Monarchy, judges and prosecutors

19 01 2017

Dead kings, live ones, the princeling judges of the courts of law and now prosecutors are protected from all kinds of “threats,” implied, imagined and real.

Thailand’s process of judicialization has gone a long way under various royalist regimes and their constitutions since 2006. Judges and prosecutors are untouchable.

To emphasize how far this process has gone, crippling any notion of rule of law, a report in the Bangkok Post will appear ludicrous to most readers.

It seems that the seemingly august  prosecutors in the case at the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions hearing the political case against Yingluck Shinawatra are easily frightened.

On “Oct 7, 2016 around noon,” two court spectators were considered to be “staring at prosecutors in an intimidating manner.”no-justice

Intimidation through staring. There’s a cultural aspect to this but presumably prosecutors are used to dealing with criminals like rapists, murderers, drug dealers, torturers and even hi-so types with excellent connections. But staring bothers and frightens them. Perhaps they feel closer to the criminal types.

The persecuted prosecutors “filed a petition with the court on Nov 18, accusing the two spectators of contempt of court.” The courts swung into action to investigate the “starers” protect the “stare-ees” and a panel of three very senior judges gave their presumably valuable time to this nonsense important “case.”

The Post reports that on “Jan 17, a panel of three judges led by Wiroon Saengthian, deputy president of the Supreme Court, summoned the two for questioning.” The starers admitted they had stared and were fined 500 baht each.

Thailand’s farcical judicial system just got a lot more ridiculous as it seeks to protect the status quo of the ever more hierarchical society.

Standing still a crime

25 05 2016

Just a couple of days ago, PPT posted on some of the military junta’s more bizarre bans as it went to extraordinary lengths to suppress anti-coup activists. We mentioned three-finger salutes, reading books in public places and the eating of sandwiches, all seen as threatening displays of disobedience by anti-coup activists. That ridiculousness reached the military court where a three month jail term was given to an elderly teacher accused of sedition for giving flower to an anti-junta activist.

Ever alert to such seditious acts, the balmy lot running Thailand (into the ground) have charged Arnon Nampa, “a human rights lawyer and a core leader of Resistant Citizen, an anti-junta activist group,” with arranging “standing still” activities that were a silent protest against the detention of critics.

Standing still

Standing still can land you in jail in Thailand

According to Prachatai, prosecutors have “charged him with hosting two standing still activities — one on 20 April to demand that the junta release Watana Muangsook, an embattled Pheu Thai politician who was then detained by the military, and another on 27 April to demand that the junta release eight abducted junta critics who were administrators of the Facebook page ‘We Love Gen Prayut,’ a satirical page mocking the Thai junta leader.”

As Prachatai explains, although several “people participated in the standing still activities, the prosecutor filed charges against [Arnon] only, reasoning that he was the coordinator of the activities…”. He could be fined up to 10,000 baht for each offense.

Befuddled by red bowls

4 04 2016

They have done it to themselves. The Thaksin Shinawatra red bowls, have flummoxed the generals. They have been shouting sedition and conspiracy and now find themselves with an issue – 10 baht plastic bowls that they seem unable to handle or even comprehend. The military junta is in a state of panic, anxiety and puzzlement, lashing out at all and sundry and especially former politicians. Indeed, The Dictator himself seems befuddled.

In one of the linked posts above, we stated: Try as we might, we cannot find a clear statement of which law the former elected parliamentarians have broken, although the Bangkok Post does state that the first person caught with red revolutionary water dippers was “charged with sedition under Section 116 of the Criminal Code…”. Earlier, Prachatai has reported a woman charged with sedition for posting a picture on social media of a Thaksin bowl. We remained skeptical.

Now, it is reported that General Prayuth Chan-ocha “has instructed police to check whether giving out red bowls bearing a Songkran wish from ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to people is illegal.” He’s also unsure about “whether supporting a ‘wrongdoer’ or a fugitive was illegal.”

As far as PPT can determine, based on precedents of various figures in government over many years supporting “fugitives,” such acts are not illegal.

Attempting to overcome his befuddlement, Prayuth tried to grasp things he could understand and asked: “Why are red bowls given to people? Why not yellow ones or other colours? Is the red one more practical than others of different colours?… “Why do people want to get free red bowls? Why don’t they buy one themselves? It’s cheap.”

Yellow, of course! Perhaps the junta should be spanking itself for not having thought of this earlier. Or maybe arresting people for this failure that amounts to lese majeste-like dereliction of royalist duty.

Wags caught his comment that: “If the giver is full of good intentions, he or she had better distribute a jar which can be used to store rain water to people…” and posted pictures of giant water jars, some of them red, given away when Thaksin was premier.

Even though Prayuth was flummoxed, his regime has decided that red bowls are revolutionary and is threatening those who give them away or sell them. Illegal or not, it will be go to military re-education camps.

Junta spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said “to distribute red bowls for the Songkran water festival this month will cause disunity and politicians caught doing it will be sent to attitude adjustment camps…”. Like others in the junta, he declared the bowls dangerous as they were a part of a “hidden agenda” that none of them could explain. It seemed the bowls, unlike re-education camps and repression of political opponents, caused “division.”

Dragged from a hospital bed

14 12 2015

If the news for the last couple of days wasn’t sad enough, today it is confirmed that lese majeste, sedition and computer crimes suspect Thanet Anantawong was dragged out of a hospital ward by junta thugs.

Yes, we did say “sad.” For all of the madness being displayed by a rogue royalist regime, we are sad that Thailand’s people are subject to the crazed behavior of a regime bent on making Thailand a failed state.

Prachatai reports that on Sunday 13 December 2015, Thanet, a student aged 25, was apprehended by plainclothes officer-thugs for “calling for a probe into the Rajabhakti Park corruption scandal…”.  It is not clear if he has “insulted” a royal flea bag as well.Thanet

The thugs “allegedly took him from his sickbed while he was in Sirindhorn Hospital, Bangkok.” Khaosod reports that Thanet “was admitted to the hospital with an intestinal infection Friday and was about to be operated upon for a hernia when he was taken away…”.

He was reportedly taken to the military’s deadly “temporary prison in the 11th Military Circle on Nakhon Chaisi Road … for interrogation.” He will interrogated with the intent being to force a confession from him.

Niran Pithakwatchara, who is “a medical doctor and former National Human Rights Commissioner, said he was concerned for Thanet’s health…”.

In addition to the crimes he is accused of, the junta gang “also alleged that he joined the red shirt demonstrations in 2010…”. Well, him an hundreds of thousands of others, but this hardly seems to tell us anything other than the regime is petrified and paranoid.

Thanet faces up to 27 years in prison.

Meanwhile, in an uplifting development on a very bad day for Thailand’s people, Khaosod reports that:

Those who actually made the graphic for which Thanet and a second man have been charged today called for the junta to prosecute them instead of people who liked or shared it online.

Rangsiman Rome, a leader of the New Democracy Movement, this afternoon called for the military regime to hold his group responsible for the Rajabhakti Park corruption map.

Rangsiman also expressed concern Thanet might die in military custody.

Royalism, corruption, cover-ups and more madness

10 12 2015

PPT is unable to keep up with the flow of remarkable articles on the activities of a seemingly unstable regime. We say “unstable” as many of the utterances and actions by the military junta seem to be driven by mental instability. Even so, we are not convinced that this is an “explanation” for seemingly bizarre behavior

Bike for Dad: The best report we have seen on the Bike for Dad ridiculousness, mired in corruption, lese majeste and deaths in custody is, in fact, a spoof at Not The Nation. Sadly, for a country that is suffering the increasing insanity of military dictatorship, the spoof is as accurate as most of the reports appearing in the mainstream media.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reports that the private sector is being strong-armed to support military-monarchy propaganda exercises. The secretary-general of Thai Frozen Foods Association “said he was asking for cooperation from members to allow employees to take an extra day off on Friday.” He was responding to “a call by Department of Labour Protection and Welfare for private companies to help promote tourism during the long weekend and support their employees in taking part in the Bike for Dad event.” However, because “more than 80% of the workers in the frozen food industry were migrant labourers who will not be paid if they take the day off as a holiday,” this is an inexpensive show of demanded loyalty. The BTS skytrain operator has been told to provide “free rides will be offered on both the skytrain and the BRT bus rapid transit system from 6am until midnight on Friday as part of the bike ride activity….Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the Expressway Authority of Thailand and Bangkok Expressway Plc will waive toll fees at 11 entrances from 9am until 11pm on Friday.”

All of that will make the traffic like the Not The Nation spoof. It is difficult to spoof this regime because they spoof themselves on a daily basis.

Bike for Dad “Plot”: Readers will recall that a “plot” was “uncovered” to assassinate someone at the prince’s event. Readers will also know that the regime then spoofed itself when it was learned that one of those involved had been in jail for the whole period of the “planning” for the “plot.” Never mind, the regime dolts claimed he must have been involved somehow. Dolts do hate being shown to be dolts, for they can recognize loss of face. The result? Who’d have guessed that the loyal thugs in uniform would simply sue the jailed man’s lawyer! No, we are not making this up. “The Thai junta’s law officers has filed a criminal defamation complaint against a lawyer of a Bike for Dad plot suspect while the lawyer alleged that the authorities intimidated her and pressured her client to change his attorney.” Clots and clods working to save face do ever more stupid things.

Thammasat defiled: The university has a long tradition of support for student activists and for democracy. However, in recent years, the Thammasat administration, like those of universities throughout the country, has been taken over by royalists and anti-democrats. Its most recent capitulation to the military dictatorship sees the “Student Affairs Office [issuing…] a statement, saying that people should not to associate Thammasat with activists demanding probe into Rajabhakti park scandal while many academics urged the university to reconsider its statement.” The administration states that the students’ “actions were meant to cause disruptions in governance.” Can’t have that! It is better to support an illegal military regime that represses students (among many others). Some academics expressed concerns about the statement and they are likely to face threats too.

National Anti-Corruption Commission: Pretty much a toothless tiger when it comes to anything other than politicized cases, The Dictator has said that the NACC can work unfettered. We assume this means on everything except massive military and regime corruption.

FakeArmy fakes protests: Social media confirms that the junta’s dubious claims that they arrested students and supporters a few days ago to “protect them” was, in fact, another lie. Photos show Army Division 9 commander, Maj Gen Thamnoon Vithee, masquerading as a “protester” at Ban Pong. Perhaps these dolts will go into denial, again. We already knew that the military organized the “demonstrations,” but having a Major-General lead it seems dumb if you are faking this kind of thing. Still, it was standard practice in the 1973-76 period.

The military and police threat: Police Major-General Paween Pongsirin, who led the investigation into the trafficking and murder of Rohingya migrants is seeking political asylum in Australia. Why? He says – and he should know – that “influential figures in the government, military and police want him dead…”. They want him dead because he is threatening their corrupt networks that have made admirals, generals and their wives fabulously wealthy. Threatening the hierarchy is an added “crime.”

Just to be clear, he described the hierarchy in this way: “Influential people are involved in human trafficking. There are some bad police and bad military who do these kind of things. Unfortunately, those bad police and bad military are the ones that have power…”.

Lese majeste couture: Shock! Horror! Well, not really, just another lese majeste reality mimicking spoofs. Some dope named Banjong Lueadthahan who claims to be riding his bike for someone who is not his father, or even a relative, claims that the Nakhon Sawan provincial authorities should be investigated for lese majeste. Why? He reckons they gave him a Bike for Dad shirt that is a fake. Another ludicrous story that is real in a Thailand that seems like a spoof of a nation that is insane.

We can’t bring ourselves to write any more of this nonsense. That will do for mad Wednesday.

We predict it, they do it

28 11 2015

On 26 November, in a post on US Ambassador Glyn Davies at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand, PPT stated:

The military dictatorship and rabid royalists will be unhappy. Expect to see the madder ones protest because Davies expressed concern about “the lengthy and unprecedented prison sentences handed down by Thai military courts against civilians for violating the lese majeste law…”.

The mad monarchists are absolutely predictable.

issara and prayuth

Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha was predictably thick when he “waded into the debate on Friday.” He “responded” by blathering about Davies being able to say what he wants: “It’s up to him…”. But, as everyone expects, Prayuth was unable to control his tongue, threatening: “Next time don’t send anyone to talk about trade with me then…”.

Equally predictable were the “dozens of demonstrators” led by fascist monk Buddha Issara who descended on the US Embassy. They protested against Davies’ criticism of the lese majeste law. That means they protested for the feudal law and all of the repression it stands for.

Issara and the moneyThe monk “urged Mr Davies, who took up his post just nine weeks ago, to better understand Thai culture and not to intervene in the debates related to politics and the royal institution.”

One of the bright sparks among the protesters decided to wave a placard saying “This is Thailand, not the USA.” We are sure Davies knows his location, so the placard is a statement of rejection: a rejection of liberal values, of freedom of expression and of civility.

The anti-democratic monk babbled: “You have no right and no power. … We are not slaves of the US. The monarchy is a sacred symbol that all Thais are ready to defend with their lives…”. These mad monarchists consider themselves slaves of the monarchy and military.

Barbarians on campus

22 11 2015

The headline is from an excellent Bangkok Post Spectrum article by Nanchanok Wongsamuth that comments at length on the intimidation of students and faculty at Thai universities. In it, dean of Ubon Ratchathani University’s political science faculty Chaiyan Rajchaigool, describes the military’s campus patrols as “barbaric”.

He observed that the patrols, where the military drives around campus, appears armed on campus, visits classrooms, talks to faculty and administrators, “intimidated students and faculty members, likening it to treating them as if they were guilty of thought crime.”

The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha has “denounced university lecturers as having instigated rebellious thoughts and actions among students.”

PPT won’t repeat all of the article, which deserves a full reading. We simply reproduce bits and pieces that struck us chilling, revealing and important.

Titipol Phakdeewanich claims not to discuss politics on Facebook. His colleagues at Ubon Ratchathani University “describe him as not politically vocal, and his criticisms as not provocative or hostile, but within the boundaries determined by normal Thai politeness.” Titipol says: “My work does not involve opposition against the NCPO or the government…”.

Yet because the military is so fearful and so conspiratorial that he teaches on democracy and human rights is a threat to national security and the monarchist regime. Since “his first unofficial meeting with military officers in December last year, the army’s continued presence in classrooms, seminars and events involving international organisations has left the political science lecturer feeling fear and concern.” He has reason for his worries: “Titipol has been monitored [by the military] at eight different events that he knows of, each involving an international organisation.”

[T]he army has banned political gatherings of more than five people, it has often included seminars and academic discussions under that rule. Many event organisers are required to submit requests to authorities prior to staging a discussion. Most of the requests related to democracy, politics and lese majeste, however, have been rejected, often without any explanation.

The Army has watched and been suspicious of “topics ranging from corruption and scholarships to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.”

Titipol has links with the UNDP, U.S. Embassy and EU Mission. Military officers ask him: “what exactly are they trying to lead you into believing today?” He observes “they now see democracy as propaganda and a threat to national security.”

Read some of the comments under the story and you see that there is a stream of paranoia, from Left to Right, that views the U.S. as a Thaksin Shinawatra-supporting regime that wants to overthrow the monarchy and regime in Thailand. Madness, no real evidence other than conspiratorial blogs, but actually believed by some, including elements of the ruling regime.

Meanwhile, the climate of fear has extended into classrooms, where critical thinking is toned down and lecturers tell Spectrum they are reluctant to discuss “sensitive” issues, for fear of army surveillance. As well as overt means, there is also a fear that someone in a class may be spying or even reporting the content via family connections.

Faculty and administrators are required by the military to “closely monitor the activities of their students…”.

Vinai Poncharoen is an associate professor at Mahasarakham University’s College of Politics and Governance. he military fears him: “Last month, an army colonel and his subordinates held a meeting at the university with Mr Vinai, the faculty dean and vice-dean.” Vinai stated: “I told them I would not stop posting about politics on Facebook…. The colonel threatened me that this would be his last request, but refused to tell me what would happen if I violated his rule.”

The result is self-censorship: “when teaching Thai politics, he is careful when discussing the monarchy and instead uses obscure references.” He knows that there are spies on campus: “A staff member from the student affairs division had attended one of his lectures and the university’s legal adviser also attempted to add him as a Facebook friend.” Spying works better when threatening: “They [the army] said they have a spy in the university watching over me…”.

Assistant professor of law at Thammasat University Sawatree Suksri has “monthly visits to her house by three to five army officers who arrive in pickup trucks…”.

The meetings are described “as intimidating.”  She states: “Regardless of their manner, I don’t think the presence of military officers at home is considered normal…. It is a form of intimidation. It is sending the signal that we are no longer free.”

Since then, three to five officers meet him at the faculty every one to two months in what he describes as a “very polite” manner.

Worachet Pakeerut, already facing charges, has “three to five officers meet him at the faculty every one to two months.” He says:

Having people check on us all the time is like having ‘Big Brother’ watching over you. And for what? They are wasting their time, but on the other hand it is probably a psychological act.

A network of university professors recently declared “universities are not military camps.” They stated:

We jointly declare that in order to bring Thailand out of the conflict … there is a need for the creation of a society that has tolerance towards differences of opinion, transparency in solving conflicts and a fair and accountable judicial system…. Such a society is one that is governed under a liberal democracy … and educational institutions have a direct role in creating a democratic society.

Those involved have been summoned by the dictatorship’s enforcers and are expected to explain themselves.

Sadly, university administrations work in the interests of the military barbarians.