The Department of State has declassified documents confirming the activities of Tony Poe, aka Anthony Poshepny, a CIA officer (cryptonym allegedly “UPIN,” cover allegedly “Air Operations Officer, Continental Air Services”) who conducted field operations in Thailand, Cambodia, and most prominently Laos from the 1950s to 1974.
Poe is frequently cited as a basis for Colonel Kurtz, Marlon Brando’s character in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, a CIA operative who –far removed from western influence– had “gone native” and was running his own army deep into the jungle of Indochina. Though both Poe and Coppola denied that he was the basis for Kurtz, the similarities are pronounced –and Poe was certainly one of the most remarkable, flamboyant, and grizzly operators employed by the CIA during American’s war in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
According to John Prados’s must-read biography of Poe for Unredacted, Poe went to Laos in March…
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