High tension in Thailand: August, 2006 news

Foot-dragging in 'nominee' probe smacks of conspiracy - The Nation, August 31, 2006
You might have thought you misheard him, but caretaker Finance Minister Thanong Bidaya obviously meant every word he uttered when he said that foreign investors employing "nominees" to effectively break the 49-per-cent limit on ownership in Thai companies was a "traditionally okay thing to do"...
"Watch VCD of police interview of Lt Thawatchai Klinchana" - The Nation, August 30, 2006

We don't know lawyer in VCD : Thawatchai's family - The Nation, August 29, 2006
TRT plan to gather 1 million supporters 'needs explaining' - The Nation, August 24, 2006

TRT 'will bring millions to city' - The Nation, August 29, 2006

Interior Minister expects security chaos before general election
- TNA, August 28, 2006

PM 'wants chums in key army posts'
- Bangkok Post, August 29, 2006

Front pages - August 30, 2006

Daily News, August 30. 2006

Photo: Soldier examines a bomb crater in the deep south

Top: Privy councilor suggests government officials to make Thailand clean

Middle: Sumej supports the power person to relinquish [Dr.Sumej Tantivetchakun, head of several foundations, supports the move for Thaksin to leave politics]

Bottom: The owner of a cattle pen was killed in the Eucalyptus forest of a former minister

Khao Sod, August 29, 2006

Photo caption (right): August 28 - The parts of a bomb that a mysterious person placed near Siam Commercial Bank, Sirinthorn branch, near Thaksin's house. It was found with a letter that criticizes Thaksin strongly. The police believed this was to add to the turmoil.

Matichon, August 29, 2006

Photo caption (left): Turmoil in the city - August 28 - The officers investigate the suspicious thing looks like a bomb near Siam Commercial Bank, Sirinthorn Branch, Kwaeng Bang Bumru, Bangplad district, Bangkok near Soi Jaradlap that can link to the entrance of PM Thaksin's house. After investigation, it is found to be a fake bomb to deceive people.


News analysis: Thai democracy: Who threatens it? - The New York Times, August 27, 2006

[The lack of understanding in the U.S. of what has happened in Thailand in the last few years is demonstrated by the necessity for an article like this. Most of the US-based media organizations and analysts who initially sided with Thaksin as standing up for democracy or who declared that Thaksin's call for new elections had solved the political crisis are now slowly getting a clearer picture of what is going on.]

..."It's not true that Thaksin represents genuine democracy and overthrowing him in the streets is unacceptable," said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University. "I think democracy is nuance; it's subtle and has to be contextualized. Just because you have someone coming along and winning elections is not tantamount to having democratic rule..."
Thaksin's aggressive use of power and the uprising against him have set the country on an uncertain course stretching the limits of the constitution and, as Thaksin said, threatening democracy.
"My fear is that we will emerge out of this crisis many months from now so bruised and so bloody that we'll be unrecognizable," Thitinan, the political scientist, said.
A question that many opponents of Thaksin, as well as those of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who succeeded Estrada, fail to ask is what would come next if their elected leaders were overthrown, sidestepping the democratic process.
In the Philippines, Arroyo is the product of people power. Yet she has disappointed the public, so she in turn has become the target of people who want to push her from office.

The ghosts of violence - Bangkok Post, August 25, 2006
...As is well known, quite a few survivors of the Oct 6 crackdown now serve in the inner core of the TRT party. One of them, the caretaker PM's secretary-general, Prommin Lertsuridej, came out almost in tears to beg every party, October veterans in both the government and People's Alliance for Democracy camps in particular, to try to refrain from violence, to reach for one another and stay in unity.
What an absurd call. This country _ or any in this world _ has never really been unified under any single umbrella. People are different, holding on to different ideologies, faiths and preferences. The way to co-exist together in peace is through tolerance _ to agree to disagree _ not through banging the heads of people who disagree with you until they become silent and you gain a phony appearance of ''unity''...

More violence predicted - The Nation, August 21, 2006
Opponents vow to keep on hounding PM; supporters warn of 'terrible' happenings...
Broadcasters gag themselves - The Nation, August 21, 2006
Banned garland sellers 'in need of help' - The Nation, August 21, 2006
..."Selling garlands is a legal and honest job. There should be some conditions or solutions made available to them while they are barred from the streets and prevented from making money," she added.
She said child immigrants had taken many jobs available in Chiang Mai from Thai children and teenagers, with most gas station attendants now Burmese youths.
Chaiphan Praphasawat, director of the Communities' Rights Foundation, said government agencies had exploited the fact that the floral exhibition was regarded as an event to mark His Majesty the King's 60 years on the throne, making critics reluctant to criticise what had been done to garland sellers.

Interference by politicians leave armed forces in turmoil: inspector-general - The Nation, August 20, 2006

Banharn 'to return as premier' - The Nation, August 19, 2006
...A key member of the Thai Rak Thai Party said Thaksin might try to reduce the political pressure on him by forming a coalition government with Banharn's Chat Thai Party. He would then offer Banharn the post of prime minister during the period of political reform expected after the election.
... This strategy is one of the three options drawn up by the Thaksin camp. Another is for Thaksin to ignore public protests against him and stay on as prime minister following a Thai Rak Thai victory at the polls.
The last option is for Thaksin to step aside and hand over the premiership to Chidchai Vanasatidya, Bhokin Bhalakula or Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, the source said...

The stompings: "6 October Paragon" - August 28, 2006

Recently Thaksin has taken to traveling in Bangkok with dozens of plainclothes men who attack and kick people who shout abuse at him in public. Oddly enough, these men all wear identical white shoes.

Right: Cover of Matichon's weekly magazine: 6 October Paragon
Matichon
's weekly news magazine last week was headlined with the bloody face of one of those attacked and the headline "October 6 Paragon." This is a reference to the October 6, 1976 massacres when right-wing groups attacked anti-government protestors.


Alarm grows as protesters bashed - The Nation, August 22, 2006
Three hurt, three arrested after PM's minders target protesters on third day of violence...

Thaksin's protesters, supporters clash in Siam Paragon - The Nation, August 19, 2006

Thaksin ambushed with protest in Siam Paragon - The Nation, August 19, 2006
...Before leaving in his car, Thaksin strongly criticized the protesters as "lacking developed mind" and asked officials to take legal action against them.
...He said the protesters should have waited until October 15 to express their dislike against him by not voting for him.


Somkid's departure no great impact: PM - The Nation, August 17, 2006

Bitter rift between Thaksin and Somkid - The Nation, August 17, 2006


Reconciliation about more than silencing critics - The Nation, August 17, 2006
...Laced with sarcasm and vindictiveness, Thaksin declared: "Whoever wants to quarrel with me can carry on. But I won't quarrel back. Whoever wants to condemn me may do so but I will kruad nam for them…"
His vengeful tone was evident. Kruad nam is supposed to be a traditional religious rite of forgiveness. But that's for the dead, those who no longer pose a threat to his political power...

TRT dominates TV news reports: survey - The Nation, August 15, 2006
...Analysis of six major free-TV stations showed reports about Thai Rak Thai appeared most frequently - 369 times - and most news featured caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra...
PM hits out at senior figures - The Nation, August 16, 2006
Abhisit: Time past for Shin ruling - Bangkok Post, August 16, 2006
...''The authorities in charge have spent long enough to conclude whether any parties concerned [in the Shin Corp takeover] had violated the [Thai] law. They don't have any excuse to keep quiet on this matter. And if they continue to avoid taking any action, they may be charged with dereliction of duty themselves,'' said Mr Abhisit yesterday...
The Democrat party's moment of truth - Bangkok Post, August 16, 2006
...Given their slick TV ads and promises to outdo Mr Thaksin in the very same populist game the TRT leader has shrewdly exploited to great success, the Democrats appear bent on leading an election campaign through marketing, public relations, and well-spun images, in an effort to give the caretaker prime minister a taste of his own medicine.
But this is a foolish strategy.
The Democrats are setting themselves up for another defeat at the polls if they think they can out-populist Mr Thaksin's populism, because he has cemented first-mover advantages, having locked up rural electorates on his policy handouts and giveaways.
To promise even cheaper education and cheaper healthcare, as the Democrats have done, is morally bankrupt.
They would be putting up an essentially populist agenda they have been attacking for five years, risking accusations of facile emulation and outright hypocrisy...

Thai mutual funds lose steam - The Standard, August 14, 2006
Thailand's mutual fund industry is losing steam after four years of heady growth as rising interest rates and a faltering stock market take their toll...

SE Asian neighbors reap gains from Thailand's lingering crisis - AFP, August 12, 2006
Thailand's next government will have to win back foreign investors who have begun to turn to neighboring countries out of concern over months of political turmoil here, experts say...
StopThaksin website - August 14, 2006
The StopThaksin.com website appears to be up. Also check out the downloads.
So who will take care of the Shinawatras? - The Nation, August 11, 2006
...Thailand's dictators of old had no problem living a quiet life after finding themselves out of power. Some cases in point are the leaders from the Thanom-Prapas or Suchinda regimes. After some bloody violence, they agreed to step down for the sake of political reform and the national interest. The military or one of the more charismatic persons of the day underwrote their safety. The dictators' assets went untouched.
This is the peculiar Thai style of political compromise, a style that is rarely found in other countries.
Thaksin's may be the first case in which nobody dares to underwrite a former leader's wellbeing after he steps down. The caretaker prime minister can only blame himself. He has painted himself into the corner.
If he loses power he risks having his assets seized by the new government. The wealth of the other Shinawatra, Damapong and Wongsawat clans could also be in danger...
If Thaksin is finally driven into a corner, you can expect violence. But there can't be peace without war. Only then can a political compromise be struck. Between now and October 15, anything could happen.

Prem leads army top brass in show of unity - Officers celebrate anniversary of school; interference in reshuffle list - Bangkok Post, August 6, 2006
Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda yesterday led all key past and present army top brass at an event at their former school, in what was seen as an attempt to show the unity of the army. Gen Prem did not talk to the press during his participation in the 119th anniversary of the Royal Military Academy in Muang district of the central province of Nakhon Nayok. It was the first time for a few years that he had joined the event, and sources close to him said the former prime minister's decision to go this year was aimed at fostering unity, amid reports of attempted political interference...
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