Updated: Some news reveals and some riles

18 06 2015

The mainstream media in Thailand has been both controlled by the military and has seen self-censorship on behalf of the military dictatorship. At the same time, there has been repeated displays of uncritical and, frankly, lazy reporting. In this post, we look at a few recent English-language reports that illustrate these trends, while concluding with examples of some recent opinion pieces that break the pattern.

To begin with, is the quite lazy and stupid report at the Bangkok Post of “the 12-billion-baht embezzlement scandal of the Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative…”. This report begins: “A large number of US$1 million banknotes and €1 million debentures were found and seized yesterday from three safes belonging to Supachai Srisuppa-aksorn, a key suspect…”. This is so ridiculous that even 30 seconds of internet searching would have shown a reporter that the photographs (showing uncut “bills” and “debentures”) and claims were ludicrous. Despite this, this report states: “[t]he DSI was still verifying the seized land title deeds, and authenticity of the banknotes and debentures.” On the latter, the so-called super police might also be directed to the internet.

If this report is jaw-droppingly stupid, so is the claim made by National Legislative Assembly (NLA) chairman Pornpetch Wichitcholachai, cited at the Bangkok Post.  He has “sacked his personal specialist, Ratthanan Hiran-amornpak, after the man was arrested and charged with cheating investors of about 27 million baht.” We assume he is a personal assistant.

Pornpetch “said he appointed Mr Ratthanan his personal specialist because he had the qualifications required, but did not know about his criminal background.” Ratthanan was arrested for “cheating the public by luring them to invest in Wall Street Capital Group, a firm running a money exchange business, and promising a high return.” Such scams are reasonably common and often involve high-ranking officials and well-connected “entrepreneurs.” The report states that “[b]ackground checks revealed that Mr Ratthanan was formerly Pol Lt Col Piyachai Sadao, a chief investigator at Muang Khon Kaen police station…. He was dismissed from the police force on Jan 15, 2009 following a disciplinary investigation.” After that “bad luck” he changed his name.

We guess that in the rush to get his trotters in the public trough, like NLA colleagues he defended on nepotism, Pornpetch appointed friends, relatives or associates to “advisory” positions. Such associations often define one’s own failures and foibles.

More politically interesting is an editorial at the Bangkok Post where we are unsure if the editors are making a political point or being deliberately dull. Readers can decide. Here are two excerpts from the editorial:

It’s true that the Myanmar press of today has more freedom than, say, a decade ago under the thumb of the properly dreaded State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). It is true that foreign journalists have comparative freedom to work inside Myanmar. Yet, half a dozen years ago after being promised actual freedom of the press, Myanmar took two timid steps forward and a giant step back. Authorities browbeat, harass and threaten Myanmar journalists to encourage pro-regime stories and prevent honest reporting….

It is disappointing to see Myanmar backslide in this fashion. The country made real progress in several years of reform. President Thein Sein should end the repression and restart democratic reforms.

By not referring to the control and restriction on the media in Thailand when writing on Myanmar is the criticism implicit? Or is the editor wearing political blinkers?

And yet the Post can be less perplexing and sometimes quite useful. For example, the op-ed by Atiya Achakulwisut on the military dictatorship’s determination to hold onto power is a revealing piece. She begins:

Whether the new elections are held in August 2016, 2017 or 2020, the polls are losing their game-changing power as the military regime turns all roads to its advantage…. The Thaksin-Shinawatra camp must have seen how the powers-that-be have now strengthened their position to extend way into the future.

She believes that The Dictator, self-appointed “Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha must have spent years reviewing the failures of past coups to plot how to make his own a success…”. To be honest, we think this is giving too much credit to Prayuth and our guess is that he had his people review the 2006 coup and its “failure,” which was also repeatedly noted by other anti-democrats.

Tellingly, she says that it is “obvious the former army chief is acting with ulterior motives alongside every move implemented in the roadmap.” This is evidenced by his manipulation of “choices”: “Reject the draft charter, which is seen as an attempt to enshrine a ‘guided democracy’ doctrine, and they will probably not see a new poll in two years — even longer if the drafting process keeps on going…. Meanwhile … approve it, with the hope that the highest law can still be amended one day, the results will still be the same.”

She’s correct to observe that the upcoming election – whenever it is finally decreed that it can be permitted – will mean “no meaningful changes in government politics or public policy.” Even if a pro-Thaksin Shinawatra party were to miraculously win an election, “it will be hamstrung by the reform and reconciliation agenda imposed by the charter and the so-called national reform steering assembly…”.  That’s been the junta’s plan all along.

She’s also correct to note that “[p]olls will become more of a ceremony than anything else.” More than this, under such circumstances, the new elections that would follow the approval of the charter will lack content and meaning. As she says “it does not matter…. People will feel they are exercising their freedom to choose. Politicians will be able to claim legitimacy if they win…. But the government will have to act in line with a limited role that the military regime is now carving out for it.”

Atiya “can see no way out for people who don’t want to live under authoritarian rule.” That is the way it will be and the military’s guns and the wealth of the royalist elite will ensure authoritarianism. She says: “there is no escaping the possibility that the country will come under guided democracy for the next several years.”

The Dictator has a scenario in place that is simply I win, you lose in all circumstances. For “Prayut and the military regime, it looks increasingly like a win-win-and-win situation.”

With a generally cowed and lazy media, this scenario is indeed likely.

Update: A reader points out to us that Atiya’s column could be seen as a statement of victory for the junta. We are not sure that that is a reasonable reading, but we do note that another op-ed, with a similar interpretation, is at the Bangkok Post. Nattaya Chetchotiros, who has often written anti-democrat material, writes: “Political pundits are certain the draft charter is doomed and will derail the roadmap, enabling the regime to continue its rule and postpone the new poll until a new charter is in place.” There seems to be a media trend that acknowledges the “failure” of the puppet constitution writers that allows the military to retain its political position. That acknowledgement appears more as an acceptance rather than anything more noble.





Anti-democrat propagandists

6 02 2014

Regular PPT readers will surely know that Kasit Piromya is a former  Foreign Minister under the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime and is a Democrat Party member of parliament. He is also a former speaker on the PAD stage, charged but still awaiting trial, for his role in the 2008 airport occupation.

In recent weeks, Kasit has been “writing” op-eds at Al Jazeera. The latest one certainly deserves the inverted commas as, based on previous missives by Kasit, we do not think him capable of the material presented this time. We naturally assume that, writing in an international outlet, Kasit seeks to influence international opinion. He fails hopelessly, not least because he thinks the international audience is made up of dolts. But let us look at what he says.

KasitThe current situation in Thailand is a “new experience” that “has given them the ability to see through the facade, a house of cards, erected by Yingluck Shinawatra’s government.”

We were a bit puzzled. “Facade” has not been the usual criticism, which has focused on alleged corruption and so on. Kasit, or whoever wrote it, jumps on what has been a brand new issue:

Fed up that the government could not pay a dime for their hard-earned harvest because of loopholes that encourage massive systematic corruption in the rice pledging scheme, the farmers took to the streets.

We might be wrong, but it just seems that the recent farmer demonstrations have been a bit too convenient for the anti-democrats. Are these like the rubber growers rallies of a few months ago? Even if they are real rallies now, has the anti-democrat blockade of government not caused some of the delays the farmers now face in receiving payments? Wasn’t stopping government from operating exactly what Suthep Thaugsuban promised?

Kasit continues:

Fed up with the government’s breach of trust to reconcile the nation, secretly pushing through an amnesty bill that will grant wholesale absolution to convicted politicians, the people took to the streets.

This is a lie. There was no secret. It was in parliament – was Kasit asleep? – it was in the newspapers and red shirts also campaigned against it. What was secret?

Kasit then speaks of an “illusion of democracy, [and]… we need a fair and transparent electoral system devoid of interference and violence.” What interference and violence was there in this election or in the last? Kasit and his writer are making stuff up.

He then gets shrill: Marbles

We wish not to see the country plunge further into the abyss, for we will be stuck in a black hole where totalitarian abuses of power will be accepted under the guise of democracy, where one man reigns with complete disregard for checks and balances.

PPT is lost here. In fact, the Yingluck government has been more conciliatory than they needed to be. They have lost several cases in the biased courts with little more than a bit of backchat on their part. Totalitarian? There are far fewer political prisoners than under the Democrat Party government Kasit served in 2008-11.

He says he’s not dreaming; we think he’s lost his marbles. Our evidence is this statement:

In modern Thai history, I have never seen any parliament majority defy the rule of law by brushing aside the judiciary and other independent anti-corruption bodies as if they were nothing more than pesky flies, as they made a mess of the country.

Can any reader tell us what he is talking about? Is he in some parallel universe? It seems so, for also reckons “we may have even been deceived by the distorted reality perpetuated by the mainstream media.” Really, this is such garbage that we won’t say more.

And what is this pretend reality about? “[O]ur cause [is] to redefine democracy, as a viable and fair system for all – where all votes are equal and respected…”. Kasit has lost his marbles. But we guess there are anti-democrats already sending this nonsense around by social media and giving it thousands of “likes.” This is anti-democrat propaganda that is for them and no one else. It is devoid of factual material and only the true believers will accept such nonsense.

Another propagandist sans facts is Nattaya Chetchotiros, Assistant News Editor at the Bangkok Post. In her recent op-ed, after providing some data on last week’s poll, and not pointing to any particular irregularities, apart from noting that further polling “will be disrupted again given the ongoing fierce political conflict.”

This is interesting for she cannot even bring herself to say that the disruption is entirely due to those she supports, the anti-democrats. This is mischievous and misleading. She does make a correct observation: “All roads lead to the Constitution Court again to settle the difference….”. It seems that “the difference” is that her lot want the election annulled. That is why a gaggle of anti-democrats have petitioned their judicial anti-democrat brethren to support them.

If annulled, she says:

It’s worth looking back at April 2, 2006 poll. The court annulled it and ordered a new poll on Oct 9 the same year. The Democrat Party, after boycotting the April 2 poll, decided to contest again. Should the Feb 2 poll be revoked, another big question that remains is, will there be enough time before the new election to reform the election rules so it will be truly free and fair the next time round?

So what was unfree and unfair about this recent poll? She doesn’t tell us.

It seems that, for the anti-democratic in Thailand, free and fair means an election that Thaksin Shinawatra-associated parties simply cannot win, for they keep winning elections that have been widely considered free and fair by most who are reasonable observers of Thailand’s politics.

In fact, these parties have won elections even when there was unfairness, such as the banning of several hundred of their brightest politicians in kangaroo courts and the changing of electoral rules to suit the Democrat Party.





The Bangkok Post and the politics of panic

26 05 2011

The Bangkok Post editorial team and its owners seem to have decided that their Democrat Party is already in trouble, struggling to appear competitive in the media battle for votes. They may be panicking too soon, but panicking they are.

When the elite has a panic attack, what do they do? Of course, they politicize the monarchy. Now PPT might have said “further politicize” and we know the monarchy has already cast one vote, but it is the mainstream media that is usually screaming about others dragging the monarchy into politics.

PPT was struck by the Post’s editorial King of hearts, beloved of all. The editorial is apparently celebrating an appearance by the king following his recent operation and Princess Chulaborn’s recent comment that the king would be walking again soon. The appearance was said to have “brought joy and happiness to all Thai people.”

Leaving aside the post-Woody nonsense (see here, here, here and here) in the editorial, the Post then gets cryptically political: “For most of us, the King has always been a source of inspiration and our symbol of unity.” That’s the elite’s line, it is the regime’s line, it is the propaganda line. But note the move from “all” to “most of us.” This is marking out political ground.

The Post blames “politicians, who are more interested in their self-serving agendas” for a failure to deliver unity. Hasn’t Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban said that a vote for the Puea Thai Party is a vote for division, anarchy and “terrorists”? PPT is sure the Post’s political message is clear to its readers.

If it wasn’t, just for good measure, the Post’s Nattaya Chetchotiros decided to pen an op-ed complaining – yes, complaining – that the mainstream media has suddenly become Puea Thai Party pawns. How can we have unity if “they” are getting great media coverage?

It seems that Nattaya is in panic mode at the thought that Puea Thai might do well as yet another pro-Thaksin Shinawatra political party that hauls in the votes. Hitting the panic button has her telling the media this: “… Pheu Thai is gaining the advantage by building up momentum in favour of its leading candidate [Yingluck Shinawatra]. One of its tactics is to convince the media that the party will not only win but secure a major victory this time around. If the media believe this, that could shape the opinions of voters and officials. It is up to the media to take some time to think whether they are doing their job objectively, or are being used to give out reports scripted by Pheu Thai.”

Well, at least we can see that Nattaya is for the Democrat Party! But the king-unity message of the editorial is probably thought to be cleverer.





The price is 100 billion baht

12 11 2010

Non-random notes from two stories in the Bangkok Post, 11 November 2010:

1) The National Economic and Social Development Board estimates the damage from flooding and storms nationwide at more than 100 billion baht.

2) Bribery in procurement projects which benefits government officials, politicians and the private sector costs the country a massive 100 billion baht a year…. Bribes paid to civil servants, politicians and authorities by the private sector account for as much as 20% of procurement project costs” according to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Actually, 20% seems low. The usual rule of thumb is 30%. The culture of corruption runs deep in both the private and public sectors. A large proportion of politicians are also business people.

PPT is not sure how much the Constitutional Court judges and officials cost and whether they can be bought for an hour, a day or a lifetime, but we remain bemused by the belief in some of the mainstream commentary that what is seen in the leaked clips of them discussing their own corruption is not the truth. For example, Nattaya Chetchotiros, billed as Assistant News Editor, Bangkok Post and former President of the Thai Journalists Association says: “The problem is that as there is no serious attempt to tell the public the truth of the matter, it is very possible – likely even – that more clips will be posted on the internet to further inflict untold damage on the reputation of the Constitution Court.” Indeed, but why is there thought to be another truth that isn’t shown amongst the conniving and corrupt? What is more interesting is whether they can collectively avoid the rule of law and justice.





Constitutional Court in serious trouble

2 11 2010

When opinion page writer at the Bangkok Post, Nattaya Chetchotiros, abandons the judges, then they are in trouble. She has a solid yellow-shirt/elite position on most things, and now she’s worried that the judges and the Constitutional Court are too compromised to be saved.

Of course, this is about the leaked videos apparently showing the judges negotiating all kinds of special deals for the Democrat Party, arranging cover-ups and even scams on exams. Is this the “rule of law” Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva always bangs on about? Is this the legal system and judiciary he has repeatedly defended?

But back to Nattaya. This is some of what she says:

The release on Friday of a new video featuring a discussion between a former court employee and two men identified as judges has dealt a serious blow to the reputation of the Constitution Court.

The court’s credibility has now been shaken to the core following the release of the latest video clips uploaded on Friday….

She tries to defend the Democrat Party and the court, but it is a battle already lost. The court has been proven to be the preserve of the corrupt and a place where elite interests are preserved from the most major cases down to dirty little scams to help buddies get positions. The judiciary is tarred with the brush that has been painting the colors of corruption and double standards for a considerable time.

One thing Nattaya highlights that PPT had neglected is that “three men shown in the footage, two of them identified as judges as their faces were clearly seen at the beginning of the clip, seemed to be discussing ways to cover up wrongdoings related to the leaking of examination papers to people close to Constitution Court judges…. The exam to recruit court staff was held last year [… and] was supervised by then secretary-general of the court Paiboon Varahapaitoon. Mr Paiboon, now a National Human Rights commissioner, is spoken about in the video for allegedly being involved in the recruitment scam, along with Constitution Court judge Jarun Pukditanakul.”

Paiboon

This is the same Paiboon who recently reckoned that selling flip-flops with Abhisit’s face on them couldn’t be allowed. He was also a member of the junta-appointed Constituent Assembly in 2006. At the quite hopelessly biased NHRC, Paiboon was appointed to chair a NHRC subcommittee, to investigate the events related to the government’s crackdowns on red shirt demonstrators in April and May. Needless to say, that went nowhere. And, even earlier, he was one of those who arranged for the extraordinary events that saw the April 2006 election annulled. He’s been well-rewarded for his yellow-shirted loyalty and he obviously joined that part of the elite that thinks social position trumps all other characteristics usually associated with courts and justice.

Jarun

And what can we say about Judge Jarun Pukditanakul also seen apparently scamming? How about this from a 2008 Asia Sentinel article: “In selecting the first four of the court’s nine judges, the Supreme Court this week chose Jarun Pukditanakul. He became permanent secretary of the Justice Ministry after the coup and was instrumental in drafting the military’s 2007 constitution that he will be tasked to uphold.” Or this from Bangkok Pundit: “Mr Jarun is well known as a strong opponent of Mr Thaksin, while Mr Wasant was a defence witness in a libel suit filed by some former Constitution Court judges against Mr Thaksin’s bitter enemy Prasong Soonsiri, who wrote an article criticising the judges who ruled in favour of the former prime minister in the asset concealment case. The article was published in Naew Na on Aug 28, 2001. Sqn-Ldr Prasong was cleared of the libel charge.” Another elite workhorse rewarded for his loyalty in doing things for this corrupt ruling class.

Will they get a deserved comeuppance? Probably not what they deserve as their bosses are still in the political driving seat. Rule of law? Where?





Panic and coup round-up

11 03 2010
As for yesterday, PPT offers a summary of some of the many news stories doing the rounds, and is by no means comprehensive. Readers should know that all reporting now is heavily biased and many stories are clearly manufactured or reporting manufactured claims. If anyone says they know what is going to happen over the next few days, they are probably not worth listening to. This is a work in progress for the royalist government and their opponents.

Abhisit says don’t panic: As several other commentators have pointed out (see Thai Crisis), it seems truly odd that, after days of stoking fear and panic over the forthcoming red shirt rally in Bangkok, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva suddenly says not to panic (Bangkok Post, 10 March 2010). This after he and ministers have spoken of terrorism, sabotage, grenade and bomb attacks and talked incessantly of violence. Abhisit himself seems in quite a flap.

Kasit’s baggage: The Nation (10 March 2010) reports that Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya spoke to diplomats and was reported to have stated: “Thai people have freedom of expression – but toppling the government in an undemocratic way is against the law and hurts Thai society…”. Of course, Kasit was and is a great supporter of the yellow-shirted People’s Alliance for Democracy who held a record-breaking, non-stop demonstration, occupied the airports, saw their own car bomber blow himself to pieces and celebrated him, called for political changes even the king rejected as unconstitutional and wanted changes to political arrangements that would do away with many of the basic principles of democratic representation.

Warning the already frightened: As PPT pointed out previously, there are a rash of emails and blog postings that are frantic and frightened. The don’t-panic prime minister and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban have both said the grenade and bomb attacks are possible. Now there are many versions of the 30-40 sites considered possible. One list even states (keeping their spelling) that there will be “snipers around Skytrain and Subway stations” and adds, for good measure that “UDD men are going to burn down Grand Palace to pacve the way to turn Thailand to Republcian regime!” and that they will attack “Siriraj Hospital to Commit Regicide against His majesty.” Add to that the comments about Central World and Central Lardprao being “Main target for looting” and the claim that Chulalongkorn will be stormed and there will be “lots of hostages,” and the picture of stoking fear and possibly attacks on the red shirts is clear.

Journalism and the red shirts: The Nation (11 March 2010) reports that Thai Journalists’ Association president Prasong Lertrattawisut has “admitted that some media outlets were indeed being manipulated and urged the print media to be careful about the tone of its headlines.” He also called “on broadcast media to not vilify those whom they disagree with.” An interesting statement from the TJA which has been heavily pro-yellow shirt in the past and many mainstream journalists remain so.

Take, for example, the yellow shirt supporter Nattaya Chetchotiros in the Bangkok Post (11 March 2010). She is said to be an Assistant News Editor at the Bangkok Post and former President of the Thai Journalists Association, but still comes up with this unsourced (not even the “unnamed source” so prized in the press) comment: “One factor that could be a game changer, however, is growing dissatisfaction among rank-and-file protest leaders who have not been fully reimbursed for the expenses they footed beforehand. Each group has reportedly to spend at least 10 million baht a day for mobilisation. The more than one hundred grass roots leaders have begun to turn against one another and family members of the ‘Grand Master’, such as Payap Shinawatra who is supervising the movement from the Northeast, and Yaowapa Wongsawat and her husband Somchai who are taking care of the North. These relatives of Thaksin have approved the budget for former MPs or people who wish to run in the next election and they reportedly have not paid up in full, asking the protest leaders to make advance payments out of their own pockets. This money factor was also at play during the bloody Songkran riots and which the Thaksin side could not win. As this same factor has come in to play in this impending red march, it remains to be seen if the reds will see victory.” For Nattaya, there can only be money involved and nothing else. This is the standard middle class and elite perspective on the great unwashed who are marching on Bangkok.

Meanwhile, Supalak Ganjanakhundee (The Nation, 11 March 2010) has a bit of a surprise for Nation readers when he claims “The government, with collaboration from the mainstream media, managed to portray itself as an angel and the red-shirt group as former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s evil lackeys – ready to use all violent means to bring their boss back to power. Visions of last April’s bloodshed have been planted in the public mind many times a day to show the red-shirt group is nothing but a bloodthirsty monster.” Exactly. And by doing so, they make violence far more likely.

Supalak even states that it is not just Thais who fall for this propaganda: “Even a foreign diplomat like British Ambassador Quinton Quayle subscribed to such discourse as he rushed to see Pheu Thai Party leader Yongyut Wichaidit on Tuesday, to urge the party with its strong links to the red shirts not to use violence in the weekend demonstrations.”

Stop the red shirts: According to television reports, the efforts to stop red shirts getting to Bangkok have been increased. The television news claims that railway and bus stations are under heavy security. It is also reported that police and provincial officials have been ordered into to villages to have phu yai ban stop red shirts from leaving for Bangkok. It is also reported that the roadblocks are being made tighter between red shirt assembly provinces in nearby provinces and Bangkok. One claim is that the police and military are not going to stop red shirts, but intend to delay them so long that many will turn around and go home. Another claimed possibility is that there may be serious clashes at these roadblocks as red shirts break through. This would mean considerable violence even before the red shirts get to Bangkok proper.

Raising funds, preparing to retreat: The Bangkok Post (11 March 2010) reports that the red shirt rally organizers are raising funds for their rally. In fact, PPT has seen solicitations for some weeks now, and red shirts, despite the regular claims that it is funding by Thaksin Shinawatra that keeps them mobilized, have been selling merchandise and asking for donations for some considerable time. The Post claims the red shirts are short of funds, so their rally may be only 3-5 days. It is claimed that it costs 30 million baht a day to keep a large rally going – so just how much money did it take to keep the People’s Alliance for Democracy rallying for months, and where did that money come from?

The Post says “sources close to the movement” claim that the red shirts are “preparing to retreat to the provinces if its mass rally against the government in Bangkok this weekend falls flat…”. When they retreat, they are said to be aiming to “seize provincial halls.”

A safe place: The Bangkok Post (11 March 2010) reports that the 11th Infantry Regiment “would accommodate VIPs and emergency cabinet meetings…”. It is understood that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will stay at this base for the duration of the rally. Meanwhile, morning television reported that the queen has joined the king at Siriraj hospital and people have been asked to “not bother them.” Is Siriraj a safe house too?

A coup?: Acting government spokesman Panithan Wattanayakorn is reported in the Bangkok Post (11 March 2010) as saying there is “no substance to a report that there would be a military coup before this Sunday…”. He claims the “government has double-checked the story and found that it has no grounds.” PPT wonders how that conversation went?

Apparently this rumor developed “after people saw troops moving out of their barracks to maintain peace and order under the Internal Security Act, which came into force today…”. A spokesman for the Internal Security Operations Command said “soldiers early this morning began manning checkpoints in Bangkok and seven nearby provinces.” In fact, troops have been out on the streets and working roadblocks for several days already. ISOC says more troops are being deployed today.

As far as PPT can see at present, a reason for a coup would be to dissolve parliament, but not for an election. Rather, the aim would be to reshuffle government seats and allow a civilian government to stay in place with even stronger military backstopping. Elections would be off the agenda. If there is considerable conflict over the next few days, anything is possible.





Plagiarizing plans

3 12 2009

Just a few days ago PPT posted about the People’s Alliance for Democracy-cum-New Politics Party spokesman Suriyasai Katasila “revealing” a so-called Dubai Plan that Thaksin Shinawatra and his buddies had come up with to overthrow the government. The problem was that the alleged first stage of a 5-stage plan was abandoned the following day when the red shirts canceled their proposed rally.

PPT doesn’t want to state that Surayasai simply made the story up, but there hasn’t been any supporting evidence for his apparently wild claims and he didn’t provide any.

Now the Bangkok Post (3 December 2009: “Reds take a short break before the final showdown”) columnist  Nattaya Chetchotiros, who  is Assistant News Editor at the newspaper and who proudly proclaims her status as a “former president of the Thai Journalists Association” has come up with another “plan” she asserts is the red shirt plan to overthrow the government.

She says December will be protest-free, but that a ” multi-pronged, multi-stepped campaign will begin, which is expected to lead to a final showdown and new elections.” Nattaya says the plan has been “worked out by Thaksin Shinawatra and revealed to some 40 Puea Thai MPs who visited him in Dubai recently.”

Yes, it’s Suriyasai’s the Dubai Plan, plagiarized by Nattaya in her report, failing to “credit” him. Like Suriyasai, she claims – with no evidence – “the Red Shirts will rock the government by organising rallies in different places at the same time throughout the country, from mid-January to February. They will step up attacks on important public figures and enemies of the fugitive former premier. There are reportedly up to 300 names on the list.”

She adds bits and pieces but this is the Dubai Plan presented as fact by a journalist who was once at the head of Thai journalism’s main professional association.  A “professional” plagiarizing an apparently  concocted plan and providing absolutely no corroborating evidence. The word “disgraceful” comes to mind.