Protecting the judiciary

26 07 2015

It has become increasingly common for the judiciary to “protect” itself. This “protection” appears to have originated as the red shirt movement developed and became critical of the obvious double standards displayed by the judiciary following the 2006 palace-military coup.

The judiciary has been manipulated to become an important arm of the royalist elite in maintaining its rule, taking on some of the work of the king as he allocated it more responsibility in dealing with the elite’s perception of threats from electoral politics.

A recent example of this self-protective behavior is the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a “one-year prison term, without suspension, imposed on Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit and former party MP Kiat-udom Menasawat for defaming former Constitutional Court president Wasan Soypisudh.”

Wasan’s defamation lawsuit “said they wrongfully accused him during a press conference on June 8, 2010, of acting inappropriately and lacking judicial ethics and impartiality.” We have more on Wasan’s bias below.

Earlier, the Criminal Court had “found the pair guilty of defamation and sentenced them to one year in prison, suspended, and fined them 50,000 baht.” Wasan and several of his royalist buddies were enraged and the Appeals Court “lifted the suspension, ruling the defendants had intentionally insulted the judge and discredited the judiciary, despite being well-educated and holding political positions. The Supreme Court upheld that decision.”

As if to emphasize double standards, the “Supreme Court overruled an Appeals Court ruling and acquitted former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban … of defaming Prommin Letsuridej, a former executive of the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai Party in 2006. The court also upheld the prior acquittal of former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Ong-art Klampaibul of the Democrat Party on similar charges.”

Back to Wasan. He was, until 2013, a politicized judge at the head of a politicized Constitutional Court. PPT has had several posts on his activities. The Constitutional Court has been irretrievably biased in favor of the royalist elite. This court has been shown to be corrupt and colluded with members of the elite, including in the palace. The Constitutional Court repeatedly acted as the judicial arm of the royalist elite, most notably in its actions to dissolve various pro-Thaksin Shinawatra parties and politicians and in its protection of favored parties and groups. Its actions to stymie legal constitutional change have been some of the most biased and ludicrous cases ever seen in Thailand.

The court’s politicized decision-making has been central to the political conflicts of the past decade and Wasan has even stated the biases of the court:

At a seminar on the court’s role in keeping the balance in Thai politics, he referred to the court’s resolution to dissolve the People Power, Chart Thai and Matchima Thipataya parties [the 2008 judicial coup]. If various groups had not staged so many rallies at the time, the decision might have been different, he said. “If the country at that time had been peaceful, the government and the opposition could have joined hands, the country could have moved forward, and I believe most of the judges would have decided not to dissolve the parties,” he said. “But the country at that time was chaotic and the Constitution Court had to use its judgement to maintain law and order,” he said, adding however that the court was under no pressure.

Wasan did more than any other judge to politicize the Constitutional Court. His politicized career included strong connections with  the Democrat Party, having interned with  are long. The report states the royal leader of the early Democrat Party, Seni Pramoj.

As a Supreme Court judge, it was Wasan who dished out the two-year imprisonment term on Thaksin for allegedly assisting his wife in the Ratchada land purchase deal.

He also played a role in stripping red-shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan of his parliamentary election victory by ruling that his incarceration on bogus charges meant he was ineligible.

Was he defamed? Not if it is considered that the defendants told the truth about a corrupt and biased judge. Yet the judiciary wants to protect its capacity for politicized interventions.





Lese majeste this week

11 12 2013

Despite the political crisis, the royalist courts continue to prosecute ridiculous lese majeste charges.

The Asian Human Rights Commission reports on one case:

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-154-2013

11 December 2013
———————————————————————
THAILAND: Court to read verdict in freedom of expression case

ISSUES: Freedom of expression, right to fair trial
———————————————————————

Dear friends,

On 11 December 2013, at 9 am in the Bangkok Southern Criminal Court on Sathorn Road, the Supreme Court verdict will be read in the case of Bantit (last name withheld), charged with violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code in Black Case No. 725/2548 (Red Case No. 1483/2549), will be read. The reading of the verdict, which had been scheduled initially for September 2013, was postponed due to illness of the defendant. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) urges all concerned persons to attend the court as observers, and calls on other interested persons to follow the case closely.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Bantit (last name withheld) is a 73-year-old writer and translator of over 30 books who has been accused of violating Article 112, the measure in the Thai Criminal Code that stipulates that, “Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished (with) imprisonment of three to fifteen years.” His case is a clear example of the use of Article 112 to constrict freedom of information and contribute to the creation of a climate of fear.

During an academic seminar on 22 September 2003, Bantit Aneeya made comments and distributed leaflets containing his opinions and ideas. Subsequently, General Wassana Phermlarp, a former member of the Election Commission and General Secretary of the Anti-Money Laundering Office, filed charges with the police accusing his speech and leaflets of containing material that defamed the monarchy.

In March 2006, the Court of First Instance judged Bantit to be guilty and sentenced him to four years in prison. However, the Court chose to suspend this sentence due to his claim of schizophrenia. In 2009, the Appeal Court reversed the suspension of the sentence on the basis that Bantit was aware of the illegality of his actions and sentenced him to two years and eight months in prison. Unlike many other Article 112 cases, throughout the appeal process, Bantit has been permitted bail by the Appeal Court. This decision by the Supreme Court could then result in Bantit being forced to serve a prison term for his ideas.

Khaosod reports on this case and two others in the courts this week. In addition to Bundith’s case, it notes that on 12 December, the Criminal Court “will decide the case in which Mr. Kittithon (surname withheld), a 51 year old retail shop owner in Samut Prakarn province, is accused of posting contents on internet that insult the monarchy.”

PPT has not hear of this case previously. Kittithon was reportedly “arrested at his home on 30 August by dozens of police officers who also raided his house…”. The case is interesting because the police claim they found “materials defaming members of the Thai royal family stored by Mr. Kittithon in his computer.” The prosecutor concluded and told the court that he “intended to post these materials on the internet later.”

In other words, this is supposition. However, as in many lese majeste cases, the defendant is said to have “confessed.”

The third case is to be heard on 13 December in Chiang Mai. It involves Mr. Asawin (surname withheld) who is “alleged of claiming the name of His Majesty the King in business dealing.” Asawin contests the charge, claiming that “he has been falsely implicated by rival business owners.”

With the monarchy in decline, the demands for enforcing lese majeste expand.

Meanwhile, some of the politically inept in the Puea Thai Party are trying to use lese majeste against their opponents:

Pheu Thai Party spokesman has accused the leader of the anti-government protests of disrespecting the monarchy in his campaign to unseat Prime Minister Yingluck.

In a press conference, Mr. Prompong Nopparit criticised the secretary-general of People′s Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King as Head of State (PCAD), Mr. Suthep Thaugsuban, for refusing to stop his protests even though the Prime Minister has already dissolved the parliament and called new election.

Again, PPT has to question the political judgement of such dopey politics. Have people like Prompong learned nothing over the past decade? This is dumb politics, politically regressive, and the stuff of Puea Thai’s opponents. Prompong should be ashamed of himself.





Avoid the slippery slope

19 08 2013

A report at Khaosod suggests that the Puea Thai Party-led government is poised at the summit of an authoritarian slippery slope.

The report states that Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit has threatened to use the draconian computer crimes law to deal with nasty and untrue social media criticism of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The Party might suggest that silencing criticism is one thing and that restricting mad royalist lies is another matter. This is true, but silencing their opponents is a slippery slope to authoritarianism.

In these cases, some of the horrid sexism directed at Yingluck by people like Mallika Boonmeetrakul, the deputy spokeswoman of the Democrat Party, who allegedly doctored a picture of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, implying she is a slut, is reprehensible.

That said, Mallika only plays to a narrow and rabid yellow shirted lot, and they have been circulating such swill for a very long time. Censoring them using draconian, military junta laws does more damage to the Puea Thai Party than to the Democrat Party and yellow-shirted royalists.





Democrat Party men in black II

15 10 2012

PPT originally put some of this post as an update to our earlier one on the Democrat Party’s “rally” and repeated claims about so-called men in black. As more news has come out, we have made this a second part of that earlier post.

In the first place, we want to draw attention to Siam Voices and its useful account of the Democrat Party “rally” of supporters. That post mirrors several of the points PPT made in our earlier post and highlights Abhisit’s repeated claims that “men in black” were the cause of all violence. It is noted that the rally was “primarily held to fire up their own supporter base…” and, we would add, probably also to try to combat polling that repeatedly indicates that the Puea Thai government remains well ahead of the Democrat Party. Siam Voices points out: “what is particularly striking is the apparent willingness of the Democrat Party to still overlook the role of the military during the protests…”. In fact. it does more than “overlook;” the party and its leadership repeatedly reject the evidence that the military murdered people.

A second point to note is that Thaksin Shinawatra has gone on the (legal) attack, with the Bangkok Post reporting that he has instructed lawyers to sue Democrat Party leader “Abhisit [Vejjajiva], deputy party leader Korn Chatikavanij, Surat Thani MP Suthep Thaugsuban, Songkhla MP Sirichok Sopha and Rayong MP Sathit Pitutecha” for the claims they made regarding Thaksin’s alleged links to the “men in black.” A complaint was to be made with the Lumpini police.

Puea Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said ‘[t]hese leading members of the Denocrat Party [sic. Deni-ocrat? Democrat?] had accused Thaksin of being behind the men in black…. [and] said it was not true that Thaksin was took command of the men in black with an intention of causing loss of lives and using the people as his tool to return to power. Thaksin had never joined in any meeting or given any order for action.  He did not know who the men in black were…”.





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.





Silencing red shirts

31 07 2012

The Constitutional Court is continuing its efforts to silence red shirt and other opposition criticism. In a recent post we noted that the Constitutional Court was seeking to do this, and it has now lodged complaints against more than 80 red shirts and opposition politicians! That’s EIGHTY!

In addition, at The Nation, it is reported that the Criminal Court found Puea Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit and his co-defendant Kiatudom Menasahwat “guilty of libel and handed down a one-year jail term suspended for two years due to their first offence” and a fine for “omitting to verify the information before holding a press conference to attack Constitution Court president Wasan Soypisudh on June 3, 2010.”

It is stated that the court “said the pair had maliciously and falsely portrayed Wasan for lacking impartiality.”

To be honest, we are not aware of exactly what the pair said about Wasan. However, we are sure that the judge is not impartial. PPT has numerous posts that speak to the corrupt and biased activities of this most politicized of Thai courts. We won’t repeat it all here as there is just too much, including video evidence of corruption and consideration of verdicts with others. It seems the royalist judiciary is sticking together.

Prompong said he would appeal the verdict.





Puea Thai failing red shirts I

28 04 2012

This post could have been titled “Puea Thai failing red shirts on justice III,” yet as the focus is moved away from justice and is more on the failure of the Puea Thai government, we have chosen a slightly reduced headline.

A report at The Nation alludes to the remarkable capitulation of the Puea Thai Party to the interests of the royalist elite.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said of her “non-political,” red shirt deserting visit to “pay homage” to the near-devaraja “elder statesman”:

We talked and exchanged views about the many projects under General Prem’s various foundations. There was no talk about politics. General Prem is not involved with politics….

This “talk” more or less guarantees that even more taxpayer money will go down a royalist rat hole.

Perhaps more significant was Deputy Premier Yutthasak Sasiprapha’s comment that “he thought Yingluck was likely to have discussed national reconciliation with Prem,” although he wasn’t privy to the personal talk the premier had with the privy councilor. He swore he didn’t even ask her afterwards. Because he didn’t ask, she didn’t tell, so he could not:

confirm speculation that Yingluck had apologised to Prem for her brother, ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who earlier had identified the elder statesman as his arch-rival and had accused him of political interference.

He could confirm that “the government would seek Prem’s advice on problems in running the country.”And he added that the “prime minister respects him in a way a young person does a senior person.”

Yutthasak could also affirm that the almost supine Puea Thai government had:

offered to revive Prem’s Love Thailand sport project. Yingluck also offered government support to Prem’s projects in the deep South, including one that provides scholarships to local students.

This capitulation to a person who planned a coup, backed it, and worked vigorously to have red shirts defeated, jailed and incessantly supported the overturning of pre-Puea Thai governments and parties, represents a remarkable insult to all of those who supported Puea Thai because they considered it was the alternative to the royalist version of Thai-style democracy.

If it is possible, party spokesman Prompong Nopparit makes matters worse by treating red shirts as fools when he “dismisse[s] media reports that many red-shirt supporters of Pheu Thai were unhappy about Yingluck meeting Prem.” He knows this is a huge lie and stating it is adding injury to insult. One thing that red shirts have wanted is an end to lies and double standards and Prompong’s party has betrayed them.

At least deputy premier Yongyuth Wichaidit was more truthful when he said “that it was normal for some red shirts to be dissatisfied.”

Even opposition leader and inveterate dissembler Abhisit Vejjajiva got it right when he observed that Puea Thai’s sudden embrace of Prem meant “red-shirt supporters [of the party] were confused…”. PPT would add that Abhisit and his lot are probably just as confused, seeing “their” royalists dealing with Thaksin, Yingluck and Puea Thai.

It is interesting to note that red shirt leader Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn was clear when she said the red shirts were still firm about “fighting against the ‘elitocracy’ to achieve a democracy in which the sovereignty really belongs to the people”. Her view is that:

her movement still adhered to its “two-leg strategy” – one leg being the Pheu Thai Party and the other the red-shirt group – with the two legs moving independently and not obstructing the other, in a bid to achieve the ultimate goal.

While Thida added that “a number of red shirts disagreed with government figures meeting Prem,” she might have also observed that one of the so-called legs was now withered and essentially useless.

At the Bangkok Post, there is more assessment of the “homage” paid to Prem, noting red shirt opposition and more. It begins with a comment by red shirt leader Chinawat Haboonpat who:

said that many of his cohorts had phoned him to complain about the Prem meeting. He said the red shirts were severely disappointed about the meeting because they had lost their jobs, their husbands and children during their past political battles and many of them remained in jail.

Political scientist Kasian Tejapira said “the visit represented a symbolic reconciliation among the two main rival groups in Thai politics of recent years, arguing that it was a:

culmination rather than the start of this process, which seemed to have begun late last year in the aftermath of the big flood. Each side has to yield somewhat and give up the non-essential parts of their interests….

If ditching and demobilizing red shirts is the “non-essential” part of Puea Thai’s interests, then the party is probably doomed to be just another elite party.

Kasian thinks that the “deal” bringing Thaksin Shinawatra/Puea Thai and the royalist elite back together is “a raw deal” for red shirts but that it is the “only feasible political deal at the moment, given the present balance of political forces…”. He argues that real justice will be achieved if the red shirts break from “the current Thaksin-directed Pheu Thai Party…”. That break, he says, will take time.

Another political scientist, Puangthong Rungswasdisab declared that “Yingluck was compelled to walk the reconciliation path with Gen Prem because of Thaksin’s need to return home.” She a split between Puea Thai and its “large support base especially from the red shirts.” She declared that:

since the red shirts have become politically aware, it will not be easy for a few individuals in leadership positions to strike a deal and impose peace on the people…. “The red shirts are no pawns. They exist in large numbers. They could topple a leader if they unite. People in leadership positions must consider this factor.”

Tellingly, it was the royalist Gothom Arya who “hailed the meeting between Gen Prem and Ms Yingluck and said the meeting could be seen as a political symbol of some kind.”

Of course, there are plenty of other rumors about what’s happening: the palace is split, Prem feels that he can still control succession even with Thaksin “reconciled,” it’s all about Thaksin’s return, it’s the deal that was made early in 2011, and so on.

In our next post, PPT turns to the meaning of the betrayal perpetrated by Thaksin and Puea Thai.

 





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.

 





Using the emergency decree

7 07 2010

With the emergency decree in place for a further 6 months, the government’s Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) continues to make good use of it.

The latest example involves threats against the Puea Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit. He has made accusations that 11 red shirts are being detained at a military camp in Kanchanaburi and has called for investigations by, for example, by the National Human Rights Commission.

CRES spokesman and yellow-shirt pin-up boy Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd responded that CRES “had asked” the police and military in the province and they say no red shirts are held. So Colonel Sansern now threatens the opposition party spokesman with jail.

Sansern said the CRES would “ask police to summon Mr Prompong for questioning, so he could provide the information to the CRES. He said Bangkok is under a state of emergency and providing false information causing misunderstanding among the public and the media is prohibited. If Mr Prompong fails to provide sufficient information and a clear explanation for the allegation to the CRES, he will face being charged with distributing false information under the emergency decree…”. This could lead to 2 years jail and a fine.

Abhisit-style democracy now involves threatening all opposition, even that associated with parliamentary politics.





Updated: PAD rallies, legal delays and class

22 04 2010

Update: Prachatai has pictures and video of Silom skirmishes here.

***

While some in the media pretend that the pink shirt/multi-color/no color shirt, holding mainly small  rallies opposed to the red shirts, are “new,” other have been less disingenuous and acknowledge that these rallies are organized and led by People’s Alliance for Democracy. At the same time, their songbook is from an earlier era of anti-communist ultra-nationalism (Songs). As the PAD-led demonstrators briefly clash with red shirts (see here also), the Bangkok Post (22 April 2010) reports that the “prosecution has again deferred its decision whether to indict nine leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) in connection with the 193-day seizure of Government House in 2008.” 16 June is now the date set for a decision on whether to prosecute this case from 2008.

One interesting story about the anti-red shirt rallies refers to a claim by Puea Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit claim that “the rallies by the no-colour people group had violated the emergency law, but the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situations and police had taken no action. This was a clear double standard.”

He further claimed “that a group of businessmen had given 100 million baht to support the organising of pro-government demonstrations.” He stated that government “politicians had called on their  supporters to gather, and  businessmen linked to four giant firms provided financial support. He did not name  the four companies.”

PPT doesn’t doubt that funding and organization is required to rally – the same is true for the red shirts, who night after night read out the names of those donating money to the rally and receive support from Puea Thai politicians. That is not the same as saying that these demonstrators are paid or duped. There’s considerable and genuine feeling and emotion invested on sides in these rallies.

What was even more interesting was the observation that the shirted rallies are “a clear case of class division; on one side the capitalists who back Mr Abhisit [Vejjajiva], government politicians, the armed forces and the aristocratic elite, and on the other side the grassroots-class people.” The images from the Saladaeng intersection of a razor-wired Silom business district protected by fully-armed troops and two groups of people facing off who look very different.