Anti-cult of personality

5 12 2016

About a week ago, we posted on the mourning periods associated with the passing of Cuba’s Fidel Castro and the long period of official mourning for the late king of Thailand.

fidelAnother story, at Khaosod, reflects on this:

President Raul Castro announced that Cuba will prohibit the naming of streets and monuments after his brother Fidel, and bar the construction of statues of the former leader and revolutionary icon in keeping with his desire to avoid a cult of personality.





The next 20 years of royalist repression

4 12 2016

Many would have considered the military dictatorship’s trumpeted 20 year plan for Thailand to be something that would fade, especially once the dictatorship and its junta were gone. Even The Dictator has implied, several times, that the implementation of the “plan” was up to future governments.

This was a manipulation of truth and intention. The junta is planning 20 years of royalist and military repression.

In an editorial at the Bangkok Post, the reality is explained. It refers to a “know-it-all team … writing a two-decade national strategy for all future governments to follow.” It continues:

Immediately after a discussion with the [General] Prayut Chan-o-cha government [they mean the junta] on the strategy on Tuesday, Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) chairman Meechai Ruchupan [the military’s puppet], who leads [carries out the junta’s demands] the drafting of the strategy, delivered a warning that any future governments failing to adhere to the national strategy will be punishable under the current constitution [we assume the draft constitution]. His threatening message is a disservice to the country.

With considerable understatement, the editorial states that a “strategy that dictates how the nation should be run in the next two decades does not bode well.”

As the Post points out Meechai’s declaration “contradicts the earlier affirmation from Gen Prayut that the strategy would be changeable.”

We continue to be amazed that the media believes The Dictator. He is not a purveyor of any truths. Rather, his job is to destroy the “Thaksin regime” and prevent any elected government ever being able to actually rule Thailand.

To protect the the royalist elite’s ownership of Thailand, the military dictatorship knows it will require generational change. Anti-democrats support this forensic neuralyation of the population. (They know that it can be done, having been a part of the royal renaissance under the late king.)

Rather than rejecting the military dictatorship and its fascist ideas about a royalist reich, the Post editorial mumbles about “flexibility” and “change.”

It does observe the regression Thailand has had under the fascist royalists and the military boot:

The constitution brings the country back to the ruling system we used many decades ago. The regime’s strategy, therefore, cannot afford to freeze the future of Thailand by restricting changes. Thailand could risk falling into an outdated and obsolete state if future governments are bound to follow the strategy without flexibility.

More daringly, it states that “[c]riticisms and suggestions that come from the Pheu Thai Party and other observers are not biased and should be heeded.” This “plan,” it is said, “will be a path to disaster that could cause damage to the country.”

“Damage to the country” is not something that bothers the military dictatorship because they define “the country” as the interests, power, control and wealth of a small royalist elite. The rest of the country it meant to obediently serve this elite.nazis

Ignoring this, the editorial mumbles about “public participation” in developing the plan.

We are not sure why this is considered feasible or reasonable. After all, no aspect of anything the military junta has done has involved public participation. For the junta, the public is meant to be automatons, positively responding to junta demands and requirements.

When the editorial states that the “Thai people cannot afford to have a national strategy that will determine their future during the next two decades without being aware in advance of how it will look like,” it is ignoring the junta’s despotic record.

It babbles about liberal notions of “participation” ignoring the truth that this is a fascist state that is being embedded. Only the pure and ideologically sound may “participate” by cheering and rewarding the military junta.





On the new king’s accession

3 12 2016

New Mandala has had quite a few insightful article of late. Each looks at aspects of succession, accession and the new king. To link to some of these:

Christine Gray, “Ritual and the demise of Thai democracy

Andrew MacGregor Marshall, “What next for the theatrics of Thailand?”

Paul Sanderson, “Henry VIII of Thailand

Kevin Hewison, “Thailand’s long succession

 





With 3 updates: Beware of the share

3 12 2016

Within hours of Thailand having its new king, the first lese majeste case of the new reign is with the military and police.

Prachatai reports that “police have arrested a leading member of an anti-junta activist group for sharing the biography of the new [k]ing … published by the BBC Thai” on 1 December and widely shared on social media. The regime has zeroed in on  Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa a.k.a. Pai Daodin because he is a political activist, a member of  the New Democracy Movement and an anti-junta activist.

We are not sure we can locate the correct story. The report we found for 1 December is also a video report. It is innocuous, verging on palace propaganda. There is another dated 2 December, and this may the report mentioned, either in a mix-up of dates because of time difference or because the story has been amended. That report includes some comments on the prince’s past.

The report on Jatuphat’s arrest says that at “about 8:45 am on 3 December 2016, police officers arrested [him], while he was participating in a rally with a group of Buddhist monks in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum.”

His accuser is listed as “Lt Col Phitakphon Chusri, a soldier of the 23rd Military Circle of Khon Kaen Province, [who] accused him of violating Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, for sharing the biography of King Vajiralongkorn, Rama X, published by the BBC Thai.”

We suspect that the clampdown on lese majeste, already extreme, is going to become deeper as the military dictatorship is keen to ensure the new king’s blemished past is erased.

Some shady “entrepreneur” could make a fortune selling the regime bogus Neuralyzers, as they did with “bomb detectors.”

Update 1: A reader rightly points out that we neglected some aspects of the Prachatai story. The story states that there have been more than 3,000 shares of the BBC Thai post. The arrest of Jatuphat is therefore all the more pointed as an act of political vengeance. The story also states that the “activist told Prachatai that he will not delete the article he posted on his Facebook profile, saying that he did not write any personal comment on the post, but [was] merely sharing it along with the last four paragraphs of the article.” Readers might also be interested in an English-language BBC story about the prince.

Update 2: A statement by the Dao Din group on the arrest of Jaruphat:

Jarupat (Pai) Boonpattararaksa is a member of Dao Din and a person who habitually uses Facebook in accessing various kinds of information and news. He is no different than the rest of us who can access social media more easily than 7-Eleven. He is one of thousands of people who shared a news story published BBC-Thai, but in his case a warrant for his arrest under Article 112 was issued for sharing this information. The person who has brought the case is a soldier. At this time, the police have taken Jatupat to the Khon Kaen police station to proceed with the case.

These actions by the authorities are a grave violation of and are in conflict with the principles of human rights and freedom of expression in line with democracy. These actions are a clear instance of selective treatment by the authorities and indicate the lack of respect for rights and freedom in Thai society, as no one should be arrested for simply posting on Facebook. We are simply students, and the children and grandchildren of ordinary, common people who have become victims of the powerful who have fixed upon and attack Dao Din.

Therefore, we call for the unconditional and immediate release of our brother and member of Dao Din, and call for the criminal charge for merely sharing news on Facebook to be dropped.

In the spirit of human rights

3 December 2016

Update 3:  On 4 December 2016, Jatuphat was released by the Provincial Court in Khon Kaen, granted 400,000 baht bail. Khaosod reports that he has been charged with lese majeste.





Putting things back in place

2 12 2016

General Prem Tinsulanonda is now back as President of the Privy Council after being “temporary Regent” for a period.

The Bangkok Post reports that the 96 year-old was reappointed by the new king in an announcement in the Royal Gazette.Prem 1

Aged judge and former rightist and royalist prime minister Thanin Kraivixien returns to being a regular privy councilor after filling in for Prem as President for the period.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam stated that “traditionally, Gen Prem would resume his role as Privy Council president just after his role as the regent ended. The term as president of the Privy Council was open-ended…”. He pointed out that a privy councilor could only leave his [they are all men] position by “royal command, death or resignation…”.





New king, same as the old king

2 12 2016

At an “auspicious” time, well into the night, Thailand got its new king.

Some will complain that our headline is misleading. Our point is that Thailand has a new monarch. The person and personality may be different, but the monarchy continues. But don’t be fooled, that change is unlikely to mean any change for what the military loves to call “the institution.”

The huge repression by the military dictatorship and the enormous efforts put into lese majeste repression since 2006 have made discussion of the monarchy and the new monarch extremely risky for anyone in Thailand or anyone who wants to travel to Thailand. If there was a plan, it was to prevent any criticism of the wayward, unpredictable and sometimes nasty Prince Vajiralongkorn when he came to the throne.

The media is dutiful, already preparing a false and misleading hagiography of the new “revered king.”prince

The prince becomes King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun. The international media will be unlikely to ever be able to pronounce that. It is reported that the moniker means “Vajiralongkorn Descended by Flesh and Blood of God Indra, Overlord of all Angels.”

The Post reports that General Prem Tinsulanonda, “who serves as the regent, led the heads of the country’s three branches of government for an audience with … Crown Prince … Vajiralongkorn on Thursday afternoon to invite him to ascend the throne as the new King.”

He was accompanied by The Dictator and royalist 2014 coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha, puppet National Legislative Assembly president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai and royalist judge Veerapol Tungsuwan, president of the Supreme Court. They are seen in various points of belly sliding in this picture from Khaosod.

on-their-bellies

It is also reported that junta hireling and Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam stated that “Prem has ended his role as regent now the Crown Prince has accepted the invitation to reign.”

Rather oddly, “[t]he ascension is retroactive to Oct. 13.” Anything is possible in royalist la-la land.





More on dog lese majeste

1 12 2016

With a new king meant to be in place on Friday, the lese majeste case involving the now dead king’s now dead dog raises the issue of whether the now dead Fu Fu is now on “sacred ground” too.

In arguably the most bizarre of the many lese majeste cases in recent years, Thanakorn Siripaiboon was arrested on 8 December 2015 by military and police officers. He was accused and has been charged with violating the lese majeste law by spreading “sarcastic” content via Facebook which allegedly mocked Thong Daeng, once the royal dog, favored by the late king.Thong Daeng

A provincial court is reported to have concluded that Bangkok’s military court has the jurisdiction to try the case.

On 29 November 2016, Bangkok’s Military Court of Bangkok held a deposition hearing on the case, reading “a statement from Samut Prakan Provincial Court, which concluded that the jurisdiction to try Thanakorn belongs to the military court according to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s[that’s the military junta] announcement No. 37/2014.”

This means that mocking the dead king’s pet pooch is considered a crime involving national security.

Bizarre.

Thanakorn also faces charges under the Computer Crimes Act for the alleged lese majeste post and another, unrelated sedition charge for having posted an infographic on the Rajabhakti Park corruption scandal on Facebook.

There remains some different view between the provincial and military courts over the details of the lese majeste case. That still has to be sorted out.

Meanwhile, Thanakorn remains on bail and lives as a monk.