Millions of people across the globe have cut the tethers to their offices, working remotely from home, airport lounges or just about anywhere they can get an Internet connection. But the political party governing Thailand has taken telecommuting into an altogether different realm.
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..
What sounds like the making of the next banana republic, is instead a fact now being conveniently buried, as anti-regime protesters struggle to purge the proxies of Thaksin Shinawatra, with his foreign backers throughout the Western media claiming that his proxy government, headed by his own nepotist-appointed sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is both the legitimate government of Thailand and “democratically elected.”
This is perhaps the most pervasive myth surrounding the current conflict in Thailand and is perpetuated by Western media sources and the regime itself. Elections did indeed take place, and in those elections, the current regime did garner the most votes, but the same could be said about elections held anywhere, even in nations that are decidedly very undemocratic. Despots throughout history have used elections as a veil of legitimacy behind which they hide – and hiding a despotic, hereditary regime is exactly what the Shinawatras are doing in Thailand.
Image: As mentioned in a myriad of foreign media publications, Thaksin’s proxy party ran with the slogan, “Thaksin thinks, Peua Thai does.” As Peua Thai faces charges that a convicted criminal was directly involved in their election campaign, many of the exhibits used against them in court will be of their own design and impossible to deny.
The campaign slogan in 2011’s general election literally was, “Thaksin thinks, Puea Thai (his political party) does,” indicating that his sister Yingluck, like her two predecessors, Somchai Wongsawat (Thaksin’s brother-in-law), and Samak Sundaravej (who literally declared he was Thaksin’s proxy to TIME), is merely filling a superficial role.
West’s Defense of “Democratically Elected Government” is really the Defense of their Investment in Shinawatra.
So why is the West defending what is clearly a dysfunctional democracy, clearly abusing the mechanisms of real representative governance, to perpetuate a very undemocratic regime? To understand the answer to that question, one must examine the immense investment the West has made in the Shinawatras over the last decade.
Thaksin had been prime minister from 2001-2006. Long before Thaksin Shinwatra would become prime minister in Thailand, he was already working his way up the Wall Street-London ladder of opportunity, while simultaneously working his way up in Thai politics. He was appointed by the Carlyle Group as an adviser while holding public office, and attempted to use his connections to boost his political image. Thanong Khanthong of Thailand’s English newspaper “the Nation,” wrote in 2001:
“In April 1998, while Thailand was still mired in a deep economic morass, Thaksin tried to use his American connections to boost his political image just as he was forming his Thai Rak Thai Party. He invited Bush senior to visit Bangkok and his home, saying his own mission was to act as a “national matchmaker” between the US equity fund and Thai businesses. In March, he also played host to James Baker III, the US secretary of state in the senior Bush administration, on his sojourn in Thailand.”
Upon becoming prime minister in 2001, Thaksin would begin paying back the support he received from his Western sponsors. In 2003, he 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 2003, starting in February and over the course of 3 months, some 2,800 people (approximately 30 a day) would be extra-judicially murdered in the cities and countrysides of Thailand as part of Thaksin’s “War on Drugs.”
Accused of being “drug dealers,” victims were systematically exterminated based on “hit lists” compiled by police given carte blanche by Thaksin. It would later be determined by official investigations that over half of those killed had nothing to do with the drug trade in any way. Human Rights Watch (HRW) would confirm this in their 2008 report titled, “Thailand’s ‘war on drugs’,” a follow up to the much more extensive 2004 report, “Not Enough Graves.”
Image: “The Thai Gov’ts War on Drugs: Dead Wrong. Stop the Murder of Thai Drug Users.” During Thaksin Shinwatra’s 2003 “War on Drugs” it wasn’t only drug users who were brutally, extra-judicially murdered in the streets, but over 50% of the 2,800 killed during the course of 3 months, were completely innocent, involved in no way with either drug use or trade.
The following year would see the Tak Bai incident which saw 85 protesters killed in a single day in Thailand’s deep south. And despite Thaksin’s atrocious human rights record, by far the worst in Thai history, and even challenging regional lows, the West continued to support his regime.
Also in 2004, Thaksin attempted to ramrod through a US-Thailand Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) without parliamentary approval, backed by the US-ASEAN Business Council who just before last year’s 2011elections that saw Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra brought into power, hosted the leaders of Thaksin’s “red shirt” “United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship” (UDD).
Image: The US-ASEAN Business Council
, a who’s-who of corporate fascism in the US, had been approached by leaders of Thaksin Shinwatra’s “red shirt” street mobs. (click image to enlarge)
The council in 2004 included 3M, war profiteering Bechtel, Boeing, Cargill, Citigroup, General Electric, IBM, the notorious Monsanto, and currently also includes banking houses Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Chevron, Exxon, BP, Glaxo Smith Kline, Merck, Northrop Grumman, Monsanto’s GMO doppelganger Syngenta, as well as Phillip Morris.
Photo: Deposed autocrat, Thaksin Shinawatra before the CFR
on the even of the 2006 military coup that would oust him from power. Since 2006 he has had the full, unflinching support of Washington, Wall Street and their immense propaganda machine in his bid to seize back power.
Thaksin would remain in office until September of 2006. On the eve of the military coup that ousted him from power, Thaksin was literally standing before the Fortune 500-funded Council on Foreign Relations giving a progress report in New York City.
Since the 2006 coup that toppled his regime, Thaksin has been represented by US corporate-financier elites via their lobbying firms including, Kenneth Adelman of the Edelman PR firm (Freedom House, International Crisis Group,PNAC), James Baker of Baker Botts (CFR), Robert Blackwill of Barbour Griffith & Rogers (CFR), Kobre & Kim, and currently Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff (Chatham House).
Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff, would also simultaneously represent Thaksin’s “red shirt” UDD movement, and was present for the inaugural meeting of the so-called “academic” Nitirat group, attended mostly by pro-Thaksin red shirts (who literally wore their red shirts to the meeting). Additional support for Thaksin and his UDD street-front is provided by the US State Department via National Endowment for Democracy-funded “NGO” Prachatai.
It is clear that the regime of Thaksin Shinawatra, is in fact, really the regime of immense foreign interests that have built him up and have kept him relevant for years. The myth of Thaksin Shinawatra’s proxy government in Thailand being “democratically elected” is simply another buttress built by the West to keep his regime from crumbling under the weight of the true dimensions of his corruption, crimes, and illegitimacy.