“Democrat” Party promises violence

11 06 2012

It was only yesterday that PPT reminded readers of the long stated (not held) position of Democrat Party Leader Abhisit Vejjajiva on rule of law. We did that by showing the laughable contradictions of just the past week or so.

So it is no surprise at all to learn in The Nation that Abhisit’s party is now threatening political violence. Not in their own name, of course, but through PADocrat proxies.

The Nation states that the Democrat Party says the:

country will plunge into a political crisis in the next seven days if Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra refuses to take responsibility and refuses to issue a royal decree to close the House session….

This is an ultimatum: close parliament or there will be political chaos. So far the chaos has come from the Democrat Party and its ultra-royalist allies, so the threat is not without meaning.

One of the Democrat Party chief political nasties, Buranaj Smutharaks stated that “if” – perhaps he means “when” – “the situation turned violent next week, the PM cannot evade responsibility.”

This is a long-standing promise-cum-threat from Buranaj and the PADocrats. Immediately after the Democrat Party’s crushing defeat in July 2011, PPT posted this:

Suthep [Thaugsuban] “reminded the incoming government that turmoil would erupt once again if the amnesty was granted to an individual like Thaksin.” PPT has no doubt that Thaksin will continue to be a lightening rod for the yellow shirt-Democrat Party public face of opposition to a Puea Thai Party-led coalition. Who said the yellow shirts were dead? The rejectionists need them again!

Back in The Nation’s report, Democrat Party Wirat Kallayasiri, one of those filing a complaint direct to the Constitutional Court, said: “if the charter amendment bill was passed, Thai democracy would turn into dictatorial rule similar to that of Germany’s Adolf Hitler.”

The PADocrats seem to have a particular affinity with Nazis as they goosestep in parliament and use Nazi salutes (twice over the past couple of weeks). Of course, red shirt literature has regularly portrayed Abhisit as a Hitler-like figure, and it seems the Democrat Party is willingly accepting this, although Wirat seems confused. The Naz’s are not the ones who repeatedly win landslide elections. The Nazis come to power by destroying parliament and with the backing of the military and gangs marching to the beat of a fascist ideology.

Nothing has changed for the Democrat Party, its allies and the royalist elite. They have never accepted elections results. They never will. PPT has little doubt that its leaders are currently scheming and planning with all of the usual suspects when it comes to overthrowing an elected government.

Yingluck, currently missing in inaction, should do something to demonstrate she has some political backbone.





A yellow shirt response to the election victory by the Puea Thai Party

5 07 2011

What would anyone expect from yellow shirt leader – or, as the Bangkok Post prefers, “leader of the multi-colour group” – Tul Sitthisomwong has challenged Jatuporn Promphan’s right to hold a parliamentary seat, warned of street demonstrations and stormed ahead with legal attacks on likely prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

How could anything else have been expected? PPT posted on the likely yellow-hued response to the Puea Thai Party victory a while ago.

Tul has asked the Election Commission to check whether Jatuporn can hold his seat because he didn’t vote. PPT covered this charge previously, when we stated that EC member Sodsri Sattayaham coached the anti-Puea Thai crowd on how to disqualify Jatuporn. Not surprisingly, Tul appears to have plagiarized the helpful Sodsri. As we said then, this doesn’t change anything for Puea Thai. In fact, it seems Jatuporn could be appointed a minister without holding a seat. This is simply revenge and political bastardry.

Tul also warned that he would mobilize people from his so-called Network of Citizen Volunteers to Protect the Land to rally in front of parliament “if legislation to grant amnesty to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was tabled to the House of Representatives…”. PPT imagines this will be interpreted very broadly by the yellow ones.

A very busy Tul further said “he would today go to give more information to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) on a petition against Yingluck Shinawatra, who now stands to be made prime minister, for alleged perjury in the assets seizure case involving her brother Thaksin Shinawatra.” He would then be off to the “office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission  to find out whether the NACC would file a lawsuit against Ms Yingluck for alleged perjury in the same case.”

This is just the beginning shots in what is planned as a war of attrition by the self-proclaimed Thaksin haters that include many in the failed Democrat Party.

A bitter Suthep Thaugsuban has complained that as “Yingluck governs under Thaksin[‘s] order[s], the Pheu Thai-led government will see a quick ending due to the lack of credibility…”. Maybe our comment above on a war of attrition is mistaken! Like so many others in the past day, he trotted out the line that “the people’s mandate given to Pheu Thai did not mean that any attempts to trample over the rule of law would be tolerated.” Expect to hear this line again and again.

More ominously, like Democrat Party Spokesman and now party list MP Buranaj Smutharaks, Suthep “reminded the incoming government that turmoil would erupt once again if the amnesty was granted to an individual like Thaksin.” PPT has no doubt that Thaksin will continue to be a lightening rod for the yellow shirt-Democrat Party public face of opposition to a Puea Thai Party-led coalition. Who said the yellow shirts were dead? The rejectionists need them again!

 

 





A Puea Thai government is not to be permitted

29 06 2011

A few days ago in The Nation, Chaiwat Satha-ananda, a respected political scientist from Thammasat University, asked: “What can we do to make the powers outside the electoral system reconcile with the power within the electoral system and make the powers outside the electoral system accept the electoral result?”

According to a reader and correspondent who was at a well-attended event at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand on the night of 28 June, the well-quoted pundit Thitinan Phongsudhirak pleaded for the “powers-that-be” to accept the election result. He was sure the Puea Thai Party would win. A Puea Thai Party representative who was added to the panel at the last moment – sorry, didn’t catch the name – was confident also.

Banned former Thai Rak Thai Party minister Chaturon Chaisaeng reckoned that Puea Thai would have a thumping victory, but predicted that the establishment would not allow Puea Thai to rule for very long. Indeed, Thitinan expressed the same pessimism on the likelihood that a Puea Thai election victory would be unacceptable to the elite.

The forum at the FCCT suggested plenty of reasons for the pessimism. The following is not a summary of the long night of presentations and questions.

Just over a week ago PPT wrote: “Acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn is reported to have said that ‘he was a government official and not a member of any political party.’ PPT has never expected that this unscrupulous person was anything less than a Privy Council and Army-connected toady. He’s paid to be a professional sycophant. But who pays him? If he is a government official, why is he shadowing Abhisit Vejjajiva on the campaign trail?”

Well, he was at it again. He began by stating that he “did not represent any party.” This was met with chuckles from the audience. He then went on to take shots at journalists and pundits who had criticized the Democrat Party-led coalition government and talked of the bright future for democracy in the country. He rambled and didn’t say much more than this apart from defending the Abhisit Vejjajiva government’s record. Essentially, “we did well and better than you ever expected” was the message.

More interesting was Democrat Party spokesman Buranaj Smutharaks, who has a long record of unfounded claims and accusations. His message was crystal clear. He stated that if Puea Thai formed the government – and he seemed to thinks his lot still had a chance – then it would be a government that would face all kinds of problems. He focused on Thaksin Shinawatra, the Democrat Party’s only campaign “policy.” If a Puea Thai government did anything for Thaksin or attempted to amend the constitution, then Buranaj threatened protests in the streets.

Buranaj demonstrated how much of the Democrat Party has adopted the People’s Alliance for Democracy agenda: hate Thaksin and oppose the “Thaksin regime” and its proxies.

Add in Abhisit’s support for the withdrawal from UNESCO’s World Heritage Commission and the two agendas are pretty much aligned, at least for PAD up to the end of 2008.

He went on to draw a distinction between “majoritarianism” and the “rule of law.” Majoritarianism has several meanings, but it seemed that Buranaj simply meant that winning elections and having millions support a party’s policies and platforms counts for nothing if there is no “rule of law.” He essentially explained that rule of law referred to any action that “whitewashed” Thaksin.

Buranaj’s comments made it clear that a Puea Thai government is still absolutely unacceptable because of the Thaksin connection. Thaksin and his proxy parties can get elected as often as they like, but the elite is not prepared to accept anything short of their own rule. As Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda observed more than two years ago, “… Thaksin was a very dangerous man and should be jailed…”. Nothing much has changed and an election won’t change the minds of the stubborn, uncompromising establishment.





Updated: The missing headline: Lese majeste

22 02 2011

There is currently a storm of lese majeste activity in Thailand but very little of it is in the English-language media (except for the ever reliable Prachatai). Self-censorship would be the usual explanation, but the Thai press reports such cases, so we think it is a case of cleaning the headlines for international consumption.

The Manager keeps reporting these lese majeste cases as victories for the forces of good against evil while failing to notice that lese majeste repression is easily turned on anyone deemed an opponent of the amart’s regime.

PPT has posted on several lese majeste cases and issues in recent days: Chiranuch Premchaiporn‘s court case, Surachai Sae Dan‘s most recent arrest, Tanthawut Taweewarodomkul‘s court case, and the threat to track down lese majeste internationally. To this incomplete list we can add the lese majeste accusations raised against Thaksin Shinawatra, Robert Amsterdam and editor of the Fa Diew Kan/Same Sky magazine Thanapol Eawsakul. The accusations are made by a Democrat Party member of parliament.

Back in November, the MP, Watchara Petthong, called for charges against those involved with the Amsterdam & Peroff “White Paper,” on the violence of April and May 2010, which Watchara said was “offensive to the monarchy and the courts.” At the time, the Thai version of the book did not name of the author, but listed Amsterdam & Peroff as the publisher and Kled Thai Co as the distributor.  Its first edition ran to 5,000 copies and each sold for 100 baht. It became a best seller.

Watchara has reportedly lodged the complaints calling for charges with the Crime Suppression Division late last week. He did this because he says that his calls last November were ignored. He filed the charges himself and gave police copies of the book as “evidence.”

It remains unclear why Thanapol is included as he is not listed as the publisher of the book. Both Thaksin and Thanapol have faced earlier charges related to lese majeste.

Robert Amsterdam, who now joins the ever-lengthening list of those facing lese majeste charges at PPT’s page on Pending Cases, has responded at his blog. Amsterdam makes the point that this is “not the first time accusations of this sort are leveled against us {he and Thaksin] by Democrat Party politicians. In the wake of the White Paper’s release in July, Democrat Party spokesperson Dr. Buranat Samutrak made similar charges.”

Amsterdam states: “the White Paper does not contain any instance of lese majeste.”He says that Watchara raises objections to two points:

First, Mr. Watchara resents that the White Paper pointed out that His Majesty the King did not publicly intervene in the wake of the 1976 and 2010 demonstrations, as he did in 1973 and 1992. That, of course, is factually true; besides, the White Paper does not make any value judgment about this historical fact. Second, Mr. Watchara suggests that simply pointing out that many people are being arrested and jailed for lese majeste constitutes an insult to the monarchy. Again, it is an empirically verifiable fact that an unprecedented number of people have been thrown in jail for lese majeste since the Democrats cheated and bribed their way into power (a 1500% increase of cases in 2009). Condemning the arrests certainly does not constitute an insult to the King, but rather an attack on those, like Mr. Watchara and his party, who constantly invoke the King’s name for their own political gain.

Watchara with the "evidence"

Amsterdam suggests that:

… [t]he odd timing of his attack betrays a transparent attempt to stifle free speech, as international awareness of the unlawful conduct of the Democrat Party during the Bangkok massacres increases day by day. The White Paper, in both English and Thai versions, online and print, have reached a circulation surpassing approximately 50,000 copies and downloads at this point, which may explain why the junta saw fit to invent an LM claim out of thin air. It already seems apparent that Mr. Watchara’s main goal is stop the sales of the book in Thai bookstores.

It seems that Watchara is prompted to this act of lese majeste repression by the fact that Amsterdam & Peroff have a new and updated version of the White Paper available for download. He is attempting to limit the impact of the second report, but the horse has already bolted. More insidious, though, it is likely that the current wave of lese majeste repression is both an attempt to secure political advantage for the current government and to repress while the world’s attention has shifted to the Middle East.

Update: Amsterdam has more at his blog.





Updated: Commentary in the press on Amsterdam and Peroff report

1 02 2011

Earlier PPT posted regarding lawyers for the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), Amsterdam and Peroff, presenting “Application to Investigate the Situation of the Kingdom of Thailand with regard to the Commission of Crimes Against Humanity” to the International Criminal Court. Here we link to some of the media commentary:

Wall Street Journal notes Thaksin’s role, a point taken up in the next piece.

An interview with Robert Amsterdam in Spiegel Online, with some choice cuts here:

We have a reasonable basis to argue that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva personally ordered the military to assassinate the Red Shirt leaders. When that plan was botched, he authorized the army to brutally clamp down on unarmed demonstrators. Not only did he approve of the firing order, he even deployed snipers against them.

We have hundreds of affidavits. The most impressive of these originate from some of the closest aides to Abhisit himself, others from well placed high ranking officers. The picture that you get after reading this evidence is crystal clear: Abhisit gave a carte blanche style order to the military to massacre civilians with the only goal of eliminating the Red Shirt opposition.

It is known that Amsterdam and Peroff claim that Abhisit is British and that allows ICC jurisdiction. Abhisit’s response is in an AFP report: “I am a Thai citizen, not Montenegrin…”.

Reuters: “Some of the most potentially explosive accusations said to come from sources inside the military are that journalists and medical workers were specifically targeted to prevent evidence of killings from being recorded, and that soldiers posing as medical workers took away dead bodies to two hospitals where incriminating evidence was destroyed by way of cremation.”

Bangkok Post: “Democrat Party spokesman Buranat Samutrak said the move to petition the ICC was part of Thaksin’s drive to discredit Thailand and pave the way for international bodies to interfere in the country’s affairs.”

The Post includes this tidbit of great interest: “In another development, Phayaw and Natthaputt Akkahad, mother and brother of Kamolket, a volunteer nurse who was found shot dead at Wat Pathum Wanaram after the protest dispersal operation on May 19, 2010, have failed to obtain a visa to Britain after they received an invitation from the House of Lords to discuss the controversy surrounding the death of Kamolket. The hearing in London will be held tomorrow.”

Update: More links on this story: Daily Times Pakistan, Gulf Times, Channel News Asia, Zee News, MSN Malaysia, Radio Australia, TelegraphBloomberg, PRNewswire.

The Nation: Amsterdam says “Thailand has demonstrated a complete absence of the rule of law“.

Government response in Bangkok Post: “Lawyer Robert Amsterdam is simply ‘deceiving a billionaire’ for the money he can earn by filing a case with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the government under Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for alleged crimes against humanity during the red-shirt protest in April-May last year, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said on Tuesday.”





The fear factor

10 10 2010

In our last post, PPT mentioned a Bangkok Post editorial that raised questions about the Abhisit Vejjajiva government’s ratcheting up of alleged threats, saying that these claims are part of “the politics of fear that is taking root in Thai society.” PPT noted the Post’s comments on the claims regarding a team of so-called red shirt terrorists-in-training who will likely turn out to be nothing of the sort and will soon fade from the collective memory apart from the idea that there are trained assassins “out there.” The stirring of fear is a tactic used by the Abhisit Vejjajiva government since it came to power (for very early PPT posts on this see here, here and here).

And it just gets worse.

Admiral Banawit Kengrian (pick the howler in this bio), a former deputy defence permanent secretary, and aide to Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda, is cited in The Nation with a truly bizarre claim.

The admiral states that he has “confirmed a report that armed militia are plotting assassination of leaders and attacks in the capital during the next 20 days. Bannawit said he had learnt from military intelligence officials that tens of foreign armed militia from a neighbouring country’s Seals, with the same capability as the Royal Thai Navy’s Seals and the Royal Thai Army’s Special War Command or Red Hat, are planning terror strikes.” Somehow Bannawit links this claim to the Nonthaburi explosion and adds that his “report was based on facts and militias had infiltrated several spots in Bangkok to commit sabotage.” He claims that army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha has these groups being followed and has warned the government.

Adding threat upon threat, Bannawit says 4 RPGs “found near the old headquarters of the opposition Pheu Thai Party could be linked to a Parliament attack.” It seems “near” is good enough for Bannawit. Evidence counts for little when the desire is to instill fear and loathing.

Bannawit is joined as a contestant on Fear Factor by Democrat Party Spokesman Buranaj Smutharaks, who has a long record of unfounded claims and accusations. Maybe that’s his job, but he often sounds a couple of salung short of a baht. He reckons the government is about to round up a bunch of bombers involved in: “plotting sabotage at Santirat Withayalai school, the Bhum Jai Thai Party [PPT thought the alleged bombers were already in custody?], and the military camp in Chiang Mai [see our earlier post]; the group linked to the missing weapons from an arms depot in Lop Buri [likewise, we understood that the thieves were already in custody]; and trained militia [no idea who he means here, but more conjuring and stunts are possible].”

And just for good measure, “First Army Region commander Lt-General Udomdet Sitabutr confirmed the reports that ill-intentioned groups were planning attacks. He called on the public to tip off security officials to prevent rogue elements from striking terror.”

A yellow shirt senator and hard-core royalist Somchai Sawaengkarn chimed in, claiming “that sabotage was planned against basic infrastructure such as power plants.”

PPT wonders if there is any point to observing that red shirts are pretty much leaderless and that the lese majeste bomb threats, bombs, explosions, “terrorists-in-training” and weapons seem remarkably convenient this reconvening collection of royalist, pro-government and privy council alarmists.





Updated: Talk of rumors

5 09 2010

A couple of stories in The Nation focus on rumors.

The first story is of Thaksin Shinawatra back on the phone to his red shirt supporters. He called-in to a red -shirt rally in Pattaya, joking about recent rumors of his ill-health. These rumors do the rounds of hard-core yellow shirts every few months, not least the opinion page columnists at The Nation.

The red-shirt rally criticized the Abhisit Vejjajiva government’s performance, its persecution of red shirts and the Democrat Party’s role in the Bout case.

The second story refers to Abhisit’s reported offer to have talks with the Puea Thai Party. That’s according to Democrat Party spokesman Buranaj Smutharaks, who usually attacks the opposition. Buranaj was quick to deny another common rumor – that a “national” government would be formed with Puea Thai. Meanwhile, the Puea Thai Party seems to be taking the suggestion of “reconciliation.”

Rumors seem to drive politics in the short periods between crackdowns, repression, jailings of opponents and lese majeste cases.

Update: A further link between the two stories is seen in this report, where Thaksin is said to have made this comment during his Pattaya phone-in: “I want to see a peaceful nation and reconciliation. However, this means every player has to compromise…”.