Criminal Justice

More American Officials in Laos Plot?

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It isn’t just the California National Guard that may have had at least a peripheral involvement in an alleged California-based plot to overthrow the communist government of Laos.”

“Officials said their probe may extend to a former Wisconsin state senator, an unnamed congressman and the California Highway Patrol,” an AP article says today. Before their arrest earlier this week, ten plotters sought training from the CHP, according to the Los Angeles Times, and one is a former municipal police officer in California. Former Wisconsin State Sen. Gary George has been named in an affidavit but not arrested or charged and, according to his attorney, “has as much interest in seeing the government of Laos overthrown as he does in the Klingons taking over the Starship Enterprise,” AP reported yesterday.

Retired Lt. Col. Harrison Ulrich Jack, of Woodland, Calif., is among ten alleged plotters. They reportedly are charged with violating the federal Neutrality Act by conspiring to buy Stinger missiles, AK-47s and grenade launchers to ship to Laos via Thailand, in what AP describes as “an elaborate Rambo-esque plot to send mercenaries and nearly $10 million in weapons into Laos to topple the country’s communist regime.” A document filed in federal court in Sacramento, according to Reuters, says the defendants targeted government and military facilities in Laos and “issued instructions that the mercenary force is to destroy these government facilities, to reduce them to rubble, and make them look like the results of the attack upon the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001.”

In addition to Jack, who is reportedly a West Point graduate and decorated Vietnam War veteran, authorities say the arrestees include former Royal Lao Army Gen. Vang Pao of Westminster, now a prominent leader in California’s Hmong community. He led a Central Intelligence Agency-trained mercenary army in Vietnam, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Lawyers for Pao and Jack said they are respected leaders in the military community who can expect sterling character references from government officials familiar with their work. Pao’s counsel contends he is falsely accused, Reuters says.

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