Updated: Rap against the military dictatorship

27 10 2018

There is a series of three articles at The Nation that report the military dictatorship’s predictable response to a group of 10 rappers and their popular video that raps the junta.

The video, at YouTube in two versions, has had close to 6 million views. There have been millions more on Facebook.

In the first report, Deputy national police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul declaring that the song may be breaking the law and that “officers from the Technology Crime Suppression Division of the Royal Thai Police will check out the lyrics to see if they violate any junta orders.”

Yes, the junta’s laws, not real laws, but the politicized repression and suppression shrouded in law. Confirming this, the political policeman added that the “rappers would also be summoned to testify whether they had intended to cause any chaos or violate any National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) orders…”.

The junta’s cop warned: “… musicians not to do anything that risks violating the country’s laws, as it wouldn’t be good for them or their families if the songs were deemed to violate the law…”.

Threatening opponents and their families is standard practice under the military dictatorship.

A few hours later, a second report states that the political police were to use the Computer Crimes Act against the rappers. It accuses the rap of breaking the political law that “prohibits computer information inconsistent with the truth, undermines national security or causes public panic…”. In this, “truth” is defined by the junta.

As might be expected, in one of his first public statements, new government spokesman, the anti-democrat Buddhipongse Punnakanta, claimed that the junta’s opponents were “behind” the video. Of course, anti-democrats like him and his bosses cannot conceive of any person being capable of independent thought.

The third report summarizes events and the song that denounces the junta. It notes that the rap was released on an important date: 14 October, being the 45th anniversary of the October 1973 uprising against a military dictatorship. The YouTube video also depicts 6 October 1976 royalist violence with an image of a student hanging from a tree being beaten, as in 1976.

Reflecting on the junta’s “truth,” one of the rappers stated: “As artists we want to reflect the truth of the society we are living in under dictatorship. Thailand seems to be caught in a loop of dictatorship. We want to voice what the majority cannot say directly.”

The video is dedicated to the victims of the state’s crimes.

Update: With the military dictatorship in full panic mode over the popularity of this rap, Puea Thai’s Chaturon Chaisaeng is reported to have warned the junta against arresting the performers of the anti-junta song. He said said that “if the Rap Against Dictatorship (RAD) group was arrested, it would backfire against the government to the point where the government could fall.”





When the military is on top V

28 04 2017

PPT is having difficulty keeping up with all of the junta’s shenanigans, so we are bringing a few stories together in this post and leave it to readers to go to the links if they want more.

Repression: Prachatai reports that earlier this week the dictators were miffed that Niwat Roikaew, the leader of an a local environmental conservation group Khon Rak Chiang Kong, complained about the Chinese surveying the future damage they would do in the Mekong River. They called him in for a “chat.” In other words, for intimidation.

Low royalism: Khaosod reproduces some decidedly awful painting by an unknown American they say is an artist. We have seen some awful scribbling before, but this takes the cake. The royalists seem prepared to dredge up drudge and call it significant to “honor” a dead rich man.

Press unfreedom: Also at Khaosod, it is reported that Reporters Without Borders, or RSF, Ranked Thailand 142nd out of 180 countries around the world in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index. As high as 142! Wow. It will fall again next year as the junta’s new laws on the media bite (even if The Dictator is having second thoughts).

A torpedo in the tube: There are articles and op-eds at the Bangkok Post lamenting the dictatorship’s secret decision-making on buying Chinese subs. One is an editorial telling the junta that this secrecy is not on. Why the Post only chooses to do this for the sub deal seems to be because they think having a bunch of business people decry the purchase means it is safe to complain. But another adds a layer of secrecy when the Auditor-General says it will “investigate” the purchase but do it secretly.

What the rich do: Well, some of them continue to get away with murder. Vorayuth Yoovidhya has failed to show in court eight times “since legal proceedings against him began in 2016.” He continues to live the high life.

There’s more, but we are despondent.





When the military is on top II

26 04 2017

While some of the media seems prepared to join with the junta in allowing the extrajudicial killing of Chaiyapoom Pasae be eased off the front pages, Prachatai continues to report on events related to the military’s efforts to bury the case in delays and silence. (Consider the same manufactured silence on the political vandalism of the 1932 plaque.)

A network of academics and several ethnic minority groups recently met in Chiang Mai and “issued a joint statement over the summary killing of Chaiyapoom Pasae, a young Lahu ethnic activist who was shot dead by a soldier on 17 March.”

This group pointed to the “intimidation of relatives of the slain activist and witnesses of the killing” and noted the failure of the (lying) “military must submit the CCTV footage of the crime scene to the police for further investigation process.”

The statement said:

After the incident, soldiers have visited Kong Pakping Community where Chaiyapoom lived almost every day. His relatives or even the head of the community were summoned [by the authorities]. Bullets were found placed in front of houses of Chaiyapoom relatives….

Such intimidation is standard operating procedure for the state’s thugs. It is also the modus operandi of the junta itself when dealing with critics.





Junta paedofascists

19 01 2017

The military junta repeatedly shows how some foreign commentators get under its collective skin – make that scales.

Some time ago we posted on a junta-initiated raid on the home of the parents of Noppawan Bunluesilp, the wife of former Reuters reporter Andrew MacGregor Marshall, author of a banned book critical of the monarchy and allegedly “wanted” for lese majeste.

One of the junta’s tactics like those used by many fascist and repressive regimes – is to get at critics by harassing their families. The troglodytes in the junta believe that they can silence Marshall by threatening his family.

Yesterday the junta thugs were at it again. Prachatai reports that at “3 pm on 18 January 2017, Ruedeewan Lahthip, the mother-in-law of … Marshall … told BBC Thai that two policewomen in plainclothes visited her house to look for her daughter, Noppawan…. [T]he policewoman told Ruedeewan that their superior would like Marshall not to post information deemed defamatory to the Thai Monarchy online again.”

The threat was clear: “[P]lease tell Andrew that [if he likes or does not like certain things] he should keep this to himself and not post [certain] images, so his child can come back to Thailand with no worries…”.

That’s the junta’s police threatening a toddler. What do you call a regime that does that? Paedofascists?

On Facebook, Marshall responded:

I’m terribly sad and angry to hear from Ploy, the mother of my son Charlie, that three plainclothes Thai police arrived at her family’s house in Bangkok again today to make threats to them as result of my journalism about Thailand.

They harassed and threatened Charlie’s grandmother, who was there alone at the time.

This follows a previous incident back in July when more than 20 police raided their house and took Ploy away for five hours of questioning.

Let me explain this to the Thai junta and palace one more time: if you have a problem with my journalism, deal with it with me. Stop harassing Ploy and her family just because we were married and she is the mother of my son. Ploy and her family have their own views and have nothing to do with my work and my journalism.

What kind of sick regime treats its own citizens like this? As is widely known, the junta’s behaviour already helped undermine our marriage, and I am truly disgusted that Thailand’s soldiers and police have nothing better to do than harass this innocent family. Shame on you.

Agreed, the paedofascists should be ashamed. But they won’t be as this tactic is standard procedure, along with corruption, torture and murder.

 





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.)





New repressive measures

15 08 2016

The Bangkok Post reports on how, “the military regime in just one week came up with four new ways they intend to track people in the coming days and months.”

As the report puts it, these measures “range from mildly outrageous by today’s standards to completely bizarre.”

According to the report, these “plans — and they are changeable … — a new and formal security division is to be formed with the task of tracking people via their mobile phones.”

The junta will probably allow allow “[p]olice … [to] not only to track your location by mobile phone technology but also to listen to what you say.”

Adding to this, “there will be eight new laws on cybersecurity long before New Year’s Eve.” These laws “will add and tighten details of the last military regime’s Computer Crimes Act…”.censorship-for-the-internet

As the report has it, the existing law “apparently hasn’t put nearly enough enemies of the state into prison for 15 years per offence. There is no longer even a pretence that the law is to protect consumers and information wonks.”

Then there’s the plan to track tourists and/or foreigners through “special” SIM cards. Doubts have been raised about this plan, with technical experts noting that all SIMs can already be tracked, and that the authorities are likely talking about foreigners “is mostly distraction as surveillance projects are inserted into security agencies.”

The report notes that the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission “has gained a lot of power since the military coup…” and wants more.

The surveillance state exists and is expanding under a military regime that wants to extend political control and repression.





Finishing off Puea Thai

14 08 2016

Now that the military dictatorship has pushed through its constitution in a period of deep political repression, the next phase in the military’s roadmap (our use of the term, not their use) is to politically cripple or eliminate the “Thaksin regime.”

As demanded by the anti-democrats, much has already been achieved by the regime in this direction. However, as the junta prepares for an election, it will seek killer blows.

Yingluck Shinawatra is likely to be jailed and/or subjected to crippling fines. A swathe of other court cases are grinding on, and the political repression of Puea Thai Party politicians and red shirt sympathizers is likely to deepen.

Most recently, as the Bangkok Post reports, the politicized National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has come up with a scheme to know out dozens of former Puea Thai MPs in one go.

It is reported that the NACC is “set to investigate a group of 40 former Pheu Thai Party MPs who tabled a controversial 2013 amnesty bill for abuse of authority…”.

Of course, the idea that MPs can be held to be corrupt for introducing a bill to parliament is absurd. But this is The Dictator’s anti-democratic Thailand.

That the bill was never passed by parliament and was withdrawn makes the absurd into something more … what’s crazier than absurd? We are lost for a description that is adequate.

Apparently, the “inquiry panel,” was set up in response to “complaints from the Democrat Party before the May 22, 2014 coup…”.

At the time, the anti-democratic Democrat Party was working with the anti-democratic street protests led by “former” members of the party. It was their provocations and vandalism of parliament and the rule of law that led to the military coup.

According to the report:

The 40 former MPs have been accused of abuse of authority when they signed in support of the amnesty bill and put forward the bill for deliberation by the House of Representatives during the administration of Yingluck Shinawatra.

They include Mr Worachai [Hema], who proposed the original bill, and Tasanee Buranupakorn, vice-president of the Chiang Mai provincial administrative organisation and former Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Mai.

Tasanee was “arrested last month for her alleged involvement in letters containing allegedly distorted information on the draft charter discovered in Chiang Mai during raids.”

Expect more of this as the regime sets out to ensure that it and its proxies win any election the junta decides to hold. As with the charter referendum, the repression is likely to render any election illegitimate.