, erected the Vietminh in the north and the Vietcong in the south as “communist” threats. Who was the enemy? The Vietminh in the north or the Vietcong in the south, or both? Where was the American interest in all this?  Incidentally, when on September 2, 1945 Ho Chi Minh had announced his Declaration of Independence in Hanoi, it started with the words: “All men ae created equal. They are endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness . . . .” Where is the communism in this?

In many places the villages were surrounded by water which was brackish and undrinkable. The Chinese used to bring fresh drinkable water which was stored in earthenware pots. Gen. Charles Cabell, Deputy Director CIA, requested that a squadron of helicopters be moved from Thailand, where they were being used for activity in Laos,  to Vietnam in 1960. The South Vietnamese then used these helicopters, flown by Americans, to attack villages. During such attacks the earthen water pots were also destroyed among other things, creating a water crisis. People deprived of drinkable water could no longer stay at places which had been attacked and had to move elsewhere. Prouty writes:

“At that time rioting and banditry had broken out because the Chinese brokerage system had collapsed. This had nothing whatsoever to do with the Vietminh, the Vietcong, or communism. These were simply desperate people deprived of food and water and by the removal of the Chinese.”

In 1960 American helicopters were being used by the CIA to attack ordinary people rioting for food and water, people displaced by the CIA, and presented to the American public and the West as a “communist” threat. Refugees were thus created and then used to create a pretext for American intervention in Vietnam so that High Cabal could not only earn fabulous profits, but also have the satisfaction and pleasure derived from the deaths of millions of innocent human beings.  The creation of refugees and their diabolical use was crucial in this filthy and foul game played by the CIA at the behest of the High Cabal. No wonder the world is inundated by refugees created by machinations of the CIA acting as a slave of the High Cabal. Pakistan has more refugees than any other country in the region at present.  This is not a coincidence. We must beware of CIA personnel masquerading as members of various organizations and NGOs in this country.

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Dr Syed Mujahid Kamran

Dr Syed Mujahid Kamran

Syed Mujahid Kamran was the Vice Chancellor of Punjab University, Lahore. He was a Fullbright Fellow at University of Georgia, USA, during 1988-89 and professor of physics at King Saud University, Riyadh, from 2001 to 2004.