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US Restricts Visas for Cambodians ‘Undermining Democracy’

As a response to anti-democratic actions, Trump administration restrict VISA for Cambodians

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Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen attends a ceremony at the Angkor Wat temple to pray for peace and stability in Cambodia, Dec. 3, 2017.
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The Trump administration announced Wednesday it will restrict visas for Cambodians “undermining democracy” in the Southeast Asian nation following the dissolution of the main opposition party and a crackdown on independent media.

The State Department said it was a direct response to “anti-democratic actions” by the Cambodian government but did not disclose which individuals would be affected. It said visa records are confidential under U.S. law.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert called on the Cambodian government to reinstate the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, which was dissolved by Supreme Court order last month, and free its leader Kem Sokha, imprisoned since September. She also urged Cambodia to allow civil society and media to operate freely.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has held power for more than three decades, has sought to neutralize political opponents and silence critics ahead of national elections next year. Kem Sokha has been charged with trying to topple the government with U.S. support, which Washington has said is a baseless accusation.

Supporters of Kem Sokha, leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, stand outside the Appeal Court during a bail hearing for the jailed opposition leader in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Sept. 26, 2017.

Nauert said Cambodia’s actions run counter to the Paris Peace Agreements of 1991. The United States and 18 other governments signed the accords, which ushered in democracy after the genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s, then occupation by Vietnam and civil war.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will restrict entry into the United States of “those individuals involved in undermining democracy in Cambodia,” Nauert said in a statement, adding that in certain circumstances, family members of those individuals will also be subject to visa restrictions. The department cited a provision of U.S. immigration law under which individuals can be denied entry if the secretary determines it would have “adverse foreign policy consequences.”

The White House has already terminated U.S. support of Cambodia’s national election committee, saying last month that the July 2018 vote “will not be legitimate, free or fair.”

“We will continue to monitor the situation and take additional steps as necessary, while maintaining our close and enduring ties with the people of Cambodia,” Nauert said.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers remarks during a press availability at NATO in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 6, 2017.

​Monovithya Kem, an opposition spokeswoman currently in the U.S., welcomed the visa restrictions and called for targeted financial sanctions on senior officials in Hun Sen’s government. Kem, who is the daughter of Kem Sokha, urged the U.S., Japan, Australia and the European Union to coordinate responses to the “crisis” in Cambodia and help win her father’s freedom.

Like many prominent opposition figures, Kem has fled Cambodia as she fears arrest.

Hun Sen has been in office since 1985 and has held a tight grip on power since ousting a co-prime minister in a bloody 1997 coup.

In recent months, the government has intensified restrictions on civil society groups and independent media outlets. In September, it shut down the English-language Cambodia Daily. Authorities have shuttered radio stations that aired programming from U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, whose reports they allege are biased.

The government also expelled the U.S. National Democratic Institute, which helped train political parties and election monitors, accusing it of colluding with its opponents.

Hun Sen has moved Cambodia closer to China in recent years and become increasingly critical of Washington. However, he’s been complimentary of President Donald Trump.

Speaking at Asian leaders’ summit attended by Trump last month, Hun Sen praised the U.S. leader for non-interference in affairs of other nations, but complained the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia was not adhering to the policy. (VOA)

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Corrupt Politics, Doctor Ed. Picardi Speaks Up, Louder Than Before

He became an attractive target by the “powerful politicians.”

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Corrupt Politics, Doctor Ed. Picardi Speaks Up, Louder Than Before, Flickr

Never Shy South Dakota resident Doctor Ed. Picardi speaks up. In fact, he’s as loud as ever.

Dr. Picardi was stripped of his license back in 2013 because he was ruffling feathers in Washington over the Hillary Care and ObamaCare disaster.

His was a lone voice in the wilderness as nobody was really prepared to go against the machinery of both administrations. The Clintons and Obama were at the zenith of their popularity when Dr. Picardi decided to take them on.

“I did what nobody in Washington did,” he recounts. “I actually read the entire HillaryCare bill, all 1368 pages. I did the same with ObamaCare.”

After reading through both laws, he quickly realized that they would perpetuate the wrong practices in the healthcare system and end up alienating those who really need medical help.

Hillary Clinton and Obama
Hillary Clinton and Obama, flickr

“Abortion and decreased care for the elderly would result in an enormous number of unnecessary and preventable deaths,” he explains. “I believed it was my Hippocratic Oath and my Christian beliefs which necessitated me to bring out the truth about what was actually written in these bills.”

The drawback was that he became an attractive target by the “powerful politicians.” That got him a rude introduction into the pervasive corruption in government. In fact, a son of the senator filed trumped up charges against him.

He lost his license for three years before he was reinstated by the Nebraska Medical Board in 2016. That kind of trauma would have been enough to silence anybody.

But Dr. Picardi is not just anybody.

Finding strength in his faith in God and the support of his wife, Sandy, a cancer survivor, Dr. Picardi is at it again.

He says that President Donald Trump has a chance to make sweeping changes in the healthcare system of the country because he is an outsider.

“There are way too many career, life-long politicians in office who are willing to make decisions which help themselves to the detriment of this country,” he says.

Dr. Picardi particularly called out the weaponization of the country’s legal system and the IRS in the effort to silence dissent.

 

One classic example is that of David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress, who exposed the damning practice of selling aborted baby organs and body parts to medical schools to be studied.

Surgery tools
Surgery tools, Flickr

Instead of being celebrated, he was charged with the purchase of human organs and tampering with public documents. His experience parallels that of Dr. Picardi whose only “mistake” was that he called out HillaryCare and ObamaCare as the wrong solutions to the country’s healthcare problem.

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“The weaponization of the judicial system and IRS, which even President Trump is now dealing with, is finally coming into the public view,” Dr. Picardi.