Posts tagged ‘CIA’

May 18, 2011

Special Forces Obituaries: William Young

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7:17PM BST 17 May 2011

William Young, who has died aged 76, was a CIA operative in southeast Asia who was instrumental in organising the so-called “Air America” campaign during the “secret war” against communists in Laos and Vietnam.

William Young

Young was born at a mission station in Burma on October 28 1934 and brought up among the hill tribes in the fuzzy borderland between Thailand, Laos and Burma. He was described by the writer Roger Warner as “a jungle boy with extraordinary family credentials”: his grandfather, the Reverend William Young, had moved to Burma in the 1880s and opened a Baptist mission in Kengtung City, where he began preaching the gospel in the marketplace. He made little headway among the local Buddhists but was a runaway success with the nearby Lahu hill tribes, who adopted him as a god.

William Young

His son, William’s father Harold, inherited his divinity and used it to organise Lahu intelligence-gathering in southern China for the CIA during the 1950s. The government of newly-independent Burma, however, became suspicious of his activities and he was forced to leave the country. He moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he became curator of the local zoo.

After serving with the US Army in Germany, William was recruited to the CIA on his father’s recommendation in 1958. As he was fluent in five local languages, he was employed as an interpreter and “tribal expert” and was soon put in charge of covert operations in the tribal border areas of Burma, Thailand and Laos.

Early on in the Vietnam War, Laos became strategically important as a route for North Vietnamese communist forces travelling to and from South Vietnam. In an effort to block off this so-called “Ho Chi Minh trail” and aid anti–communist forces in the separate civil war that had been raging between the Communist Pathet Lao and the Laotian government since the early 1950s, Young was deputed to enlist the help of the hill tribesmen in the region. As Laos was officially “neutral” in the Vietnam War, the operations remained top secret.

In 1960 Young approached Vang Pao, the highest ranking member of the Hmong tribe in the Laotian army, who agreed to help recruit his fellow tribesmen (other recruits came from the Yao and Lahu tribes). To build up the army, Vang Pao and CIA operatives, including Young, flew to scattered hill communities in helicopters and light aircraft, offering guns, rice and money in exchange for recruits. Dozens of crude landing strips for the CIA-backed “Air America” campaign were hacked out of the forest – including the base at Long Tieng, which grew into a small city: “It had brothels and bars, casinos – everything a serviceman could ask for,” Young recalled. “But it had a church, too.” Tens of thousands of tribesmen would die during the campaign, which remains one of the least-known chapters in the annals of the Vietnam War.

In The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (1972), Alfred McCoy observed that Young’s upbringing meant that “he actually enjoyed the long months of solitary work among the hill tribes, which might have strained the nerves of less acculturated agents”. Young led his fighters into battles against Pathet Lao guerrillas in north-west Laos and fought his way out of several tight corners. “Killing was part of the job,” he told an interviewer.

From 1962 he was also involved in sending trained Yao and Lahu tribesmen into the heart of China’s Yunnan Province to monitor road traffic and tap telephones. Since the Americans were concerned about the possibility of Chinese military intervention in Vietnam, any intelligence on military activity in southern China was valued and the cross-border operations were steadily expanded. Later, he became involved in attempting to build support for Burma’s first independent prime minister, U Nu, after his overthrow in a coup d’état by General Ne Win in March 1962.

But in 1968, as the Vietnam War continued to rage, Young parted company with the CIA in circumstances that remain mysterious. One suggestion is that the agency got tired of a womanising habit that sometimes led him to disappear for days on end. “He liked to party,” recalled Edward Loxton, a writer who spent several weeks with Young. “His home became open house to a steady stream of air hostesses and nurses heading for the Air America base.” Others suggest that a territorial dispute between Young and Thai intelligence officers had led to his being recalled to Washington. There were also claims that the CIA was dissatisfied with the paucity of intelligence communications he was sending them. Yet another account claims that he was disowned by the CIA after he challenged US policy in Vietnam and Laos.

Just as mysterious is the extent of his involvement in drug trafficking in the area. The CIA always denied any involvement in the narcotics trade in the “Golden Triangle” of Laos, Burma and Vietnam, but Alfred McCoy documented the interactions between the agency and drug cartels in the region which, he alleged, had fuelled an epidemic of drug abuse in America and among GIs in Vietnam.

During the war, McCoy claimed, Air America flew Hmong opium out of the hills to Long Tieng and Vientiane, and Young used the revenue from these shipments to fund arms and training for the guerrillas.

The extent of Young’s involvement is unclear, however. In Drugs, the US and Khun Sa (1989) Francis Belanger (who described Young as “perhaps one of the most effective [CIA] agents ever”) saw his role as a passive one, noting that Young’s “deep and sophisticated” understanding of the hill tribes allowed him to see opium production from their point of view.

In an interview given in September 1971 Young recalled that: “Every now and then one of the James Bond types would decide that the way to deal with the problem was to detonate or machine-gun the factories. But I always talked them out of it. As long as there is opium in Burma somebody will market it. This kind of thing would only hurt somebody and not really deal with the problem.”

Whatever the truth it seems that the CIA harboured some regrets about losing such a valuable agent. As Roger Warner wrote: “People in the CIA always talked about Bill Young wistfully, in terms of his remarkable potential. For all his flaws, no other American was as gifted at collecting intelligence information.”

Young went on to work, variously, as a gem trader, a fruit grower, a guest-house owner and a security consultant for an oil company. In recent years he was said to be advising the American Drug Enforcement Administration on the drug trade in Burma. A Hollywood film studio reportedly paid Young $100,000 for the rights to his story, but the film was never made, and some believe the disappointment tipped him over into depression.

Young was found dead at his home in Chiang Mai on April 1, a bullet in his head, a revolver beside one hand and a crucifix in the other. “Bill Young died as he once lived – violently,” a friend was quoted as saying.

Young’s marriage ended in divorce. He is survived by five children.

April 6, 2011

CIA Suicide After a Life of God and Guns

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By Richard S. Ehrlich

Wednesday, 6 April 2011, 10:34 am
Column: Richard S. Ehrlich

BANGKOK, Thailand — William Young, a former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency paramilitary commander who spied on China and used tribesmen to kill Communists in Laos during the 1960s, died at home of a bullet to the head, clutching a crucifix alongside a gun, prompting speculation that he committed suicide. He was 76.

“Killing was part of the job”, Mr. Young told Edward Loxton, who said he had interviewed Mr. Young extensively.

Mr. Young “became a top CIA Vietnam War-era hit-man in the jungles of Burma, Laos and Thailand,” Mr. Loxton wrote on Monday (April 4) in The First Post, a British publication.

“Mr. Young was in poor health,” said Susan Stevenson, the U.S. consul general in Thailand’s northern town of Chiang Mai, where Mr. Young died on Friday (April 1).

Police said he died of a gunshot wound to the head, with a pistol next to his right hand while his left hand clutched a crucifix, according to news reports.

“In many ways, Mr. Young’s exploits in this part of the world mirrored those of the U.S.,” the American consul said in a statement dated Monday (April 4).

“After a tour with the U.S. Army in Germany, Mr. Young joined the CIA, which — given his language skills and knowledge of this part of the world — posted him to Bangkok in 1958. He was soon sent to back to Chiang Mai, from where he directed case officers in villages in Burma and Laos,” she said.

“Mr. Young’s failure to stop the [opium] trafficking is part of what made him a controversial character.”

He was born on Oct. 28, 1934 in Berkeley, California.

God and guns played an important role throughout Mr. Young’s life.

He grew up in Burma, a country later known as Myanmar, where his grandfather worked from the 1880s onward as an American Baptist missionary, converting indigenous people.

Mr. Young’s ancestors converted many Lahu and other tribal people to Christianity, though many of them never fully renounced their spirit-based animist beliefs, rituals and customs.

The family’s extensive knowledge of the region’s tribes and languages enabled Mr. Young’s evangelical father, Harold, to join the CIA when Washington needed help rearming the defeated Kuomintang (KMT) National Chinese army during the 1950s to destabilize victorious Mao Zedong’s Communist China.

Alongside Harold Young’s Shan and Lahu tribesmen in Burma, the KMT were directed from around Chiang Mai in Thailand, up through northeast Burma’s Shan state, into southern China’s Yunnan province.

Able to speak several tribal languages, William Young joined the CIA to continue his father’s work sending guerrillas and spies into China.

Mr. Young also organized minority tribes in a doomed “secret war” in Laos in the 1960s against Communist Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese forces, during a widening U.S.-Vietnam War.

“Young was instructed to build up a hill tribe commando force for operations in the [Laos, Burma, China] tri-border area, since regular Laotian army troops were ill-suited for military operations in the rugged mountains,” wrote Alfred W. McCoy in his book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia.

In 1962, Mr. Young’s work was “to organize the building of runways, select base sites, and perform all the other essential tasks connected with forging a counter-guerrilla infrastructure” in northwest Laos and northeast Burma.

His base in Nam Yu, Laos, also “served as CIA headquarters for cross-border intelligence forays deep into southern China,” wrote Mr. McCoy, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

“After a year of recruiting and training agents, William Young had begun sending the first Lahu and Yao teams into China in 1963.”

By 1964, Mr Young was in “command of paramilitary operations” in northwest Laos, according to Mr. McCoy.

“Bill Young had organized a force of several thousand part-time militiamen, some of them Yao [tribe], the rest from other ethnic groups,” wrote U.S. author Roger Warner, in his book Shooting at the Moon: The Story of America’s Clandestine War in Laos.

“No other American was as gifted at collecting intelligence information, and no other American had so many good-looking women parading through his bedroom every day, for free,” Mr. Warner wrote.

Mr. Young’s deadliest legacy in Laos came when he endorsed Long Cheng village as the best possible airstrip for the CIA, empowering Americans to obliterate the tiny landlocked nation for years with aerial bombardments.

“Young had not selected Long Cheng for its breathtaking scenery. What attracted him was the plateau’s protective barrier of mountains, making it a difficult place for the communists to attack,” wrote Keith Quincy, chair of the department of government at Eastern Washington University.

“Within two years, the CIA would begin to expand Long Cheng’s airstrip into a mile-long, asphalt, all-weather runway…becoming by the mid-1960’s one of the largest American military installations on foreign soil. Toward the end of the war, air traffic at the CIA base was heavier than at Chicago’s O’Hare International airport.

“Eventually, Long Cheng would outgrow its original design as a secret CIA paramilitary training center. By war’s end, Long Cheng had a population of nearly 50,000, making it the second largest city in Laos,” Mr. Quincy wrote in his book, Harvesting Pa Chay’s Wheat: The Hmong & America’s Secret War In Laos.

Before quitting the CIA in 1967, Mr. Young also worked alongside the CIA’s mercenary Hmong tribal leader Gen. Vang Pao who died, aged 81, in California in January.

Thousands of CIA-paid tribesmen and countless civilians died in Laos before the U.S. war ended in failure in 1975 when Communists in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia seized power and set up repressive regimes which further destroyed those three countries.


Richard S Ehrlich is a Bangkok-based journalist who has reported news from Asia since 1978. He is co-author of “Hello My Big Big Honey!”, a non-fiction book of investigative journalism. His web page is

(Copyright 2011 Richard S Ehrlich)

February 25, 2011

The CIA’s ‘Secret War in Laos’

Decades after US forces exited the Vietnam War the remnants of a CIA-backed force of Lao villagers still live in fear in the jungle.


By William Lloyd-George

In a clearing deep inside the Laotian jungle, a group of Hmong fall to the groundand beg me for help as soon asthey see me. Chor Her, a skinny man wearing torn camouflage, is the only one toremain standing. He salutes before joining the others on the muddy ground.

‘We have no food, every day we have to run, we are being hunted like animals,’ says one elderly woman,weeping. The young children surrounding her are also crying—I’m told it’s the first time they’ve seen a foreigner. Indeed, these people have been largely cut off from the outside world since the Vietnam War.

Back then, the Hmong were fighters—secret fighters in a 15-year covert US operation backed by the CIA. Now they are forced to constantly run for their lives in a country whose government doesn’t officially acknowledge they exist.

‘The Americans gave us weapons and told us to shoot the enemy,’ says Chor Her, waving a battered CIA-issued M79 in the air. ‘Then they left us and we’ve been slowly dying here ever since…When the Lao Army kills one of our men, they feel as though they’ve killed an American in revenge for us helping them during the war.’

Almost before he has finished his sentence, another man jumps into the conversation, pleading for food and medicine. ‘We are human beings, so why does the world turna deafear and blind eye tous?’ he asks.

As the Vietnam War raged,Washington noticed that communist forces had spilled over into Laos. In response, the Americans launchedwhat was later called a secret war. At the time, Laos had been declared ‘neutral,’ but with a growing communist presence, the CIA saw it as the next front in the conflict. A handful of CIA agents were flown in to build on existing tensions between the Hmong and the Laotian government, led by the communist Pathet Lao.

‘They were better than anyone else around, every step they took was up or down so they could move a lot faster than the enemy,’ says Bill Lair, a legendary CIA agent who headed the agency’s paramilitary operations in Laos. ‘They needed a leader and Vang Pao seemed like the most suitable man for the job.’

Vang Pao, or ‘the General,’ was selected for his charisma and leadership skills,honed when the Hmong had previously allied with the French against North Vietnamese forces. With the help of the CIA, he reportedly trained and armed more than 60,000 Hmong fighters. While the Americans set up a major military airport in Northern Laos, the Hmong were in charge of disrupting communist supply lines and rescuing downed pilots.

It has been estimated that the Hmong lost nearly 100,000 people during this secret operation. As the war progressed, and with casualties quickly mounting, Vang Pao and his CIA backers eventually had to turn to the use of child soldiers to keep up the resistance efforts.

‘An American and a Thai man came into my school and I was taken away to military training,’ says Bou Than, a former Hmong soldier. Still only 13 years-old, the war was raging around him in the Laotian jungle. He was poached from a classroom and shipped straight off for military training.

‘I saw many of my school friends die in those jungles to help American forces,’ he says. ‘Kids as young as eight were being used.’

It’s rumored that at one point, Vang Pao said he wanted to cease all military operations with the CIA over concerns that the enormous loss of life could ultimately lead to the Hmong communities being wiped out altogether. Regardless of his intentions, though, the Hmong involvement continued—as did the casualties.

Soaring heroin sales were perhaps one thing that persuaded him to keep going. Before the Americans arrived, opium smoking was a cultural norm in the region and was prevalent throughoutthe Hmong highlands. US planes gave the Hmong the opportunity to do something they hadn’t previously—transport and sell large quantities of the drug, including to US soldiers.

There has been a great deal of debate since over the exact details of the operation, based on testimony given by CIA agents who were there at the time. But one thing is clear—there was a busy opium trade operating in the region, andthe agency appears to have turned a blind eye.

A number of CIA officers have claimed since that, fearing their operation could be embarrassingly exposed, they decided to give Vang Pao his own local airline, Xieng Kouang airlines, as part of a compromise following his demands for control of all of the agency’s planes.

Much of the opium that was produced is said to have ended up in the hands of American GIs on the frontlines, leading to a dramatic rise in the number of overdoses among soldiers. Yet despite this obvious drawback, those involved in the operation appear to have felt there was little they could do as the profits were, in effect, also helping to fund the war effort.

‘Opium grew everywhere in our highlands,’ says Tho Ther, a former Hmong soldier who now resides in the United States. ‘We smoked it openly, but it was only when the Americans came that our leaders began to sell it.’

‘We were losing countless male children for the CIA’s war and needed to pay to keep the villagers happy,’ he adds. ‘Otherwise they would have changed sides to save their men from joining our army.’

But it still wasn’t enough. The communist forces continued to grow in strength and advanced towards the CIA bases despite Washington’s best efforts—and $2 million a day spent carpet bombing Laos—to stop them. Accepting defeat, the Americans eventually fled, taking a handful of Hmong leaders, including Vang Pao.

With the Americans out of the picture, the Pathet Lao moved to try to wipe out the remaining Hmong elements that had worked with the CIA. But while thousands perished in aerial attacks on Hmong settlements—spurring a mass exodus to Thailand—the rest fled deeper into the jungle, where many remain today, still hoping the United States will return to save them.

Funeral for a Father

Earlier this month, thousands of mourners gathered in California for Vang Pao’s funeral. While an average Hmong usually receives a three-day funeral, owing to his stature among exiled Hmong, Vang Pao was given a six-day ceremony. While his critics have suggested his decision to support foreign forces led to his people suffering unnecessarily, the numbers attending the funeral demonstrated the loyalty he still inspired, with thousands of supporters flocking from locations as far away as France and Thailand to bid farewell to the symbolic head of a troubled people.

‘We call him “father.” He was always our leader and never turned his back on us, until his very last day,’ says Meng Lee, who attended the service.

In what turned out to be his final effort to secure some kind of lasting peace for his people, Vang Pao last year surprised followers by announcing a planned visit to Laos to meet government officials. The plan, revealed at a Hmong New Year dinner, was for him to make a peace deal with his former enemy on the Thai-Laotian border. Once peace had been agreed, Vang Pao planned to travel into Laos to assist the jungle Hmong. He hoped that those left in the jungle could then join repatriated refugees from Thailand on specially designated farmland, free from persecution.

But the Laotian government didn’t share this vision. In response to the proposal, Laos’ foreign minister is quoted as having said: ‘If he comes to Laos soon he must submit to the death sentence.’ The trip was cancelled.

The chillingresponse wasn’t entirely surprising—the Laotian government remains bitter over the role Vang Pao played in the Vietnam War. Ironically, then, the death of the would-be peacemaker might actually benefit the Hmong people, leaving space for a younger generation of ‘untainted’ leaders better able to avoid direct conflict with Vientiane. Still, the prospects for a breakthrough anytime soon seem remote.

No Foreign Friends?

Despite being home to more than 250,000 Hmong refugees, the United States has done little to try to resolve the ongoing tensions. In a recent meeting between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Lao’s foreign minister in Washington, no mention seems to have been made of the persecuted Hmong.

The same can be said for Thailand, which allowed the forced repatriation of 4000 Hmong despite having trained many of Vang Pao’s forces. Thailand now also tops the list of Laos’ foreign investors.

Meanwhile, the Lao People’s Army continues to hunt down the remainder of the once formidable Hmong force. Always on the run, they have no time to harvest rice, so they survive largely by eating bugs and tree roots. Some of those who have surrendered in the past have returned to the jungle with stories of torture and rape. Without any form of foreign assistance, it seems likely most will eventually be found by the Army.

Shortly after Vang Pao’s death, speaking over a phone smuggled in by Hmong-American activists, Chor Fer says his group is struggling.

‘We’ve lost our father and don’t know what to do, we just keep running with nowhere to go,’ he says over a crackling line. ‘Every one of us wants to put an end to the war, but we know what will happen if we surrender. The communists will kill us.’

William Lloyd-George is a freelance journalist based on the Thai-Burma border. His work has appeared in TIME, The Independent, Bangkok Post, Afternposten, Irrawaddy and Global Post among others.

February 13, 2011

After Mubarak, U.S. Intelligence Officers Look to Monitor Mideast ‘Aftershocks’


Published February 11, 2011 | Article Source:

AP/ Yemeni demonstrators hold placards during an anti-government protest in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 10.

Protests across the Middle East have claimed two autocrats, one in Tunisia and one in Egypt.

The question U.S. intelligence officials are now asking themselves is: Who’s next?

Though the White House hailed as “pivotal” Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s decision Friday to resign and transfer power, the historic moment raises immediate concerns about stability in the rest of the region.

The Arab world is filled with countries facing conditions just like those that sparked the two successful uprisings — autocratic regimes, disenchanted youth, economic hardship and a lack of personal and political freedoms. Barring Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories, the 22-member Arab League is a democracy-free zone when it comes to those at the top.

Officials are well aware the unrest could gain momentum across the region. And if it does, the United States wants to make sure it doesn’t destabilize the vital alliances that hold together a tenuous peace.

“The big question is, are there going to be aftershocks?” said Dan Gillerman, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations. “People all over the Middle East are watching this and (the unrest) … could have waves, which would spread to other Arab countries and other Arab regimes, and this could turn our neighborhood into an even more volatile, more dangerous and unpredictable one.”

Trying to stay ahead of that wave, the CIA has put together a 35-member task force to look at where the uprisings might spread next. The sudden revolt in Egypt took the global community by surprise, and U.S. intelligence officers are looking at several different factors to gauge where and if this movement might spread — they will look at the role of the Internet and social networking, the allegiance of various militaries, the youth and the unmet expectations of those who live in these countries.

According to U.S. officials, all CIA station chiefs are being immediately tasked with examining these factors, including the strength of opposition movements, in their assigned countries.

Gillerman expressed hope that, in the end, the “moderates” beat back the “extremists” in the quest for a more democratic region.

Former CIA officer Jamie Smith noted that every country has its own politics and unique circumstances, and that the popular resistance could take different forms. Egypt is seen as more moderate and tolerant than other countries in the region. Those dynamics, though, could affect not just the nature of the protests but the governments’ response.

Smith noted that Mubarak’s regime, despite longstanding complaints about the abuses of the country’s police force, did not “clamp down” on the protesters with the ferocity shown by Iran’s government when it faced an uprising in 2009.

He said countries like Saudi Arabia and Jordan, among others, should be concerned.

“What we’re probably going to see is a similar thing start to kick off in places where you have a dictatorial government, where you have a monarchy,” Smith said. “This is going to spread like wildfire in sort of a copycat manner, I think. … The people look and say, ‘Well, hey, they were successful in Egypt.'”

CIA Director Leon Panetta told a House committee Thursday that any political transition would have a “tremendous impact” one way of another.

“If it’s done right, it will help us a great deal in trying to promote stability in that part of the world,” he said. “If it happens wrong, it could create some serious problems for us and the rest of the world.”

Panetta noted that these situations are unpredictable and there is no way to know whether leaders like Mubarak will make the “right decisions at the right moments.”

Asked to explain the impact on other countries in the region, he and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said they would discuss that topic in private. They noted that “others in the region” share the same conditions that gave rise to the protests in Tunisia and Egypt.

That reality could explain why the Saudi Arabian regime has been testy with the United States over its handling of the Egyptian unrest.

A senior Obama administration official told Fox News that a conversation Wednesday between Obama and Saudi King Abdullah was unusually tense.

“When we say that we call for democracy, what we call ‘democracy’ the Saudis are liable to see as chaos,” the official said.

By the same token, the official could not identify a Mideast state that has equaled the Saudis in their dissatisfaction with Washington’s handling of the crisis. “The Saudis have always been the most conservative regime in the region,” he said.

Former Pentagon intelligence officer Mike Barrett said that although people should be happy for the protesters in Egypt who have won the most-sought concession out of that country’s regime, U.S. interests in the region are in question.

He said that an uprising in Yemen would pose a big security concern, considering the Al Qaeda contingent that has taken root there, and an uprising in Saudi threatens a major source of oil for the United States.

“At a regional level and a strategic level, U.S. interests are really very much in disarray,” he said.

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.

February 5, 2011

Saying goodbye to a Hmong hero, and he should be to us too.


By Jack Jamison
Posted: 02/05/2011 01:00:00 AM PST

GEN. VANG PAO’S six-day funeral began yesterday in Fresno. General who? most of you ask. Any student of the Vietnam War is familiar with the name Vang Pao.When Richard Nixon became president in 1969, the CIA had been deeply and secretly involved in Laos for many years. The CIA set up its own air force and army there, which had waged a secret war in an independent country without the knowledge or consent of the American people or Congress. When the United States became actively involved in Vietnam, the CIA’s secret war in Laos became part of the Vietnam War, and Vang Pao led the CIA’s secret army. 

Vang Pao was a member of the Hmong tribe, who primarily lived in the mountainous region of Laos. The CIA had been authorized to revive, supply and increase the tribal units in past years.

During the Vietnam War the Hmong had begun to send its harassing parties deep into areas controlled by the North Vietnamese, according to William Colby, former director of the CIA. After the war in Vietnam ended, the Communists had prevailed, not only in Vietnam, but also in Laos. The few survivors of the Hmong tribe were refugees persecuted by the victorious Pathet Lao – except for the lucky few who escaped to the United States and to refugee camps in Thailand. The Hmong had nowhere else to go, their villages had been destroyed and the U.S. gave little, if any, assistance.

Gen. Vang Pao was commander of the Hmong forces that did the CIA’s bidding for many years. NOTE: In California

in recent years Vang Pao allegedly was the head of a clandestine group that was making preliminary plans to overthrow the Communist government in Laos. Regardless of the truth of any intrigue after he arrived in California, it is an undisputed fact that for years he did our bidding in Laos. He is a hero to the Hmong, and he should be to us.

Laotian general Vang Pao's funeral on 2/4/2011

Hmong war veterans and community members form an honor guard beside the casket containing Hmong Gen. Vang Pao in Fresno, Calif., on Friday(2/4/2011).

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