Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Panel Empowered to Find Thaksin Guilty for "War on Drugs" Comes up Short

'War on Drugs' probe draws a blank

Piyanuch Thammakasetchai

The Nation

An independent committee probing drug-related killings during the first Thaksin Shinawatra government has found no concrete evidence linking senior figures with the murders, a Justice Ministry source said yesterday.

After five months of inquiries, the panel, led by former attorney general Khanit na Nakhon, has obtained only statistical details about the number and nature of the murders.

But no conclusion that would implicate police or Thaksin as the instigator of the shoot-to-kill policy has been reached.

The panel's report will be submitted to the Cabinet today. It's main content is facts and government records showing how Thaksin's order was carried out from top to bottom through the bureaucracy.

One of the most potent pieces of evidence is that an anti-narcotics centre under the Interior Ministry was ordered to issue a blacklist naming drug dealers and users nationwide, as well as an appraisal measure to show a "decline" in the number of people blacklisted.

But the report contained no conclusion that may subject an individual to criminal liability.

The outcome is likely to be considered by many as a failure, because the panel's objective was to bring those responsible for the murders to justice - be they police officers or anyone in higher authority who encouraged extrajudicial killings.


People have been coming to this blog for a year accusing Thaksin of mass murder during the "War on Drugs." The Thai media and other anti-Thaksin activists have accused Thaksin for being like Hitler, capriciously gunning down drug dealers at whim.

Now, the junta-picked panel that was put into effect to get Thaksin for the extra-judicial killings now admits that it has no "smoking gun."

After a year of doing this blog, I think the biggest lesson I have learned so far is the power of propaganda and the affect that the media, in this case, the Thai media, has on shaping people's opinions.

I have been duped before. But that is because I wasn't "mindful" of the information being presented to me.

This is why I am always harping about the evidence. The news media has a responsibility to get it right, especially when lives and the rule of law are at stake.


hobby said...

You must have been one of a very few who ever expected anyone, let alone Thaksin, would be charged for the shoot to kill drug war policy.

Obviously Thaksin did not pull the trigger, but he was intricately involved in the policy, and as soon as legitimate concerns were voiced he should have put a stop to the killing policy.

Oh, I forgot, he was democratically elected, the policy was popular, and it even appears to have had some ambiguous palace support, so it must have been OK (legally, if not morally)

Fonzi said...


You are right. Didn't expect it because the military and police don't want to implicate themselves in any crimes they were responsible for executing.

But, if the junta really wanted to get Thaksin, this probably would have been the way to go, because so far the crimes they have concocted in justification for the coup have been lame.

Anyway, still think it is interesting that you and others have been calling Thaksin a murderer for a year, without any evidence, based on what the Thai media decided to propagate, not in the interest of seeking the truth, mind, but because of their anti-Thaksin agenda.

Anonymous said...

I liked that Jodie Foster movie "The Accused". Have you seen that one Fonzi?

It was the story of a woman who was gang-raped in a bar but the "twist" in the story was that a lawyer was able to successfully prosecute the man who was "goading" the others to commit the rape.

Perhaps to your glee Fonzi Thaksin will be let off the hook on the extra-judicial rampage of his police death squads fired up by Thaksin "goadings" to commit the killings. (I half-expected as much.)

What I was really hoping for was a judicial public inquiry into this horrific police abuse (that may or may not lead to "senior" people being prosecuted) to find out how the police death squads continued on for months under the watch and goading of Thaksin Shinawatra.

But nothing that Thaksin does or did will horrify Fonzi of course.

Thai Observer said...

This finding shows nothing except that the people involved were very careful. Thais may be lawless and lack integrity, but they are cunning as shithouse rats.


hobby said...

Fonzi: I don't call Thaksin a murderer in the strict legal sense, but I have no hesitation in saying that he presided over a policy that allowed murder, and he failed to stop the murders as soon as problems became known.
see Murder as public policy

Red and White said...

You said it yourself Fonzi , a "smoking gun" could not be found. That's because Thaksin didn't pull the trigger, he got his private army i.e. the cops to do it for him. He also sought moral clearance before operations started by continuously dehumanising his targets. He often talked of the "evil" of drug dealers and got monks to publicly clear the murder of drug dealers. The problem with all this trigger happy banter of course is that it assumes no mistakes will be made and the Thai police are responsible enough to perform the mission. Anyone who believes the latter of those two is unaware or insane and anyone who authorises such a mission in that knowledge is a murderer, period.