Banpot and Thaksin

15 02 2015

As we often do, below PPT reproduces a recent post by Giles Ji Ungpakorn. In it, Ji comments on the recent arrest of “Banpot” or Hasadin Uraipraiwan.

Unfortunately, Taksin is a royalist

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Thai police have arrested a man that they claim to be “Banpot”, the famous internet alias, who regularly published audio clips criticising the Thai Royal Family. The suspect has been identified as Hasadin Uraipraiwan. Earlier, an extremist media channel tried to falsely claim that “Banpot” was the Chiang-Mai academic Professor Tanet Charoenmuang.

The military junta is desperate to link Banpot to Taksin and they are making remarks about a “big capitalist” who is funding these activities. This is not the first time that the anti-democrats and the military have tried to accuse Taksin of wanting to overthrow the monarchy. They believe that it would help legitimise their destruction of democracy.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately, Taksin is a royalist.

Taksin has often been accused of wanting to usurp the monarchy and become president. There is absolutely no evidence for this. In fact, throughout the period when Taksin was Prime Minister, he promoted and was seen to be servile to the King, just like the conservative generals who are his rivals. His government paved the way for and participated in the lavish royal celebrations on the 60th anniversary of the King’s accession to the throne in 2006.His government also introduced the “Yellow Shirt Mania”, where we were all told to wear yellow royal shirts every Monday. Both Taksin and his conservative opponents are royalists because they seek to use the institution of the monarchy in order to stabilise the status quo and class rule in a capitalist society.

Following the July 2011 election we saw Prime Minister Yingluk’s Pua Thai Government making it clear that they were royalists. If we look at the use of lèse majesté, the Pua Thai Government’s record of abusing freedom of speech was just as bad as Abhisit’s military-backed Democrats. The Minister for Information Technology and Communication Anudit Nakorntup showed himself to be a rabid royalist censor, threatening Facebook users who so much as clicked “like” in response to a post deemed to be insulting to the monarchy. Worse still, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung was appointed as “lèse majesté supremo” to hunt down dissenters.

The reason why Taksin will not lead an all-out struggle for democracy against the dictatorship is linked to Taksin’s royalism, or more importantly, to his commitment to defending the status quo and the Thai ruling class in its present form. He and the generals are merely rivals for power. Taksin wants to re-join the elite club at some point in the future. He is desperate to prevent radicalisation of the democracy movement. But we must do everything to encourage such radicalisation and the struggle for a democratic republic.


Support for Nitirat’s lese majeste reform proposal

19 01 2012

PPT missed this report a couple of days ago, and we post it now because it is significant.

At Matichon, it is reported that a list of significant academics, writers, lawyers and intellectuals in Thailand have supported Nitirat’s call for a review of the lese majeste law. Significantly, and like an earlier international academic call for the law’s reform, it has 112 signatories. Each signatory was listed in a Nitirat pamphlet.

The names include many very well-respected and senior intellectuals. The lead signatories are Charnvit Kasetsiri, Pasuk Phongpaichit and Nidhi Eowsriwong, each of them well-known and respected in Thailand and internationally. Other respected signatories include: Thongchai Winichakul, Thak Chaloemtiarnana, Suchit Wongthes, Seksan Prasertkul, Tanet Charoenmuang, Kasian Tejapira and Kengkij Kitirianglarp.

With 4 updates: The crackdown II

10 04 2010

PM’s Office minister Sathit Wongnongtoey, who has seldom been a source of accurate information has made claims of attacks on Government House. PPT is seeking independent confirmation of this.

The government has called for protesters to retreat – government is said to be retreating: “Army spokesman Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd went on national television Saturday night to ask the protesters to retreat as well.  Sansern said a senior government official has been asked to coordinate with the protesters ‘to bring back peace’.”

The Nation reports that the “government has assigned PM’s Secretary General Korbsak Sapavasu to negotiate with red shirts’ leaders as clashes between soldiers and protesters continued.  Emergency Operations Command’s spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said at 9pm that Korbsak will seek ceasing of all actions by both sides.” He said: “We believe that at the moment, negotiation is needed to prevent further damage to properties and lives of both sides…”. It seems odd for the government to decide now to negotiate. Are there splits in the government and with the military? Where is Abhisit Vejjajiva on this?

There are government reports that 20 soldiers were injured in a grenade attack when clashing with red shirt protesters near the Democracy Monument. Later, the Bangkok Post reported that the government’s “call for truce came after at least 100 soldiers were reportedly wounded in the clashes with the red-shirts at Khok Wua intersection on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on Saturday night while trying to advance towards Phan Fa bridge amid fierce resistance by the red-shirts.” No confirmation of this. The government is claiming that the violence is only from red shirts.

Update 1: By late evening, the Nation has reported 8 deaths and almost 500 injured: “Eight people, including a foreign cameraman, were killed as red shirts protesters battled with combined forces of police and soldiers.  Erawan Rescue Center’s chief Phetpong Kamjornkitjakarn said a total of eight people were killed during the clashes.  At least 486 people, soldiers and red shirts protesters were wounded.  He confirmed that one victim was a Japanese reporter of Reuters news agency.  Central Hospital director Dr Pitchaya Nakwatchara earlier identified the cameraman as Hirouki Muramoto.  Muramoto was shot at his chest, he said.  The others were Sawat Wangam, 43, who was hit at head, while the two others victims; Thanachai (last name unknown) and Noppachai Mekfangam, died after being shot at the chest.  Name of the fifth victim could not be identified.”

Reuters says 521 killed or injured and it is reported that “Klang, Hua Chiew, Mission hospitals which are closest to Phan Fa brdige could no longer accept any more patients as the emergency wards were full. Any more injuries will have to be sent to other hospitals.” This same report has details on the red shirt reaction. Red shirts are trying to ensure that casualties and bodies are not hidden by the government. This relates to claims that the bodies of people killed by the military last April were spirited away.

New York Times report is here.

Update 2: Prachatai reports 15 dead. This is confirmed at the Bangkok Post where it says: “678 injuries and 15 deaths: 4 soldiers and 11 civilians.All the road intersections leading to the UDD protest site at Phan Fa bridge are being manned by securities personnel as reported by a TV late news.”

Update 3: The government is claiming that the red shirts have taken 20-30 soldiers as “hostages.” If this is correct, it is not clear what is being negotiated. [This was later revised down to 5 “hostages” but the source remains the military spokesman.]

Update 4: AP has a useful report on the day’s events. It begins: “A crackdown on anti-government protesters in Thailand’s capital Saturday left at least 15 people dead and more than 650 injured, with no progress toward ending a month-long standoff with demonstrators demanding new elections.  It was the worst violence in Bangkok since more than four dozen people were killed in an anti-military protest in 1992.” It is added: “Bullet casings, rocks and pools of blood littered the streets where pitched battles raged for hours. Army troops later retreated and asked protesters to do the same, resulting in an unofficial truce.” AP says that the “savage fighting erupted after security forces tried to push out demonstrators…. The army had vowed to clear the protesters out of one of their two bases in Bangkok by nightfall, but the push instead set off street fighting. There was a continuous sound of gunfire and explosions, mostly from Molotov cocktails. After more than two hours of fierce clashes, the soldiers pulled back.”

Most of the fighting was said to have taken place near the Democracy Monument. This report states: “Soldiers made repeated charges to clear the Red Shirts, while some tourists stood by watching. Two protesters and a Buddhist monk with them were badly beaten by soldiers and taken away by ambulance. A Japanese tourist who was wearing a red shirt was also clubbed by soldiers until bystanders rescued him.”

Michael Nelson, a German scholar of Southeast Asia said “Abhisit ‘failed miserably’, and Tanet Charoenmuang, a “political scientist at Chiang Mai University sympathetic to the Red Shirt’s cause, said he expects the fighting will resume because the protesters are unafraid and the government refused to listen to them.”

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