The junta and the gathering of dark influences

20 04 2018

Remember all that stuff about corruption? The heroic claims about catching the corrupt when the military yet again crushed Thailand’s electoral politics in 2014. The junta’s national fairy tale on how “Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha as a PM has reformed the country to be a true democracy, eliminated corruption and used morality to lead the country to true democracy.”

But as the junta appears to be edging closer to its “election,” the folly of these claims and cover-ups of its own corruption pale as The Dictator gathers a political clique for ensuring his continued dictatorship. In establishing this “party,” the most significant move has been the defection from the Puea Thai camp of Sonthaya and Itthiphol Khunploem to the junta “party” as adviser to The Dictator and assistant to the tourism and sports minister (much to the minister’s surprise). This moves these dark influence peddlers’ political party to the military “party.”

A side benefit to this larger deal between devils sees the Probation Department publicly kowtowing to the Eastern Seaboard’s best-know dark influence, Kamnan Poh. Of course, this is Somchai Khunploem, father of Sonthaya and Itthiphol.

Having been released very early for ordering a contract killing and other convictions, Kamnan Poh is on probation. Such people usually report regularly to authorities. In this case, however, it is the Probation Department that crawls to the Kamnan’s feet in his luxury villa.

What bigger deals have been done?

Stealing an “election” I

16 04 2018

PPT has been posting on the military dictatorship’s efforts to manufacture an “election” victory since the junta and its lackeys in various councils, assemblies and committees began carrying out instructions on how to write the constitution for the military’s benefit and to the broader satisfaction of the royalists and other anti-democrats who supported the 2014 coup. These efforts at rigging the “election” – indeed, the whole political system – are becoming clearer by the day.

The Bangkok Post’s Alan Dawson write on how to steal an election. He writes of the rigging from last week alone:

Fabulous week for election thievery, last week was….

The stealth takeover of 80% of TV broadcasters took our breath away.

Not only does the government come away looking like the altruistic, fair-minded friend of both big business and the 70 million TV watchers but it got public applause for taking billions in taxpayer funds and handing it to digital TV owners claiming poverty. In return, digital TV newsrooms will broadcast what the regime wants, when the regime wants.

Remember when the broadcasters rebelled a few months ago at the “suggestions” by the Minister of Truth on how they should cover an up-country cabinet barnstorming. That won’t happen again.

There are those who don’t, won’t or can’t see the forces at work here, so let’s reduce the project scale.

Then there’s the fixing of supporters in various positions:

… giving the politician and sedition suspect Sakoltee (aka Sakol) Phattiyakul a job at the Bangkok City Hall. A truly hard-core supporter of Suthep Thaugsuban, the People’s Democratic Reform Committee and the coup regime, son of a leading 2006 coup general, Mr Sakoltee showed up two weeks ago to confirm his membership in the Democrat Party. That surprised a lot of people.

A lot more, though, were surprised at his metamorphosis from somewhat aimless anti-red politician to deputy governor of Bangkok. The Section 44-appointed governor, Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang, tossed four assistants under the bus to make way for Mr Sakoltee.

But insiders said the real force behind the lightning transfer was Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, accused of being Kingmaker Apparent of the 2019 election. He has been lining up politicians, political parties and now controls the single most powerful urban office in the country behind the outsider prime minister-to-be.

From inside City Hall, Mr Sakoltee has a unique look at political organising in Bangkok. Democrat Party deputy leader Nipit Intharasombat calls this direct, government interference in running the BMA.

But to calm things down, the Bangkok Post reports that, despite these frantic efforts, the army chief Gen Chalermchai Sitthisart has lied stated that there’s no rigging going on involving his troops. He lied insisted “that the military is not using its resources and personnel to help the government score political points.”

Of course, the Army boss “also serves as secretary-general of the National Council for Peace and Order [the military junta]…”, which means he’s obviously a liar a clear and obvious role for the military in the government. He lied declared “there was nothing political about the army’s campaign to publicise the government’s work in the provinces.”

He lied denied “that the army was mobilising to help Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha gain the upper hand over political rivals as reports once again emerged of a pro-regime political party being formed to back Gen Prayut to return as prime minister in the next election expected [sic.] to be held in February next year.”

Gen Chalermchai babbled that “the army’s campaign is not aimed specifically at publicising the government’s Thai Niyom Yangyuen development programme, but for promoting projects aimed at restoring national unity as well as advertising the army’s activities such as military conscription.”

The army chief disembled: “It is a long-term strategy which I have conceived and I want it to continue over a span of five to 10 years. It is not merely for the sake of the Thai Niyom programme…”. He means the military is working to fully militarize the administration of the country, which is also the junta’s main objective. We know this because, among many other signals, the bellicose general stated that he is dispatching “teams of army personnel responsible for handling civilian affairs …[being] sent to meet local people, listen to their problems, explain what the government [military dictatorship] has done and find ways to improve [sic.] their livelihoods…”.

As we have previously posted, the general states that the military and junta are using the “Internal Security Operations Command …[working] with the army’s 35 military circles nationwide to finalise details regarding budget allocations and action plans that will suit the different natures of the problems facing each particular province…”.

It is all about rigging the “election.”

Looking for the obese NACC singer

12 04 2018

A couple of weeks ago, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Thailand’s Deputy Dictator, declared the investigation into his possession of two score of luxury watches and sundry jewelry items over and the case closed. As well as declaring his own case closed, Gen Prawit then went on to claim that the whole issue over his “borrowed” (from a dead man) watches was a horrid plot by political opponents to attack Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, The Dictator-cum-candidate-for-(non)election.

Recently, Khaosod reported that the National Anti-Corruption Commission slowly cranked into something resembling life to issue a statement. Responding to criticism that the NACC was being told what to do by the Deputy Dictator, NACC secretary Worawit Sukboon said the long-running “investigation”/cover-up “isn’t over till they say it’s over.” The agency rejected claims that it is having difficulty hiring a chubby woman with vocal skills.

Apparently, still “investigating” at a snail’s pace, NACC “officials are still gathering evidence and questioning people about the case.” Worawit said: “We continue to work [sic.].” “Explaining” Gen Prawit’s statement, Worawit commented: “He spoke about his part. He means he has already given us all the explanation from his side. The deliberation on the case by the National Anti-Corruption Commission must continue in accordance with our protocols.” He added: “We are working [sic.] as fast as we can…”.

The case, which hardly seems complicated, began back in December 2017. The problem for the NACC has been that it doesn’t want to deal with Prawit and the junta as bosses, it has conflicts of interest. It hopes that by dragging things out, the case falls into disinterest and silence.

Another case closed

5 04 2018

The junta is closing (difficult) cases faster than you can say military dictatorship. About a week ago Gen Prawit Wongsuwan declared his luxury watch “investigation” (by the puppet National Anti-Corruption Commission) was over. Nothing to see there. Case closed.

Now, within days of the issue becoming “hot,” the Bangkok Post reports that the very same Gen Prawit has declared the luxury-houses-for-the-judiciary-in-the-Chiang Mai-mountain-side-forest case closed.

The Deputy Dictator has declared that the housing being built “will be taken over for public use…”. He added that the “houses would not be demolished. They would be used in the public interest, possibly as a vacation spot, and not for judicial officials…”.

Huh? Its the “judicial officials” who are to be scapegoated?

Gen Prawit called for protesters to “end their planned to walk to Government House” over the scar on the environment.

Nothing to see there. Case closed. Well, not quite. How is it that the junta has acted so decisively on this. What’s the back story? What’s being very hastily covered up?

Cleaning up during the cover-up

2 04 2018

Deputy Dictator Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has declared his luxury watch corruption case “over.” Meanwhile, the National Anti-Corruption Commission seems intent on not just covering up for the boss but is seeking to bury the case.

Gen Prawit has another agenda. After seeking political advantage by concocting the “investigation” as resulting from an opposition “plot,” he and his allies are now “cleaning up.”

Prachatai reports that a “news director at PPTV was reportedly pressured to resign after repeatedly criticising the deputy junta head over his undeclared luxury watches.”

Vanchai Tantivitayapitak has “resigned after the station received pressure from the National Council for Peace and Orders (NCPO).” That’s the junta, with Prawit as its second-in-command.

The junta considered the PPTV’s criticism as emanating from Vanchai “and pressured the PPTV to dismiss him.”

Vanchai was already behind the 8-ball:

Since the beginning of the 2014 coup, the NCPO has closely monitored Vanchai. At the time he was a deputy director at Thai PBS, and his reporting on political events on the day of the coup constituted a violation of the junta’s orders. The NCPO also detained Vanchai in a military camp for two hours after the coup occurred.

The luxury watch “plot”

2 04 2018

Now that the Deputy Dictator has declared his luxury watch scandal “over,” he’s become more animated.

The Bangkok Post reports that Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has come up with yet another “plot” or “conspiracy” to explain why there was interest in the appearance of millions of baht’s worth of luxury watches on his wrist.

Like other “plots” manufactured by the regime, this is a self-serving concoction. He is essentially claiming that “opponents” were creating the scandal rather than his own arrogance, where he believes – perhaps correctly – that he can get away with anything.

Prawit has blamed the “opposite side” – by this he usually means Thaksin Shinawatra and his supporters – in insisting that “the whole affair was designed to attack Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.” In doing this he also seeks to win back some of the middle class in Bangkok who are worried by junta corruption. By making the affair a political plot, he seeks to influence that yellowish group.

More remarkable was his claim of victimhood:  “It hurts, doesn’t it?… I’m a victim used by the opposite side to hit the prime minister in the leg.”

Prawit shows he’s arrogant, self-consumed and a dolt.

He continued his doltish “explanation,” giving great insight into ruling class culture, claiming late “billionaire Pattawat Suksingwong who died early last year … was an avid collector of more than 200 watches and some were lent to him [Prawit]…”. He continued his doltish claims : “Pattawat was very rich. He had given me his watches for more than 20 years. When I got bored with one, I returned it to him and he gave me new one…”. No corruption there. No political influence sought. No rents collected or paid. Sure…

Gen Prawit declared: “I’m not stupid…. I’ve worked as a minister for many terms. Why don’t I know about the asset declarations?” adding that he screwed up on the assets declaration. Stupid? You bet. Corrupt? Of course.

One result of the Deputy Dictator’s affair with this billionaire is the complete undermining of the National Anti-Corruption Commission. Its politicized “investigation,” which, so far, amounts to a poorly constructed cover-up, should be the final nail in the NACC’s coffin.

Watch saga “over”

31 03 2018

A couple of days ago, the Bangkok Post reported that National Anti-Corruption Commission secretary-general Worawit Sukboon had said the NACC had “found” that Gen Prawit Wongsuwan had: “… worn 22 watches, not 25 as reported by media earlier, since three of them are in fact the same watch…”, that the “diamond ring he was seen wearing belonged to his father. His mother kept it before giving it to him…” and that Gen Prawit had “borrowed 22 luxury watches from a friend, who is now dead…”.

Nothing new there. This has been the Deputy Dictator’s story from the beginning.

The NACC board now wants “to verify the ownership of the watches and question two more witnesses. It also needs information from 10 watch distributors which have yet to respond to the NACC.”

If that sounds bland, it was music to the ears of the General. According to Khaosod, Gen Prawit has declared: “This issue is already over…”.

The reason Prawit is cock-a-hoop is that the NACC had previously let it be known that “the watches would not be considered Prawit’s possessions if borrowed from someone…”.

Cover-up complete?