A clearly insidious piece on Asia Times [A muffled cry for freedom in Vietnam / Oct 3, 2018 see illustration above] alerted us (actually reminded us) that US sedition of foreign societies never ceases, never relents, not even in those nations, like Vietnam, who paid a heinous price for Washington’s prior aggression. Asia Times is a scurrilous, US-poodle type of rag strategically headquartered in Hong Kong (and owned by a Thai billionaire) whose ONLY saving grace is that it provides an income for Pepe Escobar, allowing him to write what he wants. In that sense, AT resembles Rolling Stone, whose similarly decadent billionaire owner, Jan Wenner, a groupie for the CIA-loving Clintonites, still provides employment to Matt Taibbi. In both cases, as far as serious people are concerned, those journalists are the only reason those publications are worth existing or bothering with at all. Which is sad to admit. Not surprisingly, and given AT’s thinly-veiled work against China, in 2006, The New York Times described the outfit as “one of the most prominent of the [English-language] regional publications” covering Asia.” So now Asia Times, perfectly in sync with Washington’s newly-minted “pivot to Asia”, and along with the rest of the huge Washington-controlled disinformation choir, is fanning the flames of color revolution in Vietnam and defaming Beijing. AT’s headlines could have been written in Langley, maybe they were:
Ruling Communist Party has clamped down hard on budding pro-democracy groups, repression rights groups say is turning the country into a giant prison
Wie traurig! Bwaaa. But don’t take my word for it. Read the Asia Times piece if you can stomach it, and THEN, its healthful corrective below, in the form of a comprehensive dossier prepared by Tony Cartalucci, for his “Land Destroyer” site. The very thought that American policymakers, renowned for their sociopathic cynicism and indifference to actual democracy or human rights, would give a damn about Vietnam’s fate is ludicrous in the extreme, only for the consumption of morons and ignoramuses, which, unfortunately abound in the deeply media manipulated universe controlled by neoliberalism. —PG
First posted on April 11, 2018 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – Vietnam has tried and imprisoned several members of a US-funded network engaged in sedition across the country. The move follows trials and prison terms handed out earlier this year for other US-funded operatives meddling in Vietnam’s internal political affairs.
Nguyen Van Dai, recently sentenced to 15 years in prison, is pictured with US Senator and chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI) John McCain in the US Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam. The IRI provides money to foreign agents of US influence and is a subsidiary of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
The prison terms for agents of US-funded political meddling in Vietnam come as the US and its European allies continue pushing accusations of Russian meddling. However, unlike the US and Europe’s accusations against Russia, agents of US-funded sedition in Vietnam are exposed by extensive evidence, much of which comes from the US government itself.
Six prominent Vietnamese activists have received heavy prison sentences on charges of “attempting to overthrow” the country’s communist government…Lawyer Nguyen Van Dai was sentenced to 15 years, while the other defendants were jailed for between seven and 12 years, relatives said on Thursday.
The article mentions Nguyen Van Dai and his fellow defendants’ role in founding the so-called “Brotherhood for Democracy.”
Dai founded the Committee for Human Rights in Vietnam in 2006 and was sentenced to five years in jail in 2007 for spreading propaganda against the government. While his term was reduced to four years on appeal, his lawyer’s license was revoked. After his release in 2011, Dai co-founded the Brotherhood for Democracy network in 2013. It included other, formerly jailed dissidents advocating via social media for human rights throughout Vietnam.
DW would also report (our emphasis):
They were all accused of “activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s government,” according to the indictment issued by the Supreme People’s Procuracy in Hanoi last December. The charges included carrying out human rights training, calling for multi-party democracy and receiving funding from foreign groups.
The BBC, DW and other US and European media organisations went through extensive efforts to avoid mentioning US training, funding and other forms of support provided to Nguyen Van Dai and other recently arrested and jailed “activists.” The defendants’ various websites also fail to directly and openly disclose their funding.
However, admissions have been inadvertently made.
Covering Up US-Funding of Sedition in Vietnam
While the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) website lists 11 programmes being funded in Vietnam as of 2017, descriptions are left intentionally ambiguous, failing to disclose any organisation or individual actually receiving the funds. Disclosures for previous years have since been deleted from the NED website. [Why would Hanoi tolerate a notorious hybrid war shill like NED to operate in Vietnam is itself a mystery—Ed]
Phuc is admitted to have been a participant in the US State Department’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI). YSEALI indoctrinates young people across Southeast Asia, often helping them organise and fund subversive operations posing as “nongovernmental organisations” (NGOs).
Radio Free Asia (RFA), a US State Department-funded media front producing propaganda aimed at the Asia-Pacific region, would describe the Brotherhood for Democracy as a successor to another prominent opposition group in Vietnam, Bloc 8406.
A group of mostly former jailed dissidents in Vietnam have set up a new online group to coordinate efforts to bring democracy to the country, now under one party communist rule.
The movement, known as the “Brotherhood for Democracy,” was established about 10 days ago and the membership has grown to 70 so far.
The article would also claim:
The biggest online Vietnamese group pushing for democratic reforms is Bloc 8406. It was organized across the country in 2006, but many of its leaders, including co-founder Roman Catholic priest and dissident Nguyen Van Ly are languishing in prison.
However, Radio Free Asia, like other US and European media organisations, failed to disclose the group’s funding.
US diplomatic cables disclosed by Wikileaks would reveal that many involved in Bloc 8406 were recipients of US government training and funding.
Dissident attorney Le Quoc Quan, who was detained for 3 months in 2007 after completing a fellowship with the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, DC, has his own blog (www.lequocquan.blogspot.com). Over the past year, Lawyer Quan has posted many articles critical of the government’s handling of last year’s Catholic protests at the Thai Ha parish and the September-October arrests of at least 13 activists associated with the dissident political movement Bloc 8406 (reftel).
And while NED had deleted past financial disclosures regarding Vietnam, NED’s e-bulletin, “Democracy Digest,” has several archived articles that offer clues.
In one 2016 article titled, “Obama must raise Vietnam’s rights abuses, civil society crackdown,” an interview with the aforementioned Nguyen Van Dai’s wife conducted in the US was published. The interview includes a question regarding Dai’s involvement with the National Endowment for Democracy. When asked if he attended a “workshop on Democracy in the US,” Dai’s wife replied:
Oh yes, that was back in 2006. Dai got invited by the NED (National Endowment for Democracy).
It is also recalled that Lawyer Nguyen Van Dai is a human rights lawyer who regularly defends the victims and those who are oppressed in Vietnam. He is also a blogger of the RFA Asia Free Press.
Thus, while the US and European press reported Vietnam’s accusations that Dai and his collaborators were recipients of foreign funding and served as agents of foreign interests, they failed to include known information of Dai’s role working on behalf of the US government.
However, as mentioned before, Radio Free Asia is funded and directed by the US State Department with the US Secretary of State serving as a board member. RFA’s own article admits that Dai is a “blogger” working for RFA, and thus serving under the direction RFA’s board of directors, including the US Secretary of State.
Vietnam Spends Political Capital US Granted Versus Beijing to Jail US Agitators
The irony is that the lengthy prison terms come at a time when the US needs Vietnam the most. The US has faced growing indifference across Southeast Asia regarding its attempts to recruit the region into encircling and containing China. Vietnam has emerged as one of the few nations willing to engage with Washington in an overt gesture to check Beijing’s growing influence.
Image: The US finished grandstanding after the USS Carl Vinson docked in Vietnam in a historic visit hailed as a move putting “China on notice.” The political capital this granted Vietnam appears to have been immediately used to liquidate key figures in US-funded networks aimed at compromising and pressuring Vietnamese policymakers.
However, Vietnam has done so cynically. The political capital granted to Vietnam by the US in its efforts to court Hanoi appears to have been spent to eliminate highly symbolic figures among US-funded networks aimed at compromising Vietnamese sovereignty and pressure Vietnamese policy making.
It remains to be seen how far Washington will push Hanoi regarding the jailing of US-funded agitators. Other members of US NED-funded fronts across Southeast Asia, including YSEALI alumni will likely suffer a crisis of confidence over US indifference to their jailed counterparts in Vietnam if the US fails to act. However, if the US does act, it will lose one of the last nations in the region willing to work with Washington regarding Beijing.
June 27, 2018 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – US and European media outlets reported anti-Chinese protests across Vietnam. Claims regarding numbers varied greatly from several hundred to others claiming several thousand. The Western media was particularly careful not to mention the names of any of the individuals or organisations leading the protests.
People were angry at a draft law that would allow 99-year concessions in planned special economic zones, which some view as sweetheart deals for foreign and specifically Chinese firms.
Though the Post and others across the Western mainstream media claimed the protests were “peaceful,” they eventually spiralled out of control resulting in assaults on police and vandalism of public buildings.
The systematic omission of essential facts and intentional misrepresentation regarding the protests follows the same pattern observed regarding other US-European sponsored unrest around the globe.
Anti-Chinese Fervour is Pro-American, Not “Nationalist”
The Post itself would claim the protests took on a “nationalist” tone, yet in the Post’s own article and without an explanation from the Post as to why, American flags could be clearly spotted among the mobs.
The few names that were mentioned by the US-European media included well-known so-called “pro-democracy” activists drawn from networks openly supported by Washington, London and Brussels.
This included Duong Dai Trieu Lam, mentioned by the Financial Times in its article, “Anti-Chinese protesters take to Vietnam’s streets.” He’s a member of the so-called Vietnamese Bloggers Network which routinely coordinates its anti-government activities with the support of Western embassies.
Quynh, a single mother of two, had given interviews to Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, her lawyer Vo An Don said. She founded a network of bloggers in her homeland and has written about deaths in police custody, environmental disasters and human rights. She received the Woman of Courage award at the U.S. State Department in March this year, presented by Melania Trump. Vietnam said the award “was not appropriate and of no benefit to the development of the relations between the two countries”, the Guardian reported.
Other US-European sponsored opposition figures include Nguyen Van Dai who heads the so-called “Brotherhood for Democracy,” another transparently US-funded and directed front aimed at pressuring, destabilising, co-opting and/or overthrowing Vietnam’s political order.
His exile was not the first. There was also blogger Nguyen Hoang Hai, also known as Dieu Cay, who when exiled to the United States, was greeted by supporters waving the yellow and red-striped flag of the now defunct Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the proxy state created by French colonialists and American invaders during the Vietnam War.
Other pro-US/anti-Chinese opposition figures include Le Quoc Quan, who was in fact a US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) fellow. US Congress members and the NED itself wrote passionate pleas for Le Quoc Quan’s release from prison. The NED, in a post on their website titled, “NED Reagan-Fascell Fellow Le Quoc Quan Arrested after Return to Vietnam,” would claim (our emphasis):
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is greatly troubled by the arrest in Vietnam of Le Quoc Quan. Le Quoc Quan, a lawyer, has recently been in residence at NED on a congressionally-funded Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship, pursuing independent research on the role of civil society in emerging democracies. He was arrested on March 8 in his hometown in Nghe An province, only 4 days after his return from Washington to Vietnam. At this time, Le Quoc Quan’s whereabouts are unknown, and there are no public charges against him. “It is a deep insult to the United States that the Vietnamese regime would harass someone in this way who has just participated in a citizen exchange program supported by the US Congress and Department of State,” said NED President Carl Gershman. “Le Quoc Quan is someone who is optimistic about the future of his country, who is most concerned about improving the lives of his fellow citizens, and who is nothing if not a Vietnamese patriot.”
As well as providing legal representation to those who are persecuted for claiming their rights, Le Quoc Quan runs a blog. In this blog he writes about various issues including civil rights, political pluralism and religious freedom. He has also participated in a number of protests against China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
It is clear that Vietnam’s so-called opposition is in no way “nationalist,” and merely opposes Chinese interests in Vietnam because Washington opposes them. By taking US and European funding and carrying out Western directives, they are actively undermining Vietnam’s sovereignty, not upholding it.
It is also clear why the US and European media omit mention of opposition leaders even when covering significant events like the recent anti-China street protests. Had the truth been told to international audiences, the opposition’s hypocrisy would be exposed and their legitimacy undermined.
American Meddling Endangers Vietnam and the Region
At a time when the US and its European allies make accusations about supposed “Russian interference,” US and European-backed mobs take to the streets in nations like Vietnam, attempting to influence national policy and decision-making, while literally flying US flags.
For Hanoi, it must continue its balancing act between Beijing and Washington. But the sort of opposition Washington is cultivating in the streets of Vietnam appears to not only be overtly coercive, but clearly connected to unfinished business dating back to the US invasion and occupation of Vietnam. Hanoi and Beijing have faced off militarily as well, but the threat the US posed and still poses is not a matter of disputed borders between two nations, but Washington’s enduring desire to control all within Vietnam’s borders.
Vietnam is not the only nation facing growing US coercion in the form of US-funded and directed opposition movements. Cambodia and Thailand likewise face opposition parties entirely backed by the US and its European allies. US-backed opposition also just assumed power in Malaysia and a US-funded and directed opposition party has already seized power and ruled in Myanmar since 2016.
US efforts to undermine and overwrite national sovereignty across Southeast Asia includes regional synergies between opposition fronts in each respective nation. It would likely benefit targeted nations to likewise coordinate their activities in countering, diminishing or entirely uprooting foreign-funded and directed networks interfering in the region’s internal political affairs.