The CIA’s First War on China

Send Guns, Drugs and Money

Flying Tiger squad over China. Photo: National Museum of World War II Aviation.

You won’t find a star of remembrance for him on the wall of fallen heroes at CIA HQ in Langley, but one of the Agency’s first casualties in its covert war against Mao’s China was a man named Jack Killam. He was a pilot for the CIA’s proprietary airline, Civil Air Transport, forerunner to the notorious Air America which figured so largely in the Agency’s activities in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Killam’s job was to fly weapons and supplies from the CIA’s base in Bangkok, Thailand, to the mountain camps of General Li Mi in the Shan States of Burma. Li Mi, Chinese in origin, was the leader of 10,000 Chinese troops still loyal to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, who had been driven off the Chinese mainland by Mao’s forces and was now ensconced on Taiwan.

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Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent books are Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution and The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink (with Joshua Frank) He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3

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