Constitutional court and corruption

16 08 2012

The corruption at the Constitutional Court runs deep, and the judges there have tried to use the law to silence critical comment. At the Bangkok Post it is reported that a case that goes back to the release of incriminating video evidence of the court’s corruption and political bias has been ended, by the judges.

Three of the court’s judges “have withdrawn a defamation lawsuit they filed against a former court official for distributing video clips in 2010 that were allegedly designed to undermine the court.” As far as we are aware, Pasit Sakdanarong, a former private secretary of former charter court president, has never been more than “accused of releasing the videos.” In other words, the judges wanted to stop discussion of the corruption and bias.

Now, for an “apology to the judges in the Matichon newspaper for 10 consecutive days, apologising to the judges in person, distributing his apologies to the judges on YouTube and paying for the judges’ legal fees,” the judges are willing to drop a case that seems to have little legal basis….

Interestingly, the suit filed also included Puea Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit and the Matichon newspaper, accused of “distributing the clips.” It is stated that the “judges had also filed a defamation lawsuit with the Civil Court seeking damages from the defendants. They were accused of conspiring to doctor and illegally distribute the clips with the aim of smearing the judges.” It is not clear if this censorial action has also been dropped. PPT hasn’t seen any evidence of “doctoring.”

As the report states, the

clips, posted on YouTube under Ohmygod 3009, showed the judges discussing the Democrat Party dissolution cases. In one case, the Election Commission accused the party of misappropriating a 29 million baht election grant for use in campaigning for the April 2, 2005, election. In the other case, the EC alleged the Democrats received an illegal 258 million baht donation from cement giant TPI Polene Plc. The party survived both cases.

Of course it did. And the judiciary continues to be politicized.

PPT has posted a lot on the courts and these issues, so we won’t link to them all. Instead, interested readers can follow this tag.





Court corruption clips update

13 10 2011

Readers might recall the kerfuffle that erupted back in October 2010 over leaked tapes from the Democrat Party dissolution case that quickly came to be seen as evidence of bias in the Constitutional Court.

A scapegoat was chosen and this was meant to deflect attention from the substance of the tapes. This came when 5 judges held a press conference to say that a Constitution Court secretary – Pasit Sakdanarong – who appeared in one of the videos had been sacked. He was then said to be on the run and overseas. Within a maze of counter-allegations and the use of the police to blur the true nature of the allegations, a search for “criminals” who made secret video tapes was on, ignoring the substantive evidence of judicial corruption.

Even when more clips were released, further adding to the evidence of corruption and elite collusion, Pasit was the only suspect for anything. For more on Pasit see this post and for some of his allegations, see here.

The story now has something of a conclusion, with The Nation reporting that the “Crime Suppression Division has submitted its investigative report on the five Constitution Court clips for prosecution review, recommending to drop the case involving a key suspect Pasit Sakdanarong who is adviser to the Public Health minister.”

Perhaps connections with the new government help, but there continues to be claims of a “lack of evidence to link Pasit to the posting of the clips…”. As the report notes,

The five clips were posted on Youtube, depicting what many saw as an attempt to sway the high court to rule for party dissolution.

The gist of clips were edited to show judges discussing the case in private chamber.

Even now, there is no attention to the substance of the claims against the judges.

One interesting footnote to the story is that “CSD investigators concluded that there was no evidence or witness to link the two suspects to the clips. In regard to the identity of the uploader on Youtube, the US-based service provider refused to cooperate on ground that the action did not fall under an offence under the American laws.”





Abhisit’s fairy tale, Part I

12 06 2011

In The Nation it is reported that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is consistent in his capacity for purveying untruths. We were going to comment on that story, but put it aside for a while. Now Prachatai has a translation by Pipob Udomittipong of Abhisit’s revealing Facebook “explanation” to supporters and voters of his political role.

PPT could have ignored this self-serving account as just another set of lies from a politician with a penchant for untruths. We have had several posts over the past couple of years that attest to this element of the premier’s politicalpersonality. And yet Abhisit’s fairy tale tells us quite a lot about the man and his political position. It is rather long – we wonder how he has the time for this kind of activity while electoral campaigning. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that everywhere he goes, he is met by jeers and vocal critics. PPT takes up some of his points here and in a companion post.

Abhisit begins by explaining that while he has always been offering “participation” and has tried repeatedly to have the people “understand my mission,” nasties in some media are spreading “misinformation.”

The so-called misinformation is, it seems, no more than a restatement of the events that led to Abhisit becoming prime minister. These accounts are widely known. So why does Abhisit feel the need to whitewash now? Or in his words, why “the urge to write this record” of these events?

It seems because he has seen that his marriage to the Army’s generals is an election issue. In fact, like 2007, the 2011 election is looking like a referendum on the coup. More, it is a referendum on Abhisit’s royalist regime, the military, and the role of the palace and its aristocrats. In a sense, whatever the final election count, Abhisit has been shown as tainted and hated.

Back to his tale of events. Mark refers to “My Path toward the Premiership.” He begins by blaming the then Samak government for beginning the PPP’s downfall, claiming that the political situation became “shaky” when “PM Samak proposed constitutional amendments to give an amnesty to Lt. Col. Thaksin Shinawatra. This stirred up very strong opposition from people who did not want politicians to be accorded such extra-legal privileges.” He means that yellow shirts hit the streets again.

Of course, during the 2007 junta-managed constitutional referendum, the continual refrain from those on Abhisit’s side was that the then draft constitution could always be amended by the party that won the election. Abhisit campaigned for the approval of the draft, claiming that this would restore electoral democracy. He also claimed the draft had many good features, even while noting that the constitution would need amendment. His call for change to the constitution was made prior to the election and was supported by PPP leaders. At the time, some commentators and many in the military and establishment reckoned Abhisit would be the next PM.

During the election campaign, the People’s Power Party took this “promise” up, and repeatedly stated that, if elected, constitutional reform would be undertaken. So it was hardly a surprise that the newly-elected government began considering changes. But Abhisit’s side then had a new tune.

The unexpected electoral victory by the PPP saw Abhisit aligning himself with the People’s Alliance for Democracy. He opposed amendment and warned of violence if the government used its parliamentary majority to amend the charter, arguing that the only amendment required was to prevent the government amending the constitution according to the process set out in that document! In effect, Abhisit merely supported the street-based politics of PAD’s position that opposed any amendment. At the same time, Abhisit was using other PAD tactics in throwing allegations of lese majeste at his opponents.

Abhisit now claims that charter amendment “angered” many – he means PAD and the election losers – who opposed “using a political majority to have a law promulgated to exonerate politicians from criminal offences, including corruption.” He’s talking about charter amendment. He says this “would only make people lose faith in the justice system and the highly revered democracy with the king as head of state.” Given that the constitution fully exonerated those who made a coup in 2006 that overthrew the 1997 Constitution, it is not clear that there in any logic or consistency in Abhisit’s current position. And we haven’t even mentioned the travesties inflicted on the rule of law by his own administration.

Abhisit dismisses the idea that “there was collusion between the Democrats and the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD).” While noting that Abhisit expressed his support for PAD several times, PPT simply cites his old school buddy and current finance minister Korn Chatikavanij from December 2008 when he claimed to be a PAD sympathizer: “No point shying away from the obvious – after all, … one of the PAD leaders … is a Democrat MP. Many other key speakers were our candidates in the recent general elections. Almost all of the tens of thousands … [of PAD demonstrators] are Democrat voters.” He also claimed he understood PAD’s illegal actions, “… I understood it from the perspective of strategy.” Korn explained: “… like it or not, the Democrats could not on our own have resisted the PPP…”. Clearly Abhisit is dissembling.

One of Abhisit’s truly marvellous lines in this account is his recollection of calling on Samak to solve political conflicts – he means PAD occupying Government House – by “dissolving Parliament…”. We wonder what was different for him from December 2008 to May 2010, when he repeatedly stated that dissolving parliament in the face of red shirt protests was “impossible.” His offer of “early” elections only came as a non-negotiable item in his so-called reconciliation plan.

When writing of the upcoming dissolution of the PPP, Abhisit reveals that he met with “Pasit Sakdanarong, former Secretary of the President of the Constitutional Court…”. He says: “Our meeting took place at a restaurant near the headquarters of the Democrat Party. I kept listening as Mr. Pasit told me the PPP was going to be disbanded. He kept on saying that the reason he wanted me to know this was because this news would benefit the Democrat Party.” He uses this possibly illegal and certainly unethical meeting to explain that he didn’t covet the premier’s position. But then he admits that he wasn’t surprised when “other political parties decided to join the Democrats [he means Democrat Party] and formed a coalition?” He knew what was going on and encouraged it.

Abhisit then turns to how this coalition was brokered. That’s in Part II of this post.

 

 

 





Alleged judicial intervention by Prem

10 04 2011

PPT reproduces this from The Nation:

General Prem Tinsulanonda

Pasit Sakdanarong, former secretary to the Constitution Court president, alleged Sunday that the court had been lobbied to spare the Democrat Party in a party dissolution case.

Pasit alleged that someone sent a letter and made a phone call to Constitution Court President Chat Chonlaworn, urging him to help the Democrat escape solution [sic. dissolution].

Speaking during a red-shirt rally at Rajdamnone to mark the April 10 clash at the Kokwua Intersection, Pasit did not name the person who sent the letter and made the call.

But red-shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan tacitly alleged that Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda was referred to by Pasit.

“I would like to ask Prem if he sent the letter and made the phone call to Chat, asking the court president not to dissolve the Democrat. Pasit witnessed all of the events,” Jatuporn said.

Prem was shown in one of the items released last year, with Pasit said to be responsible for the release. This is not the first allegation of judicial intervention by Prem.  Recent allegations go back to the aftermath of the April 2006 election.





Punishing elite traitors

29 12 2010

PPT often misses stories of interest. Even with readers’ prompting and collective work, we overlook a story that deserves some attention. Such a story appeared in the Bangkok Post a couple of weeks ago. It relates to that now mostly forgotten story of deep-seated corruption, nepotism and political favoritism in the Constitutional Court. If readers need a reminder on the story, PPT posted here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Yes, there were a lot.

The report we now refer to was about punishing Pasit Sakdanarong, the one who has fled and has been blamed for the leaks showing the court to be hopelessly corrupt and compromised. The report has it that Pasit’s former bosses and collaborators “have found another way to punish its errant former official…” adding that “[s]ince the former secretary to Constitution Court president Chat Cholaworn fled overseas after allegedly making video clips purporting a shady connection between the ruling Democrat Party and the Constitution Court, Mr Pasit’s name has been mud in court circles.”

What happens to an insider who does wrong and is seen to have betrayed the elite? Thaksin Shinawatra is one example of a former member of the insider’s club gone wrong (well, some do argue that he was never really fully and insider). So what’s happened to Pasit?

The report explains that “Pasit studied in an ‘elite’ course offered to top-level executives by the King Prajadhipok’s Institute [KPI]. The course is reserved for high-ranking officials, lawmakers and senior administrators of public and private organisations and Mr Pasit was placed in the programme while he served as the secretary to the court president. Mr Pasit completed the course in May and was among the 120 graduates of Class 13 of the so-called ‘High-Level Executive Programme in Politics and Administration in Democratic Government‘.”

KPI is an institute  named to recognize and celebrate King Prajadhipok as the so-called father of democratic government in Thailand. While few serious historians would today accept such a grand claim, it is the symbolism that is important. It has been allocated considerable funds to engage in all kinds of training about “good governance.”

Getting into the program mentioned in the report is a perk for insiders. As the report states, “the course is seen as a fertile ground for building work connections.” It is meant to build solidarity as a kind of finishing school for the elite.

Indeed, Pasit seems to have entered KPI’s courses in exceptional circumstances. The report states that it “is believed his seat in the programme may have been secured with the help of the Constitution Court. Mr Pasit has never served in any state agency and held no experience in top-level management. He is also younger than the minimum enrolment age of 40 years old.” So good was the court connection that he was admitted not just to one but two KPI courses!

Borwornsak and KPI students

Now that Pasit is seen to have become a traitor to his bosses, the court and the elite, the word has apparently gone out to have him punished. Some of the judges have pressed defamation and have demanded that he be investigated for breaking the draconian computer laws.

It seems that KPI, headed by another turncoat (but he turned the right way, away from Thaksin and back to the royalist fold) Bowornsak Uwanno “has called into question Mr Pasit’s qualifications and suitability to join the course.” They would have known this before – or should have – but influence was involved in getting him in, and the report acknowledges this when it observes: “But that was before he turned against the court.”

The response it that KPI “has now deemed Mr Pasit’s conduct undeserving of the institute’s recognition. At its meeting next week, the board is expected to pull him off the list of graduates waiting to receive a certificate to be royally bestowed next year.” It adds: “For Mr Pasit _ facing the prospect of being booted off the course retroactively, and the weightier threat of legal action should he return to Thailand _ any prospect of career advancement looks set to be put on hold, at least for now.”

That’s an understatement. But like Bowornsak, maybe some time in an elite temple and some articles extolling the wonders of monarchy and defending lese majeste might do the trick and rehabilitation might be possible. Somehow we doubt it.





With 2 updates: Prostitution and the Constitutional Court judges

4 11 2010

In an editorial, the Bangkok Post continues the mainstream media’s somewhat wishy-washy approach to allegations that some judges in the Constitutional Court and corrupt and compromised.

The editorial refers to Judge Jarun Pukditanakul defending his colleagues, saying they were not “prostitutes” who could be bought. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests something else. And here we can go back even before the current Democrat Party-led coalition. To equate them with prostitutes is unfair to the mostly poor women and men who labor in the sex industry.

The judge believes that the release of the video clips “was the work of some ill-intentioned elements bent on destroying the Constitution Court…”. Maybe the judge should consider who is “ill-intentioned.” It seems to PPT that the clips can be seen as whistle-blowing. Whistle blowers usually seek to expose those who are truly “ill-intentioned.” In this case, judges and court officials.

Unsurprisingly, the Bangkok Post agrees with the judge, observing: “There is little doubt the entire video saga is intended to discredit the Constitution Court.” Think again!

But through metaphorically grinding teeth, the editorial adds: “Still, what the clips reveal, particularly the latest one pertaining to the alleged leak of test papers, must be clarified in a thorough and transparent manner so as to clear any lingering doubts in the public mind. A mere denial and explanation from a single judge is not sufficient. People are perplexed and need to know whether there really was a leak of the test papers, and whether certain judges were involved…. The public appears to have been led to believe there might be some truth to this allegation.”

Does the Post really believe that there is no truth? Of course not! The editorial is simply protecting the privileged. In other words, the Post is complicit in corruption and double standards. Many people are not “perplexed” at all. They understand that the double standards in Thai society underpin and bolster not only elite wealth, but the corruption that adds to their enrichment.

Yes, the Post knows the “Constitution Court is facing its worst crisis of confidence, with its judges implicated in scandalous conduct.” However, their recommendation is misguided: “The judges of the Constitution Court have no choice. They must tell the public the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Who will believe them? Only those who want to believe them. Where is the call for a truly independent investigation? Perhaps the Post realizes that independence is a commodity priced by loyalty and benefit in Abhisit’s Thailand.

Update 1: No one should have expected anything but a whitewash from the Constitutional Court’s own “investigation” of its own alleged corruption and collusion with the ruling Democrat Party. And, as if working under direction, this is what they have managed to quickly decide. The Bangkok Post says: “The Constitution Court panel investigating the release of video clips, some of which allegedly involve its justices, has concluded its inquiry without any recommendations for disciplinary action. Sanit Jora-anan, an adviser to the office of the Constitution Court and head of the panel investigating the video footage, said yesterday the committee had no initial recommendations for disciplinary action against court staff over the matter. No court officials were found to have been involved in filming the clips that appear to feature a closed-door meeting of Constitution Court judges, Mr Sanit said.”

PPT doubts this is the end of it. Such a self-serving outcome won’t even cut the mustard in Abhisit’s warped world of political favoritism and privilege.

Update 2: The Nation has a slightly different account of the “investigation,” saying that the blame for recordings is placed on on sacked court official Pasit Sakdanarong.





New clips on the Constitutional Court

30 10 2010

The Bangkok Post and The Nation both report that new clips are posted on the web, putting more pressure on the Constitutional Court. The new videos are said to have surfaced to show judges allegedly “discussing leaks of sensitive information from their office.”

http://www.youtube.com/v/iP4r-1isXJs?version=3

The Post says the “video [sic], uploaded to YouTube on Friday, allegedly shows former court employee Pasit Sakdanarong and two judges discussing ways to fight off the adverse impacts from alleged fraud involving the recruitment of court officials. In the video, the three discuss ways to head off plans by the Puea Thai Party to release a set of videos allegedly featuring fraudulent acts by judges involved in the recruitment scam.”

http://www.youtube.com/v/4mDnFau3UUQ?version=3

This particular clip is remarkable as it appears to show “those present at the meeting knew from Mr Jatuporn’s remarks that conversations had been secretly recorded at the court, although the tapes had not yet been released.” They also mention the “leaking of exam papers to applicants who were close to court judges, including the son of a judge.” The participants also know that these allegations are with the opposition. They plan how to shift blame on the clips.

http://www.youtube.com/v/bWQ9xT71sSU?version=3

Abhisit and the Democrat Party continue to cling to the line that “the key to the issue” is Pasit: “It’s all a plot to discredit the Constitution Court and lead to the dissolution of the Democrat Party…”.





Covering up, blaming everyone else

28 10 2010

On 23 October, when examining the manner in which the Democrat Party, its leaders and the Constitutional Court were burying the true nature of the video evidence of apparent actions to (further) corrupt the judiciary, PPT predicted: “By the beginning of next week, the story may well be the hunt for those ‘criminals’ who shot and posted the videos of the judges and Democrat Party organizing a court decision of national significance.”

Unfortunately, PPT has been proven correct.

The latest report in the Bangkok Post illustrates just how the burying of the allegations has taken place, under a maze of counter-allegations and the use of the police to blur the true nature of the allegations, replacing them with a search for “criminals” who made secret video tapes. The report says that “Crime Suppression Division police investigators are preparing a case to support an application for arrest warrants for people who were involved in the making and release of video clips involving the Constitution Court’s handling of the dissolution trial of the Democrat Party for alleged misuse of a political party development fund…”.

The police appear to accept all Democrat Party claims regarding a set-up, without examining how it is – even accepting this claim – that senior Democrat Party officials could be “set up.” Hence the police say “Pasit Sakdanarong, the sacked former secretary to Supreme Court president Chat Chonlaworn, might have violated Article 198 of the Criminal Code, for contempt of court and obstructing court procedure…. They want to know how he was involved and who else were responsible for the shooting and release of the five video clips posted on YouTube, which was at violation of the Computer Crimes Act…”. It is not stated how these clips offend the Act. The only way would be to accept Democrat Party claims, except for a claim that “audio on the clip showing Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda at a function, in particular, had clearly been clearly falsified.” It is pretty clear that the palace is pushing this case as well, trying to prevent claims that it is (again) involved in shady deals with the judiciary.

The political police claim that “many people were involved in the release of the five video clips” and they appear keen to sheet home these allegations to opposition Puea Thai Party politicians as well.

It seems the police and Democrat Party are working together in these actions: “A Democrat Party source said yesterday the videos were found to have been uploaded to the YouTube website from a location in Hong Kong at 10pm on Oct 15. A police source told the Bangkok Post yesterday that a person in Thailand downloaded and disseminated the videos through emails soon after they were uploaded. Police have identified the person who downloaded the videos and taken legal action against him, although they refused yesterday to reveal his identity.”

To further bury the real allegations and foreground the Democrat Party counterclaims, the “Information and Communication Technology Ministry has asked to seek a court order banning showing of the clips…”.

The clear discourse is cover-up.

 





With 2 updates: Constitutional Court, Democrat Party and shifting blame

23 10 2010

The Democrat Party and the Constitutional Court are to be complimented for their ability – aided by some in the friendly puppy-like mainstream media – to deflect criticism over the leaked video clips that appear to show negotiations to support the Democrat Party in its current cases before the court.

It is revealing to see how they have done this.

A couple of days ago, the Bangkok Post had an editorial that was, surprisingly, quite strong. It said: “The country … has the right to raise doubts over just what was occurring during the four conversations taped and posted for the world to see. Many media, internet chat forums and blogs have raised highly pertinent questions, and it will not do for either the Democrat Party hierarchy or the members of the Constitution Court to try to wave them off. Yet this is what they tried to do in the first couple of days after … a photo set and four videos [were posted] to the popular video service.

But wave them off they have. The first move to deflect blame and cover the evidence trail came when 5 judges held a press conference to say that a Constitution Court secretary – Pasit Sakdanarong – who appeared in one of the videos had been sacked.

But as the Post editorial observes, “the important points do not revolve around who took the video or arranged the meetings. The videos seem to show judges and court officials discussing the Democrat Party case in ways that appear inappropriate. Are the conversations real, and if so, do they fairly portray the deliberations in a case where testimony was not even completed?”

The next move was to avoid these issues by burying them under a series of official investigations, none of them independent, and most seemingly intent on punishing the whistle blower/s rather than any wrong doing by the judges/court or the Democrat Party.

Part of this twist and dissemble strategy also involves dismissing the evidence. For example, MCOT News says that the Constitution Court judges “reaffirmed its impartiality in considering the ruling Democrat Party dissolution case, saying that a panel has been set up to probe the release of video clips of a Democrat MP allegedly lobbying a court official over the case.”

That’s the judges themselves – the ones seen in the videos, apparently negotiating a corrupt deal – “reaffirming” their neutrality. That seems not just unlikely but a lame account.

The court also stated that it had “set up a panel to probe the case, but refused to disclose the names of the panel, citing its confidentiality.” The word “lame” again comes to mind, although “corrupt” and “nonsense” also seem appropriate. When the anonymous “investigation panel” is said to be in search of truth, PPT would have expected reporters to be rolling around laughing. Apparently not.

The Democrat Party, as well as claiming set-ups and “political motives” at work, decided to “investigate” as well. In the same MCOT report, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said “his party has set up a panel to investigate the case of Mr Wiruch [Wirat Romyen] who is a member of the party’s legal team and if any inappropriate action is found, further action will be taken against him.”

What of the Party itself? Was Wirat operating as an individual? Almost certainly not, but that is the impression the Democrat Party wants to cultivate.

To further cover tracks, blaming others always helps. The Bangkok Post says that Abhisit’s spokesman, Thepthai Senpong, has “questioned if Puea Thai was involved in making the clips.” That was a fact already known, but his point is to claim wrong doing on the part of the opposition to deflect criticism from his own party.

The Nation says that Thepthai claims “Abhisit has told me to coordinate with Wiruch and allow him to sue anyone for defamation on a personal level.” Legal cases like this just throw up more dust to cover tracks. That the Democrat Party “investigation panel” is a snow job is seen in its stated aims: The Nation says that the panel would see if Wirat “had done anything illegal such as getting knowingly involved in an attempt to influence the court, and if so, whether he had any collaborators. If found guilty, Wiruch would be punished in accordance with the party’s rules…”. That’s sure to mean just a little more than nothing.

At the premier’s and other cabinet ministers’ urging, the Bangkok Post reports that the police have also begun an investigation. Another layer of legal sand is laid on the real story as evidenced by this police statement: “From a preliminary investigation it was believed an offence had been committed,  but exactly what the charges would be  was still uncertain…”. This is charges against who and for what? Maybe they can make up charges as has been their wont.

Then, the grand old man of the Democrat Party and leader of its legal team, Chuan Leekpai was wheeled out to blame the whistle blowers and to take the heat off the allegedly corrupt activities by members of his own team and the judges. Indeed, the Democrat Party has even lodged a complaint against the person who uploaded the videos to YouTube. Indeed, a later report states that the police are investigating the uploading and will seek ti use the Computer Crimes Act to get the poster.

The Nation says that the Democrat Party went even further on this shifting of blame and guilt. It was thus “thinking about taking legal action against other parties that are resorting to unlawful methods against the Democrats. He said the party’s legal team was considering action that could lead to the dissolution of the Pheu Thai Party or any others involved.” He claims the Democrat Party has been “damaged.” Well, it has, but by their own actions.

Conveniently, for those who want to dissemble and whitewash,  The Nation reports that the investigation was “expected to focus on the involvement of [Judge] Chat’s secretary Pasit Sakdanarong who has fled to Hong Kong.”

This situation allows the Democrat Party’s Wirat to insist, according to the Bangkok Post, the recorded “meeting was a set-up. He said Mr Pasit approached his aide, Worawut Nawaphokin, to arrange a meeting with Mr Wirat at a restaurant in the Bang Sue area. Once there, Mr Wirat said Mr Pasit asked him ‘leading questions’.” The implication is that Pasit was on the other side, luring Wirat into appearing like a crooked politician. Slinging dirt at someone else means added confusion for those trying to understand the events.

But the fouling of the story doesn’t finish there. As the Bangkok Post reports, the Constitution Court judges now claim to “have received death threats and called for protection.” That move may be in response to threats but is also neat and convenient if it draws some sympathy to the allegedly corrupt judges and manages to link red shirts and Puea Thai to violence.

The judges are also said to have “demanded the government create conditions that allow them to work freely and safely.”

PPT assumes this means that they want to be able to cut deals without having to worry that they might be outed.

This claim came at the time when Puea Thai parliamentarian Jatuporn Promphan “said he would release new footage next week featuring three panel judges involved in alleged fraud while recruiting court officials.”

The last bit of fouling PPT read of was the claim that the “Democrat Party is gathering evidence to seek the dissolution of the Puea Thai Party for submission to the Election Commission by the end of this month…”.

This is a strategy called “turning the tables,” where a guilty party attempts to say others are really the guilty ones. The Democrat Party claims that “the released footage was falsified and intended to mislead the public.” PPT has no doubt that the Party will be able to find experts, probably amongst their allies in the Department of Special Investigation, to support this allegation.

But all the covering up is not preventing some juicy news getting through. The Nation reports that the “Constitution Court president was rebuked by his colleagues over the video-clip scandal involving his now-removed secretary, a source said yesterday. A fellow Constitution Court judge even implied that the court’s chief, Chut Chonlavorn, should take responsibility for the scandal that has compromised the court’s credibility and step down, according to the source.”

According to reports, Pasit is also seen in a negative light, and is seen to have “caused much suspicion among his colleagues at the Constitution Court. His claim that he was a doctor working for a private hospital was later found to be false. He had never worked for Chut when the latter served as a Supreme Court judge. And Pasit changed his name four times, which was quite unusual, the source said.”

The Bangkok Post adds that “Pasit worked for Mr Chat for over a decade, going back to the time he was deputy permanent secretary for justice. The secretary’s post is not a permanent civil service position, although sources at the Constitution Court said Mr Pasit had been very influential there over the past three years and had played a key role in the transfer of senior officials. Officials at the court are now pushing for an investigation into the past transfer of other officials. They also want an inquiry into a computer procurement project worth 13 million baht, a software installation project worth 66 million baht, and the hiring of certain permanent officials at the court.”

These stories, while significant indicators, are of limited impact as the government, Democrat Party and the Constitution Court judges pile on the allegations and investigations that confuse the real nature of any crimes that might have been committed. PPT thinks the elite will fall in with its government, a process that is already beginning.

By the beginning of next week, the story may well be the hunt for those “criminals” who shot and posted the videos of the judges and Democrat Party organizing a court decision of national significance.

Update 1: The Nation reports that Wirat has now sued Puea Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit and Pasit Sakdanarong, former private secretary to the Constitution Court president, for defamation. That action is clearly meant to further muddy the real issues in this case that involves the corruption of the justice system at the highest level.

Update 2: Oops, PPT was wrong. Above, we posted this: “By the beginning of next week, the story may well be the hunt for those ‘criminals’ who shot and posted the videos of the judges and Democrat Party organizing a court decision of national significance.” Yep, completely wrong, for the Abhisit government has managed this on the weekend, before the time we predicted. The Bangkok Post has the story: “A criminal investigation has been launched into the release of controversial video footage that the Democrat Party claims is part of a plot to discredit it and the Constitution Court.” What can we say? This authoritarian-military-dominated clique does exactly as expected. Abhisit’s choice as police chief has launched the investigation and says it “must be concluded within 30 days.” Apart from the Computer Crimes Act, these bozos have decided that the release of the “footage could also violate the Official Information Act, which prohibits the unauthorised release of the state’s confidential data.” We chose the word “bozo” carefully (for meaning 2 and noun 1).

This is politics at its most rancid, with the Democrat Party’s backers scared witless that having been outed on what appears to be an “old boys’ club” attempt to corrupt a set of judges, they now want to take the heat off their boys who, for all their prattle about law and order, are showing their true colors.