Coup talk, security preparations

9 02 2010

Readers may find a new piece at Asia Sentinel (8 February 2010) of some interest. The report begins with the continuing buzz about a coup – and PPT has to confirm that this is the main topic of conversation in political circles – and then discusses the Thaksin Shinawatra asset case.

The article states: “Getting rid of Thaksin’s influence completely would presumably be the rationale for another coup. The military would take over and obliterate him once and for all.” Later it says: “The biggest beneficiaries of the coup talk are the pro-Thaksin group that needs to build momentum before a court rules Feb. 26 whether to seize about $2 billion in proceeds from his family’s 2006 sale of telecommunications firm Shin Corp. to Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.”

PPT is not sure how to reconcile these seemingly disparate statements. In fact, red shirts seem intent on preventing a coup – taxi drivers are on alert to surround tanks and armored personnel carriers if they come onto the streets. The government appears to think the coup talk is a red shirt attempt to destabilize the government. Some red shirts believe that the coup would be to stabilize and strengthen the government, with the military continuing to stand behind the Democrat Party but maybe not Abhisit Vejjajiva. The Asia Sentinel writer seems to think that Abhisit remains the military’s “best bet for the moment.

On the Thaksin assets case, the article has this to say as background: “Like most of the court cases brought against Thaksin after the coup, the assets seizure case is more about politics than law. It’s anyone’s guess how it will turn out. Ever since head of state King Bhumibol Adulyadej instructed judges to solve the country’s political problems in 2006, nearly every legal decision has gone against Thaksin. Courts have nullified an election that he won, dissolved two parties linked to him, banned him and some 200 lawmakers associated with him from politics for five years, and slapped a 2-year prison sentence on him for abuse of power, should he actually ever reappear in Thailand. Prosecutors have at least three more criminal cases against him that they are keeping in the bag.

The political chatter is about how much he will lose: all, some or none. On the latter, it is said that: “If the court were to exonerate Thaksin and give him the money back, it would undermine the whole rationale for ousting him in the first place and instantly boost his war chest for the next big election fight.

The author thinks the court won’t take it all because that would cause political chaos and favors an outcome that sees Thaksin keeping half of the money. The author thinks this was the king’s message: “the king urged judges last month to stay in the middle’.” PPT guesses that Thaksin will lose the lot. There are stories of a deal being negotiated between Thaksin and the palace, but the rumor is that these talks were ineffective. The palace seldom forgives its enemies.

The article concludes this way: “With the military and coalition partners unlikely to abandon him, Abhisit looks like he can ride out any protests over the next month.” Further: “Abhisit will likely be able to muddle through 2010 without any major disasters before he’s forced to call an election next year.” That seems a reasonable guess but Thailand’s politics remains exceptionally volatile and bitter.

Meanwhile, the Abhisit government is preparing for red shirts not a coup. The Washington Post has an AP report (8 February 2010) that reports on the deployment of “about 20,000 security forces to brace for protests ahead of a widely anticipated court ruling on the Thaksin [assets case]…”.

The remarkably supercilious acting spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said more than 13,000 army, police and civilian security officers will be deployed across Thailand’s 38 provinces. About 6,000 additional security will be deployed in the capital, where 200 checkpoints will be set up at ‘every entrance into Bangkok’…. PPT recalls that the military used this roadblock tactic after the coup to prevent the free movement of citizens.

This deployment has begun and will expand next week. As PPT stated previously, we think the movement of 22 armored personnel carriers was part of these preparations.

Panitan explained: “We don’t want a repeat of what happened last April when the troops came out a little late…”. He added that would invoke his baby, the Internal Security Act, if required.



3 responses

9 02 2010
Attorney General wants all of Thaksin’s Money « GJBKK Blog

[…] Prisoners Thailand reported earlier today on “Coup talk, security preparations” The article states: “Getting rid of Thaksin’s influence completely would presumably be the […]

9 02 2010

[…] to him in absentia in October 2008. AFP/Straits Times and compare to the article in PPT “Coup talk, security preparations” After reading the article I am seriously wondering if this a genuine “security […]

9 02 2010
Tweets that mention Coup talk, security preparations « Political Prisoners in Thailand --

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