Updated: Anti-democrat splinters

13 03 2017

About a week ago, PPT commented on the meanderings of anti-democrat Thirayudh Boonmee’s criticisms of the lack of resolve in the military dictatorship for “reform.” Those seemingly mild urging followed on the junta’s back down on the protesters from the south, one of its strongest constituencies.

Things seem to be splintering in the anti-democrat coalition that has been a powerful ally and promoter of the military coup and the military dictatorship.

The Nation reports that “[p]olice are launching a manhunt for well-known political activist Veera Somkwamkid after he published an opinion survey’s result on his Facebook wall, saying the majority people lack confidence in the Prayut administration.”

Veera has a long history of anti-democratic and ultra-nationalist activism and was aligned to the southern anti-coal protesters and he has recently poked the military on The Dictator and nepotism. Some background before getting back to The Nation story.

Veera, who is associated with thugs like the armed extremists of the Network of Students and People for the Reform of Thailand (see the photo where Veera is joined by the fascist “student” leader Nittithon Lamlua and the right-wing Iceman and coup promoter General Boonlert Kaewprasit).

VeeraAlthough Veera was briefly detained not long after the coup, he praised The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha and urged him to emulate the Chinese in “cracking down on corruption.” Veera is an admirer of China and its totalitarianism, having claimed that China was “more advanced” than some democratic countries.

Earlier still, Veera headed the Thai Patriots Network, which was aligned with the People’s Alliance for Democracy. Some may recall that he had once sought to provoke a war with Cambodia and whose release from jail in Cambodia was prompted by the military dictatorship’s willingness to create a crisis by sending Cambodian workers streaming back home in a fear campaign that was for Veera’s benefit and also effectively brought Hun Sen “into line” through a threat to the workers’ remittances.

In the story at The Nation, we learn that the have an “an arrest warrant from the Criminal Court and searched [Veera’s] … house in Bangkok’s Khannnayao district but failed to locate him.”

The arrest warrant states that Veera “violated the Computer Crime Act by posting distorted information into a computer network in defamation against the government.” The police allege that “Veera posted results of his opinion survey on his Veera Somkwamkid Facebook wall, causing damage to the reputation of the government and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.”

While the junta is always happy to crow when there are polls indicating massive support, often with unbelievably ridiculous numbers, Veera’s stunt has The Dictator seething. We suspect that he also sees Veera as an ingrate.

Veera is said to have “claimed that the majority of the people lacked confidence in the government although the survey was carried out among just one group of people and was organised by Veera himself.”

The TCSD said “the results might be inaccurate,” and observed that “Veera is a well-known activist so the post on his Facebook wall had severely damaged the reputation of the government and the prime minister.”

The anti-democrat coalition seems to be splintering and that certainly worries the junta as much as Prayuth feels his pride damaged.

The manhunt is on. Perhaps he is on the lam with the former head of Wat Dhammakaya?

Update: Khaosod reports that Veera has been responding, stating at his Facebook account:

“I’m announcing this publicly: The police don’t need to waste their time finding me. I will meet with [investigators] on Wednesday,” Veera wrote on his Facebook, hours after police officers raided his home to look for him.

Veera said he’s willing to contest the charge in a court of law, but added that he feared security forces may abduct him before meeting with police and put him in a military prison where he might die in custody.

“I may die of a blood infection,” Veera wrote, referencing an infamous explanation given for one death in military custody in 2015. “Are we clear? A man like Veera Somkwamkid never runs away from the law. I’m ready to contest my case. But I’m not ready to be murdered.”





Updated: Double standards as wide as an ocean

29 08 2014

The term “double standards” has been used to describe judicial and political actions in Thailand that means that there is one law for the rich and another for the rest. In recent has also been used to accurately portray a political bias where one side of politics – the royalists – get favored treatment over the rest. That the rich and the royalists have considerable overlap is well-known.

It is no surprise then when the Bangkok Post lauds yet one more confirmation of gross double standards under the military dictatorship that illegally seized state power in May this year. The Bangkok Post’s lauding of double standards might have a lot to do with the fact that the company that owns it was headed by a double coup supporting minor prince who drools at the opportunity to once again work for the corrupt and murderous military.

In an editorial the Post lavishes undeserved praise on the military dictatorship for its decision “to free Veera Somkhwamkid, leader of the Thai Patriots Network, and seven other members of an energy policy reform group, without pressing any charges against them…”. Veera is a People’s Alliance for Democracy associate and ultra-nationalist who has wanted to provoke war with Cambodia and whose release from jail in Cambodia was prompted by the military dictatorship’s willingness to create a crisis by sending Cambodian workers streaming back home in a fear campaign that was for Veera’s benefit and also effectively brought Hun Sen “into line” through a threat to the workers’ remittances.

The Post’s editorial is bizarre. It lists the repression of free speech (which affects everyone in Thailand, not just the looney rightists):

The eight activists were arrested by police on Sunday for staging a protest march against energy policy and violating martial law. The order to arrest them was made by Pol Maj Gen Amnuay Nimmano, deputy commissioner of the Police Education Bureau, currently in charge of security affairs and peace maintenance in Bangkok.

Last week in Hat Yai, a handful of activists from the energy policy reform network were arrested as they embarked on a 950km march to Bangkok to raise public awareness of their demand for changes to national energy policy.

They were held in military custody for five days before being released.

The group was allowed to continue the march on the condition that they must end it at 5pm each day and no public forums or public speeches were carried out throughout the walking protest.

That seems like a reasonable account of the actions taken by the military dictatorship against these protesters, and they have been even more repressive against those seen as enemies and opponents. However, the Post gets out the bottom polishing rag and declares, against all logic:

Thanks to openness on the part of the NCPO [it means the military junta], Mr Veera and his associates were released so they could join academics, government officials and energy activists in a public forum yesterday to discuss energy issues.

One hopes the group of experts will seize this opportunity to present its views and rationale for energy policy changes to the public.

It is regrettable that former senator Rosana Tositrakul, a vocal critic of the PTT Public Company who claims current energy policy favours the oil and gas giant, could not attend the public discussion. She explained she had an appointment which could not be cancelled at such short notice.

Openness? Really? The Post also doesn’t mention that Rosana is another ultra-nationalist, ultra-yellow PAD supporter who has promoted a range of anti-democratic actions over a decade and more.

The Post reckons that The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who recently had himself made premier, is loosening up because he said the junta “will only use the special powers vested upon them by martial law and the interim constitution when necessary for the sake of national security.” The Post seems to hope that this means that the anti-democrats, ultra-royalists and ultra-nationalists can “participate” and have “free expression.” It makes this clear when it states:

Clampdowns on free expression such as public gatherings which, by their nature, do not pose any security threat but merely voice grievances to get the attention of the powers that be, should be carried out with greater discretion and prudence, or avoided altogether.

The Post is openly supporting dictatorship and effectively making the case for huge double standards. The military dictatorship determines what is a “security threat” and it is as clear as can be that this means red shirts and anti-coup activists. Sure the Post bleats about “free spirit” and “rights,” but its approach is partisan, promotes double standards and is supportive of dictatorship.

Update: Yes, we should have checked when we were pointing at Pridiyathorn Devakula above as a coup-loving Chairman of the Board at Post Publishing. We should have checked how many other coup-loving, military paid servants were at the same company. Fortunately, as all these military servants resign so they can be appointed to various puppet ministries, the Post is telling us. The latest military harlot to resign from Post Publishing is Wissanu Krea-ngam, another serial offender who drools at the opportunity to once again work for the corrupt and murderous military.

 





For us, against us

8 07 2014

The lines of demarcation between the junta and its opponents are reasonably clear, as two recent event demonstrate.

If you are an ally of the junta, you get special treatment.

Bangkok Pundit recently suggested that the massive Cambodian migrant worker “exodus was so quick that it has no doubt caused political problems in Cambodia, [and] … forced Hun Sen to cooperate with the junta. (Veera’s release?).” Veera is Veera Somkwamkid, the People’s Alliance for Democracy-associate ultra-nationalist member of the Thai Patriot Network, who was detained in Cambodia following a border incursion in 2011. When he was released a few days ago, all of the old hyper-nationalist, yellow shirts got together for a party to welcome back their “hero.”

As the Bangkok Post reports, the party was arranged at the at the Royal Turf Club, where General Boonlert Kaewprasit was host. Boonlert is a favorite of the military and royalist elite not least because he was one of those who managed the revival of anti-democrat street protests for the PAD lot prior to the mobilizations that became the Suthep Thaugsuban anti-democrats, who paved the way for the coup…. and the rest is history, as they say.

The military dictatorship became worried, after the fact, that the welcome party might be seen as “double standards,” not that such claims seem to bother them in other spheres. The party was attended not just by Boonlert, but a bunch of others from the military and the anti-Thaksin Shinawatra movement including “Gen Preecha Iamsuphan, former senators Prasarn Maruekpitak, Khamnoon Sitthisamarn and Rosana Tositrakul, national artist Naowarat Pongpaiboon and other activists.”

So Veera and Boonlert were called in by the junta. The result was a bit of hugging and and a public reprimand. Then, as the Post reports it, after a couple of hours, they were “allowed to go home after a meeting with a high level officer of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).” They even went on television to “explain”:

Gen Boonlert said in an interview with television reporters afterwards that Gen Paiboon Khumchaya, the assistant army chief and NCPO’s chief of legal and justice affairs section, asked him and Mr Veera to let the NCPO know before conducting any activity which may be construed as violating the NCPO’s orders including the ban on a political gatherings.

They agreed to comply with the request, Gen Boonlert said.

If you are seen as an opponent of the coup, you get very different treatment. Boonlert and Veera get mainstream media coverage for the party and its aftermath. Most of those present, as yellow shirt supporters of the coup, go about their business, political and otherwise. But not opponents. Khaosod reports the second detention of Thanapol Eawsakul, editor of Fa Diaw Kan.

A “senior army officer” says that the editor is having his attitude “re-adjusted.” Why? Because of “critical Facebook comments violated a condition he signed before being released from his first bout of military detention. That release form barred Mr. Thanapol from participating in politics or expressing any opinions that ‘incite unrest’.” Should the “military decide to charge Mr. Thanapol with violating the NCPO’s release conditions, the activist will be tried in military court and could face up to two years in prison.”

Compare the re-education and multiple detention of an activist writing on Facebook with the military junta’s freeing of Veera and the treatment of their friends Boonlert and Veera. This is not about double standards but about the nature of the military regime.





Pandering to the minority?

30 12 2013

The Bangkok Post has joined The Nation in apparently pandering to the anti-democratic movement by naming it as the “People of the Year.” It refers to the “great mass uprising” or “muan maha prachachon” as a kind of middle class revolution that could “go down as a major political landmark and point of progress in Thai history.” The Post adds: “Whether the newly emerged force … will grow into a positive movement that brings about political progress remains to be seen.”

In other words, the selection is, like that of The Nation, either a bit of anti-democratic campaigning, pandering and hope or it is a bit like TIME magazine choosing Hitler as Man of the Year in 1938 which appears as fascination with a demagogue. We don’t know, but we do wonder about the Post’s pitch on this “landmark.”

Let’s look more closely at the claims made in this campaign by the Post (the indented bits are from the newspaper’s story):

Discontent, it is said, is the first necessity of progress.It’s discontent that lies at the hearts of the hundreds of thousands of people who have taken to Bangkok streets since last month to protest against the amnesty law that sought to absolve all crimes and corruption cases from 2006 onwards without any clear justifiable reasons.

It’s discontent against the flagrant abuse of power by a majority of democratically elected representatives who not only voted to pass a law that would have rendered the justice process meaningless but did so at 4:25am _ unbecoming conduct by parliamentarians for such highly questionable legislation.

This is true, as far as it goes. There is no doubt that the ill-conceived amnesty bill was a disaster for all involved. It is true that the amnesty bill motivated many who have demonstrated. However, it is also true that red shirts, both official and others, were also opposed to the amnesty bill. They are not demonstrating.

As the story later states, the bill has since been withdrawn. It might have been added that it never became law.

It is also true that the opposition movement is not primarily about this bill. The anti-democracy movement is primarily interested in destroying what it identifies as the “Thaksin regime” and prevent an election before the rules of elections can again be changed to allow minority interests to control politics.

The almost spontaneous uprising against the draft law started with tens of thousands who joined then Democrat MP and former party secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban at a rally on Samsen Road, and grew into hundreds of thousands within weeks.

It is important to recognize that this anti-democratic movement was formed in 2005 and has been active ever since, seeing various levels of support. The opposition to the “Thaksin regime,” as Thongchai Winichakul points out in an excellent op-ed,  may have begun in late November, but this is “only one battle in Thailand’s protracted political struggle since the violent protests of 2006 that ended with a military coup.”

In fact, the lineage and allies is: People’s Alliance for Democracy (since 2005), Democrat Party (since 2005), Dhamma Army and Santi Asoke (since 2005), Group of 40 Senators (since 2005), palace and military (2006), judiciary (since 2006), No Colors/Multi Colors (from about 2010), Green Politics Group (since 2007), Thai Patriot Network (since 2008), Siam Samakkhi (since 2011), Network of Citizen Volunteers to Protect the Land (2012), Pitak Siam (which began its demonstrations in the same month in 2012), Sayam Prachapiwat (2012), the White Mask group, People’s Army Against the Thaksin Regime (2013), and now the misleadingly monikered People’s Democratic Reform Committee (2013). Each of these groups -and we are sure we have missed some of them – has had overlapping membership and leadership. Essentially, a small group of rightist leaders have worked from 2005 to mobilize and bring down elected governments.

The spirit of the 2013 uprising, the will to mass together to challenge injustice and the force for change it engendered, has earned the mass uprising, or muan maha prachachon as it has become known, the Bangkok Post’s 2013 People of the Year distinction.

PPT can’t help thinking about the injustice heaped upon every single elector who has voted again and again for the governments the majority wants, only to see them overturned by unelected minorities. We can’t recall, but were red shirts the Post’s Persons of the Year in 2010 for their campaign for an election?

It is the first time that white-collar working-class people and business entrepreneurs have spoken up and demanded they be treated as informed citizens who are willing to engage in participatory democracy, in activities that go beyond casting their ballot on voting days.

When Sondhi Limthongkul formed the People’s Alliance for Democracy six years ago, only a few thousand people in these classes joined him as the so-called yellow-shirt demonstrators….

This is far from factual. Business people have been funding PAD’s demonstrations since 2005 and have been involved in demonstrations previously – recall the 1992 “mobile phone mob.” The “white-collar working class” is an odd term and seems little more than an attempt to identify middle-class protesters who have come out time and again to oppose elections and pro-Thaksin governments. We have to say we are seriously confused by the claim about Sondhi and PAD. The Bangkok Post’s archives tell a different story.

Indeed, the … movement … is not without flaws.

As the uprising against the political amnesty law grew under Mr Suthep’s leadership, it morphed into a demonstration to oust the Yingluck Shinawatra government and so-called “Thaksin regime” _ a term used to refer to the influence of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on politics and more loosely to the tyranny of the majority.

It is revealing that the Post uses the term “tyranny of the majority” with no interrogation. The term is usually used to refer to a situation where decisions made by a majority mean its interests are so central that those of an individual or minority are ignored in a manner that constitutes oppression. The anti-democrats, however, use this terminology to refer to the Shinawatra clan and associates getting all that they want. They also use it to complain that legislation the Democrat Party doesn’t like gets passed in parliament.  In reality, the Yingluck government has repeatedly backed down on its electoral promises in order to reduce opposition. Recall what political scientists were saying 6-12 months ago: the Yingluck strategy has been, according to Duncan McCargo, to cool political tensions. Kevin Hewison made similar claims in a 2012 article at Political Insight. None of this sounds either tyrannical or despotic.

While its demand seems to resonate with many people _ hundreds of thousands rose up every time Mr Suthep called on them to march _ it is questionable whether the movement is for a “less flawed democracy” as many demonstrators have claimed, or simply “less democracy” as Mr Suthep’s proposal seems to suggest.

Political analyst Chris Baker is cited by the Post:

He said the movement’s rejection of the one-person, one-vote basic principle of political equality is clear.

“Some supporters have clearly said they think Bangkok people should have more weight in the elections than non-Bangkok people. This is important. We outside observers now know what this movement stands for…”.

Thammasat political scientist Kasian Tejapira is also quoted:

He said what is going on is not different from a putsch. It’s just being done with support from the masses instead of military tanks and weapons. “The muan maha prachachon is a capitalist movement that will lead to the tyranny of the minority…”.

Despite this clarity, the Post still it is fascinated by the anti-democratic movement. Part of the reason for this is explained by Democrat Party stalwart and former ASEAN secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan:

He said the rural electorate was awakened and made aware of its political power and potency in an open political process over a decade ago.

Now, the other end of the political spectrum including people who were politically passive have become agitated by the ways things are going.

“Deep grievances are being articulated against a rampant and unprecedented level of corruption, abuse of power, cronyism in business, nepotism in the bureaucracy, intervention in the check-and-balance mechanisms, control of government media and intimidation of free and independent news agencies.

“[They are also upset about] pervasive and systematic violations of human and civil rights, impunity for law enforcement personnel, ruinous populist programmes and ill-conceived government projects. All of these lead to a profile of anger, frustration, bitterness, emotional pain and political divide on the streets of Bangkok,” Mr Surin said.

It is a bit difficult to know where to begin with Surin’s position. We do agree on the political awakening of a decade or so ago. However, as we have shown above, the claim that “the other end of the political spectrum including people who were politically passive” is false. It would only be true if there hadn’t been a 1992, a PAD or a coup. The POst adds to this:

There are those who attend rallies because they want “good people” to govern the country, university students who want to rid the country of conflicts of interest, and those critical of the government’s environmental policies.

A common theme of the protests is the crowd’s opposition to corruption.

“It’s the corruption, stupid!” former finance minister Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala wrote on Facebook.

He was referring to former United States president Bill Clinton’s phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid!” which alerted American voters that the key issue during the 1992 US election was not the war against Iraq but the poor economy.

To be factual, the phrase was not Clinton’s but of one of his campaign strategists. That aside, it is fair to observe that none of these desires are absent from the majority who support pro-Thaksin parties. At the same time, each of these claims has been made since PAD came into existence and the double standards are breathtaking: Suthep has a long history of nepotism and cronyism, not to mention corruption claims; Sondhi Limthongkul has an equally long history of corrupt practices; the Democrat Party had to leave office in 1995 over corruption claims; and when Abhisit was in power, the claims of corruption were from red shirt opponents.

Political commentator Anek Laothamatas is also cited:

The Pheu Thai Party, which has focused on winning votes from the rural base and believed _ falsely _ that electoral victory would silence the minority middle class, must rethink their strategy to regain its support….

He’s right on that. The majority has been repeatedly told by the minority – the middle classes and elite – that electoral victories mean nothing. In democracies that take hold, these classes usually make compromises that allow the poorer majority a say in politics. It seems Thailand’s minority wants another path.





Anti-democratic violence

26 12 2013

Now that the bulk of the protesters have left the streets, the anti-democratic movement is in the hands of Suthep Thaugsuban, the People’s Alliance for Democracy leadership and extremist members of the Democrat Party. Their protesters are now the protest hardened toughs from the “rubber farmer” demonstrations in the south, which were particularly aggressive, the rabid ultra-nationalist/anti-Thaksin activists of groups like Siam Samakkhi and the Thai Patriot Network, Chamlong Srimuang’s professional protesters of the Dhamma Army, and the violence prone vocational students. Each of these groups is led by PAD operatives from the 2008 long occupations and associated street violence.

This is a dangerous and potentially explosive mixture of extremists.

The initial results of this in recent days has been the steadily increasing violence meant to prevent an election taking place. Today has seen a steady escalation of violence as Suthep has send his hardened activists to break into and occupy the election registration center at Din Daeng. They faced police, determined to keep them out. Violence erupted, with anti-democratic thugs attacking police with various weapons. The police replied with tear gas and rubber bullets.Machete

Amongst tear gas, shots were fired, killing one policeman and wounding several others, including a journalist. It seems medics were frightened by the violence and threats from protesters as they tried to save the policeman’s life. Others were apparently beaten by protesting toughs (see photo left).Taxi driver It was reported that “several other policemen were also wounded by gunfire from unidentified individuals…”. Protesters mainly suffered the effects of tear gas, as did the police.

It remains to be seen what lethal weaponry was used by the protesters, although one tweet with a picture claims that the shooter was apprehended by police (see photo right).Shooter

The situation was so dangerous that Thai Journalists’ Association, referring to “several reporters” being injured, stated that “the executives of all media should order their reporters to pull out from the risk area immediately…”. That makes sense, although if journalists are unable to report, expect the anti-democratic movement to concoct its own story of the events where the police will be painted as aggressors.

Election Commission staff had to be flown out of the stadium by helicopter, with some reports of shots being fired at the helicopters.

Meanwhile, one of the Democrat Party’s hired American supporters, with considerable combat experience, has claimed that he is with the “fighters” who were attacking the police.

YonOut of all of this, the useless dolts at the National Human Rights Commission managed to conjure a biased and pathetic statement:

… expressing its worry over the police operation against the protesters who were attempting to storm the Thai-Japan Stadium. It specifically criticised the police for using tear gas and rubber bullets, claiming that such measure is unacceptable in universal crowd control methods. The statement also urged the police to rely on peaceful dialogue as means to defuse the tension. The statement made no mention of any violence committed by the protesters.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission continues its flip-flops. At the Bangkok Post it is reported that the EC has again decided that an election is a bad idea. Not that long ago, we asked: How is it that the Election Commission can continue to ask for the election to be delayed? Their bleating seems designed to encourage Suthep’s anti-democrats to acts of sabotage against the election….  Their call seems unlawful. But that never seems to bother this lot.

Despite repeated flip-flopping and acknowledging that the election must be held according to the constitution, the EC has again “asked the government to postpone the general election scheduled for Feb 2…”. This time, the EC has stated a determination to postpone the election due to the anti-democracy movement’s protests, and has issued a threat:

“The EC would like to send a message through this statement to the government, to all sides in conflict, and people in all sectors, that the Feb 2, 2014 election will not happen without a joint agreement reached by all concerned.

“Therefore, the EC would like to ask the government to postpone the election until such an agreement has been reached. The EC is ready to act as a mediator to find a joint settlement,” the statement said.

If no action was taken to resolve and improve the situation, the EC would consider exercising the rights of individual commissioners to make a decision to resolve the situation as deemed appropriate, the statement said.

In fact, the political violence of the anti-democracy movement is one element of the creeping coup, with an equally important part being played by politicized agencies and courts, with the EC and other agencies lining up cases that can easily be used to end the government’s tenure, halt an election and declare anti-democrats the winners in this particular crisis.





Updated: Creeping coup

13 12 2013

The anti-democratic movement led by Suthep Thaugsuban has been engaged in a creeping coup, and the government led by Yingluck Shinawatra has conceded so much ground that Thailand’s politics is being wound back, not just to the pre-Thaksin Shinawatra period, but to an authoritarian past, with Suthep mentioning “the era of Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn.”

Why does PPT make this assessment? Here’s why:

The next step is the final ouster of the elected government, to be replaced by unelected council to establish the “absolute democracy,” which will be no democracy at all.

In his meeting with the capitalist representatives, Suthep said his demanded council would:

contain 400 seats: 300 selected from “occupation-based” quota and another 100 seats would be given to “experts” selected by the PCAD.

No elections, just selection, no names.

To do this, Yingluck has to resign to allow the “King to appoint a new Prime Minister under Article 7 of the 2007 Constitution, which Mr. Suthep argued allowed the king to exercise his royal power in such manner.” If Yingluck (or any Puea Thai replacement) doesn’t go, Suthep says there will be no peace from his anti-democratic movement.

Suthep said: “We are open to discussion, but we are not open to negotiation.” In other words, Suthep knows he has the support of the elite and can make more demands.

What of the red shirts? The question should be why didn’t Puea Thai call on the support of red shirts? What prevented this? As we said some time ago, the red shirts are the real losers, again.

The royalist elite has shown remarkable tenacity in fighting democracy and progressive change: a military coup, a judicial coup and now a creeping coup that all seek to turn back the political clock.

Update: The meeting with the top brass will be interesting and will carry considerable weight for the creeping coup if the military comes closer to the anti-democratic movement. More information at Khaosod.

However, what concerned PPT about this report is the comment attributed to Sathit Wongnongtoey, one of the Democrat Party’s nastier functionaries. He is reported:

In the same press conference, another PCAD leader, Mr. Satit Wongnongtoey, also accused the international media of harbouring bias toward the anti-government movement. He warned that foreign correspondents working in Thailand should be careful not to end up turning themselves into tools of “Thaksin′s Regime”.

Such a threat is yet another example of the fascist tendencies that have marked this anti-democratic movement and its predecessors in PAD, Siam Samakkhi, the no color groups, Thai Patriot Network and the Dhamma Army, amongst others.





“New” anti-government group is old and tired but threatening

26 07 2013

In recent days there has been talk of a “new” anti-government alliance. The Bangkok Post announces a “newly formed anti-government ‘People’s Army [Against the Thaksin Regime]…’.” It may be new in its current form and alliance, and it may excite the scribes in the mainstream media, but it is dreadfully old and corked wine in a not particularly new or even clean bottle.

This “People’s Army” – as much a misnomer as “People’s Alliance for Democracy” – says that it “hopes to mobilise at least 30,000 people to join a rally in Bangkok when the House resumes next week to deliberate the amnesty bill of Pheu Thai MP Worachai Hema.” It plans “co-ordinated” rallies and a “big event” on 4 August, aimed at “overthrowing the Thaksin Shinawatra regime…”. In fact, The Nation describes the “People’s Army” as being “formerly known as Pitak Siam…”. And, the group did meet at General Boonlert Kaewprasit’s Royal Turf Club.

But let’s be just a little more generous and agree that there is more to this than just the old men of Pitak Siam. So who are they? The leaders of the so-called new “People’s Army” include:

  • Thaikorn Polsuwan of the PAD in the Northeast;
  • Pitak Siam group under the new leadership of retired Admiral Chai Suwannaphap;
  • the Thai Patriot Network;
  • Card-carrying old man wanting to run Thailand for the monarchy, Police General Vasit Dejkunchorn of the misnamed Thai Spring non-group, said his (non)group would demonstrate against the amnesty bill. Vasit is able to mobilize royalists associated with the old counterinsurgency and mercenary groups from the Cold War;
  • dull royalist Tul Sitthisomwong, leader of the so-called multicolor movement,that is really a bunch of yellow shirts;
  • Suriyasai Katasila, coordinator of the Green Politics Group, and of PAD; and
  • PAD spokesman Panthep Puapongpan, who says PAD core leaders are to meet to assess their role.

While the Post says that the “People’s Army” is mobilizing “its” provincial chapters, these are the old PAD  networks.

This coalition is potentially threatening for the Yingluck Shinawatra government. Last time, when Pitak Siam rallied, the the cabinet decided to impose the Internal Security Act in three districts of Bangkok. That was criticized.





Rightist rifts

13 07 2013

A few days ago PPT posted on the tired and lost who remained defiant. In that post, PPT commented that the bedraggled group of protesters at Sanam Luang seemed to have lost its way.

In an effort to revive its flagging support, the leadership, under People’s Alliance for Democracy’s Chaiwat Sinsuwong, former aide to Privy Council leader Prem Tinsulanonda, Admiral Banawit Kengrian and a tired soldier Air Marshal Watchara Ritthakanee, decided to try to prevent Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra getting to the Ministry of Defense. The small group failed.

Behind the scenes, there was a bigger failure. The Nation reports that:

when the Thai Patriotic Front asked Comrade Pichit, aka Thongdee Namsaengkot, leader of Palang Thammatippatai, to join the rally at the Defence Ministry, … their request was turned down.

The “Thai Patriots” then decided “it needed to review its position…” which means they are going home, “citing conflicts with other anti-government groups…” after claiming to have raised and spent about 5.5 million baht.

At Khaosod Chaiwat explains that the Palang Thammatippatai had “greatly offended him by refusing to lend their hands in his group′s protest at the Defence Ministry and even ‘sabotaging’ the group′s campaign.” He blasted his former friends having “also contributed to lack of attention from the public toward their activities…”.

With the only long-standing but very small anti-government rally now at an end, the royalist right appears disorganized. Even so, we expect that the big bosses of the royalist opposition will be able to mobilize street protesters “when the time is right.”





Back to 2005 royalism II

19 06 2013

In an earlier report that PPT posted on, it was stated that the Thai Patriotic Front or Network had dredged up a ploy that was the strategy that marked the People’s Alliance for Democracy as a royalist instrument.

It was reported that the so-called Patriots had:

filed a petition seeking the Royal appointment of a new prime minister, citing what it described as failures by the current government on such issues as amnesty legislation, the rice-pledging policy and the Bt2-trillion infrastructure loans.

Chaiwat Sinsuwong and his small band anti-elected government ultra-royalists have submitted a “petition to the Royal Household Bureau seeking the Royal appointment of a new prime minister.”

Another story at The Nation told us more about this group’s undemocratic wet dreams about royal intervention. That account makes considerable sense, telling the royalist loonies that they are a bunch of neanderthals and that they should learn from recent history.

Now Chaiwat has corrected a bunch of apparent misconceptions. Specifically, he and one of his mad mates have “denied reports that they filed a petition signed by 8 million supporters asking for a new royally endorsed PM.”

Nope, they they didn’t go to the Royal Household Bureau pleading for the use of Article 7.

They went to the Royal Household Bureau pleading for the use of Article 3.

The statement seems to be saying, “Look, we aren’t just PAD throwbacks but we have something new!” Of course they haven’t. The recourse to the feudal elements of Thailand’s political hierarchy is still the act of ultra-royalist dinosaurs.

The “group had taken recourse in Article 3 of the Constitution to seek help from His Majesty as they did not see any progress after filing the petition with the Supreme Court and military last Wednesday.”

We imagine they asked the military for a coup.PAD

Apparently the petition:

cites problems stemming from the government’s parliamentary dictatorship, harassing state officials, allowing large-scale graft, kow-towing to leaders of foreign countries, putting the country’s sovereignty at risk by negotiating with separatists and failing to take action against those who debase the royal institution.

It is the usual nonsense that the more bizarre royalists peddle.

Article 3 of the constitution actually states:

The sovereign power belongs to the Thai people. The King as Head of State shall exercise such power through the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers and the Courts in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.

Chaiwat’s lot seem lost in the constitution. As far as we can tell, this article is meant to circumscribe the powers of the monarchy, but we guess that they know that the monarchy has seldom taken much notice of such provisions.

The bottom line seems to be that the royalists continue to want to oust an elected government by any means other than an election.





Back to 2005 royalism I

17 06 2013

With the royalists mounting yet another challenge to an elected government, the only thing that seems new for this lot is the use of the Guy Fawkes masks. Even these masks are a tired plagiarism of something done elsewhere.

Just to make everyone realize that absolutely nothing has changed for the royalists, the Thai Patriotic Front or Network has dredged up a ploy that was the strategy that marked the People’s Alliance for Democracy as a royalist instrument.

Yes, in a throwback move, the so-called Patriots have:

filed a petition seeking the Royal appointment of a new prime minister, citing what it described as failures by the current government on such issues as amnesty legislation, the rice-pledging policy and the Bt2-trillion infrastructure loans.

Chaiwat Sinsuwong and his small band anti-elected government ultra-royalists have submitted a “petition to the Royal Household Bureau seeking the Royal appointment of a new prime minister.”

We can only assume that this throwback action is a reference to Article 7 of the constitution. It states: “Whenever no provision under this Constitution is applicable to any case, it shall be decided in accordance with the constitutional convention in the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State.”PAD_King

Readers may recall that Article 7 of the then 1997 charter was also used by anti-Thaksin Shinawatra protesters in 2005 and 2006. PAD pushed the use of this article very strongly. As Michael Connors explained it in his well-known Journal of Contemporary Asia article, the call for royal intervention was persistent and became a plea for the king to sack Thaksin [Shinawatra], supported by PAD and the Democrat Party. He also notes that the Democrat Party was prepared to use Article 7 in other circumstances in 2006 (p. 158). They made another call for its use in 2012.

Article 7 was introduced to the 1997 constitution by conservative royalists just before it was promulgated, and after public hearing were completed (p. 150). Connors argues that “the effect of Article 7 was to limit the reach of all … new [democratic] claims by empowering a traditionalistic and royalist interpretation should one be so required” (pp. 150-1).

While the 2005 plea was rejected by the palace, it led to the king’s call on the judiciary to intervene following the abortive 2006 election, which eventually led to the 2006 military coup and the political struggles that have continued to this day as the royalists prefer the intervention of unelected and unrepresentative powers against elected and popular political regimes. Article 7 pits the elite against the people.