Further updated: Rich cop revs up

28 08 2021

Pol Col Thitisan “Joe” Uttanapol or “Joe Ferrari,” who was caught on camera suffocating a man to death, is doing all the things corrupt “good people” do when in a spot of bother.

Muddying the waters and getting some sympathy from other “good people.” The most notable report is of lawyer Sittha Biabangkerd, who released the video of the murder, being hit with a defamation complaint and other charges, in a case that was filed on Friday. The report states:

The defamation suit was filed against him by Decha Kittiwitthayanun, a lawyer who was also in possession of the viral video before it was released on social media.

“I have filed a complaint to prosecute Mr Sittha for defamation and violation of the Computer Crime Act after he accused me of trying to blackmail the former chief of police at Muang Nakhon Sawan police station,” he said.

Sittha told the media on Tuesday that he got the clip from a low-ranking officer and before he released the clip, the low-ranking officer has sent the video to Decha first but he refused to release… it to the public because we wanted to blackmail Joe for money.

Of course, the obvious question is why Decha sat on the video. He says he “… decided not to make it public because the case was under investigation and he does not want to tamper with the evidence.” Right….

Clipped from the Bangkok Post

Meanwhile, the dullards at the National Anti-Corruption Commission have brilliantly determined that there might just be something wrong with the fabulously wealth murderer, stating it “believes that Thitisan, also known on social media as “Jo Ferrari” from his lavish lifestyle as a sport car enthusiast, has become unusually wealthy…”. Wow, what a revelation! Now, will Joe be hung out to dry or will the NACC cover it up? Stay tuned.

As to muddying the waters, sources in the regime have let it be known that Joe may not be “unusually wealthy.” According to a graphic in the Bangkok Post, as a policeman “investigating” illegal car imports, Pol Col Thitisan made a mint getting “rewards” for seizing them. There are two problems with this. First, the Post does a simplistic calculation of rewards all accruing to Joe over almost 400 cars. That is very unlikely. Second, we are only surmising, but if Joe owned lots of luxury cars, we can’t help but wonder if there wasn’t a neat scam going on.

And when there’s a police scam, the illicit funds are shared all the way to the top. Reason enough for a cover-up.

Update 1: Many think the cover-up is well underway, facilitated by senior police (among others). The Bangkok Post reports that the “Lawyers Association of Thailand (LAT) … criticised senior officers for allowing Pol Col Thitisan to speak to reporters during the press conference at the CSD on Thursday night.”

The LAT pointed out that the police acted illegally: “The remarks could influence public feeling or investigators, while damaged parties and witnesses may also be pressured, which could affect the justice process…”.

More pointedly, the LAT demanded that “investigators … find out who drove Pol Col Thitisan to meet Pol Maj Gen Ekarak Limsangkat, deputy commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 6, in Chon Buri last Wednesday.” Of course, “Pol Maj Gen Ekarak told the press conference that he could not remember the licence plate number of the white car which Pol Col Thitisan left.” This screams collusion. As we said, the corruption feeds the system, right to the very top.

Naturally enough, Joe Ferrari has denied all charges.

Update 2: The cover-up gains momentum, with Thai Enquirer reporting that “defense team and senior police officers close to Pol Col Thitisant “Joe Ferrari” Uttanapol plan on arguing that Thitisant was only guilty of manslaughter and not murder…. [with] police investigators conducting official inquiries into the matter plan[ning] on recommending a manslaughter case instead of second-degree murder charges.” One officer stated: “I think they’re prepared for the public backlash should they go through with it but [it is] apparent Khun Thitisant has friends in high places…”.

When Pol Col Thitisan’s lawyers denied all charges they opened the way for the downgrading of charges and opened the possibility of a reduced or suspended jail sentence. The report states: “It is understood that Thitisant might agree to manslaughter charges should the Office of the Attorney General accept the police’s recommendation.”

This is the usual way that such cases go; it is essentially, standard practice.It also raised questions about just how high the murderer’s connections go.





Cleansing and coronation

25 06 2018

Some PPT readers may know more about these stories than we do. We’d appreciate and advice at our email: politicalprisonersinthailand@hushmail.com.

Our guess is that the stories we discuss below are probably linked with the big “cleansing” at senior levels of the Buddhist sangha that began with the crackdown on the Dhammakaya sect, then saw senior monks jailed or fleeing the country, and also saw fascist, royal amulet making monk Buddha Issara jailed.

We noticed a further cleansing trend in some rather cryptic media reports that can be seen in the tone of reports at The Nation.

The Nation reported the case of the Lawyers Council of Thailand criticizing police for their violent and forcible detention of a lawyer acting for a client. The client was “a self-proclaimed spirit medium [seeking] to file a defamation complaint against another person…”.

Amid the chaos, the 49-year-old medium, Saengsuriyathep Phramahasuriya, slipped out of the precinct without filing the complaint against Atchariya Ruangratanapong, a lawyer and chairman of the Facebook group for assisting crime victims. She later returned with a new lawyer to file the complaint. That complaint was about accusations that the medium was “insulting the monarchy [by claiming to be a medium of past kings’ spirits] and promoting false information to the public – both accusations denied by her [the medium].”

Soon after, ThaiPBS reported that “Police of the Crime Suppression and Technology Crime Suppression divisions have been ordered to launch a nationwide clampdown on mediums, especially those who claim they have connections with members of the royalty.”

Central Investigation Bureau commissioner Pol Lt-Gen Thitirat Nongharnpitak “said the police had been instructed to first approach the mediums and to tell them to stop the practice…”. Police said “that people … should be told not to believe the mediums as the practice of mediumship is un-Buddhist.”

The police claim to have “nabbed at least three mediums who claimed to have supernatural powers.  One of them was removed of his strange hairstyle from which he claimed to derive his supernatural powers … adding that not one medium has faced criminal litigation.”

This report was confirmed in another at the Bangkok Post. That more detailed report states that many mediums “claimed to be possessed by the spirits of the past kings and their followers lost a huge amount of money to these psychics…”.

It added that the “crackdowns have been carried out secretly over the past two weeks with at least three mediums netted.” The report confirms that no charges had been laid by police.

Police said “the issue connected to people’s faith and belief can be sensitive…”. It was added that police “do not want people to see that police are intimidating these mediums…. However, if we let this situation go on any longer, the mediums could exploit their victims by asserting their claims they are vested with supernatural power, which is not real.”

Pol Lt Gen Thitirat Nonghanpitak, a police commissioner “said police were enforcing the law swiftly as some mediums were posing as the spirits of those in the high institutions ‘which is completely inappropriate’.” Well, harassing, warning, cutting hair….

Police say they “nabbed a couple who claimed to serve as a medium for King Rama IX in Nakhon Pathom after they organised a rite which was widely shared on YouTube.” Another in Chachoengsao claimed to be a “medium for King Rama V…. This person, who applied makeup and dressed like King Rama V, ran an unlicensed clinic which doubles as a fortune telling outlet.”

Yet another man “claimed to be the medium of Phra Sri Ariyametrai, who was the fifth life in the Lord Buddha’s past, police said. He claimed he could foretell people’s future and cleanse them of their sins.”

Some mediums went further and “claimed they could be possessed by the spirits of multiple kings.”

The mediums detained by police, who did not name them, were given a “talking to” and were released after they “agreed to stop the spiritual possession business.”

The Technology Crime Suppression Division is also being used “to track down the mediums who are operating businesses online. They would be summonsed for talks with the police.”

Such efforts do seem congruent with the broader cleansing that is taking place prior to the king’s coronation.

Perhaps surprising is the fact that, as with Buddha Issara, such use of royal names is not being treated as lese majeste. That might be a good thing and represent a change in “policy,” although there’s also the relationship between the mediums, their supposed powers and those in power.





The military boot and the middle class I

22 03 2016

The military dictatorship is continuing to expand its repression to the middle class, the broad class that joined with the Sino-Thai tycoons in bringing the junta to power.

Prachatai reports that “[l]awyers, academics, and civil society groups” are aghast that the military junta has directly intervened “in an election of the Lawyers Council of Thailand…”.

PPT is aware how much the junta’s rather dull leaders hate elections, but an intervention in an election of a relatively small association seems rather more dopey and hamfisted than is usual for the military brass.

Those on the receiving end of this bit of junta repression make the point that the “junta has no legitimacy to do so [intervene].” They seem to have forgotten that their previous support for anti-democrats means that the junta does not need legitimacy for repression.

In any case, the “Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA), Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), ENLAWTHAI Foundation, Union for Civil Liberty (UCL) and 66 other lawyers and law academics on Monday, 21 March 2016, issued a joint statement to condemn the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) for ordering a halt to the election of the Lawyers Council under the Royal Patronage…”. We suppose they are making a point by including the last phrase.

The junta issued an order on 16 March issued to “halt the upcoming election of the council’s president and committee for 2016-2019.” The reason cited is, as you’d expect from these lumbering dopes, is plainly stupid: “In a letter sent to the Lawyers Council by the NCPO last week, Gen Chalermchai Sitthisat, Deputy Secretary-General of the NCPO, reasoned that the Lawyers Council has many members and that the election of the Council might be deemed a violation of NCPO Announcement No. 7/2014 which bans a political gathering of five or more persons.”

The order means that “the current president and committee of the Lawyers Council shall serve as an acting committee for the time being.” We suspect that the current leadership better suits the junta.

The gradually expanding repression of middle class is a feature of previous regimes, and it remains to be seen if this class’s anti-democratic stance holds in the face of its own repression or whether, as in 1992, it finds the military boot on its neck too restrictive.





Lawyers versus lawyer

14 05 2014

Robert Amsterdam, international lawyer for the official red shirts, spoke to the red shirt rally last week. This is the video of his speech:

His commentary included a statement that was roughly this: “We must change 112 [lese majeste law]. The Democrat Party uses that statute to squelch free expression and the necessary debate that every democracy must have.”

This statement seems to have caused the royalist Lawyers Council of Thailand (LCT) great angst. Scratching around for a response, this lot babbled that Article 112 “is aimed at protecting the monarchy and those who violate it are breaching national security.” Ipso facto, Amsterdam must have broken the law!

These lawyers, who regularly appear to deliberately misunderstand the law books they profess to act on, say Amsterdam “almost certainly breached national security laws by calling for the abolition of the lese majeste law…”.

In other words, these legal eagles consider that a call to “change 112” is a breach of the law. Perhaps they also wish to burn witches at the stake and behead political prisoners.

Just for good measure, they threatened officials and police with charges if they ignored the LCT’s claims about “a criminal offence…”.

Meanwhile, Amsterdam also appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box speaking on elections, Thaksin Shinawatra and Suthep Thaugsuban as “as a gangster.” His final comment on the absurdity of events in Thailand is apt.





Hopeless NACC

3 05 2014

Readers know that it is legally risky to criticize the monarchy, past or present, dead or alive. Most will also know that the courts, and especially the Constitutional Court, have attempted to make it legally risky to challenge any of their sometimes bizarre and almost always biased decisions. It seems that the hopelessly biased National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) wants to head down this road as well.

The Bangkok Post reports that the NACC is miffed that it has been criticized and is seeking to stifle this criticism. Legally, the NACC doesn’t have the legal arsenal of the monarchy or judiciary, so its approach is to use another royalist association to do the censoring.

NACC secretary-general Sansern Poljiak has declared that the NACC is miffed that Bancha Porameesanaporn, a lawyer for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in the controversial rice price guarantee policy case “criticised the NACC decision not to allow seven witnesses to testify in her defence as unfair and improper.” He’s certainly correct. At the same time, he “threatened to sue the NACC members for abuse of authority, saying his team was gathering evidence against them.”

The response of the NACC is to call into question the “professional conduct” of Bancha and to call on “the Lawyers Council of Thailand (LCT) to take action against [him] … for improper behaviour.” The NACC plans to “lodge a petition with the LCT against Mr Bancha for breach of [professional] etiquette.”Dewey, Cheatum and Howe

Quite apart from the fact that the LCT is a nest of politically biased royalists, the notion that the NACC is above the law and immune from criticism is a remarkable position for a so-called independent agency.

Sansern babbled about the lawyer’s comments being “uncalled for and [he] deemed acts of intimidation…”.

Yet even this brief report in the Post shows that the NACC is disingenuous.In this allegation of graft in the rice policy and its implementation, the witnesses it has rejected include: “caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, deputy national police chief Worapong Chiewpreecha, caretaker PM’s Office Minister Varathep Rattanakorn, accountant Phichai Choonhavajira, and rice-scheme adviser Orlarn Chaiprawat.”

That the “anti-graft agency argued it could not allow the seven witnesses to testify in Ms Yingluck’s defence because they are unrelated to the issues with which Ms Yingluck has been charged” is bizarre. For example, Olarn is a former deputy prime minister, a long-time and recognized expert on the economics of the rice trade, has a PhD in economics from MIT, and, as the report states, a “rice-scheme adviser.” PPT can’t imagine how Olarn is considered “unrelated” to the NACC case.

Quite clearly, the NACC is engaged in politics but can’t accept that it should be subject to the same scrutiny and challenge as other political players.





Lawyers gone wild

9 04 2014

It is almost impossible to comprehend the depths to which the judiciary and lawyers in Thailand have allowed themselves to be flushed down a hole that is so deep that they may never recover. Like the famous Three Stooges legal firm of Dewey, Cheatem & Howe and the NPR Car Talk lawyers mentioned each week at that show, Thailand’s lawyers seem beyond believability.

Khaosod reports that the bumbling royalist lackeys at Dewey, Cheatum and Howethe Lawyers Council of Thailand have accused United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship lobbyist and former lawyer for Thaksin Shinawatra of lese majeste. This is not the first time Robert Amsterdam has been accused of insulting the monarchy.

According to the “Lawyers Council of Thailand Under the Royal Patronage,” Amsterdam had allegedly “defamed” the monarchy and had also “insulted the Thai judicial system during his Skype call to pro-government Redshirts rally on 6 April in Nakhon Prathom province.”

In that call, Amsterdam “urged the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to amend the Article 112 of the Criminal Code…”. Khaosod states: “[H]e made no direct mention of the Thai Royal Family, but the Lawyers Council considers it a sufficient cause of insult for the monarchy, calling for the police to press charge of 112 Article against Mr. Amsterdam.”

The lawyers, who do a pretty good job of defaming the judiciary with such preposterous claims, are joined by Democrat Party and anti-democracy campaigner Thaworn Senniam in making two lese majeste complaints against Amsterdam for daring to ask for the lese majeste law to be amended.

Amsterdam was outraged and stated “that there is absolutely no basis for the lese majeste allegation in what he has told the Redshirts demonstrators.” He pointed out that the lawyers at the Council were fools, cared nothing for the law and abandoned all notions of “fairness” in making these claims. Actually, that pretty much defines the “Lawyers Council of Thailand Under the Royal Patronage.” Click on our tag for this lot, and it becomes clear that law is the last thing this bunch of royalist dolts are interested in.

Appropriately, Amsterdam “insisted on the point he made in the Skype call, stating that the Article 112 should be amended. He stated:

“[Lese majeste] is one of the most overused, misunderstood statutes in the world…. It does not in any way serve the purpose it was designed. People in Thailand are afraid to talk about it – and I understand why – but I am not afraid to talk about it”…. He added that he is not deterred by the threats of legal actions against him, and that he will visit Thailand again in the near future.





Anti-democratic lawyers

18 01 2014

Readers who have followed PPT for a while will know that the Lawyers Council of Thailand or, as they seem to prefer, “The Lawyers Council of Thailand under Royal Patronage,” is a redoubt of royalists who, at times, seem unable to understand the law, except in remarkably politicized ways. Given that they are aligned with the various kangaroo courts, ultra-royalists and have acted as propagandists for anti-democratic movements for several years, their latest “advice” should come as no surprise at all. Read it an weep for the law and justice in Thailand:

Declaration

To, Professional Colleagues, Dignitaries, Distinguish UN Representatives and to all whom it may concern,

The Lawyers Council of Thailand under Royal Patronage deems that it would be proper to elaborate on the exercise of people’s power within Article 3 and Article 7 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2550 (the “Constitution”). The concerned situation’s momentum has shifted since our prior Announcement (Thai Version) on the application of Article 7 of the Constitution, issued on 10 January, 2014, as follows.

1. Article 3, First Paragraph, of the Constitution clearly states that Sovereign Power belongs to the Thai people. The Government, the Assembly, or the judiciary body are merely Representatives, who are empowered to use and exercise the three-branches-powers on behalf of the people. In this context, when the people of Thailand had no longer consented to allow any of those individual branches to utilize, in this case, the executive-administrative and legislative powers, the people could amend their legitimate rights and exercise their lawful rights in accordance with Article 3 of the Constitution. In simple words, the Thai people are allowed and may request the formation of “the People’s Government and the People’s Parliament” through the provision of Article 7 of the Constitution accordingly.

2. There are several situations which could lead to a political power vacuum; a situation that may occur when no central administrative body is in operation to carry out the country’s functions. In Thailand’s current political situation, there are several possibilities which could create such so called “Political Power Vacuum”, for example, the interim Prime Minister resigns from the position. Or if the National Anti-Corruption Commission (hereinafter “NACC”) delivers its primary finding prompting legal proceedings against politicians or former MPs for restraining the decision of the Thai Constitutional Court and illegally changing and interfering with the due process of legislation enactment, or placing formal legal charges against the Prime Minister under the Anti-Corruption Laws. In any of such circumstances, the administrative body would automatically cease operation and create a Political Power Vacuum. Under such circumstances, Article 7 will be applied accordingly

3. If a Political Power Vacuum actually happens, it is Thailand’s customary practice under the Constitutional Monarchy with the King as the Head of State, to appoint the person who holds the sovereign power to form the government (executive) body and the legislative body. However, in order to establish “the People’s Parliament and the People Government,” the current Constitution must be abolished and a new Constitution must be drafted. Therefore, after the Political Power Vacuum takes place, the head of people uprising would have to abolish the current Constitution and establish a “People Parliament.” This Parliament would acquire temporary power in order to facilitate legislative power and to draft a new Constitution accordingly.

4. Article 3, second Paragraph of the Constitution states clearly as to the compulsory application of the Rule of Law, while Article 7 will take its role when no other provisions under the Constitution are applicable; e.g., a Political Power Vacuum occurs. It means that Article 7 shall then be applied for enforcement under such said circumstances. Article 7 is specifically designed to be applied and enforceable in accordance with and subject to the customaries and Rules of Law of the Constitutional Monarchy having the King as the Head of State. Therefore, the application of Article 7 does not contradict, undermine, nor prejudice the King’s authority under a Thai Constitution; whether applied by a Military’s Coup d’Etat or People Demonstration turned into a popular uprising.

5. Under the current circumstances, although there is an interim Government and interim Prime Minster acting as the main administrative body of the country, their powers, however, are being restricted by Article 181 of the Constitution preventing them from using “parting shots”, in exercising their administrative power. Thus, the question of who would be the one utilizing Sovereign Power still remains. If the Sovereign Power does actually lie with and can be utilized by People’s Democratic Reform Committee (“PDRC”), and if the people are able to decide and to exercise this power, then there can be a legitimate act of establishing “the People’s Parliament and People’s Government” in the same manner as prior Military Coup d’Etat that took place in Thailand on several occasions throughout Thailand’s 82 years of Constitutional Monarchy. The only difference is that this on-going action will become the first peaceful and unarmed uprising, setting precedent of our political history and an important lesson to be taught worldwide following the bloodless dissolving of our slavery system during our Great King Rama the Fifth.

Issued on this 16th days of January, 2014, Bangkok Metropolis, Kingdom of Thailand.

Mr. Dej-Udom Krairit

President of The Lawyers Council of Thailand

Under Royal Patronage





Bail for red shirts?

21 06 2012

It cannot be forgotten that many red shirts remain in jail. They were jailed by the authorities during the Abhisit Vejjajiva government as punishment for daring to support demonstrations against that regime. They face a range of charges from arson to that most heinous of crimes in Thailand, lese majeste. Most have been in stinking. crowded jails for two years.

Several attempts have been made to release them, although the spineless Yingluck Shinawatra regime has done precious little to assist these usually poor red shirts.

Now it is reported that the usually conservative, royalist and yellow Lawyers’ Association of Thailand is reported to be “seeking the release on bail of red shirt detainees in the Northeast and in Bangkok.”

The Association has “applied for bail for 31 red shirt detainees in four northeastern provinces _ nine in Maha Sarakham, five in Udon Thani, four in Ubon Ratchathani and 13 in Mukdahan.” It will soon seek “bail for another 14 red shirt detainees incarcerated in Bangkok…”.

The Association will use funds from “the Justice Ministry’s 43-million-baht Justice Fund will be used to provide bail for them.” At least the Yingluck government has maintained the fund.

It is not surprising that the Association will not seek bail for anyone “charged with lese majeste offences.” It seems prepared to let them rot in prison.





Wikileaks, military coup and “human rights” organizations

23 01 2012

Following our recent post regarding Human Rights Watch, PPT decided to look at a Wikileaks cable that has, amongst other things,  U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce talking with “civil society” actors on the impact of the coup just a month after the event.

Our reasons for moving to this cable, a little out of our planned schedule, will be clear below.

Boyce begins by noting that the embassy’s “civil society contacts” are concerned the ” imposition of martial law and restrictions on civil liberties.” He then adds that these same contacts can be considered as providing “continued support for, or at least acceptance of, the Council on National Security and the interim government…”.

Yes, that is civil society organizations supporting a coup and a military junta. That is perhaps not surprising for those who have followed Thailand’s politics over that period but probably a shock for others.

What is more surprising for even PPT is that the first member of civil society cited is none other than Suriyasai Katasila, spokesman for the People’s Alliance for Democracy. We can only imagine that Boyce was laughing as he wrote this. After all, PAD was the military’s ally in the coup. Hence, Suriyasai’s comments can only appear supportive of the military.

Next in line is a “spokesman” for the Democrat Party, a party that was also in bed with the military.  The party wanted a “faster transition back to democracy” but “recognized that the government is worried about the activities of Thai Rak Thai and diehard Thaksin supporters writ large.” The spokesman seemed to support the junta, feared Thaksin and “unrest in the countryside.”

Somchai Homla-or, the chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the anti-Thaksin Lawyers Council of Thailand, discounted this view as “overstated.” Gothom Arya, a member of the junta-appointed interim National Legislative Assembly, “agreed, and questioned how strong the popular support for TRT in the countryside really was.” Stronger than he knew, obviously.

Each of these “civil society activists” was, at that time, compromised by their position as middle-class supporters of the military and the coup.

The next person cited is “human rights activist Sunai Phasuk” who is the in-country researcher for HRW.

Sunai says that:

martial law and similar issues “puts people like me in a very difficult and uncomfortable position.” He said that as a staunch anti-Thaksin activist, he was initially relieved to see the Thaksin administration forced out, and he wants to be supportive of the interim government’s effort to restore democracy in Thailand.

But he adds that the

failure of the CNS in responding to repeated calls for lifting martial law and restrictions on civil liberties is making it impossible for him (and people like him) who want to be supportive.

Several of these yellow-shirted discussants apparently spoke of the “predominance of Prem’s men’: military and civilians associated with Privy Councillor Prem Tinsulanonda.” Gothom spoke of these appointments as “cronyism.”

HRW’s Sunai is again cited as being concerned that “the military appears to be creating a structure that will enable it to retain excessive influence throughout the coming year, and possibly beyond.”

What did he expect? Is he playing dumb? It is more likely that Sunai’s support for the coup and his hatred of Thaksin blinded him to the authoritarianism of the military that civil society organizations claimed to have been opposing for years. More convenient amnesia, this time political.

Sunai reveals that the “CNS sought the advice of members of civil society in drafting the interim constitution, they completely ignored the advice that was offered.” Of course they did.

Gothom seemed even more naive, adopting a “more wait-and-see attitude.” Perhaps he’s still waiting to see more clearly.

Boyce claims “[c]ivil society is split on whether the transition to new elections can or even should take place faster than the one year timetable the CNS promised.”

Somchai was cynical, apparently content that the military had thrown Thaksin out, but sure that the seemingly virginal military would be “approached by a lot of greedy business people, greedy politicians, and others.”

Sunai is quoted as expressing

his frustration with the military. He said that General Sonthi [Boonyaratglin] was “clueless” and the other military leaders around him are preparing “to sacrifice our freedoms for the sake of stability.” He found it increasingly evident that, while General Sonthi was in over his head and Surayud [Chulanont] struggled to set an agenda and “action plan” for his cabinet, Privy Councillor Prem is the one “pulling the strings.”

Sunai’s comments are contextualized in a deeply disturbing way. He is cited as stating:

how deeply disappointed he was in the military. He emphasized that he was close to many officers and, in fact, taught many of them in his capacity as a guest lecturer at Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy and the Royal Thai Air Force Academy. He said that he had always held the military in high regard for their sense of honor and dedication to the country. As such, he expected that the coup makers would hold true to the promises made in the hours and days following the coup to restore civil liberties and democratic civilian rule as quickly as possible.

Sunai seemed to offer advice, suggesting “that Prem needs to be informed that the perceived intransigence of the CNS in restoring civil liberties is ‘making the military look very bad’.” For a “human rights activist” who held the military in such high regard after 1957, 1973, 1976, 1992 and much much more, making the military “look bad” can hardly have been a revelation! It is that human rights amnesia again.

For Boyce, this exceptionally mild and essentially supportive criticism was disturbing, not least because his CNS buddies informants “seem genuinely and completely unaware of this undercurrent of opposition.”

Boyce then congratulated himself for pointing out the opposition to the CNS and its government. Boyce is happy enough that the “interim government still has time to dig itself out of this hole, since it seems to enjoy fairly broad support, or at least acceptance, for the time being.” Boyce is entirely supportive of the junta and its government.

For the so-called representatives of civil society, the cable is damning indictment of an apparent incapacity to understand the consequences of their support for the military’s political intervention.





Lawyers want harsh punishment on lese majeste

15 12 2011

In past posts, PPT has pointed out how the Lawyers Council of Thailand has become a tool of those who defend the military junta’s constitution and those who oppose reform. In recent days, the LCT has opposed Nitirat’s constitutional and lese majeste reform proposals and joined with those wanting to sue the government over recent flooding. It has long been signed up for the royalist, yellow-shirted political machinations.

It is now noteworthy that what is meant to be an association of lawyers defending people and promoting a more regularized legal system has, if the report in The Nation is correct, called for harsher action on lese majeste.

The report claims that the LCT has “submitted a petition demanding that the government crack down harder on groups behind insulting remarks against the monarch, as well as doctored photos posted online.”

LCT chairman Sak Korsaengruang said the petition “said that the insults in cyberspace were spreading because police and the Information and Communications Technology Ministry had failed to deal with the offenders, which could be considered as negligence under the Constitution.” Further, the LCT “requested the police chief and the ICT minister to jointly form a special force to monitor, examine and investigate offences against the monarch.”

Frankly, it is disgusting for a body such as the LCT to be making such statements and demands that amount to little more than a battle cry by extremists. However, the LCT is broadly representative of Thailand’s royalist and highly politicized judiciary.

As an excellent example, readers can do no better than look at Elizabeth Fitzgerald’s account of claims made by a spokesman for the courts, Sittisak Wanachakit in กรุงเทพธุรกิจ, as he claimed to correct misunderstandings on the case of lese majeste victim Ampol Tangnopakul (mercilessly convicted and jailed for 20 years).

As PPT has stated several times, this kind of political stunt is a part of a larger royalist campaign to have the Yingluck Shinawatra government do its royalist dirty work. Increasingly, the government looks like a dopey fish that has taken an obvious bait.

For more on ultra-royalists like those at the now absurd LCT and comments on their rather puerile mindset, see this article by Pravit Rojanaphruk.