Mesmerized by Thaksin

In a Bangkok Post story posted early this morning Bangkok time, junta spokesman Colonel Piyapong Klinpan said that his bosses have ordered an investigation as to “who is pulling the strings behind a series of events following the detention of Mr Watana [Muangsook] which it sees as designed to step up pressure for its ouster.”

Easy answer, we thought, as in the minds of the royalist military brass, it can only be Thaksin Shinawatra. The junta blames him for everything. Shouting his name is their Pavlovian response to anything they don’t like.

Colonel Piyapong explained that paranoid and conspiratorial regime suspects “several moves by various groups including Mr Watana’s are coordinated with an agenda.” He went on, declaring: “It looks like teamwork. We are looking into it. From his Facebook post, which led to him being summoned, his daughter’s petitions followed by a gathering [at the Victory Monument] by activists, and a planned visit by red-shirt leaders…”.

(Yes, we also noticed he said “Facebook post.” The junta brass has been trying to say that it wasn’t his post that caused his detention. It seems the military junta can’t get its story straight.)

Not long after we guessed that the junta would think it was Thaksin campaigning against them, as sure as night follows day, The Dictator pounced. An agitated General Prayuth Chan-ocha – Khaosod has a video – could simply not control himself. Here’s that newspaper’s partial translation of Prayuth’s outburst:

Reporter: Right now there are student groups organizing…

Prayuth: Students are students. But whose side are they on? whose cars brought them there? Who? Huh? Did Voice TV bring them there? Did UDD [Redshirts’ umbrella group, United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship] cars bring them there? Who? How is it related? Analyze it.

Reporter: About people coming out to protest, are you concerned? Because, looking at the trend, they continue to come out, even though their leaders are arrested…

Prayuth: They will go to jail. They will be tried in court. How else?

Reporter: Based on your findings, what network is behind them?

Prayuth: They’re investigating. Or you want to do it? … Don’t you know? Answer me. Don’t you know where the money is from? Which group? Who? Say the name.

Reporter: Can you explicitly name the person…

Prayuth: I was just telling you earlier. Why didn’t you listen to me? Who’s doing this? Who’s supporting them? Who’s plotting all this? Firstly, it’s foreign lobbyists. Who? Thaksin!

It seems Prayuth and his junta are simply mesmerized by Thaksin. They live, eat and sleep, haunted by a fear that Thaksin is doing things.

At the same time, this view of the world, looking through Thaksin-tinted spectacles, shows that the junta and The Dictator are dismissive of the rest of Thailand, considering them simply pawns in a giant political game, moved by big men. That’s how the military is run by the brass, but such contempt for the capacity of the country’s people is lamentable.


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