Kissinger blocks reinstatement of GEN Lavelle’s reputation

 Nixon tape transcripts support General Lavelle’s claim to innocence of the Congressional charges, as Nixon is quoted in his conversations with Henry Kissinger

“I don’t want to hurt an innocent man,” 

Frankly, Henry, I don’t feel right about pushing him (Lavelle) into this thing and then, and then giving him a bad rap...”  I just don’t want him to be made a goat, goddammit.”   [Washington Post, 6 Aug 2010, Richard Sisk.]

Although there seems to be general agreement on Capitol Hill that Lavelle’s reputation and rank should be reinstated, albeit posthumously, the most aggressive foe of this action seems to be Henry Kissinger  — whose own reputation will be called into question if Lavelle is exonerated.

 For those who feel Kissinger is above reproach, it would appear he had his own agenda, which wasn’t necessarily in the best interests of the US.

On Saturday, May 27, 2006, The Washington Post carried a story on recently released National Archive documents pertaining to a meeting between Henry Kissinger and Chinese Premier Zhou En Lai on June 22, 1972.

According to the Post and the Archives documents:

Kissinger told Zhou that the US respected its Hanoi enemy as a ‘permanent factor’ and probably the ‘strongest entity’ in the region.

 

And we have had no interest in destroying it or even defeating it’ 

he [Kissinger] insisted.

 

Since this story was published, follow-ups or even letters to the editor relating to Kissinger’s comments were conspicuous by their absence.

 

Kissinger’s letter to Zhou would be noteworthy to most Americans who lived through the Viet Nam War era and heard Kissinger remark about “… the light at the end of the tunnel.   They didn’t realize it was Kissinger’s tail-light.  It would also be of interest to the Viet Nam vets and the families of the casualties, and to the South Vietnamese that, as of June 1972, the US had no interest in defeating North Viet Nam. Some may recall that the war continued until 1974 with significant US casulties.

 

This would seem to be a fairly remarkable event, since both China and North Viet Nam recognized that Hanoi could not sustain the war much longer. Kissinger’s letter of encouragement apparently gave both China and North Viet Nam the will to continue, and to refocus their regional strategies.

 

Coincidentally, that was the time frame [summer 1972] when interrogations of North Viet Namese and Pathet Lao officers and enlisted men in Laos revealed that North Viet Nam could no longer sustain the war.

 

1)    North Viet Nam was running out of combat troops.

 

a)  Many of the NVA prisoners interrogated were highly educated, reflecting that the NVA draft had penetrated the elites; one prisoner, an economist, was a graduate of the London School of Economics. His understanding of the situation was that North Viet Nam had pretty well run out of draft-able men and that the government had reached into the bureaucracy and the schools for leaders and ground forces.

 

b)  For combat troops, they were drafting women and boys in their early teens.

c)     For combat-support troops, such as anti-aircraft and artillery units, women replaced the men. [In 1972, DIA was provided an eye witness report on a US napalm air-strike on an artillery unit in South Laos, with photographs of the partially melted bodies of dozens of female soldiers, some still in their armored personnel carriers.]

d)    North Viet Nam had established “rest camps” in remote areas of Viet Nam to house military amputees; on the surface, a benign health and welfare program, it was, in reality, the means to keep the amputees out of public view so the general population would not see their maimed soldiers returning from the war, which would conflict with the official pronouncement of victory. 

 e)     Sophisticated Soviet military equipment, with Soviet military advisors, was pouring into Viet Nam and Laos to compensate for diminishing numbers of communist troops.  The equipment included heavy artillery [130 mm Field Guns], amphibious tanks, and the newest tanks available [T-72s and T-80s]. 

 f)  In retrospect, it is evident that North Viet Nam was in the process, in 1972 and 1973, of implementing a “post-war planning program” designed to implement the “Domino Theory” to conquer the remainder of South East Asia through the creation of a communist insurgency. 

 g)     The four North Vietnamese regiments in Laos were beefed up in Laos with more troops and equipment, but avoided combat; these units were likely being positioned to become – and did become — occupation forces when US forces were later removed by Kissinger.

2)    North Viet Nam established a training program for insurgents from Thailand and Malaysia. Initial screening and training took place in North Viet Nam, while the long term and more sophisticated training camps and cadre were based in mainland China.

a)    A sophisticated logistics organization [Binh Tram] was deployed, with its supply lines reaching from southern China through Viet Nam and Laos to Northeast Thailand. This unit provided no logistic support to NVA or Pathet Lao units in Laos — even after the NVA supply depot was destroyed leaving them without food, uniforms, weapons or ammunition for their 1973 Spring Offensive. The sole purpose of this logistics organization was to support the insurgency in Northeast Thailand and as an underground railroad to move new recruits back to North Viet Nam and into China.

b)    Communists from the international community [e.g., Italy, East Germany, USSR] were regular visitors to the Pathet Lao HQ in Xiang Kuang in Northeast Laos where they received briefings on the structure of the communist takeover of the region, reviewed guerrilla training programs, and, among other events, visited the secret PoW camp two kilometers south of Xiang Kuong where US prisoners were interred [and against which no rescue effort was ever launched] – perhaps through Kissinger’s resistance.

 c)     The US pull-out from South Viet Nam resulted in the collapse of the country and the communist takeover, with thousands of Vietnamese military either executed or interred in “rehabilitation” camps. The same process took place in Laos, and of course, in Cambodia, the “killing fields” was a whole new process added to the communist takeover concept. Thus, the long-predicted Domino Effect began to take place, with Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore as targets.

d)    Those of us on the ground could see it coming, but we couldn’t figure out why we were cutting and running when we clearly had the upper hand.

We did establish an effective counter-insurgency program in Thailand, and in spite of all the restrictions on our operations, we dealt the Thai insurgency a crippling blow in August 1973 when several bombs were jettisoned by US F4s returning from bombing runs in Viet Nam, coincidentally over the insurgent base camp in Cambodia; there were approximately 135 secondary explosions, and post-strike bomb-damage-assessment films indicated more than 300 casualties. We worked hand-in-glove with the Thai counter-insurgency program, and developed superb monitoring programs and penetrations of the communist organizations.

Six months later, all US intelligence operations were abruptly terminated and operatives were removed overnight. In the process, all covert HUMINT [Human Intelligence] operations and agent networks in Viet Nam, Laos, and Cambodia were shut down, with no means for maintaining even minimal contact.  Protesting to the senior US hierarchy brought back strict and harsh orders, that “under no circumstances will you maintain contact with any agent nets in Laos, Cambodia, or Viet Nam.

 

These orders were always a mystery to me since it is intelligence doctrine to maintain”sleeper agents” in “denied areas” in order to obtain intelligence on areas which were potential threats to the US or its allies. Why discard trained assets, particularly when they had placement, access, and the means to report?

 

As luck would have it, we trained the Thai military and Border Patrol Police well, and the accidental bombing set back the insurgency effort by years — allowing the Thais to fully develop their own capabilities to be fully functional without US support. In the end, the Domino Theory was contained to Viet Nam, Laos, and Cambodia; however, given Kissinger’s machinations and negotiations with China, it is very conceivable that Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore could have been among the collapsing dominos.

 

With the Viet Nam War relegated to the dustbin of history, Kissinger next looked at the Middle East.

Having cut a private deal with the Shah of Iran, Kissinger barred US Intelligence operatives from reporting on events in Iran except in full coordination with Savak [the National Intelligence and Security Organization].  That meant that US intelligence collectors could not report on the growing popularity in Iran of the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini’s and/or the coming revolution.  The rest, of course, is history – which we continue to deal with today.

As an afterthought, I’ve always wondered at the inexplicable Watergate debacle; the incredibly bungled burglary, two Washington Post reporters just happening to be on hand when the Watergate crew was brought in for ‘night court’ and, G Gordon Libby, a “professional second story man” blurting out in court that he worked for the CIA, knowing full well that he would have been “sprung” in a matter of hours by his support network.

Deep Throat was not the FBI agent Mark Felt as proposed by the Washington Post; Felt did not have the access or mobility within the White House claimed by Woodward.  Deep Throat was in fact, a senior, very well-placed intelligence official who regarded Kissinger as the greatest risk to US intelligence and national security.

Given the revelations about Kissinger’s sell-out to the Chinese, the Watergate scandal might be viewed as the Intelligence Community conspiracy to rid the government of Henry Kissinger, and Nixon. 

 

Just a thought.

 

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