Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Laos" ...

  • The Lethal Legacy of Cluster Bombs

    This series of stories examined the political and human cost of Canada’s controversial approach towards ratifying the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It detailed how Canada had aligned itself with the United States, which has opted out of the CCM, and it explored the lethal legacy of U.S. cluster bomb use that is still being felt in Laos, four decades after the end of the of Vietnam War. This series broke news in the corridors of the United Nations in Geneva, including a rare on-the-record interview with a senior official with the scrupulously neutral International Committee of the Red Cross criticizing Canada’s position on the issue. These stories also reflected unprecedented access to the closed communist government of Laos, interviewing top officials who had never before talked to a Western journalist. This series gave voice to impoverished Laotian villagers who are threatened by these unexploded munitions, and they explained the larger economic and social implication of this lethal legacy of the long-ended Vietnam War. It also showed the U.S. influence over one of its closest allies in how it approached an important piece of foreign policy.
  • Can You Fight Poverty With A Five-Star Hotel?

    My story is about the World Bank’s private investing arm, the International Finance Corporation, the IFC. It reveals that the IFC is a profit-oriented, deal-driven organization that not only fails to fight poverty, its stated mission, but may exacerbate it in its zeal to earn a healthy return on investment. The article details my investigation through hundreds of primary source and other documents, dozens of interviews around the world and my trip to Ghana to see many projects first-hand, to recount that the IFC hands out billions in cut-rate loans to wealthy tycoons and giant multinationals in some of the world’s poorest places. My story details the IFC’s investments with a who’s who of giant multinational corporations: Dow Chemical, DuPont, Mitsubishi, Vodafone, and many more. It outlines that the IFC funds fast-food chains like Domino's Pizza in South Africa and Kentucky Fried Chicken in Jamaica. It invests in upscale shopping malls in Egypt, Ghana, the former Soviet republics, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. It backs candy-shop chains in Argentina and Bangladesh; breweries with global beer behemoths like SABMiller and with other breweries in the Czech Republic, Laos, Romania, Russia, and Tanzania; and soft-drink distribution for the likes of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and their competitors in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Mali, Russia, South Sudan, Uzbekistan, and more. The criticism of most such investments -- from a broad array of academics, watchdog groups and local organizations in the poor countries themselves -- is that these investments make little impact on poverty and could just as easily be undertaken without IFC subsidies. In some cases, critics contend, the projects hold back development and exacerbate poverty, not to mention subjecting affected countries to pollution and other ills.
  • Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos

    Between 1964 and 1973, in an offshoot of the Vietnam War, the U.S. military dropped 4 billion pounds of explosives on Laos. Up to 30 percent of those bombs did not detonate, and they remain in the Laotian soil today as UXO—unexploded ordnance—contaminating more than one-third of surface area of the country. Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed and injured in UXO accidents since the war officially ended. 2014 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the start of that bombing campaign. Yet every week, more Laotians are hurt and killed. In a rural country largely composed of subsistence farmers, it is dangerous to dig. Coates and Redfern spent more than seven years traveling in Laos, talking to farmers, scrap-metal hunters, people who make and use tools from UXO, and the bomb-disposal teams working to render the land harmless. With their words and photographs, they reveal the beauty of Laos, the strength of Laotians, and the daunting scope of the problem - a problem largely unknown outside the country. Much of the American bombing campaign was carried out in secret, known only to pilots, policy makers and the people on the ground under the flight paths. Coates and Redfern aim to educate readers—especially Americans—about this little-known war and its lesser-known legacy, at a time when Americans are learning about their government's recent efforts to operate in secrecy. Eternal Harvest offers a critical look at the effects on civilians of secret military actions.
  • Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos

    Between 1964 and 1973, in an offshoot of the Vietnam War, the U.S. military dropped 4 billion pounds of explosives on Laos. Up to 30 percent of those bombs did not detonate, and they remain in the Laotian soil today as UXO—unexploded ordnance—contaminating more than one-third of surface area of the country. Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed and injured in UXO accidents since the war officially ended. 2014 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the start of that bombing campaign. Yet every week, more Laotians are hurt and killed. In a rural country largely composed of subsistence farmers, it is dangerous to dig. Coates and Redfern spent more than seven years traveling in Laos, talking to farmers, scrap-metal hunters, people who make and use tools from UXO, and the bomb-disposal teams working to render the land harmless. With their words and photographs, they reveal the beauty of Laos, the strength of Laotians, and the daunting scope of the problem - a problem largely unknown outside the country. Much of the American bombing campaign was carried out in secret, known only to pilots, policy makers and the people on the ground under the flight paths. Coates and Redfern aim to educate readers—especially Americans—about this little-known war and its lesser-known legacy, at a time when Americans are learning about their government's recent efforts to operate in secrecy. Eternal Harvest offers a critical look at the effects on civilians of secret military actions.
  • Laos: Exploding the Past

    Lovering tells the story of UXO Lao, a bomb disposal program in the poor country of Laos. From 1964 to 1973, Laos was the target of one of "the most extensive bombing campaigns in history... An average of one planeload of bombs fell every eight minute for nine years..." Prior to the Vietnam War, the CIA secretly orchestrated a civil war in Laos. When the fighting ensued in neighboring Vietnam, Laos became a target of air strikes. Some bomb specialists estimate that 30 percent of the bombs dropped on Laos failed to explode. A 1997 survey by Handicap International found that more than 10,000 people in Laos have been maimed or killed by unexploded bombs.
  • (Untitled)

    The St. Paul Pioneer Press uncovered and documented allegations of human-rights abuses in Laos, and of forced repatriation of Hmong refugees. The series found that the United Nations and U.S. State Department either ignored the allegations, or inadequately investigated cases. The United nations denied the allegations of forced repatriation, but did not investigate even though the series identified people by name and village. (March 26 - April 16, 1995)
  • (Untitled)

    Deseret News story disclosed that the Army's Dugway Proving Ground and Fort Douglas in Utah operated a small secret Navy during the Vietnam War to test biological and chemical arms at sea. Several sailors now question whether the cancer and other strange diseases they suffer were caused by their work. They are having trouble with their veteran's claims for help because the work was so secret and will not even be confirmed by the Defense Department.(Oct. 22, 1995)
  • (Untitled)

    Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City) describes a 1968 incident at a secret U.S. base in Laos in which 11 Air Force men, in the country under civilian cover, were lost in an attack by North Vietnamese troops; government had chosen not to rescue the men when it received advance warning of the invasion, 1986.
  • Rain Of Terror

    ABC News Closeup reports on the Soviet-backed Vietnamese use of biological weapons against Hmong villagers in Laos, Dec. 21, 1981. Tape
  • (Untitled)

    APF Reporter tells of the problems of resettlement of the Hmong refugees of Laos, almost half of whom live in California's San Joaquin Valley, Fall 1985.