The election splurge II

3 12 2018

Just days after shoveling taxpayer funds out to shore up its electoral appeal, and soon after the devil party more-or-less officially stated that The Dictator is their man for the premiership after the election, the junta has come up with even more electoral giveaways.

This means that the de facto leader of the Palang Pracharath Party is Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha. So when The Dictator has his minions throw more money after votes, he does it for his party.

His latest scheme to pour funds into the party’s direction is seen by The Nation as blatant:

In a bid to garner popularity ahead of the election scheduled for February, the government has finalised plans to give more than 11 million low-income people free Internet SIM cards and other state subsidies that will together cost taxpayers billions of baht.

Mimicking Pansak Vinyaratn when he was with the Chatichai Choonhavan government in the late 1980s,

Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said it would benefit farmers, for example, who could access market crop prices and other useful data in real time.

He said farmers would be able to follow price trends on low-cost smartphones so they could make more informed decisions on what and when to plant, avoiding issues like oversupply. The NBTC would work out the details, Apisak said, and low-income people other than farmers would also benefit from online access to improve their individual economic well-being.

As well as helicoptering cash, the new taxpayer-funded handout is the free internet access.

How much more will the junta shovel into the electorate in order to maintain its political control?

Yellow shirted anti-democrats reckon there’s nothing wrong with all of this. Look at Yingluck Shinawatra’s rice subsidy, they say. But they then forget that they demanded and got people jailed for years for this scheme. But no one is about to “investigate” the junta in they way they hounded Yingluck. Double standards? You bet.

 





Dull, lawless and Mafia-like

10 11 2018

Readers will recall the dastardly Shinawatra plot to “buy votes” with 1-page paper calendars. This was an existential threat for the junta, despite the fact that it has poured trillions of baht into “buying votes” and completely dominates the political scene.

While junta thugs admitted that these terribly threatening calendars were not illegal, according to a report in Khaosod, “[s]oldiers briefly detained and questioned two Redshirt activists about calendars showing faces of former leaders Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra…”.

As we have long said, this is an essentially lawless regime while masquerading as something else.

The report states that “Pornpitak Chantadee and his wife Ratthawee Puiprom were taken to the 22nd Army Circle base in Ubon Ratchathani province after security forces discovered piles of the at their home there province…”.

To appear lawful, the junta has dug deep into archaic laws designed by previous dictatorial regimes and come up with a legal excuse for their Mafia-like actions.

The calendars are now said to infringe the “Publishing Act,” as the calendars do not have “clear information about publishers.”

The thug-authorities took a week to come up with this law.

The two people involved, who seem not to be the publishers of the exceedingly dangerous calendar, were “brought to the base and interrogated about the calendars before they were later released.” As usual in the junta’s Thailand, it seems the pair were essentially abducted and held incommunicado, unable to contact lawyers.

Their “crime” seems to be that they are red shirts.

The military leader of this operation to snuff out the incendiary calendars then showed his loyalty by pointing a crooked political finger at the real “culprits”:

Base commander Lt. Gen. Ath Singhatsathit could not be reached for comment. Adithep said the two Redshirts maintained they didn’t know who made the calendars.

“I think they knew,” the police colonel said. “Our intel also knows.”

He declined to identify the people responsible. When a reporter asked whether it was Pheu Thai Party, founded by Thaksin and later led by Yingluck, Adithep replied, “Everyone knows the answer to that. There is no mystery.”

The regime is staggeringly dull and blunt, as well as lawless and Mafia-like.





Shocking calendars threaten regime stability

6 11 2018

It was only a bit over a week ago that the junta’s automaton deputy police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul got upset about a rap song that attacked his brothers in the military dictatorship and all they stood for. He declared that the rappers had probably broken the law and threatened them and those sharing the popular video. He soon backed down, acknowledging that he was making this up. No law had been broken.

The point about this approach is to threaten political opponents. It has nothing at all to do with the law.

So the same tactic is used in dealing with another danger to The Dictator and his band of dull men: calendars. But not just any calendars. These calendars come with pictures of Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra.

One report states:

A deputy police commissioner said he’s ordered police to investigate whether anyone violated the law by handing out calendars bearing images of former prime ministers Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra.

Any guesses on who the cop might be? Of course, it is the very same junta-slave Pol Gen Srivara.

Probably poked by his flustered junta bosses, the deputy top cop “told reporters the calendars had been distributed in Bangkok at Thammasat University, the Constitutional Court and the northeastern provinces of Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani.” Soldiers had already descended  on “the home of a woman who had distributed the calendars.”

The woman distributing the calendars fired back at the military goons:

They came to visit me since morning. They asked me about the calendars, where I got them from and from who…. So I asked them back, what’s wrong about it? They are for telling dates and months.

They told her to remove advertising for the calendars and asked for details about the calendars. She told them to go away. As it turns out, no law had been broken.

But not to be deterred, the military is “uncovering” a calendar plot. The military and police swooped on an “an air-conditioner shop in Ubon Ratchathani and seized some 5,000 copies of the calendar bearing the photos of Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra.”

The “law” they used had to be concocted and the thugs claimed they “acted on the junta’s order on the prevention and suppression of threats to peace and order.” This is a complete concoction, but the junta order means the junta ordered this illegal confiscation.

The military’s goons counted each box of calendars – 10 – and quickly calculated 5,553 calendars, meaning 447 had been distributed.

The owner of the shop then poked fun at the authorities via social media.

Pol Gen Srivara reckons there are “2 million copies of the calendar were being distributed to people in Bangkok, the Northeast and the North.” It’s a revolution! It is a slap in the junta’s pudgy face. Sivara is reported to have been greatly disturbed, opining: “We have yet to find out who made it…”.

Shock! Horror! The regime is under threat! The calendar features dangerously revolutionary messages:

Thaksin: “I love and miss everyone. I wish I could join and support you all. I wish [you all] happiness and success and hope you get out of the problems plaguing you now. Let 2019 be the year of Thais…”.

Yingluck: “I hope my fellow people are happy and have a good life and your businesses become more prosperous…”.





The rigged election and the coup

23 10 2018

Atiya Achakulwisut at the Bangkok Post asks the obvious question: “What is the point of holding a general election when a military coup is lurking just around the corner?”

Army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong making headlines by “saying another coup is possible if political unrest returns” is topic of the week, as the junta expected and wanted.

Atiya says Gen Apirat’s threat “has dimmed the light of a return to democracy after four years under military rule but because it suggested that authoritarianism will always be the answer for Thai society.”

We get the point, but anyone who reads anything about Thailand’s politics knows that the military has long been the enemy of electoral democracy.

Gen Apirat’s statement is only a little more threatening than Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha’s exhortation just prior to the 2011 election for voters to reject Yingluck Shinawatra and the Puea Thai Party. The implication of his “advice” to voters was that if they didn’t elect the other side, then expect the military to eventually intervene. And so he did via the creation of the anti-democrat movement.

Atiya suggests that the “new army chief made the coup threat public to send a message to politicians not to stray so far as to instigate violence ahead of the poll.” That’s wrong. His threat is to voters, just as Prayuth’s threat was to voters.

When Atiya says that “hopes are still high that the next election will be free and fair and the results will be accepted by all sides,” she’s grasping at straws and misreading what the junta means the “election” to be.

She’s right on a lot more about the nature of the military dictatorship. What matters for the junta is keeping political power in the hands of the anti-democrats, whether by rigged election or military coup.





Promoting loyal dullards and political allies

29 09 2018

In a military dictatorship, where The Dictator and sundry minions want to rule for the foreseeable future, it pays to be onside, to posterior polish with vigor, pay for links or to have family connections.

Readers may recall that we mentioned Big Joke some days ago. Best known by this nickname, Deputy tourist police chief Surachate Hakparn has demonstrated that he is a thug and a fool.

In fact, a perfect fit with the military junta.

It is reported that the Big Joke will “become the new Immigration Bureau (IB) commissioner in the upcoming annual police reshuffle.” Why? Well, mainly because he’s a thug closely associated with the Deputy Dictator, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan.

The Police Service Commission recently met “to deliberate the [police] reshuffle list involving officers in positions ranging from commanders to deputy commissioners general.” Gen Prawit chaired the meeting.

National police chief and junta minion Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda declared that “all” attending the meeting “had decided on promoting Pol Maj Gen Surachate due to his achievements.” His thuggishness, his demonstrated lack of capacity for thinking and his ability to posterior polish are what matter for the military junta. (Any ability for independent thinking will rule one out.)

Being a senior policeman more or less guarantees huge wealth. Who can forget Pol Gen Somyos Pumpanmuang? When the junta appointed cops to the puppet National Legislative Assembly, the average declared wealth for the police top brass was a whopping 258 million baht. No one investigated this unusual wealth as the junta has power and the National Anti-Corruption Commission is a junta lapdog.

Big Joke has been Gen Prawit’s personal lapdog assistant spokesman for a month. Conflicts of interest, nepotism, favoritism, and so on mean nothing to the lawless junta.

(Recall the way the Yingluck Shinawatra was pilloried for transferring an officer who was considered a political problem. The junta never faces such opposition or even criticism for all its promotions, transfers and favoritism.)

Meanwhile, The Dictator “has dismissed claims Phalang Chon Party leader Sontaya Kunplome’s appointment as mayor of Pattaya is a political ploy to ensure his return as premier.”

Another lie. Everyone in Thailand knows exactly what Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha is doing, but he denies the obvious. Sontaya is there to make huge wealth – as his family has long done through its mafia-like operations – but mainly to ensure a political loyalist is in place when The Dictator becomes The (selected) Dictator.

Gen Prayuth may “dismiss … accusations that Mr Sontaya was being ‘rewarded’ for supporting Gen Prayut’s return as prime minister after next year’s general election,” but that’s the game. Recall that Sontaya’s dad, a convicted felon and dark influence, got extra special treatment from The Dictator, creating the patronage relationship. A previous relationship is discussed here.

Interestingly, Gen Prayuth affirmed his long-term relationship with Chonburi’s dark influences: “I have known many people in Chon Buri long before [becoming prime minister]…”.

We guess Big Joke has a relationship too, not least because the illicit loot that flows to cops and others from Pattaya means the Tourist Police do very nicely.





2006 as royalist coup

19 09 2018

2006 coup

It is 12 years since the military, wearing yellow tags, rolled its tanks into Bangkok to oust Thaksin Shinawatra, the Thai Rak Thai Party government and to wind back the Thaksin revolution.

Thaksin had a lot of faults and made many mistakes. His War on Drugs was a murderous unleashing of the thugs in the police and military that should not be forgiven.

But his big mistake was being “too popular” among the “wrong people.” TRT’s huge election victory in February 2005 was an existential threat to the powers that be. Their final response, after destabilizing the elected government, was to arrange for the military to throw out the most popular post-war prime minister Thailand had known. And, the palace joined the coup party.

2006 coup

But getting rid of the so-called Thaksin regime and his popularity was too much for the somewhat dull guys at the top of the military and the palace’s man as prime minister was typically aloof and hopeless. He appointed a cabinet full of aged and lazy royalists who misjudged the extent of Thaksin’s popularity. The 2007 election proved how wrong the royalists were about the Thaksin regime being based on vote-buying and “policy corruption.”

So they ditched out another prime minister and then another elected government, this time relying on the judiciary. Then they killed red shirts.

But still Thaksin held electoral sway, this time via his sister Yingluck. And she had to go too, replaced by the knuckle-draggers of the current military dictatorship.

Meeting the junta

12 years on, PPT felt that our best way of observing the anniversary of the military-palace power grab is to re-link to the Wikileaks cables that reflect most directly on that coup. Here they are:

There are more cables. As a collection, they provide a useful insight as to how the royalist elite behaved and what they wanted the embassy to know.





Re-education for attitude adjustment

10 09 2018

Being abducted, called in or brought in to a military facility or being “visited” at a workplace or at home has been rather common under the military dictatorship as it represses and suppresses. These “sessions” are considered “re-education” meant to result in “attitude adjustment” or at least to pressure the “trainee” to be silent. Usually, the “trainees” have been identifiable as opponents of the regime.

Only occasionally have persons normally considered coup supporting been re-educated. So it is worth highlighting the recent experience of a former Democrat Party MP.

Recently, Nakorn Machim was subjected to a so-called attitude adjustment by a team of army and police officers. His “crime”? He had criticized the military and supported the obvious: that the military and Democrat Party conspired to throw out the Yingluck Shinawatra government.

Yet he did get some preferred treatment, being “summoned to a coffee-shop in Nakhon Thai District of Phitsanuloke to meet with a group of army personnel from the Third Army Region, local government officials and policemen, led by Col Noppadol Watcharachitbovorn.”

The problem was “the former Democrat MP’s recent meeting with representatives of the European Union in Thailand and his allegation posted on Facebook” about the military, the Democrat Party and the 2014 coup.

Col Noppadol advised the former MP to button up. He also gave Nakorn a spray of junta propaganda about its role in making Thailand safe for anti-democrats (that’s PPT’s description).