Weekly News Magazines: Going after the monks, June, 2018

From Matichon Weekly, June 1-8, 2018
Main cover picture: Sorry

[Refers to PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha and Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon’s apology for inappropriate actions when arresting Phra Buddha Isara (pictured) after the public complained about it. Phra Buddha Isara was charged with illegal association for his role in the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protests that paralyzed parts of Bangkok and eventually triggered a coup.
He is a senior monk especially respected by the Eastern Tiger military clique (that includes, among others, PM Prayuth, Deputy PM Prawit and Deputy PM Anupong Paochinda).
Phra Buddha Isara, whose layman’s name is Suvit Thongprasert, also faces the charge of forging and using royal initials without permission when he cast a batch of amulets in 2011. He was denied bail and has been defrocked.
This legal attack on a key leader close the the Eastern Tigers who was also part of the series of events that allowed the military to take power again has raised eyebrows.
Theories as to what is really going on are legion. One idea is that Phra Buddha Isara is assenting to the public legal lashing to allow the military to appear impartial as they go after many more monks who are close to Thaksin and that make up the backbone of an alleged money laundering operation for Thaksin and his allies.
Another theory is that the military is proving they are working towards absolute political power by removing any independent voice, such as Phra Buddha Isara’s, that might rise up to check their power in the future.]

Top right: ‘Thanathorn’ announces to destroy the fear. Dare to reject the constitution. Oppose “the PM from the outsider.” Reduce the power of the military

[Refers to Thanathorn Juangroongru-angkit (pictured). He was recently elected leader of the new political party the Future Forward Party. He vowed to become the new PM with the goal of a rewrite of the current junta-written constitution. Such a vow is a bold move as it is clear that the junta has created the charter with the express purpose of ensuring Thaksin cannot return to power again.
Thanathorn is the nephew of one of Thaksin’s wealthy political supporters and uses Red Shirt rhetoric to describe himself.
The new party is positioning itself to be become the hope for those who wish to block the political parties allied with the current junta from gaining power.]

From Siamrath Weekly Review, June 1-7, 2018
Main cover reads: Tremble a turmeric forest [white] effect [red] politics

[Refers to an arrest of senior and well-respected monks amid an attempt to reform the Buddhism in the country. Five senior monks were arrested due to a charge of money laundering linked to fraud in a temple fund.
Phra Buddha Isara (pictured in white shirt) was charged with illegal association for his role in the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and forging and using royal initials without permission when he cast a batch of amulets in 2011. This arrest was shocking as his support for protests led to conditions that allowed the current junta to come to power.
“Turmeric forest” is used in the media to mean Buddhist monks as turmeric refers to the color of monk’s robes. Thus the headline means something like “the bureaucratic world of the mookhood is being shaken and this is due to political reasons.”]

From Manager Weekly, June 2-8, 2018
Main cover reads: A man who was kicked to the curb

[Refers to an arrest of well-known political activist monk Phra Buddha Isara due to a charge of illegal association for his role in the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) led by Suthep Thaugsuban and using royal initials without permission when he cast a batch of amulets in 2011.
As Phra Buddha Isara was instrumental in creating a series of events that allowed the current junta to come to power, his arrest surprised many.]

Top: Disclose a reason behind…!! Playing a trick to speculate the price of “oil gas ethanol” to be higher than reality

[Thai social media has been abuzz with complaints about high gas prices and conspiracy theories about why they are so high. The prevailing theory (which has been met with legal threats from PPT) is that the prices are high to create public support for the junta’s big-ticket spending on power generation and refining schemes.
Such theories also appeared in the past when blackouts in the south seemed to coincide with the push for controversial power generation plants that the government insisted were desperately needed.]
Bottom left: A war of honor [yellow] T Moment [white] challenge [yellow] GDH A war of movie about BNK 48
[Refers to an intense competition between two movie companies–T Moment and GDH–to release a movie starring by members of the famous girl group BNK 48.]
Bottom right: TCAS first year dismally failed. The entrance system is in chaos – ‘Who’ must take responsibility?
[Refers to the new school entrance exam system ‘TCAS’ which received complaints by students and parents.]

From Lokwannee, June 1-8, 2018
Main cover reads: Oops… sorry

[Refers to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon who apologized for the handling of the arrest of Phra Buddha Isara after several people complained excessive force was used. Phra Buddha Isara was charged with illegal association for his role in the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protests.
The traffic cone refers what Phra Buddha Isara used during the PDRC protests to indicate their cordoned off area. There were reports that people were quickly attacked by Phra Buddha Isara’s bodyguard and his followers if they touched or moved the traffic cones.
Thus, the dinosaur, representing the old-fashioned junta, is knocking over Phra Buddha Isara’s traffic cone, but the junta is not going to get attacked as they have all the power.
So Lokwannee, a pro-Thaksin, pro-Red Shirt magazine, is reveling in seeing Phra Buddha Isara being roughly arrested in retaliation for his bully tactics in helping overthrow the Pheu Thai-led government.]

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