Rising rightists

30 07 2020

As predicted, the rightists are rising in opposition to student calls for change. The Bangkok Post reported that an unknown “right-wing group calling itself Archeewa Chuai Chart will hold a rally on Thursday [today] in what is seen as a bid to support the government in the wake of protests by student activists.”

Suthep thanks the Army

On social media, this group is widely seen as having been created by groups associated with the anti-democratic People’s Democratic Reform Committee and Suthep Thaugsuban, who led the rallies that paved the way for the 2014 military coup. Indeed, the group claims to have formed in 2013 to support Suthep’s attacks on the elected government.

This new rightist group” criticised the Free Youth group and the Student Union of Thailand…”. It claimed the “student activists used fake news and false information to cause misunderstanding about the monarchy…”. They vowed to “defend the monarchy.”

Why royalists want to “protect” a monarch who lives in a foreign country is anyone’s guess. Perhaps they hope that another member of The Munsters can take over.

Khaosod adds that many have expressed concern that the rally could be a precursor to political conflict. Even Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha has expressed concerns (see more below).

We are not convinced by Prayuth’s alleged concern, especially when he warned: “I have ordered police to prevent them from confronting each other…”.

As Khaosod reports, this is just one element of a broader rightist and ultra-monarchist denunciation of the students as part of a “plot” to bring down the monarchy. This includes the Army commander Gen Apirat Kongsompong. Last week saw the first counter-protest, at Army headquarters.

As Thai PBS reports, critics include all of the “usual suspects” who have organized all manner of “protests” and groups to “protect the monarchy.” It lists several of them, all yellow-shirts since the days of the People’s Alliance for Democracy:

Senator Somchai Sawaengkarn voiced concern at the presence of protest placards with veiled and direct references to the monarchy.

Sondhi

Sondhi Limthongkul, a media mogul and former yellow-shirt protest leader, said he was convinced the mastermind behind the placards aimed to provoke violent clashes between police and protesters. [We thought he was in jail….]

Academic [Is he? Really?] and media personality Seri Wongmontha said he was convinced that “people pulling the strings” behind the anti-monarchy placards wanted to incite violence between the protesters and angry royalists….

Rienthong

And, as Khaosod reports, fascist maniacs like Mongkutwattana Hospital director and Army officer Maj Gen Rientong Nan-nah is back at work, seeking to mobilize ultra-royalists. He declares that he will support those who “report” student activists to companies, government agencies, universities, and other educational institutes, demanding they never be employed. He called on supporters to “quietly infiltrate [the student protests] and take the photos of these people who joined the god damned protests. Try to make sure the photos have detailed faces that can be traced their identity.” He wanted these photos posted on Facebook, making the protesters political targets and illegally discriminated against.

More worrying are the regime’s moves. Khaosod has reported that “[r]iot police were ordered to mobilize and prepare detention facilities to accommodate student protesters arrested by security officers…”. Most threatening for the student activists, it is the notorious, royalist and heavily armed Border Patrol Police who were mobilized:

Two companies of riot police would be housed at the regional Border Patrol Police headquarters in Pathum Thani’s Khlong Luang district north of metro Bangkok, while about a 100 protesters would be held at a separate building inside the base, the letter wrote.

A “guest house” is also prepared to accommodate 5 protest leaders….

Tattep Ruangprapaikitseree, the leader of the Free Youth Movement, suggested the memo might have been intentionally leaked by police as part of their psychological operations.

“They just want to threaten protesters,” Tattep said. “Our movement is not against the law or causing harm to anyone.”

Given the BPP’s murderous history, it is not an idle threat.

As Thai Examiner explains/warns: “there is no denying that conservative forces have now been mobilised by this protest wave which they infer, carry with it, criticism of the monarchy and Thailand’s traditional values.” Those conservatives already have a lot of blood on their hands.





Judicial politicization

26 07 2019

Thailand’s courts have long been pretty hopeless. In this century they have become highly politicized, with judges doing their “duty” as royalists.

In yet another example of this politicization of the judiciary, The Nation reports that in a trial that began in 2015, the Criminal Court has “acquitted four key members of the now-defunct People’s Democratic Reform Committee on insurrection charges.” It might be defunct, but as the cheerleaders for the 2014 military coup and for the current military-backed regime, it gets credit and protection from the royalist establishment.

The court acquitted found Sonthiyan Chuenruethainaitham, Sakoltee Phattiyakul, Sombat Thamrongthanyawong and the bewigged Seri Wongmontha of a huge list of charges “related to the Bangkok Shutdown protests against the Yingluck [Shinawatra] government from May 23 2013 to May 1 2014.” They were:

charged by public prosecutors with insurrection, inciting public disturbances, unlawful gathering, gathering in a group of more than 10 persons to use arms to cause disturbances and to harm others, inciting the public to stop working to pressure the government, and unlawful entries of government offices and others’ properties….

The four defendants were charged with violating Articles 113, 116, 117, 209, 210, 215, 362, 364, and 365 of the Criminal Code and with obstructing the holding of an election by the Election Commission and thus violating Articles 76, 152, and 8 of the 2007 election act. The public prosecutors filed charges against the four in the court in 2014.

With the boss (clipped from Bangkok Post)

Of course, these four were all heavily and publicly involved in the actions that led to the charges. Readers will know that hundreds of red shirts have been convicted and jailed of similar charges. The double standards are obvious and perennial.

The court’s “reasoning” for the acquittals on the spurious “grounds that while they joined the PDRC-led protests against the Yingluck government, they were not leaders who gave orders to the protesters.” All of them were close to the anti-democrat leadership and appeared on the PDRC stages, urging protesters to engage in illegal action. They denied this and the court agreed.

In addition:

The court also cited a ruling by the Constitutional Court on case number of 59/2556 to acquit the four. The Constitutional Court ruled that the PDRC demonstrators had constitutional rights based on Article 63 of the then charter to demonstrate out of dissatisfaction with the Yingluck administration enacting an amnesty law to try to whitewash former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

As far as we are aware, no such decision has been applied to red shirts.

Suthep Thaugsuban and other anti-democrats were in the court to cheer the decision.

The Bangkok Post reports that 28 other anti-democrats face similar charges.

Meanwhile, as reported at The Nation, the politicized Constitutional Court seems to be preparing for its decisions that will likely go against the Future Forward Party and its leaders.

 

It has “warned that critics of its rulings could face prosecution for contempt of court if they unfairly attack its judgments or use expletives in public comments.”

The court warned that under junta-enacted law, “criticism of the court should be done in an honest manner, with no use of expletives or sarcastic or vengeful language. This provision also refers to comments made on the Internet or in social media…”.

The court has stated that it “will enforce this law as much as it is necessary in order to ensure justice in an efficient and fair manner…”. In other words, it is prepared to jail those who disagree with the court;s politicized verdicts.





The Dictator sulks and thought police get vindictive II

31 10 2018

This post updates an earlier one on the military regime’s response to the rap song “Prathet Ku Mee.”

The sulking and vindictiveness continues, with Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul having “authorised police officers to lodge the defamation lawsuit on his behalf on Monday.” He also revealed that the official police investigation of the rappers and their anti-junta song is continuing, even while he “concede[d] there is no evidence so far that those connected to the song have broken the law.” Absurdly, he also “denied rumours that leading government figures ordered him to take legal action against the rappers.”

Pol Gen Srivara then “distributed a brief containing 10 counter-arguments to various lyrics of the song to the media.” It complained that the senior policeman considered that the song’s “lyrics are not entirely true … [and] that some of the video’s content deliberately tarnishes the reputation of the military.”

Check a  version of the lyrics here.

It remains unclear to PPT how the police general is engaged in  a defamation action that claims the military is defamed, but we suspect that this statement is evidence that the regime has indeed ordered the police to “investigate.”

Indicating the politics that the rap has unleashed, Pol Gen Srivara stated that his “brief” was written by notorious anti-democrat and ultra-royalist Seri Wongmontha.

Meanwhile, The Dictator claimed that the rappers were slandering the nation. Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha went on to threaten tens of millions, saying “there are laws against acts of showing hostility toward the country.” He warned and threatened: “Anyone that shows appreciation towards the song must accept responsibility for what happens to the country in the future…”.

The dictators are being dictatorial. Worse, they have lost face, and this is when they are nasty, dangerous and vindictive.





Updated: Lies, incompetence or both?

22 12 2013

PPT is again confused by the local media’s unprofessional reporting. The same newspaper that has published op-eds screaming about the bias of the “foreign media,” the Bangkok Post, has a headline: “Women” outside PM’s house.  It claims:

…[a] group of anti-government protesters, mostly women and transvestites, many of them members of the Miss Tiffany’s dance troupe, converged outside the house of caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in Soi Yothin Pattana 3 on the road parallel to the Ekamai-Ram Intra expressway.

Led by well known gay academic and rabid yellow shirt Seri Wongmontha, the group said the demonstration would be “symbolic.” Tipped off wealthy locals “have parked their cars far from the area, amid fears that the protests might escalate.”

The Post reports:

As of 11am, the demonstrators, armed with whistles, hand-clappers and Thai flags, led by Seri and Ms Anchalee was moving past Pratunam area and gathered outside Ms Yingluck’ house in Soi Yothin Pattana 3.

Apparently, much of this reporting is biased nonsense. Rather than symbolic, the protest has been aggressive against police and seems to have more than a few protesters who are the shock troops and neither women and transvestites. Indeed, the Post’s own picture shows this:

Women

Another photo, tweeted by another journalist shows male protesters forcing police vehicles aside at 10.20 AM, well before the Post report (which mentions 11 AM) but doesn’t mention this aggression by non-women:

More women

Is this lies, incompetence or both? It’s certainly unprofessional.

Update: The Nation repeats the lie: “Only women and transsexuals – many of them members of the Miss Tiffany’s dance troupe – joined the protest, dubbed the ‘flower protest’, outside Yingluck’s residence.”





Yellow protest, part 2

3 03 2012

This is essentially an update on our earlier post on the ultra-royalists and other yellow shirts coming together to oppose constitutional change. We are making it a new post because it deserves more attention than a simple update.

The Nation reports on the Siam Samakkhi group that rallied at Lumpini Park and was headed up by former military junta member and appointed senator Somjet Boonthanom and anti-Thaksin yellow shirts Kaewsan Atibhodhi, appointed senator Somchai Sawaengkarn and Seri Wongmontha. Apparently also featured were  Chirmsak Pinthong and Banjerd Singkaneti. We are assuming that this was the same event we posted on earlier, but the report is a little vague on this.

In any case, here’s the significant bit:

[The group began] their talk by jokingly thanking the twins arrested on Thursday over Wednesday’s assault on Worajet Pakeerat, a member of the Nitirat group…. While they do not support violence, tolerance has its limits, the panel members said.

Their comment is truly reprehensible and these people are to be condemned in the strongest terms.

Just as bad is the Democrat Party. Their Sathit Wongnongtoey is in the same report stirring up more violence by making patently false claims regarding constitutional amendment. Of course, Sathit is well known as a purveyor of fabrications.





The yellow protests begin

3 03 2012

A week or so ago, Tul Sitthisomwong and his so-called Citizen Network for Protection of Motherland gathered all of 30 supporters to protest at parliament and to submit “letters opposing charter amendments to representatives of both the lower and upper House opposing charter amendments.” They promised more protests. A couple of days later, the People’s Alliance for Democracy “threatening legal action and mass rallies in response to the government’s charter amendment bid.” PAD also promised more rallies against constitutional change.

Those threats came together as what the Bangkok Post called an “anti-Thaksin Shinawatra alliance has kicked off a campaign against rewriting the charter, vowing to step up their protests if an amendment is touted that would allow his return.” Well, hardly a kick-off, but the first major rally, drawing about “1,000 supporters of the Siam Samakkhi group, led by appointed senator Somjet Boonthanom, packed out Lumpini Hall in Lumpini Park yesterday to protest against the constitution amendment.” Somjet is a former general and military junta member involved in planning and implementing the 2006 coup and often uses Tul as a Siam Samakkhi organizer. His group is closely aligned with alliance partner, the Sayam Prachapiwat group of ultra-royalist academics.

Former coup leader Somjet made the ironic claim that any move to change the constitution was a “coup under the camouflage of democracy and parliamentary majority.” Supporting the generalissimo were Tul and anti-Thaksin yellow shirts Kaewsan Atibhodhi, appointed senator Somchai Sawaengkarn and “academic” – he’s really a media personality and ultra-royalist – Seri Wongmontha.

The point of opposing any amendment to the constitution was made crystal clear when General Somjet said: “The 2007 constitution hurt Thaksin more than anybody. This government is using the CDA as a tool to nullify the 2007 constitution, which is no different to staging a coup…”. He added that any amendment would somehow deliver the Puea Thai Party “absolute power.”

It was added that Siam Aamakkhi had a particular interest in the position of the monarchy – who knew!? – and it was keen to “deter” any “attempts to undermine the roles and the status of the institution of the monarchy especially through the charter rewrite process.” It was also claimed that this did not just relate to chapter 2 of the charter, for the “roles and the powers of the institution were not just limited to Chapter 2…”.

More joint rallies are planned.





Uncivil social media and lese majeste

15 01 2012

At The Nation, Pravit Rojanaphruk has a piece describing how the battle raging on the monarchy has become rather uncivil.

PPT is biased on this as we tend to see a lot of the yellow-shirted hate email and much that is in the Manager Online falls into the same category.

That the attacks on people identified as anti-monarchist are drawing on a history of right-wing extremism is no surprise.

Seri Wongmontha

What is interesting in Pravit’s account is the statement by the former dean of Thammasat University’s Faculty of Journalism and royalist TV host and actor Seri Wongmontha. He claims that the exceptional nastiness of the cyber-attacks on so-called anti-royalists are not “a witch hunt.”

He claims that the attacks and harassment of the then minor Kan Thoob “shouldn’t be considered a witch-hunt, but an ‘attempt to seek the truth and catch the criminal’.” Seri went on to justify the harassment and nastiness “by saying that since Karn Thoop’s remarks about the Royal Family on Facebook were evident, opposition to her was understandable.”

Justifying vicious verbal and physical attacks and continual harassment of a child – now young adult – hardly seems “understandable” or in any way justifiable.