Avudh Panananda at The Nation has an almost incoherent op-ed that displays some of the usual double standards seen in the mainstream media.
He begins with an attack on Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung holding “a series of public forums on reconciliation…”. Avudh states that “Chalerm is trying to mobilise state mechanisms for a government offensive to sway public sentiment and achieve greater national unity.” But he quickly adds that this is a nonsense, and that what Chalerm is really doing is trying to get “an amnesty for fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.”
The evidence for this claim seems to be that Chalerm has “two pro-Thaksin politicians, Adisorn Piengket and Sutham Saenpratoom [Saengprathum]” working with him…. In fact, in government, Chalerm, who is pro-Thaksin, is surrounded by pro-Thaksin politicians who make up the Puea Thai Party. Avudh’s claims amount to nothing but yellow-shirted extremism.
Of course, Avudh, as a dedicated yellow shirt, guesses the plan is for a Thaksin amnesty, for as he states, “Thaksin’s opponents [meaning yellow shirted ultra-royalists, including Avudh, and the Democrat Party] have been monitoring developments closely with an aim to counter every move the government makes in regard to an amnesty.” He asserts that this move, constructed in his own mind, could lead to a repeat of “the political violence of two years ago…”. We may be missing something, but PPT’s view is that any violence would need to be constructed by anti-Thaksin groups. Maybe Avudh knows that they are planning something? Maybe he is just given to concoction and hyperbole?
Avudh seems miffed that the “Metropolitan Police Bureau has been busy training police to rein in crowds.” He claims that police “intend to foil any yellow-shirt protests at an early stage rather than allow the crowds to surge.” No evidence for this, not even in the meager budgets for the police Avudh mentions in the article. Indeed, various yellow shirts have been seen on the streets even in recent weeks. Red shirts too.
Avudh’s double standards are clear when he begins to write of “a rally at the Royal Turf Club organised by the Pitak Siam [Protecting Siam] Organisation.” There can be nothing sinister in this because, well, it is organized by his buddies, even if they are led by a rabid royalist “retired Army officer General Boonlert Kaewprasit…”. Avudh seems to deny that this group and its leader are who they are and any suggestion that there are others behind the group.
Boonlert, as chairman of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School Foundation and leader of Class 1, has urged soldiers to protect the monarchy. And in attacking Nitirat, warned of a possible coup to prevent “disrespect” being shown to the monarchy. In fact, he has repeatedly talked of a military coup in this context or to protect General Prem Tinsulanonda. Boonlert was once reported to be a close aide to former Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kachornprasart. Far from being a rabid royalist repeatedly rousing the military to a coup, Avudh points out that “Pitak Siam organised its first activity, billed as a merit making, in June. Its second event this Saturday will focus on populism and runaway power.” And perhaps Avudh sees it as unnecessary to mention that the Royal Turf Club is closely associated with military and palace.
We take it that in Avudh’s world of double standards, merit-making and “public good” outweighs the repeated calls for illegal military interventions to throw out elected governments. He concludes by observing: “Pitak Siam may presently appear harmless. But it has the potential to become a roaring tiger should a misstep happen in efforts to bring Thaksin home before achieving genuine reconciliation.”
And back to Avudh’s point above, where he claims bias in preparing for crowd control: Chalerm agreed to meet with Boonlert, according to another report in The Nation, to “thwart plans for an anti-government rally scheduled for Sunday” which the paper seems to think will be “massive.” In fact, in the report, Chalerm seemed to express no opposition to the rally being held. In fact, he is cited: “we cannot stop it because it is their right. But we will ensure that it is orderly.”
And when The Nation wants a comment on a planned red shirt rally on Saturday, of course they get it from the military! In fact, however, the military plays down both rallies. But that doesn’t stop The Nation’s yellow-shirted foaming and frothing as they make their stories biased and largely fact-less.
This is the kind of illogical and concocted nonsense that passes for “journalism” at The Nation.