Australian Left Review


Ben Kiernan


Last December, in the midst of the “Iran-Contra Affair”, the US Congressional Research Service revealed that Washington has given the ousted Pol Pot forces of “Democratic Kampuchea” (or DK, otherwise known as the Khmer Rouge) a massive $85 million in aid since their overthrow by Vietnamese troops in 1979. This secret aid to Pol Pot had always been vigorously denied by US officials. They preferred to emphasise their support for a small rightwing group which they hoped would pro v id e a f ig - le a f o f respectability for an anti-Vietnamese strategy based on the Khmer Rouge, “ C o a l i t i o n G o v e r n m e n t o f Democratic Kampuchea”, which from exile still represents the country in the United Nations, The other two factions, Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge and the followers of Prince Sihanouk, are fairly well known. Most people have probably never heard of the KPNLF, but they had been briefly in the news. In April 1985, as the campaign to once again provide US arms aid to anti-communist forces in Indochina gathered momentum, the Washington Post categorised the Khmer People’s Na tio n a l Lib e ra tio n F ro n t as “reasonably democratic”. The next month, the Post published a plea for military aid to the KPNLF by Congressman Stephen J. Solarz. This was entitled “Help the Democratic who murdered or starved to death over a million people when they ruled Kampuchea from 1975 to 1979.



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