More of the same II

7 12 2016

The new reign is just like the old reign in terms of lese majeste repression. Indeed, we think the two overlap considerably. If one looks at the lese majeste cases over the last year or so, it is clear that the focus had shifted to the then prince. We fear that the repression is now going to be deeper and darker.

The cases of lese majeste are likely to be many as the palace and junta attempt to erase all critical commentary on the new king.

The Bangkok Post reports that the “government [they mean the military junta] plans to take legal action against the Thai team of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for its recent online report on the profile of … King … Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun.”bbc

General Prawit Wongsuwan said “the target was people behind the report on the BBC Thai website.” This is the report that has caused a lese majeste charge against activist student Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa.

The pudgy royalist general “confirmed he ordered authorities to investigate into the matter.” He also stated that the military junta is “monitoring them [foreign news agencies] and check[ing] the accuracy of such reports” that offer critical commentary on the new and prickly king.

The junta’s minions have been hard at work blocking “stories both in Thai and English on the BBC and BBC Thai websites…”. The BBC Thai Facebook page is still operating.

PPT has also noticed considerable effort to block us.

It is also reported that police goons have been to the “BBC Thai office at Maneeya Building on Phloenchit Road in Bangkok on Tuesday and found it closed.” The Post has an unnamed source saying that “the Technology Crime Suppression Division under the Royal Thai Police said the division was gathering evidence regarding the BBC Thai report, which could be deemed violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majeste law, and the Computer Crime Act.”

It will only get worse.





Making up the story for the new king

1 12 2016

Is it just us or does it seem odd to some others that the journalist writing the Bangkok Post’s “Long Live the King” articles lauding the new king is the Post’s military reporter?

In a series of articles, Wassana Nanuam has been purveying palace and junta propaganda about the crown prince-about-to-be-king. It is so santized that we are not sure she’s writing it or just running it out for the junta and/or palace.

In the latest article at the Bangkok Post she “confides” that “Deputy Prime Minister [General] Prawit Wongsuwon yesterday revealed that … Crown Prince … Vajiralongkorn has agreed to become the new [k]ing, pending an official invitation, as admiration and joy from people greeted the news of the start of the process toward a new reign.”

“Joy.” We guess nothing else is permitted to be said.

She bubbles on as if the prince’s past poor behavior is forgotten: “exhilaration and happiness greeted the news of the start of the process leading to the new reign.”

“Exhilaration and happiness.” We guess nothing else is permitted to be said.

Quoting a punter, Wassana states, and this is the way the junta wants it, the alleged “infinite love and support for the late King will be extended to the next King.”

Forget the strange behavior, naked pictures of consorts, extravagance and violence. The aura of the late king, manufactured over decades is going to be magically transferred to the new king. We guess that lese majeste will ensure that.

So it is that this nonsense continues quoting “average” citizens declaring love, faith, respect and unwavering support for the new king.

The junta is desperate to suck up the dead king’s manufactured hegemonic image for the prince as he becomes king.





Updated: “Election” slipping II

30 11 2016

The two dictatorial generals seem to be in a game of election ping-pong. When a couple of junta types, including General Prawit Wongsuwan, start to talk about “election” delays, General Prayuth Chan-ocha declares his roadmap in place and that there will be an election in 2017. Prawit, reported in the Bangkok Post, has sent his return across the net.

Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit has again “admitted … he could not say for sure if a general election would take place next year, but insisted the government was doing its best to stick to the roadmap.”

Prawit said he “could not rule out unusual circumstances which could head it off course.” His words were: “I really can’t say but we are holding on to it. We’re proceeding with the plan which has procedures and steps. Now we have the charter, so next are the organic laws. Things are so far, so good…”.

He warned: “If the people fully cooperate, things will proceed [as planned]…”.

There’s the rub. The jumpy junta can easily create a little disturbance, blow it up and delay “elections” if it wants. Or they can look around for legal or other reasons for further delays.

The junta has really developed a taste for authoritarian rule. Its like feeding chimps chocolate.

Update: The match is over. Prayuth has agreed with Prawit, albeit a bit testily. The Nation reports that Prayuth agreed that the “election” could be delayed. He said: “The road map is the road map. What would you like it to be? Whether the road map will be changed or not depends on all people, not me… It will depend on domestic and international situations, peace and stability. When will you understand this?” When asked about the road map itself, he got even more snappy, refusing “to confirm whether the road map would remain unchanged,” saying: “I can’t be bothered to answer this kind of boring question…”.





Updated: “Election” slipping I

24 11 2016

Earlier we posted on backsliding by Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam on the supposed “election” schedule. He babbled about “tentatively based on possible scenarios” that sounded like the military junta is rethinking its “election” plans.

Now The Nation reports that Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan has stated that the junta “could delay holding an election if it would cause damage to the country…”.

He said: “The situation changes by day and by month. If we can hold an election, we will. If an election cannot be held, why should we insist on holding one and then cause damage?”

Why hold one if you are absolutely sure you will remain in charge?

Update: The Bangkok Post also has a report on Prawit’s comments.





Party like it’s 1991

26 10 2016

Back in August there was a report of a pro-military party being established by anti-democrat Paiboon Nititawan. He called on former military officers to join his “party.”

Because Paiboon had links to the junta, there were concerns that the “party” was to be the junta’s party for the next “election.” Things went quiet.

As the new rules for politics will likely mean a return to a pre-1997 pattern of coalition parties it seems that the military might see a need for more than one pro-military party.

The Bangkok Post reports that another anti-democrat party has been formed with military support. The party, Athippatai Puangchon Chao Thai (Thai people’s sovereignty) has been formed by Saman Singam and Praphat Ngoksungnoen, said to be associated with ultra-nationalist causes.

They claim that “Lt Gen Tharakrit Thapthongsit, deputy chief of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) Region 2, was behind the move, and was acting on behalf of Gen Prawit [Wongsuwan].”

Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit immediately denied any involvement.

An earlier report stated that Lt Gen Tharakit was “invited to preside over a foundation-stone laying ceremony of King Rama V statue at a learning centre of sufficiency economy philosophy in Sung Noen district on Sunday on behalf of Gen Prawit.” Praphat was reported to have arranged the royalist ceremony.

The two “announced the establishment of the People‘s Sovereignty Party after Lt Gen Tharakit left [the ceremony].”





Sinking farmers

12 10 2016

The junta is now playing navies. It isn’t sinking ships, it is sinking farmers, all in the name of  protecting its Bangkok-based supporters.

Readers may recall that the giant 2011 floods were all blamed on Yingluck Shinawatra and her government. Some of those criticisms were fair, especially regarding initial coordination of agencies. Many were politicized attacks, essentially blaming Yingluck’s government for the weather.

The junta has been saying for a couple of months that floods were not likely to be a problem. This was narrowed to assure Bangkok and some of the industrial estates (flooded in 2011) that there was no likelihood of flooding in 2016.

In fact, there is widespread flooding this year, as there has long been in Thailand’s wet season. As in 2011, it is unfair to blame the junta for the weather. That said, the junta can be chastised for making stupid claims that there won’t be floods and for poor coordination and for its lack of concern for farmers.

The Bangkok Post: has decided that farmers in Ayutthaya can be flooded up to their necks as authorities “divert flood water in riverside communities to water-retention areas [sic.] to reduce the impact of the floods.” They mean reduce the impact for Bangkok and surrounding areas.

The flooding of rice fields to about 1.5-2 meters follows the “advice” of the king on how to flood farmers and protect Bangkok, called kaem ling.

Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan has declared that “the government has tried its best to prevent run-off from the North from flowing into Bangkok.”

He “urged affected farmers whose farmland is being used for retaining flood water to understand the need to divert water into their paddy fields.” He seems to be telling them to understand that Bangkok and its people trump farmers, their houses, stock, crops and families. That is, after all, the political message to rural people since the coup.





“Good corruption”

9 10 2016

We think the royalist and yellow-hued media we are reading is a reasonably good reflective of the anti-democrat position on corruption. To be blunt, the broad consensus is that the military regime’s nepotism, corruption and its lack of transparency is a “small price” to pay for keeping the hated Thaksin Shinawatra and the feared red shirts at bay.

Yet a couple of recent cases covered-up by the military dictatorship and its puppets have involved complaints from yellow shirts that are now buried.

SnoutsA day or so ago, the grand old palace schemer and anti-democratic stalwart General Prem Tinsulanonda again babbled on about corruption. We say he babbled not because he is an old man but because he doesn’t mean it. He says things that lots of people can agree with, but in practice its all double standards. He still seems  keen to give all his support to the junta and The Dictator, meaning he simply ignores the corruption of those he thinks are doing the “right” work of “good people” for the self-important “greats” of Thai society.

The junta itself loves the benefits it and its wives, sons, daughters, and others allied with them gain through the junta’s monopolization of political power. Accused of corruption and the only response is cover-ups and denials. They also manage a bunch of flunkies who repeatedly say the junta’s and military’s corruption is not corruption and everything is above board. They often add that there are opponents saying “false” things.

Just in the past few days, the Auditor General and the National Anti-Corruption Commission, in a couple of blunt moves has cleared junta people of any wrongdoing on a couple of seemingly shaky deals.

One was General Prawit Wongsuwan’s Hawaii trip with more than three dozen others that cost the taxpayer far more than it should have. Even without all the details, the Auditor General Pisit Leelavachiropas “confirmed” that Prawit’s trip “was free of irregularities related to the flights and their meals.” (Pisit did not comment on the junta’s arrogance.)

Pisit’s decision seems to also have been influenced by some ridiculous notion of nationalism when he “asked rhetorically if it would be suitable for the delegates to walk down from the plane of another country at an airport reception ceremony.”

Pisit came up with a bunch of other even lamer excuses that can only have come from the junta. We say that because we doubt there are others so lame as to come up with these lamest of lame excuses and think they make any sort of sense.money_down_toilet 2

Only a couple of weeks ago, Pisit was proposing “strong limits on reform of spending on ‘extravagant’ journeys.” Of course, he was hot under the collar about “members of the previous parliaments,” not his military buddies and bosses. (The trip mentioned in the story is of “then House speaker Somsak Kiatsura-nont with 37 others, including journalists and his daughter.” How much did it cost? 7 million baht. How many buddies did Prawit transport and how much did that cost, just for the plane trip?)

Hypocrisy? You bet. But dolts and puppets like Pisit are making an implicit “comparison” of “bad politicians” with “good people” serving the interests of Thailand’s “great and good.”

The other case is the claims of nepotism involving The Dictator and his brother General Preecha Chan-ocha. The NACC reportedly “dropped a complaint against former permanent secretary for defence [General] Preecha …, who was accused of abusing his power to appoint his son as an army officer.”

The NACC, falsely labelled in the report as a “graft watchdog” claimed “insufficient facts to back claims of dereliction of duty against Gen Preecha which led to the much-criticised appointment of his son, Patipat, as acting sub-lieutenant handling civil affairs in the 3rd Army Region.”

The puppet “NACC found Gen Preecha was empowered to approve selections of personnel for jobs in the military.” In making this point, the NACC is assuring us that it is unable to understand notions of conflict of interest, at least where the junta and military is involved.