SPDC Crony Criminal Thai PM Samak Sundaravej

Criminal Thai PM Samak Sundaravej

rules out direct dialogue with insurgents

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej yesterday ruled out direct negotiations with Malay Muslim separatist groups, saying their demands were unacceptable to the government.

Published on March 19, 2008 in The Nation

Without mentioning what the demands were, he said the six groups involved in the talks in Switzerland were “trying to internationalise the issue”.

He did not elaborate as to what he meant by “internationalise”, but security officials familiar with the case said the separatists wanted to involve the international community, including the EU and the UN, in the process, to ensure that the Thai side lived up to whatever promises it made.

“I’ve read the demands, and the position of the Thai government is that this is not an international issue. I cannot say at this point in time that we have knowledge of all of the identities of those involved, but we do have considerable information,” Samak said.

Most senior security officials do not agree with the idea of talking to the separatist groups, he said, adding that he would not go so far as calling them “sparrow bandits” like ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra did.

He said he was not in a position to say when the violence in the region would end but insisted the local community stood with the government, because: “The insurgents are killing their own people.”

He pointed to Tuesday morning’s grenade attack on a mosque in Yala as a glaring example of the militants slaughtering fellow Muslims.

Piyanart Srivalo,

Noppadon Petcharat

The Nation

Lessons from the southern insurgency

not learned

The Nation

 Last May in Yala, then Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont told a press conference that he had received “positive feedback” from separatist groups over the idea of establishing some sort of “dialogue”.

But he warned that more work had to be done before permanent peace in the Malay-speaking deep South could be achieved.

Kasturi Mahkota, foreign-affairs chief of the Patani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo), immediately welcomed Surayud’s statement. He called it a “positive gesture”.

But on Tuesday in Bangkok, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, ruled out the idea of negotiating with the separatists. Local media gave Samak’s statement a great deal of coverage but failed to provide a proper context to this sticky issue.

For as long as anybody can remember, Thai security officials have been going to the Middle East, Europe and neighbouring countries to talk to the leaders of long-standing separatist groups, including the Patani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo), Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) and Barisan Islam Pembebasan (BIPP).

However, the outcomes of these off-and-on chats have failed to have any affect on policy because they are carried out in an ad-hoc manner. They just want to sound out the separatists rather then work towards achieving something more constructive.

“Of course, they all say they are representatives of the Thai government,” said one exiled leader who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Samak said most government agencies disagree with direct negotiations. However, he was tight-lipped about the secret meetings between the two sides while insisting that the government was not going to sit down with the separatists on an equal basis.

Jolted by the weekend car bombs in Pattani and Yala, Samak had to sound uncompromising in public. The veteran politician knows he is dealing with an issue that cannot be easily translated into a quick political victory. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why the premier and his interior chief, Chalerm Yoobamrung, have been side-stepping the issue.

The problem with the Thai security top brass is that,

  • after years of talking to the separatists,
  • their attitude has not changed.
  • They see themselves as “negotiating with bandits”
  • rather than being in a “dialogue with fellow citizens” –
  • people who embrace a different political ideology, as the communist insurgents did two decades ago.

The only thing that successive Thai administrations have agreed upon is that the issue should not be internationalised.

  • In other words, no foreign governments or international organisations should be involved in mediating the talks or be allowed to snoop around the deep South,
  • where allegations of gross human rights violations
  • and questionable security practices are rife.
  • Thailand looks at East Timor and Aceh and tells itself that this is not what it wants.

The problem with the Thai generals is that they think like Thai politicians.

They all want the violence to end under their watch.

Never mind that the problem is_

  • deeply rooted in history

  • and shaped by mistrust

  • and the resistance of southern Muslims to Thailand’s policy of assimilation.

Another problem is that the old guard – older members of the separatist groups – don’t and, in most cases, can’t control the new generation of militants on the ground.

Locally known as juwae, the new generation of insurgents do not necessarily identify with the old guard, and they engage in the kind of brutality unheard of by the previous generation. They are organised in cell clusters but have the capacity to coordinate attacks – 100 targets at a time – throughout the region.

Even after years of being on the receiving end of this battle, the government is still unable to fine-tune a number of important initiatives. At a recent Thai Journalists’ Association seminar in Pattani, the provincial Task Force commander, Major General Thawatchai Samutsakorn, said the “government can’t tell me what they [insurgents] will get if they surrender”.

Often, a suspect who surrenders is_

  • paraded in front of the media,
  • unable to speak freely,
  • while top officials tell the public how the suspect has come to his senses after being misled by some false religious teaching
  • and distorted history.

And afterwards, when released, the “reformed” militant becomes a target of his former comrades.

Nearly 3,000 people have been killed in the insurgency since it began in January 2004.

Don Pathan

The Nation

U.S. Congress Reject Burmese Junta’s Constitution

U.S. Congress Reject

Burmese Junta’s Constitution

Tue, 2008-03-18 13:32Daya Gamage – US Bureau Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 18 March (Asiantribune.com): The U.S. Campaign for Burma, a Washington DC-based organization mobilizing international support for freedom and democracy in Burma, March 17 welcomes and supports the introducing of Congressional resolution, House Res. 317, calling for the President to call for the United Nations Security Council to not accept or recognize the state constitution, unilaterally written by the Burmese military junta, and the outcome of the upcoming referendum, scheduled for May this year.

The resolution denounces the one-sided, undemocratic and illegitimate constitution drafting process and referendum by the Burmese military junta, known as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), insists the SPDC engage in a tripartite dialogue with democracy forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic representatives, and demands the immediate and unconditional releases of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners. It also urges the President Bush to call for the UN Security Council to not accept and recognize the SPDC’s constitution,

House Concurrent Resolution 317 was introduced by Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ), Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 14, 2008 and it was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for consideration.

They introduced the resolution after the SPDC flatly rejected all recommendations made by the United Nations, which are the establishment of an all-party inclusive transparent process of constitution writing, meaningful and time-bound dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi, releasing all political prisoners, establishment of a broad-based poverty alleviation commission, opening of an office in Rangoon for the UN Special Envoy, and an offer to provide UN assistance to help ensure the referendum is free and fair. During the last visit of UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari on March 6-10, the five top leaders of the SPDC, Senior-General Than Shwe, Vice-Senior-General Maung Aye, General Thura Shwe Mann, General Thein Sein and Lieutenant General Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myin Oo, refused to meet with Mr. Gambari. The highest level official whom Mr. Gambari was allowed to meet was Bri-Gen Kyaw Hsan, the SPDC’s Minister of Information. On behalf of the SPDC, Kyaw Hsan rejected all of the UN’s recommendations and even complained that “The United Nations should stand fair and square without bias.”

Congressman Berman (D-CA) is Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, who has succeeded Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), who was a champion for the Burmese democracy movement and passed away last month. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen is Ranking Member of House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Congressman Holt serves on House Committee on Education and Labor, Committee on Natural Resources and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. All three Representatives are strong supporters of the non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights for the people of Burma, led by the world’s only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi.

Congressman Rush Holt, author of the resolution said, “The Burmese people are determined to enjoy the same rights and freedoms that so many of take for granted. The heroic efforts of opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi and others have given hope to victims of terrible oppression, and they deserve our support. Passage of this resolution would send a strong signal to the people of Burma that we stand with them in their struggle for democracy.”

“We appreciate Representatives Holt, Berman and Ros-Lehtinen for this important initiative to not recognize the military junta’s illegitimate constitution, which is designed to perpetuate the military dictatorship in Burma by vesting supreme power in the hands of the Chief of the military, Commander-in-Chief,” says Aung Din, Executive Director of the U.S. Campaign for Burma. “People of Burma are determined to reject this sham constitution at any cost, which will make them slaves of the military for generations,” continues Aung Din.

On March 14, 2008, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Burma ridiculed the junta’s plan by saying that “if you believe in gnomes, trolls and elves, you can believe in this democratic process in Myanmar,” at a news briefing at the U.N.’s European headquarters in Geneva. However, Thai Prime Minister Samat Sundaravej, who recently came back from Burma, praised military leaders as strong devotees of Buddhism and killing and suppression in the country are normal. “Tragically, like the Thai Prime Minister, there are some governments in Asia and Europe who believe in myths. We need similar actions from other Members of Parliament around the world to urge their respective governments to reject the junta’s sham constitution and to apply more pressure on the Burmese military junta”, added Aung Din.

– Asian Tribune –

Keep Tibet in the Spotlight

Calling All Bloggers:

Keep Tibet in the Spotlight

Posted on March 17, 2008 by chrismichael

Monks marching in the streets, students staging sit-in protests, midnight raids by the military, monasteries sealed off, towns and cities sealed off…this is Tibet. The most violent protests in nearly 20 years continue after last Monday’s pro-independence rallies commemorating the 49th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet. The Chinese government reports 16 people dead while the Tibetan Government in Exile, reports at least 80 deaths.

Watch videos of the protests here

International concern is growing as a result of house-to-house raids, imposed curfews, numerous arrests, and increased media repression.

The Chinese government has reportedly placed restrictions on international media coverage in Tibet, blocking or filtering websites like Yahoo! and YouTube and censoring the local feeds of news agencies including the BBC and CNN. However, first-hand accounts, photos, and videos (mostly from cellphones) are making their way out – and onto the Hub. We are collecting these videos on the Hub and linking the latest resources and urgent actions you can take here.

We’re working to feature the latest video, audio and photos coming out of Tibet and linking news updates, resources and urgent actions that concerned citizens can take – but we need your help!

Bloggers and vloggers, help us keep Tibet in the spotlight!

1) Post about Tibet and embed Tibet-related media from the Hub
2) Upload – if you have or see Tibet-related video, photos or audio that are not on the Hub, upload or embed it now, or email us at tibet@witness.org
3) Spread the Word – help us with our call for cellphone video and images from Tibet. Please help us by spreading the word and urging folks to email tibet@witness.org with their interviews, updates, video and photos. We’ll get them online – and ensure they stay online.

More coming soon…

Filed under: Human Rights | Tagged: , , , , ,

Human rights violations in China

Human rights violations in China

 

By Niall Fraser
For CNN

HONG KONG, China (CNN) — With a year to go before the 2008 Olympics get under way, questions linger over China’s efforts to improve its human rights record.

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Observers and pressure groups have criticized the efforts of the Chinese government and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since Beijing won the bid in 2001, rejecting assertions by both that the Games will lead to lasting positive change in the world’s most populous nation.

After praising Beijing’s preparations as “excellent across the board,” the IOC official charged with overseeing Beijing’s preparations, Hein Verbruggen, sparked further anger from advocacy groups with his recent comments that, “…the way the Games are being used as a platform for groups with political and social agendas is often regrettable.”

The International Federation for Human Rights claimed his remarks will “embolden” hard-line elements within the Chinese Communist Party to ignore international pressure over human rights promises. But the IOC says, there is a widespread misconception that a list of “human rights promises” was ever sought by the IOC in the first place.

Read more in Niall Fraser

Boycott China Olympics in support of Tibet

Boycott China Olympics

in support of Tibet

Copied part of CNN politics*com, Cafferty File, Jack’s blog
ALT TEXT
A burning car sits on a street in the Tibetan capital Lhasa after violent protests broke out on March 14, 2008. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

Dalai Lama 'to resign' if violence worsens

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said China’s response to the protests in Tibet has been restrained.

  

art.lhasashops.afp.gi.jpg

Pedestrians walk past shops damaged by fire in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. 

art.policelhasa.jpg

A video image of Chinese police carrying out door-to-door searches in Lhasa. 

FROM CNN’s Jack Cafferty:

China has been hoping to boost its image in the eyes of the world as it gets ready to host the Summer Olympics in Beijing, but the Chinese government’s crackdown on protesters in Tibet is not helping.

What began a week ago as mostly peaceful protests by monks has spiraled into violent clashes, with Tibetans attacking the Chinese and burning their businesses. The Chinese government is now vowing to protect its territory and issued a midnight deadline that’s now passed for protesters to either surrender or face harsh consequences.

There are reports of Chinese authorities parading handcuffed Tibetan prisoners in the capital of Lhasa. Chinese police are going house-to-house checking id cards and residence permits. The Chinese government puts the death toll at 16, with dozens injured. But the Dalai Lama’s exiled government says 80 people have been killed.

Meanwhile, the protests that started in Tibet have spilled into three neighboring provinces and even to Beijing. And sympathy protests are also going on around the world.

China insists the violence won’t harm the upcoming Olympic games. The U.S. has called on China to show restraint.

However, it’s getting support from who else but Russia – another beacon of human rights. The Russian government says it hopes China will take “all necessary measures to stop illegal actions.” It adds that any efforts to boycott the Olympics are “unacceptable.”

Olympic officials also say they are opposed to a boycott because of the violence in Tibet.

Here’s my question to you: Should countries boycott the Olympic Games in light of China’s crackdown on protesters in Tibet?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

 

Jeff from Carmel, New York writes:
It’s a travesty. We stomp around the world fighting for freedom except when the offender is someone like China, whose money we desperately need. The world should rise up and boycott everything Chinese until the people of Tibet regain their freedom. These are the most peaceful people on earth; they should be role models for all of us. They deserve better.

Terry writes:
I remember in 6th grade participating in a school debate over boycotting the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. I supported that boycott, but today’s world is different, as is my opinion. Go to China, enjoy the games, and take your digital cameras. The citizens will be putting on a display for you. Send your pictures to CNN. Don’t get caught. Sunshine in China may be the best thing to happen to them. If you want to boycott something to really hurt China, stay out of Wal-Mart.

Brian from Redondo Beach, California writes:
Yes, boycott. China reminds one of Germany in the 30s. Will our people be safe there? And will the judging be fair even if we do attend? Hit them economically, which is what a boycott would accomplish.

James from Canada writes:
Given Guantanamo, rendition, Abu Ghraib, waterboarding, etc., the U.S. is hardly in any position to lead a human rights boycott of the Olympics.

Krake writes:
Boycotting will be a late and inadequate reaction. Allowing China to have the Olympics was the big mistake, especially since it was already known that the Chinese government is a human rights abuser and cruel regime. The violence in Tibet simply highlights what was already known.

Troy writes:
I would rather see our athletes wear “Free Tibet” T-shirts in Beijing during the opening ceremony. Oh Mao goodness.

Filed under: Beijing Olympics • China • Tibet

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