Friday, November 10, 2006

Americans Convicted of Terrorism in Vietnam

Proof that one’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist comes from Southeast Asia. In a strange twist, the Vietnamese government convicted 3 Vietnamese Americans of terrorism for trying to take over radio airwaves and call for the overthrow of the country’s communist government. The scheme involved smuggling in radio equipment which would then be used to broadcast the call to topple the government. The California based group “Government of Free Vietnam” hatched the plan.

Should Vietnam have the Patriot Act and a Terrorist Surveillance Program, then assets from this group could be seized and any calls from GFV to people in the home country would be monitored. “If you’re talking to GFV, we want to know about it.” Is anyone in Brussels checking the movement of Government of Free Vietnam funds through the international banking system?

Two representatives of the U.S. Consulate attended the trial. My question is who sponsored this group? Did the CIA have a role in this? Did the State Department, currently sponsoring similar groups in Iran, help fund or guide this group of freedom fighters/terrorists?

The judge gave them a lenient sentence despite the seriousness of the crime with one reason cited, their political naiveté. That seems to be a worldwide problem regarding the whole terrorist label and its application.

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