Vang Pao, Former General of CIA Secret Army In Laos, RIP

Categories: Breaking News
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The Associated Press is reporting today that Vang Pao, the former leader of the CIA's secret army in Laos whose war on Communism ended when he and tens of thousands of fellow Hmong fled the country in 1975, has died.

Until recently a resident of a modest house in Westminister, Vang reportedly died on Thursday afternoon at a hospital near Fresno of complications from pneumonia, which he contracted while attending New Year festivities in Northern California. Revered among ethnic Hmong refugees throughout the United States, Vang was nonetheless a controversial figure during his lifetime thanks to allegations that he executed his own followers during the war and also played a role in the region's thriving heroin business.

At the time of his death, the 81-year-old Vang left behind an extensive family, including more than 30 children. He had been in ill health for years, a condition that worsened after his 2007 arrest for his alleged role in a plot to overthrow the Laotian government. Vang was the focus of an OC Weekly cover story about the strange plot, which involved a rather quixotic effort to ship weapons to a ragtag band of Hmong guerrillas. The U.S. government discovered the plot and quickly infiltrated the operation when Vang's co-defendants tried to to purchase the weaponry in Northern California. Several other defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges and have yet to be prosecuted, but in 2009, Vang was cleared of any wrongdoing. You can read the rest of the AP story here.

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4 comments
Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

I do not understand, as an agent of the CIA it is ok to try and overthrow the government of Laos, but it is illegal to do the same thing without the CIA? How about when Pres Reagan had Ollie North sell weapons to our friends the Iranian Government to get funds for the Sandanistas since our congress refused to authorize funds...???

Bill
Bill

The media reported Thursday that General Vang Pao, considered the George Washington of the Hmong hill tribe, died of pneumonia after several days in the hospital in Clovis, Calif.The General is dead, but the rest is a lie.The real truth is the United States Government murdered General Vang Pao.It wasn’t a typical murder. It was a slow, calculated death that began three and a half years ago on June 4, 2007. Before dawn that day, federal agents crashed through the doors of his Westminster, Calif. home and arrested him for conspiring to overthrow the Government of Laos. The Department of Justice even called the operation “Tarnished Eagle” to embarrass, disgrace, and dishonor the General - a man who fought for America in its “secret war” in Laos for 15 years. Nine others were arrested that morning in California and also faced charges that were punishable by two life sentences in federal prison. The trumped up charges against Vang Pao were all dropped September 18, 2009, but not before he suffered 39 days in jail, 837 days under house arrest with an ankle bracelet, and two years, three months and 14 days as an accused man facing two life sentences. This is the same General Vang Pao that former CIA Chief William Colby once referred to as "the biggest hero of the Vietnam War" because of the 15 years he spent leading a CIA-sponsored guerrilla army fighting against a communist takeover over of the Southeast Asian peninsula.General Vang Pao did not die of pneumonia…he died of a broken heart.

Retired Army Colonel (Active/NG/USAR) 2 years in Vietnam

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