Ombudsman on the job

17 10 2012

The Nation applauds the Ombudsman’s Office for being politically biased. In its article on the suddenly active agency, it is argued that “a series of high-profile probes launched over the past year…”.

Yes, in the past year, the Ombudsman’s office established in 1999, “the least talked about, at one point even seen as so insignificant as to be at risk of disbandment” has suddenly been activated. Former charter writer Kanin Bunsuwan notes hat the Ombudsman’s “teeth and claws” were “hidden” in the military junta’s 2007 Constitution. They remained hidden until the Yingluck Shinawatra government was elected. Since then, the teeth and claws have been bared.

Since that election, the Ombudsman “has examined Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s ethics for skipping a House meeting…”,  investigated “the qualifications of PM’s Office Minister Nalinee Taveesin and Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Natthawut Saikua…”, and have investigated Thaksin Shinawatra having a passport. The investigation of Natthawut was because he is a red shirt.

The picture of how the Ombudsman’s Office is being used is exemplified by People’s Alliance for Democracy and New Politics Party leader Somsak Kosaisuk. He filed the complaint over Thaksin’s passport, because that “agency had proven itself to be neutral and to make trustworthy decisions.” It seems that “neutral” for the yellow shirts means targeting the Yingluck government while being deliberately somnolent on the previous Abhisit Vejjajiva regime.

Jatuporn needs protection from royalist judiciary’s threats

26 06 2012

The Office of the Constitution Court had said it was to hold a press conference yesterday to “explain” why it had petitioned the Criminal Court seeking revocation of red-shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan’s bail on “terrorism” charges laid by the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime.

The royalist judiciary threaten Jatuporn with more jail time

At The Nation it is reported that the Office of the Constitution Court cancelled the press conference “to avoid provoking further red-shirt action.” The court official also reportedly felt that the Criminal Court was already on the job, so there was no need for any “explanation.” Or, in their terms, the “Constitution Court had decided to refrain from acting in a way that could be viewed as attempting to interfere with the Criminal Court’s authority.”

We wonder if reporters burst into laughter on this statement. They should have. The Constitutional Court is frightened too:

The spokesman said yesterday that a request for police protection had been made by the court for Jatuporn’s planned visit today to seek the court’s explanation. “We are concerned he may bring his [red-shirt] supporters,” the spokesman said. He added, however, that the judges were not worried.

Jatuporn denies any threat.

In fact, it is Jatuporn who is threatened by a nakedly biased judiciary. He has been repeatedly investigated and charged under the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime, and the kangaroo courts have repeatedly done the royalist’s bidding.

The accusation that Jatuporn was a “terrorist” was made formal on 11 August 2010 when, with 25 suspects including Thaksin Shinawatra, Arisman Pongruengrong, Karun Hosakul, Veera Musigapong, Weng Tojirakan, Natthawut Saikua, Kwanchai Sarakham, Phayab Pankate, and Nisit Sinthuprai, Jatuporn was named in a case brought to court by the public prosecutor. All who were located were jailed, although Jatuporn and Nisit were kept in jail longer than the others as “special punishment”, and only bailed following the July 2011 election.

Jatuporn has been accused by Army chief Prayuth Chan-Ocha of lese majeste. He laid a complaint of lese majeste with the police following speeches by Jatuporn on 10 April 2011. On 18 April 2011, along with 18 other red shirt leaders were summoned by the political police at the Department of Special Investigation to acknowledge charges of lese majeste.

In mid-May that the Constitutional Court came up with a bizarre ruling to have Jatuporn stripped of his status as a party list MP.

The Constitutional Court now wants to have Jatuporn locked up in a stinking jail again.

Not only is the continuing pattern of the court’s bias readily seen, but Jatuporn is really the one being threatened! He needs to be protected from this biased royalist judiciary!

Updated: Red shirts remember the coup I

18 09 2011

Red shirts have not forgotten the 19 September 2006 palace-military coup that set in train a series of events that has seen a continuing struggle over the nature of Thailand’s politics. The Bangkok Post reports that a “large number of red-shirt supporters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) have occupied the Ratchadamnern Avenue in a rally at the Democracy Monument to mark the fifth anniversary of the … coup.”

A series of speakers has included UDD leaders such as Jatuporn Promphan, Natthawut Saikua, Korkaew Pikulthong, Weng Tojirakarn, and UDD chair Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn.

Update: Achara Ashayagachat writes about the coup anniversary at Prachatai. She observes, “Thailand remains divided over the issue of Thaksin five years after the 19 September 2006 putsch.”

Thanet Aphornsuvan, a retired Thammasat University history professor, noted “that there has been no historical anti-coup sentiment as strong as that of today.” He adds: “The last coup has somehow created a complicated consequence of debates and contemplations among people of all walks of life over key issues including the divisions of powers and the importance of constitution—in short, in a manner to strive against the invisible hands or the unconstitutional powers…”.

Democrat Party Rajaprasong rally to “explain killing”

22 06 2011

In The Nation, it is stated that its planned “rally” at Rajaprasong is to “express its views on the bloody military crackdown last year…”. Democrat Party strategist Korbsak Sabhavasu says they want to do this regardless of the impact on votes. He says the party, led by Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban, who oversaw the murderous crackdown, wants to give its “side of the story.”

He adds: “The party needed to explain its side of the story and voters have the right to know the truth before casting their ballots. Many people directly involved in the incident, such as Jatuporn Promphan and Natthawut Saikua are Pheu Thai Party candidates…”.

Of course, the government has Jatuporn locked up in order to silence him.

Abhisit said he wanted “relatives of six dead rescue staff members to listen to the Democrats’ explanations on the bloody incident. The six were killed in Wat Pathum Wanaram temple…”. He claimed: “If they listen to the other side of the truth, they would get a better understanding of the situation…. I’m ready to exchange opinions with the relatives…”.

Is the Democrat Party serious? Is Abhisit serious? Hasn’t their story been, all along, that no soldier killed anyone? Hasn’t this been stated ad nauseum? Hasn’t the government, the Department of Special Investigation and its Army deliberately delayed all investigation? Didn’t protesters run in front of bullets?

If, just for a moment, we consider them serious, and that they do have another story to tell, couldn’t they have explained “their side” earlier? Couldn’t Abhisit have talked with relatives of the dead before, in a situation other than a political rally? Couldn’t they have expressed sympathy? Shouldn’t there have been some progress on a serious investigation of the killing? No, they aren’t serious at all. They are desperate and heartless knaves.



Democrat Party and dirty politics I

19 06 2011

Some time ago, PPT wondered if the Democrat Party had the political stomach for some old-style dirty politics. As the polls have continued to show Puea Thai in the lead, albeit with a large undecided category, in recent days we have posted on how the Democrat Party strategists have decided that attacking red shirts as the violent ones who burned the country is a way to woo some undecided voters. Red shirt and Puea Thai Party responses to these charges have been reasonably measured and even-tempered.

After watching the news reports on television on Saturday evening, we are wondering if this tactic is now being combined with a much more provocative Democrat Party stance and a large dose of very dirty politics.

PPT here looks at provocation in the first of two posts.

Perhaps dissatisfied that Puea Thai have not lashed out at all the Democrat Party charges, as the Bangkok Post reports, the latter are now trying to directly anger red shirts by planning to hold a major election event at Rajaprasong. This plan was announced by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who is fully on-board with this current aggressive election strategy.

Abhisit “said his party would hold a rally in front of CentralWorld shopping complex on Thursday in its last major address in Bangkok on the final leg of its election campaign.” He added: “On that day, we will focus on the party’s reconciliation plan. We invite everyone to come and listen to our plan to douse the fire in the country…”.

This is aberrant nonsense. Abhisit and his chums are trying to provoke violence. Rajaprasong is one of the killing grounds of 2010, and has been the scene of numerous red shirt remembrance rallies.  PPT is sure that the Democrat Party wants to provoke red shirt hot heads. It feels it needs to demonstrate red shirt violence in order to regain some electoral ground. It is desperate for red shirts to show up and that there will be clashes.

As Abhisit says Rajaprasong is “the perfect place” for his party’s to campaign “because of the political unrest that took place there last year.” And, a perfect provocation for a perfect storm. Suthep Thaugsuban, who was deeply involved in the murderous events of April and May 2010, added that at the rally Abhisit disingenuously claims is about “reconciliation,” adds to the provocation by stating: “I will take to the stage next Thursday to tell the truth about what really happened [during last year’s unrest]…”. In other words, he shows Abhisit’s claim about reconciliation as being nothing more than a pathetic lie.

Natthawut Saikua called “on red shirt supporters not to fall victim to the Democrats’ plot to provoke confrontation.” That may not be enough, however, as it is easy enough for Democrat Party backers to provide their own “red shirts” ready to show up and create political mischief.

PPT wonders whether the Rajaprasong traders’ association with come out to oppose the Democrat Party’s plan. After all, they claim that red shirt rallies are bad for business. Will they close their stores to the Democrat Party supporters as they do for red shirts? Will they sue the Democrat Party? Will they be consistent or just show their double standards? We won’t hold our collective breath.

The Democrat Party’s brinksmanship portends future conflict, no matter who wins the election. While some bloggers claim that the “old men” have no stomach for further battles, we think this is misguided. By their actions, by the life being given to PAD-like groups and elements of PAD itself, by the statements of the military brass and the various palace demonstrations, if Puea Thai win the election, they are to be opposed. If they lose, the provocations can’t be forgotten.


Why we are not surprised III (or Fixing the election VI)

23 05 2011

As reported in the Bangkok Post, Puea Thai Party candidate and red shirt leader Natthawut Saikua has told “supporters to stop disturbing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva while campaigning, saying their actions might result in a legal backlash from the Democrat Party.”

The Nation has part of the “legal backlash”: The Democrat Party has run to the Election Commission, complaining about red shirts. Apparently, the “Democrat Party has cried foul over the red shirts rallying to help Pheu Thai in its election campaign. It called on the EC to strictly check Pheu Thai’s campaign spending by including election spending incurred by the red shirts as part of Pheu Thai’s outlays.” The Party wants the EC to “take action to prevent other parties from using rallies or other activities to help them win the election…”.

Even though the Election Commission reckons it will not be easy for the Democrat Party “to prove that the red shirts belonged to the Pheu Thai Party or that they were from the same organisation,” PPT thinks that the strategy of the now very worried Democrat Party and their backers is clear. Seeing the opposition looking good in the polls, they are announcing the official beginning of the judicial overturning of any Puea Thai Party election victory.

The EC says “campaign spending could only be checked after the election had been held and it was different from electoral fraud, which it could check before and after the poll.”

The Bangkok Post reports a further element of this strategy working itself out. It reports a “former army captain who helped train security guards for the yellow shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy has set up a group that will monitor the Pheu Thai Party’s election campaign. Capt Songklod Chuenchuphol, 48, said on his Facebook and Twitter pages he was recruiting more ‘anonymous warriors’ to join a “mission” to give red cards to Pheu Thai candidates in the July3 election.”

The Captain said “Anonymous warriors will serve as intelligence officers who will attend all election campaign events of Pheu Thai to gather evidence and later submit it to the EC…”. And he claims to be urging Bhum Jai Thai Party real leader Newin Chidchob to provide him with “strategic support.”

This guy might simply be a crazy acting on his own, and yet the strategy must be one that the Democrat Party and its allies are keen to mobilize. After all, as recent history has demonstrated, there is more than one path to power following elections that produce “unsatisfactory” outcomes.

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