The Royal Thai Army has moved decisively to fill an increasingly dangerous security vacuum in the Southeast Asian country of Thailand after nearly six months of paralysis from the embattled Western-backed proxy regime of convicted criminal, fugitive, billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra. With the regime still holding office, political commentators have been unable to call the move a “coup.”
Over 70 terrorist attacks have been carried out against ongoing anti-regime protests, killing over 20 people and leaving hundreds maimed. An attack on May 15, 2014, left 3 dead and many more critically wounded. The attacks are carried out by weapons ranging from pistols, AK47s, and M16s, to more deadly war weapons including 40mm M79 grenade launchers and RGD-5 hand grenades. The attacks are part of an admitted terror campaign carried out by the regime and its “red shirt” supporters as reported in TIME Magazine’s January 2014 article, “Bangkok Shutdown: Yingluck Supporters Prepare to Fight for Democracy,” which stated (emphasis added):
As Thailand’s anti-government protests enter their fourth day, observers say prospects for violent confrontation are increasing, with reports of government supporters stockpiling weapons in case of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s ouster.
According to the Bangkok Post, radical members of the Red Shirts — diehard champions of Yingluck and her notorious brother Thaksin Shinawatra — are readying a cache of arms in case the 46-year-old premier is forced from office by either military or judicial intervention.
The paper quoted a Red Shirt source as saying “There are strong anti-coup and anti-court sentiments among the red-shirt mavericks who are familiar and experienced with weapon use.”
The regime’s ad hoc so-called “Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order” (CAPO), charged with maintaining “peace and order” during now over 6 months of street demonstrations, has instead been used to apply the law lopsidedly against the regime’s political opponents while covering up or facilitating terrorism carried out by regime supporters.
Another act of overt hypocrisy that has undermined the regime’s legitimacy and necessitated the military to step in, was the targeting and attempted deportation of 50-year Thailand resident, Indian businessman Satish Sehgal. Sehgal had spoken on stage in support of anti-regime protesters. A recent attempt to “detain” the elderly and respected expatriate included heavily armed militants in plain clothes carrying assault weapons. During the same time, Thaksin Shinawatra’s corporate-lobbyist Robert Amsterdam was allowed to enter Thailand and take to the stage of a pro-regime rally held on the outskirts of the capital Bangkok – not only did CAPO fail to cite Amsterdam for the same charges leveled at Sehgal, CAPO resources were mobilized to provide Amsterdam security.
The event is just one of many examples of CAPO’s inability to actually maintain peace and order. The security vacuum its biased and dangerous behavior has led to, has necessitated the military to fill the void and put in check pro-regime militants and regime security forces that have increasingly and violently acted beyond the law.
Preventing Widespread Terrorism
The Royal Thai Army’s move seeks to take over the security vacuum left by CAPO’s dangerous partiality that has allowed weapons to be stockpiled across the capital of Bangkok and armed militants to attack at will day and night. The army now is in a position to search for and seize weapon caches as well as detain those supplying them and planning to use them. Security operations will preempt what the regime had hoped to pass off as a “civil war” when it inevitably is removed from power by Thailand’s various courts for a wide range of criminal offenses including overt nepotism, abuse of power, and corruption at nearly every level of its political organization.
The prospect of actual “civil war” is remote to nonexistent. Widespread terrorism would have been passed off as a “popular uprising” much as Thaksin Shinwatra’s “red shirt” protest was portrayed by Western media in 2010. In reality, 2010’s violence was carried out by a mere 300 armed mercenaries, using a dwindling mob of between 5,000 to 10,000 “red shirts” as cover. Today, the number of terrorists mobilized by Shinawatra’s regime is unknown, but the availability of protesters to use as cover has been greatly diminished since 2010.
The military’s presence in the streets of Bangkok and its mandate to move against armed terrorists while CAPO refuses, will negate the regime’s ability to use violence as a bargaining chip as the Shinawatra regime is eased into its political grave. With the regime still technically holding office, it and its Western sponsors have been unable to call the Thai Army’s move a “coup,” thus further diminishing its political leverage in Thailand and abroad.
The Regime of Thaksin Shianwatra is Backed by Wall Street
The political longevity of Thaksin Shinawatra and his proxy regime is owed predominately to the support of special interests on Wall Street and in the City of London. In the past decade, Shinawatra has served these interests well:
- In the late 1990’s, Thaksin Shinawatra was an adviser to notorious private equity firm, the Carlyle Group. He pledged to his foreign contacts that upon taking office, he would still serve as a “matchmaker” between the US equity fund and Thai businesses. It would represent the first of many compromising conflicts of interest that would undermine Thailand’s sovereign under his rule.
- In 2001 Shinawatra privatized Thailand’s resources and infrastructure including the nation’s oil conglomerate PTT while raising the amount of shares foreigners could hold. This led to big-oil giants such as Chevron and Hess siphoning out billions in revenue from Thailand’s natural gas and oil supplies.
- In 2003, Shinawatra would commit Thai troops to the US invasion of Iraq, despite widespread protests from both the Thai military and the public. Thaksin would also allow the CIA to use Thailand for its abhorrent rendition program.
- Also in 2004, Shinawatra attempted to ramrod through a US-Thailand Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) without parliamentary approval, backed by the US-ASEAN Business Council who just before the 2011 elections that saw Thaksin Shinawatra’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra brought into power, hosted the leaders of Shinawatra’s “red shirt” “United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship” (UDD) in Washington DC.
- Since the 2006 coup that toppled his regime, Shinawatra has been represented by US corporate-financier elite via their lobbying firms including, Kenneth Adelman of the Edelman PR firm (Freedom House, International Crisis Group,PNAC), James Baker of Baker Botts (CFR, Carlyle Group), Robert Blackwill (CFR) of Barbour Griffith & Rogers (BGR), Kobre & Kim, Bell Pottinger (and here) and currently Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Partners (Chatham House).
A recent US State Department statement regarding the Thai Army’s move to enact martial law parroted Thaksin Shinawatra’s own calls for speedy elections. What the US State Department intentionally sidesteps is the fact that the current ruling party, Peua Thai, is admitted run by Thaksin Shinawatra – a convicted criminal and fugitive running the regime from abroad.
Regarding his behind-the-scenes role in the party and policy, he is not shy: “I am the one who thinks. Like our slogan during the campaign, Thaksin thinks, Pheu Thai acts.”
The New York Times admitted in an early 2013 article titled, “In Thailand, Power Comes With Help From Skype,” that:
For the past year and a half, by the party’s own admission, the most important political decisions in this country of 65 million people have been made from abroad, by a former prime minister who has been in self-imposed exile since 2008 to escape corruption charges.
The country’s most famous fugitive,Thaksin Shinawatra, circles the globe in his private jet, chatting with ministers over his dozen cellphones, texting over various social media platforms and reading government documents e-mailed to him from civil servants, party officials say.
The NYT piece would also report:
“He’s the one who formulates the Pheu Thai policies,” said Noppadon Pattama, a senior official in Mr. Thaksin’s party who also serves as his personal lawyer. “Almost all the policies put forward during the last election came from him.”
Overtly illegal – in no other country would Shinawatra be able to contest elections let alone be allowed to win them and rule the country under such a proxy arrangement. Shinawatra’s Western support and his own immense wealth have thus far afforded him impunity. However his influence has been steadily undermined, and with recent protests reaching their climax, he appears a spent force. Indeed elections are the way forward for Thailand, but as protesters in the streets demand, these must be preceded by reforms that prevent such flagrant abuse of the system, or the system’s completely circumvention, as Thaksin Shinawatra has done for nearly a decade in power.