Monday, December 23, 2013

Thailand: WSJ Adds to Torrent of Pro-Thaksin Propaganda

December 24, 2013 (Tony Cartalucci) - The Wall Street Journal, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation (Fox News), has lent its voice to the Thai political crisis, decidedly behind the current regime of unelected dictator, convicted criminal, and mass murdering billionaire, Thaksin Shinawatra. 

In an anonymous op-ed titled, "Thailand's Disloyal Opposition - The Democrats pursue power by making the country ungovernable," the WSJ claims: 
Is Thailand heading for civil war? The question may seem overly dramatic, but the decision of the opposition Democrat Party to boycott the Feb. 2 general election makes resolution of the struggle between the royalist Democrats and supporters of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra nearly impossible. Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban vowed Sunday to hound Ms. Yingluck until she dies or steps down, and he ordered his supporters to block registration of candidates. 
It also states that: 
So far the pro-Thaksin rural population has remained relatively quiet, but they are seething with anger. They are capable of mobilizing far bigger protests to defend their elected representatives should that become necessary. Meanwhile, the once solidly pro-royalist military seems increasingly divided. That may be why the generals have kept to the sidelines this time, but if violence does break out it increases the risk of civil war. 
Unfortunately, the op-ed goes through no effort to qualify any of its statements - precisely because by doing so, facts, figures, statistics, and historical context would undermine completely the talking points laid out. The notion of a "civil war" in Thailand is as absurd as the perpetuated notion of a "class divide," as are claims that the "pro-Thaksin rural population" is capable of "mobilizing far bigger protests." This is unlikely not only because the biggest pro-Thaksin rallies to date have been minuscule by comparison to the past 3 anti-regime mass mobilizations, but also because this very "rural population" is currently blocking roads up north in protest (also here, and here) against the regime's failure to make good on vote-buying campaign promises regarding rice subsidies.

What the op-ed does do, however, is afford regime supporters an opportunity to exercise the logical fallacy of "appealing to authority," or in this case, appealing to the perceived "reputable nature" of the Wall Street Journal.  As did the BBC, Reuters, TIME, NYT, and others, the WSJ skips past the most egregious offenses of the Thaksin regime of which the opposition is fighting, and focuses on more manageable grievances such as "corruption." Unfortunately, even here, the WSJ presents an unimpressive argument - claiming that because the opposition is also corrupt, the current regime's corruption is somehow acceptable.

Nowhere mentioned in the op-ed, conveniently, is the unprecedented, atrocious human rights record of Thaksin Shinawatra, the brutality, violence, intimidation, and terror sowed by his "red shirt" enforcers, or the ties the regime has with Wall Street and its efforts over the past decade to privatize and sell of Thailand's natural resources and infrastructure.

What we are left with is an op-ed that could have just as well come from the desk of Thaksin Shinawatra himself, or one of the many Washington DC lobbyists representing him. While we cannot know for sure, since the piece was anonymously written, we can at least appreciate the irony of faux-left pundits in the Thaksin Shinawatra camp, religiously quoting from a baseless op-ed aired in a Rupert Murdoch-owned subsidiary.