Just out on August 2015
On Page 244 : RAINING Bombs In Laos
U.S. secret war and atrocities
His left leg still hurt and he can’t go to school. His arms and legs become painful when he thinks and he cannot sleep at night.
Ban Lat Houang, Phonsavanh, Xieng Khouang province, Dec 1997
In recent years I have had the chance to witness some of these atrocities and crimes against humanity at close hand and document them. One of the cruelest acts in human history was committed by the US government in Laos, earning the land-locked country the unenviable distinction of being the most bombed place on earth.
Information from the Menonites and Mines Advisory Group (MAG), two NGOs (one American and the other British) helping to clear the mines, claim: From May 1964 until 1973 end, in an undeclared secret war US warplanes flew round the clock and bombed Xieng Khouang province in northern Laos.
Every eight minutes a planeload of bombs was dropped and it went on for nine years. By the end of the war in 1975, everything in the province were flattened and destroyed. Those who could flee to the forest, survive in caves and tunnels underground. Farmland, orchards and all were totally destroyed; 99.9 percent of the livestock killed.
To ensure continued destruction, killing, maiming and render the land unusable for generations to come, more than a million tiny colourful cluster bombs were dropped. These bombs are particularly nasty and cruel. The delayed-action bomblets (locals called them bombies) – the size of tennis ball and brightly coloured – are made to resemble oranges, guavas, pineapples and other attractive fruits. They are designed for children to pick up and play with. In this manner, groups of children would be injured and maimed for life and become a burden to the family. The objective was to cause long term social and economic destruction to the nation, according to the NGOs.
Because millions of these small bombs were dropped and scattered decades ago, over the years they sunk underground. They have been almost impossible to clear. Until today dozens of children are still killed and injured by the bombs every year. It has rendered building houses and farming the land impossible, without endangering lies.
The Mennonite, an American church group, who are helping Laos to clear the bombs, said it may take a hundred years and still they cannot clear all.
What diabolical minds would invent these evil devices and wrought such destruction on a people, especially the children, for generations and render the land unusable?
“The US government which prides itself as champion of democracy and human-rights has not owned up to its responsibility and admit their wrong–doing,” said Phoumi Thiphavone, governor of Xieng Khouang province, in an interview in January 1995. He added that bomblets kill an average 20 children each year.
“They have not come forward to help clear the bombs with their resources and advanced technology.” When the Lao government asked the U S for help to clear the bombs, they reply by asking us for permission to fly over and map the region. We were shocked,” said the governor.
[Interview of the governor and reports of the bombings were published by the New Straits Times on March 20, 1995 and an earlier version was published by the Nation Review in Bangkok.]
The US media have been silent, seemingly whitewashing the country’s crime against humanity. A documentary done by a major TV network, 5 years ago, was pulled off the air by pressure from the top, says a Mennonite official. Our documentary with, Claes Bratt, (see photo below) for US TV network was also taken off the air at the last moment in 1998.
A New York Times report posted on line in April 2014, says the annual US spending on removal of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos increased to USD 12 million a year from $2.5 million a decade ago. In comparison, the bombing cost US$17 million a day, says Fatima Bhojani of Mother Jones website.
In April 1995 Boun Mi, 15, lost and arm when his hoe struck a bomblet while planting rice in the field. He was disappointed when NGO’s told him they could fix him with a new arm; he thought the new limb would function like his old natural arm and not limited to a few functions – Picture shows Swedish producer/director, Claes Bratt, examining the artificial arm.