Lets Go Everywhere


Take it like a man
November 23, 2006, 4:54 am
Filed under: APEC, bush, Canada, News and politics, politics, Uncategorized, vietnam

OTTAWA — Anyone watching question period in the House of Commons today would be forgiven for thinking they’d tuned into fashion television.Prime Minister Stephen Harper and interim Liberal leader Bill Graham traded barbs over the recent Asia Pacific Summit and the best place to wear a silk gown.

It started by Graham kidding the prime minister about the blue gown he wore for a photo op in Vietnam, telling Harper he “looked spectacular.”

The prime minister shot back that wearing local garb is a tradition at the APEC summit and that unlike Graham, he was wears his “silk on the outside.”

Not to be outdone, Graham said he’s certain he has just as many embarassing pictures of himself as the ones of Harper in Hanoi.

The prime minister assured the Opposition leader that he’ll use his influence with the media to keep Graham’s pictures from being published.

harper-in-silk.jpg



President Bush in a pretty silk dress
November 20, 2006, 10:37 am
Filed under: APEC, bush, capitalism/socialism, empires, expat, Hanoi, News and politics, Uncategorized, US, vietnam

What you’ve all been waiting for… United States President George W Bush in a silk ao dai.

 Picture pops! Re-jiggered and in proportion.

Bush in ao dai

Howdy to Ao Dai

“The colourful, elongated tunics of Vietnam’s traditional dress, the
Ao Dai, are worn with much grace by Vietnamese women and men – and
extreme unease by the US president George Bush. Donning the costume
over his suit for the obligatory “family photograph” alongside 20
other leaders of Asian and Pacific nations, Mr Bush grimaced
repeatedly and shifted from foot to foot, a portrait of embarrassment
in turquoise blue brocade with yellow trim. It was obvious he couldn’t
wait to get it off and sure enough, moments after the official
photographs were taken, he strode away, ripped it off and folded it
up, according to reports. His fellow leaders showed more restraint and
waited until they were out of sight.”

The Guardian



George Bush doesn’t care about Vietnamese shopkeepers

Hello friends, I know it’s been a while. I haven’t posted anything in ages due to the fact I’ve been levelled by a flu.Our new Swiss intern at the magazine brought me a nice, long-lasting European flu strain that had me in bed for days. The worst part was the headache — like a jackerhammer in my head for hours. Ahhh, and shivering with cold in 35 degree heat. Nice!

No worries though; today I am on the mend and I plan to get him back somehow.

The sicktime has also given me a chance to catch up on my reading — I finished re-reading Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance and started Static by Amy & David Goodman. Static is good, so far, and A Fine Balance is one of my all-time favourites.

While browsing HuffPo today, I noticed this article from the New York Times:

Unlike Clinton, Bush Sees Hanoi in Bit of a Hurry

Hanoi, Sunday, Nov. 19 — President Bush likes speed golf and speed tourism — this is the man who did the treasures of Red Square in less than 20 minutes — but here in the lake-studded capital of a nation desperately eager to connect with America, he set a record.

On Saturday, Mr. Bush emerged from his hotel for only one nonofficial event, a 15-minute visit to the Joint P.O.W./M.I.A. Accounting Command, which searches for the remains of the 1,800 Americans still listed as missing in the Vietnam War.

There were almost no Vietnamese present, just a series of tables displaying photographs of the group’s painstaking work, and helmets, shoes and replicas of bones recovered by the 425 members of the command. He asked a few questions and then sped off in his motorcade. …

Waiting for One More Star

The Hadong Silk shop in this city’s Old Quarter is the first port of call for well-heeled visitors on the hunt for the tailor-made silkwares for which Vietnam has become famous. This weekend, with heads of state from 21 countries in town for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, a parade of dignitaries streamed in for fittings of made-to-order shirts, dresses and suits.

Laureen Harper, the wife of Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper, showed up on Friday, made a few purchases and signed the guestbook for Dang Thi Thu Thuy, the petite, exquisitely dressed owner. Ditto for Australia’s first lady, Janette Howard.

But Mrs. Thuy was searching for more. “We really hope that Mrs. Bush will come into our store,” she says. “We are waiting for her, but she hasn’t come.”

The walls of Hadong Silk are lined with giant framed photos of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who came to the shop during Mr. Clinton’s visit in 2000. There is a photo of Mrs. Clinton towering over three saleswomen, another of her standing next to Mrs. Thuy, both clad in silk suits, and one upstairs of her, surrounded by Secret Service agents, perusing silk blouses.

Vu Thi Thu Huong, a saleswoman, said the shop was so excited after Mrs. Clinton left, having bought 10 raw silk shirts for her husband, that the distinctive square collar on their men’s silk shirts was renamed the “Bill Clinton Collar.”

So, will there be a “George Bush Collar”?

Mrs. Thuy shrugged. “I’m not sure,” she said. She gestured to her camera, and said, “If she comes we will take her picture, too.”

Mrs. Bush visited the Temple of Literature, a monument to the legacy of Confucius, and the Museum of Ethnology, which focuses on Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups. With the spouses of other leaders, she saw water puppets. It is unclear whether she bought any silk.

Clinton in Vietnam

Just more proof Bush doesn’t care about Vietnamese shopkeepers. At least though, the women folk got a chance to see the water puppet show. No matter what anyone says, that’s some good entertainment!

Scott, have any delegates stopped by Ipa-Nima? If so, who , and what did they buy?? Inquiring minds need to know.



US citizens on trial in Saigon

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US citizens on trial in Vietnam

BBC

Vietnamese prosecutors have accused the group of terrorism

Three US citizens and four Vietnamese have gone on trial in Vietnam charged with terrorism. They are accused of attempting to set up illegal transmitters to make anti-communist radio broadcasts inside the country.

Correspondents says the case may complicate ties with the US ahead of President George W Bush’s visit next week and a Congressional vote on trade. The trial in Ho Chi Minh City is expected to last no more than a day.

All of the seven defendants are of Vietnamese origin, but three – Nguyen Thuong Cuc, also known as Cuc Foshee, Huynh Bich Lien and Le Van Binh – also have US citizenship.

Local press reports have linked them to a California-based anti-communist organisation called the Government of Free Vietnam. They are alleged to have brought transmitters and other equipment into Vietnam from neighbouring Cambodia.

They were hoping to take over local radio stations and broadcast anti-government radio messages, according to the BBC correspondent in Hanoi, Bill Hayton.

The case is being heard exactly a week before President Bush arrives in Vietnam to attend the annual Asia-Pacific summit (Apec). It may also complicate scheduled votes in the US Congress intended to permanently normalise trade relations between America and Vietnam, our correspondent says.

Senator Mel Martinez from Florida, the home state of one of the accused, has threatened to block the bill because of the case. That would be an embarrassment to both governments, which have heralded the bill as symbolising their new partnership.

If found guilty of terrorism, the accused could face sentences ranging from 12 years in jail to the death penalty. The Vietnamese government is currently trying to extradite a man it calls the leader of the plot, Nguyen Huu Chanh, from South Korea.

An earlier attempt failed. Mr Chanh was one of the founders of the Government of Free Vietnam.

———————-

Government of Free Viet Nam website (probably not accessible from within Viet Nam, but get the scoop here: Wiki article)

The Government of Free Vietnam is an anti-communist paramilitary and political organization that was established on April 30, 1995, by its founder Nguyen Hoang Dan. Its headquarters are in Garden Grove, California. The organization’s goal is to remove the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, either politically or militarily.

The Government of Free Vietnam claims 6,000 members and 100,000 supporters who were trained in secret camp locations along the Vietnamese/Cambodian border. They also claim 75 chapters in Asia, Australia, and Europe. Although the GFVN prides itself on its widespread support, many argue that the GFVN never received a true mandate to represent the Vietnamese diaspora.

They have a base of operations in KC-702, a secret base along the border between Vietnam and Cambodia.

Hoa Binh



Public Power In The Age Of Empire

As I reflect on the results of the US midterm elections I am reminded of a brilliant speech by Arundhati Roy called “Public Power In The Age Of Empire”.

Here you can listen to it in podcast format. An added bonus are folk songs by Utah Philips.

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Pump up The Volume

Speaking of the death penalty, here’s an article from, again, the Guardian, about 7 activists in Viet Nam who may just face the firing squad for agitating against the government.  All this comes just ahead of a major APEC – Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation – Summit to be held in Hanoi later this month, to be attended by Senior Bush, as well as Viet Nam’s official entry into the WTO.

Vietnam Puts 3 U.S. Citizens on Trial

Tuesday November 7, 2006 3:01 AM

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Three U.S. citizens are among seven people who will go on trial in Vietnam this week over an alleged attempt to take over state radio stations to call for an uprising against the communist government, a court official said Tuesday.

The seven will stand trial Friday at the People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City on charges of terrorism, an offense that carries possible sentences ranging from 12 years in prison to death by firing squad, the court’s chief judge Bui Hoang Danh said.

The defendants, who were arrested in September of last year, include three U.S. citizens of ethnic Vietnamese descent: Thuong Nguyen “Cuc” Foshee of Orlando, Fla.; Le Van Binh “Phu” of Tampa, Fla, and Huynh Bich Lien “Linda” of San Gabriel, Calif.

Three Vietnamese nationals from southern An Giang province and a Vietnamese national who is a resident of the U.S. will also be tried, Danh said.

He said the trial would last one day.

The trial comes just before Hanoi is set to host the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit later this month. President Bush is scheduled to attend the Nov. 18-19 meeting.

A one-day trial, eh? Yeah, that’ll be fair. The kangaroo courts they operate here are hardwired for conviction. Just ask Gary Glitter!!

As for Viet Nam’s WTO accession… I can’t help but feel like the country is signing away its soul, perhaps without even really knowing what it’s getting into. With a population of 84 million people, 80% of whom are farmers, they just cannot handle influxes of cheap foreign foods and goods. China will swamp the market, and what then for the farmers? Off to the factories to be worked like dogs?

Here are some pics from Vietnamese executions. The government is considering doing away with the firing squad in favour of lethal injection, apparently because some of the soldiers doing the firing get nervous and miss their target.

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No one’s watching

Canada #2 in maintaining personal privacy
KATIE FRETLAND
Canadian Press and Associated Press
Pub. Globe And Mail Oct 31

LONDON — Germany and Canada are the best defenders of privacy, and Malaysia and China the worst, an international rights group said in a report released Wednesday (Oct 31).
Britain was rated as an endemic surveillance society, at No. 33, just above Russia and Singapore on a ranking of 37 countries’ privacy protections by London-based Privacy International.
The United States did only slightly better, at No. 30, ranked between Israel and Thailand, with few safeguards and widespread surveillance, the group said.
The study ranks countries on various privacy-related issues. These include whether they have a written constitution with specific mention of privacy, the use of identity cards and biometrics, electronic surveillance including closed-circuit TV cameras, interception of communication, access of law-enforcement agencies to private data, surveillance of travel and financial transactions, and global leadership in promoting privacy.
On a scale of one to five, Canada scored three or higher in all categories.
Canada received the highest ranking of five for its legal limits on the keeping of private data….

This seems like good news for Canadians and Germans, and bad news for the citizens of world powers who like to talk about freedom and democracy but who violate and destroy the liberities of their own people.

I’m talking about you George Bush Jr., Tony Blair and Robert Mugabe.

At least regimes like Than Shwe’s in Myanmar don’t really claim to be into democracy or freedom. They are happy with their military junta and will only be removed at gunpoint. Vietnam transforms the word ‘democracy’ into meaning farmers can choose between one Communist member and another Communist member to represent them at the lowest level.
Freedom means you have the freedom not to be bombed to shit on a daily basis.

And then places like Thailand actually use tanks and soldiers to incite a situation they believe will restore democracy by wresting power from the hands of an elected tyrant. Freedom meaning, sometimes you have to have the will to take strong medicine.

That makes me think that the US could learn from Thailand… but I won’t get into that too deeply just yet.

Here’s the official rankings, some countries are tied.

Best Protectors of Civilian Privacy
1. Germany
2. Canada
3. Belgium
3. Austria
5. Greece
6. Argentina
6. Hungary
8. France
8. Poland
8. Portugal
8. Cyprus
12. Finland
13. Italy
13. Luxembourg
13. Latvia
13. Estonia
13. Malta
18. Denmark
18. Czech Republic
18. Ireland
18. Lithuania
18. New Zealand
18. Slovakia
24. Australia
24. Spain
26. Slovenia
26. Netherlands
28. Israel
28. Sweden
30. United States
31. Thailand
31. Philippines
33. Britain
34. Singapore
34. Russia
36. Malaysia
36. China