Do not speak ill of the dead II

5 02 2016

The Dictator may have heartburn over the draft charter’s poor reception, but there are efforts to ensure that the draft has a chance at becoming law.

In a story at Prachatai, the military junta “has ordered academics to cancel a seminar about the draft constitution.” A bunch of yellow-shirted academics were coming together at the National Institute of Development Administration to discuss the latest charter draft. They included Komsarn Pokong, Banjerd Singkaneti, Phichai Rattanadilok Na Phuket and Suriyasai Katasila. Doing this to those who cheered the military’s coup is revealing of fraying.

In another report, it is revealed that the Election Commission “has proposed imposing penalties against people who inappropriately criticize the draft of the new constitution…”. It says that “[d]istorting details about the draft, using rude language to criticise it, or inciting people to go against it are among the activities that might face punishment…”.

A third Prachatai report has Army boss General Theerachai Nakawanich announcing that “military students [ROTC cadets] will be sent to stand at referendum polling stations to inform people about the draft constitution.” By “inform” we assume he means “propagandize for.” These students are to be trained how to propagandize for the charter, joining with the decrepit EC! At the same time, the gorilla general said that “military officers from many divisions will also be sent to communities throughout the country to foster an understanding about positive aspects of the draft constitution, especially its content dealing with anti-corruption mechanisms.” Having the thugs campaigning for the charter is the equivalent of mobsters running the mixer for cement shoes. The Bangkok Post has further details.

These are more examples of how little the military mind in Thailand understands politics, people and polls. The general is guaranteeing that no one will see the referendum as anything other than military manure.

Old men and old ideas

13 09 2015

A couple of days ago we again pointed out that Thailand is a country where very old men remain powerful and influential.

At the Bangkok Post it is reported that aged legal expert Meechai Ruchupan has indeed been invited by The Dictator “to lead a new charter-drafting body that is expected to be formed by next week…”.

Meechai as a rabid royalist ideologue associated with the 2006 military coup and junta and with several anti-democratic movements, including the movement that sought to bring down the Yingluck Shinawatra elected government. He has been fully prepared to defend the lese majeste law, even making stuff up to support the draconian law.

General Prayuth Chan-ocha is said to be “interested in Mr Meechai” because of his experience “at the helm of legislative bodies, both as Senate chairman and chairman of a national legislative assembly…”.

In fact, this experience is telling. According to a brief entry at Wikipedia:

He was the acting Prime Minister of Thailand following a military takeover of the government that took place in February 1991. He served only seventeen days, from May 24, 1992 to June 10, 1992, and was succeeded by Anand Panyarachun. He had been appointed by Royal Command to take over after highly unpopular General Suchinda Kraprayoon resigned under public and state pressure.

Meechai served as President of the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly of Thailand after the coup d’état in 2006. After another coup d’état in 2014, Meechai—as one of two civilians—was appointed as a member of the junta which calls itself the National Council for Peace and Order.

The picture of a royalist who serves the military is clear.

Prayuth thinks this is the right man to again serve the military-monarchy alliance as it represses popular will and seeks to cement its rule.

Others reportedly being sought for the military dictatorship’s “fix” of the political system include royalists and military backers like the conservative Sujit Boonbongkarn, former 2006 junta appointee Kanjanarat Leewiroj, Banthoon Sethasiroj, anti-Thaksin Shinawatra lawyer Banjerd Singkhaneti, who fronted the ultra-royalist and neo-fascist Sayam Prachapiwat, Preecha Watcharaphai, who worked with the 2006 military junta and former unelected senator and anti-Thaksin activist Surachai Liangboonlertchai, who once tried to use the Senate to bring down the elected government.

The picture is pretty clear: conservatives, royalists, yellow shirts, anti-Thaksin activists and military backers.

The pattern is also seen in a recent appointment to the Constitutional Court of yellow-shirted historian, 2014 coup supporter and constitution drafter and supporter of the lese majeste law, Nakarin Mektrairat.

This may all seem like more of the same under the military dictatorship. Yet it is clear that the junta and its supporters and backers have decided that Thailand requires more “reform.” This means a deeply conservative and royalist return to an authoritarian and intolerant past.

Anti-democratic “academics”

14 12 2013

According to The Nation newspaper, the anti-democratic movement has “many experts” who take roles in the movement, as “committee members, including former MPs, academics, businesspeople, and activists.” Most of the activists are former members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy and its spin-off and front organizations. The list at the report has this:

Regular academics who advise the PDRC’s leaders include: Sombat Thamrongthanyawong, former rector of the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA); Banjerd Singkaneti, dean of Nida’s Graduate School of Law; Charas Suwanmala, former dean of Chulalongkorn’s Faculty of Political Science; and Kaewsan Athibodhi, leader of the Thai Spring group….

All of these have been anti-Thaksin Shinawatra activists since the early days of PAD. Sombat and Banjerd have long been leaders of yellow-shirted “academics,” showing up for every single group that has spun off from PAD, including the most extreme and reactionary.

Charas has effectively been a propagandist for PAD from the beginning and cooperated with the military junta and its government. His political views are rabidly anti-democratic and pro-monarchy.

Kaewsan is equally right-wing, although his politics seem driven by a personal hatred of Thaksin rather than any ideology as he has had a career in hiring himself out as a loudmouth. Most recently he has joined with racist fascists like former palace policeman Vasit Dejkunjorn.

Added to this list of hardened rightists and royalists is the now quite incoherent retiree Thirayuth Boonmee. He is said to have:

attended a meeting at the PDRC’s war room just before Suthep issued a statement requesting a meeting with Supreme Commander General Tanasak Patimapragorn and commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as the commissioner-general of the National Police.

These “academics” bear much responsibility for the continual undermining of electoral democracy in Thailand. Their efforts are no doubt rewarded in various ways, but their positions place them in a long line of military and royalist anti-democrats who have acted for a wealth and powerful minority against the majority.

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.

Yellow protest, part 2

3 03 2012

This is essentially an update on our earlier post on the ultra-royalists and other yellow shirts coming together to oppose constitutional change. We are making it a new post because it deserves more attention than a simple update.

The Nation reports on the Siam Samakkhi group that 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. We are assuming that this was the same event we posted on earlier, but the report is a little vague on this.

In any case, here’s the significant bit:

[The group began] their talk by jokingly thanking the twins arrested on Thursday over Wednesday’s assault on Worajet Pakeerat, a member of the Nitirat group…. While they do not support violence, tolerance has its limits, the panel members said.

Their comment is truly reprehensible and these people are to be condemned in the strongest terms.

Just as bad is the Democrat Party. Their Sathit Wongnongtoey is in the same report stirring up more violence by making patently false claims regarding constitutional amendment. Of course, Sathit is well known as a purveyor of fabrications.

Updated: A blue blood intervention on lese majeste

12 01 2012

The battle over lese majeste has seen ultra-royalists, the military leadership and pretty much every politician in leadership positions in all parties opposing change on lese majeste. Indeed, it was only a few days ago that former 2006 coup leader and junta boss General Sonthi Boonyaratglin who now heads up the insignificant Matuphum Party got leaders and representatives of nine political parties  to agree that the lese majeste law could not possibly be amended.

What will they do now that a bunch of blue bloods have come out to urge that the Yingluck Shinawatra government amend the lese majeste law?

At the Bangkok Post it is reported that 8 “people with royal lineage” have signed a letter which they sent to the premier “asking the government to change the law. They are MR Sai Svasti Svasti, MR Saisingh Siributr, MR Narisa Chakrabongse, Vara-Poj Snidvongs na Ayudhya [former ambassador to Italy], Gen MR Krit Kritakara, MR Powari Suchiva (Rajani), MR Opas Kanchawichai and Sumet Jumsai na Ayudhya.” PPT added what we hope are correct links.

The letter complained that the number of lese majeste cases had increased substantially in recent years, although for some unknown reason, there data points are 2002 and 2009. In fact, the huge spike in lese majeste cases came after the 2006 coup and under the royalist, Democrat Party-led coalition led by Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The scribes complain that these cases have “been reported around the world and resulted in increasingly intense attacks on the institution of the monarchy…”.

To support their claim for amendment, the group “cited … King Bhumibol’s address on Dec 4, 2005 in which he said putting people who criticised the monarchy in jail only caused trouble to him.” They lament that no government has “improved” the law.They do not specify how it might be “improved.”

PPT can only find this version of the speech at present, and we challenge readers to make sense of it. Yes, the king talks about being wrong, needing to be criticicized and how he is troubled when people (foreigners?) go to jail for insulting him because he gets representations on it and Thailand is ridiculed. But the speech is essentially a criticism of Thaksin Shinawatra and his Thai Rak Thai Party following the 2005 election landslide.

Sumet says: “Most important of all, our group wants to draw attention to the fact that His Majesty himself has criticised the law…”. It is added that it is “the government’s duty to protect the institution and, in this instance, heed the King’s concerns.”

PPT doesn’t know much about any of these minor royals, although we did once comment on Sumet’s somewhat liberal attitude on republicanism and updating the monarchy. We have no idea if they have links to the palace and whether there views are representative of a broader royal view. Even so, that a coterie of the high and mighty see lese majeste as a negative for the monarchy is likely a significant intervention.

Update: Soon after the royals called for reform, The Nation reported yet another yellow-shirt group has been formed to “protect the monarchy.” Unsurprisingly, it comes from the died-in-the-wool royalist National Institute of Development Administration. There, Banjerd Singkaneti, dean of the Law School, “more than 20 academics from five universities have formed a group called ‘Sayam Prachapiwat’ (Siamese People’s Great Development).” The group is to be officially launched today at NIDA.

Kind of like the People’s Alliance for Democracy, “Banjerd said the group’s academic were concerned about the ongoing ‘monopoly of Thai politics’ by a group of capitalists and politicians, as well as ‘the crisis of freedom and ethics’.”

Fancy that, politics being dominated by politicians. That aside, Banjerd seems to say absolutely nothing about the repeated election victories and even landslides of recent years. Like PAD, Banjerd probably dismisses electoral politics as a sham dominated by the ignorant.

This is confirmed when Banjerd says:

Our views are based on the principle that the Thai society’s values must not be copied from the West. Our society respects the monarchy and this value is an important principle in Thai society….

That is how to deny electoral democracy. Of course, Banjerd’s group is also established to oppose Nitirat.

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