Women and political civility

9 03 2014

It was International Women’s Day on Friday, a day observed since the early 20th century.

Of course, in Thailand, this year’s observance was somewhat overshadowed by political conflicts between those who support Thailand’s first-ever woman prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, and anti-democrats who are trying to bring down her elected government and to prevent elections that she has called.

The Nation reports that the Woman’s Voice group, led by Puea Thai Party MP Laddawan Wongsriwong, made a call for an end to “[rights] violation[s] and insults directed at the country’s women leaders.” She might have added threats of violence to them and their families. These threats and insults have been directed at women on both sides of the political divide.

Most notably, because it has been so high profile, the misogynist attacks on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra have been savage. Laddawan pointed out that Yingluck had suffered “rights violations, insults and threats” and yet the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) had done nothing. Woman’s Voice called for the NHRC members to resign.

They are unlikely to heed the call at the NHRC, which PPT has long described as a hopeless cabal of politicized flunkies with little interest in their mandated tasks.

Woman’s Voice “wanted all agencies to ensure justice to all sides and all women to be united and co-exist despite differences in opinion.” That would seem reasonable.

Meanwhile, the fabulously wealthy Democrat Party member and anti-democrat protest high-profiler Chitpas Bhirombhakdi, who has been using the family name Kridakorn (sometimes with that royalist-linked “na Ayutthaya” added), led another event. She led women anti-democrat protesters in an appropriately feudal rally that went to Wat Phra Kaew “to vow to join fellow anti-government protesters in fearlessly defending the motherland from offences or bids to divide the country.” Apparently she “gave a speech slamming caretaker PM Yingluck Shinawatra for damaging the country over the past two years and accused Yingluck for causing injury to protesters who rallied peacefully without weapons, which had lead to deaths and injuries.”

That’s about what would be expected from Chitpas. An attack on Yingluck bolstered by the lie about “peaceful” and “unarmed” demonstrators.

Both sides made the expected political claims and both were focused on Yingluck. Women’s Voice attempted some conciliation. Chitpas spewed vitriol.





Bangkok 18 becomes Bangkok 19

23 05 2011

Apologies for again being slow with this post. PPT is continuing to experience difficulties in keeping up with the volume of material on lese majeste.

The Bangkok Post reported on 21 May that the political police at the Department of Special Investigation “will summon 19 red shirt leaders to hear lese majeste charges related to remarks made during a rally early last month.”

PPT earlier posted on this and added a Bangkok 18 post to our page of pending cases. We’ll need to change that to the Bangkok 19 as DSI chief Tharit Pengdit added Payap Panket to the list of those to be charged.

The other 18 are: Weng Tojirakarn, Nattawut Saikua, Korkaew Pikulthong, Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn, Karun Hosakul, Yoswaris Chuklom, Wiputhalaeng Pattanaphumthai, Veera Musigapong, Chinawat Haboonpat, Wichian Kaokham, Suporn Atthawong, Kwanchai Sarakham (Praiphana), Nisit Sinthuprai, Prasit Chaisisa, Worawut Wichaidit, Laddawan Wongsriwong, Jatuporn Promphan and Somchai Paiboon.

Tharit said a “summons will be issued on Monday [23 May] and sent to the red shirt suspects by mail. They will have 10 days to prepare prior to appearing before authorities on June 2.”

While he can’t complete investigations into the deaths and injuries of April and May 2010, the puppet-like Tharit can get lese majeste cases sown up in a jiffy (as long as they are against the regime’s opponents).

DSI plans to “take the suspects to the Criminal Court to request their detention. The DSI will also go to Bangkok Remand Prison to file charges against red shirt leaders Jatuporn Prompan and Nisit Sinthuprai, who are detained there.”

Tharit also revealed that the DSI is taking over yet another lese majeste case that “involves six community radio stations which allegedly broadcast Mr Jatuporn’s April 10 remarks which were deemed offensive to the monarchy.”

Just because there is a bit of reformist lese majeste static about doesn’t mean that the political police aren’t on the job. Thailand remains a dangerous place for opposition activists. The royalists are keen to crush them.





18 red shirts charged with lese majeste

18 04 2011

From Prachatai

In an expected update to PPT’s many posts on this topic post-10 April, 18 red shirts have been summoned by the political police at the Department of Special Investigation to acknowledge charges of lese majeste.

As PPT understands it, the 18 charged are: Weng Tojirakarn, Nattawut Saikua, Korkaew Pikulthong, Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn, Karun Hosakul, Yoswaris Chuklom, Wiputhalaeng Pattanaphumthai, Veera Musigapong, Chinawat Haboonpat, Wichian Khaokham, Suporn Atthawong, Kwanchai Sarakham (Praiphana), Nisit Sinthuprai, Prasit Chaisisa, Worawut Wichaidit, Laddawan Wongsriwong, Jatuporn Promphan and Somchai Paiboon.

The Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha has been heavily criticized going nuclear on lese majeste. The Post says this:

Army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha had acted within his authority when he ordered the Judge Advocate General Department to file lese majeste charges against Mr Jatuporn, Puea Thai MP for Udon Thani Wichian Khaokham and former Puea Thai MP for Nakhon Ratchasima Suporn Atthawong.

“Soldiers act in line with the constitution, which says the army is duty-bound to protect and uphold the institution of the monarchy,” Col Sansern said.

In a sign of how politicized the Army is, the Post adds:

An army source said yesterday more than 1,000 soldiers attached to the army’s st Division (Royal Guards) will today gather for military training at the 11th Infantry Regiment in Bang Khen district, in what is seen by observers as a show of support for the army commander.

PPT thinks we’ll just refer to these 18 as the Bangkok 18 and list them at our Pending Cases. The same report in the Post lists one further complaint of lese majeste. We will report that in a separate post.

We are having trouble keeping up with the mad use of lese majeste to repress opposition.





Updated: Wichian Kaokham responds on lese majeste

18 04 2011

The Isaan Record has an interview with Wichian Kaokham, one of the red shirts accused of lese majeste in the latest, Army-driven, set of cases that use lese majeste as a political weapon against the opposition.

The report explains that the term that appears to have been used against Wichian, a Pueau Thai Party member of parliament, in the recent lese majeste case was first used in parliament last month. The phrase he used was: “Why the hell are you shouting for your father?” [โห่หาพ่อมึงเหรอ]. He used this when Democrat Party members were heckling him. The Isaan Record says this term “amounts to a commonplace, moderately offensive ‘Shut up’.”

Apparently, the term caught the imagination of many red shirts and they chanted it back to him when he was on stage at the red shirt rally on 10 April. The Isaan Record says: “Two days later, on April 12, Army Chief Prayuth Chan-ocha charged Mr. Wichian with lèse-majesté.”

Wichian claims to be unconcerned by the lese majeste charge: “I didn’t say anything against the royal family. What I said is the phrase from [the debate]…. I just repeated it without any innuendo.” He says the innuendo comes from his political enemies, adding: “I’ve been charged because members of the military along with [Privy Council President] Prem want to destroy me and Pheu Thai. They want the Democrat … [Party] to win the election.”

Royalist's scattered marbles

That seems a pretty reasonable summary of events of the past two weeks.

Update: The Nation lists the 18 red shirts being investigated for lese majeste and sedition. PPT thinks the royalist elite has lost its marbles. The 18 are: Weng Tojirakarn, Nattawut Saikua, Korkaew Pikulthong, Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn, Karun Hosakul, Yoswaris Chuklom, Wiputhalaeng Pattanaphumthai, Veera Musigapong, Chinawat Haboonpat, Wichian Khaokham, Suporn Atthawong, Kwanchai Sarakham (Praiphana), Nisit Sinthuprai, Prasit Chaisisa, Worawut Wichaidit, Laddawan Wongsriwong, Jatuporn Promphan and Somchai Paiboon.

Incredibly, many of these red shirts now look like facing charges of terrorism, lese majeste and sedition.





The Army’s election campaign: Vote monarchy!

13 04 2011

It seems PPT’s earlier post on lese majeste charges against red shirt leaders has underplayed the extent of Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha’s efforts to “protect” the monarchy by using the lese majeste law against political opponents.It is far worse and far more sinister than our post indicated.

If The Nation report is to be believed, Prayuth has gone nuclear on the monarchy. He is now actively campaigning in an election period for the monarchy. In essence, for the royalists in the Phum Jai Thai Party and the Democrat Party.

Prayuth wants a high voter in an election as he thinks a high “turnout is the key to safeguarding the monarchy and bringing about change under a democracy…”.

Getting the number of eligible voters wrong by quite a way, he says: “”I believe if all 60 million [eligible] Thai citizens come out to cast their votes, they can change the country…”. He seems to mean changing Thailand to be a Thai-style democracy where the monarchy rukes.

Prayuth thinks that an election “could end the political turmoil that had gripped the Kingdom.” He seems to mean that if the Democrat Party wins, it can finally claim electoral democracy. And as the party of the royalist elite, the “people” would effectively be safeguarding “the country’s revered institution by weeding out ill-intentioned politicians…”. He means any politician who are in the opposition, associated with Thaksin Shinawatra, the Puea Thai Party and the red shirts.

Commenting on offensive remarks about the monarchy, Prayuth “said he saw no justification for certain individuals to try and fault the King, adding that politicians should not allow their political rivalry to spiral out of control and tarnish the monarchy.”

He continued, “urging voters to punish the instigators of last year’s riots through the ballot box.” He added: “Everyone knows the culprits behind the lost lives and the injuries incurred…”. PPT is sure he doesn’t mean the military! He means those who are in the opposition, associated with Thaksin Shinawatra, the Puea Thai Party and the red shirts.

Although the instigators tried to attribute the blame to anti-riot forces, the crowd-control measures had been activated as a last resort and in a defensive manner due to the provocation, the Army head said. Prayuth then got really nasty, when he “pointed out that troops and protesters suffered high casualties while the rally organisers themselves had come out unscathed.” Perhaps he forgets that most casualties were to those wearing red shirts. Or perhaps he remembers and is simply a liar or perhaps he doesn’t care.

The Nation says this is “a veiled attack on red-shirt leaders.” It isn’t. It is a direct threat and the army chief is up to his thick neck in political campaigning for the current regime. Nothin g much else could be expected from the army chief. What is really very sinister is that this political figure who happens to be army chief has the temerity to criticize “red-shirt leaders for trying to link the military to politics in a bid to sway the crowds.”

Related, the political police at the Department of Special Investigation have “launched an investigation into 10 red-shirt leaders, including Pheu Thai MP Jatuporn Promphan, on suspicion of their having offended the monarchy during the April 10 rally last year at Democracy Monument.” Do they mean this year?

DSI director-general Tharit Phengdit revealed yesterday that his team of investigators was preparing to charge Jatuporn and rally organisers for lese majeste, as evidenced by their recorded rally speeches.

Tharit said Jatuporn Promphan “had contacted him via telephone to inquire about surrendering to face a lese majeste charge. Other red-shirt leaders likely to face the same charge include Weng Tojirakarn, Nattawut Saikua, Korkaew Pikulthong, Suporn Atthawong, Kwanchai Praiphana and Laddawan Wongsriwong.

The Army chief has already filed a police complaint against Jatuporn, Suporn and Wichian Khaokham forlese majeste.

So is that 13 accusations of lese majeste in 2 days? Maybe the U.S. State Department can review its so-called human rights report now that the political intent of the use of lese majeste is so clear that a blind monkey could see it.








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