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Organized Crime, the Justice System and the Privy Council of Thailand

An Article by John Thomas
Organized Crime and Thailand 's Privy Council
Appointment of Crime Figure to Privy Council Points Out Spreading Influence of Organized Crime
Refocuses Attention on the Country’s Primitive Judicial and Penal Systems

The date of the following article is April 10, 2005; it was posted on June 30, 2005 
By John Thomas
The appointment of a former chief justice of Thailand's Supreme Court, Santi Thrakal (pronounced Trakan) (Thai: สันติ ทักราล), in March of 2005 and his inclusion in the King’s annual honors list on Coronation Day on May 5 point to the spread of organized crime to country’s highest and most sacred institution   -   the monarchy. It calls into question the credibility of the country's most prominent officials, including the king’s closest advisors.
The appointment of Santi (the surname is spelled also as Trakal, Thrakan, Thakran and Thakal) to the Privy Council also draws attention once more to Thailand’s conspicuous lack of a credible legal system and to its deplorable penal system.
The country’s legal codes, judicial procedures, courtroom facilities and judicial officials are primitive and inadequate   -   and allow for gross human rights abuses, especially through the criminal justice system. 
The pervasive cronyism, corruption and the lack of basic education, especially training in logic, of judicial officials preclude a working and reliable judicial system. (Proficiency in English, for example, is a prerequisite for a law degree, yet fewer than one percent of licensed lawyers, prosecutors and judges understand the language.)
Homosexuality, pedophilia, pimping and prostitution are common in Thailand and have a drastic effect upon the conduct of a large number of government officials, including police and court officials. 
Policemen, prosecutors and judges use the courts for their own criminal purposes or for those of gangs that they consort with.
Intimidation of complainants and witnesses by the police, prosecutors and judges is common.
Policemen, prosecutors and judges conspire to accuse plaintiffs and witnesses of committing criminal offenses, usually defamation or contempt of court, to prevent them from pursuing a case or testifying against criminal gangs and exposing corrupt officials.
Judges conspire with one another to pursue cases based on false charges against innocent persons; they operate freely, without fear of reproach by their superiors: provincial court chief judges, regional court justices and Supreme Court justices ignore complaints against other judges and evidence of misconduct.
The Experience of Expatriates and Foreign Travelers
As much as 90 percent of felons brought before the courts in Thailand go completely free. As much as 35 percent of persons condemned by the courts are wholly innocent of any wrongdoing.
A survey of expatriates and seasoned travelers in Asia would list Thailand and Indonesia as the least desirable (and most treacherous) places for an individual to pursue a criminal matter through the courts.
Foreign tourists and expatriates often complain of discovering Thai acquaintances conspiring with local policemen to set them up for arrest on false charges, usually drug trafficking offenses. This, of course, is an old story in much of Asia, but it is particularly so in Thailand. 
Many foreigners are held in crowded police station cells, immigration jails, or prisons for weeks, months and even years. Some of them are ignored or forgotten by their embassies.
Many persons perish while in police custody and prisons. (Countless young migrants from Burma , Cambodia and Laos age 14 and under, including infants, languish in small and crowded cells in police stations for many months before deportation.)
In nine cases out of ten, Thai lawyers cheat their clients. Foreigners, in particular, complain that Thai lawyers are corrupt, ineffectual and untrustworthy   -   and ultimately of value only as conduits for the payment of bribes to their embassy’s officials to complete urgent and essential official paper work.
The American embassy in Bangkok offers a list of lawyers, available to Americans upon request, that includes some of the sleaziest and least reliable lawyers in the country. Some notoriously bad lawyers employ Americans in their offices who assist them to set up American clients for arrest and imprisonment on false charges, for extortion, and to deny them legal representation.
(There is conclusive evidence that in December 2000 and January 2001 personnel of the American Embassy in Bangkok conspired with editors of an English-language daily newspaper in Bangkok and corrupt Thai judicial officials to urge lese majeste charges against American expatriates in Thailand who exposed pedophiles, homosexuals and traffickers in children at the embassy.)
Western countries have delayed complicance with extradition requests to Thailand because of the country’s appalling human rights record, unreliable judicial system and dangerous prisons. (See article regarding the recent extradition of an American to Thailand in the next column.)
Judicial Misconduct
During his tenure as chief justice (a position officially called “president”) of the Supreme Court from 2000 to 2003, Santi, the son of an Indian Sikh and a Thai, from Phrae Province in northern Thailand, conspired with the court's long-time secretary, Jiranti Havanon (Thai: จิรนิติ หะวานนท์), criminal gangs and other corrupt judicial officials to falsely accuse and condemn complainants, witnesses and other innocent persons, particularly in cases involving the traffic in women and children.
Santi and Jiraniti conspired with international pedophile rings, procurers, corrupt policemen, welfare, foreign ministry and other judicial officials to obstruct investigations and prosecutions of pedophiles and traffickers in women and children, to obstruct victim recovery efforts, and to imprison and murder complainants and relatives of victims.
Santi and Jiraniti conspired with officials of the Central Juvenile and Family Court, which is under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court, in particular the chief judge, Deungman Silpa-archa, a relative of the former Prime Minister, Banharn Silpa-archa, to obstruct victim recovery efforts.
Santi and Jiraniti conspired with Thai lawyers, including lawyers assigned by the Law Society of Thailand to represent victims and witnesses, to obstruct victim recovery efforts and to imprison and murder complianants, relatives of victims and other witnesses.
Santi and Jiraniti conspired with officials of foreign embassies who hide behind diplomatic cover and so-called "non-governmental organizations" ("NGOs") that have arrangements with the police to traffic Thai women and children abroad and to obstruct victim recovery efforts.
Santi and Jiraniti also conspired with lower court judges to deny bail to plaintiffs falsely accused of minor criminal offenses, like contempt of court. Some foreigners have been detained in the country for more than a decade without bail or permission to leave. Their embassies destroy all trace of them.  
Santi’s immediate successor as chief justice of the Supreme Court, Atthaniti Disathaamnarj (pronounced "Atanitti Ditam-nat") (Thai: อรรถนิติ ดิษฐอำนาจ), who retired last year, conspired with Jiraniti, organized crime figures and complicit judicial officials, particularly in the traffic in women and children, and followed Santi’s misconduct. Atthaniti ("Atanitti") was honored by the king on Coronation Day last year.
Two other, much older, former chief justices of the Supreme Court, who preceded Santi, sit on the Privy Council.
No Recourse
Inevitably, most, if not all, criminal cases in Thailand are referred to the country’s Supreme Court   -   usually as an appeal, or to request a change of venue, or to complain about the misconduct of lower court judges.
Complainants against the misconduct of judges (and justices) are often advised to send their complaints to the president of the Judicial Commission of the Office of Judicial Affairs, or to the president of the Office of Judicial Affairs, or to the permanent secretary to the Office of Judicial Affairs. Ultimately, according to current regulations, all complaints to the Office of Judicial Affairs must be referred to the Supreme Court for a final determination. Needless to say, Supreme Court justices discard the complaints   -   and complainants require protection.  
The Thai press likes to tout the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) as the country’s leading graft fighter. But the NCCC has yet to respond to a single complaint against officials of the Supreme Court, Attorney General's Office, police, and ministries of Labor & Social Welfare and Foreign Affairs for human rights abuses, especially for complicity with international pedophile rings and the traffic in women and children. The NCCC is utterly powerless against the courts. Last year, the Supreme Court suspended all NCCC commissioners for giving themselves a pay raise and forced them to resign last May. The NCCC, which is under the direct supervision of the Thai Prime Minister’s Office, is generally considered a joke and a rubber stamp for the prime minister.
The United Nations Human Rights Commission ignores 99% of complaints of human rights violations it receives because the perpetrators are government officials.
The Thai Monarchy and the Privy Council
In the last resort, cases are referred to the king of Thailand 
The king is the country’s head of state. However, the king does not have the power and influence at home that do absolute rulers in Asia like the king of Bhutan and the Sultan of Brunei. He is a constitutional monarch. Nor does he have the freedom of the king of Nepal , also a constitutional monarch, who can, if he decides, take over the government and rule as he sees fit. Nor does he have the influence of the king of Cambodia , another constitutional monarch, who often plays a pivotal role in his country’s affairs.
The king of Thailand is not a mere fiigurehead, however, like most European monarchs today. He is not just a rubber stamp. He can object to requests and decisions of his advisors, the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers.
The King of the Belgians has been accused of all sorts of hideous things in public. In marked contrast, the monarchy in Thailand is considered sacred and the king is considered beyond reproach. He cannot be criticized in public. But the king’s men   -   his closest aides, advisors or relatives   -   can be held to account.
An 18-member Privy Council screens all petitions for pardons to the king.
Privy Council members are from the royal family or former high-ranking military and government officials.
The council’s current president, a former Prime Minister, General Prem Tinsulanonda, earned the king's favor by protecting him from two army generals who were out to kidnap him during a failed coup d’้tat attempt 24 years ago.
The appointment of Santi   -   notorious for ties to organized crime, particularly to regional mafiosi and smugglers of contraband, like narcotics, counterfeit goods, and women and children for prostitution, and his persistent abuse of office for criminal purposes   -   to the Privy Council, was unexpected.
If given the benefit of the doubt, it could be said that the king’s advisors did not consider sufficiently the significance of Santi’s appointment to the Privy Council (or the Coronation Day honor) and its possible implications.
It is possible that the king’s advisors are out of touch with the world around them, that they failed to read the changes in the times, that they are unaware of crucial goings-on and uninformed.
Santi’s appointment could indicate also that the king’s advisors are unconcerned about what they do and the possible consequences.
The king’s closest advisers and relatives make lucrative deals and reap millions of dollars in bribes every year from individuals seeking royal appointments, royal patronage, royal pardons, etc.
Santi’s appointment could indicate that the Privy Council was up for sale and that someone paid a substantial bribe to place Santi on it.
The monarchy, like the government, in lavishing undue praise, awards, honors and appointments upon unworthy public figures, can be used for negative purposes and appear to be lording over crime and corruption.
Santi's appointment points out growing cronyism of Privy Council members with corrupt judicial officials who front for organized crime and the establishment of a conduit to extort more money through the courts.   
Gangsters; pedophile and prostitution rings; traffickers in women and children, narcotics, counterfeit goods; etc., and their criminal associates in the government, including the courts, with whom Santi openly conspired as a judge, will make use of Santi in the Privy Council.
The appointment of Atthaniti Ditathaamnarj to the Privy Council by the king, on August 17, 2007, further points out the 
abuse of the monarchy by the king's advisors in pursuit of the traffic in women and children for illicit labor, pedophilia and prostitution.  
The appointments of Santi and Atthaniti to the Privy Council should be thoroughly investigated by an independent international panel, with emphasis on crime and human rights.   
John Thomas

Crime Figure Appointed to Thailand's Privy Council
Santi Trakan aided and abetted pedophile rings, complicit police, intimidation of witnesses

Secretary to President of Supreme Court
Jiraniti Havanon conspired in the traffic in children and intimidation of witnesses

Attaniti Ditam-naj (Atthaniti Dittha-amnart)
(Thai: อรรถนิติ ดิษฐอำนาจ)
President of the Supreme Court
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Conspired with traffickers in women and
children and to intimidate witnesses

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Secretary-General to the Supreme Court

Other Thai officials using the monarchy to cover criminal behavior

Phan Wannametee
President of Thai Red Cross Society

Dej-udom Krairit
President, Law Society of Thailand; heads of law firm, Dej-udom & Associates

Sak Khaosangrung
President, Law Society of Thailand

Phan Chantraphan
Ministry of Labor & Social Welfare

Sakthip Krairiksh
Thai Foreign Ministry

Somchai Homla-or
Human Rights Division, Law Society of Thailand

Jane Puranananda
Dej-Udom & Associates, Bangkok law firm

Prasert Khienninsilli
President of Regional Court
Northeastern Thailand

Anupote Bunnag
Office of the Inspector General, Ministry of Labor & Social Welfare

Visitors's Comments

A Comment from Andrew Garrison, Boston, Massachusetts, October 22, 2007:
John Thomas has every right to post this website.
Very recently, the president of Thailand's Supreme Court (there is no chief justice because the position would entail too much responsibility for a Thai to handle) tried to get a bill passed through the "puppet' one-house parliament appointed by the junta that would have protected all members of the Privy Council from any criticism by making it an act of lese majeste to criticize a Privy Council member. 
Can you imagine such a thing?
I was there at the time and some judges confided to me that if the bill passed another bill would be proposed to offer Thai judges the same protection.  
Can you imagine that?
Alas, the chairman of the Privy Council said the bill was not wanted by the Privy Council. But that was only after some criticism from the public.
So the bill just protects members of the royal family from criticism. I think that applies only to members of the king's immediate family. (Ed.: Some of the king's close relatives are in jail, including one for murder.)
This won't work, of course, because the Crown Prince has been 
unpopular for a long time.

V i s i t o r s'  C o m m e n t s

A comment from Victor Kowlaski, Bankok, October 1, 2006:
I noticed that this website was deleted on the eve of the recent military coup d'etat in Thailand (September 19, 2006) and that several of the officials exposed in this website have since accepted high posts from the ruling junta.
Victor Kowalski, Bangkok
Ed. note: Other websites, critical of the same lawyers and judicial officials, were also deleted. See comments by Vance Lewin, below. 
Parents Shocked by King's Appointment of Santi Trakal
A comment from Patiwat Panurach, June 8, 2006
Dear John,
I read with great interest and dismay your startling accusations that Santi Thakral was involved in drug and child trafficking. These crimes are disgusting, and I find it horrible that the Thai King would appoint someone like this as one of his personal advisors.
I wish to do further research into this issue, and would greatly appreciate it if you could send me some more links or articles involving Santi and the trafficking charges.
Patiwat Panurach (A concerned father)
Editor's reply:
Santi Trakal, Attaniti Dijam-nat and Jiraniti Havanon conspired with an international pedophile ring that included Thai police, welfare, foreign ministry and judicial officials. The relevant documentary evidence is in the Thai criminal courts.
The Thai judicial system is extremely slow. Some cases take decades to conclude. By the time some criminal cases come to court, the statutes of limitation have run out. That is what happened in the case, for example, of Sobraj, a French national accused of committing numerous murders in Thailand. The statutes should be changed so that murderers and kidnappers and their accomplices do not get away.  
About the Privy Council
Comment from Puang Phanich, Bangkok, March 26, 2006
Just who sits on the Privy Council? The public would like to know!

Just who is on the Privy Council? And who are the secretaries?
Considering the news today, it is understandable that readers should demand more details.
Now would be a most appropriate time for the the Thai press to describe the duties of the Privy Council and list the names of all 19 Privy Council members. Not a single website provides an accurate up-to-date listing of the Privy Council membership. The press should also include biographical details about the Privy Council members.
The press should also tell the readers something about the King's secretaries. After all, they too are often in the news these days.
Puang Phanich
Ed: the King's Principal Private Secretary is Arsa Sarasin
Comment by Arisa Ratanakul of Bangkok, June 10, 2006
Abuse on royal power by crooks
At the beginning of the year the King expressed concern about the unusually high and increasing number of lese majeste complaints and stated that the king was not infallible; His Majesty invited and welcomed personal criticism.
The scandal-ridden night safari of Chiang Mai obtained use of public land by a royal decree.
This is but one of many instances of abuse of royal powers by crooks in Thailand .
Ultimately, and above all, responsibility for such royal decrees lies with the king   -   then his aides, the privy council and the prime minister’s cabinet.
Arisa Ratanakul, Bangkok
A Comment by Siriphon Prousakh of Bangkok , May 31, 2006  
Thailand will have to implement French presidential system        
The King could have responded to persistent requests to appoint a new prime minister by appointing an interim prime minister. He chose not to. Instead, he deferred to the courts.
The costly political impasse in Thailand , which will not be resolved before late October at the earliest, could have been avoided by a strong presidential system. 
It appears that the King, who is almost 80 years old, acted as he did to warn his fellow countrymen to prepare for the day when they will be without him.
The king seems to realize that eventually Thailand will have to replace the monarch by a president as head of state and that the president will have to have considerable power, like the president of France .
Siriphon Prousakh
Visitor's Comments:
About Lese Majeste
August 20, 2007
A message was posted on the webboard of Thailand's second-biggest English language daily newspaper, The Nation, "Why did Thaksin attack the king?" by "Professor" on Aug 5, 1007, attributing attacks on a website,, against the king of Thailand to "cronies" of ousted prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. Click:
In response, someone called "Joe" posted a message that Thaksin or his associates were not attacking the king and that they were actually attacking the Privy Council chairman, General Prem Tinsulanonda.
"Whatever Thaksin's views on constitutional monarchy or the institution of the monarchy in Thailand, he never attacked the king.
"Thaksin had a disagreement with Prem somewhere along the way. I can't recall when and where exactly. They never got along after that.
"Prem himself never claimed that Thaksin attacked the king. But his cronies, pointing out that he was the Privy Council chairman, claimed that to attack Prem was to attack the monarchy.
"Judges in Thailand do the same thing. When exposed for criminal wrong-doing, they are quick to stress that they represent the king. They say nothing more. But someone else takes it from there to intimate (or warn) that to expose the judge of criminal wrong-doing is an act of lese-majeste.
An attack against Prem does not constitute an attack against the monarchy. To say that it does drags the monarchy into the fray. So, actually, it is Prem's supporters who are attacking the monarchy, not Thaksin."
Indeed, the same point can be made against judges who insist that to expose their criminal conduct is to attack the king.  
About the NCCC
From Yuan Jammkrapong, Thonburi
August 1, 2005

Dear Mr. Thomas,
There are several anti-graft and anti-corruption agencies in Thailand. The National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) is the most highly-touted and the best known. The NCCC has reportedly more more than 7,000 complaints against government officials to investigate. But aside from one or two highly publicized cases, it has accomplished very little.
Last year, the Supreme Court took the NCCC commissioners to task over a self-pay hike proposal. Almost one year later, the Supreme Court found the NCCC commissioners guilty of breaking the law and forced them all to resign.
In the next day or so, nine new NCCC commissioners are to be selected in a process overseen by the president of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is not above the law. But it is certain that the NCCC will remain ineffectual if the new commissioners must be approved by Supreme Court justices who will blackmail them or suspend them if they consider complaints against judiciary.
The governing rules and regulations of the NCCC should be redrawn and the public should elect NCCC commissioners.
Yuan Jammkrapong, Thonburi
Visitor's Comment, August 2, 2005
From Tharm Wasawang, Bangkok
Dear Mr. Thomas,
I submitted the following letter to the Bangkok Post and The Nation. One printed it recently after editing. Feel free to add it to your visitors' comments.
The Thai public should be allowed to elect the commissioners of the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC). Otherwise, the NCCC will never function properly or effectively.
An NCCC selection panel, composed of government officials and others who work for the government, is not free of conflicts of interests and cannot be trusted to make a fair and impartial selection of NCCC commissioners.
The chief justice of the Supreme Court is one of 15 members of the NCCC selection committee. Two years ago a notoriously corrupt and ineffectual Supreme Court justice made it all the way to the semi-final round of voting for NCCC commissioners, largely through the support of cronies. Judges can make deals with one another to ensure that one is appointed to a committee or commission now in order to help the other onto it later.
The public should elect NCCC commissioners from persons who are not personally associated with or obligated to the government in any way.
The government should provide candidates with a set amount of funds to campaign for a position on the NCCC. The government should prohibit the use of personal resources in the campaign. The campaign should last three to four months to allow the public to familiarize itself with all of the candidates. Candidates should be allowed the same amount of free air time on television and free space in newspapers.
Tharm Wasawang, Bangkok
Visitor's Comment, August 3, 2005:
From Martin Bishop, Bangkok
The current procedure for selecting candidates for the Thai government's National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) ensures that there is no possibility that the anti-graft body will ever live up to its name.
A government selection panel, made up of 15 members, is to choose 18 candidates from all applicants and present them to the Senate for final selection this week or next.
The public has often complained that NCCC commissioners had conflicts of interests, usually stemming from ties to government and government officials.
Thus, the selection panel should keep government officials off the NCCC.
But the selection panel itself is composed almost entirely of government officials and appointees, including several chief justices (or presidents) of various courts   -   the Supreme Court, the Constitution Court, the Administrative Court, etc.   -   and it is chaired by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. According to the Bangok Post today, August 3, the applicants for the NCCC are "many active and forner Supreme Court judges, a number of former provincial governors . . ."
Outside of Bangkok Province, where the provincial governor is an elected official, provincial governors are still appointed by the Ministry of Interior. District chiefs, provincial and regional court judges, and other government officials are also appointed officials.
Two days ago, Thais nation-wide chose their township (tambon) headmen for the first time through popular elections.
It appears that Thais are also ready to elect provincial governors, district chiefs, provincial and regional court judges, etc.
Some have advised choosing NCCC commissioners through a national election. Indeed, that would be the best way to do it.
By the way, note that according to The Nation today, August 3, " . . . as of yesterday . . . . only 16 people had asked to be considered . . ." but, according to the Bangkok Post, also today, " . . . althogether, 39 people have applied . . ."
Martin Bishop, Bangkok
Visitor's Comment, August 6, 2005:
From Khun Mongkhol, Bangkok
Dear Sir:
With regard to the visitor’s comment by Tharm Wasawang of  Bangkok on August 2, I should like to say that indeed the English-language newspaper, the Bangkok Post, published all but part of one paragraph of his comment, which he submitted as a letter to the editor, on July 25.
According to Mr. Tharm's comment in this website, the part of his letter that was edited by the Bangkok Post referred to a former Supreme Court justice, unnamed, who failed to get a seat on the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) two years ago. Mr. Tharm described the judge as "notoriously corrupt and ineffectual".
Mr. Tharm was clearly referring to Prasert Kiennilsiri, who is again seeking a seat on the NCCC.
As regional court chief justice in northeastern Thailand and, later, a Supreme Court justice, Prasert had a foul reputation for ineptness, dishonesty, corruption, perversity and conspiracy. He joined criminal gangs, pedophiles, pimps, and other corrupt judicial officials in the traffic in women and children and the intimidation of victims and witnesses.
Prasert should have been impeached long ago. He should be prosecuted for malfeasance and other criminal offenses. He should be taken to task also for human rights violations. Since the findings and recommendations of all investigative bodies in the judiciary must ultimately pass through the Supreme Court, Prasert is free.
That Prasert is the judiciary's leading candidate for a seat on the NCCC is symptomatic of a thoroughly corrupt criminal justice system in Thailand .
Khun Mongkhol, Bangkok
Ed. note: The second name, Kiennilsili, is also spelled Khieninsili,Khienninsilli, Khienilsiri, etc. 
The first name, Prasert, is pronounced as two syllables: pra (short a) - sairt'. The second or family name, Kienninsili, is pronounced as four syllables: Kyen (hard k, short e) - in' (short i, pronounced "in"; (the n is sometimes pronounced as an l and the syllable is pronounced as "il") - si (short i) - ri' (i as long e); the last syllable is also pronounced as li' (i as long e).
Visitor’s Comment, August 9, 2005:
From Teth Sarasin, Bangkok
Mr. Thomas:
There are actually 80 applicants for a seat on the Thai government’s much ballyhooed National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC). The government-appointed selection panel must trim the list to 18 candidates and refer it to the senate by August 25. The senate will appoint nine commissioners from the 18. 
In your article, you pointed out that proficiency in English is required for a law degree in Thailand and yet few lawyers in Thailand can understand the language. Indeed, it is obvious that those deficient students made deals with their instructors to get the passing marks that they did not merit. It is, therefore, ironic to see a former Supreme Court justice, Prasert Kieninsilli, requesting a seat on the NCCC. Prasert does not understand English. He needs a translator. He could not have gotten a law degree without corruption.
I should add that Prasert hates foreigners, especially Americans. While chief justice of the regional court in northeastern Thailand and a Supreme Court justice, Prasert formed a criminal conspiracy with several provincial court judges; two other northeastern regional court justices, Nipon Jaisomran and Sootichok Teptrairat; two successive chief justices of the Supreme Court, Santi Trakan and Attaniti Dit-am-nat; and the Supreme Court secretary, Jiranati Havanon, to reject cases presented by foreigners and also back complainants against them.
Respectfully yours,
Teth Sarasin
Ed. notes:
A comment from Mr. Teth, similar to the comment above, appeared as a letter to the editor in the Postbag section of the Bangkok Post on August 15, 2005.
The first name, Nipon, is pronounced as two syllables: Ni (short i) - pon' (short o); the second or family name, Jaisomran, is pronounced as three syllables: Jai' (ai as a long i) - som (short o) - ran (short a).
The first name, Sootichok, or Sutichoke, is pronounced as three syllables: Soo ' (double as in the English words look or hook) - ti (short i or long e) - choke (long o and silent e); the second or family name, Teptrairat, or Teptairat, is prounounced as three syllables: Tep' (short e) - trai or tai (ai as long i) - rat (short a).
photo of Prasert Khienninsilli
Prasert Khiennilsiri, former judge
Visitor's Comment
Comment by Michael Whitman in Khon Kaen, Thailand, August 15, 2005:
Mr. Thomas:
The judiciary is the most corrupt branch of the government in Thailand. There are infinite reasons for complaints, including the fact that complaints against judges are passed around from one office of the judiciary to another without receiving proper consideration before they are finally squelched by Supreme Court justices and judges serving as their secretaries.
Complaints must be resubmitted, therefore, to offices outside the judiciary. The result, however, is almost always the same.
Thailand's leading anti-corruption agency is the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) and as such it is one office that receives complaints against the judiciary. But, like other government offices, the NCCC is ineffective. It’s not even a decent-looking scarecrow.
Last year, for reasons having more to do with showing off one’s bureaucratic superiority than with enforcing proper ethics, the Supreme Court justices suspended all NCCC commissioners over the commissioners’ attempt to give themselves a pay increase. The Supreme Court found all the commissioners guilty nine months later, gave them suspended jail sentences and forced them to resign.
This month, a government-appointed selection panel of dubious design and qualification, chaired by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and the senate are to select new commissioners for the NCCC.
The contest to fill the post of NCCC commissioners is a reminder that notoriously corrupt government officials enjoy great freedom in Thailand and that they expect to run the government's anti-corruption agencies to maintain their status-quo. 
Obviously, an agency with more power and authority than the NCCC should be created to keep the judiciary in check. 
It remains for the press, therefore, to point out the need for more transparency, allowing for closer public scrutiny. The local press, however, has not released the names of all the 80 candidates for the NCCC and it has, by reference to merely a few candidates who are government officials, given the impression that journalists and editors themselves have conflicts of interests.  
Michael Whitman
Khon Kaen
Editor's Note: Michael Whitman has posted a website about the above:
Visitor's Comment
Visitor's Comment from Jang Boonyai of Bangkok , August 19, 2005
According to Thailand 's leading English-language daily newspapers, the Bangkok Post and The Nation, on August 19, 2005, a government panel of 15 officials selected 18 candidates from 80 applicants for the nine posts of commissioner on the government's National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) yesterday and referred the shortlist to the senate.
The shortlist is an example of cronyism at its worst.
The selection panel was chaired by the current chief justice of the Supreme Court. It is not surprising, therefore, that the shortlist of 18 includes three former Supreme Court justices: one chief justice and two associate justices. One of the former associate justices, Prasert Kienninsili, is unqualified for a position on the NCCC and was rejected two years ago. He is a crony of a former chief justice, Santi Trakal, and Supreme Court secretary, Jiraniti Havanon.
Hopefully, the senate wull show better sense than the selection panel. 
In the future, the NCCC selection panel should be composed of persons outside the government who have demonstrated an understanding of corruption and proved their sincerity and honesty in combating it. 
Jang Bounyai
Ed. note: The above comment from Mr. Jang appeared in similar form, abbreviated or edited, in The Nation, an English-language daily newspaper in Thailand, on August 21, 2005. 
Purging Thaksin and his cronies, the
military appoints new NCCC  commissioners.
Alas, the purge is  imperfect and Klanarong returns.
A commment by Grapan Ladikul in Bangkok, September 23, 2006   
The army has desposed Thaksin Shinawatra, the Prime Minister, and is purging his cronies from the government and armed forces.
The army has dismissed the nine commissioners elected by the senate to the NCCC earlier this year and appointed new commissioners:
The Nation, September 23: 
New NCCC meets on September 25
Nine new NCCC commissioners
Bangkok Post, September 23, 2006
Appointment of some graft busters criticised
Klanarong Chantik is one of the nine new commissioners appointed by the army.   
Klanarong was secretary-general of the old Office of the Counter Corruption Commission (OCCC), which was formed in 1996, to investigate complaints against public officials. This office was "under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister's Office". It changed its name to the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) around 2000.    
As secretary-general, Klanarong handled thousands of complaints submitted to the NCCC against public officials after other agencies and offices had failed to consider them.    
A teacher up-country molesting pupils? A cop demanding bribes from victims of crimes to pursue their complaints?  A headman not doing his job? A criminal court judge lost his marbles? A prosecutor ignoring trafficking in children by welfare officials? Superiors ignoring complaints?       
Complain to the Prime Minister! That was the last step. 999 times out of 1000, the Prime Minister's office sent the complaint to the OCCC/NCCC. Within a couple of years, Klanarong wrote to the complainant to announce, with regret, that the OCCC/NCCC could not pursue the complaint. No explanation given. Thousands of people throughout Thailand have such letters from Klanarong. 999 cases out of 1000 were never investigated by the OCCC/NCCC.   
In 2000, the local press made Klanarong a hero for pursuing a complaint of assets concealment against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.    
As secretary-general, Klanarong did not have a role in determining the NCCC's commissioners' decision to eventually drop the case. But for bringing the case to the commissioners, Klanarong was dismissed from his job.    
In 2003, Klanarong was accused of defaulting on a Bt1.9-million loan.    
Also in 2003, Klanarong was accused also of adultery.    
Also in 2003, Klanarong ran for a vacant NCCC commissioner's seat and lost.    
Earlier this year, 2006, Klanarong joined the anti-Thaksin bandwagon. For having presented a complaint against Thaksin to the NCCC commissioners years ago, he was hailed as a graft fighter.    
Also earlier this year, Klanarong declined to run again for a commissioner’s post on the NCCC.    
Now, the military has staged a coup, taken over the government, scrapped the NCCC that was elected by the senate earlier this year and appointed Klanarong as one of the NCCC commissioners.    
And Klanarong has accepted the posting.   
The same worm who sidetracked thousands of legitimate complaints from the public against government officials while secretary general of the NCCC is now  an NCCC commissioner because the military does not know any better.    
What will Klanarong do now on the NCCC?
Toss out thousands of complaints resubmitted to the NCCC since he was dismissed from it!     
Grapan Ladikul 
Visitor's Comment, from --------------------, January 12, 2006:
US Embassy gave Thai judges visas
I can confirm personally that two of the above-named Thai judges, who conspired in the traffic in children to pedophiles abroad, received visas to travel to the United States. They are Jiraniti Havanon, secretary to the Suprme Court, and Sootichoke Teptrairat, associate justice of the regional court in Northeastern Thailand.
A comment from Sukhon Thinakhon, Bangkok, March 19, 2006:
Looking for Jiraniti Havanon on the web I found two websites: CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AGAINST MEMBER OF THE NATION COUNTER CORRUPTION COMMITTEE ( and Identifying the Pedophiles and their Accomplices in the Thai Government and U. S. State Department (

Sukhon Thinakhon, Bangkok
The CIA, Mafia and Yakuza 
Visitor's Comment
Hiritomo Ken, Bangkok 
May 25, 2007

Some of the Thai judicial officials named by John Thomas in his website as complicit in the traffic in women and children and intimidation of witnesses have American citizenship. Others reside in the U. S. Others travel freely to and from the United States.
And some of them have been in contact with the
U. S. Central Intelligence Agency (C. I. A.).
When Thai judicial officials do a real dirty job on someone, check to see who else is involved. Often enough, when the traffic in narcotics or in women and children is involved, the C. I. A. is involved too.
Visitor's Comment, September 6, 2005 
Constitution Court Chief Justice Phan Chantraphan was guilty of misconduct at Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare 
Comment by Wattana Jongkal na Ayuttaya, Bangkok:
The current chief justice of the Constitution Court of Thailand, Phan Chantraphan, committed malfeasance and other felonious offenses while holding successive posts at the Ministry of Labor & Social Welfare ten years ago.
Mr. Phan failed to take proper action when informed of the complicity of welfare officials in the traffic in women and children.
Phan Chantrapan
Acting Chief Judge, Constitution Court
Who are the Constitution Court judges? For a listing of each of the 15 judges, with brief biographies, see: 
A Comment from Sonkheth Rejwanwan, Bangkok , November 24, 2005
Add Dej Bunnag to the list of Corrupt Officials in Complicity with Pedophile Rings
With reference to the comment by Wattana Jongkal na Ayuttaya about the misconduct of Phan Chantraphan, current chief justice of the Constitution Court, while he was at the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare ten years ago, I would like to add that another well-known official in the same ministry at the same time, Dej (pronounced "Det") Bunnag, was also guilty of similar misconduct.
Dej Bunnag ignored complaints about traffickers in women and children and the complicity of ministry officials in the illicit trade. It was his responsibility to investigate the complaints and take proper action. He did absolutely nothing.
Sonkheth Rejwanan, Bangkok
It was Anupote Bunnag!
Visitor's comment:
Name Withheld, Bangkok,
June 2, 2007
Dear Mr. Thomas,

I would like to point out a crucial error in one of the letters from the public to the John Thomas website.
In one particular letter its author complained that Dej Bunnag was involved in the traffic in women and children. This was a mistake. The letter mentions Dej Bunnag as having conspired in the illicit trade while at the Ministry of Labor & Social Welfare.
Bunnag is the surname of many people in Thailand. The Bunnags are an old family of Muslim merchants from the Persian Gulf who settled in Thailand some 500 years ago. You will find Bunnags everywhere today. Even the King of Thailand is related to the Bunnag (pronounced Boon - agh) family.
The Bunnag concerned in this matter was not Dej Bunnag, who has worked mostly for the Foreign Ministry.
It was Anupote Bunnag.
Anupote worked in the Inspector-General's Office of the Ministry of Labor & Social Welfare in the mid-1990s. He was the one involved in trafficking cases.
Please note the above and correct your website.
By the way, I posted the above as a message to the on-line forum of The Nation, Thailand's # 2 English-language daily newspaper, published in Bangkok. You can view the forum:
Visitor's Comment
Puang Panich, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 27, 2005:
In Thailand, a committee of the legislature’s upper house, the senate, is soon to decide the composition of the government's much-ballyhooed graft fighting agency, the National Counter Corruption Commission, also known by the acronym NCCC.
The Thai media has long played up the NCCC while the public has complained that the commission is a political ploy, set up solely for cosmetic purposes, and that its commissioners are as lazy and corrupt as the officials and organizations they are asked to investigate. Another oft-repeated complaint about the NCCC has been that it was set up to function under the direct supervision of the prime minister's office.
Last year, when NCCC commissioners voted themselves a pay-raise, there were protests from other government officials. The Supreme Court suspended the agency. Nine months later, the Supreme Court declared that the commissioners had acted unconstitutionally. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court gave the commissioners suspended one-year jail sentences and forced them to resign.
Subsequently, a committee was formed by the government to recommend 18 candidates to the senate, which would select nine new commissioners for the NCCC.  
There were protests from the public that the government's selection committee was composed almost entirely of current and former government officials and dominated by the military, police and judiciary. The committee was chaired by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Two Supreme Court associate justices also sat on the committee.
To give the committee the appearance of some legitimacy, the head of a local university was appointed to it. In an immediate display of unethical conduct, this person invited a former NCCC commissioner, who had been tossed off the NCCC two to three years ago, to apply to the selection committee for a commissioner's post. This particular ex-commissioner, about whom there had been many complaints from the public, has been the darling of the media in stories about anti-corruption since his removal from the agency, pointing out the corruption and conflicts of interests of newspaper editors.
Eighty-eight persons applied to the selection committee for the nine commissioners' posts on the NCCC.
Unfazed by complaints of cronyism and bias, the selection committee proceeded to nominate three former Supreme Court justices, including one who had failed to get a commissioner's post last year.
The fact that this particular ex-judge, Prasert Khiennilsiri, is again a candidate for an NCCC commissioner's post and has made it as far as the senate screening committee points out the cronyism, ignorance and irresponsibility of the Thai government officials who have considered his candidacy thus far.
While chief justice of one of Thailand's regional courts, in northeastern Thailand, and, later, as a Supreme Court associate justice, Prasert conspired with pedophile rings that included government officials to traffic in women and children, obstruct investigations, thwart victim recovery efforts, and intimidate victims and witnesses. 
Prasert was the subject of numerous lengthy and well-documented complaints to the NCCC, which the previous NCCC commissioners sat on or filed away. He would like to get his hands on those complaints. If he does, many people will require round-the-clock protection.
Prasert joined the political party, Tai Rak Tai, of the multi-billionaire prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, in the hope that the prime minister or his party would pave the way for him.
Interestingly, Thaksin himself was involved in at least one child trafficking case in which Prasert was complicit: Thaksin, after he had become prime minister, ignored the pleas of a family for his cooperation in rescuing a child.
That could be another reason that Prasert, who knew all about the case, joined the Tai Rak Tai.

Puang Panich, Korat, Thailand
Visitor's Comment from Thana Hethisethiran of Bangkok, October 13, 2005
When lawyers in Thailand cheat their clients the latter can complain to the Law Society of Thailand and often do.
Unfortunately, Law Society officials seldom take any action against the lawyers, especially when the lawyers concerned are Law Society staff members or were appointed to the complainant by the court at the request of the Law Society.
Worse still, Law Society lawyers and officers often form criminal conspiracies with government officials, including court officials, to cheat a client.
Previous commissioners of the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) claimed that they could not accept complaints from the public against lawyers or the Law Society because the lawyers were not government officials and the Law Society was not a government agency. NCCC commissioners maintained also that they could not consider complaints against lawyers who had been appointed by the courts at the request of the Law Society.
Law Society lawyers and officers work hand in hand with the courts. Thus, the NCCC should take Law Society officers and lawyers to task for cheating the public or conspiring with government officials against the Law Society's clients.
Senate to select NCCC commissioners today
Visitor’s Comment, from Wong-wong Kaiwanlit of Bangkok , November 1, 2005:
The senate is to select nine commissioners for the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) from 18 candidates today.
A senate screening panel is to submit its findings to the senate for consideration before the vote.
There is wide-spread concern that the process by which the commissioners are selected is seriously flawed.
One of the 15-member selection committee that paired the list of 80 candidates down to 18 in August was himself the object of a complaint to the NCCC.
Complaints to the NCCC were also made against 12 of the 18 candidates.
The senate screening committee deemed five of the 18 candidates unfit for NCCC commissioners’ posts.
Many of the candidates, including Police General Darun Sotthibandhu, Supreme Court Justice Surapol Ekyokha, army chief Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Provincial Administration Department director-general Siva Saengmanee, Attorney General Kampree Kaeocharern, former judge Prasert Khiennilsiri, and the Prime MInister's deputy secretary Naengnoi na Ranong, are cronies of high political and government figures. There is great concern that they could cripple the NCCC if posted to it. All complaints of corruption against government officials and politicians must pass first through the NCCC, which can accept or reject them.  
The pro-government press in Thailand , especially the English-language daily newspapers the Bangkok Post and The Nation, which are owned and run by local and foreign Chinese interests, has been touting the above-mentioned candidates “as highly favored”.
There are rumors of bloc voting. Politics, particularly “money politics”, could determine the composition of the NCCC.
In the past, the NCCC refused to investigate so-called "independent" non-governmental agencies. Apparently, it will have to do so in the future. But that seems to be the only new positive aspect of the NCCC. The commissioners are to serve nine-year terms, far too long in a country where corruption is a way of living. Furthermore, it will be difficult to impeach corrupt commissioners. Three to four-year terms would be more than long enough.
Wong-wong Kaiwanlit
Another comment from Michael Whitman in Khon Kaen, Thailand, November 18, 2005:
New NCCC unlikely to be anything new
On November 1, Thailand's senate selected nine commissioners for the country's number one anti-corruption office, the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC). All complaints of corruption against politicians and government officials must be considered first by the NCCC.
The senate selected the nine commissioners from 18 candidates.
There were many complaints that the selection process was seriously flawed. The 15-member selection panel, which selected the 18 candidates from a list of 80 (or 88) in August, consisted of high present and former government officials and chaired by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. One member of the selection committee was himself the object of a complaint to the NCCC.
Complaints to the NCCC had been made against 12 of the 18 final candidates. A senate screening committee deemed five of the 18 wholly unsuited for a post on the NCCC.
Most of the new commissioners are cronies of high politicians and government officials.
The commissioners are to serve for nine years   -   absurdly long terms   -   and it will be difficult to impeach them. Three to four-year terms would have been long enough.
Previously, the NCCC had refused to accept complaints against private or "independent" agencies, like the Law Society of Thailand and the Thai Red Cross Society, or so-called "non-governmental organizations", better known by the acronym "NGO", like local United Nations agencies. Apparently, the NCCC will accept complaints against these organizations now and investigate them.
One of the candidates for the NCCC, Prasert Khienninsili, was a former chief justice of the regional court in northeastern Thailand and an associate justice of the Supreme Court. While on the courts, Prasert conspired with pedophiles and traffickers in children and their accomplices in government positions to obstruct search and recovery efforts and to intimidate relatives of victims and complainants and witnesses. (There is documentary evidence to that effect.)
Twice, after his retirement from the judiciary, Prasert tried to get a commissioner's post on the NCCC. After he was rejected last year, he tried again this year, this time with the backing of the Prime Minister's political party. It appeared also that the local press was behind him. While, in fact, few expected him to get a post on the NCCC, the press described him as a "favorite". But the senate, meeting in full session on November 1, rejected his candidacy. 
Prasert has yet to answer for his crimes. Complaints against Prasert have been made to the NCCC. But few expect the NCCC commissioners, former Supreme Court justices among them, to deal him proper justice.
Michael Whitman
Khon Kaen
The Un-Dead! Perverts Masquerading as Juvenile Court Officials!
A comment by Michael Whitman, New York, August 19, 2006:
Prasert Khienninsilli is a retired judge in Thailand. Several years ago, Prasert was chief justice of one of the country’s four regional courts, region # 4, northeastern Thailand, located in the city of Khon Kaen.
More recently, Prasert was one of 87 judges on the Supreme Court, located in Bangkok. While on the Supreme Court, Prasert tried twice to get a post as one of the nine commissioners on the Thailand’s much-ballyhooed National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC). He failed both times. The first time he reached the final list selected by the senate. The second time he was cut out early by the senate.
Stepping down from the Supreme Court, Prasert was posted as a consultant to the Juvenile & Family Court in Khon Kaen.
How could Prasert, who was in complicity with pedophile and prostitution rings, get posted as a consultant to a Juvenile & Family Court should be thoroughly investigated?
Easy! After all, that is how organized crime works.     
Most recently, in July 2006, Prasert resurfaced in public in an attempt to get one of the five commissioners’ posts on the highly controversial Election Commission (EC). But he was turned down.
Evidently, Prasert’s ties to the Thai Rak Thai political party of the prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, could not help him.
That should be the end of Prasert.
For the whole story, "The Un-Dead! Perverts Masquerading as Juvenile Court Officials!" visit the website:
A visitor's comment by James Page of Bangkok on January 7, 2006, 2005:
King should reject senate's NCCC nominees
The nomination of the post of auditor-general requires the approval of the king of Thailand.
The king has refused to approve a new nominee for the post, which was meant to replace the current auditor-general who has upset many by her determination to take corrupt officials to task.
The King of Thailand should reject the senate's nine nominees for commissioners' posts on the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) because the nominees have connections to high officials in government, non-governmental organizations, politics and even the media.
In fact, the King's approval of the senate's nominees would ensure that the NCCC would not function as an honest anti-graft body should. His approval would be inconsistent with his earlier refusal to approve a new nominee for auditor-general. 
The King should return the list of NCCC nominees to the senate without his approval and with the recommendation that the senate select nominees with less obvious conflicts of interest.
The King should recommend also that the senate reduce an NCCC commissioner's term from nine years to a more realistic, or reasonable, two to three years.
James L. Page
Bangkok, Thailand
Comment from Vance Lewin in Bangkok, November 6, 2005:
An American woman in Bangkok is in conspiracy with the Thai Mafia to commit crimes against foreigners, including other Americans.
Photo of Jane Puranananda
When foreigners in Thailand get into legal trouble and need a local lawyer, they ask friends and their embassies for advice.
Lists of local lawyers, handed out by embassies to their nationals upon request, are merely a suggestion and often list unscrupulous lawyers who habitually cheat clients. Unfortunately, treacherous lawyers remain on embassy lists many years after they have been roundly denounced and should have been disbarred and imprisoned. 
In the last resort, some foreigners, from the East as well as the West, have asked the Law Society of Thailand (LST), a private organization of local lawyers that provides free legal assistance to those who cannot afford it, for representation.
However, the LST rarely helps foreigners. In almost every case, foreigners who contact the LST are given the runaround and dissuaded from trying to obtain legal help. LST officials pretend not to speak English. They skip appointments. They insist that all foreigners are rich and can afford to pay lawyers whereas Thais are poor and cannot.
Nonetheless, the LST has on rare occasions provided lawyers to foreigners who could not find a one even for hire. But the lawyers provided by the Law Society often cheat their clients and, in many cases, deliberately make matters worse for them. And they are covered by senior LST officers. It is useless to complain.
For the past several years, foreigners contacting the LST have been referred to a local American woman, Jane Puranananda, who works for a local law firm, Dej Udom, named after the firm’s owner, Dej Udom Krairat. LST officials maintain that Ms. Puranananda will explain to them what is required of them.
Indeed, Ms. Puranananda is listed as the law firm’s contact. And her boss, Dej Udom, is currently also the president of the LST. Before becoming president, he was LST vice-president.
Ms. Puranananda has published a book on local textiles and is currently co-chairman of the advisory board of the James H. W. Thompson Foundation in Bangkok . 
Ms. Puranananda, however, seems to be under instructions to get rid of anyone referred to her by the LST. She gives them the runaround. She even claims that Dej Udom is not actually with the LST. In other words, she’s part of a scam, with Dej Udom and other LST officials, and often corrupt government officials, to deny foreigners urgently required legal assistance.
Ms. Puranananda is one of those Americans in Bangkok who thinks nothing of cheating other foreigners, including Americans, for local swindlers. Perhaps she thinks her connections, through her marriage to a Thai royal, place her beyond reproach?
Ms. Puranananda should be charged with conspiracy and other felonious offenses, not just in Thailand but in the United States and other countries as well.
Of course, Ms. Puranananda is not the first American woman in Bangkok to conspire with local Thais to cheat other Americans. But she is one that many people know about. The press should too.
Vance Lewin, Bangkok
Ed. note: The above letter was submitted to Thai English-language newspapers but editors refused to publish it. The letter was posted on the website forum of The Nation, Thailand's second biggest English-language daily, and drew several comments before the editors withdrew it, apparently at the request request of one of Purananda's or because the newspaper has conflicts of interests. The article and comments can be viewed at 
A comment by Vance Lewin, December 9, 2006:
The above letter was sent to this website on November 6, 2005. I submitted it to Thailand's two major English-language daily newspapers, the Bangkok Post and The Nation. The Nation posted it on its on-line forum on January 16, 2006. The posting drew numerous comments before the editors removed it shortly afterward.
I sent the message to other newspapers and also posted it on a website,
Around the time of the September 19 coup d'etat in Thailand the website, along with many others that criticized the same lawyers and judicial officials, who have since resurfaced through appointments by the junta to high positions, was deleted by Lycos/Tripod, a South Korean company.
Since then, I learned that one of the editors of The Nation was related to Ms. Puranananda's Thai husband and, also, that one of the editors was a client of the law firm, Dej-Udom & Associates.
Further, a former staffer of
The Nation informed me that the newspaper had working agreements with the law firm, Dej-Udom, the Law Society of Thailand, and the government's National Counter Corruption Commission.
Considering other information that I have received, I believe that I have good reason to believe that
The Nation, Dej-Udom and certain employees of the American Embassy in Bangkok were behind the website deletions. 
I have posted the comment on another website,
If it is deleted again I will post it again.
Vance Lewin

For American Expatriates and Tourists in Thailand -
Americans with legal problems in Thailand are easy prey for Thai mafiosi and American accomplices
Comment by Harold Schwartz, Washington, D. C., June 15, 2006
American agents of foreign interests
Considering the work that Jane Puranananda, who is an American citizen, does for Dej-Udon Krairat, she must be registered with the United States government as employed and representing a foreign agency. Apparenlty, she is not registered as such. This is a violation of U. S. laws. Ms. Puranananda is not immune to prosecution in the United States for her conduct abroad.
Harold Schwartz, Washington, D. C. 
A Visitor's Comment from John Reasoner in Bangkok, March 18, 2006:
The letter from from Vance Lewin, about the criminal behavior of a local American woman in Bangkok who is in conspiracy with local criminal elements to swindle other Americans, is a warning to expatriates and tourists in Thailand .
Mr. Lewin's letter was posted on the Forum website of the English-language Thai newspaper, The Nation, for many months. There were nine replies to it. The newspaper took it down recently. The editors seldom remove a site.
Why did the editors remove the site? Did someone make a specific request to have it removed? If so, who? What were his or her objections?
A former American embassy employee in Bangkok  told me that Jane Puranananda conspired with Central Intelligence Agency (C. I. A.) operatives at the embassy. These persons were usually officials from the consular and political offices. Indeed, their intention was to cheat and endanger Americans in Thailand who were not professionally connected to the American government. This was often done in conspiracy with local Thais, including Thai lawyers. Usually, this involved committing fraud.
The American and Thai public should know about this.
John Reasoner, Bangkok
Comment by Thomason L. Keller, Washington, D. C., April 10, 2006
What can Americans do about bad American officials    
I have been interested in the comments about Americans in conspiracy with local Thais to swindle other Americans.
Traveling aboard as a tourist, or living abroad as an expatriate, especially in the Third World, has always posed risks and dangers that do not ordinarily exist at home in the Western world.
Many Westerners in the Third World have been the victims of theft and, after identifying the thief or thieves, have been accused and sometimes charged with defamation.
Many Westerners have been innocent victims of a car accident and wrongly accused of causing the accident or accused of defamation by the driver at fault.
Often, locals and policemen defend a local involved in an incident even if he or she caused it. 
Thieves can come from all walks of life. There are kleptomaniacs and psychopaths from wealthy families. They inflict injuries upon others. They run away. They refuse to own up. They often have the backing of local residents, the police and law courts against their foreign victim.
Indeed, there are many western tourists and expatriates in Thailand who refuse to report crimes to the police or appear in court as witnesses. They have learned from experience that it serves no purpose to do so and can even lead to accusations against them, physical injury and internment.
Often, the Thai police fail to report accurately a witness's account of an incident. And the policeman's superiors, all the way to the national police chief, will not respond positively to requests to correct an errant policeman or report. They are unlikely to heed a report or complaint submitted directly from the public.
Prosecutors are reluctant to accept complaints directly from the public or question a policemen's report.
The Attorney General seldom acts upon complaints submitted directly from the public.
There are no stenographers or audio recordings in Thai courts. There is only a secretary who takes dictation from the judge. The judge dictates to the secretary a summary of a witness's testimony. Often, that summary is inaccurate, sometimes very much so and sometimes entirely so. Witnesses can petition the court, with an affidavit, to correct a judge's summary of their testimony, but such petitions, though accepted by the court, are seldom heeded.
A low court judge's superiors, all the way to the Supreme Court, seldom accept complaints against the judge or oppose the judge's decisions. 
Often enough, witnesses, translators and lawyers are intimidated by the police with harassment and threats of arrest to dissuade them from making or pursuing a complaint or report.
A policeman, prosecutor and judge can charge a witness with any number of offenses to dissuade him or her from testifying or pointing out their misconduct.
Worse, for a Westerner involved in a legal matter in a Third World country, like Thailand , the employees of his country's local embassy are often reluctant to help. Instead, they prefer to take issue with him and back the native locals against him.
Unless a Westerner has a personal contact in the embassy of his country who can persuade local officials to cooperate the embassy is useless to him and can even make matters worse.     
There are many Westerners employed abroad by native businesses, including law firms, who, without the least compunction, will oppose other citizens of their countries if asked by their native employers to do so,
Embassy officials, including police and intelligence operatives, have established relations with native policemen, prosecutors, judges and law firms that they do not want to use to help a fellow citizen who has been injured, victimized, cheated, harassed or wrongly accused or detained. This is usually due to timidity, pettiness and mendacity that is typical of many Foreign Service personnel and government desk jobbers. They feel it inconvenient to question their local contact's actions. Often, they prefer to agree with the native officials, just for the sake of agreement, regardless of the facts. Consular, political and economic officers at the American embassy in Bangkok are definitely this sort of Foreign Service official. They can also perpetrate crimes against an innocent individual through their native contacts.
There are provisions in the laws of the United States that allow an American who was wronged by fellow citizens abroad or by the natives of a foreign country abroad to pursue prosecution of those persons as well as sue them for damages 9n the United States.
The best known examples of such cases are the recent prosecutions of pedophiles in America who committed criminal acts abroad. In another well-known example, victims of human rights abuses committed by the Burmese Army, who used forced labor to build the Yadini pipeline for the American oil company Unocal and the French oil company, Total, had recourse to an American court in pursuing claims for damages against Unocal.
Americans can be insured at home against many types of injuries and losses abroad, but not all. In the end, they will have to turn to American courts for justice and compensation. Perpetrators of crimes against Americans in Thailand, be they Thai or American, common civilians or government officials, acting individually or in conspiracy with others, in committing crimes or trying to cover up, can be prosecuted in the United States under certain provisions of certain laws. Diplomatic immunity is limited.
Thomason L. Keller
Washington, D. C.
A comment from James Page, January 28, 2006:
The King and the NCCC (senate)
The King has just rejected the senate's list of nine commissioners for the National Counter-Corruption Commission (NCCC) because they were selected from a shortlist of 17 instead of 18 as required. One candidiate withdrew at the last minute. The senate did not bother to select another candidate. Some senators argued that an eightheenth candidate had to be added to the shortlist before the senate could select the nine commissioners. Others were tired of the lengthy process and wanted to get on with it.
Apparently, the King has agreed and asked the senate to chose again.
Having rejected the list of commissioners for a purely technical legal reason, will the King find it difficult the next time around to reject the list again for the more evident reason that the nine commissioners-to-be have conflicts of interests that will inhibit proper conduct on an anti-corruption body?
James Page
The following comment was published also as a letter to the Bangkok Post on March 11, 2006
The Public has a Right to Know
The Thai press has been extremely sloppy in its reporting of developments in the selection of new commissioners for the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC).
The press has repeatedly reported that the King rejected the senate's selection of nine commissioners who are to serve nine-year terms on the NCCC, which requires royal approval, last January.
According to the press, the King rejected the senate's list on a simple legal technicality: the senate selected the nine would-be commissioners from a list of 17 instead of 18, after one withdrew his name from the list at the last moment.
According to the press, the King felt that complaints that the senate should have selected the nine from a list of 18 instead of 17 were just.
But in an article, "Rejected NCCC nominees reapply" in the March 3 issue of the Bangkok Post, a reporter, Tul Pinkaew, revealed that "seven of the eight candidates were rejected by the King's principal private secretary in January on the grounds that the process was 'inappropriate'".
Thus, readers learned for the first time, two months after the fact, that it was not the King who rejected the senate's list of nominees, but actually his "principal private secretary".
Which was it? Who rejected the senate's list? The King or his principal private secretary? There is a world of difference between the two. And what was the reason? A simple legal technicality, as previously reported? Or was it, as the reporter seemed to have trouble saying, because the King deemed seven of the eight candidates unfit?
Further in this matter, it has been more than a week since the senate panel that is to select the NCCC commissioners announced that 44 people had applied. But the press has not listed the 44. Only a handful has been mentioned. To provide for transparency the press should list all of the candidates for the NCCC and details about them. In a democratic society, there can be no excuse for not doing so. 
The press should be more careful in its reporting. It should report the news more fully and precisely instead of beating around the bush and offering doubletalk. The public has a right to know to full facts.
Wattana Jongkal na Ayuttaya

Organized Crime, the Justice System and the Privy 
Council of  Thailand
Website last updated:  Monday June 4, 2007 1:21PM
The Thai military junta and dictatorship has just deleted John Thomas' Website, "Organized Crime, the Justice System and the Privy Council of Thailand", again.   
The website pointed out corruption in the Privy Council and the complicity of the Thai judiciary in the traffic in women and children.    
The website,, was posted in 2005 and frequently updated and revised. It was deleted on the night on the Thai coup d'etat, September 19, 2006, by Lycos, a South Korean company.   
The website was posted again almost immediately as, deleted by Lycos within several days but, after protests, quickly restored.     
The website is posted again here, today, May 2, 2007.
John Thomas Website (restored)
Saturday April 21, 2007
You are probably searching for the following website:
Was a foreign power - perhaps Japan , the United States or the United Nations - behind the appointment of Santi Trakan to the Privy Council ? ... - 241k - Supplemental Result - Cached - Similar pages
John Thomas' Website: "Organized Crime, the Justice System and the Privy Council of Thailand" ( website: ) was deleted by Lycos/Tripod in mid-September 2006.
According to Lycos/Tripod, the site "violated terms of service". The site has asked Lycos/Tripod for a more precise explanation: Just what particular terms of service did the site violate? Was Tripod asked by someone to remove the site? If so, who?
Thai officials in conspiracy with international pedophile and prostitution rings and traffickers in children

Your comments are welcome.

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The original site was deleted with this counter reading:
It was reposed and then deleted again with counter reading:
It was reposted and delted again at this meter reading:
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Welcome back to John Thomas's website!
This is the fifth time that the site has been posted. It was just blocked by the Thai junta again, a fourth time.
It is reposted here.

This site was deleted five times by the Junta!


The original website, John Thomas, was deleted by Lycos/Tripod on September 19, 2006, the night of the most recent coup d'etat in Thailand.


This site was one of some 15,000 websites deleted by the junta over the next 16 months.

Contrary to its guaranty, Lycos/Tripod did not provide an explanation for its deletion of the site, which, according to its legal obligation, it had to do within 72 working hours of deletion, other than to say that terms of service had been violated. To this day, Lycos/Tripod has not explained what terms were violated and how.

Lycos, an American firm founded in 1994, merged with a Spanish firm, Terra Networks, in 2000 and, as Terra Lycos, was sold to a South Korean firm, Daum Communications Corporation, in October 2004.

The original website, which was reposted as "John Thomas (restored)," was a copy of the deleted website with updates and revisions. This website, too, was deleted several days after posting, but restored several days later upon demand. Yet it was eventually deleted again.

In all, this website was deleted five times and reposted each time.

Numerous Thai officials identified by the website for ties to organized crime accepted prominent posts on advisory boards to the new government that was installed by the military
, in particular, the lawyers Jiraniti Havanon, Sak Khaosangrung and Dej Udon-Krairat, and also Klanarong Chantrik. The website also named Privy Council members with ties to organized crime.

The website had not been objected to by the previous government of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra




Lycos is in the habit of blocking sites whenever requested by someone who can exert some influence on the company. In future, if Lycos receives a request to block this website, it is advised to inform the webmaster at once of any complaints, with details, before doing anything rash.




The Junta


A prime minister, Surayud Chulanond; a cabinet; advisory panels; and a one-house parliament, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), were all appointed by the junta after the coup d'etat in late 2006.


To ensure his position, the junta leader, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, appointed cronies of the 86-year-old Privy Council chairman, Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, to key positions.

Almost all of the cabinet members were over 60 years old and close associates of Gen. Prem. The new prime minister, Gen. Surayud, was also a privy councilor..
Members of the new cabinet, advisory panels, and the NLA were "handpicked" by Gen. Sonthi, who later claimed that they were actually chosen by General Vinai Paetayakul, son of the leader of a previous
coup. General Vinai was invited into the junta, known as the Council of National Security (CNS), as secretary-general, "for his legal expertise".

All appointments had to be approved by Gen. Sonthi, as well as by the King, which meant that they had to be approved also by Gen. Prem.

The stated objective of the
junta was to remove Thaksin Shinawatra from power, to maintain public order and to hold new nation-wide elections. Howevere, many believed that the leaders of the junta, the cabinet and the police were paid or bought off by Thaksin, who remained in exile, to do his bidding. 


Shortly after the coup, Thaksin's wife, Pojamon, met privately with Gen. Prem. This caused a furor. The press - and the public - questioned Gen. Prem's motives.

junta promised to stay out of politics. But some junta members made it clear that wanted to stay on after the promised elections as civilian rulers.

Several weeks after the
coup, the press exposed conspicuous connections and meetings between Gen. Vinai and Thaksin's # 1 man, Somkid Jatusripitak, who had left Thaksin's Tai Rak Tai (Thai Love Thai) party and started his own party. It appeared that Gen. Vinai was preparing for a career in politics after his retirement from the military and that he expected Somkid to pave the way for him.

In February 2007, the interim government of Surayud appointed Somkid, known as Thaksin’s top economic advisor, its economic envoy. But Somkid quickly resigned when ex-newspaper publisher, Sondhi Limthongkul, and Sondhi’s People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protested.


Many believed that the coup d'etat was staged with Thaksin's connivance to offer him a way out of political and business problems, that the coup leaders were in his pocket from the beginning and that Thaksin, through General Vinai, was pulling strings, particularly in appointing advisory panels easily corruptible lawyers, prosecutors and judges to the courts who would eventually toss out corruption charges against Thaksin and protect his many industrial enterprises for him.

In mid-March 2007, there were large public protests and demonstrations in Bangkok against Gen. Prem, who widely considered to be the instigator and mastermind of the coup and the ruling


In May 2007 the Constitution Court banned Thaksin's Tai Rak Tai party and many of its officers from politics for five years although two of them soon accepted high posts in other parties – remarkably without causing a stir. Eventually, more former TRT members joined other parties as advisors.

In August 2007, the Thai attorney general's office issued a slew of arrest warrants for Thaksin in several corruption cases. Thaksin, settling in England, hired lawyers to fight extradition requests.


Rolling back democratic gains


Upon seizing power, the junta promised parliamentary elections within a year. Eventually, elections for the lower house, the House of Representatives, were scheduled for October 2007. In late August 2007, the elections were rescheduled for December 23, 2007.

Many people in Bangkok feared that eventually there would be a repeat of Black May 1992, with protests by pro-democracy forces leading to a confrontation with the army and much bloodshed in the streets.

Indeed, the conduct of the
junta could be viewed as provocative. Gen. Sonthi and Gen. Surayud, who was generally viewed as Gen. Sonthi's puppet, made numerous proposals to roll back some of the most crucial democratic gains in Thai history and to fill certain civilian posts with military personnel.

It is most crucial to practice democracy at the local level. But Gen. Sonthi and the Surayud cabinet proposed abolishing recently instituted local elections.

Until the early 1900s, villagers determined matters themselves, usually through public town meetings. In the early decades of the 20th century, the Thai royal family, through the army, police and officials who were appointed directly by the Minister of Interior, spread its reach to the provinces. Local town meetings were supplanted by orders from a small group in Bangkok. V
illage (muban) headman (phu yai ban) and the township (tambon) headman (kamnan tambon) were appointed by the Ministry of Interior. They kept their positions until reaching mandatory retirement age at 60. 

In 2005, for the first time in a more than a century, villagers elected their headmen in elections held throughout the country. The headmen were elected to five-year terms. (Some believed the term was too long.)

In early 2007, Gen. Sonthi proposed extending the terms of headmen to ten years. Gen. Sonthi claimed that this was necessary to fight the Jawi-speaking Malay Muslim insurgency in the country’s three southernmost provinces   -   Pattani, Yala and Narwathiwat. But, almost immediately, the suggestion
was applied to the entire country. Then Gen. Sonthi proposed extending the terms of headmen to the age of mandatory retirement, age 60, throughout the country..


The puppet Surayud cabinet passed the proposal to abolish local elections and to make headmen officials who were appointed by the provincial governor to retirement age.


Were Sonthi and Surayud bribed by the Tambon Administrative Organization (TAO)?

Gen. Sonthi and the Surayud government also proposed replacing one of the two deputy provincial deputy governors with a military official.


Until Black May 1992, the upper house, or senate, had been made up entirely of appointees, with one-third of senate seats reserved for the military. Appointments were rubber-stamped by the King. After 1992, however, both houses of parliament were elected directly by the voters.


In 2006, the junta scrapped the directly-elected senate. Now, half the new senate was to be appointed, with the judiciary dominating the nominating process.


Junta reinstated discredited officials

There appeared to be no lessening of the conflict in the South. The
junta reinstated of Gen. Panlop Pinmanee, who, against the orders of his superior, Gen. Chavalit Youngchaiyudh, had ordered an attack on suspected native Muslim militants hiding in a mosque in April 2004. The resulting massacre provoked the wrath of local Jawi-speaking Malay Muslim inhabitants, who for hundreds of years have bitterly resented the dominance of Thai Buddhist rule by Ayuttaya and Bangkok, and triggered the current bloody civil war in the three southern-most provinces of Thailand.


The junta appointed corrupt officials


The junta removed from active duty the national police chief, Pol. Gen. Kowit Wattana, who, along with Thaksin, was implicated in the murder of a Muslim human rights lawyer, Somchai Neelaphaijit, in 2005. But the junta’s replacement for Pol. Gen. Kowit, Pol. Lt. Gen. Seripisut Temiyawej, immediately reinstated and promoted the suspected killers and challenged Somchai's widow when she sued the police.       


Junta obstructed public expression

The police, the judiciary and the press were made to heel and obey Gen. Sonthi.


The junta blocked more than 15,000 websites since the coup d'etat.


The puppet National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and the Supreme Court proposed a bill making criticism of Privy Council members an act of lese majeste. The bill was turned down by the Privy Council chairman, General Prem. If passed, the bill would have given Prem and other Privy Council members unlimited leeway and unusual powers, just what they wanted but dared not take.

Is another coup possible?

Whoever controls the army can have great say over who controls the country.

Gen. Sonthi was due to retire from the army at the end of September 2007. There was concern about his successor as army chief, who was to be chosen by him. Few wanted Gen. Prem's favorite, assistant army chief Gen. Saprang Kalyanamitr, who was the most senior army official after Gen. Sonthi.

Surayud favored Gen. Anupong Paochinda, next in line after Gen. Saprang.

Gen. Sonthi was said to favor the army chief-of-staff, Gen. Montri Sangkhasap.

There were reports that Gen. Saprang, fearing that he would be passed over, was preparing a
coup d'etat.

In late August 2007, there were hints that Gen. Sonthi would delay his retirement and remain the junta's leader for another six months, to March 2008.

But in mid-September 2007, Gen. Anupong was appointed Gen. Sonthi's replacement.

There was concern also that Gen. Sonthi intended to accept a post in the puppet Surayud government as deputy prime minister and defense minister and that Surayud would eventually step aside to let him assume the post of prime minister.

The army is led by what some call "Southeast Asian cowboys", "Third World tinhorns" and "fascist punks". Indeed, some junta members displayed behavior that encouraged and drew such remarks.

For instance, in 2007, a top Thai army general publicly stated that the generals of the oppressive and universally unpopular Burmese
junta were the ideal model for Thai soldiers to follow.

Another example: Just a few days after the
coup d'etat, Gen. Sonthi made a sudden and unexpected trip to Burma to meet the leaders of the Burmese junta. The trip appeared to have been a way of congratulating himself and celebrating his coup. He closed out his military career with another similar short trip to Burma in late August 2007, the official purpose of which was unclear. He offered to mediate a peace between the Burmese junta and the insurgent Karens and Shans.

Gen. Sonthi retired from the army on September 30, 2007. Shortly afterward, he was appointed deputy prime minister. He resigned from the CNS but he oversaw all security matters. He supervised the national election, held on December 23, 2007. He was determined to keep Thaksin political party fronts from competing.


Thaksin-front party wins lower house elections


The newly formed People Power Party (PPP), headed by Samak Sundarewej, 72-year-old veteran politician and former governor of Bangkok Province, was actually Thaksin’s political party without Thaksin and top TRT leaders. It was believed that Thaksin, or his cronies, were operating behind the scenes and pulling strings.


There was a surprisingly large voter turn-out for nation-wide parliamentary elections for the lower house. The media predicted that the PPP would win the elections and perhaps do so by a considerable margin.


In the event, the PPP won 233 seats of the 480-seat lower house, just eight short of a majority. The country’s first and oldest political party, the Democrat Party, won only 165 votes.

Some in the media called the vote a rejection of the
junta by most of the country. But this was actually a secondary factor. In the nation-wide elections, the poor northeastern region of Thailand, which is predominantly Lao, and the northern region of the country, which contains many poor ethnic groups, including many Laos and ethnic Tais, voted overwhelmingly for the PPP, as expected, because it was Thaksin's party and the two regions had supported Thaksin in two previous elections. Many in the two northern regions benefited from Thaksin's populist programs and democratic reforms.

As mentioned above, the
junta had suspended some populist programs and cancelled democratic reforms at the local and national levels. The junta
wanted government bodies run by appointed civil servants who were to be monitored by military officials.

The southern region of the country, the traditional strong-hold of the Democrat Party, voted overwhelmingly for the Democrat Party, headed by the young Abhisit Vejjajiva. Muslims in the southernmost provinces detest Thaksin, who, while prime minister, behaved obnoxiously and provocatively toward them, like a Chinese businessman who thoght he could take over the region through geneocide and exploit it for personal gain.

Central Thailand was split among the PPP and Democrat Party. Most of Bangkok Province, as expected, voted for the Democrat Party. This vote included many voters who disliked both Thaksin and the

Samak, sure of becoming the next prime minister, said he would pardon all 111 politicians from Thaksin's Party, dissolved by the courts, who were banned from politics for five years by the junta (or, actually, the courts   -   at the insistence of the junta
), including Thaksin.

There appeared to be a possibility that Thaksin could return to Thailand. The courts announced that Thaksin would be arrested if he returned.

The new head of the army, Gen. Anupong, was unhappy with election results. But he said the army would not step in unless there was fighting in the streets between Thaksin supporters and anti-Thaksin groups.

Short of a majority, the PPP could not form a government on its own. Samak sought other, smaller parties to join him in a coalition.


The PPP asked former prime minister Banharn Silpa-archa and his party, Chart Thai, to join it in a coalition government. But Banharn remained aloof. His party did not join the coalition. (Banharn unexpectedly became prime minister in 1995 when a northern senator, Narong Wongwon, who was considered a front-man for big-shot narcotics traffickers and next in line to become prime minister, died suddenly after a heart attack. Banharn was not considered very different from Narong.) He soon put relatives in key government posts from which they conspired with notorious pedophile and child trafficking rings.)

The Election Commission, headed by retired General Sonthi, declared that it had found irregularities in the victories of 83 PPP members, thus jeopardizing the PPP's chances of forming a solid coalition and government with other parties. This appeared to be the intent of the

Depending on the sturdiness of his coalition's margin in parliament, totaling 315, Samak, who had a four-year term, was expected to remain prime minister only for six months to a year. 


Half of senate appointed


As mentioned above, the 150-seat upper house, the senate, is no longer the democratic institution it was before the coup d’etat. It is made up of 76 provincial senators, who were elected directly by the voters on March 2, 2008, and 74 appointed senators who were nominated by 12 organizations from five sectors (professional, government, academic, business, and private).


The nominees for the 74 appointed seats were screened by the president of the Constitution Court. The judiciary had first and final say in the appointments. Thus, the judiciary, which had become the tool of the military, dominated the appointment process. (One could point out that this was, of course, an undemocratic procedure and not what the King had in mind when he lectured the heads of the courts on democracy in 2006.) 


An example of the absurdity of this nominating procedure was the nomination of a nominee for the senate by a notoriously corrupt government agency, the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC).


The Samak Government and the PAD


In Thailand, politicians, the press, the government, the Privy Council and the judiciary are too corrupt and ineffectual for the country to maintain a stable democracy. Thailand could be without a strong civilian government for some time to come. The army, could, by necessity, continue to play a dominant role in the country. There could be a long era of domination by a few military strong-men and unpopular puppet governments.


The Samak government was indeed actually the Thaksin government but without Thaksin. This was, however, just what many people wanted. Samak said he would restore the populist programs of the Thaksin government that had been appreciated by the poor rural north and northeast.


However, the Samak government appeared to be unprepared to respond to the insurgency in the South. Shortly after the cabinet was sworn in by the King, the new interior minister, the veteran politician Chalerm Yoobamrung, proposed granting autonomy to the troubled southern region. The suggestion was quickly shot down by Samak. Chalerm then set up a “war room”  to confront the conflict in the south. 


The head of the army, Gen. Anupong, stated in April 2008 that the insurgency would be ended in the following year, 2009. However, the insurgency shows no sign of abating.


While Samak was generally acknowledged as more intelligent than Thaksin, who was considered street-smart rather than intelligent, his government was quickly hi-jacked by Thaksin stooges. Military leaders appeared to be in Thaksin's pay. Thaksin's friends and relatives in the police were reinstated.


Thaksin returned to Thailand. He was free on bail and could travel abroad. One brother-in-law, Somchai Wongsawat, was a deputy prime minister and another brother-in-law was next in line for the post of national police chief.    


In late May 2008, Gen. Chamlong, Thailand's "Mr. Clean", and the newspaper magnate, Sondhi, launched a long protest-drive, with popular rallies, in Bangkok against the puppet government. Samak backed down from using force to break up the rally and the army did not intervene.


In June 2008, a huge PAD rally besieged Government House.


Thaksin's wife was eventually found guilty in a shady land deal and sentenced to jail. She appealed the case. Thaksin was charged with a similar crime. Amid the widespread expectation that Thaksin was preparing to flee the country, the Supreme Court mysteriously allowed him and his wife to go abroad for the Olympic Games in China. Thaksin and his wife failed to return to Thailand for their court dates and surfaced in England, announcing their intention of staying there. Eventually, they requested polirtical asylum.


The PAD clashed with Thaksin-supporters in Bangkok and Udon Thani. One PAD demonstrator was brutally beaten to death before television cameras by PPP-supporters in Udon Thani. One PAD-supporter was killed in Bangkok.


In August 2008, thousands of PAD supporters stormed Government House. They barred Samak from entering his office. They demanded his resignation. The police surrounded the compound but acted with restraint. There were some clashes between PAD and policemen, resulting in injuries to both sides. The police did not act to clear the protesters but remained nearby and watched.


In August 2008, thousands of PAD supporters demonstrated at the British Embassy in Bangkok, in a demand that the British government not grant Thaksin asylum but return him to Thailand to face charges. Considering the British government's treatment of Chilean Gen. Augusto Pincohet recently, there appeared little chance that Thaksin would escape extradition to Thailand. Eventually, the British government barred Thaksin's entry to England. Today, many countries have barred entry to Thaksin. He is a fugitive. He is beleived to hold the passports from five countries, including NIcaragua.  


The PAD held round-the-clock rallies at Government House. Samak declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and ordered Gen. Anupong to clear the PAD protesters. But Gen. Anupong refused. He expressed the hope for a government of national unity.


In September 2008, Samak was convicted by a law court of conflicts of interests and was sentenced to jail. He was forced to resign the prime ministership. This caused divisions within the PPP and the party refused to renominate Samak for the top post. Shortly afterward, Samak went to the U. S. for medical care. He had liver cancer. He passed away in December 2009.


The PPP selected Thaksin's brother-in-law, Somchai, as acting prime minister. He took office on September 18. PAD leaders demanded an end to the PPP and its leaders. But Somchai was the front-runner among three candidates for the prime ministership in national elections scheduled for late December.


The PAD and other anti-Thaksin groups besieged parliament and, on November 26, seized the country's two biggest airports in Bangkok.


Somchai, who sought to retain his post, did not have the support of the army and the police. 


As an inevitable bloody encounter between the police and protesters neared, a court ruled on December 2 that that the PPP and two coalition partners had acted illegally in the last elections. The parties were dissolved and Somchai was forced to resign.


In the scheduled December 2008 elections, Abhisit, head of the old Democrat Party, won most of the votes and formed a coalition government.


But Thaksin forces, employing PAD tactics, sought to force Abhist from office.


The Thai courts requested Thaksin's extradtiion to Thailand. 


Early in 2009, the PAD turned itself into a political party, to contest in elections. Retired army general Sonthi also formed his own political party but he seems to have no support from the people.


The future?


Thaksin lost out because he had a good thing going and, as inevitably happens in Thailand, others wanted it and took it from him. This was foreseen long ago and he was not expected to last his entire second term in office. 


Were Thaksin and his party allowed to stand in elections today they might win a majority of votes.


The conflict between Thaksin forces and the present ruling coalition government (and its supporters, like the PAD) is often described by the press as a confrontation between two groups.


One group is considered an old, entrenched, shrinking ruling elite, determined to hang on to power by any means. They are opposed to democracy. Indeed, Abhist's government has not done much to restore long-sought democratic reforms made by Thaksin.


The other group is a growing mass of up-country peasants and urban 

laborers who are demanding more say in their lives. Thaksin is often portrayed as a free-spending multi-billionaire who lavished money on peasants in the north and northeast to buy their political support.


Thaksin's supporters are often accused of trying to overthrow the monarchy. There does not appear to be any truth to this. Rather, their accusers are old, corrupt and long out of step with the times. The King himself is not opposed to democracy or to democratic reforms and neither Thaksin nor his supporters up-country care to topple the monarchy. In fact, many hilltribes and refugees from Burma in northern Thailand have sought and received protection by the monarchy.  


There are big Chinese business interests on both sides.


Some "minorities", like the Karen and the Jawi-speaking Malay Muslims,  have reason to dislike Thaksin.


But the conflict is actually one of regional differences, between the northern and southern regions of the country   -   the north and northeast against the Thai part of the Malay Penisula.


The head of the army, Anupong Paochinda, is the strongest man in Thailand today. Thus far, he has exerted his influence wisely.  


Nobody wears the yellow shirt anymore!
For three years, from 2006 to 2009, many Thais wore a yellow golf-knit short-sleeve shirt on Mondays to display their support for the king. But by December 2009 few people still wore the yellow shirt. They numbered one out of a hundred at the most. They were mostly in big cities.
The yellow shirt, identified with the King of Thailand for more than three years, came to be identified with the PAD and the poilitical ambitions of its leader, Sondhi Limthongkul. PAD supporters were seldom seen without yellow shirts. Thaksin-supporters wore red shirts. The press liked to describe the nation's political conflict as one between yellow shirts and the red shirts. By the end of 2008, many shop owners, concerned about business, ordered their employees not to wear red or yellow shirts to work.
In April 2009, Sondhi mircaculously survived an assassination attempt. His van was ambushed and one hundred or more bullets from M-16s and AK-47s were poured into it. Somehow he lived.
Who was behind the assasssination attempt?
Sondhi blamed the army leader, General Anupong Paochinda. But others could have had reason to get rid of Sondhi. Thaksin, above all, was suspected of masterminding the attempt. Sondhi's son believed that the prime minister, Abhisit, was behind the attempt.
Will Abhist restore democracy to Thailand?
In early September, there were nation-wide elections (in all 76 provinces) on the local level and villagers chose their village (muban) and township (tamboon) headmen. (In fact, however, many districts are holding elections at different times.)
But the nation's current senate was not democratically elected. Abhist must call for new senate elections. This time, all senators will be elected by the people   -   not by the courts, government panels or NGO-fronts.
Thaksin's star is fading, but he might still win a majority in both houses of parliament in fully democratic elections.
In Southeast Asia today, Cambodia is the most democratic country. It is hard to believe but it is true. And thanks to the PAD, who made a political issue out Pre Vihear to embarrass Thaksin in 2008, the Cambodian prime minister, Hun Sen, rallying Cambodians to a national cause, won a victory at the polls fairly for the very first time in his political career last year.
Gen. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh visited the Jawi-speaking Malay Muslim region in the south of Thailand in October 2009 and declared, once again, as he did four or five years ago, that the region should have autonomy. He pointed out that several regions in Thailand   -   Bangkok, Pattaya and Mae Sod   -    are special administrative zones where the people elect their own provincial governors and other provincial officials instead of accepting officials appointed by the Ministry of Interior in Bangkok.
But will Gen. Chavalit follow up his suggestion with action in parliament? Will he pursue it?
Calls for autonomy in the south are unlikely to be accepted in Bangkok at this time. But Gen. Chavalit might seek nation-wide decentralization, with elections in all provinces for provincial governors, district chiefs, judges, prosecutors, et al.
This will be resisted by thousands of royals who have for centuries controlled or dominated the minsitries of Interior and Foreign    -   and also by many others who got their positions through the army, or through political cronyiam or family connections. (Two-thirds of the employees in the provincial hall of Buriram, for instance, are from one family.)
But the change is inevitable. Indeed, for the first time in history, the Privy Council office was besieged by hundreds of demonstators from Thaksin's political front party, the UDD, demanding the resignatioon of the privy council president, Prem Tinsulanonda, and Surayud Chulanond, who is a councilor. The two are accused of using their positions to swipe land from forest reservations, among other things.
The days when royal officals could disregard the law are fast disapppearing. It must be remembered that in up-country Thailand images of Che Guevara are still the most popular after those of the Buddha and the king.      
For a few months in late 2009, the color yellow was replaced by pink. The king, who has resided at Siriraj Hospital since September 2009, put on a pink blazer one day in November. So, on Mondays pink golf-knit shirts were very popular and to be seen everywhere. But this fad eventually faded out.  

The poor take on the government


In considering the political situation in Thailand today, one must remember that the current upper house of parliament   -   the senate   -   was not democratically elected. Abhisit has not returned to the people (or the country) that which Thaksin gave them and Sonthi and Surayud took back from them.


Half of the current senate was selected by panels made up of members of the judiciary, government agencies and NGOs. The other half was elected directly by the people in the provinces. This method of selecting the senate was actually the result of a compromise with the 2006 coup leaders who wanted to appoint military men to a large percentage of the seats in the senate.


Like the Americans before them, many Thais have tried to establish a government with a separation and balance of powers between the executive, representative and judicial branches of government.


The current senate is an example of a system dominated by the judiciary and against the system of checks and balances that many Thais would like to see in the government. The current system gives far too much influence to a judiciary that is one of the slowest, most corrupt, most ineffective and most unjust in the world. (In Thailand, if a person says he has a case in court, the other asks if he expects to have grandchildren.)


The involvement of smaller government agencies and NGOs, who are really nothing more than government-sponsored fronts, in selecting senate members was considered absurd and smacked of more corruption.


Some question why the king, who has said that he is not opposed to democracy, signed the current government charter that created the current undemocratic senate. Or why he did not discourage the judiciary from obstructing universal suffrage when it denied voters their rights to elect the nation's senate and, worse, took over the role of the voters.


No one has addressed this matter in public. Some maintain that the king, like most monarchs today, is merely a figure-head and a rubber stamp. He is an aristocrat who cannot be disturbed by everyday political matters and that it is unrealistic to depend on the king to resolve political matters. Others have pointed out that on a few occasions the king has refused to sign an order or a bill and has sent it back to its source. In this case, as in many others, the king seems to have set the matter of principals aside in order to take the most expedient route. He assumed that the government would straighten the matter out eventually.


People are aware that in fair and democratic national elections Abhisit could not win. He has nothing to gain from democracy.


Upon assuming office, Abhisit and his party, the Democrats   -   should have given the people back everything that Thaksin had given them. And they should have offered more. That would have been a reasonable strategy to pursue and it could have assured them a longer stay in power. But from the start that did not appear to be their intention. Abhisit was never interested in offering the people more than Thaksin had, or even offering as much. Certainly, not right away. Thus, he was not an appropriate alternative to Thaksin. Over time, Abhisit, like the previous Democratic Parry prime minister, Chuan Leekpai, looked more and more out of touch, unconcerned, inept and inane.


Thus, the inevitable bloody confrontations in the streets of Bangkok on the eve of the Theravada Buddhist New Year in mid-April.


Thaksin, who is believed to be financing the "Red Shirts", is an obnoxious Chinese businessman, a tyrant who knew no limits, and few will argue that the region is better off without him.


Far better for Thailand would be Chaturon Chaisang. He is a rare Thai   -   he listens, he is sensitive to the needs of others, and he responds favorably. He gets along with all races and all classes. He is intelligent. He is not a trouble-maker. But he does not have the financial backing that Thaksin had. And, he was a Thaksin man. But he was the bright star of Thaksin's government.


As the confrontations in the streets of Bangkok continued and the blood flowed, many "Yellow Shirts" agitated for military intervention. But there was no coup d'etat, no martial law. Instead, the army leader, Gen. Anupong, advised a dissolution of parliament and new elections


Abhisit and the Democrats agreed but stalled for time. They asked for a six-month delay.


Some sought direct royal influence, recalling that the king had put an end to the May 1992 confrontations. Gen. Chavalit visited the king. It is believed that Chavalit sought the king's involvement in resolving the crisis, probably by summoning all the leaders of the various political factions to the palace, as he did in May 1992, and asking them to cease and desist from violent confrontations in the streets. But this time the king did not intervene.*


The protests, demonstrations, counter-demonstrations, confrontations, and clashes with the police and army continued. More died, more were injured. 


The king seemed to have preferred to let things run their course.


But many wondered if the king, who has been hospitalized since

September 2009, was too ill to respond to the situation. Others say the king sees himself as above the fray and not to be bothered by arguments among political factions.  Others believe that the people around the king   -   the secretaries, the privy councilmen, the sycophants   -   are in the pay of Thaksin, as were many of the 2006 coup leaders after the coup, and did not want to move against the "Red Shirts".


The head of the army, Gen. Anupong, opposed military rule. He opposed a coup d'etat and martial law. The general seemed to believe that the matter would play itself out. And for a while he appeared to have been right.


On May 3, 2010, after two months of violent street confrontations with the police and the army, the opposing political faction, the "Red Shirts", accepted Abhisit's proposal to hold new elections in six months, on November 14, 2010. The confrontations finally came to an end.


But November was probably too far off for most people. The "Red Shirts" were distrustful of Abhisit and the protests and confrontations resumed. Many more were killed. Abhisit revoked his agreement to hold elections. Gen. Anupong sought to contain the "Red Shirts", wait them out, cut off their water and electricity supplies, and offer them safe and free passage back to their homes.


On May 19, the army finally overran the last barricades and encampment of the "Red Shirts", greatly weakened by defections, in Bangkok. "Red Shirt" leaders surrendered. A few hours later, as Abhisit and the press claimed it was all over, big clouds of black smoke rose up above the Bangkok skyline. "Red Shirts" set Bangkok on fire. Shopping malls, banks, newspaper offices, convenience stores, the stock exchange and other buildings were in flames. For the next 15 hours Bangkok burned. Thaksin Shinawatra, living in exile in France, made the ominous remark that the "Red Shirts" had lost their camp but turned to guerrilla warfare. Much more damage was caused by the "Red Shirts" in the hours after the army overran their last camp than in all the previous months of confrontations. If they wanted to make a political statement, it was made most clearly in the afternoon of May 19.


Newspapermen, viewed by "Red Shirts" as pro-government, were physically attacked in the streets.


There is reason for this. Take, for example, the international TV channel Aljazeara in Qatar. Its a half-hour special on the political confrontation in Thailand, aired on May 22 on its program "101 East", left the impression that Aljazeera was white-washing the events of May 19 to make it appear that Abhisit had prevailed and the "Red Shirts" had been thoroughly routed.


Except for a brief remark at the beginning of the program, there was no mention of the critical events that occurred later that day   -   the incineration of Bangkok and the burning of government offices in Chiang Mai, Udon Thani and other up-country cities by the "Red Shirts". To Aljazeera, the burning of Bangkok and government offices up-country was almost a "non-event". For Aljazeera everything ended when the army took the last "Red Shirt" camp in the morning. That was irresponsible journalism. In a subsequent airing of the program, updated and revised, as on May 23, there was still scant mention of the tremendous damage the "Red Shirts" caused in the afternoon of May 19. The torching of scores of buildings about the country in the afternoon was glossed over. The "Red Shirts" caused the most damage to Bangkok on that day since the biggest Allied bombing raids in World War Two but Aljazeera was not interested.


See: ;


The "Red Shirts" are the rural and urban poor. They are the have-nots. They seek a slice of the pie, a greater say in their lives. They look to government for help and they are fed up with corrupt and unresponsive public officials. The small ruling elite   -   dominating the military, the privy council, the Ministry of Interior   -   long entrenched in power, wants only more power and cares little about reality of life beyond the office window. The latter will have to give in or give way.


If the "Red Shirts" are called anti-monarchist and republican that is because they have had a bit of schooling, they have television, they have scooters, they have seen a bit of the country and know something about life that their parents did not. They might sound like idiots but they do not want to (literally) crawl on their hands and knees to petty officials as their parents did. And they are fed up with corrupt and inept policemen and judges who threaten them with charges of lèse-majesté.


But there is another reason. Bangkok was never as good for shoppers as Hong Kong and Singapore. There was never a C. K. Tang in Bangkok. Nonetheless, Chinese business community leaders in Bangkok ensured that shopping centers were stocked with myriads of western goods desired by middle and upper classes at tolerable prices in the 1980s and 1990s. In recent years these goods have disappeared and prices have doubled and tripled. The bulk of shoppers in malls today are laborers and the bulk of the products are really for them. A new generation of store owners, with no idea of common tastes, has noticed all the peasants and laborers in the malls and decided to cater to them. Thus, one might say that in Bangkok stores carbonated grape has replaced Canada Dry ginger ale, licorice crush has replaced chocolate milk shakes. Hotdogs with sweetened condensed milk and shoes with square toes are the rage. The poor want more.  


However the matter is finally resolved, the courts recently decided that Abhisit's party, the Democrats, violated election laws in the election. A final court ruling is due in October. Thus, it appears that Democrats is to be dissolved and Abhisit and the current ruling government coalition doomed. A legal technicality will end the government before the next elections.



* The media and academics often claim that the king personally ended the bloody Black May 1992 uprising. It is recalled that the king summoned Chamlong Srimuang, leader of the democracy protesters, and Suchinda Kraprayoon, unpopular dictator, to the palace to order them to cease and desist from further confrontation. That ended it all, we are told.


However, the two leaders were summoned to the palace long after the confrontation was over. The violence had already ended. Suchinda was obviously finished and he was even reported to have fled to Denmark.


At the time, many wondered why the king acted after the fact. Had he acted 24 hours earlier, hundreds of lives could have been spared. (The “official” toll of some 50 dead has always been dismissed as the obnoxious taunt of jokers and "pro-fascist punks" and "stooges". There are many eye-witnesses who recall the hundreds killed over a period of three days and nights.)


Many believe that Chamlong or Suchinda orchestrated the meeting with the king as a face-saving device to offer Suchinda an honorable way out. It is believed also that the meeting took a long time to arrange because the king could not be contacted directly but had to be reached through numerous secretaries and officials. Some suspect that the king would never have bothered to talk to Chamlong and Suchinda otherwise.  






In an effort to pry George Bush cronies from Thaksin, is Abhist trying to stir up a red scare in Washington? Is he seeking to resurrect Thailand's Vietnam War- era CIA-ISOC death squads to liquidate Red Shirt leaders?


Bangkok Post, June 13, 2010:


Thai envoy asks US to steer clear of mediation


"Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva dispatched Kiat Sittheeamorn, president of the Thailand Trade Representative Office, to Washington on Friday to make the case that the red shirt protesters who occupied central Bangkok for weeks included armed and Marxist elements."


For full article click here:


Are some overreacting to the Che Guevara t-shirts worn by some protesters?


More developments:


Burmese migrant laborers in Thailand are accused of hiring out as Red Shirt protesters. Claims that thousands of Burmese workers were sent by Thai employers to protest in Bangkok as Red Shirts.


The Neo-Axis fascist punk stooge, Anand Panyarachun, returns to government service with the notorious academic, Prawas Wasi. Commissioned by the Thaksin government, they deliberately provoked Muslim wrath in Pattani with Thaksin.


Indeed, many wonder, “Does Abhisit have a brain? If so, where did he forget it?”




The Monarchy in Thailand


Chakri Dynasty


The current Chakri dynasty of Thailand rose out of the destruction of the city of Ayutthaya, capital of Siam for four centuries, by invading Burmese armies in 1767.


After the fall of Ayutthaya, the governor of Kampheng Phet, formerly the governor of Tak Province, or "Phraya Tak", who was of Teochiu Chinese and Siamese origins and whose name was Sin, rallied forces against the Burmese and restored Siam to its former strength. As King Taksin, he established a new capital of Siam south of Ayuttaya, in Bang Mak Kok, or Thon Buri, on the Chao Phraya River.


King Taksin was deposed and replaced by one of his generals, Chao Phraya Chakri, in 1782. Born Thong Duang, he was the son of Phra Aksorn Sundara Smiantra, the Chao Phraya Chakri Pitsanuloke, of an old Mon noble family of the former Ayutthaya ruling elite. Thong's mother was from a family of Mons and a family of Teochiu Chinese merchants in Thon Buri.


Chao Phraya Chakri was known as King Ramathibodi (the third Siamese king with that title). He was given the posthumous title of Phra Yuttha Yod Fa Chulaloke. He is better known today as Rama I, however, and best remembered for his establishment of Bangkok as the new capital of Siam, across the river from Thon Buri. Under Rama I, Siam reached its greatest territorial extent.


The Chakri dynasty's fourth king, Mongkut, is probably the best known king in Siam's history. Mongkut was popularized by a best-selling book written by the English tutor of his children, Anna Leonowens, which was published in 1870.


A long-running popular Rogers & Hammerstein stage musical on Broadway, "The King & I", with the legendary movie star, Yul Brynner, portraying Mongkut, and several big Hollywood films, of which the best known was "The King and I", also starring Brynner, in 1956, were based in part on the book by Leonowens.


Absolute monarchy was abolished in a coup d'etat led by young western-educated soldiers and politicians in 1932. The lawyer and politician, Pridi Banomyong, led the civilian faction; the future dictator, Plaek Pibulsonggram, was one of the leaders of the military faction. The king, Prajadhipok, Rama VII, went abroad two years later, in 1934, and abdicated in 1935. The coup leaders dominated Thai society for 25 years, until 1957.


The throne passed in 1935 to a nine-year-old nephew of Prajadhipok, Ananda Mahidol (born in Germany in 1925), then living in Switzerland. Except for a two-month trip to Siam in 1938, Ananda remained abroad until late 1945.


On June 9, 1946   -   six months after his return   -   Ananda, age 20, was found dead in his bed, shot through the forehead by a Colt .45 that had been given to him a short time earlier by an American

O. S. S. agent in Thailand.


Initially, the shooting was considered a tragic gun accident. But, soon afterward, there were rumors of a suicide.


Eventually, murder was suspected.


The two main parties vying for power in Siam accused one another of murdering the young king. One side, backed by the British, was accused of supporting a Communist take-over of Southeast Asia. The other side, backed by the U. S., included fascist (Axis) war criminals who wanted a military dictatorship in Thailand. They accused one another of wanting to abolish the monarchy and getting rid of the king.


Eventually, three of the dead king's closest servants were accused of negligence, an accusation widely considered unjust. They were illegally executed, many years later, personally by the national police chief.


Rama IX


Ananda Mahidol's younger brother, Bhumipol Adulyadej, 18 years old, inherited the throne on the same day of his older brother's death, June 9, 1946.


Bhumipol was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1927 while his father, Prince Mahidol (1892 – 1929) , was studying medicine at Harvard University; his mother, Sangwal Talabhat (1900– 1995), a commoner, the daughter of a Chinese goldsmith in Thonburi, was a nurse. Bhumipol was educated in Lausanne, Switzerland.


Following Ananda’s death, there were fears that Bhumipol had been targeted for assassination.


Bhumipol returned to Switzerland to study. He married a cousin, Sirikit Kitiyakara, daughter of the Thai ambassador to France, in 1950. He was coroneted shortly afterwards, also in 1950.


KIng Bhumipol did not become a prominent public figure, however, until 1957, The country's military dictator, Marshall Sarit Dhanarajata, a Bangkok native who had lived in Northeastern Thailand and who was related by marriage to the Laotian royal family, encouraged him to take an active roll in public affairs by traveling about the country, supporting government projects and participating in ceremonies.


Bhumipol has been king longer than any monarch in Thai history. He is the ninth king, with the title of Rama IX, of the 228-year-old Chakri dynasty.


Bhumipol is also the world's longest reigning monarch. As of June of this year, 2010, he has been king for 64 years.


Bhumipol lost an eye in a car accident while studying in Switzerland. He has suffered health problems for more than 25 years. He had a severe heart ailment in the mid-1980s which, for a while, he was not expected to survive.  


He appeared to play an active role in his country's political affairs on several occasions. He had a prominent role in resolving the country's political crises in May 1992, March 2006 and May 2007.


The king was born on a Monday. In Thailand, Monday is the day of Chandra, the god of the Moon in the Hindu Vedas. The color of Chandra is yellow. Thus, for three years, from 2006 to 2009, many Thais, to display support for the king, wore yellow golf-knit shirts on Mondays.


The king, now 83, has been in Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok since September 2009 due to health problems. He could be in for a long stay. (The king is not the only high figure who resides in a hospital. The Supreme Patriarch, the Sangharaja, age 96, has stayed for the past six years at Chulalongkorn Hospital.)


Royal Family


For many years, the king was closest to the oldest of his four children, a daughter, Ubon Rattana. She studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M. I. T.) and University of California in Los Angeles (U. C. L. A.). She married an American, Peter Ladd Jensen, who she met while studying at M. I. T., and relinquished her royal titles. They had three children. She lived in the United States for many years. The couple divorced in 1998. Ubon Rattana returned to Thailand. 


Ubon Rattana lost her oldest child, her only son, to the tsunami that swept the southwestern coast of Thailand on December 26, 2004.   


Like her mother, Ubon Rattana was a highly attractive woman, and for some time one of the most prominent social figures in Thailand.


The king’s second child and only son, the crown prince, Vajiralongkorn, however, has long been unpopular and criticized at home. He was a playboy in his youth. He threw his weight around; his personal body guard of commandoes bullied the local population wherever he went; in a jealous rage once, he forced the country's most popular rock singer, Thongchai "Bird" McIntyre, to go into exile. He salted away millions. He was a womanizer. He has three wives   -   in a country where polygamy is widespread but illegal and polygamists have been sentenced to jail.


The queen, Sirikit, was once considered one of Thailand’s most beautiful women. But Sirikit has not always been popular at home. Long ago, she was blamed by the Thai Buddhist clergy for a plane crash in Thailand in which many monks on board were killed.


The queen and the crown prince made themselves unpopular for many years by their response to the democracy uprising in Bangkok in October 1973 that temporarily ended military rule in Thailand. The queen beckoned the crown prince, then studying at the Duntroon Royal Military College in Sydney, Australia, to hasten home to join in suppressing the protests. At the same time, the king threw open the gates of the royal palace to offer sanctuary to students fleeing policemen and soldiers who were gunning them down.


During mass protests in Bangkok three years later, in 1976, students hanged and burned effigies of the crown prince.


Most Thais do not want the crown prince to succeed his father as king. They recall an old prophecy that there will be nine kings in the Chakri dynasty and point out that Bhumipol is the ninth. Many have suggested that the king's second daughter, Sirindhorn, who never married, could succeed her father as the country's monarch instead of the crown prince.


The law of succession was changed many years ago, at the instigation of the king, to allow a woman to succeed the king. Both the Crown Princess Sirindhorn and the Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn have been designated as first heirs to the throne.


For many years the Crown Princess Sirindhorn has appeared to be more active and more prominent than her older brother.  





Playing with the System


The recent extradition of an American from the United States to Thailand was unprecedented   -   and shocked many people. The American, a native Caucasian, was an alleged swindler. He was extradited to Thailand to stand trial for the murder of a New Zealander who was one of his partners in an underground stock brokerage and swindling operation in Bangkok.


It is widely believed that the extradition was bought by the Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, with sizable bribes to judicial officials in the American state of Georgia and officials of the State Department, so he could show off an honorary doctorate recently awarded to him by a criminal justice college in Texas    -   to which the American president, G. W. Bush, and former Secretary of State, James Baker, are associated   -   and/or that Bush, in a private deal with Thaksin, leaned on American officials to allow the extradition.


Some likened the extradition to Bush spitting in the soup of Asia watchers, legal experts and human rights monitors. They point out that the US has not complied with the requests of Southeast Asian countries for the arrest and extradition of thousands of Thais currently in the US.


There followed, however, a surprisingly short trial and swift acquittal of the alleged murderer by the criminal court, without an appeal by the prosecution, widely suspected of having been contrived by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which has a hand in local stock swindling operations run by underground stock brokerages called “boiler rooms”. The American was returned to prison in the US, where he faces charges of swindling


Traffickers in Women and Children


Was a foreign power   -   perhaps Japan, the United States or the United Nations   -   behind the appointment of Santi Trakan to the Privy Council?


The Yakuza, the Mafia, State Department, Thai Red Cross Society, and UN agencies in Bangkok are notorious for their involvement in the traffic in women and children. In Thailand, so-called “non-governmental organizations" (“NGOs”) have privileged access to the courts.


Officials of foreign governments in Thailand, including the US, are involved in the traffic in Thai women and children. They ignore complaints from the public, including their own nationals, against corrupt Thai policemen, lawyers and judicial officials complicit in the illicit trade. American embassy personnel tip off local police contacts in attempts to stop complainants. They use the complaints for excuses to establish contacts and networks with corrupt local officials in the traffic in women and children. They conspire with local lawyers and judicial officials to frame and extort money from American tourists and expatriates. They grant visas for travel to the US to their co-conspirators in the local police, judiciary (like Jiraniti) and other government offices. They pave the way up the ranks of officialdom for criminal associates in the Thai government. 



For full listing of Privy Council members and biographies, see:
For full listing of of all 87 judges of the Supreme Court and biographies, click here.
Latest News
More about the Monarchy in Thailand
Last year, 2006, marked the 60th year since Bhumibol Adulyadej inherited the throne, at age 18, when his older brother, King Ananda, who died in "mysterious circumstances" in 1946;  Bhumibol's coronation was four years later, in 1950.
As of this year, 2006, Bhumibol is the world's longest reigning monarch, havng been on the throne for 60 years.
For the latest news about the 60th anniversary see:
Related websites:
About King Rama VIII, Ananda Mahidol, older brother of Bhumibol Adulyadej, his succession to the throne at age nine in 1934, his return to Thailand in late 1945, and his death, for which no explanation was ever fully satifactory, a short time later, at age 20, in 1946:
About Bhumibol Adulyadej: (this site is six years old and outdated)
Thailand celebrates the King's 78th birthday, December 5, 2005:
Is the King sacred and divine? An absolute ruler? A tyrant? Some of his men, and other government officials in particular, would like others, especially foreigners who are visiting, living and working in Thailand to think so.
For a long time, malicious Thai officials, and policemen especially, have tried to intimidate foreigners by threatening to charge them with two crimes in particular   -   possession of narcotics or lese majeste (defamation of the monarchy)  -  in order to put them in prison, to extort money from them, to force them to flee the country, or to simply to harrass them.
The King of Thailand, addressing the country on his 78th birthday, spoke out on the matter for the first time. He said he was not opposed to criticism and invited personal criticism from the public.
The King's address:
Reports about it:
A website about the Privy Council of Thailand is listed on the web as an "untilted document" and out of date:
Royal Prerogative
There was considerable discussion about the Thai monarchy in Thailand in September 2005.
The king delayed for many weeks his required approval of military appointments that were submitted by the prime minister.
The king also withheld his required approval of the appointment of a new auditor-general that was submitted to him by the speaker of the senate. Eventually, after more than 100 days, the appointee withdrew the appointment.
See articles from two English-language daily newspapers in Bangkok, The Nation and the Bangkok Post, on the websites listed below.
A graph, listing the prerogatives and limitations of the Thai monarch, mentioned at the end of the text of the article, was not included in the newspaper's on-line edition and is thus provided privately on the following link:
Updates, September 7, 2005:
Updates, September 8, 2005:
The delay in granting royal approval of the appointments provoked public discussion of royal powers for the first time in Thai history.
Updates, September 9, 2005:
The Furor over the Auditor General
The country's first auditor-general assumed office in 2001. The State Audit Commission elected a woman, Jaruvan Maintaka, to the post. As required, the senate approved, or endorsed, the appointment, and so did the king.
But the auditor-general stepped on many toes and became unpopular in many quarters.
Thus, a year later, eight senators petitioned to the Constitution Court to remove Jaruvan by ruling that she had been appointed illegally.
The auditor-general's office was padlocked and Jaruvan was prevented from going to work.  
Last year, 2005, the Constitution Court agreed that Jaruvan had been appointed to the post illegally. But the judges maintained that the court had no authority to rule on her status.
The State Audit Commission elected a new auditor-general, Wisut Montriwat, in June 2005. The speaker of the senate submitted the appointment to the king for approval.
But the king did not approve the appointment of a new auditor-general.
It was the first time since Thaksin Shinawatra became prime minister, in 2001, that the king withheld approval of an appointment.  
After 100 days, four senators inquired to the King's Principal Private Secretary, Arsa Sarasin, about the delay in royal approval of the appointment of a new auditor-general. Then four members of the staff of the speaker of the senate asked the police to charge the four senators with "lese majesty"   -   defamation of the monarchy. Then, many senators called for the resignation of the speaker of the senate for having submitted the new appointment to the king for approval.
The new appointee, Wisut, withdrew his appointment. The king accepted his withdrawal. 
The incumbent auditor-general, Jaruvan, refused to resign until the king approved a new appointee, to be selected by the Office of the Auditor General.
All the relevant offices beat about the bush, apparently determined to keep the auditor-general from resuming work, as many viewed the office as against their interests.
The senate withdrew a motion to reconfirm Jaruvan. The State Audit Commission asked the Constitution Court again to rule on the matter. The Constituiton Court left it up to the senate. The senate asked the State Audit Commission is to select another auditor-general.
The senate committee on administration planned to submit to the NCCC complaints of malfeasance and lese majesty against the SAC for failing to reinstate Jaruvan.
Finally, on February 1, 2006, the SAC reinstrated Jaruvon.
Many cases of alleged corruption have been shelved for years.
About the auditor-general
September 21, 2005:
September 25, 2005:
October 11, 2005
Where things stand now:
October 12, 2005
The investigation of many "high-profile" corruption cases await the return of the auditor-general: investigations into the refurbishing of parliament, the government's purchase of rubber saplings (for latex) and American bomb detectors for the new international airport south of Bangkok; bidding irregularities for the new airport's catering facilities, electric power distribution, unbalanced compensation to poultry farmers who were victims of the bird flu epidemic, etc.
SAC reinstates Jaruvon, February 1, 2006
January 18, 2006
The senate committee on administration plans to submit to the NCCC complaints of malfeasance and lese majesty against the SAC for failing to reinstate Jaruvan.

In 2001, the SAC named Prathan Dabphet as its first choice for nominee for auditor-general. The SAC chairman, Panya Tantiyavarong, submitted Prathan's name along with two failed candidates, including Jaruvan, to the senate. In the end, however, the senate endorsed Jaruvan and the King appointed her.
In 2004, the Constitution Court ruled that Jaruvan's appointement was unconstitutional.
On May 30, 2006, a criminal court decided that the SAC chairman, Prathan, was guilty of malfeasance for submitting the names of the two failed candidates and sentenced him to three years in jail.  
Bangkok Post, May 31, 2006:
The Nation, May 31, 2006:
An article providing an typical example of open and pervasive corruption within the Thai judiciary is on website below.
The son of a justice of the Constitution Court, caught with narcotics, goes scott free a second time.
Constitution Court judges:
Last year, NCCC commissioners gave themselves a pay raise. The Supreme Court ruled that the NCCC commissioners acted without authoritzation, gave the commissioners one-year suspended sentences, and forced them to resign.
Now, Constitution Court justices, having voted themselves a payraise too, are accused of violating the same law and are to be taken to task.
For a listing of Constitution Court judges see:
Up-to-date news items about the selection of NCCC commissioners:
Nine commissioners were selected by the senate, meeting in full session, on November 1, 2005 but the nine, including a former Supreme Court justice who they chose as their chairman, had questionable ties to high politicans and government officials.
November 25, 2005:
The speaker of the senate expressed reservations about the qualifications of the nominees for commissioners' posts on the NCCC that were selected by the senate and that he was to send to the king for approval:
From IHTThaiDay, December 14, 2005:
The King rejected the senate's list of nine NCCC commissioners, pointing out that the nine commissioners were selected from a shortlist of 17 candidates instead of the required number of 18. One of the 18 candidates was forced to withdraw at the last moment. He claimed health reasons but really wanted to avoid an investigation into his qualifications. Some senators argued that the senate should have selected another candidiate to replace him. The King agreed on this point and he returned the list to senate. The King's decision astounded many who believe he is merely a figure head and a rubber stamp monarch.
Bangkok Post, January 28, 2006:
The Nation, January 28, 2006:
The senate will discuss the NCCC on February 9 and 10, 2006
The Nation, February 1, 2006:
Bangkok Post, February 1, 2006:
The Senate voted unanimously to reselect 18 candidates, from whom nine will be selected as commissioners of the NCCC:
The Nation, February 10, 2006:
Bangkok Post, February 10, 2006:
The senate's NCCC selection committee took applications for the NCCC:
The Nation, February 21, 2006:
Bangkok Post, February 21, 2006:
Forty-four applicants applied to the senate screening panel for a commissioner's seat on the NCCC. Only a few have been named by the press.
The situation to date:
Bangkok Post, March 26, 2006:
As of March 29, 2006 there are 51 applicants for nine commissioners' posts on the NCCC
The King and the Prime Minister
The current prime minister of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra, has angered the king several times since assuming office in February 2001. More than once, the king, who is Thailand's official head of state, felt that Thaksin took him for granted or tried to by-pass him.
Likewise, the Thai Buddhist clergy (sangkha) was angered recently by Thaksin's appointment of an acting head of the clergy (sanghkarat) to conduct the duties of the current head of the clergy, who is elderly and ailing. Thaksin made the appointment without consulting the clergy.
See a column by Philip Bowring, Thaksin and the king, International Herald Tribune, December 13, 2005: website:
Matters could reach a critical point one day if Thaksin and his cabinet determine that the king is unable to carry out his duties and responsibilities and decide to assume the position of acting head of state. 
Thais demand more and more transparency
In late 2005, a newspaper publisher in Bangkok, Sondhi Limthongkul, started regular nightly rallies, eventually attended by 100,000-plus people, in public parks in Bangkok, denouncing Thaksin and cabinet members for corruption, cronyism, nepotism and dictatorship.
Sondhi and Thaksin agreed not to invoke the king's name in their attacks and rebuttals   -   that is to say, not to accuse one another of lese majeste. 
Showdown between the Prime Minister and the Privy Council
The most popular man in Thailand, General Chamlong Srimuang ("Mr. Clean"), joined Sondhi in demanding Thaksin's resignation. Chamlong led the democracy protests in 1992 that brought an end to military domination of Thai society, government and politics. Chamlong was Thaksin's mentor and got him started in politics.
Sondhi and Chamlong led a non-stop marathon mass rally of 50,000 to 200,000-plus protesters against Thaksin in Bangkok.
Chamlong and Sondhi petitioned the King to appoint a new prime minister.
In mid-March 2006, The Nation reported that on March 8 the Privy Council voted 15 to 4 to replace Thaksin as chairman of the committee in charge of celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the king on the throne, with the Privy Council president, Prem Tinsulanonda.
Around this time a bomb exploded outside Prem's quarters.
Thaksin disputed The Nation report of his replacement by Prem as master of ceremonies. So did Privy Council spokesmen. The Nation stuck to its reports. Thaksin insisted that he was still in charge of the celebrations. So did the Privy Council.
What is the situation? For an assessment: "Thaksin has the edge, for now"
Bangkok Post, March 26, 2006:
The king met the largest gathering of privy council members in many years, at his private residence, to express concern about the current political situation:
Bangkok Post, March 24, 2006
Concern among Thais that democracy activists are relying too much upon the monarchy, throwing away hard-fought gains won over the years:
The Nation, March 24, 2006
"Royal intervention denies our history"
What happened to "People Power" in Thailand?
Amid countless complaints of lese majeste, suits and counter-suits, the anti-Thaksin protesters and their leaders, Sondhi and Chamlong, persisted and prevailed!
Well, not quite . . .
In a long-delayed response to mounting demands for his resignation, the Thai prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, dissolved the lower house of parliament in February 2006 and called for snap elections, to be held in early April. (This followed a suggestion by a former military dictator, Suchinda Kraprayoon, published in the press.)
But the nationwide parliamentary elections were boycotted by opposition parties and a vast section of the voters.
Thus, Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai ("Thais Love Thais") party ran unopposed in many constituencies. Thaksin claimed an overwhelming victory and scoffed at calls to quit.
On April 5, Thaksin met the King and an hour or so later he announced his resignation. (Was it at the king's urging that he quit?)
Thaksin said that he was going on a long vacation abroad and named a deputy prime minister as acting prime minister of a “caretaker” government.
Thaksin declared that he would resign when the lower house, dominated by his party, convened.
Although Thai Rak Thai party candidates, running unopposed, swept the elections, some candidates did not win the required 20% of the vote in their constituencies to claim a seat in the lower house. Thus, the House of Representatives did not have the 500 members needed to convene.
When Thaksin returned from abroad, he assumed the position of "caretaker prime minister" himself and remained in control of the government.
Many foreign governments announced that they were suspending some of their dealings with Thailand until a legitimate government was installed. The political impasse impeded the conduct of government and business.
The leader of many popular mass rallies against Thaksin, local newspaper magnate, Sondhi Limthongkul, petitioned the King to appoint a new prime minister. The King refused to do so. However, the King acknowledged that the recent elections, with one party running virtually unopposed, could not produce a democratic legislature.
The King summoned the heads of the country's top three courts   -   Supreme Court, Constitution Court and Supreme Administrative Court   -   and admonished them to resolve the political problem through legal means or to resign from their posts.
The opposition parties then announced that they would not boycott the next election.
The courts nullified the results of the April elections and called for new elections. (The courts decided that there had not been enough time, as required by the constitution, between the date the elections were called by Thaksin and the date they were held.)  
Eventually, in August, new elections were scheduled for October 15.
Despite the growing resentment of Thaksin across the country, Tai Rak Tai appeared to be headed for another victory at the polls.
In an opinion poll conducted in Bangkok by Assumption College, Thaksin was the preferred choice of respondents for prime minister, polling more than 40%, far more so than all other possible rivals. The leading opposition politician polled only a tiny fraction of support.
(Bangkok has a large Chinese middle class, whose opinions are usually a year or two ahead of inhabitants of the provinces, where Thaksin had his greatest support.)
Regardless, Thaksin's days appeared numbered.
Sondhi's People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and opposition parties sought to dismantle the Thaksin political machine completely.
Above all other matters, the long-simmering age-old conflict in the South, between the native Jawi-speaking Muslim Malay inhabitants and the governing Buddhist Thais from Bangkok, which flared up in 2004 and had since claimed some 2000 lives, had to be settled. But Thaksin appeared to have little or no real interest in the matter.
In late 2005, following the advice of his closest aides, Thaksin appointed Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Gen. Sonthi, a capable general, was the first Muslim to hold the most powerful military post in the country. It was hoped that Gen. Sonthi would be able to end the growing separatist insurgency in the South.
Thaksin also wanted the active support of the army in suppressing his political opponents. But Gen. Sonthi refused to let the army be drawn into the conflict. He gave repeated assurances that the army would not intervene. This was crucial to the success of the massive democracy drive against Thaksin.
This irked Thaksin.
Nonetheless, at Thaksin's request, Gen. Sonthi and the leaders of the army and navy accused Sondhi of lese majeste.
The police arrested Sondhi, charged him with lese majeste and released him on bail.
Denied the backing of the army in the streets, Thaksin sent mobs of his supporters, led by professional thugs and undercover policemen, to attack and break up PAD rallies. Sondhi and PAD leaders complained to the police about the attacks. The police refused to act against the mob leaders.
An ignorant and irresponsible local press played up the possibility of a coup d'etat by the army   -   and appeared to encourage one.
Thaksin sought to replace Gen. Sonthi with someone who would back him in a coup d’etat so he could assume emergency dictatorial powers. There were reports that Thaksin intended to transfer key supporters to top army posts in the annual military reshuffle in the coming October. There were reports also that Thaksin intended to replace Gen. Sonthi by kicking him upstairs to the ceremonial post of Supreme Commander of the armed forces.
But Thaksin’s advisors, concerned about the South, urged Thaksin to retain Gen. Sonthi as commander-in-chief for another year.
An apparent assassination attempt by army officers in Bangkok, nipped in the bud, might have been a boggled attempt to kill Thaksin, or it could have been staged by Thaksin to give him an excuse to declare an emergency and assume dictatorial powers.
Gen. Sonthi transferred key officers loyal to Thaksin.
At this point it appeared that Thaksin had lost the upper hand in a power struggle.
The last coup d’etat in Thailand had been 15 years earlier, in 1991, when Gen. Suchinda Kraprayoon, head of the armed forces, toppled the government of Gen. Chatchai Choonhaven, the prime minister.
There was brief talk of a coup d’etat during the dramatic collapse of the Thai currency in 1997, when several Thai business leaders blamed the prime minister, General Chavalit Youngchaiyudh, and lobbied the military to oust him.
Still, it appeared that as long as Gen. Sonthi headed the army there would be no coup d'etat.
Elections were scheduled for October 15, but going into the third week of September no one appeared to campaigning seriously or very hard. There were calls from all sides to postpone the election date to allow parties more time to prepare and the concerned election officials were considering setting a later date.
On September 19, 2006, as the PAD prepared to stage another mass protest rally in Bangkok, and many forest rangers, armed by Thaksin and brought to the capital, prepared to confront them, Gen. Sonthi staged a coup d'etat, overthrowing the Thaksin government, suspending the constitution, both houses of parliament and the Constitution Court. He arrested some of Thaksin's men.
Thaksin, on a two-week trip abroad, was in New York, preparing to address the United Nations. He was due to return to Thailand in two days.
There were hints that Thaksin had anticipated a coup d’etat, possibly two to four weeks earlier. (He packed 54 suitcases onto a second plane that joined him abroad later.)
Crucial to the success of Gen. Sonthi’s coup d’etat was the backing of the 86-year-old chairman of the Privy Council, Prem Tinsulanonda, and the King.
Gen. Sonthi announced that the new government, initially called the Council for Democratic Reform under the Monarchy (CDRM), would remain in power for one year, when new nation-wide elections would be held.
A new constitution was to be drafted during the year.
Thai Rak Thai and Thaksin cronies were to be purged completely from power.
Gen. Chamlong Srimuang, popular leader of pro-democracy protests against the Suchinda regime in 1992, expressed the feelings of most people that Gen. Sonthi’s coup d’etat was the only way to avert a major crisis. He expressed faith in the heads of the armed forces to set the country back on course.
To ensure success, Gen. Sonthi had to appoint, on October 1, a privy councilor, Surayud Chulanont, retired army general and former armed forces Supreme Commander, as the new “interim” prime minister.
Gen. Sonthi also had to ensure that cronies of the Privy Council chairman, Gen. Prem, dominated the 242-member one-house National Legislative Assembly that was to select a 1000-member assembly that would draft a new constitution.
Gen. Sonthi handpicked the members of the National Legislative Assembly. Predictably, there were 60 military men in the assembly, including 35 in active service, making up one-quarter of the assembly. Together with policemen, the military occupied one-third of the assembly's seats.
The assembly was to oversee the drafting of the country's new constitution.
The King approved the new 242-member National Legislative Assembly on October 11.
According to a long-standing tradition the King presides over the opening session of parliament. He was to have presided over the opening session of the National Legislative Assembly, scheduled for the throne hall on October 20, but the Crown Prince presided over the session instead. The exact significance of the change was not explained but it was believed that the King, was recovering from a fall last June and forced him to miss the event.
As commander-in-chief, Gen. Sonthi retained authority over the prime minister, the cabinet and the National Legislative Assembly, which would not have real power. Again, he had the backing of the King and Prem.
With Thaksin and his crony, Surakiart Sathirathai, out of office, there appeared to be a change in the air in Thailand’s relations with Burmese ethnic groups and exiles on the border. Thaksin and Surakiart were staunch supporters of the Burmese military junta and often derided the democratic and human rights forces in Burma. According to Robert Htwe, a Karen Baptist pastor in Mae Sod, the “interim” Thai prime minister, Surayud, an ethnic Mon from Nonthaburi, “is a friend of the Karen”.
(There were reports that the Burmese head of state, Than Shwe, had relinquished the top military post to a much younger army man, Shwe Man, who is a Karen.) 
With Thaksin in exile, there appeared also to be a real chance of reconciliation with the South.
Many believe that Thaksin and other prominent Thais, like Anand Panyarachun, wanted to provoke the Malay Muslims in the South into escalating the insurgency, thus providing an excuse to conduct “ethnic cleansing” with the Thai army, if possible with American forces, by killing and exiling most of the Malay Muslim population and replacing it with Chinese Buddhists from Thailand and exploiting the region for commercial gain with Chinese interests from Thailand and China.
Gen. Sonthi favored conducting negotiations with the leaders of the separatist insurgency in the South and offering amnesty to the insurgents. Thaksin had opposed negotiations. Negotiations were opened with the leaders of popular insurgent groups but the latter maintained that the insurgency was actually led by a new generation of younger and unknown leaders they did not control.
The Nation, Friday, October 13, 2006
NLA 'doesn't represent' all of the people
Critics call assembly chamber of generals that is made up of 'Prem's sons'
Assembly will not play a major role
Members of the National Legislative Assembly selected to form parliament yesterday have only one clear mandate: to become a rubber stamp for establishing legal instruments for the junta-installed government to run the kingdom for the next 12 months.
The National Legislative Assembly
The full list of 242 members of the National Legislative Assembly:
Bangkok Post, Friday, October 13, 2006
National Assembly installed
Seen as dominated by generals loyal to Prem
Members of the National Legislative Assembly
Initially, the Thai middle class and ruling elite appeared to be behind Gen. Sonthi. But soon there was growing general unease about plans to retain a military-controlled rubber-stamp government, overloaded with persons generally considered less suitable than those in the Thaksin government, for a year. 
The coup did not appear to have been a Muslim coup, as some believed. Only one cabinet member, the Minister of Interior, was a Muslim. (This post was held by a Muslim politician several years ago.) There were only 13 Muslims appointed to the 242-member National Legislative Assembly.
Rather, the coup could be called a royal coup. The King was informed of plans to stage the coup beforehand and gave his approval. After staging the coup, the six leaders of the armed forces presented themselves as the Council for Democratic Reform under the Monarchy (CDRM), with Gen. Sonthi as the leader. The major immediate beneficiaries of the coup were clearly Prem and his cronies. The name of the junta was changed several days later, by dropping the phrase “under the Monarchy”, to Council for Democratic Reform (CDR), after grumbling from the public about the intentions of the junta to remain in power for a year. Eventually, on October 1, the CDR renamed itself the Council of National Security (CNS).
Many among the public complained that Thaksin cronies had not been purged and held key positions, such as, for instance, Prem's closest aide.
A growing number of people suspected that the coup was staged with the connivance of Thaksin and Prem to let Thaksin off the hook over his financial dealings. Earlier this year, Thaksin sold 49% of his Shin Corporation to a company, Temasek, in Singapore without paying the required taxes. Subsequently, numerous small companies in Thailand, discovered to be nominee companies of Temasek, bought the rest of Shin. Thaksin wanted to halt the growing scandal about the sale of Shin and to avoid prosecution, jail, and paying huge taxes and fines.
In late October, there were rumors that Thaksin, who met Tai Rak Tai leaders in Singapore, was returning to Thailand. Thaksin’s wife then met privately with Prem to request permission for Thaksin to return. This triggered a public outrage against Prem. 
A growing number of Thais believed that the time to abolish (or suspend) the Privy Council was approaching.
Meanwhile, Gen. Sonthi, in a show of strength, ordered 2000 troops to the capital. The order was later cancelled, and one battalion, half-way to Bangkok, returned to its camp.
There have been complaints that members of CNS, the cabinet, advisory panels, National Legislative Assembly and the Crown Prince (or top aides to the Crown Prince) are in league with Thaksin. There have been complaints also about conflicts of interests, interlocking directorships and padding of expenses.
At the end of October, one of the six (later increased to eight) CNS members, General Vinai Paetayakul, permanent secretary for defense and CNS secretary-general, was alleged to be secretly plotting for a future political career with a top Thaksin crony.
According to the press, in late October, Gen. Vinai was the "brain" behind the coup d'etat (he engineered it) and Gen. Sonthi carried out his plans.
Gen. Vinai is the son-in-law of an admiral who led the coup d'etat that toppled the government of Kukrit Pramoj after violent demonstrations and protests in Bangkok in 1976.
According to Gen. Sonthi, in a press interview at the end of October, all the legal officials for the advisory panels and the National Legislative Assembly, including the president of the assembly, were handpicked by Gen. Vinai. 
On October 30, the CNS revealed that it had evidence tying a top Thaksin aide to the disappearance of a leading human rights lawyer, a Muslim, in February 2004. The lawyer is thought to have been murdered by top police officials over his defense of Malay Muslims in the South who were accused of raiding a police arms depot two months earlier.
The local press shows increasing signs daily that it has been bought and corrupted by Prem and his cronies.
On New Year’s Eve eight bombs exploded in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The bombs were said to have been identical to the homemade bombs used by insurgents in the South.  But it was widely believed that the bombers hoped that the public would blame insurgents in the South.
Two more bombs exploded a day or two later.
Two people were killed by the bombs and 15 or more, including foreigners, were injured.
One of the bombs was thrown at the Chinese mosque in Chiang Mai and the Burmese caretaker was seriously injured.
Thaksin supporters and other politicians were suspected of conducting the bombings.
The junta was also suspected of conducting the bombing, to point out the necessity of the September 19 coup.
There was talk also of a power struggle within the junta, army and government.
A look inside the power politics of the Thai armed forces
The Nation, Bangkok, November 8, 2006
How army is linked to return of democracy
Sonthi's ability to keep control, especially of his successor, is vital to future
Bangkok Post, November 22, 2006
CNS to list abuses of ousted govt
White paper seen as bid to deflate critics
The Nation, Bangkok, November 22, 2006
CNS makes its case for the coup

White paper explains motives for the toppling of the Thaksin govt
Thai Military Politics
 A Power Struggle within the Junta?
 Welcome to avudh ‘s Blog
 The Nation, Bangkok
 Top Boot Politics         Nov 27, 2006
 Top Boot Politics Sequel I Dec 04, 2006  
 Top Boot Politics Sequel II Jan 05, 2007
 Top Boot Politics Sequel III Jan 12, 2007 
For all four articles in one, click here:  
Ten key players for the Year of Reform
The Nation, Bangkok, January 30, 2007
Citigroup has named 10 people it believes will play influential roles in shaping future politics.
In its report released last Friday Citigroup identified:
1.Noranit Setabutr (age 65)
2.General Saprang Kalayanamitr (59)
3.General Winai Phattiyakul (58)
4.Rosana Tositrakul (52)
5.Chaturon Chaisaeng (50)
6.Abhisit Vejjajiva (43)
7.Banharn Silapa-archa (75)
8.Kowit Wattana (59)
9.General Anupong Paochinda (57)
10.Prasong Soonsiri (80)
A growing number of Thais realize that General Sonthi is the only person who can handle the situation in the South. It appears likely that he will be asked to stay on as the country's leader beyond his retirment next September.
Initially, members of the new cabinet, advisory panels, and the National Legislative Assembly were said to have been handpicked by Gen. Sonthi. However, Gen. Sonthi said that they were actually chosen by General Vinai Paetayakul, who was brought into the junta as secretary-general, for his legal expertise.
Shortly afterward, the press exposed conspicuous connections and meetings between Gen. Vinai and Thaksin's # 1 man, Somkid Jatusripitak, who had left Tai Rak Tai and started his own party. It appeared that Gen. Vinai was preparing for a career in politics following his retirement from the military and that he expected Somkid to pave the way for him. 
In February 2007, the interim government of Surayud appointed Somkid its economic envoy but Somkid quickly resigned when ex-newspaper publisher, Sondhi Limthongkul, and the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protested.       
In mid-March 2007, there were large public protests and demonstrations in Bangkok against Gen. Prem, believed to be the instigator and mastermind of the coup and the ruling junta.
The junta has promised elections next October and to stay out of politics. But there are signs that some junta members would like to retain power as civilian politicians.
Many people in Bangkok believe that there will be a repeat of Black May 1992 next December, with protests by pro-democracy forces, a confrontation with the army and bloodshed in the streets.
Gen. Sonthi purges Thaksin's men from leading ranks of the army, replacing them with with his own
Army Chief of Staff General Montri Sangkhasap and his classmates are the men to watch
The Nation, Bangkok
Comment & Analysis
March 22, 2007
Sonthi looks to the future
Army reshuffle puts trusted aides in key places to help ensure things stay on course after he retires later this year
Yesterday's announcement of the mid-year military rotations was a watershed event in the line of succession - for those who will take power when Army chief and junta leader General Sonthi Boonyaratglin retires in September.

The armed forces reshuffle will take effect on April 1.
The new line-up of 456 officers shows two important trends: the rise of the Pre-Cadet Class 9 clique as the dominating force in the Army, and Sonthi's rearguard tactic to leave trusted aides as vanguards for the future.
Sonthi may be uncertain on what the future holds for him after the next general election but at least he has the loyalty of his top brass to catapult him into power - or ensure a golden retirement.
Under Sonthi's intervention, Lt General Sujit Sithiprapa is set to become commander of the Second Army Region, while Maj General Sunai Sampattawanit will take charge of the Special Warfare Command.
Sujit is an inner-circle aide of the junta leader and seen as close to the Class 9 clique, although he is a Class 8 graduate. His appointment comes at a crucial juncture, as the Northeast is slated to be a decisive battleground for the next coalition government.
Sunai is from Pre-Cadet Class 11 and known for his staunch loyalty to Sonthi as the two share the kindred spirit of the Special Warfare Corps. Sonthi's choice of Sunai is seen as his trump card to safeguard his future.
With the promotion of Maj General Jittipong Suwanseth as commander of the Anti Aircraft Artillery Command, the Pre-Cadet Class 9 clique now has complete control over all the major combat forces.
Army Chief of Staff General Montri Sangkhasap is the de facto leader of the clique and his influence in naming Sonthi's successor is expected to increase along with the clout of his fellow officers.
In contrast to the ascent of Montri's clique, Pre-Cadet Class 10 officers are now seen as quickly moving into obscurity because of their past ties with ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Class 10 officers like General Pornchai Kranlert and Air Chief Marshal Sukamphol Suwanthat have been moved twice in six months from key positions to lesser jobs and inactive assignments.
Pornchai has descended from assistant Army chief to deputy joint chief of staff to be a special adviser in the Defence Ministry.
Sukamphol will also become a "senior expert" - a fall from his heyday when he looked to be the heir apparent at the Air Force.
Lt General Chatchai Thawornbutr, Thaksin's former military aide, will lose his coveted position as deputy Army chief of staff and move to an inactive post in the Defence Ministry.
But the Class 10 graduates are far from being in the dustbin of history.
Assistant Army chief General Anupong Paochinda remains a top contender to succeed Sonthi and Lt General Sanit Phrommas is slated for reassignment. He will be elevated to a four-star general.
Sanit, the former commander of the Second Cavalry Division, was promoted upstairs following the September 19 coup.
Amid the horse trading among the top brass, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont managed to promote his military aide Lt General Ninnart Beaokaimook to a four-star general.
Ninnart will continue to serve in Government House although his new position is the Army's senior expert.
Key rotations include the promotion of outgoing Second Army Region commander Lt General Sujet Watanasuk to a four-star general in the Defence Ministry. Sujet is due to retire in September.
Lt General Woradej Phumijitr, Sonthi's fellow graduate from Pre-Cadet Class 6, will be promoted as chief staff officer for the Army chief, a four-star position.
The Political Desk
The Nation

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