Central Intelligence Agency director John O. Brennan is too young to have served in the Vietnam War. But when Brennan joined the CIA in 1980, many of his superiors were veterans of the Indochina campaign and their war stories about drug running, prostitution, extrajudicial killings of civilians and prisoners-of-war, and other tales must have made him wish he had been born earlier so that he could have reveled in such exploits.
Brennan, who served as President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser and reportedly, his CIA «deep state» control officer, has been at the forefront of repositioning U.S. foreign policy toward a more hostile stance against China, Russia, and other nations unwilling to buckle under to U.S. globalization objectives.
As part of Obama’s military «pivot to Asia», he and Brennan decided to replace governments friendly to China in Southeast Asia with ones more hostile to Beijing and friendlier to the United States. No sooner had the CIA and its Thai allies used judicial contrivances close to the Thai royal family to oust the democratically-elected Prime Minister of Thailand Yingluck Shinawatra from power than the CIA's fingerprints were suspected in a catastrophic plane crash in Laos.
Top Lao government officials, including Defense Minister and deputy premier Defense Minister Douangchay Phichit, were killed when their Ukrainian-made AN-74TK-300 Lao Air Force transport crashed while en route from Vientiane, the Lao capital to Xiangkhoung near the Plain of Jars, an area not heard of by most Americans since the days of the John Kennedy administration. Also killed were Public Security Minister Thongbane Sengaphone, Vientiane Governor Sukhan Mahalad, and Lao Communist Party Central Committee Secretary and head of the Committee’s Commission for Propaganda and Training Cheuang Sombounkhanh.
Almost immediately, CIA media outlets, some connected to Radio Free Asia, the chief instigator of Uighur separatists in China, began reporting on an inevitable power struggle among the secretive Lao Politburo. The Voice of America began interviewing obscure "experts" who maintained that the Thai military was merely fulfilling its traditional role of government-busting based on the arcane Martial Law Act 1914.
The influential Japan External Trade Organization said through a spokesman that the enforcement of martial law in Thailand was «positive» for Thailand. Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his revanchist nationalist government, Japan has moved its foreign and military policies under the wing of Washington.
The crash was fortuitous for the Obama administration. Naval and coast guard vessels of China and Vietnam had recently clashed over disputed waters in the South China Sea. Laos has maintained steady neutrality between Vietnam and China, the two traditional Communist allies of Laos. Vietnam had just ordered demonstrations against China over the South China Sea conflict tamped down because they were getting out of control and threatening stability in the country. The CIA has been using Vietnamese-American citizens to stir up, George Soros "rent-a-mob-style," anti-Chinese demonstrators, complete with protest signs in English, on the streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
The death of Douangchay, a powerful member of the Politburo of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, the Communist party that has ruled Laos since 1975, was expected to set off a power struggle between pro-China and pro-Vietnamese factions within the party. Apparently, the Obama administration decided to go for broke after successfully deposing Yingluck, who is of Thai-Chinese heritage and maintained friendly relations with China. Somewhere deep within the bowels of the Obama national security apparatus is a Presidential Finding authorizing an operation against the Lao government aircraft.
Douangchay, who was due to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers meeting in Myanmar to discuss regional security issues with his Vietnamese, Thai, and other ASEAN counterparts. The "constitutional coup" in Thailand coupled with the wiping out of the senior security ranks of the Lao government placed the ASEAN defense ministers' conference into a quandary.
Douangchay was seen as close to Russia, Vietnam, and China while steering a middle course between the three. His death opens the possibility of a bloc friendlier to the United States and Vietnam coming to the helm in Laos.
No sooner had Laos recovered the bodies of the senior Laotian officials from the crash site, Thailand's largely U.S.-trained and -supplied military announced they were imposing martial law in Thailand, effectively ending the rule of the democratically-elected government headed by acting Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan since Yingluck's ouster by a politically-motivated Thai court intent on throwing the populist-based Pheu Thai Party out of power. The Thai government, or what was left of it after the royalist «Constitutional» Court deposed Yingluck, was actually holding a cabinet meeting as the Thai military moved to impose martial law. Boonsongphaisan and his ministers had not been briefed by the Thai military chiefs, all of whom maintain close contacts with their U.S. counterparts, about the plans to impose martial law.
The leader of the Thai military putsch, General Prayuth Chan-ocha attended the U.S. Army’s land warfare conference cos-sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) in Honolulu, Hawaii in April 2013, a few months before CIA-backed royalists began agitating for Yingluck’s ouster. Although Prayuth maintains that he is neutral between the populist Red Shirts and royalist «Yellow Shirts,» he is a strong supporter of the Thai king and royal family. In Honolulu, Prayuth rubbed shoulders with the director of the CIA-connected East-West Center, the director of intelligence for PACOM, and various CIA, NSA, and Defense Intelligence Agency officials.
Yingluck and her exiled brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, himself ousted in a military coup in 2006, are supported by Thailand's rural-based "Red Shirt" movement. U.S. intelligence contends that the Red Shirts include a number of Communists supported by China through Laos. The suspicious Lao plane crash followed by the Thai military coup, have increased U.S. pressure on China in Southeast Asia.
Obama's "pivot to Asia" has seen the Philippines invite the U.S. military to re-establish bases in their country, including one in western Palawan Island at Oyster Bay. There are also discussions with Vietnam to permit the U.S. Navy to return to Cam Ranh Bay in southern Vietnam. Obama is the first president since Richard Nixon to preside over a massive U.S. military buildup in Southeast Asia.
Although Obama visited Malaysia on his recent «pivot» trip to Asia, it did not stop former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed from suggesting the CIA and Boeing had something to do with taking over the missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370 remotely and landing it in an undetermined location. A number of engineers based in Kuala Lumpur for the U.S. firm Freescale Semiconductor, which manufactures advanced computer chips for the defense industry, were en route to a technology exhibition in Beijing. There has been some speculation that the CIA wanted the computer engineers’ visit to Beijing aborted at any cost, including the disappearance of the aircraft with all of its passengers and crew.
In April, the United States concluded the annual «Angkor Sentinel» with the Cambodian armed forces. Part of the exercise was to train Cambodian forces in quelling domestic political disturbances. Like Laos, Cambodia has a nominal Communist government which, like those of Laos and Vietnam, is a prime target for American ouster when the time is suitable. The CIA’s Brennan knows the timetable for America’s re-entry into and full dominance over Southeast Asia.
The United States is also establishing a network of upgraded National Security Agency signals intelligence stations around China. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s recent trip to Mongolia is believed to have discussed with Mongolian defense officials the upgrade of a number of tactical signals intelligence mobile units along the Chinese border that share their intercepts of Chinese military communications with NSA and its FIVE EYES partners. The disclosures from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have shown that Taiwan remains a close Third Party partner of NSA. A joint NSA-Taiwanese signals intelligence facility is located north of Taipei at Pingtung Lee on top of Yangmingshan Mountain. The facility monitors Chinese military and commercial telecommunications traffic across the Strait of Taiwan.
Now that the United States has forced the second Shinawtra government from power in Thailand, it can be expected that NSA will increase its operations at the NSA base at Khon Kaen, Thailand once code-named INDRA. The facility has been upgraded to intercept foreign satellite communications to and from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China’s southern province of Yunnan. The modernized NSA satellite intercept facility is now code-named LEMONWOOD.
China responded to U.S. military maneuvering in Asia by calling for the creation of a new security alliance in Asia minus the United States. Using the summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building measures in Asia (CICA) in Shanghai as a backdrop, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, «We need to innovate our security cooperation,» adding, «we need to establish new regional security cooperation architecture.»
The new nationalist right-of-center Narendra Modi government in India has threatened China with force over disputed border territories. With such policies, Modi will find a willing partnership in Washington when it comes to tightening the noose on China. The recent unprecedented criminal indictments by the U.S. Justice Department of five Chinese military officers for allegedly hacking into private corporation computer systems in the United States may be the first shot of what may eventually end up as a new Indochina War, one of Mr. Obama’s own making…