Letter to President Obama regarding Thailand's Political Crisis - A Response to Michael Turner
January 17, 2014 at 6:21pm
President Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washing, D.C. 20500
17 January 2014
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing in response to Congressman Michael R. Turner's letter to you yesterday, urging you to publically voice opposition to the anti-government movement and support the election on 2 February 2014. With all due respect, Congressman Turner's letter is misguided and shows a lack of understanding of the Thai political crisis.
As a U.S. trained lawyer, and citizen of the U.S. and Thailand, I am pro-democracy. Indeed, I have often volunteered for voters' assistance groups to inform Americans on voting registration, necessary documents for voting, and finding the right precinct to ensure that their votes do get counted.
The anti-government protestors are also pro-democracy. The movement is not to rid Thailand of democracy. It is to rid Thailand of the most tyrannical and dictatorial regime in history. Throughout history, many dictators have been democratically elected. Saddam Hussein received 100% of the votes. Hugo Chavez, whom you publically called authoritarian, was also elected by the majority.
The Thaksin authoritarian government, elected through vote-rigging, proved to be the most corrupt and the gravest human rights violator. In order to fully appreciate the current political crisis, one must examine the telecommunications Tycoon' legacy. To name a few examples of Thaksin's egregious conducts:
In February 2003, Thaksin launched a "war on drugs" campaign resulting in 2,800 extrajudicial killing in the span of three months. In 2007, official investigations concluded that more than half of those executed had no connections with drugs. The UN Human Rights Committee raised serious concerns yet perpetrators were never prosecuted.
In 2004, Thaksin's security forces shot, suffocated or crushed to death 85 southern protestors in what is known as the Tak Bai massacre. Human Rights Watch has condemned this atrocity and urged independent criminal investigation but again, to no avail.
According to Amnesty International, 18 human rights defenders were either assassinated or disappeared.
Due to Thaksin's censorship and intimidation of the press, human rights violations remained unreported and any dissent was silenced.
In an attempt to circumvent conflict of interest laws, Thaksin illegally transferred billions of baht in assets to his maids and drivers, without their knowledge.
Thaksin aided his wife to purchase government land at a reduced rate of 1/3 in violation of the law prohibiting political leaders from engaging in business dealings with the government. Thaksin was consequently sentenced to two years in prison but fled the country and never served his sentence.