Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Deconstructing Avudh Panananda: Either He is in Denial or He is a Liar about Prem's Influence Concerning this Coup


Linking prem to coup is irrelevant

Avudh Panananda

The Nation

Many people see the anti-coup activists as a reincarnation of Thaksin supporters

The Nation just reported yesterday that the anti-coup activists are divided into anti and pro-Thaksin camps.

Thailand's struggle for power is escalating to a dangerous level and may backfire on society if rival sides decide to expand their fight to involve the Privy Council, seen as the vanguard of the monarchy.

Why not face the truth at least one time in modern Thai history?

Sunday's march by hundreds of anti-coup protesters to air disparaging views on General Prem Tinsulanonda, president of the Privy Council, does not bode well for democratic rule.

Rather Prem's influence does not bode well for either military or democratic rule

The political predicament is almost beyond repair and the venting of anger at Prem will not make the problem go away. Rather, it is likely to compound the political maladies.

Prem brought this on himself with his vendetta against Thaksin.

If anti-coup activists want an immediate return of power to the people, do they honestly believe their attacks on Prem could speed the country to a general election quicker? Or are they making snide remarks out of spite? As a public figure, Prem is fair game to face up to public judgement. But to target him for innuendoes linking the country's revered institution to the September 19 coup is totally uncalled-for.

It is totally called for if Prem and that institution are impeding Thailand's democratic development.

A brief rehash of recent events may help to shed light on the fractious politics plaguing the nation.

Political discontent erupted in 2005 and street protests mushroomed early last year. At the centre of the fiery debate was the authoritarian leadership of Thaksin Shinawatra.

True, but not the entire story. The opposition couldn't win an election if it tried. Those who governed over constitutional mechanisms that check executive power weren't doing their jobs.

Buoyed by his landslide victory to serve a second term, Thaksin refused to reason with his opponents and chose to flaunt his power instead.

Whether you like or hate Thaksin, he was the legally installed prime minister, and if people wanted to dump him, there were legal ways of doing it outside a coup. Read the constitution.

The take-no-prisoner battle led to a deadlock - Thaksin cited his popularity to cling to office while the country's administration ground to a halt because, as caretaker prime minister, he could not move the country forward.

The military intervention happened after it became clear that Thaksin was determined to hold on to power even though he could no longer lead.

The masses had no problem with Thaksin.

In a nutshell, the coup was about the removal of the leader who remained popular but had lost the credibility to rule.

He may not have had a pleasant personality, but he had credibility as long as he had a political mandate that was given to him under the auspices of the constitution.

The seizure of power was, and still is, a cardinal sin for democracy. Coup leaders tried to justify their intervention by citing their good intentions to overcome the crisis of leadership.

The path to hell is always led by those with good intentions.

The junta had no choice but to step in and repair the political system before social divisions spiralled out of control, according to a pro-coup argument.

No choice? Does he really believe in this bullshit?

Should anti-coup activists want to debunk the logic for seizing power, they should focus on the junta. There is no rhyme or reason to raise wild allegations to further complicate the issue.

The anti-coup activists seem to be the only folks who don't have their heads in the sand

Soldiers marched out of their barracks and tanks rolled to heave Thaksin out of office. With or without Prem on the sidelines, the military intervention was irreversible. The real issue was about Thaksin - not Prem.

Prem was the middle man that gave this coup legitimacy. For one to deny otherwise, he is either deluded or a liar.

Prem's linkage to the coup, be it a real or invented charge, is irrelevant. The military would not have intervened if Thaksin had embraced the art of compromise, a vital element in a sustainable democracy.

Blame Thaksin for everything. That is all these idiots at The Nation can do.

Anti-coup activists might be better off focusing on the path back to democratic rule rather than blaming everyone but themselves for failing to prevent the military intervention.

Under the last constitution, they are doing their democratic duty. Good for them.

Their outspokenness against the coup was mute right before and after the power seizure.

Love this line. The coup shut them and all their communications down. You assholes at The Nation didn't give them a voice because you all were in bed with the junta.

Six months have lapsed and they now want to fault Prem for their frustration over the junta.

If Thailand is to overcome its rough patch of fractious politics, rival sides must make concerted efforts to co-exist amid differences. History has shown time and again that political annihilation is not an option.

For 800 years of Thai history, the politics of annihilation has always been the only game in town.

Anti- and pro-Thaksin campaigners have kept the country hostage for far too long. After the removal of Thaksin, their fight has morphed into anti- and pro-coup bickering.

The Nation was always part of the problem and never part of the solution.

Last May, Thaksin made a veiled attack against Prem for his predicament, instead of reflecting on his own leadership. Four short months later, democratic rule collapsed.

Now, anti-coup activists, seen by many as a reincarnation of Thaksin supporters, have blamed Prem for the suspension of democracy.

Ninety percent of the column he says Prem should be kept out, yet at the end of it acknowledges that dissing Prem was the cause of the coup.

Does this mean vengeful politics has not bottomed out yet?

No, because until there is a time when Thai politics can operate out in the open and have the true light of democratic action shown upon it, there will be no hope.


fall said...

Someone ought to check the level of ephedrine in his blood. This guy would had feel right at home in Nazi German propaganda department.

The guy basicly support any mean necessary to get rid of Thaksin. So I guess killing him would have solve the problem, keep the country in democratic way, and avoid all the hassle of coup.
Oh wait, already tried that. Well, I guess it is just another of Thaksin fault that he survived.

hobby said...

I still think all this speculation about the various players behind the scenes avoids examining another serious problem in Thai politics.

I would like to see more analysis of why an apparent clear majority of thai voters would continue to support Thaksin after all the problems that ocurred on his watch - Assets concealment, extra judicial killings (drugs war), Tak Bai etc (southern insurgency), enrichment of family/cronies, mass protests, tax evasion/avoidance etc, let alone the more subtle manouvres he made to shift power/control to him and his cronies.

The Temasek deal was the last straw for many in Bangkok, but somehow he still had significant support - Surely they do not still believe that he was a 'champion of the poor'.
I have tried discussing this on New Mandala, but apart from the 30 baht health and village funds schemes, I have yet to be convinced that vote buying and ignorance were not the major factors at play.

Journalists and academics can continue to push their own agendas, but until the reasons behind Thaksins support and the apparent disregard of any alleged wrongdoings is understood (and rectified) then the problems in Thai politics will persist regardless of whether Prem is a player or not.

Red and White said...


At a first glance I liked your blog but I wasn't so keen on your style of commenting on everything in red. Still the more I read the more I realised how disagreeable some of your comments are. You say "wether you love or hate Thaksin he as the legal PM" and then you go on to slander The Nation -one of the free media - as "always part of the problem". So what happened to free speech?

Personally, I also dislike the profanity because it doesn't fit. That's just me, though.

I do concur with you on some points. I disagree with Imtiaz and I don't see Prem's influence as beneficial. However, the "masses" who had no problem with Thaksin were people with limited access to free information and truth. The regular gripe of people with your opinion is "Thaksin was popular and he was democratically elected". This facet ignores the reality I just mentioned, when a leader is "democratic" or "popular with the masses" because he seizes control of TV stations, sacks any radio show that opposes him and infiltrates independent bodies who could warn the "masses" to his abuse, then he is not "popular", he is simply devious. To argue Thaksin was "popular" is like arguing 1985's Big Brother was popular.

Yes I know that doesn't justify the coup, two wrongs don't make a right. Tha wasn't my point.


Fonzi said...

red and white-

Thanks for the comments.

1. I am not the most graphically gifted person in the world, so forgive me for commenting in red.

In a perverse way, I like it, because it looks like blood.

Profanity. I have mixed feelings about it. I only use it when I am truly fed up and disgusted, so I am expressing my authentic feelings. On the other hand, I get what you are saying. In the future, I might eliminate it all together.

2. Slander The Nation? When have I written anything that was slanderous?

You should back that accusation with at least some evidence, so I can correct it, if it is truly slander.

3. As for Thaksin, I hated the guy, but my personal feelings have nothing to do with the rule of law.

There were constitutional mechanisms that were available to the polity to get rid of Thaksin that were perfectly legal.

To say that Thaksin corrupted every single political institution in Thailand tells me that the problem is far deeper than just Thaksin and demonstrates Thailand's political system is rotten to the core.

Check out the constitution. Please tell me how Thaksin corrupted every single political institution in Thailand.

And where is the evidence for his corruption?

You said Thaksin had the media under its thumb, yet why hasn't the media done anything now that Thaksin is in exile? It has no excuses now if it is sitting on piles of evidence that could prove Thaksin committed heinous crimes.

Red and White said...


Thanks for the feedback.

When I say "slander", I mean it in the sense of abusing someone rather than the legal term of saying something false and damaging. I accept it could have been misunderstood, my apologies for that. I'm staunch anti - Thaksin but even I see TN go over the top sometimes. To me though, they are a bastion of free media which is rare in Thailand. I don't like them being called "assholes" but it's your call!

I'm already familiar with the constitution. Thaksin corrupted every single independent body such as the senate, ECC, NCCC, AMLO and even iTV. We both know it. It can be demonstrated because Thaksin did things we know to be major conflicts of interest and he was allowed to do it. The ECC have an obvious example (section 136 "impartiality") , AMLO rejected every single complaint against TRT - every single one! Ditto NCCC (constitution section 297 "apparent integrity") , the senate (section 149/150, let's be honest we know what happened) allowed every TRT bill and one senator has gone on record as saying the senate is only about 20% impartial.

To see this, one must either believe that TRT has never made one single disagreeable action or that the bodies have been compromised.

Thanks for the blog. I'll be dropping by again soon.