Abhisit as scare monger

6 03 2010

One of The Nation’s lead stories (6 March 2010) features a story about Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva speaking to the Thai Journalists Association.

Abhisit used the occasion to urge people not to fall prey to the propaganda of certain vested interests who want to instigate violence during the March 12-14 protests.” He went further, stating that “attempts were being made to create chaos so that there could be untoward political changes. He referred to “frequent public threats of violence.”

Oddly, Abhisit made these comments at a “seminar on how to rebuild confidence amid the ongoing crisis.” This is odd because PPT has spent considerable time watching television, cable, free-to-air and satellite and listening to radio over the past few days. To be honest, we were quite taken aback. The airwaves are absolutely dominated by the military and government and all they talk about, apart from the monarchy, is potential red shirt violence. PPT’s impression is that the army and its government are anxious to be done with the red shirts and the sooner the better. There’s no talk about reconciliation. That’s gone and they want a total victory.

Abhisit also made some claims about speaking the truth was the only way to restore public confidence in the middle of a crisis.” It is a pity that he and his ministers, supporters and backers don’t do this more often. He talked about “misinformation” but as far as PPT can tell, the government is just as much into misinformation campaigns as anyone else.

In fact, the government media seems intent on spreading rumors, threats, and all kinds of propaganda. If anyone was only using these sources, you’d be expecting Bangkok to burn next week.

It seems that the government’s ministers are listening to their own warnings. The Bangkok Post (6 March 2010) reports a “massive security operation has swung into action for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, cabinet members and their families in the lead-up to the mass rally of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship next weekend.”

The premier has more surveillance cameras around his house at Sukhumvit 31, with a “security team [that] has set up a control centre near the prime minister’s house so they can monitor the situation around the clock.” His security detail remains unchanged, with 20 “police escort[s] and military officers and 5 vehicles, including a bullet proof Land Rover.

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya is reported to be “protected by officers from the marine corps, made up of “two sets of 15-16 guards who work as advance teams and escort him around.” His secretary could not explain why the hapless Kasit “acquired the services of the marine corps. It was suggested that it was “probably because his father was a naval officer…”.

Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij had stepped-up security at his home and also uses a “bullet-proof Land Rover and is escorted by security officers who follow him in a separate sedan.

Army commander Anupong Paojinda’s security has been boosted by a team of 12 officers from the 21st Infantry Regiment Queen’s Guard. Gen Anupong’s motorcade has also had two escort motorcycles added, bringing the total to four. A checkpoint has been set up near his house in the Phutthamonthon area where his family lives…”.

With all of this going on and every Bangkok Bank branch under guard, the Bangkok middle class and elite have good reason to tremble, but most of the frightening information is from the government. The image is of a government as rumor monger. Another image is of a government that is protected by the military.


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