Cutting the military budget - by Arun, Krungtepturakit, May 11, 2009
It reads " Small will be handsome " [meaning PM Aphisit reduces the budget for the military]
On the belt it reads: Budget
|Nation Weekend, May 29, 2009
The cover reads: 25.5.52 [May 25, 2009] to new politics [alluding to the establishment of a PAD political party]
Matichon Weekly, May 29, 2009
The cover reads: Kaeingo Jang - Kaeingo is so good [ a play on words on the name Keaingo, the Thai boy searching for his Japanese father who has received blanket coverage in the Thai-language press]
(Dr. Has for 2Bangkok.com)
Arson attacks in the south - May 27 2009
Dr. Has reports: At around 4 am. [on May 27], militants staged arson and bombing attacks in the city district of Yala province and in area close to the city district. The torching attacks occurred at the Srisamai warehouse in the old market, the Apirak furniture shop in the Muangmai market, the warehouse in Soi 24, the plan 4 area in the market (owner not known), and the advertising board of the ISUZU car company. The estimated damage is not revealed. All incidents took place in the municipality of Yala. Furthermore, the arson attack occurred at the Yong Huad Warehouse, 3 km. away from the city district which is the biggest construction supply warehouse in the South. The bombing attack took place at the Ban Nieng junction, 10 km. away from the city district and the damage has not been evaluated.
(Dr. Has for 2Bangkok.com)
(Dr. Has for 2Bangkok.com)
Above: Smoke at the Yong Huad Warehouse in the Thasab, 3 k.m. away from the Yala’s city district.
Red Shirts - Daily News, May 28, 2009
The caption reads: Acknowledgement - Police Lieutenant General Somkit Boonthanorm, the Region 5 Police Commander, calls for the meeting of the commanding officers from the 8 Northern provinces. The Chiang Mai Patriot 51 group [a pro-Thaksin Red Shirt group] asks the police to recognize the regulations on gathering and urges the police to follow the law with respect to people's rights.
Horned cicadas - Khaosod, May 28, 2009
The caption reads: Amazing horns - The great numbers of cicadas that have grown horns are caught by villagers in Udon Thani and other provinces. The creatures are said to bring charms and lucks to those who are able to catch them. Cicadas with horns are uncommon
| Punch to Punch - Thairath; May 25, 2009
Left: Chaowarat Charnverakul: Chartchai has not made mistakes, but it is Bhumjaithai Party’s policy to selecting a person as a deputy agriculture and cooperatives minister to replace Chartchai. It is because Chartchai has never attended a Bhumjaithai Party meeting so he does not know the Bhumjaithai Party’s policy at all.
Right: Chartchai Pukayaporn: I was sorry that I ignored Bhumjaithai Party’s activities because I took too much responsibility as a deputy agriculture and cooperatives minister and this made me forget to pay attention to the party’s activity. This caused the party leader to have a misunderstanding with me. I know from this experience that I need to arrange my time well to keep things in balance.
Medium - Nation Weekend, May 15, 2009
The South on fire - Komchadluek, May 28, 2009
It reads: Torching-bombing 8 spots in the city - Sabotage wreaks chaos in Yala - Arson damage valued 100 million, but no death toll reported
The militants stage series of attacks in Yala before dawn, torching 4 warehouses and a mobile signal transmitting booth. The damage is valued at hundred millions. The bomb detonated in front of the hotel/banks/in front of motor showroom. No toll reported. Authorities: militant attacks aimed at wreaking chaos during the town celebration of the city pillar.
|Nation Weekend, May 15, 2009 - It reads: Party leader.. my brothers! [The man is Sondhi Limthongkul and the headline reference the call to organize a PAD political party.]||Matichon Weekend, May 15, 2009 - It reads: Red in style of Aoy [Aoy is the nickname of Jaturon Chaisaeng (on the cover), one of the Red Shirt leaders and a banned Thai Rak Thai Party executive.]|
Punch to Punch - Thairath, May 18, 2009
Story from an RKK member - translated and summarized from Issara News Centre; May 27, 2009
People who continuously keep a watch on the southern unrest must have heard about the word RKK. However, no one knows exactly what RKK is. According to the government, RKK is likely to be a small group of young fighters who are capable of using weapons and committing crimes. Some say that RKK is an abbreviation of a small troop from Indonesia.
A thesis by Pol. Maj. Samret Sirai, Deputy Fourth Army Region Commander, about the BRN-Coordination and the unrest in Thailand’s three southern border provinces and four districts in Songkhla states that the word RKK is quite confusing. It has been used in several meanings. Neither Indonesian people nor terrorists ever heard about the word RKK.
Pol. Maj. Samret claimed in his thesis that a close relationship between the BRN-Coordinate and the Ajeh movement in Indonesia encourages a movement in Thailand to form a small force called the Runda Kumpulan Kecil – RKK.
A booklet about Thailand’s southern unrest by Political Sciences teacher of Chulalongkorn University Surachat Bamrungsuk gives information about RKK training for commando members. The course, for a group of six people, takes 28 days. Members will be trained about everything from history to how to make a bomb and fight. According to the study, RKK is a training course for commando members to commit various kinds of attacks.
The Issara News Centre talks to a former RKK member, who was well trained. He now turns his back to the movement and will unveil about its details.
The 34-year-old former RKK member says that in his language, RKK is called Tajueri, which refers to a fighter who has been trained physically and mentally. They do not call themselves RKK and do not know where the world comes from.
‘Tajueri’ is more skillful than ‘Permudo’, or youths who have been regularly trained. However, Tajueri is ranked lower than commando, or high-ranking military officers. There are about 3,000 commandos in each province. If a commando is killed, a Tajueri will be promoted. The number will remain 3,000. It is said that a commando is able to fight with ten officials with bare hands and a Tajueri can fight with five officials.
He said that before 2003, Ayahs, or village leaders, were mobilizing local people. Ayahs are separated into four groups and responsible for different tasks.
He was not among the first group of people who had been chosen. In 2003, he noticed that something was different. One of his neighbors went out of the village every week. He did not reply his answer of where they had been.
Five months later, the same old neighbor invited him to see Ayahs in a nearby village. He saw seven to eight people there. The oldest man, aged around 40 years old, was the one telling him about Pattani history. After that, he felt uplifted and then he become a member.
At first, he was trained to be a Permudo. The training took around three months. He was trained very hard physically and also had to join lectures. All members had to pay one baht daily.
After receiving the Permudo training, members would receive the Tajueri one, or the one the government calls RKK. During the training, all trainees had to pay 100 baht per month to the movement. Names of all trainers and trainees were fake. The course took 15 days.
A Tajueri group contained six members who were responsible for different tasks. However, their duties would change all the time as ordered by Ayahs.
After finishing the course, all Tajueris would go back home and waited for orders from Ayahs. His first task was to keep weapons for the movement. An attack he was involved in would be perfectly planned.
He said that if he did not decide to be one of members and worked for them with all his might, he would be quite uncomfortable. Many years with the movement, he had to keep his mouth shut and be careful all the time. He could not express any opinion. All he could say is ‘I have no idea’.
Now, he already quit the movement as the government applies a proactive strategy. Some leading members are arrested and some were so pressured that they hid themselves in the forest. An official told him to withdraw and he would not be charged. He took the offer and turns back to be an ordinary person again.
The desolate road – The PAD party - translated and summarized from Komchadluek; Column: The editorial; May 27, 2009
Forming a political party by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) core leaders is an example of political party development which starts with a gathering of people having the same opinion on politics.
However, it is different from setting up other political parties because The PAD rally used to be an important group which had caused a change of politics.
It is possible that the PAD party may be attacked verbally. This is because, PAD core leaders had announced on stage that many times that no matter what happens, they would not form a political party. This is a reason why they have a pure image in fighting previous unfair governments.
Although it seems that many people agree with Somsak Kosaisuk’s speech [asking for the forming of a political party], no one knows whether they agree with him or not. It is a good thing when there is a political party formed because the people have more of a choice to select a political party. Previously, many political parties tried to stop the old political system, but most politicians think of the personal interest more than the common interest. ["Old political system" is generally defined as a system dominated by parties based around personality, family, or business groups.] There have been no parties that could reach the goal of being representative of the people.
Although it is difficult to succeed in bringing a new political system to the country, Sondhi Limthongkul and other PAD core leaders can at least try to prove that they can do it.
The PAD party – A new political system - translated and summarized from Thaipost; Column: The editorial; May 27,2009
There is a difference of an opinion on forming the PAD party. Some people agree with the idea and some people disagree with it as they care very much about the whether PAD core leaders are able to bring a new political system [opposing Thaksin influence] into the country as they announced.
Recently, one of PAD core leaders, Somkiat Pongpaiboon, gave a reason why the PAD needs to set up a political party. the reason is because the PAD would block the old political system used to govern the country by some of political parties, block these parties from their plans to discredit or damage the country, collaborate with the good political parties and redress the social balance.
The PAD also does not need to have a flight with the Democrat Party, but needs to confront some bad politicians. Although those reasons are good, many people still wonder how the PAD core leaders can make their dream come true ["new politics" for the country].
Therefore, they had better answer these questions: How do they fight for a new political system? How do they escape from using the quota system to form a government after performing as politicians working for "the people"? And how does the PAD party relate to ASTV?
Although no one disputes that a new political system is good for everyone in the country, no one knows whether they can make the dream come true or not since the PAD party will be one of many political parties that already have the duty to govern the country and to work for the people.
When the PAD forms a new party, it needs to acknowledge a check on the party’s work - translated and summarized from Thaipost; May 26, 2009
The PAD [People’s Alliance for Democracy] members voted their core leaders to form a new party without focusing on a party name. Many people pay attention to the new party policies although there are no any policies defined clearly at this time. But this is not a problem because the policies will be announced after a new party is completely set up.
The important thing is that PAD core leaders should have strong confidence in their standpoints--especially an idea of new politics--which is not now completely formed because their opinions on this idea are still not identical.
That a group [the PAD] could perform as an agent to check on the PAD party’s work is Somsak Kosiasuk’s standpoint. It is not a good thing at all. What do you think of the Red Shirts’ vow that the Phea Thai Party would have been checked by the Red Shirts if it had been elected as a new government?
Thus, PAD core leaders had better choose only one way [bring either a politician or a member of society] so that there will be no problems.
Once, the PAD rally used to mention that D-station was opened for supporting the Thaksin system. If PAD core leaders ignore a check on their party’s work, this action will be the same as the Red Shirts’ action involving D-station. So, the new party’s work should be exposed to society's verdict so that "new politics" will occur as per Thai people expect.
The PAD and the establishment of PAD party - translated and summarized from Daily News; Column: the Editorial; May 25, 2009
Regarding the party establishment for the People’s Alliance for Democracy or PAD and its success as a political party in the future, we have to look back to the establishment of the PAD as political movement group in the past.
The PAD’s fight is aimed at opposing the revision of the 2007 Constitution, opposing the Pheu Thai Party-led government or a Thaksin shadow government. The PAD’s movement calling for the coup expresses a lacking of confidence in the political party system. It once seized the government house and the Suvarnabhumi Airport to fight outside of politics.
Thailand politics with a parliamentary system is known for having negotiation power that belongs to the party with major votes in the house of representative. Parties, hence, seek ways to gain members and to form the government. As for the PAD party, we have to see whether it is going to gain such power, and if not, how will the PAD fight.
We comment that the PAD, as a party, should come up with a new approach of how they will fight or how they will make the nation better.
PAD party - translated and summarized from ASTV Manager Daily; Author; Chaianan Samutavanich; May 25, 2009
It is said that the People's Alliance for Democracy plans to form a political party. It is hoped that a party, formed by the PAD, will have something different from existing parties.
Here is the nature of current political parties;
1. Formed by only one person and is a personal party. At present there is only the Democrat Party which was formed by a group of people.
2. Gets financial support from one person, or a small group of people.
3. Supported by a group of house representatives, not by the public.
4. Has no strategy to conduct a political study of the public and has no relationship with the public
5. Has no political machinery or development process for leaders
If the PAD really forms a party, it will be different from others. The party had political movements [policy and ideology]. Members gathered to run activities together before becoming a party. Therefore, it is a party formed by a group of people with the same political attitude. It has many qualities which brings it an advantage. The party could have a strong base.
The establishment of the party will lead to a change in Thailand’s politics. The party will apply new ideas. It is a party which focuses more on principles, not political conveniences. The PAD party will have good relationship with the public.
Punch to Punch - Thairath, May 11, 2009
Left: Jakrapob Penkair: From now on, we have to work on various strategies to meet the government that was selected improperly. Weapons may be used to fight for a new election.
Soldiers must swallow their blood – Weapons budget cut to win people’s heart - translated and summarized from Thai Post; Column: Editorial; May 25, 2009
It is not surprising that the budget for government units has been cut as the Finance Ministry is facing financial problems from the economic recession. As well as other units, the Defence Ministry’s budget was cut, especially those for weapons purchase.
The budget allocation for the military reflects that the government focuses on maintaining internal security, creating peace and unity among people and revolutionise politics. In addition, the budget for southern unrest operations has also been cut by more than half.
It means that the budget for weapons purchase, for all forces, has been cut. Budget has been allocated only for paying installments for weapons which is quite a big budget.
The Defence Ministry has a lot of projects in its hands, for instance, buying fighter jets, acquiring armoured tanks from Ukraine, buying more guns for southern operations, and many more.
Army leaders have to accept the current economic situation and try to manage its image among the public. If the majority is not satisfied with their actions, they will have no back-up in the future. Therefore, they allowed the Finance Ministry to cut their budget without moaning like usual. The military has to maintain its position as a beloved unit.
Viriya Chavakul - May 13, 2009
Left: Nation Weekend, May 8, 2009 - Who is the assassin?
PAD party sparks new idea for new politics - translated and summarized from Naew Na; Column: Pa Praden Ron; May 25, 2009
At the Rangsit University’s auditorium on May 24, representatives from the People Alliance for Democracy (PAD) from across the country met up to have a vote on the idea to form a political party.
The meeting lasts two days, from May 24 to 25 and it seems that there is high possibility for the PAD to form a new party of yellow people.
It the yellow party is really formed, the question is who is going to be the head of the party. There are two choices – Sondhi Limthongkul and Chalong Srimuang.
Pol. Maj. Chalong Srimuang points out that to form a political party is necessary as the PAD had been fighting until it was able to get rid of Thaksin and get a new government, but the current government still manages the country with old political ideas.
He says that the parliament can be dissolved any time at the moment. The majority of the PAD wants a new party. The issue about the head could be concluded in seven days.
To form the PAD party is necessary as the public is now tired of mobs and turmoil which greatly hurt the country.
In addition, people are also wondering about the financial support for the new party move. Sondhi prepares to have yellow-shirt members donate 100 baht each per month. By this, the party will have no need to ask for any financial aid from businessmen and owe them in the future.
Another question is the party’s political policy. It must give a clear answer to the public about what exactly "new politics" is and if it is really possible to bring the country to this goal.
The emerging of the PAD seems like a good sign in Thailand’s politics and could be a new choice for those who want a change. But we will have to wait and see whether the new party will be well received. Time will tell.
Benefit and negotiation - translated and summarized from Daily News; Column: Editorial; May 24, 2009
The government has been working less than six months, but it has a lot of things to do. It has to solve many crises, from politics to the economy. It seems that the public understands the government well. Although some situations which affected the country’s security occurred, people still have good feelings toward the government.
Meanwhile, politicians in coalition parties, or even in the Democrats, start to ask for changes for better positions and benefits of their fellows and themselves.
An effort to ask for a position and benefits is completely against the concept politicians should have. There are always problems in the political world as politicians always want to take an advantage for themselves. This problem leads to slow development. People cannot rely on the government. They start to ask for new politics.
Under the current political situation, people cannot escape from same old problems, even if they are tired of them. However, currently, we have a committee for political reformation and constitution amendment studying the problem. It is hoped that the committee will come up with new measures to get rid of and prevent these problems.
Six factors that affects the Southern unrest situation and the possible solution of the “Hukompakah” approach - translated and summarized from Issara News Center; Column: Southern news; Author: Somsak Hoonngam; May 23, 2009
Yala Deputy governor Kridsada Boonrad states his belief in the approach to bring peace to the unrest called “the Hukompakah” approach. This refers to the community under the rules and regulations implemented by the local villagers themselves. According to the Yala deputy governor, many incidents that are believed to solely involve militant operations in the unrest are caused by conflicts in villages themselves and this is the problem to be dealt with to promote the peace. Earlier, the Yala administrative organization’s study on the unrest situation reveals that 6 factors are involved in the current violent situation. The 6 factors are:
1. The separatism attempt
2. The personal revenge at state-authorities
3. Drug-dealing cases
4. Corruption in the local government
5. The local election and general election
6. Personal conflicts
The Yala administration organization launched a project to solve deep-rooted violent problems in the communities. It focused on the use of the “Hukompakah” rules which are Islamic principles of the Islamic communities in the past. Following the rules, the community members are to set rules for the community itself.
During the past 9 month period, 180 villages from the total 349 villages in 8 districts of Yala joined the pilot project. 80% of the project turns out to be a success in solving local villagers’ conflicts. The project cuts rates of community fights which are, sometimes, taken as militant operations.
Examples of the “Hukompakah” rules in communities are the use of religious practices of community members, methods to deal with drug problems in communities, security measures and peace maintenance in villages, negotiations between rivals, and environmental protection rules for communities. According to Kridsada, the approach reinforces peace in communities and generates peace in the unrest areas.
Do not play political game without concern for the nation - translated and summarized from Kom Chad Luek; Column: the Editorial; May 22, 2009
The Pheu Thai Opposition party continues to oppose the government’s plan to pass the new decree on economic revival to inject 400 billion baht money into the business sector. This is the attempt to oppose Pheu Thai’s political opponents without care for the country’s economic situation.
The opposition party should regard mostly the negative result to the country’s economy that is derived from its attempt to drag out its opposition to the economic revival policy. The opposition party’s attempt does no good to the party itself especially if the party returns to lead the country in the future.
We comment that the political competition nowadays is without moral concern. It is, therefore, necessary for government to move on political and educational reform to guarantee the nation’s future and not to risk national collapse.
Government admits southern situation worrying before OIC conference – Suthep says insurgents want to get money from foreigners - translated and summarized from Issara News Centre; Author; Ahmad Ramansiriwong; May 22, 2009
Government officials from the Minister of Security to local high-ranking authorities admitted that the reason the southern situation becoming violent again is that the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC)’s meeting is coming. During the conference, the southern unrest issue is expected to be seriously discussed.
Deputy Minister for security Suthep Thaugsuban gave an interview on May 21. He admitted that some separatists receive financial support from other countries. They must create a more violent situation so that they can tell other countries what happened.
Mr. Suthep said that there are around 5,000 separatists in the South. The government is responsible for taking care of over one million local residents. It has to educate local people about the situation. It must not aim at killing separatists, but has to try to coax them to side with the government. During the past times, killing never helped solve any problem. He added that the reason the situation becomes intense is that they want to show that they are powerful. The government must continue keep solving the problem.
The Deputy Security Minister said that he would visit the South next week to discuss with organizations concerned about development plans for 2010.
5,000 insurgents want to separate the land - translated and summarized from Thai Rath; May 21, 2009
On May 21, at the Government House, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban talked about progress in the move to ease the unrest in the three southern border provinces. He admitted that there really is a group of around 4,000-5,000 separatists in the southern provinces. Therefore, the government will have to take care of the quality of life of over 1,000,000 people in the South. It will not focus on killing separatists or insurgents. What it must do is to coax these people into siding with the government.
Suthep said that it was true that separatists were trying to create a situation to get more financial support before the meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). He said the group received financial support from other countries.
Meanwhile, he did not think that the government’s measure to tackle the problem in the past five months was a failure. He would visit the three southernmost provinces next week to join a meeting of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre.
He added that the current government would focus on raising the quality of life of local residents. It aimed to make people generate 120,000 baht in income per family per year. It would also improve education and the justice system.
Ideal party - translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit; Column: Kae Roy Karn Muang; Author; Rak Montree; May 19, 2009
It has been said that the People Alliance for Democracy (PAD) plans to set up a political party soon. To form a political party is a right supported by the Constitution to allow people with the same political ideals to jointly develop politics under the democratic system or an ideal one.
In the 1946 Constitution, it was stated that a group of people were allowed to freely set up a political party. Before the constitution came into effect, there were three parties at the time. Parties during the first period were idealistic parties. They were Kao Na, Sahaphum and Naew Rattathamanun. ["Idealistic party" here seems to indicate political parties created around popular ideologies with public support as opposed to the business and tycoon-associated parties of the present day.]
After that, a new idealistic party – Palang Mai – was formed. The party was formed after the 14 October 1973 events [the military crackdown on student protesters and the subsequent collapse of the military regime].
In 1975, the Democrat Party, led by M.R. Seni Pramote, was able to form a government.
Later, the Palang Dharma party, a new idealistic party, was formed. Pol. Maj. Chamlong Srimuang was the head.
Pol. Maj. Chamlong tried to make the party an idealistic one. He tried to promote a relationship between executives and members of the party. Members were allowed to run the party and helped choose a candidate for elections. However, the party later gained less popularity because Thai people started to be dominated by the capitalism. The Palang Dharma could not get itself out of this cycle. It allowed Thaksin Shinawatra to completely own the party.
Nevertheless, the party has created a standard of transparency in the Thai political world and also openly revealed assets of its house representatives.
If the PAD cannot get into this mode [creating a party like Palang Dharma], it will be far from successfully forming such an idealistic party.
Opposition, don’t focus only on destroying the government - translated and summarized from Naew Na; May 18, 2009
It is seen that the Pheu Thai party, known as a puppet party of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, aims only at destroying and bringing down the government as soon as possible, in stead of doing the right thing for an opposition party – creatively keeping a close watch on the government’s management.
Its image as an opposition which could do anything for Thaksin becomes noticeable day by day. Its moves are completely in line with red-shirt people, especially an effort to amend the Constitution to cancel all charges against Thaksin Shinawatra and get him back his 76-billion-baht assets.
The attempt to bring down the current government is part of a strategy to get rid of any obstacles to the process of cleaning Thaksin’s guilty. The political standpoint of the current government Democrat is completely different to the Thaksin regime. Therefore, the red-shirt group tries to do everything to dethrone it. It applied violent strategies to create turmoil.
The Pheu Thai party still continues to hurt the country by trying to obstruct the government’s move to ease economic crises. It filed a petition to the Constitution Court, claiming that the decree for 400-billion-baht loan is against the Constitution. This action was aimed to obstruct the government from managing the country smoothly. It also made the economic problem prolonged.
Thaksin’s lifestyle - translated and summarized from Komchadluk; Column: The editorial; May 18, 2009
As the police and the prosecutors were considering a new criminal case concerning Thaksin Shinawatra, he and his representatives rigorously denied all accusations such as the accusation of insulting the principal national institution [the monarchy] by his speaking and acting. He still denies all accusations although there are many evidences of him making a mistake--especially using a speech to incite the Red Shirts recorded on video during their rally.
One thing he does all the time is to ask for his property that was seized be returned to him and also claim for forgiveness. We are seeing that he becomes a power person who can do everything without punishment. The government should do everything under the law and let the judicial process to address his cases.
No matter what Thaksin does, it is because he would have a chance of survival and would not be in jail for a long time due to his criminal case. Besides, he also did something wrong by selling a satellite to Singapore though it is a national assets.
Everything will be better if the government has an opportunity to work continuously [without being under attack by Thaksin].
Yellow-shirt party - translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit; Column: Kae Roy Karn Muang; Author; Pracha Burapavithee; May 15, 2009
A big meeting of the People Alliance for Democracy is about to be held. There is news about its movements to form a political party.
Pol. Maj. Chamlong Srimuang gave a comment on the issue for the first time. He proposed the ‘Palang Dharma’ model as another choice for a yellow-shirt political party.
The former head of the Palang Dharma party said that there should be both a political party and the PAD. His opinion is in line with those of Piphob Thongchai, Somkiat Pongpaiboon and Somsak Kosaisuk. It is said that Chamlong and Piphob insist to operate the PAD as an organization for the public. Somkiat, Somsak and Suriyasai will have to continue pushing for the new PAD party.
Nevertheless, Praphan Kunmee said that all PAD members should join to form Thailand’s first public political party. He said if the party is not formed today, there is no chance that the public will have its own political party. Praphan said that the head of the yellow-shirt party must be a mass leader like Sondhi Limthongkul.
It is wondering why he has to move this fast. He is not new in politics. He was a member of the Palang Dharma party and then formed the Nam Thai party in 1995. However, the party was dissolved in only one season. Praphan never stops moving in the political world.
Another PAD leader who has been chasing his dream about a public party is Somkiat Pongpaiboon. About ten years ago, Somkiat worked with Suriyasai Katasila to promote the ‘green’ party in Thailand. He also talked with senior members of the Communist Part of Thailand to design a public party for Thailand. Therefore, Somkiat is the one who has been dreaming about a public party until now.
Details about Praphan’s party and Somkiat’s party are different.
It is said that if Sondhi decides to get involved in politics, he may have to adopt the structure of the Chinese communist party. We have to see the result at the end of the month.
Stop talking about unity for Thaksin - translated and summarized from Naew Na; Column: Editorial; May 14, 2009
Politicians of Pheu Thai and Pracharat parties are trying to confuse the public by linking Thaksin Shinawatra’s corruption cases to the amendment of the constitution to grant amnesty to the criminal. They claim that they are trying to bring unity back to Thai people.
Thaksin is now an escaped prisoner. He has been sentenced to two years in jail for corruption in the Ratchada land purchase case. His 76-billion-baht assets have also been seized. In addition, he has been charged for mobilizing the red-shirt mob to bring down the government during the past Songkran festival.
Instead of instructing the former Prime Minister to come back and receive punishments, opposition politicians are trying to push for an amendment to the constitution to help escaped prisoner Thaksin Shinawatra. This kind of action is completely against the legal system.
Previous internal conflicts are not problem of the country and its people. They are caused by only a group of people and are used as negotiation tools to help someone.
If the constitution is amended, the country will not be in peace. Lots of people will stand up and oppose. This will lead to disunity.
Return of D-Station – It’s time for NTC to get out of neutral gear - translated and summarized from Thai Post; Column: Editorial; May 14, 2009
A statement by the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), saying that it will recover the D-Station channel to provide information and news for red-shirt members and Thaksin supporters, is like a wake-up call for the Abhisit government. It must be admitted that the D-Station affects the stability of the government, as well as unity among Thai people.
The red-shirt movement to restore the station must be closely monitored to see what the government and organizations concerned to do to cope with the situation. In the past, the D-Station broke the law and created disunity among Thai people.
Minister to the Prime Minister Office Sathit Wongnongtoei discloses that there are many ways for the D-Station channel to legally recover if all organizations strictly follow the law. Last time, the Public Relations Department, the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) and the ICT Ministry accepted no responsibility.
Instead of ignoring problems, the government should try to solve media problems to prevent powerful people from conscientiously using media as a political tool. This is a responsibility of the NTC that is in charge of controlling all media.
This time, it is not appropriate if the NTC stays in neutral gear. To allow the D-Station to broadcast any program about the criminal Thaksin Shinawatra not only breaks the law, but also bring turmoil to the country.
New party – ‘PAD’ – Palang Dharma model is one model - translated and summarized from Matichon; May 13, 2009
After its 193-day fight, the People Alliance for Democracy announced that it would turn to symbolic movements. Political concerts are now continuously organized to create new ideas and maintain the mass base. However, this strategy does not give them enough power.
It is not surprising if leaders of the PAD review their past lessons and see that street gathering and mobilizations could create pressure among powerful people, but it is not the right answer for the new politics, which is their major target. [Meaning the street protests of the PAD pressured politicians and other institutions into taking action.]
After halting the fight, leaders have had time to think about a right solution to the problem. A rumor has it that the PAD sees that to form a party is the last answer.
They sent out a representative to register for political parties – Prachathivat and Thien Hang Tham parties.
However, the idea has not crystallized yet. As key figure of the group, Pol. Maj. Chamlong Srimuang opposed it. He had experiences from the Palang Dharma party. But, lately, the idea was lit again during the fourth political concert in Samui, Sarat Thani. This time, it was accepted by PAD leaders, including Pol. Maj. Chamlong.
Of course, the PAD got both flowers and bricks from such an idea. Supporters of the Democrat party disagree with it as they do not want to support to go to other parties other than the Democrats. Even some members of the PAD like Chaiwat Sinsuwong do not agree with it.
The PAD still has time to coax the public into approving its idea to seek new power through the parliamentary system. Anyhow, there are still many obstacles to their new move.
Please stop hurting Thailand – Politicians must be dedicated - translated and summarized from Thai Post; May 11, 2009
Amidst the economic crises, everyone agrees that the current political conflict is a major factor which decides whether the country will survive. Therefore, there is a movement by a group of people who call themselves the "silent power." They do not take sides. They urge people to stop hurting Thailand.
Along with the action, we cannot deny that people question about who is the one who hurts Thailand. Yellow-shirt supporters will say that former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is a criminal who hurts Thailand. Red-shirt advocates will say that the military and aristocrats pushed the country into crisis. Those who do not take sides would see that all those violent movements and gatherings created turmoil.
Today, we do not know who hurts Thailand or gets involved in it, but experience shows that politicians play an important role in hurting or developing Thailand.
As long as politicians are not dedicating themselves to the majority, Thailand will still face the constitution amendment demands for the good of politicians. They will do everything for their own benefit. Before blaming the others for hurting Thailand, politicians will have to consider if they do their best.
Temperature check on the political warfare of the PAD vs DAAD - translated and summarized from Matichon; May 12, 2009
The fight between the yellow People’s Alliance for Democracy and the red Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship continues. The PAD hosted the stage talk on May 9, 2009 in Songkhla and announced that the group opposes the constitutional revision of the 2007 charter and amnesty for the banned politicians which are the former members of the defunct Thai Rak Thai political party. The PAD insists that the one who hurts the country is Thaksin Shinawatra. The group will gather on May 24-25, 2009 to consider the establishment of PAD’s political party.
Meanwhile, the DAAD gathered on May 10, 2009 announcing the group’s movement in bringing the truth to the public on the falsification of the Democrat-led government during the Dark Songkran event, especially the attack to the PM car that has distorted the reds’ image. The reds insist that they are not the people who hurt the country, but the aristocrats and the coup did it. This is the truth that the political war does continue and the civil war is, therefore, hard to prevent.
Danger of oligarchy - translated and summarized from Naew Na; Author; Editorial; May 9, 2009
Since 1998, a problem which has been occurring in Thailand’s political affairs. This is caused by oligarchy, or a capitalism which aims to take advantage of the country. Powerful businessmen try to form a political party to gain power and manage the country.
Capitalism leads to a big political separatism movement which still hurts the country even now. Almost all political parties were not formed by a group of civilians like in the West, but mainly by powerful businessmen.
Investors who enter the political path want to use government power for their own benefit. An obvious example was the 1997 Constitution which was truly created for businessmen. The establishment of the Thai Rak Thai party on July 14, 1998 was an evolution of this oligarchy.
When political businessmen get control of everything, they will have power to do whatever they want for the benefit of themselves and followers. Therefore, between 2001 and 2006, we could see that several acts were unfairly issued and no organizations could stop them.
The 2007 Constitution contains provisions that prevents investors from seeking their own benefits. The amendment of the constitution must be made with consideration of the previous outcome since we cannot get rid of the existing oligarchy.
A political fight depends on money. Money will be used to buy votes and candidates. This is a worrisome problem and should be considered during the amendment of the constitution.
The red’s strategy - translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit; Author; Pracha Burapavithee; May 9, 2009
Even though it is not as strong as the ‘stop hurting Thailand’ trend, the new red-shirt mob is still interesting. There are several things to notice about the movement.
Firstly, the new movement separates its political activities into two parts.
1. The red mob led by the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD)
2. The red mob led by the ‘The Truth Today’ TV program.
The new UDD is moving to recover the D-Station channel, while the ‘The Truth Today’ group remains calm as they realize that they will not get any money by taking back the channel. They then focus instead on revealing the government's and the military’s measures to dissolve the mob during the Songkran festival.
The Truth Today group is also trying to recover its image. This is because their image is that their image is that of anarchists. They are attempting to counter this by presenting evidence that a third party was the one who set fire to busses and caused trouble.
The second thing to notice is the news saying that the red mob is preparing an "underground war."
The Internal Security Operations Command Region 2 recently heard that red shirt guards are receiving training in guerrilla style fighting in Serng-sang, Nakhon Ratchasima province.
The trainer was a former "southern Esaan" member, who is close to some red-shirt leaders in the lower northeastern region.
It is said that a group of ten people will be trained at a time. The first group has already finished its training and is heading to Bangkok.
The news is not confirmed as the coordinator, whose name begins with ‘S’, has no credit because he is a pompous person. [It is likely this refers to Maj-Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol otherwise known as "Seh Daeng"- He has a pretty impressive personal website to promote his career and activities.] However, this sort of rumor cannot be ignored as the left-wing people really exist.
The red-shirt people are not stopping. They are waiting for a big new movement when it is the right time.
Four car bomb cases in DSI hands and sensitive issues during OIC’s discussion - translated and summarized from Issara News Centre; May 6, 2009
On May 4, Police Commissioner Pol. Gen. Patcharawat Wongsuwan and director-general of the Central Institute of Forensic Science Dr. Porntip Rojanasunan met with Deputy Minister for Security Suthep Thaugsuban to discuss about the increasing security-related crimes. Three measures will be used to ease the problem – police, forensic science and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).
It is in line with DSI’s policy. The department told the Issara News Centre that it has two plans this year. The first one is to help the government cope with drug problems and the second one is to play more roles in easing the southern unrest. It will focus on news, providing investigation information and sending staff to solve special cases.
If we look back, we will see that the DSI gets involved in the southern unrest for several years. However, I will only examine some special cases.
It recently agreed to take responsibility to four more car bomb cases;
1. A car bomb in front of the Marina Hotel, Amphoe Sungai Kolok, Narathiwat province on February 17, 2005
2. A car bomb in front of the C.S. Pattani Hotel on March 15, 2008
3. A car bomb in front of the Sukirin District Office in Narathiwat province on November 4, 2008
4. A car bomb in front of the Park View Hotel, Amphoe Muang, Yala province on December 20, 2008
It is noticed that all four bomb cases have similar points. The DSI talked to an explosive expert and found that those who did these could be the same group of people.
A team of DSI staff visited the South on May 30. They had a meeting with the police, the military and news agents to investigate the cases. When they dig deeper, it is found that the cases involved several local powerful people.
Another issue which will affect the situation in the southern border provinces is the coming conference of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference between May 23 and 25 in Syria. The conference will surely discuss about Thailand’s southern situation.
However, the Director-General of the DSI Pol. Col. Tawee Sodsong said that the major point of insurgency movements is ‘unfairness’.
The major point which helps increase the number of insurgency members is special laws applied in the South, for instance, martial law and the state of emergency.
However, he believes that Muslim people acknowledge the truth. If we provide them with true information, they will listen, especially during the OIC conference. If Thai representatives really know the information, they may allow others at the conference to understand the situation in Thailand.
DSI studies show that what insurgents want is the special administrative zone. They try to tell the OIC about the unfairness in Thailand.
Newin a happy man - translated and summarized from Naew Na; Column: Kae Roy Karn Muang; Author; Reporter No. 10; May 11, 2009
Those who are close to Newin Chidchob of the Phum Jai Thai party see that the current government could stay until the end of its term if it can solve economic crises.
Even though Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva once said that if the situation gets better in the next six to eight months, he may dissolve the parliament, he may not really do it.
Those who are satisfied with the future situation should be all of the Democrat Party, the government leaders and the Newin’s blue-shirt party as this is the win-win solution for them all.
The government will be able to rule the country for a long time, even if it has to solve some urgent problems sometimes. The Phum Jai Thai party has been treated nicely by leaders in the Democrat Party as a first-class political partner.
About the political amnesty, some coalition government parties like Chart Thai Pattana wants to proceed with the amnesty law. However, the Democrats do not seem to accept the proposal.
Meanwhile, leaders of the blue party express clearly that they do not want the law. An internal source in the Phum Jai Thai party says that Newin does not want the law as he is happy now. This is because Newin does not want to draw attention. He is now behind the scenes and he has lots of power as if he was a man in the front.
Several sources say that high-ranking authorities and investors are visiting Newin occasionally. It shows that Newin could be a very happy person, could be happier than Barack Obama.
However, current political movements like the gathering of the red-shirt people or a plan to form a political party by yellow-shirt members do not allow the government to relax.
This time, all key figures in the government must see the situation through or they will lose the opportunity. They must be very careful about the move to get rid of Thaksin and the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD)’s power.
Anyhow, the government seems to be prepared. It seems that the Democrat and the Phum Jai Thai parties are at an advantage. If there is a new election, they still have a chance to get back the power.
Moreover, Newin Chidchob, the head of the Phum Jai Thai party, has a chance to upgrade himself from being a manager of a shadow government to be a shadow Prime Minister, who has as much power as the real Prime Minister.
|Still out of conscience “Reds” – The move to hurt the country - translated and summarized from Naew Na; Column: Break through the hot issue; author: Political news team; May 11, 2009|
After the serious chaotic events during the Songkran Festival celebration led by the red clad people, the group of pro-Thaksinites today seems not to stop their ill attempt to hurt the country.
Part of their lies are that the attack on Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s life was done by other gangs to discredit the Red Shirts. The reds today still do everything to overthrow the Democrat-led government power of Abhisit and the reds’ will is to serve the only one man power-- the fugitive Premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
It should worry the public that the Democrats admit that the red’s movement against the Democrat-led government includes guerilla training in some Northeastern provinces to operate in the central area again and the movement is similar to the communists in Thailand in the past.
This, therefore, shows that the red are still without conscience. The reds’ operation should be under close watch. It seems they still attempt to commit sabotage or even assassinate a key political figure.
A revelation of falsification of causes of violent incidents in the Deep South - Involved with criminals and the local mafia - translated and summarized from Issara News Center; Column: Southern News; Author: Abdulloh Wangni, Pakorn Puengnet; May 8, 2009
The murder case of Ban Buedo village headman Somjit Tuwaelor at the Banburdo village in Pattani’s Yaring district is one case that proves to the public how local mafias or illegal gangs are involved in the violence that is claimed to be the work of militants. The police seized all the wrongdoers who later confessed that the murder was involved with personal conflicts between the dead and a local mafia gang.
The Yala governor once gave information on numbers of the cases being falsified by local mafias to put blame for militant gangs. However, the violent cases in the unrest not caused by local mafias, illegal gangs or militants cannot be overlooked. The murder case of 45-year-old Somjit Tuwaelor, village headman of the Moo 1, Ban Buedo village in the Tambon Nongrad in the Yaring district in Pattani inside his own car on the Banworsa-Banbaeraw Road on May 5, 1999 was one of the cases where a non-militant murderer was seized shortly after the act occurred.
The case suggests the theory that personal conflicts are involved in many violent cases in the southern unrest provinces. This includes conflicts among local mafias, illegal smugglers and drug dealers. Of many violent cases, blame is put on the militant operations and separatism. In some aspects, the degree of violence related to the Southern unrest situation is, to some extent, exaggerating and some groups take advantages of the situation to make their own profits (illegal activities). The Southern border provinces are, therefore, are critical dangerous zones where murders are pinned on the insurgency.
In the case murder case of the Ban Buedo village headman, the police fortunately seized the wrongdoer gang immediately. The gang’s car had an accident as they were escaping the scene after they opened fire using war weapons on Somjit. The police deserve praises for their scrutinizing investigation and keeping the cartridges left at the scene to examine. The result reveals that the cartridges of the gun were the same type that were used in the murder case.
One of the four gunmen, Sugri Yusoh, confessed that the murder case of the village headman was part of a local mafia conflict. The gunmen took gun weapons which are M16 and the AK and the 11MM from a house close to the murder spot.
Pattani Police Chief Police Major General Kareerin Inkhaew states that the case proves that some criminal cases in the Southern border provinces are partially falsified cases of militant operations. The operation and the weapons used are aimed at suppressing the truth to hide the mastermind from being investigated.
According to the authorities, many cases of the murderers are similar in action and plan and are suspected cases of falsified militant operations. Deputy Yala governor Kridsada Boonrat once revealed to the Issara news team that many crimes that occurred in the province were recorded as militant operations, but were later found (after in depth investigation) to be involved with personal conflicts.
“We try to classify the cases and find that many cases are personal conflicts. There is only 20-30% of the crimes that are caused by the militant operations. The rest are caused by personal conflicts or mafia influences” the Deputy Yala governor added.
The information given by the governmental agency reveals that among many crimes such as arsons and brutal murder--particularly the case that led to a protest of the victims’ cousins at the town hall in early of the year 2007--that eventually the evidence proves that the case is related to personal conflict.
The information corresponds to what Assistant to National Police Chief and former National Police’s Yala Front Headquarter Commander Police Lieutenant General Adul Sangsingkhaew stated to the Issara press. He said that the Yala headquarter police’s statistical record collected up to the late of the year 2008 shows that of 49,608 crimes occurred in the unrest since early of the year 2004 up to present, 6,103 cases, or equal to 12% of all cases, are cases that affects national security [are related to the separatism].
“The record clearly shows that many cases are falsified as militant operations. We do not conclude that every case is insurgency or national security related. We check the operational scheme and perform forensic tests with the weapons used. We acknowledge which cases are militant operations and which should be personal conflict crimes,” Police Lieutenant General Adul states.
This is not to imply that the Southern violence in the unrest is merely a falsification, but that it is clear that the national security authorities are burdened with the task to stop all kinds of violent cases.
During the four-month period of the year 2009, it is obvious that violent cases occur in a pattern--gang operators use war weapons and pick up trucks. The similar methods frequently took place in recent years before. Both crime operation plans of the militants and of illegal-mafia gangs put high pressure on state authorities, especially in cases where pickups are used.
Villagers always believed that the state authorities are involved as pickups on main roads easily pass the checkpoints of soldiers and police. Many successfully escapes after violent incidents in vehicles continue to cause locals to suspect authorities are involved. We hereby agree that every kind of violent action cannot be ignored by the national security team or else, the South becomes a real critically dangerous land.
The silent power is awake - translated and summarized from Naew Na; Column: Pa Praden Ron; May 5, 2009
The country has been facing several crises, from internal conflict to economic recession. The silent power which is represented from over 20 organizations, now comes out to campaign against any movements or activities which will affect Thailand. They urge all parties to stop using violence in hope that the country will be in peace and move forward again.
On May 4, from the early morning, members of the Stop Hurting Thailand, Stop Using Violence network, established by over 20 organizations, gathered at Lumpini Park to show their unity. They wanted to let all political parties know that it is time for the country to move forward, to not separate into groups and not use violent measures to solve problems will only hurt the country.
Lots of senators, former house representatives and high-ranking authorities took part in the gathering. Thousands of people wore white shirts with Thailand’s flag and a sentence saying "stop hurting Thailand, stop using violence." They paraded from Lumpini Park to Silom Road.
What is interesting is that some politicians of the Pheu Thai party participated in the parade. Pessimistically, they were trying to create a good image, but optimistically, it shows that leaders of the red-shirt mob and Pheu Thai politicians become conscious [of their image] and want unity.
Meanwhile, the government ran an activity to create unity among Thai people to celebrate the Coronation Day on May 5.
However, despite the "stop hurting Thailand, stop using violence" campaign and the government’s policy to create unity, some red-shirt members are still moving to achieve their goal – getting rid of all charges against Thaksin Shinawatra and getting back his 76-billion-baht assets.
But now that the silent power, which is the majority, is standing up against all conflicts which could hurt Thailand, people who try to create turmoil in the country will be their enemies.
Sondhi’s shooting case should be acted on with urgency – To find “the instigator” - translated and summarized from Naewna; Column: The editorial; May 5, 2009
Sondhi’s shooting case has been focused on by many people because they want to know whether the instigator will be arrested or not. On the 3rd of May, the PAD’s core leader Sondhi Limthongkul revealed that his shooting case around Bangkunprom intersection was prepared well and one of assassins was a soldier ranking as Master Sergeant First Class who used M79 bullets. The instigator would have to be a high ranking person because they dared to attack him aggressively while the Emergency Decree was in effect. Sondhi also indicated that they attacked him to threaten the other PAD’s core leaders, PM Abhisit Wejchacheewa and some other high ranking persons. It is believed that Sondhi’s assassins may be the same people involved in the severe political situations such as shooting at the PAD rally which caused people to be injured and killed. Maybe this case involves the attempted assassination of a privy councilor. However, Sondhi’s shooting case has caused damage to the country’s reputation because Sondhi is a public figure. After spreading his shooting case, Thailand’s image was discredited. Many people around the world can see the cruelty [of shooting at Sondhi aggressively in the capital city of Thailand]. Thus, the government should act on this case immediately and seriously and find the instigator to punish them.
Punch to Punch - Thairath, May 4, 2009
Who is the victim? - translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit; Column: Kae Roy Karn Muang; Author; Reporter No. 10; May 4, 2009
Thailand’s politics is now very interesting. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is making an important decision about the political game.
He is asking for collaboration from all parties to end internal conflicts and tell people that if the problems are ended in six to eight months, he will return decision power to the public. This is a very interesting decision.
Amidst the current situation, whoever volunteers to take charge will be in a big trouble like ‘Obamark’ for sure [‘Obamark’ being the nickname for PM Abhisit who is nicknamed "Mark" and because of his youth, is compared to Barak Obama].
Following the political turmoil and conflicts, the one volunteering to take charge of the situation will be suspected of working for someone or hiding something [meaning Thais will look for the ulterior motives of Abhisit].
Some still believe that Thaksin’s recklessness will make him continue to fight by using red-shirt people. Some others see that Thaksin is now worthless [his power is spent].
What is interesting are the ‘new powers’ like the blue, the green and even the yellow parties, which prepare to make moves. Sondhi Limpthongkul recently held a press conference on the assassination attempt on him and the People Alliance for Democracy’s next move to become a 100% political party in the near future.
What is interesting is the movement by “new power parties” like the blue, the green or even the yellow. They are preparing to make a move after held a press conference on the assassination and the People Alliance for Democracy’s next move to become a 100% political market in the near future.
The public must wait and see which party will win the battle and by what strategy.
However, before that time comes, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva must be in big trouble. He has to deal with a lot of problematic issues, as well as the economic recession. Politicians never ask for the public’s opinions about solutions to those problems. And the one who will be the victim of their conflicts and actions is the public.
The disclosed plan of the “Blue Shirt” rallying 300,000 people to join the Coronation Day ceremony - translated and summarized from Matichon; May 1, 2009
The gathering of the “Blue shirt” to participate the Coronation Day ceremony at Sanam Luang on May 5, 2009 is part of the Interior Ministry’s plan, set before the Dark Songkran in April 2009 occurred.
It is the conceptual work of the Bhumjaithai Party led by Interior Minister and Bhumjaithai Party leader Chawarat Charnveerakul. The Bhumjaithai Party is known by the public for its attempt to seek a political stance on the color game conflicts between the red and the yellow shirts.
The Blue Shirt image turns opposite from the reconciliatory concept of the group as it played an important role in being the “unofficial” force against the reds during the Asean summit meeting in Pattaya [when Blue Shirts assembled to oppose the Red Shirts trying to overrun the Asean Summit].
We have to admit that, so far, the Blue Shirt's attempt is a political ploy of a political group. The Blues aim at presenting to the public that the group has loyalty to protect the national institutes [the monarchy] concerning its role on the Coronation Day.
On one hand, the group wants to promote national harmony and its loyalty after the national political breakup. However, it is the group’s political aim to oppose the Red Shirt counterpart, with their gathering on May 5, 2009.
Despite Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's expressed opposed opinion fearing the political impact of such a public rally, the Blue Shirts' goal is to break the previous record of 200,000 participants and reach a 300,000 record. Middleman like Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Tuaksuban was sent to discuss with the "Blue" team on properness and progress of this planned public gathering.