Updated: Rap against the military dictatorship

27 10 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blocking and unblocking Absolutely Bangkok

24 02 2010

Bangkok Pundit and New Mandala have recently reported on the blocking and unblocking of the popular site Absolutely Bangkok by Loxinfo in Thailand.  PPT highly recommends the detailed account of the events posted by the author of Absolutely Bangkok: 24 February 2010, “Of this site’s blocking & unblocking”

PPT was struck by this statement: “It actually shattered my trust in the work of the Thai cyber police so much that you think this has become a place where anyone can accuse anyone of anything.”

PPT is a bit more cynical than Absolutely Bangkok, but the point that s/he nails is the arbitrariness of what is blocked and what is left alone. One never knows if one is going to ‘get away with’ criticism, or be censured for what one imagines to be benign.

Police state and FACT on the “new tsunami of political repression”

5 11 2009

PPT has been warning of the rapid slide towards repression by the Democrat Party-led coalition government. Others seem to agree taht the situation is deteriorating rapidly. We provide two excellent examples here.

Police state: PPT noticed this short piece in the InMedia column of the Bangkok Post (5 November 2009: “Baan muang columnist Chalarm Kheo”). We don’t have immediate access to the source, but felt PPT readers might be interested in seeing the Post version, in full, here:

“Thailand is looking more and more like a police state. As I write this, I am struck by the news that two persons have been charged with feeding untrue information through a computer system which undermined the security of the nation. They have been accused of spreading rumours about the King’s health.

Apparently a translation of a foreign news article is at the heart of this case. This incident is too scary for me.

The rumours caused the SET index to plunge, and those who hate deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra quickly claimed that his brother and two other persons were responsible for spreading the bad news.

Key government figures promptly ordered the police to arrest people who spread the rumours. The police initially hesitated, as the alleged crime was a violation of the Computer Crimes Act. Nonetheless, the issue was magnified as a threat against national security.

It is laughable that one can be arrested for translating news and posting it on a website. Indeed, Thailand is looking more like Germany when it was run by Adolf Hitler and his secret police. No one is safe when their private email can be monitored.”

The new tsunami of political repression: FACT begins this way: “Politicians can be so entertaining. Sometimes we laugh so hard we cry. Of course, the posturing and bluster of politicians always leads to the truth being forgotten as they try to distance themselves from any issue which could interfere with their position at the public trough. We’re still trying to make some sense over Thailand’s recent tsunami of political repression.” Read all of this important statement here.

The military and lèse majesté and Thailand’s thought police

8 03 2009

The Canberra Times (7 March 2009: “Generals keep their hands on levers of power”) has an interesting report on the increased plitical role of the military and their royalist activities. The report claims that there are 117 Thais facing lèse majesté charges. PPT wonders if this is an error as the usual number cited is 17 and PPT lists 13 of the known cases.

Meanwhile, Marwaan Macan-Markar at IPS (8 March 2009: “Police Target Websites Unflattering to Royalty”) reports “As if the country’s draconian lese-majeste laws are not harsh enough, Thailand’s thought police have another weapon, the computer crimes law, to curtail the space for free expression.” He discusses the recent crackdown at Prachatai, the use of the computer crimes law and lèse majesté.

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