Saturday, January 26, 2008

Asia Times: Thailand, US and Torture

US and Thailand: Allies in torture

By Shawn W Crispin

Asia Times

Money Quotes:

According to testimonies of former Thai Muslim detainees recorded by US-based rights advocacy group Human Rights Watch, Thai security officials have recently used torture techniques ranging from sleep deprivation, forced nudity, exposure to extreme temperatures and even the threat to release German Shepherd guard dogs on detainees during interrogations. One Thai Muslim detainee was recently nearly killed after he was left naked in a meat cooler for over 24 hours at a military camp in Pattani province, according to one rights group.

These controversial and often illegal practices are largely being overseen by Thailand's Supreme Command's National Security Center, which is known to have close links with US military officials, according to people familiar with the situation. Despite the public exposure, Thailand's security forces continue to act with impunity while the torture techniques they're known to have used in the recent past continue today, says one of the rights group's researchers.

US and Thai officials will no doubt continue to try to disassociate the CIA's torture prisons with the Thai military's controversial tactics in southern Thailand, including the implementation of what some rights advocates refer to as "US-style" torture techniques. It is telling, they say, that the US has in the main remained silent about their Thai allies' sustained and by now well-documented use of torture while interrogating Muslim militant suspects.

Viewed through a realist lens, that policy posture may be explained by the US's need to maintain cordial ties with Thailand, which until now Washington has used as its regional hub for prosecuting the "war on terror". That would also go to explain why, despite immaterial cuts in bilateral aid and public finger-wagging, the US maintained close bilateral relations and military-to-military ties after the September 2006 military coup which ousted Thaksin's democratically elected government.

We will probably never know the truth, because the Thai media is weak.

I think the day of reckoning will come for the Thai media when a major terrorist attack hits in Bangkok and hundreds of foreign reporters will descend onto Thailand, demanding answers to questions that have been covered up for the last 7 years.

Hopefully, that day will never happen. But the general incompetence of the security forces in the South doesn't give one hope they can limit the conflict to the region.

1 comment:

fall said...

Just like old time, war on drugs.
When anyone been label "undesirable", such as drug-suspect or insurgent. Their right are forfeit and media coverage gone.
Where are the human right and NGO, now, when they can actually make a different?

But again, why waste energy on an actual investigation when you can photoshop someone into a monk and run it front-page, with complimentary story base on rumor.