Meechai as military lackey

12 09 2018

Meechai Ruchupan has loyally served several military and military-backed regimes.

Meechai has faithfully served royalist and military regimes, being a in various legal and political positions to prime ministers Sanya Dharmasakti, Kukrit Pramoj, Seni Pramoj, Thanin Kraivichien, General Kriangsak Chamanan, General Prem Tinsulanonda and Anand Panyarachun. His main task in all of these positions has been to embed Thai-style (non) democracy. rather than an electoral democracy where the people are sovereign.

He also worked for Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan, but when Chatichai was ousted in a miltiary coup led by General Suchinda Kraprayoon and his National Peace-Keeping Council (NPKC) in 1991, Meechai was hoisted by his military allies into the acting premier’s position before Anand was given the top job by the military, probably on royal advice.

Later, the military had Meechai appointed the leader of a charter-drafting committee, leading to the 1991 Constitution, which eventually led to the May 1992 massacre. In drafting that constitution, Meechai simply plagiarized bits of a charter that had been used earlier by a military regime. The major “achievement of that constitution was in allowing an “outsider” prime minister. Sound familiar? Yes, that’s what he has recycled into the 2017 constitution.

Like many of the “good” people, he is arrogant, practices nepotism, lies for his bosses and political allies, slithers before the monarchy, he’s a “constitutional expert” who practices and supports double standards and the retrospective application of laws. You get the picture.

Thai PBS now reports that, against all evidence, Meechai has claimed to not be a military lackey. As the report begins:

Every coup-maker of the past two decades needed his service. Seizing power doesn’t end with just toppling the incumbent governments. Coup announcements and executive orders need to be issued. And more importantly, interim constitutions need to be drafted.

And his track records have proven that nobody could have done a better job with all these necessary paperworks than Meechai Ruchuphan.

It is well more than two decades, but let’s go on.

Maybe he’s been to a fortune teller who predicts that Meechai will burn in the fires of hell for an eternity or perhaps he’s writing a self-congratulatory book. But whatever the reason, Meechai improbably claims that “he was inadvertently dragged [sic.] into a few coups despite the fact that he hardly knew any of the generals involved.”

He reckons that the multiple coup leaders just needed his legal expertise. In other words, he claims he’s just a tool for the men who repeatedly act illegally in overthrowing legal governments and smashing constitutions.

A tool he might be, but a willing and blunt tool. Willingly plagiarizing and willingly taking positions and pay from dull dictators.

But none of that means, at least in Meechai’s fairy tale, “that he would follow every marching order from the military.”

That he’s piling up buffalo manure is illustrated in his ridiculous claims about the 2006 coup.

He says the first he was ever at the army headquarters was during the 2006, which he knew nothing of. Really? Seriously? More unbelievable is his statement that he “didn’t even know at the time who was leading the coup. There were three of them there and I knew only afterward … [who] they were…”.

He is imitating the Deputy Dictator making stupid and unbelievable stuff in the belief that the public are gullible morons. That Meechai thinks anyone would believe that he, a military servant for decades, didn’t know three of the most powerful generals is laughable.

Then he lies about the 2014 coup: “His service was enlisted once again by the people he didn’t know.” Yes, that’s right, didn’t know anyone. He lies:  “I didn’t know Gen Prayut and didn’t even know what he looked like…”.

We assume that when he was President of the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly after the 2006 coup he kept his eyes closed the whole time so that he didn’t see NLA member Gen Prayuth.

He goes on and on with this stream of fermenting lies to claim “that even under military dictatorship … he was by no means an unquestioning subordinate of those in power.”

Meechai is unscrupulous and a military lackey. He doesn’t feel like a lackey because his ideas on anti-democracy fit the generals ever so perfectly.

The arrogance of the man is as stunning at Gen Prawit’s.





Maintaining the fairy tale

11 12 2016

Along with the whitewashing of the new king’s notorious past, the fawning over the dead king continues.

Much of this treacly nonsense is a simple repetition of decades of palace propaganda. Some of it is a deliberate set of manufactured stories that beggar belief for anyone who thinks.

We guess some of it is constructed under threat. By this we mean that when normally sensible people come up with errant nonsense, we assume that they say what they do for fear of sanction.

There’s an example of this at The Nation, where law professor Parinya Thaewanarumitkul is reported to have recycled a history that suits royalists and palace propaganda: that the late king was some kind of paragon as a constitutional monarch.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In a public lecture on the late king and democracy, Prinya declares that the late king “remained a constitutional monarch despite doubts about his role in the appointment of ‘royally appointed’ prime ministers…”. At least it is admitted that the appointments of Sanya Dharmasakti and Anand Panyarachun were “controversial.”

They were also loyal royalists close to the palace.

Prinya does not mention – at least not in the reporting at The Nation – the rightist Thanin Kraivixien or the dozen or so military coups that the palace generally supported. The king was always keen to support his military friends and “protectors.” He doesn’t mention the trampling to dust of constitutions that the king was happy to go along with.King and junta

In line with the usual propaganda, “Parinya said that the late monarch had played a crucial role in bringing the country together and getting it through times of crisis.”

He is referring to 1973 and 1992. In both cases, the king can be seen as intervening when the military was in trouble and to prevent any serious reform.

Prinya also mentions the “recent crisis that followed the coup in 2006, for instance, resulted in people appealing to the King, asking for a royally appointed prime minister as a means to end the turmoil…”.

We assume he means before the 2006 coup for he goes on to “explain” that the king was properly constitutional in his response.

Not quite right. He told a gaggle of judges to “fix” things for him. The coup soon followed.

His claim that the king “could not just appoint anyone by his preference. He only endorsed as he was asked to”  is simply a manipulation of the facts.

His claim that the late king “never exercised it [his power] undemocratically” is untrue.

No serious academic researcher could draw such conclusions. Only a blind royalist or one under threat. There’s better stuff here.





The monarchy-military alliance

28 06 2016

The alliance of the military and monarchy goes back to the foundation of the modern military under the absolutist King Chulalongkorn.That link was broken with the 1932 Revolution.

Sarit

Sarit

Despite continuous struggle between the 1932 Promoters and the royalists, the monarchy-military alliance was not fully re-established and made exceptionally strong under the military dictator General Sarit Thanarat and the military-dominated regimes that followed.

Sarit took over a boy-king who came to the throne after the death of his brother, with an ambitious mother and surrounded by restorationist princes. It was only after the 1973 uprising against military dictatorship that the current king began to really feel his oats. With the military’s role in politics reduced and challenged, it was left to the king to maintain the alliance in the interests of the rising royalist elite.

By 1976, the military was back, with the support of the monarchy, following the military-backed murder of workers, peasant leaders and students that came, in part, from the monarch’s expressions of concern and fear about the rise of the Left.

This potted history leads to the big challenge that faced the alliance in May 1992. Then, as is its penchant, the military brass decided to gun down civilians protesting yet another military attempt to dominate politics.

These events saw the military in disgrace and the monarchy worked hard to rehabilitate its murderous allies. The usual image – endlessly promoted in palace propaganda – is of the king sorting out the crisis, with his meeting with the military premier General Suchinda Kraprayoon and the self-proclaimed protest leader Chamlong Srimuang.

This video shows the meeting, which included privy councilors General Prem Tinsulanonda and Sanya Dharmasakti. It is preceded by calls from Prince Vajiralongkorn and Princess Sirindhorn.

The king’s belated intervention in the events was meant to “save” the military. Even so, the military was shunned by a stunned public following the attacks on demonstrators.

Within a few short months, however, the king was speaking to rehabilitate his allies. As reported in the Bangkok Post on 15 November 1992, this was expressed in this way:

Recently there has been much talk about having too many generals, and why is there such ceremony to confer two hundred more general ranks to military personnel? … In truth, if we compare with foreign countries to the west or east or us we will find that they all have as many generals as us. One difference is that when their generals move to other jobs, they are no longer called generals.

Even in the United States, when a general becomes president he will be called mister which makes it seem as if they have fewer generals. But in Thailand those with a military rank retains it even when they go to work in other jobs. This is because they consider it an honour, an indication of a man with good performance. No matter what job you do, if they carry the rank with them, it is an honour, and it makes their colleagues trust them.

Therefore the number of generals in the country must be taken as not too many. We are not top-heavy. So do not feel disheartened after listening to those words, since it is only a kind of tongue wagging, and it is not damaging.

In fact, according to the Thai concept, those with a military rank consider it an honour which makes them proud and any job they do will be done better because of this realisation of the honour. There is no negative side to this. If they are transferred to other job or retired, their military salary Will not be tied to their rank. This means that the government does not have to pay more because of it.

But every person who acquired a military rank is proud of it. He will do a good service without the government having to pay him any extra salary. It is a way of saving government budget. If an army officer loses his rank when he is transferred to another unit he will feel sorry and may be discouraged. If there is a military rank attached to him when he works outside the military service it will encourage him to work efficiently, and the country will benefit more from him.

The king’s support for the rehabilitation of a murderous military is an act of loyalty and one of self-protection.

One result is that the military was not reformed, meaning it was again able to conduct coups in 2006 and 2014, seeing off supposed threats to the palace and the status quo.





Repackaging old dreams

16 11 2015

Thailand’s conservatives and anti-democrats desperately want an unelected premier. Their view, as it has been for almost four decades, is that this will allow them to get a “right” and “good” person to run the country in their interests. They think that things were better under unelected premiers like Sanya Dharmasakti, Thanin Kraivixien, Prem Tinsulanonda and Anand Panyarachun.

Each of those men had the strongest possible support from the politically-activist palace. The royalist elite is seeking a way to ensure it can select a leader in a situation where they can no longer rely on a king to do the extra-constitutional work for them.

This is why Meechai Ruchupan’s constitutional drafters have come up with an old idea and are wrapping it in new garb. The new garb is sold as something for the young ones. A hip way to get politics out of the clutches of the “red buffalo.”

In a report at The Nation, these old ideas are touted by one of the committee of old conservatives as “new political creations.” By this they mean the notion of a “the single-ballot voting system and the premier candidates list,” which they say are “for the rising generation who were increasingly sophisticated, educated and urbanised…”. We guess they are thinking that those Bangkokians who are anti-democrats will like the idea if it distinguishes them as educated voters, and somehow better than the rabble in villages.

As the Bangkok Post explains it, the “proposal is for parties to submit a list of between one and five candidates prior to an election, with parliament then choosing the prime minister from the list after the election. Each party would have complete freedom to nominate anyone they wanted, even if they are not an MP.”

The intent is clear – they want an unelected prime minister.

Yet this concoction is marketed as a nonsense: as a system that makes “each party … disclose publicly so that voters would know beforehand who would become premier if they voted for a constituency candidate of the party.” This is a pile of horse manure. We cannot think of an election where voters have been sprung with a prime minister who was not the leader of the party during an election campaign. The last time there was something close to this was when the country kept getting Prem as premier while voting for parties. Prem wasn’t ever an elected member of parliament, but he became premier because the military and palace wanted it that way and there was a military constitution that allowed it.

Packaging old-fashioned conservatism with pies of horse manure doesn’t strike PPT as attractive, even for Bangkok hipsters. Yet, in the end, it is the old men close tot palace and military who decide what happens in Thailand. And they want to keep it that way.