Archive for September 2009
Narathiwat (Malayuland) – Suspected Islamic militants have killed five Muslim civilians in Thailand’s troubled south, where a five-year separatist insurgency rages unabated, police said on Tuesday.
The body of a Muslim man who had been stabbed to death was found floating in a river in Pattani province late Monday, while gunmen broke into a house in the same province and shot dead two other men, they said.
In neighbouring Narathiwat province gunmen on motorcycles shot and killed a former local administration official and his nephew on Monday, said police.
More than 3,900 people have died in the insurgency in Thailand’s southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and parts of Songkhla, led by shadowy militants who have killed Buddhists and Muslims alike.
The region was an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate until it was annexed by predominantly Buddhist Thailand in 1902, sparking decades of tension.
Bangkok – Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva hit out at his Cambodian counterpart on Tuesday for saying that Thai trespassers would be shot near a disputed temple on their border.
Cambodian premier Hun Sen said on Monday that he had ordered his troops to shoot anyone from neighbouring Thailand who crossed onto land around the 11th century Preah Vihear temple.
Mr Hun Sen’s comments came a little over a week after Thai protesters rallied near the ancient temple, the site of clashes that have killed seven soldiers since tensions flared last year.
‘Whenever he gives interviews to the foreign media he always has this attitude where he wants to make headlines,’ Mr Abhisit told reporters of his opposite number.
He said Mr Hun Sen wanted to ‘retaliate’ for the Thai protests on September 19. But he insisted that Thailand still wanted to find a ‘peaceful’ solution to the dispute over the temple through a joint border commission set up by the two countries.
Cambodia and Thailand have been at loggerheads over the land around Preah Vihear for decades, but tensions spilled over into violence last July when the temple was granted UNESCO World Heritage status. The World Court ruled in 1962 that it belonged to Cambodia.
Mr Abhisit said he had raised the issue with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during the UN General Assembly in New York last week, saying that UNESCO had worsened tensions between Thailand and Cambodia.
He also sought to reassure protesters who rallied at the temple earlier this month and who accused the government of failing to defend its claims over the disputed 4.6 square kilometres of land around Preah Vihear.
‘Thai people have nothing to worry about. We will assert our rights,’ Mr Abhisit said.
Soldiers from Cambodia and Thailand continue to patrol the area, with the last gunbattle near the temple area in April leaving three people dead. The border between the two countries has never been fully demarcated, in part because it is littered with landmines left over from decades of war in Cambodia.
General Sin actually was born and lived a Teochew. Before crowning himself king, Sin had allied himself with the quarreling Khmer noble families and rulers of warring Siam provinces to eradicate Ayudhya aristocracy once for all.
With the Burmese threat still prevalent, as King of factional Siam (1768-1782), Sin took opportunity to rally and incite Khmer 16 provinces to secede from Khmer empire. Presently the old provinces inhabitants still speak and live Khmer culture.
During his reign, Sin allowed Khmer nobles and governors who pledged loyalty to him to levy tax for own use and not to pay to the Cambodia government.
Other hand for the Khmers, who were loyal to Cambodia and refused to pay tribute the Sin collaborateurs, all would be arrested and buried alive up to the neck to be trampled to death by the elephants that dragged the logs to rake off the heads. King Sin was ruthless and cruel to Khmers.
In March 1782 General Thong Duang, while was busy waging war against and invading Cambodia, quickly returned to the Thonburi capital to side with the coup plotters. According to the Royal Siam Chronicles, General Thong Duang arbitrarily decided to put the deposed Sin, his childhood best friend and father-in-law, to death.
The Chronicles also stated that, while being taken to the execution site, King Sin asked for an audience with his friend Thong Duang but it was coldly turned down. King Sin was beheaded in front of Wichai Prasit fortress on Wednesday, 10 April 1782, and his body was buried at Wat Bang Yi Ruea Tai.
Opportunity allowed General Thong Duang then to seize control of Thonburi house and threaten the rivals with death of elephant trampling as he declared himself king together with establishing the House of Chakri.
While the Official Annamese Chronicles stating about the death of Sin that he was ordered by General Thong Duang to be put to death at Wat Chaeng through being sealed in velvet sack and was beaten to death with a scented sandalwood club.
Another view of the events is that General Thong Duang actually wanted to be King and had accused King Sin of being Chinese; however, this overlooks the fact that Thong Duang himself was Chinese origin as well as he himself being married to one of Sin’s daughters. However, prior to returning to Thonburi from Cambodia, Thong Duang had summoned Sin’s son, his brother-in-law, to be executed.
To date after assuming southern China ethnic Tai as its national identity, Siam reference has not only become distastefully but a reminder of change event that distorted Siam true historical identity forever. Also House of Chakri continues to hide its true identity and remain intrigue to the mass. And as for King Rama VIII killer true identity, only the present King, Rama IX, knows. King Bhumibol parents were Chinese and byproducts of the Chakri hereditary incest. His queen is also the byproduct of Chinese bloodline as well.
Henceforth, as far as the House of Chakri true identity it remains of the unspoken truth and lèse majesté offense, if any one dared to disclose it as not Siam to the public. So for the last 227 years, Bangkok ruling family and crony has never been a true Siam origin afterall.
A diversionary manoeuvre takes Thailand’s political struggle to Cambodia
The Siam authorities expected trouble on September 19th, the anniversary of a military coup in 2006. Thousands of police and soldiers guarded central Bangkok, where over 20,000 red-shirted protesters gathered under sodden skies to listen to anti-coup speeches and songs. Thaksin Shinawatra, whom the coup deposed as prime minister, spoke via video-link from exile. Officials warned darkly of bomb plots and other mischief. An internal-security law was invoked. But there was little menace in the air, and by midnight it was all over.
Instead, trouble erupted hundreds of miles away, on the Thai-Cambodian border. A mob raised by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the rowdy royalists who shut down Bangkok’s airports last year, brawled with riot police and local villagers, who were blocking their path to Preah Vihear, a 11th-century temple on the Cambodian side. A handful of people were treated after being beaten or shot.
The PAD is outraged that Cambodia is building on disputed land around the site. A similar row last year drew in Thai and Cambodian troops. Since then, sporadic armed clashes have claimed several lives and driven away tourists. Little wonder, then, that the villagers reacted furiously to the arrival of yellow-shirted PAD thugs, determined to upstage their red-shirted rivals in Bangkok.
In June 2008 the PAD railed against the prime minister of the time, Samak Sundaravej, for backing Cambodia’s successful bid for Preah Vihear to be listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. PAD leaders claimed (wrongly) that Thai diplomats had renounced Thailand’s claim to 4.6 square kilometres (1.8 square miles) of land adjoining the temple. The foreign minister had to resign after signing a communiqué with Cambodia without parliamentary approval. Twenty eight members of the cabinet may still face charges over the issue.
The controversy allowed Thai nationalists to reheat old, discredited arguments as to why the temple rightfully belongs to Thailand (not so, ruled the International Court of Justice in 1962). One such nationalist was Kasit Piromya, a PAD ideologue who is now Thailand’s foreign minister. In recent months he has tried to smooth over tensions with Cambodia. These latest antics are an embarrassment for him and for the prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, who came to power in the wake of the PAD’s debilitating protests but has testy relations with the group.
Nationalism is a powerful tool for demagogues such as the PAD. Not content with street protests, it has formed a party that may lure voters from Mr Abhisit’s Democrat Party at a future election. Meanwhile, Thailand’s long-serving king was taken to hospital on September 19th with a fever. The red-shirts are far from Mr Abhisit’s only worry.
Yangon – The doctor of detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she is suffering from low blood pressure, after examining her for the first time since she was returned to house arrest last month.
Suu Kyi’s lawyer and party spokesman Nyan Win said Dr. Tin Myo Win and his assistant were allowed to visit her house Sunday.
‘The doctor said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s health is generally good but she’s suffering from low blood pressure,’ said Nyan Win.
‘Daw’ is a term of respect used for older women.
Nyan Win said the doctor assumed that her low blood pressure was due to an inadequate diet.
A Myanmar court on Aug. 11 found Suu Kyi, 64, guilty of violating the terms of her previous period of house arrest by sheltering an uninvited American visitor. Her sentence of three years in prison with hard labor was reduced to 18 months of new house arrest by military junta leader Senior Gen. Than Shwe.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has been detained for about 14 of the past 20 years for her nonviolent political activities, but this year was the first time she faced criminal charges. She suffered from dehydration and low blood pressure as well as muscle cramps in May after her arrest.
Sunday’s visit was the first time that Suu Kyi’s personal physician has been allowed to see her since she was sent back to her lakeside home after her conviction.
Tin Myo Win is one of the very few people allowed access to Suu Kyi under the rigid terms of her confinement. He was detained for questioning by authorities in May after the American man was arrested for sneaking into her closely guarded home.
Asked if Tin Myo Win will now be allowed to give Suu Kyi medical checkups on a regular basis, Nyan Win said he hoped so, ‘but it’s not clear yet when and how often the doctor can visit her.’
Phnom Penh- Cambodia’s first war crimes trial has unearthed painful ghosts from the brutal Khmer Rouge era, but as testimony ends in the case there is growing hope that it will put past traumas to rest.
Moeurn Sarath, whose father and husband were among the two million people who died under the 1975-1979 communist regime, said it was too painful for her to watch the trial of Duch, the movement’s main jailer.
Yet while she said that the proceedings made ‘all those feelings come back to me again,’ she believes that the UN-backed tribunal is good for victims and their families. ‘It is good to try those leaders because they have killed a lot of people,’ she said. ‘I pray that those people who died are at rest because now justice is being found for them.’
The six-month evidence phase of the trial at the UN-backed court ended on Thursday, with the prosecution and defence due to present their final arguments to the judges on November 23. A verdict is not expected until early 2010.
The trial has heard Duch, whose real name is Kaing Guek Eav, repeatedly accept responsibility and beg forgiveness for his role overseeing the torture and killing of over 15,000 as chief of Tuol Sleng prison. Proceedings have been shown on a weekly television show in Cambodia and the court said that an average of around 300 people a day came to the tribunal to watch from behind bullet-proof glass.
Few Cambodians told AFP they regularly watched proceedings, but all held some hope it would heal the mental wounds in a country that remains strewn with mass graves and bone-filled memorials.
‘Every day I have to work and spend less time with the news on TV or newspaper,’ said motorcycle taxi driver Sok Rorn, 45, whose mother was killed under the Khmer Rouge. ‘But of course, I am aware of the trial. For certain, those people responsible for the death of my parent and many other Cambodians must be held accountable,’ he added, with tears in his eyes.
Led by Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge emptied Cambodia’s cities in a bid to forge a communist utopia.
This year the Cambodian government has agreed for the first time to include a text on the Khmer Rouge in its high school curriculum, a key move in a country where more than 70 percent of the population was born after 1979.
‘I have heard and learnt very little about the regime and all those stories. Maybe because I’ve not experienced it, I am not interested to find out more about it,’ said Dav Sam Ath, an 18-year-old high school student. ‘I’m sure the trial will help heal (victims’) pain because if nobody can give them the answers of the past, how can they go on?’
Bangkok – Siam authorities allowed ‘Yellow Shirt’ protesters to gather near a disputed temple on the Cambodian border Sunday, a day after clashes with police and villagers left dozens injured.
Around 30 members of the movement which blockaded Bangkok’s airports last year were granted access to the entrance of ancient Preah Vihear temple and read a statement urging the government to ensure Thai sovereignty in the area.
‘The government and army should do everything under the law to regain the area around the temple for Thailand,’ protest leader Veera Somkwamkid said, reading from the statement in footage shown on local television.
Ms Veera also attacked Cambodia for allowing its residents and soldiers to stay on the disputed five square kilometres (two square miles) around the 11th-century temple.
Around 5,000 Yellow Shirts fought with Thai residents and police on Saturday after trying to reach the temple. The ruins were granted to Cambodia by the World Court in 1962 but tensions resumed when they gained UN world heritage status last year. At least seven people have died in skirmishes between Thai and Cambodian forces since then.
Saturday’s violence took place as 26,000 rival ‘Red Shirts’ rallied peacefully in Bangkok on the third anniversary of the coup that toppled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
The royalist Yellow Shirts led street campaigns that helped oust Thaksin in 2006 and also pushed out a government of his allies in December last year, but have now grown angry with the current government.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who came to power on the back of the airport blockade, apologised for the temple incident. ‘I am sorry that there was a clash and injuries to people,’ Mr Abhisit said in his weekly television programme.
‘The government is not ignoring this problem, we are working on it. What we are doing is not causing the country to lose territory or sovereignty.’ Cambodian foreign affairs ministry spokesman Kuoy Kong said police from his country had been deployed at the temple.
‘But we’re not worried at all because the Thai government said they would handle it and prevent the protesters from entering the temple,’ Kuoy Kong said.
The Royal Household Bureau issues a statement on Sunday, saying HM the King had fever and was fatigued on Saturday.
HM the King can eat less.
Team of doctors then recommended that HM the King be admitted to Siriraj Hospital to receive medical treatment to know the cause of the illness.
HM the King is now receiving saline solution with anti-biotic.
Vang Pao (Hmong: Vaj Pov, born ca. 1931) is a former Major General in the Royal Lao Government’s Royal Lao Army. He is an ethnic Hmong and a leader of the Hmong American community in the United States.
Vang Pao was born in 1931, in Central Xiangkhuang Province, in the northeastern region of Laos. He began his early life as a farmer until Japanese forces invaded and occupied French Indochina in World War II. In his early teen years, Vang Pao launched his military career, joining the French Military to protect fellow Hmong during the Japanese invasion.
The term “Meo Maquis” was originally used by Free French and Allied intelligence officers to describe the Hmong resistance forces working against the Japanese forces occupying Indochina and China during World War II. After WWII, French GCMA authorities recruited Vang Pao as an officer during the First Indochina War to combat the Viet Minh. Although French forces lost the war, Vang remained in the army of the newly independent Kingdom of Laos. He was the only ethnic Hmong to attain the rank of General officer in the Royal Lao Army, and he was loyal to the King of Laos while remaining a champion of the Hmong people. During the 1960s and 1970s General Vang commanded the Secret Army, a highly-effective CIA-trained and supported force that fought against the Pathet Lao and People’s Army of Vietnam.
Allegations of drug runningSeveral American participants in the Laos operation have stated that Vang Pao and his officers used the opium trade to pay for his army and even to enrich himself, transporting opium on aircraft provided by Air America. These include USAID official Ron Rickenbach, CIA officer Anthony Poshepny and photographer John Everingham. These allegations are supported by Alfred W. McCoy, who interviewed Hmong opium farmers in Laos near the end of the war. To date, this allegation remains a controversy while no actual evidence presented that Vang Pao was directly and/or indirectly involved.
Vang Pao in the United States
Major General Vang immigrated to the United States after the communists seized power in Laos in 1975. He remains widely respected by his fellow Hmong and is an esteemed elder of the American Hmong people, many of whom experienced the war or the reprisals that followed. Though he is somewhat less influential among younger Hmong-Americans who have grown up primarily in the United States, he has generally been considered an influential leader of U.S.-based Hmong, enjoying great loyalty for his position of leadership and respect for his military accomplishments.
While in exile, Vang Pao assembled other Lao and Hmong leaders from around the world to create the United Lao National Liberation Front (ULNF), also known as ‘Lao National Liberation Movement ‘ and Neo Hom a right-wing pro-royalist political movement.
The government of Laos, along with the governments of Vietnam, the People’s Republic of China, Cuba and North Korea are the world’s few remaining bastions of communism. In the mid-1990s, Vang Pao, aided by influential American diplomatic allies and vast numbers of Hmong-Americans, halted forced United Nations-sponsored repatriation back to Laos of thousands of Hmong refugees in Thailand. It was a major human rights victory for the Hmong. The Thailand-based refugees, many of whom had been living in refugee camps at Wat Tham Krabok, a Buddhist temple in Thailand, were afforded the right to avoid the forced return to Laos and instead were offered relocation rights and assistance to the U.S.
Throughout Vang Pao’s residence in the U.S., the Hmong leader has diplomatically opposed human rights violations by the communist government of Laos against the Hmong. In 2001, Vang Pao began to moderate this position, publicly advocating normalization of U.S.-Laotian relations in hope of alleviating the human rights abuses by the Laotian government against the indigenous Hmong people.
Alleged plot to overthrow government of LaosMain article: 2007 Laotian coup d’état conspiracy allegation
On June 4, 2007, following a lengthy federal investigation labeled “Operation Tarnished Eagle,” warrants were issued by U.S. federal courts ordering the arrest of Vang Pao and nine others for allegedly plotting to overthrow the communist government of Laos, an enemy the United States government trained Vang Pao to fight some thirty years ago, in violation of the federal Neutrality Acts. Following the issuance of the warrants, an estimated 250 federal agents representing numerous U.S. federal law enforcement and other agencies conducted simultaneous raids on homes, offices and other locations throughout central and southern California, arresting Vang Pao and the other nine. The federal charges allege that members of the group inspected weapons, including AK-47s, smoke grenades, and Stinger missiles, with the intent of purchasing them and smuggling them into Thailand, where they allegedly would be shipped to anti-Laotian governmental resistance movement forces inside Laos. The one non-Hmong person among the nine arrested, Harrison Jack, a 1968 West Point graduate and retired Army infantry officer, allegedly attempted to recruit Special Operations veterans to act as mercenaries in an invasion of Laos.
On June 15, the defendants were indicted by a grand jury and an 11th man was arrested in connection with the alleged plot. The defendants face possible life prison terms for violation of the U.S. Neutrality Act and various weapons charges. Vang Pao and the other Hmong were also initially denied bail by the California federal court, which cited each of them as a flight risk.
Since the June 4 federal raid, Vang Pao’s arrest has been the subject of mounting criticism. Vang Pao’s fellow friends, including Hmong, Mienh, Lao, Vietnamese, and Americans individuals who knew Vang Pao protested the arrest and rallied throughout California, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin. Several of Vang Pao’s high-level U.S. supporters have criticized the California court that issued the arrest warrants, arguing that Vang Pao is a historically important American ally and valued current leader of U.S. and foreign-based Hmong. Numerous calls for Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to dismiss the case have yet to be answered and are presumably under consideration by the state.
Prior to his arrest, Vang Pao was slated to have an elementary school in Madison, Wisconsin named after him, a proposal that met with opposition over Alfred W. McCoy’s allegations that Vang had been involved in war crimes and drug trafficking with Gary Yia Lee and other scholars strongly disputing his claims. Vang’s June 2007 arrest later led the Madison School to reopen discussion on the school’s naming. On June 18, 2007, the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education voted to drop Vang’s name from the new school, in light of the federal charges against him and the previous allegations.
Release from jailOn July 12, 2007, under significant pressure from Vang Pao’s Hmong and influential American supporters, the California federal court ordered the release of the Hmong leader on a US$1.5 million bond secured by property owned by members of his family. The Hmong were joyful to hear this news; many had participated in numerous protests over several weeks in California and elsewhere, calling for Vang Pao’s release from the date of his incarceration until his release under bail nearly a month later.
Return to CourtOn March 9, 2009, Vang Pao’s lawyers filed a motion seeking to dismiss the charges against him. His lawyers claimed that the charges were fabricated and had no bearing in court. Following this appearance, on April 6, 2009, federal prosecutors denied all allegations of fabrications in the motion. That following month, on May 11, 2009, Vang Pao returned to federal court in Sacramento, California with his lawyers to argue the motion. Judge Frank Damrell stated, after hearing the arguments for the motion, that there was not sufficient evidence from the defense to justify a dismissal. The next hearing is scheduled for October 2009.
Charges droppedOn September 18, 2009, the federal government dropped all charges against Vang Pao, announcing in a release that the federal government was permitted to consider “the probable sentence or other consequences if the person is convicted.”
Thailand is moving backward and Thai people are less happy since the coup in Sept 19, 2006, ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said during the phone-in address to his red-shirt supporters during the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) rally on Saturday evening.
The fugitive politician said the coup that deposed him three years ago had made the country decline when it had the opportunity to prosper in the eyes of the global community.
“At present, there are injustice and less human rights and freedom the Thai society. There is a serious social conflict, particularly when Thai people are killing one another in Si Sa Ket province,” he said.
Supporters of the anti-Thaksin People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) gathered near the Thai-Cambodian disputed border in Si Sa Ket on Saturday to demand the Cambodian villagers and troops to move out of the border area.
He said the Council for National Security (CNS) gave reasons to stage a coup three years ago, but there were still corruption, disloyalty and interventions in non governmental organisations and media at the moment.
“The country is still seeing an economic crisis while other countries don’t any longer. Trade, tourism and investment are contracting. There are less good news and justice.
“This makes Thai people less happy than when I’m in charged,” he said.
“The government also wants to dismiss Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwon as national police chief that it has to damage the entire Royal Thai Police,” Thaksin said.
During the UDD rally, the red-shirt supporters mourned for the death of a taxi driver who hung himself to oppose the Sept 2006 coup. The UDD donated 50,000 baht to his wife on stage.