Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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Vint Lawrence – CIA handler of General Vang Pao dies


I somehow missed the recent passing of Vint Lawrence, CIA handler of notorious Hmong General Vang Pao in Long Cheng, Laos, in the early 60s, who threw his secret agent career away to become a political cartoonist in Washington.

Vint Lawrence is interviewed in the 2008 documentary The Most Secret Place on Earth – The CIA’s Covert War in Laos, for which I co-wrote the screenplay with director Marc Eberle.

Almost all the protagonists of the US’ dirty war in Laos interviewed in the documentary are now dead – James Lilley, Vang Pao, Sousath Phetrasy, Vint Lawrence and my sorely missed friend Fred Branfman.

Here is my obit of Vang Pao in The Times.

And my obit of Fred Branfman in The Daily Telegraph.

You can watch The Most Secret Place On Earth here.

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