Looking right

1 08 2021

There’s a lot of social media attention to political instability. There’s even rumors of a coup continuing to circulate.

In the English-language press, Chairith Yonpiam, assistant news editor at the Bangkok Post, wonders about Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s future as premier. He points to the “harsh words by MC [a princely title] Chulcherm Yugala, a staunch royalist, against the Prayut Chan-o-cha government, denouncing its poor handling of the Covid-19 outbreak…”. Chairith reckons that the old prince’s words “have stunned political observers and supporters of the prime minister” as the “prince’s criticism has triggered wild speculation over a possible new prime minister endorsed by the palace.”

Chulcherm reckoned “he would even consider joining the pro-democracy movement after its high-profile series of street protests, should its leadership drop their anti-monarchy stance.” Other rightists have been urging this as well, even in a poorly written and anonymous political piece in the same Bangkok Post.

Much of this speculation and urging reflects a perception that Gen Prayuth’s failures threaten the the royalist regime the Palang Pracharath Party. The rightists seem to be moving to a position where Gen Prayuth might be sacrificed in order to save the rightist-military-monarchy regime. As Chairith puts it:

It could be argued that a palace-endorsed PM is the last hope for the right-wing conservative camp in their efforts to maintain power. But having an outside PM rise to power via non-parliamentary means — once an accepted solution to political crises — would be an anachronism in this day and age.

Apirat (r)

The betting seems to be that the alternative premier is Gen Apirat Kongsompong, now a palace groveler-in-chief. But, his ascension would again demonstrate all that is wrong with the monarchy, even if the rightist-royalists may paint the change as another case of a monarch intervening to stem a crisis.At the same time, Gen Apirat is as hopeless as Gen Prayuth, with many of the same characteristics, suggesting that Tweedledum would be replacing Tweedledee, but that’s what the rightist-royalists seems to want.

Meanwhile, General Prayuth says he’s going nowhere. He’s “insisted he will neither resign nor dissolve the House as the country struggles to contain Covid-19… [and] warned politicians [MPs] not to exploit the crisis and incite hatred as that will only worsen the situation.” But it isn’t MPs who are his problem. It’s those who have been his ideological allies.

Further updated: WikiLeaks blocked in Thailand

18 08 2010

The Bangkok Post reports (taking the story from AP) that the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has used the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime’s  emergency powers to block access to the WikiLeaks. The grounds for blocking the site are “national security.” As is well-known, WikiLeaks “is a multi-jurisdictional public service designed to protect whistleblowers, journalists and activists who have sensitive materials to communicate to the public.” WikiLeaks came to international attention a few weeks ago when it released thousands of US administration documents on the military conflict in Afghanistan.

As everyone knows, when the MICT or the broader regime talks “national security,” then they are making a claim about the monarchy. However, the report makes it appear as though the blocking – which, in fact, began haphazardly about a month ago, when WikiLeaks came to prominence – is somehow related to political unrest: “The order came from the government unit set up to oversee the response to political unrest that rocked Bangkok earlier this year…”. It was stated that: “Access to this website has been temporarily suspended under the 2005 emergency decree…”.

But then the report goes on to mention the extensive blocking of pages “mainly for insulting the monarchy, a serious crime punishable by up to 15 years in jail. A special cyber crime agency has also been set up to stamp out online criticism of the royal family.”

A quick survey of WikiLeaks material on Thailand shows the following:

As can be seen, there is a bunch of material readily available. Probably the item that has caused the blocking is the first one, on the prince, his wife and the dog, Fu Fu, but that has already been very widely circulated in Thailand and is well-known now after several years of posting and re-posting.

Update 1: Some readers tell us that WikiLeaks is still accessible via some ISPs in Thailand. As noted above, the blocking has been somewhat haphazard.

Update 2: Readers might find the story by John Pilger on WikiLeaks of some interest. It isn’t on Thailand, but a timely article.

Where are the royals?

16 03 2010

As PPT stated yesterday, Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda was reportedly holed up in a military safe house with his favorite Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. The refuge was provided by the 11th Infantry Regiment that was the subject of a huge red shirt demonstration. It is unclear if he left that site. What about the true royals rather than the pretend one?

The last we heard, the king and queen were under very heavy military protection at Siriraj hospital. Sirindhorn left yesterday to meet up with the military junta in Burma. Ubol Ratana is in reportedly still in Germany. Bajrakitiyabha was shown arriving in Yunnan yesterday. The current major consort of the prince, Srirasmi was shown in Roi-et.

No other royals have been seen in the television reports for the past two days.

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