PPT was scrolling through some of the posts at New Mandala earlier today and noted a brief exchange on an old posting, with an intriguing recent comment from photojournalist Nick Nostitz.
Readers will know Nostitz as the author of two books on recent street politics in Thailand. His most recent post at New Mandala was on the Democrat Party’s “men in black” sham rally. It will also be recalled that Human Rights Watch released a much debated and criticized report on the events of 2010 about a year after the military crackdown was concluded. That report is available here.
The genesis of Nostitz’s comment on the HRW report is a poke he receives from one of the yellow-shirted antagonists who regularly comment at New Mandala, Vichai N. This Vichai asks about Nostitz and the HRW, sort of implying that Nostitz was unreliable [
reliable we fixed a typo here] as he wasn’t cited in that rather biased and incomplete report. For PPT, Nostitz’s response is revealing of the methods used by HRW, and should come as no surprise to those who follow HRW’s side-taking in Thailand.
Nostitz reveals that “HRW investigators” interviewed him.” He then explains that HRW:
decided not to include my accounts, especially over the killing zone incident, as the believed another person who wasn’t even there during the incident and at the day, and had very little background knowledge or contacts (we had quite an argument during the interview over this, which pissed me off tremendously, especially as this was only a very short time after this whole mess, when i was psychologically still very stressed).
Nostitz goes no to explain that HRW “decided to believe the massive discrediting campaign that at the time was launched by the DP [Democrat Party-led] government against me, and decided not to listen to the people who supported me [his account]…”. He adds that the HRW account of the killings at Wat Pathum Wanaram was shallow and accepting of “simplistic” media stories.
On the HRW report, he concludes: “It has merit, but also some weaknesses which could have been avoided.”
As an aside, Nostitz comments on the role played by HRW’s Sunai Phasuk, claiming that “contrary what many believe, was not part of the HRW report.” Given that Sunai is an employee of HRW and their designated “researcher,” this assertion demands more detail, especially as Sunai was reporting to HRW throughout the period the report discusses. Nostitz claims that “Sunai is one of the very few people here who are extremely knowledgeable, factual and objective, and do walk neutral ground.” Nostitz is simply wrong to claim that Sunai is “neutral.” While we agree that he is knowledgeable, PPT has demonstrated Sunai’s pro-coup bias (found here, here, here, here, here and here).