Marc Eberle’s The Most Secret Place on Earth (The CIA Covert War in Laos), co-written by Tom Vater, has been reviewed by Mark Taylor in DOX Magazine in its current Summer Edition.
Here an excerpt:
Eberle’s documentary takes us from this first encounter to the construction at Long Chen of a centre of industrialized death-from-above. He does it at a break-neck speed, clearly aiming to push a complex history through the 45 minute window of television documentaries.
But he succeeds, primarily by keeping the focus on the story of Long Chen’s transformation from a bit of forest in the middle of nowhere, into the centre of a covert “death machine” on the western flank of the Vietnam war.
The Most Secret Place on Earth does its best to communicate the horrors suffered as a war machine, built in the shadow of a larger war. Still, it is hard not to feel that this something beyond human comprehension. The “secret war” is, as the film implies, an ancestor of today’s U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But far from being the mold which contemporary wars were forged, the film depicts a war that is a nightmarish synthesis of total war and colonialism, a war in which two of the mist deadly manifestations of twentieth century violence culminate.