Thai Media Project – February 2009

More: Unlocking the Thai world: Thai-language newspaper headlines

Problematic community radio - translated and summarized from Komchadluek; February 3, 2009

The cooperation between the National Telecommunications Commission and PM’s Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey to monitor five community radios in Chiangmai and Lamphoon which are using the media as a tool to generate break up relations among people is a good start.

Community radio has been a tool for some political groups for a long time. The media generates breakup among people and this includes the phone-in session during a radio program of deposed Premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

During the ruling government of Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, the community radio station “Chum Chon Kon Roo Jai,” FM 87.75 MHz, broadcast from Nonthaburi the phone-in of Thaksin for the first time. The news was spread by the Taxi 92.75 MHz community radio of the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship or the UDD core supporter Shinnawat Haboonpad.

Public Relations Department officials and the police under the leadership of the Surayud Chulanont-led government investigated radio station, attempting to check the signal transmitters of radio station but they were reportedly missing. During this time the community radio stations carried entertainment for a while before returning as radio stations, speaking out for the People Power Party-led government shortly after.

The community radio stations were widely established after the issuance of the article 40 of the constitution 2007 on the belief that the media will speak public opinion. However, many radio stations become political tools and do not serve the target to provide service to communities and develop progress in democratic participation of community members.

The community radio stations in Chiang Mai province are backed up by both the PAD and Pro-Thaksin groups. The 97.50 community radio of Udonthani patriot leader Kwanchai Praipana, Chum Chon Kon Roo Jai Community Radio, and Taxi Community Radio are stations that provide news and political criticisms that should be under probe and organized under the same standard to prevent the problems of public breakup like the one we have already learned from past.

[This alludes to the community radio station “Yan Kroh” in 1976 that promoted the idea to wipe out 20,000 protesting students and helped lead to the right-wing massacre and coup.
Another aspect of community radio not mentioned in this article was the reemergence of community radio rights in the 1997 constitution. The Thai Rak Thai-led government then refused to set up a National Broadcasting Commission as stipulated in the constitution to enable the stations to operate and then tried to shut down the stations that opened citing a lack of a National Broadcasting Commission (Earlier articles about Community Radio Stations).
Interestingly enough this loophole was closed in the 2007 constitution that specifically does not allow rights laid out in the constitution to be stymied by the non-passage of organic laws.]

Only on rotten canned fish creates trouble to the whole cabinet - translated and summarized from Daily News; Column: Editorial; February, 2009
Rotten canned fish in supply bags given away to flood-affected people has become a big issue. The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security Witoon Nambutr says that this is not corruption as he did not use the government’s budget to buy the fish, but used donated money. [This refers to the common corruption method of pocketing government funds for an item and then supplying a very substandard product.]
It is interesting whether the minister will have to take responsibility for the issue, which could affect the whole cabinet. He said that if the National Anti-Corruption Commission finds that he is guilty for the case, he will resign.
However, the problem is not about corruption. It is about his care for the public and for the products given away to them. In addition, the distribution processes are also doubtful.
From now on, the Prime Minister will have to show his strength by considering the case in a strict way and following the government’s principle. He should not let one rotten canned fish affect the whole cabinet. [Witoon has resigned this article was published.]

Udon Thani’s PAD moves to create new politics - translated and summarized from Phutjatkhan; February 4, 2009
The leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy, Udon Thani province, Mr. Charoen Mookajorn, announced that the Udon Thani’s People Alliance for Democracy is working with nineteen people’s assemblies in the Northeast to hold a stage talk to allow members of the PAD to talk and share information. This will happen on February 14. The activity is called the "PAD Caravan for New Politics." The event will be held in Nong Prachak from 4.00 pm onwards. It will be broadcast live through the E-san Discovery channel, ASTV.
Mr. Charoen expects that members of the PAD nationwide will join the gathering as it takes place where PAD members were attacked by Thaksin supporters on July 24 [2008]. Strict security will be provided. Lots of PAD leaders will be guest speakers.

It is normal case…? - Daily News ; By Palunkorn, February 5, 2009
The words at the top read: It is normal case…?
On the hand clapper side: Being opposition party
On the foot clapper side: Being a minister
[We don't quite understand this one... What does the "D" represent? The Democrats? Why would the Democrats have a foot clapper?]

Kom Chad Luek, February 5, 2009
Black headline on left : Rotten canned fish poisons - Vitoon resigns! Issara to sit as Social Security and Human Development Ministry - Mark [PM Aphisit] keeps Boonjong
Headline in dark blue:  Thai Samut Insurance representative seized - Lures customers to kill brutally to receive insurance payment - Claim of 2.2 million - Well-planned accident - 4 more cases to be investigated.
Caption under the photo of Vitoon: Resigns: Vitoon Nambootr announces his resignation from the Social Security and Human Development Minister post because of the public strong criticism of the distribution of rotten canned fish for flood victims in Pattalung Province on February 3, 2009

Daily News, February 5, 2009
Main headline: Issara steps to sit as new Social Security and Human Development Minister after Vitoon resigns from the post to take responsibility for the rotten fish can scandal - Abhisit  promotes Boonjong
Smaller headline in pink: Insurance seller brutally murders 4 - Millions of customers’ money cheated - Police seize suspect - Gang associate hunt underway
Black letter: Cabinet approves policy to seek 270 billion [baht] loan

The Army’s role as fierce guarding giant monitoring the red shirt gathering to be within the law - translated and summarized from Komchadluek; Column: Taluikongthab; Author: news team on national security; February 6, 2009
The Army’s reaction to the Pro-Thaksin red shirt gathering people is visibly different from its reaction to the gathering of the PAD that earlier seized the Government House and the two international airports.
The Army is now strongly responsive to the political administrative unit [the sitting government] to maintain the peace of the nation without hesitation. Region 1 Army Commander Lieutenant General Kanit Sapithak gave interviews on two consecutive days last month on the monitoring policy related to the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship [UDD] gathering. 22 troop groupings have been beefed up for monitoring the situation.
Previously, the former [People Power Party-led] government was faced with difficulties in controlling the PAD mob partially because of the Army’s reaction that shrugged off the problems to police. The signs are now that the Democrat-led government and the army will not let a UDD mob seize Government House again.
As long as the Army backs up the government and helps protect Government House, the Parliament and the airports from being seized by the UDD, the security of the government is guaranteed.

Don’t say that you do it for the country when you call for the return of rights to politicians of disbanded parties - translated and summarized from Thai Post; Column: Editorial; February 6, 2009
A political norm established twice by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is an example that politicians should consider doing as well. These two cases are the resignations of former Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayothin and former Social Development and Human Security Minister Witoon Ngambutr.
It is a new norm that society wants. They want politicians to be clean and trustworthy. If those politicians can prove that they are innocent later, they can come back to their positions.
There are many times that politicians ignored their responsibility and tried to hold their positions. They only thought about their own advantage and did not care what the public was thinking.
Now, it is said that the Pheu Thai party is moving to issue [a bill] for amnesty to return the rights of banned politicians of disbanded political parties. These people raise many reasons to side with their idea. They said that the country needs experienced people to get out of the political and economic crises. Former politicians should receive a new chance to come back and help the country. These reasons are nonsense. They will be extremely opposed by most people who disagree with the idea.

[This article hints at an interesting concept: In the West there is typically the idea that one must not only avoid impropriety, but the appearance of impropriety as well. This idea does not exist in Thai political life where politicians can appear to commit acts which involve conflict of interest and then threaten those who question them with defamation lawsuits unless they "have proof." The Democrats forced Apirak and Witoon to resign to draw a contrast with typical Thai views that big men are unassailable until a court rules them guilty.]

Thaksin, can do you something good for the country before dying? - translated and summarized from Phutjatkhan; Author: Chatchawan Chatsuthichai; February 4, 2009
Politics worldwide, if it does not end with peace, will end with blood. During January and the beginning of February, this columnist had the chance to meet many powerful people in person. Their names will be undisclosed. They discussed the current political and economic crises.
Senior reporters said that Thaksin never stops fighting. Red-shirt people who went to the Parliament were hired. It was noticeable that they went there by buses and vans. The Director-General of a department said that Thaksin era was the era of "money is God."
The bureaucratic system was weakened. Some officials openly sold their souls. It is not surprising that a lot of policemen are willing to serve Thaksin with all their hearts. Even now, former and current police officers still secretly help the red-shirt people. Thaksin has a lot of police friends. He also influences the police a lot.
An experienced politician said that Thaksin announced that he would fight with all his might.
Thaksin’s goal is to dissolve the parliament and buy votes to get as many seats as possible in the Parliament in the next election.
A former Prime Minister said that Abhisit’s administration must be courageous and think more about the majority. He said the public must help support the Abhisit government. He felt sorry that Thaksin does not seem to love Thailand at all. If he did, he would not do what he had done in the past and also at present. Thaksin must stop hurting the country immediately.

Rising up strategy applied to enable Thaksin to come back to Thailand - translated and summarized from Thai Rath; Column: Kao Wikhro; February 8, 2009
Thaksin is sending a signal that he is coming back to Thailand. He has been wandering around neighboring countries like Hong Kong and Cambodia. He also allows members of Pheu Thai party to make a visit and discuss political issues.
The movements are made after his phone-in with leaders of house representatives of the Pheu Thai party in Nakhon Ratchasima on February 2. During the phone-in, he announced that he was confident he would be able to come back to Thailand. He added that he was ready to come back and fight. He said he would not leave the people and that he would seek fairness. He said he was ready to become Prime Minister again if the public was ready. If the public surrendered, he would lose as well.
He said he would not die overseas. And once the public needs him, he will come back. He also announced that he would support the Pheu Thai party with all his might. He also encouraged the red-shirt people to rise up by announcing clearly that he would come back to be the Prime Minister again. His intention is to use the Northeast as his base to fight in the political battle. It is clear that he wants to use the mass to pressure the government and fight against the Democrat Party.

Police reshuffled to promote peace and security of the nation - translated and summarized from Daily News; Column: The Editorial; February 10, 2009
Regarding the meeting of the Office of Police Commission chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Tuagsuban on discussions about the police reshuffle, the board meeting was postponed to be hosted on February 13, 2009 due to indeterminate problems.
The Pheu Thai opposition party criticizes that the transfer of some police officials is to promote some Democrat-backed police officers who are close to Democrats’ politicians.
According to Prime Minister Abhisit, who gave a defensive speech to clarify the reason behind the police transfer, the police officials are officials who serve best the nation as those who maintain the security of the nation and the security of the Royal family. The police transfer following the Democrat-led government policy is aimed at promoting the police’s responsibility and roles in promoting the peace of the nation (as opposed to responding to flaws and political incidents in the past).

War game between 'colors' - Stopping a bloodshed situation - translated and summarized from Thai Post; Column: Editorial; February 14, 2009
The leader of the National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship, Nattawut Saikuer, came out to disclose to that public that a two-billion-baht budget was allocated by the Royal Thai Army to help dissolving the red-shirt group.
The Royal Thai Army tries to explain the issue by saying that the project is aimed at helping people in the rural areas nationwide through the Solving Crisis with Sustainable Economy program. It is not aimed at destroying the red-shirt group as claimed. The army also continuously reveals the real figures of the budget.
At the same time, leader of Pheu Thai Party Yongyuth Tiyapairat held a press conference and presented evidence disclosing that his Bangkok's house was raided by armed military officers. He said that the action violated his human rights and he would complain to an international human rights watch organization. However, the army said that it was an old issue and asked why he just unveiled it at this moment.
The current systematic move by the red-shirt group and the Pheu Thai party, targeted at the army, is very interesting. They know that the army is an important factor for a change in the political situation under the Democrat Party. It also affects the country's situation.
Their move might not affect the army much, but the army values their image via the masses. They launch underground movements to urge fight against the red-shirt people. Amidst this intense fight, the minds of millions of grassroots people are at risk.

The Lord Buddha’s preaching - Kao Lao Ruam Mit by Tin, Matichon, February 15, 2009
The Lord Buddha’s preaching guides us to follow the moderate practice for our life [Overall this means "anything that is too much is not recommended"]

Top left: Having too many spokespersons is not recommended. [Refers to the Democrat-led government that is criticized for too many spokespersons causing incoherence in the message and information given. Among the spokespersons are PM office spokesperson Panitarn Wattanayakorn, Democrat Party spokesperson Buranat Samutharak and Democrat party leader spokesperson Theptai Sennapong.]

Top middle: Having too many unrevealed issues is not recommended. [The word next to the cap reads "secret budget." This refers to the secret budget the Pheu Thai claims the military has to oppose them and the red-shirts.]

Top right: Spending too much money to help the PAD--oops!--PR is not recommended. [The small letters close to the bag read "250 million baht." The bag refers to the money bag involved with the PAD protesting activity
. The Pheu Thai party claims 250 million baht was paid to topple the People Power Party and bring the Democrats to power by the protest of the PAD. Those who donated the money claim it was mainly for PR activities, not to support the PAD.]

Bottom left: Celebrating the four step ladders (to achieve success) too much is not recommended. [Refers to the well-planned plot between the army and the Democrats to form the government. "ASS TV" is a mocking version of ASTV.]

Bottom middle: Loving one's institutes too much is not recommended. [Refers to the fighting between groups of male students from technical institutes. The fights are over pride and prestige of their schools.]

Bottom right: Too many apologies are not recommended. [On the screen it reads "(We) apologize (for the inconvenience) that the website is considered improper and hence, to be banned." This refers to the increasing incident of website blocking.]

Red and yellow rallies - February 16, 2009

Khao Sod
, February 16, 2009 - The caption reads: Red in mass- The UDD leaders host a fund-raising activity for the group’s political movement. A feast was joined in by many red shirt people with a phone-in from deposed premier Thaksin on February 14 in the evening. The feast was hosted at the Pai Khaew Temple at Don Muang, Bangkok.

Khao Sod, February 16, 2009 - The caption reads: The Udon Thani raid - 10,000 PAD members staged a mass gathering at the Nong Prachak Silapakom in Udon Thani province. Core leaders of the PAD led the talk on stage. There was reportedly no violent clash as police closely monitored the situation on February 14, 2009

Daily News, February 16, 2009 - The caption reads: “Red gathering” - The red clad of the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship gather on February 14, or their “Day of love for Democracy” at the Pai Khaew Temple in Don Muang. The gathering was lightened up by a phone-in by deposed Premier Thaksin Shinawatra who declared his intention to return to Thailand without concern for the security of his life due to rumors of assassination.

Breast of a monk - Khao Sod, February 16, 2009
It reads: “Breast of a monk” - The image from video footage of a monk at Wat Bot Intornsarnpetch in Pasi Chareon in Bangkok who was found to have characteristics of a female and also has breasts. Villagers in the area called for the clergy and the Office of National Buddhism to urgently check the situation.

Burning Ferrari - Komchadluek, February 16, 2009
It reads: Suwat’s son and “Ice” survived the accident while their Ferrari car immediately caught fire on the street. Pasu Liptapanlop, son of  Suwat Liptapanlop [a politician] survived the deadly accident while he and his superstar girlfriend “Ice” Apisada Kruakongka were on a trip driving the 17 million baht Ferrari car to visit Pattaya, but the car caught fire accidentally. - Survives a deadly accident - “Ice” Apisada Kruakongka embraces her friend, Pasu Liptapanlop, with fear after the Ferrari that the two sat in during their trip to Pattaya accidentally caught fire near the College of Agriculture and Technology in Chonburi in Tambon Najomthien, Sattaheep district in Chonburi Province on February 14, 2009.

The power of money in political parties - translated and summarized from Thai Rath; Column: Editorial; February 16, 2009
The 250-million-baht-budget issue is still confusing. The Pheu Thai Party said it would use the issue during the no-confidence vote against the Abhisit Vejjajiva-led government. The Democrat Party received the money as a donation from TPI. It is doubted what the money was really for and if it is illegal.
It would not be illegal if the party received the money since 2005. However, a new law, launched in 2007, states that a person or a juristic person is not allowed to donate more than 10 million baht to a political party.
The opposition’s decision to raise the donation issue in the no-confidence vote is a good reminder for parties and politicians. They should be very careful about raising funds for their party. Definitely, the Democrats are not the only party to receive donations worth more than 10 million baht.
The purpose of the new law is to protect a political party from being bought by billionaire businessmen. Those rich and powerful people will monopolize the government, or even the country.

National advantage-taking united gang - translated and summarized from Thai Post; Column: Editorial; February 17, 2009
Will the draft amnesty act, which the Pheu Thai party are trying to promote, be able to create unity in the country? The answer is, "no way."
Those people drafting the law are not different from an advantage-taking gang. They talk about granting amnesty for those blockading the airport and gathering at the House to launder Thaksin’s corruption charges.
It is certain that lots of people are willing to go to jail to prevent Thaksin Shinawatra from getting back the power again. Lots of people are willing to be prisoners to make sure that when Thaksin comes back to Thailand it will only be as a prisoner. During the five to six years of his administration, he created unfairness in every part of the nation. There was no regulation that could stop the corruption.
The Pheu Thai’s party move to promote the amnesty law is pathetic. If they achieve their target and Thaksin is allowed to come back to Thailand, he will definitely start his path in the political world again. And we will get back to the same old state again. While the world keeps moving forward, Thailand will lag behind.
The unity in the country will be created once everything is done legally. If he still complains about the legal process and attacks the court, does he deserve amnesty?

Report – keeping a close watch on Democrat’s measure to solve the red-shirt crisis - translated and summarized from Komchadluek; February 18, 2009
It was such a relief for the Democrat Party that the Pheu Thai party has decided to postpone proposing the draft amnesty act. Although the Democrat Party is confident that its ‘big backup’ [Bhum Jai Thai Party] will not think too much in the short term and join Pheu Thai’s game. However, the only certain thing is uncertainty. Anything can happen.
If the coalition government parties decide to support the amnesty, the government will be in huge trouble, especially the Democrat Party. If members of the Thai Rak Thai Party and People Power’s Party are released [from their political bans], it means the end of the Democrats in the government. Therefore, the postponement of the submission of the draft act helps make the Democrats feel relieved.
Besides the draft amnesty act, the Pheu Thai party still has at least two plans to destroy the Democrats. The first one is the gathering of the red-shirt people at the Government House on February 24, two days before the ASEAN Summit. It is estimated that about 30,000 red-shirt people will join the gathering. If the gathering becomes a violent situation, the government may have to dissolve to parliament to avoid the image of a "bloodshed government."
The second one is the situation of the big boss himself [Thaksin]. He is now suffering from wandering from country to country. If he does not end the game soon, the chance he will permanently become a flitting bird [forever wandering from place to place] is higher. Consequently, a no-confidence vote will be held. The major topic will be about the 258-million-baht donation to the Democrats. The Democrats are quite worried about the issue. So now, the question is how the Democrats will cope with these situations.

Old sin of Lord Mun Muang – Red-shirt people asking for trouble - translated and summarized from Matichon; February 19, 2009
Former Supreme Commander Gen. Chaisit Shinawatra, elder brother of Thaksin Shinawatra, together with his family and red-shirt people held a religious ceremony to change the bad fortune of Thaksin Shinawatra at Umong Temple, Tambon Suthep, Amphoe Muang, Chiang Mai province.
It is believed that Thaksin did bad deeds during his previous lives.
A medium [while in a trance state] claimed to be Lord Mun Muang or a person believed to be the previous life of Thaksin. He said that in the past life he did bad needs while fighting against Burma. Those bad deeds come to haunt him in this life.
After that, they ran another ceremony cursing enemies of Thaksin Shinawatra. They put the names of those people in monks’ alms-bowl to make bad actions return to Thaksin's enemies.
However, the list contained the name of Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratklin, Sondhi Limthongkul, Abhisit Vejjajiva, Suthep Thaugsuban, Thanin Kraiwichien, Gen. Prem Tinasulanont and other high-ranking authorities.
The action was likely to be made by those people who wanted Thaksin back in Thailand.
The appearance of the privy councillor's name means that they unreasonably declared war against the Privy Council. They are unnecessarily asking for trouble.
The action reflects a strategy-less move, which could affect their movement in general.

The fate of Santisuk village – Another side of the truth in the southern border provinces - translated and summarized from Kom Chad Luek; Author: Pakorn Pheungnet; February 16, 2009
If listening to high-ranking officials from security units and looking in newspapers, we may understand that the situation in the southern border provinces is getting better and the situation is not as bad as in the past few years. The number of violent attacks is also dropping. We see news about violent attacks a few times a day in small headlines.
Moreover, the government has announced a policy to apply both development and security strategies to the area. The Commander-in-Chief and the Fourth Army Region Commander also disclosed that more local people are cooperating with the police. It might not be exaggerated if we say that we see peace and light coming in Thailand’s southern part.
However, the fact is far from what we heard. Even villages which once announced themselves as a 'strong village' or 'peaceful (santisuk) village', as they decided to cooperate with the government and permanently cut themselves from insurgents, are facing a new unbelievable fate.
Previously, it was reported that over 1,000 residents from Moo 5, Tambon Patae, Amphoe Yaha, Yala province reported themselves to the police to join the government's policy to create 'strong' or 'peaceful' villages.
The report was very famous as the area was once a red-alert area. Violent attacks took place every single day. The incident of which a passenger van was fired on and eight people were killed on March 14, 2007, also happened in the district.
The peaceful village promotion program, called the “3 Ps program,” aims to dissolve insurgency movements in 217 red-alert villages across three southern border provinces. The measure will send soldiers, police officers, volunteers and workers to stay with residents in those villages.
When they can reduce the number of violent attacks and separate good people from bad people, they will return the village to the local residents. The village will be announced as a ‘peaceful village’ or ‘strong’ village. A tricolor [Thai] flag will also be flown at all houses. Residents will paint their houses white as a signal saying that the area is insurgent-free.
In the mid-year of 2008, there were smiles everywhere. Local people joined hands to create a check point and a guard booth for their villages. Security was provided night and day.
When Yala Governor Theera Mintrasak visited the area, local people were willing to point out places where medicine, rice, dry food and bullets were buried [for the separatists]. They dug them up and gave them to the government.
However, the situation has changed. The delightful ambience has gone. People are now criticizing that the government is not sincere.
Local leader of the Munung village Dueramae Abu Baka said that after people of Moo 5, Tambon Patae, joined the government’s program, new problems keep showing up and the government does not even care.
He said, for instance, soldiers told them to show the places where insurgents hid their rice supply and they would give it to the people. He was so happy that he rode his motorcycle across the village to tell people about the news. He told people who once had their rice buried to register themselves to the government and dug it up. He told people that officials would return the rice to everyone. People then gave a large amount of rice to officials, but they only got four sacks of rice back. They said that there was too much rice kept by officials.
That was just the first test for the government’s sincerity. As days pass, new problems show up. Even the policy to train ten local residents to be guards for the village created a problem. A village would receive 20,000 baht from the government and the money would be paid to the guards. Therefore, there was an attempt to sack existing guards to let their men in the posts.
Just like other promises, the government promised that they would provide a job for unemployed and poor residents and they did nothing.
“The district chief, assistant district officer, and assistant tambon officer told me that if there was a job vacancy, they would tell people in the village before telling others. I was so delighted at that time and told everybody to get prepared. However, nearly a year has passed, no one got a job. All units, even administrative ones, are gone. We are abandoned,” Dueramae expressed his feeling, which represents the whole village’s feeling. He said, “the authorities abandoned us. What we can figure out is that we have been fooled.”
People in the Munung village say that they were like a boat in the middle of the sea hit by a storm. The ones who give them a hand will become a great supporter. The situation is dangerous in the war to win the hearts of the masses.

Mistake - Fairness - Conviction - translated and summarized from Daily News; Column: The editorial; February 20, 2009
Failing to discharge their duty at Udon Thani Province on July 24, 2008 was the cause of a severe situation [when people attacked the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) at Nongprajak park]. This was considered by the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission. The provincial governor, the deputy governor of the province, the provincial commissar and two deputy provincial commissars were judged to have made a mistake in failing to discharge their duty [in preventing the attacks] and this lack of action brought shame on the government. The decision indicated that if they had carried out their duty carefully and absolutely, the severe situation would have been controlled perfectly.
On the other hand, seizing the airport and the government house or creating violence during the Samak and Somchai government by the PAD is also an illegal action. However, it is wondered why the result of the investigation into these incidents is happening so slowly. Does the judge fail to discharge his duty? It reaches a month [as of February 13] since the investigation should have been announced [concerning the PAD airport seizure case]. The result should be appeared, but nothing has happened. The government had better speed up working and conclude this case urgently to convince people around the world [of the righteousness of the government].

Pheu Thai joins hands with Democrats - A ‘mission impossible’ game - translated and summarized from Matichon; February 24, 2009
While the Democrat Party is facing big problems like a no-confidence vote and the red-shirt movement, the Pheu Thai Party tries to be the party with options, including the proposal of the National Unity and Reconciliation Act, which will grant an amnesty to all political persons related to the September 19, 2006 coup and after.
It is said that a leader of the Democrat Party met with a leader of the Pheu Thai Party to seek ways to allow both parties to jointly form a government. It is said that the Democrats feel uncomfortable with the actions of the coalition government parties.
However, members of Democrat Party denied the rumor as the information leaked to lead to a conflict between the Democrat and coalition parties.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva came out to confirm the standpoint of the party, which stands against the Pheu Thai party. He said both parties would never get along well. Several house representatives admitted that the rumors was true. However, not everyone believes it.
Some members of Pheu Thai party see that the rumor is a game of the Democrats, aiming to tempt Pheu Thai members to talk about the issue to prevent coalition parties from becoming more disobedient.
However, Pheu Thai party seems to benefit the most from the rumor It creates an internal conflict among coalition parties. The value of the only opposition [Pheu Thai], which claims to have been invited to join the government, also rises.

Setting any conditions, creating the unreal situation - translated and summarized from Thaipost; Column: The Editorial; February 24, 2009
After spreading the news that the Democrat party and the Pheu Thai party will work together to form a new government, Pol. Lt. Chaowarin Latthasaksiri and a group of politicians went to see former PM Thaksin Shinawatra at Hong Kong.
Is this action a portion of Thaksin’s political game? Or does he feel enjoyment and happiness after releasing the news?
Nowadays, Thailand’s political crisis starts to heat up again because last Tuesday, the red-shirted rally has gathered around Government House while the Pheu Thai party has been preparing to call a no-confidence vote on the government’s work.
The Pheu Thai party tries to propose Pol. Capt. Charlerm Yubamrung to hold the position of Thailand’s prime minister and to establish the red-shirted institution called “Institution for Democratic Development.” Besides, the red-shirted rally also gets ready by creating a political movement by order of Thaksin.
This situation is made to bring the change to Thailand’s politics as Jakrapob Penkae has said on the red-shirt stage at Sanam Luang. Importantly, Thaksin is going to make a phone-in speech on March 1 which indicates the next step for his political game under the unreal situation. So all Thai people had better announce to any political movements that the social situation cannot be in crisis continuously to respond to the need of some political groups.

Komchadluek, February 25, 2009
Main white and yellow headlines: Prints from the famous temple used to lure donators for merit-making fund for many years - The whole cheater gang that lures merit-makers into donating money is seized - Raising fund of 400,000 baht monthly - Head of the gang found to have become rich from this activity - All gang members found to have urine test return purple color [meaning they tested positive for drugs]
Headline white on blue at right: A jillion police stationed at Government House to be prepared for red shirt gathering
Black and with headlines: Foreign guy hung himself to death - His head was fastened up tightly [by the rope] causing his body to split off - Deceased found to be the mate of a gay in the Khao San area

The red and the "red under monarchial virtues" - translated and summarized from Krungthep Turakit; Author: Pracha Buraphavithee, February 23, 2009
I comment that the seeking asylum of Mr. Jai (Giles) Ungphakorn to avoid his lese majeste charge is not something unexpected to happen. Previously, the UK Ambassador to Thailand’s representative met representative of the PM Abhisit Vejjajiva-led government to discuss the issue related to Mr. Jai’s lese majeste case as he holds UK citizenship.  
Mr. Jai knows what to do and where to go after his manifesto “Red Siam” was introduced. The work is comparable to the second manifesto of  the Democratic Reform group that staged the revolutionary movement in the King Rama 7’s reign. This was the Kanarasadorn Reform in the year 1932 that changed Thailand’s absolute monarchy into the constitution  monarchy.
owever Giles upset many senior red members by his fleeing abroad. It was pleasure to the red radical group, both the old and new generation, when Giles participated the “Red in the land” protest on stage late last month [January, 2009], but he finally flees from the criminal charge without concern for his red fellows, both the old and new generation.
To examine the old red group, most of the group is from the Northeast who are now known as “ex-communist group” who are calling for farmer debt release and farm land support.  One group of old reds joins the farmers’ protest in front of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives for 116 days before leaving after the Abhisit-led government allocated billions of baht for debt relief. 
The old red farmers from 15 provinces in the Northeast questioned the current government about the Surayuth-led government’s progress to allocate money to help them. The old red are those who once devoted their life to hopes to see the country change from a constitutional monarchy to the communism in the past. Nowadays, they become the so-called "red under the monarchial virtue."
According to the Region 2 Internal Security Operation Command, that plays an important role in the area, the government should allocate money to support the red Northeastern farmers' group as they are now the “ex-communist patriots.”
The matter on the watch is the movement of the new red and the old red, the former is the one like dual-citizen Giles and the latter is the red who seek financial support from the government like the ordinary grass-root people.

The country’s future is in the hand of all Thai people - translated and summarized from Daily News; Column: Editorial; February 25, 2009
The gathering of red-shirt people from the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) on February 24 was like the movement by the People Alliance for Democracy (PAD). The red-shirt group gathered for the first time on January 31 at the Government House to declare their demands to that the government dissolve. They now come back to require answers from the government. They will stay there and will definitely not break into Government House. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and some members of the Cabinet insisted they would get in and work in Government House.
Three suggestions by Prof. Dr. Bavornsak Uwanno, Secretary of the King Prajadhipok's Institute, are very interesting. He suggests that the government come up with new measures to enable people to approach resources and the economic structure in the new politics, without depending on either populist policy nor politicians. He also proposes using the Constitution and the law as guidelines to allow the poor and the majority to approach and manage resources and the economy.
He said the taxing structure should be revised. Under the new structure, money from the rich will be used in the new policy and welfare state. The last suggestion is to reduce the cluster of funds and wealth of big businesses. The last move should be gradually done to let people in the society accept it.
These three suggestions could be solutions to Thailand’s problems. However, to achieve the goal, all Thai people must cooperate for the future of the kingdom.

Red-shirt people to bring down the government - translated and summarized from ASTV Manager Daily; Column: Na Kradan Riang Ha; Author: Chaisiri Samunwanich; February 26, 2009
The red-shirt group’s effort to run a mob is boring. We can evaluate the situation of these people by looking at these factors.
1. Frankly, these red-shirt people have no ideals. They only gather by a quite narrow belief – Thaksin will return to power again. The reason they stick to Thaksin is they once served him and got money. Even now, they still receive money from him.
2. Economically, red-shirt people are able to mobilize a group of leading civilians and academics. These people still believe that Thaksin is a capable executive. However, some of the academics are innocent of supporting Thaksin. Many of them think that the lese majeste law is outdated and should be cancelled. These academics do not like the People Alliance for Democracy.
3. Socially, Thai people think that we should not cross a person when they fall and we should forgive them. Therefore, lots of people think that we should let go of Thaksin. In fact, the one who does not stop is Thaksin. He refers to his political enemies in every of his phone-in. So, we can say that even though we stop worrying about Thaksin, Thaksin will not stop his activities.
This time, red-shirt people want to bring down the government by saying that they will gather until the government gives up. They will stay at the House and will not apply aggressive measures. UDD members say that they are well-prepared. Currently, they can create any situation they want, anytime, anywhere.
The government believes that the gathering will not last long as members lack ideals. Unlike the PAD which had ideals and clear movements to follow.
The decision to dethrone the government could be a false one this time.
Thaksin says that the Democrat will not last more than three months. But, maybe they could stay in power for three years.

Special-class civilian - translated and summarized from Kom Chad Luek; Column: Editorial; February 28, 2009
Pol. Lt. Col. Thaksin Shinawatra, former Prime Minister, has become a man with several statuses, except for being a Thai civilian. He is now an escaping prisoner and a refugee. It is reported he is also a special civilian in Nicaragua and the United Arab Emirates. He is under a special diplomatic protection.
No matter which status he has, Thailand still needs him back to receive punishment. Therefore, he keeps moving. However, we know that now he is in Dubai and openly made a visit to Hong Kong to meet politicians from the opposition, his subordinates, activists and relatives, without any fear of the law.
It is recently reported that Thaksin would give a speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong on March 2, after meeting up with politicians and state officials who help hide the information of the prisoner.
This is the first time that Thaksin allows the government and its units to know where he will be. It will prove whether the government will be able to bring him down.
The government must show its strong intention to catch Thaksin to convince the public that they can count on the law. First thing first, it must consider if MP who met with Thaksin are guilty [of colluding with a convicted fugitive].

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