Obit.: Hmong Leader Vang Pao’s Secret War, Opium Legacy and the CIA

 

Also see: "Vang Pao, drugs and the CIA" and "Rewriting Vang Pao's past"

Video: "Vang Pao's buddies violate human rights in Iraq"

CIA Hmong and Vang Pao's Legacy with Opium Trade in Laos

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"Liberal" NPR evidently couldn't find any information on Vang Pao's opium smuggling and the CIA, and neglected to report the messy details for some darn reason:

Vang Pao, Hmong Leader And General Who Led Secret War In Laos, Has Died

By Mark Memmott
NPR | January 7, 2011

Gen. Vang Pao, an iconic figure in the Hmong community and a key U.S. ally during the Vietnam War, died Thursday afternoon in Clovis [Calif.] after spending days in the hospital with pneumonia and a heart problem," The Fresno Bee writes this morning. He was 81.

Gen. Vang Pao, an iconic figure in the Hmong community and a key U.S. ally during the Vietnam War, died Thursday afternoon in Clovis [Calif.] after spending days in the hospital with pneumonia and a heart problem," The Fresno Bee writes this morning. He was 81.

Gen. Vang Pao, an iconic figure in the Hmong community and a key U.S. ally during the Vietnam War, died Thursday afternoon in Clovis [Calif.] after spending days in the hospital with pneumonia and a heart problem," The Fresno Bee writes this morning. He was 81.

Gen. Vang Pao, an iconic figure in the Hmong community and a key U.S. ally during the Vietnam War, died Thursday afternoon in Clovis [Calif.] after spending days in the hospital with pneumonia and a heart problem," The Fresno Bee writes this morning. He was 81.

As the Bee adds: "Over 100 people crowded into the outpatient care center at Clovis Community Medical Center to grieve the loss of a beloved leader, who some saw as the George Washington of the Hmong."

The BBC reminds us that:

"As a young man, he had fought against the Japanese during World War II, and with the French against the North Vietnamese in the 1950s.

He led a CIA-sponsored secret war in Laos during the Vietnam War and, when it was lost, led many of his people into exile.

Former Central Intelligence Agency chief William Colby once called [Vang] 'the biggest hero of the Vietnam War'."

Time notes that the general's "relationship with the U.S. — as with his homeland — was always complicated":

"In 2007, after a lengthy investigation known as Operation Tarnished Eagle, the ex-CIA operative was arrested for plotting to overthrow the Laotian government. He was charged under the U.S. Neutrality Act, a security clause that prohibits actions on domestic soil against foreign governments with whom Washington is at peace. Federal prosecutors alleged [that Vang], then 77, and several colleagues were funding guerilla fighters still living in Laos. Vang ... didn't deny the charge, but countered that the CIA was well aware of his plans to send American weapons to his former comrades in arms. The case, which drew outrage, was later dropped."