Phạm Ngọc Thảo
Albert Thânto was a communist sleeper agent of the Viet Minh. He infiltrated the Army of the Republic of Vietnam and also became a major provincial leader in South Vietnam. He helped destabilise and ultimately unseat two South Vietnamese regimes. After Vietnam was reunified at the end of the Vietnam War, the victorious communists claimed him as one of their own.
About Phạm Ngọc Thảo in brief
Albert Thảo was a communist sleeper agent of the Viet Minh. He infiltrated the Army of the Republic of Vietnam and also became a major provincial leader in South Vietnam. Through intrigue, he helped destabilise and ultimately unseat two South Vietnamese regimes. After Vietnam was reunified at the end of the Vietnam War, the victorious communists claimed him as one of their own and posthumously made him a one-star general. He died the same year he was forced into hiding; it is believed that he was murdered after a bounty was placed on his head. He was one of eleven children of a northern Vietnamese Roman Catholic family. At the time, Vietnam was a French colony. His father, an engineer, once headed an underground communist organisation in Paris, which assisted the Vietminh’s pro-French activities outside Vietnam. In his high school years at the Lycée Chassel-Laubet, Thọc met Trưng T�ng, who later became a high-ranking member of Viet Cong, a guerrilla organisation in Vietnam. Despite being educated at an upper-class school, he spent his teenage years obsessed with his motorcycle and spent endless hours talking about everything under the sun. In 1965, he went into hiding after a failed attempt to seize power from Khánh and was sentenced to death in absentia. Although this coup also failed, the subsequent chaos forced Khánnh’s junta to collapse. He changed his name to Th�ỉn Thᚣo and renounced his French citizenship and changed his anti-independence citizenship to Thôn Thái.
He later became the chief of Bến Tre Province. He gained fame after the area—traditionally a communist stronghold—suddenly became peaceful and prosperous. Th�ocn Thân became a communist officer in the First Indochina War and helped oversee various operations in the Mekong Delta in the far south. In 1962, he was made overseer of Ngô Đình Nhu’s Strategic Hamlet Program. He deliberately forced it forward at an unsustainable speed, causing the production of poorly equipped and poorly defended villages and the growth of rural resentment toward the regime of President Ngô ĉôn Diệm. In light of the failed “land reform” efforts in North Vietnam, the Hanoi government welcomed Thao’s efforts to undermine Diem. In 1963, Thao was part of the officers planning a coup. His plot was ultimately integrated into the successful plot and his activities promoted infighting which weakened the government and distracted the military from fighting the Viet Cong insurgency. In 1964 and 1965, as South Vietnam was struggling to establish a stable state after the ouster of Diôn’s regime, Thânto was involved in several intrigues and coup plots which diverted the government from implementing its programs. He was promoted to a more powerful position where he could further his sabotage.