Updated: Yet another anti-monarchy “plot”

3 10 2017

Thailand’s recent politics has been awash with rightist and royalist claims of “plots” against the monarchy. The military dictatorship claims to have “discovered” another such “plot.” This time the plot is claimed to be a plan to disrupt the funeral for the dead king.

PPT can only express disdain for this political ploy and we can only wonder if anyone still believes such nonsense. As much as we’d like to see an an anti-monarchy plot in Thailand, we haven’t seen any evidence that there is one in the works now.

One of the first “plots” was the entirely concocted “Finland Plot.” The claim peddled by many associated with the People’s Alliance for Democracy and fabricated by notorious royalist ideologue Chai-anan Samudavanija and others. It claimed that Thaksin Shinawatra and former left-wing student leaders had met in Finland and come up with a plan to overthrow the monarchy and establish a communist state. These inventions were published in the Sondhi Limthongkul-owned newspapers and repeated many times by PAD.

As bizarre as this nonsense was, Wikipedia notes that the allegations had an “impact on the popularity of Thaksin and his government, despite the fact that no evidence was ever produced to verify the existence of a plot. Thaksin and his Thai Rak Thai party vehemently denied the accusations and sued the accusers. The leaders of the 2006 military coup claimed Thaksin’s alleged disloyalty as one of their rationales for seizing power.”

Back in 2015, even the politicized courts held that ultra-royalist Pramote Nakornthap had defamed Thaksin with these concoctions. Not surprisingly, many ultra-royalists continue to believe this nonsense.

The anti-monarchy plot diagram

Equally notorious was the anti-monarchy “plot,” replete with a diagram, that the Abhisit Vejjajiva government concocted when faced with a red shirt challenge in April 2010.

The government’s Centre for the Resolution to Emergency Situations claimed to have uncovered a plot to overthrow the monarchy and said “intelligence” confirmed the “plot.” Indeed, the bitter Thawil Pliensri, the former secretary-general of the National Security Council “confirmed” the “plot.” The map included key leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, members of the Puea Thai Party and former banned politicians, academics and hosts of community radio programs. Then Prime Minister Abhisit welcomed the uncovering of the “plot.”

CRES spokesman and then Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd, who just happens to be the current dictatorship’s chief propagandist, repeatedly declared this plot a red shirt effort to bring down the monarchy.

We could go on, but let’s look at the current “plot,” which not coincidentally comes from the same military leaders who were in place in when the above “mapping” of a republican plot was invented. It is the same coterie of coup plotters (and that was a real plot) that repeatedly accused Ko Tee or Wuthipong Kachathamakul of various anti-monarchy plots and he was “disappeared” from Laos, presumably by the junta’s henchmen-murderers.

In the new “plot,” Deputy Dictator General Wongsuwan has declared:

Anti-monarchy cells are conspiring to disrupt the funeral of His Majesty the Late King this month, deputy junta chairman Prawit Wongsuwan said Monday.

Gen. Prawit described the alleged agitators as those who “have ill intentions toward the monarchy.” Although he gave no details, he said full-scale security measures would be implemented throughout the rites to place over several days culminating with the Oct. 26 cremation.

Prawit added that “[a]uthorities have learned of threats inside and outside the country, especially from those who oppose and have negative thoughts about ‘the [royal] institution’…”. He put “security forces” on “full alert.”

Careful readers will have noticed that the first mention of this “plot” came from The Dictator General Prayuth Chan-ocha almost two weeks ago.

Army chief General Chalermchai Sitthisart “refused to elaborate in detail on the supposed threat in the latest intelligence report” but still declared that “[t]hose involved were among the ‘regular faces’ abroad wanted on lese majeste charges, but who still incite negative feelings towards the monarchy among supporters through social media.”

The fingerprints on this concoction are those who have regularly invented plots for political purposes. That’s the military. They read all kinds of social media and put 1 and 1 together and come up with anti-monarchy plot.

We tend to agree with Pavin Chachavalpongpun, who is reported as saying:

The cremation provides an opportunity for the security forces to strengthen their position politically using critics of the monarchy as an excuse to increase the state’s heavy handed policy to control society more tightly…. Critics of the monarchy hardly pose a threat considering how much they have been suppressed since the coup….

The cremation and the coronation that will follow are critical political events for the military dictatorship. They want to be seen to be ensuring that everything runs smoothly for both events as the junta moves to stay in power, “election” or “no election.”  Finding a “plot” can make them look even more like the “protectors” of the monarchy.

Update: We don’t know why, but Khaosod’s most recent report on this “plot” seems to be supportive of the the junta’s claims. The claims this report makes amount to little more than reporting chatter. Similar chatter has been around for some time, encouraging individual acts that do not amount to anything like rebellion or disruption.

Some of the material that has been circulated may well derive from the state’s intelligence operatives seeking to disrupt and identify red shirts.  The thing about concocting a plot as a way to discredit your opponents is that there has to be elements in it that seem, at least on a initial view, feasible and believable. That was the point of the diagram produced above, naming persons known to be anti-monarchy. Putting them in a plot is something quite different.





Washing away the blood

12 06 2017

There’s no debate. In April and May 2010, the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime ordered troops to clear red shirt protesters. Those military actions left about 100 dead and thousands injured. Almost all of the dead were civilians.

Abhisit’s then deputy  Suthep Thaugsuban says he gave the orders. That a prime minister shirks responsibility for the work of his government is a clear statement of Abhisit’s gormless egoism. In any case, it means little in a context where the regime had established the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situations as a collective organization for making decisions on the crackdowns. As premier, Abhisit established CRES and was part of it while Suthep was its director.

Other members included then Defense Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan, now Deputy Dictator, then Army boss General Anupong Paojinda and former Department of Special Investigation boss Tharit Pengdit. Its secretary was the notorious fabricator, Thawil Pliensri.

The Army, Abhisit and Suthep have repeatedly claimed that soldiers weren’t responsible for any deaths, blaming “men in black.” This despite the fact that, for example, courts finding soldiers responsible for many of the deaths and that more than 100,000 live rounds were used in 2010, with more than 2,000 sniper rounds used.

The Abhisit and Suthep denial of responsibility has gone on for years and the “justice” system has agreed with them, kind of. The “justice” system has said they gave “legal” orders.

Prachatai reports that the Supreme Court “has accepted a lawsuit against a former chief investigator who dared to accuse Abhisit and Suthep of murder for ordering the bloody military crackdown on anti-establishment red-shirt protesters in 2010.”

That “investigator” is the eel himself, the former DSI boss, Tharit. Since the 2014 coup, the junta, royalists and the elite have vigorously gone after Tharit for his perceived betrayals.

The accepted lawsuit is against Tharit and his deputies and a couple of investigators. It is stated that the “four comprised the team tasked with investigating the violent crackdown on the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) demonstrators, the main red shirt faction, between April-May 2010.”

Now that the “justice” system dismissed all charges against Abhisit and Suthep, often based on false evidence, including from Thawil, those two Democrat Party bosses and supporters of two military coups are seeking restitution of their “reputations.” They accused the DSI team of “corruption and propagating false accusations against them, claiming that the DSI did not have the authority to investigate the crackdown in the first place.”

Both the Court of First Instance and the Appeal Court dismissed charges against the four, but the Supreme Court has done its job and agreed to hear the “case.”

Given that almost everyone involved in the murderous crackdowns is a part of the military junta or worked hard to promote its coup, that the “justice” system supports them should be no surprise. After all, Thailand has double standards precisely to serve the interests of the great, the “good” and the wealthy.

We can now expect that the Supreme Court will continue to punish Tharit and launder the blood from the clothes of those who ordered the murderous crackdown.





You can get away with murder

17 02 2016

As expected, it is reported that the “Appeals Court on Wednesday upheld the Criminal Court’s rejection of a case against former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy Suthep Thaugsuban for the deadly military crackdown on red-shirt protesters in 2010.”Abhisit and Suthep

In August 2014 the Criminal Court dismissed the case “in which Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep were charged with murder and attempted murder in connection with the 2010 military crackdown on the red-shirt protesters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).”

The court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction over the case, saying it should be before the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions and the prosecution appealed.

In fact, the case is never going to get to the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions as the National Anti-Corruption Commission has already ruled in favor of Abhisit and Suthep.

The Appeals Court decided that Abhisit and Suthep issued the crackdown order in their capacities as “prime minister and deputy prime minister in charge of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES), not as individuals.”

It also agreed with the lower court that the Department of Special Investigation had no authority to investigate the case and that it should have been the NACC investigating. As we noted above, the NACC has already dumped the case.

Abhisit worried that the case was not yet final as the prosecution might take it to the Supreme Court. We can’t think why they would do that. The case is dead. The families of the people killed still wait for justice.





Thawil’s lies continue

29 04 2015

Some may have been surprised to read at Khaosod a couple of days ago that Thawil Pliensri, “who served as director of the National Security Council under Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva,” has declared before the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) that the “military operation that dispersed Redshirt protesters in 2010 and left more than 90 people dead was not a ‘crackdown’…”. But don’t be. Thawil has a long history of such claims. He has never produced any evidence for his position on the events of 2010.

It is more striking that the newspaper describes Thawil as a “key witness in an ongoing legal case over the incident,” because he was deeply involved in the team that planned and ordered the crackdown that left dead and injured strewn across Bangkok’s streets, many killed by the military (as several court inquests have independently determined).

Thawil repeated his claims in testimony to the NACC to defend the regime he gladly served and his former boss Abhisit Vejjajiva. The NACC is “seeking to retroactively impeach Abhisit and his deputy, Suthep Thaugsuban, for authorizing the military operation on Redshirt protesters in April – May 2010.” They are “charged … with abuse of power for excessive use of force against civilians in the operation.” They should be charged with murder.

Thawil’s testimony is the same story as that provided by Abhisit, Suthep and the military dictator General Prayuth Chan-ocha. All claim that “security officers were forced to respond to the protests because armed militants had infiltrated the demonstrators and launched attacks on troops, police, and important buildings.”

Thawil went a little further when he “also contested the use of the word ‘crackdown’…”. He concocts a position that there “was no use of force or crackdown on the protests…”.

No, none. All of those pictures and videos and all the court inquests area all somehow wrong or misused and that all of the use of snipers, live fire zones, armored personnel carriers, hundreds of thousands of live rounds and so on were simply actions against the mysterious men in black. His blatant lies include his “admission” that “live ammunition was used in the military operation, [but] he insisted that security officers resorted to using firearms only after they were attacked by Redshirt-allied militants on the night of 10 April 2010…”. The evidence of that night is clear that Thawil is concocting this.

As we noted above, none of this is new. Back in 2012, PPT posted this:

Who could possibly be surprised when Thawil Pliensri defends the Army’s murderous assault on red shirt protesters in 2010. After all, Thawil was secretary-general of the National Security Council at the time of the sniper orders and secretary of the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situations set up by the Abhisit Vejjajiva government to crush the protests by the red shirts. He says that “the operation to retake areas in Bangkok occupied by the protesters was a legitimate one.” Of course he does. He claims that “[s]ome information has been distorted and tampered with,” but seems to provide no evidence. Ultra-royalists will believe him. He, like the Army boss, declares: “state officials who risked their lives to disperse unlawful protesters deserved praise and should not be accused of killing people.”

Thawil was also one of those behind the fabricated anti-monarchy plot diagram that the Abhisit regime used to threaten and repress opponents.

Of course, it was Thawil’s transfer by the Yingluck Shinawatra government that eventually led to the Constitutional Court’s ousting of Yingluck in a move that set the groundwork for the May 2014 military coup. Read more on that successful judicial plot here.





Challenging double standards

30 03 2014

A couple of news news stories caught PPT’s attention while we we were looking around at the very limited coverage of the rather small anti-democrat rally yesterday. Certainly, they were more interesting than rally coverage.

The first story is from a few days ago and reports:

[Phayao Akkahad], who lost her daughter on the last day of the unrest said today that it is unacceptable that Mr Tharit Pengdit, the DSI chief, is pursuing those charges against Mr. Abhisit [Vejajjiva] and Mr. Suthep [Thaugsuban]while exempting himself from the legal action, since Mr. Tharit [Pengdit] was also a member of the Centre for Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES) which oversaw the crackdown.

Readers will recall that, a few days ago, PPT posted on the impunity of military chiefs involved in giving orders that led to murderous attacks on red shirt protesters. We see no reason why Tharit shouldn’t also be investigated for his role in those days when CRES was ordering the crackdowns.

The second story is a report of an distraught daughter of a paralyzed red shirt protester against the irretrievably biased and hopeless National Human Rights Commission.

Euangfah Saelew’s 71 year-old father was shot at Laksi just before the now junked election.  She says the NHRC sent one official to see her father in hospital. She says the official made no “meaningful inquiry about the incident which left Mr. Arkaew in severe condition.”

She contrasts this lack of concern and interest:

with the its enthusiasm in other cases related to anti-government protesters, such as the NHRC’s recent announcement that they will investigate the claims that one of the alleged gunmen who participated in the gunbattle which wounded her father had been tortured by the police.

As she well knows, the “NHRC pays more attention to the perpetrators than the victims,” when the perpetrators are anti-democrats. The NHRC has become another of the “independent” agencies that work for the royalists.

The third story is an interesting contrast. It reports police arresting red shirts in Nonthaburi and seized weapons the group had. These red shirts appear to have been involved in some recent attacks, perhaps including on the office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Towijakchaikul said:

authorities will not provide any privilege to the Redshirts suspects, and insisted that the police will investigate any crimes committed by all political sides equally without prejudice….

“But whoever commits a crime must be punished,” Mr. Surapong said, “No exception”.

Now there’s an innovation that seems quite different from the double standards that characterizes “neutral” institutions.

 





Army and inquests

26 03 2014

PPT has lost count of the court inquests that have indicated that the Army is responsible for the deaths of several red shirt protesters in 2010. Certainly, as far as we can tell, no effort has been made to indict any Army commander for ordering his troops to shoot down protesters. Yes, we know that Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban have been charged, but the Army brass just walks free. Army boss and loud mouth General Prayuth Chan-ocha blasts red shirts as criminals and has no shame in doing this even when he was commanding murderous troops.

Khaosod reports that “the South Bangkok Criminal Court, Mr. Narin Srichomphu was apparently shot and killed by military-issued weaponry which was fired from a group of soldiers at Saladaeng Intersection in the Ratchadamri district during the final military assault against Redshirts protesters on 19 May 2010.”

Prayuth and his predecessor General Anupong Paojinda should be held responsible for these murderous acts. Why should the Army continue to enjoy impunity?

The inquest is a part of legal procedure to identify those responsible for over 90 deaths caused by the unrest in March-May 2010.

In this case, “the judges noted that much evidence points to the army’s use of live ammunition against Redshirts protesters on 19 May 2010, such as bullet types, video clips of the clashes, testimony by members of the security forces, and ballistic investigation.” The commander of the troops at Saladaeng at the time, Colonel Noppasit Sitthipongsophon,  “insisted that his unit was only armed with blank rounds,” his own soldiers “testified to the court that they did fire live ammunition at the protesters.”

The court concluded that:

“… the deceased was killed by high-velocity bullet which penetrated his head and nerve system…. A bullet fired from the direction of the military personnel who were operating under orders of the Centre for Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES)”.

That seems pretty darn clear.





Promoting fascists II

8 03 2014

In this post, with the same headline as our last post, PPT looks at the widely reported court victory by former National Security Council secretary-general Thawil Pliensri. The Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that his removal from that post in 2011 by the incoming government led by Yingluck Shinawatra was unlawful.

Thawil, who was not dismissed from government but transferred, currently acts as a prime ministerial adviser. Readers will recall from yesterday’s post that this kind of transfer and even “promotion” can be a way of “saving face” but also of getting rid of a deadbeat or enemy.

Thawil (a Bangkok Post photo)

Thawil (a Bangkok Post photo)

Thawil refused to go quietly and went to several courts, resulting in the order that he “must be reinstated to his former role within 45 days.” That said, Thawil is due to retire in six months, and he can probably be sidelined for that period. Thawil, however, claims a victory. He says he was fighting “for justice and transparency for all state officials. The patronage system reflected in his unlawful transfer has ‘completely destroyed’ the country’s bureaucratic system…”. He added: “If the patronage system stays strong, how can civil officials be counted on to do their jobs correctly?” The politics of his transfer were outlined by Bangkok Pundit.

Since his transfer, while still working for government, Thawil has actively campaigned against it. He has frequently appeared on anti-democrat stages. In the recent past he has campaigned against government policy, supported the lese majeste law, taken up and supported Suthep Thaugsuban’s warnings about an alleged anti-monarchy conspiracy and supported the infamous plot diagram, seemingly being one of those responsible for it, and babbled about no orders being given to gun down red shirts in 2010.

As the NSC boss and former secretary of the Abhisit Vejjajiva government’s notorious Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situation, Thawil proved a hopeless liar when he declared: “There was never an order to shoot down red-shirt protesters in 2010…”. When he made that claim, we asked: How dimwitted is Thawil? Does he expect that his blatant lies are  going to be gobbled up as truth by a public that is now aware of events? It got worse when he said the Abhisit regime “did not use force to disperse red-shirt protesters on May 19, 2010. He said they had only asked the protesters to vacate the Ratchaprasong intersection in order to make way for traffic.”

It is clear why the Yingluck government needed to move him; if it hadn’t he would have worked to undermine the government. It is not surprising that the royalist courts support him.