David Streckfuss published an article in the Wall Street Journal that is very critical of the current government’s strategy. Worth a read, specially in terms of how it portrays the current situation in Isaan:
Fearing arrest or worse, many leaders have fled the region, gone underground or remained silent. They worry they are being watched and that their phones are bugged. Many are reluctant to meet with journalists or human-rights groups. There is a perception among red shirts that the government can do virtually anything it wants under the emergency law.
Left without access to red-shirt radio or television, many families have chosen to listen to nothing at all. They say watching the government-controlled news or even reading the newspaper upsets them too much.
The silence and the appearance of normality in the northeast, however, is deceiving. They mask feelings of fear, frustration, disgust and anger.
Historically, the mood now is not like after the coup in 2006 or even after the military crackdown in 1992 when scores of demonstrators were reported killed. It is more like Thailand after the bloody suppression of students at Thammasat in October 1976.
But best to read the whole thing here: Life Under Abhisit’s Thumb: The Thai government cracks down on dissent in the restive northeast