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Cablegate: Hmong-Americans Recruit "Troublemakers" From Thai

VZCZCXRO1350
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSQ #0522 2280544
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 150544Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY SKOPJE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7609
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE 0395
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUESEN/SKOPJE BETA
RUEHSQ/USDAO SKOPJE MK
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2333
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL

S E C R E T VIENTIANE 000309

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS
STATE FOR DS/IP/EAP
STATE FOR DS/IP/ITA
PACOM FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/16/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV MK MN KV EU MA PO
SUBJECT: HMONG-AMERICANS RECRUIT "TROUBLEMAKERS" FROM THAI
HOLDING CAMP

REF: A. A: 06 VIENTIANE 1205

B. B: 07 VIENTIANE 0011
C. C: 07 BANGKOK 0596

Classified By: AMBASSADOR PATRICIA M. HASLACH FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (
D)

1. (C) Summary: Unidentified Hmong-Americans are said to be
recruiting Hmong from the holding camp in Thailand's
Petchabun Province to return to Laos to stage incidents
apparently in support of the three-decade-old but failing
Hmong insurgency. The Embassy is working to gather more
information. Meanwhile we are concerned about the safety of
all concerned. End summary.

2. (C) An Embassy contact who has reported accurately in the
past informed the Embassy by e-mail April 15 that
unidentified Hmong Americans had recruited three teams of
7-12 men each, apparently in early February, to go back to
Laos "to cause trouble." Shortly after this, the Embassy
received reports of fire-fights along Route 13 north of the
tourist city of Vang Vieng (about one third of the way from
Vientiane north to Luang Prabang) which led first to a warden
message and later a public announcement advising AmCits
against travel in that area. The contact said the February
fighting was caused by these teams returning to Laos.

3. (C) The contact also passed on reports that another 50 men
had been sent to Bolikhamxai Province -- an area where the
Embassy believes virtually all insurgents have surrendered to
the Lao authorities or fled the country (Ref A). The Embassy
is not aware of any upsurge of fighting in Bolikhamsay.

4. (C) The contact also reported that recruitment continued
in early April, but the Hmong-Americans were only able to
recruit 100 from the camp; their goal was reportedly 300 new
fighters. There is no additional information about the
specific focus of this additional group of 100 men.

Comment
------------

5. (S) We are trying to set a time to meet this contact in
person to be able to gather more precise information,
including names of those involved if possible, than that
which can be sent over the Internet. We are increasingly
concerned about the safety not only of the Hmong Americans
who are reported to be engaged in recruiting these fighters
to return to Laos but also the safety of this contact as well
as that of respected Hmong activists such as Laura Xiong who
have been working to help Hmong leaders, particularly those
at the Nong Khai Immigration Detention Center (Ref C). As
per Ref B, there have been a series of more than 20
assassinations in northeastern Thailand of Hmong Americans
and Lao Americans during the past few years. Those targeted
for assassination have fallen into a nearly identifcal
demographic -- that of those threatening Lao stability.

HASLACH

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