Updated: Fake case dismissed

21 01 2020

The Bangkok Post reports:

The Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday that key figures of the opposition Future Forward Party (FFP) were not guilty of opposing the monarchy.

Televised images showed the verdict triggered celebrations at the party headquarters in the capital.

The court found regulations, press interviews and speeches made by senior FFP figures were not deemed to undermine the monarchy as claimed. It ruled to reject the petition.

“The accused have not acted in their rights and liberties to overthrow the constitutional monarchy,” said Taweekiat Meenakanit, one of the judges.

The Nation adds:

In its verdict, the judges said the evidence presented were not strong enough to warrant the party’s dissolution.

The majority of evidence presented to the court came from unreliable sources such as articles and messages on online media platforms while there was no evident action from the accused showing its intention to undermine the monarchy.

Even the politicized Constitutional Court was unlikely to convict FFP and dissolve the party based on this fake case. That it even accepted the case is a measure of the fear that the ruling class has of FFP making democratic politics relevant for the population. As a Bangkok Post editorial pointed out: “Despite many cautions that the Illuminati charge is bizarre, given the fact that the secret society’s existence has never been proven, the court accepted the petition for consideration…”.

So bizarre has this process been, that even the conservative Bangkok Post pleaded for a fair trial and a transparent verdict.

Nathaporn (clipped from The Nation)

In July 2019 crazed royalist Nathaporn Toprayoon, a former adviser to the Ombudsman, lodged a complaint, claiming that FFP was anti-monarchy because it was a part of the Illuminati. Part of the “evidence” for this bonkers claim was that Future Forward’s logo was triangular, which was a bit like an Illuminati sign, albeit rotated 180 degrees. Mad Nathaporn claimed the “secret Illuminati sect [was] ‘believed to be behind the unseating of monarchies in Europe’.”

Other concocted “evidence” was that the party’s did “not use the standard phrase ‘democracy with the king as head of state’, but instead uses the words democracy according to the constitution’,” and that it was “party policy [to ]… have Thailand ratify the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, a body that does not grant immunity to the head of state, which is against the Thai constitution.”

Nathaporn also cobbled together articles written by party leaders over many years. He used these to claim they were anti-monarchists.

As we said a couple of days ago, we didn’t think that this “case” will be the end of FFP – even the hopelessly biased Constitutional Court and its mentors could not be this ridiculous, maybe, perhaps. As we pointed out: Betting seems to be that the Court will dissolve FFP in another case, where the Court will miraculously define a loan as a donation to a political party. In the end, the plan is to do away with Thailand’s third most popular party.

Update: Khaosod has an interview with mad monarchist Nathaporn just prior to the Court’s decision. Indicating his odd way of “thinking,” the lawyer claimed “he had no bias toward the accused.”

He claims that in attacking the FFP as anti-monarchy – a major crime in Thailand on a par with murder and sedition – the rabid royalist claims “he was merely following his duty to protect the monarchy from the Future Forward Party…”.

Nathaporn goes on to explain that “he only filed complaints against the Future Forward Party because it’s the only party in the Parliament who has a track record of campaigning against the monarchy.”

Yes siree! No bias against FFP at all!

Like other ultra-royalists, nutty Nathaporn cries out: “I love the monarchy like I love my parents…. If anyone hurt them, I must protect them.” Indeed.





Rightist royalists reactivated

15 01 2020

Khaosod has a report that is reflective of a remobilization of right-wing ultra-royalists in the ongoing battle to silence voices associated with parliamentary politics.

A sure sign of rightist-royalist reaction is their public mobilization to “protect” rightist regimes or the generalized “need” to “protect” the monarchy as a linchpin of the ruling class. In the past it was often privy councilors who would make the public calls. In more recent times it has been military leaders. In the recent past we have seen Gen Apirat Kongsompong’s somewhat crazed rantings as he attacked the elected and legitimate opposition.

Such raving often sees the even more troglodyte types scurry out from the political woodwork. And so it is now as neo-fascist royalist Maj Gen Rientong Nan-nah again makes the news.

A bit like the USA’s Department of Homeland Security, the military officer who is in charge of a family-owned private hospital, demands that his employees hand over their social media account details.

The crazed Major General “announced he would only hire employees who share the same pro-establishment views as his…”.

He declared that “Mongkutwattana Hospital will not support or have any business dealings with those who insult the monarchy or have ill intention toward the country.” He added: “From today onwards … I will not accept personnel whose ideologies are opposed to mine…”.

Maj Gen Rientong said “those with different political views” were “… ungrateful parasites…”. Such dehumanizing language has been a staple of rightist-fascist attacks in the recent past.

We expect that the current military-backed regime will be grateful for the support and may encourage similar individuals and groups to rally to its side.





Royal teflon

19 09 2019

The Chakkri dynasty’s tenth reign is currently the most obviously interventionist since 1932. This is not just seen in King Vajiralongkorn’s interventions on the constitution and election, but in the manner in which the military-backed, post-junta regime is, for the moment, being given a political polytetrafluoroethylene coat that is, in PPT’s view, unconstitutional.

One of the reasons that the regime is teflon coated is that the “independent agencies” have been anything but independent. Most egregiously, the Constitutional Court has made itself a power that ferociously defends the interests of the royalist ruling class. Remarkably, it now ignores the constitution when this suits those ruling interests. At least two recent decisions are sad examples of royal and royalist injustice that confounds law and constitution: the decision on Ubolratana’s foiled candidature in the March election and the recent decision to ignore the junta’s own constitutional requirements and effectively place the king above the constitution.

In the past couple of days there’s been more judicial decisions that undermine law and that raise the monarchy out of its constitutional status.

Buffalo manure

First, the Criminal Court ruled that the ultra-royalist prince Chulcherm Yugala, who declared the Future Forward Party dangerous republicans “seeking to overthrow the monarchy,” had not libeled that party.

In royalist Thailand, it now seems that royals can do and say anything they want. Remarkably, the Court ruled his outlandish fabrications were “positive criticism” and “intended to warn the plaintiff against royal defamation.” Buffalo manure, but that’s what the courts deal in.

Second, the Constitutional Court has ruled that Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, a serving general when he led the 2014 coup, then self-appointed prime minister for more than 5 years, “was not a state official when he ruled as head of the junta…”.

How did the Constitutional Court conjure this stunning piece of nonsensical “logic”? It made up a story that “Gen Prayut was not a state official when he was the National Council of Peace and Order chairman as it was an interim position which was not under any state agencies.” Continuing a long “tradition” of upholding the “legality” of the military coup, it ruled that the “NCPO chairman was a product of the administrative power seizure…”.

Third, it seems the king helped out with the incomplete and unconstitutional oath debate in parliament by yesterday. After all of the scheduling and disputes about the debate, suddenly it was announced that the “debate” had to finish several hours earlier to let every single minister in the country could “attend a ceremony for the late King at Dusit Palace.”

Yet this royal sleight of political hand was little more than just another anointing of the regime by the king as Gen Prayuth refused to say much at all about the unconstitutional oath. For The Dictator, parliament is now little more than an annoying itch to be scratch every now and again.

Thailand now has a political system where the king gets anything he wants and is above the constitution, where the law is a mish-mash of double standards the support the royalist ruling class, parliament is an annoyance and where the constitution is ignored. Nothing will stick for the royalist ruling class.

Of course, if one is on the wrong side of the regime, the law, constitution and courts are used to repress.





Quid pro quo?

7 09 2019

The International Federation for Human Rights has called on Thailand to “immediately investigate the disappearance of Od Sayavong, a Lao activist seeking asylum…”. It is stated:

“Od sought refuge in Thailand but the country has become increasingly unsafe for asylum seekers. Thai authorities must immediately determine Od’s fate or whereabouts and the government must adopt measures that guarantee the rights of asylum seekers in accordance with international standards,” said Adilur Rahman Khan, FIDH Vice-President.
Od Sayavong, a 34-year-old activist from Savannaket Province, Laos, was last seen by one of his co-workers at around 5:30pm on 26 August 2019 at the house the two of them shared with two other co-workers in Bangkok’s Bueng Kum District. Around that time, Od left the house and was expected to join the two other co-workers for dinner later that evening at a restaurant in Bueng Kum District, where Od worked as a cook. At 6:34pm, a Facebook message was sent from Od’s account to one of the two co-workers, who were both already at the restaurant, to ask him to “cook rice” and wait for him. This was the last time Od was believed to have been heard from. Od did not return to the house that night. The following day, at 5:03pm, one of Od’s co-workers attempted to call him but Od’s phone was out of service. A message sent by the same co-worker to Od through the messaging app LINE at 5:06pm went unanswered and was never marked as having been read. Od’s cell phone appears to have remained out of service since the evening of 27 August 2019.

Od had been awaiting resettlement to a third country since the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Bangkok registered him as a person of concern in December 2017.

“Od may be the latest casualty of increased cooperation between the government of Thailand and its regional counterparts to crack down on their respective dissidents in exile. The international community should strongly condemn this seemingly coordinated form of repression that leads to further shrinking space for civil society in the region,” said Vanida Thephsouvanh, LMHR [Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR) ] President….

In Thailand, Od Sayavong has been involved in political activism and other activities promoting respect for human rights and democratic principles in Laos since at least 2015. Od has been a member of “Free Lao”, an informal group of Lao migrant workers and activists based in Bangkok and neighboring provinces that advocates for human rights and democracy in Laos. The group focuses on organizing human rights workshops and meetings, and participating in occasional small peaceful protests outside the Lao embassy and the United Nations headquarters in Bangkok.

We wonder if this is a political quid pro quo for Lao assistance in getting rid of Thai anti-junta and anti-monarchy activists. If this is the case, it is not just deeply disturbing but very odd in that Od was a Lao royalist:

On the evening of 15 March 2019, Od posted on his Facebook page a photo of himself in front of the United Nations headquarters in Bangkok wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with an image of a three-headed white elephant standing on a five-level pedestal – the official flag of Laos from 1952 until the fall of the royal government in 1975. The Lao government has outlawed this flag and its display has frequently angered Vientiane.

In the past Thai royalists often aligned with Lao royalists, but it seems that such alliances are out the political window when dealing with dissidents.





Military termites

8 07 2019

While it is right and appropriate that anti-junta activists should target the junta’s constitution for “reform” – it would be even better to trash it – two things need to be considered.

First, constitutional “reform” has been a flashpoint for royalists and other anti-democrats who oppose people’s representation and sovereignty. Those wanting to erase the junta’s rigging of the rules of the political landscape need to be aware that they will face considerable and (likely) vicious opposition from royalists and anti-democrats.

In addition, as reformers note:

changing the charter would be an uphill task as it was written in such a way that amending it is almost impossible by following the normal process…. The only way to successfully amend the charter is to raise awareness and gain people support to change it….

Second, constitutional reform is likely to be insufficient for eliminating the military termites. Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s junta has done far more than any recent military regime to embed the military at all levels of administration. These military administrators and its parallel administration have undermined and now dominate civil administration.

A story at the Bangkok Post emphasizes this:

Since the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) seized power in 2014, several military top-brass officers have been appointed to head several key ministries. And changes have also been observed in many agencies whose work deals with national security, particularly organisations under the Justice Ministry.

The story focuses on changes at the Justice Ministry that amount to a politicization of the Ministry that can be used to undermine political opponents. If the opposition in parliament gets too uppity, think of the damage that this Ministry could inflict on them, neutering them.





Updated: Reporting on cowardly attack

30 06 2019

While yellow shirts on social media continue to cheer the vicious and cowardly attack on Sirawith Seritiwat, the reporting of the attack, the patterns it reveals and the future it portends, reporting has been extensive. We felt readers may finding a linked list of some use:

Reuters, 28 June: “Thai anti-junta activist attacked, latest in ‘pattern’ of violence.”

La voi dumond, 28 June: “Thaïlande: un militant pro-démocratie passé à tabac en pleine rue.”

Bangkok Post, 29 June: “Prawit orders police to speed up ‘Ja New’ case.” While some politicians on the right made statements against violence, the reprehensible Pareena Kraikupt of the junta’s Palang Pracharath Party voiced a concoction that also circulates on yellow-shirt social media, claimed that the assault was probably by supporters of the Future Forward Party in order to gain support. If neither the junta nor her party doesn’t condemn her bizarre statement, then we may assume she’s speaking their collective mind. Pareena mimicks the fascists of 1976.

Political cartoon by @stephffart in support of activist Sirawith Serithiwat

Bangkok Post, 29 June: “Future Forward MP has ‘Ja New’ attack clip.” The clip is widely available on social media and its publication preempts any attempt to claim that CCTV was inoperable and prevents the media “disappearing.”

Daily Wiews, 29 June: “Thai anti-militare attivista attaccato e lasciato inconscio.”

News.com.au, 29 June: “Shocking pictures show brutal bashing of political activist in Thailand.”

Thai PBS, 29 June: “Thammasat U professor suspects Ja New’s assailants used blackjack batons.”

The Nation, 29 June: “Former senator calls for public donations for Sirawith.” Interestingly and symbolically, Jon Ungpakorn called for 247.5 baht donation, channeling the 1932 Revolution.

Thai PBS, 29 June: “Fund-raising campaign to help cover Ja New’s medical bills.”

Korn

The Nation, 29 June: “Korn condemns assault on anti-junta activist.” Democrat Party deputy leader and plutocrat Korn Chatikavanij managed to (sort of) condemn the attack on Sirawith, only by referring to alleged attacks on his “subordinates” at some unstated time. Korn was complicit in the Abhisit government and cabinet that presided over a period where dozens were killed by the murderous military and hundreds were injured. Korn blamed others.

The Nation, 29 June: “Pheu Thai MP raises Bt103,000 to support assaulted anti-junta activist

The Nation, 29 June: “‘Ja New’ needs eye socket operation, say human rights lawyers.” This report has stills from CCTV showing attackers and lists the damage done to the young activist in the brutal attack.

The Nation, 29 June: “Concert held to support Ja New after anti-junta activist assaulted again.” In fact, Sirawith “helped organise the concert, named ‘Democracy 24 June: What’s day?’, to mark the 87th anniversary of the Siamese Revolution of 1932 that overthrew absolute monarchy…”, suggesting that thugs involved in the attack may be ultra-royalist hirelings or acting for the military, which has a record of creating and managing such rightist thugs.

Bangkok Post, 30 June: “Activist assaults go unpunished.”

Update: Khaosod reports on CCTV footage being available, while the police are already saying such footage is “unclear.” No one can expect justice from this junta (except the rich and powerful friends of the junta).





Another cowardly attack II

28 06 2019

This is how Thailand looks today. Anti-junta political activist Sirawith Serithiwat was attacked and seriously injured “by four unidentified men in front in the Bang Chan area of Bangkok on Friday morning.” As has happened several times and to several activists, Sirawith was attacked by anonymous thugs. This time, they jumped him when he “emerged from the Soi at about 11am, the four men attacked him with wooden clubs until he collapsed and then fled on their motorcycles.”

Police claim to be “investigating.” We suggest they know where the orders for the attack came from. This is what a royalist-military regime looks like.

Royalists cheered the attack.