Greasing the junta’s wheels II

15 07 2018

The Nation has another interesting yet tantalizingly short report about the puppet National Legislative Assembly doing some more of the junta’s work.

As usual, almost unanimous votes granted “salary increases for judges, public prosecutors and members of independent organisations. The NLA’s first reading voted to pass amendments to five laws regulating personnel of the relevant agencies, as proposed by the Cabinet.” Anything the junta wants, the junta gets.

The “five laws involve personnel and remunerations regarding the Courts of Justice, the Administrative Court, the Constitutional Court, independent organisations and public prosecutors…”. The rises go to all the people who have been loyal to the junta, doing as they were told or acting as the junta’s automatons: “Heads of the courts, the Office of the Attorney-General, and independent organisations…. Among the independent organisations involved are the [anti-election] Election Commission, Ombudsman’s Office, [hopeless] National Anti-Corruption Commission, Office of the Auditor General and National Human Rights Commission.”

What is tantalizing is that we are not told who gets what rise, just that the cost to the taxpayer will be about 450 million baht.The rises will be backdated to just after the 2014 military coup, with the vacuous, toothless and hopeless NHRC getting raises backdated to 2005.

All of the junta-loving puppets in these organizations will appreciate the generals even more.

Don’t criticize The Dictator (for 20 years)

12 06 2018

Khaosod reports that the junta’s puppet National Legislative Assembly “will decide Thursday whether future civilian leaders should face criminal prosecution for not following plans left in place by the military government for the next 20 years.”

Some of the NLA marionettes believe “there is a need to make sure future governments stick to the yet to be finalized National Strategic Plan – while allowing some room for some flexibility.”

They want to establish “[c]riminal liability for future cabinet members not following the plans – which would be construed as dereliction of duty…”. That would mean removal from office.

In other words, the NLA is abetting the junta in establishing grounds and process for controlling future elected governments and for removing them without having to bother with a military coup.

This is a kind of back stop should the unthinkable (for the junta) happen and The Dictator not become premier following an “election.”

According to a draft of the bill, it would be “the junta-appointed National Strategic Plan Committee and the junta-appointed senate [that] could petition the Constitutional Court to remove politicians and agency heads if they do not implement the plan.”

The six so-called national strategies are: “national security; fostering national competitiveness; human resources development; social equity and reduction of disparity; the environment and state administration development.”

In essence, any non-junta approved elected government will be straitjacketed into a position resembling the puppet NLA.

The junta digs deeper

7 06 2018

As we have said for a considerable time, the military dictatorship will never allow free and fair elections.

The Dictator has confirmed this in a strong statement that shows it cares little about international attention – the West is fickle and distracted while China deals with anyone while, like the U.S. during the Cold War, prefers long-term political stability where it is dealing.

Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha declared that the junta would not lift its ban on political activities and that his military regime would not allow election campaigns to proceed unhindered once it decides to allow campaigning. The junta itself campaigns as it wishes, where it wishes, and with the full resources of the state and its security and military services.

Gen Prayuth said he is in no hurry to repeal the ban. Why would he be when he has the field to himself and the political parties are supine and prepared to wait for the morsels he throws them. Naturally enough, the pro-military parties have more room to move.

The Dictator claimed that promised “talks” with parties “would … determine which activities could be allowed…”. For Prayuth, “talks” means the junta telling the parties what they can do, sort of, for the junta wants sufficient ambiguity to allow it room to smash opponents when it feels the need.

He plainly stated that “parties should not expect to run their election campaigns freely.” He said:

An election campaign must proceed in compliance with the framework and it should be approved on a case-by-case basis. However, certain activities may not require approval. That’s how the ban is to be lifted. Some activities need approval and some don’t….

We [the junta] need to find a way to maintain peace and order to make sure there is no trouble before we get to democracy….

Gen Prayuth uses the word “democracy” to mean a regime that emerges after unfree and unfair rigged elections where the military continues to run the country with himself as premier.

The chairman of the Election Commission Supachai Somcharoen rolled over, as the Constitutional Court did, let Prayuth rub his tummy and said it was up to the junta to lift the ban whenever it felt like it.

The military junta is winning this election campaign. The only possible outcome it contemplates is victory.

Further updated: When will the junta allow its election?

31 05 2018

About a year ago, PPT asked “How’s that ‘election’ shaping up?” Of course, that wasn’t the first time the question had been asked after The Dictator first talked of elections back in 2014, after the coup.

A year ago, we cited Deputy Dictator Gen Prawit Wongsuwan who “reiterated that the military never wanted to get involved in politics, and that they would end their roles once the national election had taken place.”

We might conclude that things have changed, except that they really haven’t. Back then, Prawit was lying.

Today, the date of the junta’s “election” is closer to being set. Legally, after the Constitutional Court ruled that the last of the organic laws was constitutional, the steps are almost clear. The junta could always decide on a non-legal-made-legal-by-decree decision to delay further.

So when should that rigged election take place? According to a story in the Bangkok Post, there may now be a week or so for the Court to officially inform the puppet National Legislative Assembly of its decision. The NLA then sends the bill to Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha as premier for him to send onto the king for assent. That process seems to be at least 90 days, although the days required in transit are not clear to us. After it is signed into law, there’s 90 days for it to become law. Then there’s a maximum of 150 days to the “election.”

If our math is correct, that’s 330 days+ if the full time is taken up, so we may predict an election by about late April 2019.

Update 1: Read about junta Deputy Dictator not confirming a February “election” at the Bangkok Post.

Update 2: Legal flunky for the military dictatorship, Wissanu Krea-ngam, has agreed that the next “election” will probably be scheduled for 11 months from now. As we said, late April 2019. That will almost be 5 years of unelected military rule caused by the 2014 illegal coup makers who stol;e the state and gave themselves top positions. He says it may be sooner than that. He says it will not be later. He’s lying. He has no idea what his bosses might do. All the blarney about a road map is a pile of buffalo manure.

Updated: The Dictator declares victory

23 05 2018

There have been many reports on the rally by hundreds of anti-coup activists that ended yesterday, blocked by hundreds of police.

The report at The Nation interested PPT as it seemed The Dictator declared victory over the protesters.

While the leaders of the rally could not reach their objective of marching to Government House and were arrested, they vowed to fight on.

The Dictator, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha dismissed the rally. He stated, again, that the poll “would be no sooner than early 2019” but, as usual, provided no specific date.

He declared that the protesters “cannot march, whether they support or oppose us. It breaks the law. They will just cause conflict and upset the economy…”. That’s Prayuth’s mantra, selectively enforced and it is his electoral campaign slogan: the junta means political stability.

As usual, The Dictator deliberately confused junta decrees and human rights, stating that “[e]nforcing the law and breaking up the protest did not violate their human rights…”. He added, “the law is the law,” except that junta law is the law of double standards and selective use.

The junta boss referred to the organic laws for the election. An election can only be held within 150 days of the four laws coming into effect.

On cue, Constitution Drafting Committee Chairman Meechai Ruchupan warned of further delays on the laws, seeming to predict that the Constitutional Court would rule on Wednesday that it violates the 2017 charter. He said: “If the court rules they [the provisional clauses] break the charter, the whole bill will be revoked and we will have to start over and draft a new one…”.

He says that shouldn’t delay an election. He means the one for which there is no stated date. Delaying an unannounced election does indeed seem improbable.

Update: Meechai, while touted as a constitutional ‘expert” was wrong. The Constitutional Court unanimously approved the bill.

Get rid of the horrid monarchy law

2 05 2018

A Nation Editorial deserves attention as a call for reform of the despot’s political law of choice, the lese majeste law. It has been used brazenly to repress.

PPT has posted hundreds of times on the misuse of this law. It has been used in ways that are unconstitutional and unlawful. Persons have been convicted for what they did not say, for what they did not write. Some have been convicted for “crimes” against persons not covered by the law. Mothers and children have been convicted. Disabled and sick persons have received long sentences. Persons have been convicted on forced guilty pleas when they were not guilty. Sentences have been huge and the treatment of prisoners on lese majeste charges has been tortuous and unlawful. It has been used against political opponents and against some who have fallen out of favor in the palace itself.

The editorial states that “Somyot Pruksakasemsuk’s release after years in prison affords a chance to reflect on deeply unfair abuses of the law.” We could not agree more.

It says his “release from prison on Monday … should prompt the authorities to review the draconian lese majeste law, which was designed specifically to protect the monarchy but continues to be misused for political ends.”

Of course, it was “designed specifically” protect the military and politico-business elite. It protects a system and a configuration of power, not the monarchy on its own. The monarchy is the keystone for a repressive power structure that sucks wealth to those associated with the military-monarchy-tycoon elite or, as some say, the amart.

On the particular case, the editorial states that Somyos was jailed as a political opponent. It states that “[i]t was not and is not illegal to be aligned with the red shirt movement supporting former premier Thaksin Shinawatra and his regimes’ policies. And it was unfair for Somyot to have been identified as anti-monarchy without evidence.”

It reminds us that Somyos was arrested and jailed by the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime “as he was circulating a petition calling for Article 112 of the Penal Code – the lese majeste law – to be amended.” Indeed, Somyos was targeted because he opposed the very law that was used against him. The amart have a sense of purpose when opposing those who endanger the power structure.

The editorial states:

Article 112 is quite straightforward. It says anyone who defames insults or threatens the King, Queen, heir-apparent or regent shall be imprisoned for three to 15 years. The authorities’ case against Somyot was that he had published in his magazine two articles by Jit Pollachan, a pseudonym used by an exiled politician. The law was applied beyond its intended scope and meaning. The two articles merely mentioned the roles of the monarchy. There was no inherent insult to the monarchy.

Indeed, a majority of lese majeste cases fall into similar “misuses” of the law. But that’s the point. Lese majeste is designed to be used in these ways to protect the power structure.

It continues:

Thus, cases are often handled as though Thailand was still an absolute monarchy rather than a nation under the modern rule of law. People charged with lese majeste are routinely denied bail and held in pre-trial detention for months. Somyot was denied bail 16 times.

As the editor of a periodical, Somyot should have been protected by the Printing Act and the Constitution’s safeguards covering freedom of expression. But the Constitutional Court ruled in October 2012 that lese majeste breaches represented threats to national security and thus overrode any such protection.

When the editorial concludes by observing that “Somyot’s case should give all citizens pause for thought. Political reform is badly needed, and this unfair practice in particular has to be rolled back,” it makes a point that is very significant. It will scare the regime and those who benefit from this law.

Updated: Delaying tactics

28 03 2018

The Dictator has ” denied the military regime was conspiring to delay next February’s election via potential plans to submit a poll-related bill [on MPs] to the Constitutional Court for a ruling on its validity.”

The Bangkok Post reports Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha is refusing to send the MP bill for royal approval while the puppet National Legislative Assembly has sent the Senators’ bill for court scrutiny.

Improbably, The Dictator and some of his minions say that sending the bills to the Constitutional Court will not further delay the “election,” now (sort of) promised for February 2019.

The two bills, the last required for the junta’s “election,” were passed by the NLA on 8 March. Three weeks later – a delay – The Dictator announces: “I don’t want to submit it for royal endorsement as long as there are still disputes…”. He may have sent the bill for “legal scrutiny” – a delay. Gen Prayuth says he will decide by 12 April what to do with the bill.

According to Deputy Dictator Gen Prawit Wongsuwan said “if the charter court rules against any of the two bills, the legislation would be dropped and the drafting process would have to start anew.” A potentially long delay. As we posted previously, it already looks like the “new date” for the junta’s “election” will be May 2019.

Update: The puppet NLA has saved The Dictator from the trouble of being seen to be delaying the “election” by completing a double backward somersault and twist by sending the MP bill to the Constitutional Court after first deciding against this.