Cablegate: Gvn On Central Highlands Unrest

DE RUEHHI #0459/01 1130406
R 220406Z APR 08 ZDK




E.O. 12958: N/A


REF: HCMC 0406

HANOI 00000459 001.2 OF 002

1. (SBU) Summary: Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security (MPS)
officials briefed the DCM about the recent unrest in the Central
Highlands and asked for USG assistance in cutting off support for
the demonstrations from U.S.-based organizations, in particular the
Montagnard Foundation, Inc. In the April 19 meeting, MPS also asked
for USG support in discouraging people from fleeing to Cambodia to
seek UNHCR protection and eventual resettlement in the U.S. DCM
responded that while the U.S. does not support the use of violence
we do support the right of free expression. He noted that we have
announced an end to the policy of resettlement screening Montagnards
who have been rejected by UNHCR. Such persons are now told they may
directly contact the U.S. Consulate in HCMC instead. The DCM
praised GVN transparency in allowing foreign delegations to visit
the Central Highlands and encouraged continued openness for people
to see for themselves the situation on the ground. End summary.

2. (SBU) In a two-hour meeting requested by MPS, Deputy Director
General of the MPS General Security Department To Lam said that he
had been directed by Vice Minister of Public Security Nguyen Van
Huong to inform the embassy of recent protests in the Central
Highlands (CH)(Reftel). Lam said the demonstrators wanted to
establish an independent Degar state and some of the demands
involved land rights. Lam did not see any connection to any
religious issues.

3. (SBU) Lam said MPS has discovered that FULRO (The United Front
for the Liberation of Oppressed Races) and the South Carolina-based
Montagnard Foundation, Inc. (MFI) are inciting people in the CH to
launch anti-GVN demonstrations in Gia Lai, Dak Lak and Phu Yen
provinces with the goal of destabilizing the region and gaining
international publicity. Local officials explained the situation to
the people, and corrected the false information they had received
from FULRO and the Montagnard Foundation. Montagnard Foundation
President Kok Ksor, Lam claimed, wanted to drum up large
demonstrations as in 2001 and 2004, but this time the demonstrations
were small. The latest demonstration involved a dozen people at a
village headquarters on April 14, but the situation is now calm.
About 30-40 people were detained for two to three days, then
released, Lam claimed. One or two who had been engaged in violence,
however, remain incarcerated.

4. (SBU) Lam said there had been stone throwing and attacks by
demonstrators using sticks on local officials. The authorities
responded with restraint, Lam said, but MFI's Kok Ksor used slogans
to incite violence. DCM responded that encouraging people to
demonstrate is not a crime in the United States but violence is.
Lam said the demonstrators were receiving direction from Kok Ksor
and that MPS would provide evidence that FULRO is also encouraging

5. (SBU) According to MPS, they have information that people will be
coming from the U.S. at the end of April or early May to encourage
further anti-government demonstrations. MPS provided a list with
the following names and information regarding individuals they said
are active in organizing the demonstrations:
1. Y Luong Nie, Greensboro, NC
2. Bo Choc, Greensboro, NC
3. Bo Nghit, Greensboro, NC
4. Y Ykhyk, 1210 Westside Dr., Greensboro, NC
5. Y hmlok Nai, 1408 Mayfair Ave., Greensboro, NC
6. Day Dieu, 3304 N Elm St., Greensboro, NC
7. Y M Krong, 208 W Smith St., Greensboro, NC
8. Sang (Bo Than), 2806 James St., Charlotte, NC
9. Donald Holbrook, 308 Glencourt Dr., Charlotte, NC

6. (SBU) Kok Ksor provides financing and equipment for
anti-government demonstrations in Vietnam and the GVN requests USG
assistance in stopping them from doing so, Lam said. The Montagnard
Foundation is a "paramilitary" organization with the intent of
launching terrorist attacks in Vietnam, Lam alleged. The USG should
also list it as a terrorist organization so we can cooperate in
preventing anti-GVN demonstrations. We have a good bilateral
relationship, Lam said, and we do not want bad people to make it
worse. The GVN would like a formal announcement that the USG does
not support the demonstrations.

7. (SBU) The other area where the GVN and USG should cooperate is in
discouraging people from fleeing Vietnam to Cambodia, Lam said.
Many have the idea that if they protest in Vietnam, they can flee
across the border, and UNHCR will help them resettle in the United
States. The GVN would like a statement from the USG that it will
not resettle people who flee to Cambodia. The DCM responded that we
have announced an end to the policy of considering Montagnards for
resettlement even if UNHCR had refused them refugee status.
Instead, such persons are informed that they may contact the U.S.

HANOI 00000459 002.2 OF 002

Consulate General in HCMC if they believe they have a claim for

8. (SBU) Lam noted that many provincial officials even now do not
want foreign delegations to visit the CH, even though the GVN
understands that foreign delegations visit the CH for humanitarian
reasons. The DCM responded that the GVN has done the right thing by
allowing and encouraging more people to visit the CH, since this
encourages transparency and counters inaccurate reports from outside

9. (SBU) The DCM cited the recent VolVis delegation of CH leaders
who visited North Carolina while in the U.S. as another good step in
building greater trust as our bilateral relations continue to
improve. The DCM noted that the U.S. supports the right of
individuals to organize and express their opinions peacefully and,
absent compelling and verifiable evidence from the GVN, is not
likely to list FULRO as a terrorist organization.

10. (SBU) Note: The GVN has asserted several times in recent years
that FULRO and MFI are active terrorist organizations and that the
USG should designate them as such, but has yet to provide evidence
that would support the designation. FULRO officially disbanded in
late 1992, when its last few hundred guerillas surrendered to UN
peacekeepers in Cambodia. FULRO's leadership was instrumental in
organizing MFI, but MFI's web site and frequent press releases
stress that it is committed to non-violence. End note.

11. (U) This cable was coordinated with ConGen HCMC.


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