Business as usual?

8 09 2014

Andrew Stevens is a CNN journalist who is said to have been “a specialist business correspondent and has extensively covered news and business stories across the region.” He is said to have “interviewed many of the world’s political and business leaders and has reported on Asia-Pacific for more than two decades.” He is also said to have “covered elections across many countries and reported on many of the most significant events across the region in the last 20 years.”

Readers will recall that we posted on another foreign propagandist for the military who is some kind of property salesman. That person had some kind of personal interest in propagandizing for the junta. What is in it for Stevens when, at the China Post, this business journalist turns his attention to Thailand and writes as if he is doing a paid promotion for the military dictatorship?

Remarkably, as a business journalist used to praising “Bangkok’s free-wheeling capitalist system,” he seems on a job for the military dictatorship when he writes of  “a public crackdown on illegal businesses, corruption and organized crime.” Given that about 60% of Thailand’s working population is in the “informal sector,” we wonder if such crackdowns are winning “hearts and minds.” Stevens continues on his advert for the junta:

It’s been a little more than three months since a bloodless military coup ousted the government of Yingluck Shinawatra and in that time Thailand has slipped from the front pages and is returning to business as usual [well, not quite, he just told us that]. Not the business that was constantly under the threat of disruption from endless and sometimes deadly street protests or political deadlock in the capital, but business operating in conditions of relative stability and certainty.

Tell the filthy rich, who have gotten richer during the period of political crisis, that they can now reap more profits!

Stevens has been out talking to every single person in Bangkok:

Talk to Thai people in Bangkok and there is an overwhelming view that the coup was a positive development to break nearly a decade of political paralysis. Admittedly Bangkok has always been an anti-Thaksin stronghold and public dissent has been closed down by the military but there is still a sense of calm, even of optimism that the suspension of democracy may reap longer term benefits.

Perhaps if you are an anti-democrat, you would be over the moon at the junta’s decisions to repress, take power into the hands of a tiny military cabal, ban elections, and demand happiness.

When The Dictator takes over national television is a propaganda harangue each Friday, in Orwellian doublespeak, Stevens sees this as a “type of transparency” that he says is “a key policy of the new leadership…”. Stevens “source” for this remarkably stupid claim is “advisers close to the General.” Of course!

Stevens continues on this propaganda line: “Senior leaders of the new administration regularly meet with so-called ‘stakeholders’ — politicians of all affiliations, and business and civic leaders — to talk about the key issues they face.” Focus groups? We suspect they might have told Stevens that these “meetings” were what was really happening in the military detention centers.

After promoting the junta’s “business plans,” with not a single mention of their plagiarism of the Yingluck Shinawatra government policies or the adoption of the “populist” they want to “ban,” Stevens turns to politics:

The leadership talks of a “Thai-style” democracy which is essentially putting the interests of the country before the interests of the individual. It’s about a more inclusive and more equitable society. Advisers say it reflects the moral compass of the man now leading the country.

Of course, this is propaganda with piles of buffalo manure. Thai-style democracy is no democracy at all. Whichever way one spins it, Thai-style democracy is about the military-palace political alliance dominating in a paternalistic system known as “despotic paternalism.”

Finally, Stevens gets down to the main point, where the junta’s “advisers” tell him to propagandize for longer term dictatorship:

But the biggest problem facing this new leadership is one of time. There is a roadmap for elections to be held as early as next year to return Thailand to the democratic process but that will only happen if the leadership deems the country sufficiently recovered from its recent traumas.

We suspect the military junta is just beginning to work the international propaganda circuit and that there will be a lot more of this buffalo dung strewn about.


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