Archive for ‘Case Study’

June 4, 2015

News Release– Laos, Hmong, Vietnam Veterans, CPPA, June 3, 2015 Fall of Kingdom of Laos Ceremonies

News Release

Laos, Hmong, Vietnam Veterans, CPPA, Hold National Ceremonies

Lao- and Hmong-American veterans, who served during the Vietnam War, are concluding national memorial and policy events including those at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC), the Vietnam War Memorial and the U.S. Congress, according to Philip Smith of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA). The somber events are being held in Washington to mourn the 40th anniversary of the fall of Laos to invading North Vietnamese Army forces of the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN), and communist Pathet Lao guerrillas.
The CPPA, Special Forces Association (SFA), and ANC Chief of Staff, Colonel Joseph Simonelli (U.S. Army), provided remarks, as did U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Al Franken (D-Minnesota), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK). Congressmen Jim Costa (D-California), Paul Cook (R-California), Don Young (R-Alaska), Devin Nunes (R-California), James Langevin (D-Rhode Island), and Sean Duffy (R-Wisconsin) also participated.
“On May 14, Lao and Hmong veterans, and their refugee families from across the United States, arrived in Congress for meetings,” said Philip Smith, Director of the CPPA.
“Thereafter, Congress reintroduced the ‘Hmong Veterans’ Service Recognition Act’ (S. 1358/H.R. 2327), to honor the veterans, and somberly mark the anniversary of the fall of Laos, and the joint Air America, CIA, and Hmong base at Long Chieng.
“On May 15th, a special veterans’ memorial wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Lao Veterans of America monument, in Arlington National Cemetery, with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), to remember and honor all those who sacrificed, fought, and died defending the Kingdom of Laos and U.S. national security interests during the Vietnam War.
“A solemn 40th anniversary ceremony, and posting of the colors, was conducted in Arlington by a U.S. Armed Forces Joint Honor Guard, the ‘Old Guard,’ and an Army wreath-bearer, and bugler, who played ‘Taps,’ in sad remembrance of the fall of the Kingdom of Laos, and Long Chieng, to invading North Vietnamese Army and PAVN forces, and the bloodbath and refugee exodus that followed.
“The ceremony was conducted by the CPPA and Lao Veterans of America, Inc. (LVA), and was cosponsored by Arlington National Cemetery, the U.S. DOD, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Congress,” Smith concluded.
“This is a powerful reminder of the actions of the Hmong, Lao and American service members who fought together as allies during the Vietnam War,” said Colonel Joseph Simonelli, ANC.
“These courageous U.S. allies were left largely on their own as they fled the prospect of execution or deadly re-education camps that the Communists immediately began establishing, or the ethnic cleansing perpetrated against the Hmong and Montagnard. Hmong, who struggled across the Mekong, fleeing aerial bombardment, including chemical warfare, were left to bare survival in rough camps on the Thailand shore…” stated Edmund McWilliams, a U.S. Department of State officer.
Keynote speakers at Arlington include: Richard Xiong, President, Lao Veterans of America Institute (LVAI); Philip Smith, CPPA; Pang Mang Thao, Lao Veterans, Minnesota; Pasert Lee, Hmong Alaska Community; Toua Kue, LVAI, Rhode Island; Chi Neng Vang, California; SFA Green Berets (U.S. Army-Ret.) Colonel John H. “Scotty” Crerar, LTC. James K. Bruton, LTC. Ray Oden, and SGT. Jim J.E. Hooker; U.S. Air Force Majors Matthew Altman and Taona Enriquez; Grant McClure, Counterparts; and Jane Hamilton-Merritt.
President Emeritus of the LVAI, Colonel Wangyee Vang, received honors.
On May 15, a Vietnam War Memorial wreath-laying ceremony was conducted.
On Memorial Day, flowers were laid at the Air Force, Marine Corps and Kennedy monuments.
Meetings in Congress will conclude in the coming days.
May 27, 2015

Heirs of the ‘Secret War’ in Laos

Heirs of the ‘Secret War’ in Laos

May 27, 2015

May 28, Forty Years Ago: Solution in Laos

May 28, Forty Years Ago: Solution in Laos

Laos was signed by the US charge d’affaires, Christian Chapman, Laos’s economy minister, Soth Phetrasy, and three demonstrators.

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By: Express News Service | Updated: May 28, 2015 12:41 am

An agreement to end the siege of the American Aid compound in Vientiane, Laos, was signed by the US charge d’affaires, Christian Chapman, Laos’s economy minister, Soth Phetrasy, and three demonstrators. According to the agreement, the US would wind up aid programmes in Laos and withdraw all personnel before June 30.The demonstrators agreed to relinquish their occupation of the compound and allow Laotian and US AID employees to return to prepare for shutting down the offices. Student demonstrators and Pathet Lao soldiers had been occupying the compound, demanding an end to the aid programme that had drawn in $750 million since 1955.

First Published on: May 28, 2015 12:32 am

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December 11, 2013

Japan: Raise Concerns About Abducted Lao Activist

One Year On, Sombath Somphone Remains Forcibly Disappeared

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December 11, 2013

(Tokyo) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan should raise concerns about the enforced disappearance of a prominent civil society leader in the prime minister’s meeting  with Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong at the Japan-Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International Japan, Mekong Watch, Empowerment For All Japan, and two other Japanese nongovernmental organizations said today in a joint letter to Prime Minister Abe.

The Japan-ASEAN Summit, scheduled from December 13-15, 2013, falls during the one-year anniversary of the abduction and forcible disappearance of Sombath Somphone, a recipient of the 2005 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership. Sombath was taken into custody by authorities at a checkpoint outside a police station in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, on December 15, 2012.

“On the one-year anniversary of Sombath Somphone’s abduction, Prime Minister Abe should break Japan’s public silence and call upon the Lao government to reveal the truth about Sombath’s fate,” said Kanae Doi, Japan director. “Japan’s words carry weight since it is the largest donor to Laos. Prime Minister Abe should use this leverage to send a strong message to the Lao leadership that it needs to stop ignoring the pleas to reveal what happened to Sombath.”

Since Sombath’s enforced disappearance, the Lao government has failed to conduct a serious investigation, despite widespread regional and international calls for accountability. Japan’s public silence on the Sombath case sends precisely the wrong signal to the Lao government, suggesting that its inaction is acceptable to Japan, the organizations said.

Consistent with its stated commitment to diplomacy based on the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, basic human rights, and the rule of law, the groups said, the Japanese government should take leadership in sending the message to the Lao government and other ASEAN member states that the protection against enforced disappearances is a concern not only of the government involved but of the broader international community.

“Japan should work with other international donors to make clear that they will not let this rest until the Lao government provides full information regarding Sombath’s case,” said Hideki Wakabayashi, secretary general of Amnesty International Japan. “The Lao government also needs to bring all those responsible for his enforced disappearance to justice.”

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“On the one-year anniversary of Sombath Somphone’s abduction, Prime Minister Abe should break Japan’s public silence and call upon the Lao government to reveal the truth about Sombath’s fate. Japan’s words carry weight since it is the largest donor to Laos. Prime Minister Abe should use this leverage to send a strong message to the Lao leadership that it needs to stop ignoring the pleas to reveal what happened to Sombath.”
Kanae Doi, Japan director
November 4, 2013

US war in SE Asia remembered by Laos-Aussies

3 Nov 2013 – 7:08pm

US war in SE Asia remembered by Laos-Aussies

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By Julia Calixto

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the US bombing campaign in Laos, where more than 270 million cluster bombs were dropped during the Vietnam War.
But some young Laotians living in Australia fear their history will be lost, and are making efforts to find out more about America’s so-called ‘secret war’.
Laos is – per capita – the most heavily bombed country in the world. During America’s ‘Secret War’ from 1964 to 1973, the United States dropped hundreds of millions of cluster munitions on Laos in a covert mission to destroy North Vietnamese supply lines.
More bombs were dropped on Laos than all over Europe in World War Two.
But Australian NGO, Corner Link, says Laos is less known for its unexploded ordnances than its neighbour Cambodia.
An open forum was held by the organization to help raise public awareness of Laos and drew members from the Australian-Laos community.
“It was actually quite embarrassing that I didn’t know about this stuff a lot more than I should have”, said forum attendee, Danny Manich.
“Because it is my culture, it’s where I was born.’
Danny’s family migrated from Laos to Australia during the 1970s because of the Vietnam War, an experience he says many older Laotians still find it difficult to discuss.
That’s one of the reasons Laos-born Vicki Rattanavong and Parry Sanixay founded a young Laotian community group, Laos-Oz Foundation.
“For us it’s important, even though it’s happened in the past, to remind people that it has happened, to acknowledge it and move on” said Mr Sanixay.
Around 80 million bombs failed to detonate in Laos and about 50 million have not been found – posing a constant threat to farmers and children.
“For so many people, those wars are past history and they don’t understand what it’s like to be continuing to be a part of them as so many Laotian people are”, said Mike Sprang from NGO SafeGround.
Mr Sprang says he’d like to see a stronger push from the Australian government to stop the manufacturing of cluster bombs.
“It’s unfortunate that probably quite a large proportion of people who have a superannuation fund in Australia probably unwittingly supporting some of the companies that are still manufacturing those weapons.It’s disappointing to me that the cluster munitions treaty ratified by Australia doesn’t go nearly far enough to cover the matter of disinvestment”, said Mr Sprang.
And with yesterday’s closure of the Australian Agency for International Development, or AusAID, Parry Sanixay says they’re happy taking it upon themselves to help boost awareness.
“It’s all about sharing, it’s about letting people know what’s going on in Laos and definitely today’s topic it’s something we are keen to help share and promote.”











Thanks to Lai Saeng

Ho Chi Minh Trail

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The Ho Chi Minh Trail was not just one trail but a series of trails. The Ho Chi Minh Trail was used by the North Vietnamese as a route for its troops to get into the South. They also used the trail as a supply route – for weapons, food and equipment. The Ho Chin Minh Trail ran along the Laos/Cambodia and Vietnam borders and was dominated by jungles. In total the ‘trail’ was about 1,000 kilometres in length and consisted of many parts.


“There were thousands of trails, thousands of rest spots along the way where enemy troops could seek refuge and build up.” (M Maclear)


The ‘trail’ consisted of dummy routes that served the only purpose of confusing the Americans but was, in places, 80 kilometres (50 miles) wide. It is thought that up to 40,000 people were used to keep the route open. The natural environment gave the trail excellent cover as the jungle could provide as much as three canopies of tree cover, which disguised what was going on at ground level. The American response to this was to use defoliants – the most famous being Agent Orange – to kill off the greenery that gave cover to those using the trail. However, while large areas of jungle were effectively killed off, the task was too great and the Ho Chi Minh Trail was used for the duration of the war against the Americans in South Vietnam.


One way for the Americans to counter the Ho Chi Minh Trail was to build large bases near to it – Khe Sanh was one of these. From these large bases patrols were sent out in an effort to intercept anyone using the route. Regardless of this, it does seem that the task was simply too great for the Americans. Whereas the trail was based on deception and fluidity, the military bases built by the US were static. Therefore, once patrols left these bases they were by themselves. While they could be supported by air, there would always be a time delay between combat on the ground and the arrival of air support. By the very nature of guerrilla warfare, this gave the North Vietnamese the advantage as they had the ability to disappear into the jungle.

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