CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

Laos

Cb - J

Chandler, Cory. "CIA Releases Newly Declassified Assessments of Vietnam War-era Intelligence." Texas Tech Today, 16 Mar. 2009. Available at: http://today.ttu.edu/2009/03/cia-releases-documents-of-vietnam-war-era-intelligence/.

On 13 March 2009, the CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence released "six volumes of previously classified books detailing various aspects of the CIA's operations in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in the '60s and '70s. The works were distributed and discussed at a conference hosted by Texas Tech University's Vietnam Center and Archive." The documents were written by "CIA historian Thomas L. Ahern Jr.," and "draw on operations files as well as interviews with key participants." The materials are available as six PDF files at the IRL above. The individual volumes are listed under Ahern, Thomas L., Jr.

Chiles, James R. "Air America's Black Helicopter: The Secret Aircraft that Helped the CIA Tap Phones in North Vietnam." Air & Space, Feb.-Mar. 2008. [http://www.airspacemag.com].

A limited-edition model helicopter from the Aircraft Division of Hughes Tool Company, "was modified to be stealthy. It was called the Quiet One -- also known as the Hughes 500P, the 'P' standing for Penetrator.... The CIA bought and then handed over two of the top-secret helicopters to ... Air America." The helicopter was used for a "single, secret mission, conducted on December 5 and 6, 1972." The mission placed a tap on a telephone line used by the country's military commanders, located in North Vietnam near the industrial city of Vinh.

Churchill, Jan.

1. Classified Secret: Controlling Airstrikes in the Clandestine War in Laos. Manhattan, KS: Sunflower University Press, 2000.

2. Hit My Smoke! Forward Air Controllers in Southeast Asia. Manhattan, KS: Sunflower University Press, 1997.

Roper, Air & Space Power Journal (Nov. 2008), notes that while this book is "[a]dmittedly not a rigorous history, [it] is a documentary tale of the men who flew low and slow over Southeast Asia, searching for targets to mark for destruction. Virtually every air strike in Laos, Cambodia, and South Vietnam had FAC direction.... Tales from people who were there dominate these pages and add authenticity, even if the reader dismisses some of the melodrama.... One chapter tells of Raven FACs, who operated in blue jeans from unmarked airplanes with a high casualty rate in the secret war in Laos."

Conboy, Kenneth, with James Morrison. Shadow War: The CIA's Secret War in Laos. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press, 1995.

Tovar, IJI&C 8.4, believes that the ground war in Laos "has rarely been understood and never explained adequately.... Shadow War represents an enormous step toward redressing that situation.... Conboy and Morrison provide a wealth of detail and perspective beyond anything produced to date." The book's "glossary of terms unique to the Laos war is the best of its kind in existence." Conboy "does not appear to be trying to prove anything.... His aim is simply to 'tell it like it was.'" For Surveillant 4.4/5, Conboy and Morrison "reveal the real face of war through a grunt's-eye view as opposed to a big picture, foreign policy approach.... Highly recommended."

Prados, Journal of Conflict Studies 18.1 (Spring 1998), comments that this work is "chronological to a fault," and the authors' "recounting of the to-ing and fro-ing of various military formations sometimes becomes too much.... Shadow War is ... relatively sparse on political aspects of the Laotian conflict, which is unfortunate since politics proved so important in that war."  It "is also weak on strategic planning and the machinations of bureaucrats, diplomats, and secret warriors higher up in the chain of command.... [T]he weak treatment of strategy and politics is a significant drawback."

Cone, Tracie. "Charges Dropped against Laotian Hero in Calif." Associated Press, 18 Sep. 2009. [http://www.ap.com]

The U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento said on 18 September 2009 that "[a] federal grand jury in California investigating an alleged plot to overthrow the government of Laos has dropped charges" against Vang Pao, a former major general in the Lao army. Charges remain against 10 others, including a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, and were added against two new defendants."

Cross, John P. First In, Last Out: An Unconventional British Officer in Indo-China. London: Brassey's, 1992.

Tonnesson, I&NS 10.3, notes that Cross served with the Gurkhas who suppressed the revolution in southern Vietnam in 1945. In 1972-1976, he was the British defense attaché in Vientiene. The first part of the book "adds nothing to our understanding of what happened in Indochina in 1945-46." The second part provides an "at times fascinating ... account of the atmosphere within the ... international community of Vientiene.... Cross has some arresting episodes ... to recount, but they are drowned in the author's unrelenting attempts to satisfy his own vanity.... The normal reader is likely to be ... disgusted by the author's frenetic self-praise." It is likely that, when they become available, Cross' reports from Vientiene "will be valuable sources.... But if you do not have to read the book, don't."

De Cornoy, Jacques. "Laos: The Forgotten War." Bulletin of the Concerned Asian Scholars 2 (Apr.-Jul. 1970): 21-23. [Petersen]

De Hoog, John. "Secret War in the Secret Country." Orientations 3 (Jul. 1972): 5-9. [Petersen]

Dengler, Dieter. Escape from Laos. San Rafael, CA: Presidio, 1979. [Petersen]

Dommen, Arthur J. Conflict in Laos: The Politics of Neutralization. Rev. ed. New York: Praeger, 1971.

According to Tovar, IJI&C 8.4:506/fn. 2, this "stands as the classic study of the political and diplomatic history of Laos between 1954 and 1971."

Duehring, Craig W. "In Gratitude to the Crews of Air America: A Speech to an Air America Symposium." Studies in Intelligence 53, no. 3 (Sep. 2009): 17-22.

This is text of "a speech Mr. Duehring delivered to participants, including many veterans of Air America service, in a symposium held at the University of Texas at Dallas on 18 April 2009." He flew with the Air Force Ravens in Laos, and has much good to say for the Air America people--as in saving his life.

Fall, Bernard B. "Reappraisal in Laos." Current History 42 (Jan. 1962): 8-14. [Petersen]

Fields, Kenny Wayne. The Rescue of Streetcar 304: A Navy Pilot’s Forty Hours on the Run in Laos. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2007.

Katz, Air & Space Power Journal 23.4 (Winter 2009), says that the author is "[a] talented writer" who "vividly conveys the facts, emotions, decision making, and sensations of a person in an extraordinary situation.... This outstanding book lacks only a map showing such locations as Yankee Station and Nakhon Phanom, Thailand."

Freedman, Lawrence. Kennedy's Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Roberge, I&NS 17.4, calls this "the most insightful work yet produced on US national security policy during the early 1960s." However, the author's "detached style takes some of the drama out of the story."

Gay, Dick. "Tony This and Tony That." CIRA Newsletter 28, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 30-35.

"Tony Poe [Anthony Alexander Poshepny] was a CIA special operations paramilitary (PM) expert dispatched on covert operations across Asia from the 1950s to 1970s."

See Stephen Magagnini, "An Inside Look at a CIA Secret War," Capitol Hill Blue, 31 Aug. 2000 [http://capitolhillblue.com], where Tony Poe talks (minimally) about the war in Laos.

Goldstein, Martin E. American Policy Toward Laos. Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1973.

Gross, Chuck. Rattler One-Seven: A Vietnam Helicopter Pilot's War Story. Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press, 2006.

Guilmartin, Air & Space Power Journal 23.2 (Summer 2009), notes that this book is about the author's "one-year tour of duty as a ... UH-1 'Huey' pilot ... beginning 15 May 1970." His "style is spare and straightforward, and his account modest and direct, unsparing in his assessments of himself and others.... Gross flew a variety of missions," including "inserting special operations groups into Laos as well as extracting them. His account of a night extraction of a compromised patrol from a minuscule landing zone (LZ) in south Laos had the hair standing up on the back of my neck!"

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