March 1, 2007 -- BUSH AND CHENEY, WHO AVOIDED THE VIETNAM WAR, ARE PREPARING FOR A NEW U.S. MILITARY PRESENCE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: AFTER THE MIDDLE EAST DISASTER, GET READY FOR INDOCHINA WAR II.
While in Southeast Asia, this editor looked into rumors that the Bush/Cheney administration has initiated a major military move into Southeast Asia to secure for itself large oil deposits discovered in the waters of the Gulf of Thailand. The U.S. military push into the region is centered on the Cambodian coast, particularly around Sihanoukville.
With three countries -- Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam -- vying for the off-shore oil booty in seas where maritime borders are contested, the Bush/Cheney cartel hopes to achieve a dominant position to exploit the oil reserves for their oil industry friends and backers.
The recent visit of the U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet's USS Gary (FFG 51) to the Ream Naval Base near Sihanoukville on February 9, 2007 was billed as the first visit of a U.S. Navy ship in 30 years. What the Navy and media did not report was that the last U.S. Navy ships to "visit" Cambodia were those in 1975 that pulverized the Cambodian coast in response to the capture of the SS Mayaguez by Khmer Rouge forces.
The visit of the Gary to Ream coincided with the beginning of light building construction by the U.S. Navy at the base to accommodate a greater U.S. naval presence. Photos taken of the Ream Naval Base by WMR show the construction of at least one barracks on the base.
In addition, between 15 and 18 U.S. National Security Agency/Central Security Service signals intelligence (SIGINT) personnel have arrived at Ream to establish an off-shore SIGINT station on one of the Cambodian islands in the Gulf of Thailand. According to a New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) source in Cambodia, the island chosen to host the new U.S. intelligence base is Koh Tang, a location with a prime intelligence-gathering vantage point in the disputed waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Assigned to the nascent NSA contingent are Thai, Khmer, and Vietnamese linguists.
Ironically, the new U.S. naval presence in Cambodia is in the very same area that saw intense fighting between the U.S. Navy and Marines and Khmer Rouge forces that captured the U.S. "container ship", the Mayaguez, in 1975. The 39-man crew of the Mayaguez was briefly imprisoned by the Cambodians on Koh Tang, the suspected site of the new U.S. spy base. Although the Gerald Ford administration contended the Mayaguez was an unarmed merchant ship, it was under contract to the military and may have been spying on oil exploration operations in the Gulf of Thailand near the Wai Islands, claimed by Cambodia. The Cambodians were in the process of releasing the Mayaguez crew when Ford ordered U.S. bombing of the port and airfield of Sihanoukville. Forty-one American military personnel died in the needless attack on Cambodia, most from an accidental explosion. The Mayaguez crew was picked up by the Navy from a Cambodian fishing boat.
With the U.S. support for the September 16, 2006 military coup in Thailand that overthrew that nation's democratically-elected government becoming clear (U.S. ambassador to Thailand Ralph Boyce now sports a yellow tie, a show of support for the royalist-backed coup -- yellow being the color of the monarchy), there is speculation that the U.S. will beef up a presence at Thai bases that were once important during the Vietnam War. This includes the base at Utapao, Thailand, a one-time P3-Orion naval reconnaissance aircraft base and US Air Force base used to attack Cambodia over the Mayaguez incident. Since Thailand was never consulted on the use of Utapao in the attack on Cambodia, Thailand ordered the base vacated by the Americans. The Thais never believed the Mayaguez was an innocent merchant vessel but had somehow provoked the Cambodians to seize it in Cambodian territorial waters.
The Thais continue to be wary of U.S. intentions in Cambodia. The Thai-Cambodian border is in dispute and some Khmers make no secret of their desire to take back historically Khmer territory in eastern Thailand.
"IN TIMES OF UNIVERSAL DECEIT, TELLING THE TRUTH WILL BE A REVOLUTIONARY ACT." - George Orwell