Saturday, 2 May 2009

Legacy of Ashes

Got this email from a friend today who regularly tours the fleshpots of Asia in search of a suitable place for retirement - at age 42.

I am currently reading Legacy of Ashes (The history of the CIA) by Tim Weiner.

Came accross this gem

'The CIA officer who fought the hardest in Laos was Tony Poe. With a bottle of scotch or Hmong rice whisky his constant companion, Tony Poe was the field commander for the secret war, walking point on the highland trails and valley paths with his Hmong and Thai troops. He had gone completely native and more than a little crazy.

Poe told his grunts to cut off the ears of the men they killed as proof of their victories in battle. He collected them in a green cellophane bag and, in the summer of 1965, he brought them in to the CIA station in Vientiane and dumped them on the chiefs desk.

Or this

The normal problems of red blooded Americans posted in a tropical war zone -sex, alchol, madness- multiplied in Vientiane, most often than not at a nightclub called the White Rose. Lilly recalled the day that one of our senior officers briefed a visiting congressional delegation on the secret war upcountry. That evening the delegation was taken to the White Rose for exposure to nightlife in Vientiane. Member of the delegation saw a large American man stark naked on the floor of the bar yelling, I want it now! A hostess lifted up her skirt and sat on his face. It was the same officer who had briefed the delegation earlier in the day.

1 comment:

1735099 said...

I was in Hanoi not so long ago traveling with my wife and teenage daughters. The night before we flew home my sixteen year-old persuaded me to go down to the basement of our hotel (a visiting Japanese Salaryman's hangout) after nagging incessantly that she wanted to "check it out" but needed my presence for security. She'd noticed mysterious comings and goings and was curious.
We went down the stairs and turned a corner, to be confronted with a bevy of briefly-dressed and heavily made-up Vietnamese girls and an older woman who said to me "You see girl you like?"
My daughter said "Holy Crap", and we left in a hurry. It was a well-organised brothel. This in the capital of a "Communist" state.
My daughter had her education extended, and I noted that not much had changed in 40 years - I'm aware the same occurs from my travels in coconut country (the South) in a less well-organised and more laid-back fashion.
Generally the authorities turn a blind eye - many are on the take and share in the US dollar profits.