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John Simkin

Anthony A. Poshepny (Tony Poe)

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I thought it might be worth starting a thread on Anthony A. Poshepny (Tony Poe). He was closely associated with several people who I believe were involved in the assassination of JFK: Paul Helliwell, Ted Shackley, Carl E. Jenkins, David Sanchez Morales and Rafael 'Chi Chi' Quintero.

Poshepny was born in Long Beach, California on 18th September, 1924. At the age of nine, he was accidentally shot in the stomach by his brother. It was feared he would die but he eventually recovered and at the age of 18 joined the United States Marines. Poshepny served in the Second Parachute Battalion and the 5th Marine Division and saw action at Iwo Jima where he was wounded in the right leg.

Poshepny studied history at San Jose State University and after he graduated in 1950 he joined the Central Intelligence Agency. He was sent to South Korea where he served under John Singlaub. At the end of the Korean War Poshepny was sent to Thailand to work with Walt Kuzmak, the head of the Sea Supply Corporation, a shipping company in Bangkok.

Sea Supply and Civil Air Transport (CAT), a Taiwan-based airline, were established by Paul Helliwell as secret CIA companies. It was Helliwell's idea to use them to raise money to help support Chaing Kai-shek. According to Joseph Trento (Prelude to Terror): "Through Sea Supply, Helliwell imported large amounts of arms for the KMT soldiers to keep the Burmese military from throwing them out of the country. The arms were ferried into Burma on CAT airplanes. CAT then used the "empty" planes to fly drugs from Burma to Taiwan, Bangkok, and Saigon. There the drugs were processed for the benefit of the KMT and Chiang Kai-shek's corrupt government on Taiwan."

In 1958 Poshepny was involved in the effort to overthrow the Sukarno government of Indonesia. He then joined the project to train and insert dissident groups into Tibet. Poshepny also helped to organise the escape of the Dalai Lama from Tibet in 1959

In March, 1961, Poshepny was sent to Laos, where he worked longside General Vang Pao and his Hmong followers. Three years later he married the niece of Touby Ly Foung, a prominent Hmong leader. He was badly wounded in 1965 but he later returned to duty.

Poshepny later admitted that he collected enemy ears, dropped decapitated human heads from the air on to the enemy and stuck heads on spikes. A friend, Philip Smith, argued: "The posting of decapitated heads obviously sent a powerful message, especially to North Vietnamese troops seeking to invade the homelands of the Hmong and Lao people. He successfully fought terror with terror. He strove to instill courage and respect in the tribal and indigenous forces that he recruited and trained as well as fear in the enemy."

Poshepny told Roger Warner (Shooting at the Moon): "I used to collect ears... I had a big, green, reinforced cellophane bag as you walked up my steps. I'd tell my people to put them in, and then I'd staple them to this 5,000 kip (Lao currency) notice that this ear was paid for already, and put them in the bag and send them to Vientiane with the report.. I still collected them, until one day I went out on an inspection trip... and I saw this little Lao kid out there, he's only about 12, and he had no ears. And I asked: `'What the hell happened to this guy?' Somebody said, 'Tony, he heard you were paying for ears. His daddy cut his ears off. For the 5,000 kip' ''.

In 1966 Ted Shackley was placed in charge of the CIA secret war in Laos. He appointed Thomas G. Clines as his deputy. He also took Carl E. Jenkins, David Sanchez Morales, Rafael 'Chi Chi' Quintero, Felix I. Rodriguez and Edwin Wilson with him to Laos. According to Joel Bainerman (Crimes of a President) it was at this point that Shackley and his "Secret Team" became involved in the drug trade. They did this via General Vang Pao, the leader of the anti-communist forces in Laos. Vang Pao was a major figure in the opium trade in Laos. To help him Shackley used his CIA officials and assets to sabotage the competitors. Eventually Vang Pao had a monopoly over the heroin trade in Laos. In 1967 Shackley and Clines helped Vang Pao to obtain financial backing to form his own airline, Zieng Khouang Air Transport Company, to transport opium and heroin between Long Tieng and Vientiane.

Poshepny was later sent to Nam Yu where he was responsible for sending intelligence teams into China. In 1970 Poshepny replaced Jack Shirley as head of training at Phitscamp in Thailand. He stayed until he closed the camp in 1974. He retired from the CIA in 1975 but remained in Thailand for the next fifteen years.

Anthony A. Poshepny died on 27th June, 2003, and is buried in Sonoma, California.

post-7-1156690622_thumb.jpg

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Namebase entry for Anthony A. Poshepny (Tony Poe):

http://www.namebase.org/main1/Anthony-Poshepny.html

Tibet 1956-1959 Indonesia 1958 Laos 1958-1968 China 1960 Thailand 1984

Air America Association. Directory. 1997-10

Assn. Former Intelligence Officers. Membership Directory. 1996

Borosage,R. Marks,J. The CIA File. 1976 (56-8)

Christic Institute. Sheehan Affidavit. 1988-03-25 (19)

Corn,D. Blond Ghost. 1994 (133-4, 150, 157)

Grant,Z. Facing the Phoenix. 1991 (149-51, 155, 160)

Gritz,J. Called to Serve. 1991 (442)

McCoy,A. The Politics of Heroin in S.E. Asia. 1973 (266-7, 276, 300-1)

McCoy,A. The Politics of Heroin. 1991 (307, 316, 318, 337-8)

Nation 1995-09-18 (288)

Powers,T. The Man Who Kept the Secrets. 1981 (113, 419)

Prados,J. Presidents' Secret Wars. 1988 (141, 162, 272, 276, 286, 296)

Robbins,C. Air America. 1985 (83, 105, 125-7)

Thomas,E. The Very Best Men. 1996 (195-6, 276, 283)

Thomas,K. Popular Alienation: A Steamshovel Press Reader. 1995 (314)

Warner,R. Back Fire. 1995

Washington Post 1984-02-21 (A26)

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKposhepny.htm

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It was suggested that Po was the model for 'Colonel Walter E. Kurtz,' the fictitious character played by Marlon Brando in Coppola's film, 'Apocalypse Now' - the film loosely based on Joseph Conrad's short 'The Heart of Darkness' and Coppola's experiences in Vietnam. Allegedly, both Po and Coppola denied these suggestions - yet the parallels remain fairly convincing otherwise.

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Here is a young Tony Poe. It might also be worthwhile mentioning that Poshepny was recruited into the Agency by Jim Bill Lair.

James

Edited by James Richards

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Here is a young Tony Poe. It might also be worthwhile mentioning that Poshepny was recruited into the Agency by Jim Bill Lair.

Thanks for the picture.

It was suggested that Po was the model for 'Colonel Walter E. Kurtz,' the fictitious character played by Marlon Brando in Coppola's film, 'Apocalypse Now' - the film loosely based on Joseph Conrad's short 'The Heart of Darkness' and Coppola's experiences in Vietnam. Allegedly, both Po and Coppola denied these suggestions - yet the parallels remain fairly convincing otherwise.

Here is an interesting article on Tony Poe by Richard S. Ehrlich in the Asia Times (8th July, 2003)

Some say Tony Poe was the model for the Col Kurtz character of the film 'Apocalypse Now'. He inspired fear and disgust.

Anthony A. Poshepny, a decorated, former CIA official who collected enemy ears, dropped decapitated human heads from the air on to communists and stuck heads on spikes, was buried on Saturday in California after waging failed secret wars in Indonesia, Tibet and Laos.

"The posting of decapitated heads obviously sent a powerful message, especially to North Vietnamese troops seeking to invade the homelands of the Hmong and Lao people,'' said Philip Smith, executive director of the Washington-based Center for Public Policy Analysis, in an email interview after Poshepny's death on June 27.

"He successfully fought terror with terror. He strove to instill courage and respect in the tribal and indigenous forces that he recruited and trained as well as fear in the enemy.

"In the post-Sept 11th, 2001, security environment, fearless men like Tony 'Poe' are what America needs to combat and counter terrorism and the new unconventional threat that America faces from abroad in exotic and uncharted lands,'' Mr Smith said....

The loquacious, gravel-voiced Poshepny confirmed to me in 2001 that he rewarded his fighters for bringing in enemy ears. He also confirmed he let his Lao guerrillas erect a human head on a spike and toss pebbles at it, to boost their anti-communist fervor.

Poshepny said he twice hurled human heads from an aircraft on to his enemies in Laos, to terrify them. "We flew in real low, in front of that bastard's house and I threw the head so it bounced right on his porch and into his front door,'' Poshepny, laughing, told me at his San Francisco home in 2001.

Based for several years in the highlands of northern Laos, where he was seriously wounded three times, Poshepny grew angry at Washington's attempts to control his activities. So he sent a bag filled with human ears to the US embassy in the Lao capital, Vientiane, to prove his guerrillas were killing communists.

The unopened bag arrived on a Friday and sat in the US embassy over the weekend. "Human ears contain a lot of water, and they dried up and shriveled in the heat all weekend, so when the embassy secretary opened the bag on Monday morning it was terrible and she got real sick,'' Poshepny told me. "I really regret doing that to her because she wasn't to blame at all.''

He unabashedly admitted his horrific acts to other journalists, while insisting his motive was to defeat communism. "I used to collect ears,'' a cheerful Poshepny was quoted as telling Roger Warner in his book, Shooting at the Moon, which won Washington's Overseas Press Club award for the best book on foreign affairs.

"I had a big, green, reinforced cellophane bag as you walked up my steps. I'd tell my people to put them in, and then I'd staple them to this 5,000 kip (Lao currency) notice that this ear was paid for already, and put them in the bag and send them to Vientiane with the report.

"Sent them only once or twice, and then the goddamn office girls [in the US embassy] were sick for a week. Putrid when they opened up the envelope. Some guy in the office, he told me, 'Jeez, don't ever do that again. These goddamn women don't know anything about this xxxx, and they throw up all over the place.'

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