ISOC propaganda effort continues

13 07 2009

PPT has mentioned (here, here and here) the apparently paid advertising by ISOC that is appearing in the Bangkok Post, as well as editorials and stories that have been pumped out by The Nation, extolling the virtues of the ISOC strategy in the south. This material is poorly written but still counts as blatant propaganda.

This continued in the Bangkok Post’s print edition on 10 July 2009, in the Guru supplement and in the main sections of the newspaper. In the former, an almost incomprehensible advertisement-cum-article entitled “ISOC works to counter the drug problem along the kingdom’s borders.”

Claiming that it is now realized that Thailand’s growing drug problem cannot be cured through violence and heavy penalties. This is presumably a reference to Thaksin Shinawatra’s War on Drugs that had widespread support, including in ISOC, the military, police and palace, but that resulted in a large number of extrajudicial deaths and a trampling of human rights. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is then cited as stating that “the best way to solve the [drugs] problem is to apply law rather than violence.” He has closed one National Command Center and established another to continue the work of the one that was abolished.

The problem is that the advertisement then mentions the “five-fence” policy adopted by the government, without explaining what this is and says, “Drugs must be stamped out, but the methods must follow the law. In the past two months, these more effective methods of apprehending offenders have managed to capture a lot of drug dealers.” This may be the case, but ISOC works without transparency or appropriate oversight.

Apparently in line with the Democrat Party-led government’s desire to defeat opposition, it is added that the new coordinating center will “pay close attention to stability within the kingdom…”.

In its advertisement in the main section of the newspaper, ISOC concentrates on the southern rebellion and is entitled “Unrest in the South. Who started the problem?” To cut a long story to the core, ISOC doesn’t answer its headlined question but seems to sweep aside issues of religion and nationalism. The point of the propaganda is to tell readers that everything is sweetness and light on the government side: “The government authorities always follow lawful means in the pursuit of peace and actively give local citizens a role in solving the problems…”.

The ISOC director is quoted: “I wish to affirm that violence and the use of force, in every case, needs to be transparent, no matter which side is responsible.” The idea of violence and force being transparent is novel.

ISOC concludes that it is “clear that the problems in the south arise solely from small groups of insurgents who seek to further agitate the already tense situation…”.

The problem for ISOC and the Democrat Party-led government is that the “new” approach is not backed by actions that give it any substance. Reports of human rights abuse and harassment continue. For a more realistic and informative account, see Don Pathan’s report in The Nation (10 July 2009: “Too many mediators spoil the chance of peace in the south”).

Perhaps the most remarkable statement in this material is the one that claims that ISOC and the military are protecting Thailand’s democracy. That’s a sad reflection on how the military sees its own role. But they probably meant that Thai democracy is “democracy with the king as head of state,” which hardly qualifies as more than a half-baked democracy.


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11 02 2016
ISOC embedding a parallel state | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Administrative Centre (SBPAC) into its new structure.” ISOC has been instrumental in propaganda exercises in the south and, recently, stands accused of torture […]

11 02 2016
ISOC embedding a parallel state | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Administrative Centre (SBPAC) into its new structure.” ISOC has been instrumental in propaganda exercises in the south and, recently, stands accused of torture […]




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