The BBC just finished airing a HardTalk episode with Abhisit Vejjajiva, and it didn’t take HardTalk’s presenter, Stephen Sackur, to see through the cover up, the vague answers and K.Mark’s obsessive hatred of Thaksin to get to the real truth underneath what Abhisit won’t say.
Several memorable points were hit, including:
a) The comment made by a Thai politician that “Abhisit never looks comfortable in a rice paddy” – he’s an elite, educated at Oxford, which Sackur immediately pointed out.
b) Sackur’s accusation that Abhisit’s government discriminates against red shirts while protecting yellow shirts. “Why have you moved so much quicker against red shirts than yellow shirts?” – “Let us not forget there was also violence in 2008 sparked by the yellow shirts, and what many critics of your government say is look what PM Abhisit has done to redshirts. locking them up and look what he’s done to the yellow shirts” (virtually nothing).
On this, there was the usual evasion by Abhisit, mumbling about “arrests being made on the spot” of red shirts while the yellow shirts incidents being “over” so harder to investigate.
c) Sackur went on to say “Could it be that some members of Democrat Party are members of yellow shirts”. Abhsiit kept a straight face when he said there’s “no discrimination at all”.
d) Abhisit said “During Thaksin’s time, he almost silenced the opposition thru various means” – This from a man who has shut down the most websites, radio stations, magazines etc run by opposition groups than any other PM in recent history.
e) Abhisit continued to insist he and Democrats are “slightly behind in polls” – LOL.
f) On subject of election results, Sackur asked “Are you confident the will of the people will be upheld? “If Yingluck Shinawatra and Pheu Thai win, will you accept she has a legitimate mandate to govern this country? Abhisit’s response – “I will accept she gets first shot”
Now doesn’t that tell you a lot. The smarmy smile he followed it up with, said even more.
g) Stephen Sackur – “Yeah, I just want a clear answer to my question” (paraphrased)… Do you believe the army will accept an amnesty if Thaksin gets one?
Abhisit ” I would strongly advise against such a move, it would bring instability…… people want their issues addressed – ” Meaning, of course the army won’t accept it. Military coup number 797 coming up soon.
h) Stephen Sackur pushes – “You’re being diplomatic, you’re answering in your own way. I think the Thai people, on this eve of election, would like a clear answer?”
“We should not encourage a govt that puts one man’s interests before its country and its peoples. It brings instability.” – Again, Abhisit proves he thinks a large percentage of Thais have the mental capacity of a banana.
i) Sackur – “I spoke to a former Thai PM, he hoped but he was not confident, the army would not intervene in the case of a Pheu Thai victory, what do you think?”
Abhisit – “Well military shouldn’t intervene.” “Let the people decide on July 3rd. Let the parliamentary process move forward. Let’s strengthen our democracy”
You know, you want to believe him. But……..
j) Sackur stressed military’s involvement in media in Thaland – ” Why does army need to run TV stations?”
Abhisit – “That’s got to change.” and “They haven’t been dominant in the media.”
Now that’s a crock of bullshit.
k) Stephen Sackur, when Abhisit talked about not censoring opposition – “Is that why you closed down 13 community radio stations? They all happened to be sympathetic to red shirts – a remarkable coincidence. ALL sympathetic to red shirts.”
Abhisit – They were “inciting violence”. “We cannot tolerate comments that violate laws”.
And they wonder why Thailand is at the bottom of the list of countries that have freedom of speech.
l) Sackur – It’s hard to take seriously your position – many have said Abhisit has become the most prolific censor in modern times”
For that, all we can say is – NAIL. HIT. HEAD.
m) Sackur on lese majeste law – “Reporters Without Borders says “lese majeste is used in Thailand to target opposition”.
“That’s why I’ve set up an independent body to investigate”.
Meanwhile, an American blogger sits in a Thai jail because he posted a link to a website deemed against the law.
Conclusion – Thank you to Stephen Sackur for continuing to push his points. From Abhisit, just more of the same.
Check out HardTalk’s website on the BBC – they have highlights on video from the Abhisit interview up on the site.