Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is in an undisclosed location away from the capital, Bangkok. Anti-Yingluck protesters are trying to shut down the government by blockading official buildings, including the prime minister’s office. LinkAsia speaks with Simon Long, of The Economist, about the unraveling in Thailand. Continue reading →
Have American and Israeli efforts to pin international terrorism on Iran just gone global? A series of bomb attacks apparently on Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia are now being linked with blasts in the Thai capital, Bangkok, for which it is reported that three Iranian men have been arrested.
This is Part I of our three-part one-of-a-kind interview series with author and researcher Paul Thompson. For additional background information please visit the complete 9/11 Timeline Investigative Project at HistoryCommons.Org and Richard Clarke’s interview by John Duffy and Ray Nowosielski at SecrecyKills.Com.
It turns out that Russian businessman and former Russian Army officer Victor Bout freed by a Thai lower court in August 2009, after being caught up in a US sting operation, was declared guilty a year later in a Thai court of appeals, and whisked via extradition to the US. The reversal means he could face charges of smuggling arms and supporting terrorists, which could mean life in prison.
Ex-Russian Air Force officer Viktor Bout, accused of selling weapons to insurgents across the world for two decades, has been extradited to the US to face terrorism charges. Bout was flown from Bangkok to New York Wednesday and directed to the Metropolitan Correction Center in lower Manhattan and appeared in Federal Court yesterday.
Touted as “The Merchant of Death,” Bout, according to the Wall Street Journal, pleaded not guilty to charges that he agreed to supply Colombian terrorists with weapons with the intent to kill Americans.” An earlier, updated NY1 story included accusations that Bout provided support to “groups in Africa, South America, and the Middle-East who tried to kill Americans,” the recurring theme.
Debating the Crisis in Thailand: Is Red Shirt Movement a Genuine Grassroots Struggle, or Front for Ousted Ex-PM, Billionaire Tycoon?
In Thailand, the government has rejected an offer by anti-government protesters to enter talks after a bloody week in Bangkok that has left at least thirty-eight protesters dead. Some fear the standoff could lead to an undeclared civil war. The protesters are mostly rural and urban poor who are part of a group called the UDD, the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, more commonly known as the Red Shirts. We host a debate between Giles Ji Ungpakorn, a Thai dissident living in exile in Britain who supports the Red Shirt movement; and Philip Cunningham, a freelance journalist who has covered Asia for over twenty years. [includes rush transcript]
May 16, 2010 — Red shirts continue to stand their ground at their protest camp in central Bangkok, openly defying a warning of a possible military crackdown despite clashes that have killed dozens in just four days.
They also make a distinction about neo-conservatives and neoliberals:
U.S. neo-conservatives, with their commitment to high military spending and the global assertion of national values, tend to be more authoritarian than hard right. By contrast, neo-liberals, opposed to such moral leadership and, more especially, the ensuing demands on the tax payer, belong to a further right but less authoritarian region. Paradoxically, the “free market”, in neo-con parlance, also allows for the large-scale subsidy of the military-industrial complex, a considerable degree of corporate welfare, and protectionism when deemed in the national interest. These are viewed by neo-libs as impediments to the unfettered market forces that they champion.
Giles Ji Ungpakorn, an author and associate professor at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, will report to a Pathumwan police station today in a case that could land him in prison for nothing more than political dissent.
Ungpakorn is facing the charge of “lese majesty”–insulting the monarchy–for his book A Coup for the Rich (the book can be read online at Ungpakorn’s Web site), which analyses and criticizes the 2006 military coup in Thailand and discusses the question of the role of the monarchy in Thai politics.
The 2006 coup banned the popular and democratically elected Thai Rak Thai Party, led by businessman Thaksin Shinawatra, after right-wing protests by the inappropriately named People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) calling for Thaksin’s ouster.
The lese majesty charge against Ungpakorn is also being used against a host of other people after another coup late last year, this time carried out in the courts, against a democratically elected government led by the successor party to Thai Rak Thai, which was banned after the 2006 coup. The latest coup was again pushed by the PAD and strongly supported by the military.
Ungpakorn talked to Paul D’Amato about his case and about political developments in Thailand.
Members of Thailand’s parliament have named the leader of the erstwhile opposition Democrat party to be the country’s new prime minister.
Abhisit Vejjajiva’s election on Monday follows months of protests that subsided only after the country’s Constitutional Court removed from power the People Power party (PPP) linked to ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra.
After intense behind-the-scenes manoeuvring, Thailand’s opposition Democrat Party announced on Monday it had the numbers to form a new government and formally called for the reconvening of parliament. The push is the outcome of a protracted campaign by anti-government protesters, backed by the monarchy, the military, the state bureaucracy and the courts, to oust the elected People Power Party (PPP)-led government.
On December 2, the Constitutional Court dissolved the PPP and two of its coalition allies for electoral fraud, effectively ousting Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat. Somchai and 108 party officials are banned from politics for five years, leaving 39 parliamentary seats vacant. Former Deputy Prime Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul is currently head of a caretaker government.