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Cablegate: Meeting with Democracy Activist - Truth Behind Internet

VZCZCXRO5149
RR RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #1637 2551701
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121701Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6340
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 3688
RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS HANOI 001637

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS AND DRL/AWH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV KIRF VM
SUBJECT: MEETING WITH DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST - TRUTH BEHIND INTERNET
STORY


1. (SBU) Summary: In contrast to an internet report posted on a
Vietnamese-American human rights website alleging that the police
broke up an August 30 meeting between Poloff and eight pro-democracy
activists in Hanoi, the meeting with only one dissident - Mr. Nguyen
Phuong Anh - was held at Mr. Anh's residence without incident. End
Summary.

2. (SBU) Mr. Nguyen Phuong Anh is a respected pro-democracy advocate
and appears in a group photo of Vietnam's most prominent human
rights and democracy dissidents currently being circulated on the
Internet. While he is occasionally called in for questioning by
security officials, he has never been arrested nor spent time in
jail.

3. (SBU) When Poloff arrived at Anh's Hanoi residence on August 30,
he noticed several plainclothes security officers stationed nearby
with cellular camera phones. As poloff walked to the front door,
Anh's mother who lives next door approached Poloff before they
entered the home and stated that she was paid by MPS officers to
protest the visit. She followed Poloff into the home and went to
another room.

4. (SBU) During the short meeting, Anh did not have any new
information to share but said in the past public security officials
had been stationed outside his former restaurant and told customers
that "it would be in their best interest not to frequent the
restaurant of a terrorist." Anh said he now has 50 individuals in
his pro-democracy group and added that he invited five members to
attend the meeting but that they were prevented by security
officials. As poloff left Anh's home for the waiting embassy
vehicle he was filmed by public security officers, which is common
pubic security practice for these types of meetings.

5. (SBU) On August 31, post received an internet blog from "Women
for Human Rights," which is based in California. The attached
Vietnamese-language internet report said that Poloff met with "eight
pro-democracy activists during the August 30th meeting" and that
after half an hour, "police broke up the meeting and escorted all
the activists to a local police station."

6. (SBU) Comment: During Poloff's August 30 meeting with Mr. Anh
there was no interference from public security officials nor was
anyone arrested. Indeed, recent meetings with more prominent
activists have also gone off without incident despite being
monitored by plainclothes security officers either outside the
residence or nearby in a hotel lobby. As seen during recent land
protests in HCMC, much of what appears on the internet about events
in Vietnam is inaccurate, often reflecting a lack of first-hand
information and, in some cases, the political agendas of bloggers.


MICHALAK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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