Prayuth, Prem and fascists

10 05 2014

While Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha continues to rule out a military coup, saying they “would not end the current political problems…”, he added that “soldiers would always be the people’s last resort.” PPT thinks this means: let the judicial coup work to its end, and the military will only intervene if the red shirts mass and it gets violent.

Meanwhile, Privy Council boss and political meddler par excellence General Prem Tinsulanonda has had one of his minions state that he is “not involved in the current political standoff in any way…”. Nobody believes him. That Prem returned to Bangkok on Friday in time for the anti-democrat rally and after Yingluck had been given the double whammy by Prem’s royalist courts is a statement of intent, if circumstantial evidence of the old dog’s continuing involvement in the political shenanigans.

Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda

Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda

More incriminating is the role of the geriatric royalists who went to Prem with ideas for royal intervention just a couple of weeks ago. Back in 2006, it was Prem who had to go out and convince the military to get rid of Thaksin Shinawatra. He can’t do that this time as he cost the monarchy dearly last time – so much so that the monarchy is now routinely seen as politicized.

In Prem’s stead, this time it is the geriatrics who are trying to convince the military to intervene. While the report states that “was cool to its appeal,” the actions of these closely connected royalists, all of whom have been close to the palace and Prem, suggest otherwise.

Led by a former military officer who has been close to Prem since at least the 1960s the old men’s group is to “push its agenda of seeking His Majesty the King’s discretion in ending the political crisis through armed forces commanders…”.

General Saiyud Kerdphol said his group “would ask commanders of the armed forces to seek the royal discretion.” The “royal discretion” bit means intervening and appointing an unelected government of royalists and fascists.

The Post identifies the conspirators as including “former air force chief ACM Gun Pimarnthip, ex-army chief Gen Wimol Wongwanich, former naval commander Adm Vichet Karunyavanij, ex-naval chief of staff Gen Suravudh Maharom, lawyer Amorn Chantarasomboon, political science scholars Pramote Nakhonthap and Chai-Anan Samudavanija, and former foreign affairs minister Surapong Jayanama.” All are coup plotters and/or royalist/fascist ideologues.

They say “the current crisis needs to be solved by the intervention of the army and … the King.” They seem rather less patient than Prayuth.





Old men united

3 02 2014

This video is all over social media. Unfortunately, PPT doesn’t have the time (or even inclination) to translate the meandering machinations of a bunch of silly old men who think Thailand is theirs.

You get a flavor for their perspective from earlier, very popular posts at PPT:

Dangerous old men or just silly old men?

A country for old men? Also available as ประเทศนี้สำหรับคนรุ่นเก่าหรือไง.

What is it about these silly old men that makes them think they are able make the best decisions for the country. Some of them are suffering the problems of old age, such as memory loss, but this doesn’t seem to bother them in deciding that they know what is best for the country. Military men and anti-democratic propagandists, they seem to want to return to a period way back in the 20th century.

Siam Intelligence blog lists those involved. Some of the names that stuck out for PPT were: old Cold War warrior General Saiyud Kerdphol (he’s 92 and acts it, if the video there is anything to go by as the reporter finishes his sentences for him), yellow-shirted ideologue Chai-Anan Samudavanija, 84 year-old royalist Amorn Chantarasomboon, a former secretary-general of the Council of State, ultra-royalist propagandist Pramote Nakhonthap, who is meant to be in jail as a 2008 airport occupier, former junta-appointed government secretary of the PM’s Office Suraphong Chainam, former Army boss General Wimol Wongwanich, Air Force General Kan Pimarnthip, and a bunch of other aged air force and navy brass

Some of this lot were also mentioned recently as “negotiators” for the palace in ousting the “Thaksin regime.” Many of them first became activist – if that is the right word for these geriatrics – this time around when the so-called “anti-government People’s Army” mentioned “the names of 30 high-ranking officials, including military men, who back the group in its campaign to bring down the Thaksin [Shinawatra] regime.” The names listed then were:

The group, led by Admiral Chai Suwannaphap, Thaikorn Polsuwan and General Preecha Iamsupan, held a press conference announcing the names of supporters. These include former Army chief General Wimol Wongwanit, former supreme commander General Saiyud Kerdphol, former Air Force chief ACM Kan Pimanthip, and Admiral Bannawit Kengrian. Prasong Soonsiri, former chief of the National Security Council, would act as adviser.

We are unsure who the woman in the photo is, although a reader suggests it is one of Chai-Anan’s collaborators.

This geriatric lot might have been Thailand’s future in 1973, when they were younger and were the elite’s ideas men. Now they are just old men with nothing to make but political mischief in support of the elite of the past.





Royalist calls for capitalists to be overthrown

7 04 2012

Royalist Amorn Chantarasomboon, a former secretary-general of the Council of State, seems the wrong person to be calling for capitalists to be ousted. And yet he has been consistent in blaming capitalism for Thailand’s ills, including its political crisis.

Of course, while his call may sound radical, it is actually based on a deep conservatism. What they want is not some form of socialism but a monarchy presiding over commoners working away in sufficiency economy villages where people are kept well away from political decision-making.

Back in 2009, Amorn joined with a gaggle of royalists and People’s Alliance for Democracy-aligned sham academics to call for “comprehensive political reform. This was a “call for [the] removal of root causes of problem haunting the country” and to reassert that Thaksin Shinawatra is “funding unrest.” At that gathering of royalists, Amorn declared the political system “a dictatorship by capitalists…”.

Amorn, like many royalists, stated that “political reform should be undertaken by politicians, because they had a conflict of interest…”.

Nothing much has changed for Amorn, and at the Bangkok Post he now declares that the “courts of justice are facing mounting pressure from political parties that wield dominance over parliament…”. He referred to a “parliamentary dictatorship” of “parties which in turn are controlled by financiers.”

Here Amorn is being careful to denote a particular type of capitalists, but if “financiers” is the term used, we wonder if there are flutters of concern at the major financial institutions such as the Bangkok Bank and the Crown Property Bureau-controlled Siam Commercial Bank?

We doubt it, as these are royalist banks are unlikely to be included in Amorn’s attack on renewed attack on Thaksin. But it is interesting that the attack on capitalists – and Amorn is only one of the yellow extremists making this call – ignores the largest capitalist conglomerate in the country that is the CPB. That’s because Amorn has long called for royal powers to be increased. But then Amorn’s convoluted logic also includes a call for “the judiciary to … ensure their verdicts can benefit people and protect the private sector.”

Amorn had a role in the drafting of the 1997 constitution, and PPT has to wonder why Amorn is so unhappy with the 2007 constitution, which the military junta ensured that the judiciary had more power and an vastly expanded political role. Did their “fixing” of the constitution not go far enough or did they screw up?

As far as we can tell, the answer for Amorn is that any constitution that allows an electorate to choose their politicians is a problem. Amorn has been unable to believe that an electorate can consistently elect pro-Thaksin parties if they are not stupid, duped or paid.

The thing that motivates the diehard royalists is a political position that is based on a desire for rule by a few. They can’t abide any notion that the ruled should count, for they believe there are great and good ones who know best how a country should be administered. Amorn would have felt at home in the nineteenth century, and his pocket watch seems broken at about midnight on 23 July 1932.





Royalists see Thaksin as a problem

6 09 2009

Also available as สำหรับพวกคลั่งเจ้า ทักษิณคือตัวหายนะ

Yes, we know, a dog bites man headline. In fact, though, The Nation (6 September 2009: “Broad reforms needed now”) reports a story that has some interest for PPT as the gathering of royalists is usually an indication of political maneuverings underway.

The Nation story claims that “academics” and others got together to “call for removal of root causes of problem haunting the country” and to reassert that Thaksin Shinawatra is “funding unrest.” As usual, when royalist “academics” get together, Chulalongkorn University is the venue.

The story notes that “comprehensive reform” is required. These people have come together to try to shape some of the ideas about reform and to control the agenda. This has been seen in previous rounds of political reform, when the elite tries to maintain its control.

These royalist and PAD-associated academics and other discussants apparently agreed that, “as long as Thaksin continued his political activities, the country would not achieve reconciliation and undertaking political reforms would be problematic.”

Amorn Chantarasomboon added a twist when he said that “there was no guarantee the country would achieve political stability even if Thaksin withdrew from politics.”   Declaring the political system “a dictatorship by capitalists,” Amorn said he wanted simultaneous “administrative, legal, and justice reforms…”.

Amorn, like many royalists, stated that “political reform should be undertaken by politicians, because they had a conflict of interest…”. His suggestions are for committees that would oversee reform – now who might get those positions? And who might nominate or appoint them?

The report then mentions one of the most important royalist commentators: retired police general Vasit Dejkunjorn. On Vasit see here. In 2006, Vasit’s In His Majesty’s Footsteps. A Personal Memoir, was published in Bangkok. It expressed his great love for the king and royal family.

Vasit added to the “academic” discussion, saying that “he had been told by unconfirmed but reliable sources that Thaksin had sent a huge amount of laundered money through other people’s bank accounts to fund political activities and create political disturbances in the country.” He believed that the red shirts were being “used” by Thaksin and that “Education is the best medicine [to solve this],” adding that “Our country will not come to this point if people understand the politicians’ true colour.”

The links to earlier PAD thinking can be seen in this, but the tone is classic royalist: politicians screw things up and they can’t be trusted, so “education” about the true nature of things will sort this out. The real story is invariably focused 0n the true “good people” in the palace.

And, just to confirm his perspective, Vasit doesn’t see elections as solving anything: “… dissolving the Parliament was not a solution to national problems because a general election did not guarantee that the country would get ‘a new breed of MPs or Senators who put the country’s interests above their own.” This line was strong in 1992-97 as well.

Another discussant and royalist who supported PAD, General Saiyud Kerdphol, “urged Thaksin’s family to stop him instigating political unrest and to face the justice system.”

Saiyud said that red shirts threatening to stage a mass rally might see the government unable to control it and a military coup might result – the fear argument again.

These positions are “classic” royalist positions by senior spokesmen for elite interests. That they have come together and attacked Thaksin and his family, as well as elections and politicians, suggests that there is a great concern amongst the royalists about their continuing political control and are fearful of broader debates.








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