“National security” benefits the Democrat Party and its allies

3 09 2009

As readers will know, PPT has been arguing that the Democrat Party-led government and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva are sliding towards authoritarianism. We have also drawn comparisons with the Thaksin Shinawatra-Thai Rak Thai Party government earlier in the decade. We have also observed how silence has befallen the often self-proclaimed protectors of human rights in Thailand.

There is another aspect to the use of draconian laws such as lese majeste, Internal Security Act and the laws on computer crimes and so on that PPT highlights in this post.

When “national security” takes top billing, what is lost? We mean apart from freedoms and rights.

If we look at the press over the past few weeks, we can see that the government’s persistence in creating fear, loathing and ramping up security issues conveniently gets other difficult issues out of the press. Here are some of them:

  • Remember Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya? He was charged (or was it interviewed? or summonsed?) back in early July, along with other PAD leaders, over the occupation of Bangkok’s airports. Abhisit, for all of his talk of ethics and rule of law, sprang to Kasit’s defence, arguing that the minister could continue to work. He has, but has been rather quiet since his defence of the monarchy against the toothless ASEAN human rights debate in Phuket. That whole issue seems off the boil. Rejigging the police probably helps there also.
  • What about the Sondhi Limthongkul assassination case? Big news for a while, but with all the frothing over the police promotions and then diverting attention to national security, that’s gone too. It is meant to come back by the end of the month. Let’s see.
  • Also important was the northeast’s rejection of the coalition government? The election landslides for pro-Thaksin parties in Sakol Nakhon and Srisaket were a major defeat for the government and its backers. This was compounded by the huge security presence required to even get Abhisit into blue shirt-Newin Chidchob territory in Buriram. Gone from the media, but not from Abhisit’s list of reasons for not holding an election.
  • The scandal in the sufficiency economy projects, directly linked to the Democrat Party and to the nepotism of one deputy prime minister has also been removed from the headlines. PPT’s last post on this is here. [Update: Thanks to Bangkok Pundit, PPT is alerted to a small story in the electronic issue of the Bangkok Post (4 September 2009: “4 Democrats expelled from party”) that indicates that the Democrat Party is continuing to try to limit the damage in this story by pinning it to lower-level members and expelling them, eventhough Democrat spokesman Buranat Samutharak said the four were not directly involved in the irregularities.” They are trying to prevent the scandal reaching Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu who had his brother working on the project.]

And the list could easily be longer – Rohinga, police and military corruption, human rights commission, and so on. In the interests of staying in power – and with powerful backing from the military and higher-ups – the Democrat Party is promoting a dangerous discourse based around monarchy and national security.



One response

8 09 2009
New: Elite twittering and a Facebook revolution « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] this descent is remarkable and the silence of the protectors of human rights lamentable. As we have pointed out, in the past, allowing this slide to go unchecked has led to human rights […]

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