Democrat Party floundering

13 08 2013

The Democrat Party has always relied on “old elite” methods when it comes to international image. It figures that international allies will forever consider it democratic simply because it uses the name and considers that all of Thailand’s old men at the top provide the “right” links for it in getting international support. It also feels that as it has a couple of lads who speak good English and have old elite connections in England and supporters knitted into the royalist fabric of the U.S. alliance, that it will always do well.

Hence, when it supported the military, became very royalist and unleashed murderous attacks on civilians it felt that claiming all of this was “democratic” and under the “rule of law,” old friends would understand. They didn’t. And Abhisit Vejjajiva’s forays overseas to “explain” all of this were dismal failures. When he was supported by the usually ill-prepared Kasit Piromya, farce usually resulted.

Making things worse for the floundering Democrat Party, Yingluck Shinawatra’s election landslide saw her electoral legitimacy sanctioned by international leaders. More galling for the toffs at the Democrat Party, Thaksin Shinawatra seems to have been adroit in getting access to international leaders.

When the Puea Thai Party government invited “several international figures who have played prominent roles in promoting democracy and reconciliation” to a meeting in Bangkok, the Democrat Party hastily responded. At the Bangkok Post it is reported that the Party “plans to counter the government’s move to invite international figures to join a unity forum.” It is rushing to see “former British prime minister Tony Blair and former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan to try to dissuade them from becoming ‘tools’ of the Pheu Thai-led government,”

Chavanond being a spokesman (a Bangkok Post photo)

Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut lamented that Blair and Anand “might be used as tools or presented as a stamp of approval for the government-sponsored amnesty bill…”. He added that their presence would “whitewash the crimes of those who vandalised Bangkok buildings in the 2010 red-shirt rallies, and those who insulted the monarchy…”.

It seems that Abhisit has assigned Kasit, Korn Chatikavanij, and party MPs Ong-art Klampaibul and others “to meet ambassadors and submit open letters to international organisations based in Thailand to explain to them that the government is abusing its power by pushing for an amnesty bill.” In addition, the Party “will translate the reports by the Truth for Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the National Human Rights Commission into English to distribute to foreign agencies.”

Is anyone listening to them?

With a major update: Rice and fish(y) media

29 06 2013

A couple of weeks ago, PPT posted on the yellow-tinged and its construction of a narrative for another anti-Thaksin Shinawatra coup. Amongst a bunch of other actions, the process of undermining the elected government was said to include “a ramping up of media scrutiny (this time being conducted on the internet as the mainstream Thai papers are considered, rightly or wrongly, to be already co-opted by the Pheu Thai) and regular ongoing protests.”

At the time, we commented that the “ramping up” is of  a more politicized reporting and editorializing that is often little more than the repeating of concoctions found on social media. In fact, the media is divided, and there has never been a “ramping down” of anti-Thaksin, anti-red shirt, anti-Puea Thai editorializing.

Thai rath rice

The Thai Rath headline, from Khaosod

A recent story at Khaosod gives some insight into this and details apparent concoction and conniving amongst various media outlets in politicized attacks on the Yingluck Shinawatra government. Khaosod reports that “Thai Rath, the best-selling newspaper in Thailand, has devoted its front page to reports that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered ‘every port’ in the US to urgently quarantine rice grains exported from Thailand.”

Khaosod notes that Thai Rath quoted an unnamed “foreign news agency”on this, linking the “chemical contamination” to the government′s rice buying scheme. This was followed by other unnamed sources, including a “rice exporter”who was quoted as saying this was the biggest crisis for Thai rice exports in 2-3 decades.

Khaosod then notes that The Nation carried the “very same quotes that appeared on Thai Rath” and the unidentified “foreign news agency” as well as the unnamed exporter. It comments: It is not clear who copied whom.”

It is no surprise at all that Khaosod also notes that the yellow shirt outlets have a very similar story:

The report on Manager Online bears many similar wordings to that of The Nation and Thai Rath. Manager Online claimed a “source inside rice export industry” as provider of their story.

Like Khaosod, PPT went to the FDA website and searched for a statement that could match these stories. The closest we found was a late May statement about “rice products” from several countries, including Thailand. But this alert has nothing at all in common with the “reports” in the apparently colluding media.

It seems that the “ramping up” through collusion on the part of anti-government media is proceeding. PPT is keen to observe if these outlets can provide any real evidence for their claims.

Major update: While there is no evidence being produced to support the claims, there is now plenty to refute them. From the Bangkok Post:

Korbsook Iamsuri, president of the Thai Rice Exporters Association, expressed concern about the report, which could cause some other countries to reject Thai rice.

“Thai rice exporters are aware of the random inspections which is why we make sure the rice shipped abroad is always premium grade,” she said.

The US Embassy has also denied the report by the massed yellow media and social media. This new report in Khaosod deserves further reading for it makes clear that the Democrat Party is eager to join the concocting parties. It says:

… the personal secretary to Mr. Korn Chatikavanit, a prominent member of the Thai opposition party, has published on his Facebook account a screenshot of FDA website that he said is an order by the FDA to quarantine all shipments of Thai rice at every port on the American mainland.

In his Facebook post, Mr. Noch Hautavanija also cited the story previously reported by The Nation and Thai Rath newspapers….

Interestingly, Korn’s man has used the same page at the FDA that PPT mentions above. As far as we can tell, even a dopey city slicker should be able to read this alert and see that it is no support at all for the yellow media claims. We can only assume that the Democrat Party leadership is conniving on this concoction.

Further updated: Gubernatorial election round-up

4 03 2013

As regular readers will know, PPT didn’t have much interest in the gubernatorial election campaign of the last few weeks. We did post on Abhisit Vejjajiva as damaged political goods and had a comment on what was Democrat Party desperation as the polls were against them.

When all the votes were tallied, the incumbent Democrat Party Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra won by 100,000+ votes over his Puea Thai Party opponent. Both candidates secured more than a million votes each, a feat only achieved once before by any candidate, and that was Samak Sundaravej in 2000.

As one commentator at New Mandala summed it up, about as well as any of the professional poll watchers:

Everyone got it wrong. All the pollsters (pre-election and exit) got it wrong with all predictions towards a landslide win by the Yingluck-Pongsapat PT team. Bangkok Pundit got it wrong … and this guy follows and reads only Thai polls these days. Even the eventual winner reelected Bangkok governor Sukhumband got it wrong: at a televised interview just after the election closed he was just about to choke and in not so many words was almost apologizing/expecting a loss (believing the exit polls no doubt) saying he’ll probably just return to a lowly position in the Democrat Party.

Not everyone was wrong, with the Democrat Party’s Korn Chatikavanij having predicted a Sukhumbhand victory last week.

Interestingly, the official red shirts were quick to congratulate Sukhumbhand:

UDD co-leaders congratulated Mr Sukhumband on a fair and clean victory in Bangkok’s gubernatorial elections on Sunday:

Dr Weng said, “We would like to congratulate Mr Sukhumband and welcome him again as the governor of Bangkok…. We want to thank Bangkokians for defying the rain and going out to vote. It is crucial for us to express this right because, in so doing, we strengthen democracy in Thailand.

The post adds that the red shirts, who had 12,000 monitors, considered that the polling had been “according to the rules” and with few incidents.

In addition, the “UDD co-leaders reacted positively to the marked increase in support for the Pheu Thai candidate since the last election.” The Bangkok Post also commented on this, citing Wuthisarn Tanchai of the King Prajadhipok Institute, who observed that:

Despite the Democrat victory Mr Wuthisarn noted a significant increase in the number of votes for the Pheu Thai Party in the city. Pheu Thai’s political base in Bangkok is apparently expanding and the Democrats need to be wary of the threat this poses, he said.

Gov votesHe added that: “Voters seemed to be split between the Democrats and Pheu Thai, with few votes going to independents.” That last point is significant as the two major parties dominate and the political division remains strong. This is shown in one of the graphs produced by Bangkok Pundit in his post-election report.

Siam Voices also has a useful post-election coverage, concluding:

Governor Sukhumbhand is the unlikely winner of the election, considering various failures during his last term – conflicts during the floods of 2011 and ending at the Futsal arena fiasco. Sukhumbhand has been given a second chance to rule the capital, but for the Democrat Party it is the very last chance.

Of course, it is also a chance for Abhisit who was probably facing major internal opposition if Sukhumbhand had lost. He hadn’t wanted Sukhumbhand to run, but when Sukhumbhand said he’d run as an independent if the party didn’t choose him, Abhisit had to back him as a split Democrat Party vote would have handed Bangkok to his rivals.

Update 1: After initially chortling about the result, it is interesting that The Nation is now taking a more sober look at the outcome. The Bangkok Post also reports that the Democrat Party is worried by the big gains made by the Puea Thai Party.

Update 2: Songkran Grachangnetara in an op-ed at the Bangkok Post: “I voted for MR Sukhumbhand because Mr Abhisit opposed his candidacy. I’m sorry, but anyone Mr Abhisit thinks doesn’t deserve to run under the Democrat banner must be doing something right. The lack of support for MR Sukumbhand’s candidacy from the bumbling leaders of his own party is nothing short of betrayal.”

Yingluck in power

2 03 2013

Pongphisoot Busbarat, a postdoctoral fellow at the Australian National University and a former staff member of Thailand’s National Security Council has a 2-part piece at the World Politics Review that claims to assess Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s government to date. PPT only read the first part, on domestic politics. While reading it, we were continually reminded of the logic of the People’s Front of Judea (PFJ) in Monty Python’s The Life of Brian.People's Front of Judea - Salute

Pongphisoot begins thus:

Though often dismissed as the puppet of her exiled brother, Yingluck Shinawatra has survived several critical challenges since becoming Thailand’s first female prime minister in a landslide victory in July 2011 elections. Yet despite initial hopes for reform, the past year and a half have demonstrated that the Yingluck government’s ultimate goal is to maintain its grip on power…

We can probably accept that, and we have made the last point several times, but then this:

the successes of Yingluck and her Pheu Thai Party (PTP) do not necessarily mean progress on the democratic front…. Yingluck’s performance on justice and democracy, for example, has been disappointing on several levels.

PPT has also been critical of the government on lese majeste and on slow investigations on the 2010 violence, but does this amount to poor democratic performance? This is where Pongphisoot starts to get very Pythonesque. He says that one of the failures is that “of the 1,019 protesters that were arrested during the crackdown, 20 still remain in prison.” That’s a failure? Sure, there are still red shirts held in the political prison, but according to his figures, some 1,000 were released. That sound more like some success rather than failure. And, the current regime is not throwing people in prison at a great rate as the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime did. So, yes, the Yingluck government did have some success in getting red shirts out of jail.

Pongphisoot then states that “[n]o one from the military or the previous government has been prosecuted for the violent suppression of the protests,” but ignores the fact that investigations have made progress under this government. Abhisit and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban do face murder charges. Can anyone imagine any progress on this matter if Abhisit was still premier? In addition, the courts are making findings that military bullets killed people. Abhisit and his lot, including the military brass, have always denied that the Army killed anybody. So, yes, the Yingluck government do get some progress.

Sure, the Yingluck government has “reached an accommodation with the military,” and with “the monarchy, aimed at ensuring her government’s stability.”  While many red shirts and PPT might fume about this, Yingluck’s government has lasted longer than the previous People’s Power government. So, yes, the democratically-elected government has been able to maintain office and see off the royalist elites for the moment.

That the Yingluck administration has gone belly down to “demonstrate its loyalty to the monarchy” is troubling but Pongphisoot alleges that “[c]harges under Thailand’s so-called lèse majesté law, which forbids insulting the monarch, have increased by 15-fold since 2006.” Yet almost every one of those charges occurred prior to this government coming to power. So, yes, compared to the previous governments, the Yingluck administration has dramatically reduced the number of lese majeste charges.

We could go on but the PFJ-like arguments are simply piled up.  It is reasonable to criticize the Yingluck government for being tenaciously supine and for failures on lese majeste; we regularly do this. However, to moan about “democracy” being reduced is as silly as when tea-sipping elite scion and Democrat Party bigwig Korn Chatikavanij argued that Thailand was becoming a police state.

It is clear that politics now is far superior to the period of the Abhisit regime or the post-coup regime established by the junta. At the moment, Thailand has a democratically-elected government and more press freedom and fewer political prisoners than under Abhisit. That seems noteworthy.

Learning not to rebel

9 02 2013

With all of the talk and meetings currently going on about amnesty, it does look like something may emerge. How good a decree, bill or whatever it will be remains to be seen as the horse-trading continues.

There’s been some interesting developments. One story has a “red-yellow” alliance apparently having “reached an agreement to press ahead with a pair of political amnesty bills,” with this soon poo-pooed as little more than media hype; another has Thaksin Shinawatra expressing his concern for “ordinary red shirts” still locked up from the Abhisit Vejjajiva years, with Thaksin denigrating Abhisit; and we have accounts of soldier’s wives and Democrat Party ideologues sprouting amnesty ideas. The basic divide seems to still be about who is included.

Yellow shirts, including the widow of Colonel Romklao Thuwatham, Nicha demanding that “an amnesty bill must not cover criminal offenders or those implicated in lese majeste cases.” Many red shirts are demanding that it must include all political prisoners, including those charged or convicted of lese majeste.

In all of this, however, the comment that struck us as most telling was by loudmouth spokesman for the Democrat Party Chavanond Intarakomalyasut.

He is reported as stating that his “party was willing to seek a solution for the country with others and support an amnesty bill that would cover ordinary protesters. This should cover those who violated the emergency decree as well as the Internal Security Act.” He added the usual disclaimer that “the party opposed granting amnesty to those accused and convicted of physical assault and corruption.” The last bit is simply about Thaksin.

Of course, one has to take the Democrat Party’s claims on this with a grain or so of salt as they were the ones who locked red shirts up and let yellow shirts roam free.

ToffsYet it is Chavanond’s next statement that takes the cake:

He said those being granted amnesty should be educated and made to understand that they should not violate the emergency decree and the Internal Security Act again, otherwise the problem would resurface.

It seems to us that this bunch of toffs just can’t help themselves. If red shirts aren’t “educated” and “made to understand,” they just might rebel against the ruling class again! Can’t have that!

Toffs2We are not sure how this “education” would proceed, but it seems clear that Chavanond and his lot have seen locking up protesters as a way of “making them understand” their station in life as servants and phrai of the amart/ruling class. It is class war, where Chavanond thinks his lot are born to rule over the rabble of the lower classes (described once by the wealthy Korn Chatikavanij as the “great unwashed,” a term he picked up at Eton).

That they should rebel against toffs is dangerous and a sign that they are uneducated as well as unruly. For the toffs like this, the idea that the people should be sovereign is anathema.

Yellow fear? Or yellow fear campaign?

25 01 2013

In a letter to the Bangkok Post a few days ago, Manit Sriwanichpoom, the producer of “Shakespeare Must Die,” gets hot under the collar about a letter from one Somsak Pola, published a week ago, claiming it “is factually wrong as well as offensive and damaging to us.” Somsak was commenting on a letter by Democrat Party MPs that PPT also commented on.

Mostly, we don’t think the claims are worth repeating as we are unable to verify them (see our earlier post where we make our position clear on this film). In any case, debates about censorship of this film or that program are easily resolved if there is no censorship. However, there is one aspect that caught our attention as it is right from the Democrat Party/People’s Alliance for Democracy playbook.

… We’re living in a land gripped by fear. Never mind small people like us, even Constitution Court judges and their families are threatened and an opposition lawyer is attacked by thugs and hospitalised. Propelled by fear, to preserve businesses, careers and life itself, self-censorship is rife…. There is no meaningful freedom of expression, not for the media and not for artists, under this government.

It is remarkable that Manit declares, like Korn Chatikavanij, a “police state” or a “land gripped by fear” but fails to mention the mas arrests and killing of protesters in 2010 under the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime, which, perhaps not coincidentally funded the banned film, being the “last film to receive financial support from the Ministry of Culture’s film fund…” That fund was controversial, with the government doling out money to royalist and royal film makers. Shakespeare Must Die’s credits also indicated that the making of the film was  supported by the Thai khemkaeng project, also established by the Abhisit government and highly controversial.

That people continue to be harassed by the use of the lese majeste law is a travesty, and this has a deep impact on self-censorship, but notions that Thailand is a land “gripped by fear” seems to us to be more relevant in describing Manit’s funders rather than the present rather timid government. Such claims amount to yellow-shirted propaganda exercises.

Ludicrous upper class twits

17 01 2013

We couldn’t think of the right headline for this post, so just went for the first thought that we had at PPT after read a post as the Facebook page that is associated with tea-sipping elite scion and Democrat Party bigwig Korn Chatikavanij, headed Thailand edging closer to a police state.

We think Korn and his “staff” have spilled their marbles and aren’t even scrambling to pick them up; they have lost touch with anything called reality. Apparently, they are joined by 44 other members of the Democrat Party in making quite ludicrous claims. That’s a lot of loose marbles. Why do we say this? Take their first claim as an example:Marbles

One of the hallmarks of the Yingluck administration’s one and a half years in office has been to induce a culture of fear and intimidation to maintain apathy among the media and the opposition in the face of eroding liberty and the destruction of freedom of speech in Thailand…. Such shameless acts of intimidation by the Yingluck administration has gradually edged Thailand closer to a police state.

This lot then use examples of two alleged “bans” on the film “Shakespeare Must Die” and the television soap series “Nua Mek 2,” both of which are claimed to be attacks on the Shinawatra clan but also have scenes considered to offend lese majeste. Their other “evidence” of a “police state” is all about the Department of Special Investigation’s actions related to murder charges against Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban and various other charges or investigations of the Democrat Party.

As our readers know, PPT doesn’t condone censorship of any kind and we are not great fans of Tharit “The Eel” Pengdit and the DSI. That said, these claims are patently ridiculous, suggesting that studying at Eton and Oxford risks the seemingly contagious affliction of upper class twit, appropriately enough associated in one case with a stock broker.

They are ridiculous because the most repressive government for 30 years was that led by Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Democrat Party. It is they who closed almost all opposition media. It is Abhisit and the Democrat Party who locked up hundreds of political prisoners. It is Abhisit and the Democrat Party who used lese majeste and computer crimes laws to silence political opponents. In fact, one of the lese majeste charges from their police state was sentenced in the past few hours for implying something about the king! Others remain in jail on this most draconian of charges. It is they who were put in place by the military, supported by them and a demon seed junta constitution. So all their bleating about a “police state” is twaddle and nonsense.



There are also three footnotes to the story worthy of mention. First, readers get a picture of the nature of dim-witted elitist babble when the post turns to “Abhisit Vejjajiva as with many other members of parliament affiliated with the Democrat Party, … [who] voluntarily made monthly donations to the Democrat Party by allowing the Secretariat of the House of Representatives to automatically deduct a certain amount from our salaries and issuing a check in that amount to the Democrat Party” being harassed.

The claim is a DSI probe is “a dangerous precedent for Thai society for it will discourage people to engage with and build political parties that truly reflect the needs and interest of the public. We attest that political parties that are not financed by the majority will only work for the interest of the minority.” Democrat Party MPs funding themselves does not sound like “the people” funding them, although we realize that these twits think they are the only people that matter.

An interesting second footnote is on the “Team Korn” dopey posting is that long-serving TIME magazine correspondent Robert Horn makes a comment on another comment (that appears to have been removed). Asia Provacateur has a take on this and some information and allegations regarding Horn’s links to the Democrat Party (and as เหตุใดนักข่าวนิตยสารไทม์ประจำกรุงเทพฯ นายโรเบิร์ต ฮอร์นจึงหาข้ออ้างให้กับการจำคุกนักโทษทางการเมืองไทย?). In the past, PPT has posted on Horn’s royalist and pro-Democrat Party stories (here, here, here, here, and here).

Finally, note “Team Korn’s” little debate in the comments section with Andrew MacGregor Marshall which is further evidence of the complete detachment from reality amongst the elitist upper crust.

CPB, land and evictions

12 12 2012

There’s an important and long story at Bloomberg on the Crown Property Bureau that deserves considerable attention. PPT won’t summarize it; rather, we highlight some points.

The story is essentially about how the CPB is trying to boost the returns it gets from its vast land holdings in Bangkok. In doing that, it is shifting many of its long-term tenants, including the use of evictions, which is usually a sensitive issue for the CPB – probably the country’s largest landlord – and one they try to suppress as much as possible, to limit the damage to its reputation. That has been relatively easy to do when the reporting was mainly by Thailand’s tame, self-censoring and timid mainstream media.CrownProperty

The story’s headline must evoke collective angst at the CPB: Monarchy Fund Evicts Elderly to Boost Profit in Bangkok Renewal. The CPB self-portrayal as an altruistic outfit that keeps rents low and supports communities is smashed as it plans to build condominiums to “boost returns and regenerate Bangkok with its first commercial development project.”

The CPB’s attacks on the elderly and poor are part and parcel of its decision to “shift to build commercial properties, instead of just leasing land to private developers…”. According to the report, the CPB “earned income of at least 11.1 billion baht last year. Of that, rental income provided 2.7 billion baht…”.1000baht

This move to boost income from property is justified by apologists who keep to the CPB’s mantra of a paternalistic landlord. Others, like Chan Bulakul, CEO of The Brooker Group, say, apparently without flinching: “This is not a profit-maximization organization, but they have to survive…”. With assets of around US$41 billion, “survival” hardly seems the right term, unless succession exposes the CPB to looting or worse.

Members of the royalist elite like the Democrat Party’s former finance minister Korn Chatikavanij, is totally dismissive of the poor tenants:

All resources within the country should be put to the best social and economic use…. For property which is obviously in commercial areas, or is already being used commercially, for the crown to expect commercial returns from other people using those properties is perfectly reasonable.

Of course, critics of the CPB are hampered by the lese majeste law and the fact that it is never required to be transparent. Academic Kevin Hewison says: “Because it is opaque, we know little about how its profits support the monarchy and the royal family.” If the CPB is opaque, the Privy Purse Bureau is an impenetrable secret space.  An insider states: “The extent of the Privy Purse’s landholdings and revenue are unknown … because they aren’t disclosed…”.

The king’s personal holdings are said to:

include shares valued at $63 million in companies including Minor International Pcl (MINT), Thailand’s biggest hotel operator, which runs local franchises for Burger King Worldwide Inc., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Privately held land includes the sites of Siam Paragon and Siam Center malls in central Bangkok.

The report also notes that the royal family rakes in taxpayer funds, with the government having:

allocated 7.4 billion baht in tax money to fund travel, security, development projects and agencies related to the palace in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, a 10 percent increase from a year earlier, according to the budget.

Pile of moneyRoyalists dismiss calls for transparency. In doing so, they make some bizarre claims: “You cannot go into the bedroom of the king…. This is unlike in the U.K. — you can take the picture of the naked someone in the palace. That’s not our culture.”

In fact, naked pictures have been taken in a palace and circulated, more than once. Another culturalist apology crashes and burns….

Apparently related to this very fact of naked picture related issues, the challenge for the CPB, apart from simply filling bigger bags of cash,  is that “operations would change under a different monarch.” This seems to amount to “unforeseen events.”

Looney Thailand

26 11 2012

Looney Tunes is an American cartoon series that has been running for years. It has had some zany characters ranging from Foghorn Leghorn to Elmer Fudd.

What has this got to do with Thailand? It seems to PPT that since the arrival and quick political demise of Pitak Siam – watch for the sequel, Saving Thailand II – the past couple of days have seen the emergence of crazy characters better suited to cartoon characterizations.

First, elite hero Korn Chatikavanij is reportedly making comments about the elected government and Hitler. As readers know, the Democrat Party is kind of fond of references to Hitler and Nazi salutes, but when Korn starts this stuff, he seems like Basil Fawlty in the Fawlty Towers episode on the Germans. Basil may be just a looney and not a Looney Tune, but the cartoon-like character can’t be denied for him or Korn.

Second, Boonlert Kaewprasit has resigned as leader of Pitak Siam, and the Bangkok Post says “he would have no hand in organising future political protests.” A relief to some, although such a cartoon-like character, prone to silly statements and outlandish claims might seem like a cross between Mr. Fudd and Yosemite Sam.

That he has had to deny accepting “money from fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to end the mass rally at the Royal Plaza on Saturday,” makes it clear how cartoon-like the ultra-royalists have become. Any time political things go badly for them they resort to the claim that Thaksin has bought, duped or hired.

Source: International News Photo and

Cartoon characters are usually just silly and funny. Nobody believes Elmer or Sam are real but they are a bit of harmless fun. Boonlert and Korn are not harmless, and as senior figures are not meant to be comic figures of derision. Yet the elite in Thailand seems to have quite a lot in common with Monty Python’s upper class twits and with cartoon caricatures – think of the appearance of the royal family itself. Yet they remain dangerous for their great economic wealth, seemingly infinite capacity for political meddling and an almost genetic disposition against democratic forms of government.

Democrat Party men in black II

15 10 2012

PPT originally put some of this post as an update to our earlier one on the Democrat Party’s “rally” and repeated claims about so-called men in black. As more news has come out, we have made this a second part of that earlier post.

In the first place, we want to draw attention to Siam Voices and its useful account of the Democrat Party “rally” of supporters. That post mirrors several of the points PPT made in our earlier post and highlights Abhisit’s repeated claims that “men in black” were the cause of all violence. It is noted that the rally was “primarily held to fire up their own supporter base…” and, we would add, probably also to try to combat polling that repeatedly indicates that the Puea Thai government remains well ahead of the Democrat Party. Siam Voices points out: “what is particularly striking is the apparent willingness of the Democrat Party to still overlook the role of the military during the protests…”. In fact. it does more than “overlook;” the party and its leadership repeatedly reject the evidence that the military murdered people.

A second point to note is that Thaksin Shinawatra has gone on the (legal) attack, with the Bangkok Post reporting that he has instructed lawyers to sue Democrat Party leader “Abhisit [Vejjajiva], deputy party leader Korn Chatikavanij, Surat Thani MP Suthep Thaugsuban, Songkhla MP Sirichok Sopha and Rayong MP Sathit Pitutecha” for the claims they made regarding Thaksin’s alleged links to the “men in black.” A complaint was to be made with the Lumpini police.

Puea Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said ‘[t]hese leading members of the Denocrat Party [sic. Deni-ocrat? Democrat?] had accused Thaksin of being behind the men in black…. [and] said it was not true that Thaksin was took command of the men in black with an intention of causing loss of lives and using the people as his tool to return to power. Thaksin had never joined in any meeting or given any order for action.  He did not know who the men in black were…”.

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