ASEAN PEDOGATE: AMERICA’S MOST INSIDIOUS SCANDAL
Article By Wayne Madsen Written July 4th 2008
U.S. ambassadors, special envoys, and their staffs represent America in over 200 countries, territories, and international organizations around the globe. WMR’s exhaustive investigation of the activities of U.S. diplomatic officials in Southeast Asia has uncovered evidence that senior U.S. embassy officials have covered up a huge pedophile ring involving State Department and CIA employees. Private U.S. businessmen close to various embassy operations are also implicated in the scandal. Some U.S. diplomats have, themselves, engaged in sex with underage boys and girls in the countries where they are assigned.
The story about official U.S. government involvement with pedophiles in Southeast Asia was prompted by the strange case of John Mark Karr, an American schoolteacher charged with previous child pornography crimes in the United States. After Karr jumped bail in the United States before his trial on kiddie porn charges, he surfaced in various countries known as havens for pedophiles – Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Honduras, South Korea, and finally, Thailand. In Thailand, Karr ended up teaching affluent Thai and foreign children at three elite international schools in Bangkok.
While Karr, who publicly claimed to have murdered 6-year old Jon Benet Ramsey in 1996 in Boulder, Colorado, may not be all that newsworthy in Thailand – foreign pedophiles in
Thailand are as common as the hot weather, according to New York Timesbest selling author Jerry Hopkins, an American who has lived in Thailand for the last thirteen years – Karr’s unusual special treatment by the U.S. embassy in Bangkok is very unusual. In fact, it is practically unprecedented. The question is why?
After Karr was arrested by Thai police on what was reported to be “unspecified sex charges” unrelated to the Ramsey matter, the U.S. embassy, and particularly the large CIA station in Bangkok and the 16-person Department of Homeland Security contingent located in rented office space adjacent to the huge embassy compound, arranged for Karr’s hasty departure from Thailand to face charges in the Ramsey murder case. Karr was flown, un-handcuffed and sipping champagne, in business class from Bangkok to Los Angeles on Thai International Airways, courtesy of the American taxpayer. Again, why?
The last time an oddball like Karr received such special treatment and a courtesy airplane ticket courtesy of Uncle Sam was when Lee Harvey Oswald, an alleged Marxist defector to the Soviet Union, was flown back to the United States along with his Soviet wife and daughter.
Karr, according to several informed sources in Asia, including formerJapan Times weekly magazine editor Yoichi Shimatsu, who lives part time in Thailand, and Robert Finnegan, former editor of Indonesia’s English-language Jakarta Post, was more than a mere publicity-seeking pedophile preying on young children – he fit the classic profile of a procurer of children for others – a business that leads directly to the very embassy that accorded him VIP treatment on his departure from Thailand. Both journalists have extensively investigated the scourge of pedophiles in Southeast Asia. And both have been singled out for attack by pedophile interests, operating through various front operations in the region, including anti-pedophile non-government organizations.
For a California schoolteacher, arrested in April 2001 for possession of child pornography, losing his teaching license, and vanishing into thin air after serving six months in a California jail, Karr led a charmed life in an upscale neighborhood of Bangkok.
After Boulder, Colorado authorities determined that Karr lied about killing Ramsey, Sonoma County, California prosecutors discovered that the computer containing the child pornography images for which Karr was originally arrested in April 2001 was missing. As a result, all criminal charges from that case were dropped against Karr.
End of story? Not quite. Karr, a known pedophile charged by Thai police for sex charges unrelated to the Ramsey case, now walks a free man. Spirited out of Thailand by the U.S. embassy on a business class ticket, Karr represents the tip of a pedophile iceberg operating within the bowels of America’s diplomatic and foreign business communities in Asia.
Although a number of media outlets painted Karr as a bottom-feeding child predator living in low rent, dingy, and cockroach-infested guest houses in Bangkok, WMR’s investigation found something quite different.
One Internet posting by an individual named Joshua Kurlantzick stated that Karr lived near a red-light district frequented by “crowds of sixty-something men leading preteen boys and girls by the hand in the street, often taking them back to the Malaysia Hotel, a seedy joint full of child prostitutes and drug dealers.” That description of Karr’s neighborhood, which was embellished to paint the schoolteacher as living in “a building, a grim collection of one-room studio apartments with water-stained walls” was a notso-clever ruse to place Karr in a hooker-infested neighborhood full of child prostitute pimps and druggies. In fact, WMR visited Karr’s neighborhood and guest houses in Bangkok and found his surroundings to be an oasis of European diplomatic and cultural missions, including the Danish and Austrian embassies, the German-Thai Cultural Center and Goethe Institute, and most intriguingly, the Joint U.S.-Thai Military Assistance Group (JUSTMAG)., a highly-secured compound where U.S. Special Operations personnel operate, along with their Thai counterparts, against various Southeast Asian insurgent groups., including the Al Qaeda affiliate, Jemaah Islamiya.
Karr’s supposed “water-stained walls” hotel – The Blooms – is a clean and comfortable place attracting arriving diplomats on per diem expenses and European tourists.
The Malaysia Hotel, far from being a nest for pedophiles and drug dealers – is a typical European package holiday hotel with a swimming pool and tourist bar and restaurant. The Indian staff is strict and would not tolerate the presence of pushers and pimps anywhere near the premises.
The perception management campaign by the foreign media in Thailand to paint Karr as a filthy degenerate living in squalid conditions was not bought by the Thai media. It was not pimps and drug dealers with whom Karr rubbed shoulders but diplomats and members of the U.S. military. The Thai media had witnessed a similar propaganda effort directed against an American four years earlier.
Perhaps it was the foreign media’s portrayal of Karr that prompted a top Thai police official, speaking at a press conference after the arrest of the Jon Benet Ramsey murder suspect, responded the way he did to a question about the appearance of the arrested man. Pointing to one of the reporters in the conference room, the police official said, “He looks like him!” The startled reporter was a member of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Bangkok. Although he was innocent, the police official got his point across about the foreign media coverage of Thailand matters.
Sean Parlaman was a zealous protector of children against pedophile exploitation in Thailand and neighboring Myanmar (Burma). Parlaman, a Quaker, Green Party activist, and black belt karate expert from Oregon, concentrated his anti-pedophile activities in Pattaya Beach, Thailand, a largely run down ex-haunt for U.S. military personnel on rest and relaxation tours from Vietnam during the war.
After the war, Pattaya had become a favored destination for pedophiles. Awash in drugs, prostitutes, money launderers, and smugglers, Pattaya also attracted pre-teen children, whose poor parents, guardians, and pimps were more than eager to sell children to lecherous child predators on holiday in the Thai seaside resort town.
Parlaman took on Pattaya’s pedophile “axis of evil” with the vigor one might expect of a modern-day Rambo.
Particularly critical of certain anti-pedophile groups and NGOs in Thailand,Parlaman believed that some were covering up the pedophilia problem rather than dealing with it aggressively. Parlaman was also opposed to the attempts by such organizations to push for a tourist boycott of Thailand until it dealt with the child prostitution problem. The call for a boycott came at the same time Thailand’s economy collapsed. Parlaman and his supporters – mostly Thais but a few foreigners — believed that such a boycott would only drive more and more poor children into the hands of pimps and predators.
Parlaman also took on the smuggling of children from the Thai-Burmese border into Thailand and beyond for purposes of prostitution. In 1997,Parlaman wrote, “At an age when we would regard them as still being children, over a thousand young girls from northern Thailand are being lured every year into prostitution. Girls as young as 10 are being sold to the brothels of Bangkok, other Thai cities and overseas.”
Parlaman described the process by which young girls were forced from northern Thailand Into the prostitution business: “In some villages in northern Thailand up to 60 to 70 percent of young girls, aged from 11 years up, have entered prostitution. While many had been sold by their parents, others had been introduced to the sex industry through an older sibling or relative . . . Local leaders, including some village headman, police and government officials are involved in the recruitment and transportation of girls from the [northern Thailand-Burma border] area, to work in the sex industry throughout Thailand.”
After Parlaman took on the pedophiles and their apologists in Thailand’s foreign community, he began to face a cruel and well-coordinated retaliation. He was by various NGOs and foreign community web sites in Thailand accused of lying about his resume.
Parlaman’s crusade against pedophiles and their enablers eventually landed him in hot water with his enemies – enemies that included corrupt police and the growing Russian Mafia in the resort town. Those who take on the pedophiles in Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia are at extreme danger. A Swiss volunteer social worker in northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai, Ralph Frishknect, was falsely accused of molesting children at a center for homeless children, after he had informed a number of donors of the misappropriation by the center. The charges against Frishknect were never made public and he was later found hanging in his jail cell after news filtered out that local police were in on leveling the false charges.
On September 30, 2002, Parlaman was accused by Thai police with sexually molesting a 12-year old boy who was staying at one of the street kids’ organizations that Parlaman felt was part of the problem and not the solution. Parlaman tried to get children out of such dodgy organizations and into reputable groups actually dedicated to helping street children who were plagues by the twin evils of drug abuse and prostitution. No reputable person familiar with Parlaman’s work and dedication believed the story about his being a molester, including the reporters and editors of the Pattaya Mail newspaper.
A long-time resident of Pattaya told the paper that he told Parlaman, “If you think that these organizations have no connection with the police and the places you’re trying take them out of then you are naïve.” The first judicial hearing went bad for the prosecution. Evidence was non-existent and there were reports that the witnesses had been pressured into false statements by law enforcement.
In the end, Parlaman was only guilty of naivety. When police arrived atParlaman’s Star Beach Condominium on November 23, 2002, to take him to the police station for questioning, Parlaman, meeting them in the lobby, told the police he had to go upstairs to give his car and condo keys to a friend for safekeeping. Police later claimed that Parlaman jumped from his 15th floor condo unit to his death. Police stopped the investigation of the child abuse.
Parlaman’s body was transported to the police forensics institute in Bangkok where it was autopsied and then cremated. The U.S. embassy never intervened in the highly improper procedure for a U.S. citizen.
David W. Smith, one of Parlaman’s colleagues in child welfare work in Thailand, wrote in a letter to the editor of the Pattaya Mail: “I must admit I didn’t know Sean very well outside of a dozen conversations or so, but when I heard that he had been accused of pedophilia, I thought no. Sure he’s a bit different, perhaps somewhat of a Don Quixote if you will, but surely not a pedophile . . . The evidence against him would seem flimsy at best, and the manner in which it was orchestrated laughable. If he was indeed the monster he was being accused of, why is it that none of the hardened, drug addicted kids in the jails that knew him well, gave him up when offered freedom in return for their damnation? Perhaps no one will ever know the real truth but in typical manner just before his death, Sean wished that none of these terrible circumstances impair or harm the programs or the good work he dedicated himself so fervently towards.”
The fascination of high-level U.S. officials in taboo underage sex is not new. In fact, the American fascination for Thai children in a sexual sense is as old as the CIA itself.
After World War II, Princeton alum Jim Thompson, a former director of New York’s Monte Carlo Ballet Company and an Army officer with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the wartime forerunner of the CIA, was stationed in Bangkok as the senior American spy. After being trained in jungle warfare in Ceylon, Thompson’s hitch in Thailand began as Japan wassurrendering its forces throughout Asia. Thompson left the Army and Thailand but returned to the country, strangely coming up with the funds to start up a major silk business (left) in Thailand.
Thompson became a part owner of Bangkok’s plush Oriental Hotel. After Thompson’s wife, Pat Thraves Thompson, paid him a visit in Bangkok, she quickly returned to the United States and filed for divorce. His silk business a success, Thompson built a luxurious Thai-style home in Bangkok and, after a lucky date was chosen by Thai astrologers, he moved into the home in 1959. A number of old Bangkok hands, many veterans of the Vietnam War and long serving journalists in the region, upon visiting the Thompson house, come way with the same impression. Not only is the multi-building residence a typical CIA safe house but the presence of small beds for children and porcelain “piss pots” for little boys and various Southeast Asian objets d’arts featuring frolicking young males in pools and sculptures of young men and their pronounced cod pieces, suggest the Thompson house was more than just a gathering place for spies and the scene for Thompson’s entertaining of such notables as Truman Capote and Somerset Maugham. Visitors to the home are prohibited from photographing the suggestive art pieces.
On March 26, 1967, as the Vietnam War was heating up, Thompson mysteriously disappeared while visiting the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia. Thompson vanished without a trace.
Although the CIA denied that Thompson was still on its payroll, the agency dispatched U.S. helicopters to search for Thompson in the Malaysian jungles. When a rumor surfaced that Thompson may have been kidnapped by Communists and spirited into Cambodia, the CIA’s Air America conducted a search for him in Cambodia, with no success. Thai authorities conducted a thorough search of Thompson’s Bangkok estate and carted off what has been described by witnesses as potentially incriminating evidence.
Suspiciously, after Thompson’s disappearance, a sister of Thompson’s was found bludgeoned to death in her home and her son, Thompson’s nephew, committed suicide shortly thereafter. Both had been made part of Thompson’s will before his disappearance and their deaths.
Thompson’s friend, a fellow OSS veteran, Alexander MacDonald, founded Thailand’s major
English-language newspaper, The Bangkok Post. (above) It, like its counterpart across Thailand’s eastern border, the Cambodia Daily, would come to downplay the scourge of pedophilia in Southeast Asia.
Thompson was not the first American in Thailand to show an odd fascination for young Asian male and female youth. The Vietnam War brought to Thailand an eclectic group of Special Forces types, European mercenary veterans of Malayan and Congolese civil wars, and CIA agents of various stripes, some of whom decided to engage in carnal activities with barely clad underage teens – youngsters they once saw gracing the pages of National Geographic.
After the war, expatriate American drunkards, druggies, pederasts, and killers produced by
the Vietnam morass found haven in small bars in red light districts of Bangkok and Pattaya Beach. One such bar is the Madrid in the Patpong District of Bangkok. One long-time employee recalled some of the most famous and infamous veterans of America’s secret wars in Laos and Cambodia. She recalled such names as CIA agent Jack Shirley, (far left)Golden Triangle middleman Richard Armitage(above) (who she referred to as “Dick”), and various CIA officers stationed at the U.S. embassy in Bangkok.
It is against this backdrop, starting with Jim Thompson and extending through the Vietnam War and its aftermath that we must view the current quasi-toleration by the State Department and CIA for pedophile activity by U.S. diplomats and spies assigned to the region.
Just as pedophile John Mark Karr preyed upon elementary schools, other pedophiles targeted orphanages in Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand and Cambodia. Orphanages, to varying degrees of success, have been able to defend themselves against the pursuits of pedophiles. One orphanage, with which Sean Parlaman worked closely, was the Pattaya Orphanage founded by Redemptorist Order Roman Catholic priest, Father Ray Brennan, a native of a tough Irish neighborhood in Chicago. Brennan andParlaman also cooperated on assisting Pattaya’s many street children.
As with his late colleague Sean Parlaman, Father Ray found himself besieged by allegations that his orphanage, over which he led for 33 years, had been used by pedophiles to take children for “day trips.” The allegations were contained in an unsigned article in the January 26, 2003 edition of the British weekly tabloid, The People, and picked up by one Thai newspaper, The Nation. The People is owned by Trinity Mirror, which also owns the Daily Mirror. The article alleged that Brennan arranged for liaisons between wealthy pedophile clients and the orphans in his care. It is apparent that, as with Parlaman, Brennan was being subjected to a crude character assassination by an alleged terminally ill UK Lottery winner who went by the name Robert Merlin. Brennan agreed to meet Merlin, who indicated that he was prepared to make a large donation to the orphanage.
The People wrote that Brennan, “Invited wealthy pedophiles to meet children in his care, allow them to take [the children] on picnics at the beach and public park, as well discuss the best places to pick up young boys.”
Brennan told the Pattaya Mail that Merlin’s request for a meeting was “a provocation and manipulation,” adding, “I agreed to meet him because he asked to come here … He wanted to come and give a donation of 1.8 million pounds (to the orphanage), so I invited him so come . . . we had a one-hour conversation, during which Mr. Merlin asked me many questions. It was at that time we discussed the pedophile situation in Pattaya. I was uncomfortable with the conversation. He took bits and pieces of the conversation and turned them to serve his purpose.”
At a press conference in Pattaya, Brennan stated, “I have never been involved in, or, arranged any pedophilic rendezvous during my whole life. I condemn pedophiles, totally.”
Even the commander of the tainted Thai Tourist Police in Pattaya expressed sympathy for Brennan. Police Major General Sanit Miphan said, “The orphanage has been operating for over thirty years and if there has been any impropriety, it would have closed long ago.” Just as It questioned the set up of Parlaman, the Pattaya Mail came to the defense of Father Brennan. The managing editor of the paper, Pratheep Malhotra, said the attack on Father Brennan was an “issue of foreign freelance, fly by night reporters writing sensationalist stories destroying the image of Thailand just to sell a story.”
Father Ray closed his press conference by stating, “I’m not bothered about being hurt, I’m 70 years old and probably don’t have long to live, but the orphanage does and these kids do, too.”
Father Ray’s words were prophetic. He died on August 16, 2003. A longtime colleague told WMR that Father Ray died a broken man. TheIndependent Catholic News wrote in its obituary of Brennan, “Anyone who works with children is vulnerable to attack. Father Ray was no exception. But his integrity was unimpeachable, and his detractors never succeeded in denting the confidence of his colleagues, of his many supporters or, most importantly, of the children he loved and cared for.” Although hardly a peep was heard from the U.S. embassy in Bangkok, the Thai King sent ceremonial soil, almost exclusively reserved for royal burials, to be used during at Father Ray’s funeral in Pattaya. The contrast in what the U.S. embassy did for known pedophile John Mark Karr and what it did not do for either Sean Parlaman and Father Ray Brennan speaks volumes as to the involvement of the U.S. State Department and CIA in promoting, not stamping out, pedophilia in Southeast Asia.
A later investigation by the London-based Pattaya Orphanage Trust found that there was no evidence to support The People’s allegations against Brennan.
Although Parlaman and Brennan represent the best in American volunteerism in Southeast Asia on behalf of orphans and preyed-upon street children, according to Yoichi Shimatsu and the NGO Global – PAC, the same cannot be said of two Americans who became involved in child welfare programs in neighboring Cambodia.
Genuine anti-pedophile activists have decried the positions of papers like the Bangkok Post on pedophilia issues. Hahn Chin, a Bangkok-based activist, wrote in early 2005 that the paper unrealistically highlighted the successes of a Thailand-based NGO called End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes or “ECPAT.”
Hahn Chin contended on his web site that “ECPAT was created for cosmetic purposes” and that it “remained a virtually unknown NGO that did little more than peddle literature about itself and pedophilia through the offices of the International Catholic Child Bureau (ICCB), a worldwide organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, and send representatives to meetings and conventions.” In addition, Hahn Chin maintained that ECPAT is just one organization that colludes with [child] traffickers and complicit officials,” including Thai police and foreign embassies in Thailand. Others accused of connivance in the sexual trafficking of Thai and other Southeast Asian children include United Nations organizations.
In an August 8, 2005 letter to the Bangkok Post, Samakh Siphonphat of Bangkok wrote, “the current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [Louise Arbour of Canada] and her two predecessors [Mary Robinson of Ireland and Vieira de Mello of Brazil] ignored at least 50 documented cases of Thai women and children who were trafficked abroad (beyond Southeast Asia) for pedophilia or prostitution and disappeared in the past ten years. This is largely because officials of national governments and so-called “non-governmental organizations” (‘NGOs’) were complicit. Indeed, dozens of persons in the Bangkok offices of ‘NGO,’ like the UN International Labor Organization (ILO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), use their positions to traffic in women and children.”
A case in point of the complicity of the foreign media in promoting pedophilia is found in Cambodia.
As with Father Brennan in Pattaya Beach, Phaly Nuon and her husband, Hem Soeurn (left), have dedicated their lives to helping orphans. In the aftermath of Cambodia’s civil war, which resulted in the horrendous “Killing Fields,” established outside of Phnom Penh the Future Light Orphanage (FLO) with 91 repatriated Cambodian orphans from refugee camps in Thailand. They began the orphanage with the money they were awarded for their work by the Figaro Foundation of France.
It was not long, however, that FLO attracted the same type of bad actors that harassed Father Brennan in Thailand. These included two supposed do-gooders who funneled money to FLO: Cambodia Daily publisher Bernard Krisher(Middle of below photo), a longtime American journalist who once worked for
Newsweek and UPI in Tokyo, and Nicholas Negroponte (below), the director of MIT’s Media Lab and the brother of John Negroponte, the death squad commandante as U.S. ambassador to Honduras during Iran-Contra, ambassador to the UN and U.S.-occupied Iraq, the first Director of National Intelligence, and Deputy Secretary of State.
After Yoichi Shimatsu, two New Zealanders – Gerald Thorns and Jack Sanders, and Cambodian Deputy Minister of Commerce Narith Chhim formed the anti-pedophile group Global-PAC, they immediately came in for criticism from Krisher’s Cambodia Daily, rumored to have been started with seed money from the CIA.
Global PAC was looking into reports that FLO, located minutes from Phnom Penh International Airport, was being used by its major financiers, Krisher and Negroponte, for questionable activities involving minors.
In response, the Cambodia Daily launched an investigation of Global PAC. WMR has obtained a copy of a May 2004 e-mail sent by the Cambodia Daily’s Luke Reynolds to Shimatsu, insinuating that Global PAC was funded by intelligence agencies:
“This may seem an annoyance, but can you detail for me what you do for Global PAC exactly? How did you get to know Mr. Sanders, Mr. Thorns, and the like? Also, given
the group’s members’ background, do you think they might have difficulty establishing credibility? To skeptics, Gpac [sic] raises red flags galore: no clear funding source, no clear methods, members with alleged histories of working in covert ops, and it goes on and on. You’re aware of all this I’m sure. Does Gpac [sic] have a future in Cambodia? You should know, and probably do already, that certain people are likely tapping in to all my email correspondence. Thanks for your response regardless.”
To say that Krisher and Negroponte were worried about a new and aggressive anti-pedophilia group in Cambodia would be an understatement. In fact, there was nothing mysterious about Global PAC. At its debut in Tokyo in 2004, it issued the following press release:
“Global PAC was founded five years because our founding members noticed that there were certain sinister groups getting involved in flood relief to North Korea, in the guise of helping the children of North Korea. We noticed that a group calling itself the “Korean Peace Foundation for Children” was backed by accused pedophile Michael Jackson. And there were other groups purporting to assist the flood victims, these groups were run by other prominent false philanthropists who wanted to get a foot in the door and take advantage of North Korean children. They were looking for orphans especially and hoping to do deals with the North Korean Government in order to secure a pipeline of children that could be shipped out of North Korea to order, for international clients, including organized pedophile and organ trafficking groups. These people were of course, pro sunshine policy because it suited their own perverted needs at the time.”
When Global PAC began to make an impact internationally, there was yet another e-mail from Reynolds to Shimatsu: “saw you quoted in a Reuters story. How did that come
Eventually, the Cambodia Daily’s inquiries about Global PAC concentrated on other subjects after Shimatsu sent the following e-mail to Reynolds:
“I encouraged him [Jack Sanders] to take on the issue, knowing the strength of the clandestine network of child pimps in the diplomatic corps, and other arms of the establishment. Out of sheer luck, coincidence, wavelength, whatever you might call it, some high-level Cambodian officials simply lit up when Jack merely mentioned the
pedophile issue, and with this sort of approval, an NGO aiming for the elimination of child prostitution in Cambodia was born.”
Eventually, when the pressure on Krisher and Negroponte reached a near boiling point, they withdrew their funding from FLO, practically leaving 221 orphans up to the age of 18 to fend for themselves financially. On a visit to FLO, director Phaly Nuon told this reporter that while there was never a problem with the girls at the orphanage, some of the boys had been lured away from the compound to do things like “watch TV.” She also indicated that under the financial regime of Krisher and Negroponte, some visitors to the orphanage behaved “badly.”
There was one more brief interest by Krisher’s paper in Global PAC after they announced they were looking into child sex tours by Western VIPs in Sihanoukville, the site of a rumored U.S. Naval Base on Cambodia’s coast. Inj January 2005, the Cambodia Daily’s William Shaw sent Shimatsu a probing e-mail about this subject:
“VIP pedophile suspects in Sihanoukville? That’s quite something. I was down there recently and visited Blue Mountain as well as the red light district in the port to see what was going on. We heard that heard some of the children had been moved there from Svay Pak. However, many of the Blue Mt. brothels appeared closed and there were no immediate signs of child prostitution around the port. I heard there is a secret network of motodops catering to child sex tourists, but again this appeared very low key, if it was happening at all. As for VIPs. . . Perhaps they’d have good connections and methods to
cover their tracks. How are Global PAC tracking them down, and what kind of
VIPs? Government or diplomat or NGO types?”
A few days later there was another probing e-mail from Shaw to Shimatsu concerning VIP pedophiles: “Are the VIP pedophiles being tracked linked in any way to the luxury hotels around town?”
Shimatsu’s reply: “VIPs but not in the ville [Sihanoukville], but in Phnom. Not brothel
related and not public or commercial. Suspects in very powerful positions, so the game is a matter of time and slip ups or even invites, difficult as they are to obtain. Agreed, it has gone very low key, much has moved, but I hear even a lot has left former sites in Vietnam.”
There would be one more e-mail to Global PAC, in December 2005, from Samantha Melamed of the Cambodia, one snooping for information about the shipment of prostitutes to convicted GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s and former GOP House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s favorite Pacific island, Saipan:
“I am writing from the Cambodia Daily newspaper seeking information about reports that Vietnamese women who were trafficked to Cambodia and forced into prostitution are now being resettled on the US island territory Saipan. I was wondering if Global PAC is involved in this project?”
Meanwhile, to this day, young children continue to walk Phnom Penh’s streets hawking Krisher’s Cambodia Daily for $4 a copy. Negroponte continues to run schools in Preah Vihear near the Lao border. And Cambodia continues to be plagues by foreign pedophile predators. In June 2006, retired Marine Corps Captain Michael Pepe (left) was arrested by Cambodian police and charged with sexually molesting four girls aged nine to twelve. Pepe paid between $1 and $5 to the children in return for sex. While on assignment for this article in Phnom Penh, this writer witnessed a similar deal, involving a $1 down payment, to the handler of a seven-year old girl by a sixty-something Western sex tourist.
The linkage between the FLO scandal and the brother of a top State Department official is part of a pattern of similar malfeasance among the U.S. diplomatic corps in the region as we shall soon examine in greater detail.
As for FLO, it seems to have largely weathered the storm. Its director has been honored with further awards, most notably the Ramon Magsaysay Award from the Philippines, and the orphanage has become a patron project of Cambodia’s Queen Mother Monineath (Monique), the wife of longtime Cambodian leader Norodom Sihanouk.
The United States, which has constructed a new $150 million embassy taking up an entire square block in downtown Phnom Penh, never intervened when questions arose about the questionable activities of at least two well-known U.S. citizens at FLO. As we will see, the U.S. embassies in the region, far from being involved in stopping the exploitation of children, are actively involved in it.
The U.S. embassy in Bangkok is the second largest in the Far East (after Tokyo). Its CIA station is also rumored by many intelligence observers in Bangkok to be the second largest in Asia, after Tokyo. However, the U.S. embassy in Bangkok has another distinction – it is at the center of the State Department’s pedophile activities in Asia.
According to former editors Shimatsu and Finnegan, the pedophilia activity has centered around Ambassador Ralph (“Skip”) Boyce, (below) the current U.S. ambassador to Thailand and the former ambassador to Indonesia. Boyce, who speaks fluent Thai, has spent much of his Foreign Service career in Southeast Asia. Before his stint in Indonesia, Boyce was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific. He was Political Counselor Bangkok from 1988 to 1992, had a brief stint as Charge d’Affairs in Singapore from 1992 to 1994 and he returned to Bangkok as Deputy Chief of Mission from 1994 to 1988.
In 1995, while Boyce served as the number two man at the Bangkok embassy, a scandal engulfed the U.S. mission. The Consular Services section of the embassy conspired with Thai police and pedophiles in Belgium, Thailand, and the United States to prevent a Thai boy from being sent from Thailand to Belgium, a noted haven for pedophiles. Thai government officials issued an order on behalf of the child’s American godfather to keep the youngster in Thailand. The boy’s Lao mother, a barmaid, was part of a ring of pedophiles in Pattaya Beach and Antwerp, Belgium. Amid protests, the woman transported the boy to Belgium.
Boyce ignored repeated warnings about the misconduct of his embassy’s Consular Affairs office. Boyce and his key staffers, including Consul General Thomas P. Furey and American Citizens Services chief Christopher Richard, later blocked a Thai police investigation of the matter.
Three successive American ambassadors to Thailand – William Itoh, Richard Hecklinger, and Darryl Johnson, refused to get involved in the case. Only Itoh officially responded to a letter asking for his intervention, however, he did not take any action.
Boyce has, time and time again, shown himself to be conducting his own foreign policy. Although the State Department has a full-time ambassador-at-large who deals with child trafficking matters, Boyce has been content to allow the problem to flourish at the embassies to which he has been assigned, not only in Bangkok but also in Jakarta. Although the Bush administration condemned the September 2006 Thai military coup, dubbed the “Silken Coup,” Boyce wears a yellow tie to affirm his support for the Royal Family, which authorized the coup. He has also refused to condemn the Burmese military junta, although that policy runs counter to official U.S. policy. Boyce has also pushed the interests of American tobacco and alcohol companies even though the Thai government is discouraging the use of both, especially among the young.
Former Jakarta Post editor Finnegan is well aware of Boyce’s modus operandi. He believes that John Mark Karr was a typical intelligence cut ot for the embassy in Bangkok, one whose major job for the embassy was to procure underage children for sex with visiting VIPs and senior diplomats. Because Karr was smart enough to spread out incriminating evidence he had of embassy involvement, they had no other choice but to extricate him from Thailand when he ran afoul of the local authorities.
It was under the protection of the U.S. embassy that Karr was spirited out of Thailand on a business class Thai International Airways flight to the United States, where all charges, those involving Jon Benet Ramsey and the Sonoma Couty kiddie porn charges, were dropped. One of the Bangkok embassy individuals who was cited in news reports as being involved in Karr’s extrication, Ann Hurst who heads the Department of Homeland Security office adjacent to the sprawling embassy compound, refused to return WMR’s phone calls requesting comment. According to published news reports, Hurst was assisted in Karr’s extrication by the CIA station at the embassy.
Finnegan had seen it before. He said when he was at the Jakarta Post, he became aware that Boyce, while ambassador, used two procurers of child prostitutes and sex slaves. They were both Indonesian nationals, one was a CIA asset operating as a businessman and the other a local journalist operating under cover on behalf of the CIA. Finnegan says that State Department pedophiles operate under the “deniability cover” of being diplomats with immunity from prosecution. Finnegan claims these individuals are often promoted and transferred to other embassies in the Southeast Asia region. The CIA uses them to gather incriminating trash on other embassy personnel that is used to blackmail them, sort of insurance policy for the pedophile rings.
Finnegan said that when he began to write about Boyce’s malfeasance in Jakarta, the U.S. embassy’s security officer threatened him on the grounds of the U.S. embassy. Eventually, Boyce had Finnegan’s journalist visa pulled and he was forced to return to the United States with his Indonesian wife.
State Department sources with whom WMR spoke confirm what Finnegan says about diplomat-pedophiles being transferred around Southeast Asia. They cite one example of a U.S. diplomat in Phnom Penh, Cambodia who was openly living with two underage boys – one Cambodian and the other Lao. After being transferred to the U.S. embassy in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, his “secret” was discovered by the strict Muslim government. He was summarily declared persona non grata. He now serves at the American embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a hornets’ nest for pedophiles operating bordellos filled with child prostitutes.
Under Boyce’s tenure in Bangkok as ambassador, the sordid activities of highly placed American child sex procurers has continued unabated. According to a higher education source in Thailand, one such American procurer who worked for an American university in Thailand and who was eventually forced out of the country, procured young boys for orgies, many of them pre-teen children mostly from the Muslim south. He had worked for an American university in Malaysia. The procurer drove young boys in a station wagon from the south of the country to Bangkok for parties with his friends and important American clients. The sites of these orgies were kept secret.
U.S. diplomats assigned to Thailand still talk about the story of a newly arrived Deputy Chief of Mission who was curious as to why the barely legal houseboys at his official residence were lining up at the foot of the stairs before he retired for the evening. Upon asking about the odd custom, he was informed by other embassy personnel that his predecessor required to boys to line up in order for him to select his bed partner for the evening.
Shimatsu confirms that procurers like Karr and other American pedophiles in Southeast Asia are often pornographers, producing still photos or videos or both, which are then used to train boys in homosexual practices; arouse their lust for homosexual sex with adults; and to entertain visiting dignitaries and embassy staff at orgies.
There is one even more sordid footnote to the story about pedophiles in Southeast Asia. According to relief workers who went to southern Thailand’s Phuket region after the catastrophic December 26, 2004 tsunami that struck the coastal areas of the Indian Ocean, the Swedish media was warned by relief workers about the possibility of child abductions. Almost 100 children younger than 13 were among 565 missing in the aftermath of the disaster. The Swedish National Police compounded the problem by keeping a list of the dead and missing secret citing “privacy concerns.” In February 2005, a Swedish court ordered the list of the victims and the missing made public. The coastal areas of Thailand traditionally make their income by smuggling and human trafficking, in addition to tourism and fishing.
Indonesian police reported that a number of orphaned and separated Indonesian children were moved from Aceh province to other parts of Indonesia and Malaysia for trafficking purposes.
The alarm about abductions became clear when a Swedish boy named Kristian Walker was escorted out of a hospital by a German man who was not his father. Although the German man returned the child, a disturbing anomaly was noted by relief workers who were identifying bodies through dental records and DNA. Although a number of Swedish adults and young girls were identified, the bodies of a number of Swedish boys were never recovered, heightening speculation that they had been snagged by abductors and sold into the white slave trade. Young blond boys are highly prized in places like India, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
The story of John Mark Karr’s amazing extrication from Thailand courtesy of Uncle Sam was not an anomaly. Karr, as with other American pedophiles operating under diplomatic cover, educators, or businessmen in Southeast Asia have been treated to a charmed existence thanks to the patronage they receive from the U.S. diplomatic communities. Nor is U.S. involvement in such heinous activities a new phenomenon.
From Jim Thompson, to CIA and Special Forces operating in the region during the Indochina War, and more recently with America pronouncing itself the world’s only superpower, the hegemonic nature of American foreign policy has permitted sexual vermin like pedophiles to operate in the clear.
The news media has been equally culpable in not exposing high level U.S. government in pedophilia in Southeast Asia. Part of it stems from their willingness to look the other way in return for access to top government officials. The other is more basic in nature. One U.S. diplomat had the following to say about this writer while on the story in Thailand and Cambodia, “you ask questions about that shit and you might wind up with your dick cut off and stuck in your mouth.” Another longtime journalist in the region commented that it is dangerous covering the pedophilia story, especially in Cambodia. Shimatsu concurred, saying, “reporters asking too many questions about pedophiles in Southeast Asia are likely to end up with a bullet in their head.” Finnegan said the story about official sanctioning of pedophilia is muted partly because Southeast Asia is “geographically removed from the prying eyes of most U.S. journalists . . . and there are not many that would tackle this.”
There certainly is a trail of bodies of activists in Southeast Asia who did try and expose the nature of Asia’s Pedogate scandal. And the U.S. State Department continues to provide coverage for America’s most despicable representatives abroad.