Monday, 2 June 2008

UFO made of biochemical derivatives explodes over Vietnam – no trace can be found

India Daily Technology Team
Jun. 1, 2008

It was the UFO that carries no extraterrestrial life but transmits information about earth and its habitat. It is the drone of the advanced extraterrestrial civilization.

These advanced drones are made of biochemical derivatives. These mimic intelligent life with the ability to be in mission for thousands of light years, fix its own problems and eventually reproduce to move on.

The biochemical nature of the materials resembles the life in earth. But in reality it is itself an advanced life form unidentifiable by our terrestrial type zero science and technologies.

According to media reports from state media of Vietnam, an unidentified flying object exploded in mid-air over a southern Vietnamese island, a day after Cambodia's air force retracted a report of a mysterious plane crash. Area residents reported finding shards of grey material, including one 1.5 meters long. According to the Vietnam News Agency, authorities said the crash may have been a plane, but they were unable to identify whether it was a civil or military aircraft.

The agency added that soldiers were sent out to look for wreckage and survivors, and local authorities contacted airlines in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, but received no reports of missing aircraft.

Some army personnel in Vietnam is perplexed at what they found at the site. There is no clear evidence of any explosion. Metallic parts they found is that of era of US-Vietnam war and has nothing to do with this UFO mid air explosion.

Biochemical UFOs do not leave trace of any nature. Because of their nature and power to bio-disinegrate fast, they do not leave any trace. They travel through wormholes bending space and time. They go across universes through the Hyperspace. They can defy the basic laws of quantum physics. They are propelled by gravity waves. They have the stealth of electromagnetic flux. They are navigated and controlled from parallel universes

Retired US Marine convicted of raping children in Cambodia

US national Michael Joseph Pepe (C) is ecorted by Cambodian police officers at the Municipal Phnom Penh Court in 2006. A federal jury has convicted the retired US Marine captain of travelling to Cambodia to have sex with underage girls after hearing testimony from his victims.(AFP/File/Tang Chhin Sothy)

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — A federal jury has convicted a retired US Marine captain of travelling to Cambodia to have sex with underage girls after hearing testimony from his victims.

Michael Joseph Pepe, 54, of Oxnard, California faces up to 210 years in prison for the guilty verdicts on seven felony counts, the US Attorney's office in Los Angeles said in a statement on Thursday.

During the trial, six girls testified that Pepe drugged, bound, beat and raped them and a prostitute told the court on videotape about bringing him young victims, federal prosecutors said.

A total of seven girls, ages 9 to 12 at the time, were sexually abused by the former Marine captain, the statement said.

Prosecutors also provided evidence seized by Cambodian authorities including rope and cloth strips used to restrain the victims, sedatives and homemade child pornography.

"This case represented one of the most egregious examples of international sex tourism we have ever investigated and the jury's verdict is a reminder that pedophiles who attempt to evade detection and prosecution by committing sex crimes overseas face serious consequences," said Robert Schoch, special agent of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement office of investigations in Los Angeles.

Pepe was prosecuted under a federal law adopted five years ago, the Protect Act, that bolstered penalties against predatory crimes involving children outside the United States.

The investigation was a joint effort by the Cambodian National Police, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service

Dengue Fever

Kim Theary, a two-year-old child suffering from dengue fever, is held by her mother under a tree outside a hospital in Cambodia's Kandal province May 31, 2008.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Robin Denselow
Monday June 2, 2008
The Guardian

Dengue Fever will be hard to avoid this summer. Already booked for a fistful of major festivals, including Glastonbury and Womad, this "Cambodian pop band" are the most unlikely multicultural fusion exponents. They are, in fact, mostly American and were formed by Los Angeles guitarist Zac Holtzman, who has a beard worthy of ZZ Top and became fascinated by the local pop styles while backpacking in Cambodia more than a decade ago. He then began to explore the extraordinary history of Cambodia's pop scene, which flourished in the 1960s, when local musicians mixed western styles with folk melodies. It was brutally crushed in the 70s by the Khmer Rouge.

Holtzman set out to revive 60s Cambodian pop and create a new American-Cambodian style. In Dengue Fever, he is joined by his brother Ethan on keyboards, along with bass, drums, saxophone, and one Cambodian - Chhom Nimol - once a star back home, but discovered by Holtzman while singing for the California Cambodian community in Long Beach.

Making their first British appearance at the Borderline, they proved to be a highly entertaining pop band who were surely capable of even more. Most of the songs were in Khmer and sounded as if they would be too jolly and straightforward if not dressed up by the classy arrangements, with eastern influences mixed with echoes of surf guitar, or transformed by the sheer enthusiasm of the petite and charismatic Nimol, who easily matched the musicians with the power of her singing.

It was enormous fun, if at times lacking in variety. The Khmer pop was matched with the occasional duet in English, such as the witty Tiger Phone Card (about a long-distance call between Phnom Penh and New York), and the final Mr Orange was an inspired guitar-and- brass rock workout. A band to watch.

Return of the natives

ALAMY, Recent sightings include tigers

The independent
Andrew Buncombe reports on the battle to resurrect the wildlife of the killing fields
Monday, 2 June 2008

The dividends of peace are paid in different ways. For the people of Cambodia, scarred by years of fighting and the genocidal reign of the Khmer Rouge, the slow and stuttering transition towards security has provided economic benefits as well as an opportunity to see some of the regime's last remaining leaders brought before a court.

Yet there has been another, more unlikely bonus that has emerged in Cambodia in the past handful of years. In the far east of the country, a remarkable wildlife success story has quietly been taking place, a direct result of the conclusion of the long years of violence that traumatised this particular corner of south-east Asia.

In an area that was once a Khmer Rouge stronghold and organised poaching of big game was carried out to cash in on high prices for pelts in neighbouring countries, environmentalists have been seeing a steady return of some of the region's rarest wildlife. Elephants, tigers, leopards, wild ibis and ox have been spotted in numbers not seen for decades and experts are optimistic those numbers will only grow.

What's more, some of the very people who were once involved in the poaching and who threatened the existence of the wildlife are now intimately involved in the efforts to preserve it.

Men who once carried AK-47 assault rifles and wore the stained battle fatigues of the Khmer Rouge are now employed as wardens, tasked with protecting the animals.

"Obviously it's very slow and it will need many, many more years but what we have seen so far has been fantastic," said Dr Barney Long, a British zoologist and head of the Asian species programme of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) US. "It is only this year that we're setting up a rigorous scientific monitoring process but we keep hearing reports of what is being seen on patrol. There's no doubt that the prey species and large carnivores are coming back. We don't have statistics and we don't have graphs at the moment but it's very obvious that they're coming back."

This is a rare success story in a region where the natural environment is in a constant struggle for survival, trying to ward off encroaching development and the plundering of resources that is taking place in the Mondulkiri province of eastern Cambodia, close to the country's border with Vietnam.

The area, bisected by the Srepok river, was once abundant in wildlife. Indeed, in 1951 when an American zoologist, Charles Wharton, surveyed the area in a search for the rare and almost mythical kouprey – a species of wild cattle – he found it close to a naturalist's paradise.

Photographs he took show an area rich in wild cattle and deer and other animals. Such was the abundance of wildlife there Wharton himself described it as the "Serengeti of Asia".

But as remote as it may be, the region did not escape the impact of war that tore through the region. Firstly, the area was heavily bombed by the US as part of a secret and illegal operation carried out in the late 1960s and early 1970s by the Nixon administration in an effort to disrupt North Vietnamese forces.

Then, after April 1975 when the Khmer Rouge stormed to power in Cambodia – their popular support cemented by the US actions – the area became even more cut off from the outside world.

Even when the Khmer Rouge regime was ousted from control of most of Cambodia, this difficult-to-access region became one of their strongholds. As late as 1999, the area was still controlled by remnants of the Khmer Rouge, even though the majority of its soldiers had surrendered several years earlier.

Dr Long said that, during the years of Khmer Rouge rule, and in the decade of chaotic years afterwards when Cambodia remained plagued by violence, the Mondulkiri area was controlled by poachers linked to the militant Maoist group.

The Khmer Rouge made money by controlling the poaching and being involved in the sale of hides, horns and animal parts to the region's thriving markets, particularly in China and Vietnam. By the time the last peace settlement was signed and the Mondulkiri area considered safe, most of the larger wildlife had either fled or been shot.

When the WWF decided to begin work in the area in 2002, it realised from the start that it would need to involve the local people and convince them of the need to protect the wildlife they lived alongside. Part of that process involved hiring and training former Khmer Rouge fighters to protect the wildlife from which some of them had once made their livelihoods.

"All the people who were living in the area were former Khmer Rouge. If you wanted to hire anyone who knew the forest, you had to hire the Khmer Rouge," said Dr Long. "This was an area where you were either Khmer Rouge or else you did not survive very long. Also this was a country where virtually no one had been to secondary school never mind university so there was a lot of intensive training that had to be done."

Among those poachers turned gamekeepers is Lean Kha. A teenager when the Khmer Rouge came to his village and forced him and the other young men to join its army, he fought in the forests of Mondulkiri against Vietnamese troops who pushed into Cambodia in response to Pol Pot's decision to invade the west of their country. When he fled from the ranks of the Maoist army, it was in these same forests that he survived, hunting tigers, elephants and other threatened species. He reckons he must have killed more than 1,000 animals, including 10 tigers. These days the 45-year-old, who is senior warden at the Srepok Wilderness Area, talks little about those dark days. But he does recognise the error of what he did. "At the time, I was ignorant and did not think there was a problem when I shot those tigers," he recently told National Geographic.

Yet he also says that the threat from poaching is linked to the problem of poverty, which remains widespread in Cambodia. "Some of these people are poaching from the forest to make a living," he added. "But there would not be so many poachers if you help them find other work, if you make them wildlife guides or give them jobs."

If the battle to save Cambodia's wildlife in the aftermath of Khmer Rouge-dominated years has been a slow and difficult process, so too has the struggle to bring the regime's leaders to trial and achieve a degree of reconciliation within the country. A total of five former senior figures within the regime have been detained by a UN-backed tribunal that is hearing charges of genocide.

But the process to deal with the five – Kaing Guek Eav, otherwise known as Comrade Duch and once the head of the S-21 interrogation centre; Nuon Chea, the righthand man of Pol Pot; former foreign minister Ieng Sary; his wife, former minister of social affairs Ieng Thirith; and former head of state Khieu Samphan – has met many difficulties and obstructions. Not least the Cambodian government has been accused of obfuscation because it does not with to draw attention to the former Khmer Rouge members who still serve within the administration.
Meanwhile, the UN tribunal has repeatedly complained that it does not have sufficient funds to proceed with the trials, which are not expected to begin before the latter part of this year at the earliest.

Yet, just as the process continues to move forward, there appears little doubt that the preservation and protection project in Mondulkiri is also making genuine headway.

Last year, the wardens and naturalists were even rewarded with evidence in the form of a photograph of a leopard, taken by the animal herself. In May 2007, a leopard and her young triggered camera traps which captured several images of the felines. "They are very secretive creatures and incredibly difficult to see, even with the best guides," said Nick Cox, a WWF officer based in the region. "But in the Srepok Wilderness Area, our rangers have had recent encounters with leopards that would make big cat biologists green with envy."

Dr Long said he, too, had been struck by how things had changed when he returned to Mondulkiri for the first time since 2000. "I was there in 2000 just after it had become stable. You could tell it was a pretty amazing place but there were not large amounts of wildlife there at the time," he said. "I went back earlier this year and the difference was pretty huge. I was very pleasantly surprised. There was just so much more wildlife.

A brutal four years of power

The Khmer Rouge, an extreme communist movement headed by Pol Pot, is believed to have killed 1.7 million Cambodians during its four-year rule. Given that Cambodia had a population of seven million when the Khmer Rouge seized power in 1975, the genocide was proportionally one of the world's worst.

*The bodies of those who died were spread in what are now known as the Killing Fields, vast mass graves that have become tourist sites. Thousands of victims' skulls have been dug up and put on display.

*Those executed in the Killing Fields were often murdered with axes, knifes and even bamboo sticks because bullets were so scarce. Many of the Khmer Rouge's other victims died through either starvation or disease.

*The term Killing Fields was coined by Dith Pran, a Cambodian photographer who survived the genocide. Dith, who died of pancreatic cancer earlier this year, spent four years in Cambodian labour camps where he survived by pretending to be a lowly peasant. His story became famous after it formed part of the 1984 film, The Killing Fields.

Cambodia The Country's Huge Need of Infrastructure is Drawing Interest, but Closing Deals Proves Difficult

International Herald Tribune
By Erika Kinetz

If private equity interest is the bellwether for the hot investments of the future, consider this: At least four new private equity funds, backed by brand-name investors, are aiming to bring $475 million of foreign investment into Cambodia.

"Eventually, Vietnam worked out well," Marc Faber, a fund manager and investment adviser known for his "Gloom, Boom, & Doom Report," said by telephone from Switzerland. "I think the same may happen to Cambodia."

Faber, who is on the boards of two of the new private equity firms in Cambodia - Frontier Investment & Development Partners and Leopard Capital - is not the only one who thinks so.

Jim Rogers, a commodities specialist who founded the profitable Quantum Fund with George Soros in the 1970s, and Robert Ash, former chief executive of AIG Asset Management Services, are also on the board of Frontier.

Heinrich Looser, the retired chief of private banking at Bank Julius Baer in Zurich, and Jim Walker, a former director and chief economist of CLSA Securities, are on the Leopard board as well.

The surge in interest is part of a general turn toward so-called frontier markets as investors seek shelter from the global credit crisis and diminishing returns in developed markets. It is also one more sign that aid-dependent Cambodia, with a gross domestic product of just $8.4 billion last year, could finally be inching out of the shadow of its chaotic past.

For many in the West, Cambodia remains tainted by the communist crackdown after the end of the Indochina wars. Yet China, South Korea and Malaysia have been pouring in investment. In 2006, foreign direct investment totaled $2.6 billion, up from just $340 million in 2004, according to the International Monetary Fund.

A rising segment of Cambodians - a third of whom still live on the equivalent of less than $1 a day - are snapping up Honda Dream motorbikes and KFC chicken drumsticks. Cambodia, which plans to open stock and bond exchanges next year, also has the potential to produce two things the world now craves: more rice and oil.

Two Indians face death in China for smuggling drugs

The Times of India
Jun 2008
Daniel P George,TNN

CHENNAI: Two Tamils, one a native of Thanjavur and the other from Ramanathapuram, have been sentenced to death by a Chinese court for narcotics smuggling. Though arrested in separate incidents last year in different provinces, both were sentenced on the same day by a court in Zhuohai.

Family members of Askar Miyan, picked up by Chinese customs on February 22, 2007, on charges of possession and smuggling of a banned substance, have appealed to the ministry of overseas Indian affairs to plead for his death sentence to be commuted to "any kind of jail term".

A communique from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, available with this newspaper, says, "Askar Miyan and Hussain Mydeen smuggled drugs into China...police checked Askar’s luggage and found 1301 grams of heroin...38 pieces of heroin, about 300.09 grams, were recovered from Mydeen’s stomach at the Armed Police Hospital..."

It’s now learnt that Askar had left India in August 2003 to work in Thailand as a cook. In that period, a man named Sulthan and his son Saleem Khan had approached him, promising him a job in London. Askar had then called his family and asked them to pay Rs 3.5 lakh to Sulthan.

On receiving the payment, Sulthan asked Askar to fly to Cambodia and assured him a safe passage into London via China. "Although Askar soon landed in Cambodia, he was stuck there for two years doing odd jobs and was even tortured by his employers," his brother Khaja Mohammed told TOI.

Eventually, Askar informed his family on February 14, 2007, that he was finally on his way to China. "That was the last call my brother made. After that we do not know what happened," said Khaja.

It was in April 2007 that the family received a letter from Chinese government. Askar’s father immediately faxed it to his younger son employed in Dubai. Khaja took the help of his Chinese colleagues to translate the letter which said his brother had been arrested on charges of drug smuggling.

Khaja said his family had been cheated by Sulthan who may have used his brother to traffic drugs. Although he has visited China to meet his brother, he said his attempts to contact him in prison have failed.

"I’m sure he wasn’t aware of the items concealed in his luggage. We have appealed to the Chinese government to release him on compassionate grounds as the family is poor and our parents are aged."

In the second conviction, a Tamil named Hussain Mydeen was caught on suspicion when he entered Ghuang Zhou province on March 31, 2007. It was his fourth trip in three months into China and he was travelling under a fake name. Hussain has confessed to the Chinese authorities that he worked as a drug peddler.

Trial of suspected Canadian pedophile scheduled to start Monday

Chaiwat Subprasom/ReutersCanadian Christopher Paul Neil sits inside a detention cell of the Bangkok Criminal Court earlier this year

Canwest News Service
Published: Sunday, June 01, 2008

BANGKOK -- Christopher Neil, the Canadian arrested and charged with the sexual abuse of two Thai boys is scheduled to go on trial Monday.

Mr. Neil was arrested in rural Thailand in October following a global manhunt. He has pleaded not guilty to four charges of molesting and distributing pornographic images of two Thai boys.

Detectives in various countries had been trying to track down the 32-year-old native of Maple Ridge, B.C. since German police discovered photographs on the Internet three years ago of a man sexually abusing 12 boys in Vietnam and Cambodia.

In the photos, the man's face had been scrambled with a digital swirling pattern to conceal his identity. But German police computer experts managed to unravel the disguise. Interpol subsequently issued an unprecedented worldwide appeal through the Internet for information.

If found guilty, Mr. Neil could spend up to 20 years in jail.

Burma's military says new constitution enacted

Burma's ruling generals - including Than Shwe, Maung Aye and Thura Shwe Mann pictured here - have enacted their new constitution. [Reuters]

Radio Australia

Burma's state television is reporting the nation's new constitution has been confirmed and enacted.A referendum on the issue was held this month.

Military government leader Than Shwe said in a statement broadcast on state television the constitutional draft has now been adopted.

The announcement said 92 per cent of voters had endorsed the charter, and that voter turnout was 91 per cent.Earlier, Burma said the constitution would only take effect in two years, once a new parliament convenes following planned elections.

It ignored international calls to delay the referendum held on May 10 and 24 despite the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis.

The disaster has left more than 133,000 people dead or missing.

ANALYSIS: Hun Sen clings to stranglehold on Cambodia

CRUDE: The former member of the ultra-leftist Khmer Rouge is promising the country boundless riches thanks to offshore oil discovered by an ultra-capitalist US company

TAIPEI times
Jun 02, 2008, Page 4

Although 11 parties are geared to fight it out in Cambodia's upcoming national elections, the contest is all but certain to be a one-horse race.

No one seems to have any doubt that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who at age 57 is Asia’s longest-serving head of government, will retain his stranglehold over the country’s politics. Least of all himself.

“I wish to state it very clearly this way: No one can defeat Hun Sen. Only Hun Sen alone can defeat Hun Sen,” he said in a speech earlier this year.

Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party began almost three decades ago as a communist party that headed a single-party state. But as Cambodia changed into a multiparty democracy, so did the party evolve, and proved itself the master of the field.

Today Hun Sen — once a member of the ultra-leftist Khmer Rouge — is crowing that he will bring the country boundless riches thanks to offshore oil discovered by an ultra-capitalist US oil company, Chevron.

In an hour-long speech at a recent development conference, he unequivocally told the audience he’ll remain in power long enough to manage the expected windfall from the black gold, sometime in the next decade.

He spoke as if he had already won a new five-year term in office, though balloting won’t be held until July 27. More than 8 million of Cambodia’s 14 million people are eligible to vote, according to the elections committee.

An oil bonanza would further bolster Hun Sen’s already unchallenged stature at the expense of the country’s democratic freedoms, analysts say.

Once oil production starts, Hun Sen will find it easier to ignore the pressures to liberalize from foreign aid donors — on which the country is now still heavily reliant — and will instead curb freedom of expression, assembly and the press, said Lao Mong Hay, a senior researcher at the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission.

Elections have become a “veneer of democracy,” he said, adding that Hun Sen’s expected victory would further empower “the present oligarchy composed of people in power and tycoons.”

Through guile and threat, Hun Sen has run Cambodia since 1985, when he became prime minister of a Vietnamese-installed communist government.

A peasant’s son, he has intimidated, outsmarted and co-opted his rivals, including those who have spent decades being versed in Western education and democracy.

Hun Sen has also presided over the fast growth of the economy, which remains small by international standards. His party has just three credible rivals, one named after and led by opposition leader Sam Rainsy.

The two other main parties are led by Kem Sokha, a former human rights activist, and Prince Norodom Ranariddh, whose former party booted him out for alleged incompetence — in part because of some political shenanigans orchestrated by Hun Sen’s side.

But because the three parties lack a united strategy and instead pursue their own separate agendas for votes, they are unlikely to loosen the grip of Hun Sen’s party, said Kuol Panha, director of Comfrel, an independent Cambodian election monitoring group.

Tracking McKinley, Part 1: Encounter in Cambodia lands Kelso vet in the middle of a decades-old manhunt

Dan Smith of Kelso reflects on his search for McKinley Nolan, who the U.S. government claims defected to the communist side during the Vietnam war. Roger Werth / The Daily News

Portrait of McKinley Nolan. Courtesy Dan Smith

McKinley Nolan with his common-law wife and family in Southeast Asia. The photo is said to have been taken by the Viet Cong. Courtesy Dan Smith

Cham Sone, center, tells Dan Smith, left, about McKinley Nolan's life in the Cambodian village of Chamkar Cafe. Smith's interpreter, Koung Thol, listens at right. Courtesy Dan Smith

The Daily News online

Saturday, May 31, 2008
By Tony Lystra

Part 1 of a two-part series

At night, Dan Smith sees the face of McKinley Nolan, the Vietnam war traitor, the man who wandered into the jungle and, according to the U.S. government, joined the Viet Cong. He can’t shake the image. The high cheekbones. The narrow nose. The blank, fearful stare in the black-and-white photo he keeps.

For more than two years, Smith, who lives in Kelso, has been searching for Nolan, an Army corporal who, in 1967, abandoned his unit and set out for neighboring Cambodia. The U.S. labeled Nolan a defector, saying he collaborated with the communists and dispatched messages urging his fellow black soldiers to oppose the war. Nobody’s exactly sure where Nolan is today.

None of it would have anything to do with Smith, a 57-year-old retired 911 dispatcher who lost his right leg in Vietnam. Except, in 2005, Smith says, he encountered a man vaguely matching Nolan’s description near the Cambodian border.

Smith has promised the Nolan family that he will find out what happened to the corporal. He has been researching the case with Henry Corra, a New York documentary filmmaker, Nolan’s brother Michael, and Richard Linnett, a New Jersey journalist. (Linnett wrote a story about Smith’s search, which appears in this month’s Penthouse magazine.)

In the last two years, Smith said, he has traveled to Cambodia twice to search for the missing soldier, most recently in April. He has talked with villagers who said they knew Nolan. And, Smith said, he’s passed along tips to U.S. officials, who have become particularly cagey about the subject.

Smith has at times declared he’s done with the hunt, that it’s taken over his life. Then comes another late-night call from his friend and interpreter in Cambodia, and again he’s talking about going back to resolve the mystery once and for all.

“People have accused me of obsession with this,” Smith said last week. “I even thought, ‘Man, am I going nuts? Am I really blowing this out of proportion?’ ”

“I have tried to let go of this thing and I just can’t,” he said. “It’s something I’ve got to see through, wherever it takes me.”

Smith, a sergeant with the Army’s First Infantry Division, arrived in Vietnam in 1969, two years after McKinley Nolan is said to have deserted. Smith said he operated in the same areas that Nolan had.

In 1971, Smith was shot seven times during a Viet Cong ambush near Bon Loc. The injuries left him without a good portion of his right leg. He declined last week to talk about the battle, or his tours. But, he said, “Once you kill someone it destroys you for the rest of your life.... The war’s never going to be over for me. I used to think it would be. I’m going to suffer through this until my dying day.”

Those who have been working with Smith to find Nolan said this isn’t merely a detective story. It’s about redemption. Making up for the past. Helping a family that hurts. Finding peace. By tracking down a deserter he’s never met, they suggested, maybe Smith can find something of himself again.

Smith, with his bushy mustache, Camel cigarettes and an intense yet pleading voice, has been searching for some sort of atonement for years. In 2002, he began saving his money and flying into Saigon, Vietnam’s capital. He’d buy up crutches and wheelchairs, he said, then haul them into the countryside for poor villagers. He’d also dig wells, talk with the locals, listen to their stories.

It was during one of these humanitarian trips in 2005 that, Smith said, he visited Tay Ninh, a rapidly modernizing Vietnamese city near the Cambodian border. Smith said he had fought there more than three decades earlier, when it was little more than a rural village.

“It was the most horrifying place I had been in my life,” he said.

He had worked up enough courage to return. And now, as he walked the streets, Smith said, he spotted a black man standing near a building. People of African descent are rare in Southeast Asia. But there was something else about this man, Smith said. This guy somehow looked like an American G.I.

As he approached, Smith said, the man backed into an alcove, as though he were trying not to be seen.

“I looked at the guy and said, ‘Hey, are you an old soldier?’ ”

The man said yes.“He didn’t really say much,” Smith recalled.

“He kept looking over my head.”When Smith asked his name, the man said, “Call me Buller.”

“Buller,” who said he was from Texas, spoke broken English, as if it were rusty. His teeth were rotted out, the whites of his eyes yellow. He looked “very thin, haggard,” Smith said.Smith mentioned he was headed back to the States soon.

“And that’s when he said a real odd thing,” Smith recalled. “He said, ‘Man, I wish I could go home.’ Like a real deep regret.”

When Smith asked if the pair could have a picture together, the man waved him off and hustled away.

Then, Smith said, a local, who had been watching this exchange, ran across the street and explained none-too-subtly that the man was an “American V.C.”

“Oh my God,” Smith recalls thinking. “I wonder if this guy’s a deserter.”

When he returned to Saigon, he said, he spoke with an American official charged with finding missing G.I.s. The investigator, Smith said, mentioned that it sounded like the case of McKinley Nolan, who was known to go by the nickname “Buller.”

He also suggested Smith might have encountered another missing American, or someone who had taken Nolan’s identity as a fraud.

‘Oppose the dirty war’

Nolan, of Washington, Texas, appears to have had a promising military career at first. He joined the Army in 1965 and went to Vietnam the following year, according to press reports from the 1970s. He left behind a wife and son.

Nolan was awarded a Purple Heart, although the nature of his injury is unclear. Then something changed. Nolan apparently began wandering away from his unit and was reported absent without leave on several occasions, the news reports said. He disappeared for good on Nov. 9, 1967.

Four years later, U.S. officials wrote Nolan’s wife and said he had been seen “in the company of Viet Cong forces,” according to a United Press International story. The UPI reported that Nolan had also been seen alive in Cambodia seven years after he’d gone missing.

It was “not clear whether Nolan was a prisoner or a collaborator with the communists,” the account said. “However, returned American POWs said they had seen an American moving freely among the Viet Cong troops and apparently working for them.”

The New York Times and Chicago Tribune reported in 1973 that Nolan had been “working in North Vietnamese prison camps and preparing propaganda.” A story in the Times said Nolan was “warmly received” by the communists. It also said he had taken a wife and “moves freely through prison camps in the jungle.”

In 1968, according to press accounts, Nolan was said to have been dispatching letters and radio broadcasts to black U.S. troops, telling them to “oppose the dirty war.”

Picking up the trail

Smith hadn’t heard of Nolan until after the 2005 Tay Ninh encounter. But now, he said, he was angry. He thought of his friends killed in the war and wondered if Nolan had a hand in it.

“There’s a difference between killing the enemy and killing your own people,” he said.

He said he began talking with officials from the U.S. Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command, or JPAC, which tracks lost soldiers.

It seems every village in Southeast Asia has a story about a missing American G.I., Smith said. The villagers bring out old U.S. pistols and tell wild stories of how they were procured. They lead visitors to helicopter wreckage wound tight with vines. There’s also a black market for American bones, he said. And many of the locals want to trade tips for money. (Smith said he never paid anyone for information in his search for Nolan.)

Smith said he relayed to American officials the stories he’d heard from the villagers during his trip, including his strange encounter in Tay Ninh. He said he even picked two photos of Nolan from a photo lineup. He was just trying to help, he said last week, and the officials seemed open, friendly and interested at first. Then, Smith said, when he followed up with a phone call weeks later to see if his tips had been useful, JPAC officials stopped talking to him.

JPAC’s coyness piqued Smith’s interest. He still wanted to know if the man he’d seen in Tay Ninh really was Nolan. And, Smith said, he wanted to find Nolan, if in fact that’s who he’d seen, and bring him home to face trial.

“I really had this bent to get him,” he said.

‘What the hell, let's talk to this guy'

Smith decided to track down the Nolan family. Early last year, he got a good lead from the sheriff’s office in Washington County, Texas, where Nolan was from. The sheriff’s office reached out to the Nolans, who in turn called Richard Linnett, the New Jersey journalist and author who had been researching the McKinley Nolan story.

Linnett had befriended the Nolans and also planned to write a book about the family’s story. In an interview last week, Linnett said he’d tabled the project after the Sept. 11 attacks because publishing houses were suddenly looking for stories about American heroes, not “anti-heroes.”

But Linnett said he was intrigued when Nolan’s brother, Michael Nolan, told him a Vietnam vet from Washington state claimed to have seen someone resembling McKinley Nolan in Vietnam. The story was particularly strange, Linnett said, because he suspected Nolan was dead.

Michael Nolan, though, had long hoped that his brother had survived and was willing to meet with Smith. Linnett recalled Michael telling him, “What the hell, let’s talk to this guy. Let’s see what he has to say.”

Linnett arranged a meeting for Smith at the Nolan home in Texas. He also called Henry Corra, a New York documentary filmmaker, to see if he was interested in the story.

On an afternoon in the spring of 2007, Smith sat in the front yard of the Nolan residence, ringed by McKinley’s family members — including his wife, Mary, and son, Roger. Smith told the story of the man he saw in Tay Ninh. The Nolan family craned their necks in the damp, Texas heat, soaking in every word.

Smith told the family he wasn’t sure if he’d truly seen Nolan or not, but he couldn’t rule it out.

Michael Nolan said by phone last week that Smith’s story “was very exciting news.... It was joy. No doubt about it.”

Still, Michael said he was leery of Smith, who, he said, appeared to be on a macho, gung-ho mission.

“His intentions were to try and capture my brother,” Michael said. “My first impression wasn’t good.”

And yet, Michael said, the family had hardly heard anything about Nolan since the 1970s. U.S. officials had been mum and wouldn’t release his records, he said. After years of silence, he welcomed any information about Nolan, even from a man who wanted to hunt him down and imprison him.

“Any search for him was good for me,” Michael said.

But Smith said he softened as the day wore on and his plans for Nolan changed.

“I was hugged. I was embraced. I was so well-received by this family,” he said last week, his throat tightening as he spoke.

Smith said Nolan’s wife, Mary, who remains married to her missing husband, and Roger, Nolan’s now-grown son, asked him, “if I would please try to find out what happened.”

“There were tears in their eyes,” Smith said. “I knew then, Jesus Christ, I needed to get this man home so he could be loved by his family, not rotting in a prison.”

Smith cried as he recalled the meeting.

“Two months later,” he said, “I was gone to Cambodia.”

The real McKinley?

Smith began pushing Linnett, the journalist, to go to Cambodia and retrace Nolan’s steps. Linnett protested that he was too busy with other projects. So, Smith said, he went on his own.

“I think Dan at first wanted to be a hero in a way,” Linnett said. “I saw in him a need to be respected again. He wanted people to believe that he still mattered, like he did back when he was a warrior, back when he was a soldier and a fighter. I think over the years he didn’t matter any more and he wanted to matter again.”

But Linnett said he saw a rare combination of passion and realism in Smith.

“I’ve been traveling in the world of POW-MIA people for a while, and there are a lot of nut cases in that world,” he said. “But I think he’s for real.”

Smith had to go back to Southeast Asia, Linnett said, “because he loved the place and he probably hated the place, too. It was a place (where) his friends died, where he saw incredible horror.”

Smith left for Cambodia in May of last year, carrying with him photos of Nolan as well as Linnett’s research on where Nolan had last been seen.

In the Cambodian town of Sangkum Mean Chey, near the Vietnam border, Smith said he met people who said they remembered Nolan. They led him to a Cambodian village about 50 miles away called Chamkar Cafe, where, they said, Nolan was last seen.

As Smith listened to the older villagers talk about Nolan, he began to get a different idea of the man his government had labeled a traitor.

Cham Sone, a man who said he’d been a friend of Nolan’s, patted the corporal’s photo and cried. People said they’d loved Nolan, Smith said. Some, it was rumored, had named their children after him.

“I swear to Christ, everybody I spoke with said the same thing, that they loved him. And they missed him,” he said.

Most astounding, Smith said, is that, based on what the villagers told him, Nolan may not have defected to the communist side. After he deserted his unit, according to Cambodian locals and news stories, Nolan took a half-Cambodian, half-Vietnamese common-law wife and tried to escape to Cambodia. But, the villagers said, Nolan and his family were captured by the Viet Cong. The communists, Smith said, may have used him as a propaganda tool, and there’s some indication they had planned to kill him. A Cambodian military official, who had taken a liking to Nolan, appears to have taken him off the Viet Cong’s hands, Smith said.

Smith said the villagers told him that Nolan was made to live in Sangkum Mean Chey, in a compound with several Cambodian soldiers. He was allowed to move freely (there was nowhere to go) and to cultivate his own rice paddy, Smith said.

Nolan had made friends of the villagers, Smith said. He shared his food and was known to help anyone who needed it.

Everything changed, he said, when the Khmer Rouge, the communist regime that slaughtered more than a million Cambodians, came to power in 1975. Soldiers forced Nolan and the villagers to march 50 miles from their homes in Sangkum Mean Chey to the Cambodian village of Chamkar Cafe.

Smith said the villagers told him that Nolan was forced to “work like a cow” in the coffee and corn fields. He cooked for the villagers. And, Smith said, Nolan was known to have stepped in front of Khmer Rouge soldiers and taken beatings on behalf of the villagers.

Nolan was also forced to haul the villagers to an interrogation room, where many were killed. All the way, Smith, said, Nolan is said to have apologized. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

“He would sing Cambodian songs to ease their pain,” Smith said. “He would try to tell jokes. He would try everything in the world to lift their spirits.”

Cham Sone told Smith that, in 1977, 10 years after he’d deserted, Nolan was bound and blindfolded, lead into a grove of rubber trees, and beaten to death by four Khmer Rouge soldiers. The soldiers, Smith said, didn’t want to shoot him, because they feared they would start a panic in the village.

When Nolan was dead, Smith said, the soldiers killed his common-law wife, his son, infant child and his dog.

Then, Smith said, the killing continued. The Khmer Rouge, he said, wiped out more than half the village.

Smith said that Cham Sone, who escaped the slaughter, led him to what is said to be Nolan’s shallow grave, beneath a cashew tree near the place where he died.

This was a far different Nolan than the man Smith expected to find. Nolan “screwed up” when he deserted, Smith said. “He had to have been a scared kid. I was a scared kid when I was there.”

And yet, Smith said he suspects Nolan stayed in Chamkar Cafe, even though he could have easily escaped, to protect the villagers from the Khmer Rouge.

“Thirty years after his death, he’s still got villagers that cry over him,” he said. “The guy did something right.”

Tomorrow in Part 2: Dan Smith and the documentary team return to Cambodia, Smith wonders who, exactly, he saw in Tay Ninh, and the U.S. Government discusses the McKinley Nolan case.