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September 26, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1973-09-26

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igs fitirrigan Daily
Eighty-three years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

Financing the

Vietnamese police state

420 MaynardSt., Ann Arbor, Mi. 48104

News Phone: 764-0552


Kissinger lacks remedies

THE FIRST major public statement of
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger,
delivered before the United Nations
General Assembly Monday, was singu-
larly lacking in concrete alternatives for
remedying the world's problems.
Specifically, Kissinger proposed three
actions: The induction of North and
South Korea into the U. N., the installa-
tion of Japan as a permanent member of
the Security Council, and the convening
of a world conference on food under U.N.
auspices next year.
There is hardly much substance to
these three recommendations. The first
two in particular pay little about the
problems which Kissinger himself out-
lined-energy shortage, pollution, trade,
the continuing privation of most of the.
world's population.
Kissinger was most insistent that "a
world community requires the curbing of
"On a small planet, so bound together
by technology and so interdependent eco-
nomically," he said, "we can no longer
affofd the constant eruption of conflict
and the danger of its spread."
TH E S E SEEMINGLY platitudinous
statements are in fact quite debat-
able. Can poorer nations,. for instance,
think of eliminating conflict before they
eliminate hunger and illiteracy? And are
there not sometimes persons or groups
which stand in the way of such progress?
A study conducted last year by the U.N.
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Or-
ganization (UNESCO) concluded that
"in the education race, as in the march to
economic progress," attempts to narrow
the gap between industrized and develop-
countries "have all failed."
Three major studies of the Food and
Agriculture Organization indicated last
October that developing nations-even
with foreign aid, expert help and modern
technology-cannot grow enough food to
meet their needs.
And the World Bank reported a year
ago that despite billions of dollars of
foreign aid and "impressive" economi
growth in the poor countries, "it.is prob-
ably true that the world's burden of pov-
erty is increasing rather than declining."
KISSINGER noted in his U.N. speech
that "a world community cannot re-
main divided between the permanently
rich and the permanently poor." He pro-
Editorial Staff
Co-Editors in Chief
ROBERT BARKIN....................Feature Editor
DIANE LEVICK...........................Arts Editor
MARTIN PORTER......................Sunday Editor
MARILYN RILEY.........Associate Managing Editor
ZACHARY SCHILLER ..............Editorial Director
ERIC SCHOCH..................... Editorial Director
TONY SCHWARTZ ...................Sunday Editor
CHARLES STEIN........................City Editor
TED STEIN......................... Executive Editor
ROLFE TESSEM ................... Managing Editor

vided little reassurance that new con-
crete steps will be taken, however.
A sincere effort to eliminate poverty
would require more than charity or for-
eign aid, as Foreign Minister Joseph Co-
nombo of Upper Volta pointed out to last
year's U.N. General Assembly.
Industrialized countries, he said, "take
back more through trade than they give
through technical and financial assist-
ance" and thus perpetuate the economic
disparity between rich and poor nations.
Kissinger's failure to address the im-
portant question of trade was merely one
deficiency in his Monday speech.
HE WAS ALSO loath to part with the
notion that world problems can be
attacked apolitically, without what the
new secretary of state calls "ideological
It seems to be a peculiarly American
position to believe that there need not be
disharmony or a clash of interests for the
coexistence of great poverty and wealth
side by side to be eliminated.
Perhaps the highlight of Kissinger's
speech-carried on TV news networks-
was his statement that, "We have no
desire for domination."
It is a curious disclaimer, coming from
the chief foreign minister of the most
powerful nation in the world.
But there is no point in dwelling on the
veracity of the statement. Rather, we
must see whether the Kissinger State
Department matches the secretary's
high-flown rhetoric in practice.
PRESIDENT Nixon has apparently
broadened the Ronald Reagan aphor-
ism, "If you've seen one redwood, you've
seen 'em all," to include all national
He concurred Monday with a Presi-
dential panel in urging that the lumber
industry be allowed to cut down "sub-
stantial" portions of the national forests.
If such a recommendation were fol-
lowed, the result would probably be a
great increase in the amount of clear-
cutting, a lumbering practice in which
whole areas are logged instead of cutting
on a selective basis.
The reaction of Brock Evans, director
of the Sierra Club Washington office, to
the panel's report was eminently justi-
"It is high time that the Administration
start recognizing that the national for-
ests do not exist just for the timber in-
News: Bill Heenan, Jack Krost, Charles
Stein, Rolfe Tessem, Rebecca Warner
Editorial Page: Paul Gallagher, Zachary
Schiller, Eric Schoch
Arts Page: Diane Levick, Jeff Sorensen
Photo Technician: Terry McCarthy

OR MOST Americans, the war
is over. That is as it should
be. But it would be a mistake to
think that the war is over for the
Vietnamese, for there are more
subtle ways to win the hearts and
minds and resources and markets
of Indochina than with bombs and
American GI's.
The 1973 Paris Peace Agree-
ment included a provision for re-
construction of southern Vietnam.
Those who read the document that
far breathed a sigh of relief, guil-
ty or otherwise, and assumed that
the powers that be would send the
money to rebuild hospitals, homes,
and industry.
But, given the belligerent na-
ture of peace in Vietnam, it is
necessary for us to evaluate what
-and who-our reconstruction dol-
lars and sentiment are buying for
the Thieu regime.
The ' obvious purchase is the
same thing the U. S. has been pay-
ing for during the past two dec-
ades: legitimacy for a government
friendly to whoever pays the piper,
and a foot in the Indochinese door
for American corporate interests.
BUT DISCUSSING that issue is
like beating the proverbial dead
horse: when big business controls
the American government, it is
hard to convince that same gov-
ernment to operate counter to the
interests of the corporations that
control it. And talk about "inter-
est" and "control" is as hard to
understand as a sure-win betting
system. It's hard to maintain your
attention span when you just know
you're going to lose.
There are, however, real-life hor-
ror stories' to be told about people
who live under the U. S.-financed
Saigon regime. And to ignore what
is happening to these people would
be to sanction an Orwellian night-
mare unfolding in the name of the
American people.
The unfortunate reality behind
all that budgetese about recon-
struction is that in excess of 90 per
cent of this year's $2 billion aid
allocation will be spent on outfit-
ting and paying special military
and secret police units, and design-
ing and producing tiger cages and
torture apparatus. And any relief
about the war being over disap-
IN THE PAST six months, such
eminent individuals as Rep. Bella
Abzug (D-N.Y.), Fred Branfman
of the Indochina Resource Center,

and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-
Mass.) have relayed data to Con-
gress that amply demonstrate that
images of storm troopers and
thought control are not flights of
One stipulation of the Peace
Agreement is that political priso-
ners held by Saigon are to be re-
leased to Provisional Revolutionary
Government (PRG) - held territory
if they are PRG-affiliated, and to
their homes if they are not so af-
filiated, 'if they are part of the so-
called Third Force. Such releases
would be humane and sensible, and
in addition would make reconstruc-
tion money available for, well, re-
But, to avoid compliance with the
Paris Agreement, the Thieu regime
has reclassified more than 195,000
prisoners f r o m "political de-
tainees" to "common-law crimi-
nals," in proceedings that seem
very like the mass baptism/drown-
ings of' medieval Portugal.'
Why the Saigon government felt
it necessary to do so is a complex
question that must be examined
with some scant illumination from
the U. S. government policy of
elected in 1968, Vietnamization was
a very popular concept. The Amer-
ican public was weary of, news
photos of GI's being blown away in
a war that seemed senseless, if not
insane. The fact that the war
would go on was almost irrele-
But the events of the past five
years have shown that the only
change Vietnamization made was
in the color of the corpses. And
U. S. corporations had to find a
way to maintain a stranglehold on
the Vietnamese populace. Their
various methods have had differ-
ent names, but the reality still
spells police state.
That is why political prisoners
in southern Vietnam represent
what Bella Abzug called "the most
compelling human tragedy of our
time." Not all the prisoners are
home, and some have little hope of
ever returning. to life outside of
cages. And the farce of pretending
that U. S. aid is for humanitarian
users compounds the obscenity of
continued support for the Thieu re-
Who are the political prisoners?
the Third Force: non-communist
opponents of the Thieu machine.

From Nixon to Thieu, money for incarceration

PRG supporters have generally
been released, when they are still
alive, because the PRO has politi-
cal and military clout, while the
Third Force is largely unarmed,
urban, and underorganized.
They are students, writers, sold-
iers, teachers, monks, civil ser-
vants, accountants, and lawyers,
but mostly they are peasants who
were caught in monthly sweeps of
the countryside so that ARVN
units could fill their quotas for the
Phoenix ,roject, a U. S., army-
initiated program of terror, arrest,
and assassination.
A heavy proportion have been,
arrested in midnight raids since
the Paris Agreement was signed.
Fred Branfman was subjected to
one such raid, and later learned
that this is a common experience
for visiting journalists, and for
others who have shown interest in
the prisoners.
All Vietnamese over the age of
15 are required to carry an ID card
which are linked to centralized
computers containing dossiers on
every citizen. Any movement out-
side the home makes continuous
presentation of these cards neces-
sary. A standard form of harass-
ment is to confiscate ID from
someone who opposes Thieu, and
then arrest that person later for
not having the card.

Conditions of trial and detention
THERE IS NO due process as
guaranteed by the Vietnamese con-
stitution. Those who are arrested
or accused are sentenced by a
military tribunal or governmental
review board in absentia. There
is no lawyer, no jury, no evidence,
no right to speak, and no appeal.
Prisoners are often convicted in
lots, and sentenced to "two years,
renewable." And, short of Ameri-
can intervention, there is no way
out of .jail.
Once someone is arrested, the
world becomes a twilight of hung-
er, thirst, disease, chains, tiger
cages, and sophisticated routine
.torture. And even here U. S. cor-
porations turn a handy profit: the
tiger cages are brand new steel
ones manufactured by the Ameri-
can company RMK-BRJ, and pur-
chased with American reconstruc-
tion aid.
Not surprisingly, m a n y priso-
ners die as a direct result of this
treatment, and those who survive
at all survive as vegetables. They
are generally blind, deaf, and par-
alyzed from torture, malnourished,
and tubercular. Any help will come
too late for most of them.
WHAT IS MOST frightening is
that it could well be too late for
thousands not yet arrested, and
not in Vietnam alone. If the Amer-
ican government is allowed to con-
tinue financing and building re-
pression in Indochina, the pattern
could well be set for the liquida-
tionrof political opposition any-
Thieu will not even be criticized
for saying on one hand that any-
one can visit Saigon jails anytime,
and subsequently preventing the
Red Cross, various religious lead-
ers, and members of the U. S.
Senate Subcommittee on Refugees
from making such visits.
It is clearly within the power of
Congress to end the war crimes
now being perpetrated in the name
of the American people. Debate is
scheduled to begin on the floor of
the Senate this coming week on
the topic of next year's "recon-
struction aid."
CONGRESS at the least should:
Immediately send a delegation to
visit Saigon prisons, and refuse to
be turned away; cut all military
and police support, and divert those
funds into humanitarian programs
to be supervised by Congress;
make future aid to the Saigon
government provisional on the re-

lease of all political prisoners and
dismantling the machinery of ar-
rest and torture, and on the restor-
ation of civil rights and constitu-
tional freedoms.
Many Vietnamese feel that this
program is minimal, and that all
assistance to Thieu's regime should
be stopped at once; since such sup-
port constitutes meddling in the
internal affairs of their country.
Hopes that Congress will do that
are small, however, and spoken
of in future tense.
gress must make is at present im-
perative. If the government, of
southern Vietnam cannot be chang-
ed politically, it will be changed
militarily. And none of 'us can
say with certainty what the Amer-
ican government would do if the
NLF remobilized, That the whole
cycle of advisors, troops, mater-
iel, and money pouring onto the
heads of the Vietnamese might be-
gin again is unthinkable,' and yet
within the realm of probability.
As long as there are prisoners in
Saigon's jails, a political resolu-
tion to the conflict is impossible.
And the simple fact that they are
prisoners is scandalous and a blight
on humanity. In the words of some
Vietnamese prisoner, "Forty years
ago did not great western writers,
religious leaders, and jurists raise
their voices to denounce Franco's
treatment of Republican prisoners?
Were not voices raised more re-
cently to plead the cause of priso-
ners held by the authoritarian re-
gime of Greece and $razil?
"When will a voice like that of
Dom Helder Camarra risetup in
the name of the students, peas-
ants, monks, trade unionists, peace
activists, journalists, professors
and workers, indiscriminately im-
prisoned throughout South Viet-
Marnie Heyn is a Daily staff
Letters to The Daily should
be mailed to the Editorial Di-
rector or delivered to Mary
Rafferty in the Student Pub-
lications business office in the
Michigan Daily building. Letters
should be typed, double-spaced
and normally should not exceed
250 words. The Editorial Direc-
tors reserve the right to edit
all letters submitted.

Letters toTheI

rent commission cedent to
To The Daily: during t
LAST SUNDAY's (September 16) during t
article concerning the Citizen's irst goa
Rent Control Commission contain- large ga
ed several inaccuracies and mis- aeeded
placed emphases. Our purpose in housing
writing this letter is hopefully to Ly, sub-
correct mistaken impressions yources
which may have been generated by accompl
the column.-Commis
Some background relating to the Coms
Commission may serveas a use- Now t
ful starting point. Two basic goals It seems
were included in the Council reso- or of the
lution creating the Rent Control the HRP
Commission: Totdetermine, first, and its
whether the rental housing stock spokespe
within the city is adequate in var- landlord
iety and quantity and is well-main- mission
tamned and reasonably priced and, This viem
second, whether rent control is a However
feasible and appropriate policy tool article w
to ameliorate possible problems un- ture and
covered in the achievement of the sion, an
former goal. At the very first meet- over-emp
ing of the Commission, a clear view is
majority of members agreed that viws
the first goal was a logical pre- Finally
A votef
AMERICA, as the saying goes, gets the
best politicians money can buy. This
state of affairs has existed for a long
time, of course, perhaps as 'ong as this
country has existed. It has been an open
secret, as well, but the average person on
the street - as well as those in govern-
ment - have generally assessed the situa-
tion with a shrug of the shoulders and a
fatalistic "that's politics."
More recent investigations of the rela-
tionships between money and politics, be-
ginning with that vast array of political
revelations loosely tied together by the
term "Watergate," have hopefully suggest-
ed to the American public that shoulder
shrugging will no longer suffice.
Instead, Americans should take a long
loot at the possibility of political campaigns
being financed by government. As it is
now, most major contributions to political
candidates are, well, bribes to put it bluntly,
designed to buy future political favors
from political candidates. And in those
terms, the system works pretty well.
is a case in point. The flight to the suburbs
around Baltimore has resulted in a tre-
mendous land boom in the surrounding
areas as it has in many areas of the coun-

o the second, but that both
ery important. However,
he months of data collec-
tanalysis in pursuit of the
l, it became evident that
ps.exist in the information
to characterize the rental
market or, more correct-
markets. Existing data
are simply inadequate to
ish the full goals of the
o more specific problems.
unfortunate that the ten-
article was dominated by
P view of the Commission
proceedings. The HRP
erson's description of the
rparticipation on the Coi-
was particularly biased.
m may make "good copy".
r, if the purpose of the
was to determine the na-
d activities of the Commis-
d we assume that it was,
phasis on the HRP point of
misleading and unfair.
y, of course it is true that

Commission members represent
various interests - that is why
they were chosen to sit oni the
Commission as that is what the
Commission process is ail about.
It is equally true, however, that
this may not be the best form or
method of procedure, especially
given the complex nature of the
subject to be studied, namely, the
rental housing situation in Ann
Arbor. In addition, it is clear to us
that a Commission composed of
persons with full-time work and
school responsibilities is not the
optimal vehicle for, comprehensire
and effective handling of this com-
plicated subject. But, nerbaps ths
was the intent of Council in creat-
ing the Commission - a re ,olution
of political expediency rather than
of positive commitment.
-Pierre St. Amour, Jane
Heller, David Kiefer,
Sandra Rauch, Elizabeth
Roistacher, Gordon Scott,
members, Rent Control
Study Commission
Sept. 23

5r public campaign

The Times also notes that the figures in-
volved in negotiating the lease for Wein-
stein (who was not the lowest bidder) and
for the GSA' had all been closely associated
with Scott for years.

.F. (ONog'
71 _ _
l. ---i-e

tracts are not awarded on the basis of bids,
but through a process of negotiation. Very
important in these negotiations, the fed-
eral investigation shows, are the amounts
of campaign contributions given in the past
and pledged for the future. Give a politic-
ian a considerable amount of money now,
and you may very well reap considerably
more in the future.
WELL, SOME MAY answer, that's easy
enough. Just change the contract awarding
process to one of bidding, the lowest bid-
der getting the contract. Unfortunately, that
is probably not good enough, as a new
scandal involving the construction of a
federal office building in Philadelphia de-
In February of 1971 the federal General
Services Administration (GSA), the agency
responsible for government office space
and property, awarded a multi-million dol-
lar contract to a Philadelphia developer
to lease a city building for Federal office
Several months later, one of the unsuc-
cessful bidders for the contract filed suit
against the GSA, charging that, among oth-
er things, various documents in the suc-
cessful bid by Matthew Weinstein were
Monday's New York Times reported that

wonder Robert Vesco apparently tried to
ease his difficulties with the government
with a large secret contribution to the Nix-
on campaign. It is hardly surprising that
International Telephone and Telegraph al-
legedly tried to influence Justice D e p t .
action 'on its proposed merger with a major
insurance company by pledging massive
funds to defray the costs of the 1972 Re-
publican National Convention.
And it is no wonder that the idea of
government financing of political cam-
paigns, with no individual contributions al-
lowed, is being considered more seriously
as time goes by; and as the Maryland
scandal moves into Washington and knocks
on the door of the Office of the Vice
President of the United States.
Government financing is probably not an
idea whose time has yet come. It is no
doubt considered "un-American" by some,
a violation of the right of every American
to "contribute to the candidate of her or his
choice." Those who profit in money and/or
power from the present system won't like
it either.

- r'I )? k _~

Sen. Hugh Scott
ly encouraging the GSA to award the con-
tract to Weinstein.
Now why, one might ask, was Sen. Scott
so interested? Well, it seems that Scott and
Weinstein have been good friends for 25
years, and Weinstein has been a cotri-
butor to Scott's campaigns.
According to the Times, Sen. Scott greets
such revelations "with utter contempt any


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