According to United to End Genocide, a U.S. based anti-genocide organization, Dr. Kurt Campbell, a former high profile State Department official, is now involved in commercial efforts in Burma that may further encourage human rights abuses in that country.

During his years at the State Department Dr.Campbell chaired at least half a dozen meetings in Washington with left-behind parents and other left-behind family members with existing cases involving abducted children in Japan.  Participants traveled from all parts of the country at their own expense to attend the meetings, many having to spend significant funds to do so.

Each of these meetings, which were specific to existing child abduction cases in Japan, generally included about three dozen or more left-behind parents and family members, and at least one to two dozen officials from the State Department and other federal agencies.  The meetings were abruptly terminated by the State Department after July of 2011.  No significant progress was made on existing cases by the State Department and the State Department failed to secure the return of any abducted U.S. citizen children despite there being long standing criminal charges against many of the abductors holding the children in Japan.

http://endgenocide.org/former-u-s-official-encourages-investment-in-unstable-state-of-burma/

Former U.S. Official Encourages Investment In Unstable State Of Burma

Posted on March 27, 2013 by Julia Boccagno

Kurt Campbell has been invested in lifiting sanctions in Burma, despite human rights abuses. AFP/Getty ImagesKurt Campbell has been invested in lifting sanctions in Burma, despite ongoing human rights abuses. AFP/Getty ImagesFormer U.S. Official Encourages Human Rights Abuses to ContinueDespite opposition from the U.S. Campaign for Burma (USCB), Kurt Campbell, former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, strongly influenced the Obama administration to lift sanctions on Burma in 2012 that were originally imposed more than two decades ago. The economic sanctions were enacted in September 1988 after the military regime committed human rights violations when they killed thousands during a series of peaceful protests.

While the Burmese Army, blamed for the systematic murder and displacement of innocent men, women, and children, continues to carry out crimes against humanity in the Kachin State, Kurt Campbell, in conjunction with his new consulting firm, the Asia Group, will lead the ACO Investment Group (ACO) in order to secure a contract to upgrade and modernize the Yangon International Airport in Burma. The ACO will work closely with Tin Naing Tun, a retired Brigadier General of the Myanmar Army and head of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA).

Instead of reinstating sanctions on Burma, Campbell would rather encourage U.S. investment with human rights abusers in order to profit. He states, “This is a thrilling opportunity to help advance the progress Burma has made over the past couple years by enhancing prospects for economic investments, and ensuring connectivity for Burma with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the world.”

U.S. Companies Support Campbell

Other consortium members of ACO include Boeing Professional Services, Burns & McDonnell Engineering, Fentress Architects, MITRE Corporation, and Union Consulting. Campbell plans on leading a trip to Burma early next month to pitch the ACO bid. According to the DCA, seven pre-qualified international firms are competing for the tendering of airport construction as well.

The Director General of DCA claims that the new airport, Hanthawaddy International Airport, is necessary because the Yangon International Airport cannot accommodate for the rising number of travelers to the country. Arrivals to Burma are expected to surge around 3 million in 2012—a 22% increase on last year that places it above its 2.7 million threshold.  Potential plans state that the Hanthawaddy International airport, located in the central Bago region, will occupy a site nine times larger than its original and will have the capacity to hold 5.5 million passengers.

Revolving Door Politics Corrupt Burma

As one of the key architects of the Obama administration’s Asia “pivot,” Campbell doesn’t waste time transitioning from a legislator to a consultant. After finishing his tenure in public office in February 2013, he announced a few days later that his former deputy assistant secretary, Nirav Patel, would be the chief operating officer of his newly established advisory and investment network, the Asia Group.  The Asia Group focuses on bringing U.S. markets into Asian markets and vice versa.

Revolving door politics refer to the movement of high-level employees from public to private sector jobs. Therefore, there is a “revolving door” between the two sectors as many legislators become consultants for the industries they once regulated. Consequently, conflicts of interest cloud the reasoning of such leaders to practice unbiased decision making. Because Burma has an extended and complicated history of human rights abuses implemented by a brutal military regime, any error of judgment could have irreversible effects on the already unstable country.

http://letterstomysons.com/2012/05/16/is-the-state-department-violating-law-and-continuing-cover-up-of-international-kidnapping-issue/

For immediate reference, here is the text from this blog:

For over a decade the Department of State has largely ignored the issue of international parental kidnapping.

From State Department attorney Tom Johnson, also the parent of an internationally kidnapped child, “The (State) Department’s bad faith is especially evident with regard to this point, since Congress itself estimated there to be 10,000 abducted American children abroad when it passed the 1993 International Parental Kidnapping Crimes Act. Congress knows that even the State Department admits to 500 to 1000 new cases annually, and Congress knows that the National Center’s estimate is up to 17,000 per year. These numbers include both Hague and non-Hague cases, but nevertheless indicate the extent of the Department’s attempt to mislead Congress with a report of only 58 unresolved cases.”

SOURCE: Johnson, Thomas A. 2000. The Hague Child Abduction Convention: Diminishing returns and little to celebrate for Americans. New York University Journal of International Law and Politics 33 (1): 125-178.  http://goo.gl/mz3t8

The Department of State suffers from a severe conflict of interest – they view their primary role as maintaining relations with foreign countries, often referring to foreign governments as their “Clients”.  By its very nature, the child kidnapping issue is “disruptive” to the relations between the U.S. and countries which support abduction.

Through a series of sleights of hand, the State Department actively attempts to downplay, minimize and cover up the number of abductions and the true severity of their failure to address the issue.

As an example, for over a year the Department of State has neglected to update the number of children kidnapped to Japan.  http://goo.gl/Gxu48   Not to mention that the official count provided by the Department of State is constantly called into question [ http://goo.gl/q234a AND http://goo.gl/YQ4uP ], and that the State Department continues to publicly manipulate the numbers [ http://goo.gl/fMxcI ].

Also, the Department of State continues to treat the issue of kidnapped children as a “custody” issue, despite the fact that it is both a crime [ custodial inference and/or kidnapping at the state-level  AND a violation of the IPKA at the federal-level ]  and a human-rights abuse [ per Congress, per the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child http://goo.gl/wbGKf, and even per then First Lady, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton  http://goo.gl/a0TRg ]

The State Department completely refuses to call out major offense countries, such as Japan, for violating the human rights of US children, attacking U.S. sovereignty, and abdicating their responsibility  to the International community.

The State department is also stopping approval for *any* attempts to extradite parental kidnappers from certain “allied” countries – Japan being the most prominent example.  This is a direct violation of federal code:

SOURCE: EXTRADITION TREATIES INTERPRETATION ACT of 1998 (Note 18 USC 3181)

“SEC. 203. INTERPRETATION OF EXTRADITION TREATIES.

“For purposes of any extradition treaty to which the United States is a party, Congress authorizes the interpretation of the terms ‘kidnaping’ and ‘kidnapping’ to include parental kidnapping.”

Using the example of Japan, the Department of State repeats Japan’s claim that parental abduction is “not a crime”.  However, Japan has arrested numerous parents for attempted child abduction – most famously Christopher Savoie in 2009.  This is something that is admitted on the State Department’s own website:  http://goo.gl/JJkYa

Since the State Department acknowledges that Japan has arrested parents for “kidnapping”, how can they continue to repeat the farcical claim that such an act is not illegal in Japan?!

In addition, Japan ratified the UN CRC in 1994.  This UN human rights treaty states in article 11 that international kidnapping (specifically including Parental Kidnapping) is a crime.  Further, Japan’s constitution clearly states in article 98 that “the treaties concluded by Japan and established laws of nations shall be faithfully observed” [ http://goo.gl/OeauR ].  So the State Department is choosing the path of least conflict by refusing to call Japan out; and doing so at the expense of U.S. parents and U.S. children.

Finally, as stated above, congress has already addressed this issue of disparity in the EXTRADITION TREATIES INTERPRETATION ACT of 1998: http://goo.gl/vHNlY

So why is the Department of State violating federal law and continuing to block any attempts at extradition from the country of Japan? Why is the Department of State refusing to publicly condemn these human rights abuses against U.S. citizens and attacks on U.S. sovereignty?

These are precisely the type of actions needed to bring this issue of protecting U.S. children to head, and force a resolution between the two countries. The disfunction of foreign courts should not impede attempts to take appropriate legal actions consistant with U.S. federal code that would highlight these issues.  Nor should the Department of State cower from its duty to protect U.S. children by publicly calling out countries which are guilty of this human rights offense.

The State Department publicly meets with, and offers assistance to, Japanese nationals with family members abducted to North Korea – yet turns its back on U.S. parents.  STATE also publicly condemns North Korea for the human rights violations the the North Korean abductions represent – Yet refuses to condemn Japan for supporting the abductions of the thousands of children taken to, or held in, Japan.  Japan in turn, uses this contradiction by the Department of State to justify its hypocrisy: http://bit.ly/JAcowX

Why does the State Department seem to have such woefully misplaced loyalties?  And why are they being allowed to violate U.S. Federal Law?

And what are the members of Congress going to do about it?  Because right now, Congress is sitting on their hands as the Department of State sells out U.S. children.

 

*I recommend that you also read my post: Child Abduction in Japan… The REAL Numbers