Platitudes on the military dictatorship I

24 09 2015

The Bangkok Post has a longish article called “analysis” that deals with The Dictator’s visit to the United States and appearances at a business event and at the U.N. PPT, seldom surprised by what it reads in the mainstream media, was dismayed to read a series of platitudes that ignore the fact that Thailand remains the world’s only military dictatorship.

One Wikipedia page lists countries by system of government. For Thailand, there is a standout entry: “No constitutionally-defined basis to current regime.” Not quite right, but then this military dictatorship wrote its own “charter” after illegally ditching the previous one.

Another Wikipedia page lists military dictatorships as countries where a “nation’s military control the organs of government and all high-ranking political executives are also members of the military hierarchy.” Two are listed, Thailand and Burkina Faso.

Unfortunately for Thais, the situation in the latter case has changed: “In September 2015, military forces seized the country’s president and prime minister, and declared themselves the new national government. However, on 22 September 2015, the coup leader, Gen. Gilbert Diendere, apologized and promised to restore the civilian government. On 23 September 2015, the prime minister and interim president were restored to power.”

Something may have changed internationally in recent days, but the sorry fact is that Thailand remains the only pariah state: a military dictatorship.

None of this is clear in the Post’s “analysis.”

This “analysis” begins by recounting that self-appointed Prime Minister and coupmeister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha is will “highlight the progress the government has made in fighting human trafficking…”. Yep, that’s it for the junta over the whole period since 22 May 2014. But only if there is no mention of repression, jailings, bombs, bad policing, economic torpor and so on.

The Post helpfully adds that Prayuth’s trip “gives him a chance to share with global leaders the military government’s achievements in tackling Thailand’s development issues, especially human trafficking, its roadmap to democracy and the latest economic stimulus plan.” Prayuth has declared: “I will tell the international community the government is driving the country towards full democracy under the roadmap. We are doing everything we can to reach that goal…”.

“Everything” seems to include jailing and re-educating opponents, censorship, repression and banal royalism. Deputy government spokesman Werachon Sukhondapatipak seemed to recognize this, stating that the junta has different “rules.” He observed that “our rules [were] not originating from an ideology several countries wished to see.”

The Dictator received support and gratuitous advice from several commentators regarding its terrible international image as the world’s only remaining military dictatorship.

Former Foreign Minister and ardent yellow shirt Kasit Piromyaadvised: “[There is] no need to pretend we are perfect as we live in a borderless world…”. We would have thought that “perfect was the wrong terminology. He may has well have stated: “[There is] no need to pretend we are anything other than complete crap with almost everyone knowing this as we live in a borderless world…”.

Kasit is followed in the report by “[p]olitical scientist Thitinan Pongsudhirak of Chulalongkorn University [who] echoed this sentiment.” Like Kasit, he offered advice on how to hide crap: “A realistic middle path would be to admit to the shortcomings of ascending to office through a putsch…”. He went on to say that “some of the signature achievements of the coup government” could be trumpeted, including “combatting human trafficking and corruption, while delineating a clear time frame to return power to the Thai people.”

Thitinan goes a step further, urging the military dictator to go ahead with a dozy plan to grab a seat on the UN Security Council. His “reasoning” seems to be that other crappy states have obtained a seat, so why exclude the world’s only military dictatorship. He cheers: “There is still a chance for Thailand…”. Yes, he does add that the regime should “demonstrate an actionable pathway that will lead to a semblance of normalcy under civilian, not military, rule…”.

He means that this execrable regime should babble about its “roadmap” for stymieing democracy in Thailand, making its propaganda seem somehow plausible to Thailand’s “friends.”

The last set of platitudes is from the usual suspects at a dinner hosted by business lobby groups, the US-Asean Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce. They are so profit-oriented that they are prepared to provide a platform for the military dictator. Still, they have done this  before and bill it as “an opportunity for top American corporate executives to rub shoulders with Thai dignitaries.”

Corporate types hobnobbing with murderous dictators would make dinner rather difficult to stomach.

Intimidation deepening

18 09 2015

A series of reports confirm that the military dictatorship is extended and deepening its repression and targeting political opponents. The reports listed below are from just one day and a only brief scan of English-language news outlets.

Prachatai reports that the junta “handed down the decision” to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission to order the removal of a red shirt community radio station aerial be taken down and removed.

Voice People Radio FM 100.00 MHz and FM 100.75 MHz had not been operating since the 2014 coup, when it was ordered closed by the military. Earlier, the military had “confiscated broadcasting equipments necessary for running the radio programs, which they have not returned up to now.”

Khaosod reports that the military has briefly detained Falung Gong activists and confiscated pamphlets considered might “affect international relations” or  “peace and order in the country.”

Khaosod’s report states that Falung Gong is legal in Thailand but:

Thailand’s military government has banned all political activities and public gatherings since they seized power from an elected government in 2014. Although religious evangelization is mostly tolerated, Thai officials have treated Falun Gong with suspicion, fearing that its rhetorics risk antagonizing the Chinese government – a major junta ally.

Prachatai reports that the military has intimidated academics and students conducting environmental research in Udorn Thani province. The military was concerned that these academics and students were conducting research in areas slated for potash mining. The report states:

The research project is co-organised by the Science Faculty of Rajabhat University of Udon Thani and Chulalongkorn Social Research Institute. It is also supported by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation. The project began since 2014.

In the field research, 40 students from Rajabhat University asked the residents of several villages in Prajaksilapakom District questions about health, local environment, and economic opportunities in the region.

The military thugs “reportedly recorded the name list of the project participants and took pictures. Moreover, they asked to see the questions, which the students asked the villagers…”. One of the academic stated: “It’s not the duty of the military, but the gross intimidation of freedom and rights of the villagers…. The military officers who are the state officials are acting on behalf of the investors to hurriedly push the potash mining plan.”

In these events, the junta’s repression focuses on media and social media, rural subalterns, lese majeste and protecting business. Other than technology, nothing much has changed over the decades of military repression in Thailand. However, it is clear that the current junta is deepening its political repression.

The military dictatorship is Thailand

17 09 2015

The Dictator is traveling to New York for a U.N. meeting and he and his fellow ruling junta members are fearful.

When thugs are fearful they tend to club together gang-like and threaten others.

That is exactly what the military regime has attempted to do, even determining that it needs to threaten unknown persons in a distant country.

The Bangkok Post reports that the government’s high-ranking mouthpiece Major-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd has declared that any protest against his boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha in the United States would be an attack on Thailand and Thais.army_monarchy

Major-General Sansern has effectively declared that General Prayuth and his illegitimate regime is Thailand.

He demanded that “anti-government groups who plan to stage a protest against the [self-appointed] premier … call off their plan.”

Major-General Sansern said General Prayuth is “concerned protests against him would create misunderstanding among foreigners.” We doubt that any “foreigner” would mistake a general masquerading as a legitimate premier and repressing his political opposition as anything other than a military dictator.

Major-General Sansern thought he’d contemplate expression in a freer country than Thailand under the military junta. He stated that “[p]eople are free to express themselves but it should be done in a positive way…”.

He praised others “who plan to give morale support to Gen Prayut in New York.” Presumably supporting a military dictatorship is “positive” in the military’s bent view of the world.

General Prayuth has decided that it is prudent not to mention the military’s “reform roadmap at the UN.” He declared that he “wants foreigners to view Thailand as a fast-growing country and not as a fragile, unstable and conflict-affected state.”

He declared his dictatorship a “political culture” with “different political processes…”. We tend to agree. Prayuth’s troglodyte regime is a reflection of the military’s warped culture that relies on coup, impunity, corruption and bouts of murderous repression.

1976 redux

1 07 2015

As we read the latest offering from The Dictator, as repeated by his puppet Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, in the Bangkok Post, PPT had a feeling that our collective body was time-traveling, back, way back, to 1976. We have said it before, and no doubt we’ll say it again, but The Dictator’s royalist regime thinks – if that word is appropriate in this context – a lot like the royalist Thanin Kraivixien regime.

Both are repressive royalist regimes, and some of the inputs are coming from the very same people. If not the same people, then there are political clones that walk zombie-like on the political field strewn with repression, lese majeste and royalist shibboleths about national security.

In the latest report, it is stated that the cabinet – essentially the junta and a couple of royalist lapdogs – “has approved a committee to draw up a 20-year national strategy blueprint to shore up reforms as it attempts to ensure future governments carry on with its changes.” By “carry on” they also mean cannot change any of the reactionary “reforms” of the military regime.

The report states that the “20-year strategy will cover security, the economy, social issues, legal and foreign affairs, which correspond with the work of the government’s five deputy prime ministers…”. The committee will be chaired by the secretary-general to the prime minister and is claimed to have been established at General Prayuth Chan-ocha’s “suggestion.” By “suggestion” they mean it was an order. No one, not even a few students, may oppose The Dictator’s views.

This is just one more way to prevent meaningful representation and people’s sovereignty in royalist Thailand.

Thanin 1We recall a similar move made by Thanin, and as we searched for the relevant old clippings we found others that matched this regime and the current royalists.

One of these was the ability to “legally” do anything the regime wanted. At right we have a clip from the Asiaweek magazine No. 45 in 1976.

It is clear that both Thanin and Prayuth operate with no real legal constraints, and can do anything they feel fits their warped royalist ideology.

In TIME magazine’s issue of 8 November 1976, we located a quotation from a then second-ranked Army boss, General Kriangsak Chomanan, who after the coup cheered for “democracy,” not unlike Prayuth has done.

Clearly Prayuth has no conception of democracy and we doubt Kriangsak did when he made the claim shown on the right.Kriangsak

Early in the regime that came to power over the bodies of massacred students, and as the military junta and Thanin royalist government initially came together, they announced that a return to democracy would take some 16 years, as reported by the Far Eastern Economic Review of 22 October 1976 (see left).16 years

Thanin later reduced this to a 12-year plan. While that “plan” was 4-8 years short of Prayuth’s 20 year plan, the resemblances are quite clear.

Both dictators feel the need to maintain a headlock on democratic decision-making in order to establish the rule of the royalist elite. Both claimed to be fashioning a democracy that would be strong and sustainable. In other words, a political regime for the elite, by the elite and of the elite. Backed, of course by the military’s weapons and the sharing of wealth and symbols of power between the elite and its praetorian guard.

Thanin failed and Prayuth is probably doomed to follow in those footsteps. We can speculate as to whether another dictator with blood on his hands will be promoted to the Privy Council where his sins will be laundered.

One of the other similarities is the attacks on students. Prayuth won’r allow students to demonstrate and has 14 currently locked up. Thanin had hundreds of students arrested – today they are threatened or called in – and jailed 19 students, keeping them locked up into 1978.

A further similarity between dedicators is in their views of what they are doing and their self-perception of having soothed a troubled polity.

For Thanin, as shown in a clip from a Newsweek interview published on 25 July 1977, his self-perception was a self-deception.Thanin

PPT tends to think that the same will be true for Prayuth’s regime.

Remarkably, so many of the “targets” and complaints remain common to the Prayuth regime that comes almost 40 years after Thanin. We guess that for military and royalist troglodytes, four decades is a mere blink of the eye.

While we can predict that Prayuth will stumble further down the Thanin path of self-destruction, it was another military coup that brought down Thanin. It was then a long decade before an elected premier was back in place in Thailand.

That cannot be allowed to happen again. Prayuth’s regime must be brought down in a way that allows representative and people’s politics to flourish.

The military dictatorship II

8 03 2015

Conservatives, royalists, rightists, anti-democrats and even royals make much of Thailand’s difference or distinctiveness when compared with the rest of the world. They assert that Thailand, its history and its politics is “different from every other place in the world.

In one respect, they are right, and Wikipedia’s page on military dictatorship proves this:

DictatorshipYes, according to this source, Thailand is indeed unique! It is the only country in the world run by a military dictatorship.

PrachataiWe might quibble with the listing – after all, the military junta did appoint puppet assemblies and so on –  but the point is clear enough: Thailand is suffering a dinosaur regime, best fitted to the 1950s and 1960s, when there were many military leaders who felt it their duty to protect the interests of a privileged elite.

And, if one examines even the headlines from, say, Prachatai, the image is that the military junta is getting on with self-assigned job, dictating.

This military dictatorship is repressing, controlling, jailing, threatening and seeing enemies in every corner of the nation.

Military dictatorships in Thailand are associated with periods of shared and growing wealth between monarchy, military and Sino-Thai tycoons. They are also associated with a political dark age of extreme royalism, repression and fear.


The most significant “crime” II

23 12 2014

The military dictatorship continues to threaten and repress through the use of lese majeste.

Khaosod reports that the military regime has made the unsubstantiated claim “that it has the ability to search for anti-monarchy remarks on private chat messages” such as LINE.

We say this is unsubstantiated because the claim has been “refuted by South Korea-based parent company Naver.” LINE is operated by a subsidiary based in Japan.

The junta’s Minister of Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT), Pornchai Rujiprapa said that his Ministry is “currently monitoring more than 40 million messages sent via the popular chat application LINE each day.” He added: “We can see what type of messages are being forwarded…. We focus especially on those that are libelous, anti-monarchy, or threatening national security.”

In making this claim, the military dictatorship threatens more than 24 million users.

The threat is a particular specialization of this royalist military dictatorship. The aim is to repress and frighten.

Pornchai stated the obvious when he stated that MICT and the “police have the authority to identify, locate, and prosecute senders of anti-monarchy on lese majeste charge[s]…”.

Pornchai, like the other members of the military dictatorship are desperate to shut down the widespread discussion of the monarchy as the king nears his end and succession is taking place.

The Minister also “vowed to seek IP addresses and other information about anti-monarchy websites from foreign companies that host their servers, though he admitted that the process could take a long time.”

What will the military dictatorship do when it gets an overseas IP address? Threaten? Hunt down with assassination squads? Seek out proxy servers and destroy them?

Homer-Simpson-DohPornchai repeatedly demonstrates that he is a dolt. The lack of some basic commonsense and normal intelligence in the military dictatorship is stunning.

Pornchai demonstrates that he is a simpleton when he states: “It could take a long while because there needs to be a negotiation. Some countries have cultures that are different to Thai…”. Only some!

There are many synonyms for dolt, all of which seemingly apply to Pornchai and his ilk.

By threatening LINE users, Pornchai is likely to reduce LINE use. One wonders if the right hand knows what the left hand is doing in the junta when Pornchai’s own military government has released a set of dorkish “stickers” that “depict the moral teaching of junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha for the chat application LINE.”

While no one could ever consider that a murderous military dictator could have anything “moral” to say, the great fear that there is a threat to the existing social order. If this lot weren’t such a bunch of dunces, they’d realise that the existential threat is inside the regime itself.

Expression forbidden

25 11 2014

As we often do, PPT reproduces a Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission on limits on expression and freedom in Thailand:

November 20, 2014

THAILAND: Expression of opinion forbidden by the junta

On 19 and 20 November, student and other activists carried out a series of peaceful, symbolic protests against the dictatorship in Thailand. In response, the military and police acted to swiftly end the protests and arrest eight of the activists under the terms of martial law. The position of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) was summed up by deputy prime minister General Prawit Wongsuwan in a statement widely reported in the Thai press on 20 November that, ” can think differently, but do not express it.” In each of these cases, described below by the Asian Human Rights Commission drawing on reporting carried out by Prachatai, the military has attempted to intimidate student and other activists into promising to cease their expressing their opinions and engaging in political activities. As the six-month anniversaries of the declaration of martial law (20 November) and the coup by the National Council for Peace and Order (22 November) pass in Thailand, the junta has extended and consolidated its repressive apparatus.

On the morning of Wednesday, 19 November, a group of five students (Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, Wason Sedsit, Jedsarit Namkot, Payu Boonsopon, and Wichakorn Anuchon) from the Human Rights Law Centre for Society (Dao Din) at Khon Kaen University engaged in a peaceful protest against the coup during a speech to local civil servants by junta leader and appointed prime minister, General Prayuth Chan-ocha. Both before and subsequent to the coup, the members of Dao Din have actively worked to support and protect human rights and community rights in relation to various issues, including mining and land reform. Several members of the group were detained in June shortly after the coup and pressured to stop their activities. During the recent protest, they donned t- shirts which, when assembled in a line, spelled out, “No to the coup” in Thai (ไม่เอารัฐประหาร) and walked in front of the stage when General Prayuth was speaking. They raised their fingers in the three-finger salute of ‘liberty-equality-fraternity’ made popular by The Hunger Games films. They were swiftly arrested by police and first taken to the local police station and then to Sri Patcharin military camp to be interrogated. The military asked the students to remove their shirts and when they refused, the military forcibly removed their t-shirts. When the students were released on Wednesday evening, they walked out of the military camp without shirts or jackets. They and their parents were ordered to return to the military camp the next morning. On the morning of Thursday, 20 November, the students and their parents reported to the military camp where both parties were threatened that if the students did not sign an agreement to cease political activities, they were subject to expulsion from the university and proceedings in military court for the violation of martial law. Several of the students agreed to the conditions and several did not. Following the meeting, they were released and there were several reports of unmarked vehicles driving by their homes and other forms of harassment.

Then, also on the morning of 20 November, the military and police arrested several student activists in relation to screenings of the film The Hunger Games. During the morning, Rattapol Supasopol, a member of the League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy, and Champ, a student activist arrested in June when he symbolically protested by eating a sandwich and reaching the novel 1984 in public, were arrested by the police at the Scala movie theatre in Siam Square. At the time of their arrest, they had not engaged in any overt protest, but were simply present prior to a screening of the film where a peaceful protest was planned. The screening at Scala was cancelled and the two students were later released. On the afternoon of 20 November, Natcha Kong-udom, a student at Bangkok University, was arrested when she raised three fingers in protest in front of reporters who had gathered in front of the movie theatre at Siam Paragon shopping center. She was arrested and detained by the military until the evening before she was released. The screening of the film at Siam Paragon continued, but was accompanied by a heavy military and police presence.

Further, on the early evening of 20 November, Siriporn Kongpetch, a trainer with the Youth Development for the Transformation of Society Project of the Thai Volunteer Service (TVS), was arrested and detained by the police in Chiang Dao district of Chiang Mai province. Her car was searched by soldiers and police, her ID was seized and she was taken to the local police station No accusation was made against her, but she was arrested because photographs of her holding signs that said, “Repeal martial law” and “No to the NCPO” at Chiang Dao mountain had been posted on Facebook several days prior. The officials informed her that they had been looking for her since the photographs had been distributed. They tried to convince her to sign an agreement to refrain from engaging in any political movement, but she refused and maintained her right to express her opinion.

The Asian Human Rights Commission notes that these eight individuals have been arrested and detained solely as a result of expressing their opinions about the coup. This indicates that nearly six months after the coup, to think differently than the NCPO is being treated as a de facto crime. As a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Government of Thailand has a responsibility to protect the rights as prescribed by Article 19 of the ICCPR, which notes that, “1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. 2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice. 3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.” The demand for the eight persons to cease expressing their opinions and engaging in political activities is a clear violation of Article 19.

In recent weeks, the military authorities have also summoned activists and human rights defenders (AHRC-STM-197-2014), prevented a walk to raise awareness about land reform in Chiang Mai (AHRC-STM-196-2014), and intimidated lawyers working to support human rights. Over the past six months since the coup by the NCPO, human rights defenders and dissidents who peacefully protest, or who express any criticism, have been targeted by the junta. Combined with the extensive powers granted to the junta under martial law and the temporary constitution, these actions have created an atmosphere of fear that is detrimental to human rights and the rule of law.

The Asian Human Rights Commission unequivocally condemns the coup and the disappearance of rights and liberties in Thailand in the strongest terms possible. While the AHRC welcomes the release of the activists who have expressed their dissenting options, they should not have been arrested in the first place. They are citizens who were expressing their opinion peacefully and are a danger to no one. To think differently than the junta is not a crime. To express one’s opinion is not a crime. The AHRC calls on the NCPO to cease arresting and detaining those who do so and return to civilian rule immediately.

Lese majeste repression heightened

22 10 2014

PPT isn’t really sure how much deeper and tighter the repression of the lese majeste law can get. The military dictatorship’s crude use of this form of political repression has exceeded that of the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime. That regime’s wanton use of the draconian law spurred PPT into life in 2009. Things are far worse today.

Usually, the use of lese majeste to censor and repress tells us two things. The first is pretty obvious, and that is that the regime using the law is seeking to demonstrate its ultra-royalism/ultra-“loyalty”. Second, the use of the law is a measure of the regime’s fear. For the military dictatorship, the fear is palpable. The fear is that the royalist regime is not just facing  deep crisis but is in terminal decline. That existential crisis is so great that the corrupt, unimaginative and intellectually inept military regime can only lash out at those perceived as opponents.

Prachatai has three examples of the royalist military dictatorship thrashing about and lashing out.

The first story at Prachatai explains that a military court has decided to conduct two lese majeste trials in secret, “claiming that the charges were related to the monarchy and hence to the national security…”. The report states that “the trials of Kathawut B., a red-shirt radio host whose programs allegedly contained lese majeste contents, and a man who asked not to be named would be proceeded in camera.”

This is not the first time that lese majeste trials have been secret political trials (see here and here).

Representatives from the European Union and the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights who were to observe the trials were turned away.

Prachatai reports taht the next court sitting for both cases “will be around end of November.”

A second report at Prachatai notes that a military court has “rejected a bail request of a man [Opas Charnsuksai] who wrote messages mainly criticizing the junta and allegedly making reference to the king in a shopping mall’s restrooms.” Refusing bail is the norm in lese majeste cases and infringes human and legal rights.

Finally, the third Prachatai story again involves Fa Diaw Kan/Same Sky, where the military harassment is unending. This time the military has banned the publisher’s “t-shirts, one of which has the image of a dinosaur, with possible charges of lèse majesté.” The shirts, which the military thugs took away “for inspection” are described:

A white t-shirt with a Jurassic Park logo and the message “The Lost World of Monarchical Absolutism.” The image was derived from the theme of the issue of the Same Sky Journal published in 2012.
A blue t-shirt with a tree in the middle. The root of the tree reads “Constitutional Monarchy” that grows into a tree formed from the text “Absolute Monarchy”. It is an image from the journal published in 2011.
The last one is the cult symbol of “Khun Sab Sueng” or Mr Grateful with his mouth zipped shut. The symbol of Khun Sab Sueng, normally shown crying, has been used by the anti-establishment to mock the ultra-royalists.

The fear in the royalist regime is palpable.

Further updated: Fascist Thailand with the King as Head of State

19 07 2014

Every day the military junta appears to dress itself as a fascist dictatorship. The leather riding boots, jutting jaws and fake campaign medals are sure to come if they continue on their self-appointed task of destroying all opposition to royalist dominance.

These affectations of fascism are minor affectations when compared with the repression, censorship and the fear the junta instils in opponents.

General Prayuth Chan-ocha is The Leader who must be obeyed. The latest evidence of his incapacity to deal with any whimper of opposition is reported in Prachatai, where the junta has issued its 97th announcement that allows total censorship.

Quite apart from the fact that these fascists have issued 1.67 announcements a day since they illegally seized power, this 97th announcement declares that thuggish authorities “can shut down any media, whether print, television, radio or online, if it disseminates information deemed threatening to the monarchy or national security, or criticises the work of the NCPO.” The NCPO is the ridiculous acronym for the military dictatorship’s junta.

The report points out that this announcement “is similar to the 14th and 18th announcements which prohibit media from interviewing academics and government officials in a controversial way. They also prohibit media from disseminating information that could incite violence or create rifts in society.”

The junta “has also granted to provincial governors, Interior Ministry officials and the police the power to halt any activity that opposes the work of the NCPO.”

Meanwhile, the anti-democrats who worked hand-in-glove with the military to overthrow the elected government appear in delirious rapture with the development of Fascist Thailand with the King as Head of State.

Update 1: The Bangkok Post has added some information to the above account. It states:

In its announcement No. 97 late on Friday, the junta further tightened its grip on all forms of media including social networks.

They may not interview or invite scholars, former civil servants or former employees of courts, judicial offices and independent organisations to give opinions in a manner that may create or escalate conflicts, distort facts, confuse society or lead to violence.

It is also mandatory for them to disseminate all information issued by the NCPO.

As well, they may not propagate confidential information of government agencies whether they are voice, images or video clips.

Provincial governors are also required to stop any assembly in opposition of the NCPO without delay and seek help if they cannot handle it.

If you haven’t got the message yet, it should be clear: this is the most repressive regime since the royalist and palace supported fascism seen following the 1976 massacre at Thammasat University and subsequent military coup.

Update 2: Bangkok Pundit points out an important point in the new announcement that both PPT and the Bangkok Post missed. In his full translation of the junta’s 97th order,  BP observes that the reference to criticism of the monarchy is far broader than even the notorious lese majeste law, applying to all royals.

Updated: Not loving the military is a crime

10 06 2014

Liking an anti-coup or anti-military statement on Facebook is now a crime. It is now only legal to love the leader, the military, the junta and the king.

Prachatai tells us that the police have decreed that “liking” or expressing any approval of anti-military or anti-junta messages is now a crime. Of course, “sharing and liking lese majeste Facebook pages” has always been a dastardly act that can land a person n jail for several years. No the same fate awaits any Thai who might consider a military dictatorship a poor outcome for their country.

The military leadership, who are themselves criminals for their serial devastation of electoral politics, for the destruction of constitutional rule, for rampant corruption and for murdering their fellow citizens, are the ones who should be locked up. But they are so hopelessly bereft of good sense that “liking” is a crime. Silent protest is also a crime. Selling sandwiches to protest the banning of the Hunger Games solidarity salute is a crime. The Hunger Games solidarity salute is a crime. Putting on a play is a crime. Silently reading 1984 is a crime.Holding a small anti-coup sign is s crime. Telling the truth about this regime is a crime. Not learning to love fascist dictators is a crime.

Book burning is just around the corner.

Update: The Norwegian telecoms firm Telenor operates the second-largest network in Thailand. It has now confirmed that it “temporarily blocked access to Facebook” on 28 May on the orders of Thailand’s military dictators. It is stated that “Tor Odland, head of communications at Telenor Asia … [said] that Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission held a meeting with the country’s major internet service providers following the May 22 coup…. On May 28, Telenor-owned firm DTAC received instructions from the commission to block access to Facebook in Thailand for an hour in a measure that could potentially impact 10 million users…”.

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