Updated: Warm up the tanks!

15 12 2012

The royalists seem to be like leopards, and completely unable to change their spots as far as their Groundhog Day political strategy is concerned. As the op-ed coaching manual at the Bangkok Post a week or so ago by Voranai Vanijaka pointed out, there are tanks, streets and judges that can all be used to bring down an elected government, sometimes in coordinated action. What he left out were the use of the mainstream media and having so-called liberal royalists shouting about the country being ruined.

PPT recently posted on how the media concoct stories in order to make the government seem immensely corrupt, pandering to notions of “policy corruption” that were spread in the past. Now, as a reader points out, the most eminent “liberal royalist” has again jumped on this corruption bandwagon, shouting of imminent doom at the hands of corrupt politicians.

Former unelected and military selected prime minister Anand Panyarachun is one of the old men who believe they should be running the country because they hate elections and have long promoted the fiction that only elected politicians, as grubby populists, are corrupt and ruining the country. Of course, all of their patrician friends in palace, military and business are, by their definition, squeaky clean.

Anand

Anand

Anand is back in the anti-Thaksin Shinawatra saddle. Back when the People’s Alliance for Democracy were on the streets and when the military were engaged in plotting with the palace to illegally overthrow the elected government in 2006, Anand was an anti-politician, anti-populist, anti-Thaksin ideologue.

Anand’s role back then is usefully summarized in a Wikileaks cable where coup supporter and then U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce stated that coup supporter Anand was considered “Thailand’s most distinguished elder statesmen.” He also notes that “Anand made waves in August [2006] when he publicly denounced Thailand’s course under Thaksin.” That was just before the coup. Immediately after the coup, Anand supported it by repeating unfounded rumors, forgetting that he himself was never elected he claimed that “Thaksin’s administration had already become undemocratic,” and added:

Thaksin had controlled the media, suppressed the free flow of information, and manipulated an uninformed electorate. He had corrupted the judiciary, to the point that court cases against him could not proceed. He had sabotaged the Constitution, manipulating political institutions that were supposed to be independent, destroying the system of checks and balances set up by the 1997 Constitution. Thaksin’s administration lacked accountability and transparency. In this environment, elections by themselves hardly ensured democracy. Thaksin blocked off all avenues for political change, leaving his opponents no option other than a coup.

It was really Thaksin who was responsible for the coup! There’s even more in the cable worth reading, such as Anand criticizing the 1997 constitution (which was partly his own work) and arguing for a less democratic form of government.

This is all a long background to the most recent work of this patrician ideologue for the royalist elite. At PhuketWan, Anand fumes: ”This government is taking the country to hell. ” Yet another elected government with a substantial popular mandate is attacked by a man never elected to any public office. He claims that there is “hardly an area of society where the effect of corruption is not being felt.” This is not an accident, he asserts, for “[c]orruption was growing more organised and networks of greed were spreading through every aspect of Thai society…”. Anand says: ”It shouldn’t be like this, but the power of money is now the ultimate authority.” He says corruption is worse than it has ever been under this government which is “taking the country to hell.”

We assume that one old man’s feelings – well, more than one, we are sure – about this government amounts to yet another call for his buddies in the military brass to warm up their tanks.

Update: On the alleged corruption of the current regime, which seems to be partly driven by the new Transparency International rankings, and which Anand should know about, being a card carrying member of TI, almost all mainstream newspapers have now reported that Thailand’s ranking has dropped and so looks worse than the year before. So the current government is harangued as “more corrupt” than the previous one. The problem is, as pointed out days ago by Bangkok Pundit, that no such comparison is even possible. Here is the screenshot from what TI states, very clearly:

TI methods

Did any editor, sub-editor or reporter even look at the word “cannot”? Yet when political bias is the aim, most in the media don’t let facts get in the way. And nor do the old men of the royalist elite.


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20 07 2014
“Liberals” do the junta’s work I | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Wikileaks tells us that Anand supported the 2006 coup and the ousting of Samak Sundaravej. In 2014 he (repeatedly) supported anti-democrats, including boosting Suthep Thaugsuban. This was in a context where he also rejected Yingluck Shinawatra and here earlier attempts at reconciliation and repeatedly attacked her government. We have little doubt that, based on his record, Anand had a role in encouraging the most recent coup. […]

1 11 2020
Thinking about the ruling class II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Indeed, Wikileaks tells us that Anand supported the 2006 coup and the ousting of Samak Sundaravej. In 2014 he (repeatedly) supported anti-democrats, including boosting Suthep Thaugsuban. This was in a context where he also rejected Yingluck Shinawatra and here earlier attempts at reconciliation and repeatedly attacked her government. We have little doubt that, based on his record, Anand had a role in encouraging the most recent coup. […]