Friday, April 24, 2009

Dear President Obama and Secretary Hilary Clinton:

Dear Sir and Madam:

Having watched the video of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton shaking hand with the controversial and torrorist Minister of Foreign Affairs from Thailand at, I felt betrayed by the greatest democratic nation on earth. This gesture alone may have sent a wrong signal to the citizens of the many countries fighting for a true democracy. Mr. Piromya is one of the most hated and disgusted figures in the Thai politics, for he clearly represents the royalists and the PAD that seized international airports and illegally occupied the Thai Government House as well as caused protests nationwide after he had been appointed a Foreign Minister. The parties with whom he has been associated have conspired to sabotage Thai democracy and thus brought Thailand backward from its path toward a fuller democracy and properity and constructive leadership among Asian countries.

With the intelligence that the U.S. has, how can it be possible that Mr. President and Mrs. Secretary are not correctly informed about what actually has happened in Thailand since September, 2006? I am a Fulbrighter from Thailand, so I came to the U.S. with a hope to help the world understand many great things that the world could adopt as a model for the common progress of humankind. Instead, I found that even Fulbrighters from certain parts of the world, especially those from Latin America, came to the U.S. with extreme hatred against the U.S. as a nation mainly because of the foreign policies! I am sad to report that many of them have left the U.S. unconvinced of the opposite reality that I have been blessed to experience.
As you are trying to promote a true democracy across the globe, committing to it so deeply that you even removed many leaders and killed many innocent people in hope for planting seeds of democracy, you have shown hypocrisy, as presently again illustrated in the above video.

Thai people who fight for a true democracy have been unfairly and brutally oppressed by a network of undemocratic forces comprising the monarch's privy council members, the military, the surrounding interest groups associated with the first two groups, the PAD, which was established by Sondhi Limthongkul (check his records!) so as to carry out the propaganda dictated by the orders from the other three groups. I believe it is unnecessary to provide you both with too much information that you already have on file somewhere. I have heard that the new Ambassador, briefly after his first day in office in Thailand, went to see Prem Tinnasulanondha, who as allegedly known as a mastermind of the 2006 coup. Soon after such a meeting, the military was ordered to shoot at the protesters with an aim to suppress the redshirt protesters.

If you want to promote democracy, you cannot send wrong signals and compromise with the undemocratic figures. Your association with the Abhisit administration and especially your meeting with Mr. Piromya, Mrs. Secretary, with due respect, are the worst signal that you could ever send to informed Thai citizens. Many redshirt Thais have expressed their sympathy for the terrorists in the Deep South of Thailand and the reasons why some suicide bombers do what they do because of the lack of justice, structural violence, and perpetuated oppression. You could help so much in Thailand, as Thailand would be the best material for your project to make it a most successful democratic country, given the resources, geography, educational levels of Thai citizens, established infrastructure, the willingness to cooperate, etc.

I hope this humble note will reach the bottom of your heart and trigger the best part of your brains.

Sincerely yours,
A Thai Citizen

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Thai king gives royal assent to coup"--Vancouver Sun one day after the coup

Thai king gives royal assent to coup
Chiefs of the army, navy and airforce met the king today to discuss the formation of interim government

Jonathan Manthorpe
Vancouver Sun

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej has always found it hard to hide his distaste for Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the billionaire businessman-turned-politician's overbearing and arrogant ways.

Now, it seems, the king has at least given quiet royal assent to a military coup that may end the political chaos and administrative dysfunction in which Thaksin's antics have mired the country for most of this year.

Thailand has been without an effective government or parliament since elections in April were declared invalid.

Thaksin called the elections to try to stem mounting public discontent in Bangkok over allegations of corruption by members of the prime minister's family.

Legal wrangling has stalled efforts to arrange new elections, which were again postponed last week.

Meanwhile Thaksin has stumbled along as caretaker prime minister and become deeply enmeshed in a confrontation with the military.

Soldiers and police loyal to army commander-in-chief Lt.-Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin, a Muslim known to be close to the king, seized control of key government buildings in the centre of Bangkok, the capital, on Tuesday.

It was announced on Thai television that a group calling itself the Council of Administrative Reform -- also translated in some messages as the Democratic Reform Council -- had taken control and that it is loyal to King Bhumibol as head of state.

Chiefs of the army, navy and airforce met the king today to discuss the formation of the interim government.

A senior official in the deposed government told Reuters news agency he believes one of the king's advisers, Sumate Tantivejakul, will head the reform commission and the interim government that will administer the country until new elections can be held.

On several occasions the king has publicly rebuked Thaksin or shown his displeasure with the prime minister. After Thaksin used police and officials to attack media that had been critical of him, the king gave the prime minister a public dressing down. King Bhumibol has shown displeasure at Thaksin's sometimes brutal handling of an insurrection by minority Muslims in Thailand's southern provinces and urged the prime minister to step down after April's farcical election.

The coup came while Thaksin was in New York attending the opening of the new session of the United Nations General Assembly and followed weeks of rumours, most of them put about by the prime minister and his allies, that the military was about to take power.

There have also been allegations that some army officers aimed to kill Thaksin with a car bomb in August, but the plot was discovered before the attempt was made.

After news of the coup reached New York Thaksin launched a futile counterattack by appearing on Thai television, declaring a state of emergency and warning the military not to take any illegal actions. Thaksin also attempted to fire Sonthi from command of the army and called on the Armed Forces Supreme Commander Ruangroj Mahasaranond to implement the emergency order.

Thaksin's broadcast was cut off after 10 minutes while he was still talking.

There have been 17 military coups in Thailand since the 1930s. The last coup was in 1991 and the country was returned to civilian rule the following year at the insistence of King Bhumibol after soldiers fired on pro-democracy demonstrators killing many.

This was typical of the stabilizing role the much revered king has played in Thai politics during his 60 years on the throne.

Many Thais have been looking to the king to sort out the current political mess.

King Bhumibol has always been cautious and sparing in his political interventions, however. He has encouraged leaders of all political parties to find a way out of the impasse and has made some suggestions, but has refrained from exerting his considerable authority in a heavy-handed way.

It is therefore unlikely that the king was complicit in the coup. It is far more likely that the coup leaders received King Bhumibol's blessing -- if they have done so which is not yet clear -- only after pledging a swift and orderly return to democratic rule.

Thailand's military is highly political, but also riven by factions mostly based on groups of officers who served as cadets together.

Not least of Thaksin's problems with the military is that the political chaos has disrupted the round of new appointments that usually takes place at this time of year. Three cliques of former classmates are vying to provide the candidate to replace Lt.-Gen. Sonth, who was due to retire next year.

It is ironic that Sonthi has been an outspoken advocate of the Thai military strengthening its professional abilities and staying out of politics.

Part of Sonthi's campaign has been to criticize Thaksin, whom the general and others complain has interfered in military appointments to promote his own loyalists. In July Sonthi fell out conclusively with Thaksin when he re-assigned about 100 middle-ranking officers whom he believed had been promoted simply because of their loyalty to the prime minister.

The result has been that Thaksin has very few supporters in the military, the most notable being Maj.-Gen. Sanit Phrommas, commander of the Second Cavalry Division.

In New York Tuesday Thaksin's officials told reporters the coup could not succeed and that the prime minister would return home after addressing the UN general assembly.

In all likelihood Thaksin would want to get a firm idea of what kind of welcome awaits him before getting on a plane.

It is hard to imagine at this juncture a scenario in which Thaksin's political career continues, but Thai politics work to a highly individual cultural script with its own possibilities.

Thaksin's rise to wealth and power was unconventional in the extreme. He started life as a policeman, but one that believed strongly in the opportunities of the information age.

One such opportunity was to sell computers to his own police force. This was so profitable that Thaksin retired from the police force in 1987 and set up a software marketing company named after himself, the Shin Corp.

In 1990 the company hit the jackpot by getting a 20-year concession from the Thai telephone authorities to run cellular networks. Thaksin rapidly became Thailand wealthiest man and most powerful tycoon.

In 1994 he turned to politics and founded his own party, Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais). In 2001 Thaksin's party swept to victory and the first majority government in the country's political history.

Voters were seduced by the desire that Thaksin could do for the national economy what he had done for his own company.

Thaksin's love affair with Thailand's urban voters didn't last long. The middle class quickly began to mistrust his arrogant and authoritarian tendencies.

But the poor, especially the rural poor, remained loyal not least because his personal fortune enabled him to spread the money that is usually exchanged for votes in the countryside. He won a second term in office last year.

What brought about his collapse was the sale in January of his company Shin Corp. to Singapore's state-owned Temasek Holdings for $1.9 billion US. To the outrage of many Thaksin's family found a way of not having to pay any tax on their profits.

Through most of February there were almost daily demonstrations in Bangkok calling for Thaksin's resignation. On Feb. 24 he tried to silence his critics by calling a snap election for April 2, but the main opposition parties boycotted the poll.

It was immediately evident the election could not produce a legal parliament and early in May the Constitutional Court ruled the election had been invalid. But it was also found the Election Commission had acted improperly and its members were fired.

It was only two weeks ago that a new Election Commission was appointed and plans for a new ballot in October had to be postponed until late November or, more likely, early next year.


© The Vancouver Sun 2006

Copyright © 2009 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.

CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Human rights in Thailand: A terrible joke!

I have been overwhelmed by the incredible things that the Abhisit administration and ruling elites in Thailand have collectively said, publicized, and done. Their shameless deeds against democracy have gone far beyond what I could ever have imagined three years ago. I often become speechless as I see more of their disgusting lies and unfair treatments against their rivals and even the innocent people. Let me just talk about the very issue about human rights, in particular censorship in Thailand, so I am not too disgusted.

I was born a free boy roaming the rice fields on the buffalo back, singing as louldly as I wanted, going freely in and out of any house in my rural village in Northern Thailand, and growing up with absolute love, freedom and approval from my parents and people around me. So, censorship is truly a foreign notion to my free soul. I was too young to understand the political issues and the oppressive system that had perpetuated the vicious cycle that brought about a number of massacres in Thailand during the 60's-70's. Back then, there were no TVs, no newspapers, and nothing much beyond the peaceful, submissive, struggling images of people in my community and the little known world outside my district.

Growing up, I started to understand that there were so many restrictions; some sensible, but others ridiculous. Largely, I tried to understand and comply with whatever, pushing myself to be one of them--the successful ones under the existing systems. However, the more I learned about the structural violence in the form of suppressive propaganda, brainwashing in order to silence the people's voices, social practices that take away people's rights to be politically recognized and economically rewarded, and so on, the more I became more ideologically distant from the Thai ways. None of those negative perceptions and feelings truly got too strong until recently, after the 2006 coup and especially during the tyrannical acts of the ruling elites in creating a three-year-long political turmoil and in presently manipulating or directing the administration of Abhisit government.

The below message was erased only seconds after the submission, simply because it was titled with "The only way the Chakri Dynasty could survive"! I will find time to translate it into English later. Please revisit.


คนผิดมันไล่มาตั้งแต่คนทำการรัฐประหาร คนลงชื่อสนอง
คนที่ทำงานรับใช้ คมช. คนที่ทำผิดกฎหมายทุกอย่างแต่ใช้เส้น
เช่น ยึดทำเนียบ ยึดสนามบิน ปิดถนน ยิงประชาชน ทำร้ายเจ้าหน้าที่
คนที่บังอาจยุบพรรคการเมืองของประชาชน คดีหมิ่น
คนที่ใช้อำนาจโดยมิชอบ (รวมทั้งศาลด้วย) และล่าสุดก็ต้องนับ
เอาพวก .ใสเสื้อสีแดง .ที่ก่อการเผารถและปิดถนน และที่สำคัญที่สุด
คือนายกทรราช และพรรคพวกเบื้องหลังการสั่งฆ่าประชาชน
และองคมนตรีบางคนที่ถูกกล่าวหาว่าเป็นฆาตรกร ทำผิดหน้าที่
ทำผิดรัฐธรรมนูญ และเป็นทรราช

ที่ว่ามาเนี่ย หากยกให้ไม่ผิดทั้งกระดาน มันก็ถือว่าเป็นเรื่องที่ไม่มีใคร
ฝ่ายไหนพอใจทั้งหมด หากจะยกเว้นเป็นบางราย มันก็ไม่จบ
งานนี้ ต้องยกผลประโยชน์ให้จำเลยครับ ยอมใจกว้างแล้วเริ่มใหม่
หากมาร์คคิดจะเอาดีใส่ตัว ทิ้งชั่วให้คนอื่นอีกละก้อ
ผมบอกแล้ว ว่า เตรียมตายโหงทั้งคณะ และฉิบหายกันทั้งชาติ

ซึ่งหนี้เลือดมันไม่หยุดง่าย ๆ และจะเป็อย่างนั้นไปตราบเท่าลูกหลาน
หรือคนไม่ปลอดภัยแม้แต่จะไปเยี่ยมญาติต่างอำเภอ หรือไปเที่ยวต่างจังหวัด
ความยากจนวิบัติ มันจะเป็นเหมือนคำสาปไปชั่วลูกหลาน

และที่สำคัญที่สุด เมื่อเกิดสงครามกลางเมืองแล้ว
ราชวงศ์จักรี ก็จะต้องสิ้นสลายไป เพราะหาประโยชน์อันใดไม่ได้

โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่งในสายตาของคนที่ต่อสู้เพราะคิดว่า ตนไม่มีเส้น และไม่ได้รับความเป็นธรรม
อันเป็นสาเหตุของการลุกขึ้นมาสู้ นับตั้งแต่การรัฐประหาร 19 กันยายน 49

เป็นประชาธิปไตย คือ ยึดเอาเสรีภาพ เสมอภาค และภราดรภาพ ภายใต้นิติรัฐ และ
การไม่ทำการใด ๆ ที่ก้าวก่ายอำนาจอธิปไตยของประชาชน โดยผู้ใดก็ตาม

It's truly too much for me to write about everything wrong that the Abhisit administration has done over the past few months and things that his party, along with the destructive allies of it, has done since the coup in September 2006.
For all the accounts regarding ridiculous censorships in Thailand, please visit

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Letter to the United Nations' General Secretary

I have just received this letter from the UDD, or the Redshirt group fighting for democracy in Thailand,
today (April 19). I believe that the world needs to hear their voices, as they have been silenced and
systematically marginalized in the Thai mainstream media.

Here is the letter that, I believe, has been sent to the UN General Secretary:

National United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD)
Kingdom of Thailand

20th April 2009

Mr. Ban Ki-moon
UN Headquarters First Avenue at 46th Street New York, NY 10017
United States of America

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

We are writing to solemnly beg you to condemn the Government of Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, the present government of Thailand, for its recent brutal crackdown on unarmed civilian demonstrators peacefully seeking a true democracy under a constitutional monarchy.

On the 14th of April, Mr. Abhisit announced an Emergency Decree so that he could use military force to crush a gathering of unarmed civilians clad in red shirts known as the National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) or as the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD). Hundreds of red shirts where killed and many others severely injured. This barbaric act inflicted by the current Thai Government on its own people was totally blocked from the eyes of the domestic and international public. This deception was possible because the Government cut off all types of communication signals and gateways, especially those used among the red shirts.

Nonetheless, many horrific and brutal acts were captured by the cameras of individual participants of the demonstration. Moreover, we trust that you may have seen some of the barbarous acts recorded by the major international networks, namely CNN and the BBC among others. We, the red shirts, are not violent and the cause that hundreds of thousands of us are peacefully pursuing is the restoration of a true democracy based on parliamentary elections.

Alas, our worthy cause and our employment of civil and political freedoms as guaranteed by the Constitution of Thailand, the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all of which Thailand as a member of the United Nations has signed and ratified, were met by heavy military force by the order of the unelected and military-appointed Abhisit Government.

Factually, what we want to emphasize is as follows:

We, the red shirts from all walks of life are peace-loving and law-abiding. On many occasions since late 2008 we have gathered in great numbers to voice our sincere demand for the restoration of true democracy in Thailand. We have come unarmed and these gatherings have all been completely free of violence. The violence in Pattaya, where the recent ASEAN Summit Plus 6 Meeting was held and the subsequent Fourth East Asian Summit was to be held, and in Bangkok on the 14th of April, was instigated by an outside group some of whom were disguised in red and navy blue shirts and whom we believe to be affiliated with the Abhisit Government. Mr. Newin Chidchob, a key supporter of the current Government, commanded the actual attack against the unarmed red shirts wearing a navy blue shirt. The red shirts were there only to express before our fellow ASEAN Members and the other six countries our objection to the Abhisit Government. The violent situation was fabricated in order to put blame on the red shirts in order to justify the announcement of the first Emergency Decree and the use of military force. This fact illustrates that the Abhisit Government is not prepared to respect the freedom of peaceful expression guaranteed by both the Thai Constitution and international law pertaining to human rights.

It is known nationally and internationally that the Abhisit Government was brought into office by the military and powerful, unelected groups within Thai society. This shameful means of protecting power and privilege are against the will of the majority of the Thai people. Must we be forced against our will to accept a government we did not choose?

We would like to emphasize that our plea for true Democracy is not because we want to have power over the existing Government or anyone else. We believe and trust that everyone whether they are red shirts or yellow shirts (members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy or PAD) are equal under a true Democracy and must be treated accordingly. Thus, we are calling for the Abhisit Government to dissolve Parliament and to return the power to choose our Government back to the Thai people. By doing so, we demand the Abhisit Government use the popular and democratic Constitution of 1997, which was torn up and replaced by the 2006 military coup leaders in their attempt to reduce the power of the Thai electorate. Are we asking too much from the Abhisit Government that claims to be the government of the Thai people?

If the Abhisit Government is truly the government of the Thai people, why is it afraid to return power back to the people? We would be prepared to accept Mr. Abhisit as our Prime Minister, if he had been chosen by the democratic process. In this respect we contrast strongly with the yellow shirts, who sought to destroy the Thai economy in order to remove three democratically elected prime ministers and who, with the aid of the powerful military and civilian figures were successful in their undemocratic agenda.

It is clear to the Thai public that the current President of the Privy Council, General Prem Tinsulanonda, and certain other privy councilors have interfered in Thai politics all along. The political chaos in Thailand over the past four (4) years is no exception. Their interference has thwarted the administration of democratically elected governments. General Prem and the other councilors are not directly responsible to the Thai people nor are they granted such powers by the Constitution of Thailand, yet they have effectively undermined the ability of the elected governments to work for the Thai people as a whole. Their only legitimate role as defined in the Constitution is as the King’s advisers. As it is obvious that the current President of the Privy Council has not performed his role in good faith, we demand that he and certain of his fellow privy councilors resign.
We are not in the least anti-monarchist as has been claimed by the Abhisit Government and its yellow shirt supporters. We regard the Monarchy as a precious national institution that has held the Thai nation together for centuries. Indeed, it is because of our love for the Monarchy that we must speak out against the unconstitutional role played by the President of the Privy Council and some of his fellow privy councilors. It is their illegal actions that risk impeding true democracy in Thailand, as well as tarnishing the image of our beloved King.

Thus, when we are speaking against the acts of the current President of the Privy Council and some of his fellow councilors we do not in any shape or form criticize His Majesty the King. The Privy Council, though close to the King for the purpose of giving its opinion when asked, is not in any way regarded as the Monarchy itself.
Points 4 and 5 above may seem to be internal affairs that do not concern the international community. However, we feel that it is crucial to state our position internationally so that we are not misrepresented to the world.

During PM Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra’s democratically elected Government it was Mr. Abhisit, the then leader of the opposition party, together with the yellow shirts that made the scandalous and unfounded claim that PM Thaksin was not loyal to the King. The allegation gathered momentum such that, with no time to prove otherwise, the Thaksin Government was brought to an end by a military coup on the 19th of September, 2006. Staging the coup to oust the democratically elected government was an obnoxious abuse of power based on a lie.

Should we as peace-loving, law-abiding citizens of the world allow or accept the use of military force to suppress the general free will of the people in this 21st century?

From a legal standpoint, we ask that you consider the following in light of international law:
The Abhisit Government is acting in contravention to/or against the rules and principles set out in the Thai Constitution, the Charter of the United Nations, and the International Bill of Rights, which includes the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all of which documents Thailand as a member nation of the United Nations has signed and ratified.
The acts of the Abhisit Government and of its allied groups (including the Government of General Surayud Chulanont – the military appointed government formed after the 2006 coup) that helped the current Government come to power is clearly against the determination of the Members of the UN to establish “conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”.

The judiciary has been misused by the Abhisit Government to get rid of political rivals. The Thai Rak Thai Party (TRT), led by former PM Thaksin, which received landslide votes in two consecutive general elections, was dissolved. The legal grounds used by the Constitutional Court of Thailand to dissolve the TRT could equally have been applied to Mr. Abhisit’s Democrat Party, but the Democrat Party was not dissolved. The People’s Power Party (PPP), the successor to the TRT led by Mr. Samak Sundaravej, won the first general election after the coup despite all attempts by the army and courts to alienate this party. The PPP however suffered the same fate as the TRT. PM Samak was ordered by the Constitutional Court to leave office for moonlighting by hosting a private cooking show on Thai TV. Factually, PM Samak received a nominal amount of money to buy ingredients for the show, but this is apparently prohibited by law (as written by military appointed counsel) and he was forced to resign. To arrive at this harsh decision which defies the spirit of the law, the Constitutional Court made reference to a dictionary to clarify the legal situation instead of using the relevant labor laws, as it should have. Had the reference been made to the relevant labor laws as taught in Thai law schools, PM Samak would have been exonerated. These examples of legal double standards illustrate the desperate lengths that the establishment and opposition are prepared to go in their attempts to undermine democracy in Thailand.
We also find it ironic that while Mr. Samak was forced to leave the prime ministerial post following the decision of the Constitutional Court, at least one member of the Court, though we suspect many more, also moonlight for private companies in a professional capacity and continues to do so with impunity to this day. The use of such double standards cannot form the basis of a transparent and equitable society.

PM Somchai Wongsawat who succeeded PM Samak shared a similar fate when the PPP was dissolved by what many independent observers have diplomatically referred to as “bizarre court decisions”. Once again, the Democrat Party could also have been dissolved under the terms of the Constitutional Court’s decision but it was not touched. With the three leading parties of the governing coalition (PPP, Chart Thai & Machima Thipataya) swept out of the way the Democrats became the Government by default. Ironically, the Court ruling dissolving the PPP was delivered against the backdrop of the illegal seizure of the Suvarnabhumi Airport by the Democrat-backed yellow shirts. It seems unfair that such criminal actions on the part of the yellow shirts and their Democrat Party backers should be rewarded so blatantly. Such an outcome painfully reiterates the entrenched forces of privilege and class in this country to the detriment of the majority of the Thai electorate.
All this could not have been possible in a society where the legal system was based on equal rights for all as enshrined in international law such as Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Under the Abhisit Government, ALL are NOT equal under the law. This stance by the current Government flies in the face of international norms.

If being equal under the law means that everyone, regardless of who he or she is, must be tried fairly with due process for their violation of the law, then this is not the meaning the Abhisit Government takes. While the process of bringing the yellow shirts, who committed many serious crimes against the Thai nation, to justice has been excruciatingly slow to the point that even a reputable foreign journal like the Economist believes that justice may not be done or that it may be compromised, the process of bringing the red shirts to justice has been extremely quick.

We do not believe that any credible legal system would regard as trivial the illegal seizure of two major international airports by the yellows shirts. Yet somehow the Abhisit Government expects us and the world to exonerate the yellow shirts. In fact, Mr. Abhisit even appointed one of the main instigators of the illegal seizure of the Suvarnabhumi Airport as his foreign minister! This appointment of a known terrorist to an important ministerial post does not bode well for Thai Democracy.

The Abhisit Government does not respect the idea of free human beings to enjoy civil and political freedom as proclaimed by both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

More specifically, his Government takes no heed of different opinions and in fact regards those holding different opinions as his enemies. The current Government segregates the Thai people according to their political views. Worst of all Mr. Abhisit recently announced that the red shirts are the enemy of the nation. This stance is not the action of a leader who unites his country.

If the unarmed and peaceful red shirts are the enemy of the country as Mr. Abhisit is claiming, is he then suggesting that the heavily armed and violent yellow shirts who seized the international airports and stranded many thousands of tourists and Thais alike are the good friends of the country?

The Abhisit Government fails to respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly specified under Article 20(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The peaceful and unarmed gathering of the red shirts is seen as a threat to the Abhisit Government. If there is anything “threatening” about the red shirts, it would be the gigantic number of ordinary people who come from nearly every part of Thailand and who come peacefully to demand the dissolution of Parliament. Thus, if we were to be a threat at all, we would only be a threat to the unelected Government of Mr. Abhisit and not the country or the Thai people. Therefore, the acts of the Abhisit Government to suppress the red shirts are in fact a significant threat to fundamental human rights (i.e., to enjoy civil and political freedom as guaranteed by the Thai Constitution and many international conventions which Thailand has signed and ratified). It is the acts of the Abhisit Government that are a threat to the Thai Nation and the Thai People.

We, the red shirts, have made firm commitments that our movements or gatherings must comply with the rights granted by the Thai Constitution (i.e., peaceful, unarmed and lawful gatherings). We hold such commitments in our hearts and have consistently followed the law. We genuinely believe that the voice of hundreds of thousands of law-abiding and peace-loving red shirts would be heard, but for the brutal and inhumane response of the Abhisit Government. You may have noticed that the gathering of hundreds of thousands of the red shirts since 26th March in the tropical heat was without violence until the early morning of 14th April when the army began shooting, which inevitably led to a riot and the full suppression of unarmed red shirts by armed military forces.

In light of the above facts, we are asking you to condemn the Abhisit Government for its announcement of the Emergency Decree in order that it could use military force to bloodily suppress the peaceful and unarmed gathering of the true Democracy loving people of Thailand. We also implore you to urge the Abhisit Government to dissolve Parliament in order to arrange a general election under the 1997 Constitution.
We are making this urgent appeal to you because we lack the means to tell the world that our fundamental human rights are being brutally crushed and we cannot rely on internal legal institutions to help us at this time as they have been corrupted to one degree or another. Please, please Mr. Secretary-General, do what you can to help us.

Thank you very much for your valuable time and attention.
Yours sincerely,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No justice, no peace.


Abhisit and his tyrannical gang comprised of military leaders, royalists, interest groups associated with the undisciplined Privy Council members, and the media groups may be thinking that, having suppressed the voices of the protesters, hurt the crowds, and used the legal authority to force the protest out of the scene, they have won and will be able to restore order and peace. They cannot be more wrong if they think so. Abhisit and his gang have tried to tell the citizens of Thailand and the world that the redshirts were violent mobs that needed to be eradicate and that the military did not kill anybody and to say anything opposite to the fact that has been hidden from the ignorant public's view, hoping to completely suppress the redshirt movement. The more they appear in the media as the more truths are revealed, the more redshirts will expand in size and excel in their strategies.

As of now, April 16, there's a report that some redshirts refused to yield. The propaganda that brought about hatred among ignorant Thais and the hired gangsters to hunt them, coupled with the military force that are still roaming the streets of Bangkok, may be frightening to many because there are fetal threats, but many redshirts are too determined to reach their goals to yield or stop their movement. The holidays have been extended, but can Abhisit's illegitimate tenure?

Here's a news report of the unyielding group:

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Minus red shirts, hard-core 500 refuse to quit
Wed, 15/04/2009 - 21:02
Pravit Rojanaphruk

Removing their red shirts for fear of violent reprisal and arrest, some 500 red-shirts anti-government protesters refused to quit and re-grouped at Sanam Luang and other spots like Phan Fah bridge yesterday (Tuesday) after the Government House protest site was abandoned and leaders arrested. The atmosphere was tense, distraughtful, as protesters tried to console one another not to give up their cause of overthrowing what they believed to be the elite-bureaucratic control over politics and poor people. They removed their red shirts because they have become enemy of not just the state but some Bangkok residents who were outraged at the fires and attacks unleashed by some reds since Sunday.

Some cried and sobbed while others shouted in deep anger at the military and the government. Most were distrustful of strangers whom they didn't recognise and ranted against the Thai media whom they believed to be on the government's side and haboured a deep sense of injustice against what they believed to be a double-standard treatment of them vis-a-vis the anti-Thaksin People's Alliance for Democracy's protest.

"Do ask around and see if there's anyone who doesn't hate this government" one protester told The Nation.

"No I don't hate them but I dislike the fact that there's no justice in this land," a woman answered.

"We can no longer trust the Thai media," said another. A man who claimed to be a red off-duty police officer showed his bullet-proof vest with one bullet lodged in it and claimed he was shot at on Monday by soldier.

"The government kills people!" shouted another man, as some examined pictures of what appeared to be seriously, if not fatally, injured red protesters in blood. Though protesters believed that many were killed with their bodies snatched away by the army, the government insisted that nobody was killed by the troops and the two deaths on Monday's night resulted from the reds killing two local residents in Nang Lerng area. A group of political activists and the Student Federation of Thailand (SFT) is investigating the claim the alleged deaths, however.

The Phan Fah bridge protesters, numbering around 200, were chased away by soldiers who marched past the Democracy Monument at 4pm after the group began to gather more people and after hours of verbal abuses hurled at armed soldiers. As they ran away from charging soldiers, one local resident on Rajdamnoen Avenue cursed the reds, saying their shouting about soldiers killing their comrades were bogus.

One soldier was asked if he thought the conflict which led to two deaths and 123 injuries could end.

"I think it's going to be tough because people no longer see eye to eye," he replied.

At Sanam Luang, the protesters exchanged stories about what transpired in a climate of fear, despair mixed with some hope as they tried to console one another that somehow, if they carried on the fight, they would eventually win.

Sanam Luang, their last major gathering place, became tense as 100 anti-riot police officers arrived to carry out a mopping up operation. Police told them they're breaking the Emergency Decree which barred five persons from making political gathering.

The scene was tense and pandamonius as officers stepped closer to the protesters and the unarmed protesters booed and shouted at them.

Shortly before six, many people gathered around a foreign journalist who was interviewing Army Lt Sunisa Lertpakawat who arrived to record the scene on video.

"[The Thai media] don't broadcast all the scenes of the incidents," said Sunisa, better known as Muad Jiab, and famous for her controversial books about Thaksin Shinawatra.

Sunisa shed tears as she said bullets "bought by people's tax [were used] to kill the people."

"It's not right," she said. "Thai people don't deserve these weapons."

Upon learning that the foreign journalist interviewing was also the president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, Sunisa sobbed on his left shoulder, wept and said: "Many people need your help."

"Muad Jiab is our heroine!" shouted one.

"We will not be defeated!" another exclaimed.


Freedom of speech and human rights in Thailand: A terrible joke under the Abhisit tyrannical administration

Nine new charges against Prachatai webmaster

FACT charges conspiracy against Prachatai and online freedom

Nine new charges laid against Chiranuch Premchaiporn

Chiranuch Premchaiporn, webmaster of independent Thai online news portal Prachatai, was arrested March 6 under Thailand's Computer Crimes Act. Her charges resulted from allowing comments posted by readers of Prachatai’s online discussion fora alleged to be lèse majeste.

On April 7, Chiranuch was called to Royal Thai Police headquarters for further investigation. She was accompanied by Prachatai director Chuwat Rerksirisuk and her two lawyers. Thai police laid nine new charges against Chiranuch resulting from the information she herself gave them after her arrest.

Police claim the alleged illegal postings were allowed to remain on Prachatai fora for periods of one to fifteen days. Police consider each posting to be a separate violation of the computer law even though these were removed promptly after notification by Thailand’s ICT ministry.

None of the webboard posters have been arrested. FACT considers extra charges were laid against Chiranuch for two reasons. Firstly, police waited so long that the original forum postings had been deleted from Prachatai. Therefore they could not locate the actual posters by IP address. Secondly, they had such success in securing a draconian 20-year sentence against blogger Suwicha Thakhor on April 3.

Additional charges under the cybercrime law mean that Chiranuch is facing 50 years in prison for comments she did not create. Chiranuch is facing 50 years for not self-censoring webboard posts fast enough for government censors.

Police also told Chiranuch that six more persons will be charged later this month under the computer act.

Thai government is engaged in a political conspiracy to silence independent news and free expression. Government thinks they can silence freedom activists.

If we allow Chiranuch to go undefended by our words and actions, all of us face prison for free speech. How is Thailand different from Burma?

Now, listen to a mother of a young daughter talking about the biased media in Thailand that have ganged up to silence the protesters' voices and even collectively propaganda against them.

Related links:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Did people like them deserve to be shot at?

Some faces of the redshirt protesters

Do they look like terrorists?
Do they have a potential to harm the country?
Do they carry guns or bombs?
Would they be capable of triggering a violent act against armed soldiers?

Ask yourself why Abhisit would want to get rid of these people trying to challenge his legitimacy as a PM?

Violent protesters?

Some more photos collected by Thais and the press:

Did Abhisit kill innocent Thais protesting against his premiership?

Check the following videos to see whether Abhisit killed the innocent protesters.
Attempts to hide dead bodies are also evident. สามเหลี่ยมดินแดง ทหารยิงประชาชน มีตอนทหารลากเสื้อแดง ขึ้นรถด้วย ดูมัน มันบอกมันเป็นทหารของ

Here's a short description of the killing event submitted by a cyber warrior for democracy:

Apparently, a downtown battle field sparked yesterday as the puppet government used the military troop by way of declaring the state of emergency over the area of Bangkok Metropolitan and its vicinities to specifically dissolve by force the Red-shirt protesters. Red-shirt protesters politically demand the puppet prime minister and government-entangling privy councilor head to resign.

In pictures, the troop brutally shot the Red-shirt protesters, who defended their barracks for political rally, to dead and got severe injuries, while the latter retaliated with no weapons. Not only the ordinary citizen, but also a few monks and a three-year old child were also murdered by firing bullets. Most corpses were secretly hidden, taken away and destroyed by the troop to avert any physical evidence for their committing a massacre. Up to now, nearly one hundred people were registered dead and injured, being drastically and contradictorily contrast to the government report, as saying only two persons were dead.

Some pictures exhibited the Red-shirt women kneeled themselves down with flowers in front of the soldiers while begging for their lives. Some pictures delineated the soldiers' shameful actions drawing on by dragging and yanking the hair of an unarmed woman protester.

The government also made image-smearing stories, lies and deceptions by hiring people to wear the red shirts and ordered them to create chaos and destroy public properties during the evening time in order to generate widespread civil disobedience, as if the Red-shirt protesters had done by themselves.
การ์ดไอ้มาร์คยิงเสื้อแดง ผู้รอดชีวิตเล่าเหตุการณ์

Here's an article translated by a member at prachathai from the original version in German about what he observed during the April crashes.

( Mark Teufel, Bangkok, 15.04.2009 correspondents different under co-operation) everywhere there were collisions between red shirts and the military, between yellow shirts with or without yellow shirts, which spend themselves as „indignant adjacent residents „and with sticks, swords, machetes and other notorious weapons of the PADs proceed. And also adjacent resident had surely mixed side into the groups, both on „the yellow one “and on „the red one “. And it is unclear whether humans, who wore red shirts also always to red shirts were. The situation was perfectly obscure. And that was probably left in such a way with intention.

We were in the middle in the turmoil and with own eyes observed, what happened. As in a war, the media only carefully and is late the truth to report. Therefore the description of the procedures is so important by international observers.

The two standards of the army

A trailer of the red shirts, which did not want to call its name, explained furiously: „As the people alliance for democracy (PAD) in the last year, did the army occupied the airports to nothing. Now, if the red shirts block roads, one shoots sharp. “In pictures of the BBC one could see that the soldiers did not shoot by any means only into air. In the Thai media this was concealed.

The night „of the adjacent residents“

We observed an example in the Petchaburi road, in which a mosque had been damaged allegedly by bombs by the red ones, as was stated by „the adjacent residents “. The alleged adjacent residents were however the pure mobilization. They were armed and had straight as we in addition came a poor chap abused. They held us and a journalist DAILY telegraph to make pictures. They controlled traffic and stopped individual taxis, because most taxi drivers are the trailer of Thaksin. They acted like an armed citizen resistance, which amuses itself by power.

A Thai colleague became a witness, like a trailer of the yellow shirts a weapon fired (he was not safe whether purposefully against red shirts) and called: „No fear has the PADs “and „we to fight against the red ones “. In such a way attacked red ones are to have shot back on which the pure chaos broke out. A Thai reporter, who did not want to be called however, explained to our correspondent: „I know these faces. I often saw it on PAD demonstrations. There are definitely PAD people “.

All shots, which we noticed, came from the side „of the adjacent residents “, not from the opposing side of the red shirts. Humans with red shirts again burned a bus and threw stones and other articles. The red ones before place were in terms of figures „for the adjacent residents “underlaid, who then later named also from them „lazy Thai police “in such a way cooperated. The Thai police had control at no time. Since it was back held in the last year with its procedure against the yellow shirts by one „invisible hand “and thereupon even by courts one had attacked, they are no more order-keeping power.

One had the impression that armed elements of the PADs undertook aimed provocations again and again, in order to represent the red ones as violent, even acts committed, which were then attributed to the red shirts. In addition, the red shirts seemed to leave free run to their annoyance. Over months the restraint taken place had been put down in the course of the Ester , which on the beginning of the Buddhist New Year fell at the same time. However we could hardly observe that they began with acts of violence. They defend themselves, if they are attacked, exactly the same as it us the 41jährige red shirt leader Jakrapob Penkair in an interview had predicted.

At 6 o'clock the red ones at the government buildings had been encircled in the morning by military and police. They left an exit open to also make this possible and those, which wanted to go, - however at the risk to run later the trailer of the yellow shirts into the armed arms. It seemed only to be approx. 2000 to 3000 red shirts in the buildings, among them many women with their children from the whole country.

The leaders of the red shirts had blamed the rioters, who had attacked other humans without to have been attacked and burnt the buses, as gangsters, who would not have anything to do with the red shirts. One had never heard such expressions of the yellow shirts of the PADs. „We do not know , who dressed toward end of everything a red T-Shirt, in order to be able to run the riot, but we that we said to our trailers to only defend itself. “Veera Musikapong in a short statement said. To the question, why the red shirts would then have broken in into the congress hotel in Pattaya, it answered: „The security forces did not want to undertake anything against the murders of the blue shirts. They hurt one of our friends shot, another heavily, are partly blind and crippled 112 because of stone throws and Zwillenschüssen in critical state and will be. Therefore we did not have other choice to protect ourselves. The storm on the hotel was the answer to the underhanded assaults of the blue shirts, under which soldiers hid themselves to a large extent. “

The hidden dead ones

The statements of the army that they have only shot onetime with blank cartridges are disproved by pictures of the BBC. If one uses blank cartridge with a normal Flash suppressor, one must reload after each shot. The soldiers did not reload however. In addition and they shot purposeful.

A red shirt, which spent itself in relation to the nation as a policeman, showed its bulletproof waistcoat, in which a ball was, from which it stated, it originates from the weapons of the soldiers. In addition eye-witnesses reported of many shot wounds and also dead ones. Therefore consolidates itself the assumption that the army, as already in the past, which eliminated victims. In at least one case a reported witness, who was however not ready to call their names or to be photographed that soldiers 6 said, others 8 dead bodies on army vice loaded and to have removed. The UDD takes into account altogether over 20 dead ones on side of the red shirts. In those which were killed by blue shirts and yellow shirts, are included.

The tactical retreat

In the course of the night 14, the tensions continued to increase April. The military refused delegates of the parliament, who wanted to persuade the demonstrators for the task of the FE storage, the entrance. The army approached ever more the core of the demonstrators. Against 22:30 clock to explains Chatuporn Promphan to protect one the leader (UDD, red shirts) that it wants to place itself to the police, in order the life and the health of its trailers. Against 23:00 clock requests Veera Musikapong the demonstrators to go home and explained that the leaders would place themselves to the police. The force authors, who would have kidnapped and into fire would have been penalty or humans would have attacked, are not criminals and it red shirts were, also if they had carried red shirts. „Our demonstrators demonstrated peacefully. “Red shirts would have only defended themselves, if they were attacked.

At the same time we heard not to want not to give up from Khon Kaen, in the northeast of the country that a group about 100 talk there ski RTS a stage constructed, and . Similar reports, but still unconfirmed, arrive from other provincial towns.

Tuesday evening explained Jakrapob Penkair opposite Mark devil: „Some leaders of the UDD decided to place itself to the police in order to prevent further blood pouring and killings from red shirts to. I decided not to place me but I will continue to work straight now for the movement. I am on the way to a safe place. From there out I will continue to lead the movement. I call all supporters not to be discouraged because this was only round 1. “


It would have probably never come to this escalation, if it had not given the murders of the blue shirts, which sat down most probably mostly from disguised safety forces together, to Pattaya and the shots to the army in Bangkok. And then the acts of violence of the Mobs, which calls itself “adjacent residents “. Upon the comparison with the events forces itself into the 1970er year , and right, nationalistic organizations, which at that time for example Navapol and talk Gaur were called, which carried dirty work out, which supplied the pretext, the democracy movement to switch off. This time there was the yellow shirts and the blue shirts, which supplied the pretext.

It was an error of many red shirts to deal with the provocations. Even if there were dead ones and many hurt ones, the movement has might itself not let to carry away to this kind of reaction. They probably did this in over-estimation of their support in the safety forces, which was not sufficient however obviously for obedience opposite the superiors.

The red shirts will playful have also abroad much reliability, since the procedure of their opponents was too skillful, and who locally did not experience the provocations, primarily the red shirts as violent demonstrators in memory one keeps. In particular also, because the English-language press, and in particular the T nation permit here things to write, which let stand an observer the hair to mountains to certain editors, which will not remain however for outstanding ones without impression. The UDD believes in a fast resurrection, but looks rather like calculated optimism. Their fight against the Phu Yais, the godfathers of Thailand, as Jakrapob Penkair sees it, is only again once for months if not years back-thrown.

The kind of the prosecution will become interesting. How we know, it gives to today still no judgement against the leaders of unrests in the last year, which had been caused by the yellow shirts.

A snap shot of the Thai political development in recent years

Aljazeera, on April 14, 2009, presented an interview of experts on Thai politics.

It would also be helpful to read an article from Straits Times

Thais on the brink, again – Michael J. Montesano
APRIL 13 – Media coverage of last Saturday’s disruption of the Asean summit in Pattaya focused on two dimensions of the shocking event.

On the one hand, the press noted that the abrupt termination of the meeting represented a setback not just for Asean but also for the region. Plans to deepen regional cooperation were scuttled, at least for now.

On the other hand, the press asked how long the government of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva can survive last Saturday’s debacle. In the past three years, waves of street protests, such as those mounted by red-shirted supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in recent weeks, have helped wash away several Thai premiers. It thus makes sense to wonder whether Abhisit will be next.

But Thailand has entered a period far more momentous than either of these two dimensions of the media coverage suggests. A range of evidence indicates that the country is on the brink of a revolutionary situation. In this context, the fate of the Abhisit government represents a minor consideration.

First, observers of Thai politics have long suspected the involvement of Privy Council president General Prem Tinasulanon in the September 2006 coup that drove Thaksin from power.

But the latter’s decision in his March 27 phone-in to a red-shirt rally in Bangkok to cite Gen Prem by name as an instigator of the 2006 putsch broke new ground.

Thaksin’s supporters have since followed up by calling for the resignation of Gen Prem and two other members of the Thai monarch’s Privy Council.

The directness of this attack on royal councillors has little or no precedent in recent Thai history. It is tantamount to a challenge of the “network monarchy” through which Thailand’s current sovereign has played such an active role in the government of his country over the past three or four decades.

World history shows attacks against courtiers serve, more often than not, as mere cover for attacks on the royal institutions themselves.

Second, after months of such quiet that many in Thailand had thought that the red-shirt movement had run its course, the events of the past two weeks have revealed an effective and sophisticated organisation.

That organisation now has the initiative, not only in the capital Bangkok but apparently across much of provincial Thailand.

Press coverage of last weekend’s demonstrations has left unexplored the bases of this organisation and its network of local cells. It has failed to follow up on red-shirt claims to have blocked roads, surrounded provincial halls and mounted protests across northern and north-eastern Thailand.

The current upheaval seems to extend far, far beyond the tourist town of Pattaya and a couple of neighbourhoods of the Thai capital.

Third, Thai military forces made no meaningful effort to defend the Pattaya venue of the Asean summit. Did the army’s chain of command fail on Saturday? Was the Thai military too divided to act? Was its leadership willing cynically to incur the national humiliation of a disrupted summit in order to have a pretext to move violently against the red shirts?

The answers are not clear. But none of these possibilities offers reassurance, especially when there are indications that the Thai police feel they were so ill-used by the yellow-shirted members of the anti-Thaksin People’s Alliance for Democracy late last year that many among their ranks now sympathise with the red shirts.

Finally, neither an election nor a mediated process of reconciliation is likely to resolve Thailand’s present revolutionary situation. A free election will return Thaksinites to power, thus provoking his enemies all over again; an unfree election will only stir the red shirts into more intense opposition to the prevailing order.

Prospects for reconciliation in the interests of the national good are also slim. The figure to whom all Thais look for national reconciliation – the respected King Bhumibol Adulyadej – seems too ill to step in.

The success of Thaksin and his partisans in seizing the political initiative and openly challenging the “network monarchy” must not blind us to his own tawdry record. It must not lead us to overlook the fact that principle, rather than mere attachment to privilege or power, motivates at least some of his opponents.

One cannot know what the outcome of the ongoing back-room deliberations of those opponents will be. The Thai military may yet use violence against the red shirts. This may require it to mount crackdowns not only in Bangkok but also across much of provincial Thailand.

At best, such an effort will bring temporary quiet. At worst, it may exacerbate divisions among Thailand’s soldiers and policemen, leading to Thais spilling the blood of fellow Thais.

But revolutions need not be violent. The revolutionary situation on the brink of which the country now seems to stand can lead to a new Thailand, one in which there is room for all Thais to participate constructively.

It may well be a Thailand in which the monarch, post-King Bhumibol, and the military play less central roles than those to which Thais have grown accustomed over the past half-century.

In many ways, the real significance of Saturday’s debacle at Pattaya may lie in its prompting Asian leaders, along with the rest of us, to anticipate the process of revolutionary change on which Thailand now seems to have embarked. – The Straits Times


Monday, April 13, 2009

An explanation of Thai politics: "A Coup for the Rich"

For those with little background knowledge about Thai politics, you should read this to understand what has happened in Thailand since 2006 that eventually led to the Redshirt phenomenon.

Download here.

Download the file from the link above.

Brutality of the charming Abhisit, the military gang, and their allies

Thai military under the command of the Abhisit government shamelessly violated the nation's constitution and human rights by employing troops armed with heavy weapons to brutally charge the empty-handed crowds comprised of men, women and even chldren at the dawn of April 13, a national holiday in Thailand, while dictating all the mainstream media not to report any truthful accounts and worse to conjure a feeling of hatred against the innocent redshirts among all Thais. A single picture speaks more than a thousand words.


Apparently, a downtown battle field sparked yesterday as the puppet government used the military troop by way of declaring the state of emergency over the area of Bangkok area and its outskirts to specifically dissolve by force the Red-shirt protesters. Red-shirt protesters politically demand the puppet prime minister and government-entangling privy councillor head to resign.

In pictures, the troop brutally shot the Red-shirt protesters who protected their barracks for political rally to dead and to get injured, while the latter fought back free hand. Not only the people, a few monks were also killed. Most corpses were kept and destroyed by the troop to avert the evidence. Up to now, nearly one hundred people were registered dead and injured, being drastically contrast to the government report, as saying only two were dead.

Some pictures showed the Red-shirt women put themselves on knee with flowers before the soldiers to beg for life. Some pictures delineated the shameful action of the soldiers drawing on by force the hairs of the unarmed woman protester.

The government also made an image-smearing story by hiring people to put on red shirt and dictated them to destroy the civil and public properties in the evening as if the Red-shirt protesters had made. (Alchemist, prachathai)

'Managed democracy' just doesn't work

The Thailand Lesson
'Managed democracy' just doesn't work

From today's Wall Street Journal Asia, April 14, 2009
Some Asian leaders like to argue that "managed democracy," where elections are held but old elites and the military really call the shots, is best. To see just how well that works, look no further than Thailand, where the petrol bombs of mob rule have been added to the mix.

APIs this the way to democracy?
Yesterday, military police opened fire on antigovernment protesters in Bangkok. At least 79 people were wounded and one killed in that and other incidents. The same protest group charged into a regional summit in Pattaya on Saturday, forcing Asian dignitaries -- including Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso -- to escape via helicopter. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared a state of emergency Sunday. Bangkok has come to a virtual standstill.

The chaos could not come at a worse time for one of Asia's most important economies, and a country which has been taking fitful but determined steps toward democracy for many years now. Mob action is unlikely to advance that cause, but some of the protest, at least, is rooted in genuine frustration. Thais re-elected Thaksin Shinawatra to a second term as their leader in 2005, only to see him overthrown by a military coup the following year. The military-backed government held genuine elections in 2007 and again, Thai voters elected Mr. Thaksin's allies. Last year, that government was overthrown after violent street protests, airport occupations and controversial legal rulings that hobbled Mr. Thaksin's party and political allies.

Many of the so-called "red shirt" protestors on the streets today say they want a return to democracy. Their demands include dissolving the current government and restoring Thailand's pro-democracy 1997 constitution. Jakrapob Penkair, a protest leader, told us by telephone yesterday that "Abhisit's government as we see it is the fruit of a troubled structure. If we don't go to the trouble of resolving it structurally, we will have the same vicious cycle." Undermining the rule of law, however, is an odd way to try to save it.

Despite his best efforts to avoid conflict, Mr. Abhisit is caught in a political corner. A military crackdown endangers his own government's sagging popularity. But he can't easily command popular authority because he himself didn't come to power in an entirely democratic fashion, having been elected by Parliament on the back of protests that brought the country to a standstill. Yesterday he said on national television that he ordered the state of emergency "not to create fear or put pressure or to harm any group of people. It's a step by step process to restore order and stop violence."

More at:

Thaksin at BBC on the protest

Some pictures to comfirm the brutality of the Abhisit government and Thai military leaders

Please note that this link has been blocked by the Thailand ICT Ministry. You could, howeve, use a proxy site to view it. I am having no trouble accessing it in the U.S.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Open Letter To Barack H. Obama

Open Letter
To Barack H. Obama
The 44th President of the United States

Yours Excellency:

Firstly we, Thai people in red shirt, believe that your political concepts building from the great national founders of the United States of America. The most famous part of Abraham Lincoln speech is the "government of the people - by the people - for the people". You also delivered your historic acceptance speech of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on August 28, 1963 that “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal", where hundreds of thousands of people came to Washington, D.C. They came to march for jobs, and for freedom, and for equality.

Please look onto Thai Democracy development, The Thai Revolution of 1932 or the Siamese Coup d'état of 1932 was a bloodless transition on the 24 June 1932, which the system of government in Thai was changed from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Since then the fake democracy have been developed by the elite and military who playing a role more than 16 times in toppling governments until now. Many times military suppresses Thai activists and students that requesting for freedom and real democracy. In the October 14, 1973 period, 77 people were killed and 857 wounded. On October 6, 1976, around 500 were killed and 11,000 arrested. In May 1992 period, 52 people were killed, many disappearances, hundreds of injuries, and over 3,500 arrested. Many of those arrested were tortured.

It has been widely reported in Thailand and global news that General Prem Tinsulanont, Privy Council head, who had made a fake democracy for long and backing the current government now, was politically naked. Before The 2006 Thailand coup, he had rally set his speaking at military institutes to against the elected government. Then he also was a person backing the yellow-shirted people that starting anti-government, led by Sondhi Limthongkul as a news media, whose missions were to overthrow the Thaksin government. As followed, General Sonti Boonyaratklin staged a coup d'état against the elected government of caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Then Constitution Law of 1997 had been replaced by the new ones of 2007. It means that fake democracy now legitimated and executed on the path of the conspiracy of political evil-elite network, formed by elite’s royalist, military, Democrat party, media and some academics. Political turmoil had continued since the leaders of the coup returned the country to democracy early last year and Mr. Thaksin’s supporters were voted back into office as Samak government. Therefore, Sondhi again, as a leader of anti-government protesters, started to protest and seized Government House, attacked NBT TV station, blocked Parliament Meeting, attacked the Police Head Office of Bangkok, and blocked trains and Bangkok seaport, and finally turning to be PAD terrorist, seized Suvarnaphumi International Airport and Bangkok Airport. It is surprisingly that no proceed on legal has been resulted for penalty yet. The network overthrew Samak and Somchai governments by any means (including the injustice court rulings), and help setting up the current coalition government nastily, through military intervention. That is 77 years for our fake democracy since the first coup.

On April 8, 2009, The March, more than 100,000 people, on Bangkok calling for democracy was the largest gathering of red-shirt protesters in Thailand's history. What we protest is that we are not accepted the "government of the political evil-elite network - by military - for the political evil-elite network ". Even though we, Thai people in red shirt, believe that the method of nonviolent resistance to government is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice, freedom and equality. But it may turn to the people revolution in Thailand if the people could not endure to injustices and economic conditions.

We urge US government as representative of American people who adore true democracy to support our democracy and social justice in Thailand. Since all events in killing the Thai people said above are surprisingly legitimacy in Thailand, but Thai political and military men said that was internal affairs. And now 7 people were killed this morning. So, Thailand needs change. The support of your Excellency shall be highly appreciated.

Yours Excellency, we remain

Thai people in Red-Shirt Groups for Democracy
13 April 2009

AlJazeera broadcast clearly showed soldiers firing at ground level - not into the air.

Please Help Us!: Listen to a female voice of Thai about the oppressive acts of Abhisit adminstration and the ignorance from the mainstream media

The lady also speaks in English.

"You come here and find the bullets. You are the fact finders, right?," she addressed the distorted media.

Here's the link to the youtube video

Please Help Us
Violent clashes on the streets of Bangkok

Thailand's army has begun an operation to remove anti-government protesters blocking the centre of the capital Bangkok, sparking violent clashes.

Jonathan Steele on Abhisit's useless charm

Less charm, more action

Thailand's prime minister may have charmed Gordon Brown, but he has yet to make an impact on the nation's real problems

Jonathan Steele, Sunday 29 March 2009 13.00 BST

Forget Gordon Brown's recent love-in with Barack Obama in Washington. What about his extraordinarily intense relationship with Thailand's new prime minister? Brown first met him in Davos in January, invited him to next week's G20 conference in London and, if that wasn't enough, hosted him a fortnight ago in Downing Street. Three encounters in three months. Not bad for a man in power for barely a hundred days.

It helps, of course, that Abhisit Vejjajiva is an Anglophile, born in Britain, educated at Eton and with a first-class degree from Oxford. His brains and international sophistication – unique for a Thai prime minister – have made him the darling of Bangkok's diplomats while his fierce opposition to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who fled last year to avoid imprisonment, delights most of the urban middle class.

But Abhisit faces an uphill struggle in wooing investors as the world recession intensifies. The country's image lies in tatters. First came a military coup in 2006, a throwback to a pre-globalisation era. Last year, in spite of the restoration of civilian rule, increasing polarisation led to months of demonstrations by "yellow shirts" v "red shirts" which culminated in the occupation of government house and Bangkok's airports – blatant crimes for which no-one has been charged. Then came a judicial coup, with the courts banning the then prime minister and over a hundred other politicians, thereby paving the way for Abhisit to be voted into power by a rump parliament.

Are the roots of the crisis economic or political? Globalisation has increased the gap between the country's still huge rural population and the cities in spite of Thaksin's welfare reforms. Landing in Bangkok, you see well-watered paddy fields glinting in the sunlight, but drive two hours east and vast acreages lie fallow in the dry season, their farmers unable to afford irrigation. Thousands of others have lost their land to forestry projects, dam-building, or gas pipelines.

Thaksin, who was the first man to complete a full term and be re-elected, mobilised the rural population. Yet his much-needed pro-poor policies and welfare subsidies did not cut into the lifestyle of Bangkok's middle class. The city's spacious and tasteful shopping centres make Bond Street and Oxford Street look crowded and tatty. What turned many in Bangkok against Thaksin was his media manipulation and political bullying while the old elite, rooted in royalism, the military, and an ossified civil service hated his challenge to their power.

Chaiwat Satha-Anand, a political scientist at Thammasat University, describes Thaksin's system as "authoritarian democracy". He was elected fairly by people who "could vote a government in but not influence the ways in which it governs". In office, Thaksin increasingly monopolised decision-making, controlled TV, and enriched himself and his friends. By contrast, Thailand's previous system, restored by the 2006 military coup, is "democratic authoritarianism" in which civil rights are granted as long as they don't threaten the country's traditional rulers. Others describe Thaksin as an ideologically confusing mixture of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Italy's businessman-politician Silvio Berlusconi.

Satha-Anand as well as a leading human rights lawyer, Somchai Homlaor, say political violence under Thaksin was unprecedented. Thousands were murdered by the police and army in a "war on drugs". Environmental activists disappeared, and an insurgency by the Muslim minority in southern Thailand was met with massive repression. "The culture of impunity, especially in the police, is very strong. No government even now can bring them to justice", Homlaor argues.

Thaksin's beneficial economic record cannot be undone, and Abhisit is keeping most of his programmes, including giving cheques to millions of low-income families as part of a stimulus package. The former prime minister's political shadow still looms. Claiming his trial was politically motivated and flawed, he still addresses rallies by phone from abroad. His remaining MPs are planning a no-confidence motion in Abhisit and want amnesty for all banned politicians (mainly their colleagues).

Yet after the turmoil of the last 30 months the country's politics seem to have relaxed. A pro-Thaksin rally that I watched in Bangkok last month felt ritualistic and good-natured rather than angry. (Another one yesterday seems to have been similar in tone). The protesters did not try to storm government house, so as to keep the moral high ground compared with the anti-Thaksin People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) behaviour last year. Now the PAD is discussing whether to abandon street politics and become a party, a move which could split the anti-Thaksin vote when elections are called.

Homlaor takes an optimistic view. Although recent events tarnished the image of Thais as "soft smiling people", he believes there is greater restraint than in his student days "when protesters rushed to gun-shops to be able to fire on the police". Only ten have died in political violence since 2006 compared to much larger numbers in the turmoil of 1973, 1976, and 1992. The coup of 2006 lasted little more than a year. "We've created a norm that the military will not seize and retain power, and a politician will not become a dictator under a parliamentary system", he says.

There is increasing debate about Thailand's biggest taboo, the role of the monarchy, and the draconian lese-majeste laws which criminalise critics. "The King favours the other side, but we can't say that. They'll put us in gaol. We call him the invisible hand", a middle-aged woman on the pro-Thaksin march told me.

Kavi Chongkittavorn of the Bangkok paper the Nation highlights a paradox that runs against China's paradigm of a controlled press and an increasingly free web. In Thailand, he says, "while the printed and general media environment is pretty free, filtering of the internet is on the rise, judging from the numbers of blocked and shut websites". The authorities claim they contained pornography or insulted the monarchy, but Chongkittavorn says only about 100 of the 4,800 shut sites were pornographic. The rest dealt with the monarchy and "most were just disapproving, nothing serious".

Where does this leave Abhisit, as he strives to present a modern face to the world? The Bangkok pundits point out that his government shut over 2000 websites, angering young middle-class Thais. They applaud his promise to revive the stalled investigation of one of the most prominent abuses under Thaksin, the police abduction of a well-known human rights lawyer. But until the killers are brought to justice it is too early to know if official impunity is ending. Abhisit has talked of improving the way the lese-majeste laws are "interpreted", a phrase he used in a Financial Times interview. This sounds like interfering in the administration of justice rather than persuading parliament to soften or scrap the law.

Thailand's economic recession is as serious as every other country's. Gordon Brown may be enamoured by Abhisit's efforts on that front. But most Thais know their prime minister's control over global financial forces is limited. Changing Thailand's standards of governance is the area where he could make an impact – provided he has the will.

The charmer making a mess of his country

The charmer making a mess of his country

The Prime Minister of Thailand, best friends at Eton with Boris Johnson, is presiding over a chaotic and callous regimeRichard Lloyd Parry
However indignant you felt about him, and the calamitous mess over which he presides, it would be impossible ever to throw a shoe at a man such as Abhisit Vejjajiva. Among his peers, the new Prime Minister of Thailand challenges even Barack Obama for the title of World's Most Decent Leader.

As a young politician, he was a heart-throb among middle-aged Bangkok matrons. At Eton, where he was known by the name “Mark Vejj”, he was best friends with Boris Johnson. He is handsome, youthful, brilliant, cosmopolitan, impeccably well mannered and rather posh. So when he gives a speech at his old university, Oxford, tomorrow, it is safe to assume that the audience at St John's College will be keeping its brogues securely laced.

But Mr Abhisit's charm should not be a distraction from ugly truths about what is happening in Thailand. In the past four years, it has gone from being one of the most free and stable countries of South-East Asia to one of its most chaotic and divided. Writers, academics and journalists have been imprisoned or hounded into exile for harmless comment on Thailand's monarchy. Helpless boat people have been chased out to sea to their deaths. Democratically elected governments have been forced out, first by the army and then by the power of the mob.

All of this has been done with the approval - sometimes passive, sometimes explicit - of the nice Mr Abhisit. The title of his talk at St John's tomorrow, “Taking on the Challenges of Democracy”, could not be more appropriate, for Thailand's leader is indeed democratically challenged. Rarely since the days of Dr Faustus has a gifted and promising man achieved power through such grubby and disreputable means.

Profile: Abhisit Vejjajiva
Vejjajiva vows to sweep nation clean
Old Etonian is new Thai Prime Minister
Thai Premier defies protests for maiden speech
Since Mr Abhisit became the leader of the Democrat Party in 2005, there have been two general elections in Thailand. He boycotted the first one in 2006, which was won, for the third time in a row, by the man at the centre of 21st-century Thai politics, Thaksin Shinawatra. His next electoral test came in 2007, when he was defeated decisively. The greatest “challenge” of democracy for Mr Abhisit has been as simple as that - whenever they have been given a chance to elect him, Thai voters have chosen someone else.

Thaksin represents another challenge: a profoundly unsavoury politician who is adored by the majority of his own people. As Prime Minister, he used his great wealth to political and personal advantage (last year he and his wife were convicted in absentia of a multimillion-pound property cheat). In southern Thailand he ordered a brutal campaign against Islamic insurgents which left scores of innocent people dead.

Thaksin's version of the war on drugs was to license the police to execute without trial anyone they suspected of being a dealer. But for all of this, he changed for the better the lives of millions of rural Thais.

His cheap healthcare programme gave the poorest people access to affordable medical treatment for the first time ever. A micro-credit scheme allowed many villagers to lift themselves out of subsistence level poverty. But the majority of Thais chose him as their leader, time and again - and after he was forced into exile, and then criminally convicted, they have gone on voting for his political heirs and supporters.

By contrast Mr Abhisit owes his job, not to the will of his people, but to the support of powerful friends - and even they have required a comically large number of attempts to propel their boy to power. First there was the army, which drove Mr Thaksin into exile in a bloodless coup in 2006. Over the course of a year, the generals convened an assembly of tame delegates who rewrote the country's constitution to give Mr Abhisit a better chance of winning. To imagine the election which followed in footballing terms: the Democrat Party was playing downhill, against a team without a striker, in a game refereed by one of their dads. And still Thaksin's side won.

At this point, Mr Abhisit was helped out by a new and sinister force in Thailand - the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD). At times he has had the decency to appear slightly embarrassed by this mob of yellow-shirted anti-Thaksin activists, led by a rich media owner and apparently supported by the Thai Queen. What exactly the PAD believes in is not easy to pin down, but at heart they want to strip the vote from those silly people who can't be trusted not to vote for Thaksin's side.

When they don't get their way, they resort to force, occupying first the Prime Minister's office and then Bangkok's international airport last year, in chaotic scenes that were broadcast across the world.

The Democrats have never employed such tactics themselves, but they have benefited from them. After the latest pro-Thaksin Government was forced from power by a court ruling last year, they formed a Government by jumping into bed not only with PAD supporters, but even former Thaksin cronies, under the watchful supervision of the army. Mr Abhisit might argue that these were political compromises necessary so that a decent man could finally get his hands on the levers of government. But in the three months since he became Prime Minister, he has come to look more like the puppet than the master of those who hoisted him to power.

A series of disgraceful incidents have made it harder than ever to understand what has happened to the liberalism for which he used to stand. In January, the Thai military beat up and set adrift some 1,000 boat people from Burma, scores of whom died at sea. Journalists and academics continue to be arrested and imprisoned under Thailand's Kafakaesque lèse-majesté law, under which a prison sentence of 12 years can be imposed for dispraise of the Thai King and his family.

At times, it has looked as if someone in power is consciously making a fool of Mr Abhisit - such as the speech he gave last week about the importance of media freedom, which was followed a few hours later by the arrest of the webmaster of an independent website.

Thailand is no Zimbabwe or China, and by comparison with most of their Asian neighbours, Thais are blessedly free and prosperous. But it has the alarming air of a democracy lurching into reverse and out of control, in which familiar freedoms are flying out of the window with unpredictable speed. It is all the more painful that this should be happening under a leader of such obvious talent, a man with all the qualifications except the essential one - democratic legitimacy.

Richard Lloyd Parry is Asia editor of The Times

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/04/08 06:39:50 GMT


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Abhisit's Profile at BBC

Profile: Abhisit Vejjajiva
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is the English-born, Oxford-educated 44-year-old leader of Thailand's Democrat Party.

Young and photogenic, though not known as particularly dynamic, he has a reputation for "clean politics".

Distinctly upper-class, Mr Abhisit hails from a wealthy family of Thai-Chinese origin. Both his parents were medical professors.

He was born in the British city of Newcastle in 1964 and educated at England's top public school, Eton. He then went on to gain a degree in politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) at Oxford University.

Mr Abhisit's support is drawn mainly from southern Thailand and from Bangkok's educated middle-classes. He has had less success in attracting the support of working class and rural Thais.

In 1992, Mr Abhisit joined Thailand's oldest party, the Democrats and, at the age of 27, entered parliament as one of its youngest ever members. Having tried and failed to become party leader in 2001, he eventually got the post in 2005.

Championing a raft of populist policies, Mr Abhisit campaigned under the slogan "Putting People First".

The Democratic Party has failed to win power at recent national elections but in December 2008, a Constitutional Court ruling removed from power the government led by allies of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Amid the turmoil of the airport blockade caused by anti-Thaksin protesters, a few Thaksin loyalists changed sides. This enabled Mr Abhisit to form a new government and become the next prime minister without calling elections.

The Democrats are not openly allied to one group of protesters or the other, but in the past the party has been closely associated with elements of the People's Alliance for Democracy, whose protests helped depose Mr Thaksin and his allies.

Mr Abhisit has been criticised for his choice of foreign minister, Kasit Piromya - an open supporter of the PAD movement and its airport blockade.

Anti-corruption platform

While not entirely ditching the liberal reforms of "Thaksinomics" - a term used to refer to the economic set of policies of the exiled former leader - he has argued for a more statist approach.

Among other things, Mr Abhisit has advocated free healthcare, a higher minimum wage, and free education, textbooks and milk for nursery-school children.

He has also been a consistent campaigner against corruption.

When Mr Thaksin called a snap election in February 2006, Mr Abhisit's campaign pitch was that he was "prepared to become a prime minister who adheres to the principle of good governance and ethics, not authoritarianism".

Later that year, he opposed the military when it overthrew Mr Thaksin in a coup.

"We cannot and do not support any kind of extra-constitutional change, but it is done. The country has to move forward and the best way forward is for the coup leaders to quickly return power to the people and carry out the reforms they promised," he said at the time.

The patrician also said he expected high standards of probity from his party and any government he led.

Going beyond the current transparency rules for Thai MPs, he said he would require all future Democrat Party representatives to declare their assets and any involvement in private companies. Currently, those measures apply only to cabinet members.


Before entering parliament, Mr Abhisit had a brief academic career. After Oxford, he taught at Thailand's Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy.

Later, he returned to Oxford to study for a Master's degree. He then taught economics at Thammasat University before studying law at Ramkhamhaeng University.

Mr Abhisit's family is a circle of accomplished individuals. One of his two sisters is a professor of child psychology, while the other is a leading Thai author.

Mr Abhisit's wife is a dentist-turned-mathematics lecturer at Chulalongkorn University. They have two children.

Among the chinks in the Abhisit armour are his failure, so far, to win the popular vote and the impression that his good looks tend to outshine his sometimes rather bland political pronouncements.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/04/08 06:39:50 GMT


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Lesson 1: Learning Grammar Through Conversations

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