Wikileaks and “military normal” in 2006

18 03 2012

In a Wikileaks cable on 22 September 2006, the U.S. Embassy continued to preach that, despite a military coup, tanks on the street, the 1997 constitution trashed under the junta’s boot, at least eight pro-Thaksin Shinawatra people detained by the junta, and an elected government smashed by a military command acting in collusion with the palace, and the beginning of anti-coup actions, that things are getting back to normal in Bangkok.

That must be military-normal for the embassy functionaries, for none of this would seem normal for PPT. And nor did it appear in any way normal at the time.

The cable, sent in the name of Ambassador Ralph Boyce,  begins with the cheery note that, “[l]ife in Bangkok continued to normalize on September 22.” The next line, stating that “[t]roops remain posted at several key locations downtown and the CDRM publicly announced that several unit rotations would be under way over the weekend,” seems not to enter the realm of the abnormal. In most places, troops on the streets is simply not normal.

But the embassy’s measure of normalcy descends into a kind of expatriate joke: “Traffic returned to its usual snarled format.” We guess cloistered embassy officials notice this as their limousines pull out onto Wireless Road.

The cable then refers to transfers of pro-Thaksin officials in the police and other security forces before turning to a breezy account of more normalcy: royalists already .” These included the usual suspects: Meechai Ruchupan, Bowornsak Uwanno and Wissanu Krea-ngam, with the last two having just jumped from the Thaksin Shinawatra government to the royalist coup plotters. The military had put them to work immediately.

The embassy also reproduces a post-coup statement by Thaksin that sounds very 2012:

The event in Thailand during the last two days should not detract from my main aim of national reconciliation. Therefore, he (sic) would like to urge all parties to find ways and means to reconcile and work towards national reconciliation for the sake of our King and country. We hope the new regime will quickly arrange a new general election and continue to uphold the principles of democracy for the future of all Thais.

Another former Thaksin supporter is mentioned as having jumped ship and quickly begun lapping at the boots of the generals. This is the ever ambitious:

Surakiart (L) with someone who looks remarkably like Moe, one of the Three Stooges

Former Deputy Prime Minister and candidate for UN Secretary General Surakiart Sathirathai [who] returned to Bangkok Wednesday and immediately began to shed his ties to the ousted PM. Telling reporters that he thanked the CDRM for their support for his UNSG candidacy, he denied having talked to Thaksin in New York about the coup. Local media had a field day in contrasting these comments with Surakiart’s live statement to CNN on Tuesday night, when he strongly defended Thaksin and suggested that the coup was faltering.

There’s no surprise in this level of horrid self-promotion is pretty much par for the course for Surakiart. In fact, his actions, the pro-military junta musings of the ambassador, and the role of other hirelings, seem the only normal things going on.


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