The following is an edited version of a post received from Chatwadee Rose Amornpat:
Thailand’s notorious anti-democratic Rubbish Collection Organization was formed to hunt down those it considered disloyal to the monarchy.
The word “rubbish” here does not have the conventional meaning. It means anyone who disagrees with the monarchy and its associated arms and supporters.
The Rubbish Collection Organization (RCO) is expanding its targets. It is now hunting down opponents of the current military regime as well as those who oppose the royals and its monarchy. Countless number of democracy activists are now in jail throughout the country. It seeks to have political opponents jailed.
General Prayuth Chan-ocha often states that he has a “roadmap” to follow and that he will execute it step by step. One of the steps in his roadmap is to eradicate former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s remnants, which is code for all opponents.
To serve Prayuth’s goals, the RCO comes in handy. Thai authorities, acting on complaints from the RCO, have persuaded Facebook to close down Thai access to so many popular FB pages during the past years. For example, the popular “Suda Rangkupan” FB pages have been periodically shut down during the past months. Dr. Suda was the former professor of Linguistics at Chulalongkorn University who was forced to resign due to her democracy activism. She was asked to report to the military junta for their so-called “attitude adjustment.” She refused and chose to flee the country.
Another professor, Dr. Pavin Chachavalpongpun, an associate professor at Kyoto University was summoned to report to the coup maker of May 22, 2014, at the urging of RCO.
The RCO came into being in April 2014, at the height of political chaos created by opponents of the democratically elected Pheu Thai government. The order to create the RCO is said to have come from General Surayud Chulanont, who headed one of the military-backed government in the wake of the 2006 coup that ousted Thaksin Shinawatra. Surayud is now the No. 2 man at the Privy Council after Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, which advises the ailing king.
Despite state blockages, Thais have continued to seek some information from the outside world, causing headaches for the monarchy and their network of royalists and elites. At the early stage of the internet in Thailand, those in power were not prepared for the impact of the free flow of information. Royalists underestimated the impact and influence of the medium.
The military junta has tried to control and block access to information. Thousands of websites, blogs and Facebook pages have been blocked by authorities.
With the country awaiting the death of the king and the passage of the throne to his son Vajiralongkorn, the military government has created one of the world’s tightest restrictive nets on the Internet. An unknown number of bloggers have been arrested on lèse majesté charges and the Computer Crimes Act.
Further, through the help of businessmen both in Thailand and the US, authorities reportedly ordered elaborate blocking and monitoring equipment from US companies, possibly illegal under US laws that specify that equipment will not be put in the hands of countries to be used to obstruct freedom of speech and expression.
It appears that the Thai government also broke a good-faith agreement with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) for sophisticated internet monitoring devices to be furnished to the Thai police to combat the flow of illegal drugs and narcotics. Instead, the equipment appears to have been used later in detecting IP addresses of those who may post “unfriendly” and/or unflattering comments about the royal family.
It was also reported that Thailand will implement a “Single Gateway” system for all the internet information to pass through, a system of tightest control and censorship which is similar to that of China and North Korea.
Because of the free flow of information and a real threat to the monarchy, General Suarayud asked his associate and retired major-general from the Thai Army, Rientong Nan-nah, to form the RCO, which gets its funding from royalists and the Army to hunt down people who it thinks are violating the lèse majesté law in the cyber world and to root out those who criticize members of the royal family.
Rientong Nan-nah and the RCO are the Thailand’s brown shirts.
To all the peace-loving people and nations of the world including the United States, the UK, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and all the democratic countries, please help the Thai people resist this oppression and oppose Rientong and his fascist organization.