Threatening Yingluck’s supporters

11 08 2017

The military dictatorship’s fears around Yingluck Shinawatra’s next court appearance grow by the day.

We have mentioned several of the junta’s efforts to undermine any displays of support for her. As the junta does these things it also reveals the deep-seated “beliefs” that underpin the broad yellow-shirted anti-Thaksin movement about the Shinawatra clan and red shirts.

Essentially, that view is that, as Thaksin’s voters were, Yingluck’s supporters are paid, duped and/or ignorant.

So it is no surprise that The Nation reports that the Ministers of Interior and Defense have been told that “local administrative organisations had misused their budgets by funding trips to Bangkok for ‘hidden’ political motives.” While no evidence is produced for such claims, the notion is that ignorant villagers are being “used” by “political interests.” Those ministers have been ordered to ensure that there are no more of these claimed “paid” trips to Bangkok.

Taking the “villagers are stupid” line further, The Dictator has ordered uniformed thugs “to ask people gathering in support of Yingluck whether they knew why they were attending the event and whether they had travelled on their own or were mobilised in large groups.”

These “allegations that free transport is being provided for people to travel from the provinces to Bangkok” actually appear to originate in the social media accounts of rabid yellow shirts and other anti-democrats.

Deputy Dictator and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan “also said he had heard people would be brought from the provinces in large numbers to support Yingluck.

The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, reckons “some” Yingluck supporters “go because [they] … are hired to do so…”.

He warns/threatens that “Yingluck’s supporters … must not violate the law, express contempt for the court, create chaos, violate other peoples’ rights or cause traffic congestion.”





Fear and repression

10 08 2017

Part of the fear that consumes the military junta is self-created by its fear of the Shinawatra clan. Seeking to punish Yingluck as a way of also damaging Thaksin’s popularity and wealth has come to be viewed as vindictive. Clearly, the fear that has developed over the pending verdict means the military dictatorship has doubled-down on repression.

The police bullying of van drivers for transporting Yingluck supporters is one petty example of this deep fear of responses to the outcome of the trial.

The concocted treason/sedition charges against two Puea Thai Party politicians and a critical journalist are another example. And, we can’t help feeling that the enforced disappearance of Wuthipong Kachathamakul or Ko Tee is related to the junta’s efforts to shut down criticism and opposition before the Yingluck verdict.

Likewise, it is no repressive coincidence that the junta puppets at the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has banned the red shirt Peace TV for a month.

The military regime has now declared that it “will not lift its restrictions on political activities any time soon owing to the unstable state of Thai politics and the number of pending lawsuits against politicians…”.

Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwan “explained” that only he and The Dictator can decide on when Thais can participate in political activities (unless they are a junta political ally). He paternalistic statement was: “Wait until I feel happy [with the situation] and I will see to it the restrictions are lifted…”. He cited a “number of important legal cases that are passing through the justice system which could have a destabilising impact on society and politics.”

He went on to warn that “security” would be tightened for Yingluck’s next court appearance.

It is as if the junta knows the court’s decision and is seeking to prevent any response by Yingluck supporters.





Updated: Watch(ing) PAD

4 08 2017

In an earlier post we mentioned that the former members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy were angry and bitter regarding the sudden, probably temporary suspension of gross double standards by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions in clearing 2008 prime minister Somchai Wongsawat and three others over their role in the attempt at clearing of PAD protesters.

The Bangkok Post reports that, after PAD core member Suriyasai Katasila called a meeting of the yellow-hued group for today to discuss what PAD might do, he’s been warned.

The first thing to note is that PAD is always said to be defunct. We have never believed this as all of the various groups that tried to bring down the Yingluck Shinawatra government were PAD clones, including the People’s Democratic Reform Committee. They were all political siblings. The second thing to recall is that the military junta dislikes and distrusts all groups that are able to mobilize people, and PAD can do that. That the red shirts can too but are not allied in any way with the junta makes them double trouble.

Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwan reportedly issued “a stern warning Thursday to yellow-shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) demonstrators to strictly comply with the 2016 public gathering law amid speculation the group might try to stir up trouble.”

Prawit’s warning, however, seems only to relate to street protests. He seems less concerned about a PAD meeting.

Meanwhile, “Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has 30 days to appeal against the court ruling as allowed by the constitution.”

PAD and its supporter’s response to this ruling is also motivated by its desire to see Yingluck locked away and/or stripped of every satang that is in her name. They fear that Somchai’s acquittal may portend Yingluck walking free. Given the attention the junta has given Yingluck’s case, we doubt that.

Update: Unlike red shirts, it seems PAD can have political meetings and disagree with Supreme Court decisions and call for “justice.”





Further updated: Ko Tee disappeared?

31 07 2017

Social media lit up this afternoon with speculation that Ko Tee or Wuthipong Kachathamakul has been “disappeared.”

Over months and years, the military junta has been hunting Ko Tee, alleging lese majeste, anti-monarchy plots and more, while Ko Tee has poked back, angering the short-tempered royalist generals who are Thailand’s dictators.

The speculation is that the military dictatorship has sent teams of assassins to hunt him down.

Update 1: Khaosod reports that:

Word that Wutthipong “Ko Tee” Kochathmmakun had been abducted began spreading early Monday morning by another exile, Los Angeles-based journalist Jom Petchpradab. Jom wrote that Ko Tee was abducted by 10 armed Thai men in all black and wearing hoods Saturday night in Laos and likely taken back into Thailand.

Jom’s report remains unverified, but if this is an enforced disappearance, then there will be silence. Khaosod continues:

Jom said his account was based on that of two men who were with Ko Tee at the time but either were not taken or managed to get free.

He quoted the two unidentified friends, who claimed their heads were covered with cloth while another piece of cloth was stuffed into the mouths of all three as they were dragged into a residence.

“Those who arrested us spoke Thai,” Jom wrote, quoting the men. “They used an electric shock device and applied it to our necks. Each of us was then assaulted and threatened to not make any noise, not to cry out. At the same time, [the source] said he heard Ko Tee say, ‘Ouch. Can’t breath,’ and then Ko Tee went quiet.”

Jom also posted photos of what were described as the cloth and plastic wrist restraints used in the abduction.

A fellow activist, Nithiwat Wannasiri, “said he was unsure whether Ko Tee had been abducted but said no one has been able to contact him since Saturday.”

The story then refers to the earlier disappearance of another activist:

[Nithiwat] … added that he wouldn’t be surprised because a lesser-known dissident, Ittipon Sukpaen, aka DJ Sunho, disappeared from Laos in June 2016, and no one has seen him since.

“I believe Sunho is dead. I can’t conclude if Ko Tee has been forced to disappear, however,” Nithiwat said from Laos.

An attorney representing Ittipon’s family said in July 2016 they also believed he was dead.

It appears that there was a warning from Lao authorities:

A member of the Thai dissident community living in Laos said they were warned by Laotian authorities last week that they were “being hunted down” by those from the other side of the border, a reference to Thai authorities. Many temporarily moved to safer locations, the source said, requesting anonymity for fear of his safety.

Update 2: The Bangkok Post has reported on this, in somewhat odd terms. In a photo insert quoting Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwan using the usual Sgt Schultz line, the report states that the “rumor” is that Ko Tee was “rounded up by troops while hiding in Laos.” We assume the report means Thai troops operating either clandestinely in Laos or with the connivance of the government there. It adds that the military dictatorship has been keen to have Ko Tee silenced, to “prevent his group criticising the Thai regime via community radio stations based in Laos.”





The surveillance state

13 07 2017

Who knew? Well, the “authorities” probably did. The Bangkok Post reports that Thailand’s state has “a network of 27 agencies” that spy on its citizens.

The news emerges as a “security commission” headed by Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwan “has approved another reform plan aimed at improving the government’s intelligence work…”.

It is reported that the “27 agencies, some of which are state enterprises, have much useful data but this would be optimised if they were interlinked to help identify threats…”. As we know, almost all efforts identified as “intelligence” are targeted at domestic “targets” and that most are related to dopey notions of “protecting the monarchy.”

“Intelligence” is said to be “mainly overseen by the National Intelligence Agency under the Prime Minister’s Office.”





How’s that “election” shaping up?

12 07 2017

General Prayuth Chan-ocha seems to think he knows the mind of King Vajiralongkorn. We say this because The Nation reports that The Dictator has again postponed discussion of an “election” by reference to the king.

Prayuth declared that the timing for the next general “election” was for him to contemplate. He said the timing needed to be “appropriate.” That could mean a time when he thinks the military junta can be assured of its outcome. But he went on to state that the “election” would “definitely be after the ceremony for King Rama IX’s cremation and King Rama X’s ceremonial accession to the throne.”

We know when the dead king will be ceremoniously sent off, at huge expense, but we no nothing about coronation or why this ceremonial event should have an impact on any “election.”

Prayuth declared: “So, next year, let’s talk about it, but you should in the meantime prepare for it. Everything is on the roadmap… When the time comes, how can I stop it?”

That’s as clear as mud.

In case anyone was thinking that the military is trying to control politics into the future (of course it is), Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwan “reiterated that the military never wanted to get involved in politics, and that they would end their roles once the national election had taken place.”

We don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Not only is this the big lie that the military has continuously perpetrated for 85 years, and while it enriches itself and its generals, but we doubt anyone in Thailand believes such lies.

We can’t even understand why Prawit says it. It just makes him look silly and idiotic. We guess that the yes-men around him nod politely when he babbles like this, so, detached from reality, he re-babbles it in public.

He did add that “he could not give any assurance that a coup would not take place again, as nobody knew what would happen in the future.”

We do know that the politicized military covets power, covets the use of taxpayer money for its equipment purchases and for the wonderful commissions it provides. Future military leaders are as just as corrupt and grasping as this generation.





“Everyone must adhere to the law”

27 06 2017

Knuckle-draggers, knuckle-heads and other anti-democrats have gotten pretty darn agitated by Yingluck Shinawatra’s recent tears. We don’t imagine that any of them can see past their hatred of a popular politician and her troubles as concocted by the military dictatorship.

But one line by Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwan caught our eye. In dismissing Yingluck, he reportedly stated that “everyone must adhere to the law.”

Prawit is the nitwit with the tongue

If that were true, he wouldn’t be Deputy Dictator and illegal coup-makers would be jailed.

If that were true, the popcorn gunman wouldn’t have been acquitted.

If that were true, the Thai Rak Thai Party would not have been dissolved using law retrospectively.

If that were true, the military dictatorship would have 3,000 people awaiting trial for reposting a BBC Thai story on King Vajiralongkorn.

If that were true, there would have been an investigation of the theft of the 1932 plaque.

If that were true, all those committing torture, disappearances and so on, would be jailed.

If that were true, military murders would be jailed.

If that were true, the Red Bull killer would be in jail.

If that were true…. We don’t need to go on. This general is a nasty nitwit.