Royalist handmaidens

13 09 2020

While Reuters has it as an “exclusive,” the story that university administrators have been ordered to prevent students from criticizing the monarchy is not a particularly new story. What is new is that Reuters has confirmation that the orders have been issued and has seen one of the letters.

Senator Somchai Sawangkarn told Reuters that letters had been sent by state-appointed provincial governors to university heads, summoning them to meetings ahead of protests planned on Sept. 19 in Bangkok and elsewhere.

“University administrators should create understanding with the students on this and should put a stop to the demands on the monarchy,” he said.

“We did not tell the governors to block the protests but we want them to create understanding with university officials, especially on the 10 demands for the monarchy.”

Somchai is a well-connected yellow shirt and his comments were confirmed by the Ministry of Interior. That Ministry described the order as standard practice.

A letter to one university explained to university administrators:

There are concerns about the behavior of some groups taking part in the protest that are inappropriate, for example those that want to topple the monarchy and those that demand voiding Article 112 of the criminal code.

As far as we are aware, no student protest has called for the toppling of the monarchy, but perhaps we missed it.

Tellingly, the letter refers to the possibility of violence, referring to 1976 and 1992, both events where the violence and murders was perpetrated by the state’s security forces.

It is not surprising that the regime is asking the universities to do its dirty work. As we said some time ago, university administrations have been captured by royalists who are the handmaidens of rightist regimes.





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.





Snoozing snaps beget screams for media “reform”

10 06 2018

We are late getting to the story of sleeping puppets at the National Legislative Assembly.

In truth, photos of snoozing members of parliament in Thailand and elsewhere is not all that remarkable. But the response of one junta-appointed legislator is worthy of attention for its raucous defense of fellow puppets in the face of criticism.

Somchai Sawaengkarn reportedly “raged at the media for showing his fellow legislators sleeping in a session deliberating the Bt3-trillion national budget…”. Parroting his funders in the junta, he jumped up and down, stamped his feet and spat that the media “distorted the work of our five rivers of power…”.

Essentially this drip is saying that there can be no criticism of the military junta nor of the useless marionettes of the junta’s “four … branches of government.” The NLA is one of those rubber-stamp branches.

Somchai’s tantrum continued: “They showed photos of NLA members sleeping via social media.” They also printed them in newspapers. How dare they! Somchai thinks that the media should fall in line with the dictatorship: “Throughout four years, I think the media is the area which never reforms itself.” He seems to want the dissidents weeded out: “Over 90 per cent are good [being junta puppets] but the rest create distortion and conflict…”. How dare they!

Who is Somchai? He is a former unelected senator, dedicated anti-democrat, anti-Thaksin campaigner for more than a decade, hard core royalist and prone to accuse opponents of lese majeste. His rant is as expected.





Updated: Fear and repression I

24 07 2017

Talk of “reconciliation” seems pointless in the junta’s dictatorship. The task of the junta has been to repress those it identifies as “threats,” “enemies” and “opposition.” As it was largely through the efforts of the anti-democrats, led by the (anti-)Democrat Party, that paved the way for the 2014 military coup, it should be no surprise at all that the coalition of military and anti-democrats coalesces to continue the fight against those “threats,” “enemies” and “opposition.”

As everyone knows, the “threats,” “enemies” and “opposition” are mainly red shirts, elements of the Puea Thai Party and the Shinawatra clan and associates. After more than three years of heavy duty repression designed to decapitate these groups, there is limited evidence that they retain much capacity for mobilization. Yet the military and anti-democrats live in fear that they may rise against them.

As reported in The Nation, the pending verdict against Yingluck Shinawatra, due on 25 August, is causing considerable angst among the ruling regime and its anti-democrat allies.

This deep anxiety was inflamed by the sight of “[h]undreds of Yingluck’s supporters [who] gathered at the high court last Friday during the last hearing of the case against her.”

The Democrat Party, never very popular anywhere except in the previous palace hierarchy and among the royalist military, immediately went back to their rhetoric of anti-Thaksinism that has been a feature of their efforts to bring down each elected government since 2001. They claimed that “many of the supporters travelled together in an arranged trip from the northeastern provinces of Ubon Ratchathani and Amnat Charoen.” In other words, they reflexively denigrated their opponents as unthinking and unintelligent people/buffaloes, led around by money and bosses.

At the same time, Somchai Sawaengkarn, reported as “a member of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA)” but in fact a former unelected senator, dedicated anti-democrat, anti-Thaksin campaigner for more than a decade, hard core royalist and prone to accuse opponents of lese majeste, claimed “that he has learned of a plot to incite riots in a bid to overthrow the government and the NCPO [he means his buddies in the junta].”

Somchai has concocted plots in order to denigrate political opponents in the past and we assume he’s at it again. “Good” people like him are skilled liars but usually claim they do it for the greater “good.” This usually means ousting an elected government, supporting the crown or lapping the military boot or, as in this case, encouraging it in political activism. This is why he invents a plot: “They will try to bring down the government and the NCPO [junta] through riots. Hard-core groups that are their allies have clearly said that they want to wage a ‘people’s war’…”. He predicts a “mobilization” of 10,000 people.

While we might hope he is right, based on previous “inventiveness” by Somchai, we can be reasonably sure that, tongue on military boot, he’s making this up to encourage his junta allies in further political repression.

Indeed, the military thugs are already at work.

The Nation reports a source in the ruling junta as revealing that the military and its bureaucratic handmaidens are “closely following movements by certain groups of people ahead of the Supreme Court verdict in the case against former prime minister Yingluck…”.

That source adds that “Army commander-in-chief General Chalermchai Sitthisart, in his capacity as secretary to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), has instructed the local peacekeeping forces to monitor the movements of ‘all groups involved’ over the next month…”.

The Army’s regional commanders have been ordered “to make sure any suspicious movements are under their microscope…. If the local peacekeeping forces, which were formed after the military coup in 2014, discovered any plan to mobilise large groups of people into Bangkok, they would need to persuade their leaders to cancel such a trip…”. That will mean detentions, threats and other forms of repression. Indeed, the leaking of these orders are a part of that repression.

Military officers have already “been dispatched to different areas of the country in an attempt to persuade Yingluck’s supporters not to come to Bangkok … [and t]hey are going to meet with local community leaders and administrators and ask them to ‘create a better understanding’ among the local residents.” The order is that there “should be no mobilisation of the masses…”. In other words, the military presence at all levels is being heightened and the threats made real.

Update: Part of the fear of Yingluck’s supporters seems reflected in the estimates of the number who showed up last week. The Bangkok Post reports almost 1,000. The official red shirts of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) have warned The Dictator that his threats inflamed the situation and brought out even more supporters. More threats and intimidation could would damage the junta.





Chipping away at 1932

12 01 2017

Several times since we began in 2009, PPT has marked the 1932 Revolution by reprinting the first announcement of the khana ratsadon or People’s Party.

Democracy Monument, BangkokIn recent years the anniversary of this event is barely noticed, buried by a the celebration of various historically insignificant royal anniversaries. While there has been a long-term effort to erase 1932 from school books and the public mind, under the military junta there has been a determined efforts to make invisible an event it consider horrendous for reducing royal powers and granting sovereignty to common people. Moreover, the junta and palace have been writing laws that reverse important changes made in 1932, not least in limiting the powers of the monarchy under the constitution.

One of the nominated changes is to allow the king to decide if he needs a regent when he is flitting back and forth to his home outside Munich.

The current order by the king to change aspects of the draft constitution, “approved” in a “referendum,” is an example of how the very notion of a constitutional monarchy is being rolled back.

The junta may have been surprised by the king’s demands, but they are unwilling to tell him to go to hell. That could be because they are in dispute with the king but feel he should get his way for the moment. It might be that the junta is happy enough to have General Prem Tinsulanonda lose some influence. It may be that the junta wants to further delay an “election” and this is their excuse. It could be that the junta may feel that its legitimacy depends entirely on the monarchy. It might be that the junta believes that a feudal Thailand a la pre-1932 is appropriate for a 21st century Thailand. Or it might be all of these.

Whatever is going on, it’s clear the junta has asked how high the king wants it to jump. It is rushing ahead with the demanded changes.

The Nation reports that quotes junta lawyer Wissanu Krea-ngam as sayin: “Now, … the situation in the country has changed, so they will have to be amended to meet the situation. Otherwise, we will be using principles that were written in 1932…”.

He’s clear on what’s being done here. As a reminder, in 1932, Article 5 stated:

If there is any reason that the king is unable temporarily to carry out his duties, or is not in the capital, the Committee of the People will execute the right on his behalf.

How things have changed and they’ll change further in the next few days.

Readers might ask why the junta wasn’t getting the king’s view as it developed its constitution. Wissanu says: “The clauses to be amended were not paid attention to before the referendum, because drafters had only copied them from the previous constitution.” Yet, you would think a royalist regime would have been talking with the soon-to-be-king. Maybe he was more interested in his concubines and fake tattoos than the work of rolling back 1932 constitutionalism. Perhaps he only realized the potential problems of the regency when Prem got the job back in October.

The chief of the charter drafters, Meechai Ruchupan might have been a bit contrite about causing the king some angst, but he’s still talking draft constitutions and says the proposed “amendment would give the [k]ing the option of either appointing or not appointing a regent should he not reside in the Kingdom.”

Another of the royalist dopes, Somchai Sawaengkarn, of the puppet National Legislative Assembly (NLA), ignoring constitutional history and practice,  babbled about it not being “necessary to name a regent because modern communication methods have made it easy and convenient to work remotely. The charter should be amended to meet this environment…”.

In another report, Meechai blathered that the demanded changes were “in line with proposed changes to the charter sought by the government…”. That is so nonsensical that it suggests he’s lost his marbles or is a great liar. It could be both. If the changes were “in line,” why the seeming panic and back-filling now?

Recalling Article 5 from 1932, this is what the same article looks like in the draft constitution:

16. Whenever the King is absent from the Kingdom or unable to perform His functions for any reason whatsoever, the King will appoint a person as the Regent and the President of the National Assembly shall countersign the Royal Command.

If this is to change, what does it mean for related articles? The other relevant articles state:

17. In the case where the King does not appoint the Regent under Section 16, or the King is unable to appoint the Regent owing to His not being sui juris or any other reason whatsoever, the Privy Council shall submit the name of a person suitable to hold the office of the Regent to the National Assembly for approval. Upon approval by the National Assembly, the President of the National Assembly shall make an announcement, in the name of the King, to appoint such person as the Regent.

18. While there is no Regent under Section 16 or Section17, the President of the Privy Council shall be Regent pro tempore. In the case where the Regent appointed under Section 16 or Section 17 is unable to perform his duties, the President of the Privy Council shall act as Regent pro tempore….

Our immediate question is what happens if the king dies or is badly injured and can’t appoint a regent? Another crisis and military intervention to again fix the rules and manipulate constitutional principles and practice?

The new king may well end up creating a republican military that “remembers” what motivated the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932. That would be positive in the long run….





Junta, death and airports

21 09 2014

PPT was sent a news story from Z News/india.com: that at first seemed difficult to believe. However, redialing to allow for the idiosyncrasies of military dictatorship, we accepted this odd story as real.

It begins: “Anyone found guilty of causing closure or damage of an airport in Thailand could face the death penalty under new proposed law by the military junta.”

The Dictator’s handpicked National Legislative Assembly is reported to have “already passed the first reading of the new bill proposed to replace the 1978 and 1995 laws.” In the first reading bill, “[f]orcing the closure of an airport, damaging airport facilities or aircraft at an airport plus any action that maims or kills someone in an airport would result in the death penalty or a life sentence…”.

Bangkok-Airport-ClosedOf course, anyone who follows Thailand’s politics will know that the royalist People’s Alliance for Democracy occupied both of Bangkok’s airports in late 2008.

At the time, as well as being supported by members of the Democrat Party, when the incumbent government requested the then Army commander, General Anupong Paojinda to clear the airport, he reportedly mutinied by refusing a lawful order.

Interestingly, the mutinous Anupong is now Interior Minister in General Prayuth Chan-ocha’s junta-appointed cabinet.

The idea of such legislation does seem a bit odd until it is considered that the military gets worried when there are political mobilizations that it can’t necessarily control.

Not unexpectedly, PAD-associated appointee to the junta’s National Legislative Assembly Somchai Sawaengkarn muttered that “putting someone to death for causing an airport’s closure might be too harsh.” He then lied: “Personally, I don’t support the closure of airports.” We know this is a lie because he immediately added: “in some cases an airport operation needs to be shut down for other reasons…”. And his example was 2008.PAD

Another PAD-associated NLA appointee, Klanarong Chanthik “said some articles in the proposed bill were not realistic…”.

In the recent demonstrations by anti-democrats in 2014, PPT recorded at least two declarations that airports were to be targeted (here and here).

As far as we can tell, the cases under the previous legislation against PAD airport occupiers continues but without much seriousness.

Interestingly, as a footnote, we did find one mention of a policeman who headed up that “investigation” for a while, before resigning from it. Guess who? None other than current top cop, appointed by The Dictator, Police General Somyos Pumpanmuang. Supporting the royalists has been significant for his career advancement.

 





With a major update: Suspicion

13 09 2014

There have been a remarkable number of reports in various media in recent days of the miraculous police action that has netted one woman and four men alleged to have been “men in black” and claimed to have “confessed” to attacking military and other targets in April 2010.

This is not the first miracle worked by the police since the May 2014 military coup. The miracle worker was, in several such cases, the gold miner businessman and now police boss General Somyos Pumpanmuang. Several of the cases seemed to fade as fast as the miracle was produced.

MIB

A Bangkok Post photo

If that isn’t reason enough for some skepticism, the sight of the police dressing the detainees in black clothing, attaching red armbands and ribbons to them, forcing them to wear balaclavas, and having them “re-enact” alleged “crimes,” including taking them to the streets and having them pose with grenade launchers and assault weapons is completely bizarre and legally fraught.

The first report PPT saw was in the Bangkok Post, where the police already had the detainees were already in fancy dress.

Despite the fact that, at the time the so-called men in black were “identified” as “responsible” for actions against the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime the police and military were under the control of pro-Abhisit commanders, no suspects were captured and convicted and there were precious few video or photo images of the MiBs.

They lived on in military and royalist lore as “responsible” for all the killings in 2010. As The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha and other military brass have said many times, the military did not kill anyone. The courts have disagreed with this in several cases. Even when anti-democrats were violent in 2013 and 2014, they blamed mysterious MiBs. Such claims were demonstrated to be false, concocted for political purposes and to take the heat off the violence of the royalist anti-democrats.

This is not the first time that authorities have claimed to have identified the “perpetrators.” A sub-committee of the Truth for Reconciliation Commission headed by the compromised Somchai Homlaor stated that it had “identified” MiBs. We posted:

In its report on the 2010 Battle for Bangkok, Somchai Homlaor, who headed the investigating sub-committee, said the commission had “found connections between the ‘men in black’ and security guards of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship in at least two clashes with authorities at Kok Wua intersection near the Democracy Monument and the Pratunam area on April 10, 2010.” He adds that “many” of the men in black “were found to be close to Maj Gen Khattiya…”. He added that the commission did “not have evidence to conclude whether they had a connection with UDD key figures…”.

If they did, there was little follow-up and no naming of names.

Prayuth once reportedly stated: “I do not know whether there were men in black or not, but soldiers and police were injured and killed in those clashes…”. The Democrat Party and Abhisit have been sure, and have repeatedly campaigned about MiBs, but their government never found any. Abhisit has repeatedly claimed that MiBs were responsible for all deaths.

That first report in the Bangkok Post stated that the recent arrests saw Somchai Sawaengkarn resurrected the claim that it was only MiBs who were responsible for “killing of soldiers and civilians during political unrest in 2010…”. He added that the arrests might “lead to the identification of those responsible for masterminding the violence…”. He essentially means Thaksin Shinawatra, who he blames for all Thailand’s ills including heavy rainfall. Somchai is of dubious character: a member of the puppet National Legislative Assembly, he was also an unelected senator. He is a huge supporter of anti-democrats.

The police claimed that all “five suspects have admitted involvement in the violence that led to the killing of soldiers near Democracy Monument in April 2010.”

The report states that these suspects “were taken into custody on Tuesday but the arrests were only made public yesterday. They have all been charged with illegally carrying and using guns, bullets and bombs.” In fact, one of those arrested was a “red shirt activist who went missing after he was arrested by soldiers last week…”. He was “arrested by soldiers on 5 September and held incommunicad0 for almost a week while the military denied having him in their custody, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on Wednesday.”

The police also implicated now-exiled red shirt activist Kritsuda Khunasen saying that the raids on her house “found clear evidence relating to the transfer of large sums of money to the five suspects, although he declined to reveal how much.”

Within hours, the police and the military dictatorship has sought to condemn those arrested. Police General Somyos also defended his arrest of the suspects. He said he has “solid evidence,” but didn’t say anything much about it.

Somyos declared that he “would not argue with red shirts who insisted there were no ‘men in black’ among their ranks.”

Meanwhile, The Dictator stated that he would not comment on the case. As usual, though, he was unable to control himself. He “warned people behind the fatal attacks during the political unrest to … turn themselves in because he has all of their names in his hands.”

He claimed to have “the names of the supporters and financiers of the violent attacks in 2010 as well as those in 2013 and this year, and he urged them to report to authorities. Some are inside the country and some had fled abroad,” as if to blame red shirts yet again. He promised to prosecute and name “those who provided support for the acquisition of such weapons, including their financing…”.

Update: Somewhat belatedly, the mainstream media has decided to raise questions about facts and process involved in this case. As is usual in the Bangkok Post, it has a story that cites a single anonymous source as if that source is unimpeachably reliable. That source claims: “The DSI source said the agency has files on all of the alleged ‘men in black’, but the probe ground to a halt when the Yingluck Shinawatra government was elected in July 2011…. A ‘powerful politician’ in the since-deposed government laid out a guideline for the DSI that the so-called men in black did not exist and there was no armed element, the source alleged.” This is initially plausible, but only until one asks why the DSI did not act against these suspects when the Abhisit regime was in control and backed by the military?

The claim comes as “rights groups label … a press conference in which the suspects were forced to dress in black paramilitary attire as a publicity stunt likely to rob them of the chance of a fair trial.”

The People’s Information Centre pointed out that “there was no compelling evidence linking them to the nine deaths on Din So Road…”. It adds that “[t]hree of the four military casualties … on Din So Road were as a result of grenade blasts, according to … an inquest, not from gun fire as claimed by police on Thursday.”

As noted above, the police have accused exiled red shirt Kritsuda of financing the suspects. She has responded that, at the time of the events, she was 23 year-old. She asks General Somyos: “How can you accuse me without feeling ashamed of yourself?”At the conclusion of this Post story there is a brief mention of how the police decided to track those they now say are guilty: “Soldiers ‘remembered him’ [one of the suspects] from when he and the others allegedly rode in a van past an army Humvee on April 11, 2010.” On that day, the soldiers were in disarray and retreated when they tear-gassed themselves and when faced with red shirt resistance. They fled leaving behind weapons and other equipment. It seems dubious at best that memories of that day could be clear.

The Bangkok Post also has an editorial that comments on the case. It states: “The presentation of the suspected ‘men in black’ last week raises more questions about justice in Thailand under the military regime than it answers.” It continues to raise questions about dressing the men up and having them “re-enact” events that they may not have been involved in. It says: “The questions raised by this series of events are myriad and troubling…. The use of re-enactments is troubling and would be considered highly prejudicial in a legal system that relied on juries.”

On the arrests it asks: “what was that evidence? Who handled the interviews? How can we be certain the confessions were genuine?” It adds that the “suspects are still just that — suspects. They are all entitled to the presumption of innocence and a fair trial and they are entitled to be treated equally under the law.”

Of course, under the military dictatorship, the law is but a tool for those who rule.

Oddly, when the Post editorial concludes, it does so in a curious manner: “The families of those killed by the men in black in April 2010 deserve to know the right people have been brought to justice, and that can only happen in an open, transparent and accountable system.” In making this statement, it is neglecting the red shirts who were murdered by the military commanders who now rule the country.





The unelected on elections

7 11 2013

The so-called Group of 40 Senators are a coterie of rabid royalist senators who have mostly never been elected to anything, let a lone the Senate, where most of them sit as appointed senators, the spawn of the military junta’s illegal 2006 coup and undemocratic 2007 constitution.

At the Bangkok Post, we learn that this undemocratic cabal have “called on the prime minister to dissolve parliament and call a general election…”. They argue that this would be to “return the power to the people.” We find it difficult to conceive that a bunch of unelected royalist puppets have any conception of representative government yet they arrogantly demand a dissolution of parliament.

That would mean a new election, and we doubt that many of this lot would stand the test of an election. We also doubt that Puea Thai would lose. We understand that the party’s serious miscalculation on the pathetic amnesty will have cost some support, but the electorate is unlikely to elect the Democrat Party.

But back to the unelected military spawn, who just happened to be speaking in “an interview” with what the Bangkok Post chooses to call the “pro-Democrat Blue Sky satellite TV channel.” We guess they mean the Democrat Party, for Blue Sky is not “pro-Democrat [Party]” but is a creation of the party and is funded by the same elite businesspeople who fund the party itself.

Somchai Sawaengkarn, usually the spokesman for the unelected lot, “described the bill as one of the worst pieces of legislation in Thai political history.” That’s a pretty arrogant call given that Somchai himself owes his position to the military junta’s illegal act in 2006 and its awarding itself amnesty! Indeed, Somchai served in junta’s fully-appointed National Legislative Assembly in 2006.

Of course Somchai realizes this, for he is not a complete fool. It is just that he sees royalist and military illegal actions as good and appropriate and the actions of an elected government as being inappropriate.

Of course, PPT has expressed our disdain for the amnesty bill, but we recognize that an elected government that campaigned on bringing Thaksin Shinawatra home and on reconciliation does not lose legitimacy by withdrawing a bill or losing a vote on it in a half-elected Senate.

Somchai said his group of senators “had passed a resolution agreeing to demand that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolve parliament.” The basis for this was not that the prime minister has lost the confidence of parliament or came to power through manipulation by behind-the-scenes powers (as was the case with the Democrat Party in 2008), but because “the government has lost the people’s trust to the point where it is impossible to regain it.”

Somchai and his unelected military spawn, who have teamed up with fascist groups such as PAD,  Siam Samakkhi and Pitak Siam, should be the last to speak of the people’s trust. They do not even comprehend the concept.





Protecting them

20 10 2013

PPT wants to draw attention to a report at Prachatai. It states:

The Ad Hoc Parliamentary Committee on Law Enforcement and Measures for Protecting the Monarchy on Friday summoned all five organizations who sponsored the publishing of the book “Yamyuk Rooksamai” (Repeating the Era, Advancing the Generations) which was distributed free of charge to those attending Oct 14 commemoration week at Thammasat University at Tha Pra Chan.

The book is a collection of articles and interviews featuring prominent academics and activists including Thongchai Winichakul, history professor from Wisconsin-Madison University, Prajak Kongkirati, political science lecturer from Thammasat University and Somsak Jeamteerasakul, history professor from Thammasat University who is known for his open advocacy of reform of the monarchy.

The five organizations sponsoring the event and the book were:

Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, PTT Thailand, the Department of Local Administration and the National Village and Urban Community Fund Office to meet with the Committee for further questioning.

The Committee wants to discuss the “current situation on defamation and disrespect towards the monarchy…”.

Predictably, the Committee is dominated by royalists like unelected Senator Somchai Sawaengkarn and seems to be intent on threatening, frightening and forcing censorship in the name of protecting a monarchy and its political regime.

The story might be read in conjunction with another at Prachatai on the event where the book was distributed.





PAD and the Constitutional Court

28 05 2013

Previously PPT noted the continuing reliance of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on the courts in their battle to unseat the elected Yingluck Shinawatra government.This reliance is a result of learned behavior and an indication of the relative political weakness of PAD in the sense of its limited capacity to mobilize supporters.

In the most recent instance, the Bangkok Post reports that the PAD has again petitioned the Constitutional Court, pleading for  “an injunction halting parliament’s deliberation of a bill to amend Section 68 of the constitution.” PAD spokesman Panthep Puapongpan demands that the court should issue the injunction because the government continues to move ahead on constitutional amendment even though the court is considering the “legality of the move to amend the section…”.

The initial move on having the court consider the legality of amendment came from unelected senator and PAD and Siam Samakkhi ally Somchai Sawaengkarn.

As Panthep acknowledges through PAD’s opposition, royalists assert that “the amendment would curtail people’s right to file a petition directly with the Constitution Court against actions suspected of undermining the constitutional monarchy or grabbing power through unconstitutional means.”

This is because a petition would need to be reviewed by the Attorney-General’s office. PAD sees this as an attempt to curtail the capacity it has to stymie elected governments through the activation of the politicized court.

Panthep also asserts that the “amendment to Section 68 could lead to the deliberation of another bill to amend Section 291,” which is currently on hold in parliament due to the Constitutional Court having earlier ruled, quite absurdly, that “the charter could not be rewritten in its entirety without a referendum.” This is absurd as the provision dealing with constitutional amendment says nothing about a referendum. The only constitutional referendum ever held in Thailand was a military junta propaganda exercise.

And just for good measure, PAD requested that their allies at “the charter court … order the 311 MPs and senators who supported the Section 68 amendment bill to withdraw it from parliament.” PAD “is also asking the court to dissolve the Pheu Thai, Chartthaipattana, Chart Pattana, Palang Chon, Mahachon and New Democracy parties for supporting the bill and issuing statements rejecting the court’s authority…”.

Challenging the judges at the Constitutional Court is important because their political bias, corruption and their seeming inability to comprehend the wording of the constitution they are meant to rule on is stifling democratic development. Repeatedly, this set of judges have delivered rulings based on their interpretation of what they believe the royalist-military junta and government would have preferred but didn’t actually write into their constitution.