Like tyrants throughout history, Thaksin will use “elections” to lend himself legitimacy he otherwise doesn’t have.
Elections alone do not make any given regime legitimate. Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, held regular elections – of course, Hussein was the only viable candidate running and easily was returned to power, time and time again (See BBC’s “Saddam ‘wins 100% of vote‘”). He enjoyed immense popularity especially as he stood up against the unwarranted aggression of the United States, however no one would describe his government as particularly “democratic.” Of course, the West had no problems saying so.
A similar tale can be told of North Korea’s elections – with its one-party government enjoying “landslide victories” as reported in the Telegraph’s “Elections declared a success in one party North Korea.” Similarly, the West has no problem making a mockery of the process
Image: In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to vote (or even drive for that matter). Despite this gross injustice, the autocratic feudal regime is one of the West’s closest allies and exists in a media black-hole of immunity and self-censorship. This reveals that what is considered “acceptable” and “unacceptable” by international standards is solely based on Western interest – not objective, impartial principles. The West’s backing of upcoming sham “elections” in Thailand, where only one main party is running and the top three candidates are all from the same family (Thaksin Shinawatra, sister Yingluck Shinawatra, and brother-in-law Somchai Wongsawa) is another display of double standards and the convenient circumvention of the rule of law.
In contrast, the feudal kingdom of Saudi Arabia also has “elections.” Half of its population is currently barred from voting (it is illegal for women to vote), and elections are only held for municipal positions. That is because there are no elections for national leadership as Saudi Arabia is one of the last remaining absolute monarchs in the world. Strangely enough, despite the barbarism, exclusion, and absolute illegitimacy of the Saudi regime, it is not only accepted with open arms by the West, but is a respected and central collaborator of Western interests in the Middle East and indeed, around the world.
The BBC would shamelessly call Saudi Arabia “cautious reformers” because of their decision to consider allowing women to vote in 2015. There is still no word on whether or not they’ll be allowed to drive, and of course, the vitriol and condemnation the BBC has reserved for nations like Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Syria, is absent in regards to Saudi Arabia – a nation so despotic it is literally named after the family that has squatted upon it for decades.
Clearly then, the West who fashions itself the arbiters of what is and isn’t universally “democratic” and “legitimate,” bases it judgement not on what is actually democratic or legitimate, but upon a particular nation’s utility and capitation to Western interests. Iraq and North Korea are decidedly opposed to capitulating to the West’s “international order” while the feudal barbaric regime of Saudi Arabia is a willing, eager participant.
Thailand’s Current Regime, like Saudi Arabia, is a willing Collaborator – Enjoys West’s Stamp of Approval
The current regime ruling over Thailand, led indisputably by unelected dictator, convicted criminal, fugitive, mass murder, billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra, has for well over a decade been willing collaborators with Western interests. From before becoming prime minister in 2001, and throughout his 2001-2006 rule in office, up to and including today, Thaksin Shinawatra and his political machine have demonstrably served foreign interests, as well as their own, at great and continuous expense of the Thai people.
A rough enumeration of Thaksin Shinawatra’s transgressions against Thailand, as well as his associations with the West, paints the picture of a murderous despot, but one, like the Sauds, who has faithfully served Western interests and earned their stamp of approval along with an accompanying immunity from criticism or punitive sanctions:
- Thaksin was Thailand’s prime minister from 2001-2006. Has since dominated the various reincarnations of his political party – and still to this day runs the country by proxy, via his nepotist appointed sister, Yingluck Shinawatra.
- Also in 2003, he initiated what he called a “war on drugs.” 3,000 were extrajudicially murdered in the streets over the course of just 90 days. It would later turn out that more than half of those killed had nothing to even do with the drug trade. In this act alone, Thaksin earned himself the title as worst human rights offender in Thai history, and still he was far from finished.
- In 2004, he oversaw the killing of 85 protesters in a single day during his mishandled, heavy-handed policy in the country’s troubled deep south. The atrocity is now referred to as the “Tak Bai incident.”
- Throughout his administration he was notorious for intimidating the press, and crushing dissent. According to Amnesty International, 18 human rights defenders were either assassinated or disappeared during his first term in office. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) claimed in its report, “Attacks on the Press 2004: Thailand” that the regime was guilty of financial interference, legal intimidation, and coercion of the press.
- 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, 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).
- Thaksin Shinawatra openly still runs his political party and the siting “government” in Bangkok via Skype. New York Times would admit this in a shameful article almost celebrating the cartoonish display of corruption, titled, “In Thailand, Power Comes With Help From Skype.” The campaign motto ahead of 2011’s general elections was literally, “Thaksin Thinks, Peua Thai Does.” In other words, a convicted criminal literally ran for office from abroad and upon winning “elections,” now runs the country.
Thaksin’s mass murdering of 3,000 innocent people in 90 days alone should have earned him eternal scorn and international ostracism, but instead as recent as last year, this grotesque human rights violator was given special entry into the United States despite his fugitive status, to give a talk that was only disrupted by brave Thai-Americans who stood up where international law and decency crumbled.
Image: August 2012, Thaksin Shinawatra attempted to speak before members of his own personality cult, the “red shirts” in Los Angeles, but was picketed by protesters hoisting placards reading, “Criminal, Dictator, Murderer, Traitor, Thaksin,” and “Thugsin, A Convicted Fugitive.” While the US rails against nations like Syria and its alleged “human rights abuses,” one must wonder where the US Secretary of State’s conscience (or official responsibility) was when allowing a fugitive and mass murderer into the United States.
Thaksin’s Planned Sham “Elections” No Different than Farcical Exercises in North Korea or Iraq.
Considering the true history and crimes of Thaksin Shinawatra and his regime – a history the Western media consistently fails to report – it is clear that upcoming elections in which his political party, Peua Thai (For Thais), will be the only significant party running – will be no different in terms of legitimacy or credibility than those mocked by the West in North Korea or Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
Indeed, all significant opposition parties in Thailand are currently boycotting upcoming elections. This is due to the fact that Thaksin Shinawatra has repeatedly run by proxy for office since his ousting from power in 2006 despite multiple arrest warrants, a 2 year prison sentence he is evading, and a multitude of pending court cases.
Thaksin’s proxy rule has included two prime minsters who were directly related to him – brother-in-law Somchai Wongsawat, and younger sisterYinglcuk Shinawatra, and a third, Samak Sundaravej who openly told foreign journalists he was serving as Thaksin’s “nominee.” The most recent candidate list for the upcoming 2014 sham “elections” includes Yingluck and Somchai as number 1 and 2 on the party list. It is a cartoonish display of 3rd world nepotism and corruption that is both illegal and unacceptable throughout most of the world – and the sort of overt political circus the Western media would have no problem mocking, were it not for the regime’s unswerving capitulation to Western interests.
Like Saudi Arabia, this capitulation earns the Thaksin Shinawatra regime immunity and protection throughout the Western press, as well as substantial diplomatic and covert support. Attempts to portray anti-regime protesters as “undemocratic” for standing up against such nepotism, corruption, and abandonment of the rule of law, is truly telling of the double standards applied by the West as it selectively opposes and supports despotism at its own convenience.
Finally, no matter how “popular” Thaksin Shinawatra claims his regime may be, popularity – like elections – don’t automatically equate into legitimacy. Adolf Hitler was wildly popular, and of course also absolutely illegitimate. In fact, a look across the US-backed pro-EU protests in Kiev, Ukraine, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi ideology is still popular but it would be scarcely imaginable to believe anyone would argue it was somehow then legitimate. Similarly, the mass murdering, thieving, treasonous regime of Thaksin Shinawatra never was, isn’t, nor ever will be legitimate. Upcoming elections in Thailand are a sham and the very fact that “elections” and “popularity” appear to be the sole exhibits the regime and its Western backers continuously point to as a source of their “legitimacy,” betrays the fact that they indeed do not have any.
Elections and “democracy” without the rule of law, wielded by a regime that has demonstrably held human rights and justice in utter contempt, is just another form of tyranny – a tyranny people have the right, even the duty to stand up against. It is not that anti-regime protesters are against the idea of representative governance – they are merely against naked, illegitimate tyranny disguising itself as such.