Judiciary licks the military boot

22 06 2018

It was only a few days ago that PPT pointed to the 2014 military coup as an illegal act that caused serious damage to Thailand’s reputation (and still does). Yet the courts have always accepted that coups are retrospectively legal because the (military) criminals make them so.

Confirming this, the Bangkok Post reports that the “Supreme Court has refused to accept a case in which activists accused the junta of insurrection.” The courts have again licked the military boot.

The Supreme Court upheld “lower courts’ decisions, … decid[ing] … Section 48 of the 2014 interim constitution exempts the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) [the junta] from any criminal and civil liabilities. Although the 2018 [2017] constitution replaced the interim charter, the new constitution endorses it in Section 279, the last provision.”

In other words, the judiciary accepts that any military thug can forcibly overthrow the legal government and excuse itself of the laws in place at the time by simply granting themselves impunity.

That decision is the status quo for Thailand. The judiciary in Thailand has virtually no independence. More than that, the current judiciary is almost entirely composed of coup-supporting anti-democrats.

Progress to free and fair elections?

21 06 2018

The UK’s Foreign Office has let down its prime minister badly. Based on Theresa May’s comments to The Dictator, we assume the Foreign Office provided incorrect briefing information.

As the self-styled buffoonish British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met with Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai (who is under a corruption cloud), May talked with the military dictator Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, who seized power by a coup.

As bad as it appears for May to shake hands with such a thug, May blundered. Her spokesman stated:

The Prime Minister [May] urged continued progress towards free and open elections in Thailand in line with international standards, including restrictions on political parties being lifted at an early stage….

Such a statement is bizarre. “Continued progress” suggests there has been movement to “free and fair elections.” There has been no such movement. Worse, there can be no free and fair election under the rules established by the junta. It is simply impossible.

The comment on lifting “restrictions” on political parties is equally disturbing. “Restrictions” are political repression, bans and the crushing of parties as the junta prepares for its own “elections” to result in its own parties running the country, with The Dictator still in charge. And, what is “early”? It’s been more than 4 years already.

Either Boris has lobotomized his Foreign Office, May bungled or its another example of Conservative desperation as Brexit approaches meaning trade with anyone will be sanctioned.

Meanwhile, The Dictator can be the Cheshire cat and continue to rig his “election” and expect the West to accept it.

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.

Elections 101

5 06 2018

The Nation has an editorial worth a read. It is on the need to have an election, even if it is the junta’s “election.”

It begins with the acknowledgement that the “junta is likely to hold on to power at the polls, but its opponents must seize every opportunity for change and progress.”

That’s a bold argument for it acknowledges that the junta is bent and that the elections – whenever they are held – are rigged in the junta’s favor.

By arguing that the junta’s opponents should accept that they will lose and just work for change and progress as the junta allows it seems to us to offer little hope for anyone interested in people’s representation and sovereignty in Thailand.

The Nation argues that the “recent emergence of a raft of political parties is sending a clear signal to the ruling military junta – the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) [the junta] – and to society as a whole. It is that elections are essential if the country is to continue making progress.”

It may say that. Equally, though, it simply reflects the junta’s plans and its rigging of the electoral system.

The editorial continues by stating that anti-democrats “have come to realise the necessity of an election as a genuine instrument for negotiating power.” We see no evidence of this at all. The anti-democrats were often members of parties before the 2014 military coup and they will be again.

What is clear is that they participate in the belief that the junta will retain its power and that the election will not be free or fair. That’s hardly a vote of confidence in the party system. Devil parties are simply the military’s tools.

The best The Nation seems to offer “citizens” is a “share of the power.” Really? That’s it? Well, yes, that’s what the junta intends. Scraps thrown to parties – see Gen Prem Tinsulanonda in the 1980s.

To suggest that these scraps and a junta “election” will move the “military out of politics” is wishful thinking, unless there is a landslide against the junta. Somehow we don’t see the junta allowing that.

The Nation knows it is whistling in the wind:

The downside of the coming election is that, if junta-allied parties win, it could give the generals a measure of legitimacy and the chance to perpetuate their rule. Political elements that supported the NCPO are now forming parties to contest the race in the hope of claiming enough parliamentary seats to keep Prayut in power.

The military government has put in place legal instruments to extend its rule. It has the armed forces protecting it and dissuading opposition. Public money is being spent on the very kind of populist programmes the generals once derided as a politician’s trick, a bribe for votes. And it is now creating not one political party but many in a bid to ensure it receives a mandate to continue governing.

Remarkably, the editorial the dismisses political parties as grasping and evil. That will help things a lot – for the junta – for that is their lie. Parties can be for the people, but the people have to have a fair chance. Rigging the system from the start is a not a fair chance; it is no chance. Again, the editorial writer knows this:

Generally, the political equation hasn’t changed in four years. There are new parties offering alternatives, but it’s doubtful they’re strong enough to win at the polls. The present regime will see to that. It would be naïve to think the junta would heed calls for a free and fair election. Its need to win the election to gain legitimacy and remain in power is simply too great. But it is wise to call for close monitoring of Thailand’s political developments.

The government and its supporters would use any means necessary to win an election that has to come eventually, since further delays are impossible.

Heading towards it, the rules of the game are not particularly fair and the players are hardly equal. Plus, with the junta as a player in the game, there is no real regulator supervising the polling. Despite all of this, the election is still the best choice.

At present, it is the only choice on the horizon. But the junta will ensure there is little or no choice. If, and it is a huge if, anti-junta parties can cobble something together, they have to challenge all that the junta has done. The boys in green will not stand for that.

So Thailand is stuck unless the military can be disciplined. We leave that option to better strategists than us. It is the biggest challenge facing the Thai people for 80+ years.

Suthep’s big lie

4 06 2018

We at PPT are bemused by some of the media commentary regarding Suthep Thaugsuban’s political resurrection over the past few days.

Our bemusement is regarding the fact that some commentators expected the Democrat Party’s former bagman and godfather to keep his word when he said he was finished with politics.

Suthep and friends

Few of Thailand’s politicians make promises and keep them. That’s one reason why Thaksin Shinawatra remains so popular – he made campaign promises to the electorate and pretty much kept them. He may have been sneaky and shady too, but he kept the big promises. Or at least the ones the electorate appreciated.

But renege on his promise he did. From never being involved in politics again, he’s back in thick of it.

His excuse for his return in lamentable. He says he has to defend the junta’s constitution. He added that his party – that’s the Action Coalition for Thailand – “will protect the 2017 constitution – arguing support for the charter was reflected when it cruised through the referendum…”. As an anti-democrat it must be remembered that he is content with the unfair and unfree referendum where the junta allowed only one outcome.

He also bellowed: “There will be no pardon for any political prisoners…”. We are not sure if it is the reporting or its his words, but Suthep is acknowledging that the junta has jails full of political prisoners. After all, it is only those arrested and charged sin mid-2014 that are the subject of any proposal for “pardons.”

In his old kit as “a recruiter and fund-raiser for the ACT” – something he did for the Democrat Party using all kinds of dark influences – he declared that he couldn’t just do that: “when brothers and sisters who share the same ideology approached me and told me they were establishing a people’s political party, I had to join…”. He went on with populist rhetoric: “I will not run for the election [we can check on that one later!]. I volunteer to be a slave for the people and serve the people. I will use my 40 years of experience in politics to push and accomplish the establishment of the people’s party.”

It is a minority party, with its organizers who sit in Suthep’s shadow hoping for just 30 seats.

Explaining his big lie, Suthep explained that he was a “good” person, so his lies don’t count. He then added more populist blarney.

Party jumper Anek Laothamatas, who also can’t be trusted on anything political as his spots change daily, said ACT would be “governed by religious ethics and truly owned by the people, is a coalition of citizens that respects and aims to safeguard the monarchy.”

It sounds a bit like Tea Party Thailand, and that’s dangerous stuff, not least for keeping the monarchy at the top of a political agenda. Explanation: using the monarchy for political purposes is okay for “good” people, including former Communists.

In case anyone wasn’t quite convinced of CPT-cum-Democrat-cum-Mahachon-cum-Puea Thai-cum-ACT Anek’s royalism, he added that ACT would be “reducing inequality using the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s approach to development…”. We assume that’s the sufficiency economy nonsense.

We understand that Anek has now resigned from the junta’s puppet work and the handsome salary he received there. We guess that ACT moneybags like Suthep and others who supported Suthep in the past, like the Rangsit University proprietor, will stump up the funds for Anek’s services as figurehead leader of ACT.

While ACT wants to “reform in police and justice system by ensuring that the institutions involved will not become tools of politics,” he very pointedly accepts the military’s murderous political role. We can’t recall the last time the police led a coup in Thailand.

Of course, ACT is likely to want to support The Dictator as premier after the junta’s election.

Dolts as dictators

2 06 2018

We are bored with this ridiculous junta. It is so stupid, so nasty and so predictable.

Its efforts to snuff out all opposition is a part of its “election” strategy.

So it is that the police are ordered to pile charges against “an additional 41 people the military junta want charged for violating its ban on political gatherings among others.” That means 56 persons will have been charged for an event that even the dictatorship’s own fake constitution allows.

The list of those charged “includes prominent student activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, pro-democracy activist Pansak Srithep, taxi driver and Redshirt Paisarn Chanparn and Chananin Kongsong, a rubber farmer and former member of the People’s Committee for Absolute Democracy with the King as Head of State [PDRC].”

These are persons the military’s ISOC identifies as those with the potential to mobilize against the junta or are persons who have caused one or other of the generals to lose face.

The junta is a personalized dictatorship that will be in place for about 5 years before it allows a rigged election. It treats the whole Thai population as a land political sheep. It is run by hopelessly inadequate but remarkably self-interested dolts.

The Dictator’s face

1 06 2018

Spoofing The Dictator is a crime in Thailand. It is treated so seriously that an international manhunt has resulted in arrests.

We have no idea whether Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, self-appointed president premier of Thailand, actually spat that those complaining about fuel prices should put water in their tanks. He might not have said it, but over his more than four years of unfettered power he’s said many silly, nasty and/or threatening things. He often barks emotionally at reporters.

But when he gets lampooned in social media, police are poked into action to save the murderous general’s “face.”

It is reported that a “Cambodian man has … been arrested in Phnom Penh after allegedly posting fake news about the Thai prime minister on the internet while six Thais have been detained in Bangkok for sharing it…”.

It may or may not be “fake new” – thanks Donald – or it may be something else again. But The Dictator is apparently furious, unable to sleep and as agitated as hell. He can’t believe that anyone could treat him so badly.

A pity about all of those red shirts murdered by troops he commanded, but from The Dictator’s perspective, these were beings less than people. He, however, is great and good and can’t possibly stand these social media spoofs, lampoons, “fake news,” clickbait or anything that shaves a layer off his “face.”

Police are working with another increasingly dictatorial regime to arrest and extradite “Heng Ratanak, 21, of Cambodian nationality.” He’s “accused of importing into computer systems false information that may undermine national security or cause panic among the public under the computer crime law…”.

National security? What a farce. All of this to save the boss’s face!

But it doesn’t stop there.

Police have also summoned “six Thais who allegedly shared the article.” All have been arrested. They face a “charge of knowingly propagating or forwarding false digital information that may damage national or economic security, or cause panic among the people.”

That’s the power of dictatorship and The Dictator. He wants to teach them a lesson, just as he taught the red shirt protesters a lesson.

The Dictator losing face is dangerous.