Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Off the Air in Bangkok

Well, our tussle with the military junta here is almost becoming comical. CNN’s signal into Thailand is being blocked whenever our exclusive interview with deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is broadcast. Yet, the entire transcript has been carried on the front pages of all the papers here in Thailand, so quite why it is being censored on TV is mystifying me. Whenever the signal is blocked, a montage of photos of various Hollywood celebrities is put out on CNN instead. My cameraman cruelly suggested most viewers would prefer to see Brad Pitt to Dan Rivers any day of the week! We’ve also become increasingly concerned about a number of sinister phone calls to our office here in Bangkok, with callers repeatedly hanging up and asking for information on the whereabouts of my Thai producer. Several of our phone calls from the office have also been mysteriously cut off. It smacks of an intimidation campaign – of course I have no proof of that, just a journalistic hunch. But it’s clear our interview has caused waves. We interviewed Thaksin in Singapore, where he also met a senior politician. Our interview threw his visit to Singapore into the limelight – now the military regime in Thailand is furious with the Singaporeans – they’ve cancelled an official visit of the Singaporean foreign minister and cancelled a civil service exchange programme, because they dared to have a meeting with the deposed prime minister of Thailand…oh and because they didn’t prevent CNN from interviewing him there too. The Singaporean Ambassador has also been summoned to government house here for a reprimand. It’s not quite war, but it’s certainly a jolly angry spat. Its ironic that the undemocratic, authoritarian junta here in Thailand is trying to take the moral high ground with Singapore – itself not exactly a paragon of freedom. In my opinion, it all bodes ill for Thailand’s return to democracy. The military junta had promised to lift martial law by the end of 2006 – but now we’re in 2007, and martial law remains in place, CNN is being censored, local TV stations are self-censoring their output and there is a growing climate of anger, trepidation and fear…especially in the CNN office, where the anonymous, threatening calls keep coming!

The situation in Thailand is not good!
I was there for the New Year bombings.
If Thaksin still has as much support as I'm reading then this could very well turn into a civil war.
If the U.S. is really concerned about Democracy around the world, I would truly hope they are putting pressure on the current regime to get moving in that direction.
Why do you not pay some attention to the new year eve bombing and the subsequent undercurrent bomb threat ?
You've done your best Khun Dan.

Junta is always junta.
Mr.Rivers,
No wonder why you deserved such a consequence after this exclusive interview. You've made huge mistake by allow Thaksin lie to the world by using you and CNN.During interview I heard him said "I've never bend the rule". In fact, there's so many case that he abuse his power as PM to bend the Law & Rule for his(family)interest.
I'm so disappoint that even you are based in Thailand but know thing so little comparing to somebody who live in another continent but can see thing more clearly.
Thank you, Dan Rivers.
Keep reporting from Thailand.
I guess, the CNN bureau in Bangkok is a small bureau, but it produces some of the best interviews and reports...
Unfortunately, Dan Rivers was in London when the New Year's Eve bombs in Bangkok went off, but he's back now. =)
Thank you very much for your exclusive interview with our PM Thaksin. And, many, many thanks to CNN and its team.
Please click the link below to see how many Thais still love and care for their PM Thaksin.

http://www.prachatai.com/05web/th/board/showboard.php?QID=50413&TID=5
They are all stupid folk, I don't believe this can happened again in 2007!!!
Thanks so much, Mr. Dan, for help let the world know what is going on in my country. This evil junta is now blocking all news and forces us to hear only what they want us to know. I'm afraid soon things will become worse, a life threatening situation, for those who are against the junta. Only international media are my only hope to monitor what this evil regime is going to do with the Thai people.
Thank you for the report. It has brought back a certain memory. I experienced the sudden 'cut and paste technique' back in
september whenever CNN reported the coup. We were preparing to leave the country on the early morning flight a day after the coup, at that time still from Don Muang. We moved in to the Amari Airport for a preflight night for convenience. How we were glad to see that we were able to watch CNN at the hotel, while the whole country had nothing. Then we witnessed the ridiculous blocking. It didn't make sense, someone just pressed the button whenever they saw a picture of Mr. Thuksin, and replaced it with some celebrity picture and obnoxious music, in the middle of the report. It has become entertaining indeed to see this going on, 'painfully' as a Thai. Thanks again for showing us that 'choosing what to report' is not the case at CNN.
Do you know that Thai people can not access to www.cnn.com at that night til 9 a.m.(Bangkok time)because your website was also blocked in Thailand. Thai people had to connect to CNN's website through other proxy server.
Back to the past government, all medias kept complain that they were censored by the government. BTW, I never saw this kind of action from the government. In the old day, all medias kept blame on him and published all kind of propagandas. Today, all Thai medias lick their tongue on the boot and enjoy their stake on several Thai TV station and program. What a shame.. In the meantime, the government and CNS keep saying that 100% of Thais support them. If so, why don't they bring back the election now and let's vote......
So I am guessing this is why my feed in China went black during the interview as well? Its not just the interview but also any commercials or previews that discuss the interview. Instead they post pictures of Brintey Spears and other celebs blaming it on technical issues. Quite funny actually.
Come on Dan Did you believe that O J is innocent, like Mr T is a uncorruptable person. Do you think Mr T say no mas, mean no. The country is trying to move on, and you are trying to PR Mr T as man of the year.
The military junta and the current government abuse their own powers. They should remind themselves that their powers did not come from a democratic process but from an abject military coup, and they should have a lot more restraint in exercising their unlawful powers.

The fact that the junta revoked Thailand's democratic constitution is certainly a high treason against the democracy. Of course, the junta pardoned themselves from this crime. They have forgiven themselves, but they show no forgiving courtesy to the ousted goverment, especially the ex-prime minister (Mr. Thaksin). This is nothing less from A DOUBLE STANDARD, which will only divide the Thai society apart. All of their policies and reactions indicate that they do not want reconciliation with the old power bloc.
On the other hand, it seems that the junta wants a full
revenge against Mr. Thaksin and his allies.

The junta, the goverment, and their hard-balled attitudes have undoubtedly: 1) failed to unite the Thai society, 2) failed to reassure Thai peoples as well as international communities that Thailand would return to its democracy as soon as possible, 3) fail to respect basic rights of an individual and a freedom of speech.
I am a Thai and my opinion is that the military juntra is no better than Thaksin.

The juntra has brought shame to our country and our image internationally is right down there.

Whether Thaksin or the military, I prefer neither. But what really upsets me is the censoring and the deny to our right to information. Luckily, I am here in the US where I can keep watch of what is happening back home.
Of your 4 posted comments and your pc written. it sound like you are under the payroll of Mr Thakin. No wonder Thai people are mad at you, the Thai people welcome the "CHANGE" and wanted to move on with a new government that serve people not themselves. Thaskin's comment is the last things they want to hear from the news, he might come back and this time it will be a bloody coupe. Because this parties will stay to lose Billion's of Baht by back taxes and fines. Why don't talk about the new biggest airport in the world with tiny terminal in it. And how his children are all Billions in their name without actually working as a business persons. By the way, research Thaskin's activities since 1996 till recently, and think how would you apporach him next time, and try to post comments from "real Thai". The Maliwan from NY is not a Thai, the celebrity picture is the "King of Thailand" that loved and respect by most Thai people. Although, I'm not a Thai, working here for 18 years. I feel the same as Thai to their King. If the coupe is wrong, that mean the King is wrong. Any insult to the current government is same as insult to the King. So watch what you are writting, is one thing writting from USA and another at other's backyard.
Thailand has never really emerged from it's third world status - so what's the big deal? What were you really expecting?

They still are a great nation with a lot of nice people !
Every country plays the game of censorship. The only difference is the method each government uses. Unfortunately, the majority of our citizens don't know when we have our news censored. Let's keep this particular situation in Thailand in mind for discussion. Let’s not ask America, especially our current “warmonger” administration, to interfere with Thailand’s internal affairs. Should we invade Thailand to preserve our version of “Democracy?”
i can speak english a little but i want to said i love my Prim. Thaksin Shinawatra Thank you CNN
Democratic could come in different form. Thailand does not have to follow American style. We have our own way of thinking and our democracy can be acheived as well. What has American done to Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. All in the mess by American who tried to invole into problem of other countries. Please do not comments if you do not exactly know what is the real problem behind. Thailand is working into right direction now and please mind your business.
Just now, I wrote the comments on your article and found that all comments will have to be screened. Why!!! since America always claim that we have freedom to express our view. This simply answer to your article why some CNN news should be block.
Mr Dan River, please do not write anything if you do not know the real truth behind it. Why don't you interview our PM Surayuth before you wrote this comments. Thaksin will be brought into justice on those allegation charges during his power.
First, I'd to thank you very much for my country's news. Today we have a media under regime's control and we don't like it because it's policies is destroyed this country. I think if the government came from dictatorship, they should take care only general tasks but now they do nothing but focusing to destroy the former goverment beside that a shocking policy is coming out everday sometime not go the same way.

My company along with the other,The contractor working with government has not receive any payment from government for 5 months and we start to discharge our employee that will soon cause economic problems.

At last I want you to know that majority of Thailand doesn't support this regime and want the election.

We need our Prime Minister Thaksin back. Right now we are hopeless and someone believe the civil war between Thai Peoples and Military Junta will happen again.
I love prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra . He is a good man. He love thai peple. true
I agree that the situation in Thailand is not great. But I would take this Government over Thaksin's anytime. Go and ask anybody in Thailand, the answer will be tha same - people just dont like Thaksin.
Enough is enough!
Dan Rivers ,you are overreaction!!! Thai military group and government told internal medias that do not play news of Thaksin so much but can present as normal .No censorship in Thailand you know.
Dan as CNN reporter why do not you ask Thaksin about his corruption.you only let him attack Thai goverment.It is not fair play.
I am afraid that you make an imperfected interview with Thaksin.
As a foreign reporter, you do not understand fully the thinking, feeling, way of life, custom and culture of Thai people. I admit that the military coup put the country several steps back. But, in order to move forwards, sometimes it's wise to step backward, since there were no other alternatives at that time.

Like most of Thai people, I do firmly believe in my leaders as well as the Institute of Monarchy.

Freedom of press has been flourished in Thailand over the last few decades, but under current circumstances, it must be curtailed for national security. We do not want any further turbulance created by the disposed PM.
Dan!!! you made an imperfect interview with Thaksin.
Why do not you ask him about his corruption.
You only let him attack Thai goverment and the military group now.
First I have to say that I am not a fan of Taksin however, I do not support the coup either.

Although I do not support the coup or the coup leaders, I understand their logic in asking the media to censor reports with Taksin.

It's simple, they know that many Thais are gullible, and will believe anything anyone in the media says. And Taksin, though time and time again have proven to be one of the best streight faced liers of all time. You can see from his past record that he has U-turned his policies and comments to the media time and time again with no shame, he simply uses the media to his advantage, and I'm sad to say that most people do not remember what he has said in the past.

A good example is when he explicitly said something like "democracy is not my goal" when he was at the peak of his power and was being asked by the media about the government censoring and indimidating the media, and intervening with independent bodies. He even commented on how nice the media is in Singapore that it doesn't bother with the government, and hopes for Thailand to be the same. Yeah ofcause from the very beginning of getting into power, Taksin has never shown any belief in media freedom or listening to other critics, he intends to run the country in an authoritarian CEO business style in which he has control of everything. Later after the coup he goes around international media trumpeting democracy as "the way!" and keeps on commenting "I hope democracy returns to Thailand soon!"

Second example, if anyone has been following Thai politics they will know that Taksin willingly stepped down from PM position following the protest in Bangkok following the selling of his telecom incident. He vowled to go out of politics and won't run for PM again in the next election. He even made the "I'm tired, I have served the country, I would like a rest now" speech before flying to meet his daughter in UK. A few months pass, anger about his selling of the Telecom empire comes down, then guess what! He comes back to become PM again, and said that he will now consider being PM again in the next election due to the "popular demand by the people" wow, he really didn't want to come back but the people demanded it, sounds so nice does't it, U-turn again. That's why no one in their sound mind would believe Taksin that he won't return to politics when he comes back to Thailand, because they know he just says what will get people supporting him according to the situation.

This guy is a joke, you can't trust a thing he has said.

The same thing in this CNN interview, I can't believe he said that he never bent rules or made profits for himself. Now let me see, so he just happens to sell his controlling stake of his telecom empire a few days after his own government passed the law to allow an increase in foreign ownership of telecom companies, without which he could not have sold it, wow, it's a coincidence! His government didn't do anything wrong "legally" however, if that's not abuse of power, then I don't know what is!

So it's simple why the juntra is blocking the media, they know that Taksin is way better than them at handling the media, and that Taksin knows at least one thing about Thai people well, they forget easily!

It's sad, Thai politics is really sad, You can't trust Taksin, you can't trust the juntra, who can you trust?
As a Thai People, I don't think any people from outside, I mean any one that not stay in Thailand long enough to know what really happen when Taksin was in power, will understand the situation in Thailand. How many Thai was kill during the campaign ' war on dugs' ,2000+ people dead. How much corruptions he and his group did?
What is happening to Thailand, the land of smile?????
I feel sorry for people from South of Thailand, innosense people especially those teachers who put all their loves and supoorts for those students are being killed almost everyday. Why don't they pay more attention to these problems instead of digging Taksin's. Of course, whoever did things wrong must be brought into justice. But why don't they spend more time on sorting out bigger problems right now. Blogging media is a very bad things, how thais are going to know what is going on to their coutry. Is this a democracy????? Hopefully, thailand won't have the same problem as Indonesia. Should thais believe anymore of any promises like they ever promised to lift martial law by end of 2006...........
I think the Thai military government wants to turn the clock back. Thailand was in the growth stage for a certain time, but when this coup comes, everything in Thailand was absolutely collasped by this MILITARY GOVERNMENT.

It's uncountable how many things they have done wrong. They cancelled many good policies that could keep Thailand developed, such as cheap laptops for children; the wireless in high schools; and one thing Thai people will never forget is the worse financial policy for foreign investors. They are such an underdeveloped government I have ever seen in my life. Very ridiculous.

I am not a Thaksin supporter, but this military government is even worse than Thaksin. They ruins the nation.

Having involved in the Thai human rights society as well as Thai media for years, I think this situation is the worst for media and Thai people as a whole.

I considered this military abuse of power. They are real dictators. They block every news that they think it would hurt their image..and yes, Thaksin's present really does.

One thing I am afraid of is the civil war, but it's not goning to happen easily since the Thai people love peace. But who knows when people have had full of anger and pressure..

I just hope the new election that this MILITARY GOVERNMENT has promised will happen this year, not in the next ten years.
Don't really think the CNS and Gov. really concern about giving back people the democracy. They'll give it back only they have make sure that their people will win the election. That's what the coup all about.
Any stupid action or policy could be happened in Thailand , under the Military Junta management ........ bye bye Thailand ........
To whoever that 'moderates' this comment. You might not have the guts to post in on your 'claimed' free, open to all opinions CNN, but please make sure Dan Rivers read this.

Despite the fact that Mr. Rivers might have reported on Thailand, his blog clearly shows his lack of knowledge about what is really going on in the country.

It's not about the Singaporean deputy minister DARING to meet Thaksin. It's about diplomatic etiquette that countries with friendly relations should have known better whether or not someone of prominence like 'deputy minister' should meet Thaksin at this particular time. Of course, it's Jayakumar's right, but is it appropriate?

And why didn't Mr. Rivers ask Thaksin what were they discussing about? Is it not about Temasek and the Shin Corp deal? Singapore is losing billions of Baht on the deal and it's still an ongoing case. Mr. Rivers should be studying the case carefully to understand why Thaksin's 'private matter' can be about what majority of Thai people consider 'national interest'.

And please, how conceited of Mr. Rivers to think him getting to interview Thaksin is all that. Some Thais might be pissed off at Singapore not blocking his interview. BUT we are more pissed off at why Mr. Rivers didn't ask Thaksin the right questions. Why didn't Rivers ask Thaksin about all of the corruption charges being filed against him right now--airport construction, land deal, agriculture deal, Temasek-Shin deal, tax-evasion?

Why didn't Rivers ask Thaksin about him distorting all mechanisms of check and balance in Thailand? Mr. Rivers seems to care a lot about martial law. Hey, Thai people doesn't mind. Maybe Mr. Rivers should ask himself WHY, rather than imposing his 'Western' view that martial law= bad.

It's surprising that until today, after following the events of Thailand, Mr. Rivers still understand democracy as 'election' and therefore the 'elected' has the right to rule. I thought him reporting on this unique experience going on in Thailand should free him from his myopic view, but unfortunately it's not the case.

Does Mr. Rivers understand vote-buying, corruption at the policy level, cronyism, installing friends into key military and police positions? Does Mr. Rivers understand how Thaksin has twisted all independent organizations in the country? Has he followed up on the auditor-general case? Why does peoplel love her so much?

Do you still call a country with all these problems a democracy?

How come almost 100% of the intellectuals, media, and the elites are against Thaksin?

For the mysterious phone calls Mr. Rivers receive, why doesn't he call the police? Or does he think it's cool to post it on the blog? Like wow a journalist trying to do his job?

I agree with Mr. Rivers on one point though. I disagree with self-censorship and I think the censorship of the CNN interview of Thaksin is ridiculous.

I am a Thai TV journalist working at Nation TV. My name is Veenarat Laohapakakul. My e-mail is veenarat@nationchannel.com. If after reading my comments, Mr. Rivers or anyone would like to contact me, I would be more than happy to discuss.
Get your facts straight Dan. Thaksin's brand of 'democracy' was just a cover to loot and plunder Thailand for his relatives and cronies.

Singapore is also not exactly an angel here also since what they are doing is trying to use Thaksin as a pawn to salvage Temasek (owned by *ahem* Singapore PM's wife?)share buyout of Thaksin's old company.

Please be more considerate to Thai people's feelings because even though Thaksin was 'rightly elected' you don't seem to realize that most of his votes were from the upcountry folks with lower income and lower education. There was a high level of foul play (vote buying, etc.) in those elections and yeah good luck in finding evidence (crooked politicians aren't stupid).
Even after he was ousted Thakisn is still trying to manipulate Thailand either to return to power or just protect his ill-obtained fortunes.

I fully support democracy but it is not a 'one size fits all' ideal. Thaksin abused it so much in Thailand that we are trying to get back on the path, and it is painful. So I ask you again, please be more considerate.
Thanks for your news from our prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
We hope you�ll do it again, we always want to know his news.
I can read transcript and listen to the video in Thailand. No block at all. So I wonder why do You think it is so bad. Look at this guy! Enough is enough! But he's still moving around to disturb the peace of Thailand. Why? After one year, If he is a real good one, he can come back as stateman!
Even after living in the region for 17 years, speaking/reading fluently the indigenous language, having married a "local", Thai ways are still amazing to my eyes and ears; this latest outburst in reaction to the CNN Singapore Thaksin interview being just one of the latest examples of the immaturity so common here.

This current government is just too bureaucratic and amateurish (not elected, only senior citizens selected from Government or from the Military, active or retired) to understand fully the economic issues at stake, while the junta only wants to get rid of the Thaksinomania that has shaped Thailand for the last 6 years; this explains the recent blunders.

Anything that could be perceived as promoting the deposed leader is a “NO NO” and the coup leaders have "instructed" the media to be careful or else…

In a country that (1) promotes racist regulations (e.g.: by applying double pricing at Government Parks and other locations for locals and foreigners), (2) prevents foreigners of acquiring land (even if married with a local), (3) treats long term residents as inmates (with every 90 days forced reporting to immigration or police, or else…), (4) enforces strict, complex and difficult regulations for foreigners to obtain work permits or/and long-term residency visas, (5) tolerates corruption from Police to Government without really trying to clean the mess, it is no surprise such a knee-jerk reaction. Singapore AND CNN have now been put on notice; welcome aboard! As long term residents here, we understand how you feel!

Buyer Beware! Remember potential visitors and investors to this country, that the Thai ways will always make you on the wrong side of the border, whatsoever if you are living in Boston or in Bangkok and whatsoever the beautiful Thai smile in front of you.
it's only ' propoganda' on international TV for 5 mins ?
Please, all of my friends living outside Thailand. All Thai people suffered from whatever Thaksin did in the past. He used Singapore to flight with our Thai military government.

Please think about it carefully!! If Thaksin is a good politician why the Thai military government wokring under the King does not allow him to come back to our Thailand.

Please!!! Thai people must know everhing better than all of you who are not Thai.

Hope all of you will understand our peaceful country, Thailand.
I am appealing to CNN to remove the comment posted by lik, Austin Texas referring to Thai citizens as "stupid folks". I find this offensive and I'm astonished that CNN would let this type of comments to appear on the website.
Now the situation in thailand is going well. we will have new constitution to correct the old one that Mr. Taksin try to twist it into his advantage and his family. Even now he and his gang try to make bad think such as burn the school like terrorlist. What question that CNN should ask to Mr. Taksin is How can he destroy democracy in thailand while got land slide vote from people? How is his family corrupt the country and betray to their home land?
It is not surprising to see this happening as Thailand is a country where they prefer that the world and Thai's only see the "good" part of itself, not the "bad" parts.

It's much like a child trying to hide the fact that he/she broke mom's crystal set and so put something else in place so that "mom" wouldn't notice--but of course she does.
Dan Rivers, why didn't you ask Thaksin about the corruption allegations?
Democracy does not work in every country in the world. It only works when people in that country have education. I think Thai people should regret now for adopting democracy too fast. Democracy in Thailand is in a bad shape that wealthy politicians can do anything to the country without being justified. Money is the boss, money rules everything. People would do anyting for money without knowing right or wrong. A former leader bought a TV station, cut off the TV program that talks bad about him and bought the elections. Nobody said anything about that because his money is so big that he can just make anyone stop talking. And now people are making noise because the Council of National Security does the same way. But this time I am sure that it is for the good of thai people, who were taught to be a money-slave, so that they do not believe in everything he said. Remember democracy is not always the best and most correct way to rule people.
The actual Goverment is very suspicious. Same as the bombing at new year in Bangkok. Since the former prime minister Thaiksin lost the power, many things have turned negative in Thailand. Drugs are gaining rapidly on terain because of corruption.
I'm writing from Singapore. While I'm quite glad that the Singapore authorities are now getting a taste of their own medicine, the action taken by the new Thai "leadership" is petty and predictable.
They are beset with numerous problems and have so far achieved a remarkable record for bungling.
To take issue with Singapore on the (private) Thaksin visit is a futile attempt to deflect attention away from the incompetence of the Thai military.
Dear CNN,

Sometimes we should truely understand the real situation before doing or saying anything. I'm Thai and love my country. Before inviting Mr.Thaksin for an interview, please check his past thoroughly. He has done so many bad things for us and loads of corruption. Most of us live happily now, actually I should have said that we can live much happier than the last 5 years with Mr. Thanksin. Hope other countries can understand that we have the most revered King. Anyone who is against and doesn't repect our King, he should not step in our land. Regards,
Dear Dan:

I think you do not truely understand the situation. So, you blamed for your scoop was cencored. I think it is what you are furious about!

For Thai people perspective, we think Taksin acted inappropriately. This is supported by a recent national poll conducted in 1500 Thais (you may ask your colleage in Thailand to check it out for you - for your information). Additionally, you'd better ask your colleages to read news writtend in Thai langauge for you too so that you will gain better understanding about the situation and feeling about general Thai people before start writing anything more about Thailand.
To CNN journalist.
Currently, (Jan 18, 2007: 10:55pm BKK time)
UBC, largest cable TV provider had suspended CNN broadcasting. No signal, not even montage on the channal where CNN usually aired.
Also, Many internet users are unable to access directly to CNN.com.
It seems like many ISP is blocking access to CNN.com
I have to use proxy server to gain this access.
Isn't this media censorship?
Dear Dan,
I wonder why you did not ask him all questions that supposed to do?
Did you pretend to be innocent?
Do you know lots of question Thai people want to hear from him? Or you have a clan with him not to talk about it? Tell us, now ?? why you not ask?
Dan, you did a great job. All the Thai media like The Nation and Bangkok Post already lost their sense of good journalists.

Without reporters like you, nobody would know exactly what happens in this country. There is something unusual happen in the city people's mind.

Your point of view to make the scoop, of course, would be different from the point of view of Bangkokian.
You're doing your best Dan. As a professional journalist, you help reveal the truth, amid all the fabricated polls, distorted news and such here in Thailand. Sooner or later, it will become clear to the world the hidden agenda of this military junta. To me and many others, Dr.Thaksin is the best PM Thailand ever has. If someone who brought vast improvements to the country ends up like this, who would want to contribute anything anymore?

I hope for governments around the world to get tougher on all dictators indiscriminately, not only some they have particular interests. We don't need to wait for one to become a mass murderer before hanging him, because dictators are always a threat for humankind. For the worst, they harbor insolvable global problems like drug and arm trafficking. Censorship and intimidation is the most benign act from them I would say. Even an international news correspondent like you feel insecure in Bangkok, we could imagine the lives of people in rural areas who are against this military regime.

It�s time for the world to strengthen their support for democracy and impose serious penalty to those who jeopardize it. A dictator regime should not be invited to any international summit and must face strict sanction, until they return power to the people.
Let me say again, that I appreciate the coverage. Apparently, CNN international always gives an example of quality journalism to the region. I have been a fan of CNN since I was a college student long time ago. I am looking forward to viewing Talk Asia this weekend.
For many years since the war in Iraq began in 2003, CNN did not show any pictures of dead bodies of innocent Iraqi civilians nor injured American soldiers.

Do you call this censorship?
Dear Dan,

Thank you very much for your report. It takes lot of courage to interview Thaksin esp. when the time the Thai military is taking power over everything in Thailand.

I'm so sad that democracy in Thailand cannot grow. How many more times will the military interrupt democracy. One thing they forget to learn is that none of the military actions has ended happily. I predict this one will cause more riots and hopefully power will be return to the people of Thailand.

Again, thank you very much for your executive report.

I'm looking forward to watching the whole interview on Talk Asia.
Thank you DAN!!you made a good job.

In Thailand, there are many problems that junta should make it better such as flood, cool weather in the north Thailand, bad economic, etc. What are they doing now? They blame Thaksin, although they have any evident in their hand. Junta chef said that Thaksin concerns to the new year bombing in Bangkok. What is the evident? It is not fair for Thaksin. Therefore it is the right time that Thaksin should clear himself.
Thank you, Dan.

Don't listen to some idiots around here. They pretend to know and understand exactly what the situation is. But believe me, if you would interview each of them who say so,you will get nothing informative. They dont like facts,but rumors.
Thank you DAN.
We, Thai people can't say anything.
We live in fear.
We want democracy now!
For Veenarat from Nation Chanel.
It's sad to see you support dictators.
We all know that Nation Chanel is Junta'sl slave!
All Thai medias are Junta's slaves!

ps. sorry for my english.i just want to express my opinion that many Thais can't say in there country.
Don't even think about blaming him of corruptions. Get your fact straight.

We would never have seen our new airport, Suvarnbhumi, without Mr.Thaksin and TRT party. How long had it been before it was actually done during all these years? Do you know? 40 years, that is how long it takes Thailand to have our new airport. Want more? Check IMF and Thai monetary credits & debts during the past 10-20 years. Get your fact straight.

You, Thai Media, are just playing along with the coup so that you can get on television slots and make money. It is all about money and power. Thai people had been blindly taking your biased news for so long, for too long.

Let's face it. Nation Media has taken many time slots on TV since the coup takeover. Several Thai media guru have been elected for the new constitution. While the Thai are working their asses off just to make a living of 4000-5000 ($100-$150) bahts per month, you people are making 100,000 ($2500-$3000) bahts each month. Isn't that good? Aren't you getting enough of it?

You Thai media are either blinded, with all the power and money, or just simply stupid. Money and Power is everything you ever thought of.

And, not just Thai media, the coup itself is eating up Thailand like it is cake. They played with the economics like it is some kind of tryouts. Our economics have gone downhill since their takeover. How much money are they making off of the daily makeup news? Our Thai stock market has been on the decline, but some of you are making money like there is no tomorrow.

Still wanna hear some more? You Thai media are just disgusting. Don't even think about lying for another day. Thai people are not stupid. They just have this "Mai-Pen-Rai" mindset. And that is the only reason why you can still keep your lies going.

PS I didnt wanna call out Nation if it weren't because of the post by Nation media person. There are several more of them, plus all those so-called "elites" in Thailand.
dear dan
i am Thai,i stay here for 50 years and i saw alot of Coup but this one is the most stupid i ever seen.its purely personal matters.most of Thais do not agree with this uggly coup but we do not have GUNS if we do ???you knows what will happens ???
WHEN THE TIME COME, ALL THAIS WILL FIGHT BACK !!!
So sad! A big media like CNN has never realized it was used by Thaksin! I as a Thai am so happy Thaksin was ousted. If you dig deep and see everything justly, you will know Thaksin did everything for his own good not for the country. He changed Thai laws to favor himself so that he would be invincible. This is unfair.

Rather than see it one-sided, Dan, why don�t you look more into so many corruptions done by him and his team?
Thank you very much for news of Our Prime Minister Thaksin.

It's hard to find this page on CNN.com but I really want you to know that more than a half of Thailand love PM Thaksin because he make everyone a better live.

Unfortunated the anti-Thaksin group are consist with a lot of Media and after they brainwash the country for more than 12 months the very stupid part of Thailand call "Millitary General" is taking a power.

But if our PM Thaksin are saying only one word, the people will raise and the military junta have to go. So they are very fear when our PM speak on media.
As a Westerner living in Thailand for over 11 years I feel I am one of the many people on the ground here who know it is only a matter of time before Thaksin is brought to justice. You didn't ask the hard questions Mr Rivers. Maybe as a condition of your interview you were not allowed to ask Thaksin about the many corruption cases that are about to unravel around him. He is bleating innocence like the proverbial wolf in sheeps clothing. We all know he is guilty. You had the opportunity to put him in the spotlight but you didn't. He used you.
Mr. Rivers,

You are misleading CNN reader around the world on few circumstances..

1. Foreign Minister issue the Staement not Army ruler
2. We are furious to Singapore Goverment not Singaporeans.
3. The furious cause from Mr. Thanksin visit to Singapore Deputy PM not because he is on your show.
4. You stated that current Thai's goverment fail to present evident that would prove their allegations that Mr. Thaksin is corrupt. This is not true !!! At least 2 allegations are link to him and clonies and there are more to come..



By the way , I totally disagree with Self-censorship on your Interview but do expect you to ask him with better questions for your next round such as ; Corruption cases against him, Shin Corp. deal with Temasek cause National security in trouble.

And may I know who pursue this interview, is CNN invite him or he ask to be talk in public ???

There are ideas different inside Thailand and we are trying to bring it back to unity where it use to be 6 years ago before Mr. Thanksin split this country to 2 groups ; With him or against him. There are no place in between and you better be on his side by your love or by other reason that if you yourself live in Thailand during these 6 years period like me shall know , unless you are not.

Your report is not truely representing the whole truth and this disppointing a lot of Thais who use to trust and believe in quality and standard of CNN's reporters.

Your report especially on this case do cause Hard feeling to a lot of Thai's and may create continuous separation of Thai's that Mr. Thaksin like to see.

Please be consider and talk to Khun Veenarat and other media in Thailand if you thought "Nation" is not Pro-Thaksin .. There are more Media's friend that you can be trust in this country that you can obtain better news of Thailand situation.

Thais will not give up and will continue to support the right Democracy.
Thanks for that special program. Many thais still like Mr. T, not because of his money, but what he has done to our economy. Many benefitial policies were created and acted in his reign, which many Thais, majority r poor, benefit from it. Until now, they still have no evidence to proove Mr.T guilt, as they claim.

Nobody is perfect. Every government do corrupt, i believe, however, In Mr. T's reign, our country goes well, better than before.

Your program makes the moron junta afraid of Mr.T. They try to force people to forget him by not to allow press and media to show Mr.T and his relatives' pictures or news. Only thing to be allowed is any news or report blaim on Mr.T. So now, we only got one side news from unprofessional press n media, lick the junta's feet. The junta gov try to promote the ideal campaign of morality and unity, which is obviously opposite to what they are and do. They do not care people, they only try to get rid of Mr.T instead of take care people. Many people die in flood, no news on it. We lose trillion from financial pocily, no news on it. The junta and the gang are very bias, so will the new constitution.

CNN was blocked or cut off the signal at that time, I was waiting for that interview. Any opinion and website against the moron coup or junta are blocked and closed, even in webboard, the opinion will be deleted. Now, our basic rights are gone. The situation you and people in your office are facing is understanding, somebody here has military person infront of their house.

Thanks for giving us the alternative news and opinion.
After I've read many comments from some thais and even a TV news reporter from the Nation, who claimed to "know more of the situation in thailand" than foreign reporters, and thus support the coup's action I feel I ahd to post something. I'm not a journalist but I am just a thai who believe in people's right and power. And I also claim to know about the situation that the thai reporters either to scare to report or also in part of the plot to destroy our country for thier pwn benefit.
The Nation is one of the TV networt led by Suthichai Yun and other reporters just right Venarat that constantly attack Taksin. They have thier own agenda because they were "kicked out" from ITV station. The reason was they were losing money and couldnot compete with the competition. Also couldnot pay the station what they had to pay by the contract. This reason and by cooperation with other political figures, The Nation lauched a campaign of revenge amd if succeed they would get thier reward, air time on national TV.
Amazingly after the coup overthrew Taksin, some of the channel9 timeslot used to occupied by Sorayuth another Media mogul, were set spinnin of the air. The ofcourse, replaced by the Nation's group.
Thai journalists and reporter right now is a shame for their occupation. Venarat should go back and study journalist ethics. The duty of journalist are to present the truth to the people not doing it for the good of themelves.
I just want the people who claimed that they "know about the situation" to REALLY know what went on.
The Manager news group and The Nation were spearheading the media attack.
While Gen. Prem and his men were doing rounds stiring the military.
The political opposition ganged up with the business opposition.
What went on was huge colaboration among the military, media, politician, businessman, and old royals who felt they were threatened.
The result was huge set back of democracy, an huge blow to the country's eocnomy, and almost total destruction of the country equilibrium. All of this because of one man, Taksin? or was it partly because of a selfish greedy no-ethics journalist abusing thier media power just like Venarat?
Mr Thaksin is a big corrupt politician. What he said will never come true. Such as when he said "No. No, enough is enough". Thai people will never trust him again. We think most people can see from his beviour like now.

We believe that CNN will provide the ethic news which will not encourage a rich man to be richer by corruption and ruin Thailand when he is under investigation. Most of Thai people is under education, especially, within 5 years of Thaksin. He always gave the people with money (the tax of Thai people) and let the rootgrass people think that he is the hero who comes down to give them the money. They just tell that it's Thaksin money. That is the real thing under the corrupted Thaksin government.
Totally disagree with you, Dan.
Do you know how bad Thaksin had done to Thailand for years. You should not let this crook using the CNN as his speakers attacking the interim government which is trying to root out his cronyism.
It would be great if you guys, Americans, stop interferring my country's internal affair.

It's our democracy, not yours. Actually, i think what foreigners mind is their businesses not our democracy.

Even the martial law exists, those bad people still dare to do some michievous acts.

And, it's so ridiculous that Taksin thought he would be assasinated for three times, if the soldier want to kill him really, he will not be able to avoid his fate.

Please don't judge others by your own ruler.
Hi, all I want to ask is...

...please, anyone who posted comments about how THAI PEOPLE love the coup leaders and hate Thaksin, please stop saying it. I am a THAI and I hate the coup so much. I do not enjoy living under martial law. I do not like seeing armed soldiers on Bangkok streets....

I had voted for Mr. Thaksin 2 times and I would vote for him again. I am an educated middle class person who was born and lived in Bangkok. A lot of my friends think like me.

Please do not claim that educated THAI PEOPLE all hate Mr. Thaksin.

You have your own right to love the coup and hate Thaksin. I and others who love Thaksin have our right too.

Yes, we do exist in this country. Why you have to discriminate against us and call us "under-current"? We are not. We are just ordinary Thai people who do not think like you. Respect our right and we can live harmoniously in this country. Try to open your mind and start to respect the rights of other people who do not agree with you. DEMOCRACY PLEASE

To Mr. Dan Rivers,
Every Saturday 1600 hr. at Sanam Luang, people who do not agree with the coup gather. We invite CNN to be there with us and report our story to the world.
Cheers,
D.
Dear Dan,

I understood you are professional. But please open your mind. I am a Thai people, and do not appreciate what Taksin did in the past and currently.

Why don't you broadcast or ask him during interview about his corruption, his conflict of interest between his family and Temasek? Why dont' you ask him that people were very happy on Sep 19? Why don't you ask him about the new airport that have many problems.

So to be fair with our Thai culture and people. I think that nobody can do a judgement because his work was banned in BKK only. Also how about US Army in Iraq? Have you ever think to interview your own citizens?
Dan River resembles many young politicians of TRT led by tyrant Thaksin. Lack of ethics and professional conduct, money-driven opportunist. Thaksin and his government ministers have caused this nation so much agony and division amongst Thais. He threw money to buy out votes, censored programs that revealed the truth about his corrupted projects, replaced top police post with his own people, etc...
dear dan,

sorry if i am wrong. I've seen your interview cut. And feel that you've given Taksin the questions. Because I believed that he prepared the answers for you.

Also there are many thai people are appreciate what the current government do now. Especially, to disclose all problems, corruptions, scandals that involved with Taksin. Have you ever thought about that before asking him?

May I suggest the questions for next interview to Taksin?

1. How is your family? Are they all clean from all corruption charges?
2. Have you ever thought before you make a deal with Temasek? Did you compare between country benefits and family benefits?
3. After 6 years, how much do you gain from the country?
4. Do you know that all properties that sold to Temasek, it will be dangerous for the country security?

So many questions that you may know, or not know before. You should do more homeworks. And take in mind why many Thai peoples came out on Sep 19 to admire Thai army coup.
To Dan, I think you should go back to improve your country before comment others. Back to consider what you are right now. Your country, USA (sorry if I'm wrong), is the world devil!

To Thai citizen, you have to understand what our current government have done is best for us. They have tried to re-construct the stable social system which is completely destroyed by the hand of the man who defined "enough" is "enough". We have to give them a chance to do their task.
Dan Rivers ..You are stupid man.
Thaksin ...You are devil man.

Bye. Dont come back to Thailand.
Dan, you are so innocent. or... you get benefit from being Thaksin's PR. You are playing with life and death of Thai people. Now you let Thaksin speek out to people who don't know the correct information about this guy and what he have done to Thai people. Hope you are happy with your benefit of having a popular news again.
What the junta try to do now is close the country. They take away our basic human right. They better spend the time to find out how Mr. Taksin have done wrong, how he did corrupt without bias. Obviously, justice is not exist.

My family and I vote for him in election. We wish to get paid, may be. Nobody pay us to vote, we vote for him because we like his way to work, we see the result. Somebody said people who vote for Taksin are paid, uneducated, and poor. Actually, many are well educated, have their own business, bore old way of gov.

If the junta wants to take Mr.T down with corruption issue, they have to drag everyone in the past to the court as well. People in junta are not clean either.

The coup has made our country to be in the same level as Burma. Investors move to our neighbours. By this year, Thailand will be in difficult time again.

Please CNN, continue what you are doing. Here, if you feel against the coup or say good about Taksin, somebody will say you get paid from Taksin. ..It's sad huh?
Mr. Dan Rivers,

During Mr. Thaksin's rule, he interfered with media all the time. A lot of media anchors were ousted and many radio and TV programs were terminated. No one can criticize hime. I think the media now has more freedon than during Thaksin's era. If you learn more about him (do more researches, ask more people), you will get to know how bad he was.

He could have destroyed the country even further by his instigating words of violence, which he continued to use even when he has been ousted. He kept on sending message through his letters to the media in Thailand inciting even more chaos all the time, untill Junta stopped him from doing that. I am now much happier when he is shut up.

I also don't like the idea of banning the news. But Junta will only stay for another 8 months till the election under new constitution arrives, and the country need peace. Investigation of his corruption practice will soon be revealed under the laws. Remember that this coup is endorsed by our King (it was the first endorsement ever.) It means a good coup, and a necessary one. Without it, country will only be in a much worse position.

I trust that Junta will keep the country together, not like Mr. Thaksin who tries to divide it. And CNN (Dan Rivers) is part of his tool to cut the country in half, even while ex-priminister has already gone.

Rgds,

Boonyarit Tangkakarn
I really feel sorry for the thai people who prefer MILITARY DICTATORSHIP GOVERNMENT to take control than resolving things democratic way. .
How can you have and democracy when you support the juntas. I realy feel ashamed to be thai when I read some comment.
It make me think that the people who are writing to this blog really ordinary thai? or they are from Nation and Manager group???

COUP GET OUT+++!!!

We want democracy with or without Takin+++!!!
I THINK THE MOST COMICAL IN THIS PHONY VAUDEVILLE ARE YOU & THUG-SIN!!!! NEXT TIME, PLEASE DO SOME MORE RESEARCH BEFORE BEING USED AND DUPED BY THIS BUFFOON AGAIN, CNN.
BTW. THERE IS NO SUCH THING LIKE PURE DEMOCRACY. EVEN IN THE COUNTRY WHO CLAIMS IT'S THE MOST DEMOCRATIC ONE.
PLZ LOOK @ YOURSELVES IN A MIRROR!
U-UH, DON'T CHEAT,KIDS!
First of all I still do not understand why the Military Junta wanna Block Taksin's interview if the majority support them.Why don't They let Taksin spoke whatever he want,I think Thai People know who's lie who's sincere.

Second if they grip the power absolutely why should they care about Taksin's interview. It's only a shadow in a mirror.
I've just gotten this news, can't verify it myself, since the archives of South China Morning Post seems to need a password. Can anyone confirm it?


Ousted PM hires US lobbyist firm

Hong Kong - Ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has signed up a firm of American political lobbyists to seek support in Washington, a report said Friday.

Thaksin, who was unseated in a military coup in September, met with lobbyists from Barbour Griffith and Rogers (BGR) in Hong Kong last week, the South China Morning Post reported.

Full article is here, I refain from copying any more than this out of

copyright concerns:

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2007/01/19/headlines/headlines_30024553.php


If what this article says is true, then it's just another example of Taksin's blatant lies "I'm not returning to politics" on CNN!

For those who are against "The Nation" I have to agree with you that it has become biased over the years. It's very sad since I've been reading this newspaper for nearly 10 years now, and it has changed from becoming a responsible media source to a force against Taksin. Sure I know of the troubles it has had with Taksin, with Taksin's friends trying to take over the media group, ofcause they've got reason to hate him. However, to turn practically all editorials against Taksin is very irresponsible reporting. I hope that I can at least get the facts from "The Nation" straight, as for the opinions, I'll listen to it but keep in mind that they are only presenting one side of the story.
Thank Dan,Don't believe in anything Thai Media say to you. It's lies.It's propaganda.
Dear Mr.Rivers
Thank you so much, you do good job for us. Thai people, we love Thaksin.He gives chances to the people especially for the poor in the country.We want him to come back to our country. Please report about him again.We don't want the coup.
Mr Dan please consider this statement

"freedom from bias"

and become a real journalist soon
I'm thai .

I LOVE PM THAKSIN.

HE'S THE BEST PM.
Thank you coup and the gang as you show the world how are you stupid?

Thank you Dan for your job.
For many Bangkokian RUMORS are FACTS. Don't be surprised by their comments.You've done a good job. Thanks
Dear Dan

You may find many many comments say something bad about Mr. Thaksin. But they cannot compare with millions of Thai people who love their Thaksin Shinawatra, the best prime minister of Thai history. Mr. Thaksin create many projects that can help millions of poor Thai who live in country side to have the better living, health and higher education . Now we are still hoping and waiting for Mr. Thaksin to come back to help us solve all the bad thing that this junta government have done.
Mr Dan Rivers/ how do you feel reading all these comments after your interview with Mr Thaksin????. It is clear ENOUGH that one person could have lots of influence to the Thai public, supporter as well as against him. It clearly shows how sensitive this issue is !!! It would be damn difficult for anyone who tries to bring back public unity when one talked in one media and other in the others. I am Thai and always proud to be Thai but in past couple of years, I have noticed lots of Thai are being devided "JUST BECAUSE OF ONE PERSON". I hope all to be patienced and wait till evidences are brought on table to clear those allegations charge against him. Right or Wrong, let us prove on FACTS.

It is good to have Freedom to express idea but please respect and open to listen other people ideas as well. For country sake, let's talk facts and reason but not emotion.
Good Job , Mr.Dan.

And I think the reason why CNN have no need to interview Mr. Surayuth is just because all the medias in Thailand have already done. Unlike Thaksin, I still don't understand why the govenments ban Thaksin's interview or ban any other news about the protestor, unity?, but why they allows a very rude TV Channel such as ASTV to be on air.

Nowaday, the visions of this government or whatever they've done....just like blind leading the blind.
The dictators here, are rightfully very afraid of Dr.Thaksin. Thaksin was democratically elected and will easily get another 60% of the vote if he returned. I have three internet connections, not only is UBC cutting the broadcast again today, the internet is cut off too. My mobile phone seem to do the trick, and otherwise I will use TOR or Siphon. Thaksin should however not return, this junta iss comparablke with that of Burma. They will probably lock Thaksin up and sentenc him in a kangaroo court. He can help the thai people much better abroad by making the case. Today japan, next week the USA the week after Europe. Thailand is rules by an elite who believes that they are smarter, better and have more rights than the poor. It is bizarre that a person without a university degree cannot be chosen in parliament. The bangkokians always claim that the rural do not understand democracy. Well at least they vote and the Bangkokians steal power. Keep up the good work, put pressure on these dictators who deprive people of the information to make a choice.
Don't be disappointed. I am here in Switzerland and I saw your excellent interview. How can you let him give a Big Lie to the world. I have seen so many time CNN reporters push the corrupted PM or governers in the corner, but not you.
Dan Rivers, Next time...please do some more homework before you do such an important interview... The interview that gonna affected the country which is in a sensitive situation.
Look at surroundings, what really happends.
If CNN did not broadcast the show, some people might say that CNN was interfered by the Thai Gov.

I respect the rights of people.

I respect CNN's decision to broadcast or not.

It's all CNN right to do so and I'm sure that CNN, professionally, did at its best.

Cheers Mr Rivers.
It was God's will that a dog was to be born, but Dan Rivers snatched his place and came to the world.
I wonder how much you know about the country and the history of this corrupted prim minister. Before you make any judgment base on the surface of the situation you experienced, go and talk to Thai people and you will see why we support the coup.
Between democracy with full of corruptive politicians and junta with sufficient economics system, I would definitely choose junta with sufficient economics.

Even worse, this former PM is the worst PM Thailand has ever had. He was doing his business by power abuse. Do not ever come back to Thailand, Thuk-sin. You have sold every resource of our country.
I didn't agree with military junta about censoring this interview. Likewise, your interview was not appropriate considering situation in Thailand either. Imagine that you were interviewing Mr.Hussein in Singapore criticizing Iraqi goverment. The result was merely worsen the situation in Bagdad, so called "war".

At the same time, Mr.Bush, who "seized" the power from Mr.Hussein in such a non democratic way, wanted to establish a peace and decrease the number of US soldiers who were patriotically killed for other's conflicts. If your interview causes more worse situation by the people who desperately love Mr.Hussein, do you think iraqi goverment is obsolete of blocking or censoring the interview. Save many lives by ignoring one person, I think God will agree with me. Without interviewing or advertising, is Mr.Thaksin dying? You did not do anything wrong to him or his supporters but once you had inteviewed him, you did wrong to many of Thais. It would have been fair if you also interviewed Mr.Sondhi, one of his adversary who is also one of thai media tycoon, at the same time though I still believe that military junta will censor this interview, LOL.

You may not know that many educated Thais are thinking that Mr.Thaksin is a tyrant who is "I would say smarter than other former prime ministers" genius but unpatriotically greedy "so called square-faced liar". Whenever he goes to restuarants abroad, many thais would likely tap their spoons expressing their hatred. It seems unfair to him but he deserves it. This is not comparable to how much he destroyed thai society, monachy, and good governance. The new Bangkok international airport "Suvannabhum" is, at least, one example of his malignancy.
I heard some mentioned about drugs. That's a good point indeed. I believe one big reason PM Thaksin was overthrown and still attacked relentlessly, is the fact that his government effectively brought down the drug trafficking networks in Thailand. Only a few months after the coup, drug problems in my area have become noticeable again.

I agree that the world should not take this issue as remote.
Good job but don't try again. How much did you get paid? You think you know 'Thai' well?
Understand that you have to do your job and you are not a Thai. Your interview has made waves and you must be very proud of it, huh?

Do you really believe in what he said? If he really feels enough, why is he hiring the lobbyists to work for his connection with the Washington?

If you were in the bombing situation here, I think you wouldn't wonder why the martial law is still not revoked.

Thank you for your interest in our country, but I suggest you to back off and would really appreciate if you could.
Dan,
Thaksin lied and corrupted big time during his administration. Your interview with him gave him chances to present the world with his concocted stories about how much he did for Thailand and its people. That was a big lie.

Be open-minded, research, analyze and see to yourself the damages he caused to our country these past many years. He told you he wouldn't come back to politics - but his interview with you was totally planned out during his visit to Singapore and in conjunction with his in-official meeting with the deputy Singapore ministry - while our present PM General Surayuth was in Manila with the Singapore PM.

We do not like dictatorship, but right now I feel that we have the righteous government, who may be able to put some decencies, moralities and patriotism into whoever that will become our future government. To me, Thaksin is a crook, who stole big time with his administration, and your interview with him only gave him the chances to speak out, presented the world with more of his lies, caused more problems to our present government that tried to put our country back on road of recovery.

Thaksin does have lots of money... he can control press with his money... Never thought he could get a hold of CNN and you too.

I think you are also against corruption, and wonder why you sided with the man who would do anything (even to sell his country) to increase his wealth???
To Dan, it's not your business to show your negative ideas toward my country. I think you should go back to consider about your country. USA is a very bad guy in the world. It has been tried to dictate other countries to follow itsles. If your ountry cannot be better...you don't deserve to comment others.

To Thai citizen, After Mr.Thaksin destroyed our social system, the current government has been trying to re-construct it into the better social system. So...give them a chance...please.
I agree with the comment of John Su. I have nothing against your interviewing ex PM but to be fair - CNN should also interview PM Surayudh and present both sides of the situation. Your concern with curbing press freedom is well taken - but certainly by interviewing an ousted PM which resulted in consequences thereof can hardly be seen as constructive criticism or a solution to lift the censors...esp. when you live in Thailand and would understand the political situation there better than to give the world public and viewers a one-sided picture.
Dear CNN watchers around the world,
Thank you so much for this intervierw.If you use your brain while watching this-you will know that Mr.Dan is naive and Mr.Thaksin is a liar.
To be fair please have Mr.Dan finding the time to interview general Sondhi as well as prime minister Surayuth for the world to know how bad Thaksin has done in betrayal and destrying Thailand only for this wealth!!!
Dan, it's understandable that you're just doing your job on this, i.e. bringing news to the world. However, what you've done is unfair to the whole of the Thai people.

Consider this. Supposed Thaksin is evil as he has been accuse plus he's a cunning politician. What will happen if you put him in a worldwide broadcast and allow him to speaks and lies freely.

Have you ever seen any criminal accept their wrong doing? Plus, your questions are just scratching the surface of each issue, not probing deep enough. You simply allow him to say half-truth or lie to your questions and broadcast it to the world.

If you are to be fair, you should interview the anti-Thaksin camp, hear their view and their side of the story. Or let both sides, Thaksin and his accusers to be on the same show so that Thaksin can answer directly to the accusers.

You basically playing a public relation agent to air his pretended-innocent to the world.

Ahame on you Dan Rivers and to CNN.
To balance with Thaksin interview, CNN Journalist should show damage which Thaksin did with our country THAILAND. Our new airport is sample of the most coruppted project, more than 2000 people died in the southern province because of his policy. He brake our social deep into many family.
Now Thaksin should quiet.
Bad job MR. Dan
You don't understand situation in Thailand. Thaksin' interviews will make worsend.
Dan,
By now I hope you read all the negative and positive comments about your interview with Thaksin. I do hope that you spend more time to read up past misconducts and big time corruption carried out by he himself, his cabinet and gang of crooks in Thailand.

He said he's pro democracy - but in all election, he used his or his party members' money to buy votes. Once put himself at the Prime Minister post, he interfered, controlled and manupulated the central agencies that were set up by laws to prevent, control and put governmental officials and elected politicians who corrupt, steal, or cause damages to Thailand to trials and possible in jail.

What would you or the US would do if you found out your President was involved in corruption, or sold out USA national asset & securities to other countries? Similarly what'd you do if you or the US found out that your President used his political and personal influences and power to promote his businesses, or to monopolize his businesses, or to allow his people to take over other company like TPI, or to come up with monetary measures to effect value of Thai Baht so he could make hugh gain on money exchange?

If you had read up on his wrong doings, you'd have realized the above just very few samples of all his misconducts, crime and damages he did to Thailand. IF you have any decencies and ethics in your thinkings at all after your reading, then you should come out to apologize to the poor Thai people, who are all hoping that we soon can move forwards with a better man in the future. Of course, we do not like dictatorship, but right now without PM Surayuth and General Sonthi - Thailand laymen just have no chance to bring down this tycoon & evil.

We do demand your apologies for the one sided story and interview with Thaksin. And as one of the Thais who opposes his wrong doing, "THAKSIN GET OUT!!!"
See my aditional comments in the next posting above this thread. Oh, and by the way I am British not American. Perhaps some of YOU should do your homework before making accusations!
Dear Mr.Rivers,

Much appreciated your openning up a communication channel to share views on Thailand situation, especially on our PM Thaksin issue.

Thai people are now in the middle of nowhere! We're facing with the economic, social and political difficulties. People rights and liberty have been jeopardized by the military coup. What we're certain is that we're living under the martial law.

Local medias are hopeless. They abondoned their profession ethics, leaving behind public interrests and put all the efforts to pamper the junta government.

In return, the power that be and the coup leading team offered very handsome rewards to the media owners, senior executives, columnists and journalists in various forms. Not much surprise indeed, all the offers were accepted! Not only the medias that are enjoying the compensation given, intellectuals and the elites ( as they call themselves) are not excluded.

Now these interesting groups work hand in hand and are prepared to do anything whether hook or crook just to make sure that every door is closed for PM Thasin return!

Resentments prevail around the country. People seek ways to restore the democratic system. We need international supports especially in terms of communications exchange. We need help from internation media to convey the truth and Thai people voices to the world.

Thanks and regards,
One of the four reasons of the military to fight against Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra was that Mr. Thaksin’s government distorts the Thai people from the truth. But what is happening in Thailand now? The situation is better than that before the coup? It is getting worst. Thai people know only the news the military junta allows them to know. Terrible!!!!!
WHY AFRAID OF ONE MAN'S INTERVIEW?
This is a question I had to ask. Some comments said that this interview creates waves in Thailand. What wrong with waves? What wrong with comments?
Rigth after the coup, Sonthi Lim went on a world tour to justify the coup. He went around saying how bad Taksin's administration was so bad and corrupted. That time, I wonder if the people who wrote that Surayuth, the current priminister should have his say this time, have said anything about hearing another side of the story from Taksin?
Or when Sonthi Lim went around acusing Taksin weeks after weeks, you guys didn't say he created too much wave did you?

And stop saying Thailand isn't right for democracy. Do you want to live under demo-feudal givernment forever? You want to accept that some families deserve better life than others? You want to live in a country which always under threat by military who is willing to take action once they are unhappy?
WHERE iS THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE?
Mr.Rivers,
I think that CNN (you) was used by Thaksin. It will be much better and fare if you will interview the present PM or the other one who love Thailand and our beloved King. Eversince I was born , I never see who can make my love country this damaged as much as this Thaksin.
Appreciate if you would listen to my small voice from Thailand.
Thank you in advance.
Dan,

I don't agree with too much press freedom in Thailand because sometimes the press in Thailand are too bias and at times may become subversive.
Dear Mr. Dan Rivers,

On our part, may we be allowed to put the following on the record:-

Thailand�s policy on press freedom remains the same as expressed by Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont during his speech at the Foreign Correspondents� Club of Thailand (FCCT) on 7 November 2006, after assuming the position of Prime Minister. You yourself were present then.

The Council for National Security (CNS) has requested for and received good cooperation from television and radio broadcasters in Thailand in being discreet when broadcasting programmes that might affect the process of political reform or national reconciliation in this country.

The Thai Government and the CNS by no means have any intention of controlling nor influencing the work of the media, both domestic and international.

Yes, the fact is that the recent broadcast of the excerpt of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra�s interview with CNN�s �Talk Asia� on Monday, 15 January and its full programme on Saturday, 20 January 2007 were not aired in Thailand. But it is also the fact that the blockade of signal was voluntarily done by UBC, the carrier of CNN broadcast in Thailand. Neither the Government nor the CNS has ever issued instructions or request for the broadcaster to prevent the programme from being on air.

It is also the fact that the said programme was broadcast in its entirety on the following day. After UBC�s consultations with the authorities concerned, UBC has broadcast it in full on Sunday, 21 January 2007 between 08.30-09.00 hours (Thailand time).
May God bless those who help broadcast what's going on in the so-called land of smiles. Let's hope we'll have a general election we surely deserve as soon as possible. "I'm going out to the pasture spring. I shan't be gone long. You come too!"
Hello Mr. Rivers,

Regarding your comment/question: �why it is being censored on TV is mystifying me�; the reason might be very practical. The average Bangkok resident reads 3 minutes a day. One of every Ten male Bangkok residents access internet at least once a month, (the female number is less). Therefore, in average Thais relay exclusively in Audio Visual communications. I hope this brings some light to the mystery.
Thaksin has good PR team. So, you can see the image of him becoming beutiful.

As sight of the citizen of Thailand, Thaksin is most likely to involve in chaos in Bangkok. Only one people who gains advantage from new year eve bombing is THAKSIN.

Hey civilized man!!!, Democratic is not only election, right?
All reporter can be bias at any point in time but a good reporter will find the way to fix it. It is only in the conscience of good reporter, in the greedy reporter.

Mr.Thaksin may use or buy foreign media because he used it before in Thailand. Of course, many people seem to love with knowing the truth that it is his intention to let them know this way.

He own the media. He was the PM then. He criticized opposite site media. He sued anyone who report the darkside of his. Until now, not even one foreign reporter interview him about his corruption and about how he sell his country. The telecommunication license in which by law must be own by Thai but he sold it to Singapore. No foreign reporter even ask him about his conflict of interest when he used his power (while he was PM) to change the law and control government agents to benefit his empire and his family. Not even one, Thaskin's advocate ask those questions--why.

They don't want to know the fact that Thaksin is one of the most corrupted person who use democracy and capitalism as the tool for the corruption. Many people, including reporters know that democracy and capitalism is not the best system but the least evil. It must be used by a good man in a good cause, otherwise, it is not different from dictated by a group of rich people.
Dear Mr. Rivers,

Regarding your article saying that "Since then, the coup leaders -- who call themselves the Council for National Security -- have failed to present persuasive evidence that would prove their allegations that Thaksin is corrupt."

I'm wondering if you ever read or follow news on Bangkok Post or The Nation newspapers. There're good resources for keeping up on the investigations that has been goving on about the last government's huge time corruption in many mega projects, especially the construction of Suvarnabhumi Airport, which became a talk of the town recently. So far, there're at least 3 cases have been proceeded in the courts.

About Suvarnabhumi, if you go to the airport after 3 month-opening, then you'd see clearly how awful the last government had done to the country and how much taxes we wasted for this new airport that became the Shame of Thailand, instead of the Proud of Thailand. I'll very appreciate it if CNN would do a special scoop on the airport even though it's gonna ruin Thailand's future of being a hub of Asia (cause the airport is not ready to be a hub of Asia anyway)

For anyone who lives in other countries and is interested to know what's happening in Thailand for real, I strongly recommended you to read those two newspapers too.

Anyway, about the freedom of the press, well, as a former TV producer, I would say that the press members in Thailand right now have more freedom than they had in the last government.

Finally, I'd like to inform that the democracy in Thailand has been destroyed since Thakin and his Thai Rak Thai members spent money to buy votes from people in the rural area. We did have a detector managing the country for so many years. Hence, please, stop judging the book from the cover.
Dear Mr. Rivers
Thank you for your report on our (Real and elected) PM. The chances of civil war is real in Thailand. There are still tremendous support for Mr. Thaksin in Thailand , especially among the provincial residence and middle class in Bangkok. All of the polls results reported in the press are rigged, I'm sure you know that by now that you have experience first hand how the junta interfere with the press. If the junta does not step down (and thus face the charges) soon , the people will be out onto the streets once again. I fear this will be unavoidable and causes much bloodshed.
The junta goverment here is trying to block everything.

Thaksin is the best PM.But now the junta is trying to blam him with fake
All thai people hate this junta goverment the only thing keeping them running this country is because they have guns in their hand.

All thaksin corruption is such a lie.

that is why they blocking medias in Thailand.
Dear CNN
Please tell the world that the Thai people are sicked of the current junta regime. They do nothing except trying to make Prime Minister Thaksin a bad devil by propagand a in very media. The newspaper has been the worst especially "the Nation". The Nation had once manipulated the picture by using editing tools to alter the situation in the south and print in its front page. This media is full of sh.t.
Democracy in Thailand is mean if you have more money you WIN !!!

Like tyrant Thaksin he is the best corrupted EVER !!! Anyone that don't agree with him he pay if that one refuse he just kill and blame that as a drug dealer.

I dont' care that PM is come from democracy or not JUST be a good man it's ok.

This is an internal situations bad man like tyrant Thaksin tell the world the BIG LIAR !!!

Temasek believes him once and get loss.

Please be carefull of his speech!!!
Dear Mr. Rivers and CNN,

Please do Thai people a favor - - do a special report on Suvarnbhumi airport to show people all over the world of how corrupted Thaksin's govenment was. I think there're many people (of course, not ALL people cause there're some who're still blind even though everything is so obvious) who are sick of him flying around from one country to another and showing up on international medias telling lies.
After reading this article, I am very disappointed to know that an american journalist has made a pathetic comment with prejudice. The TV signal was not blocked but because THAI did not want to see the dog bark. I am 100% THAI and I am 100% supported soldiers to take action to kick Taksin out of our beloved country.

Since, Taksin became prime minister, we have been facing serious problem in Southern of Thailand and he could not dissolve situation but made it worse. He has put the burden to Thai people by corruption, bribe, mislead people for his own benefit, creating social problem, people have been buried with debt from his marketing plan to make Thai be his slave.

There was never be any one bomb in Bangkok in our history, suddenly we experienced this kind of terrible scene after Taksin has been investigated and the result revealed that he has corrupted and traded against the law and his properties would be frozen and given back to Thai people.

Dan, I think you know what you�re doing. You and CNN are junta who try to mislead people for your own and Taksin sake. Maybe you were dreaming that Taksin would take you tour our new airport which the cracking has shown its own evident to the world about Taksin�s corruption.

I think you got calls because Thai are very furious about your untrue article and that was the way they expressed.

Thailand may be a developing country, but we are intellectual enough to know who cares for our country. Tell Taksin that we do not welcome a man who betrays his people and country. Money can not buy allegiance from the love of our country. We are sick to see him try to come back to power.
We have seen the interview of Thaksin..and again there is nothing new..and very disapointed that you did not understand Thai politic and just been used..
If you really want the world to know the truth,better do more homework.You are very innocent Dan Rivers.
Thailand is not democratic. I am happy that the majority Thais and the world comunities are standing beside Dr.Tuksin. He was elected by 19 million people with a landslide victory. This reason why no people listen to the coup. According to the democracy, we must respect the majority rule. Get out the stupid coup !!
Tuksin permanent fan
Dear Dan :
I wonder why president Bush is able to stay in the office with small margin of victory. The answer might be the United States is a democratic society. How about Dr. Tuksin ? With a landslide victory, he couldn't remain in the office. Thailand is not a democratic society. They never respect the majority rule.
Dear Dan:
The ones who have lost, such as the oppositions, the underground lottery, the prostitutions, the drug traffickers and the influentials have helped to overthrow Dr. Tuksin, the elected government. That too bad !! The unfortunate country, Thailand
I apologize to you as I didn't know you are a UK citizen and not US. But that doesn't change my stance against your interview with Thaksin.

To be fair, you should present other side of stories. Stories about his misconducts, his corruptions and mega projects that turned into his and his people's money making machines. Go to Suwannabhumi airport and took photos and do some reports and show to the world how much money he did rake from these mega-projects. Then you'd be doing your job.

Pro Corruption Free Thailand
Open letter to the international community

As you are well aware, Thailand's elected government, under the leadership of Thaksin Shinawatra, was overthrown by a faction of military elites last September.

We, Thai people who love democracy, were embarrassed, frustrated and stunned as we had never expected that an obsolete coup d' tat would take place again in our country in the 21st century.

Thai people are currently living in desperation and under oppression by the military junta who has stripped us of our rights of speech, rights of access to information and the basic rights of human beings.

The putsch has not only set back our relatively deep-rooted democracy to nothing, but also destroyed our economic strength, which was built up by former elected governments.

The junta is trying to convince us that they would draft a new constitution and schedule a general election within a year. But we do not want the constitution handed to us by "a group of robbers in the disguise of army generals". We want our 1992 Constitution to be reinstated as it is widely accepted as the best one in Thailand's modern democratic history.

We believe that the junta-drafted constitution would only legitimize their political gain allowing for the continuation of their presence in Thai politics.

We seek military reform; a military that is akin to other civilized nations; a military without political influence.

Thai people historically are opposed to a dictatorship, we believe that another protest resulting in bloodshed is inevitable if the military declines to step down. Thai people will not tolerate a military regime over the long term.

We do not want to see history repeat itself, like the major popular uprising in 1973, 1976 and 1992, when thousands of unarmed civilians had to sacrifice their lives for the sake of democracy. In fact, the present military-appointed prime minister General Surayud Chulanont was the one who led a paramilitary troop to violently suppress protesters in the 1992 pro-democratic demonstration.

To seize administrative power from an elected government is a criminal act according to the Thailand's Criminal Law. We want to see those who have perpetrated this crime to be brought to justice so as to prevent this barbarous act from reoccurring in the future.

In the present era of globalization, political and economic instability in one country or one region does affect the region and thus the global community. Hence, it is time for the world community to act in unity in eliminating an unjustifiable coup d�tat.

Therefore;
We call on the world communities to condemn and impose possible measures to punish these dictators.

We call on the world communities to isolate the illegitimate government.

We call on the governments around the world to freeze diplomatic relations with the junta-installed government.

We call for an international forum wherein the political desparity of Thailand is addressed; wherein the Thai people are represented in a multi-lateral fashion.

The Alliance of Pro-democracy Movement
Thank you. Dan Rivers
Politicalwise, There are 2 groups of People in Thailand right now, one is taksin supporter and another is taksin non-supporter.

I am the former as I believe he has done no wrong to our country,actually he's done quite a lot of good things for the sake of our country. But there are just some burocrats, academics, diplomats who did not enjoy his high riding. These people is not many but their voice always go big. They can even mastermind the media.

I am really thankful for your work at least we are who have such a little voice can say thing here to you
I don't believe in one's words to wash the word of , The general Shonthi
Mr.Thaksin he have no chance to talk or explain anything in Thailand.
Thank you for his chance......What ever happen.
I still believe , trust , respect and waiting for him to be my PM again.
My response to Khun Wichian's comment :

Please, do not say that the coup is 'working under the King'. They adopt this ambiguous name in order to confuse Thais. If you ever care, the 'under the petronage of the King' can be for 'the coup' or 'the democracy' (if you look at the Thai name). That is why they (the military) later cut this phrase off (in the English name), to prevent the confusion. However, this phrase is still in the Thai name. Why is that? What exactly is the point of doing so?

To Mr. Rivers :

Thank you so much for the interviews, both with Mr. Thaksin and Gen. Sonthi. Too bad, like many others comment, that you did not seem to focus on the corruption allegations (for Mr. Thaksin). However, my bravo to you for the interview with Gen. Sonthi. I got a chance to listen to it this afternoon. The funny thing is that what he said in the interview sometimes is opposite to the truth.
Hi Dan,

You have done a great job. Thaksin is the best PM ever for Thailand. Those who hate Thaksin are the people who used to suffer from his policies that made them loose money from selling drugs, getting bribes, and a lot more.
Most thais supportover PM Thaksin to claim his power back. Please people around the world who love freedom pressure the thai goverment and junta back to where they come from.
Dear Dan
Thank you very much. No one in thai like junta. Do your Best
Dear. Mr.Dan liver
Now Thailand is total dictator. the structure of power run to only one person this situation halmfull nation . civil war shall be happen soon, cause unjustic rule make thai peoples are trouble.
I would like insist you again. PM. Thaksin still prime-minister in the heart of the most thai people
And he is prime-minister from election under constitutional by democracy way .
So this is electiced govt. and the best of govt., ever had in thai history.regretful! he must be overtowned by the dictator power(u konw who?) or alienable democracy way.

As I am a thai people . Thank you so much Mr. Dan liver
Thank you so much, Khun Dan River

You did a fantastic jobs for democracy.
Keep going on please, U'd made the right job.

We all Thai still believe in your neutral acting.

We really need to know about our beloved Prim , Thaksin.

Keep continouing your best to clear the eyes of fake medias in Thailand
dear dan liver
thank you for interview our prime-miniter
you are the good journalist CNN is the real media
thai media is biassed madia, falsing news to make our prime-minister thaksin look bad . especially ASTV MANAGER NEWPAPER
you are the best Dan , please speak for thai ppl when we can not open our mouth becuase of the gun thanks.
CNN IS REAL MEDIA
THAI MEDIA WERE BIASED. THERE SERVE DICTATOR.
THAI PEOPLE LOVE DEMOCACRY AND LOVE THAKSIN
TOO BECAUSE HE ARE PRIME-MINISTER WHO WAS ELECTICED BY PEOPLE HE IS VERY GENTLE MAN.
THAI PEOPLE LOVE HIM SO MUCH! EXCEPT LOSER OF BENIFIT GROUP SUCH AS DUNG SELLER DARK INFLUENCE , TYCOON BUT INNOCENT PEOPLE DISLIKES DICTATOR 100%
..Thank you so much for the interviews, Mr. Thaksin
he have no chance to talk or explain anything in Thailand.. most of media In thailand was block . it full proproganda the coup every day. all thai people love Mr.Thaksin . except mafia and greedy human.
Thank you Dan and CNN for your exclusive interview
with Our Prime Minister Thaksin Shinnawatra

Thai peoples love him. Heis very best Prime Minister in my mind.

I hope to see news about my prime minister again Thank you
Thaksin came from election. People voted for him because of his policies and the achievement from the past 4 years.
I hate Surayud Chulanont and
Sonthi Boonyaratglin so much

.......
but

I love Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra so much
and I love you ...Dan Rivers :)
Thank you. Dan Rivers, I love Thaksin Shinawatra . He is a super PM. We need our Prime Minister Thaksin back.

Thank you very much for news of Our Prime Minister Thaksin.

It's hard to find this page on CNN.com but I really want you to know that more than a half of Thailand love PM Thaksin because he make everyone a better live.

Unfortunated the anti-Thaksin group are consist with a lot of Media and after they brainwash the country for more than 12 months the very stupid part of Thailand call "Millitary General" is taking a power.

But if our PM Thaksin are saying only one word, the people will raise and the military junta have to go. So they are very fear when our PM speak on media.
There were two bombs last night (Jan 30, 2007 @ around one a.m.). Thai government and Thai media did not report !!

Well, what do you think?
Thank you Mr River. Keep up a good work.
Dear sir,

You're the best watch dog. Thank you very much.
Things aren't that different from the previous Thaksin's regime to be honest. My life is slightly affected after the coup, one is the Baht is stronger, it's a lesser pain for my family to send me to get educated in Australia. Secondly, some of my favorite websites are banned, and some of hour human rights are taken away.

Thaksin is just simply a perfect liar. Though he has a little of goodness in him, but it was just too much of cheating.

The coup isnt really good either.

We are just unlucky enough to have bad stuff going on with our politics in the past 9 years. There is no democracy now and there was no democracy while Thaksin was a prime minister. Before hand, things were censored without us knowing. This time we know what is being censored but unfortunately more is being censored.

I'm not very happy about this at all. The next election will say it all, if we are going to have one though.
Well Well Let's just take a look at the big cracks from corruption at Suwannapoom airport right now, and we will see why Thai PPl did not against the so called " undemocratic" government. May be we prefer undemocratic goverment with less greed, with more respect for our country to democratic government with highly greedy ,self centered head and respect.

Or may be we should just have some investigation on how his beloved daughter and son cheated on hundreds of thousands students through the entrance exams to university?

A decent man would not encourage his daugther to do such an ugly thing like this
If Mr. Thaksin & his gang were in US, they would go to jail at least 100 years.
Mr.Rivers,

You are just a material man who thinks about money all the time.

During Taksin's regime, he ordered 2 foreign reporters to leave Thailand within 48 hours as they reported on corruption projects in Suvannabhum International airport. Taksin ordered Thai police to kill at least 1,000 innocent people, blaming the dead for involving in drugs. There's no single proof for that. This causes turmoils in southern part of Thailand as people are furious for their loved ones who were all reported absence or killed by police.

A lawyer who volunteered to fight cases that police put upon innocent southern people was disappeared for over 2 years. His daughter could never have passed the exam to get into the college f there's no leakage of the original exam before the test. Have you ever heard about this news? It really shows what kind of man Taksin is. He will do EVERYTHING to get what he wants.

The first day that the coup happened, people all went out to give flowers to the soldiers. Do you know this news?? How shallow are you?

Taksin equals to Saddam in nice suit with lots of money to play with and buy someone like you. Do you like Saddam??
As someone who has lived and worked in Thialand, going back to the late 80's, I have a longtime association with Thailand.

I work in telecomunications and had some business dealing with K. Taksin from that early period. The main thing to remember is that he was a policeman, a very corrupt policeman. That's how he made ihis initial money. The corruption continued when he was "granted" the first GSM licence in Thailand, and continued somemore when he was granted the license to operate the satellite network.

The man is basically an economic ganster. None of the business deals that allowed him to become a billionaire could really stand the light of day. Once he realized that he had so much money that he could buy an election, he did, and from that point he really acted as if he could never be touched. So many of the things he did while in office are amazing, thge war on drugs that he sponsored, while on the surface a good thing to do, offset by the sudden appearance of the death squads, that killed so many on the thinest evidence, not to count the number of mistakes they made. The tax-free sale of his family business for billions of dollars. The list goes on and on. The best thing ytou could say about Taksin is "Good Riddence!"

As far as the current government, the Military coup produced another in a long line of governments since the Monarchy was originally overthrown. I think the current count is 17 coups.

Corruption has beenj a way of life for governments in asia. It's one way of getting things done, I'm not so sure it isn't the same way here in the US, perhaps a little more covert. All you have to do is read the papers about Enron, the Abrahmoff scandals and the Patriot Act to see the paralles,

The bottom line in my book is that Thailand is so much better off without Taksin.
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