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February 21, 2009



Unencom is my CiF mokier so thanks. It's nice to know that my comment was appreciated, even if not by Guardian HQ.

sackcloth and ashes

Mick, you may want to add this to your comment. I noticed this in Pilger's article:

'In 1983, the Thatcher government sent the SAS to train the "coalition" in landmine technology - in a country more seeded with mines than anywhere except Afghanistan. "I confirm," Thatcher wrote to opposition leader Neil Kinnock, "that there is no British government involvement of any kind in training, equipping or co-operating with Khmer Rouge forces or those allied to them." The lie was breathtaking. In 1991, the Major government was forced to admit to parliament that the SAS had been secretly training the "coalition".'

Pilger was sued by two former members of the SAS for making these claims back in 1990, and was obliged to settle out of court the following year (http://oliverkamm.typepad.com/blog/2007/12/pilger-and-his.html). His counsel, Geoffrey Shaw, read out the following statement:

'The defendants now accept that neither plaintiff has ever trained Khmer Rouge or any other guerrillas and particularly not in mine-laying or any other military techniques which would be directed against civilians. Neither plaintiff would ever contemplate any such thing and would refuse to do it if ordered'.

The Major government did admit that British special forces had trained anti-Vietnamese guerrillas from the Khmer People's National Liberation Front and the Armee Nationale Sihanoukienne. This is where Pilger's mendacity is evident. He falsely implies that the Khmer Rouge were part of a 'coalition' with these groups. In fact, as Derek Tonkin (the British Ambassador to Thailand, 1986-1989) noted in June 1991, 'The three [anti-Vietnamese] resistance factions have spent most the past twelve years in mutual recrimination', and aside from isolated instances tactical co-operation between some ANS and KR unis in 1990, there is nothing at all to justify Pilger's claims that the UK supported a 'coalition' of Cambodian resistance groups that included the KR, let alone claims that British soldiers trained guerrillas aligned with the movement which caused 'Year Zero'.

Mick H

Interesting. Thanks for that.


"... Pilger's unofficial role as son-of-Chomsky ..." From S&A's interesting note, that might be an "official" role.

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