The phoenix program - səhifə 18
Journalists allowed to view the graves while they were being opened reported seeing tire tracks and scour marks around the edges. Considering that the NVA did not have bulldozers, this suggested that civilians killed in the retaliatory bombing were bulldozed into the graves.Just as disturbing is a February 1972 article in the Washington Monthly, by Oriana Fallaci, titled "Working Up to Killing." Fallaci writes that more than a thousand people were killed after the liberation of Hue "by Saigon forces," including VCI cadres, who surfaced during Tet and were identified and killed by the secret police.
One person who knows what happened in Hue in February 1968 is PVT, the I Corps PRU and Phoenix inspector. The background of this unilaterally controlled CIA asset bears examination. Because his father was a police officer in Hue, PVT was accepted into the Surete Federale in 1954. When the Americans took over in 1955, he moved over to the Vietnamese Bureau of Investigation, rising through the ranks to become chief of Region 1 in Hue. Unfortunately for his career, his job included investigating the Buddhist immolations, and after the Diem coup PVT was jailed on suspicion of being Can Lao. Released a few months later, he and many of his tainted Catholic colleagues went to work for the CIA "because they didn't like the government" of General Nguyen Khanh.
Intelligent and tough, PVT served the CIA well as a Special Branch administrator in Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, and My Tho. In 1965, when Nguyen Cao Ky sold the CIA the right to organize Counterterror, Census Grievance, and Political Action franchises in the provinces, PVT went to work for CIA officer Rudy Enders in Bien Hoa, as his special assistant for pacification. A fast friendship formed between the two men, and when Enders was reassigned to I Corps as the CIA's senior paramilitary adviser, PVT tagged along and helped his patron manage the region's PRU, RD Cadre, Census Grievance, Special Branch, and Phoenix programs.
The CIA officer in charge of Hue in February 1968 was William Melton, "an older man," according to PVT, "hard and mean," who was angered over the death of his PRU adviser. While the battle for Hue was raging, Enders came down from Da Nang to lend Melton a hand. After a quick look around Enders decided to go after "the VCI who had surfaced at Tet. We had troop density," Enders explained to me, "and we had all these [ICEX] files, so now we grab hold." 
Also arriving on the scene at that moment were Evan Parker, Tully Acampora, and General Loan, who a few days earlier, on February 2, 1968, had achieved notoriety when, in retaliation for the murder of several of his secret policemen, he had summarily shot a VC sapper in the head in front of a TV camera crew. Bringing the same avenging spirit to Hue, Loan officially sanctioned Vietnamese participation in Phoenix operations in I Corps when he tacked the ICEX chart to the wall of the Hue City police station.
But in order actually to "grab hold" of the VCI operating in Hue, Rudy Enders required the services of PVT, whom he brought down from Da Nang to interrogate VCI prisoners. As PVT told it, he and "a small team of five or six people" crossed the Perfume River into Hue and went directly to the interrogation center, where "Rudy left me in charge." PVT and his team then interrogated the captured Communists and "took photos and fingerprints and made blacklists."
Reports Karnow: "Clandestine South Vietnamese teams slipped into Hue after the Communist occupation to assassinate suspected enemy collaborators; they threw many of the bodies into common graves with the Vietcong's victims." 
On February 24, 1968, the most bitter battle of the Vietnam War ended, and out of the mass graves of Hue rose Phoenix, its success prompting Defense Secretary Clark Clifford to recommend on March 4, 1968, that "Operation Phoenix ... be pursued more vigorously" and that "Vietnamese armed forces ... be devoted to anti-infrastructure activities on a priority basis." 
One day later, on March 5, 1968, with the Pentagon, hence the Armed Forces of Vietnam, now embracing the CIA's controversial Phoenix program, Prime Minister Nguyen Van Loc ordered the activation of Phung Hoang committees at all echelons, and he appointed Dang Van Minh chief of a special Phung Hoang Task Management Bureau. Doubling as the Special Branch representative on the Phung Hoang Central Committee, Minh immediately assigned Special Branch teams to the most important DIOCCs and PIOCCS on a twenty-four-hour basis and charged them with coordinating intelligence, the theory being that if Phoenix worked in Hue, it could work anywhere.
On March 16, 1968, the same day as the My Lai massacre, General Creighton Abrams replaced William Westmoreland as MACV commander. And by the end of the month Lyndon Johnson had pulled himself out of the upcoming presidential campaign. Warren Milberg, who was on leave in the States, recalled the mood of the country: "I remember coming back and listening to LBJ tell everybody that he wasn't going to seek reelection. That kind of reinforced in my mind the futility of the whole endeavor. It really made a big impact on me. I mean,
LBJ was a casualty of the Tet offensive-- among other things."
Many dedicated American soldiers and civilians, after Tet, felt the same way. On the other hand,
while demoralizing many Americans, the trauma of Tet spurred others on to greater acts of violence.For them, Phoenix would become an instrument to exact vengeance on a crippled, exposed enemy. "Up until the 1968 offensives," Robert Stater writes, "the VCI cadre were almost untouchable. Any losses suffered prior to then were insignificant. Confident of almost certain victory during the Tet Offensives, however, they surfaced their key cadre. The results are well known; the attacks cost the Viet Cong thousands of their most valuable cadre, including irreplaceable veterans with ten to twenty years of revolutionary activity." 
Professor Huy concurred, writing that "many agents whom the VC had planted in the towns and cities were discovered because of their activities during the attack, and were eliminated by the Saigon government." 
It is a fact that Tet was a psychological victory for the VCI. But it was a pyrrhic victory, too, for in proving itself a viable political entity, the VCI backed the GVN into a corner. Fear, and a chance to exact revenge, finally brought Phoenix to the forefront of the GVN's attention. All that remained was for Lieutenant Colonel Robert Inman to bring everyone together at the middle management level.
Having served in Vietnam with the Army Security Agency from 1963 till 1965, Robert Inman had already had, like many Phoenix officers, a tour of duty under his belt. Also
like many Phoenix veterans who contributed to this book, Inman is compassionate, intelligent, and more than a little irreverent. "At the time I arrived in Saigon in early 1968," he told me, "there was a U.S. staff but no corresponding Vietnamese staff. On the U.S. side there were about twenty people, mostly military, although the key management-level positions at the directorate were CIA .... We had two read files: one for everybody and one for the CIA only. The distinction was maintained throughout my tour, but" -- he chuckled -- "I got to read the CIA stuff." 
The reason for the compartmentation, according to Inman, was that "CIA coordination with Special Branch continued at a higher level than Phoenix." Likewise, the parallel chains of command extended into the field, with CIA province officers receiving operational direction from ROICs while at the same time, in their capacity as Phoenix coordinators and members of the CORDS province advisory team, reporting administratively to the CORDS province senior adviser. U.S. military personnel serving as Phoenix coordinators fell administratively within CORDS but received operational direction from MACV. The CIA-MACV schism was to be narrowed in some provinces, but the gap was never universally bridged.
At the time Inman arrived at the Phoenix Directorate, there were
three State Department officers on staff: Lionel Rosenblatt, Bernard Picard, and their boss, John E. MacDonald. According to Inman, MacDonald's job "was never revealed." Picard, now a prominent Washington lawyer, would not explain to me what he did.Rosenblatt merely said, "As a [twenty-two-year- old] junior officer ... I was assigned to CORDS-Phoenix in December 1967 and served there till June 1969. During this time my principal duties were: (one) orientation and visits to DIOCCs, December 1967 until March 1968; (two) Cam Ranh City Phung Hoang coordinator, March 1968 through September 1968; and (three) Phung Hoang liaison officer in Saigon." 
Executive Director Joe Sartiano, Inman recalled, "spent a lot of time with agency officers in the provinces, trying to coordinate the RDC/P people who ran the PICs with the RDC/O people who ran the PRU under the province officer system."
Inman himself was assigned to the operations section of the Phoenix staff, of which, he said, "There was a unilateral agency effort and a binational effort. And they were separate, too."
The Phoenix Reports Branch, under Lieutenant Colonel Lemire, was headquartered not in USAID II but in the old embassy building on the river."Nothing was computerized," Inman stated. "It was all pens and pencils and paper." There were, in addition, a plans and training section under Lieutenant Colonel Ashley Ivey and an administrative section under CIA officer James Brogdon.
As for the mood of the Phoenix staff, according to Inman, "The problem on the U.S. side was that cynicism was developing. Gooks, slopes, dinks: You didn't hear those words in the Saigon office, but the attitude was there." This racist attitude generally belonged to proponents of unilateral operations, as opposed to people, like Inman, who wanted to hand the job to the Vietnamese. "There were definitely two sides." He sighed, adding, "A lot of people after three months said, 'Why should I waste my time with the Vietnamese at the national level? I can get into the Special Branch files, and I can run the PRU, so what the hell?'" When asked if this was due to legitimate security concerns, Inman responded,
"Lack of security was often just an excuse for incompetency."
Inman did not blame Even Parker for the bigotry evident at the Phoenix Directorate. "Parker was not paternal," he said. "But he had reached a point in his career where he was functioning more on a diplomatic than an operational level. And Ev had frustrations with his own people inside the CIA who viewed the RDC/P and RDC/O systems as competitive. Each side would say, 'Yeah, talk to them, but don't tell them too much.' No one wanted to divulge his sources."
There were other problems with Phoenix. "For example," Inman commented, "one province in Three Corps was relatively pacified, and the province senior adviser there thought Phoenix would only stir things up. He thought his ninety-five percent HES [Hamlet Evaluation System] rating would drop if they started looking for trouble." The problem, Inman explained, was that "The U.S. had tremendous resources, enough to fund twenty-five programs, all first priority. Bigger pigs, and better rice, and Phoenix. Now, some province senior advisors simply said, 'There's no way to do it all,' and picked one or two to focus on -- and not always Phoenix."
The other major problem, Inman said, was that "Phoenix was used for personal vendettas."
When Inman arrived at the Phoenix Directorate, Evan Parker's military deputy was Colonel William Greenwalt, "an administrator trapped in an office." Inman and his best friend on the Phoenix staff, Lieutenant Colonel William Singleton, concluded that "the CIA had Greenwalt there to take the rap if anything went wrong." What went wrong was Greenwalt's career. Greenwalt was slated to become a brigadier general, but by virtue of his association with the CIA, via Phoenix, his career jumped track, and he retired as a colonel when his Phoenix tour ended.
"Operations was run by a civilian," Inman recalled, "a retired full colonel on contract to the CIA. His name was William Law. He'd been the military attaché in Laos. Singleton and I were assigned to Law, and Law told us to review everything in the files because he didn't know what the next step was going to be. After a month it got to be a drag, so I complained to Greenwalt. I said, 'I want another job. I'm wasting my time.'"
Greenwalt relented. "He gave me and Singleton three or four actions, which we resolved in about an hour," Inman recalled, and shortly thereafter "Law was sent down to the Delta to be the CIA's contact with the Hoa Hao." Law was replaced by George French, "a very personable, very experienced CIA officer who had done some very dramatic things in his career, from the OSS to Cuba."
George French's first job was as a demolitions expert in an Arizona lead mine, in the years before World War II. For that reason he was recruited into the OSS's Underwater Demolitions Unit in 1943 and assigned to Detachment 404 in Ceylon. Over the course of his CIA career, French did tours in Korea, Turkey, Pakistan, and Saipan and, as a member of the CIA's Special Operations Division, in Laos, Cambodia, and elsewhere. In the summer of 1967 French was assigned to III Corps as Bob Wall's deputy in charge of PRU, even though he actually outranked Wall. Nor did he appreciate that Wall acted "like a dictator." So he asked for a transfer and was assigned to the Phoenix Directorate, replacing William Law as operations chief. French described the job as mostly traveling to the provinces to see what was going on and asking, "How's your body count?" The rest of the job, he told me, "was just paper shuffling: compiling information and passing it on up to MACV." 
In March 1968 the Phoenix-Phung Hoang program began to gel. Passing up the opportunity to manage the Soviet/Russia Division (with Rocky Stone as his deputy), William Colby instead had returned to Vietnam, at the request of Richard Helms, to serve as acting chief of staff of CORDS. Because he was too overbearing to communicate effectively with the Vietnamese, Robert Komer needed Colby to work with Interior Minister Tran Thien Khiem in formulating counterinsurgency policy and procedure at the national level. Colby understood Vietnamese sensibilities and knew enough about the country to select and assign CORDS advisers where they were needed most. He also understood the dynamics of the attack on the VCI: that Phoenix advisers were needed specifically to help local authorities develop card files and dossiers modeled on the Diem-era ABC system. In the process Colby was to achieve infamy as the man most closely associated with Phoenix and as its principal apologist.
"At the time I arrived," Inman recalled, "Parker was meeting with Colby and Khiem, developing proposed action programs, writing documents, and sending them down. Khiem was saying yes to everything, but nothing was happening on the Vietnamese side. So I went to Greenwalt and asked permission to contact some lieutenant colonels and majors in the Vietnamese Ministry of the Interior. Greenwalt said okay, and I approached Phan Huu Nhon, my counterpart during my first tour and the J-seven special intelligence officer to the Joint General Staff. Nhon sent me to see Lieutenant Colonel Loi Nguyen Tan, the action officer for Phoenix at the Interior Ministry, where he had a desk, but nothing coming in."
Here it is worthwhile to pause and realize that one reason the Vietnamese were slow in creating their own version of the Phoenix Directorate was their difficulty in finding a suitable translation for the word "infrastructure." To solve the problem, President Thieu appointed a commission consisting of senior American and Vietnamese intelligence officials. Attending as an interpreter-translator was Robert Slater.
"After five lengthy and rather hot (both in temperature and temperament) sessions," Slater writes, "a decision was reached that the term that was presently in use would be retained. The Vietnamese term was ha tang co so ... meaning 'the lower layer of an installation' or 'the underlying foundation.'" According to Slater, this misinterpretation was the "crux of the problem in the Allied attack against the VCI. If the South Vietnamese government cannot get across to the South Vietnamese people the danger of the VCI through an adequately descriptive word, then how can they hope to combat them?" 
The "crux" of the problem, of course, was not a lack of understanding on the part of the Vietnamese but the fact that the Americans insisted on defining the VCI in terms that conformed to their ideological preconceptions. Ed Brady put the problem in perspective when he explained that for the Vietnamese, "Committees at lower levels are the infrastructure of any higher-level committee." In other words, village committees are the infrastructure of district committees, district committees of province committees, and so on ad nauseam. According to Brady, "The word 'infrastructure' drew no distinctions at all, and whatever level the VCI existed at depended solely on each individual's own semantic interpretation." 
"They were writing documents," Inman said, "and sending them down for translations, but no one understood what the word 'infrastructure' meant, and no one dared go back to Khiem and say, 'I don't understand.' Tan said to me, 'What is this infrastructure?' They were looking it up in the dictionary and coming up with highways and electrical systems and such .... I said, 'It's their leaders.'
"And Tan said, 'Oh. Can bo. "Cadre." That's what we call them."'
What Thieu's national commission could not resolve in five days, two lieutenant colonels resolved in five minutes. Next, Inman said, "Tan introduced me to a major who was Thieu's personal chief of staff. Tan, this major, and I sat down and wrote up Thieu's Presidential Directive. [ii] Then this major got the papers to Thieu. The papers were issued in July, and Tan moved into the National Police Interrogation Center, with about ten senior people from Special Branch, as Khiem's man in charge of Phung Hoang. Duong Tan Huu [a former precinct chief in Saigon and, before that, Nha Trang police chief] was assigned as the senior National Police officer. Major Pham Van Cao became the day-to-day manager of the Phung Hoang Office, and I spent the next eight months there as liaison to the Vietnamese national-level staff."
A self-proclaimed "true believer" in the right of the Vietnamese to settle their own affairs, Inman had little to do with the U.S. side of Phoenix. "I was mostly at NPIC headquarters," he stated. "My role was as salesman. I'd check in with George French for thirty minutes in the morning, sometimes only once or twice a week. I'd get input through him from a lot of people; he'd say, 'Sell this to the Vietnamese.' I'd channel policies and directives and manuals from French -- all in English -- over to the Phung Hoang Office, and they translated them. Then I'd spend time getting everybody to read and understand and sign off on them. I'd run them past Census Grievance and RD, Field Police and Special Branch, the Interior Ministry and ARVN , and everybody would sign off." And that is how the Vietnamese Phung Hoang Office got its marching orders from Colby and the Phoenix Directorate.
The other reason why the Vietnamese were slow in creating the Phung Hoang Office concerned the struggle between President Thieu and Vice President Ky, a struggle that in 1968 reflected changes in the relationship between America and South Vietnam brought about by Tet. The first signs of realignment appeared when President Johnson withdrew from the presidential campaign, at which point his influence in Saigon began to wane. Johnson, however, remained committed to a negotiated settlement because success at the bargaining table was the Democratic party's only chance of getting Hubert Humphrey elected.
But Republican candidate Richard Nixon seized the issue and used it to subvert the Democrats.
The darling of the Kuomintang-financed China Lobby, Nixon, through intermediaries in Saigon, persuaded Thieu to postpone negotiations until after the elections, assuring himself the presidency of the United States, at the expense of prolonging the Vietnam War.
Reflecting those developments in Washington, a similar political realignment began in Saigon in May 1968, when the VC initiated a second wave of attacks on Saigon, and Thieu, writes Professor Huy, ''as usual had no quick response." But Ky did react decisively. "He tried to mobilize young people for the defense of Saigon and received a favorable response." 
"With Tet," said Tully Acampora, "Loan made a comeback. Thieu was in another camp, watching and waiting. Through February the attacks increased, and by May, with the second offensive, Loan thinks he can walk on water. Then he gets shot outside of MSS headquarters, and that's the beginning of the end. It's all downhill after that."
On May 5, 1968 [iii] General Nguyen Ngoc Loan was seriously wounded and quickly replaced as director general of the National Police by Interior Minister Khiem, who appointed his own man, Colonel Tran Van Pham. Next, writes Professor Huy, Thieu "began his plan to weaken Ky."  His first move was to dismiss Prime Minister Loc and replace him with Tran Van Huong, a former mayor of Saigon and a bitter enemy of Ky's. During the 1967 elections Ky had coerced "peace" candidate Truong Dinh Dzu into pressing blackmail charges against Huong. And so, as soon as he was appointed prime minister, Huong tasted sweet revenge by dismissing most of Ky's backers in the administration.
"Then," writes Huy, "Ky received a new blow when several officers loyal to him and serving in the Saigon police were killed at the beginning of June in Cholon during their campaign against the second attack of the Communists. They were killed by a rocket launched from an American helicopter. Apparently this was a mistake, but many people thought it was due to the American decision to help Thieu against Ky."
The incident occurred on June 2, 1968, when a rocket fired from a U.S. Marine helicopter gunship "malfunctioned" and slammed into a wall in a schoolyard on Kuong To Street. The wall collapsed, killing seven high-ranking officials who had been invited by the Americans to the battlefront in the belief that the VCI leadership was hiding in the home of the Buddhist leader Tri Quang.Killed were Pho Quoc Chu, Loan's brother-in-law and chief of the Port Authority; Lieutenant Colonel Dao Ba Phouc, commander of the Fifth Ranger Battalion; Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Van Luan, Saigon police chief; Major Le Ngoc Tru, Cholon police chief and Loan's personal aide; Major Nguyen Ngoc Xinh, Combined Security Committee and First Precinct police chief; and Major Nguyen Bao Thuy, chief of staff to Lieutenant Colonel Van Van Cua, Loan's brother-in-law and the mayor of Saigon.
Four days later President Thieu appointed Colonel Tran Van Hai director general of the National Police. On the same day that he took office, Hai dismissed Ky's eight remaining police chiefs in Saigon and replaced Special Branch chief Nguyen Tien with his friend Major Nguyen Mau, who refused to accept Phoenix within the Special Branch and instead incorporated the Combined Intelligence Staff within a new Capital Military District Command (CMDC).
A by-product of Tet, the Capital Military District was formed for two reasons: to organize better the resources against the VCI cadres that had aided VC sapper units during Tet and to regulate the half million refugees produced during Tet and pouring into Saigon. It was also with the creation of the Capital Military District that Thieu and Khiem wrenched control away from Ky and Loan once and for all. Encompassing Saigon's nine precincts and Gia Dinh Province, the CMD had as its American counterparts MACV's Capital Military Assistance Command and a Phung Hoang committee in First Precinct Headquarters. Prior to the CMD, Phoenix personnel from Gia Dinh Province had patrolled Saigon's precincts on a circuit rider basis; as of June 1968, Phoenix advisers were placed in DIOCCs in each of the precincts. Phoenix precinct advisers reported to Lieutenant Colonel William Singleton through his deputy, Major Danny L. Pierce, whom Robert Inman describes as "an active Mormon who traveled all over the country on Sundays holding services." In this capacity, Inman informs us, "Singleton and Pierce were involved directly in intelligence and reaction operations in the back alleys of Saigon."
CIA operations in the Capital Military District -- aka Region Five -- were managed by a series of veteran CIA officers under their cover boss, Hatcher James, the senior USAID adviser to the mayor of Saigon. Headquartered behind City Hall, the Region Five officer in charge monitored all Phoenix operations in the Capital Military District.
A few days after the CMD was created, General Nguyen Khac Binh was appointed director of the CIO and quickly conferred upon station chief Lou Lapham "a charge from Thieu to run intelligence operations anywhere in the country, going after the big ones."
With Ky's people in the grave or the hospital, President Thieu began to shape the government of Vietnam in his own image, appointing ministers, police and province chiefs, and military commanders who would do his bidding. Also, by issuing Law 280, Thieu lifted the monkey off the U.S. Embassy's back, and in return, the Americans looked away when he began persecuting domestic opponents whose "compatible left" political organizations fell under Law 280's definition of VCI "cadre." From July 1968 onward the task of ensuring the GVN's internal security fell to General Tran Thien Khiem, who, according to Dang Van Minh, was "the real boss of administration and intelligence."
CIA asset Khiem -- serving as interior minister, deputy prime minister for pacification, and chairman of the Phung Hoang Central Committee -- thereafter worked hand in hand with William Colby in steering Phoenix into infamy.
With the promulgation of Law 280 -- which compelled Vietnamese corps commanders and province chiefs to organize Phung Hoang committees -- and, one week later, MACV Directive 381-41, which ordered U.S. military and civilian organizations to support Phung Hoang -- Phoenix was ready to run on both its American and Vietnamese cylinders.
All that remained was for Lieutenant Colonel Inman to spread the word. "One of my principal functions," he said, "was to take Tan ['polished' and 'above it all'] and Cao ['blunt and offensive'] to visit the PIOCCs and DIOCCs and give a pep talk. I probably visited every district in my last eight months." But, he added, "It was not my job to sell Phoenix to the U.S., so we didn't announce our arrival; the district senior adviser wouldn't even know I was there. My job was to sell Phung Hoang to the Vietnamese, and I stayed on the Vietnamese side."
The people saddled with the chore of selling Phoenix to the Americans were the region Phoenix coordinators -- field-grade military officers who began arriving in Vietnam in January 1968. Their role is discussed in Chapter 14. But first some statistics on Phoenix through August 1968.
No aspect of Phoenix is more significant than its impact on civilian detainees, and despite the increase in the number of CDs after the GVN's acceptance of Phoenix in July 1968, the construction of facilities capable of holding them never materialized. Instead, hard-core VCI were transported from mainland camps to Con Son Island, and four "mobile" military field courts were authorized in October 1967 to supplement the four courts authorized in 1962.
Confirmed VCI were tried by province security committees, whose proceedings were closed to the public -- the defendant had no right to an attorney or to review his dossier.Security committees could release a suspect or send him to prison under the An Tri (administrative detention) Laws or to a special court. Due process for CDs remained on the drawing board.
Nevertheless, in compliance with Law 280, the four Vietnamese corps commanders (General Hoang Xuam Lam in I Corps, General Vinh Loc in II Corps, General Nguyen Duc Thang in IV Corps, and General Nguyen Khanh in III Corps), formed joint Phoenix-Phung Hoang working groups and corps-level Phung Hoang committees, bringing the military and police into varying degrees of cooperation, depending on the commander's personal preferences. For example, Lieutenant Colonel Lemire reported that General Khanh "was reluctant to support police type operations with military resources."  Khanh assigned a mere captain as his regional Phung Hoang coordinator.
"In Eye Corps and Two Corps," Lemire noted, "the cordon and search, using Phung Hoang blacklists, appears to get the best results. In Four Corps the PRU is still the main action arm. In Three Corps the joint PRU/Police/RF/PF district operation seems to be most productive."
Everywhere the degree of Vietnamese participation in Phoenix rose steadily. By August 1968 Phung Hoang committees existed in 42 provinces and 111 districts; 190 DIOCCs had been built, at an average cost of fifteen thousand dollars each, and 140 were actually operating, along with 32 PIOCCs. A total of 155 Phoenix advisers were on the job. However, confusion still existed about the proper relationship between PIOCCs and Phung Hoang committees. In some provinces the two were merged, in others they were separate, and sometimes only one existed. Many Phung Hoang committees had no relationship at all with DIOCCs, which were often viewed as an unrelated activity. The change in name from ICEX to Phoenix to Phung Hoang added to the confusion. In Pleiku Province the ICEX Committee became the Phoenix Committee but met separately from the Phung Hoang Committee. Everywhere Americans and Vietnamese continued to conduct unilateral operations, and tension between the Special Branch and the military persisted as the biggest Phoenix-related problem.
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