A Change of Guard

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Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Lon Nol’s plotting started back in 1959

Dap Chhuon surrendering a gun to Sihanouk during his defection to the government in around 1953.

Monday, 22 March 2010
By John Conner
Phnom Penh Post

Dear Editor,

The events of March 18, 1970, actually began in 1959 with an attempted coup by General Dap Chhuon Mchulpich, military commander of the Siem Riep area.

Supported by the US military and its puppets in South Vietnam and Thailand, this plot could have resulted in Cambodia ceasing to exist. The plan was to divide the nation between its neighbours, with the total area under de facto US control.

King Norodom Sihanouk’s film, Shadow Over Angkor, dramatises these events, which are detailed in his book My War With the CIA. A DVD of this film and a book are available in Phnom Penh.

Plots to remove King Sihanouk, due to his neutrality, began in the 50s. Neutrality was “unacceptable” to Cold War warriors like Allen and John Dulles, who constantly pressured Sihanouk to accept American aid and thus domination.

The 1959 coup was thwarted, and General Dap Chhoun arrested. King Sihanouk instructed Lon Nol to bring the general to Phnom Penh for questioning.

Lon Nol’s reaction was to have Dap Chhuon shot so as not to reveal Lon Nol’s involvement with the plot.

It took another 11 years before another coup was successful and Sihanouk was removed.

Perhaps if Lon Nol had been shot with Dap Chhuon, Cambodia may never have endured the horror inflicted on it by US aggression. In 1959 the Khmer Rouge were nothing, Cambodia was at peace, and its people lived in harmony.

In the 1971 Paris Peace Accords, Nixon agreed to pay Vietnam reparations of US$3.25 billion. Of course the US government never paid this money, which would be worth nearly $20 billion if paid today.

If Cambodia was to take action for damages, it could consider a figure of $10 billion to $15 billion as fair compensation for illegal US activities from the 1950s onwards.

The US has the gall to claim the Lon Nol era debt must be repaid.

Perhaps Cambodia can deduct this amount from its damages claim, which should be made soon while the US remains an existing nation.

John Conner
Phnom Penh


Anonymous said...

This is the real truth

Anonymous said...

3/18/70 was a nightmare -- a thing of the past. Any critical commentary and report on 3/18/70 is a matter of opinion. Sometimes I feel quite refreshing to review all the historical events, but I wouldn't live in the past. The past is long gone and the future has yet to come. Why should I focus on something unseen such as the past and the future? I do consider all historical events as a valuable lesson to learn and a truth to be verified.

Anonymous said...

This is just an other idea for cambodian government tool to deminize American. This is how the communists do to blame the good guy. I was there too 1959 and beyond. o.k. don't tell me that was happened that way.o.k.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading the same books and learn about the historical events detailed in this letter by John Conner. Dap Chhuon, Khmer Serei, with the secret involvement of Lon No, hatched a secret plot to overthrow Sihanouk around 1958 known as the Bangkok Plot. In 1958, Sihanouk took the Preah Vihear case to the International Court in The Hague. Sarit Thanarat, the Thai PM, was so nervous that Cambodia will win the case, so he and the Thai government funded the coup in Cambodia using Dap Chhuon, Khmer serei movement and, to a certain extent, Lon Nol and Son Ngoc Thanh, as its proxy to overthrow the Cambodian government. I believe, if the coup was not thwarted and Dap Chhuon not captured, Cambodia would have been divided by Vietnam and Thailand. Dap Chhuon was the only one who paid the price but the big fish, like Lon Nol and Son Ngoc Thanh, got away with the attempted coup.