PAD rallies as yellow shirts

29 04 2010

AP (29 April 2010) reports that PAD has re-emerged. PPT hadn’t noticed that they had gone away. As we have pointed out several times, the so-called no color and multi-color rallies have been organized and led by PAD people and had PAD speakers. The point being made, perhaps, is that rallies at various military bases were this time held in PAD’s own name. The main rally was in Bangkok outside the 11th Infantry Regiment, where Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has his headquarters and home behind the razor wire and protected by the troops.

PAD proclaimed that: “The crisis in Thailand has rapidly and intensively spread and become a state of anarchy,” adding: “We would like to see the brave soldiers help us get rid of this illegal activity and bring peace to Thai society as soon as possible.”

According to The Nation (29 April 2010), PAD also rallied in Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Phuket. In Bangkok, PAD’s letter was presented by  Chamlong Srimuang and Pipob Thongchai. It was addressed to Abhisit and army chief General Anupong Paojinda. The significance of PAD support was seen in the fact that Abhisit’s adviser Panitan Wattanayagorn and secretary of the Royal Thai Army Major General Jiradej Sitthipraneet received the letter in fromt of the PAD crowd. Chamlong told the crowd that the “law must be strictly enforced and adhered and there will be more casualties if the government does not more quickly tackle the ongoing problem.”

PAD coordinator Suriyasai Katasila said that “PAD urged the government to take legal action against terrorists who mingled with the red shirt protesters and bring normalcy back to the country as soon as possible.” He added that PAD “will not pressure the government or the army by giving the deadlines, saying the group believes that both the government and the army will adhere to the law.” He also confirmed that PAD “will not mobilise it supporters to confront with the red[shirt]s.”

Of course, this is disingenuous, but the other color rallies are seen as significant for the government and, at present, are able to draw a broader support base than a PAD rally would.

With 4 updates: PAD is on the march

18 04 2010

The People’s Alliance for Democracy has been organizing various pink shirt and “no color” rallies in support of the Abhisit Vejjajiva government over the past few weeks, opposing the red shirts. Now they are mobilizing in a more serious way. The Bangkok Post has this telling headline: “Thai govt given ultimatum by “Yellow Shirt” allies.” The article says: “Thailand’s elite-backed ‘Yellow Shirts’ vowed Sunday to take action if the government failed to deal with their rival red-clad demonstrators in Bangkok within a week, a spokesman said.”

A PAD spokesman said: “In seven days we hope that the government will deal with the terrorists from Thaksin immediately otherwise we will show our voice to protect the country and the royal family…”. Terrorists, Thaksin, nationalism, monarchy. This mix is meant to galvanize opposition to the red shirts and to push the army to action.

Update 1: PAD gets considerable support in the mainstream media. Of course it has its own media in ASTV/Manager, which is venomous in its attacks on anyone considered “soft” on Thaksin Shinawatra, and it hates the red shirts. In the English-language press, the Bangkok Post is owned and managed by Democrat supporters and funders, with Chirathivats (Central Group) and Vejjajivas included. The Nation is often foaming at the mouth in its editorial pages in support of anyone who opposes Thaksin and the red shirts. The recent blog, pointed out be a regular reader, by the ever maniacal Thanong Khanthong of lying on ABC TV infamy, is barking mad, but reflects the yellow-shirted fear and fight. He argues that Abhisit Vejjajiva must smash the red shirts now or risk a red-yellow civil war.

As we have said before, Thanong is a pretty good bell weather of PAD discussions and thinking. He says it is “clear that one of the hidden agendas of the Red Shirts is to take over the state before downgrading or removing the Monarchy from the facets of the Thai society.” His scenario, warning Abhisit, is that “Thais from all colours will come out to kill each other because by that time they can’t differentiate who are their friends or foes.”

Thanong makes 6 points:

1. The “Military and the Police have not exhibited any signs of urgency to take on the Red Shirts.”

2. The “security forces and the Police have yet to nab the 25 Red Shirts leaders…. The attempt to arrest Arisman … at SC Park Hotel on Friday turned into a farce. It reflects a dark plot to repeatedly show that the Abhisit government is no longer in control of law and order. The Police are in full neutral gear mode.”

3. Abhisit “is hanging on his premiership by a tiny string. Both the Military, the Police, the Red Shirts and the coalition partners are applying tremendous pressure for him to resign or to dissolve Parliament immediately. Within the Democrats, Abhisit is also losing his control.”

4. The red shirts will get “more confrontational and violent.” mode. They are “now attempting to stage a Revolution to change the Thai regime. The high profile role of the left-leaning faction of the Red Shirts is evidence of this movement.”

5. The military is divided. The “flip-flop announcement of the leadership restructuring of the Emergency Operation Command shows that Abhisit’s power is being eroded.”

6. The PAD 7-day deadline to Abhisit will put “pressure on Abhisit to act on the Red Shirts. So far Gen Anupong and his Army are reluctant to take on the Red Shirts…. Many are raising doubts about the ambiguous stance of Gen Anupong.”

Thanong concludes that Abhisit must act against the red shirts now or there will be civil war.

Update 2: The Bangkok Post has a short story:

PAD co-leader Somsak Kosaisuk – Sondhi Limthongkul has been missing for months, perhaps in China – reportedly said “Thailand has never experienced a deep division like this one before. The red-shirts are using the words ‘commoners’ and ‘elites’ to create such division.” In fact it might have been wealthy PAD backer Arthit Urairat saying this as the report is unclear. Arthit is reported as opining that the “country belongs to everyone of us but there are some people who are destroying the country to gain personal benefits…”. The alway grinning but exceptionally dangerous former mercenary and PAD co-leader Chamlong Srimuang said the red shirts were made up of the “MPs who work in the House of Representatives, the demonstrators and the insurgents.”

In fact, the PAD meeting appears to have been rather more rabid than these reports indicate. Some of the tweets indicate this.

Update 3: It seems that PAD reckons that the government killed no one on 10 April. AFP cites Parnthep Pourpongpan, a PAD spokesman fas demanding that the red shirts “value their own lives by not making any untrue statements saying that the government killed the people…”. Continuing with this threatening line, he added: “The Red Shirts should save their lives by stopping the rally…”. Very clear and to the point and very reminiscent of statements by the frenzied right before the blood-letting on 6 October 1976.

Update 4: The Nation reports that Chamlong Srimuang said the “red shirts have caused polarisation with words like ‘prai’ and ‘ammat’ but their real intention is to mobilise the masses as a means to transform the political system…”. PAD leader Pipop Thongchai “blamed fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Pheu Thai Party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh for the April 10 violence.” He also claimed that “[h]ardcore leftists and certain remnants of the nowdefunct Communist Party of Thailand had teamed up with the red shirts to try to trigger a civil war…”.

PAD issued a statement “condemning Thaksin and his army of red shirts for trying to incite a rebellion. Pheu Thai Party, the red shirts and a private army were seeking to agitate the public, leading to an uprising, it said in the statement.”

This might all sound far-fetched but these notions are believed and accepted by their supporters. The inciting of right-wing rage is required to justify strong, violent and probably deadly  action against the red shirts.

One year since Giles Ji Ungpakorn fled Thailand …

6 02 2010

It has been one year since Giles Ji Ungpakorn fled Thailand. He has written the following reflection and analysis on his case and the broader context of repression and injustice. PPT has reproduced it in full in English below. You can also find it posted on his blog here: 5 February 2010, “Who are the real people who avoid justice in Thailand?” and ภาษาไทยที่นี้: 5 ก.พ. 2553, “ผู้หนีคดีตัวจริงไม่ใช่ผม”


Who are the real people who avoid justice in Thailand?

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

The 6th February is the anniversary of the day when I had to leave Thailand and seek political exile in Britain. I left Thailand because it had become a dictatorship with no regard to international standards of justice, democracy or human rights. I was charged with lese majeste for writing a book which criticised the illegal military coup in 2006. In the book I questioned the role of the King and the relationship between the army and the monarchy. I asked whether the monarchy should have defended the constitution and democracy. The perverse thing about the lese majeste law is that a person can still be “guilty” for telling the truth. It is a law which tries to prevent open discussion. Court cases are heard in camera in a kangaroo court. Da Torpedo was sentenced in such a court to 18 years in prison.

The Thai government has failed to show how I made any untrue statements in my book. Yet they accuse me of “avoiding justice”. The same accusation is made against Jakrapop Penkare. Yet, who are the real criminals in Thailand who avoid justice? They are the military and conservative elites who use bully-boy tactics to destroy justice.

Sonti Boonyakarin and his fellow junta members, who stage the illegal coup in 2006 and committed treason against the Thai people, are avoiding justice for the crimes committed.  He and his mates are avoiding justice on charges of “conflict of interest and corruption”. They staged an illegal coup and then appointed themselves to lucrative state enterprise and governmental positions. They wrote their own constitution which made sure all governments must increase military spending. They even used public money to stage the coup.

Ex-Prime Minister Surayut Julanon is avoiding justice for his violence and brutality in the May 1992 military crack down against pro-democracy demonstrators. He is also avoiding justice on charges of taking over land in a national park. He is corrupt because he took a position as an illegitimate Prime Minister after the coup, drawing a salary from public funds.

King Pumipon is avoiding justice and has been doing so for decades. He knows how his brother died because he was there and yet he gave false testimony about it. He allowed innocent people to be executed. More recently he has become “unusually rich”, arising from his public position. He is now the richest man in Thailand and the richest monarch in the world. He is avoiding justice for this and for “failing to do his duty” in protecting democracy.

Prem Tinsulanon is avoiding justice for corruption. He still lives in a state owned house despite being retired. He “abused his power” by becoming an unelected Prime Minister in the 1980s and “neglected his duty” to properly advise the King to protect democracy.

Sonti Limtongkul, Jamlong Simuang, Somsak Kosaisuk, Pipop Tongchai, Somkiat Pongpaiboon, Wira Somkwamkit, Suriyasai Katasila, Kasit Pirom and the entire PAD gang are avoiding justice for  “violent acts, using weapons” on the streets of Bangkok. They are avoiding justice for “wrecking Government House and blocking the airports”. They are avoiding justice for “aiding and abetting an illegal coup” and for “causing a disturbance of the peace” on the Cambodian border.

Government politicians Abhisit Vejjajiva, Korn Jatikavanit, Sutep Tuaksuban and Satit Wongnongtuay are avoiding justice for “aiding and abetting an illegal coup”, “murdering” demonstrators in Bangkok in April 2009, “abusing their power and relationship with the military” to set up an illegitimate government, “illegally abusing their power” to instigate widespread censorship and they are also avoiding justice for a “conflict of interest” because they all stand to gain personally from the illegal coup in 2006. Newin Chitchorp is also avoiding justice for “gangsterism” by setting up the Blue Shirt thugs.

Yellow shirt academics and NGO activists are avoiding justice for “aiding and abetting an illegal coup” and “libelling” the Thai electorate for being stupid. They are avoiding justice for having a “conflict of interest” in receiving wages from public funds for accepting positions on bodies set up by the illegal junta. Members of the illegal junta government are also avoiding justice for this crime.

Mainstream Thai media moguls are avoiding justice for the continuous libel of Red Shirt activists, who are usually too poor to sue them.

The list of those avoiding justice goes on…. top politicians, army generals and police commanders who killed people in the South at Takbai and Krue-Sa, in the war on drugs, in the 1992, 1976 and 1973 bloodbaths. Those who killed defence lawyer Somchai and social movement activists and the capitalists who caused serious industrial accidents like the Kader fire etc etc etc…

Compare the above crimes with what I or Jakrapop or Da Torpedo did.

One day when we win democracy, we shall have to bring all those who are avoiding justice to court to be tried by a jury of people randomly selected from the population. The old corrupt judges, who are also avoiding justice, cannot be trusted.

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