Tag Archives: Guided Democracy

Junta Lies and Repression Continue

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Meechai Ruchupan, the Thai military junta’s pet legal expert on the destruction of democracy, has been complaining about people who keep demanding freedom and elections. “If democracy just results in the election of corrupt politicians, why have democracy, he asked.” He trotted out the usual excuses for military rule which have been used by anti-democrats for decades. Thai people are “stupid, backward and don’t have any discipline”, he claimed. “That’s why we can’t have democracy”.

Meechai

Dinosaurs like Meechai always crawl out of the swamp when the tanks roll into town. He, like other members of the elite believe that they are the only ones with any intellect and honesty. But his lies prove otherwise. The Thai military is renowned for its corruption and this always gets worse when they are running the country.  [See http://bit.ly/2nRS0BG ]

He is, however honest about one thing. His rants against democracy reveal that all the so-called “reforms” in which he is engaged are not really designed to restore democracy at all. The aim is bad old, Asian-style, “Guided Democracy”.

As for Generalissimo Prayut, there seems to be no need for a quick return to democracy either. According to his angry exchanges with reporters, he said: “I am a democrat….. If the country isn’t ready for democracy, I’ll stay on longer, even shutting the country off from the rest of the world. Those protesting against the government will be the first to be dealt with.” He went on to explain that “so-called human rights activists complain about people being detained and sent to military camps for attitude changing sessions. If this is an abuse of human rights we can just throw them in jail, how about that?”

The junta shut down the non-government Voice TV station for a week for daring to air programmes critical of the junta. At the same time the junta has been explaining that democratically elected politicians in the past wanted to keep the people ignorant so that they could rule over them with ease. The military want people to “think for themselves”, they claimed. The way to encourage people to think for themselves is obviously to make sure they all think in the same manner as the junta.

This explains why the junta has been cutting the education budget and always sends round the uniformed thugs to close down any academic seminars or meetings about the political situation in the country.

The junta’s Foreign Minister also criticised a United States report on the lack of democracy in Thailand. He explained that Thailand now had “more democracy than before”. It is a wonder he didn’t go on to affirm that the Earth was flat and that democratically elected politicians in the past had all been aliens from outer space!

While the junta is busy crafting “democracy”, the brutality continues. Following the extra judiciary murder of Chaiyapoom, the Lahu activist in the north, two further extra judiciary killings have taken place in the south, in Patani. [See http://bit.ly/2o4Wq99 about Chaiyapoom.]

In addition to this, the culture of militarism and violence is proving fatal for some young recruits. Private Yutenun Boon-nium is the latest to die after being violently punished for “breaking military discipline”. His mother has vowed not to cremate his body until a proper investigation is carried out. Even if some low-ranking officer is found guilty of this latest crime, which is unlikely, the top commanders will get off scot-free. So will the generals who placed themselves in control of the country. This isn’t just an isolated event. The fact that the junta placed soldiers in charge of every level of society and have created a culture where uniformed thugs can just search peoples’ houses, drag them off for having the “wrong politics” and close down meetings and media at will, teaches soldiers at all levels that they can be as violent as they like.

There will be no freedom and democracy or any civilised society in Thailand until we get rid of the military.

The Dictatorship’s so-called reconciliation is a sham

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

The Prayut Dictatorship’s so-called reconciliation is just a sham. It is merely an attempt at forcing the pro-democracy side to concede to a form of long term “Guided Democracy” at gun point.

The various pompous generals have been lying once again, claiming that the military is a “neutral party” in the political crisis and that it can therefore act as an unbiased referee for reconciliation.

Yet, how can the military be neutral when it was the very institution that overthrew the elected Taksin government in 2006?

How can the military be neutral when it deliberately stood by, doing nothing, and allowed the yellow shirts to take over government house and the international airports?

How can the military be neutral when it organised the unelected Abhisit Government from a military camp and imposed him on the Thai people as their Prime Minister? Abhisit’s party, the Democrats, have never won an overall majority in any Thai election.

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How can the military be neutral when it deliberately used snipers and tanks to shoot unarmed pro-democracy red shirts who were demanding elections in 2010?

How can Prayut’s military be neutral when he urged people not to vote for Yingluk’s Pua Thai Party in the 2011 elections?

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How can the military be neutral when they deliberately did absolutely nothing to protect the 2014 elections from Democrat Party mobsters, some led by the fascist monk “Isara”, who is close to Generalissimo Prayut? There was no attempt by the military to defend the democratic process or the rule of law. Prayut was just waiting for an excuse to stage a coup.

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How can the military be neutral when the current dictatorship is using the lèse-majesté law against opponents of the military junta in order to jail pro-democracy activists? How can it be neutral if it hauled large numbers of pro-democracy activists into military camps for “attitude-changing” sessions so that they would stop opposing the military? Arrests and harassment of those who believe in democracy continues to this day.

How can the Thai military ever be neural when it has a long history of destroying democracy and engaging in corrupt practices over the last 70 years?

The true cause of the Thai political crisis is not the fault of “bad politicians” as the military likes to claim. It is because the military, the conservative elites and the reactionary middle-classes, including the NGOs, failed to respect election results and viewed ordinary citizens with contempt, claiming that they were “too ignorant to deserve the right to vote”.

Whatever we might think of them, Takisin’s parties won at election times over and over again because they were genuinely popular with the electorate for very logical reasons. The universal health care scheme was one such reason. This is why the current shower of anti-reformists, appointed by the junta, are busy crafting a “Guided Democracy” system where the views of the military and the conservatives will be more powerful than the will of the people. This is enshrined in the junta’s awful 20 year political strategy and road map.

So talk of “reconciliation” by the military is merely forced capitulation to the junta’s plans so that they can hold sham elections.

But what would genuine reconciliation for peace and democracy look like?

  1. The military would remove itself from politics and all the generals who have been involved in military coups would resign from the ranks, retire, and promise never to engage in politics. The military budget would be slashed and the various sections of the armed forces placed under genuine democratic civilian control.
  2. The Democrat Party and various anti-democratic mobsters would have to agree to abide by the results of all democratic elections.
  3. The military constitution would be scrapped and fresh democratic elections would be held under the 1997 constitution until that constitution can be improved at a later date. An electoral commission would be chosen from a balance of representatives of various political groups. Foreign observers might be necessary to ensure clean elections.
  4. All political prisoners would be released and political trials stopped. Authoritarian laws such as lèse-majesté and the military’s various censorship laws would be abolished.

Of course this is just a pipe-dream so long as a vigorous pro-democracy social movement is not present to force through such a democratic conciliation process.

 

Dictator Prayut hauls in more people for “attitude changes”

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

The military junta have called in a number of politicians for a Stalinist-style “attitude changing” session. Surapong Tochak-chaikun, former foreign minister, Singtong Buachum, an aide to Yingluk, and Chaturon Chaisang, former education minister, have all been dragged in to military camps by the illegal coupsters for a “severe talking-to”. Their supposed “crimes” were to use social media and other means to criticise the illegitimate punishment of former Prime Minister Yingluk over the rice price protection scheme.

The junta is preparing to order even more Pua Thai politicians to report to military camps for similar attitude changes which might involve overnight detentions. One such politician is Pichai Narip-tapun, former energy minister, who has dared to criticise the junta’s energy policies.

Meanwhile the vicious idiot Generalissimo Prayut, talking through his back-side as usual, has countered the claim by Yingluk that Thai democracy is dead. He shouted that he was a “democratic minded soldier” and only took power to “protect democracy”. He has repeatedly warned people not to criticise his junta.

During a recent press conference megalomaniac Prayut swore at reporters and also threatened them with also being summonsed for an “attitude change” if they persisted in asking “too many” questions. He showed much displeasure with some of the photos of himself appearing in the media which showed him pointing his finger in a threatening manner. He denied that he was a power crazy ruler.

The launch of the 2014 Asian Media Barometer Thailand event, organised by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Thailand Office, has been cancelled on the orders of the military. This event was organised to evaluated media freedom.

Amid news of a proposal by Sombat Boon-ngarmanong for red shirts to wear red every Sunday, Prayut frothed at the mouth and shouted that anyone who was active against the junta would be prevented from leaving the country and would have their bank accounts frozen.

In the same week, the National Human Rights Commission  released a report criticising the former Yingluk government for its crowd control methods against Sutep’s anti-election mob. They accuse the Yingluk government of not protecting the “human rights” of this mob. Yet, this Democrat Party gang was allowed to wreck the elections and carry guns on the streets with impunity.

The National Human Rights Commission has never defended those who face lèse-majesté or ever dared to criticise the military killings of civilians.

However, the junta’s lapdogs who are busy drafting an authoritarian constitution, have suggested that the National Human Rights Commission be merged with office of the National Ombudsman. Apparently, the National Human Rights Commission has not done enough to destroy democracy and human rights.

There is also a proposal that the Electoral Commission be scrapped and be replaced by an “election organising committee” hand-picked by military-appointed permanent secretaries of a number of ministries, including the Ministry of Defence, together with the national police chief. Apparently the previous Electoral Commission, which helped wreck the February 2014 elections on behalf of Sutep’s mob, were not biased enough. This plan would fit nicely with the organising of false elections in the junta’s dream of a future “guided democracy”.

Military Junta extends its life beyond elections

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

The Thai military junta has already postponed “elections” until 2016. Now it is proposing to extend the life of the junta by changing its name to “The Committee to Protect the Constitution”!! LOL! This is the junta that ripped up the constitution in the first place.

Generalissimo Prayut’s gang have made this suggestion along with proposing an “elected” parliament of 350 MPs alongside a 150 member Senate of people appointed by the military.

In past postings on this blog, I have argued that the anti-reforms are being designed to reduce the power of the electorate and any elected government in a “Burmese-style Guided Democracy”.  I wrote that “the Counter Corruption Commission is talking to the Election Commission about a plan to force all political parties to submit their manifestos to the Electoral Commission before an election campaign can start.” See: https://uglytruththailand.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/guided-democracy-neo-liberal-style/

In another posting, I wrote that “the Burmese junta has much experience in massaging elections and building a political system where elected representatives have no real power. What is more, only the “right kind of people” can hold any top office in Burma. Elections are just a pretend charade. This is exactly what Prayut and his hand-picked team of anti-democrats are busy designing for Thailand right now. ”

See: https://uglytruththailand.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/prayut-travels-to-burma-to-meet-his-only-true-friends/

The anti-reform process today is also an expensive waste of money, which could be used to improve the health service or other useful projects. A recent estimate put the cost so far of anti-reforms at 256 million baht. But the cost to Thai democracy cannot be measured in cash.

The destruction of democracy, the repression of opposition free-thinkers, and the crafting of anti-reforms are the real events taking place today. None of it is remotely related to the conspiratorial myths about a crisis of royal succession.

 

Guided Democracy Neo-liberal Style

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

We are now seeing the anti-democratic neo-liberals crawling out of the woodwork to help the junta in its road map to “Guided Democracy Neo-liberal Style”.

First, the Permanent Secretary for Health is now suggesting that the 30 baht universal health scheme be scrapped and patients be made to pay up to half of their own health care costs. Dr Narong Sahametapat, the Permanent Secretary for Health, joined Sutep’s mob and called for the resignation of the elected government earlier this year. He is also delaying measures to provide essential drugs to people with hepatitis and cancer.

In my 2006 book “A Coup for the Rich” I warned that the first military junta back then was thinking of introducing “co-payments” for the health service to replace the 30 baht health care scheme.

Secondly, the Counter Corruption Commission is talking to the Election Commission about a plan to force all political parties to submit their manifestos to the Electoral Commission before an election campaign can start. This is so that these unelected anti-democratic neo-liberals can “weed out” any pro-poor policies which use state funds. The neo-liberals hate the use of state funds for the benefit of the majority of people. But they just love the military for vastly increasing its own budget!

Finally, the Thai Development Research Institute (TDRI) has proposed that the minimum wage should not be raised like it was during the Yingluk government because it resulted in raised prices and workers are still poor! Well, given that most workers are too poor, the minimum wage ought to be doubled to 600 baht per day! Most middle class Thais, including the academics at the TDRI enjoy salaries much higher than most workers. What is more, the wage costs in Thailand are very low and could not have resulted in raised prices, but if they did, a pro-poor government could bring in price controls.

The TDRI has a history of opposing the rice price protection scheme which benefitted small farmers. It also opposes the idea of a welfare state.

This only goes to show that neo-liberalism and dictatorship go hand in hand.