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The military has staged 18 coups or attempted coups since 1932. A 19th is possible if Pheu Thai wins power and goes after the generals who ousted Thaksin. Generals have recently lined up to deny the constant rumors of an impending coup. Thais have good reason to doubt them. "There definitely won't be a coup," said Sonthi in 2006, even as he was plotting one.
New evidence is emerging of the Thai Army intimidating ordinary Thai voters in pro-Red Shirt and opposition Pheu Thai Party supporting areas in the run up to this Sunday’s general election.
Despite seemingly having a good chance of winning enough seats to form the next government a few months ago, things have gone very badly for the Democrats. Three major reasons: (1) Yingluck, (2) rising prices/inflation, and (3) failure to communicate policies/connect with voters. Without (2) though you can’t get the rise of (1).
Yet, for me, the general gossipy speculative tone of most of the cables released so far reveals little about what I consider to be one of the most important, though least discussed, elements in the entire Thai-USA relationship – that of undimmed military support by the USA for the profoundly anti-democratic and murderous Thai Army.
For anyone with even a middling interest in Thai history or politics the Thai Army’s numerous coups (18 and counting), massacres at Tak Bai and Krue Se (both 2004), Bangkok (1973, 1976, 1992, 2010), the vicious treatment of Communist-sympathising farmers in the 1970s, the deaths of Rohingya refugees in the last couple of years and a very well-deserved reputation for unbridled corruption, are all irrefutable facts.
That such a powerful anti-democratic force has taken part in all these acts with almost limitless and continuing support from the USA, mainly in the form of arms and training, is simply staggering. And according to one of the recently released cables (for an abridged version see below) this symbiotic relationship (USA support for the Thai Army secures plenty of regional assets and meaty defence contracts for the American military-industrial complex) yields huge benefits for both parties.
The March 20, 2009 leaked embassy cable covers more than 60-years of US involvement in Thailand, noting the country’s Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) – established in 1976 by the Narcotics Control Act, B.E. 2519 – in addition to the Thai Border Patrol Police and Royal Thai Police Special Branch, were established with U.S. funding.
The leaked Bangkok embassy cable notes that since 1963 when the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s (US-DEA) predecessor, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (See: War on drugs a failure says international group), commenced operation in the kingdom the focus has been on counter-narcotics, noting that the US-DEA now maintains several offices throughout the country, as well as in several neighboring countries, “enjoying remarkable freedom of action in-country and high levels of cooperation (including the right to carry weapons and freely conduct investigations, with the RTP [Royal Thai Police] making the final arrests)”.
Puea Thai are No. 1 and you see there logo is barely legible. The complaint is not that people won’t realize that Puea Thai is No. 1, but that they will put the X in the logo box instead of the box on the right-hand side (which is the correct box)
Thailand's powerful army chief has gone on state television to urge people to vote for what he called good people in the forthcoming general election.
Political stability will continue to be elusive after the July 3 elections if national reconciliation is not pursued in earnest by the next government, says Chartthaipattana Party's chief adviser Sanan Kachornprasart.
It is now hardly disputed by anyone except Abhisit and various other establishment and military stooges that the Thai Army shot dozens of unarmed civilians last year in central Bangkok. What is also indisputable is that many of these deaths came through the use of snipers – video footage from CNN even captured them in action.
So who trains these Thai military snipers to be so efficient in the execution of their duties?
Enter none other than the US Marine Corps.
You made a Facebook comment recently about foreign investors being scared off by Pheu Thai economic policies which has led to a fall in the value of the SET [Thai stock exchange]. Do you think that these foreign investors might also be scared of a coup, or, as Chartthaipattana Party’s chief adviser Sanan Kachornprasart stated the other day, a civil war?
I’ve only been reading the reports. I didn’t make it up. There is negative sentiment and the market turned negative because the polls began to challenge what was prior to that the perceived wisdom that after the election the same government would come back. The polls began to point to a Pheu Thai win and that obviously caused some serious uncertainty. Markets don’t like uncertainty and that’s the reason why there is a sell-off. There’s a direct corelation and that’s pretty much explained by the reports.
Which reports are these?
Credit-Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Kim Eng.
Horachaikul: The issue that will bring people back into the streets vs Yingluck and Pheu Thai is amnesty for her brother, if PT pushes it.
Red shirts : 257 MPs
Chart THai Pattana : 20 MPs
Chart Pattana Puea Paendin : 9 MPs
Democrats : 116 MPs
Some Red supporters still worried army will move to deny them power, but tonight they're celebrating.
Crowds outside Pheu Thai headquarters jubilant, chanting "Prime Minister Yingluck" and setting off fireworks.
Yingluck confirms that she has been in talks with the Chart Thai Pattana Party to form a coalition.
If Puer Thai comes up short of a majority, and are kept from power, a lot of Red Shirts will believe they've been cheated.
7:45 p.m. Abhisit gracefully concedes defeat and congratulations Yingluck on becoming Thailand’s first female PM. He thanks those who voted for the Democrats. BUT then notes Puea Thai didn’t get 50% on party vote so says his party will oppose amnesty. He says that Democrats will be in opposition.