We have several times pointed out that Thailand’s military junta is made up of a bunch of dullards.
Accounting for how this collection of dunces comes to be running a once quite successful country must examine the ways in which these men have been promoted. The military is remarkably hierarchical and increasingly feudal in its organization. Promotion in the military in recent decades has been mainly based on notions of loyalty to the monarchy, overseen by palace political busybody General Prem Tinsulanonda. Getting to the top has depended on the capacity for slithering about before royals and privy councilors. Other capacities have not usually been rewarded.
When a military junta is in place it is thus likely to appoint lower-level slitherers to run departments, state enterprises and so on. Certainly, the junta seems content to appoint the dullest of bureaucrats, again favoring loyalty over anything else.
Two reports today suggest that the capacity for any kind of intelligence is pretty much completely erased among the current leadership and its minions, as if a laser has removed major parts of their brains.
Harsh? Read the stories and decide. We summarize two stories from the Bangkok Post.
The first Bangkok Post story is a follow-up to earlier posts we had on internet censorship (here and here). Police Major-General Pisit Pao-in, chairman of a sub-committee on online media “reform” in the junta’s National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) is trying to bribe international social media corporations.
The junta is offering “a favourable tax rate on advertising revenues in exchange for [company] compliance with government requests [for censorship].” Pisit is essentially offering cash for potentially illegal actions to “protect” the monarchy.
The bribe offer is this simple and this blunt. Bribery is usually a crime.
The second story at the Bangkok Post involves The Dictator himself. Again, he’s had a massive attack of the angers and has blasted the media, most of it which is already pretty lame and compliant with his demands.
General Prayuth Chan-ocha has yelled that some of the media lacks “professional ethics.” That’s a pretty big call from a man who commanded troops that shot dead demonstrating citizens and who threw out an elected government and trampled on law and constitution.
His spokesman says The Dictator wants “the media to present news items which help readers improve their quality of life or motivate self-development.” He believes that “some media … allow themselves to be used by politicians and some groups of propagandists with a hidden political agenda.”
He means that he doesn’t like any reports that are not as banal as those from the junta itself.
So stupid are these “leaders” that they think it is the media that has “caused an unfavourable image of the country in the eyes of the world community, which does not know the real situation in Thailand…”.
Of course, most of the world that is interested in Thailand knows that the junta’s view is propaganda and that the poor image is largely driven by the junta and The Dictator managing to come up with such ridiculousness that they are a laughing stock. The most recent example of many is here.
The stimulus for this outburst against the media seems to be the DOA draft constitution.
Any disappointment Prayuth feels about this charter will only get worse. We expect the outbursts to become more imbecilic and the repression even greater.