On Nov. 3, FRONTLINE and ProPublica Investigate “Terror in Little Saigon” | Press Release + Trailer
FRONTLINE and ProPublica Investigate an Unsolved Wave of Domestic Terrorism
Terror in Little Saigon
Premiering on PBS and online:
Tuesday, November 3, 2015, at 10 p.m. ET / 9 p.m. CT
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Between 1981 and 1990, five Vietnamese-American journalists in cities across the U.S. were murdered, and many others in the community were intimidated and attacked.
Who was responsible for this reign of terror — and why has that question gone unanswered for so long?
“From the Houston, Texas editor who was shot to death in his home — his paper was called Freedom — to the Orange County, California publisher who was killed inside his office in an arson attack, we wanted to look into these brutal murders and find answers,” says correspondent A.C. Thompson (Life and Death in Assisted Living, Law & Disorder), who spent two years digging into the case alongside director/producer Rick Rowley (Dirty Wars, Zapatista).
For the most part, the murders were overlooked by the mainstream press, and the victims have been forgotten.
“Typically, violent attacks on journalists spark public outrage and calls for answers,” Rowley says. “But no one was ever held accountable for the murders of these Vietnamese-American journalists.”
Drawing on thousands of pages of documents — including newly declassified FBI files as well as police records, CIA cables and immigration files — FRONTLINE and ProPublica tracked down the victims’ families, former law enforcement agents, and Vietnamese Americans across the country to shed new light on these cold cases.
The murdered journalists all worked for small-circulation Vietnamese-language publications serving the refugee population that had sought shelter in the U.S. after the fall of Saigon in 1975. And as FRONTLINE and ProPublica’s investigation found, there was another common thread: many of those publications had criticized a prominent, anti-Communist organization called the National United Front for the Liberation of Vietnam — or, “The Front” — whose ultimate goal was to restart the Vietnam War.
In Terror in Little Saigon, FRONTLINE and ProPublica uncover a trail of terror that leads from U.S. cities like Houston and San Francisco to the jungles of Southeast Asia. The investigative team tracked down former members of the Front, confirmed that the group had operated a secret assassination squad in the U.S., and uncovered new, potentially connected murder cases overseas.
A gripping new chapter in a long-dormant case, Terror in Little Saigon airs Tuesday, November 3 at 10/9c on PBS (check local listings) and will stream in full, for free, online at pbs.org/frontline. ProPublica’s major text story will be available that same day at propublica.org and at pbs.org/frontline.
Terror in Little Saigon is a FRONTLINE production with Left/Right Docs in partnership with ProPublica. The writer, director and producer is Richard Rowley. The producer and correspondent is A.C. Thompson. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.
FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 75 Emmy Awards and 17 Peabody Awards. Visit pbs.org/frontline and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Google+ to learn more. Founded by David Fanning in 1983, FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation, the John and Helen Glessner Family Trust, the Ford Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.
ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. In 2010, it was the first online news organization to win a Pulitzer Prize. In 2011, ProPublica won its second Pulitzer, the first ever awarded to a body of work that did not appear in print. In 2014, ProPublica won a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Leadership. ProPublica is supported primarily by philanthropy and offers its articles for republication, both through its website and directly to leading news organizations selected for maximum impact. For more information, please visit www.propublica.org