Thursday, 31 January 2013

UK Labour Party's Shadow Minister raises questions about Thai political prisoner Somyot

The UK's Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, Kerry McCarthy MP (Labour Party) has raised questions with the UK government regarding the recent imprisonment of Thai journalist and trade unionist, Somyot Pruksakasemsuk. 

Somyot, the editor of the "Voice of Taksin" magazine received a 10year prison sentence from a Bangkok court last week for the crime of "lese majeste" - or defaming the monarchy - in relation to two articles that appeared in his publication. The sentencing, while extremely draconian, was also controversial as the articles in question didn't actually contain direct references to the Thai monarchy but made allegorical and fictional representations which the court then determined were defamations. 

An international campaign, involving trade unions and other activists to free Somyot is now emerging. Before sentencing the UK's Trade Union Congress General Secretary, Frances O'Grady, also raised concerns regarding Somyot's prosecution.  

Kerry's first question was

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the trial and conviction of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk in Thailand under that country's lèse majesté laws; and what recent representations he has made to the Thai government to support the promotion of human rights in that country. 
The response from the UK govt was
Our embassy in Bangkok has been following closely the case of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk. Three representatives of the embassy attended the trial on 23 January, and the embassy subsequently reported details of the outcome to me. Following the verdict, the European Union issued a statement expressing deep concern at the decision to sentence Somyot to 10 years imprisonment. The statement noted that the verdict seriously undermined the right to freedom of expression and press freedom. Our ambassador has also raised the issue with the Thai authorities.  The Government frequently raises human rights concerns with Thailand, both at ministerial and official level. For example, the then Minister of State, Mr Browne, raised human rights issues when he met Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung during his visit to Thailand in July 2012. That discussion included an exchange of views on lèse majesté. 
Kerry's second question was 
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2012, Official Report, column 454W, on Thailand, what recent representations he has made to the government of Thailand in support of freedom of expression and reform of the lèse-majesté laws. 
The UK govt's response was

The Government frequently raises the issues of freedom of expression and the lèse-majesté law with Thai interlocutors, both at ministerial and official level. The then Minister of State, Mr Browne, raised lèse-majesté among other human rights issues when he met Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung during his visit to Thailand in July 2012.


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Lese Majeste and Thailand's Political Prisoners

In late 2011, early 2012, I visited Thailand's lese majeste and political prisoners on several occasions, conducting a number of interviews with them. I spoke to Ah Kong, Somyot, Surachai Saedan, Joe Gordon, Tanthawut, Nat and many others including the Red Shirt prisoners in Laksi. At that time Amnesty International had failed to take concrete action regarding lese majeste (Ben Zawacki, the person most responsible for Amnesty's appalling failures, has since resigned) and Human Rights Watch had become infiltrated by politicised anti-Thaksin, pro-Army elements (unfortunately those persons remain in post at HRW). I also spoke to leading Pheu Thai Party figures, noted human rights activists such as David Streckfuss, trade unionists, such as Jittra Kotchadet, and other leading voices on lese majeste and human rights in Thailand. 
Much has changed since then - the worst part being the appalling tragedy of Ah Kong's death. On the positive side Joe is now free and back in the USA.
As Somyot received his prison sentence today I've decided to republish the story below which was originally published on New Mandala in May 2012. 
I personally believe that until ALL political prisoners are freed - and I include lese majeste prisoners as political - there will be no real democracy or justice in Thailand. 
I also believe the present Pheu Thai government has not done enough to change the present situation and have almost run out of excuses regarding all the political prisoners.

Their number is unknown yet is growing all the time. Most are thrown into cells which can hold up to 60 persons, where there is so little sleeping space some prisoners have to bed-down according to a rota and those on remand are shackled in chains for court appearances. Their crime? They’ve breached Thailand’s draconian 112 law, more commonly known as lese majeste, where any act deemed to insult or defame the monarchy, even made in private to a third party, can result in decades in prison.

Take the case of Amphon Tangnoppakul aka Ah Kong, the 62year old retired cancer-suffering truck driver from the staunchly working class district of Samut Prakan just outside Bangkok who died in May 2012. His case initially drew worldwide attention after being sentenced to 20years in prison  for sending four SMS text messages deemed to be in breach of 112 to an assistant of former Thai PM and present leader of the Democrat Party, Abhisit Vejjajiva.
And while Amphon’s case and recent death grabbed the international headlines, plenty more haven’t. There’s journalist and left-wing political activist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk and Surachai Saedan, the leader of the Red Siam radical socialist movement, both of whom are awaiting trial on numerous counts of lese majeste that may result in decades-long prison sentences. Then there are others like computer programmer Tanthawut Taweewarodomkul who is serving a 13year sentence for being involved with a Red Shirt website and Nat Sattayapornpisut (recently released) who discussed the monarchy in private emails sent to an activist in Spain and who received 3years. There are many more lese majeste victims awaiting trial or investigation some for offences such as not standing up for the King’s song in a cinema while others are facing enquiries based purely on unsuitable body language.
Yet, these developments aren’t recent and have been part of a process of ramping up of lese majeste cases that got under way in 2008 and escalated rapidly during the previous Abhisit-led regime. In many cases those targeted with lese majeste laws have been Red Shirt activists and supporters of ousted PM, Thaksin Shinawatra. The claim, according to UK-based freedom of expression advocates, ARTICLE 19, is that the lese majeste law has been used to “target political opponents”. This  “politicisation” of the LM law is something the existing prisoners are fully aware of.
In a series of interviews in a Bangkok prison, several lese majeste prisoners stated that they considered themselves absolutely both “political prisoners” and “prisoners of conscience”. There were complaints that the international human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International were ignoring them and had not taken any noteworthy action – no prisoner I spoke to had had any contact with either group despite several of them being incarcerated for years (at the time of interview this was correct – I understand that HRW may have visited some LM prisoners). However, all said that since the election of the Pheu Thai government in July 2011 conditions had improved. Prior to this the prisoners said they had been subject to beatings and intimidation by guards and other prisoners. “When Abhisit was Prime Minister things were really bad and PAD-supporting guards and prisoners [the PAD are the extreme rightwing, ultra-royalist faction more commonly known as the Yellow Shirts] would attack me,” one said. “Things have certainly improved since the new Pheu Thai government was elected in 2011.”
A statement smuggled out from prison also claimed that during the period when the previous Democrat Party government were in power the lese majeste prisoners had received death threats from members of that government, that medical treatment had been denied to them and that there had been incidences of forced/punishment labour and other widespread abuse. During this period of Democrat Party rule neither Amnesty or HRW conducted any monitoring of prison conditions for lese majeste prisoners and both, as will be revealed later in this article, actually refused on several occasions to properly address the issue of lese majeste. How these conditions and the failure of the international human rights NGOs to monitor these conditions effectively impacted on the health of the recently deceased Ah Kong has yet to be ascertained.
After the Pheu Thai Party won a landslide victory in the July 2011 election, Yingluck Shinawatra, sister to the former Thai PM, Thaksin Shinawatra - who was illegally removed from power in a 2006 military coup – has been installed as Thailand’s first female leader. Since that point Yingluck has had to contend with the worst flooding in living memory and plenty of sabre-rattling by Thailand’s notoriously coup-happy generals. This flexing of military power has been particularly vociferous when the issue of amending the 112 lese majeste law has been mentioned – reforms that were originally mooted when Yingluck first came to power.
“The military have been sending a very clear message via the media and other channels for weeks,” says prominent government party MP and secretary of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Jarupan Kuldiloke. “If we try to amend 112 they will stage a coup. This puts us in a very difficult position as we cannot create and amend laws in what would be the normal procedure for a democratically elected civilian government. The threats are very real.”
Red Shirt leader, Thida Thavornsate, reiterates Jarupan’s comments. “Pheu Thai are scared of a coup”, she told me. “Remember that Thailand is a dual state and that the government doesn’t have control in the normal way. The civil service, the army and the courts are not under democratic control and are unaccountable. There is no effective rule of law and the army make continual threats. Pheu Thai are scared of the power of the army.”
Even a body of legal academics, known as the Nitirat Group, who have put together a package of very mild reforms to the lese majeste laws, have come under continued and threatening attacks from military and extreme rightwing groups. Under difficult circumstances Nitirat are maintaining their reform-led position yet a “pogrom” like atmosphere is developing, with the burning of effigies of senior Nitirat members on the streets of Bangkok and even the previously highly-regarded Thammasat University banning the group from meeting on their premises.
Nonetheless many are also criticising the present government for “back-sliding” on human rights after a number of Pheu Thai government figures said they would widen the crackdown on lese majeste. In addition a recent Human Rights Watch report attacks the government for failing to address the use of lese majeste and for extending this draconian law’s reach.

However, HRW have drawn a huge amount of criticism from prominent human rights activists and others in Thailand for both their lack of commitment to protecting human rights in Thailand and for comments attributed to HRW’s lead Thai-researcher Sunai Phasuk found in the wikileaks US Embassy cables. In these cables Sunai has a number of statements attributed to him that make clear his support for the 2006 military coup that removed a democratically elected government, that he is a “committed anti-Thaksin activist” and that he believes a significant element of the Red Shirts were bent on using violence to topple the monarchy”, a claim for which he offers no evidence. Sunai is also cited just after the 2006 coup saying how “close” he is to Thai Army officers and that he “had always held the military in high regard for their sense of honor and dedication to the country.” Given that only two years previously the Thai Army had been video taped  engaging in an appalling massacre in Tak Bai that left 87 dead, this is an astonishing statement for a human rights worker to be making.
On the issue of lese majeste Sunai is reported as saying in another cable that HRW wouldn’t support a Thai trade union activist being harassed with the lese majeste laws as the case was “unattractive” and “that association with the case would damage his ability to work as a human rights defender”. The trade unionist concerned, Jittra Kotchadet, told me that she “wasn’t surprised” by HRW’s inaction as they “haven’t really done anything to support people in Thailand.” She also said that “HRW don’t act according to principle and seem to take sides in the political conflict. And for some reason they keep trying to link the Black Shirts to the Red Shirts [the armed element from the April/May 2010 protests that supposedly had links to the Red Shirts. The claims that links existed were recently undermined by a Bangkok Post journalist Wassana Nanuam who counter-claimed that, in fact, the Black Shirts were more likely a rogue element in the Thai Army]. Where is their evidence that they are connected? Not even the Thai state could produce any and no one has yet been arrested from this “element”. So why do HRW keep repeating this story?”
Prominent and highly respected Thai human rights activist, Kwanravee Wangudom, who spoke last year at the House of Lords about the deaths of unarmed protesters during the Abhisit regime’s brutal suppression of the Red Shirts in 2010, went further and questioned the factual basis for HRW’s lese majeste “backsliding” claims. Kwanravee said that the figures HRW have been using for their claim that lese majeste cases have increased under the present government are baseless. “The National Human Rights Commission [cited by HRW] doesn't have any concrete information of the number of people charged with lese majeste,” she said. “By using these figures HRW are not presenting any verifiable evidence.” Internationally recognized lese majeste expert Dr. David Streckfuss agrees with Kwanravee’s assessment. “Most of the cases we have heard about in the last few months were initiated during the last [Abhisit] government,” he said. “I would doubt that the number of cases has risen under the new [Pheu Thai] government.”
 Criticisms of the international NGOs lack of action on lese majeste and human rights abuses in Thailand, don’t end there. Amnesty International’s lead researcher, Ben Zawacki, has been repeatedly questioned regarding to comments he once made that appeared to defend the use of the lese majeste law. He was also queried for seemingly colluding with Abhisit-era Thai government officials when designating the Prisoner of Conscience status of one Thailand’s most infamous lese majeste prisoners, Da Torpedo. Furthermore, at the end of 2011 Zawacki told Bangkok-based reporter, Marwaan Macan-Markar,  that “Amnesty is unfortunately not able to assign a number of political prisoners in Thailand since the 2006 coup.” Zawacki went on to say that “AI has "no plans" for a report to expose the number of people jailed in Thailand for LM.” And this line that Thailand’s political prisoners are hard to quantify or don’t exist at all has been parroted by the US State Department’s report on human rights in Thailand which states, point blank, “There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees.”
 One of Thailand’s leading academics and thinkers, Dr. Thongchai Winichakul, a former student radical who was present at the infamous Thammasat Massacre in 1976, has recently made very strong statements on the entire Thai human rights community’s failings on lese majeste and other issues in interviews he gave to me here and here.
In these interviews Thongchai questioned not only the ethics of both Amnesty and HRW but also pointed directly to both NGOs being politicized.
“For the first five year from 2005 onwards both AI and HRW were inactive, silent, and implicitly against the effort to fight this unjust law [lese majeste] and also to help victims of this law. The bottom-line was, in my opinion, that HRW and AI received most of their information from, and followed the views of, a group of local Thai human rights people who are dominated by anti-Thaksin activists. This group are very biased and lack the usual professionalism necessary to uphold human rights principles. They are too politicized and their politics seem to have clouded their views and judgments on human rights issues. Most of them supported the coup and a few senior human rights figures even joined the “tours” organized and financed by the coup regime to explain to the world the necessity of the coup. Their political biases blinded them from seeing the victims of the LM as political prisoners or prisoners of conscience because most of these victims are Thaksin supporters or at least anti-coup regime. Also many of the human rights lawyers became active supporters for the anti-Thaksin, PAD Yellow camp. And even today, these human rights activists and lawyers refuse to provide legal assistance to the poor families of Red Shirts supporters who have been victims of the Abhisit-regimes repressive use of LM laws and who were jailed since the violent crackdown in mid-2010.”
It is set against this entire backdrop that the present Yingluck Shinawatra-led government has recently opened a new political prison to house those incarcerated for crimes related to “politics”. All the lese majeste prisoners interviewed were keen to make it clear that they supported this move by the government and all considered themselves political prisoners. “We want political status,” said one, while nearly all of the prisoners also threatened to stage a hunger strike if they weren’t transferred to the political prison as soon as possible.
“One of the reasons we opened the new political prison was to make sure the security and safety of these prisoners could be maintained,” says Jarupan Koldiloke MP. “I also want to say that we are doing our best to make sure the lese majeste prisoners are moved there quickly. Hopefully this will take place soon.”
Thida Thavornsate also made it clear the Red Shirt leadership consider the lese majeste detainees political. “All the lese majeste prisoners are political prisoners and need to be moved to Laksi [the political prison]. Though I do have to say that there are still some problems with facilities at the new prison but we have to remember that the establishment were completely opposed to it opening at all.”
I was granted unique access to the new political prison and spoke to several of those incarcerated there, none of whom have been charged with lese majeste and all of whom were awaiting trial or appeals. “We are much happier here,” was the resounding message delivered during our interview with them. “We are all Red Shirts,” one said, “and while this government isn’t perfect, we know, unlike the last government, that it comes from a democratic election.” All these prisoners also spoke of prison “politicizing” them and that in the new prison they felt “more together as a group” and less “scared”.
On the failures of HRW and AI the prisoners said that neither organization “has helped us at all.” One said “Why don’t they monitor our cases?” and another  “How can HRW say things are worse under the Yingluck government? Don’t they understand anything that has happened here?”
So where now for Thailand? The reforms that many consider necessary to return Thailand to full democratic normalcy appear to be hampered, under threat of force, by shadowy political forces while those usually relied upon to impart an independent account of what is going on in the country are seemingly politicized and failing to tackle key issues.
Yet, not all Thais are daunted by this. Some are ready for whatever lies ahead. “Let them stage their coup,” says Jittra Kotchadet. “Let the world see what is really going on here.”

The research for this article was conducted entirely before the death of Ah Kong.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Asia Provocateur story on Robert Horn makes Thai national newspapers

Just a very brief post to highlight that my recent story on Time journalist Robert Horn's exceedingly dubious promotion of businesses owned by senior Democrat Party figures (in English here and Thai here) made two Thai national newspapers, Khao Sod and Matichon. They have, roughly, a combined circulation of 500,000 with Matichon widely considered to be the most prestigious progressive newspaper in Thailand.

You can find the Matichon link here and the Khao Sod one here. The latter shows a hit counter in top-left corner of over 13,000 hits.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

พรรคประชาธิปัตย์จ่ายค่าพักในโรงแรมหรูให้นายโรเบิร์ต ฮอร์น?

 เมื่อวานนี้ ผมเขียนบทความเกี่ยวกับนักข่าวนิตยสารไทม์ประจำกรุงเทพฯ นายโรเบิร์ต ฮอร์น บุคคที่มีพฤติกรรมอันน่าเคลือบแคลงอย่างมาก
วันนี้เป็นที่กระจ่างแจ้งว่านายฮอร์นไม่เพียงแต่เข้าพักโรงแรมหรูของนาย จิรายุ “โจอี้” ตุลยานนท์ ที่ปรึกษาใกล้ชิดของอดีตรมต.การคลังและรองหัวหน้าพรรค นายกรณ์ จติกวนิชย์ เท่านั้น แต่ยังช่วยโปรโมตธุรกิจที่นายจิรายุเป็นเจ้าของด้วย ข้อเท็จจริงคือนายจิรายุคือสมาชิกคนสำคัญเบื้องหลังของทีมงานทวิตเตอร์นายกรณ์ (@TeamKorn) และเฟคบุ๊คเพจภาคภาษาอังกฤษของนายกรณ์

บล็อกข่าวท่องเที่ยวสนุก “Sanook Life”  ซึ่งเป็นเวปไซต์ภาษาไทยได้ตีพิมพ์บทความของนายฮอร์นที่เล่าถึงความพอใจของเขาในการเข้าชมโรงแรมบูติคหรูราคาแพงในกรุงเทพฯชื่อ “Treehouse” ตั้งอยู่นอกชานเมืองกรุงเทพฯ
นักข่าวที่ใกล้ชิดกับพรรคประชาธิปัตย์อย่างมากจนถึงไปโปรโมทธุรกิจของพวกเขาเหมาะสมที่จะถูกมองว่าเป็นคนที่น่าเชื่อถือ ไว้ใจ และเป็นกลางในการแสดงความเห็นในการเมืองไทยหรือไม่?


และนี่คือวิธีการที่พรรคประชาธิปัตย์ซื้อความจงรักภักดีของนักข่าวตะวันตกในประเทศไทยหรือไม่? โดยการให้พักในโรงแรมหรูฟรี?
และมีนักข่าวตะวันตกในกรุงเทพฯกี่คนที่ยอมรับ “ของกำนัล” จากพรรคประชาธิปัตย์?

Is Robert Horn accepting free luxury hotel rooms from the fascistic Thai "Democrat" Party?

I blogged about the exceedingly dodgy Time magazine Bangkok correspondent, Robert Horn, here yesterday.

Today it's come to light that Horn has not only very likely been accepting free hotel accommodation from Jirayu "Joey" Tulyanond, a close personal adviser to former Thai finance minister and Democrat Party Deputy Leader, Korn Chatikavanij, but also helping to promote a business owned by Jirayu. For the record Jirayu is also a key member of the team behind the @TeamKorn twitter account and the Team Korn English language Facebook page.

Robert Horn: Getting ready to sing to the Democrats for his supper?
Both Time magazine and the Thai based travel blog Sanook Life has a piece by Horn expressing his delight at visiting Jirayu's expensive Bangkok Treehouse boutique hotel on the outskirts of Bangkok.

Did Horn pay for his room?

Is a journalist so closely linked to the Democrat Party that he promotes their businesses fit to be considered as an authoritative, credible and objective voice on Thai politics?

Has Horn taken any other freebies from the Democrat Party?

And is this how the Democrat Party buy the loyalty of Western journalists in Thailand? Free luxury hotel rooms?

How many other Bangkok-based Western news correspondents have accepted "gifts" from the Democrat Party?

The Western media in Bangkok deserve impunity no more than anyone else.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

เหตุใดนักข่าวนิตยสารไทม์ประจำกรุงเทพฯ นายโรเบิร์ต ฮอร์นจึงหาข้ออ้างให้กับการจำคุกนักโทษทางการเมืองไทย?

นักข่าวนิตยสารไทม์ประจำกรุงเทพฯ นายโรเบิร์ต ฮอร์นแสดงจุดยืนค่อนข้างชัดเจนมานานว่าเขาเห็นอกเห็นใจนายอภิสิทธิ์ และพรรคการเมืองฆาตกรและปัญญาอ่อนอย่างพรรคประชาธิปัตย์ (มีข่าวลือถึงความชื่นชอบของนายฮอร์นที่มีต่อแสงสีคาวโลกีย์ของกรุงเทพฯ ซึ่งเป็นเรื่องประเภทที่ไม่สามารถเล่าให้เพื่อนพ้องหรือครอบครัวฟังได้)

อย่างไรก็ตามความเห็นของนายฮอร์นบนเฟคบุ๊คเพจทีมงานนายกรณ์เป็นสิ่งที่น่าอัปยศที่สุด (คลิกกรุณาดูภาพขยาย)

(คำแปล: คุณแดวิดสัน ผู้ช่วยคุณอภิสิทธิ์เป็นคนรายงานตำรวจว่าเขาได้รับข้อความเอสเอ็มเอส 4 ข้อความ จากบุคคลนิรนาม  ซึ่งบางข้อความเป็นคำข่มขู่ ไม่ใช่แค่คำดูหมิ่น การแจ้งตำรวจเรื่อง

คำข่มขู่ต่อบุคคลอื่นเป็นสิ่งที่ถูกต้อง ตำรวจเป็นคนที่แกะข้อมูลหมายเลขโทรศัพท์ ไม่ว่าซิมการ์ดโทรศัพท์จะถูกแฮค ขโมยหรือถูกโต้แย้งในประเด็นอื่นๆหรือไม่ ส่วนตัวแล้วผมคิดว่า คุณลุงเอสเอ็มเอสอาจจะเป็นผู้บริสุทธิ์และไม่ได้รับความยุติธรรม อย่างไรก็ตามเป็นเรื่องแทบจะไม่เป็นธรรมเอาเสียเลยที่จะกล่าวโทษผู้ช่วยนายอภิสิทธิ์หรือเขา (อภิสิทธิ์-ผู้แปล) หรือจะกล่าวได้ว่า พวกเขาเป็นคน “รายงานตำรวจเกี่ยวกับคุณลุงเอสเอ็มเอส” และพวกเขาไม่ทราบว่าใครคืผู้ส่งข้อความ แต่ผมเห็นด้วยกับคุณว่าระบบยุติธรรมในประเทศไทยแย่มากและควรได้รับการปฏิรูป)

ความเห็นนี้แสดงให้เห็นว่านายฮอร์นให้การสนับสนุนอย่างเต็มที่ต่อกระบวนการที่ทำให้นักโทษทางการเมืองอย่างนายอำพลตั้งนพกุล (หรืออากง) ต้องเข้าไปนอนในคุก ซึ่งในที่สุดก็นำไปสู่การเสียชีวิตของอากง
นายฮอร์นยังอ้างอีกว่าข้อความเอสเอ็มเอสที่ถูกอ้างว่าเป็นของอากงเป็นข้อความที่มีลักษณะข่มขู่และรุนแรง นายฮอร์นทำเช่นนี้เพราะพยายามที่จะหาเหตุผลดีๆให้การสนับสนุนของเขาที่มีต่อนายอภิสิทธิ์นั้น ถึงแม้ว่าการใช้กฎหมายหมิ่นพระบรมเดชานุภาพเพื่อทำร้ายประชาชนคนธรรมดาของอดีตนายกรัฐมนตรีจะชั่วช้าเพียงใดก็ตาม

มีแต่ “นักข่าว” ชั้นต่ำเท่านั้นที่มองหาเหตุผลดีๆให้กับแคมเปญการบังคับใช้กฎหมายหมิ่นพระบรมเดชานุภาพของรัฐบาลนายอภิสิทธิ์ ซึ่งเป็นแคมเปญที่ผลิตรัฐบาลจอมเซ็นเซอร์และทารุณมากที่สุดในประวัติศาสตร์ไทย และในขณะเดียวกันก็ยังพยายามกล่าวโทษชายผู้บริสุทธิ์ซึ่งได้เสียชีวิตไปแล้ว

สรปคือ นายโรเบิร์ต ฮอร์นคือตัวอย่างของกลุ่มคนที่พยายามหาข้อแก้ต่างให้กับการสังหารหมู่ รัฐประหารและเผด็จการฟาสซิสต์เฉเช่นเดียวกับกลุ่มสื่อมวลชนตะวันตกในกรุงเทพฯ ซึ่งเป็นกลุ่มที่ใกล้ชิดกับพรรคประชาปัตย์; พรรคการเมืองชื่อเสียงเน่าและเกลียดกลัวประชาธิปไตย คำโกหก การพูดความจริงเพียงครึ่ง อคติทางการเมืองและข้ออ้างอันไม่มีมูลของนักข่าวหเล่านี้ซึ่งถูกอ้างว่าว่าคือ​ “ความเป็นกลาง” คือส่วนหนึ่งของปัญหาอย่างชัดเจนและยังเป็นส่วนหนึ่งของเหตุผลว่าเหตุใดรัฐบาลนายอภิสิทธิ์จึงได้ลอยตัวจากการใช้พลซุ่มยิงสังหารประชาชนมือเปล่าเกือยร้อยรายในกรุงเทพฯ เมื่อปี 2553

การที่นายฮอร์นแสดงความเห็นแบบหน้าตายบนประเด็นสนทนาที่พรรคประชาธิปัตย์อ้างว่าพวกเขาถูก “กดขี่” จึงทำให้นายฮอร์นดูเหมือนเป็นบุคคลที่น่ารังเกียจผู้สนุบสนุนพรรคประชาธิปัตย์มากกว่าที่เขาเป็นอยู่แล้ว เพราะความพยายามดังกล่าวเป็นเรื่องที่น่าขบขันที่สุดของพรรคประชาธิปัตย์ เพราะความจริงแล้ว ปัญหารากเหง้าของพวกเขา ไม่ใช่เพียงแค่พวกเขาทำตัวไม่น่าถูกเลือกตั้งเท่านั้น แต่พวกเขายังไม่เหมาะสมที่จะดำรงตำแหน่งใดๆด้วย