FROM THE BARRACKS
The audio clip purported to be a conversation between Deputy Defence Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapa and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has caused a decidedly awkward atmosphere at the Defence Ministry.
The item, dubbed the chong cao clip after the Chinese aphrodisiac substance that the two men light-heartedly mentioned, put Gen Yuthasak, who promised to clear the hurdles for Thaksin's homecoming plan through foul play, in hot water in the first week in office. The military top brass who were referred to in the clip also felt the heat. The "foul play" I mentioned included a plan to use the National Security Council (NSC) as a rubber stamp for an amnesty decree that benefits Thaksin as well as an intention to meddle in the appointment of military commanders in the annual reshuffle next year.
Instead of bowing to mounting pressure for Gen Yuthasak to resign in a show of responsibility, Prime Minister (and Defence Minister) Yingluck Shinawatra has given the embattled minister a second chance to work in her cabinet.
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