Memes, communism, and a republic

8 12 2020

Thailand’s social media and its mainstream media is awash with hysterical commentary about ideas, logos, and republicanism. We will present some examples.

At the usually sober Khaosod, Pravit Rojanaphruk is worried about what he thinks are “drastic ideas.” One such idea comes from the mad monarchist

Warong Dechgitvigrom, leader of royalist Thai Phakdee group, made a counter move. The former veteran politician proposed that absolute power be returned to the king, “temporarily.”

“Isn’t it time for royal power to be returned temporarily in order to design a new political system free from capitalist-politicians for the benefit of the people and for real democracy?” Warong posted on his Facebook page.

In fact, though, Pravit spends most of his op-ed concentrating on “Free Youth, a key group within the monarchy-reform protest movement, [that recently] sent out a message to its followers on social media urging them to discuss the idea of a republic.”

Pravit thinks that both sides are getting dangerous:

It’s clear that the majority of the Thai people, over 60 million, have not expressed their views on the on-going political stalemate.

It’s time for them to speak and act. Continued silence would be tantamount to forfeiting their role as citizens in determining the future course of Thai society. If the silent majority do not speak or act soon, there may be no other options but to allow demagogues of different political stripes to dominate and plunge Thailand deeper towards conflicts and confrontations.

In fact, conflict is normal in most societies, and in Thailand it is mostly conservatives who bay for “stability,” usually not long after slaughtering those calling for change and reform. And, neither Warong’s monarchical rule nor the call for a republic are new. They have been regularly heard in Thailand over several decades. But we do agree that one of the reasons these ideas have resurfaced now is because of the political stalemate, bred by the refusal of the regime to countenance reform. We might also point out that when the silent majority has expressed its preferences in recent years – say, in elections that were not rigged – their preferences have been ignored by those with tanks.

Republicanism has been a topic for a considerable time. Academic Patrick Jory states: “republicanism is deeply ingrained in Thailand’s political tradition. In fact, Thailand has one of the oldest republican traditions in Asia.” Republicanism was around under the now dead king as well. In the late 1980s Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh was disliked in the palace and was believed to be a republican for his statements about Thailand’s need of a “revolutionary council” (sapha patiwat) in 1987.

For PPT, republicanism has been regularly mentioned in our posts from almost the time we began in early 2009. Often this was in the context of royalists and military-backed regimes accusing Thaksin Shinawatra of republicanism. This was a theme during the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime, with Suthep Thaugsuban often banging this drum. Back in February 2009, it was said that “Bangkok swirls with rumours of republican plots.” There was the Finland Plot and, later, the Dubai Plot.

One statement of plotting and republicanism came from royalist scholar and ideologue, the now deceased Chai-Anan Samudavanija. Presciently, he worried in 2009 that if the republicans expanded, the monarchists have little in their arsenal [army, tanks, guns, prisons, judiciary, lese majeste??] with which to counter-attack. He considered the monarchists’ arguments as only holding sway with the older generation, while the under 30s seem uninterested in nation and monarchy. He seemed to think the regime was a house of cards.

There was considerable debate about republicanism in Thailand in 2009. Nor should we forget that, in 2010, there was a spurt in republican feeling, a point obliquely made by Pravit back then. Republicans have cycled through PPT posts: Ji Ungpakorn and Rose Amornpat are examples. And no one can forget the idea of the Republic of Lanna.

Perhaps ideologues like Veera Prateepchaikul, a former Editor of the Bangkok Post, could recall some of this long and important debate and conflict. No doubt that his “it can never happen” was also a refrain heard around Prajadhipok’s palace (or maybe they were a little smarter) and in Tsarist Russia.

Meanwhile, at the Thai Enquirer (and across social media) there’s a collective pile-on to point out how silly/dangerous/childish/unsophisticated the the pro-democracy Free Youth were to come up with a new logo that uses a stylized R (sickle) and T (hammer) for Restart Thailand. Many of the armchair commentators, including local and foreign academics, suddenly become experts on protest strategy and many of them seem very agitated.

Fortunately, Prachatai has the equivalent of a calming medicine, showing how the young protesters have played with symbols, redefining, re-engineering and using irony and parody. We recall, too, that red shirts and other opponents of the military-monarchy regime are regularly accused of being communists – think of 1976 and that the current opposition, attacked as communists in 2019.

Put this together with threats and intimidation: lese majeste, intimidation, lese majeste, gross sexual assault and intimidation, lese majeste, and royalist intimidation and maybe, just maybe, you get a better picture of what’s going on.





Another huge lese majeste sentence

16 12 2015

Prachatai rports reports yet another huge lese majeste sentence, with the Military Court sentencing 49 year-old accountant and single mother Chayapa Chokpornbutsri to 19 years imprisonment on lese majeste, computer crimes and sedition charges. She was sentenced in the absence of legal advice.

Sasinan Thamnithinan, a lawyer from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, states that on 15 December 2015, the Military Court of Bangkok sentenced her. As is usual practice, her 19 years was halved because Chayapa was convinced by her captors to plead guilty.

Chayapha, a red shirt from Samut Prakan, was accused of lese majeste during a police media conference on 24 June 2015 after having been arrested under martial law on 23 June 2015.

In the media event soon after she was arrested, Chayapa was presented as having been responsible for “fabricating and disseminating news” about a “second coup.” She is reported to have used a pseudonym to post an image of a military tank with the message saying a counter-coup was on its way.

At the time of her being paraded as a “political criminal,” the police made another regular claim in such political “crimes.” They said a network and conspiracy was involved. They claimed that “[d]ata extracted from her computers revealed that Mrs Chayapa had contacted a man called Jack who was in Australia.” The police purport that “Jack” was “in the same group as anti-government activist Manoon or Anek Chaichacha, alias Anek Sanfran, a suspect in the bombing of the Criminal Court at Ratchadapisek.” Police and the military make this claim against Anek in order to make lese majeste an act of “terrorism.” They also claimed that Chayapa was “in contact” with Chatwadee Rose Amornpat, who is “also wanted by police on lese majeste charges.”

When she got to “court,” it sentenced her to 19 years imprisonment during a deposition hearing without informing her lawyer. Her lawyer reported that Chayapa pleaded guilty during the deposition hearing because she was “stressful about the court procedures and did not received consultation from her family [or lawyer]…”.

Chayapa was only informed by the authorities on 14 December 2015 that she was going to court and they did not inform Chayapa’s lawyer. She appeared and they sent her to jail, unrepresented. This is how “justice” operates under the military junta.





Open letter to US ambassador from Chatwadee Rose Amornpat

2 12 2015

RoseAmornpat has written the following open letter to the US Ambassador Glyn Davies. PPT reproduces it with a few edits by us to fix a few typos in our original post:

November 30, 2015
Honorable Ambassador Glyn T. Davies
The United States EmbassyRose
120-22 Wireless Road
Bangkok 10330, Thailand

Dear Ambassador Davies:

We wish to dispute Thai junta’s controlled media apparatus as well as its leaders, Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha and Gen. Pravit Wongsuwan for declaring that the U.S. government was meddling in its political affairs and that “Thai people have been hurt” by remarks concerning their barbaric lese majeste law or Article 112 of their Criminal Code.

Right-wing royalists have employed the same old line in justifying their illegal actions such as the frequent coup d’ etat, imposition of martial law or the current Article 44 which gives unlimited power to the junta chief, Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha.

We are pleased to note that U.S. groups and government are taking seriously various violations of codes by the military junta.

Thai elites have been very ungrateful to your government for a long time for the billion dollars worth of aid the U.S. has given Thailand over a long period of time. As a slap in the face, Thai junta embraces China in their current foreign policy.

We also wish to suggest that the United States should impose more severe economic sanctions against Thailand and travel restrictions on junta leaders to the U.S. and allies’ countries. If possible, please remove Thailand from the list of “Most Favored Nations” in terms of importation of Thai goods, unless Article 44 abrogated and political prisoners released.

We also wish to inform you a very important issue which is one of the major root causes of all of Thailand’s problems and their very slow democratic process is their despicable Article 112 of their Criminal Code. This is also called the lese majeste law which prohibits people from making any comments or constructive criticism of the Thai king, even if such comments are based on the truth.

This unjust lese majeste law has effectively silenced Thai people from speaking their mind. Once convicted, it also breaks up families and loved ones for years and years. Ninety-nine percent of the accused will be convicted by the Thai military court. This is so barbaric now, because ordinary Thai people are forced to appear in a military court! The trial is often a closed court session with no media allowed. Alleged prisoners of Article 112 will be sent to Thai jail from 3 to 15 years for each offense.

Hundreds are now in jails throughout Thailand. Some are now serving 10 or 20 years sentence. This is a travesty of justice. They are not criminals but brave individuals who dare to speak against this barbaric and unjust law and those who benefit by it!

For example, Darunee Charnchoensilpakul was sentenced to 18 years in jail on lese majeste charges on 28 August 2009. That trial, conducted in secret in a closed court, saw her receive 6 years for each of three comments she made speaking to a political rally. The case made a mockery of Thailand’s judicial processes. She’s been in Thai prison since 22 July 2008 and is in poor health.

Darunee is now suffering from an acute gum infection and yet the prison warden refused her proper medical treatments! This is a way to further torture her for criticizing the so-called “Father of the Nation.” It is believed that by maltreating her on purpose that she would finally confess one day and seek pardon from the Thai king. So far, Darunee refuses to admit that she did anything wrong.

Another 112 prisoner worth mentioning here is the case of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, a former editor of a pro-democracy magazine who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for publishing an article deemed lese majeste. He, too, refuses to admit that he did anything wrong and is now in his 5th year in prison.

For a list of  112 prisoners, click here.

Article 112 or lese majeste prisoners are badly treated by fellow prisoners as well. On any royal holidays, all prisoners are routinely given a reduction of prison time except 112 prisoners who have to serve full terms. On the upcoming King’s Birthday on December 5th, all criminal prisoners and their family are looking forward to the release or reduction of jail time. Sadly, lese majeste violators will likely not be granted any leniency. In fact, they should not have been in jail in the first place, because they all expressed their comments about the royals in a peaceful manner.

Anyone can file the lese majeste charge against anyone and the police are required to investigate and often complete the process all the way to the court. Failure to do so will have serious repercussion to the investigating officers.

Even though the king said in his speech in 2005 that he disagrees with this law, but he has not done a thing to abolish it either. He has all the power within him to do so. But nothing was done so far.

This very uncivilized and unjust law gives the Thai monarchy unlimited power to do anything for their own interest and prosperity! The king’s investment arm of Crown Property Bureau (CPB) is the largest owner of all the prime property in Bangkok and the major shareholder of the Stock Exchange of Thailand! The king himself is the richest monarch in the world ranked by Forbes magazine 7 years in a row. At the same time, Thai children are still begging or selling garlands in the streets of Bangkok in order to help their family. These children should be in school, not selling garlands or flowers in the streets!

Poor families are forced to sell their daughters for prostitution. Slave wages are the norm in most factories. Intelligent Thai men and women have to flee the country, because they commented on or revealed too much about the secrets of the monarchy.

No one can question how CPB became so rich and powerful. No one can question its books and whether or not CPB pays any taxes. This is off the public record.

The royals claim the wealth and its assets belong to the people. But we have not seen any substantial monetary contributions to help the poor coming from CPB during the past 60 years! Even the royal projects are paid for by taxpayers.

Because of this law, Thailand has, so far, 19 coup d’ etat’s including the recent one in May 22, 2014! Thai king endorses and approves the coups and then pardons the coup makers!

Even all the past prime ministers of Thailand did not dare to question the suitability and viability of this law! Most politicians, academics, critics and foreign journalists all ignore this subject for fear of going to jail, because of the evil nature of Article 112! Any suggestion or slight hint of revising the law would certainly be subject to lese majeste charge!

Thai people are held hostages by this evil law!

United States must lead in calling for the abolition of this very unjust law or Thailand will continue to face economic sanctions. The great countries of the EU, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India and all the Southeast Asian nations must be united and impose sanctions until Thailand and Thai monarchy abolish such a barbaric law!

This law is not an internal affair of Thailand. It is the affair of the world and every peace-loving and democratic citizen of the world is obligated to tell Thai king, enough is enough!

Thai royalists including royalist mass media often tell the world that Thai king is so well-loved by the people. This is a untrue! Please demand they abolish the lese majeste law and see if this claim is still true or not.

Last but not least, the Cold War was over a long time ago. There is no threat of Communism any more. We understand the U.S. government during the Vietnam War created the power of the King in order to serve as a beachhead against Communist China. But now, China is acting more like a big Capitalist and the U.S. or any democratic countries do not need Thai monarchy anymore. Thai people are craving a true democracy, not a warped democracy like Thailand with the so-called “with king as head of state” who is in fact a very bad dictator in disguise.

The Thai people do not need the monarchy which taxpayers have to support them at the sum of $500 million dollars a year, even though Thai monarch is the richest in the world.

Thai monarchy is now very unpopular and hated by most Thai people. Only a handful from the rich elite  still love the monarchy, because they share their mutual business interests.

We, the voiceless Thai people, in and outside Thailand, wish to express our deepest gratitude for your comments at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand on November 25, 2015.

Thank you.

Chatwadee Rose Amornpat





Mad monarchists madder still

14 10 2015

A few days ago PPT posted a statement by Chatwadee Rose Amornpat on the maddest of mad monarchists in Thailand, the Rubbish Collection Organization led by Major-General Rientong Nan-nah a notorious fascist.

Rose alerted us to some of the RCO’s most recent efforts to gag, capture and harass persons it identifies as anti-royal.

Prachatai reports that the ultra-royalists are now targeting Facebook and Youtube for allowing content they consider to constitute lese majeste.

Rientong has issued a statement declaring “that he will file criminal defamation charges against Facebook and Youtube” as well as “many people allegedly defaming the monarchy, for defaming him.”

In his banal statement, Rientong stated: “As I have been affected by people defaming the King, I have to file defamation charges against those who defamed me.”

He has “addressed an open letter to Gen Paiboon Kumchaya, Minister of Justice, requesting to have legal consultancy from the ministry and mentioned that he will be solely responsible for the legal action.”

Another of the RCO’s recent antics is a bizarre claim that anything critical of the monarchy is an attack on the human rights of the royals. This allows the maniacal monarchists to make one of the maddest of claims: that the lese majeste law “is necessary for protecting human rights of the Thai monarchy because the monarchy is a pillar of Thai society.”





Rose on royalist fascists

10 10 2015

The following is an edited version of a post received from Chatwadee Rose Amornpat:

Thailand’s notorious anti-democratic Rubbish Collection Organization was formed to hunt down those it considered disloyal to the monarchy.

The word “rubbish” here does not have the conventional meaning. It means anyone who disagrees with the monarchy and its associated arms and supporters.

RoseThe Rubbish Collection Organization (RCO) is expanding its targets. It is now hunting down opponents of the current military regime as well as those who oppose the royals and its monarchy. Countless number of democracy activists are now in jail throughout the country. It seeks to have political opponents jailed.

General Prayuth Chan-ocha often states that he has a “roadmap” to follow and that he will execute it step by step. One of the steps in his roadmap is to eradicate former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s remnants, which is code for all opponents.

To serve Prayuth’s goals, the RCO comes in handy. Thai authorities, acting on complaints from the RCO, have persuaded Facebook to close down Thai access to so many popular FB pages during the past years. For example, the popular “Suda Rangkupan” FB pages have been periodically shut down during the past months. Dr. Suda was the former professor of Linguistics at Chulalongkorn University who was forced to resign due to her democracy activism. She was asked to report to the military junta for their so-called “attitude adjustment.” She refused and chose to flee the country.

Another professor, Dr. Pavin Chachavalpongpun, an associate professor at Kyoto University was summoned to report to the coup maker of May 22, 2014, at the urging of RCO.

The RCO came into being in April 2014, at the height of political chaos created by opponents of the democratically elected Pheu Thai government. The order to create the RCO is said to have come from General Surayud Chulanont, who headed one of the military-backed government in the wake of the 2006 coup that ousted Thaksin Shinawatra. Surayud is now the No. 2 man at the Privy Council after Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, which advises the ailing king.

Despite state blockages, Thais have continued to seek some information from the outside world, causing headaches for the monarchy and their network of royalists and elites. At the early stage of the internet in Thailand, those in power were not prepared for the impact of the free flow of information. Royalists underestimated the impact and influence of the medium.

The military junta has tried to control and block access to information. Thousands of websites, blogs and Facebook pages have been blocked by authorities.

With the country awaiting the death of the king and the passage of the throne to his son Vajiralongkorn, the military government has created one of the world’s tightest restrictive nets on the Internet. An unknown number of bloggers have been arrested on lèse majesté charges and the Computer Crimes Act.

Further, through the help of businessmen both in Thailand and the US, authorities reportedly ordered elaborate blocking and monitoring equipment from US companies, possibly illegal under US laws that specify that equipment will not be put in the hands of countries to be used to obstruct freedom of speech and expression.

It appears that the Thai government also broke a good-faith agreement with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) for sophisticated internet monitoring devices to be furnished to the Thai police to combat the flow of illegal drugs and narcotics. Instead, the equipment appears to have been used later in detecting IP addresses of those who may post “unfriendly” and/or unflattering comments about the royal family.

It was also reported that Thailand will implement a “Single Gateway” system for all the internet information to pass through, a system of tightest control and censorship which is similar to that of China and North Korea.

Because of the free flow of information and a real threat to the monarchy, General Suarayud asked his associate and retired major-general from the Thai Army, Rientong Nan-nah, to form the RCO, which gets its funding from royalists and the Army to hunt down people who it thinks are violating the lèse majesté law in the cyber world and to root out those who criticize members of the royal family.

Rientong Nan-nah and the RCO are the Thailand’s brown shirts.

To all the peace-loving people and nations of the world including the United States, the UK, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and all the democratic countries, please help the Thai people resist this oppression and oppose Rientong and his fascist organization.

 

 





Rose on Rinda’s case

13 07 2015

PPT reproduces an emailed post from Rose Amornpat:

Whistle Blower and the Dictator, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha
By Chatwadee Rose Amornpat

Switzerland had been known for ages among big-time thieves including crooked politicians, super wealthy businessmen and corrupt civil servants in Thailand to be their choice of destination for their ill-gotten wealth and loots from their illegitimate business activities. Such thieves also included tax dodgers, gambling-den owners, sex traffickers, drug smugglers and top Thai royalists who do not pay their fair share of income taxes.

This was due to the fact that Swiss law entrenched bank secrecy in 1934, making it a criminal offence to reveal a client’s identity.

But in recent years, the Swiss government is cracking down on foreign criminals who deposit their loots in Swiss banks with the bank being fined heavily and the identity of the depositors revealed. Thus these criminals, including Thai criminals, are moving their money away from Switzerland and at a rather fast speed.

United States has taken the toughest stance. It wants 11 Swiss banks to hand over their American clients’ names. In the first big breach in Swiss secrecy, UBS agreed in 2009 to pay a $780 million dollars fine for aiding tax evasion and turned over data on more than 4,400 accounts. A few months later, several more banks handed over client details to Swiss authorities.

In 2012, the U.S. found HSBC including their Swiss branch laundered hundreds of millions of dollars of drug cartel money. As a result, the bank had to pay $1.9 billion in settlement.

I was not surprised when I learned that Chief of the Thai military junta, Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha was so upset at a Thai whistle blower. Mrs. Rinda Paruechabutr, a 45-year-old member of Thai Red Shirts who was unfairly arrested on Thursday, July 9, 2015 for allegedly spreading false rumours in her Facebook account concerning General Prayuth and his wife transferring some Thai Bt. 10 billion (US $303 million dollars) to a bank in Singapore.

My research and my discussion with my sources in Thailand reveal that Singapore is now the destination of choice for money laundry for Thai crooks! Gen. Prayuth and the rest of his top brass all hold bank accounts in Singapore. Besides Thai royals have close business relationship with Tamasek Holdings, an investment company owned by the government of Singapore.

Gen. Prayuth’s police invoked Article 116 of the Computer Crimes Act which is similar to Article 112 of the lese majeste law to arrest Mrs. Rinda Paruechabutr, a mother of two children and a sole bread winner of the family. Her husband died some three years ago during the massacre at Rachaprasong Democracy Uprising by a military sniper.

Article 116 of the Thai Criminal Code gives an unlimited power to the police and the military to jail anyone without bail for posting anything on the internet which the Thai authorities – the police or the military alike – deem an act of sedition and/or arousing unrest in society. Such universal coverage by the law is indeed a travesty of justice and a breach to freedom of expression and speech. Article 116 almost always a concomitant charge on the accused with Article 112. Mrs. Rinda was denied bail and her fate is unknown.

Just like any 112 prisoners, Mrs. Rinda was interrogated, non-stop, for 16 hours with no food or drink. This was and by design in order to demoralize her to make confession. As usual, under duress, she was paraded to a news conference at the police headquarters. If convicted, she could face up to 12 years for “violating Computer Crime Act, inciting unrest, and causing panic among the public.” Oddly enough, there was no panic and no unrest except the upset and angry Prayuth, the military dictator when learning of the rumour.

Nontheless, Mrs. Rinda explained that she had no intention to destabilize the state. She said she had invoked her rights as a Thai citizen to criticize the junta chief who is a public figure in her view.

One of Rinda’s children, Nong Omm, aged 15, is making a poignant appeal with teary eyes to the Thai junta and the international communities via Youtube to to release their mother unconditionally. She said that now that her mother is in jail, no one is taking care of her and her sister who is 7 years of age. Both are in school at this time. But in a long run, they may be forced to quit school. If such event is realized, they may have to sell anything on the streets to make ends meet. Though their mother left them some money but the fund is fast running out.

I wish to make a personal appeal to anyone reading this article to please contact your government and/or any charitable and human rights organization to help these poor children.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=FEAeWGw9IhY

General Prayuth Chan-Ocha came into power with the blessing of the Thai king and his privy councils to seize power illegally from a democratically elected government of PM Yingluck Shinawatra. The world must not recognize his regime and we must continue to condemn his and his military thugs who are seizeing control of the country. Peace and democracy loving Thai people are being held hostage at this moment in Thailand by this thief-in-uniform.

The majority of the Thai people in Thailand are so helpless to express their mind, due to the ever-present threat from the military thugs who are ready to invade anyone’s home at night if the owner dares to speak out against this regime publicly. Thailand is now a lawless country and it is very dangerous to do any business there, because there is no stability there socially, economically and politically.

I would continue to urge President Barrack Obama of the USA, PM David Cameron of the UK, PM Tony Abbott of Australia, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission and the rest of the civilized nations to initiate a more severe boycotts against Thailand and stop issuing visas to anyone associated with the Thai military junta until Mrs. Rinda Paruechabutr is released, true democracy is restored including the abolishment of the despicable lese majeste law.

Then and only then Thai people can be free.





Rose on monarchy and the right to criticize

8 07 2015

As we sometimes do, we post a comment from Chatwadee Rose Amornpat, accused of lese majeste in Thailand and writing from the UK. We don’t always agree with Rose’s commentary, but she deserves to be heard:

I have never had any intention of instigating violence in my belief for a better political system for Thailand. The way it is now, it is neither a democracy nor an absolute monarchy.

In Thailand, even during peace time or even during the time of an elected government, Thai people could not freely express their mind, especially when it comes to anything about the monarchy or subjects touching on the the top royals. Even the government itself, the prime minister could not fully decide on any major issues without first seeking an approval from the Privy Councillors.

This is a large group of royal advisers, consisting of about 20 retired generals and public officials who supposedly giving advice to the king on a regular basis. They are also on government payroll. Their job is to look after the interest of the monarchy only. As to the welfare of the poor, they are not at all interested.

In this case, the President of the group, Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda, the 96-years-old retired Army general is the key man in dictating the fate of the nation. He seems to have a lot of latent influence on any cabinet members who may be deciding on matters which may be affecting the monarchy, even if it may be bad for the country as a whole. He is behaving like a Big Brother overlooking the shoulder of governmental officials. This is no democracy to me.

Thailand is neither an absolute monarchy either, because in any true sense of the meaning of the words, if it is true, the monarchy would be responsible for the welfare of its people – be it on education, health care and living quarters, etc. Saudi Arabia’s absolute monarch takes good care of his people. The same is true in the case of Sultan of Brunei. People do not have a pay for a penny for education, health care and housing. Rose

The Thai monarch never shares his vast wealth to the people. They do not have to pay any income taxes either! In bad times, Thai monarch often disavows this responsibility and points the finger to the then current government.

This is such a crazy system against the people of Thailand. Simply stated, Thai people and the government must give all the power and glories to the monarch and yet he is not responsible for the welfare of the people. If you have any doubt, please check and read any Thai constitution on clauses relating to the monarchy. On top of all these, the royals are protected by the barbaric and unjust lese majeste laws.

Such warped system has been in existence for decades in Thailand but unknown to most of the people. Most people think that Thai monarch is like that of Japan or the U.K. but that is further from the truth.

General Prem’s nortorious rhetoric regarding the monarchy, “The government is like a jockey riding on a borrowed horse, but the horse and the stable belong to the monarch!” Such weird and irresponsible rhetoric implies that the monarch owns the country and that the government running the country is under the monarch and at his mercy. Further, Thai people are indebted to the monarch!

What sort of a country is this when the head of a government could not even decide what is best for the country, but rather the government is being watched by a bunch of old men and a self-proclaimed statesman, an ultra royalist who has done nothing for the country except for protecting the useless monarchy and prolonging the suffering of the majority of the Thai people!

My family has been a strong supporter of the monarchy for several generations. I was brought up a royalist. I was taught how to write poems praising the King and Queen ever since I was in grade school. I even won several awards for my poem-writing ability.

My family disowned me for what I believe in when my video clips appeared in YouTube making constructive comments on the monarchy. My parents filed a lese majeste charge against me with the Thai police. I could never go back to Thailand again unless the current system changes. My friends in Thailand ostracized me. My close relatives all shunned me. Yes, it is sad but what can I do…

When I live in a free country like the UK and became a proud citizen, I have a chance to research, study and analyze Thai politics and its history in depth, I found that the unjust and uncivilized law of lese majeste must be abolished as soon as possible for the monarchy to survive proudly in the 21st Century.

Article 112 or lese majeste law bans people from making any negative comments or any slight hint of constructive criticism, even if they are based on the truth.

In my opinion, people should have the right to discuss urgent issues of removing or reducing the royal household and propaganda budget for the monarchy, because such funds will come from taxpayers! Any slight hint on this subject by any politician or free-spirited people will land such people in jail for a long time.

Thai royalists will try to find every opportunity to file lese majeste charge against anyone and everyone who discusses anything that may project or imply negative image on the royals. To me, this is so wrong! Many people are unfairly serving time, due to alleged violations of Article 112, in Thai prisons throughout the country now! This is so sad as loved ones are separated without justification.

Such a law creates a climate of fear among people in all of walks of life. No one dares to touch the subject! Not the politicians, academics, civil servants, media and plain ordinary people! Because the threat of jail time from 3-15 years echoes in their mind constantly- creating automatic self-censorship! Thus the nation’s core problems never get solved!

Indeed the Thai culture of impunity may originate from Article 112!

What kind of a society is this when Forbes magazine ranks the King of Thailand, the richest monarch in the world, every single year during the past six years, while many poor families have to force their children to sell garlands in the crowded and smoggy streets of Bangkok or work in factories just to make ends meet. Some barely-teenage-girls are forced to be prostitutes. This is a ultimate injustice of humanity. These children should be in school! There are no effective programs of welfare for such people.

Yes, I am mad and sorry for using strong colloquial Thai words on the top royals in my video clips and at times in my Thai writing to express my feeling and, perhaps, get attention from the elites.

Nonetheless what the top elites have done to the people are, by far, worse than my choice of language.

PPT does a bit of editing on the commentary received but we don’t fact check.





Rose on the lawless country with the king as head of state

30 06 2015

Chatwadee Rose Amornpat is a Thai activist living abroad who has been accused and charged with lese majeste. She has sent the following article to PPT and we reproduce it as received, with a couple of links added:

RoseWith all the turmoil which is being waged in Thailand now, it is interesting to observe that one so-called “revered” institution, namely, the monarch and/or the monarchy, has not come out to stop the chaos and the daily arrests of unarmed and peaceful democracy activists and alleged lese majeste violators.

Thai royalists and the royal household often surreptitiously inform the local and foreign media that the king has no political power to do anything, but a quick glance at the current constitution reveals the opposite results.

Though the junta chief. Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha stated last May 22, 2014 after he successfully seized power from a democratically-elected government, that the constitution was then abrogated except “all the constitutional articles relating to the monarch and lese majeste law.” That is to say, the laws concerning the power of the king, his welfare and his protection through the barbaric and unjust lese majeste law would be left intact and enforceable.

It is very odd indeed. To me, now we do not have just one dictator but two dictators in the same country!

This is symbiotic relationships between the monarchy and the military, which have been going on for the past six decades, while the poor people of Thailand continue to suffer and their quality of life worsen. One can still see many poor children of Thailand selling garlands to drivers of cars on the busy and smoggy streets in Bangkok every morning. Such poor children should have been in school, not selling garlands or flowers to help their family! It pains me to see such a sight.

Symbiotic relationships, according to “thefreedictionary.com,” are a special type of interaction between species. Sometimes beneficial, sometimes harmful, these relationships are essential to many organisms and ecosystems, and they provide a balance that can only be achieved by working together.

Indeed I compare the Thai monarchy and military to low-class animals which are the lowest of the lows as they have done nothing good for the Thai people. The monarchy has always stayed intact while the general changes every 5 or 10 years during the past 19 coup d’ tates. Because of this fact, one can only see that with all the troubles happening in Thailand, we can only blame it at the top, the monarchy. This is the main character which never changes.

Here’s a look at the current laws relating to the monarchy which Gen. Prayuth left intact, though he abrogated the constitution when he seized power from the former PM Yingluck Sinawatra.

Section 3 of the Thai constitution states:
The sovereign power belongs to the Thai people. The King as Head of State shall exercise such power through the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers and the Courts in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
The above Section is not known to Westerners or even most Thais. It is like saying the car belongs to the people but only the king can drive the car. Or, the people own the gun but only the
king can pull the trigger. In both cases, the people have to do the maintenance and upkeep of the car and gun.

Section 8 of the Thai constitution states:
The King shall be enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated. No person shall expose the King to any sort of accusation or action.
This section means the Thai King is like God and no one can sue the King even if he commits robbery, blatant lies, mayhem or murders. Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code states:
No one can criticize the king and any member of his family, even if such criticisms are based on the truth.
This is called “lese majeste” and it carries a jail term of 3 to 15 years for each offense.

Section 10 states:
The King holds the position of Supreme Commander of the Thai Armed Forces.

Section 11 is:
The King has the prerogative to create titles and confer decorations.
Last Friday, June 19, 2015, Thai police arrested 14 students who had been protesting against the ruling junta, in defiance of a ban on public gatherings. These are young university students who are brave and full of democratic spirit. They just want nothing except the rights to express themselves freely on issues effecting their lives and future. They are now confined to a filthy and crowded Thai jail in Bangkok.

I urge the leaders of the civilized world and all the human rights organizations to put pressures on the Thai junta to release these students unconditionally.

The students took part in peaceful rallies calling for an end to military rule under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The army commander-in-chief, Gen. Udomdej Seetabutr, publicly accused the 14 student activists of being backed by anti-government groups and claimed their actions could lead to disturbances and violence.

Additionally, Gen. Udomdej Seetabutr, who was hand-picked by the top royals to head the Army’s top brass, has indicated that a charge of lese majeste may be leveled on them, because these students may have gotten supports from anti-monarchy elements as well.

It is against the international norm that the Thai Army is designed to protect only the monarchy as opposed to protecting the country!

I can’t help but to draw the attention to another group of students who were arrested and charged with lese majeste law violations in 2014. These brave young people are university students with bright future but cut short by the military and the monarchy. Two were arrested and sentenced in jail while the rest of them had to leave their university study and are now in hiding or flee the country.

Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Munkong, 26, involved in producing a play called “The Wolf Bride” about a fictional monarch and his adviser. It was performed at the prestigeous Thammasat University in 2013 to mark the anniversary of a successful 1973 anti-dictatorship uprising led by students.

Their bail requests were repeatedly turned down by a Bangkok court. Both had pleaded guilty, a common practice in lese majeste cases in December 2014. Because failure to do so only means a 100% guilty verdict and a long jail term.

In announcing the verdict, a Bangkok Criminal Court judge said the play contained content that insulted and defamed the monarchy and was shown in front of a large number of spectators.

Keep in mind all Thai judges are approved and appointed by the king. Thus there is no chance of acquittal in any lese majeste case. Now all the lese majeste cases are being handled by the military court.

Now not even people who are suffering from mental illness are spared from lese majeste charge.

A man was sentenced to more than three years in jail last week under lese majeste law, a controversial royal defamation law, despite having a history of mental illness. Tanet Nonthakot, 45, from northeastern Phetchabun province, is the second person in the last few months suffering from mental health condition to be convicted under this barbaric law.

Not even a very friendly and mild-mannered editor of the prestigious on-line newspaper, Thai E-News, Somsak Pakdeedej, 36, who was sentenced to 5 years in prison for allowing an article deemed lese majeste to be published three years ago.

Since the coup on May 22, 2014, in addition to the hundreds and hundreds of intellectuals and democracy activists who are now serving long jail term, scores of free spirited academics have fled the country and are now living in exile in neighboring Laos and Cambodia. Thanks to the Internet, they are now waging a daily and weekly war in cyberspace against the military junta as well as the monarchy who is alleged to be the mastermind of all the messes including the 10 coups in Thailand.

Three distinguished individuals with whom I greatly admire and who have sacrificed all their life for equality, justice and democracy for Thailand:

Suda Rangkupan, in her 40’s, a Fullbright scholar and holder of a doctorate degree and university professor, chose to flee the country when she received a call from the military junta to report to their central command for the so-called “attitude adjustment.”

Dr. Rangkupan is a very courageous woman who has cared for the poor much more than herself. She has a long history of fighting for justice and equality. She is a champion for the poor. A woman with her impressive credentials, she could have easily enjoyed her life as a university professor, just as the rest of the complacent academics in universities throughout Thailand now.

Because of her democracy activism, after 13 years as a professor at Chulalornkorn University, she was forced to resign or fired by her department chief. Soon after that, a call from the junta, she informed me that she chose to flee the country and continues with her noble struggle for justice. She had been at the forefront of Thailand’s democracy movements. She is now waging a cyber war against the military junta and the monarchy. Her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/sudarang ) receives thousands of views from her supporters, Thai and foreigners alike, from all over the world each day. Here’s Dr. Suda Rangkupan’s impressive resume.

Surachai Dangwathananusorn, aka, Surachai Sae Dang, in his mid 70’s. Surachai is considered a legendary democracy activist since the era of student uprising at Thammasart university in 1973 during the era of Gen. Thanom Kitikachon. He spent a total of 22 years in Thai jail for the alleged “encouraging uprisings against the military regimes.” He, too, chose to flee the country, because the military junta filed a lese majeste charge on him after the coup by Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha. He is considered the Nelson Mandela of Thailand. His weekly broadcast in YouTube is heard by his supporters all over the world.

Phisanu Phomsorn, aks “Anti” who was charged with lese majeste law violation for giving several speeches at Red Shirt’s political events. He, too, fled the country and is now living in exile at the border around Vietnam and Cambodia. His weekly program on Thai royalty and politics has been very popular among Thai audience in Northeast Thailand.

It is now becoming clearer and clearer that Thailand is being raped and governed by 2 types of thieves-in-uniforms which share a symbiotic relationship.

Under the so-called “Article 44” which gives unlimited power to the junta, they can just about do anything they so please from search anyone house or body without a warrant or jailing anyone on any minor charges. Now many lower ranking soldiers are behaving like hooligans extorting money from street vendors and retailers in up-country and big cities in open daylight with impunity.

The first type of thieves-in-uniform is the monarchy with the king dubbed as head of state who often wears decorative pins and trappings and occasionally wears uniforms similar to characters in ancient, Ramayana play, with head gears ancient hat for religious ceremonies. This type is only concerned about their stability and their vast wealth under the control of his investment arms, “Crown Property Bureau.” They tend to prolong their continued status qua and privileges and entitlement for generations to come.

The second thieves-in-uniform is the military, the generals, who benefit from their collusion with the monarchy for decades. Each top general has benefited from the yearly military budget and the allocation for purchases of arms. Each year, the budget gets increased by 10-20 percents even though Thailand has no wars or conflicts with her neighbors.

The top brass stands to benefit millions and millions of dollars or bahts in terms of commission.
This is a known fact among officials in the Thai Armed Forces.

Unless Thai people unite and demand the reorganization of the two institutions from the group floor and up, the chance of realizing a true democracy is probably next to nothing.

Last but not least, I hope that world leaders from the United States, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, Germany and all the civilized nations which have commercial contacts or educational exchanges with Thailand continue to put pressures and bring about the human rights issue and the need to abolish their despicable lese majeste law once and for all.





Coup rumors and lese majeste

25 06 2015

In a report at the Bangkok Post on the arrest of a woman for “fabricating and disseminating news” about a “second coup” includes a statement that indicates that the woman is also accused of lese majeste.

PPT has earlier posted that stories of internal discord within the military had spooked the dictatorship although we noted that some reports about the source of the rumors seemed highly unlikely. The super sleuths in the corrupt police force, who seem unable to “solve” few real crimes, always seem to have a media presentation in political cases that almost invariably turn out to be false accusations or are stories that quickly disappear. And so they have in this case.

Police spokesman Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri told a press conference that Chayapa Chokpornbutsri, 49, was arrested in Samut Prakan’s Muang district on Monday by the military “for questioning under martial law.” The military court only issued a warrant after her arrest. She is accused of being a Facebook account holder using the name of “Chanisa B” where the police and military claim the first “news that there would be another coup by the same group of people who staged the latest coup last year” was posted.

The military dictatorship is convinced that the “news” caused “the public to panic.” There’s no evidence for this at all. Rather, the junta was miffed, angry and anxious.

It is then stated:

Apart from posting the “second coup” coup news, Mrs Chayapa was also found to have posted messages deemed insulting to the monarchy in violation of Section 112 of the Criminal Code and the Computer Crime Act.

The police claim that “Mrs Chayapa confessed to the charges.” The police invariably make such claims in these media circuses. It is not clear that she has “confessed” to lese majeste accusations.

The police then made another regular claim in such political “crimes.” They say that a network and conspiracy was involved. They claim that “[d]ata extracted from her computers revealed that Mrs Chayapa had contacted a man called Jack who was in Australia.” The police purport that “Jack” was “in the same group as anti-government activist Manoon or Anek Chaichacha, alias Anek Sanfran, a suspect in the bombing of the Criminal Court at Ratchadapisek.” Police and the military make this claim against Anek in order to make lese majeste an act of “terrorism.”

They also claim that Chayapa was “in contact” with Chatwadee Rose Amornpat, who is “also wanted by police on lese majeste charges.”

Apparently, this flimsy stuff is “evidence” of a conspiracy. The political nature of the use of lese majeste is crystal clear.





Rose on lese majeste

24 06 2015

Lese majeste victim Chatwadee Rose Amornpat has an open letter posted at New Mandala, addressed to US President Barrack Obama, referring to the cases of several others left but not forgotten in jails in Thailand. Using links to PPT, she states:

Hundreds are now in jails throughout Thailand. Some are now serving 10 or 20 years. This is a travesty of justice. They are not criminals but brave individuals who dare to speak against this barbaric and unjust law and those who benefit from it.

For example, Darunee Charnchoensilpakul was sentenced to 18 years in jail on lese majeste charges on 28 August 2009. The trial, conducted in secret in a closed court, saw her receive six years for each of three comments she made at a political rally. The case made a mockery of Thailand’s judicial processes. She is now serving her seventh year in Thai prison and is in poor health.

Darunee is now suffering from an acute gum infection and yet the prison warden has refused her proper medical treatment. This is a way to further torture her for criticising the so-called “Father of the Nation.”  It is believed that her maltreatment would lead her to finally confess and seek a pardon from the Thai king. So far, Darunee refuses to admit that she did anything wrong.

Another 112 prisoner worth mentioning here is the case of Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, a former editor of a pro-democracy magazine who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for publishing an article deemed lese majeste. He, too, refuses to admit that he did anything wrong and is now in his fourth year in prison. Both distinguished individuals deserve a Nobel Peace Prize to say the least.








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