Future of monarchy in Thailand is uncertain

21 09 2015

That is part of a headline in the New York Times for an article by Thomas Fuller on the king’s declining health. The article will certainly anger the military junta and rabid royalists.

It will be especially galling as the article quotes persons identified by the junta as “anti-monarchy.”

The article begins:

After nearly seven decades on the throne, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 87, the keystone of Thailand’s identity and a major unifying force for the country, is in declining health. With increasing frequency, the palace has issued medical bulletins detailing his ailments, and in recent days his youngest daughter has led prayer sessions following a Buddhist rite normally used for terminally ill patients.Senile king

PPT doesn’t think the king unifies, unless this means a murderous alliance with the military, palace propaganda and rightist vigilantism.

That line of buying the propaganda and repression continues: “While reverence for the king was once the only thing that this fractured country could agree on, today the future of the Thai monarchy is uncertain.”

That’s also untrue, and there is plenty of history to demonstrate that there has always been opposition to the monarchy.

The article talks of the prince:

The king’s heir apparent, the jet-setting crown prince, has a reputation as a playboy and faces an uphill battle to win the trust and adoration his father has achieved. Many Thais hoped that Princess Sirindhorn, the crown prince’s sister, who has won hearts through her charitable causes and dealings with the poor, might succeed her father, but palace law bars women from the throne.

Happy togetherThe prince gave up trying to emulate his father years ago and left the space for his sister to fill. She’s been the center of the (almost) post-Bhumibol propaganda, and has benefited from limited scrutiny. The prince seems to not care for this limelight. Meanwhile, the military junta has been cleaning up for his succession, sorting out his personal inconveniences by jailing his former wife’s family and replacing her with a woman who will probably be queen.

The article has a link to six recent lese majeste cases, noting that the law restricts discussion of succession and the future of the monarchy. Even so, the article refers to a “growing underground republican movement…”. The article states that:

The republican movement was precipitated in part by the rise of Thaksin Shinawatra, a business tycoon turned populist politician whose influence and popularity in rural areas were seen as threats to the royal establishment and Bangkok’s urban elite.

It quotes Sulak Sivaraksa:

The current anti-monarchy movement is due to the very fact that the monarchy is now made into almighty god…. The more you make the monarchy sacred, the more it becomes unaccountable and something beyond common sense.

The strength of the movement is unknown, but as author Fuller states:

One way to assay the strength of the anti-monarchy movement might be by sizing up the military government’s efforts to counter it. The junta, which claims legitimacy from the king’s blessing, has positioned itself as the institution’s ultimate defender.

The ruling generals have been aggressive in jailing critics of the monarchy and this year alone are spending $540 million, more than the entire budget for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on a promotional campaign called “Worship, protect and uphold the monarchy.”

The campaign includes television commercials, seminars in schools and prisons, singing contests and competitions to write novels and make short films praising the king. The military also erected giant statues of past kings in the seaside town of Hua Hin, but said they were financed by private donations.

“This is not propaganda,” Prayuth Chan-ocha, the leader of the junta, said several months after seizing power last year. The youth, he said, “must be educated on what the king has done.”

It is also a part of preparing for the succession. Former Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya is quoted:

Mr. Kasit, the former foreign minister, said the bicycle tour was a “turning point” for the prince.

There are no more doubts inside the military establishment as to who will be the next monarch of Thailand,” Mr. Kasit said.

PPT thinks that’s accurate and it is one of the few times we have agreed with the erratic Kasit. And, it is in the military’s interests to maintain the critical link to the monarchy:

Rejecting the 1997 constitutionThe military’s backing of the prince, indeed its alliance with the monarchy, is seen as mutually beneficial. The king is the head of the Thai armed forces and must endorse all new governments and major appointments. Critics say the military and Bangkok establishment are leveraging the king’s power to bolster their own.

Fuller observes that the political divisions of recent years remain:

Military rule has papered over those [political] divisions, silencing critics and jailing former members of the government. But unifying the country remains the most pressing challenge for both the junta and the future king.

While the article concludes with advice from Thailand’s 5th and most absolute of its “modern” kings, which he didn’t necessarily follow himself, the real final word belongs to critic-in-exile Somsak Jeamteerasakul:

The situation of the Thai monarchy will not remain like this for many more years…. There are two options for the future. Either transform to a modern monarchy like in Europe or Japan or don’t change and become definitively demolished (a republic). There is no third choice.

A refuge from the feudal law

28 06 2015

Prachatai reports that France has granted political refugee status to three Thai exiles, each of who is charged under the lese majeste law.

Saran Chuichai or Aum Neko, Jaran Ditapichai and Somsak Jeamteerasakul are each reported to have been granted this status since their arrival in France as political exiles.

This revelation is likely to anger The Dictator and other feudal-minded junta members, although they will have already known this.

With 4 updates: Army chief uses lese majeste against Thaksin

29 05 2015

In an earlier post, PPT commented on the likelihood of another lese majeste charge against former elected premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Khaosod reports that General Udomdej Sitabutr, the Army commander and a member of the military junta, “has charged former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra with lese majeste for allegedly defaming the monarchy in a recent interview with a foreign news agency.”

Khaosod states:

Due to the severe application of Thailand’s lese majeste law, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison for insulting the monarchy, Khaosod English is unable to publish Thakin’s comments in full.

As noted in our earlier post, Khaosod found it necessary to withdraw an earlier story on Thaksin’s speech.

An Army spokesman claimed the military has a “duty to protect the institutions of the Nation, Religion, and Monarchy…. Whenever someone insults any of the institutions, we have to take action, otherwise we may be guilty of dereliction of duty.”

That spokesman then went on to compare lese majeste with murder:

Thai People know that if they violate the laws, they will punished. If they still do it, it means that they intend to commit the crime, and they have to accept punishment. It’s like shooting someone dead. They have to answer for the crime, because they know it’s illegal.

At the same time the spokesman “warned Thai media agencies not to report the remarks Thaksin made in the interview.”

Khaosod also points out that the Army is a “staunch ally of the monarchy” and that it “has previously filed several lese majeste charges against members of the public.” The report mentions its charges against Darunee Charnchoensilpakul in 2008. She remains in prison. Also mentioned are Army charges against exiled historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul.

Update 1: Meanwhile, the man who led the illegal 2014 military coup that overthrew the 2007 constitution and ousted an elected and legal government, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, has seen the Criminal Court dismiss a lawsuit filed by activists who accused him “of high treason for staging a coup d’etat against an elected government one year ago.” Of course, Prayuth is guilty and has even admitted that he did wrong. That does not bother the judiciary because the military junta granted itself a legal amnesty “in the interim charter they enacted shortly after the military takeover.”

Update 2: The military junta is seriously ticked off with Thaksin and has decided that he needs to be punished. While a bunch of The Dictator’s minions have stated that there is nothing “political” in its attacks on Thaksin, this is clearly horse manure, and the existential threat against Thaksin is extended to his family and wealth in Thailand. In addition to passports and lese majeste, the regime has decided to remove Thaksin’s old police rank. It has also decided that Yingluck will not be able to use her passport. Clearly, the so-called deals are off until Thaksin “learns” to be silent on monarchy, palace, privy council and military.

Update 3: The punishment of Thaksin, his family and associates continues. The Bangkok Post reports that the “National Anti-Corruption Commission is working on a case against the former premier [Yingluck Shinawatra] and her then-foreign minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul and could have the investigation wrapped up next month…. In June, the NACC will meet to decide whether it will indict the pair or drop the case centred on abuse of authority.” Is this beginning to look like the same tactics used against Srirasmi?

Update 4: The Bangkok Post reports that Thaksin has not been charged with lese majeste but that police are investigating the case. That almost always results in a charge, so there is no real difference. The Army Chief says he’s sued Thaksin for insulting the military. The thin-skinned brass are easily insulted not least because they are used to being obeyed, not least because they have guns and power. We will have another post coming on these events within the next 24 hours.

Updated: Scholars for academic freedom

5 03 2015

This open letter is widely available, as it should be. We reproduce it here as a matter of record, where some of the world’s leading scholars and many of the new generation of scholars, including those who research and write on Thailand, express strong support for academic freedom and for Dr. Somsak Jeamteerasakul, cruelly sacked by royalist administrators and puppets at Thammasat University:

As concerned international observers of Thailand, we stand in solidarity with our colleagues who have condemned the summary dismissal of Dr. Somsak Jeamteerasakul by Thammasat University on 23 February 2015. We have watched with growing concern as the space for freedom of expression has shrunk precipitously in Thailand since the 22 May 2014 coup by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). By choosing to join with the NCPO to attack Dr. Somsak Jeamteerasakul, the Thammasat University administration has abdicated its responsibility to protect academic freedom and nurture critical thinking. While academic freedom is not worthy of protection greater than that of the right to freedom of expression of all citizens, the impact of its destruction during a time of dictatorship is particularly severe as it prevents students and scholars, those whose daily job is to think about knowledge and its implications, from imagining and working to return to a democratic regime founded on the protection of rights and liberties.

For more than twenty years, Dr. Somsak Jeamteerasakul has been a lecturer in the Department of History and has trained and inspired many students at Thammasat University. As a public intellectual, he has produced a significant body of work in modern Thai history that has impacted and challenged Thai society beyond the walls of the university. His critical stance has made those in power uncomfortable, and in 2011 he faced an accusation from the Army of violating Article 112, the section of the Criminal Code that addresses alleged lèse majesté. In February 2014, there was an attempt on his life when armed gunmen shot at his house and car with automatic weapons. Concerned about his life and liberty following the May 2014 coup, Dr. Somsak fled the country. He was subsequently summoned to report by the junta, and when he did not, the NCPO issued a warrant for his arrest and appearance in military court, as examination of violations of the junta’s orders was placed within the jurisdiction of the military court following the coup. In December 2014, he submitted his resignation. However, rather than accept his resignation, Thammasat University fired Dr. Somsak.

We stand in solidarity with our colleagues who note that, at the very least, Dr. Somsak Jeamteerasakul should be permitted to appeal the decision by Thammasat University to summarily dismiss him. In addition, he should be permitted to fight any legal charges against him in the civilian criminal court, not the military court. We further call on Thammasat University and all universities in Thailand to take an active and leading role in support of academic freedom and freedom of expression in a broad sense. To think differently is not a crime. If one cannot do so within the walls of the university, spaces of learning and the pursuit of truth, then the space to do so outside those walls will dwindle as well.

Update: This from Matichonวันที่ 5 มีนาคม 2558 ผู้สื่อข่าวรายงานว่า  กลุ่มนักวิชา นักคิด นักเขียน การจำนวน 238 คน จาก 19 ประเทศ ร่วมกันออกแถลงการณ์ เป็นจดหมายเปิดผนึก ในหัวข้อ “นักวิชาการ นักเขียน นักคิด เรียกร้องขอให้เสรีภาพทางวิชาการกลับมาในประเทศไทย” ซึ่งเผยแพร่เมื่อวันที่ 4 มีนาคม ที่ผ่านมา จากกรณีที่มหาวิทยาลัยธรรมศาสตร์ ได้มีคำสั่งไล่ออก นายสมศักดิ์ เจียมธีรสุกล โดยขอเรียกร้องต่อเสรีภาพทางวิชาการ ซึ่งถ้อยความในแถลงการณ์ได้กล่าวถึงข้อเท็จจริงที่ว่า ตลอด 9 เดือนหลังจากที่คสช. ได้ก่อรัฐประหารครั้งล่าสุดในประเทศไทย ซึ่งนับเป็นรัฐประหารครั้งที่ 13 ตั้งแต่การเปลี่ยนแปลงการปกครอง 24 มิถุนายน 2475 ทางกลุ่มได้ออกมาเรียกร้องขอให้มีเสรีภาพทางวิชาการในประเทศไทย โดยเสนอข้อเรียกร้องด้วยจิตวิญญาณภราดรภาพและความเคารพต่อความจริง ซึ่งก่อนหน้านี้ก็มีนักวิชาการไทยจำนวนไม่น้อยที่ออกแถลงการณ์เมื่อสัปดาห์ที่แล้ว หลังจากที่ ดร. สมศักดิ์ เจียมธีรสกุล ถูกไล่ออกจากตำแหน่งที่มหาวิทยาลัยธรรมศาสตร์อย่างไม่เป็นธรรม กลุ่มนักวิชาการ 238 คนนี้ตั้งข้อสังเกตว่าว่ามีการจำกัดสิทธิเสรีภาพในการแสดงออกอย่างสูงและอยู่ในภาวะน่าเป็นห่วง  พวกเขาวิจารณ์การไล่ดร.สมศักดิ์ออกว่าเป็นตัวอย่างของความร่วมมือระหว่างมหาวิทยาลัยธรรมศาสตร์และคณะทหาร

ทั้ง นี้กลุ่มนักวิชาการ238คนนี้ไม่ได้ยกเสรีภาพทางวิชาการว่ามีความสำคัญเหนือ กว่าเสรีภาพในการแสดงออกของประชาชนทุกคนหากแต่พวกเขาตั้งข้อสังเกตว่าการลิด รอนเสรีภาพทางวิชาการเป็นสิ่งที่ยิ่งอันตรายในช่วงนี้เนื่องจากเป็นการ“ขัด ขวางการเรียนการสอนของบรรดาอาจารย์และนักศึกษา ที่ภาระหน้าที่ปกติประจำวันคือการคิดและการพิจารณาความรู้และความหมาย ก่อให้เกิดการจำกัดจินตนาการและการทำงาน และขัดขวางการกลับคืนสู่ระบอบที่มีการปกป้องสิทธิเสรีภาพเป็นหลัก”

กลุ่ม 238 นักวิชาการ นักคิด และนักเขียนนี้มาจาก 19 ประเทศ ประกอบด้วยประเทศออสเตรเลีย  ออสเตรีย  แคนาดา โคลัมเบีย เดนมาร์ก ฝรั่งเศส  ญี่ปุ่น มาเลเซีย เนเธอร์แลนด์ ฟิลิปปินส์ สิงคโปร์ เกาหลี สวีเดน ไต้หวัน ประเทศไทย ตุรกี  อังกฤษ และสหรัฐอเมริกา ซึ่งในตอนท้ายของจดหมาย นักวิชาการกลุ่มนี้ เรียกร้องให้มหาวิทยาลัยธรรมศาสตร์ และ ทุกๆ มหาวิทยาลัยในประเทศไทย “ก้าวออกมาเป็นผู้นำในการสนับสนุนเสรีภาพทางวิชาการและเสรีภาพในการ แสดงออกอย่างกว้างขวาง”พร้อมกับเสนอว่า“การคิดต่างกันไม่ใช่อาชญากรรมถ้าหาก ไม่ได้คิดต่างกันในรั้วมหวิทยาลัยอันเป็นพื้นที่การเรียนการสอนและการแสวงหา ความจริงแล้วพื้นที่สำหรับความคิดนอกรั้วมหาวิทยาลัยจะเริ่มหดหายไปเช่นกัน”


1. Patricio N. Abinales, Professor, School of Pacific and Asian Studies, University of Hawaii-Manoa

2. Jeremy Adelman, Princeton University

3. Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

4. Robert B. Albritton, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Mississippi

5. Saowanee T. Alexander, Ubon Ratchathani University, Thailand

6. Tariq Ali, Author

7. Aries A. Arugay, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines-Diliman

8. Indrė Balčaitė, PhD candidate, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

9. Joshua Barker, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto

10. Veysel Batmaz, Professor, Istanbul University, Turkey

11. Bryce Beemer, History Department, Colby College

12. Trude Bennett, Emeritus Professor, School of Public Health, UNC

13. Clarinda Berja, Professor and Chair of the Department of Social Sciences, University of the Philippines-Manila.

14. Kristina Maud Bergeron, Agente de recherche et chercheuse associée, Chaire en entrepreneuriat minier UQAT-UQAM, Université du Québec à Montréal

15. Chris Berry, Professor, Department of Film Studies, King’s College London

16. Robert J. Bickner, Emeritus Professor (Thai), Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia, University of Wisconsin

17. David J.H. Blake, Independent Scholar, United Kingdom

18. John Borneman, Professor of Antbropology, Princeton University

19. Katherine Bowie, Professor of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

20. Francis R. Bradley, Assistant Professor of History, Pratt Institute

21. Eloise A. Brière, Professor of French and Francophone Studies Emerita, University at Albany – SUNY

22. Lisa Brooten, Associate Professor, College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, Southern Illinois University

23. Andrew Brown, Lecturer in Political and International Studies, University of New England

24. James Brown, PhD Candidate, Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

25. Din Buadaeng, Université Paris-Diderot (Paris 7)

26. Michael Burawoy, Professor, University of California, Berkeley

27. David Camroux, Associate Professor – Senior Researcher, Sciences Po

28. Rosa Cordillera Castillo, PhD candidate, Freie Universität Berlin

29. Danielle Celermajer, Professor and Director, Enhancing Human Rights Project, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney

30. Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Associate Professor, Kyoto University

31. Thak Chaloemtiarana, Professor, Cornell University

32. Anita Chan, Research Professor, China-Australia Relations Institute (ACRI), University of Technology, Sydney

33. Pandit Chanrochanakit, Visiting Scholar Thai Studies Program, Asia Center, Harvard University (Faculty of Political Science Ramkhamhaeng University)

34. Nick Cheesman, Research Fellow, Political and Social Change, Australian National University

35. Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus), MIT

36. Lawrence Chua, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Syracuse University

37. Nerida M. Cook, Ph.D.

38. Simon Creak, Lecturer in Southeast Asian History, University of Melbourne

39. Robert Cribb, Professor of Asian History, Australian National University

40. Linda Cuadra, MA Student, University of Washington, Jackson School of International Studies

41. Robert Dayley, Professor of Political Economy, The College of Idaho

42. Yorgos Dedes, Senior Lecturer in Turkish, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

43. Arif Dirlik, Knight Professor of Social Science, Retired, University of Oregon

44. Rick Doner, Professor, Department of Political Science, Emory University

45. Ariel Dorfman, Author and Distinguished Professor, Duke University

46. Ana Dragojlovic, UQ Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Queensland

47. Alexis Dudden, Professor of History, University of Connecticut

48. Richard Dyer, Professor, King’s College London and St. Andrews, Fellow of the British Academy

49. Taylor M. Easum, Assistant Professor of History, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point

50. Nancy Eberhardt, Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Knox College

51. Eli Elinoff, National University of Singapore

52. Olivier Evrard, Insitut de recherche pour le Développement, France & Chiang Mai University, Faculty of Social Sciences

53. Nicholas Farrelly, Fellow, ANU

54. Jessica Fields, Associate Professor, Sociology, San Francisco State University

55. Alfredo Saad Filho, Professor, Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

56. Amanda Flaim, Postdoctoral Associate, Duke University, Sanford School of Public Policy

57. Tim Forsyth, Professor, International Development, London School of Economics and Political Science

58. Arnika Fuhrmann, Assistant Professor of Asian Studies, Cornell University

59. V.V. Ganeshananthan, Writer, Bunting Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

60. Paul K. Gellert, Associate Professor, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

61. Charles Geisler, Professor of Development Sociology, Cornell University

62. Henry Giroux, Author and Professor, McMaster University

63. Parvis Ghassem-Fachandi, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University

64. Jim Glassman, Professor, University of British Columbia

65. Lawrence Grossberg, Morris Davis Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies and Cultural Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill

66. Merly Guanumen, Professor of International Relations, Javeriana University

67. Tessa Maria Guazon, Assistant Professor, Department of Art Studies College of Arts and Letters University of the Philippines-Diliman

68. Geoffrey Gunn, Emeritus, Nagasaki University

69. Tyrell Haberkorn, Fellow, Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University

70. Vedi Hadiz, Professor of Asian Societies and Politics, Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University

71. Jeffrey Hadler, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, U.C. Berkeley

72. Paul Handley, Journalist and Author

73. Eva Hansson, Senior Lecturer, Political Science and Coordinator, Forum for Asian Studies, Stockholm University

74. Harry Harootunian, Max Palevsky Professor of History, Emeritus, University of Chicago

75. Gillian Hart, Professor of Geography, University of California-Berkeley

76. Yoko Hayami, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University

77. Chris Hedges, Author

78. Ariel Heryanto, Professor, School of Culture, History, and Language, Australian National University

79. Michael Herzfeld, Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University

80. Kevin Hewison, Sir Walter Murdoch Professor of Politics and International Studies, Murdoch University

81. Allen Hicken, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan

82. CJ Hinke, Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT), Independent scholar

83. Philip Hirsch, Professor of Human Geography, University of Sydney

84. Tessa J. Houghton, Director, Centre for the Study of Communications and Culture, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

85. May Adadol Ingawanij, Reader, Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media, University of Westminster

86. Noboru Ishikawa, Professor, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University

87. Sunisa Ittichaiyo, Ph.D. student, Faculty of Law, Augsburg University

88. Soren Ivarsson, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

89. Peter A. Jackson, Professor, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University

90. Arthit Jiamrattanyoo, Ph.D. Student, University of Washington

91. Lee Jones, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, Queen Mary, University of London

92. Andrew Alan Johnson, Assistant Professor, Yale-NUS College

93. Hjorleifur Jonsson, Associate Professor of Anthropology, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University

94. Teresa Jopson, PhD candidate at the Australian National University

95. Sarah Joseph, Professor, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Monash University

96. Amanda Joy, Instructor and PhD Candidate, Carleton University

97. Alexander Karn, Assistant Professor of History, Colgate University

98. Tatsuki Kataoka, Associate Professor of the Graduate School of
Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University

99. Ward Keeler, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas-Austin

100. Charles Keyes, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and International Studies, University of Washington

101. Akkharaphong Khamkhun, Pridi Banomyong International College, Thammasat University

102. Gaik Cheng Khoo, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

103. Sherryl Kleinman, Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

104. Lars Peter Laamann, Department of History, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

105. John Langer, Independent researcher and broadcaster

106. Tomas Larsson, Lecturer, University of Cambridge

107. Pinkaew Laungaramsri, Visiting Scholar, Harvard Yenching Institute, Harvard University

108. Doreen Lee, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Northeastern University

109. Namhee Lee, Associate Professor of Modern Korean History, University of California, Los Angeles

110. Terence Lee, Assistant Professor of Political Science, National University of Singapore

111. Christian C. Lentz, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

112. Busarin Lertchavalitsakul, PhD Candidate, University of Amsterdam

113. Daniel J. Levine, Assistant Professor of Political Science, The University of Alabama

114. Samson Lim, Assistant Professor, Singapore University of Technology and Design

115. Peter Limqueco, Editor Emeritus, Journal of Contemporary Asia

116. Johan Lindquist, Associate Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

117. Kah Seng Loh, Assistant Professor at the Institute for East Asian Studies, Sogang University

118. Larry Lohmann, The Corner House

119. Tamara Loos, Associate Professor, History and Southeast Asian Studies, Cornell University

120. Taylor Lowe, PhD Student in Anthropology, the University of Chicago

121. Catherine Lutz, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. Family Professor of Anthropology and International Studies, Brown University

122. Chris Lyttleton, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Macquarie University

123. Regina Estorba Macalandag, Asia Center for Sustainable Futures, Assistant Professor, Holy Name University

124. Andrew MacGregor Marshall, Independent journalist and scholar

125. Ken MacLean Associate Professor of International Development and Social Change, Clark University

126. M F Makeen, Senior Lecturer in Commercial Law, SOAS, University of London

127. Neeranooch Malangpoo, PhD. student, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

128. Amporn Marddent, School of Liberal Arts, Walailak University

129. Jovan Maud, Lecturer, Institut für Ethnologie, Georg-August University

130. Duncan McCargo, Professor of Political Science, University of Leeds

131. Mary E. McCoy, Associate Faculty, University of Wisconsin-Madison

132. Kaja McGowan, Associate Professor of Art History, Cornell University

133. Kate McGregor, University of Melbourne

134. Shawn McHale, Associate Professor of History, George Washington University

135. Gayatri Menon, Faculty, Azim Premji University

136. Eugenie Merieau, INALCO, Paris

137. Marcus Mietzner, Associate Professor, Australian National University

138. Elizabeth Miller, Previous Thai language student at Ohio University

139. Owen Miller, Lecturer in Korean Studies, Department of Japan and Korea, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

140. Mary Beth Mills, Professor of Anthropology, Colby College

141. Bruce Missingham, Lecturer, Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University

142. Art Mitchells-Urwin, PhD candidate in Thai Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

143. Dan Monk, George R. and Myra T. Cooley Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, Colgate University

144. Michael Montesano, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

145. Samuel Moyn, Professor of Law and History, Harvard University

146. Marjorie Muecke, Adjunct Professor, Family and Community Health, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Paul G Rogers Ambassador for Global Health Research

147. Yukti Mukdawijitra, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

148. Laura Mulvey, Professor, Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies, School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London

149. Ben Murtagh, Senior Lecturer in Indonesian and Malay, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

150. Fumio Nagai, Professor, Osaka City University

151. Kanda Naknoi, Department of Economics, University of Connecticut

152. Andrew Ng, Associate Professor, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University, Malaysia

153. Don Nonini, Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

154. Pál Nyiri , Professor of Global History from an Anthropological Perspective, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

155. Rachel O’Toole, Associate Professor of History, University of California, Irvine

156. Akin Oyètádé, Senior Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies

157. Jonathan Padwe, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Hawaiˈi at Mānoa

158. Ajay Parasram, Doctoral Candidate, Carleton University Ottawa

159. Eun-Hong Park, Professor, Faculty of Social Science, Sungkonghoe University

160. Prasannan Parthassarathi, Professor of History, Boston College

161. Raj Patel, Research Professor, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin.

162. Quentin Pearson III, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Wheaton College

163. Thomas Pepinsky, Associate Professor of Government, Cornell University

164. Penchan Phoborisuth, University of Utah

165. Sheldon Pollock, Arvind Raghunathan Professor of Sanskrit and South Asian Studies, Columbia University in the City of New York

166. Chalermpat Pongajarn, PhD candidate, Wageningen University

167. Pitch Pongsawat, Visiting Scholar, Harvard Yenching Institute, Harvard University

168. Tim Rackett, UK

169. Rahul Rao, Senior Lecturer in Politics, SOAS, University of London

170. Malavika Reddy, PhD Candidate, University of Chicago

171. Luke Robinson, Lecturer, University of Sussex

172. Garry Rodan, Professor of Politics & International Studies, Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University

173. John Roosa, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of British Columbia

174. Robin Roth, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, York University

175. Ulrich Karl Rotthoff, Assistant Professor, Asian Center,
University of the Philippines

176. Pakpoom Saengkanokkul, PhD student, INALCO, Paris, France

177. Jiratorn Sakulwattana, PhD student

178. Ton Salman, Associate Professor and Head of Department, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

179. Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Chair, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University

180. Wolfram Schaffar, Professor, Department of Development Studies, University of Vienna

181. Sarah Schulman, City University of New York

182. James C. Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Anthropology, Yale University

183. Raymond Scupin, Director, Center for International and Global Studies, Lindenwood University

184. Laurie J. Sears, Professor of History, Director, Southeast Asia Center, University of Washington

185. Mark Selden, Senior Research Associate, East Asia Program, Cornell University

186. Yeoh Seng-Guan, Monash University Malaysia

187. Bo Kyeong Seo, Australian National University

188. John T. Sidel, Sir Patrick Gillam Professor of International and Comparative Politics, London School of Economics and Political Science

189. Roland G. Simbulan, Professor in Development Studies and Public Management, University of the Philippines

190. Subir Sinha, Senior Lecturer, Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

191. Aim Sinpeng, Lecturer in Comparative Politics, University of Sydney

192. Aranya Siriphon, Visiting Scholar, Harvard Yenching Institute, Harvard University

193. Dan Slater, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Chicago

194. Jay M. Smith, Professor of History, UNC-Chapel Hill

195. Claudio Sopranzetti, Postdoctoral Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford University

196. Paul Stasi, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies, SUNY-Albany

197. Irene Stengs, Senior Researcher, Meertens Institute/Research and Documentation of Language and Culture in the Netherlands/Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

198. Carolyn Strange, Senior Fellow, School of History, Australian National University

199. Wanrug Suwanwattana, PhD student, Oxford University

200. David Szanton, UC Berkeley, emeritus

201. Eduardo Climaco Tadem, Ph.D., Professor of Asian Studies, University of the Philippines Diliman

202. Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem, Ph.D, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines Diliman

203. Neferti Tadiar, Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University

204. Danielle Tan, Lecturer, Institute for East Asian Studies (IAO-ENS Lyon), Sciences Po Lyon

205. Michelle Tan

206. Tanabe Shigeharu, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan

207. Nicola Tannenbaum, Professor of Anthropology, Lehigh University

208. Nicholas Tapp, Professor Emeritus, Australian National University, Director, Research Institute of Anthropology, East China Normal University

209. Ben Tausig, Assistant Professor, Stony Brook University

210. Nora A. Taylor, Alsdorf Professor of South and South East Asian Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

211. Philip Taylor, Senior Fellow, Anthropology, Australian National University

212. Julia Adeney Thomas, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Notre Dame

213. Barry Trachtenberg, Associate Professor, History Department, Director, Judaic Studies Program, University at Albany

214. Tran Thi Liên, Associate Professor, History of Southeast Asia,
University Paris Diderot-Paris 7

215. Andrew Turton, Reader Emeritus in Social Anthropology at the University of London

216. Jonathan Unger, Professor, Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University

217. Jane Unrue, Harvard College Writing Program, Harvard University

218. Sara Van Fleet, University of Washington

219. Peter Vandergeest, Geography, York University, Toronto

220. Boonlert Visetpricha, PhD candidate at University of Wisconsin- Madison, Department of Anthropology

221. Joel Wainwright, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Ohio State University

222. Andrew Walker, Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, The Australian National University

223. Kheetanat Wannaboworn, Master’s Degree Student, Sciences Po Paris

224. Thomas Weber, DPhil

225. Meredith Weiss, Associate Professor of Political Science, University at Albany, SUNY

226. Marina Welker, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology

227. Bridget Welsh, Senior Research Associate, Center for East Asia Demcracy, National Taiwan University

228. Marion Werner, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University at Buffalo, SUNY

229. Frederick F. Wherry, Professor of Sociology, Yale University

230. Erick White, Visiting Fellow, Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University

231. Dhrista Wichterich, Gastprofessur Geschlechterpolitik, Fachbereich Gesellschaftswissenschaften, Universität Kassel

232. Sutida Wimuttikosol, PhD student, King’s College London

233. Thongchai Winichakul, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

234. Hiram Woodward, Curator Emeritus, Asian Art, Walters Art Museum

235. Theodore Jun Yoo, University of Hawaii at Manoa

236. Karin Zackari, PhD candidate, Human Rights Studies, Department of History, Lund University

237. Peter Zinoman, Professor of History and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley

238. Rebecca Zorach, Professor of Art History, Romance Languages, and the College, University of Chicago

Updated: Prayuth livid on US comments

29 01 2015

General Prayth Chan-ocha, known widely as The Dictator of Thailand, is livid that he was both snubbed and criticized by a visiting U.S. official. PPT earlier posted on the comments by Daniel Russel, the US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

At Khaosod it is reported that Prayuth ordered his ministers to denounce Russel’s speech (full text here). PPT heard that he was furious about Russel’s speech at Chulalongkorn University. But he is then reported to have “repeated his remarks in a meeting with Gen. Thanasak Patimaprakorn, a member of the Thai junta and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.”

Indicating his limited knowledge of international affairs and the United States, Thanasak, referring to the maintenance of martial law, “asked Mr. Daniel [Russel], if your country is like ours, with all the factors and restrictions, what would you do without martial law?” Junta spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd claimed the envoy “… could not answer that question, because his country never faced such a situation before.”

A venomous Prayuth also dismissed the US diplomat’s call for lifting of martial law, asking: “If we don’t have martial law, won’t it lead to chaos?… I am not bothering anyone. I only want to make this country peaceful.”

He went on to claim: “There are only few nations that are still stuck on the word democracy. But these countries still trade with us as usual. No one pressures us at all. Some countries even say, Thailand is in better shape than ever. It’s just that they cannot say they agree with us.”

We recall that Thaksin Shinwatra was once was criticized for comments that seemed to make democracy a means to an end. Prayuth, as The Dictator, can’t be criticized for having a view of democracy as nothing but a word.

Khaosod reports that exiled political dissident Somsak Jeamteerasakul “offered an answer to the question Gen. Thanasak reportedly posed to Russel during their meeting.” He says the U.S., faced with the situation Yingluck Shinawatra was in, would have seen the President “would relieve the army chief of his command and court-martial him on a charge of high treason.”

Never in Thailand, where the king is commander in chief and the military brass owe their position and personal wealth to the palace and military corruption.

Update: Prachatai has loaded the video of Russel’s speech.

Repressing “the few”

18 12 2014

As everyone knows, the military dictatorship is ultra-royalist and desperate to “defend” and “protect” the monarchy and the system of power and recession it stands for.

This is why it is “normal” to view yet another report, this one at the Bangkok Post, that has a senior junta general declaring that “Thailand has asked countries where lese majeste suspects are believed to be hiding to extradite them so they can face legal action…”.

Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwon knows that most countries of the world do not have ludicrous and medieval laws like lese majeste. Most of them do not have extradition treaties with Thailand. This means that “extradiction” is pretty much a nonsense. Equally nonsensical is Prawit’s claim that he’s reporting lese majeste suspects to Interpol.

Prawit explained that The Dictator and self-appointed Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha “wants all fugitives in lese majeste cases who have fled abroad, including Thammasat University history lecturer Somsak Jeamteerasakul, to return and fight the cases.” As everyone knows, “fighting” a lese majeste charge is virtually impossible, with almost all those accused eventually being convicted following long periods o jail time where bail is repeatedly refused.

In the same report, Army chief General Udomdej Sitabutr, who is also a part of the junta, is reported as declaring that the military dictatorship’s massive lese majeste dragnet does not amount to having the “the law … applied too stringently.” It is just that the “army is working with various agencies to tackle the problem…”.

Udomdej is like most ultra-royalists, and can simply not grasp that others can think differently from himself and the people he surrounds himself with: “I think most people in the country love and respect the monarchy while only a few have a different point of view…”. He sounds like someone who believes palace propaganda when he declares:

“They [people opposed to the lese majeste law] may forget that our nation has remained peaceful for as long as it has because we have a monarch who has long been the soul of the nation and who has dedicated his time and energy to his people…”.

In such circumstances, it is “normal” for him to declare that he can’t think of a single case where the “lese majeste law has been abused for political reasons…”. In fact, every lese majeste case is political and is an abuse of human rights.

Tracking down “the few,” keeping them jailed without bail and denying constitutional rights is not a case of the regime having “abused any law to intimidate anyone…”. Udomdej is either lying or is dense or both.

Hunting and hating critics

17 12 2014

The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who selected himself to be premier, is worried. Or at least he claims to be. He is apparently under pressure to arrest and jail dissidents who have fled abroad.

Khaosod reports that The Dictator has had to explain [to whom we are not sure] that the “authorities are seeking to extradite critics of the Thai monarchy living abroad for legal prosecution in Thailand but that progress is slow. Perhaps he is explaining to the “uneducate” amongst the ultra-royalists who do not understand that the Thai military dictatorship’s powers are limited. Perhaps he is explaining to the “uneducate” amongst the ultra-royalists who do not understand that other countries have laws. Perhaps he is explaining to the “uneducate” amongst the ultra-royalists who do not understand that lese majeste is a feudal remnant that is only regularly used in royalist Thailand.

Prayuth declared: “You can’t expect me to have all of them arrested right now.”

Royalist wanted poster

He also complained that some of the “wanted” critics didn’t play “fair.” Apparently, they “told security officers they would stop commenting on the monarchy, only to later flee abroad and continue with their ‘libelous’ remarks.” Prayuth is hardly one to complain about this. After all, he is a skilled practitioner of the publicly spoken lie.

But never fear dear ultra-royalists, for The Dictator is there to protect the royalist regime: “We are monitoring them…. We have many agencies involved in this, the ICT [Ministry of Information, Communication, and Technology], the army, the Ministry of Defence. We have many.”

Prayuth went on to attack Thammasat University professor Somsak Jeamteerasakul, “who fled Thailand shortly after the military staged a coup on 22 May 2014” and is living in exile in France.

Somsak has been a particular target for Prayuth. When he was Army chief, Prayuth was behind a lese majeste accusation against Somsak. Then, in February 2014, Khaosod reported that Prayuth was at it again: “The Royal Thai Army is considering a legal action against a prominent historian for his remarks about the monarchy…”. Acting for Prayuth, the Army claimed that Somsak “gravely insulted the Royal Family in his Facebook posts.” At the time, Somsak stated that “he has been simply parodying and criticising certain type of royalists.” He asked: “Can′t the Army Commander-in-Chief read Thai?” The Army then promised “unspecified ‘social measures’ to deter such inappropriate action.” The result was thugs attacking Somsak’s house.

Now The Dictator attacks Somsak for daring to write about the decrepit monarchy: “For example, Mr. Somsak, today he is still writing about the monarchy… All of you have seen that. He writes about this, he writes about that, he just keeps writing.” Prayuth seems befuddled: “He’s a teacher, how could he do this?… He can’t teach people to break the law. He’s supposed to teach people to respect the law. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but as for today, I cannot allow this to happen.”

Prayuth prefers no critics and would hope that all Thais would be disciplined and arranged in a hierarchy, just like the fascist military that socialized him as an ultra-royalist dolt.

Responding to The Dictator, Somsak took to Facebook declaring he was “exceedingly satisfied” that The Dictator mentioned him. He lampooned Prayuth: “It’s been less than a month since I returned to writing [on Facebook], but Our Dear Leader has noticed me already.”


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