Friday, 28 November 2008

Mass graves near US prison camp discovered in Vietnam

The Earth Times, November 25, 2008
Hanoi - After seeking help from psychics, Vietnamese authorities have uncovered mass graves containing the remains of at least 600 Vietnamese soldiers near a prison camp used by the US military during the war, authorities said Tuesday. "We found two mass graves thanks to the help of people with telepathic powers," said Pham Vu Hong, the chairman of the People's Committee of Kien Giang province on the island of Phu Quoc, where the graves were found. "These prisoners were killed during the war.

"The remains were located 5 to 8 metres deep and not far from a large prison built by the French colonial power just before World War II. It was taken over by the Americans at the beginning of the war with North Vietnam in the mid-1960s, to house prisoners captured in the fighting.

Today, the tropical island of Phu Quoc, just off the southern tip of Vietnam, is best known as a tourist destination and will soon be home for several new luxury resorts. But it once was one of the largest prisoner-of-war camps in South Vietnam.

Living conditions in the camp were horrific, survivors say, with 60 people to a cell and often no food for days. International Red Cross observers reported systematic abuses at the camp, where US advisers were stationed.

Torture was common. But the worst, says one survivor, was waking to hear people in the nearby cells being led away in the middle of the night.

"We knew that they were being taken away to be killed," said Nguyen Duc Gan, who was released from the camp in 1973 and now lives in Hanoi. "There were so many people in the prison, they killed them to make room for new ones.

"As the mass graves were being excavated, a groundbreaking ceremony for the island's new international airport was being held not far away. On Sunday, construction began on the 1-billion-dollar project, which is intended to accommodate the growing number of foreign tourists who flock to Phu Quoc for its pristine beaches.

The remains recovered from the mass graves are being moved to earthen pots for burial. Burials for all 600 will not be completed, however, until authorities finish documenting the sites.

Psychics say there are more bodies buried.

"We think there are still more mass graves around the prison camps and we will continue excavating," said Lieutenant Colonel Huynh Tan Phuong, a commanding officer in the Phu Quoc army unit, which works to locate soldiers missing-in-action.

The Vietnamese government and families have long used psychics in efforts to locate more than a million Vietnamese soldiers whose fates are unknown 33 years after the war between Vietnam and the United States ended.

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