Updated: Double standards as wide as an ocean

29 08 2014

The term “double standards” has been used to describe judicial and political actions in Thailand that means that there is one law for the rich and another for the rest. In recent has also been used to accurately portray a political bias where one side of politics – the royalists – get favored treatment over the rest. That the rich and the royalists have considerable overlap is well-known.

It is no surprise then when the Bangkok Post lauds yet one more confirmation of gross double standards under the military dictatorship that illegally seized state power in May this year. The Bangkok Post’s lauding of double standards might have a lot to do with the fact that the company that owns it was headed by a double coup supporting minor prince who drools at the opportunity to once again work for the corrupt and murderous military.

In an editorial the Post lavishes undeserved praise on the military dictatorship for its decision “to free Veera Somkhwamkid, leader of the Thai Patriots Network, and seven other members of an energy policy reform group, without pressing any charges against them…”. Veera is a People’s Alliance for Democracy associate and ultra-nationalist who has wanted to provoke war with Cambodia and whose release from jail in Cambodia was prompted by the military dictatorship’s willingness to create a crisis by sending Cambodian workers streaming back home in a fear campaign that was for Veera’s benefit and also effectively brought Hun Sen “into line” through a threat to the workers’ remittances.

The Post’s editorial is bizarre. It lists the repression of free speech (which affects everyone in Thailand, not just the looney rightists):

The eight activists were arrested by police on Sunday for staging a protest march against energy policy and violating martial law. The order to arrest them was made by Pol Maj Gen Amnuay Nimmano, deputy commissioner of the Police Education Bureau, currently in charge of security affairs and peace maintenance in Bangkok.

Last week in Hat Yai, a handful of activists from the energy policy reform network were arrested as they embarked on a 950km march to Bangkok to raise public awareness of their demand for changes to national energy policy.

They were held in military custody for five days before being released.

The group was allowed to continue the march on the condition that they must end it at 5pm each day and no public forums or public speeches were carried out throughout the walking protest.

That seems like a reasonable account of the actions taken by the military dictatorship against these protesters, and they have been even more repressive against those seen as enemies and opponents. However, the Post gets out the bottom polishing rag and declares, against all logic:

Thanks to openness on the part of the NCPO [it means the military junta], Mr Veera and his associates were released so they could join academics, government officials and energy activists in a public forum yesterday to discuss energy issues.

One hopes the group of experts will seize this opportunity to present its views and rationale for energy policy changes to the public.

It is regrettable that former senator Rosana Tositrakul, a vocal critic of the PTT Public Company who claims current energy policy favours the oil and gas giant, could not attend the public discussion. She explained she had an appointment which could not be cancelled at such short notice.

Openness? Really? The Post also doesn’t mention that Rosana is another ultra-nationalist, ultra-yellow PAD supporter who has promoted a range of anti-democratic actions over a decade and more.

The Post reckons that The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who recently had himself made premier, is loosening up because he said the junta “will only use the special powers vested upon them by martial law and the interim constitution when necessary for the sake of national security.” The Post seems to hope that this means that the anti-democrats, ultra-royalists and ultra-nationalists can “participate” and have “free expression.” It makes this clear when it states:

Clampdowns on free expression such as public gatherings which, by their nature, do not pose any security threat but merely voice grievances to get the attention of the powers that be, should be carried out with greater discretion and prudence, or avoided altogether.

The Post is openly supporting dictatorship and effectively making the case for huge double standards. The military dictatorship determines what is a “security threat” and it is as clear as can be that this means red shirts and anti-coup activists. Sure the Post bleats about “free spirit” and “rights,” but its approach is partisan, promotes double standards and is supportive of dictatorship.

Update: Yes, we should have checked when we were pointing at Pridiyathorn Devakula above as a coup-loving Chairman of the Board at Post Publishing. We should have checked how many other coup-loving, military paid servants were at the same company. Fortunately, as all these military servants resign so they can be appointed to various puppet ministries, the Post is telling us. The latest military harlot to resign from Post Publishing is Wissanu Krea-ngam, another serial offender who drools at the opportunity to once again work for the corrupt and murderous military.

 


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