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Battle for Bangkok and ALL OF THAILAND



I've barely gotten any sleep since the 25th because my family and I watch the online coverage nearly 24/7.
Since this summer---we've actually DESTROYED one computer monitor because we've used it so much (*_*).  Thailand's politics is coming of age.  The student protests of the 70s PALE in comparison to the level of organization and coordination seen in 2006 and now 2008.  The protests shown on the mainstream media as being in BKK---are actually on a nationwide scale especially in southern Thailand.
I don't know if I should be more mad at the current Thai gov. or how the western press is interpreting the Pantamit (PAD = People's Alliance for Democracy) movement.  I recently skimmed several AFP articles (Associated Foreign Press?) which are distributed ALL OVER THE WORLD in Eng. on Yahoo...everywhere.

What gets recorded in English and published becomes "fixed" history.  This is dangerous because the reporters covering this event simply lack the BASICS to do their job nevermind do it FAIRLY.

I would like to write a letter to this one guy named Grant Peck but I don't know how to correspond to these journalists.
Furthermore there is something wrong with Dan Rivers and CNN.  Many details in the articles online contain erroneous info and I've found phrases in English which clearly show they have poor translators working for them.  In one very clear example I think it was Dan R. who cut up a quote by Sondhi Limthongkul (leader of PAD) to suggest Sondhi and the movement wants a democracy which would disenfranchise the rural poor---when the full quote is that we need an interim gov. for a period before holding elections.  The issue is every time there is a friggin election---THE SAME DAMN PEOPLE WIN.  THAKSIN & COMPANY.  HOW THE HELL DO WESTERNERS believe Thaksin's words "I'm a democratic leader..."</div>
 
Even if the current PM (who works for Thaksin) steps down----and there is another election---Thaksin will still win unless his assets, gained illegally are frozen---otherwise he keeps "playing politics".

I also wanted to write a letter to the ambassador of the UK here in the USA regarding Thaksin's legal status as a main fleeing a court case (frankly he is a wanted criminal) but I figure he won't care to read it.

Many news outlets portray PAD as being "not happy" with democracy.
PAD is not happy with western style capitalism in Thailand which has grown like a cancer.  This kind of capitalism is obviously deeply connected with the debased form of democracy pandered by Thaksin Shinawatra.  In Thailand, you can "BUY" democracy and I'm not talking about special interest groups using politicians as puppets---I'm talking mass vote buying in certain rural areas beyond the eyes of the authorities.

PAD's slogan is "toon niyom samarn" which is like "filthy capitalism" in which you can buy everything and most importantly sell everything including national assets and bring in foreign investors to do what Thai people can do on their own.  Then the politicians gets a cut of the contract.  Therefore politicians don't work on behalf of the country but FOR THEMSELVES. 

Here is a CLEAR CUT EXAMPLE involving Thailand and Japan:
http://www.bangkokpost.com/breaking_news/breakingnews.php?id=128745

Japanese business are notoriously corrupt as well due to families monopolizing businesses and yakuza involvement---however their corruption tries to avoid attracting attention whereas in THailand it's very blatant!

The movement is therefore condemned as being "nationalistic" when in fact it's trying to stop the snowball effect of neocolonialism (economic colonialism).  Hyper-nationalism or nationalism leans more towards thinking one's nationality is superior to another---this is not what PAD has ever said (and I've followed them for a very long time and read their online newspaper and watch their LIVE STREAMING MEDIA constantly).

It's interesting to note, that the Thai idea of democracy at the grassroots level has shades of socialism.  In fact many of the key PAD leaders are union leaders which allowed them to shut down the railways and now ports.

Globalization is usually portrayed as positive (and it is) however some of the economic strategies of globalization are devastating to countries which have independant farmers and small business owners making up the middle class.  The aggressive globalization in Thailand is interesting because it was benefitting a handful of key families: The SHinawatra Clan and Damapong Clan.  They attempted and successfully became the "key" for foreign investors entering the country and reaped massive benefits (I'm not going to discuss their human rights violations which resulted in COUNTLESS DEATHS).

One article even condemned PAD as being "right wing" which to Americans means VERY CONSERVATIVE (Bush supporters).  Comparing PAD to "right wing" is ridiculous in so many ways.  They are in fact liberal progressives but what confuses people is that they seem to be "pro-monarchy".  Thai people use the monarchy as a symbol to manipulate.  Since the 70s protestors would hold images of the King and Queen to protect themselves against bullets and batons.  Similarly some Thais would wrap trees with saffron monks' robes to protect trees from being cut down.  In other words, Thai people put a symbol between themselves and in this case the police (which have recently cracked down using excessive force).  The only family more popular and powerful than the Shinawatra and Damapong is....the Chakri Dynasty. 

By putting the monarchy between themselves and Thaksin...PAD is in fact employing a strategy to purposefully get the attention of rural folks (who really do in fact love the monarchy) but in no way do they care for the feudalism monarchy stands for.  Note: Thailand's monarchy is VASTLY different from let's say the Emperor in Japan and the Royal family in the UK.  I've never heard, ever, of Thai people wishing for feudalism of any kind whatsoever.  However, it is to the advantage of the Shinawatra and Damapong to use their PR company (it's UK based) to paint Thais as being backwards people---the same time seen in THE KING AND I.

There are erroneous articles on wikipedia where certain details are highlighted and some facts OMITTED --- I'd love to jump in to write on wiki but I'm not keen on the IP logging.  I've dealt with rabid Thaksin supporters before on youtube and they sicken me.

PAD is accused of being pro-military.  One PAD leader is former military who is now part of the Santi Asoke Buddhist movement, a vegetarian, is the major voice for employing ahimsa or nonviolence in these protests.  He has friends who are currently in the military and fellow veterans who are providing insider information to the movement on how the military is behaving in the crisis. Some soldiers, out of uniform, volunteer as guards for PAD because hired Pro-Thaksin supporters enjoy hurling rocks and bottles at protestors. Not all military are conservative or even want military rule. Many are LIBERALS just as the US Army has liberals who are against the war in Iraq but enlisted for employment and out of patriotism.

In 2007 prior to the coup in Sept. PAD declared they would hold a major protest---the coup happened.  To many the coup prevented bloodshed between PAD and Pro-Thaksin supporters.  Shortly after the coup, it was determined military leaders were in on the take and eventually allowed Thaksin's political party to come back into power.

This time PAD has brilliantly checkmated the military at every occasion.  PAD has held nearly 100 days of peaceful protests but recently the police has used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds.  There have been effective smear campaigns against PAD and even evidence tampering against arrested activists has occurred as seen in the NBT case which is now currently under investigation due to possible 3rd party involvement which encouraged the crowd to enter the building (rather than just surround it and stay outside).

Why won't the press look closer and see the 2nd crowd now in BKK, hired with Thaksin's wealth, to come and clash with PAD?  Or how busloads of protestors have had to deal with nails scattered on the road or embedded in wood planks.

Media in the west has left out the key detail that THAI MUSLIMS are backing this protest as well.  Maybe it's a good thing they haven't picked up on it though---before you know it they'll think PAD is a bunch of terrorists.  There are so many Muslims involved mosques in BKK have had to donate several hundred boxes of food to the headquarters (what is called "government compound" in Eng).  Thaksin is 100% responsible for the violence in southern Thailand due to his policies against muslims.  He was also the one who suggested to the BUSH ADMIN. that Thai muslims are members of Al Qaeda to justify the killings in the region. 

Only in Thailand....a movement is 100% supported by the people, FED by the people and supplied by the people.  PAD gets free food, mobile bathrooms, clothing...everything even ICE from volunteers in BKK.  If they announce on the stage "we need flashlights, batteries, water"---it'll be there soon! 

PAD Los Angeles has sent large sums of money back home to support this movement..

The disgusting level of denial in Thailand as to what has been done to PAD can be seen here:

raw footage: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=0zczw83tPhQ  (yes they held a concert at police headquarters---that is the PAD way of doing things---music and dance---this movement is called the dance dance revolution)

PAD WAS ACCUSED OF GASING IT'S OWN PEOPLE

The Thai media which is TERRIFIED of Thaksin's possible return (yes even though he is a wanted criminal now) is against PAD and ASTV (which is spearheading the protest).

Thank Buddha a different media outlet independently captured footage of the POLICE throwing tear gas...and really why was there any doubt at all?  the reporters are on the phone with an officer supervising at that location who DENIES using weapons or tear gas.  People were shot with rubber bullets, struck by batons and well got a face full of tear gas:
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mIm1F80SrUE  (even slow motion footage of a canister being flung at people)

 
. THANK YOU IPSUT (vids in ENG documentary style)
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=H-ekCpcVPsk
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=nQQVx6AdauA PAD gets NO CREDIT for holding 24/7 protest for MONTHS. At the very least this American went to the location to see "who" PAD really are---lower and middle class Thais of many backgrounds. NOT ELITES.

Comments

Thank you for posting. I think it's the best coverage I've ever read. Some media give me an impression that they don't want to get into the subject too much.(Now you point out the problem of poor translation, which makes sense.)

Of course there must be a proper reason the Thai people to be forced to protest fiercely, and I always find them right. It's the last thing I expected to see...

>Media in the west has left out the key detail that THAI MUSLIMS are backing this protest as well.

It's really important information. Thank you for mentioning.

>Japanese business are notoriously corrupt as well due to families monopolizing businesses and yakuza involvement...

That is what I was suspecting from the first stage and now disappoint me.

Now what can I say? Wish people will get their rights without casualties and arrests.

Thank you again!
Thank you Max!

Thai people are very patient, and some say "indifferent" but they really are pushed to some aggressive action because they understand details the west cannot understand.

So far there has been little mention that the current government wants to amend the constitution so the charges against Thaksin can be dropped. Even the current PM is involved in the Japanese bribery case. So many members of the current government have legal troubles mostly involving corruption.

While the protests capture media attention most of the fighting is in "court" for all parties.

Ofcourse Thaksin fled Thailand (his wife was sentenced to prison) and claimed he doesn't trust the judicial system---after he said this he continued to use lawyers to file cases against his enemy.

When I talk to some Filipino friends they said "this is like Marcos but much worst". They are right because Thaksin is very clever, he understands the media and how the west "thinks".

Even if PAD made some mistakes---people have to use their common sense and understand these protests have been ongoing for months and it is not possible to control 100% of all participants. Already the other side has infiltrated PAD and done some bad things to smear the movement. There is no way to identify who are "real" PAD members and who is not. All you have to do is wear yellow. This is what makes the situation dangerous.

I was amused how the police infiltrated the crowd and even took a position in the government building PAD is surrounding. They took weapons of war with them and fortunately PAD was able to APREHEND THE POLICE! XD I laughed to hard...

http://1happyturtle.com/Hosting/weaponsconfiscated.jpg

A photographer takes a picture of weapons and equipment that police officers gave up when protesters forced them out of the Government House compound in Bangkok August 29, 2008.

REUTERS/Kerek Wongsa


I was watching this live on the internet and I thought PAD members may beat the police---but they let them go safe and sound...


(Anonymous)

PAD an embarrassment

Sorry for fisking. I just happen to have quite a lot of free time at the moment.

"Thailand's politics is coming of age. The student protests of the 70s PALE in comparison to the level of organization and coordination seen in 2006 and now 2008. The protests shown on the mainstream media as being in BKK---are actually on a nationwide scale especially in southern Thailand."

I also know a number of former PAD supporters who feel disillusioned and have abandoned them since the raid on NBT and the storming of the government house, or even before that.

"In one very clear example I think it was Dan R. who cut up a quote by Sondhi Limthongkul (leader of PAD) to suggest Sondhi and the movement wants a democracy which would disenfranchise the rural poor---when the full quote is that we need an interim gov. for a period before holding elections. "

It's very convenient to reject what the western press says and put the blame them on their lack of understanding, poor translation etc. But will you deny that similar criticisms of the PAD have also been made by many Thai academics and observers? The issue is clear enough. Sondhi's 'New Politics' grand plan will exclude the rural majority and consolidate power within the hands of the elite few, all because a certain group of people believe they are so superior to the rest of the country that they alone deserve to 'think' and decide for other people. They're like some kind of God who knows everything, and the rest of the population can do nothing but follow his commands.


The issue is every time there is a friggin election---THE SAME DAMN PEOPLE WIN. THAKSIN & COMPANY. HOW THE HELL DO WESTERNERS believe Thaksin's words "I'm a democratic leader..."

Typical rant of a frustrated, spoiled, self-centred middle-class. Why should people like you be the only ones that get what they want?

"In Thailand, you can "BUY" democracy and I'm not talking about special interest groups using politicians as puppets---I'm talking mass vote buying in certain rural areas beyond the eyes of the authorities."

Was TRT/PPP the only party that bought votes? If you agree that every party did it, why is it that the same party kept winning elections? I suggest you stop watching ASTV for a while and open your eyes to other sources of information. Read articles by Nidhi Eoiseewong and most of the stuff on Prachatai website and you'll know how smart people in the countryside actually are (and how ignorant urban people really are).

"The movement is therefore condemned as being "nationalistic" when in fact it's trying to stop the snowball effect of neocolonialism (economic colonialism). Hyper-nationalism or nationalism leans more towards thinking one's nationality is superior to another---this is not what PAD has ever said "

How come Somkiat Pongpaiboon made that accusation about Rajavinit school then? Wasn't he so consumed by nationalist rage that he saw anyone who got in his way as enemies? Admittedly, I sympathise with him because he was ridiculously charged with lese-majeste. But to play up the issue of Preah Vihear so fiercely (and risk antagonising the Cambodians in the process) just because the PAD wants to topple the government... was it really a clever and rational thing to do?

(Anonymous)

"By putting the monarchy between themselves and Thaksin...PAD is in fact employing a strategy to purposefully get the attention of rural folks (who really do in fact love the monarchy) but in no way do they care for the feudalism monarchy stands for. "

Sorry, didn't Sondhi argue for the abolition of the Ministry of Defence and putting the military under direct command of the king? I don't think such a proposal to formally enhance the monarch's power can be counted as a merely symbolic act. Also, going back to 2006, didn't Sondhi also endorse the book "Royal Power" (written by Pramual Ruchanaseri) which explicitly argues that the king is above the constitution? Didn't he call for a royally appointed Prime Minister to replace Thaksin as well?

"The Thai media which is TERRIFIED of Thaksin's possible return (yes even though he is a wanted criminal now) is against PAD and ASTV (which is spearheading the protest)."

Only after the NBT invasion did most media groups openly condemn the PAD. No matter how disgustingly biased NBT was, the raid was nevertheless an act of media discrimination.


I do not support Thaksin, Samak or the PPP. I think this government is bullshit. And I used to think PAD was a genuinely popular movement with noble aims, until it revealed its true reasons of existence: To disenfranchise the rural majority and keep the country in the hands of the privileged few.

As Thongchai Winichakul put it, who do the PAD leaders think they are? How can they be breaking laws when in this country even the king is under the law? If they hate Thaksin, why do they behave just like him?

-tum|bler

(Anonymous)

PAD an embarrasment

"By putting the monarchy between themselves and Thaksin...PAD is in fact employing a strategy to purposefully get the attention of rural folks (who really do in fact love the monarchy) but in no way do they care for the feudalism monarchy stands for. "

Sorry, didn't Sondhi argue for the abolition of the Ministry of Defence and putting the military under direct command of the king? I don't think such a proposal to formally enhance the monarch's power can be counted as a merely symbolic act. Also, going back to 2006, didn't Sondhi also endorse the book "Royal Power" (written by Pramual Ruchanaseri) which explicitly argues that the king is above the constitution? Didn't he call for a royally appointed Prime Minister to replace Thaksin as well?

"The Thai media which is TERRIFIED of Thaksin's possible return (yes even though he is a wanted criminal now) is against PAD and ASTV (which is spearheading the protest)."

Only after the NBT invasion did most media groups openly condemn the PAD. No matter how disgustingly biased NBT was, the raid was nevertheless an act of media discrimination.


I do not support Thaksin, Samak or the PPP. I think this government is bullshit. And I used to think PAD was a genuinely popular movement with noble aims, until it revealed its true reasons of existence: To disenfranchise the rural majority and keep the country in the hands of the privileged few.

As Thongchai Winichakul put it, who do the PAD leaders think they are? How can they be breaking laws when in this country even the king is under the law? If they hate Thaksin, why do they behave just like him?

-tum|bler

(Anonymous)

PAD an embarrassment

"PAD gets NO CREDIT for holding 24/7 protest for MONTHS."

Protesting is fine. Seizing the government house is not.

-tum|bler


p.s. I'm terribly sorry for posting my previous comment twice. My fault.


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