Top cop, his job and his wealth

21 04 2015

We are pleased that a major news agency has taken up an important question. Reuters asks: “Is Thailand’s police chief Somyot Poompan-moung [Somyos Pumpanmuang] a graft-buster or hatchet man?”

The answer is clear, as we have stated several times. He’s a hatchet man and propagandist for the military dictatorship.

Reuters says that “critics say he is in the pocket of the ruling junta…”. This is obvious and easily demonstrated.

Somyos is charged by his boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha to be “a hatchet man for a junta trying to tame the police” – seen by the junta and anti-democrats as pro-Thaksin Shinawatra. He is meant to clean out the pro-Thaksin brass out of the police force.

The article quotes Somyos as saying: “Political parties interfere with the police, and some police officers have served politicians in the hope of progressing…”. His statement has two understandings embedded in it. First, that Thaksin gained support in the police. There is no doubt that this is correct.

The second understanding is far more problematic. This is the idea that only politicians “interfere” in the police. The police and military have not always been on the same political side, and military dictatorships have long sought to control the police and the palace has worked hard to promote its favorites in the police force. Both the military and palace have created and controlled significant police units.

The recent fall of the crown prince’s third wife displayed that part of the palace was well-connected in the police.

The major PR problem for the police force is not its political affiliations, but its rampant corruption. While the military and various bureaucratic offices are riddled by corruption, the brass in the police are at the top of a vast pyramid that sucks money from citizens and siphons it to the police bosses. As such, it is a vast criminal enterprise.

So it is that when the puppet National Legislative Assembly was constructed, the military and police members were required to declare their assets. Those declarations showed that the police led the league tables of the obviously but unquestioned unusually rich. The average wealth of the top brass in the police is a whopping 258 million baht.

Somyos has amassed declared assets of almost 375 million baht. We have previously noted this cop’s connections with shady business groups that use men-in-black to harass villagers.

Reuters quotes “analysts” who “say Somyot’s focus is to do the bidding of an army that craves control of the police and, by extension, the Shinawatras – a family whose pro-poor policies won them every Thai election since 2001, along with the hatred of many of the Bangkok elite.”

Paul Chambers, director of research at the Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs in Chiang Mai, is listed as one of these analysts, who says Somyos will seek to “redesign the police in a way that will long make it into a mechanism of the military…”.





Red shirts, black shirts

20 04 2015

PPT read with interest a Khaosod story that states that the military dictatorship has released “Narin Ambuathong, aka M Redshirt, was arrested by military officers on 11 April on suspicion of plotting a car bomb at Central Festival Samui shopping mall…”.

Readers will recall that the military nabbed Narin after the blast, which they immediately blamed on red shirts or political powers of the past, while discounting southern insurgents. Anti-democrat Suthep Thaugsuban, hiding in a monastery, going further and fingering Thaksin Shinawatra.

With Narin cleared, what does the regime now say? According to the report, Pol.Lt.Gen. Prawut Thawornsiri, spokesperson of the police, says the “police are close to arresting the perpetrator of the car bomb.” He adds:

“We cannot identify the perpetrator, but we are close to issuing an arrest warrant,” Pol.Lt.Gen. Prawut. “I cannot say whether the perpetrator is still in Thailand, because we have not detained the person. But I am confident that we will be able to arrest all perpetrators involved in the attack.”

He added, “We are looking at the evidence to expand the investigation. I cannot divulge in-depth information to you right now, because it may affect the case.”

We can hardly wait to read the next installment.

Meanwhile, those accused by the military junta’s top cop of being black shirts or men in black, have had their court appearance delayed for a fourth time. Why? According to the report citing the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, the “postponement is due to a disagreement between the public prosecutor and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), who is overseeing the investigation of the case…. The prosecutors found that the evidence to file terrorism charges against the five is insufficient, but the … DSI … decided to press these charges.”

In earlier reports, initial police claims were retracted, even after the police attempted to fit the suspects up and link them to red shirt activists.

We can hardly wait for the next installment.





Discounting love for the king

19 04 2015

We were interested to see that The Nation is advertising a discount on We Love the King caps at its NStore.

This is either a great bargain for dedicated monarchists or a measure of the decline of the monarchy.

Discounting the king





Ji on the military dictatorship’s draft constitution

19 04 2015

As we often do, PPT reproduces Ji Ungpakorn’s initial reaction to the draft constitution, put together by puppet committees and assemblies, established by the military dictatorship:

Backward, anti-democratic and infantile: The junta’s 2015 draft constitution

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

The junta’s new draft constitution is a pathetic, backward, anti-democratic and infantile document.

Just like the rantings of generalissimo Prayut, it is full of tub-thumping and shouting about the “duties” and “responsibilities” of Thai people to grovel to “Nation, Religion and King”. It is infantile in this because it is written by conservative idiots who think that by bullying the population into conforming to elite beliefs they can actually change peoples’ attitudes.

The infantilism gets worse when we get to Part 2 of the constitution, which is headed; “Good Political Leaders and Good Representatives”. It doesn’t take much brain power to guess what the junta’s definition of “good” might be. High up on the list is loyalty to “Nation, Religion and King” and not being corrupt…blah blah blah. The whole thing sounds like some moral tale designed for a bad kindergarten.

Worse still, the constitution sets out a new unelected committee called the “National Morals Forum”. This appointed bunch of junta loyalists will have unlimited powers to weed out “unsuitable” politicians, making sure they do not stand for elections, and it will have the power to veto policies and start impeachment processes. This “National Morals Forum” is similar to the “fatherland or patriotic committees” in Vietnam today and in Indonesia under Suharto, which selected suitable politicians for the people to “choose”.

It should be stated that those who were involved with the cold-blooded murder of pro-democracy demonstrators in 2010 and those who staged military coups to overthrow elected governments and destroy constitutions, are not deemed to be “bad” people at all. It is these “good” state criminals and military gangster who propose in the constitution that the state “educate” the public in democratic principles.

The constitution is highly undemocratic because it gives power to the “National Morals Forum”. But added to this is the fact that article 172 allows for a non-MP to become Prime Minister. In 1992 many democracy activists sacrificed their lives on the streets of Bangkok to uphold the principle that the Prime Minister must be an elected member of parliament.

The Senate will be totally unelected. Just under half will be “elected” in a sham election where there will be a “choice” of 10 “suitable” candidates per province, selected by the elites, for the people to choose. The candidate with most votes will become the senator. The rest of the senate will be self -appointed by pro-military elite interest groups.

The lower house of parliament will be elected by a complicated method involving the tinkering about with the numbers of constituency and party list MPs. Large popular parties like TRT or Pua Thai will be discriminated against by reducing the number of their party list MPs if they win “too many” constituencies. Small, unpopular, parties, such as the Democrat Party, will be given extra party list MPs. The hope is that governments will be weak and less stable and forced to rely on coalitions.

Politicians who have suffered bans on their political activity, almost exclusively from Pua Thai and TRT, will be barred from all elections under section 15 of article 111.

Governments and politicians who design pro-poor policies which are deemed to be “not in the interest of the nation” can be punished and removed from office under article 205. Article 30 also allows governments to use the excuse that “there is no money” in order to flout the constitutional rights of the people to access state education, health and other benefits.

Some people have become exited by the fact that the constitution allows for the possibility that Thailand could have a woman as the royal head of state. In fact this has been in the constitution since 2007 and only becomes one possible choice if the King dies and has not appointed a successor. This is not the case today as the Crown Prince is the King’s appointed successor.

This is possibly the worst constitution that has ever been drafted in Thailand. It should be opposed.





Lawyers against Article 44

18 04 2015

We are late reproducing this excellent statement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-FST-022-2015
April 14, 2015

A Statement from The Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA) forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

THAILAND: Revoke the NCPO Order no. 3/2558 and stop invoking Section 44 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim), B.E. 2557 (2014)

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has issued Order no. 3/2558 concerning the maintenance of peace and national security, invoking Section 44 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim), B.E. 2557 (2014),[1] to replace Martial Law which was lifted on 1 April 2015.

The Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA) considers NCPO Order no. 3/2558, which grants the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) draconian power over the Legislative, Administrative and Judicial branches, including over any law made by these branches, to be in breach of the fundamental principles of democracy and human rights for the following reasons.

  1. The power granted to the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) over the Legislative, Administrative and Judicial branches amounts to an absolute centralization of powers, which is incompatible with the rule of law. Checks and balances are normally provided to prevent arbitrary use of ruling power which may affect national security and the rights and freedoms of the people. In addition, the Order falls outside the jurisdiction of administrative justice and the Act on Establishment of Administrative Courts and Administrative Court Procedure. It is, therefore, intended to place power beyond judicial review, leaving the people whose rights are violated unable to resort to judicial remedies and judicial review to hold the officials exercising the Order accountable.
  1. The Order paves the way for military officials to act as a “competent official for maintaining peace and order,” invoking the Order to conduct a search, seizure, or compulsory requisition, to prohibit dissemination of news, or to perform duties similar to an inquiry official under the Criminal Procedure Code. The trial of civilians charged for violations of Articles 107 to 112, and 113 to 118 of the Penal Code, and for violations of the NCPO Announcements and Orders, continues to fall under the jurisdiction of the Military Court as per the NCPO Announcements no. 37/2557, 38/2557 and 50/2557. Trial by Military Court breaches the guarantee of fundamental rights and the right to a fair trial by an independent tribunal, as provided for by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). These breaches include the right of access to information, freedom of the press, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and the rights of people to access justice. As a result, the Order has made the rights and freedom of people more vulnerable to violation. Thus such an Order could have an adverse impact on the present attempts to restore democratic processes in Thailand.

HRLA and the undersigned organizations and individuals, including lawyers and activists working on law and human rights, are gravely concerned that such exercise of arbitrary power without any checks and balances or accountability will threaten the exercise of rights and freedoms by people and contribute to an environment of impunity. We therefore urge the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to revoke application of Section 44 of the Interim Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, B.E. 2557 (2014) and NCPO Order no.3/2558 in the present context.

With respect in human rights and human dignity

  1. Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA)
  2. Union for Civil Liberties (UCL)
  3. Academic Network for Social and Southern Communities Organization
  4. Mr.Somchai Homlaor, Lawyer
  5. Mr. Pairoj Pholphet, Lawyer
  6. Mr.Sangchai Ratanaseriwong, Attorney
  7. Mr.Chairat Saeng-Arun, Attorney
  8. Mr.Thaworn Piyawongrungruang, Attorney
  9. Mr.Ratsada Manooratsada, Attorney
  10. Mr.Surasich​ lueangarunnapha, Attorney
  11. Mr.Sarawut Pratoomraj, Attorney
  12. Mr.Surachai Trongngam, Attorney
  13. Mr.Sumitchai Hatthasan, Attorney
  14. Ms.Sor Rattamanee Polkla, Attorney
  15. Mr.Somnuek Tumsuparb, Attorney
  16. Mrs.Umporn Sungtong, Attorney
  17. Ms.Yaowalak Anuphan, Attorney
  18. Ms.Darunee Paisarnpanichsakul, Lawyer
  19. Ms.Preeda Tongchumnum, Attorney
  20. Ms.Napaporn Songprang, Attorney
  21. Mr.Teerapun Punkiri, Attorney
  22. Mr.Songkrant Pongboonjun, Lawyer
  23. Ms.Junjira Junpaew, Attorney
  24. Mr.Laofang Bundidterdsakul, Attorney
  25. Mr.Panom Butakiew, Attorney
  26. Ms.Koreeyor Manuchae, Attorney
  27. Ms.Pradittha Pariyakaewfah, Lawyer
  28. Ms.Atchara Suttisuntarin, Lawyer
  29. Ms.Puttinun Kopunta, Lawyer
  30. Ms.Paranda Pankaew, Lawyer
  31. Mr.Sonthaya Kodpunya, Lawyer
  32. Mr.Apirach Khansen, Lawyer
  33. Ms.Rosnanee Hayeesamare, Lawyer
  34. Ms.Waleerat Chuwa, Lawyer
  35. Ms.Khumklao Songsomboon, Attorney
  36. Ms.Montana Duangprapa, Attorney
  37. Ms.Waraporn Utairungsee, Attorney
  38. Ms.Anyanee Chaichompoo, Lawyer
  39. Ms.Pawinee Chumsri, Attorney
  40. Mr.Thornthan Kanmangmee, Lawyer
  41. Mr.Abdulloh Hayee-abu, Attorney
  42. Mr.Kritsada Khunnarong, Attorney
  43. Ms.Poonsuk Poonsukjarern, Attorney
  44. Ms.Supunsa Marhem, Attorney
  45. Mr.Danaikrit Sreekarn, Lawyer
  46. Ms.Chunsa Supunmuang, Lawyer
  47. Ms.Atcha SongJarern, Lawyer
  48. Ms.Umarporn Sungkalekha, Lawyer
  49. Mr.Amarin Saichan, Lawyer
  50. Ms.Somsakul Sreemeteekul, Attorney
  51. Mr.Weerawat Oboh, Attorney
  52. Ms.Angkana Anujorn, Attorney
  53. Mr.Narakorn Namuangrak, Lawyer
  54. Ms.Waraporn Intanon, Lawyer
  55. Ms.Juntima Trilerd, Lawyer
  56. Mr.Montree Achariyasakulchai, Lawyer
  57. Ms.Muda Nawanard, Lawyer
  58. Ms.Jingjung Nasare, Lawyer
  59. Ms.Thitiworada Thammapiriyakul, Lawyer
  60. Mr.Israpong Wiengwong, Lawyer
  61. Ms.Phattranit Yaodam, Attorney
  62. Ms.Waewtar Sarles, Lawyer
  63. Mr.Jessada Jangjun, Attorney
  64. Ms.Achichaya Oodwong, Lawyer
  65. Ms.Karnjana Akkrachard, Lawyer
  66. Mr.Kritsada Cheechuang, Attorney
  67. Mr.Bundit Hormket, Lawyer
  68. Ms.Chalermsri Prasertsri, Lawyer
  69. Mr.Sutthikiet Kochaso, Lawyer
  70. Ms.Sasinun Thammanitinun, Attorney
  71. Mr.Sutthikiew Thammadul, Attorney
  72. Ms.Mananya Poonsiri, Lawyer
  73. Ms.Utumporn Duangkaew, Lawyer
  74. Ms.Watcharasak Vijitnun, Lawyer
  75. Mr.Jatupat Bunpatraksar, Lawyer
  76. Ms.Kwanhatai Patumthawornsakul, Lawyer
  77. Ms.Maseetoh Munloh, Lawyer
  78. Ms.Siwaporn Fordsoongnern, Lawyer
  79. Mr.Kittichai Jongkraijak, Lawyer
  80. Mr.Apisarn Yarnuch, Attorney
  81. Mrs.Natthasiri Berkman, Attorney
  82. Mr.Suriyong Kongkrapun, Attorney
  83. Mr.Thitirat Soisuwun, Lawyer
  84. Ms.Nuengruetai Kochasarn, Lawyer
  85. Ms.Suthatip Omparn, Lawyer
  86. Ms.Natwadee Tengpanichsakul, Lawyer
  87. Mr.Sakeemun Benjadeja, Attorney
  88. Mr.Papob Siemharn, Lawyer
  89. Ms.Preeyaporn Kunkumnerd, Lawyer
  90. Ms.Butsara Singhabut, Lawyer
  91. Mr.Wannawat Summaniti, Lawyer
  92. Mr.Anucha Wintachai, Human Rights Activist
  93. Ms.Hataikarn Renumard
  94. Ms.Siripaporn Chuensri
  95. Ms.Supaporn Malailoy
  96. Mrs.Pairat Chantong
  97. Ms.Sirilak Sriprasit
  98. Ms.Yollada Thanakornsakul
  99. Mr.Panom Tano
  100. Mrs.Sukarntar Sukpaitar
  101. Mrs.Chanidapar Prakaipech
  102. Mr.Wasin Paitarfong, Attorney
  103. Mr.Pijit Sukayuwana, Attorney
  104. Mr.Wisut Chantadansuwun, Lawyer
  105. Mr.Wanus Khosasu, Lawyer
  106. Mr.Nontawut Rachakawee, Lawyer
  107. Mr.Prompong Wongras, Lawyer
  108. Ms.Nawasorn Limsakul, Lawyer
  109. Mr.Witsarut Kitdee, Lawyer
  110. Ms.Amornrat Klungkumnerd, Lawyer
  111. Mr.Udhar Lohmoh, Volunteer
  112. Mr. Mahamasulainee Tohmalor, Volunteer
  113. Ms.Nopparak Yungeiam, Lawyer
  114. Ms.Nijnirun Awapark, Lawyer
  115. Ms.Sirikan Jarernsri, Lawyer
  116. Mr.Sittiporn Parkpirom, Attorney
  117. 117.Mr.Preeda Nakpiw, Attorney
  118. Mr.Natser Ardwarin, Attorney
  119. Mr.Warut Boontharik, Attorney
  120. Ms.Jirarat Mulsiri, Attorney
  121. Ms.Luenhorm Saifah, Lawyer
  122. Mr.Wuttichai Parkduangjai, Lawyer
  123. Mr.Jirawat Suriyashotichyangkul, Lawyer
  124. Mr.Kittisak Tiengtrong, Attorney
  125. Acting Sub Lt.Chawanun Kanokvijitsin, Attorney
  126. Mr.Arnon Sriboonjun, Law Academician
  127. Mr. Jesada Thongkaow, Law Academician
  128. Ms.Saovanee Kaewjullakarn, Law Academician
  129. Mr. Tossapon Tassanakunlapan, Law Academician
  130. Mr.Khanpech Chaitaweep, Law Academician
  131. Associate Professor Doctor Nattapong Jitnirat, Academician
  132. Mr,Chalit Meesit, Attorney

For more information, please contact:

Human Rights Lawyers Association :Tel: +66-2-6934939 +66-2-6934939, +66-2-6934831 +66-2-6934831

NCPO Order no. 3/2558 www.ratchakitcha.soc.go.th/DATA/PDF/2558/E/073/1.PDF

[1]Section 44 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim), B.E. 2557 (2014) states that “In the case where the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order is of opinion that it is necessary for the benefit of reform in any field and to strengthen public unity and harmony, or for the prevention, disruption or suppression of any act which undermines public peace and order or national security, the Monarchy, national economics or administration of State affairs, whether that act emerges inside or outside the Kingdom, the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order shall have the powers to make any order to disrupt or suppress regardless of the legislative, executive or judicial force of that order. In this case, that order, act or any performance in accordance with that order is deemed to be legal, constitutional and conclusive, and it shall be reported to the National Legislative Assembly and the Prime Minister without delay.”





Dummy or dolt?

18 04 2015

About a week ago, the New York Times published an editorial on Thailand’s military dictatorship and the obvious “cynical sleight of hand, [where] Thailand’s military junta lifted martial law last week only to replace it with even more draconian powers for the ruling military junta led by Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha.”

That claim is truthful. So is the observation that the move by the military dictatorship had “little to do with restoring democracy.” Actually, it had nothing to do with democracy.

The claim that Thailand under the fascist military regime could become a pariah state obviously stung the dictators. The result is that Thailand’s Ambassador to the U.S. Pisan Manawapat is required to respond. Defending the military dictatorship means he is either a puppet of the regime of a complete dolt. (Yes, we know it is his job, but really, defending dictators is the work of fascists, dolts and puppets.)

His response is to defend the draconian Article 44 “a set of measures sanctioned by the interim constitution.” The interim constitution was put in place by the military dictatorship. Article 44 is a set of dictatorial measures from a dictatorship.

Pisan says “these measures are actually limited in scope, governed by due process, and allow for compensation and appeals.” In fact, this is nonsense. As explained in the media, Article 44 gives The Dictator, “junta leader and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha absolute power to give any order deemed necessary to ‘strengthen public unity and harmony’ or to prevent any act that undermines public peace.”

The ambassador states that the military coup “lifted the country out of political paralysis and violence. Until then, Thailand’s version of democracy was plagued by rampant corruption, abuse of power and absence of rule of law.” That’s the anti-democrat’s mantra.

But his claim that “Thailand is now developing a sustainable democracy with checks and balances that seek to promote good governance, manage political disagreement and ensure accountability” is simply propaganda from the military dictatorship. He is referring to a draft constitution that is designed to prevent elected politicians ruling in Thailand.

Perhaps funniest claim is that “laws and amendments have been passed to better protect people’s rights and animal welfare…”. We know nothing about animals, but we have yet to see rights granted let alone protected. Pisan and the junta are delusional.





The throwback

17 04 2015

Reuters tells us that “[w]hen the army took over last May, most observers expected something similar to previous coups: a brief interregnum, and then a transfer to civilian government. That hasn’t happened.”

We’d point out that PPT was not one of the “most observers.” This military dictatorship has always seen the need to “avoid the mistakes” of 2006-7.

The Reuters story is correct to observe, as PPT has several times, that this regime “is a throwback to the kind of sustained military dictatorship last experienced by Thailand in the depths of the Cold War…”. These are reported as the words of commentator and scholar Chris Baker. He adds:

Prayuth has got this opinion of himself and his power which has become more and more evident in the last couple of months, really, that he thinks he can do anything….

There’s much in this. A Bangkok Post of Prayuth’s “report” to the nation indicates that Prayuth’s opinion of himself is high indeed.

As if we didn’t know, he considers that his hard work – repressing political opponents, arresting hundreds, “fixing” politics for the royalist elite, using the draconian lese majeste law and more – is under-appreciated. Clearly, he reckons he’s a star.

He’s apparently convinced that his orders are just the thing for Thailand:

I just ordered the production of electric train cars. It’s easy. We came up with several prototypes but few have been put into use. I’ll see to that. From now on, research projects must be done only in pre-determined fields and they will be financed until they’re successful….

Megalomania is always a problem for the people when a dictator is in control.

He also warned  – that was at all necessary – that: “[t]he more you criticise me, the more I do and the stricter I am with laws. I’ve been well rested after the long holiday and I’m ready for anything…”. He threatened increased use of Article 44.

A throwback indeed.








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