Updated: Masters of repression II

16 07 2021

Lawfare is a tool authoritarian regimes use for political repression. Thailand’s military-backed/monarchist regime has become particularly adept at this means of silencing criticism. There’s been a blizzard of cases of late, even excluding the obvious and odious lese majeste cases.

Just in the past days or so, there have been several cases that warrant attention.

One case involves the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, reported by Reuters to have “initiated a defamation suit against the prominent chairman of a private hospital operator over his criticism of its procurement of Moderna (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccines.” He’s been a critic so he’s targeted. Interestingly, after this criticism, the GPO seemed to suddenly get moving on procurement. All vaccine procurement – and not just in Thailand – remains incredibly opaque.

A second case is reported by The Nation and involves the Royal Thai Army. Army chief General Narongpan Jittkaewtae has bellowed that “eight Facebook users and one Twitter user will be arrested over defamation charges” and can expect jail time, fines or both. His anger is because they shared information suggesting that “Thai soldiers were being flown to the United States for Covid-19 booster shots.”

censorship-1

The army claims that the soldiers were not heading off for the “Strategic Airborne Operation at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.” The army didn’t help its case by initially declaring that the soldiers were involved in Cobra Gold, which has nothing to do with travel to the USA.

A third case is reported in two related stories at Thai Enquirer and Prachatai. The toady National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission has ordered Voice TV “to take its programs off the Video To Home 9 TV (V2H9TV) channel…”. The NBTC claims the channel infringed “regulations when it aired … programs on April 27 which covered the protests Standing Still to Stop Incarceration (ยืนหยุดขัง), the White Ribbons (ผูกโบว์ขาว) and the Let Our Friends Go (ปล่อยเพื่อนเรา)…”. Other live protest broadcasts are reportedly being “investigated.”

In other words, the regime is using the NBTC to prevent Voice TV from providing live coverage of protests.

The NBTC has fined the MVTV company 50,000 baht for airing Voice TV’s “Voice Go” programme, “claiming that the content of the programme affects national security.”

The broadcast on the PSI satellite network on 27 April “was a report on the protest in front of the Supreme Court, in which a group of student activists from Thammasat University occupied an area on the footpath to demand the release of student activists then under detention. The programme also featured interviews with protesters on the reasons for their activities.”

The NBTC “stated that the content of the programme affected national security, peace, and public morals.” In fact, the reason for these moves is to remove opposition criticism.

A fourth case involves more defamation and sedition charges as the regime seeks to shutdown critical commentary on its botched vaccine rollout.

In this case, the regime has gone after veteran politician Sudarat Keyuraphan, with red shirt traitor and now regime flunky Seksakol [Suporn] Atthawong and spineless regime doormat, Sonthiya Sawasdee, adviser to the House committee on law, justice and human rights filing charges.

Sudarat’s Sang Thai Party has been campaigning to sue the “murderous government” for “mismanagement of the Covid-19 crisis.”

She’s accused sedition and defamation.

The regime’s mouthpiece Seksakol claims that Sudarat has been “wrongly accusing the government of poorly managing the Covid-19 crisis. This was defamatory, according to Mr Seksakol.” He’s an idiot working for a ridiculous regime, making ridiculous claims while botching the crisis. Only diehard regime supporters would think that the regime’s recent virus work has been anything other than a deadly farce.

The execrable Seksakol made it clear that the charges were to prevent “disharmony in society.” In other words, support the regime or else.

Update: On the attack on Sudarat, consider the commentary by Thitinan Pongsudhirak, which is highly recommended as a full read:

Thailand’s vaccine rollout is evidently a complete shambles due to questionable procurement, supply shortage, and misallocation amid a deadly surge of the Covid-19 “Delta” variant. The situation has been going from bad to worse with no end in sight as a poorly conceived strategy unfolds into a national calamity. As public anger mounts with fast-spreading calls for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s ouster, the Covid-19 pandemic is becoming Thailand’s political game-changer more than anyone could have anticipated.

Instead of the youth-led political movement or the parliamentary opposition’s demands for reform, fundamental political change in this country will likely cascade from the Prayut government’s gross mishandling that is claiming lives, inflicting daily hardships, and causing unhappiness nationwide. When the time comes to pick up the pieces with more abundant and efficacious vaccines with virus control under way, a national inquiry for public accountability will be imperative….

What sets Thailand apart are what appears to be inherent nepotism and vested interests where people suspect there is more than meets the eye behind the country’s vaccination procurement. For inhabitants of this country, it matters less that other countries are suffering the same conditions, but that the country they live in can and should be doing much better. What’s worse, the Prayut government keeps repeating the same mistakes and making matters worse by the day.

Is he up for a state defamation action too?

 





Military screws Thailand again I

14 07 2020

Puea Thai Party’s chief strategist, Sudarat Keyuraphan is right to accuse “the Government of lowering its guard when it allowed an Egyptian military mission to enter and stay in Thailand without being monitored or quarantined” when at least one of them had the virus.

She’s also right to recall that it was the Royal Thai Army that arranged a boxing match – against regulations – that resulted in the country’s largest virus cluster. And, she’s right to observe that there’s been almost no accountability on that case. In this sense, she may be off target when she only blames the government. She should be lashing the military.

Certainly many members of the public are pointing at the military. It is reported that the “hashtag #อีแดงกราบตีนคนไทย (Daeng should prostrate before the feet of the Thai people), referring to the army chief Apirat Kongsompong, reached over 1.5 million tweets and shares between Monday night and Tuesday morning.”

Now, some 400 people have to be traced, tested and quarantined. Up to 1000 may be impacted.

The regime and the military has gone into damage control, suppression and blame shifting.

The response from the military: “The army has denied that it played any role in the soldier’s transit.”

Might someone explain why the Egyptian military was in Thailand? We at PPT hadn’t noticed a relationship previously. But there were 31 in the “delegation.” That sounds official and not like a simple stopover. Someone must have granted permission for the visit and stopover.

Cover-up is the main response. The regime has refused to provide details: “The soldiers — whose identities and ranks were withheld by the government — stayed in Thailand before leaving for a one-day visit to Chengdu, China on July 9. They returned to Thailand on July 10…”. It is claimed that “[s]ince it was an official trip, it is understood that the government exempted the group from a number of entry requirements, including the mandatory 14-day quarantine. It was also reported that the soldiers were allowed in because they were listed as ‘air crew’.”

Cover-up exposed:

The military is distancing itself from the case, with U-Tapao airport officials telling reporters “only one out of 31 delegates sneaked out”. Such an explanation is ridiculous and leaves some questions unanswered. For instance, how could the soldier (or soldiers) leave the assigned accommodation with a liaison officer around?

Blame shifting has seen the governor of Rayong Province reassigned after the “foul-up which exposed people within Rayong to possible coronavirus infection.” In this case, blaming the governor is buffalo poo. It is the military. Move Forward MP Taopiphop Lim is right: “This is a move that is on the military and government level and not on the provincial level, the governor is just a scapegoat…”.

Why not blame Egypt? “All flights from Egypt will be barred from landing in Thailand, following an incident last week when members of an Egyptian military mission defied Thai regulations by not confining themselves to their hotel in Rayong.” That reporting is weak-kneed rubbish. It is the Thai military and regime that defied regulations. Why? Because they can and do, all the time. It is the usual impunity.

Or blame the Egyptian Embassy:

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, put the blame on the Egyptian embassy in Thailand for arranging hotel accommodation for the Egyptian delegation instead of sending the visitors to a state quarantine facility.

“Regulations require the quarantine during their stay but the embassy contacted the hotel directly. Health and security teams learned later about the incident and did their best to cope,” he said.

Huh? If this is right, then Taweesilp, doing his own credibility huge damage, is saying the government knew nothing. So how did they land at the military-controlled airport? No answer.

The Air Force has blamed the Ministry of Health:

The health ministry was responsible for allowing an Egyptian military delegation later found to include an officer infected with Covid-19 to go shopping in Rayong during their stopover in Thailand, air force chief ACM Manat Wongwat said on Tuesday.

A stopover by a military airplane on a long-haul flight for refueling and to rest the crew and passengers was normal international practice, ACM Manat said.

The role of the air force was to approve or disapprove a stopover request by a plane carrying a military delegation. The health ministry was responsible for coronavirus checks and quarantine….

ACM Manat said when the Foreign Ministry received a stopover request from an embassy it was forwarded to the air force for approval.

Buck-passing may not work if the Air Force’s role at its airport is to not control anything, which is buffalo manure. So the next trick is an “inquiry.” Can anyone recall the last time anyone n the military or the regime was held responsible for anything during an “investigation”?





With two updates: Junta politics of influence, dark influence and murder

25 09 2019

A quick look at the English-language newspapers over the last day or so suggests that there’s more than a little poor journalism going on.

One was the report that “the Charoen Pokphand Group (CP)-led consortium, winner of the bid to build the 224-billion-baht high-speed railway linking three airports, will be told to sign the contract on Oct 15 or face a fine for failing to honour the terms of the bid.” That “ultimatum was decided upon … at a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who oversees the Transport Ministry, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, senior transport officials and the chief of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office.”

PPT has no brief for the Sino-Thai tycoons at CP, but we would have thought that someone at the Bangkok Post might have recalled that Anutin’s family are the major shareholders in CP competitor Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction. Perhaps it might have also been useful to note that the Chidchob family, Anutin and his father have been political bedmates for over a decade.

While on Sino-Thai tycoons, the Post reported that Viroj and Samrerng Suknamai, the parents of “former beauty queen and actress Nusara Suknamai,” have “filed a lawsuit with the civil court on Monday, demanding 300 million baht in compensation plus a 7.5% interest from the manager of Vichai’s estate and the King Power Duty Free company, which is owned by the tycoon’s family.” Nusara “died on Oct 27 in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium in Leicester…”. When all of the eulogies were for Vichai, at the time of the accident, BBC Sport Editor Dan Roan was in a spot of bother after being caught “talking about Vichai[‘s]… personal assistant Nusara Suknamai.” He correctly identified her “the mistress who died in the crash, otherwise known as member of staff, i.e. mistress… [of the so-called] family man [Vichai]…”. The report does indicate that the fabulously wealthy King Power lot have been pretty tight-fisted in dealing with the “other woman.”

The ruling class’s military-backed regime is anything but tight-fisted when it comes to buying support. Puea Thai Party chief strategist Sudarat Keyuraphan claims to have “an audio clip that would show that Phalang Pracharat had tried to lure …[14] Pheu Thai MPs by offering to pay them certain benefits.” Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan denied this. But no one should believe Gen Prawit. He’s got form on this, having bought up former pro-Thaksin MPs all over the country before the election. That included heroin trafficker and standover man Thammanat Prompao. Now, Gen Prawit needs “to prop up the government’s slim majority.” This wheeling and dealing is expensive and leads to all kinds of policies that are designed simply to raise money for political shenanigans. The media should be more active in pointing out that it is the military junta’s constitution that (re)created the capacity for such political corruption.

While considering the military junta’s corruption, look to the report that the “Parliament’s Anti-Corruption Committee is gathering evidence in a fact-finding probe against Public Relations Department chief Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd over accusations that he verbally and in writing ordered his subordinates to spread information allegedly helping the Palang Pracharat Party ahead of the March 24 national elections and attacking a former prime minister and his party.” Remarkably, the junta government’s former spokesman thinks that like a heroin smuggler, he can simply deny: “Sansern argued that he had never taken sides…”. Back when the junta moved Lt Gen Sansern to his position, the Bangkok Post observed that Sansern was in place to “control all government-run media and enforce censorship rules in the lead-up to the expected 2019 election.” While denying everything, Sansern ran back to the boss: “Sansern said he had briefed Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha about the case.” Of course he has.

And speaking of corruption, the National Anti-Corruption Commission is ever so careful when dealing with its masters the government. A report at The Nation advises that Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives from Anutin’s Bhum Jai Thai Party, Mananya Thaiset – yes, in there with Thammanat – “has not yet submitted her declaration of assets and debts to the anti-graft body within the required time frame…”. While the law requires all to declare their assets, NACC secretary-general Worawit Sukboon “said officials … would gather information regarding the matter and consider issuing a letter to Mananya requiring her to provide her reason for failing to file.” It gets worse as the NACC tiptoes around its masters: “If the NACC decided Mananya was required to submit the declaration, the NACC secretariat will issue a letter to notify her accordingly…”.

Back when the political dealing was in full swing, the Bangkok Post had a source who observed the obvious: “Because it receives a big budget, the ministry [of agriculture] can be used as a political tool…”. Money can be made, voters influenced and parties supported.And, as we know from the Thammanat case, “influential persons” get these positions because they are the party wheeler-dealers. And, Mananya is from a family of chao phor and chao mae. Not that long ago, her brother, Chada Thaiset, also a Bhum Jai Thai MP for Uthai Thani declared “I am an influential person.” Back in 2015 it was reported that. like Thammanat, Chada was considered a “dark influence”:

Crime suppression Division (CSD) police officers and commandos yesterday raided 11 locations belonging to alleged influential figures in Uthai Thani’s Muang and Sawang Arom districts.

Most of the targeted premises were those of former or local politicians. They included the house of former Chart Thai Pattana Party MP Chada Thaiset and a resort building under the care of Chada’s nephew.

The 200-strong “Yutthakan Sakaekrang” operation … seized 20 guns, four bullet-proof vests, two tiger skins, two pairs of wildlife horns and a clouded leopard carcass.

… the operation was part of the Royal Thai Police’s policy to suppress crime, crack down on influential figures and hired guns.

Then in 2017, it was reported that:

A former MP and four members of his entourage were released on bail on Sunday after being detained overnight for carrying firearms in public without permission.

Chada Thaiseth, a former Uthai Thani MP, reportedly has been on an official list of mafia-style figures.

More than 100 policemen, both in uniform and plainclothes, intercepted his convoy on a road in Uthai Thani province on Saturday afternoon.

Chada’s group was driving as many as eight vehicles and a search found several guns and illicit drugs in the cars.

A pattern? You bet.

Turning to the other side of politics, Khaosod reports that Nawat Tohcharoensuk, a Puea Thai politician was found guilty of “engineering the murder of a civil servant” and was “sentenced to death on Tuesday … [but] will continue serving as an MP for the opposition, his party said.” He’s appealing the verdict, so the case is not over, but even so, it might be considered prudent for him to step down. But with gangsters in the government, the opposition has them too. And a bit of reading suggests the modus operandi of a dark influence:

Prosecutors said Nawat hired two police officers to gun down Suchart Khotethum, an administrative official in Khon Kaen, in front of his home in 2013. Investigators cited romance-related vendetta as the motive.

And, just to finish off with state violence of the military kind, we see the remarkable report that “four red-shirt co-leaders on Monday … confessed to their roles in the violent protest outside the home of the late Privy Council president, Prem Tinsulanonda, in 2007.” Perhaps they confessed to get the case settled? Perhaps a deal has been done? We can’t help but wonder because Nattawut Saikua said:

he and fellow red-shirt co-leaders offered their apologies because the protest outside Gen Prem’s residence caused injuries among both protesters and police officers on duty.

“We are sorry for what happened,” he said, before insisting the red-shirt co-leaders harboured no grudge with the late Gen Prem.

No grudge? Why’s that? He was one of those who perpetrated the 2006 coup and egged the military on in 2014. He supported crackdowns on red shirts that resulted in deaths and injuries to thousands. He dis this for the military-monarchy alliance that underpins the ruling class. With all the royalist buffalo manure that surrounds this creepy general, there’s no criticism allowed. No one has asked about his unusual wealth, revealed when he finally died.

What a week it has been for a political system designed by the military junta.

Update 1: Legal eel and Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam declared Nawat’s “tenure as an MP was now voided, even though the appeal process was not finalised…”. He said the “constitution stated clearly that MPs lost their status when convicted of a criminal offence.” While we think Nawat should step down and while Wissanu picks and chooses which aspects of the constitution he adheres to, we are not so sure he’s right on this. All sections in the constitution relating to convictions refer to final judgements. Indeed, Article 29 offers a general protection to those in the legal process, stating:

A suspect or defendant in a criminal case shall be presumed innocent, and before the passing of a final judgment convicting a person of having committed an offence, such person shall not be treated as a convict.

Despite this, and the fact that “appeal is automatic in the case of a death sentence,” the House Secretariat is advising a ruling from the Constitutional Court. Of course, the judgement of that Court will probably follow Wissanu.

Meanwhile, in another case of twisted ethics (see those above), the junta’s Palang Pracharath Party is “likely to field Krungsrivilai Suthinpuak in a potential by-election despite the Election Commission (EC) having issued him with a yellow-card for attempted vote-buying.”

The junta’s 5 years seems to have yielded an administration of goons and crooks.

Update 2: Being ever so gentle and flexible with junta party allies, the NACC has decided that Deputy Minister Mananya Thaiset “must declare her assets and liabilities despite her insistence she is under no obligation to do so.” But she’s forgiven for “interpreting” the law incorrectly and can take longer to get her assets list in order before submitting it. Can anyone imagine such leniency for the other side of politics? Of course not. The Post believes Mananya is known “for spearheading a mission to ban toxic farm chemicals.” We think they are gilding it. She’s best known for being from a family of dark influences.

Chada Thaiseth’s convoy stopped by more than uniformed and plainclothes police on a road in Uthai Thani province in 2017. Clipped from The Nation.





Warning the EC

8 04 2019

Puea Thai’s Sudarat Keyuraphan has “warned election commissioners not to calculate the number of party-list MPs in a way that benefits any particular group, which would be a violation of the Constitution.”

That warning comes rather too late as the EC has already decided/been directed to do that.

In response, the EC has actually threatened Sudarat, saying “her claim could cause misunderstanding and lack of confidence in the EC.”

Oh, and they also “rejected Sudarat’s allegation, saying it had no intention of serving the interests of any particular group of people.”

That would be good news if it were accurate.





Junta responses

27 03 2019

As expected, the junta and its puppet party, Palang Pracharath, have responded to Puea Thai’s announcement that it believes it can form a coalition government.

Deputy Dictator Gen Prawit Wongsuwan declared the whole thing a sham: “They can talk, but the EC (Election Commission) has not officially announced the election results. Wait until after May 9…”. He revealed that “[o]ur plan is that the government will be formed after the royal ceremonies [coronation]…”.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam seemed to reveal a bit more when he said:

The outstanding five percent of election results (from the EC) is a lot of votes and some prospective MPs could be disqualified because there have been more than 100 electoral complaints which need to be investigated….

Wissanu noted that disqualifications over electoral violations would change seat counts.

That sounds like the junta plan to use the EC to hone Palang Pracharath’s coalition. It will all be opaque.

And he added that “even with a signed agreement, things can change on a daily basis…”, suggesting that Palang Pracharath is likely to enter a bidding war for small parties.

Then there was the Palang Pracharath dummy spit. Its spokesman said that the announcement was illegitimate as it was his party that should be doing the announcing, claiming electoral legitimacy. Then a remarkable claim. He declared that Puea Thai’s Sudarat Keyuraphan was not an MP and questioned her being proposed as premier.

Have these dolts forgotten that they are nominating Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha? He’s not an MP either.





Check, but not yet checkmate

27 03 2019

Khaosod reports that “Pheu Thai Party said Wednesday it would form a coalition with six other parties to become the next government of Thailand.” It claimed that, despite the voting figures not being official, it could claim “at least” 255 seats in the 500 seat House of Representatives.

The coalition with Puea Thai were Future Forward, Seri Ruam Thai, Prachachart, Puea Chart, New Economics and Thai People Power parties. The leaders of those parties were at the press conference where the coalition was announced.

Future Forward’s Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit “endorsed Pheu Thai’s legitimacy in forming a government, said he and the others would work to end the power of the military government, also known as the National Council of Peace and Order or NCPO.” He added that Puea Thai’s Sudarat Keyuraphan was the “most suitable prime minister for Thailand…”. And, he poked The Dictator: “Prayuth, sacrifice yourself. Resign now,” he said. “The media, don’t you guys agree?” He was applauded.

We can now await the junta’s and Palang Pracharath’s response.





Tangling opponents in “law”

10 03 2019

The pro-Thaksin Shinawatra Thai Raksa Chart Party is gone. Dissolved for (stupidly) nominating a (non) princess, only to have the king decide – some say belatedly – the party was designed to support the pro-Thaksin vote under the junta’s rigged electoral system.

But the minority anti-Thaksin alliance of anti-democrats, military fascists and royalists is seeking to tangle all parties they view as pro-Thaksin or insufficiently loyal in law suits that could easily be used to overturn election results.

The Bangkok Post reports that Anat Chang-in, a lawyer based in Loei, is seeking to have the Puea Thai Party dissolved.

This follows the series of legal moves against the Future Forward Party. Just on Friday, as the party drew very large crowds at rallies, the junta “filed another complaint with computer crime police …[with] its webmaster … accused of uploading a video clip that the regime said contained false information that may undermine national security or frighten people under the Computer Crime Act and the Criminal Code.”

Buffalo manure, but the harassment is unending and it is clear that the junta has military stalking the party and its leaders. This complaint is against Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, who simply observed that the law has been a political tool. Every one knows that is true. Indeed the harassment of Future Forard and every pro-Thaksin Party that has ever existed is evidence for the veracity of his observation.

Meanwhile, Lawyer Anat claims Puea Thai’s Sudarat Keyuraphan”misled people about her popularity and that of her party.” She is accused of mentioning the name of a person not running for the party. This is said to be an “offence is punishable under the 2018 MP election law.”

It seems pretty clear that the junta is piling up cases to use against any pro-Thaksin or pro-democracy party that does well in the election. Red cards and court cases could see elected MPs disqualified and parties disbanded. At present, what this use of allegedly legal cases ties the parties up in court and with the police.





Cynicism warranted

28 01 2019

Thai surveying is not always very reliable. However, the enormous cynicism about the junta’s election that was displayed in a recent National Institute of Development Administration poll is warranted.

In this survey, “more than 78% of participants believe vote-buying will be rampant.” The fact that a similar proportion stated that they are keen to vote suggests that the junta’s devil parties may be in electoral trouble.

This is why the junta’s dirty tricks are multiplying. On the weekend, Puea Thai Party’s Sudarat Keyuraphan complained that soldiers were stalking her during campaigning. Such “monitoring” is meant to threaten but is also collecting “evidence” for later use in red-carding candidates from anti-junta parties.

Cynicism is also warranted because the space between the incumbent military regime and its Palang Pracharath Party is non-existent. They are one in the same. Most recently, the Bangkok Post reports on the “talent” recruited to the party. Most of this “talent” has “been recruited by government spokesman Buddhipongse Punnakanta, who is also a member of the PPRP…”.

The junta’s cheating and rigging may still not be enough to guarantee a clear victory. Expect more intense cheating and more cynicism.





Junta vs. Puea Thai

25 11 2018

The Bangkok Post reports that “Monday is the last day that politicians can change camps if the poll is held on Feb 24 as planned. The law requires that they stay with the parties that field them for at least 90 days.”

Because this is the military junta’s Thailand, no one is dead certain that an election will be held on that day.

The Post’s comment is prompted by further defections from Puea Thai to the junta’s principal devil party, Palang Pracharath:

Among those who applied to become PPRP members on Saturday were Pai Leeke, a former MP for Lop Buri province and a close friend of Panthongtae Shinwatra; Pol Lt Col Waipoj Apornrat, Prinya Rerksarai, Anant Pol-amnuay and Surasit Wongwittayanan.

They are from the faction known as Kamphaeng Petch in Pheu Thai, led by Varathep Ratanakorn, a former prime minister’s office minister during the Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra governments. Varathep had been given a suspended two-year jail term in 2009 for malfeasance in a lottery case during the Thaksin government and is therefore banned from competing in the coming election….

Others who switched from Pheu Thai on Saturday were Dejnattawit Teriyapirom, a son of former commerce minister Boonsong; Tanit Thienthong, a nephew of veteran Sa Kaeo politician Sanoh Thienthong; Wanchai Jongsutthanamanee, a former Chiang Rai mayor; Rattana Jongsuttanamanee, a former chairwoman of the Chiang Rai Provincial Organisation; and Amnuay Klangpa, a former government whip.

Current Industry Minister, junta stooge and Palang Pracharath boss Uttama Savanayana said “the entry of several Pheu Thai members was not the result of threats involving court cases against them or any other reasons.” (Some have revealed that the move is to avoid prosecution.) He added: “They have joined us because we have the same ideology.” We guess the “ideology” is a mix of royalist militarism and anti-democratic bilge.

That there are more defections would seem a problem for Puea Thai. Yet another Bangkok Post report has it that a NIDA poll, which usually trolls for the junta, “Sudarat Keyuraphan, chairwoman of the Pheu Thai Party’s election strategy committee, leads the people’s top ten choices for prime minister under the current election law — and Pheu Thai is the number one party in the general election…”.

How’s the junta going to respond to that? We suspect that the long-considered idea of dissolving the party will be back on the agenda.





A catch-up I

27 03 2018

As readers will know, PPT has been a little quiet as we moved location. We have seen a few articles that we would have posted on, but didn’t have time and access, so here they are, in brief:

From Australia’s Green Left: After having taken a principled stand against the 2014 coup, Australia’s conservative government has capitulated to the military junta in a series of steps. The latest and most significant was the welcome by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha (and several other authoritarian leaders) at a Special Summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations in Sydney last week. This after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had previously pledged, in writing, that Australia would “put in place a mechanism to prevent coup leaders from travelling to Australia.” Australia’s coalition government has been charging further to the political right and recognizing an illegal regime in Thailand is just one more example of this rightist frogmarch.

From The Nation: A report on a panel featuring politicians Anutin Charnvirakul, Sudarat Kayuraphan, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Parit Wacharasindhu. All were reported to have “agreed that democracy, and not a coup d’etat, was the key answer to the problems facing the country.” They also reportedly agreed that the “Constitution must be undone to ensure that it does not paralyse future governments and prevent them from delivering meaningful policies…”. Hooray! Absolutely correct. But then they are reported to have said that “effective democracy would require participants to respect both rules and election results…”. Yes and no. We understand these points. However, because so many of the “rules” derive from the junta, some of these must be overturned too.

From Erich Parpart, Senior Reporter, Bangkok Post’s Asia Focus: He gets  basic facts are right. But some claims are warped. He says ” that the law in Thailand has long been abused for political purposes by those on both sides of the political spectrum.” In fact, by far the vast majority of lese majeste accusations have come from rightists and royalists damning their political opponents. (How many royalists are in exile escaping lese majeste charges? None.) Like others he says “[s]ince the coup of 2014, more than 90 people have been prosecuted for lese majeste and 43 have been sentenced.” This is wrong. As we have said several times, our data shows far higher numbers. He says the “most egregious application of the law in recent memory involved Sulak Sivaraksa.” This is completely wrong. Sulak got off. The cases of those who didn’t and were sentenced to jail for decades for saying “nothing,” for graffiti, for Facebook posts are far more egregious. When he writes of lese majeste in Cambodia he needs to read our recent post.

More catch-up soon.








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