You are hereBlogs / War Criminals Watch's blog / Laos: The Birthplace of Modern U.S. Executive Secret War and a New "Ahuman" Age. A Powerpoint Presentation by Fred Branfman.

Laos: The Birthplace of Modern U.S. Executive Secret War and a New "Ahuman" Age. A Powerpoint Presentation by Fred Branfman.

By War Criminals Watch - Posted on 05 August 2014


A Powerpoint Presentation by Fred Branfman

            Go to this link to read entire piece and be able to see all the slides and photos::

 1. The U.S. Executive Branch: A Government That Increasingly Operates In Secret

2. The Executive Fought 2 Distinct Wars In Laos Which Also Birthed Automated War

3. My Beliefs About America – Then

4. The Old Man: Paw Thou Douang

5. I Grew To Love the Village and the Villagers – It Was A Kind Of Paradise

6. The Old Man Became Like a Second Father to Me

7. The Village, 8 Miles Outside the Capital, Had No Running Water, Toilets or Electricity

8. Plain of Jars Refugees Brought to That Louang Pagoda, September 1969

9. An “L” in the Dirt The Changed My Life Forever

10. Boy Missing Leg

11. Thao Vong, Father of Four, Blinded

12. Three Year Old Girl Burned in Breast, Stomach, Vagina, Later Died

13. Sao Doumma, Wedding Photo – Killed in U.S. Bombing Raid 7 Years Later

14. Sao Doumma & Henry Kissinger – Becoming a Media “Fixer”

15. Ngeun Collected Refugees’ Drawings and Essays

16. Drawing by Villager: Three Stages of our Lives

17. Drawing of People Buried Alive – One Man Trying to Dig Out His Wife and Child

18. Cover from the First Edition of Voices From the Plain of Jars

19. Thirty-three Year Old Female Refugee: “Until There Was Only the Red, Red Ground”

20. Thirty-year Old Female Refugee: “Why, Then, Don’t We People Love One Another?”

21. Refugee Interviewed in 2006: “Until Today I Haven’t Understood This.”

22. Anti-Personnel Bombs: 80% of the Bombs Dropped on the People of the Plain

23. One Sortie = 250,000 Pellets; 541,738 Sorties Flown Over Laos

24. Flechette, Guardian Story on Plastic Pellets

25. Fact Sheet on Anti-Personnel Bombs, Designed to Maim not Murder

26. U.S. Pilot, Danang Airforce Base: Civilians Are the Target

27. U.S. Pilot, Danang Airforce Base: Grunts Robbing Us of our Kills. “The Nerve!”

28. Senator William Fulbright: U.S. Senate Unaware of Extent of Laos Bombing

29. U.S. Deputy Ambassador: We Couldn’t Let the Planes Stay There With Nothing to Do

30. Senator Kennedy Knew Sullivan Was Lying, But Did Not Dare Indict Him for Perjury

31. U.S. Leaders Deserved Execution for Their Crimes of War

32. Kissinger on Bombing Cambodia: “Anything That Flies on Anything That Moves”

33. Nixon-Kissinger B52 Bombing of Cambodia Created the Khmer Rouge

34. The U.S. Executive Branch Is Endangering not Protecting Us

35. The Executive Murdered, Maimed and Refugeed Over 17 Million Indochinese Civilians

36. A Journalist I Worked With: Ted Koppel & the Role of the Mass Media In U.S. Society

37. Kissinger, A Flattering Biography by Marvin and Bernard Kalb

38. Ted Koppel: I Was “Sucking Up” to Henry Kissinger to Advance My Career

39. Kissinger to Koppel: “You Guys Did Some of My Work for Me Out There”

40. 80 Million Unexploded Anti-Personnel Bombs (UXO), 20,000 Peacetime Victims

41. 2010: “Young Girl Killed, Sister Injured in Cluster Bomb Tragedy”

42. Life Under Automated War in Northwest Pakistan Today

43. U.S. Executive Weakening National Security: the CIA vs. the Senate on Torture Today

44. U.S. Executive Secret War Abroad And At Home – Key Features

45. My Experience With, and Beliefs About, the U.S. Executive Branch Today

46. The U.S. Executive’s “Ahumanity” Threatens Freedom More than Foreign "Enemies"

47. Howard Zinn and the Key Question: Can We Live With Ourselves If We Do Not Act?

Note: This is largely a transcript of a presentation made on March 14, 2004 in Santa Barbara, though it has

been significantly expanded.



Narration: The subject of our talk today is ‘Laos: The Birthplace of Modern U.S. Executive

Secret War and a New “Ahuman” Age’. By ‘U.S. Executive’ I mean the giant Executive Branch

military and police agencies, including the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, FBI and Department of

Homeland Security. These agencies constitute the most powerful governing institution in the

history of the world, one that largely operates in secret. It is in that sense a "Secret

Government". Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently announced that they were reducing the

U.S. Army to its lowest level since the end of World War II. What he didn't mention was that

they've increased their spending on secret war, e.g. the global assassination program

conducted by drones from the air and Joint Special Operations Command commandoes on the

ground, now operating in at least 100 countries. The Founders established a system of checks

and balances, so that the legislative and judiciary could limit executive power. After all, they

were rebelling against a King. In 1960, President Eisenhower warned that the Executive Branch

and the corporations they represent had become a danger to this country. He called it "The

Military-Industrial Complex." Today the Executive Branch is far stronger, and what we'll be

discussing today are the secret activities of the U.S. Executive Branch, which reached their

fullest flowering in the country of Laos when I was living there from 1967-71. Although the

Executive justifies its secrecy on the grounds of ‘protecting national security,’ experts familiar

with classified documents like John Kerry and Dan Ellsberg report that far less than 10% would

be of any conceivable use to U.S. ‘enemies.’ The major purpose of Executive secrecy is to keep

knowledge of its countless crimes and mistakes, including those jeopardizing national security,

from the American people so as to prevent its budgets from being cut.



Narration: This is a map of Laos, which had the misfortune to be located next to Vietnam. As a

result the U.S. waged two separate wars in Laos. The first was in southern Laos, against the Ho

Chi Minh Trial. The second, our subject today, was in northern Laos. This is the Plain of Jars. I

was living down here in Vientiane, the capital. In northern Laos the CIA had created a secret

army to conduct sabotage, espionage and assassination programs against North Vietnam, and

maintain radar on a mountaintop to assist U.S. bombers bombing North Vietnam. Its army was

first Hmong tribespeople and then later tens of thousands of Thai, Nationalist Chinese and

other mercenaries. They fought the local Pathet Lao and several thousand North Vietnamese

troops. The problem for the CIA was that the communists were stronger and as a result the CIA

took control of the targeting of the bombing and vastly increased it in northern Laos. The U.S.

eventually dropped 2 million tons of bombs on southern and northern Laos, as much as on

Europe and the Pacific in WWII. And the bombers did the vast majority of the killing, with ground

troops playing a secondary role, making it the fullest automated war in history.



Narration: When I came to Laos in 1967 I was about 25 years old, a kid, and I came

from Tanzania where I'd been living in a village. And I pretty much ascribed to this

basic set of values, though in fact I never really thought about them that much. I would

have said yeah, America is a democracy and enjoys freedom of the press, it's guided by

the rule of law, we have a system of checks and balances. I was very much against the

Vietnam war, but Lyndon Johnson was also trying to create a "Great Society" at home,

so I had mixed feelings about him. But I basically subscribed to this set of beliefs, which

I'd been taught since birth.

I came to Laos as an educational advisor with a group called International Voluntary

Services, and I was assigned housing at the Dong Dok teacher training college about 8

miles outside of the capital. So I drove up on my motorcycle to look at my housing and

saw that it was in a kind of American-style apartment complex, a nice apartment,

running water, electricity, and all of the other people living there in the apartment house

were Americans.



Narration: And something inside me said, "you know, you didn't come eight thousand

miles to live with Americans. You want to live in a Lao village," which I was kind of used

to because I'd been living in a remote village in Tanzania just a few months earlier. So I

asked someone where was the nearest Lao village was. And he said well go back the

way you came and hang a left and you'll be in Banh Xa Phang Meuk. I did so, turned

down a dirt road, and pretty soon I came to a beautiful pagoda on my right, and this

man on my left, sort of puttering about, he usually wore just a sarong without a shirt, as

in this photo. I asked him if there was a house to rent and he said, "Sure, I have one."

So I said "great," and we worked out this deal where I would live in this shack. Next to

the shack was his very beautiful Lao house. And Lao houses are on stilts, and the Lao

are very human human beings, as we'll discuss, and one feature of their housing is that

they had very small private spaces, and a beautiful open veranda. And the floors were

made of wood - I used to say you could only get wood like that by it being walked on by

bare feet for 50 years. It was just a beautiful, beautiful house. And beautiful, lush

vegetation, which smelled wonderfully.



Narration: I was really happy there for the next two and a half years. It was like being

in paradise somehow. And that Old Man, as I used to call him, his actual name was

Paw Thou Douang and I became very close friends. I used to eat dinner with him every

night. And I grew to love the village and the villagers.



Narration: And this guy, whom I originally saw as just a poor old peasant, came to be

somebody that I not only loved but respected as much as anyone I’ve ever met. He had

come from very poor circumstances, but he had built his own house, raised animals,

grew rice and vegetables. And he was also a healer. If somebody got sick, he would

cook up local herbs for them as medicine. He was also one of the most spiritual people I

have ever met. He led the Buddhist laity in that village and many a day, I was right next

to the Pagoda, I would wake up to the sound of him and the other villagers chanting, "na

mo tasa, bakavato alahato, no mo tasa ..." It was a wonderful way to wake up. Most of

people in that village were very lovable. They're very kind, they're cheerful, they look

you in the eye, they say what they think. And they're very trustworthy. Whenever I

needed to trust someone I was never let down by them. And they're really hard-working.

The Old Man was kind of the unofficial leader in the village. He was a very human

human being, as I said. Almost every day people were just coming and talking, and

you'd hear people talking and laughing almost all day long. This is a picture of my actual

mother and father who came to visit me in Laos. And you can see part of my house, it

was just a shack. And I loved my own father, he was a very decent guy. But I have to

say that I also came to love the Old Man as a kind of second father. I really respected

the way he lived his life, and loved his humor, cheerfulness and kindness.


Speaking Events



August 2-6: Peace and Democracy Conference at Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.


September 22-24: No War 2017 at American University in Washington, D.C.


October 28: Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference

Find more events here.


Support This Site


Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.



Speaking Truth to Empire


Families United


Ray McGovern


Julie Varughese


Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.



Ca-Dress Long Prom Dresses Canada
Ca Dress Long Prom Dresses on

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.