A Warning for City from Thailand…via YouTube (!?)

There are some bizarre things on YouTube. My personal favorite is this video of Bobo the Clown singing Spinal Tap’s “Cups and Cakes.”

But alongside videos of Thaksin Shinawatra singing “Blue Moon” last Saturday night in Manchester, as well as this video intended to introduce City fans to some of the issues surrounding Thaksin’s regime, there’s an even more bizarre posting. This video consists of simply a camera scrolling through an essay, written in quite good if not perfect English, discussing Thaksin’s takeover of Manchester City and casting his intentions in a rather negative light.

The author of the essay, dated 24 May 2007, refers to Thaksin as a “supremely artful crook.” The author also has a detailed analysis of why Thaksin is interested in the club, excerpted here:

Second, buying ManCity will make his claim of giving up politics more convincing. Third, having shown that he is trying to invest big money in the UK will please the British government. After all, Thaksin was a democratically elected Prime Minister, Britain will surely be friendly with him and so he may be able to gain sympathy and may be allowed more freedom of activities. Fourth, he makes big news in Thailand and maintain his popularity among Thaisoccer fans. Finally, buying Man City is making front pages in the Thai newspapers, and Thaksin has a means to keep his lieutenants hope for his return and continue to keep rallies and protests in Thailand going on until the junta will make the expected mistake.”

This essay–transcribed below in full– raises all kinds of questions. Who wrote this? Why did he or she choose to remain anonymous? (Is it because of the unflatttering comments on the military junta contained therein)? And why was it posted on YouTube, as opposed to being circulated via the Internet?

I won’t guess at the answers to those questions, but it’s certainly a fascinating document. We’ll find out in time whether the warnings it issues are warranted.

youtube-thaskin-essay.doc

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5 Comments on “A Warning for City from Thailand…via YouTube (!?)”

  1. mostonian in paris Says:

    It’s a very interesting piece but hardly written from an unbiased perspective.
    I really don’t want to sound glib, but does the basic premise, i.e. alleged corruuption in high office, really make Frank so different to any one of several high profile politicians much closer to home? Is securing personal or party gain in return for a position of influence unheard of in western governments? Are corrupt politicians and businessmen always punished? Clearly not.
    Yet one corrupt politician is as deserving of punishment as any other corrupt politician. The scale of the corruption is irrelevant.
    I work in a business where corruption is rife…not alleged…not suspected…but known to exist. But corruption would appear to be acceptable when it benefits a country in terms of the GDP as opoposed to an individual and his personal bank balance.
    It’s the hypocrisy and double standars that I detest.

  2. Bangkokblue Says:

    A little odd for a Thai resident to submit anything onto you-tube considering the fact that it it’ still banned over here, much to my consternation (and I would really like to see “Coco the clown’s tribute to Spinal Tap”).

    As far as the authors desire to remain anonymous goes, I do have some sympathy. After posting several unfavourable posts about Mr Shinawatra on the Bluemoon message board over the last few days I received a very odd call to my mobile from a fairly young sounding Thai bloke asking me questions like “who are you” ‘what are you doing now” etc. He hung up when I passed the phone to my wife. I dialed the number for “last call received” and it was a dead tone. I now have no doubt that this was just some kid on a random wrong number amused to talk to a farang, but I can’t say that I felt quite so confident immediately after the call.

    The truth is that Thaksin and other power brokers in Thailand(almost certainly members of the Junta/CNS) are more than capable threatening, or even killing people if they consider it to be politically expediant. In fact Thaksin’s associates have a proven record of doing just that as you mention elsewhere in this blog. Just because Thaksin is now absent from Thailand it does not follow that there aren’t a number of people here who could “do a job for him”. An atmosphere where people are aware of prior political ‘disapearences’ is bound to cause people to feel little nervous about speaking their minds openly (as I’m sure was the intention behind the disapearences). Who can blame the author of the essay for his desire to renmain anonymous?

  3. thadw Says:

    On the Youtube link it says the account belonged to someone in the U.S. The author could have emailed it someone in the U.S., or been traveling. Hard to know. Thanks for your comments, BB.

  4. allblues Says:

    I have to say this piece is rather poor in terms of logic. I would like to say a couple of points.
    1. The cell phone monopoly that Thaksin gained prior to being elected is hardly a point against him. In the United States many services are government allowed monopolies. To name a few are roads, natural gas (for the home), water (from the city), and electricity (by the state). These are just a few, and the USA is one of the biggest advocates of the “Free Market”. These are used as coercive monopoly granted by the government. The government-granted monopoly or legal monopoly is sanctioned by the state, often to provide a greater reward and incentive to invest in a risky venture. If there was a date, not just 19.., I would suggest that there was a risk into investing into cell-phones in Thailand in the early 80’s due to its poverty levels.
    2. What proof is available to support the claims that Thaksin bribed (bought-off) a judge in the anti-corruption case? Even the author admits that the accusation has yet to be proven. It seems this paper is bursting with speculation, however wanting with facts or support.
    3. Why is no example given after accusing Thaksin of giving contracts to family and friends? This should be the easiest to procure. However, I must say this is a common practice in the United States. Hurricane Katrina aid was given to no-contest bids. The same is true of Halliburton and the War in Iraq. It receives its contract through a no-bid contract system. No-bid contract is a term for a “sole source contract.” A sole source contract is awarded after soliciting and negotiating with only one firm. I understand this is short of due-diligence; I just want to state that it is hardly a punishable offense in the rest of the world.
    3. The author carries a negative tone throughout the paper. He states towards the end,
    “It should be noted, though, that while the great fun of money waking was going on, the other side of grass roots politics was playing a different tune, projects popular among poor people were introduced such as cheap computers, cheap housing, marketing of local products, etc., making the government very popular among the poor who made up the majority of voters.”
    The author believes this is some form of proof; however it only shows that Thaksin was attempting to improve the country and support his constituency. The author also seems to have already found Thaksin guilty. His statements are biased and he takes any accusation about Thaksin as rock solid proof.
    4. The 30th May 2007 ruling was biased in the fact that it was issued by the government that is struggling to maintain power. Of course they ruled against the target of their coup d’état. It would be illogical if they did not. However it does not provide proof of anything, especially considering they are an unelected junta that ousted an elected servant.
    5. I found this to be an interesting and deeply insightful statement against democracy, further diminishing my esteem of the paper and the authors “points” against Thaksin:
    “Thaksin’s only game is to use popular uprising to bring down the military installed government like what happened in May 1992.”
    One should note that in 1992, a Junta took power and formed a unicameral National Assembly of 292 military officers, which forced the country to accept their new “interim” constitution. The constitution allowed for non-elected persons to be appointed cabinet members and higher. This clause allowed for an acting military leader to become Prime Minister. On May 9th, 1992 General Suchinda Kraprayoon was appointed Prime Minister, catalyzing a protest and violent overthrow of the government on May 17-20 in what became know as Black May. This is again the seizing of power from a bicameral democracy and shifting it to a military-controlled unicameral parliament with an unelected leader. This is a second notice that the author of this paper is not a believer in the rights of democracy.
    6. Aside from all the problems in logic the author attempts to “stir emotions” by suggesting that Thaksin is starting violent demonstrations. The following paragraph displays the unsupported accusations,
    “While in the UK, Thaksin will not make it obvious that he is running the shows in Thailand or in the UK. There probably be no direct contacts between him and protesters anywhere. But quiet indirect instruction will be given through his lieutenants meeting him in London or in a third country. Thaksin will maintain that he has nothing to do with what is going on in Thailand”
    Conjure all he wants, but you have proved nothing. However he might get a job working for some of the more trashy newspapers.
    7. Finally, if there was any proof to support these accusations the British government would grant extradition if it is also against the law in Britain. So the onus is on the Junta to prove their allegations, however the have yet to satisfy that requirement even in the smallest.
    With that said I believe in the right of due process and believe that Thaksin is innocent until proven guilty.
    Cheers!

  5. thadw Says:

    Thanks for the response, allblues. I agree the author, whoever it is, has some problematic anti-populist/mass democracy tendencies. Also, note that the prediction that Thaksin would not be able to get the team without approval from the government has been proven wrong. On the other hand, I don’t think this really purports to be a legal brief against Thaksin, though the author’s feelings are pretty clear. On the general point of the central role government contracts played in building Thaksin’s business empire, see Pasuk and Baker’s book Thaksin: The Business of Politics in Thailand. I agree however that the practice of building private fortunes off of public sector spending is a fundamental characteristic of modern capitalism, as can be seen especially clearly in the U.S. with Cheney and Halliburton. The state is a constituent part of capitalism, contrary to free market rhetoric. However I do find it problematic when businessmen with close ties to and close reliance on government represent their success as simply a product of personal enterpreneurial brilliance. cheers.


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