Thursday, 27 February 2014

Asia Provocateur on the Keiser Report

I was invited onto RT's Keiser Report this week to talk about the protests in Thailand.

Watch the following video from about 12mins 45secs to see me. 

Monday, 24 February 2014

Terror, Human Shields, Lies and the BBC

Most people who read this blog or follow me on other social media know that I make my sympathy for Thailand's Red Shirt explicit. I believe that the Red Shirts represent, in the broadest terms, a movement committed to democracy and political rights for all Thais.

What I have no sympathy for whatsoever are acts of terrorism - and the attacks on the PDRC rallies which resulted in the deaths of several children can only be defined as such. 

Thai children on the barricades at a PDRC rally
Regardless of their political affiliation I hope the perpetrators of these vicious acts are arrested and thrown into prison for a very very long time. To equivocate about this reveals no commitment to any kind of progressive or democratic values whatsoever. Firing semi-automatic weapons or grenades into areas where there are unarmed civilians is the kind of thing we've come to expect from Abhisit, Suthep and the Thai Army, not the Red Shirts - one reason why my mind is still very much open as to who committed these acts of terror.

After the terrorist attacks at Ratchaprasong yesterday I tweeted that the PDRC have been using children and families as human shields. I re-emphasised this by stating that the PDRC are using children and families as human shields as a systematic policy. I stand by this.

I was very quickly condemned for tweeting these comments and was accused by persons clearly supportive of the PDRC of colluding with the murder of children. 

Yet it is abundantly clear the PDRC have deliberately and systematically used families and children as "cover" for their rallies, creating events that would attract families into these rallies, wherein the PDRC leaders then engage in routine and repeated hate speech and calls to violence. 

Violent often drunk PDRC guards also patrol the barricades and fringes of these rallies and extort, beat, attack and even torture those whom they deem deserve such treatment. 

After engaging in such actions these "guards" then disappear back into the "family friendly" areas, knowing that the authorities will not risk a fire fight near so many unarmed families and children that may result from pursuing the "guards".

There are literally 100s of photos of children at PDRC protests. There have been images of the children adorned in PDRC regalia sat on the barricades, images of children who've obviously been in the frontline of the protests dealing with the after effects of tear gas, images of children seemingly acting as "close protection" for noted Thai fascist, Suthep Thuagsuban and even video clips of very young Thai children dressed in PDRC garb singing fascist fighting songs.

There is no doubt at all that the PDRC have placed children at the centre of their political struggle. Given Suthep's noted recklessness regarding human life - in 2010 he said that children and Red Shirts who died after troops he'd ordered onto Bangkok's street shot them had "run into the bullets" - I think it is reasonable to assume he has no problem with this. After all Suthep can always run back to one of his luxury hotels when the bullets start flying.

Yesterday UNICEF brought a blast of reason into this terrible series of events and demanded that ALL children be forbidden from attending the PDRC rallies. I agree with this wholeheartedly. Violent fascist rallies are no place for kids - only a dangerous and reckless idiot would think otherwise.

And only someone who is as morally and ethically bankrupt as those terrorists who attacked the PDRC would deny that the PDRC are deliberately placing kids and families in harm's way. 

And for some reason the BBC's Jonathan Head decided to propagate a lie yesterday and claimed, completely falsely, that the children killed at Ratchaprasong were not attending the protest. 

Why he did this - why he failed to do even the most basic work of a journalist and report the facts, however uncomfortable those facts may be - is a question I've asked him but he's refused to answer. Head is shaping up to be a perfect President for the obsequious FCCT.

Let's look at the facts. There's no doubt that the children who died at Ratchaprasong were dressed in PDRC garb and were also behind the rally barricades when they died. There are numerous video clips and photographs that proves that beyond all reasonable doubt (sorry, but I'm not sharing clips of dead children here - you can search and find them yourself).

Yes, to some it may be distasteful to point these facts out. Those same people may also question these facts' relevance to a terrorist attack. 

There may be some basis to that distaste - I understand why someone might find it difficult to read such truths after such a tragedy.

But surely knowingly lying about these tragic events is far far worse.

Those commenting on and analysing Thailand's present crisis must aim for truths however uncomfortable they are. 

There is no place for children at the PDRC rallies. They are not "family friendly" places, there are no "family zones" and to claim these vicious, violent rallies are anything other than fascist hate festivals is a disgraceful and disgusting lie. 

It's time to end the falsehoods about the PDRC rallies that are being circulated by Jonathan Head, PDRC supporting-expats and the PDRC leadership themselves.

Like UNICEF have made clear - the PDRC rallies are not child-friendly places.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Learning the Murderous History Lessons of Voranai Vanijaka

For some reason that completely escapes me, the Bangkok Post columnist, Voranai Vanijaka, has been continually upheld as a voice of moderation by commentators on Thai politics many of whom, quite frankly, should know better.

From Head to Ghosh, Marshall to Kurlantzick they all appear to have a bit of a crush on one of the Bangkok Post's best known pouts.

Pout pout pout

The first charge that should be laid at Voranai's door is that not only is he unprincipled but his disingenuousness is actually quite a thing to behold. His ability to claim some kind of "balanced" "impartial" view is belied by the fact that he is clearly a one man pro-establishment, pro-Army, pro-massacre and pro-Democrat Party propaganda campaign. To ignore that element of Voranai's work would take an act of wilful myopia. 

Of course being able to quote Voranai as emblematic of Thai progressive thinking may give some commentators a frisson of having an "inside line" into Thai thinking. I suppose, on some level, that is true. But only if you think calling for pro-democracy protesters to be "put down" "severely" in the middle of what was very obviously a massacre of unarmed pro-democracy protesters is an "inside line" worth championing.

I don't. 

Ironically, in one of Voranai best received recent opeds the pouting one lectured his readers on learning the "lessons of history". So, in the spirit of that I thought I'd conduct my own history lesson by re-examining an oped Voranai wrote in the teeth of the 2010 Bangkok Massacre when unarmed nurses, children and ordinary protesters were gunned down by Thai Army snipers under the orders of the illegitimate Abhisit Vejjajiva-led "Democrat" Party government.

 Voranai infamously wrote that the Army should "Put an end" to the Red Shirt protest using "swift, severe and certain" means. Unfortunately Voranai got his wish and almost 100 unarmed Thai civilians died.

If you want a history lesson start with the oped I've pasted in below which reveals, for me at least,  that Voranai was a cheerleader for the vicious murder of his own compatriots. 

It is full of falsehoods, intellectual deceits and has as vacuous a grasp on democracy, the rule of law and that most basic of human rights - the right to life - as I've witnessed this side of the Third Reich. And no, Godwin's Law does not apply in this instance. 

So, read on and if you still think Khun Voranai is a liberal  please suggest why in the comments section below. 

Put an End to this Rebellion
Published: 16/05/2010 at 12:00 AM Bangkok Post

by Voranai Vanijaka

I'm not in a popularity contest. I'm not a two-faced diplomat playing it safe and trying to please everyone. So let me say it loud and clear: It's a rebellion, so put an end to it_ with swiftness, severity and certainty.

The military coup in 2006 wrongly overthrew the then democratically elected prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. That was no democracy.

The coup council handed the power back to the people in 2007. The People Power Party (PPP) won the following election. That was democracy.

The PPP was banned by the Constitution Court for electoral irregularities and the parliament_ the democratically elected representatives of Thailand_ voted the Democrats into power. That was democracy.

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) argue against the Democrat-led coalition government's legitimacy and protest for the government to step down and call a general election. That was democracy.

And the UDD had won.

The goals of the UDD from the very start: They wanted a House dissolution. They will have one in September. They wanted a general election. They will have one on Nov 14. All within seven months and PM Abhisit Vejjajiva's term actually ends in January 2012, a year and a half from now.
They should be dancing in the streets, celebrating victory. Then we can all go to the voting booth in November. Peace and democracy. But no.

The truth has revealed itself. The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship is simply using democracy as a front in the interests of dictatorship.

Refusing the peaceful compromise, forsaking the democratic process, continuing to harm the country for the interests of one man, Thaksin Shinawatra, fighting against security forces of the rightful democratic government of Thailand_ that's an uprising, it's a rebellion.

It's criminal. That is not democracy.

If you disagree with me and think the UDD is in the right, then let me simplify it: The next time you're pulled over by the law in a traffic stop, you should just burn tyres, shoot slingshots at the cop and call him a dictator.
Anyone with an arrest warrant? No need to surrender. Barricade and fortify your home, fire slingshots and fire-crackers and call the law tyrannical.

Buy a lifetime membership to the Association of Anarchists. You don't belong in a civilisation.

The UDD leaders agreed to the prime minister's terms. But instead, Thaksin Shinawatra ordered Maj Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol to step on the brake. Because in his mind, he's screaming: ''What about me!'' ''What do I get out of this entire peace and democracy shenanigans!''
Here's Thaksin's dilemma. Peace and the democratic process don't guarantee his return to power. Someone in Montenegro is kicking and screaming on the floor: ''Me! Me! Me! What about me!''

Accepting the compromise is a loss of face and may even make PM Abhisit look good in the eyes of the people, for biting the bullet and extending his hand. Thaksin Shinawatra can no longer rely on the voting booths. He can no longer rely on the democratic process.
The UDD has used democracy as a tool_ manipulated and exploited it to return Thaksin to power. Now that they are no longer confident that the democratic process will serve their interests, the UDD has transformed itself from a democratic movement into an uprising, a rebellion, a criminal organisation.

It's worth repeating: They wanted a House dissolution. They have one in September. They wanted a general election. They have one on Nov 14. That's democracy. Instead, they flushed democracy down the toilet.

So there's no negotiation other than the complete and total capitulation by the government to the UDD's every will and every whim. It's a total victory that will embarrass the government in the eyes of the Kingdom and of the world and may possibly bury the Democrat party. That's the game.

To Thaksin and the UDD, returning Thaksin to power is worth the 50-odd lives already lost. And that figure is bound to rise. More than 1,000 have been injured and that figure will rise. The billions of baht in economic damage. And that figure will rise.

It's an uprising. It's a rebellion. It's criminal.

The UDD is screaming: ''Now! Now! Now! Prime Minister resign now!'' Thaksin Shinawatra is crying: ''Me! Me! Me! I want my power back!'' That's not democracy. That's a child that needs to be put across the lap for a good spanking.

Let me repeat it again: They wanted democracy. They had democracy. We can all go to the voting booth on Nov 14. But they flushed democracy down the toilet and chose instead, a rebellion.

And when there's a rebellion, the government must put down the rebellion. Otherwise, we have anarchy. The law must be swift, severe and certain_ any student of criminology can tell you that.

I've watched television and read newspapers all this weekend. Most so-called intellectuals, academics and media talk about reconciliation. Well, that's easy and safe_ using a thousand flowery words without saying anything worthwhile.

We reap what we sow. Again, I'm not in a popularity contest. I'm not a two-faced diplomat playing it safe and trying to please everyone. So let me say it loud and clear_ it's a rebellion. To preserve civilisation, the government must put down the rebellion_ swift, severe and certain.
UDD members have lost their lives. This is unfortunate. It should never have happened. They should all be in our prayers and their families should be assisted in any way possible. But they've died in a rebellion against the rightful, democratic government of Thailand.

The security forces that have lost their lives. This is unfortunate. It should never have happened. They should all be in our prayers and their families should be assisted in any way possible.
Journalists and other innocent bystanders have lost their lives. This is unfortunate. It should never have happened. They should all be in our prayers and their families should be assisted in any way possible.

It didn't have to come to this. It shouldn't have come to this. But here we are on the brink of anarchy because of the pride, greed and vengefulness of one man, and of the indecisiveness, uncertainty and lack of leadership of another.

Let me repeat: We reap what we sow. It's a rebellion. Put an end to it, swift, severe and certain. Or step down and let the rebels take over. The longer this crisis drags on, the closer we are and the deeper we will be in a state of anarchy.