I'm reposting this from the Bertrand Russell Society discussion group to give some background to what's going on in Thailand.
Subject Political crisis in Thailand, BR and the Thammast Massacres, Lord John Russell and Bowring
I wanted to send this Posting post haste in view of the situation in Thailand. If the current state of emergency is succeeded by a coup, Internet services will be either completely shutdown or severely curtailed until martial law is lifted. It seems that the international media are not sufficiently considering what is happening in the hinterlands, critical though the situation appears here in Bangkok. Protesters have blockaded three airports at islands in the south, thereby stranding large numbers of foreign and Thai tourists. Thousands of protesters are trying to get to Bangkok from the north and the south where there is an ongoing Muslim insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives.
Early this morning there was severe violence at Government House, the center of the Thai government, which has been occupied by protesters for days. There was gunfire and at least one person was killed. Perhaps some of you saw the CNN shot of a Thai policeman being beaten and kicked.
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej is an evil, dishonest, violent, venal political hack who is a stalking horse for deposed former prime minister Taksin Shinawatra, who is wanted on charges in Thailand now and who is being unaccountably shielded by the British government, but who may soon decamp for Bermuda.
Samak played a prominent role as a deputy minister in the Thomassat University massacre, i.e., The Massacre of 6 October 1976 ( เหตุการณ์ 6 ตุลา) or
HOK TULAA. the 6th of October, as Thais commonly refer to the incident. Samak publicly lied about this incident in fairly recent interviews with Dan Rivers on CNN and with a female interviewer from Al Jazeera (Arabic: "The Peninsula, i.e., the Arabian Peninsula), the important Arab international television news agency out of Qatar that George W. Bush wanted bombed, regarding the violence in the south. Samak's lies are unbelievable in view of the public record available, especially by saying that only one person was killed on October 6, 1976, a person he says was beaten and burned to death in the nearby district of San Luang.
Bertrand Russell may have had a role in the extreme violence right wing elements brought to bear against leftist demonstrators. I say this because the two anti-communist works he published under the auspices of the British government had been placed in at least one university library in Bangkok by the British Embassy. (These works have been definitively discussed by Andrew Bone after I had discussed this in the BRQ.)
There may be a connection between Lord John Russell and much suffering that occurred in Thailand after King Rama IV, the great and scholarly Mongkut, was forced in the Bowring Treaty to adopt a free trade agreement with Britain. Lord John Russell was well acquainted with Bowring, as Karl Marx pointed out, a man who was responsible for the massacre of countless Chinese in Guangzhou (Canton) during the Opium Wars. Bowring was also a polyglot translator, a poet and the important editor of Bentham's works in addition to being an accomplished travel writer, including his book on the Philippines. The Thai government had depended on import and export duties to finance its activities. With these revenues virtually eliminated, the government has to introduce massive increases in taxation, even to the point of hiring rapacious and venal tax farmers (or "publicans" as they were called in the Gospel). We know from research into petitions to the king that the ordinary Thai suffered grievously as a consequence in spite of Mongkut's efforts to mitigate their plight (he may have thought he was an actual bodhisattva, a being who brings succor to all suffering sentient beings.
Great harm was done to Thailand by the British role in southern Thailand during the twelve-year Emergency in Malaysia and Singapore when British and Commonwealth troops finally managed to overcome a Chinese-led communist insurgency (1948-1960), British agents lied to Islamic seekers of independence in the south of Thailand that after the Emergency was over they would promote independence for the four southern Muslim-Malay provinces in the south. This was because the Malay communists shared jungle sanctuaries along the Thai-Malay border with Islamic insurgents, some of whom were influenced by Middle East currents combining Islam and socialism.
Evil was perpetrated in Thailand and Cambodia by the odious Margaret Thatcher regime in which British special forces troops trained Khmer Rouge cadre in the camps along the Thai-Cambodian border. There are reports that British commandos even led incursions into Cambodia as far as Siam Reap, the area of Angkor Wat.