The Global Digest

Asia Pacific


By Neil Paul Valentino
Staff Correspondent
Feb 22, 2015

44 PNP-SAF Elite Commandos' cadavers

ANSAN CITY, South Korea- The bereaved families of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) elite commandos of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are calling for immediate justice for their slain policemen who were mercilessly killed by the rebel groups in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao in Mindanao on January 25, 2015 after neutralizing the most wanted Malaysian terrorist in Southeast Asia, Zulkifli bin Hir known as Marwan in his hideway in the terrain of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and its renegade group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). Another Filipino-Muslim most wanted bomb maker expert, Basit Usaman was able to escape, a protege of Marwan with the help of the terrorist groups.

A total of 44 elite policemen of 84th and 55th Special Infantry Company were ambushed by the Moro rebels who allegely hid the two most wanted criminals, according to US list. The slain 44 were not able to escape due to the heavy volume of the combined forces of MILF and BIFF members who inhumanly shot them in the head in a near distance based on the video uploaded by one of the rebels. Likewise, according to the autopsy report of the PNP Board of Inquiry, 29 out of 44 elite commandos were fatally shot on the head and some of them cannot be recognized anymore after the massacre as high powered guns like Barette and machine guns were used even they had already dead. Weapons, uniforms, bulletproof vests, cell phones and other belongings of the victims were robbed by the ambushers.

Meanwhile, Some Catholic priests, National Transformation Council, opposition lawmakers, United students and other groups are calling PresidentAquino to step down for being incompetent as Commander-in Chief of the slain policemen who did get military assistance or reinforcements during the Maguindanao atrocity that began at around 5:30 in the morning and lasted 3:00 in the afternoon and it was known that the commandos were run out of bullets and reinforcements did not come when requested bythe PNP-SAF head while the ambush was still occuring. There was a big negligence of the PNP Chief Purisima and Commander-in-Chief Aquino which made the immediate families of the slain 44 fallen Heroes in grief and pain.

In a senate hearing, Chairperson and Senator Grace Poe had invited the Armed Force of the Philippines and PNP high ranking officials as well as the MILF negotiaators to explain the Senate and public about the atrocious incident amid peace negotiation between the government and MILF group, the Filipino people have watched closely and learned why the 44 commandos were slain in the operation. In fact, the secret operation known as "Oplan Exodus" was not informed to the PNP Officer-in Charge, Leonardo Espina and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary, Mar Roxas who was the overall head of PNP, who that time of clash have not sent assistanceas they only knew the operation was already happening and the directive came from the suspended PNP Chief Alan Purisima and President Aquino. Despite the six-months suspension charged by the Ombudsman againts Purisima, he was still able to give orders to SAF Head, Major General Getulio Napenas to pursue the operation and the latter has told the Senate hearing that Purisima has directed him not to tell to OIC General Espina and DILG Secretary Roxas about the operation until "Time on Target", by this the casualties reached to 44 and were stunned by the two officers and the families of the victims. On the other hand, Senator Miriam Santiago had blamed the suspended Purisima for lobbying and giving directives despite of his preventive suspension and she publicly humiliated Purisima and said, "If you did not give advise or order as suspended PNP chief these 44 would have not died" and the brave Senator has earlier said that President Aquino as Commander-in-Chief has liability for the death of the elite policemen in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

As of this writing, EDSA 2.22.15 Coalition and several groups will hold rally today against President Aquino to quit from his post as he failed to face his accountability and lack of good judgment in the operation in Maguindanao and conflict in Mindanao. The Malacanang Palace on the other hand has said that the President has no plan to resign until June 30, 2016, the end of his term. The Coalition however has chosen the Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno to act as President if Aquino steps down. Just recently, Rico Arana, one of the relatives of the fallen 44 has able to ask the President Aquino on why "reinforcement by air" was not given to the victims but the President did not answer directly instead he was disgusted and not satisfied with the President's answer.

The PNP organization is ruined due to incompetency of the Commander-in Chief and his close aide, Purisima who was then his former bodyguard and PNP chief, he also played a big role in the untold operation but denied his participation that he was just gave advise to the SAF head Napenas. President Aquino however, was lack of compassion during the time when the troopers asked reinforcement or support after killing the international terrorist the commandos were not able to escape from the terrain of rebel groups that composed of more than 1000 people who sorrounded and fired at them in different corners where the assault and blocking forces were just in the middle of cornfields without any shields and were later running out of ammunitions, according to the lone survivor of 55th Speacial Infrantry Company. The elite and trained commandos had successfully accomplished the mission by killing the most wanted criminal early in the morning by confirming their SAF head Napenas "Mike 1 Bingo” but did not succeed to get any support from the Commander-in- Chief or President as they called the Father of the nation where the helpless 44 were brutally killed in the place of the enemy. Worse, the government has no plan to bring the criminals and enemy of the state to justice for the sake of the dead as the Malacanang Palace stressed out the peace agreement is underway. Justice for 44 untimely death of SAF commando is therefore more important than the peace process. The peace agreement, according to the Constitution must not be given to any group harboring or protectors of the terrorists. The penman can say that the lives of 44 slain troopers are more important than the President because the former protect the Filipino people and civilians and uphold the Constitution of the nation while the present leader of our country protect the interest of rebel groups and to keep the peace agreement between the government and enemies of the state.

The Coalition and various groups are calling Mr. Aquino to resign for the sake of the nation and to save the nation from the hands of the enemy of the state. So far, the countyhas become the haven of the terrorists and drug lords. The netizens in social media are praising the leaders of Jordan and Egypt and other countries by giving instant justice to their people. Abdullah ll, King of Jordan destroyed the Islamic State by striking them after his pilot was burned by the terrorists. On the other hand, Egypt Government forces attacked and bombed the place of the Islamic group after beheading its 21 Egyptians while the President of the Philippines did nothing for his elite 44 SAF commandos who violently ambushed by MILF and BIFF group which according to the US report had links with the most wanted slain Malaysian terrorist.Again, the Filipino people are calling and praying to save our nation from the incompetent leadership of Mr. Aquino and tagged this rally as the “Day of Rage.”

Call for observers of sentencing in freedom of expression case

Patiwat Saraiyaem (right) and producer Porntip Mankong

On Monday, 23 February 2015, at 1 pm in the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road in Bangkok, the court will read the verdict and sentence Patiwat Saraiyaem and Pornthip Munkhong. They were formally charged on 25 October 2014 with one count of violating Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code in relation to the performance of a theatre play, ‘The Wolf Bride’ (Jao Sao Ma Pa) in October 2013. On 29 December 2014, they pled guilty to the charge. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) urges all concerned persons to attend the court as observers, and calls on other interested persons to follow the case closely.

This case is one of many involving the constriction of freedom of expression since the 22 May 2014 coup and the inauguration of a dictatorship by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). Together with the expansion of the jurisdiction of the military court to civilian cases, the banning of public expression of dissent, the restrictions placed on freedom of expression have caused a rapid deterioration of human rights under rule by the NCPO. The unequivocal opinion of the AHRC is that the peaceful expression of thoughts and opinions is not a crime. The AHRC and calls for the charges against Patiwat Saraiyaem and Pornthip Munkhong and all others being held under Article 112 to be immediately dropped.

Case details:

Patiwat Saraiyaem, age 23, a fifth year student and an activist in the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts at Khon Kaen University, was arrested on 14 August 2014 in Khon Kaen province and is being held in the Bangkok Remand Prison. Pornthip Munkhong, age 25, a graduate of the Faculty of Political Science at Ramkhamhaeng University and an activist, was arrested on 15 August 2014 at the Hat Yai Airport, and is being held in the Central Women’s Prison. They have been held without bail, despite numerous requests, since their arrests.

Article 112 of the Criminal Code stipulates that, “Whoever, defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years.” The use of Article 112 is highly politicized and has frequently been used as a method of silencing dissenting voices, particularly in moments of regime crisis. Although this measure has been part of the Criminal Code since its last revision in 1957, there has been an exponential increase in the number of complaints filed since the 19 September 2006 coup; this increase has been further multiplied following the 22 May 2014 coup.

The case against Patiwat Saraiyaem and Pornthip Munkhong complaint is in relation to their participation in the performance of a play, ‘The Wolf Bride’ (Jao Sao Ma Pa) at Thammasat University in October 2013 on the fortieth anniversary of the 14 October 1973 people’s uprising. At the time of their arrests, the AHRC noted that their arrests for exercising their freedom of expression in a theatre performance was an indication of the ongoing criminalization of thought and expression in Thailand following the 22 May 2014 coup by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) (AHRC-STM-157-2014; AHRC-STM-159-2014). Their continued detention is a daily reminder of the deepening human rights crisis put in motion by the coup (AHRC-STM-177-2014). In this case, as well as other freedom of expression cases since the coup, the manner in which the two activists were charged more than a year after the alleged crime suggests that the past has become an open catalogue of acts and speech which can be criminalized in retrospect.

The Asian Human Rights commission would like to remind the junta and the Criminal Court that as a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Thailand is obligated to protect and uphold Article 19, which notes that, “1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. 2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice. 3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.” The Asian Human Rights Commission unequivocally condemns the coup in the strongest terms possible and wishes to condemn the denial of freedom of expression and the expanding witch hunt of those who express, or have expressed in the past, critical or dissenting views. To think differently than the junta is not a crime.

The Asian Human Rights Commission also remains gravely concerned about the continued denial of bail in this and other freedom of expression cases. Although extended periods of both pre-charge and pre-trial detention have become common in cases of alleged violation of Article 112, as a state party to the ICCPR, the Thai authorities are also obligated to respect the right to temporary release. In particular, the AHRC would like to remind the junta and the Criminal Court that Article 9(3) of the ICCPR stipulates that, “Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgment.” Patiwat Saraiyaem and Pornthip Munkhong were denied temporary release for over two months before being charged, and then this denial continued after they were formally charged. Similar to other Article 112 cases, the Criminal Court has made this denial on the basis that if convicted, they would be subject to a heavy punishment and so are therefore likely to flee.

Nine months have passed since the 22 May 2014 coup and there is no clear timeline for an end to martial law or a return to a democratic government and the protection of human rights. Within this context, the presence of observers within the courtroom is a visible reminder to the junta and the judges that the violation of human rights is not passing unnoticed.


By Neil Paul Valentino
Staff Correspondent
Feb 8, 2015

PNP-SAF Maguindanao victims

ANSAN CITY, South Korea - Elite policemen were betrayed, ambushed and mercilessly killed while hunting for two terrorists in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao Province in Mindanao. The 44 casualties were members of Philippine National Police- Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) elite, trained and organized troopers who were unexpectedly ambushed by muslim rebels believed to be Moro International Liberation Front (MILF) with the cooperation of Bangsamoro International Freedom Fighters (BIFF) where the former had peace negotiation with the present government of Mr. Aquino.

In just a couple of days ago, the nation was observing the “National Day of Mourning” for the lost of the PNP-SAf “44 Fallen Heroes” as their families and relatives are in agony and anguish and mourned for their loved ones. The entire nation and several groups are shouting for "All out Justice" against the perpetrators to bring them immediately into justice. Moreover, the netizens and other groups are urging the government to bring the ambushers to justice.

Based on a recent investigations, there were five MILF commanders and 8 BIFF leaders who were seen by witnesses in the brutal killings of government SAF troopers. Amid crisis in politics, the admisnistration headed by the president and his Department Interior of Local Government(DILG) Secretary, Mar Roxas explained in the national television with the victims's immediate families and relatives that the operation known as “Oplan Wolverine” was lack of coordination or just “misencounter” which caused the death the trained and brave officers, who according to initial investigation was not given reinforcements that lasted sixteen hours of waiting according to one of the SAF survivors.

Prior to the carnage of 44 commandos, the PNP-SAF troopers were sent to Maguindanao in Masasapano town to search the most wanted terrorists in the world and in Fedearal Bereau of Investigation (FBI) list, known as Marwan and Basit Usman, a bomb maker expert, a malaysian born and the bomb expert were seen in Mindanao since 2012 and hid in the land of MILF and another faction group called BIFF, an extremist faction. After killing Marwan in his hideout on January 25, 2015 in the early morning in the said town, the assault team called 84th Special Infantry Company, composed of 55 commandos confirmed their SAF head about the death of Marwan with a text sent “ Mike 1 Bingo" with the support of Blocking Force, 55th Special Infantry Company with 36 troopers were about to return or exit when more than 1,000 members of MILF and BIFF surprisingly sorrounded and fired at them in different directions which resulted to ambush and brutally killed 35 out of 36 from 55th blocking force and 9 from the 84th assault force which desperately stunned the organization of PNP and the public. Amazingly, only one Police Officer survived from the 55th Batallion was able to hide and escaped despite running out of ammunitions. Basit Usman had able to escape.

A couple of days after the incident, the families of the victims outraged and angered for the death of their loved ones and the public sympatized and outraged the attackers and one adminsitration Senator asked the leadership of MILF to surrender their men despite of the on-going peace negotiation between the Aquino adminstration and MILF rebel group, the incident might deteriorate the peace process between the government and the rebel on Bangsamoro Bill Law which already discussed on the Senate and Congress.

Meanwhile, the nation observes a "National Day of Mourning" for the 44 Fallen Heroes and netizens and activist group blamed the Aquino administration for lack of concern and believed that the victims despite of asking the reinforcements while the ambush was in progress but the government sent nothing as they said there was no coordination between the PNP-SAF and the president even in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Recently, two bishops asked President Aquino to step down from his post and some other groups did the same as they said that the president of the nation knows nothing and incompetent and cannot protect his children as a father of the country. Worse, President Aquino was not present during the arrival of 44 commandos' cadavers in Villamor Air Base where Eulogy service was held, he allegedly attended the opening of Car company as scheduled than to give respect to the dead. He was highly criticized by the Filipino people and netizens for being insensitive and compassionless. As the families of 44 victims asked for truth and justice and some called for all out war against the enemy of the state.

Just two days ago, militants group and local chapter joined a march and rally regarding the Maguindanao victims to hold President Aquino accountable for the clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao between the government forces and Muslim fighters. A lady senator, Miriam Santiago has said that the president can be liable before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the death of 44 elite policemen including 18 fighters from MILF and 7 civilians with a 5 year old girl.

According to Director General, Leonard Espina, PNP officer-in-charge, whether without coordination or not the MILF should not kill the elite commandos as he also asked to return the weapons and other belongings of the 44 victims. Prior to the clash, the suspended PNP Chief, Allan Purisima was believed to be the one who ordered the SAF chief to pursue the “Oplan Wolverine” and told the latter not to tell the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police concerning the "Oplan Wolverine" unless the PNP-SAF commandos were in the place of the target which resulted the ambush of the helpless 44 SAF troopers.

Today, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Middle East and across the world as well as the Filipino people and netizens and some lawmakers in Congress are asking President Aquino to resign for being incompetent and lack of concern of the lives of the Filipinos, killings, injustices and conflicts are unstoppable in his regime and even the death of 58 people in 2009 Maguindanao Massacre including 32 mediamen got no justice for more than five years since the incident happened. Justice is paralyzed in the Philippines while corruption is continuing which poverty arises and many Filipinos are poorer nowadays and some starved to death.

BURMA/MYANMAR: Two teachers tortured, sexual assaulted, and murdered by soldiers

Jan 27, 2015

Maran Lu Ra, 21 and Tangbau Hkown Nan Tsin, 20

Dear friends, The Asian Human Rights Commission has received information that two ethnic Kachin teachers have been tortured, sexual assaulted, and murdered. The two girls were volunteer teachers for the Kachin Baptist Church serving in a village near to the conflict area between Burma army and the Kachin armed group in Northern Shan State. They were tortured and killed in their room at the local church while the military was camped nearby.


On the morning of 20 January 2015, two young volunteer school teachers were found dead in their rooms at the Baptist Church in Kaung Kha village, in the Northern Shan State. The two girls, Maran Lu Ra and Tangbau Hkown Nan Tsin, were Ethnic Kachin teachers volunteering for the Kachin Baptist Church and served in Kaung Kha village for two years before they were killed. Their bodies were found by villagers in their room in the dormitory in church compound.

The villagers found the bodies bloodied, bearing signs of having been beaten with a blunt instrument, and one of the girls had knife wounds on her face and hands. Both women were found in a state of undress which indicates sexual assault or rape. The room in which they were found was messed up and one of the victims was found with some hair in her hand, suggesting a struggle. A large, bloodstained stick was found near the bodies. Kaung Kha village is located near to the border of the Kachin State and has around 25 houses. The Burmese military columns pass through the village whenever conflict arises between the army and ethnic Kachin militants. A few days before the women were killed, an Army battalion arrived. They were camped 100 metres away from the scene of the crime while the women were attacked and killed. While there is no record of them harming these villagers before, the Burmese Army has been accused of perpetrating sexual violence in conflict area elsewhere. As a result of their reputation and proximity to the crime, many people suspect the perpetrators are Burmese soldiers.

The bodies have been sent to a hospital in Muse for autopsy, but the reports are yet to be published by the Judicial Medical Officer. However, on the basis of information received from a nurse, the Irrawaddy reported that the doctors found sperm inside the bodies of the victims, and that it needed to be sent to a hospital in Lashio for further investigation. Further details of the case are in the sample letter below, as usual.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The military in Myanmar has long enjoyed impunity for offences committed against civilians, and despite recent political changes, prosecutions of errant soldiers are extremely rare. The AHRC issued a dossier of cases from Kachin State in which many perpetrators were military personnel (AHRC-PRL-002-2013), and an appeal regarding a man who was prosecuted for lodging complaints about the military murdering his daughter (AHRC-UAC-080-2013). For more cases and issues concerning human rights in Burma, visit the AHRC's country homepage:

REQUESTED ACTION: Please write a letter to the following government authorities for independent investigation to be conducted and to find the perpetrators to be arrested as soon as possible. Please also be informed that the AHRC is writing separate letters to the Special Rapporteurs on human rights in Myanmar, the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, and the regional office of the OHCHR in Bangkok, calling for their interventions into this matter.


Dear …………,

BURMA/MYANMAR: Two teachers tortured, sexual assaulted, and murdered by soldiers

Names of Victims: Maran Lu Ra, 21 and Tangbau Hkown Nan Tsin, 20, Date of Incident:19-20 January 2014, Place of Incident: Kaung Kha village, Kutkai Township, Northern Shan State, Myanmar

I am horrified to hear that two young volunteer school teachers were raped and brutally murdered in Northern Shan State. According to the information I received, on the morning of 20 January 2015, two young volunteer school teachers were found dead in their rooms at the Baptist Church in Kaung Kha village, in the Northern Shan State. The two girls, Maran Lu Ra and Tangbau Hkown Nan Tsin, were Ethnic Kachin teachers volunteering for the Kachin Baptist Church and served in Kaung Kha village for two years before they were killed. Their bodies were found by villagers in their room in the dormitory in church compound.

The villagers found the bodies bloodied, bearing signs of having been beaten with a blunt instrument, and one of the girls had knife wounds on her face and hands. Both women were found in a state of undress which indicates sexual assault or rape. The room in which they were found was messed up and one of the victims was found with some hair in her hand, suggesting a struggle. A large, bloodstained stick was found near the bodies.

Kaung Kha village is located near to the border of the Kachin State and has around 25 houses. The Burmese military columns pass through the village whenever conflict arises between the army and ethnic Kachin militants. A few days before the women were killed, the No. 503 Light Infantry Battalion, 1st Military Operations Command (MOC-1) under South Eastern Command arrived. They were camped 100 metres away from the scene of the crime while the women were attacked and killed. While there is no record of them harming these villagers before, the Burmese Army has been accused of perpetrating sexual violence in conflict area elsewhere. As a result of this reputation and their proximity to the crime many people reasonably suspect the perpetrators are Burmese soldiers.

The bodies have been sent to a hospital in Muse for autopsy, but the reports are yet to be published by the Judicial Medical Officer. However, on the basis of information received from a nurse, the Irrawaddy reported that the doctors found sperm inside the bodies of the victims, and that it needed to be sent to a hospital in Lashio for further investigation.

Therefore, I urge the authorities to make sure that there is an investigation, and that the investigation is independent, transparent, and creditable. The report of forensic doctor must also be free from any interference by the military, and the perpetrators must be arrested and prosecuted as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely, ………………………….


Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in -Chief of Myanmar Defence Services, Office of the Commender-in-Chief of Defence Services, Government Resident, Naypyitaw, MYANMAR

Lt-Gen. Ko Ko, Minister for Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Office No. 10, Naypyitaw, MYANMAR, Tel: +95 67 412 079/ 549 393/ 549 663, Fax: +95 67 412 439

U Thein Sein, President of Myanmar, President Office, Office No.18, Naypyitaw, MYANMAR

Thura U Aung Ko, Chairman, Pyithu Hluttaw Judicial and Legislative Committee, Pythu Hluttaw Office, Naypyitaw, MYANMAR

U Aung Nyein, Chairman, Pyithu Hluttaw Judicial and Legislative Committee, Committee for Public Complaints and Appeals, Office of the Amyotha Hluttaw, Naypyitaw, MYANMAR

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Chairwoman, Pyithu Hluttaw Rule of Law and Tranquility Committee, Office of the Pyithu Hluttaw, Naypyitaw, MYANMAR

U Win Mra, Chairman, Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, 27 Pyay Road, Hlaing Township, Yangon, MYANMAR, Tel: +95 1 659 668, Fax: +95 1 659 668

U Tun Tun Oo, Chief Justice, Office of the Supreme Court, Office No. 24, Naypyitaw, MYANMAR, Tel: + 95 67 404 080/ 071/ 078/ 067 or + 95 1 372 145, Fax: + 95 67 404 059

Dr. Tun Shin, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Office No. 25, Naypyitaw, MYANMAR, Tel: +95 67 404 088/ 090/ 092/ 094/ 097, Fax: +95 67 404 146/ 106


Special Contribution
By Roland Watson(dictatorwatch)
Jan 11, 2015

Burmese government and KNU peace talks

There is now a big push by Burma’s military dictatorship and its ethnic nationality co-conspirators to sign a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement on Union Day (February 12). But, the Burman generals have not made any compromises at all: on ending Tatmadaw attacks and human rights abuses; on withdrawing their soldiers from the ethnic nationality areas; on writing a new Constitution; on implementing a true Federal system; and on acceptinga Federal Army.

Therefore, any agreement that might be signed will be nothing less than a comprehensive ethnic surrender. It is also essential to understand that the NCA signing WILL NOT be followed by substantive political negotiation, even though this is the supposed plan. The purpose of the NCA is simple: ethnic pacification. Once the deal is done, the only issue that anyone will talk about will be the upcoming general election. The ethnic issue will be over: dead. At that point, the dictatorship will marshall all its resources to rig the election. Attacks against the ethnic nationality peoples will of course continue as well. There is a NCCT-dictatorship negotiation meeting in a week. The KNU hasbeen doing everything it can to separate the NCCT from the UNFC, starting with Mutu Say Poe’s theatrical resignation from the latter.

The pro-regime parties want to make the NCCT the sole ethnic voice, since this is the group that they have the best chance of controlling. Of note, the NCCT is supposed to be the negotiation arm of the UNFC. Harn Yawnghwe through the Euro-Burma Office, though, together with his Karen follower Htoo Htoo Lay, and of course Europe, the U.S., Japan, and international businesses, seeing that the UNFC will not compromise one thnic nationality interests, want the NCCT to eclipse it as well. The UNFC is further under pressure from Thailand to sign a deal, althoughit is unclear if this is Bangkok policy or only local. It is also possible that if the KNU cannot force the NCCT to sign in February, that it will sign on its own, along with any other ethnic nationality groups that are led by traitors.

Pro-democracy voices were able to hold off an ethnic surrender in 2104,but the risk remains, and if anything it is now greater than ever. We need to ensure that there is no agreement until the dictatorship relents on all of the above points. Practically speaking, there should also be no agreement before the election, because - as has been observed - the new face of the regime that will then emerge will no doubt ignore it as well.

Indonesia's Trajectory 2014-2019: An Insider's Forecast

Special Contribution
By Farish A. Noor

The Indonesian Navy vessel lift dead bodies bags


The release of the book ‘Toward 2014-2019: Strengthening Indonesia in a Changing World’, published by the Indonesian State Intelligence Agency (BIN), provides an interesting and important insider’s look at how Indonesia sees its role in the ASEAN region and the world stage.


AS INDONESIA – now under the leadership of President Joko Widodo and Vice-President Jusuf Kalla – looks to the future and re-assesses its place and role in the ASEAN region and the global arena, the country’s leaders and major stakeholders have begun to forecast the likely trajectory that it will take in the years to come. The publication of the book ‘Toward 2014-2019: Strengthening Indonesia in a Changing World’, by the Indonesian State Intelligence Agency (BIN), provides an interesting and important insider’s look at how Indonesia sees its future and what it wishes to achieve over the next five years. The fact that the book was written in English suggests that this is a text that is meant for wider consideration beyond Indonesia: Here it is clear that the Indonesian technocratic elite want their opinions to be known abroad, and taken into account.

Indonesia’s assessment of the world

Initiated by the Head of the Indonesian State Intelligence Agency (BIN), Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Marciano Norman and edited by Dr Muhammad A.S. Hikam, former Minister for Research and Technology (1999-2001), the book brings together the combined research of several dozen prominent Indonesian specialists and academics, as well as the findings of many focus group discussions. Starting from a global perspective, the book begins by offering an Indonesian assessment of the state of global affairs. Citing examples such as the Ukraine crisis and the conflict in Syria, the authors argue that ‘old world powers’ are still competing on the global geo-strategic stage. Recognising the once-pivotal role played by the United States as the only global power , the authors look at Russia, China and Europe as other sources of power , and argue that Indonesia now exists in a more complex world where alternative developmental models and paradigms present themselves.

It is in this context of an increasingly plural and complex world that Indonesia seeks to find its niche, and align itself with like-minded powers: The authors note that China – unlike the US – happens to be a major power that does not impress its value-system on other allied countries, and is able to accept diversity and difference in political-developmental models. . Conversely, the West’s promotion of democracy in situations such as the Arab Spring uprisings has not yielded clear results. Between rhetoric about democratisation and real material benefits such as foreign investment, the authors seem more inclined towards the latter, and note that China’s investments in Asia and Africa have led to tangible material results. Thus despite whatever strategic-military reliance Indonesia may have had on its Western allies in the past, the authors veer in the direction of pragmatism and note that in the decades to come Indonesia’s main economic partners are likely to be Asian and that the country will need to fend for itself when securing its energy, food and resources security.

What about ASEAN?

Conscious of the rise of new major powers, the authors argue that ASEAN remains relevant, but needs to “develop not only a modality of internal relations, but also a modality to accommodate the presence of major countries in the region”. Again, pragmatism and national interest dominate the discussion here: Indonesia is thankful for the peace and stability that ASEAN has created, but now wishes ASEAN to adapt itself to a changing global environment where major powers will begin to play a more visible role in the region, notably China which “carries on recording the highest economic growth”.

In the face of these realities, and aware of Indonesia’s need for investment from neighbouring countries, the authors argue that Indonesia needs to promote its own economic interests first and look towards securing its food, energy and resource security in the future, as it will be one of the most important resource-bases in the world. While Indonesia needs to maintain its friendly links with neighbours and allies, the “protection of the national interest among other countries’ businesses” is emphasised.

Indonesia’s core interests

The authors accept the fact that Indonesia will be faced by unforeseen developments that are new to the country. The country’s ‘Threat Map’ is wide as it is: the internet revolution, increased urbanisation, rise of local ethnic and religious forms of communal solidarity and the threat of religious extremism all pose challenges to the maintenance and perpetuation of the idea of a singular Indonesian republic. Holding back these centrifugal forces can only be accomplished by a singular state apparatus that caters and fulfils the rising demands and expectations of an increasingly demanding political public. It is to that end that the authors insist that securing Indonesia’s economic needs is paramount, for Indonesia must achieve economic take-off and be a self-sustaining state for it to remain together. Indonesia must not only overcome the middle-income trap but its political elite need to ensure that its wealth remains in the hands of Indonesians, and not predatory foreign capital.

It is in that context that the maritime policy, the agricultural policy and the energy policy are discussed and linked to the broader goal of nation-building and state-power consolidation. All in all, the release of this book is both timely and important. It is timely as it comes at the beginning of the Jokowi-Kalla period of leadership, and gives us some insight into the worldview, values and ambitions of the country’s technocratic elite. It is also important as it reminds us that the policy direction that this new government will take is likely to be focused on domestic needs, putting national interest above all else.

Farish A. Noor is an Associate Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.

Attacking Own House- Killing 132 children, 16th Dec 2014 was a sad day

Child Killing and mass killings by blackmailers is barbaric

An Eye for an Eye makes the world blind quote of Gandhi still holds. Gandhian principals can keep the humanity together. 132 school children and one lady teacher including 145 dead were killed in Peshawar and thousands were kept hostage and hundreds were injured and hospitalised. School provides an opportunity to shape up a future job while terrorism breeds on `No Job` and the poverty environment. At present there is a weak People`s pressure on Governments both in Pak-India and Taliban which includes Muslims and Hindu fundamentalist. Terrorists and fundamentalists get shelter and protection by Sarkar (Government) which works in the favour of 1% lobby including terrorists.

Back home in India instead of fighting for poverty as promised by Modi ji before election the PM-Modi team is fighting for `conversions` by using bribes. Both PM Modi and PM-Nawaz Shariff fail to remove greedy fundamentalists from Power. There is nothing like a good terrorist and a bad terrorist as justified by politicians. Seeds of terrorism are sowed within the society when the politicians compromise. India in the past and even today is suffering from `Nathu Ram Godse` culture and `Bhinderwala` culture while America is responsible to shape up Osama Bin Laden. Terrorists need to stop. Global citizens should wake up and unite to put pressure on their Nagar Sevaks to keep at least children and women secured.

Written in Public Interest: Rakesh Manchanda, B-5,Gharonda Apartments,Shrestha Vihar,Delhi-92. Phone:011-22145369,+919953540829. Email

Basil Fernando - A life dedicated to human rights

Basil Fernando

The Sri Lankan activist has been fighting for decades on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. His efforts have been recognized with this year's "alternative Nobel prize." Nanda Prasad Adhikari had been on hunger strike for 340 days when he died in September this year. His wife and he had been protesting in this manner for nearly a year. It was their last-ditch effort to force the government of Nepal to investigate the death of their son, who was allegedly killed by Maoists, but all their efforts were in vain.

Basil Fernando, who headed the Asian human rights commission for many years, says: "Only when the father died, did the government relent and promise to pursue the matter." Although it is a tragic case, it proves that people are demanding justice, Fernando told DW. "We come across this kind of determination among the common people all over in Asia. People, who are not satisfied with a 'no.' This is inspiring," he said. In most Asian countries, the justice system is faulty. It allows officials, for example to arbitrarily ignore laws and suppress the rights of their citizens. The people are, however, now protesting. One can see these kinds of developments in many countries in the region, and the calls for changing the system are very louder."

One commission for 12 countries

One needs to thank the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) that has made this possible. The commission, which was founded in 1993, was headed by Fernando for many years until he resigned in 2010. Fernando, however, still continues to work with the same organization. For his long-standing commitment towards the unprivileged, he is now being awarded the alternative Nobel Prize, formally known as the "Right Livelihood Award," on December 1. The AHRC is active in 12 countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, China, South Korea and Indonesia. The organization has trained many journalists and lawyers on human rights issues. The biggest successes of the AHRC include establishing a new perspective on dealing with human rights abuses and making the subject a central theme in public consciousness, Fernando stressed. A vict

im of political persecution

The activist has himself experienced what it means to be exposed to the despotism of a system when he worked as an English teacher in Sri Lanka for a short while after the completion of his law studies. In 1978, the government there passed the new constitution according to which the country's president would hold absolute power. Fernando says: "In the following years, the government pursued a strategy which was aimed at suppressing opposing members brutally and killing them. Many innocent people were killed." The situation in Sri Lanka was very tense and unstable, he explained, and there were also so-called death lists. In 1989, Fernando's name appeared on such a list. "The lists would be given to the secret services, which made sure that the people whose names appeared on the lists disappeared. It was well-organized," he said.

But fortunately Fernando came to know about the fact that the secret services were looking for hi. "So I fled. If I had stayed for a couple of days more, it would have meant death for me," the activist told DW. Fernando then began a new life. To protect himself, he first went to Hong Kong, where he worked for the United Nations (UN) a legal adviser to Vietnamese refugees. He later left for Cambodia, also on a UN assignment. In 1984, he took over the leadership of the newly-founded AHRC with its headquarters in Hong Kong.

A case worth remembering

The AHRC has so far handled several thousand cases in its 20-year-old history. Fernando remembers, especially, the case of Rizana Nafeek, a woman from his home country Sri Lanka, who was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia. Nafeek went to the gulf nation in 2005 to work as a domestic help. At the time, she was just 17 years old. Other than doing the housework, Nafeek also had to look after a baby. One day, when she was feeding the baby, the baby began vomiting and died shortly after. "Investigations by international agencies showed that there was no use of force and that the death probably was due to internal reasons." The child's family, however, accused the housemaid of killing the baby and also got her sentenced for the alleged crime.

Fernando and his colleagues used all possible means to stop the execution of the woman. They appealed to the government of Sri Lanka to plead the case for Nafeek; they contacted the victim's family to drop the punishment in exchange for money. In a few weeks, they managed to collect 40,000 USD in contributions so that the woman could get a lawyer. Even the Queen of England wrote a letter to the Saudi government asking for mercy. However, all attempts were in vain as Nafeek's supporters were informed that she had been executed.

Fernando says that even today, "we feel sad about the fact that we could not save her life." However, this case has shown not only how much potential human rights organizations have to motivate others, but also how much support they can garner." Support from the whole world was overwhelming, Fernando reminisces. And this, he says, gives him courage.


Special Contribution
By Roland Watson(Dictator Watch)
November 29, 2014

The tip of mortar shell from Burma Army

When you look at a situation as complex as what is happening in Burma, it is easy to lose sight of the goal. Indeed, different parties view the country in varied ways, reflecting “different” goals, those which are of interest to them.

For example, for the military dictatorship that continues to rule Burma, in the guise of civilian clothing, the goal - or goals - are clear: to remain in absolute power; to avoid prosecution for the crimes against humanity that they have committed; and to continue to steal the wealth of the nation, both natural resource and labor.

International businesses, which have no morals and hence no reservations about working with dictators, witness their embrace of China and the Chinese Communist Party, simply want to complete deals and establish trade. This includes to exploit Burma’s resources, including petroleum products and other natural resources, as well as tourism resources; to build infrastructure projects; to exploit the population as low-paid workers; and to sell the population a wide range of cheap, low quality goods. Other businesses in turn want to sell luxury goods, including tourism, to the elite, both domestic and foreign.

As Burma under the generals is not viewed as a significant security threat (even - somehow - in the face of its clandestine missile and nuclear program), the nation is of interest to other countries, again, only from the business perspective. International leaders and diplomats therefore have as their goal to assist domestic companies to penetrate its business sectors.

Notably for these three parties - the dictatorship, businesses and the International Community, none of them - not one - have as their goal the end of human rights and environmental abuses and the establishment of real democracy. The people of Burma, on the other hand, and the journalists and activists who support them, have precisely this goal. The people have suffered repression for over fifty years, and are desperate to achieve their freedom.

The first way in which this objective is hindered, therefore, is that it conflicts with the goals of the other three groups. And, while the people, theoretically, have “people power,” but which is also difficult to harness and organize, the other groups have military and financial force, and with well-established systems to impose them. People power shouldn’t be underestimated, though. However, it is only effective when it is used.

The second problem for the people of Burma is that while their goal, freedom and democracy, is clear, as a group they are not “goal-oriented.” This again contrasts with the other three groups, which are not only focused on their objectives, they are obsessed with achieving them.

A goal can also be viewed as an “end,” and the techniques that are used to achieve it as the “means.” Further, some means are ethical but others are not. The dictatorship’s invasion of the ethnic nationality homelands, for instance, is not only unethical, it’s criminal. The Burma Army has committed crimes against humanity, including war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and even genocide. The regime supported, systematic campaign of rape of ethnic nationality women, is a war crime. The “Four Cuts” campaign that drove Kachin, Shan, Karenni, Karen and other ethnic villagers from their homes, is ethnic cleansing. And the regime’s campaign to eradicate the Rohingya, in league with local Rakhine racists, has achieved the level of genocide.

The first three groups, the dictatorship, businesses and international diplomats, are using all of the means at their disposal to achieve their goals, including unethical and, for the dictatorship, criminal. For the latter groups, it is unethical for businesses to exploit workers in sweat shops, and to destroy the environment when extracting resources. Similarly, it is unethical, as unethical as it is possible to be, for diplomats to say that they support democracy for Burma, while at the same time doing everything in their power to see that it is never attained. Both the actions and the inaction of the International Community have directly supported the military dictatorship and its goals.

Again, though, the people are not goal-oriented. The objective of freedom, of course, is perhaps one of the most difficult to achieve, requiring strong leadership and essentially unlimited commitment, courage and determination. But Burma’s “pro-democracy” leaders, starting with Aung San Suu Kyi, are weak. She has even publicly accepted, and through doing so legitimized, the dictatorship: the validity of the military’s role. She is not dedicated to freedom and democracy at all. And, she is denying the victims of the dictatorship the justice that they so ardently desire and deserve.

Similarly, some ethnic nationality leaders have also sold out for personal glory and financial gain, but even those who are not corrupt are too timid. For example, it is not enough for the ethnic armies to defend their people from Burma Army attack. They need to go on the offensive, through guerrilla action, to drive the Tatmadaw from their land.

For the people of the country, both Burman and ethnic nationality, and also journalists and activists, it seems that the majority have been deceived by the leaders. Suu Kyi uses the mantra, “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,” and most people are doing just that. But the first part of this idea is tripe: garbage! There is no hope in Burma! The people have experienced the most horrific abuse for the last fifty years. According to the new census, the regime is responsible for as many as nine million deaths. The people need to not only prepare for, but to fight, the worst - the military dictatorship! As has occurred in one popular revolution after another around the world, the people of Burma need to rise up and - working with the ethnic armies - drive the dictatorship out. This is the goal, and everything that is thought, said and done should be dedicated to achieving it. Forget Suu Kyi and the other traitors. She and they want to keep you enslaved! Find likeminded family members and friends, form affinity groups and underground cells, organize, and fight back. Rebel! Start a Revolution!

The only proviso to this is that the people should be ethical. This is war, civil war between the public and the dictatorship, but even war has limits. Regime personnel and facilities are valid quarry. Non-affiliated individuals and facilities are not. There should be no terrorism - no attacks on “soft” targets.

Fortunately, throughout their five decades of subjugation, the people have been remarkably disciplined in their unwillingness to use terrorism. This must continue. But, legitimate attacks, offensive attacks, should escalate. Again, this is war, and the only goal with war is to win! The dictators understand this, but the people - because of poor leadership - do not. They need to reject their leaders, and rise up and fight and win the war, and through this, their freedom.

Education: ICT and Universal Access as Global Justice - A perspective from Peer to Peer (P2P) on knowledge and production

By Layne Hartsell
Senior Editor
Nov 11, 2014

Noam Chomsky

The main principles, values, and concepts for education, I will give here at the beginning as inherent in the discussion of education, technology, and a productive society, and then proceed to discuss current practice and what technology might have to offer. This is to clarify the background for how the term education is to be used in the process of gaining knowledge and then how could it be used. Then, I will conclude with what I think can be done for the near future of education as a question which I want to give now, at the beginning. “How do we further advance a global, p2p open knowledge commons? Also, when we use the term “Education” as a process of gaining knowledge we might want to ask what knowledge and how will knowledge be gained. And, then again, Education for what and for whom?

I use two definitions for P2P. The first, is the universal definition: We are all peers, including children, as there is something to be learned from all; though there are differing levels in responsibilities and liberties between adults and children. The second, is the more professional, peerist definition: P2P indicates those who by free association enter as a participant into the commons which implies a simple principle: reciprocal exchange between peers and the commons. The commons is a “package” of commonly shared effects such as knowledge, code, land, hardware and such, which is governed though a commons orientation to referee reciprocal exchange and protection of resources. Excellence and optimal production and function are maintained by the similar practice known today in the sciences as peer review. This practice of peer review is extended to producers in productive communities or commons based peer production (CBPP). An example of CBPP is the community of 3D printing labs emerging around the globe such as P2P Lab in Greece. In P2P communities each person brings different talents, experiences, knowledge, and skills in an inclusive social and productive process for the common good. The technical term is peerist equipotentialism, which means peer to peer interactions, open knowledge, and equality of potential for everyone. One addition is the matter of distributive justice in which the value of equity is necessary for the commons. Therefore, there is equality of potential coupled with the equity of outcomes for everyone in society and is a necessary understanding for the p2p knowledge commons which would form the knowledge networks necessary for education and production in the digital age.

Concerning education, it is not such an easy term as a social good, and essentially depends on how education is conducted and for whom. There are two major views of education or how students are to acquire knowledge. The first is the view that the student is an empty vessel, like an empty cup; nothing there, and must be filled with the information from the teacher. This is a mechanical process or rote learning. The students simply repeat back to the teacher what is necessary to pass the exams and the teacher passes the student with a grade. It is well understood that there will be little friction if the student plays her/his role and the teacher does the same within this kind of authoritarian educational context. The second view for the acquisition of knowledge is that education is like a path on which the student is guided by a teacher. In this case, the teacher is a facilitator of knowledge. There is a generally defined path towards gaining knowledge, while at the same time, the student must have their own experience and learn to be responsible for their perceptions by clarification with their teachers through dialogue and demonstration of learning. The teacher acts as an expert guide for the student along that path. This large scale teacher as facilitator or supportive model came out of the period of the European Enlightenment in higher education, and was a continuation of a kind of revival of knowledge like what occurred in guilds and monasteries in medieval times yet for the masses. It was the first time that mass education emerged through national and universal programs.

I take the position from the second perspective on education, where education is like a path and the teacher is an expert in the facilitation of the seeking of knowledge. Such an education can address both the need for knowledge such as in making a livelihood in order to contribute to her or his family, community, and country, and also as better for the student as a human being. And what I mean is a person capable of inquiry into the good life. Here I want to comment on the youth and their desires, hopes, and aspirations. If the natural curiosities and motivational energy of the youth are not oppressed by the first type of authoritarian education, then I think the questions and challenges of the second path, that of student as explorer and teacher as facilitator, can be answered by the youth themselves with guidance from both peers and teachers. The other part, which the youth are now leading, in is technical ability. Many of the universities were ignorantly behind on the emerging P2P system of hackers and technology enthusiasts, and thus a student today can get a comparable technical education in coding from a hacker community, as from the best universites. However, just for the technical knowledge and skills, this is not a reason to skip the university. Hacker communities can act as complementary structures to the university system, though the university system is in need of an upgrade.

Is the second approach more effective? Is the student as explorer and teach as facilitator more effective of a way to learn and to become a community member? I answer this important question in the affirmative. Yes. For technical knowledge or to learn information, when we look out at the world, it is of course important to carry with us information and knowledge in order to perform a task such as the computer programmer, the train operator, the nurse, or the farmer; while at the same time, it is also important to be skillful with knowledge and this is what we call, wisdom. The first aspect is what is necessary for a livelihood; while the second part, wisdom, is necessary in life. Wisdom means knowing when, where, and for what to apply knowledge. Education is like a driver’s license for knowledge, wisdom is for living life. What I describe as a formal system of education is mostly the system of higher education which the West has had for the last 200 years since von Humboltz, and 100 years since Dewey, and then that tradition continues up through Chomsky who is still lecturing today.

What is necessary in global society is the skillfulness of which I speak and the ability to engage society and reality. Such ability will emerge as more important than knowing facts. Data and information in the cloud through the Internet of Communications and the Internet of Things will all be available to us; there is no need to do much to get this information, other than knowing where to download a particular app which we select the information which is desired from the digital “space” accessible on smart devices. Thailand has implemented affordable tablets for grade school children and it is possible that such programs can spread around the region. Concerning how we are to operate in an information rich environment, for example, the various convergences of technology and information, along with the emergence of new technologies will require not so much memory, which we can “outsource” to the cloud, but to be able to select data and information into knowledge, and then to know how to apply it as wisdom. It is the ability to go from ubiquitous data (enormous data) to data sets called information. At this point, even though abstract, the student could gain employment with the trained ability to code data and to create data sets into information. The next part is the real aggregation, and curating of knowledge, by knowledge workers, or cognitive workers in the knowledge economy. Finally, the most difficult step is to know for what, for when, and for where to apply knowledge as in time and space and to what degree. The point is how is the individual to inquire into and to engage skillfully with her life, society, and the natural environment. “What is the good life?”

Over the past few decades, information and knowledge has been uploaded onto the Internet which has accumulated into a stunning amount of data, code, information, and knowledge. This is why the virtual space is a world of its own and it is growing exponentially. Within that world, P2P systems like the LINIX open operating system, and Wikipedia are examples of code, and accumulated or curated knowledge. The P2P Foundation wiki and blog are examples of a metadata system of knowledge. All of the above has been created by produsers, or individuals and groups who are not only consumers of information, but co-producers such as in the case of wikis. At the larger, corporate level, many did not foresee the current commons where open sourced digital goods would lead to the easy replication of such digital material. The replication of material, inexpensively, resulted in a stunning collapse of the publishing industry and the music/video industries. It is difficult to hold on to media once it can be digitalized. I think the educational system is next. What is also important, as a matter of a P2P knowledge commons is that at this very moment in history we are seeing another unforeseen emergence. The digital is now becoming physical. Through micro-manufacturing people are using open design and locally sourced materials to create productive centers. Perhaps these centers can then become a pluralistic system of productivity or a decentralized multiplex. These kinds of producers are generally called prosumers, which indicates a blending of professional skill sets and consumers. Aside from education, the affordability of the technologies of 3D printers and ICT is why I think application in ASEAN at the community level, just might be the next wave for production in the region through CBPP open production from cars to computers to medical equipment. It is even now possible to create P2P satellites similar to those made through the Flying Laptop project. All of what I describe here is based upon access to technology, open knowledge, and collaborative work aided by ICT and from a framework of global justice such the distributive justice of equality, and equity.

Finally, for the near future of education and its applications in the real world both for careers and to create mature adults, I think the old educational styles are weakening as more opportunities arise for quality, affordable education. Many are familiar with video interface technologies which allow for up to ten people to meet online. These have only been out for about a year and a half, and have greatly facilitated such commons based peer production from the production of knowledge to online meetings between prosumers and produsers. These systems of ICT and knowledge commons can be effective in education, perhaps revolutionary. Coursera MOOCs, Google, Facebook and other forms of the emerging technological system we see today all can assist the student in learning. That MOOCs are a major topic can be seen in the news where the President of Yale University left his university post to join the group at Coursera.

The form of MOOC which might prove to be the most effective, and which I advocate, is the straight P2P facilitated MOOC networked system, drawing from the knowledge commons. The P2P model brings together the vertical system of experts in academia, think tanks, politics, and industry with the horizontal system of experts as hackers and tinkerers, to create the open knowledge commons and then to innovate on the knowledge commons as a basis for sharing knowledge. From the knowledge base, then can emerge the commons based peer production through micromanufacturing. For MOOCs it is important to remember some basics. Children being more kinetic, typically learn well through stories, songs, cartoons, and hands on work. Adults have some similarities in enjoyment of kinetic learning as children, though adults have the added benefit of the engagement of the intellect in learning. Adults typically like to learn through problem solving, critical thought, applied ethics and hands on; though personally, I learned better how money worked through a cartoon, recently, which was circulating on Facebook. Education for the near future should move towards an expansion of “monks” or knowledge workers such as researchers in library science who can aggregate data into information sets, and curate the tremendous amount of information which is being produced. Then, there could be what I call convergence groups which are specialized groups using advanced computing technologies to study conditions and various challenges with which society is presented. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an example of a convergence group. We need many more. In addition, the generation of knowledge from data and information, a P2P facilitated MOOC model would allow for reproduction of knowledge and dissemination for near zero marginal cost. Places like Africa and Southeast Asia are eager for such platforms for learning and want to benefit from the highly affordable system. In another case, the country of Ecuador is the first to begin to move towards free and open knowledge through P2P. Michel Bauwens who is President of the P2P Foundation spent the first half of 2014 in Quito with a convergence team operating on the question of how to move from an extractive, post-colonial export system to a knowledge economy.

Therefore, the education “for who” of my initial question can be now answered - education for everyone, universally as a matter of global justice. The real question remains “for what?” And, the concern is “Will education be the cheapest system possible filled with virtually mindless automatons sitting in front of screens, and then filling out the circles on standardized tests?” In my view, a cheap education system such as this will likely bring a cheap society without deep culture. A better question is, Will education be a system of reasonable value for money, both effective and affordable for gaining skills and for learning to think? I would advocate for the second. Through a P2P MOOC model, scholars would curate and prepare materials through digital books, websites, and videos, where students would use the materials online. Teachers and professors would then play the role of the true educator acting as a guide for the students by facilitating their learning process in the classroom or field. This would be done by focusing on the facilitation of the actual exploration of the material though critical thought, applied ethics, and problem solving. Lectures would be short and focused on what is to be done in class. Freed from standard lectures, the teacher will be far more interactive and also an active learner with students, as more and more content is created around the globe and in the digital space. Better investment by societies in convergence or interdisciplinary groups, library science, and in teachers would complete such a program which would make learning, knowledge, and certified education available for all. This kind of system would be beneficial for the development of globally minded citizens participating in a planetary knowledge commons, and perhaps could be a component of the formal ASEAN integration at the end of 2015.


By Neil Paul Valentino
Staff Correspondent
Oct 27, 2014

Three senators jailed of plunders

ANSAN, South Korea - Philippines was believed to be second after Japan in 1950s up to 1970s. Today, the land of Filipino people has become the land of the thieves, thus leaders, politicians, lawmakers down to lower level have become richer in the government according to their Statement of Assets and Liabilities or SALN which they are shamefully called "Plunderers." Their assets have become 30x higher after two decades and they owned mansions and large estate anywhere in the country. Let us take a look at this, million of Filipinos are homeless most specially the victims of disasters amid huge help from many allied nations, the survivors are still living in the tents and facing problems of employment which causes to poverty, famine and some starving to death specially poor children who were not given attention due to political battles and election activities and propagandas. Meanwhile, the National Food Coalition is calling the government for the passage of bill ensuring adequate food for poor Filipino. The group also calling the government to take serious action to end the hunger in the remote areas as children suffer malnutrition and some are starving to death.

Benigno Aquino 3rd, the incumbent president is trying to insist his straight path when he was serving the country since 2010 but this straight path seems only fooling the poor people in society who are really disgusted by the real happening in the archipelago such as, highest rate of electicity, continues increase of basic commodities and public fare, not to mention the unstoppable hike of petroleum products and many others. According to the latest survey, three out of 10 Filipinos only believe on President Aquino's straight path, while majority of the respondent are dissatisfied with his promises and actions for his bosses (people) especially to the poor ones. While four out of 10 said that he failed to carry out his straight path. Just recently, the Commission of Audit or COA reported that over 2 billion pesos of relief goods were already spoiled. At present time the country is experiencing port congestion and transport difficulties as Metro Rail Transit is in trouble as the people are experiencing chaos and worries that caused their work delayed and inefficient, aside from this port congestion has been given worries also for the delay of imported goods and heavy traffic in metropolis is continuing. Meanwhile the present government is exalting that the nation's economic is booming, while rotational blackouts are happening not only in Visayas and Mindanao regions but also in Luzon. How could it happen that the nation is in progress if the electricity is not enough for every household or busineses.

Every victim and survivor needs food and shelter nowadays and the government through its Department and Social Welfare cannot provide a comprehensive assistance to the helpless and poor people but we have many Foundations sponsored by giant networks for example, they were there to immediately provide and expedite foods assistance to the hopeless people in society and personaly brought a helping hand to the devastated Province of Quezon which ruined by Typhoon Glenda which declared not so long ago a State of Calamity. These victims deeply thanked the Alagang Kapatid Foundation, one foundation that has a big heart, concern and humanly effort and time for this tragic incident happened to the victims of typhoon prone tropical country. Finally, three senators have been jailed due to plunder based on the multiple evidences presented by Department of Justice or DOJ through National Bureau of Investigation or NBI and the main whistleblower, Benhur Luy, the nephew of scam mastermind Janet Napoles corroborated the documents that the three incumbent lawmakers received million of pesos thru their chiefs of staff. Also jailed were the lawyers of jailed senators who personally taking the money from Mrs. Napoles.

Worse, the country is experiencing the problem of employment and povery is rampant anywhere and according to reports there are 13 million children are suffering in food mostly in remote areas while the present administration and opposition leaders are engaging in the 2016 election and fighting each other to whose who will lead the still developing nation and disunited of politicians or servants of the people made the country in confusion and disorder. Poverty is still continuing as prices of basic commodities are increasing, crimes involving policemen have become higher, Killings anywhere of mediamen and by way of motorcycle in tandem are raising up and unemployment has become greater. Politicians and leaders cannot solve the nation's problems and they have become the problem of the people and the nation, they serve dishonestly and decietfully, some kill their own political rivals and many have become shamefully rich and the people are suffering of foods and shelters, the victims are still homeless despite the huge assistance of more than forty allied nations and the fund is not properly monitored by the Commisiion of Audit as it is controlled by thieves and greedy leaders.

The Filipino people will never get comfort from their own land unless people power against the thieves and plunderes has been made. Without revolution peace, order and prosperity will be impossibly attained neither poverty nor disorderliness. The Filipino people must lead the nation not the traitors of the land, without execution or punishing them to death the Philippines will be the same until the end of time. As of this writing, senators of administration and the camp of Vice-President Jejomar Binay accused each other of graft and corruption. Every one of them has his own propaganda VP Binay has been accused of corruption for having mansions and land worth of billions of pesos aside from taking kickbacks of Makati City Hall building and past projects in Makati revealed by his former ally Ernesto Mercado before the Senate Inquiry also who corroborated that Mr. Binay was pocketing million of pesos during his term as mayor of Makati City. Mercado is now under the Witness protection Program. The senate inquiry invited the Binay to give his side about allegations of corruptions but he insisted that he would never attend the biased forum according to his spokesperson. Meanwhile, Trillanes who accused Binay of corrupting the peoples' money is now under attack for owning undeclared luxury vehicles and bought overpriced multicabs using his Priority Developmeng Assistance Fund or PDAF.

However one of the lady senator who is fearless to face-off the corrupts and plunderers has said that the "Philippines today is Republic of Plunderers" who has also plan to run for presidency in 2016 and willing to risk her life against the thieves of the land which until now poverty is massive and crimes augmented. The Philippines currently is holding the record as the "world's worst airport," no wonder why the country is still developing country due to undying corruption, so far the president of the nation is so childish when he said that he does not go to wake to a person he does not know where people are hating him for lack of compassion to the transgender victim who was killed by a US marine soldier recently, while President Obama has embraced the ebola survivor named Pam who was just healed from the virus who assisted the ebola deceased victim in America. Finally, The Filipinos need a leader who has a big heart, vision, and compassion to his people especially the poor and we can see this in the fast and advanced-developed nations like South Korea, Singapore, America and many others.

THAILAND: Regularization of torture following coup

Thai soldiers in Bangkok

On 10 October 2014, the independent online media outlet Prachatai reported on three instances of torture of persons held in military and police custody which have taken place since the 22 May 2014 coup by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) in Thailand (Read the entire report by Prachatai in English here and in Thai here). The three persons -- Chatchawan Prabbamrung, Kittisak Soomsri, and Bancha Kodphuthorn – were arrested by the military and police and subjected to physical and mental torture including beating, electric shock, mock death, and threats of violence. It is the view of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) that these are not isolated instances, but rather coupled with other accounts of torture since the coup, including that of Kritsuda Khunasen (AHRC-STM-151-2014), indicate a regularization of the already-entrenched practice of torture by the Thai state security forces. The AHRC calls for an independent, transparent investigation into the allegations of torture made by these three persons and a broad investigation into the conditions of detention of all those detained since the coup.

Chatchawan Prabbamrung, age 45, is a refrigeration mechanic who was arrested by soldiers on 6 July. He was held for nine days before charges were filed against him on 15 July which included premeditated murder, bombing to cause injury, possession of illegal explosives, and carrying explosives in a public place. He has been accused of shooting M-79 grenades into a Big C superstore and killing two children on 24 February during the protests of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee. Prachatai reported that he alleged that, “About 50 military officers with weapons captured Chatchawan and his wife at an intersection in northern Chiang Mai Province and took them into two different vans. While traveling in the van, the couple were blindfolded and Chatchawan was threatened to confess, otherwise his wife would ‘not be safe.’ On arrival at an unknown destination, the officers tied his hands behind his back. Two men who wore masks looking like animals beat him for almost four hours. He was later brought into a basement room. In the room, an electric wire wrapped in absorbent cotton was tied to his genitals while another wire was inserted into his anus. The officer splashed water at him and switched on the electricity. When he screamed with pain, the officer covered his head with a plastic bag, suffocating him. An officer once put a pistol into his mouth. This was done to force him to answer where he hid the weapons. ” Prachatai noted that Chatchawan’s wife was also detained for several days and then released. She was not physically harmed, but was held in solitary confinement in a room without windows.

Kittisak Soomsri, age 45, is an employee of the Vocational Education Commission who was arrested on 5 September. He was held for six days before charges were filed against him on 11 September which included the possession and discharge of illegal weapons and carrying weapons in a public place as one of the so-called “men in black” who committed violent acts during the April-May 2010 protests. Prachatai reported that he alleged that, “Three men captured him at his office without court arrest warrant. They also threatened his wife not to file a police complaint, otherwise the entire family would “not be safe”. He was then detained at an unknown place. The interrogation started on the first night. A bag was used to cover his head so that he could not see the face of the interrogator. During the interrogation, he was hit on the head and mouth several times. Two men sat on his stomach and legs. At bedtime, the blindfold was taken off. He was handcuffed all the time, whenever he ate, slept or went to the bathroom. These torture methods were intended to have him confess to committing the crime on 10 April 2010 and implicating others. He confessed the morning after because he did not want to be tortured any more.” On 14 October, Kittisak and four other persons accused of being “men in black” (including one woman), wrote a letter to the attorney general recanting their confessions. The four men all alleged that they were tortured to confess and all five of the accused were not permitted to contact either their families or a lawyer following their arrests (This letter can be read in Thai on Prachatai here). Bancha Kodphuthorn, age 28, is a construction worker who was arrested on 22 July by police and soldiers. He was held for one night before robbery charges were filed against him on 23 July. Prachatai reported that he alleged that, “During the night of 22 July, several military and police officers raided his friend’s house where he was visiting. Bancha and the house owner were detained in a car and blindfolded so they did not know where they were taken. At the unknown destination, still blindfolded, he was kicked and slapped several times. When he answered that he did not know, they beat him again. After an hour of beating, he was pushed into a hole in the ground. The officers filled the hole with soil until the level reached his neck. Then he was hit with a gun. After half an hour in the hole, he was put onto the ground and beaten overnight until the morning of the next day. The torture was intended to force him to name members of a drug trafficking gang.”

The Government of Thailand acceded to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Degrading or Inhuman Treatment (CAT) on 2 October 2007. As a state party to the CAT, Thailand is obligated to take action to prevent torture, hold perpetrators to account, and provide redress and protection to victims of torture. The AHRC has noted that the government of Thailand has consistently failed to fulfil its obligations under the convention. Rather than prosecuting torturers, it has instead pursued the victims of torture who dare to speak out, such as in the criminal prosecution of Suderueman Maleh, a survivor of torture in southern Thailand, who was sentenced to two years in prison in 2011 after he brought a torture complaint against a police officer who was later cleared of responsibility (AHRC-STM-103-2011). Within the context of these three cases, the AHRC would like to highlight the obligations to investigate complaints of torture stipulated by the CAT. Article 12 prescribes that, “Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction.” Article 13 further notes that, “Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to, and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by, its competent authorities. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any evidence given.”

Since the declaration of martial law on 20 May 2014 and the coup on 22 May 2014, the junta has repeatedly cited vague threats to national security and an equally vague need for “reform” as the reasons to restrict the rights and freedoms of the people. None of these reasons are a justification for Thailand to derogate from its responsibilities as a state party to the CAT. In addition, the military junta has used both martial law and a series of additional orders to arbitrarily detain citizens, restrict the press, criminalize public protest, and severely restrict open public discussion of politics, all of which makes the redress of torture more difficult for victims and survivors. The Asian Human Rights Commission unequivocally condemns the coup in the strongest terms and wishes to express grave concern about the continued decline of human rights protections after four and a half months of rule by the National Council for Peace and Order. The AHRC calls for an independent, transparent investigation into the allegations of torture made by Chatchawan Prabbamrung, Kittisak Soomsri, and Bancha Kodphuthorn and an investigation into the conditions of detention of all those detained since the coup. Without doing so, the NCPO will only continue to institutionalise a regime founded on the violation, rather than protection, of principles of human rights and the rule of law.

Intimidation and threatened eviction in southern Thailand

Oct 2, 2014

Governor of Surat Thani province following meeting with members of the SPFT

According to information provided by Protection International to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), human rights defenders and other members of the Klong Sai Pattana community in Surat Thani province have been intimidated and threatened with eviction from their homes and villages. The Asian Human Rights Commission is concerned that the in the general atmosphere of lawlessness created by the 22 May 2014 coup by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), very few avenues of protection remain for the human rights defenders and other community members in Klong Sai Pattana.

The Klong Sai Pattana community covers a land area of 906 rai (362 acres) in Sai Thong sub-district, Chaiburi district, Surat Thani province. All of the villagers are members of the Southern Peasants’ Federation of Thailand (SPFT), which was established to coordinate between the state and local communities in order to implement agricultural land reform based on the community land entitlement and the establishment of the Land Management Fund. The land inhabited by members of the Klong Sai Pattana community has been a focus of contention between villagers and agribusiness capitalists for an extended period of time, but the right of the villagers to inhabit the area has been repeatedly confirmed.

For over thirty years, the area of the community has been illegally occupied by oil palm plantations who have challenged the right of the villagers to remain in the area. The villagers’ right to remain has been granted and affirmed by the Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO), who acted on the authority of a resolution made during a meeting of the Committee to Solve the Problems of the Land Reform Network of Thailand in the Parliament in 2009. The ALRO filed a case against the Jew Kung Juy Development Company, which owns the plantations to evict them from the land. The ALRO was successful in both the Court of First Instance and the Appeal Court and the Jew Kung Juy Development Company is now appealing the case with the Supreme Court. Concomitant with the legal struggles, since 2009, extrajudicial violence has been used in an attempt to evict the villagers from the area. Three community leaders and human rights defenders have been assassinated in Klong Sai Pattana community. Since mid-August 2014, the intimidation and violence against members of the Klong Sai Pattana community has again intensified. On 16 August 2014, two local ‘mafia’ brought fifty soldiers to conduct searches of eight houses in the community. They did not have warrants for the searches. Then, on 24 September 2014, two policemen, one military intelligence officers, two local ‘mafia and three unidentified men came to the community in a Toyota Fortuner SUV and a white Isuzu pickup truck. The villagers were told that they had to leave their homes and land within seven days, and they are concerned that the reason is that there will be an attempt to illegally sell the land to a third party.

Following this incident, four representatives from the SPFT contacted the National Human Rights Commission, who sent a letter to the governor of Surat Thani. On 1 October 2014, they learned that he had not yet received the letter. On the same day, the SPFT also went to meet with representatives of the military at the Vibhavadi Rangsit Army Camp in the province. When they met with Colonel Sombat, deputy commander of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) for the province, they asked why a public notice had not been posted in their community informing them of eviction, as has been done in other communities where the authorities are planning to carry out evictions. Colonel Sombat informed them that under martial law, an eviction can be carried out without prior warning. He insisted that the community needed to procure an official letter from the ALRO stating that they were authorized to live on their land; this is the case even though their occupation of the land has been legal since 2009. The ALRO has already put a large signboard in front of the community stating that the land belongs to the ALRO. Rather than harassing the members of the community and threatening them with eviction, the military should contact the ALRO directly.

He further informed them that the ISOC planned to go to every village in which the SPFT has members, which includes seven communities, to collect information on each member of the SPFT. The four SPFT representatives at the meeting were forced to provide their citizen ID cards to the soldiers and their details were recorded. Sergeant Somsak, a soldier who was present at the meeting who also went to the Klong Sai Pattana community on 24 September in the incident noted above at one of the women human rights defenders from the SPFT and told Colonel Sombat that she had made a video and released it to the press. Following the meeting, Sergeant Somsak, along with former district and village heads and a former police officer believed to have links with the company went to visit Numdaeng village, which is close to Klong Sai Pattana community. They did not take any action but the villagers were frightened by their presence. At 9 am on 2 October, the SPFT members had a meeting at the Chaiburi district office to negotiate with the Surat Thani governor. At 11 am, a landbroker and local influential figure, drove around the Klong Sai Pattana community and there are reports that the Army and the media will go to the community later today. Following the weeks of harassment, intimidation, and surveillance by the authorities, the SPFT is gravely concerned about the safety of their members in and beyond Klong Sai Pattana community.

At present, the villagers face a constant threat of violence and forced eviction from land for which they have a legal right to occupy. They are under threat from a combination of state security forces and private capital. Similar to other instances of threatened eviction since the 22 May 2014 coup, this is an example in which the coup has created a gap in which the rights of ordinary citizens are violated in the service of protecting the interests of influential elites. The Asian Human Rights Commission calls on the state security forces in Thailand to cease harassing members of the Klong Sai Pattana community and take action to protect their rights. Further, this case, along with others, indicates an increasing need for the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand to continue to take urgent action to raise awareness and protect the rights of members of communities residing on contested land throughout the country. The Asian Human Rights Commission urges all those concerned with human rights to carefully monitor and follow the ongoing crisis in Thailand following the coup.

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