ericbj on Wed, 4 Oct 2006 09:12:57 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Re: Important Thai education site closed

 This is not in any way to concur with the closure of The Midnight
 University Website, far from it, but rather to give a different
 perspective to the coup to that presented in some of the western

 The King of Thailand who has spoken and acted in favour of democracy
 was almost certainly aware that the coup was about to happen, and the
 new interim prime minister is a general who has in the past spoken
 out in favour of democracy and against military coups.

 Thaksin, a couple of years ago, stated to the Thai public: "Democracy
 is like a Rolls Royce. The Thai people do not need a Rolls Royce."

  Hitler was also democratically elected. Unfortunately, the military
  coups against him failed.

  Below is a posting to the Burma newsgroups from an American living
  in Thailand.



 Contact: Roland Watson,


 September 25, 2006

 Please forward.

 Last week, the Thai Military ousted caretaker Prime Minister
 Thaksin Shinawatra. As a longstanding and strong critic of Thaksin,
 Dictator Watch is pleased to see him go. It was imperative that his
 destruction of Thai democracy and his splitting of Thai society come
 to an end. He had organized violence against the People?s Alliance
 for Democracy (for their planned demonstration last Wednesday)
 as a prelude to declaring a state of emergency and subsequently
 banning public dissent and also purging the armed forces of its last
 professional officers. Thaksin was about to complete his long-term
 plan to become the absolute ruler of Thailand.

 Had the military not acted, the only possibility to remove him
 from power would have been a large-scale popular mobilization.
 But given the level of control that he was about to achieve and
 his predilection for violence, it is certain that this would have
 been violently suppressed. The people of Thailand would have found
 themselves in a similar situation to the repressed population in
 Burma. Than Shwe and the SPDC are not only Thaksin?s allies and
 business partners, they are also his role models.

 The Armed Forces had a choice. They could have allowed themselves
 to be purged, while pro-democracy demonstrators were killed.
 Alternatively, they could have assassinated Thaksin. (They have this
 power, although as police behavior has since confirmed, the bomb
 plot that supposedly existed against him was obviously a fraud,
 orchestrated by his supporters.)

 Thailand is predominantly Buddhist. While it seems counterintuitive,
 the coup to remove Thaksin was a middle way solution, since it
 enabled political change without violence. The most important
 immediate responsibility of the Council for Democratic Reform under
 Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM) is to keep things this way: to guard
 against violence organized by Thaksin?s cronies.

 CDRM has also pledged, and has already taken the first steps, to
 reinstall democratic government. They must fulfill this pledge or
 their popular support will end and the PAD will be undoubtedly be

 Many foreign governments and other organizations denounced the coup.
 They either did this to be politically correct, to protect perceived
 economic interests, or because they did not fully understand the
 situation inside the country. For the last, simplistic comments from
 many analysts revealed their ignorance of what was about to happen
 last Wednesday.

 Further, Thaksin was never "democratically elected." This implies
 that the rule of law has been upheld, and in Thailand it was not.
 The Thai Constitution and its system of checks and balances first
 failed when he was found innocent in the assets concealment case.
 There should have been massive demonstrations or other strong steps
 at that time, rather than waiting five years. He should never have
 had the opportunity to drag Thailand to the bottom of the cesspool of
 political corruption. Everything he did was anathema to democracy.

 CDRM has also announced that it will be a year before new elections.
 The reason for the lengthy period is that the Thaksin regime and the
 Thai Rak Thai party must be comprehensively eradicated, such that
 they can never return. This will take time. Thaksin and his gang have
 done so much wrong that dozens of investigations, regarding both
 human rights abuses and financial corruption, need to be opened, and
 result in charges being filed and court convictions. The Thaksin
 family should be stripped of its illegal wealth, with Thaksin himself
 personally found guilty of numerous charges.

 Ultimately, the real problem is not the Constitution. Thailand is
 a formative democracy, and the people of the country are still
 learning their obligations under the system. You do not cast a vote,
 particularly a vote for which you have been paid, and then ignore
 everything else that happens and hope for the best. No constitution
 can withstand a man like Thaksin, if the people allow it. Every step
 he took, from buying MPs to form a dominant party, to taking control
 of the courts, the anti-corruption agencies, and the police and
 army, should have been strenuously opposed until it was stopped. No
 matter how the Constitution is rewritten, if the people do not meet
 their obligations to defend democracy, the system remains at risk of
 overthrow from within.

 Regarding Burma, Thai foreign policy should be reversed. The new
 government should support democracy in Burma, not only in Thailand.
 State support for the dams on the Salween River should also come to
 an end. These dams should never be built. In addition, one would hope
 that mid-level officers in the Burma Army would emulate the Thai
 military and launch their own coup against the leaders of the SPDC.
 That way the people of Burma, like the people of Thailand, can also
 be free of dictatorial rule.

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