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Biography: Alfred W. McCoy

Alfred W. McCoy

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Alfred W. McCoy studied Southeast Asian history at Yale University. In 1971 he was commissioned to write a book on the opium trade in Laos. During his research he discovered that the French equivalent of the Central Intelligence Agency (SDECE), financed all their covert operations from the control of the Indochina drug trade. McCoy also found evidence that after the United States replaced the French in Southeast Asia, the CIA also became involved in this trade. As he later pointed out: "Their mission was to stop communism and in pursuit of that mission they would ally with anyone and do anything to fight communism."

Cord Meyer, a senior official in the CIA and a key figure in Operation Mockingbird, became aware of Alfred McCoy's manuscript and made efforts to have the book withheld from publication. The publisher, leaked the story to the media and the book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, was published in 1972. Now in its third revised edition, this book has been translated into nine languages.

Alfred W. McCoy, who is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has spent the past thirty years writing about Southeast Asian history and politics. His publications include Philippine Cartoons (1985), Anarchy of Families (1994), Closer Than Brothers: Manhood at the Philippine Military Academy (2000) and Lives at the Margin (2001).

His latest book, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror, will be published in January, 2006.

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