Updated: Death, racist royalism, lese majeste and populism

21 11 2016

Our headline is not a summary of the past few years of Thailand’s turbulent politics. It is a summary of today’s politics. All from the Bangkok Post, and mostly from its headline stories.

The puppet Constitution Drafting Committee has come up with a recommendation that will warm the hearts of all anti-democrats and feudalists. Puppet chairman of the puppet CDC “Meechai Ruchupan … wants to see the death penalty as the maximum punishment for politicians caught selling or buying political positions.”

As the Post points out, “Meechai is effectively stating that corruption for profit by a politician is worse than the serial murder of children…”. We imagine Meechai and his anti-democrat supporters will want gas chambers for managing this “problem.”

The brief story in the Post on “motivational speaker” Orapim Raksapol is related to Meechai’s maniacal proposal. Paid by the junta, Orapin went off to the northeast and essentially declared northeasterners less “loyal” to the monarchy than the junta’s anti-democrat constituency based mainly in Bangkok’s condos, townhouses and shophouses. She implied they lacked sufficient “gratitude” to the monarchy’s good works in the region. The junta is now defending her. Few anti-democrats trust the northeasterners and many have racist responses when confronted by people from the region and their politics.

After her elder sister was sentenced to 150 years in jail, it is now Ying Kai’s turn to face the courts. The Post reports that Montra Yokrattanakan has learned that the Criminal Court has “set June 6, 2017 to begin the examination of witnesses in a case against … Ying Kai …, accused of lese majeste under Section 112 of the Criminal Code.” Oddly, the court refused to accept her “revised confession” as a way to get the case to an end.

The final story at the Post is about another example of junta populism. Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong says the junta “plans to roll out electricity and water subsidies for low income families to mark the coming New Year…”. This is for people who earn less than 100,000 baht a year. It is part of a wider package that includes “free rides on public buses and trains.” Only some of these benefits will be extended beyond Bangkok.

Clearly the junta is in “election” campaign mode. That campaign is now riddled with populist policies and political double standards.

Update: The puppet CDC has backed down on the blood-curdling call for the mandatory death penalty for corrupt politicians. It has “agreed to include life imprisonment as an alternative to the death penalty.” So it seems the death penalty remains but is not mandatory. Puppet-in-chief Meechai “insisted the law is better having the death penalty.”

Transnational vigilantism for the monarchy

29 10 2016

The military regime has recently appeared attention-seeking, if contradictory, on political exiles and others writing or social media posting on the monarchy in ways that are different from the hagiographic syrup and fairy tales served up in Thailand.

Fascist ultra-royalists have been hard at work, egged on by the military junta’s unending search for those who think differently within Thailand.

As we noted in our first post on Major General Rienthong Nah-nah and his so-called Rubbish Collection Organisation, these fascist vigilantes have a long historical heritage of military backing and funding to do some of the military’s dirty work. Rienthong’s group emerged prior to the 2014 military coup and was meant to inject royalist venom into the anti-democrat movement. Its fascist gang of thugs was another means to threaten and repress those with different political positions. At the time, Major-General Rienthong, a director at the Mongkutwattana General Hospital and a medical doctor, said his thugs “will work to find and hurt those who insult the monarchy.” He declared his group was established “exterminate … people who insult the monarchy.”.

These fascist ultra-royalists have been very active through social media, calling on like-minded Thais overseas to hunt down and harass and use violence against anti-royalists to silence them.

There have been several recent cases of these vigilantes showing up at the homes of their victims seeking to intimidate them. They also target victims with social media campaigns that also intimidate and threaten.

The latest victim is a Thai living in Sydney, Australia. ABC News reports that Somsak Rachso “has been sacked from his restaurant job after being targeted by an ultra-royalist group known as the Rubbish Collection Organisation (RSO).”

The fascist ultra-royalists accuse him “of insulting the Thai monarchy” but the report says “it is unclear exactly what sparked the campaign against him.”

The Fuhrer of the RSO called on “Thai people there [in Australia] — don’t associate with him, don’t give him or his family a job…”.

The resulting online harassment saw Somsak “fired from his part-time job at Siam Cuisine Thai Restaurant in Penrith, for fear of attracting vigilante attacks.” It seems some Thais in Australia are willing to break the law for the fascist pride it gives them to “protect” feudal notions of a monarchy.

Somsak is said to be a red shirt supporter and associated with a small Australian organization of the Thai Alliance for Human Rights. He is also reported to repost material that critically assesses the monarchy on his Facebook page (now removed).

Somsak says the campaign launched by  by Fuhrer Rientong – he calls him a “criminal gangster” – has brought pressure for him “to stop any movement or fight with undemocratic Thailand which is ruled by dictatorship and military…”.

He notes the obvious: his group and his commentary do not violate any Australian law. In fact, those intimidating him are law breakers.

It seems royalist Thais are unable to adapt to the laws of democratic nations or the culture of freedom of expression.

Rock bottom

29 10 2016

Thailand’s military junta is composed of royalist rightists who have faithfully imbibed palace propaganda for years. In more recent times, as the military supported and egged on anti-democrat and royalist protesters, these military rightists have accepted a nastier propaganda that combines extreme right and extreme left elements, cobbled together with conspiracy theory.

The result is bizarre yellow-shirted views that the U.S., long a supporter of palace and military in Thailand, had somehow become a tool of Thaksin Shinawatra. Crudely concocted networks were constructed to “demonstrate” the takeover of U.S. foreign policy by Thaksin and his lawyers and lobbyists. For the dullards in the military, this seemed to explain why the U.S. administration wasn’t keen on giving 110% support to a military dictatorship in Thailand. After all, it had supported dictators in Thailand “before,” so why not now? Conspiracies provided the answer.

As if to announce just how official this mad rightist conspiratorial line has become, Thailand’s official propaganda agency is now citing the a yellow-shirted conspiracy theorist writing for one of Russia’s propaganda outfit, the New Eastern Outlook, which provides links to a range of alternative media sites, some of them anti-Semitic, others climate change deniers and many libertarian. Some of the co-authors have links to the extreme right in the U.S., including Lyndon LeRouche.

We written before on the author of the article who portrays himself as a leftist but who has connections to Alex Jones and alt-right. It was this writer, who has links with the Democrat Party, who recently called for a campaign to oust a BBC reporter from Thailand through harassment by ultra-royalists.

An online magazine, New Eastern Outlook (NEO), published an article depicting the importance of the constitutional monarchy in Thailand and how it fosters national unity.

The article entitled ‘Why is the Passing of Thailand’s King a Big Deal? was written by Tony Cartalucci, who is an American geopolitical analyst [sic.] and a writer for NEO.

He said the Thai constitutional monarchy helps strengthen and stabilizes the nation by serving as a unifying force. In his article, he also claimed that there had been attempts by some powerful nations to destabilize Thailand through their media reports which painted the current situation in the country in a negative way.

They, however; only received negative responses in return from Thai people after their news stories were published. Cartalucci also wrote that one foreign journalist was called back by his news agency for reporting wrong information about political conflicts in 2010 [sic.]. His report had triggered aggressive opposition that led to his departure from Thailand.

The Thai political world is becoming weirder than it ever has been before.

Further updated: Mobs and censorship

16 10 2016

The death of the king has allowed for even greater censorship, especially related to the monarchy.

It seems that there is a view among the junta’s bureaucrats that foreign reports aren’t fitting their royalist worldview, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (opens a 1-page PDF) admonishing the generally rather supine foreign media.

And, at Prachatai it is reported that the authorities have demanded that internet service providers “set up 24/7 monitoring centres to search for ‘inappropriate content’ across all social media platforms including Youtube, Facebook, Line and Twitter.” If ISPs fail to comply they will be prosecuted.

The NBCT order has essentially turned ISPs into state snoops and asks all internet users to act as vigilantes for the monarchy.

The risk is that such state encouragement of militant monarchists eliminates whatever space was available for different views, creates mobs and prompts violence. We have already seen two mob actions where rabid royalists seemed intent on at least having lese majeste charges laid against individuals and at worst wished to do them harm.

Update 1: It is interesting that there are now three reports of royalist mobs going after persons they believe are not royalist enough. All three are from the south, the home of the (anti)Democrat Party and a region where royalist hysteria has been heavily promoted in recent years, not least by the Democrat Party and the military. Using Facebook and ‪#‎shamethailand, scroll down and you see a video of a young woman being publicly humiliated by a mob. Of course, royalist mobs have gotten violent in the past.

Update 2: The reports of attacks on those deemed not to be in mourning, not dressed in monochrome or who post something on social media considered “inappropriate” have mounted. It appears that gangs of royalists are easily mobilized via social media or SMS. One report even mentions a critic being hunted in Europe by mad monarchists. Several well-known critics of the monarchy living overseas have reported that their Facebook accounts are flooded by vitriolic royalists.

It’s strange in junta land

31 08 2016

Life under the military dictatorship has become increasingly strange. Two recent examples are emblematic of how logic, rules and normality have been altered.

The first is of yet another “suicide” in jail. This one an official who is accused of being complicit in handing out perhaps hundreds of parcels of land to the rich and powerful. He’s put in a Department of Special Investigation cell and is found dead. This is no surprise at any time in Thailand. The rich and powerful always seek to silence witnesses and get rid of evidence.

The surprising thing is that, like one lese majeste detainee in another jail, he’s said to have hung himself. No one believes the story, not least because he’s said to have used his socks to hang himself from a door hinge. The reports are that the ” autopsy results indicated that the rupture of liver was caused by forcible contact with a hard, blunt object.”

Can we assume he beat himself up before hanging himself? This is junta land. This is Bizzaro land.

The second story is of fascist royalist Paiboon Nititawan, described in the Bangkok Post as “a former member of the now-defunct National Reform Council…”. He is said to have “proposed guidelines for the Election Commission (EC) to follow when it arranges the election expected to be held in late 2017.”

That might seem kind of interesting, but this is junta land. This is Bizzaro land. Paiboon is the man who recently proposed that The Dictator become the Unelected Premier-Dictator after an “election.” He’s forming a party and telling the EC what to do. Is he their new boss, appointed by The Dictator?

What he proposes is also bizarre. No campaigning, which he thinks is a “Japanese model.” He has no knowledge of Japan’s elections it seems. He wants repression because the charter “referendum” got the result the royalist and military fascists wanted. So, do it again.

Paiboon’s “story” of the “referendum” is a fairy tale (except for the repression), but he brags that the “result was accepted by society at an international level.” So do it again.

This is junta land.

Updated: On June 24 and the monarchy

24 06 2016

June 24 is an important day. On that day in 1932 the People’s Party (khana ratsadon) executed its well-planned Revolution. It marks the overthrew absolutist royal power.

This date used to be celebrated. In recent years, the event is barely noticed among the cacophony surrounding the celebration of various historically insignificant royal anniversaries. Of course, for many years, the royalist aim has been to diminish the significance of the events of 1932 and to “forget” all but their false claim that King Prajadiphok was the “real democrat.”Pridi

We invite readers to consider the People’s Party Announcement No. 1, which would probably be considered lese majeste if uttered or published today. The announcement is attributed to Pridi Phanomyong. It remains available from the Pridi/Phoonsuk website.

In addition, we link to two posts on the monarchy in Thailand today, each taking different views on the role of the monarchy under the military dictatorship. The first is by “Llewellyn McCann” at New Mandala and the second is from Ji Ungpakorn at Uglytruth-Thailand.

Update: Political repression associated with this anniversary is not unexpected. At the small 1932 Revolution Memorial, located in the middle of a royal plaza, meant to overpower the 1932 memorial, it was reported that an unknown man “denounced the revolution, saying that it was an event that caused damage to the Thai monarchy and religious institutions.” This was as students and others were gathering to commemorate the event that royalists want expunged from their Thai history.

When those remembering 1932 assembled, “police officers briefly detained Sirawit Serithiwat, a prominent anti-junta activist, who led a number of people to commemorate the 1932 Revolution at the memorial to the revolution…”.

Lak Si monument

Lak Si monument

Others, mostly from from Ramkhamhaeng and Kasetsart universities, gathered at the Lak Si monument, which commemorates the defeat of the restorationist rebellion led by Prince (and General, what else?) Boworadej in 1933. Police officers detained students at this event too.

Seven activists were arrested. They were from the two universities and Chanoknan Ruamsap, a youth activist from the New Democracy Movement (NDM) was also arrested. According to reports, the “police accused the seven of violating the junta’s ban on political gatherings and on Saturday will request permission from the Military Court to detain them.”

1932 continues to drive some aspect of royalist and reactionary politics for the military junta.

Ghosts, ghouls and lese majeste

28 04 2016

While the Facebook page FuckGhost (apparently registered as FakGhost) claims to be ridding Thailand of superstitious beliefs, its owner-administrator seems to have faith in the monarchy, despite its dabbling in the supernatural and mystical.

We say this because Prachatai reports that the FuckGhost page administrator has, anonymously, joined with fascist-royalist lawyer Songkran Autchariyasab, who is chairman of Network Against Acts to Destroy Kingdom, Religion and Monarchy, filed a lese majeste complaint, possibly involving dozens of people, accusing them of “defaming the monarchy on Facebook and Youtube.”

Fascist royalists

(PPT is wondering why the page is allowed by Facebook when that company is ferocious in banning persons who post artwork that includes an innocuous nipple.)

The pair charge that “many internet users have posted and shared lѐse majesté messages and images on 20 Facebook pages and Youtube.”

They want the fascist junta to arrest and jail as many anti-monarchists as possible.

It is clear that fascist ghosts and ghouls wander the land, seeking out those they may consume and destroy.