Thailand under the junta: the bull-shit continues

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

The much discredited “anti-corruption commission” has accused former Prime Minister Yingluk and 34 former government ministers of acting illegally by allocating government funds to compensate those affected by the political crisis between 2005 and 2010. This will be another useful weapon in the junta’s arsenal against Pua Thai politicians. According to the junta’s draft constitution, if Yingluk and these ministers are found “guilty” in some kangaroo court, they could be banned from politics for life.

A day later the anti-corruption commission accused Sutep Tuaksuban, head anti-election mobster, of misuse of funds to build police stations during the Abhisit government. However, Abhisit has so far not been accused of wrong-doing. Neither have any other Democrat Party former ministers. It will be interesting to see if Sutep is eventually cleared or whether he is sacrificed to create a false image of impartiality for the anti-corruption commission.

A group of “activists”, relatives of some of the pro-democracy demonstrators killed by soldiers in May 1992, have invited Generalissimo Prayut to attend a memorial to commemorate the deaths. This just shows that prolonged periods of military rule and junta bull-shit can soften some people’s heads. Prayut himself is guilty of ordering the shooting of ninety unarmed redshirt protesters in 2010. There is a long tradition of junta leaders in Thailand with blood-stained hands. The previous junta head following the first anti-Taksin coup in 2006, General Surayut, had previously led groups of troops on a rampage of violence in May 1992, including the wanton destruction of a field hospital set up by volunteers in the Royal Hotel. One of the key demands of the demonstrators in 1992 was to ensure that any future Prime Minister had to be an elected MP. Prayut and his cronies, in their draft constitution, have now proposed that the Prime Minister no longer needs to be an elected MP.

Meanwhile a commemorative seminar to discuss the May 1992 uprising, organised by the pro-democracy “Foundation for Democracy Heroes”, has been closed down after being raided by troops.

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In the south, student activists in Yala have complained that they are being subjected to repeated police raids. In the latest occurrence they were photographed and their identity card numbers recorded. This is despite the fact that the police failed to charge them with any offences. The junta has increased tension in the south with more extrajudicial killings of Malay Muslims.

The reactionary dross of Thai society, the “Waste Collection Organisation”, has been busy once again with its witch-hunting activities. They have laid an accusation of lèse-majesté against another free-thinking Facebook user. These witch-hunters have been given a boost by Generalissimo Prayut himself, who in early May stated that “we must sweep the human rubbish out of our country”. He was referring to his political opponents.

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In the southern province of Nakorn Sitamarat, the director of a secondary school has come out to defend the fact that students were punished by making them lie down in the hot sun.

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Their “crimes” had been to turn up late for hazing sessions for new students. The director went on to say that the brutal seniority system had many positive qualities. No doubt one of these qualities would be to prepare students for a life of unquestioning obedience to the military and the ruling elites.

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