Junta vs. red shirts

11 03 2018

The military junta is intensifying internet censorship again. For us at PPT it is kind of difficult to determine if we have posted anything that gets their minions excited or whether it is just a broader effort to crack down on stuff considered of the opposition.

Meanwhile, Thai PBS recently reported that the junta is still trying to keep the military boot firmly on the neck of the official red shirts.

The Bangkok Military Court has recently had 18 red shirt leaders before it, including Jatuporn Promphan who is already jailed. They face charges of “defying the order of the National Council for Peace and Order in 2016.” Yes, that is 2016.

Jatuporn was in chains and “escorted by soldiers.” The junta treats its opponents in ways that are meant to degrade but actually demonstrates the repressive and vindictive nature of the military regime.

Apart from Jatuporn, the others “included Nattawut Saikur, Mrs Thida Thavornset, Weng Tochirakarn, Yongyut Tiyaphairat, Korkaew Pikulthong, and Virakarn Musikapong.”

The faked up charges relate to the “holding political assembly of more than five people after they held a press conference at Imperial Department Store in June 2016 to announce the formation of the Centre for the Suppression of Referendum Fraud.”

This was when the junta was forcing through its constitution in a unfree and unfair referendum.





Korkaew bailed

13 05 2013

After two failed bail applications (see here, here and here), the MCOT reports that the Criminal Court has finally “granted bail for Pheu Thai Party MP and Red Shirt activist Korkaew Pikulthong with Bt600,000 in assets being accepted as collateral.”

Korkaew declined to ” apologise to the Constitution Court judges given that the judges filed defamation charges against him, and to do so may affect the case.”

The Criminal Court agreed “that the defendant’s explanation was acceptable and that he had softened his stance, demonstrating repentance for his offence after 37 days in jail.”

The court added to Korkaew’s bail conditions, demanding that “he must avoid any slanderous comments and he renounced his right to speak publicly or making remarks that could damage other people reputation.”

 





Updated: The tug-of-war continues

2 05 2013

A spate of news reports attest to the continuing political struggle in Thailand as disgruntled royalists seek to undermine the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra. These battles focus on Thaksin Shinawatra, the events of 2010 and the military junta’s 2007 constitution. In this post, in no particular order of significance, we summarize some of these struggles and reports.

A critical royalist ally is the judiciary, which continues to punish red shirts and to “teach lessons” in power to those who oppose royalist political domination. This is made especially clear in a report at the Bangkok Post that has the Appeals Court upholding a “Criminal Court’s ruling, denying Pheu Thai Party MP Korkaew Pikulthong bail and sending him back to Laksi temporary prison.” Korkaew is one of the red shirt leaders who was bailed on terrorism charges from 2010 – lower level red shirts remain in jail on related charges or have already been convicted. His bail was withdrawn by the Criminal Court for allegedly “threatening the judges of the Constitution Court.” His appeal was denied because “Korkaew showed no regret…. There was no assurance that he would not break the conditions again if he was granted bail…”. This is punishment for challenging the judiciary and is meant to send a message of the inviolability of that royalist bastion.

On the other side, flip-flopper-in-chief at the Department of Special Investigation Tharit Pengdit has announced that former premier and current Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy Suthep Thaugsuban will be summoned to acknowledge additional charges of authorizing killings during the 2010 red shirt rallies. These charges relate to events including the “the murder of Kunakorn Srisuvan and the attempted murder of Samorn Maithong, a van driver who was seriously injured in the same incident in which taxi driver Pan Kamkong was shot dead.” Tharit reaffirmed that “military officers ordered to crack down on red shirt protesters in 2010 could not be held responsible for the deaths of civilians killed as a result.” PPT wonders when other members of the coterie of officials, military brass, Democrat Party politicians and Tharit himself, as part of the infamous Centre for Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) that was responsible for implementing the various actions against red shirt protesters. That aside, building pressure on Abhisit and his lot is causing increased hatred of Thaksin Shinawatra and his allies on the royalist side as those who have murdered citizens in political acts in the past have generally done so with impunity.

A focus of the political rivalry is constitutional change. The royalists and others who supported the military junta’s drafting of the 2007 constitution repeatedly claimed that if the opposition to the military and its coup didn’t like the basic law, they could easily change it if their party won an election. Of course, the military-royalist coalition assumed that they could engineer a Democrat Party election victory and protect the constitution. But the Democrat Party has lost every election to Thaksin-backed parties and so the promises were quickly buried and there has been rabid opposition to any constitutional change.

One of the demon seed elements of the constitution is appointed, unelected senators. Interestingly, as part of the push for constitutional change, Puea Thai MP Sunai Jullapongsathorn has proposed that “the terms of all appointed senators be ended once the charter revisions take effect. Elected senators would be allowed to carry out their duties till their terms have ended.” At present, it seems that the unelected lot are in place for several more years while the terms of elected senators end next March. This proposal is an attack on one of the significant elements of the constitution that maintains royalist-military political domination even when elected governments are in place. Hence, the anti-democrats support the military junta’s spawn. For example, Democrat Party MP Thana Cheeravinit babbled that “appointed senators had taken up their posts legally in accordance with the Constitution. He said appointed senators have contributed to the country and should not be deprived of their constitutional rights.” Their contribution to the “country” is actually to support the anti-democratic minority and the royalist elite.

The current struggle’s epicenter is the Constitutional Court, which has repeatedly demonstrated political bias and remarkable corruption. A relatively small group of red shirts has been protesting at the Court. Now some of them are calling “on fellow red shirts nationwide to join a rally in front of the court next week in order to step up pressure against the nine members of the bench,” and hope for tens of thousands to rally in support. The royalist judges continue with their consideration of petitions by fellow royalists that seek to declare more than 300 MPs and senators to be, in effect, treasonous in their intent to make constitutional changes. The Bangkok Post reports that the Court’s legally bizarre bid to force these representatives to “explain their stance” has been extended by 15 days. The extension is because every single representative has so far refused to comply with this kangaroo court’s preposterous interference with the legislature. Of course, the biased judges “decided to postpone consideration of a petition by Pheu Thai MPs seeking its ruling on the parliamentary status of opposition leader Abhisit…” related to his loss of military rank and the related question of his status as an MP.

Finally, and perhaps the most sordid of the battles, is the anti-democrat’s response to Yingluck’s speech in Mongolia. That speech, which was a spirited defense of electoral democracy and a statement of the events of recent years has caused considerable royalist and anti-democratic hatred to be expressed. The yellow social media and media are alive with claims that a speech on democracy and its challenges in Thailand amounted to spin and deceit or even “treason,” and there have been related and very nasty and deeply sexist remarks that she is a whore for finally standing up and speaking some truths about the anti-democrats. One of those truths is that the royalists and their political allies are democracy haters.

Update: And, of course, we should have mentioned the battle over Thaksin and amnesty, which has also re-heated. The Bangkok Post reports that the deposed prime minister backs Chalerm Yubamrung’s proposed amnesty bill and says: “I want to come home. Tell the Democrat Party not to worry. If I come back, I don’t want anything…”. That last claim might be hard to believe, but whenever Thaksin talks of return, the coup supporters quickly reassemble for another bout of anti-Thaksinism. There will again be plenty of heat around Thaksin.





Courts prove their bias

22 04 2013

In the past week or so PPT has pointed to several events where royalist yellow shirts get bail on serious charges. Our most recent posts on this are here and here.

Any reasonable person might think that if yellow shirts are being bailed, including leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, then so might leaders of the red shirt movement. Think again, for there is no such political reasonableness when the courts are weapons in the political arsenal of royalists.

The Bangkok Post reports that the:

Criminal Court on Monday morning denied a request by Korkaew Pikulthong, a Pheu Thai party-list MP, to remain on release from Bangkok Remand Prison now the parliamentary session has ended.

The politicization of the courts is confirmed by these actions.  If that wasn’t enough, the reason for withdrawal of bail is that Korkaew is claimed to have spoken out against the politicized Constitutional Court. So the Criminal Court springs into action to defend its biased buddies.

Indeed, the Criminal Court explains that Korkaew “did not show repentence [sic] and so there are no grounds for his release on bail.”

It seems that the courts demand obeisance as if themselves royal!





Constitutional change

22 12 2012

A Puea Thai Party committee chaired by Thaksin Shinawatra lawyer and former foreign minister Noppadon Pattama has reportedly “reached a clear position that it will proceed with a public referendum [on a charter rewrite] while the section-by-section charter amendment proposal will be shelved.”

The decision to proceed with rewriting the junta’s constitution is generally in line with promises made to voters during the last election campaign and in the lead-up to the election in 2007. Kowtowing to the royalist Constitutional Court on a referendum is unnecessarily supine in constitutional terms, but the idea of garnering voter support for  a rewrite is likely considered a necessary political device given that the opposition forces arranged in royalist alliance needs to be neutralized. That said, the royalist track record is only to accept popular votes when they win them, and PPT expects endless legal and constitutional challenges to every step taken by Puea Thai.

Article 309Noppadon’s claim that “the government’s campaign was not aimed at altering Section 309 of the 2007 charter, which legalised the actions of the military coup-makers who overthrew Thaksin in 2006” seems also unnecessarily coy. Whether Thaksin is a target of this section or not is hardly the point, for this section makes every action by a bunch of military thugs, throwing out the 1997 constitution, legal. This is an article that really does need to be scrapped if the military coup is ever going to be consigned to Thailand’s historical trashcan/dustbin.

Meanwhile, it is reported that a “large number of red-shirt activists began gathering on Saturday at the Bonanza resort near Khao Yai to voice their support for constitutional change.” This event kind of marks the beginning of referendum campaigning.

Speakers will include Thaksin phoning in and Korkaew Pikulthong, recently released from prison where he had been held as a political prisoner by royalists courts. His release was required as parliament returns and a sitting MP has immunity when parliament sits.





Pitak Siam fails, judiciary steps up

1 12 2012

As PPT has pointed out in the past, the anti-red shirt/Thaksin Shinawatra/Puea Thai government alliance of royalists and neo-fascists has more than one string to its bow. While the Pitak Siam dinosaur rally might have been an embarrassing failure led by an embarrassing failure, this is not the end of the royalist fight to return government to the undemocratic forces of hierarchy and royalism. It has repeatedly been claimed and demonstrated that one of the main weapons for the royalists is control of the courts.

That control was initiated early in the current king’s reign as royalists sought to wrest the political loyalty of judges away from People’s Party leader Pridi Phanomyong, who had established Thammasat University. The palace’s coaxing, which included bringing former senior judges into the Privy Council, has been successful and in recent years we have seen the king repeatedly making political demands of the judiciary and heard coaching from palace figures to influence the outcomes political cases.

Hence it is no surprise to see that as soon as the Pitak Siam rally has fizzled out, the judiciary jumps back into the political action. Two cases illustrate this. The first involves the Criminal Court, which has revoked bail of Puea Thai party list-MP and red-shirt leader Korkaew Pikulthong “for violating his bail conditions.” The Bangkok Post notes that Korkaew is one of six United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship leaders charged under the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime as “terrorists” for their leadership roles during the red shirt rallies of 2010. Another 18 were charged with the same political “crime” that carries the death penalty.

Naturally, it was a Democrat Party MP Nipit Intarasombat who filed the petition asking the court to withdraw bail from red shirt leaders. Nipit is an ultra-royalist who has previous used lese majeste allegations against his political opponents. As the Constitutional Court sees itself as kind of royal-like and thus above all criticism, that Korkaew criticized it is cause for sanction, so he gets thrown in jail. Most regular readers will know that the Constitutional Court is politically-biased and corrupt. It is protected by this action in the Criminal Court and red shirts are suitably warned that they are not meant to criticize the royalist institutions.

To add to that warning, the Criminal Court dismissed the challenge to bail granted to other red shirt leaders but has moved to silence them, “banning them from speaking or taking part in political demonstrations and from leaving the country.”

Meanwhile, in another Bangkok Post story, the judiciary gets into the act again, with the Central Administrative Court halting Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat’s move to strip Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva of his military rank when the military investigated and found Abhisit “had used fraudulent documents to apply for and obtain a job as a lecturer at Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy.”

The courts continue to play royalist politics and their power cannot be underestimated in the royalist struggle to unseat yet another elected government and to “punish” red shirts.





Red shirts on men in black

22 10 2012

In our last post, PPT wrote of Korkaew Pikulthong’s comments on snipers. He made some important claims. Adding to this, red shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan has made some further claims that will cause a stir.

Jatuporn wants the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to “review video footage from security cameras at the entrance of the 11th Infantry Regiment in Bang Khen that recorded the comings and goings of vehicles.” He implies that the “men in black” had a link to that base and the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situations that was ensconced there. Jatuporn claims that such men were “seen entering the regiment in a passenger van owned by the police.”

In addition, Jatuporn wants DSI to summon the Army officer “responsible for drawing up the anti-monarchy chart _ a one-page document with names of 45 people allegedly involved in a movement against the royal family.”

The other soldier Jatuporn wants the DSI to talk with is the one “was asked to collect and keep all the orders issued by the CRES…”. That is the paper trail we mentioned in our previous post.





Snipers and the Democrat Party

22 10 2012

It is certainly no surprise that Puea Thai Party MP and red-shirt leader Korkaew Pikulthong should be reported as telling the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) that the Democrat Party government led by Abhisit Vejjajiva “had given security officers the green light to deploy snipers for crowd control.”

What is surprising is that he claims to have a witness – a police officer – who is willing to testify. Korkaew states that this senior policemen gave him the information when Korkaew was “detained at the Border Patrol Police’s Naresuan camp in Phetchaburi province” following the 2010 crackdown.

The “police lieutenant-colonel told him that the Centre for Resolution of the Emergency Situation had instructed the Border Patrol Police to deploy snipers to rein in the crowds.”

More startlingly, the policeman “claimed that the soldiers had coerced policemen into validating the discovery of military weapons that were found after the crowd-dispersal operation was completed.”

It remains to be seen if this claimed evidence can be produced. PPT is sure that there is a document trail as well, for Abhisit is sure to have ensured “rule of law” in this matter.





Further updated: Yellow shirts vs. red shirts

25 09 2012

By now many readers will have already seen accounts of the clash between the People’s Alliance for Democracy and red shirts outside the Crime Suppression Division headquarters. One account is at the Bangkok Post, where the report implies that yellow shirts attacked red shirts. The Post reports that the clashes “left scores of people from both sides injured.”

The clash occurred as “yellow shirts, led by Suwat Apaipak, a lawyer for the People’s Alliance for Democracy, turned up to show support for Manasnant Nookham, 31, a former teacher who last month publicly accused key red-shirt supporter Darunee Kritbunyalai of defaming the monarchy.” In other words, Darunee is accused of lese majeste in yet another political use of the horrid law.

Manasnant was called in to give a statement, and the yellow shirts showed up to provide support. Red shirts were there to support Darunee who had filed a defamation charge with the CSD. The report states that “both sides waved placards and banners, traded insults and threw water bottles at each other…. Tensions escalated about 11am when a group of yellow shirts smashed the windshield of a truck belonging to red-shirt radio station FM90.25.”

Not surprisingly, the Democrat Party blamed red shirts. The odd thing seems to be that neither Manasnant nor Darunee showed up. Heavy rain ended the clash.

It remains to be seen whether this clash portends increased violence or is an isolated event.

Update 1: Thai Rath has pictures and video of the clash. The video begins with a series of stills.

Update 2: The Bangkok Post reports that the two “groups had been mistakenly informed of the date of the summons hearing, which was to be today. It has been rescheduled for October 29.” Meanwhile, “Red-shirt leader Kokaew Pikulthong, a Pheu Thai MP, called on the yellow-shirt leaders to control their supporters. He also warned the red-shirt supporters to behave to prevent any negative publicity for the government.”





Constitutional court and silencing dissent

29 07 2012

At our About Us page , PPT has long stated that we are:

dedicated to those who are held in Thailand’s prisons, charged with political crimes. It also seeks to raise the cases of those who are accused of political crimes. Our focus is the contemporary period where political cases revolve around the use of Thailand’s lese majeste law and, increasingly, the Computer Crimes Act.

We are now considering if we need to add contempt of court to that list. At The Nation it is reported that:

The Constitution Court has lodged another complaint against red-shirt leaders and Pheu Thai MPs for contempt of court and threatening the court judges, a source said yesterday.

Among those named in the complaint are Yoswarit Chooklom (aka Jeng Dokjik) and MPs Kokaew Pikultong and Prasit Chaisisa, said the source, who asked not to be named.

In essence, not only is the corrupt and politicized Constitutional Court accruing powers to itself that it doesn’t have – see our posts on the recent nonsense royal plot case – but is now attempting to make it a crime to speak against anything the court does or against any judge or judgement. This means the Constitutional Court is in the business of making protesters political prisoners.

This is confirmed by the secretary-general of the Constitution Court office, Chavana Traimas, who:

ordered officers on Friday to file complaints against people who insulted the judges, including those who burnt mock coffins of judges in front of the court…. The acts were aimed at insulting the court and intimidating the judges, the source said, adding that the penalties would be harsher than for simple acts of defamation against “ordinary” people…. Each of the court judges can also lodge separate complaints against the accused, along with the Constitution Court office’s complaint….

This action by the Constitutional Court is a clear threat to those who disagree with its politicized and corrupt decision-making. If it succeeds in establishing yet another dubious precedent, the court will be placing itself in a position analogous with the monarchy and its protection by Article 112. Supporters of the court, such as ultra-royalists, will be able to urge complaints against opponents for their statements about the court.