[Marxism] Matthew McDaniel in jailed in Thailand -- long time 'rights activist

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Mon Apr 19 07:58:53 MDT 2004

Dear Hunter,

I am writing on behalf of Matthew McDaniel, an American human rights
activist currently detained at the Suan Phlu Immigration Detention Center in
Bangkok.  He asked that I contact you to ask you to urge the press to write
articles about his arrest and possible deportation.

As of Monday April 19th, he has had no access to a lawyer or telephone.  HIs
family is unprotected and he claims that the U.S. Embassy has full knowledge
of his deportaiton, but failed to act.  However, he has yet to be visited by
the Embassy or confirm the validity of the claims.

You can visit him and speak with him directly during vising hours at the
Suan Phlu Immigration Detention Center.  To do so, you must arrive between
10:00-11:00 to receive a form.  The doors open for visiting at 11:00, but it
is good to be there early.  Bring your passport, which you will have to
check at the door.  You can visit his room (2) from 11:00-12:00 and speak
openly with him.

Best Regards.

For more information on his arrest, see the information below.

American Akha Activist Matthew McDaniel Arrested in Thailand!

Matthew McDaniel was arrested on 11:00 AM Thursday, April 15th at the Maisai
Immigration Checkpoint while going to deliver vitamins to an Akha friend in
Burma. Matthew McDaniel was fighting to save the land of Aooh Yok Akhe that
was being taken by the government. In January 2004, Matthew McDaniel
officially filed a report with the U.N., citing 47 cases of murder,
extrajudicial killings, torture and other abuse by the Thai Army and Police
against Hill Tribe People.

For three weeks, Matthew McDaniel had heard serious rumors from leaks at the
U.S. Embassy in Thailand that he was going to be deported. He complained via
email to Embassy Personnel that such leaks were reckless and illegal and
asked for the reports to be confirmed. However, the Embassy gave no reply,
negligence that prevented Mr. McDaniel from making arrangements to protect
himself and his wife from police abuse, arrest and deportation. Matthew
McDaniel's wife is pregnant and he has four children living in Chiang Rai.

Mr. McDaniel is currently held by the Thai Authorities at the Suan Phlu
Immigration Detention Center and awaiting deportation. He has been informed
of the charges against him or been able to speak with a lawyer about his
case. The U.S. Embassy has not sent a representative to discuss the status
of his case or the possibility of stopping the deportation proceedings. For
now, Mr. McDaniel waits, knowing his wife and children are at risk, and
hoping that he can challenge the legality of his arrest and deportation
through formal channels.

What You Can Do:

  1.. Write to your Nearest Thai Embassy and demand the immediate and
unconditional release of Michael McDaniel! Demand an official apology from
the Thai authorities.
  2.. Write your MP/Senator and demand a full inquiry into the arrest of Mr.
  3.. If you are American, demand a full accounting from the U.S. embassy in
Thailand for its failure to protect an American Human Rights Activist.
  4.. Pass this article far and wide. Encourage international and local
press to write articles, condemning the actions of the Thai authorities and
calling for Mr. McDaniel's release.
  5.. Visit www.akha.org for more information.
  6.. Make a donation to the Akha projects. Deported or not the projects
will continue.
Read more about Mr. McDaniel and his fight to save the Akha people:

For more information see Jim Pollard's article, "Akha Crusader: US Activist
Detained at Suan Phlu." The Nation. 18 April 2004. Available Online.


AKHA CRUSADER: US activist detained at Suan Phlu

Published in The Nation, 18 April 2004.

American had filed human rights complaint with UN

An American activist who has campaigned vigorously against government
mistreatment of hilltribe people in the far north of Thailand has been
detained, and looks set to be deported, by the Immigration Police.

Matthew McDaniel, 46, was arrested when he went to extend his visa at the
Mae Sai immigration office on Thursday, according to a friend who preferred
not to be named.

The American was transferred to the Immigration Detention Centre in Bangkok.
He told his family and associates on Friday that he had been declared
persona non grata and deemed a threat to the country.

McDaniel believes the authorities want to expel him from Thailand because he
arranged for a US lawyer to file a case about human-rights abuses with the
United Nations, his colleague said yesterday.

A spokesman from the Immigration Department did not return a phone call late
yesterday to confirm that McDaniel was being deported.

The American is from Salem, Oregon. He is married to an Akha woman, who is
pregnant, his friend said yesterday. He also has four other children, who
live in a remote village in Chiang Rai province.

The move to deport McDaniel was not unexpected, his colleague noted, adding
that the US Embassy in Bangkok was aware of the case.

McDaniel produced "Akha Voices", a 270-page book which details disturbing
allegations of abductions and extrajudicial killings by Thai army and police
officers that it claims amount to "ethnic cleansing".

He has also attacked "the deceptive practices of US-based missionaries and
their assumption of control over Akha children and their bold ongoing effort
to completely eradicate Akha traditional culture with carefully placed

The introduction to the book says McDaniel "is radically opposed to
oppressive Thai government policies that destroy the Akha people at their
most basic level of existence, their right to grow food, while at the same
time trying to portray to the public and tourists that the government is the
benevolent saviour of these 'unfortunate' people".

He is also described as a staunch critic of the US 'war on drugs', which he
says has resulted in thousands of Akha being imprisoned "at the hands of the
DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency]".

The book lists Akha people imprisoned in jails in Thailand and controversial
circumstances surrounding some of these arrests. It says McDaniel has worked
with the Akha in Thailand and Burma since 1991.

McDaniel is assumed to have been connected with leaflets distributed in
Chiang Mai late last year seeking volunteers to "help SAVE an Akha village
from loosing all its land".

Villagers in Hoo Yoh "had been told by government officials they could no
longer farm land they had been farming for nearly 40 years. The villagers
had been given no say in the process," the leaflets said.

The dispute affected more than 1,000 people, or 250 families, it said. The
campaign encouraged people to come to Chiang Rai to join a protest camp and
to read the website www.akha.org.

Jim Pollard


The Akha Heritage Foundation.
http://www.akha.org Akha Heritage Site.
Discussion http://groups.yahoo.com/group/akha
Donate Via Credit Card Paypal:

PO Box 6073 Salem, OR. 97304 USA.


Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]

More information about the Marxism mailing list