Incoherence and double standards

23 10 2012

Avudh Panananda at The Nation has an almost incoherent op-ed that displays some of the usual double standards seen in the mainstream media.

He begins with an attack on Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung holding “a series of public forums on reconciliation…”. Avudh states that “Chalerm is trying to mobilise state mechanisms for a government offensive to sway public sentiment and achieve greater national unity.” But he quickly adds that this is a nonsense, and that what Chalerm is really doing is trying to get “an amnesty for fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.”

The evidence for this claim seems to be that Chalerm has “two pro-Thaksin politicians, Adisorn Piengket and Sutham Saenpratoom [Saengprathum]” working with him…. In fact, in government, Chalerm, who is pro-Thaksin, is surrounded by pro-Thaksin politicians who make up the Puea Thai Party. Avudh’s claims amount to nothing but yellow-shirted extremism.

Of course, Avudh, as a dedicated yellow shirt, guesses the plan is for a Thaksin amnesty, for as he states, “Thaksin’s opponents [meaning yellow shirted ultra-royalists, including Avudh, and the Democrat Party] have been monitoring developments closely with an aim to counter every move the government makes in regard to an amnesty.” He asserts that this move, constructed in his own mind, could lead to a repeat of “the political violence of two years ago…”. We may be missing something, but PPT’s view is that any violence would need to be constructed by anti-Thaksin groups. Maybe Avudh knows that they are planning something? Maybe he is just given to concoction and hyperbole?

Avudh seems miffed that the “Metropolitan Police Bureau has been busy training police to rein in crowds.” He claims that police “intend to foil any yellow-shirt protests at an early stage rather than allow the crowds to surge.” No evidence for this, not even in the meager budgets for the police Avudh mentions in the article. Indeed, various yellow shirts have been seen on the streets even in recent weeks. Red shirts too.

Avudh’s double standards are clear when he begins to write of “a rally at the Royal Turf Club organised by the Pitak Siam [Protecting Siam] Organisation.” There can be nothing sinister in this because, well, it is organized by his buddies, even if they are led by a rabid royalist “retired Army officer General Boonlert Kaewprasit…”. Avudh seems to deny that this group and its leader are who they are and any suggestion that there are others behind the group.

Boonlert, as chairman of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School Foundation and leader of Class 1, has urged soldiers to protect the monarchy. And in attacking Nitirat, warned of a possible coup to prevent “disrespect” being shown to the monarchy. In fact, he has repeatedly talked of a military coup in this context or to protect General Prem Tinsulanonda. Boonlert was once reported to be a close aide to former Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kachornprasart. Far from being a rabid royalist repeatedly rousing the military to a coup, Avudh points out that “Pitak Siam organised its first activity, billed as a merit making, in June. Its second event this Saturday will focus on populism and runaway power.” And perhaps Avudh sees it as unnecessary to mention that the Royal Turf Club is closely associated with military and palace.

We take it that in Avudh’s world of double standards, merit-making and “public good” outweighs the repeated calls for illegal military interventions to throw out elected governments. He concludes by observing: “Pitak Siam may presently appear harmless. But it has the potential to become a roaring tiger should a misstep happen in efforts to bring Thaksin home before achieving genuine reconciliation.”

And back to Avudh’s point above, where he claims bias in preparing for crowd control: Chalerm agreed to meet with Boonlert, according to another report in The Nation, to “thwart plans for an anti-government rally scheduled for Sunday” which the paper seems to think will be “massive.” In fact, in the report, Chalerm seemed to express no opposition to the rally being held. In fact, he is cited: “we cannot stop it because it is their right. But we will ensure that it is orderly.”

And when The Nation wants a comment on a planned red shirt rally on Saturday, of course they get it from the military! In fact, however, the military plays down both rallies. But that doesn’t stop The Nation’s yellow-shirted foaming and frothing as they make their stories biased and largely fact-less.

This is the kind of illogical and concocted nonsense that passes for “journalism” at The Nation.

The “healing process” begins with repression

19 05 2010

In an earlier post, PPT referred to hardline yellow-shirt Democrat Finance Minister Korn saying that a “healing process” would soon begin. It is now clear that “healing” is actually enhanced repression.

First, arresting red shirts. Second, increased censorship. Third, a curfew in more than 20 provinces. Fourth, charges against people the government identifies as enemies. On the latter, The Nation reports that “The Criminal Court Wednesday approved the request of the Department of Special Investigation to issue arrest warrant against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and nine other people on charge of terrorism.  DSI director-general Tharit Pengdit said the nine other people wanted on the arrest warrant are Adisorn Piengket, Wiphuthalaeng Phattanaphumthai, Phayup Punket, Jeng Dokjik, Wichian Khaokham, Aree Krainara, Suksek Poltua, Surachai Thewarat and Rachata Wongyod.”

Expect even more arrests and repression. The Abhisit Vejjajiva government has no choice now. They cannot retreat in the face of continuing defiance.

The Criminal Court Wednesday approved the request of the Department of Special Investigation to issue arrest warrant against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and nine other people on charge of terrorism.

DSI director-general Tharit Pengdit said the nine other people wanted on the arrest warrant are Adisorn Piengket, Wiphuthalaeng Phattanaphumthai, Phayup Punket, Jeng Dokjik, Wichian Khaokham, Aree Krainara, Suksek Poltua, Surachai Thewarat and Rachata Wongyod.

Updated: Government to arrest red shirt leaders, closes People TV again

9 04 2010

Police claim that they “are poised to arrest, whenever they can, 24 United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship figures wanted under arrest warrants…”. PPT would assume, given the events over People TV, that any arrests would be met with red shirt anger and responses.

The report states that the “Criminal Court has approved arrest warrants for two groups of UDD leaders. The first group of seven are wanted for breaking into the parliament compound on Sunday. The second group of 17 are wanted for leading the red-shirts to block the Ratchaprasong intersection in violation of the emergency decree.” Those named in the new warrants are Weng Tojirakan, Darunee Kritboonyalai, Jaran Dithapichai, Natthawut Saikua, Nisit Sinthuprai, Veera Musigapong, Korkaew Pikulthong, Kwanchai Sarakham, Chinawat Haboonpat, Wiputhalaeng Pattanaphumthai, Adisorn Piengket, Worapol Prommikbut, Waipot Arpornrat, Samroeng Prachamrua, Visa Khanthap, Paijit Aksornnarong, and Khattiya Sawasdipol (Seh Daeng).

The police “had closed in on the 24 and would arrest them whenever they could. After they were arrested, they would be detained at six locations to prevent them from further illegal activities.” The emergency decree means they can be held for 30 days.

The police have also warned “motorcycle taxi and cab drivers had been warned against joining the UDD rally, under threat of legal action under the emergency law.”

Abhisit Vejjajiva’s acting police chief Police General Pratheep Tanprasert told a meeting of police commanders “to arrest the 24 UDD leaders as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reports that the army has “reoccupied the Thaicom station at Phatum Thani province’s Lat Lum Kaeo district and have managed to black out the red shirts’ People’s Channel TV broadcast again on Friday night.”  Acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said that “the government has again blocked signal of PTV, and vowed that authorities would not let the red-shirts … break into the station’s compound one more time.”

With the police threatening to arrest red shirt leaders and the government taking down People TV again, conflict seems assured.

Update: Not really for this post alone, but on the red protests generally, New Mandala has pointed PPT to this important set of photos at the Boston Globe website. PPT didn’t understand why Abhisit had earlier stated that soldiers should not feel “discouraged.” See the last few photos for an explanation.

Finland plot legal cases

25 03 2009

Back in 2006, before the coup, there were allegations that Thaksin Shinawatra and some of his Thai Rak Thai party colleagues had hatched a plan to create a republic in Thailand. At the time, this added to claims that Thaksin was anti-monarchy.

Wikipedia explains it this way: “In May 2006, on the eve of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 60th anniversary celebrations, the Sondhi Limthongkul-owned Manager Daily newspaper published the details of what it called the Finland Plan, Finland Declaration, or Finland Strategy. The articles claimed that Thaksin and former student leaders of Thailand’s 1970s democratic movement met in Finland in 1999 to develop a plan to institute rule by a single party, overthrow the monarchy and establish a republic, and hold elections for provincial governors. The 5-part article were titled ‘Finland Strategy: Thailand’s Revolution Plan?’, was written by Pramote Nakhonthap, and appeared in [the Manager on] 17, 19, 22, 23 and 24 May 2006. Thaksin’s alleged co-conspirators apparently included Thai Rak Thai party members Prommin Lertsuridej …, Chaturon Chaisaeng …, Surapong Suebwonglee …, Adisorn Piangket …, Sutham Saengprathum …, and Phumtham Wechayachai …, all of whom had been affiliated with the Communist Party of Thailand following the massacre of 6 October 1976. The allegations were taken up by several prominent critics, including leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, … Chai-anan Samudavanija, Senator Sophon Supapong, … Pramote Nakornthab, and Democrat … Thaworn Senniam. None of the accusers provided any evidence to back up their allegations.”

The Bangkok Post (25 March 2009: “Court rejects Thaksin suit against Sondhi”) now reports the outcome of two Criminal Court cases related to these allegations. Thaksin had brought a case against Sondhi and 10 of his co-panelists in a ASTV televised discussion of the Finland Plot allegations at Thammasat University that was extensively reported in the Manager newspaper and on its website. In rejecting the charges, the court “ruled that the defendants did not commit wrongdoing because they served the role of academics, thinkers and communicators when they expressed opinions that were critical of the administrative policy of the Thaksin regime.”

At the same time, in a related case, the “handed down a one-year jail term to commentator Pramote and Khunthong Lorserivanich, editor of Manager daily owned by Mr Sondhi, for articles Mr Pramote wrote relating to the Finland conspiracy that were published on May 17-25. The jail terms were suspended to two years. The two were also fined 100,000 baht each on the charge.”

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