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The festering sore Thai state crimes go unpunished

Red Thai Socialist - September 2, 2012

Giles Ji Ungpakorn The bloody massacre in Bangkok of pro-democracy civilians by the military and the Democrat Party in April and May 2010 was not the first time that unarmed political protesters had been brutally killed by the Thai State. Similar State Crimes were committed under the Thai Rak Thai Government in the South in 2004, by the military junta in 1992 in Bangkok, by the police and state-sponsored right-wing forces in October 1976 outside Thammasart University and by the army on the streets of Bangkok in October 1973. In 1973 and 1992, the people managed to overcome the army and win. But 1976, 2004 and 2010 were defeats. To date, no one has been punished or held responsible for any of these State Crimes. This article will discuss three of these events where the state defeated the demonstrators.

Bangkok 2010

In 2010, in response to Red Shirt demonstrations in Bangkok, calling for genuine democratic elections, the Thai army, under the direction and approval of Prime Minister Abhisit and others in the government, killed more than eighty civilians and wounded two thousand others in April and May. Among those killed were journalists documenting the events and medical volunteers who were assisting the injured.

The army's initial operation on April 10th was not designed to "keep the peace" on Rachadamnoen Avenue, as claimed by the government, but was designed to brutally crush the Red Shirt protests using armed soldiers and tanks. As part of the operation, the army deployed a group of more than 150 professional snipers, drawn from the various branches of the Thai military, who sporadically fired at demonstrators from rooftops with low calibre rounds. With the express approval of Prime Minister Abhisit, the military deployed Queen's Guard troops from the Second Infantry Division, under the command of General Prayut Junocha, to carry out a night time suppression operation. Company-sized army groups took up positions directly facing the Red Shirt crowd at the Democracy Monument and Khok Wua Intersection, where a standoff ensued for more than an hour. Troops fired live ammunition above the crowd, including a heavy.50 calibre machine guns, together with sporadic live fire directly into the crowd, attempting to provoke the crowd, in order to create a perceived need for the army to defend itself. Unarmed civilians died as a result.

The military operation that day ended when a rival military faction launched a deadly attack on the military commander in charge of suppressing the Red Shirts.

After the military operations on Rachadamnoen Avenue on April 10th failed to end the Red Shirt demonstrations, the army turned its attention to suppressing the demonstrations that had now concentrated at the Ratchaprasong Intersection. The army's plan called for establishing a "free fire" perimeter around the Ratchaprasong area. During the period between May 13th and May 19th, the army deployed troops from the Second Cavalry Division and the First Infantry Division to seal off the Bon Kai area south of Ratchaprasong, and the Din Dang and Rajaprarop areas north of Ratchaprasong. Again, snipers were deployed from buildings, using live ammunition. Although the official orders were to shoot threatening targets only, the actual orders for the commanding officers, which were unwritten, were to: (1) shoot all moving targets, regardless of threat level; (2) prevent any photographic or video evidence; and (3) prevent the removal of any bodies. These orders signified that troops were permitted to kill any person they wished, which allowed for the shootings of civilians and medical personnel at the Wat Patumwanaram temple on the evening of the 19th May. Claims that the Red Shirts were also armed with automatic weapons are not supported by any evidence of captured weapons or deaths or bullet injuries of any soldiers at Ratchaprasong.

Despite the bodies of Red Shirt civilians and numerous video clips which showed soldiers shooting unarmed civilians, Prime Minister Abhisit and all government representatives repeatedly denied that pro-democracy demonstrators had been deliberately shot down by soldiers. The Department of Special Investigation seemed to be "unable" to carry out post-mortems or to release any reports about the causes of death. The response of Abhisit was little different from Bashar al-Assad's bare-faced lies, denying any shootings in Syria a couple of years later. In December 2011 Abhisit told police that "the previous government's handling of last year's red shirt protests was based on tolerance and complied with international standards". The fact of the matter is that if armed combat troops and snipers are deployed against unarmed civilian demonstrators, along with tanks and heavy calibre machine guns, people are being treated as military targets. Such actions cannot be deemed an attempt to keep the peace or disperse crowds with minimal risk of injury. The Thai State has a long history of killing pro-democracy demonstrators[1].

The South in 2004

On the 25th October 2004 Thai Government security forces broke up a demonstration at Takbai in the southern province of Naratiwat. Apart from using water cannon and tear gas, troops opened fire with live ammunition above the heads of protesters, but some fired directly into the crowd, killing 7 people and wounding many others, including a 14 year old boy. There were villagers of all ages and sexes in the crowd who were protesting against the imprisonment of a group of locals. The villagers had good reason to fear that their friends and relatives might be "disappeared" or tortured.

After this, the troops moved in to capture young Muslim Malay men. While women and children huddled in one corner, the men were stripped to the waist and their hands were tied behind their backs. The prisoners were made to crawl along the ground while troops rained kicks down upon their heads and bodies and beat them with sticks. Many of the prisoners were roped together in a long line and made to lie face down on the ground. The local military commander of the 4th Area Army, Lt-General Pisarn Wattanawongkiri, told a reporter on television that this action should be a lesson to anyone who dared to defy the Government. "We will do this again every time", he said. No weapons were discovered on any of the local villagers.

Finally the bound prisoners were thrown into the backs of open-top army lorries, and made to lie, layer upon layer, on top of each other. Troops stood on top of their human cargo occasionally stamping on those who cried out for water or air and telling them that soon they would "know what real hell was like". Many hours later the first lorry arrived at its destination, Inkayut Army Camp. A number of prisoners who had been at the bottom of this lorry were found to have died in transit, probably from suffocation and kidney damage. Six hours later the last lorry arrived with almost all those on the bottom layers found to be dead. During those six hours between the arrival of the first lorry and the last one, no attempt was made by the authorities to change the methods of transporting prisoners. In total nearly 80 prisoners died. We must agree with a senate report on the incident which concluded that this amounted to "deliberate criminal actions likely to cause deaths" by the security forces. Prime Minister Taksin's first response to the incident was to praise the security forces for their "good work". Later the Government claimed that the deaths of over 80 demonstrators were a regretful "accident". Four years later on 9th February 2008 Prime Minister Samak Suntarawej told Al Jazeera television that the men who died at Takbai "just fell on top of each other". Later in the same interview he lied about the 6th October 1976 massacre, saying that "Only one guy died".

The lies told by Samak about Takbai and the 6th of October are clearly connected. Anyone watching the Takbai incident would be reminded of the 6th October 1976 massacre of students in Thammasart University.

No one has been punished for the State Crime at Takbai in 2004 nor the extra-judicial murders that took place earlier that year at the Krue-Sa Mosque. The guilty parties are Prime Minister Taksin Shinawat and the army and police commanders[2].

6th October 1976[3]

In the early hours of 6th October 1976, Thai uniformed police, stationed in the grounds of the National Museum, next door to Thammasat University, destroyed a peaceful gathering of students and working people on the university campus under a hail of relentless automatic fire. At the same time a large gang of ultra-right-wing "informal forces", known as the Village Scouts, Krating-Daeng (or "Red Gaurs") and Nawapon, indulged in an orgy of violence and brutality towards anyone near the front entrance of the university. Students and their supporters were dragged out of the university and hung from the trees around Sanam Luang; others were burnt alive in front of the Ministry of "Justice" while the mob danced round the flames. Women and men, dead or alive, were subjected to the utmost degrading and violent behaviour. One woman had a piece of wood shoved up her vagina. Hopefully she was already dead. Village Scouts dragged dead and dying students from the front of the campus and dumped them on the road, where they were finished-off. A young man plunged a sharp wooden spike into the corpses while a boy urinated over them. Not only did the state's "forces of law and order" do nothing to halt this violence, some uniformed members of the police force were filmed cheering-on the crowd.

From before dawn that morning, students had been prevented from leaving the campus by police who were stationed at each gate. Inside the sealed university campus violence was carried out by heavily armed police from the Hua Hin airborne division of the Border Patrol Police[4], the Bangkok Crime Suppression Division and the Special Forces Unit of the Metropolitan Police. Un-armed women and men students who had fled initial rounds of heavy gunfire to take refuge in the Commerce Faculty building were chased out at gun point and made to lie face down on the grass of the football field, without shirts. Uniformed police fired heavy machine guns over their heads. The hot spent shells burnt the skin on their bare backs as they lay on the field. Other students, who tried to escape from campus buildings via the rear entrance to the university, were hunted down and shot without mercy. Wimolwan, a Mahidol University nursing student and volunteer member of "Nurses for the Masses" was shot dead in the Chaopraya River, at the back of Thammasat, while she and her friends tried to swim to safety. At least 5 medical and nursing students from Mahidol University who were volunteer members of Nurses for the Masses, were killed on that day[5]. The invading police showed no respect towards anyone found in the temporary field hospital in the basement of the Commerce Faculty. Some seriously wounded students who were lucky enough to make it to a single ambulance that had been called to the campus, had to wait for hours without proper medical help or even water, until the police allowed the ambulance to leave the campus. Volunteer student nurses tried to keep the wounded alive by feeding them their own saliva.

Examples of courage and the struggle for human dignity shone through the violence and brutality of that day. Auntie Mien, a middle-aged machine shop worker from Makasan Railway Yard, was sheltering in the Commerce building along with many students. As a trade unionist she had opposed the military dictatorship of Tanom and Prapat since before it was overthrown during the 14th October 1973 uprising, 3 years previously. At that time she had encouraged her husband to also take an interest in politics. On the 14th October 1973 her husband was shot dead while protesting against the military dictatorship. Mien was in Thammasat on 6th October 1976 because she wanted to protest against the return of ex-dictator Field Marshal Tanom from exile in Singapore. It was Tanom whom she held responsible for her husband's death. In fact all those present on the university campus on the morning of 6th October were there as part of a protest against Tanom's return and the threat of a new dictatorship.

As Auntie Mien was rudely herded out of the Commerce building at gun-point, she refused to allow police to steal her hand bag and all its belongings. She had previously seen men in uniform systematically kick and rob the youngsters as they left the building. She also refused to bow her head down as ordered; she felt that she had done nothing wrong.

Pachern and his wife risked their lives to help wounded students. When the police finally found him they beat him with their guns and kicked and punched him. Sixteen years later Pachern's wife and fourteen year old son were killed by the military in the bloody May uprising of 1992. Such are the lengths to which the ruling class are prepared to go to cling on to power. Such are the lengths to which many brave Thais are prepared to go to fight for freedom and justice.

Student leaders like Thongchai Winichakul and Somsak Jeamteerasakul also risked their lives to save others. As the football field at the centre of the Thammasat campus came under sustained heavy fire from the police, they continued to give speeches from the makeshift open-air platform, erected at one end of the field. Since the police could not see all the football ground at this time, the aim was to draw police fire towards the open-air assembly area while people took refuge in the Commerce and Journalism buildings. Towards the end, Thongchai had to continue his speech while lying on the ground as the stage itself came under heavy fire. There, he repeatedly asked the police to stop shooting. He was ignored.

Shopkeepers and ordinary house-holders around the back entrance of Thammasat tried to hide students from the police as they escaped via the river. One Chinese shopkeeper, in his 60s, saved half a dozen students from arrest by pulling them off the streets to hide in his shop. On many occasions the police threatened to open fire on shops and houses which sheltered students. The students were not kicked-out by these good people; they left so as not to bring trouble to their hosts. Other examples of acts of courage included the volunteer medical students from Sirirat Hospital, who came across the river by boat to tend the wounded in Thammasat University under fire.

The director of Channel 9 state-owned TV station, Sampasiri Wirayasiri, observed what was happening at first hand that morning. "It was our sons and daughters that were being murdered. How could they do such things? I didn't have a gun. My only way to fight this injustice was to film what was happening, so everyone could see the truth"[6]. Sampasiri was sacked from his job immediately afterwards, but his film is an important part of the documented history of the 6th October.

On the morning of the 6th October 1976, the Thai state committed a political crime by crushing the student movement at Thammasat University with weapons of war. In addition to this, the police cooperated with right-wing gangsters who had gathered outside the university to oppose the students. In doing so, they allowed innocent people to be murdered in the most barbaric manner at Sanam Luang, opposite the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Wat Mahatart.

Four excuses were given by the state for crushing the students. These were:

1. That the students staged a play with a mock hanging of the Crown Prince.
2. That the students assembled an arsenal of weapons inside the university in order to stage a revolt.
3. That clashes occurred between "patriotic groups" and the students, which the police were unable to contain by any other means other than to enter the university by force.
4. That the students used the "excessive amount of democracy" which existed since the 14th October 1973 uprising in order to spread communism and destroy the nation.

None of these 4 reasons carry any weight or support the brutal crack-down, but many of the students were influenced by the ideas of communism, with good reason.

The actions of the police and right-wing mobs on 6th October were the culmination of attempts by the ruling class to stop the further development of a socialist movement in Thailand. The events at Thammasat University were followed by a military coup which brought to power one of the most right-wing governments Thailand has ever known. In the days that followed, offices and houses of organisations and individuals were raided. Trade unionists were arrested and trade union rights were curtailed, centre-Left and left-wing newspapers were closed and their offices ransacked, political parties, student unions and farmer organisations were banned. The new military regime released a list of 204 banned books. University libraries were searched and books were confiscated and publicly burnt. Over 100,000 books were burnt when Sulak Sivaraksa's book shop and warehouse was ransacked[7]. Apart from obvious "Communists" like Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao or Jit Pumisak, authors such as Pridi Banomyong, Maxim Gorky, Julius Nyerere, Saneh Chamarik, Chai-anan Samudavanija, Charnvit Kasetsiri and Rangsan Tanapornpan appeared on the list of banned books.

The Thai ruling class' desire to destroy the further development of the socialist movement, especially in urban areas, can be understood by exploring the political climate at the time. Three years earlier, on 14th October 1973, a mass popular movement for democracy, led by students, had overthrown the military, which had been in power since 1957. This mass movement was the peak of a wave of protests against social injustice that gradually accumulated over the period. It was heavily influenced by the 1968 events in the West and the Vietnam War. It was preceded by strikes and demonstrations over a whole range of issues like the cost of living, rural poverty, high petrol prices, US and Japanese imperialism, abuse of power by the military and the destruction of the environment. However, the establishment of parliamentary democracy on its own, after 1973, did not begin to solve these deep-rooted social problems. Therefore the protests, strikes and factory occupations intensified. By 1975 Communist governments were in power in Lao, Vietnam and Cambodia and in Thailand rural insurgency by the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) was on the increase.

However, a mere 3 years after the military had been thrown out of power by a popular uprising, the ruling class could not simply stage another coup. The memory of the 14th October 1973 was still too fresh. The military lacked legitimacy for any blunt political interventions. Simple military means were not enough. This explains the importance of using the police at Thammasat on 6th October and especially the creation and use of the various "informal forces". The Thai ruling class created three main organisations which were to deal with the Left. The largest right-wing organisation was the Village Scouts. At the peak of its existence, 20% of the Thai adult population were press-ganged into membership, numbering over 3 million scouts[8]. Initially this movement was a rural movement initiated by the Border Patrol Police in order to counter CPT influence in the villages. Villagers were recruited to the organisation and bound to it by mythical patriotic rituals. But for the vast majority of the members of the Village Scouts, the problems and social ills that they were experiencing did not result from the actions of the Left. They resulted from the unequal structures of Thai society created by the ruling class, together with the global economic recession at the time.

The other main "fascistic" organisations were the Krating-Daeng and the Nawapon. Both organisations were spawned from the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC). The Krating-Daeng were recruited by Sudsai Hasdin from the ranks of discontented technical college students and drop-outs. Out of public money, the Krating-Daeng were taken on drunken trips to brothels and paid expenses to carry out their "duties". These duties included throwing bombs into and shooting at left-wing demonstrations and breaking strikes. They also tried to burn down Thammasat University in August 1975. The Nawapon were a small organisation of middle-class intellectuals (such as the writer Tomayantee), Buddhist priests (such as Kittiwuto) and army personnel and their wives. The wife of Suchind Kraprayoon, the man who staged a coup in 1991 and ordered the shooting of unarmed demonstrators in "Bloody May 1992" was a member of Nawapon. The Nawapon were led by ISOC lecturer Wattana Kiewvimol[9].

Apart from committing acts of violence, the Nawapon also had an important role in making propaganda against the Left, both in a religious and secular context. The ruling class used the media, especially the Tank Corps Radio Station and Dao Sayam newspaper, to propagate a continuous campaign of lies about anyone to the left of Adolph Hitler. Even Chuan Leekpai (later to become Democrat Party Prime Minister) was called a "Communist". In the months before 6th October, the Tank Corps Radio suggested that tens of thousands of students ought to be killed "for the good of the country" and the Nawapon priest, Kittiwuto, announced that killing Communists was not a sin[10]. Kittiwuto was out performing his "Buddhist" duties on the morning of 6th October 1976. He moved through the compound of Wat Mahatat, next door to Thammasat, clearing out students who had taken refuge from the violence there. They were then arrested.

The use of right-wing mass movements against the Left was beneficial to the ruling class in a number of ways and reminds us, to some extent, of the role of the so-called Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD) in 2005-2010. Firstly these groups could use violent and illegal means while the state denied any responsibility. Secondly the army, the traditional "keeper of law and order", was in no position to openly crush the Left. Less than 3 years before the army had suffered a significant defeat at the hands of a mass popular movement for democracy. Thirdly, the use of such informal right-wing groups created a great deal of fear among left-wing activists because their actions were never constrained by the legal system. This climate of fear grew to its peak after the brutal pictures of burnings and hangings on the 6th October were broadcast throughout the country. Finally, since the state could deny any involvement with the right-wing groups, any mass disturbances resulting from their actions, such as the brutality of 6th October, could be used as an excuse to stage a coup "to restore order" and this is exactly what happened on that day.

It would be wrong to suggest that only one or two individuals or groups were behind the crushing of the Left. Over-emphasis on the role of the military, the monarchy or a particular political party would show a misunderstanding of the period. What happened on the 6th October was a result of a consensus among the entire ruling class that an open democratic system was allowing "too much" freedom for the Left. However, it is likely that there were both areas of agreement and disagreement within ruling circles on exactly how to act and who should act.

The turn of events leading up to the 6th October contained both planned and unplanned elements. One group who made special plans to crush the Left and stage a coup d'etat came from a coalition of the Chart Thai Party and right-wing Democrat Party politicians. General Pramarn Adireksan, leader of the Chart Thai Party, openly called for "the Right to kill the Left" during the April 1976 general election campaign[11]. He also stated in the cabinet meeting, early on 6th October, that it was now the right moment to destroy the student movement for good. The right-wing politicians plotted with soldiers close to the ex-dictators, Tanom Kitikajorn and Prapat Jarusatien. They also had significant influence among the urban section of the Village Scouts and the Krating-Daeng. It is believed that this coalition deliberately brought Prapat back into Thailand for a short trip to test the waters for a coup d'etat in August 1976. On that occasion, when the students demonstrated against Prapat, there was a mobilisation of paramilitary police assembled in the National Museum, ready to attack Thammasat, just like on the morning of 6th October, 2 months later. After that, the plotters then brought Tanom back in September. They guessed that the students would mount a protest and that any disturbances that followed could be used as an excuse for their group to stage a coup d'etat.

The role of the monarchy has also been discussed by many writers. Katherine Bowie's survey of the literature indicates that there is much debate here. Some observers believe that the monarchy argued for the coup, hoping to stop the swing to the Left, but also in order to prevent power falling into the hands of rival and unpredictable ultra-right-wing forces. Others believe that the monarchy's plans for a coup were thwarted by the group who actually took power. However, most writers express the view that the monarchy helped to pave the way for the brutal events, in a broad sense, by showing open support for the right-wing[12]. What we know for certain is that the monarchy openly supported and encouraged the Village Scout movement. In addition, the monarchy was close to the Border Patrol Police who established the Village Scouts and also took part in the killings at Thammasat. Finally the King and Queen supported the return of ex-dictator Tanom by paying him a visit soon after he arrived back in Thailand at Wat Baworn-niwet. It is my view that although the monarchy shared the hatred of the Left felt by all the ruling elites and although the King was involved in discussions about various actions, he was not the "leader" of the brutal crack-down, directing all actions. In fact there were rival groups within the ruling class who were trying to gain the upper hand in the crisis.

Naturally when the ex-dictator Tanom returned to Thailand, there were legitimate protests against him. Then on the 4th October the forces of reaction managed to find a perfect excuse for the mass mobilisation of the Village Scouts, Krating-Daeng and Nawapon. There were also mobilisations of various police units, including the heavily armed Border Patrol Police from Hua Hin. The "excuse" was a play put on by the students in order to condemn the murder and hanging of the two trade unionists in Nakorn Patom by police. A deliberate campaign of misinformation was a carried out by the newspaper Dao Sayam and the Tank Corps Radio in order to claim that the students had staged a play where they pretended to hang the Crown Prince. A photograph from the English language newspaper, the Bangkok Post, was used in this campaign of misinformation. The editorial board of the Bangkok Post today maintain that they had no part in the campaign of misinformation and that they were merely used by right-wing elements. This is very likely to be true. Nevertheless, the paper never had the courage, nor enough commitment to printing the truth, to deny the false reports about the students, either in early October 1976, or during the trial of innocent student leaders in the following two years. To this day the paper has yet to print an honest and factual account of the events.

On the 5th October the Tank Corps Radio Station called for a mobilisation of right-wing forces to "deal with" the students. Announcers urged people over the radio to "kill.. kill... kill" students. Dao Sayam issued a special one page leaflet carrying the photo of the play and this was distributed to Village Scouts in Bangkok. Some people believed at the time that "doctored" photos of the play were used in Dao Sayam and the Bangkok Post. However, this is not the case, since one of the actors bore a slight resemblance to the Prince anyway and the police file of photographs of the play, collected from various different media sources, all look similar, indicating that no photographs were doctored. The fact is that merely claiming via Dao Sayam and the Tank Corps Radio that the students had insulted the monarchy was enough to provide an excuse for the crackdown the next day.

In 2010 Abhisit's Democrat Party Government and the Military Command Centre claimed that Red Shirts were "terrorists", trying to overthrow the monarchy. This was once again used as an excuse for a bloody crack-down.

The military coup which was actually staged on the afternoon of 6th October 1976 was not in fact staged by Chart Thai and right-wing Democrat Party factions or their military allies. Instead, the "National Administrative Reform Council" (NARC) under Adm. Sangad Chaloryu, which took power and subsequently appointed Prime Minister Tanin Kraivichien, did so in order to prevent the first group from staging a coup[13]. The NARC was supported by those factions in the military opposed to Thanom and Prapat. Thus as George McArthur of the Los Angeles Times wrote on the 12th October 1976: "Only a facade of unity under 60-year-old Adm. Sangad Chaloryu hides the discontent of several senior army generals".

Within one year, the extreme right-wing government of Tanin Kraivichien was removed from power by the Army. Tanin had been recommended by King Pumipon. Obviously his wishes were soon disregarded by the military. Three years later, the government decreed an "amnesty" for everyone, including those that had committed the brutal State Murders.

Today, after the State Crimes against Red Shirts in 2010, there is once again talk of a general amnesty.

The pattern of State Crimes

There is a general pattern to the brutal methods which the Thai State has used over the last 40 years. Firstly, armed combat troops or paramilitary police are used to gun down unarmed protestors in the streets. Tanks are often deployed to intimidate people. Government officials then deny any shootings. There are no attempts to arrest people in order to keep the peace. Instead those that are captured are treated like enemy soldiers. Captives are stripped to the waist and made to crawl along the ground under a hail of kicks and beatings. They are then tied up. After the incidents government spokespersons tell deliberate lies. One typical lie is to say that the security forces were "forced to act as the situation was getting out of hand". Another lie is to claim that the "trouble-makers" were foreigners and couldn't speak Thai or that they wanted to over-throw the monarchy. Yet another lie is to claim that the protestors were well-armed and posed a threat to security forces. These lies are all trotted out despite video, photographic and eye-witness evidence which directly contradicts the accounts given by the Thai State.

In the light of general amnesties given to all sides after the 6th October blood bath and also after the 1992 military crack-down, it is worth remembering that the most important function of these amnesties is to white-wash the actions of state officials in the name of "reconciliation". This is why we must never accept any general amnesty for what happened between 2006 and 2010. The Red Shirts were carrying out legitimate pro-democracy demonstrations and need no amnesty. Those charged with lese majeste have been imprisoned under an anti-democratic law. All these political prisoners should be immediately released. They do not need to be "pardoned" for they have done no wrong. But what is of vital importance is to charge the coup makers of 2006 and all those who were responsible for the killing of Red Shirts in 2010 and bring them to justice. A genuine enquiry should be conducted into the 2004 massacre in the South and other State Crimes before that. All those deemed to be guilty should be prosecuted. A "Human Rights Marker" needs to be laid down in Thailand. Without such actions, Thailand can never have genuine standards of human rights or democracy. Adopting the practical proposals of the Nitirat Group[14] to make all laws passed by the 2006 military junta null and void, would be an important first step.

[1] Many supporters of the repression claim that the Red Shirts had "armed Men in Black". This is a diversion from the main issue of the gross State Crime committed against more than 80 unarmed demonstrators in 2010. None of those killed were "armed Men in Black". Apart from the incident in April 2010 near the Democracy Monument, there is no evidence of any military deaths at the hands of an enemy. No photographs of "armed Men in Black" exist either. A few Red Shirt guards wore black, but there is no evidence that they had more than a couple of small hand guns between them for self-defence and they were certainly no threat to the military.

[2] The entire crime was videoed by news reporters and is publically available to view.

[3] The author was part of a non-government fact finding committee which investigated this event in 2001.

[4] The Border Patrol Police are a heavily armed paramilitary unit which was set up in order to fight the Communist Party of Thailand.

[5] Friends of Mahidol (1997) Booklet in memory of 'Friends from October'. (In Thai).

[6] I.T.V. (1999) Retracing Steps. The 6th October. Television programme screened on 6th October 1999. (In Thai).

[7] K. A. Bowie (1997) Rituals of national loyalty. Columbia University Press, USA.

[8] K.A. Bowie (1997) already quoted.

[9] Puey Ungphakorn (1976) The violence and the coup of the 6th October 1976. Document in Thai first circulated on 28th October 1976 from London, later printed by Komol Keemthong Foundation. (In Thai). Edited English version published in the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, July-September 1977, 9.

[10] Puey Ungphakorn (1976) already quoted.

[11] Ben Anderson (1977) Withdrawal symptoms: social and cultural aspects of the October 6 coup. Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, July-September 9, 13.

[12] K.A. Bowie (1997) already quoted.

[13] K.A. Bowie (1997) already quoted. David Morell & Chai-anan Samudavanija (1981) Political conflict in Thailand. Oelgeschlager, Gunn & Hain, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

[14] http://www.enlightened-jurists.com/

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