[ Accueil Totus ] [Cambodia Genocide Controversy]


compiled and edited by Serge Thion



An Electronic Publication
This document has been displayed for several years on several websites. It appears now (Nov. 1999) that all these websites have either closed down, or underwent massive alterations. The Internet moves fast. This document is now posted on <> which contains a <serge thion archive>






This file is a compilation of documents concerning a public controversy. It is not (and cannot be) exhaustive.

The Editor of this File wish to acknowledge the help he received from several persons who provided him with documents, among whom Steve Heder, Julio Jeldres, Steve Graw, Stephen Denney and others who cannot be named. A special gratitude is due to Michael Hayes, the publisher of the Phnom Penh Post who hosted a big part of the controversy in his columns. The two main champions in the controversy, Ben Kiernan and Stephen Morris, were not asked to contribute to this File. But this possibility remains open to them for further editions.
Everyone will understand that this File is not closed and remains open to further contributions. Its aim is not to provide a dogmatic and definitive truth but to try to clarify arguments and lead a discussion to a conclusion, if it is possible at all.
The copyright of every signed paper belongs to the author and publishers. Fair use reprint for scholarly use only.

This File contains bona fide firsthand, secondhand and possibly thirdhand extracts from the following (©) publications&nbsp: The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Phnom Penh Post, Outlook, Indochina Chronology, Harvard International Review, Libération (Paris), The Australian and Internet.

This Filez has been available from Sophal Ear's homepage on Internet, <> or directly
<> (4760 K). It has been posted on <> and on several other Cambodian Websites based in California, in 1995-96.

But time has passed and things have changed.

You may now (end of 1999) retrieve it from <>




What used to be called "The Cambodian Question" had several facets.

One was what was happening in Cambodia to the Cambodians themselves, particularly since the country had been engulfed by the Vietnam War in 1970. This particular war in Cambodia has not yet reached an end. Contrary to what the international press could say, this war is still going on. Although its "level" is rather low, it still claims human lives and significant economic losses.

Anther facet is what foreigners think, or believe, or say about what was and what is happening in the country. Foreign observers&nbsp whatever their quality and ability&nbsp have political points of views and fight to impose them. Political battles over Cambodia have been raging since 25 years but one may doubt they had any influence on what was happening in Cambodia itself. Usually foreigners do fight amongst themselves about Cambodia while Cambodians do fight among themselves for power and there is no interference. Sometimes it does and I wish to remind the memory of a friend, Malcolm Caldwell who was shot dead in Phnom Penh in December 1978, victim of such an intermixing of conflicts. But most of the time the two scenes are very far apart: Westerners have their own ideological and doctrinal struggles (about the nature of colonial wars and the relationship of powerful industrial Western powers and poor agrarian third world countries). At the same time, Cambodians do fight their own political struggles where the highest values are patronage, the choice of a powerful group and the need for protection because life is a very cheap commodity.

It is not unusual for foreigners to argue on the basis of what they suppose or assume to be the interest of the Cambodians. This might be a game that some Cambodians play if they believe there could be a profit. But in the average, Cambodian rather avoid being implicated in foreigners' affairs.

The controversy which is the object of this File is purely a Westerners' ploy. It might even be said that it looks as a petty parochial purely Australian affair. This has been triggered in the columns of the Wall Street Journal by a shadowy character named Stephen Morris who gives all the appearances to be a low-level satellite of Mr Henry Kissinger, the well-known instigator of the invasion of Cambodia in 1970 by US troops. Had any big power applied to this situation the Nuremberg legal criteria, Mr Kissinger would have had to face a trial for a number of related crimes. But this did not happen and "Dear Henry" enjoys a very high status, both in the US and elsewhere. This is not the case of Mr Morris who, although he has been associated with various universities in the last 20 years, failed to produce any kind of study that would have remained in our memory. In fact, we hear of Mr Morris from times to times, in newspapers, when some people, supporters of the Big Stick policy, feel they have something to gain to attack those who oppose US imperialism. The climax was reached when Mr Morris allegedly "discovered" one of the most grotesque frauds of the post WWII period, a document saying that US POWs had been given to the Soviets by the Vietnamese before the end of the Vietnam War.

The task will remain for the coming generations to understand how the US public opinion, led by a number of vicious shepherds, could give any type of credence to the Ramboid myth of the "surviving POW's". But whatever the final analysis, it will be shown as a continuity of the radical misunderstanding of Vietnam which is the basis of the US failure there. Mr Morris has never explained the part he played himself in this hoax but the only result is that he may be considered only as a fool.

The reasons why the US President and Congress decided to fund a kind of pre-judicial inquiry into the so-called "genocidal" politics of its former "ally-by-proxy", i.e. Mr Pol Pot and its Democratic Kampuchea Party (or partie) remain to be fully exposed and analyzed. A bit of political psycho-analysis might do some good. But the basic arguments of Mr Morris and those who hide behind him has been extremely weak: the remarked that the Director of the newly established program, Mr Ben Kiernan had supported the Khmer Rouge in 1975-78. It was conveniently forgetting that the same Kiernan brought later an enormous contribution to the understanding (and the moral condemnation) of the said Khmer Rouge. Taken for what they are worth, the arguments against Kiernan are ridiculous. But of course, many other much more serious questions remain. And the least important is not the political signification of this Genocide Justice Act. The American actors and promoters of the Indochinese tragedy have not been brought to justice. Then, what is the meaning of "justice" as invoked by the American legislative and executive powers?

These questions are far beyond the reach of this File. Its only purpose is to inform those who do not follow day by day the Cambodian events. They are quite a crowd.

As the reader shall see, I am a part of the controversy. I am not "neutral" and would not like to be.

Serge Thion, compiler.

November 1995.

The copyright of every signed paper belongs to the author and publishers. Fair use reprint for scholarly use only.

This File contains bona fide firsthand, secondhand and possibly thirdhand extracts from the following (©) publications: The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Phnom Penh Post, Outlook, Indochina Chronology, Harvard International Review, Libération (Paris), The Australian and Internet.

This File contains the following documents:

1 -- This File Read Me

2 -- Introduction, by the Editor, Serge Thion

3 -- Morris/Wrong Man (18K)

The original article in the Wall Street Journal which started the controversy.

4 -- Yale University announces the Cambodia Genocide Program. (9K)

5 -- The text of the Cambodia Genocide Justice Act. (9K)

6 -- The Announcement of the Documentation Center of Cambodia. (9K)

7 -- Post-Genocide Cambodia as seen by the NYT.

8 --Letters by Congressman Hoke. (9K)

9 --B. Kiernan protest, May 1995. (23K)

10 --Morris' attack against Chomsky in 1981. (63K)

11 --An Old Kiernan piece of 1976 as an exemple. (108K)

12 --An old Thion piece of 1977 on the KR. (18K)

13 --Renewed attacks by Morris in WSJ, 1984. (32K)

14 -- Chomsky replies to WSJ, 6 Sept 1984. (9K)

15 -- B. Kiernan replies to WSJ, 1984. (14K)

16 -- Morris "discovers" a strange document in Moscow. (27K)

17 -- Thion questions the use of "Genocide". (27K)

18 -- 26 self-appointed experts "disown" Morris. (9K)

19 -- B. Crossette's views on Genocide in NYT. (14K)

20 -- Heder's review of Kiernan's writings on Genocide. (50K)

21 -- Kiernan answers Morris, 15 Aug 95. (9K)

22 --J. Jeldres criticizes the support given to Kiernan. (9K)

23 -- Thion argues that some crimes have many authors. (50K)

24 -- Thion replies to the Australian. (9K)

25 --Vickery blames Heder's review. (32K)

26 -- Timor, a case of on-going genocidal policy. (14K)

27 -- Thion writes to Congressman Hoke. (9K)

28 --Genocide Program has a conference in Phnom Penh. (18K)

29 -- Genocide Program will open a Web site on Internet. (18K)

30 -- Heder replies to Vickery. (18K)

31 -- Etcheson (Gen. Progr.) clarifies position. (9K)

32 --Cambodian Genocide Program First progress report. (45K)

33 --No Credible Evidence (9K)

34 --Colby alive and kicking (9K)

35 --Vickery smokes out (9K)

36 -- Vickery vs. Morris, 1981 (17K)

37 -- Vickery vs. Morris, 1983 (11K)

38 -- Morris ssends arms to Cambodia (14K)

39 -- Vickery rebukes Morris, 1985 (6K)

40 -- Colby on McNamara (7K)

41 -- Vickery on KR genocide, 1994 (21K)

42 --Vickery on controversy (6K)


Source: CAMB.GEN.CONTR.FILE 1.0, Files 1 and 2, 1995.

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