KHUN SA

THE SECOND WARLORD



KHUN SA, THE SHAN-STATE
BURMESE DRUG WARLORD

1934-2007

PRESENTED BY
the Wanderling


ADAPTED FROM THE WORKS OF
JEFFREY HAYS


"(Khun Sa) set out from the hills of northern Shan state with a large contingent of soldiers and a massive 16-ton opium convoy, destined for Ban Khwan, a small Laotian lumber village across the Mekong River from Chiang Saen in Thailand. More traders joined his convoy, and by the time it reached the city of Kengtung in eastern Shan state, its single-file column of 500 men and 300 mules stretched along the ridge for more than a mile."


I met Khun Sa face-to-face in the early-to-mid 1960s under some otherwise trying circumstances as described on this page in Footnote [1]. However, the background and history on Khun Sa that follows, although not totally excluded, has not been gleaned from some mere happenstance that may have transpired between the warlord and myself years ago, but instead, has been thoroughly researched and put together and presented here from a wide variety of quality and in-depth sources, including material from the well focused works by Jeffrey Hays, so cited.

As for calling Khun Sa the Second Warlord in the title, or the subtitle as the case may be, it has nothing to do with his position relative to any level of his operations or warlord status. Actually, along the way in the normal flow of things I had met the Laotian warlord Vang Pao some months before, making Vang Pao in a sense, for me anyway, the first warlord. For sure, calling Khun Sa the Second Warlord is not intended to diminish him in any fashion. For those who may me so interested, there is a full account of my meeting with Vang Pao further down the page.


For many years much of the drug trade in the so-called area of Southeast Asia known as the Golden Triangle was controlled by Khun Sa, AKA Sao Mong Kwan or Chang Chi-Fu, sometimes given or spelled Chan Shee Fu, the son of a wealthy Chinese tea trader and an ethic Shan mother. He was born in Loi Maw of Mongyai in eastern Myanmar (Burma) and as an adult dubbed the "Opium King of the Golden Triangle." He was also as an adult the leader of the Shan United Army and the Mong Tai Army. For a while he was based in Thailand. The Thai army attacked his camp and drove him back to Myanmar, where he set up his own private fiefdom in East Shan State living in his well fortified headquarters in Ho Mong village in the East Shan State in Myanmar about nine miles from the Thai border town of Mae Hong Son. [Source: Ron Moreau, Newsweek, and Philip Shenon, the New York Times]




His above mentioned also known as AKA Chiang Chi-fu, was in fact his real name having in later years, adopted the pseudonym Khun Sa, meaning "Prince Prosperous." In his youth he trained with the Kuomintang (KMT), which had fled into the border regions of Burma from Yunnan upon its defeat in the Chinese Civil War. He got involved in the drug trade at an early age by working with Chinese Kuomingtan soldiers that lived in the eastern Shan State. In 1969, when he was 36, he was imprisoned in Mandalay for drug trafficking and stayed there for five years until his friends broke him out. He fled to Thailand and organized a drug network an army. In the 1990s, he controlled an army of 3000 men that watched over 600 tons of opium produced in Myanmar and 60 tons produced in Thailand.

Bert Lintner, who met Khun Sa twice, wrote on Asia Online: “Khun Sa was probably one of the most colorful and controversial figures on the Myanmar drug scene. Despite being indicted on drug trafficking charges by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, New York, in January 1990, he continued to live comfortably at his then headquarters at Homong near the Thai border opposite Mae Hong Son...By then he was officially the most wanted man in the world, indicted by the United States and referred to by then U.S. ambassador to Thailand William Brown as "the worst enemy the world has" [Source: Bert Lintner, Asia Online, November 1, 2007; Lintner is a former correspondent with the Far Eastern Economic Review]

In 1994, it was estimated that Khun Sa and the United Wa State Army controlled 75 percent of the heroin originating in the Golden Triangle. A Panthay Chinese Muslim from Burma, Ma Zhengwen, assisted Khun Sa in selling his heroin in north Thailand. In 1996, Khun Sa retired and the United Wa State Army took over many of the areas he controlled.

According to Wikipedia: “Over the two decades of his unrivalled dominance of the Shan state, from 1974 to 1994, the share of New York street heroin coming from the Golden Triangle—the northern parts of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos—rose from 5 percent to 80 percent. It was 90 percent pure, "the best in the business", according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. And Khun Sa, the DEA thought, had most of that trade. [Source: Wikipedia]


KHUN SA'S EARLY LIFE

Bert Lintner wrote on Asia Online: Khun Sa was born in 1934 in a small village in Northern Shan State to an ethnic Shan mother and a Chinese father. He grew up as an orphan as his father died when he was only three. His mother remarried the local tax collector of the small town of Mong Tawm, but two years later she died as well. While his three stepbrothers went to missionary schools and were given the Christian names Oscar, Billy and Morgan, the young Khun Sa was raised by his Chinese grandfather amid the poppy fields of Loi Maw mountain in northern Shan state. His only formal education consisted of a few years as a temple boy in a Buddhist monastery. During one of our interviews, I noticed that all his correspondence had to be read to him and that his replies were dictated. [Source: Bert Lintner, Asia Online, November 1, 2007]

At the age of 16, Khun Sa formed his own armed band. He gained his first military experience in skirmishes with the Kuomintang, or nationalist Chinese forces, who had set up bases in Loi Maw in the early 1950s. He eventually went on to form his own army of a few hundred men. In the early 1960s, his small private army was even recognized officially as the "Loi Maw Ka Kwe Ye", a militia and home guard unit under the Myanmar army loyal to Gen Ne Win's Burmese government. Ka Kwe Ye received money, uniforms and weapons from the Burmese government in return for fighting the Shan rebels.[1]

In 1966, Khun Sa was deputzied by the Burmese government as head of a village defense force against the BCP (Burmese Communist Party), which at the time was at full strength and heavily involved in opium cultivation. Khun Sa cleverly used government backing to consolidate his power and beef up the strength of his militia. When Khun Sa had expanded his army to 800 men, he stopped cooperating with the Burmese government, took control of large area in Shan and Wa states and expanded into opium production. Khun Sa’s militia eventually grew into the Shan United Army (SUA), also known as the Shan State Army. [Source: Wikipedia. Lonely Planet]


KHUN SA TAKES CONTROL OF THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE DRUG TRADE

In 1967 Khun Sa clashed with the Kuomintang (KMT) remnants in Shan State after the KMT attempted to “embargo” the SUA opium trade by blocking their jungle smuggling routes. Khun Sa started what became known as the Opium War of 1967, which resulted in his defeat, demoralizing him and his forces. In 1969, the Rangoon government captured him. He was freed in 1973 when his second-in-command abducted two Russian doctors and demanded his release. By 1976 he had returned to opium smuggling, and set up a base inside northern Thailand in the village of Ban Hin Taek. He renamed his group the Shan United Army and began ostensibly fighting for Shan autonomy against the Burmese government. [Source: Wikipedia, Lonely Planet]

Bert Lintner wrote on Asia Online: Khun Sa, then 33, decided to challenge the supremacy of much more senior Kuomintang opium warlords. In May 1967, he set out from the hills of northern Shan state with a large contingent of soldiers and a massive 16-ton opium convoy, destined for Ban Khwan, a small Laotian lumber village across the Mekong River from Chiang Saen in Thailand. More traders joined his convoy, and by the time it reached the city of Kengtung in eastern Shan state, its single-file column of 500 men and 300 mules stretched along the ridge for more than a mile re the following quotes from Bert Lintner, Asia Online, November 1, 2007:


"The convoy crossed the Mekong and the Kuomintang rushed to intercept it. Fierce fighting raged for several days, but the outcome of the battle is still somewhat obscure. At that time, General Ouane Rattikone, the commander-in-chief of the Royal Lao Army, ran several heroin refineries in the nearby Ban Houey Sai area, and sent the Lao air force to bomb the battle site. Officially, he cheated both Khun Sa and the Kuomintang, and made off with the opium. Other sources told this correspondent that the opium had already been sold, and Khun Sa subsequently made his first significant investment in Thailand. On attempting to contact the Shan rebels, perhaps to switch sides, in 1969 he was arrested and imprisoned in Mandalay. He was charged with high treason for attempting to contact the rebels, not for drug trafficking, for which at the time he had informal government permission to engage in.

"In April 1973, his men who had gone underground in the jungle kidnapped two Soviet doctors who were working at the hospital in the Shan state capital of Taunggyi. An entire division of Myanmar government troops was mobilized to rescue the doctors. The operation was unsuccessful and it was not until August 1974 that the foreign hostages were supposedly unconditionally released through Thailand. By strange coincidence, Khun Sa was released from prison shortly afterwards. It was later revealed that Thai northern army commander General Kriangsak Chomanan had helped to negotiate an exchange of prisoners. Khun Sa later slipped away to northern Thailand."(source)


In October 1981 a 39-man unit of Thai Rangers and Burmese guerrillas attempted to assassinate Khun Sa at the insistence of the US Drug Enforcement Administration. The attempt failed, however. In January 1982 a Thai Ranger squad from Pak Thong Chai, together with units from the Border Patrol Police and the Royal Thai Army, was used to force Khun Sa to move his headquarters from Ban Hin Taek across the border into Myanmar, where he initially directed his empire from a fortified network of underground tunnels. The Thai raid led to the break up of the opium and heroin production operation in the Mae Salong-Ban Tin Taek area of Thailand.

In 1985, Khun Sa joined forces with the Tai Revolutionary Council of Moh Heng and several other Shan armies to for, the Muang Tai Army (MTA) led by the Shan State Restoration Council. In the early 1990s the MTA reached a peak strength of 25,000 soldiers, by far the largest ethnic armed group in Myanmar. Through that alliance Khun Sa both gained control of the whole Thai-Burma border area from Mae Hong Son to Mae Sai and became one of the principal figures in opium smuggling in the Golden Triangle. [Source: Wikipedia]


KHUN SA AND HIS DRUG EMPIRE

In 1975 Khun Sa’s SUA increased it influence in the Golden Triangle region. As the Burmese government broke the KMT’s control over the Golden Triangle opium market the SUA stepped in to fill the void.Kun Sa established a new headquarters at Ban Hin Taek in Chiang Rai province, Thailand. By that time the U.S. had pulled out of Indochina so there was no competition from CIA-backed traffickers. Khun Sa largely severed relationships with intermediaries, buying up opium directly from hill tribe and Shan farmers and transporting it to heroin labs in Myanmar, Laos and Yunnan in China, where the final product was turned over to ethnic Chinese (usually Tae Jiu or Chiao Zhou) syndicates which controlled access to world markets through Thailand, Yunnan and Hong Kong.

Khun Sa controlled his drug empire for over 30 years and reportedly earned billions of dollars in the drug trade. It is believed that he controlled about half of the heroin and opium that came from Myanmar, which in turn counted for about 60 percent of the heroin sold on the streets in the United States.

U.S. drug officials said that Khun Sa organized farmers to grow opium and ran or franchised 15 to 20 heroin refining laboratories along the Thai-Myanmar border. He reportedly made cash payments of $26,000 to Thai border police to make sure his heroin shipments got across the Thai border without being seized. He then distributed the drug using a sophisticated commercial network.

Khun Sa always maintained that he was freedom fighter not a drug dealer. He said he supported his army with revenues earned by taxing opium traders who moved through his territory. Khun Sa reportedly detested addicts. Anyone in his operation that became addicted to drugs was forced detox in his his "drug treatment center"—a 10-foot-deep hole where junkies enduring cold turky and stayed until they had kicked.

Khun Sa controlled a large amount of territory in the Eastern Shan State of eastern Myanmar near the Thai border. After Khun Sa's arrival Ho Mong grew from a sleepy village into a bustling town with satellite dishes at many homes. Much of the money he earned from the drug trade went to maintaining a 10,000-man army and a mini-state with its own education system and hospitals. He even went as far as proclaiming himself president of the Eastern Shan State.

Khun Sa occasionally granted interviews to journalists who trekked eight hours with a mule train from the Thai border to his headquarters. In 1988, Khun Sa was interviewed by Australian journalist Stephen Rice, who had crossed the border from Thailand into Burma illegally. Khun Sa told Rice he was willing to sell his entire heroin crop to the Australian Government for about $40 million a year for the next eight years, a move that would have virtually stopped the heroin trade into both Australia and the United States overnight. The Australian Government rejected the offer, with one Australia senator declaring: “The Australian Government is simply not in the business of paying criminals to refrain from criminal activity.” In 1989, Khun Sa was charged by a New York court for trying to import 1,000 tons of heroin. By then he had proposed the U.S. buy his entire opium production.




KHUN SA'S ARMY

Khun Sa commanded a force of 10,000-to-20,000 Shan fighters in the Mong Tai army, a private militia which was regarded as the last major revolutionary army to operate in Myanmar. It possessed modern weapons such as surface-to-air missiles, which even the Myanmar army didn't have. Many of the Mong Tai soldiers were in their teens. Thousands of Burmese soldiers were tied up fighting the Mong Tai army and the conflict depleted the government's supply of weapons.

Bert Lintner wrote on Asia Online: “His so-called "Shan United Army", SUA, was supposed to be fighting for Shan independence from Myanmar, but was, in reality, little more than a narco-army escorting opium convoys and protecting heroin refineries. In 1982, the Thai army decided to turn against him, and Khun Sa and the SUA were driven out of Ban Hin Taek. But they soon established a new base, this time inside Myanmar, at Homong, where new refineries were set up to process raw opium into heroin. [Source: Bert Lintner, Asia Online, November 1, 2007]

Most of Khun Sa's key aides were relatives. Important players in Khun Sa's operation included Chang Su-chan (also known as "General Thunder"), Military Operations Chief; Yang Wan-Hsuan, Security and Intelligence Chief; and Chang Ping-Yun, Comptroller General and overseer of the refining operations.

Khun Sa battled Thai forces on the Thai-Burma border and fought the Burmese army in the Shan states. He maintained that he was fighting a war of liberation for the Shan people and drug trafficking was simple a way for him to raise money to buy weapons and pay his soldiers. One Burmese colonel told the New York Times, "We were fighting him for years. We were not gaining much ground because he was well-equipped, well dug-in and the terrain was terrible. We were sacrificing too many casualties."


KHUN SA'S JUNGLE HIDEOUT

Bert Lintner wrote on Asia Online: “By no stretch of the imagination could Homong have been described as a "jungle hideout" - a common phrase used by the press in the 1980s and early 1990s. On the contrary, it was - and still is - a bustling town boasting well-stocked shops, spacious market places, a well laid-out grid of roads with street lights. More than 10,000 inhabitants lived in wooden and concrete houses amid fruit trees, manicured hedges and gardens adorned with bougainvillea and marigolds. Huge signs indicated where you could have your travel permits to Thailand across the border issued, re the following by Bert Lintner as found in Asia Online, November 1, 2007:


"There were schools, a Buddhist monastery, a well-equipped hospital with an operating theater and X-ray machines—all maintained by qualified doctors from mainland China— video halls, karaoke bars, two hotels, a disco and even a small park complete with pathways, benches and a Chinese-style pavilion. Overseas calls could be placed from two commercially run telephone booths.

"Local artifacts, historical paintings and photographs were on display in a "cultural museum", and a hydroelectric power station was being constructed, but never fully finished, to replace the diesel-powered generators then providing Homong with electricity. Other unusual construction projects included an 18-hole golf course intended for the many Thai, Taiwanese, Singaporean, Hong Kong, Malaysian, South Korean and Japanese businessmen who were then flocking to buy precious stones at Khun Sa's gem center, also located in Homong. As a young man, Khun Sa was an avid golfer, and over the years he was known to have made several influential friends on golf greens.

"At that time, he was supposed to be the most wanted man in the world, but, in reality, he was pursued by no one. He lived in a one-story concrete building surrounded by a well-tended garden featuring orchids, Norfolk pines and strawberry fields. But his house was also ringed by bunkers housing 50-caliber, anti-aircraft machine-guns and swarms of heavily armed soldiers. 'You never know,' he once told me during an interview. 'I have an army, so I'm free. Look at poor [Myanmar opposition leader] Aung San Suu Kyi. She's got no army so she's under house arrest.'" (source)


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VANG PAO: THE FIRST WARLORD


MEETING WARLORDS, ET AL



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VANG PAO: THE FIRST WARLORD

The First Warlord as cited in the link that brought you here refers to the first of two warlords that the Wanderling met and interacted with during his travels in Southeast Asia circa 1964, to wit:


Following the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in March of 1954, in order to ensure western interests would continue to be maintained in the general greater southeast Asian sphere, the U.S. and/or allies or closely allied mercenaries or surrogates continued to keep their hands in the pie at some level or the other.

One of those closely allied mercenaries relative to American interest was an otherwise minor Laotian warlord that through his association with the U.S. grew much more powerful than otherwise would have been ordained. Through a series of events I found myself in the court of that same warlord, as so pictured below. The downstream outflow from that encounter, an encounter of which was put into place by others well beyond my control, later found me miles and miles away high in the mountains of the Himalayas outside the confines of any warlord or political power, in one of those ancient monasteries truly beyond the reach of time.



MAJ. GENERAL VANG PAO
1960's LAOTIAN WARLORD

The unfolding series of events that led to me being in the court of the warlord, actually the first of two warlords I had the good fortune, or bad fortune of meeting as the case may be, was described quite well by a somewhat defunct looking homeless man that I met across the street from the Union Station in Los Angeles many years after the fact. He came out of nowhere one day while I was waiting between trains saying he knew me, with me basically telling him I was sure the two of us had never met. Then the homeless man, speaking about me, laid out the following that only a person who had been there could have known, as found at the source so cited:


"(W)hile other low-ranking members in the military contingent I was with were off trading cheap hand-mirrors and pocket combs for favors with the local tribeswomen, in that we were all sheep-dipped and I was in civilian garb, I had gone off on my own volition easily passing myself off like some Peace Corps volunteer rather than a heavily armed GI, to lend a hand in repairing and building an irrigation ditch and fresh water conduit that supplied drinking water to one of the villages. An advisor to the warlord, a shaman, informed the general of my actions and the general invited me join him for dinner."(source)


Years later, not long after the official or formal end of the American military presence in Southeast Asia, it came to my attention that two people who had at one time played major roles in my life in that region of the world had moved to the U.S., more specifically, Orange County, California, and for no other reason than I could, I sought them out. One, of course, was General Vang Pao, with the other being onetime Air Vice Marshal come vice president of Vietnam, Nguyen Cao Ky. As for Khun Sa, unlike both Nguyen Cao Ky and Vang Pao I never met or saw him again in or outside of Burma after that night I first met him.

Me ending up having both the time and luxury of being in a position to seek out both Nguyen Cao Ky and Vang Pao really came about primarily because of a number of Orange County based "to do" requests by my Uncle. My uncle and I had a long time running relationship with Orange County going clear back to when I was a kid. My Stepmother had for years owned a small weekender or summer-type cottage in Laguna Beach a short distance south of Main Beach on the west side of PCH, of which my Uncle and I used regularly in my youth --- my uncle having developed ties with the art colony there.

However, as time moved along and I grew older my Uncle had long since left the Laguna Beach art scene and returned to his even longer established old haunts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For whatever reason, even though he had moved back to Santa Fe he continued to maintain or have access to a post office box in Laguna. Every once in awhile a package would come to me from my uncle through a variety of means, hand delivered, etc., that I would then take to the post office and put into his P.O. box or, if requested to do so by my uncle, hand deliver it to someone associated with what was known in the late 60s early 70s as the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.

The Brotherhood dealt heavily in the movement and sale of 1960s counter culture indulgents such as marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, and LSD --- reportedly with upwards of $200 million in sales in the late 60s. In that the Brotherhood operated mostly beyond the legitimate confines of the law in a majority of their business transactions they were a little touchy about who they let close. However, it all went down fairly easy for me because I was already semi-known by many of the higher ups and inside-members of the Brotherhood.(see)


I was delivering a package to the Laguna Beach post office box for my uncle when I was approached by a man who said he was an associate of a man by the name of Johnny Roselli. He told me after being advised by members of the Brotherhood on how to find me he had been monitoring the post office for sometime in an effort to contact me. It so happened Roselli was a high ranking member of organized crime, also referred to as the mob, the Mafia, the syndicate, the outfit, and any number of other names and titles. Call it what you will, Roselli was an integral part of it all most of his life, from a young teenage boy in the 1920s to his ultimate demise under their aegis in 1976. Even though he was never a don in the classical sense, he carried a huge amount of sway, influence and stature ahead of himself in the mob, most certainly well beyond his made-man status.

I wasn't even ten years old the first time I met Roselli. One day my stepmother drove up to Santa Barbara to visit him in a hospital and took me with her. At the time I didn't know who he was, what he did, or how the two of them knew each other. All she told me was that he was a longtime friend and was recuperating in the hospital after having been in the army and she wanted to pay her respects.

While it is true Roselli had been in the army, he only served until he was arrested on federal charges, found guilty and sentenced to ten years in federal prison. After serving roughly three and a half years he was paroled. Roselli had tuberculosis and the time in prison only aggravated the condition. As soon as he was released he immediately put himself under hospital care. When my stepmother and I saw him in the hospital he may have been recuperating alright, but not from the army, but prison. From that day forward, continuing on-and-off for another twenty-five years, mainly in connection with some aspect of my stepmother, I had a variety of interactions with Roselli.


The man in Laguna Beach, asking me to wait, being in those days a time long before cell phones, went to a nearby payphone and made a call. The person he called had to call someone else. When he called back the man handed me the phone. The man on the other end said he was a friend of Roselli's and to prove it he was told to tell me not to ride any more trains to Sacramento.(see) Knowing full well what he meant I asked what he wanted and he responded with wanting to know if I remembered delivering a letter to a lady in Long Beach for Roselli. When I answered yes he asked me the name of the lady. When I told him her name was Brenda Allen he said on behalf of Roselli he needed to meet with me.

A few days later, feeling compelled to take the man at his word, especially since his Sacramento comment and knowing it wouldn't be known either by law enforcement officials or members of the mob other than Roselli, as instructed I met the same man who I had talked to in Laguna Beach in the downtown Greyhound bus station in Los Angeles. He inturn took me by taxi to the L.A. Chinatown district. I was hustled through the back door of a scummy little restaurant off a pig sty of an alley and pointed to a very narrow wooden set of steps that led upstairs to a surprisingly sunshiny and immaculately kept small room just above the kitchen. In the room were two extremely fine looking skimpily dressed, albeit notably high class mid-20s Asian women sitting on a couch and close by some obviously recently used drug paraphernalia spread out across the glass coffee table in front of them.

Also in the room was a burly older white man in a dark sports jacket with a white dress shirt opened at the neck and no tie standing with his back to the door staring out the window. The man kept his back to me most of the time while he continued to stare out the window and I continued to stare almost exclusively at one of the Asian women who had not long after my arrival, propped both her feet and long bare legs up on the coffee table knees together. When I glanced over she immediately spread her legs wide apart revealing she was clearly clean shaven all the way up a la a Brazilian or Hollywood wax with no underpants. The man asked if I knew Roselli as well as how, why, and how long.

By this time in my life I had been a lot of places and done a lot of things, but catching me off guard almost as though I was out of my league, the young woman placed the index finger of her right hand in her mouth slightly wetting it as she turned it, then wiped it across the residue of white powder on the coffee table. Almost like a Miami Vice episode of ten years later without the background music she gently rubbed the powder along both sides of the up-and-down outside edges of the fold at the top of her legs all the while looking at me then down then back as though inviting me try some. Redirecting my thoughts as much as I could I told the man I had known Roselli since before I was ten, had interacted with him several times, primarily on behalf of my stepmother over the years, but as far as I could remember, had not seen or been in contact with him in over a decade. The man said that was perfect as I would be "clean." Explaining further he said Roselli had helped me in the past, now it was my turn to help him.


On August 26, 1973 Roselli was transferred from the prison at McNeil Island, located in southern Puget Sound, northwest Washington to the prison on Terminal Island, located in the harbor a few miles south of Los Angeles. A month and a half later, on October 5, 1973, he was going to be released from Terminal Island and placed on parole. The man told me he wanted me to visit Roselli in prison prior to this parole, but since only relatives or approved friends could see him I needed to be put on the visitor's list. He handed me an addressed business-size mailing envelope with some papers inside to fill out which, when returned to the prison, if cleared and after Roselli's OK, I would be put on an approval list to visit . He said after I was approved to go see him, but be advised that during the visit I may be not be left alone with him, possibly monitored or even recorded. He will already be prepped so don't try and give him anything or take anything from him that might raise any suspicions. Just be an old friend and talk to him about anything and everything --- the old days, my stepmother, whatever --- but, somewhere along the way, after talking for a while swing the conversation around so I could insert the following sentence in the exact words:


"One more thing before I forget Mr. Roselli, I was going to see your sister in Florida, but can't because of traffic. She is still upset because Uncle Sam treated you so badly when you were in the Army."


SHEEP DIPPED


THE SAIGON TEA GIRL


JOHNNY ROSELLI: MAFIOSO


OPERATION WHITE STAR: LAOS, 1959 - 1962
















Footnote [1]


"He eventually went on to form his own army of a few hundred men. In the early 1960s, his small private army was even recognized officially as the 'Loi Maw Ka Kwe Ye,' a militia and home guard unit."


Even in the above early stage of the game Khun Sa was building for his future supremacy and power in the area. In those days up to recent history the majority of the opium being grown was already falling under the control of Khun Sa. Most of that opium came down from Burma to Thailand by mule train to the railhead in Chiang Mai under his auspices, with one vital exception. On the long mule train trail to the railhead, in that his militia was still small, Khun Sa recruited remnant soldiers of Chiang Kai Shek's old KMT, the Kuomintang to help with the protection. When Chaing Kai Shek and his Nationalist troops escaped to Taiwan a good portion of his army had been split into separate parts with large remnants remaining in the far reaches of the western provinces basically living off the land and scrounging for a living. Some of that scrounging included providing security for Khun Sa's opium being moved overland by mule to Chiang Mai.

A few short years later, in 1967, Khun Sa clashed with the KMT remnants when someone in their hierarchy decided rather than providing security through what was not much more than flat out extortion they would just take over the whole operation, beginning with an attempt at blocking his routes and ambushing his caravans. Because of the KMT actions and Khun Sa's effort to negate those actions, what transpired became known as the 1967 Opium War.


At the very top of the page is an opening quote that mentions Khun Sa's massive 16-ton opium convoy that left the Shan states sometime in the spring of 1967. The convoy was his attempt to wrest the extortion ability of the KMT out of their hands. Khun Sa, keeping the KMT at bay or staying just ahead of them most the way with most if not all of the local militia groups on his side, his convoy was able to cross the Mekong into Laos --- albeit, with the Kuomintang hot on his heels.




No sooner had Khun Sa crossed into Laos than the KMT did so also, followed by a huge fire-fight erupting between the two. Then, simply put, once in Laos with a gun battle raging between them and with both sides refusing to leave Laotian soil after officially being ordered to do so by Laotian authorities, Ouan Rathikoun, the commander-in-chief of the Laotian official government military, sent two Royal Laotian Air Force AT-6 Trojans to bomb and strafe both groups. After two days Khun Sa retreated back across the river leaving all the opium. The KMT being left without boats headed north along the river carrying the opium with them. Striking a deal after Rathikoun forces surrounded them, the KMT basically traded the opium for freedom, ending up back in their old stomping grounds a short time later.(see)

The "(see)" link, previous, probably provides the most indepth and accurate account of the 1967 Opium War, including maps and such. Most of what has come down to us regarding the war is, one way or the other, taken from that same source. However, it was published in 1972, some years prior to Khun Sa's renewed rise to power. Shortly after the battle, with his 800 man army in disarray, Khun Sa was arrested by Burmese authorities and incarcerated. A few years later he was "sprung" by advocates and not long after that he was ruthlessly back on top, commanding a 20,000 man personal army and completely in charge of large swaths of land and all of the opium trade, staying that way until his retirement many years later.


As found in the source so cited in the quote below, in the early years, prior to any of the above, on the way back through Burma from high in the Himalayas and the Qinghai-Tibet plateau the Wanderling came across Khun Sa's encampment with the following results:


"On the return trip we stopped for a couple of nights at a military encampment or compound of Khun Sa. At first I thought we had been captured and taken to the camp, which for all practical purposes, we were. However, once we were inside the perimeter of the compound it was quite obvious the Australians and Khun Sa knew each other. He wanted to see the man under the protection of the Lord Buddha. After a quick introduction I was told I was under HIS protection now. Everybody laughed. Then Khun Sa motioned me closer, almost immediately dropping his eye contact from my eyes to that of the the small gold Chinese character dangling around my neck. Reaching forward he softly took the tiny medallion between his thumb and index finger, looking at it very carefully and rubbing it for what seemed the longest time. The background noise and the overall din of the soldiers in the camp became quiet and the air stilled. As a man who could have and take anything he wanted I thought he was going to yank the chain from my neck. Instead he allowed it to gently fall against my skin and stepped back and the sound returned to normal. Basically a tribal person seeped in superstition, Khun Sa, and no doubt along with a good part of his camp as well, knew that for the necklace to have the intended power vested in it, it had to either be given freely and without malice or found after having genuinely been lost. Otherwise, if taken or stolen, its intent would be reversed and what would befall the person so involved would be quite the opposite of the protection it provided."(source)


The immediate circumstances leading up to me being in the encampment of Khun Sa in the first place basically goes back to the operation of a newly established heroin manufacturing refinery located in Long Tieng, Laos --- and because of that refinery, a greater need by the operators for ever larger amounts of opium to feed it --- hence the need in the same people's minds to catch up with Khun Sa's opium carrying caravan.

The problem with the whole scenario as presented above and elsewhere, most notably as it has been reported in Doing Hard Time In A Zen Monastery, is that most experts on the subject are pretty much in agreement that during the same period of time I am talking about there were NO operational refineries anywhere in, near, or close to the area --- or for that fact the whole region --- especially so any remotely capable of producing an end product as pure as No. 4 injectable.


Alfred W. McCoy, the author of The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (1972), is considered the utmost authority on such things as related to the above and most people who bloviate on-and-on about the subject garner their information from his works or from those who have. The only bone I have to pick with McCoy, and what is of interest here because of my of my own personal involvement, is what McCoy has written about heroin refineries and when they first appeared in the Golden Triangle. He states that in the EARLY 1960s "none of the Golden Triangle's opium refineries had yet mastered the difficult technique required to produce high-grade no. 4 heroin (90 to 99 percent pure)." Further down in the article he writes that it was only toward the END of the 1960s that opium refineries in the Burma-Thailand-Laos tri-border area began producing high-grade heroin --- and then only in limited supplies.(see)

A great number of people who profess to know about such things typically go with with McCoy and his research, which again I say for the most part, at least on the broader sense, is accurate. So said, great number or few, not all agree with McCoy, including myself and author Martin Booth regarding there being NO available injectable No. 4 heroin in Burma-Thailand-Laos tri-border region prior to the end of the 1960s.

In his book "OPIUM: A History," Thomas Dunne Books (1996), Booth, using other or additional sources than McCoy, and of which I am in agreement with because of my own experiences, states that the first, albeit rudimentary, operative refineries for making fairly high qualitiy injectable No. 4 heroin began showing up in in the general area in 1963. To my knowledge there were at least two. One in Thailand in a village Booth has identified as Mang Tang Wu and the other in the vicinity of the then so-called secret city of Long Tieng, Laos, of which I saw myself personally in operation. The problem in the operation for both was finding and keeping knowledgeable chemists and putting into place and maintaining a reliable, trusted source and delivery of necessary chemicals into such remote areas, then sustaining the operation for any continued length of time.(see)

the Wanderling


OPERATION HAT
THE CIA IN TIBET AND THE HIMALAYAS

THE PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER
AND THE ASIAN WARLORD


















REGARDING JEFFREY HAYS:

My experience has been that web sites come and go all the time. Every time I link to a good or excellent page such as what Jeffery Hays' has written regarding Khun Sa, for whatever reason they seem to disappear into cyber space leaving me with a broken link and the need to search for a new source. With thousands of links amongst my pages it becomes almost incomprehensible to keep up. So said, the above Khun Sa page, because of it's well sourced quality and depth of information, has been adapted and presented here through my own auspices primarily through Hays' works. In a general overview of all his works, Hays writes:


"I have used mostly print sources such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Daily Yomiuri (a Japanese newspaper), Times of London, International Herald Tribune, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, Sports Illustrated, Atlantic Monthly, Natural History, Archeology magazine, Reuters, AP, Kyodo News, AFP, information from national tourist offices, tourist brochures I have picked up from places I have visited, Lonely Planet Guides, other travel guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications."


As of 2013 Hays writes the following about himself:


"I am a teacher and writer currently living in Saga, Japan. I was born in the Mojave Desert in California and brought up mostly in Reston Virginia, in the Washington D.C. suburbs. I graduated from Wesleyan University in 1979 and later took courses to be a high school teacher. Over the years I wrote about rock music and had some pieces published in the Washington Post, the NME, The Face and other publications, wrote a guide about sports in the Washington D.C. area, worked construction, did a stint as bike messenger in D.C. but mostly I have worked overseas as an English teacher—at an elementary school in Istanbul, language institutes and a university in South Korea, as a freelancer in Barcelona and for the last 10 years or so running my own little informal schools in Japan. Being an English teacher is not a very high status job but it does allow one to travel around and has given me ample free time to pursue the website project that you see here."(source)


the Wanderling


















_________________


There was never any mail in the box when I was there and the packages I placed into the box were always gone when I put another one in. It is my belief the packages, because of their small size and light weight, contained Peyote buttons for someone's private or personal use. My uncle had strong connections to a number of southwest Native American groups and considered the use of Peyote as spiritual or religious in nature and not breaking any fundamental law. He was, however, very familiar with the federal statutes and the penalties behind them, and made stringent efforts to cloud the issue as much as possible between himself and any recipient thereof. For some mysterious reason not long after the Brotherhood ceased operations the delivery of packages mysteriously stopped as well.


CASTANEDA AND DON JUAN: DATURA OR PEYOTE


CASTANEDA'S 1960's PAPER ON DATURA


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