Jokers and the chicken farmer

12 02 2021

In one of the most laughable of news stories Thai PBS reports that the military leader and head coup maker in Myanmar are asking Thailand’s most recent coupmeisters to provide “support for his country’s democracy.”

Democrat at work

Even more laughable, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, leader of Thailand’s 2014 coup, military dictator for more than 5 years and administrator for a rigged constitution, rigged laws and a rigged election retorted that “he is ready to extend full support to democracy in Myanmar…”. He claimed that “democracy in Myanmar” was “something I totally support…”.

Not only is this comically ironic, but Gen Prayuth is piling up buffalo manure. He has little understanding of democracy, doesn’t support it in Thailand, and can’t support it in Myanmar because he supports the coup makers there. The latter is clear when he babbles about “Myanmar’s democratic process…” following a coup that overturned a landslide election victory.

From the comically ironic to the ridiculously horrid.

Startlingly many, Thailand’s Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission has done something. Usually its job is to support the regime, but in this case it has found that the notorious Phalang Pracharath Party MP Pareena Kraikupt has committed “serious ethical breaches.” This involves her “building a poultry farm on a protected forest land.” It has sent the case to the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

This could lead to Pareena being “stripped from her seat and banned from holding political offices.”

The NACC said the “case of MP Parina Kraikupt unlawfully owning and benefitting from state land is a serious ethical breach…. There is a conflict of interest between her individual benefits and public benefit.” It investigated and found that Pareena and her father “encroached and benefitted from state land…”. The  711-rai chicken farm is estimated to have “cost the state at least 36,224,791 baht in damages.”

“The case of MP Parina Kraikupt unlawfully owning and benefitting from state land is a serious ethical breach,” the announcement by the commission said. “There is a conflict of interest between her individual benefits and public benefit.”

In response, Pareena “insisted she had done nothing wrong,”claiming: “I have been making an honest living by raising poultry openly and legally and paid taxes…”.





Debating lese majeste

13 12 2020

Clipped from France24

While the anti-regime demonstrators are taking a break until the new year, it is appropriate that their last 2020 rallies targeted Article 112 on lese majeste. After all more than two dozen of their members now face lese majeste charges.

The Bangkok Post reports that speakers at the rally “vowed to drum up public support for their call for the revocation of … the lese majeste law.” It is reported that:

In a joint statement read at the 14 October 1973 Memorial [where there had earlier been an explosion], one of the anti-government movement’s three rally sites in Bangkok on Thursday, eight protest leaders facing lese majeste charges insisted they would not settle for anything less than the law being repealed.

The speakers said that this law is “a hindrance to freedom of expression, carries a hefty penalty and is often exploited as a political tool to suppress political opponents.”

As PPT has been posting since 2009, all of this is true.

Parit Chiwarak called for all of the existing 112 cases to “be dropped and amnesty be granted to all suspects and those already punished compensated, for the sake of democracy and for Thailand to be able to move forward and reduce political conflicts in society…”.

Prachatai reports that another action, this led by the 24 June Democracy Group, representatives had been “to the United Nations (UN) office in Bangkok …[on] 10 December … to petition the UN Human Rights Council to pressure the Thai government to repeal Section 112, Thailand’s lèse majesté law.”

Their petition observes that “pro-democracy protests have been met with state persecution and crackdowns, despite peaceful protest being a right under the Thai constitution and international human rights principles.” Hundreds of protesters are facing charges, including lese majeste.

Somyos Prueksakasemsuk said “Section 112 is an outdated law which restricts people’s rights and freedom of expression, which is one of the fundamental freedoms, and has been used against the political opposition.” He added that:

since the head of state receives income from taxpayers and is in this position according to the constitution, criticism of the head of state should be permitted in order to resolve the public’s questions about the monarchy. If Section 112 is repealed, the head of state will be able to come to an understanding with the people, which would be beneficial to the monarchy itself and to Thai politics….

He said that using Section 112 against protesters will lead to confrontation between the monarchy and the people. He asked whether the judicial process, where the courts represent the monarch as judgements are made in his name, will be just, because if people are denied bail or if an arrest warrant is immediately issued, it will be a reflection of injustice, which would not be beneficial to the government and the monarchy.

The chicken farmer

Those who want Article 112 to be maintained and used more also rallied, led by chicken farmer and Palang Pracharath Party reactionary Pareena Kraikupt and former senior bureaucrat and now appointed Senator Chadej Insawang, “in his capacity as deputy chairman of a committee on the protection of the royal institution [monarchy].”

They claimed “[t]here are laws similar to Section 112 in all countries including the UK…”, a claim also made by former Democrat Party MP Warong Dechgitvigrom, who leads the ultra-royalist Thai Pakdee mob of grey hairs. We should point out that these dopes never do any research about such laws and prefer to make stuff up, and even when corrected carry on with their fake claims.

Making false claims has become a yellow shirt trademark. Those who went with Pareena carried signs that read “Stop threatening the life of the King.”





“Love” lost

30 10 2020

National, royalist, yellow

When all of the commentators – even some of those who campaign against the monarchy – talk about how “loved” and “revered” the dead king was and compare the current monarch unfavorably with him, we at PPT always wondered how the commentators judged this. After all, no one in Thailand was ever prepared to survey public opinion on the monarchy. And, if they did, who was likely to respond negatively after decades of indoctrination and repression of anything remotely questioning of the throne?

One of the remarkable achievements of recent pro-democracy rallies has been to open the door to a more nuanced and critical assessment of the monarchy.

Pareena

The rallies have also seen yellow shirts recycled to “protect” the monarchy, with the regime firm in its rejection of anything to do with the monarchy. For example, the loathsome Phalang Pracharath MP Pareena Kraikupt seeking to belittle activist Patsaravalee “Mind” Tanakitvibulpon with pro-monarchy jabs. As Khaosod has it, Pareena warned and lectured:

“Article 112 will not be amended…. We will not touch the culture that has been passed down to us.… Why are you asking for impossible things? … Learn to be respectful of things we cannot touch. Do not be selfish.”…

Parina insisted that the pro-democracy activists were only 100,000 in number, a minority compared to the “tens of millions” who wanted absolutely no change in the government or monarchy.

“Don’t act like a revolution. It’s impossible to change the ruling system,” Parina said. “You have to understand what ‘majority’ means….

Leaving aside the copious buffalo manure in these few sentences, we again wondered about how widely accepted “the culture that has been passed down to us” – meaning the monarchy and its trappings – actually is.

When yellow shirts rally and talk about the “silent majority” – as does The Dictator – we are also left wondering who they are invoking to their royalist politics.

A reader pointed out to PPT that we’d missed an tidbit in a recent Bangkok Post report that sheds some light on these questions.

Tucked away near the bottom of a recounting of a recent Suan Dusit Poll of 5,738 people, conducted on 19-22 October across the country, it is stated that 60.41% of respondents want protesters “to avoid infringing on the monarchy.”

Can we take this as representative of the “majority”? Are only 60% of people supporting the monarchy? In fact, we think that the percentage supporting the monarchy is probably lower than this because some would answer this was because they fear that yellow shirts will become violent.

However it is looked at, that the polling agency asked the question is a big change. That 40% were not bothered by protesters “touch[ing] the culture that has been passed down to us” is remarkable given the decades of ideological hegemony of monarchism and the political repression associated with it.

That’s not to say that 40% are ardent anti-monarchists. But consider what they ranked above “infringing on the monarchy.” 66.23% were “not satisfied with the prime minister’s handling of the country’s administration”; 72.37% wanted the “government should immediately seek negotiations with the protesters and not to buy time”; 61.69% said the regime “should not use violence against the protesters”; 60.43% said the regime “should listen to the voice of the people and the protesters”; 73.31% of respondents “want the protesters not to become a tool of any political groups”; and wanted them “to be careful about Covid-19 (65.97%); to avoid resorting to violence (63.85%); and to respect the law (60.67%)…”.

It would seem the regime has lost the “majority” and the criticism of the monarchy is quite a way down the list of concerns.

If the monarchy was once “loved” and “revered” – and we’ll probably never know – those emotions have dwindled remarkably in a very short time.





Defining 2019

1 01 2020

Several recent topics, actions and reports have defined 2019 under the junta, its military-backed “elected” government and the ever more powerful monarchy:

Law for the rich and powerful

Suchanee Cloitre (clipped from LePetitJournal.com)

Reporters Without Borders has condemned a “draconian two-year jail sentence that Thai journalist Suchanee Cloitre … received for allegedly defaming an agribusiness company [Thammakaset] in … Lop Buri in a tweet more than three years ago…”.

This is the maximum sentence given and its for an old tweet in an old case, where the journalist for Voice TV told the truth – the company was treating its workers as if they were slaves.

Her tweet was about a court “ordering Thammakaset to compensate 14 migrant workers who had been forced to work up to 20 hours a day on the company’s chicken farms while being paid less than the minimum wage and no overtime.”

When she referred to “slave labour,” the company sued.

In criminal defamation cases, truth is irrelevant. These cases flutter about like confetti as the rich and powerful use their law to silence critics. This includes the current regime. The media is so cowed by such cases that almost no one is prepared to tell the truth.

Going backwards

Khaosod reports on yet another effort directed by King Vajiralongkorn to erase all symbols of the 1932 revolution. This is the latest in a string of secret, then semi-secret and now brazenly open efforts by the palace to de-memorialize 1932 and replace it with symbols of the monarchy.

History is being re-constructed as we watch.

In this instance, memorials to two leaders of the 1932 revolution – Phraya Phahol Pholphayuhasena and Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsongkram – “are due to be removed from public view…” at a military base in Lopburi.

Apparently, the statues will be sent to a museum. We fear they will be destroyed.

It is no surprise that the statues will be replaced by “a new statue depicting the late King Bhumibol…”. No one will be permitted to contest the palace’s actions. A military spokesman stated that the two statues were “commoner statues [and] have to make way for the new [royal] statue…”.

In addition, the military base which “bears the name of Phahol Pholphayuhasena, will also be renamed to King Bhumibol Base per an instruction from the current monarch…”.

When will Thais stand up for their history?

Royal Household Bureau via Khaosod

An op-ed writer in Manila has bought the monarchist nonsense piled high in Thailand. He seems to believe that Thailand is “stabilized” by a “revered” monarchy.

Vajiralongkorn hopes this monarchism infects the citizens of Thailand to facilitate his reign, rule and grasping.

So far, he’s getting his way. And the king seems very intent on getting his way: land, money, laws, constitution, wives (who come and go) and much more. The more he gets the more he wants.

The missing … and “protecting” monarchy and regime

Vajiralongkorn and his henchmen in the military seem to have gotten his way on disappearing some of his opponents – probably meant as a “message” to anyone who dares speak against the monarchy. They should not be forgotten.

Clipped from Thai Alliance for Human Rights website

When they are not being murdered, political opponents are bashed .It is this regime of fear seems to have replaced the use of lese majeste.

Clipped from VOA News

We feel that this strategy has been devised by the palace in an effort to maintain both monarchy and military-backed government.

Regime gangsters

All of this “protection” serves monarchy and regime well (at least for the moment).

After manufacturing an election “victory,” the razor-thin majority that allowed the military junta to steal government, it has protected ministers and members who are needed to maintain the huge, unwieldy and Election Commission manufactured coalition.

Perhaps the best example of protection is deputy minister Thammanat Prompao, a convicted heroin smuggler. He also flaunts fake university degrees. But he’s not just a political fixer for the government’s Palang Pracharath Party who is being protected. He claims connections to the top.

When under arrest in Australia, he “told police he had worked as a bodyguard for the then crown prince of Thailand, had been an army spy…, and ran a side business while serving as an assistant to a top general.” That’s how it works in Vajiralongkorn’s Thailand.

Then there’s Palang Pracharath MP Pareena Kraikupt and her father. Her recent case of acquiring and using land that is supposed to be for poor farmers and/or national park seems unlikely to go anywhere as a cover up goes on.

The only thing keeping the issue in the cowed media is her father’s penchant for hit-and-run driving and mad media conferences, filled with lies. Once he’s quiet, watch Pareena squeeze out of her own problems. The regime prefers no criticism of it or its MPs.

Again, the rich and powerful can get away with murder (probably literally in Thammanat’s case), heroin smuggling, theft and other misdemeanors.

Make overs for the evil

Perhaps the weirdest of all news reports in late 2019 was when local “anti-corruption agencies awarded the Thai army for having the highest score on transparency and integrity among government agencies at an event held to commemorate the International Anti-corruption Day on Dec 9. It scored 97.96 points out of 100.” Weird, unbelievable and very silly. However, the point is the whitewashing. The powerful seem to relish whitewashing almost as much as it relishes ill-gotten gains.

Eating the state

Corruption is a bit old-hat these days as there are plenty of ways to feed at the breast of the private sector as it exploits the state and Thai taxpayers.

We couldn’t help noticing that on 15 December it was reported: “Airports of Thailand (AoT) is likely to scrap bidding to run duty-free pick-up counters at Don Mueang airport after only one company [King Power] expressed interest in the contest.” Of course, AoT didn’t. A few days later it was reported that the “board of Airports of Thailand Plc has awarded a 10.5-year duty-free concession at Don Mueang airport to King Power Duty Free Co, which offered a yearly 1.5-billion-baht minimum return…”. King Power, the current monopoly duty free store at all airports now has new 10-year contracts for all those airports.

There must be many in various military and state offices – right to the top – who will benefit from these new contracts.

Somehow we doubt that 2020 will be better than 2019.





Updated: Criminal minister and law

19 11 2019

As everyone knows and he still denies – despite plenty of evidence from courts in Australia – Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao is a convicted heroin smuggler. In the green-hued world of military political domination, this conviction counts for nil as Thammanat is one of the standover men who maintains the military-backed government’s political control. He also claims links to the palace, saying he was working for the then crown prince when he was busted in Australia.

It seems he has other uses too.

As the Bangkok Post says in an editorial, “On Tuesday, Capt Thamanat handed over Sor Por Kor land rights certificates to 335 poor and landless farmers” so they can make a living on the land.

The Post points out that:

One of the recipients turned out to be Samatcha Angchuan, a vice-chairman of the Krabi Provincial Administrative Organisation (PAO) Council and a former Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) candidate in the last general election. He was granted 16 rai of land.

This follows Thammanat’s recent efforts on behalf of the PPRP’s controversial Pareena Kraikupt defending her family’s alleged use of 900 rai of Sor Por Kor land in Ratchaburi.

Such scandals, in 1994, transacted by then deputy agriculture minister Suthep Thaugsuban, brought down the Democrat Party-led government.

Clipped from the Bangkok Post

However, with criminals running the show for the military, that would seem unlikely in this case.

Update: The many commentaries on Thammanat’s actions seem to have spurred the party bosses into action to try and – again – quieten things down. According to Thai PBS, Thammanat has had to abandon Pareena and has told her to give up her 900 rai of land.

This action might suggest infighting in the shaky coalition that is the government, but is more likely to be yet another effort to hold the government together and to avoid the same demise that befell the Democrat Party in 1994. We need to see what happens in Krabi.