Further updated: Capturing universities

25 06 2014

What happens when a university comes to be controlled by yellow shirts who become anti-democrats? As you’d expect, they promote yellow shirts and anti-democrats.

PPT posted on how the so-called Council of University Presidents had been captured by royalists and ultra-royalists. Some “academics” also got involved with the anti-democrats as speakers and leaders, often reproducing misogynist rants. Not all academics are anti-democrats, but like academic medical departments, many university leaderships have been taken over by anti-democratic royalists.

Naturally enough, at Chulalongkorn University, the ultra-royalist takeover wasn’t required. It was always in the hands of the royalists. Hence, a regular reader informs PPT of a royalist stunt, supporting the anti-democrats and the military coup at this venerable sink hole of academic yellowness.

Chulalongkorn seems to have an event that Americans refer to as “Commencement” and those of the British persuasion might call “Graduation.” These events usually involve getting some venerable soul to come along and say useful and/or sage things to the graduating class, wishing them a thoughtful future based on all of the learning they are meant to have done. Admittedly, there are times when some dopey university administration decides to invite a looney or some politically partisan speaker. Yet, most good universities will usually try to stick with people who have something useful and wise to say.

So who would you guess the royalist coven that administers Chulalongkorn would decide to get for this event this year? The answer is that Chulalongkorn have decided to invite the young, filthy rich anti-democrat Chitpas Bhirombhakdi, once a spokesperson for the decrepit Democrat Party and then a celebrity protest leader for the anti-democrats. Naturally enough, she is also from a family that is fabulously endowed and that was reported several times as being one of the big funders of the very expensive anti-democrat rallies that paved the way for the current military dictatorship.

Our reader tells us that she’s a speaker at the Chula commencement ceremony on 3 July. The reader observes that this is another case of Chula sycophants/supporters of PDRC doing their bit for the anti-democrat/pro-royalist cause. This reader explains that there is a lot of opposition but it looks like Chula’s administration “is in on it.” Of course they are.

It seems like another case where wealth is more important than capacity. And it is certainly a case where anti-democrat royalism and airheadedness trumps all.

Update 1: We got this a little wrong. She has been selected as the student to make a speech. This is because, somehow, in amongst all of the protesting and whistling, she completed an M.A., even without attending class too much. Many of her peers aren’t too happy, some will boycott. The yellow-shirted academics are beaming.

Update 2: The Bangkok Post reports that lecturers at Chulalongkorn University have announced that they will boycott the graduation ceremony where the anti-democrat Chitpas will speak for her fellow graduates.

Updated: Opposing the military

20 05 2014

We have done a brief trawl of Facebook and some of the blogs and have a few pictures that may be of some interest. The first is of Suthep Thaugsuban and his anti-democratic lot thanking the military:

Suthep says thanks

Opposing the coup:

Stop the coup

More opposition:

No coup

Update: In the provinces:We want democracy

Fear and the military boot:Military boot

The military in charge means censorship, control and repression:Military in charge



Updated: Ji says its a coup

20 05 2014

As we often do, we post Ji Ungpakorn’s take on events. The only way this may not be a coup is if the military make space for elections that are held as soon as possible. That means in just over 60 days:

Smells like a coup, tastes like a coup, looks like a coup

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Today Thai army general Prayut Chanocha declared martial law without consulting the caretaker government or any other elected representatives. Troops took over all radio and TV stations and are positioned along major road intersections in Bangkok.

Despite the fact that he claimed that “this is not a coup”, Prayut’s actions smell, taste and look like a coup. This is from a man who has blood on his hands. Four years ago to the day Prayut oversaw the shooting down in the streets of almost ninety Red Shirt pro-democracy demonstrators. Before the elections in the following year he made public statements against the Pua Thai Party. He had previously been a key figure in manoeuvring Abhisit’s anti-Democrat Party into an unelected government in 2008. He has never been brought to court for his crimes and was on the list of those who would be given total amnesty in Yingluk’s abortive amnesty bill.

The military say that the declaration of martial law is just to maintain peace and security; if so, it is too little too late. If the military were really concerned with keeping the peace they would have acted against Sutep’s anti-Democrat mobs when they invaded government ministries in order to overthrow the elected government at the end of last year. They would have arrested Sutep and his armed thugs who used violence on the streets to wreck the February election.

But the military are just team players on the side of those who want to destroy Thailand’s democratic space. They have sat on their hands and watched with glee as the Yingluk government was gradually destroyed and the elections wrecked. Now they estimate that their allies among Sutep’s mob and the kangaroo courts have created enough chaos to legitimise military intervention.

Make no mistake, this military “non-coup” will not ensure that free and fair elections take place and it certainly won’t protect freedom of expression. The “non-coup” will instead smooth the way for an unelected “temporary” Prime Minister. It will smooth the way to fixing the democratic process so that unelected powers can control any future elected government. It is part of the process of decreasing the democratic space.

Democracy can only be built if significant numbers of Red Shirts realise that Pua Thai and the UDD leadership are unwilling and unable to lead a fight. The building of an independent pro-democracy movement based upon the Red Shirts with clear links to the progressive working class and peasantry is long over-due. Such a movement cannot be built over night but it can and must be built.

Update 1: Not just Ji says it is a coup. TIME’s headline is: “Thailand: If It Looks Like a Coup, and Smells Like a Coup, It Is a Coup.” It quotes red shirt leader Weng Tojirakarn: “Martial law must be [imposed on] a specific area, but this is the first time the army commander declared the whole country under martial law, so this is a special kind of coup d’état…”.

Anti-democrats and the “political vacuum”

19 05 2014

How do anti-democrats create a “political vacuum”? It seems they are in the process of hunting down ministers, breaking into their houses and may be trying to capture them. FascistsThat’s what social media accounts are reporting.

This follows “advice” by royalist Meechai Ruchupan that Article 7 may be able to be used in a case where, say, the whole cabinet was dead or had vacated their positions. The anti-democrat leaders have now sent mobs in search of ministers.

With red shirts retaliating with a bounty on Suthep Thaugsuban.

This could get even nastier and create volatile situations that might spin out of control quickly.


Thongchai: Thailand needs an election

18 05 2014

Professor Thongchai Winichakul writes for Al Jazeera on Thailand’s ongoing crisis and the crying need for an election as the path out and forward:

On May 7, the Constitutional Court removed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and a number of her Cabinet ministers from office. This judicial coup was followed by a decision from the National Anti-Corruption Commission, which indicted Yingluck for dereliction of duty in handling a controversial rice-subsidy program. Despite their judicial semblance, both rulings were carried out without any due process of law. They call into question the credibility and impartiality of Thailand’s judicial system in the eyes of the majority of the Thai public.

… The royalists’ relentless scheme to usurp power by undermining the rule of law now threatens to degenerate into civil war.

… Thailand’s onetime budding electoral democracy is now increasingly besieged. A would-be royalist government might attempt to overrule the dissenting public using a combination of force, fear and coercion.

… The royalist conservatives, who are behind the anti-democracy protests, have lost every election since 2000. They are declining in popularity and political legitimacy. However, they continue to dominate the judiciary, the military, the state bureaucracy and universities.

The Senate … is a bastion of the royalist elite. Half of its members are unelected but selected by the judiciary and appointed by the king….

A free, fair and democratic election is the only way out of the current turmoil.

[T]he PDRC and Election Commission continue to obstruct the process in order to delay the vote. Meanwhile, as tensions between the two sides mount, the situation threatens to spiral out of control.

The royalists’ reliance on the military or fear of the draconian lese majesty law … will likely backfire…. Resentment with the royalists and the monarchy has evidently increased on social media, and the number of charges under the lese majesty law spiked in the past few years. The royalists hope the appointment of an unelected prime minister by the king would quell possible unrest. But doing so would validate a widespread belief that the palace was in fact behind the ongoing scheme all along. This puts the future of the monarchy in jeopardy. Since the late 1970s, the king’s charisma has been the linchpin of stability in Thailand. But overreach by the royalists has brought the monarchy’s legitimacy into question. Not long ago, it was unimaginable to even ponder the demise of Thailand’s monarchy. If it comes to an end, the royalist conservatives will only have themselves to blame.

A free, fair and democratic election is the only way out of the current turmoil.

Hard-hitting but full of truths that the royalists fear, ignore and obscure.

Anti-democratic senate backs down

17 05 2014

After a hectic week or so of lobbying, meeting, making outlandish legal claims and meeting with other anti-democrats, the part of the senate that is most brightly yellow has backed down on its push for a “neutral” premier and appointed government administration. While PPT does not expect that this is the end of the senators involvement in this matter, it is a seeing off of one more attempt to impose an illegal and unconstitutional regime.

Khaosod has reported that the interim speaker of the senate has “postponed a decision on whether or not the Senate will appoint an unelected Prime Minister as anti-government protesters have demanded.” This caused anti-democrat-in-chief Suthep Thaugsuban to go into a bit of a huff and lambast the “talkers.”

Surachai Liangboonlertchai said “the Senate is willing to convene a parliamentary session to appoint a non-elected ‘neutral’ Prime Minister ‘if necessary’…” and we suspect that the old men have told them to wait for another legal case that will further wound the limping government.

He urged the interim government to immediately undertake national reforms, knowing that the (anti-)Election Commission won’t allow the government to even transfer a single official. He added “that Thailand needs a fully-functioning government as soon as possible.” The best way for that to happen is to have an election, but the anti-democrats hate elections.

This was pointed out by “a group of activists staged a protest against Mr. Suthep’s quest for an unelected Prime Minister in the shopping district of Bangkok. Holding up signs that read ‘The People are the Neutral Party,’ the activists called the effort to install a ‘neutral’ PM misguided, and insisted that an election be organised as soon as possible.”

Army, senate and other anti-democrats

16 05 2014

As we have noted previously, the (avoid-an-election-at-all-costs) Election Commission is still trying to delay and stop an election that it is duty-bound to arrange. As The Nation reports, the “likelihood of the July 20 election being delayed became clear yesterday when a meeting between the government and the Election Commission (EC) on the issue had to be aborted when anti-government protesters, led by People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban, stormed the venue.”

The meeting between the government and EC was held at the Royal Thai Air Force Academy. No discussions were possible because the “protesters had stormed the compound.” What were Air Force security officials doing? Worshipping at the feet of the great anti-democrat?Suthep is loved by the military - Copy

The election and democracy wreckers – along with the EC itself – were led by “Suthep … Satit Wongnongtaey, Witthaya Kaewparadai and Taworn Senneam,” who fear elections because the come from the Democrat Party which is unable to win them.

The protesters “broke into the compound at 10.50am.”

Meanwhile, the group with the longest record of election and democracy wrecking, the Army, was hopping mad because of bloodshed amongst the anti-democrats, attacked by unknown opponents.

Its boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha said his troops “may need to use full force to resolve the situation” if the violence escalates…”. That’s a coup threat. Funny, we don’t recall Prayuth being upset when red shirts get killed and injured.

The same report has “sources” saying the Senate “has come up with an eight-step road map to lead the country out of the political deadlock…”. Readers get to know that this “plan” is little different from those by other anti-democrats like the irrelevant and prissy Abhisit Vejjajiva:

The Upper House will seek a Constitutional Court interpretation as to whether caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan can serve as acting prime minister. If he has no power to do so, the Senate Speaker, in his capacity as Parliament president, should have the authority to nominate a prime minister for royal endorsement, the sources said.

An interim government is expected to be in office for 18 months or longer to prepare reform proposals before a new general election is held, according to the guidelines.

Of course, there is nothing legal or constitutional in this, but that never bothers the anti-democrats, who make up rules, judgements and interpretations as it suits them.

Constitutionally, the senate has no legal power whatsoever to hold such sessions or to nominate a prime minister.

That so-called independent organisations connive with their fellow anti-democrats in unconstitutional and illegal schemes is simply disgraceful and damning of them.


Democracy and gloom II

16 05 2014

The future for democracy looks brighter when the Bangkok Post reports that activists observe that “[a]n election held as soon as possible is the only feasible way of reaching a peaceful solution to the current political crisis…”. The report is worth quoting almost in full:

The “Let the People Decide” network also demanded that the Senate talk to civic groups and let them air their views like it did with the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) on Monday….

Jessada Denduangboripant, a Third Pillar Against Violence core member, said the PDRC’s call for an non-elected premier to take the helm of an interim government would only deepen the divide in Thai society.

Mr Jessada, also an assistant science professor at Chulalongkorn University, said various civic groups have called for a democratic solution to the protracted crisis over the past six months, but have now united to send a strong message to the public that voters were the only neutral party who should decide who would lead the country.

Ake Atthakorn, a member of the Respect My Vote group, said the Senate should stop trying to derail the democratic process by pretending to act as a peacemaker.

“Stop pretending to listen to the people. Those pressing parliament are not the majority in this country. We know what you are plotting,” Mr Ake said.

“Certain senators are violating the law. If they dare install a non-elected prime minister, they will face overwhelming opposition,” he warned.

Chanya Chamnankul, of the My Freedom group, said her group has been studying the impact of PDRC-led protests in Pattaya, Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani.

“People want to see the country progress. They believe the best way is to elect their own representatives. If they turn out no good, people can boot them out. They don’t need others to come out onto the streets to overthrow them,” Ms Chanya said.

She said her group would like to see a successful election install a government.

“It’s ridiculous that certain agencies are pursuing the ousted PM while those who blocked the Feb 2 election are still walking around free,” Ms Chanya said.

She questioned the legal status of Surachai Liangboonlertchai as Senate Speaker, saying he might have violated parliamentary regulations by placing the Senate speaker election on the Upper House’s special session agenda.

Kittichai Ngamchaipisit, of the Enough is Enough group, said the PDRC call for reform before an election was just a ruse to confuse the people.

“Anyone wanting reform should contest an election to get the people’s endorsement,” he said.

“We must proceed democratically, with an election, which is the best way to solve differences of opinion in Thai society,” Mr Kittichai added.

barking_mad - CopyBut then PPT is brought back to the gloomy reality of the anti-progressive, anti-democratic, unlawful and barking mad in another Bangkok Post report, where a bunch of unelected, unrepresentative and elite-selected trogladytes are claimed to have decided and “agreed a fully authoritative government is needed to see in political reforms…”.

“Appointed Senator Wanchai Sornsiri” meaning an unelected senator from the so-called private sector and a card-carrying yellow shirt “said after the meeting that most participants wanted to see such a government as soon as possible.” Sounding like anti-democrat boss Suthep Thaugsuban or even the irrelevant Abhisit Vejjajiva, this unelected and unrepresentative anti-democrat stated that such an unelected and unconstitutional government “should be in place for six to 12 months in order to see through election reforms and ensure peace before elections take place.” In other words, only have elections after the anti-democrats fix the system so only their people can get elected to government, turning back the popular tide that has rejected the royalist political parties time and time again.

Who were the seven public organizations that met “acting Senate Speaker Surachai Liangboonlertchai”? It will be no surprise to learn that they are the very organizations created by the military junta-backed government in its 2007 constitution to undermine any elected government. In other words, the very same organizations in charge of the creeping judicial coup: “the Supreme Court, the Administrative Court, the Election Commission (EC), the Office of the Ombudsman, the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Human Rights Commission, and the National Economic and Social Advisory Council.”

The only two that didn’t show up were the Constitutional Court and the Office of the Attorney-General, but it is known that they are fully on board with the judicial coup.

Each of these organizations is deeply politicized and fully committed to undermining electoral democracy in Thailand.

Based on the meeting, deeply yellow unelected “Senator Khamnoon Sitthisamarn said the EC was unlikely to proceed with the planned July 20 election if it was unsure about the status and authority of acting caretaker Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisarn.” Hell, they haven’t wanted to run an election since former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament. Thailand’s Election Commission is the Commission for Preventing Elections.

Bending, breaking, trampling and sullying the law seems to be the stock in trade of this lounge of anti-democrats.


Further updated: Democracy and the gloom I

15 05 2014

Thailand’s ongoing political funk is seeing some very gloomy op-eds internationally.

The Independent in the UK has this gloomy headline:

Does Thailand’s democracy have a future?

Letter from Asia: The stalemate that leaves Thailand’s future looking increasingly hopeless

It says much that deserves consideration:

Behind closed doors, … two unelected individuals sat and discussed the future of Thailand’s democracy.

In a way, the image summed up the strange, sad situation Thailand finds itself in: while the elected government works from makeshift offices because protesters have prevented them getting to their official premises, the leader of the demonstrators dropped into the parliament building for a private conversation he hoped would help bring down the faltering administration.

The crisis playing out on the streets of Bangkok dates back to the ousting of Thaksin Shinawatra, Ms Yingluck’s elder brother, who was first elected in 2001 and forced out by a military coup in 2006.

… One might assume that a solution to the stand-off would be to hold another election. But the leaders of the PDRC appear to have given up on electoral politics. Even though international observers have given a general thumbs up to recent elections, they insist there is no point taking part in further polls until there are reforms because the process is rigged.

… What makes the situation more hopeless is that Thailand’s main opposition party, the Democrat party, which is Thailand’s oldest and was founded in 1946, also appears to have given up on parliamentary democracy.

… And the violence continues. Since last November, when the latest series of protests were sparked by the government’s effort to pass an amnesty bill that would have permitted Mr Thaksin to return to Thailand, at least 25 people have died and many more have been ainjured. The fear is that with no solution in sight that figure could increase further.

Update 1: Local newspaper headlines aren’t much better. The snip is from the Bangkok Post. Capture - Copy

Suthep’s call for “permanent secretaries of ministries, directors-general of departments, and the chiefs of the police and the armed forces” to report to him and his thugs on Monday is likely to see only the hardened yellows show and is likely to upset others who will ask why it is that Suthep has the audacity to order them around. We suspect this action is going to significantly damage Suthep.

Update 2:  Well, maybe not. What do you say when the barking mad get official visits from a bunch of officials who really should acting more like adults in a democratic and legal sense?

The armed forces and key ministries sent representatives to a meeting with acting Senate speaker Surachai Liengboonlertchai at Parliament on Thursday afternoon.

… Gen. Chatchawal Khamkaset, director of the Secretariat Department, represented the Defence Ministry at the meeting.

Other representatives included Deputy Supreme Commander Gen Worapong Sagnanetr, Army Chief-of-Staff Gen Aksara Kerdphol, Navy Chief-of-Staff Adm Thaweewut Pongpipat, and Air Force Chief-of-Staff ACM Treethos Sonjaeng.

The ministries that sent representatives to meet Surachai included the Interior Ministry, the Justice Ministry, the Science Ministry, the Education Ministry, the Industry Ministry, the Agriculture Ministry, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, the Social Development and Human Security Ministry, and the Culture Ministry.

The Budget Bureau also sent its representative to meet Surachai.

“Listening” to anti-democrats

14 05 2014

Listening to anything that the anti-democrats is risky. For a start, they make stuff up. But let’s look at who is listening to them and what the current calls are.

At the Bangkok Post the reports are of the anti-democrats still calling for the Senate to break the so-called political impasse. We note that Suthep Thaugsuban’s self-imposed deadline of last Monday for the Senate to act has passed, but his idea of deadlines and “last” seem flexible.

The Post calls this “analysis”:

Without the House of Representatives and parliament president in charge of parliamentary affairs, the Senate is the only functioning legislator. The PDRC is counting on the institution to invoke Section 7 of the charter and nominate an interim prime minister for royal endorsement, a move it believes will lend legitimacy to the group’s call.

In fact, it is tripe and nonsense. The constitution is clear on the role of the senate when the House has been prorogued:

Section 132. During the expiration of the term or the dissolution of the House of Representatives, the Senate shall not hold its sitting except in the following cases:

(1) a sitting at which the Senate shall act as the National Assembly under section 19, section 21, section 22, section 23 [all to do with the monarchy and succession] and section 189 [a declaration of war], and the votes taken shall be based on the number of senators;

(2) a sitting at which the Senator shall consider of a person for holding office under the provision of this Constitution;

(3) a sitting at which the Senate shall consider and pass a resolution removing a person from office.

So the Post is engaging in anti-democrat myth-making, and even cites the yellow-shirted, stage monger anti-democrat Sombat Thamrongthanyawong, who is said that the anti-democrat’s anti-constitutional demands on the senate is “to ensure its campaign for political reform sticks to the charter.” As we noted above, this is an anti-democrat fairy tale. Or to state it more bluntly, it is a lie.

Sombat’s lie is that “the Senate the only functioning legislator that can solve the crisis and it has been careful with its approach in order not to stir up accusations it is calling for unconstitutional changes.” It is a lie and it is unconstitutional.

Despite this, and apparently defying the constitution – which derives from the last yellow-shirted and military intervention – “Deputy Senate Speaker Surachai Liangboonlertchai … rose to the occasion as he hosted an informal discussion among senators to find a solution to the crisis.” He can talk all he wants, and the Post can promote this nonsense as something heroic, but it is all based on a lie. He is doing the work of the anti-democrats, supported by the so-called”Group of 40 Senators” who are ultra-royalists and deeply yellow.

Surachai’s connivance in unethical and unconstitutional behavior is seen in his decision “not to resign as the first deputy Senate Speaker when he contested the Senate Speaker post last Friday…. Mr Surachai could not take a chance with the caretaker government, which might try to stall his appointment.”

Anti-democrats united - CopyAlso at the Bangkok Post, it is reported that it was Surachai who granted “permission for People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader Suthep Thaugsuban to enter parliament premises and hold a closed-door discussion with him…”. More than that, the Post describes Surachai as offering a “gracious welcome.” It is kind of mad that anti-democrats stroll the floors of parliament, which, apart from the appointed dross of the senate, is meant to be about elections and representation.

But then it is probably symbolic that the anti-democrat boss should do this when the mostly unelected senators (only 86 senators attended) are discussing unconstitutional and unlawful actions.

Suthep even demanded that he be allowed to speak to senators, and the usual band of anti-democrat senators apparently supported this. Even Surachai seemed to reason that this would be a dopey political move and “agreed to meet for talks with Mr Suthep and other PDRC co-leaders in a reception room behind closed doors.”

Getting back to matters “constitutional,” the unelected Senator Paiboon Nititawan seemed unaware of the basic law, saying the “Senate, as the only legislative body remaining, is duty-bound to find a way out of the conflict,” and insisting that it appoint a new premier.

Meanwhile, in yet another report at the Bangkok Post Army boss Prayuth Chan-ocha has said he’s not necessarily taking old men’s advice, but lauded these meddling has-beens “for at least proposing a way out, unlike people who seek only to blame others without regard for the damage being caused to the country.” This general is praising these old men, led by General Saiyud Kerdpol, a former counterinsurgency soldier and buddy of Privy Council President and former General Prem Tinsulanonda for using the king’s constitutional role unconstitutionally (also see these interviews on this). That is, the proposal to use Article 7:

Whenever no provision under this Constitution is applicable to any case, it shall be decided in accordance with the constitutional convention in the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State.

For proposing the unconventional – indeed, unlawful – the “army chief said he admired the Rattha Bukkhon [old men] group for its loyalty to the royal institution and its good intention in trying to restore peace to the country.”

It gets worse when the old men, other anti-democrats and the great unelected get together. Khaosod reports that the senate’s Surachai has demanded that the interim government which is awaiting the Election Commission to do its lawful duty and schedule an election, present a “new solution.”Surachai appears to say this should be a response to the (unlawful) actions by the senate and other anti-democrats. He states that “Article 7 might be invoked if the government does not present its own solution to the ongoing political crisis.”

As Khaosod points out, “Surachai’s comments appear to ignore that the caretaker government has consistently offered elections as a solution for resolving the country’s protracted political crisis.” In fact, this is not a solution for anti-democrats, so it simply does not enter their pantheon of (anti-democratic) solutions for the crisis they have largely created.

One reader tells us “there is no law in Thailand,” and we are tempted to agree. One thing is certain, and that is that the anti-democrats couldn’t give a toss for the country’s basic law, even when it is a constitution they designed and manipulated. For them, its their rules or what they say are the rules, and nothing else matters.


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