Classified Info From Thaksin’s Son

From Thairath, November 8, 2012
Left, Defense Minister ACM Sukampol Suwannathat: Mr. Secretary, are there any classified information on the security issues?
Middle: Lt.Gen. Paradon Pattanathabutr: I don’t know yet, sir.
ACM Sukampol: How come the Secretary of the National Security Council doesn’t know?
Right: Lt. Gen. Paradon: I haven’t checked Phanthongthae’s Facebook today, sir.

[The reference is to Phanthongthae Shinawatra, son of Thaksin Shinawatra, posting messages on Facebook claiming that he was informed that there would be an assassination attempt on his father at Thaa Khilek at the end of the Buddhist Lent Day, October 30. This led to Thaksin cancelling his trip to Myanmar.

The government was seen to afterwards back up Phanthongthae’s claim with a media-friendly arrest of a suspect for possessing war weapons. All of this was typical of Thai political rumor-mongering coming from a partisan source and afterwards being backed-up by officials with after-the-claim evidence.

Update, November 13, 2012: As readers have correctly commented, Thaksin does have reason to fear for his safety in general. He remains the singular political figure whose fate–meaning his ability to return to Thailand and thus to power–generates continual tension. Creating the conditions to allow him to return were the principal goals behind the 2009 and 2010 Red Shirt rallies in Bangkok as well as the People Power Party and the Pheu Thai Party governments.

The fear is that his return to political leadership would fundamentally change the nation and permanently limit the prerogatives of both elected and unelected centers of power that are expected to temper the overwhelming power of an elected government.

As Thaksin has already held power as prime minister, the precedents for what would happen if he returned are already known–media hobbled, constitutional checks compromised, critics harassed with lawsuits, and changes in laws creating “lucky” benefits for family businesses. Most alarming of all for his opponents, all of this would create an ever-increased electoral popularity from a rural populace otherwise ignored by the conventional political class.]

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