Sham court

11 12 2013

PPT does not know if former senator Ruangkrai Leekitwattana was serious or was simply testing the sham court, also referred to as the Constitutional Court, when he lodged a complaint “accusing Mr Suthep [Thaugsuban] of violating Section 68 of the charter.”Whatever was the aim, his complaint demonstrated yet again, that this court is a politicized court.

The Bangkok Post article states that Section 68 “prohibits attempts to overthrow the monarchy and unconstitutional efforts to seize power.” This isn’t entirely accurate. The constitution states, at the appropriate paragraph:

Section 68. No person shall exercise the rights and liberties prescribed in the Constitution to overthrow the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State under this Constitution or to acquire the power to rule the country by any means which is not in accordance with the modes provided in this Constitution.

There is a difference from the Post’s interpretation, but, like the kangaroo court, this is probably lost on the writer.

But back to Thailand’s political court. Readers will recall that a few weeks ago the court struck down a parliamentary effort to amend the constitution, following the letter of the basic law in doing this. Engaging in political decision-making, the royalist judges used this same article of the constitution.

Photo form Black Shirt Main State Tuesday Dec 10thSo if changing the constitution entirely legally through the mechanisms set out in the constitution is unconstitutional, what of Suthep’s attempt at a street coup, where his stated plan is to change the currently existing “democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State under this Constitution or to acquire the power to rule the country by any means which is not in accordance with the modes provided in this Constitution.”

Of course, the mad royalists at the Constitutional Court use their best double standards, leap into their parallel universe, and decide that this could not possibly be in contravention of the constitution:

The court’s chief spokesman, Pimol Thampitakpong, said Mr Suthep was involved in peaceful and unarmed rallies which were permitted under the constitution.

As for the protesters’ seizure of government offices, which Mr Ruangkrai said was part of Mr Suthep’s unconstitutional attempt to topple the Yingluck administration, Mr Pimol said the seizures had already ended and the House was now dissolved, so there were no grounds to claims the move violated the charter.

The judges probably agree with the Chulalongkorn University students shown in the copyrighted picture above (apologies to the photographer for filching it, but it is a photo we had to use), demonstrating against the rule of law; the judges, though, seem to not know what the law is, not even in the charter that is a part of their name.

Frankly, these “judges” make a mockery of the law. They make a joke of Thailand’s legal system.

Updated: Academic planning

6 12 2013

PPT has to wonder who is behind the sudden rush of academic horse manure that is being laid down over the past couple of weeks. We first posted on the partisan prescriptions of university presidents a month ago.

Certainly, there are plenty of yellow-shirted academics running about pushing royalist propaganda as truth. But this latest show of support for the Suthep Thaugsuban show is something else, with all of these presidents suddenly showing support, and some of them appearing on the protest stage and being advisers to the godfather from the south.

Who has prodded, cajoled or promised them? Yellow shirt

A useful example of this is found reported at The Nation where someone, purportedly a Dean at the “National Institute Development Administration’s [sic] faculty of law,” Banjerd Singkaneti, “who is also a member of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC),” is quoted as championing “an unelected prime minister, as stipulated in Article 7 of the Constitution,” and asserting that this “would follow the due process of the law, making the appointment legitimate.”

In other words, this is an “academic” administrator who is a promoter of the attempt to overthrow the elected government defending his own proposal.

The Nation might have also mentioned that Banjerd has an extremist political background as a member of the ultra-royalist Siam Samakkhi group. This group, as we posted in March 2012,  was one of the first organized and elite-financed groups to begin the rollback of the 2011 election result. As we noted then, it:

rallied at Lumpini Park and was headed up by former military junta member and appointed senator Somjet Boonthanom and anti-Thaksin yellow shirts Kaewsan Atibhodhi, appointed senator Somchai Sawaengkarn and Seri Wongmontha. Apparently also featured were  Chirmsak Pinthong and Banjerd Singkaneti.

This group began a meeting then by “jokingly thanking the twins arrested on Thursday over Wednesday’s assault on Worajet Pakeerat, a member of the Nitirat group…”.

These reprehensible comments were support for Fascist royalists.

The report at The Nation notes that Suthep’s hastily cobbled together (from the People’s Alliance for Demcracy of 2005) “People’s Council” is “designed to pave the way for a royally sponsored prime minister.”

Wake us up when it is 2013! After listening to the aged king’s embarrassing “speech,” that could have been made in 1968, the obviously struggling monarch can’t be seen as an appointer of anything. His mental competence needs to be seriously questioned. Which raises the question: who is pulling the strings in the palace when the king is essentially suffering the problems of the aged and ill?

That probably doesn’t concern Banjerd, for he is about protecting a system of privilege and power. He babbles:

“Criticising us for resorting to Article 3 and 7 of the Constitution is like missing the point. We have to look at the root cause – that the government has lost legitimacy to run the country after attempting to pass a law pardoning those accused of corruption,” Banjerd said. “The ruling Pheu Thai Party then rejected the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the move to change the formation of the Senate is unconstitutional.”

Banjerd continues:

“We have reached the point where we are able to exercise a constitutional right – according to Articles 69 and 70 – to depose a government that has lost legitimacy, both politically and legally. MPs and senators are our representatives and when they have lost legitimacy, we have to ‘tear up’ the power-of-attorney that handed them power and turn to Article 3, which stipulates that sovereignty belongs to the people.

These sections of the constitution state:

Section 69. A person shall have the right to resist peacefully an act committed for the acquisition of the power to rule the country by a means which is not in accordance with the modes provided in this Constitution.

Section 70. Every person shall have a duty to uphold the nation, religions, the King and the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State under this Constitution.

Clearly the royalist Constitutional Court meant that Banjerd should say this – who knows, they may be coaching him – following their absurd decision a couple of weeks ago, based on article 68.

Getting rid of the government, without going to a new election – yes, the plan becomes clear – means:

“When a solution cannot be found in the Constitution, we have to resort to the ‘democratic norm’ [Article 7] and not involve the King by seeking a royally sponsored PM. We can manage by ourselves, as sovereignty belongs to us,” Banjerd said.

Of course, this is a plan for overthrowing yet another elected government and has nothing to do with law, but readers can see how judges, lawyers and academics, amongst others have been planning and conniving.

His plans are dismissed by all democratic-thinking people and by many other academics (who will all be dismissed as pro-Thaksin by the royalists):

Commenting on the PDRC’s proposal, Panas Tassaneeyanont, former senator and former dean of Thammasat University’s faculty of law, said anything could happen while the PDRC and protesters did not seem to care about any legal principles.

There’s a swathe of critical commentary in one article at the Bangkok Post headed:

Academics savage Suthep for ‘utopian’ council plan

Proposal a recipe for ‘chilling despotism’

That it is. Legal it isn’t, except perhaps in the magic circle of mad monarchists and those driven by a personal hatred of Thaksin Shinawatra and not much else.

Banjerd belongs to this misguided cabal, but the question still needs to be asked: how is it that the university presidents and associated senior academics have come up with united statements and a plan that looks like it was delivered by the judges of the Constitutional Court?

A footnote on universities: many senior academic adminsitrators owe their positions to their aggressive royal posterior polishing. Think of how the various universities compete to dole out undeserved honorary degrees to royals. Universities have long played a political role in burnishing the image of the royals by having them give out degrees. They’ve done this for money – the royals we mean, who are paid for this service – and the royals gain the important luster of association with academia. Most administrations of universities are now dominated by royal posterior polishers who perform like trained seals when required.

Update: Readers will no doubt be interested in a report at Khaosod, where a royalist lout posing as a deputy rector has declared his desire to do violence to students, including Aum Neko, who protested the closing of the university by the royalist administration by hanging a black flag on the university’s name sign. He seems to have become unstable following peaceful, relatively quiet and completely justifiable disobedience. This is what the royalists fight for: blind obedience and total dominance.

Panic, coups and courts

9 05 2013

It is difficult to miss the increase in political panic attacks on the two main sides of the political contest in Thailand.

As PPT has already posted, the yellow-hued opponents of the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra have had multiple panic attacks that have caused them to shout their real political views out very loud. When Yingluck speaks to a meeting on democracy, the royalists and anti-Thaksin Shinawatra coalition has its leading figures shout about treason, selling out the country and greater “crimes.” The main “crime” seems to be Yingluck’s failure to again kowtow to the old men who think they run Thailand and continue to concoct a royalist version of the country’s recent political history. A few statements by a younger woman about political reality suggest to the geriatric royalists that their presumed control of her has weakened and that she does not “know her place.”

The tried and royalist trusted method for attacking elected governments, apart from the military coup, is judicial harassment and intervention. And so it is that as the political temperature rises ever more panicked and preposterous royalists charge off to their buddies at the Constitutional Court seeking judicial interference.

At the Bangkok Post it is reported that the latest move is appointed senator  – that is, unelected senator – Paiboon Nititawan who “represents” something called “other sectors,” which really just means he’s an unelected spawn of the military junta, has begged the kangaroo court to consider Thaksin Shinawatra’s alleged “order for Pheu Thai to amend the constitution,” which the senator claims “violates Section 68 of the charter, pertaining to acts that could undermine the constitutional monarchy or grab power through unconstitutional means.”

The Post states that some yellow-shirted intellectuals think the “Constitution Court is likely to take up a complaint…”. At the same time, “Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, a political science lecturer at Sripatum University, said the allegation that Thaksin’s Skype call breached Section 68 is far-fetched.” That won’t bother the court or the royalists.

Somchai reckons that a more likely constitutional court intervention is over the “MPs and senators [who] have declared they will not accept the authority of the charter court…”. He says: “Such an announcement is bound to be a violation of the law…. Many MPs and senators may realise their action carries a risk.”

Panic has also set in on the government and red shirt side. PPT has already posted on the political foot-in-mouth calisthenics by Information and Communication Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap. Equally panicky seems to be red shirt supporters claiming that a coup is in the offing. The clearest English-language statement of this was at New Mandala where Jim Taylor makes this claim:

The army, if a little confused about royal futures, are talking about a coup (yes, yet again) among themselves and many senior army officers (including Prayuth Chan-ocha) dropping strong hints in the media…

Several readers have emailed PPT with similar claims. We don’t doubt that the military brass around boss Prayuth Chan-ocha were shocked by Yingluck’s Mongolia speech, but we have yet to see any strong evidence of the tanks warming up. We would expect to see and hear a lot more from the top brass if they were at any serious level of plotting. That said, Yingluck’s speech and the failure of the king and queen to appear as scheduled probably mean that the military men have the coup jitters.Red shirt protest

Meanwhile, while red shirt anger over the Constitutional Court shenanigans saw a mobile protest. Reports from the protest site are mixed, with some saying the protesters preparing to leave and others reporting an expansion of the protest (both in the same newspaper on the same day….). The very same newspaper is back to its old tricks of producing material filched from yellow-shirt sites and dressing it up as an op-ed rather than concocted propaganda.

The latter report also refers to:

hundreds of yellow-shirt Thai Compatriots and Territory Protection Front members, gathering since Tuesday at Sanam Luang, are refusing to clear the site.

They say they will stay until Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is ousted and that their presence won’t interfere with Royal Ploughing Ceremony on the grounds next Monday…. They are also demonstrating to offer moral support to the Constitutional Court judges and oppose the Preah Vihear court case.

The Bangkok Post, which says the rally is called off, has a spurious headline at its website, seems to say that the red shirt protest at the Constitutional Court was all Thaksin’s doing, when the story itself implies something else again, even suggesting that the Puea Thai bosses and Thaksin were out of sync with the protesters. Apparently the protest was called off:

after losing the backing of Pheu Thai, other red-shirt groups and, more importantly, ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, sources say.Thaksin did it

Some ruling party MPs initially sponsored the protest by the Radio Broadcasters for Democracy movement formed by some red shirts, the Pheu Thai sources said.

Apparently, the MPs got cold feet when the rallies turned to those close to the palace:

The MPs had also joined the protest in front of the Constitution Court on Chaeng Watthana Road in Bangkok.

But they later withdrew their support after demonstration leaders ignored their warnings and attacked Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda, threatened Constitution Court judges and used obscene words.

The MPS and Thaksin apparently worried that the rally could destabilize the government. If Thaksin is the ring master in all of this, he seems to have been unable to control the situation or to fathom the impacts of his sister’s speech or the red shirt rally against the hopeless bunch at the Court. Always murky, the arm wrestle continues.

Royalist lawyer: ignore the constitution

10 06 2012

The Bangkok Post interviews yet another royalist academic lawyer on the developing judicial coup. Former Thammasat University rector Surapol Nitikraipot essentially argues that the words in the constitution count for little.

PPT won’t recount the whole sorry tale of yet another lawyer embarrassing himself, but we will cite the most revealing dissembling.

Surapol says the Constitutional Court “is vested with the power to admit petitions under Section 68 of the charter.” The initial reasoning seems to be “to prevent any repercussions on the higher institution.” That is royalist-speak for the monarchy. This claim sees the goalposts moved as the focus again cycles back to the monarchy rather than the constitution.

Seeing the king wheeling about in a military uniform certainly seems to have energized the ultra-royalists.

Surapol agrees that Article 68 “requires petitions seeking termination of such actions to be submitted to the attorney-general, who investigates the action.” He then adds: “Drafters of the [current] constitution did not wish for the Constitution Court to initiate the investigation process itself.”

So far he’s right. He’s still right when he states: “If the legislature drafts a law which contravenes the constitution, the Constitution Court reserves the power to declare such a law a violation of the charter.”

Then the caveats come like a rain-drenched landslide:

However, the court said it admitted the petitions out of concern the attorney-general might proceed slowly. If the court had not taken in the petitions, it could lead to far-reaching political ramifications and other problems.

No evidence for any of that or for the Court not waiting to see the legislation (for which there are specific actions defined in the basic law) or for the Attorney-General (in accord with the Court’s own published procedures).

Then this:

The point to ponder is how one can interpret the letters and the spirit of the constitution. What had the constitution drafters intended when they wrote the charter? Or do we need to stick to the charter writers’ intentions in interpreting laws despite the changing circumstances?

Yes, forget what the nation’s basic law says and try to interpret unspoken intentions. In effect he says forget the constitution and do something that “interprets” mysteries of the recent past and somehow lever that into the Court’s interpretation of that history.

Most interestingly, Surapol then states:

In this case, the Constitution Court interpreted [the law governing its authority] differently from the way the charter writers had intended, which was for the petitions to be filed with the attorney-general.

Huh? The current legal eagles at the Court have chucked out the constitution and the charter writers’ intentions!

But, the Court can go ahead anyway. Why? Just because they can. And not only do they have the power to do something not in the constitution or even intended by those who drafted the constitution – all military-royalists flunkies. Now that it has done it, Surapol reckons they can do it any time they like. Parliament becomes meaningless, rendering elections a kind of modern curiosity.

Then another but; it involves invoking the king (as all good royalists do when challenged):

If parliament votes to pass the bill in its third reading, it will be proposed to His Majesty the King for endorsement.

Imagine the King choosing between not proceeding further in light of the court’s injunction and signing the bill approved by parliament.

The parliament should avoid subjecting the head of state to a situation where he will be burdened with considering an issue which could invite extreme social and political conflicts.

Well, that makes all the difference! The king is head of state and he has constitutional rights and duties, but please don’t get him to exercise those legal provisions, Again, ditch the constitution!

We know that Surapol is making this up as any legal moron can look at the constitution and see that there are provisions that come into play after legislation is approved and before it goes to the king (Article 154).

The Surapol concludes with this observation that clearly indicates why he is proposing illeagal and unconstitutional interventions: “The decision-making power in parliament rests with the House speaker, his deputies and a person above the parliament who lives overseas.” He mans Thaksin Shinawatra.

In other words, the Puea Thai Party (and the People’s Power Party before them) going to and winning an election based on rolling back elements of the junta’s charter counts for nothing for the royalists are continuing their judicial battle with Thaksin.

Surapol is remarkable. He shows he knows the law and constitution and he just tosses it aside. Truly, truly amazing to see royalist lawyers and judges destroying their own system and laws.

Court clarifies: it is politically biased II

7 06 2012

In a recent post, PPT showed how the Constitutional Court’s decision to intervene in the political process by  “checking” on the “constitutionality” of proposed processes for considering constitutional amendments was simply a political decision that had no basis in constitution or law. To date, PPT has not seen any argument that would contradict this view.

That said, the Constitutional Court has tried to explain its arguably unlawful actions as somehow lawful, so it is worth briefly dealing with the latest of these rather feeble explanations.

At the Bangkok Post, we see that the Court “is insisting it has the authority to accept petitions against the charter amendment bill and order parliament to suspend the third reading of the legislation.” It can insist all it wants, but what is important is the legal basis for such insistence.

According to the Post, “Court spokesman Pimol Thammapithakpong cited sections 69 and 70 of the constitution to support the court’s acceptance of the petitions for examination, in addition to Section 68 of the charter which provides the basis for accepting the petitions.”

PPT has already dealt with Article 68 in our earlier post, and readers may also find Bangkok Pundit of interest. There is no basis in Article 68 for the Court’s current actions. That the Court spokesperson invokes Articles 69 and 70 suggests considerable desperation. These articles state:

[Article] 69. A person shall have the right to resist peacefully an act committed for the acquisition of the power to rule the country by a means which is not in accordance with the modes provided in this Constitution.

[Article] 70. Every person shall have a duty to uphold the nation, religions, the King and the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State under this Constitution.

How should we read the Court’s resort to these articles? PPT sees nothing more than an admission that Article 68 has been misused and that it must rely on general statements of a duty and right to justify its actions. In other words, the Court is again admitting that it has intervened for political reasons.

The Court spokesperson then does the necessary slippery legal gymnastics to make a revised claim for the Court. He says the:

court judges had concluded based on the three sections that anyone knowing of any acts as stated in Section 68 can submit a petition to the attorney-general, which will investigate the matter and pass it to the court, or file a petition directly with the court.

As PPT has shown earlier, Article 68 is not saying this. In addition, as Bangkok Pundit shows, the Constitutional Court’s own website is clear. We cut-and-paste from Pundit:

From the Constitution Court Web site (PDF):


BP: The left-hand column is for “issue”, and the issue here is the “Consideration of decisions concerning persons or political parties who use their rights and liberties in a political sense in contravention of the Constitution (Sections 68 and 237).”

The middle column is ‘who has the right to file the motion’ and the listed answer is “Attorney-General” only.

The right-hand column is “process and conditions”  the person knowing of such act shall have the right to request the Attorney General to investigate the facts and submit a motion to the Constitutional Court for ordering cessation of such act or dissolving that political party” [it continues and talks about removing the political rights of executives of that political party etc] .

Tellingly, Court president Wasan Soypisudh has had to state: “The Constitution Court is not a political tool of anyone…”. PPT could mount a long contradiction of this, showing that the Court has repeatedly shown that it is biased and corrupt, but that is unnecessary given the length of our previous post.

In addition, we have no doubt that the Court would not be making such an intervention that has no legal basis without having received a very specific prod, probably from a higher authority.

At The Nation, Wasan is cited as stating that what was at issue was “not the vote or other legislative work but the alleged conspiracy to overthrow the political system as sanctioned by the Constitution.” Again, Wasan is clear: the Constitutional Court is politically biased and a tool of the royalist elite.

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