Hunting red shirt backers I

28 05 2010

The Washington Post (28 May 2010)has a long story on the military-backed Abhisit Vejjajiva government’s continuing withch hunt for political opponents. It begins: “Victorious over rice farmers in flip-flops and riffraff with slingshots, molotov cocktails and a few guns, the commander in chief of the Royal Thai Army has moved swiftly to contain another menace: a golf-loving steel tycoon and maker of Nestle instant coffee.”

Funny enough, but a serious topic as the government looks likely to seek to cripple its opposition.

The report states that “Multimillionaire businessman Prayudh Mahagitsiri is now No. 21 on the latest installment of an expanding financial blacklist issued by the Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation…”. The whole list has 151 names on it, beginning with Thaksin Shinawatra and his family. The military-backed government wants to crush them. It also includes businessmen, politicians, lawyers and others alleged to have financed the red shirts.

Prayudh makes instant coffee and is chief executive of Thainox Stainless, a steel company. Panlert Baiyoke, owner of the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, an 88-story Bangkok landmark is also listed.

Emphasizing the military nature of the Abhisit regime, the emergency decree was signed by army chief General Anupong Paochinda. Anupong claimed to want to “root out threats to ‘national security and the safety of citizens’ and ‘get rid of this problem effectively and immediately’.”

In other words, the military and the government have joined hands in an anti-democratic alliance to crush all threats to the monarchy and, essentially, to cripple all potential opposition for years to come.

The article claims this as evidence that “Thailand’s far-from-resolved confrontation is also a clash within Thailand’s elite.” It cites historian Chris Baker as saying that the conflict is an “ideological conflict mixed up with a business conflict.”

We can see the point, but PPT feels that this spin is one that tries to make too much of business. Businesses try to pick winners in momentus conflicts, and we wouldn’t be surprised if some businesses supported both sides in the conflict. We can think of Mao’s comments on the role of the “national bourgeoisies” in this context. But, the focus is the conflict and the issues it throws up.

The author gets this right when he notes: “Some of those on the blacklist sympathized with the red shirt cause, which boiled down to a demand that the government quit and call early elections…”.

Following comments made by PPT several days ago and over several months,  Chulalongkorn University’s Thitinan Pongsudhirak is cited as saying that “[a]rrests, censorship and the financial inquest have put Thailand on a slippery slope….The creeping fear is that this could become a witch hunt. The question is: Who is next?”

Indeed. However, as we noted, this slipping began as soon as the Abhisit government was shoe-horned into place by closed door deals brokered by shifty politicians, the military brass and by the filthy lucre of specific businessmen. We have also seen this government associated with assassination, murder and mayhem (think 10 April). It may not be at the bottom yet – gulags for political prisoners and torture perhaps? – but the bottom is in sight.

The dolt acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn lies agin in this article, making the truly ludicrous claim that the government is not engaging in a political vendetta. He says the money probe is “not a tool for political conflict.” Rather, it is “a response to a security threat.” Right, security has nothing to do with politics when you represent the party that controls political power at the behest of the military and palace. And then the fool comes up with the same claim that Thaksin made when he was engaged in politicized investigations of finances of opponents: “People who have nothing to hide have nothing to worry about…”. This man’s gall and stupidity is impossible to swallow.

The dedicatedly repressive government “has given no evidence of misbehavior by Prayudh other than a long association with Thaksin.” The same is true for almost everyone else on the list.

The witch hunt has gone beyond business to include anyone the government thinks might support red shirts. It needs no evidebnce to harrass, intimidate and even jail. It is a government without any legal controls on it.

So we have long-time peace and human rights advocate (and liberal royalist) Gothom Arya being vilified as a red shirt supporter for helping to arrange the sanctury at Wat Pathum Wanaram that was fired on by government troops, as medics worked on the wounded. Such an action by a well-meaning person are now considered almost criminal and gets the yellow-shirted media and the bloggers frothing at the mouth with rage. They are disgusting in their baying for retribution and blood.

This is a witch hunt that is likely to easily get out of hand and is going to destroy many good and innocent people. This will be Thailand’s first civilian regime dripping blood.



4 responses

29 05 2010
1 06 2010
Montesano on tolerance « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Montesano then states that “Thailand entered a very bleak period.” It did indeed. The Thanin government was, not unlike the current Abhisit regime, rabidly ultra-royalist and attacked even royalist liberals as “communists.” Again, we see signs of that today. […]

1 06 2010
Montesano on tolerance « Politicalprisonersofthailand's Blog

[…] Montesano then states that “Thailand entered a very bleak period.” It did indeed. The Thanin government was, not unlike the current Abhisit regime, rabidly ultra-royalist and attacked even royalist liberals as “communists.” Again, we see signs of that today. […]

23 06 2010
Korn on the witch hunt « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Korn on the witch hunt Finance Minister and determined yellow-shirt supporter Korn Chatikavanij has decided that there is a witch hunt on. But it is not the government’s purposeful witch hunt against Thaksin Shinawatra supporters and, more recently, the red shirts, that has been going on since the Abhisit Vejjajiva government was shoe-horned in. For details, see here, here and here. […]

%d bloggers like this: