Still no rice pledging corruption

28 07 2014

About three weeks ago, PPT pointed out that the “evidence” coming from the military junta regarding “massive corruption” in the rice pledging scheme was proving, well, difficult to prove. In fact, it looked like the “massive corruption” was really nothing more than a massive beat-up by the anti-democrat leadership.

The military dictatorship bought this stuff, hook, line and sinker. Yingluck Shinawatra still faces charges from the biased courts in relation to “massive corruption.”

More recent news at the Bangkok Post appears to confirm the earlier post. It reports that the “Nakhon Ratchasima-based 2nd Army has completed the inspection of rice under the previous government’s rice-pledging scheme at 297 warehouses in 14 northeastern provinces…”.

According to Colonel Chinkaj Rattanachit, the inspection “concluded that 4,298 sacks of rice from a total of 23,235,449 stored at 297 warehouses had gone missing. The amount was only 0.018% of the total and did not exceed the 5% margin of error fixed by the committee set up to check the quantity and quality of rice.”

The diligent soldiers “also found 17,505 sacks of rice, or 0.08% of the total, had been damaged by flooding.”

The “massive corruption” turns out to be remarkably minimal corruption. Surely the military dictatorship will not accept this!





On the military junta’s interim constitution II

28 07 2014

Khaosod has a very appropriate editorial on the military dictatorship’s interim constitution. With the title “Junta’s Charter Paints Grim Future for Thailand’s Democracy,” it stands in stark contrast with the anti-democrat, pro-military coup op-ed by Post Publishing boss and dictatorship propagandist Pichai Chuensuksawadi.

Khaosod, more cognizant of the threat posed by the military dictatorship begins: “The junta’s 2014 Interim Constitution is robbing Thai people of their political voices.” That certainly is the junta’s plan, just as it was for the anti-democrats when they opposed and prevented elections.

The editorial observes:

The National Council For Peace and Order (NCPO) dissolved Thailand’s 2007 constitution almost immediately after seizing power on May 22, and until last week, ruled over the Kingdom without a charter.

This is not entirely true, for the military junta kept the articles on the monarchy, and notes this in the interim constitution. We mention this to note its symbolic and political significance.

Identifying the “2014 Interim Charter … [as] a discouraging step backwards,” it points to the “Article 44, which effectively enshrines the NCPO’s absolute power into the Kingdom’s highest body of law.”

Article 44 grants the NCPO power to unilaterally intervene “regardless of its effects on the legislative, executive or judiciary” in the name of defending Thailand against threats to “public order, national security, the monarchy, national economy or sovereignty.”

Not only is the NCPO given this carte blanche to intervene in almost any situation, but “all orders or acts [taken under these circumstances] are to be regarded as lawful and constitutional.”

In other words, nothing the NCPO does can be considered illegal. Furthermore, this absolute power will not be subject to any oversight, judicial or otherwise.

The 2014 interim charter also establishes three governmental bodies that will be tasked with fundamentally restructuring Thailand’s system of government, yet are unlikely to represent broad swaths of the population.

The National Legislative Assembly, Reform Council and Constitution Drafting Committee all see the junta “granted the power to appoint the members of these bodies,” and will see them “dominated by military personnel and their loyal allies.”

That “the charter makes no mention of putting a draft of the permanent constitution up to a referendum,” is a red herring; putting constitutions to a referendum might be symbolic of something, but the idea that a large and complex legal document can get a yes/no response is silly. The more significant point is that the junta is not about to allow any significant participation or consultation in drafting the charter.

Khaosod states that the junta’s “vision for Thailand” is to “involve a curb on human rights, political freedoms, and democratic values.”





Anti-monarchy = freedom, balance, equality and democracy

27 07 2014

A couple of days ago PPT posted on a VICE story about the monarchy and the threats imagined by the military dictatorship. The following is an English-language translation of the highly confidential Thai document featured in the VICE story:

[Highly confidential]
Undermining the Royal Institution
(27June 2014)

Groups undermining the Royal Institution have attempted to exploit the 72nd anniversary of the change in government structure [1932 Siamese revolution] (24 June 2014) by revealing their organisation to oppose the National Council for Peace and Order. They plan to undermine the Royal Institution, referring to freedom, balance, equality and democracy as their main justifications. Their methods have included the revelation of concealed history connecting the Royal Institution to political events, and they have attempted to distribute reports of royal deaths in an effort to reduce the community’s faith in the Royal Institution.

The establishment of “The Organisation of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy: FT-HD” includes Mr Jarupong Ruangsuwan as the Presidential Secretary and Mr Jakrapob Penkair as the Managing Secretary. On 24 June 2014, a videoclip was released providing a declaration from the organisation, criticising the political changes made by the National Council for Peace and Order as having broken Thai and international law, causing Thailand to return to an extreme system of dictatorship. The choice to use the phrase“Seri-Thai” [Free Thai] on the website http://www.youtube.com with the username “FreeThai Organisation”, and on the page “Seri-Thai Organisation” (องค์กรเสรีไทย), is said to refer to the freedom and rights of the common people, suitable for use while fighting to reclaim their human rights and democracy.

The opinions of most of the general Internet community oppose/do not agree with the above-mentioned proceedings. They see the establishment of such an organisation as being connected to the undermining of the Royal Institution, and spread information regarding the differences between “Seri-Thai” during the political changes caused by the revolutionaries in 1932 and the present. Concerning the groups that are undermining the Royal Institution, they have promoted and joined in sharing the above-mentioned declaration, as well as inviting each other to use the tag “#FreeThai”. They have stated that they are releasing the country to freedom and update each other with information on the page “Followers of the Thai Freedom Against the National Dictator Movement” (แนวร่วมขบวนการเสรีไทยต่อต้านเผด็จการแห่งชาติ). Interestingly, Mr Anon Numpa, a lawyer, has requested that Mr Jarupong or others involved in this organisation clearly provide a statement concerning the existence of the Royal Institution.

Regarding the movements of individuals attempting to undermine the Royal Institution, during the reporting period it was found that some have returned to using Facebook or have reopened their Facebook accounts, such as Mr Thanthawut Taweewarodomkulor “Noom Retanont” (หนุ่ม เรศนนท์), who has become active on Facebook again and has confirmed his refusal to report to the National Council for Peace and Order, including rejecting the order as a denial of his rights and freedom. In addition, it was found that individuals attempting to undermine the Royal Institution living overseas, who were asked to report to the National Council for Peace and Order, displayed their passports to show that they have received a different nationality rejecting their Thai nationality and include: Miss Chatwadee Amornpat or “Rose” (England), Mr Lerpong Wichaikhammat or “Joe Gordon” (USA) and Pavin Chachavalpongpun (Japan).

Overseas Situation

Mr John William Oliver, a comedy actor known for parodying English politics, discussed the issue of Crown Prince Filipe of Spain’s inauguration, criticising it and referring/connecting it to other countries with monarchs, such as Queen Elizabeth II, by means of showing sections of and criticising ‘the poolside clip’ broadcast on HBO, 23 June 2014.

For Consideration

The declaration of actions/establishment of the “Organisation of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy” by Mr Jarupong, which Mr Saneh Tinsaen (Piangdin Rakthai) had previously (on 21 June, 2014) provided information regarding the establishment of this organisation, shows that this organisation is connected/it may contact or join in an attempt to undermine stability.





On the military junta’s interim constitution I

27 07 2014

Linking to Asia Provocateur, we want to make this statement by the Organisation of FreeThais for Human Rights and Democracy (FT-HD) widely available:

A Thai version of this is published here.

“The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) – the title the May 2014 Thai coup-makers bestowed on themselves – received from the King, on July 22nd, a document they’ve called the 2014 interim constitution. In order to do so the NCPO has exercised power by stealing the people’s sovereignty and illegally enforcing itself as the highest law in Thailand. The FT-HD wants to make it clear that NCPO is a criminal organisation that has committed outrageous wrongdoing and which has sought to intentionally destroy democracy.

The NCPO claimed that it seized power in order to solve the country’s problems and return “happiness” to the Thai people but, all along, it was aware of and taking part in a plot to topple the democratically-elected government. Therefore it has no legal rights and legitimacy to give any kind of orders as if it were Thailand’s head of state. The Thai people have no legal duty to abide by this “interim constitution”. We want to affirm that we will not accept the NCPO’s power which comes via both physical enforcement and intimidation and we ask those who support democracy to stand with us in firm unity.

The contents of each section – including section 48 – of the Royally-endorsed interim constitution, contradicts basic democratic principles. Overall, it is a document created in order to serve a small group of people in Thailand which includes the network of the establishment and the privileged.

The interim constitution dismisses 65 million people and treats them as if they are subordinates who can be arbitrarily ordered by the ruler. This dictatorship-mindset appears in the entire interim constitution and it is evident that the establishment-network which ordered the coup has completely abandoned democracy. This ongoing-conflict is deeply rooted in Thai society and primarily derives from the backward-looking establishment mindset, therefore nobody should be fooled by the coup makers and the NCPO’s propaganda.

Nevertheless, we want to focus on specific examples in the interim constitution as we are shocked that such instruments of governance still exist in the modern world. We want to stress that we are opposed to the dictatorship-regime that now dominates Thailand. We ask ordinary people to examine with good conscience these following sections of the interim constitution by themselves:

1. Section 35 is intentionally laid down by the Thai dictatorship in order to potentially create a permanent monopoly on power. This section aims to destroy any opportunity for Thai society to return to a stable democratic system. It destroys the political party system and any sovereign majority in the parliament is dismissed because the constitutional court would be given excessive power and allowed to destroy the election mechanism at anytime. It also gives huge powers to the Election Commissioner to make a final decision as to who violated the law regarding vote buying and it has power to ban that person from political activity forever. Without any democrat oversight this could easily lead to persecution and the curtailment of political rights. In short, this section aims to destroy the people’s opportunity to vote for the political party of their choice.

2. Section 38 grants power to repeatedly draft a new constitution over and over, without any timeframe, until they find one that fits their purpose the best. It is similar to what happened during the military dictatorship of Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat and Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn during the 1950s and 60s – then it took 12 years to finish drafting the constitution. The coup makers and the establishment network can use this section as a pretext to delay the constitution drafting process as long as they want. As we at the FT-HD have warned the point of the coup is to seize power and dominate Thailand for a period of time until they are certain that ordinary Thai people will not be able to stand up and make demands again.

3. Section 44 is not much different from the infamously draconian section 17 of Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat’s constitution as this section gives unlimited and absolute power to the coup makers, who, ultimately rely on the of use force to seize power. It grants impunity for them and whoever colludes with them, so completely and utterly they can never be held to account for their crimes. This section is shameful and reduces the dignity of Thailand and its people.

4. Overall this document grants huge power to governmental officers as it allows them to hold political positions. The principle that Thai people should be in control of the direction of the state and its officers is destroyed immediately. From now on, we might see governmental officers using power to intimidate Thai citizens. It will take Thailand backwards to a past when governmental officers held power over and above the taxpayers and citizens who pay for their work. Such unaccountable power is at the centre of the dictatorship regime’s nature.

The FT-HD and its supporters believe that regulations regarding the rights and freedoms of the Thai people as they appear in this interim constitution are completely meaningless as the document grants overbearing power to the authorities and allows them to dominate the whole system. We affirm that the coup makers and its dictatorship network is an enemy of the Thai people and their rights and freedom.

The NCPO have announced repeatedly that they seized power illegally because they wanted to begin a “political reform” process to “reduce conflict. However it has become evident that the interim constitution is setting out to establish a dictatorship in order to curtail people’s power and destroy the election process completely.

It should be noted that there is nothing in the interim constitution that talks about reforming the court, the judiciary power, the so-called “independent organs”, the bureaucracy and even the army itself, all of which are key elements in exacerbating Thailand’s political problems over the last decade. These elements have all used illegal power to force the people into the direction they want and have used weapons to suppress the people. We want to condemn the document called “the 2014 interim constitution” which has been produced by the coup makers as it is an illegal document which seeks to destroy democracy.

In the coming days and weeks the FT-HD will present the People’s Constitution in order to return democracy and sovereignty to the Thai people. Meanwhile, Thais and foreigners who support democracy should continue to protest against illegal power of the NCPO by distributing the FT-HD’s symbol whenever the opportunity allows in order to show that those who support democracy still exist and are ready to stand up to the establishment.

Statement originally issued in Thai on Friday, July 25, 2014.





Updated: The Leader explains

27 07 2014

The interim constitution – in fact, a document that grants the military dictatorship sweeping power – is available in English translation. Given that the junta had already grabbed sweeping powers, this is hardly a shock.

Surprisingly, the grumpy military dictator General Prayuth Chan-ocha decided that, despite having his minions “explain” the need for a dictatorship, he needed to “explain” it again. The Bangkok Post has a story where The Leader states that the junta “sought to maintain a balance between the powers of the interim government and those of the NCPO [the junta].” He adds that the junta “has no desire for power or personal interest…”.

Perhaps The Leader hasn’t read his interim charter. If he had, then he’d realize that his statement to the nation is nonsensical. The interim constitution makes it clear that the military dictatorship and, more specifically, The Leader himself, have remarkable power that override those of any interim government.Prayuth planking

That government will be a bunch of junta flunkies, and under the interim constitution the junta is still acting illegally except for the fact that that basic law absolves the junta of all illegalities (section 41), including the illegal seizure of power itself (section 48). The junta continues to hold power and can even call a joint meeting with the junta-appointed Council of Ministers (section 46).

Prayuth defended the junta’s cancellation of local elections, saying that “the selection method was not transparent in some [local] areas while some of the people holding office were not effective.” In fact, the junta is transparent in its intentions. It wants no elections where its political opponents may win until it can fix the rules in a way that only permits its allies to be victorious.

Prayuth also “urged the media to correctly understand the NCPO’s intentions.” The problem is that the media – what little of it that remains supportive of democratization – knows the intentions of the junta only too well. Accurate reporting of this would lead to bans, censorship and “invitations” for re-education.

As The Leader “explained,” there would only be “problems” for the media “if you over-criticise or don’t have an honest intent.” Of course, it is The Leader and the junta that determines “intent.” More alarmingly, The Leader promised “media reform”: “In the second phase, there will be reform in all branches of the media and all media members must help and cooperate…”.

PPT can only assume that this is going to be a major state-military-junta effort to enforce “fascism with the king as head of state.” After all, The Leader “criticised the people who claimed to be ‘calling for democracy’ in the country.” He’s clear that His “democracy” is not the democracy of elections, voting and representation.

Update: To follow up on that statement by the Big Boss (-1) where he earnestly stated: the junta “has no desire for power or personal interest…”. The Nation reports that he must have been fibbing for “an informed NCPO source,” which means one of the military dictatorship’s junta, has contradicted the sill Prayuth claim with a statement of reality: “At least 100 senior military officers are tipped to be selected as members of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA)…”.

The Leader and liar, General Prayuth even personally “screened the list of people proposed to be members of the NLA presented by his assistant General Paiboon Koom-chaya, who is in charge of justice and legal matters for the military leaders.” The list includes some other flunkies who masquerade as academics, claim to head “non-government groups,” steal the slaves’ labor as “business people,” and who have done the palace’s dirty work as unelected “senators,” but the biggest group will be the men in green.

The powers backing Prayuth and the key links to the palace will also be there: General Prawit Wongsuwan, the mutinous former Army chief General Anupong Paochinda and former deputy Army chief General Dapong Ratanasuwan.





No red shirts for the junta

26 07 2014

The military junta has tut-tutted when yellow shirted royalists have celebrated and met, but they haven’t sent armed soldiers to break the celebrations by their political allies.

In the long “tradition” of double standards, the military dictatorship has “asked” red shirts “to scrap their merit-making ceremony for Thaksin Shinawatra’s birthday at Imperial World Ladprao shopping centre in Bangkok.” A small group of “red-shirt employees working at the mall had organised the birthday ceremony for the former prime minister.”

This included monks arriving for a merit-making ceremony and “photos of Thaksin and his sister and former PM Yingluck Shinawatra.”

But to no avail.  A “group of soldiers came and asked them to take out the photos and scrap the ceremony.”

Double standards are the only standards under the military junta.





The dictatorship’s boys

26 07 2014

Military dictatorships are usually dominated by older men with testosterone issues. They are publicly tough but forever insecure. They bark orders and appoint weak-kneed and spineless flunkies to do their biding. And so it is with the appointed, unelected, unrepresentative “Legislative Assembly” that the junta will appoint.

A report at The Nation seems to delight in teasing readers with a blatantly false headline: “NCPO may pick trusted allies.” The use of the word “may” suggests some doubt. Of course, the new interim constitution, secretly developed by a few supine lawyers who sell their skills to authoritarian murderers, makes it perfectly clear that the military junta is controlling everything. Of course, everyone with even a half a brain knows this is the case.

The report then explains that “the Legislative assembly likely to be packed with military officers, bureaucrats and those with close ties to the junta.” Who expected anything else?

The TJA executive meets on lese majeste

The junta’s preferred legislative assembly

Trakoon Meechai, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University, said: “The NLA will be dominated by people in the Armed Forces and bureaucrats. And there may be some former senators with close ties [to the National Council for Peace and Order, i.e. the military junta], as well as businessmen and academics who have worked with the NCPO…”. This is as clear as the relationship between fossil fuels and pollution, and the junta plans to pollute Thailand’s politics for decades to come.

The list of potential junta male groupies includes military types as well as Pridiyathorn Devakula, a former Bank of Thailand governor and failed finance minister for the last junta-installed government, who is such an expert cleanser of the lower alimentary canal that he will likely get another gig, the turncoat Somkid Jatusripitak and junta lawyer Wissanu Krea-ngam.

The hopelessly compromised boot polisher and royalist Brasso salesman Borwornsak Uwanno, secretary-general of the royalist King Prajadhipok’s Institute, will certainly be slithering about looking for a position as well, as can be seen in his speech to a “a seminar on national reform organised by the institute and the Defence Ministry.” No “reform” likely from that lot except the “reform” of politics to make it more regressive and more authoritarian.brasso

The ridiculously named Election Commission wants to “screen candidates for Parliament” for any future (unfree and unfair) election “to ensure that voters get to choose from those who are qualified and possess a good track record…”. Now who might judge “track records”? Presumably it will not exclude murderers from the military, corrupt royalist officials and similar supporters of the military junta. In addition, the EC wants “to review proposed policies before political parties use them during election campaigns to woo votes.”

Such proposals are nonsense, but if they came about – and anything is possible from this regime – voters will get a choice of candidates who fit a patrician view of politics. In other words, no choice at all. The military and EC proposes that it allow only “noble candidates for voters to select…”. We believe that they mean this almost literally, so that aristocrats will be filling seats in parliament. This would be a parliament of the amart.

Panitan Wattanayagorn is quoted and said to be a “political science lecturer at Chulalongkorn,” although we can find no evidence that he has engaged in any academic work as a political scientist. Rather, he holds a position in a Faculty of Political Science but usually sells himself to illegitimate governments.

He makes the puerile claim that “the problem with the country’s political system is that only one group of people has acquired power and previous charters have given them huge power but provided a weak checks and balances system.”Marbles

This is not only asinine, it is patently false. Anyone who followed the path of the Yingluck Shinawatra government knows that the Constitutional and Administrative Courts, the Election Commission, the National Human Rights Commission and the Senate operated to not just “check-and-balance” but to prevent that government from operating! Panitan seems to have been in the anti-democrat medicine cabinet for too long and to have swallowed too much of their anti-truth serum.

When he blathers about the new charter needing to exhibit “Thainess” and “the submission culture, the belief in seniority and military hierarchy,” you are tempted to think that he is picking up his marbles but then you realize that he is speaking his royalist, militarist and anti-democrat mind. He reckons Thais “favour totalitarianism;” Panitan does.

This is a truly revealing and fascinating report.

 








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