Tag Archives: Thailand

Biolab for “Most Dangerous Pathogens on Earth” Opened in Wuhan Before Outbreak

23 million people in China “are effectively under quarantine” due to the sudden outbreak of a deadly new virus in Wuhan.

By John Vibes Published 1-23-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

As of Thursday afternoon, 23 million people in seven Chinese cities have been placed on quarantine due to the sudden outbreak of a deadly SARS-like virus called 2019-nCoV.

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Amid Years of Funding Cuts to Public Health, First US Case of China’s Coronavirus Detected

Public health advocates say state, local, and federal agencies are underprepared to cope with the spread of a new infectious disease.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-21-2020

Coronavirus. Photo: CDC

Officials in Washington State reported Tuesday that a resident was diagnosed with the coronavirus which was first detected in Wuhan, China last month, leading federal public health agencies which have suffered billions of dollars in cuts in recent years to issue warnings and post information about the illness.

“This is an evolving situation and again, we do expect additional cases in the United States and globally,” Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Washington Post. Continue reading

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Citing $69 Trillion Price Tag by 2100, Moody’s Warns Central Banks of Far-Reaching Economic Damage of Climate Crisis

“There is no denying it: The longer we wait to take bold action to curb emissions, the higher the costs will be for all of us.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-3-2019

Arid soils are shown in Mauritania in 2012, when crops failed because of a severe drought which led to a food crisis that impacted millions of people across West Africa. (Photo: Oxfam International/Flickr/cc)

Noting previous warnings that the human-caused climate crisis could cause trillions of dollars in damage to the global economy by the end of the century, a new report from Moody’s Analytics explores the economic implications of the international community’s failure to curb planet-warming emissions.

Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi told The Washington Post—which first reported on the new analysis—that this is “the first stab at trying to quantify what the macroeconomic consequences might be” of the global climate crisis, and it comes in response to European commercial banks and central banks. The climate emergency is “not a cliff event. It’s not a shock to the economy. It’s more like a corrosive,” Zandi added. But it is “getting weightier with each passing year.” Continue reading

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CIA Operative Gina Haspel Who Tortured, Ordered CIA Torture Tapes Destroyed, and Now Wants To Lead CIA Did Nothing Wrong, Says CIA

“Torture was illegal and immoral after 9/11, and it still is now,” warn critics. And Gina Haspel “should never be allowed to work for the American people again.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-21-2018

Gina Haspel, who was in charge of a black site in Thailand where torture occurred and ordered the destruction of CIA tapes of the human rights violations, has been nominated to become director of the spy agency. (Photo: CIA / with overlay)

In what critics are calling a bald attempt to help Trump’s controversial pick to lead the CIA get through a very difficult confirmation process, the CIA on Friday released a previously classifed memo in which Gina Haspel was “cleared” of any wrongdoing when she destroyed more than 90 videotapes of agency operatives torturing human beings.

According to the Associated Press, which first reported the story, the CIA on Friday “gave lawmakers a declassified memo Friday showing [Haspel] was cleared years ago of wrongdoing in the destruction of videotapes showing terror suspects being waterboarded after 9/11.” Continue reading

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Thai Court Conviction of Activist Sends Shockwaves Through Global Human Rights Community

British activist Andy Hall was accused of criminal defamation by a company for his work exposing the abuse of migrant workers at their pineapple processing plant

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-20-2016

"Andy Hall has spent years working to protect the rights of marginalized workers in Thailand. He should be commended for his efforts, not fined and sentenced," said Malaysian Parliament member and Asian Parliamentarians for Human Rights chairperson Charles Santiago. (Photo via UN Human Rights- Asia/Facebook)

“Andy Hall has spent years working to protect the rights of marginalized workers in Thailand. He should be commended for his efforts, not fined and sentenced,” said Malaysian Parliament member and Asian Parliamentarians for Human Rights chairperson Charles Santiago. (Photo via UN Human Rights- Asia/Facebook)

Setting a chilling precedent for human rights defenders worldwide, a British activist on Tuesday was convicted of criminal defamation and cyber crimes by a Thai court for his work exposing the abuse of migrant workers at a pineapple processing plant.

Andy Hall, with the Migrant Worker Rights Network, had contributed to the 2013 report Cheap Has a High Price (pdf) by Finnwatch, a Finnish civil society organization, that outlined allegations of serious human rights violations by Natural Fruit Company Ltd. Continue reading

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The Real Reason Nestle Is Finally Admitting to Slave Labor in Its Supply Chain

By Claire Bernish. Published 2-1-2016 by The Anti-Media

Nestle headquarters. Photo: Nestlé [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Nestle headquarters. Photo: Nestlé [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Nestle’s apparent hypocrisy has once again made headlines. After admitting in November it had discovered slave labor among its seafood suppliers in Thailand — where migrant workers from Cambodia and Myanmar were being sold as disposable commodities and forced to fish and process seafood under horrific conditions — it appeared the company was prepared to more thoroughly vet its supply chain to ensure fair labor practices were the norm.

“As we’ve said consistently, forced labor and human rights abuses have no place in our supply chain,” said Magdi Batato, vice president of operations for Nestle, in a statement, as reported by The Guardian. “Nestle believes that by working with suppliers we can make a positive difference to the sourcing of ingredients.” Continue reading

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We Can Read

Today, the Senate Intelligence Committee releases its long-awaited report on the CIA’s use of torture as an interrogation technique after  the September 11 terror attacks. As usual with any report like this, there’s some things we know already, some things that we’ll find out and some things that will remain unknown to the general public.

The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency inlaid in the floor of the main lobby of the Original Headquarters Building. Photo by user:Duffman (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency inlaid in the floor of the main lobby of the Original Headquarters Building. Photo by user:Duffman (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What we know already.

The formal probe into the CIA’s program began in 2009, in the first of the Obama administration. It’s taken years for Senate investigators to review and analyze more than 6 million cables, memos and other records. The final report is more than 6,000 pages long, and has over 35,000 footnotes. Continue reading

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Thais That Bind

Prayuth Chan-ocha. By Government of Thailand ([1]) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Prayuth Chan-ocha. By Government of Thailand ([1]) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The unrest in Thailand’s something that we’ve covered on numerous occasions, starting with MnGranny’s article about January’s general strike. We then followed that with another MnGranny piece about Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s removal from office, and finally, my piece about the military takeover right after it happened. So, what’s happened since then?

When we last looked in on what’s happening in Thailand, martial law had just been declared. Prayuth Chan-ocha, leader of Thailand’s military, had said that the military action wasn’t a coup. The day after our piece on the takeover (May 22), the military said that yes, it actually was a coup. Prayuth then declared himself acting prime minister, suspended the constitution and put a night curfew into effect. Since then, the coup has gained support from the reigning king, Bhumibol Adulyade, who’s been ill in a Bangkok hospital for several years.

 

Yingluck Shinawatra. By Gerd Seidel (Rob Irgendwer) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Yingluck Shinawatra. By Gerd Seidel (Rob Irgendwer) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was arrested and then released. During this time, her brother Thaksin announced plans to set up a government in exile. Meanwhile, the military started detaining leaders of the so-called red shirt movement. The red shirts are the Shinawatra’s power base; mostly from poor rural areas in the northern regions of the country. And while some yellow shirt leaders were detained, the red shirts were considered the real threat. The yellow shirts are mostly urban and middle class voters who were the core of the anti-government protests in Bangkok before the coup.

Most of the leaders have signed agreements to refrain from political activities, and have called for cooperation with the military. There are some exceptions to the rule; the most notable one, Sombat Boonngamanong. was arrested last week when the Thai military tracked him through his IP address.

Sombat Boonngamanong. Photo by Markpeak (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sombat Boonngamanong. Photo by Markpeak (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Last Friday (May 6), General Prayuth told Chinese businessmen that Thailand would have a prime minister and cabinet within three months. The next day, the Cambodian ambassador to Thailand, Eat Sophea, said that Cambodia would not allow politicians or activists to use the country as a base for political movements against Thailand. And, in maybe the most bizarre twist to the whole story to date, Weluree Ditsayabut, Thailand’s entry in the Miss Universe contest, renounced her title yesterday after Facebook posts of hers from a few months ago became public, in which she said about the red shirts: “I am so angry at all these evil activists. They should be executed,”

Thailand, as we’ve stated before, is no stranger to military rule; this latest coup was the 19th attempt since the monarchy fell in 1932. We’d like to think that the military will keep its word and have a new prime minister and cabinet soon, with elections to follow. However, past history doesn’t give us much cause for optimism.

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All Thaid Up

Prayuth Chan-ocha. By Government of Thailand ([1]) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Prayuth Chan-ocha. By Government of Thailand ([1]) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday (May 20), Thailand’s army declared martial law. In the announcement broadcast on state-run TV, Prayuth Chan-ocha, leader of Thailand’s military, cited a 1914 law giving authority to intervene during crises. He said that the military was there to prevent violence between the opposing sides, and that it would “bring back peace and order to the beloved country of every Thai as soon as possible.” He also left the current interim government in power, and said that the action wasn’t a military coup. How did Thailand get to this point? And, more importantly, what happens next?

In January, MNgranny wrote about the citywide protest in Bangkok. At that time, the protests were supposed to last for 15 days, or until then-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra resigned. Yingluk, while having broad support in the poorer, rural north, was thought as being a puppet of her brother Thaksin, who was overthrown in a military coup in 2006, by the middle-class and urban voters.  They further claimed that the ruling party had been buying votes with irresponsible pledges.

Over the next few months, anti-government protesters occupied government buildings and disrupted the February elections. This came to a head a couple weeks ago, when Shinawatra was removed from power and indicted on corruption charges. MNgranny wrote about the removal of Yingluk Shinawatra and the corruption scandal in a post from May 9.

Yingluck Shinawatra. By Gerd Seidel (Rob Irgendwer) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Yingluck Shinawatra. By Gerd Seidel (Rob Irgendwer) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

After Yingluk Shinawatra and an additional nine Cabinet members were removed from office, an interim government was set up. However, the ruling party was still in charge, and little was done to resolve the conflict, leading to yesterday’s martial law declaration.

The anti-Shinawatra faction wants an unelected interim government to implement reforms and remove the Shinawatra family permanently from Thai politics. The Shinawatra supporters are OK with martial law for the time being, but won’t tolerate a coup, and call the other faction’s proposal unconstitutional.

In a press conference yesterday, Prayuth Chan-ocha was less than transparent about the military’s next steps. When asked if a coup was being planned, he answered: “That’s a question that no one is going to answer.” And, when asked whether the army was in contact with the government, he replied: “Where is the government right now? Where are they now? I don’t know.”

The Thai military is no stranger into taking things into their own hands. Since the absolute monarchy fell in 1932, the military has attempted a coup 18 times, with eleven of the attempts being successful. If yesterday’s declaring of martial law becomes a full fledged coup attempt, it will make a total of 19 in the last 80+ years; more than any other country in the world.

So what happens next? The military’s widely thought to support the anti-government faction, but the anti-government faction’s saying that elections won’t fix anything at the present time. Meanwhile, the Thai stock market and it’s currency have been dropping since the announcement. Whatever happens, it’s going to be messy.

 

 

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Clashes Could Occur

Yingluck Shinawatra. By Gerd Seidel (Rob Irgendwer) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Yingluck Shinawatra. By Gerd Seidel (Rob Irgendwer) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of Thailand, was removed from power following a Constitutional Court ruling that Ms Yingluck acted illegally when she transferred her national security head to another position in 2011. The following day, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) unanimously voted to indict Ms Yingluck, the commission’s chief said. If convicted, Ms. Yingluck will be barred from politics for 5 years. The NACC is also considering whether to file criminal charges against Ms Yingluck.

Thailand’s turmoil began in November of 2013, after Yingluck had secured the support of her base in the northern regions of the country by providing free health care and other subsidies in exchange for their loyalty. However, anti-government protesters, who tend to be urban and middle-class voters, have protested against Ms Yingluck’s administration for months, occupying official buildings and disrupting elections in February. They say ousted former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, who is also Ms Yingluck’s brother, is still controlling the government, and that the ruling party has been buying votes with irresponsible spending pledges aimed at its support base.

Both sides have planned rallies this week, and there are fears that clashes could occur.

Thailand continues to evolve from the old regime of an isolated Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy toward a more open and democratic state. As the progression travels through the Thai culture, there will be many hard and difficult lessons in the coming years. Democracy is not easy.

Thailand was attempting these changes when the rice scandal revealed levels of corruption and misappropriation that the US Congress could envy. Under the rice subsidy scheme, the government bought rice from Thai farmers at a much higher price than on the global market. Ms Yingluck has previously said she was only in charge of formulating the policy, not the day-to-day running of the scheme, and has said that the commission treated her unfairly. However, it resulted in the accumulation of huge stockpiles of rice and hit Thailand’s rice exports hard.

Meet the new boss… Same as the old boss.

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