May, 2010

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Money is the root of all evil

Friday, May 28th, 2010

ThaksinIn the US political donations are considered to be a first amendment right; that is to say that donating money, within the constraints set forth by law, is an extension of free speech. Specifically, it’s considered a form of political expression.

Funding an insurgency is another matter. If it turns out that Thaksin sent large amounts of money to facilitate an attempted overthrow of the Thai government, then he may be guilty of crimes against humanity. Many have said that he verbally incited agression against the government by the angry protestors.

aloneBut in truth it may be far worse. Many have observed that large numbers of protesters were brought in from remote regions in a well organized revolutionary attempt. In some cases entire villages were imported by offering 500 Baht per day per person. That operation may have been financed almost entirely by Mr. Thaksin.




More to the point, if ongoing inquiries demonstrate that weapons used in the conflict were obtained using Thaksin’s “contributions” then the more serious accusations will be validated. Funding to import and arm combatants to overthrow a standing government is basically terrorist activity. Time and money trails will tell the tale, this should be interesting!

Time to go home!

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Dr Martin Luther King JrThere’s a common sense threshold that’s been breached. Sensible people should now change their course of action, if they haven’t already.

Freedom of speech, especially political speech is of the utmost importance if you hope to live in a society that values fairness to all. Peaceful demonstration is a tangible expression of what we westerners believe to be that basic human right.

But there is a huge difference between protest and inciting violence. When you demonstrate to protest something you think is wrong, you’re exercising that right to free speech. But when your actions turn violent, and infringe upon other people’s basic rights, you’ve crossed the line and become a criminal. This has always been the sane view, whether we’re talking about right-to-lifers bombing abortion clinics in the US or Redshirts shutting down the business district in Bangkok.

So redshirts, learn from the civil rights movement in the United States. Civil disobedience was the compelling strategy that could not be stopped, even when forceful protest only incites further violence. So think about your objectives and how they will be realized. Do you want civil war? Inciting people to revolt against a stable government is only justified when that government is guilty of brutality against its own population. Remember if you want to overthrow a government, you are by definition the enemy of that government and any hostile actions will likely be net with hostility.

The advice from this farang: go home. Plan limited, peaceful events for the future to ensure your views continue to be heard. But go to great lengths to avoid situations fraught with potential for violent conflict. It hurts everyone.