'US helped Pol Pot's rise to power'
The Khmer Rouge's most notorious prison chief told a Cambodia war crimes court today US policies in the 1970s contributed to the rise of Pol Pot's genocidal regime.
Kaing Guek Eav, or 'Duch,' the brutal director of the infamous torture centre S-21 said he believed the Khmer Rouge regime would have died out had the US not supported the right wing military government that removed Prince Norodom Sihanouk from power in a 1970 coup.
Duch, who is on trial charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, made the claims as part of a detailed testimony of his own journey from maths teacher to fanatical communist revolutionary.
Earlier, he told the UN backed tribunal that he had 'sacrified everything' to the revolution, but had realised early on that it would end in 'disaster'.
During the four years the Khmer rouge were in power from 1975 - 1979, over 1.7 million Cambodians - nearly a quarter of the population - died from starvation, disease and execution. Between 1977 and 1979 Duch himself presided over the deaths of up to 17000 victims who were brought to S-21 to be interrogated and murdered.
Last week, he took the stand to express his remorse at the atrocities committed under his command. As his trial entered its second week he took the stand again, this time to desribe his part in the rise of the Khmer Rouge. More
The Cambodia Controversy
Pol Pot's activities in exile had been secretly financed by the United States since January 1980. The extent of this aid 85 million dollars between 1980 and 1986 was shown by a letter to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations..." (John Pilger)