Blockhead regime

8 05 2021

The regime is not only composed of criminals but of a bunch of blockheads. The past couple of days have seen several examples of their status as cretins displayed for all to see.

There was the example provided by the blockhead Palang Pracharat MP, who decided on a bit of political point scoring by “claiming double standards in the distribution of queue tickets for COVID-19 screening and vaccination to residents in the crowded communities…”. This after the regime and the MP’s party had completely failed those communities on the virus outbreak. Community leaders responded, demonstrating that they had thought about what they were doing.

Then there is the minister for making things worse. Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul was asked by Thai PBS “what he thinks is the most challenging factor in the latest wave of the COVID-19.” A reasonable question you’d think, giving a minister with less arrogance a chance to explain the multiple issues associated with the virus. Here was a free pass to explain why cases remain stubbornly high for Thailand and deaths are increasing. But not Anutin. His response: “There is no challenge…”. 

He goes on to show his mammoth arrogance when he says that all the complaining about the terrible vaccine planning and rollout is from just a few: “Anutin pointed out that people who get infected or are related to them will, of course, say the rollout is too slow.” He seems to be serious. He seems to be a mad man.

At around the same time, Anutin announced that “Pfizer has agreed to reserve 10-20 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine for Thailand, expected to be delivered in the third and fourth quarters of this year…”. Is this a serious announcement? Is it 10 million or 20 million? Is this just the kind of talk around a table in Thong Lor. Seriously, is this how governments and real companies do business? We suspect that it is just blockhead Anutin and his loose lips.

That’s enough. We could go on to the crazy bow-tied looney royalist at the Ministry of of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation who wants to put Thailand in a space race when it can’t get its vaccine policies in order and prefers to spend his time harassing academics for not breaking any laws. Another blockhead.





Dictatorship of fools

28 04 2021

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has been pretty much a disaster in that position. Where Thailand had done reasonably well in the first year of the virus, this was mainly because Anutin’s early missteps led to the regime handing over to medical professionals.

Unmasked

Anutin unmasked. Clipped from Der Farang.

In recent weeks, however, Anutin and the regime have had criticism heaped upon them, even before virus cases increased substantially.

There was criticism of vaccine reliance on a state-subsidized Siam Bioscience and its production of AstraZeneca. As royalists, the regime threw money and (it hoped) prestige at the king’s company. And, it threatened critics with lese majeste for daring to question this (now) shaky decision. Now that decision has partly been undone as the regime scrambles to buy vaccine from multiple sources.

Then there were the political figures who became a virus cluster and the double standards involved as the regime refused to investigate. That masks were demanded and both Anutin and Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha have been caught unmasked has reinforced the idea that rules don’t apply to the big guys.

Of course, that the king, queen, and palace slitherers regularly appear in the royal news unmasked cannot be criticized.

In short, people realized that the virus response was politicized and failing. And, it is now thought that Anutin is making things worse and that policy is a “shambles.”

Pointedly, Anutin has fought back, declaring that the decisions are being made by Gen Prayuth:

On Monday night, the Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul deflected responsibility for the third wave of the pandemic by shifting blame to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and saying that every decision was made by the premier.

In his tell-all Facebook post, Anutin said that his ministry had constantly advised the government on the correct decision but the prime minister and the covid emergency response centre were making decisions unilaterally.

Not only is the virus response a shambles, but so is the coalition. As Andrew MacGregor Marshall suggests, the coalition is fighting for survival.

The regime’s response is to hand The Dictator dictatorial powers:

The Thai cabinet today (Tuesday) designated Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as the sole authority in charge of all responsibilities and duties, previously vested in his ministers, to deal with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The powers vested in various ministers, by virtue of various laws regarding the issuance of orders, permits and approvals which will help in preventing or containing COVID spread or in helping the people, will be vested in the prime minister on temporary basis.

That’s as scary as Anutin running the show. As Thai Enquirer states:

Now with Prayut calling all the shots, the fate of the country rests in the hands of a man who did not even bother to research the vaccines his country will be bringing in before a nationally-televised press conference.

The notoriously poorly-informed, intellectually uncurious Prayut will now be charged with making the correct decisions to guide us out of this pandemic hellscape.

God help us all.





Further updated: 112 updates

9 02 2021

It is reported that lese majeste case No. 58 of the current round of repression has been lodged – we seem to have missed cases 56 and 57 – with a 37 year-old man being charged “with the royal insult, or lese majeste, for allegedly mocking the monarchy at a shopping mall in December…”.

A fanatical royalist from Thai Pakdee accused Pawat Hiranpon “of feigning to genuflect and saying ‘Long Live Your Majesties’ at Siam Paragon on Dec. 20 when several pro-democracy activists were walking past him…”. The mad monarchist thinks he was being sarcastic.

At about the same time, UN human rights experts are reported to have “expressed grave concerns over Thailand’s increasingly severe use of lèse-majesté laws to curtail criticism of the monarchy, and said they were alarmed that a woman had been sentenced to over 43 years in prison for insulting the royal family.”

They stated: “We are profoundly disturbed by the reported rise in the number of lèse-majesté prosecutions since late 2020 and the harsher prison sentences…”. They added: “We call on the authorities to revise and repeal the lèse-majesté laws, to drop charges against all those who are currently facing criminal prosecution and release those who have been imprisoned…”. The regime will not heed such calls. It never has. It heeds the king, and it is he who has directed this repression strategy.

Meanwhile some better news, with the Criminal Court having “dismissed a petition by the Digital Economy and Society Ministry to remove a clip criticising the government’s Covid-19 vaccine policy by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.” The ministry claimed it constituted lese majeste. He criticized the secret deal between regime, the king’s Siam Bioscience, and AstraZeneca.

After being ordered to take down his half-hour analysis, Thanathorn challenged the order. He was successful after the full clip was played in court, with the court “saying no part of the clip clearly showed he criticised or raised questions in any way that could be deemed insulting to the monarchy.” It added: “There is no clear evidence it affects national security…”.

The court asked Thanathorn why he used the term “royal vaccines”. His reply was wonderful, pointing out that “he was not the first to use it.” He pointed out that: “It was Gen Prayut and government agencies who first used or implied it that way…”. They were milking propaganda for the king and that was turned back at them, and the court agreed: “The court viewed the term was borrowed from what the government had said earlier about the local vaccine production to show the mercy of the king. Mr Thanathorn’s use of the word was therefore not a lie, which could cause damage to the king.”

Of course, the regime is now scrambling on vaccines, issuing statements that seem designed to mollify growing criticism. For a useful report of further questioning of the king’s Siam Bioscience, see Khaosod.

Update 1: Prachatai reports on the 112 case facing Pawat (using Phawat ‘Pocky’ Hiranphon). It states that the “charge was filed by Acting Sub Lt Narin Sakcharoenchaikun), a member of Thai Pakdee…”. Further,

the investigator gave as the reason for the complaint to a cosplay activity at Siam Paragon on 20 December 2020, where Phawat was seen paying respect by bowing, giving a ‘wai’ (the Thai greeting) , saying ‘Long live the King’, and presenting flowers to Parit Chiwarak and Panussaya Sitthijirawattanakul, who cosplayed King Rama X and the Queen wearing crop tops.

The investigator alleges this was an act of mockery toward people paying respect to King Rama X.

Phawat is seeking evidence to file a complaint against Narin, as he sees the complaint as politically motivated and damaging to his reputation and income. Narin also is not the one offended by Phawat’s action.

Update 2: The Bangkok Post has an editorial calling for the regime to get on with vaccination rather than defending itself. The editorial notices:

Bombarded by criticism that it has been too slow and overly reliant on two sources, AstraZeneca and Sinovac, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha tried to explain the government’s immunisation strategy last Sunday.

The PM was far too keen on defending the government than shedding light on the crucial vaccine drive. Although he addressed some of the main points of criticism, the PM offered no new information.

His claims and promises also appeared unsubstantiated, with little or no detail at all.

Self-censoring, it doesn’t say much at all about the king’s Siam Bioscience.

The public health minister has only made things worse. Bent on protecting himself and the government, Anutin Charnvirakul essentially told people to keep quiet and stop questioning the vaccine procurement and immunisation plan. He also told other politicians who are not in the government to keep their advice to themselves.

Mr Anutin’s tantrum only reinforced his image as being out of touch.

Self-censoring, it doesn’t say much at all about the king’s Siam Bioscience.





Vaccine transparency

28 01 2021

On Monday afternoon, “Ratsadon pro-democracy demonstrators led by Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak gathered outside Siam Bioscience’s Bangkok headquarters this afternoon to protest the company’s role in Thailand’s Covid-19 vaccine programme.” Transparency remains an issue, especially as the country’s vaccination program has now been rescheduled.

But transparency is an alien concept for the regime. When it comes to the monarchy, the rule is no transparency, which leaves it open to highly speculative gossip.

Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s version of “transparency” had him declaring: “We don’t want to see the Covid-19 vaccine politicised because the vaccine is a matter of life and death…”. Naturally enough, the general was speaking at the Defense Ministry as he defended “the contract to Siam Bioscience, saying there were other manufacturers which had offered to produce the jabs, but Siam Bioscience was selected because it met all of the government’s criteria.”

The contract and the criteria are unknown.

Anutin unmasked. Clipped from Der Farang.

In an open letter to Thanathorn, “public health minister Anutin Charnvirakul said that the decisions to secure AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines against COVID-19 were made by medical experts and appropriate to the outbreak situation in Thailand.” He went on:

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Health and National Vaccine Institute, I say that our work is not delayed or lagging as Thanathorn has accused us of…. We act according to the calculations of medical experts who consider the national situation and citizens’ safety.

That doesn’t seem likely.

Back in December, it was reported that the “World Health Organization, national regulatory authorities and vaccine manufacturers in WHO South-East Asia Region discussed fast tracking of COVID-19 vaccine rollout in member countries…”. This was the second WHO South East Asia Region meeting with vaccine manufacturers and regulators after one held in April. The participants at the second meeting included “key global and regional partners such as GAVI and UNICEF, as well as vaccine manufacturers like Bio Farma Limited from Indonesia, and Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO), Bionet Asia Co Ltd and Siam Bioscience from Thailand.” That’s three from Thailand.

What was the problem with the other firms. No one knows.

A Bangkok Post editorial has observed that

In using Section 112 against Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit for raising questions about its vaccine procurement, the Prayut Chan-o-cha government could be said to have, at best, over-reacted. At worst, it’s being criticised for abusing the draconian law for political reasons.

The Post criticizes the regime’s response: “… the prime minister should know this is not the best way to secure public trust in the procurement plan. Mr Thanathorn is not the only one who has been sceptical about the procurement…. Such suspicions derive from fundamentally confusing data from the government from the beginning.”

The Post states: “What the public needs to know is a clear process and credible timetable for vaccination.”





Further updated: Thanathorn and lese majeste

21 01 2021

When a security guard at the luxury IconSiam shopping mall – partly royal owned – slapped a university student who was holding a lone protest in front of the center, it seemed kind of “normal” for royalist Thailand. What the student was protesting was anything but normal.

A member of the activist group United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, the student was holding a sign inscribed “Vaccine Monopoly is PR for the Royals.”

Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak highlighted the message saying: “This person came out to campaign on behalf of the interest of the people…”. As has been known for some time, the Crown Property Bureau will make the “vast majority of vaccines to be used in the [virus] inoculation campaign…”. The CPB’s wholly-owned firm, Siam Bioscience, has been handed the contract.

Now, after comments about Siambioscience, the regime has gone royalist  bonkers spilled their lese majeste marbles:

The Digital Economy and Society Ministry (DES) will file a criminal complaint of defaming the monarchy against … Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the ministry said on Wednesday.

The complaint against Mr Thanathorn under Article 112 of the criminal code will be filed on Wednesday afternoon, according to an official ministry memo sent to reporters.

Then, Progressive Movement leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit “slammed the government for its tardiness in providing Covid-19 vaccines and pointed out that the company tasked with manufacturing the vaccine locally is owned by the King.”

Thanathorn

Thanathorn concluded that “the government has been careless in negotiations for the vaccine…”. He pointed out that Siambioscience “is tasked with producing 200 million doses per year. Of this, 176 million will be sold to other countries in the region, while the remainder will be sold locally.” He added that the regime “has announced it will give Siam Bioscience Bt1.44 billion for the project.”

He claimed Siambioscience was only “established in 2009 with an authorised capital of Bt48 billion, but over the past 11 years, the corporation has made losses worth Bt581 billion…”.

And, he “pointed out that Siam Bioscience was only added to the plan in the second quarter of 2020 – when anti-establishment protesters began holding their rallies.” This, he said, may make the “AstraZeneca-Siam Bioscience deal is politically motivated.”

This led the Public Health Ministry to “clarify.” Permanent secretary for Public Health Kiattiphum Wongrajit defended the deal with Siambioscience and rejected “accusations that the government had delayed the procurement of Covid-19 vaccine, as it was expensive, and had failed to cover the public.”

One official explained:

Our deal with AstraZeneca company isn’t just a regular vaccine deal, but also involves technology transfer during the crisis period. The company that receives knowledge of the technology needs to be qualified and ready for it. Only Siam Bioscience is capable of receiving the tech from Oxford University. Even Thai Pharmaceutical Organization does not have  enough potential because of the  use of modern technology….

He added that:

Anutin unmasked. Clipped from Der Farang.

the Public Health Ministry, the NVI and SCG, as well as the government had  collaborated in the negotiations and showed the potential of Siam Bioscience, which originally produced only biological material or drugs to increase blood cells in patients with renal failure. The vaccine production plant will get Bt500-million support from the government and Bt100 million from SCG to buy the required equipment.

In other words, Siambioscience wasn’t ready to receive the technology. A deal was done. He confirmed this saying: “This success is built on a potential base.”

Then it went royalist propaganda and decidedly weird:

There is a misunderstanding about our support. I insist that it is our work in accordance with the philosophy of King Rama IX, under which Thailand has laid the health foundation and built medical expertise over 10 years.

An initial reaction from the regime came from the erratic Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul who criticized Progressive Movement leader Thanathorn, “accusing him of not being grateful to the ‘Mother Land’ for his alleged attempt to politicize the government’s procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.”

Anutin went full royalist, suggesting that Thanathorn was onto something:

Anutin … said that Thanathorn appears to know everything, but doesn’t know how to be grateful to the late King Bhumibol, who set the foundation for medical and health development in Thailand for the betterment of his subjects.

He suggested that royal PR and royal business were inseparable, damning Thanathorn, asking/accusing:

… whether he knows that the 20 mobile laboratory units, being deployed across the country to carry out pro-active COVID-19 screening, were sent by the Bureau of the Royal Household.

He further said that the PPE being used by medical personnel also came from the Palace, adding that funding, amounting to several billion baht, was donated by the late King for the development of hospitals and medical services in the countryside for the benefit of rural people…. He also said that, this afternoon, he will take delivery of 770,000 PPE suits, donated by the Palace for use by medical personnel.

All of this royalist madness suggests there’s much to hide.

Mad as hell Anutin was followed by his boss, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, who “warned Tuesday that legal action will be taken against people, in mainstream and social media, who distort facts about the deal to procure COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford-AstraZeneca by the government…”.

The predictable result was an allegation of lese majeste that will inevitably lead to charges:

The complaint accused Thanathorn of making 11 separate counts of critical remarks about the monarchy during his Monday night’s Facebook Live titled “Royal Vaccine: Who Benefits and Who Doesn’t?,” in which he questioned the role of Siam Bioscience, a Thai firm wholly owned by King Vajiralongkorn, in the production of coronavirus vaccines in Thailand.

“His comments can cause misunderstandings in society,” vice minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Thotsaphon Pengsom said. “It can create intolerable damage to the country and the works of the government.”

He added, “Therefore, we must take legal action immediately and we will go after each and everyone who shared it.”

… The vice minister said the complaint filed today also accused Thanathorn of violating the Computer Crime Act for spreading false information, which carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison.

Because Siambioscience is so opaque it is impossible to know if any of the claims made about its capacity or lack of it are true. As far as we can tell, Siambioscience makes two products under license. But, the regime’s hostile reaction suggests that there’s plenty going on in this deal done in secret and announced in sparse press releases, none of which appear at the company’s website. We could not find an announcement of the Siambioscience deal at the AstraZenca global site.

But let’s just add a bit to this mix.

In December 2020, it was announced:

Bangkok-based Siam Bioscience signed a letter of intent with AstraZeneca late last month to make 200 million doses of the British pharmaceutical firm’s COVID-19 vaccine, AZD1222, said Nakorn Premsri, director of Thailand’s National Vaccine Institute.

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry and the local conglomerate SCG [another firm with a major palace shareholding], with its packaging and chemicals divisions, also joined the deal.

Nakorn said most of the doses would head abroad.

Thailand will secure only 26 million doses. We may ask for more, but it will not be a big part, so maybe more than half of that [200 million] can be exported,” he told VOA.

Thailand did order more, but still only sufficient for half the population, and that was only after criticism mounted. The Chinese vaccine is linked to CP, but only a minuscule amount has so far been ordered.

There’s much in this story that needs explanation. The relish with which the regime went after Thanathorn needs no explanation.

Update 1: It is somehow “fitting” that the quisling Suporn Atthawong, now vice minister to the military PM’s Office, was the one filing the lese majeste complaint at the Technology Crime Suppression Division. Who can forget that Suporn’s own lese majeste charge evaporated when he flipped to the dictators.

Update 2: Unbowed, Thanathorn responded: “Prayut has always used the royal institution to hide the inefficiency of his administration, saying that he is loyal to the monarchy and protecting it…. Is this not why many people are raising issues with the monarchy institution?”





Updated: Virus, crisis, repression reflex

17 07 2020

No one seems to quite understand why Thailand has not been ravaged by the virus. The New York Times and The Economist have both suggested multiple possible explanations.

While the regime’s response was initially chaotic and riddled with contradictions and errors, not least by a Minister for Public Health who sometimes appeared balmy. Perhaps one reason for Thailand’s virus success has had to do with sidelining Anutin Charnvirakul.

With the recent errors and initial attempts to cover-up and shift blame, the regime again seems prone to chaos and manic decision-making. When this happens, the regime resorts to repression:

Police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen said two men, identified as Nutchanon Payakaphan and Panupong Jadnok, were arrested Wednesday [in Rayong] for failing to comply with police orders. The pair, who said they were there to protest [Gen] Prayut[h Chan-ocha]’s handling of the coronavirus, said they did not do anything wrong.

“I didn’t find my action to resist police functions,” Panupong said. “When I asked why they were taking me, they didn’t say anything. They took me into the car and left me without taking me into custody, so I walked out…”.

The two were protecting as a prime ministerial motorcade was passing. Clearly, when pressed, The Dictator doesn’t need to see dissidents and so the repression reflex kicks in.

Update: As usual, the cops have been told to concoct charges against the two protesters in Rayong. The “two youth leaders from the Eastern Youths for Democracy (เยาวชนตะวันออกเพื่อประชาธิปไตย) … the police [belatedly] responded with the four following allegations against the protesters:

  • Violation of Emergency Decree
  • Violation of the Communicable Disease Act
  • Defying official orders
  • Escaping detention/arrest…”

This is the usual buffalo manure and Amnesty International Thailand has called the regime out: “Piyanut Kotesan, director of Amnesty International Thailand, said that the state officials have a duty to protect citizens’ rights and not silence and punish them merely on the grounds of exercising their freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.”

Not this regime and not its cops. Their task is repression.





Hopeless minister

9 07 2020

Health minister Anutin Charnvirakul has been a disaster in his post. Of course, he’s not the only hopeless minister under this regime.

Not only does he have conflicts of interest, but his behavior has often been odd. As we mentioned in a recent post, we stated that Anutin’s performance on the virus crisis has been so hopeless and so bizarre that he was pushed aside and has barely been seen in public.

A Khaosod report refers to his early virus crisis rants.

Now Anutin has been forced to apologize for “ignoring his own advice on wearing face masks during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Anutin unmasked in an earlier outing. Clipped from Der Farang.

Anutin attended Fourth of July celebrations at the US Embassy without a face mask.

It doesn’t matter whether one things masks are necessary. As the reports states: “The health ministry requires visitors to all public venues to put on their masks, citing the threat of coronavirus infection.” As minister, Anutin should be a model of masking up, following his ministry’s directive.

Along with the treatment of the American general and his entourage and the unmasked king and queen visit, including meetings with ambassadors, the double standards are obvious.

Anutin has been forced to come up with an apology: “Sorry for letting my guard down…. Dear citizens, don’t let your guard down like I did. I humbly accept their criticism. I apologize. It won’t happen again.”

Not long before he had “dismissed reporters’ questions about the photo [of him unmasked] by laughing and saying ‘so much drama’.”





Updated: Inventing royal nonsense

8 07 2020

How do they come up with this stuff? It is remarkable that palace sources can invent utter nonsense and have it published.

The official propaganda outlet of the government has piled it high for the king and queens less than one day visit – at taxpayer expense – to Thailand from their homes in Germany and Switzerland.

Worse, the outlet makes it appear like the truant king and queen are residing in Thailand and carefully following events. As everyone knows, the king is living in a luxury hotel with a harem of women and the queen lives in a luxury resort in Switzerland. They have spent almost no time in Thailand this year, and each time they have returned, the country’s bankrupt airline has to mobilize a special aircraft for them, disguising it with regular flight numbers. That the king has several aircraft under his control counts for nothing as these are just used for fun, flitting about Europe. How tiresome it would be for the king to have to use one of these when it would need to refuel en-route. Better (for him) to order a TG special flight.

The report says that “this week” the king and queen “granted an audience to Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul” and a bunch of health officials. “This week” implies that the royals were in town for more than a few hours. It’s sleight of hand. And, Anutin’s performance on the virus crisis was so hopeless and so bizarre that he was pushed aside and has barely been seen in public.

It then claims that the “King and Queen presented one biosafety mobile unit and 12 prototype units. The vehicles will be given to 12 health region offices nationwide. Medical personnel will use them to collect COVID-19 test specimens in schools, temples and communities safely and efficiently.” The report claims the king gave these to the Ministry: “Their Majesties granted funds for the procurement of the biosafety mobile units.”

That’s nonsense. Such “presentations” are also sleight of hand. The taxpayer pays for the gear and the Ministry buys it and the king “presides” over its “presentation.” He gets the credit and “merit.”

The report then gets hilariously ridiculous when it claims “the King … delivered a speech on the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.” How on earth would he have any idea about it. He’s flouted virus rules in Europe and during his couple of visits to Thailand and, based on the speed of his departures from the country, he’s uninterested in Thailand. Who knows what he said? We can’t believe he could come up with anything serious.

But the report anticipates such critical thinking, claiming “the King and Queen have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and have expressed concern for the people’s health and well-being as well as the safety of medical personnel, who are on the front line of this pandemic.” They may have made a statement to that effect, as this is standard fare for all leaders these days. Watching a bit of news from Thailand in between bike rides and lounging around with the harem hardly adds up to “closely monitoring.”

Update: We found another article telling of some royal “work” the king and queen did on their quick excursion in Thailand.





It’s still a military regime III

29 05 2020

Without a hint of shame, the regime continues to display it military-ness.

The Bangkok Post reports on the “kickback scandal involving state quarantine contracts” which it says the Defense Ministry states is “being investigated by police…”. Great, you might think, the longstanding kickback system is getting some attention. But is it? And how is it being done?

Defense spokesman Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich explains that it is his ministry that conducted the “preliminary probe [and] had found evidence the accused had demanded ‘commission fees’ from hotel operators in the eastern region so their facilities could be chosen as state quarantine centres.” He added that a person with the initial “Phor” is one of those revealed by the Ministry of Defense’s “probe.”

This is all very smelly and very fishy. Why is the Defense Ministry the first line of investigation? Is the Ministry responsible for the quarantine centers? Well, no, it is the joint responsibility of that ministry and Public Health. Has Public Health been investigating? And why the buffalo manure about initials?

While Lt Gen Kongcheep said his “ministry had submitted evidence to police for further investigation…”, PPT reckons this could well be about pre-emptive posterior protection. One suggestion of that is when the Lt Gen declares that “the accused individuals acted on their own and their alleged misconduct had nothing to do with the organisations with which they are affiliated.” That screams cover-up.

Then there’s Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who has pretty much been sidelined in the virus response after his initial loudmouthed failures, and who has “denied public health officials were involved in the kickback scandal but said the ministry was ready to investigate any tips.” This also screams cover-up.

And, then, there’s the whole issue of the Ministry of Defense leading such matters. That screams military regime.

As if to prove that Thailand remains under the regime’s thumb, and using the virus as an excuse, Prachatai reports that police in “Songkhla Province have turned down a request to hold an anti-seawall public gathering at Muang Ngam beach, claiming it would violate the Emergency Decree on Covid-19 control. Many people still went to express their objections on the beach where the construction is taking place, while police took video recordings and photos.”

Prachatai also reports that on the “6th anniversary of the 22 May 2014 military coup, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) launched a new report on Thailand’s human rights situation As if the NCPO Never Left: Six Years after the Coup and the Persistence of Human Rights Violations, highlighting ongoing violations of freedom of expression and freedom of association which have persisted since the end of the NCPO regime.” Abuses are rampant.

Thailand remains a country under the military jackboot.





Say no more

22 05 2020

The Bangkok Post reports:

The navy will sign a contract next month with BBS Joint Venture to build the 290-billion-baht Eastern Airport City Project at U-tapao airport which is one of five megaprojects under the government’s infrastructure development in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC)….

The BBS consortium, which comprises Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction, Bangkok Airways and BTS Group Holdings, offered the best return to the state at 305 billion baht under a 50-year contract.

It never ceases to amaze us at PPT that the military can engage in such business deals with barely a critical word from the media. But, hey, this is royalist Thailand under military domination.

And then there’s Sino-Thai Engineering, which has the following at its corporate website:

Wikipedia has a profile of Minister Anutin, leader of the Bhum Jai Thai Party, a key partner in the ruling coalition. Bhum Jai Thai is a party formed by Anutin’s family in alliance with Buriram’s “influential” Chidchob family. The Ministry of Transport is headed by Saksayam Chidchob, Secretary-General of Bhum Jai Thai.

Monty Python gets it right: