Yellow senators see black

9 04 2013

No one should be surprised by a report in the Bangkok Post that begins: “Mysterious ‘men in black’ did attack security forces on April 10, 2010 on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, a senate sub-committee looking into political violence has concluded.”

For one thing, the report of the senate sub-committee is curiously timed to coincide with the events that saw red shirts killed, many targeted by snipers, and some military men killed in unexplained circumstances as the military was repeatedly pushed back when they used rubber bullets, tear gas and live ammunition to clear what had been quite peaceful red shirt protests.Red shirt coffins That timing suggests that, far from announcing an end to what are described as intensive investigations, the sub-committee has chosen to make a political stand, blaming MiB and linking them to red shirts.

A second obvious point is that the quoted senator is Somchai Sawaengkarn, a member of the yellow-hued Siam Samakkhi group that has long worked a anti-Thaksin Shinawatra and pro-royalist line. Back in early 2010, he was already saying that the red shirts were engaged in violent plots. In 2009, he and his group was dashing about lobbing lese majeste charges around, with Thaksin Shinawatra, Richard Loyd Parry, Asia editor of The Times, and Ji Ungpakorn.

A third reason for considering Somchai nothing more than a royalist stooge is that he is a member of the so-called Group of 40 Senators who do little more than seek reasons to bring down elected governments. The Post refers to “Elected senator Somchai Sawaengkarn” when the Senate itself shows him as one of the unelected lot.

And finally, Somchai presents nothing – or at least nothing is revealed in this story – that is in any way new or revealing. It is just the same stuff that has been trotted out by Somchai, the Democrat Party and other yellow groups.





Updated: Targeting Thaksin III

7 11 2012

There was a time when PPT considered the elite’s Bangkok Post to be somewhat better than The Nation. After all, the unprofessional “journalism” at The Nation even spawned a spoof known as Not The Nation. As a lapdog for the conservative elite the paper behaved like a lap dancer for the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime. Even today, The Nation sinks to new lows, seeming more like a family blog than a newspaper, publishing a “story” on the U.S. election by a “licensed acupuncturist” that gets published because the scribbler is boss Suthichai Yoon’s daughter.

As bad as that rag is, in recent days, the Bangkok Post has spiraled down into something that seems only fit for composting. We have mentioned some of these dives in recent posts (here and here). Essentially, these articles were in anti-Thaksin Shinawatra and anti-red shirt campaign mode with barely a fact in sight.

Misleading and concocted “stories” are suddenly grist for the Post’s campaigns. A few days ago we pointed to such a headline. However, the Post’s latest story on the alleged Thaksin assassination plot takes the cake for concoction. Here’s the line taken:

The alleged assassination plot against ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is likely to have been manufactured to give the ex-premier a credible excuse not to visit Tachilek, intelligence analysts said yesterday…. According to a military intelligence source, Thaksin had no intention of visiting Tachilek, a border town opposite Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district.

Readers may recall that the assassination plots against Thaksin when he was premier were also dismissed by his opponents as “manufactured.” Nothing much has changed.

PPT has no idea whether this assassination plot was real. But what evidence is there for this newspaper’s claim that this supposed plot was faked?

First, the “source” is,as usual, an anonymous military source. That is the same military that threw Thaksin out and were allegedly involved in earlier assassination plots. So how much credibility is there in this? Zero.

Second, the motivation for “faking” a plot is that Thaksin is “a fugitive with an arrest warrant out on him, [and] his presence [in Burma] would increase pressure on the Yingluck administration.” It was only in April that an “estimated 50,000 of Mr Thaksin’s fans alighted in Siem Reap, in the north of Cambodia, during the weekend’s Thai New Year holiday to catch a glimpse of the one-time premier.” What has changed since then? In opinion polls, the current government is doing better now than back then. So how much credibility is there in this? Zero.

Third, the claim is that by “fabricating the death threat, Thaksin has a plausible excuse to ‘cancel’ his plan without upsetting thousands of red-shirt supporters who were preparing to meet him, the source said.” This fluff depends on the first and second items above being true and guess work. How much credibility is there in this? Zero.

The mystery “military source” adds that “the assassination story can also be used to incriminate the ammart, or elite, who oppose Thaksin.” Well, yes, it would, if that was the claim from the Thaksin camp. So far though this hasn’t been claimed and “drug barons” are blamed. Still no credibility.

Finally, in a related story, the yellow-hued senator Somchai Sawaengkarn proved less than sharp when his doubts about the plot are expressed as: “If someone [actually] wanted to kill Thaksin, the plot would not have been leaked…”. Yes, no plot is ever “leaked” and is a security operation, if there was one, a “leak”? We’re thinking Homer Simpson.

Update: It is difficult to see how The Nation could get any worse, but it has. In “commenting” on the Forbes interview with Thaksin, op-ed “writer” Tulsathit Taptim strikes a new low. He gets frothy about Thaksin’s criticism of his fish wrap and the Bangkok Post and says there are other “questions” that he proposes “in response to his criticism of The Nation and the Bangkok Post and some other things he said in the last interview. It’s entirely up to Forbes whether to ask him these questions which, no need to be said, can be used by other international media free of charge…”. We aren’t sure what to make of the latter comments, but let’s look at the “questions.” Just two examples that are about substance rather than the list of childish retorts.

First, question 2: “Do you have proof that The Nation or the Bangkok Post tricked you and your spouse into buying the Ratchadapisek land while you were in office?” In Tulsathit’s world, somehow this must seem relevant to the notion of bias his rag. In fact, if a conviction was a reason for bias, we’d expect to see the newspaper exhibiting bias against a range of politicians and business people. Yet, this isn’t the case as the paper’s political bias is endlessly directed against red shirts and Thaksin.

Second, the last mangled question: “25. Last but not least, we are a bit confused. Thailand’s English media are against you but you said you are free to go anywhere and everyone treats you well. On the other hand, you can’t return to your country, where the market for The Nation and Bangkok Post is relatively small. Which exactly is your “unlucky” situation – you being able to go wherever people read “biased” reports about you, or you being unable to return to Thailand where fewer than 1 per cent of the population reads the English press?” So, Tulsathit thinks his paper is irrelevant?

Tulsathit’s “column” suggests to us that having a “licensed acupuncturist” write political reports for The Nation might actually improve it.

 





The politics of impunity

13 04 2012

There has been a flurry of anti-reconciliation news of late, and PPT is a little delayed in getting to this post.

A few days ago, Human Rights Watch issued a statement that the Yingluck Shinawatra “government’s new ‘political reconciliation’ proposals will undermine justice by giving immunity to those responsible for human rights abuses during bloody confrontations in Bangkok in 2010.”

PPT isn’t sure why the claim is that these are “new,” as reconciliation was placed on the agenda and politicized by the previous Abhisit Vejjajiva regime. What is “new” is perhaps that parliament is dealing with it. And, as PPT understands it, the proposed amnesty that HRW comments on is for far more than the events of May 2010.

PPT also abhors impunity in these cases, and we recognize that some of the families of those killed in the Abhisit government’s two violent military assaults in 2010 have also stated that they do not want amnesty to allow impunity for those responsible for the deaths in 2010.

HRW rightly points out that the:

Abhisit government charged hundreds of UDD protesters with serious criminal offenses without any basis, but did not file charges against any government officials or soldiers.

However, this statement is an exaggeration:

Since the Yingluck government took office in August 2011, the focus of criminal investigations has shifted entirely to cases in which soldiers were implicated while those involving UDD violence have been ignored.

As we understand it, the slimy lot at the Department of Special Investigation have continued to investigate until early March, but claim little or no evidence. Whether that is politics speaking or the truth, it remains true that the Abhisit government did precious little in tracking down the so-called armed black shirts said to be working with the red shirts.

It is interesting also that HRW also claim this:

The National Human Rights Commission of Thailand and the government-appointed Truth for Reconciliation Commission of Thailand are still unable to complete their inquiries into the 2010 incidents due to insufficient support from the government, as well as mistrust and lack of cooperation from participants in the events. The work of the two agencies has also suffered from internal bureaucratic obstruction and a critical lack of political will to investigate government officials and UDD leaders fully and credibly.

The NHRC is simply not a credible organization and was heavily politicized under Abhisit, so we can ignore that group. The TRC is different and we wonder if HRW hasn’t been doing its reading? In the third and most recent report, the Commission states:

2.2.1 TRCT was established by the previous government (that of Abhisit Vejjajiva) which was one of parties in the conflict. This has limited and obstructed TRCT in carrying out its duties but, be that as it may, TRCT carried on adhering closely to the principle of public accountability until gained trust from every party. The most recent election resulted in a new government headed by Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra as Prime Minister. TRCT is pleased that the new government has established a policy of urgently building reconciliation and harmony among the people as well as the restoration of democracy during its first year of office….

Yes, the TRC has been critical of “hurried” reconciliation, but they are not speaking to “obstruction.”

Interestingly, the HRW report coincided with actions by the political opposition that appear to be as much about rewriting of history in the interests of the Democrat Party and in rebuilding rightist political alliances.

At The Nation it is reported that a religious ceremony was organized by the military, “opposition Democrat Party deputy leader Korn Chatikavanij, People’s Alliance for Democracy spokesman Panthep Puapongpan, and multicoloured shirt group leader Dr Tul Sitthisomwong.”

Some of those attending as Korn laid a wreath wore black T-shirts with the message “The truth will be known.” It is a pity that Korn and his allies didn’t seek truth when they were in government but rather sought, as they do now, to obfuscate.

Meanwhile, at the Bangkok Post Korn is reported as stressing that his:

party’s stance … calls for the establishment of truth and facts about political violence before an amnesty should be granted. He said uncovering the truth and accepting it were essential part of national reconciliation and the party considered it a responsibility to help the public find and establish facts.

It does seem just a little odd that Korn says this now but when in power did so little. But that is the elite’s self-given right to say and do whatever they want with no attention to anything other than political gain.

The Post also reports that a related seminar to commemorate the death of Colonel Romklao Thuwatham who was killed in the April 2010 crackdown on red shirts. This seminar was told “the government’s attempt to change the charter and push for a reconciliation bill has come under attack by opponents…”.

And who should be the speakers? Of course it is all the yellow-shirted activists of previous years. And they would never commemorate the murder of scores of red shirts, but commemorate a man “killed in battle” and “fighting for the king” [they are PPT’s words]: appointed Senator Somchai Sawangkarn who “attacked the government for trying to forget the deaths of soldiers in the red shirt protests two years ago.”

The deep, deep yellow Senator Rosana Tositrakul who warned that “people should not be distracted by the multi-pronged tactics deployed by the government led by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The administration’s ultimate goal is to reduce the power of people under the present constitution…”. This from a senator who has supported removing people’s electoral rights! As ever, she warns of Thaksin Shinawatra and “secret” deals that we tend to think she concocts for political purpose.

And then there are the conspiricists, egged on by madright-wing American extremists who argue that the elected government is false: “We need to overthrow the current regime by law, not only through this means, and we also need to bring along the masses…”. This is a call for more PAD-like action.

It seems to us that, while Puea Thai’s reconciliation plan is flawed, the sudden vocal posturing by groups that were silent on these matters when the Democrat Party was in government stinks to high heaven.





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.





Thaksin, monarchy and the pardon (again)

18 11 2011

Predictably, there is a huge ruckus in the mainstream media and amongst the royalist bloggers and social media activists regarding the still strange story of a “closed door” cabinet meeting that has apparently come up with a draft royal decree that might allow Thaksin Shinawatra to be included in the king’s birthday list of thousands usually released following a pardon, along with about 26,000 others in jail and facing jail.

The story originates from Democrat Party parliamentarian Sirichoke Sopha and is now a rallying call, arguably bigger than alleged mismanagement of floods, for the anti-Thaksin, anti-Red Shirt, anti-Puea Thai Party and pro-royalist opposition.

As important background, PPT urges its readers to consult Bangkok Pundit’s account of the history and process of mass pardons associated with birthday and anniversaries associated with the monarch. Pundit points out that the pardon issue is not exactly new, mentioning earlier posts on discussions of the topic. Interestingly, Pundit observes that: “Last year’s Royal Decree for Royal Pardons [under the Democrat Party-led government] had a provision that it applied to those aged over 60 and have a period of imprisonment not exceeding three years…”.

In addition, vociferous and dogged anti-Thaksin activist Kaewsan Atibhodhi is quoted as having noted that the requirement to have served one-third of a sentence was also removed by that government. Kaewsan stated: “Especially regulations that may be to the advantage of Thaksin is the regulation that those aged over 60 and who have less than 3 years of their sentence for the 2007 pardon there was condition that must have served one-third of sentence, but in 2010 the government removed his condition so for 2011 the Yingluck government has the freedom to choose either the 2007 pardon regulations or the 2010 pardon regulations as they prefer…”.

In short, the current government has indeed chosen the 2010 regulations. Presumably Kaewsan and other activists didn’t jump up and down when the Democrat Party made these changes because they knew that Thaksin would be specifically excluded. Now, however, they have gone ballistic.

In the current struggle, the initial claims by the Democrat Party, taken up by the media, focused on the “secret” nature of the cabinet meeting. But aren’t all cabinet meetings behind closed doors? Apparently not. One Bangkok Post opinion seems to imply they are not: “Unlike the approval of similar decrees by previous governments, this draft to seek a royal pardon for convicts on His Majesty the King’s 84th birthday this Dec 5, was approved in a meeting behind closed doors.” Funny, we don’t recall the Abhisit Vejjajiva government being “transparent” in its decision-making in the cabinet. This is perhaps now a triviality associated with this reporting, but every media endlessly parrots it. None seem to mention the legal changes made by the Democrat Party.

Reading the newspapers now has a decidedly retro feel to it, with all of the anti-Thaksin groups suddenly roused from their focus on alleged floods mismanagement, law suits and rehabilitating the Army. For example, the Bangkok Post has a story that cites the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) that explains “it will meet soon to decide what action to take against the proposed pardon.” Most analysts had written PAD off, but as PPT has argued, this is premature. PAD’s boss, Sondhi Limthongkul is also cited, and is reported to have “deplored the pardon plan which he said has piled pressure on the monarchy.” Sondhi claimed “the Pheu Thai Party was blatantly trying to destroy the rule of law…”. Calling this “despicable,” Sondhi declared that PAD would “not sit idly by.”

Meanwhile, the report states that more than “20,000 people signed up to a Facebook account opened by well-known television news anchor Kanok Ratwongsakul … to voice opposition to the decree.” Kanok is one of the anti-Thaksin and anti-Red Shirt mainstays of the mainstream media and closely associated with the anti-Thaksin Nation Group (see here and here). As can be seen in its annual report (a large PDF), both he and his wife held important positions at the NBC of the Nation Group.

Kaewsan is also reported. He said his “Siam Samakkhi group also protested against the royal decree proposal.” He (now) claims that the “royal decree was unconstitutional because it ran counter to the court’s ruling.” He shouts: “How dare you exercise the limited power of the executive to overpower the judiciary for the interest of one man.” That argument will have political clout, but Kaewsan neglects that the decree is a draft that has yet to be approved – as a first step – by the Council of State who look at issues of constitutionality.

Ignoring that step in the legal process, Kaewsan “called for the whole cabinet to be impeached, saying if it stayed, it would amend the constitution to free Thaksin from many other corruption cases. He also recommended Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra be impeached and said that as the prime minister, she could not deny responsibility for the planned decree.”

Kaewsan’s call was supported by yellow shirt, hard-core royalist and appointed senator Somchai Sawaengkarn who joined with the Siam Samakkhi Group (again). Somchai has been behind lese majeste allegations against several political opponents, including Thaksin. Somchai was supported by yellow-shirted Bangkok Senator Rosana Tositrakul who has a long record of opposing the current administration and its supporters. She was vociferous in not wanting an election in 2011, fearing a loss for the royalist party.

Also roused is Tul Sitthisomwong, a long-time PAD activist who is repeatedly identified in the media as “leader of the multi-coloured shirts.” The Nation reports that Tul has already “lodged a complaint with the Council of State against the draft decree. He said opponents of the decree would hold a rally at Lumpini Park today to air their opposition to pardoning Thaksin.”

Rounding out the reconstitution of royalist and anti-Thaksin oppositions, business and academics are reacting. The Bangkok Post claims: “Business leaders are uncomfortable with the cabinet’s approval of draft royal decree for a royal pardon that could include Thaksin Shinawatra, saying it could add political risk at a time when businesses are already suffering from floods.” It seems that capitalists fear more political instability.

Predictably, the Bangkok Post reports that a “large group of academics has joined the growing chorus opposed to the Pheu Thai-led government’s proposed royal decree to pardon jailed convicts on the King’s birthday.” Apparently “large” is less than 90 academics nationwide. Their attempt to be novel on this issue is to claim that the release of “convicted drug and corruption offenders … would further widen the wedge in society, undermine national security and create chaos.” Of course, their spokesperson is from the royalist political science faculty at Chulalongkorn University, which has been remarkably yellow. They even predict “nationwide chaos next year…”.

Of course, the Democrat Party joined these calls, claiming the draft decree “would undermine the justice system and divide society further.” PPT always finds such claims about social division and rule of law laughable when they come from this party, which perpetuated and enhanced “division” as the tool of royalists and in defending the rules and laws of the military junta. Abhisit “confirmed that his party would fight the proposal to the end as it would bring about national disunity.” What he means is that Thaksin remains the devil incarnate and the “national unity” expressed in votes can be ignored. And, he’d so love to have some outside force lift him back to the position he knows he deserves as premier.

The Democrat Party is already looking at impeachment on this case, along with the alleged flood mismanagement where, as reported at The Nation, it has already “lodged an impeachment motion against Justice Minister Pracha Promnok…” and six other Puea Thai Party parliamentarians, several of them red shirts.

So just as the floods have seen a rehabilitation of the military, the pardon issue promises a reconstitution of the yellow-shirted alliances of 2005-06. And, the legal challenges to yet another elected government begin.

Nowhere is this rounding up of anti-Thaksin elements clearer than in the call by PAD for yellow “civil society” to “wake up” and for royal action. Suwat Aphaiphak, PAD’s long-time lawyer saidd “PAD is likely to turn to the National Anti-Corruption Commission for help, as the royal decree is against several NACC laws. Any opposition to the draft from the NACC will provide enough grounds for the Privy Council not to forward the amnesty decree to His Majesty for endorsement.”

Suwat’s call to the Privy Council was supported by “Preecha Suwannathat, former law dean of Thammasat University and an ex-Democrat MP,” who “said the proposed changes would violate the law” and said “he hoped the Privy Council would exercise good judgement when vetting the draft decree if the government insisted on proposing it to the King.”

Interestingly, Suwat claimed that street demonstrations would not be the way forward as “nobody can match the power of the red shirts who are looking forward to the return of Thaksin.” So, as the lessons of recent years have been digested, the action will shift to judicial areas, where the royalists have considerable support.

Another take on this issue is from the red shirt sympathetic who are scratching their heads as to why the Thaksin issue is raised now. PPT has already posted Ji Ungpakorn’s challenge, much of which we agree with. Somsak Jeamteerasakul has said “the government should exercise laws for the public interest instead of that of an individual. He said many pro-Thaksin red shirt protesters had not been treated fairly. It was not right for the government to draft the decree to help Thaksin…”.

In what now can only be a footnote to the rapidly gathering political action is the question of “why now?” The mainstream media has been saying it is because the government’s popularity is declining, it must act now on Thaksin. PPT doesn’t buy this line. Of course, the government has to have a draft amnesty decree in place by the time of the king’s birthday and this important anniversary. It may have been delayed by the floods, but we are still left to ponder why it is that the Puea Thai government has decided to be deliberately provocative when it knows that this action will re-galvanize its opponents.





The fear factor

10 10 2010

In our last post, PPT mentioned a Bangkok Post editorial that raised questions about the Abhisit Vejjajiva government’s ratcheting up of alleged threats, saying that these claims are part of “the politics of fear that is taking root in Thai society.” PPT noted the Post’s comments on the claims regarding a team of so-called red shirt terrorists-in-training who will likely turn out to be nothing of the sort and will soon fade from the collective memory apart from the idea that there are trained assassins “out there.” The stirring of fear is a tactic used by the Abhisit Vejjajiva government since it came to power (for very early PPT posts on this see here, here and here).

And it just gets worse.

Admiral Banawit Kengrian (pick the howler in this bio), a former deputy defence permanent secretary, and aide to Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda, is cited in The Nation with a truly bizarre claim.

The admiral states that he has “confirmed a report that armed militia are plotting assassination of leaders and attacks in the capital during the next 20 days. Bannawit said he had learnt from military intelligence officials that tens of foreign armed militia from a neighbouring country’s Seals, with the same capability as the Royal Thai Navy’s Seals and the Royal Thai Army’s Special War Command or Red Hat, are planning terror strikes.” Somehow Bannawit links this claim to the Nonthaburi explosion and adds that his “report was based on facts and militias had infiltrated several spots in Bangkok to commit sabotage.” He claims that army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha has these groups being followed and has warned the government.

Adding threat upon threat, Bannawit says 4 RPGs “found near the old headquarters of the opposition Pheu Thai Party could be linked to a Parliament attack.” It seems “near” is good enough for Bannawit. Evidence counts for little when the desire is to instill fear and loathing.

Bannawit is joined as a contestant on Fear Factor by Democrat Party Spokesman Buranaj Smutharaks, who has a long record of unfounded claims and accusations. Maybe that’s his job, but he often sounds a couple of salung short of a baht. He reckons the government is about to round up a bunch of bombers involved in: “plotting sabotage at Santirat Withayalai school, the Bhum Jai Thai Party [PPT thought the alleged bombers were already in custody?], and the military camp in Chiang Mai [see our earlier post]; the group linked to the missing weapons from an arms depot in Lop Buri [likewise, we understood that the thieves were already in custody]; and trained militia [no idea who he means here, but more conjuring and stunts are possible].”

And just for good measure, “First Army Region commander Lt-General Udomdet Sitabutr confirmed the reports that ill-intentioned groups were planning attacks. He called on the public to tip off security officials to prevent rogue elements from striking terror.”

A yellow shirt senator and hard-core royalist Somchai Sawaengkarn chimed in, claiming “that sabotage was planned against basic infrastructure such as power plants.”

PPT wonders if there is any point to observing that red shirts are pretty much leaderless and that the lese majeste bomb threats, bombs, explosions, “terrorists-in-training” and weapons seem remarkably convenient this reconvening collection of royalist, pro-government and privy council alarmists.