“Lone” popcorn shooter

8 11 2018

As many readers will already know, the Supreme Court has sentenced the People’s Democratic Reform Committee “popcorn gunman” to “37 years and four months in prison for shooting at political demonstrators in Laksi in 2014, killing one person and wounding three others.”

Vivat at work

This decision overturned last year’s acquittal of Vivat Yodprasit by the Appeal Court.

Photos of Vivat on the job. Note the military kit items.

This report is remarkable on two counts. First, because the Bangkok Post manages to report the court case and recount details of the event without ever mentioning that Vivat was doing the work of the anti-democrats of the PDRC. Nor does the Post think to mention that the PDRC in Bangkok lauded Vivat for his murderous attacks. Frankly, that says much about the Post’s editorial policies.

Royalist anti-democrats applaud a murderer

A second aspect of the report is that no mention is that Vivat is the only one of several shooters at that event who was arrested, despite claims that others were known to police and military. No warrants were ever issued for them. In the public record, it seems that Vivat remains the only PDRC armed militant to have ever been charged.

As is usual in hired gun cases, Vivat was a pawn for wealthy and well-placed plotters. They never get named, let alone charged or even investigated. Who ordered and paid Vivat and his armed cohort?

All used up

8 11 2018

When the royalist establishment deemed it crucial that it oppose elected governments, it supported the creation of “movements” with allegedly “charismatic” leaders, using “civil society” to bring down those governments. Backing them were royalists from business, including the giant conglomerates, and the military.

First there was Sondhi Limthongkul and the People’s Alliance for Democracy. It drew on considerable middle class discontent with Thaksin Shinawatra and his regime but was driven by royalist ideology.

After a series of false starts, the second great “movement” was the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, led by the royalist anti-democrats of the Democrat Party and fronted by Suthep Thaugsuban.

Of course, neither movement was able to bring down the elected governments. That required military coups in 2006 and 2014.

When they had done their work, the fact of their invention by the royalist strategists of the military, business and palace was seen in the manner in which the “movements” vaporized once their usefulness was over.

And, look at the leaders. Both had a capacity to mobilize supporters and this worried many in the military. At the same time, the military knew that it “deserved” to be on top and that the upstarts they created had to know their place.

Sondhi was targeted for what was either an assassination bid or a brutal warning to know his place. No one was ever charged, but it is interesting that the media at the time suggested that both Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and army chief Gen Anupong Paojinda were considered “suspects” in the Sondhi shooting.

Suthep thought he was a “star” and “popular,” but the military put him in his place following the 2014 coup, having to enter the monkhood. While Suthep is back and campaigning for his Action Coalition for Thailand (ACT) Party, it seems his “movement” has evaporated and his capacity for garnering the political limelight has been lost under the military junta. Interestingly, this return is a backflip and, according to one op-ed, not popular with his former PDRC supporters (and presumably its backers).

The op-ed continues: “… Suthep seems to have overestimated his popularity, thinking it could be on par with the backing he received from PDRC supporters during the time he led the street protests.” He was disappointed: “his recent jaunts in several areas to recruit members for the party have apparently received a cold response.” This caused “core PDRC supporter Arthit Ourairat … calling for Mr Suthep and other PDRC leaders who have joined ACT to stop their political activities.” Arthit might have poured money into the PDRC but is an ardent anti-democrat and probably is 100% behind The Dictator’s bid for extended power. Tellingly, the man who funded and funneled money to Suthep and PDRC reckons that “people ‘no longer believed them’.”

Anti-democrats want a military-dominated regime and Suthep’s usefulness, like Sondhi’s before him, is over. Suthep’s response will be interesting as his face, position and wealth depend on state links.

Not let off easy (double standards)

31 10 2018

A couple of days ago, we posted on the fact that the former Buddha Issara, am ant-democrat monk, had got off light in a criminal case.

He was charged with having allowed his People’s Democratic Reform Committee thugs to capture and beat two policemen. The beatings were savage. One suffered broken ribs and a ruptured liver and another suffered bruising and broken teeth from beatings.

He got a suspended sentence and will be back in saffron and his anti-democratic ways very soon.

Now look at the double standards.

It is reported that the Criminal Court “sentenced former Pheu Thai MP Prasit Chaisrisa to two years in jail for having a helmet and a bullet-proof vest stolen from anti-riot soldiers in 2010.”

“Stolen” is a problematic term. At the time, many soldiers simply abandoned their gear and ran away. In this case, the claim is that the helmet was taken from a soldier who was beaten.

The court found Prasit “guilty of having the warfare products in the boot of his car on April 22, 2010.” Even if we dismiss the notion that these were anything other than crowd control products, as it is reported, soldiers were using “warfare products” to crack down on red shirt protesters. That isn’t questioned.

The double standards are clear. And, do we need to add that he’s being victimized? “The former MP for Surin province was earlier sentenced to two years and six months in prison for lese majeste.”

Let off easy

29 10 2018

Even the Bangkok Post noticed that the fascist and former monk Suwit Thongprasert, better known to anti-democrats as Buddha Issara, got a great deal in court.

He was charged with having allowed his People’s Democratic Reform Committee thugs to forcibly capture and detain two policemen. They were savagely beaten one suffered broken ribs and a ruptured liver and another suffered bruising and broken teeth from beatings.

The monk was photographed “questioning” the policemen.

For this the former monk faced the Criminal Court to get a suspended 18-month jail term. It is stated that the “prison term was commuted from three years to one year and six months because he confessed, and then suspended for a year because he had never previously committed a crime and had compensated the two victims, who did not want to continue with any legal action against him.”

We suspect the two have been ordered to keep quiet. Within a few weeks, we expect to see Suwit back in saffron robes and probably out of his wheelchair, which seemed a useful device for engendering court leniency.

Campaigning, monarchy and the puppet Election Commission

26 10 2018

Perhaps the news of the day is the Deputy Dictator’s seeming confirmation that he and The Dictator are indeed planning for a 24 February election.

The junta has responded to a reported clash of that (maybe) “election” date with university entrance examinations. In essence, they have told the Ministry of Education and the universities to sort out the clash. While this isn’t an official announcement, it is a kind of confirmation.

The junta remains secretive as it wants to keep all the “election” cards in its hands.

Which leads to Suthep Thaugsuban and his anti-democratic party, Action Coalition for Thailand. As we posted yesterday, ACT is actively campaigning. This seems to be in violation of the military dictatorship’s “rules” on political activity that is applied to most political parties but not the ministers-party-executives-cabinet-members-junta-minions of the Palang Pracharath Party.

Following media discussion of the double standards involved, the puppet Election Commission has mumbled something about it watching all parties. Double standards-driven members of the junta were lukewarm about ACT’s electoral campaigning but were hardly condemnatory and certainly didn’t demand the EC “investigate,” in the manner it did with another anti-junta party.

Apparently, no person has lodged a complaint with the EC about ACT. The EC’s “investigation” of Puea Thai continues.

Meanwhile, back on the campaign trail, Suthep and ACT leader, the minor prince, Chatumongkol Sonakul and 50 other party members, most from the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, went to a dead king monument – Rama I – “where they held a ceremony to pay homage to the late King and took an oath to be a party loyal to the monarchy.”

What was that about the monarchy being above politics?

ACT could not possibly swear loyalty to democracy because they are determined anti-democrats.

One up, one down

25 10 2018

With the alliance of the military junta and the anti-democrats who formed the People’s Democratic Reform Committee being harnessed for “elections,” it seems like the PDRC’s pro-junta party, the Action Coalition for Thailand Party is getting some free kicks. It probably needs this as it has to fight not just Puea Thai but perhaps the Democrat Party as well. So having the junta give ACT a free kick is presumably meant to help in forming the pro-junta coalition.

ACT has “announced its plan to carry out an activity described as ‘walks to pay respect to the land’, which begins today in Bangkok.” That means the ACT is campaigning, a bit like the ministers-Palang Pracharath-party-executives-cabinet-members-junta-minions.

Thaweesak Na Takuathung, secretary-general of the Democrat Party, claims “the walks have already been approved by the [puppet] Election Commission…”.

ACT’s campaigning involves activities Prajadhipok Road and meeting people in Worachak and nearby areas. Tomorrow the electoral campaigning moves to the Sukhumvit Road area. This is to be followed by campaigning in Yaowarat, Silom, Sathorn, Bang Rak and Pratunam. Once Bangkok is covered, ACT says it is off to campaign in the provinces.

All said to be approved by the EC which bans anti-junta parties from doing pretty much anything.

Worse, though, Puea Thai seems increasingly worried that it faces dissolution. The Bangkok Post reports that “the chances of the party being dissolved will become much greater if eight core members accused of defying the regime’s political gathering ban are indicted next month.”

So while ACT, Palang Pracharath and other devil parties can campaign their socks off, Puea Thai faces charges and possible dissolution.

How are those free and fair elections coming along? They aren’t. The junta has rigged them. But it is so fearful that Puea Thai may still “win” that it is contemplating getting rid of the party.

The junta will only do this once the time for candidates registering with a party has passed, thereby disqualifying all of those registered with Puea Thai.

This is the junta’s rigging at work. This is the double standards in operation.

In charge of censorship for the rigged election

25 10 2018

The Bangkok Post is blunt in its short report on the junta’s appointment of anti-democrat Buddhipongse Punnakanta as the new government spokesman, replacing Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd.

Buddhipongse was a core member of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee. He was only appointed as the prime minister’s deputy secretary-general for political affairs just over a month ago.

The Dictator declared that the reassignment “has nothing to do with politics.”

The Post disagrees, observing that Lt Gen Sansern will “slip into the background to control all government-run media and enforce censorship rules in the lead-up to the expected 2019 election.”

The Post might have added that the junta is hoping that having an anti-democrat leader as its spokesman will have electoral advantages in Bangkok and among the timid and anti-democratic middle classes.