When the summons was announced for the leaders of the anti-Israeli rally to report to the Thai Army Club, most observers assumed that it was the normal ‘we’ll have none of this marching about no matter what noble cause you say it’s in aid of’ message. And the representatives of the Al Quds International Council of Thailand emerged from their enforced conversation and reported telling the military that the protest was nothing to do with Thai politics.
Discreet inquiries (and these days all inquiries by the media have to be discreet) have revealed that the real purpose behind the military’s interrogation was to establish that the Muslim demonstration was really about Gaza and only Gaza, and had nothing to do with anything else that Israel might be doing in Thailand.
Based on its regular unreliable sources, Prachatai has acquired a literally incredible recording of a meeting at an undisclosed location between unidentified representatives from the NCPO and IDF Military Solutions Inc., a company registered in the Cayman Islands offering consultancy services by experienced former members of the Israeli security services. Its portfolio lists a wide range of clients, many of them military governments.
It is thought that the first voice on the transcript belongs to someone from the Thai side.
So what is your assessment of what we’ve achieved so far?
Well, er, not our place to criticize of course, but I wonder who you’ve engaged for your PR?
Yes, for your PR work.
Er, why would we engage anyone for PR? We’re a military government, not an overpriced not-yet-built condo.
Ah, that would explain a few things.
Well, all those Orders of yours, for one thing.
But that’s the way we’ve been running the country. And very successfully, I might add. If you look at the opinion polls, …
So why have you had to retract some of them and do a redraft? We would strongly advise engaging a suitable PR firm before you start drafting your constitution. Make sure you get it right first time. We can give you a list of suitable companies.
A PR firm drafting the constitution? This is the supreme law of the land, we can’t …
Oh come, come. What does a constitution do?
Well, er, a number of things.
Er, it sets out the rights of citizens and …
Which they will not have except on paper. What else does a constitution do?
Well, outlining the form of government.
But you already know that. You’re going to continue what you’ve got now, right?
Well, that depends on the Constitutional Drafting Committee …
Which is selected by …?
The National Legislative Assembly.
Which is selected by …?
Us. Point taken.
And you can veto anything they come up with anyway. Listen, we’re not criticizing military governments. Some of our best clients are military governments. But you have to know how to package it and that’s where the PR comes in.
But why do we need to package it?
Well look at your interim constitution. I don’t know who drafted that …
Our best legal experts.
Really? So why does it say your NLA will have a diverse membership when you knew you were going to stack it with your own people?
Well we have to have our own people in so that …
Of course you do. So why say you’re going to do exactly the opposite? It looks like you’re lying. Anybody can see through it.
Oh, so we have to tell the truth?
Oh per-lease. We’re talking PR here. Look, Operation Protective Edge, …
The Israeli assault on Gaza.
What those Muslims were protesting about. You called them in, remember?
Oh yes. Gaza. So what about this Operation?
Answer me this. Why are we bombing the bejesus out of Gaza?
Well, I don’t really follow the news, er, but I did see something. To destroy the Hamas tunnels?
Excellent. That’s what we want you to think. But when the assault started, it was in revenge for the 3 Israeli teenagers who were killed in the West Bank.
That’s what we’re telling everyone, but it’s more than likely another bunch that Hamas can’t control. For some reason they got pissed off because we’d just shot 2 Palestinian youths in Ramallah, but, hey, this is war. But when this provoked Hamas to fire its first rockets for 19 months, we could change the reason. We now said we had to stop the rockets.
Oh, so what about the tunnels?
Well we played up the rocket attacks as far as it would go, but they’re really pinpricks. Most land in fields and the sea and though we made sure all the media were taken to the odd building with a hole in the roof, it really couldn’t compare to multi-storey apartment blocks flattened by laser-guided one-tonne bombs. So we had to invent a new reason, the tunnels.
I see. So what’s next?
Well we thought the capture of one of our troops would work, but then we found his body. But I’m sure our PR boys will come up with something. Top notch, used them for years. How else could we get away with killing 2 Palestinian kids a week for the past 14 years and still call ourselves the Most Moral Army in the World? And get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize?
Hmm. Yes, I’m beginning to see how this would be useful in our campaign against Thaksin – I mean against corruption and anti-monarchism. I’m sure my superiors will be interested in signing a contract with you. But they did tell me to ask one specific question. Our take is 30%. What’s yours?
About author: Bangkokians with long memories may remember his irreverent column in The Nation in the 1980's. During his period of enforced silence since then, he was variously reported as participating in a 999-day meditation retreat in a hill-top monastery in Mae Hong Son (he gave up after 998 days), as the Special Rapporteur for Satire of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, and as understudy for the male lead in the long-running ‘Pussies -not the Musical' at the Neasden International Palladium (formerly Park Lane Empire).