Not making it up

13 04 2014

In our last post we vented some frustration with poor and spineless reporting that allowed royalists to appear as something other than political animals intent on saying anything that can bring their side advantage in their struggle to maintain political and economic power and privilege. In this post, we refer to material that could not possibly be made up, but which uses falsified and misleading information as if it were legitimate.

Chavanond being a spokesman (a Bangkok Post photo)

Chavanond being a spokesman (a Bangkok Post photo)

In a report at The Nation, the failed Democrat Party’s loudmouth-in-chief, rants on about Wuthipong Kachathamakul, who has been forced to go into hiding for apparently declaring that the king is and has been an enemy of democratic reform in Thailand. The Democrat Party, acting as judge, chief prosecutor and police detective, declares that Ko Tee is “hiding under the protection of an influential figure in the Northeast.”

Chavanond babbled that “it was time police proved that they were law enforcers and not servants of politicians.” He reckons the police “would be able to nab both Wuthipong and Ekkapob Luara, aka Tang Acheewa, who is wanted for alleged lese majeste offences following a speech he gave at a red-shirt rally last year.”

Recall that this is from a party that when in government ranted about “men in black” but produced no evidence of any worth about them and seemed unable to locate any even with the support of the Army. Recall that this is the party that when in government committed gross acts of violence against protesters and threw hundreds in jail. Recall that this is the party that when in government implemented a vast censorship campaign against political opponents.

Chavanond, as spokesperson for this party then resorted to complete dishonesty and nonsense when he “called on the police to get information about the plot to topple the monarchy from Department of Special Investigation (DSI) director-general Tarit Pengdith, saying Tarit had knowledge of the plot and links within the Pheu Thai Party.” Further:

He said police should start probing the alleged plot against the monarchy by looking into the case of Wuthipong. “If police are reluctant to take necessary action for fear of negative consequences to vested interest groups, the country will continue to face political conflict,” he said.

PPT imagines that the royalist party refers to the crazy diagram it drew up when Suthep Thaugsuban was in government, and which was meant to be a central element of a witch hunt against even more of the royalists’ political enemies. It was a concoction and nobody except diehard and foolish royalists took it seriously. Chavanond was one of them.

Chavanond is a genuine article, making nonsensical statements he must believe, but using concocted and recycled trash. What next? The Finland plot?

The anti-monarchy plot diagram

The anti-monarchy plot diagram

 





Updated: Making stuff up

13 04 2014

PPT never ceases to be amazed by the nonsensical reports in the mainstream media that seems to have been written by persons with no memory, neither short-term nor long-term. To recent examples appear in the Bangkok Post.

In one story, the Bangkok Post reports on an interview with “former Senate speaker, legal expert and Council of State member Meechai Ruchupan.” Oddly – perhaps we should say “Of course” – the Post doesn’t see fit to describe Meechai as a rabid royalist ideologue associated with the 2006 military coup and junta and with several anti-democratic movements.

If the Post had stated this political position, Meechai’s claims about the constitution on who has the responsibility to call the Senate together when the House is dissolved.

At least the Post pointed out that “Meechai does not see eye-to-eye with colleagues who recently told the cabinet secretariat that the parliament president has the authority to seek a royal decree for the Senate to be convened.”

The story should be that Meechai has broken ranks with his colleagues on the Council of State for political reasons.

Also at the Bangkok Post, Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri’s is reported as coming up with the not-so-bright “idea to seek a recommendation from His Majesty the King if the Constitutional Court rules against caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra…”, using Section 7 of the Constitution.

PPT reckons it is dumb to try to involve the king/palace in anything political. They should be discouraged, not encouraged.

But what made us laugh in this report is royalist and anti-democrats criticizing “Chaikasem for trying to involve the institution of the monarchy in the political crisis…”.

Now, really, how ludicrous is such a claim from these political clowns? They spend almost all their time “defending the monarchy” and using it as a political weapon for lashing their opponents. And it was the anti-democrats who originally propounded the use of Section 7.

They are simply making stuff up and there seems no journalist willing to point out that these people are rolling in horse manure.

Update: Still making it up, the hopelessly biased and ridiculously incompetent Election Commission, unable to organize the 2 February election now thinks it is an agency on a constitutional par with an elected government (albeit in caretaker mode). It has been encouraged in this by the equally politicized Constitutional Court. The Election Commission “has warned there will be no chance of an election if the caretaker government and the EC cannot settle their differences.” It is a threat.

Election commissioner Somchai Srisuttiyakorn said the Constitution Court determined “the EC and the caretaker government must work together to set the date and organise a new general election.” He declared “that if the government and the EC cannot come to an understanding there will be no election.”

Look that fiction up in the constitution or electoral laws. Again, they are making it up for political advantage.

The point is that the EC is saying that it will determine the dte of the next election. When? “Somchai, who is in charge of election management, said the fresh poll is likely to be months away.”





Remembering the crackdown on red shirts

13 04 2014

PPT has been delayed in getting to this because of the rash of lese majeste action in the past few days. However, it has to be remembered that 10 April marked the first attempt by the then Abhisit Vejjajiva regime to smash the red shirt protests in 2010. The protesters were calling for an election. The crackdown was meant to silence that call. It was the result of orders that Suthep Thaugsuban claims he issued. Almost four years later it was Suthep at the head of the anti-democrats who prevented an election. As an editorial at Khaosod puts it, Abhisit and Suthep gave “coffins to those who were asking for ballot boxes.”

The Abhisit-Suthep-Army crackdown left “more than 20 people dead, mostly protesters, by the time the operation was called off. It was the bloodiest confrontation Thailand has seen in decades, but it was merely the beginning of a far more devastating outcome; the military later crushed the Redshirts in May 2010, resulting in a total body count of at least 90 people.”

The real figures are, as best PPT can determine, between 26-29 and 94-100, with the 10 April 2010 deaths shown in this Matichon graphic:

10 April 2010

The Khaosod editorial continues:

The damage from the crackdown extends beyond the loss of lives: Thai society has become far more polarised than ever before, some factions of the Redshirts turned to radicalisation, while dozens of political prisoners have languished in prison since the final days of the military operation in 2010.

Hopes were stirred among the Redshirts and human rights activists in Thailand when Yingluck Shinawatra surged to power via a landslide election victory in 2011, with a promise that her government would pursue legal prosecution against the perpetrators of the 2010 crackdown, and issue amnesty bills for ordinary citizens who had been jailed simply because they were caught up in the chaos of the protests.

Of course, the Yingluck government was forced and acquiesced all too easily to the threats from royalists, the palace and the military. Red shirts remain in prison and lese majeste remains a tool for royalists to repress and coerce. But giving in to the royalist elite was, as PPT posted many times, a failed strategy, and the hopeless amnesty bill showed a lack of understanding of the forces arranged against Thaksin, Yingluck, Puea THai and the red shirts; the royalists could never be “won over.” Khaosod comments:

Now the administration of Ms. Yingluck seems doomed, along with any hope of amnesty plan for the political prisoners who are still imprisoned.

Because of its misguided pursuit of the “Blanket Amnesty”, Pheu Thai Party ended up sabotaging the hopes that these prisoners could be freed from their captivity, back into the embrace of their families and friends.

Furthermore, it is also incredible that the Pheu Thai-led administration has not bothered to at least sign the order, via the legitimate channel of the Ministry of Justice, to grant these imprisoned citizens a temporary release throughout the previous years as a government.

At least Abhisit and Suthep have found themselves charged with murder and related charges, but as Khaosod observes:

it is unclear whether any justice will be administered if (or, some would say, when) the new power clique replaces Ms. Yingluck’s government. Most likely, the new government, hostile to Pheu Thai Party, will order all court procedures to a halt once they take power.

The Pheu Thai Party has unwittingly unleashed the force of anti-democracy by handing them the Blanket Amnesty Bill as a rallying point. In doing so, that force of anti-democracy is now allowed to threaten any chance of achieving the first legal prosecution and punishment of Thai state officials for their crimes against their own citizens.

It adds:

There is no question that the widespread violence 4 years ago was tragic, but what is even more tragic is the missed opportunities by Pheu Thai Party to at least ease the suffering of those affected by the crackdown in the years that followed.

In another Khaosod report, it is reported that red shirts “marked the anniversary of the military crackdown on their protests 4 years ago, while anti-government protesters held a separate vigil for the soldiers who died in the operation.” For the anti-democrats, the red shirts mowed down by the Army count for nothing.

From the Telegraph.

From the Telegraph

Khaosod’s brief report of the events of that night is, however, deeply flawed, and PPT recommends that readers unfamiliar with the events go back to our posts of those days.

It is reported that:

Redshirts chose to mark the anniversary with simple exhibition detailing the incident on 10 April 2010 at Imperial World Lat Phrao shopping mall in eastern Bangkok, and a Buddhist ceremony in the morning in memory of Redshirts demonstrators who lost their lives 4 years ago.

The exhibition also featured a musical performance and speeches by core leaders of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) in the evening.

The low-profile event contrasts with mass rallies called by the UDD to commemorate the 10 April crackdown in previous years. Mr. Jatupon Prompan, chairman of the UDD, explained that the idea of holding a rally around Democracy Monument was abandoned due to the presence of anti-government protesters who are encamped near the monument.

“We don’t want to provoke any violence, it may affect our brothers and sisters,” Mr. Jatupon said.

The extremes to which the royalist elite are prepared to go to protect political and economic privilege should not be forgotten: using deadly violence, the power of the state and ditching elections and trashing the economy are all strategies they have used in recent years.





Updated: More on the Ko Tee lese majeste case

12 04 2014

Over the past week there has been a flurry of stories about lese majeste. PPT has posted on some of these stories about Thailand’s residual feudalism. In this post we focus on a clutch of news stories associated with Ko Tee or Wuthipong Kachathamakul ( โกตี๋ หรือ วุฒิพงศ์ กชธรรมคุณ).

The lese majeste junkies at the Democrat Party were fast out of the rat hole on Ko Tee’s case, using it in the best of the worst traditions of the Party, smearing all their political opponents. Party loudmouth/spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said the party’s toady “leader” Abhisit Vejjajiva:

had assigned the party’s legal team to lodge complaints with caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order director Chalerm Yubamrung and Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdit to consider taking legal actions against Ko Tee for his controversial interview with the foreign media which were deemed lese majeste.Ko Tee

The party was also lodging “a complaint with the Crime Suppression Division police and to file lawsuits against Ko Tee with the police throughout the country.” Lodging the complaint nationwide is evidence that these hopeless and failed politicians haven’t had a new political idea since the 1940s. Shouting in the cinema, Chavanond bleated that:

Ko Tee’s conduct reflected the negative attitude of several red-shirt leaders and followers towards the Monarchy. Such attitude, he said, is a security threat that authorities concerned cannot just sit idly by but have to take actions to deal with it according to the law.

Abhisit has regularly sought to use the monarchy against political opponents.

The savageness of the attack on Ko Tee, in part, reflect the directness of his comments. It also reflects the fact that Ko Tee is radical in his politics, challenging not just the royalists but sometimes the official United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship.Indeed, the official red shirts have been quick to dump Ko Tee, with Jatuporn Promphan – himself accused of lese majeste several times – disowning him. In the next report quoted below it is stated: “He has said that his group operates on its own and is not loyal to the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship.”

Army boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha hates Ko Tee, and was once said to have set assassins in search of him.

Getting Ko Tee has considerable benefits for the royalists and their anti-democrat movement. At the Bangkok Post it is reported that the police have come under pressure to get him as quickly as possible.

National police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew met with army chief Prayuth and “other senior government and security leaders met at a project launch in the far South on Thursday. They agreed on the need to take action against Wuthipong Kachathamkul, alias Ko Tee, during sideline talks.” The event was some kind of Prem Tinsulanonda-initiated interference in the normal work of government. It was reported that “Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda. Gen Prem was not involved in the talks” on Ko Tee. No one believes that little lie.

The Post also reported another lese majeste case “involving Ekaphop Luera, also known as Tang Acheewa,” was discussed by the royalist military bosses.

Thailand’s politics in recent years has seen lese majeste cases spike when the royalists are in power or seeking to topple an elected government. This is clearly another of these situations. PPT’s guess is that the royalist elite is taking the opportunity to de-fang the more independent and threatening of red shirt leaders prior to the conclusion of the creeping judicial coup.

It is reported that: “Pol Gen Adul promised he would take serious action against the two and direct immigration authorities across the country to watch out in case they try to flee the country.” Apparently an arrest warrant is out for Ekaphop, who is “believed to have already fled the country.”

The Democrat Party demanded that Prayuth “go after Ko Tee.” The irony of this is that “Democrat deputy spokeswoman Malika Boonmeetrakul insisted in an interview with the radio programme that security authorities could arrest lese majeste suspects…”.

Of course, it was Mallika who criticized a princess for being an indulgent waste of taxpayer money just a few days ago, but nobody amongst the double standard-toting royalists is going after her because she thought she was criticizing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Faithful royalists can drag the monarchy through the political dirt with impunity because they are somehow “protecting the institution.” The political battle is about shoring up the political and economic system that has the monarchy as its keystone, so the monarchy can be used by the royalist side for its political purposes without a peep of complaint from the palace.

According to the report, Ko Tee’s “whereabouts are unknown.” The dopey Democrat Party claims Ko Tee is “under protection of a two-star police officer.”

The Post then makes this remarkable claim: “Ko Tee is also accused of leading red-shirt members in a bloody clash with People’s Democratic Reform Committee members at Lak Si intersection on the eve of the Feb 2 election.” What is the newspaper’s point? Ko Tee did indeed lead red shirts on that day, but it was the anti-democrats who opened fire and were responsible for the bloodshed. The Post appears to being politically biased in the most base manner.

In another report at the Bangkok Post, police are said to have “approved an arrest warrant for the red-shirt hardman on charges of lese majeste.” They reckon he is still in the country. The court that quickly approved the warrant – probably the same one that has repeatedly rejected warrants for royalist anti-democrats – claimed “it had thoroughly considered the evidence submitted by the Crime Suppression Division…”. The police reckon they have a “substantial case…”. In most lese majeste cases, the evidence usually doesn’t matter in the slightest, so all this huffing and puffing is for political impact.

The interview with Ko Tee was widely circulated, causing the government’s Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order to renew “a warning to the public that anyone distributing or forwarding the video would face criminal charges.” They mean people circulating or “liking” the interview can end up in jail on lese majeste charges for 15 years.

The anti-democrat monk Buddha Issara got in on the lese majeste sycophancy by holding a “rally at Kukot police station and offered a cash reward of 500,000 baht for anybody who could arrest or locate the suspect.”

In yet another of many reports at the Bangkok Post, Army chief Prayuth “confirmed that army intelligence is assisting in the search for the suspect.” Remember when Prayuth claimed that it was not the Army’s job to arrest Suthep Thaugsuban for “treason.” It seems that the double standards run exceptionally deep.Prayuth and Suthep

Prayuth acknowledged that “it would be difficult to arrest Mr Wutthipong if he had left Thailand. He said lese majeste offenders usually flee to other countries which view lese majeste as a domestic matter.” Other crimes are domestic too. What the general might have said is that other countries view lese majeste not just as domestic but as a bizarre feudal leftover that is taken seriously pretty much only in Thailand.

Extending the reign of lese majeste terror, Prayuth added that the “army was also in the process of filing complaints with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission and the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology against radio stations and radio hosts who offend the monarchy.”

PPT looks behind this action, and sees that this lese majeste repression is just another part of the attempt to crush parliamentary and representative politics, just as much as herding the anti-democrats onto the streets was. Watch what the courts do next.

Update: Readers may be interested in Asia Provocateur’s take on these events:

This Thai fascist bloc, who’ve murdered and killed Thai citizens with complete impunity, are notorious for perceiving words to be more dangerous than bullets. The Democrats can order troops to slaughter unarmed Thai civilians and rationalise this as “necessary”. The Thai Army can carry out that slaughter and claim, with a straight face, that it was nothing to do with them. The PDRC have repeatedly tortured, kidnapped and even murdered pro-democracy activists yet their leaders are never held to account or even properly investigated.





And another lese majeste case

12 04 2014

At the Bangkok Post it is reported that National police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew met with Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha and “other senior government and security leaders met at a project launch in the far South on Thursday. They agreed on the need to take action against Wuthipong Kachathamkul, alias Ko Tee, during sideline talks.” The report added: “Another lese majeste case involving Ekaphop Luera, also known as Tang Acheewa, was also discussed by the two armed forces chiefs.”

It is reported that: “Pol Gen Adul promised he would take serious action against the two and direct immigration authorities across the country to watch out in case they try to flee the country.” Further, “Ekaphop, who is wanted on an arrest warrant, is believed to have already fled the country.”

 





Prem as master

11 04 2014

This report from the National News Agency of Thailand is breathtaking for its monarchy-like fawning. While the old political manipulator Prem Tinsulanonda claims to be retired, for all those years, he has manipulated promotions and manipulated his links to the monarchy in order to shape Thailand’s politics. The decade-long political crisis owes much to Prem’s interference and machinations:Prem

Armed Forces Commanders and the General Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police have gotten permission to meet General Prem Tinsulanonda, Privy Council Chief and statesman, in order to pour water on his hands in accordance with the Songkran tradition of revering elders and asking for blessings.

In response to the request, Gen. Prem stated, “Thai traditions should be preserved for cultural reasons and to express national sentiments. I retired more than 33 years ago, but I still get attention from the army and police. It’s a good showing of unity from all of you.”

Gen. Prem added that the commanders have been facing hard work recently and he asked that they continue to uphold their duties and act as the protectors of the Thai public.





Monk gone wild

11 04 2014

A Buddhist monk is meant to renounce and abstain from certain things.Many websites list the 10 basic precepts observed by novice monks. While anti-democrat monk Buddha Issara has broken many of them in recent months, the one on money begs questioning based on the following Khaosod report:

Anti-government monk activist has pledged to sue Khaosod and Matichon for libel, demanding 100 million baht in compensation.Buddha Issara

Buddha Issara and his supporters marched from their rally site in Chaeng Wattana Road to the Criminal Court on Ratchadapisek Road today, where he submitted his letter to the court officials detailing his intention to file lawsuit against the two newspapers.

The monk alleged that Khaosod and Matichon have unfairly defamed him in their news coverage. He said he wanted the newspapers to pay him 100 million baht in damage.

Nevertheless, it is understood that Buddha Issara has not taken any formal steps in filing the libel lawsuit, and his appearance at the court today was merely symbolic.

The monk and his companions later had a brief “sit-in” on Ratchadapisek Road and ate their lunch, before marching away without incident.

 








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