ASIA
17 - Chiang Kai-Shek
17    CHIANG KAI-SHEK
President of Taiwan

The Chinese civil war pitted Mao Tse-Tung's Communists against Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalists. The U.S. backed Chiang, but when he coudn't do the job they also supported Japanese troops fighting the Communists, even before WW II had ended. Hated for his wanton cruelty, corruption, and decadonoe, Chiang did not enjoy the support of the Chinese people; entire divisions of the Nationalist army defected, so on a few occasions, Chiang hired gangsters to get rid of leftist elements. Nevertheless, Chiang was defeated and fled to the island of Formosa (Taiwan). A presidential commission appointed by Harry Truman reported after Chiang's arrival there that his forces "ruthlessly, corruptly, and avariciously imposed their regime" on the population. Under Nationalist rule, 85% of the population was disenfranchised, but the onset of the Korean War and the anti-communist hysteria of the McCarthy era led the U.S. to declare that the tiny island represented the real government of China. The U.S. was crucial in keeping mainland China our of the U.N. until 1971.
Chiang gave the World Anti-Communist League, an international organization with links to Nazis, drug smugglers and the CIA, its first home, permitting WACL members to use a military academy there to train troops for Latin American military coups. President Carter tried to cut U.S. ties to WACL, but Ronald Reagan received campaign funds from the group and WACL became involved with training and supplying contras in Argentina and Taiwan. Chiang Kai-Shek died in 1975, but many of his policies continue in Taiwan.

18 - Ngo Dinh Diem
18    NGO DINH DIEM
President of South Viet Nam

Ngo Dinh Diem oppressed the Vietnamese people so badly that many of them turned to the communists for protection from his ruthless rule. Even President Eisenhower admitted that "had elections been held, possibly 80% of the population would have voted for Ho Chi Minh [the communist leader]." Yet Diem, who had once lived in the U.S., had connections in Washington who liked his anti-communism. He founded the Can Lao Party (CLP), a secret police force overseen by his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, and Nhu's wife, Madame Nhu. The three (whom one U.S. official called "three victims of blank wall irrationality") were notorious for their ineptitude and cruelty, and, according to Brigadier General Edward Lansdale, the CLP was not their idea; it "was originally promoted by the U.S. Stale Department" to rid the country of communists.
Diem alienated urban professionals by suppressing all opposition to his regime. He alienated peasants by cancelling their age old local elections, forcing them off their land, and moving them into "agrovilles" surrounded by barbed wire. which even U.S. officials conceded bore a striking resemblance to "concentration camps." Ultimately, he angered his own military officers because he promoted on the basis of loyalty - not merit. In an effort to keep Diem in power, the U.S. tried to persuade him to make political reforms. He refused, so they persuaded him to make "military reforms." But when Diem was finally overthrown and assassinated in 1963, none of his generals rose to defend him. Nor did the U.S., which, after 8 years, had finally realized that Diem wasn't popular.

19 - Park Chung Hee
19    PARK CHUNG HEE 
President of South Korea

Free and open expression has not come easily to South Koreans. Beatings, torture and execution of the regime's political opponents have been a way of life since the Korean War. The tenure of former President Park Chung Hee, who came to power in a 1961 military coup, exemplifies the kind of leader South Koreans have been forced to endure.
Park's virulent anti-communism won him U.S. support, although Article Ten of his Anti-Communist law provided for prize-money to be awarded "to a person who has inevitably killed an offender [of the Law] or has forced an offender to commit suicide." The water torture, which leaves no physical  marks on the victim, was a favored technique of Park's security forces. Cold water was forced up the nostrils through a tube while a cloth was placed in the victim's mouth to prevent breathing. Many anti-communist "interrogations" were run by the KCIA, a U.S. creation modeled after the American CIA. One victim told Amnesty International, "I was taken to KCIA headquarters, my hands tied together, and I was tied to a chair. I was not allowed to have any sleep. At night, they would drag me to the basement where they would beat me with a long, heavy stick, and jump on me They were trying to make me confess that I was a spy." Despite such brutal behavior, the U.S. has maintained a first-rate strategic relationship with South Korea, providing successive repressive regimes with extensive U.S. aid. Park Chung Hee was assassinated by the KCIA in 1979, but South Korea is still a nation troubled by lack of human rights.

21 - Mohammed Zia Ul-Haq
21    MOHAMMED ZIA UL-HAQ
President of Pakistan

In 1979, when General Mohammed Zia Ul-Haq executed his elected predecessor, Zulfigar All Bhutto, and declared martial law, drugs were unknown in Pakistan, but by 1984 Pakistan was fumishing 70% of the world's high grade heroin. That same year, George Bush addressed a group of Pakistani officials and praised the government of President Zia for its anti-narcotics program. However, among the guests listening to "Vice" President Bush were many high-ranking officials with links to one of the most lucrative heroin syndicates in the word. Although the U.S. government had some very capable drug enforcement agents in Pakistan, they did not break even one narcotics case there. A senior Pakistani narcotics officer said he had concluded the U.S. was unwilling to press for arrests that might embarrass a government so closely tied to Washington.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger called Pakistan a "frontline state" defending "free people everywhere." That may explain why, despite its unsavory record of jailing and torturing dissidents, Pakistan under Zia was the fifth largest recipient of U.S. aid, receiving over $3 billion in 1982, of which over half was for weapons. Zia eventually lifted martial law and called for general elections in 1985. However, many of his outspoken opponents were jailed during the elections and for several days afterward.
Zia died in a mysterious plane crash in 1988 and the political party of his predecessor then formed a government behind the late President Bhutto's daughter Benazir Bhutto.

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Text © 1990 Dennis Bernstein & Laura Sydell. Art © 1990 Bill Sienkiewicz
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