My “democracy” will not be your democracy I

23 03 2015

The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, self-appointed premier of Thailand, leader of the military coup that overthrew an elected government and former commander of troops that shot down red shirt demonstrators in 2010, claims, at The Nation that he is “building democracy for the country…”.

Speaking at the opening ceremony for an essay contest that promotes his personal and fascist “Twelve Core Values” as being the values of the entire nation, and without a hint of irony, The Dictator declared: “… I understand democratic means and we will not fail democracy. We will take care of the people well and equally…”.Prayuth Puppetry

What kind of “democracy”? He says it won’t be “100 per cent like democracy in Western countries,” and we can assume that his democracy is Thai-style democracy, the redoubt of past authoritarian leaders in the country since the late 1950s. It is the democracy you have in Thailand when you are not having democracy. As he puts it, “We have to put Thai elements into the democracy, but it will not contradict international values…”.

Given that Prayuth does not understand “international values” and flouts them on a daily basis, we can dismiss his claims to being an architect of anything other than fascist Thailand.

When he claims that “[p]eople would be able to access justice equally and fairly” and then has to beseech people to “be confident in the existing justice system,” you know the “justice” system is crippled by lese majeste, by royalist bias, by military impunity and by martial law.

When he demands that political conflicts be reduced and demands that the media not ask questions about politics and political conflict, you know that Prayuth’s democracy is not real democracy.

When he says, “So, next time, please elect a good government into power,” he is repeating his demand of the electorate in 2011, when he went on national television to demand a vote for the pro-military and royalist Democrat Party. You know the 2014 coup had much to do with Prayuth’s anger that the electorate spurned him and the (anti)Democrat Party.


If lese majeste doesn’t work, try terrorism

22 03 2015

Army boss General Udomdej Sitabutr has explained “military intelligence and lese majeste. It seems clear that, frustrated by foreign countries disregarding junta pleas to extradite lese majeste “suspects,” the military dictatorship is changing tack.

Most countries in the world do not recognize lese majeste as a serious law, much less one of “national security” as claimed by Thai elites. When the junta seeks extradition on lese majeste charges, the silence is deafening.

So it is that the “great minds” in the junta and military have conjured a new approach: claim the lese majeste suspects are “terrorists.”

Udomdej has explained that “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice are currently working to extradite the alleged mastermind of the terror plot, a man named Manoon [Anek] Chaichana who is believed to be living in the United States of America. Manoon has regularly uploaded videos under the pseudonym Anek San Francisco that criticize the Thai monarchy, a crime under Thailand’s lese majeste law.”

Do the members of the military junta think that all administrations operate with limited intelligence, like themselves?

Divorce destruction continues

22 03 2015

Reuters reports that a military court has “jailed three brothers of a former princess for 5-1/2 years, in the latest court decision giving prison time to family members after her dramatic fall from grace last year.”

We understand the confusion on these cases as they are piled very high. In fact, Nuttapong (as we have named him based on previous reports, but now listed as Natthapol) and Narong Suwadee are brothers and Sitthisak Suwadee is a nephew of Srirasmi.

The report claims that “Srirasmi Suwadee, formerly known as Princess Srirasmi, is divorced from Crown Prince … Vajiralongkorn, and relinquished her royal title last December.”

As far as we are aware, no divorce has been announced. Rather, acts of personal and family destruction have been underway.

Reuters notes that the three were given 11 years in prison each, reduced to 5.5 years because they confessed to the “crimes of theft, insult to the monarchy and illegal detention…”. It is not immediately clear what their sentence was on the lese majeste charges, but it matters little to the outcome.

Khaosod reports that the prosecutor alleged that Natthapol, Narong and Sitthisak “were hired by a businessman named Nopporn Supphapipat [Suppipat] to coerce a money lender into reducing Nopporn’s debt from 120 million baht to 20 million baht.” It was further alleged that “the three men abducted Nopporn’s money lender, Witthaya Panyathaweekool, in front of his house in Bangkok on 20 March 2014. The trio allegedly detained him overnight and forced him to reduce Nopporn’s debt, citing their connection to then-Princess Srirasmi.”

At the time of the alleged offenses, Natthapol and Narong “were serving in the Crown Prince’s personal bodyguard unit…”.

The three were arrested in November 2014.

Reuters states that a “purge of some of Srirasmi’s relatives began last year after the sudden dismissal of her uncle [Pongpat Chayapan], one of Thailand’s most senior police officers.” Since then dozens of her family and associates have been jailed.

The report then states: “As the arrests reached fever pitch Thailand’s Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn asked the government to strip his wife’s family of their royally-bestowed name.” We think this is a slippery way of reporting a chicken and egg story. The report implies that the prince ditched Srirasmi after her relatives were found to be up to no good. It is well known that Vajiralongkorn had a new wife on the side and that she was the favorite. Ditching Srirasmi with a huge story about crime seems convenient.

The closeness of all of this to the prince’s household raises many questions that no one in Thailand is permitted to ask.

Lies and lies

22 03 2015

When you repeatedly lie others come to the conclusion that everything you say is likely laced with untruths. So it is with the military’s top brass.

Readers will recall that the military recently abducted Nattathida Meewangpla, who was a witness to murders by soldiers at a Bangkok temple during the 2010 crackdown on red shirt protesters. The junta’s spokesman denied that the military could possibly have been involved. Within just a few hours, the military handed her over to police. One lie demonstrated.

Remarkably, The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha then demonstrated his disdain for the intelligence or Thais and/or demonstrated his own thick-headedness by saying that the military hadn’t arrested her, just invited her to join them in what we might describe as their secret abduction headquarters. A second lie.

Then, having “invited” her, and then not charged her with anything, the brass quickly arranged for her to be slapped with both “terrorism” and lese majeste charges. We count that as lie number three.

Three lies over one abduction-arrest is a relatively low count if one considers the thousands of lies the military has told involving the tens of thousands of citizens it has abducted, tortured, disappeared and murdered over several decades. Of course, the lies are unnecessary because the military has impunity from prosecution in these instances of violence.

So when Army boss General Udomdej Sitabutr gets all huffy and puffy because the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights Center claims the military tortured four men arrested as part of an alleged “terrorism network” plotting bomb attacks in Bangkok or of having carried them out, and then produces photographic evidence seeming to back up the claim, we wonder about his counter claims.Udomdej

Army boss, the suspiciously dark-haired General Udomdej “has threatened to take legal action against anyone who accuses the military of torturing four terror suspects arrested earlier this month.” That is not a lie. Under martial law, he can pretty much threaten and arrest/abduct any one he pleases.

The the General gets into the untruths. He “insisted that the allegation was untrue, and stressed that all security officers performed their duties without violating human rights.” That’s clearly a lie. And not just a little one. The military violates human rights on a daily basis; the links above are to just a few of these in recent days.

It gets into the deeper, almost pathological category of lying when he states: “Especially the action of harming suspects. We strictly do not do that…”. Of course, there’s ample evidence of the military using torture over a long period. Just look to the South to see confirmed cases of torture.

And Udomdej then contradicts himself, admitting, “Whoever does a wrong thing, they have to be investigated and punished.” But, dear General, if you say it doesn’t happen, how could you ever investigate it? Another lie.

TLHR on torture

21 03 2015

Reproduced in full:

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights   ศูนย์ทนายความเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน

Press Statement

The alleged torture of Criminal Court bomb suspects

For immediate release on 21 March 2015TLHR

The public statement issued by the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) on 17 March 2015 has elicited gross denials from the authorities. Herewith, TLHR would like to explain to the public that Section 4 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim), B.E. 2557 (2014) provides for rights and liberties as previously held and as per the international obligations bound by Thailand. The abuse of suspects to extract information committed by state officials is definitely a breach to the UN Convention Against Torture and  Other Cruel Inhuman or Degraded Treatment or Punishment (CAT) to which Thailand is a state party and is obliged to follow including among others;

1.       When a complaint of torture arises, the state is obliged to carry out a prompt and impartial investigation.[1]

2.       The state shall ensure that the person who alleges she or he has been subjected to torture has the right to complain and has his case promptly and impartially examined. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation.[2]

Therefore, upon receiving the complaints and given the traces of torture were still visible on the bodies of some suspects, TLHR has come out to demand a prompt and impartial investigation by the state and the examination of independent doctor since the wounds may soon disappear. The complaints of the suspects and the response of TLHR have been made in good faith to ensure a fair investigation. Such a call for examination is therefore beneficial to all parties concerned and in response to the curiosity of society. It is not intended to fabricate a story to cause any damage to the authorities.

TLHR asserts again that the state is obliged to investigate and protect the complainants. Any attempt contrary to that including the threatening of a lawsuit against the complainants who have acted in good faith shall further intimidate the suspects making them too scared to seek any legal remedies. This will lead to a lack of transparency and sincerity to investigate an alleged act of torture and to bring any perpetrators to justice. In addition, such an act is a breach to the obligations the state has toward CAT. It will simply invalidate any commitment the state has made toward the total eradication of torture in Thailand.

With respect in rights and liberties

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)
[1] Article 12 (CAT): Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction.
[2] Article 13 (CAT): Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to, and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by, its competent authorities. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any evidence given.


Thais under the military boot

21 03 2015

Another offering from Resistant Citizen:

Bathroom graffiti and lese majeste

21 03 2015

Yet another victim of the military junta’s use of the political and deeply feudal lese majeste law has been sentenced on 20 March 2015.

Prachatai reports that a military court has found Opas Charnsuksai, 67, guilty of writing lese majeste graffiti in a toilet in the Seacon Square shopping mall in Bangkok. He has been sentenced to three years in jail for “defaming the King” on the toilet’s wall. As is now “normal” in these cases, because Opas pleaded guilty, the jail term was halved.

Because of his poor health, Opas’ wife “wrote a letter asking for mercy of the court. The court explained that it cannot suspend the jail term because the message defamed the King and the given jail term is not severe.”

No mercy for graffiti seen to “defame” the precious and near death king. But did he defame the king? Prachatai states that the graffiti was:

The government of clowns that robbed the nation, led by f*** Prayuth [Chan-ocha]. They have issued ridiculous policies of amateur comedians. Their main job is to use the monarchy (uncle [censored by Prachatai*]). Their main weapon is Article 112. I’m sick of seeing your face [Prayuth] every day. It tells me that you [Prayuth] are near the end because of the looming internal conflict.

That sounds to us like a reasonable interpretation of The Dictator’s modus operandi.  It is pretty much criticism of the military dictatorship, The Dictator and the manner in which he uses lese majeste and the monarchy. That the palace ius a willing partner is left unsaid.

Opas has had bail requests repeatedly denied despite being a “diabetic and … battling with retinopathy.”

It is not over for Opas. He is “facing another lese majeste case for another message he wrote in a different restroom of the same department store on the same day. The case is now under investigation.”


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