Monday, December 4, 2017

นรกในกองทัพไทย Hell in the Thai Armed Forces

อินทรีย์แดง Red Eagle

สถาบันทหารเคยเป็นสถาบันในความภาคภูมิใจของผู้ชายใทยทั้งประเทศ สิ่งที่ผู้ชายไทยจะต้องทำเป็นประเพณีมานาน เมื่ออายุ 21 ปีจะต้องคัดเลือกเกณฑ์ทหาร ก่อนจะแต่งงานจะต้องบวชทดแทนคุณบิดามารดา ผู้ชายหลายคนมีความใฝ่ฝันอยากจะรับใช้ชาติ ภาคภูมิใจที่ได้เป็นส่วนหนึ่งแสดงถึงความรักชาติ

สิบปีหลังๆ เกิดอะไรขึ้นกับกองทัพไทย ช่าวการทำร้ายทหารเกณฑ์ ทำร้ายนักเรียนเตรียมทหาร ถึงได้เกิดเป็นอย่างมากเหตุการณ์ หลายๆกรณี เป็นเรื่องที่น่าสะเทือนใจเป็นอย่างยิ่งต่อครอบครัวและญาติพี่น้อง ตลอดทั้งสะเทือนใจไปทั่วประเทศ ทุกครั้งที่มีข่าวการตายและทำร้ายนักเรียนและทหารเกณฑ์อย่างโหดร้าย

ล่าสุดการเสียชีวิตของน้องเมย ภัคพงค์ นักเรียนเตรียมทหารปี1 เสียชีวิตแบบมีเงื่อนงำ หลายท่านคาดว่าน่าโดนทำร้ายร่างกายอย่างแสนสาหัส หลายๆรูปแบบ เป็นเหตุให้เสียชีวิตอย่างกระทันหัน เหตุการณ์ที่หลายคนไม่เคยคาดคิดมาก่อน การเสียชีวิตของน้องเมย และเอาอวัยวะภายใน เข่นสมอง หัวใจ กระเพาะ ออกจากศพโดยไม่ได้แจ้งต่อครอบครัวของผู้ตาย ถือว่าเป็นการไร้วิสาสะโดนสิ้นเชิง ซึ่งไม่มีที่ใดในโลกนี้ทำเข่นนี้มาก่อนนอกจากประเทศไทย

การตายของน้องเมย ยังเป็นข้อสงสัยต่อสังคม ที่หลายๆคนยังสะเทือนใจไม่หาย ไม่กี่วันต่อมาก้อมีข่าวครูฝึกทำร้ายทหารเกณฑ์เกิดขึ้นอีก พลทหารสรรเพชร คงโนนกอก อายุ 23ปี ถูกทำร้ายร่างกายจนสะโพกซ้ายหักและเข้ารับการผ่าตัด อีกทั้งกองทัพปฎิเสธความรับผิดชอบในการกระทำทุกกรณี

เหตุการณ์ของน้องเมย และพลหารสรรเพชร ยังไม่ทันจบลงคงยังเป็นประเด็นร้อนๆในสังคม วันที่30 พฤศจิกายน 2560 มีข่าวการทำร้าย เรือตรีตถาพร  บวรสุวรรณ ซี่โครงขวาหัก และแผ่นหลังมีรอยเฆี่ยนตี ต้องเข้าทำการรักษาที่ร.พ . เรือตรีตถาพร  ให้ปากคำ โดนครูฝึกใช้แสร้ เฆี่ยนตีแผ่นหลัง ใช้เท้าแตะซี่โครงและยังใช้ด้ามปีนเอ็ม16 ตีที่ศรีษะ การทารุนกรรมดังกล่าวเป็นเหตุให้ เรือตรีตถาพร ได้รับบาดเจ็บ และเป็นเหตุให้ติดเชื้อในกระแสเลือดและยังต้องรักษาตัวยู่ในโรงพยาบาลอยู่ในขณะนี้

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Translation of a letter by Watana Muangsook about a Pattern of Abuse of Young Soldiers



Below is a blog post of Watana Muangsook, member of the Peu Thai Party, translated by friends of Thai Alliance. The back story is that it looks like yet another young Thai soldier, this time a cadet, Pakapon Tanyakan died under horrific circumstances--based on the wounds on the body, possibly he was beaten to death. On top of that, there appears to be a coverup because his body was returned to the family with organs missing, including the brain, stomach, and bladder. This is the third notorious case of soldier abuse in 2017. Thai Alliance had just written an essay with recommendations on how to end solider abuse when this third case hit the news. The picture showing systematic abuse of Thai soldiers was shared by Watana Muangsook with his post.

“ดักดาน”
"Unmitigated"

โรงเรียนเตรียมทหารเป็นองค์กรของกองทัพที่ดำรงอยู่ได้ด้วยภาษีของประชาชน เป็นแหล่งผลิตบุคลากรออกไปรับใช้ประเทศชาติ แต่ทัศนคติของผู้ที่จบจากโรงเรียนแห่งนี้ เช่น รอง นรม. ที่บอกว่าการถูกซ่อมจนสลบเป็นการธำรงไว้ซึ่งวินัยและไม่ละเมิดสิทธิมนุษยชน หรือการสอบสวนสาเหตุการตายของ นตท. ภัคพงศ์ ตัญกาญจน์ ที่มิได้ปฏิบัติให้เป็นไปตามกฎหมายและไม่ยอมให้บุคคลภายนอกมาเกี่ยวข้อง สะท้อนให้เห็นถึงความป่าเถื่อนของวัฒนธรรมอำนาจนิยมของกองทัพที่ไม่เคารพกฎหมาย เป็นแดนสนธยาโดยใช้ความมั่นคงเป็นข้ออ้างเพื่อหลีกเลี่ยงการตรวจสอบ

The Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School is a joint military academy paid for by taxpayers. This institute is the first school that trains and educates new cadets, who eventually go out and serve the country. But the mindset of most alumni of this schools, such as that of General [Prawit Wongsuwon], who says that disciplinary correction to the point of loss of consciousness is necessary to maintain discipline and doesn’t infringe on human rights, or the investigation into the cause of death of Cadet Pakapong Tanyakan, which was unusual and didn’t follow the law, and outside investigators are not allowed to take part, reflects the extent of brutality of the authoritarian culture of the Armed Forces, who show no respect to the law. Thailand’s Armed Forces are a Twilight Zone who claim “security and stability” as an excuse to avoid scrutiny.

Help us End the Lese Majesty Law. Don't Put up the Picture!

จงช่วยกันล้มล้าง จงย่าแขวนรูปของเขา

Monday, November 20, 2017

Valuing the Sacrifice of Soldiers: How Thailand Could Fix a Corrupt Military System so Everybody Wins

By Ann Norman, Research by Red Eagle

If General Prayut Chan-ocha wanted to reform something and eliminate corruption, why didn’t he reform the military, which is something he was actually responsible for and is corrupt to its core?

The corruption in the military begins at the very start of a soldiers’ service. There is a draft for those young men who do not volunteer, and 1/3 of all those who go to the draft are selected for two years of service. This amounts to 100,000 conscripts per year. You can go the YouTube to see videos of the celebrations of those who are not selected and the tears of those who are. Incredibly, the rich will tell you very openly that they can avoid the risk entirely with a bribe.




I meant to write this article in April, after Private Yutthakinun Boonniam had been beaten and tortured while imprisoned in a military jail. In pictures taken at the hospital just before he died, his face was so swollen he was unrecognizable.

Then on November 12, 2017, yet another Thai conscript was beaten to death, 21-year old Adisak Noiphitak, just 10 days after he began his service. The autopsy report said he died of a sudden heart attack, but the family doesn’t believe it because when they received the body of their son, there were big bruises all over him. Pictures clearly reveal the lie by the army.


While we don’t know for sure Adisak Noiphitak was beaten to death, Private Yutthakinun Boonniam was beaten as a punishment. While corporal punishment of soldiers may be officially forbidden, it is prevalent and quickly excused.

Today’s social media regularly reveals shocking sadistic abuses of whole companies of Thai soldiers by their superiors. There are hazing rituals in which lines of naked soldiers are forced into mass sexual positions. And there are sadistic beatings, both of whole companies and individuals. Pictures and videos show masses of soldiers with welts on their backs with fish sauce, salt, or mustard being poured on the wounds). It is unsurprising that in such an abusive climate, several times a year, someone’s child is viciously beaten to death after being called up to serve their country.

On Legends and Enlightenment: King Naresuan, King Mongkut, and Sulak Sivaraksa

ANN NORMAN·SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2017


Legendary Elephant Battle from Mural at Wat Suvandaram. From Wikipedia

The world is shaking its head again at the Thai government. The draconian lese majesty law is being used to defend a popular movie version of a legendary elephant duel between its own King Naresuan and Burmese Prince Mingyi Swa, which happened (if happened at all) in the 1500s. Charges of royal defamation (which threaten a possible 3-15 year sentence), have been brought against a famous intellectual, 85-year-old Sulak Sivaraksa, who apparently made some skeptical comments at a seminar in 2014. Sulak Sivaraksa is standing his ground. "My point is, if you want to learn history, you have to get all facts from the past as much as you can, and I just state the facts," he said. It may strike you as ironic that Sulak Sivaraksa, the latest victim in the escalating lese majesty witchhunt, actually describes himself as a royalist.

One is reminded of Galileo’s house arrest in 1634 after the Catholic Church charged him with heresy for arguing that the Earth goes around the Sun, contradicting the prevailing view that the Earth is the center of the universe. Not everyone knows the historical detail that Galileo was actually a devout Catholic. Galileo’s interest in correcting the Catholic Church was in part motivated by his fear that the Catholics would soon look foolish insisting that everything in the sky revolves around the Earth when people throughout the world would soon be looking up through their own telescopes and seeing, as he could see, the several moons revolving around Jupiter.

I’m also reminded that in the 1800s, King Mongkut, promoted the teaching of geography in Siam in a campaign to correct the then-prevalent belief in a flat Earth. This was a religious crisis for those Siamese who thought the Buddhist scriptures described a flat Earth. It was similarly obvious to King Mongkut that flat-Earth beliefs would appear foolish and backward to the many Westerners who were then beginning to flow into the country, and so King Mongkut actively promoted science throughout the Kingdom, most notably geography and astronomy.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

APEC/ASEAN: Prioritize Rohingya Crisis Address Deteriorating Rights Situations in Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia



For Immediate Release

APEC/ASEAN: Prioritize Rohingya Crisis
Address Deteriorating Rights Situations in Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia

(New York, November 9, 2017) – World leaders meeting for summits in Asia on November 10-14, 2017, should address Burma’s Rohingya crisis and the deteriorating human rights situations in Vietnam, the Philippines, and Cambodia, Human Rights Watch said today.

Heads of government from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), including the United States, China, Japan, Russia, Canada, Australia, and Mexico, will be meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, on November 10. Leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be meeting in Manila, Philippines, on November 12, along with associated ASEAN side-summits with the US, European Union, Japan, and South Korea, among others. Most of these leaders will then attend the annual East Asia Summit in Angeles, north of Manila, on November 13-14.

Since August 25, the Burmese military has carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine State. Security forces have committed massacres, rape, looting, and mass burnings of homes and property, causing the flight of more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh. Human Rights Watch has determined that the atrocities amount to crimes against humanity. The campaign has led several countries to suspend military engagement with Burma and reimpose targeted sanctions and travel restrictions on high-level military leaders. Tougher measures are needed to press Burma to end the abuses, acknowledge rampant rights violations, ensure the safety of the internally displaced, and give access to independent fact-finders.

“The Rohingya crisis is among the worst human rights catastrophes in Asia in years and demands concerted global action,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “World leaders shouldn’t return home from these summits without agreeing to targeted sanctions to pressure Burma to end its abuses and allow in independent observers and aid groups.”

Meet Thai reporter Pravit Rojanaphruk as he picks up the International Press Freedom Award at Columbia

Anyone in the New York City area should totally check this out. Fearless Thai reporter Pravit Rojanaphruk is in the US to pick up his International Press Freedom Award and you can see him oi this panel discussion."มหาวิทยาลัยโคลัมเบีย มหาลัยที่มีชื่อเสียงด้านสอนวารสารศาสตร์มากที่สุดในโลกติดประกาศงานเสวนาที่เชิญผมไปร่วมเป็นวิทยากรแล้วในวันที่ 14 พฤศจิกายนนี้ที่ World Room ของพูลิสเซอร์ฮอล - สำหรับนักข่าว ผู้ถือเป็นเกียรติอันสำคัญยิ่งอีกครั้งหนึ่งในชีวิต #ป #เสรีภาพ #สื่อ #โคลัมเบีย #อเมริกา
Greatly honoured to b a panelist next Tuesday at Columbia University. #Juntaland #Thailand #pressfreedom #IPFA" - Pravit Rojanaphruk

The soft re-opening of Music of Thai Freedom

We're BACK with lots of new songs and all the old songs of Thai Freedom!!! This one "เผด็จเกิร์ล" ("Dictatorship-Girl") also has an English language title: "No Reason." This is a slick mainstream pop song, with the criticism of the junta very thinly disguised as a criticism of a dictatorial girlfriend. YOU WILL ENJOY IT!!!!

http://musicofthaifreedom.com/dictatorship-no-reason/

Monday, October 9, 2017

On Freedom of Expression – in Thailand, Myanmar, and the World

 
by an Anonymous poster

I guess that Thais would respond:

“Look at Myanmar and what they do with Rohingya! So what do you want from us when its our country anyway, and at least we have peace now?”

It hard to believe what Thailand went through over the years. The situation there is already more than difficult enough, but compared to Myanmar for example, we should be maybe glad to see a ray of light given that the whole situation in Thailand is much more relaxed than in a country of Rohingya-killing freaks. This coming not only from military, but even from Buddhists civilians who appear to be working work together hand in hand, but at the very least agree with each other to perform such an inhuman horror scenario over their biggest minority population!

And yes, the lack of freedom of expression in Myanmar is of course not the major problem, as we are now seeing that genocide, but we surely must realize from where it comes from – not only from the fact of cultural and religious differences, but from the fact that the communication between both parts was not only limited naturally, but also restricted artificially by oppression over all those years, which has led to such misunderstandings, hate, frustration, violence, and pure blind enemy feelings that we have arrived at an inquisition-like medieval or fascist state, where genocide is even widely understood as a ‘normal’ ‘logical’ solution.

IT IS PURELY DISGUSTING, how lack of and oppression of free expression in this country has led to this maldevelopment, where even the positive democratic change was obviously not enough to help find a better way for the biggest(!) minority. It is the result of saying the Rohingya don’t belong to the country!

Right now, suffering people of Rohingya must stay the main focus of attention, but attending to the speech by David Kay (UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression), on October 6, the world must understand once more what deep and huge impact and danger the lack of freedom of expression can have for societies, which do not care enough about this, and what can it mean for those countries where this freedom is granted officially but is sometimes not valued enough–that this could even turn to some nightmares that nobody could foresee in time to prevent.

The whole world is moving and let’s hope into a right and MORE COMMUNICATIVE direction and not to its self-destruction!

PEACE HAS TO BE PERFORMED BY OPEN AND HONEST COMMUNICATION & CONVERSATION NOT BY IGNORANCE, LIMITATION OF EXPRESSION OR EVEN CENSORSHIP, OPPRESSION AND ARMED EXTORTION !!!

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Truth of October 6, 1976: A Student Massacre that Still Waits for Answers



By Ann Norman
FIRST POSTED NOVEMBER 6th, 2016;

Truth is a thing that doesn’t die ความจริงคือสิ่งที่ไม่ตาย—as the saying goes. And one day we may know the truth of the Thammasat University Massacre, of 50 to 100 student demonstrators on October 6, 1976. That day college students were killed by an army, police, and vigilante mob in ways so gruesome you can’t ever “unsee” the images. Not only were the students butchered in various and unusual ways, but their dead bodies were desecrated and even raped. The iconic picture from this event is the bloodied and lifeless body of a young person, hanging from a tree, being beaten with a folding chair, while a circle of people watch, some smiling. In addition to the dead, thousands were arrested and were made to strip to the waist and crawl on the ground as a form of humiliation. The event was instigated by accusations that the students were communists and that they had insulted the Crown Prince. In fact, the students had been protesting the return of an exiled dictator to Thailand as well as the assassination of a labor activist. Many of the demonstrators, who had not previously been communists, were radicalized by the shocking turn of events and fled into the jungle to join the communists for several years. A day after the massacre, a coup replaced the democratic government with yet another dictatorship. No one was ever prosecuted for the massacre; everyone involved was granted amnesty.

What makes this tragedy especially difficult to understand or accept is that only three years earlier, on October 14, 1973, a similar pro-democracy student uprising had ended in victory for the demonstrators, and that event continues to be celebrated today. Songs are still being written for the heroes of October 14—while those who died three years later on October 6 are ignored or regarded with suspicion, as if they possibly share some blame for being attacked by a bloodthirsty mob.
What exactly happened October 6 and why? The facts are still discoverable: it occured in modern times, the victims were from the educated middle class, there were thousands of witnesses (now only being in their late 50s or early 60s), and the whole thing was filmed. (The images are distressing and you may not want or need to see them. But if you need proof, just google.) Because so many progressive Thais were there that day, it is unsurprising that I happen to know several of them, just as most Americans know someone directly affected by 9/11. Yet despite the opportunities to discover the truth about October 6 and learn from it, no consensus has emerged as to what happened, how it happened, and or why. And this is due to an active and ongoing campaign to silence the questions before they are even asked. How many died? Who is responsible? How can we prevent it from ever happening again?

This year, just prior to the 40 anniversary of the event, The Nation ran an article with a promising title: “Lessons to be learned from the October 6, 1976 heartbreak.” Such lessons presumably come from an examination of history, so I was surprised when the article began with attempt to shame and discourage those planning memorials for the 40th Anniversary: “Next week, several groups are planning to commemorate the tragedy of October 6, 1976. Indications suggest a large sum of ‘mysterious’ money has been made available to finance any group that can organize provocative commemorative projects.”

Of course, there is a longstanding tradition in Thailand of condemning October 6 memorials as “provocative.” In 2013, to mark the October 6 anniversary, a group Thammasat students staged a play called “Wolf Bride.” Two students Patiwat ‘Bank’ Saraiyam (a man) and Pornthip ‘Golf’ Munkong (a woman) went to jail for two and a half years for lese majesty for putting on that play, and several other young actors had to flee the country to avoid lese majesty charges.

Commemorations for the anniversary in 2014 were cancelled because of the ban on political gathering in the wake of the coup. This year, for 40th Anniversary of the massacre, Thammasat students invited Joshua Wong of the 2014 Hong Kong Umbrella Protests to come speak. But Wong was prevented from entering the country by immigration officials who surrounded him as soon as the plane landed. When he demanded to know why he was being detained, one warned him, “You know this is Thailand, it’s like China. Not like Hong Kong.” (Recall that in 1976, the Thammasat students were massacred after being branded as “communists.” Forty years on, Thai official now SIDE with communists to suppress the speech of Thammasat students trying to commemorating that massacre! The whole geopolitical context can change, but nothing changes for Thai students demanding democracy.)

And why can’t we talk about October 6? The strong message from the powers-that-be is that talking about the event will be unpleasant and messy, and make it harder for the country to come together around national symbols of the monarchy.

That much is true, as rabid royalists played a lead role in the events, and US diplomatic cables report that King Bhumipol at first appeared to treat the massacre as a necessary cost of doing business (in the war on communism) rather than a crime against humanity. The cables are shocking, but not all that shocking. US leaders have been equally accepting of “collateral damage” at certain points in history. Lots of horrible, ugly things happened in the 60s and 70s, both in Thailand and in America, during the war on communism. It was a time of social unrest, student protests, anti-communist fervor, war atrocities, secret undercover government activities, and yes even massacres.
This year, in reading an article (that I can no longer access) on the October 6th event, I learned that the worst of the atrocities on October 6, such as the iconic hanging, may have been committed by a small group set up by the Thai equivalent of the US CIA. Reading Wikipedia, I learned that that secret Thai organization was funded by the US CIA to fight communism. A serious investigation of October 6 is likely to dig up a lot of dirt that is uncomfortable to personal and national self-perceptions in either or both countries. It could lead anywhere. So why not reconcile, move on, and just forget the ugly past?

This is why we can’t give it up: Because, in Thailand, 40 years after the massacre, Thais are STILL living under dictators; students are still trying to speak out about democracy, and they are still being shut down by those who brand them as dangerous troublemakers who disrespect royalty. There are still hysterical witch hunts. Leaders still look for scapegoats on which they can lay the blame for all of Thailand’s troubles. And there is still a culture of impunity, that lets the well-connected get away with literally ANYTHING.

And this is why tragedy of October 6, 1976, still haunts. This is why those who were affected cannot just forgive and move on. I asked someone who was there what I should write for this article. They said “Tell them we were just trying to speak up; the students had no rights to speak.” And the students still cannot speak freely; they are still bullied and abused at the whims of the powerful. It is difficult to fix a problem if we can’t even acknowledge that problem. When I practice my new-found Thai saying, “Truth is a thing that doesn’t die” on my Thai friends, twice I have twice gotten the reply, “Truth is a thing that doesn’t die. But in Thailand, people who say the truth might end up dead.” Similarly, one Thai human rights group commemorated the 40th Anniversary by selling black T-shirts that say, “I think, therefore I am dead” and the date: “40th 6 October, 1976.”

Isn’t it time to start fresh, and build society on a new foundation of truth and human rights? A society that is built on a foundation of happy myths is vulnerable to truth; and it must brutally and continually defend its inconvenient secrets by suppressing the human rights of students and others interested in pursuing facts where they lead. This month a representative of the Thai Alliance for Human Rights will be going to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to report on this massacre and other massacres in Thai history that could be labeled crimes against humanity. Neither Thailand (nor the United States) is a signatory to the Rome Treaty establishing the International Criminal Court, and crimes cannot be retroactively prosecuted even if Thailand does in the future decide to sign on. But at least, our organization will have a chance to report the crimes and be heard. And it indicates a method that Thai people could plausibly use in the future to hold even its most powerful people accountable, to end the culture of impunity, and so discourage future crimes against humanity.