Vietnam: Prison Sentences Imposed on Farmers for Protesting Land Grab

[Nearly 40 years after the defeat of the US in Vietnam, the faux “socialist” regime has continued semi-feudal relations amidst a very corrupt capitalist regime.  The long struggle of the Vietnamese people continues under these exploitive and repressive conditions today.  —  Frontlines ed.]

SEPTEMBER 20, 2014

Can Thi Theu

VNRN – Three land activists from Duong Noi [Dương Nội], a village in suburban Hanoi mostly known for its long-standing land disputes, on Friday appeared before the Ha Dong People’s Court. While they were on trial, dozens of their supporters were barred from approaching the courtroom; many were temporarily arrested, including their family members.

Mrs. Can Thi Theu [Cấn Thị Thêu], 52, and her husband, Trinh Ba Khiem [Trịnh Bá Khiêm], 56, were given 15 and 18 months of imprisionment respectively for “resisting persons in the performance of their official duties” under Article 257 of the Penal Code. The third accused, Mr. Le Van Thanh [Lê Văn Thanh], was sentenced to 12 months in prison.

The three were arrested after a land grab on April 25. Mrs. Can Thi Theu was reportedly shooting a video footage of the eviction where her husband and other farmers got beaten by police forces. The police then tried to stop her by allegedly giving her anaesthetic before taking her away. The video clip, spread subsequently on Facebook, showed a violent conflict between the farmers of Duong Noi and foreces of police and social order defenders. Continue reading

When they tell you “resistance is futile”: Remember the Cu Chi Tunnels

[During the US war on Vietnam, the collective determination and perseverance of the Vietnamese was matched by an extraordinary resourcefulness against the US occupation/war in the South.  One of the best examples of the creative response the liberation struggle made to US aggression, was the creation of a vast tunnel network underground–the most famous one (of many) was known as the Cu Chi Tunnels, as told in this documentary.  This is more than a historic memory, as one cannot imagine how the highly-touted UAV/drones of contemporary counter-insurgency warfare would prevail against such tunnels and other resourceful forms of popular resistance and revolution in present times.  — Frontlines ed.]

THE CU CHI TUNNELS (with English subtitles)
[https://youtu.be/19ejFuEyHyk]

This film was the first to be shot in Vietnam since the war ended. Director Mickey Grant started shooting it in 1986 on 16mm film and it premiered on 35mm film at a Saigon theater in 1990 with all the cast of former Viet Cong present and ended with a standing ovation that lasted over 30 minutes. Continue reading

US hegemony-media on the US’ military “pivot” to Asia

[This year has seen US power beginning to shift its central focus from the middle east to Asia.  In line with this, the Pentagon has been making new deals for military force “visitations” and deployments, from Okinawa to Guam, Australia, and Philippines, along with new force buildups in Hawaii, Taiwan, Korea, and “joint operational and training” arrangements with India, Vietnam and elsewhere.  This article, from TIME magazine in July, explores the responses to, and embraces of, these US moves in the Philippines. — Frontlines ed.]

American ‘Pivot’ to Asia Divides the Philippines

Recent trouble in the South China Sea has renewed debate as to whether the U.S. is a trusted friend, or an old foe

By Catherine Traywick , TIME magazine, July 23, 2012

Romeo Ranoco / Reuters — Members of a militant women’s group hold up placards condemning the joint Philippine-U.S. military exercises during a protest in front of the U.S. embassy in Manila on April 27, 2012 

Bai Ali Indayla, a human-rights worker and antimilitary activist, has met just one American soldier. They convened at a picnic table inside a Philippine army camp in Mindanao in 2010 to discuss the alleged suicide of a Filipino who died under mysterious circumstances after starting a job with the U.S. military’s counterterrorism program. Indayla believed the death was suspicious, and she wanted answers, but her first and only interaction with a U.S. soldier earned her none. He was dismissive, she says, as well as arrogant and profane. After a brief and terse exchange, he walked out of the meeting without warning, and she walked away with all of her prejudices soundly affirmed.

The encounter, colored by her mistrust and his apparent indifference, reflects an enduring dynamic at play between two forces in Philippine society: the U.S. military, whose decades-long occupation of the islands eventually gave way to civil unrest, and a small but historically significant network of activists who believe the former’s presence is tantamount to neocolonialism. As China more aggressively asserts its claim over the South China Sea and the U.S. ponders a “pivot” to Asia, the gap between these groups seems to widen, calling fresh attention to the question of U.S.-Philippine ties.

The relationship between ordinary Filipinos and U.S. armed forces is a tortured one, dating back to America’s “liberation” of the Philippines from colonial Spain more than a century ago. The U.S. takeover of the Philippines in 1899 kicked off a short, bloody war, during which Filipinos were forced into reconcentrados (a type of concentration camp), massacred in their villages and subjected to a new torture technique now known as waterboarding. When the U.S. finally gave the Philippines its independence in 1945, sprawling American military bases remained — and with them, an exploding sex industry and a legacy of human-rights violations widely publicized by the national press.

A decades-long antimilitary movement culminated in the 1991 closure of American bases and the ousting of U.S. troops. Yet American forces have nevertheless maintained a limited but continuous presence in the country, where they conduct regular joint training exercises and have, in recent years, extended antiterrorism efforts. Dubbed “the second front of the war on terror” in 2002, western Mindanao has played host to 600-strong U.S. troop rotations as they pursue two al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups. Though officially base-less, barracks, ports and communications infrastructure emerged within and near the Philippine military camps that host American soldiers. This year, the Aquino administration granted the U.S. Navy permission to use the former U.S. base in Subic Bay for the service of U.S. warships. Continue reading

General Giap–Military Strategist/Commander of Vietnam’s Liberation Forces–is 100 years old

The famous independence hero was born August 25, 1911 in a central-north province. His name is linked to the wars against the French, Japanese and U.S.. He is still remembered for the battle of Dien Bien Phu in the plain, in 1954, which ended the war in Indochina….

General Vo Nguyen Giap in 1953, planning the battle of Dien Bien Phu--the Waterloo for French colonial forces in Vietnam

Thursday, August 25, 2011

By Asia News

Hanoi – After defeating the French, Japanese and Americans one after the other, he also seems to have defeated time itself: General Vo Nguyen Giap, hero of the Vietnamese, today celebrates his 100th birthday. He was born August 25, 1911 in central-north Quang Binh province to a poor family, composed of seven siblings, some of whom died young. Politically active since his school years, he was expelled from a school in Hue for organizing student protests. But his name is tied hand in glove with the wars in Indochina in the second half of the 1900’s, so much so that the Vietnamese people consider him the second most important national personality, only after “Uncle” Ho Chi Minh. Continue reading

Inter-imperialist rivalry in Asia heats up between US and China

Obama and Hu Jintao make nice for public consumption

 

[This article provides a useful overview of the current state of economic, political and military contention between the US and China in Asia. However, it does not not identify China as an imperialist power in its own right, and it one-sidely portrays the US imperialists as “encircling” China. This makes it impossible to understand the capitalist/imperialist nature of China’s growing economic investments in Asia, as well as China’s development of military ties with Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. This not a “defensive” reaction to pressure from US imperialism, but is a calculated strategy of a newly emerged imperialist power that is trying to break into the US’ traditional spheres of influence in Asia, and elsewhere in the world.–Frontlines ed]

World Socialist Web Site, 13 November 2010

US diplomatic offensive tightens strategic encirclement of China

Washington’s aggressive diplomatic campaign in Asia over the past two weeks has amounted, in the words of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to “a full court press” against China, with the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean emerging as potential future theatres of war.

President Barack Obama’s visits to India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan, and Clinton’s trips to Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia, sought to either strengthen existing alliances or create new partnerships for a US-led strategic encirclement of China.

Obama fervently courted India, China’s regional nuclear-armed rival. He urged New Delhi to become a “world power” and backed its bid to become a UN Security Council permanent member. Clinton twice reiterated that Washington could invoke the US-Japan Security Treaty to militarily support Japan against China in the conflict over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. Vietnam announced it was ready to hire out its strategic Cam Ranh Bay port in the South China Sea “to naval ships from all countries”—with Washington the most likely client. Canberra agreed to provide greater US access to its military facilities, especially those in northern Australia. Continue reading

Hungarian disaster revives Vietnam’s bauxite mine fears

An aerial view shows the broken dam responsible for the toxic flood near Devecser, Hungary, October 7. Pollution levels from the red sludge spill have subsided in the Danube and there is no risk of a biological or environmental catastrophe in the major European waterway, Hungarian officials said on October 8. There were still no estimates of the financial damage wrought by the sludge — waste from bauxite refining that has a strong caustic effect — over an area of 800-1,000 hectares (1,920-2,400 acres).

While the government wants to exploit the world’s largest reserves of the ore, others are not so keen

By Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun
November 8, 2010

Protests in Vietnam against plans for six massive bauxite mines coupled with fears of Chinese economic imperialism have revived following last month’s toxic spill in Hungary that killed nine people and destroyed three villages.

The government of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has grudgingly agreed to review the bauxite mine and alumina production projects planned for the Central Highlands after receiving a much-publicized letter from 1,500 noted former politicians and intellectuals calling for new studies of the scheme.

“The disaster in Hungary is a serious warning to Vietnam,” said the letter, whose signatories included former vice-president Nguyen Thi Binh and former deputy minister of natural resources and environment Dang Hung Vo.

But although government spokesmen have said “It is necessary to listen to concerns of the public and intellectuals,” the tone and body language suggest there is no enthusiasm for halting the development of what, at 5.5 billion tonnes, are said to be some of the world’s largest reserves of the ore from which aluminum is produced. Continue reading