Thai Media Project – April 2009

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

Punch to Punch - Thairath, April 30, 2009
Left: Jakrapob Penkae: We still resist the Apisit government continuously and are now preparing some strategies to oppose the government. Surely, the red-shirt movement is still alive.
Right: Sathit Wongnongtoey: An arrest warrant for Jakrapob Penkae is now issued. It is necessary to bring a charge against him urgently because he is one of the Red Shirt core leaders who incited people to violence.

Not the “new” political pole - translated and summarized from Krungthep Turakit; Column: Tracking politics; Author: Nipawan Khaewrakmook, April 29, 2009
The unceasing political chaos is not a finalized issue at this moment as the movement of political pole leaders continue. The “old” political pole is Thaksin--the ousted premier and his red-shirt supporters--and the “new” political pole at this moment is the Democrat-led government, backed by the yellow shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy and the Army. 
Recently, rumor spreads that some Army figures are to join hands with some political factions in the incumbent government and possibly form the new political party. Many eyes are on the move of some high-ranked army figures who are thought to step into politics to maintain their influence. Everything seems to be possible if the Army led by Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan is to join hand with the blue shirt group of Newin Chidchob.
The issue of that PAD leader [Sondhi], who was targeted in the shooting attack but survived in interesting. It is said he tried to disclose earlier information about a coup attempt on April 12, 2009 from another PAD core leader Chamlong Srimuang. This is a matter of concern. If a coup attempt was achieved, some ministers in the incumbent government were to step in to lead the government. Thaksin earlier gave speech revealing the possible coalition of Newin and Gen. Prawit as well.
It is undeniable that the Army is involved in politics nowadays, especially in the case that the Democrat ruling government is formed after a discussion at the residence of Gen. Prawit in the 1st Infantry Regiment (King’s Guard) before he becomes the Defense Minister in the incumbent government. Despite the attempt to clarify this rumor from the Defense Minister, many who are involved with the close networks of Gen. Prawit and his brother, National Police Chief Pol. Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwan are now saying that Gen. Prawit is “readily dressed up” for the “post”.

To save – To survive - translated and summarized from Krungtep Turakij; Column: Trace of politics; Author: Rak Montri; April 28, 2009
Although the red-shirt crisis was handled by the government, it is possible that the Red Shirt army is ready to rally all the time because the red shirts collect many kinds of weapons and also prepare to make a great assembly.
Violence by the Red Shirts may happen again and their movement may be so violent that it will become a civil war due to a clash between the Red Shirt rally and the local people. Importantly, a rumor that there is something violent happening in the country causes a lot of damage to the country's reputation.
A group of three high-ranking generals warns the government to urgently find out the measures to prevent a severe situation. If the severe situation created by the Red Shirts happens again, people will not forgive the government at all and the government will be accused of causing the country to fall into ruin. The reason why the Red Shirt movement is taking place has changed to usurping the country. Thus, forgiving some politicians, setting up a committee to investigate the facts about Songkran crisis, setting up a committee to find a solution to political problems, and amending the constitution cannot stop the Red Shirt movement.
Especially, amending the constitution will bring many benefits to 111 politicians of the Thai Rak Thai Party and the 109 politicians of the Chart Thai and the People’s Power Party even though they broke the law. Hence, PM Abhisit Wejchacheewa should not think that goodness and morality can help only him to survive, but it also must help all Thai people to be saved. [This refers to the call to put principles of oversight and law--which have been completely new concepts for politicians to bow to--above political reconciliation and compromise that is seen as being forced on the country by threats of the Red Shirts.]

Threat of terrorist attacks - translated and summarized from Kom Chad Luek; April 26, 2009
Mr. Jakrapob Penkae, a leader of the red-shirt mob, has run away after the mob was cancelled following the announcement of the State of Emergency and the court issuing an arrest warrant against him. No one knows exactly where he is. However, he still gives interviews to international media saying that he will not stop fighting and will apply underground measures and other violent strategies to win the fight.
To guess, Mr. Jakrapob may have an intention to stage a civil war, as he told red-shirt people. He also announced that he would also apply the guerrilla strategy. This could be related to city terrorist attacks if Jakrapob has capacity and is supported financially to mobilize people with the same attitude.
Mr. Jakrapob’s threat should not be overlooked by careless officials. His behaviors show that he has never been a royalist and is against the Privy Council. He was accused of offending the Royal Institute many times.
Mr. Jakrapob alone may not be able to mobilize people and raise funds. However, there is a high possibility that he will be backed by an escaped political prisoner, who has just lost in his battle and is now a homeless [Thaksin].
The government should launch measures to cope with the threat. It is better than to let the situation go uncontrolled.
Besides Jakrapob, there are many red-shirt leaders who have escaped and those communist people who keep moving underground. It is possible that these people will work together without considering of any negative impacts on Thailand as they want to help their boss.

Subordinates of Pravit-Anupong moved in – Getting rid of Thaksin’s followers - translated and summarized from ASTV Manager Daily; April 28, 2009
On April 27, the Office of the Prime Minister announced that the King has endorsed the proposal to appoint [shuffle] 454 military officers.
The mid-year military reshuffle list had been proposed on March 12. It was expected the conclusion would be announced before the end of March. However, there are too many processes in the new military reshuffle and the new military list and structure must be stated in the gazette before taking effect.
Several military units have been restructured. The military says that the new structure will allow it to work easier and more efficiently. This is the first time that all forces are restructured.
It is reported that all military officers who are close to Thaksin Shinawatra have been transferred [in inactive posts]. It is possible that Gen. Pravit and military commanders agreed that all Thaksin’s close friends should be transferred to prevent unexpected incidents as now the political situation is still uncertain and Thaksin is still making waves.

Military’s bullet - translated and summarized from Matichon; Column: The Preface; April 25, 2009
The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) core leader Sondhi Limthongkul was shot by army bullets bearing the mark of the Royal Thai Army (RTA) which are the series produced specifically for the 1st Army. General Anupong Paochinda agreed that the bullets came from the army’s 9th Infantry Division under the command of the 1st Army but they have been used for training only. It is also difficult to bring them out of the base.
Meanwhile, First Army commander Lieutenant General Kanit Sapitak said that the bullets bearing the mark RTA were used by many army divisions so it is difficult to know whether they have been brought out or not.
We are seeing that General Anupong and Lieutenant General Kanit have a different opinion. Maybe it makes people think that their opinions about politics are also different so their words are opposite. Besides, there was also a violence crash between the red shirts and the soldiers on Songkran day after declaring the Royal Act of State of Emergency]. So, it is not strange that people give many comments on their action. The comments will be reduced if Sondhi’s case is improved. Importantly, the weapons should be systematized and tracked because it will cause serious damage to the nation’s security if they are lost.

Questions that Anupong never answers - translated and summarized from ASTV Manager Daily; April 23, 2009
After the situation gets back to normal, people turn to question about authorities’ noticeably strange gesture towards the risky situation, especially Commander-in-Chief Gen. Anupong Paojinda.
While waiting for the progress in the case of Sondhi Limthongkul’s assassination, people have more time to think about the matter.
Back to the 193-day gathering of the People Alliance for Democracy (PAD), starting from May 24, 2008, those who joined the protest were attacked by war weapons from several places located close to the Headquarters of the Royal Thai Army and the First Region Army under the supervision of Gen. Anupong Paojinda.
Later, during the recent red-shirt mob, the Prime Minister stated that there was a military vehicle that blocked his car. He added that people in the vehicle aimed to kill him.
In addition, criminals who tried to kill Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul used kinds of war weapons. Commander-in-Chief Anupong concluded that it was ordinary that civilians would used war weapons in the attack.
What people are wondering is why there was no security on Bang Khunprom junction, which was located near the Bank of Thailand (BoT), during the State of Emergency?
What had happened was directly related to Gen. Anupong Paojinda. As the Commander-in-Chief and a committee of the State of Emergency Operation Center, he never answered any questions about the issue.

Kom Chad Luek, April 21, 2009
The headline of the article reads: The underground’s affair… who gain the benefits?
The policeman is saying: Ai Pued ["Ai Pued" is a generic name given to an unnamed or X person who is believed to be a wrongdoer, but who cannot be named for one reason or another. Here, it is once again used to ridicule who have been unwilling or unable to involve themselves in solving highly charged cases.]
The word on the jar in which the police hides reads: The National Intelligence Police

Amnesty - translated and summarized from Thai Post; Column: Editorial; April 21, 2009
The new proposal for an amnesty for 220 politicians from the Thai Rak Thai Party, Chart Thai Party and Matchima Party is more accepted than previous ones as people are absolutely tired of political conflicts. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s expression of interest in the idea will make less people oppose it.
Before we reach that point, we must consider that Thailand’s political world is full of corruption which also destroys the country. Politicians do not represent civilians, but henchmen of investors. We must think if we want the country goes back to the point again.
Prime Minister Abhisit’s suggestion to separate political charges from criminal charges is a perfect idea, if it is possible [This is what is behind this amnesty idea--allow politicians amnesty, but make sure that Thaksin and his family--convicted on criminal charges--to be forever barred from returning to power]. To separate charges that happened during the past 7 to 8 years is not easy. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva might want to solve political conflicts by politics.
If prisoner Thaksin really receives an amnesty for political charges, he cannot get back all his political rights. He has also been charged with corruption and has been sentenced to two years in jail. If he really wants his political life back, he must come back to Thailand and spend at least seven years in jail. Moreover, he has to wait for other five years. However, this does not included other of his charges yet that have not been decided.

Assassination of Sondhi unveils the new political concept amidst conflicts - translated and summarized from Matichon; Column: Wipak Haeng Wipak; April 21, 2009
The assassination attempt on Charnchai Likhitjittha and Sondhi Limthongkul created a new political movement.
It will be interesting when both efforts are combined with two situations occurring in the meantime – the gun attack at the Office of the Constitutional Court and an effort to burn the headquarters of Bangkok Bank and Charoen Pokphand [this happened in the last day of the Red Shirt attempt to take over Bangkok earlier in April].
The question is if there is a group of people who want to make the red-shirt mob become more aggressive, especially after the State of Emergency was declared.
The situation became more complicated. The feeling that someone was trying to create a hostile situation made people become more careful politically. It seems like we see shadows of Abhisit Vejjajiva and Thaksin Shinawatra standing.
Since the mob started on April 8, the name of Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul had not been mentioned. The mob targeted Gen. Prem Tinasulanont.
However, several incidents like the gun attack at the Office of Constitutional Court, efforts to burn headquarters of Bangkok Bank and Charoen Pokphand and the attempt to kill Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul enabled the public to see that some people were trying to worsen the situation and expand the conflict to include new political figures.

Keep eyes on the new “political pole” - Abhisit encircled - Sondhi to be gotten rid of to clear political pole blockade - translated and summarized from ASTV-Phujatkarn; Author: Nokwheed; April 20, 2009
The car shooting attack targeting the life of Manager media founder Sondhi Limthongkul on April 17, 2009 was a brutal event, especially for a man who dared stand to fight against Thaksin’s regime in the recent years. Supposedly the mastermind of the murder is then, influential figures.
Groups of involved suspects are possibly those who are formed the pro-Thaksin groups, but newly joined hands with some politicians in the government who aim at creating a new political reality. [This refers to the Friend's of Newin group that is part of the coalition government. Some suspect they have the most to gain if the PAD and UDD fight to the death and have to be suppressed by the military.]
It is the new political pole that aims to step up to replace the old political pole of aristocracy and targets to become the next prime minister. By comparing the life target attack that Mr. Sondhi has faced recently with the attack that occurred during the Asian summit meeting in Pattaya (the Prime Minister fell as target of the attack) and the raid on the Interior Ministry by the Reds, the Prime Minister has to be aware of who he is fighting with. He has failed to prevent the attack on his life as he trusts the close aide ministerial posts [Here, they are referring to the "Friends of Newin" politicians who control the Interior Ministry]
The Prime minister is now facing with both the Pro-Thaksins and the inner government figures who aim at stepping into power. I believe that if the Prime Minister proves his leadership and leads the country to overcome the crisis, the public will support him and he will not to walk alone in the path of the leader.

Behind the “will” - Targeting Sondhi’s life - Instigating anger between Reds and Yellows - translated and summarized from Thai Post, Author: Plew Seengern, April 18, 2009
[While the English-language press ignorantly muses about "who are the Blue Shirts?," in the Thai-language world this week, there have been many direct or oblique references (as in this article) to Northeastern kingpin and banned MP Newin as a force who stands to gain if both the Reds and Yellows annihilate each other.]
The attack targeting the life of Mr. Sondhi Limthongkul, Manager Media founder was, to me, a signal for us, the media to be aware of producing the news that is devoted to the truth and the nation.
Mr. Sondhi survives incredibly and this is proof that a good man is protected by goodness. Regarding the ill will to threaten Mr. Sondhi’s life, I dare say that the red-shirt people are not involved. We are all Thai people under the constitutional monarchy and we all have loyalty for our beloved King.
You might then ask who did it? I am to ask back “who” receives the gain from the situation that the reds and the yellows fight each other. Who is in the person in a mediocre position who gains benefit from any political side? Many can say he/she is loyal, but on the bias of power and money, what is to be cherished in nowadays’ value?
The feeling that the reds are losers generates a deep breakup among reds and that vengeance is deserved for them. The murder plan targeting Sondhi’s life generates, likewise, the deep anger among the yellow PAD.
I urge that the yellows and the reds to be clam and aware of the “visible” hand that aims to wreak chaos from the situation and to claim a heroic action that leads to absolute power.
As for Prime Minister Abhisit, I would like the Prime Minister to have awareness of the people around you. You can imagine you are sitting in barbed wire. You cannot believe every one around you will not turn a betrayer one day in the future as “Brutus.” Please reconsider on how the security plan was managed on the day your car was attacked, as well as the scene of protest in Pattaya. Beware of the “Thai” style vision in exercising your PM power.

Matichon Weekly, April 17, 2009
It reads: No footprints in the air [Anyone know what this really means?]

Yui explains: As you ask in the website "Anyone know what this really means?"...For the summary it means "getting nothing from the investment of the former PM Thaksin" [Clapping feet are the symbol of the Red Shirts. This article implies the failed attempt to overthrow the government means the investment in the Red Shirts by Thaksin has not yielded results.]

Update: Another take on the meaning - A reader explains: ...Note the story on page 23 where they interview a man who was detained before the coup and claims to have heard General Sonthi take a phone call from someone he calls "ma." Anyway my wife thinks that the "footprints in the air" title is a cryptic reference to evidence (or non-evidence) of royal intervention in the coup by citing royal language (the dust beneath the soles of your feets, etc). In other words, royal tracks leave no footprints. But it's just a hypothesis. 

Amending the constitution and declaring an amnesty for some politicians, it is irrelevant to unity - translated and summarized from Thaipost; Column: The Editorial; April 22, 2009
The debate about the political conflict is now going ahead in the parliament. The representatives of the coalition government party and of the opposition party come to debate what solution is the best of solving the political conflict, but they talk about an amnesty for some politicians who were deprived of the political rights by the court, and a constitutional amendment on article 237.
These topics are opposed immediately by the people. It means that the political conflict is not improved although the constitution is amended and some politicians are forgiven. According to the case of the party dissolution of Thai Rak Thai party, it showed that Thai Rak Thai party could do everything to govern the country and its actions are in conflict with the constitution and has endangered the country’s security. It was unsure whether Thaksin thought over the country’s benefit more than his personal interest when administering the country.
The Thai Rak Thai party was dissolved by the court after their decision. Hence, the ideas about an amnesty for some politicians and a constitutional amendment is irrelevant to unity and also is in conflict with the political reform proposed by Abhisit government. However, the political benefits of each party is focused firstly when the debate is begun.

Nation Weekly - April 20, 2009

The cover reads: War of 7.6 ten thousand million baht [This refers to the amount of money widely rumored to have financed the Red Shirts' attempt to seize power in Bangkok.]

“It happens at the Bangna intersection” - by Kui, Kom Chad Luek, April 21, 2009
Left: From the in-depth information, we initially believe we know who is the assassin involved with the shooting targeting Mr. Sondhi.
Middle: Who is the person sir?
Right: Ai Pued ["Ai Pued" is a generic name given to an unnamed or X person who is believed to be a wrongdoer, but who cannot be named for one reason or another. Here, it is used to poke fun at the lack-luster performance of the police as if they are saying "it is Joe Blow."]

Thai Rath, April 19, 2009
Follow up with the case to close down the community radio stations involved with rallying the masses
Bloodshed shooting attack aimed at Sondhi - Surgery operation undergone
Life bidding ["He bets his life," C-in-C Anupong Paojinda’s quotation that he bets his life there were no deaths caused by the army crackdown on Red Shirts.]

Kom Chad Luek, April 21, 2009
Don’t miss the record of the April crisis event – the tragic Songkran
Chamlong says coup involved - The PAD urges panel of officials on national security restructured
Rely on the real fans for tracking for the pickup’s whereabouts [this refers to the vehicle carrying the Sondhi assassins - viewers of a car lover's show, Big Fans, were asked to use their expertise to identify the vehicle]
Sondhi’s head valued at 3 million baht

Punch to Punch - Thairath, April 20, 2009

Left: Abhisit Wejchacheewa - It reads: Although the severe situation was improved, no one gained the victory or the defeat. If the better situation shows victory, it would have been the victory to bring a peace to society.
Right: Thaksin Shinawatra - It reads: Thai government should find a way to create a rapport with the red-shirt protest rally more than put them in a jail. When the Thai government uses violence to solve the problem, the severe situation happening in the country is also its result. If he puts the red-shirt core leaders in a jail, the violent situation will be more severe.

Punch to Punch - Thairath, April 13, 2009

Left: Thaksin Shinawatra - It reads: Thai people who love freedom and fairness, please come to show your power extremely because you are one who change Thailand’s history.
Right: Abhisit Wejchacheewa - It reads: If it is the claim on democracy, the government will surely respond. But, if the claim is irrelevant to democracy, the government can’t respond. The government has to be covered by the law and the principle institutions of the nation.

Goodness protects good man - Incredibly Sondhi survives - translated and summarized from Phujatkan; Author: Crime news team; April 17, 2009
The People’s Alliance for Democracy or PAD core leader and media magnet Sondhi Limthingkul was attacked in a shooting attack targeted his life early morning on April17, 2009 close to the Eium Woranutch Temple at Bangkhumprom intersection in the Phra Nakorn district in Bangkok. Sondhi’s car was attacked by M16 guns shooting. His driver was injured severely. Sondhi receives the injury from a bullet in his head and he was operated on. The doctor later revealed that Mr. Sondhi was in safe condition.

Behind the “force” dissolving the red protest - translated and summarized from Matichon; Page: 11, April 16, 2009
It is to be inscribed in Thai history that the mob was dissolved by the Army without loss of people’s life during the Army operation to handle the red-shirt protest during Songkran Festival, 2009.
According to the Army preparation, approximately 40 troops of military forces were dispatched to monitor the situation. Regarding the strategy to handle the masses, the front line force used shields and bats while the back-up team is equipped with guns with drill ammunition. The rear line military team is equipped with bullets and the Army used these to threaten the protest by shooting onto the sky.
Anyway, the truth is to be verified by the footage of the camera recoding the event on the operation date. The thankful message is to be partially delivered to the red leaders who declared a halt to the protest unless bloodshed would occur. For all lessons we learned from the tragic Songkran, 2009, it is us, Thai people who are to answer the doubtful question whether the national breakup is what we really want to see indeed.

The Red-shirt mob has no righteousness - translated and summarized from Naew Na; Column: April 9, 2009
Thaksin Shinawatra tries to mobiles red-shirt people nationwide to join a civil war, aiming to bring down the government and aristocracy. He claimed that it is a civil revolution just like the October 14, 1973 and the Black May 1992 events, which is a complete distortion of the truth.
It is known that the events of October 14, 1973 and May 17, 1992 were collaboration of academics and people who were motivated by pure ideals. They moved peacefully to get real democracy. They fought for the majority.
The movements by red-shirt people are known to be only for the benefit of one person. They do not concern themselves with improving the government.
The red-shirt movement, claimed to be a fight for democracy, is aimed at laundering all of Thaksin’s guilty and taking back Thaksin’s 76-billion-baht assets and his power.
The leaders of the red-shirt mob demand for four things, including sacking Gen. Prem Tinasulanonda, Chairman of the Privy Council and statesman, and Gen. Surayud Chulanont, a privy councilor, and former Prime Minister.
It is such an aggressive and overconfident requirement. It shows their intention to destroy the royal institute. Other requirements are also not in line with the current situation. They are just reasons to create a situation which will lead to violence.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva announced via TV Pool that the government will not be trapped by the red-shirt mob and it will not use any violent measures.

Punch to punch - Thai Rath, April 4, 2009

Left: Thaksin Shinawatra - It reads: I have nothing that is in conflict with Gen Surayuth Chulanont, therefore [there is no reason for] the chaos and grudges that led to the cases to get rid of me over claims that I am not loyal [to the Monarchy]
Right: Privy Councilor and former Prime Minister Gen Surayuth Chulanont - The information from Thaksin might be mistaken information. I did not take part in the coup. I believe in the circle of good and bad actions [according to Buddhism] that every man will receive the result from their good and bad deeds.  

An assassination of a privy councilor - translated and summarized from Daily News; April 9, 2009
Currently, the country is separated into two groups--the yellows and the reds--created by their extremely different political ideas. Meanwhile, an issue about an assassination of a privy councilor was reported. Four suspects with guns, bullets, pictures and important documents, were arrested. They confessed that they were trying to kill one of seven privy councilors--Mr. Charnchai Likhitjittha. He is a person who joined a discussion on national problems at Mr. Pee Malakul Na Ayutthaya’s place before the September 19 2006 coup.
The motivation for the assassination cannot be concluded yet. Suspects claimed that they were hired by a northern businessman who has a conflict with Mr. Charnchai over businesses and personal matters. They disclosed that a special captain was a middleman. They were told to commit the crime before April 7, before the big gathering of red-shirt people. It was assumed that it was aimed to create a situation – to make it more violent and aggressive.
People may wonder about the case as it seemed to be unprofessional. However, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban confirmed that the government and the police did not create the situation. The government also ordered officials to provide strict security for the Chairman of the Privy Councilor, privy councilors and other important figures.
We hope that the case will not be a repeats of repeat Thaksin’s assassination attempt, which was proven to be a ‘silly’ incident.

Government weak: The reason Thaksin gets stronger - translated and summarized from ASTV Manager Daily; Author; Samart Mangsang; April 7, 2009
If you look back to see the reason the military ran a coup to bring down the government led by Thaksin Shinawatra on September 19, 2006, you will see that reasons were the Thaksin government tended to seek their own benefits in an illegal way which led to social disunity and media intervention.
Until now, the action has not been eliminated, and even worsened. Red-shirt people tend to try to create disunity in society, aiming to destroy the good image people have towards the government led by Abhisit Vejjajiva and the country’s important institutes, especially the court, which is one of three major institutes in Thailand. All Thaksin’s phone-ins aimed to make people see that he was bullied by the court. What makes Thaksin and his followers dare challenge the court’s power when he is an escaped prisoner and is charged for many lawsuits?
However, to analyze why the government is weak, we must take a look back from the September 19 coup until now – the day red-shirt people moved to block Government House, announcing they will bring down the government before Songkran festival.
Starting from the Council for Democracy Reform, after dethroning the Thaksin government, it did not take charge like other revolutionists. Instead, they let Gen. Surayud Chulanont take the Prime Minister position. As a leader of the government, Gen. Surayud did not express any bravery in fixing problems and suing Thaksin and people in the Thaksin regime. He just let everything go slowly.
Until the end of 2007, the People Power’s Party, a nominee government of Thaksin Shinawatra, which was led by Mr. Samak Sudaravej. THe PPP won the majority vote in the election.
After Samak took the helm, he was moving to amend the Constitution to grant amnesty to Thaksin and people under Thaksin regime. This was where five leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy made a move. They opposed the idea to amend the Constitution.
Later, Mr. Samak was found guilty for being an employee of a private company. He had to step out of his position. Then, Mr. Somchai Wongsawat replaced him. Samak continued with the move to amend the constitution. The PAD opposed him with more aggressive measures.
We can see that from September 19, 2006, there were no governments focusing on solving problems stated in the reason for the revolution.
Today, the Democrat Party, led by Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban, is the government. They do not seem to focus on handling with people in the Thaksin regime. In contrast, they even plan to negotiate with Thaksin. So, the intervention of Thaksin is not likely to be solved.
In conclusion, if the government is still weak and its ministers are still inexperienced, one day the Thaksin regime will become stronger and take charge of Thailand.

Nation Weekend, April 10, 2009
It reads: This round, overthrow Pa [Privy Councilor Prem] Next round, overthrow who?

Punch to Punch - ThaiRath, April 6, 2009

Thaksin Shinawatra - It reads: Privy Councilor Gen. Prem and Gen. Surayuth have participated in political activities. It caused damage to the country so they should not meddle in politics. If they meddle in politics, they will be also involved in politics.
Prime Minister Abhisit - It reads: In the case of Thaksin’s claim to something pertaining to politics, no matter what he wants, he had better negotiate with politicians. It was wrong that he alluded to Privy Councilor President Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda and Privy Councilor Gen. Surayuth Chulanonda.

Looking the source of Red-Shirt power – paying Bt1,000 per person from 26 provinces – followers of Wat Chan Bin will make a move before April 8 - translated and summarized from ASTV Manager Daily; April 7, 2009
Finally, when a problem comes, Thailand need ‘adult's’ help anyway.
The Democrat government let Thaksin Shinawatra, escaped prisoner, lead the country to turmoil. It cannot do anything but asking for help from ‘adults’.
If it was more hard-working, that ‘devil’ would not come out and haunt people, including persons who people worship.
The Democrat Party should have known that the target of the escaped prisoner is to bring down the royal institute.
It is not too late for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to make a move. First things first, he must order all authorities concerned to do their duty.
Do not let that capitalist dictator tell the public about wrong concepts of democracy. Do not let him tell people that Thaksin is equal to democracy. Thaksin is doing everything for himself.
Thaksin announced that he would mobilize people from April 8 to 10. Red-shirt people would gather to bring down the aristocrats.
A five-million-baht donation would be used to mobilize 300,000 red-shirt members from 26 provinces. They would get at least 1,000 baht per person, plus free transportation and meals.
What should be monitored was the reason of the mobilization. Thaksin coaxed people to help change the country, to help promote Thailand to a real democratic kingdom.
It is said that ‘Chanbin’ members from the ‘direct dharma’ organization will join the gathering.

Thailand’s way out – Justice must be chosen - translated and summarized from Thai Post; Column: Editorial; April 6, 2009
It cannot be denied that the announcement of red-shirt people stating that they will mobilize to oust Chairman of the Privy Council Gen. Prem Tinasulanonda from his position has created anxiety in the Thai people. People question about Thailand’s future and way out.
People are worrying about the country’s future as it seems to be clear that Thaksin’s target is to destroy the Privy Council’s image, which is directly related to the royal institute. It is feared that Thai people may kill one another as the red-shirt mob announced they would not stop until the goal is achieved.
Amidst this risky situation, Thai people must think and consider carefully if the current political upheaval leads to the unhappiness of all Thai people. Is it the corruption under Thaksin regime which creates disunity among Thai people? In the past, the former Prime Minister announced that he would quit politics, but instead, he is doing everything he can to get his powerful position back.
Thai people must weigh the situation and stand on the right side – either the Privy Council that took a risk getting involved in the politics or a rich businessman who buys everything with his money.

Every party must be patient - translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit; Column: Editorial; April 4, 2009
The gathering of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) has reached its second week. They have been gathering at the Government House. What concerns people is that they will move to the residence of Privy Councilor Gen. Prem Tinasulanonda on April 8.
In fact, to demand real democracy and oppose the Abhisit government is a basic right under democracy. People will be allowed to gather as long as they understand their rights.
The government’s acceptance of the gathering is a good sign. It is what a democratic government should do. The heart of democracy is patience and endurance which will lead to a reasonable discussion to seek solutions to social problems.
To compare to previous gatherings, we will see that no violent attacks take place lately. People say that Thais are getting used to and are learning to live with political mobs.
We can see that Thai people can stand different opinions and accept political movements. We hope that the situation will remain unchanged in order to develop a sustainable democracy. A little political turmoil is a part of changes. And it is not a bad action if it leads to a better future.
The government, officials and a lot of people are learning to be patient which is an important part of democracy. We hope that the coming gathering of the UDD will be the same. If it really asks for real democracy, no violent actions should take place as it will break the basic law of democracy.

Decency-Neutrality - translated and summarized from Dailynews; Column: The editorial; April 1, 2009
After a group of police officers in half uniform participated in the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD) rally [the red-shirt protest rally] for deposing the Apisit government. Due to this action, the red shirts were delighted and also feel that the police officers are their partisans. In fact, it was an improper action that the police officers in uniform participate in the rally. The police officers, who peacefully police the rally, should be neutral and adhere to democratic politics. The metropolitan police are setting up a committee to inquire about the event.
Previously, a senior soldier in full uniform made a speech on the stage of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) [the yellow-shirt protest rally]. He was criticized for his improper behavior so the commander asked him to change his behavior. If he did not change his behavior, it would impact on the image of military institution.
In the case of the police officers and the red shirts, they can participate in the red-shirt protest rally, if we consider the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. But maybe the people will misunderstand if the police officers appear in uniform.

Burst of gunfire - translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit; Column: Kae Roy Karn Muang; April 3, 2009
Ran Muanglong, a Thai left-wing theoretician, analyses the current political situation.
He said red-shirt people will be attacked even more for disloyalty by focusing on Gen. Prem Tinasulanonda and Gen. Surayud Chulanont. Their gatherings will face obstacles and will be eventually suppressed.
He said that the leaders of Thailand’s aristocracy, who play important roles in the society, will not surrender easily. It means the chance of a new war in the city is high.
As we know after an incident of political bloodshed and fighting that an interim government will be set up, and then an elected one. Moreover, members of upper-class society and politicians will be even more united. This always is the solution to Thai social conflicts.
Dead civilians become heroes and living ones will still be chips in political games.
The military, as a villain, is a social victim. It will have to go back to their bases and will come back again as a hero later.
Ran Muanglung said Thaksin is applying Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini’s strategy. His phone-ins and video links create anxiety among aristocrats and the Abhisit government. Ran Muanglung is confident that the red-shirt force will win the battle. He said the world is on the democratic side as aristocracy is an outdated administrative system.

Actions in response to rumours of the end of battle - translated and summarized from Thai Rath; April 4, 2009
It is rumoured that Thaksin disappeared for two days to go to the United States to discuss human rights issues – about Thailand’s double-standard treatment against himself.
Coincidentally, in the meantime, US Ambassador to Thailand Eric G. John visited the Chairman of the Privy Councilor and statesman Gen. Prem Tinasulanonda at his residence on Si Sao Thevet.
Recently, Senate chairman Prasobsuk Boondech confirmed that upper-class people, or the so-called "Poo Yai," are concerned about the current situation. He said they are moving to solve it. A middleman from the upper-class society, who has respect from both sides, will negotiate with them. The negotiation will take place before April 8.
An insider source names this person as Asa Sarasin who is His Majesty's Deputy Principal Private Secretary. He is a person close to the palace with whom Thaksin can make contact.
All parties express that they want to negotiate to solve the problem and help the country.

Return to the time before September 19 coup - translated and summarized from Thai Rath, April 1, 2009
Ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is urging a house dissolution and a snap election from his opponent Democrat-led government and, at the same time, remarking that everything should begin at its first stage--like before the September 19th coup.
This is Thaksin’s request to return to his power. Many times that Thaksin has put the blame on those who treat him unfairly and toppled him from the leader post. He announced the involvement of the Privy Council President and some Privy councilors in the work behind September19 coup.
However, Thaksin never clarified the fact that before the coup of September 19, he was the one who caused wide corruption in the government, a grave breakup in Thai society and the dismantling of the power check system of counter-corrupt panels.
The ousted Prime Minister and his supporters’ movement is aimed at toppling the Democrat-led government. My remark to give here is, according to the criminal code article 116, those who generate chaos are to face up to 7 years in jail.


(Source: DTV)

Thaksin puts emphasis on "fighting with the head" for running his political game - translated and summarized from Thairath; Column: The Analysis, April 1, 2009
The sentence, ‘Thailand need change’ appeared on the background of Thaksin’s video link when former PM Thaksin Shinawatra was making a speech to the red shirts gathered around Government House. It is because he tried to convey the idea of "Thailand need change" to the foreign media and also used the foreign media to spread the news about the red shirt movement. Speaking by video link, the content of his speech involved Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, the head Privy Council and Gen. Surayuth Chulanond, the privy councilor and ex-prime minister. We are seeing that his political game pertains to the influential people. So, no matter what the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD)
do, Thaksin does not care.
In the meantime, PNET vice-president Gen. Saiyud Kerdphol and his group made a statement and appraised the situation of the red shirt rally. They believe that the objective of Thaksin’s movement is to create disorder so that this situation can bring a coup d’etat to the country.

Phenomena: “The Blue Shirts” - translated and summarized from Matichon, April 1, 2009
A group of Suvarnabhumi airport custodians worn blue shirts and gathered to protect the Suvarnabhumi International Airport from the red-shirt rally. It is said that “the blue shirts” came from the idea of the Bhumjaithai party [the new party made up of the Friends of Newin politicians who defected from the Thaksin camp].
This is in line with Interior Minister and Bhumjaithai party leader Chaowarat Charnwerakul, who initiated the policy of protecting the royal institution. During his inspection tour in 10 provinces, people accompanying him had to wear blue shirts on which were printed the words “Protect the Royal Institution”.
Many people may think that the blue shirts were originally connected to the Bhumjaithai Party. In fact, the words on the blue shirts have been different from time to time: “Protect the Royal Institution,” “The Bhumjaithai Party,” and “Newin is my friend, I am Newin’s friend”.
The blue shirts with “Newin is my friend, I am Newin’s friend” was a special version which was provided for the politicians and aides of any other parties that joined the Bhumjaithai Party. So, we are seeing that the blue shirt is popular right now and also is a new political movement. It seems unlikely that the Blue Shirt are going to stop the conflict between the Yellow Shirts and Red Shirts as per Newin’s group claimed.

Foreigners must disclose website postings - translated and summarized from Matichon; April 1, 2009
[This article is a fake, April Fool's Day posting.]
New regulations in effect from April require foreign visa holders (whether tourist or those applying for B, M, or O-type visas) to disclose if they are owners of a website or intend to post information about Thailand on a website forum or blog.
Website owners who work in Thailand must possess a Thai business registration in the form of a limited partnership even if the site is hosted overseas.
If a visa-holder intends to post material to a website--including internet forums and blogs--the posting must first be approved by the Ministry of Culture. Forms for the approval process will be handed out with the Thai Immigration entry card upon arrival or approval can be submitted via an online form at the Ministry of Culture website.
Visa holders will also be required to install "Cyber Cop" program to ensure they abide by the new regulations that restrict the viewing of some websites within Thailand. This program will automatically upload the latest blocklists without the user having to do anything.
The Ministry will not use the new regulations to censor political speech. Instead, the Ministry is mainly focusing on material that might be of detriment to Thai tourism or the country's image in general.
More on Website censorship in Thailand

Must make people put their trust in the government - translated and summarized from Dailynews; Column: The editorial; April 6, 2009
Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, speaking by video link, is persuading the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD) to rally in an extreme way as possible because he expects that a people power revolution will happen. This action causes a lot of entrepreneurs to be greatly worried. The president of the Federation of Thai Industries Santi Wiladsakdanonda believes that it also impacts the government’s measures to stimulate the economy.
In addition, this action brings disorder to many groups of people, for example, those who respect Privy Councilor General Prem Tinasulanonda. THey will be ready to rally for protecting him if there is a movement impacting this influential royal advisor.
It is necessary that the government rushes to deal with this problem for peace and makes neutral people have great faith by explaining the truth to the people that the main reason of the rally is to conceal Thaksin’s guilt. Meanwhile the government should also tackle the economic crisis.

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