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July 11, 1972 - Image 8

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1972-07-11

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Page Eight

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Tuesday, July 11, 1972

Pag.Eiht.HE7ICHGA ALY'uesaJu , 1972

14,000 ARRESTED MONTHLY
Thieu rounds up deserters, govt. critics

By THOMAS FOX
Dispatch News Service
Editor's Note: Mr. Fox, until re-
cently a Saigon correspondent with
the The New York Times, is now
reponitg exclusively fone DNS
SAIGON - The Vietnamese
National Police, under orders
from President Thieu, have
cracked down on all forms' of
political dissent since a bill went
into effect June 27 authorizing
Thieu to rule by decree.
His opponents, however, charge
that the South Vietnamese Sen-
ate passed bill, which a 11 a w s
Thieu to act on all matters with-
out consulting the National As-
sembly, has actually been put
into effect before it was passed.
The country has been under
martial law since April, and poli-
tical arrests have been common-
place, with unknown thousands
arrested during the past two and
a half months.
Nearly everyone known to have
been an outspoken critic of the
Thieu government - but not
protected by international re-
cognition - has suffered at the
hands of the powerful National
Police in recent weeks.
In Hue alone, more than 1500
have been arrested and m o s t
have been taken to Con Son pri-
son island, an island which for
decades has confined critics of
French and American supported
governments. Women and child-
ren have been rounded up among
the "politically suspicious" -
and taken by police to Con Son.
"We've arrested the entire
student body of Hue," Hoang
Duc Nha, President Thieu's press
secretary recently stated flatly.
Hundreds of students h a v e
beenarrested. Scores of Uni-
versity and highchool teachers
and other intellectuals h a v e
been carried from their homes by
the National Police.
In the Mekong delta more than
5000 "political suspects" h a v e
been arrested by the National
Police during the past e i g t
weeks. Under present operaing
rules, any information received
by police on alleged NLF ac-
tions, contacts or sympathies is
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enough to place a Vietnamese
peasan in Con Son prison.
One high ranking American
police advisor said 14,000 Viet-
namese -- including draft dodg-
ers and deserters - are being
arrested monthly. He a d d e d
that the majority have been re-
leased after interrogation, but
many were being held "to keep
them out of the way during the
time of crisis".
The arrests have been offic-
ially termed "preventive ar-
rests". "We want to take the
sting out of the bit of the V C.",
the advisor added.
It is widely held here by Wes-
tern observers that Thieu is us-
ing the police crackdown to
round up all critics of his polic-
ies - whether they be commun-
ist, or simply non-communist
members of the opposition.

it is the job of the National
Police - who now number near-
ly 125,000 - to find the boys,
arrest them, and return them tc
their units.
In many cases people have
been arrested solely because they
have relatives in the NLF or in
North Vietnam. In some prov-
inces arrests have backlashed.
However, a few cadre units
which were content doing little
or nothing in towns have left
the urban areas to join the moe
active rural based NLF units.
One rather a-political V i e t-
namese was picked up by police
when they suspected his car
might have been used to trans-
port NLF agents. He was taken
to an interrogation ce er in the
Delta city of Can Tho where he
witnessed the torture tactics of
the police for the first. time
"The police beat them w it h
clubs on the bottoms of t h e i
feet and forced them to drink
soapy water until they were
nearly dead," he said. "Now I
understand more clearly wha!
the Viet Cong speak about." he
concluded.
A lower house Deputy from a
Delta province said ,he police
have come into villages and
picked up men in their eighties
who have not left their homer
for years, forcing teem into
small prison cells. "Eve village
and hamlet chiefs and office-sin
the Saigon army are being ar-
rested and interogated," he add-
ed.
Those who have been airested
go to police interrogation cat -
ers where they are pressured by
police to confess their "political
crimes". Since statements gain-
ed by police during interrogation,
under the French legal system,
can be used as evidence during
subsequent trials, police h a v e
been known to use torture when
necessary.k
One thirty year old woman re-
leased this week from a police
interrogation center in Saiton,
said more than 90 pr cent of
those arrested faced violent in-
terrogations, including club-
bings, electric shock treatments
the pulling of finger nails, and
the forceful drinking of s o a p y
water.
American police advisors, re-
sponding to the allegations this
week, stated that "abuses"
might take place, but that as
Vietnam "is a sovereign nation"
they are unable to do anything
to stop police violence.
The Vietnamese constitution
provides Vietnamese citizens a
lawyer "during all periods of
interrogation". In practice, how-
ever, it is widely known no law-
yers are allowed to witness in-
terrogations.

President Thien
"President Thieu appears eag-
er to show the world that no
one dissents from his policies,
and that all have rallied around
him," Tran Van Tuyen, a prom-
inent Deputy in the lower house
stated, trying to explain w h y
so many non-communists w e r e
being arrested.
Any mention of the police ar-
rests by Vietnamese newspapers
is considered grounds for censor-
ship and seizure. As a result,
there exists in Saigon an on-
normally quiet - but strained
- political atmosphere.
Government opposition is lim-
ited and often confined to quiet
conversations or debates among
the Congressmen who oppose the
decree that Thieu exercise un-
limited power for a six month
period.
Besides the "politically suspic-
ious", thousands of draft dodg-
ers and deserters have been
hunted by the National police.

SOUTH VIETNAMESE MILITARY police search for deserter's
who may be hiding on buses carrying civilians. They are checking
for men fleeing south to escape fighting on the northern front.

150,000 SHORT:
Pot rive
obtain Sigi
By DAN BIDDLE
Although the Michigan Mari-
juana Initiative (MMI) has
failed in its effort to place a
marijuana legislation question
on the statewide November bal-
lot, it announced plans yester-
day to continue the drive.
MMI's petition drive fell'some
Mieh. faetory
eharged with
hiring bias
The Department of Justice
filed a civil suit today charging
a Michigan chemical company
with discriminating against black
job applicants.
Attorney General t i c h a r d
Ileindienst'said the suit w a
filed in U.S. District Court in
Detroit against BASF Wyandotte
Corporation.
The Oil, Chemical and Atomic
Workers' International Union
(AFL-CIO) and its Wyandotte,
Michigan, local also were chang-
ed in the suit with encouraging
discriminatory practices against
blacks through its contract agree-
ment with the company.

fails to
natures
150,000 short of the 265,000
needed. by yesterday's deadline
for placement on the ballot.
The organization now aims to
put the "weed question" before
voters on the next state-wide
ballot in 1974.
Linda Ross, co-ordinator for
MMI blamed lack of time and
registered voters for the failure
of the petition drive, which be-
gan on May 8.
"People all over the state
didn't realize they have to be
registered voters to sign the
petition," she added. "More than
half of our potential support
couldn't sign because they
weren't registered."
Ross said MMI will incorpo-
rate a voter registration drive
with its continuing signature
campaign. She added that the
voter drive will be coordinated
with "all other interested groups
groups in the state," including
the McGovern for President
campaign, which may conduct
a massive registration effort in
September aimed at 18 to 21-
year olds.
The MMI petition calls for
legalization of "the possession,
use, transportation, harvesting,
and distribution" of marijuana,
but specifically excluded legal-
ization of sale of "the weed."

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Pilot Program is seeking graduate students
for resident fellow positions. We need cre-
ative people who can teach a course and
want to participate in an exciting experi-
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Willbach, 764-7521, Alice Lloyd Hall, Univ.
of Mich.
Everyone Welcome!
GRAD
COF FE E
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Wed., July 12
8-10 p.m
4TH FLOOR,
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NEW PEOPLE WELCOME!

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