Deep roots

watering

From an image on social media: The kindness of the father is like water pouring to people’s hearts and deeply rooting in the country.
[Refers to a poem written to cerebrate the King’s birthday on December 5.]

Posted in The Monarchy | Leave a comment

CUPT proposes model for political reform

141206Matichonchart

From Matichon, December 6, 2014
CUPT proposes the model for political reform
Politics
– Separation of the executive power and legislative power
– Direct election of the PM
– MPs are not required to belong to a political party
– MPs can come from national elections as well as elections within professional fields
Establishment of a People’s Council: 900 members selected from heads of municipalities around the country [this would be another measure to mute the power of a dominate party like the Pheu Thai]
On the table: CUPT: Council of University Presidents of Thailand

Posted in 2014 Coup | Leave a comment

11 Years Ago Today: Purachai book ‘outrages’ TRT faithful
วันนี้เมื่อ11ปี่ก่อน : หนังสือของปุระชัยโจมตีความเชื่อมั่นของพรรคไทยรักไทยอย่างรุนแรง

11 Years Ago Today: Purachai book ‘outrages’ TRT faithful

Posted in Today in History | Leave a comment

Shinawatra’s farm

141206Manger

From Manager, December 6, 2014
Shouts: Long live the King… Long live the King…
A red buffalo: Don’t listen. Our father’s day is 26 July.
On the sign: Shinawatra’s farm
[July 26 is Thaksin’s birthday. To refer to a person as a “buffalo” is an insult meaning they are stupid. Here it is used to refer to the pro-Thaksin Red Shirts.]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons - Manager | Leave a comment

Dissolution of the Royal Thai Police

141205Matichon

From Matichon, December 5, 2014
[Newspaper graphic describing what is, in effect, the dissolution of the power of Royal Thai Police. Rampant corruption in the system is only a secondary concern. The real intent is to break the back of the police as a force that has shown loyalty first to Thaksin. Since Thaksin’s first days in power, the police were groomed to once again become a force that could counterbalance the power of the military in politics.]
The Legal and justice system reform committee proposes the model of reorganization of the Royal Thai Police Office
1. Dissolution of the human resource executive [This is the internal police committee that overseas promotions in the force. At all levels of the police, large bribes are required to move up in rank.]
Dissolution of the OPC (Office of the Police Commission)
Establishment of the National Police Affairs Council [comprising the following]
– Head of security-related government agency
– Head of justice system/judiciary
– National Human Rights Committee members
– Persons selected by the members of parliament and senators
– Citizens who can participate in the appointment and transfer of police officers [as well]
[The inclusion of these parties in a committee on police promotions and transfers strikes at the heart of Thaksin and Red Shirt dogma as their plan for reconciliation is that the judiciary and NGOs be stripped of power to intrude into government affairs.]

2. Dissolution of the Royal Thai Police Office [meaning the end of the centralization of all police into a common command]
Transfer the following agencies
– Forest police to the Forest Department
– Railway police to the State Railway of Thailand
– Tourist police to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports
[At present the police provide security within ministries and other governmental departments, giving them influence and intelligence capabilities throughout the system. The new plan would allow ministries to command their own specialized security forces apart from the centralized law enforcement function of the national police.]

Posted in Thai Police | Leave a comment

Collusion on bidding prevents top companies from participating

Bangkok’s bus fleet procurement: why Scania, Volvo opt out – scandasia.com, December 15, 2014
[This article highlights the key way the bidding process is rigged in Thailand–the TOR is written to favor a certain party that has previously colluded with the bid writer to win the project.
It is common that the winner of a bid is the only company that could fulfill all the conditions–and this is according to plan.]
…Politicians, who had supervisory control over the financially-ailing Bangkok city bus agency, did not seem to be able to agree on the simple task of drawing up a coherent and clear-cut TOR to ensure a fair bidding process. A process that would produce winners capable of delivering brand new city buses which are cost-effective to operate, meet high environmental standards and provide comfort to passengers.
Not to mention the fact that dubious changes made during the drafting and subsequent multiple revisions made to the TOR also gave rise to widely-publicized allegations that the whole procurement process has been rigged in favour of certain manufacturers…

Posted in Buses | 1 Comment

Thai authorities don’t owe anything to the US to keep its secrets about torture

Admit to past errors – Bangkok Post, December 15, 2014
…Thai authorities, who have a credibility gap at the moment, could do the same. The timing could not be better: Overall, the public opposes secret deals with foreign governments; campaigns are under way to promote reconciliation and amnesty; the mood of the moment favours disclosure of past errors in return for moral and legal forgiveness.
To know how US and Thai officials conspired 13 years ago to establish an illegal detention house would help to clear the air. It’s scarcely believable that the government knows nothing about the US information. So, knowing that some agencies hosted the CIA’s centre for brutality would be a step forward in bridging the credibility gap.
Thai authorities really don’t owe anything to the US as it reveals its most important secrets. Rather, they owe it to Thai citizens to come clean, learn the lessons and move forward.

Posted in Thai Secret Prison | Leave a comment

Thai Billionaire’s Debt Spree Evokes Asian Crisis Memory

Thai Billionaire’s Debt Spree Evokes Asian Crisis Memory – Bloomberg, December 12, 2014
…“One has to wonder whether the CP Group remembers the lessons of the Asian crisis,” said Gillem Tulloch, founder of Hong Kong-based GMT Research Ltd. Tulloch has worked in Asia as a financial analyst since 1995. “There seems to be a fondness for large debt-financed acquisitions outside of their core competency.”
…The cost to insure Thailand’s sovereign debt using five-year credit-default swaps has jumped 9 basis points to 89.5 this week, its biggest increase since September. That’s pared its decline this year to 39 basis points. As investors seek safe havens, the 10-year government bond yield has dropped to a near six-year low at 2.78 percent…

Posted in Business | Leave a comment

Dangerous trojan that is posting your personal data to a Thai Ministry of Education server

“UK Fuels E-bill” (ebillinvoice.com) spam
…The Malwr report shows that it POSTs data to 203.172.141.250 (Ministry of Education, Thailand), which has been commonly used in this sort of attack (I strongly recommend that you block this IP)…

Also here and here

Posted in 2Bangkok News | Leave a comment

Missing Lao activist not forgotten

logo-sombath-initiative

Missing Lao activist not forgotten – bangkok Post, December 11, 2014
…CCTV footage shows him being taken away by Lao police on that evening.
“Today marks the 726th day … that Sombath was taken from me and my family. Even after 726 days, the shock, the pain, the anguish have not lessened,” she said.
Because the Lao government has provided no answer to his disappearance, the Sombath Intiative, founded by his friends and fellow activists, has been created to try to achieve what the authorities have failed to do – find him…

Sombath Somphone – Help us find our friend

Posted in Human Rights | Leave a comment

Part 5 of the animated story of Thaksin’s life

ScreenShot002

Above: Thaksin’s son as a precocious electronics genius

Part 5 in the animated story of Thaksin’s life

Posted in Thai Politics | Leave a comment

The CIA Torture Report Is Causing Political Ripples Overseas

The CIA Torture Report Is Causing Political Ripples Overseas – Bloomberg, December 11, 2014

[Some bizarre conclusions here, such as the Thai military wanting to keep the torture story in the press. As it was the Thai military that was behind the secret prison program in the first place, they will be quick to deny everything. Recent details of the Thai prison even tend to lift some blame from Thaksin by contending that the former premier was not initially informed of the secret prison.
Thus it is not likely that the military would want to trump up the torture report to take focus from the “rights abuses currently being perpetrated against Thais.” There is very little evidence that the junta is under pressure–either internally or internationally–nor that there is any domestic unrest that is requiring brutal suppression. For now, both the generals and Thaksin, for their own reasons, want calm.
Statements like the “Thai media are extremely wary of publishing anything critical of the government” do not come from any source familiar with either the Thai or English-language press. There is no doubt the media has to be wary, but daily there is scorn heaped on the government in both regular news coverage and editorials.
It could be that the “Thai sources” referred to here are the same group of sources that pop up now in every international article about Thailand–the post-coup exiles who spend their days overseas explaining the mood in Thailand to the media and alleging worsening repression and a beleaguered junta.
Everything about the secret prisons here: Detention Site Green: Thailand and the CIA’s secret prisons]

…One of these countries is Thailand. A formal U.S. ally, Thailand was led in the early 2000s by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, an elected leader but a man with little interest in the rule of law. Thaksin oversaw a “war on drugs” in Thailand that resulted in the extrajudicial killing of some 2,500 Thai suspects. Thai intelligence and the CIA reportedly moved some of the highest-profile detainees in the war on terror, including Abu Zubydah, a senior Al Qaeda figure, to a “black site” safe house in Thailand. Although Thaksin reportedly was not initially informed by Thai intelligence when the black site was created, he reportedly later was informed about it. In Thailand, Abu Zubydah allegedly was repeatedly waterboarded, subjected to physical assaults, tortured with sleep deprivation in stress positions, and subjected to other inhumane treatments.
Thaksin was forced into exile by a coup in 2006, and his sister, also elected, was deposed in a coup in May of this year. Although the country remains under martial law, and Thai media are extremely wary of publishing anything critical of the government, the Thai press has covered the torture report extensively.
Most likely, according to several Thai sources, the military-dominated Thai government will attempt to keep the report in the news to tar Thaksin, as well as to distract attention from the rights abuses currently being perpetrated against Thais by the Bangkok regime. Coverage of the report may indeed hurt attempts by Thaksin and his party to portray themselves to the public as committed democrats who are far more enlightened than the harsh army rulers running Thailand now. The generals will have to be careful how they point fingers, however, since they have close links to Thai intelligence, and many of the military men currently running Thailand held senior army positions a decade ago as well…

Posted in Thai Secret Prison | 1 Comment

Purple Line train route now almost complete

Purple Line train route now almost completes – Thai PBS, December 12, 2014
…the route will become the first metro line that serves travel demand between the suburb and downtown areas of Bangkok.
…However he said the test run is due in June 2015 and the line should be ready for full service on August 12, 2016…

Also: Bangkok Red Line ‘will be one year late’ – to start operating in 2018

Posted in Mass Transit | Leave a comment

Support Thai troops with bulletproof vests

Vests

From a sign in Tops Supermarket: Tops… shares the endless happiness
Central Food Hall and Tops together with the Royal Thai Army invite you to be part of sharing happiness by purchasing New Year baskets. Money will be used to buy bulletproof vests and give them to soldiers in the southernmost provinces.
[This is the third year of a campaign from Tops to donate the bulletproof vests to soldiers fighting the insurgency in the Thai deep south.]

Posted in Signs and Billboards, The Thai Deep South | Leave a comment

Live self-sufficient lives and avoid U.S.-made goods

1411 Boycott US

From an image circulated on social media: Live self-sufficient lives and avoid U.S.-made goods
[Refer to an anti-US campaign in response to the US’s action on trying to intervene Thai political situation.
More on this: Remembering U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney
More on this: U.S. diplomatic drift and Thailand]

Posted in 2014 Coup | Leave a comment

11 Years Ago Today: PM mixes business and politics
วันนี้เมื่อ 11 ปีที่แล้ว : นายกผสมผสานธุรกิจกับการเมือง

11 Years Ago Today: PM mixes business and politics
…Thailand’s historically vocal print media has been notably restrained in reporting allegations of government corruption or conflicts of interest. One reason, some media executives contend, is that Thaksin’s family’s companies have withheld advertising from publications perceived to be critical of the government. Similarly, some of Thailand’s biggest state-owned enterprises–often key advertisers–seem to steer clear of publications critical of Thaksin…

Posted in Today in History | Leave a comment

Director Defends ‘Hitler Scene’ in Thai Junta Film

ScreenShot002

Director Defends ‘Hitler Scene’ in Thai Junta Film – KhaoSod, December 10, 2014
…”I didn’t think it would be an issue,” the director of the short film, Kulp Kaljaruek, told Khaosod after a clip of the scene went viral on the internet and attracted criticism.
“As for Hitler’s portrait, I have seen so many people using it on T-Shirts everywhere. It’s even considered a fashion. It doesn’t mean I agree with it, but I didn’t expect it to be an issue at all…”

Thailand School Propaganda Film: Israeli Embassy In Bangkok Condemns Hitler Video – IBT News, December 10, 2014
…The video has been screened in movie theaters across the country since Saturday to promote the military-backed government’s new “12 values” school curriculum. Israel’s ambassador to Thailand, Simon Roded, said he was “deeply saddened” to see Nazi symbols in an “official Thai movie…”

Posted in 2Bangkok News | 1 Comment

Constitution Day

Above: Democracy Monument

December 10 is Constitution Day in Thailand and a national holiday. This year (just like after the 2006 coup) Thailand has no constitution for the holiday.

Posted in Thai Holidays and Festivals | Leave a comment

Detention Site Green: Thailand and the CIA’s secret prisons

ScreenShot003

The long-awaited report on CIA torture has been released (here and here). This is not a full report, but a highly redacted executive summary. Mentions directly involving Thailand relate to the well-documented captures of Hambali and Zubair in the country.

Secret detention sites are designated by color, such as Cobalt, Green, Blue, Black, and Violet with the harshest treatment seeming to occur at Cobalt. Cobalt is widely believed to be a site in Afghanistan known as the Salt Pit.

Green is thought to be the Thai prison. Events occurring in Green in the report match previous media reports such as when Abu Zubaydah lost his left eye.

Speculation about the activities that occurred in the Thai secret prison have often popped up in the press. Here are previous mentions of Thailand and the U.S. secret prison:

2014: U.S. Torture in Thailand: The full report is coming
2014: More mentions of the secret CIA prison in Thailand
2013: American who ran secret waterboarding prison in Thailand bypassed for CIA promotion
2013: Bangkok Post on the Thai secret CIA prison
2013: Mentions of torture in Thailand: The Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment
2013: The 90 tapes of brutal CIA interrogations in Thailand
2013: Uncovering CIA prison renditions from Thailand to Poland
2013: Thai Activists want ‘CIA jail’ truths
2013: Thaksin’s Thailand: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition
2012: US secret prison in Thailand where a prisoner was waterboarded 83 times
2012: More details of waterboarding at the Thai secret prison
2012: “Several months of torture” in the secret Thai prison
2012: The story of Abu Zubaydah, waterboarded 83 times in Thailand
2012: Waterboarding of CIA prisoners in Thailand: How the CIA destroyed tapes of “ugly visuals”
2012: Latest on the Secret Thai Prison
2011: Inside the CIA’s secret Thai prison
2011: In Libya, Former Enemy Is Recast in Role of Ally
2011: The Rendition of Hambali and Riduan Isamuddin
2011: Waterboarding in Thailand
2011: 2 CIA prison deaths draw wider investigation
2011: High-Value Detainee’s Eye Surgically Removed While He Was In CIA Custody
2011: Warsaw prosecutors want to interview two ‘CIA prison’ captives
2011: More on the Thai secret prison
2009: District court to hear detainee case
2008: US and Thailand: Allies in torture
2008: CIA’s secret detention program
2007: CIA chief to drag White House into torture cover-up storm
2007: From CIA Jails, Inmates Fade Into Obscurity – Dozens of ‘Ghost Prisoners’ Not Publicly Accounted For
2006: Worldrights Releases Details of Written Opinion From UN Working Group
2006: “We have no secret cell to hold terrorists” FM
2006: Britain named for colluding in US rendition flights
2006: Reprocessed Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) and Administrative Review Board (ARB)
2005: The accusation about a secret prison and criticism of Matichon
2004: Washington Post: Thaksin is an undemocratic leader tolerated only because he follows U.S. orders
2003: CIA, Thai agencies unite against terrorism
2003: Cat’s Eye: News on the Secret Thai Prison (dozens of articles from 2003-2010)
2003: Thailand joins the war on terror
2003: Bangkok denies report of al-Qaeda interrogations at base
2003: Thailand one of 15 “silent partners” in the US-led coalition?
2003: NYT claims Al Qaeda detainee was held in Thailand

Posted in Thai Secret Prison, The Thaksin Years | Leave a comment

Thai coup critics in for long wait to return from exile

Thai coup critics in for long wait to return from exile – The Straits Times, December 8, 2014
[This is indeed a sobering article for exiles who seem to spend most of their time online predicting that counter coups and people’s uprisings are imminent.]
…Similarly, Charupong denies being aided by Thaksin. He spends most of his time trying to muster support for the FT-HD, which has been petering out from international consciousness as foreign governments gradually come around to working with the government led by coup-maker Prayuth Chan-ocha.
His assets in Thailand were frozen but he maintains a stoic front. “My life is much better than (that of) many Thais who have to live under the junta, my former colleagues in the cabinet in particular,” he says. “They can’t speak or move…”

Posted in 2014 Coup | 1 Comment

Gen. Chavilit warns: Junta constitutional reforms could trigger counter coup

Above: From 2011: Chavilit Escapes Yet Again

Army chief reacts coolly to Gen Chavalit’s counter coup remark – ThaiPBS, December 8, 2014
…Gen Chavalit said this change could lead to even wider divisions and more protests in the country.
He viewed that if the prime minister comes from election or elected by the people, then it might breach the power of the king as past appointments came from royal commands.
He asked whether it was appropriate to lower the supreme power of the King…

Gen. Chavilit has long been a fair-weather Thaksin supporter, emerging at key times on his behalf and then retreating. From the 2006 post-coup new year’s bombings in Bangkok to his appointment as Supreme Commander of a Red Shirt People’s Army of Thailand, he has become embroiled in Thai politics at odd times–before always quickly retreating.

As a canny top military officer and failed PM (his bungling triggered the world-wide 1997 financial crisis), there is little reason to take his statements at face value.

Thus, speculation will commence about what his counter-coup warning means. How could this be a gambit for Thaksin? Or perhaps he speaks for the conventional Thai politicians who see their back-stage political coalitions in jeopardy from a directly elected prime minister?

Is the entire “elected PM” recommendation a set-up by the junta to demonstrate they are examining all avenues of reform and, through Chavilit’s warning, demonstrate that it would be a danger to the King’s status (with Chavilt’s statement coming right after the King’s birthday celebrations)? This would also demonstrate that no one in conventional politics (except Thaksin himself) would benefit from having a directly elected PM.

Gen. Chavilit famously once summed up Thai politics with his threat that he could “blow a whistle” and the country would be in flames. However, in the last decade he has demonstrated little ability to makes things happen politically and has even gained a reputation as a person who quickly retreats from any stand he takes.

UPDATE: News reports seem to point to a more prosaic reason for Chavilit’s warning–the failure of his influence to impact a court case. From The Nation: …Before Chavalit called a press conference to discuss the counter-coup talk, news broke that the Supreme Court had ruled that Naruemol Nanthachot, the daughter of General Samrit Nanthachot, Chavalit’s close aide, was “unusually rich” and assets worth Bt86 million had been confiscated…

Note: In English his name is written several ways–Chavilit, Chavolit, Chavalit–and his nickname: Jew or Jiew.

Past mentions of Chavilit are below.

Earlier: Chavolit Runs Away
Earlier: Chavolit Runs Away (Again)
Earlier: Gen. Chavolit to lead Red Shirt “People’s Army”
Earlier: Chavolit and the Dominatrix – He likes humiliation
Earlier: Who made the biggest mess as PM? Chavolit or Yingluck?
Earlier: Chavolit flip-flops on reconciliation
Earlier: Red Shirts hope Chavolit will join the Pheu Thai Party
Earlier: It has long been suspected Chavolit was behind the 2006 New Year’s bombings as a post-coup attempt to destabilize the already shaky junta
Earlier: Chavalit floats the story that royalty will be soon joining the Pheu Thai Party

Posted in 2014 Coup, Analysis | 4 Comments

Bangkok connection to Sony hack: files leaked from St. Regis Bangkok Hotel wifi

Sony’s Breach Stretched From Thai Hotel to Hollywood – Bloomberg, December 8, 2014
…It was 12:25 a.m. on Dec. 2 in Bangkok, the morning of Dec. 1 in California. Working through the high-speed network at the St. Regis — whether from a guest room, a public area like the lobby or a separate location is unknown — the hackers began leaking confidential Sony data to the Internet, according to a person familiar with investigations into the breach…

Posted in 2Bangkok News | Leave a comment

11 Years Ago Today: The Nation on the defensive
วันนี้เมื่อ 11 ปีที่แล้ว การป้องกันเดอะเนชั่น

11 Years Ago Today: The Nation on the defensive
…Members of the Cabinet and the TRT are always told to give us a call whenever they think we have reported something unfairly or inaccurately. The press cannot help but make mistakes at times. We do our very best to ensure accuracy, but we cannot censor stories or comments from individual members of Thai society as long as they are within legal boundaries…

Posted in Today in History | Leave a comment

This week 1, 2, 5, and 13 years ago

2013: Ex-PM Thaksin a Saintly Figure in Rural Thailand

2013: The “dull, almost meaningless, message from the United States” on Thai political unrest

2013: New York Times: Thai Premier Calls for Elections as Opposition Quits

2012: The Economist: “Ceaseless plotting on Mr Thaksin’s behalf” behind continual Thai political turmoil

2009: We’re sick of the Ministry of Culture

2001: Undercutting the Prime Minister

Posted in Today in History | Leave a comment

Wrong year!

141205

Above: Photo of Sanam Luang from December, 2013–not 2014. Photo source: Noomplayboy

One of the two photos retweeted last night of Sanam Luang (above) was apparently not from this year, but was from the 2013 celebrations. The photographer behind the 2013 photo seems to be “Noomplayboy.” Be sure to view his spectacular HDR photographs on Flickr.

Below is an actual photo of this year’s event from the Bangkok Post, December 6, 2014

002

Posted in HM The King's Birthday | 2 Comments

Audience with the King at throne hall cancelled

ScreenShot001 ScreenShot002 ScreenShot003

ThaiPBS: King is not sick but needs time for full recovery, doctor says
ThaiPBS: Audience with the King at throne hall today to be cancelled

Posted in HM The King's Birthday | Leave a comment

The King’s Birthday

Above: December 4, 2005 - Placard with an image of the HM The King at the Royal Plaza.

Today is HM The King’s birthday. It is a national holiday considered Father’s Day in Thailand when both the King and all fathers are honored.

From years past:
2004: HM The King’s Birthday Address
2005: HM The King’s Birthday 2005
2009: HM The King’s 82th Birthday
2008: King not giving much-anticipated birthday speech and Trooping of the Colors
2012: Newspaper front pages

From Matichon Weekly, December 4-10, 2009 – Hand in hand

Posted in HM The King's Birthday, The Monarchy | Leave a comment

Happy Father’s Day

Sawanee Draw

Charming illustrations from Sawanee Draw

Sawanee Draw 2

Posted in HM The King's Birthday | 1 Comment

Two years ago: The Burden of Being a Prominent Thai Woman–and Being Called a Slut

121122manager

Two years ago: The Burden of Being a Prominent Thai Woman–and Being Called a Slut

Posted in Today in History | Leave a comment

Creative anti-begging ads

beg

Above and below: Creative anti-begging ads

beg2

beg3

Posted in 2Bangkok News | Leave a comment