Further updated, with video: “We are only killing terrorists” and other conspiratorial ideas

16 05 2010

It seems that the Abhisit Vejjajiva government has been able to develop a new definition of “terrorist.” It is apparently anyone the army kills during the current crackdown on red shirt protesters. This definition is conveyed in a BBC report seen by PPT at about 1800GMT.

The report is devastating for the government’s position because it shows soldiers targeting and shooting at demonstrators in a very careful and calculated manner. The BBC reporter is then shown at the other end of this targeting and shooting. The people being targeted are those burning a few tires, armed with slingshots, firecrackers and crude petrol bombs. In a dramatic piece of video – which we’ll post as soon as we find a link – a protester is shot in the leg. Update: Here’s the video:

The government is desperately fighting a losing battle for the international media as it prepares to clear the remaining red shirts from Rajaprasong. The problem is that the protesters have opened several “fronts” now. This battle may go on for several more days and will be even bloodier than it has been so far.

Update 1: For those who would like a yellow-hued version of events at present, replete with some comments that will strike readers as callous and calculating, we recommend 2Bangkok.com‘s post on “civil war.” We don’t reproduce it all but a few choice cuts:

Claims of civil war “by the Prime Minister … have less to do with the ability of the Red Shirts to conduct civil war and more about justifications for tough action that will be taken. Such claims are part of an overall media campaign on local TV screens to prove the Red Shirts are violent and bent on ‘disunity’.”

It is stated that “military involvement and the unshakable government coalition makes it clear to all that near term dissolution will not be tolerated–it is only a question of who gets wiped out during this operation and who the results will negatively impact.” Maybe the red shirts knew this when they rejected the Abhisit road map?

The army’s loyalty has been doubted, but “present operations–beginning with the removal of Seh Daeng–shows something has changed and there is some commitment to act though a final clearance plan. A coup still remains unlikely, but if one should occur it would indicate the need to go beyond legal norms in liquidating perceived threats to the state.” This perspective has no doubt at all about who took out Seh Daeng.

“It will be up to the Red Shirts to prove they can field thousands more men from the provinces willing to fight their way into Bangkok.” Further, “Just like during the April 2009 rioting, the Red Shirts are purposely being allowed to run riot and then clips of this are repeated over and over on TV in a public relations campaign to prove to the public the Reds are rowdy and violent.” Really? Well we guess it will work for the frightened and panicked middle class, but do they need convincing? The idea that anyone on either side needs any convincing about the flaws of the other seems somewhat quaint.

But, “the desire all around is for the dual destruction of both the Red Shirt leadership and the Democrats for the purposes of future politics. This means many players will want the end to be as bloody and messy as possible. This means the Democrats’ goals are becoming clear as well–serve out as much of their term as possible after removing any further threat of mass rallies during their remaining tenure–so this has to mean capturing or co-opting the Red leadership.” That’s an interesting perspective. Who fills the supposed gap? Sondhi Limthongkul and his band of yellow shirts? Newin Chidchob?

And its added: “Those with a less politically centered view will be working to one goal after the Red leadership is deposed of–to ensure that the roused Red masses reassemble under the leadership of conventional political parties and will not again be harnessed again for more revolutionary goals.”

Forget any Thaksin comeback: “It is likely that a blizzard of legal and procedural changes will be enacted in an attempt to combat a return of a Thaksin-controlled party.” At the same time, the yellow view of red shirts has not changed one iota: “Thaksin [could] … rouse legions of rural people with new political aspirations and expectations…. The definition of democracy for most of these people is the ability to make money and be prosperous and secure. This comes from the tradition of aligning oneself with powerful ‘big men’–like police or military men, other family members, employers, or politicians.”

Update 2: For details on reports from foreign journalists of army snipers using a hospital as a perch and shooting at ambulances, see the first few comments on this post at New Mandala.



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