Updated: Crazed MP uses lese majeste

10 06 2019

Khaosod reports further on the crazed campaign by Parina Kraikup of the junta-spawned Phalang Pracharath Party. For the background, see the following stories:

Pantsuit-Gate II: Pro-Prayuth MP Piles on Rival’s Fashion

Pantsuit-Gate: Future Forward MP Criticized for Not Wearing All Black

Pro-Junta MP Files Cybercrime Case Against Netizens

Army Revokes Order to Broadcast ‘Red Scare’ Song

#Chitpas1700 : Netizens Squint at Democrat’s Unlikely Victory

Parina has been slagging off Future Forward MP Pannika Wanich for a while now. Much of it has been silly and all of it has been decidedly childish.

Parina has become increasingly hysterical and has quickly gone nuclear, accusing Pannika of lese majeste. The mad claim goes back to “a 2010 graduation photo which shows her [Pannika] looking at a photo of King Rama IX while a classmate points at him.”

Complaining (clipped from Khaosod)

Parina went berserk, writing on Facebook that Pannika was a “fucking bitch and the scum of the earth.” The latter channels an “anti-Communist song of the same name [and] … is associated with the massacre of Thammasat University” on 6 October 1976. That was also recently used by Gen Apirat Kongsompong while attacking Future Forward and other anti-junta parties.

Parina ranted that the photo was “a clear violation of the 112 law…the officials must prosecute her…”.

Pannika defended herself but still felt the need to kowtow:

I deeply apologize to any citizens who are uncomfortable with the photo. But I hope everyone understands that youths are now growing up with questions about using the monarchy as a political tool…my friends and I believe in the system of a democratic government with the king as the head of state.

But in a Sunday interview, Parina said she didn’t buy her rival’s explanation. She was strongly supported by the usual crowd of fascists and anti-democrats who have been unleashed.

Along with assaults and murders, this use of lese majeste to destroy political opponents is likely to be defining of the way the junta-cum-Palang Pracharath plans to “manage” its regime.

Updated: As expected, within hours of the puerile Parina’s pathetic claims, the police have begun investigations. The royalist desire to damage and dispose of Future Forward is quite remarkable. Not one but “[s]everal police units will investigate if Future Forward Party spokeswoman Pannika Wanich, nicknamed Chor, violated any laws in an online post of an old photo showing her gesturing towards a portrait of King Rama IX.”

It is reported that:

Assistant national police chief Pol Lt Gen Piya Uthayo said on Monday that the Thailand’s Action Taskforce for Information Technology Crime Suppression (Tactics) under the Royal Thai Police Office had ordered the Technology Crime Suppression Division, the Legal Affairs Division and the Special Branch Division of the Royal Thai Police Office to conduct the investigation.

Not only Pannika is in strife, but all those in the photos with her.

Also piling on is the royalist “activist”-complainer Srisuwan Janya who is running to the National Anti-Corruption Commission “to probe if Ms Pannika, a list MP of the Future Forward Party, violated the ethics required of holders of political positions” on the basis that “MPs must protect the royal institution and the constitutional monarchy and not take any action that would tarnish the honour of MPs…” Of course, she wasn’t an MP when the photos were taken, but that doesn’t bother the slavish royalists.





Faiyen’s fears

21 05 2019

An article by James Buchanan at VICE is well worth reading. It continues the Faiyen story and begins with the group: “That’s now eight activists who have gone missing. We’re on their ‘wanted’ list too and with all the other targets eliminated, we could be next. We are like calves, waiting to be sent to the slaughterhouse.”

The musicians now feel scared and trapped. In Thailand, some of them face serious charges brought by the military junta. One, Jom, says he has “four counts of breaking the notorious lèse majesté law, which severely punishes anything that ‘defames, insults, or threatens’ the monarchy.”

Faiyen Band (Clipped from a BBC Thai story)

Jom and the band “opted to escape by slipping over the border. But the neighbouring country [Laos] they sought refuge in has offered scant protection and many activists like them are now missing, presumed dead. Shaken by rumours of a ‘kill list’, they too fear for their lives.”

As the article explains, “at least eight Thai dissidents in neighbouring countries have disappeared.” The article details these “disappearances.” The most gruesome, because the bodies were found floating in the Mekong River, were Chatchan Bupphawan and Kraidej Luelert. They had been tortured, garotted, disemboweled and, weighted down with cement in their stomachs, thrown in the river.

The murderers are obviously determined and skilled in their evil, black arts. The lese majeste law may have outlived its usefulness for the senior royalists in Thailand, and they are now using torture and murder to “protect” the monarchy.

Jom is reported to believe that “the orders for the killing came from the Thai government, with assistance from the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs and business connections in the neighbouring country.”

The most recent enforced disappearance of three more exiles s adding to Faiyen’s fears. They feel trapped. They need a third country to help them, but even with the recent deaths and disappearances, this is proving impossible. And, even those being assessed for political refugee status are not safe.





Masking stuff

3 04 2018

A couple of days ago we posted on how the governor of Chiang Mai preferred to focus on some artwork bringing attention to the city’s deteriorated air quality rather than on the problem of dangerous levels of pollution. In royalist Thailand, he was getting his priorities straight. Obviously long dead royals matter more than the health of more than 100,000 living residents.

The Nation reports that the air quality in Chiang Mai is so bad that Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Medicine has “handed out a more protective type of face mask, the N95 [respirator], to help its staff cope with serious air pollution.”

The faculty’s dean, Professor Bannakij Lojanapiwat, said: “Air pollution now is at its worst in three decades…”. He added:

“We are unable to control air quality in our town. But at the very least, we should learn to protect ourselves as best we can,” he said. “If you wear a normal mask, it can’t block out very small particles. You now should go for the N95 if you go outdoors”.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reports that the Governor Pavin Chamniprasart’s royalist explosion has caused the “editor of Citylife Chiang Mai has apologised to the provincial governor after he threatened her with criminal charges for posting on Facebook a student’s painting of ancient kings wearing pollution masks.” [They look like the right kind of mask too.]

Pavin’s claims that the image was “a blasphemous act, disrespectful, and affects the hearts of the people of Chiang Mai,” well, his heart anyway.

One of the governor’s dubious “successes” was that an “anti-pollution rally … planned for last Friday” has been cancelled.

Rest easy Governor Pavin while your subjects are poisoned.





Royalist gone up in smoke

1 04 2018

Back in February, Greenpeace called on The Dictator, Gen  Prayuth Chan-ocha, “to tackle an air pollution ‘crisis’ in Bangkok, weeks after a pollution agency said the city’s air quality had hit dangerous levels.” He didn’t do anything but rain and wind “solved” his immediate problem.

Attention then moved to Chiang Mai, where the air quality is awful. As you’d expect, Chiang Mai’s governor Pavin Chamniprasart has sprung into action. Banning cars, banning burning, banning land clearing, closing polluting factories. Nope, none of that. According to Khaosod, Pavin has done precious little about pollution, but he has ordered minions to make a police complaint about this picture (from Khaosod):

The royalist governor has “filed complaints against a news website [City Life Chiang Mai] for using a parody image of the city’s founding kings in its campaign to fight smog.” As Khaosod explains, the image “shows the three kings purported to be founding fathers of Chiang Mai’s pre-modern city – Mengrai, Ramkamhaeng and Ngam Muang – wearing face masks under a hazy sky.”

Of course, ignoring the smog, Pavin reckons the website is guilty of computer crimes. We can only wonder if lese majeste will follow.

Perhaps kings and royals don’t suffer respiratory problems and can breathe tons of smoky and particulate-laden air, but images of mythical and/or real kings of centuries ago cannot be used to raise awareness of a major health issue.

Gov. Pavin reckons the artwork is nothing more than “mocking the three kings.” We think it is doing something quite different and no mocking is involved at all. Pavin’s either frightened someone might raise the lese majeste issue and he’ll be vulnerable or he’s a mad royalist who cannot comprehend the real world of health or art.

The artwork is said to come from a young schoolgirl.

Pavin seems to have no concern for the health of the people of Chiang Mai.

“On Sunday morning it ranked among the 12 most polluted cities in the world. Its Air Quality Index, or AQI, stood at 151, or ‘unhealthy’.” Pavin would rather chase the tails of mythical/dead kings and protect his own tail.





Further updated: Ultra-royalists united

28 03 2018

As PPT has said before, new political parties are not an innovation in Thailand. Rather they are the norm, most especially when the election rules encourage small parties and fragmented parliamentary power. With the Anakhot Mai/New Future Party, along with initial enthusiasm from a range of reasonably progressive people, the old guard – the old men who consider Thailand theirs – has appeared spooked.

Reuters reports that Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit is under pressure from ultra-royalists. The latter are keen to destroy the young phenoms by labeling them republicans. Fascist royalist Maj-Gen Rientong Nan-nah has said Future Forward “is the future for those who want to impede the rights of the king…”.

Khaosod reports that another “pro-monarchy activist” has been stung into reaction. Mad monarchist Sonthiya Sawasdee, who leads the Federation of Thais Monitoring the State, demands “the Election Commission to investigate a new progressive party he fears may amend the royal defamation [lese majeste] law.” Sonthiya has previously flung lese majeste allegations at others.

Sonthiya is sure that “any attempt to reform the law, known as lese majeste, will bring about unrest in the country.” This is actually a threat from the extreme right that has previously massacred citizens in the name of protecting the monarchy and with the support of the military, so such threats are taken seriously.

Sonthiya wrote online: “… I do not want anyone, no matter who they are, to put their hands on Section 112.” He added: “They should not intrude on the monarchy.” And he “singled out New Future Party co-founder Piyabutr Saengkanokkul as the reason for his concern. Piyabutr, a university law professor, launched a 2012 campaign calling for lesser punishment and a more measured use of lese majeste.”

Piyabutr is trying to distance the party from ultra-royalist allegations, saying: “I’d like to insist that I will not get the party involved with the issue about amending Section 112 of the Criminal Code, and I will not push for it within the party…”. The Nation has more on Piyabutr’s distancing of the party from Nitirat.

A couple of observations seem in order. One is that the monarchy is off the political agenda for all, but not for royalists. Because they support the monarchy, they may use it at their pleasure to slander and undermine opponents. Meanwhile, those on the other side are hamstrung and timid.

A second observation is that those who might have thought or hoped that ultra-royalism might decline with a new and “unpopular” king on the throne have been shown to be wrong. Mad royalists defend a system based on feudal ideologies, not an individual. That said, the rapid shift to support for Vajiralongkorn has been breathtaking.

Update 1: In the above post we noted that threats from ultra-royalists have to be taken seriously. Confirming this, a Bloomberg report states that Thanathorn and Piyabutr have received death threats. He described his political quest as “a dangerous game,” adding: “We are playing with people who have no respect for human life.” Thanathorn revealed that the threat was “by an ultra-conservative,” where he was referring to a “Facebook post allegedly written by a former deputy police commander.” That ultra-royalist “accused the pair of speaking ill of the royal institution” and added that “he had ‘lost count’ of the number of ‘evil’ people he had killed,” darkly threatening: “you guys would be easy for me.”

Update 2: Prachatai identifies the policeman mentioned as threatening death as Bhakbhum Soonthornsorn.





Mad monarchists off the leash

25 01 2018

As has been the case in Thailand for several decades, whenever the political temperature rises, monarchists become politically aggressive. In fact, Thailand’s modern history could be rewritten on the theme of royalists versus the people. In almost every instance in the past 50 years or so, it has been the minority of monarchists who have eventually triumphed, often with the support of a royalist military more than willing to massacre opponents in the name of nation, religion, monarchy and the protection of the neo-feudal social order.

There’s no doubt that the political temperature is now rising. The focal point is General Prawit Wongsuwan’s watches. There’s also no doubt that military junta views this as a story it needs to silence. It has real trouble doing this with its anti-democrat “allies.” It has less problem threatening its “real” opponents, seen as red shirts and Thaksinites.

Khaosod reports that activist Akechai Hongkangwarn, threatened a few days ago, has been assaulted by a man identified as Rittikrai Chaiwannasan. While earlier taken away by police, he seems to have been quickly released and continued on his stalk of Akechai and physically assaulted him.

Akechai was “returning from holding a protest to denounce the deputy prime minister over a series of undeclared luxury watches” when assaulted. He says his attacker beat him, “repeatedly punched him in the face, causing him minor injuries.” He adds that the thug shouted, “You anti-monarchist” and “you are doing it for redhirts…”.

Akechai is convinced the junta and its allies are behind the attack, which he says was “well-planned and involved more than one person as the man knew the time and place he was getting off [the bus].” He asks: “I wonder why they have to resort to this level of violence…”.

In fact, it is standard practice and not dissimilar from earlier attacks on those thought to be “anti-monarchist.” In the past, many such attacks were planned in the military and specifically by its Internal Security Operations Command or ISOC.





No dissent allowed

29 10 2017

Just before the funeral for the dead king, PPT posted on a story about iconoclastic former lese majeste convict Akechai Hongkangwarn and his statement that he refused to wear black as was required by the regime.

Akechai “said it was not about disrespecting the [dead] king but exercising his rights.” He was viciously attacked by royalists and confronted by a squad of uniformed military thugs.

The military eventually took him away from Bangkok, to Kanchanaburi province, by the military. As he was not formally arrested, this was essentially an abduction.

Khaosod reports that Akechai now says he was injured while being taken into custody for four nights in military detention and that he will take legal action.

He will “file a complaint against three soldiers he said caused him to fall and suffer scratches on his arm while dragging him away Tuesday.”

The regime was so desperate for the funeral to proceed smoothly and as a propaganda exercise that a single dissident voice was not permitted.

Next is the coronation, which will be equally important for the junta, so expect more repression.