Old soldiers Chaisit, Boonlert and Abhisit

11 11 2012

Old soldiers are in the news again.

General Chaisit Shinawatra, now an adviser to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (see the family tree), has apparently decided to demonstrate the continuing splits in the military. He’s ticked off by General Boonlert Kaewprasit, a Class 1 graduate, who is goose-stepping about at the head of Pitak Siam.

Chaisit has mobilized some of his buddies from Pre-Cadet Academy Class 5, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 13  to protest against Pitak Siam and Boonlert’s repeated calls for the military to stage a coup.

It is interesting that other military types argues against a coup, saying that “if there was another coup, it would inflict untold damage to the economy and it would regress in comparison with other Asean countries.” They also call for the “next administration should be installed democratically…”.

Chaisit accused Boonlert of  “being used as a frontman for the elite.”

Of course, Boonlert is deaf on such calls, not least because he hates democracy. He and his buddies got together at General Surayud Chulanont’s Royal Turf Club. The privy councilor might deny support for Boonlert, but the racetrack remains the venue for Pitak Siam.

It was there that he and royalist Prasong Soonsiri met with “100 representatives of networks nationwide to discuss a mega-rally to be held for two days and one night on November 24.” They want 1 million to show up, but the real point is to create a royalist anti-government movement to match PAD in 2006 and in 2008.

The Democrat Party is already counting on clashes “between pro- and anti-government rallies” in their efforts to destabilize the political situation.

Speaking of the anti-democratic political party, the other “old soldier” in the news is Abhisit Vejjajiva. Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat says he’s ready to sign off on a “ministry committee’s decision to strip Abhisit of the rank and salary given to him when he worked as military lecturer.”

Abhisit is saying he is going to sue the minister, believing the decision to be “politically motivated.” Of course, Abhisit is correct.

PPT wants to see Abhisit face charges, not for this faking that is common for the the kids of the elite but for his politically motivated decisions related to murderous crackdowns on red shirt protesters.

Abhisit on a coup

13 09 2009

PPT posted earlier on three statements regarding the possibility of a coup when Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is in the U.S. and the red shirts rally to commemorate the 2006 coup and again protest Privy Councilor General Prem Tinsulanonda’s role in planning and implementing that coup.

The first statement we reported, which drew on widespread gossip about a coup, was from red shirt supporter General Chaisit Shinawatra. The second statement was from PAD’s Suriyasai Katasila and, in the same post, we reported the third statement by Democrat Party spokesman Buranaj Smutharaks.

Now Abhisit has commented (The Nation, 14 September 2009: “Thaksin planning violence to destroy govt, pad says”). He said “it was weird that coup speculation sprang up,” adding: “Actually, nobody should have talked about a coup again because they have been calling for democracy. Now, why has it changed into a call for a change through a coup?” True enough, and PPT was critical of this statement by Chaisit. But the premier is ignoring his own culpability in this matter.

For PPT it is weird that the prime minister should speculate about coup talk. Actually, he should not have talked about the red shirts and a coup when he has been predicting (and preparing to use) violence and implementing all kinds of measures to limit legal rights and narrow democracy. Now, why should he be critical of others? Why is he not critical of PAD? Why is he not critical of his own Buranaj? Another case of the prime minister’s double standards.

Military and human rights

12 09 2009

The Bangkok Post (12 September 2009: “Gen Chaisit backs military coup”) has some reporting on the rumors of a coup while Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is off in the U.S. doing a round of boosting for Thailand and at the U.N.

Jatuporn Promphan, a leader of the United front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), predicted a military coup while Abhisit is away – a kind of flashback to the overthrow of Thaksin Shinawatra on 19 September 2006, when he was also to speak at the U.N.

PPT can understand the political significance of remembering the date and using it to worry the Democrat Party, but when  former army chief General Chaisit Shinawatra says that he “would support another military coup if it can help the country get out of political crisis,” we can no longer see any political advantage. General Chaisit apparently added, “The coup-makers must settle social division, create the right path for the country and return power to the people as soon as possible…”. Chaisit, like so many of his military brothers, suffers tunnel vision and lack of memory.

As the 2006 coup leader General Sonthi Boonyaratkalin emphasized recently, old soldiers just never seem never to die, at least politically. As Chaisit proves, politically, they never seem to learn anything either.

Generals repeatedly demonstrate that they are dumb politicians (and many of them are just plain dumb). Their military training encourages an unwarranted arrogance and their experience of military command usually means that they are beholden to other interests and that they be grasping and corrupt.

Coups in Thailand do not improve human rights or to find a political path that might in any way be considered a “right path.” Military coups are regressive and repressive.

Baffling in Bangkok

2 08 2009

Following the current news in Bangkok at present is like a jigsaw puzzle with the pieces having to be found before they can be put together. PPT doesn’t have all the pieces, but here are the pieces we see.

Police chief on leave or not?

A few days ago the PAD called for the police chief to be fired over his alleged blocking of the investigation of the assassination plot against Sondhi Limthongkul. Deputy PM without a parliamentary seat, Suthep Thaugsuban claimed that there was no reason to sack Police General  Patcharawat Wongsuwan. Yesterday, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva came up with a grand compromise after days of discussions and manoeuvrings: the police chief would go on holiday for a month (The Nation, 1 August 2009: “Police chief on month’s leave”).

The Nation reported: “Abhisit took an unusual step by holding an impromptu news conference at The Emporium department store in Bangkok and announcing Patcharawat’s leave. He was supposed to hold the news conference earlier in the morning, but it had to be delayed due to further behind-the-scenes negotiations for the best face-saving way out. Abhisit said that starting next week, Patcharawat would take leave for 10 days, after which period he would be allowed to rest further so that the police chief would be out of his office for about a month. This move was initiated by Patcharawat himself, who also recommended that the annual reshuffle of police officers be suspended for the time being.”

Much of the press had the same story. Today, Patcharawat has denied that he is taking leave (Bangkok Post, 1 August 2009: “Police chief: I am not on leave”). Almost immediately, The Nation (1 August 2009: “PM insists Patcharawat agreed to take leave next week”) reports that Abhisit insists that Patcharawat is taking leave.

It looks like there is a stand-off with Abhisit clearly unsure what will happen next.

Linking the Sondhi assassination bid and the royal pardon petition

When the assassination bid first happened, there was an assumption that Thaksin Shinawatra was behind it. Then Sondhi Limthongkul came out to blame a range of people, from the military top brass to police and people close to the palace (see here and here and here).

Over the past couple of days, though, it seems that he has had second/third/fourth thoughts about this, and has been strongly hinting that Thaksin is involved. First he claimed that the person behind the plot was overseas and he has made further similar statements.

PPT wonders if the increased temperature over the Thaksin “royal pardon” bid is causing this change of heart?

Now General Chaisit Shinawatra, a cousin of Thaksin (Bangkok Post, 1 August 2009: “Gen Chaisit slams attempts to block Thaksin pardon”), has come out in defence of the petition. He slammed the government’s attempts to “obstruct the red-shirts from petitioning royal pardon for Thaksin, saying that this obstruction “means the government was trying to prevent the people from having good relationship with their beloved King.” An interesting move to use a royalist argument against the royalists!

Chaisit added: “The government’s allegation that a number of people were misled to sign their names in support of the petition was groundless in my point of view. It is not possible that the five million people were cheated to [sign] their names in the same time…”.

He then went on to say that “it is also not possible that Thaksin would get involved in the attempted assassination of Sondhi Limthongkul, a core leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy. He dared Mr Sondhi to clearly stated names of the persons behind the case.”

Sondhi keeps alluding to people and now he has been challenged. His response will be interesting.

Thaksin back in royalist garb…

The police have been fast out of the blocks in ruling that Thaksin’s phone-in to the assembled red shirts at Sanam Luang was not lese majeste. The Bangkok Post (1 August 2009: “High institution not insulted”) says that the “police had transcribed the recorded phone-in made by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to address the red-shirts gathering at Sanam Luang last night and found that there was no words considered to have insulted the royal institution…”.

Thaksin “told the red shirts that he would open one satellite-based TV channel specially for publicizing HM the King’s activities, particularly his majesty’s efforts to eradicate poverty of the people. He added that the TV channel’s broadcasting was to show his loyalty to the high institution after being accused of trying to destroy the monarchy.”

The army moves (half-heartedly?) on the petition

The Nation (1 August 2009: “Anupong deploys soldiers to explain to people about Thaksin-pardon petition”) has a brief report stating that Army chief Anupong Paochinda “has ordered commander of all army units to have their subordinates explain the correct procedures for seeking a royal pardon to the people nationwide. But Anupong said he realised that it would not be easy to change the mind of the people.”

Sounds decidedly half-hearted, especially as he has headed south out of the political heat.

We leave it to readers to tell us what other pieces we should be looking at. It is certainly a potent political mix that is being developed at the moment.

As a footnote, it might be that the person most happy about all of this political manoeuvring is Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya. He was under tremendous pressure before the ASEAN summit, and is now forgotten. Does he owe Thaksin a vote of thanks?

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