Give then subs!

28 03 2011

The army has its regularly deflated zeppelin, so why shouldn’t the navy have U-boats? Maybe because the used diesel submarines cost 1.28 billion baht each and 7.7 billion baht for the wolf pack.

This total cost is about what PPT reported some time ago,although the total number of vessels is up from two to six.

That earlier post suggested that the Thai navy was keen to get under water as part of a regional naval arms race. It was also clear that the navy reckoned they deserved more from the royalist government.

Having taken just a couple of months to complete its feasibility study, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva jumped at the chance to spend even more money on the military.

Interestingly, even the Bangkok Post is critical. It says:

It took a lot of silent running before Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva agreed to add another 7.7 billion baht to the country’s deficit budget, just to buy submarines for the Royal Thai Navy. The prime minister may have kept negotiations secret because he feared the public would be outraged at such a deal. If so, he was undoubtedly correct. The decision to pay out 1.28 billion baht each for six used German submarines is excessive. The purchase came under strong criticism as soon as it was announced, and it is likely to attract additional negative comment in coming days, as it should.

Why is the Post critical? One reason is the cost, with the argument being that the money could be well-used elsewhere. Another reason is simply that “Germany stopped using the U-206 submarines last year because they are outdated and too expensive to maintain.”

The Post editorial goes on to observe:

It is difficult but necessary to consider criticism such as that by Surachart Bamrungsuk of Chulalongkorn University. The political science lecturer told this newspaper that the hugely expensive submarine purchase is a way for the Democrats to win the military’s political support.

Of course! Is this election, when it is finally held, goingto be the most expensive election ever? If all the buying of support is included, the answer has to be yes. What happens if the royalist party loses?!





No election, more political prisoners, more fear

3 07 2010

Leader of what is arguably the most repressive regime Thailand has seen since 1977 – yes, we’re serious, read on –  Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has told reporters that there will be no early election this year. That’s no surprise at all, but he hasn’t really said this to the electorate. Some reasoning associated with so-called reconciliation is involved.

The statement he made talked of a better, more peaceful climate for campaigning. We trust he isn’t holding his breath – and nor should the electorate – this is a very long way off.

And the government has gone back to its pre-Battle for Bangkok mode, instilling fear as often as possible. According to a report, “security has been boosted for the prime minister and key government figures following intelligence reports confirming an assassination plot…”. Another one! Do a search for assassination at PPT and read of them. This one also “targets” some labeled as “high-ranking civilians and judicial officials…”.

The reports say that Abhisit’s security detail has been enlarged and there are claimed to be “a much larger number of both uniformed police officers and those in plain clothes providing security” for him. Apparently the ever horrid and still acting government spokesman Panitarn Watthanayakorn “now travels in a government-issued bulletproof SUV and is protected around the clock by a two-man security detail.” That makes him feel like he really counts as only Abhisit and Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thuagsuban “normally enjoy such security privileges.”

In the same report, the Nation has a kind of throwaway line that says the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) “has arrested 16 people in the past week, including pro-Thaksin Shinawatra webmaster Sombat Bunngarmwong and Yong-yuth Thuammanee, a close aide to late Army adviser Khattiya Sawas-diphol. The 14 others are accused of torching government buildings in Khon Kaen and Udon Thani during the red-shirt protests in May.”

How many people are now locked up as political prisoners by this awful government? Part of the reason for the Khon Kaen arrests is to destroy the leadership of the red shirts there.

Massive censorship, hundreds locked up, murders in the provinces, a climate of fear and a determination to restrict freedoms are the hallmarks of this government. It is a disaster for Thailand and matches the right-wing neo-Fascism seen under the royalist government led by Privy Councilor Thanin Kraivixien.








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