Criticism = sedition

11 12 2017

Criticism = sedition if the critic is considered an “opponent,” meaning a red shirt, a Thaksinista or a member of the Puea Thai Party.

A few days ago we posted on Peau Thai Party one-time deputy spokeswoman Sunisa Lertpakawat making some basic criticisms of the military regime which were not all that different from criticisms in the mainstream media.

This led the prickly junta to file charges against her. It has singled out “opponents” in the past for special “legal” attention, including the crude use of lese majeste against Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa as one among several thousand who shared an accurate news story on King Vajiralongkorn.

The junta has now filed a sedition case against her and several more.

The Nation reports that she will report to the police to acknowledge “six charges … for allegedly committing sedition and violating the Computer Crime bill by uploading false information to her Facebook page.

The Dictator and his junta are a gaggle of spineless cowards, unwilling to accept criticism from political opponents. Indeed, in a sign of deepening repression, they are turning on allies in a campaign that cannot go well for Thailand.





Cowardly and prickly

8 12 2017

Peau Thai Party deputy spokeswoman Sunisa Lertpakawat has made some basic and obvious criticisms of the military regime.

According to the Bangkok Post, she has “posted several messages on her Facebook page, criticising the junta on several issues.” After more than three years of absolute control, the junta finds any kind of criticism challenging. In fact, the generals find it demeaning, believing that because they are top dogs, no one can be permitted to criticize them. The critics are but dust under their military boots.

Sunisa made comments about the string of deaths of soldiers and cadets usually beaten and kicked by officers. In another post she lambasted the junta for taking charitable donations for hospitals rather than funding them from the state’s budget. Sunisa also criticized The Dictator for his denigration of rubber farmers in the south.

These are all stories that have had considerable media attention, but the generals, behaving like princelings, can’t abide anything they see as criticism from the Pueau Thai Party.

The prickly junta has now filed a case against her.

Burin Thongprapai, an army staff judge advocate, on Wednesday lodged a complaint against Lt Sunisa at the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD), accusing her of importing false information into a computer system in violation of the Computer Crime Act and the Criminal Code.

Col Burin acted on behalf of the NCPO, which issued an order on the same day to press charges against her.

Sunisa responded appropriately to the junta’s childish bullying:

“If Gen Prayut orders his subordinate to file charges against me because I made too harsh criticisms against them, it means Gen Prayut is not suitable to be the prime minister — he is too cowardly to listen to other people’s opinions.”

These generals consider themselves above the rest of the population. They are despots demanding order and submission.





Censoring opposition

28 11 2017

The military dictatorship allows little criticism of its operations. The Dictator is short-tempered when it comes to critics and has locked up several people who have made rather tame criticism.

We sometimes think he’d prefer that critics undergo harsh “military discipline.”

When it comes to the media, General Prayuth Chan-ocha can go off like a large firework. It wasn’t that long ago that he demanded that the Computer Crimes Act be even more rigorously enforced and especially against online media.

At about that time, the military regime again went after satellite station TV 24, which it considers oppositional. The puppet National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission said the station’s “Sharp News” and “Green Light Thinking” programs “had violated agreements made with the regime despite prior warnings.”

The NBTC put the station off the air for 30 days. The NBTC provided no information on how the programs offended the junta. However, it has previously ordered Spring News, Peace TV and Voice TV off the air for programs deemed “critical of the ruling junta.” Each outlet is considered by the junta to be pro-Thaksin Shinawatra, like TV 24.

Political repression is deepening.





It’s getting darker II

23 11 2017

Yesterday we posted on The Dictator’s demands that critics of the junta (and monarchy) be crushed through the use of laws like the computer crimes act. Our view is that the junta is becoming more confident in being more repressive. Certainly, opposition voices in Thailand are very quiet following almost four years of repression.

Confirming this, the Bangkok Post reports that General Prayuth Chan-ocha “has invoked his sweeping powers under Section 44 to amend the internal security legislation and set up a security ‘super board’ to help the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) deal with domestic threats.”

ISOC has already been expanded, strengthened and made central to all the repression under the military dictatorship, often using methods resurrected from the Cold War.

Prayuth reckons that there are important “new security challenges” that “justify the setting up of the Internal Security Administration Committee.” This doesn’t sound like a regime that is going anywhere. It is settling in for a long repressive future.

What changes in this move is that ISOC becomes the central agency dealing with “security,” at all levels. “Security” usually means the use of lese majeste, computer crimes and sedition laws against political opponents.

Essentially, ISOC will head up all other agencies, and at the regional level, this includes the Interior Ministry, police and prosecutors.

No one need turn off the lights, they are already off. The military has control and is not about to give it up.





It’s getting darker I

22 11 2017

The lights are dimming everywhere and Thailand’s lights have been starved of wattage for the years since the 2014 military coup.

The Dictator is in charge of turning the lights off, and he looks like he’s going for candle power.

The Bangkok Post reports that the military dictatorship has demanded that the Computer Crimes Act “be rigorously enforced against online media that distort facts and disseminate ‘fake reports and hate speech’.”

Thanks Donald and the alt-right for that idea, a redoubt of fascists. It means that General Prayuth Chan-ocha feels free to claim that any news story he dislikes is now considered “fake.”

The Dictator demands order: “society needs to function in an orderly fashion. No matter who you are, if you twist the facts, write what is not true or incite hatred, you will face legal action…”.

That’s a lie (or perhaps fake). We know that the military, the junta and their spokesman twist facts, speak untruths and incite hatred of their opponents and most especially those they accuse of lese majeste. None of these liars will face legal action because they control and manipulate whatever law the junta decides to invent (like Article 44).

The Dictator especially pointed to “his political critics [saying they ]were not immune.” He seemed to have Voice TV in his sights.

He’s been especially ticked off by speculation over his cabinet reshuffle. That seems stalled, somewhere between the junta and the palace. There’s still some horsetrading being done.

Government spokesman and perpetual purveyor of fake news, Lt Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd said “the intention is not to monitor media who play by the rules but to monitor online media and netizens whose identities are usually unknown and operate in the dark.”

This suggests that the military junta is keen to wipe out all critics. It also suggests that another lese majeste crackdown may on the cards.

Lt Gen Sansern revealed that The Dictator demanded that “every ministry and the Government Spokesman Bureau … compel agencies under their authority to be vigilant in monitoring social media and online news entities that publish information relating to the government’s work.”

The Nation adds that The Dictator is concerned about any news or commentary that criticizes the junta’s performance and mentioned the “online dissemination of information ‘deemed controversial to national security’.” That’s usually code for the monarchy.

In making these demands, The Dictator claimed to be relying on recommendations by the King Prajadhipok Institute, which once claimed to support “democracy,” but is a royalist and anti-democrat agency.

The proposed political loosening was fake news. What we are really getting is deep, deep darkness.





Time to stand up

14 11 2017

It has been said that it is better to die on your feet than live on your knees. We wonder if this wouldn’t be better for Thailand’s media, which is traditionally on its knees before military regimes (and palace propaganda).

We notice that the Bangkok Post has demanded that the lese majeste accusations against Sulak Sivaraksa be dropped.

The Post’s editorial states that:

… the police formally charged the internationally famed 85-year-old Mr Sulak with lese majeste. An alleged violation of the Computer Crime Act was tacked on, as it so often and lamentably it is. A military court prosecutor will decide on Dec 7 whether to proceed with the charges.

Of course, the charge is a nonsense. But so are all lese majeste charges. The Post reckons that “the four previous charges had a tiny shred of substance.” Really? If so, why were all of them ditched?

This statement implies that the Post thinks some lese majeste charges are valid and it supports this feudal law. Which charges does it feel are “valid”? The one against a 14 year-old child jailed in Khon Kaen and awaiting sentencing? The man who “insulted” a dead dog that had something to do with a now dead king? The young law student jailed as one of thousands who shared a BBC Thai story? The mother jailed for decades? The family of the king’s former wife jailed in spite? The woman jailed for selling chilli paste to the palace at inflated prices?

Sulak is easy enough to support. He’s a royalist, he’s a middle class iconoclast and he’s a conservative.But all of this lese majeste stuff is a nonsense and makes Thailand a sad country seemingly stuck in some period in the 17th century.

It is long past time for the mainstream media to find its feet. Abolish this ludicrous law and free all political prisoners.

 





1932 plaque back in the news

11 10 2017

Prachatai reports that the Puea Thai Party’s Watana Muangsook has been “accused of sedition for posting on Facebook about the missing 1932 Revolution Plaque…”.

That plaque “mysteriously” disappeared around the time that the military dictatorship’s “constitution” was promulgated by the king.

That was no coincidence. No one ever investigated the disappearance, suggesting that the authorities were the vandals and thieves or that they knew who was responsible for an act meant to further erase 1932 from Thailand’s collective memory.

Watana has said he will fight the sedition charge. On Monday he appeared for a deposition hearing that also includes a charge under the Computer Crimes Act.

The report states that the “Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) accused him of posting false information on the internet in claiming that the 1932 Revolution plaque is a ‘national asset’ in order to call for people to demand its return, adding that the post might also incite chaos.”

This is a very large pile of buffalo manure, but the regime’s exaggerated response suggests that it is protecting a very powerful thief.