Sunday, October 30, 2011

Toronto Loved Judyth Vary Baker!

The purpose of the Toronto appearance for Judyth's book, Me and Lee, was to introduce the soft cover edition of the book after the hard cover had been selling for a year without any public appearances made by the author. Judyth was initially scheduled for a handful of interviews and one press conference and book signing at a Toronto bookstore. As her interviews aired, however, Toronto and other parts of Canada were abuzz with her story which had been blacked out for years in the American mainstream press. The schedule grew day by day throughout the Canadian media between October 16 and October 24, 2011. 

Stories appeared in the main news sections of all the major newspapers in Toronto. Judyth appeared live on CTV's morning television show with clips about her on evening news shows. The story was getting out about the innocence of Lee Oswald! That was, in fact, the real reason she had told the story--to help to clear the name of the man she knew and loved.

An article, written by a resident of Toronto named Sydney White, appeared at within a week following Judyth's last public appearance in Canada--violating a few of the most basic rules of journalism: 
  • she misspelled Judyth's name, and 
  • she incorrectly cited the title of the book, Me and Lee
Sydney White was merely one of many persons who had requested to meet and interview the book's author during a week filled with exhausting interviews. It was mere happenstance that she was sitting by the author's side during the meal, and it was in contradiction to Judyth's request that non-family members move to the other end of the dining table so that she be allowed to visit with family who had traveled great distances to see her in the first reunion with many of them for a decade. At any rate, the request was either not heard by Sydney White or was simply ignored. I prefer to believe it was the former because Sydney seemed to be sincere.
It was, in fact, Sydney White who made the conclusion that some nefarious scheme had taken place when bits of glass showed up on Judyth's plate of fajitas--small pieces that could easily have been mistaken for chips of an onion. These fragments were latched onto by Ms. White, who was adamant about accompanying the author to hospital and remaining by her side throughout the ordeal. Originally, the schedule had called for Judyth to depart the hotel's restaurant in time for a final appearance in Toronto at the bookstore where author Kris Millegan, another of the authors published by TrineDay, was giving a talk about the secret society Skull and Bones. Judyth had intended on being present to sign more books while he spoke, and she was torn between wanting to be at the book store and wanting to ensure that the sliver of glass she swallowed would do no further damage. As she wwote me a week or so later, the glass:
cracked a tooth and cut my gum. Spit out two pieces, a third was already stuck in my throat. Reporter [Sydney] saw whole incident. She examined two biggest pieces--clear, corrugated, as from a shattered shower door, approx. 1/3 inch long, 1/4 inch thick, both little chunks sharp, one pointed. Tiny bits of glass seen on plate itself under the food. Flicked them off onto the floor as I hunted for larger pieces (there were none) as we waited for ambulance. One piece stuck in my throat. Later migrated to clavicle area. Later some abdominal pain and other problems. Kitchen had nothing like this glass, so staff conjectured might have come in food imported into the restaurant. Reporter wanted to go in ambulance with me, and since she had the pieces and one was stuck in my throat,I let her come,also reducing stress on my family members. If I coughed up the glass,she would then have three pieces in her possession. That was my thinking,though it would not come out. Got medical attention.
As anyone who has read her book, Me and Lee, knows, Judyth is aware of the dangers of receiving radiation. She wrote following the incident:


Judyth was in transit back to her home for almost a week after the incident, contacting none of her friends or family during her return in order to eliminate the possibility of detection of her whereabouts. Upon hearing of the article's publication from friends who had not been present in Toronto and were thus unaware of the incident until reading Sydney White's article, Judyth reported,
"Sydney White published the incident without checking with me for details and also kept the glass pieces...she immediately believed it was a murder attempt... I NEVER assume such a thing and always try to find other explanations first."
Rather than focusing on that frightening experience, Judyth prefers that people remember instead the real reason she took the risk of going to Toronto, restoring the honor and integrity of Lee H. Oswald, a man whose life was taken from him by the cabal who killed President John F. Kennedy in 1963. This cabal has perpetuated itself in power in America and in the global empire it has established. People the world over are discovering in horror the evil committed in the name of patriotism. 

Sydney White appears to be fighting this same foe who targeted Lee Oswald and who would wish to silence Judyth Vary Baker. We wish her well in what she does. It should be understood, however, that she does not speak on behalf of Judyth Baker, but only for what she herself witnessed and concluded. This same enemy is being recognized across the world as protestors who began as "Occupy Wall Street" have begun settling in to other banking arenas, determined to publicize the power wielded by the moneyed class which has usurped legitimate authority for government of each nation in the world. 

Democracy tends to get messy, and for that reason can be easily distracted from the common goal of protecting individuals from the abuse of power by those born into power and trained in the use of tools to divide and distract.

For those who want to understand why Judyth is a threat to the establishment, just watch the following interview with George Freund, which took place while she was in Toronto. It has been broken down into two parts. Please feel free to embed or download and share widely. The links can be found at Conspiracy Cafe (Part 1) and  (Part 2) and at You Tube Part 1; and  Part 2.

Part 1

Part 2

More about Sydney White:

Sydney White is an activist, journalist and professor that teaches studies in propaganda at the Free University of Toronto, Canada. One of her interviews has been excerpted and uploaded to You Tube, several segments of which can still be heard as shown below. Do not be side-tracked or confused while searching by selecting movie excerpts of a much younger actress named Sydney White. Our Sydney is quite a bit older.

Part 2 of the interview seems to have disappeared, but Part 3 is here. Part 4 about global banking conglomerates making people into debt-slaves is here. Part 5 is about the Federal Reserve System. Part 6 talks about economics graduate students in her classes who are confused by jargon. Part 8 is the last segment appearing at the You Tube site, concerning how bankers create money for war.

Sydney White participated in the Toronto Change SPP Protest, where she was videoed. She gave a stirring speech about monetary history and assassination of American Presidents on February 16, 2008 as part of that protest. On June 14 that year she made another speech. Here is Part 1; Part 2 is here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How the CIA Makes a Puppet

An excerpt from the book by

Thomas L. Ahern, Jr.,  

Downloadable as a free pdf file at above link

Colonial Indochina

The US decision to replace the French as the guarantor of a non-Communist Vietnam represented the end of a tortuous path that first ran in the opposite direction. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's generic hostility to European colonialism and specific antipathy for Charles de Gaulle led him, during early planning for the postwar period, to suggest a United Nations trusteeship for Indochina. He later retreated from this, partly to avoid further demoralizing an already prostrate France, and partly to avoid weakening the basis for retaining the Pacific islands that the US had taken from Japan. But Roosevelt never yielded on his insistence that the French accept the principle of eventual independence for Indochina....

In February 1950, the French National Assembly ratified the agreement establishing Emperor Bao Dai as the head of a nominally independent Vietnam. This pro forma gesture sufficed, in the circumstances, to assuage Washington's anticolonial bias, and the door opened to a program of direct US support to the French Expeditionary Corps....

As the Viet Minh wore down the French defenders at Dien Bien Phu, both Washington and Paris had started looking for indigenous candidates to govern whatever Vietnamese territory might be saved from the Communists. American and French objectives in Indochina were quite different, as they had been from the beginning. The Eisenhower administration was preoccupied with the containment of Communism while the French were almost equally single-minded in trying to preserve their own economic privileges. Both, however, were looking for an anti-Communist politician receptive to Western guidance and possessing nationalist credentials strong enough to make him a plausible competitor to Ho Chi Minh.... 
Emperor Bao Dai in rare appearance in Vietnam

Ngo Dinh Diem had established his nationalist credentials in the early 1930s by quitting as the puppet emperor's Interior Minister when the French obstructed his proposed reforms. In the early 1950s, living in the United States, he came to be seen by some influential legislators as the best hope for an anti-Communist leadership in Vietnam. He had many weaknesses, including the lack of any organized following, but in the end emerged almost by default as the joint Franco-American candidate. On 18 June 1954, Emperor Bao Dai invited Diem to form a government to replace that of the Francophile courtier Prince Buu Loc....
Diem's Rule
Diem's rule was authoritarian and corrupt. His most trusted official was his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, leader of the pro-Diem Can Lao political party, who was an opium addict and admirer of Adolf Hitler. He modeled the Can Lao secret police's marching style and torture styles on the Nazis. Diem's younger brother Ngo Dinh Can was put in charge of the former Imperial City of Hue. These two brothers ruled their regions of South Vietnam with private armies and secret police. Another brother, Ngo Dinh Luyen, was appointed Ambassador to the United Kingdom. His elder brother, Ngo Dinh Thuc, was the archbishop of Hue. The family is widely believed to have been involved in illegal smuggling of rice to North Vietnam, and in the opium trade, and they monopolized the cinnamon trade. They used the power of the Catholic Church to acquire farms, businesses, real estate, and rubber plantations. Thuc used the army as manual labor on his timber and rubber plantations. Meanwhile, Madame Nhu, the wife of Diem's brother Nhu, was South Vietnam's First Lady (Diem was a bachelor), and she spearheaded social reforms in Saigon in accordance with their Catholic values. Brothels and opium dens were closed, divorce and abortion made illegal, and adultery laws were strengthened. In April 1956, the last of the French military forces left their former colony. Though U.S. officials soon recognized Diem's corruption, the United States was now stuck with him. They tried to influence Diem by attaching financial aid to positive social reforms. Change, however, was very slow in coming, but the aid kept rolling in. 

Covert Action as an Instrument of Nation-Building
Lansdale's Cold War

What Joseph Alsop several years later called the "miracle" of the Agency's success in Vietnam was the product of CIA's close relationships with Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother and confidant Ngo Dinh Nhu. CIA's energy and self-confidence in managing these relationships contrasted sharply with State Department caution and reflected an institutional ethos inherited from the Office of Strategic Services. This aggressive, enterprising spirit was encouraged by the Eisenhower Administration's confidence in covert operations as a means of containing Soviet expansion. As a result, by mid-1954 there was ample precedent for the Agency to take a lead role in Vietnam. CIA had restored the Shah of Iran to his throne in 1953 and in March 1954, just before the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu, had sponsored a successful military coup against the leftist government in Guatemala. Earlier, CIA's support to the Christian Democrats in the 1948 Italian elections helped ensure the survival of democratic government there. In the Philippines, the Agency's close relationship with Ramon Magsaysay beginning in1 950 was perceived as a major factor in the defeat of the Huk rebellion.

In all these cases the purpose was the same, to establish a viable anti-Communist regime in a country seen as threatened with absorption into the Soviet Bloc. But although the goal in Indochina was the same, Vietnam presented CIA, and the US Government as a whole, with a fundamentally different problem. In the other cases the task was to find and install acceptable leadership in a functioning, if perhaps undeveloped, nation-state. This might be done by sponsoring individual leaders in Iran and the Philippines, or by supporting a political party, as in Italy.

Installing a suitable leader

Vietnam was different. In the territory south of the 17th parallel, which Americans at first called Free Vietnam, there existed neither a sense of nationhood nor an indigenous administration. Cochin China, comprised of Saigon and the Mekong Delta, had had only a tenuous connection with the imperial authority in Hue before becoming a French colony. Annam, in the center, was now cut in half. And the Geneva Accords did not even in theory create a new state. The 17th parallel designated a truce line, not an international boundary, and the entirely provisional entity lying south of it was supposed to disappear after national elections in 1956.

Free Vietnam lacked not only an administrative apparatus but also a cadre of indigenous politicians accustomed to the exercise of power. All of this meant that with the decision to support Ngo Dinh Diem the United States was undertaking not only to establish a leader but to create a country. This formidable assignment was complicated from the very start by fundamental disagreements with Diem--mutual incomprehension might be more accurate--over the kind of leadership required and the kind of polity to be built....The CIA presence in Saigon also worked at cross purposes, not just with the Department of State, but with itself. As noted earlier, the Agency maintained two independent elements during the first two years of Diem's rule. Although they cooperated to help Diem deal with immediate threats to his survival in office. they developed conflicting approaches to the long-term issue of constructing for him a base of mass political support. The result was that CIA advisors to Diem and Nhu contradicted each other, usually unwittingly, on this fundamental issue until unitary command was established in late 1956....

Catholic in Buddhist Vietnam

Diem's religion did not necessarily recommend him to every American influential in Indochina matters, but it helped win the favor of such prominent figures as Francis Cardinal Spellman, and Senators Mike Mansfield and John F. Kennedy. And even non-Catholics could see his religious affiliation as confirming his anti- Communism. Diem's access to official Americans was also the product of his competence in English, rare in Vietnamese of that period, which he acquired while living with the Maryknoll missionaries in New Jersey and New York between 1951 and 1953. Residence in the US also gave him a platform for the vigorous lobbying that made him an early frontrunner when the United States began looking for indigenous leaders for Vietnam....

Diem lived as a ward of Cardinal Spellman's diocese in the Maryknoll seminaries during his exile from Vietnam (1950-52). Lakewood, N.J. and Ossining, N.Y.

Eleven years younger than Diem, Nhu had been educated in France as an archivist and paleographer. Unlike his brother, Nhu was in Vietnam in the years just preceding the French collapse and was active in the party politics that Diem ignored. Around 1948, he founded the Parti Travailliste (Workers Party), which despite its small size--it was hardly more than a semi-clandestine discussion group--kept the colonial authorities aware of his anti-French convictions. During the first year of Diem's rule, the French developed an unreasoning aversion to Nhu that they effectively communicated to the US Embassy in Saigon. ...

Nhu did, however, have an intense interest in the theory of political organization. He was also the only member of the family other than Ngo Dinh Thuc, a third brother who was the Catholic bishop of a diocese in the Mekong Delta, to have a circle of political contacts in Saigon. Nhu's style, formed in the days of his anti-French agitation, was essentially conspiratorial and anti-establishment. He tended to see government institutions as a colonial legacy to be manipulated or, failing that, obstructed or neutralized. Nhu's contempt for the urban elite, whose values he saw as "more foreign than Vietnamese," had as a corollary the need to build an entirely new national leadership, capable of imbuing the population of the South with Diem's brand of anti-Communist nationalism.

By the time of Diem's inauguration in early July 1954, the CIA had been active in Vietnam for four years, primarily in efforts to strengthen French unconventional warfare operations against the Viet Minh. When the French agreed late in 1953 to negotiate the conflict in Indochina, the prospect suddenly loomed of their abandoning the struggle. In early 1954, as the Eisenhower administration began to anticipate stepping in for the French, the Agency started trying to identify Vietnamese leaders with whom it might work directly to resist further Viet Minh expansion....

CIA in Saigon was to resume the direct assessment of nationalist politicians there. To revitalize the program, Headquarters chose Paul Harwood, then a newly promoted GS-12, who had a degree in Asian studies and had just completed a tour of duty inl IHe arrived in Saigon in April 1954 and began working out of the Embassy on behalf of the Chief of Station (COS), Emmett McCarthy. The second approach was launched at a January 1954 meeting of the National Security Council when someone suggested that Colonel Edward
Lansdale, USAF, renowned for his work as "kingmaker" in the Philippines, be commissioned to find a Vietnamese equivalent of Ramon Magsaysay. The NSC approved the assignment at about the time that Harwood arrived in Saigon, and Colonel Lansdale followed him in June, assigned to the Embassy
as Assistant Air Attache.

Although he had worked briefly for the OSS in San Francisco during World War II, Lansdale was never a CIA employee. For the Manila assignment, he had been detailed to the Agency from the Air Force; this arrangement was now extended for his service in Vietnam. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and
his brother Allen, the Director of Central Intelligence, directly participated in creating the assignment. Their participation resulted in Lansdale's being sent out as chief of a second Station, reporting neither to McCarthy in Saigon nor to the chief of the Far East Division, but directly to Allen Dulles.

McCarthy's unit, to be called here the regular Station, [            REDACTED                                             ]
[                                                                 REDACTED                                                                         ]
[            REDACTED                                        ] Although Lansdale began his tour of duty as Assistant Air Attache at the Embassy, his staff, all in uniform, worked out of the Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG). Eventually, Lansdale's unit acquired overt status as the core of the MAAG's National Security Division, responsible for civic action and rural pacification....

Headquarters left both Stations, McCarthy's and Lansdale's, largely to their own devices in the development of new programs. Beyond occasional resistance to what he saw as intrusions on his turf, McCarthy made no effort to influence Lansdale's program. Nor did he seek to ensure coordination between Lansdale and Harwood, even in the sensitive area of their respective relationships with the Palace. Lansdale, although dependent on McCarthy's communications facilities, seldom coordinated any correspondence with him, and Harwood seems not to have seen this de facto compartmentation as creating any risk or inconvenience....

Lansdale made no secret with Diem of his direct communication with policy-level Washington. This link completed the chain of relationships that made the Agency's role in Vietnam so crucial. The key element in this was Lansdale's standing with the Dulles brothers, which gave him more influence over policymakers in Washington than he exercised over the Vietnamese Government in Saigon....

The MAAG and the US Information Service (USIS) were both inclined to favor Diem, even at the price of difficulties with the French. The MAAG was an important CIA ally in dealings with the Vietnamese inilitary, both die national army and the sect forces." But the MAAG and USIS saw their charters in narrower terms than the CIA stations viewed their own; Lansdale and Harwood would discuss and try to help solve almost any problem that Diem or Nhu might raise. The result was that, during most of the first year, real communication with the Vietnamese on political issues took place in CIA channels.
Just a few minor redactions.

Harwood set out in May to help Nhu build a covert political action organization. Again, the shortage of qualified people inhibited progress. An example was Tran Van Do, an uncle of Nhu's wife. Nhu thought
him deficient in energy and courage and could think of no more active role for him than that of safehouse keeper, exploiting the immunity conferred by his social position from unannounced visits by French security. But the scarcity of loyal talent was such that a few months later he became Diem's foreign minister....

As Diem's appointment came to look more probable, the CIA role grew more active. Harwood, as noted earlier, asked his superiors for the terms on which he could commit covert assistance through Nhu. At the end of May, getting no response, Harwood made up his own terms and delegated Spence to take them to Nhu. These conditions, to which Nhu agreed, called for prosecuting the war against the Viet Minh and opposition to "coalition and partition." The US would train the Army even over French objections, and the Vietnamese would take particular care in selecting commanders for the internal security organs and the military. The terms also included a requirement for CIA access to Bao Dai in order to prevent him from dismissing a Diem government "on a whim," and for the continued secrecy of the liaison with CIA.

Harwood's unilateral action in this episode not only dispensed with Headquarters guidance, as already noted, but took CIA quite outside its charter into the area of policy. Whether Headquarters eventually sought State Department endorsement of his program is not recorded; any departure from what became US policy after Diem's nomination was apparently minor enough to attract no attention. In May, CIA wanted to know not only Diem's intentions but what ambitions Nhu might be harboring for himself. Nhu insisted that he would accept no position in his brother's Cabinet, and Spence believed he had "worked so long covertly he couldn't bear to do otherwise. But he anticipated working closely with Diem and declared his willingness to serve as intermediary. Hoping to use the connection for covert action as well as collection purposes, the Station pressed Nhu to describe his influence over Diem, Nhu replied, probably with tongue in cheek, that he could "direct" his brother....

Lansdale's Propaganda Team

Edward Lansdale had come to Saigon in June and was waiting for Diem when he returned from France. Lansdale later described in his memoirs having walked in on him unannounced the day after Diem took office on 7 July 1954. Lansdale had enlisted George Hellyer, the Mission's public information officer, to make the introduction, and Hellyer also interpreted as Lansdale spoke no French. Although Diem had studied English while living in the US, he apparently never volunteered to use it with Lansdale; for two and half years of continuous association they communicated through an interpreter. Lucien Conein, one of Lansdale's men, said later that, "I think Lansdale surprised the hell out of him... .I don't believe Diem thought he was going to last very long. What could he lose by talking to this man? [Fn: Conein's perception may well have been accurate, although it ignores Diem's perennial habit of cultivating unofficial American connections. Three others, during this period, were Joseph Buttinger of the International Rescue Committee, land reform expert Wolf Ladejinski, and Wesley Fishel, head of the Michigan State University public administration team in Saigon.]
"Sharing the same desk, Lansdale and Hellyer forged documents indicating impending Viet Minh property seizures and anti-Christian atrocities. Most audaciously, the psychological warriors dropped leaflets out of airplanes with fake bombing targets in an attempt to spread rumours that the US military planned to launch atomic attacks above the 17th parallel, and spread rumours that the Virgin Mary had abandoned Vietnam. For good measure the American Government offered refugees $89 if they relocated to the South—a handsome sum in a country where the average income was only $85 per year." Selling America, Ignoring Vietnam: The United States Information Agency in South Vietnam, 1954-1960 by Brendan D‟Arcy Wright

Lansdale's success in the Philippines encouraged him to believe that he had discovered the key to defeating Communist-led insurgencies. Exuding confidence when Harwood and others saw imminent defeat, Lansdale quickly came up with a formula for Vietnam. On 11 July, he announced to DCI Dulles that his goal was nothing less than to build a
"political base" in Indochina which, if successful, would "give CIA control [of the] government and change [the] whole atmosphere." 
Diem was an "unworldly dreamer but seeking help," and Lansdale had just written a three-year plan which, he told Dulles, Ambassador Heath was going to help him sell to the Prime Minister.If all went well, CIA would have advisers in all key areas, and Lucien Conein would conduct liaison with the Armed Forces if General Nguyen Van Vy, a friend since Conein's OSS service in Vietnam, became chief of staff. ...

On 26 July, Lansdale predicted that many thousands would refuse to leave the North; they asked only for rice and ammunition, which he wanted CIA to provide forthwith, along with exfiltration of leaders for training, But Harwood had reported four days earlier that the Ngo brothers had-abandoned any notion of a "suicidal defense [of] Hanoi." They now intended to leave behind only small stay-behind units with specific missions against the Viet Minh, who were scheduled to take over Hanoi on 10 October.

But if Diem was resigned to a Communist assumption of power in Hanoi, Lansdale was not. Complaining to Dulles about Diem's indifference to unified command for stay-behind units in the North, he scornfully dismissed any need to accede to loss of the North. Saying that he suspected the French of trying to
manipulate the South into accommodation with the North, he demanded,
"Will the US Government stop playing [the] French parlor game in IC [Indochina]?"
If so, he asserted, he could quickly form an effective resistance movement. Apparently believing that a change of government in France would somehow obviate the need for such a resistance program, he suggested as an alternative a
"military coup in Paris to make [a] lady out of [a] slut." 
It would require, he thought, no more than a "handful [of] strong-minded US officials to change [the] entire complexion [of the] world picture.

See also these files by Thomas L. Ahern, Jr.:

Vietnam Histories

This release consists of six declassified histories volumes and describes the CIA's role in Indochina during the Vietnam War. These histories written by Thomas L. Ahern, Jr., are based on extensive research in CIA records and on oral history interviews of participants. The release totals some 1,600 pages and represents the largest amount of Vietnam-era CIA documents yet declassified.

Document List

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hail to 'Our Chief' - Lansdale in Vietnam

12 May 1961 meeting of LBJ and Nhu
While [Ngô Đình] Nhu seems to have dealt with the Corsicans personally, the intelligence missions to Laos were managed by the head of his secret police apparatus, Dr. Tran Kim Tuyen. Although most accounts have portrayed Nhu as the Diem regime's Machiavelli, many insiders feel that it was the diminutive ex-seminary student, Dr. Tuyen, who had the real lust and capacity for intrigue. 

As head of the secret police, euphemistically titled Office of Social and Political Study, Dr. Tuyen commanded a vast intelligence network that included the CIA-financed special forces, the Military Security Service, and most importantly, the clandestine Can Lao party. (Fn: The Can Lao was a clandestine organization formed by Ngo Dinh Nhu shortly after President Diem took office. Party members were recruited from every branch of the military and civil bureaucracy, but were usually conservative Catholics. The party functioned as a government within the government, and through it Nhu was able to exercise direct control over every aspect of the government. Its membership list was kept secret to enable party cadres to spy more effectively on their coworkers.)... 

With profits from the opium trade and other officially sanctioned corruption, the Office of Social and Political Study was able to hire thousands of cyclo-drivers, dance hall girls ("taxi dancers"), and street vendors as part-time spies for an intelligence network that soon covered every block of Saigon-Cholon. Instead of maintaining surveillance on a suspect by having him followed, Tuyen simply passed the word to his "door-to-door" intelligence net and got back precise, detailed reports on the subject's movements, meetings, and conversations. Some observers think that Tuyen may have had as many as a hundred thousand full- and part-time agents operating in South Vietnam. (Interview with an exiled Can Lao party official, Paris, France, April 1 1971).

Since [Dr. Tran Kim] Tuyen was responsible for much of the Diem regime's foreign intelligence work, he was able to disguise his narcotics dealings in Laos under the cover of ordinary intelligence work. Vietnamese undercover operations in Laos were primarily directed at North Vietnam and were related to a CIA program started in 1954. Under the direction of Col. Edward Lansdale and his team of CIA men, two small groups of North Vietnamese had been recruited as agents, smuggled out of Haiphong, trained in Saigon, and then sent back to North Vietnam in 1954-1955. During this same period Civil Air Transport (now Air America) smuggled over eight tons of arms and equipment into Haiphong in the regular refugee shipments authorized by the Geneva Accords for the eventual use of these teams. (The New York Times, The Pentagon Papers, p. 19)
Lansdale would necessarily met the Ngo brothers when he first took over the covert operations in Vietnam from the French. The brothers are describe in the article below:
More on the family Ngo appeared in the press in 1964 under the byline of ANDREW TULLY and MILTON BRITTEN in a series called "Where Did Your Money Go? The Foreign Aid Story," serialized in the Denton Record-Chronicle:

President Ngo Dinh Diem
Stated bluntly, the United States had for seven years been propping up a largely unloved authoritarian regime. While we were helping Diem's troops win over Communist guerrillas in the jungles and rice paddies, Diem in Saigon was losing the battle for the minds and hearts of his people. In this losing battle Diem also had help—an aristocratic and ambitious family enterprise of which Diem had lost effective control. It was a militantly Catholic family in a predominantly Buddhist country. Diem's oldest brother, Ngo Dinh Thuc, Roman Catholic archbishop of Hue, controlled large amounts of church property and placed favorites in Diem's cabinet.

Ngo Dinh Can ran the city of Hue. Ngo Dinh Luyen had served as South Vietnam's ambassador to Great Britain and several European countries.
Ngo family of Pres. Diem
 Most Sinister Influence
But the most sinister influence was brother Ngo Dinh Nhu and Nhu's beautiful, wasp-waisted, acid-tongued, domineering wife. Nhu was Diem's political counselor, head of both the secret police and a 700,000-member Revolutionary Labor Party. Madame Nhu bossed not only her presidential brother-in-law but everyone else, high or low, military or civilian, within earshot. Converted to Catholicism with her marriage, she became a puritanical feminist and a national scold. Elected to the National Assembly in 1956, she rammed through legislation to outlaw prostitution, abortion, contraceptives, organized animal fights and taxi dancing.
Informed sources in Saigon agreed that the Nhus were behind the incident which the New York Times described as having undercut both American prestige and the cause of anti-Communism. It was a brutal crackdown on the Buddhists. Repression of the Buddhist majority by the Catholic Diem regime had long been a source of popular resentment.
It also embarrassed the United States and the Vatican. The Buddhist priest class had become the repository of all Vietnamese dissatisfaction with Diem and his autocratic, suspicious and ruthless family. When these dissatisfactions were dramatized by a Buddhist monk, Quang Due, who burned himself to death in gasoline-soaked robes, Madame Nhu shrilled that the Buddhists had
"barbecued one of their own monks, whom they intoxicated. And even that burning was not done with self-sufficient means, because they used imported gasoline."
Read more about the Ngo family by downloading a free book, The CIA and the House of Ngo.
 The Pentagon Papers  
Document 95, pp. 573-83.

The Saigon Military Mission (SMM) was born in a Washington policy meeting early in 1954, when Dien Bien Phu was still holding out against the encircling Vietminh. The SMM was to enter into Vietnam quietly and assist the Vietnamese, rather than the French, in unconventional warfare. The French were to be kept as friendly allies in the process, as far as possible. The broad mission for the team was to undertake paramilitary operations against the enemy and to wage political-psychological warfare. Later, after Geneva, the mission was modified to prepare the means for undertaking paramilitary operations in Communist areas rather than to wage unconventional warfare....

a. Early Days
The Saigon Military Mission (SMM) started on 1 June 1954, when its Chief, Colonel Edward G. Lansdale, USAF, arrived in Saigon with a small box of files and clothes and a borrowed typewriter, courtesy of an SA-16 flight set up for him by the 13th Air Force at Clark AFB. Lt-General John O'Daniel and Embassy Charge Rob McClintock had arranged for his appointment as Assistant Air Attache, since it was improper for U.S. officers at MAAG at that time to have advisory conferences with Vietnamese officers. Ambassador Heath had concurred already. There was no desk space for an office, no vehicle, no safe for files. He roomed with General O'Daniel, later moved to a small house rented by MAAG. Secret communications with Washington were provided through the Saigon station of CIA.

There was deepening gloom in Vietnam. Dien Bien Phu had fallen. The French were capitulating to the Vietminh at Geneva. The first night in Saigon, Vietminh saboteurs blew up large ammunition dumps at the airport, rocking Saigon throughout the night. General O'Daniel and Charge McClintock agreed that it was time to start taking positive action. O'Daniel paved the way for a quick first-hand survey of the situation throughout the country. McClintock paved the way for contacts with Vietnamese political leaders. Our Chief's reputation from the Philippines had preceded him. Hundreds of Vietnamese acquaintanceships were made quickly.

Working in close cooperation with George Hellyer, USIS Chief, a new psychological warfare campaign was devised for the Vietnamese Army and for the government in Hanoi. Shortly after, a refresher course in combat psywar was constructed and Vietnamese Army personnel were rushed through it. A similar course was initiated for the Ministry of Information. Rumor campaigns were added to the tactics and tried out in Hanoi. It was almost too late.

The first rumor campaign was to be a carefully planted story of a Chinese Communist regiment in Tonkin taking reprisals against a Vietminh village whose girls the Chinese had raped, recalling Chinese Nationalist troop behavior in 1945 and confirming Vietnamese fears of Chinese occupation under Vietminh rule; the story was to be planted by soldiers of the Vietnamese Armed Psywar Company in Hanoi dressed in civilian clothes. The troops received their instructions silently, dressed in civilian clothes, went on the mission, and failed to return. They had deserted to the Vietminh. Weeks later, Tonkinese told an excited story of the misbehavior of the Chinese Divisions in Vietminh territory. Investigated, it turned out to be the old rumor campaign, with Vietnamese embellishments.

There was political chaos. Prince Buu Loc no longer headed the government. Government ministries all but closed. The more volatile leaders of political groups were proposing a revolution, which included armed attacks on the French. Col. Jean Carbonel of the French Army proposed establishing a regime with Vietnamese (Nungs and others) known to him close to the Chinese border and asked for our backing. Our reply was that this was a policy decision to be made between the FEC top command and U.S. authorities.
Oscar Arellano, Junior Chamber International vice-president for Southeast Asia, stopped by for a visit with our Chief; an idea in this visit later grew into "Operation Brotherhood."

On 1 July, Major Lucien Conein arrived, as the second member of the team. He is a paramilitary specialist, well-known to the French for his help with French-operated maquis in Tonkin against the Japanese in 1945, the one American guerrilla fighter who had not been a member of the Patti Mission. He was assigned to MAAG for cover purposes. Arranged by Lt-Col William Rosson, a meeting was held with Col Carbonel, Col Nguyen Van Vy, and the two SMM officers; Vy had seen his first combat in 1945 under Conein. Carbonel proposed establishing a maquis, to be kept as a secret between the four officers. SMM refused, learned later that Carbonel had kept the FEC Deuxieme Bureau informed. Shortly afterwards, at a Defense conference with General O'Daniel, our Chief had a chance to suggest Vy for a command in the North, making him a general. Secretary of State for Defense Le Ngoc Chan did so, Vy was grateful and remained so.

Ngo Dinh Diem arrived on 7 July, and within hours was in despair as the French forces withdrew from the Catholic provinces of Phat Diem and Narn Dinh in Tonkin. Catholic militia streamed north to Hanoi and Haiphong, their hearts filled with anger at French abandonment. The two SMM officers stopped a planned grenade attack by militia girls against French troops guarding a warehouse; the girls stated they had not eaten for three days; arrangements were made for Chinese merchants in Haiphong to feed them. Other militia attacks were stopped, including one against a withdrawing French artillery unit; the militia wanted the guns to stand and fight the Vietminh. The Tonkinese had hopes of American friendship and listened to the advice given them. Governor [name illegible] died, reportedly by poison. Tonkin's government changed as despair grew. On 21 July, the Geneva Agreement was signed. Tonkin was given to the Communists. Anti-Communists turned to SMM for help in establishing a resistance movement and several tentative initial arrangements were made.

Diem himself had reached a nadir of frustration, as his country disintegrated after the conference of foreigners. With the approval of Ambassador Heath and General O'Daniel, our Chief drew up a plan of overall governmental action and presented it to Diem, with Hellyer as interpreter. It called for fast constructive action and dynamic leadership. Although the plan was not adopted, it laid the foundation for a friendship which has lasted.

Oscar Arellano visited Saigon again. Major Charles T. R. Bohanan, a former team-mate in Philippine days, was in town. At an SMM conference with these two, "Operation Brotherhood" was born: volunteer medical teams of Free Asians to aid the Free Vietnamese who have few doctors of their own. Washington responded warmly to the idea. President Diem was visited; he issued an appeal to the Free World for help. The Junior Chamber International adopted the idea. SMM would monitor the operation quietly in the background.

President Diem had organized a Committee of Cabinet Ministers to handle the problem of refugees from the Communist North. The Committee system was a failure. No real plans had been made by the French or the Americans. After conferences with USOM (FOA) officials and with General O'Daniel, our Chief suggested to Ambassador Heath that he call a U.S. meeting to plan a single Vietnamese agency, under a Commissioner of Refugees to be appointed by President Diem, to run the Vietnamese refugee program and to provide a channel through which help could be given by the U.S., France, and other free nations. The meeting was called and the plan adopted, with MAAG under General O'Daniel in the coordinating role. Diem adopted the plan. The French pitched in enthusiastically to help. CAT asked SMM for help in obtaining a French contract for the refugee airlift, and got it. In return, CAT provided SMM with the means for secret air travel between the North and Saigon....

b. August 1954
An agreement had been reached that the personnel ceiling of U.S. military personnel with MAAG would be frozen at the number present in Vietnam on the date of the cease-fire, under the terms of the Geneva Agreement. In South Vietnam this deadline was to be 11 August. It meant that SMM might have only two members present, unless action were taken. General O'Daniel agreed to the addition of ten SMM men under MAAG cover, plus any others in the Defense pipeline who arrived before the deadline. A call for help went out. Ten officers in Korea, Japan, and Okinawa were selected and were rushed to Vietnam.

SMM had one small MAAG house. Negotiations were started for other housing, but the new members of the team arrived before housing was ready and were crammed three and four to a hotel room for the first days. Meetings were held to assess the new members' abilities. None had had political-psychological warfare experience. Most were experienced in paramilitary and clandestine intelligence operations. Plans were made quickly, for time was running out in the north; already the Vietminh had started taking over secret control of Hanoi and other areas of Tonkin still held by French forces.

Major Conein was given responsibility for developing a paramilitary organization in the north, to be in position when the Vietminh took over. . . . [His] team was moved north immediately as part of the MAAG staff working on the refugee problem. The team had headquarters in Hanoi, with a branch in Haiphong. Among cover duties, this team supervised the refugee flow for the Hanoi airlift organized by the French. One day, as a CAT C-46 finished loading, they saw a small child standing on the ground below the loading door. They shouted for the pilot to wait, picked the child up and shoved him into the aircraft, which then promptly taxied out for its takeoff in the constant air shuttle. A Vietnamese man and woman ran up to the team, asking what they had done with their small boy, whom they'd brought out to say goodbye to relatives. The chagrined team explained, finally talked the parents into going south to Free Vietnam, put them in the next aircraft to catch up with their son in Saigon....

A second paramilitary team was formed to explore possibilities of organizing resistance against the Vietminh from bases in the south. This team consisted of Army Lt-Col Raymond Wittmayer, Army Major Fred Allen, and Army Lt Edward Williams. The latter was our only experienced counter-espionage officer and undertook double duties, including working with revolutionary political groups. Major Allen eventually was able to mount a Vietnamese paramilitary effort in Tonkin from the south, barely beating the Vietminh shutdown in Haiphong as his teams went in, trained and equipped for their assigned missions.

Navy Lt Edward Bain and Marine Captain Richard Smith were assigned as the support group for SMM. Actually, support for an effort such as SMM is a major operation in itself, running the gamut from the usual administrative and personnel functions to the intricate business of clandestine air, maritime, and land supply of paramilitary materiel. In effect, they became our official smugglers as well as paymasters, housing officers, transportation officers, warehousemen, file clerks, and mess officers. The work load was such that other team members frequently pitched in and helped.

c. September 1954
Highly-placed officials from Washington visited Saigon and, in private conversations, indicated that current estimates led to the conclusion that Vietnam probably would have to be written off as a loss. We admitted that prospects were gloomy, but were positive that there was still a fighting chance.

On 8 September, SMM officers visited Secretary of State for Defense Chan and walked into a tense situation in his office. Chan had just arrested Lt-Col Lan (G-6 of the Vietnamese Army) and Capt Giai (G-5 of the Army). Armed guards filled the room. We were told what had happened and assured that everything was all right by all three principals. Later, we discovered that Chan was alone and that the guards were Lt-Col Lan's commandos. Lan was charged with political terrorism (by his "action" squads) and Giai with anti-Diem propaganda (using G-5 leaflet, rumor, and broadcast facilities).

The arrest of Lan and Giai, who simply refused to consider themselves arrested, and of Lt Minh, officer in charge of the Army radio station which was guarded by Army troops, brought into the open a plot by the Army Chief of Staff, General Hinh, to overthrow the government. Hinh had hinted at such a plot to his American friends, using a silver cigarette box given him by Egypt's Naguib to carry the hint. SMM became thoroughly involved in the tense controversy which followed, due to our Chief's closeness to both President Diem and General Hinh. He had met the latter in the Philippines in 1952, was a friend of both Hinh's wife and favorite mistress. (The mistress was a pupil in a small English class conducted for mistresses of important personages, at their request....

While various U.S. officials including General O'Daniel and Foreign Service Officer Frank [name illegible] participated in U.S. attempts to heal the split between the President and his Army, Ambassador Heath asked us to make a major effort to end the controversy. This effort strained relations with Diem and never was successful, but did dampen Army enthusiasm for the plot. At one moment, when there was likelihood of an attack by armored vehicles on the Presidential Palace, SMM told Hinh bluntly that U.S. support most probably would stop in such an event. At the same time a group from the Presidential Guards asked for tactical advice on how to stop armored vehicles with the only weapons available to the Guards: carbines, rifles, and hand grenades. The advice, on tank traps and destruction with improvised weapons, must have sounded grim. The following morning, when the attack was to take place, we visited the Palace; not a guard was left on the grounds; President Diem was alone upstairs, calmly getting his work done.

As a result of the Hinh trouble, Diem started looking around for troops upon whom he could count. Some Tonkinese militia, refugees from the north, were assembled in Saigon close to the Palace. But they were insufficient for what he needed. Diem made an agreement with General Trinh Minh The, leader of some 3,000 Cao Dai dissidents in the vicinity of Tayninh, to give General The some needed financial support; The was to give armed support to the government if necessary and to provide a safe haven for the government if it had to flee. The's guerrillas, known as the Lien Minh, were strongly nationalist and were still fighting the Vietminh and the French. At Ambassador Heath's request, the U.S. secretly furnished Diem with funds for The, through the SMM. Shortly afterwards, an invitation came from The to visit him. Ambassador Heath approved the visit....

The northern SMM team under Conein had organized a paramilitary group, (which we will disguise by the Vietnamese name of Binh) through the Northern Dai Viets, a political party with loyalties to Bao Dai. The group was to be trained and supported by the U.S. as patriotic Vietnamese, to come eventually under government control when the government was ready for such activities. Thirteen Binhs were quietly exfiltrated through the port of Haiphong, under the direction of Lt Andrews, and taken on the first stage of the journey to their training area by a U.S. Navy ship. This was the first of a series of helpful actions by Task Force 98, commanded by Admiral [Lorenzo S. ] Sabin.

Another paramilitary group for Tonkin operations was being developed in Saigon through General Nguyen Van Vy. In September this group started shaping up fast, and the project was given to Major Allen. (We will give this group the Vietnamese name of Hao)....

Towards the end of the month, it was learned that the largest printing establishment in the north intended to remain in Hanoi and do business with the Vietminh. An attempt was made by SMM to destroy the modern presses, but Vietminh security agents already had moved into the plant and frustrated the attempt. This operation was under a Vietnamese patriot whom we shall call Trieu; his case officer was Capt Arundel. Earlier in the month they had engineered a black psywar strike in Hanoi: leaflets signed by the Vietminh instructing Tonkinese on how to behave for the Vietminh takeover of the Hanoi region in early October, including items about property, money reform, and a three-day holiday of workers upon takeover. The day following the distribution of these leaflets, refugee registration tripled. Two days later Vietminh currency was worth half the value prior to the leaflets. The Vietminh took to the radio to denounce the leaflets; the leaflets were so authentic in appearance that even most of the rank and file Vietminh were sure that the radio denunciations were a French trick.

The Hanoi psywar strike had other consequences. Binh had enlisted a high police official of Hanoi as part of his team, to effect the release from jail of any team members if arrested. The official at the last moment decided to assist in the leaflet distribution personally. Police officers spotted him, chased his vehicle through the empty Hanoi streets of early morning, finally opened fire on him and caught him. He was the only member of the group caught. He was held in prison as a Vietminh agent.

d. October 1954
Hanoi was evacuated on 9 October. The northern SMM team left with the last French troops, disturbed by what they had seen of the grim efficiency of the Vietminh in their takeover, the contrast between the silent march of the victorious Vietminh troops in their tennis shoes and the clanking armor of the well-equipped French whose western tactics and equipment had failed against the Communist military-political-economic campaign.

The northern team had spent the last days of Hanoi in contaminating the oil supply of the bus company for a gradual wreckage of engines in the buses, in taking the first actions for delayed sabotage of the railroad (which required teamwork with a CIA special technical team in Japan who performed their part brilliantly), and in writing detailed notes of potential targets for future paramilitary operations (U.S. adherence to the Geneva Agreement prevented SMM from carrying out the active sabotage it desired to do against the power plant, water facilities, harbor, and bridge). The team had a bad moment when contaminating the oil. They had to work quickly at night, in an enclosed storage room. Fumes from the contaminant came close to knocking them out. Dizzy and weak-kneed, they masked their faces with handkerchiefs and completed the job.

Meanwhile, Polish and Russian ships had arrived in the south to transport southern Vietminh to Tonkin under the Geneva Agreement. This offered the opportunity for another black psywar strike. A leaflet was developed by Binh with the help of Capt Arundel, attributed to the Vietminh Resistance Committee. Among other items, it reassured the Vietminh they would be kept safe below decks from imperialist air and submarine attacks, and requested that warm clothing be brought; the warm clothing item would be coupled with a verbal rumor campaign that Vietminh were being sent into China as railroad laborers.

SMM had been busily developing G-5 of the Vietnamese Army for such psywar efforts. Under Arundel's direction, the First Armed Propaganda Company printed the leaflets and distributed them, by soldiers in civilian clothes who penetrated into southern Vietminh zones on foot. (Distribution in Carnau was made while columnist Joseph Alsop was on his visit there which led to his sensational, gloomy articles later; our soldier "Vietrninh" failed in an attempt to get the leaflet into Alsop's hands in Camau; Alsop was never told this story). Intelligence reports and other later reports revealed that village and delegation committees complained about "deportation" to the north, after distribution of the leaflet. . .

Contention between Diem and Hinh had become murderous. . . . Finally, we learned that Hinh was close to action; he had selected 26 October as the morning for an attack on the Presidential Palace. Hinh was counting heavily on Lt-Col Lan's special forces and on Captain Giai who was running Hinh's secret headquarters at Hinh's home. We invited these two officers to visit the Philippines, on the pretext that we were making an official trip, could take them along and open the way for them to see some inner workings of the fight against Filipino Communists which they probably would never see otherwise. Hinh reluctantly turned down his own invitation; he had had a memorable time of it on his last visit to Manila in 1952. Lt-Col Lan was a French agent and the temptation to see behind-the-scenes was too much. He and Giai accompanied SMM officers on the MAAG C-47 which General O'Daniel instantly made available for the operation. 26 October was spent in the Philippines. The attack on the palace didn't come off.

e. November 1954
General Lawton Collins arrived as Ambassador on 8 November....Collins, in his first press conference, made it plain that the U.S. was supporting President Diem. The new Ambassador applied pressure on General Hinh and on 29 November Hinh left for Paris. His other key conspirators followed.

Part of the SMM team became involved in staff work to back up the energetic campaign to save Vietnam which Collins pushed forward. Some SMM members were scattered around the Pacific, accompanying Vietnamese for secret training, obtaining and shipping supplies to be smuggled into north Vietnam and hidden there. In the Philippines, more support was being constructed to help SMM, in expediting the flow of supplies, and in creating Freedom Company, a non-profit Philippines corporation backed by President Magsaysay, which would supply Filipinos experienced in fighting the Communist Huks to help in Vietnam (or elsewhere)....

On 23 November, twenty-one selected Vietnamese agents and two cooks of our Hao paramilitary group were put aboard a Navy ship in the Saigon River, in daylight. They appeared as coolies, joined the coolie and refugee throng moving on and off ship, and disappeared one by one. It was brilliantly planned and executed, agents being picked up from unobtrusive assembly points throughout the metropolis. Lt Andrews made the plans and carried out the movement under the supervision of Major Allen. The ship took the Hao agents, in compartmented groups, to an overseas point, the first stage in a movement to a secret training area.

f. December 1954
...discussions between the U.S., Vietnamese and French had reached a point where it appeared that a military training mission using U.S. officers was in the immediate offing. General O'Daniel had a U.S.-French planning group working on the problem, under Col Rosson. One paper they were developing was a plan for pacification of Vietminh and dissident areas; this paper was passed to SMM for its assistance with the drafting. SMM wrote much of the paper, changing the concept from the old rigid police controls of all areas to some of our concepts of winning over the population and instituting a classification of areas by the amount of trouble in each, the amount of control required, and fixing responsibilities between civil and military authorities. With a few changes, this was issued by President Diem on 31 December as the National Security Action (Pacification) Directive....

There was still much disquiet in Vietnam, particularly among anti-Communist political groups who were not included in the government. SMM officers were contacted by a number of such groups who felt that they "would have to commit suicide in 1956" (the 1956 plebiscite promised in the 1954 Geneva agreement), when the Vietminh would surely take over against so weak a government. One group of farmers and militia in the south was talked out of migrating to Madagascar by SMM and staying on their farms. A number of these groups asked SMM for help in training personnel for eventual guerrilla warfare if the Vietminh won. Persons such as the then Minister of Defense and Trinh Minh The were among those loyal to the government who also requested such help. It was decided that a more basic guerrilla training program might be undertaken for such groups than was available at the secret training site to which we had sent the Binh and Hao groups. Plans were made with Major Bohanan and Mr. John C. Wachtel in the Philippines for a solution of this problem; the United States backed the development, through them, of a small Freedom Company training camp in a hidden valley on the Clark AFB reservation.

Till and Peg Durdin of the N.Y. Times, Hank Lieberman of the N.Y. Times, Homer Bigart of the N.Y. Herald-Tribune, John Mecklin of Life-Time, and John Roderick of Associated Press, have been warm friends of SMM and worked hard to penetrate the fabric of French propaganda and give the U.S. an objective account of events in Vietnam. The group met with us at times to analyze objectives and motives of propaganda known to them, meeting at their own request as U.S. citizens. These mature and responsible news correspondents performed a valuable service for their country....

g. January 1955
The Vietminh long ago had adopted the Chinese Communist thought that the people are the water and the army is the fish. Vietminh relations with the mass of the population during the fighting had been exemplary, with a few exceptions; in contrast, the Vietnamese National Army had been like too many Asian armies, adept at cowing a population into feeding them, providing them with girls. SMM had been working on this problem from the beginning. Since the National Army was the only unit of government with a strong organization throughout the country and with good communications, it was the key to stabilizing the situation quickly on a nation-wide basis. If Army and people could be brought together into a team, the first strong weapon against Communism could be forged.

The Vietminh were aware of this. We later learned that months before the signing of the Geneva Agreement they had been planning for action in the post-Geneva period; the National Army was to be the primary target for subversion efforts, it was given top priority by the Central Committee for operations against its enemy, and about 100 superior cadres were retrained for the operations and placed in the [words illegible] organization for the work, which commenced even before the agreement was signed. We didn't know it at the time, but this was SMM's major opponent, in a secret struggle for the National Army....

General O'Daniel was anticipating the culmination of long negotiations to permit U.S. training of the Vietnamese Armed Forces, against some resistance on the part of French groups. In January, negotiations were proceeding so well that General O'Daniel informally organized a combined U.S.-French training mission which eventually became known as the Training Relations and Instruction Mission (TRIM) under his command, but under the overall command of the top French commander, General Paul Ely.

The French had asked for top command of half the divisions in the TRIM staff. Their first priority was for command of the division supervising National Security Action by the Vietnamese, which could be developed into a continuation of strong French control of key elements of both Army and population. In conferences with Ambassador Collins and General O'Daniel, it was decided to transfer Colonel Lansdale from the Ambassador's staff to TRIM, to head the National Security division. Colonel Lansdale requested authority to coordinate all U.S. civil and military efforts in this National Security work. On 11 January, Ambassador Collins announced the change to the country team, and gave him authority to coordinate this work among all U.S. agencies in Vietnam....

President Diem had continued requesting SMM help with the guard battalion for the Presidential Palace. We made arrangements with President Magsaysay in the Philippines and borrowed his senior aide and military advisor, Col. Napoleon Valeriano, who had a fine combat record against the Communist Huks and also had reorganized the Presidential Guard Battalion for Magsaysay. Valeriano, with three junior officers, arrived in January and went to work on Diem's guard battalion. Later, selected Vietnamese officers were trained with the Presidential Guards in Manila. An efficient unit gradually emerged. Diem was warmly grateful for this help by Filipinos who also continuously taught our concept of loyalty and freedom.

Benito Valeriano - was a general in the Philippine army.  His son – Napoleon D. Valeriano – was a major in the U.S. Army when the Philippines fell during World War II.  Major Valeriano was a part of the Bataan Death March from which he escaped into the jungle. After escaping, Major Valeriano helped to organize an insurgency network to fight the Japanese occupiers of the Philippines. Major Valeriano was there when General MacArthur returned to the Philippines and was with him as much of the Philippines was liberated. Major Valeriano was later a noted speaker on the subject of counter-insurgency, including a number of seminars at West Point. 
The patriot we've named Trieu Dinh had been working on an almanac for popular sale, particularly in the northern cities and towns we could still reach. Noted Vietnamese astrologers were hired to write predictions about coming disasters to certain Vietminh leaders and undertakings, and to predict unity in the south. The work was carried out under the direction of Lt Phillips, based on our concept of the use of astrology for psywar in Southeast Asia. Copies of the almanac were shipped by air to Haiphong and then smuggled into Vietminh territory.

Dinh also had produced a Thomas Paine type series of essays on Vietnamese patriotism against the Communist Vietminh, under the guidance of Capt. Arundel. These essays were circulated among influential groups in Vietnam, earned front-page editorials in the leading daily newspaper in Saigon. Circulation increased with the publication of these essays. The publisher is known to SMM as The Dragon Lady and is a fine Vietnamese girl who has been the mistress of an anti-American French civilian. Despite anti-American remarks by her boy friend, we had helped her keep her paper from being closed by the government....and she found it profitable to heed our advice on the editorial content of her paper.

Arms and equipment for the Binh paramilitary team were being cached in the north in areas still free from the Vietminh. Personnel movements were covered by the flow of refugees. Haiphong was reminiscent of our own pioneer days as it was swamped with people whom it couldn't shelter. Living space and food were at a premium, nervous tension grew. It was a wild time for our northern team.

First supplies for the Hao paramilitary group started to arrive in Saigon. These shipments and the earlier ones for the Binh group were part of an efficient and effective air smuggling effort by the 58 1st [word illegible] Wing, U.S. Air Force, to support SMM, with help by CIA and Air Force personnel in both Okinawa and the Philippines. SMM officers frequently did coolie labor in manhandling tons of cargo, at times working throughout the night. . . . All....officers pitched in to help, as part of our "blood, sweat and tears."....

By 31 January, all operational equipment of the Binh paramilitary group had been trans-shipped to Haiphong from Saigon, mostly with the help of CAT, and the northern SMM team had it cached in operational sites. Security measures were tightened at the Haiphong airport and plans for bringing in the Hao equipment were changed from the air route to sea. Task Force 98, now 98.7 under command of Captain Frank, again was asked to give a helping hand and did so....

....Major Conein had briefed the members of the Binh paramilitary team and started them infiltrating into the north as individuals. The infiltration was carried out in careful stages over a 30 day period, a successful operation. The Binhs became normal citizens, carrying out every day civil pursuits, on the surface. We had smuggled into Vietnam about eight and a half tons of supplies for the Hao paramilitary group. They included fourteen agent radios, 300 carbines, 90, 000 rounds of carbine ammunition, 50 pistols, 10,000 rounds of pistol ammunition, and 300 pounds of explosives. Two and a half tons were delivered to the
Hao agents in Tonkin, while the remainder was cached along the Red River by SMM, with the help of the Navy....

The CIA used the Mafia's allies, the Union Corse, to take Marseille away from the independent and communist unions, leaving the Corsican hoods in control of the most important port in France. The geopolitical rationale for this, from both the French and the American perspective, wasn't only the threat the leftists posed to control of France, but to the Indochina war. The Vietminh had considerable support among French leftists in 1947.
In an attempt to force the French government to negotiate with the Vietminh, the communist dock worker unions, which were full of former Maquis fighters, refused to load American arms destined for Vietnam. The only outfits with enough muscle to challenge the communist unions for control of the docks were the union-busting Corsican hoods and their puppet-union goon squads. The 1947 street war for control of Marseille's docks, financed and coordinated by American military intelligence, was nasty, brutish and short.

The French secret services, also financed by American military intelligence, had been using Corsican opium dealers throughout Indochina to finance their operation against the Vietminh. Thus they had a system in place for the collection and distribution of opium and morphine base from all over the Golden Triangle of Laos, Burma and Thailand.

Morphine base is easily manufactured in makeshift jungle labs. Opium's major alklaoid is precipitated out of the raw sap by boiling it in water with lime. The white morphine floats to the top. That is drawn off and boiled with ammonia, filtered, boiled again, and then sun-dried. The resultant clay-like brown paste is morphine base.

That's where the Corsicans came in. Heroin is diacetylmorphine, morphine in combination with acetic acid, the naturally-occurring acid found in citrus fruits and vinegar. Heroin is preferred by addicts because the acetic acid renders it highly soluble in blood, therefore quicker acting and more potent than unrefined morphine.

The combination process requires, firstly, the skillful use of acetic anhydride, chloroform, sodium carbonate and alcohol. Then the last step, purification in the fourth stage, requires heating with ether and hydrochloric acid. Since the volatile ether has a habit of exploding, the Union Corse had to advertise for a few good chemists.

With huge protected surpluses of morphine base available, the Corsicans built a network of labs to refine not only the Indochinese, but also the Persian and Turkish product, shipping the finished snow white #4 heroin out of a Marseille they now controlled. The Union Corse heroin was often shipped on the order of their Mafia partners, who controlled the great American retail market.

With that much leverage, the Corsican hoods became major CIA "assets" throughout the fifties. Anslinger's star international agents in the 50's, George White, Charles Siragusa and Sal Vizzini, actually brag in their memoirs about their operational CIA/Deuxieme Bureau connections. That is, as they themselves obliquely admit, their mission was essentially political, with the occassional cosmetic bust thrown in for credibility, or to destroy a competing "asset." White is the man who protended that Burmese-KMT heroin came from the Reds.

The U.S. had initially supported the Vietminh in Vietnam, and then shifted its support to the French, who proceeded to lose anyway. In 1954, as the French were collapsing, President Eisenhower addressed these remarkable words to the National Security Council: "The key to winning this war is to get the Vietnamese to fight. There is just no sense in even talking about United States forces replacing the French in Indochina. If we did so, the Vietnamese could be expected to transfer their hatred of the French to us. I cannot tell you how bitterly opposed I am to such a course of action. This war in Indochina would absorb our troops by divisions!"

The Dulles brothers ignored Eisenhower, sending their most dangerous operative, the CIA's Col. Edward Lansdale. Lansdale had just finished stomping the Filippine campesinos into submission. In the process, he replaced President Quirino with our chosen commercial puppet, Ramon Magsaysay. This was done using the old Reichstag Fire trick. The threat posed by the largely mythical HUK rebels was wildly exaggerated by staged incidents which were splashed all over the media. Then Magsaysay, the young Lone Ranger Congressman, rode to the rescue, in the media.

Lansdale, a former advertising executive, was the lead unconventional warfare officer attached to the Saigon Military Mission. His 12-man team was in place by July 1954, less than 2 months after the French defeat at Dienbienphu. They found that the well-organized Binh Xuyen street gang, which was in effect an arm of the Deuxieme Bureau, directly controlled Saigon's police force. Lansdale used the mountain of American money and matériel at his disposal to buy the defeated French Vietnamese army, the ARVN. When it was ready, in April of 1955, the ARVN, in a savage 6-day battle that left 500 dead, took Saigon back from the Binh Xuyen.

Lansdale worked in tandem with Lucien Conein, who, during the war, led OSS paramilitary operations in North Vietnam, fighting in the Tonkin jungle with French guerrillas. He was instrumental in rescuing the French population in Hanoi from Vietminh retribution on their 1945 takeover. In this effort he worked with Gen. Phillip Gallagher and Maj. Archimedes Patti, OSS liaison to the Vietminh. Having worked with the French throughout their Indochina war, Conein knew North Vietnam well enough to operate there for Landale in 1955. His intimate knowledge of French forces, and his skillful use of troops, helped Lansdale take Saigon.

After all that effort, of course, it would have been a shame to lose "South Vietnam," an American fiction, to Ho Chi Minh in the 1956 all-Vietnam elections guaranteed by the Geneva Accords of 1954. The Accords had simply divided Vietnam into French- or Vietminh-controlled electoral districts. But France lost control of its district. "South Vietnam," with its American-controlled ARVN, refused to participate, despite French insistence that the Accords, formally recognized by the U.S., were internationally binding.

Instead, Lansdale rigged a fake election, installing our puppet, the French puppet Bao Dai's former prime minister Ngo Dinh Diem, as President of the previously non-existent South Vietnam in October of 1955. There is no doubt that Ho's victory in a southern election would have been a landslide, though, unlike the North, other parties had strength. France was set to formally recognize one Vietnam under the Vietminh.

In 1950, U.S. military intelligence told Douglas MacArthur, then in charge of our troops in Korea, that 80% of the Vietnamese people supported Ho Chi Minh, and that for the overwhelming majority this support had nothing to do with Ho's politics, but his nationalism. This, of course, was not news to MacArthur. He told Kennedy in the White House in 1961 that Viet Nam's only Vietnamese-led army was synonymous with nationalism. He emphasized that the Vietminh was a genuine national liberation front so popular that, if put under attack, it could mobilize virtually the entire population, giving it a numerical superiority that would enable it to absorb high losses indefinitely and still inflict unacceptable damage on any invader.

Eisenhower knew this too, of course, and so bitterly opposed American ground troops in Vietnam. The Dulles brothers were not swayed.  The mission of the Saigon Military Mission was the destabilization of southern Vietnam. By artificially creating anarchy, banditry and guerrilla war, where none existed before, the situation was militarized. The Red Menace would then require Diem's military police state. The puppet regime would then become a reliable source of huge defense contracts. That's advertising.

The Geneva Accords had split the country into two roughly equal electoral districts at the 17th parallel. They also provided that Vietnamese were free to move from one district to another. The Saigon Military Mission used this loophole to foment hysteria among Catholics in the North. This terror was entirely the work of Lansdale's northern "psy-ops" teams, led by Conein.  It had nothing to do with, and was not the policy of the Vietminh. But when Catholic peasants are machine-gunned by people who say they are Vietminh, and who look like them, well, psyops really do work.

The departing French helped to herd the terrorized Catholic peasants into Haiphong harbor, where they were loaded onto U.S. Navy transports. The CIA's Civil Air Transport also pitched in, and many just walked across the border. By 1956, more than one million Vietnamese, mostly impoverished Catholic Tonkinese, were dropped, with no social support, among the traditional villages of the southern Cochinese in the Mekong Delta. These populations had never mixed before and despised one another. The homeless Tonkinese Catholics were outnumbered by the native Cochinese Buddhists 12:1.

Diem then did his job. He proceeded to confiscate traditional village lands and hand them to homeless northern Catholic bandit groups. Since "South Vietnam" had never existed before, it had no governmental structure - no tax system, military, police, legislature, civil service - nothing. Diem filled these slots with his pet Catholics. He then abolished all municipal elections and filled those slots with Catholics as well. Diem was creating a mirror of the French administration. His army commander, Gen. Tran Van Don, had been born and educated in France, and fought both WW II and the French Indochina War with the French.
Diem then did something truly diabolical. He destroyed the traditional Mekong Delta barter economy by expelling all ethnic French and Chinese. The rural economy - the grain and commodity markets run for centuries by the mercantile Chinese, collapsed. Commodities as basic as dry-season drinking water became unavailable as the harvests rotted for lack of buyers. Dung-soaked rice-paddy water is undrinkable. The situation did indeed militarize.
Until Lansdale and Conein's psy-ops, one of which was Diem himself, southern Vietnam had been introverted, tribal, peaceful and wealthy - and for the most part completely unaware of the Vietminh. But in the face of starvation, uncontrolled banditry by homeless northern invaders, the systematic destruction of their economy and property rights, and enslavement at gunpoint in "strategic hamlets" - most southern Vietnamese accepted the discipline of the only Vietnamese-led army in Vietnam, the Vietminh.

Since the urbane, Catholic, French-speaking Diem, below center, lacked the popular support of the Vietminh, in rural, Buddhist, Vietnamese-speaking Vietnam, he was forced to rely for his financing on his brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, a world-class opium and heroin dealer tied to the Corsicans. Lansdale, below left center, pitched in with a coordinated effort to repeat the French Operation X, which organized the Hmong of highland Laos to operate against the popular Pathet Lao and Vietminh. Lucien Conein had helped the French run Operation X, and so had a relationship with Nhu's Corsicans. Since the only cash crop of the Hmong was opium, that put CAT-Air America, which tied together their disparate mountain villages, firmly in the opium-for-arms business. The proceeds were used to finance both the Hmong army, led by the former French-serving Vang Pao, and Diem's nepotistic regime.