Several recent stories indicate the paucity of grey matter and political skills amongst the military dictatorship and its servants.
First, at the Bangkok Post, police chief and wealthy businessman Somyos Pumpanmuang is hot on the trail of the persons “who spread rumours on social media that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his wife wired ten billion baht to Singapore.” He could not actually “reveal information in the case yet because it would make their work more difficult” but he claims, as always to be hot on the trail of a rumor. As might be expected, Prayuth has denied the rumor, and we imagine that he has had a tantrum as well.
At least he did acknowledge that he didn’t know “the intentions of the person behind the rumours,” but we guess he figures that anyone talking badly about The Dictator must be up to no good because Prayuth’s reputation, like the king’s, can’t be sullied by rumor. Somyos is probably thinking of a kind of lese dictateur law.
Remarkably and dishonestly, Somyos said his Keystone cops “are checking if the suspect is connected with 14 previously detained students from the anti-coup New Democracy Movement.” This is simply as stupid as it gets amongst the troglodytes grinding Thailand under.
Equally stupidly, Prayuth says he’s been told that “those who put out the information were from Thammasat University.” Rumor and pranks are not the stuff that is likely to bother grown-up dictators but they seem to rattle this lot, and that encourages even more of them.
A second story at the Bangkok Post, is an editorial that we found disturbing. While it welcomes the “military court’s decision to release 14 members of the self-styled New Democracy Movement, it added: “It will help the military regime out of a hole it should not have dug itself into in the first place.” This strikes us as a dumb statement. After all, the junta is in this position because it is a dictatorship.
It is then stated that Prayuth “told the media he had made ‘suggestions’ to the military judiciary about how to handle the case.” Now who was it telling the world that the Thai justice system was fair and unbiased? Oh, yes, it was The Dictator and his spokesman. The Post observes:
Prime Minister Prayut said he had spoken to judicial authorities and made “suggestions” on how to handle the case. He broadcast this startling revelation himself, to the media. The sight of a superior officer influencing the actions of a court — even a military court — is a surprising admission.
It also showed that while Gen Prayut says he must let the wheels of justice roll, he can influence, affect or even reverse that process.
The editorial observes that there “are numerous reasons the students never should have been detained in the first place,” not that we agree with all the reasons. Yes, they were “entirely peaceful,” but the claim that they should be released because they only “attracted a minuscule crowd that posed absolutely no threat to the regime or to civil order,” ignores the fear and repression of the military dictatorship.
The assertion that the students’ “appeal to the public and political influence was not precisely zero but close to it,” and that it is the “authorities [who] have given them a national audience and widespread sympathy” shows that the Post’s editor and its owners are fully lined up with the dictatorship, even if they agree that the students “deserve a voice, even a seat at the table, but never a prison cell for their thoughts.”
Yet another revealing report at the Bangkok Post is about the people allegedly “behind” the Dao Din students. Recall that the dictatorship was sure that there were “political figures” at work behind the “children.”
That absurd claim didn’t have much traction, so General Thawatchai Samutsakhon, a military member of the National Reform Council, decided to come up with an even more absurd accusation. He babbled about the Dao Din students being under the influence of an “ill-intentioned foreign organisation.”
The dim general described a “brainwashing” where the “organisation’s representative had talked with the man’s son for two nights over a month ago…” and reckoned he got this information from one of the student’s fathers.
The father “later denied the claim and said he never met or knew the senior retired officer.” He added that “he didn’t think his son or other students were brainwashed, instigated or hired to speak up against the junta.”
We can assume that this general is a liar.
In a later report, also at the Bangkok Post this particular lie is taken further by “an intelligence team” which has told The Dictator “that a US agency was secretly instigating the students to stand up to the military regime.” While the yellow shirt brigade will lap this up, the U.S. Embassy naturally denied it.
The sensible response was from the student’s father mentioned previously who stated that the Dao Din group had met with representatives of several embassies and the U.N.
The junta looks more ridiculous each day.