Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Let the Abhisit-Veera show begin!

PM Abhisit Vejjajiva being grilled on television by red-shirted core leader Veera Muksigapong on the premier's sunday programme?

No, it isn't just a wild rumour or wishful thinking on the part of some newsmen. PM's Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey disclosed today that he had approached Veera to conduct that interview with the premier to show the government's readiness for national reconciliation. "And when I informed the prime minister about that move, he accepted it with a smile," Sathit said.

That, to me, is a brilliant public relations stunt. Veera doesn't even have to accept the invitation to make this gambit work. The fact that the approach has been made already gives the PM a positive image. It shows that he is ready to face some tough questions from Thaksin Shinawatr's No 1 assistant.

Veera has been placed in a difficult position. If he says No, he can't say the government hasn't given the opposition a chance. IF he says Yes, Veera can't afford to be seen to be soft on the PM.

Let the show begin!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thaksin can never come home again...

Thaksin Shinawatr was trying desperately to convince his supporters through his recent "phone-in" talks that he really wanted to "come home." Nobody, not even the staunchest of advocates, could do anything to enable him to return home -- the way he wants to, that is.

Of course, officially, the Abhisit government has been saying Thaksin should come home, too. But that's a different kind of "home-coming." The official version is for him to come back to serve the two-year jail term imposed by the court.

Thaksin wants to come home as a free man, and probably be returned to power as well.

But, as they say in "A Death in the Family" by James Agee, you can never come home again.

What does that mean?

The full quote is: "How far we all come. How far we all come away from ourselves. You can never come home again."

One interpretation is that once you grow up and have your own life, even if you physically return to your childhood house, you can't return to that place of innocence and sense of safety. It's never "home" as it once was because now, you are a different person.

So, in that sense, Thaksin can never come home again.

Friday, June 26, 2009

So, who's behind "Taksin II?"

So, nobody would own up to the alleged "Taksin II" Plan that was "leaked" a few days ago.

The "plot" was supposed to create chaos in the country, with the main aim being to oust Abhisit Vejjajiva from the premiership and to harass privy councillors and all those in power. The document was supposed to be five pages long. Deputy Premier Suthep Thuangsuban claimed he had "seen" it. But it seems that everybody else had heard about the story only from the papers. The first story in fact had been on Manager's website. Papers, radio and television programmes then picked it up, without sourcing anybody, except to put it vaguely something to the effect that the story had ceome from "government intelligence sources."

Thaksin Shinawatr and his supporters have denied it. Some critics call it a hoax. Others say it's a counter-intelligence exercise. The only thing I know is that if you want to know who had leaked the news, you have to know who would benefit from such a move.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When farmers become "employees" of foreign farm owners

If foreigners use "nominees" to buy Thai farmland (because they can't do it legally themselves), Thai farmers will become just "employees" of foreign land-owners. The agriculture minister says he has heard rumours to that effect but can't get it confirmed. But officials at his ministry have insisted that several foreign countries have approached Thai brokers and even the officials themselves to sound out the possibility of owning farmland and exporting agricultural products from Thailand from their own "production line" here.

That's a huge controversy that threatends to blow up if rice farming falls into the hands of non-Thais. It's not only illegal. It's going to be seen to be a new form of "economic invasion" of this country.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

How did Thaksin get his German residence permit -- and had it revoked?

How did Thaksin Shinawatra get his one-year residency visa from the German immigration in Bonn when he turned up on Dec 29, last year, in Germany's former capital?

Well,according to various sources, including the German daily that broke the news -- Sueddeutsche Zeitung -- Thaksin was accompanied by four big-wigs, all German.
One was a well-known German lawyer. Another was Gerd Steffen, the retired commander of Bonn's police criminal investigation department. The other guy gave his name as Richard Nelson. The immigration official at the desk thought he had heard this man say that he was somehow connected to the BND -- Germany's foreign-intelligence agency.Then, there was also the fourth person -- a feelance troubleshooter named Werner Mauss.

The German paper said the discovery that a Bonn immigration office had issued Thaksin a permit triggered inter-agency suspicions in the German federal government. But it turned out that neither the Foreign Ministry nor the BND foreign-intelligence service had known about the permit.

A follow-up investigation found that the BND wasn't really involved with Thaksin. Some "misunderstanding" had taken place. Angry German diplomats who learned about that later quickly took action to have Thaksin's residence visa cancelled which took place on May 28.

Nobody knows where Thaksin is now.

Today, PM Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thaksin could have used another name to seek a new passport and visas.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Politics, new challenge, new test

The New Politics Party (NPSP) was officially registered today with the National Election Commission. But who's going to be the real party leader?

Will Somsak Kosaiyasuk, the temporary party leader, be made the permanent one? Suriyasai Katasila, the secretary-general, admits that the five core members have yet to iron out the role of the leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) in the new party.

"We will meet again this Saturday to continue our discussion within the inner circle on what role each of the five core members would play. There are strong pros and cons for and against the five leaders being involved in the politics of party and that of a pressure group. Whether Khun Sondhi (Limthongkul) will eventually lead the party or not remains an open question," Suriyasai said. He said he wan't quite sure whether he will remain the party's secretary-general after the initial period of about three months of laying the party's ground work is done.

The challenge of running PAD and the New Politics Party at the same time is unprecedented in Thailand -- and the real test has just begun.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thaksin: Look what I have got!

Thaksin Shinawatra is apparently quite proud of his Nicaraguan diplomatic passport, so much so that he posed with it for Sunissa Lerdpakkawat, alias "Muad Jiab," the former Channel 5 reporter who followed him all the way to the Central American country to do the exclusive interview.

Her second book on Thaksin, entitled: "Thaksin, Are You Ok?" has just hit the bookstore. It\'s all about her personal journey (including a ride on his private plane) to explain Thaksin's version of history.