War On Drugs: Hit replay button?

War On Drugs: Hit replay button?

Nine years after the 2,600 extrajudicial killings of 2003, Deputy PM Chalerm eerily repeats Thaksin's words in TV speech.

corpse

Click button to listen to Chalerm's War On Drugs to download

EDITORIAL: Chill of a new 'war on drugs' (31/01/2012) 


Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung has taken over as the general in charge of the next big battle in the war on drugs. The old commander, Thaksin Shinawatra, is in no position to lead the charge again. What is remarkable about Mr Chalerm's announcement of the next crackdown is its similarity to that of his mentor's in Dubai.

Back in 2003, Thaksin warned the street peddlers and drug carriers to stop selling drugs or they would suffer the consequences. Mr Chalerm, in his TV appearance on Saturday, sounded much like Thaksin. It is alarming to hear Mr Chalerm predict again that drug dealers are going to die in the crackdown. It is depressing to hear how little progress has been made in nine years. When Thaksin, as a very popular prime minister, announced his war on drugs in 2003, he could talk tough. But the ex-police officer more than backed up his threats. He effectively cut the police loose from the rule of law. In the resulting nationwide "war on drugs" more than 2,600 people were killed. They included clearly innocent bystanders, as well as hundreds of suspected petty drug dealers, many of whom were undoubtedly a scourge on their neighbourhoods but still deserved their day in court more than a bullet to the brain.

Thaksin blithely told the country, and later an appalled world, that those killed during his crackdown died at the hands of drug gangs. He insisted then, and still does, that the gang leaders and "Mr Bigs" of Thailand's drug trade were afraid that the street dealers would try to cut a legal agreement with the police, and therefore the gangs killed them before they could talk.

It is difficult to believe that even Thaksin believed such balderdash, though not many fellow citizens did. After nine years, innocent survivors of that police lawlessness still await justice. The United Nations and human rights groups still use Thaksin's "war on drugs" to harm Thailand's image.

It may not surprise everyone that in 2012 Mr Chalerm has repeated Thaksin's tamperings with the truth. The deputy premier is both an avowed admirer of Thaksin and a public proponent of dealing swiftly with suspected drug dealers. It was chilling, however, to hear Thaksin's so-called justifications out of Mr Chalerm's mouth as he spoke of the upcoming campaign. Just like in Thaksin's time, police would show restraint, even kindness. "Those involved in drug networks might be killed by drug gangs." First we have the alibi, just in case later there is accusation of a crime.

Popular sentiment in Thailand is strongly against drugs and we should not have to suffer drug gangs or street peddlers. But Mr Chalerm's renewed war on drugs sounds just like all the old battles - grab some minor neighbourhood drug sellers, and declare success. The gangs and Mr Bigs of drug trafficking will remain largely or entirely unaffected.

After decades of seeing jailed drug sellers continue their trafficking from inside prisons, the Department of Corrections is going to isolate such men in an attempt to stop drug peddling from within the jails. It is a simple, promising decision. In his war on drugs, Mr Chalerm should come up with a few imaginative steps of his own, to get at the root of drug abuse and trafficking. Otherwise, the war will simply continue, without visible progress and only more loss of life.

(Source: Bangkok Post, EDITORIAL, Chill of a new 'war on drugs', 31/01/2012, link

Rule of Law Vocabulary

war on drugs - a three month period in 2003 during the Thaksin Shinawatra administration in which as many as 2700 extrajudicial killings are estimated to have taken place, the "war on drugs" began with lists of drug suspects drawn up by local police and government officials. Targets were then set for arrests and seizures with bonuses for police and removal from position if targets were not met. Starting from February 1st 2003 "the nightly television news opened with clip after clip of prone dead bodies." At the end of three months 2,637 had been killed with the police claiming that almost all the deaths were drug dealers killing other drug dealers to prevent them from giving information (silencing killings). As Chulalongkorn professor Dr. Pasuk Phongpaichit and her co-author and husband, historian Dr. Chris Baker observe: "...the line dividing police and professional gunmen is so thin as to be nonexistent. Some police (and military) moonlight as professional gunmen. Others retire to this profession. Some senior officers run gangs of gunmen. The police sometimes hire outside help in cases which are difficult to manage by normal police methods, or which are simply unlikely to be monitored" (Thaksin, Second Edition, 2009, Pasuk Phongpaichit and Chris Baker, Silkworm Books, page 162). (See the US State Department 2003 Human Rights Report for Thailand and an insightful academic paper by Michael Connors on the killings , the story of another family that still does not know what happened to their grandmother, critical report by Beckley Foundation , and critical 2004 Human Rights Watch report)

Chalerm Yubamrung - Police Captain Dr. Chalerm Ubumrung (Thai: เฉลิม อยู่บำรุง) (born June 10, 1947), "is a Thai politician. He is a Member of Parliament representing the Pheu Thai Party, and currently one of the Deputy Prime Ministers of Yingluck Shinawatra. His past political appointments include chief MP for Pheu Thai Party, brief terms as Health Minister under Somchai Wongsawat, Interior Minister under Samak Sundaravej, Justice Minister under Banharn Silpa-archa, and Leader of the Opposition from 2009 to 2011...Chalerm's three sons acquired a public reputation for violence and troublemaking for their repeated involvement in altercations in Bangkok's massage parlors and pubs. The phrase 'Do you know whose son I am?' became associated with the three as a mark of derision for their abuse of their father's political influence. They were involved in multiple lawsuits, which were usually settled out of court. The most infamous of these cases was the 2001 murder of Pol. Sen. Sgt. Maj. Suwichai Rodwimuti in a pub on Ratchadaphisek Road. Chalerm's youngest son, Duangchalerm, fled the scene and eventually surrendered himself to authorities more than six months after the killing. Chalerm, fiercely protective of his son, threatened the press reporting on the case, resulting in a temporary press boycott of Chalerm. Following this incident Chalerm and his sons published a short-lived magazine criticizing the press for alleged unfair treatment. The murder case was eventually dismissed by the Criminal Court when witnesses were unable to clearly identify Duangchalerm as the killer. During the investigation Chalerm had given a statement to the police claiming the true killer was Chalermchon Burisamai, or Ai-Pued, a close friend of his son's. The police have not pursued a case against this man" (See Wikipedia)

extra - outside of
judicial - courts of law
extrajudicial - outside of courts of law
extrajudicial killing - when people are killed without trial by the government, by soldiers or police (See Wikipedia)

rule of law - when government decisions are made by applying known legal principles, "the concept was familiar to ancient philosophers such as Aristotle, who wrote 'Law should govern'. Rule of law implies that every citizen is subject to the law. It stands in contrast to the idea that the ruler is above the law" (See Wikipedia)
due process of law - (See Wikipedia)

cut the police loose from the rule of law - not require that the police follow the law when enforcing the law

X was effectively Y -
X was the same as Y (even though it was called something different)
effectively cut the police loose from the rule of law

chill - to cause someone to feel extremely frightened or worried ทำให้กลัว ทำให้ขนลุก
chill of a new war on drugs

chilling - 1. frightening, causing fear; 2. causing something to get colder (like your skin when you are afraid) ทำให้หนาวเย็น
justifications - reasons for doing something

upcoming - will happen soon ที่กำลังจะมาถึง
campaign
- a planned group of especially political, business or military activities which are intended to achieve a particular aim การรณรงค์
upcoming campaign

it was
chilling, however, to hear Thaksin's so-called justifications out of Mr Chalerm's mouth as he spoke of the upcoming campaign

in charge
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung has taken over as the general in charge of the next big battle in the war on drugs.

commander - a police officer of high rank ผู้บังคับบัญชา
lead the charge - be at the front leading soldiers in war, attacking the enemy in a battle
the old
commander, Thaksin Shinawatra, is in no position to lead the charge again

remarkable - surprising and worth mentioning because it is unusual or special and therefore  ไม่ธรรมดา
announcement - information given to public ประกาศ

crackdown - strong official action to punish lawbreakers การปราบปรามขั้นเด็ดขาด strong action that someone in authority takes to stop a particular activity การใช้กำลังเข้าปราบปรามของเจ้าหน้าที่ (often lasting for only a short time)

similarity -
almost the same
mentor - teacher

what is
remarkable about Mr Chalerm's announcement of the next crackdown is its similarity to that of his mentor's in Dubai

peddler -
one person selling a small collection of goods (they carry with them) 
street peddlers - one person selling goods on the street

drug
carriers - drug mules, people hired to do the dangerous work of transporting drugs from place to place, if they are arrested face long jail terms or the death penalty, while the powerful people who hired them avoid punishment (See Wikipedia)

suffer
- to experience physical or mental pain
consequences - the things that happen as a result of a decision or event
suffer the consequences - have something bad happen to you as a result of something you did

back in 2003, Thaksin warned the
street peddlers and drug carriers to stop selling drugs or they would suffer the consequences

TV appearance - when a person is on a TV show 
X sounded like Y - what X said was a lot like what Y said 

Mr Chalerm, in his TV appearance on Saturday, sounded much like Thaksin.

alarming - frightening; makes you worry or concerned (that something bad might happen)
predict - to say that an event or action will happen in the future, especially as a result of knowledge or experience คาดการณ์ว่า พยากรณ์จากสถิติว่า

drug dealers -
people who sell drugs

it is alarming to hear Mr Chalerm
predict again that drug dealers are going to die in the crackdown.

depressing - makes very sad
progress - advance, go forward;  improving and developing over time; work towards a goal; the process of gradually improving something; completing tasks that move you towards achieving a goal ก้าวหน้า ความก้าวหน้า how a series of events is developing พัฒนาการ

it is depressing to hear how little progress has been made in nine years.

tough - 1. determined, strong enough to deal with difficult or violent situations, not afraid; 2. having no sympathy for someone; 2. difficult to do or to deal with ยาก  ยากลำบาก
talk tough - talking in a away that makes you look strong, not afraid, without sympathy

when Thaksin, as a very popular prime minister, announced his war on drugs in 2003, he could talk tough.

officer - a high level person in an organisation with special responsibilities (a government officer, a police officer, an army officer)

backed up - supported ให้การสนับสนุน
backed up his threats - do something bad to a person that you said you were going to do

but the ex-police officer more than backed up his threats. He effectively cut the police loose from the rule of law.

nationwide - throughout a whole country ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
in the resulting nationwide "war on drugs" more than 2,600 people were killed.

innocent - not having done anything wrong บริสุทธิ์
innocent bystanders - people not involved in a crime or bad event who got hurt

petty - small and not important
petty drug dealers - people who sell a small amount of drugs

suspected
- thought to be something เป็นที่สงสัย people believe that they might have done something wrong, but not yet proven
suspected petty drug dealers - people believed to sell a small amount of drugs (but not proven yet)

undoubtedly
- certainly อย่างไม่น่าสงสัย
scourge - something that causes a lot of trouble or harm โรคระบาด การลงโทษ
undoubtedly a scourge on their neighbourhoods

deserved - describes something that you earn or are given because of your behavior or qualities สมควรได้รับ
deserved their day in court - meaning: deserve the rule of law, deserve due process of law, deserve to have the evidence against them presented in a court of law and have their case decided by an unbiased (objective, impartial) judge (not shot extrajudicially by police acting as judge, jury and executioner

bullet - a small, metal object that is shot from a gun กระสุนปืน
bullet to the brain - shot in the head with a gun and killed

deserved their day in court more than a bullet to the brain

they included clearly innocent bystanders, as well as hundreds of suspected petty drug dealers, many of whom were undoubtedly a scourge on their neighbourhoods but still deserved their day in court more than a bullet to the brain

appalled - shocked or having strong feelings of disapproval ท้อใจ, ผิดหวังอย่างมาก
insisted - say firmly that something must happen or is true, and will not change mind

trade
- the buying and selling of goods การค้าขาย
fellow - used for talking about people who are similar to you or are in the same situation เพื่อนร่วมชะตากรรม

justice
- when people are treated fairly and equally;  fairness in the way people are dealt with (See Wikipedia) ความยุติธรรม
rights - something you are legally or morally allowed to do or have สิทธิ์ (See Wikipedia)

harm
- damage ความเสียหาย
image - an opinion that people have about someone or something; the picture of something that people have in their mind, what people think about something ภาพลักษณ์

blithely - not realizing that something is wrong; done in a way that does not consider the real problems of something
appalled - shocked, surprised that something so bad could happen

died at the hands of drug gangs

Thaksin blithely told the country, and later an
appalled world, that those killed during his crackdown died at the hands of drug gangs.

insisted - say something must happen
drug trade - the buying and selling of illegal drugs
street dealers - people who sell drugs on the street

cut a deal - make a deal, make an arrangement or agreement
cut a legal agreement with the police

he insisted then, and still does, that the gang leaders and "Mr Bigs" of Thailand's drug trade were afraid that the street dealers would try to cut a legal agreement with the police, and therefore the gangs killed them before they could talk 

balderdash - nonsense (completely untrue, ridiculous, stupid)

citizens - a person who is legally a resident and part of a country (together with legal rights and obligations)
fellow citizens - people who are also citizens of the country (just like they are) 

it is difficult to believe that even Thaksin believed such balderdash, though not many
fellow citizens did 

innocent survivors
police lawlessness

still await justice
after nine years, innocent survivors of that police lawlessness still await justice.

image -
how other people view you, the opinion that they have about you
harm
Thailand's image - acting in a way to make people outside the country view the country negatively

the United Nations and human rights groups still use Thaksin's "war on drugs" to harm Thailand's image 

tamper - to touch something that you should not touch and change it
tamper with the truth -
change the truth; falsify
tamperings with the truth

it may not surprise everyone that in 2012 Mr Chalerm has repeated Thaksin's tamperings with the truth

deputy - a person who is given the power to do something instead of another person, or the person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation รอง, ตัวแทน,ผู้รักษาการแทน
premier - prime minister
deputy premier

avowed - publicly claimed
admire (verb) - praise, look up to, think highly of, respect, praise ชื่นชม ชม   
admirer (noun) - a person who admires another person (looks up to, praises, respects)
avowed admirer of Thaksin  

proponent - a person who speaks publicly in support of a particular idea or plan of action ผู้เสนอ, ผู้สนับสนุน, ผู้เห็นด้วย
swiftly - happening quickly อย่างรวดเร็ว โดยด่วน
a public proponent of dealing swiftly with suspected drug dealers.

the deputy premier is both an avowed admirer of Thaksin and a public proponent of dealing swiftly with suspected drug dealers.

restraint - control of actions; something that prevents action (examples: crowd restraint, rabid animal restraint)
show restraint - when you control your own actions

just like in Thaksin's time, police would show
restraint, even kindness.

drug networks
those involved in drug networks might be killed by drug gangs 

alibi - proof that you could not have done the crime that you are accused of
accusation - when someone says you broke the law 
first we have the alibi, just in case later there is accusation of a crime

sentiment - feelings; a thought, opinion or idea based on a feeling about a situation, or a way of thinking about something กระแส, แนวความคิด, ความคิดเห็น
street peddlers - people who sell drugs on the street

popular sentiment in Thailand is strongly against drugs and we should not have to suffer drug gangs or street peddlers

renewed - started again (after stopping for a time)
renewed war on drugs

grab - seize; take forcefully (example: the thief grabbed the schoolgirl's bag outside the subway station and sped away on his motorcycle, actually witnessed last night outside Sukhumvit MRT station) 

minor - not important; small; having little influence or effect เล็กน้อย
minor neighbourhood drug sellers

but Mr Chalerm's renewed war on drugs sounds just like all the old battles - grab some minor neighbourhood drug sellers, and declare success

drug trafficking - the activity of transporting illegal drugs to places and selling them (See Wikipedia)
Mr Big - a VIP

Mr Bigs of drug trafficking
the gangs and Mr Bigs of drug trafficking will remain largely or entirely unaffected.

decades
- periods of ten years เป็นสิบๆปี
isolate - to separate แยกจากกัน taken and put in a separate area, apart from others; to set apart from; to disconnect from แยกออกมา ตั้งอยู่เดี่ยวๆ

after decades of seeing jailed drug sellers continue their trafficking from inside prisons, the Department of Corrections is going to isolate such men in an attempt to stop drug peddling from within the jails.

simple - easy to understand; not complicated ง่าย,ไม่ยุ่งยาก, ไม่ซับซ้อน
promising - likely to be successful มีแนวโน้มที่ดี

it is a simple, promising decision

drug abuse - use of illegal drugs, often leading to addiction, also called "substance abuse" (See Wikipedia)

imagination
(noun) - creativity จินตนาการ
imaginative
(adjective) - using imagination and creativity 

imaginative steps - actions to solve a problem (that show imagination and creativity)
come up with a few imaginative steps of his own

get at the root of - find the cause of some problem event (why it happened)
get at the root of drug abuse

come up with - create something new (using a new idea)
come up with a few imaginative steps of his own, to get at the root of drug abuse and trafficking.

in his war on drugs, Mr Chalerm should come up with a few imaginative steps of his own, to get at the root of drug abuse and trafficking

visible progress

otherwise, the war will simply continue, without visible progress and only more loss of life.

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