Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Letting the snipers and dogs loose, Democrat Party style

An air of desperation seems to be creeping into the Democrat Party leadership of late.

Not only are Abhisit and Suthep facing a possible criminal investigation regarding the death of an unarmed Red Shirt taxi driver in 2010, it's also been revealed, once again, that their brutality is matched only by their incompetence.

Amid looney accusations from Democrat Party deputy leader, Korn, that Yingluck's government is like "Hitler" and off the back of this weekend's Pitak Siam protest debacle, when protesters drove trucks into police lines and threw tear gas, Abhisit's party is foolishly attempting to take some kind of moral high ground.

However, no-one is fooled by the Democrat's silly posturing. Least of all a group of elderly peaceful cassava farmers who had the temerity to protest against the then Chuan Leekpai Democrat Party-led government on October 27th 1999. Back then the Democrats sent these farmers a message they'd never forget - they set a pack of German Shepherds on them.

Of course the Abhisit regime's appalling and brutal handling of protesters in 2010 overshadows this event by some margin. In 2010 the Democrat Party set the snipers loose and shot unarmed civilians just like 17year Samaphan "Cher" Srithep in the video below, who was left to bleed to death on a Bangkok street.

Monday, 26 November 2012

UPDATE: Pitak Siam throwing tear gas/driving trucks at Thai police

The question of who threw tear gas first at Saturday's Pitak Siam protest now seems to have been solved after a remarkable video recorded by a flying mini-drone clearly reveals the protesters throwing what appears to be a gas grenade into Thai police lines.

The video clip below shows, from about 1min 40secs, the Pitak Siam protesters beginning to attack the police. At 1min 50secs a white gas can clearly be seen beginning to blow amongst the Pitak Siam supporters and then at 1min 53secs an object, trailing the same white gas, is thrown at the police, causing them to disperse slightly. Keep watching until for another 30seconds or so and it is even more clear the original gas grenade thrown by Pitak Siam is spreading out amongst the police. Furthermore a simple count of gas trails between the two camps shows, initially, a higher number of gas grenades being thrown from the protesters side towards the police. At the very least it appears the protesters had their own gas canisters.

It would be pretty hard for any credible and verifiable source to debunk this new evidence and it now seems almost certain that Pitak Siam were responsible for escalating the confrontation.

Bangkok Pundit also mentions the tear gas attack in his recent post on the rallies and concludes
It is hard to tell exactly who started firing/throwing the tear gas
More bizarrely regarding the tear gas attack Bangkok Pundit cites an anonymous internet troll and cyberstalker who usually specialises in the internet stalking of women using threatening graphic sexual commentary and extreme racism, samples of which can be found here and here. Maybe Bangkok Pundit will cite Violentacrez in his next post on Thailand's rice pledging policy?

On balance readers have to make their own judgement. It seems self-evident that Pitak Siam were intent on hurting and attacking police officers and given the other evidence - such as protesters driving a truck directly into the police officers - the likelihood of them throwing teargas (weapons of all kind are easily accessible in Thailand) at the police is apparent.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Korn compares Thai government to Hitler: has he lost his mind?

About 18months ago I interviewed Thailand's then Finance Minister, Democrat Party Deputy Leader Korn Chatikavanij - my interviews with him can be found here and here.

On the two occasions that I met Korn I found him to be erudite, articulate and willing to engage on a number of subjects and policy details.

A dual-British/Thai national, the UK-born Korn attended Winchester College and later studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford. Urbane, well-educated and with a cosmopolitan air, it's hard not to be impressed by Korn, not least because at roughly 6ft 4inches tall he has quite an imposing physical presence as well. While I disagreed with him on a number of subjects I found him personally charming and certainly likeable.

So, his comments on his Facebook page today (see screen grab in Thai just below) come as a complete shock.

In a rambling monologue Korn complains about the government's handling of this weekend's Pitak Siam protests. Utilising that tried and tested logical fallacy - the false equivalence  - he states that the government used the police to assault the protesters and that the Red Shirts abandoned their own principles by supporting such actions.

Of course the simple facts that Pitak Siam's publicly stated aims were to destroy democracy and create conditions for a military coup are oddly missing from Korn's narrative. Also the fact that the Pitak Siam protesters drove a large truck directly into police lines and attacked them with sticks and other weapons. Then there's the tiny inconvenient detail that the present ruling government party, Pheu Thai, has an overwhelming parliamentary majority, something his party has not achieved in its 66years of existence. Absent too is that when the government he served in were faced with Red Shirt protesters in 2010 they sent Army snipers onto the streets and shot nurses and school children.

But it was the final part of Korn's rambling comment that raises questions about his mental state.

Using an arcane Adolf Hitler quote (is it only me who finds it odd Korn could quote Hitler so readily?) Korn states that

"The Red Shirt government thinks and behaves like this [like Hitler] - therefore they will end up the same as/not different from Hitler."

To make this bizarre claim is straight out of the nuttiest Thai extremist handbook. The Second World War killed almost 70million people, unleashing unspeakable horrors and crimes on the world. Hitler committed the worst of these crimes, including the terrible slaughter of 6million Jewish men, women and children and 12million Soviet civilians.

It is an utter obscenity for Korn to make a comparison between firing a dozen or so tear gas grenades at violent protesters and Hitler's genocidal slaughter of millions. He should not only be widely ridiculed for making this comparison but condemned as well.

I am quite right to question his sanity in such circumstances and can only hope he sees the error of his ways and offers an immediate retraction and apology.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Thai neo-fascists attacked with snakes

A large number of snakes were released this evening in an encampment of supporters of the Thai neo-fascist movement, Pitak Siam.

A report of the incident can be found on the extreme rightwing Manager website here.

The report says that someone dropped a bag of snakes near a group of fanatical Buddhists known as the  Dhamma Army, who are aligned with Pitak Siam.

The species of the snakes is not known and nor is it known if they are poisonous or not.

Pitak Siam are an extreme rightwing movement run by a group of elderly generals and supported by Abhisit Vejjajiva's "Democrat Party". They are staging a protest this weekend in Bangkok to further their aims of   destroying Thai democracy, removing the democratically-elected Yingluck Shinawatra-led government and shutting down, or "freezing",  Thailand for five years.

The snake incident recalls a famous threat made by the Red Shirt-aligned militant renegade Thai Army officer, Major General Khattiya Sawasdipol aka Seh Daeng. In a 2008 interview with the Straits Times journalist Nirmal Ghosh, Seh Daeng had threatened to throw snakes from a helicopter onto the neo-fascist Yellow Shirt PAD movement. Seh Daeng was assassinated in 2010, most likely by one of his former Thai Army colleagues.

Pitak Siam: "We have no control."

After "guards" of the neo-fascist Pitak Siam movement launched an unprovoked physical assault on pro-democracy Green Light activists today at Nang Lerng, MCOT are reporting that representatives of Pitak Siam have stated that the movement has "no control" over their own supporters.

Whilst issuing an apology for the attack a representative of the Pitak Siam youth movement Mr Wasin also stated the Pitak Siam guards became so angry when they saw Green Lights they "couldn't contain their anger."

This startling admission by Pitak Siam is a genuine cause for concern. That benign student activists holding placards evinces violence we can plainly see the game plan of Pitak Siam emerging. The need for the democratically-elected government to protect itself from violent fascists by invoking the ISA is now self-evident.

The video of part of the attack is here.

UPDATE: With video. Violent Thai neo-fascist Pitak Siam group attack student activists

Reports are coming in that a mob of 400 supporters of the neo-fascist and anti-democratic Pitak Siam movement attacked and beat up members of the pro-democracy Green Light student activist group.

A report in Thai can be found here.

A video has also emerged of what appear to be Pitak Siam supporters threatening and abusing Green Light activists (h/t @ZeitgeistTH)

A source has made the as yet unconfirmed report that at least one member of Green Light was surrounded by 5 Pitak Siam supporters and "punched".

The attack allegedly occurred at the Nang Lerng intersection near the Royal Turf Club, one of the sites that will be used by the Pitak Siam movement during their protests this coming Saturday, 24th November.

Members of Green Light protesting (from go6tv.com)
Pitak Siam are a self-proclaimed movement against democracy whose sole aim is to overthrow the democratically elected government and replace it with an unspecified form of government that will "freeze Thailand" for 5years. They are aiming to bring 100,000 anti-democracy protesters onto the street amid very strong and well-founded rumours that Pitak Siam will use violence to force a confrontation with the government. Pitak Siam are also backed by the Thai "Democrat Party" - which is led by British-born/national former Thai PM, Abhisit Vejjajiva.

In response to Pitak Siam the government has invoked the Internal Security Act - please read my discussion about this law here.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Sitting on the fence: Debunking False Equivalence

As the openly self-proclaimed fascistic and anti-democracy Pitak Siam movement get set to march in Bangkok this weekend, Thailand’s government have invoked a very limited use of the Internal Security Act (ISA). It will be employed for 9days in a few, small areas of Bangkok. As far as I’m aware there has been no call to ban the Pitak Siam protest, so their rights to peaceful assembly have been maintained.

However, some voices have been raised in concern as to the use of the tough ISA security laws and their impact on civil liberties.

The line being put out is that using the ISA laws now is no different to when Abhisit’s unelected, unpopular and unmandated regime used them in 2010.

When the actual evidence is looked at, this “false equivalence” (a classic argumentative device used by those who actually don’t have any argument) is easily debunked. Here’s why.

First lets compare the governments of the Pheu Thai Party and The Democrat Party.

The present Pheu Thai Party government won a landslide election victory in 2011. This was the 5th straight election win for the various re-incarnations of the Thai Rak Thai party from which PTP sprung. They have a very clear democratic mandate to govern, winning a single-party parliamentary majority and had a bigger share of the Thai electorate voting for them in 2011 than any single party in any European democracy. To claim that PTP have no legitimacy to govern is to attack democracy itself.

The last time the Abhisit Vejjajiva-led Democrat Party won the largest number of seats in the Thai parliament was in 1992. The Democrat Party has never won an outright majority. The only time it has taken power in recent years (2008) was after aligning itself with neo-fascists, dodgy generals and the corrupt Newin Chidchob’s Bhum Jai Thai Party – a political entity that wasn’t even in existence when its members that made up Abhisit’s 2008 "Coalition of the Anti-democratic" were elected in 2007. In short, Abhisit’s government was as democratic to the same degree as the earth is flat.  It lacked the democratic legitimacy needed to clean Bangkok’s toilets never mind govern the country. However, this didn’t stop Abhisit’s government sending snipers onto the streets of Bangkok to shoot nurses and school children in 2010 in order to cling onto power. Over 90 unarmed civilians died in 2010 as a result.

Only the most myopic and delusional would claim that there is some “equivalence” of democratic legitimacy between the PTP and Democrat governments.

Now onto Pitak Siam and the Red Shirts.

Pitak Siam’s (PS) avowed publicly proclaimed aim is to destroy democracy, throw out the democratically elected PTP government and then shut the country down for five years. To ratchet up tension PS have deliberately sowed rumours of violence and chaos up to and including shutting down Bangkok’s electric and water supplies. They are backed by a handful of very wealthy Thais and whilst they can call on a few thousand followers have no mandate whatsoever. Their "aims" seem to be driven by a peculiar form of nihilism that offers Thailand nothing other than chaos and violence. They are, of course, backed by Abhisit’s Democrat Party.

The Red Shirts protests in 2010, which were estimated to reach over 300,000 persons at their height, called, simply, for Abhisit to test his government’s legitimacy with an election. When the Democrat Party government finally did call one in 2011 they were hammered, returning with less seats than they managed in 2007. The Red Shirt aligned PTP, as outlined above, won in a landslide.

So, we have one protest group seeking to destroy democracy and one seeking to restore it. To claim they are “equivalent” is, once again, absurd.

Now onto the invocation of the ISA.

When the Abhisit Vejjajiva government invoked the ISA in 2009 and 2010 it was used to apply lethal force to attack democracy and keep the Democrat Party’s unelected, unmandated and anti-democratic government in power. The ISA was used purely for anti-democratic means.

The PTP government are being threatened by a group whose sole aim is to overthrow and destroy democracy and who appear to be more than willing to use violence to do so. It’s very clear that Pitak Siam need to be curtailed and it’s very clear that the ISA is being invoked to protect democracy.

To claim that the use of the ISA by an unelected government to attack pro-democracy protesters is equivalent to the use of the same law to protect an obviously democratically elected government from a potentially violent fascistic tiny minority is not only disingenuous it is dangerous.

It’s my view that Yingluck’s government has a duty to protect both Thai democracy and Thai citizens from Boonlert’s fascists and Mark Abhisit’s maniacal lust for power.

Those looking for a fence to sit on always find excuses as to why they lack courage, principle and conviction. False equivalences provide an easy but logically false way out that employs the kind of weak arguments a child could debunk.

I wish that there was no need to invoke the ISA but its present very limited use to protect democracy is entirely appropriate. Let’s hope this weekend passes off peacefully and Pitak Siam scuttle back under the stones from whence they came.