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American volunteer arrested in thailand
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  1. #1
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    American volunteer arrested in Thailand on immigration charges

    AP, Thursday April 22, 1:52 PM

    An American activist reportedly fighting alleged mistreatment of hill tribes people by Thai authorities has been arrested and will be deported for threatening national security, officials said Thursday.

    Matthew McDaniel was arrested April 15 in northern Thailand on the orders of the National Security Council, which had been "monitoring his activities for some time," an Immigration Police official said.

    McDaniel, 46, will soon be deported and declared persona non grata, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. He said he could not give details of the threat to national security.

    A U.S. Embassy spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Thai government revoked McDaniel's visa and refused to renew it.

    McDaniel will be deported as soon as he can arrange to pay for his flight out of Thailand, said the spokesman, adding that the American had been living here for the last 10 years by repeatedly extending his tourist visa.

    McDaniel, who is believed to be from Oregon, has been working for the Akha tribespeople who live in northern Thailand and neighboring Myanmar, according to the Web site of the Akha Heritage Foundation that he runs.

    It said McDaniel has accused the Thai army and police of killing and torturing Akha people and taking away their land.

    McDaniel is married to an Akha woman, who is pregnant, it said. The couple has four children and live in the northern Chiang Rai province.

    It said McDaniel was arrested at the Mae Sai immigration checkpoint in Chiang Rai while going to deliver vitamins to an Akha friend in Myanmar.

    The Nation newspaper said earlier this week that McDaniel produced "Akha Voices", a 270-page book that makes clear his opposition to "oppressive Thai government policies that destroy the Akha people at their most basic level of existence (and) their right to grow food."

    The book says McDaniel has worked with the Akha in Thailand and Myanmar since 1991.

    The Nation said McDaniel is believed to have been connected with leaflets distributed in Chiang Mai late last year, complaining against government officials who told the Akha they could not farm on the land they had been using for nearly 40 years.

    The dispute affected more than 1,000 people, or 250 families, The Nation said, quoting the book.

  2. #2
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    I've been to this guy's website, www.akha.org, and read a number of his accounts of life in northern Thailand. His temperament is totally cynical toward everybody, from the Thai and Burmese military, to the church who claim to want to "save" the Akha but exploit them, to NGOs who profess to be anti-trafficking but who assist in it, to ..., you get the idea. So, given his disdain for the Thai government who he claims to be uncaring towards the trafficking of Akha tribe girls into prostitution (ones of his many claims, don't know how/if true or not), it stands to reason that the Thai gov't wouldn't take too kindly to his harsh criticism.

    Anyone know more about him? His website accounts of life in northern Thailand make for some very interesting reading.

  3. #3
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    Detainee in Thailand will return soon

    The man will try to reunite his family after he comes back to Salem.

    CARA ROBERTS MUREZ
    Statesman Journal
    April 24, 2004

    This weekend, Matthew McDaniel is expected to leave behind his home of many years, his pregnant wife, his three children and the Akha, an indigenous people in southeast Asia, for whom he has been an outspoken advocate.

    In Salem, the activist will return to his roots and begin a fight to reunite his family.

    McDaniel, imprisoned in an immigration detention center in Thailand since April 15, is expected to be deported from Bangkok to the United States this weekend.

    His brother, Nathan McDaniel of Salem, is waiting for him.

    Nathan McDaniel said he feels certain that Matthew is being kicked out because he has raised the ire of the Thai and U.S. governments.

    Matthew McDaniel recently has worked with an international-law attorney in the United States to file a petition with the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, accusing the Thai military and police of ethnic cleansing, execution, torture, denial of due process and discrimination against the Akha hill-tribe people.

    “Look at the timing,” Nathan McDaniel said. “It seems to be just beyond credibility that it could be anything else.”

    Jonathan Levy, the Washington, D.C.-based attorney who updated Matthew McDaniel’s petition in January, said it appears to him that the deportation and the complaint are connected.

    “He’s certainly been a thorn in the side over there for years,” Levy said.

    Matthew McDaniel, 46, was arrested last week by Thai officials, who revoked his visa and made arrangements to deport him under a Thai immigration law that allows them to do so with people whose behavior is dangerous to the security of the public and the nation, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Thailand said earlier this week.

    On Friday, the spokesman declined to respond to Nathan McDaniel’s comments. He said that the U.S. Embassy was not involved with the Thai government in having Matthew McDaniel deported and that the United States helped him in his effort to get out of detention and return to U.S. soil.

    McDaniel, who moved to Salem with his family when he was 16, began spending extended periods of time in Thailand in 1991 and soon discovered the Akha. In 1996, he started the Akha Heritage Foundation to help the tribe and began living with them.

    Travis Brouwer, district aide for U.S. Rep. Darlene Hooley, D-Ore., has been trying to help the McDaniel family.

    Brouwer twice contacted the embassy in Thailand this week on the family’s behalf. He asked officials to visit McDaniel and to help his Thai family get visas.

    “We find that when a member of Congress contacts a U.S. Embassy, it makes sure they’re aware of the problem,” Brouwer said. “… It ensures they will put their full efforts into the situation.”

    Matthew McDaniel has been outspoken against actions of the Thai government, missionaries and U.S. antidrug efforts there. His intent has been to preserve Akha traditions while getting them the same rights that other Thai people have, Nathan McDaniel said.

    “His goal,” Nathan McDaniel said, “was to let them get to the point where they could make their own choices instead of get pushed around.”

  4. #4
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    Freedom of speech is not alive and well in Thailand.
    I don't necessarily agree or disagree with the statements of Matthew McDaniel as I do not have enough independent knowledge on the situation to formed an accurate opinion, but I think he is entitled to his point of view.
    I don't think he is a threat to national security, more like a threat to the image of the Thai government, which interne may affect economic trade, tourism and the results to the next election.

  5. #5
    reggie Guest

    panic

    THE IRON FIST OF GOVT.STRIKES AGAIN.:angry:

  6. #6
    Ajink Guest
    This seems to be something really messy thing ...Some people with ancient mind makes this suck kind of stuoid things for no reason and he has been living in Thailand sice 91 and has been opposing the country government ....thats really bad

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