Death and detention

3 05 2017

Prachatai reports on the military junta’s puppet National Reform Council (NRC) on the rightist plan to bring the media even further under the military boot.

The NRC “has given the green light to a controversial bill that would subject the Thai media to a licensing system.”

During what Prachatai euphemistically calls a “debate over the bill” – it was the usual back-slapping resulting in support for the bill – “NRC whip spokesperson Pornthip Rojanasunand declared: “The media nowadays make video clips to defame people. This is very difficult to control … and is destroying society…”.

She was trumped by Lt Gen Thawatchai Samutsakhon who decried Thailand’s “free” media, saying that Thailand needed to be more like “countries such as China and Singapore have similar media regulations…”.

Lt Gen Thawatchai, seemingly drunk on power or just drunk, trumpeted:

Pol Gen Seripisut Temiyavet, a former police commander, recently gave interviews condemning the military…. He has no respect [for the military]. Journalists who report these things should be executed by firing squad.

Reckless chatter from a puppet, perhaps, but we are sure his personal fascism is widespread among the puppets.

Meanwhile, the military dictatorship’s official thugs continue to abduct political opponents. Prachatai reports that the “military has reportedly detained incommunicado two political dissidents one of whom is a human rights lawyer who represented a former lèse majesté convict.” That was Darunee Charnchoensilpakul.

On 30 April 2017 human rights lawyer Prawet Praphanukul told a colleague that the junta had “summoned him.” He then “disappeared and could not be contacted further…”. Legally, this may be another case of forced disappearance by the junta.

Prawet is known for posting “messages critical of the Thai military government and the use of Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.”

A day earlier, Prachatai states that “more than 10 police and military officers detained Danai (surname withheld due to privacy concerns), 34, a political dissident from Chiang Mai.”

His disappearance was confirmed by Danai’s father who “reported that the [military] officers searched their house and confiscated two of Danai’s mobile phones and informed him that his son would be taken to Bangkok, but did not disclose other details.”

The official thugs “did not present any warrant for the arrest and did not tell him [the father] why Danai was arrested.” However, the “local village headman later told Danai’s father that his son was arrested for posting political facebook messages critical of the junta.”

Military fascism defines the junta’s Thailand.





Release Pai IV

20 01 2017

According to the Bangkok Post, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) wrote to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on 6 January over the arrest of Jatuphat Boonpattaraksa (Pai) on 2 December 2016 and the subsequent revocation of his bail on 22 December 2016.

The OHCHR has replied, explaining that it had followed Pai’s case and had “sent a letter to the permanent secretary of justice, Royal Thai Police, Foreign Ministry and the Khon Kaen Provincial Court” about the case. That letter:un-letter

expressed concern over the prosecution of Mr Jatupat on a lese majeste offence for exercising his right to freedom of expression and opinion, the military’s role in the investigation of the case and the revocation of his bail based on his comments against the government.

Further, the OHCHR urged “the government [ie. the junta] to review cases, including Jatupat’s, in which suspects have been charged under Section 112 of the Criminal Code known as the lese majeste law.”

The Geneva-based Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders also sent a statement of concern to the junta thugs Thai authorities over Pai’s detention. It stated:

The Observatory noted that, to date, Mr Jatupat is the only individual who has been arrested and charged among the approximately 3,000 web users who shared the BBC profile of the King on Facebook. It is believed the charges against him are aimed at sanctioning [punishing] his legitimate human rights activities.

Readers will have also noticed that about 50 activists rallied in support of Pai in Bangkok, while another 40, including Sulak Sivaraksa, have visited him in his Khon Kaen jail.

None of this matters much to the military thugs. Today, Pai was again refused bail. The hearing on his bail application was held in secret.

It is reported that “[w]hen the court informed the activist that the hearing would be held in secret, Jatuphat objected to the court procedures, adding he does not need a lawyer and will not sign any documents.”

Pai has now been refused bail five times.





Chinese flunkies or anti-democratic sloths?

5 10 2016

Thai authorities have detained and will or have deported Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong.

Prachatai reports that Wong was detained “at the request of the Chinese government” in the “early hours on 5 October 2016…”.

wongThe report states that Wong “was invited to the faculty of political science, Chulakongkorn university, to give a talk on new generation’s politics at an event commemorating 6 October [1976]…”.

Wong’s “political group” is said to have issued “a statement condemning the Thai authorities.”

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post also reports on Wong’s detention. The 19-year-old, “famed for his galvanising role in the city’s 2014 pro-democracy ‘umbrella movement’, “had apparently been held incommunicado by authorities. His group in Hong Kong says they have been unable to contact him for at least 10 hours.

Activists in Bangkok stated that Tourist Police stated that the detention followed “a written letter from the Chinese government to the Thai government concerning this person.”

As the Post points out, this is not the first time that the military dictatorship has appeared to be acting as the Chinese regime’s toadies. Thailand deported more than 100 Uighurs to an uncertain fate in China just over a year ago. The disappearance of Chinese dissidents and their reappearance in China and in custody suggests Thai collaboration with agents of the Chinese state.

The military regime is certainly willing to do Beijing’s bidding. At the same time, the junta is so anti-democratic that the idea of a democracy activist arriving in Bangkok to commemorate the 1976 slaughter of civilians that was prompted by rightists, royalists, palace and military is not likely to be appreciated. It is likely that in doing Beijing’s bidding the military dictatorship is also serving its own warped interests.





19th century repression

21 08 2016

The junta’s “capture” of 15 or 17 “activists” it calls “communists” is another example of how fascist military regimes can “invent” and “reinvent” law when it suits their political interests and as they seek to shore up their power.

Thailand’s military dictatorship has rather startlingly revived a law that belongs to earlier years centuries.

It has charged the 15/17 with being member of an ang-yi or secret society.

Earlier this year, Khaosod had an article on absurd Thai laws, like the ban on roller skating after midnight and refusing to assist a postman. The secret society law was included. It says this:

The offense dates back to Rama IV, when Chinese triads (secret societies) were formed, sometimes with criminal intent. Triads, known in Thai-Chinese lingo as Ang Yi, were also accused of sparking riots and revolts against the authorities in Thailand.

Although long gone in history, Ang Yi  remain alive and well in the law. Section 109 of the Penal Code specifically outlaws Ang Yi and similar organizations. The law defines Ang Yi-like behavior as belonging to a secret society with an intent to break the law.

This law has its origins in the late 1890s. As far as we can tell, it fell into disuse in the 1960s, when the military regime used the anti-communist law against its political opponents.

How desperate is the military regime? So desperate it seems that it needs 19th century laws. (Lese majeste dates from the early 20th century, but has been re-feudalized in recent years.)





More snooping

12 08 2016

Reuters reports on a “new scheme that would allow Thai police to intercept telephone calls in national security cases has been put forward to cabinet for approval…”.

Under the military dictatorship, everyone knows that this means essentially two arenas of “national security” will be emphasized: protecting the junta and protecting the decrepit monarchy.

The report states that the taps would be for “criminal, national security, royal insult and transnational crime cases but not political cases…”.

That’s utter nonsense as the junta makes political cases about sedition and national security. This is simply about creating a Nazi-ified Thailand.

The police will gain the “authority to wiretap communication by amending a 1934 Criminal Procedure Code…”. We suspect they already do this illegally.

 

Under the proposed new “rules,” the police “will have to ask court permission,” but that’s a snip under the military dictatorship and its supplicant judiciary.

 

Sunai Phasuk oft Human Rights Watch, called the idea “disturbing.” He adds that the “idea is very disturbing, given Thai authorities’ reckless and arbitrary use of security charges…”.

We’d call the “innovation” not so much “disturbing” as “normal” for a fascist regime.





Fascist legal innovation

2 08 2016

The military dictatorship has come up with another “legal” innovation with which to ensure that its political opponents receive only the junta’s “justice.” In other words, no justice at all.

Prachatai reports that the junta is now appointing lawyers for the political opponents it arrests and barring the opponents’ own lawyers from participation in the rigged cases against their clients.

It is reported that “Tassanee Buranupakorn, former MP of the northern province of Chiang Mai from Pheu Thai Party, Boonlert Buranupakorn, former chief of the Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organisation, Khachen Jiakkhajorn, mayor of Chang Phueak Subdistrict in Chiang Mai’s Muang District, and 8 other detainees, were brought to the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), Bangkok to listen to accusations against them” under the sedition law and several other junta-invented and regenerated “laws.”

The 11 are accused of “an attempt to distribute thousands of letters in Northern Thailand which reportedly contained materials criticising the draft constitution.”

In a properly functioning political system, these letters would not be considered illegal based on the information currently available. PPT has not seen the contents but assumed they only infringe junta-created laws meant to repress political opponents.

Jamnong Chaimongkol is Tassanee’s lawyer. However, Jamnong says that “police did not allow him to listen to the accusations against his client.”

Worse, the junta’s minions “appointed another attorney from the Lawyer Council of Thailand to represent [sic.] Tassanee…”. In most places, and up until now in Thailand, people are permitted to choose their own lawyers.

And worse still, this fascist regime will drag these political prisoners before a military court.

They have been kept in a prison in a military base in Bangkok.

There is no justice in a country run by military fascists.





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.





“Dirty tricks,” propagandizing and truth

15 04 2016

The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has demonstrated that it is not just a puppet outfit but also a junta tool. Of course, it is inhabited by military acolytes and anti-democrats, so this is no surprise. However, a recent story at the Bangkok Post reveals the deep relationship between the military and the CDC that could only be fully understood by those skilled in parasitology.

The CDC is about to go on the road to propagandize for the illegitimate charter which it drafted under the tutelage of the military dictatorship. The CDC will “work with the Interior Ministry, the Defence Ministry, the Public Health Ministry and the Social Development and Human Security Ministry to create a nationwide network of volunteers to educate the public about the draft charter, with their operation covering the village, district, and provincial levels.” This is nationwide and deep propaganda designed to push Thailand further down the authoritarian road.

Military puppet Meechai Ruchupan, who was responsible for ensuring that all military directives on the charter were met, is asking the junta for “protection during a campaign to educate the public about the draft constitution…”. In fact, there is no “education” involved. This is simple and simplistic propaganda for anti-democracy and the extension of military dictatorship.

Meechai and hat

A propagandizing whiner

Despite the reality that Thailand is a military and police state, with the whole of the huge bureaucracy also under military control and at its beck and call, the aged Meechai expresses concerns about “security.” He wants more “protection.”

In fact, what he fears is, in his and the Post’s words, the “risk of disruption if political parties do not play by the rules and lack political principles…”.

Principles? Really? Like the principles of the military that repeatedly throws out elected governments and willingly murders citizens considered opponents? Those kinds of “principles”? Or the principles of those who jump into bed with each and every military regime over the past four decades? Those “principles.” Seriously, Meechai cannot even comprehend the word and its meaning.

Meechai whines “about the potential risk of disruptions by opponents resorting to ‘dirty tricks’.”

This is patently ludicrous. No one needs to use “dirty tricks” on this draft charter. The dolts serving with Meechai have recorded such an anti-democratic and regressive document that merely reading out bits of it are sufficient to condemn it and damn those who transcribed the junta’s desires into a draft constitution. Truth about the charter is all that is necessary to condemn it.

The CDC is not only propagandizing for the junta but has “set up a team to monitor social media” that will hunt down and report those it considers a threat by providing “inaccurate information” and engaging in “dirty tricks” that will cause “misunderstanding.” The aged praetorian prefect declared “[s]ome misinformation has been spread by academics…”. We assume he’s ratting on Nitirat, a group that actually produced a thoughtful and accurate critique of the military’s draft charter.

The ancient man of the military also expressed concerns about the legislation to prevent criticism of the DOA charter. Once the bill becomes law, the CDC is going to seek to strengthen it. Ten years in jail seems insufficient to this lot who fear “any disruptions.”

These are fascists working for a fascist military dictatorship.





We have power, you lose again and again

3 04 2016

The junta can do anything it wants. It is lawless.

It can suddenly decide on a “second” referendum question. Not satisfied with the draft charter and the power it allocates to the military, the junta has decided that it won’t ask just, Do you support our charter, Yes/No, but will add this one: Should senators jointly vote with MPs in choosing a prime minister, Yes/No.

One of the junta’s paid servants claimed this would allow “Senators can help screen out not-so-good or not-so-intelligent persons. At the same time, they can help support a good prime minister who in the past was usually not elected or toppled by street protests so he can steer reform and national strategy without the need to take to the streets, which may eventually lead to a coup…”.

What he means, translated out of juntaspeak is: “Senators selected by the military and other members of the elite are more intelligent than anybody who might have the people’s support. On this basis, the senate can reject the people’s voice and select an unelected premier, probably from the military brass or even the junta, who can run the country so that elections don’t matter and are just a performance so the rest of the world can be fooled by a fascist regime.”

The junta can do anything it wants. It is lawless.

It can ban all discussion of the charter so that no one can hear about it. Book Re:public, a Chiang Mai bookstore and cafe organized a seminar, “Reading Constitution as Literature and Art.” The 33rd Military Circle promptly banned it. They did this in between collecting thousands of red bowls.

The junta can do anything it wants. It is lawless.

It can exempt coal-fired power stations from public scrutiny and from environmental laws. All 29 coal-fired power plants are now free of city planning laws so they can pollute at will and, more importantly for the generals’ wallets, plants in Songkhla and Krabi provinces can go ahead despite considerable local opposition.

Sunai Phasuk , senior Thai researcher at Human Rights Watch, has joined with us in declaring the military regime rogue. Well, they are our words, not his. He said the military junta has passed the point where its promised Aug 7 referendum on the draft charter can be considered free and fair. He is quoted: “There’s no element to ensure a democratic and open space for a meaningful referendum. Every action of the junta indicates that the military wants this to be a one-sided [plebiscite] to encourage an approval [of the draft charter].

The charter is a military invention. It is a device to embed authoritarianism and plutocracy. The referendum for the junta’s charter is illegitimate. Thailand’s military state is a rogue state.





The academic 9

10 03 2016

It had to happen. The military dictatorship can simply not control itself on lese majeste. The longer it consumes the helium that seeps from its high position, the more bizarre become its lese majeste accusations and charges, not to mention the sentences meted out.

Prachatai reports that that nine persons are to be charged with lese majeste over the Tob Jote/ตอบโจทย์ television show in 2013. ThaiPBS aired the program on the monarchy and lese majeste law on 11-14 March and 18 March 2013. The series featured Somsak Jeamteerasakul, Sulak Sivaraksa, Surakiart Sathirathai and retired Police General Vasit Dejkunjorn, the latter a hard-boiled monarchist. The show hosted by Pinyo Trisuriyathamma. All are mentioned in the new set of charges, with four others.

In a post from some time ago PPT quoted the then army chief:

… Army boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha “has lashed out at the Tob Jote TV programme for broadcasting a debate over the role of the monarchy.” … He considers the “broadcast was inappropriate at a time of political conflict.” So the timing was wrong? Probably not. Prayuth doesn’t want any discussion of the role of the monarchy that goes outside the narrow boundaries of the official treacly narrative.

In the latest report, the “deputy police chief announced after a meeting of a police committee tasked for investigating lèse majesté cases that the committee has concluded that, within the scope of Article 112, the nine have allegedly committed crime. The officer, however, refrained from mentioning in details as to when the case file will be sent to the prosecutor office.”

The military monarchists are, as we have said previously, becoming increasingly unhinged as the king’s death approaches. That event will allow the military regime to extend its rule and manage a succession.