Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Thai Tidbits

"Thai army blocks corruption protest" Associated Press  December 07, 2015

BANGKOK — Thailand’s military government blocked an anticorruption protest Monday, detaining about three dozen students and other activists who were headed to a park honoring past kings that was allegedly built with money from shady dealings involving several senior officers.

The military’s efforts to quash the protest included detaching the railway car on which the protesters were traveling to Rajabhakti Park, near the seaside town of Hua Hin, before taking them into custody.

The detainees were all released by Monday night, according to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.

The military, which seized power in a May 2014 coup, has denied financial wrongdoing related to the park, which was built under its auspices." 

Meaning it was an unapproved move -- or was it?

"Thai police probe US envoy over comments about monarchy law" Associated Press  December 10, 2015

BANGKOK — Thai police said Wednesday that they are investigating comments made by the US ambassador about a law that bans criticism of the monarchy, but don’t expect to bring charges because he has diplomatic immunity.

The police spokesman, Major General Piyaphan Pingmuang, said authorities are investigating a Nov. 25 speech by Ambassador Glyn Davies because they had received a complaint that it violated the same law by defaming the monarchy, known as lese majeste.

The diplomatic contretemps is the latest dust-up between Washington and one of its most durable allies in Asia. US criticisms of military takeovers in 2006 and last year have been mild, with only the softest sanctions applied, such as the cancellation of high-level meetings. But because the military actions were framed in part as a defense of Thailand’s much revered monarchy, royalists treat American concerns as interference and culturally insensitive.

Davies said in the course of a wide-ranging speech praising US-Thai relations that America is concerned about prison sentences given by military courts to civilians under the law. Since the military seized power in a coup last year, a number of people have received sentences of more than 25 years for comments on the Internet found to have violated the law. Davies also spoke out for freedom of expression." 

Is it possible the CIA and the globe-kickers they work for were playing both sides as elites always do?


"Probe shows abuses persist in the shrimp industry" by Roberto A. Ferdman Washington Post   December 16, 2015

Last year, the Guardian shed light on an unfortunate truth about much of the shrimp sold in North America, Europe, Japan, and elsewhere around the world. A six-month-long investigation revealed that torture, wage-theft, beatings, and various other illegal practices were a reality in the production chain of the world’s largest supplier.

‘‘If you buy prawns or shrimp from Thailand, you will be buying the produce of slave labor,’’ Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International, told the Guardian at the time. And many countries do, including the United States, which imports about half of the shrimp Thailand harvests.

The investigation followed a 2013 report by the Environmental Justice Foundation, a nongovernmental organization, which chronicled the abuse in the Thai shrimp industry.

But almost two years later, the problem persists.

A new report published on Monday by the Associated Press holds that such abuses are still rampant in the Thai shrimp industry. What’s more, major markets around the world aren’t doing a good job of keeping shrimp peeled by modern-day slaves out of their food system.

Well, when that is the job of "markets" -- meaning corporations -- one could $ay they are functioning very efficiently.

The AP investigation — which has led to the freeing of thousands of indentured fishermen, dozens of arrests, and millions of dollars in seizures — found that the United States has been particularly poor in this regard. This, per the report:

‘‘US customs records show the shrimp made its way into the supply chains of major US food stores and retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kroger, Whole Foods, Dollar General, and Petco.

‘‘It also entered the supply chains of some of America’s best-known seafood brands and pet foods, including Chicken of the Sea and Fancy Feast, which are sold in grocery stores from Safeway and Schnucks to Piggly Wiggly and Albertans."

I'm glad I no longer eat shrimp, although I never ate very much of it to begin with. With the recent spoiling of the Pacific due to radiation and Gulf to oil, probably a wise decision.


"A Thai court sentenced two men from Myanmar on Thursday to death for the murder of two British tourists last year, ending a high-profile trial shadowed by allegations that the police had mishandled the investigation."