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.

Pressuring The Dictator

15 01 2018

2018 has begun in great style, with all kinds of people poking the dictators.

The Dictator is about to take another trip this week, this time to Mae Hong Son, saying it is “inspection trip.” Of course, it is more “election” campaigning, fully paid by the taxpayer. He leaves behind more attacks on the junta than we’ve seen for some time.

Without even saying much at all about the Deputy Dictator’s vast luxury watch collection, where even hardened yellow shirts are angry, the junta really wants to get this off the political agenda.

The Bangkok Post reports that red shirts have amped up, perhaps reminding The Dictator of his murderous past, with Nattawut Saikua turning up “at the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) on Friday to demand justice for victims of the deadly 2010 crackdown on protesters in 2010.” More than 90 died and thousands were injured.

Even the Democrat Party, which led the government that ordered the 2010 crackdowns, is poking the junta. Watchara Petthong said “he would seek action from the … [NACC] … against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha over what he alleged was malfeasance concerning ministers’ stock holdings.” He nominated foreign minister Don Pramudwinai as breaching rules.

Yellow and red shirts have almost come together in complaining about the junta’s failures, even if their reasons for this are located in different ideological and political locations.

And, political activists are rallying and campaigning against the junta’s efforts to embed its decrees.

This is just the warm up. The junta is going to cop plenty of political heat.

Unreal “reconciliation”

28 04 2017

We are slow to this post as a series of posts jumped ahead of it. Yet it remains significant.

The Bangkok Post recently reported that a “military-led panel on national unity … wrapped up two months of work gathering public opinion, paving the way for the drafting of a unity agreement which will be publicised in June.”

Now this is all a bit of a word puzzle. In fact, the panel is military-dominated, not military-led, the notion of national unity is the military junta’s idea of what “unity” looks like, and there was no gathering of public opinion. It was groups the military considered worth consulting and telling them what they should do.

To emphasize this, when the dictatorship’s minions held a the wrap-up meeting, it “was the first time participants” in the military’s “unity building process had met face to face since the opinion gathering process started on Feb 14.”

The anti-democrats let the meeting go by probably because they know that Army boss General Chalermchai Sitthisat will draft the “unity agreement” and that this will fundamentally be anti-democratic, just like the “constitution.”

Interestingly, after the meeting, official red shirt advocate Nattawut Saikua “proposed a new constitution be drafted following a general election and be put up for a national referendum.” What a fine idea. Get rid of the anti-democratic charter.

(We continue to think that the notion of a referendum is daft, and note that it is only anti-democratic military and military-backed regimes that have used this idea.)

He also suggested “that a committee be set up to review and scrap the coup’s orders and announcements, saying laws should be be passed by parliament if any of those orders are necessary.”

Another good idea.

We are betting that neither of these make it into the Army and junta’s “agreement” (that is only subject to their “agreement.”

Updated: Article 44 and the junta’s fear

16 07 2016

It was something of a surprise a few days ago when The Dictator used Article 44to halt all selections for independent bodies. Sure, Article 44 has been used for all manner of things, from land seizures to universities and political repression, but this use seemed somewhat odd.

General Prayuth Chan-ocha’s order “suspended the selection of ombudsmen, election commissioners, Constitutional Court judges, members of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, and national human rights commissioners, pending the promulgation of a new charter.”

Now the reason is clear and in the media. As Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam “explained,” Prayuth’s “order on Wednesday halting the selection of a new ombudsman was issued to prevent a ‘serious untoward incident’…”.

The media asked for more information. Wissanu declared that it was “aimed at preventing serious repercussions.”

The media asked for more information: “Asked why the ombudsman’s selection process could have such a serious impact, Mr Wissanu said, ‘If you were at the parliament, you would know. It was a serious issue that should not have happened’.”

The order prevented the National Legislative Assembly from considering the partially complete selection of Rewat Visarutvej as a new ombudsman from continuing.

Why did the junta want the process halted? It seems that Dr Rewat, a former chief of the Medical Services Department and former adviser to the Office of the Ombudsman, has been blackballed because some of the junta members and some of the deeply yellow think he is tainted.

For them, it is a sin that Dr Rewat served as an adviser to red-shirt leader Nattawut Saikua when he was a deputy minister in Thailand’s last elected government. That made him “problematic,” threatening a “serious untoward incident” that would have had “serious repercussions.”

The NLA itself was split on Rewat, so the junta stepped in to prevent an appointment they considered impossible – no red shirts allowed.

NLA member, junta friend and former member of the 2006 junta, General Somjet Boonthanom “said if this selection proceeded, it could be seen as the NLA failing its duty and people would lose faith in it as well as the NCPO.” (Had some members forgotten who is paying for their rice, cars, advisers and more?)

Readers will recall that Yingluck Shinawatra was unanimously found at fault by the Constitutional Court and dismissed from office for the transfer of a top security officer, Thawil Pliensri, as National Security Council secretary-general in 2011. Yet the junta, with its own rules, impunity and double standards supported by “independent agencies” can do whatever it wants, when the fear of Thaksin Shinawatra is driving them.

Update: Some reports state that Rewat has the support of the brass. In that case, the junta seems as concerned about yellow opposition as it does of Thaksin. For the referendum, they want no opposition at all.

Updated: Responding to the undemocratic constitution

23 01 2016

In recent days PPT has posted on some of the more undemocratic aspects of the draft constitution.

The Puea Thai Party expressed some of its reservations. Now Nattawut Saikua, secretary-general of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, has spoken out. He states that “red shirts would not endorse an undemocratic constitution in a referendum, even if it delayed an election.”

Nuttawut correctly assesses “that the current draft was far worse than the previous unsuccessful one…“. He declared that the “UDD doesn’t have an official resolution on this, [but] it is clear that we would not accept it [the draft].” He added: “Democracy is what matters, not just the election…”.

Nuttawut “urged all opponents of the charter draft to show their stance. If they waited any longer, they would not be able to explain it to the public…”.

Update: A reader wonders why it is that the Puea Thai Party and the UDD have no alternative constitution. One answer might be that military thuggery prevents political parties and movements even meeting. Yet the notion of an alternative or even a people’s constitution as an alternative to abject authoritarianism institutionalized would at least be a challenge to the ruling class’s drivel.

Don’t mention Corruption Park

16 12 2015

The Bangkok Post reports that Thailand’s dictatorial Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has ordered Deputy Defence Minister General Udomdej Sitabutr and Justice Minister General Paiboon Koomchaya to shut up.

The Rajabhakti Park scandal has seen the junta chasing its tail, claiming everything is fine and above board, while Udomdej and Paiboon, have clashed over the former’s personal responsibility for the corrption Udomdej has admitted existed (while he was unbelievably squeaky clean). The two have contradicted each other.

General Paiboon says Prayuth has ordered him “not to speak [about the scandal] any more and focus on taking action…”.

Paiboon had “conceded last Wednesday there was corruption in construction of the park and he would find the wrongdoers.”

This was all the more surprising as he “made the remark after meeting two core red-shirt leaders — Nattawut Saikuar and Jatuporn Prompan — who supplied information about irregularities in the project.”

General Udomdej then warned Paiboon that he “could mislead the public.”

Paiboon then “accused the media of incorrectly linking what he had said to past issues, saying he would not take responsibility for the media’s misquotes.”

Udomdej stated “he had no plans to address the media about the park’s construction and the spending of donations.” He prefers a cover-up, as does Prayuth.

A cover-up has been the plan since Udomdej first mentioned the corruption involved in the project. Udomdej is on thin ice as others have been accused of lese majeste on Corruption Park and two of them are dead.

Prawit’s week

1 12 2015

It really is Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan’s day for remarkable commentary. We wonder why The Dictator has been replaced in recent days?

It began yesterday for Prawit with his threats and “advice” to the US Ambassador and by seemingly nonsensical claims about the crimes of a man already in prison.

Today, as reported by the Bangkok Post, Prawit has “explained” the arrest of red shirt leaders who planned to visit “Rajabhakti Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan province to prevent confrontation…”. We recall that this was the excuse for both the 2006 and 2014 coups.

Prawit reckons there “were people of opposing views” gathering for a potential clash. This resulted in the “military’s ‘invitation’ to both [red shirt] leaders [Jatuporn Promphan and Nattawut Saikua] to prevent any confrontation.”

The only problem with this claim is that there is no evidence for it.

Both men were said to have been “released after they were persuaded to stop their activities because they were not helping the nation…”.

Prawit is taking responsibility for the cover-up over military corruption at the park. Hence he claims that “[c]onfrontation at Rajabhakti Park would return the country to the situation that existed before May 22, 2014, (the coup date) and security authorities would not let that happen.”

This is nonsense. So is the claim that “confrontation” would jeopardize “recovery” that comes from the “economic stimulus and the restoration of the international community’s confidence in Thailand…”.

Prawit and his junta colleagues live in a fantasy world populated by fairies at the end of the garden.