Re-educating foreigners II

9 10 2015

At The Nation Thailand’s tyrant General Prayuth Chan-ocha has complained that foreigners cannot understand and appreciate his dictatorship.

The junta reckons that foreigners and their misunderstanding or “vague understanding” is the reason Thailand has had problems “such as Thailand’s aviation standards being degraded by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the European Union’s warning over illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.”

It seems the dopey generals think that international agencies and the EU would ignore safety for their citizens and slavery in fishing if they “understood” the dictatorship. Again, these generals seem disconnected from the world, insular and exceptionally dull.

Sansern seemed to think that the foreigners thought that the military junta was being nasty to farmers and other poor types: “There have been moves to discredit us, that we are threatening the poor…. But we are actually not.”

Tell that to farmers prevented from growing rice because of a drought as parts of the country are flooded. Tell that to villagers forced off their land for mines and SEZs. Tell that to the farmers in the northeast suffering a huge economic downturn.

The EU Parliament actually seems to have it right:


Parliament expresses its concerns at the “deteriorating human rights situation in Thailand following the illegal coup of May 2014” and urges the Thai authorities to lift repressive restrictions on the right to liberty and the peaceful exercise of other human rights. It calls on the Thai authorities to overturn convictions and sentences, to withdraw charges and to release individuals and media operators who have been sentenced or charged for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression or assembly.

Parliament also calls for the abolition of the death penalty and asks the European External Action Service and the EU Delegation to use all available instruments to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law in Thailand, in particular by continuing to observe investigations and trial hearings of opposition leaders.

The non-binding resolution was adopted by 581 votes to 35, with 35 abstentions.

In a related media story, the European Parliament’s Ryszard Czarnecki mentioned concern about the “detaining of journalists and protestors in Thailand…”. The report states that “multiple speakers on the floor deemed [this repression] to be unacceptable.

Czarnecki stated “his belief that cooperation with Thailand economically was not something that the European Union should continue unless a return to democracy is imminent:

… Thailand must hear very clearly a strong demand on part of the European Parliament that democracy must be reinstated there which the country deserves…We should not only monitor the situation in Thailand up close, we should indicate that our economic cooperation may actually be hinged on Thailand’s cooperation with human rights….

Silenced memories of 6 October

9 10 2015

After we posted on 6 October, remembering the terrible events at Thammasat University, when the military, police and rightist thugs massacred students in the name of protecting the monarchy, a reader sent us a link to a documentary we had not seen. We embed it below:

Re-educating foreigners I

9 10 2015

At The Nation Thailand’s tyrant and self-appointed premier General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who had his spinners tell everyone that that the visit to New York was a huge triumph for the military junta, is now saying that things weren’t that great with the foreigners who cannot understand his dictatorship.

Government Spokesman Major-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd has said that The Dictator “has ordered that information packages be put together so as to create a better understanding of Thailand’s situation among the international community…”.

Oops, the “international community” is still critical of the junta and its extended period of repression in Thailand. Prayuth is quoted as saying that he “found that the international community still had a blurred understanding of the country, especially the situation before the military took over last year and set up the NCPO [the junta].”

Sansern, quoting his boss, revealed that Prayuth reckons “[c]lear and detailed information should be presented so as to explain the reasons and circumstances that led to the current government and the National Council for Peace and Order [NCPO] stepping in…”.

Given that The Dictator has trouble with truth, we assume he means clear and detailed propaganda.

PPT’s view is that much of the leadership of many countries can probably understand the existence of repression and authoritarianism. After all, there’s plenty of dealing with such regimes. It is just that there seems trouble understanding the need for a military dictatorship.

Perhaps the clear and detailed information should simply say that Prayuth is an arrogant royalist who needs to rule in a repressive regime until the king dies and succession takes place and the new king is secure and the royalist elite feels safe.

Updated: A lie is a lie

8 10 2015

Four days ago PPT posted on the kerfuffle over the “single gateway” that the military dictatorship wants in place, primarily to “protect” the monarchy.

In that post it was absolutely clear that self-appointed Prime Minister and coup master General Prayuth Chan-ocha had lied and so had other spokespersons for the regime.

We noted that after much criticism, the military dictatorship has denied that it plans a single gateway and “insists the project has not been initiated despite evidence to the contrary.”

The Dictator himself lied: “I have not ordered [the government] to go ahead with this. I merely told them to study it, but there has been some misinterpretation…. Right now, this matter is only under study. There’s nothing.”

Now the testy tyrant has hooted and honked that his lies are all a result of officials who kept notes in a cabinet meeting that showed Prayuth was lying.

Despite all the evidence, at The Nation, it is reported that Prayuth has again “insisted that he had not considered or issued any orders over the plan when confronted by reporters who said the Cabinet meeting’s minutes indicated that orders related to the plan had been issued four times.”

Prayuth “defended himself” by blaming “those who recorded notes of the meeting …”. The Dictator ranted and threatened: “I am going to get those officials who took down notes at the meeting.”

Update: A “clarification” of The Dictator’s claims is in the Bangkok Post. Here, Prayuth blames everyone else for his lies. He is reported as claiming cabinet meeting minutes are essentially inaccurate, thus blaming “the Secretariat of the Cabinet led by Ampon Kittiampon, who has served in this capacity for five years.”

He blamed reporters for asking about his lies. He demanded: “Stop asking me about this. I’m sick of it. Why keep digging old stories?… So stop complaining. When I try to fix something for a group, another group whines. Where should the government stand?”

Memories of murderous military must be mute

8 10 2015

Prachatai gets the date wrong year, but the point of the story is clear: many in the military doesn’t want people remembering the rightist and military murder of students on 6 October 1976.

There was a small memorial of the massacre earlier this week and now “[m]ilitary officers summoned university students in northern Thailand for a discussion after they commemorated the 1973 [sic. 1976] student massacre, saying that the event was political incitement.”

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights report that military officers from the 37th Army Division in Chiang Rai “contacted Chiang Rai Rajabhat University, requesting to have words with all the students who commemorated the 1973 [sic. 1976] student massacre.”

The students agreed to send two representatives and Thichanon Pitakpracha and Somchai Kuwattanasakul went to the military base. “The officers asked in detail about the reasons why they decided to commemorate the 1973 [sic. 1976] student massacre and if the group has links with the anti-junta student activist groups in Bangkok and in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen.”

The officers considered “certain messages that which attached on a board with post-its during the event to commemorate the student massacre on Tuesday morning are political incitements.”

The students were allowed to leave after being told their activities would be monitored.

Reporting lese majeste

8 10 2015

An AFP report that has been widely circulated, including in Thailand, announced a few days ago that the 2015 Agence France-Presse Kate Webb Prize for journalists working in difficult conditions in Asia has been awarded to Thai journalist Mutita Chuachang.

Mutita works for Prachatai and reports on lese majeste cases.

She is said to have been awarded the prize for “her powerful and persistent reporting of royal defamation cases that have multiplied under the country’s military rulers.”

Because Thailand’s lese majeste law is so powerful and the judicial processes so biased against defendants, most “Thai journalists and media outlets prefer to avoid the associated risks of reporting” anything other than puff and fluff on the monarchy. Self censorship is widespread and journalists who do accurately report on lese majeste and the monarchy are threatened.

The report states that “Mutita refuses to allow cases to go unnoticed or unrecorded, pestering the courts for trial dates and documents to give publicity to cases that are otherwise easily buried.”

Andrea Giorgetta of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) states: “She has been on the front line in the fight for freedom of expression in Thailand by persistently reporting on lese-majeste cases…”.

Her reporting is an important chronicle of the political, draconian and feudal law that pulls Thailand apart.

Old men renewed

7 10 2015

What is that statement by a dead philosopher? George Santayana, reflecting his times and his political conservatism, stated:

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Marx put it this way when referring respectively to Napoleon I and to his nephew Louis Napoleon in The Eighteenth Brumaire:

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

In Bangkok, it is arguably a little different as we see a sorry repeat of past farces as tragedy, as if The Dictator and his flunkies have no memory of their own past.

The appointment of Meechai Ruchupan to chair the new 21-member Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) is not a surprise for anyone. This appointment of a loyal servant of the military was predicted as soon as The Dictator got rid of Bowornsak Uwanno and his lot when the military dictatorship became fearful of a referendum and elections.

Meechai has worked on several constitutions, for the military, in the past. The Nation has quite a matter-of-fact account of Meechai’s career as a conservative, royalist servant of various military regimes.

Meechai, who is a member of the junta (NCPO), has faithfully served royalist and military regimes, being a in various legal and political positionsto prime ministers Sanya Dharmasakti, Kukrit Pramoj, Seni Pramoj, Thanin Kraivichien, General Kriangsak Chamanan, General Prem Tinsulanonda, Chatichai Choonhavan and Anand Panyarachun.

Chatichai was ousted by a coup led by General Suchinda Kraprayoon and his National Peace-Keeping Council (NPKC) in 1991 and Meechai slithered into the acting premier’s position before Anand was hoisted into the top job by the military, arguably on royal advice.

In 1991, the military had Meechai appointed the leader of a charter-drafting committee, leading to the 1991 Constitution, which eventually lead to the May 1992 massacre. In drafting that constitution, Meechai simply plagiarized bits of a charter that had been used earlier by a military regime.

This, when the Bangkok Post reports that “[g]ood elements from past constitutions will be collected to include in the new constitution,” it is quite possible that “good” simply means the reproduction of military desires for control. That it is claimed that “a first draft is expected in January which would then be presented to the public for feedback” is no cause for celebration. Meechai has yet to accept the idea of public consultation, With it or not, we expect Meechai to produce royalist rules that suit the current junta; that’s his track record.

The Dictator, General Prayuth has already told Meechai what he wants. Meechai denies this, but the general has stated it as a fact.

Chaturon Chaisaeng is right to point out that “the new CDC is made up of several legal experts, its weakness is that none of its members have had experience in drawing up constitutions that uphold the principles of democracy.”

Prachatai reports that “[p]ro-democracy activists” have already “rallied in front of the parliament to protest against the new batch of constitutional drafters hand-picked by the junta.”


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