The recruitment process An in the communist - Story is not so! (Episode 4) - Dân Làm Báo

The recruitment process An in the communist - Story is not so! (Episode 4)

Nguyễn Hồn Việt (Danlambao) - “...I ask about An’s two instructors in military intelligence, one schooled by the Chinese, one by the Russians. “I don’t know anything about Russians or Chinese,” he says. “Only the Americans trained An. He was like me. I never studied intelligence.

I just did it. People knew how to keep secrets. That was the key to our success. Our organization was simple. There was nothing fancy about it...” 


I. Summary: 

1. "1945 - joined the Communists." 

2. "In September 1945, An signed up for a “crash course”in soldiering taught by the Communists near Rach Gia." 

3. "1946- a Viet Minh platoon leader". 

4. "1947 - Abandoning Communist Vietnam." 
(1947 - his father asked him to stay and take care of him. An did so willingly.) 

5. "1949 - Enrolled in US schools." 
(1949 - When the United States Information Service opened an office on the rue Catinat near the Grand Hotel, An signed up for the first language course.) 

6. "1950 - Meet Dr. Pham Ngoc Thach" 

7. In 1950 he reported for work at the Saigon customs house at the harbor. 

8. "1952 - An was summoned by his Communist superiors to report to the jungle." 

9. An had already ...stayed overnight at the radio station, hidden under the jungle canopy. 

10. Recruitment Spy. 

11. "1953 - admitted to the Party." 

Note: 

12. "A broker - One person has died!" (Say whatever) 

13. "Two teachers = surreal." 

13.1 "An - no narrator" 

13.2 Tu Cang - do not know! 

II. Reviews: Story is not so! 

(An undisciplined person - the son of a French officer ...) 

III. In detail. 

1. "1945 - joined the Communists." 

"Caught up in the patriotic fervor sweeping over Vietnam at the end of World War II, when the country seemed poised to shake itself free from the defeated French and retreating Japanese, An dropped out of school in the spring of 1945 and joined the Communists. “Our first enemy was the Japanese, who were occupying the country,” he says. “The Communist leaders were particularly keen to recruit students who knew how to read and write. We were young and patriotic.” 

“At that time, we knew for sure that the Communist leaders would sacrifice their lives for the good of the country. The majority of them were educated, like Ho Chi Minh and Dr. Pham Ngoc Thach, who had a French wife. My own primary school teachers joined the Communists." (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 38) 

Reviews: "An dropped out of school in the spring of 1945 and joined the Communists." 

2. "In September 1945, An signed up for a “crash course”in soldiering taught by the Communists near Rach Gia." 

"In September 1945, An signed up for a “crash course”in soldiering taught by the Communists near Rach Gia. For a hundred recruits there were only fifty weapons, including some muskets left over from World War I. Trainees had to pick up spent cartridges to make new bullets. Although he was involved in fighting first the Japanese and then the French, An dismisses this experience as little more than running errands. But a government Web site, recounting his activities as a Hero of the People’s Armed Forces, describes An as “a national defense combatant who participated in all battles in the western region of South Vietnam,” and it is not until March of the following year—six months after enrolling in his crash course—that An undergoes what he calls his baptème de feu. 

“This course was reserved for the peasant class and the children of workers,” An says. “I was considered an intellectual. 

My father was a fonctionnaire, a cadre supérieur, which was considered a pro-French element.” 

The Communists were also suspicious because An owned land. Doubting that his son would get far in school, An’s father had bought him a tract of land near the U Minh forest. An visited his land from time to time, where he witnessed firsthand the hardships of peasant life in the countryside." (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 40) 

Reviews: Perfect Spy Book by Larry Berman, said: An - Returned! (Not basic component.) 

3. "1946- a Viet Minh platoon leader" 

"I have asked him to tell me this story before, but only once does An let slip that he saw combat in at least one battle as a Viet Minh platoon leader. “One day I was assigned to fight the French. I led my platoon out into the field. We set up an ambush along the road. This was in the hot season, April 1946. The French had signed an agreement not to move through this area, which was controlled by our forces. They were breaking the agreement.” 

“I had thirty people in my platoon. We were armed with guns, grenades, and pistols. We had French shotguns, what they call ‘Flauberts,’ which are bird-shot rifles used by children to shoot pigeons, and some double-barreled shotguns. The French came marching down the paths alongside the canal. 

There were two columns of troops moving toward us. In between them was a boat, with machine guns ready to rake the sides of the canal. 

“We had taken up a position on a bridge over the canal. I ordered my platoon to fire on the French, but we were too far away to hit anyone or see if anyone was hit. The French called in air cover, and when the plane arrived, I ordered my platoon to withdraw. This was my baptême de feu, ” An says, using the French term to describe his baptism by fire. “I never shot a gun again during the war.”"(The Spy Who Loved Us, page 42) 

"As I replayed these tapes and reread my notes, the variations in An’s narrative began to intrigue me. Only once, for example, among a dozen descriptions of the “crash course” that had trained him as a Viet Minh soldier, did An reveal that he later commanded a platoon, which on at least one occasion had fired on French soldiers. This was not the work of a strategic analyst but the act of a partisan." (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 5) 

4. "1947 - Abandoning Communist Vietnam." 

(1947 - his father asked him to stay and take care of him. An did so willingly.) 

"By 1947 Vien’s health was so precarious that he was admitted to the tuberculosis ward at Cho Ray hospital in Saigon. 

“This was the year I was supposed to go back into the jungle to join the revolution,” An says. “I went home to see my father before I reported for duty. My mother told me that he had been hurt by the security people. ‘He is sick. You better go see him, before you leave for the jungle,’ she told me.” 

When An went to Saigon, his father asked him to stay and take care of him. An did so willingly. Vien had a lung removed and remained in Cho Ray hospital for two years. It was probably in the TB ward that An acquired the scarred lung tissue that remained after his own bout with tuberculosis. “I got a little bit of the grisaille from my father, the infiltration of microbes. 

This is why I got a deferment from the Vietnamese army, until they were sure I had been cured.”" (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 45) 

Reviews: "his father asked him to stay and take care of him. An did so willingly." 

5. "1949 - Enrolled in US schools." 

(1949 - When the United States Information Service opened an office on the rue Catinat near the Grand Hotel, An signed up for the first language course.) 

"An used his time in Saigon to read books and study English. 

When the United States Information Service opened an office on the rue Catinat near the Grand Hotel, An signed up for the first language course. In 1949 he made another attempt at finishing high school. Thanks to the intercession of his former math teacher, who had been named director of the Collège de My Tho, An was allowed to reenroll in school."  (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 46) 

"Instead of finishing school, An got caught up in organizing student strikes and demonstrations. In 1950 Cochin China’s schools were closed as students rallied for two mass demonstrations, one against the French and another against the Americans. Known as the Tran Van On demonstrations..." (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 46) 

6. "1950 - Meet Dr. Pham Ngoc Thach" 

"It was during the Tran Van On demonstrations that An began working with Dr. Pham Ngoc Thach, a French-trained medical doctor and Communist Party member who was “in charge of intellectual proselytization and student politiciza-tion” in Cochin China. A specialist in treating tuberculosis, Thach went on to become Ho Chi Minh’s personal physician and North Vietnam’s minister of health." (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 48) 

7. In 1950 he reported for work at the Saigon customs house at the harbor. 

"With the schools on strike and politics occupying his time, An never returned to high school. His father had taken early retirement at a reduced pension, and with no one else to support the family, An went to work. He moonlighted at various jobs, including driving a cyclo-pousse—a bicycle-mounted rickshaw—before he was hired as a bookkeeper at the CalTex oil company. 

In 1950 An scored high marks in the competitive exam used to recruit civil servants. He left his bookkeeping job to become one of fifty people trained by the Indochinese government to work as customs inspectors. “There were ten for North Vietnam, called Tonkin, ten for central Vietnam, called Annam, ten for Laos, ten for Cambodia, and ten for Cochin China,” An says. In 1950 he reported for work at the Saigon customs house at the harbor." (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 51) 

8. "1952 - An was summoned by his Communist superiors to report to the jungle." 

"During the Tet new year celebration at the end of January 1952, An was summoned by his Communist superiors to report to the jungle. He was excited, thinking he was finally being called to the war zone for action. He expected to be issued a gun and get to work fighting the enemy. “Already by 1947 I had decided I was ready to go into the jungle,” An says. “But because my father was sick, I had to stay in the city and take care of him.” Before he left Saigon, An was instructed not to quit his job at the customs house, curiously, and he was told to pretend that he was merely traveling out of town for the Têt holiday. 

After journeying to Tay Ninh near the Cambodian border, An spent the night in a remote village before being picked up by a guide. They walked all day through the forest. “The French were continually sweeping through the area on military operations. It was hard to slip in and out. You sometimes had to wait for days before it was safe to move through the jungle.”" (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 52) 

Reviews: "An spent the night...You sometimes had to wait for days before it was safe to move through the jungle."! 

9. An had already ...stayed overnight at the radio station, hidden under the jungle canopy. 

"An had already been here while visiting his younger sister, Pham Thi Cuc, who had moved to the jungle three years earlier to become “the Voice of Nam Bo,” a radio broadcaster for the Communist network. An sometimes brought her food and medicine and stayed overnight at the radio station, hidden under the jungle canopy. (In 1955 An’s sister moved to North Vietnam to work for the state-run coal mines.)" (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 52) 

10. Recruitment Spy. 

"An was bunked in with his sister at the Viet Minh radio headquarters when Dr. Pham Ngoc Thach, secretary of the Cochin China Communist Party, arrived. Thach was responsible for setting up what came to be known as COSVN, the Central Office for South Vietnam. The advance element of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, COSVN directed the war in the south. As the two men talked, An was disappointed to learn that he would not be joining his sister in the forest. Instead, he was being recruited to work as a spy in Thach’s newly established military intelligence service. “I was the first recruit,” An says. He found his new assignment ignoble. “Spying is the work of hunting dogs and birds of prey,” he told Thach." (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 53) 

11. "1953 - admitted to the Party." 

"Pham Xuan An was formally inducted into the Communist Party in 1953 at a ceremony in the U Minh forest presided over by Le Duc Tho. A graduate of Poulo Condore, Tho was in charge of the southern resistance against the French." (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 60) 

"“They asked me to join the Communist Party because I worked in a sensitive section,” An says. “If I hadn’t joined, they wouldn’t have trusted me. They explained all the measures they took for security reasons, and I had to study the resolutions of the Party congresses. The Indochinese Communist Party had been officially disbanded, but it continued to work underground." (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 61) 

12. "A broker - One person has died!" (Say whatever) 

"An had been introduced to Thach by a fellow student, Do Ngoc Thanh, better known by his alias Ba Hoc Sinh. “He was the leader of the student group in Saigon, before he was captured by French security. They tortured him to death and threw his body in the Saigon River. I was very upset when my friend was killed.” A member of the Communist Party since the age of seventeen, Ba tutored An in socialist ideology. He was also a member of the Marxist Club in Saigon, which met at the house of French educator Georges Boudarel. Later Boudarel went into the jungle to join the Communists, where he too worked for Dr. Thach. “Ba gave me all sorts of books published by Editions Sociales in France. The first book I read was L’Economie. Then I read about the history of the Bolshevik Party and Leninism. I wasn’t a member of their Communist reading group, so I read all these books on my own. 

“When my friend was captured, I realized I was in danger. 

His sister came to let me know that he had been arrested. I burned all the revolutionary books and documents he had given me. It took me the whole night to burn them.”" (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 48) 

Reviews: "They tortured him to death and threw his body in the Saigon River. I was very upset when my friend was killed." 

13. "Two teachers = surreal." 

13.1 "An - no narrator" 

"“I was supposed to follow the implantation of the Americans in Vietnam,” An says. “To face the future, we had to start learning about the American intervention.” Thach ordered two instructors to come down from the north and tutor An in military intelligence. One was trained by the Russians, one by the Chinese, but An found both of them pretty much useless. “Basically, Dr. Thach said I was on my own. I should borrow books from the Americans and the French that discussed intelligence and apply them as best I could.”" (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 53) 

13.2 Tu Cang - do not know! 

"When I ask if I can see his famous K-54 Chinese semiau-tomatic pistols, Tu Cang tells me that his guns, along with An’s Renault 4CV, have been sent to Hanoi for display in the museum of military intelligence on Le Trong Tan street. Unfortunately, entrance to the museum is reserved for employees of Vietnam’s intelligence services. Other than An’s car, which is now up on blocks, the museum is filled with telescopes, radio transmitters, decoders, and the camera An used to photograph secret documents. 

“Are there any poison-tipped umbrellas?” 

“We are not like the Russians,” he says. 

I ask about An’s two instructors in military intelligence, one schooled by the Chinese, one by the Russians. “I don’t know anything about Russians or Chinese,” he says. “Only the Americans trained An. He was like me. I never studied intelligence. 

I just did it. People knew how to keep secrets. That was the key to our success. Our organization was simple. There was nothing fancy about it.”" (The Spy Who Loved Us, page 202) 

Reviews: “I don’t know anything about Russians or Chinese,” 

*** 






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