Self congratulations

25 04 2017

There’s very little scope for humility among the members of the junta and its minions which together constitute the military dictatorship.

The latest example of arrogance is in an “interview” with charter junkie and career anti-democrat Meechai Ruchupan by The Nation’s Suthichai Yoon.

A couple of decades ago, Suthichai portrayed himself as a journalist opposed to military dictatorship. Now he is an ardent supporter and his “interviews” and columns are propaganda pieces for anti-democrats.

Breathlessly, Suthichai asks how many times Meechai has been involved with writing constitutions. Of course, Meechai has been the rightists most important assets in opposing democratization, and this is why he claims roles in writing five charters, all military-backed constitutions. He also claims he “had parts in writing of the 1997 and 2007 charters.” He adds: “I did not help write them but I was in the Parliament and I helped checking and correcting. I also countersigned them after the royal endorsement.”

That’s quite a record of getting things wrong. Meechai’s task has been to ensure that royalist ideology is maintained and that popular sovereignty has been limited.

The aged Meechai complains that writing the military’s latest charter was exhausting for him: “It takes a lot of effort. Every day after work I always have to lay down very still. This is because it is not only the Constitution but also other legislation that is my job. This takes a lot of brainpower.”

We doubt the latter. Meechai essentially followed orders (orders he would have mostly agreed with). In fact, it was the military junta that dictated the terms of the charter, and with a puppet Constitution Drafting Committee and a puppet National Legislative Assembly, getting the required document approved was a doddle.

Suthichai then asks a seemingly rhetorical question that is is for the yellow audience. He asks if the new charter will keep those nasty “politicians” in line.

Yes, says Meechai.

He then asks if the military charter is durable. Meechai’s response is revealing:

Some said that when His Majesty the King presided over the ceremony to promulgate the Constitution it was the first time in 48 years. I thought to myself that this charter could be around for at least 48 years, too. I take it as a lucky number and think it is how long the charter will last.

He says this because the military makes it almost impossible to change the charter. Only a truly democratic revolution will change it, and the junta reckons they have seen this off.

Suthichai then allows Meechai to highlight his own greatness by asking how influential Meechai was in the process:

… I admit the wordings are mine because I was the one typing it for everyone to see in the screens. And we debated until we reached agreement. Also, we had to think about people outside the room, too. We tried to compromise.

Compromise and debate were actually missing from the process, along with any notion of public consultation. Debate was in a narrow circle of military and royalists.

Suthichai then allows Meechai to lie a bit when he asks, “Are you worried about criticism that you did this for the junta? Meechai’s response is a fairy tale:

No. We have treated the NCPO as everyone else. We sent letters to gather opinions from them. The Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) members had never seen PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. And the PM also left us alone.

We might believe that The Dictator stayed away, but only because he had a puppet drafter and puppet assemblies. But everyone knows that The Dictator is a meddler and there can be no doubt that he directed and coached, and the public record shows it. In fact, when Meechai states, “… there were no orders from the NCPO, I insist,” he is lying. He then adds:

… in the meeting we have Maj Gen Veera Rojanavas who is close to the PM. He only took notes and reported to the PM. I also told him to report to the PM too, assuring that the charter would be done in time.

Meechai then engages in considerable propaganda for the junta: no, the military won’t form a political party; the junta does not have a political base; the “election” will be held as soon as possible; The Dictator works hard and he does not want to stay on.

We can’t wait to see what further role the aged Meechai gets in a military-dominated future government.

Go back, way back I

11 10 2015

A few days ago, PPT posted on the appointment of Meechai Ruchupan as chair of the Constitution Drafting Committee. We noted that Meechai has worked on several military and military-backed constitutions in the past. Meechai’s career is as a conservative, royalist servant of various military regimes.

Meechai was involved with the 1991 that allowed General Suchinda Kraprayoon to become premier, leading to the May 1992 massacre.

The only lesson Meechai has drawn from that unfortunate experience is that there is still room for a non-elected premier. Tragically, Meechai reportedly joked about the events of the time joking that he “would first have to study astrology before he could foretell the future” but refusing to rule out an outsider prime minister.

On his own participation in the events of 1992, he says: “I’m not sure whether it was the principle of non-MP premier or the person that was opposed by the people at that time…”.

The conservative elite is fine with refashioning their own roles and history for their own benefit and care nothing for those murdered by the military along the way. By demanding votes and elections, they apparently deserve to be gunned down, time and time again.

The rollback is also reported at the Bangkok Post.  Here, the grinding of gears into reverse is only to the period when the last CDC was at work.

It is reported that the CDC is again “considering introducing a charter clause that requires political parties to present their election campaign platforms for examination to ensure they are fiscally responsible and transparent.”

Of course, as it was a few months ago, this is about so-called populist policies.

CDC spokesman Norachit Sinhaseni babbles that the “idea behind examining policy platforms is to make sure campaign promises made by political parties will not compromise fiscal discipline later on…. The party platforms will also be used as evidence if irregularities surface later…”.

A new and, yes, as usual, unelected body “might be established to do the job…” or existing unelected bodies would be used. Either way, the anti-politician, anti-election paternalism of the anti-democrats is clear.

Norachit “explained” that the “CDC is not trying to block so-called populist policies…”. After all, the Democrat Party tried them and so is the current military dictatorship. He says that it is to “prevent the abuse of populism to win votes.”

If any reader can make sense of this, let us know. It sounds like anti-democrat nonsense to us.

And, just to clear away any doubts about Thailand’s backward trajectory, The Dictator has made it clear: “Don’t rely on the principles of democracy…”.

On May 1992, part II

18 05 2015

In part I, we posted on a speech by the notorious royalist poseur Bowornsak Uwanno, who misused the occasion of a remembrance of the military’s murder of democracy and murder of civilian in May 1992.

In another report at The Nation on a memorial event, it is stated that “politicians and political groups yesterday attended a memorial service to remember those who lost their lives in the Black May 1992 political uprising.” It seems to us that the military dictatorship tried to manage this event as it was attended by “representatives of the junta-appointed agencies known as the ‘Five Rivers’. They included Prime Minister’s Office Minister Panadda Diskul, National Legislative Assembly (NLA) vice president Surachai Liengboonlertchai, Ekachai Sriwilat[,] Prasarn Marukpitak and Rosana Tositrakul members of the [puppet] National Reform Council (NRC).”

Even if any of this lot had any reason to be there, it seems they have forgotten the meaning of 1992. All are rabid monarchists and pro-military flunkies. Rosana is a strident yellow shirt who has supported all anti-democrats since 2004. Surachai is one of Rosana’s allies in the anti-democratic Group of 40 Senators, mostly unelected after 2007, who are ultra-royalists and deeply yellow. So is Prasarn. Panadda is a devoted royalist, specialized in self-promotion and a dedicated restorationist, committed to dictatorship and absolutism. They insult the memory of the dead.

Amongst attendees, there were some with a real connection to the events in 1992, including “red-shirt co-leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) Jatuporn Promphan and yellow-shirt co-leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee Pipop Thongchai.”

That the Democrat Party sent representatives is also insulting of those who died in 1992 for the Party was prepared to deal with the military then, if it got them close to power. Nothing much has changed.

The egregious Panadda said that the “incident” in May 1992 – he means the massacre of civilians – “showed the public’s will to achieve democracy.” It did, but to disgrace that resolve by linking it to The Dictator and self-appointed Prime Minister, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, and to claim that this vandal of democracy “had recognised the people of Thailand’s wish to see real democracy in the country…” is disgusting.

Rosana is as bad, saying that May 1992 “occurred because all the heroic people wanted to see reform of the political system without any influence. They hoped that the election would lead to the development of a strong democracy and that it would not result in a coup.” She’s lost in a make-believe history and she manages to link an anti-military uprising to the 2006 and 2014 military putsches, which she enthusiastically supported.

For those wanting a useful summary of the events of the time, not least as an antidote for the tripe served up by military flunkies, this PDF, available for free download, is not a bad place to begin.

On May 1992, part I

18 05 2015

PPT is seldom dismayed by the manner in which history is constructed and reconstructed by Thailand’s political elite for its own purposes.

May 1992 – Black May – was a significant event in Thailand’s recent political history. Several dozen people were killed, a similar number “disappeared,” and hundreds were injured and arrested. These were almost all civilians who demonstrated against a military-backed attempt to monopolize electoral politics.

At The Nation it is reported that incorrigible puppet Constitution Drafting Committee chairman Borwornsak Uwanno “took the two major political camps to task for their portrayal of ‘distrust’, saying their action was a bad sign that political division and disparity would not be resolved easily.”

Well, who thought it was going to be easily resolved? Perhaps just political hirees like Bowornsak. The drafter of constitutions for military dictatorships says “Political leaders must project optimistic views…”.

Not uncommon to hear such nonsense from a political body for hire, but the truly galling thing is that he somehow thought that such comments were appropriate for “an event marking the 23rd anniversary of the May 1992 bloodshed on Rajdamnoen Road.” Bowornsak is aiding and abetting the military in embedding its political influence in his draft 2015 constitution! That is what happened when the military thugs took over in 1991, drafted a constitution the king urged on the country, and eventually led to the May 1992 uprising.

Borwornsak is a disgrace.

We were pleased to learn that Bowornsak’s poisonous speech was interrupted by “a group of four women calling themselves ‘maled prik’, or chili, held placards with the message ‘No to 2015 charter’; ‘No reconciliation with murder’; and ‘Leading legal expert hired to destroy democracy’.” They went on to read a “statement saying society before the May bloodshed in 1992 protested to amend the charter to block the military from rising to power and pushed for elected governments. They were cracked down on by the military, resulting in heavy casualties.”

The report notes that “No military officials stood trial following these incidents.”

They went on to call “on the current military-installed government to scrap the amnesty bills that pardoned those who seized control of the state on February 23, 1991 and put military officials linked to the May bloodshed on trial…. They called for an elected PM and Senate and for public participation in drafting the new charter.”

The report states that “None of the group was arrested after their demonstration but their placards were destroyed.”


King sighted

25 04 2015

As has become standard practice, the king has made an appearance at a time of rising conflict.

It is not possible to determine whether the king is at all aware of his or the country’s circumstances, and in a modern government, this should not matter. However, Thailand under the royalist military dictatorship is no modern state.

Khaosod reports that the king was wheeled out to “observe the Chao Praya River.” There has been no sign of the queen for a considerable time.

The debate over the draft constitution may be a reason for this sudden appearance, especially as the military dictatorship appears to be fumbling and the puppet assembly becoming factionalized. This pattern has been seen under previous military regimes. In 1991, the king intervened seeking to end debate on the draft constitution proposed by a military-backed regime, following a coup.

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