]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]         OPERATION KEELHAUL II         [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[
                                by Sysop                       (6/16/1989)

     During World War II, some 2.5 million Soviet citizens found themselves
in Germany and the occupied countries as prisoners of war, slave laborers, 
or refugees.
     From 1944 to 1947, these people were forcibly repatriated in a number 
of operations, the best known of which was Operation Keelhaul in 1946-7. 
Many committed suicide rather than return to Soviet slavery. Many others 
were dragged kicking and screaming into the trucks that took them out of 
Allied territory. The public, by and large, did not know of these 
atrocities; in fact, the operation was scaled down to some slight extent 
because Eisenhower and Montgomery threatened to divulge it to the public. 
The scaling down consisted in formally "screening" the victims for 
politically persecuted ones. But in essence the politicians prevailed: the 
officers knew that they had to fulfill a certain quota or have the Soviet 
authorities (who were by then running the camps) step in. The "screening" 
was merely a rationalization in making Britain and the US a party to the 
     Of the displaced persons thus forcibly returned to the Soviet union, 
MORE THAN 800,000 WERE SLAUGHTERED by Stalin's regime. In the history of a 
weak, hypocritical and spineless West, Operation Keelhaul and allied 
operations stand out as most shameful examples.
     Today a new Operation Keelhaul is about to take place: some 500,000 
"Boat People" who left Vietnamese Communism were willing to face the 50% 
chance of drowning or dying of thirst and starvation as they took to the 
sea in overcrowded boats. Those that made it to a port that did not turn 
them back to the sea (like Singapore and others), were put in camps under 
very bad conditions; but still they would rather die than go home.
     At present, there are some 46,000 of them in Hong Kong; 9,000 of them 
arrived in May 1989 alone. Hong Kong can no longer handle them, and the US, 
Australia, and other Western nations -- who share a good deal of the 
responsibility of what happened in Vietnam and who are perfectly satisfied 
to maintain the source of the Boat people by keeping Vietnam Communist -- 
are continuously cutting the quotas of how many they are going to accept.
     The solution by the politicians is Operation Keelhaul II: forcible 
repatriation. This was first proposed by Hong Kong's Governor, and is now 
strongly supported by Margaret Thatcher, the most shameless anti-Communist 
masquerader since Ronald Reagan. 
     A UN conference in Geneva convened in mid-June 1989 found the same way 
to rationalize this outrage as in Operation Keelhaul I: a "screening 
procedure." Only this time there is a special twist in the nomenclature: 
those who cannot prove individual political persecution will be forcibly 
repatriated as "economic migrants."
     This rings a special bell in my ear, for it is a term I heard many 
times during WW II in England. It was applied by Communist refugees to non-
Communist Jews who had escaped from the Nazis. The implication was that "We 
Communists oppose the Nazis on political and ideological grounds, but these 
Jews left the Nazi-occupied countries only to make a better living."
     The parallel with the Boat People in Hong Kong is horribly precise.
     The (undefined) distinction between "economic migrants" and those NOT 
condemned to death or slavery will evidently be left in the hands of some 
lowly officers whose main object will be, as it was in Keelhaul I, to 
fulfill the quotas.
     The US, surprisingly, was the only one to vote against this outrage. 
However, this is an empty gesture. It costs Mr Baker nothing to instruct 
the US delegate to grandstand with an opposition vote. It would be a less 
hollow gesture to admit all of these brave people to the US, one of the 
world's most underpopulated countries, and one that is not without 
responsibility for the existence of the Boat People. Moreover, the US does 
not mind admitting a million or so illegal immigrants from Mexico, who 
figure disproportionately in both the welfare and the AIDS count, whereas
the Vietnamese, as experience has shown -- are highly motivated people with 
a Western work ethic. (Personally, I would still prefer the moral over the 
economic argument, though.)
     What can be done?
     Writing to your Congressman won't hurt, but it will probably result in 
little more than a form letter reply. Writing to your local paper may be a 
little better, but your letter, if it not censored outright, will be 
drowned out by the letters and editor)  ;n from those who promised no blood 
bath if the US withdrew from Viet Nam.
     Could the analogy with the Jewish "economic migrants" of WWII help?
     I believe it is worth a try. It is unthinkable that this country 
(which, alas, today means its media) would remain indifferent to the 
forcible repatriation of 46,000 Jews who had escaped from the Soviet Union. 
And there is, I feel fairly sure, a larger proportion of Jews in the media 
than in the general population. It will not be difficult to identify the 
Jewish editors and reporters in the national and local media. They often 
write to commemorate the Jewish Holocaust, and about cases when Jews on the 
run in the 1930s were refused asylum.
     You may quote me on the fact that during World War II, the term 
"economic migrant" (or "economic emigre'") was applied by Communists to non-
Communist refugees, virtually all of whom were Jews fleeing from the Nazis.
Ask these editors or reporters whether they would be indifferent to forced
repatriation if the 46,000 Boat People were Jews who had escaped from the
Soviet Union -- today a less vicious totalitarianism than that of Viet

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