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Thread: Famous VC Execution (Warning Graphic Pic)

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    Member RevengeSeeker's Avatar
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    Default Famous VC Execution (Warning Graphic Pic)

    Since we use that photo an awful lot for many purposes (thread backfire, Head-On advertisment..etc..) and that people always ask what happened every time it is posted, I decided to make this so that we don't have to explain over and over again and then get into the whole debate about what really happened. Just link to this thread. Also feel free to add anything else you've read but I suggest cite your sources (no wiki-crap, I don't trust that about these sort of things).

    Everything posted here is from the book pictured below; exactly copy and paste, I did not add any opinions or interpretations of my own.



    Another interpretation can be found here: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtop...it=+vietnamese



    -------------------------------Everything below this line is copied/pasted from the book above. Photos are my own originally taken from that book.


    South Vietnamese troops capture a Vietcong fighter in Cholon, the Chinese section of Saigon. Hands tied behind his back, he is pushed and pulled through the street.

    The soldiers keep the Vietcong moving forward.

    The Vietcong was known under two names - Van Ken and also Bay Lap.

    Colonel Nguyễn Ngọc Loan pulls out his pistol and executed the Vietcong on the spot with a single shot to the head.

    Loan holsters his pistol and walks away.

    Official photographer looks over the scene after Loan has gone.
    SAIGON EXECUTION

    February 2, 1968 --It was the second day of the Tet Offensive and Vietnam was under massive attack at multiple fronts by the Vietcong and by the North Vietnamese army. The enemy struck with surprising strength in many cities and into the courtyard of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.
    Photographer Eddie Adams, working his third stint for AP in Vietnam, and National Broadcasting Co. cameraman Vo Su, prowled the streets of Saigon looking for war. The two photographers, office neighbors who frequently shared transportation and news tips, teamed up to investigate reports of fighting in Cholon, Saigon's Chinese section.
    The two photographers looked around Cholon but it appeared that fighting has eased up. The debris of aftermath littered the streets, but not much more. They were about to depart when they heard shots a block or so away. The two moved toward the action.
    Eddie saw two Vietnamese soldiers pull a prisoner out of a doorway at the end of a street. The soldiers pushed and pulled what appeared to be a Vietcong infiltrator in a plaid shirt, his arms tied behind his back. He had been captured at a nearby pagoda in civilian dress and carrying a pistol.
    Eddie recalls:

    It looked like a 'perp walk' (covering crime suspects) in New York. And I covered it that way. I just followed the three of them as they walked toward us, making an occasional picture. When they were up close - maybe five feet away - the soldiers stopped and backed away. I saw a man walk into my camera viewfinder from the left. He took a pistol out of his holster and raised it.
    'I had no idea he would shoot,' Addams says. It was common to hold a pistol to the head of prisoners during questioning. So I prepared to make that picture - the threat, the interrogation. But the man just pulled a pistol out of his holster, raised it to the VC's head and shot him in the temple. I make a picture at the same time.'


    The Vietcong fell to the pavement, blood gushing from his head. Eddie made a shot or two of the the man falling but then couldn't take any more and left. But not before the shooter, later identified as Lt. Col. Nguyễn Loan, police chief of South Vietnam, walked up to Adams and said, 'They killed many of my people, and yours, too.' And he walked away.
    Back in the office Adams turned in his film and went to his hotel room, exhausted emotionally and upset by the incident. The pictures, the full sequence of the incident, were sent by radiophoto to the world.
    The picture was a sensation. It became a political statement, printed and reprinted, appearing on placards at anti-war demonstrations and used by anti-war advocates as an example of the kind of allies the U.S. had in Vietnam. One writer described it: The shot not heard 'round the world, but seen 'round the world.
    What never caught up with the impact of the picture was the fact that in the first hours of the Tet Offensive before Loan shot the man, Vietcong had beheaded a Vietnamese colonel and killed his wife and six children.
    -Maclear, Michael and Haul Buell. Vietnam: A Complete Photographic History. New York: Tess Press, 2003.

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    Senior Member JJHH's Avatar
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    Afwul sight, I saw the video with all the blood and is total gore. That is not the Hollywood-style tiny drop of blood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jelle H. View Post
    Afwul sight, I saw the video with all the blood and is total gore. That is not the Hollywood-style tiny drop of blood.
    Here's a great video:

    Last edited by Hollis; 03-23-2008 at 04:20 PM.

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    Senior Member Paddy51's Avatar
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    It is impossible to estimate accurately the impact of these images but one thing is certain and that is that the impact was huge and profound across the world. The images remain symbolic of "bad things" and keep being used in different contexts to depict "bad". Truly historic moment that would not have been so had it not been for the photographers....

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    Member Dean1962's Avatar
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    The NV man is question was in fact a VC officer caught in a combat area wearing civilian clothes. In other words, he was a spy by the standards of the day, and a terrorist by today's standards . The South Vietnamese officer who pulled the trigger had just been informed that the VC officer was fighting in the area in which his own family lived. Now, if you read the Geneva convention, you will find that the punishment for spies caught in a combat area is summary execution. The police officer simply did his job and it was completely legal.
    If you ever see the video, it looks awful. The VC prisoner, Captain Nguyen Van Lem (in some sources, his name was Bay Lop) was led up to ARVN Colonel (later General) Nguyen Ngoc Loan, who just looked at him. We cannot see his face as his back was towards the camera. The General then turned towards the prisoner and very nonchalantly waved the pistol back and forth to motion the guards to move away from him. This is when I think his expression must have been scary, because the two guards moved as if they were standing on live electric wires. At this point the prisoner reacted in fear and anger, but he did not have time to do anything else as General Loan simply raised the pistol and fired at point-blank range. He was not even trying to escape, and I don't even think he got a chance to talk. But as I said, because of the circumstances in which he was captured, the General was completely within his rights to do what he did.
    Ironically, according to many sources, this was the image that changed the perception of the American public towards the war. It was after the showing of the video oon the 6:00 news that people started to believe that US soldiers should be pulled out and that the US was losing the war.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nguyen_Ngoc_Loan and http://www.weeklystandard.com/Conten...4/666noxlw.asp for more info.

    Dean.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nguyen_Van_Lem

    From other sources:
    South Vietnamese sources said that Lem commanded a Viet Cong assassination and revenge platoon, which on that day had targeted South Vietnamese National Police officers, or in their stead, the police officers' families; these sources said that Lem was captured near the site of a ditch holding as many as thirty-four bound and shot bodies of police and their relatives, some of whom were the families of General Loan's deputy and close friend. (In some accounts, the deputy was a victim as well; in others, the number of murdered relatives were as few as six.) Photographer Adams confirmed the South Vietnamese account, although he was only present for the execution. Lem's widow confirmed that her husband was a member of the Viet Cong and she did not see him after the Tet Offensive began. Shortly after the execution, a South Vietnamese official who had not been present said that Lem was only a political operative.

    Though Loan's execution of Lem would have violated the Geneva Conventions for treatment of prisoners of war had he been wearing a uniform and fighting enemy soldiers, the execution was justified considering the war crimes allegedly committed by Lem. The rights of POW Status were accorded to Viet Cong only if captured during military operations. Those captured as unlawful combatants were subject only to the laws of the South Vietnamese government, which sanctioned the use of draconian measures.

    Note the "had he been wearing..." bit. A bit of diversion there. The fact is that he was not, and the Geneva Convention is very clear on this. If you are a combattant, a member of an organized military force, wearing civilian clothes while fighting in a combat zone, you are considered a spy, with the obvious consequences. In addition, if Lem was only a "political operative", what would he have been doing hiding in a ditch in enemy territory while his death squads were running around?!??

    Also keep in mind that the activities of the death squad can be described as war crimes!
    Last edited by Dean1962; 03-23-2008 at 01:34 PM.

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    Senior Member Breakfast in Vegas's Avatar
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    Interesting array of weapons the ARVN have... AK, Mat-49, Uzi, M-16...

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    Senior Member Breakfast in Vegas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean1962 View Post
    Ironically, according to many sources, this was the image that changed the perception of the American public towards the war. It was after the showing of the video oon the 6:00 news that people started to believe that US soldiers should be pulled out and that the US was losing the war.
    That and several other images, perhaps most notably the napalm girl.

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    Senior Member Paddy51's Avatar
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    Thanks for the pointers and info. Dean1962.

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    Grease gun..

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    Senior Member Breakfast in Vegas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeev View Post


    Grease gun..
    I thought it might have been a MAT-49, but you are right... it's a M3.

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    Banned user Zeev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Breakfast in Vegas View Post
    I thought it might have been a MAT-49, but you are right... it's a M3.
    it's true that the both looks similar

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    Of those Killed where Loans godchildren.

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    Senior Member Pille1234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean1962 View Post
    The NV man is question was in fact a VC officer caught in a combat area wearing civilian clothes. In other words, he was a spy. The South Vietnamese officer who pulled the trigger had just been informed that the VC officer was fighting in the area in which his own family lived. Now, if you read the Geneva convention, you will find that the punishment for spies caught in a combat area is summary execution. The police officer simply did his job and it was completely legal.
    Really? Would you mind showing me the specific article within the Genever Convention speaking about summary execution?
    In fact the Genever Convention claims that in case of doubt a prisoner has to be considered as a POW until a court or tribunal has decided otherwise.

    Convention (III)
    [FONT=Arial]ARTICLE 5[/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial]The present Convention shall apply to the persons referred to in Article 4[/FONT][FONT=Arial] from the time they fall into the power of the enemy and until their final release and repatriation.[/FONT]
      [FONT=Arial]Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4[/FONT][FONT=Arial], such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.[/FONT]
    Convention (IV)
    [FONT=Arial]ARTICLE 5[/FONT]
    • [FONT=Arial]Where, in the territory of a Party to the conflict, the latter is satisfied that an individual protected person is definitely suspected of or engaged in activities hostile to the security of the State, such individual person shall not be entitled to claim such rights and privileges under the present Convention as would, if exercised in the favour of such individual person, be prejudicial to the security of such State.[/FONT]
      [FONT=Arial]Where in occupied territory an individual protected person is detained as a spy or saboteur, or as a person under definite suspicion of activity hostile to the security of the Occupying Power, such person shall, in those cases where absolute military security so requires, be regarded as having forfeited rights of communication under the present Convention.[/FONT]
      [FONT=Arial]In each case, such persons shall nevertheless be treated with humanity, and in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed by the present Convention. They shall also be granted the full rights and privileges of a protected person under the present Convention at the earliest date consistent with the security of the State or Occupying Power, as the case may be.[/FONT]
    As there was no trial at all, the killing was unlawful, the officer committed a murder, even if the victim was actually a spy.

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    Senior Member wicked_hind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pille1234 View Post
    Really? Would you mind showing me the specific article within the Genever Convention speaking about summary execution?
    In fact the Genever Convention claims that in case of doubt a prisoner has to be considered as a POW until a court or tribunal has decided otherwise.




    As there was no trial at all, the killing was unlawful, the officer committed a murder, even if the victim was actually a spy.
    It doesn't matter anymore, what's done is done.

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    Senior Member Morboute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pille1234 View Post
    Really? Would you mind showing me the specific article within the Genever Convention speaking about summary execution?
    In fact the Genever Convention claims that in case of doubt a prisoner has to be considered as a POW until a court or tribunal has decided otherwise.




    As there was no trial at all, the killing was unlawful, the officer committed a murder, even if the victim was actually a spy.
    IIRC, he attacked the homes of soldiers, but since the soldiers were out fighting the only ones that died was their families.
    That guy just got caugth in the act. So yeah, the guy got what he deserved.

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