Corrected: The Democrat Party, Thaksin and the political court

23 07 2012

The Democrat Party continues its attacks against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. At The Nation it is reported that Democrat Party MP Thepthai Senpong “assailed” Thaksin “for attempting to discredit the Constitution Court and criticising its verdict in the charter-change case.”

One of the comments Thaksin made was at the Wall Street Journal, where it is reported he said:

the constitution needs to be revised to make it more democratic, since it was written in the wake of the 2006 coup.

“I would like to urge everybody in Thailand, especially the Constitutional Court, that Thailand needs to move forward in a democratic manner, not just like this,” he said. “This is not good for the country.”

On that, he is correct. PPT considers that the sham verdict deserves considerable criticism and the court itself must be considered a corrupt and politically-manipulated institution (for background, readers can search our site using the tag “Constitutional Court). Indeed, it is the Democrat Party that has benefited much from the biased decisions emanating from the royalist court.

The Democrat Party believes – quite rightly – that the Constitutional Court is its best ally in its never-ending battle with Thaksin. This is not just because the court has saved the Democrat Party, but because the court is part of a royalist cabal with the Party.

This alliance also receives support from the ultra-royalist extremists such as the Siam Samakki group leader Prasarn Maruekphitak who also hammered Thaksin for daring to criticize the kangaroo court’s “verdict.”

[Corrected] The royalists and ultra-royalists remain desperate in their desire to protect the military junta’s undemocratic constitution, fearing further democratization.

Updated: PADocrat video

31 05 2012

In an earlier post, PPT linked to the Democrat Party – the PADocrat Party – acting like thugs in parliament while their PAD allies rallied outside parliament. There are more videos of their parliamentary shenanigans here.

The Nation reports that the PADocrats have again been using Nazi salutes in parliament: “A group of Democrat MPs surrounded Somsak and tried to pull him out of his seat, while some started miming the Nazi salute in front of him.”

Of course, PADocrat supporters and yellow shirts like military-appointed Senator Kamnoon Sidhisamarn blamed the House Speaker for the chaos unleashed by Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Democrat Party, saying that “it looked like Somsak was unable to control his meetings, as evidenced by last night’s chaos.”

In the past, the “Democrat” Party and its allies in PAD have tried to stop parliament from the outside, but PPT believes that this is the first time that the “Democrat” Party has attempted to close down parliamentary debate in this manner.

We expect that the disingenuous Abhisit, who always claimed that parliament was important, will now blame the Puea Thai Party and other parties for the actions of his party that threaten parliamentary government as the basis of Thailand’s democracy. PAD leaders must be very happy indeed.

Update: Abhisit’s response on these events is breathtakingly predictable and at the Bangkok Post:

“The incident yesterday was not appropriate and had affected the image of the Democrat Party,” Mr Abhisit said. “But there’s no need [for the Democrats] to say sorry since we didn’t do anything illegal.”

Abhisit blamed the government.

His buddy Thepthai Senpong, the (un)Democrat MP “said he felt it was his  duty to stop the reconciliation bills, which would benefit fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.” He stated: “They are bills written by thieves, for thieves and I cannot let this happen…”. And he added: “I will sacrifice my honour to protect the country’s interests…”. Other PADocrats promised “more chaos” in parliament later in the week, saying “we have to do whatever it takes to halt the reconciliation bills…”. PAD will support and assist them.


With a major update: Thaksin on the political tactic of reconciliation with the ruling elite

14 04 2012

In an earlier post PPT briefly commented on Thaksin Shinawatra’s visits to Laos and Cambodia. In a report at asiaone on these visits, it becomes clear that Thaksin will be scaring the ruling elite.

In reported speeches,Thaksin says he will “be home” within months, perhaps by his birthday in late July, for his birthday. Such statements are sure to make the yellow shirts wary and the royalist elite unhappy.

At the same time, in Vientiane, Thaksin revealed more of his political strategy. As well as praising his anointed sister, Yingluck for her efforts as premier, he is effusive in his commendation, saying she is “avoiding his errors by refraining from countering political attacks.” Thaksin was, of course, rabid in many of his political counter-attacks.  He says:

It is best not to counterattack. She is doing better than I did. I can’t compare to her in this regard. The PM is patient, and she does not counter anyone. She is just doing her job. That’s the right thing to do. I did it wrong and she should not copy me….

One-way traffic?

Thaksin was then clear on dealing with privy councilors and the palace more generally. He “praised Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda, who is regarded by many of Thaksin’s supporters as his arch-rival.” He adds: “In fact, Pa Prem is a senior figure I respect and admire…”.

Thaksin went on to call on “Thais to unite for the betterment of the country.” He went on:

Songkran should serve as a good beginning for the Thais throughout the country to love one another. We will do it for our King, for our country to get stronger, and for every one of us to be happy….

As the Wikileaks cables have shown, Thaksin and Prem were bitter enemies prior to the 2006 coup. It is also clear that Thaksin knew that the palace was scheming to get rid of him. We suspect that Thaksin’s (new found) respect for Prem is part of his strategy of avoiding political conflict. He may know that this (sham) respect will not be particularly welcome, but Thaksin probably feels he can out-wait Prem and even the king.

Update: Soon after posting this, PPT saw a story at The Nation that has considerable relevance for its display of the yellow-shirted Democrat Party’s panic over Thaksin and their remarkable capacity for politicizing the monarchy it always says is forbidden ground. Not for them, it seems, where shouting in the cinema on royalist things is par for the course.

MP Thepthai Senpong shouted that the Puea Thai government will “table a Royal amnesty bill to help Thaksin escape being jailed for his offences.” He went into the royal politicization process by noting Thaksin’s comments on Prem:

Today, Thaksin has turned 360 degrees to make amends with General Prem. So there is a suspicion that he has a hidden political agenda. Since Thaksin has said that he does not see himself as Prem’s opponent, we want to know to who Thaksin was referring when he talked about the ammart….

He means Thaksin is disloyal to the throne.

Meanwhile, the rather horrid neo-fascist Deputy Democrat Party spokesman Mallika Boonmeetrakul shouted that “she would file a complaint of malfeasance and dereliction of duty against three officials who met Thaksin in Laos and Cambodia, accusing them of failing to arrest Thaksin.”

Mallika also spat at Puea Thai MPs who went to greet Thaksin saying she would “ask the party’s legal team to take action against MPs who lined up to pour water on Thaksin during Songkran…”. She went on to accuse “the politicians of demonstrating a lack of conscience by honouring a fugitive.”


Ji on military threats

13 04 2011

Thai Military make threats against pro-democracy Red Shirts

One year after the Military gunned down nearly 90 pro-democracy civilians in Bangkok and in the run up to the promised first election since the 2006 coup, the Military have been very active in increasing the obstacles to a free and fair election. They are seriously worried about the outcome of this election.

Naturally the Democrat Party Government and its bosses in the Army will not be stuffing ballot boxes or inflating the number of votes for the Government. That would be too obvious and they would be quickly found out. But what they have been doing since the 2006 coup has been a war of attrition to gradually destroy Taksin’s Thai Rak Thai Party and the Peua Thai Party which is its new incarnation. The Courts and the Election Commission have been used in a bias manner to destroy the chances of a Red Shirt election victory. Bribery and threats have also been used to get politicians to change sides. Added to this we have blanket censorship and the use of the lèse majesté law against government opponents. The Military have also used bloody violence and threats.

Yet Peua Thai Party is doing nothing to try to win the election. They have virtually no new policies and hope that Red Shirts will automatically vote for the party. If they are seen to lose, this will give a great deal of false legitimacy to the dictatorship. There is growing unease among many Red Shirts and the gap between this huge social movement and the professional politicians in Peua Thai is widening.

General Sansern Keawkamnurd, spokesperson for the Army, has announced that the Army is accusing Jatuporn Prompan and two other Red Shirt leaders (Wichien Kaokum and Rambo Isarn) of “lèse majesté” following their 10th April rally in Bangkok. Jatuporn is accused of “insulting the princess” by saying that he too would like to be interviewed on TV by the same presenter. The Democrat Party Spokesman Teptai Senpong supports the Army’s accusation. The recent interview of the King’s youngest daughter indicates how the Thai Monarchy is in the process of degeneration. Firstly, the princess’ speech delivery and the content of what she said, is more likely to remind people of an intellectually challenged individual than a demi-god. She boasts about how rich she is while trying to tell the public about the “good works” of her parents. The interviewer grovels on the ground in front of the princess’ shoes, twice, and she nods with approval. He also grovels on the ground at the same level as the princess’ dog and even shares the dog’s cup cake. The Thai population are supposed to be brought near to tears of joy and loyal emotion by such idiotic spectacles.

The Army has threatened those who are trying to campaign for the repeal of the lèse majesté law (article 112) and urged loyal subjects to “prevent” such activities. The generals claim that foreigners are “impressed” by the greatness of the Thai Monarchy, but are confused by misinformation from Red Shirts.

It is the Army that is the real unconstitutional power in Thailand. They use the Monarchy to legitimise all their actions. This explains why the Army is so manic in defending the Monarchy and in using lèse majesté against democracy activists. The generals stand to lose everything if a republican movement sweeps across Thailand and it looks like that might just happen.

Army commander General Prayut Chan-ocha has declared that the country was always “democratic”, as though the 2006 coup and all that followed, never took place. He reaffirmed the lie that the Military “never shot pro-democracy demonstrators” last year. Yet there is overwhelming photographic and documentary evidence that the Military and the Government ordered the killing of unarmed Red Shirts by bringing in tanks, heavily armed soldiers and snipers to crush the pro-democracy demonstrations in Bangkok. Nearly 90 unarmed civilians, including paramedics and foreign journalists were shot by snipers in “free-fire zones” set up by the Military. The army has now sent troops into villages this April, to coincide with the Songkran festival. They claim that they want to tell the people the “truth” and make sure everyone remains loyal to the Monarchy. General Prayut claimed that many Red Shirts were trying to insult the “holiness” of the Monarchy and told Red Shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan to “watch it”.

The DSI or Department of Special Investigation has been “unable” to release the results of autopsies on civilians killed by the Army 12 months ago. Now the head of the DSI is demanding that Red Shirt leaders, who are out on bail, be returned to jail for making pro-democracy speeches at recent rallies.

Recently the Oxford-educated Finance Minister Korn Jatikawanit, boasted on his facebook site that he had ridden in a taxi driven by a Red Shirt. On leaving the taxi, Korn gave the driver a lesson: “you can hold different views from me but don’t use violence”, he said. Korn is part of the military-installed Democrat Party Government that ordered the cold-blooded shooting of Red Shirt civilians last year.

The “Electoral Commission” has just confirmed that 73 loyal servants of the regime have just been appointed as unelected senators, making up half of the upper house. There are 18 former government officials, 11 military officers and 6 policemen. After the 2006 coup the Military re-wrote the Constitution so that half the senate would be appointed instead of being elected as before. Earlier, pro-military Election Commissioner Sodsri Satayatum said that she would prefer it if the General Election was cancelled. She claims the country isn’t ready for an election. Meanwhile the fascist PAD is destroying itself with internal strife. Their support has seriously declined and they cannot agree about participating in the coming election because they know that they will receive a miserable vote. The PAD staged violent pro-Monarchy and pro-dictatorship demonstrations in Bangkok, including the seizure of Government House and the International Airports. Now some of their leaders want the election scrapped and a Burmese style junta to rule the country. The Thai Military-dominated “security council” has also stated that since Burma now has a new “democratic” government, Burmese refugees can be forced back over the border.

Background to the rise of the Red Shirts

There is a common thread running through the political crisis in Thailand and the political crises that exploded earlier this year in the Middle East. In Thailand, Egypt, Tunisia and many other “developing nations”, societies have been rapidly urbanising and changing over the last 30-40 years. Yet the ruling elites and the power structures which dominated these societies had not changed. Different events triggered uprisings and struggles, but the underlying tensions remain the same.

For the last forty years the Thai ruling class has maintained its power through the Military, the Monarchy and occasionally by the use of an electoral system dominated by the money politics of business controlled political parties. The naked coercive power of the Military and other state institutions is complemented by the ideology of the Monarchy. This is achieved by imposing and socialising the belief among the population that the King is an all-powerful god who is to be loved or at least feared. This belief is a complete myth, but at various times it has been effective in serving the interests of the conservative ruling elites.

This state of affairs has constantly been challenged by mass uprisings and struggle by social movements. But in 2001 a serious challenge to the old order arose from within the ruling class itself. Taksin Shinawat’s Thai Rak Thai Party (TRT) won a majority in parliament by winning the hearts and minds of the electorate. His business-dominated party promised and delivered a universal health care system, job creation programmes and a raft of modernisation policies. In the past, elections had been about money politics, where politicians acted as personal patrons of their constituents while offering no political policies. The rise of TRT came to represent a serious, but unintentional, challenge to the conservatives in the ruling class. This sparked a military coup in September 2006, which in turn sparked the building of a pro-democracy mass movement called the Red Shirts.

No one seems to believe them

27 01 2011

The reports of a cache of weapons and bombs with a set of men detained just prior  to the beginning of the new People’s Alliance for Democracy rally brought some very odd reactions. No one seemed to believe the police story.

For example, The Nation reports on the “discovery of home-made bombs and assault weapons” and begins with the claim that this “was not a hoax engineered by police…”. Police claimed that the main suspect had confessed immediately and admitted to involvement in a series of other “violent incidents at Ratchaprasong, Soi Rang Nam and Samut Sakhon province during the red protest eight months ago.”These appear to refer to small bombs that were anonymously placed in these spots before the major events of April and May 2010.

The alleged culprit was paraded in a “a press conference organised by police” and he “told reporters that he acted under his own accord and not under contract from groups or individuals. He said he wanted to induce [political] change.” He claimed to have obtained the weapons from a “well-known general” who was “linked to the red shirts…”.

But PAD seemed to doubt this story. Prapan Koonmee “said he suspected the government and a faction of policemen had conspired to stir up a bomb scare in order to derail the PAD rally. Prapan said he was curious why [police general] Aswin [Kwanmuang] was the officer in charge of the case while Metropolitan Police Region 1 commander Maj General Wichai Sangprapai was not informed about Thawatchai’s arrest which happened under his jurisdiction. He alleged that Thawatchai and four accomplices were taxi motorcycle drivers who worked as police informants.”

While The Nation, usually vehemently anti-red shirt, gave little credence to the bomb story, the Bangkok Post seemed more willing to accept it, at least initially, but still cited Democrat party spokesman Thepthai Senpong, who “denied the government had set up the bomb plot in which a red-shirt supporter was arrested last night while trying to sabotage the PAD rally…”.

The Nation later became even more damning of the whole event. It stated: “Some things are too good to be true. When police uncovered powerful bombs on Monday evening, just a day before a huge protest by the yellow-shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), it was hard to believe it.” It claimed there “were many irregularities about the operation.

The Nation report adds that key yellow shirts reckoned that the so-called plot was a set-up. Prapan is cited again, saying that Assawin was “well connected with Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban…”. Meanwhile, red-shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan “said his group was not involved in the plot.” He claimed that the “plot” reflected splits in the police and an attempt to discredit the police chief.

Only the “PAD mouthpiece ASTV-Manager … jumped to the conclusion that the red shirts had sent their fighters to bomb the yellow shirts.” However, The Nation adds: “Few analysts subscribed to police claims of a red plot, seeing no benefits for the red shirts in attacking the PAD.”

A later Bangkok Post story took up the story of accusations against the government: “Key yellow and red shirt members are accusing the government of stage-managing the arrest of five bomb suspects on Monday to rattle anti-government protesters and provoke a clash between the two rival groups.” By this time, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had come out to deny “the government arranged Monday’s arrests.”

That no one seems to believe the official story is indicative of the loss of credibility that comes from the labyrinthine politics of this recent period where agents provocateur appear to have been regularly used by the regime. Just think of previous accounts of arrests of saboteurs and “red shirt insurgents” that are big news for a couple of days and then quickly fade, never to be heard of again.

The illegality of wearing certain colors

18 11 2010

Earlier today, PPT came across this post on ชุมนุมคนเหมือนกัน. Reproducing it in full seems worthwhile given the outrageousness of the content:

เทพไท โฆษกมาร์ค มาแปลก เสนอสภาฯออกกฎหมายห้ามใส่เสื้อแดงชุมนุมจำคุก5ปีปรับ5แสนบาท

โดย Asia Pacific News Line ณ วันที่ 17 พฤศจิกายน 2010 เวลา 20:52 น.

วันที่17พ.ย.เวลา15.30น.ที่รัฐสภา ผู้สื่อข่าวเอเชียแปซิฟิกนิวส์ไลน์ได้สัมภาษณ์ นายเทพไท เสนพงศ์ โฆษกประจำตัวนายกฯ ในเรื่องการไม่อยากลาออกจากตำแหน่งรัฐมนตรีของพรรคร่วม2คน นายเทพไทกล่าวว่า นายสุเทพได้หารือส่วนตัวกับทั้ง2ท่านแล้วและให้สัญญษว่าหลังเลือกตั้งซ่อมส. ส.เสร็จสิ้นทั้ง2คนจะได้กลับมารับตำแหน่งเดิมเพื่อเป็นบรรทัดฐานที่ดี ทางการเมือง ทั้งนี้ผู้สื่อข่าวถามนายเทพไทว่ามีความเห็นอย่างไร เกี่ยวกับการ ที่ผู้ว่าฯจ.เชียงไหม่ ห้ามใส่เสื้อแดงลอยกระทง และการที่พลเอกเปรมออกมาห้ามปรามห้ามใส่เสื้อแดงลอยกระทงนั้น นายเทพไทกล่าวว่า ตนคิดเรื่องนี้มานานแล้ว และคิดว่าถ้าประชาธิปัตย์ ได้เป็นรัฐบาลสมัยหน้าตนจะนำเรื่องการใส่เสื้อแดงชุมนุมเข้าหารือในที่ ประชุมพรรค และเสนอต่อสภาผู้แทนราษฎร ให้ออกกฎหมายห้ามใส่เสื้อแดงชุมนุมเด็ดขาดฝ่าฝืนมีโทษจำคุก5ปี ปรับไม่เกิน5แสนบาทหรือทั้งจำทั้งปรับ แต่ทั้งนี้ ตนต้องร้องขอให้ประชาชนที่สนับสนุนความคิดตน ให้เลือกพรรคประชาธิปัตย์เป็นรัฐบาลในสมัยหน้าด้วย นายเทพไท กล่าว

The gist, for PPT readers who do not read Thai, is that Thepthai Senpong, the PM’s spokesperson, advocated for a law making the wearing of red shirts and protesting a crime with a sentence of up to 5 years and 500,000 baht. Really? A state cannot legislate the colors that citizens can wear.What next? Mandated uniforms for different days of the week?

With 2 updates: Constitutional Court, Democrat Party and shifting blame

23 10 2010

The Democrat Party and the Constitutional Court are to be complimented for their ability – aided by some in the friendly puppy-like mainstream media – to deflect criticism over the leaked video clips that appear to show negotiations to support the Democrat Party in its current cases before the court.

It is revealing to see how they have done this.

A couple of days ago, the Bangkok Post had an editorial that was, surprisingly, quite strong. It said: “The country … has the right to raise doubts over just what was occurring during the four conversations taped and posted for the world to see. Many media, internet chat forums and blogs have raised highly pertinent questions, and it will not do for either the Democrat Party hierarchy or the members of the Constitution Court to try to wave them off. Yet this is what they tried to do in the first couple of days after … a photo set and four videos [were posted] to the popular video service.

But wave them off they have. The first move to deflect blame and cover the evidence trail came when 5 judges held a press conference to say that a Constitution Court secretary – Pasit Sakdanarong – who appeared in one of the videos had been sacked.

But as the Post editorial observes, “the important points do not revolve around who took the video or arranged the meetings. The videos seem to show judges and court officials discussing the Democrat Party case in ways that appear inappropriate. Are the conversations real, and if so, do they fairly portray the deliberations in a case where testimony was not even completed?”

The next move was to avoid these issues by burying them under a series of official investigations, none of them independent, and most seemingly intent on punishing the whistle blower/s rather than any wrong doing by the judges/court or the Democrat Party.

Part of this twist and dissemble strategy also involves dismissing the evidence. For example, MCOT News says that the Constitution Court judges “reaffirmed its impartiality in considering the ruling Democrat Party dissolution case, saying that a panel has been set up to probe the release of video clips of a Democrat MP allegedly lobbying a court official over the case.”

That’s the judges themselves – the ones seen in the videos, apparently negotiating a corrupt deal – “reaffirming” their neutrality. That seems not just unlikely but a lame account.

The court also stated that it had “set up a panel to probe the case, but refused to disclose the names of the panel, citing its confidentiality.” The word “lame” again comes to mind, although “corrupt” and “nonsense” also seem appropriate. When the anonymous “investigation panel” is said to be in search of truth, PPT would have expected reporters to be rolling around laughing. Apparently not.

The Democrat Party, as well as claiming set-ups and “political motives” at work, decided to “investigate” as well. In the same MCOT report, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said “his party has set up a panel to investigate the case of Mr Wiruch [Wirat Romyen] who is a member of the party’s legal team and if any inappropriate action is found, further action will be taken against him.”

What of the Party itself? Was Wirat operating as an individual? Almost certainly not, but that is the impression the Democrat Party wants to cultivate.

To further cover tracks, blaming others always helps. The Bangkok Post says that Abhisit’s spokesman, Thepthai Senpong, has “questioned if Puea Thai was involved in making the clips.” That was a fact already known, but his point is to claim wrong doing on the part of the opposition to deflect criticism from his own party.

The Nation says that Thepthai claims “Abhisit has told me to coordinate with Wiruch and allow him to sue anyone for defamation on a personal level.” Legal cases like this just throw up more dust to cover tracks. That the Democrat Party “investigation panel” is a snow job is seen in its stated aims: The Nation says that the panel would see if Wirat “had done anything illegal such as getting knowingly involved in an attempt to influence the court, and if so, whether he had any collaborators. If found guilty, Wiruch would be punished in accordance with the party’s rules…”. That’s sure to mean just a little more than nothing.

At the premier’s and other cabinet ministers’ urging, the Bangkok Post reports that the police have also begun an investigation. Another layer of legal sand is laid on the real story as evidenced by this police statement: “From a preliminary investigation it was believed an offence had been committed,  but exactly what the charges would be  was still uncertain…”. This is charges against who and for what? Maybe they can make up charges as has been their wont.

Then, the grand old man of the Democrat Party and leader of its legal team, Chuan Leekpai was wheeled out to blame the whistle blowers and to take the heat off the allegedly corrupt activities by members of his own team and the judges. Indeed, the Democrat Party has even lodged a complaint against the person who uploaded the videos to YouTube. Indeed, a later report states that the police are investigating the uploading and will seek ti use the Computer Crimes Act to get the poster.

The Nation says that the Democrat Party went even further on this shifting of blame and guilt. It was thus “thinking about taking legal action against other parties that are resorting to unlawful methods against the Democrats. He said the party’s legal team was considering action that could lead to the dissolution of the Pheu Thai Party or any others involved.” He claims the Democrat Party has been “damaged.” Well, it has, but by their own actions.

Conveniently, for those who want to dissemble and whitewash,  The Nation reports that the investigation was “expected to focus on the involvement of [Judge] Chat’s secretary Pasit Sakdanarong who has fled to Hong Kong.”

This situation allows the Democrat Party’s Wirat to insist, according to the Bangkok Post, the recorded “meeting was a set-up. He said Mr Pasit approached his aide, Worawut Nawaphokin, to arrange a meeting with Mr Wirat at a restaurant in the Bang Sue area. Once there, Mr Wirat said Mr Pasit asked him ‘leading questions’.” The implication is that Pasit was on the other side, luring Wirat into appearing like a crooked politician. Slinging dirt at someone else means added confusion for those trying to understand the events.

But the fouling of the story doesn’t finish there. As the Bangkok Post reports, the Constitution Court judges now claim to “have received death threats and called for protection.” That move may be in response to threats but is also neat and convenient if it draws some sympathy to the allegedly corrupt judges and manages to link red shirts and Puea Thai to violence.

The judges are also said to have “demanded the government create conditions that allow them to work freely and safely.”

PPT assumes this means that they want to be able to cut deals without having to worry that they might be outed.

This claim came at the time when Puea Thai parliamentarian Jatuporn Promphan “said he would release new footage next week featuring three panel judges involved in alleged fraud while recruiting court officials.”

The last bit of fouling PPT read of was the claim that the “Democrat Party is gathering evidence to seek the dissolution of the Puea Thai Party for submission to the Election Commission by the end of this month…”.

This is a strategy called “turning the tables,” where a guilty party attempts to say others are really the guilty ones. The Democrat Party claims that “the released footage was falsified and intended to mislead the public.” PPT has no doubt that the Party will be able to find experts, probably amongst their allies in the Department of Special Investigation, to support this allegation.

But all the covering up is not preventing some juicy news getting through. The Nation reports that the “Constitution Court president was rebuked by his colleagues over the video-clip scandal involving his now-removed secretary, a source said yesterday. A fellow Constitution Court judge even implied that the court’s chief, Chut Chonlavorn, should take responsibility for the scandal that has compromised the court’s credibility and step down, according to the source.”

According to reports, Pasit is also seen in a negative light, and is seen to have “caused much suspicion among his colleagues at the Constitution Court. His claim that he was a doctor working for a private hospital was later found to be false. He had never worked for Chut when the latter served as a Supreme Court judge. And Pasit changed his name four times, which was quite unusual, the source said.”

The Bangkok Post adds that “Pasit worked for Mr Chat for over a decade, going back to the time he was deputy permanent secretary for justice. The secretary’s post is not a permanent civil service position, although sources at the Constitution Court said Mr Pasit had been very influential there over the past three years and had played a key role in the transfer of senior officials. Officials at the court are now pushing for an investigation into the past transfer of other officials. They also want an inquiry into a computer procurement project worth 13 million baht, a software installation project worth 66 million baht, and the hiring of certain permanent officials at the court.”

These stories, while significant indicators, are of limited impact as the government, Democrat Party and the Constitution Court judges pile on the allegations and investigations that confuse the real nature of any crimes that might have been committed. PPT thinks the elite will fall in with its government, a process that is already beginning.

By the beginning of next week, the story may well be the hunt for those “criminals” who shot and posted the videos of the judges and Democrat Party organizing a court decision of national significance.

Update 1: The Nation reports that Wirat has now sued Puea Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit and Pasit Sakdanarong, former private secretary to the Constitution Court president, for defamation. That action is clearly meant to further muddy the real issues in this case that involves the corruption of the justice system at the highest level.

Update 2: Oops, PPT was wrong. Above, we posted this: “By the beginning of next week, the story may well be the hunt for those ‘criminals’ who shot and posted the videos of the judges and Democrat Party organizing a court decision of national significance.” Yep, completely wrong, for the Abhisit government has managed this on the weekend, before the time we predicted. The Bangkok Post has the story: “A criminal investigation has been launched into the release of controversial video footage that the Democrat Party claims is part of a plot to discredit it and the Constitution Court.” What can we say? This authoritarian-military-dominated clique does exactly as expected. Abhisit’s choice as police chief has launched the investigation and says it “must be concluded within 30 days.” Apart from the Computer Crimes Act, these bozos have decided that the release of the “footage could also violate the Official Information Act, which prohibits the unauthorised release of the state’s confidential data.” We chose the word “bozo” carefully (for meaning 2 and noun 1).

This is politics at its most rancid, with the Democrat Party’s backers scared witless that having been outed on what appears to be an “old boys’ club” attempt to corrupt a set of judges, they now want to take the heat off their boys who, for all their prattle about law and order, are showing their true colors.


Gobsmacked on Panitan

18 08 2010

PPT is gobsmacked by red shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan’s claim that acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn has uttered “100 per cent a lie…”.

In fact, we aren’t really, because Panitan has long been shown at this blog to be a professional dissembler for the Abhsit Vejjajiva regime.

At the same time, Jatuporn’s claim deserves some attention for he claims that “Panitan had told a lie in saying that the UDD was still running political training schools in seven provinces – a reason for the government to keep the emergency law in force. What Mr Panitan said was 100 per cent a lie because Nisit Sinthuprai, the director of schools for UDD operatives, and his supporters were now in jail, he [Jatuporn] said.” He added that: “Mr Panitan has told a shamefaced lie. I don’t mind if [Prime Minister] Abhisit Vejjajiva will not lift the state of emergency, but he should not allow Mr Panitan to spread false information like this…”.

Jatuporn also mentioned similar claims made some time ago by Thepthai Senpong, the prime minister’s personal spokesman. These claims were even denied by the military. So why is Panitan saying the same things a month later? It seems the regime is keen to keep the political and propaganda advantage when the emergency decree – its life support system – is gradually being lifted.

Abhisit cranks up the fear

7 03 2010

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was initially reported, late yesterday, at the Bangkok Post’s breaking news website as claiming that there was a “terrorist” threat to Thailand. No details were provided. Now The Nation (7 March 2010) has a longer report where Abhisit has said that “recent intelligence reports had pointed to the possibility of sabotage taking place on March 14.”

He is reported as adding that these actions were “aimed at creating chaos” and that the “government was closely monitoring the situation and would make sure no weapons are smuggled out of military barracks.” He also claimed that the government’s Security-Related Situation Monitoring Committee was the body that had received this intelligence. Then the kicker: “He did not give any details about the nature of the sabotage, or who might be behind such a plot.”

PPT thinks Abhisit is really quite frantic and is attempting to convey fear to the population. These might be seen as desperate tactics, especially as Army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd has said that the army, which is represented on the committee “had no information about the possibility of sabotage…”.

Why does Abhisit mention the army and weapons? A later report claims the government believes that military weapons have been “stolen.

Looked at another way, if the premier really does believe that sabotage is likely, why is he just scaring people with outrageous claims and not providing any details? Is this act of a responsible political leader?

Just for good measure, Abhisit decided to also claim that “his administration was not a puppet of the bureaucratic elite (amataya).”

Adding to the fear and appealing to the preconceptions of the frightened elite and middle class huddled in Bangkok, Abhisit’s own spokesman, Thepthai Senpong claimed “Thaksin [Shinawatra] has given red-shirt leaders Bt50 million. He said the leadership had first asked for Bt100 million, but was only given half the sum to organise the rally and was now seeking an additional Bt20 million.” As usual, Thepthai provided no evidence for his claim.

The money transfer claims are made daily, although a Bank of Thailand spokesman stated on Channel 7 news two nights ago that they had seen no evidence of transfers that might be considered unusual.

Thepthai also seems to have intelligence and security reports – the same as Abhisit’s? – that claim “100,000 vehicles of various types would enter Bangkok and as many as 1 million protesters would converge on the capital on March 14 with a view to peacefully overthrowing the government within three days. If they failed in that objective, protesters would as a fallback position try to oust the administration by March 20…”.

If Abhisit and Thepthai believe this – PPT thought it was just red shirt huffing and puffing – then their frantic fear mongering is possibly to be expected. At the same time, PPT reiterates that responsible political leaders would not be simply cultivating unreasonable fears with no indication of the source of the information or of the threats faced.

Democrats under pressure on Kasit

7 07 2009

PPT thought that the summons to the PAD leaders who occupied the airports in Bangkok might have resulted, at least in part, from a need for evenhandedness and international pressure on the Democrat Party leadership. While Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva seems to be taking a position that the law must be followed, this is causing concern amongst other members of his party, who are rushing to support embattled foreign minister Kasit Piromya.

We note that former Thai Rak Thai Party leader Chaturon Chaisaeng has praised the police (Bangkok Post, 6 July 2009: “Kasit under pressure to give up portfolio”), saying that the “police had acted ‘courageously’ in summonsing Mr Kasit over his alleged role in the protest.”

The Bangkok Post reports that “Thepthai Senpong, a spokesman for the prime minister, said it was too soon to conclude Mr Kasit was guilty. The police summons was only the first step in legal proceedings to follow…”. He added that the “Democrat Party would assign the party’s legal experts to look into the case to see how they could help him [Kasit].”

Democrat Party executive Sathit Pitudecha said the “terrorism charge was too severe because the airport seizure was only meant to press the Somchai Wongsawat government to give up power as he was believed to be a proxy of Thaksin Shinawatra.” He added that “It shouldn’t be regarded as a terrorist act.” Double standards at work?

In the Nation (6 July 2009: “Kasit Not to resign”), Kasit is reported to be standing firm: “Panit Wikitset, vice foreign minister, said Kasit would be ready to comply with the law but he would not stop working and he had informed Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of his intention not to leave the office.”

In the Nation, PAD spokesman Suriyasai Katasila is reported to have said that the “summonses against the total of 36 PAD leaders in the two airport cases were apparently aimed at certain political goals.” He added that the “charges were exaggerated and groundless and might later be ordered by the court to be dropped like the sedition charge against the PAD earlier.”

Suriyasai complained that “the red-shirt movement had rioted and disrupted the Asean summit in Pattaya and attempted to capture and harm the prime minister, but the red-shirt leaders faced much less severe charges than the PAD leaders” and wondered if the charges were a move to “weaken the PAD, which has set up its own political party.”

In the Bangkok Post (5 July 2009: “PAD leader raps terrorism charges”), Suriyasai was earlier reported to have claimed: “The blockades of the two airports were not intended to create unrest but an exercise of the right to peaceful assembly under the constitution to oppose the then government which was illegitimate. We did no damage to property of the airports. Moreover, we were attacked with M79 grenades several times but police have not been able to arrest any suspect…”.

Supporting Kasit, Suriyasai stated, “it is not necessary for Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, who will also be charged in connection with the seizure of Suvarnabhumi airport, to resign since only a summon has been issued for him to report to police, not to mention the fact that the terrorism charges are too far beyond reality.”

It will be enlightening to see how this case impacts on the Democrat Party-led government and the further reaction of PAD supporters in the party.

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