Not the Independence and Socialism the Revolutionary Vietnamese Thought They Won

 [That Vietnam won a world-shaking and -inspiring victory against US imperialism 40 years ago, is a fact that is celebrated and studied by all people seeking liberation and revolution everywhere.  But there have been significant problems, renascent bourgeois and ambitiously corrupt officials, united under a phony “socialist” banner, have relentlessly pursued a course of servicing foreign imperialism.  In growing areas, mass protests brew, as early indicated when, in in one such case,  “Security forces cracked down harshly on protestors from the Kim No village outside Hanoi who were protesting the … decision to confiscate their farmlands and hand it over to foreign developers to build a golf course.”  Clearly, new resistance will grow, and a more clear-sighted revolutionary course is debated.  —  Frontlines ed.]
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A family at the opening ceremony for Vietnam’s first McDonald’s restaurant, in Ho Chi Minh City in February 2014. Commerce and globalization have trumped ideologies. Le Quang Nhat/AFP

The fall of Saigon: How Vietnam ended up in the US orbit

Analysis: 40 years after war, Asian ‘tiger’ draws close to old adversary with geopolitical, cultural and economic ties

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — Two stores in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, still popularly known as Saigon, told the story of modern Vietnam one Sunday morning in March.

In a souvenir shop foreign tourists haggled over some of Vietnam’s most iconic T-shirts: Those with the image of Ho Chi Minh, the country’s long-dead father of communism, for instance, and those with the hammer and sickle icon. But down the street in a newly opened Apple store, a crowd of young locals all vied to ask questions about the outlet’s most coveted item: the iPhone 6. And a lucky few with disposable income walked out with their new mobile devices in hands, beaming.

While the hammer and sickle and Uncle Ho’s image may still adorn T-shirts it sells to foreign tourists, Vietnam’s heart throbs for all things American, especially Apple. In 2014, in fact, Vietnam became its hottest market. In the first half of the 2014 fiscal year alone, iPhone sales tripled in this country, far surpassing sales growth in China and India.

But it is not just iPhones, of course, that exemplify America’s powerful presence in Vietnam 40 years after the war ended. Facebook entered Vietnam’s market four years ago and at one point was adding a million signups a month. As of October, it had 30 million users, and that’s out of 40 million Vietnamese who have access to the Internet.

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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

Revealed: Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centres

Exclusive: General David Petraeus and ‘dirty wars’ veteran behind commando units implicated in detainee abuse

The Guardian, Wednesday 6 March 2013

The Guardian investigation was spurred by the 2010 Wikileaks release.  Their initial video report, “The Torture Trail: What did General Petraeus’s special advisor, James Steele, know?”, showed how the newly released US military files reveal an instruction to ignore detainee abuse by Iraqi authorities; what that meant on the ground; and just how far up the chain of command the order went.  That 7-minute  video, from 2010, is shown here:

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO VIEW THE COMPLETE AND FINAL 2013 VIDEO REPORT (51 minutes): James Steele: America’s mystery man in Iraq

The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the “dirty wars” in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country’s descent into full-scale civil war.

Colonel James Steele was a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran when he was nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organise the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency, an investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic shows. Continue reading

Philippines: “CPP denounces plans to revert Subic to US military use”

Press Release, Information Bureau –October 10, 2012
Communist Party of the Philippines
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemned proposals by officials of the Aquino regime to refurbish the military facilities of the former Subic Naval Base in order to accomodate the growing number of visiting US troops involved in various types of US military operations in the Philippines.
At the same time, the CPP denounced the arrival of more than 2,200 American troops purportedly joining the Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) with 1,600 soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in various parts of the Philippines from October 8-18.  Continue reading

Philippines: Subic Bay “makeover” as new pivot for US warships

[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 Stars and Stripes (US military media) in June, discusses the refurbishing — “makeover” — of Subic Bay, the former and future US navy base in the Philippines. — Frontlines ed.]
By Travis J. Tritten, Stars and Stripes (US military media)

Philippine government gives OK for US to use old bases

Published: June 7, 2012
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[A Filipino father and son watch the guided-missile frigate USS Crommelin get under way after participating in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Philippines (CARAT) exercise in October, 2010. U.S. and Philippine officials have agreed to expand joint military training in the Philippines, raising the prospect former U.S. bases could be reopened, the Marine Corps Times reported July 17, 2012.  Thomas Brennan/U.S. Navy]

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The Philippine government said this week that the United States military is again welcome to use Subic Bay and the sprawling Clark Air Base, two decades after the installations were abandoned due to political friction with Manila, according to media reports.

Philippine Defense Undersecretary Honorio Azcueta said U.S. troops, ships and aircraft can make use of the old bases, as long as prior approval is granted by the government. Azcueta made the comments following a meeting with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, who traveled to the country as part of a regional trip to generate support for a military pivot toward Asia, according to the Philippine Star newspaper.

The United States had key bases in the Philippines for decades after World War II, but relations broke down in the early 1990s, and the facilities were returned.

The announcement of an expanded military relationship this week comes after months of talks between Washington and Manila, and appears to be another step forward in the U.S. plan to bolster forces in the Asia-Pacific region.

“They can come here provided they have prior coordination from the government,” Azcueta said following the meeting at the Philippine military headquarters of Camp Aguinaldo in Manila, according to the Philippine Star newspaper. “That’s what we want … increase in exercises and interoperability.” Continue reading