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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hun Sen Weighs In on Labor Disputes

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday made a public appeal for the courts to drop charges against workers participating in a general strike earlier this month, in a move that proved popular with labor leaders.

His appeal came after the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia ruled out a request from the Ministry of Labor that factories walk away from cases they filed against the leaders of the strikes, where thousands of workers demanded better incomes to offset the rising cost of living.

“I would like to request the court to drop charges against workers and the trade union leaders and to request all factories to take the workers back to work,” Hun Sen said, speaking at the graduation ceremony for the National Education Institute. “This is a win-win resolution.”

GMAC officials declined to comment on the statement Wednesday, but they have said in the past the factories have the right to file against the strikes, which they called illegal.

Hun Sen said Wednesday that if the court complaints went forward, the strikes would continue. He urged factories to find ways to better compensate their workers—who belong to Cambodia's top-earning industry—and he urged employees to “work hard for the gain of the companies.”

“This is a fair gesture by Prime Minister Hun Sen to take care of the workers,” said Ath Thun, president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation and a leader of the strikes.

He said around 150 workers from 17 factories had not been allowed back to work, following four days of strikes that cost factories as much as $15 million.

A Kandal provincial court official said he would hold a “legal examination” of the cases in light of Hun Sen's remarks.

Meanwhile, both managers and labor leaders have been working on improving negotiations. Both have agreed to send five members each into a commission, and they have signed off on a nine-point agreement to improve negotiations.
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The Cancer is in Kabul's occupation and not anywhere else

The White House fulminations against Pakistan seem to display an increasing level of impotence and frustration stemming out of assured defeat in Afghanistan.

The White House’s defeatism is palpable from the threats and rhetoric emanating from the emissaries that make their rounds around the world.

A bankrupt policy, a misguided adventure, and misdirected anger at allies display a level of panic sen in the days before the end game in Vietnam.

It is pedagogical to read the threats from the White House against the non-combatant state of Cambodia

“President Richard M. Nixon, April 30, 1970

Good evening my fellow Americans:

Ten days ago, in my report to the Nation on Vietnam, I announced a decision to withdraw an additional 150,000 Americans from Vietnam over the next year. I said then that I was making that decision despite our concern over increased enemy activity in Laos, in Cambodia, and in South Vietnam.

At that time, I warned that if I concluded that increased enemy activity in any of these areas endangered the lives of Americans remaining in Vietnam, I would not hesitate to take strong and effective measures to deal with that situation.

Despite that warning, North Vietnam has increased its military aggression in all these areas, and particularly in Cambodia.

…For the past 5 years – as indicated on this map that you see here – North Vietnam has occupied military sanctuaries all along the Cambodian frontier with South Vietnam. Some of these extend up to 20 miles into Cambodia. The sanctuaries are in red and, as you note, they are on both sides of the border. They are used for hit and run attacks on American and South Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam.

These Communist occupied territories contain major base camps, training sites, logistics facilities, weapons and ammunition factories, airstrips, and prisoner-of-war compounds…

…Tonight, American and South Vietnamese units will attack the headquarters for the entire Communist military operation in South Vietnam. This key control center has been occupied by the North Vietnamese and Vietcong for 5 years in blatant violation of Cambodia’s neutrality.

This is not an invasion of Cambodia. The areas in which these attacks will be launched are completely occupied and controlled by North Vietnamese forces. Our purpose is not to occupy the areas. Once enemy forces are driven out of these sanctuaries and once their military supplies are destroyed, we will withdraw.”

The fulminations coming out the current White are very similar to the Nixon esclation which carried out massive bombing raids to destroy the alleged “Ho Chi Minh Trail”. Nixon lied when he said that he would target the so called “sancturies” a few kilometers inside the border. The US massively bombed almost all of Cambodia. A map of Cambodia which displays the bombing raids shows a map specled with pin pricks all over Cambodia. The rapid rise of the Khemer Rouge is analogous to the rise of violence in Pakistan.

Three major revelations can be discerned from Bob Woodward’s transcription of White House:

1) The US has resigned itself to failure in Afghanistan. Jackson Diehl in the Washington Post describes the impotence as follows: “As Woodward recounts it, by last spring — just six months after President Obama announced the dispatch of 30,000 additional U.S. troops, along with a modified counterinsurgency strategy — virtually every civilian official at the National Security Council and in the vice president’s office had concluded that the plan was doomed.”

Take retired Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, the chief advisor for Afghanistan and Pakistan on the NSC. Woodward quotes him as saying in a meeting that Obama’s plan to gradually transfer security from U.S. and NATO forces to the Afghan army is a “house of cards,” destined to collapse. Lute, like several others on the NSC, argues that there has been no “proof of concept;” military commanders in Afghanistan, they argue, have yet to transfer even one Afghan district or town to local forces — and may never be able to do so.”

2) There is almost total consensus in the US Administration that the Afghan Government is totally inept, corrupt and incapable. Karl Eikenberry describes Mr. Karzai as “an unreliable partner Karzai was.”
“He’s on his meds, he’s off his meds,”

3) The third issue is inane indictment of Pakistan. Hence the rhetoric of bombing 150 sites in Pakistan and blaming Pakistan for the “cancer” in Afghanistan. The front pages of the Washington Post are full of diatribes against Pakistan. Those who have any doubts about Bharat’s intentions and feelings towards Pakistan can find the worst of the allegations replicated with embellished venom in most of the Bharati papers. Sify news, and th Indian Express are the most vitriolic. The Deccan Herlad, Times of India and The Hindustan Times lead the middle pack. The Hindu despite its name is the most liberal and in many ways talks sanity. One thing is certain–all of them are Pakistanphobic and cannot dare to publish positive stories about Pakistan. Its not that the Pakistani establishment is obsessed with India, as the residents of the White House think–the Pakistani establishment wants to defend itself from the constant Bharati onslaught waged on international forums, Pakistani borders and the media.

The US is obsessed by “sanctuaries”. How could there be sanctuaries if 9% of Afghanistan is in the hands of the Afghan National Resistance (Haqqanis, Hikmatyars and Taliban etc).

Jackson Diehl quotes NATO’s chief civilian representative in Kabul, Mark Sedwill “points out that the campaign plan drawn up by former U.S. commander Stanley McChrystal didn’t anticipate that they would be wiped out. Contrary to Jones, McChrystal and other NATO commanders on the ground concluded that their goals in Afghanistan can be reached even if Taliban leaders still find refuge in Pakistan.”

Bob Woodward’s revelation are orchestrated and planned. Bruce Riedel and Rahm Emanuel know exactly what they would get if they allowed Woodward into selected meetings what they could expect. They fed Woodward with the disinformation and propaganda that they wanted published. The purpose of this exercise is to forward their own agenda–which is not a hidden secret. Riedel made the right noises at the beginning of Obama Administration–however he quickly turned. He believes in India and wants a strong US-Indian alliance. Riedel wants Kashmir resolved with the LOC as the permanent border and he wants to “convince” the Pakistanis into supporting US misadventures in Afghanistan and in Central Asia. The “CIA Murder Army” is part of that “convincing”.

President Obama has misdiagnosed the problems in Afghanistan. It is not Cancer, it is treatable. The problems can be fixed if he can identify the malady in the right place–the problem resides in Washington and Kabul–not anywhere else
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