State violence from past to present

16 04 2020

Prachatai has an excellent long read “Songs, tales, tears: State violence in the periphery from past to present.”

We strongly recommend this article as it reminds us all of the violence of Thailand’s military and royalist state.

It begins with a brief account of a recent act of violence in the deep south when the military slaughtered four men working in the forest:

The state gave out information that it was a clash between paramilitary Rangers and RKK armed forces. Later, the Human Rights Protection Committee, appointed by the Fourth Army Area Commander, concluded the soldiers mistook the dead men for terrorists and they were killed as they were running away. However, the families of the deceased insisted that all the young men possessed nothing but tools for cutting wood and chainsaws.

None of the men was shot running. All “were shot in the head; two of them sitting crossed-leg on the ground, leaning forward.” In other words, they were executed in a manner that has been seen in the past.

The article then recalls four other examples of the military’s murders, including the notorious red drum murders where villagers were burned alive.

Clipped from Prachatai

The article concludes with a note on impunity:

There has been no punishment for those responsible for these events, so it is hard for Thai society to learn lessons in order to prevent violence in the future.





There is no justice III

2 04 2017

We recently posted on the death of Private Yuthinan [Yutthakinant] Boonniam who was was initially hospitalized with a swollen face and bruises before his death on Saturday. He is one of several army recruits who have died from beatings and torture by soldiers and officers.

The Bangkok Post reports that the “army chief has ordered a probe into the death of a 22-year-old private…”.

Army spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvaree warned stated: “Please have confidence. If it is concluded that any officer did this, he will surely face legal and disciplinary actions to the full extent…”.

That’s an “if.” As in other “investigations,” the recruit might be found to have fallen…. As if to calm the social media speculation, Winthai bleated that the “army chief would monitor the issue closely to ensure fairness…”. He means “fairness” to the army.

And who is to conduct the “investigation”? Army chief General Chalermchai Sitthisat “ordered the 45th Military Circle to conduct the investigation and promised severe punishment if any officer was found responsible for it…”. That’s another “if.” In case readers hadn’t noticed, the 45th Military Circle is the owner of the prison of the 45th Military Circle, where the unexplained death occurred.

So, again, the military not only investigates itself but the very military unit responsible is investigating itself.

That, we suppose, represents military “justice.”

Frighteningly, Colonel Winthai states: “In the meantime, a concerned army unit is taking good care of the family of the victim to ensure that all parties are fairly treated…”.





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.





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.





Updated: Bizarre, madder, darker

29 03 2016

Prachatai states that the sedition law goes like this:

Article 116 of the Criminal Code states that whoever makes apparent to the public by words, writing or any other means anything which is not an act within the purpose of the constitution or which is not the expression of an honest opinion or criticism (a) in order to bring about a change in the laws or the government by the use of coercion or violence, (b) in order to raise confusion or disaffection amongst the people to the point of causing unrest in the kingdom, or (c) have people violate the law, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding seven years.

It seems the military thugs believe that a woman’s social media posting of a “picture of a red bowl with the signature of the controversial former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on it” and pictures of Yingluck and Thaksin Shinwatra constitutes sedition.

The message with the post stated: “Happy 2016 Songkran Day, this Songkran, I especially miss all my brothers and sisters very much and want to help you solve problems, but before that I would like to send encouragement, love and thoughts.” [Update: Should have noted that this was the message on the bowl, from Thaksin.]

An Army thug-officer told the woman, said to be a red shirt, who posted this innocuous stuff that the “posting … of the bowl is a threat to national security…”.

Yes, this is serious, not an early April Fool’s joke. The fools are real and wear uniforms.

It is going to get more bizarre, madder and darker in Thailand.





Repression deepens, gulags promised

29 03 2016

A day or so ago, PPT wrote that we expected that getting a Yes vote in the referendum would depend entirely on repression and coercion.

Following calls by royalists and dedicated anti-democrats for more repression, the junta has shown our  prediction to be correct. The military dictatorship of junta and military have made coordinated threats.

In a report at the Bangkok Post, the junta’s dumpy boss of bosses General Prawit Wongsuwan “said he will propose that the National Council for Peace and Order [the junta] arrange a special course to ‘re-educate’ politicians who were invited for ‘attitude adjustment’ but continued their ‘unruly’ behaviour.”

Prawit is essentially promising a gulag for political opponents.

The report states that the diminutive thug was “apparently referring to Watana Muangsook, a core member of the Pheu Thai Party … and Worachai Hema, a former Pheu Thai MP for Samut Prakan.” But the threat to all opponents is deadly clear. We say “deadly” because people have died in custody under this regime and because the Thai military is skilled at killing its own citizens.

Worachai is already in custody and held in some secret military detention site for mild and reasonable comments on the referendum and charter. All Watana did before being abducted was point out the unfairness of the detention of his colleague.

The ridiculous Prawit lies that these abductions and detentions are not “a violation of anybody’s rights.” Prawit is a dunce on rights; he only knows thuggery.

Prawit’s view is the the charter belongs to the dictatorship and it is right and correct on everything:

The draft charter is nearly ready.  We are approaching the public referendum stage. The NCPO [junta] knows what they have been doing…

He’s right on one thing: the junta knows that this ridiculous and undemocratic charter and the junta’s grip on power that it arranges can only pass with huge repression and charlatanry. No one will be permitted to say anything negative about the charter, the referendum of the increasingly nasty and threatening junta.

Further building the case for deepened repression, The Dictator General Prayuth Chan-ocha has “declared he will not tolerate politicians who have repeatedly defied the government.” The Dictator stated: “From now on, those who are summoned must attend a training session to improve their understanding.”

We weren’t aware that there has ever been a choice. The military simply arrives and spirits people away.

The Dictator huffed, puffed and trumpeted: “They will also be asked about what they did in the past — right or wrong — and what they plan to do if they form a government…”. Huh? We take it that this is just Prayuth’s inability to construct sensible spoken sentences.

He belched something about “if they [politicians] cannot think for themselves, they should no longer be politicians.” He’s fortunate that the same “logic” is not applied to the junta.

And, he added: “… the government … cannot let them criticise it.” As usual, The Dictator personalized: “I cannot accept the fact that they still keep criticising…”. When he thinks he’s under attack, Prayuth becomes very dangerous and threatening. He can get away with murder.

Adding to the threats and launching intimidation, the Bangkok Post reports that Army chief General Theerachai Nakawanich “ordered immediate crackdown on any action the government believes will lead people to ‘misunderstand’ the government’s workings before the charter referendum in August.”

Bizarrely, but par for the course for these bumptious and dim generals, the Army boss “told subordinates the country has entered an important period where public participation in the referendum on the proposed constitution was essential…”. He means to say that the junta needs a cacophony of positive statements while grinding out opposition voices.

The Army declared that “law enforcement and social order operations were being intensified, focusing their suppression efforts on influential local people and those illegally possessing military-grade weapons.”

Again, we can be confused here. It is the military that is armed. What is clear is that the military is going to crush opposition.

This is getting very ugly. In such circumstances, when US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights Sarah Sewall calls for “the government to respect freedom of expression,” she sounds ridiculous.

This is a regime that is becoming increasingly brutal and rejects and barely understands notions like freedom. She’s spitting into the wind. Rights? Freedoms? There are none.

Expect more arrests, disappearances and plenty of intimidation.








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