Corruption and campaigning

14 12 2017

As more pressure comes on the Deputy Dictator and Minister for Bling, General Prawit Wongsuwan, The Dictator continues his campaigning for the unannounced election and his continuing premiership.

While free and fair elections are impossible under the junta’s rules (take note at the EU Council), General Prayuth Chan-ocha continues to campaign for “election.”

Dancing at a royal Disneyland, he “gave away dozens of cows, buffaloes and agricultural tools to farmers before observing an irrigation development project in the afternoon.” He also pork-barrelled, telling “locals how his government had allocated Bt305 million for irrigation development and Bt1.4 billion for three road construction projects.”

From The Nation

Protected by dozens of security guards, this campaign visit was better managed than the awful failure in the south.

As the Bangkok Post reports, Prayuth’s campaign “visits to the provinces with multi-billion-baht budgets to spend” come as he is “refusing party requests to lift the political activity ban…”. For the moment, only the junta is permitted to campaign for the “elections.”

In Kalasin The Dictator told residents not to vote for parties that make promises about raising “farm product prices by intervening in the market,” meaning the Puea Thai Party, but talking of policies his own government has implemented.

He was keen that villagers select him:

For the first time in more than three years, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday positively responded to a request for him to extend his stay in office during his visit to the northeastern province of Kalasin.

“We would like to see the premier in office for another 10 years,” said one unidentified villager, while Prayut told them that if they wanted him to stay, he would consider it.

In our view, there was never any doubt.





Criticism = sedition

11 12 2017

Criticism = sedition if the critic is considered an “opponent,” meaning a red shirt, a Thaksinista or a member of the Puea Thai Party.

A few days ago we posted on Peau Thai Party one-time deputy spokeswoman Sunisa Lertpakawat making some basic criticisms of the military regime which were not all that different from criticisms in the mainstream media.

This led the prickly junta to file charges against her. It has singled out “opponents” in the past for special “legal” attention, including the crude use of lese majeste against Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa as one among several thousand who shared an accurate news story on King Vajiralongkorn.

The junta has now filed a sedition case against her and several more.

The Nation reports that she will report to the police to acknowledge “six charges … for allegedly committing sedition and violating the Computer Crime bill by uploading false information to her Facebook page.

The Dictator and his junta are a gaggle of spineless cowards, unwilling to accept criticism from political opponents. Indeed, in a sign of deepening repression, they are turning on allies in a campaign that cannot go well for Thailand.





Cowardly and prickly

8 12 2017

Peau Thai Party deputy spokeswoman Sunisa Lertpakawat has made some basic and obvious criticisms of the military regime.

According to the Bangkok Post, she has “posted several messages on her Facebook page, criticising the junta on several issues.” After more than three years of absolute control, the junta finds any kind of criticism challenging. In fact, the generals find it demeaning, believing that because they are top dogs, no one can be permitted to criticize them. The critics are but dust under their military boots.

Sunisa made comments about the string of deaths of soldiers and cadets usually beaten and kicked by officers. In another post she lambasted the junta for taking charitable donations for hospitals rather than funding them from the state’s budget. Sunisa also criticized The Dictator for his denigration of rubber farmers in the south.

These are all stories that have had considerable media attention, but the generals, behaving like princelings, can’t abide anything they see as criticism from the Pueau Thai Party.

The prickly junta has now filed a case against her.

Burin Thongprapai, an army staff judge advocate, on Wednesday lodged a complaint against Lt Sunisa at the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD), accusing her of importing false information into a computer system in violation of the Computer Crime Act and the Criminal Code.

Col Burin acted on behalf of the NCPO, which issued an order on the same day to press charges against her.

Sunisa responded appropriately to the junta’s childish bullying:

“If Gen Prayut orders his subordinate to file charges against me because I made too harsh criticisms against them, it means Gen Prayut is not suitable to be the prime minister — he is too cowardly to listen to other people’s opinions.”

These generals consider themselves above the rest of the population. They are despots demanding order and submission.





Fake news/junta lies

24 11 2017

Our last post was about The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha using Article 44 “to amend the internal security legislation and set up a security ‘super board’ to help the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) deal with domestic threats.”

As we noted, ISOC has already been expanded, strengthened and made central to all the repression under the military dictatorship.

Readers might also remember a post on The Dictator ranting about media that “distort facts” and disseminate “fake reports and hate speech.”

Linking the two is easy because it is the junta itself that “distorts facts,” and that’s being polite. In fact, it simply concocts “news” and lies regularly.

The latest is that claim that the expansion of ISOC’s control is not “politically motivated.” By that, its seems that ISOC spokesman Major General Peerawach Saengthong means “the move has nothing to do with the upcoming general election slated for next November…”. No, not political at all, just a “part of a long-term security management plan to better handle domestic threats.”

That is, by the junta’s own definitions, anything considered anti-monarchy, anything considered anti-junta and anything associated with the Shinawatra clan, the Puea Thai Party and red shirts.

Notice that Major General Peerawach didn’t say anything about local elections, but it is no accident that these changes are being put in place when there is talk of local elections.

In fact, this move is just one more act in the military’s establishment of its dominance over politics into the future. ISOC has always interfered in politics; in fact, that’s its role. So the ISOC and junta claims of the move being apolitical is buffalo manure.





Waking up to military dictatorship

10 11 2017

Thailand has been a military dictatorship since May 2014. If The Dictator has his way, the military and the current junta will be in power, directly or through proxies and clones, for another 16 years.

It needs to be recalled that this has happened before. Following the massacre of students at Thammasat University on 6 October 1976, promoted and conducted by military and monarchists, a military junta agreed to appoint palace favorite Thanin Kraivixien as prime minister. That rightist premier, selected and promoted by the king, declared that “reform” would require 12 years.

Thanin wasn’t around for long, being thrown out by military boss General Kriangsak Chomanan, who himself was pushed aside by another general and palace favorite, Prem Tinsulanonda. He remained unelected premier until 1988. That’s 12 years.

So we should believe that the current arrogant leaders and their allies think 20 years is possible.

It seems that there is a gradual awakening to these plans, even though they have, in our view, been obvious for years.

For example, a Bangkok Post editorial gets testy with The Dictator:

Praising oneself while discrediting others is a classic campaign tactic employed by most politicians ahead of general elections. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha seemed to be doing just that, behaving like a career politician, when he posed six much-criticised questions to the Thai public on Wednesday.

PPT has noted The Dictator’s campaigning throughout 2017.

The Post recognizes that The Dictator’s six “questions are also seen as an attempt to test the waters before deciding or revealing whether he will enter politics.”

In fact, he’s already entered politics, and well before the 2014 military coup. We well recall that he campaigned against Yingluck Shinawatra and the Peua Thai Party during the 2011 election. He began contemplating a coup against her elected government from even before that election victory.

The Post also recognizes that the junta “has set new rules on politics and has kept a firm grip on all state power…”.And it will do so for years after any “election” conducted under the junta’s rules, set by the illegitimate 2017 constitution. As the Post states:

In fact, the regime’s desire to cling on to the power it seized from the last elected government is demonstrated by certain rules specified in the constitution it sponsored.

The Post editorial continues: “Whatever plan he may be secretly hatching, it is illegitimate as long as he continues to be the rule-maker.”

This is correct, but the power-hungry generals aren’t about to do that. They have repeatedly stated that the time is not right, citing “fears” of political chaos.

The Post further observes:

The prospect of Gen Prayut as premier running the administrative branch for another four-year term while having the Senate, as a supposed checks-and-balance mechanism, on his side, is not a good thing for a democratic country.

But that’s exactly what Prem did. And, we think, that’s been the plan from the beginning.





A party for Prayuth II

9 11 2017

It was only a couple of days ago that the Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwan was saying there was no need yet for a military political party. It seems that was a statement designed to actually announce that a military party was in the works.

This Prawit non-announcement seems to have been motivated by, as Khaosod reported, General Songklod Thiprat “who once worked for the ruling junta” is now the “acting chairman” of a “political party called Palang Chart Thai (literally, Power of the Thai Nation),” denied he was fronting the junta’s party.

This general has recently “presided over meetings and banquets, surrounded by party supporters. Media analysis dubbed his clique a ‘soldier party’ or ‘NCPO [junta] party,” having “pledged to support” to the junta.

General Songklod has been targeting members of other parties and especially the Puea Thai Party in his recruiting. We do not yet know what he and the junta have on offer.

The General is now Sgt Schulz-ing:

… on Monday, Maj. Gen. Songklod told reporters his party was nobody’s ally. In fact, he disputed founding a party in the first place – saying it was the media who misunderstood him.

“I have not done anything. I’m not good with politics,” Songklod was quoted as saying. “I have not disputed the news because I didn’t know anything about it … I think it’s because I seem to know a lot of people, so people connected me to politics.”

He knows nothing, nothing!

His “party” was just a  “volunteer group” that was “dedicated to helping the junta and improving the country, and it was not registered with the election authorities.”

Interestingly, bright yellow Veera Somkwamkid “added that another factor of what the next government will look like depends on King Vajiralongkorn…”. He said: “If His Majesty wishes to see democracy, he must support a political system based on genuine democracy…. But if His Majesty supports military rulers, then it’s undemocratic.”

That’s a brave observation that is likely to get Veera in considerable trouble. The junta has difficulty understanding Veera as he is a yellow shirt who is not now pro-military.

After all of this, as The Nation reported, facing calls to lift the ban on political party ban got peeved (again) blabbering that he would not “rule out the formation of a political party…”. He garbled his response: “I’m not thinking about [setting up a party] now but I’ll see how the situation is in the future.”

In other words, the planning is under way (see above).

Then Prayuth seemed to say that the election might be further delayed. He said “he would use … Article 44 of the interim Constitution, to extend the preparatory time for parties if necessary.” That means that the ban stays and that he’ll delay the election again by not lifting it in time for parties to meet the requirements of the political party bill.

He confirmed this delay by saying that the junta had “concluded … that the current situation was not yet settled. The country is still in a period when it should not go through a conflict of any kind…”. That is, no election until, as we have said many times before, the junta decides its party can win easily under its rules.

The military dictatorship is supported in its delaying tactics by its various puppet organizations like the Constitution Drafting Committee. There’s not even an Election Commission set up or likely to be any time soon. That is, no election until the junta decides its party can win easily under its rules.

Then The Nation reported The Dictator’s firm confirmation that a military party is in the works.

General Prayuth presented “another set of questions to ask people regarding the future of politics…”. In fact, though, they are a softening up process for the military party. They are also about the junta campaigning. The propaganda/questions were:

1. Do we need to have new political parties or new politicians for the people to consider in the next election and whether the old politicians or political parties can form a government that pushes forward reforms or the national strategy?

2. Is it his or the junta’s right to support any one of the parties?

(After asking the question, Prayut himself appeared to answer the question by saying that it was his right to support or not support any one, and if there were all the old faces he would not support them.

3. Do people see a better future from the government’s work during the past three years?

4. Is it appropriate to raise the idea of going back to the administrative style of previous governments in the current moment?

5. Have democratic governments or politicians been effective over the years and shown enough governance to drive the country’s growth in a sustainable manner?

6. Why are politicians lining up together and attacking the government?

We actually think this is a potential kindling point. Having mostly proclaimed (quite falsely) that the junta only acted to prevent chaos, these questions reinforce that The Dictator and the military junta are power hungry thugs.





Updated: Sanctioning and campaigning I

17 10 2017

While calling for “social sanctions” against Puea Thai Party’s Sudarat Keyuraphan for “political campaigning” in the name of remembering the dead king, The Dictator continues his own political campaigns.

Forget the floods. They are unimportant as the military regime prepares to reap political benefit from its ownership of the funeral.

The recent claim of a red shirt/republican plot to disrupt the funeral is now triumphantly waved away. There are now threats at all (thanks to the regime) but everyone has to help the regime watch for threats while mourning (appropriately).

Meanwhile, the campaign against what remains of opposition to the regime continues to be pushed and squeezed, with a military court in (flooded) Khon Kaen charging seven people for defiance of a junta ban on political gatherings dating back more than a year.

They and four others actually “took part in a discussion on the then draft constitution at Khon Kaen University on July 31 last year ahead of the Aug 7 referendum.”

This was before a referendum where the junta demanded a positive outcome, so obviously the junta did not want any serious discussion of the proposed basic law.

The court accepted the case for trial and sent the seven defendants to local prisons. They were later bailed.

One of the missing defendants is Jatuphat Bunpattararaksa, who is already serving a 2½-year jail term for having shared a BBC Thai article on the king on his Facebook page. He was one of thousands who did this and was singled out for jail because of his political activism.

Two others are a former Puea Thai MP and his wife “who confessed and agreed to an attitude-adjustment session” by the military dictatorship. The fourth is “anti-coup student activist Rangsiman Rome, who had not come to meet interrogators and faced an arrest warrant.”

Campaigning by the military dictatorship is in full tilt. The next big campaign event is the coronation.

Update: Khaosod now reports contradictory statements regarding the position of Rangsiman. He claims he was not charged in this case.