Believing your own messages

10 12 2011

It is important to be able to distinguish between political fiction and fact. However, when political battles extend over several years and when the means of communication have expanded so massively, so protagonists actually come to believe their own propaganda. A case in point is the extreme yellow-shirted senator Rosana Tositrakul, who is the head of a Senate committee on graft and good governance.

Rosana’s views have become more extreme over the years that she has dedicated herself to hating and opposing Thaksin Shinawatra and all associated with him. Her most recent comments on the burglary at the house of transport permanent secretary Supoj Saplom. Rosana actually “expressed doubts that money seized from the arrested suspects really belonged to Mr Supoj.” Remarkably, the head of the Senate committee on graft and good governance “wondered if the money came from another source and whether the robbery was a frame-up. She also commented that the damaged party seemed to have become a suspect.”

Given that the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Anti-Money Laundering Office are investigating the case, PPT began wondering why Rosana would defend Supoj. We were equally taken aback by the Bangkok Post’s decision to call the case a “mystery” that “deepened … when a Senate panel suggested the crime was politically motivated and a frame-up.”

PPT’s ruminations led us to a series of yellow-shirt emails that claim – with no evidence at all – that Supoj was holding the money for either Thaksin or banned Thai Rak Thai Party politician Sudarat Keyuraphan. These emails have been sent all over the place. It seems clear that this is where Rosana is getting her information and, despite the lack of any evidence, she trots this stuff out.

Of course, current Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung reckons that Supoj was in bed with the culprits at the Bhum Jai Thai Party. He hasn’t produced any evidence either.

Other stories doing the rounds of the electronic mail include a claim that Supoj was done down by his secretary, who was also a long-term mistress, spurned on the orders of the major wife. But that rumor doesn’t say why Supoj had so much loot at home.

A point Chalerm made that rings true is that “not only [corrupt] government officials but also many [corrupt] politicians like to keep cash at home.” At this point, PPT would not jump for political rumors, but would point out that transport and communications are amongst the plum jobs for senior bureaucrats because they offer such lucrative opportunities for “unusual wealth.”

As permanent secretary at the Ministry of Transport, chairman of the State Railways of Thailand and earlier Director of the Highways Department and also the Rural Roads Department, Supoj had several neat perch from which to seek extra income. These positions are widely known to be extremely lucrative.

It seems to us that Rosana has become a slave to her own propaganda and speculation (and perhaps Chalerm too). That slavish devotion to a political cause could cause political blindness. There might well be that there is a “normal” explanation for a bureaucrat having great and unexplained wealth.

Meanwhile, in another example of believing your own message, the Bangkok Post reports that former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban showed up at the Metropolitan Police Bureau to testify to a panel investigating the deaths of red shirt protesters in April and May 2010.

Suthep reportedly “insists security forces involved in containing red shirt protesters during last year’s political violence had performed their duties within the law.” PPT reckons that’s an easy claim to make as the emergency decree pretty much granted the authorities the right to anything they wanted.

His other claim is more controversial and has been his mantra throughout. He stated: “Security forces had performed their duties based on my orders. There was no violence while they were performing their duties.” Further, he stated categorically that “security forces had carried out their duties and their operation [on 10 April] had not caused any deaths…”. He has always claimed that security forces killed no one and that all deaths were a result of attacks by mysterious and never apprehended “men in black.”

If you say it enough it seems you come to believe it.



2 responses

29 03 2013
The mysterious world of “justice” | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Highways Department. However, with not a whiff of evidence but plenty of venom, a couple of crazy yellow shirts claimed the money really belonged to Thaksin […]

30 03 2013
The mysterious world of “justice” | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Highways Department. However, with not a whiff of evidence but plenty of venom, a couple of crazy yellow shirts claimed the money really belonged to Thaksin […]

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