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U.S., Vietnam agree on emigration of detainees - Joint statement - transcript
US Department of State Bulletin, Nov, 1989 E-mail Print Link
U.S., Vietnam Agree on Emigration of Detainees
Representatives of the United States and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam at a meeting in Hanoi July 27-29, 1989, announced that they hope to commence by October 1989 a program for the resettlement in the United States of released reeducation center detainees and their close family members who wish to emigrate to the United States. The Vietnamese delegation was led by Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Vu Khoan. The U.S. delegation was led by Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary of State [for Refugee Programs] Robert L. Funseth, Acting Director of the Bureau for Refugee Programs.
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the United States of America, in order to resolve one of the issues of mutual concern to the two countries and consistent with their humanitarian policies and with the commitments undertaken in the declaration and the comprehensive plan of action adopted by the UN International Conference on Indochinese Refugees [June 13-14, 1989], will--in addition to existing programs--allow those released reeducation center detainees who were closely associated with the United States or its allies and who wish to do so to emigrate, together with their close relatives, to the United States.
The U.S. delegation declared that released reeducation center detainees coming to the United States would be subject to all U.S. laws, including those affecting the activities of U.S. residents toward other countries. The U.S. delegation reaffirmed that the United States has not encouraged nor does it have any intention of encouraging or using released detainees to engage in any illegal activities hostile or harmful to Vietnam--and is opposed to any such activities--and that the United States will accept these persons solely for humanitarian reasons and not for any hostile actions against Vietnam. The Vietnamese delegation also reaffirmed that Vietnam has not and will not encourage or use released detainees to engage in illegal actions hostile or harmful to the United States.
The two sides drew up a draft agreement, which included a technical annex, and agreed to establish a joint working group to coordinate implementation of the program. The two sides agreed that the program would be in addition to the existing Amerasian and orderly departure programs.
The two sides expressed great satisfaction with the results achieved and expressed hope that the first group of 3,000 persons for resettlement in the United States under this agreement will depart Vietnam before the end of the year after processing is completed.
COPYRIGHT 1989 U.S. Government Printing Office
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group
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Vietnam Allows More Prisoners to Leave for U.S.
January 7, 1990
LEAD: More former inmates of re-education camps and their relatives arrived here today from Vietnam en route to new lives in the United States. More former inmates of re-education camps and their relatives arrived here today from Vietnam en route to new lives in the United States.
It was the second day of the first major resettlement of people who were imprisoned because they served the United States-backed South Vietnamese Government, which Communist forces toppled in April 1975.
A total of 151 former inmates and their families arrived in Bangkok today on charter flights from Ho Chi Minh City, said Komol Srinakul of the International Organization for Migration. The agency handles medical processing and transportation of the refugees. On Friday 156 arrived. To Join Relatives in U.S.
The Vietnamese will join relatives in the United States after a few days at a Thai immigration center.
A State Department spokesman, Richard Boucher, said on Friday that the Bush Administration hoped that at least 7,000 former detainees and their relatives would be resettled by Sept. 30.
Those who arrived in Bangkok on Friday expressed joy at finally leaving Vietnam after many years of internment and waiting. Some described conditions in the Vietnamese camps as bad, and one claimed to have seen guards shoot 25 prisoners who had tried to flee.
Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese were subjected for years to a spartan regimen of manual labor and political study after the fall of the South Vietnamese Government.
'The Last Big Wound'
The agreement on resettling former inmates was reached between Hanoi and Washington in July. The American negotiator, Robert L. Funseth, said at the time it would help heal ''the last big wound remaining from the war.''
The Next Wave From Vietnam: A New Disability
By SETH MYDANS
Published: October 15, 1989
LEAD: WHEN Nguyen Van Be, once a colonel in the South Vietnamese army, emerged from 13 years in a re-education camp last year, he wrote to his wife in Washington, wondering how to fit into a world that had left him behind. ''He feels he got lost somewhere,'' says his wife. ''He feels like someone from the jungle.''
Now Colonel Be is among thousands of former political prisoners waiting for a chance to move to the United States under an agreement reached last summer. Last week, American officials began interviewing freed prisoners in Ho Chi Minh City, the first step toward bringing the first 3,000 to the United States.
Another 100,000 former prisoners and their families have requested entry into the United States. Vietnamese authorities have put the figure of former prisoners and their families at 500,000.
Resettling this group will be a step toward closing out this nation's debt to its Indochinese wartime allies.
''These people have been detained because of their close association with us during the war,'' said Robert Funseth, the senior deputy assistant secretary of state for refugee affairs, who has spent most of this decade negotiating their resettlement. ''They are of special humanitarian concern to the United States.''
The United States has accepted more than a half million Vietnamese since the first 135,000 fled Vietnam at the end of the war in April 1975. The first were the lucky ones among the South Vietnamese elite, the ones who succeeded in the scramble for planes and helicopters.
During the mass escapes by boat that began in the late 1970's, the United States committed itself to taking 14,000 Vietnamese a month. This exodus included higher proportions of farmers, fishermen, and other villagers, people who did not fit so easily into Western society. There were proportionately fewer ethnic Chinese, with their economic hustle and Chinatown connections. At the same time, the large numbers of refugees began to strain government and private agencies.
Some communities have been transformed by the influx. In California, a state that officials say may be home to nearly half the Vietnamese refugees, the center of Westminster, just south of Los Angeles, is now known as ''Little Saigon.''
The former prisoners, who could begin arriving in the United States before the end of this year, include many former leaders of the South Vietnamese society that the United States was fighting to keep in place.
''There's going to be a lot of the old political leadership, old generals, old ministers, old party leaders,'' said Dawn Calabia, associate director for refugee affairs at the United States Catholic Conference. ''Some of them are going to be very embittered.''
The Lost and the Tough
Some, said Donald Cohon, a San Francisco psychologist who has interviewed former inmates, are likely to be ''shells of people, brutalized to the point where they are nonfunctional.'' Most, he said, will have suffered years of malnutrition.
But, as Ms. Calabia said, ''Some are going to turn out to be tough as nails, survivors of the worst the Vietnamese could do.''
There will be men like Nguyen Hau, an army major specializing in ordnance, who was released after being severely injured in a camp, fled by boat to Malaysia, arrived in the United States at the age of 52 and immediately went to school, after a lifetime of military service, to study to become a mechanic.
Mr. Hau, who was a mechanic until the small company he worked for folded recently, now heads a nationwide organization of former Vietnamese political prisoners. Based in Westminster, it is one of the groups that are preparing to help survivors of the re-education camps.
Another group, the Association of Families of Political Prisoners, is headed by Khuc Minh Tho, the wife of Colonel Be, a Government clerical worker with two children and a woman with a keen sense of the difficulties that some of the released men will be facing.
In his first letter after his release, she said, her husband asked the question that was on the minds of most of his fellow prisoners: Have you been faithful to me? Are you still waiting for me?
Some of the wives she knows here, Mrs. Tho said, have found new mates. ''They tell me, 'I don't think the prisoners will ever get out of the camps,' '' she said. ''They tell me they give up.''
Even now, women like Mrs. Tho cannot be certain whether their husbands will be allowed to leave the country or will be held back by the capriciousness that has marked refugee releases in the past.
''I pray,'' Mrs. Tho said, ''that he will be one of the lucky ones.''
Ex-Viet Prisoners on Way to Rejoin Families in U.S.
January 05, 1990|
CHARLES P. WALLACE and SONNI EFRON | TIMES STAFF WRITERS
BANGKOK — While American relatives anxiously awaited word, 300 former Vietnamese political prisoners arrived here today on the first leg of a journey that will take more than half of them to California.
The emigres, including former South Vietnamese military officers and government officials who spent years in "re-education" camps, are the first political detainees to leave with their families under an accord reached between Washington and Hanoi last July after seven years of negotiations.
"We're all very happy. It's been long overdue and we've been waiting a long time to get this chance to travel to the United States," said Nguyen Van So, a former captain in the South Vietnamese Army.
Nguyen, who is traveling with his wife and two teen-age children, has a brother-in-law in Arleta, Calif.
"We won't forget those of us who are still behind in Vietnam," said Nguyen, who received a master's degree from UCLA in 1973.After the Communist victory in Vietnam in 1975, he was sent to a re-education camp for six years. Tens of thousands of former South Vietnamese military personnel and civil servants were sent to such camps for manual labor and political indoctrination by the Communist government because of their close association with the old regime in Saigon.
The former detainees, accompanied by members of their immediate families, arrived in Bangkok from Ho Chi Minh City--the former Saigon--aboard chartered Air Vietnam jets. They will spend about a week in the Thai capital undergoing medical testing and administrative processing before being put aboard commercial flights to the United States.
U.S. officials said there was no clear idea how many might qualify under the refugee program, but the figure could be as high as 100,000. One official said he expected the number of former re-education camp prisoners leaving Vietnam to reach about 1,000 a month in the near future.
Refugee resettlement officials in Southern California confirmed that at least 70 people in today's group were headed for Los Angeles County and at least 63 are planning to join relatives who have settled in Orange County.
Ho Van Phuoc, a former South Vietnamese air force lieutenant who was on a Friday flight from Ho Chi Minh City, is joining a sister in Whittier. He said the situation in Vietnam was "still very bad. There is no work."
He spent seven years in a re-education camp and then said he struggled to survive as a tailor in Ho Chi Minh City.
"I think we have a better opportunity in America," he said.
Meanwhile, in Southern California, friends and relatives anxiously looked forward to long-awaited reunions.
"The day is finally here when I will see my brother again after more than 14 years," said Kim-Nhung Tran, 47, who runs a dressmaking shop in Westminster. Her brother spent eight years in prison camps in northern Vietnam.
Quang-Hoi Tran, 43, a former army colonel, his wife and his two children were expected to be aboard the first Air Vietnam flight, his sister said.
She said her husband, son and a second brother drowned in an escape attempt from Vietnam in 1980. Undaunted, she fled by boat five months later, landed in a Thai refugee camp, and later settled in Orange County.
But a third brother, who also spent seven years in prison camps, is still in Ho Chi Minh City hoping to be one of the next to depart, she said.
Linda Lien Dao, 65, who works for the Los Angeles County Department of Social Services, said her youngest brother, Hung Anh Dao, 48, once an army major, his wife and three children are expected to arrive at Los Angeles airport soon.
He was captured one week after the fall of Saigon and imprisoned near Ho Chi Minh City until 1980, she said.
"During the first two years in prison, they beat him all the time," said Dao, who communicated with her brother by mail over the years.
"After three years in prison, his wife was allowed to visit him," she said.
After his release in 1980, Dao said, "he could not have a job and he dared not go outside because people watched him. His wife supported the family with a black market business selling everything, like medication and clothes," she said.
Dao, who has been trying to get her brother out of Vietnam for 10 years, said her mother "dreamed of coming to the United States with her son. Unfortunately, she died in 1986."
"He finished four years of college in French and is very good in mathematics," she said. "Maybe he can learn a job in computers."
Last July, the United States and Vietnam reached agreement to allow former political prisoners who served "substantial" periods in re-education camps to leave for resettlement in the United States.
In the past, small numbers of former re-education camp inmates have been allowed to leave Vietnam, but for reasons other than their status as political prisoners.
The July agreement, negotiated by Robert L. Funseth, a senior deputy assistant secretary of state, provided for the resettlement of the former political prisoners and their close families.
Old Soldiers: The Last Refugees Free to Leave Vietnam
By SETH MYDANSSEPT. 14, 1992
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The men who missed the helicopters fleeing Saigon in 1975 are finally arriving in the United States -- high-ranking South Vietnamese officers and government officials who have spent much of their lives since then in Communist prison camps.
They are the last and saddest wave in a 17-year flood of Vietnamese refugees that first included their luckier highly placed comrades, then a tide of desperate boat people, then thousands of the half-Vietnamese children of American servicemen.
More than 50,000 former prisoners and family members have arrived in the United States since the start of 1990 under an agreement with the Hanoi Government. Many of them are broken in health and in spirit and unable to find jobs or to adjust to their new lives.
The new arrivals are among the final stragglers of the war, the emotional equivalent for the South Vietnamese of America's missing in action.
"I am a soldier, so if nobody tells me to leave Vietnam it is difficult for me to leave," said Gen. Tran Quoc Lich, who stood his post and spent 13 years in a Communist internment camp, arriving here last December, three years after being freed.
Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story
"I wish to work for a living," said General Lich, whose last command was as Inspector General of Fourth Corps in South Vietnam. "I ask for work, but they say, 'Sorry, wait,' because there is no place, no job, for me." 100,000 Under the Plan
By the time the waiting lists are exhausted three years from now, United States officials estimate they will have accepted 100,000 former prisoners and family members under the new release program.
Already the flood of boat people has shrunk to a trickle, and the program bringing in the children of American servicemen will be completed soon, helping to push the Vietnamese population of the United States past one million. No longer will most of the immigrants be refugees; instead they will simply be immigrants seeking to join family members.
The profile of the former prisoners is similar to that of the first and most successful refugees from Vietnam: military officers, government officials, professional men and women with ties to the United States, said Shep Lowman, a senior policy analyst with the refugee program of the United States Catholic Conference.
But now they arrive bearing the burden of passing years and prison hardships, at a time when there are fewer refugee assistance programs or job opportunities to sustain them.
Many expected to be welcomed as heroes, and there was a widespread rumor among them that the United States would provide back pay for their years in prison camps, said Yen Ngoc Do, editor of the Vietnamese-language daily Nguoi Viet.
"They have come prepared to show the courage of the former soldiers of South Vietnam," said Mr. Yen, "but they are showing themselves only as a group of misfit people. Their political and military past has been totally forgotten."
This has led to flashes of friction between the new arrivals here in the Vietnamese community known as Little Saigon and the now-successful men who left them behind.
"The high-ranking officers are afraid to face us, because most of them told us to stay back and fight the Vietcong," said Nguyen Le Kinh, 55 years old, who was a captain in the South Vietnamese forces and said he had served 6 years 7 months and 11 days in an internment camp. Like other prisoners, he said he had suffered humiliation and hardship in his homeland.
"Most of those who fled to the United States told us to be brave, to stay in our units," he said in careful English. "And at the same time they board the helicopters or they wait at the airport."
In the years since then, he said, while prisoners like him struggled against their Communist captors, some of those same officers, safely settled in America, were already beginning to make business contacts with their old adversaries in Hanoi. Reminder of Collapsed Lives
For many residents of Little Saigon, a bustling community of Vietnamese malls and markets 30 miles south of Los Angeles, the new arrivals bring with them an unwelcome breath of tragedy, a reminder of the collapsed world they all left behind.
And many of the new refugees have embraced that sense of tragedy as their new identity.
Within the emigre Vietnamese world here the former prisoners refer to themselves as "H-O" refugees, from the bureaucratic designation given to them by the State Department. Each successive group in the program was dubbed HO1, HO2, HO3, HO4, and the refugees' new label became for them a symbol of their fate.
"In Vietnamese, ho means alas," said Nguyen Duc, a 55-year-old former army captain who spends his sleepless nights trying to write a book about his years in internment.
"I tell my wife often when she is depressed that in English H means hope and O means opportunity," he said. "But it is really too late for us. We are old. Our health is broken, especially our mental health."
He said his depression often threatens to overwhelm him. But he struggles to put it aside, he said, because "if I am too sad I do not have the energy to support my family. Sadness is a luxury for me now."
One great source of pain for many of the refugees is their estrangement from family members who came to America while the refugees were still in prison and who adapted and prospered in their absence.
When the wife of Col. Nguyen Thanh Quan fled to the airport in April 1975 with their four children, she could see shells exploding on the bridge where her husband was commanding a contingent of National Police troops.
"I knew he would stay and fight because my husband was a very strong man," said his wife, Luong Thi Lai.
In seven years in prison, Colonel Quan said : "To speak frankly, I was very afraid, very afraid at night. I told myself, if I want to see my family again, the only way is to forget them. Just do what I have to do and forget them."
While he struggled with his fears and hardships, his wife was building a new life in California without him. And by the time he rejoined her two years ago, she was the owner of her own beauty school and their children were in college studying dentistry, medicine, chiropractic and architecture.
For Colonel Quan, his reunion with his family was almost as traumatic as his years in an internment camp. "When he came, it was even difficult to eat together," his wife said. "We sleep differently, we eat differently, we think differently, everything is different. In the car, fight. In the school, fight. In the office, fight." 'He Was Really Mad'
When his children, who now speak only a little Vietnamese, ignored his wishes, she said: "He was really mad. He would lie in bed and not move, or go in the bathroom and shut the door."
When she took him to look for work, she said, "nobody wanted him.
"If you look at somebody and he is not happy, not healthy, not attractive, you are not going to give him a job."
Colonel Quan agreed. "It's hard for people like me to come here," he said. "My mind is sad. I have many worries. I forget things easily. My mind is not like the people who came here in 1975."
Unlike many similar couples, Colonel Quan and his wife have stayed together. The price has been an acceptance of his inferior status. Mr. Yen, the editor, said that as more and more of the former detainees gathered in Little Saigon over the years, a debate over the true significance of their H-O designation developed into an obsessive search to find a meaning in their fate.
"There were at least five theories about it," Mr. Yen said. "But then people discovered that it is not ho but only H. It is H-zero-one, H-zero-two, for
US Ends Era of Welcome For Vietnam's Refugees
Official door closed last month. More people in Vietnam elect not to emigrate.
October 14, 1997
By Lily Dizon Special to The Christian Science Monitor
HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM
In 1989, when the US and Vietnam signed an agreement that would eventually bring 34,300 Vietnamese former political prisoners and their dependents to America, Tran Van Tam was among the hundreds of thousands who registered to go.
But by the time Mr. Tam was summoned five years later for an interview to leave, he felt Vietnam was where he belonged after all. A booming economy has improved his life.
"Everything we have is here. We no longer need to go," Tam says.
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For many Vietnamese who once wanted to flee their country, and for many who settled in America, life has come full circle: Vietnam is proving more and more attractive.
Hundreds of thousands of the 1.5 million refugees - including those who left after Saigon fell at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, and the boat people of the late '70s and early '80s - are returning to their homeland every year, some to stay.
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Last month, the United States closed its files on a program to accept former political "detainees," as they are called, who are still living in Vietnam.
Although the US gives him some time to change his mind, Tam says he won't.
"I am very much aware that this [decision] would take away my current refugee status, which would give me and my family emigration priority to America," says the man who spent 10 years in a government "re-education" camp for his service as a commander in the South Vietnamese Navy. But "everything we have is here. We no longer need to go."
Tam's decision reflects what he, and others like him, say is their reality. Politically, the country is no longer as oppressive as the years after South Vietnam fell to the Communist-run North in 1975, leading to the eventual emigration of about 1.5 million to the West. Economically, Vietnam is steadily improving, allowing for many of its people to earn a comfortable living so they wouldn't have to seek a better life elsewhere.
His and others' decision to remain in Vietnam is also influenced by the many stories they have heard about their compatriots who, having lost up to a dozen years in re-education camps, now face problems adjusting to a new life in the US.
"I know from friends and family members who have left that it is hard to make it as a migrant in America, especially if you're old," says Tran Huu Tri, who was imprisoned five years for having served as a captain in the South Vietnamese Army.
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Mr. Tri, who runs a small cafe with his wife in a rural area outside of Ho Chi Minh City, adds: "It seems to me - given what I've heard about the hardship of other Vietnamese in America - we have the better life here."
The odyssey of Vietnamese refugees began with the end of the Vietnam War, when close to 250,000 fled the country on cargo planes and military ships, the start of their journey chronicled by dramatic television footage of people dangling precariously from helicopters.
The second wave of refugees, known as the "boat people," began in the summer of 1978, when the Vietnamese government expelled ethnic Chinese from the country after a dispute with Beijing, forcing thousands to leave on rickety, make-shift boats. They were joined by Vietnamese nationals who bought or forged papers declaring themselves Chinese to allow their passage out of the country. By the time the United Nations phased out its Southeast Asian refugee camps programs last year, close to three-quarters of a million of the boat people were resettled in other countries.
The "third wave" of refugees came in 1989 under the auspices of the US Department of States' Orderly Departure Program (ODP). These refugees include the former political prisoners and their families, those fleeing from religious and political persecution, and Amerasians, or children of former American servicemen. By far, the largest section of this group - about 468,500 people - is the political prisoners and their dependents. Eventually, 159,400 would end up in the US.
Today, more than 1 million of those of Vietnamese descent live in the US, mainly in California and Texas. About 500,000 others have resettled in Australia, Canada, France, and other countries in Europe.
Since 1990, more than 800,000 "Viet kieu," or overseas Vietnamese living mainly in the US and France, have returned home, sending or bringing back with them $600 million or $700 million annually to help friends and families start small businesses.
Generally speaking, those from the "first wave" were educated and business savvy. Within a few years of arrival, they were able to establish business and cultural communities such as southern California's Little Saigon.
The "boat people," many of whom were uneducated and from the countryside, had more problems adjusting. Some of their children, influenced by an unstructured refugee camp life, got involved in gangs and crimes.
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But it is the former political prisoners who faced the most daunting of financial and social obstacles. At an average age of 58, most say they are too old and set in their ways to adapt to a new land, to learn its language, and to find jobs. Unable to cope, a few committed suicide, leaving behind notes detailing their disillusionment with the reality of their "American dream."
US doormat pulled
The dream for a new life began in 1989 when the US program known as Humanitarian Operation began, allowing those who were imprisoned for their work with either the South Vietnamese or the American government to leave Vietnam.
Officially, it ended three years ago. But in practice, it is still continuing, because of voluminous paperwork; the Vietnamese government has been slow in issuing exit visas; and because some who are qualified to be interviewed for immigration never followed up on the process.
On June 1, US officials sent letters to about 650 Vietnamese, informing them their eight-year-old files requesting refugee status would be closed at the end of September if case officers in the country didn't hear from them. But many did not respond even as the deadline neared, says Dewey Pendergrass, the Bangkok-based ODP director. Of the 650 letters sent out, 145 families have responded and requested interviews. Of the remainder, 33 said they were not interested in going and 472 did not answer at all, Bill Fleming, chief of consulate.
Tran Van Tam is typical of those who now do not want to go. If he could have left in 1989, he said, he definitely would have. But in the five years it took for his application to be accepted, "I've come a long way," Tam says. During his years in the re-education camp, he had to feed himself by planting vegetables on infertile soil and was usually hungry. After the cap, he was blacklisted from getting non-manual-labor jobs.
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"To leave my country now would mean to start over again, and I'm too old for it," he says.
Once, he wanted better opportunities for his children who could not find jobs in the post-war era. Now, his two sons - an architect and a builder - and daughter, who is a college instructor, make good money to help support each other and their parents. Further, Tam and his wife, Tran Thi Xuan Huong, operate an after-school day-care center out of their home, bringing in about $300 a month, a princely sum in a country whose per-capita annual average income is about $200.
His children "have built a strong foundation for their lives, their futures, so they don't need to go any more," Tam said. "My wife and I are old, but we do OK."
To be sure, Vietnam, which is still one of the poorest countries in the world, doesn't afford a reasonable standard-of-living for most of its 75 million people, the majority of whom live in far-flung villages. Some who are qualified to be interviewed to come to the US say they chose to stay also because of reasons unrelated to the economy.
Keeping families intact
Subtleties such as keeping the family nucleus intact is one reason. A few say they are staying out of pride in themselves - specifically, for having survived re-education camp - and pride in Vietnam.
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Ultimately, many say, their reason for staying is simple enough: They don't want to leave their homeland, their families, friends, and neighbors.
"Everyone around here knows me and my wife, and we are at peace with the simple life we have made for ourselves," says Tri. "I'm not sure I could say the same thing if we went to America."
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Vài Nhận Xét Về Trung Tâm Băng Nhạc Asia Trần Thanh
Chiến Lược Đồng Hóa Lê Hùng Bruxelles
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Vietnamese commandos : hearing before the Select Committee on Intelligence
of the United States Senate, One Hundred Fourth Congress, second session ...
Wednesday, June 19, 1996
CLIP RELEASED JULY 21/2015
US SENATE APPROVED VIETNAMESE COMMANDOS COMPENSATION BILL
BẮT ĐẦU TỪ PHÚT 4:22:12 - 4:52:10 (13.20 - 13.50)
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֎ Silenced! The Unsolved Murders of Immigrant Journalists in the USA. Juan Gonzales
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Tặng Kim Âu
Chính khí hạo nhiên! Tổ Quốc t́nh.
Nghĩa trung can đảm, cái thiên thanh.
Văn phong thảo phạt, quần hùng phục.
Sơn đỉnh vân phi, vạn lư tŕnh.
Thảo Đường Cư Sĩ.