Tiresome propagandists

22 03 2014

Week after week, the Bangkok Post has been producing stories that promote Suthep Thaugsuban and his anti-democrats. We understand that this is the role of the newspaper’s management and that they do keep a couple of journalists who write stuff about the “dark side,” but the propaganda is simply tiresome.

In its most recent posterior lick, the Post produces stories that laud Suthep as a “personality” and suggest that the dangerous “guards” for Suthep and the anti-democrat movement are “under control.”

Lips magazine is a royalist rag produced for the wealthy who think they deserve to own Thailand. Its latest issue is a hopeless piece of anti-democrat nonsense.

The Post appears to laud the magazine and the anti-democrat leadership by breathlessly blathering about what a hit Suthep has created for the magazine. Reporters even tripped off to Lumpini Park to find – what a surprise! – that the magazine was a hit amongst anti-democrats at the fortress surrounded by the military protection and more than 2,000 thug-guards.

At least the Post does explain that:

Lips editors and designers are part of the creative force behind the production of T-shirts and souvenirs sold at the rally sites. Like the magazine, T-shirts screened with PDRC hallmark motifs and livery have sold like hot cakes.

It says the proceeds from the sales “are going towards helping to finance the protest which is costing millions of baht a day.”

Back in the days of after the Army slaughtered red shirts in 2010, Lips magazine managed to celebrate Army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd who was the voice of the Abhisit regime during the crackdown and continually advocated hard line  responses to red shirts and justified murder.

On the thug-guards that the anti-democrat leadership is apparently arming,

Thaworn Senniam, a core member of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and not that long ago a deputy leader of the Democrat Party, is in charge of the guards. It seems his job is to make armed thugs appear as something else.

The Post babbles about the guards being “criticised for allegedly ending up on the wrong side of the law.” Criticized? Heck, hasn’t one just been arrested for blazing away with an automatic war weapon?

Thaworn admits that the guards are tough and rough but “work as guards out of genuine concern for the safety of the PDRC demonstrators.” He says they deserve “understanding” as they “work under tremendous pressure.” He mentions attacks on guards but neglects their attacks on others.

At one time there were some 4,000 guards and this is now down “to 2,234 after a number of them either quit or were screened out.”

These “guards are paid a daily allowance of 500 baht for their services.” That’s more than a 1.1 million baht a day now and 2 million a day previously. With the “shutdown” protests having been going for about four months, it can be estimated that some US$7 million might have been paid out for brown shirts alone.

Thaworn defends the guards saying they “must be unarmed. They must be polite with the protesters. They should do their job in a way that is appropriate.”  Clearly he is fabricating this story.

Away from the Bangkok Post, equally tiresome is the yellow-shirted former Minister for Foreign Affairs, PAD member and Democrat Party propagandist Kasit Piromya. He had an op-ed in The Nation a few days ago that was only made interesting by his inability to grasp anything factual about Thailand, its history and its current predicament.

First, he confuses the current nation-state with earlier kingdoms, reflecting an acceptance of royalist propaganda that equates a modern nation with claims about a monarchy that has existed – in propaganda – “for centuries.”

Zipping along, Kasit reckons that “the past few decades” have seen “a new challenge to Thailand’s cultural integrity has emerged in the form of the dominance of money and business over politics.” Yep, a threat to “cultural integrity.” Given that Kasit is in royalist propaganda mode, we take this to mean a threat to the monarchy.

Of course, the threat is from nasty politicians, “one-party authoritarianism” and “populism” that is only interested in “electoral majorities.” It is as if Kasit’s writers have a bag of political epithets and do a lucky dip on each sentence. What can we say? Perhaps just point out that an electoral majority cannot be a “one-party authoritarianism” unless the opposition simply capitulates and gives up on electoral politics. Oh, yes, that’s what Kasit’s party has done.

He then babbles that “since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932, the goal and aspiration of the Thai people has always been to uphold the national ideals of nation, religion and monarchy within a representative democracy.” Maybe he should think a bit more about a royalist slogan as representative of the “Thai people’s” view and consider the addition of “constitution” to the trilogy for a couple of decades.

Kasit is about as sharp as a bowling ball, but let’s take one more example of his propaganda:

Today, the Thai people have finally and firmly rejected the politics of the past, the politics of sweet temptations, of lies and spin, the politics of systemic corruption, the politics of a small clique of the powerful.

They have indeed! They have shown great determination in voting again and again for the party they prefer. They have repeatedly rejected Kasit’s party. On this point, Kasit’s criticism of “Thaksinism” is really a critique of his party and its elite allies:

For them to cling to their presumptuous hierarchy is nothing more than holding on to a failed status quo. Their stubborn self-promotion is reactionary and contrary to the progressive minds and contemporary political aspirations of Thailand. It is anachronistic: out of tune, out of touch and out of place….

In their last desperate attempts to continue in power, [the elite…] are cooking up more divisiveness within Thai society…. Such desperation implies acknowledgement of defeat. It means the end of the status quo, of vested-interest politics.

Kasit thinks that royalism, hierarchy, wealth, and the suppression of the rights of millions is somehow “progressive.” Or at least that’s what his propaganda is meant to convey – black is white and fact is fiction. Goebbels would be proud.



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