Support Da Torpedo

12 10 2019

Please support Darunee Charnchoensilpakul if you can. She is battling cancer. Her friends ask for support through a GoFundMe page.





Hyper-royalism dogs Thailand

10 10 2019

As the king moves to embrace economic and political power not seen since the days of the absolute monarchy, hyper-royalism is again on the rise, stoked by the palace’s propaganda machine. Nowhere is this clearer than in the linking of the dead king and the new one. In its more bizarre forms, this draws on dead dogs as well.

Khaosod reports that the long dead palace bitch Thong Daeng, complete with royal title, described in the report as “iconic,” has been resurrected through artificial insemination. Yes, “scientists” are mimicking Dr Josef Mengele, they do work to please the higher ups. Of course, we are exaggerating somewhat, but the image is of scientists making their work fit the regime.

The the royalist sycophants at the “Faculty of Veterinary Science at Kasetsart University revealed Tuesday that eight grand-dogs of Khun Thong Daeng were birthed earlier this year via artificial insemination with frozen semen from two of her dead sons. All of the eight puppies are healthy, and have been bestowed royal names from … the King.”

Not Thong Daeng. Clipped from Bohemian.com

The article then establishes the “royal” family tree of the Thong Daeng line. And, we learn in breathless reporting, the whole business “was approved by King Rama X…”. Official pictures of the mutts were released.

The palace promised “[m]ore information about the eight dogs … for a public release at a later time…”.

Thong Daeng is described as “the most eminent pet of … the [deceased] King” and is claimed to be “held in high regard in Thai society.” Not bad for an old soi stray.

Royal dogs were little heard of except for King Vajiravudh’s favorite pooch which apparently deserved a statue. In recent years, they have been considered newsworthy as royal insanity has infected many royalists and others. We’ve seen dopey journalists eating cake with a princess’s yapper, the prince’s poodle promoted in the military and the king’s bitch made into a model dog and a model for the Thai people to somehow emulate.

But the point of all this sycophantic nonsense is to show how everything associated with the kings is fabulous, erasing their huge wealth and the fear associated with the palace. Royal dogging seems a bigger deal than any normal human being would have thought. Thong Daeng, Fu Fu and other royal pooches get more protection than any of those normal humans.

The report notes this fear by mentioning that in 2015, Facebook user and political activist Thanakorn Siripaiboon was charged with lese majeste for comments about Thong Daeng. The last we heard of this case was that, even though the lese majeste law only applied to a few palace humans, this case would be heard by a military court. Even dead royal mutts get the full support of Thailand’s (in)justice system.

It gets worse from here as neo-feudalism takes hold and throttles the country.





With two updates: “Law” and repression II

8 10 2019

It gets worse.

Khaosod reports that police on Tuesday (or it may have been Monday evening) arrested Karn Pongpraphapan, 25, a pro-democracy campaigner who they accused of spreading “hatred” toward the monarchy in an online post.

Karn was taken into custody “at his home last night and taken to a police station where he was charged with violating the cybercrime law. Karn now faces up to five years in jail.

As is often the case in the lawlessness associated with rule by law and acts said to involve the monarchy, the “police statement did not specify what Karn wrote, but described it as an ‘inappropriate content on Facebook spreading hatred’ which ‘upset a number of people’ after it was widely shared.”

As usual, Karn is charged under a section of the Computer Crime Act banning content that “pose a threat to national security.”

His lawyer, Winyat Chatmontree denied the charge and said:

the message in question was a public Facebook post Karn wrote on Oct. 2, which asked “How do you want it to end?”

Karn then went on to reference historical events involving past foreign monarchies, such as “shooting like the Russians,” “beheading by guillotine like the French,” and “exiled like the Germans.”

Winyat stressed that “Karn’s writing did not mention the Thai monarchy in any way. He also disputed speculation on social media that Karn was criticizing the recent traffic woes allegedly caused by royal motorcade in Bangkok.” He said: “He was talking about the history of other nations.” He says that it was others who distorted his client’s writing.

The report adds that “[t]he arrest came several days after digital economy minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta announced that the police were on the verge of ‘purging’ anti-monarchy figures on social media.”

It is no coincidence that, at the same time that Karn languished in jail, Minister for Digital Censorship Buddhipongse issued a directive that “cafe and restaurant operators with free wifi service must collect internet traffic data used by their customers up to 90 days, or face punishment.” He “explained” that “officials may need to request for the information under Article 26 of the Computer Crimes Act…”.

It is also no coincidence that this follows that mass outbreak of complaints about the monarchy.

Update 1: Khaosod reports that the watchman, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, wants five people arrested on these (disguised) lese majeste charges of making “inappropriate” online comments about the monarchy.

In an attempt to deflect criticism from the throne, the king has arranged it with the regime that charges other than lese majeste are now used for those considered to have insulted the monarchy. (The regime has also taken to enforced disappearance, torture and murder in dealing with anti-monarchists.)

Prawit babbled “we’ll have to prosecute them, because their wrongdoing involves attacking the monarchy.”

Minister for Digitial Censorship Buddhipongse said Karn was not targeted “for his political beliefs.” He’s fibbing. He invoked rule by law, claiming that Karn’s nighttime arrest was a matter for the courts.

Buddhipongseis an anti-democrat from the People’s Democratic Reform Committee who became a junta spokesman, then a member of the junta’s front party and is now a minister.

(We should add that it was only a couple of weeks ago that Shawn Crispin at Asia Times trumpeted Thailand as being post-authoritarian, erroneously claiming: “Political scores are being aired and contested in the open, not through late-night police state knocks on the door…”. We remain confused how a journalist can whitewash the current regime’s political repression.)

Update 2: The Bangkok Post reports that Karn was granted bail late on Tuesday.





Support Da Torpedo

30 09 2019

Da Torpedo (Photo by Surapol Promsaka Na Sakolnakorn from the Bangkok Post)

Darunee Charnchoensilpakul was one of the first political prisoners in what became, under the military junta, a mammoth use of lese majeste to silence critics of the royalist’s ruling arrangements.

A self-proclaimed pro-democracy campaigner, she was arrested on 22 July 2008 after delivering an exceptionally strong speech denouncing the 2006 coup and the monarchy. initially convicted and jailed for 18 years. An appeal was upheld, but she remained in jail until a new trial in 2011 where she was again found guilty and sentenced to 15 years. She was “pardoned” and released after serving more than 8 years in prison.

She now battles terminal cancer. Made poor by her incarceration, her friends are asking for support through a GoFundMe page. Please help if you can.





Recalling the 2006 military coup

20 09 2019

The army’s task: coups and repression

19 September was the anniversary of the 2006 military coup. This was the coup that set the path for Thailand’s decline into military-dominated authoritarianism based in ultra-royalist ideology.

Over the past couple of days we didn’t notice a lot of memorializing of the event that illegally removed then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his Thai Rak Thai Party, with tanks on the streets and soldiers decked out in royal yellow.

The military soon hoisted Privy Councilor Gen Surayud Chulanont into the prime ministership.

Anointing the 2006 coup

As we know, the coup did not succeed in its self-assigned task of rooting out the “Thaksin regime,” with Thaksin’s parties having been the most successful over the years that have followed and when the military permitted elections. This is why the 2014 coup was aimed at “putting things right,” through a more thorough political repression and a rigging of the political system for the ruling class. It also unleashed a rabid use of lese majeste to destroy that class’s political opponents.

One effort to recall the 2006 coup was by Ji Ungpakorn. He observes the:

forces behind the 19th September coup were anti-democratic groups in the military and civilian elite, disgruntled business leaders and neo-liberal intellectuals and politicians. The coup was also supported by the monarchy….

2006 coup

And adds:

Most NGOs and large sections of the middle classes also supported the coup. What all these groups had in common was contempt or hatred for the poor. For them, “too much democracy” gave “too much” power to the poor electorate and encouraged governments to “over-spend” on welfare. For them, Thailand is still divided between the “enlightened middle-classes who understand democracy” and the “ignorant rural and urban poor”. In fact, the reverse is the case. It is the poor who understand and are committed to democracy while the so-called middle classes are determined to hang on to their privileges by any means possible.

For a flavor of the times, see reports of the coup by the BBC and The Guardian. For early efforts to understand the 2006 coup, consider Ji’s A Coup for the Rich, Thailand Since the Coup, and Thailand and the “good coup.”

It’s been downhill since 2006: repression, military political domination and ultra-royalism, leading to a form of neo-feudalism in contemporary Thailand.





Updated: Royalist plotting

19 09 2019

Among others, Khaosod noted the “report” that was “seen on PM [Gen] Prayuth Chan-ocha’s desk during a parliament session on Wednesday” when he did not respond to his unconstitutional oath.

That official document is apparently titled “Network Plotting to Destroy the Nation…”. Initially, “Government spokeswoman Naruemon Pinyosinwat said the report was compiled by officials who work on ‘national security issues,’ but declined to elaborate, saying the content is ‘classified’.”

Khaosod observed that the “report’s cover photo appears to show the aftermath of a recent bomb attack in Bangkok.”

The Bangkok Post has more detail, translating the report’s title as “network of elements sabotaging the nation…”. Its anonymous “source within the government” disclosed that the report was “prepared for a briefing by intelligence and security agencies,” with “the elements” claimed to be “sabotaging the nation” are “political figures whose acts are deemed to offend the high institution of the monarchy.”

In other words, as has been since the period leading up to the 2006 military coup, the royalist military and its supporters are concocting yet another “plot” against the monarchy. This follows concoctions like the Finland Plot and the infamous anti-monarchy “plot” and “diagram” under the royalist military-backed Abhisit Vejjajiva regime.

The anti-monarchy plot diagram

Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has confirmed that it “has information about a network…”.

As the Post observes, no names have been mentioned, but Army boss Gen Apirat Kongsompong “had previously mentioned some groups which he believed intended to harm the country…” and referred to “a movement which was trying to provoke a civil war between ‘pro-democracy’ and ‘pro-junta’ factions.” He was essentially attacking the Future Forward Party.

And it was only a few days ago that the Criminal Court ruled that ultra-royalist prince Chulcherm Yugala, who declared the Future Forward Party dangerous republicans “seeking to overthrow the monarchy,” had not libeled that party.

Quite obviously, the military, its ISOC – an “intelligence” agency – and the regime is going to use the monarchy against democratic and parliamentary opposition.

Such plotting by the regime may be dismissed as the musings of old generals who crave power and serve the ruling class.

However, such maniacal plotting in the military and probably in the palace has real and terrible consequences such as military coups, lese majeste, jailings, bashing of opponents, enforced disappearance and torture and murder.

Clipped from Thai Alliance for Human Rights website

Even in recent days, the family of victims of such accusations have been harassed by the regime thought police. Kanya Theerawut, the mother of missing political refugee Siam Theerawut, disclosed “that the Rights and Liberties Protection Department [a useless part of the Ministry of Justice] … told her not to take her son’s case to the UN, as it could ruin the country’s image.” We think the regime has done plenty to ruin Thailand’s image. She was also “visited and questioned by Special Branch officers…”, which is a standard regime means of intimidation.

It is the royalist plotting that is most intense and most deranged. It is also hugely expensive. This regime plotting is far more dangerous than anti-monarchists.

Update: A reader points out that the report on the political harassment of Kanya came just a couple of days after Shawn Crispin at Asia Times erroneously claimed: “Political scores are being aired and contested in the open, not through late-night police state knocks on the door…”. Like the reader, we are confused as to why a journalist would want to whitewash the current regime’s political repression.





With two updates: Open-mouthed disbelief V

10 09 2019

It is now clear that having been an international heroin smuggler is no bar to being a minister in Thailand.

Indeed, several deputy prime ministers and the prime minister himself have supported Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao, a convicted drug trafficker. In common with the mafia-like Thammanat, most of those supporting him are military men, and used to operating with absolute impunity.

Gen Prayuth

In the Bangkok Post, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, speaking after a cabinet meeting, “said that he would no longer comment on legal cases against cabinet ministers because they had been clarified by those involved.”

“Clarified” seems to mean he accepts Thammanat’s all too obvious public lies.

Gen Prayuth, who relies on Thammanat as an enforcer in his coalition, told reporters to forget the story. He considered that they should look at previous governments and their faults and problems. As well, he “explained” that “all [current] cabinet ministers were subject to background checks.”

Background checks seem to count for far less than staying in power. Staying in power requires thugs like Thammanat.

Meanwhile, Thammanat himself seemed to believe that lies can be doubled down with more lies. He reportedly claimed that that “the Australian drug case had occurred more than 30 years ago and he had already clarified the matter.”

“Clarified” seems to mean he accepts Thammanat’s all too obvious public lies.

Thammanat, clipped from Khaosod

Despite the evidence sourced from the Australian court, “Thamanat insisted that he never confessed because he had done nothing wrong.” Wow! He went on: “He … dismissed as untrue the Australian report which cited court files.”

We assume that such lies are made on the basis of two beliefs. First that Thammanat reckons that Thais are a collection of morons who will believe any buffalo manure he serves up. Second, he expects to enjoy the impunity that is afforded to all big shots in Thailand.

Thammanat then further manipulated the truth saying he “was convinced that the report was written by someone in Thailand as part of a move to discredit the government, and had instructed his lawyers to prepare civil and criminal suits against those involved.”

Are police and military now in search of these evil people? Sadly, they probably are and will seek to frame someone.

Thammanat also threatened to sue the Australian newspapers that published the court reports. That seems like bravado and buffalo manure.

In Australia, The Age has an editorial (also in The Sydney Morning Herald) that says its “expose of the dark past of one of its [Thailand’s] new ministers shows the challenges facing its threadbare democracy.” It notes the role of the military and monarchy in crushing democracy in the country.

Thammanat is representative of both (or claims to be). As the prime minister and several deputy prime ministers have shown, he certainly represents this military-backed government.

Update 1: An anonymous correspondent tells PPT that one reason Thammanat is feared by journalists (and others) is because he has been seen to sport the loyalty logo that the king gives out to the most trusted and appreciated royal servants. We don’t know and the correspondent didn’t say, but assume it is this one (left). Army boss Gen Apirat Kongsompong sports one and so does Chirayu Isarangkun, Gen Prayuth and more. We haven’t seen this particular logo on the chest of the convicted heroin smuggler but the king link is in the stories, as told by Thammanat himself when he was busted.

Update 2: Watching television news and discussion shows today it is interesting that – at least in those seen – that while the Australian drug trafficking and Thammanat’s conviction and jailing was mentioned, it seemed the big deal was Thammanat’s denigration of coalition politicians. He’s Palang Pracharath’s fixer and in a recent interview likened his job not to a mafia enforcer but to a monkey trainer constantly handing bananas to his coalition monkey politicians. As a result, one micro-party pulled the plug on the coalition.

It still seems that the media is paralyzed by the threat of lese majeste and fear of the king.