t byfield on Fri, 30 Apr 1999 11:42:16 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> "Vietnam"

    [so the US congress had another 'anguished' vote about
     whether or not to allow clinton to send ground troops
     to the war: nope. clinton seems to have forgotten the
     trauma they went through only a few months ago--which
     led many of them to regard him as a pathological liar.
     and when he said 'no ground troops' but stretched the
     war out for days, weeks, and now months, they refused
     to believe him. so here we are again: a klewless pres-
     ident, a hostile congress, a pentagon that needs 200,-
     000 troops to 'win' a war where 'win' means something
     between 'hearts and minds' and turning the country in-
     to a parking lot...but not another 'vietnam.' oh, yes,
     and the complex cultural and political amalgam--cambo-
     dia, laos, thailand, the proximate superpower with an
     ambivalent relationship to the territory in question--
     but not another 'vietnam.' oh, and the democratic pre-
     sident who's leaving office, and leaving a militarist
     mess for his VP to distance himself from without muck-
     ing up the administration's policy... this list could
     go on for quite a while, but the most glaring similar-
     ity is the simple fact that this war is 'geopolitical-
     ly strategic': it's based entirely on theory that the
     failure to fight it will guarantee a larger war later
     on. of course, the certainty with which such a future
     war was foreseen is quite mysterious, given the clear
     failure to see even a few days ahead in yugolsav poli-
     tics. in any event, it'll be quite interesting to see
     how clinton the increasingly lame duck deals with the
     slow collapse he thought he had beat. in the meantime,
     some interesting background on the first vietnam.--tb]


CIA's Paramilitary Operations
Author:       Ralph McGehee <rmcgehee@igc.org>
Date:         1999/04/29
Forum:        alt.politics.org.cia
Posted on:    1999/04/29
Message-ID:   <372882A7.7ABF6CA2@igc.org>
Newsgroups:   alt.politics.org.cia
Organization: Institute for Global Communications

               CIA's Paramilitary Operations

   A recent reference to retired CIA paramilitary officer Tony Poe
or Tony Poshepny below, raises the question of CIA paramilitary
operations in general. As we read these accounts we should ask,
can we really expect that PM officers will ever produce
intelligence? Did we not run a PM war in Vietnam for years without
ever understanding the other side?  Did we not conduct a PM war in
Afghanistan that led to the creation of "International Terrorism?"
Did not all PM wars contribute to the international drug traffic?
Did not the CIA's committment to paramilitary wars engage this
country in many other destructive activities?

   In a speech in October 1998, by John Millis, Staff Director of
the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), he
dicussed the future of the CIA. Millis is a former CIA operations
who became Staff Director of HPSCI in 1997. Mr. Millis said re CIA
paramilitary operations:

   "We believe we have to keep a very strong paramilitary
capability on the shelf for the Directorate of Operations. It's
always hard to anticipate what the next crisis is going to be, but
we can be sure that it will be there. And the paramilitary
capability the DO has is uniquely well suited for many of the
types of situations that we're seeing around the world."

   The reference item on Tony Poe said:

   "...his life helped to create the greatest cinema icon to come
of the Vietnam war. This man...is the real Colonel Kurtz, whose
fictional counterpart was played by Marlon Brando in Francis Ford
Coppola's epic movie Apocalypse Now...

   The reality of the Kurtz legend is far stranger than fiction...
[It] confirmed the existence of a US super-spy code-named Upin.
Upin was a pararmilitary expert....Like the fictional Kurtz, he
recruited a private army of 10,000 tribesmen, married a princess
turned his back on the US and became as savage as the jungle he
made his home."

   ...Agent Upin, also known as Pat Gibbs, was Anthony Poshepny,
one of the CIA's most notorious and effective agents deployed in
the Vietnam war. Orders were to enter Laos illegally in 1961 and
conduct a secret war against the communists that would be denied
in Congress and hidden from the US public...."

Ralph McGehee http://come.to/CIABASE

   The below are brief extracts from CIABASE files on Tony Poe.

  Laos, Tony Poe ran the secret ground war in Laos and kept
pickled heads.  Poe was a Hungarian refugee who began his CIA
career training Khamba tribesmen to fight the Chinese in Tibet.
Poe said "we got the Dalai Lama out of Tibet." In Laos he rewarded
his men for producing the ears of communists.  Harper's 7/85 60

  Laos  53-75  book by Roger Warner, Back Fire: the CIA's Secret
War in Laos and its Link to the War in Vietnam, (1995).  Discusses
Vang Pao of the Hmong tribesmen. The Secret War gained momentum -
with Bill Lair - an ideological cold warrior, using Thai
paratroopers to train the Hmong. Lair had his hqs in Udorn,
Thailand. Tony Poshepny, an ex-marine of Hungarian origin - who
had worked with the CIA's ops with the Khamba in Tibet and in
Sumatra, Indonesia was ultimately thrown out of op, a broken-down
drunk.  This is a wry, compassionate narrative. "from 63 to 73,
Laos was a secret annex to Vietnam war, overseen by the
ambassador, run by CIA, and bombed by the U.S. military, without
the consent of Congress." Warner focuses on CIA's misbegotten
strategy of the Hmong counterinsurgency. A horrific tale of
blindsighted do-gooders, ambitions and bungled intentions. Bill
Lair/CIA recruited 10,000 Hmong. Clothed, fed and armed by CIA and
trained by Thais, they helicoptered to elaborate skirmishes
against the Pathet Lao and the North Vietnamese. At peak strength
of 30,000 they were the only effective Lao army. Vang Pao took his
cut from the opium trade. He deserted to the U.S. in 75, six
months before the Pathet Laos' triumph. The Nation 9/18/95 288-90

  Laos, China,  67-68  Tony Poe sent T-28 planes to bomb in China.
Corn, d.  (1994). Blond Ghost: Ted Shackley and the CIA's Crusades

  Laos, Vietnam,  63  In 8/63 Lair received an order to disrupt
NVN truck traffic thru Laos by blowing up parts of route 7. From
an Air America plane, Tony Poe dropped demolition charges. Thais
supervised twelve platoons of elite Meo troops called Special
Guerrilla Units as they blew up a section.  Warner, R. (1995).
Back Fire 100-1

  Laos, Thailand, Vietnam. Edgar Buell, Tony poshepny and William
Young had personal imprint on secret war. Tony Poe in  58  was one
of two operatives sent to support separtists revolt in Indonesia.
His first assignment was with anti-Sihanouk mercenaries along the
Cambodian border in South Vietnam.  In Laos he offered one dollar
for an ear of enemy and more for a head and cap. McCoy A.W.
(1991). The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug
Traffic 306-7

  Laos. Beginning in  64  Vang Pao became drug lord of the Hmong.
Per Ouane Rattikone, commander of Laotian army, and Gen Thao Ma,
then commander of the Laotian air force, Air America began flying
Hmong opium to markets in Long Tieng and Vientiane. Tony Poe, a
CIA officer who worked with Vang Pao, said Vang Pao made millions
in drug traffic. Air logistics for opium trade further improved
when CIA and USAID gave Vang Pao financial assistance in forming
his own air line, Xieng Khouang Air Transport. Formed in late  67
with two C-47s acquired from Air American and Continental Air
Services.  McCoy, A.W. (1991). the politics of heroin: CIA
complicity in the global drug traffic 318

  Laos, Thailand,  62-72  CIA worked with the Thai Border Police
who were assigned to run the Meo op from Thailand -- from Udorn
airbase.  Thai BPP served as radio operators, training cadre, and
support troops for Vang Pao's men. Thais operated under control of
only 2 CIA officers - who lived with Vang Pao - Vint Lawrence one
and Anthony Poshepny. They lived in a mountain hut for nearly 2
years - this early after 62 Geneva agreements.  Further details of
Vang Pao and the drug traffic. Grant, Z. (1991). Facing the
Phoenix 148-160

  Laos,  59-75  Op momentum was the support of the Meo with the
Thai PARU with Vang Pao the commander. If they ultimately lost
Vang Pao's Meos could move to Sayaboury province. If Thais refused
they might take him in Thailand and make him a border security
force. Bill Lair part of op as was Lloyd "Pat" Landry, Tony Poe
aka Anthony Poshepny - Poe had run PM missions in the Korean war,
worked with the Tibetan Khamba tribesmen for a rebellion against
China, in 58 Poe and Landry to Sumatra, Indonesia to jump start a
rebellion there, until they rescued by submarine. Tony Poe 's
hobby was collecting enemy ears. Warner, R. (1995). Back Fire

  Cambodia, Thailand, Laos,  70-71  Cambodia, indirectly, would
feature another, far bigger Lao PM program when in 6/70 the Thai
gvt declared it would be sending Thai volunteers to help defend
Khmer republic. The DOD stepped in and agreed to pay for a 5,000
man contingent. Bangkok waffled and men were sent directly to
Laos. A force to total one artillery and nine infantry battalions.
the Project called Unity. The Pentagon funded but CIA administered
the program in field. Case officers were Tony Poe, Dunc Jewell,
Chuck Campbell; and, Doug Swanson. On 12/15/70 two Thai battalions
entered Laos under op code-named Virakom (patriot) - they were
sent to MR-4. Conboy, K. & Morrison, J. 1995). Shadow War: CIA's
Secret War in Laos 285-6

  Laos, China. Background on Tony Poe who led the Hmong forces in
Laos for many years. He offered rewards to Hmong for the ears of
communists.  Harper's 7/85 60

  Laos, Thailand, Vietnam. Edgar Buell, Tony Poshepny and William
Young had personal imprint on the secret war. Tony Poe in 58 was
one of two operatives sent to support separtists revolt in
Indonesia. His first assignment was with anti-Sihanouek
mercenaries along the Cambodian border in South Vietnam.  In Laos
he offered one dollar for an ear of enemy and more for a head and
cap. Details re Pop Buell. Mccoy, A.W. (1991). The Politics of
Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Traffic 306-7

  China,  69-72  Commando raider company in 70 used as passive
intel-gathering role along the Chinese built road in North Laos.
CIA supporting an autonomous agent net run by RTA intel against
Chinese road-building. Thai-run assets produced no significant
intel. George Kenning was responsible for liaison with the Nien.
Due to news dispatches revealing Tony Poe's role, he was
reassigned to Thailand as Pat Gibbs.  Fox ops against China had
been wrapped up years earlier, and many Tartar and Scope teams -
whose incursions into China had never been deep or frequent - were
recalled. Conboy, k. & Morrison, j. (1995). Shadow War: CIA's
Secret War in Laos 317-9

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