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Cablegate: National Reconciliation Commission Releases Full

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 003145

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV, USPACOM FOR FPA HUSO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM TH HUMAN RIGHTS NRC
SUBJECT: NATIONAL RECONCILIATION COMMISSION RELEASES FULL
REPORTS FROM TAK BAI AND KRUE SE INCIDENTS

REF: A) 04 BANGKOK 5360 B) BANGKOK 687 C) 04 BANGKOK

3111 D) 04 BANGKOK 2941

1. (U) SUMMARY: The National Reconciliation Commission
(NRC) recently released the complete texts of reports
authored by two government-authorized "Independent
Commissions" which investigated separate high casualty
incidents in 2004 in southern Thailand involving Thai
security forces. In April 2004, 32 armed insurgents were
killed at the Krue Se Mosque and 85 demonstrators were killed
at the Tak Bai Police Station in October 2004. No startling
new facts were revealed about either event. However, the
full reports do provide more details about the shooting of 7
of 85 demonstrators killed at Tak Bai and actions of military
commanders shortly after the crackdown began. Muslim leaders
generally reacted positively to the NRC's release of the
reports but again voiced concern that promised compensation
to families of those killed has not been dispersed. The NRC
met again on May 9 to set up sub-committees to pursue
specific goals more systematically. END SUMMARY.

ONE YEAR LATER: THE (IN)-COMPLETE STORY OF APRIL 28, 2004 AND
KRUE SE MOSQUE

2. (SBU) After completing a three-day fact-finding trip in
Narathiwat Province on April 20, the 48-member NRC released
the complete texts of the reports from separate Independent
Commissions (authorized by the Thai government) on the
controversial Tak Bai and Krue Se Mosque incidents. During
the fact-finding trip, NRC members had been urged to release
these reports by religious leaders and families of victims
from the violence in the South, many of whom argued that
doing so would clear the air significantly. The NRC also
consulted with police and military officials in the South
(and perhaps the issue was discussed privately with the Prime
Minister). The Thai media aired the debate over the value of
releasing the full texts. On April 20, after a closed
session meeting of the NRC, Chairman and former Prime
Minister Anand Panyarachun appeared at a press conference and
provided copies of the 52-page Tak Bai report and the 38-page
Krue Se report to the media. "We insist on transparency," he
said. English versions of the reports can be found on the
Internet site of The Nation newspaper at:
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/specials/takb ai.

3. (U) The Krue Se report covers only one of several violent
incidents that occurred in three different provinces on April
28, 2004. As noted in the report, "Some 100 militants staged
simultaneous assaults on seven targets in Yala, three in
Pattani, and one in Songkhla." The full report provides
details about the weapons used by the militants and security
forces, names of persons involved on both sides and a
detailed timeline. This is in contrast to the four-page
summary report released on August 4, 2004 by the RTG. The
authors of the full report state that autopsies were not
performed on the bodies of the 31 militants killed by Thai
Special Forces at Krue Se Mosque. However, samples of body
fluids were taken and later tests concluded that no narcotics
or other "illegal substances" were present. (Note: This
appears to contradict an official RTG statement of April 29,
2004 stating, "the perpetrators were under the influence of
drugs and were instigated to resort to violence. It was
disclosed that those arrested were subject to urine test
(sic) and found to have taken drugs." See Reftel C. End
Note.) The full report criticizes General Panlop Pinmanee,
Deputy Director of the Internal Security Operations Command
(ISOC), who ordered the raid on the Mosque, as well as
then-4th Army Commander General Pisan Wattanawongkhiri, for
failing to negotiate with the insurgents. "In their
negotiations with the militants, anti-riot forces conducted
no talks, but simply announced a series of warnings to
encourage surrender."

SOME TAK BAI DEMONSTRATORS SHOT FROM A DISTANCE

4. (SBU) In contrast to the Krue Se report, the full Tak Bai
report is much more detailed and offers more specific
accounts and recommendations (Ref B). The full report
reveals that after examining the bodies of the demonstrators,
forensic scientist Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunan concluded that,
"it was clear the victims (at the Tak Bai police station)
died of gunshot wounds caused by bullet shot from distance
(sic)." Another part of the report reveals that Queen
Sirikit summoned General Pisan to an audience at Narathiwat
Palace at 12 midnight on October 26. The report notes that
Gen. Pisan, the 4th Army Commander, also met with PM Thaksin
at a hotel in Narathiwat the same night. Among the
recommendations not previously revealed is the suggestion
that the RTG produce radio and TV programs in the Malayu
(Yawi dialect) language to create understanding between the
local populace and the government. The report also suggests
that the RTG "avoid the implementation" of martial law and
employ "the Emergency Administration Emergency Situation Act
B.E. 2495 (1953)," which provides for some civilian control
over the military.

MUSLIM REACTION: RTG GETTING BETTER, BUT WHERE'S THE MONEY?

5. (U) Muslim leaders welcomed the release of the reports.
Some Embassy contacts from the Islamic Committees of Pattani
and Yala complained that the reports were not released in
Yawi and therefore many Thai Muslims, particularly older
religious and community leaders, still did not have full
access to them. Media reports quoted families of those
killed on April 28 as stating that they have not yet received
20,000 baht ($512) in compensation promised to them by the
RTG last year. The families of the young members of the Ban
Suso soccer team in Saba Yoi, Songkhla are among those with
this complaint. One reported eyewitness of events at Saba
Yoi was quoted in The Nation newspaper as saying, "Of the 19
dead bodies we found at the scene, 14, including my younger
brother Kamaridin, were shot in the head." The policy of
providing compensation for the families of those killed by
security forces on April 28 is controversial among military
commanders. (Note: Five Thai security forces were killed and
21 injured in the affected areas on April 28. See Reftel D.
End Note.)

NRC CREATES SUBCOMMITTEES

6. (U) On May 9, the NRC held its third full, formal meeting
at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Bangkok. The
one-day meeting followed a weekend trip by Chairman Anand to
Narathiwat to meet with victims from the Tak Bai incident and
some of the families of those killed in Saba Yoi, Songkhla on
April 28, 2004. At this meeting, the NRC decided to set up
five subcommittees charged with responsibilities as follows:
1) Promote Justice and Human Rights, to be chaired by Deputy
Prime Minster Chaturon Chaisaeng; 2) Solve Conflict through
Peaceful Means, to be chaired by Phra Paisarn Wisaro, a
well-know Buddhist monk; 3) Study the Development of Human
Security, to be chaired by Amnar Siamwalla; 4) Promote
Cultural Diversity in Thailand, to be chaired by Prawes Wasi,
a leading public intellectual and social activist; and, 5)
Promote Local Harmony and Cooperation, to be chaired by
General Narong Denudom, a Muslim former 4th Army Commander.
It was also announced that PM Thaksin would recommend for
cabinet approval on May 10, a resolution to drop pending
criminal charges against 58 Tak Bai demonstrators. The NRC
will next meet in Narathiat on May 20.

7. (SBU) Comment: The NRC under Anand's leadership has taken
a bold first step by releasing the full reports. This move
is responsive to calls from human rights NGOs and the Muslim
community for a more open process in its investigation of two
of the most important cases of claimed human rights
violations committed against Thai Muslims in the last year.
To his credit, PM Thaksin has not objected to the release of
these controversial documents, although his administration
had earlier explicitly refused to do so. Significantly, the
first year anniversary of the events of April 28 passed
without any major violence or separatist attacks. End
Comment.
BOYCE

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