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By Geoff Metcalf

July 21, 2007

�Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.� --Sir Winston Churchill

The arrest and persecution of Gen. Vang Pao, for plotting the overthrow of communists in Laos is a national disgrace...and by the by, the personification of hypocrisy, duplicity and brain flatulence.

In the wake of the American withdrawal from Vietnam the politics was openly considered a geopolitical goat rope and selective memory loss and denial became policy.

The 30,000-plus Hmong who assisted the Americans with blood and unbridled loyalty were discarded like a Bill Clinton paramour...used like a tissue and thrown away to the wind and weather.

However, in addition to wind and weather, Hmong were considered "traitors" by their government and the Communist Viet Cong (for having helped us). As we turned a blind eye to our loyal allies, the former soldiers of the Lao Kingdom and their descendants were being exterminated. Like American POWs left in Vietnam, the Hmong were ignored in the vain hope that time, attrition and short attention spans would banish our shame to the void.

Gen Pao was and is a hero. However, in the arena of moral relativism, one mans freedom fighter is another mans terrorist.

Something about this Hmong �criminal� case just doesn�t pass the smell test.

1. We support expatriate Cuban efforts to overthrow Castro.
2. We support expatriate Iranian efforts to overthrow the mullahs in Tehran.

From the Philippines to Morocco we have made a habit of encouraging or orchestrating �regime change�.

However, when a national patriot and hero engages in attempting to clean one of our more conspicuous geopolitical failures, rather than encourage him, fund him, or support his efforts, we arrest him? What is wrong with this picture?

What if Amir Shadjareh and his crew at PARS TV in L.A. tried to assist anti-Ayatollah dissidents in Tehran? Would he be arrested?

President Bush actually ordered the implementation of tougher measures on Cuba, to hasten the fall of Fidel Castro. Part of his order was renewed efforts to broadcast pro-US messages in Cuba and tighter curbs on money sent home by expatriate Cubans.

"We're not waiting for the day of Cuban freedom, we are working for the day of freedom," Mr. Bush told reporters.

So help me out here. It is okay to help get rid of a Cuban communist but not a Laotian communist? We know it is policy to just ignore Chinese and Korean communists (even stealth Russian communists)�

Aristotle observed that, �Law is mind without reason.� Following a long federal investigation, a bunch of warrants were issued by U.S. federal courts ordering the arrest of Vang Pao and nine others, including one American, for alleged efforts to overthrow the government of Laos.

Over 200 federal and local law enforcement officials raided six California-based locations arresting Vang Pao and others. The one American arrested was Harrison Jack, a West Point graduate who had served in Southeast Asian operations during the Vietnam War. If convicted, Vang Pao, Jack and the other eight defendants face possible life prison terms for violation of the Neutrality Acts and various weapons charges.

About a half century ago, Vang started leading a 15-year fight against the communists in Laos and North Vietnam. His jungle army was financed and supported by the CIA. He was our indigenous guy in the �Secret War�.

If Vang had again conspired with the CIA he would have been embraced by the same government that is trying to prosecute him for not trusting the big brother who once used the Hmong and then abandoned them.

The Clinton administration tried to repatriate the Hmong to Laos. However, that stopped in the late 90s when documented evidence revealed many repatriated Hmong were being executed, imprisoned and subjected to assorted human rights violations by the government of Laos. Whoops!

Meanwhile, the June 4, 2007 arrests are controversial, with many arguing that Vang Pao's status as an important U.S. ally during the Vietnam War and his subsequent efforts to overthrow the communist government in Laos make him a hero, not a criminal.

Interestingly, the �conspiritors� are charged with conspiring to violate the Neutrality Act. Accused of seeking to overthrow a government that has peaceful relations with the United States; conspiring to kill people in a foreign country; conspiring to acquire sophisticated firearms and explosives; conspiring to acquire Stinger missile systems; and conspiring to export munitions without a permit from the U.S. State Department. In other words, doing all the stuff that usually is done by the CIA. Gee, could this prosecution be a territorial dispute or group think ego?

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Meanwhile, the June 4, 2007 arrests are controversial, with many arguing that Vang Pao's status as an important U.S. ally during the Vietnam War and his subsequent efforts to overthrow the communist government in Laos make him a hero, not a criminal.