An official epidemic

21 02 2016

In an op-ed at Asia Sentinel, usually blocked in Thailand, Charupong Ruangsuwan, the executive-director of the Organization of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy (OFHD), based in San Francisco, and a former Puea Thai Party leader, writes on an epidemic of suicides and flight among senior police and military.

Because of the blocking, we reproduce much of the op-ed.

On 12 February, it was reported that “a Thai police spokesman announced that a high-ranking official, Lt. Col. Chan Chaisawatra, had committed suicide.” Charupong states:

We believe he didn’t commit suicide. We believe he was murdered, the latest in a long series of “suicides” that began last year in what amounts to a reign of terror within the Royal Thai Police.

The claim that he committed suicide is belied by the fact that Chan had been promised a promotion a month earlier. Our investigation in Bangkok has revealed that the junta wanted to set an example for any government employees of the consequences of daring to challenge the authority of Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha….

On Feb. 8, Chan lodged a formal complaint regarding the use of the junta’s notorious Article 44 which gives universal power to the junta leader, including the disbandment of the officer’s  investigative division at the police department.

If Chan was murdered, then his “death, after 20 years of service, has sent a shiver to every police officer in Thailand.”

Charupong states that: “The news of his death has not been reported by any Thai media at the moment or they could face grave consequences including the shutdown of their publication.”

But why an “epidemic”? Charupong points out that “[l]ate last year, Maj. Gen. Paween Pongsirin, another high-ranking Thai police officer resigned and escaped death, fleeing to Australia in fear of his life.”

Others have fled:

Police Gen. Khachachart Boondee  as well as Maj. Gen. Suchart Prommai, former 11th Infantry Regiment commander now stripped of military rank; Police Col. Col Pairoj Rojanakhajorn, a former chief of the Crime Suppression Division’s Sub-Division 2; and his-then deputy Lt Col Thammawat Hiranyalekha.

In addition:

Police Major Prakrom Warunprapa and Major General Pisitsak Saneewong na Ayutthaya, the chief bodyguard of Prince Vajiralongkorn, supposedly committed suicide in jail. The prince’s soothsayer, Suriyan Sucharitpolwong, aka Mor Yong, supposedly died of renal failure. Former police spokesman Prawuth Thawornsiri also disappeared.

All of this is chilling:

Academics and past politicians dare not exercise free speech. Countless numbers of Red Shirts and pro-democracy activists has disappeared without any traces. Their loved ones and relatives have contacted me but I couldn’t help them. I am now living in exile in the United States.

What can be done? Not much in Thailand, where the royalist generals and their murderous minions have impunity. Charupong urges:

The United States, the U.K., the E.U., Australia, New Zealand, Japan and all other civilized nations must continue to put pressure on the illegal regime of Gen. Prayuth to respect human rights and stop murdering people who speak their minds peacefully.

Jaran in exile

5 06 2015

Jaran Ditapichai is one of the 31 exiles that the military dictatorship wants back in Thailand so they can be locked up. Prachatai has an excellent account of Jaran’s history of activism and his current role.

JaranJaran is 68 years old and the police issued an arrest warrant for him on 16 June 2014, following the military coup. On 26 August 2014 a further arrest warrant was issued on a lese majeste charge. This was for his role as “the chief organizer of the 40th anniversary celebrations of the 14 October 1973 student uprising, where ‘The Wolf Bride’ was performed in October 2013 at Thammasat University, Bangkok. Two theatre activists were sentenced to two years and a half for their involvement in the alleged lèse majesté play.”

Jaran had earlier fled on 27 May to a neighboring country before leaving for France in June.

Long a dedicated activist, he is now a “coordinator of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy (FTHD), an anti-junta group in exile, and the coordinator of red-shirt supporters and pro-democracy activists in Europe.”

Jaran’s view remains that, for Thailand, its political future lies in a revolution. He has few hopes about returning home as the lese majeste charge hangs over him.

Malaysiakini on Thailand’s lese majeste exiles

7 01 2015

There have been several reports of late about Thailand’s lese majeste political exiles. One of these appeared in the influential Malaysiakini, written as a special report by Susan Loone. We felt it worth reproducing, with a few notes added and some clarifications:

Thai exiles want ‘free, democratic Thailand’

On Dec 1, several NGOs protested the visit of Thailand Prime Minister [they mean The Dictator and self-appointed premier] Prayuth Chan Ocha to Malaysia, in solidarity with the Thai exiles, who urged other countries Prayuth visits to follow the example of Malaysians in sending a strong message that they opposed the Thai military dictatorship.

Malaysiakini spoke to several Thai exiles, who expressed their desire to see a liberated Thailand in their lifetime.

One of them, Jakrapob Penkair, was a university professor and a TV journalist before devoting his time to politics in 2003.

During Thaksin Shinawatra’s rule, Jakrapob … was a Member of Parliament, representing Bangkok, besides being a minister in the Thai Prime Minister’s Office and a government spokesperson.

He helped formed the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) and was subsequently jailed for 12 days for his anti-military coup activities.

As a cabinet member, he was about to relinquish state powers when he was accused of lèse majesté, the law that punishes citizens for insulting the royalty.

Jakrapob left his beloved country on April 14, 2009 and has never since returned. And he has not never given up on his political beliefs either.

“We hope to undo the brainwashing of Thailand and to continue with the process of democratisation.

“We Thais have been led to believe that the King of Thailand can right all the wrongs and we need not have confidence in ourselves, but just to believe in him.

“No country can depend on one person, although one good leader can encourage several more people to move and shake,” Jakrapob told Malaysiakini in an interview recently.

He is proud and grateful that several Malaysian activists protested against Prayuth’s visit to Malaysia on Dec 1.

“You made it clear to the dictator of your disgust and disdain about him and his kind. We would like to express our appreciation to all of you.

“We understand that your internal struggle is no less tough and tiresome. We hope to be able to join forces for you as well,” he said.

Junya Lek Yimprasert is a Thai labour rights activist who fights and writes about exploitation at the bottom of supply chains.

After the massacre of civilians by military forces in Bangkok in May 2010, Junya wrote ‘Why I don’t love the King’ and was charged with lèse majesté.

She has, since July 2010, been living in Finland as a “political refugee”.

“The last straw that made me leave was after seeing many trade unions and NGOs become part of the royalists movement to kick out many elected governments since 2005.

“My last straw was seeing 40,000 military troops crackdown violently on the demonstrators, which caused some 100 people to be killed and nearly 2,000 injured,” she said in an interview with Malaysiakini.

‘Even those in exile face threats’

But being in exile does not guarantee freedom from violence or fear.

Junya … said the Thais who are living in exile from the military regime also face much threats, from both ultra royalists and the military, as well as imprisonment, without any chance to defend themselves.

“For me, being wanted by the Thai military junta as ‘a criminal and a treat to national security’ for my writings is something that hit me hard in terms of recognising that the road of struggle for democracy and freedom in Thailand will be long and with lots of obstacles,” she said.

Like many who live in exile, Junya is not happy to see Prayuth welcomed warmly in Malaysia by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

She then went on to call upon Malaysians to oppose the Thai junta and not allow Prayuth to poison the aspirations for freedom and democracy in her country.

“It’s important for Malaysia, for Thailand and for Asean as a whole that the people of Asean stay in solidarity to uphold the principle of freedom and democracy. The Thai people are very much in need of solidarity from you all to help us fight against the dictatorial military regime,” she said.

Suda Rangkupan was an assistant professor at the Department of Linguistics in the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, from 2000 to 2004 before she fled Thailand.

Suda was part of the well-known movement, “29 Jan 10,000 Liberate”, where 10,000 people called for amnesty for political prisoners.

She left Thailand after the coup, on May 22 last year, after realising that the Red Shirt Movement to oppose the military coup could not be pushed further at that time.

She does not accept the coup as the orders of its leader, Prayuth …, are “illegal and an act of rebellion”.

“However, I realise how brutal the Royal Thai Army, which took control of Thailand, is to the Red Shirts so I decided to leave Thailand, hoping that the least I can do as a free person is to tell the world that not all Thais surrender to this latest royal coup,” she said.

‘Prayuth is just a junta leader’

Suda does not understand how anyone can accept Prayuth as the leader of Thailand. “I would not call him prime minister, for he is just a junta leader,” she said.

Pavin Chachavalpongpun, an associate professor at the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University in Japan has been summoned twice by the Thai junta for his criticisms of the military.

“I rejected the call and as a consequence, the junta issued a warrant for my arrest. Shortly afterwards, my passport was revoked and this forced me to apply for refugee status with the Japanese government,” Pavin … said.

He now feels safe in Japan, for the government there looks after him well, he said. He has a permanent job, with a steady income and a sense of security.

“Hopefully, I will be granted refugee status in the future and this will allow me to travel legally, which is a important part of me as an academician, for I need to travel for my work.”

Pavin’s message to Prayuth, nevertheless, remains clear: “Return power to the Thai people immediately. Stop violating the people’s rights.

“The military must withdraw itself from politics; the military must also stop politicising the monarchy for its own political interests.”

The coordinator of the Organisation of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy, Jaran Ditapichai, said Thais who love freedom and democracy need moral and political support, notably from the international community, to stop the human rights violations the ruling junta carries out daily.

Jaran is currently in political asylum, under the juridicial and administrative protection of France.

“I have several good friends, both Europeans and Thais, who are keeping an eye over me.

“But the big problem is how to earn living in this country, where the cost of living is high,” said Jaran, who was a former adviser to a deputy prime minister and a former national human rights commissioner of Thailand.

The leader of the … United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship, which is also known as the Red Shirt Movement, is thankful to Malaysian politicians, human rights and democratic NGOs and the media that reported the protest against Prayuth during his visit to Malaysia.

“I hope friends of human rights and democracy in the other Asean countries will openly express their what they think of the Thai military leadership, like how the Malaysians have done,” Jaran added.

The most significant “crime” I

23 12 2014

Self-designated Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha has insisted that “the monarchy needs the lese majeste law to legally protect the institution.” Reported at the Bangkok Post, The Dictator declared that “as the King is not in a position to defend or explain himself in legal situations as an ordinary citizen could.” If this wasn’t clear, The Dictator added: “If His Majesty can’t defend himself, we have to take care of him…”. Funny, it is usually “the people” who are treated as infantile, not the monarch.

This is diabolical nonsense as even a recent case shows, where the Royal Household Bureau has used the draconian lese majeste law to file a complaint against woman who held the contract to supply the prince’s palace kitchen with chili paste…. There are other cases where the direct involvement of the palace is known.

What needs protecting by the general is the military-monarchy alliance that is the keystone of an exploitative political, economic and social system. The lese majeste law is considered critical for the maintenance of this system.

The Dictator went on to babble that “while foreign countries may criticise Section 112 from a human rights perspective because they do not understand the law, Thailand’s unique situation makes protecting the monarchy crucial.”

In fact, most “foreign countries” and most Thais understand that the law is a piece of feudal legislation used to maintain a modern and repressive state. This was made clear by The Dictator who was opposing Charupong Ruangsuwan’s establishment of an anti-coup branch in the U.S. as the Organization of Free Thais with the US authorities after a lengthy process.

Meanwhile, and perhaps spurred by the expansion of anti-coup groups, the Bangkok Post reports that the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has been contracted by Justice Minister and Deputy Supreme Commander Paiboon Koomchaya “to bring lese majeste suspects still on the run to justice.”

Of course, there is no such thing as justice in lese majeste cases. At present, many of these cases are conducted in secret and by military courts. Even if they weren’t, civilian judges behave unconstitutionally (if there is a constitution in place) and illegally when conducting lese majeste cases. The sad case of Darunee Charnchoensilpakul being just one example.

Paiboon declared that “a communication channel must be opened with countries where lese majeste fugitives are in hiding to try and arrange extradition. However, talks alone might not be enough to see the return of the fugitives.” Sounding like a puppet for The Dictator, he “explained” that “[f]oreign countries must be briefed so they understand the crimes of lese majeste and what the fugitives have done to damage the monarchy.”

In recent weeks, the monarchy has done far more to damage itself than any anti-monarchist forced into overseas exile has.

Paiboon also made himself look like a complete moron when he stated: “We do not see this as a political issue…” but adding of the fugitives, “their crime was politically motivated.” Banally, he continued that “there was no need to put the issue on the national agenda…”.

Better tell the boss and the rest of the junta who daily emphasize lese majeste and use the law like children with new toys. Indeed, in the very same story, Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwan, stated that “[i]nvestigations are under way to track down the lese majeste violators…” throughout the country and overseas.

Any foreign government hearing this could only be flabbergasted by the gross stupidity of this royalist regime.

Activist flees

2 08 2014

Readers may recall that almost immediately following the illegal 22 May 2014 coup, the military junta sent its soldiers to arrest Kritsuda Khunasen, a 27 year-old red shirt activist in Chonburi. This was a part of the military dictatorship’s carefully planned effort to prevent any opposition to the coup by rounding up potential leaders of any anti-coup action.

Kritsuda was arrested on 28 May yet the military lied that it did not take her. When video showing her arrested and taken away, the military then refused to disclose any information about her detention. She was illegally held in incommunicado detention for almost three weeks.

When she was eventually released, the military attempted to cover up its illegal actions by producing a propaganda video that the military junta had played on the its media. At the time, it was clear that a fearful Kritsuda was pressured to state “how happy and well-treated she’d been while imprisoned the military, saying her detention was ‘too good for words to say’ and was staying longer.”

The unbelievably doltish and dishonest military junta stated that she was held at her “own request” so she could “meditate.” Suddenly, within 24 hours, Kritsuda was released. The junta’s unbelievably dopey spokesman then made all kinds of contradictory statements about the legality of her illegal detention.

Upon her release, Kritsuda, having been forced, like all other detainees, to sign a military agreement to declare that she was “well-treated,” desist from politics and anything else the military found troubling, she told reporters that she was well-treated throughout the detention.

It now remains to be seen how the military dictatorship will dissemble on Kritsuda’s flight to Europe vowing “to expose the true story of her detention.”

Kritsuda “is now residing in Europe and plans to apply for an asylum in an unspecified European country.”

Apparently, Kritsuda” is being assisted by the anti-coup organisation in exile, The Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy (FTHD).”

On Facebook, Kritsuda described her detention as “the 27 days I was close to death in the military barrack.” She states: “I will remember to the day I die. What they call ‘soldier gentlemen’ are in fact animal from hell…”.

We guess that the military dictatorship will be keen to block her story – promised to appear at Prachatai – and will seek to discredit her.


Anti-monarchy = freedom, balance, equality and democracy

27 07 2014

A couple of days ago PPT posted on a VICE story about the monarchy and the threats imagined by the military dictatorship. The following is an English-language translation of the highly confidential Thai document featured in the VICE story:

[Highly confidential]
Undermining the Royal Institution
(27June 2014)

Groups undermining the Royal Institution have attempted to exploit the 72nd anniversary of the change in government structure [1932 Siamese revolution] (24 June 2014) by revealing their organisation to oppose the National Council for Peace and Order. They plan to undermine the Royal Institution, referring to freedom, balance, equality and democracy as their main justifications. Their methods have included the revelation of concealed history connecting the Royal Institution to political events, and they have attempted to distribute reports of royal deaths in an effort to reduce the community’s faith in the Royal Institution.

The establishment of “The Organisation of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy: FT-HD” includes Mr Jarupong Ruangsuwan as the Presidential Secretary and Mr Jakrapob Penkair as the Managing Secretary. On 24 June 2014, a videoclip was released providing a declaration from the organisation, criticising the political changes made by the National Council for Peace and Order as having broken Thai and international law, causing Thailand to return to an extreme system of dictatorship. The choice to use the phrase“Seri-Thai” [Free Thai] on the website with the username “FreeThai Organisation”, and on the page “Seri-Thai Organisation” (องค์กรเสรีไทย), is said to refer to the freedom and rights of the common people, suitable for use while fighting to reclaim their human rights and democracy.

The opinions of most of the general Internet community oppose/do not agree with the above-mentioned proceedings. They see the establishment of such an organisation as being connected to the undermining of the Royal Institution, and spread information regarding the differences between “Seri-Thai” during the political changes caused by the revolutionaries in 1932 and the present. Concerning the groups that are undermining the Royal Institution, they have promoted and joined in sharing the above-mentioned declaration, as well as inviting each other to use the tag “#FreeThai”. They have stated that they are releasing the country to freedom and update each other with information on the page “Followers of the Thai Freedom Against the National Dictator Movement” (แนวร่วมขบวนการเสรีไทยต่อต้านเผด็จการแห่งชาติ). Interestingly, Mr Anon Numpa, a lawyer, has requested that Mr Jarupong or others involved in this organisation clearly provide a statement concerning the existence of the Royal Institution.

Regarding the movements of individuals attempting to undermine the Royal Institution, during the reporting period it was found that some have returned to using Facebook or have reopened their Facebook accounts, such as Mr Thanthawut Taweewarodomkulor “Noom Retanont” (หนุ่ม เรศนนท์), who has become active on Facebook again and has confirmed his refusal to report to the National Council for Peace and Order, including rejecting the order as a denial of his rights and freedom. In addition, it was found that individuals attempting to undermine the Royal Institution living overseas, who were asked to report to the National Council for Peace and Order, displayed their passports to show that they have received a different nationality rejecting their Thai nationality and include: Miss Chatwadee Amornpat or “Rose” (England), Mr Lerpong Wichaikhammat or “Joe Gordon” (USA) and Pavin Chachavalpongpun (Japan).

Overseas Situation

Mr John William Oliver, a comedy actor known for parodying English politics, discussed the issue of Crown Prince Filipe of Spain’s inauguration, criticising it and referring/connecting it to other countries with monarchs, such as Queen Elizabeth II, by means of showing sections of and criticising ‘the poolside clip’ broadcast on HBO, 23 June 2014.

For Consideration

The declaration of actions/establishment of the “Organisation of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy” by Mr Jarupong, which Mr Saneh Tinsaen (Piangdin Rakthai) had previously (on 21 June, 2014) provided information regarding the establishment of this organisation, shows that this organisation is connected/it may contact or join in an attempt to undermine stability.

On the military junta’s interim constitution I

27 07 2014

Linking to Asia Provocateur, we want to make this statement by the Organisation of FreeThais for Human Rights and Democracy (FT-HD) widely available:

A Thai version of this is published here.

“The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) – the title the May 2014 Thai coup-makers bestowed on themselves – received from the King, on July 22nd, a document they’ve called the 2014 interim constitution. In order to do so the NCPO has exercised power by stealing the people’s sovereignty and illegally enforcing itself as the highest law in Thailand. The FT-HD wants to make it clear that NCPO is a criminal organisation that has committed outrageous wrongdoing and which has sought to intentionally destroy democracy.

The NCPO claimed that it seized power in order to solve the country’s problems and return “happiness” to the Thai people but, all along, it was aware of and taking part in a plot to topple the democratically-elected government. Therefore it has no legal rights and legitimacy to give any kind of orders as if it were Thailand’s head of state. The Thai people have no legal duty to abide by this “interim constitution”. We want to affirm that we will not accept the NCPO’s power which comes via both physical enforcement and intimidation and we ask those who support democracy to stand with us in firm unity.

The contents of each section – including section 48 – of the Royally-endorsed interim constitution, contradicts basic democratic principles. Overall, it is a document created in order to serve a small group of people in Thailand which includes the network of the establishment and the privileged.

The interim constitution dismisses 65 million people and treats them as if they are subordinates who can be arbitrarily ordered by the ruler. This dictatorship-mindset appears in the entire interim constitution and it is evident that the establishment-network which ordered the coup has completely abandoned democracy. This ongoing-conflict is deeply rooted in Thai society and primarily derives from the backward-looking establishment mindset, therefore nobody should be fooled by the coup makers and the NCPO’s propaganda.

Nevertheless, we want to focus on specific examples in the interim constitution as we are shocked that such instruments of governance still exist in the modern world. We want to stress that we are opposed to the dictatorship-regime that now dominates Thailand. We ask ordinary people to examine with good conscience these following sections of the interim constitution by themselves:

1. Section 35 is intentionally laid down by the Thai dictatorship in order to potentially create a permanent monopoly on power. This section aims to destroy any opportunity for Thai society to return to a stable democratic system. It destroys the political party system and any sovereign majority in the parliament is dismissed because the constitutional court would be given excessive power and allowed to destroy the election mechanism at anytime. It also gives huge powers to the Election Commissioner to make a final decision as to who violated the law regarding vote buying and it has power to ban that person from political activity forever. Without any democrat oversight this could easily lead to persecution and the curtailment of political rights. In short, this section aims to destroy the people’s opportunity to vote for the political party of their choice.

2. Section 38 grants power to repeatedly draft a new constitution over and over, without any timeframe, until they find one that fits their purpose the best. It is similar to what happened during the military dictatorship of Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat and Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn during the 1950s and 60s – then it took 12 years to finish drafting the constitution. The coup makers and the establishment network can use this section as a pretext to delay the constitution drafting process as long as they want. As we at the FT-HD have warned the point of the coup is to seize power and dominate Thailand for a period of time until they are certain that ordinary Thai people will not be able to stand up and make demands again.

3. Section 44 is not much different from the infamously draconian section 17 of Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat’s constitution as this section gives unlimited and absolute power to the coup makers, who, ultimately rely on the of use force to seize power. It grants impunity for them and whoever colludes with them, so completely and utterly they can never be held to account for their crimes. This section is shameful and reduces the dignity of Thailand and its people.

4. Overall this document grants huge power to governmental officers as it allows them to hold political positions. The principle that Thai people should be in control of the direction of the state and its officers is destroyed immediately. From now on, we might see governmental officers using power to intimidate Thai citizens. It will take Thailand backwards to a past when governmental officers held power over and above the taxpayers and citizens who pay for their work. Such unaccountable power is at the centre of the dictatorship regime’s nature.

The FT-HD and its supporters believe that regulations regarding the rights and freedoms of the Thai people as they appear in this interim constitution are completely meaningless as the document grants overbearing power to the authorities and allows them to dominate the whole system. We affirm that the coup makers and its dictatorship network is an enemy of the Thai people and their rights and freedom.

The NCPO have announced repeatedly that they seized power illegally because they wanted to begin a “political reform” process to “reduce conflict. However it has become evident that the interim constitution is setting out to establish a dictatorship in order to curtail people’s power and destroy the election process completely.

It should be noted that there is nothing in the interim constitution that talks about reforming the court, the judiciary power, the so-called “independent organs”, the bureaucracy and even the army itself, all of which are key elements in exacerbating Thailand’s political problems over the last decade. These elements have all used illegal power to force the people into the direction they want and have used weapons to suppress the people. We want to condemn the document called “the 2014 interim constitution” which has been produced by the coup makers as it is an illegal document which seeks to destroy democracy.

In the coming days and weeks the FT-HD will present the People’s Constitution in order to return democracy and sovereignty to the Thai people. Meanwhile, Thais and foreigners who support democracy should continue to protest against illegal power of the NCPO by distributing the FT-HD’s symbol whenever the opportunity allows in order to show that those who support democracy still exist and are ready to stand up to the establishment.

Statement originally issued in Thai on Friday, July 25, 2014.

On opposition and the monarchy’s centrality

22 07 2014

At the Financial Times there’s a report on “Thailand’s scattered and demoralised opposition is seeking to regroup after a military coup in May toppled the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra and drove some of its leading ‘red shirt’ supporters into exile.”

แปลจากบทความ “Thai Opposition Regroup Abroad In Bid To Regain Power” ของหนังสือพิมพ์ไฟแนนเชี่ยล ไทมส์is available too.

Jakrapob Penkair has talked about preparations “to register an official organisation-in-exile in an unnamed western country and to launch a ‘road map’ detailing plans to regain power” for some time, and he is quoted again.

Yet action seems difficult in the face of an all-embracing and suffocating fascism from the military dictatorship inside Thailand.

The report notes that the “military government headed by [The Leader] General Prayuth Chan-ocha has led a crackdown on red shirt supporters, detaining many and forcing them to sign documents renouncing politics. Gatherings of more than five people have been banned…”.

Yingluck is facing continuous and vindictive legal actions from partisan “independent institutions.”  She has “branded unfair an investigation that last week called for her to face criminal charges.”

Other “senior opposition figures have gone into hiding or self-exile in Europe, the US, Japan or Cambodia.”

Thaksin Shinawatra has been quiet.

Jakrapob observes that “the opposition was divided between those who wanted to fight on and those who felt demoralised after the latest coup.”

The Free Thai Movement, which Jakrapob helped form, says it will “seek to rally Thais living abroad, including up to 300,000 in the US, to back the democratic cause.”

It’s latest statement is reproduced at Asia Provocateur, and also available as แถลงการณ์อย่างเป็นทางการ: “องค์กรเสรีไทยประณามการควบคุมสื่อของคณะเผด็จการทหารไทย”

The movement states that it will “also press western governments to impose sanctions against the Thai dictatorship, beyond the limited countermeasures launched” to date.

Jakrapob states: “We need to mount external support … to finish the unfinished revolution…”. He adds: “The reform of Thailand has to involve the monarchy…. We can’t keep saying they’re above politics…”.

Jakrapob says that the “latest coup may have been prompted by tensions surrounding the succession of 86-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej.” That was also a line run at the time of the 2006 coup.

Whether it is about succession or not, it is clear that the monarchy remains central for the royalist elite’s rule. As Jakrapob observes, “the crisis stemmed from the unwillingness of the Thai elite to cede political and economic power to the rural masses.”

The monarchy is critical to this “unwillingness.” After all, the “children” cannot know better than the “father.”


Charupong’s open letter

30 06 2014

By way of Asia Provocateur:

“Greeting to all freedom-loving Thai friends,

The very best weapons of ordinary, unarmed Thai people during the junta’s repression, is your sincerity and your love for justice and human dignity of all Thais.

Since the very first days of the military coup, the junta has attempted to fabricate many stories in order to destroy the faith in freedom and democracy of our Thai friends who’ve stood up against the repression. Most recently, the junta has pressed false “war weapon” charges against one of the founding members of our Free Thai organisation, Jakrapob Penkair. They have done so without any evidence.

This dirty tactic is no different from the one that the junta used against the students in the past. On October 6, 1976 at Thammasat University, they used fabricated war weapons “seizures” as their justification for massacring peaceful protesters. The passage of time revealed the truth and proved that these stories were fabricated deceits created to crush the people who were opposed to the military junta.

At the moment the dignity of the country and of Thai people has fallen to an unprecedented low level. This dignity has been stolen by the junta, who are attempting to shut our eyes and ears to the truth and prevent us from being aware of our collective struggle against them. In addition the junta regime is desperate to prevent Thai people from knowing of the pressure the international community is placing upon them. The junta has shut-down TV stations and community radio stations and is attempting to control the remaining news content by stationing its soldiers at media broadcasters and outlets to ensure that only pro-junta news is produced. It has summoned and intimidated journalists, academics and even ordinary Thai citizens who use social media, in order to curtail freedoms of the press and to control dissemination of information.

Thais who love and want to protect freedom – and who do so without resorting to force of arms – are committed to telling the truth no matter what the profession, age, or gender of the persons involved. People should expose and utterly reject the junta’s prison of deceit, a creation designed only to subjugate the people.

We ask our supporters and any other persons drawn to the democratic ideals of the Free Thais’ movement to distribute information from our social media networks to their neighbours, friends, family members, brothers and sisters and even international organisations. We must make the truth echo loudly, so that those with a free conscience are reminded that the junta can’t just buy our friendship and love for the truth so cheaply, and thereby use such tactics to further persecute us.

My beloved Thai friends, we will continue working together to create a framework of ideas that can help take the country forwards towards democracy. Every Sunday, for the sake of freedom and humanity for all Thai people, we will distribute a Free Thais newsletter in order to tell the truth and fight against the deceit of the junta. And when the time comes, we will walk together, standing-tall with straight backs, filled with pride and belief in the equality of all humans, once again.

With faith in the power of democracy and of the people,

Charupong Ruangsuwan


The Organisation of FreeThais for Human Rights and Democracy”

Updated: The dictatorship and fabricated claims

29 06 2014

As most readers will be aware, the Dictator and his military junta will brook no inference as they suppress and threaten their way to “royalist reconciliation.” Their latest stunt is a claim that anti-coup activist and one of the leaders of the Organisation for FreeThais for Human Rights and Democracy, Jakrapob Penkair is a gun runner. Yesterday, the military dictatorship issued a further arrest warrant for him, claiming “possession of war weapons…”.

The claim is considered a fabrication for at least two reasons.

First, Jakrapob has recently been in Cambodia and Hong Kong, setting up the Organisation for FreeThais for Human Rights and Democracy, and it is this which causes the charge. The junta is merely seeking a pretext that “makes it possible for authorities to seek the extradition of Mr Jakrapob from any country with which Thailand has a criminal extradition treaty. The other charges against him of lese majeste and failing to report to coup authorities are not extraditable offences.”

The senior policeman making the charge is the now notorious junta lackey Somyos Pumpanmuang, who is running a mission for the junta that includes quite ridiculous extradition warrants against Rose Amornpat, and suppressing peaceful demonstrators with massive police “rallies.” He also recently led a “police taskforce is investigating recent discoveries and seizures of war weapons and arms caches in Bangkok and other provinces to identify who supplied them.”

A second reason for considering this charge fabricated is related to the “seizure” of weapons. PPT has previously expressed skepticism regarding the remarkable “finds” the police and military claim to have made. We have also posted several times on how many of the military’s own weapons go missing and are traded.

The Bangkok Post reports on one of the biggest finds. Police proudly proclaimed that a “haul of war weapons seized in Nakhon Ratchasima on Monday will be expanded to locate the source of money used to procure them.” The “haul” included “firearms, including assault rifles, magazines and various types of ammunition,” and grenades. The weapons were “seized” on “a house belonging to Noppadol Petchmadan, 42, in Nakhon Ratchasima.” The diligent cops proclaimed that they were investigating “the red-shirt linked ‘Khon Kaen model’ armed network, which the suspect is allegedly connected to.”

The so-called Khon Kaen Model is quite possibly just one more military concoction. That aside, what  did suspect Noppadol have to do and say?

The “raid” netted “four M-16 assault rifles, six other automatic rifles, including one AK-47, two machine guns, a shotgun, a firecracker launcher, an M-79 grenade launcher, two bulletproof vests and various types of ammunition,” all said to be “brand new.”

Noppadol “denied any involvement with the ‘Khon Kaen model’ armed network.” In fact, he stated that “he was well-known among many people in the weapons trade, including soldiers, police and government officials.” He admitted “procuring weapons…”. Of course he did. That is is way of making a living, and as he has stated, the police and military “trade weapons” and know him.

We simply do not believe the claims made by the military dictatorship. They are self-serving and altogether too convenient.

Meanwhile, as might be expected, at Asia Provocateur, Jakrapob Penkair, the Executive Secretary of Organisation of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy (FT-HD) has denied the claims made by the military dictatorship.

The charges levelled against me today by Thailand’s illegitimate coup regime reveal, once again, the desperation of the Generals and the Establishment they represent. The false claim that I am behind some kind of “armed element” is not only a fiction but yet another example of the injudiciousness of the fraudulent Thai junta.

Let me be clear – there is simply no evidence whatsoever to connect me to the junta’s seizure of arms and I would challenge them to produce such evidence. Of course, even the seizure of said arms has more than a whiff of suspicion about them. There has been no independent investigation regarding these arms’ seizures, no chain of evidence has been preserved and the kind of claims the junta are putting forward are so flimsy they would be washed away very quickly when subject to proper cross-examination.

As for any attempt to “extradite” me on such charges, the junta must know that no government on earth would succumb to their threats and that I would be given full access to any evidence they have concocted and also the platform to challenge such evidence.

For the record, I must state that I have no involvement in any kind of “armed” struggle. I believe fully in a political, social and cultural struggle secured in reality by the democratic will of the Thai people. The Generals and their Establishment masters know very well that if the democratic will of the Thai people is expressed, power will be removed from them and returned to more accountable and legal forms.

It’s only two days ago our organisation was being dismissed as “irrelevant” by the junta. Now we face allegations of being behind a regime-concocted “armed struggle” along with attempts to curtail our rights to travel via the revocations of passports. These actions by the junta reveal only one thing – their increasingly obvious insecurity – something which will only grow in the days and weeks to come.

That’s why the only “judicial” vehicle they could use to expedite their false charges would be through their own military-run “courts” where due process and the rule of law have long been abolished in favour of despotism. It must be said that any and all cases coming before the military “courts” exist in the context of a form of jurisprudence that is little more than a theatre of the absurd, such is the lack of any form of legal rights.

At the moment the military and the forces they represent are the only agents engaged in any kind of illegitimate “armed” struggle against the will of the Thai people. Those who believe in democracy have no need to use force of arms as we are fully confident that the moment the franchise is returned to Thais the junta will be little more than an historical aberration.

I should add that the revocation of passports by the junta is not only another grotesque repressive act it also turns any Thai citizen who stands against the military regime into political refugees. Such revocations will further expose to the global community that the junta are little more than petulant tyrants operating far beyond the norms of international law.

We ask our supporters to remain steadfast and not be distressed or disheartened by the junta’s threats and games. The only action the junta have available to themselves is to attempt to crush the hopes and aspirations of ordinary Thais. Yet, with each turn of the repressive screw, the junta just further seal their own fate and will strengthen your resolve to return sovereignty to the Thai people.”

Update: Junta flunkey Pol Gen Somyos said “police did not need to ‘make up’ evidence as alleged by Mr Jakrapob to make it possible to seek his extradition from Hong Kong or elsewhere.” Somyos is playing catch up on this because he simply can’t produce any evidence for the claims he makes. But why does he say that they don’t need this well-crafted “evidence” to extradite Jakrapob? It is Jakrapob’s “alleged criminal offence” associated with his alleged “involvement in leading red-shirt supporters to stage a violent protest at the home of Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda on July 22, 2007…”. Yep, something that happened seven years ago, and following the period when the Abhisit Vejjajiva military-backed government was in power. Why didn’t they think of this? No prizes for a correct answer.

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