Tuesday, September 09, 2008

CIA coup in Thailand?

Thai prime minister Samak

On 9 Septemer 2008, Thailand’s Constitutional Court sacked Thailand's prime minister Samak Sundaravej, and his cabinet. (Thai court turns up heat, sacks the PM)

It would appear that the CIA may have toppled Samak.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the US gave assistance to repressive military governments in Thailand.

Reportedly, Thailand hosts one of the CIA's secret prison sites.

Today, Bush and the CIA may prefer Thai generals to Thai politicians who try to help the poor.

Samak is allied to Thaksin who tried to help the poor.

Thaksin, ally of Samak, was toppled in 2006

When Thaksin was toppled in 2006, reportedly by the CIA, "Bush's emissaries in Thailand... too swiftly and too warmly embraced the military coup-makers, many of whom are known to have close ties to top US officials." (Asia Times 7 August 2008 US, Thailand: A conflicted alliance)

The coup "was orchestrated by several Thai security and military officials with close and long-time ties to Washington.

"They include CIA-trained Squadron Leader Prasong Soonsiri and the US-trained General Winai Phattiyakul, former director of the Directorate of Joint Intelligence at the Supreme Command's headquarters where US intelligence officials are allegedly in residence.

"US security officials and former US ambassador to Thailand Ralph 'Skip' Boyce are also known to have generational ties to Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda, who Thaksin's supporters have accused of masterminding the 2006 putsch..." (US, Thailand: A conflicted alliance)

Thaksin made "new strategic overtures towards Beijing" and undermined "the US's near monopoly on military-to-military training in Thailand.

Thaksin also increased Thailand's arms purchases from China during his tenure." (US, Thailand: A conflicted alliance)

Bar in Pattaya by Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department

When, reportedly, the CIA toppled the Shah, they stirred up the merchants and traders of the bazaars who worried about competition from more modern shopping outlets.

Is the same thing happening in Thailand?

In Thailand there have been demonstrations by a right-wing group called PAD against Prime Minister Samak.

Jaimie Seaton and George Wehrfritz, in Newsweek (All Politics Isn’t Local ), 6 September 2008, make the following points about events in Thailand:

1. In the last election, Samak and his People's Power Party won in a landslide.

2. Samak is an ally of the popular Thaksin, who was ousted in a military coup.

3. Samak tries to help the poor and favours modernisation of the economy.

4. In a recent Bangkok University opinion poll, seven out of 10 people disagreed with the blockage of roads and storming of government buildings. Only 5 percent would support a coup to oust Samak.

5. The demonstrations against Samak are organised by the right-wing PAD, the People's Alliance for Democracy.

6. Among the protesters against Samak is Chokchuand Chutinaton, a U.S.-trained pediatrician.

Newsweek quotes him as complaining that, thanks to Thaksin and Samak, more foreign companies have entered Thailand.

7. The antigovernment PAD claims to oppose Samak on free trade, the role of foreign investors and the idea of having of Western-style democracy in Thailand.

8. PAD has the support of:

(A) certain civil servants threatened by attempts to cut bureaucracy,
(B) certain trade unions representing industries facing privatization,
(C) some of the urban middle class who resent rural development initiatives and
(D) some Buddhist who fear Westernization.

9. The founder of PAD is media baron Sondhi Limthongkul.


(According to Wikipedia: After the election of Thaksin as Prime Minister in 2001, several of Sondhi's associates became leaders in the new government.

(Sonhi's banker, Viroj Nualkhair, became president of state-owned Krung Thai Bank and gave over a billion baht in debt forgiveness to Sondhi, allowing him to emerge from bankrupcy.

(Sondhi became a strong supporter of Thaksin, calling him "the best prime minister our country has ever had."[1]

(In 2005, Viroj Nualkhair was fired from KTB after incurring over 40 billion baht in problem loans.

(Sondhi started criticizing Thaksin.)

10. Thaksin spoke of making Thailand part of the developed world.

Sondhi claims to want PAD to oppose certain modern trends.

11. PAD has briefly seized three airports, disrupted long-distance rail service, called on unions to mount a national strike and threatened to cut Bangkok's power and water supplies.

It is possible there could be more street violence, leading to a takeover by the military.

Photo from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Bangkok_skytrain_sunset.jpg

In Thailand, as in Bolivia and most other parts of the world, the wealthy elite sometimes use terror to keep themselves in power.

The CIA tends to support the wealthy elites.

Thai protests turn nasty

At the BBC website, a British expat comments:

"It's an incredibly dangerous situation which has pitted the entrenched political old guard against a democratically elected government. The real problem in Thailand is the way society is completely polarised. The government is part of a system that has tried somewhat to change that..." - Your comments: Bangkok protests

A Thai comments:

"We have a democratic government elected by a majority of the people around the country. The gangs should respect the majority of the people and not try to create the social disorder." - Your comments: Bangkok protests

It was in September 2006 that the popular Thai prime minister, Mr Thaksin, was toppled in a military coup that was probably organised by the CIA.

According to Axis of Logic: "The behavior and tactics of the Thai opposition would appear to have been copied from a CIA manual."
Bangkok and Caracas: A comparative Analysis

Thaksin may have annoyed the CIA by (1) removing Thai troops from Iraq (2) following a policy of helping the poor (3) flirting with China.

According to The Economist, "rural voters were quite rational in handing him (Thaksin) landslide victories in 2001 and 2005."

Thaksin helped the poor.

He provided them with very cheap medical care and he provided the rural poor with loans to help them increase their prosperity.
- BBC NEWS Asia-Pacific Thai farmer: 'Thaksin helped us'

Thaksin is probably no different from most American, European or Asian politicians when it comes to allegations of impropriety.

According to the Economist, "the allegations of corruption, conflicts of interest and vote-buying that surround him Thaksin) are serious but hardly unusual: such practices are endemic in Thai politics." Thailand's election South-East Asia's Pakistan? Economist.com

The generals who carried out the 2006 coup have provided bad government.

According to The Economist, "the generals, courtiers and bureaucrats who have been in charge for the past 15 months have ruled dismally. Thailand's economy is now one of the slowest-growing in booming Asia." -
Thailand's election South-East Asia's Pakistan? Economist.com

In December 2007, there were fresh elections in Thailand.

Thaksin's party, the PPP, won the most seats.

Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department

CIA has a history of getting involved in Thai and Asian politics.

In 1946 Ananda was found shot in his bedroom in the Grand Palace.

This ensured that teenage Bhumibol became king. And it ensured that pro-American Field Marshal Pibul became the power behind the throne.

Bhumibol had once said of his brother's murder, "It was not an accident...it was political."

King Bhumibol has a difficult job, surrounded as he is by certain 'corrupt fascist' generals who allegedly have links to the CIA.

In 1973, when pro-democracy students were being shot at by the army outside the Chitralada palace, Bhumibol ordered the gates of the palace to be opened, to help save some lives.

In 1980 one third of the rural population lived in absolute poverty (this could mean one meal a day and no money to buy shoes or typhoid medicine). In 1980, a child working 11 hours a day, in a workshop in Bangkok, would earn £36 per year! Yes, per year! Great for the Americans getting their cheap shoes and clothes made by child labour.

When the generals were again getting violent in 1992, and hundreds of people were killed, it was Bhumibol who summoned General Suchinda to the palace and had the meeting televised live. The entire Thai nation could see General Suchinda crawling across the carpet to the feet of the monarch.

In the Oriental Hotel I got talking to a retired Thai gentleman called Yong. I asked him how things were going in Bangkok.

"There is a power struggle going on within the army," said Yong. "On one side we have the reformers who want to end the army's links to drugs and karaoke bars. They want to purge the army of mafia colonels. And on the other side we have the conservatives who want to continue to do deals with the Burmese junta and the drugs barons."

Yong read to me the calypso written by Allen Ginsberg in 1972:

In nineteen hundred forty nine
China was won by Mao Tse-Tung.
Chiang Kai Shek's army ran away.
They were waiting there in Thailand yesterday

Supported by the CIA
Pushing junk down Thailand way.

First they stole from the Meo Tribes
Up in the hills they started taking bribes
Then they sent their soldiers up to Shan
Collecting opium to send to The Man
Pushing junk in Bangkok yesterday
Supported by the CIA...."


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