Release Date: 2009-04-02
Original Link: http://presszoom.com/story_148273.html
Source: Center for Public Policy Analysis
The ordeal of Kerry and Kay Danes in the mysterious and exotic land of Laos is, perhaps most importantly, a unique
human saga of love, courage, honor, heroism and the triumph of hope in the face of overwhelming odds against a ruthless Stalinist
regime.” - Philip Smith, Executive Director, Center for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C.
(PressZoom.com) - Washington, D.C., April 2, 2009 - Australian author
Kay Danes has received a special invitation to speak at the prestigious World Affairs Conference in Boulder, Colorado, from
April 6-10, 2009.
Mrs. Danes is also slated to speak at events in Washington, D.C. later this month. She is an
invited keynote speaker at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. and U.S. Congress on April 16-17 regarding human rights
violations and political prisoners in Laos and the plight of thousands of Laotian and Hmong refugees in Thailand and Laos.
Last month, Kay Danes' latest book, "Standing Ground,"
was release in Australia about her plight in Laos. www.kaydanes.com
Philip Smith, Executive Director for the Center
for Public Policy Analysis in Washington, D.C., and a former U.S. Congressional adviser for national security and foreign
policy issued the following statement regarding Kay and Kerry Danes new book “Standing Ground”:
of the amazing story of Kerry and Kay Danes in Laos will find it a compelling, richly inspiring and fascinating saga. The
unique strategic role of Laos, both during the Vietnam War and presently, makes this book all the more interesting and important.
Standing Ground helps to elucidate the dark and despotic nature of the current government of Laos, the Lao Peoples Democratic
The ordeal of Kerry and Kay Danes in the mysterious and exotic land of Laos is, perhaps most importantly,
a unique human saga of love, courage, honor, heroism and the triumph of hope in the face of overwhelming odds against a ruthless
Stalinist regime. Stripped of their honor, dignity, and fundamental liberties while working as security managers in Laos,
Kerry and Kay Danes are forced to undergo a dark journey into a corrupt and brutal prison and gulag system.
same one-party, authoritarian regime in Laos which abducted and brutalized Kerry and Kay Danes is currently engaged in a large-scale
Darfur and Bosnia-like campaign of mass starvation and military attacks directed against thousands of family members of Lao
The United States and the international
community should heed the warnings about the serious nature and scope of this problem. They should more carefully consider
the national security, foreign policy and humanitarian implications and risks of the LPDR regime as an oppressive communist
military junta closely allied with brutal dictatorships in Burma, North Korea and elsewhere, which it is.
Ground is especially crucial reading for Americans and others who may be considering traveling, vacationing or investing in
Laos. It is also an important book for those in America and those in the international community with concerns about foreign
aid and investment, economic development, human rights, religious persecution, national security, trade and travel. The Danes’
careful documentation of their case in this important book underscores the need for extraordinary and difficult measures by
governments to protect the lives of their citizens abroad, to stop violations of human rights and to uphold international
As a U.S. Congressional adviser for national security and foreign policy issues, I became engaged on issues
regarding Laos after organizing a number of Congressional research missions to Lao and Hmong refugee camps along the Mekong
River on the Thailand-Laos border during the 1980s and early 1990s to investigate and document human rights violations and
forced repatriation. During this same period, among other responsibilities, as a staff liaison to the Commission for Security
and Cooperation in Europe in the U.S. House of Representatives, I also focused on security and human rights issues regarding
Eastern Europeans, including the plight of religious and political dissidents.
From 1993 to the present, in my
capacity as the Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA), which is a non-profit research organization
focused on national security and foreign policy issues in Washington, D.C., I have continued to focus on policy issues regarding
Laos and the tragic plight of Laotian and Hmong people, including refugees and political prisoners.
I first met
Kay Danes in Washington, D.C. in 2002 when she was invited to testify and speak with Members of Congress before a special
session of the U.S. Congressional Forum on Laos held in the U.S. House of Representatives. Many in Washington, D.C. and the
United States were very impressed by her extraordinary grace and courage as she told us about harrowing accounts of her experiences
Like the voices of prisoners of conscience, from Andrei Sakharov to Alexander Solzenitsyn, who bravely
endured the horrific cruelties of the Soviet gulag system during Stalinist times, Kerry and Kay Danes’ experience in
Laos has borne witness to the injustices and evil nature of a corrupt regime in violation of international law. The Danes
have become a voice for the voiceless and suffering people in Laos.
Laos, a small, landlocked Asian nation, still
largely unknown to many people around the world was once whispered in hushed voices in Washington, D.C.’s corridors
of power. U.S. Presidents, beginning with President John F. Kennedy along with senior policymakers in the U.S. Congress, the
Pentagon, the State Department and elsewhere, viewed the Kingdom of Laos, Lan Xang, the Kingdom of a Million Elephants, as
one of the keys to America’s and the West’s security and foreign policy interests.
after September 11, 2001, the country of Laos was once centre stage in the White House, in a crisis period that helped shape
the course of world events in a major way. President John F. Kennedy established Laos as a priority for U.S. and Western allied
clandestine and military operations during the period of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Berlin Wall in hopes of establishing
a ‘third option’ by recruiting indigenous tribal guerilla forces largely composed of ethnic Hmong and Laotians
to avoid a East-West nuclear conflagration or conventional third world war. Laos remained the largest covert operation in
America’s history, in terms of budget and duration, prior to the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
to the communist take-over in 1975, had a rich and ancient history, culture, religion and people. A largely peaceful and tranquil
Buddhist nation ruled by a revered monarchy, it was best described as a kingdom paradise blessed with abundance and long periods
of peace, until the violation of Laos’ neutrality by North Vietnam and the establishment of the Ho Chi Minh Trail by
the North Vietnamese Army that led to the U.S. clandestine and military intervention.
America still owes a debt
of honour and has a special moral obligation to many freedom-loving Laotians and Hmong who are veterans, or descendants of
veterans, who served with U.S. military and clandestine forces during the Vietnam War. As a former Australian Special Air
Services (SAS) Kerry Danes, and his courageous wife understand the full meaning of the word honor and the moral obligation
to friends and former allies.
Tragically, as the Danes story in many ways foreshadows, since the unlawful and brutal
arrest of Kerry and Kay, the LPDR regime has intensified its military and security forces’ attacks against its own people
and continues to engage in widespread human rights violations. In recent years, the LPDR regime has murdered dissidents abroad
in Thailand, arrested and unlawfully detained Americans visiting Laos (including Mr. Hakit Yang and two other Hmong American
citizens), and is currently engaged in a Bosnia and Darfur-like campaign of ethnic cleansing and mass starvation against thousands
of Hmong and Laotians seeking refuge in the jungles and mountains of Laos. These human rights violations have been documented
by Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, independent humanitarian and human rights organizations and advocates,
dissidents, independent journalists and others.
In writing Standing Ground, Kerry and Kay Danes will help to inspire
and strengthen the moral authority and courage needed by dissidents, journalists, activists and student and religious leaders
seeking to challenge the despotic one party regimes in Laos and other countries that continue to oppress, imprison and murder
their own citizens and visiting foreigners who inconveniently get in their way. The freedom-loving people of Laos deserve
a government that will provide an open-society, transparency, basic human rights and economic prosperity.
Ground serves as powerful testimony to those who share these aspirations for the people of Laos and other countries facing
a similar plight. Kerry and Kay Danes have demonstrated their exception courage to stand up to tyranny, speak truth to power,
and help those suffering under the most difficult of circumstances in Laos and other countries.
brings hope and dignity to those who have been stripped of these most fundamental and important elements of our humanity."
(end statement--Philip Smith, Executive Director, Center for Public Policy Analysis, Washington, D.C.---)
Contact: Maria Gomez
Center for Public Policy Analysis
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Washington, D.C. 20006 USA
Tele. (202) 543-1444