Nothing much changes

25 01 2023

Under the monarchy-military regime nothing much changes, even as the arrangement of the regime’s deckchairs is changing. There are so many recent stories that fir the “here-we-go-again” scenario that has marked the years since 2006. Here’s a selection from the past few days, leaving out the myriad of what are now everyday corruption stories:

At the Bangkok Post: It is 13 Years since the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime permitted the Royal Thai Army, commanded by Gen Anupong Paojinda and Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, to murder red shirts. On Monday, former red shirt leaders “called on national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas to speed up investigations into the deaths of red-shirt protesters during their 2010 clashes with the military.”

“Speed up” is an interesting term given that since the 2014 military coup, there’s been no progress. We assume that Gen Prayuth’s administration has ordered that nothing be done.

At least 62 cases of remain unresolved. The regime has no interest in doing this as when cases were investigated, it was clear that the Army killed protesters.

From Thai Newsroom: Gen Prayuth has been urged to give up his free house currently provided by the Army:

Thai Liberal MP Napaporn Petjinda insisted that Prayut, who is seeking to retain power for two more years after the next general election, leave the army house in the premises of the First Infantry Regiment in Bangkok provided as free accommodation for him since the last several years.

Others who get taxpayer-funded housing on Army bases are Gen Anupong and Gen Prawit Wongsuwan. Why? Who knows.

The report adds: “Those who are contesting the general election including members of cabinet are legally prohibited from using government property or personnel during their electoral campaigns.” One of the tame “anti-corruption” agencies that never finds against the regime once declared this corrupt practice to be fine and dandy.

Good people can be as bad as they like.

From The Nation: Some of the unelected dolts in the Senate reckon the regime, in all its splintering parties, might need some “legal” vote-buying by suggesting that every voter be given 500 baht for voting. Of course, Thailand regularly has very high voter turnout, but these brainless dyed hairs probably reckon that the “voluntary” voters are not the right ones, so an incentive is needed.

We don’t think this proposal will go anywhere, but it reflects the growing anxiety about the election and demonstrates (again) the vacant craniums the are strewn around the regime’s house of parliament.

From Thai PBS: The great fear that opposition parties might win an election is rattling the Thai PBS news desk. They reckon “[m]any were surprised to see master powerbroker Thammanat Prompow kneeling on stage to present a garland to Palang Pracharath leader General Prawit Wongsuwan, in a symbolic apology and show of remorse.” We assume that by “many,” they mean the Thai PBS news desk because everyone knew this was about to happen. But their real story is the fear that Thaksin Shinawatra is coming back.

Ho hum. Every campaign leading up to coup and election since 2006 has run this line. It remains to be seen if this call to yellow arms will again rally the faithful anti-Thaksin crowd.

From Prachatai: Reader might recall the case of Tun Min Latt and others arrested on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering, and the “lucky” escape of one of the junta’s approved senators Upakit Pachariyangkun. This report is about a court case, but the “fun” is in the details about what seems like Thailand’s largest criminal organization, the Royal Thai Police:

On the same day of the arraignment, the Inside Thailand news show reported that Pol Maj Kritsanat Thanasuphanat, the officer in the Metropolitan Police who took charge of the arrest of Tun Min Latt and the others, was ordered to be reassigned from Bangkok to an equivalent position in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum. The news show interpreted this as a form of retribution for his bold performance.

“Bold performance” means doing what the police are usually empowered to do. Not running scams, cooperating with criminals, organising wealth extraction, running all kinds of crime activities, torturing and murdering people, arranging escapes for the rich and powerful, and all the other stuff that is reported on a daily basis as the Royal Thai Police’s “normal work.”





Updated: Corrupt and powerful II

1 09 2022

A couple of days ago, we posted on alleged maid-abusing Pol Cpl Kornsasi Buayaem. In an update, we noted that Pol Cpl Kornsasi is a mistress of on of the Big P’s brothers.

While the matter is being muddied by several claimants to the mistress, the former maid has “filed additional complaints on Tuesday against a brother of a local politician for human trafficking and forced labour.” The complaint was against “Khomsit Jangphanit, the younger brother of the Photharam municipal mayor in Ratchaburi.”

Meanwhile, “Senator Thani Onlaied and two brothers of the caretaker prime minister, Adm Sitthawat Wongsuwon [also a senator] and Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwon, will be called for questioning in alleged connection with helping Kornsasi Buayaem and her maid get state jobs.”

The Post lists some of the extraordinary details:

In 2017, Ms Kornsasi was recruited by the General Staff Division of the Special Branch Bureau of the Royal Thai Police when she was 39 years old even though the maximum age for the position was limited to 35.

She also had a squad leader’s position and was later transferred to Special Branch Bureau’s 1st Division. Around the beginning of this year, she was assigned to perform temporary duty at the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc)’s Region 4 Forward Command of the Royal Thai Army.

Mr Teerajchai [Move Forward Party list MP Teerajchai Phunthumas] said the committee will also investigate Isoc’s Region 4 Forward Command, as there was no record of her actually performing any duties there.

In this regard, the committee wanted to know if the senators, police and soldiers in question were complicit in the case, Mr Teerajchai said.

Recently, the name of a mysterious senator came to light when his name was seen with Pol Cpl Kornsasi’s name on a list of temple donors in Ratchaburi’s Muang district. The board gave their names and mentioned a 120,000 baht donation for building a temple hall.

Mr Thani is also a former member of the NLA and was also related to the high-profile hit-and-run case of Red Bull heir Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya in 2012….

Meanwhile, Pol Maj Gen Udon Wongchuen, commander of the Special Branch Bureau’s 1st Division, signed an order on Aug 26, released on Wednesday to the media, saying Pol Cpl Kornsasi has been suspended from duty.

Later, Senator Thani “admitted to a previous close relationship with a policewoman whose alleged abuse of her maid has made headlines, saying they had lost contact long ago.” And, as all good political thugs do, he threatened legal action against anyone defaming him.

There’s a lot in this little saga and expect all kinds of effort to cover-up, distance, and watch those running for cover and threatening.

Update: Speculation on this case continues. The Bangkok Post tells us that “Probes have been launched to determine whether any authorities abused their power to help a police corporal, accused of abusing her maid, join the police force and land other state jobs.” This seems a rather startling statement as it is already clear that strings were pulled. The question is by how many of the aged men attracted to the woman involved. When “probes” are launched, though, as Senator Thani can affirm based on the Red Bull “probe,” these “investigations” usually cover up more than they reveal and protect the rich and powerful. However, there might be some hope in this instance as the opposition parties have smelt all the rats.





Bent law enforcement and warped institutions

7 08 2022

Rotten to the core

The legal system from police to the highest court is rotten to the core.

Prachatai reports that after 7 years, “the public prosecutor has decided to indict activists from the New Democracy Movement (NDM) and the Dao Din group on charges of sedition for an anti-junta protest in front of Pathumwan Police Station on 24 June 2015.”

There were 17 people “charged for participating in the 24 June 2015 protest, including activists Jatupat Boonpattaraksa and Chonticha Jaengrew, activist-turned-Move Forward Party MP Rangsiman Rome, and Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the now-dissolved Future Forward Party.”

On 4 August 2022, that the public prosecutor decided to indict 10 of the activists 7 years after the protest and 3 years after the charges were filed. They were later granted bail using a security of 70,000 baht each.”

Meanwhile, the well-connected rich and powerful get away with murder.

Prachatai also reports that the royalist judiciary via its Judicial Commission has unanimously ruled to remove judge Wichit Leethamchayo from the Supreme Court “after he was found to have joined pro-democracy protests…”.

It seems that “right-wing groups accused him of showing support for pro-democracy protests on at least two occasions in 2021.” Ultra-royalist Maj Gen Rientong Nan-nah “filed a complaint with the Judicial Commission in March last year accusing Wichit of showing ‘anti-monarchy behaviour’ in front of the Supreme Court on 13 February. Rienthong also claimed that Wichit posted anti-monarchy comments on Facebook using the name Wichit Lee.”

The Commission agreed, with “judges on the Commission called out his ‘anti-monarchy’ stance.”

As the report notes, this judiciary is biased. Judge Methinee Chalothorn, who was appointed President of the Supreme Court in September 2020, has been seen in published photos attending “a right-wing anti-government PDRC protest which led to the military coup in 2014.” Of course, she’s not been censured as supporting the right, ultra-royalists is second nature for most judges. In fact, it is revealed that:

the Judicial Commission’s minutes confirming that it had acknowledged Methinee’s participation in the anti-democracy protest in July 2020, 3 months before the appointment of a new President of the Supreme Court in October. Yet the Commissioners voted 13-1 to approve her appointment with several judges giving the opinion that being at a protest site does not mean that she showed support for the protest. Worasit Rojanapanich, an external examiner for the Commission, said that her participation was “graceful” for a judge because she acted out of love for the nation and the monarchy.

Clearly monarchism and the monarchy has crippled the judiciary. Its royalism is the reason for denied bail, the avalanche of 112 convictions, and endless double standards.

And royalism is infecting other institutions, with Prachatai reporting that the “unelected Senate has voted 146-38 not to appoint Prof Arayah Preechametta to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). The meeting minutes are confidential, but Isara News cites an anonymous source in the Senate claiming that the candidate was not approved because his ideas were contrary to the conservatives.” By “conservatives” is meant royalists, ultra-royalists, and supporters of the military/monarchy-backed regime.

Isara News cited an anonymous source in the Senate claiming that during the meeting it was mentioned that a person filed a complaint against Arayah because he had political ideas in opposition to the conservatives. The Senate eventually voted to reject Arayah on the basis that he was insufficiently right-wing. Presumably the unelected swill want “trusted” compatriots making the “right” decisions.





Rolling back democracy from its birth II

14 12 2021

On the ironies of Constitution Day, PPT recommends consideration of an op-ed by Tim Newton at Thaiger. He begins with the report of Chuan Leekpai’s recent words on that day:

Words from the Thai Parliamentary president Chuan Leekpai urging, or willing, the Thai voters not to “become disheartened with the current state of Thai politics” and to have “confidence in the democratic system”.

From noom apicha

He rightly asks: “The democratic system?”

While some of the historical background is a bit scratchy, his observation that Chuan “must be secretly choking on the irony of his comments” is, we think, ignoring the way that people like Chuan buy into the whole palace propaganda version of Thai history. But Newton is right that “Thailand’s current constitution remains a blunt tool to keep the country’s military interests and a Bangkok ‘elite’ in power.” Chuan is part of that elite. Newton is too kind to Chuan, who also played a role in bringing on the 2014 coup.

The op-ed continues:

Whilst saying all the right things on a public holiday set aside to commemorate Thailand’s first constitutions, Chuan doesn’t need to look further than his parliament’s upper house of hand-picked Senators to realise that any true democracy in the Land of Smiles remains elusive.

Like the senators, the man who appointed them is unelected. He also trashed the previous constitution in an illegal coup and seized the premiership, which he continues to hold thanks to the senate, the military and the elite.





The stench

11 11 2021

A couple of days ago, the Bangkok Post included a report that is a timely reminder that the junta’s 2017 constitution is a political defense of royalism and the role of the military in opposing meaningful and progressive political reform. It is a stench that hangs over the country.

The report is of the “defence permanent secretary and chiefs of the navy and the air force report[ing] for duty as newly appointed senators on Monday.” We are told:

Gen Worakiat Rattananont, Adm Somprasong Nilsamai and ACM Napadej Dhuphtemiya took the oath of office before starting their jobs, following the announcement of their appointments by Senate Speaker Pornpetch Wichitcholchai.

As the Post helpfully points out, the junta’s constitution mandates that”six of the Senate seats are reserved for the supreme commander, the army, navy and air force chiefs, the defence permanent secretary and the national police chief.”

This is just one aspect of the rigged constitution that was meant to ensure that the junta’s personnel, the coup makers of 2014, continued in power.

The swill that is the senate is stacked with scores of military and former military figures, along with a bunch of royalists and junta toadies.

Why anyone could even consider Thailand’s political system a crippled democracy is beyond us. As far as we can tell, the current government is now in a minority, with several Palang Pracharath MPs banned from parliament, but it just plows on.





Fascist-like culture wars

6 09 2021

Thana Boonlert of the Bangkok Post has an op-ed on the junta-appointed Senate that is worth considering.

Hardly noticed, the unelected senators convened to consider “a motion for the virtuous council…”. Huh? Yep, the unelected swill of military backers, ultra-royalists and assorted conservatives “sought to reform the national culture to ensure its progress, discipline, and morality.”

Senator Sirina Pavarolarvidya “attributed the current social conflict to the generation gap and proposed that the virtuous council be established to provide role models for every sector of society.” By this she means the youth have lost “gratitude, discipline, honesty, sufficiency, and a volunteer spirit…”. That all of this is imbued by thick-headed royalism is revealed when she says these “virtues” “are born out of the love for nation, religion, and king.”

Berlin, Germany….. Two heads that bow as one, Herr Adolf Hitler, Dictator of Germany (left), bids bon voyage to King Prajadhipok of Siam, when the latter, accompanied by his queen, left Berlin following their extended visit to Germany’s capital. This modern ruling family does all its traveling by airplane, while in Europe, at least.

She sounded decidedly Fascist when she said that “…[w]hen people are virtuous and healthy, they acquire knowledge and skills.”

Thana sees historical links with “the government of Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram issued cultural mandates to strengthen Siam in the context of the global war.” That Phibun was attracted by Fascist models was not unusual, with many entranced by authoritarianism, militarism and strong leaders.

The morality demanded, Thana says, “is like a balm for those in power who are under threat from the pro-democracy movement.” Such a “campaign for virtue justifies and sustains the regime that rose to power from a military coup in 2014,” which Thana sees as an effort at “refashioning itself into a bastion of virtue…”. It’s the ridiculous “good people” justification for all political and social repression and corruption. Thana expounds on this.

Than observes that “the virtuous council is an expression of fantasy of those in power.” For PPT, it sounds a bit like a version of the “deep state” argument that the judiciary was needed to carry on the then (near dead) king’s interventionism. In this version, it seems like an effort to replace the (now) dead king’s alleged “moral” leadership.

None of the “blatant misconduct, nepotism, and corruption” is necessarily negated by culture wars directed by “good people” royalism and moralism.





Moving Prayuth

26 05 2021

The Bangkok Post reports on a recent media event where the red-yellow anti-government group, Samakkhi Prachachon, came together again to demand that Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha “resign for poor governance over the past seven years.”

Prayuth gunning for democracy

The group, led by Adul Khiewboriboon and Jatuporn Prompan handed over a letter that “accused Gen Prayut of failing to fulfil his promises, adding he failed to achieve reforms and reconciliation, while political conflicts have worsened and corruption has increased.” Of course, from the day of the 2014 military coup, these were false promises.

Observing that “Gen Prayut had claimed he remained in power to protect the royal institution,” they claimed his use of Article 112 was “to destroy his political opponents.” Of course, the link between military and monarchy has become almost unbreakable and defines political power and action.

Interestingly, Jatuporn “called on Gen Prayut to follow in the footsteps of the late Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, who turned down a request to remain as prime minister after holding office for eight years.” He kind of mishmashes history. Prem was essentially brought down in a campaign for an elected prime minister and by wavering support in the military.

Prem and Prayuth

In fact, though, for all of his failings, those who supported the coup got exactly what they wanted. Gen Prayuth remains in power, though unelected, through the support of unelected, junta-appointed senators, put in place by a constitution that rigged the political system and election laws and a politicized and biased Election Commission that rigged the 2019 election outcome. That rigged system is supported by a Constitutional Court that is remarkably biased to the extent that it appears to fall in line with the regime as if it is an arm of government.

In such a system, moving Prayuth requires splits in the regime or a major political crisis that shatters the military-monarchy-bureaucracy alliance.





False promises I

3 10 2020

Like so many of his predecessors, newly-appointed army chief Gen Narongphan Jitkaewtae has insisted his Army will not be politically engaged. He is reported as stating: “The military will not get involved in politics. I will only answer questions about the army’s affairs.”

This is a lie.

The military and especially the Army is always involved in politics. At the most basic level, Gen Narongphan automatically has a seat in the unelected Senate. That Senate maintains a regime that was put in place by the 2014 military coup and was established by the military junta’s 2017 constitution. ISOC, the Internal Security Operations Command, links the military and civilian administration making it, as Puangthong Pawakapan says, “a counter-democracy agency.”  Its well-funded operations parallel civilian agencies and has a countrywide network of agents and officials.

It is also a lie in Gen Narongphan’s own words.

He has said:

“Protecting the monarchy with absolute loyalty and supporting the government to resolve national problems and working to advance the country are honourable tasks for [the generals],” Gen Narongphan said at a ceremony to bid farewell to retiring army generals at its headquarters on Sept 23.

“We faithfully pledge to carry [Thai] ideologies and perform our duties to the best of abilities to ensure peace in society and foster national unity and support the country’s government,” he added.

Every word in this is political.

And, by supporting the monarchy, he supports the status quo and places the military as the protector of monarchy and ruling class.

Gen Narongphan is an ardent royalist who has served as commander of the Royal Guards 904, reporting to the king. He’s completed the king’s special training and is a “red-rim soldier fraternity, specially trained to serve as Royal Guards. Those who pass the elite training programme are given a T-shirt with a red rim to signify their completion of the programme.”





Moving the country towards a dead end

25 09 2020

The king has come and gone and about the only notable thing seems to have been a meeting between the king, queen and Pojaman na Pombhejara (formerly Shinawatra), at least according to social media.

While the king and queen were doing their “duties,” constitutional change was front-and-center elsewhere.

A few demonstrators conducted an exorcism in front of the Army headquarters on Wednesday “to rid the country of senators chosen by the junta.” This was followed yesterday with a  mass rally outside outside parliament. The “pro-democracy group says the current charter was put in place by a military junta and is undemocratic. They are calling for amendments specifically to clauses which allow the military-appointed senate to vote for the prime minister.”

Inside parliament, the junta selected and appointed senators, “many of them generals and military officials, escaped from parliament on Thursday by boat and the back-exit rather than face angry pro-democracy demonstrators after they voted to postpone amending the constitution.”

The junta’s party, coalition and senators combined to vote 432 to 255 “to set up exploratory committees to study potential amendments to the military-drafted constitution instead of amending the charter on Thursday night.”

The opposition parties walked out of parliament “in protest with the leader of the Move Forward Party, Pita Limjaroenrat, calling the vote ‘a way to stall for time’ and said that parliament’s decision on Thursday was moving the country towards a dead end.”

In fact, the dead end was the junta and its constitution.

Getting out of that means more pressure: “Anon Numpha, a key protest leader, told reporters and protesters that now was the time to step up protests and called for more rallies in October.”





Updated: Missing in (in)action

26 05 2020

For military leaders, parliament is unimportant as it has little influence over what the government does. That was one of the understandings of the junta’s constitution. While they gave themselves seats in the unelected Senate, the military brass almost never show up.

iLaw is cited in the Bangkok Post as it reports that “the leaders of the three armed forces have the worst track records when it comes to Senate voting…”.

and are the least involved senators in the military-appointed Upper House.

Out of 145 votes called by the Senate, Navy chief Adm Luechai Ruddit, missed all but one vote. Missing all of 143 was Army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong, while retired and incumbent air force chiefs ACM Chaipruek Dissayasarin and ACM Manaat Wongwat missed a stellar 143 votes.

But, they still collect their Senate salaries as a nice top-up to their military salaries and all the other payments they receive from the meetings attended and boards they sit on.

Defence spokesman Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich said “the issue had not been raised during the Defence Council meeting chaired by Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha. We guess that means everything is just fine and dandy. In any case, Lt Gen Kongcheep reckons his bosses “could explain for themselves if asked…”. We guess they’d rather be investing in EEC projects, getting kickbacks and shooting.

Update: Readers short of a good belly laugh can read Defence spokesman Lt Gen Kongcheep’s hilarious “defense” of his bosses in the Bangkok Post. It seems military intelligence was brought to bear on the problem and the combined IQ of 22 came up with the biggest pile of buffalo manure seen for some time. We particularly liked the claim that whenever the top brass was not in parliament – and that was almost all the time – they watched it on television.

Brilliant! What bright spark thought of that completely moronic line! Promote him to general and give him a set of golf clubs and a bag of ill-gotten money.








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