Indonesia has sentenced Schapelle Corby, an Australian woman, to 20 years in prison for possession of marijuana. Now I can understand that nations want to establish their own laws in keeping with their culture and that sentences can be harsh to discourage certain behaviors. But I've been to Indonesia, and I hardly found the country a pristine paradise ruled by the iron rule of law. Everywhere I went, I saw thugs harrassing people within sight of police stations. At virtually every store (and once, even in a bank), I had to remain constantly watchful as people tried to rip me off. Indonesia is probably one of the seediest nations on the face of the earth, a place where officially-sanctioned crime is rampant. It's clearly ruining this lady's life as a way to thumb its nose at the West. It should adopt more rational methods like flag-burning.
I found this article on Indonesian corruption on STL Today:
INDONESIA, it is said, is a place so corrupt that would-be police officers have to bribe their way into the police academy. Bribery is so common that it even has an informal price list - so much for a drivers license, so much for a deed, etc. At the average business, 10 percent of costs go to buying off government officials, according to a 2002 survey by the University of Indonesia. As The New York Times reported in January: "It is taken for granted that no one does business in Indonesia without paying bribes, routinely disguised as 'consultants' fees,' to government ministers and heads of agencies, many of whom have retired with hundreds of thousands of dollars stashed in accounts in Singapore and elsewhere." The nation is a kleptocracy - a government by thievery. So it's not very surprising that minions for Monsanto spread more than $700,000 around the greedy hands of Indonesian officials. The surprising thing would be to find a major business that succeeds in Indonesia without greasing the bureaucrats.
Other blogments can be found at: GuruAnn, Australia Blog, and Johnnie Moore's blog.