Adapted and Translated from "Most Wanted Thaksin, Best or Boast in Manager Weekly November 13, 2008
British Government has revoked visas issued to Pol.Lieut.Col. Thaksin and his wife Potjaman Shinawatra while asking airlines not to bring those two convicted and jail-sentenced fugitives into United Kingdom and her territorial colonies on the ground that both have been sentenced to jail by the Supreme Court of Thailand.
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband affirms that the United Kingdom has no intention of reinstating the visa of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Khunying Potjaman. Mr. Miliband also stated that the decision to revoke the visa was made by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith who deemed Mr. Thaksin’s verdict in the Ratchadaphisek land scandal case as grounds to deny him re-entry into the UK.
ZNS Bahamas television reported on November 10, 2008 that PM Hubert Alexander Ingrahm of Bahamas invited Thaksin to take an honorary citizenship and a consultantship of the country. Not only Bahamas, but also Bermuda, Togo, Bolivia and Chad welcome Thaksin to be an honorary citizen.
The former PM, fugitive criminal claims that several countries' leaders want him to help their politics and economy such as President Lieutenant General Idriss Déby Itno of Chad Republic who ordered his Foreign Minister to contact Thaksin to help solving the problem of continual shrinkage of the country's lake which is the sole major water reservoir of Chad, from 26,000 sq.Km in 1960's to 1,350 sq.Km at present. The water shortage affects agriculture, livestock, and irrigation.
President Faure Gnassingbe of Togo also wants to consult the fugitive criminal Thaksin about Togo's budget following insolvent debts to the World Bank and IMF for more than 10 years.
Associate Professor Somchai Pakapaswiwat, a political economist academic said that it can be perceived in two ways. On the one hand, several countries' leaders want the former PM because they want foreign investment and political fame. On the other hand, Thaksin benefits from the publicity and political fame by such international requests. It contrasts between other countries and Thailand.
"I do not think it would significantly affect domestic people. Some are already loyal to Thaksin. The publicity just help clinching. For some who are opposition of Thaksin, the image does not change their belief. Some who are impartial may be somewhat affected."
"Though Thaksin's domestic image may be doubtful, his image in the international communities is rather good because of the continual building up of his outstanding image such as the leadership of Asean countries, the connection with other national leaders as well as the image of a billionaire investor. This image attracts leaders like those of Chad or Togo."
"Do not forget that Thaksin had his photos on the front cover of the Times and Financial Times. Therefore, whoever follows the news, would know Thaksin."
The political economist academic further explained.
"Actually, Thaksin is internationally well known from his using of the international political stage to match Lee Kuan Yew, the former leader of Singapore or Dr. Mahathir Mohammad the leader of Malaysia. After the 2006 coup, Thaksin became more well known from hiring advertisement agencies to promote himself and to struggle in politics."
"For the cases of Lee Kuan Yew and Mahathir, they both benefit from using media but with a different approach. Lee Kuan Yew uses media to project his image from the great success of Singapore out of a small poor country after departing from The Federation of Malaya in 1965. He did not need a lot of marketing because of the successful outcomes speak for itself. Moreover, being qualified from Cambridge, his English as well as his ideas are good. It is not only the image, but also the communication of his ideas which are good. He can communicate with westerners. The only minus is the limited political freedom. However, the successful image surpasses the drawbacks."
"Mahathir has a positive image from his accomplishment in uniting different races and religions without a lot of conflicts to bring the country a success."
"Why several poor countries invite Thaksin rather than other leaders is because Thaksin has an image of an investor while he is also a fugitve on-the-run whereas other leaders have their countries to live in peace."
For more than four months, Thaksin and his family have fled Thailand and regularly become in the news, particularly with his movements overseas, attacking Thailand's judiciary system. The latest on November 1,2008 is his phone-in from Hong Kong to address an assembly of his supporters in Thailand which has made him a nomad.
Meanwhile, Thaksin made himself to be known as a VIP as being offered an Honorary Citizenship or a special advisor for the third world countries such as Togo, Chad, Bolivia and Bahamas.
A former senator Kraisak Choonhawan said, "For Bahamas, if Thaksin is to be offered an honorary citizenship he must have done a lot of benefits to the country and the native poors. Then, the question is when and what did he do that to deserve the honours."
"Maybe, he has a reputation of being a business man, and a former leader who has a lot of investment portfoilos. Many countries offer a special visa for foreign investors. Bahamas is known to be a safe haven for tax-fraud businesses of major global corporations as well as drugs and corruptions money laundering."
Bolivia president Evo Morales is considering giving Thaksin the Order of Simon Bolivar which is named after Simon Bolivar, a historical figure who freed many South American countries from Spanish rule. This honor is supposed to be after he aided Thai people in the grass-root level, improved their living conditions, and settled the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan. In addition, President Morales was expected to approach Thaksin to become his adviser to overcome the economic problems in Bolivia which is one of the poorest country in the American continent. She is an insolvent country from UN's ranking.
"This award must be the result of one among several other advertisement strategies of Thaksin's teams which have continuously campaigned with one-sided positive information for Thaksin. Those countries know very little of Thailand."
"I believe if Thaksin accepts the special advisor post, Bolivia will certainly bankrupt. They know only one side of Thaksin which is not enough. More than 80 per cent of the natives of red indian ethnicity are not well educated. That is no surprise why they would want a person like Thaksin."
As for Togo and Republic of Chad, Kraisak said, "Both are poor without any accomplishment apart from fighting, civil wars and wars for independence. The annual per capita income is rather low about 650 USD."
"There has been no record that Thaksin ever rescued foreing poors. Therefore, it is likely to be an image building campaign by PR consultants to make Tkaksin look like a hero of the poors in the international eyes. I think Thaksin could go to the country with high budget for SML businesses. Otherwise, he would not be able to help."
Internation politics specialist, Associate Professor Dr.Panithan Watanayakorn, Department of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University said, "The activities of several countries requesting Thaksin are important strategies to give him a good image to emphasize the status of a successful ex-leader who is a hero of the poors because of populism policy. Several countries know him from this aspect which will be good for him in UN forum where the majority are poor nations which might benefit him in the bargaining power."
Professor Panithan said, "In the dimension of international relation, this is the first important official sign from the international community to Thaksin's stance and to Thailand's political profile. Most of the time, the superpowers such as UK and US which have a long relationship with Thailand for more than a hundred years, would adhere to Thai judiciary system. These countries have long common interests in reciprocal extradition of criminals."
"From this judgement, it can be expected that several European and Asian countries, including the Commonwealth countries would keep a distance from permitting Thaksin's entrance because Thaksin is a convicted criminal which is basically the best reliable reason for every country. Each country has similar standard of consideration on this matter."
"From now on, I believe, many countries will promptly adjust their stance on Thaksin to keep a safety distance for their national interests, a good relationship and to reduce the complexity. If they support a convicted, there would be a problem which would be difficult to explain why they would do it for the sake of only one person."
"It has been a result from a close surveillance and deliberation of the situation. When the verdict was reached, it was translanted into English by the observing unit. The information from PAD, the Embassy, Embassy officers several of whom speak Thai, the television, radio and newspapers have been constantly gathered and reported back to the British government. Therefore, when the verdict was reached, the situation changed and forced every country to abide by the laws."
"When the court sentenced an imprisonment to Thaksin, Britain has to accept that this is a convicted person following the verdict and proceed to the next step which was under the consideration of the British Home Office, the British government and the British Foreign Office to decide."
"The reason of the verdict is the basic reason which Britain wants to tell the world that it is about the law of the reciprocity. Similar to the same situation, if Britain may convict any person, the sentence should be respected accordingly."
"On the contrary, if Britain allows Thaksin to return, there would be a lot of complicated issues particularly the extradition of criminals. No matter what would be the outcome, it would extensively affect the international relations, the laws, the democracy stance and the judiciary principles"
"The issues of visa, extradition of criminal and political asylum application are complex matters which put a lot of pressure on Britain. One way or another, it would affect Britain. Therefore, before becoming out of control, revocation of the visa from the very beginning was therefore, the result of a political decision based on the laws through administrative authority of Home Office, the Prime Minister, Home Office Minister and Foreign Office Minister."
After September 19, 2006 coup, there were hundreds of arsons of schools in rural areas. Later, on the New Year's Eve of 2007 there were several bomb explosions in several crowded areas of Bangkok. It is strongly believed to be political reactive agitation by the losers. Certainly, Thaksin Shinawatra may be connected to the suspected. To prevent Thaksin looked like a terrorist, Thaksin needed foreign media to rectify the situation. After the sabotage, Thaksin gave an interview to CNN. When asked about the plan about his authority if he was allowed to return, he insisted, "No more. For six years, I had served the homeland long enough. I worked hard. I devoted my time, my life, and my family life. Therefore, it is my time to return to be a citizen helping the society out of the political battle." He also denied the involvement with the explosions and expressed his sympathy to the relatives of the deceased.
The former PM Thaksin, is great at promoting himself. In fact, before he was ousted in 2006, he had hired Washington-based PR firm BGR Holdings to "guide" him. South China Morning Post, a newspaper in Hong Kong revealed that Thaksin hired an American lobbyist company to find a political support from Washington government. Later it was confirmed that Barber Griffith and Rogers Company Limited was hired on September 7, 2006 while Thaksin was still in the PM seat which was surprising because it was unexplainable to hire a personal lobbyist at that moment.
Later on December 11, 2006, three months after the coup Thaksin hired another lobbyist called Baker Botts L.L.P. which belongs to James A. Baker, a former US Financial Minister and Foreign Affair Minister who had a close connection to former President George Bush.
Then he became a client of the Bell Pottinger Group, which is owned by Lord Timothy Bell - the man most deposed leaders and exiled billionaires turn to when they need an image makeover.
Though Thaksin declared his pulling out from politics, his allegations of corruptions remained being investigated under the judiciary system. Thaksin used foreign media to deny the accusations and counter those as groundless political weapons. He insisted that he cooperated with the authorities but the Council of National Security (the junta) was not able to find any evidences against him. In addition, he claimed that he was ready to return to Thailand to defend himself in the court of justice.
Not for long, Thaksin started discrediting the Council of National Security and the junta government as he went on tour giving interviews to international media to attack Thailand, saying that the Council of National Security and the junta government damaged the country's economy and post threats to the media. He condemned censorship of the media particularly his interview with CNN which Reuters monitored and reported that it was not transmitted to UBC cable TV as expected.
What Thaksin said was not reliable because his non-stop campaign in the media was contradictory to the declaration to pull out from politics. Moreover, the campaign confirmed a long premeditated conspiracy to form masses of supporters.
In February 2007, Thaksin was on the front cover of the Times with a respectful hint "Staying Power" suggesting Thaksin remained being politically influential person. Although the apparent message as declared, was that he was refraining from politics, there was some offensive move with lese-majesty in a dialogue saying, "It is similar to the past seventeen coups. First, the people are shocked. Then, they begin to express anxiety. After that, they would accept it particularly after being supported by the monarchy. They are very well disciplined and obedient. They will be watching what is going on and when they will return the democracry to the people. The patience of the people have a certain limit."
There have been rumours that Thaksin advocated foreign media to attack on the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy which belongs to the widely accepted brilliant work of HM the King.
Thaksin is using foreign media to twist information in Thailand to build his image to be credible in the international eyes. Before this, Thais are used to Thaksin's regular tactics of twisting information through media particularly his one-sided talk and without opposing or challenging questions. Now, Thaksin is using this tactic through international media which "provide" questions but not "asking" questions.
In the middle of 2007, Constitution Tribunal sentenced a dissolution to Thai Rak Thai party, and a five-year temporary hold of political rights to the party directors, following a guilty verdict on electoral frauds in 2006.
Thaksin got an attention again, when CNN interviewed him in London. He called for his supporters to stay calm. "We respect the rules of the game, the rules of the law." He asked his supporters to respect the verdict of the Constitution Tribunal. AFP, on the other hand, quoted Thaksin saying in his supporters' website that he was disappointed for his party established by him, was to be dissolved.
Apart from Thaksin himself, his lawyer Noppadol Pattama gave interview to Reuters after the Asset Examination Committee (AEC) voted to garnish Thaksin's and Potjaman's asset in all remaining accounts worth 52,884 million baht (1,500 million USD) out of Shin Corp sale 73,000 million baht (2,000 million USD). Noppadol said, "The resolution to garnish the asset is another political attack which Thaksin has to face. It is a judgement which bases on politics and without lawful evidence. Their purpose is to keep the former PM and his wife unhappy."
BBC reported about the Asset Examination Committee's announcement on the reasons for garnishing Thaksin's asset that he has unlawful conducts, abuse of power for self and his family's interests. AEC has garnished the bank accounts holding the money from January 2006 Shin Corp sales. In addition, there has been an order to garnish all Thaksin's and Potjaman's accounts the total amount of which is not known. Both can submit a counterclaim and proofs of lawful acquisitions within 60 days.
After his assets were garnished, Thaksin began another campaign attacking Thai judiciary system despite of his previous interview saying that he agreed with the processes. Thaksin gave an interview to the Financial Times saying that he was preparing to sue Thai government for 1,800 million USD to reclaim his money garnished by AEC. He also gave an excuse why he would not return to Thailand to stand trials in corruption cases was that he was afraid of injustice. Thaksin reconfirmed that he had quited politics and there was no reason for Thai government to be afraid of him. He planned to return to Bangkok as an ordinary citizen. To substantiate his words, Thaksin bought Manchester City Football Club at 81.6 million pounds.
On September 5, 2007 Reuters reported Thaksin gave an interview to Mittelland Zeitung.
Thaksin Shinawatra vented his anger against Swiss banks, telling the swiss local newspaper that his accounts had been frozen and that the country's vaunted banking secrecy was a thing of the past.
"I'm filing a suit against the banks because my money is clean," Thaksin told Swiss newspaper Mittelland Zeitung in extracts from an interview scheduled for publication on Sept. 16. Thaksin was asked what he thought about the Swiss banking system. “The good old Swiss banking secrecy doesn’t exist anymore. Absolute discretion is a thing of the past,” he said. Later, Thaksin denied that it was a misquoted by the swiss newspaper. That could also prove a hoax of Thaksin show-off because a swiss official confirmation revealed that Thaksin had no bank account in Switzerland.
Thaksin remained talkative through media in contrast to what he said he would quit politics. On the anniversary of the September 2006 coup, Thaksin told BBC radio in London that he planned to return to Thailand after the general election when there would be a new government well in charge of the country. That was to discredit the CNS to the international eyes in terms of unfair treatments and possible safety threats to Thaksin.
"I will return to Thailand only after the general election. I may have to wait until after the general election and a new government well in charge of the country. I am not sure when. It has been my intention from the beginning because Thailand's situation changes everyday."
By the end of 2550, while Thaksin flew to Hong Kong, he gave an interview to Reuter, saying that it was a trip to meet some Thai golf association officers. Some of them were campaigning for general election in the northeast. Thaksin stressed,"I do not want to return to PM seat. That is already too much. My wife will divorce me if I return to politics."
It looks like Reuters were after Thaksin's every footstep. Even Thaksin's going out to a football match became a news. Reuters reported that Thaksin gave an interview at Chek Lap Kok airport in Hong Kong that after he would return to Thailand in the begining of 2008, he planned to return to UK in March to cheer the blue team, Manchester City Football club, hosting Totenham Hotspur team in a Premiere League match. He also expected to meet the administrative board and the football fans to express the gratitude for their concerns and their moral support in coming back to stand trials in Thailand.
Thaksin also gave an interview to the Financial Times, attacking CNS of being the cause of Thailand's political instability, causing damage to the image of Thailand in foreign investors' perception. Moreover, the 17-month long administration of the junta under CNS created difficulties for the following government to restore foreign investors' confidence.
"There have never been any Prime Minister who stay in power as long as me. When you are in the post long enough, you have to make decisions eveyday. Some decisions may satisfy some, and disatisfy others. Some may be affected. In my case, I tried to build the country from the ground up, from the grass roots. But the TOP PEOPLE who always enjoy the benefits from weak governments, do not build any ground or roots. I wanted to stay longer to build the whole country from the ground up. THEY may think 'When are you coming to ME? Not yet.' Therefore, THEY are not pleased. Actually, when the base is strong, the TOP will become very strong but THEY cannot wait."
Before long, Thaksin gave a special interview to nearly a dozen of foreign media such as BBC, Al Jazeera, Reuters, Wall Street Journal. Most of the messages were the same subjects confirming the political back off and devotion to charity instead.
After the arrest warrant of Thaksin has been issued and 13 million baht bail in Ratchada Land case was forfeited, Thaksin gave an interview to Reuters, denying the allegations, and twisting them to be just political assaults on him. When UK revoked his visa, Thaksin boasted to international media that some other countries needed him. AFP said that Bahamas, Bermuda and many African countries which did not have criminals extradition treaty with Thailand offered shelter for Thaksin and the family. Some Thaksin's assistants said he might head to United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Reuters quoted an interview with Thaksin, confirming that he had applied for asylum in UK but withdrew it because it might restrain his freedom of speech and expression. "I cancelled the application for asylum because I think it is not necessary. I do not like the word 'asylum/refugee'. I want freedom because I am a democratic person. I do not like anything which limits freedom."
Lately, Thaksin threatened to declare the list of the names of his enemies when he would phone-in to his forthcoming supporters' assembly.
|Thaksin's activities have proved his tactics of using international and domestic media as his mouthpieces to uplift his images, to deny all allegations and to counter-attack his opponents in Thailand by false information, false counter accusations and fabrication of lies, by direct hiring of international advertisement companies. All of these cannot be interpreted otherwise, not even to reclaim his garnished assets. It must be his sole intention to resume to the supreme political power in Thailand even it means abolition of the national establishment.
Additional Info from Tracking "Building a Better Future Foundation" a New Trick By Thaksin in www.Manager.co.th. Novermber 18, 2008.
Thaksin announced his new foundation called "Building a Better Future Foundation" which has its base in Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates. Their goals as shown are: First, to encourage and nurture the next generation of Asia's business and financial leaders. Second, to nurture start-up projects in Asia that will stimulate development.
The foundation claims to have a vision as inspired by the vision and accomplishments of Thaksin, as follows : to contribute significantly to the quality of life in Asia by identifying and nurturing the next generation of Asia talent; to underwrite the activities of a carefully selected Think Tank of promising Asians, who together will work on developing Policy, and on economic opportunities to bring developing countries to the next level ; to advance the level of education, healthcare and economic well-being experienced by people across the region.
This announcement came after series of fatal blows against Thaksin, which include a jail sentence by the Supreme Court, revocation of Thaksin's and Potjaman visas to enter U.K. , followed by the official divorce of the couple. It may well be another advertisement attractive bait to fish those who really do not know what is the real Thaksin since in one of the webpages, the show-off of Thaksin ended only at 2002, not mentioning all the downfalls of him.
Sam Moon, the active executive director for Thaksin's new foundation, Building a Better Future Foundation, is revealed in this Thanong's link.