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.

Continue reading

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
philippines125

[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

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

Memorial Day: While the system glorifies imperialist war, the people remember the victims of their war crimes — Hiroshima/Nagasaki

USA Terrorism: HIROSHIMA / NAGASAKI Atomic Bomb

This video is a clip from a BBC Documentary called “BBC History of World War II: Hiroshima (2005)”. It is available on DVD
The US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the largest international terrorist attack in history.  This attack was the only time that atomic or nuclear weapons have been used.

“Terrorism is the use of violence and intimidation against civilians in the pursuit of political aims.
In the Geneva and Hague Conventions, which in turn are based upon the basic principle that the deliberate harming of
soldiers during wartime is a necessary evil, and thus permissible, whereas the deliberate targeting of civilians is absolutely forbidden.

These Conventions thus differentiate between soldiers who attack a military adversary, and war criminals who deliberately
attack civilians.”

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

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

Vietnam: “The Cu Chi Tunnels”

[The American War in Vietnam became a legendary turning point for imperialism, and for the people’s struggles worldwide.  The defeat of the US by the Vietnamese people continues to inspire struggles against imperialism and reaction worldwide today.  Yet, with the passage of time, many do not know how the resistance was waged.  This story of the Cu Chi Tunnels gives a picture of how the Vietnamese people’s resistance , with great determination, resilience and resourcefulness,  was able to win victory against what looked like insurmountable odds.–Frontlines ed.]

THE CU CHI TUNNELS (with subtitles as told by America’s former enemy), running time 59:16

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. During the war in Vietnam, thousands of people in the Vietnamese province of Cu Chi lived in an elaborate system of underground tunnels. Originally built in the time of the French, the tunnels were enlarged during the American presence.

When the Americans began bombing the villages of Cu Chi, the survivors went underground where they remained for the duration of the war. The secret tunnels, which joined village to village and often passes beneath American bases, were not only fortifications for Viet Cong guerillas, but were also the center of community life. Continue reading

Vietnam sentences independent unionists to 7-9 years in prison

Protect Viet Workers, October 31, 2010

Mr Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung inside the Vietnamese court, surrounded by the police.

Mr Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung inside the Vietnamese court, surrounded by the police.

On 27th October 2010, Vietnam sentenced Doan Huy Chuong, Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, and Do Thi Minh Hanh to 7, 9, and 7 years respectively, for distributing leaflets complaining about wages, for being in contact with my group, and for helping workers organise a 10,000-strong strike at the My Phong shoe factory. They had been held without charges since February 2010.

As an indication that the trial’s outcomes were pre-decided, at 5 pm the day before, 26th October, the state-run Cong An Nhan Dan actually posted an online news item announcing that “On 27 October, the court sentenced..”

At her arrest, witnesses saw police punching the petite 5-feet tall Hanh in the face, her lips dripping blood. As to Hung, it can be seen that he has lost much weight, probably not because in jail he is body-image conscious. Our information is that in jail, all three were physically and mentally abused. Chuong’s and Hanh’s families were allowed one visit each during the 8 months. Hung’s was not allowed even 1 visit. Continue reading

Vietnamese authorities charge labor activists with “disrupting security”

Oct 18, 2010

Hanoi – Vietnamese authorities have brought charges against three labour activists for ‘disrupting security,’ an official said Monday.

The indictment said the three often contacted and received money from Tran Ngoc Thanh, chairman of the Warsaw-based Committee to Protect Vietnamese Workers, to print and distribute anti-government leaflets and to foment labour strikes. It said ‘those offenders’ crimes are very serious, operated and organized with the intention to destroy the country’s security, and need punishing.’

The accused are Nguyen Hoang Quoc Hung, 29, Do Thi Minh Hanh and Doan Huy Chuong, both 25 years old, said Nguyen To Toan, deputy head of security department No 2 of the prosecutor’s office.

In November 2006, Chuong established the United Workers-Farmers Organization of Vietnam (UWFO) to advocate for labour rights. He was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison in December 2007 for ‘abusing democratic freedoms,’ but was released on May 13, 2008 due to poor health. Continue reading