The Burma Front

The CIA’s First War on China

CIA-backed Burmese warlord Khun Sa. Photo: Satharn Pairaoh.

The CIA’s operation in Burma had been deliberately kept from the US ambassador in Rangoon, William Sebald, who had faced a barrage of complaints from the Burmese government. Sebald confronted Secretary of State John Foster Dulles over persistent accusations that the CIA had been assisting KMT troops in northern Burma, and was assured unequivocally that there was no involvement. Armed with such reassurances Sebald relayed this to General Ne Win, the Burmese army’s chief of staff. Ne Win interrupted the diplomat, saying “Ambassador, I have it cold. If I were you, I’d just keep quiet.”

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Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3

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