The punishment obsession

19 02 2015

The military dictatorship’s main task has been to roll back electoral politics to a pre-Thaksin Shinawatra era. Having failed to do that following the 2006 putsch, the current military regime has made it clear that there will be no failure following the 2014 coup.

In running its coup, the military junta smashed parliament and the (military) constitution of 2007 and it neutered elected provincial administration. It has repressed red shirts and democracy and human rights activists, arresting them for trivial displays of dissent and using martial law to repress. It has produced remarkably conservative and royalist propaganda for schools while “calling in” hundreds and imprisoning dozens. Many of those jailed are activists the regime considers opponents. The others have been part of succession preparations.

The military dictatorship has appointed puppet assemblies and constitution drafting bodies that have been instructed on what the final outcome should be – prevent any pro-Thaksin or “populist”party defeating the parties of the rightist elite when the junta decides to allow an election.

As the anti-democrats once led by Democrat Party godfather Suthep Thaugsuban demanded, the junta is also rooting out the “Thaksin regime.” This includes direct attacks on the Shinawatra family so that they can never engage in electoral politics. PPT has posted on some of this previously (e.g. here and here).

The most recent reports suggest that the military dictatorship is obsessed by Yingluck Shinawatra and views her as a threat who must be destroyed. Of course, part of this obsession is a reflection of the royalist desire to punish Thaksin.

The first of these reports is at the Bangkok Post, where the junta’s Finance Minister Sommai Phasee “has instructed the Comptroller-General’s Department to outline how to seek compensation from ousted prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra for estimated damage of more than 500 billion baht from the rice-pledging scheme.”

The amount is a claim rather than a calculation and the ministry “must file a civil suit demanding the return of government money following a request from the National Anti-Corruption Commission…”, the agency charged for years with bringing down Thaksin and his family.

We say it is claim because the ministry’s amount goes back to 2004. We have no idea if it also includes funds handed out by the Democrat Party government from 2008-11. As everyone knows, Yingluck was only elected in 2011, so the calculation back to 2004 is bizarre. Even so, the ministry reckons she’s responsible for more than 500 billion baht.

The civil case, like all others, rests on anti-democrat interpretations of “negligence” that rely on anti-democrat demands, claims and demands for retribution. Others to be included are a former commerce minister, a deputy minister and “19 other high-level officials, private sector executives and two companies.”

This act of retribution wants to hit the Shinawatra clan by wiping out its potential politicians.

It is also based on the anti-democrat shibboleth that Thaksin was supported because he was rich and could buy votes. Better analysts than PPT have pointed out that this is “nonsense,” yet the anti-democrats need to believe it rather than acknowledge that the majority in Thailand repeatedly voted for parties it preferred, and these were never the parties of royalists and anti-democrats.

The second story, also at the Bangkok Post, is about the OAG’s promised indictment of “Yingluck before the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office-Holders…”. She will be charged “under Section 157 of the Criminal Code and Section 123/1 of the 1999 Organic Law on Counter-Corruption, of dereliction of duty regarding alleged corruption in her government’s rice-pledging scheme.”

Case after case, based on shaky law – but that is the norm in royalist Thailand – is meant to punish and defeat. The military dictatorship needs to do this for the anti-democrats and royalists because it wants them to select the military party (that will emerge) the next time there is a (rigged) election.


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