Responding to threats

23 01 2019

Interestingly, the Bangkok Post has been forced to apologize to the whole judiciary for an editorial criticizing the judges over their intimidation of activists in Chiang Mai.

The editorial pointed to events concerning the luxury housing project for judicial staff that gobbled up several rai of forest on Doi Suthep.

That the Post had to replace today’s editorial with a “clarification.” One can only imagine the pressure brought to bear on the editor for getting a couple of details just a little skewed.

Under the junta, the judiciary has become powerful and virtually untouchable at the same time that the judiciary has declined as an institution and become a politicized rabble that often displays double standards and an ability to warp law in favor of the great, the good and the judges themselves.





Updated: King finally endorses royal decree on election

23 01 2019

As most readers will know, after a three week delay, the king has finally signed the royal decree calling an election.

The immediate questions are: (1) Why did he delay? Is he working with the junta or just demonstrating his disdain for the electoral process? Or was he demonstrating his power? and (2) What date will be chosen? We expect the Election Commission to go with the military junta’s preference and select 24 March.

The questions that follow these are: (1) When will The Dictator announce his intentions? (2) How much more election rigging will there be? (3) Will there be outright cheating such as ballot box stuffing? and (4) Will the EC investigate existing allegations of electoral fraud against Palang Pracharath?

Update: One question answered: its 24 March, the junta’s preferred date, but probably the only date really available. Even so, things will be very tight indeed.





Junta thugs threaten pro-election activists

22 01 2019

While Prachatai reported that pro-election activists avoided a clash with the newly-reformed anti-democrats and X-men who oppose pressuring the king to endorse the election decree, one pro-election activist was attacked.

Akechai Hongkangwarn was attacked and bashed by three men and another issuing orders to the attackers. He was “assaulted … after leaving a rally demanding timely elections…”.

An ardent junta critic and former lese majeste prisoner, Akechai said “three men wearing motorcycle helmets attacked him at about 7pm after he left the campus to eat dinner. He sustained wounds to his head, face and arm.”

He added that “the assailants only fled after a group of Asian tourists rushed to his aid.”

Junta thugs have been tailing and attacking Akechai for some time. They are likely to acting on the orders of military supporters of Gen Prawit Wongsuwan.





Updated: Murderous monarchists III

22 01 2019

Back when the handcuffed, disemboweled bodies, filled with chunks of cement, found on the banks of the Mekong, the victims of murderous monarchists, we posted on an unconfirmed report of three bodies having been found.

Two of the bodies have been identified as aides to anti-monarchist Surachai Sae Dan. The three were “disappeared” late in December from a house in Laos where the three were in exile.

Khaosod has a story seemingly confirming that a third body was found in the river, and then that it “disappeared.” The report states:

Coming after two mutilated bodies recovered from the river were identified as aides of a missing prominent anti-monarchist, the photos show what appear to be a third body that can no longer be accounted for.

The third body was found by a villager on 27 December and reported to police. A navy patrol arrived and took photos, but when police arrived, the body was gone.

The local headman “was instructed by security forces not to talk about what happened.”

It is looking like the suspension of the use of lese majeste charges has been been replaced by abduction, torture and murder.

Update: The Bangkok Post reports that police have confirmed that the bodies of the tortured and murdered two are the aides to Surachai. One line in the report jumped out: “The murdered men are believed to be the victims of more political killings of accused lese majeste suspects tracked down and killed inside Laos.” Clearly, the perpetrators are assumed to be representatives of the Thai state, torturing and murdering. It is also implied that these murders are targeting critics of the monarchy. It is a dark state that uses abduction, torture and murder, yet these have long been defining characteristics of the murderous military. When they work for a vindictive palace, acting with impunity and with no consideration for domestic or international law, the future looks as bleak as some had predicted back in 2016.





Murderous monarchists II

22 01 2019

Yesterday we posted on the handcuffed, disemboweled bodies, filled with chunks of cement, found on the banks of the Mekong, and how one of the victims was likely Phoo Chana, a 57-year-old who had fled Thailand after the 2014 coup and lived in exile in Laos, working with Surachai Sae Dan (Danwattananusorn).

Surachai, Phoo Chana and Kasalong all went missing at the same time. Their enforced disappearance was probably the work of murderous monarchists, acting under orders. We assume that the orders to torture, murder and dispose of the bodies probably originated high up in Thailand.

It is now confirmed that the second tortured and mutilated body is that of Kasalong. Khaosod reports that “a source at the Forensic Science Institute … speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed Tuesday that DNA testing has linked the second body … to a man known as “Comrade Kasalong…”.

This also means that Surachai was probably also tortured and murdered.

The real identities are not publicly known but both were red shirts working with Surachai.

It seems that at least five anti-monarchy Thais have been “disappeared” and probably killed.

The viciousness of the murders brings to mind the work of rangers and Border Patrol Police in earlier times but also reminds one of rumors of cruelty and murder in the 1990s linked to high places.

In the report of this particular murder, “Police in Nakhon Phanom, where one of the bodies was recovered, vowed Tuesday morning to find those responsible.” Presumably they will be sleuthing in Bangkok.





Promising the royal decree

22 01 2019

The Bangkok Post reports:

A highly placed source in the EC said Monday the commission was under immense pressure to set an election date. The most viable options for holding the ballot are now either March 10 or March 24.

Without the royal decree calling for the election, the Election Commission (EC) cannot set the date for the poll, said the source.

And, again, The Dictator has declared that the “royal decree calling the election will soon be published in the Royal Gazette.” Previously, 23 January was the new predicted date for the delayed decree for the long-delayed election.

Army commander, Gen Apirat Kongsompong, said to be close to the king, “believes the royal decree announcing the polls will be published soon as required by the constitution…” The comment on constitution seems to refer to the general 150-day deadline set for holding the election after the final organic law.

Let’s see what happens tomorrow, but many are pessimistic.

Political scientist Prajak Kongkiarti “said it will not bode well if the Royal Decree is not issued this week…”. If the decree is not issued, then Prajak predicts the junta’s election “will likely be held after May 9…”. That’s unconstitutional but Prajak predicts the use of Article 44: “However, that would mean we enter a political black hole where the Constitution is meaningless and no rules are the norm other than Article 44.”





Murderous monarchists I

21 01 2019

It seems increasingly likely that the handcuffed, disemboweled bodies, filled with chunks of cement, found on the banks of the Mekong, are the victims of murderous monarchists, probably acting under orders. The orders to torture, murder and dispose of the bodies probably originated high up in Thailand.

Khaosod reports that the “son of one of three missing republicans said Monday that police have concluded that a mutilated body found in the Mekong River was his father.” Phoo Chana and Kasalong went missing at the same time that Surachai Sae Dan (Danwattananusorn) was disappeared late last year.

The Institute of Forensic Science has conducted a preliminary DNA test and the results identified him as Phoo Chana, a 57-year-old who had fled Thailand after the 2014 coup and lived in exile in Laos, working with Surachai.

Several other anti-monarchists have been disappeared and are presumed to have been murdered.

Fear among dissidents overseas is now rife. Indeed, that is exactly what the enforced disappearances are meant to achieve, for fear breeds silence.