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Pham Xuan An, Vietnamese war correspondent and spy, dies
Yahoo - AFP ^ | 9/20/06

Posted on 09/20/2006 9:28:35 AM PDT by Borges

Pham Xuan An, a Vietnam War correspondent for the US news weekly Time who led a double life as a top North Vietnamese spy, died aged 79.

Dubbed a patriot and the perfect spy by some and a traitor by others, the retired People's Army general died in Ho Chi Minh City's military hospital 175, of emphysema after a lifelong habit of chain-smoking American cigarettes.

"He died at 11.20 in the morning from a severe pulmonary disease," a military doctor told AFP declining to be named. "He was admitted in our hospital 50 days ago in a critical condition."

Journalist Thomas Bass wrote in the New Yorker magazine of An: "He says he never lied to anyone, that he gave the same political analyses to Time that he gave to Ho Chi Minh.

"He was a divided man of utter integrity, someone who lived a lie and always told the truth."

Pham Xuan An was born on September 12, 1927 northeast of Saigon in what was then French-ruled Cochinchina, the son of a colonial cadre.

As a teenager, he enlisted with the Vietminh guerrillas against Japanese and French forces.

In the early 1950s, as the Indochina War was raging, An, an English language student at the US Information Service, was recruited as a communist spy in Vietnams new military intelligence service.

He worked as a postal press censor, where his duties reportedly included blackening out news dispatches by Graham Greene, when An was found and trained by Vietnam CIA chief Colonel Edward Lansdale.

An's communist handlers decided to send him to the country emerging as the new enemy, the United States, where he arrived in September 1957.

As the conflict heated up in his homeland, An studied American politics at a Californian community college, and took internships at a local newspaper and at the United Nations.

"He became a football fan -- and adored the United States," author Stanley Karnow wrote in 'Vietnam - A History,' quoting An as saying at a later meeting: "Those years were the best of my life."

Back in Vietnam in 1959, An became a double agent inside the intelligence network of US-backed South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem.

He took a post with the Vietnam News Agency and from the 1960s worked for several foreign news agencies before becoming a Time correspondent for 11 years.

Known for his astute insights and web of contacts, An became an institution in war-time Saigon, jokingly referring to himself as "General Givral" after the coffee shop where he traded information with other journalists.

An later said of journalists that "their food is information, documents. Just like birds, one has to keep feeding them so theyll sing."

At night, An would photograph documents and hide the undeveloped film rolls, sometimes inside grilled pork wrapped in rice paper.

In the morning, walking his constant companion, a German shepherd, he dropped the cannisters in parks and graveyards.

Couriers would take the dead drops to the Viet Cong guerrillas' Cu Chi tunnel network near Saigon, from where they would be smuggled via Cambodia and southern China to North Vietnam.

In 1975 when Saigon fell to the communists, Hanoi initially planned to allow An to slip to the United States to continue his work -- but they changed their mind, apparently fearing he may have become too pro-American.

An was named a Hero of the Peoples Armed Forces and awarded several military medals. But the regime also sent him to "re-education classes" and for many years banned him from meeting Western visitors.

Many foreign correspondents who worked with An during the war later said they bore him no grudges.

Fellow Time writer Robert Sam Anson only learnt long after the war that An had saved his life in 1970 by secretly securing his release from North Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge forces in Cambodia.

When Anson met An in 1987, the American asked him why he saved his life. "Yes," An replied, "I was an enemy of your country, but you were my friend."


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: gunnyg; marines; rvn; usmc

1 posted on 09/20/2006 9:28:36 AM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

May he burn in Hell.


2 posted on 09/20/2006 9:29:36 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Borges

Really pleased to hear that he died from smoking American cigarettes...........at least our tobacco farmers got him!!!!


3 posted on 09/20/2006 9:30:36 AM PDT by newcthem (Brought to you by the INFIDEL PARTY)
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To: Borges

Isn't it a tradition at Time to hire enemy spies? They had a well known Commie running the place in the 40s, as I recall.


4 posted on 09/20/2006 9:31:00 AM PDT by Defiant (There is no god but AOL, and Muhammad uses Messenger.)
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To: Borges

He died from smoking. File a lawsuit!


5 posted on 09/20/2006 9:33:14 AM PDT by Enterprise (Let's not enforce laws that are already on the books, let's just write new laws we won't enforce.)
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To: Borges

Only AP can make an anti-American spy and military general sound pro-American. Notice also the line that none of his journalist friends bore him any grudges after it turned out he was a double-agent. Like that's a shock. Hell, if anything they admired him all the more discovering he was a Marxist fellow traveler.


6 posted on 09/20/2006 9:34:17 AM PDT by MikeA (Not voting out of anger in November is a vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House)
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To: Defiant

That just what I was thinking.

TIME employed an another anti-American spy --- a spy who was buddies with "journalists."

The MSM is the enemy.


7 posted on 09/20/2006 9:37:54 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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To: Defiant

Things haven't changed much in the world of journalism.


8 posted on 09/20/2006 9:40:22 AM PDT by AprilfromTexas
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To: AprilfromTexas

Nailed by the Marlboro Man.


9 posted on 09/20/2006 9:44:50 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: Borges

Who says tobacco is all bad? Maybe we should carpet bomb our enemies with Marlboro's instead of JDAM.


10 posted on 09/20/2006 9:51:11 AM PDT by PeterFinn (Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for.)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

I often wondered if he met Kerry.


11 posted on 09/20/2006 9:52:11 AM PDT by Stashiu (RVN, 1969-70)
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To: AprilfromTexas

You are right, now they use copy and photos straight from terrorist backers in Iraq and Lebanon, and glorify lunatics like Ahmadinejad, because they remain obsessed with bringing down American society. They are neo-anarchists, who glommed onto communism until it no longer held out the possible of destroying America, and now they are latching onto Islam. When that fails, they'll look to China.


12 posted on 09/20/2006 9:53:07 AM PDT by Defiant (There is no god but AOL, and Muhammad uses Messenger.)
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To: Borges

Poor John Kerry must be so sad today.


13 posted on 09/20/2006 9:56:11 AM PDT by msnimje (Terror Deniers + Holocaust Deniers = A Match made in Hell.)
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To: Stashiu
"I often wondered if he met Kerry."

That Scumbag traitor from Kennedychussets is probably flying over there right now to beat McCain so he can deliver the eulogy.
14 posted on 09/20/2006 10:05:04 AM PDT by wmileo
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To: Enterprise

I'd say he can now Go To Hell, but I suspect he's already there.


15 posted on 09/20/2006 10:07:18 AM PDT by laconic
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To: Borges

I hope he suffered like the prisoners that the commies tortured, and that he is still short of breath gasping with lungs full of sulfur. Bastard.


16 posted on 09/20/2006 10:13:46 AM PDT by ExpatGator (Extending logic since 1961.)
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To: Borges

"Time," spy, why am I not surprised?


17 posted on 09/20/2006 10:35:31 AM PDT by pabianice
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

My kind of man (that Marlboro Man)...just 35 years too late.


18 posted on 09/20/2006 10:40:42 AM PDT by AprilfromTexas
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To: Borges

""He became a football fan -- and adored the United States," author Stanley Karnow wrote in 'Vietnam - A History,' quoting An as saying at a later meeting: "Those years were the best of my life.""

but he says in his own words:

When Anson met An in 1987, the American asked him why he saved his life. "Yes," An replied, "I was an enemy of your country, but you were my friend."


19 posted on 09/20/2006 10:57:32 AM PDT by james500
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To: james500

"but you were my friend."


And like John F. Kerry, a traitor as well.


20 posted on 09/20/2006 11:14:36 AM PDT by wmileo
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To: Borges

Thank You Philip Morris!


21 posted on 09/20/2006 11:21:20 AM PDT by Popocatapetl
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To: laconic
I'd say he can now Go To Hell, but I suspect he's already there.

Actually he lived there.

22 posted on 09/20/2006 11:22:03 AM PDT by dfwgator
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