Revenge of the kamnan
It had been 975 days since the military regime did anything to justify the coup d'etat that was needed specifically to bring happiness back to the people by national reconciliation. So the general prime minister named a 98-man, three tier committee of otherwise unemployed two-, three- and four-starred green shirts to draw daily allowances and proceed to bring about unity.
After that, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha suggested that all involved phuyai sign a memorandum of understanding on how much they loved the idea of a military-directed rendition of Kumbaya. Truth be told, they weren't all that supportive.
Wishy-washy Democrat and Pheu Thai Party leaders said it was OK in principle. The sharp-tongued Kasit Piromya, ex-foreign minister and a junta-appointed reform artist, told the military to sign the [expletive deleted] MoU themselves because reconciliation without a military vow to never again stage a coup is flat meaningless.
But one man went a step beyond that.
Suthep Thaugsuban and Gen Prayut got all chummy in 2010. That's when the red shirts came calling in central Bangkok and things turned nasty. Mr Suthep was deputy prime minister in charge of national security and the general was army chief-of-staff charged with keeping peace in Bangkok or, more correctly, restoring peace.
Gen Prayut has barely discussed those days of 2010 publicly, and the ex-minister has only let out drips and drabs of detail over time.
Under the mutually reinforcing opinion that Lord Voldemort na Dubai was actually and physically controlling events, they came to detest him. By Mr Suthep's exclusive testimony, the two bonded as the red-shirt crisis grew and turned into an army attack, agreeing their mission was to remove Voldemort from the Thailand scene by removing the red shirts -- if necessary by force. The following year, this determination was reinforced and turned into a vendetta when Voldemort manipulated his doting little sister into the prime minister's chair. (Reminder to readers: This is Mr Suthep's testimony, uncorroborated.)
Gen Prayut took command of the army in October 2010 at just 56. It was part personal dint, part reward for putting down the red shirts. According to Mr Suthep, the two stayed in contact almost daily, by phone and text. He claims that when Line launched in Thailand in early 2012, they were joint early adopters. They agreed to a campaign to overthrow the red shirts and the Pheu Thai government.
In 2012, Mr Suthep quit the Democrats after a small kerfuffle over anti-government protests and went full Monty on sending the nation's first female prime minister not just packing but into shame, hurt and eternally, financially ruinous legal suits.
He turned full radical. He launched the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), told everyone to call him The Kamnan to show how folksy a multi-gazillionaire can be, and blocked off a couple of streets. Test successful, he launched the 1.4-billion baht Bangkok Shutdown, which controlled more areas with far more "guards" for far longer than the red shirts at the height of their 2010 campaign.
According to the kamnan, Gen Prayut ordered the military to send waves of civil servants and soldiers to join. In turn -- and this much is actually true -- he urged the PDRC to back the military and urge a coup to oust Voldemort's sister.
One month after that coup, this is Mr Suthep talking to around 70 supporters at dinner at the Pacific Club on June 21, 2014: "Before martial law was declared, Gen Prayut said to me, 'Khun Suthep and your masses of PDRC supporters are too exhausted. It's now the duty of the army to take over the task'. "
Gen Prayut has contested that. He ordered his handsome celebrity spokesman Col Winthai Suvaree on June 23 to tell the press he had literally "never talked or exchanged messages in private with Mr Suthep". He ordered Mr Suthep to shut it.
One of the two had been extremely inadequate with the truth. But Mr Suthep shut up and entered the monkhood.
Last week, Gen Prayut and friends unveiled their strange start to a programme of national reconciliation.
Mr Suthep rushed to make his answer the first on whether he would sign up on behalf of his obviously large, obviously pro-military, pro-junta PDRC, and it probably felt pretty good telling his former friend and public shamer, "Not no. Hell, no!"
Online Reporter / Sub-Editor
A Canadian by birth. Former Saigon's UPI bureau chief. Drafted into the American Armed Forces. He has survived eleven wars and innumerable coups. A walking encyclopedia of knowledge.