No remembering allowed I

13 05 2017

The junta continues to try to censor and repress, several times going into royalist overload in its efforts.

Part of its work is to effectively change history. Whether it wanted to or not, the theft and vandalism of the 1932 plaque caused the dictatorship to line up with their king in saying the past is best forgotten (in fact) and replaced with mythical legends about good kings and the current one (the silk purse-sow’s ear notion).

Other facts are simply ignored. What happened to the murdered Chaiyapoom Pasae? Best forgotten and swept under a military tarpaulin. And so on, ad infinitum.

While on history and this regime, or at least the devils running it, those people killed in 2010. Either they were republican dupes of a Svengali or they can be swept aside as deserving of death as bad people (or both).

It is no surprise to learn from The Nation that the military junta has prevented a “commemoration of late Maj-General Khattiya Sawasdipol…”.

Known as Seh Daeng, he was murdered with a single sniper shot to the head “during the 2010 red-shirt demonstrations against the Abhisit [Vejjajiva] government…”. As the high buildings were occupied by government troops, it may be assumed that the shooter was ordered to take out Seh Daeng by the Abhisit regime and military leaders including General Prayuth Chan-ocha and General Anupong Paojinda.

Former deputy prime minister Chalerm Yubamrung “claimed in 2012 that a group of senior police officers were behind the assassination…”, although we’d bet it was military snipers.

Colonel Winthai Suvaree, a spokesperson for the military junta “insisted that there was no attempt to thwart the family’s commemoration plan, but the event could be considered politically motivated,” so it was banned.

Seh Daeng’s daughter is unimpressed with the junta’s call for “cooperation” and forget about the commemoration of his murder.

She “insisted she would today go to Sala Daeng intersection on Silom Road in the capital to lay flowers and light candles to commemorate her father at the location where he was fatally wounded by a sniper.”

Ms Khattiyaa said she received a phone call from a police officer on Thursday, who said he was instructed by the army to ask about what she intended to do to mark the seven-year anniversary of her father’s death.

She “questioned why authorities want to prevent her and her sister from expressing gratitude and commemorating their father.”

Military dictatorship spokesman, and probably involved in the planning of the sniper attack, Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said “in ordinary merit-making ceremonies, the NCPO [junta] always gives permission if the activities have no political implications.”

We assume he means ceremonies already deemed “political” for we doubt other merit-making  needs junta approval. But perhaps we have missed another expansion of the use of the junta boot.

Junta spokesman Winthai reckoned the fire-breathing anti-red shirts at the 1st Army Region are the ones swinging the boot in this case.

You get the picture. A couple of women are considered political threats to the junta because they might just challenge the junta’s history of Thailand or cause people to remember.





Banpot and Thaksin

15 02 2015

As we often do, below PPT reproduces a recent post by Giles Ji Ungpakorn. In it, Ji comments on the recent arrest of “Banpot” or Hasadin Uraipraiwan.

Unfortunately, Taksin is a royalist

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Thai police have arrested a man that they claim to be “Banpot”, the famous internet alias, who regularly published audio clips criticising the Thai Royal Family. The suspect has been identified as Hasadin Uraipraiwan. Earlier, an extremist media channel tried to falsely claim that “Banpot” was the Chiang-Mai academic Professor Tanet Charoenmuang.

The military junta is desperate to link Banpot to Taksin and they are making remarks about a “big capitalist” who is funding these activities. This is not the first time that the anti-democrats and the military have tried to accuse Taksin of wanting to overthrow the monarchy. They believe that it would help legitimise their destruction of democracy.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately, Taksin is a royalist.

Taksin has often been accused of wanting to usurp the monarchy and become president. There is absolutely no evidence for this. In fact, throughout the period when Taksin was Prime Minister, he promoted and was seen to be servile to the King, just like the conservative generals who are his rivals. His government paved the way for and participated in the lavish royal celebrations on the 60th anniversary of the King’s accession to the throne in 2006.His government also introduced the “Yellow Shirt Mania”, where we were all told to wear yellow royal shirts every Monday. Both Taksin and his conservative opponents are royalists because they seek to use the institution of the monarchy in order to stabilise the status quo and class rule in a capitalist society.

Following the July 2011 election we saw Prime Minister Yingluk’s Pua Thai Government making it clear that they were royalists. If we look at the use of lèse majesté, the Pua Thai Government’s record of abusing freedom of speech was just as bad as Abhisit’s military-backed Democrats. The Minister for Information Technology and Communication Anudit Nakorntup showed himself to be a rabid royalist censor, threatening Facebook users who so much as clicked “like” in response to a post deemed to be insulting to the monarchy. Worse still, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung was appointed as “lèse majesté supremo” to hunt down dissenters.

The reason why Taksin will not lead an all-out struggle for democracy against the dictatorship is linked to Taksin’s royalism, or more importantly, to his commitment to defending the status quo and the Thai ruling class in its present form. He and the generals are merely rivals for power. Taksin wants to re-join the elite club at some point in the future. He is desperate to prevent radicalisation of the democracy movement. But we must do everything to encourage such radicalisation and the struggle for a democratic republic.

 





Double standards confirmed

25 02 2014

Most readers of PPT will already be well aware that Thailand’s courts operate on different and politicized standards when dealing with “their” side of politics and when dealing with the hated red shirts. These double standards are so far apart that the royalists could drive their Ferraris and Mercedes Benzs through them without touching the sides.

MCOT News reports the latest unsurprising announcement of the terrible and destructive double standards exhibited by the judiciary:

The Criminal Court has accepted for trial lawsuits by families of two protesters who were shot dead during the police crackdown at Phan Fah Bridge, Ratchadamnoen Avenue, last Tuesday.

Jongjit Sae-Dan and Umaporn Angthong filed the lawsuits against caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and director of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order Chalerm Yubamrung.

Other defendants included National Police chief Adul Saengsingkaew, Department of Special Investigation director general Tarit Pengdith, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 2 Kawi Supanand and Chon Buri Provincial Police chief Katcha Tatsart.

They were charged with premeditated murder during their operation to retake Phan Fah rally site by using weapons, explosives and bullets without abiding by international standards in controlling crowds,

Readers may recall how long it took for Suthep Thaugsuban and Abhisit Vejjajiva to be charged with murder for their roles in ordering the shooting down of red shirts in 2010. The charges against them came only after the Puea Thai Party came to power via the 2011 election and after exhaustive investigations and inquests. In the current situation, the cases have been accepted within a week of the events.

The judiciary, blinded by its political bias, is destroying the foundations of democratic politics in a kind of judicial suicide. No one can possibly take the judiciary seriously. The judiciary, long the handmaiden of military leaders and their authoritarian politics, has failed to make the transition to democratic politics.

Part of that failure has to do with the monarchy’s successful co-opting of senior judges, most clearly seen in the king’s demand for judges to get politically engaged following the April 2006 election.





Risk and the emergency decree

22 01 2014

The Yingluck Shinawatra government, forced by increasing violence and the promise of more, has used the emergency decree. The Nation states:

THE CARETAKER cabinet yesterday imposed an emergency decree covering the capital and its outskirts for 60 days. This will give officials more power to handle the anti-government protest, which it claims has been a cause of violence, death and injury.

Emergency

From Bangkok Post

From today, the entire capital and Nonthaburi, plus parts of Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan will be under emergency law.

To enforce the decree, the authorities have set up a so-called Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO), replacing the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order, to keep order.

Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul will supervise the CMPO’s policies, with caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung as director in command of the centre. Police chief General Adul Saengsingkaew and the Defence Ministry’s permanent secretary Nipat Thonglek have been named as operating directors.

The decision to impose the decree was made by caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and some members of her Cabinet, including Surapong and Chalerm, sources said. In a sign of possible disagreement, there were only military representatives instead of commanders present at the meeting yesterday, sources said. With a lack of military chiefs at the centre, the police under Adul will be at the frontline.

Yingluck said she had instructed operations officials to exercise utmost restraint when handling the protest. Asked if the situation would turn violent, like in 2010, she said the government would mostly have the police force overseeing operations. Protesters should not be worried, as police would operate in accordance with law.

As a footnote, we notice that The Nation actually has sources for this story, unlike this one, which appears to be imaginative and designed to provoke.

PPT reckons this is a risky strategy, but probably unavoidable in current circumstances. This comment was made in an agency report:

A state of emergency “is a very risky move from a government that has generally been conciliatory of protesters”, said Kevin Hewison, director of the Asia Research Centre at Australia’s Murdoch University. “The risk is escalating violence to goad the military to take sides.”

The anti-democracy lot will consider the emergency decree as a sign that they are beating the government and a sign of weakness. They will look for every opportunity to force the military into conflict with the government. Indeed, pretend academic Panitan Wattanayagorn pointed out in The Nation’s story: “If the soldiers are put under police command, it will be problematic…. I have never seen troops being placed under police [control].” Unhappy military brass will find it easier to side with the anti-democracy movement.

Putting Chalerm in this position is provocative. The anti-democrats will view this as a challenge. Indeed, Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the anti-democrats, has already “scoffed at the invocation of the emergency decree…”. The Bangkok Post reports:

He said his supporters are not afraid and the rallies will continue.

“Is there anything that is an emergency in this country?” he said. “We have been protesting for three months already. Why declare an emergency now?”

Addressing the crowd at the Pathumwan stage on Tuesday night following the decision by the caretaker government to invoke a state of emergency, the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) chief vowed to defy all orders issued under the emergency decree.

This approach is also risky as it can lead to escalations of conflict, and the emergency law can lead to human rights abuses if the authorities are unleashed on demonstrators, as Suthep and his little buddy Abhisit Vejjajiva did in 2010.

Readers can locate posts on the Suthep/Abhisit use of the emergency decree at PPT.

 





Decency and double standards

4 01 2014

Veera1 Many readers will be bored reading our comments on the Bangkok Post’s very Nation-like op-ed writer Veera Prateepchaikul, who has been a propagandist for the anti-democratic movement that began in 2005 as the People’s Alliance for Democracy, and continues in that role to this day.

To begin with, PPT points to the dueling headlines regarding Veera’s op-ed. The first, from the Post’s electronic cover, is about honesty, followed by “lie” repeated thrice. The second is from the story itself referring to “decency.”

Veera2The topic is the statement by a police general that the “men in black” on the Ministry of Labor on the day the anti-democracy movement stormed the Thai-Japan Stadium to prevent the registration of candidates in the 2 February election.

Veera rightly points out that there were initial conflicting opinions and that the authorities initially went into denial mode, which is common in such events, especially for Thai authorities used to impunity. He quotes three statements of apparent “denial.” The problem is that one of these do not amount to a denial, at least not as cited, one is a denial of an incident involving a vehicle, and only the third, by the hopeless Chalerm Yubamrung, is quoted in a manner that shows it is a denial.

Veera’s poor writing aside, for a period of about a week, there was denial about the so-called men in black on the roof of the Ministry of Labor. By late last week, it was pretty clear what had happened and that the police at the Ministry of Labor were not responsible for the shooting of other police. In any case,  the denials were apparently put right by the senior policeman’s statement a couple of days ago. The same policeman said that the events were under investigation and that any faults would be punished.

Veera then demands apologies from the others:

But do not expect them to say sorry for telling lies to us, because they don’t think they have done anything wrong. Telling the truth and telling lies are, after all, part of their job – at least, as they see it. So think twice, and then think again, before accepting anything they say in future.

Now PPT asks Veera why he employs double standards? Why is it that Veera does not condemn, say, Suthep Thaugsuban and his sidekick Abhisit Vejjajiva, along with the military brass for their incessant lying about the state-instigated murders of 2010? The military has never done anything but lie on the use of live rounds and snipers. Both Suthep and Abhisit deny that protesters were shot by troops under their orders. One might suggest that this is because murder charges have been brought against them, but these denials have been maintained from the time they were in government.

So why the double standards? Part of the reason for Veera’s double standards is to propagate and re-energize the Democrat Party government’s men in black excuse for its murder of red shirts in 2010. Another reason is that Veera is the anti-democracy movement’s propagandist.

Rather than making political propaganda about this policeman’s admission of an obvious fact, Veera might be asking why it took a week for this to happen, but more than three years have passed and Suthep, Abhisit and the military are still lying.





New documents on lese majeste

3 11 2013

We have posted several collections of newspaper articles on lese majeste in the past. So they are new at PPT but about historical events.

The articles were sent to us by a retired professor who has been going through piles of old news clippings the professor said were “filling old-fashioned filing cabinets.” The professor was good enough to send us the scans fro posting.

At our page on these things, we added the files as downloadable PDFs and took the opportunity to do a bit of “word gardening” at the page as well. Scroll down and find the links with the “new” image next to them.

Interestingly, there are some current figures who appear in these documents from the 1970s to the 1990s: Now anti-Thaksinist Thirayudh Boonmee is seen attacking the monarchy after fleeing Bangkok; pro-Thaksinist Chalerm Yubamrung is seen using lese majeste to attack political opponents; red shirt leader Veera Musigapong is sent to jail and his party – the Democrat Party! – is attacked for “protecting him (note in this collection a palace official lying to the foreign media that Veera had been acquitted); a spate of anti-monarchy leaflets in 1987-88; and two lese majeste accusations against foreigners, one involving royals not covered by the law!

It is an interesting collection, and if anyone else has such clippings, please send them to us (politicalprisonersinthailand@hushmail.com), and we’d be pleased to post them.

 

 

 





Opposing impunity

3 06 2013

In one of our recent posts, PPT commented on the Army’s continuing efforts to maintain the impunity it has historically had when murdering its own citizens. One of the concerns amongst red shirt groups and others who saw family and friends gunned down in 2010 is that some of the proposed amnesty bills will result in political and military leaders being immune from prosecution. Unfortunately, this is a real possibility, and in recent days the families of some of those killed have spoken out.

At Khao Sod it is reported that Elisabetta, sister of murdered photo-journalist Fabio Polenghi has “expressed her opposition to any bill that will grant amnesty to those responsible of the military operation which resulted in her brother′s death.” She states she has particular concerns about a draft bill proposed by deputy premier Chalerm Yubamrung,

which would grant amnesty to all those involved in political cases from 2006 to 2010 including former PM Abhisit Vejjajeeva, who had been charged with murders for his role in ordering crackdown against the Redshirts; the military would also benefit from the amnesty.

She pleaded with ruling party parliamentarians, “insisting that absolving the authorities of their responsibility would destroy every effort she and other families of the victims had been putting into their quest for justice in the last 3 years.” She was not opposed to an amnesty for leaders once they had been convicted.

Elisabetta added that she supported an “amnesty bill that helped political prisoners who were jailed for their roles in the 2010 protests.”

An interesting footnote to the story is that Abhisit has contacted Elisabetta, seeking a meeting. She invited him to join her at the event this report comes from, but he declined.

Meanwhile, at The Nation, it is reported that relatives of some of the victims from 2010 have also expressed opposition to Chalerm’s draft bill and any others that grant amnesty to murderers. Nurse Kamolkade Akkahad was killed, and her family has been at the forefront of moves for accountabuility. Her brother Nattapat and mother Phayao held a press conference to express opposition. They “also called for the removal of Tarit Pengdith, head of the Department of Special Investigation, from its team probing the killings.”

Phayao expressed the family’s position:

first, they confirmed that they did not ignore people now imprisoned due to accusations during “Black May” protests in 1992 as they stated that they would support the people’s bill. Secondly, they reject both the National Reconciliation Bill and the Amnesty Bill, as they don’t want to see culprits get off without being punished for their actions. Thirdly, they said if the head of the DSI (Department of Special Investigation) remained, the truth would not be revealed. DSI chief Tarit Pengdith should resign, as Tarit was part of the Centre of Resolution for the Emergency Situation – and thus a suspect in terms of those responsible for killings.

Nattapat said the government and red-shirt leaders had ignored them: “We feel like being a political piece of meat, that we have no meaning to them – they’re just using us if they feel they want to.” He also said of the military: “I’m not afraid of you”.

Thaksin Shinawatra is on record as having “told his red-shirt followers he favours an amnesty bill that excludes not only protest leaders and those responsible for the crackdowns, but also himself.” If this was not more than a bit of political blarney, Thaksin needs to say it again and again. The state’s impunity must end.





Updated: SEAPA and Asian Correspondent on monarchy debate

22 03 2013

Readers may find the Southeast Asia Press Alliance statement on the royalist panic over intelligent debate about monarchy and lese majeste of some interest. There’s nothing particularly new in the statement, but a useful summary of events.

The note on the lese majeste investigation is worth repeating:

Police said that the show concerns a matter of national security, and warned that persons reposting remarks of the show’s panellist may also be breaching the law.

The police chief has also ordered authorities to monitor whether the program was posted online and also ordered all stations to accept lese majeste complaints filed in relation to the case.

Police investigators reviewing the series have found content that violated the lese majeste law, according to a police spokesman.

Update: Siam Voices also has a useful summary of events,including the royalist reaction, mentioning the usual suspects. Described as another low-light, Deputy Prime Minister and troglodyte royalist Chalerm Yubamrung stated:

“Don’t they have anything better to do than criticise the monarchy? It is their right to do so but there must be some limit,” he continued. “Thailand has a population of 64 million. Why give so much attention to the opinions of a small group of people?”

The quote from Army boss Prayuth Chan-ocha is revealing, as ever:

The hawkish general has been previously quoted saying that victims of the lèse majesté law “should not be whining” because “they know it better.” He has also said the following (as previously blogged here), which kind of foreshadows his own words from this week and may should adhere to his own advice then:

“(…) คือกฎหมายเราและประเทศไทยก็คือประเทศไทย ผมไม่เข้า(ใจ)ว่าหลายๆคนอยากจะให้ประเทศไทยเป็นเหมือนประเทศอื่น มีเสรีทุกเรื่อง แล้วถามว่ามันจะอยู่กันยังไงผมไม่รู้ ขนาดแบบนี้ยังอยู่กันไม่ได้เลย” พล.อ.ประยุทธ์ กล่าว

“(…) Our laws are our laws and Thailand is Thailand. I don’t understand why so many people want Thailand to be like other countries – to have freedom in everything – how can we live? I don’t know… I can’t live even like it is now already!” said Gen. Prayuth

‘ประยุทธ์’แจงปิดวิทยุชุมชนหมิ่นยันทำตามกฎหมาย“, Krungthep Turakij, April 29, 2011

 

 





Above the clouds

8 02 2013

Together with an interested reader, PPT has been trying to understand this video clip from the recent Thammasat-Chulalongkorn soccer game there were several anti-112 protests, many of which were reported in the media. Yet we think there is room for interpreting that there was something more going on that engaged the crowd.

We haven’t been able to work it all out, although a reader has tried to explain it all to us. So let’s see what other readers think.

The first point to note, as expressed by our correspondent, is that while politics is often parodied in these events, the annual game back in 1983 was special. During that game, students put up a banner as shown on the left of the photo here. The Free Somyot photo is from the recent game.

Somyos

The images on the left are about “Father.” Now everyone knows who “Father” is, yet these students say their “father” is Pridi [Phanomyong], a good man that “Thailand” didn’t want.

The video itself has a bunch of political and university plays on events and words, with the theme being who is “north” or above others. So Chalerm [Yubamrung] has Somjit above him [we think this is a reference to Somjit Nawakruasunthorn]. Abhisit [Vejjajiva] has his draft dodging case above him, and so on until “Above the cabinet” and the response is: There’s someone looking over it [probably meaning Thaksin Shinawatra].

A little later there is a reference to the banned/withdrawn Channel 3 soap opera Nua Mek. In this stream it means: “above the clouds?” The response is: “above the clouds there isn’t anything,” followed by the question: “Why is that?” The answer is: “There is nothing above the clouds…. Because no one is brave enough to speak the truth.”

It seems a critical comment to us, but maybe PPT is guilty of “anti-royal fundamentalism,” and so we ask readers for other interpretations.

Thanks to the reader who went to considerable effort to link all of this.





Amnesty and red shirts

30 01 2013

Red shirt protesters led by Suda Rangkupan have recently protested the lese majeste sentencing of Somyos Prueksakasemsuk. Now this group has pressured the government on an amnesty for all political prisoners.

The Bangkok Post reports that the government “averted a protracted protest by a red shirt-affiliated group by agreeing to consider an amnesty for political offenders.”

A report in The Nation observes that the group stated that:

… the ruling politicians and red-shirt leadership had made no sincere effort to “return justice to the political prisoners, although the power that you gained directly resulted from the fight of the red-shirt people”. They also urged the government to pass the constitutional amendment proposed by the Nitirat group of academics that is said to offer a general amnesty to settle the political conflict.

After refusing to let Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung off the hook and refused to accept his golden tongue blarney, the group managed to get the government to agree to process the amnesty.

While Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra prevaricated and set out a bureaucratic procedure for the consideration  of amnesty that may eventually sink it, that some red shirts have decided to pressure the government is significant.

That the official UDD is also promoting amnesty suggests that blarney and prevarication may not be a useful long-term political strategy for much longer. Amnesty may at last be on the agenda for political prisoners.