I was happy to be quoted in the Vietnamese edition of the BBC defending the broadcast and its accompanying article. Here's what I told the BBC Vietnamese edition (the online text is in Vietnamese):
Having written briefly about the National United Front myself for the OC Weekly and knowing that the deaths of journalists were largely ignored by the mainstream media, I welcomed this move by a PBS and ProPublica, as well as OC Weekly, in publicizing "dead cases" from the not so distant past.
My earlier pieces included a profile of an activist who ironically served on the then-existing advisory board of the UCI Libraries' Southeast Asian Archive. I also wrote another piece about the same individual (an adult) who was leading a so-called Youth Movement for Vietnam during the Little Saigon HiTek protests.
Writers and journalists were among the targets of the protesters. The protesters, I wrote, "say they want to forge an "information front" against critical media accounts of the mob outside Tran's video store in demonstrations that lasted for 53 days earlier this year. They target several reporters in the battle, including Los Angeles Times op-ed writer Le Ly Hayslip (whose biographies became Oliver Stone's Heaven and Earth), Times columnist Patt Morrison, the OC Weekly's Nick Schou and me. We four are named in a front-page manifesto in the March 12  edition of the Westminster-based Viet Bao Kinh Te (Vietnam Economic Daily News)."
Let's not forget that decades earlier, in 1986, the Asia Resource Center in Washington D.C. issued an 8-page "casebook" by journalist Steve Grossman detailing those attacked and/or killed by what it described as "Vietnamese death squads in America". It was the first of a few brave attempts to draw attention to the phenomenon.
The OC Weekly last week published two stories on the reaction (mostly outrage) in Little Saigon (story one and two), and this week published the ProPublica's response point by point to criticism of its documentary and article. As the same article by OC Weekly's Charles Lam notes, another documentary film director, Tony Nguyen, has again been red-baited for daring to help as consulting producer on the Frontline piece. The director has pleaded for a "chance for truth in Little Saigon" in a piece published yesterday on DiaCRITICS. For more on Tony's "Enforcing the Silence," see my interview with him linked here.
And online the reaction is also covered in English, although Our Little Saigon is apparently a site linked to the successor group of the Front, so read it for what it's worth. There is even an online petition calling for PBS to investigate the Frontline broadcast, that has garnered under 2,000 signatures as of this writing. And even a local politician has jumped into the fray: California state senator Janet Nguyen, invoking the model minority stereotype of successful immigrants to attack ProPublica in her letter.
The Voice of OC has also covered the reaction in Little Saigon more dispassionately. And a French scholar. François Guillemot has written two pieces (this and later another) in French on his Vietnam history web site, giving a historical perspective with links to more resources and feedback.
I just hope the authorities will resurrect their investigation and not be scared off by the right-wing and other defensive reactions. For two decades or more, the domestic terrorism victims deserve better.
[Revised 18 November 2015: Added: A petition asking the FBI to resurrect its investigation is now online.]
-- Daniel C. Tsang.