Friday, May 23, 2014

Thailand Tourists: "What Coup? This Coup!"

Ashley Wells, Pat Macpherson, Seven, Pfc. Sandoval, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly (ANALYSIS)
What do bankers and Big Business want us to believe about the coup? (
Bloomberg mainstream media photo promoting view that there's nothing so bad about a military coup dictatorship to "restore law and order" as propagated by "liberal" Daily Beast.
When the tanks rolled into Bangkok, [tourists and supporters] gave soldiers flowers and candy, and many of the troops posed for photographs with foreigners. 

Thai Coup 2016
(2006) It was another Tuesday night at the Londoner, a popular Bangkok pub where expatriates, tourists, and Thai regulars were, as usual, bellying up to the bar, downing pints, and chatting amid a dense haze of smoke. Outside, the rain was falling; inside the topic of conversation was the military coup that had overthrown Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra the week before.
“I’m not cutting my trip short,” said Barry Porter, from Melbourne, Australia, who had just suggested to friends that they join him in Bangkok.  At tourist spots throughout the city, travelers were similarly nonchalant. Bangkok’s legendary [Shoestring Travelers' Paradise] Khaosan Road was crowded with backpackers.
Thai Coup 2006: When tanks rolled into Bangkok, some soldiers were welcomed, others feared. Some posed for photos with foreigners (Apichart Weerawong/AP).
“Knowing Thai people, I wasn’t expecting an uprising,” said Jozef Sint Jago, from Amsterdam. “I’m not concerned at all.”  In MBK Center, a huge shopping mall in Siam Square, John O’Hara, of County Mayo, Ireland, said he had just arrived in Bangkok with friends. He said the coup on Sept. 19 hadn’t forced them to change their travel plans. “It didn’t affect us at all. On the news, it looked bad, but it’s not.”

Coup? What coup? That seems to be the attitude among travelers and travel professionals as the recent political turmoil in Thailand appears to have had little or no effect on tourism there. After all, the embattled prime minister, who had led a grudgingly accepted social order campaign in 2001 that mandated a 1:00 am closing time for most of Bangkok’s bars and nightclubs, was not very popular among the city’s residents. More

Fast forward to 2014
Jack Moore (International Business Times,
Occupy Thailand? Red Shirts v. Yellow Shirts
(May 22, 2014) Thailand's army chief general Prayuth Chan-ocha has declared that the military is taking control of the country's government in a coup d'etat.
The military leader said in a televised statement that the army would "restore order and push through political reform" with a 10:00 pm country-wide curfew installed.
2014: Will they shoot civilians or tourists? Yes.
The leaders of both the [radical, pro-change, pro-PM Shinawatra] pro-government Red Shirt and People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) factions were detained inside an army club where negotiations between the two were taking place.
  • Radical and pro-government? Yes, the street revolution partially succeeded or seemed to with the election of billionaire Bruce Wayne-style PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who was charged with corruption and ousted from the prime ministership before going into exile, and then again with his sister PM Yingluck Shinawatra, whom the courts recently deposed for behaving like her brother. The Shinawatras are pro-people, at least in their rhetoric, and the conservative, royalist Yellow Shirts will not stand for that. They are pro-rich, pro-business, and pro-status quo. Supporters of the sacked government have started anti-military actions resisting the coup, even as the military has taken former-PM Yingluck into custody at an unknown location. While most radicals are not pro-government, when they succeed they become pro-government. The conservatives become the "radicals," and that is why it is called a "revolution." One side moves up as another goes down. And if the new rulers behave the same way, the bottom again pushes its way to the top. This happened in the U.S., as it has around the world, with Barry Obama. The difference is this -- now the Powers That Be (s)elect fake "peoples' candidates," who say all the right things and then disappoint their supporters. This can be done, as it was with Obama, by grooming someone for the job, or an actual grassroots person can rise up as often happens in South America. If they are fake from the start, things will seem to go better for a lot longer; they will actually be worse as that impostor gets many right wing measures through in the name of popular consensus and liberalization (which to business people means pro-business and in the U.S. means progressive to those who are left-leaning). If the new leaders are authentic, it will go worse as all the conservative and reactionary elements (like the CIA) will step in to obstruct, slow, and depose them. They will be discredited, undermined, and eventually brought down or assassinated. From our point of view in the U.S., the Shinawatras were corrupt multi-millionaires -- that's what the right wing mainstream media told us. (NOTE: the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets are NEVER on the side of the left, the progressives, or liberation; they are always somehow or other aligned with the Powers That Be, the reactionaries, the rich, the status quo, and the undermining of liberation. Even when they seem to be on the side of privacy, freedom, Occupy, gay rights, peace with justice in the Middle East talks, they are -- if one reads very carefully -- in support of things as they are, business as usual, more and more oppression and loss of freedom. This may not be the fault  of individual journalists. More often it is the editors, owners, and investors. We apologize for being fooled by the "paper of record" (and AP/Associated Press, Bloomberg, McClatchey, Los Angeles Times, Haretz, Int'l Business Times, BBC, and similar mainstream outfits controlled by a handful of megacorporations with their tentacles in everything). 
General Prayuth is to head a ruling military body -- the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council -- but the parliament's upper house and courts will continue to function, said a military statement.
Earlier this week, the military declared martial law to restore the security situation and shut down the country's main television stations, divesting the government of its power to maintain peace.
Chan-ocha said the army had been forced to take action after six months of violent protests between opponents and supporters of deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
"We are concerned that this violence could harm the country's security in general," he said after declaring martial law.
"In order to restore law and order to the country, we have declared martial law. I'm asking all those activist groups to stop all activities and cooperate with us in seeking a way out of this crisis."

Thailand’s Non-Coup Coup 2014?
Lennox Samuels (The Daily Beast, 5-21-14)
After months of political crisis, the generals declare martial law. They claim they’re just making peace, not running the country. 

[WQ EDITORIAL: The mainstream media is misleading us again. The military has taken over the country, while most big media outlets play it off as a non-story. The people and the peoples' candidates have been deposed by legal maneuvers after being elected by revolution in the street. This is the power of the status quo to perpetuate itself. And when "cool" indie outlets like The Daily Beast (or Huff Post, etc.) become part of conglomerate media empires, their editors hire and elicit complicit articles from their writers like this one. It becomes almost impossible to get the straight story from any easily accessible outlet. We go to Democracy Now! and Pacifica Radio News Network and other mostly good sources, but it's not enough.]
BANGKOK, Thailand - The generals say they haven’t staged a coup, but critics say they’re splitting hairs. Troops are on the streets, the media is muzzled, and the already weak caretaker government has been further marginalized.
A senior army official said that the military is to deploy troops and vehicles to remove protesters from large anti-government rally sites in Bangkok. More + Video

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