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Cablegate: 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report for Cambodia

VZCZCXRO4588
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0351/01 0640115
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 050115Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8113
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC 0655
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC 0020

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 PHNOM PENH 000351

SIPDIS

STATE FOR G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, PRM, IWI, EAP/RSP, EAP/MLS
STATE PLEASE PASS TO USAID/ANE

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREF ELAB SMIG KCRM KWMN KFRD ASEC CB
SUBJECT: 2007 TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT FOR CAMBODIA

REFTEL: STATE 202745

Other Government-Supported Prevention Programs
--------------------------------------------- -

2D. Does the government support other programs to prevent
trafficking? (e.g., to promote women's participation in economic
decision-making or efforts to keep children in school.) Please
explain.

The government, working closely with NGOs and international
organizations, continues to be engaged in a broad effort to
devote more resources to women's and children's issues. Areas being
addressed include domestic violence, gender and human rights,
improved and more accessible education for girls, preventative
health care, improved nutrition, more effective treatment for
communicable disease, and improved access to family planning
services and information. The Ministry of Women's Affairs, in
cooperation with NGOs and donors, has developed its own strategic
plan of action to address trafficking and women's empowerment issues
in Cambodia.

In September 2005, the National Assembly passed a new domestic
violence law. The law criminalizes domestic violence, seeks
recourse to protect victims, and authorizes authorities and
neighbors to intervene. The Ministry of Women's Affairs is
currently conducting an information campaign, in conjunction with
the German International Aid Agency (GTZ) and the Rockefeller
Foundation. The campaign consists of passing out pamphlets about
the rights enshrined in the law as well as conducting townhall-style
public forums throughout Cambodia where ministry representatives
explain the law and answer questions.

Government/IO/NGO/Civil Society Relations
-----------------------------------------

2E. What is the relationship between the government and officials,
NGOs, other relevant organizations and other elements of civil
society on the trafficking issue?

There is good cooperation among the Cambodian government,
international organizations and NGOs, the donors, and foreign and
domestic NGOs on the trafficking issue. The U.K., Australia and
Canada provide funds and program anti-trafficking activities.
Through training seminars, workshops and other programs, including
awareness campaigns and treatment and rehabilitation of victims,
there is enhanced cooperation between all parties on the
trafficking. Many NGOs refer the clients they have rehabilitated to
MOSAVY to help trace family members and for reintegration follow-up.
NGOs refer cases of disappearance, suspected trafficking or abuse
to the Ministry of Interior's hotline or to a hotline managed by the
Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation. NGOs
and donors are often consulted in the drafting of new laws or
regulations.

In late 2006, a World Vision conference with U.S. government-funding
brought NGOS, the Ministry of Interior officials and foreign police
officers together to discuss best practices in apprehending human
traffickers and pedophiles.

At the February 2007 Government Donor Coordination Committee
meeting, donor nations pressed the Cambodian government to pass the
draft anti-TIP law and to ensure more stringent penalties.

During fiscal year 2006, the U.S. government provided funding to the
Asia Foundation for a Counter-Trafficking-In-Persons (CTIP) program.
The project will attempt to improve coordination of NGO and
government efforts to eradicate trafficking through better
protection, prosecution and prevention.

Government Border Monitoring
-----------------------------

2F. Does the government monitor immigration and emigration patterns
for evidence of trafficking? Do law enforcement agencies screen for
potential trafficking victims along borders?

The Cambodian government's ability to monitor land borders with
Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, as well as its coastline, continues to
be marginal. Because of its limited resources, the government does
not have the ability to screen for potential trafficking along the
borders.

The U.S. and Australian governments have helped the Cambodian
government set up computerized immigration systems in its national

PHNOM PENH 00000351 002 OF 007


airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Riep as well as the overland border
crossings of Poipet and Koh Kong. The British government funded a
border security project which provided training to Cambodian
immigration authorities; IOM implemented the project that will end
in spring 2007.

Government Coordination on TIP Issues
-------------------------------------

2G. Is there a mechanism for coordination and communication between
various agencies, internal, international, and multilateral on
trafficking-related matters, such as a multi-agency working group or
a task force? Does the government have a trafficking in persons
working group or single point of contact? Does the government have
a public corruption task force?

Several multi-agency working groups and task forces have been
established for the purpose of coordinating, in concert with
international organizations and civil society groups, various
initiatives to address the issue of human trafficking. On July 5,
2004, the Cambodian government established a National Task Force to
implement the MOU between the governments of Cambodia and Thailand
on bilateral cooperation on the elimination of trafficking in women
and children and assisting victims of trafficking . On July 14,
2005, the Cambodian COMMIT Task Force on the counter-trafficking in
person in the Greater Mekong Sub-region was established. On June
16, 2006, the inter-ministerial working group to implement the
agreement between the governments of Cambodia and Vietnam on
bilateral cooperation on the elimination of trafficking in women and
children and assisting victims of trafficking was established. In
November 2006, the Cambodian government, headed by the Ministry of
Women's Affairs, agreed to establish a single National Task Force to
implement all agreements and MOUs between the Royal Government of
Cambodia and other countries on the elimination of trafficking in
persons and assisting victims of trafficking.

As part of the UN's Interagency Project on Trafficking in Women and
Children in the Mekong Sub-Region (Cambodia, China, Laos, Burma,
Thailand, and Vietnam), the Ministry of Women's Affairs chairs the
project's Coordination Committee in Cambodia.

The government currently does not have an active public corruption
task force.

National Plan of Action for TIP
-------------------------------

2H. Does the government have a national plan of action to address
trafficking in persons? If so, which agencies were involved in
developing it? Were NGOs consulted in the
process? What steps has the government taken to disseminate this
action plan?

With the assistance of UNICEF, the Cambodian government, led by the
Cambodian National Council for Children (CNCC), is currently in the
process of creating a second five-year National Plan of Action. The
new plan, meant to cover the period 2006-2010, follows the National
Plan developed in 1999. The new plan will harmonize Cambodia's
ongoing anti-TIP activities with the responsibilities Cambodia
assumed under the COMMIT MOU of October 2004. The new plan was
developed and finalized in 2005, with input from NGOs and
stakeholders, but is still at the Council of Ministers for final
review.

Background: The Cambodian government in 1999 established an
inter-ministerial body known as the Cambodian National Council for
Children (CNCC) to address child labor and other related issues; in
July 1999, the CNCC worked with international and national
organizations to develop the first national five-year Plan against
Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children (2000-2004), which
delineated the responsibilities of nineteen ministries and
provincial governments.

The Ministry of Interior in July 2005 also developed an action plan
to combat human trafficking and exploitation of women and children.
The MOI's anti-TIP Department started implementing the action plan
by disseminating the content to local authorities throughout the
country. The Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of the Interior called
in to Phnom Penh all governors, provincial police chiefs and other
TIP police to brief them on the plan. During August 2006, Cambodian
police raided nine brothels in Phnom Penh's Tuol Kork area as part
of the implementation of this action plan.

In October 2005, the Cambodian government, represented by the
Minister of Women's Affairs, Ing Kantha Phavi, signed a Memorandum

PHNOM PENH 00000351 003 OF 007


of Understanding with Vietnam to eliminate trafficking in women and
children and assist victims of trafficking.

In October 2004, the Cambodian Minister of Social Affairs,
Ith Sam Heng, signed a memorandum on combating TIP regionally under
the Coordinated Mekong Inter-Ministerial Initiative on Trafficking
process (COMMIT). This memorandum placed Cambodia on a track to
developing a National Action Plan and taking a regional approach to
combating TIP. The National Action Plan identified priority areas
outlined in the sub-regional plan of action which was adopted in
Hanoi in 2005; Cambodia has drafted this National Action Plan but it
has not yet been finalized. In May 2006, the six governments met in
Phnom Penh to review their implementation of the Sub-regional Plan
of Action, which was adopted on Hanoi in 2005.

Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers
--------------------------------------------

3A. Does the country have a law specifically prohibiting
trafficking in persons - both for sexual and non-sexual purposes
(e.g. forced labor)? If so, please specifically cite the name of
the law and its date of enactment. Does the law(s) cover both
internal and external (transnational) forms of trafficking? If not,
under what other laws can traffickers be prosecuted? For example,
are there laws against slavery or the exploitation of prostitution
by means of force, fraud or coercion? Are these other laws being
used in trafficking cases? Are these laws, taken together, adequate
to cover the full scope of trafficking in persons? Please provide a
full inventory of trafficking laws, including civil penalties,
(e.g., civil forfeiture laws and laws against illegal debt).

The legislation most relevant to TIP is the Law on the Suppression
of the Kidnapping, Trafficking and Exploitation of Humans, which
covers both domestic and external (transnational) trafficking
happening in Cambodia.. Other relevant laws pertain to the
protection of women and children, and the Labor Law, which prohibits
debt labor, slavery, and the labor of minors (under 15 years) - the
latter situation is illegal but has no penalty under the law. The
Labor Law also prohibits the hiring of someone to pay off debt. The
Law on the Suppression of Kidnapping, Trafficking and Exploitation
of Human Beings was enacted February 29, 1996. The Labor Law was
enacted March 13, 1997.

According to NGO and government reports, although the Law
on the Suppression of the Kidnapping, Trafficking and
Exploitation of Humans is considered a valuable legislative
instrument regarding sex trafficking, there are many weaknesses in
its implementation and interpretation. The law lacks detail and
contains unclear clauses that make enforcement difficult.
Corruption and a lack of training, supervision, and resources have
also led to major flaws in the implementation and effectiveness of
the law.

Cambodia's labor laws make child labor under the age of 15 illegal,
but confusion regarding the issue of parental consent and the lack
of specific penalties for child labor have prevented successful
prosecutions of child labor traffickers in Cambodia.

The Ministry of Justice, with the assistance of the Japanese
Institute for Legal Development, has drafted a new Anti-Trafficking
Law that is now at the Ministry of Justice for final review before
being resubmitted to the Council of Minister. With the
recommendations from civil society and the Ministry of Women's
Affairs, the law has undergone substantial amendment. The new law
covers both internal and external trafficking, and has
extraterritorial jurisdiction. Effective implementation will
require comprehensive training of judges, prosecutors, and police in
the provisions of the new law. This will be especially important if
penalties under the new law remain as currently drafted: giving
significant discretion in sentencing to judges. The Australian
Government, through AUSAID, plans to provide training through its
Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project (ARTIP).

Penalties for Sexual and Labor Exploitation
-------------------------------------------

3B. What are the penalties for trafficking people for sexual
exploitation?

The Law on the Suppression of the Kidnapping, Trafficking
and Exploitation of Humans includes a jail sentence of
15 to 20 years for any person convicted of sex trafficking
persons under 15 years of age; the penalty is from 10 to
15 years for sex trafficking of persons over the age of 15.
This law allows for the prosecution of traffickers as well

PHNOM PENH 00000351 004 OF 007


as other exploiters, such as facilitators, pimps, and brothel
owners.

3C. Punishment of labor trafficking offenses: What are the
prescribed and imposed penalties for trafficking for labor
exploitation such as forced or bonded labor and involuntary
servitude? Do the government's laws provide for criminal punishment
-- i.e., jail time -- for labor recruiters in labor source countries
who engage in recruitment of laborers using knowingly fraudulent or
deceptive offers that result in workers being exploited in the
destination country? For employers or labor agents in labor
destination countries who confiscate workers' passports or travel
documents, switch contracts without the worker's consent as a means
to keep the worker in a state of service, or withhold payment of
salaries as means of keeping the worker in a state of service? If
law(s) prescribe criminal punishments for these offenses, what are
the actual punishments imposed on persons convicted of these
offenses?

According to Article 368 of the Labor Law, employers who employ
children less than 18 years of age are liable to a fine of 31-60
days of the base daily wage. For the hiring of someone to pay off
debt, the penalty is a fine of 61-90 days of the base daily wage.
However, there are no cases of these laws being used to prosecute
traffickers of children under the Labor Law, and lawyers have
claimed it is not feasible to prosecute traffickers under this law.

Labor export companies are licensed by the government to export
Cambodian laborers to countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and South
Korea. There were reports of these workers falling victim to
trafficking due to the exploitative conditions in destination
countries, especially Malaysia, and a lack of monitoring and
protection in the source country. The labor export companies and
the Cambodian Ministry of Labor acknowledge that the recruiting
agents often retain workers' passports upon arrival in Thailand and
Malaysia to prevent loss. There were no cases of labor agents being
held responsible for the exploitation of workers, or prosecuted in
the courts of law.


Penalties for Rape or Forcible Sexual Assault
---------------------------------------------

3D. What are the prescribed penalties for rape or forcible sexual
assault? How do they compare to the prescribed and imposed penalty
for sex trafficking?

Rape is a criminal offense, and punishable by a 5-10 year prison
sentence, according to Article 33 of the UNTAC Law. Although
Cambodia's penal code provides penalties for rape, convictions are
often not rendered due to the weak judicial system. The penalty for
sex trafficking of children under the age of 15 is punishable by
sentences of between 15 to 20 years in prison; and for persons over
the age of 15, the penalty is 10 to 15 years in prison.

Prostitution: Legalized or Decriminalized
------------------------------------------

3E. Is prostitution legalized or decriminalized? Specifically, are
the activities of the prostitute
criminalized? Are the activities of the brothel owner/operator,
clients, pimps, and enforcers criminalized? Are these laws enforced?
If prostitution is legal and regulated, what is the legal minimum
age for this activity? Note that in many countries with federalist
systems, prostitution laws may be covered by state, local, and
provincial authorities.

Prostitution in Cambodia has not been legalized, but the activities
of prostitutes are not criminalized. The 1996 Law on the
Suppression of the Kidnapping, Trafficking and Exploitation of
Humans allows for prosecution of exploiters of persons for sex work,
such as facilitators, pimps, human traffickers, and brothel owners,
with a punishment of 5 to 10 years if the exploited prostitute is an
adult. The penalty is doubled in cases of minors. Prostitutes may
not be prosecuted for engaging in voluntary sex work. As applied to
traffickers and other exploiters of persons for the sex trade, these
laws are being enforced. Under Cambodian law, the legal age of
consent to sexual activity is 15, which is why penalties for
offenses differ depending on the age of the victim.

Government Prosecution of Traffickers
-------------------------------------

3F. Has the Government prosecuted any cases against traffickers?
If so, provide the numbers of investigations, prosecutions,

PHNOM PENH 00000351 005 OF 007


convictions, and sentences, including details
on plea bargains and fines, if relevant and available. Does the
government in a labor source country criminally prosecute labor
recruiters who recruit laborers using knowingly fraudulent or
deceptive offers or impose on recruited laborers inappropriately
high or illegal fees or commissions that create a debt bondage
condition for the laborer? Does the government in a labor
destination country criminally prosecute employers or labor agents
who confiscate workers' passports/travel documents, switch contacts
or terms of employment without the workers' consent, use physical or
sexual abuse or the threat of such abuse to keep workers in a state
of service, or withhold payment of salaries as a means to keep
workers in a state of service? Are the traffickers serving the time
sentenced: If not, why not? Please indicate whether the government
can provide this information, and if not, why not?

From 1996-1999, the Cambodian government arrested 342 offenders of
sexual exploitation and trafficking. From 2000-2004, the
government's arrest record increased to 1,009 offenders, due to the
formation on May 13, 2002 of the Ministry of Interior's
Anti-Trafficking Unit. The Unit consists of seven bureaus in major
provinces and urban areas, as well as a section within the police
departments of other provinces.

The Ministry of Interior Department of Anti-Trafficking and
Juvenile Protection reported 49 cases of human trafficking,
involving 65 perpetrators, between March 2005 to January 2006, and
ten convictions, with penalties ranging from one to 18 years.
Police also reported the arrests of 62 pimps and accomplices, and
convictions in two cases. The rest are in pretrial detention.
Thirteen foreigners were arrested for debauchery during the same
period. Three were convicted, with sentences ranging between one to
18 years in prison, while 2 Americans are in U.S. custody.

In 2006, police arrested 91 perpetrators for human trafficking,
debauchery and pimping, while Cambodian courts convicted 62
offenders.

It should be noted that the statistics below may overlap, as a
consolidated database on trafficking is yet to be available;
statistics are only representative of the work of each institution.


The Ministry of Justice is unable to provide reliable statistics
given its limited resources and means of communication with the
provinces. Statistics from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court have the
court receiving 51 trafficking cases during the reporting period.
Out of those cases, the court tried 37 cases resulting in the
conviction of 53 perpetrators, with penalties ranging from five to
24 years.

AFESIP reported the arrests of 21 suspects and convictions of 28
traffickers in 2006, with penalties ranging between one and 19
years, and civil compensation of between three and ten million riels
(USD 750- USD 2,500). Twelve other trials during the year resulted
in the reinvestigation of the case or acquittal due to lack of
evidence.

There are no known cases of prosecution of labor recruiters whose
companies are involved in labor trafficking. NGOs reported thirteen
exploitative labor cases involving legal migrants to Malaysia ending
up in exploitative circumstances, but the companies usually paid
compensation to the victims and avoided formal remedies.

During a raid on September 7, 2005 of the Chhay Hour II Hotel,
police arrested six persons and rescued three minors. On February
17, 2006, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced two women to ten
years for human trafficking and two managers of the Chhay Hour II
Hotel to four years each for colluding in and providing a venue for
human trafficking. In the fall of 2006 an Appeals Court decision
allegedly led to the release of the Chhay Hour II owner and manager.
In February 2007, police conducted another raid of the hotel, which
was renamed the Leang Hour, and rearrested the two original
detainees along with two additional managers.

Traffickers generally serve the time sentenced.

Who are the Traffickers?
------------------------

3G. Is there any information or reports of who is behind the
trafficking? For example, are the traffickers freelance operators,
small crime groups, and/or large international organized crime
syndicates? Are employment, travel and tourism agencies or marriage
brokers fronting for traffickers or crime groups to traffic

PHNOM PENH 00000351 006 OF 007


individuals? Are government official involved? Are there any
reports of where profits from trafficking in persons are being
channeled? (e.g., armed groups, terrorist organizations, judges,
banks, etc.)

Reliable information regarding traffickers is difficult to obtain
and substantiate. Children trafficked to Thailand for begging are
generally recruited by neighbors who then provide the children to
Thai traffickers after they have crossed the border. Children
trafficked to Vietnam to beg most often stay with their Cambodian
trafficker (often someone from their village) while in Vietnam
before being returned to their parents at the end of the contract.


In Cambodia, interviews with rescued victims suggest that the
trafficking system is not highly organized and many victims know
those involved in trafficking. According to the International
Justice Mission, two-thirds of the traffickers are women operating
small-scale brothel businesses (between five-ten women).

Traffickers bringing Vietnamese girls for the sex trade in Cambodia
or transiting for onward trafficking to a neighboring country appear
to have more sophisticated networks. NGOs that interview rescued
trafficked victims report that the trafficking of Vietnamese women
to Cambodia and Thailand is more organized and involves Vietnamese
criminal groups. Cambodians trafficked for sex to Thailand are
often sold by brothel owners after first having been trafficked
internally in Cambodia. There are a growing number of cases of
Cambodian women being trafficked for sex to Malaysia via Thailand,
but the police have only apprehended individual traffickers who are
not part of a larger organization. NGOs, however, claim that
victims' interviews suggest that Vietnamese gangs and Chinese-Malay
criminal groups are involved in the trafficking.

In general, trafficking of Cambodian women for sex within Cambodia
also is informally organized, with traffickers often convincing
girls to go with them to Phnom Penh for legitimate employment. In
other cases, friends, boyfriends, or relatives may engage in
trafficking/selling a woman to a brothel. While there are numerous
venues in Phnom Penh where there are suspected TIP victims, there is
no evidence to indicate that girls were procured through a single
trafficking network. The role of organized trafficking in Cambodia
remains unclear, and prosecutions have focused on single
individuals.

There have been reports that police and government
officials, including high-ranking government officials or
their family members, operated, had a stake in, were clients of, or
received protection money from brothels which housed trafficking
victims, including underage sex workers. The police have been able
to apprehend low-ranking police or military police officers running
brothel business. NGOs working with trafficked victims reported
that border officials in Thailand and Malaysia may be involved in
trafficking as the victims reported seeing the officials demanding
unofficial fees at border crossings. Spouses of police officials
have also been reported to be running travel agencies involved in
trafficking women and girls throughout Southeast Asia.

Information regarding profits from trafficking in persons is poorly
understood; however, a study on the impact of closing Svay Pak,
conducted by AidTous, estimated that 10 to 20 children between the
ages of 10 and 12 could bring in approximately USD 1,000 per night
for their pimps, who in turn allegedly paid between USD 200 and 300
(or about USD 80,000 annually) to police for protection.

Government Investigations of Trafficking Cases
--------------------------------------------- -

3H. Does the government actively investigate cases of trafficking?
(Again, the focus should be on trafficking cases versus migrant
smuggling cases.) Does the government use active investigative
techniques in trafficking in persons investigations? To the extent
possible under domestic law, are techniques such as electronic
surveillance, undercover operations, and mitigated punishment or
immunity for cooperating suspects used by the government? Does the
criminal procedure code or other laws prohibit the police from
engaging in covert operations?

Police raids on brothels are common, and Cambodian law enforcement
officials often work in concert with civil society to investigate
trafficking cases and rescue people at risk. Under the LEASEC
project, a group of four international NGOs/IOs has supported the
Ministry of Interior in developing special Anti-Trafficking and
Juvenile Protection police units, and set up a hot line against
child sexual exploitation that also handles trafficking cases.

PHNOM PENH 00000351 007 OF 007

The International Justice Mission (IJM) has provided training
sessions to the police in Phnom Penh, and conducted undercover
operations to obtain evidence for successful prosecutions of
traffickers. IJM searches brothels for underage girls and
trafficking victims, cooperates with police to conducts raids and
removes the victims. The Cambodian police have also worked closely
with the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in
investigating pedophilia cases for prosecution in the United States
under the PROTECT Act. Cambodian law allows for the use of
undercover investigation and covert operations. In September 2006,
the Cambodian National Police signed an MOU with IJM allowing the
latter to use undercover agents, undercover video and to pose as
customers to investigate trafficking cases.

Cambodia generally lacks the training and other resources to use
electronic surveillance or sophisticated equipment to investigate
cases, as well as the planning skills needed to conduct
comprehensive undercover investigations.

Government-Sponsored Anti-Trafficking Training
--------------------------------------------- -

3I. Does the government provide any specialized training for
government officials in how to recognize, investigate, and prosecute
instances of trafficking?

The government, in cooperation with national and international
organizations and businesses such as IJM, LEASEC, ARCPPT and
Microsoft, conducted training for police officers on investigation
techniques, surveillance, case preparation and management of
trafficking cases. So far, 5,737 police officers have attended
specialized training courses, workshops and conferences, and
meetings on human trafficking and law enforcement.

UNICEF has supported the Cambodian Bar Association in the past to
train lawyers of the Legal Aid Department in children's rights and
to build their capacity in representing children. The government
relies heavily on training assistance from foreign governments,
international organizations and NGOs. Cambodian law enforcement
officials have participated in training at the International Law
Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok.

CAMPBELL

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