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Asean Affairs  7 December 2010

Quest for Thaksin gets WikiLeaks connection

By  David Swartzentruber
AseanAffairs     7 December 2010

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The rumour mills are beginning to heat up and local Thai media are working overtime to develop storylines around the impending visit to the United States of fugtive former prime minister of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra.

Mr. Thaksin has been invited by the US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe to address a forum titled "Thailand: Democracy, Governance and Human Rights" in Washington on December 16.

Thailand’s current Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, denied a WikiLeaks report that he discussed the extradition of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra with US President Barack Obama, or that there was a deal regarding the Viktor Bout extradition. This discussion allegedly took place at their November 14 meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum in Japan.

On December 7, Thaksin's local adviser Noppadon Pattama said Thaksin would definitely travel to the US to give the speech. Mr. Noppadon also assured the world that Mr. Thaksin has no visa problems and definitely plans to make the trip.

Thaksin cannot travel on his Thai passport and has a Montenegrin passport. The Royal Thai National Police are attempting to determine where Mr. Thaksin will apply for a United States visa. When that is determined they will work with the Thai Foreign Ministry to expedite extradition papers.

Local Thai commentators are fuming at the invitation for Thaksin to speak on human rights in the United States as there are many human incidents during his administration that have never been explained or accounted for or explained in any way.

They are: under his order to cleanse Thailand of illegal drugs in 2003, an estimated 2,600 drug suspects, including many innocent people, fell victim to extra-judicial death squads.; the Krue Se mosque attack in April 2004, in which 31 suspected Muslim gunmen were killed, and the Tak Bai tragedy in October of the same year, in which 85 Muslims died during a protest, including 78 who suffocated while being trucked to an army barracks in Narathiwat, also took place during Thaksin’s premiership.

The Thai police will work with the Office of the Attorney-General in order to send an extradition request for Thaksin.

Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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