Tag Archives: Thailand

Thai Muslim Insurgents Meet In Geneva

Southern regions of Thailand are the scene of insurgent groups who are fighting for the rights of Muslims against what they regard is an oppressive central government. Prime Minister Samak Saundaravej noted yesterday there were reports at least two of the six militant groups are meeting in Geneva in order to find ways of internationalizing their struggle. Interior Minister Chaleerm Yubamrung admits the rebeliion is spreading and forming links with other forces, even those from Cambodia. “I admit it is too big an issue. It is not that I don’t pay enugh attention to it, but I am trying to find a way to solve th problem.” Army sources believe rebels are seeking ot obtain money and supplies from other areas of the world in order to improve their ability to conduct militant action

There are reports some Thai military met with insurgent representatives in 2006 and at that time the militants were not talking about southern provinces breaking away, but they may have changed their mind and are now seeking international aid in order to expand their activities and seek a separate southern Muslim nation.

A military solution will result in years of fighting and dying. The Thai government has to initiate an extensive political and economic program to win over Muslims in southern regions.

Violence In South Thailand Reaches New Level

The long simmering conflict in southern Thailand took another turn with the introduction of car bombing to the area. Muslims in the southern provinces of Thailand have been engaged in active violence during the past few years in order to compel the government to adhere to demands for policial, economic, an social changes. Up to this point, the Muslim insurgents have resorted to ambushes, kidnapping and use of mines to get across their demands. However, over the weekend, unprecedented use of car bombs in Pattani and Yala left three people dead and many injured. Authorities beleive the use of car bombs represents a dramatic new turn in insurgent tactics.

The commander of the task force dealing with separatist attacks, Tawatchai Samutsakhon, responded to the car bombs by claiming they reflect his success in crushng the militants which has forced them to turn to car bombings. One of the bombings took place at the CS Pattani hotel which is frequented by government officials. Crown Prince Maha Vajialongkorn sent a basket of fruit to one of the victims. There probably is need for instituting reforms that will address concerns of Muslims in the south and a basket of fruit certainly will not be sufficient.

Thailand Signs Business Pact With Burma Junta

Thailand’s Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej committed his nation to a large economic investment plan with the dictatorial Burmese miliatary junta. The proposal will be major effort to boost the Mymanar economy. Up to this point, Thailand has been hesitant abou doing any major economic efforts that might result in strengthening the power of the so-called State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) who exert total control over their nation and stifle all opposition to their rule. The Thai prime minister ordered all his ambassadors to operate a “one-stop service” to facilitate foreigners investing in Burma. He also told reporters that Burma’s military leaders has assured him they were proceeding on the road to democracy.

A year ago, the world expressed its concern over the brutal treatment of Burmese monks who were beaten, murdered and arrested by the Burma regime. Today, all quiet reigns on the eastern front and nations rush to assist the retention in power of thugs and gangsters. the voices of oppressed Burmese people are lost in the rush to riches.

Thailand’s Troubled Southern Muslim Province

Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, writing in the Bangkok Post argues reports of torture and ill treatment of people in the southern Muslim province on the south are on the increase. He beleived the Thailand government must become more pro-active in addressing long festering problems related to lack of equal rights for Muslims in his nation. “Crimes are being committed extensively, particularly against civilians, and it is the general local population that suffers most.” Some of the challenges to Thailand’s government are:

1. The current State of Emergency Decree which prohibits visits by families and lawyers during the initial three days to those being detained creates hardships.
2. The three day rule begins anew if the person is moved from one location to another.
3, Various emergency laws allow authorities to detain people for seven days without any court process being initiated. The government insists the detained person is technically “helping authorities” which obviously is a euphimism for being arrested.
4. Many children under the age of eighteen have been detained which violates the rights of children to access to legal assistance. Poor women whose husbands have been arrested lack money for a family’s basic needs.

There is need for more aggressive programs that address issues of poverty in southern areas of Thailand and that provide greater opporunities for Muslims to become actively engaged in the political arena. Military action against terrorists is only one facet of any program of ending violence. Unless social, economic and political steps are taken, there will continue to be unrest in Muslim areas of Thailand.

Thailand-Torture, Fear And Southern Distrust

The southern region of Thailand has always been inhabited by people who are of the Muslim faith unlike the majority of Bhuddist Thais. The nation’s new Interior Minister, Chalerm Yubamrung, recently floated the idea of granting semi-autonomy to the deep South in a clear break from past administrations who have resorted to war, terror and torture to break insurgencies in that area of the country. Over 3,000 lives have been lost since January, 2004 when a group of armed men raided a military camp and killed several soldiers.

A common complaint of Muslims is the use of torture against those who express anger toward the government. Aninudin Kaji, an Islamic teacher, described being beaten while in detention because someone had named him as an insurgent. Anantachai Thaiprathan, a member of the National Human Rights Commission, claims his group has uncovered at least 30 torture cases that took place in the deep South. He believes the use of torture against Muslim suspects has created anger and distrust of the national government.

A common complaint among Thai human rights groups is reliance on force rather than diplomacy and conciliation to win over the hearts of Muslim Thais. They need greater self autonomy and a more active participation in government. Torture is never the way to gain respect in the world.

Why Human Rights Fails In Thailand!

The future of human rights in Thailand is not very bright according to some of the leading fighters for social justice in that nation. Jon Ungphakorn, a noted activitst commented:”The public therefore allows the authorities and the majority to undermine the rights of the minority, wherevcer they are in Thailand.” However, Somchai Homia-or, of the Foundation for Human Rights and Dev elopments, has a slightly different cause of the failure of human rights to take root in his country. He says the problem is embedded in the judicial process which allows abuse of power. “People, as well as human rights defenders, including lawyers, have been alientated and isolated from the judicial system and this was the case in the South where forced disappearances and extra-judicial killings have been rampant.”

There is little doubt many Muslims in southern Thailand feel themselves isolated and marginalized by those in authority who reside in the north. There is little sense of being able to impact the course of events in the Thai government and this allows Muslim militants in southern regions of the nation to continue their rebellion.

Thailand Source Of Waterboard Torture

The Bankgkok Post reported Thai authorities have long known of the existence of a prison in their nation which has been used to subject prisoners to waterboard torture. They were aware American agents took prisoners captured in Afghanistan or Pakistan to secret hideaways in Thailand where the suspects were tortured. The CIA has continually denied there was a base or facility in Thailand where interrogation of prisoners took place. “Foreign sources have told the Bangkok Post that the denials were technically correct.” The CIA, like others in the Bush administration, are excellent at using “technicalities” to cover up abuse.

Sources in Thailand confirmed to the Bangkok Post the following interrogations:

Abu Zubaida, captured on March 28, 2002, was brought to Thailand where the interrogation took place in a wharehouse. He was subjected to waterboarding and after 0.31 seconds begged for mercy and agreed to cooperate.
Khaled Sheikh Mohammed was captured in Pakistan on September 11, 2002. He was actively involved in planning the suicide bomb attacks on September 11, 2001. Within two seconds after being waterboarded, he confessed and agreed to cooperate.
Ramzi bin-al-Shibh, another 9/11 planner was captured in Pakistan. it is uncertain what happened during his interrogation.

According to the Washington Post, in 2005, the retiring CIA station chief in Bangkok asked permission to destroy videotapes because he was leaving. Jose A. Rodriguez, then the CIA’s director of clandestine operations, allowed tapes to be destroyed despite warnings from CIA and White House officials to avoid such action.

Supporters of torture will point to confessions and cooperation due to waterboarding. They ignore the possibility such cooperation could have been attained by employing standard operating procedures for interrogation of prisoners. No bomb was ready to go off, there was sufficient time to employ methods that have worked in other wars. The destruction of the tapes despite alleged orders from the White House not to employ such action speaks volumes about leadership in the Bush administration.

Thai Muslim Insurgents Infiltrate Armed Forces

Thailand is essentially a Buddhist nation, but their southern region is extensively composed of Muslims. During the past few years, the Muslim south has been witnessed the emergence of separatist forces who seek to break away and create a separate Muslim nation. Thai authorities were shocked to learn that three soldiers and seven policemen were supplying intelligence to insurgents in the deep south. This is the first time so many members of the security forces have ben directly linked to what has become an increasingly ugly and violent conflict. Many Muslims are c aught between fear of the militants and demands for loyalty on the part of the Thai government. The current situation began in January, 2004, when insurgents raided an army arms depot and seized over 400 weapons. It is estimated over 2000 people have died in the ensuing violence.

About 80% of the two million people living in Thailand’s three southern provinces are Muslim. These people claim lack of government assistance and less concern for economic and political rights which undoubtedly has provided insurgents support from many members of the local population. The area originally was a separate Muslim nation for hundreds of years before being taken over by Thailand. The question is whether or not the Thai government is willing to restore Muslim independence or create viable economic and political conditions which would entice people to remain under Thai rule.

Thailand Leader Threatened With Arrest By Government

The People Power Party of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra swept to an overwhelming victory in last week’s parliamentary election, but Thaksin still faces problems if he attempts to return from his self-imposed exile in London. The Thai Attorney General warned that, “As soon as he sets foot in Thailand which he claims will be sometime between February and April of next year, he will face police arrest. An arrest warrant has already been issued for him a long time ago.” The billionaire Thai leader is charged with corruption, but he fears there would not be a fair trial if he returns. His party’s victory has definitely given new life to him even thought Thaksin told the press he was abandoning the political arena. That is probably the best course of action for this controversial figure who is expert at arousing passions among the poor people of Thailand.

Thaksin is loved by many poor people but he is hated by the military, and, most probably by the King of Thailand. It is perhaps to lay low for a few years and allow his political party a shot at governing before trying to return.

Thai Investigation Reveals Anti-Drug Campaign Horror

A new study by the government of Thailand reveals during the period of January-Februry, 2003, the administration of Thaskin Shinawatra instituted an anti-drug campaign which resulted in the deaths of at least 2,500 people. The program supposedly was set in motion in order to meet UN hopes for an effective approach to dealing with drugs that would be humane and respect individual rights. Instead, according to a source which is part of the current study, “those who implemented the order though they could do whatever it took to meet the target which was to reduce to drug traffickers.” It is estimated at least 1,400 of the deaths had nothing to do with reducing drugs but were linked to local police officers who simply were aiming at meeting target figures more than eliminating drugs in Thailand.

The war on drugs is among the most ineffective ever waged in the history of humankind. There are thousands of drugs which are legal and some which are not illegal. Historically, humans have been using drugs for a variety of reasons, but the 20th century has been characterized by an aimless program which repeatedly fails and invariably results in drug lords becoming wealthier. The aim of an effective drug program should be through education and other incentives to enable individuals to make decisions that would lead them not to use harmful drugs.