The authoritarian future I

22 06 2017

The National Legislative Assembly is a puppet assembly established by the military junta to do its work. The members are a bunch of junta lackeys, mostly from the armed forces, putting money in their bank accounts. Their voting behavior is that of Japanese cats.

This voting pattern was seen when the junta’s planning for military domination into the future was as enacted as a National Strategy Commission with the national strategy bill.

No prizes for guessing the voting: 281-0.

The Commission will have the prime minister at its head, with three vice-chairmen being the Senate and House speakers and a deputy prime minister or minister assigned by the premier.

Our guess is that its likely that at least the premier and Senate speaker will be military, depending on how the junta manages its “election.”

The members of the Commission will be the defense permanent secretary; chiefs of the Supreme Command, army, navy, air force and police; secretary-general of the National Security Council; chairmen of the National Economic and Social Development Board, National Farmers Federation, Thai Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Thai Industries, Tourism Council of Thailand and Thai Bankers’ Association. Another 17 supporters members can appointed by the government of the day.

That’s 5 or 6 from the military and the rest will be anti-democrats who have long supported military dictatorship.

The Commission is able to demand particular legislation related to “national reform” and maintaining the junta’s agenda into the future.

Updated: Military thugs campaign in Khon Kaen

22 06 2017

The Dictator has been on the campaign trail, traveling to Khon Kaen, in red shirt territory but appeared at the yellow-shirted island at the university there.

In his speech, he appealed and whined. His main point was that people should appreciate and like him and the military.

General Prayuth Chan-ocha sought to hoodwink his audience, saying: “I would like to be the prime minister for everyone. All of us should help to avoid conflicts…”. He’s done his bit to avoid conflict, repressing, jailing and murdering over the past few years.

He then beseeched them: “Please do not hate the military. Certainly some soldiers are bad, but there are bad fish in every occupation. In fact, there are more good people than bad ones…”. The bad ones seem to be running the country (into the ground).

At about the time, his 30 of his soldier and police thugs were conducting illegal operations, seeking to repress opponents in Khon Kaen. Prachatai reports that:

security officers … raided the headquarters of the activist group Dao Din and confiscated documents about the controversial healthcare reform. When an activist asked to see a search warrant, a policeman gestured towards a military officer saying, “Here is the warrant.”

The report states that the officer was none other than the traffic-stopping royalist thug Lt Col Phitakphon Chusri, “a local unit leader of the junta’s so-called peace-keeping force in Khon Kaen. He usually appears at political campaigns and activities criticising the junta in Khon Kaen. He was also the one who file a lèse majesté complaint against Jatupat Boonpattaraksa, aka Pai Dao Din, for sharing a BBC biography of King Vajiralongkorn.”

Don’t hate soldiers, just overthrow their regime.

Update: Isaan Record has a story on the thugs. Read it and count the obvious lies spouted by the minions of the military junta. They can lie and concoct as much as they like because the military boot is big, thick and rewarding (for them).

Reconciliation plan ticked off

20 06 2017

A report at he Bangkok Post tells us the military dictatorship’s reconciliation plan is about finished. Tick that off.

This “planning” began back in February. Then in April it was reported that the the various groups and committees, all dominated by the military, had wrapped up two months of work “gathering public opinion,” and that the junta’s minions would draft “a unity agreement” by June. Sure enough, they have.

It’s been a propaganda exercise and still has a way to go in serving junta interests.

The propaganda includes claims of public participation. Defence spokesman Maj Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich “expressed confidence that the efforts to build national reconciliation will come to fruition as the unity agreement has been drawn up from public input and past lessons.” He added:

It may only be a piece of paper, but it’s the people’s will. It is the people who have provided this framework for living in a peaceful society. I’m confident we will succeed this time because we have drawn on lessons from the past….

Nice try General, but its a lie.

In any case, the document, already amended by General Prawit Wongsuwan, who also approved it, is only three pages long. That’s less than the documentation or agreement for a laptop or tablet or for online banking. But we are talking about military men, and they all have multiple jobs and the longest document they can concentrate on is a bank statement.

But now the draft “agreement”will be kept secret until it is “unveiled” at public hearings in late June and early July and “public opinion will be considered in fine-tuning the draft.”

Those “public hearings” will be carefully controlled and will be subject to heavy security to prevent any “politics” entering the process.We can be sure of this because the military domination of the process so far has been 100%.

Enforced amnesia

17 06 2017

The efforts to erase history from the brains of Thais continues.

A widely-circulated Khaosod report is of junta thug-soldiers and police going to two art galleries in Bangkok and ordering the removal of “three photographs from an exhibition without citing any reason.”

In fact, thug-soldiers working for the military dictatorship doesn’t need any reason for doing what it pleases. Yet, in this case, the notion seems to be to prevent people from remembering.

One of the exhibitions depicts the “lives and memories of political prisoners while the other was an homage to the 2010 military crackdown on Redshirt protests which left more than 90 people dead.”

The soldiers reportedly showed up under a misapprehension that lese majeste convict Pornthip Munkong, was hosting the exhibition. In fact, many of the photos had already been removed from the exhibition following a complaint by Pornthip.

By chance, the soldiers wandered across to the other exhibition and were aghast that the exhibition “contrasts images of the bloody 2010 crackdown with pictures of everyday life.” The soldiers demanded that three collages be removed.

The military junta seems intent on countrywide lobotomy.

Patnaree’s lese majeste case begins

17 06 2017

Another ludicrous and vindictive lese majeste trial has begun. On 16 June 2017, testimony began to be heard in the lese majeste case against Patnaree Chankij.

The case is ludicrous for several reasons. For one thing, it is an attempt to silence Patnaree’s son, anti-junta activist Sirawith Seritiwat. Second, the charge appears to relate to one word in a Facebook conversation about the monarchy: “ja.”

While the report linked here says that the word is initially translated as “yeah,” this is a misinterpretation that the military regime knows will be the court’s understanding. In fact, “ja” is a word used for all kinds of responses to statements by others and does not always imply agreement with anything at all.

Yet ludicrous lese majeste charges are “normal” for the military dictatorship as it seeks to manage Thailand as a royalist anti-democracy.

Patnaree is a single mother and a domestic worker and for her “ja” now stands “accused of insulting the monarchy, a crime known as lese majeste for which she could serve three to 15 years in prison.” She also faces charges under the Computer Crimes Act, another “law” that represses free speech in Thailand.

So far, Patnaree has maintained that she innocent on all the junta’s charges. She has “denied she had any intention to join in or endorse criticism of the monarchy in the conversation.” She adds: “I am fighting this charge to prove my innocence… My intention, my thought and the text that I wrote have already shown that I had no such idea (to defame the monarchy).”

The report states that the only “witness” heard on Friday was “an army officer who filed the complaint against her, laid out the details of the prosecution’s case.” The case is, like so many other lese majeste cases, a political persecution.

1932 will be erased

16 06 2017

Remember that plaque, commemorating the 1932 Revolution that, for the first time, reduced the absolute power of the monarchy? It was either stolen or semi-officially removed (in secret) at about the time that the junta and the king came up with the idea of making the junta’s constitution a royal constitution by proclaiming it in a royal ceremony on Chakkri Day.

The two events appear related, which seems appropriate as the removal of the plaque was a symbolic rejection of constitutionalism as law and people’s sovereignty and the junta’s constitution similarly rejects those principles.

With the anniversary of the 1932 Revolution coming up on 24 June, activists were planning to mark that event, as they had previously, at the site of the (now missing) plaque.

In anticipation, the police have “warned democracy activists … that they will be arrested if they gather to mark the upcoming anniversary of the revolution that ended absolute monarchy, a historical moment that has taken on renewed significance.”

In particular, police said “they would not tolerate any attempt to gather at spot on this year’s anniversary…”.

The police, who are remarkably dull and mainly focused on managing their own corrupt incomes, are probably acting at the direction of the junta.

One of their spokesmen “explained” the “thinking” behind the ban: “This year we will not allow activists to come to lay flowers at the Royal Plaza because this is palace ground and it violates the NCPO (junta) order banning gatherings for political purposes…”.

That is a perfect illustration of how the monarchy and military have been intertwined in opposing electoral democracy and popular sovereignty. It is a statement that acknowledges the rollback of politics to a royalist authoritarianism that seeks to establish a royalist political system that is anti-democratic.

Farming digital politics

15 06 2017

Many readers will have seen reports that a group described as Chinese were arrested with 474 mobile phones and 347,200 SIM cards.

The police grabbed the team in Sa Kaew and stated that this was a social media farm. The initial reports stated that the “three suspects confessed that they earned Bt100,000 [per month, presumably] for using the WeChat app to generate Internet traffic that could have misled vendors of Chinese products…”.

This scam was said to have not been used in Thailand. In any case, as one digital business “leader” explained, why would Thai businesses or other use these Chinese when “many Thais were also hired to click likes on certain posts in huge quantities but they got much lower fees than their Chinese counterparts.”

There were some oddities. One was that the photos showed most of the SIMs unused. Then it was said police found another farm with more than 100,000 SIM cards, although the “two Chinese men [who] had rented the place … left suddenly on Sunday night.”

Enter The Dictator. He “ordered police to extend their investigation … to determine if there was a hidden political or business agenda behind such crimes.” General Prayuth Chan-ocha “wanted police to find out whether people were using similar methods for political purposes, such as inciting the public or insulting the monarchy, in addition to commercial or other illegal activity…”.

One reason for this turned out to be that The Dictator is irked that all those people he hates – politicians – have millions of “likes” and “followers.” He particularly complained about Yingluck Shinawatra. But he was also thinking of those “nasties” he thinks are behind all the lese majeste he sees in every nook and cranny of the web.

Perhaps he should have asked how it was that some of these farmers were tipped off about the raid.

Perhaps he should have asked how these “illegal foreigners” could by up to half a million SIM cards from Thailand’s mobile network operators and other firms.

Perhaps he could have asked why it is claimed there “no Thai laws [that] can be used to prosecute them for manipulating social media, as they reportedly targeted only Chinese products.”

Perhaps he could have asked which officials are protecting the farmers and raking in the baht.