Senators Up In Arms Over State Department Plan To Deliberately Ignore Malaysian Mass Graves Just To Get TPP Deal

from the maybe-fast-track-wasn't-such-a-good-idea,-huh? dept

Earlier this week, we wrote about a troubling move by the US State Department to “upgrade” Malaysia from a “tier 3” country to a “tier 2” country regarding human trafficking. This move came despite a near total lack of evidence of any improvement by Malaysia. In fact, just two months ago 139 mass graves were discovered for migrant workers who had been trafficked and/or held for ransom. And the US ambassador to Malaysia had publicly criticized the country for failing to tackle its massive human trafficking problem.

So why would the State Department magically upgrade Malaysia? Well, because of a tiny provision in the fast track “Trade Promotion Authority” deal that Congress recently passed. It noted that fast track authority would not apply to trade deals involving countries that were categorized as “tier 3” by the State Department. In other words, this should have given the US tremendous leverage to push Malaysia to really tackle the problem. Instead, because it appears that the administration is so focused on getting the TPP officially finished and ratified, it got the State Department to just magically upgrade Malaysia, and effectively spit on the graves of those murdered migrant workers.

It appears that this may have been a move too far for some Senators, as 19 of them are demanding some answers from Secretary of State John Kerry about this decision to “upgrade” Malaysia.

In the letter, senators said that upgrading Malaysia would weaken the U.S. government’s international credibility on human rights issues.

“Fighting human trafficking is one of the great moral challenges of our time,” the senators wrote. “It is therefore with grave concern that we now hear Malaysia may be upgraded in this year?s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report based on developments that occurred after the end of the review period. A premature upgrade of Malaysia would undermine the integrity of the TIP report process and compromise our international efforts to fight human trafficking.”

You think? But, really, to this administration is the integrity of a program on things like human trafficking really that important when compared to getting the TPP agreement and its bundle of gifts to corporations moving forward again? In the grand political calculus, migrant workers in Malaysia get screwed over again. But, no worries, at least Phillip Morris can sue countries that try to warn people about the dangers of smoking. Either way, it’s just poor helpless people getting totally screwed over, while giant corporations get richer. No big deal, I guess.

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Comments on “Senators Up In Arms Over State Department Plan To Deliberately Ignore Malaysian Mass Graves Just To Get TPP Deal”

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52 Comments
David says:

The U.S.A. is the home to corporations

like a man without arms is the home to head lice.

But while we are doing insect analogies: there is the jewel wasp which stings a cockroach in the brain, injecting a venom that will make the roach lose a will of its own. It then rides the roach, guiding it by its antennae, into some convenient place and lays an egg into the roaches abdomen. When the larva hatches, it eats the passive but live roach from inside out over the course of more than a week before the carcass dies for good.

Now corporations work similar regarding the brains of nations, their government. Their venom takes the form of cash and other bribes, but the result is a defenseless victim that cannot think of doing anything except bidding its parasite’s will which it can no longer distinguish from its own.

And don’t get me started on ants and aphids.

Klaus says:

Re: The U.S.A. is the home to corporations

“…there is the jewel wasp which stings a cockroach in the brain, injecting a venom that will make the roach lose a will of its own. It then rides the roach, guiding it by its antennae, into some convenient place and lays an egg into the roaches abdomen. When the larva hatches, it eats the passive but live roach from inside out over the course of more than a week before the carcass dies for good.”

Holy shit!

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: The U.S.A. is the home to corporations

Yeah, a lot of wasps have breeding cycles that are really cruel to their hosts. Fun reading if you’re a bug enthusiast into horror.

The cruelty of human beings upon each other is generally small potatoes compared to the kind of horror that happens in nature, even when we try hard.

But what happens in nature is why we have instincts to try and rise above all that and be nicer to each other.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: The U.S.A. is the home to corporations

I really liked to think that our better defined, extra brain structures would help us leave most of our base instincts (especially those who lead to our hurting of other people) behind.

Looks like I was wrong: sex, wealth and power still continue to be the driving forces of our species, even after > 10.000 years of civilization.

I wonder if, given high enough stakes, our “handlers” would simply let civilization lapse back into a feudal system.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Reasons to hate wasps

Except…

Wasps play a critical roll in keeping vegetation-eaters such as aphids, grasshoppers and locusts in check, who will easily eat all our food crops, and have caused famines and blights before.

I hear many of these, caterpillars or nymphs, can be good eating themselves, though we have far fewer ways to cultivate and prepare them in contrast to the crops they plague.

Nature plays a dirty game.

tqk (profile) says:

Strange, strange world.

It appears that this may have been a move too far for some Senators, as 19 of them are demanding some answers from Secretary of State John Kerry about this decision to “upgrade” Malaysia.

So, are there really 19 senators who’re not in league with the devil, or is this just more partisan bickering? Then again, the administration’s supporters in this are largely GOP and Obama’s own party is the opposition, so … gaak!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Strange, strange world.

I’m really really sure that those 19 against weren’t made a good enough offer.

At the end of the day, as long as those mass graves aren’t of rich, white Christians the US won’t give a $H!T.

Remember just how fast the Ebola treatment progressed as soon as an American got infected.

Anonymous Coward says:

You want answers? You can't handle the truth!

Dear Senators,

You have the luxury of not knowing what I know, that while human trafficking is tragic, passage of the TPP will probably save money. And this agreement, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves money. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you WANT me making this deal. You NEED me to make this deal. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to some senators who are elected and re-elected under the blanket of money that I provide and then question the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I’d suggest you not give fast track authority. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

Sincerely,

John Kerry

That One Guy (profile) says:

Much like an avalanche that buries a town 'undermines' the ability to live there

A premature upgrade of Malaysia would undermine the integrity of the TIP report process and compromise our international efforts to fight human trafficking.”

That’s putting it mildly in the extreme. A decision like this doesn’t ‘undermine’, it absolutely destroys any ‘integrity’ of the TIP report, by making it clear that all a country has to do to get a ‘better’ ranking is have something the USG wants badly enough. Offer the right incentives, and those pesky human rights violations will just be overlooked and brushed under the rug.

The move by the State Department didn’t ‘undermine the integrity of the TIP report process’, it completely eliminated the integrity of the entire report, making it utterly worthless at best.

Did a country ‘place’ poorly because they have a terrible track record of human rights violations, or because they stood up to the USG? Did a country ‘place’ better because they improved in human rights matters, or because they’ve got something the USG wants, or followed along with the demands of the USG?

The incredibly disgusting action of the State Department has completely and utterly destroyed any validity the report has now, or could have in the future, by making it clear that they are willing to change the findings in it for purely political reasons.

Ambrellite (profile) says:

All about oil again

And why is it so important that Malaysia is part of the deal? Because it would solidify US influence over the strait of Malacca, which is a major route for oil supplies to reach China, North Korea, and Japan.

It’s obstruction wouldn’t threaten the U.S., but controlling it would provide us with a significant advantage if a conflict with China broke out. It’s the same idea behind putting missile systems closer and closer to Russia, just in case.

Just as in the Middle East, we see the U.S. vying for control of oil routes to get leverage, and allying with totalitarian regimes to do it.

Anonymous Coward says:

You have it all wrong

The Dems are for the little guy. There is no way they would allow corporate interests to override the needs of the people. Or is that just one of the many lies the Dems tell? I guess actions speak louder than words and we can see from Obama’s and the Dems actions they care nothing for people.

Rekrul says:

It appears that this may have been a move too far for some Senators, as 19 of them are demanding some answers from Secretary of State John Kerry about this decision to “upgrade” Malaysia.

I love the use of the word “demanding”. I imagine their letter was something like;

“Dear John Kerry,

We think you might possibly have gone a smidge too far in reclassifying Malaysia and if you could see it in your hear to maybe, when you get a chance, let us in on the reasoning for this, we’d be ever so grateful. Pretty please?

Sincerely,

A bunch of mostly powerless senators”

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

There are rumors...

Partially from the original Reuters artical, that Vietnam and Brunei are wanting a bit of this magic clemency as well.

Vietnam would very much like it’s fondness for disappearing dissidents to itself disappear.

And Brunei likes its Shariah law, and likes its adulterers and sodomists stoned to death, and would very much rather people who don’t like that check their privilege.

And what’s good for Malaysia is good for these guys, right?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: There are rumors...

If the State Department is willing to ‘overlook’ slavery and mass graves, then I don’t imagine they would hesitate much in doing the same for other countries looking for a little ‘help’ improving their standing with the USG, and having done it once, any other country involved in TPP who wants the same treatment has now got a pretty hefty bit of leverage to use to get the same treatment.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: This may present a hope for optimists...

…that the cost of doing business to get TPP passed will at some point exceed a threshold where it just feels unscrupulous to those in Washington pushing for it.

To offer a Godwinian standard, Maybe the annihilation of six million Jews is our threshold of what is too disgusting to stomach for the TPP.

For starters we have 1.9 million little girls captive in the Malaysian sex trade, and that’s what we’re getting ready to forgive. It’s up to the other nations to hold their participation in the TPP to to the point our representatives can no longer sleep at night.

The lifespan of a sex slave, incidentally averages about seven years in captivity. So I’m not sure if the sex-slave-to-jew-execution ratio would be 1::1

The girls imported from China are advertised as China Dolls. Cute, huh?

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: This may present a hope for optimists...

This may present a hope for optimists…
…that the cost of doing business to get TPP passed will at some point exceed a threshold where it just feels unscrupulous to those in Washington pushing for it.

And you’re thinking they will stop pushing for it then? Or will they think “man, this feels unscrupulous, but that’s OK, our laws are set up so I can’t really be punished for it”?

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 It's been [25,544 days] since our last nuclear war.

(69 years, 11 months, and 8 days. It’ll be 70 years on August 9th, which should make an awesome meme.)

Not for want of nukes falling into the hands of fanatics and madmen — exactly the types of crazy terrorist types we’d fear would nuke US cities in a blink if they had the chance.

And my only explanations for it are either.

A. Seventy years of pure luck, or:

B. There’s crystalline sliver of human decency in every one of us, and the gravity of killing 3,000,000 people (plus or minus an order of magnitude or two) is just more than one person can bear, even a crazy terrorist madman.

As illustrated in The Unforgiven, “It’s a helluva thing killing a man“. I can’t imagine someone smacking down a country full of innocent people and living with themselves.

So I think that our representatives have a threshold where what they do is disgusting beyond their ability to endure. Maybe they already feel it and suppress it with booze, I don’t know. But yeah, I hope somewhere it reaches them the uncountable China Dolls that they’re actively refusing to acknowledge for love of their corporate masters.

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