Readers have been active in sending PPT material related to the Truth for Reconciliation Commission. Two of the most interesting are mentioned here.
First, a reader points out to us that we missed a link in the TRC report. In an earlier post, we commented on the Wall Street Journal (also here) op-ed on the Truth for Reconciliation Commission report by Asia regional director of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue Michael Vatikiotis. We stated:
In the first place, is his moniker a full disclosure of his relationship to the TRC? Vatikiotis has been working with several state and other bodies in Thailand on various “humanitarian dialogue” issues including the south and rumors of involvement in palace-Thaksin Shinawatra negotiations. Suddenly, he has popped up at the release of the TRC report and now as a booster for the report…. When Vatikiotis notes that “the commission drew on extensive international advice and support,” it would be useful to know if he and the HD Centre had a role with the TRC.
In fact, pages 18-22 of TRC’s report lists all of the international experts and agencies who joined hands with the TRC and supported its work. There are three mentions of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. The first is a meeting with “a representative of the Centre … to discuss and support TRC operations.” The second refers to an offer of support and assistance to the TRC. The third mention is of a meeting between TRC Chairman Kanit na Nakhon and Francesc Vendrell, said to have supported reconciliation efforts in several countries, Michael Vatikiotis of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, and two other Centre staff “in the name of the Friends of Thailand Group” (ในนามกลุ่มเพื่อนประเทศไทย) to exchange ideas and views about reconciliation and the positioning of the TRC in terms of the perspective of the international community.
We have no idea who the “Friends of Thailand” are. Do readers know?
Interestingly, the support of the HD Centre to the TRC was the most consistently recognized in the report. It seems that Vatikiotis was allocated a role in advocating for the TRC to the international community. Again, though, as we pointed out in the earlier post, HD Centre activities in Thailand are confidential/secret.
Second, a reader reminds PPT of something we had certainly forgotten. This is of Kanit’s earlier incarnation as Attorney-General in the 1990s. Readers may recall that the Chuan Leekpai Democrat Party-led government (1992–1995) fell when members of the Cabinet were implicated in a Sor Phor Kor 4-01 land project documents scandal in Phuket. The aftermath of that case was that the Attorney-General’s office, under Kanit, dropped the cases against those implicated, including wealthy people connected to the Democrat Party. Some of the reaction to that case are found in several reports from the time, here, here, here and here. Recalling the intricate linkages and debts in Thai politics always causes some surprise.