Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
HOW DID ABORTION RIGHTS COME TO THIS?  — Carol Hanisch charts how the right to an abortion began to erode shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision; Uber vs. the Cabbies: Ben Terrall reports on the threats posed by private car services; Remembering August 1914: Binoy Kampmark on the enduring legacy of World War I; Medical Marijuana: a Personal Odyssey: Doug Valentine goes in search of medicinal pot and a good vaporizer; Nostalgia for Socialism: Lee Ballinger surveys the longing in eastern Europe for the material guarantees of socialism. PLUS: Paul Krassner on his Six Dumbest Decisions; Kristin Kolb on the Cancer Ward; Jeffrey St. Clair on the Making of the First Un-War; Chris Floyd on the Children of Lies and Mike Whitney on why the war on ISIS is really a war on Syria.
I Had Ray Davis's Job, in Laos 30 Years Ago

Same Cover, Same Lies

by ROBERT ANDERSON

The story of Raymond Allen Davis is one familiar to me and I wish our government would quit doing these things – they cost us credibility.  

Davis is the American being held as a spy working under diplomatic cover out of our embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. You can understand why foreign countries no longer trust us and people are rising up across the Middle East against the Great Satan.

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.

In that coup the CIA and the State Department under the Dulles Brothers first perfected these covert, illegal and immoral actions. Historians have suggested that Operation T.P. Ajax  was the single event that set in motion the political force of Islamic fundamentalism we are still dealing with today.

Chalmers Johnson also a former CIA employee wrote a series of books too on these blowbacks that happen when the truth is held from the American public.  

If we had taken a different approach to our problems in those days an approach that did not rely on lying to our own and the people of other countries and killing them indiscriminately our country would not be in the disaster it is abroad today..  

I was young and foolish in those days of the Vietnam War, coveting my Top Secret security clearance, a big thing for an uneducated hillbilly from Appalachia.  We saw ourselves much like James Bond characters, but now I am much wiser. These kinds of actions have immense and long reaching consequences and should be shut down.

But I see from the Ray Davis fiasco in Pakistan that our government is still up to its old way of denying to the people of the world what everyone knows is true.  

When will this official hypocrisy end, when will our political
class speak out about this and quit going along with the lies and tricks?  How many more of our people and others will die in these foolish programs?  

Davis is in a bad situation now because most of the people of the world, as we see across the Middle East, are now aware of the lies and not going to turn their head anymore.

I say “most” everyone knows, because our own public, the ones suppose to be in control of the military and CIA,  is constantly lied to.  It is so sad to see President Obama repeating the big lie.

ROBERT ANDERSON lives in Albuquerque, N.M. He can be reached at citizen@comcast.net