The end of weekend joke that is Pridiyathorn

9 11 2009

Well it’d be a joke if the person making these claims wasn’t someone who has previously held senior positions in Thailand.

Apparently impervious to all good sense, Pridiyathorn Devakula has a column in the Nation (9 November 2009: “Uncovering the source of those rumours is critical”) that takes up the health rumors one more time. Usually PPT doesn’t take much notice of these trite columns, but this one caught out eye, not least because Pridiyathorn develops a jingoistic line not heard for a while.

Being a good few days behind the news doesn’t help his case, but Pridiyathorn says he’s gung ho for the witch hunts and the striking down of scapegoats, but then says this: “Both suspected persons studied in the western world and worked in businesses which fully exposed them to western culture, possibly wrongly absorbing the western way of thinking regarding one’s freedom of speech.” Crazy fools, they thought there was freedom of speech.

Pridiyathorn uses a very common elite line amongst Thais who prefer authoritarianism to anything else: blame those nasty “westerners” for odd ideas about freedom and democracy. It is such a stupid ploy but invariably gets the rabid nationalists on side.

He has a long ending to his story that is about hunting down culprits. He says: “simple common sense tells me that media outlets in any civilised country must be responsible for the accuracy of news they broadcast or publish and must recheck this accuracy with due care so that individuals and organisations are not hurt. If so, the network that started distributing this rumour and realised it was wrong, should have had enough conscious guilt to cooperate with our authorities in tracing the original source. Such cooperation could save them from a possible legal suit and public condemnation for protecting the ill-willed culprit.”

Why would civilized countries do more than correct an error, if there was one in this case? The former governor of the Bank of Thailand appears to want to get the “real culprit” for then the government wouldn’t look so much like a police state and the monarchy would be “protected.” Close that gate and look for the horse….

With royalists like this, there is no need for republicans.

Police state and FACT on the “new tsunami of political repression”

5 11 2009

PPT has been warning of the rapid slide towards repression by the Democrat Party-led coalition government. Others seem to agree taht the situation is deteriorating rapidly. We provide two excellent examples here.

Police state: PPT noticed this short piece in the InMedia column of the Bangkok Post (5 November 2009: “Baan muang columnist Chalarm Kheo”). We don’t have immediate access to the source, but felt PPT readers might be interested in seeing the Post version, in full, here:

“Thailand is looking more and more like a police state. As I write this, I am struck by the news that two persons have been charged with feeding untrue information through a computer system which undermined the security of the nation. They have been accused of spreading rumours about the King’s health.

Apparently a translation of a foreign news article is at the heart of this case. This incident is too scary for me.

The rumours caused the SET index to plunge, and those who hate deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra quickly claimed that his brother and two other persons were responsible for spreading the bad news.

Key government figures promptly ordered the police to arrest people who spread the rumours. The police initially hesitated, as the alleged crime was a violation of the Computer Crimes Act. Nonetheless, the issue was magnified as a threat against national security.

It is laughable that one can be arrested for translating news and posting it on a website. Indeed, Thailand is looking more like Germany when it was run by Adolf Hitler and his secret police. No one is safe when their private email can be monitored.”

The new tsunami of political repression: FACT begins this way: “Politicians can be so entertaining. Sometimes we laugh so hard we cry. Of course, the posturing and bluster of politicians always leads to the truth being forgotten as they try to distance themselves from any issue which could interfere with their position at the public trough. We’re still trying to make some sense over Thailand’s recent tsunami of political repression.” Read all of this important statement here.

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