Rabbit size deer rediscovered in Vietnam


This 11 November 2019 video says about itself:

Scientists rediscover missing mammal, the silver-backed chevrotain

The silver-backed chevrotain has been missing for nearly 30 years. The species was last seen in Vietnam in 1990, until now. Silver-backed chevrotains have been tough to spot since they were first described in 1910.

Though chevrotains look like deer, they are not in the deer family. They are ancient rabbit-sized ungulates (hoofed animals) with features like fangs and four toes. The recent capture of the silver-backed chevrotain on camera trap is a major win in the search for missing mammals.

Global Wildlife Conservation’s Lost Species Initiative is searching for 25 species around the world. And the silver-backed chevrotain is their latest success. Prior to this, they have found four other species on the list have been found. But 20 remain missing.

Read more here.

From the Forschungsverbund Berlin in Germany:

Miniature fanged ‘deer’ rediscovered tiptoeing through Vietnam’s coastal forests

November 11, 2019

Global Wildlife Conservation and partners Southern Institute of Ecology and Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research have rediscovered a species lost to science since 1990 called a silver-backed chevrotain — a deer-like species that is the size of a rabbit, has a silver sheen, and has been hanging on in a region of Vietnam ravaged by poaching by snares. The silver-backed chevrotain, also called the Vietnamese mouse deer, was last recorded more than 25 years ago and is the first mammal rediscovered on GWC’s top 25 most wanted lost species in the Search for Lost Species.

The rediscovery in southern Vietnam was published today, November 11, in the scientific journal Nature Ecology & Evolution and is spurring on efforts to protect the chevrotain and the other mysterious and extraordinary wildlife that shares its home in Vietnam.

“We had no idea what to expect, so I was surprised and overjoyed when we checked the camera traps and saw photographs of a mouse deer with silver flanks,” said An Nguyen, associate conservation scientist for GWC and expedition team leader. Nguyen is also field coordinator and PhD student with the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research. “For so long, this species has seemingly only existed as part of our imagination. Discovering that it is, indeed, still out there, is the first step in ensuring we don’t lose it again, and we’re moving quickly now to figure out how best to protect it.”

The silver-backed chevrotain was described in 1910 from four individuals collected from southern Vietnam. A Russian expedition in 1990 in central Vietnam collected a fifth individual. Scientists know almost nothing about general ecology or conservation status of this species, making it one of the highest mammal conservation priorities in the Greater Annamite mountains, one of GWC’s focal wildlands.

After several interviews with local villagers and government forest rangers who reported seeing a gray mouse deer — the colour distinguishing the silver-backed chevrotain from the more common lesser mouse deer — the field team set three camera traps for five months in an area of southern Vietnam where locals indicated they may have seen the animal. This resulted in 275 photos of the species. The team then set up another 29 cameras in the same area, this time recording 1,881 photographs of the chevrotain over five months.

“The rediscovery of the silver-backed chevrotain provides a big hope for the conservation of biodiversity, especially threatened species, in Vietnam,” said Hoang Minh Duc, head of the Southern Institute of Ecology’s Department of Zoology. “This also encourages us, together with relevant and international partners, to devote time and effort to further investigate and conserve Vietnam‘s biodiversity heritage.”

There are 10 known species of chevrotains in the world, primarily from Asia. Despite their common English names, chevrotains are neither mice nor deer, but the world’s smallest small ungulates (hoofed mammals). They are shy and solitary, appear to walk on the tips of their hooves and have two tiny fangs. Chevrotains typically weigh less than 5 kg.

The silver-backed chevrotain is one of a number of fascinating species that live in the diverse tropical forests of Southeast Asia, where some species have been discovered only in the last few decades. This includes the antelope-like saola (the Asian “unicorn”), which was only discovered in 1992 and that no biologist has seen in the wild. Animals in this area of the world, however, are victims of a devastating hunting technique — the use of cheap and homemade wire snares. The level of indiscriminate hunting in the region has led to the widespread “empty forest syndrome” across Vietnam, pushing numerous Annamite species to the brink of extinction.

A team is now setting out to determine how large — and stable — this population of silver-backed chevrotains is, assess the wider distribution of the species and explore the threats to its survival. As part of the first-ever comprehensive survey on the species, the team began camera trap surveys in October in two additional areas. They will use all of the information that they gather to develop a conservation action plan that strengthens enforcement and protection of the species across its range, building on the increased enforcement already put in place at the site of rediscovery.

“It is an amazing feat to go from complete lack of knowledge of the wildlife of the Greater Annamites 25 years ago to now having this question mark of the silver-backed chevrotain resolved,” said Barney Long, GWC senior director of species conservation. “But the work is only beginning with the rediscovery and initial protection measures that have been put in place — now we need to identify not just a few individuals on camera traps, but one or two sites with sizable populations so that we can actually protect and restore the species.”

This project was made possible in part by the generous support of Wroclaw Zoo, Auckland Zoo, Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (Project 172515989), and the Gerald Singer Deer Research Grant provided by Sainte Croix Biodiversite. Additional support was provided by the Southern Institute of Ecology and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Vietnam, Iraq wars based on lies, Sanders says


This 18 June 2019 CNN video from the USA is called Bernie Sanders: “The American People Were Lied To About The Gulf Of Tonkin [the pretext for Vietnam war escalation] And WMDs In Iraq!”

Remember that now that the Trump administration prepares to wage war on Iran on a dodgy pretext.

Donald Trump, Iran, and the Gulf of Tonkin Redux: here.

Is bombing Vietnamese civilians ‘war heroism’?


This 2007 video is called Vietnam: American Holocaust – Bombing Vietnam.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Monday, August 27, 2018

The undeserved eulogising of John McCain serves to bolster an imperialist narrative

NO-ONE’S death should be celebrated, but nor should it be accompanied by undeserved eulogy as US senator John McCain’s is.

He is described in the US mass media, routinely echoed by our own subservient networks, as a war hero, but where is the heroism in bombing a major city to terrorise the population into surrender?

McCain’s F4 Phantom fighter bomber was shot down over the Vietnamese capital Hanoi in 1967, forcing him to parachute into Truc Bach lake where, given the nature of his injuries, he would have drowned but for local people who plunged into the water to rescue him.

Hanoi reported his capture and knew that his father and grandfather were both four-star admirals in the US Navy, making him a prime candidate for any prisoner exchange.

McCain made a statement apologising for his crimes against the Vietnamese people and expressing thanks for medical treatment that saved his life, but, after returning to the US in 1973, he said his confession was extracted through torture.

Hoa Lo Prison chief warder Nguyen Tien Tran was questioned later about the torture allegations, insisting: “We never tortured McCain. On the contrary, we saved his life, curing him with extremely valuable medicines that at times were not available to our own wounded.”

He told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that conditions in Hoa Lo were “tough, though not inhuman” and that it had been his job to keep the gravely injured US pilot alive.

Nguyen could, of course, be lying, so it would be a case of judging which side in the war was more inclined to the truth, the one resisting imperialist aggression or the other that admitted later that its pretext for stepping up military intervention — the 1964 Tonkin incident — was fabricated.

McCain’s war hero status passes virtually unquestioned in the US, except by Donald Trump who sought to diminish his Republican challenger for their party’s presidential nomination.

Trump derided the notion that McCain was a hero for being captured, declaring: “I like people that weren’t captured.”

He certainly ensured no personal danger of being captured in Vietnam, dodging the draft through a series of student deferments, as well as a medical diagnosis of protrusions caused by calcium built up on the heel bone.

His condition never needed an operation. Nor did it prevent him playing squash, gridiron and tennis at college or taking up golf at university and it later healed up of its own accord, according to Trump.

The future president’s good fortune was, like fellow chickenhawk George W Bush who shared his enthusiasm for overseas wars while believing that he shouldn’t have to fight in them, having family connections and an obliging medical professional.

Those who lacked these benefits — the poor, working class and disproportionately black — were press-ganged into Vietnam and subsequent dirty wars.

McCain’s reputation will not be tainted by Trump’s taunts, but nor should his own torture claims, backed by media and military, be swallowed without hesitation.

Vietnam was a resounding defeat for US imperialism, not only militarily when the world’s most powerful country was forced to flee South Vietnam with its tail between its legs but also morally because of global awareness of the scale of atrocities carried out against the civilian population.

Building up McCain, John Kerry and others as war heroes is a co-ordinated bipartisan strategy to retrospectively whitewash a dirty war by encouraging notions of nobility about those who prosecuted it.

By diminishing the enormity of its crimes, the Establishment seeks to make future imperialist wars more acceptable.

Rare large-antlered muntjac seen in Vietnam


This 2016 video says about itself:

The giant muntjac, sometimes referred to as the large-antlered muntjac, is a species of muntjac deer.

It is the largest muntjac species and was discovered in 1994 in Vũ Quang, Hà Tĩnh Province of Vietnam and in central Laos.

During inundation of the Nakai Reservoir in Khammouane Province of Laos for the Nam Theun 2 Multi-Purpose Project, 38 giant muntjac were captured, studied and released into the adjacent Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area.

From Forschungsverbund Berlin in Germany:

First record of large-antlered muntjac in Vietnam

New hope for the survival of this species

May 22, 2018

In November 2017 — under a biodiversity monitoring and assessment activity supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) — scientists and conservationists of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and WWF-Vietnam captured photographs of one of the rarest and most threatened mammal species of Southeast Asia, the large-antlered muntjac (Muntiacus vuquangensis), in Quang Nam province, central Vietnam. Prior to this milestone, this species had only been camera trapped in three protected areas in all of Vietnam since the year 2000. The new records from Quang Nam — which include photographs of both a male and a female — provide new hope for the continued survival of a species that is on the brink of extinction.

“It is amazing news”, said Phan Tuan, Director of the Forest Protection Department of Quang Nam in Vietnam “The two individuals are both mature and of reproductive age. These images prove that the species still survives in Quang Nam province and give us hope that there might even be a breeding population.”

The large-antlered muntjac was discovered by scientists in 1994 and is found only in the Annamites mountain range bordering Vietnam and Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Illegal hunting, mainly accomplished by the setting of wire snares, has decimated the species across its range. Snaring pressure is apparently high in the forests of central Vietnam. From 2011 to 2017, for example, government rangers and WWF Forest Guards removed more than a hundred thousand wire snares from the Thua Thien Hue and Quang Nam Saola Nature Reserves. In 2016, in response to the snare-driven decline of the species the status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species of the large-antlered muntjac was changed from Endangered to Critically Endangered.

Conservation stakeholders are continuing efforts to protect large-antlered muntjac in the wild. However, in recognition of the overwhelming pressure that the species faces and the fact that its populations are now critically low, the government and international NGOs are planning to establish a captive insurance population for this species and the saola (Pseudoryx nghe inhensis). The saola is another recently-discovered endemic ungulate that is even rarer than the large-antlered muntjac and may be now approaching extinction.

Dr. Benjamin Rawson, the Conservation Director of WWF-Vietnam, notes: “Large-antlered muntjac do not currently exist in captivity, so if we lose them in the wild, we lose them forever. Scientists are racing against time to save the species. Addressing the snaring crisis to protect wildlife in the forests of central Vietnam and setting up captive assurance populations are vital if we are to succeed.”

In addition to large-antlered muntjac, other camera trap surveys funded by USAID also documented other conservation priority species including Owston’s civet (Chrotogale owstoni), Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), Annamite striped rabbit (Nesolagus timminsi), and pangolin (Manis spp). “Finding these rare and beautiful species gives new hope for Vietnam’s precious biodiversity treasures”, says Nguyen Van Thanh, who led the field survey. Thanh is both a PhD student at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and a WWF Russell E. Train Fellowship recipient. “Although populations of all ground-dwelling mammals and birds have declined from snaring, our results show that the forests of Quang Nam province still harbor globally-significant biodiversity” Thanh adds. The findings of this study will help the Forest Protection Department of Quang Nam to develop better management and law enforcement plans to save these species and their habitats.

The Leibniz-IZW and WWF-Vietnam survey teams are now expanding the systematic camera trapping plans to other areas in the region, including places with high biodiversity potential in the province of Thua Thien Hue, just north of Quang Nam. The teams hope to uncover more surprises. But regardless of what they find in the future, the re-discovery of the Large-antlered Muntjac from Quang Nam will always remain a milestone for the survey teams, for the conservation community, and for Vietnam.

‘School to war pipeline’ in United States education


This video from Baltimore, Maryland the USA says about itself:

Hopkins Students Fight Against ‘School to War Pipeline

5 May 2018

At a gathering to honor Vietnam War protesters, students say their university is priming them to work for the country’s military industrial complex.

Vietnam My Lai massacre, 50 years ago


This 16 March 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

50 Years After My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, Revisiting the Slaughter the U.S. Military Tried to Hide

Fifty years ago, on March 16, 1968, U.S. soldiers attacked the Vietnamese village of My Lai. Even though the soldiers met no resistance, they slaughtered more than 500 Vietnamese women, children and old men over the next four hours, in what became known as the My Lai massacre. After the massacre, the U.S. military attempted to cover up what happened. But in 1969 a young reporter named Seymour Hersh would reveal a 26-year-old soldier [lieutenant] named William Calley was being investigated for killing 109 Vietnamese civilians. Today, memorials have been held in My Lai to mark the 50th anniversary of this horrific attack.

This 16 March 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

The GI Resistance Continues: Vietnam Vets Return to My Lai, Where U.S. Slaughtered 500 Civilians

As a group of Vietnam War veterans and peace activists travel back to Vietnam to mark the 50th anniversary of the My Lai massacre, Amy Goodman and Juan González speak with three members of the delegation: Vietnam veteran Paul Cox, who later co-founded the Veterans for Peace chapter in San Francisco; Susan Schnall, former Navy nurse who was court-martialed for opposing the Vietnam War; and longtime activist Ron Carver, who has organized an exhibit honoring the GI antiwar movement at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.

“Vietnam was the first and last war with no censorship”. Veteran photojournalist Tim Page discusses his “21” exhibition: here.

Steven Spielberg’s film The Post, review


This 27 January 2018 Dutch NOS TV video shows an interview with Steven Spielberg on his new film The Post

I saw this film on 18 February 2018.

The theme of the film is the United States war on Vietnam; more especially, the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

Who were the heroes of the resistance against the Vietnam war in the USA? As this film review by David Swanson says, they were the peace demonstrators protesting in their millions, though government violence killed some of them, like at the Jackson State and Kent State universities massacres. However, in the film, anti-war demonstrators are hardly more than extras. Only once, a demonstrator says a few sentences:

There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop!

What that demonstrator says is part of this speech:

That video from the USA is called Mario Savio “The Machine Speech” on The Sproul Hall Steps, December 2, 1964. As the video says, that speech was in 1964 in California, not in 1971 in Washington what the film is about. That Savio speech was not about the Vietnam war, but about the students’ Free Speech Movement for the right to be in solidarity with the civil rights movement of African American people.

Who was the hero of the publication of the Pentagon Papers? It was Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg is not a main character in the film, though more than an extra. The film starts with Ellsberg as a government investigator with United States soldiers in a rainforest in Vietnam. Ever since the early 1950s, United States presidents had lied that the Vietnam war was going hunky dory. But Ellsberg sees how a firefight breaks out, and many US soldiers are injured or killed.

On the way back from Vietnam, Ellsberg is on the same plane as Pentagon Secretary Robert McNamara. A McNamara adviser tells his boss the same official lie about winning the war. Then, McNamara asks Ellsberg for his view, as he is the only person present who has actually seen fighting in Vietnam. Ellsberg says the war is not going well, and cannot be won. I think you are right, McNamara says. Then, the plane lands in the USA. Journalists ask: Mr Secretary of Defence, how is the war going? Very good progress on all fronts, McNamara replies. Ellsberg, just out of the plane, hears this lie; and becomes an anti-war activist. He decides that the secret Pentagon Papers, which expose the successive administrations’ untruths, should be published.

The film says the heroes were Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham and Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. Though these two indeed made the correct decision to publish the Pentagon Papers, in spite of threats by the Nixon administration, as this review says, neither Graham nor Bradlee were overall unblemished characters.

The film also mentions there were connections between the Washington Post and the political elite: Katherine Graham was a personal friend of Robert McNamara, who advised her on appointing Post directors. Ben Bradlee had been a personal friend of President Kennedy. Connections, damaging the possibilities of criticizing government policies.

This Spielberg film correctly points out that all US presidents, from Truman to Nixon, lied about the Vietnam war. But there are limits to its political criticism. Because this film was produced by 20th Century Fox, owned by Rupert Murdoch?

The film has a happy end … well, a happy almost-end. The Supreme court of the USA decides that the Nixon administration is wrong to persecute the Washington Post and New York Times for espionage for publishing the Pentagon Papers, threatening their publishers and journalists with prison. The statement by Supreme Court judge Hugo Black, supporting press freedom, is read:

In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.

However, that happy end is not really the end. As the final scene of the film is about the burglary scandal at the Watergate building, ordered by Richard Nixon.

Unfortunately, it is doubtful whether the Washington Post and similar media will have the same courage now on the many Pentagon wars as they had in 1971 on Vietnam. The Washington Post and similar media today are even more linked to the economic and political establishment than they already were at the time of Katherine Graham and Ben Bradlee. And the Supreme Court today, compared to 1971? President Trump has put a judge there, the founder and ex-president of an organisation calling itself ‘fascism forever’.

The Washington Post’s coverage of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate was in reality only a small island of dissenting journalism in a sea of stenography to established power, writes IAN SINCLAIR.

Why did New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger meet with Trump? Here.