Friday, August 18, 2006

Index to Commentary Advocating for Mrs. Foshee

November 8, 2006
Free Republic
Vietnam readies for the limelight at APEC summit

November 6, 2006
Vietnam: Time to End Old Communist Ways and Free Republic

November 3, 2006
"Meet The Immigrants (Part II)"
Free Republic and Peace and Freedom

November 2, 2006
President Nguyen, President Bush: Send Cuc Foshee Home Now
Peace and Freedom, Free Republic, and

November 1, 2006
Peace and freedom, Free republic and
In Communist Vietnam; Glimmer of Hope on Human Rights
(Cuc Foshee to go to Trial; Release may be Imminent)

October 27, 2006
Peace and Freedom and Free Republic
"Relax, Have Some Fun, and Don't Believe Everything on the Internet"

October 27, 2006
The Washington Times
"Vietnam Miracle?"

October 26, 2006
Free Republic and Peace and Freedom
"Mr. President: Free "Cuc" Foshee"

October 25, 2006
Free Republic
"Vietnam’s Roaring Economy Is Set for World Stage"

October 24, 2006
Free Republic
"Vietnam to public: Let's chat"

October 23, 2006
Peace and Freedom and Free Republic
Silicon Valley engineer fights for freedom, democracy in Vietnam

October 20, 2006
President’s Planned Trip To Vietnam: Encourage the Economic Miracle Along With Human Rights Improvements
Free Republic and Peace and Freedom

October 15, 2006
If Your Mother Was Put Into Jail In aPlace
Like China, What Would You Do?

October 14, 2006
If Your Mother Was Put Into Jail In a Place
Like China, What Would You Do?

Peace and Freedom & Free Republic

October 14, 2006
"Face It: America has problems in Asia"
Extended Remarks and

October 13, 2006
"Vietnam Reality Check"
Extended Remarks & Free Republic

October 12 and 13, 2006
Peace and Freedom & Free Republic &
U.S. Government: Some Signs of Strain?

October 11, 2006
Peace and Freedom & Free Republic
A Call To Free Cuc Foshee

October 10, 2006
Peace and Freedom & Free Republic
Only Inside North Korea (and Iran) Was Nuclear Testing Applauded

October 1, 2006
Thuong Mai Magazine and Peace and Freedom
Communist Vietnam Compelled To Release More Political Prisoners

September 30, 2006 and Peace and Freedom
"Coup In Thailand: Troubling Harbinger for Democracy"

September 29, 2006
Thoi Dai Magazine and Peace and Freedom
Vietnam Plans To Release More Political Prisoners

September 28, 2006
Peace and Freedom
"Do We Need to Mobilize?"

September 25, 2006
The Issue With Vietnam: Human Rights
Before More Economic Benefit

September 24, 2006
The Washington Times
Vietnam Prisoner Release Imperative

September 22, 2006
Vietnam Frees One Political Prisoner

September 20, 2006
"Vietnam: Release Prisoners Before More Privileges"

September 18, 2006
Vietnam Human Rights Network
Human Rights Housecleaning and Prisoner Release Before Greater U.S. Economic Openness

September 17, 2006
Vietnam: Human Rights Housecleaning and
Prisoner Release Before Greater U.S.
Economic Openness

September 16, 2006
Peace and Freedom
Vietnam: Time To Release Political Prisoners

Sepptember 16, 2006
Vietnam: Release Prisoners Before More Privileges

September 14, 2006
Freedom Of Speech, Media Continue to
Face Restrictions in Cuba, China, Vietnam and Iran

Friday, September 8, 2006
What Is Wrong With Vietnam?

July 4, 2006
Our Position on Vietnam
“New leadership In Vietnam: Time for Reconciliation and Freedom”
The Washington Times

Miracle Vietnam?

By John E. Carey and Honglien Do
The Washington Times
October 27, 2006

President Bush plans to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference Nov. 17-19 in Vietnam. We applaud this effort by Mr. Bush to make this historic trip to help foster what we call the "Vietnam Economic Miracle."

Vietnam's entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the granting of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) by the U.S. are virtually assured in the next month or two, or, for PNTR, sometime next year. We support the president and congratulate Vietnam on these successes in bringing the government of Vietnam into the greater world of economic cooperation and prosperity. But we also urge the president and the American people to remain mindful of the human rights abuses in Communist Vietnam -- abuses that have lessened somewhat in recent years but still paint a troubling picture.

The economy in Vietnam is starting to rumble and many want to participate in the anticipated new prosperity and wealth.

Tourism is exploding in Vietnam along with the associated hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Tourist arrivals to Vietnam have grown on average 20 percent yearly over the last 15 years, shooting up from 250,000 in 1990 to 3.5 million last year. First-quarter 2006 saw more than a million tourists visit Vietnam, on pace to hit the government's target of hosting 4 million tourists this year. Some industry analysts optimistically estimate tourist arrivals will double to 8 million in Vietnam by 2010. The industry's positive cash flow to Vietnam is estimated in the billions of dollars yearly.

But many other industries and ventures currently thrive in Vietnam.

Vietnam's textile industry is such a potent force it threatens to destroy what still remains of clothing manufacturing in the United States. So the Bush administration promised Sens. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina in October that it would closely monitor textile and clothing imports from Vietnam after that country joins the World Trade Organization and the United States is required to drop import quotas.

This small promise by the president set off a fire storm among retailers anxious to sell inexpensive clothing from Vietnam without any restrictions.

There are at least 600 software companies in Vietnam. Computer chip manufacturing is huge and growing. Both Japan and China have recently announced huge investments in Vietnam's computer industry. Vietnam expects to be responsible for 10 percent of Japan's $3 billion offshore software industry by 2010.

Bill Gates visited Vietnam earlier this year because he doesn't want Microsoft left out of the "Vietnam Economic Miracle" many have predicted. Some other aspects of "Vietnam's Economic Miracle" trumpeted recently by the communist government-controlled media in Vietnam include:

• Vietnam's three major telecom companies are expected to be partly privatized next year with the majority of the stakes remaining under government control, officials said.

• Authorities in Vietnam have fined an affiliate of South Korea's Daewoo Corp. for using pirated software, the first time a corporate user of illegal software has been targeted in the Southeast Asian country, officials said on Oct. 11.

• Intel has a new $300 Million microchip assembly and test facility in Ho Chi Minh City. It will open later this year, with as much additional investment money expected in the next two years. Canon has three printer factories near Hanoi, Canon's largest manufacturing facility in the world.

• Vietnam, Laos and China signed a border treaty last month; a breakthrough that will hopefully increase commerce and trade.

• Vietnam announced last month it is firmly committed to "the promotion of gender equality and the advancement of women" and gives enhancing women's roles and status a top priority in national socioeconomic development programs. This was a new and breathtaking announcement, just a month ago.

• Under a draft decree, Vietnam will permit transgender people to undergo gender reassignment surgery starting next January, according to local newspaper Saigon Liberation. This shows how eager Vietnam is to display openness and a liberalism in attitude.

In early September, Vietnam released prominent dissident and pro-democracy activist Pham Hong Son. Mr. Son was originally sentenced to five years in prison. His crime? He translated articles from the U.S. State Department Web site for an online journal in Vietnam. The articles were titled "What is democracy?"

Cong Do, an American citizen, was also falsely imprisoned earlier this year by Vietnam. He has now been released and advocates return from Vietnam of another U.S. Citizen: Thuong Nguyen "Cuc" Foshee.

Mrs. Foshee, a U.S. citizen, was taken into custody Sept. 8, 2005. She was not charged, not allowed to post bail, denied an attorney and put in a prison in Ho Chi Minh City. Her crime? While in the United States, she did business with an organization the government of Vietnam terms "seditionist."

The Vietnamese people have no free elections. In Vietnam, the Communist Party chooses all candidates prior to an election and no person excluded by the communist system can run in an election. Since all candidates are nominated by the party, there is no legitimate "voice of the people."

The communist government of Vietnam, like that of China and North Korea, controls and monitors all media including the internet and e-mail. Along with the U.S. Department of State Web site, the Web site of The Washington Times is not available to readers in Vietnam. The Washington Times is also too "seditionist."

Although Vietnam has more than 600 newspapers, all are owned and controlled by the party. No private newspaper has ever been allowed to be published. Song lyrics are monitored and must be approved by the government in Vietnam. Vietnam has one of the world's strictest systems of control over public use of the Internet.

Many Web sites with information on freedom and democracy are not available in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese people do not have freedom of religion and worship. In its annual report on religious freedom, the U.S. State Department listed Vietnam among its top eight "Countries of Particular Concern."

So we applaud and thank the president of the United States on his planned trip to Vietnam.

And we want the U.S. economy to share in all the benefits of Vietnam's anticipated growth. And Mister President: Please bring home Mrs. Foshee.

And let's all remain mindful of our American commitment to human rights and our American values in the process of expanding the "Vietnam Economic Miracle."

John E. Carey is a retired military officer and former president of International Defense Consultants Inc. Honglien Do escaped from Communist Vietnam after serving time in detention.

Vietnam's new found hopes

By Honglien Do and John E. Carey
The Washington Times
July 4, 2006

Why should the United States care about the political future of Vietnam? Precisely because, as President Bush has asserted time and again, "Democracies rarely wage war on other democracies."

While Vietnam poses no military threat to anyone, it is important to note that democratic governments tend to cherish freedom, protect their economic growth at almost any cost, resist knowingly harboring terrorists, and generally enforce human rights. Democracy not only makes people free but it also generally makes them more wealthy and improves their quality of life.

The past regime in Vietnam under Prime Minister Phan Van Khai actively persecuted the minority population, the Hmong, in ugly purges that left thousands dead and others forced to migrate away from their homeland. Mr. Khai also supported religious persecution that left dozens of clerics jailed for years on end without hope or recourse.

But people in Vietnam are restless for change. This spring and summer, petitions demanding more freedom and openness are circulating in the cities. One is called "The 2006 Manifesto on Freedom and Democracy in Vietnam." People are signing and supporting the petition, despite threats from the communist government.

"It's extraordinary that hundreds of citizens across Vietnam have boldly shown their support for political change in a written petition," said Brad Adams, Asia Director at Human Rights Watch. "In Vietnam, the mere act of signing such documents routinely triggers a police investigation, detention and often imprisonment."

What can the U.S. do, to signal support for the new leaders and the people in Vietnam?

Beyond the normal diplomatic encouragements and niceties, the president should host the new leadership of Vietnam here in the United States. Last June the president hosted then-Prime Minister Phan Van Khai for a meeting in the Oval Office. At that time, because of Mr. Khai's hard-line views and miserable record on human rights, we objected, in an essay here in The Washington Times. A large portion of the Vietnamese-American public protested the Khai visit.

But the new, potentially much more democratically-leaning leadership in Vietnam would be more worthy and deserving of the prestige and dignity that comes from a White House visit (or even a trip to the Texas ranch).

Finally, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the President of the United States could, at the appropriate time, visit Vietnam. The president's position world-wide is clear: the U.S. stands for democracy and the dignity of human rights. The U.S. does not want a recalcitrant Vietnam isolated in any way from the world. It may be time to embrace the progress and fully heal the wounds.

The pace of change in Vietnam depends almost entirely upon the Vietnamese; but the United States might encourage progress in the right direction over time. This could fuel an even greater expansion of the Vietnamese economy. More importantly, additional U.S. interest and focus could push the Vietnamese leadership away from the evils of human rights abuses, including the ugly persecution of the Hmong and religious groups, and toward a more enlightened, and eventually democratic, government.

As Americans celebrate their own Independence Day, it seems fitting that we discuss and contemplate the freedom and democracy of other people. Some three decades ago we bravely attempted to secure the peace, freedom and democracy of the Vietnamese people, only to fail. Maybe enough time has passed now to allow a great nation to extend the hand a peace and reconciliation, and to encourage democracy by other than military means in Vietnam.

Honglien Do fled Communist Vietnam. John Carey is former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.