Tag Archives: Police

Murder In Thailand By The Police!

Jon Ungphakorn, writing in the Bangkok Post, tells the story of a lawyer named Somchai Neelaphaijit who left his office one day to head off to a meeting, meet a client, stop to pray at a mosque, and have a meal. Toward evening, he told his daughter that he was fatigued, got in his car and headed for the home of his brother. On the way, a car bumped him from the rear and when he got out to inspect the damage, five members of the police suddenly seized him, threw him in their car and sped away. That is what happened to lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit on March 12, 2004. To this day, no trace of his body has ever been found.

Five members of the police were tried for the abduction, but only one was convicted and he is appealing the sentence. Under Thai law one can not be tried for kidnapping unless a ransom is demanded and since they probably killed the lawyer, no such request was ever made. It is widely believed that top officials of the Thaksin Shinawatra administration were actively involved in the abduction and murder but no attempt has ever been made to pursue that line of inquiry. Somchai was a prominent human rights defender and was active in working for the rights of Muslims in southern Thailand.

This event together with more than 2,000 extrajudicial killings took place in 2003 and 2004 during a war on drugs. During this time there was the mass killing of the entire Sabayoi football teacm and the deaths of 78 demonstrators who were arrested. Up to this point, the Thai military, police and many political leaders involved in these deaths have never been prosecuted.

An Iraqi General In A Divided Village

General Ghanem Abbas Al-Qoreishi, former officer in Saddam’s army, moved his convoy of armed trucks into the village of Barwanah in hope of easing tensions in the long-troubled district. His primary focus was ending the sectarian division which has ripped apart any effort to bring unity to the people of Iraq. “We need to stop this spiral of violence,” said the general. “My father is a Shitte. My mother is a Sunni. I am an Iraqi.” The village is split between the large Sunni majority and the smaller Shiite group which regards them as mortal enemies. The divided province is an Al-Qaeda stronghold and has witnessed bitter violence. The general already has a bounty on his head being offered by militant groups.

Already 1,500 police have been killed and General Al-Qoreishi believes even his 17,335 officers are insufficient in strength to combat al-Qaeda. Residents told him terrorist attacks have destroyed electricity cables and pylons. “We have no water or electricity: they have cut everything. We cannot even water our fields. We need the money to repair everything.” The general estimates about 70% of the region is Sunni and if Sunni encounter Shiite violence, they turn to al-Qaeda for protection.

General Al-Qoreishi believes an important step is for Ameican authorities “to compensate all Iraqis who have lost goods and family members. In all the countries of the world, when you throw money on a fire, it burns. In Iraq, the fire dies out.” As the convoy left the village, an old man was sitting on the ground still clutching photos of his two missing sons.

Returning Iraq Veterans Raise New Issues For Police

Police forces throughout the United States are encountering a new concern stemming from the return of police officers who served in Iraq. As Audrey Honig, of the L.A. Police Department notes, “In civilian work, we err on the side of not shooting, in the military they err on the side of shooting. We are very concerned that some officers are unable to make that transition.” In a recent case in Texas, Wayne Williamson, who served n an Army reserve unit in Iraq, began jumping at virtually every unexpected sound and wound up shooting an unarmed suspect during a foot chase. Williamson’s lawyer says “everyone believes he should not have fired” but his client thought he was back in iraq. The Los Angeles Police Department has now encountered several incidents of former Iraq war veterans who are experiencing difficulty in dealing with lethal-force scenarios.

The United States Justice Department estimates over 11,000 police officers have served in Iraq and thus been exposed to rather unusual situations in which the individual has to make immediate decisions concerning his or her life. Fighting criminals in America obviously poses dangers, but they pale compared with what these police officers faced in Iraq. The United States is again living with the unforseen consequences of the Bush fiasco in Iraq.

Criminal Terror In Kenya As Police Go Wild

Reports from Kenya tell of a wave of killings by the police who are attempting to wipe out a criminal gang by the name of Mungiki. Scores of bodies are turning up on the outskirts of Nairobi as well as in the countryside with evidence they were executed by a single shot to the head. The Kenya police are blamed for this outburst of violence. The Mungiki gang began in the 1990s as a semi-religious sect, but apparently saw more productive outlets for their talents in the world of crime. They became major players in protection rackets and other criminal activities. It is believed politicians draw upon their talents to have those opposing them in elections taken care of in a way that would please the old Murder Incorporated gang of New York. The Kenya police have gained a reputation for brutality. Last year they demolished scores of huts in the slums around Nairobi and drove thousands of people back to the countryside. Last June during one of their slum raids, they killed 39 people. As in many developing nations, a brutal police force is a major impediment to peace and security.

After reading of the rising crime in Nairobi, this writer wonders if America might send their boastful former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, to Kenya where he can demonstrate his supposed skills in ending crime in a large city. One doubts if he would walk the streets of Nairobi challenging criminals.

Senior British Police Officer Urges End To Drug Laws

Richard Brunstrom, Chief Constable of North Wales, issued a powerful report which claims the war on drugs has failed and it is time to explore other alternatives. “If policy on drugs is in future,” he writes, “to be pragmatic, not moralistic, driven by ethics, not dogma, then the current prohibitionist stance will have to be swept away as both unworkable and immoral, to be replaced with an evidence based unified system (including tobacco and alcohol) aimed at minimisation of harms to society.” He notes in his statement, a report from the Chief Medical Officer of Wales who found in 2004 that 13,000 died from tobacco use, 2,052 died from alcohol and only 356 died from use of illegal drugs.

The war on drugs has failed just at Prohibition in the 1920s failed. One can only wonder how advocates of current drug laws would explain to a visiting Martian anthropologist why an array of drugs like Prozac are perfectly OK as are alcohol and tobacco, but other drugs are not. Our drugs laws make absolutely no sense and only serve to create a drug culture which produces violence and corruption. It is amazing how society fails to learn anything from the Prohibition era. Brunstrom, like most police officers, understands the current drug laws, at best, result in arresting minor players while those making millions live in peace and will never see the inside of a jail. Of the current 2,000,000 people in jails in America, one-third are there due to violation of drug laws. How does society benefit from such figures?