Following the junta’s orders

4 07 2014

Every person in Thailand knows that the military junta wanted to direct what the constitution would look like, when they decide that the time is right to use a charter.

Interestingly, the Bangkok Post has reported on some of the requirements the dictatorship will ensure are in place.The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha is said to be “personally leading discussions on what should go into Thailand’s 18th constitution…”.

Junta boss Prayuth “chaired a meeting Thursday at army headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Avenue to examine details of the draft of the 45-section provisional charter…”. It was drawn up by a group of trusted royalist conservatives, including the detestable legal flunkey Wissanu Krea-ngam. He has reportedly “served seven different prime ministers and worked with ten different administrations throughout the course of his political career,” and that was only up to 2012. Now he serves another military dictatorship, doing its bidding on the charter. Here is an individual willing to do anything he is asked provided the fee is sufficient and the ego massaged sufficiently.

Wissanu Krua-ngarm (sometimes Krea-ngam), is a former deputy prime minister under Thaksin Shinawatra who jumped ship and went to the support of the royalists. Since then, he has accrued a remarkable number of company directorships, perhaps as his reward. He says these many corporate directorships and chairman positions for companies like Loxley Public Company Limited and Post Publishing Company Limited, are given to him because “those companies belong to my friends.” He was mentioned in a Wikileaks cable: “Prem [Tinsulanonda] had signaled his intentions and intimidated two cabinet members (Cabinet Secretary Borwornsak Uwanno and Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam) into resigning in June. Pansak [Vinyaratn] claimed that Prem had sent a clear signal by asking their view on whether constitutional provisions allowing the King to take on a political role might be invoked in the event of Thaksin’s death.”

The Post reports that the “draft interim charter provides for the establishment of a 200-member national legislative assembly, a 250-member national reform council and a 35-member constitution drafting committee responsible for writing a permanent charter.” All of those positions will be carefully screened by the junta. Apparently Wissanu needed only ten minutes to “brief” the junta on its basic “law.”

The interim charter gives the junta “special powers over the interim government to deal with security issues, as well as to grant amnesty to members of the junta who seized power from the Yingluck administration on May 22.”

Yes, you read it right, AMNESTY! PPT does recall that there was considerable disdain for the last effort to grant an amnesty, leading to large demonstrations that resulted in the anti-democratic movement and the opportunity for them and then the military to overthrow yet another government. Where are the complaints now? Back then, public pressure forced the Yingluck Shinawatra government to immediately withdraw its poorly conceived amnesty bill. Now, when a military junta wants an amnesty, there is not a peep from Bangkok’s anti-democratic middle class. Their bleating about amnesty turns out to be just one more example of enormous double standards.

The hireling explained that it was “normal” for those who ran unlawful coups to get amnesty. It is also normal for them to hire mouthpieces to say this for them. It may be normal on both counts, but it remains reprehensible.

One of the junta’s main “prescriptions” for the constitution is said to be “a measure to regulate national budget spending and prevent misspending of state funds on populist policies that would jeopardise the financial system…”. We assume that the junta will exclude its own populism from the requirement.

Wissanu was able to confirm that the military dictatorship is happy with his consultant services, and “there should be no problem with the draft and when the final document is ready…”. Of course not, for he just follows Prayuth’s directives. In fact, Prayuth reportedly instructed the legal flunkies “to make changes to the draft as suggested by the junta.” We suggest that Prayuth’s “suggestions” are orders.

These directives require the “reform council” demanded by Suthep Thaugsuban’s anti-democrats, making it clear that Suthep’s claims about his dealing and planning with Prayuth clear.