Khmer Rouge

Photo of the Day

A child soldier with a human skull resting on the tip of his rifle.Dei Kraham, Cambodia. 1973. Bettmann/Getty Images

Pol Pot

The Brutal Cambodian Dictator

After a solid 30 years of solemnly pledging “never again,” the world stood by and watched in horror as another 20th-century genocide unfolded — this time in Cambodia. As head of the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot oversaw an unprecedented and extremely brutal attempt to remove Cambodia from the modern world and establish an agrarian utopia. While attempting to create this utopia, Pol Pot created the Cambodian Genocide, which lasted from 1975 to 1979.

Pol Pot conducted a rule of terror that led to the deaths of nearly a quarter of Cambodia’s seven million people, by the most widely accepted estimates, through execution, torture, starvation and disease.

His smiling face and quiet manner belied his brutality. He and his inner circle of revolutionaries adopted a Communism based on Maoism and Stalinism, then carried it to extremes: They and their Khmer Rouge movement tore apart Cambodia in an attempt to ”purify” the country’s agrarian society and turn people into revolutionary worker-peasants.

Beginning on the day in 1975 when his guerrilla army marched silently into the capital, Phnom Penh, Pol Pot emptied the cities, pulled families apart, abolished religion and closed schools. Everyone was ordered to work, even children. The Khmer Rouge outlawed money and closed all markets. Doctors were killed, as were most people with skills and education that threatened the regime.

The Khmer Rouge especially persecuted members of minority ethnic groups — the Chinese, Muslim Chams, Vietnamese and Thais who had lived for generations in the country, and any other foreigners — in an attempt to make one ”pure” Cambodia. Non-Cambodians were forbidden to speak their native languages or to exhibit any ”foreign” traits. The pogrom against the Cham minority was the most devastating, killing more than half of that community.

Read more »

Trotter says Capitalism kills but it has nothing on Communism/Socialism

Skulls of the victims of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot

Skulls of the victims of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot

Chris Trotter has gone nuts again…but his friends at The Standard think he is on fire…this is why:

Capitalism kills. It has done so from its earliest beginnings, and it does so still. The only distinction between the history of capitalism and the history of the Mexican drug cartels, is that the cartels have never pretended to be advancing the progress of humankind.

He even tried to lay the blame of deaths in Russia at capitalists feet.

Notwithstanding its logical absurdity, it is the condemnation one hears most often from the Right: that the Left, in the shape of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, or the Communist Party of China, is responsible for upwards of 100 million deaths.

They forget, of course, that the vast majority of those killed were individuals who refused to accept the right of either of these parties to impose their will on the people in whose name they had accomplished the overthrow of the old oppressors. Whether it be the rebellious Russian sailors at Kronstadt in 1921, or workers and peasants across the whole of China from 1949 to the present day, whoever, in the name of justice and equity, takes a stand against an oppressive system of domination, coercion and exploitation is, by definition, a leftist.

Read more »

Phil Quin on the left’s irrational rationale for not fighting ISIS

Phil Quin has a thoughtful and robust piece on ISIS, Islam and the left’s irrational rationale for not fighting these scumbags.

Firstly are they Islamic?

For goodness sake, ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh may or may not conform to an acceptable interpretation of Islamic texts, but it’s clear they think they do — and who am I to argue? Or you, for that matter?

The question about ISIS and its religious roots is not really as serious or important as it first appears. Squabbling over which religious texts to take literally, which to relegate to metaphor, and which to ignore outright, is a feature of all intra-faith discourse. Of course ISIS is deeply marinated in their own version of Islam in ways no more or less ridiculous or arbitrary than any other iteration of religious belief. Muslims who disagree with them say that ISIS are not true Islam in the same way Martin Luther rejected Catholicism’s claims for itself. It’s like people arguing over who should rule Westeros, only a lot less interesting.

The near universal loathing of the military funeral picketing Westboro Baptist Church doesn’t stop its adherents from being both Christian and motivated by their understanding of what being a Christian means. Or — here’s a better example — how about the entire Catholic Bloody Church? I haven’t read the bible, but I’m pretty sure it provides provides greater scriptural justification for Westboro’s “God Hates Fags” (Leviticus, apparently) than, say, transubstantiation or papal infallibility (nowhere).

ISIS are Islamic…it is in their name for god’s sake…Islamic State.

The more interesting development is how large swaths of the political far-left have become eager and subservient poodles to radical Islamism. At first glance, it is a baffling development — but quite straightforward on reflection. A cursory review of modern history will confirm that the dogmatic left will happily support genocidal maniacs as long as their shared enemy is the United States (oh, and Israel). (And it’s not hard for them to ignore or downplay the religious component of Islamic jihad since Leftists, almost always non believers themselves, just won’t take terrorists at their word;they refuse to accept that terrorists actually believe this shit).

Aside from an inability to take religious belief at face value, Leftists far prefer to shoehorn radical Islam into their conception of human events as a binary conflict between “the oppressed” (good guys) and “the oppressor” (bad guys).

(There is another reason — that elements of the Left are bored with Western civilisation and find the destructive nihilism of ISIS exhilarating — but I cannot summon the energy to mount that case).

Read more »

Here’s an idea for Keith Locke…YOU go and tell ISIS in person that dialogue is the answer

Keith Locke reckons we should establish dialogue with a bunch of ranting, stone age killers.

I’m not kidding.

This is the same guy who thought Pol Pot was just misunderstood…and who jumped for joy when planes flew into the World Trade Centre during 9/11.

In April 1975 Locke wrote a lead article for ‘Socialist Action’ under the banner heading: “Cambodia Liberated: Victory For Humanity” The “liberators” were of course the Khmer Rouge led by the infamous Pol Pot.

and;

When I first saw the planes fly into the towers I jumped for joy, I was so happy that at long last capitalism was under attack. Until, it suddenly dawned on me, what about all those poor pizza delivery boys, those poor firemen, those poor policemen, those poor lift-operators, all those poor cleaners, all those other poor workers who are forced to work for and were trying to save those greedy and horrible capitalists!? My heart and head was so confused – happy that some capitalists had been killed and very, very sad for all those who had died while working for them.

So excuse me if I don’t just scream at the NZ Herald for giving this guy a platform. On the plus side it is a shrinking platform.  Read more »

The Hypocrisy of NZ over Fiji, Ctd

On the one hand we have the Prime Minister blithely suggesting that we should continue to freeze out Fiji and on the other hand our Trade Minister talking up a storm about free trade agreements with less than democratic nations, showing once again our strange foreign policy hypocrisy to the world:

Trade Minister Tim Groser yesterday announced that New Zealand was joining an initiative to create a huge free trade region.

If the agreement succeeds it would cover an area with more than three billion people, 43 per cent of the world’s population.

Mr Groser has been in Cambodia this week for trade meetings hosted by Asean, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The countries which have agreed to the initiative are the 10 Asean countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines – and six countries with which Asean has existing free trade agreements: China, India, Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Let’s look at those countries shall we…since we insist on forcing Fiji to have a system of government like ours, and highlighting civil rights and free press and independent judiciary:

Indonesia: hardly the stand up country when it comes to human and civil rights. They occupied East Timor for more than 25 years, including massive civil rights abuses of the East Timorese population. They continue to fight seperatists in Aceh and have only had one direct presidential election since Suharto’s resignation, which was held in 2004.

Malaysia: Ostensibly a democracy but with ongoing persecution of opposition politicians in partiucular the persecution on trumped up charges of sodomy against Anwar Ibrahim, and a less than free media.Islamic fundamentalism is growing in Malaysia.

Singapore: Is barely a democracy:

The People’s Action Party has won every election since self-government in 1959, and governs on the basis of a strong state and prioritising collective welfare over individual rights such as freedom of speech, an approach that has attracted criticism from organisations such as Freedom House.

That is an amazing string of electoral good luck. Tight government controls exist particularly with regards to freedom of speech and freedom of association:

 In 2011, in the World Justice Project‘s Rule of Law Index Singapore was ranked in the top countries surveyed in “Order and Security”, “Absence of Corruption”, and “Effective Criminal Justice”. However, it scored very low for both “Freedom of Speech” and “Freedom of Assembly”. All public gatherings of five or more people require police permits, and protests may only be legally held at Speakers’ Corner.

Brunei: The personal fiefdom of teh Sultan of Brunei, with few if any democratic processes in place. The country has been under martial law since 1962. Despite a lack of democracy the government regularly fetes the Sultan of Brunei and allows him to maintain an extensive property portfolio in Auckland, and travel with freedom in his own jet which is often parked up at Auckland. Media are tightly controled:

The country has been given “Not Free” status by Freedom House; press criticism of the government and monarchy is rare.[

Myanmar (Burma): A military dictatorship, where the NZ Government is more than happy for SOEs like Kordia to make millions from a government that is rife with human rights abuses and of course actively and violently suppresses the opposition.

The United Nations and several other organizations have reported consistent and systematic human rights violations in the country, including genocide,child labour, human trafficking and a lack of freedom of speech. In recent years the country and its military leadership have made huge concessions to democratic activists and are slowly improving relations with the major powers and the UN.

Thailand: Any government in Thailand serves at the pleasure of the King. They have had more coups since the formation of the country than any other in the region. Yet New Zealand already has a Free Trade Agreement with them. Since the country was founded in modern times in 1932, ironically by a coup, they have had coups and/or insurrections in 1932, 1933, 1938, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1957,  and 1973.

The history of Thailand from 1932 to 1973 was dominated by military dictatorships which were in power for much of the period.

The most recent coup was in 2006 when Thaksin Shinwatra was overthrown, and a in 2010 there was a “judicial coup”:

Immediately following what many media described as a “judicial coup”, a senior member of the Armed Forces met with factions of the governing coalition to get their members to join the opposition and the Democrat Party was able to form a government, a first for the party since 2001. The leader of the Democrat party, and former leader of the opposition, Abhisit Vejjajiva was appointed and sworn-in as the 27th Prime Minister, together with the new cabinet on 17 December 2008.

In of April 2010, a set of new protests by the Red Shirt opposition movement resulted in 87 deaths (mostly civilian and some military) and 1,378 injured. When the army tried to disperse the protesters on 10 April 2010, the army was met with automatic gunfire, grenades, and fire bombs from the opposition faction in the army, known as the “watermelon”. This resulted in the army returning fire with rubber bullets and some live ammunition. During the time of the “red shirt” protests against the government, there have been numerous grenade and bomb attacks against government offices and the homes of government officials. Grenades were fired at protesters, that were protesting against the “red shirts” and for the government, by unknown gunmen killing one pro-government protester, the government stated that the Red Shirts were firing the weapons at civilians.

There is far more of a coup culture in Thailand but we are yet to see travel bans for members of the government, travel warnings or sanctions, instead New Zealand gave them a FTA.

Cambodia: is recovering from the legacy of the Khmer Rouge regime and subsequent Vietnamese occupation.

Hun Sen and his government have seen much controversy. Hun Sen was a former Khmer Rouge commander who was originally installed by the Vietnamese and, after the Vietnamese left the country, maintains his strong man position by violence and oppression when deemed necessary. In 1997, fearing the growing power of his co-Prime Minister, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Hun launched a coup, using the army to purge Ranariddh and his supporters. Ranariddh was ousted and fled to Paris while other opponents of Hun Sen were arrested, tortured and some summarily executed.

In addition to political oppression, the Cambodian government has been accused of corruption in the sale of vast areas of land to foreign investors resulting in the eviction of thousands of villagers as well as taking bribes in exchange for grants to exploit Cambodia’s oil wealth and mineral resources. Cambodia is consistently listed as one of the most corrupt governments in the world.

Laos: A single party communist dictatorship. Their human rights record is appalling. no democracy here, no press freedoms, no indepedent judiciary…but welcome into a Free Trade Agreement while we shun Fiji.

Vietnam: A Single party communist dictatorship controlled by the military. Media freedoms are non existant:

Vietnam’s media sector is regulated by the government in accordance with the 2004 Law on Publication. It is generally perceived that Vietnam’s media sector is controlled by the government to follow the official communist party line, though some newspapers are relatively outspoken. The Voice of Vietnam is the official state-run national radio broadcasting service, broadcasting internationally via shortwave using rented transmitters in other countries, and providing broadcasts from its website. Vietnam Television is the national television broadcasting company.

Since 1997, Vietnam has extensively regulated public Internet access, using both legal and technical means. The resulting lockdown is widely referred to as the “Bamboo Firewall.” The collaborative project OpenNet Initiative classifies Vietnam’s level of online political censorship to be “pervasive”, while Reporters without Borders considers Vietnam to be one of 15 global “internet enemies”.

Philippines: The only real democracy in the countries listed above. Still not without a history of military control at some points and some coup culture.

When you see it all listed there you really wonder why we continue to freeze out Fiji when it appears we are quite prepared to deal with Military Dictatorships, Communist states and corrupt demagogues. It must be interesting to try and justify all that inside MFaT while at the same time running the silly policies we have against Fiji.

 

Manifestly Inadequate

Those are the words of a tribunal about the sentencing of a Cambodian death merchant directly responsible for the slaughter of thousands in a Khmer Rouge death camp, including the death of Kiwi sailor Kerry Hamill.

The man who ran that ”factory of death” and responsible for at least 12,000 deaths, Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Comrade Duch, is the only person who has been sentenced in the United Nations-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

He was found guilty in 2010 and sentenced to 35 years in prison, which was reduced to 30 years to reflect the time he had already spent in detention. Duch appealed that sentence.

After a year of deliberation the Supreme Court Chamber announced yesterday that the sentence was ”manifestly inadequate”, and sentenced him to life.

But there has been little justice for the millions of people who lost their lives, or for their families who live on, not knowing what happened to their loved ones, and having to accept that they will probably never find out.

More than a quarter of Cambodia’s population was killed by The Khmer Rouge lead by Pol Pot. It is a country of young people, still struggling to get back on its feet. the enormity of the problem cannot be underestimated:

…challenges result from a lack of experienced Cambodian lawyers and judges, because the Khmer Rouge targetted for death the most intelligent.

”There’s nothing wrong with their abilities,” Mrs Cartwright says.

”But what we’re talking about is a generation almost below me in terms of age and experience, so they just don’t have that wealth of experience that other countries can draw from.”

At least 1.7 million – perhaps as many as three million – were killed under the rule of Pol Pot, which took control April 17, 1975.

Within days it had cleared out the cities, shut down institutions, police stations, and separated families, sending women and children to one place, and men to another.

Its aim was to create a communist country based on agriculture and in doing so it had to wipe out intellectuals, or anyone who resisted its ideals – about one person in four.

Anyone who had soft hands, spoke a foreign language or wore glasses was killed. Music would blare out of loud speakers at the killing fields, masking the screams of those being tortured, or beaten and hacked to death.

There were 300 killing fields in Cambodia. To this day, bone fragments, teeth and torn pieces of clothing emerge from the surface, constant reminders of what occurred.