Friday, February 1, 2008

Deconstructing Thanong Kanthong: The Nation, the Junta, and Criminal Conspiracy

Thailand takes a step back to square one

Thanong Khantong

The Nation


From the outset, Gen Sonthi was a reluctant coup leader. On the morning of September 19, 2006 he was still unsure whether he would need to stage a coup to oust the Thaksin government and put an end to the street demonstrations that could have degenerated into bloodshed. Gen Saprang Kalyamanitr told him outright that morning: if he did not stage a coup, Saprang would do it himself.

Gen Sonthi went along with the plan and became a nominee coup leader. He did not have real power, nor did he attempt to assert it. All the arrangements to form an interim government were made without his knowledge. Gen Surayud Chulanont was sent in as prime minister. He had the image of a tough and intelligent military leader who would take on Thaksin and unrest in the South. He was expected to do his job effectively; it would be like a military operation zooming in on targets.

Initially, the coup was intended to remove Thaksin from power and dismantle his political hierarchy, plus his vast networks in the military, the police, the bureaucracy and state agencies. The Assets Examination Committee was formed to go after Thaksin and his family's assets. The military promised to return Thailand to democracy in one year. Within that period, criminal cases against Thaksin, who was accused of massive corruption, would be built up to the extent that the former PM would not be able to return to Thailand. If Thaksin stayed abroad and let Thailand move on, it would be in the interest of everybody.

I think it is fascinating that Thanong outlines a criminal conspiracy to oust the legitimate government. But that part doesn't upset him.

Read on. This is the part that upsets him and his cohorts at The Nation.

But it didn't work out as planned. There were conflicts between the military and Gen Surayud over how to handle Thaksin. Should they get tough with him or should they let things go at their natural tempo? Every time the military sent a signal they wanted to get tough with Thaksin, Gen Surayud would only concur. There was little follow-up action.

When that failed, more criminal conspiracy:

The Sonthi-led military tried to prevent PPP from winning the election. Sonthi was reported to be behind the Puea Pandin Party, a breakaway group from the banned Thai Rak Thai Party. Puea Pandin was formed to counter the PPP in its Northeast stronghold. It had hopes of winning by a wide margin, wide enough to keep the number of PPP MPs below 200 - and PPP confined to the opposition. As it turned out, Puea Pandin was routed in polls in the Northeast. It was outsmarted and outwitted by Thaksin's broad-based network and money. The PPP won almost 50 per cent of the seats in Parliament, making it virtually impossible for the Democrats to form a coalition government. The PPP has gone ahead to bring five other parties, most of which are made up of ex-TRT members, under its wing.

The shamelessness of The Nation never ceases to amaze me.

Thanong and his buddies backed a criminal conspiracy, treason really, to rid Thailand of Thaksin, and now they are upset that the conspiracy failed.

Thanong goes so far to release General Sonthi of any culpability.

Oh, poor Sonthi. Poor Surayud. They were just incompetent puppets. As long as they they had "good intentions" all is forgiven.

I wonder if The Nation will ever investigate and publish who is the real mastermind behind this conspiracy.

Probably not. It has already been rewarded for being a good soldier in this war when Surayud handed over TPBS to their control--where the propaganda war against Thaksin will continue.

1 comment:

Red and White said...

I find it hard to believe Sonthi "did not hold any real power" when he awarded himself the position of deputy PM and then made himself head of an anti-vote buying panel.