Updated: Rampaging royalists

6 03 2019

Thai PBS reports that the campaign against the Future Forward Party is being led by some royals and royalists.

A few days ago we posted on Boonthaworn Panyasit of “People Protecting the Constitution,” petitioned the junta’s Election Commission to recommend dissolving the party to the Constitutional Court.

Boonthaworn, a loyalist royalist, accused Future Forward of “behaviour against the monarchy…”. He slammed the party opposition to the lese majeste law and Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit for claiming that Future Forward would complete the mission of 1932 and the People’s Party.

That particular loyalist royalism has now been taken up by ultra-royalists and most notably the princely Gen Mom Chao Chulcherm Yugala. In fact, as soon as the party was formed, the rightist Gen Mon Chao was accusing its leaders of republicanism.

He’s continuing that, trying to smear the party, saying completing the mission of 1932 amounts to a plan to abolish the monarchy. As much as we at PPT might hope for that, we don’t think Future Forward stands for that. But its mildly reformist agenda scares the silk chong kraben off the prince and his buddies.

The Gen Mon Chao reckons the “mission of the 1932 coup [sic.] makers was to overthrow the [m]onarchy.” Going back, way back, Gen Mom Chao Chulcherm sounds so 1930s when he accuses the People’s Party of “Bolshevism.” He reckons the Party’s interim constitution was:

modelled after the Bolshevik revolution, adding that the charter was drafted by the coup-makers after the bloody revolution in Russia, which culminated in the massacre of Czar Nicholas II and his entire family and an end of the Russian monarchy in favour of communist rule.

In fact, King Prajadhipok, a famous anti-democrat, did accuse Pridi Phanomyong of Bolshevism for his economic plan.

But the Gen Mom Chao goes deeper into history, claiming the “Future Forward party has made clear and did not hide its policy, modelled on the French revolution, to overthrow the Monarchy.”

We have previously observed that “loyalty” now demands the erasing of 1932, as has been seen in actions by the monarchy-military alliance over the past couple of years. But in his rabid criticism, the serene prince is more boisterous, clamorous, raucous, tumultuous, and woolly than serene. His claims revive debates from the 1920s and 1930s. Who would have thought that an election in 2019 would involve the same debates as almost 100 years ago. But, then, Thai royalism is antiquated.

Update: Future Forward say they are taking legal action against the not so serene general prince.

Further updated: Media reprimands Gen Apirat

20 02 2019

Army commander Gen Apirat Kongsompong has been hammered by the media today. For example, the Bangkok Post had an editorial, two op-eds and a story all highly critical of his attack on campaigning politicians as “scum.”

In the story, it was reported that “[p]oliticians demanded … the army chief remain neutral in the lead-up to the … election after he rebuked them for calling for defence budget cuts and revived an anti-communist song…”.

Actually, it is a song that belongs to extreme rightists and ultra-royalists, most recently used by the yellow-shirted royalists People’s Alliance for Democracy and the People’s Democratic Reform Committee to attack pro-Thaksin Shinawatra groups and politicians.

In other words, Gen Apirat was reaffirming his ultra-royalism as an anti-democratic rightist. The notion that he will be “neutral” is farcical. The military is never politically neutral.

Commenting on this, Ploenpote Atthakor points out that one of the (false) justifications for the 2014 military coup was about eliminating political conflict. As she points out, Gen Apirat is promoting conflict. For PPT, it is clear that the military has been stirring conflict throughout recent decades. The military is the problem.

Even determined anti-Thaksinista, Veera Prateepchaikul points out:

Many people may love the song and call it patriotic. But for a person like me and many others who are old enough to have witnessed the horrors of the “October 6” massacre and heard it being blasted around the clock before that fateful day by the army-run Yankroh radio station alternating with the hateful phone-in comments against the students inside Thammasat University, this is unquestionably a far-right hate song for its association with this bloody history.

The Post’s editorial comes straight to the point:

The troubling response of the army commander to a rather benign political campaign promise has quickly escalated. Gen Apirat Kongsompong didn’t just try to refute the call to cut both the military budget and the number of general officers. He retaliated by reviving the most hateful song in Thai political history, and promised to flood military bases and the airwaves with it. It is a move with an ironclad guarantee of major political and national division.

It continues to condemn Gen Apirat, saying what was:

hugely disappointing and inappropriate was Gen Apirat’s instant and ill-formed leap into the political campaign. The decision of the highest ranking army officer to step into the election debate was questionable. What is indefensible is his order to revive and propagandise his soldiers with the noxious and odious 1970s song Nak Phandin.

Yet it is hardly out of the ordinary. Gen Apirat, like his predecessor Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha have made their careers by being palace loyalists, rightists, and murderous military bosses.

Perhaps the most interesting commentary, however, was at Thai Rath, which outlines Gen Apirat’s family story. His father, Gen Sunthorn Kongsompong, a diminutive rightist also known as “Big George,” was a corrupt leader of the 1991 coup. The paper points out that, following a dispute between Sunthorn’s wife and mistress in 2001, people were stunned to learn that the property under dispute was valued at over 3.9 billion baht.

Thai Rath goes through the whole story of this corrupt general, the father of the current military commander. Being a powerful military boss has been lucrative, but for the Kongsompong clan, the wealth siphoned was conspicuously huge. We have no evidence of who shared in that huge wealth.

Update 1: It is not just the media that has gone after Apirat. As Prachatai reportsAs Prachatai reports:

… student activist Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, along with other members of the Student Union of Thailand, also went to the Army Headquarters to read an open letter to the Army Commander in Chief protesting Gen Apirat’s comment on ‘Nuk Paen Din.’

Following that:

… political activists Ekkachai Hongkangwan and Chokchai Paibulratchata held a demonstration at the Royal Thai Army Headquarters in response to army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong’s order to broadcast the controversial Cold War anthem ‘Nuk Paen Din’ (‘Scum of the Earth’) on all army radio stations and over the intercom at military headquarters.

Update 2: As might be expected, the military and its rabid response to politicians has been defended by what the Bangkok Post describes as “Chulalongkorn University political scientist Panitan Wattanayagorn…”. Panitan is neither a “political scientist” nor an “academic” in the true senses of these words. Rather, he is a toady of the military and in its pay. He’s a propagandist for the military, lying that “army chief Gen Apirat spoke out in response to the proposed defence budget cuts because he intended to defend the interests of rank-and-file soldiers who would be affected by any spending cuts.” It is a ludicrous fabrication. Defending the murderous military is nit the work of serious academics.

Remembering victims of murderous monarchists

4 02 2019

Prachatai has come back on line more regularly and is posting stories seldom covered at all well in the timid mainstream media.

A recent post is about a sad but brave event at Rajaprasong, “in memory of the three disappeared dissidents: Surachai Saedan, Phuchana, and Kasalong,” the two murdered and one “disappeared” and presumed dead dissidents who had had refuge in Laos. “The trio fled the country after the 2014 military coup, and disappeared in December 2018.” Two bodies have been identified and another seems to have been re-“disappeared.”

The memorial began with “a minute of silence, then Pranee Danwattananusorn, Surachai’s wife, led the group in placing flowers in memory of the three dissidents.”

Activist and former long term lese majeste prisoner Somyos Prueksakasemsuk declared that:

on 7 February 2019, he will be going to the Government House to hand a letter calling for justice for the trio, and to demand for a return of Surachai’s body. Somyot said that, because Surachai, Phuchana, and Kasalong left the country after the 2014 coup and disappeared around 11 December 2018, when General Prayuth Chan-o-cha was visiting Laos, he is suspicious that the government may have been involved in their disappearance. If the government is not involved, he would like them to explain what Gen. Prayuth was doing on his visit to Laos and why the visit coincided with the three refugees’ disappearance. He also would like them to find and prosecute the culprit.

Like other disappearances, no “explanation” will be provided: plaque, monument, zoo, public buildings, other dissidents. Even the Saudi Arabia regime was pressured into conjuring a story about its role in murdering a political dissident. Not Thailand.

Murderous monarchists VI

27 01 2019

In a brave op-ed, Pravit Rojanaphruk at Khaosod comments on the bodies of “two Thais murdered and mutilated horrendously” to raise questions about “what kind of hatred, cruelty or inhumanity could be responsible.”

Many are asking this question, not least those in Laos and Cambodia who fear they are in serious danger from the murderous monarchists of the Thai state.

Pravit details the brutality:

The two [Chatchai Bubphawan (Phoo Chana) and Kraidej Luelert (Kasalong)], who fled to Laos after the 2014 coup, were bound, disemboweled and stuffed with concrete. Their bodies were wrapped in rice sacks, another layer of green fishnet and thrown into the Mekong River.

He asks: “Was it just sheer hatred and vengeance? Or were their executioners merely “professionals” carrying out an operation?” And, adds, was the “fact that at least two if not three bodies floated to the Thai side of the river … an unintended coincidence? Or was it a warning to the rest of the anti-monarchists who dare speak out?”

He answers: “I’m not alone in holding that the killings, which brought to five the number of identical disappearances since the coup, was about ‘making an example’.”

We at PPT agree and we are pretty sure that most can guess at the identity of the person most likely to be demanding such horrendous crimes.

Pravit observes that the “climate of fear is real.,” and, we would add, not just in Laos and Cambodia. The implied threat of murder for anti-monarchists is equally chilling for critics within Thailand.

As Pravit notes, torture and murder are celebrated by ultra-royalists.

Royal decree critic threatened

12 01 2019

Readers may recall fascist ultra-royalist Rientong Nan-nah. A nasty piece of work, the Major General and his so-called Rubbish Collection Organization of ultra-royalist vigilantes have a reputation for being backed and funded by the military to do some of its dirty work.

Rienthong’s group emerged prior to the 2014 military coup and was meant to inject royalist venom into the anti-democrat movement. Its gang of thugs was another means to threaten and repress those with different political positions. At the time, Maj-Gen Rienthong, a director at the Mongkutwattana General Hospital, said his thugs “will work to find and hurt those who insult the monarchy.” He declared his group was established “exterminate … people who insult the monarchy.”.

Well, he’s doing it again.

It sames at least one brave person has asked appropriate questions about the “election” delay. Asst Prof Vinai Poncharoen, from the College of Politics and Governance at Mahasarakham University, posted a question at his Facebook account: “Who plays a part in delaying the election? Remember that the will of the people is more important than any ceremony.”

Ultra-dolts like Rienthong’s thugs have apparently been prowling social media looking for comments that could be construed as anti-royal. Rienthong responded by asking “Vinai to clarify what he meant by ‘ceremony’ and implying that there will be repercussions for Vinai’s action, even though he would not be employing Article 112.” He then called “for the authorities to take action against Vinai for ‘undermining the monarchy.’ He also called for Maharasakham University to remove Vinai from his position as lecturer.”

Such threats are constructed in order to silence all criticism of the monarch and monarchy. The ultra-royalists may have been instructed to tone down their calls for lese majeste charges, but the threats remain powerful and will silence critics.

Election (probably) delayed IV

6 01 2019

PPT was wrong when we speculated and asked: if the king’s coronation really is a problem, why does the commentary not criticize the monarch for choosing a date that screws up elections?

Going by an ultra-royalist outburst National Legislative Assembly President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, people are being critical of the palace.

The yellow-hued Pornpetch has “warned critics to refrain from blaming the coronation ceremony for causing a potential delay of the election.” How dare they!

He implies the king can do whatever he wants – which is increasingly true – and, supporting the junta, declares that the Election Commission “must choose the appropriate timing for the election and to make sure that it does not not affect the auspicious ceremony which, he added, would bring joy and happiness to the Thai people in general ‘because they have high respect for the Monarchy’.”

Now, apart from the now usual but still ridiculous monarchism that marks Thailand’s every move and the monarchist shibboleth, he is effectively warning the EC that it could face lese majeste accusations if it doesn’t move the election as the junta and presumably the palace wants it.

He added a comment that “the government must make sure that all the preparations related to the coronation ceremony befit a very special event.” In other words, only the junta can do this.

We can’t help wondering if this claim, which was also made by commentators to justify the 2014 coup, carries any weight with those commentators today.

In the end, blame the junta for postponing an “election” for almost five years and blame the palace for choosing a date that the know screws the election schedule.

Mutual backscratching? Who knows.

Election (probably) delayed I

3 01 2019

Talk of further election delays has been going on since the military junta “confirmed” 24 February. When the junta began saying that it was the Election Commission’s job to set the date, it began to sound like a delay was being arranged.

On the day the Royal Gazette failed to publish the promised royal decree on the elections, EC Secretary General Jarungwit Pumma said: “There is currently no royal decree for the election but this does not mean the election date will be postponed.”

The same day, The Dictator, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha “insisted that the road map for national elections remain unaltered…”. He said:

Things remain unchanged…. The Election Commission [EC] will determined the election date. It’s up to them. But considering the current timetable, the election will take place before [the coronation ceremony].

He dismissed ultra-royalist demands that the election be postponed for the coronation. Notorious rightists Arthit Ourairat and Chulcherm Yugala had demanded “the long-awaited general elections should be held after the coronation ceremony.”

Significantly (maybe), Gen Prayuth also declared that “he has never spoken about a delay.”

So what happened? Today, the junta had Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam meet with the demonstrably puppet EC “to discuss the possibility of delaying the general election from February 24 so that it would not affect the coronation ceremony set for early May.”

Wissanu stated that “In case the election is delayed from February, the new date will be issued according to the Constitution, meaning not later than May 9…”.

The only problem with that is the timetable he set out for the EC more or less delays an “election” until late May at the earliest. That would be in breach of the constitution, but Article 44 can “fix” that.

Prayuth hadn’t ever spoken of a delay. So who did? Who must the junta obey? Or is it that the junta has wanted to delay because it needs more time to ensure the desired outcome? Or is it just going to delay elections for a very long time? We don’t know, but there are plenty of guesses.