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  1. #926
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    One of the first things a new government should do is rescind the law making libel a criminal offense. It's a civil matter.

  2. #927
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    Killings at Wat Pathum Wanaram

    Killings at Wat Pathum Wanaram

    May 24th, 2011 by Anonymous




    This document is an attempt at a close translation of a report allegedly leaked from the Department of Special Investigations (DSI) of Thailand regarding investigations into the deaths of six civilians at Wat Pathum Wanaram in Bangkok on 19 May 2010.

    This translation aims to be impartial and highly accurate, and not to comment on the content of the report except where necessary to clarify points of translation. Insofar as it is legal and advisable to do so, this translation may be freely published and redistributed. It is hoped that it will facilitate better-informed discussion of the Wat Pathum case, and of all of the deaths resulting from the events of April and May 2010. However, this report should only be taken as one piece of evidence in the overall picture.

    The redactions in the document appear to have been made by the Prachatai staff. Black bars have been replaced herein with [NAME REDACTED] or similar. Sequential numbers have been assigned, in the absence of names, to witness testimony summaries for ease of reference. Numbers in square brackets have also been added to break up a lengthy summary paragraph on pages 14-15, in order to make it easier to follow. Thai names, by and large, are spelled according to the Royal Thai General System of Transcription, the official system for romanization of Thai.

    The full translation is available here.
    "Slavery is the daughter of darkness; an ignorant people is the blind instrument of its own destruction; ambition and intrigue take advantage of the credulity and inexperience of men who have no political, economic or civil knowledge. They mistake pure illusion for reality, license for freedom, treason for patriotism, vengeance for justice."-Simn Bolvar

  3. #928
    Thailand Expat SteveCM's Avatar
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    From New Mandala.....


    Altering the history of impunity?


    May 24th, 2011
    by Jennifer Schwarz and Austyn Gaffney, Guest Contributors


    I want to talk about my husband. He was just a normal guy, not a special career, but he loved to see righteousness in society, and this caused him to lose his life. With her voice shaking, Nittaya Phachua, age 33, stood tensely beside a photograph of her deceased husband. Her husband, Inplaeng Tedwong, was an unarmed taxi driver from Ubon Ratchatani province who was shot in the chest during the Bangkok crackdown of April/May 2010.

    I dont know who shot him, Nittaya, a mother of two, recently said at a forum at Khon Kaen University. She only knows the bullets came from very high up. Standing with her fist clenched behind her back, Nittayas voice trembled, I want justice for my husband. For my children.

    It has been nearly a year since her husband died, and Nittaya is still waiting for justice.

    For those affected by the April/May 2010 crackdown, Thai history offers little reassurance that justice will be attained. After similar bloody crackdowns in 1976 and 1992, the truth was overshadowed by government issued amnesty. No perpetrators have ever stood trial.

    As the first anniversary of the 2010 crackdown approaches, how close is Thailand to uncovering the truth behind the 92 people killed and over 2,000 injured? Will victims like Nittaya ever be able to find reconciliation for the loss of their loved ones?

    In the past year, five groups have been involved in investigating the April/May crackdown of 2010. One report and one court submission have already been released. Another group has issued an interim report focusing on the roots of the conflict. Two more organizations hope to have reports out this year.

    One of those organizations, the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRC) intends to release a report in late June or July. Mr. Sophon Chingchit, Director of the National Human Rights Council of Thailands Office of Human Rights Protection, said in an interview that the delay in the report is due to the careful considerations of the report review committee that is scrutinizing the evidence in the report. As the NHRC report is waiting for approval, other reports are moving forward.

    Im talking about going to court to channel frustrations in the most non-violent way possible, said Robert Amsterdam, a lawyer for the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) in an interview earlier this month. On January 31, Amsterdam submitted a request to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to conduct an investigation. The submission depicts the government and military as systematically targeting the Red Shirts. It claims that the state had a policy to suppress any such protests through military force.

    In the aftermath, state officials charged Red Shirts with terrorism, lese majeste, or no specific crime at all, leading to arbitrary detentions.

    Amsterdams submission calls for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, along with key government and army officials, to be held criminally liable under international law for crimes against humanity.

    In many instances, the recent findings of Human Rights Watch (HRW) corroborate the ICC submission, especially in terms of the governments use of excessive and lethal force. However the report distinguishes itself by characterizing the crackdown as a violent conflict between two armed groups. The report directly identifies Black Shirts, an armed party during the conflict, saying, on numerous occasions, the [Red Shirt] protesters were joined by better-armed and fast-moving Black Shirt militants. At the launch of the report earlier this month, Asia director of HRW Brad Adams said, in plain view government forces shot protesters and armed militants shot soldiers, but no one has been held responsible.

    Unlike the HRW report, the report from Peoples Information Center (PIC), an organization consisting of academics, activists and students, focuses primarily on the human rights violations against Red Shirt victims. The PIC formed in July 2010, and expects to release their full report in December 2011 upon its completion.

    In a press release issued last month, the PIC claimed that during violent incidents officers used improper force in the situation. It concluded that of 80 victims, none of the evidence has proved they were armed, or they had any weapons fighting with the government. As Kwanravee Wangudom of the PIC stated when explaining that no one party can explain exactly what happened, Im not saying we are speaking the truth but we can shed light onto what happened.

    While the first three reports focus on finding the truth behind the violence, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Thailand (TRCT) focuses on reaching a common understanding. Commissioned by Prime Minister Abhisit after the crackdown as an autonomous body, the TRCT has until July 2012 to complete its mandate.

    According to the first Interim Report from April 2011, the commission seeks to determine the root causes and precedents of the conflict and violence in the country. Ultimately, the aim is to create a culture of compromise and tolerance of different opinions in order to achieve long-term national reconciliation. Recommendations for reconciliation include reaffirming love for the monarchy, compensating affected families, granting bail to detainees, and retracting arbitrary charges of lese majeste and terrorism.

    Critics question whether the TRCT is truly an autonomous and toothless body. Somchai Homla-or, chair of the fact-finding subcommittee of the TRCT, revealed that we havent received cooperation from some factions of the military and the police. We dont have much power, we give opinions and recommendations. Beyond that, we dont have the power to subpoena, Somchai concluded.

    While each report presents a different set of facts and views, all of the groups writing reports have faced a common challenge in their investigations. The government has severely limited access to important information offering evidence to parties responsible for the violence.

    The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) was assigned by the government to investigate the killings of last April/May. In December 2010 leaked documents from the DSI showed that from cases of 16 deaths, 13 of those deaths were likely caused by soldiers in the line of duty. The DSI later denied these findings.

    Gaining accurate information is restricted due to the official policy of the government of Thailand, according to the ICC submission. This policy requires state officials to conceal and/or eliminate all evidence of criminal conduct by the government or the Army leaders in connection with the civilian killings.

    This lack of government accountability mirrors the aftermath of past political demonstrations such as Black May in 1992, when military units shot and killed at least 40 protesters. General Suchinda Kraprayoon granted amnesty to both the perpetrators and the victims of the violence. The government set up a fact-finding panel for the events, which released a report eight years later. Before the report was released to the Thai public, the names of military officials, units, and actions were blacked out or abridged.

    Dr. Sriprahpha Petcharamesree of the Centre for Human Rights Studies at Mahidol University has stated, We are stuck in a system of impunity. We cant break it without accountability.

    The recent announcement by Pheu Thai party to grant amnesty to all parties involved, contradicts the decision made by Red Shirts on May 10, 2010. Red Shirts rejected amnesty before it was offered putting themselves at risk of facing charges of terrorism and sedition, in the hopes that state officials be charged with the death of civilians. While the cycle of impunity may continue with the Pheu Thai party, a rejection of amnesty would be the first time in Thai history that a violent incident is not forgotten.

    The different reports attempt to recall the incident and move the country forward through efforts to be accountable to the Thai public. Dr. Sriprahpha recently stated, If we compile the reports together, we may see the whole picture better. This is perhaps the first time in Thai history when that is possible.

    While the future of amnesty in Thailand is unclear, We cannot hold hands and forget like before. The problem will keep occurring, history will keep repeating itself said Somchai Homla-or.

    Even with the reports, Thailand continues to struggle with the meaning of reconciliation. The wounds inflicted by the crackdown remain. For Nittaya, [Reconciliation is] about bringing the people who are responsible to justice. However, as she moves forward raising her children alone, she expresses, but somehow in my heart I still have a conflict with that because it doesnt substitute for what I have lost.
    .

    .....the world will little note nor long remember what we say here....."

  4. #929
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    'Terrorist slur' upsets reds

    'Terrorist slur' upsets reds

    By THE NATION
    Published on May 25, 2011


    Pheu Thai to lodge complaints with EC, police today over Suthep's accusation, but Ong-art is unfazed by move

    Red-shirt leaders who are Pheu Thai Party candidates threatened yesterday to take legal action against the Democrat Party over Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban's description of them as "terrorists".They warned that such a label could be regarded as slander against election candidates, which is an offence under electoral law that could lead to dissolution of the party that he serves as secretary-general.

    Natthawut Saikua, a red-shirt leader and Pheu Thai party-list candidate in the July 3 poll, said that although he and some red-shirt leaders had been charged with terrorism for their involvement in last year's unrest and rioting, there was as yet no final court ruling on these allegations.

    "Such an allegation by Suthep in the run-up to an election could lead to dissolution of his party. His words really are bringing trouble to the party," he claimed.

    Korkaew Pikulthong, a fellow red-shirt leader, said he and other red-shirt leaders on Pheu Thai's party list could file a complaint against Suthep with the Crime Suppression Division this afternoon, and with the Election Commission later.

    The complaint to be filed with the police involves defamation, while the one to be lodged with the EC involves an alleged violation of electoral law.

    He said Suthep appeared to be trying to discredit red-shirt leaders who are standing in the upcoming general election.

    "It is just an accusation [the charge of terrorism] and the court has not reached any guilty verdict yet," Korkaew said.

    Democrat party-list candidate Ong-art Klampaiboon said the party was not concerned about the threat of legal action against Suthep and the Democrats.

    Ong-art, who is a PM's Office Minister, said Suthep had sufficient information to support his claim that the red-shirt leaders were behind the "torching of the city" last year.

    "I think the red shirts are taking legal action out of embarrassment. They cannot provide facts to counter Suthep's information. It must be admitted that as the deputy prime minister responsible for security affairs, Suthep has quite a lot of detail about the street demonstrations over the past two years."

    He said a court case would provide an opportunity for Suthep to present the information in his possession and for the public to be better informed about the matter.

    Natthawut and Korkaew insisted yesterday that red-shirt supporters had the right to protest against the Democrat leader and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva during his election campaigning. "They do not make trouble. They just express their |political views, which they deserve as citizens. Election Commission chairman Apichart Sukhagganond also said the red shirts had the right to express their views," Natthawut said.

    However, the two also claimed there were "fake red-shirt protesters" trying to create a bad name for the Pheu Thai Party and its red-shirt candidates.

    This echoed a similar remark made by Thida Thawornseth, chairwoman of the red-shirt movement.

    Abhisit yesterday laughed when he was asked to comment on the explanation. "We have heard about that quite often before. But for those who got arrested and faced prosecution, there were no claims they were fake red shirts," he said.

    Red-shirt leaders had described people who wore red involved in rioting and violent attacks over the past two years as "fake red shirts".

    Abhisit also asked the Election Commission yesterday to take action over red-clad troublemakers showing up where Democrat candidates are campaigning. "It would be weird if they waited until someone got physically assaulted before taking any action," he said.

    The Democrat leader said his party had tried to avoid situations that could lead to conflict. Asked if Pheu Thai could play a part in ensuring a good atmosphere in the run-up to the poll, he said: "I think the Pheu Thai Party could do so. It depends whether or not they want to."

  5. #930
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveCM
    Gaining accurate information is restricted due to the “official policy of the government of Thailand,” according to the ICC submission.
    Wrong. It is strictly an unnofficial policy, albeit followed beyond the point of farce. And no red shirts were shot by the Army.
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    Ong-art, who is a PM's Office Minister, said Suthep had sufficient information to support his claim that the red-shirt leaders were behind the "torching of the city" last year.
    And an illegitimately appointed state sector defines this as terrorism? Other people would differ on who the terrorists are- but isn't that always the case.
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    ensuring a good atmosphere in the run-up to the poll, he said: "I think the Pheu Thai Party could do so. It depends whether or not they want to."
    Don't recall any Dem candidates or canvassers being shot, or described as terrorists.
    probes Aliens

  6. #931
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    Nopphatchak Attanond: An Apology from PM Abhisit | Prachatai English

    Nopphatchak Attanond: An Apology from PM Abhisit

    Tue, 07/06/2011 - 11:42

    by prachatai

    Nopphatchak Attanond

    With a number of chances to ask a question directly to PM Abhisit and in numerous interviews I have had with him, one of the things I have been most curious to know is if he would utter any apology after the crackdown in May last year.

    92 deaths

    2,000 injuries

    162 cases under DSI oversight

    31 deaths by gunshot wounds to the head

    0 apologies from Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva


    With a number of chances to ask a question directly to PM Abhisit and in numerous interviews I have had with him, one of the things I have been most curious to know is if he would utter any apology after the crackdown in May last year.

    Before my interviews with PM Abhisit, his team would ensure me that he would entertain any question. Well, as an Oxford graduate with first class honours in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, one would not doubt his ability to deal with any question on earth. No matter how difficult the questions may be, he is certainly able to handle them all.

    But only one question was not allowed on air.

    “After the crackdown which resulted in a number of casualties among the demonstrators, of course legal liability has to proceed along judicial lines, but as Prime Minister of a country in which a number of people have died for a political cause, would you as PM want to apologize to the demonstrators?

    I asked the same question twice and was bracing myself to hear the answer. I was nervous about how the answer would turn out. And I expected a word of apology from the country’s leader who once made a wrong political move.

    Alas, no.

    I never got to hear from him the word “sorry”.

    I never felt any repentance he may have.

    What I heard was

    “This question is not allowed on air.”

    I asked why.

    “Because if we apologize, it means we are in the wrong.”

    That was the only answer from PM Abhisit. It was far from what I had expected.

    My expectation stemmed from what the PM once said: “I pledge to become the Prime Minister of all Thais.”

    My expectation stemmed from the politician who once said that “(the government) has to heed to the people’s voice regardless if it is uttered by just one or by hundreds of thousands of people”

    I was expecting to hear a word of apology only to realize how the PM comes to terms with his mistake in decision-making.

    It was such a common expectation by anyone...

    Someone who has no intention whatsoever to topple the Abhisit coalition...

    Someone who never asked him to dissolve Parliament or to resign...

    I was simply looking forward to a word of apology.

    An apology from someone we care for and value

    .... someone to whom we are still ready to listen.
    .............................

    Note: This was written around October 2010 after I was invited to ask questions to PM Abhisit Vejjajiva in an online program with the Prime Minister.

    Translated by Pipob Udomittipong


    Source:
    ™[at]žั’™ŒˆักษŒ [at]ั••™™—Œ: „ำ‚[at]‚—ษ ˆาก™ายก[at][at]ิสิ—˜ิŒ | ›ระŠา„— ห™ั‡สื[at]žิมžŒ[at][at]™„ล™Œ

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    http://thainews.prd.go.th/en/news.php?id=255406150009

    UDD: PM must take responsibilities for 91 deaths



    BANGKOK, 15 June 2011 (NNT) – The United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) has stressed that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva must be held accountable for the death of 91 people killed in the military crackdown on UDD protesters last year.

    Responding to Prime Minister Abhisit’s note on his facebook, Acting UDD Chairperson Thida Thavornsret stated that both the prime minister and his deputy for security affairs Suthep Thaugsuban could not deny their responsibilities for the loss.

    Ms Thida explained that Prime Minister Abhisit wrote the facebook message because he had realized what people thought about the incident after he traveled to visit people during his political campaign. She however noted that the Prime Minister’s explanation would not yield any effect as people knew the truth well.

    The UDD chairperson said Prime Minister Abhisit held the supreme authority in the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES); therefore, she asked who should be responsible for the deployment of army officers which was followed by the known violence and deaths.

    Regarding the black-clad snipers whom the government had put the blame on for all the killings, Ms Thida questioned once again if the government could really arrest the culprits or not. She then criticised the government for making a groundless claim without concrete evidence.

    As part of his political campaign via the social media, Prime Minister Abhisit on 12 June wrote in his facebook another comment regarding the UDD protest and the 91 deaths. He confirmed that he did not made any killing order against UDD protesters.

  8. #933
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    http://thainews.prd.go.th/en/news.php?id=255406160014

    Democrat: Red Shirts are hyprocrites


    BANGKOK, 16 June 2011 (NNT)-Democrat Spokesperson MD Buranat Samutarak said in response to the former Thai Rak Thai Leader, Mr. Jaturon Chaisang, that soldiers should not be held responsible for the violence last year because they were not armed at the time.

    Mr. Jaturon claimed the violence occurred when the soldiers were closing in on the demonstrators while the Democrat Spokesperson countered that it was in fact the other way around. Military forces were actually retreating when it happened. Mr. Jaturon said if there was anyone to blame, it was the military not the black clad men.

    Dr. Buranat added that soldiers were only using rubber bullets and shields in their defense and protection. He further stated that when the government had proposed to dissolve the House and to hold the election on 14 November 2010, the Red Shirt rejected to comply with the proposal and let the violence get out of hand.

    Dr. Buranat accused them for lying to the public when tying the national conciliation to Mr. Thaksin Shinawat’s corruption case where in fact they were the one who dismissed the government’s proposition in the first place.

  9. #934
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    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    BANGKOK, 16 June 2011 (NNT)-Democrat Spokesperson MD Buranat Samutarak said in response to the former Thai Rak Thai Leader, Mr. Jaturon Chaisang, that soldiers should not be held responsible for the violence last year because they were not armed at the time.
    Goebbels would be proud. Don't just lie, make it the biggest, most transparently false lie you can. You can't argue with such people.

  10. #935
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    Thai-ASEAN News Network

    Question of the Hour

    UPDATE : 17 June 2011

    The time has finally arrived in which the Democrat Party will no longer be able to evade questions concerning the death of 91 people during government action against red shirt protesters throughout last year's tumultuous period. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was hit with questions on the matter while campaigning in Nakorn Ratchasima, Democrat Party Chief Adviser Chuan Leekpai was called to elucidate the issue throughout his tour of the north and countless MP candidates have heard the question over the din of their supporters on the campaign trail.

    Abhisit touched on the issue in his candid online open letters posted to his Facebook account, but still, no one in the party has clearly answered the question “Who ordered the killing of citizens?”.

    There is no denying that the context of last year's protest dispersal was complex and no one should be quick to condemn the leading government party for the events that transpired. Having said that, however, as the head of the government coalition, the Democrat Party has to take responsibility for overseeing the destructive event as well as accept its responsibility to satisfy the curiosities of the public.

    Prime Minister Abhisit, Deputy Prime Minister for national security Suthep Thuagsuban; these are the people that having taken on the mantle of national leaders also accepted the inherent accountability. Their accountability grows even more pressing as each day passes an entire year after the death of 91, injury of over 2,000, arrest of 300 goes without any legal conclusion or justice.

    This is not a question important to the election. Whether or not Abhisit and Suthep and the Democrat Party are voted back into Parliament or not is irrelevant to the fact that they will always be those to question about what was ordered and what was agreed upon in the spring of 2011.

    Reconciliation, amnesty and progress will only ever be pipe dream if the question of the hour is not answered.

    Khao Sod, June 17, 2011

    Translated and Rewritten by Itiporn Lakarnchua

  11. #936
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    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    Reconciliation, amnesty and progress will only ever be pipe dream if the question of the hour is not answered.
    Hear Hear .

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    By April was it?

    Now its 3 days after the next election.

    The big carrot thats not going to happen. Economic madness to raise the national wage much above the rate of inflation. Even the Thais know that.

    Thai GDP is pretty good by world standards, so they can afford to give a little bit back to the people who are working to create the wealth by raising taxes on industry. Its a balancing act I know. Too much tax on industry and you dont get investment and so no growth and resultant unemployment. But governments are elected to serve the people and they should get their share of the countries economic growth through improved standard of living. That means improved (real, inflation adjusted) wages and social benefits like health care as the country can afford it. Not just improved profits for the corporations while the people languish in poverty exacerbated by inflation.

    Right now countries like Thailand and China are relying on cheap labour to fund their prosperity through export growth. As developing countries become more wealthy and conversely their trading partners such as Europe and USA become poorer, there will come a time when its in the interests of corporations to develop the domestic consumption market by increasing wages for the workers.

    Cant see it happening in the short term, except for maybe some baby steps in that direction, but over the next 20 years its bound to happen. Bad news for expats I'm afraid. But good news for peasant Thais as the world distribution of wealth gradually adjusts.

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    Amnesty and the 91 deaths

    Amnesty and the 91 deaths

    By The Nation

    PM Abhisit Vejjajiva writes his latest open letter in his Facebook on Thursday.

    I am not surprised that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra has said in interviews with the foreign press that he will return to Thailand in December to attend his eldest daughter's wedding. But if he is to return to Thailand as a citizen under the same rule of law as any of his fellow countrymen, he will likely not be able to attend his daughter's wedding, because he is a convicted fugitive who has been sentenced to two years imprisonment by the Supreme Court.

    The reason Mr. Thaksin is confident that he will be able to return in December is because Mr. Chalerm Yubamrung has clearly stated that the top priority for the Pheu Thai government is to grant amnesty for Mr.Thaksin.

    Should Pheu Thai win the election, it should be able to forma government by August. That leaves five months until December, plenty of time to amend the Constitution to clear Mr. Thaksin of any wrongdoing, overturn theprison sentence and pave the way for his return. He may even get theBaht 46 billion back. Pheu Thai claims its reconciliation plan with amnesty for Mr. Thaksin at its core will reach out to all 'colours'and disregard everything that has taken place since the coup in 2006.

    However, it does not address any of the problems that led to the coup: the systemic corruption, abuse of power, disregard of the parliamentary system and refusal to submit to checks and balances. And what of the questions posed by the Red Shirt demonstrators who havebeen asking for justice over the 91 deaths.

    I want to tell them that they are asking the wrong person. They should be asking Mrs. Yingluck Shinawatra and the Pheu Thai Partythe question:What would their amnesty mean for the 91 deaths? Would those 91 deaths simply be glossed over in return for amnesty for politicians and thereturn of Baht 46 billion?

    Pheu Thai cannot wipe the slate clean without also needing to brush aside the violent protests that disrupted the ASEAN summit in Pattaya. They would need to brush asidethe riot that turned Bangkok into a sea of flames. They would need towipe the slate clean for the armedfactions that infiltrated the peaceful, well intentioned protestors.All of this led to the unimaginable lost that has scarred our countryand would be glossed over by the amnesty Thaksin personally needs.

    What I want the Red Shirts to think about is what the amnesty willmean for the 91 deaths. Does it mean justice will not be served? Ithink Mr. Thaksin will pay off the families of the victims in lieu ofgiving them truth and closure. Those lifeless bodies will not get thejustice they deserve.

    That payoff will not come from his own wealth. It will come from us,the taxpayers. Despite his promise to take good care of the Red Shirtdemonstrators, only the leaders have been taken care of. What he willdo is use taxpayers' money to pay relief money the families of thevictims, and in return he will get his Baht 46 billion.

    Is this anacceptable condition of the amnesty? I am certain the amnesty plan will play out in this manner because theRed Shirt leaders deeply involved in the April May 2009 and 2010unrest are now on the Pheu Thai party list. They will have parliamentary immunity and they will not have to go to prison. But the demonstrators?

    Many do not even have attorneys to represent them. The Ministry of Justice has had to provide the attorneys to make sure theywill be treated equally under the justice system. What happened in AprilMay of 2009 and 2010 was criminal. The intentional destruction of the country at the hands of these men Mr.Thaksin included constitutes terrorism. Without amnesty, they willbe held accountable for their actions.

    Or could Pheu Thai be planningto grant amnesty only to the demonstrators and hold state officialsaccountable for the deaths? If so then the 7 October 2008 casecurrently being considered by the Supreme Court's Criminal Divisionfor Person Holding Political Positions will stand. Mr. Somchai Wongsawat is the defendant in this case. So amnesty and justice for the 91 deaths simply cannot go together.The Red Shirt leaders like to say that those 91 deaths will not havebeen in vain, that whoever is responsible for those deaths will bebrought to justice.

    But Mr. Somchai is responsible for the events of 7 October 2008. Does anyone believe Mr. Thaksin will risk sending hisown brotherinlaw to prison? The Army Commander and I have made clear from the start that we willnot grant ourselves amnesty. We performed our duty, which was to bring peace and stability back to Thai society. Our actions were lawful. The demonstrations, on the other hand, went beyond what is permitted by the Constitution. Any Government that does nothing in such a situation isnot upholding the rule of law.

    As such, we are ready to have our innocence proven and for the truth to emerge a judicial process. Every party must stand equal under thelaw. Every Thai person has been deeply saddened by these events. I have always made my position clear to avoid the use of force as much aspossible in performing my duty as Prime Minister.

    Mr. Thaksin, on theother hand, will resort to any means necessary to wage his personal vendetta, to win at any cost. But Mr. Thaksin failed to gain power through extra constitutional means. Now he is trying again under the guise of democracy. In doingso, and with Pheu Thai's policy of amnesty, he will destroy the rule of law. I have always said that I dissolved parliament in order to give powerback to the people, so they can decide the future of the country. I did not dissolve parliament so politicians can come in to solve their problems. That will only lead to greater division, and potentially acivil war. Therefore, it is up to the Thai people to put an end to this cycle.

    Use this election to move Thailand forward. If the Democrat Party is given the chance to govern, we will work towards reconciliation within the rule of law. We will not abuse parliamentary power or hijack the people's power to overrule judicial power. There will be no amnesty. Everyone will be treated equally andfairly under the judicial process. As for who will be held accountable for the 91 deaths, that is for the courts to decide. That is unless the Red Shirts are willing to accept Pheu Thai's amnesty plan: accept the relief money, forgo the judicial process and forget about truth and justice.

    If this is unacceptable, then the Red Shirts must ask Mrs. Yingluckand the Pheu Thai Party this: are they to forget about the 91 deathsin return for amnesty and Baht 46 billion for Mr. Thaksin? Abhisit Vejjajiva is the Prime Minister of Thailand and leader of theDemocrat Party.

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    Great , let the ICC be the arbitor of guilt and innocence, not yer proxy junta amart appointees

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    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    However, it does not address any of the problems that led to the coup: the systemic corruption, abuse of power, disregard of the parliamentary system and refusal to submit to checks and balances.
    Each of which tangibly deteriorated post coup.
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    Ithink Mr. Thaksin will pay off the families of the victims in lieu ofgiving them truth and closure. Those lifeless bodies will not get thejustice they deserve.

    That payoff will not come from his own wealth. It will come from us,the taxpayers. Despite his promise to take good care of the Red Shirtdemonstrators, only the leaders have been taken care of. What he willdo is use taxpayers' money to pay relief money the families of thevictims, and in return he will get his Baht 46 billion.
    Speculation, which I guess he is free to do on his private twitter account. I don't know the outcome of it all, but I personally doubt T will get his money back. Regardless of this, the whole point to any 'amnesty' or 'reconciliation' is that T is just one of several parties to it. Under any impartial justice system, there are certain people facing considerably more severe charges (potentially) than Thaksin. Given that PT is about to win the convincing peoples mandate again, they should if anything be relieved.
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    Is this anacceptable condition of the amnesty?
    Great- indulge in rampant speculation, then ask a question based on that. In my view, there are two 'conditions' to a deal that are more criticial to Thailand than Mr Thaksins peace of mind. One is that it keeps the Red shirts off the streets, causing disruption. The other is that it keeps the Army off the streets, killing people.
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    Mr. Thaksin, on theother hand, will resort to any means necessary to wage his personal vendetta, to win at any cost.
    He's already won, because of his enduring popularity. If people stop reducing this to individual personalities for a second, they would realise there are many parties- but the real winner or loser is the country of Thailand. Those who have been behind overturning the rule of law in Thailand and corrupting it's judiciary can hardly squeal about sticking to it's letter now- unless of course they are willing to stand before an impartial court and be judged for their own actions.
    There is also the choice of words here- 'personal vendetta'. What personal vendetta? T & PT have spoken of nothing but reconciliation. The Dem's spoke of reconciliation too, but only achieved further division- whilst highlighting the fact that they play second fiddle to the Army, not the People. They are incompetent to govern a democratic state in their current form.
    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
    with Pheu Thai's policy of amnesty, he will destroy the rule of law.
    Coming from the titular 'head' of the infamous Abhisit administration, that is indeed rich. Som nam na.

    The outcome of the election is fairly certain now, and it is the same as the outcome of the previous four elections. The current political problems of Thailand come down to one simple fact- namely the outcome of three of those four elections were not respected. Whilst I am pretty confident that the people of Thailand have learnt this lesson well, it is uncertain at this stage whether certain individuals with absolutely no respect for the rule of law, and the peoples inalienable Right of Suffrage, have done so. This is the main political question/ problem facing Thailand.

    Pick the most illiterate rice farmer as your [innacurate] red shirt proxy, and he too realises the absurdity of the likes of Mark preaching about the "Rule of Law".
    Last edited by sabang; 24-06-2011 at 06:28 AM.

  16. #941
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    Read the International Herald Tribune interviews with victims who were shot and decide for yourself. Many of these people were shot on their way home form work. Two were shot while filming the soldiers randomly killing people and the phone and video was confiscated.
    The truth will eventually come out, but most Thai's already know it. The real power behind Abhisit dosen't care that it killed it's own citizens, the PTP does and that is why PTP is going to win the election.
    It appears the powers that be have gone too far this time, but don't expect them to go quietly.
    The international community is watching this situation and If you want to learn the truth don't look to local news.

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    ^ Quite. What stand out most starkly is the utter failure of the 'establishment' to change the minds of the people, or ultimately even control the discourse. They have tried every means, fair & foul. Violent crackdowns, biased media, political bribery, repressive censorship, rigged Judiciary- you name it. To no avail. Quite a loss of face- but unfortunately, in a childish country like Thailand, we now have to worry about the potential reaction of these children to their loss of face.

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    ^ what makes you think they want to change the minds of the silly dumb peasants ? they don't, all they want is to stop some overseas nutter from stirring shit at home for his own personal gain. The fact you can't see this simple fact speaks volume about your political judgment ability. Have another Leo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly
    what makes you think they want to change the minds of the silly dumb peasants ?
    To get in, and stay in, Government. All the Dem's have succeeded in changing are the minds of the Bangkok peasantry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang
    To get in, and stay in, Government.
    but they don't need to, the Dems might loose the election but they might still form the next government. Who cares what some silly peasants think, their job is to grow food, not to be involved in Bangkok politics which they have no grasp of understanding.

    That's basically what is being debated here, their vote doesn't count and doesn't matter, the real reason why they need to be paid a "500 THB" allowance to show up at the poll booth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    ^ Quite. What stand out most starkly is the utter failure of the 'establishment' to change the minds of the people, or ultimately even control the discourse. They have tried every means, fair & foul. Violent crackdowns, biased media, political bribery, repressive censorship, rigged Judiciary- you name it. To no avail. Quite a loss of face- but unfortunately, in a childish country like Thailand, we now have to worry about the potential reaction of these children to their loss of face.
    Don't count them out so fast. They'll either rig the election or form another pro-amart coalition at the point of a gun or through bribery. Maybe both.

    The only thing that would thwart them is if the election wasn't rigged and PTP won an outright majority.

    There's no way the mafia Triad that run this country are going to allow the will of the masses to elect a government of their choice. They'll just keep playing the same game they've always played, adjusting the intensity of the actions as they feel required to maintain the status quo.
    My mind is not for rent to any God or Government, There's no hope for your discontent - the changes are permanent!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by sabang
    To get in, and stay in, Government.
    but they don't need to, the Dems might loose the election but they might still form the next government. Who cares what some silly peasants think, their job is to grow food, not to be involved in Bangkok politics which they have no grasp of understanding.

    That's basically what is being debated here, their vote doesn't count and doesn't matter, the real reason why they need to be paid a "500 THB" allowance to show up at the poll booth.
    Whats your problem with peasants you French surrender-monkey. Do they remind you of the Viet rice farmers that humiliated your pathetic country?


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    http://www.prachatai.com/english/node/2615

    Military’s view on April-May 2010 crackdown


    Sun, 26/06/2011 - 16:03 |

    by prachatai

    Matichon online has a report about an article written by a military officer who took part in the operation to suppress red-shirt demonstrators in April and May last year. The article appears in the Army Training Command’s Senathipat Journal, Vol 59, Issue 3, September–December 2010, as part of the army’s guidelines and case studies on military operations to solve urban unrest.

    Matichon says that there are several interesting points in the first half of the article which it publishes on its website.

    While Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said during the Democrat Party’s rally at Ratchaprasong on 23 June that Abhisit Vejjajiva had not taken part in ordering the crackdown of the red shirts, and it was Suthep himself, as Director of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation, who gave the order, the article clearly states ‘the Prime Minister gave orders at the CRES meeting on 12 May for the military to start the operation as planned’.

    According to the article, the government always had a clear policy to use military measures to pressure the red shirts, and the policy of ‘tightening the circle’ was to end the demonstrations, not to open a dialogue.
    That was probably one reason why a proposal by a group of senators to offer themselves as mediators on the night of 18 May was rejected, Matichon says.

    The article says that part of the reason for the successful military operation was the withdrawal of Chair of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship Veera Musigapong and the death of Maj Gen Khattiya Swasdipol or Seh Daeng, because the UDD was deprived of its political and military strategists.

    The article gives details of the operations and the deployment of military units, and states that sniper units were the first to be deployed in high buildings on Wireless Road, including the Kian Nguan and Bangkok Cable buildings.

    The operation was planned as full-scale urban warfare, with the employment of three divisions of military troops and the use of live ammunition against armed terrorists and for self-defence, the article says.

    According to CRES intelligence, there were about 500 armed terrorists among the red shirts, and they were equipped with war weapons including M79s, M16s, AK47s and Tavor-21s.

    In a section called ‘tactical recommendations’, the article says that commanding officers of operating units should operate with the utmost concern for the lives of innocent people, ensure that the firing of live ammunition was done consciously and intentionally, and not allow troops to react in anger or retaliation.

    It also suggests that studies be conducted to find appropriate models for designating live fire zones, because currently it is not yet known whether any country in the world has ever acceptably employed [this tactic] to dissolve protests.

    Source:
    €[at]กสารลัš ยุ—˜การกระŠัšว‡ล ‰[at]ม 14-19 ž.„.53 (•[at]™ 1) "มารŒ„" สัˆ‡กระŠัšว‡ล‰[at]ม€žืˆ[at] "ยุ•ิ" „มˆƒŠˆ "€ˆรˆา"

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    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog View Post
    The operation was planned as full-scale urban warfare, with the employment of three divisions of military troops and the use of live ammunition against armed terrorists and for self-defence, the article says.
    They failed as no armed terrorist was shot!

    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog View Post
    According to CRES intelligence, there were about 500 armed terrorists among the red shirts, and they were equipped with war weapons including M79s, M16s, AK47s and Tavor-21s.
    It was clear that the CRES intelligence was gross misinformation rather then anything related to fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog View Post
    In a section called tactical recommendations, the article says that commanding officers of operating units should operate with the utmost concern for the lives of innocent people, ensure that the firing of live ammunition was done consciously and intentionally, and not allow troops to react in anger or retaliation.
    Well they failed. Not one black clad terrorist was shot or arrested, only protestors and emergency staff were killed or injured.

    Quote Originally Posted by StrontiumDog View Post
    It also suggests that studies be conducted to find appropriate models for designating live fire zones, because currently it is not yet known whether any country in the world has ever acceptably employed [this tactic] to dissolve protests.
    Unbelievable. Live fire zones on civilians is illegal. Thailand is put itself firmly again amongst the despot countries by employing it.

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    In memory of Hiro Muramoto | Andrew MacGregor Marshall

    In memory of Hiro Muramoto

    by Andrew M.Marshall
    June 26, 2011




    On April 10, 2010, Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto was shot dead while filming clashes between Thai soldiers, Red Shirt protesters and unknown gunmen in the Rachadamnoen area of Bangkok. He was 43 years old and is survived by his wife, Emiko, and two children. Hiro joined Reuters as a freelance cameraman in 1992 and became full-time in 1995. The final footage he filmed before his death showed him in the thick of the fighting on April 10 – a day in which five soldiers and 20 other civilians were also killed. Among the incidents he filmed was a still unexplained grenade attack that killed Colonel Romklao Thuwatham, a rising military star and deputy chief of staff of the Queen’s Guard.

    From the beginning, the evidence on Hiro’s death suggested he was killed by a bullet fired by a Thai soldier. It seems unlikely he was deliberately targeted because he was a journalist; instead, he was killed when soldiers fired live ammunition randomly at protesters. This was the conclusion reached by Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI), an agency roughly equivalent to the U.S. FBI. Despite being an overtly politicized institution, the DSI still has many honest investigators who make a genuine effort to do their job. The investigators on Hiro’s case concluded that he was most likely shot dead by a soldier in the Royal Thai Army. DSI director general Tharit Pengdith conceded this point in a news conference on November 16, 2010:
    Since there was possible involvement by government officers, we have to start from square one by letting police investigate further.
    In December, the DSI investigation report on Hiro and another report on the killing of six civilians in the Wat Pathum Wanaram temple on May 19, 2010, were leaked to Reuters. The leaked document on Hiro confirmed the DSI’s conclusion that the Thai military was probably responsible for his death, and that the case had been handed to police for further investigation. DSI chief Tharit denied to the Thai media that the documents were genuine, but in conversations with Reuters he conceded they were genuine but preliminary.

    As is standard in Reuters when a member of staff is killed in the line of duty, Reuters commissioned an independent investigation by a professional security company. The company used was one of the leaders in the field; the probe was conducted by experts in forensic investigation. Their report also concluded that Hiro was killed by a bullet fired by a Thai soldier, probably not specifically targeted. It added that the bullet that killed Hiro was most likely to have been standard military issue, and not from an AK47 or pistol. This report was kept confidential within Reuters management, but I became aware of the key findings.

    In late February 2011, DSI officials began to state that they had uncovered new evidence that Hiro had been killed by an AK47 bullet and that this absolved the military of blame:
    Thai investigators have concluded the fatal bullet was of 7.62 mm caliber and that soldiers were armed with M-16 rifles that fire 5.56 mm bullets, the Director General of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) told a news conference.

    “The bullet that shot Muramoto was 7.62 mm not M-16 that was used by the authorities,” Tharit said. “It could be an AK-47 or something similar … but exactly who shot him I can’t answer at this point. We need more investigation.”
    Disturbingly, it transpired that this conclusion was based on the opinion of a single source, former police Lieutenant General Amporn Jarujinda, purely on the basis of viewing photographs of Hiro’s wounds. As the Bangkok Post reported:
    Former police forensic science chief Amporn Jarujinda, who is now an adviser to the DSI and has reviewed a report on the cameraman’s autopsy, suggested recently that the man was killed with an AK-47 rifle.

    Mr Tharit and Pol Lt Gen Amporn would meet reporters today to present the findings of the panel on the cause of death of Muramoto and 10 others who died in the street clashes.

    The source said that while Pol Lt Gen Amporn might be providing advice to the DSI, he was not among the people who observed the autopsy to determine the cause of death of Muramoto. He was overseas at the time.

    Pol Lt Gen Amporn only analysed the cause of Muramoto’s death from photos of the wounds on his body and concluded that the wounds were caused by an AK-47 rifle.
    Furthermore, the sudden U-turn followed widespread reports that hardline army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha had paid a call on DSI director Tharit to remonstrate with him over the initial preliminary conclusions. The Thai military continues to claim – bizarrely and unsupportably – that it was not responsible for any deaths or even any injuries during violent clashes in Bangkok in April and May 2010, despite a wealth of evidence to the contrary. This was also reported in the Bangkok Post:
    The army is breathing a sigh of relief after a Department of Special Investigation (DSI) report concluded troops were not responsible for the death of a Japanese cameraman during last year’s red shirt protests.

    However, the relief may be short-lived, amid claims that the army chief of staff paid the DSI head a visit to complain about an initial department finding which claimed the opposite – that soldiers should in fact be blamed for Japanese cameraman Hiroyuki Muramoto’s death during the rally at Khok Wua intersection on April 10 last year.

    The DSI is likely to face questions about why it changed its stance, though DSI director-general Tharit Pengdit yesterday stood by the latest report, saying it was based on scientific and forensic findings. He also denied meeting the army chief of staff.

    The weapons report, which he did not release, found that the Reuters News Agency cameraman was shot dead with an AK-47 rifle while covering the clashes.

    In that case, troops could not be blamed for the death, said the report, because they carried different weapons.

    Mr Tharit said Muramoto’s body was found with AK-47 bullet wound patterns. Soldiers had not used the weapon, he said.
    The Bangkok Post also reported on comments by Amporn and Tharith during their news conference, in which Amporn claimed to have been able to verify the type of bullet that killed Hiro – just by looking at photographs – with remarkable ease:
    Is it true that the wounds of the red shirt victims were so severe that forensic workers found it almost impossible to establish the type of firearms that killed them?

    Pol Lt Gen Amporn: We could tell in some cases. There are cases where we couldn’t.

    Why did it take almost a year to determine the type of firearms?

    Pol Lt Gen Amporn: I don’t know. I figured it out in an hour.

    Could you explain why the first examination did not mention anything about an AK-47 rifle?

    Mr Tharit: The DSI never specified the type of firearm. We have a witness who claimed to be standing close to Mr Muramoto. He saw that the cameraman was shot but he didn’t know where the shot came from. He is convinced the bullet was fired from where security forces were. The DSI has just one witness. So the department assumed Mr Muramoto’s death was related to the security forces and forwarded the case to the Metropolitan Police Bureau for forensic examination.

    The bureau does autopsies and it takes charge of cases related to government forces. The DSI received more information about Mr Muramoto’s case and forwarded it to the bureau.

    Why was Pol Lt Gen Amporn’s report not included in the first investigative report?

    Mr Tharit: This is because the examination of the wound patterns took place after the DSI sent the report to the bureau.

    Why did it take so long?

    Mr Tharit: We just invited Pol Lt Gen Amporn to take part in the process because his contribution would make the investigation more thorough and comprehensive.

    What about the other victims? Were they killed by the same type of bullet?

    Pol Lt Gen Amporn: Those are smaller wounds, as far as I remember.

    Can you specify the type of firearms?

    Pol Lt Gen Amporn: I can’t.

    Were there similar wounds on other victims’ bodies?

    Pol Lt Gen Amporn: I haven’t seen any so far.

    Mr Muramoto’s case is different, isn’t it?

    Pol Lt Gen Amporn: Yes.

    Can you tell from the wound if he was shot from the front or from behind?

    Pol Lt Gen Amporn: The bullet was fired from the front. The entry wound was in the right chest and the exit wound was through the right shoulder blade.

    Can the ballistics report tell if the shot was fired from where security forces were?

    Pol Lt Gen Amporn: No.

    Are SKS carbines and 05-NATO guns used in Thailand?

    Pol Lt Gen Amporn: Yes. Otherwise I wouldn’t have mentioned them.
    The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) issued a statement raising concerns that a whitewash was under way:
    “The contradiction of the preliminary findings of the investigation into journalist Hiro Muramoto’s death raises questions about the independence of the government’s investigation,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “We are particularly concerned by reports that a senior military official may have pressured the DSI into censoring its initial findings.”
    Among others to raise grave doubts about the DSI’s new findings was the deputy commander of Bangkok Metropolitan Police, Lieutenant General Amnuay Nimmano:
    It’s DSI’s own theory, own leads, own investigation and own conclusion, without police getting involved, and based on nothing convincing or credible. To put it simply, the conclusion is simply muddled.
    Because I was aware of the third-party investigation commissioned by Reuters, and its findings that the evidence suggested Hiro was shot by a military issue bullet and not an AK47, I sent an e-mail at this time to senior Asia editorial managers asking permission to report excerpts from the investigation conclusions. I never received a formal reply but was informally told by other managers that the Asia editor was “irritated” by my intervention. I found this very troubling, and I privately and confidentially contacted senior managers based in the United States to discuss my concerns.

    As a former Baghdad bureau chief, and subsequently managing editor of Reuters for the whole Middle East region, I have been directly involved in company investigations into the deaths of six colleagues:
    • Reuters cameraman Mazen Dana, killed by a U.S. soldier who mistook his camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher outside Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad in August 2003.
    • Dhia Najm, a freelance cameraman working for Reuters, killed in the Iraqi city of Ramadi in November 2004, most probably by a U.S. Marine sniper.
    • Reuters driver Waleed Khaled, killed by U.S soldiers who opened fire on his car in western Baghdad in August 2005.
    • Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh, killed when a U.S. Apache helicopter opened fire on them and several other Iraqis in northeastern Baghdad in July 2007. Their deaths have been seen by millions after WikiLeaks released taken from an onboard camera in the Apache.
    • Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana, killed in Gaza in April 2008 by an anti-personnel flechette shell fired by an Israeli tank around a mile away. Soldiers in the tank apparently believed Fadel’s camera and tripod were some kind of weapon. Fadel of the tank shell that killed him and several bystanders.
    I was also directly involved in the Reuters investigation into the torture and sexual abuse of three of my Iraqi staff by U.S. soldiers during three days when they were detained near Falluja in January 2004. So it is fair to say I have considerable experience of sensitive investigations within Reuters. I am well aware of the need to work with authorities to help uncover the truth rather than alienating them by being overly shrill and accusatory. I am also aware of the necessity of taking a robust stance at times when the authorities appear to be failing in their duties to transparently and honestly investigate the circumstances of such incidents. The bottom line is: we work with the authorities to help uncover the truth. We have no interest in a witch-hunt, or in making unsupported accusations. Our goal – as it is in our journalism – is simply to find the truth. And from that, accountability and justice can follow.

    It is also worth putting on record that in all the cases I was closely involved with, senior Reuters management were fully supportive and, when necessary, courageous.

    Things were very different when it came to Hiro, however. I was troubled to discover from senior management sources that not only was Reuters not allowing me to report the findings of the third-party investigation the company had conducted, but that it had also failed to even share these findings privately with the Thai authorities. It is sometimes necessary to maintain confidentiality about sensitive investigations while working with national and/or military and police authorities: sometimes going public too soon will alienate people we need to co-operate with. But in my experience, it is unprecedented for Reuters to not even share internal findings privately with the relevant authorities: it leaves the company exposed to the accusation it has failed in its duty to assist the authorities in their job uncovering the truth. I sent detailed messages to senior managers explaining why I thought the behaviour of Reuters on Hiro was both unethical and counterproductive. Some time later I was told that a decision had been made to redact the third-party investigation report and remove the name of the company that conducted the investigation and also remove the names of sources who provide information. A redacted extract would be provided privately to Thai authorities. I considered this inadequate in many ways but nevertheless better than nothing, and waited for progress.

    On March 24, Thai police officially “confirmed” the DSI’s new findings that there was no evidence Hiro had been killed by the Thai military.

    April 10 was the first anniversary of Hiro’s death. A few days beforehand, the Reuters managing editor for Asia circulated an e-mail notifying staff that a minute’s silence would be held in his memory. I replied asking once again – in my capacity as a senior editor with responsibility for political and general news coverage on Thailand, among other countries – whether I could report on the evidence in Reuters possession suggesting authorities were lying in their latest findings on Hiro. I was given a stern talking to. Among the reasons I was given for the company’s failure to share the information was that under Thai law it had been illegal for them to commission a third-party investigation into Hiro’s death, and that when commissioning the report, their agreement with the company that handled the investigation was that it would remain confidential. I did not consider these adequate reasons to withhold important findings about Hiro’s death, and I said so.

    On April 11, senior Asia-based Reuters management staff met DSI chief Tharit in Bangkok to discuss progress in the investigation on Hiro. Unaccountably, they failed to share the redacted text that Reuters had prepared. I was later told that it had been decided to hand the redacted text personally to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva himself, at an as-yet unconfirmed private meeting. The Bangkok Post reported on the meeting:
    Mr Tharit said DSI investigators had explained all the facts surrounding the official investigation into Muramoto’s death to the Reuters representatives during their one-hour meeting.

    He said he had no idea whether the two were satisfied with his clarifications, saying they appeared passive and did not submit any additional documents to the DSI.

    “I propose to the Reuters news agency to help seek further facts and evidence because, by doing this, any witness to the crime might be daring enough to provide tip-offs to Reuters more than they would to the [Thai] state officials,” Mr Tharit said.

    “After that, Reuters could relay this [given] information to the DSI for further investigation.”

    The representatives said they would take the DSI’s proposal into consideration and get back to the department later.

    They would occasionally ask about progress of the case, Mr Tharit said.

    The Reuters editors declined to give details of the talks but issued a statement saying the agency had been granted a meeting with Thai officials to discuss the investigation of Muramoto’s death.
    As is by now widely known, I resigned from Reuters on June 3 in order to publish a lengthy story on Thailand based on thousands of leaked U.S. diplomatic cables. That story can be found here. Reuters decided the story was too risky to run, given its substantial presence in Thailand. As I wrote in the story and a companion piece in the Independent newspaper, I understood that decision and did not criticize Reuters for it. My resignation marked the end of my ability to intercede with editors about Hiro while working inside the company. But I awaited the promised meeting with Abhisit in which Reuters would share its information with him.

    On June 14, Reuters had an exclusive interview with Abhisit. They did not share the information.

    I am therefore now sharing the key passage from the third-party report commissioned by Reuters. I am maintaining confidentiality on the name of the company that conducted the investigation, and other details. If Reuters chooses to contest the authenticity of the extract I am sharing, I will provide more detailed documentary evidence. I am sharing this information reluctantly and with no desire to undermine Reuters, which I still consider to be a news organization that deserves respect, not to mention a place where many fine colleagues and friends still work. But it has become clear that the inept, unethical and counterproductive behaviour of some senior management staff in Asia will prevent Reuters ever uncovering the truth about Hiro unless action is taken. It is my hope that Reuters learns from this experience and never again entrusts such important decisions to those lacking the ability to behave sensibly and ethically in sensitive situations. Hiro’s family and friends, and all of the staff of Reuters, deserve better. The extract from the third-party report is reproduced below. It is verbatim apart from redactions signified by Xs in the text:
    Hiro Muramoto (‘Hiro’) was shot, almost certainly by a 5.56mm high velocity round, on 10 April in Dinso Road, West Bangkok at 21:01/2 Bangkok time.

    XXXXXXX was not able to sight an official autopsy report or any forensics carried out on his body. However, an interview with the surgeon in charge of triage at the BMA (Klang) Hospital on 10 April stated Hiro ultimately died from a tension pneumothorax precipitated by massive internal bleeding. The surgeon speculated that such bleeding would cause death within two minutes of initiation. The ambulance crew that transported Hiro to hospital stated they could find no vital signs and the doctor who examined him at the Klang Hospital declared him ‘dead before arrival’.

    The entry wound that caused Hiro’s death was centred below the clavicle and pectoral, centred on the heart. The surgeon interviewed by XXXXXXX confirmed the wound to be consisted with that caused by a bullet. Hiro also exhibited an exit wound on the left tricep. Such a non-linear exit wound is consistent with the impact of a high-velocity 5.56mm standard Nato issue round (and inconsistent with, for example, the impact of a .38 pistol shot, a rubber bullet, or a round fired by an AK47 assault rifle).
    It’s time for Reuters to start working to help uncover the truth, rather than collude in suppressing it.
    Last edited by StrontiumDog; 27-06-2011 at 01:16 AM.

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